A TRAILER AND YOUTH TRIALS

I was so thrilled with my very first video trailer which is for the Amie series, so I just can’t resist sharing it with you again, although I understand that over a thousand people have already seen it.

(Oh gosh that worked, such a great surprise!) Huge thanks to the very talented Susan Darlene Faw.

On a more serious note February 6th is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

Yes, I know that it’s a subject that makes people squirm, like those personal adds that pop up in the middle of the Saturday night movie.

Despite that I chose it as a central theme in Amie Cut for Life – is it the teacher in me? Not exactly, I just wanted to raise awareness among the population that the practice of female circumcision is going on and, in some areas even spreading.

I’ve done lots of research on this for the book – and the subject matter there is handled very sensitively it’s an adventure story after all – and if it helps to spread the word … in classrooms, police stations, in communities and to mothers who may be planning to have their children cut.

Check out the slides below there is not one good reason for mutilating young children.

AMIE 4 30 JAN 2018

I read that the practice is not confined to Africa, the Middle East and Indonesia, but among those communities now living in Europe and America. The UK has pledged £50m to help end FGM across Africa by 2030 which hopefully will help but it’s also prevalent in other parts of the world.

Supporters are mothers and family members who believe that girls need this to make them suitable for marriage. It will also prevent them from unfaithfulness and ensure they remain pure for their future husbands.

AMIE book 4 5 JAN 2018

The good news is the first successful prosecution in the UK where a mother had her daughter aged 3 circumcised. She will be sentenced in March. I hope it will be a warning to others. So that makes the one point in that slide above out of date, but I compiled that a year ago.

I think I’d better stop now before I really began to rant!

Check out the book, I think you’ll enjoy it.

AMIE 4 20 NOV 2017

myBook.to/Ac4L

Actually, if you have read this far, the above statement is also a lie! I have 10 ARC copies of book 5 Amie Savage Safari – due out on Feb 26th. Anyone interested?  Drop me an email lucinda@lucindaeclarke.com

Till next time, take care.

Lucinda

Advertisements

RESTAURANT AND RHODESIAN BOILER

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

We stopped off for a quick bite at this cute little restaurant where we were the only people. In fact, most of the area was pretty deserted – possibly because they heard I wanted to take photos without crowds.

1d73abeb-f090-41c4-a58c-ea2fbeedbf7d

a2ad67a3-7e93-474a-bb76-d0391f1fd3a9

If there is a castle to go in, then I go in.

4bbaa8fe-f0f6-4708-9089-2e6494e3a65b

It’s not just a single building but almost a small town, with interlinking courtyards and of course the St Vitus Cathedral up there as well next to the palace.

1c116dcc-0c15-4bfa-894d-91a2de6eb7fd

They began building all this in the 9th century and was home to Presidents, Kings of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperors. A World Heritage site it’s the largest ancient castle in the world occupying 70,000 square metres.

HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

The lovebirds, Isabella and Ferdinand, spend two hours together and renew their betrothal vows before Ferdinand returns to the town of Dueňas to wait for the wedding. The next few days are nerve-wracking. Henry’s forces could arrive at any minute. There is very little money for a wedding, how can you celebrate a royal wedding without money?  The couple are forced to borrow from members of the noble houses.

isabella 3

But, as they say, that’s not all! There is the little problem of consanguinity – yes the pair are both descended from the same ancestor. It will mean a dispensation from the Pope of the time allowing them to marry. And the Pope is friends with …? You guessed it King Henry and the Marquis of Villena who are against the marriage.

Isabella gets a bit difficult at this stage and says that she cannot marry without this dispensation.  She is deeply religious, and although she believes in the divine plan for her nuptials with Ferdinand, if it is not done properly, then God will not look on favourably. Are they ever going to share a bed?

AFRICA FACTS

Last week I told you how we moved 450 kms north taking with us our new Ayah or maid or housekeeper whichever term you prefer. Agreeing she could bring her boyfriend, or husband, I never really found out which he was, at first was a boon. He helped light the Rhodesian boiler every morning. A stone built contraction with a shelf to place logs which were then burnt and heated the oil drum above which was connected to the hot water tank in the house.

rhodesian boiler

It was the only way we could have hot water indoors. But I also mentioned there were long queues of eager looking men outside our gate every afternoon during the hours Ntebling was not working. It took me a few days to work it out, but then the penny dropped when I saw money changing hands. Whether he was married to her or not, Ntebling’s male friend was also her pimp. With two young daughters in the house I just couldn’t risk it and sadly paid them an extra month’s wages and waved them goodbye. It would be cold showers for us until we found a replacement to work that Rhodesian boiler.

THE ADD BREAK

Having stared this year fighting a variety of unwelcome bugs, I’ve not yet launched my latest book. I’ve been dithering whether to just slide it out quietly or make a huge splash and scream about it from the rooftops.

Amie 5 cover 1 hyena

Watch this space, it will be out soon. In the meantime, this is the blurb.

Rare minerals have been found in the north of Togodo and representatives from six of the world’s most powerful nations are desperate to win the contract to mine and export them. The new president Ben Mtumba invites them on safari to bid for the rights. 

 MI5, aware of Amie’s old friendship with Ben, fly her back to spy on him and ensure Britain’s success in the mining venture. Should the new president prove uncooperative, they will support any one of several ministers who are more than willing to replace him as president.

 Between pressure from her own government and her loyalty to Ben, Amie is put in an impossible position, aware that both her life, the life of her unborn child, and Ben’s are all at risk.

 To add to her problems, her fiancé Simon has been sent back to England and she has lost all contact with him. He is unaware of the drama unfolding in Togodo and has information, which, if it came to light would have drastic effects on the safari and the auction.

Till next time, take care.

Lucinda

DEFENESTRATION AND DITHERING

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

Still in the castle, we latched on to an English speaking guide who showed us the few rooms that were open to the public.

b51401f0-dadf-4554-896e-21a64248dbb8

She was particularly eager to explain defenestration, which is the practice of throwing people you don’t like for one reason or another out of windows after which they inexplicably died.

img_5520

In 1618, in an argument over religious freedom, two Regents and their secretary were thrown out of a window on the third floor – 21 metres from the ground. They survived. The Catholics maintained they were caught by angels or the Virgin Mary. The Protestants said they landed in a heap of dung. These days James Bond does that all the time without a hair out of place and not a speck of dirt on his white dinner suit.

HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

Servants are sent poste haste to Rome to get the Pope’s permission for cousins Isabella and Ferdinand to marry. Like the proverbial magician, the Archbishop of Toledo agrees to sort it all out. It is rumoured that he himself wrote out the dispensation.

pope paul ii

 

Are we to believe that Isabella thought a dispensation, to and from Pope Paul II in Rome could be obtained in 4 days? Even using the autobahns it would be pushing it.

While Ferdinand realizes that he is marrying a deeply religious woman, whose devotion to duty is equally paramount, he is also convinced that she is his to command. Ferdinand the adventurer, so worldly, so much the man of action believes that this convent bred girl, a weak female will be subservient. Oh silly man, you have no idea at all have you?

 

AFRICA FACTS

I’m not sure how many people are aware the Africa is probably the richest continent on earth. It has many rivers, wide areas for agriculture and a wealth of precious and useful minerals deep below the ground. Many of its countries have access to the sea and deep water harbours. Trade routes east were established long before Europe was even aware just how big a land mass Africa is. It also has a workforce that, once educated and trained can meet the demands of a modern world.

cimg3616

Sadly, with tribal infighting, civil wars, jostling for power and man’s insatiable greed so many suffer as a result. Will it ever come right? Well for the few at the top, life is pretty good now, except how relaxed they are is anyone’s guess. Only time will tell. In the meantime, maybe life will fall apart in the Old World – who knows!

There are lots of tale about my media work in Africa in my career memoirs, Truth, Lies and Propaganda and more Truth, Lies and Propaganda which may surprise you.

mybook.to/MemTLP                            mybook.to/MoreTLP

Till next time, take care

Lucinda.

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

A CASTLE AND A CHILD

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

More pictures of St Vitus cathedral as I took rather a lot of them and it would be a shame not to share them.

They started to build it in 1344, so as you can see, it’s quite new! I can truthfully say this as it was finally finished in 1929 in time for the St Wenceslas jubilee. The style is Gothic, which is very popular for large churches as they look big and important. Even today you can look in awe and wonder how they built them without modern cranes and machinery.

HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

Ferdinand is trying to reach Princess Isabella to marry her. Eventually, very late the small party of merchants arrive outside the castle of the Count of Trevino. It’s well guarded as the Count is ready for an attack, it’s also well known that he supports Isabella and will give sanctuary to Ferdinand.

Osama castle

(I’m not absolutely sure this is the right castle, but I like the picture and you get the general idea).

The merchant’s party are tired and with no money to buy a meal, they are hungry and thirsty too.  They shout for the drawbridge to be let down, but seeing a party of rough travellers, one of the soldiers pushes a boulder off the top of the battlements.  Ferdinand is almost crushed to death. Obviously, he wasn’t expected.

I told you this was exciting, didn’t I?

AFRICA FACTS

As this bounces out through space and into inboxes, I will be in Miami for the Reader’s Favorite Awards. The book that has won the gold medal is the second book in the Amie in Africa series “Amie and the Child of Africa.”

I got the idea for the story from a news item. On the night of 14-15 April 2014 Boko Haram a fundamentalist group abducted 276 schoolgirls from their school in Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. As far as I know not all the girls have been reunited with their families.

In the first book, Amie loses Angelina the little orphan she adopts when the civil war breaks out and so I put the two ideas together. A fast page turning tale with lots of adventure – pure escapism – pun intended.

Till next time, take care.

Lucinda

STREETS AND SECRECY

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

I don’t think of myself as a travel writer, so it’s always a tussle between noting down what I have seen and taking time to look at things. I didn’t keep a diary when we were in Prague, so I’m relying on my memory here and that’s a very dangerous thing to do.

4CA192A5-3FAD-4052-B6BB-AD1BDE0DDD01

Many of the roads are quite wide and there are tram lines everywhere. We did take a short ride on one on the last day, and they are more fun than riding on a bus, but don’t ask me why – they just are.

Two views from the Charles Bridge.

HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

Now we’re coming to another exciting bit. I left off when Isabella is in hiding but under protection and she has decided it’s time for Ferdinand to come and marry her, but he must be quick. Lots of people want to stop them.

ferdinands dad

 

But there is a problem – isn’t there always? King John of Aragon, Ferdinand’s dad has fallen on hard times and he doesn’t have enough money to fit out his son with all the clobber needed for a royal wedding. Sad eh?

That’s King John on the left.

Ferdinand 5

First though he tries to fool King Henry of Castille – remember he doesn’t want Isabella and Ferdinand to get married. So King John makes very noisy preparations to send a whole retinue to the court of Castille.

Meanwhile, a party of 6 merchants quietly leave for Valladolid which is where Isabella sits waiting.

That’s Ferdinand on the right. Can you see the family resemblance? No, I can’t either.  I just love that saying “Momma’s baby, Poppa’s maybe.”

AFRICA FACTS

There are a total of 54 countries on the African Continent, among which are the 5 poorest in the world –

  1. Central African Republic — GDP per capita: $656 (£535)
  2. Democratic Republic of Congo — GDP per capita: $784 (£639) …
  3. Burundi — GDP per capita: $818 (£667) …
  4. Liberia — GDP per capita: $882 (£719) …
  5. Niger — GDP per capita: $1,113 (£907) …

The two richest are Nigeria and South Africa followed by Egypt, Algeria and Angola. Much of this wealth is due to the minerals beneath the ground, especially the oil in Nigeria and a wide range including gold and diamonds in South Africa.

Maps often distort the size of Africa, this one is more realistic. This shows you how large it is in comparison to other places.

AFRICA REAL SIZE

Often I get carried away and forget to mention my books, but you can find them all here on my Amazon page,

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

or click through from here to my web page.  https://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Whoops, just remembered – Unhappily Ever after my political satire is on sale for $/£0.99 until the end of the month. Picture Fairyland in chaos as the royals wallow in their misery and unhappy marriages and the Green Giant is sent from the Red Party to foment unrest among the happy peasants.

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

MEET MARK MOREY

I’ve lost count of the number of guests I’ve had on my blog, and I have not read all the books featured, but this week is different.

My guest is Mark Morey and I have read two of his books and thoroughly enjoyed them and the third, the one set in Japan is on my kindle and second in the queue to be read and I’m really looking forward to it.

I enjoy his stories as they are set in different countries and the first one that caught my eye was No Darkness as it was set in Zimbabwe.  But Let Mark tell you his own story.

MARK MOREY HEADSHOT

I hadn’t thought of writing fiction until I went to the local library to borrow a book, but couldn’t find anything which interested me.  By that stage I was tired of writing dry, technical dissertations, so I set myself the task of writing something more interesting.  It had to have interesting characters, and it had to have an interesting and unusual setting.  I thought authors better than me have written about many aspects of past and contemporary Western life, so I should tell a story far from that.

morey5-300dpi-3125x4167

My most recent novels please me the most.  No Darkness is set in my wife’s country of Zimbabwe, where we were married and had our honeymoon, and which has been through terrible times since then.  She and her people are the most wonderful people on this planet, and those good people don’t deserve what they’ve been through.  Nobody deserves what they have been through, but particularly not the people of Zimbabwe.  I have an insight into African culture and memories of my time there, which helped to write this story.  I hope those who read No Darkness will understand more about the tragedy of modern-day Africa.

morey5-300dpi-3125x4167 (1)

 

I like contemporary French music.  One of my favourite albums has a song ‘Dans Nos Souvenirs’ or In Our Memories.  I didn’t understand what it was about, until eventually I came across the Armenian Genocide of 1915.  I was quite shocked that I had never even heard of the first genocide, and I was sure that others would be the same.  Indeed, reviews have shown this is the case.  In Our Memories is currently under consideration for the UK school curriculum.

cover

 

The Syrian Civil War is complicated, and I set myself the task of writing Blood Never Sleeps about the rise and defeat of Islamic State in Syria.  For this I got the help of Syrian Kurds, who have translated my novel into Kurmanji Kurdish for use in their schools.  For Westerners, the stoicism of Kurds and Arabs under stress may seem a little distant at times, but this is how they are.  Even in battle, living or dying is in God’s hands, and if you die for a good cause then you will be a martyr.  But there is more to Blood Never Sleeps than battles and war.  These Kurds are aiming not for women’s equality, but for the total dismantling of the patriarchy.  I do thank Komutan Rodja Felat for allowing me to use her and her words in my story.  Also a big thank-you to ‘Clara Raqqah’!

cover_blue

My country of Australia was shaped by the Pacific War against Japan.  My father and my uncle fought in this conflict, while my mother was terrified the Japanese would invade Australia and brutalise her.  At the time it seemed Japan would, but ultimately that was not their plan.  But how did a small nation decide to go to war against the rest of the world; a war they could never win?  After reading a crime novella set in pre-war Tokyo I was fascinated by the setting.  So Ketsumeidan opens in Asakusa, Tokyo in the year 1932, where forces seem determined to drag Japan to war.  I have been to Japan, and when I was younger I lived in Hong Kong and in Korea for a time, so I do understand the Asian way of thinking to a degree.  I have a friend who was born and raised in Japan, who helped me with aspects of Japanese culture.  Finally, a geisha helped me to get my geisha character right.  Ketsumeidan is the most truthful of these four novels.  Almost everything in Ketsumeidan actually happened, and wherever possible I used actual words of the people involved.  A letter by Shumei Okawa, the police interviews with Sada Abe, or the sad story of Chang Jiazhi (her real name was Zheng Pingru).  Zheng even had a Kenpeitai lieutenant as a friend.  It seemed like all the pieces were there waiting to be written, and all it needed was three, strong characters to bring this story to fruition.  For Australians and Americans, the war against Japan is well-known but not necessarily understood; while those in other parts of the world might be surprised that this brutal conflict was being fought two years before Hitler invaded Poland.  But Ketsumeidan is not about war and battles, rather individuals going against the flow because it was still possible that war wasn’t inevitable, and then when war happened; those who truly loved their country had to stop it from destroying itself.

All Mark’s books are available in e-book and print on demand paperback, from Amazon, Apple iBooks and other online retailers.

https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Morey/e/B00I3U8V2S/

Thank you Mark for being my guest this week. I hope lots of readers will check out your books and enjoy them.