MEET JILL DOBY

Jill and I have been FB friends for a long time, I remember beta reading her first book, or was it her second? Anyway, I’ve read both and I highly recommend them. She is so right that travel broadens the mind and introduces you to different cultures and peoples. Jill is a true traveler in every sense of the word and has some great stories to tell.

birthday 59

I am an international educator and a writer. I write travel memoirs and articles about my experiences living in different countries while working as a teacher/administrator in American and international schools around the world. Documenting my travel experiences has given me opportunities to relive all the good, bad, harrowing, and remarkable events I endured along the way. Writing about traveling also comes naturally to me as I continue to encounter diverse cultures, distant lands, and historic sites in this unique lifestyle of mine.

I’ve been living in Honduras, my 7th country, with my husband, Dan, and Yorkie-Poo, Mickey, for the past six years and now call Tegucigalpa, Honduras, my home. Originally from Wisconsin, in the Midwestern U.S., I relocated abroad in 1990, and return each summer for two months. During the months of August through June, I work as an elementary principal at an American school and travel Latin and South America when school lets out for the holidays. It’s a lifestyle that I love, and the travel is just one part of it. Living in another culture, experiencing firsthand how indigenous people live, and learning about their customs, traditions, and languages are all eye-opening. Most days I feel like I’m living my dream, despite the occasional water and power outages, monsoon rains, crazy taxi drivers, and odors of raw sewage.

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My first memoir, HERE WE ARE & THERE WE GO: Teaching and Traveling with Kids in Tow, chronicles my family’s 10 years living abroad. We moved from Wisconsin to Guam with our two toddlers and from there onto Singapore, Ghana, and Mexico. During those 10 years we survived Super Typhoon Yuri while on Guam, swam with Orca’s in Mexico, chased elephants in the Ghanaian bush, and celebrated Chinese New Year in Singapore. After those 10 years we returned to the U.S. and went through a sort of reverse culture shock.

resized cover kids, camels, cairo

My second travel memoir, KIDS, CAMELS, & CAIRO, was written after spending six years back in the U.S. I earned my degree in Educational Administration and then decided to head back overseas. I ended up in Cairo, Egypt, at a school which was predominately Muslim. During those two years, I endured my biggest culture shock, yet. The Islamic faith and Muslim culture were very new to me and I had a lot to learn about it, resulting in quite a few cultural faux pas along the way. I got used to the school week going from Sunday through Thursday and wearing modest garments that covered my neck, arms, and legs, but I never did get used to the brazen stares of the Egyptian men.

After Egypt, I moved to Gurgaon, India, where I was an administrator at a new international school. I loved India, its people, the country, the amazing colors, and the food, however, I constantly had to stay alert to the monkeys that roamed the city stealing whatever they could get away with. I’m now working on a 3rd travel memoir, which will include a few shocking stories about the pesky primates.

As long as I continue to live abroad and experience the world’s countries and cultures with an open mind and heart, I hope to continue my writing. Being open and aware to what the world has to offer is the best and only way for me, and for others, to live the global lifestyle and survive a cultural adjustment. Through my travel articles and memoirs, I hope to entertain and educate readers about the personal joys, and inevitable pitfalls of my life abroad, like the time I ended up bathing in a river full of sewage, the time when our kitchen in India was infested with ants, and when I nearly passed out halfway up Mt. Sinai in Egypt. Learning a new language, eating unknown foods, living without the comforts of home, and being far away from family, are difficulties that everyone who relocates abroad goes through. I strongly believe though, that the positives I’ve gained from challenging myself and becoming more globally-minded far outweigh the negatives I’ve encountered in my overseas journeys.

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

www.facebook.com/jilldobbeauthor

https://www.amazon.com/Camels-Cairo-Tales-International-Educator-ebook/dp/B01GD5UH30/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506010590&sr=8-1&keywords=jill+dobbe

https://www.amazon.com/Here-We-Are-There-Traveling-ebook/dp/B008PV3N9G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1506010590&sr=8-2&keywords=jill+dobbe

Thank you, Jill, for being my guest this week – and don’t forget to check out her books!

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FRANCE AND A FAREWELL

TRAVEL STUFF

So there we were in Carcassonne, and we’d ‘done’ the castle what was next? Back at the B & B we discovered that our landlady had left a bottle of wine in our room, which was a nice touch, I guess she saw the birthday cards on the dresser.

Sunday we decided to visit the cathedral, but we should have gone earlier as a service was about to begin and the place was packed. We noticed no less than 3 beggars sitting outside but did not see anyone give them anything.

Coffee in the square followed, but all the shops were shut which surprised me, I remember them being open on Sundays in France. After a cup of very mediocre coffee at an exorbitant price, we wandered down to the canal to book our boat trip. (And I know Val has been waiting for this).

Carcassonne lies on the Canal du Midi which is the 240 kilometre long canal that joins the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, considered at the time to be one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century. It was one of my favourite kings, Louise XIV who got things moving. The canal was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.

Now for those techie people, I mined these facts off Google. The total rise is 57.18 metres, and the summit level is 189.43 metres. It’s 2 metres deep and 20 metres wide on the surface but only 10 metres on the canal bed. I guess that means it’s best to stay in the middle?

HISTORY

Ex Edward VIII now the Duke of Windsor, only came home again to Britain after he passed on when the Royals attended his funeral.

 

grave of Edward VIII

He died in Paris, but before we say goodbye to him a bit of trivia. Edward VIII is the fourth longest-lived British Monarch, a total of 28,463 days. Well, of course, I had to get my calculator out to find out just how old he was when he died, and that’s your homework for this week!

By now his brother sat on the throne, not all the time you understand, there were times when he got up and walked around for a while. He didn’t want to be king, for a start he stuttered badly and that’s not good as kings are supposed to give very long speeches.

PIC of FUNERAL from the BBC.

EMBARRASSING NATURAL BREAK

Apart from DH (and he has a tendency to grunt when shown), there is no one to share this with except you, a lovely review I got from Book Viral for Amie African Adventure.

A powerful and riveting adventure set against a background of violent upheaval, Amie African Adventure proves a masterfully penned novel with just the right mix of suspense and plot. Matching storytelling grace with a story truly worth the telling, Clarke’s novel is explosively authentic and she’s not an author to skip on social commentary. In fact, far from it; but she makes her points without too much breast-beating, with a tender regard for her characters that gives her storytelling a natural gravitas thoroughly suited to unfolding events. We feel Amie’s angst and her character is carefully observed, Clarke’s dialogue is timely and authentic whilst tension and suspense are always to the fore as she navigates the complexities of her plot. It’s the necessity of circumstances which dictate the choices Amie makes and readers will react with varying degrees of outrage, anger and concern as they hope for a better future for her. Most importantly, it all makes for an enthralling read that keeps the pages turning at a feverish pace whilst setting the tone for an exciting new series.

For readers who appreciate a well written, intelligent and engrossing adventure story Amie African Adventure proves a must read and is recommended without reservation.

Buy link myBook.to/Amie1

Till next week, take care.

MEET ALISON RIPLEY CUBBIT

When I asked Alison if she would like to be a guest on my blog, I had no idea what an amazing story she would have to share. Take a few minutes to read it, it’s fascinating. Welcome, Alison.

ARC 2017 Profile Pic

About Me:
I’m Alison Ripley Cubitt, and I’m a multi-genre author and screenwriter. I worked in film and television production before turning to writing. I’ve gone back to film, this time as part of a production team with our own company, specialising in investigative drama.

I’m here to talk about one of my books, Castles in the Air: A Family Memoir of Love and Loss, which was partly inspired by the genealogy tv series, Who Do You Think You Are. I’ve always been fascinated by true-life stories, particularly those from the 20th century, which is the era that shaped my own life. I was reflecting on what a profound effect World War 2 had on so many people’s lives. Before I started writing my book, I had never really given much thought to how the war shaped my own family’s future.

In 1937 my grandfather was turning 40 and soon to be unemployed as he had reached the end of his commission as a Royal Marine. He was invited to apply for a job with the Admiralty based in Hong Kong but was given no details of what he would be doing until the third and final round of interviews. It turned out that he would be working with the intelligence-gathering operation in what would become the Far East outpost of Bletchley Park.
BRAG Medallion Book Cover

When war finally did come to South East Asia, my mother Molly was one of the last two remaining girls at her remote boarding school up country in  Malaya. The nuns had insisted that war or no war, education came first and that they must finish their School Certificate exams. With the ink barely dry on the exam paper, the girls still in school uniform, were driven down the lonely switchback road to the nearest train station to start their long journey home to Singapore. In the surrounding jungle, the enemy was watching and waiting for the signal to invade.

Molly and her parents were evacuated in January 1942, and she spent the war years working as a stenographer in the same naval intelligence unit her parents worked in. A high-spirited teenager, she would wait until her boss went out and then pull out the secret intelligence communiqué she was typing at the time, and go and dash off a quick letter to a friend.

During the war years, Mum developed a crush on a family friend who was much older than she was. She never got him out of her system, still secretly carrying a torch for him long after she married.
The book is told in two parts: the first, a series of letters written by the 15-year-old Molly, to her crush, Steve. I wanted the reader to have an insight into what life was like for a teenager in wartime and for this to be written in Molly’s own voice. In part two I take up the story of the woman who became the nurse and mother I knew.
The letters were a revelation as they had been kept hidden for nearly 50 years. It is a miracle they survived. Steve (who never married) had kept every single one. When he died, his niece sent the letters to my grandmother, who kept them hidden away so my father wouldn’t find them.

FB Ad Castles in the Air

Giveaway:
The first three readers who read this piece to like my Facebook page will win a free ebook copy. Don’t forget to let me know how I can contact you. To buy a copy, see below.
Buying links:
Link: http://amzn.com/B018KLSVUQ
Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B018KLSVUQ
Readers can connect with me here:
Website: http://www.lambertnagle.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lambertnagle
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisonripleycubittwriter

Alison, it was good to meet you and I will be checking out your book. So often our parents did not talk to their children about feelings and events and many of us have discovered the truth only through the letters they left behind. It’s only after they have departed do we wish we’d asked all those questions while they were still alive. This book may well shed light for all of us whose parents fought in the last World War.

 

Walking Over Eggshells: Surviving Mental Abuse

Thank you an amazing and in-depth review

LITERARY TITAN

Walking Over Eggshells

Walking Over Eggshells: Surviving Mental Abuse by Lucinda Clarke is an autobiography where she has changed all the names to protect the innocent and guilty. The novel is about Lucinda’s life and how she survived growing up and living with mental abuse. Lucinda’s mom had narcissistic personality disorder, and this impacted her entire life. She uses this novel to show that despite growing up with this abuse she still lived a life full of adventure, had a family and eventually had a successful career. You will laugh at some of the stories, cry at others, and be outright shocked by many and wonder how this girl survived to write this. Through it all Lucinda was able to grow and keep up with the times, she was born in the 1950’s and has had to adapt with a drastically changing society while continuing to endure the mental abuse of her mother…

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MONSTERS AND MONARCHS

ALL AMIE BOOKS OCT 2017Now on the first Monday of the month, I usually write about a book thing rather than my travels – such as they are. Right now I’m in the “Shall I, shan’t I?” stage regarding my next book. Do other writers suffer a sort of empty nest syndrome after launching their latest offering out into the world to meet the general public? (Not that Amie has gone anywhere she’s still lurking in the shadows!)

This time after the flurry of all the screaming and shrieking about the launch – delicately of course – I sat back and thought ‘what now?’ I was physically and emotionally drained. At that point, I heard a little voice from under the bed crying out to me. Don’t laugh! I’m a very sensitive person and I have these flashes occasionally. It was Horatio, begging to be let out.

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Back in the 1980s, I wrote several short stories for children which went out on the South African Broadcasting Service. They asked for more Horatio tales, but I had a miserly thought that instead of receiving a few Rand for every flighting I could add a few extra stories and have a whole book. Of course, this would sell millions overnight and I’d be off on my mega yacht in no time at all. I submitted a different series of stories about a witch to the SABC, completed Horatio and gave the manuscript to my then agent. I even produced what I now know is called swag to go with it.

I understand she tried Penguin in London who wrinkled their noses and that was that under the bed it went in South Africa, through 10 house moves, then packed into a cardboard box and flown to Spain and thrown under yet another bed, along with all those awards I shall never look at again.

So in my indecisive mood I decided to take action – not an easy feat getting under our bed the hydraulic lift thingie doesn’t work too well and I nearly sliced off an arm hoisting it out. Would you believe the two copies I have are typewritten on real, old-fashioned paper!

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Yes, that’s how long ago I wrote it. So now I’m labouring away, got an illustrator lined up and soon I will pluck up the courage to tell DH that the next offering will have pictures in it! I must just tell myself that I will not have a nervous breakdown trying to get it out for Xmas, or I’ll aim for Christmas 2018.

Since I’m already out there in 3 genres, what’s one more? I’m probably schizophrenic as it is, and it gives Amie a break for a couple of months.

HISTORY

Not only was Edward or David as he was called – they like things to be very complicated, downgraded to a Duke, the British royal family refused to be friends with him. He had broken the unwritten rules by saying he didn’t want to be a king anymore.

EDWARD viii

That was not on. If you are born a king or queen then you become a king or queen and you rule whether you like it or not and you stay ruling until you go to the big throne room in the sky.

The House of Windsor does not do this abdication thing and let the youngsters take over and have a go. In the UK the Heir Apparent might wait for years and years and years.

But there was no stopping Edward from making history and after a lot of fuss, his younger brother had to step in and take over.

THE BOASTING BIT

AMIE 1 AWARDS 18 OCT 2017

Just have to share with you that October was a great month with two really unexpected awards. Amie African Adventure was a Finalist in the Book Excellence Awards in the Adventure category and a Finalist in the IAN awards in Literary Fiction.

And, Walking over Eggshells was a Finalist for First Non-Fiction in the IAN Awards, so I am very thrilled.

Till next week, take care.

MEET DAVID HAYES

Welcome to David Hayes this week’s blog guest. (Personally, I hate that word blog, it sounds so harsh. But since everyone uses it I must as well).

david hayes autghor pic

David has given us a very brief biography of himself.

I was born in Leigh, Lancashire. A North West mining and weaving town on 31st October 1955. (Hallowe’en) I suppose it should come as no surprise that I should go on to write a book about the mysterious and the paranormal! It all started when I shared a few stories that I had written, on Facebook. I was introduced to Bernie Morris of Bronwyn Books, and soon I was a published author.

david hayes pic 1

What Has He Done Now? Is a selection of stories from my childhood in the 60s and early 70s in a small, North West mining and weaving town. This is incidental as it is about neither of those industries in particular. It is about the magic and wonderment of those days as seen through the eyes of a child – my eyes! It is about the days when imagination was the biggest plaything that we possessed. The days when a plastic football provided a whole summer’s play. It is about the scrapes that I found myself in and the things that I observed around me, and how they made me feel.
All the stories are true and I personally experienced every one of them. The names of the characters have been changed. The reason being that I have no idea of the whereabouts of many of the characters contained within my stories, so I have no way of asking them for their permission to include them in this book. Some have possibly passed away, and it would be unfair of me to mention them without their blessing. Anyone who knows me will know who they are though.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1527202739

david hayes pic 2

My second book is a collection of short stories on the subject of mysterious happenings of a paranormal nature. I haven’t confined myself just to the spirit world either. I have written stories about UFO’s, secret government experiments, vampires, time-slips, in fact, anywhere my imagination happened to take me.
This book is designed with the busy person in mind. It can be dipped into, and a couple of stories can be read in a tea break, or you can sit down at home and have a ‘spookfest’ and read several stories all at once. I always strive to make the ending of every one of my stories a complete surprise. They are long enough to describe all the events in gory detail, but short enough to keep you gripped until the very end. I have stripped away any of the padding you often get in other stories just to bulk out a book.
The book is best read in a dark and lonely room by the light of a small reading lamp, whilst the rain patters against the window, and the wind howls its mournful tune – well, you get the idea. Read it wherever you feel most comfortable!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1521790914

Actually, David, I’m not that brave. It will have to be broad daylight for me! Thank you for agreeing to be a guest.

 

TOURISTS AND TITLES

CARCASSONE CASTLE

There is quite a town now around the castle and the basilica at Carcassone. Even though it was raining when we were there the place is packed with tourists.  The narrow streets are crammed full of eateries, souvenir shops, more souvenir shops and a few more souvenir shops. DH is always a little tetchy when there are swarms of people around but he does understand they were not going to clear the place for us.

There are also a couple of hotels in the citadel. I couldn’t find out – probably due to my appalling French – if any of these buildings had people left in them when they were all ordered to go and live across the river. Did they all flock back again when they heard the tourists were coming?

The only museum worth seeing according to the Trip Advisor reviews was the school. Now I’d hate you to think I am quite this old, but I did recognize some of the things I saw on display. And it was fun to practice writing with a nibbed pen and real blue ink in a pottery inkwell set into the desk. DH chickened out of that one.

HISTORY STUFF

Who knows if Edward thought through his decision to abdicate? His reign lasted 326 days one of the shortest ever (if you don’t count Lady Jane Grey who only managed 9 days). He couldn’t marry straight away as Wallace still had to finish getting divorced from husband #2.

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Edward was downgraded to a Duke and then took his new wife off to visit Germany (I showed a pic of this a couple of weeks ago). This was not a popular thing to do at that particular time, and from being wildly celebrated when he was younger, life didn’t seem like much fun. He also had to take a huge cut in salary of course. They don’t look wildly happy, do they?

I hope you don’t feel sorry for him, remember what he said when his younger brother died? Here is another quote:  from 1920 when he visited Australia about the indigenous Australians: “They are the most revolting form of living creatures I’ve ever seen!! They are the lowest known form of human beings & are the nearest thing to monkeys.”

So you can imagine how he felt down at being demoted, and serve him right.

BEGINNING OF Amie book 3 Amie: Future Shock

Behind her veil, the tears streamed down Amie’s face as she watched them lower the coffins into the freshly dug graves. She could remember little about the previous few days and constantly fought an overwhelming panic. Her mind was a jumble of disconnected thoughts, blurred memories and questions. People she didn’t know well had invaded her world to arrange this terrible funeral.

From where she was standing on the far side of the cemetery, partially concealed behind a tall Natal Mahogany tree, she could see Ouma Adede who had once foretold her future. What was she doing here? There were others: Mrs Motswezi from the orphanage where Amie had first found Angelina, half-familiar faces from the Club, couples they’d dined or swam with at the beach. There was a tall, very good looking man with blonde hair she had never seen before, he was probably from the embassy. And Ken, of course, the sun reflecting off his dark skin and black curly hair that showed his African heritage. Even Jennifer and Patrick were there, but Amie was not allowed to talk to them, neither could she approach them. At one point, without thinking, she’d taken a step forward as if to walk over and join them, but a hand had grabbed her arm and held her back.

stolen-future-kindle cover 150dpi

“You can’t go any closer, not now, not ever,” the stern voice displayed no emotion.

At last the preacher finished his eulogy. One by one the mourners filed past the graves on the way to their cars. Ouma Adede looked up and stared straight at Amie, even though she was shrouded in a black muslin veil and hidden behind the tree, and Amie could have sworn she gave a brief nod. But then the elderly witchdoctor walked out of the graveyard without a backward glance. Did their eyes really connect or was it her imagination?

Once all the mourners had departed and the preacher had hurried away, Amie was herded straight to the car, then back to her room and once more the door was firmly locked behind her.  Now Amie could weep in private.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M67NRG4

Also available in Spanish.

Till next week, take care.