DRAGONS AND DISASTER

THE TRAVEL STORY

Penang was a nice place, but it was almost impossible to see much. Not from the top of the bus, that was too scary, but because of all the people, you could hardly put a pin between them (well a little more artistic licence here as one of the photos will show).

Altogether we spent 5 hours on that bus and the heat was unbearable as it wended its way down to Butan Ferringhi. Most places were incredibly filthy, the food stalls grungy, the public loos a disgrace and we were bombarded with rap and other raucous music and horrendous traffic jams.

We’d become so used to the row outside, people, car horns and delightful screaming children that I was slow to realize the dragon dancing in a house across the road. So apologies for the blurred pictures, I missed most of it.

HISTORY NONSENSE

Now those of you who are really switched on will have noticed that I’ve hopped back in time a little to tell you more about Bertie. (I’m not too fussed about precision if you’re not). At this point I wish to remind you of my disclaimer as to the accuracy of these lessons and should you fail any exam by quoting from my blogs I take no responsibility whatsoever.

Now just when you were thinking that Bertie was an absolute cad (an old British word for scumbag) you should know that when Lily Langtree became pregnant, Mr Langtree went bankrupt and left her and she was forced to retire from society.

Lillielangtry1ACTRESS

She moved into a small apartment and was astounded when Bertie – (by now called Teddy by most of his friends), knocked on the door.

He proved himself loyal and helped her begin her acting career by introducing her to all the right people. They had ceased to be lovers, but the Prince remained a good friend. That’s not probably quite as his wife Alix saw it however.

 

THE EMBARRASSING PROMO BIT

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I’ve not pushed my comedy book for a while and it’s worth a read, especially if you’re feeling a little depressed. I take you back in time to Fairyland, two hundred years on from that memorable ball, to tell you about Cinderella, now fat, blousy and very, very common. She’s had enough of King Charming and is planning on how to get a divorce. Add to this the elegant and prissie Snow White, married to King Harold who beds anything within reach, and Sleeping Beauty who is making up for lost time and terrorizing her wimpy husband King Augustus who can’t afford to feed the 28 children they’ve already produced. As if all that wasn’t bad enough enter the Green Giant who has been sent to cause a revolution among the happy peasants who are just that – happy.  http://amzn.to/2j26YUd

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.

Featured Image -- 5978

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

RIVERS AND RAIN

By now you must be wondering if we saw anything else besides temples on the Big Trip. Not a lot, although we had asked for a cultural tour. Our guide took us to a huge open area stretching for miles covered with crumbling temples which a long time ago must have been a vast city, but what excited him the most was this Buddha’s head in a tree. I’m still trying to work out which was there first.

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We were almost at the end of the guided part of our tour, and it culminated in a fabulous river cruise  on the Chao Phraya River back to Bangkok.

I’m not sure if you can see it too well, but they were building another huge Buddha statue on the banks of the river. I was curious to know if maybe wealthy families funded such structures, as they did in Europe for the church as a ticket into heaven, but I suspect not. If anyone knows, please share it.

Now we were our own, time for the fun to begin!

ADVERT BIT

Just an update to let you know I am nearing the end of the first draft of Amie book 4. Not sure of the title yet but I think it will have the word revenge in it – she’s got so feisty and a lot braver.

HISTORY BIT

Now I promised to tell you why Queen Vic was so cross with her eldest son, in fact cross is putting it mildly, she never forgave him. You see the prince had been so regimented that when he finally got permission to go to university, even under strict controls, he met a lady. Well I won’t describe what dastardly details he got up to, I expect he tickled her ankle or something obscene like that, but when mummy heard about it she sent Albert to have a little word, or a big word if you like.

BERTIE YOUTH

Sadly, it was no one’s particular fault, but it rained that day and Prince Albert got very wet. (He refused to talk indoors as he thought he saw a reporter from The Mirror behind one of the oak trees).

ALBERT 2

Albert not looking well.

And you can guess the result can’t you – he went back to Windsor and very inconsiderably died, thus leaving Victoria inconsolable – and it was all Bertie’s fault.

Till next week. – to be continued.