Please will you re-blog this post for me? Yes, I know you’ve not read it yet, but I really, really want to get the word out.
In January I plan to start a new monthly newsletter which will contain the back story to Amie before she went to Africa and the lives of other characters in the trilogy. The first one recounts a major event in Ben’s life which I think you will find both fascinating and interesting. This will only ever appear in my newsletter and never be posted anywhere else.
There will also be early notice of price drops and promos and I will feature and promote books by other authors – so, if you’d like to be included, please contact me.
Most important of all, I will be giving you updates on the full story of the court case as Amie sues me with the intention of preventing me from writing about her any further. Plus she is asking for damages for what I have put her through already. She intends to have all Amie books withdrawn from the marketplace. (Unknown to her, I’m currently writing book 4, and do I have plans for her! Even I feel a little sorry for her sometimes.)
Competitions and chances to win free books will also be a feature several times a year, but I will not overburden your inbox as I only plan to send out 12 issues annually.
I posted news of this on Facebook and one blog follower said she was already signed up as she received notification of my blogs in her inbox. WordPress does not give me your email addresses when you follow. They do all that stuff somewhere in some faceless building somewhere in the United States – or maybe some robot algorhythmically programmed robot does it – so I have no idea how to contact you.
So, to take advantage of this exciting opportunity (who am I kidding?) you can either pm me on my FB page, or drop me a ‘yes’ to email@example.com. I do hope you will.
I’m posting the link to the opening of Amie African Adventure – book 1 with news that the audio book should be ready by the beginning of February – so exciting!
Another piece of news is that Amie is going to have a brand new cover – more in line with the third in the series. I am sad in many ways as I love her original cover, but I need to tell people what to expect in the story. One poor reader bought it thinking it was a cosy tourist trip to Africa and got quite a shock.
A last thought. If you haven’t an idea what to buy for a particular person this Christmas, the trilogy in paperback might be suitable? Ignore Amazon’s pronouncement that it’s not available – no idea why they put that up – all three books are for sale.
I’m scribbling this quickly while DH is out buying more Christmas lights. As we unpacked them we remembered he sniffed loudly and asked me last year what I was cooking, it smelt appetizing. “Nothing,” I told him. It was the lights. One string was about to burst into flames and burn the house down. Then I must decorate the tree, won’t take long, it’s only 80 cm high!!
Uh, yeah you can tell tree decorating does not come high on my skills list either!! Well I tried.
Till next week, when I’m back in the Far East, at least here on the blog. Happy shopping.
Sadly I waved goodbye to the ellies, counting my fingers and toes in the car on the way down the hill to make sure I wasn’t a missing a bit. (Yes, I know elephants are vegetarian). We’d heard some horrific stories about the bad treatment some of them had suffered at the hands of their owners and one poor beast was hobbling around on three legs after stepping on a landmine. I was, however, only suffering from a sore toe. I’d watched the handlers smashing those large watermelons on the ground before feeding them to the elephants. That looks easy I thought what fun, and tried it as well – result, a bruised foot. I guess it takes practice and some spare feet.
We returned to our very posh hotel in Chiang Mai through the rush hour traffic which was quite horrendous
and the largest suite we’d stayed in for a long time. We could have hired a courier to pass messages from one end to the other. Don’t you just love the condoms on offer?
Just across the road we investigated this market with all kinds of interesting food on sale.
But wimpishly, we saw an Irish tavern and treated ourselves to some very European steak and potatoes, which was a change from the rice and vegetable diet more typical of the Far East.
Some beautiful, tall women came and greeted us, gorgeously dressed. I could have kicked myself later when DGH explained (in rather pompous tones I thought) they were examples of the transvestites who are common in the city. I didn’t take pictures! They hovered for a while and perhaps they were hoping to earn a few dollars by posing for the diners. I think we were the only diners there who weren’t local residents.
Now William probably didn’t notice the industrial revolution. He was too busy in his palace siring 10 illegitimate children. He attempted to sire at least 1 legitimate heir, but that didn’t work out too well. Mind, by the time he became king at the age of 64, he was probably getting a bit past it. Two of his children born on the wrong side of the blanket had died. He had them all with his mistress an actress (still a rather scandalous occupation in those days) Dorothea Jordan (born Dora Bland) with whom he lived with for twenty years.
I get a hint here that he wasn’t terribly fond of his wife. To begin with it was an arranged marriage to begat an heir, and even before the union William had written to his eldest son, “She is doomed, poor dear innocent young creature, to be my wife.”
I think she must have been quite easy going to accept the marriage – it came with a hefty sum of money from parliament but since William was 27 years older than her, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen spent many happy hours in Marks and Spencers spending most of it. On good days she popped into Harrods, especially at sale time.
Have a great week, a safe Halloween and don’t forget my new book comes out on Thursday the 3rd in the Amie series – Stolen Future, which is on pre-order right now.
This is the extra blog I threatened you with – it’s the cover reveal for my new book out soon.
It’s the third in the Amie series, remember her? She left – no she was dragged out of – England by her husband Jonathon to go and live in Africa. In Amie an African Adventure.
(I would like to add here that Amie book 1 is out in Spanish and very soon will be available in Italian). Amie settles into her new life but then comes to the unwelcome attention of a Colonel in the army who forces her to do something that she really doesn’t want to do (I’m trying not to give too much away here). Then civil war breaks out, and soon she is fighting for her life. She changes from being a naive, indecisive drip to being a brave, indecisive woman.
I am really thrilled she has an Honourable Award in Fiction – Action in the Reader’s Favorite Awards 2016. She was also the winner of the Adventure category in the Pinnacle Awards 2016 and got a bronze in Popular Fiction –Adventure genre in the Global eBook Awards 2016.
In book 2 Amie goes off in search of the foster child she lost during the civil war. She doesn’t realize that this will bring her up against an fanatical terrorist organization with international connections. She needs all the skills she’s learned to survive – but she ignores the witch doctor’s advice and suffers the consequences in Amie and the Child of Africa.
Book 3 Amie, Stolen Future sees Amie and her husband returning to Africa, but the terrorists have neither forgiven nor forgotten and they are determined to take their revenge. Amie is left powerless and forced into a life she never expected. She has a new employer, forced to do what they ask of her. She has become a mature, still a little indecisive, woman but danger follows her everywhere. Her future has been stolen and once again she struggles to survive not knowing who she can trust.
My editor tells me this is the best Amie book yet, in fact she’s very, very enthusiastic about it – I hope readers will like it as much.
Release date, hopefully early November in both paperback and ebook.
If I can threaten blackmail persuade you to sign up to my newsletter list, I am planning to release the first chapter to those on the list. You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll gladly add your address.
If you read this blog regularly you may remember that every time we take a holiday something goes wrong. And this time was no different except it all happened before we even left home. When I go away I make a big production out of it, it’s all part of the fun. The house has to be squeaky clean, the washing up to date and I’m packed hours and hours before we leave – from my pre-made list of course.
This time was no exception, and to keep the kitchen nice and clean we set out for our favourite pasta place in the village. IT HAD GONE!! We stared dumbfounded at the empty store till a kind man told us it had moved to the next small town. Off we went but failed to find it, so back to our village, parked the car and went to eat somewhere else. An early night we agreed as we had to be up before dawn for the drive to the airport. Back to collect the car only to find it was locked in the underground parking garage – huge steel shutters between us and our transport. Another kind passerby suggested the police station might have a key. So back up 3 flights of steps and into the cop shop. They were sympathetic, but no they didn’t have a key, could we come back at 8am when the garage opened? No, we couldn’t we had a plane to catch. We pretended we were tourists and luckily I had my passport already packed in my bag. Mind, they could tell we weren’t local, not with my level of Spanish. Wait outside, they told us. So we sat on the steps and waited and waited until finally we were told to hurry back to the garage. There a friendly cop was playing with the metal doors as they shot up and down. Having taken our details in the office DH was escorted to the car and he was able to drive out.
We landed in Amsterdam and being me I had to see everything. First it was the Royal Palace
Then a daylight cruise on the canals so we could see where we were going. Then a visit to the Sex Museum.
A stroll through the Red Light District.
The next day we made for the Rijksmuseum to see the Night Watch.
Whoops wrong pic
Then to the diamond museum where we bought nothing at all of course – and on to the Van Gough Museum with a special exhibition about his madness – oh so many of us writers have exactly the same frustrations don’t we? I felt a real affinity with him.
And here I am on my birthday in the middle of a fountain.
The Heineken Brewery was next, even though I don’t like beer.
A church with an impressive organ and after dinner a night cruise on the canals. Then a walk through the Red Light District, visiting the Museum of Prostitution, and I have to hand it to Amsterdam, it’s regulated, open, honest and treated just like any other business. No pics here of course, but the girls looked absolutely beautiful. Millions of story lines flew round my head – why were they here and not starring in Hollywood?
Next day we visited the Jewish Historical museum and the Museum of Resistance which was amazing – but a little uncomfortable as it all happened not too long before I was born. Then the Red Light District. However, I must explain that our hotel was on the fringes, and as we are a little old for the nightclubs, the coffee bars in the area are humming late into the night.
Finally on our last morning we had a meet up with a FB friend Val Poore and that was magic. We have so much in common and we’ll be getting together again very soon. DH didn’t nod off either as we chattered about books and books and books and previous lives.
And the elephant dentistry? We found the perfect picture for the cover of Amie 3. She meets a lone bull who is frantically looking for a female to love, so he’s unpredictable and dangerous. Only problem with the pic is this ellie only had half a tusk. So we sent him off back to South Africa where my clever photographic friend worked Photoshop magic and gave him a smart new pair. I decided to stop at that.
Finally, thank you to all the people who sent kind birthday wishes, I’ve tried to thank everyone personally, but if I missed some, please forgive me.
Did you miss me last week? No, I thought not. Well for the last seven days I decided to get my head down and go over Amie 3 once again thoroughly before sending her off to my editor. I’d sent a very early draft through to DH and he found a few things wrong (of course he would).
So, come the morning we sit down together and I steel myself to hear the worst.
ME: Well you can’t complain this time that she never goes off for a pee. She spends half her time in this book behind one bush or another. Her plumbing system is in full working order.
DH: OK I noticed that but there are still no sex scenes.
ME: I’m not sure my readers are looking for gratuitous sex, and I don’t use many swear words either.
DH: I’m not talking bondage and erotica here but you’ve just told me she’s a healthy young woman. She has needs. (Every man’s dream right?)
ME: You know I find sex scenes a little tricky. It must be the most undignified way to behave sober there is. And how can I possibly ever describe it better than millions before me? He whips his clothes off, she rips her clothes off and they wriggle around for a while praying she won’t get pregnant.
DH: I still think you’re cutting it too short you could go into a little more detail. Right, what about this boring bit in the middle?
ME: Boring? And what bit would that be? I can’t have her racing about on every page, it’s not natural surely. Fast paced is one thing, frenetic is another. Look we have her (spoiler) and then she takes refuge in (spoiler) and isn’t this bit (spoiler) exciting?
DH: She’s crying again.
ME: Well I’d cry if I saw (spoiler).
DH: You might, but then you’re not superwoman.
DH: She’s a strong heroine, and I think you’re basing her too much on yourself.
ME: What! Hardly!
DH: Well no, not the brave stuff, that’s not you, but she’s still snivelling an awful lot, toughen her up.
ME: But she’s survived so far, that makes her tough. She’s not an Olympic weight lifter or a body builder. I want my readers to like her and feel for her. If she’s too tough they won’t relate to her will they? If you had your way she’d be dressed in black leather with boots and a whip!
DH: Now that’s an idea.
DH: You want to sell to both men and women right?
DH: Then make her strong, not wet and drippy.
ME: Amie won’t appreciate you saying that.
STRANGE LOOK FROM DH, HE MOVES A LITTLE FURTHER AWAY ROUND THE TABLE.
ME: It’s a writer’s thing our characters live in our minds they are real people.
DH: There’s not enough detail, all these guns for example. What size calibre are they?
ME: Ah, now I did lots of research on the net and I did play with a gun once and those cartridge thingies…
DH: (RAISES EYEBROWS) Magazines?
ME: Yes those things it’s really hard to load the bullets into them and they hurt my fingers. I had a couple of dates with the policeman in Durban and he let me play with his.
DH: (EYEBROWS FURTHER UP) His what?
ME: His gun! I must have had a premonition I would need that experience one day so I asked him to show me where the bullets went and how to load them. It took me over an hour to get all six slotted in against that spring.
DH: Figures. Good thing you weren’t in a shoot out at the time. Now Amie has a car in Durban, what kind?
ME: Does it matter?
DH: Of course it does, people want to know that.
ME: (MUTTERING) If you insist, I’ll give her a Corolla, they make assemble those in Durban.
DH: And a 737 will never get from London to Johannesburg.
ME: Good point, I’ll up that to a 747. So is it as good as the other two? Did it hold your attention? Did you find it exciting?
DH: I read it all the way through didn’t I?
(DH GETS UP TO MAKE COFFEE.)
Well at least I had a nice email from my editor this morning and she says it’s the best thing I’ve written so far (she’s terribly good at the sugar coating stuff), but of course there is lots of work to be done, including my tautologies – I really must look that up, I wonder what they are?
On the brighter side, Amie 1 an African Adventure got a Bronze in the Global E Book awards in popular fiction, so that cheered me up.
Now I admit I am only half way through it, but when I heard that CeeCee James had brought out a new book I was thrilled and clicked to buy. This time it’s a murder mystery set in a small American town when the local car dealer salesman is found crushed to death under a train. I am dying (ha ha) to know what happens but sheer self discipline sees me writing this blog instead.
I first came across CeeCee’s books reading her memoirs, as she also had a tough childhood. Now she has continued her writing career with I think her first novel. Good luck CeeCee holding thumbs.
Here is the link. https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Taste-Murder-Angel-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01INPHQJQ/
Some of you may have received an email from me about a competition run by author Paula Wynn. It’s a chance to win almost 30 free books – quite enough to keep you occupied throughout the summer – and some will be in paperback format. It’s a mixed bag with fiction, non fiction and a children’s book. It’s simple to enter and I think (you know how untechie I am) this is the link you click on. It closes this weekend so you only have a couple more days to enter.
The link is here : http://bit.ly/29aEN1v (you’ll have to do the cut and paste thing as it doesn’t seem to work on its own)
Take a peek at the books.
There is other author who has left me in the dust and gasping in admiration. Her name is Michelle Monet and she is writing her first memoir and asked for a couple of tips, (she has some silly idea I know what I’m talking about). I had no idea she was so famous and so brilliantly talented. She was a Barbra Streisand tribute singer for years until it all got too much for her. Then she became a very successful artist and PBS even made a programme on her. She’s still working on her memoir, but in the meantime she has brought out an illustrated book of poetry. It’s in paperback for now, and here is the link.
Reviews from both should be up on Monday, and now you know what I’ll be reading this week.
OK, I can’t resist it. Here is a banner of all my books. You can have any one of them for FREE if I may add your email address to my mailing list – either leave in the comments below, or through a pm on my Facebook page (I’ll check my hidden messages and it’s private) and immediately an e.copy of your choice will be winging its way through the ether. There are six of them to choose from in three different genres.
Anyone (and I believe there are one or two who read my rubbish!) may have noticed that I rarely comment on politics or religion or similar controversial topics in my blogs and posts. But for once I thought I would make an exception here as the early chapters of the first Amie covered my take on the way I saw Africa.
I have had some amazing reviews, including the following:
This world we live in is an often ugly and dangerous place. And those of us privileged to live in a first world country too easily forget that. The story then has redeeming qualities beyond being just a great read; it’s the kind of book you read and then go out and change the world. It’s why people become activists, coming up against this kind of pain and suffering, and this kind of injustice when they find it in the world. Sadly, nightly news numbs us by comparison at a time in history when we all need to be fighting for something and for someone. For this reason, this is the kind of book they need to teach in high school, college, and hand out at community centers.
In any less capable hands, I’m fairly convinced I would have put this book down. It’s dangerous writing, and that’s why few authors attempt it. If your subject matter terrifies people, you still have to hold on to them, make sure they resist the urge to put the book down. The author deserves five stars, thus, not just for writing a memorable tale, but for picking a story to write that few people can write, fewer can read, but that we’d all like to say we did.
And many people (though not all) acknowledged that having lived in Africa for over thirty years, I had a fair idea of how things tick on the Dark Continent – from the point of a white resident.
In the early nineties I was commissioned by The Sowetan editor Aggrey Klaaste who introduced the concept of “nation building” which was basically a self-help initiative to persuade Africans away from ‘the give me’ attitude to the ‘do things for themselves’ point of view. He was an amazing man and impressed me by his views and insight.
One of my main reasons for writing Amie was to share my beliefs that it is not the colour of a person’s skin that characterizes their behaviour but the mindset, culture, aspirations, expectations, lifestyle and beliefs that define them. I added more information in the Truth, Lies and Propaganda series.
I repeated this on The Authors Show interview. But it is only fair to include the view from another perspective and it’s certainly food for thought.
The article below was written from a black point of view. It was published in the English language newspaper The Sowetan and written by Prince Mashele, a South African national who holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Rhodes University, South Africa. Before becoming Executive Director of CPR, he was Head of Crime, Justice and Politics Programme at the Institute for Security Studies. He also worked as a speechwriter in The Presidency, and in the research unit of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa. Prince spends time analysing a range of areas on contemporary African politics and is a prolific writer on a multiplicity of issues.
By Prince Mashele | May 09, 2016 SOWETAN
In the midst of the political confusion that has gripped our country many people are wondering if we have come to the end of South Africa.
The answer is simple: the thing called an “end” does not exist, not in relation to a country. SA will be there long after Jacob Zuma is gone.
What Zuma has done is to make us come to the realisation that ours is just another African country, not some exceptional country on the southern tip of the African continent.
During the presidency of Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, some among us used to believe that the black people of SA are better than those of other African countries.
We must all thank Zuma for revealing our true African character; that the idea of rule of law is not part of who we are, and that constitutionalism is a concept far ahead of us as a people.
How else are we to explain the thousands of people who flock to stadiums to clap hands for a president who has violated their country’s constitution? Such people have no idea of constitutionalism.
Now that we have reclaimed our place as another African country, we must reflect on and come to terms with our real character, and imagine what our future portends.
In a typical African country, ordinary people don’t expect much of politicians, because people get tired of repeated empty promises.
In a typical African country, people have no illusions about the unity of morality and governance. People know that those who have power have it for themselves and their friends and families.
The idea that the state is an instrument for people’s development is a Western concept, and has been copied by pockets of Asian countries.
Africans and their leaders don’t like to copy from the West. They are happy to remain African, and do things “the African way”.
The African way is rule by kings, chiefs and indunas in a setting of unwritten rules. Is there anyone who has seen a book of African customary laws?
The idea that a commoner can raise questions about public money spent on the residence of a king is not African. The ANC MPs who have been defending Zuma are true Africans.
Asking a ruler to be accountable is a foreign – Western – idea. In a situation where there is conflict between a ruler and laws, Africans simply change the laws to protect the ruler. This is why no single white person has called for King Dalindyebo to be released from jail.
The problem with clever blacks is that they think they live in Europe, where ideas of democracy have been refined over centuries.
What we need to do is to come back to reality, and accept that ours is a typical African country. Such a return to reality will give us a fairly good idea of what SA’s future might look like.
This country will not look like Denmark. It might look like Nigeria, where anti-corruption crusaders are an oddity.
Being an African country, ours will not look like Germany. SA might look like Kenya, where tribalism drives politics.
People must not entertain the illusion that a day is coming when SA will look like the US. Our future is more on the side of Zimbabwe, where one ruler is more powerful than the rest of the population. Even if Julius Malema were to become president, it would still be the same.
African leaders don’t like the idea of an educated populace, for clever people are difficult to govern. Mandela and Mbeki were themselves corrupted by Western education. (Admission: this columnist is also corrupted by such education.)
Zuma remains African. His mentality is in line with Boko Haram. He is suspicious of educated people; what he calls “clever blacks”. Remember that Boko Haram means “Against Western Education”. The people who think we have come to the end of SA don’t realise that we have actually come to the beginning of a real African country, away from the Western illusions of exceptionalism. Those who are unsettled by this true African character need help. The best we can do for them is to ask them to look north of the Limpopo River, to learn more about governance in Africa.
What makes most people restless about the future of SA is that they have Western models in mind, forgetting that ours is an Africa country.
The idea that a president can resign simply because a court of law has delivered an adverse judgment is Western. Only the Prime Minister of Iceland does that; African rulers will never do that.
Analysed carefully, the notion of SA coming to an “end” is an expression of a Western value system – of accountability, political morality, reason, and so on. All these are lofty ideas of Socrates, Kant, Hegel, and so on. They are not African.
All of us must thank Jacob Zuma for introducing us to the real African Republic of South Africa, not some outpost of European values.
As Diana tells Amie “Democracy is not the African way, one man, one vote, once.” I think Prince Mashele would agree.
Lastly thank you to all those who voted for Amie 2 in the ReadFree’ly competinion, she came in at #17 and got a lovely new sticker 🙂