SUMMER PALACE AYUTTHAYA THAILAND

I thought the summer palace was beautiful. Not imposing in the style of Versailles, or Buckingham Palace, much simpler. I could imagine a royal family here living more down to earth lives with only a small retinue.

We are allowed inside, but no photographs permitted, except in this small structure on the water – how I would have loved to have that as a writing area.

VICTORIAN ENGLAND

A little about this age as Victoria’s reign was such a long one, and there were major changes in Britain. For example, another interesting thing to happen during her time was the invention of the spinning jenny, otherwise known as the low paid female factory worker.

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Unfair laws in Britain at that time said it was forbidden to chain workers to their benches…

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.. but with big profits in mind, the colonials of that time exported the idea and set up the Nike factories in the far east using child labour at slave rates.

Next week a little about the 9 children who survived Victoria – just.

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Will I Ever Get it Right?

So, newsletters are all the rage, so cleverclogs here thinks she will start one. What a good way to promote other writers and also share news and views.

To be honest, I’d not checked any others out, but I got so carried away with issue one that I was even more enthusiastic with number two. Now it’s not a newsletter any more, it’s more like a magazine. I think it will be easier to navigate once I have discovered how to set up a landing page, and pepper it with lots of links, but in the meantime I guess readers can just scroll down and peruse whatever takes their fancy.

So, how did it get to be so large? Firstly in February’s edition I am featuring these authors. Know who they are?

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Two other authors, whose pics I’m not going to post, plus a reader

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And do you know where this is?umkomaas_town_by_air

And that’s not all, as the saying goes. There is the ongoing court case between Amie and myself, the poor author who created her in the first place, and back stories exclusive to the newsletter to download and read. Featured are Samantha, Amie’s sister about to embark on a trip to Europe, but things go wrong at the airport, and some background on Ben as he prepares for his initiation rites into manhood.

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So as you can see it’s not really a newsletter any more, but a small magazine. I’m only sending it out once a month and a really kind FB friend is going to help me upload it tonight onto Mailchimp so hold thumbs for me. I’ve sent him the valium by special courier so he gets it in time.

Should you wish to receive this masterpiece of literary accomplishment and have not signed up here is the link http://eepurl.com/cBu4Sf

There is, unfortunately all that toing and froing business to prove you are not a robot, but once that’s done you too can be inflicted montly with my usual ramblings plus some sensible stuff from sensible authors.

So why not sign up today?  🙂

ONWARDS WITH THE BIG TRIP – VICTORIA’S FERTILITY

We drove to Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand to visit the Bang Pa-In Summer Place which was stunning. Like most places it is a complex of buildings formerly used by the Thai kings. I think the pictures speak for themselves and it was one of the most beautiful places we went to with very few chattering tourists to disturb the peace.

While Queen Victoria was expanding so was the Empire and her reign of 63 years, 7 months is the longest of any other British monarch until Queen Elizabeth who became queen in 1952.

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It was during this time that England went to war against all kinds of other, interesting people in interesting places, such as China, Afghanistan, the Seiks, the Burmese, Abyssinia and the Zulus. This kept Parliament very busy pouring for hours over maps to find out where these places were.

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Two downloadable back stories for free in the newsletter – find out more about Amie’s early life and Ben’s coming of age.

THE FIRST PART, THE BIG TRIP – SECOND PART, QUEEN VICTORIA

It’s over a year now since we returned from the Big Trip so it’s all a bit hazy – not too surprising when you realize I have trouble remembering yesterday.

The nice people at the tour company wrote it all down for us, but on occasion we did not visit places in the same order as the route march itinerary, so possibly I may even have labelled sites and statues and places incorrectly. Thankfully the photos on my iPad are dated so I shouldn’t be too far out. But, this is a happy, casual blog and under no circumstances should be used as a comprehensive travel guide. Nor should the writer be held responsible for any errors and should you follow this and end up in the Falklands, then that is to your own account.

After our visit to the royal palace, we took a ferry across the Chao Phraya River and as we landed I noticed a photo shoot, so I hopped in with the camera and took a few photos, but the light was not good. We couldn’t work out if these were national costumes for a particular cerebration or a tourist brochure.

We’d taken the ferry to see, guess what? Yes, another temple, although I did rebel a little here and insisted we stop for morning coffee. The drink was good but the surroundings decidedly dubious and our guide was not too thrilled, there was the itinerary to follow with Thai efficiency.

THE HISTORY BIT

Now I don’t know whose fault it was but Victoria and Albert obviously watched too many Disney films and they were great fans of Little House on the Prairie. They wanted one of those perfect families, where all the children were well behaved, and loved Mummy and Daddy and – wait for it – did as they were told. They wanted to set an example to the world of the perfect fairytale family as an example to all their subjects.

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To start with all went well. Albert doted on little Vicky (there they go, using the same names again and again). It was all very discreet of course, as they lived in a Hypocratical age, as piano legs were wrapped in blankets so as not to appear rude or remind anyone of the begatting of children.

Signed up for the newsletter yet? I’d love you to, just leave a comment below and I’ll make sure your name is on the list.

Till next time, take care.

IT’S MY EXPLANATION (AND I’M STICKING TO IT)

As one or two of you might know I used to work in the media, and I’ll never forget the awful day when the editor turned to me and asked what the next shot was. Now very few programmes are shot in order, you might even capture the final shot first. I looked down at the script and told him it was the guys climbing the pylon.

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“And the in and out points?” His fingers were poised over the controls. I checked the shot list, and then checked it again and again and again, panic rising, heart beat racing, I could even feel my blood pressure shooting skywards. But no, the shot wasn’t there. We had forgotten to film anyone even near the pylon, much less climbing it.

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I still shudder when I remember that moment, and from that day I meticulously made sure that every scene we ever needed was safely in the can.  Over the years I became more and more efficient and we were able to work faster and faster.  –  Patience, I’m coming to the point just now!

Then of course I retired (joke) and I began the book writing thing. My first book languished away on Amazon, picking up less than 2 dozen sales in the first year, until I discovered marketing, or rather the need to market. (Sad to remember I thought that people just ‘found’ books on Amazon and shot you to the heights of the best sellers). I ventured onto Facebook and a kind writer put up my web page and then I dipped my toe in the blog world.

So, blogs were a good way to chat to people. They give you more freedom than a short post on FB and trying to get much of a message out there about anything in less than 140 characters on Twitter was going to need a lot of practice.

So what could I write on my blog? I had no advice for anyone, I had used up most of my experiences in two more memoirs so I began to expand on my silly history of kings and queens of England based on a humorous lecture I’d given locally – entitled All the monarchs in 59 minutes and 3 seconds. It had taken me some time to write and it seemed daft not to use it as it would never see the light of day again.

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Then came the Big Trip and I really wanted to share this with the world, I was just blown away by the sights and sounds of the Far East. But, there was a problem, I was still fumbling my way through history, I’d only got as far as the Tudors. OK, I thought, I’ll combine them and do half of each.

I was still thinking how clever I was until a couple of writer friends pointed out at lunch yesterday that my blog is totally confusing. “You’re jumping around all over the place” they told me kindly. Readers don’t know what to expect!

Now, I’m getting to the point. It’s all in the planning. If only I could have my time over again for the last few years. For example, I would have realized that I needed to co-ordinate the covers on my Amie series – yes all series have matching covers I know that now – and it’s taking time and money to replace them all.

Amie covers right now – see not matching!

Even the cover of my first book was really amateurism, even though I was so proud of it at the time – and that’s now been changed 3 times.

I’ve learned that you need to build a platform of friends months before you even write Chapter One on the screen, and if you are even thinking of writing a book, practice Twitter, a basic graphics programme, familiarize yourself with analytics and how to format for the sales channels. It’s also helpful to find out how to convert your documents from one format to another, pdf, epub, mobi etc  and how to decide which blog host to choose and set up your page. You also need to suss out the promo sites and which ones give value for money and then there are the key words and the rankings and the … the list is endless. Dozens of people have written books about how to do all this, or whole books on only one topic of all the knowledge which will help you on your way to the top of the charts.

Of course I didn’t even know you had to plan, and let’s face it, often we are not sure what works if anything and to what extent.

The postscript to this is I’m afraid you will have to live with my lack of planning and suffer both the Big Trip and, currently, Queen Victoria a little longer. They will be back next week. We’re coming to the end of both topics and then I’ll be stuck!!

Now I’m sure you’ve noticed that I rarely push my books on here but I would like to mention my new monthly newsletter which will have news about my books and those of other people. Plus a downloadable back story to the Amie series, plus information about the pending court case (that is not serious). I hope I can find the sign up form here again, but if not, please leave a comment and I will happily add your name. Happy to cross promote with other authors, but to start with I am focusing on new releases and books with an African connection.

Oh, one final thing – my Goodreads giveaway is ending in 2 days – for 2 signed paperback copies posted worldwide. Here is the link. https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/217970-amie-an-african-adventure

Till next week.

Amie in Africa visits Lisa Burton Radio

Amie celebrity for a day – that’s as much as she’s going to get!

Entertaining Stories

Today is Thursday, and that means it’s time for another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my very special guest today is Amie Fish. “Welcome to the show, Amie.”

“I’m really pleased to be on the show Lisa thank you for asking me.”

“So what possesses a newlywed to uproot and move half-way around the world to darkest Africa?”

“I didn’t have a choice, Lisa. My newly married husband was offered a job in Togodo and it was expected that I go with him. I wasn’t looking forward to it, not one little bit. I had a good job in a local television production company and my family lived in the same town. I was quite happy as I was.”

“My bio says you got a little bored, and went to work using your journalism skills for an Army Colonel. What kind of…

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