MEET PAULETTE MAHURIN

This week another author from the Reader Recommends Facebook group. I love the books this author writes and I think I’ve read every single one of them. For someone who says they have lived a very conventional life, her imagination is exceptional.  Not only are they great reads, but the royalties go to a very good cause.

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You can connect with Paulette here :

BLOG http://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/Paulette-Mahurins-Books-695108163960200/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

 

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MEET BRENDA MOHAMMED

There is a small group on Facebook who committed to promoting each other. One author is Brenda Mohammed.  I’ve read at least one of her books and I’m happy to share her work with you. Here are 6 fabulous slides about her.

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BRENDA 6

You can connect with Brenda on her blog: http://brenchristo.blogspot.com

her website: http://brenchris.allauthor.com

and check out all her books here  http://Author.to/BCM786

 

 

MUSEUMS AND MUMS

TRAVEL

After another coffee and yet more apple strudel, we walked (I was gazing longingly at the taxis) to a venue labelled The Time Travel Experience – again no photos allowed.

This is a must visit if you go to Vienna. They take you from the earliest days when the city was founded to the present. Each small group has a multilingual guide leading us past talking mannequins, swirling roundabouts with flashing lights listening to Strauss, realistic displays, a superb film with 3D glasses which had me gripping the seat, a bomb shelter with the bombs exploding outside and a carriage ride. It was so cleverly put together and well worth the Euros.

It was time for more coffee and food.

HISTORY

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We left the Dowager Queen mother to little Isabella breathlessly waiting for the betrothal to little Ferdinand of Aragon, sadly he was the younger son and from dad’s second marriage, but then he was King of Sicily so better than a passing peasant. There were talks but nothing happened because while they were busy chatting his father King John of Aragon had a huge fight with his eldest son Carlos, stepbrother to Ferdinand and civil broke out and Navarre and Castile all got involved and it was one big mess. mind in this picture he looks more than a little-laid back.

Then another emissary arrives to grab Isabella as a bride, this time from the said Carlos above. He’s legally heir to the throne, but Daddy has disowned him. Isabella is not pleased, she has fanaticised about Ferdinand for years, as an escape from her insane mother and her fear of Uncle Henry. It might also something to do with the fact that Isabella is only 9 years old, and Carlos is 40.

AFRICA FACTS

I made a complete idiot of myself the other week by putting out a tweet giving the gestation period of a lioness as 11 days. One person noticed which was a thrill to discover that someone actually read one of my tweets. It should have been 110 days of course and the lioness will leave the pride and go some distance to give birth.

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The reason? Often the male dominant lion will kill the cubs. Not sure if he is worried about being daddy and bringing up stepchildren, but the lioness will wait about two months before returning to the pride. It’s an unsettling time for her as if there is a new dominant male he will kill the cub but her sisters will take turns on helping her feed her cub if they are lactating.

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You can read what happened when we edited footage about introducing lions into a game park for the first time in More Truth, Lies and Propaganda.

Till next time, take care.

Lucinda

 

 

MEET HILARY COOMBES

My guest this week is an author I have actually met. Yes, a real-life meeting, we even shook hands, kissed in the Spanish tradition, and drank coffee together but she’s also a cyber friend of course.

She’s written two books and is currently formatting the third one. But enough waffle from me – over to Hilary.

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I’ve always wanted to write, but then if you’ve never written anything you don’t know any better do you? It started with a couple of successes with magazine articles a lifetime ago and developed from there to short stories and eventually full-blown novels.

Alongside the day job, I decided to become a novelist to put my talent for making up stuff to good use. At the time I mistakenly thought I’d have the power to make my characters do my bidding … it turns out the tail very much wags the dog. My main characters wake me up in the middle of the night and tell me they don’t like what I’ve written about them. I usually end up having to get up and rewrite in the small hours! This is why I sometimes need matchsticks to keep my eyes open during daylight hours.

You may know that I live between the Costa Blanca, Spain and Oxfordshire, England and I adore both my countries, which is probably why they often feature in my writing. I think I must be the luckiest person on earth to live my lifestyle. I wouldn’t change places with anyone – not even the Queen of England or Posh Spice! J

HILARY COOMBES HEN PARTY

I’ve had a love affair with Spain since my first visit as a teenager. The good weather, great people, Mediterranean food, scenic beauty, not forgetting the wine of course, and I must confess I have a weakness for a glass of red.

Not sure whether you will really find this bit interesting, but I’ll include it in case you’re wondering which country gave birth to such a lucky soul. I was born in Devon in the south west of England, although when I was adopted I moved to Bristol and I grew up there. I very much feel like a Bristolian and I can talk the talk if need be (‘Ow bee mee luvver?). As an adult, I moved around a bit, as you do, and luckily nowadays we can all live almost anywhere we choose, as the Internet easily keeps everyone in touch.

I love humans (well, most of them); long thick hair (mine is incredibly fine); sunshine; eating al fresco (especially breakfast as this seems decadent somehow); plus writing of course.

 

I have won several writing awards, two of which I am particularly proud of (probably because of their Spanish connections)  … the 2015 Spanish Radio short story competition, and the 2017 Ian Goven Award. I won’t name all the others – far too uninteresting.

I have found that the writing community are one of the loveliest bunch of people you could hope to meet, especially indie writers. I have been lucky enough to write for the big publishers (Macmillan), the small publishers (UPBooks) and lately I have chosen to go it alone as an indie publisher. It’s hard work, but boy have I learned a lot and the support of other indie writers has been there every step of the way.

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My personal challenge for my last novel BEYOND PROMISES was that wanted to put myself in a man’s shoes.

Charlie the main character is male. His powerful politician father parts him from the love of his life, and then the reader follows his exile in 1980’s Spain where he becomes trapped in a criminal underworld. The story follows his life through to the present day. It is a story of passion, heartbreak and humour.

It had very good five star ***** reviews, but to be honest this face-to-face encounter is my favourite feedback  –

I was sat in the local laundry when a lady I had never met before tapped me on the shoulder. ‘You’re that writer lady, aren’t you?’

I was amazed (I have no idea how she knew me, I can only imagine it was word of mouth). ‘Um, y-yes.’

‘I’ve just read your book, Beyond Promises.’

‘Oh.’ (I wondered what was coming next).

‘I want you to know it’s the best book that I have read in the last twelve months. It’s fantastic. I couldn’t put it down.’

I could have kissed her! (I didn’t), but it was such a lovely thing to hear.

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My next book is due out in July 2018, and once again it was born because of a challenge to myself. This time I decided I wanted to write short stories with a theme, so ‘Short LOVE Stories’ was born. Readers are going to be treated to love in all its guises, from brotherly love, love of an artist, elderly love, child love, and even the traditional boy meets girl type love, but of course there are no certainties in love are there, so the themes range from “Game. Set. Heartache” to “Passionate Crime”, of course, sprinkled with humour along the way.

Thank you for coming along with me on Lucinda’s blog today, it’s been great to talk with you, and thank you, Lucinda, for inviting me to be your guest.

I’d love to hear from any reader that would like to get in touch, and there are many ways you could do this. I run a webpage, a blog, and I endeavour to amuse people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so do and come join me

http://hilarycoombes.com   (my new blog is here)

https://medium.com/@HILARYCOOMBES   (my old blog – has writing tips as well as topical news articles about Spain and the UK)

https://facebook.com/hilary.coombes.94

http://twitter.com/HILARYCOOMBES

http://www.instagram.com/hilary.coombes/

Thank you, Hilary and we’ll be meeting up for coffee again very soon. You can read more of Hilary’s work as she’s contributed a short story to the book her creative writing group is preparing to publish to commemorate their 10th anniversary – I’ll keep you updated on that as soon as I know more.

Until next time, take care.

 

DOCUMENTS AND DANCING

TRAVEL

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The inside of the Military Museum in Vienna was truly enormous, with the early history on the first floor and the ground floor devoted to World War I and II. The marble statues in the entrance hall were most impressive.

After several hours I finally managed to drag DH (Dear Husband) away from all things military, muttering rude comments about the insanity of war and the unnecessary posturing of men for power and validation and the suffering caused as a result, but I don’t make many inroads. I often forget he was once in the British army himself, but he didn’t run around shooting people.

After a coffee break and more apple strudel, we walked to the nearest Uban (underground metro) and went 3 stops to Pietersplatz and then walked to the Document Centre of the Austrian Resistance.

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I’ve heard lots about the French resistance fighters in the last world War but nothing about groups in Austria. It was sad to see that many of them were turned in to the Gestapo by friends and neighbours and there were very few left alive by 1946. No photos allowed, unfortunately, but I have to admit that these days museums with the inclusion of films and dioramas are not the boring places they once were.

This centre was founded in 1963 by former resistance fighters and has 350 metres of shelf space filled with documents and a library with 44,000 books.

It was time for another coffee break (we have a lot of those).

HISTORY

Time to hear more about little Isabella’s story. Life is tough since her mother the Dowager hears of Henry’s second marriage she is even more convinced he wants to do away with her and her children. Life in Avila is all praying and daily reminders of duty but events take a turn for the better when King John of Aragon sends men to Arevalo to betroth Isabella to his son Ferdinand who is only 11 months younger than her. The Dowager is absolutely thrilled.

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A YOUNG ISABELLA

Now, just to put you in the picture her is a map to show what was where. During the 1400’s there were three separate Christian kingdoms – Aragon, Navarre and Castile – and the Muslim kingdom of Granada. As you can see, Castile, with its capital in Burgos and Toledo covers a bigger area than Aragon and therefore we must assume it was more important.

 

map spain, early

 

Notice I did not use the word Spain, this was to come later. The capital of Aragon is Zaragoza.

The story begins to get really exciting from this point.

AFRICA FACTS

The last thing I expected to see in a rural area in Mpumalanga was a troop of American drum majorettes. They were really good and must have practiced for hours and hours.

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In another school they welcomed us performing a traditional dance –CIMG3674

While these ladies who set up and ran chicken business danced and sang waving branches, leaves and straw fronds when we first arrived and got out of the car.

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I never planned to write about my filming life, but I realized one day I was forgetting so many of the locations, the people, and the experiences. So, I sat down and wrote about them to remind myself in the old age home what I had done. The manuscript got longer and longer so I turned it into 2 books and it seemed silly not to publish. To my surprise, several of my readers say these are the favourites of all my books. I never realized how precious these photographs would be to me now I’m not living in Africa.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VF0S3RG

This is the universal link to all marketplaces. https://www.books2read.com/u/4AgL6p 

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

 

INFIDELITY AND INGENUITY

TRAVEL

Last time I left you all as we approached the military museum.

It seemed we had the place to ourselves, there were no other visitors. The displays were quite amazing, even for me who hates ‘war’ stuff. It included uniforms, equipment, battle scenes, maps, descriptions of conflicts and so much more.

Set out over two floors it covered just about the whole history of Austria – and it was interesting to compare what they showed us in their version to what I remembered from history lessons at school. History is always written by the victor!

HISTORY

Having divorced Blanche, a year later in 1455, Henry marries Joan of Portugal, sister to Alfonso V of Portugal. However, he soon gets bored with her too, and it’s not long before he takes another mistress, one of Joan’s ladies in waiting. (Now that is really sleazy).

Henry IV and Joan of Navarre

Here he is with ‘the other woman’  In turn, Joan is so incensed that she begins an affair with a handsome courtier named Beltran de la Cueva.  That’s practically unheard of in history on the female side!  While kings could play around, queens stayed pure and chaste didn’t they? They could get into all kinds of bother. – Remember the saying Momma’s baby, Poppa’s maybe?)

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Henry? He doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest, you can almost take indolence to extremes can’t you?

And here is the lucky man, Beltran de la Cueva  (I think that = Bertran from the cave). Quite a dishy sort of guy I guess but awfully thin – take that armour away and there’d be nothing left of him. I do hope the Queen fed him up a little.

 

 

 

AFRICAN FACTS

This week a few more pictures of some of the rural schools we visited. At one, they had built a whole new assembly hall and gym, yes, from all those collected pennies. The previous one had been flooded out (uninsured of course) and the parents had working parties to dig ditches or whatever was needed to prevent it from flooding again.

If only communities would work together like this everywhere, just think of what we could achieve. There is so much hope and inspiration from these little ones, all so keen to get an education. If they hear there will be a day closure of the schools, say for example to use as a polling station, they all get very upset.

I’ve written 2 books dedicated to my media work it’s packed with dozens of humorous and inspirational stories, and a few shocking ones too, of the people we met and the various ways they were all trying to make a better life. This is the first one.

https://www.books2read.com/u/47kzYN 

The second link will take you to all marketplaces.

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

 

MEET TERRY TYLER

I have to admit I’ve not read all the books featured on my guest blogs. That had been my original intention so I could make some really intelligent comments about them and gush about how much I loved them. Of course, that never happened I’m not Superman or woman in my case.

This week is different, as I’ve read 3 books by this author and loved them – despite being in a genre I would never even consider – but they were recommended, so I bought the first, read it in a day and then immediately got the second …. What I loved about her Renova trilogy was the premise that it could, one day, come true.

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First of all, I’d like to thank the lovely Lucinda (sorry if I’ve made you sound like a 1960s magician’s assistant) for inviting me to her blog!

I wasn’t quite sure what to write about for a while, but I imagine this might be of interest to other writers (and maybe come as a surprise to readers)―I’m talking about THE FEAR that lurks in so many writers’ minds all the way through the production of a novel.  What is it?  It’s the fear that you’re writing a load of rubbish.  If it’s a sequel or a series, and the previous one has been well received, you can add to that the worry that readers will find this one a disappointment.

After writing many, many novels (15 published, 9 or 10 unpublished), I’ve found that my process always follows more or less the same pattern:

Step 1: Get idea.  Mull it around for a while to see if it has legs.

Step 2: Develop plot in head.  Write basic plan.  Start writing.

5K words: Question my conviction that this idea had legs.  Feel unable to get into the heads of any of the characters.  Have to force self to write, every step of the way.

6K – 15K: Start to understand who the characters are but worry they are wishy-washy duplicates of those I’ve written before.  Realise plot isn’t going to work quite as I thought, and make various alterations.  Feel sure it’s banal rubbish.

16K – 30KWell, I’ve got this far, so I may as well carry on.

40K: Consider scrapping.

50K – 60K: Start thinking it might be okay.  Realise what wasn’t working and why, go back and make notes in mauve about where I have to change/add things, but it’s okay, it’s fine, they can all be dealt with in the first rewrite.

70K: Begin to love it!  Feel it’s really coming together!

71K: Me to husband: “I think I’ve lost any talent I’ve ever had.  It’s garbage.”

Husband: “You always say that.”

Me: “Yes, but this time I mean it.”

Husband: “You always say that.”

72K – 80K: See light at end of a tunnel.  Try to push to back of head what a huge task the first rewrite is going to be.

80K- 90K: Realise it’s going to be far too long.  Tell self that a story should be the length it needs to be, and as long as it’s well edited and your readers are enjoying it, it doesn’t matter if it’s 15K words longer than originally intended.

90K – 100K: Who cares about those who say that 70K is the ideal length for a popular fiction type novel, anyway?

105K – end: Thank God that’s over.  Type ‘the end’, feel a nanosecond of victory, go and stare at telly.

1st rewrite: Ahh.  This really is terrible.

2nd rewrite: No, but it seriously is.

3rd rewrite.  Hang on.  I think it might okay.

Subsequent rewrites: It’ll be okay.  It will, it will.

Send to proofreader, who is also first test reader, then spend every day I don’t hear from her thinking that she doesn’t know how to break the news to me about how bad it is.

Next, there is the second test reader, who is über-picky, which is good, but it’s very hard at the time!  Then there are all the final amendments, the realisation that I should have added a scene here and there, the massive plot hole, etc., but onwards I go to the end.

Then it’s up and ready to press ‘publish’ on the given day, and I feel a tiny moment of accomplishment and deep joy.  Next, the ARCs are sent out, and the whole panic process starts all over again.

I sometimes wonder why I do it!  Recently I read a tweet that said something like, ‘how come writing is the thing I want to do most in the world, all the time, but at the same time the thing I want to do least?’

That just about sums it up.  Now, I must go and carry on with the current WIP that is currently over 90K words long and nowhere near the end, a mess of mauve notes, with characters that have changed personality between chapters 14 and 15….

Thank you once again, Lucinda!

Thank you, Terry, what a relief to read that I’m not the only author who agonizes over the rubbish I scribble.  I realize now there are more books of yours for me to find.

Check them out on Terry’s Amazon page

Amazon UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM

Amazon.com

https://www.amazon.com/Terry-Tyler/e/B00693EGKM

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/TerryTyler4

 

and her blog

http://terrytyler59.blogspot.com/2018/05/

Till next time, take care.