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.

ARCHITECTURE AND AMIE

THE BIG TRIP

After a couple of days in Penang it was time to fly out to our last destination – Singapore. Another airplane, another take off and landing. I honestly couldn’t believe how cheap it was to fly on the Far East low cost Air Asia service. However, this leg was on Jet Star, and their message pinged on the cell phone long before we had planned to get up. It informed us that our flight was delayed. That was good, but they didn’t give us any reason and, more importantly, did not say how long it was delayed for.  jetstar-com-singapore-a320-200-9v-jsa-15-asias-got-talenttailjetstarlrw

This is how I imagined it, in for a quick service.
There was nothing we could do but make tracks for the airport – the delay could be 5 minutes or 5 hours.

Breakfast in the hotel was a revolting cold omelette and we only just managed to snaffle the last two slices of bread for our toast and marmalade.

We hung around Penang airport drinking coffee, changing money, buying a fridge magnet for an enormous price, and avoiding the disgusting loos. We took off two hours late, almost breaking our teeth on the revolting sandwiches they served up. We landed in Changi in less than an hour. The immigration area was empty and we were processed in less than 5 minutes. They took photos and fingerprints and our luggage was there waiting for us – such efficiency!

What a different world! Totally first world. I adored Singapore, it’s my kind of place. The next few blogs will be pictures – I took so many! However I’m battling to get them off the iPad and onto the laptop. Here I am 5 hours later and DH has managed to crack it.

I often wonder if I was an architect in a former life as I love buildings, old and modern and I’m fascinated by their shapes.

HISTORY NONSENSE

By the time Bertie had reached 50, he was thinking that it was time he settled down.   Everything went wrong with Alix away. There was a fire in Sandringham and George his son fell ill. Bertie cancelled all the planned house parties and took his younger son to London.  The diagnosis was enteric fever. He did in fact recover.

SANDRINGHAM 2

BERTIE CORONATION ROBESW

This is a Sandringham house party photo, and all the guests obliged by wearing black and white as they did not have colour photography in those days.

However, his settled years, between 50 and 60, were pretty boring while he waited to ascend the throne, but to be quite honest he guessed he wasn’t going to reign for too many years. Shame, he’d waited so long and with a mother like that … well I feel for him. Sorry to confuse you but Bertie became Edward VII – I think that’s the right number for him.

 

THE ADVERTISING BIT

I’m still in edit on Amie book 4 which has now got a name – Amie Final Cut and I explore a subject that is rarely talked about above a whisper.  A few lines from the opening.

“Oh, my God! It’s Amie! It’s Amie!” The shriek reverberated round the walls of the shopping mall bouncing off the plate glass windows and echoing along the hall.

Amie froze in her tracks. The plastic shopping bags slipped out of her lifeless hands and slithered onto the floor. Was the voice referring to her? Had someone recognized her? Was it someone who knew her well? What was she going to say? How could she explain? What was worse, she could have sworn it was her mother’s voice. No, that wasn’t possible. Her parents were six thousand miles away outside London. This was Johannesburg, South Africa, her mother wouldn’t be here. Would she?

“Now Mary, calm down, you’re imagining things. You know it’s not Amie. Amie’s gone.”

Still Amie couldn’t move, she was riveted to the spot – she didn’t even dare turn round. The mannequins in the shop window peered sightlessly at her as she stared at the reflection in the glass. Her mother’s name was Mary. It was her mother. Here, just across the hallway. Hell!

“It’s only another girl who looks a little like Amie.” Her father’s voice wasn’t convincing and Amie could feel his eyes boring into the back of her head. Did he believe his daughter was standing only a few feet away? “Remember,” he continued, “you thought you saw her in Croydon shopping centre a few months ago. That wasn’t Amie either, just a girl who reminded you of her.”

“Let me just ask her …”

“No! You can’t go bothering people. There are millions of thirty year-old girls with blonde hair all over the world. Come and sit down for a moment.”

Amie retrieved the bags off the floor, fumbling with stiff fingers to prevent dropping them a second time. As usual she dithered, uncertain what to do. More than anything in the world she wanted to run to them, throw her arms wide open and tell them that yes, she was Amie their daughter. She was alive – alive and well.stolen-future-kindle cover 150dpi

If you’re curious about why Amie is both alive and dead, you’ll find the answer in book 3 STOLEN FUTURE http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M67NRG4

Till next week, take care.

 

 

 

 

OLD AND USELESS BOOKS

I was reading a book the other day – yes really, I do read, I’m a voracious reader, in bed, the smallest room, during meals if I can get away with it, while not watching the television, you get the picture. But I gave DH (Dear husband) quite a fright when I shrieked with joy the other day. I’d not only found a typo but noticed a plot hole in a book by a very, very famous household-name writer. Yes!! Even the best of us and their top five publishing companies are not perfect.

I still cringe when I think of the mistakes I made with my first book, I probably shot myself in the foot at the beginning of a possible career as an author (who am I kidding I’m long past career time, I’m supposed to be retired). You know the kind of mistakes. The CreateSpace cover taken from a bad photograph, my own personal editing, heck I’d been paid in the past to edit a national magazine so of course I could find mistakes in my own work couldn’t I? No. The print was too small, the paper the wrong colour and it was riddled with typos.

pic-of-book-copy

However in my rose-coloured cloud I didn’t notice any of these things and I promptly ordered 50 paperback copies. What I was going to do with them all I had no idea, but it felt good and I sat for days gazing fondly at the boxes jammed full of my masterpiece.

Then the axe fell. A kind writer friend pointed out a typo, another mentioned a split infinitive, a third casually dropped that adverbs were last year’s flavour and a total no no in modern literature. I raced to my laptop. Called up the manuscript, made the changes and uploaded again in both kindle and paperback. Panic over. Until, I noticed the 45 copies (by now I’d bullied a couple of friends in buying a few) and wondered what to do with them.

Should I give them away? Sell them cheaply? Shred them?

From being a delight to behold, they sat accusingly in their boxes in the spare room.

“We are defective,” they screamed at me every time I walked past. “We cost you a lot of money!” They whined as I tried to ignore them.

“What are you going to do with us?” They wanted to know.

Eventually, as the tally of errors piled up, the corrections made and a new cover, then another new cover and then another one graced the book I bit the bullet and destroyed the lot. Now I finally have this.

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But that was not the end. Just as I breathed a sigh of relief, I noticed that every other author had matching covers on their series. I looked at Amie books one and two and no they had completely different covers, nothing to tell you they belonged together. I adored the covers, they were brilliant, but they didn’t tell the story inside.

Another, bitter, learning curve.

So back to the drawing board and now they make a set –

but yes, you’ve guessed it, I have several copies of the old versions on the shelves.  Should I give them away? Sell them cheaply? Shred them?

You see if I inflict them on people as Christmas or birthday presents they may be less than impressed and not look for my other books. Most times I’ve grabbed the new version out of the back of the car when someone has asked if I have any handy to sell. (You don’t carry your books around with you all the time? No? What about the bookmarks and the business cards and the inscribed pens?) Personally people are probably horrified when I squeak “Yes, I have all of them. Which one would you like?” The someone was probably expecting the conversation to go –

“Sorry, I have a few at home though.”

“Oh, what a shame, maybe next time?”

“Yes of course.” It was Christmas 2014 when we last bumped into each other wasn’t it?

But oh no, I’m prepared, and I whip open the boot/trunk of the car. But then my hand hovers over the old covers, do I, do I not?

“I must order more Amie 1 paperbacks I mention casually to DH over breakfast.”

“Whatever for? You have a shelf full of them.”

“But those are the old covers, and could you just redo the ones that have awards now?”

He gives me that ‘look’.

So what do you do with early editions?

THE ADVERTISING BIT

I am thrilled to announce that the first book in the Amie series is now available in audio – so now there is no excuse for busy people not to read all about her adventures as you travel to work, go running, cook the evening meal and do the laundry etc. I believe it’s free if you sign up for audio books.

AMIE 1 AUDIO COVER

www.amazon.com/dp/B0725CYNYG

Till next week, take care.

NEW YEAR – NEW KING

We settled in to our hotel in Penang but the restaurant, well advertised on the net didn’t appear to be open, so we sauntered off and found yet another shopping mall! All lit up for Chinese New Year. Once again I opted for Italian – my favourite food – although they had just about everything you could wish for.

Next day we walked around to look at the colonial buildings.

We took another bus ride, the best way to see what there was to see.

Due to the holidays everywhere was crowded with queues for the temples. We had no idea what was going to happen here. We went down to the fishing village area, but I didn’t take many pictures.

IMG_4248

HISTORY RUBBISH

Bertie was involved in another scandal over cheating at cards (they worried about things like that in those days). His big enemy Emperor Willhelm of German his nephew spread the gossip all around Europe. WILHELM ADULT

That is the Kaiser on the left.

When Bertie became King, he was called Edward VII. His one claim to fame was the successful operation for his appendicitis which previously had been considered fatal.  He was generally regarded as a good king, one of the most popular monarchs since the 1660’s.

THE NATURAL BREAK (ADVERTISING)

 

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I’ve not mentioned my first memoir Walking over Eggshells, for a while.  It describes living in the shadow of a parent with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder – a word that is being used a lot in the news lately, and may help to raise awareness. Read this book and learn what signs to look out for – I only discovered the problem after my mother died. WoE can also be described as a travel memoir, a disaster memoir and an inspiration.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8HSNDW

Till next week, take care. 🙂

MARKETS AND MAYHEM

We had a whole day to spend in Kuala Lumpur and decided just to wander around. Quite a clean town with scruffy areas, but there was lots of interesting architecture.

We found this amazing market, part of it indoor and part outdoor. There was no tat at all. DH is hiding in there somewhere – you know how camera shy he is! To my delight I found a knock off Rado watch which was exactly the design I wanted. And yes, before you ask, it’s still working 16 months later! I was quite proud of my bargaining skills, learned in the Indian quarter in Durban, and despite watching the stall holder wrestle a huge flight case festooned with padlocks, out from a back store, containing silk lined boxes suitably labelled I didn’t believe for a moment the contents were real.

I am strong willed when it comes to buying souvenirs, and my only other purchase was a fridge magnet. I do hope you’re impressed.

Then it was the hop on hop off bus as we toured every route and stopped off at the bird park.

So had everyone else in the city and the place was packed. It took forever to buy rolls for lunch and just as DH placed these on the table, some feathered things dived out of the sky and swiped the lot. I’ve never been that crazy about birds and now I like them even less.

These two pictures should have given us a hint that we’d forgotten something – I’ll tell you next week.

HISTORY STUFF

Even while his mum was still alive Bertie was, to put it mildly, very naughty. He ran up huge gambling debts, (he adored buying tickets for the Lotto) consorted with actresses and was involved in several scandals.

BERTIE ADULT 2

DISRAELI

Then he went down with typhoid (the same illness which had killed his father Albert), even his mama rushed to his bedside and the British public suddenly forgave him all his bad behaviour and cheered when he recovered. The politician Disraeli commented  “To have come closer to death and lived was an even greater achievement than to have died.

ADVERTISING SLOT

Just to let you know that Amie African Adventure book one in the series is still at $/£0.99   just so you can get to meet her for almost nothing!

amie-1-new-cover-kindle-higher-res

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

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

Till next week, take care.

LOFTY VIEWS AND LOVERS

Well last time I left us half way up the twin towers, and after waltzing along the connecting bridge it was time to go higher. I noticed the nice (I love using ‘nice’ in my blogs as of course it’s a no no in books we all know that!) lady in the second bank of lifts wasn’t smiling. I don’t blame her going up and down all day. I wondered if you started working in the bottom set and then moved on up to working the top bank. I shall never know. The pictures speak for themselves, they need no words from me.

That first picture shows the information centre, and there was so much to read I almost forgot to look out of the windows.

Next it was on to Penang – but there was a big problem – something we hadn’t planned for. (This is known as a cliff hanger).

THE HISTORY RUBBISH.

JOHN BROWN

Well that got Bertie (#1 son) married off at last, to Alexandra from Denmark but he was quite naughty (had affairs and such). His mother – Queen Victoria – despaired of him, but honestly she couldn’t talk as she holed up with a Scottish gamekeeper who went by the unusual name of John Brown. She particularly liked his kilts.

But then John Brown upped and died so she took up with an Indian servant and elevated him while she learned Hindi. She called him the Munshi which roughly translated means Munchi.  We are of course supposed to believe she remained quite pure and corresponded mostly on Facebook and Twitter from one end of the palace to the other.

I think we better move on to Bertie next week, I’m quite fed up with the woman but, until very recently, she was the longest reigning monarch, she sat on that throne for 63 years. That’s quite some feat and goes to show how well they made furniture in those days, no IKEA rubbish for her.

THE HARD SELLL BIT

This is the section where I mention I write books and show you a picture of them, and very casually drop the links to my Amazon author page where you can see them all and go and buy them all.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/

Till next time take care.  🙂

 

TO REVIEW OR NOT TO REVIEW

Once upon a time many moons ago I scribbled all sorts of things for a living. I wrote for radio and television, magazines, my newspaper column, brochures, leaflets, mayoral speeches, company reports, promotions, advertisements etc. etc. etc. you get the picture?

st bernardOne learned to be flexible earning enough to feed, house and clothe two children, a husband, a St Bernard and the family who lived out the back and took care of the house and garden.

Of course I read books too. I would rush to the local library at least once a week and emerge balancing a tower of books which I devoured at every spare moment – in the usual places – the bathroom, in bed, waiting for a parking place, during meal times. Then I returned the books and collected the next small truckload and so it went on.

umhlanga library

Did I review them?

Did I what? What are you talking about?

Now, I write books and I know that every review, even a one star, is like gold dust. I have reviewed every book I’ve read, even those by really famous, well-known authors who really don’t need my extra offering among all the thousands they already have. In total I rose to the dizzy ranks of #7,000+ in the reviewer status, until the Big A got twitchy.

So I did this massive survey and asked DH (Dear Husband) if he left reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. He’s a voracious reader.

“Do you write reviews and post them on Amazon?”

“Only if the book is really bad and I want to let them know exactly what I thought of it. And what’s Goodreads?”

“I’ll explain later. So, you only write bad reviews?”

“Yes.”

“Well isn’t that a bit mean? If you really enjoyed a book isn’t it nice to say so?”

“I tried to give you a review as your books aren’t bad (that’s high praise from DH), but Amazon wouldn’t let me.”

“Yes I know all about that, we’re too closely related.”

“We might just as well be on different planets when you’re writing. It’s like living on my own.”planets

(Hastily) “Let’s not go into that right now. Maybe you could start writing nice reviews, especially those books I’ve recommended?”

“I don’t have time.”

“Nonsense! We’re retired, at least you are. I’m still working just as many hours. So why don’t you have time?”

“I’ve more books to read. Now shush I’ve got to an exciting bit.”

I gave up. A few other people I asked said they didn’t know what to say in a book review, and they didn’t bother to look at reviews anyway before buying a book – they only consulted for hotels and tour companies.

I tried, honestly I tried, but I’ve got the picture that only those avid readers who chat with authors on Facebook and Twitter bother to leave reviews and they are the ones targeted by ‘you know who’ who are then accused of violating the terms and conditions and have their reviews taken down. They even refused to let me review an author who has been dead for over 20 years! I promise you we are not in daily contact, nor did I meet her or write to her when she was alive. But who am I to question one of the biggest corporations in the world?

I’ve rambled on a bit, so we’re back up the tower in KL next week and I’ll pick on the nonsense history. But the breaking news is that soon, Amie African Adventure should be available in audio, and all three Amie books have been translated into Spanish and should be on sale too. Amie African Adventure in English is still at the introductory price of only $/£0.99 so you can get to meet her for almost nothing!  myBook.to/Amie1

 

I’ve also completed draft one of Amie 4, but I have no title for it yet. Hopefully it will be out in July.

You can find them all at  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/

A reminder about my monthly newsletter here is the sign up link http://eepurl.com/cBu4Sf

This month meet authors Vered Ehsani, Christoph Fischer, Max Power with Rod Craig in the Reader’s Corner.

amie-back-story-v2-1

The free Amie back story follows Sam and Gerry, still at the airport 24 hours after their plane took off and Ben is about to undergo his initiation into manhood. I continue the  saga of the court case, possibly the first time in history where a character has sued her author for cruelty and hardship, in Amie v Lucinda E Clarke. There are also competitions and bundles of free books to win every now and again.

Have a great week and take care.