CLARE BLANCHARD

You have to admit that us authors are a very special breed, weird maybe but extremely clever.  Last week I told you about a book that chronicled Eve’s life (yes the very first one) and this week we’ve moved on to ghosts from a later era.

Author Clare sent me two pictures, she said one was formal and the other informal. I’m not going to choose, I’ll use them both – it shows us writers as human, with real lives outside our fictional works – although I sometimes have my doubts about that!

Over to Clare.

Do you believe in ghosts? I didn’t, until I stayed at a hotel in the centre of Prague one night a few years ago. As I lay in bed, I became aware of a disturbing presence in my room. It was haunted, as well as haunting. It was the ghost of a man desperate to have his story told. I had no idea who he was and was too tired to be scared. The next day, I got up and wandered into a bookstore only a few hundred yards away. Taking an intriguing-looking book called Praga Mysteriosa off the shelf, I read to my surprise that the very street in which my hotel stood was said to be haunted by a ghost – the ghost of a barber who had abandoned his wife and daughters in the 17th century to go and become an alchemist. Bohemian Mystery is the result of my encounter with his ghost.

BohemianMysteryAdventureCOVER

A beautiful and thought-provoking novel….”

Bohemian Mystery is an intriguing novel, which opens in medieval Prague, a city at the heart of Bohemia, with its unique source of moldavite, a green gemstone laid down by a meteorite at the dawn of history. Sylvia, the protagonist, has an instinctive affinity to the city, which is where her own mother was born. But in modern Britain this is at odds with her burgeoning career at a prestigious girls’ boarding school – an institution steeped in hierarchy and eccentricity, which Clare Blanchard describes with an irresistible meld of humour and satire. However, gradually her affection for Prague draws her back again and again and she discovers that there are unexpected links between the old city and those ancient Etruscan civilisations that instigated the spread of culture and architecture across continents. She learns also that many of these legends stretch back to biblical times, and that there are even connections pulling at her own roots. Her life and purpose are transformed by these revelations. Bohemian Mystery takes you on a satisfying journey, providing food for thought long after the book is closed – a journey well worth travelling.

Brenda Parker, author of The Cilento Dove and Anya Paris

The experience of living in two or three different cultures drives Clare’s wicked sense of humour, but also makes her plots quirky, with unexpected twists of history woven in. Give Bohemian Mystery a try!

You can buy Clare’s book here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XX66Z7C

and visit her website  www.clareblanchard.com

MALLS AND MOURNING

At last we were on our own, but was this a good thing? We flew from Bangkok into Kuala Lumpur and got ourselves to the hotel with no problem. Then we collapsed into bed – no, to sleep, we had no energy left for anything else! We’re both at that stage now when the spirit is willing but the body has had enough by 10 am.

Since they didn’t serve dinner at the hotel, we ventured out in the evening and had a long discussion on the pavement as to which way to go – DH always has to turn the map upside down, I don’t. I must have a revolving brain or something like that. As usual I wanted to go one way and he wanted to go in the opposite direction – all a bit stupid really as we only needed to get round to the other side of the block.

Now I think all those temples must have had a strange effect on DH as if we’re at home and I suggest going to the mall, he has a habit of grabbing the garlic and drawing pentangles around himself with salt. Here in Kuala Lumpur he was suggesting going to a mall! We found one called Fahrenheit 88 which was very smart, and I have to confess I dived into a large plate of spaghetti bolognese. I do love Far Eastern food, but this was just so delightfully familiar and my favourite comfort food, besides which, it was incredibly cheap.

Fahrenheit88_Facade

Next day we made tracks back to the same mall for breakfast and to exchange the wrong power lead we’d bought the night before. This is the posh entrance I never saw, I think we sneaked in the back way.

We walked to Times Square and guess what? Another mall, even bigger and better. DH had obviously sussed out that there was a limit to what we could buy – suitcases, weight etc.

Next we took a taxi to the twin towers, it’s the must see of course. We thought the fare was going to be cheap but had to pay at a booking office which bumped the price up. Here there were no tuk tuks, rickshaws or scooters, we’d dipped our toes back into the developed world.

View from the shopping centre.

Pics of the twin towers next week – I have lots of those!

Queen Victoria goes into a complete decline after poor Albert passed on. I can imagine her consoling herself with that picture of him surrounded by those angels. She had worried herself for years about him he’d suffered from depression, frequently caught colds and suffered from nervous fevers. But at least he wasn’t around to beat the boys when they transgressed.

VIC

As Queen Victoria went into the deep mourning that was to last the rest of her life her children were : Vicky 21, Bertie 20, Alice 19, Alfred nearly 17, Helena 15, Louise 13, Arthur 11, Leopold 8, and baby Beatrice 4. Victoria herself was 42. Even though those kids still remaining at home did their best to persuade her to pop down to the Playboy Club for a bit of a knees up she flatly refused. She was too worried she might be targeted by an unscrupulous fortune hunter for her money if anyone noticed who she was.

Till next time.

Walking Over Eggshells by Lucinda E Clarke

This is such a great review, thank you so much Tanya – you have really understood what I was trying to share in my book.

T. R. Robinson Publications

51xr1Y8zEtLThis is a book the majority, if not all, parents would do well to read. It clearly, and uncompromisingly, depicts how a parent’s behaviour may impact on their off-spring for life.

Lucinda Clarke is an excellent author whose writing carries the reader along with ease. She incorporates: humour along with distress; emotions with thoughts; clear headedness with uncertainty and so on. Her writing is so smooth there are occasions when the reader may be surprised by how many years have passed in the tale though there are occasional references to age which help establish chronology.

In essence this is an autobiography, though many follow the modern trend to refer to such works as a memoir. Nevertheless, this book encompasses, in chronological order, a substantial proportion of the authors life.

The tale commences with Lucinda as a very young child. There is the amusing yet sad account of how at three…

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ANGELIQUE CONGER

This week’s author came up with a question many of us might have thought about for a moment and then dismissed it as one of those unexplained events.  Angelique Conger took this one step further and wrote a whole book about it. I think it’s a really novel (excuse the pun) idea. In Angelique’s own words …

Book photo, resized

Have you ever wondered about Eve? I did. I wanted to know how she managed life in a new world. How did she have that first child by herself, did someone help her? Then I wondered, how many children did she have? And how did they think about writing? And, did they live in a cave or in the open or build a house? All these questions left me wondering. The only way I could find the answers was to write a book.

I’ve lived a while, I’ve thought about this a long time. And when it came time to write her story, it felt like she sat beside me, whispering into my ear. I’d reach a block and not know what could possibly happen next. All I could do is walk away from it. When I came back and set my fingers on the keys, the answers were there. Some questions couldn’t be answered. Eve had no idea what happened.

Each day’s writing was a miracle to me.  Writing is a miracle for me. Before that November day in 2013, when I started this, I had never been able to set down a decent short story. After 3 months, I had a decent start in rough draft form.  Those were tough years, and I learned a lot.

Through it all, Eve has become my friend. Ancient Matriarchs: Eve First Matriarchs is her story. Each new tale I write comes easier, though none are ready without lots of extra work, they are coming easier.

Ancient Matriarchs, Into the Storms, Ganet Wife of Seth will be ready to join Eve, First Matriarch on your kindle or bookshelf soon.

Eve - First Matriarch

I just love that cover don’t you? Here are the buyinglinks https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MU4KRWT/

To find out more about about an amazing lady with such an original idea you can visit her website  http://AngeliqueCongerAuthor.com where you can sign up for a free book.

Does anyone know, is that an apple tree on the banner at the top of Angelique’s web page? just thought how appropriate that would be.

RIVERS AND RAIN

By now you must be wondering if we saw anything else besides temples on the Big Trip. Not a lot, although we had asked for a cultural tour. Our guide took us to a huge open area stretching for miles covered with crumbling temples which a long time ago must have been a vast city, but what excited him the most was this Buddha’s head in a tree. I’m still trying to work out which was there first.

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We were almost at the end of the guided part of our tour, and it culminated in a fabulous river cruise  on the Chao Phraya River back to Bangkok.

I’m not sure if you can see it too well, but they were building another huge Buddha statue on the banks of the river. I was curious to know if maybe wealthy families funded such structures, as they did in Europe for the church as a ticket into heaven, but I suspect not. If anyone knows, please share it.

Now we were our own, time for the fun to begin!

ADVERT BIT

Just an update to let you know I am nearing the end of the first draft of Amie book 4. Not sure of the title yet but I think it will have the word revenge in it – she’s got so feisty and a lot braver.

HISTORY BIT

Now I promised to tell you why Queen Vic was so cross with her eldest son, in fact cross is putting it mildly, she never forgave him. You see the prince had been so regimented that when he finally got permission to go to university, even under strict controls, he met a lady. Well I won’t describe what dastardly details he got up to, I expect he tickled her ankle or something obscene like that, but when mummy heard about it she sent Albert to have a little word, or a big word if you like.

BERTIE YOUTH

Sadly, it was no one’s particular fault, but it rained that day and Prince Albert got very wet. (He refused to talk indoors as he thought he saw a reporter from The Mirror behind one of the oak trees).

ALBERT 2

Albert not looking well.

And you can guess the result can’t you – he went back to Windsor and very inconsiderably died, thus leaving Victoria inconsolable – and it was all Bertie’s fault.

Till next week. – to be continued.

LET’S MEET AARON MARSHALL

This is the first time I’ve featured an author who writes for children, possibly the hardest readers to please – they know what they like and are not afraid to voice their opinions loud and clear!  But it’s the parents and grannies who buy the books, so why not take a look at Aaron’s work after reading what he has to say:-

Hi. I’m Aaron. I love adventures – especially adventures with my dazzling wife and 3 curious kids, exploring California’s coastline.

I’ve spent the better part of the last two decades teaching, bagging graduate degrees in Philosophy and Education. My day jobs still allow me to teach, lead overseas trips, and work at a zoo. No matter what a particular day holds, I want to be a little more heroic when the sun sets.

How about you? Want to be heroic? Grab your supersuit and join me.

aaron blog pic

 (This is my secret identity. Should I add glasses? No one knows I’m heroic. Shhh…)

Let’s be clear about two things:

1.    Storytelling matters.

The Story Keeping series tries to capture the excitement of stories at bedtime. Our heroes (Riles, Sissie, and Little Finn) tuck into their bunks to hear grandpa read, and the story literally comes to life as they help the hero navigate conflict – from inside and outside the pages.

As one reviewer notes, “it’s akin to the choose your own adventure stories of the 1980’s” so there’s a bit of nostalgia wrapped up in the whole project.

Helping them along the way, Grandpa guides and mentors the siblings through twists and turns that will, as he says, “Put goose bumps on your arms and tickle the hair in your ears.”

Want to enjoy this shared “storytelling” experience? Grab the audiobook and parent guide for free at http://bit.ly/2nswJRs.

2.    Happy Endings are worth saving.

In a world full of bullheaded people, misguided fanaticism, and all sorts of crazy – happy endings are an even bigger deal.

Story Keeping is all about saving happy endings. Our heroes jump in and out of stories to secure them – every night they can.

In this series opener, everything changes as Grandpa opens up a magical, glowing book for Riles, Sissie, and Little Finn. Turns out Space Spy Drift Elwick needs saving. Space Pirates are about to destroy earth and he can’t even remember his name. Dive in with our heroes as Riles dives into the glowing pages. Will it be enough? Will they find a way to help Drift, save earth, and secure the happy ending?

aaron's book

 

For more about Aaron, head over to www.armarshall.com

Snag the audiobook for FREE at http://bit.ly/2nswJRs

To grab a kindle or paperback copy of this series opener, head over to http://amzn.to/2nxsMZF.

Story Keeping: The Night I Became A Hero: An action adventure chapter book for children – Kindle edition by A.R. Marshall. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Story Keeping: The Night I Became A Hero: An action adventure chapter book for children.

Jump on our mailer for sneak peeks and deals on the rest of the series (http://bit.ly/2nswJRs) – book 2 is almost launched, and book 3 will launch early summer!

NEW AND INNOVATIVE WAYS TO PROMOTE/ADVERTISE YOUR BOOK

I was a little dismayed by one response I got to my blog on AM I WASTING MY TIME. This author thought I was being negative. Not at all, perhaps the humour was a little obtuse. Take me seriously at your peril! I thought I was just being realistic and we all need to think out of the box these days and find new ways to promote our books. And, please note this is also aimed at those who read books as it will give them an excellent insight into what hoops we authors have to leap through to get to the #1 slot.

Be warned, some of these ideas may mean you connecting with unsavoury characters in the underworld (I’m still trying to find out who they are myself) but I’m sure it can be done.

First, gatecrash any really big national news channel while they’re on air carrying a pile of your books. Slam one copy against the nearest camera, so it gets a huge big close up. You can be sure that all the other cameras will be focused on you as you are dragged out kicking and screaming – remember to use the title of your books frequently in your protests as they evict you.

TV studios

Second, choose a suitable venue, Buckingham Palace is good, or the White House if you’re American. Chain yourself to the front gates after tying several print copies of your book to various parts of your person. Make sure the chain links are thick, if possible some metal that will take a long time to saw through (google metals suitable for your purpose)

Third, storm into a large book fair dressed in the most bizarre costume you can find (for me, writing about Africa this would possibly be bare-breasted with a grass skirt) flinging leaflets in all directions. You might even manage to disrupt an important, serious lecture. Generally make a nuisance of yourself.

Fourth, crawl across a major public square (Times or Trafalgar would be good) wearing only your books. If you don’t get on the local news, I would be amazed. When arrested hold a book signing at the police station – especially good for those who write crime thrillers.

Fifth, frame your book covers and hang them beside an important piece of art in a national gallery –  The Night Watch, The Mona Lisa, Guernica would be good ones to choose.

painting

Six, print out several hundred copies of large posters showing your book as #1 best seller on the NYT list and stick these over the frames so thoughtfully provided in underground and metro stations. It should take a while before anyone notices it’s the wrong book, but in the meantime … think of all those sales.

metro posters

Seven, identify where they are shooting exterior location scenes for a blockbuster film and walk into as many shots as possible reading your book. Before you’re thrown out fling copies at the major stars. Who knows they may pick one up and read it and give you an endorsement.

film set

Eight, (only if you have a head for heights) climb up some important building and refuse to come down until your sales graph on KDP has streaked into the stratosphere.

I hope these helpful hints will take you to #1 and allow you to share your masterpiece with the whole world. However, if all else fails, in desperation, you could blog about your books and hope to make a sale or two.

http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Do you have any other creative ideas you could share with us? if so, please leave a comment and maybe re-blog to get the word out there.

Next time we travel back to the Far East – have a good week.