Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Madness: March 14th. Author ANDY SZPUK.

 A March Madness welcome to Author Andy Szpuk. "Sliding On The Snow Stone"

To participate and be in with a chance of winning "Sliding On The Snow Stone" please scroll to the end of the post when you finish reading and leave a comment where indicated. Good luck!


Andy is a novelist and short story writer from Nottingham, UK. In 2011, his debut novel, a historical memoir, Sliding on the Snow Stone was published by Night Publishing.

He is currently researching and planning his forthcoming historical novel, Carved into Crystalline Heights which chronicles the story of a Ukrainian ethnic group, the Lemkos, who live in the Western Carpathian Mountains in the deep south-east of Poland. Their lifestyle is hard and they are poor people, but they are fiercely proud of their Ukrainian roots. They celebrate their language and rich culture, and support the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, who also inhabit the Mountains, and fight for a free Ukraine.

BOOK REVIEW: Sliding on A Snow Stone by Andy Szpuk
A Moving Tale . . . 

(Amazon US review by Juliana Mantooth)
‘A stark and moving biography of a Ukrainian who lived through the Holodomor or Ukrainian Holocaust where millions perished as a result of Stalin's custom-made famine and firing squads.

With amazing detail, Andy Szpuk transcribed the life of his father, born into a catastrophe he could little comprehend and his journey through unimaginable hardship which in many ways depicted the lives of many other fellow Ukrainians of that time. At times sweet, other times heartbreaking, even shocking, Sliding On The Snow Stone unveils through the eyes of a young boy, Stefan, the mindlessness and cruelty of war. As he trekked through neighbouring countries, first with his father, and later, alone, the reader experienced alongside Stefan the fear, anger and bitterness and despondency, the desperation of hunger and starvation.

The many little details captured by the author coloured the episodes and made the scenes
come alive, allowing us readers to weep, groan and laugh alongside Stefan as he journeys through life. Reading this wonderful book leaves me with a profound experience, reminding me to count my blessings for what I have and the age I live in today.’
It is astonishing that anyone lived this story. It is even more astonishing that anyone survived it. Stefan grows up in the grip of a raging famine. Stalin’s Five Year Plan brings genocide to Ukraine – millions of people starve to death. To free themselves from the daily terrors of Soviet rule, Stefan and his friends fight imaginary battles in nearby woods to defend their land. The games they play are their only escape. ‘Sliding on the Snow Stone’ is the true story of Stefan's extraordinary journey across a landscape of hunger, fear and devastating loss. With Europe on the brink of World War Two, Stefan and his family pray they'll survive in their uncertain world. They long to be free.

(In 1932-33, as part of their drive towards industrialisation, the Soviet Union demanded impossibly high requisitions of grain from rural areas in Ukraine. In a deliberate act of genocide, Ukrainian smallholdings were stripped of food, and the population began to perish, with some estimates as high as 10 million deaths, from starvation. In Ukraine, this atrocity became known as the Holodomor (death by hunger). The following years saw Soviet purges and terrors resulting in the elimination of academics and intellectuals, or of anyone who spoke out against Soviet rule. When World War Two arrived on Ukraine’s doorstep, many people viewed the Nazis as liberators – a view that was quickly proved wrong. ‘Sliding on the Snow Stone’ is Stefan’s personal account of a historical period drenched in the blood of a nation, and of his yearning for freedom.)

Carved into Crystalline Heights opens in 1938, with Mikhaylo, a smallholder whose wife has just given birth to a second daughter, Maria. Mikhaylo is desperate for a son and heir, and for a pair of strong arms to help him with the farming work. But he loves his wife Genya, and doesn’t wish for her to suffer the way their forefathers did, by having large families. Genya has six sisters and a brother.

Across the horizon, a storm is brewing – a man-made storm of world war.

A year later, the Nazis invade, plunging the community deeper into poverty. The war years are tough, but the Lemkos survive, and they find their own heroes from that period.
Post-war, the Insurgent Army remains active, ambushing Polish and Russian Army patrols, and attacking anyone who is not Ukrainian. Still their goal is freedom for Ukraine, but they reach a crossroads when one of their men kills a decorated Polish General, and the Poles come looking for revenge . . .

Please remember you MUST leave a comment on this post to have a chance at winning this book!

PLUS...Join this blog and be in the running to win not one but TWO books written by your host..."Empty Chairs" and "Faint Echoes of Laughter"


  1. Andy's story is one of the many untold truths. Some might say it never happened but it did.

    This is an area I have also researched and it is horrific.

    Good luck with your writing.

    Ron Sewell

  2. I have this and it's a great read.
    The beginning really does manage to encapsulate the horror of this, one of the most forgotten genocides of the last century.

  3. This is an unusual and riveting book by a writer who knows how to bring his story and characters to life. It should be widely read not only for these reasons but also for the truth it brings to light.

  4. We are very privileged to have a writer like Andy bring such a devastating period to life, knowing that every word he writes is true. I have not read it yet but this promotion makes it clear that no one should miss such an important book.

  5. This looks to be a vital and important read about one man and his family's personal struggle for freedom and independence against a cruel and oppressive regime.

  6. that must have been so intense writing the book, delving into the realities of that world, helping people get a sense of what it was like. humans cause so much trouble for each other; what a race we are.

  7. Free Kindle books uk links loves Authors sharing books thanks for your good work.

  8. This sounds very interesting - a look at a period of history I don't know much about!

  9. I had the honour of being one of the first readers of Andy's masterpiece. He writes in a beautifully simply yet engaging style, and the story itself is breathtaking. I regularly recommend this book to my 75 FB fans!

  10. I haven't read Andy's 'Sliding on the Snow' as yet, Sooz. Being a Marxist, I suppose I should get round to it. Been busy sorting out contracts for publication of 'Lallapaloosa', which is shortly to jump off the press. Now a word of thanks for the two 'prizes'I won: Empty Chairs, which I have already read, and still unable to forget, because my granddaughter caught me reading it and asked, 'why are you crying, Granddad?'...Faint Echo's of Laughter, I haven't read yet, but will have to make time to do so.
    Let's hope March Madness explodes into sanity...Rags

  11. I can't wait to read this one! On my very long to read list. :)

  12. Thanks to everyone for all your kind comments!! It WAS most certainly a very intense project to work on, but I'm pleased enough with the end result. Maybe I've added a small piece of history's jigsaw into the world.

  13. Wonderful to see so many lovely folks participating, thank you all.
    Into the magic hat with the names...and...we have a winner!

    Congratulations Sessha will receive your prize shortly, Amigo.

    Congratulations also go out to Debbie Davies. Debbie has won a copy of "Empty Chairs" and "Faint echoes of Laughter" for being the latest follower of this blog. Debbie please send me an email address at so I may send you your prize.


Please leave a comment/review on any of the stories/poems contributed.