MEET CHRIS-JEAN CLARKE

This week my guest is Chris-Jean Clarke who lives in England, but has strong literary connections in the United States.

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Chris-Jean Clarke grew up in the West-Midlands (UK), but now resides in South Staffordshire (UK) with her husband, Geoff and children, Nathan and Kyrsten.

Prior to giving birth to her two beautiful children Chris-Jean worked for twenty years with people with learning and physical disabilities.

She studied the art of writing children’s stories @The Writing School, Oxford Open Learning.

Chris-Jean also donates stories & poems twice yearly to the Peacock Writers to benefit various charities. (NB She does not publish her

contributions in any other form.)  9781497384699_p0_v2_s260x420The Peacock Writers are a group of independent writers from around the globe & each of our anthologies are written around a given theme.

I have contributed to nine books, so far, but the book I would strongly recommend is: Springtime Bullies: Special Illustrated Edition (The Peacock Writers Present) (Volume 6)

http://thepeacockwriters.weebly.com/

 

In November 2016, Chris-Jean was accepted as a paid reviewer for Readers’ Favorite. During this month she was also accepted as a Publishing Assistant for the Books4Kids program, South Dakota.

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Early 2018, Chris-Jean transitioned from Publishing Assistant to author with the release of her educational story: To Dye For. To Dye For was accepted for its entertaining look at esteem. Interested readers can purchase the eBook from BookRix.com or any of the major online stores, such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iTunes, whilst the paperback version of this book is currently gifted to children in schools across America, but can also be purchased from our website: PS Publishing & the Books 4 Kids Program
https://www.publishps.com/retail-store.html   

August 2018, Chris-Jean re-released her historical fiction story: Honesty in World War 2. This story is told from ten-year-old Cyril Blessum’s perspective and is currently available to purchase as an eBook, and is available to purchase from BookRix.com and all the major online stores, such as Amazon, GooglePlay and Barnes & Noble.

Caleb Pirtle

2016, Honesty in World War 2  received a 5 star editorial review by Sarah Stuart for Readers’ Favorite and was showcased by Linda and Caleb Pirtle on their website as a Saturday Sampler:

https://calebandlindapirtle.com/saturday-sampler-honesty-in-world-war-2-by-

Since its re-release in 2018, Honesty in World War 2 has also been showcased on Pulp Den by author, historian and war veteran, Tom Johnson:
https://pulplair.blogspot.com/2018/08/honesty-in-world-war-2.htmlchris-jean-clarke/ 

You can connect with Chris-Jean at any of the links below.

Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Jean-Clarke/e/B00JZX8GIQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1537080616&sr=8-2
BookRix: https://www.bookrix.com/_ebook-chris-jean-clarke-to-dye-for/
BookRix: https://www.bookrix.com/_ebook-chris-jean-clarke-honesty-in-world-war-2/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/authorchrisjeanclarke

Thank you for being my guest this week .

 

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HOTEL AND HOUSEKEEPERS

TRAVEL – WELCOME TO PRAGUE

I so often cringe when I read the ‘proper’ travel blogs as mine are simply ramblings of a geriatric couple ‘sticky-beaking’ (one of DH’s favourite sayings) as we amble from place to place.

Overall impressions? Touristy. Crowded. Well Oganized. Pretty. Reasonably priced.

DH had booked an all in package of flights and hotel – and I am in real trouble here as I don’t think I kept a diary this time – well I can’t find it anyway. I think I was just too tired overall and decided to soak up the sights.

PRAGUE HOTEL 1

 

We drove up to Barcelona to catch the flight to Prague and booked into the Red and Blue Designer Hotel.  It didn’t look much from the outside and I thought this was rather a strange name, but everything was either blue, or red. It didn’t look much from the outside but it was nice inside.

 

PRAGIE HOTEL 2

We had a blue room which was enormous. It overlooked the park and had coffee making facilities which always makes me happy – though breakfast was included. We got in quite late at night by taxi from the airport so just in time for a coffee and bed.

 

 

HOTEL BFAST ROOM

There was one thing I’ve never come across before. There was a little note about the pillows they put on the bed – the size, density etc. We were asked to tell them if we wanted harder or softer pillows or a different dimension. I’ve seen room furnishings on sale in Hong Kong, but never asked what density I required my pillow!

 

HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

Isabel young

Last time we left the young princess waiting for the arrival of her new bridegroom – an ugly, fat, dirty old man who was vain and vindictive and supposedly celibate too. Just what every young girl dreams of!

His family was ecstatic about this high-class marriage and Don Pedro Girona sets off with a huge party of people to come and marry the girl he never thought he would get his paws on.

But either miracles do happen or Isabella prayed extra hard because, guess what, at Villarubia, on his triumphal journey to Madrid, Don Pedro is taken ill after supper and dies!!  Saved again.

 

AFRICA FACTS

Coming home on leave after maybe two years spent in another country, was a really strange feeling. Your attitudes and mindsets had changed. Expats had a different view of the world and had to be very careful what they said. I remember putting my foot in it when I mentioned we had help in the house.

My friends were horrified my Ex and I were perpetuating the colonial system. I didn’t know how to explain why it was expected, and even demanded, by the locals. As a foreigner, you were not playing your part if you didn’t employ local people to help in the house and the garden.

I had many a discussion with hopeful maids – or should we call them housekeepers now? – that I honestly didn’t need dozens of them working, one was enough. At one point I caved in and employed two. In my case it didn’t mean me sitting round having cups of tea all day – it meant that I could cope with two jobs at once, including the weekends – teaching and running a riding school.

WRS sign up 3 APRIL 2018

The discussion nearly turned into a mini riot in our local pub as we tried to justify a different way of life in a different culture. While we might have large houses, fair sized gardens and some had pools, most of us worked very hard – especially the men who had to cope with a lot of frustration. It was usually impossible to work without backhanders, fawning on local and powerful officials and waiting for the ‘fixer’ who promised something three weeks ago. Again, the remarks from friends that you shouldn’t perpetuate the system of corruption was not understood.

I’m hoping to launch Amie book 5 soon, until then, if you want to catch up this is the link to my Amazon page.

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

Till next time, take care.

 

MEET JUDY PENZ SHELUK

My guest this week is Judy Penz Sheluk who writes in one of the most popular genres – crime mysteries. I’ve not read her books yet, but after now, they are firmly on my TBR list.  Great news is that her latest book is out tomorrow – just in time to snap up for the weekend.

Judy at local festival

Judy Penz Sheluk is the Amazon international bestselling author of the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short stories appear in several collections.

Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime International, Sisters in Crime – Guppies, Sisters in Crime – Toronto, International Thriller Writers, Inc., the South Simcoe Arts Council, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves on the Board of Directors, representing Toronto/Southwestern Ontario. She splits her time between Alliston, Ontario, and her property on Lake Superior, with her husband, Mike, and their golden retriever, Gibbs.

Gibbs enjoys the view

As an author, I get asked a lot of questions. One of the most popular is, “Where do you get your ideas?” While each author’s answer will vary, I typically reply “From life,” and then I’ll usually cite the premise behind my 2015 debut novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose:

 

A greedy developer comes to town with plans to build a mega-box store on the fictional town of Lount’s Landing’s historic Main Street, thereby threatening the livelihoods of all the indie businesses. That one was inspired by the goings-on in my actual town of Holland Landing (with one major exception: no one in my town was murdered over it).

The idea for my latest book, Past & Present, however, was inspired by death. Gosh that sounds macabre doesn’t it? And yet, it really isn’t. You see, I was trying to come up with a plot for book two in my Marketville Mystery series (the sequel to Skeletons in the Attic) and I was completely stuck. And then, on September 21, 2016, my mother, Anneliese Penz, passed away after a lengthy battle with COPD and a multitude of other health-related issues.

 

Going through her bedroom closet, I came upon a train case, the sort of case you’d have taken for toiletries and the like back in the 1950s. Tucked inside were a variety of documents, including her passport and immigration papers from 1952, documents from the ocean liner she came from England to Canada on (the TSS Canberra), old pictures and postcards…well, you get the idea. The thing is, I’d never seen any of these things before, and my mom never talked much of her life before coming to Canada to marry my father. In short, it was a mystery and the writer in me had to know more. I couldn’t ask my dad: he’d passed away from stomach cancer in 1970 at the age of 42.

I decided to start by researching the Canberra, reaching out to a friend who collects ocean liner memorabilia, and before long, a story was brewing. The end result was Past & Present, and while the story is fiction, the research undertaken by my present-day protagonist, Callie Barnstable, mirrors my own, right down to the occasional (and frustrating) roadblock as she digs into the past of one Anneliese Prei, who came to a “bad end” in 1956.

I’ve dedicated Past & Present to my mother, and the release date falls exactly two years after her passing. I like to think she’s with my father again, watching over me as my journey continues. It’s not exactly like life on an ocean liner, but some days it feels every bit as turbulent as a wild storm at sea…

About the book

Sometimes the past reaches out to the present…

It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?

Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.

It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.

Judy Penz Sheluk’s latest book in her Marketville Mystery series launches Sept. 21st and is available on Amazon in trade paperback, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited: http://authl.it/afj

I checked out Judy’s  amazon author page and see she has written quite a few books – so lots for me to add to the list.  You can also find her on her web page at http://www.judypenzsheluk.com.

Thank you Judy for being my guest.

 

PACKING AND A PROPOSAL

TRAVEL

Earlier This year DH and I went to Prague for a few nights. Another venue to tick off the bucket list. There are so many places I want to see and time is running out – not to mention that the money has already run out.

I’d been fantasising about spending a week there as so many people had told us it was so pretty, but DH found a ridiculously cheap four-day trip which included flights and hotel. I honestly don’t know how they can offer so much for comparatively little money.

Having quickly checked there was no revolution brewing, or recent invasion, I rushed off to pack my suitcase.

view of a man on city street
Photo by Tranmautritam on Pexels.com

Considering I’m a dummy when it comes to techie stuff, I’m an expert on organising. I have a file of lists on my laptop – equipment to pack for hot, cold, warm and in-between weather. It cross checks with lists for a weekend, four to five days and longer trips.

What is more, it’s colour coded too. (Yes, I can hear your gasps of admiration from here)

Orange donates what I will carry in my handbag, pockets etc.

Blue donates what goes into the big suitcase

Green is for the contents in the carry- on bag.

And there is a sub total in purple for all the things that need to go into that little plastic zip-lock bag I will waggle at the customs men.

adults airport architectural design architecture
Photo by Riccardo Bresciani on Pexels.com

On our last few trips I’ve been pulled over every time for extra surveillance. I’ve no idea why and I could get paranoid about it. I’ve stared very hard into the mirror and honestly I don’t think I look like a drug dealer or any kind of criminal come to that.

As I pack, I cross off each item on the list only highlighting stuff that gets put in last minute.

In the meantime, DH casually throws a few things into his case and gives me one of ‘those’ looks and he’s ready to go.

So, next Monday we will set off for Prague.

HISTORY

Isabella of Spain

order of Calatrava

There is a lot of fuss about who should be the next king, with everyone taking sides. The next marriage proposal for Isabella is Don Pedro Giron – he would be politically perfect for one faction. He is old, and revolting and once slobbered all over Isabella’s mother – that is conveniently forgotten.

 

Pope Paul II

There could still be a small problem, as Don Pedro is the Grand Master of the Order of Calatrava and sworn to celibacy, but everyone knows he’s a notorious lecher. He’s also considered vindictive and vain. It will require a dispensation from the Pope too. But that arrives just in time as the marriage is organised with indecent haste. How is poor Isabella going to get out of this one?

Pic above is the order of Calatrava and the one on the right the pope at that time.

AFRICA FACTS

When we started traveling and living overseas in the 1970’s things were very different.

There was no internet – so no Skype, no FaceTime, no WhatsApp and no emails. Communication was by mail – real old fashioned letters composed on real paper with a real pen and folded into envelopes – followed by a trip to the post office, to buy stamps and pop the envelope in the box. Then you had to wait.

Sometimes the letters would not be delivered, or take 3 – 4 weeks in each direction. Questions asking how you were recovering from the flu were so out of date you’d forgotten having had the flu.

Phone calls were astronomically expensive and you had to book them in advance. To make sure the family were at home to take the call, you needed to write weeks in advance and wait for the return letter to arrange the time.

Few of us had phones in the house. So, that often meant a trip to the office to make the call.

africa map for tweet

This map might give you some idea of distances.

It was difficult for family at home to see how big the grandchildren had grown and often birthday and Christmas gifts were aimed at a lower age group.

Most of us got to go home for a couple of weeks every year, others only got leave every two years. While it was great to see friends and family it didn’t take long to realise you were no longer on the same page – as Amie found out on her trip back home.  (to be continued)

AMIE series BLACK FRIDAY 2 X 99C 24 NOV 2017

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

Till next time, take care.

MEET SUZIE ALBRACHT

suzie albricht

Suzie was another of the authors featured in the author promo on Facebook recently.  I’m so pleased to have her as a guest today and thanks to Hannah Howe for organising this amazing roundup of new writers, many I had not met before.  Now you have a chance to meet another one.

 

 

day 1 independent (2)

day 6 independent

All Judy’s books can be found on her Amazon author page.

https://www.amazon.com/Suzi-Albracht/e/B00PB1JNLK

Thank you Judy.

PURE SELF INDULGENCE

Now I hope I’m not too spammy on my blogs, aiming to entertain rather than scream ‘buy my books, buy my books’. But usually on the first Monday of the month I write about general things or have a little rant. That gets it out of my system for the next four weeks. I’m a little behind this September what with having a birthday an’ all and many kind people to thank for their good wishes last Monday.

It was a special occasion.  DH organized a surprise dinner with lots of friends which was amazing. I got a new iPad – except I can’t work out how to transfer my old stuff onto the new one.

Yes, I turned that Biblical number – you know which one that is so don’t pretend. 😊

I also heard the amazing news on the day before that Amie and the Child of Africa had won a gold medal in the Readers’ Favorite Awards AND Amie Stolen Future won a silver. I was over the moon.

A lot has been said that these awards are worthless, and they do nothing for sales. I can’t say that either Amie books has hit the bestseller lists this last week (well I could, but it wouldn’t be true!). For me though the worth of the awards is an affirmation that someone, somewhere believed my books are worth reading. That to me is worth its weight in gold, or silver. I so often fret about the final product.

I was the same with my media work. The moment I finished the final mix on my video and television programmes I wanted to make them better, change bits, work on them, longer. Of course, with broadcast and event deadlines this was never possible. I would shudder when clients watched the final product sure they would find fault, but they seldom did. Then I worried they were too polite to say so!

There was one exception but the changes needed to be made because one of the organizations featured in the programme had been charged with fraud – hardly our fault. The big problem was it happened just before the banqueting ceremony when the film was to be aired. We were behind the scenes re-editing as everyone else was having their dinner!

Dee 3

(OK, SO THIS IS AN OLD PIC OF ME – YOU NOTICED RIGHT?)

What I started to say was that while so many authors are shrieking with joy as they publish their latest book, I would prefer to sneak it out quietly hoping everyone will notice it without me mentioning it at all!

But that doesn’t happen does it?

I think I have finally decided on the title for the next book in the Amie series – book 5. Hopefully out in October.

I’ve also completed two more shorter books, back stories to Amie. One stars Samantha her sister with her boyfriend Gerry on a holiday from hell,

Amie Back Story - Sam-Gerry

And the other is all about Ben growing up in Africa, with some interesting facts many might not be aware of.

Amie Back Story - Ben

They should be out soon.

Till next week when I’ll be back to normal with the travel, history and updates, take care.

Lucinda