MEET TOM BENSON

This week’s writer is one I am really happy to introduce. Firstly, he helped me set up my web page (no, not true, he set it up for me – I’m clueless) and we read each other’s books way, way back when I was still new to social media. He held my hand every step of the way.

tom benson

The book Tom’s chosen to showcase in this guest blog is one I’ve read and I liked it so much that I bought the second in the series as well. Having been married twice to men who have also served in the forces, it was like getting a peep into what really goes on behind the scenes ‘among the boys’. Girls get curious about these things you know.

A Life of Choice   West Germany   April 1992

“Thanks, mate,” I said, accepting a bottle of beer from one of my soldiers.

“What are you going to miss most about leaving the military?” he said.

“Apart from the camaraderie, I’ll miss getting together with a bunch of the guys and putting the world to rights.”

“How will you deal with it?”

“I’ve got a long-term plan.”

“Don’t tell me it involves this idea of yours to be a writer?”

“Lee,” I said. “Twenty-three years ago my family laughed when I said I was going to be a soldier.”

He choked with the neck of his beer bottle still between his lips. A few of the other lads laughed as Lee wiped the beer from his face and shirt.

“You must have been a handful as a baby, Lee,” one of the guys said, which caused them all to laugh at Lee again.

“Staff Benson has just said he’s going ahead with his memoirs,” Lee said.

“If he said he is, he will,” Corporal Barr said. “You should know him by now, mate.”

I winked at the NCO, and we chinked our beer bottles together. “Thank you, Steve.” I turned to Lee who was having another go at drinking from a bottle.

I shook my head. “Oh, ye of little faith,” I said. More laughter followed.

TOM BENSON BOOK

Northeast England   January 2016

“I’ve pressed the button,” I said. “A Life of Choice: Part One, is published.”

My wife said, “How many parts will there be?”

“I’ve broken down my military career into five logical segments, and I aim to have all of them published by the end of 2017.”

“How do you know it will work out?”

“Apart from the other novels, short stories and poetry, I’ve written this story several times since 1996.”

“Are you not worried about anybody taking you to court?”

“No. I’ve listed the appropriate personnel for each unit and time period. I’ve got the real names, and allocated each a new name, description, age and home town.”

“Does it feel like you’re reliving some of your career?”

“Yeah. I’ve written the story in first person point of view, and I occasionally think the fictional lead character has had a great time; at least until he got married.”

I got a raised eyebrow and a scowl from across the room, but I’d been getting them for forty years.

Just wait until the film offers come in Tom!

Author Website:  http://www.tombensonauthor.com

A Life of Choice: Part One – links

Amazon Preview/Buy:  http://amzn.to/2pnVWxn

BookLinker – Universal:  myBook.to/A_Life_of_Choice_Part_One

PENANG AND PIED A TERRES

These are a couple of pictures I took on the bus tour round Kuala Lumpur.

It appeared a well ordered city and the people were friendly.

Now the original plan had been to get a train from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, but when we asked about this we were told the track ran through disputed territory and there had been some attacks on the trains. Probably not important enough for CNN or the BBC to report on, but since we’re cowards we decided not to chance it. So, we’d flown to KL and planned to take the train north to Penang (DH likes trains). I honestly can’t remember now why we included it on our itinerary. What we hadn’t counted on was Chinese New Year – remember those pretty lanterns last week? Everything was booked and I mean everything. Trains, busses, donkey carts, wheelbarrows, everything that might transport us to the next destination.

Eventually we managed to hire a car with driver (there were no facilities for self drive and drop off at the other end).

We clung on for dear life as we hurtled north, as strangely, our driver didn’t feel it was necessary to look at the road. Another of those frustrated Formulae 1 drivers I suspect.

The bridge linking Penang Island with the mainland was spectacular.

And the hotel we had chosen looked great on booking.com but reminded me of those horror movies!

But it was clean and comfortable.

FAKE HISTORY LESSON

No sooner had Bertie recovered from the typhoid attack when it was rumoured that he and Alfred were looking for a house where they could entertain their actress friends. Bertie was as “at home” in London as he was in Paris, and surrounded himself with aristocratic, elegant, extravagant and probably immoral friends. There were dozens of house parties at Sandringham, Alix and Bertie’s family home.

A family approaching the main entrance on the East side of the Royal Residence Sandringham House Norfolk UKWhile Alix saved all the coupons for cheap deals at Aldi, Lidle and Walmart, Bertie was frittering money away on the Euromilions and Candy Crush.

MY BOOKS

Guess I ought to mention these?  I have completed the first draft of the 4th in the Amie in Africa series. You might want to take a look at the other three? myBook.to/Amie1   They can be bought as a set.

amie-series-5-march-2017My newsletter has the continuing drama about Amie v Lucinda E Clarke though the British courts. This the sign up link if you’d like to read about that and the free back stories to Amie, currently featuring Samantha and Ben. http://eepurl.com/cBu4Sf  Plus news about other authors and competitions to win more books.

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.

SUSAN P BAKER

This week’s author lives in Mexico – another place on my bucket list – Susan I’ll be over soon! No, don’t panic my bank manager would be at the airport AK47 at the ready.

We’re in exalted company as Susan was a lawyer and then a judge and so all her books have a legal base, one of my favourite genres.

Susan_P_Baker_Photo_

Susan is also a grandmother and is a prolific writer with five novels and 2 non fiction books to date. And she likes chocolate, so we know she is one of us. You can find out more on her website  www.susanpbaker.com

She’s suggested I mention two of her books and the first one is My First Murder, the first book she wrote and it is FREE so you can grab a copy here. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013XEIUMO

My-First-Murder-original

or here on the universal link https://www.books2read.com/u/4jKNoD

Mavis Davis, a likable, new-to-the-job private investigator, not only has one of the wackiest office staffs in mystery fiction, but also goes about solving her first crime in her own, independent, highly interesting way. When greasy-spoon cafe owner Carl Singleton shows up wanting to hire Mavis to solve the murder of one of his waitresses, Doris Jones, a woman with whom he has fallen in love, Mavis reluctantly takes the job especially when Carl confesses that all the other private investigators in Houston have turned him down. But, facts are facts, and Mavis has to face that she has bills to pay that serving legal papers won’t cover.  Though the Houston Police Department, including Mavis’ boyfriend Sgt. Ben Sorensen, get in her face and try to discourage her, Mavis dives head first into the case. What she learns is, there is scandal deep in the heart of Texas. She only hopes she can uncover it before it’s too late for her.

Unaware KINDLE

Unaware is Susan’s latest book.

What you don’t know CAN hurt you.  Frustrated with the two controlling men in her life, Dena Barlow Armstrong has outlined a rosy future for herself and her children, independent of them. Her husband, Zack, constantly pushes her to turn over her inheritance to him, and when she doesn’t, he punishes her with his indifference. Her law partner and cousin, Lucas, controls her money and the types of cases she accepts.

Just as Dena begins to achieve her goal of independence, someone emerges with very different plans for her. Unaware of the danger she faces, Dena lives her life as a wife, mother, and attorney. Then one day when her husband is out of town, the stranger lurks in her garage, waiting until she and the children go to bed…

This standalone novel is Susan P. Baker’s sixth mystery/suspense novel.

Here is the link so go have a look (I’m told proper marketing people tell the public what to do – whereas I would probably write why not take a look? But I’m getting tough these days!!) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XTV5PTP  I’m off to get it right now 🙂 so I’ve persuaded myself, I must be a good salesperson after all!

Have a great week and take care.

TOWERS AND TANTRUMS

There is not a lot I can say about the Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur it was just breathtaking. Here are a few pictures from outside and the surrounding areas to start with.

We took the first lift that goes as far as the linking bridge about half way up. That would be my idea of hell, as the lift attendants must go up and down up and down up and down for hours on end.

We stopped off on the bridge.

IMG_4172

HISTORY BIT

Queen Victoria couldn’t even bear to look at her eldest son Bertie, she blamed him for everything, but he skipped out of the way and went on a tour of the Middle East. Mummy let him go as she was pretty certain he wouldn’t get his paws on any young ladies there. Many months passed and the Queen was urged that life must go on, so eventually she agreed to travel to Belgium and “inspect” Bertie’s proposed future wife.

ALIX 1889

At first the Queen refused to meet the Danish family, and it took some time to persuade her to leave her room which was very rude of her. Rumours she was hoarding large bars of chocolate under the bed she wasn’t going to share with anyone, have not been proved. Fortunately Alexandra found favour with the Queen and although no promises were made, an understanding was reached.

I’ve done it again! Only when I was choosing tags did I remember I’ve not even mentioned my books – you would think I didn’t want anyone to buy them!  So for now here is my web site link and for good measure I’ll throw in my Amazon author page as well. I think you’ll enjoy reading them and none of them are expensive so you won’t have to take out a second mortgage!

http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

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

And I’ll even go further and show you a picture of them all.

Till next week, take care.