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 So that makes the one point in that slide above out of date, but I compiled that a year ago.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

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.

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

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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.

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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

A CASTLE AND CATASTROPHE

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

Of course, the main attraction in Prague is the castle. And, I know why they put castles on top of hills – so they could see who was coming to attack – but I don’t do hills. Luckily there was a bus that took us most of the way up, and dropped us in this square.

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HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

Considering Isabella had never met Ferdinand, I can only think she decided he was the ‘one’ as they were about the same age – she is 19 and he’s all of 18. She would have seen a portrait I’m sure, but boy did the painters in those days lie through their brushes.

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But their royal marriage will be one of the few where the bride and groom are so close in age. Remember, while Disney tells us they lead happy, delightful lives, in reality they were just marriage fodder for the good of their country.

Ferdinand is introduced to her as “His Highness Don Ferdinand, King of Sicily and Prince of Aragon.” Unbelievably, he is indeed the man of her dreams. She is enchanted and Ferdinand? Ferdinand believes she is malleable. However, Isabella does not forget that Castile and Leon are more important than Aragon, Ferdinand will be given the title of King but out of courtesy only. I’m sure he was already planning how to change all that.

AFRICA FACTS

The girls and I grew very fond of Ntebeling and she said many times that she wanted to go on working for us when we moved into a place of our own.

francistown

I was happy about that, but then we were moved, from Gaborone the capital to Francistown 450 kilometres to the north. I was surprised when Ntebeleng said that was fine she didn’t mind moving. A couple of days later she asked if her husband could come too and I agreed. She also added that he could help around the garden if I liked. I liked.

We’d been there less than a week when I began to notice long queues outside our gate every afternoon. Something was going on, but I couldn’t figure out what. Have a guess before next week.

ADD BREAK

I have managed with the help of a kind friend to link my web page to my blog. So you can easily hop from one to the other – and view all my books on my site (hint). I have published 12 so far in 3 different genres, so there is something for everyone.

https://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

The link, just in  case 😊

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

THE DEMISE OF 2018

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

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

But all was not lost as I published 2 back stories

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

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

 

Amie Back Story - Ben

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

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

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

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

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

AMIE 2 WITH ALL 2 MEDALS 2018

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

AMIE 3 WITH ALL 3 MEDALS 2018

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucinda

 

 

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