BREAKING NEWS

Those of you who have put up with my inane / insane ramblings over the last few months may remember that I hate giving books away for free. It’s not that I’m mean, but when I think of the blood, sweat and tears, the hours of labour, not to mention the cost of editing and the cover design, it’s hard to hand it over for nothing, even though, like many other authors I’m not in it just for the money.

So, at the beginning of this year I decided that if at all possible I’d not give books away – free chapters yes, but not the whole book. Whether I can keep to this remains to be seen.

TLP HIGHER RES

This is all leading up to my news that I am reducing the price of Truth, Lies and Propaganda book 1 to $/£0.99 for five days only.

To tempt you to download it for that ridiculous price, here is an extract:

It’s rare that you get away with trying to cut corners – someone somewhere will always notice – and we fell into this trap in a big way.

We were on another shoot for Durban Tourism. This time they were quite specific about what they wanted. Not just the usual sea, sun and sand, they explained, this is more for those looking for adventure.

“We need to show the different kinds of things the visitors can do, active things.”

“Fine,” we said, “what do you suggest?” Ah, that set them thinking, but eventually they came up with an answer. One of those wildly, adventurous, active things they wanted was fishing in the rock pools off the shoreline.

Now personally I wouldn’t go on holiday to catch fish in rock pools, especially things with claws and teeth, but I guess they knew what they were talking about and knew what normal people really liked to do on holiday. Who was I to question them?  crayfish

This was a larger than normal budget shoot, it must have been for a really big, important expo. We could have real, live models from the modelling agency and, much to my horror, the clients said they wanted real, live fish as well!

I’d planned to stock up on fish props from the local toy shop, or if they didn’t stock plastic crayfish, (I had my doubts about that), at worst I would change that to the ‘ocean fresh’ counter at my local supermarket. But now that wasn’t going to work either if they wanted them alive. Carl knew of a couple in his favourite fish restaurant, but when he went to enquire about them, unfortunately they’d been eaten the night before.

That was plan A and B up the creek, so we moved on to plan C. I would pop down as the fishing boats came in the following morning and purchase a couple of live crayfish from them. No, correction – I would get someone else to go down and buy the creatures, my bravery has its limits.

Plan C wasn’t going to work either. Crayfish were not in season and were nowhere to be found in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Natal. Could we think of a plan D?

Carl was a very keen fisherman and he came up with the bright idea of bringing some crayfish up from Cape Town. He picked up the phone.

On day one of the shoot, we met up with the models at a very smart, colonial hotel just north of Durban. They looked young and absolutely gorgeous, so understandably, I hated them on sight.

Next came Carl, straight from the airport, complete with a large box filled with ice and three crayfish in the back of his SUV. I found it hard to believe they had survived the trip still alive, but I was not about to question their health.

We lugged the camera gear, plus the box of crayfish, through the hotel, past the swimming pool and down to the rocks below. We were joined by the male model, I think he was called Sam, he was the one who would be doing the fishing.

Carl kept the fish in the box until he was ready to shoot the scene, and then slid them into the large, enclosed rock pool. He was not going to show they were in a confined space, but use creative camera angles to suggest they had access to open water and so on. I’m sure you get the picture. We did too.

The crayfish took to the water with glee, and then must have been thoroughly cheesed off when they were immediately recaptured by the male model, muscles rippling in the wind, as he suddenly leapt out of the water holding up one in each hand. You’d think the silly creatures would have learned their lesson the first time round. I could add here that I observed from a very safe distance, just in case they escaped and came my way.

Eventually we got the whole programme in the can (I’m using a little more in-house language speak here) and after the edit, the clients viewed it and were very happy. The clients were very happy for two whole days, until they received a call from a rather irate gentleman, obviously an important crayfish expert, who demanded to know why we were trying to pass off Cape Town crayfish as swimming off the coast of Durban. Didn’t we know that further south the crayfish were bright pink and the pale coloured ones lived near our shores? Or was it the other way round?

Frankly no, we didn’t. Nor apparently did our clients from the Tourism Board. I can’t remember what happened next, but we were in disgrace after that episode. It was no good us whinging about the huge number of awards we had won, or how many other happy clients we could mention. We had got it wrong this time.

umhlanga beachfront

Now as 2017 is the year I learn to market, apparently I need to tell you why you must buy my book and how you can’t live without it.

It’s a great book.

It will make you laugh and gasp out loud.

It will tell you stuff about Africa you didn’t know.

It will tell you what goes on behind the video cameras and how the ‘truth’ is manipulated.

It’s a good read.

It won’t be this cheap again for a long time.

You will enjoy it.

Amazon.com  4.8 on 41 reviews   4.7 on 35 reviews on Amazon.co.uk

And to be extra helpful, here are all the links.

http://amzn.to/2ihtYNf

B& N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/truth+Lies+and+Propaganda    

Apple itunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/truth-lies-and-propaganda/id1146681503

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/truth-lies-and-propaganda

Scribd. https://www.scribd.com/book/321929081/Truth-Lies-and-Propaganda

Inktera http://www.inktera.com/store/title/78827da8-7700-48f0-b070-dbb4f255e162

Did I do all that right? Bear with me, I’m learning.  All comments from you proper marketing people gratefully received!

THE BIG TRIP AND THAT WOMAN – AGAIN!

Well last week’s blog raised a lot of interest and a warm, fuzzy feeling among a lot of writers. I can only say I feel very privileged to be connected to so many clever and creative writers and readers across the world. And, in case you were wondering, it was written to make you laugh about the dreaded marketing monster we all face.  However, this week I’m back on the Big Trip, and a bit more about that dreadful woman (apologies to all royals).

TRAVEL BIT

Now, since writing about the Big trip I’ve been following several other travel blogs and I am so impressed with the meticulous note taking and careful recording. I did keep a small diary, and I do have the itinerary, but it was a year ago now and it’s all getting a big fuzzy (mind I have trouble remembering what I did yesterday!).  In the past I’ve written detailed information, but I missed a lot as I scribbled away – similar to the old days when we travelled and I had my head stuck in a map and saw nothing! Give the guy who invented the GPS a Nobel prize, he deserves it.

We spent several hours at the Bang-Pa Summer Palace and I wanted to share these pictures of this structure in the complex which was all in red.

I was constantly asking the guide questions, but I’m afraid I didn’t get much info from him as to why this building was so different from the others.

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ADVERTISING BIT

If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter just click on this link, books, interviews, back stories, special offers and more. http://eepurl.com/cBu4Sf  amie-back-story-v2-1

 

 

HISTORICAL BIT

Yet again I have to bow my head in shame at the erudite, fascinating well-researched historical articles I read. They are full of interesting facts and information. Well you won’t get any of that here. If you believe a word of any of this, I would be amazed.

Now you may not agree with me that Victoria was a pain in the **** but of course she was there for a very long time, up there on the throne I mean and lots of things happened in the 63 years. She was kept busy a lot of the time being pregnant and having all nine of her children, so Albert and she must have ‘done it’ nine times! In 1853 she had her eighth child Leopold using chloroform to help with the pain. Members of the (all male) clergy were not pleased, they said it was against Biblical teaching, they even said that when having a baby a woman was supposed to suffer. Oh yes? How many of them had had babies? Let them try it just once, with or without chloroform!

VIC FAMILY 1846

Now because so many of the royals had led debauched lives in the past, Victoria wanted to be an example to all the poor, ignorant people who were not kings or queens and show them all how to behave. That’s why she made her family pose for pictures like this. How they kept the children still that long for the painter I’ll never know. Good old Victorian discipline I guess.

PS  I am planning on blogging a second time each week featuring writers and their books. If you would like to be included, just drop me an email, or pm me on my Facebook page.

 

 

 

PLEASE DON’T BE MY FRIEND

The other day I posted the following on my Facebook Timeline.

Dear Prospective Face Book Friend, I do understand that you may be looking for pen pals and maybe even a romantic connection, especially if you are posted abroad in a war zone. However, despite this being a public page, I use it to chat to my reader and writer friends and exchange hints, reviews, and other marketing information. So it’s probably not the kind of page you are looking for – besides, I’m a happily married grandmother, who’s rapidly losing the wrinkle war. I hate to decline friends, so I hope you’ll understand and not make a friend request.

Yes, I know I come across as hard, overbearing and pretty unpleasant, but I’m really a softie inside and I don’t like to refuse a friendship, my page is public after all. The problem is, I don’t like to be rude or offend, but then (like many of us) I get bombarded with virtual roses and bottles of drink and even more flowery comments.

I was also hoping my post would deter the ones from humans who, deep down, may not be genuinely interested in me and my books. For example I had one who asked me what I was wearing. Ah, I thought, s/he was curious about writers and their habits, so I told it (with a name like Alex it wasn’t easy to tell). I’m sitting here I wrote in my usual creative gear, IMG_0726my fluffy red and white pyjamas liberally adorned with red reindeer and Xmas trees (I bought them around Christmas time) under my red furry dressing gown with the rabbit on the pocket, a pair of free airline socks and my favourite reindeer slippers. (They may be mooses, I’m not quite sure).

I was then treated to a picture of my new friend. S/he wasn’t wearing very much at all and what s/he was wearing defied comprehension.  DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!

So with the very best intentions, I hoped my post would not subject me to such heart-stopping shocks, (it’s not good to call the paramedics in too often), this post will do the trick I thought.

Sure enough a few minutes later I got a friend request from a dear little granny living in France. She looked so cute and cuddly, grey wavy hair, delightful smile, pretty dress. Great, I thought another fan friend who has heard about my brilliant books and can’t wait to read them, she might even buy one, or two, or three, or four. I cheerfully pressed accept and said how happy I was to connect with her.

In just a couple of minutes she private messaged me, telling me how thrilled she was to be my friend. She lives in France, and she was dying of cancer. How sad I thought, my fingers were poised to send her virtual hugs, hearts and kisses.  She was a widow previously married to an English entrepreneur, (I hadn’t noticed at this point she had a German surname) and he had been killed in a car crash with their only daughter. I reached for my hanky

IMG_0727

and upped my mental reply to include a bunch of virtual roses (I was trying to decide if a bottle of plonk would be suitable as well in this instance). She continued by telling me she had 10.5 million Euro in the bank and if I promised to donate it to various charities….I could keep 20% for myself.

I groaned. Yes, it’s what we called in South Africa a 411 letter – they want your name, bank account number, the date you stopped being breast fed, your inside leg measurement and all your pin numbers.

What a disappointment. Off I go to Facebook to do the blocking and reporting thing – DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!  But FB do send you a nice apology don’t they – saying they’re sorry you’ve been subjected to this.

They can’t still be catching people out with this scam surely? Did s/he think I was born yesterday? Well maybe looking at my avatar…?

Now the big question of course is, she’s given me her private email address, so do you think I can add it to my Mailchimp list so she’ll get my monthly newsletter? I’m a bit worried she might unsubscribe.

You can subscribe if you like http://eepurl.com/cBu4Sf

IT’S MY EXPLANATION (AND I’M STICKING TO IT)

As one or two of you might know I used to work in the media, and I’ll never forget the awful day when the editor turned to me and asked what the next shot was. Now very few programmes are shot in order, you might even capture the final shot first. I looked down at the script and told him it was the guys climbing the pylon.

edit-studio-sabccrew-shot-0343

“And the in and out points?” His fingers were poised over the controls. I checked the shot list, and then checked it again and again and again, panic rising, heart beat racing, I could even feel my blood pressure shooting skywards. But no, the shot wasn’t there. We had forgotten to film anyone even near the pylon, much less climbing it.

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I still shudder when I remember that moment, and from that day I meticulously made sure that every scene we ever needed was safely in the can.  Over the years I became more and more efficient and we were able to work faster and faster.  –  Patience, I’m coming to the point just now!

Then of course I retired (joke) and I began the book writing thing. My first book languished away on Amazon, picking up less than 2 dozen sales in the first year, until I discovered marketing, or rather the need to market. (Sad to remember I thought that people just ‘found’ books on Amazon and shot you to the heights of the best sellers). I ventured onto Facebook and a kind writer put up my web page and then I dipped my toe in the blog world.

So, blogs were a good way to chat to people. They give you more freedom than a short post on FB and trying to get much of a message out there about anything in less than 140 characters on Twitter was going to need a lot of practice.

So what could I write on my blog? I had no advice for anyone, I had used up most of my experiences in two more memoirs so I began to expand on my silly history of kings and queens of England based on a humorous lecture I’d given locally – entitled All the monarchs in 59 minutes and 3 seconds. It had taken me some time to write and it seemed daft not to use it as it would never see the light of day again.

1066-kings-and-queens

Then came the Big Trip and I really wanted to share this with the world, I was just blown away by the sights and sounds of the Far East. But, there was a problem, I was still fumbling my way through history, I’d only got as far as the Tudors. OK, I thought, I’ll combine them and do half of each.

I was still thinking how clever I was until a couple of writer friends pointed out at lunch yesterday that my blog is totally confusing. “You’re jumping around all over the place” they told me kindly. Readers don’t know what to expect!

Now, I’m getting to the point. It’s all in the planning. If only I could have my time over again for the last few years. For example, I would have realized that I needed to co-ordinate the covers on my Amie series – yes all series have matching covers I know that now – and it’s taking time and money to replace them all.

Amie covers right now – see not matching!

Even the cover of my first book was really amateurism, even though I was so proud of it at the time – and that’s now been changed 3 times.

I’ve learned that you need to build a platform of friends months before you even write Chapter One on the screen, and if you are even thinking of writing a book, practice Twitter, a basic graphics programme, familiarize yourself with analytics and how to format for the sales channels. It’s also helpful to find out how to convert your documents from one format to another, pdf, epub, mobi etc  and how to decide which blog host to choose and set up your page. You also need to suss out the promo sites and which ones give value for money and then there are the key words and the rankings and the … the list is endless. Dozens of people have written books about how to do all this, or whole books on only one topic of all the knowledge which will help you on your way to the top of the charts.

Of course I didn’t even know you had to plan, and let’s face it, often we are not sure what works if anything and to what extent.

The postscript to this is I’m afraid you will have to live with my lack of planning and suffer both the Big Trip and, currently, Queen Victoria a little longer. They will be back next week. We’re coming to the end of both topics and then I’ll be stuck!!

Now I’m sure you’ve noticed that I rarely push my books on here but I would like to mention my new monthly newsletter which will have news about my books and those of other people. Plus a downloadable back story to the Amie series, plus information about the pending court case (that is not serious). I hope I can find the sign up form here again, but if not, please leave a comment and I will happily add your name. Happy to cross promote with other authors, but to start with I am focusing on new releases and books with an African connection.

Oh, one final thing – my Goodreads giveaway is ending in 2 days – for 2 signed paperback copies posted worldwide. Here is the link. https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/217970-amie-an-african-adventure

Till next week.

PLEASE RE-BLOG, PLEASE.

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.)courtroom2

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 lucindaeclarke@gmail.com. I do hope you will.

lucinda-e-clarke

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 ideFeatured Image -- 4372a 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!!

xmas-tree-2016

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.

 

AMAZING AUTHORS

I don’t very often feature other writers on my blog but if I discover their books and I’ve read and loved them, then I want to share them with you.

Colin Griffiths is one such writer.

He was born in South Wales, Cardiff in 1958 and grew up on a council estate built to house the steelworkers. The place was called Underwood, surrounded by trees with just one road in. He was never sent to school – his father was a painter and took Colin to work with him.

Almost everyone worked at the steelworks back then and Colin was no exception. He was a steelworker for 22 years and then studied in his thirties to qualify for teaching and counselling.

He secured a job as national education officer for a trade union, but after 12 years he was made redundant and decided to remain in Yorkshire.

colin-pic

Colin is 58 now and does something much easier, he watches CCTV monitors in a nice warm office. He always wanted to write, and composed poetry in his teens – “they were a bit deep” (his words). He found them 40 years later and published them on Amazon – almost 250 of them – but says they are very raw and unpolished. He also wrote a horror book about Underwood, which he describes as a great grounding for his future books! Colin wrote his first novel ‘Never Say Goodbye’ just two years ago at the age of 56, and he’s currently working on his 10th book.

“I write almost every day, I find it a good release and I often go to bed, and lie awake thinking of ideas and scenarios.”

When Colin discovered self publishing and uploaded his books he received a lot of criticism about editing. (I confess to being one of them).

I didn’t get it at the time. I have to admit and I still don’t know when to use a semi colon. But I do realise now the importance of having an edited book. Grant Leishman has edited five of mine free of charge. He is a diamond.”colin-never-say-goodbye

Colin grew up reading a lot of Steven King books and his own are also in the paranormal or psychological genre. Of the 9 books he’s already published “Life for a Life” is the shortest but the one he holds dearest. He told me the indie author world is a great one and the majority of authors are a fantastic help. He’s come across some whose only intention is to knock and demean. He even had a troll – “in the end it was all so comical.”

colin-and-michelleColin has two children from his first marriage, a boy and a girl and three wonderful grandchildren. Two of his grandsons are talented footballers and he loves watching them play. He’s been married to Michelle for three years, which he says “… proves you’re never too old to find love!”

I still get an amazing buzz when someone purchases one of my books. The thrill of getting a good review is amazing. I write for the love of it now and if people want to read and enjoy what I write, then that is amazing.

I’m certainly in awe of a writer who can write so many books incolin-book-2 such a short time. My personal favourite is The Doll’s House https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017ZCOCCW  The characters in the house come to life at night with murder in mind.

Check out Colin’s books.

Mother  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JLW1A10

colin-book-5Can Francis break the links that tie her to her evil mother? Can David persuade her to lead a new life, with him? Or will her mother stop them?

(Don’t you just love that cover!)

 

 

 

A Life for a Lifecolin-a-life-for-a-life

http://www.amazon.com/dp/BO1F7JKJPO

Gavin was eleven years old when his little brother died. Damien was the youngest of seven when his life was tragically taken away. Did the family pull together in grief?

 

 

Someone Else’s Dream  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EQ1OX7E

It’s been thcolin-book-1ree years since the awful death of his three year old daughter Aimee.. Matt Conner did not take that loss well. For three years he had been medicated to help him deal with his loss. On the third Anniversary of Aimee’s death, he made the mental choice to start …

 

I hope Colin writes lots more books in the future, I’m in awe of what he has achieved against the odds.

Please re-blog and pass the word along to give Colin the publicity he deserves. J