MEET JILL DOBY

Jill and I have been FB friends for a long time, I remember beta reading her first book, or was it her second? Anyway, I’ve read both and I highly recommend them. She is so right that travel broadens the mind and introduces you to different cultures and peoples. Jill is a true traveler in every sense of the word and has some great stories to tell.

birthday 59

I am an international educator and a writer. I write travel memoirs and articles about my experiences living in different countries while working as a teacher/administrator in American and international schools around the world. Documenting my travel experiences has given me opportunities to relive all the good, bad, harrowing, and remarkable events I endured along the way. Writing about traveling also comes naturally to me as I continue to encounter diverse cultures, distant lands, and historic sites in this unique lifestyle of mine.

I’ve been living in Honduras, my 7th country, with my husband, Dan, and Yorkie-Poo, Mickey, for the past six years and now call Tegucigalpa, Honduras, my home. Originally from Wisconsin, in the Midwestern U.S., I relocated abroad in 1990, and return each summer for two months. During the months of August through June, I work as an elementary principal at an American school and travel Latin and South America when school lets out for the holidays. It’s a lifestyle that I love, and the travel is just one part of it. Living in another culture, experiencing firsthand how indigenous people live, and learning about their customs, traditions, and languages are all eye-opening. Most days I feel like I’m living my dream, despite the occasional water and power outages, monsoon rains, crazy taxi drivers, and odors of raw sewage.

book cover (1)

My first memoir, HERE WE ARE & THERE WE GO: Teaching and Traveling with Kids in Tow, chronicles my family’s 10 years living abroad. We moved from Wisconsin to Guam with our two toddlers and from there onto Singapore, Ghana, and Mexico. During those 10 years we survived Super Typhoon Yuri while on Guam, swam with Orca’s in Mexico, chased elephants in the Ghanaian bush, and celebrated Chinese New Year in Singapore. After those 10 years we returned to the U.S. and went through a sort of reverse culture shock.

resized cover kids, camels, cairo

My second travel memoir, KIDS, CAMELS, & CAIRO, was written after spending six years back in the U.S. I earned my degree in Educational Administration and then decided to head back overseas. I ended up in Cairo, Egypt, at a school which was predominately Muslim. During those two years, I endured my biggest culture shock, yet. The Islamic faith and Muslim culture were very new to me and I had a lot to learn about it, resulting in quite a few cultural faux pas along the way. I got used to the school week going from Sunday through Thursday and wearing modest garments that covered my neck, arms, and legs, but I never did get used to the brazen stares of the Egyptian men.

After Egypt, I moved to Gurgaon, India, where I was an administrator at a new international school. I loved India, its people, the country, the amazing colors, and the food, however, I constantly had to stay alert to the monkeys that roamed the city stealing whatever they could get away with. I’m now working on a 3rd travel memoir, which will include a few shocking stories about the pesky primates.

As long as I continue to live abroad and experience the world’s countries and cultures with an open mind and heart, I hope to continue my writing. Being open and aware to what the world has to offer is the best and only way for me, and for others, to live the global lifestyle and survive a cultural adjustment. Through my travel articles and memoirs, I hope to entertain and educate readers about the personal joys, and inevitable pitfalls of my life abroad, like the time I ended up bathing in a river full of sewage, the time when our kitchen in India was infested with ants, and when I nearly passed out halfway up Mt. Sinai in Egypt. Learning a new language, eating unknown foods, living without the comforts of home, and being far away from family, are difficulties that everyone who relocates abroad goes through. I strongly believe though, that the positives I’ve gained from challenging myself and becoming more globally-minded far outweigh the negatives I’ve encountered in my overseas journeys.

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

www.facebook.com/jilldobbeauthor

https://www.amazon.com/Camels-Cairo-Tales-International-Educator-ebook/dp/B01GD5UH30/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506010590&sr=8-1&keywords=jill+dobbe

https://www.amazon.com/Here-We-Are-There-Traveling-ebook/dp/B008PV3N9G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1506010590&sr=8-2&keywords=jill+dobbe

Thank you, Jill, for being my guest this week – and don’t forget to check out her books!

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MEET ALISON RIPLEY CUBBIT

When I asked Alison if she would like to be a guest on my blog, I had no idea what an amazing story she would have to share. Take a few minutes to read it, it’s fascinating. Welcome, Alison.

ARC 2017 Profile Pic

About Me:
I’m Alison Ripley Cubitt, and I’m a multi-genre author and screenwriter. I worked in film and television production before turning to writing. I’ve gone back to film, this time as part of a production team with our own company, specialising in investigative drama.

I’m here to talk about one of my books, Castles in the Air: A Family Memoir of Love and Loss, which was partly inspired by the genealogy tv series, Who Do You Think You Are. I’ve always been fascinated by true-life stories, particularly those from the 20th century, which is the era that shaped my own life. I was reflecting on what a profound effect World War 2 had on so many people’s lives. Before I started writing my book, I had never really given much thought to how the war shaped my own family’s future.

In 1937 my grandfather was turning 40 and soon to be unemployed as he had reached the end of his commission as a Royal Marine. He was invited to apply for a job with the Admiralty based in Hong Kong but was given no details of what he would be doing until the third and final round of interviews. It turned out that he would be working with the intelligence-gathering operation in what would become the Far East outpost of Bletchley Park.
BRAG Medallion Book Cover

When war finally did come to South East Asia, my mother Molly was one of the last two remaining girls at her remote boarding school up country in  Malaya. The nuns had insisted that war or no war, education came first and that they must finish their School Certificate exams. With the ink barely dry on the exam paper, the girls still in school uniform, were driven down the lonely switchback road to the nearest train station to start their long journey home to Singapore. In the surrounding jungle, the enemy was watching and waiting for the signal to invade.

Molly and her parents were evacuated in January 1942, and she spent the war years working as a stenographer in the same naval intelligence unit her parents worked in. A high-spirited teenager, she would wait until her boss went out and then pull out the secret intelligence communiqué she was typing at the time, and go and dash off a quick letter to a friend.

During the war years, Mum developed a crush on a family friend who was much older than she was. She never got him out of her system, still secretly carrying a torch for him long after she married.
The book is told in two parts: the first, a series of letters written by the 15-year-old Molly, to her crush, Steve. I wanted the reader to have an insight into what life was like for a teenager in wartime and for this to be written in Molly’s own voice. In part two I take up the story of the woman who became the nurse and mother I knew.
The letters were a revelation as they had been kept hidden for nearly 50 years. It is a miracle they survived. Steve (who never married) had kept every single one. When he died, his niece sent the letters to my grandmother, who kept them hidden away so my father wouldn’t find them.

FB Ad Castles in the Air

Giveaway:
The first three readers who read this piece to like my Facebook page will win a free ebook copy. Don’t forget to let me know how I can contact you. To buy a copy, see below.
Buying links:
Link: http://amzn.com/B018KLSVUQ
Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B018KLSVUQ
Readers can connect with me here:
Website: http://www.lambertnagle.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lambertnagle
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisonripleycubittwriter

Alison, it was good to meet you and I will be checking out your book. So often our parents did not talk to their children about feelings and events and many of us have discovered the truth only through the letters they left behind. It’s only after they have departed do we wish we’d asked all those questions while they were still alive. This book may well shed light for all of us whose parents fought in the last World War.

 

MEET DAVID HAYES

Welcome to David Hayes this week’s blog guest. (Personally, I hate that word blog, it sounds so harsh. But since everyone uses it I must as well).

david hayes autghor pic

David has given us a very brief biography of himself.

I was born in Leigh, Lancashire. A North West mining and weaving town on 31st October 1955. (Hallowe’en) I suppose it should come as no surprise that I should go on to write a book about the mysterious and the paranormal! It all started when I shared a few stories that I had written, on Facebook. I was introduced to Bernie Morris of Bronwyn Books, and soon I was a published author.

david hayes pic 1

What Has He Done Now? Is a selection of stories from my childhood in the 60s and early 70s in a small, North West mining and weaving town. This is incidental as it is about neither of those industries in particular. It is about the magic and wonderment of those days as seen through the eyes of a child – my eyes! It is about the days when imagination was the biggest plaything that we possessed. The days when a plastic football provided a whole summer’s play. It is about the scrapes that I found myself in and the things that I observed around me, and how they made me feel.
All the stories are true and I personally experienced every one of them. The names of the characters have been changed. The reason being that I have no idea of the whereabouts of many of the characters contained within my stories, so I have no way of asking them for their permission to include them in this book. Some have possibly passed away, and it would be unfair of me to mention them without their blessing. Anyone who knows me will know who they are though.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1527202739

david hayes pic 2

My second book is a collection of short stories on the subject of mysterious happenings of a paranormal nature. I haven’t confined myself just to the spirit world either. I have written stories about UFO’s, secret government experiments, vampires, time-slips, in fact, anywhere my imagination happened to take me.
This book is designed with the busy person in mind. It can be dipped into, and a couple of stories can be read in a tea break, or you can sit down at home and have a ‘spookfest’ and read several stories all at once. I always strive to make the ending of every one of my stories a complete surprise. They are long enough to describe all the events in gory detail, but short enough to keep you gripped until the very end. I have stripped away any of the padding you often get in other stories just to bulk out a book.
The book is best read in a dark and lonely room by the light of a small reading lamp, whilst the rain patters against the window, and the wind howls its mournful tune – well, you get the idea. Read it wherever you feel most comfortable!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1521790914

Actually, David, I’m not that brave. It will have to be broad daylight for me! Thank you for agreeing to be a guest.

 

MEET JIM MORRISON

Now I hope I have the correct picture up here for Jim Morrison, as I’ve had to do a bit of shuffling around with dates as some guests wanted features later, and some were not ready.  So, all the files I put neatly in labeled months are now being moved around and you can guess what happens then, can’t you?  Anyhow, I think this is a very nice author picture 🙂 I just hope its the correct author!

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I just want to thank Lucindae Clarke for this wonderful opportunity. Hello to all that read this, I am going to wing it as I have never done anything like this before, and have no idea what to say. So, if I ramble on a bit, then forgive me. Maybe I should start with my name, always a good place to start. My name is Jim Morrison, no not the famous rock star from The Doors. I was born in Raigmore Hospital in the year 1974, and the 19th day of the summer of June. I am from a wee town on the West coast of Scotland, Fort William in the bonnie Highlands to be exact.

I got the writing bug in high school. I think it was a test or exam I was doing. I had to write a short story about a war or something like that and my English teacher was very impressed and said I should keep it up and become a writer. I spent the next few years writing short stories at home, mainly featuring superheroes and I am sure I done one set in the wild west.

My childhood was very up and down, I do not want to say too much here. I will, however, be writing my biography someday and that will have all my heartache and shenanigans in that, so look out for that book. It will be 100% true life and will shock some people, and hopefully, make some people laugh at my crazy life.

I left school and home at the age of 15. Started work in a hotel as a kitchen porter. The job was okay, I was happy to be making money and partying way too much. Then I became a chef. This was a fun job that I enjoyed, I travelled around Scotland working in different hotels and meeting some cool people. I gave up writing and began to party a lot. I then became a breakfast chef. That was more enjoyable, I was in charge of the kitchen, I worked 5 days a week from 6am till 2 pm and had the rest of the day to myself.

But I gave up catering, it had lost its buzz for me and became a night manager. That was the best job, in charge of a hotel overnight. I loved it.

Going back in time now to 2008, I took an interest in photography. I still love to go for a walk with my camera and snap away at things. I have a photography page on Facebook if anyone wants to go and check out my work and like my page. Just look up J. Morrison Photography.    https://www.facebook.com/J-Morrison-Photography-268493803592438/

My photography work so far has been scenic shots, I have also made some videos. I would like to one-day branch out into all aspects of photography and try doing model shoots and helping people with their model portfolios.

Going back even further, around about 2003, I began to write again, this time it was poetry. I had notebooks that I took everywhere with me and used to write down what came to my head. I had over 300+ thoughts and poems at one point.

In 2005 I was offered a seven-year contract with the publisher, Publish America. I released a poetry book through them, that was a huge mistake. They only paid me 10% royalties and kept telling me my book was not selling, I knew my book was selling as it was in stock then out of stock on Amazon. I never published with them again, and you should avoid them. Fate's Monolith Cover Art  In 2015 I began to write novels again. I finally self-published my first book of poetry, it is a 182-page book of thoughts and poetry about social issues and the like. The book is called, Musings of a Highlander, and it is available online and in bookstores.  https://www.createspace.com/7295903

 

In 2005 I became a paranormal investigator and started my own investigation team, that was a fun time. I enjoyed it but everyone eventually left and it was just me so I gave up.

JIM MORRISON LIFE OF OWEN CONNOR

This is the cover for my latest novel, it is called “The Life of Owen Connor: Trapped in the Asylum & the Aftermath.” The story is about a famous rock star Owen Connor, his crazy upbringing. The bands rise to fame and the fateful night he ended up in an asylum. Read how he got trapped in the Insane Asylum and if he makes it out alive. The book is a thriller/horror with action and humour thrown in. Here are the buying links.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/197611537X

and all other outlets.

What I like to do when I am not writing is. Hill walking, playing Football (Soccer), Basketball, Mountain Biking, going walking out and about, exploring. I also love to read books, not into ebooks. I prefer a good hardback or paperback. I am currently working on a new novel, it is called, Highland Terror. The book is set in the Highlands of Scotland. It is a story about a girl that is just your average 20 something girl and she gets caught up in the worst terror of her life. Does she survive? If so how is she coping? Read the book and find out.

Thanks for sitting through my ramblings, look out for me on Twitter and Facebook. Add me and say hi.

 

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012304865403

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/JMorrisonAuthor

All Jim’s books are available from Amazon marketplaces worldwide, CreateSpace, Barnes and Noble along with Koko and the like.

 

MEET H MAX HILLER

Now I’m a little confused (not difficult in my case) as my guest today has his name on Facebook as H Max Hiller and also as Hiram Hiller, but I’ve checked very carefully and they are one and the same. I hope you don’t mind me calling you Max?
PROMO PIC 2015
H. Max Hiller’s restaurant career began with a cooking job on Bourbon Street at the age of seventeen. His resume now includes many of New Orleans’ iconic dining and music destinations which provide a lifetime of characters and anecdotes to add depth to his Detective “Cadillac” Holland series. 
 
MAX MILLAR AND WIFE
He now divides his time between working as a chef aboard a boat traveling America’s inland waterways and writing in the home he and his wife share with their rescue pets that include a neurotic wolfhound-mix and far too many cats.
(I found this lovely picture of Max and his wife on his Amazon author page)
Books by Max – Blowback – The Blue Garou  (Silver Medalist 2016 Dan Poynter Global Ebook Awards)
Can’t Stop the Funk and Ghosts and Shadows.
 
SERIES DESCRIPTION: The award-winning “Cadillac” Holland Mysteries are equal parts compelling mystery, travelogue, and insightful looks at one of America’s favorite destinations through the eyes of a detective as battered as the city he patrols. Detective Holland has returned home as a retired Special Forces and Intelligence operative and brings those specialized skills to bear on investigations that all too often place him at odds with NOPD’s own way of doing things. It’s why the Chief of Detectives only assigns “Cadillac” cases which are as unique and challenging as the detective’s way of seeking justice and not just answers.
 
I’ve not read this series yet, but as it is one of my favourite genres I’ll be looking them up soon. One can never have too many detective series.
Thank you Max for being my guest this week.

MEET J W SMITH

I have no idea if John has visited Africa, I keep meaning to ask him, and maybe he’ll tell me in the comments below. Either way, he is familiar with many things African and I can resonate with the way he sees that Dark Continent. He is one of my favourite authors and I think the Great Dictator series books are amazing.  John comes with my personal badge of approval!

JOHN SMITH PIC

 

After taking a BA(Hons) in history, I got a job with an American publishing house, where I stayed for ten years. At last, wearying of the corporate world, I took my leave and from then onwards vowed to be my own person. I went for any job that would give me enough freedom from targets and goals to allow me what I always wanted to do most; to write.

When I was growing up, I would read anything, anytime. My mum’s magazines, the small print on medicine bottles, the ingredients on food packets, advertisement hoardings, never letting go, always reading everything from beginning to end. It was my world. People would bang on the door to query my welfare when I got engrossed in a book while on the loo. Words intrigued me, their use, their sound, their texture. How they could make me feel. How they could manipulate me. But above all, I was fascinated by writers (yes, even by those who were employed to write instruction manuals for vacuum cleaners) who could write in a way that would compel the reader to go on reading. Unputdownable. Writers who would make me want to turn the page.

And I became their disciple, learning from their talent, their ever-dutiful student. And I found that more often than not the most intense feelings and emotions could be expressed in the simplest of words. Plain language and choosing the words carefully. That is all that it ever takes to communicate effectively, and you can get to anything that you want to say.

 

JOHN SMITH RUSSIAN

The greatest moment was when someone browsing the ‘net in Russia saw my free short story, Learner Driver, on Smashwords and contacted me. She was a teacher of English. At first she translated one of my wacky stories books into Russian as an English language teaching aid for her students, but then came a surprise; they were enjoyed so much for their content that a Russian publisher wanted them all, to publish in Russian for general distribution – – and then I got an email from one of the translators to tell me that my wacky stories books had reached the top of the bestseller list at the biggest bookshop in Moscow!

I also started writing for teens (young adults). I have four young adult novels independently published, a book of children’s stories called Wacky Stories for Grown-up Kids, a book called A Layman’s Guide to the Meaning of Life and Death,  and an adult thriller series called The Dictator Thriller Series, all available to view on Amazon USA and Amazon (UK) and on my website at http://johnmwsmith.my-free.website/ . And you might even wish to look at Strange Times, my FREE book of short stories.

Most writers get disillusioned with the writing ‘game’ at some point, but to people like me I would say, if you really believe you can write well, just go on writing and marketing your work and allow the future to take care of itself. You may yet be surprised at what can happen! Even if you have little time available, working 60 hours a week at any old boring day job, as I do. And don’t conform, and never be afraid, for if you do you will become boring, and it will show in your writing.

 

Wise words from a very talented author. Thank you, John for agreeing to be my guest this week. Do go take a look at his books, the links are above.

MEET MARY L SCHMIDT

Today my guest is one of my favourite authors and I’m so pleased to welcome her to my blog. She has won so many awards with her first book that it’s becoming difficult to read the title on the cover! I read and reviewed her book and was overwhelmed with what she went through, I sobbed my way through it! But it has a happy ending as Mary is one of life’s survivors (whoops, was that a spoiler?) Learn more about this amazing lady.

 

Circa2011

Mary Schmidt writes under the pen name of S. Jackson and her husband, Michael, writes under the pen name of A. Raymond. Both grew up in the middle of Kansas, and they are eclectic authors having written 15 books thus far. They enjoy traveling, reading, poker, enjoying the mountains, and playing with two year old grandson, Austin.

I knew I would write a book eventually back in 1990. That year was a rough one for me and my family personally, and I’ve kept journals most of my life. I had many stories to tell but I wasn’t quite ready, mentally or emotionally, in going headlong into a 376 page book. When 2013 rolled around, I knew then that I was going to put words and stories from my journals into digital format.

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The hardest and most difficult part initially was actually going into and reading my journals from 1989 – 1990 as my first book is Non-Fiction/Spiritual in nature. I knew my book had to be written and I knew the many messages in my book needed to be published, so that hopefully I could help others through difficult times in their lives or the lives of others they knew. The timing was right as I had left nursing in December 2012. My first book was extremely difficult since the stories were real. Some days I could write one sentence and then I was done for the day. Other days I could write more.  From that was born When Angels Fly. From now through the end of October, When Angels Fly is 0.99 cents!

I have three books I would like to touch on in this post. These are books for children and I saw that Mary got a bronze medal from Reader’s Favorite for The Big cheese Festival. 

Awards:

2016 New Apple Official Selection E-Book Award

2016 Ring of Honor Circle of Books Silver Second Place Award

2016 McGrath House Independent Book Awards Finalist

2016 Number One Amazon Best Seller

2016 Reader’s Favorite Five Stars

2017 Literary Titan Silver 2nd Place Award

These are the American links for Mary’s books.

When Angels Fly https://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B017UNVWDI

The Big cheese Festival – a book for children about bullying.

http://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B01H3S381O

Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS 150th Birthday

http://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B072TPMDRH

Mary, it’s been great having you as a guest this week.