CLARE BLANCHARD

You have to admit that us authors are a very special breed, weird maybe but extremely clever.  Last week I told you about a book that chronicled Eve’s life (yes the very first one) and this week we’ve moved on to ghosts from a later era.

Author Clare sent me two pictures, she said one was formal and the other informal. I’m not going to choose, I’ll use them both – it shows us writers as human, with real lives outside our fictional works – although I sometimes have my doubts about that!

Over to Clare.

Do you believe in ghosts? I didn’t, until I stayed at a hotel in the centre of Prague one night a few years ago. As I lay in bed, I became aware of a disturbing presence in my room. It was haunted, as well as haunting. It was the ghost of a man desperate to have his story told. I had no idea who he was and was too tired to be scared. The next day, I got up and wandered into a bookstore only a few hundred yards away. Taking an intriguing-looking book called Praga Mysteriosa off the shelf, I read to my surprise that the very street in which my hotel stood was said to be haunted by a ghost – the ghost of a barber who had abandoned his wife and daughters in the 17th century to go and become an alchemist. Bohemian Mystery is the result of my encounter with his ghost.

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A beautiful and thought-provoking novel….”

Bohemian Mystery is an intriguing novel, which opens in medieval Prague, a city at the heart of Bohemia, with its unique source of moldavite, a green gemstone laid down by a meteorite at the dawn of history. Sylvia, the protagonist, has an instinctive affinity to the city, which is where her own mother was born. But in modern Britain this is at odds with her burgeoning career at a prestigious girls’ boarding school – an institution steeped in hierarchy and eccentricity, which Clare Blanchard describes with an irresistible meld of humour and satire. However, gradually her affection for Prague draws her back again and again and she discovers that there are unexpected links between the old city and those ancient Etruscan civilisations that instigated the spread of culture and architecture across continents. She learns also that many of these legends stretch back to biblical times, and that there are even connections pulling at her own roots. Her life and purpose are transformed by these revelations. Bohemian Mystery takes you on a satisfying journey, providing food for thought long after the book is closed – a journey well worth travelling.

Brenda Parker, author of The Cilento Dove and Anya Paris

The experience of living in two or three different cultures drives Clare’s wicked sense of humour, but also makes her plots quirky, with unexpected twists of history woven in. Give Bohemian Mystery a try!

You can buy Clare’s book here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XX66Z7C

and visit her website  www.clareblanchard.com

ANGELIQUE CONGER

This week’s author came up with a question many of us might have thought about for a moment and then dismissed it as one of those unexplained events.  Angelique Conger took this one step further and wrote a whole book about it. I think it’s a really novel (excuse the pun) idea. In Angelique’s own words …

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Have you ever wondered about Eve? I did. I wanted to know how she managed life in a new world. How did she have that first child by herself, did someone help her? Then I wondered, how many children did she have? And how did they think about writing? And, did they live in a cave or in the open or build a house? All these questions left me wondering. The only way I could find the answers was to write a book.

I’ve lived a while, I’ve thought about this a long time. And when it came time to write her story, it felt like she sat beside me, whispering into my ear. I’d reach a block and not know what could possibly happen next. All I could do is walk away from it. When I came back and set my fingers on the keys, the answers were there. Some questions couldn’t be answered. Eve had no idea what happened.

Each day’s writing was a miracle to me.  Writing is a miracle for me. Before that November day in 2013, when I started this, I had never been able to set down a decent short story. After 3 months, I had a decent start in rough draft form.  Those were tough years, and I learned a lot.

Through it all, Eve has become my friend. Ancient Matriarchs: Eve First Matriarchs is her story. Each new tale I write comes easier, though none are ready without lots of extra work, they are coming easier.

Ancient Matriarchs, Into the Storms, Ganet Wife of Seth will be ready to join Eve, First Matriarch on your kindle or bookshelf soon.

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I just love that cover don’t you? Here are the buyinglinks https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MU4KRWT/

To find out more about about an amazing lady with such an original idea you can visit her website  http://AngeliqueCongerAuthor.com where you can sign up for a free book.

Does anyone know, is that an apple tree on the banner at the top of Angelique’s web page? just thought how appropriate that would be.

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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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.