THE DEMISE OF 2018

adorable baby baby feet beautifulSomebody, somewhere has got to slow things down a little, the years are flying past much too quickly. I believe the perception is that each complete year is a smaller fraction of your life so far and therefore appears to move faster. There is probably a mathematical formula in there but for someone who still counts on her fingers – and toes – let’s not go there.   A look back on 2018 –

IAmie 5 cover 1 hyena had a slump in the middle of the year – and I didn’t get Amie book 5 finished as early as I’d planned but it should be out very soon, I’m taking my time and not rushing it. I love the hyena in the top corner, once again Daz Smith has produced a cover I’m really happy with. We had a vulture in there at one time, but decided he crowded the picture too much so we flew him off.

But all was not lost as I published 2 back stories

We met Samantha, Amie’s elder sister in book 1 when she was the one leaking news about Amie to the press causing all sorts of problems and in book 3 she flew over to stay with Amie and Jonathon in Africa and was a very difficult guest. All is explained if you get to know her better in this comedy about her first visit abroad as she drags an unwilling Gerry into one disaster after another.

Why he ever married her I’ll never know. I think she might be good for another couple of stories later in the year.

 

Amie Back Story - Ben

The second backstory tells us more about Ben. He was Amie’s cameraman in Amie Africa Adventure but when the civil war breaks out he disappears.

He pops up in Amie and the Child of Africa when Amie chases off to rescue her foster child and then in book 5 as …  but I won’t spoil the surprise!

In Ben we meet him as he is about to undergo his passage into manhood and what happens afterwards.

Both back stories are priced at $/£0.99 so they won’t break the bank.

2018 was a great year for awards. I entered 7 contests and won awards in 5 of them, so I was really thrilled.

AMIE 2 WITH ALL 2 MEDALS 2018

Readers’ Favorite awarded Amie and the Child of Africa a Gold Medal and Amie: Stolen Future a Silver Medal.

AMIE 3 WITH ALL 3 MEDALS 2018

I was particularly thrilled as Headline books chose Amie book 2 for a possible publishing contract as one of 10 books entered in the competition – and I understand there were thousands. They didn’t take it in the end but it was a real boost that they liked it. Had a ball in America going to Miami and was thoroughly spoiled.

 

 

The Wishing Shelf Awards gave Amie and the Child of Africa a Red Ribbon and I understand a medal will be in the post soon

The Global Awards also gave the same book a silver medal.

In the New Apple Awards, Amie Stolen Future was solo medallist for action/adventure and Unhappily Ever After was solo medallist in humour (or humor if you live in America!)

Finally, Amie Stolen Future (book 3) won a gold in the e.Lit Awards.

If I was hoping these would catapult me to fame and fortune – it didn’t happen.

As followers of my blog and FB page know, we live in a small rabbit hutch and there is minimal wall space. DH did try to put all these accolades into one frame but I’m not sure it works and it doesn’t hang on the wall either. I tried to frame the medals but made a bit of a hash of that as well. It’s not as easy as you think but I’ll have another go when the other medal arrives.

IMG_0351

I had two large promos during the year. The first one was for Amie Cut for Life which incorporates the theme of FGM and I was invited onto Voice of America – Africa for my first TV interview. I blinked my way through looking like an owl skewered on the end of a cattle prod. The live FB page interview was a fraction better but not by much. I have the perfect face for radio and those interviews went better, both on Voice of America and on Talk Radio Europe in Spain.

None of these shot me to the top of the lists either.

I have popped the book prices up and down, taken part in joint promos, blogged, was a guest and had guests on my blog and tweeted my way merrily through 2018.

My Bookbub followers went up, my FB followers remained static (I’ve refused all those hearts, roses, cute kittens, top end cars, stethoscopes and little kid pics beside a variety of singled/divorced men offering friendship) and my twitter followers took a dive. My loyal mailing list remained pretty much the same but is woefully slow compared to other authors with millions of friends and fans, despite being offered a free book to join and an exclusive signed paperback of The very Worst Riding School in the monthly competition – it’s not on sale anywhere.

I’ll just pop the links in here in the hope someone, somewhere, reading this might just add their name too.

newsletter sign up:  http://eepurl.com/c-GqWr

twitter name   @LucindaEClarke     https://twitter.com/LucindaEClarke

Facebook  My page https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

BOOKBUB    https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucinda-e-clarke

So, what of next year 2019? I have two wishes. To be a NYT Bestseller (or Wall St or similar) I’m not picky. The other is to prove the moon is really made of green cheese. I think it’s the second is the one I might manage to accomplish as it will be much easier.

I’d like to give everyone a huge hug for being my friend this year and reading my blogs and newsletters and FB posts. I still can’t believe how supportive, kind and helpful so many of you are.

It only remains to wish you all a wonderful last few days of the holiday and a fantastic New Year with everything you would wish for yourself and those you love.

Lucinda

 

 

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2018 LUCINDA’S BEST BOOKS PART 3

This week the last five books that I have really enjoyed and recommend from the 100 I’ve read in 2018. To be honest I think I’ll lower my total next year, as I had to scramble and grab a couple of children’s books set for our book club to meet the challenge.

I’m sure they are not aware of it, but there are a few other authors I feel connected to as we started self-publishing around the same time. I hope they might think I have grown as I have seen them improve from book to book. The editing, dialogue, formatting, show not tell, have all taken huge leaps forward and they are among the books I’ve chosen this year, besides traditionally published books.

tears of fire

TEARS OF FIRE by Gordon Bickerstaffe

THEY GET BETTER AND BETTER

I’ve read all of this author’s books and each one is better than the last. For the first time, Zoe shows some fallibility and I liked that. She has been superwoman up until now and she has become more believable.  The story was excellent and the familiar characters were as lively as ever. It kept me guessing and the pace never faltered. I’ll be looking out for the next book in the series – I hope that will be soon. I was thrilled too to see that Gordon  got a gold medal at the Readers’ Favorite Awards 2018 for an earlier book, Tabula Rising.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DPSWZ3J

mateugus island

MATEGUAS ISLAND  Linda Watkins

LOVED IT

I really enjoyed this book. If there was one criticism it was the minute descriptions of everyday life which I would have preferred the author to omit, but the story was excellent, the imagery clear, the tension just right in all the right places and I was kept wondering until the very end how this book could have a happy ending. The configuration of the characters and their feelings for each other made that impossible, or so I thought. I shall be looking to buy more books written by this author. I see that Linda also won a gold medal and several other awards and I can understand why. I’m not sure what genre I would put this in, but possibly psychological thriller with supernatural undertones?  Wherever it fits it’s a great read.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K0SDP9K

MOTHERLANDS DAUGHTER

A MOTHERLAND’S DAUGHTER, A FATHERLAND’S SON

GREAT READ

I have to include one of my favourite authors and having eagerly devoured many of her other books I was expecting a good read and I was not disappointed. It paints a brilliant picture of the reality of war and should be a compulsory read for anyone who thinks that battles are glorious and patriotic. Set initially in Poland and featuring both the Soviet and the German armies I understand the story was based partly on a true story.  Well written, characters I cared for and a book I might even read a second time. Highly recommended.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079YF1BD9  

vase with many coloured marbles

THE VASE WITH THE MANY COLOURED MARBLES by Jacob Singer

From the descriptions of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Potchefstroom it is obvious that Jacob Singer the author is familiar not only with South African geography but with its history, often comparing the apartheid laws with those invoked in Germany under the Hitler regime. The story is quite unique, fast paced, attention holding and tense. Once I started reading I found the book impossible to put down. I was fascinated by the title, and it has a place in the narrative which is very clever. On reading the biography at the back I learned that part of the tale is based on truth, and only someone who had experienced living in South Africa could have brought this book to life as clearly as Jacob Singer. Well written, it flows beautifully and encompasses much of that country’s history and politics seamlessly into the story line. I cannot recommend it too highly, a really great read with a very unusual scenario.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007H1T76S

 

echoes of the past

ECHOES OF THE PAST by Peter Rimmer

The blurb on Amazon says it’s for fans of the Courtney Series, the Kingsbridge novels and the Clifton Chronicles – so I knew it was also for me. Set in Rhodesia during the First War of Liberation it follows the fortunes of a family of early settlers, their infighting and their battles to survive. Adventure, excitement and historical set in the continent I miss, I was thrilled to find a new author on my favourite subject. Sadly, his author page has been updated and now tells us he passed away last July in his early 80’s. He has left several unpublished manuscripts and I shall be looking out for those as soon as I have read all his other books.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00S8TMJY0

 

I would hate to single out any one book as being the one I have enjoyed the most in 2018. Once I am engrossed in a good story, I am far away from my little place in Spain, right beside the characters, breathing the same air, hearing the same cries and living their lives. There are so many good books out there I’ll never have time to read all the ones I want, but I can recommend all the ones I’ve featured over the last three weeks.

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

Truth, Lies & Propaganda by Lucinda E. Clarke

Thank you Tanya this is a lovely surprise. 🙂

T. R. Robinson Publications

51OumBqML3LAnother intriguing memoir that provides further insight into African culture. Though this memoir stands on its own without the need to have read any of the author’s other books, readers would benefit from having read Lucinda’s more personal, award winning, memoir ‘Walking Over Eggshells’. Even if the reader choses not to read it now, it is recommended.

This memoir is initially based upon the author’s experiences as the writer of African radio and television programmes, some voluntary and others to order, or perhaps it would be better to say ‘as ordered’. As usual Lucinda’s humorous, self-deprecating, easy style flows carrying the reader along with her as she embarks upon a number of ‘adventures’ in the radio and television world: finding herself not only writing the programmes but also having to produce, organise and carry out most of the support work; eventually, managing her own video production company; and regularly writing…

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2018 LUCINDA’S BEST BOOKS PART 2

The books I’ve chosen this year are not all published by independent authors, but those I’ve chosen as I think I will enjoy them.

My special interests are Africa (no surprises there), history, a good thriller or murder mystery and stories that unravel the inner workings inside those bastions of power. I hate to guess the ending of a book and admire those authors who cleverly wrap up the red herrings and leave me breathless on the last page.

Here are the next 5 for 2018.

DANDELION

THE DANDELION CLOCK  by Rebecca Bryn

THIS TOOK ME ON A ROLLER COASTER RIDE

A cleverly written book that made me both smile and cry – not many books do that. Based on a true story it features England in war time, both from the point of view of the soldier who went overseas to fight in 1918 and the girl he left behind. The research was excellent, the characters well defined and this book lifts the lid of the situation so many young couples faced in a time of crisis. Sad, but oh so realistic and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Another author I have seen go from strength to strength over the years – I shall always buy her books the moment she publishes them.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FW8LBXN 

girl he left behind

THE GIRL HE LEFT BEHIND  by Lesley Hayes

This is not a book to be read lightly, but slowly to savour the excellent use of language and prose. It falls squarely into the literary category – one which will live on long after the ‘quick read’ novels have been forgotten. There is much to think about when you turn the pages and the author has made good use of her knowledge as an integrative psychotherapist, taking the reader into the dark reaches of the mind and the complex feelings of human emotions with its many contradictions and moods. While part of you wants to drag Kat away from Alex and her unhealthy hold on her, you can still understand the reasons Kat returns time and time again. Each character leaps off the page and by the end of the book I felt I had known them for years. I highly recommend this for all book lovers who prefer a well-written, solid read with great depth and meaning that makes you question the human spirit and the decisions made in relationships.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077HVN4BP

tipping point

TIPPING POINT  by Terry Tyler

I’VE FOUND A NEW AUTHOR I LOVE

I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend as she told me I would love it – and I did. Written with an underlying touch of humour, despite the catastrophic story, I was held captive from the first chapter. If you’ve ever wondered how man can solve the over population of the planet, this is one way and it is all too realistic and plausible. It was one of those books when the dishes  are left in the sink and the bed unmade, I couldn’t put it down. I immediately turned on the computer to buy the second and third books in the series. Stories about the apocalypse do not usually appeal to me, but I’m glad I stepped out of my usual genres to try this series.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074LSCX5M

his name was ben

HIS NAME WAS BEN  by Paulette Mahurin

HEARTBREAKING YET UPLIFTING

This is the bitter sweet story of two people meeting in the oncologist’s office and how their relationship developed from there. Much more than a love story begun in the knowledge that life may be short with the need to take each day for what it could bring. The story itself is realistic and believable and I cared about the characters. I love books by this author and I have read them all and will read every one she publishes. While this book is good, it’s not quite my favourite but I still recommend it as it’s a great story. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRM6BLX

 

creadle of the serpent

CRADLE OF THE SERPENT by Linda Lee Greene

EVERYTHING TO LIKE

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I chose this book as I’m not a great lover of romance stories, but every now and again I try to vary the genre I read. Wow! This was so much more. The amount of research it must have taken is phenomenal and I learned a lot and for me, that always makes for an excellent read. I checked and the author is part North American Indian, and her love for her people and history shines through. There is also extensive information on spinal cord injuries, archaeology and brilliant descriptions of the American south west. The story is a dilemma in itself. Not a fluffy boy meets girl scenario but something much, much deeper. Great book I recommend if you like thoughtful reading and something to get your teeth into.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRM6BLX  

Next week the last of my great reads for 2018. till then, take care

Lucinda

2018 LUCINDA’S BEST BOOKS PART 1

For the third year I would like to share with you the books that I have enjoyed the most in 2018.

This is the first time I joined the Goodreads challenge and optimistically filled in 100 books. I will manage that, just, and I have reviewed all but two of them. And note, this is besides some beta reading and proof editing for author friends. Yes, I love reading.

These are not the only good books I’ve read this year, but those that have stayed with me long after I’ve put them down. These are the stories that either touched my heart, entertained me, taught me things I didn’t know or caused me to weep, sit and question.

I wish I could include more but I have managed to get the list down to 16. The first 5 this week in no particular order:-

tears of innocence

TEARS OF INNOCENCE  by T R Robinson

A HEART BREAKING STORY

The introduction tells us this is a true story and it is one of the saddest I have ever read. Don’t let that put you off buying it as it demonstrates the amazing resilience of one woman who, from one trauma after another from the age of 5 managed to survive against the odds. The author lived through World War II and the horrors of that time. Every time she thinks she has found safety and shelter, life throws her another curved ball. A brilliant tribute to a brave and courageous women you cannot help but admire more than any other writer whose biography I have read. Every woman should read this book and gain strength from it. I immediately bought the second book in the trilogy. This book deserves to be up there in the bestsellers once I started reading it I was unable to put it down.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DUSKEYU 

eVERY NOTHERS FEAR

EVERY MOTHER’S FEAR by  Joanna Warington

GREAT STORY

Having a relative who gave birth to a child after taking Thalidomide, I was drawn to this story. It recounts the lives of two women affected in quite different ways to the effects of this insufficiently tested drug. I had already decided in my mind what path the story was going to follow, but I was so wrong. It’s a well written book, fast paced and you cared about the characters Rona and Sandra – they are excellently portrayed. I admit to being a fan of this author and will buy and read anything she writes. Highly recommended, especially if you remember living during the 1960’s, there were so many references to life at that time it brought back memories.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078JX8559

origin

ORIGIN by Dan Brown 5 stars

GREAT!

Now I know that his writing has been panned by the literati, who pronounced Dan Brown couldn’t string two sentences together, but he writes great stories – stories that make you think and stretch your brain. And remember his books were picked up for Hollywood films something most of us only dream about. I enjoyed this book the 5th in the Robert Langdon series. The research must have taken days, I learned a lot and used my kindle dictionary many times. Well written, the story was fascinating although there were no real surprises at the end.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LXCD7FU

 

PONTIFEX MAXIMUS

PONTIFEX MAXIMUS   by Damien North

THOROUGHLY GOOD READ

I raced through this book, it was an easy read as the words flowed beautifully and I kept going page after page. It’s not often I finish a book and then go to look for the next one to buy, but this is the second time this week it’s happened to me. Be warned, this ends on a cliff hanger and if I’d known this I would have waited until books 2 and 3 were available before starting this one. An author after my own heart who isn’t afraid to kill off his main characters just as you get to love them. I also appreciated the in-depth knowledge of the higher workings of the Catholic Church. Good book, would recommend. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M9DOBVX

THE PENCIL CASE

The Pencil Case by Lorriane Cobcroft

Much has been written about the indignities meted out to the Aborigines by the Australian authorities, but this is the first book I’m aware of that relates the injustices to white children. This a harrowing read, but I could not stop turning the pages. The book is so well written, I felt I was there with Paul and Jenny, suffering with them, feeling angry at how they were treated and routing for a happy conclusion. The writer takes you into the mind of Paul as he struggles to adjust, contain his anger and frustration as he attempts to cope with the demons who rule his life and his behaviour. The Pencil Case by Lorriane Cobcroft is one of those books which will remain with you long after you have read the last page. A sad story, beautifully told and I wish I could award it ten stars.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C4B9QLW

Next week the next 5 on my list.

Until then, take care

Lucinda

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore- Buy a Book for Christmas #Mystery Series – Mary Anne Edwards, Diana J. Febry, Judy Penz Sheluk and Toni Pike

Some good books here. Books make amazing Xmas presents

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Time for some more book gift ideas from the Cafe and Bookstore and here is a selection of novels that any book lover would enjoy. As always when there is a series I will share book one and that is the case for the first author Mary Anne Edwards and The Charlie McLung Mysteries... Here is the first book in the series – Brilliant Disguise.

About the book

Are you sure you could tell the difference between murder and suicide?

Having had more than enough of the big city, Detective Charlie McClung moves to a small town looking for a simpler life. Turns out his first case is the most complicated of his career.

A young woman is found shot and while everyone is telling him suicide, his gut, and the dead woman’s beautiful neighbor, are telling him something quite different.

How far can he dig before he…

View original post 1,766 more words

IN THE FIRING LINE

For years I’ve been a victim of scribbling mania. It’s a disease that can start in early childhood and stays with you until you are no longer compos mentis and unable to hold a pen or identify the letters on a keyboard.

I am one of the lucky ones who managed to support a family by utilizing this malady and would jump out of bed crying “Yeah, it’s Monday!” On the other hand, public holidays would throw me into a deep depression as I couldn’t get more work done or filming venues were closed.

few of the videos I made

Yes, I’ve been a lifelong sufferer.

It was not all plain sailing. Often clients would say “This is brilliant … but …” and I knew that the criticism was coming. It was all a learning curve and hopefully, as the years went by, I improved, the negatives declined and I learned to understand that all people don’t like all literature, films, plays and even the adverts I composed and produced.

When I retired, I stupidly thought I was over this disease, but the symptoms got worse. My fingers would wander towards the keyboard, the ideas whirl round and round in my head screaming to be let out, I got jumpy if I couldn’t plant words on the screen.

I tried to cure the agony by writing a monthly column in a local magazine but it wasn’t enough to get my fix. I turned to writing novels and memoirs and 12 books later, the symptoms have not abated in the slightest, even though I am wearing myself to a frazzle.

Not everyone raved about my talent, or lack of it, but I’d been blooded in the media and do not take a one-star review to heart. I even do my best to cheer up other authors who are devastated by criticism. “Put your head above the parapet as a professional and expect to be shot down by someone, somewhere who does not connect with your literary work. It’s nothing personal.”

But, it seems today, it is.

woman typing writing programming

A few weeks ago, my monthly column raised a storm. It was a satirical piece with politics at the centre. Now, I’ve been writing on this subject 12 times a year for almost 10 years, but this one struck the wrong chord with a few readers.

They tracked me down on Facebook and wrote the most horrendous things that were personal, cruel comments, suggestions as to what I should do, or what should happen to me for having the temerity to put such words on paper. At the least I should be fired.

They wrote to the editor – who refused to let me see the emails as they were just too hurtful – and threatened to close the publication down by lobbying the advertisers who pay for the magazine. (I don’t get paid, I do it to help alleviate my addiction).

standing man wearing gray hoodie in front of magazine in rack
Photo by Bagus Pangestu on Pexels.com

None of these readers saw the humour or the satire in the piece which was so over the top it bore no relation to the truth.

I can take criticism, I really can, but was shook me was the level of intense hatred, vitriolic comments, the depth of fury and aggression.

What has happened to ‘Live and let Live?’ What caused these people to express their feelings in such a vicious way? They even threatened to report it to the police as a hate crime.

adult alone boy building

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The very least they demanded was a grovelling apology from both me and the editor.

In the next issue I wrote that I was sorry my article had upset anyone, it was never intended to do so, and mentioned some world issues such as FGM, poverty, climate change, pollution and dictatorships that are real world problems.

I was all for giving up the column but both DH and the editor begged me not to. That way the vindictive people would win, although if they had had their way, I would no longer be able to write anything.

However, I am now off the political scene – a bit of a relief as it was getting tiresome and  I will now satirise life in general.

On the upside, there have been lots of supportive emails, phone calls and messages to both me and the editor which has restored my faith in human nature. But it worries me that we live in a world that has so much underlying hate waiting to leap out at the slightest provocation. Has it always been this way? What do you think?

On a more cheerful note:- Next week, the first of my Great Reads of 2018. Don’t miss it.

Till then, take care

Lucinda