MEET TRACY BLACK

I was so pleased when Tracy agreed to be a guest on my blog as I really admire her books. She’s what is now called a hybrid – both traditionally and indie published. But it’s the story of her tremendous courage and how she survived her childhood abuse that is so amazing.

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Hi, my author name is Tracy Black – yes, a pseudonym. It’s sad that I have to remain invisible. Why? For legal reasons seemingly, but a lot of readers, old and new, know the real ‘me’. I was only five years old when my mother was hospitalised for the first of many occasions, leaving me in the care of my father. His behaviour, seemingly overnight, changed from indifferent to violently abusive and, for the next seven years, I was sexually and physically abused by my father, his friends, and my own brother. All of the men were in the British Armed Forces.

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Tracy’s father compounded the abuse by sending her to babysit for his paedophile friends – whilst their own children slept in other rooms, these men would find excuses to leave later or return earlier than their wives in order to abuse her, with her own father’s blessing. When she sought help and safety the doors were closed as the authorities closed ranks.
In this shocking and compelling book, Tracy Black pieces together the jigsaw of a story that has haunted her for the past forty years. She reveals the horrific betrayal of trust perpetrated by men who were considered upstanding citizens and heroes.
Tracy’s tale reminds us all of the terrible ways in which paedophiles work and the secrets too many children are forced to carry alone. It is only now that she can tell her full story of recovery.

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Tracy continues her shocking story by telling how her mother closed her eyes to the cruelty, treating her little girl with cold indifference. Heartbreakingly Tracy traded her innocence for the love of her mother – love which was never given, no matter how much she suffered. As Tracy approached adulthood, she risked being trapped in damaging sexual relationships. But after years of struggle, she found the courage to break out of her past and turn her life around.

Tracy’s third novel is called Things Fall Apart.

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It’s an emotional journey of awakening, through broken trust, heartbreak, and family conflict. Despite being at the depths of despair, in the face of adversity, there is always a belief in the promise of a hopeful future. This is a coming of age story with a difference. Thirty-five-year-old single mother Mandy is forced to mature and grow up quickly in this incredible chronicle that takes us from the blindness of naivety into pain, despair and eventually, at great cost, the maturity of hard-won wisdom.
Set in the mid-nineteen-eighties in Edinburgh, a city dubbed as the drug’s capital of Europe, a place where Mandy faces a mother’s worst nightmare. The warning signs are staring her in the face, but at first, she doesn’t heed them. All she wants to do is love, nurture and protect her family, but despite all her efforts she has to stand by, watching helplessly as it fragments, and things fall apart. How does she bring things to a peaceful conclusion? Is it even possible?

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Adult survivors of any PTSD may find Coping Mechanisms a blessing in disguise as it incorporates stories of surviving adults and how they get through flashbacks.

 I hope you take the time to read some of my work. Please feel free to email about everything and anything.

tracyblack05@gmail.com

Links to all the above books can be found on my Amazon Author page Author.to/myAmazonpage

https://tracyblackauthor.wordpress.com/never-a-hero-to-me/

Thank you so much, Tracy, it’s been an honour to have you on the blog and having read your books I cannot recommend them highly enough.

If any authors would like to be featured on my Thursday Guest Blog, please pm me on Facebook, or you can write to me lucinda@lucindaeclarke.com.

Till next time take care.

 

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A SERIOUS IN BETWEEN POST

Just for once this is a serious post as I want to raise awareness of something that is going on in dozens of countries, including the United States and many places in Europe. It’s a theme I chose for my latest book and the more I researched it the more horrified I became. FGM is a topic only ever discussed behind closed doors, many people have never even heard of it.  

Then this popped up on my timeline on Facebook. It’s written by Serena Cairns and personalizes the fears and feelings of a young girl. It tore at my heart and I think it will tear at yours too. How long must we wait for men and women to be regarded as humans, different, but equal? Women are not possessions neither should they be second class citizens.

With reference to your latest novel, Lucinda, I thought you might like this very short piece.

My name is unimportant. I am twelve years of age. Today, I am to become a woman.

I must submit to tradition; endure humiliation and pain at the hands of those I love.

I am told that I am to be cut, but this is not Africa or Egypt, or India. This is England, and I do not live in ignorance. I know.

Today, I shall have my arms tightly clasped behind me, be pinned down on a stool, naked and afraid, my legs prized apart and held by those I have trusted.

It is no use screaming. Neighbours and passers-by will not hear me above the hi-fi and TV. I cannot ask for help in a world full of strangers.

A woman I do not know will kneel before me, light reflecting off the blade in her hand. I shall feel excruciating pain, feel the warmth and smell the blood, whilst I am held, hacked and mutilated.

If I struggle, I put my life at risk. A severed artery is all it takes.

I’m told I should be proud. I’m told I must be thankful my parents see fit to follow tradition.

I do not understand why I should be glad.
I know only that I risk infection and impairment to my walking.
I know to expect painful periods and incontinence as I grow older.

When I marry, I must be cut again to allow my husband penetration.

When I give birth, again I must be opened and risk painful tearing. Perhaps my husband will insist I be re-stitched between children.

I shall be deprived of my sexuality.

I am afraid.
I do not want to become this woman, this adult.
I do not want to feel the searing pain down there. Not now, not ever.

I want to run, to hide but there is nowhere to go, nowhere where they will not find me.
Who can I tell?
How can I turn against my mother, my family, my culture?
How can I betray them? I cannot.

Where is the reason?
Where is my consolation?
Where is justice?
They are not here.

Today, I am to become a woman.

Serena was aware of FGM long before I ever heard about this cruel practice. It has no medical benefits and appears in no religious teachings.

Please spread the word, education is the key to help stop this inhumane practice. Even in North America, it’s still perfectly legal in many states and there have been very, very few convictions for those adults who mutilate young girls. Over a hundred cases are reported by the British National Health Service every week and so far there has not been one conviction. Many people are not even aware of it. Two million young girls worldwide are at risk.

It’s simply heartbreaking.

 

THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN OFTEN

I’m trying to type this up with my eyes closed and that’s not easy for me as I’ve never learned to touch type. I do so hate this self-promotion stuff, but as DH informed me in ‘that’ kind of voice if I don’t tell anyone I write books then no one will buy them.

So I suggested he write this blog and got ‘that’ look. DH wouldn’t touch Social Media with a bargepole. He must be the only person on the planet who doesn’t have a Facebook page and has only learned that Tweets exist since they’ve been showing Donald’s efforts on the BBC news. He’s just told me to stop whinging and get typing. (Rumour has it he was browsing the yacht chandlers yesterday, but I’ll be lucky if I can afford a bath sized boat for him to play with – which I wouldn’t buy anyway as we only have a shower).

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Big breath and here goes: My first memoir Walking over Eggshells is on sale until Monday at $/£0.99 if you want to grab it cheaply – available on all outlets. myBook.to/WoE

The blurb is:  Walking Over Eggshells is an autobiography that tells the story of a mentally abused child, who married a “Walter Mitty” clone. They moved from England to Kenya, from Libya to Botswana and on again to South Africa. It took all her courage to survive in situations that were at times dangerous, sometimes humorous, but always nerve wracking. She had a variety of jobs, different types of homes, and was both a millionairess and totally broke. She met royalty, hosted ambassadors, and won numerous awards for her writing and television programs. She also climbed over garbage dumps, fended off bailiffs, and coped being abandoned in the African bush with a seven-week-old baby with no money or resources. She admits to being the biggest coward in the world, but her survival instincts kicked in and she lived to tell her story. This book will make you laugh and cry and hopefully inspire others who did not have the best start in life either. 

This morning WoE rose to the giddy heights of 242 overall in paid Kindle books on Amazon but of course, I had a little help from BookBub, no, make that a lot of help! And, as they do, it’s sinking a bit now, but I was there with the screen shot. And the little yellow sticker has gone too and I only blinked once! You may say “Oh how sad Lucinda” here. But I am thrilled with over 600 sales since BB did not accept it for America. WoE is also up for a paperback giveaway on Goodreads, closing date September 10th. That comes with a free bookmark and a pen – that’s the best I can do, I live in Spain and the postage is too expensive for mugs and aprons, wall hangings and Lucinda E Clarke pyjama sets. https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/241508-walking-over-eggshells

As I’m getting ready to put the 4th book in the Amie series up on pre-order, I’ve also dropped the price of book 1 to $/£0.99.

Amie – African adventure – in case you might like to meet her. As far as I know she is the only female spy in Africa – though that doesn’t happen until book 3. And the blurb for that is:

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Just an ordinary girl, living in an ordinary town, with nothing but ordinary ambitions, Amie Fish is plunged into hot water when her husband is posted to a country she’s never heard of. Amie’s ability to adapt and make a life for herself in equatorial Togodo lands her in more trouble than she could have imagined, her life is threatened and everything she holds dear is ripped away from her. She is left fighting for her life. If she could have seen into the future, she would never have stepped foot on that plane.

It’s got lots of nice reviews and you’re not taking a massive chance at that price, are you? And, if you’re enrolled in KU it won’t cost you a cent. myBook.to/Amie1   

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And, there’s more. I launched part one of my free book The very Worst Riding School in the World at the end of June and to date, it’s had over 1,200 downloads pushing that to #1 in genre on 5 Amazon sites.  myBook.to/WRS

Finally, if you still need reading material here’s a final reminder for the big book competition http://bookhub.online/book-giveaways/super-summer-reads-giveaway  press the link to enter before it ends on Sunday.

That’s all from me until Thursday and another author to meet, I so prefer that 🙂  And if you’d like to share this post, I really won’t mind 🙂 (Luckily you can’t see me grovelling at this point, it’s not a pretty sight!)

Take care.

 

MEET CEECEE JAMES

CeeCee was one of the first people I ever met through social media and the accounts of her early life are quite harrowing – she had a really hard time. I can relate to that, but her story makes you want to cry. After writing two books, on her childhood she has now broadened out into the ‘cozy mystery’ genre and doing really well.  I am so thrilled that her life changed around and she is not only successful, but enjoying her writing and well-deserved success. This is what CeeCee sent me.

I’m one of those weird people who’ve always wanted to be a writer. When I was in elementary school, I’d beg the teacher to let me read the stories that I’d written to my classmates in place of the classics she liked to soothe us with after we ran in sweaty and energized from recess. I’ll never know if the students preferred my stories to Robinson Crusoe, as I was so caught up in sharing my world of a soldier returning from war. But the students were silent and the teacher was pleased, and so I had many chances.

As I grew older, I filled notebook after notebook with vignettes and poems. In junior high, I once submitted a few poems to a contest that our local newspaper held. Imagine my surprise when, a week later, my friend thrust the newspaper into my hands on the school bus and I saw my poems won first, second and third place.

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Life wasn’t easy growing up, as it isn’t for many of us. Through foster care and many moves, my notebooks became a safer world, one where I could both spread my wings, and have roots with a pretend family.  Sadly, it was during one of those moves where I lost my notebooks.

 

 

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But I never lost the stories. As an adult, the first book I published was my memoir, Ghost No More—my personal story of beauty culled from the ashes of my childhood. It was always my hope that I could validate my readers in their stories of what they’ve overcome, as well as encourage anyone who needed to hear that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Ghost no more is a #1 best seller

The rest of my childhood imaginary worlds trickled out in several of my fiction series. Now I’ve settled down in my favorite genre, cozy mystery. And I’m incredibly thankful I still get to make up stories to entertain anyone who wants to listen.

Thank you CeeCee, a very brave and talented lady.

SINGAPORE AND A STUFF UP

TRAVEL SECTION ON THE BIG TRIP

Why did I like Singapore? It was neat, clean and well ordered, music to my Virgin Virgoan mind. One thing I noticed was the correct following distance between cars – two lengths between each while everyone managed to keep up a very respectable speed. I kept pointing this out to DH who tends to drive up other people’s bumpers but the only relpy was an indecipherable grunt.

We found this amazing place and I’m not sure we should have been in there, it was deserted, but it seemed to the entrance to flats or offices.

Gives a whole new dimension to the cafe downstairs!

HISTORY NONSENSE

Edward VII was right when he reckoned he would only reign for a short time, it was 9 years, not long besides his mother who’d been sitting on that throne for 63 – though the doctor did give her something for the chair sores.

But Bertie had a long life to look back on. In general the people though he’d not been a bad king, at least he got out and about unlike mum who sat inside and sulked.

THE STUFF UP

I’ve often said that those who got into the market place early had an amazing start, in the days before a new book was uploaded every 5 minutes. I should have been one of them as I published Walking over Eggshells in 2013, but then I knew nothing about marketing – not sure I know much now – so I sat with my book on Amazon and was surprised to see I’d sold 37 copies in that first year. I had no idea if anyone was going to buy it and I’m not sure I even thought about sales in those days. Ha, wish that was true now!

Then I saw an email address in the back of a book and as it was doing so well on Amazon I wrote to the author.

As they say, the rest is history. I joined Facebook, opened a Twitter account, put up a picture on Pinterest and devoured the blogs which dropped into my in-box. I was about to dip my toe into the world of marketing.

I decided that I had to be innovative and come up with something really different – but it backfired and I’ll tell you next week what it was. This I’m told is a cliff hanger! 🙂

Here is Walking over Eggshells, about to celebrate its 4th birthday.

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It’s the story of how my mother who suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder affected my life. I guess I should be grateful to Donald Trump as he is now described in similar terms and more people are aware of this syndrome. All I knew was that my mother didn’t love me and I thought it was my fault. She even succeeded in causing havoc from the grave after she passed on.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8HSNDW  and available on all channels myBook.to/WoE

Till next week, take care.

BOOK NEWS

An extra post this week as I wanted to share with you that Walking over Eggshells, my first book and biography, has been chosen as the Book of the Week by BookWorks. Here is the link to their nice colourful page.

https://www.bookworks.com/book/    If you do the control, click thing it will come up or it may work by just clicking on it.

As always technology has defeated me, as I wanted to cut and paste part of their page to put here, but of course it didn’t work did it.

However the nice sticker thing does, so you can look at that.

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And while I’m at it, I’ll do the whole boasting thing and put in the 5 star badge from Reader’s Favorite as well.

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I am very thrilled they have chosen my book, but it is a teeny, weeny bit embarrassing, since we are in the process of re-vamping the whole manuscript. Not that the story will change of course, but it’s going to have a nice new cover, and DH has decided he is going to reformat the pages and change the white pages to cream.

I did the original cover needless to say and at the time I was quite pleased with it as I thought it showed a little girl trying to run away from home. After several people asked me why I’d put a coat hanging on the back of a door, I began to have serious doubts about it. I’ve been searching for something new for a long time and here it is.

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It’s amazing how much we’ve both learned this last (almost) three years about publishing and presentation and so hopefully in a about a week it will be on the internet with a brand new coat and if you buy paperbacks, in a nicer font and paper colour. Right at this minute DH is struggling to change the page numbers from the top to the bottom, (please don’t ask me why, he’s got a bee on his bonnet about it) so I’m typing very quietly. I do not like to disturb him when he’s being creative. I understand it’s far more important to be quiet and peaceful while formatting a mss than is necessary when it’s only the writing part.

Guess I better put in the link to the book?  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8HSNDW

Will be back with an update soon and have a great week.