MUSEUM AND MISCHIEF

Now I’ll post general pictures of Singapore here as we spent a whole afternoon in the National Museum of Singapore and I don’t think you were allowed to take pictures in there. Honestly, these places have come a long way since I was dragged around them as a child.

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We followed the exhibits which told the story of Singapore from pre-historic times to the present day. It’s amazing how quickly it was developed from a small area covered in jungle with a population living in poverty to one of the most successful and thriving countries in the world.

Photo: Marcin Konsek

It was accomplished under a dictatorship, but then general elections were called and the People’s Action Party has won every election since 1959. The dominance of the ruling party, coupled with a low level of press freedom and restrictions on civil liberties and political rights has led to Singapore being classified by some as a semi-authoritarian regime.

I can’t comment on that, but comparing it to a communist country like Vietnam, the people here appeared happy and relaxed unlike those in Ho Chi Min City and, this is one regime where they have drastically improved the lives of their people as far as I could see – unlike most dictatorships which only enrich themselves.

HISTORY – A TRUE BIT (for a change)

King_George_V_of_the_United_Kingdom_as_a_boy,_1870

Looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth yes? Well, it has come to light that it was not the British government who refused to give sanctuary to the Tsar of Russia and his family, the British Secret service was planning a rescue when the King himself went back on his promise to help them. Consequently, they were murdered in the most brutal fashion and not once did George V show any remorse. Thus, he is one of my least favourite kings and I suggest you don’t like him either.

 

 

 

 

THE AD BREAK

Amie 4 is up on pre-order   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07545M9DB

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07545M9DB

And you can get it cheap at only $/£ 0.99 but the day after it will go up to  $/£ 1,596.98 – so if you grab it now, it’s a huge bargain!

Amie 4 Front 100 dpi v8

Once again Amie finds herself in hot water.

They told Amie it was a simple look, listen and report back mission, but from the beginning, everything went wrong. She is stalked across borders, the aid workers act suspiciously, she’s assaulted, and abandoned in a rural African hut miles from anywhere. What has happened to her partner Simon and can she trust the charismatic Frenchman who befriends her? The discovery of an ancient tribal tradition and a group of young children to rescue, test her skills to the limit. For the first time, she is prepared to kill to protect the innocent caught up in an international sex trade.

Till next time, take care.

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DISTRACTIONS AND A DURBAR

If anyone is in any doubt about Singapore’s productivity, then this picture tells it all.

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No blurb about Singapore would be complete without a picture of their national symbol. The Merlion – the body of a fish to remember it was once a small fishing village and the head of a lion which represents Singapore’s original name—Singapura – meaning “lion city” and stands on Santosa Island. (That’s me on the Wishing Steps in case you weren’t sure which was which).

When we arrived there I was blown away.  Again, spotlessly clean and a paradise for those who live in a small area.

Within the complex apart from Universal Studios there was an aquarium, Funland, restaurants, shops and a hotel. I couldn’t resist this photo taken in the foyer.

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The place was pretty crowded and we just ‘sticky beaked’ as DH calls it – I think that’s a northern expression for being nosey.

HISTORY NONSENSE

So, George V ascended the throne in 1910 or somewhere around that time, in my version of history, you may have noticed that dates are not very important. And it looked as if he got around a bit (don’t they all?) as he hopped over to India to attend a Durbar. This was all to do with being the Emperor of India – I suspect they never asked the Indians if they minded. Anyhow there was a big bash held in Delhi every time there was a new Emperor and this was the third one they’d had. Here is a picture of the great event and you can clearly see a close-up of them sitting on the dais in the middle.Delhi_Durbar,_1911

Do I really have to do this embarrassing bit? I’m a bit weird, because if I read the proper advertising hype ‘like wot it shud be done’ – Buy now! Last few seconds on sale! Grab yours now while you can! And so on and so on and so on – my automatic response is “Shan’t! I will not be coerced, forced, persuaded or enticed. I can promise you that the door to door salesmen never knew what had hit them by the time they fled down our front path.

So all I’m going to say is the Amie book 1 is still at $/£0.99 as an introduction to the series or free on KU   myBook.to/Amie1   also available on audio https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0725CYNYG

and book 4 is on pre-order now. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07545M9DB

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07545M9DB

Take it or leave it as you like, no pressure, they are not going away anytime soon.

Till next time, take care.

 

I HAD A DREAM

I had a dream last night, not as earth shattering as Martin Luther King,

Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.

I’m not that famous and important, and frankly although I was standing on a stage too, no one was listening to me. Sad isn’t it?

Now most of us might dream of receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature and then being interviewed on a national Breakfast Show, simpering as the interviewer gushed about our brilliant book – right?

Well, my dream wasn’t like that. The stage morphed into a television studio and my interview went something like this:

tv STUDIO

INT: So, I understand Lucinda that hardly anyone bought your new book?

ME: Well a few did …

INT: Looking at this pre-order number on Amazon, well it’s a disgrace.

ME: I have at least 3 fans! I’m sure they ordered one and DH promised he would …

INT: I presume you told people about it?

ME: Oh yes, I twittered and popped it on a couple of Facebook pages, but we’re always told not to spam, ‘cos then people won’t like us. So it’s difficult …

INT: Other writers manage to do it. Look at JK Rowling and that 50 shades woman, they got thousands of sales.

ME: But they weren’t indies and they …

INT: Is that your excuse? Haven’t you studied those self-help books on how those authors sold 80,000 copies in 10 minutes?

ME: Yes, but most of those were self-help books, mostly about how to sell books!

INT: That’s an answer I’ve heard so many times before. Don’t you have a product page on Facebook?

ME; Oh yes, two, one for Amie and one for my memoirs, but I can’t seem to get them to behave like my author page and …

INT: And you sent copies to all the major newspapers with a press release?

ME: Well no I haven’t done that yet …

INT: And Princes Harry and William?

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Daily express

ME: You’ve got to be kidding! I don’t even know their postal addresses. But I did get a street team together – but it turns out they were mostly an older generation and not many were on social media.

INT: Have you told anyone what it’s about?

ME: Well that’s a bit difficult you see, as it’s a subject that’s only talked about behind closed doors, but affects thousands of young women even here in Britain. I don’t want to give the storyline away as …

INT: Well I’ve heard of some reasons in my time but that one is the weirdest.

ME: I can tell them it’s set in Africa and Amie is a fully fledged, albeit a reluctant spy. There are lots of twists and turns and page-turning surprises. And, there is some love interest there too.

INT: Lots of steamy sex scenes?

ME: Er, no, I’m not good at writing sex scenes I get the giggles.

INT: Well there’s your answer then.

ME: That’s not fair! When did Jeffrey Archer or James Patterson insert steamy stuff into their books!

INT: They are household names and you’re not.

ME: You don’t have to keep reminding me. A few years ago I was …

INT: If there is anyone out there who is deranged enough to pick up Lucinda’s, uh, latest scribbling –  what’s it called again?

ME: Amie: Cut for Life. It’s book 4 in the Amie in Africa adventure/thriller series.

 

At this point, I hold up the paperback book to the camera but it zooms away and focuses on the interviewer who smiles sweetly and says:

INT: Now our next interview is about a subject that’s only talked about behind closed doors, but affects thousands of young women even here in Britain today. For whatever reasons, family honour, ancient tribal custom, or an attempt to keep women from straying from their husbands by destroying any enjoyment in sex. I’m talking about female circumcision and my next guest is …

At this point I am forcibly removed from my chair and booted out the back door while trying to shout out, ‘but that’s exactly what Amie faces in Cut for Life!’

And then I wake up.

Amie 4 Front 100 dpi v8

Amie Cut for Life is up on pre-order on Amazon for the exorbitant price of $/£0.99 and will be released on September 30th – in case you’re inclined to go and have a look, or you could mention it to someone?  I can but dream!!   myBook.to/Amie4 

WHY DO I DO IT?

I need counseling, I do. I was very reluctant to leave my work in South Africa and retire – circumstances dictated it and was the head over heart thing and we were sensible. When your domestic cleaner is shot on your front lawn and the perpetrator WALKS away having relieved her of less than £5 in cash and a bank card he had no pin for, we recognized the writing on the wall.

Well at first the novelty of sitting leisurely over breakfast began to pall and in a couple of months, I was bored out of my mind. We moved north, so that occupied me for a while and then I got bored again. I taught myself power point and gave a few historical lectures and talks and then I decided to write a book, well finish off a manuscript.

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Why did I ever do that! Before I knew it I was on the merry-go-round to blogs and Facebook and Twitter and all the paraphernalia that entails. The upside I met a lot of great people and made some good friends and I was bowled over by how kind and friendly everyone was. I’ve been lucky so far in that I’ve only met a couple of cyber bullies and lost one dear friend I still miss terribly.

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I sweated for weeks trying to work out how to use MailChimp, Bookfunnel and WordPress – again wonderful people came to my rescue.

I signed up for lots of blogs from experts on how to sell, how not to sell, how to build mailing lists, how not to alienate readers, give out free books, never give out free books, don’t spam, announce your book on every channel, people have to see it 7 times before they buy. Sign up for this course, you’ll hit the NYT list overnight – no that course is £800 down the drain, try this one for only £799.

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I researched different promo sights, asked for advice and shared what I had learned with others. Give it all time to grow I was told. Time! At my age! By the time I let all this filter through to huge sales I’ll be pushing up the daisies – one of the reasons I have not even considered looking for an agent or publisher – and anyway I like being in control of my work. I wanted to cry when I saw what traditional publishers had chosen for the cover of my book.

The bottom line is I’m now working as hard as I ever did running my own production company and I don’t seem able to stop. Apart from reading and entertaining DH and a weeny bit of socializing, during which I’m groveling under the table checking my sales figures, puzzled as to why I’m met with blank stares when I bounce in and cry “I’ve got a BookBub!” – I can’t settle. If I’m not writing or pounding the keyboard I might do a little house cleaning, and watch DH as he dons his boots and gardening gloves to tend to our four window boxes. Most of the rubbish on television doesn’t grab me much either and I’m usually tweeting as the pictures on the screen flash past. The only time I concentrate is when they show foreign language films and I have to read the subtitles. If you took my lap top away I’d be prowling around the house, fingers wiggling searching for the keys, ideas crowding through my head screaming to get out.

I guess I’m just a lost cause and there’s no cure for it.

Guess I should mention that Amie 4 is up on pre-order

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07545M9DB

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07545M9DB

and I’ll do the grovelling bit I guess. 

Anyway, having had a moan I feel a lot better now.

Oh, if you’re wondering why I’ve included totally inappropriate pictures of African wildlife – it’s because I’ve read three blogs this week warning about prosecutions for using uncopyrighted material, and these are my own pictures and I’m not planning on taking myself to court anytime soon.

Till next week, take care.

 

 

 

(MER)LION AND LEADERS

Once I’d dragged DH out of the fort, we discovered the island was a mini Disneyland. Spotlessly clean, as you’d expect and I was too busy rubber necking to take many pictures.

The cable car stopped at several levels and you could get out and explore at each one.

The merlion is a mixture of a lion’s head with a fish body, used as a promotional symbol by the tourist board. Singapore was originally a fishing village but its original name was Singapura meaning lion city. The other picture is one you may have seen before and I’ll leave you to decide which is which.

UNBELIEVABLE HISTORY

Now it is said that George V didn’t like to sit to have his portrait painted, so he stood up instead. Here he is with his cousin the Kaiser on the left and his cousin the Tsar on the right. Yes, they were all related. And you know who was the common factor!

George probably didn’t think he’d become king until his elder brother Edward (yes, another one) died of pneumonia and the year after that he married the German princess Mary of Tek – a cousin and granddaughter of King George III. She’d previously been intended for big brother Edward so they passed her on so to speak. Honestly, being a princess isn’t all frills, flouncy dresses and dancing at balls, it’s more like the local meat market – aristocratic breeding and good child-bearing hips. Where did Disney get those silly ideas from? Which brings me very neatly to …

BOOKS

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I’ve been tossing up whether to do a follow up to Unhappily Ever After. As it is, it’s a stand alone with all the loose ends wrapped up. It tells the story of how Cinderella decided to get a divorce from King Charming. No one ever questioned how this commoner, from the wrong side of the tracks, would fit into a royal household, and of course, she didn’t. All that protocol was too much for her, the other royals hated her, and she didn’t even produce a male heir only one princess who had a preference for other princesses. I guess my next project will come to me in the shower or other inconvenient place and by the time I’ve grabbed a towel, I’ll have forgotten what it was!

If you feel like a good laugh, here is the link  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8

Till next week, take care.

MEET MARGARET ELEANOR LEIGH

OK, OK I know I shouldn’t have favourites here but Margaret Eleanor Leigh is one of them. We’ve spent many hours chatting via pm and I felt for her every step of the way before and after hospital. I think we met through the Facebook group We Love Memoirs.

But, that is not the reason I just love her – I adore her books. Why? Because there is a smile in every sentence. I’m not sure how she does it, she spends a lot of time correcting doctrinal dissertations for students, but for me, her books are an absolute delight. I get a thrill every time I download one, the pure anticipation!  Researching her Amazon page I’ve discovered the only one I’ve not read and as soon as I’ve typed this up I’m off to download it. Time to meet Margaret.

m e l

You’ve probably never heard of me, and that’s partly because I’ve been quiet for a long time, and partly because I am one of those obscure writers no-one has ever heard of. (Obscure does not necessarily equal bad, mind you, although it certainly can ….)

I’ve been quiet for a long time because I’m not long back from the most horrendous journey of my life. It was the kind of journey everyone hopes they’ll never have to make. I’ve been on quite a few journeys in my time, and some of them were quite entertaining (see Memoirs One and Two, which are all about journeys of one sort or another). But there was nothing remotely entertaining about this latest journey, and not for nothing does it warrant the provisional title: Is There Life After Butchery?

 

Basically, I had a near-death experience at the hands of a talentless scalpel-wielding butcher, followed by a year of hell. Hell consisted of an abdominal wound the size and shape of the Grand Canyon that refused to heal, and not one, but two stomas. (If you don’t know what a stoma is, and are even remotely squeamish, don’t go looking it up, particularly just before dinner.)

Fortunately, for every scalpel-wielding butcher, somewhere else in the world there’s a scalpel-wielding genius. Six thousand miles from the site of the original carnage, I fell into the hands of one such miracle-worker. Against all the odds, and against all the negative prognoses, he reversed all the damage wrought by the butcher, including the stomas, and left me with just a neat little tapestry of scars and a well of gratitude as deep as the original wound. Oh, and a bad attack of writer’s block.

There’s no such thing as writer’s’ block. At least that’s what I used to say before I was felled by the wretched thing.  In this instance, the writer’s block can be explained by the self-evident fact that a close encounter with the Grim Reaper isn’t the most promising material for Memoir Number Three. You may even be making a mental note to avoid it when it finally appears, and that’s okay. Nevertheless, it is the job of the memoirist to take the raw material of life, whatever that may be, and turn it into something amusing for the enjoyment of others. I concede its going be a bit of a stretch to make this particular raw material amusing and I may have to settle for edifying.

I’ve written other stuff besides memoirs. Lots of stuff. Some of it is good, some of it is not so good.  And I hope to write lots more, because yes, there is life after butchery, and yes, miracles do still happen.

Now, Margaret didn’t mention her children’s books in her blurb, but I can promise you they are delightful too. And Margaret where is book 4? There’s got to be one for the last season!

You can find all Margaret Eleanor Leigh’s books on her Amazon author page – and please let us know when your ‘butchery’ book comes out – only you can make such a horrific event such fun to read.

https://www.amazon.com/Margaret-Eleanor-Leigh/e/B00KD7AE7E/

FORTS AND FORMS

I can’t resist posting more pics of the cable car ride. I just adore these flights suspended in the air, swaying gently like a bird. The most frustrating thing is trying to clean the glass to take clearer pictures. DH wouldn’t let me open the door and hang out for the really good shots.

At the other end, our first port of call was Fort Soliso. DH took an inordinate amount of interest in this fortification built to protect Singapore. He simply had to explore everywhere and I got pretty fed up. The only picture I took was this peacock sitting on a wall.

I must admit they had set up some pretty impressive displays. DH spent hours yesterday looking for the ones he’d taken but they’ve gone to ground in some file on his laptop and so it was back to the internet.

HISTORY

GEORGE v

George V’s full name was George Frederick Ernest Albert; I’m very puzzled why they give so many names to royal people, it’s not as if they are likely to get mixed up with the common folk.  I guess too they don’t have to fill in those fiddly forms which give you 2 centimetres to write a seven line address. Now that part would be easy for them, Buck House, London would find them I’m sure, but 4 Christian names? It’s just as well they changed to Windsor from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. I bet he never filled in a form at the post office NAME: ………   on which he had to fit George Frederick Ernest Albert Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

BOOKS

Several people have asked me if there is a synergy between me and my heroine Amie. I have to confess there is, except she trained for film work and I fell into it. She was left destitute in the African savannah, which was similar to me being left in the bush with a 9 week old baby. Admittedly I didn’t slog across the veld for days, but I did plenty of walking looking for that one pony who escaped more often than Houdini. The one huge difference is she’s a brave heroine and I’m the world’s biggest coward!  Have you read her books yet (I’ve had very little to do with them).

NEW SERIES COVERS 2

 

myBook.to/Amie1   myBook.to/Amie2      

http://www.amazon.com./dp/BO1M67NRG4

Till next week, take care.