A NOT ABOUT ME BLOG (THOUGH I MAY GET A MENTION)

Now I admit I am only half way through it, but when I heard that CeeCee James had brought out a new book I was thrilled and clicked to buy. This time it’s a murder mystery set in a small American town when the local car dealer salesman is found crushed to death under a train. I am dying (ha ha) to know what happens but sheer self discipline sees me writing this blog instead.

I first came across CeeCee’s books reading her memoirs, as she also had a tough childhood. Now she has continued her writing career with I think her first novel. Good luck CeeCee holding thumbs.

Here is the link.    https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Taste-Murder-Angel-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01INPHQJQ/

CeeCee's murder book

Some of you may have received an email from me about a competition run by author Paula Wynn. It’s a chance to win almost 30 free books – quite enough to keep you occupied throughout the summer – and some will be in paperback format. It’s a mixed bag with fiction, non fiction and a children’s book.  It’s simple to enter and I think (you know how untechie I am) this is the link you click on. It closes this weekend so you only have a couple more days to enter.

The link is here :  http://bit.ly/29aEN1v    (you’ll have to do the cut and paste thing as it doesn’t seem to work on its own)

Take a peek at the books.

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There is other author who has left me in the dust and gasping in admiration. Her name is Michelle Monet and she is writing her first memoir and asked for a couple of tips, (she has some silly idea I know what I’m talking about). I had no idea she was so famous and so brilliantly talented. She was a Barbra Streisand tribute singer for years until it all got too much for her. Then she became a very successful artist and PBS even made a programme on her. She’s still working on her memoir, but in the meantime she has brought out an illustrated book of poetry. It’s in paperback for now, and here is the link.

https://www.amazon.com/Catch-Poem-Tale-Compilation-Ponderance/dp/1535295031/

MICHELLE MONET POETRY BOOK COVER
I’m sure it will be a great success.

Reviews from both should be up on Monday, and now you know what I’ll be reading this week.

OK, I can’t resist it. Here is a banner of all my books. You can have any one of them for FREE  if I may add your email address to my mailing list – either leave in the comments below, or through a pm on my Facebook page (I’ll check my hidden messages and it’s private) and immediately  an e.copy of your choice will be winging its way through the ether. There are six of them to choose from in three different genres.

http://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Have a great weekend 🙂

 

THE BIG TRIP XVIII – MY THO AND HELLO GEORGE III

We set off for My Tho after lunch at another typically not Vietnamese restaurant – it was packed with tourists as you can see …

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We were shovelled onto a boat to travel up the Mekong.

I was a little alarmed at the size of the boat in comparison to the slim, delicate looking lady who was in charge of it and DH weighs in at quite a bit.

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We visited various eco tourism sites, the coconut candy factory, rice paper making and bee keeping enterprise (I suspect they were drugged) in little villages alongside the river. Local ladies in traditional costumes sang for us while we were served local fruits. Yes, it was a bit touristy, but seeing how enterprises like this in Africa are providing employment in the rural areas, I’m all for supporting them.

I did mention that DH weighs a bit? Trouble casting off!

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Next stop was a horse and carriage ride. I wanted to know what the man called his horse and he got very upset. I was led to understand they never name their animals here. Recently I read that using someone’s name was not on – the spirits could find them and cause harm.

Frankly this did not look too appetizing and it was pretty tricky to manage with chopsticks. Later, at another venue I was horrified to learn the elephant ear fish is an endangered species and there was one on every table.

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Hmmm not my finest hour, there’s never a makeup artist around when you need one.

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George II was 76 when he fell off his chamber pot and died. His grandson took over, calling himself George III, to avoid confusion because he had also been christened George but remember his name was really Fred.

GEORGE III

Lots of things happened during this next reign, apart from the King going mad. Worried that the Americans drank too much coffee, the King kindly invited them to tea in Boston Harbour. This resulted in the Americans SELFISHLY deciding to rule themselves and so they went to war against each other.

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I have been reminded that I seldom mention my books on this blog and I should, but I write it mainly for entertainment and to connect with my ethereal friends (that’s my description, isn’t it good?)

But just in case you wish to contribute in any way here are a couple of links.

Web page – http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Amazon author page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/

I am planning to blog again this week as I have other news, but didn’t want to make this too long.

Laughter the best medicine revisted – My favourites.

Another couple of chuckles I’ve not heard before and I thought I knew them all.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

There are certain jokes that you hear and never forget.. you can read or hear them time after time and they still make your laugh… here are a few of mine.. please feel free to add your own in the comments.

A pirate and his hook.

A journalist in the 1950s decided that if he was going to interview one of the last remaining pirates alive he should do so quickly. There had been news about a pirate living in an old people’s home in Cornwall who had just reached the grand old age of 105. The journalist decided that he better get down there while he still had the chance.

He arrived and was ushered into the old salt’s room and was astonished to see the wizened figure had a wooden peg leg, a hook on one arm and a patch over one eye. The journo could not believe…

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THE BIG TRIP XVI – SAIGON AND WE GET RID OF GEORGE II

It’s Monday so it’s blog time and we are off back to Vietnam to continue the trip. If I thought that going around the tunnels was harrowing, the afternoon was even more of a shock. We were taken to the War Remnants Museum.

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and neither of us took pictures here. The displays were quite gruesome and understandably there was a strong anti-American and anti-French flavour to the exhibits. Curious, I asked our guide how he handled taking visitors from the United States here. It’s a big tourist attraction he told us and everyone must come.

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Saigon or Ho Chi Min City was cleaner and more modern that Hanoi, but if possible the traffic was even more chaotic – scooters everywhere.

The post office is a major tourist attraction. It was jammed full with stalls selling all manner of cheap tourist tack, and just a few people in there trying to use the mail service.

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And then we were taken to the Cao Dai cathedral built in 1933 the highlight being the mid day mass. Of course every other tourist in Saigon was there too and when the service began we were herded up into the balcony.

From what I could gather the community encompasses Christian, Buddist, Taoist and Confusians. The major focus was the ‘third eye’ and I have to let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Well I’m going to get rid of George II because he’s beginning to bore me. Apart from fighting with his dad I don’t think he was a very interesting king. Don’t just take my word for it as this next sentence comes straight off the internet and we know we always get the truth on there right?  For two centuries after George II’s death, history tended to view him with disdain, concentrating on his mistresses, short temper and boorishness.

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He spent a lot of time fighting with his son Frederick who was later to become George III – yes I know his name was Frederick, but please, just please don’t ask.  But he was so much more interesting, to begin with he went mad.

I’ll tell you about that next time.

A footnote. I am offering an e.copy of any of my books for free if you’d like to sign up to my mailing list.  lucindaeclarke@gmail.com.

Have a great week.

No author is an island …

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

I finished reading a book on marketing that, while good, worthwhile, and filled with lots of ideas and information (much of which I already use) to get your book out there and selling, it fell short, in my estimation.

Yes, it discussed the importance of building a fan base and giving fans what they want, and it also suggested one way of developing your career as being to call on others more experienced in your field and essentially “use” them and their influence to get ahead (something I didn’t particularly agree with).

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But where the book fell short was in not once mentioning the importance of “promoting the writing and books of other authors” or in working with other authors to create a community in which all can thrive. Authors who read and follow the advice in this book will come out looking like lone wolves grasping after sales alone…

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OFF TOPIC FOR ME

Anyone (and I believe there are one or two who read my rubbish!) may have noticed that I rarely comment on politics or religion or similar controversial topics in my blogs and posts. But for once I thought I would make an exception here as the early chapters of the first Amie covered my take on the way I saw Africa.

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I have had some amazing reviews, including the following:

This world we live in is an often ugly and dangerous place. And those of us privileged to live in a first world country too easily forget that. The story then has redeeming qualities beyond being just a great read; it’s the kind of book you read and then go out and change the world. It’s why people become activists, coming up against this kind of pain and suffering, and this kind of injustice when they find it in the world. Sadly, nightly news numbs us by comparison at a time in history when we all need to be fighting for something and for someone. For this reason, this is the kind of book they need to teach in high school, college, and hand out at community centers.
In any less capable hands, I’m fairly convinced I would have put this book down. It’s dangerous writing, and that’s why few authors attempt it. If your subject matter terrifies people, you still have to hold on to them, make sure they resist the urge to put the book down. The author deserves five stars, thus, not just for writing a memorable tale, but for picking a story to write that few people can write, fewer can read, but that we’d all like to say we did.

And many people (though not all) acknowledged that having lived in Africa for over thirty years, I had a fair idea of how things tick on the Dark Continent – from the point of a white resident.

In the early nineties I was commissioned by The Sowetan editor Aggrey Klaaste who introduced the concept of “nation building” which was basically a self-help initiative to persuade Africans away from ‘the give me’ attitude to the ‘do things for themselves’ point of view. He was an amazing man and impressed me by his views and insight.

One of my main reasons for writing Amie was to share my beliefs that it is not the colour of a person’s skin that characterizes their behaviour but the mindset, culture, aspirations, expectations, lifestyle and beliefs that define them. I added more information in the Truth, Lies and Propaganda series.

I repeated this on The Authors Show interview. But it is only fair to include the view from another perspective and it’s certainly food for thought.

The article below was written from a black point of view. It was published in the English language newspaper The Sowetan and written by Prince Mashele, a South African national who holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Rhodes University, South Africa. Before becoming Executive Director of CPR, he was Head of Crime, Justice and Politics Programme at the Institute for Security Studies. He also worked as a speechwriter in The Presidency, and in the research unit of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa. Prince spends time analysing a range of areas on contemporary African politics and is a prolific writer on a multiplicity of issues.

PRINCE MASHALE
Prince Mashele

By Prince Mashele | May 09, 2016  SOWETAN

In the midst of the political confusion that has gripped our country many people are wondering if we have come to the end of South Africa.

The answer is simple: the thing called an “end” does not exist, not in relation to a country. SA will be there long after Jacob Zuma is gone.

What Zuma has done is to make us come to the realisation that ours is just another African country, not some exceptional country on the southern tip of the African continent.

During the presidency of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, some among us used to believe that the black people of SA are better than those of other African countries.

We must all thank Zuma for revealing our true African character; that the idea of rule of law is not part of who we are, and that constitutionalism is a concept far ahead of us as a people.

How else are we to explain the thousands of people who flock to stadiums to clap hands for a president who has violated their country’s constitution? Such people have no idea of constitutionalism.

Now that we have reclaimed our place as another African country, we must reflect on and come to terms with our real character, and imagine what our future portends.

In a typical African country, ordinary people don’t expect much of politicians, because people get tired of repeated empty promises.

In a typical African country, people have no illusions about the unity of morality and governance. People know that those who have power have it for themselves and their friends and families.

The idea that the state is an instrument for people’s development is a Western concept, and has been copied by pockets of Asian countries.

Africans and their leaders don’t like to copy from the West. They are happy to remain African, and do things “the African way”.

The African way is rule by kings, chiefs and indunas in a setting of unwritten rules. Is there anyone who has seen a book of African customary laws?

The idea that a commoner can raise questions about public money spent on the residence of a king is not African. The ANC MPs who have been defending Zuma are true Africans.

Asking a ruler to be accountable is a foreign – Western – idea. In a situation where there is conflict between a ruler and laws, Africans simply change the laws to protect the ruler. This is why no single white person has called for King Dalindyebo to be released from jail.

The problem with clever blacks is that they think they live in Europe, where ideas of democracy have been refined over centuries.

What we need to do is to come back to reality, and accept that ours is a typical African country. Such a return to reality will give us a fairly good idea of what SA’s future might look like.

This country will not look like Denmark. It might look like Nigeria, where anti-corruption crusaders are an oddity.

Being an African country, ours will not look like Germany. SA might look like Kenya, where tribalism drives politics.

People must not entertain the illusion that a day is coming when SA will look like the US. Our future is more on the side of Zimbabwe, where one ruler is more powerful than the rest of the population. Even if Julius Malema were to become president, it would still be the same.

African leaders don’t like the idea of an educated populace, for clever people are difficult to govern. Mandela and Mbeki were themselves corrupted by Western education. (Admission: this columnist is also corrupted by such education.)

Zuma remains African. His mentality is in line with Boko Haram. He is suspicious of educated people; what he calls “clever blacks”. Remember that Boko Haram means “Against Western Education”.
The people who think we have come to the end of SA don’t realise that we have actually come to the beginning of a real African country, away from the Western illusions of exceptionalism. Those who are unsettled by this true African character need help. The best we can do for them is to ask them to look north of the Limpopo River, to learn more about governance in Africa.

What makes most people restless about the future of SA is that they have Western models in mind, forgetting that ours is an Africa country.

The idea that a president can resign simply because a court of law has delivered an adverse judgment is Western. Only the Prime Minister of Iceland does that; African rulers will never do that.

Analysed carefully, the notion of SA coming to an “end” is an expression of a Western value system – of accountability, political morality, reason, and so on. All these are lofty ideas of Socrates, Kant, Hegel, and so on. They are not African.

All of us must thank Jacob Zuma for introducing us to the real African Republic of South Africa, not some outpost of European values.

 

As Diana tells Amie “Democracy is not the African way, one man, one vote, once.” I think Prince Mashele would agree.

Lastly thank you to all those who voted for Amie 2 in the ReadFree’ly competinion, she came in at #17 and  got a lovely new sticker 🙂

All the books can be found here

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/