WARNING 1 – THE BIG TRIP XV

WARNING:  for those of a nervous disposition, do not read this post, as it has a gruesome picture in it for lovers of little furry friends.

We bade a fond farewell to our guides with pleas from them to recommend holidays in Cambodia – and I do recommend it. The people were so friendly, the hotel was gorgeous and the ruins amazing.

It was time to move on, away from the wide majestic waterways and the inhabitants who eek out a living there, and take an afternoon flight across yet another border to Laos. Still a communist country and not as prosperous as Vietnam from what I could see. Luang Prabang is a lot further north and very much colder – though I must admit it was January.

I wrote in my diary it was a bit creepy, the bed was lumpy and the wedding party drums kept us awake for hours – yes, this is me who always reckons she could sleep through the 1812 played at the foot of the bed. But we were both so cold even cuddling didn’t keep the chills away. It was a nice hotel though but a little out of town.

Our first visit was to a market.

The little things with tails? Please don’t ask.

I was blown away by this little girl playing with a cell phone wearing Disneyland leggings. On one hand it shrinks the world, on the other emphasises the enormous gap.

Then it was off to another temple. I’ve been puzzled in the past about Buddhism, and was determined to sort out the principles on this trip. Instead of a greater understanding I became more confused. There appear to be dozens of slightly different sects with varying rules. I mention this as we were off to another temple complex called Wat Xieng Thong. Plus a trip around the Royal Palace museum.

Next time, dining on tree stumps.

Can I find anything more interesting to say about George IV? Well I scratched around a little and can share with you the following.

When he was born, an attending courtier announced he was a girl.  He didn’t like living in the small houses (huge mansions to you and I) preferred by his father, as I’ve mentioned they did not get on.

So he went mad building enormous residences for himself once he got to sit on the throne.

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Buckingham Palace from the back for a change.

He was mad about clothes and spending money and he was very selfish and self-centred. When he was old he slipped into a fantasy world assisted by laudanum and cherry brandy. He believed he had personally defeated Napoleon. He had his first serious love affair at 17 and tried to divorce his wife, except Parliament wouldn’t let him. He only married in the first place, a good, acceptable, Protestant princess so the government would pay all his debts. He was blind drunk at his wedding. Wow, don’t you wish he was your neighbour?

OK here comes the advertising bit (well I’m told I should include it). Can I persuade you to go on my mailing list? As soon as I’ve sent Amie 3 off to my editor, I will be writing some back stories only available to a special set of people. Also you can find out when you can get my books free or cheap and there’s the occasional competition to win free books just for signing up J

You can either pm me on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

Or email me on: –  lucindaeclarke@gmail.com

 

 

 

So my boss said to leave the report on his desk…

I just had to pass this on I thuoght it was funny and sad too I guess! My question is, what does the poor writer claim to be doing when he is actually doing his boss’s job – what goes on his schedule?

The Colane Conundrum

boss patting employee on back. When my boss is brutally honest….

When I first got my new job, my boss, Steve, asked me to write a one-page report for the executive manager.

“Be sure to send the report directly to me,” Steve said.

“You don’t want me to send it to the executive manager?” I asked.

“I don’t. I want to check it before he sees it.”

“I’m a fairly good writer,” I said. “I got As in high-school English, and I run spell check on all my correspondence before sending it out.”

“It’s not that I don’t trust you,” Steve said. “It’s that I want to review the report’s content prior to the executive manager reading it.”

“Are you afraid I’m going to say something offensive?” I asked.

“I just have to review it before he sees it. Employees are not permitted to e-mail the executive manager directly. Only managers can e-mail the executive…

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UK Vanity Publishers Austin Macauley & Pegasus in Horrible Bait-And-Switch

interesting

David Gaughran

austinmacauleyA number of UK-based vanity presses are engaging in unsavory tactics: passing themselves off as trade publishers and only hitting writers with the bill when it comes to contracts.

I moved back home recently and started being assailed by all sorts of seamy ads aimed at writers in the UK/Irish market. One of the most widely advertised is a vanity press called Austin Macauley (I’m not linking to them and boosting their SEO, here’s a link to a Google search instead).

The basic MO is to pass themselves off as a regular publisher – right down to having commissioning editors, submission guidelines, the works – when they are really what the industry refers to as a subsidy press.

A subsidy press is generally defined as a publisher which requires its authors to make a “contribution” towards the publishing costs of the book. In practice, subsidy presses are simply vanity presses…

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ONLY ONE NARCISSISTIC POST – PROMISE

Once upon a time I was a millionairess, yes I was really. Of course there is always the downside – there always is – we were in Benghazi, Libya at the time and frankly there wasn’t much to spend it on. Once we had a ‘his’ and hers’ yacht and 3 cars in the driveway, (yes, I know quite gross) and no time off for travelling, it languished in the bank – and there it stayed as we were PI’d and ignominiously escorted out of the country. The money never went with us, long story, sad ending.

It was time to start over. Back on our feet once more history repeated itself, and many adventures later, there I was in 1994 penniless, in debt and working 24/7 to begin building all over again. Since then in our retirement we live a very modest life on a very, very modest income.

Now, the reason I mention the above is because I wanted to share that we are off to Miami in November (DH will carry the bags).

OK, I can hear the hysterical laughter from here. The Big Trip at the beginning of the year, then the magic trip to Amsterdam for my birthday only a couple of weeks ago and now a trip from Spain to the United States. Who are they kidding?

My knees were knocking when I timidly announced to DH that I was desperate to fly across the Atlantic – this was two hours before we boarded the flight to Holland.

“I’d never have booked this holiday if I’d known!” he was horrified.

“I never thought I’d have any reason to,” I protested in reply.

It’s been a busy ten days, searching pockets, raiding the piggy bank, emptying the glass jar of the spare cents and digging between the sofa cushions.

We’ll get there. Most likely be the only chance I’ll ever have to go and collect a silver medal for Walking over Eggshells in the Readers Favorite Awards. I am knocked sideways and just so thrilled.

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I entered a couple of competitions when I was feeling down one day and decided that I’d had enough of writing. I wasn’t selling millions and millions of books, and made a decision that if the judges thought my books were as bad as I believed they were, I would retire gracefully, go polish DH’s slippers and take up macramé. I might even clean the house and use the GPS to locate the washing machine.  I would have a very happy husband.

I went berserk and entered for four different awards then forgot all about them.

Now I’ve backed myself into a corner. Amie got an honorary mention in the Readers Favorite with a pretty green sticker, a gold for Adventure in the Pinnacle Awards and a bronze in the eGlobal Book awards.

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So now I’m sitting with rolls of foil stickers, certificates I’ve no space for on the walls – so they will go under the bed – and an empty bank account, but we all have to suffer for our art right? So, I’ve climbed back onto the perpetual marketing roundabout, FB’ing, tweeting, promoting and blogging as I scribble on into my twilight years.

I want to give a huge thank you for the helpful feedback I’ve had on the cover for Amie 3. Stringing a couple of words together is one thing, finding that right cover is quite another. We’re working on it, but the following got the thumbs down

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and now I’m puzzling on how to show it’s an adventure book without plastering the brat all over the cover, she gets quite enough attention as it is. I know I’m in a bad way when I go to lay a place at the table for her.

Back to the Far East next week and an extra few days won’t make any difference to George IV.

Funnies on Facebook this week –

Anyone for a laugh?

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

My thanks to all those who have shared funnies this week on Facebook and I hope you enjoy.

angela-fish-and-pun-based-humour

Angela Fish and Pun Based Humour

catherine-jenkins-clean-food-crushCatherine Jenkins and Fresh Food Crush

ciara-ballintyne-with-i-declare-shenanigansCiara Ballintyne with I declare Shenanigans

jan-moore-with-purple-cloverJan Moore with Purple Clover

john-beck-with-just-plain-funnyJohn Beck with Just Plain Funny

mel-johnson-with-kirk-dickinsonMel Johnson and Kirk Dickenson

tania-meacher-with-awakening-peopleTania Meacher and Awakening People.com

If you have enjoyed please feel free to hit a few share buttons on your way out the door.. thanks Sally

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BACK EAST AND GEORGE IV

I’ve digressed a couple of times from The Big Trip as other things popped up in my humdrum life, but I hate to leave loose ends – so onwards with our Far East tour.

By now my takkies/gym shoes/pumps/trainers were falling apart and the hotel in Siem Reap sold me a very nice pair of fake Nikes. As the pretty receptionist told me, “you can’t tell the difference” – and I certainly couldn’t – apart from the price.

We dined in the hotel that night, sitting in solitary splendour with a waiter and a half each. Where all the other guests were, we had no idea. We even went out for a walk but we couldn’t find them. Later we learned they’d gone to a show. We booked for the following night.

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More temples the next day, honestly I was beginning to get templed-out. I ducked out of the second one and went browsing around a local market instead.

 

The third temple was fascinating, not because it had been used in the Tomb Raider film, but for the tree growing out of the ruins.

The next day we were driving through the countryside to a local town where we saw this bride and groom. As I was slithering into the photographer’s covered tent he turned and looked. I was preparing to make a million apologies, grovelling an inch off the ground, when he ushered the happy couple outside so could get a proper photo – at least I think that’s what he said.

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Another boat took us on Tonle Sap Lake which was truly enormous, I thought I was on the Mekong, but although this lake flows eventually into the delta, for six months of the year the river flows in the opposite direction, out of the lake and then into it again.

As the level goes up and down, some of the lake people relocate to the land. We were there in January and it was just mind blowing to see floating petrol stations, a church, basketball court, the usual houses and, believe it or not a crocodile farm.

 

I don’t think George IV was all that interesting really. He spent a lot of money – didn’t they all? Had lots of mistresses – didn’t they all? Fathered a lot of illegitimate children – didn’t they all? He also founded a couple of important institutions and things which probably aren’t very important.

He was on the throne for ten years and if you think you’ve got money problems, look at his – he owed £630,000 which in today’s terms comes to £58,700.000. His by-now-not-so-by-now friendly bank manager had confiscated all his Visa and Mastercards, but that didn’t stop him. I think he should have been admitted to retail rehab, but if you’re king, you only have to ask the parliament to bail you out I guess.

georgeiv1780

Oh, I ought to do a bit of promoting stuff I suppose. You must on pain of death Can I persuade you to go on my mailing list? As soon as I’ve sent Amie 3 off to my editor, I will be writing some back stories only available to a special set of people. Also you can find out when you can get my books free or cheap and there’s the occasional competition to win free books just for signing up J

Either pm me on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

Or email me on Lucinda@lucindaeclarke.com

 

Till next time.

Elephant Dentistry and Amsterdam

If you read this blog regularly you may remember that every time we take a holiday something goes wrong. And this time was no different except it all happened before we even left home. When I go away I make a big production out of it, it’s all part of the fun. The house has to be squeaky clean, the washing up to date and I’m packed hours and hours before we leave – from my pre-made list of course.

This time was no exception, and to keep the kitchen nice and clean we set out for our favourite pasta place in the village.  IT HAD GONE!! We stared dumbfounded at the empty store till a kind man told us it had moved to the next small town. Off we went but failed to find it, so back to our village, parked the car and went to eat somewhere else. An early night we agreed as we had to be up before dawn for the drive to the airport. Back to collect the car only to find it was locked in the underground parking garage – huge steel shutters between us and our transport. Another kind passerby suggested the police station might have a key. So back up 3 flights of steps and into the cop shop. They were sympathetic, but no they didn’t have a key, could we come back at 8am when the garage opened? No, we couldn’t we had a plane to catch. We pretended we were tourists and luckily I had my passport already packed in my bag. Mind, they could tell we weren’t local, not with my level of Spanish. Wait outside, they told us. So we sat on the steps and waited and waited until finally we were told to hurry back to the garage. There a friendly cop was playing with the metal doors as they shot up and down. Having taken our details in the office DH was escorted to the car and he was able to drive out.

We landed in Amsterdam and being me I had to see everything. First it was the Royal Palace

Then a daylight cruise on the canals so we could see where we were going. Then a visit to the Sex Museum.

A stroll through the Red Light District.

The next day we made for the Rijksmuseum to see the Night Watch.

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Whoops wrong pic

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Then to the diamond museum where we bought nothing at all of course – and on to the Van Gough Museum with a special exhibition about his madness – oh so many of us writers have exactly the same frustrations don’t we? I felt a real affinity with him.

And here I am on my birthday in the middle of a fountain.

The Heineken Brewery was next, even though I don’t like beer.

A church with an impressive organ and after dinner a night cruise on the canals. Then a walk through the Red Light District, visiting the Museum of Prostitution, and I have to hand it to Amsterdam, it’s regulated, open, honest and treated just like any other business. No pics here of course, but the girls looked absolutely beautiful. Millions of story lines flew round my head – why were they here and not starring in Hollywood?

Next day we visited the Jewish Historical museum and the Museum of Resistance which was amazing – but a little uncomfortable as it all happened not too long before I was born. Then the Red Light District. However, I must explain that our hotel was on the fringes, and as we are a little old for the nightclubs, the coffee bars in the area are humming late into the night.

Finally on our last morning we had a meet up with a FB friend Val Poore and that was magic. We have so much in common and we’ll be getting together again very soon. DH didn’t nod off either as we chattered about books and books and books and previous lives.

And the elephant dentistry? We found the perfect picture for the cover of Amie 3. She meets a lone bull who is frantically looking for a female to love, so he’s unpredictable and dangerous. Only problem with the pic is this ellie only had half a tusk. So we sent him off back to South Africa where my clever photographic friend worked Photoshop magic and gave him a smart new pair. I decided to stop at that.

Finally, thank you to all the people who sent kind birthday wishes, I’ve tried to thank everyone personally, but if I missed some, please forgive me.