RESTAURANT AND RHODESIAN BOILER

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

We stopped off for a quick bite at this cute little restaurant where we were the only people. In fact, most of the area was pretty deserted – possibly because they heard I wanted to take photos without crowds.

1d73abeb-f090-41c4-a58c-ea2fbeedbf7d

a2ad67a3-7e93-474a-bb76-d0391f1fd3a9

If there is a castle to go in, then I go in.

4bbaa8fe-f0f6-4708-9089-2e6494e3a65b

It’s not just a single building but almost a small town, with interlinking courtyards and of course the St Vitus Cathedral up there as well next to the palace.

1c116dcc-0c15-4bfa-894d-91a2de6eb7fd

They began building all this in the 9th century and was home to Presidents, Kings of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperors. A World Heritage site it’s the largest ancient castle in the world occupying 70,000 square metres.

HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

The lovebirds, Isabella and Ferdinand, spend two hours together and renew their betrothal vows before Ferdinand returns to the town of Dueňas to wait for the wedding. The next few days are nerve-wracking. Henry’s forces could arrive at any minute. There is very little money for a wedding, how can you celebrate a royal wedding without money?  The couple are forced to borrow from members of the noble houses.

isabella 3

But, as they say, that’s not all! There is the little problem of consanguinity – yes the pair are both descended from the same ancestor. It will mean a dispensation from the Pope of the time allowing them to marry. And the Pope is friends with …? You guessed it King Henry and the Marquis of Villena who are against the marriage.

Isabella gets a bit difficult at this stage and says that she cannot marry without this dispensation.  She is deeply religious, and although she believes in the divine plan for her nuptials with Ferdinand, if it is not done properly, then God will not look on favourably. Are they ever going to share a bed?

AFRICA FACTS

Last week I told you how we moved 450 kms north taking with us our new Ayah or maid or housekeeper whichever term you prefer. Agreeing she could bring her boyfriend, or husband, I never really found out which he was, at first was a boon. He helped light the Rhodesian boiler every morning. A stone built contraction with a shelf to place logs which were then burnt and heated the oil drum above which was connected to the hot water tank in the house.

rhodesian boiler

It was the only way we could have hot water indoors. But I also mentioned there were long queues of eager looking men outside our gate every afternoon during the hours Ntebling was not working. It took me a few days to work it out, but then the penny dropped when I saw money changing hands. Whether he was married to her or not, Ntebling’s male friend was also her pimp. With two young daughters in the house I just couldn’t risk it and sadly paid them an extra month’s wages and waved them goodbye. It would be cold showers for us until we found a replacement to work that Rhodesian boiler.

THE ADD BREAK

Having stared this year fighting a variety of unwelcome bugs, I’ve not yet launched my latest book. I’ve been dithering whether to just slide it out quietly or make a huge splash and scream about it from the rooftops.

Amie 5 cover 1 hyena

Watch this space, it will be out soon. In the meantime, this is the blurb.

Rare minerals have been found in the north of Togodo and representatives from six of the world’s most powerful nations are desperate to win the contract to mine and export them. The new president Ben Mtumba invites them on safari to bid for the rights. 

 MI5, aware of Amie’s old friendship with Ben, fly her back to spy on him and ensure Britain’s success in the mining venture. Should the new president prove uncooperative, they will support any one of several ministers who are more than willing to replace him as president.

 Between pressure from her own government and her loyalty to Ben, Amie is put in an impossible position, aware that both her life, the life of her unborn child, and Ben’s are all at risk.

 To add to her problems, her fiancé Simon has been sent back to England and she has lost all contact with him. He is unaware of the drama unfolding in Togodo and has information, which, if it came to light would have drastic effects on the safari and the auction.

Till next time, take care.

Lucinda

THE DEMISE OF 2018

adorable baby baby feet beautifulSomebody, somewhere has got to slow things down a little, the years are flying past much too quickly. I believe the perception is that each complete year is a smaller fraction of your life so far and therefore appears to move faster. There is probably a mathematical formula in there but for someone who still counts on her fingers – and toes – let’s not go there.   A look back on 2018 –

IAmie 5 cover 1 hyena had a slump in the middle of the year – and I didn’t get Amie book 5 finished as early as I’d planned but it should be out very soon, I’m taking my time and not rushing it. I love the hyena in the top corner, once again Daz Smith has produced a cover I’m really happy with. We had a vulture in there at one time, but decided he crowded the picture too much so we flew him off.

But all was not lost as I published 2 back stories

We met Samantha, Amie’s elder sister in book 1 when she was the one leaking news about Amie to the press causing all sorts of problems and in book 3 she flew over to stay with Amie and Jonathon in Africa and was a very difficult guest. All is explained if you get to know her better in this comedy about her first visit abroad as she drags an unwilling Gerry into one disaster after another.

Why he ever married her I’ll never know. I think she might be good for another couple of stories later in the year.

 

Amie Back Story - Ben

The second backstory tells us more about Ben. He was Amie’s cameraman in Amie Africa Adventure but when the civil war breaks out he disappears.

He pops up in Amie and the Child of Africa when Amie chases off to rescue her foster child and then in book 5 as …  but I won’t spoil the surprise!

In Ben we meet him as he is about to undergo his passage into manhood and what happens afterwards.

Both back stories are priced at $/£0.99 so they won’t break the bank.

2018 was a great year for awards. I entered 7 contests and won awards in 5 of them, so I was really thrilled.

AMIE 2 WITH ALL 2 MEDALS 2018

Readers’ Favorite awarded Amie and the Child of Africa a Gold Medal and Amie: Stolen Future a Silver Medal.

AMIE 3 WITH ALL 3 MEDALS 2018

I was particularly thrilled as Headline books chose Amie book 2 for a possible publishing contract as one of 10 books entered in the competition – and I understand there were thousands. They didn’t take it in the end but it was a real boost that they liked it. Had a ball in America going to Miami and was thoroughly spoiled.

 

 

The Wishing Shelf Awards gave Amie and the Child of Africa a Red Ribbon and I understand a medal will be in the post soon

The Global Awards also gave the same book a silver medal.

In the New Apple Awards, Amie Stolen Future was solo medallist for action/adventure and Unhappily Ever After was solo medallist in humour (or humor if you live in America!)

Finally, Amie Stolen Future (book 3) won a gold in the e.Lit Awards.

If I was hoping these would catapult me to fame and fortune – it didn’t happen.

As followers of my blog and FB page know, we live in a small rabbit hutch and there is minimal wall space. DH did try to put all these accolades into one frame but I’m not sure it works and it doesn’t hang on the wall either. I tried to frame the medals but made a bit of a hash of that as well. It’s not as easy as you think but I’ll have another go when the other medal arrives.

IMG_0351

I had two large promos during the year. The first one was for Amie Cut for Life which incorporates the theme of FGM and I was invited onto Voice of America – Africa for my first TV interview. I blinked my way through looking like an owl skewered on the end of a cattle prod. The live FB page interview was a fraction better but not by much. I have the perfect face for radio and those interviews went better, both on Voice of America and on Talk Radio Europe in Spain.

None of these shot me to the top of the lists either.

I have popped the book prices up and down, taken part in joint promos, blogged, was a guest and had guests on my blog and tweeted my way merrily through 2018.

My Bookbub followers went up, my FB followers remained static (I’ve refused all those hearts, roses, cute kittens, top end cars, stethoscopes and little kid pics beside a variety of singled/divorced men offering friendship) and my twitter followers took a dive. My loyal mailing list remained pretty much the same but is woefully slow compared to other authors with millions of friends and fans, despite being offered a free book to join and an exclusive signed paperback of The very Worst Riding School in the monthly competition – it’s not on sale anywhere.

I’ll just pop the links in here in the hope someone, somewhere, reading this might just add their name too.

newsletter sign up:  http://eepurl.com/c-GqWr

twitter name   @LucindaEClarke     https://twitter.com/LucindaEClarke

Facebook  My page https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

BOOKBUB    https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucinda-e-clarke

So, what of next year 2019? I have two wishes. To be a NYT Bestseller (or Wall St or similar) I’m not picky. The other is to prove the moon is really made of green cheese. I think it’s the second is the one I might manage to accomplish as it will be much easier.

I’d like to give everyone a huge hug for being my friend this year and reading my blogs and newsletters and FB posts. I still can’t believe how supportive, kind and helpful so many of you are.

It only remains to wish you all a wonderful last few days of the holiday and a fantastic New Year with everything you would wish for yourself and those you love.

Lucinda

 

 

A CASTLE AND A CHILD

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

More pictures of St Vitus cathedral as I took rather a lot of them and it would be a shame not to share them.

They started to build it in 1344, so as you can see, it’s quite new! I can truthfully say this as it was finally finished in 1929 in time for the St Wenceslas jubilee. The style is Gothic, which is very popular for large churches as they look big and important. Even today you can look in awe and wonder how they built them without modern cranes and machinery.

HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

Ferdinand is trying to reach Princess Isabella to marry her. Eventually, very late the small party of merchants arrive outside the castle of the Count of Trevino. It’s well guarded as the Count is ready for an attack, it’s also well known that he supports Isabella and will give sanctuary to Ferdinand.

Osama castle

(I’m not absolutely sure this is the right castle, but I like the picture and you get the general idea).

The merchant’s party are tired and with no money to buy a meal, they are hungry and thirsty too.  They shout for the drawbridge to be let down, but seeing a party of rough travellers, one of the soldiers pushes a boulder off the top of the battlements.  Ferdinand is almost crushed to death. Obviously, he wasn’t expected.

I told you this was exciting, didn’t I?

AFRICA FACTS

As this bounces out through space and into inboxes, I will be in Miami for the Reader’s Favorite Awards. The book that has won the gold medal is the second book in the Amie in Africa series “Amie and the Child of Africa.”

I got the idea for the story from a news item. On the night of 14-15 April 2014 Boko Haram a fundamentalist group abducted 276 schoolgirls from their school in Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. As far as I know not all the girls have been reunited with their families.

In the first book, Amie loses Angelina the little orphan she adopts when the civil war breaks out and so I put the two ideas together. A fast page turning tale with lots of adventure – pure escapism – pun intended.

Till next time, take care.

Lucinda

I MUST BE ON A WATCH LIST BY NOW

I got the following email this week:

 

My nickname in darknet is ryley58.
I hacked this mailbox more than six months ago,
through it I infected your operating system with a virus (trojan) created by me and have been monitoring you for a long time.

So, your password from lucindaeclarke@gmail.com is …..

Even if you changed the password after that – it does not matter, my virus intercepted all the caching data on your computer and automatically saved access for me.

I have access to all your accounts, social networks, email, browsing history.
Accordingly, I have the data of all your contacts, files from your computer, photos and videos.

I was most struck by the intimate content sites that you occasionally visit.
You have a very wild imagination, I tell you!

During your pastime and entertainment there, I took screenshot through the camera of your device, synchronizing with what you are watching.
Oh my god! You are so funny and excited!

I think that you do not want all your contacts to get these files, right?
If you are of the same opinion, then I think that $859 is quite a fair price to destroy the dirt I created.

Send the above amount on my BTC wallet (bitcoin): 1NXNt72qfMhPZDffUEqryCYpEUzyR6LmgH
As soon as the above amount is received, I guarantee that the data will be deleted, I do not need it.

Otherwise, these files and history of visiting sites will get all your contacts from your device.
Also, I’ll send to everyone your contact access to your email and access logs, I have carefully saved it!

Since reading this letter you have 48 hours!
After your reading this message, I’ll receive an automatic notification that you have seen the letter.

I hope I taught you a good lesson.
Do not be so nonchalant, please visit only to proven resources, and don’t enter your passwords anywhere!
Good luck!

But it gave me food for thought – I had checked out a site which I guess could have been called porn but it was in connection with my story about Ben and his circumcision ceremony – honestly!

Like many other writers I’m probably on a watch list by now as I merrily google guns, explosives, torture techniques and similar stuff. I was warned by the team at Quora that my question about the distance you could throw certain kinds of bombs was inappropriate.  I guess they have a point  but it was information I couldn’t find on Google and several helpful people told me what I needed to know before the post was pulled.

And recently I needed to gather information about embassies and consulates and how they worked for Amie Savage Safari. Now put those altogether and I’m really a shady character.

This is maybe why I always get pulled over at the airport for that extra frisking. It can’t be my stunning looks or legs which start at my armpits, as I’m  old and wrinkly, and if the clefts in my face get any deeper they will make excellent smuggling hidey-holes.

Writing can be a minefield but we need vital and correct information for our books – the experts out there are ready to pounce and review our mistakes in CAPITAL LETTERS for the whole world to read.

Not one but 2 new books out in the Amie Backstory series – Samantha and Ben. Both available wide and both only $/£ 0.99.

Sam is a light, fluffy, cozy, comedy set in Benidorm, Spain and Ben is more serious – he is about to enter manhood in his rural African village where things don’t go to plan.

This is the link for Sam https://www.books2read.com/u/3J8B7e  

I’m still hoping to publish Amie Savage Safari before I go to Miami but it has to be just right and I’m a picky Virgo.

Take care

Lucinda

QUICK EXTRA

As my part in a group competition, it’s my day for sharing information. I am too daft to reproduce the page as it should be, but you can win books and a gift card for $50 to spend on anything you like on Amazon.

Do remember, if you click on a name to subscribe to an author – after the competition you can always unsubscribe again (I guess I shouldn’t tell you that!) – but of course you may be blown away by the brilliance of that authors; blog, web site, books etc that you are happy to hear from them 🙂

Here is the link to click which will take you to the entry page and tell you which books you can win.

https://www.greatbooksgreatdeals.com/blog/great-books-great-deals

Of course my book is there – Unhappily Ever After – currently on sale @$/£0.99 until the end of October. Hint, the paperback copy would make an excellent Christmas present.

https://www.books2read.com/u/3nYQJP

UEA PB+K squared clear bg small

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

TRIALS AND TRAVEL

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

That first morning we made for the Charles Bridge – it was a focal point for most of the tours and I had booked plenty of them (I didn’t have the courage to admit to DH just how many)

274C7C10-3319-4C33-8E4D-6D7A456CDB46

There are many bridges over the Vitava River, but you can’t miss the Charles Bridge as it is I think the only pedestrian bridge.

80FB06BF-1571-45B8-8553-9279B139EB1B

It was built in the 14th century and, later, lined with statues and today there are street musicians, postcard sellers, portrait painters, musicians and lots of tourists.

EC3A098A-415C-4553-88E3-B508109CC06C

I felt very stupid when I learned that Prague was the capital seat of the kings of Bohemia. (Yes, a real place and not just a description for people wearing Laura Ashley outfits and flowers in their hair while setting fire to incense sticks). The city only became one in 1784 when Hradcany, Lesser Town, Old town and New Town were all combined into one.

HISTORY ISABELLA OF SPAIN

All those important people come and ask Isabella to be queen of Castile now that her brother has been poisoned – but she tells them not a chance – Henry is still king and it would be a bit tactless of her, not to mention just a tad dangerous. There is another war as those top guys fight it out, but I won’t bother you with all that just skip to the end when Isabella and King Henry sign an agreement.

Richard of Gloucester

 

Brilliant, it says Isabella can chose her own husband (Hate to tell you but Henry has no intention of keeping his word).

Now the hoards flock to ask for her hand in marriage. Richard of Gloucester is one – later Richard III of England.

(Remember that little rumour about princes in the tower? – yes that one). Probably a lucky escape.

AFRICA FACTS

I know this next bit to be true, as several kind people who have left reviews have mentioned experiencing this as well.

So, you are home on leave and people ask you lots of questions about what it’s like and you tell them an amazing story or two. There are two reactions. Either eyes glaze over and you realise they are not listening or, they don’t believe you.

You shut up.

Or, they are fascinated and then say how much they wish they were living abroad as well.  “But you can,” we say – (in those days o’seas contracts were much easier to get). Then come the reasons – mortgage payments, family, current job, too big a risk, education, free medical care – the list is endless.

Yes, we had an amazing life full of highs and lows but as with everything there is a price to pay.

A few pics of people and places, both have crept into my books in one disguise or another.

CIMG3685

Lots more to read in any of my books.

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

Till next time, take care.

TANTRUMS AND TEMPERATURES.

While I am between countries I thought I would share some pictures of one of the local fiestas.

Each year many of the towns on the east coast (and I think along the south coast as well) have a 3 day festival celebrating the Moors and Christians. Now, in case you didn’t know Spain was invaded in 711 AD from North Africa by the Moors. They conquered most of it, except for the far north around Santiago de Compostela. Being a mainly Christian country that was not viewed too kindly by the Iberians and they battled to take back the conquered land. This was not accomplished until 1492 almost 800 years later.

The term Moors refers primarily to the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers.

CIMG7879

On day 1 at festival time, the Moors invade and take control of the town. On day 2 the Christians fight back and on day 3 they all march together in a big parade, usually lasting at least 3 hours.

CIMG7896

The costumes take your breath away. In a few towns they make or buy them, but mostly they are hired from huge centres for the festivities so they are different every year.

Benitachell M & C 2011 28

I found this utterly fascinating as in South Africa they are working so hard to bury their history, changing road names, re-branding to Africanisms and using the past only as a vehicle for blaming the state of the present.

A replacement road sign in Durban

Here in Spain they celebrate the diversity and most places you can see remnants of Moorish architecture and culture.

HISTORY

Isabella of Spain

Ferdinand 5

FERDINAND

Since last week I’ve discovered Alfonso was only 32 when he wanted to marry the 13 year old Isabella, but to her that was like, ancient!! The Queen can’t wait to get her married off and out of the way, while Dowager Mummy bleats her daughter is already betrothed to Ferdinand of Aragon. Isabella agrees with this, she’s madly in love with the dashing Ferdinand of Aragon and she’s not above throwing a real tantrum if she can’t marry him. Now that his brother was bumped off he’s the heir to the Aragon throne and quite a good catch.

To get out of this new betrothal to Alfonso of Portugal, Isabella turns to Don Frederick Admiral of Castile, father of Queen Joan of Aragon who is a man of great experience.  She feels that she can trust him.  And he comes up with a plan.

AFRICA FACTS

It’s a mistake to think that Africa is warm all the time. The summers are hot but it can get quite cold in winter. Of course, nothing like as cold as many places. Durban on the east coast is a subtropical climate and the temperature rarely drops below 9 degrees Centigrade. I never needed a coat there but I had several jerseys. The contrast between a hot day and a cooler night can feel so much more and it’s possible to shiver at 10 degrees Centigrade.

AERIAL BEACHFRONT
DURBAN BEACHFRONT

Johannesburg is 1,753 metres (5,751 ft) above sea level and Nairobi is pretty much the same at 1,795 metres. Even towns in Botswana are over 1,000 metres above sea level. As a child I always thought that the higher up you are the hotter it would be – closer to the sun aren’t you? Apparently, this is not the case as Mount Everest at 8,848 metres proves.

Visitors to Nairobi and Johannesburg will notice the oxygen levels are lower at these heights and will need to take things easy for the first few days.

joburg

JOHANNESBURG

Since I have little fashion sense, I don’t need to worry too much what Amie wears – usually cargo pants and t-shirt and good, sturdy boots. In book 4 these became more dangerous than she could ever have imagined.

Till next time, take care.