THE BIG TRIP, THE TEMPLE COMPLEX ON THE HILL AND THE QUEEN I DON’T LIKE

I left off last time in northern Thailand at the top of the hill at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. I’ve just noticed on the notes that visitors can climb the 309 steps for free to reach the pagoda. Free! Are they kidding! As I posted last time, we took the cable car up there and viewed the panoramic sight of Chang Mai city.  We watched lots of people ring bells, there were rows and rows of them. We weren’t sure of the ‘why’ for all this, and our guide had wandered off, but just in case, we also rang several of the bells. Some were really large and their tonality to my ears at any rate, was pitch perfect.

I think this is a delightful picture of DH finding the clapper on one of the larger ones. I know I posted the other one before, but I can’t help giggling.

The whole area housed several temples, and worshippers were performing different rites at each of them. I didn’t manage to get a full explanation as to what was happening.

I took so many pictures, I’ll have to show you the rest next time.

While Queen Elizabeth is my favourite queen – a Virgo like me, we share a name and my latest colouring product also turns me a slight shade of auburn –  my least favourite monarch either male or female, is the one I have reached now – Victoria, although that wasn’t her first name.vic-haema

I started out having some sympathy with her- also a mum who wasn’t kind, and she lost her father when young, but that is where the similarity ends.

I cheered when she got her own bedroom and practiced walking down the stairs all by herself, what an achievement!  But, as soon as she realized she was queen on one hand she started throwing her weight around and on the other, turned into a silly giggly girl over a man much older than herself. Find out who later. (That’s supposed to be a cliff hanger). Definition of cliff hanger … writer cleverly writes exciting bit without completing all the knowledge leaving the readers wanting to know more, so they eagerly wait for the next episode or chapter.  And no it’s NOT Prince Albert.

Have you joined my newsletter list yet? I forgot to mention last week that I will not share it with anyone else. Either pm me on Facebook or you can email me lucindaeclarke@gmail.com

Still shopping? Christmas is getting closer.

AMIE – STOLEN FUTURE

I was really thrilled to read Christoph’s review of Stolen Future. He’s an author I really admire and praise from him is high praise indeed.

Even modestly I have to admit I think this is my best book so far. With each new book I’ve learned something and hopefully put the lessons into practice.

Maybe I should let Christoph tell you what he thinks  🙂

I am quite in awe of this story. The third in this series it features Amie back in Africa with her husband Jonathon. You know something is bound to happen to them again, the suspense starts early and lingers with a sense of impending doom. Being familiar with the characters and their past helped, but you can’t help feeling for admiring Amie as the high octane roller coaster ride of events unfold.
The tension makes the reading quite compelling, even when the pace gives you a few minutes (not more) to breath.
The author’s background in journalism and her familiarity with Africa show: The story is tightly edited and very readable, sharp and concise and sums up many problems some African country face. These blend perfectly into the dramatic and explosive thriller.
I was quite unprepared for some of the events, and found myself on the edge of my seat, finishing the book in two marathon reading sessions. Many series lose their touch as they move along, this has got even better. Superb.

Thank you Christoph for being one of the first to read it.

All three books in the series are available on Amazon – though they say they are not available as a set – sigh.

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If you like fast action-packed books set in Africa with a strong female character, you will enjoy this series. (Well Amie doesn’t start out too strong, she’s naive and a bit of a whiner), but she wises up as events overtake her and survives some terrifying challenges.

Amie an African Adventure

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LWFIO5K

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LWFIO5K

Amie and the Child of Africa

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015CI29O4                                                       http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B015CI29O4

Amie Stolen Future

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M67NRG4

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M67NRG4

I’d be really thrilled if you could possibly pass this on? Getting the word out is such a challenge!

 

 

THE BIG TRIP FURTHER ON

Sadly I waved goodbye to the ellies, counting my fingers and toes in the car on the way down the hill to make sure I wasn’t a missing a bit. (Yes, I know elephants are vegetarian). We’d heard some horrific stories about the bad treatment some of them had suffered at the hands of their owners and one poor beast was hobbling around on three legs after stepping on a landmine. I was, however, only suffering from a sore toe. I’d watched the handlers smashing those large watermelons on the ground before feeding them to the elephants. That looks easy I thought what fun, and tried it as well – result, a bruised foot. I guess it takes practice and some spare feet.

We returned to our very posh hotel in Chiang Mai through the rush hour traffic which was quite horrendous

and the largest suite we’d stayed in for a long time. We could have hired a courier to pass messages from one end to the other. Don’t you just love the condoms on offer?

Just across the road we investigated this market with all kinds of interesting food on sale.

But wimpishly, we saw an Irish tavern and treated ourselves to some very European steak and potatoes, which was a change from the rice and vegetable diet more typical of the Far East.

Some beautiful, tall women came and greeted us, gorgeously dressed. I could have kicked myself later when DGH explained (in rather pompous tones I thought) they were examples of the transvestites who are common in the city. I didn’t take pictures! They hovered for a while and perhaps they were hoping to earn a few dollars by posing for the diners. I think we were the only diners there who weren’t local residents.

Now William probably didn’t notice the industrial revolution. He was too busy in his palace siring 10 illegitimate children. He attempted to sire at least 1 legitimate heir, but that didn’t work out too well. Mind, by the time he became king at the age of 64, he was probably getting a bit past it. Two of his children born on the wrong side of the blanket had died. He had them all with his mistress an actress (still a rather scandalous occupation in those days) Dorothea Jordan (born Dora Bland) with whom he lived with for twenty years.

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I get a hint here that he wasn’t terribly fond of his wife. To begin with it was an arranged marriage to begat an heir, and even before the union William had written to his eldest son, “She is doomed, poor dear innocent young creature, to be my wife.”

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I think she must have been quite easy going to accept the marriage – it came with a hefty sum of money from parliament but since William was 27 years older than her, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen spent many happy hours in Marks and Spencers spending most of it. On good days she popped into Harrods, especially at sale time.

Have a great week, a safe Halloween and don’t forget my new book comes out on Thursday the 3rd in the Amie series – Stolen Future, which is on pre-order right now.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M67NRG4  But another blog about that nearer the time.

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THE BIG TRIP SOME NUMBER OR OTHER

Yes, I’ve got a bit confused with the numbering system and if I didn’t have the itinerary here, I wouldn’t remember where we went next.

After breakfast it was off to another airport and another flight. As I’ve mentioned before I love flying and I could quite easily get used to hopping on and off planes. Besides being a writer, my next choice would have been a career as a stewardess, but then, the family were not in favour of that either.  We flew from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai. I’m not sure if news had got back to China where our tour operator was domiciled – about those two old codgers who were looking totally knackered –  but they allowed us several hours of leisure time in Chiang Mai at this smart hotel

and a delightful evening wandering around a very nice night market.

Next day it we were off to see the elephants. No, not to ride on them, or watch them perform but to care for them. Despite the fact they were Indian elephants and much smaller than their African cousins, to me were still very large.

We were given melons to feed to them, initially we were behind a metal barrier then they took us out in the open and encouraged us to pat them and make friends.

I remembered the ranger I met in Chobe who took visitors out to meet this one friendly elephant. He’d shake hands with it to the delight and wonder of the admiring tourists. Until, the day he chose the wrong elephant. It crushed his hand to pulp.

These are different elephants I told myself, not daring to think of the time we’d been charged by one. These have been rescued from the streets where they were mis-used by their owners to beg for money, or made to give rides for hours or work in the logging camps. This was an elephant refuge where they were well fed and well treated.

After lunch we all trekked down to the river to give them a nice bath. Personally, I thought DH was very rude, remarking that my bucket throwing was not up to par, and if I stood at that distance from the leviathans, the water would never reach them.

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I got as close as I dared. I’ve not lived this long to take unnecessary chances.

So, we are up to William IV gracing the throne of England. (I guess there were 3 other Williams before him at some time, you would have to check back). He reigned at what came to be known as the start of the industrial revolution. This came about from the instruction of the steam kettle, useful for making cups of tea. Sir Robert Louise Stevenson put wheels on them and turned them into trains and other useful things.

NEW BOOK DUE OUT

This is the extra blog I threatened you with – it’s the cover reveal for my new book out soon.

It’s the third in the Amie series, remember her? She left – no she was dragged out of – England by her husband Jonathon to go and live in Africa. In Amie an African Adventure.

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(I would like to add here that Amie book 1 is out in Spanish and very soon will be available in Italian). Amie settles into her new life but then comes to the unwelcome attention of a Colonel in the army who forces her to do something that she really doesn’t want to do (I’m trying not to give too much away here). Then civil war breaks out, and soon she is fighting for her life. She changes from being a naive, indecisive drip to being a brave, indecisive woman.

I am really thrilled she has an Honourable Award in Fiction – Action in the Reader’s Favorite Awards 2016. She was also the winner of the Adventure category in the Pinnacle Awards 2016 and got a bronze in Popular Fiction –Adventure genre in the Global eBook Awards 2016.

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In book 2 Amie goes off in search of the foster child she lost during the civil war. She doesn’t realize that this will bring her up against an fanatical terrorist organization with international connections. She needs all the skills she’s learned to survive – but she ignores the witch doctor’s advice and suffers the consequences in Amie and the Child of Africa.

 

Book 3  Amie, Stolen Future sees Amie and her husband returning to Africa, but the terrorists have neither forgiven nor forgotten and they are determined to take their revenge. Amie is left powerless and forced into a life she never expected. She has a new employer, forced to do what they ask of her. She has become a mature, still a little indecisive, woman but danger follows her everywhere. Her future has been stolen and once again she struggles to survive not knowing who she can trust.

My editor tells me this is the best Amie book yet, in fact she’s very, very enthusiastic about it – I hope readers will like it as much.

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Release date, hopefully early November in both paperback and ebook.coming-soon-amie-3

If I can threaten  blackmail persuade you to sign up to my newsletter list, I am planning to release the first chapter to those on the list.  You can contact me on lucindaeclarke@gmail.com and I’ll gladly add your address.

ONLY ONE NARCISSISTIC POST – PROMISE

Once upon a time I was a millionairess, yes I was really. Of course there is always the downside – there always is – we were in Benghazi, Libya at the time and frankly there wasn’t much to spend it on. Once we had a ‘his’ and hers’ yacht and 3 cars in the driveway, (yes, I know quite gross) and no time off for travelling, it languished in the bank – and there it stayed as we were PI’d and ignominiously escorted out of the country. The money never went with us, long story, sad ending.

It was time to start over. Back on our feet once more history repeated itself, and many adventures later, there I was in 1994 penniless, in debt and working 24/7 to begin building all over again. Since then in our retirement we live a very modest life on a very, very modest income.

Now, the reason I mention the above is because I wanted to share that we are off to Miami in November (DH will carry the bags).

OK, I can hear the hysterical laughter from here. The Big Trip at the beginning of the year, then the magic trip to Amsterdam for my birthday only a couple of weeks ago and now a trip from Spain to the United States. Who are they kidding?

My knees were knocking when I timidly announced to DH that I was desperate to fly across the Atlantic – this was two hours before we boarded the flight to Holland.

“I’d never have booked this holiday if I’d known!” he was horrified.

“I never thought I’d have any reason to,” I protested in reply.

It’s been a busy ten days, searching pockets, raiding the piggy bank, emptying the glass jar of the spare cents and digging between the sofa cushions.

We’ll get there. Most likely be the only chance I’ll ever have to go and collect a silver medal for Walking over Eggshells in the Readers Favorite Awards. I am knocked sideways and just so thrilled.

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I entered a couple of competitions when I was feeling down one day and decided that I’d had enough of writing. I wasn’t selling millions and millions of books, and made a decision that if the judges thought my books were as bad as I believed they were, I would retire gracefully, go polish DH’s slippers and take up macramé. I might even clean the house and use the GPS to locate the washing machine.  I would have a very happy husband.

I went berserk and entered for four different awards then forgot all about them.

Now I’ve backed myself into a corner. Amie got an honorary mention in the Readers Favorite with a pretty green sticker, a gold for Adventure in the Pinnacle Awards and a bronze in the eGlobal Book awards.

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So now I’m sitting with rolls of foil stickers, certificates I’ve no space for on the walls – so they will go under the bed – and an empty bank account, but we all have to suffer for our art right? So, I’ve climbed back onto the perpetual marketing roundabout, FB’ing, tweeting, promoting and blogging as I scribble on into my twilight years.

I want to give a huge thank you for the helpful feedback I’ve had on the cover for Amie 3. Stringing a couple of words together is one thing, finding that right cover is quite another. We’re working on it, but the following got the thumbs down

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and now I’m puzzling on how to show it’s an adventure book without plastering the brat all over the cover, she gets quite enough attention as it is. I know I’m in a bad way when I go to lay a place at the table for her.

Back to the Far East next week and an extra few days won’t make any difference to George IV.

DH AND AMIE 3

Did you miss me last week? No, I thought not. Well for the last seven days I decided to get my head down and go over Amie 3 once again thoroughly before sending her off to my editor. I’d sent a very early draft through to DH and he found a few things wrong (of course he would).

So, come the morning we sit down together and I steel myself to hear the worst.

ME:    Well you can’t complain this time that she never goes off for a pee. She spends half her time in this book behind one bush or another. Her plumbing system is in full working order.

DH:    OK I noticed that but there are still no sex scenes.

ME:    I’m not sure my readers are looking for gratuitous sex, and I don’t use many swear words either.

DH:    I’m not talking bondage and erotica here but you’ve just told me she’s a healthy young woman. She has needs. (Every man’s dream right?)

ME:    You know I find sex scenes a little tricky. It must be the most undignified way to behave sober there is. And how can I possibly ever describe it better than millions before me? He whips his clothes off, she rips her clothes off and they wriggle around for a while praying she won’t get pregnant.

DH:    I still think you’re cutting it too short you could go into a little more detail. Right, what about this boring bit in the middle?

ME:    Boring? And what bit would that be? I can’t have her racing about on every page, it’s not natural surely. Fast paced is one thing, frenetic is another. Look we have her (spoiler) and then she takes refuge in (spoiler) and isn’t this bit (spoiler) exciting?

DH:    She’s crying again.

ME:    Well I’d cry if I saw (spoiler).

DH:    You might, but then you’re not superwoman.

ME:    Thanks.

DH:    She’s a strong heroine, and I think you’re basing her too much on yourself.

ME:    What! Hardly!

DH:    Well no, not the brave stuff, that’s not you, but she’s still snivelling an awful lot, toughen her up.

ME:    But she’s survived so far, that makes her tough. She’s not an Olympic weight lifter or a body builder. I want my readers to like her and feel for her. If she’s too tough they won’t relate to her will they? If you had your way she’d be dressed in black leather with boots and a whip!

DH:    Now that’s an idea.

ME:    Noooooo!

DH:    You want to sell to both men and women right?

ME:    Yes.

DH:    Then make her strong, not wet and drippy.

ME:    Amie won’t appreciate you saying that.

STRANGE LOOK FROM DH, HE MOVES A LITTLE FURTHER AWAY ROUND THE TABLE.

ME:    It’s a writer’s thing our characters live in our minds they are real people.

DH:    There’s not enough detail, all these guns for example. What size calibre are they?

ME:    Ah, now I did lots of research on the net and I did play with a gun once and those cartridge thingies…

DH:    (RAISES EYEBROWS) Magazines?

ME:    Yes those things it’s really hard to load the bullets into them and they hurt my fingers. I had a couple of dates with the policeman in Durban and he let me play with his.

DH:    (EYEBROWS FURTHER UP) His what?

ME:    His gun! I must have had a premonition I would need that experience one day so I asked him to show me where the bullets went and how to load them. It took me over an hour to get all six slotted in against that spring.

DH:    Figures. Good thing you weren’t in a shoot out at the time. Now Amie has a car in Durban, what kind?

ME:    Does it matter?

DH:    Of course it does, people want to know that.

ME:    (MUTTERING) If you insist, I’ll give her a Corolla, they make assemble those in Durban.

DH:    And a 737 will never get from London to Johannesburg.

ME:    Good point, I’ll up that to a 747. So is it as good as the other two? Did it hold your attention? Did you find it exciting?

DH:    I read it all the way through didn’t I?

(DH GETS UP TO MAKE COFFEE.)

Well at least I had a nice email from my editor this morning and she says it’s the best thing I’ve written so far (she’s terribly good at the sugar coating stuff), but of course there is lots of work to be done, including my tautologies – I really must look that up, I wonder what they are?

On the brighter side, Amie 1 an African Adventure got a Bronze in the Global E Book awards in popular fiction, so that cheered me up.

Have a great week.