…Authors–caveat emptor re book-selling websites–the final report makes for sorry reading…

Food for thought. Any comments?

Seumas Gallacher

…I promised yeez a round up summary of my recent dabble with book-selling websites… and the final report makes for sorry reading… let me back up and explain for emb’dy coming in fresh to this… as a self-published author, I’m always keen to find and develop non-spamming channels to help sell my wee literary  masterpieces… Aunty Internet is full of enterprising offers, at a cost, of course, with various claims of daily email shots to anywhere up to 120,000+ readers, clustered in genres, in order ‘to target and maximise your sales to these avid followers’... well, in good ol’ Scottish vernacular… BORROX!!… here’s the score:

Website ONE:

Paid US$ 15—Result 2 sales

Website TWO

Paid US$ 16—Result 2 sales

Website THREE

Paid US$ 50—Result 1 sale

…impressive, NOT… in truth, I hadn’t expected massive downloads from this, but the sheer sparseness of the returns is mind-boggling… and…

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To be quite honest the Marble Mountains looked like any other mountains to me, but then we didn’t see where they were slicing bits off.  It’s a group of five mountains whose names represent the five elements. It’s a popular place for spiritual retreat and pilgrimage with several Buddhist pagodas, remnants of the Cham civilization and several natural caves inside the mountains formed by erosion, water and the passage of time.IMG_3406

Our cheerful, friendly guide took us to the bottom of the path and pointed skyward. I gasped, even if I’d not been fighting off the dreaded lurgy  a climb like that was just not in my repertoire. I watched in horror at some bouncy young things leaping up the mountain.

Then with a smile, he pointed to the lift shaft. Was I relieved! There were a few awkward moments as our guide explained that the cost of ascending in the lift was not included in the itinerary, in fact the only thing that wasn’t in the whole trip.


I was prepared to scream, attack DH and do whatever it took to get into that lift. No way was I going to walk. So we coughed up and as it seemed a little mean to let the guide walk all the way up, we paid for him too.

This is the whitest Buddha I have ever seen and I’ll post both pics so you can see that it wasn’t just in the closer shot that it sparkled Omo dazzling white in the weak sunlight.



There was a pagoda up there of course



and you could go into the mountain itself where they had several small shrines and statues.  DH went into the cleft a lot further than I did.


I don’t know if it’s anything to do with being a writer, but I have a huge sense of atmosphere and to me that day I was not getting good vibes at all. It would have not been my choice for a spiritual retreat.

marble mountain cave

marble mountain cave 2


Then it was a trip round the workshops to watch the craftsmen and admire their skill before being whisked off to our next destination Hoi An.


It was here that the bugs finally took over and got the better of me.

While George was busy reigning, or not, the new titled Duke and Duchess of Marlborough were busy building themselves a little cottage in the country.


No expense was spared, especially on the bedroom they made ready for the birth of Winston Churchill.

And there was no difference in the politicians they had in those days either. The Whig party got into power and immediately voted they could stay in power for seven years at a time. With George on their side – no point in taking a chance with the Tories who just might have tried to bring back James III from Paris – they remained the majority party in parliament for another half century. Not bad going for a political party.

Something else that wasn’t new either, King George and his son Prince George did not get on at all well, and I am reliably informed this had nothing to do with him confiscating the prince’s lap top when he refused to finish his homework.



Before I start writing my usual drivel today I’d like to say a big thank you to all the new followers to my blog.  You probably have a lot better things to do than read the nonsense I churn out every Monday morning, so it’s really kind of you to press the follow button. I would prefer to drop each one of you a line to say hi and stuff, but I’ve not worked out how to do that yet – another skill I may discover one day.

I left off last week at the Dong Ba Market in Hue and I’ve just noticed that it’s described as a romantic symbol of Hue, the attraction being the preservation of ancient distinctiveness, where tourists can see all the typical features of a traditional Vietnamese market. If you remember I described how indescribably dirty, hot, sweaty, claustrophobic and gross it was and yes, this is coming from someone who has to be retrained in a straight jacket if we get nearer than 50 kms to any market. Either the description is over the top hype, or the writer had not been anywhere near the place. We have better ones in Spain, without all the dead things cut open to expose their digestive systems to the world, or wriggling in abortive attempts to escape their imprisonment in plastic washing up bowls. These I could take, it was having to wriggle along the alleyways between the stalls barely wide enough to wheel a supermarket trolley.





The rest of Vietnam, including the markets was such a delightful contrast.

Next announcement on the itinerary the following morning was a relaxing breakfast before heading towards Hoi An. Relaxing? Well only if you rose at sunrise. As usual we had to set the alarm clock to get us up in time to do all the usual stuff before sleep walking into the car at 8 am.  All the guides we had were wonderful, but not one of them would budge at my suggestion they collect us at 9 am or even 8.30 am.

We were supposed to go through the High Van Pass in the mountain but this was abandoned due to bad weather so the next attraction was the Nuoc Beach in Danang which we flew past at a rate of knots. Still that wasn’t serious as neither DH nor I are holiday beach bunnies and we have a nice beach just down the road.



No, our guide took us to a museum instead. Now I like museums, I really do, but not this one. The Cham Museum holds large chunks of stone, part pillars and partially demolished statues. There were no labels on anything, well none we could understand and I was also a little worried the building itself would collapse, it was in a terrible state of repair . After wandering around for a bit we said we’d finished. The guide was a little sad about that, but to keep to the time table he allowed us a cup of coffee.

This is something I missed on our trip, our morning coffee routine, it just wasn’t written into the script. In Vietnam it comes in a small cup with condensed milk added – it plays havoc with your waistline but does it taste good!


I was fascinated by the dragon bridge just across the road from the museum – it’s an amazing structure and I’ve since learned that at the weekend the dragon breathes fire, followed by gallons of water pouring out of its mouth. Now that I would have enjoyed.

Next week, the Marble Mountains.

A lot of things happened during George’s reign. For example there was an early sort of stock exchange scandal called the South Sea Bubble. Many of the better off people, like Walpole, invested in the South Sea Bubble pyramid selling scheme, which was quite legal in those days.  Sadly the structure collapsed and everyone was left holding the free mop and bucket supplied with every 200 shares sold.


I can’t say I like George I very much, he wasn’t all that keen on being King of England – how ungrateful can you get! For example, although he was supposed to live in Great Britain after 1714 he visited his home in Hanover in 1716, 1719, 1720, 1723 and 1725. Altogether he spent about one fifth of his reign as the British King in Germany. That’s not a very patriotic thing to do is it? I mean offer you a throne and you keep running home again. A clause in the Act of Settlement that forbade the British monarch from leaving the country without Parliament’s permission was unanimously repealed in 1716, but that didn’t seem to stop him. While he was away his power – such as it was – was held in a Regency Council instead of his son, George Augustus, Prince of Wales.

Just a gentle reminder that ReadFreely are asking for nominations for the 50 books of 2016 worth reading. I would love you to bits if you nominated Amie and The Child of Africa.  If the book is chosen, then they give you a little sticker and tell lots of people about it. It also makes your tweets about the book look much prettier. This is the link


That will take you to the site and nominations must be in by 3rd June. I would be soooo greatful and please feel free to re-blog this J

Also the Bloggers Bash of the year are asking for votes on the best blogs. I’m not there of course, but you might want to pop in a vote for your favourite bloggers, you know the really funny and clever ones. Here is the link https://sachablack.co.uk/2016/05/19/vote-now-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-now-open/

Have a great week.


It’s Sunday, yes and my blog goes out on a Monday right? Well in a major step forward, I am going to try and time this to go out tomorrow by using the timing thingie. Will it work? Watch this space. I am determined that I will get some writing done tomorrow morning while DH is out playing boules/petanque and I must also go and get a haircut. When DH starts calling me lassie and offering me dog biscuits, I know the time has come.


Last week we were still in Hue (pronounced Way) and we were about to go for lunch. Well I guess it was a tourist venue although when we arrived we were the only guests there. It was in a really beautiful setting with different little glassed-in areas set around brick paved walkways circling goldfish ponds. I thought it looked like a Japanese garden, but I didn’t say so in case it caused offense.


I hope I didn’t upset the staff as I couldn’t resist feeing some of the goldfish or were they carp – at one point on our trip we were told the difference. I do remember you can eat carp but not the goldfish.  Anyhow a kind waitress rushed out with a packet of fish food. For a brief second I thought it was for me until I noticed the look of horror on her face.



Now it was time for our visit to a tomb and it wasn’t just any old tomb. It was the Royal tomb of King Ming Mang the final resting place of one of the Nguyen Dynasty’s staunchest Confucians, whose reign was at the height of their power over the county. He’d reigned for 34 years, but although the setting was in a pretty parkland the stones were black and covered with mould and it was all quite depressing.


As we stared at the large stone in a courtyard, our guide explained that beneath our feet lay a complete palace he insisted it was fully furnished, and it had been totally covered over with flagstones.





Sadly it was raining and quite cold and the lurgy was getting worse not helped when we were whisked off to a market, which most have been the most unpleasant one I have ever visited. The size of several large barns, it was necessary to wriggle along the walkways between vendors who assaulted us from both sides. It was both dirty and smelly and I couldn’t wait to leave. Unwisely DH mentioned I needed a new pair of takkies / plimsolls / trainers / running shoes (I don’t do much running, I stick to walking) as mine had fallen apart. That was it, the guide was now off on a mission, so we must have combed the market from one end to the other. As the filth and odours got even worse, I was quite determined I would never buy from there, I’d never get the smell out of them.

By the time we got back to the charmingly named Cherish Hotel we were absolutely exhausted.

You may remember that George I came from a tiny little principality in what was to become Germany and couldn’t speak English but this suited the guys at the top – previous monarchs had interfered. If they didn’t want the King to understand when they were being rude about him, they spoke in broad regional accents and he didn’t stand a chance.

NPG D11633,King George I when Elector of Hanover,by and published by; after John Smith; Johann Leonhard Hirschmann
by and published by; after John Smith; Johann Leonhard Hirschmann,print,1706

But a few of the faithful still supported Bonnie Prince Charlie. He kept trying to come and be king on the silly excuse that his daddy had been the Prince of Wales and his grandfather King of England. Why he thought such a flimsy excuse should entitle him to be king, very few could understand.

Handout from Scottish National Portrait Gallery of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, here identified as Henry Stuart, Cardinal York by Maurice Quentin de La Tour (1704 – 78), 1747. Pastel on paper, 61 x 51cm.

He was eventually defeated at Flodden but managed to escape to France with the help of Flora (of margarine fame) MacNightingale, Annie Laurie and Lorna Doone.

I really hate to ask this, but I see a few other authors have done it already and I shall never become rich and famous if I am shy. ReadFreely are asking for nominations for the 50 books of 2016 worth reading. I would love it if you nominated Amie and The Child of Africa.  If you do well, then they give you a little sticker and tell lots of people about it. It also makes your tweets about the book look much prettier. This is the link


That will take you to the site and nominations must be in by 3rd June. I would be soooo greatful and and please feel free to re-blog this J

Oh, a final note. This is now Monday morning and I got so caught up watching the Queen’s birthday celebrations on TV last night, I didn’t complete writing this yesterday after all.







An extra post this week as I wanted to share with you that Walking over Eggshells, my first book and biography, has been chosen as the Book of the Week by BookWorks. Here is the link to their nice colourful page.

https://www.bookworks.com/book/    If you do the control, click thing it will come up or it may work by just clicking on it.

As always technology has defeated me, as I wanted to cut and paste part of their page to put here, but of course it didn’t work did it.

However the nice sticker thing does, so you can look at that.

WoE cover eReade2r_DPI300_bestQbow-badge

And while I’m at it, I’ll do the whole boasting thing and put in the 5 star badge from Reader’s Favorite as well.


I am very thrilled they have chosen my book, but it is a teeny, weeny bit embarrassing, since we are in the process of re-vamping the whole manuscript. Not that the story will change of course, but it’s going to have a nice new cover, and DH has decided he is going to reformat the pages and change the white pages to cream.

I did the original cover needless to say and at the time I was quite pleased with it as I thought it showed a little girl trying to run away from home. After several people asked me why I’d put a coat hanging on the back of a door, I began to have serious doubts about it. I’ve been searching for something new for a long time and here it is.

Lucinda-72dpi-1500x2000.jpg NEW WOE

It’s amazing how much we’ve both learned this last (almost) three years about publishing and presentation and so hopefully in a about a week it will be on the internet with a brand new coat and if you buy paperbacks, in a nicer font and paper colour. Right at this minute DH is struggling to change the page numbers from the top to the bottom, (please don’t ask me why, he’s got a bee on his bonnet about it) so I’m typing very quietly. I do not like to disturb him when he’s being creative. I understand it’s far more important to be quiet and peaceful while formatting a mss than is necessary when it’s only the writing part.

Guess I better put in the link to the book?  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8HSNDW

Will be back with an update soon and have a great week.




Well the techie guy came and then they put in our new wireless internet and then the techie guy had to come again as the lap top was still crashing and then after a day and a half the new internet went down altogether. If we’d not told them to keep the old one up and running till all was well, I’d be cut off from the rest of the world. So now the internet people are expected again at any moment.

With all the hassle it’s nice to remember those few weeks when we were away and it’s only now I realize where we went. It was all such a rush at the time, on a plane every 3 days, different hotels – I could get used to that life.


I mentioned the boat ride on the Perfumed River, apparently it gets its name from the flowers in the orchards upriver from Hue falling into the water, hence the nice smell. Sadly we only got the diesel instead. To make the journey even more uncomfortable, the little, wizened old lady who was steering this huge dragon boat got out a range of little hand made things for us to buy. We had agreed that we were not going to collect a lot of memorabilia on our travels for several reasons. Firstly we had to watch the weight of our luggage, especially for the low cost internal air flights, and secondly because our little rabbit hutch here in Spain is so small we don’t have space for any more stuff.

A few more pics of the Purple Forbidden City.



The atmosphere was quite weird there. DH thinks me a little strange, no, rather he is convinced I’m totally mad, but feelings swirling around me make a huge difference to liking or loathing a place. I guess this was quite neutral but also a little creepy. Part furnished in places – mostly shrines I think – and it didn’t help that it was overcast and a bit drizzly.

I have a strange fascination for Buddist monks, and there was a small community of them living in the grounds. They wore dark red robes, but I couldn’t find out the reason from our guide. He simply said they were different, but in what way, he didn’t say.


I see on the itinerary for that day we visited the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City but I’m ashamed to admit I’m not sure now which was which. The guide took us to things in a different order, and we were so busy taking pictures and gawping like regular tourists we didn’t have any spare hands to take notes. I did keep a diary, which I have only just remembered now and that is a help.

The Imperial City is a World Heritage site and bits of it have been reconstructed from 1802-1945.

All this we packed into one morning, now it was time for lunch at the goldfish place – pics next week – and then, still fighting off the lurgy despite the number of drugs I was pumping into my system, we were whisked off to visit a tomb, just the thing for a fun afternoon activity.

When George arrived in England he was already 58, and remember that was not a bad age for those days. He brought with him 18 cooks and 2 mistresses, one very fat and the other very thin. I have no idea of the size of the cooks though. The thin mistress was called the maypole and the fat one the Elephant and Castle (a district in London).

fat mistress George Ithin mistress George I










Frankly they both look pretty fat to me!

Now if you are wondering why a few British politicians asked the Elector of Hanover to come and be king it was because he was related in some way, possibly the great-grandson of James I, but I’m sure that’s not important. However the most awful thing about him was his terrible treatment of his wife. When he suspected her of being unfaithful, he divorced her and then had her locked up in a castle for the rest of her life. He was so mean, he wouldn’t even let her have her lap top and a television.

PRINCESS SOPHIA by Gerard van Honthorst (1590-1656) at Ashdown House
PRINCESS SOPHIA by Gerard van Honthorst (1590-1656) at Ashdown House

So poor Sophia Dorothea pined away in a part of Germany while her bullying husband cavorted in England with his two paramours. He clung on to his throne for 14 years and a lot happened in that time. The English were still unsure and many refused to take German lessons. It seems they all spoke French anyway which seems rather strange for the British.


An extra blog this week to let you know that this coming Sunday 8th May I will be in the hot seat in the We Love Memoirs Spotlight. This is the chance for anyone who might like to ask me questions about anything at all – well almost anything! And I’ll do my best to answer.


If you are not a member of the FaceBook group WLM then you can join here, it only takes a couple of clicks. They are a really friendly group.


Rats, that didn’t work I was hoping that you could click on the pic and you’d be taken there. Well try this link instead. Discovering how to insert hyperlink thingies is still on my ‘to discover how’ list, along with tank manufacturing, do-it-yourself plastic surgery and the production of perfect E 100 notes.

So try this link:-  https://www.facebook.com/groups/welovememoirs/

The general rule on the site is ‘no promotion’ but this is the exception. On Spotlight Sundays, authors can chat about their books and impress the audience with their brilliance. Well in my case that’s not going to happen of course but I’ll do my best.

FB Banner 3 May

Those are my books, in case you were wondering.

I’m logging in at 10am CET  (GMT + 2 as we are all on summer time) and although he doesn’t know it yet, DH will be volunteering to feed me, pour gallons of coffee and preparing the matchsticks to prop my eyelids open.

Look forward to chatting with lots of old friends and meeting new people.




I’ll type this very quietly, as I don’t want the pc to notice, but the doctor is coming at 2pm. I’m just about had enough of the pages freezing up when I’m trying to read other blogs, and re-tweet in the groups, and losing information. I’ve heard he’s horribly expensive (and probably only graduated from pre-school last year – he sounds awfully young on the phone) and it will make a huge hole in last month’s royalties, but at least I’m not dumping her in some alien shop for days. She will be getting the personal, royal treatment I hope. You will all sympathize that we just cannot live without a reliable computer.

So, here’s hoping I can get my blog out this morning as usual without any mishaps.


I left off as we tucked ourselves up on the boat floating about in the World Heritage site of Halong Bay in Vietnam. The itinerary said Tai Chi on deck at sunrise. Seemed like a good idea, but I had great difficulty in rising from the bed at all. Little did I know it, but I had, somewhere contracted some lurgy or other.


We floated gently back to shore and soon we were on our way by car for the 4 hour journey to Hanoi airport to fly to Hue city (pronounced Way).

One amazing feature I noticed were many tall, thin houses. I didn’t get a picture of them, the car was going far too fast,  but if you can imagine a house only one room wide and 3 stories high. There appeared to be plenty of land around each structure, so why they were not more spread out I couldn’t fathom. None of our guides could explain this strange architecture. In fact they thought we were rather stupid asking. “Houses are houses and we have lots that shape” they replied.

Yet another airport experience and frankly the memory of one melds into the memory of another. I have to admit we got to playing games after the first few flights.

Sometimes they required us to practically strip naked, other times they waved us through without the bat of an eyelid. On one occasion DH smuggled a bottle of mineral water through, on another he had an empty one confiscated. This was very annoying as we could see a water fountain on the other side of the barrier and we’d planned to refill it as soon as we got through – to save on buying yet another bottle at some exorbitant price.  Security people also purloined my cigarette lighter, failing to notice the spare one in my handbag. They took my nail clippers, though I’d hardly thought they constituted a dangerous weapon. They pounced on the tablets and phones, but ignored the miles of cables that charged them. Watching the little screen I could have sworn they looked like a wired bomb. Yet another airport person got up and walked away from the scanning screen allowing parcels and baggage to pass through unseen. We never knew what to expect.


And so we landed in Hue, which must have been a very important place at one time, as there was lots to see.

By now the lurgy had stepped up a notch, but knowing that it was easy to get antibiotics, I asked the guide to help me purchase some. Well dosed up, we set off for a dragon boat ride along the Perfume River.


The weather was overcast, rain threatened, so the sliding glass doors on the boat were all pulled across as we cruised along. By this time I was shivering. Now I’m not sure if all dragon boats have the same problem, but the diesel fumes were excruciating. They swirled round us and we were both coughing and spluttering wondering why our guide sat calmly and unaffected.


While we were expected delightful scents, as the name of the river suggested, we were enveloped in noxious engine exhaust fumes. The boat handler also appeared not to notice the polluted air and so it was a relief to reach shore and go look at our first temple – the 7 storey Thien Mu Pagoda.


It was very impressive, but my fingers itched to get out a brush and give it a really good scrub. Age has not been kind to the stonework. There were also a lot of steps to climb, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Next stop was The Imperial Citadel where we would tour the Forbidden City. It stretched for miles and you could honestly walk around there all day. Can you imagine how politically incorrect they were in those days? They didn’t let the plebs and peasants anywhere near these posh buildings, the lower people knew their place!




Well they were beginning to get a bit uppity in what became known as the Georgian times. For example the Churchill’s that social climbing pair were still around when Queen Anne exited this world, but they had done so well for themselves that they built a little cottage in the country for their retirement – maybe they wanted to invite a couple of friends round for tea.

blenheim 2

And while they were at it, they prepared a bedroom for Winston Churchill to be born in, they liked to plan ahead.

Now as I mentioned previously, there were about 50 people in line to the throne ahead of the next King but they were Catholic, so they didn’t count.  Since Anne left no heirs her second cousin was hijacked from Germany and MADE to sit on the throne, even though he could not understand a word of English.

The people were horrified he was unable to communicate in his new kingdom’s language, even when they did what all English speakers do, speak s-l-o-w-l-y and very l-o-u-d-l-y to make sure the new king understood. But they were wasting their time – he could not and would not speak English.

George I

And, to make matters worse he wasn’t a pin up either, despite what this painter produced. Was he going to be one big mistake? The English had their doubts.