MEET MELANIE P SMITH

I saw that this week’s guest has degrees coming out of her ears, but her marketing experience caught my attention and from the information she sent me, she is one switched-on author. So organized, on the ball and knows what she is doing! Over to Melanie to tell you about herself.

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Hello, my name is Melanie P. Smith and I am an American, Multi-Genre author of Paranormal, Criminal Suspense, Police Procedural and Romance novels.  I work hard to make my stories exciting, action-packed and gripping.  So, if you like a story you can’t put down, one that will keep you guessing and take you on a journey of discovery… I have something for you.

I was born and raised in the state of Utah and spent my younger years working hard and playing hard.  As a farm kid, we always had a huge garden and plenty of animals to care for.  But, when the work was done… the adventure began.  If I wasn’t riding horses, I was playing softball, waterskiing or exploring the country on my tote goat (Pictures 1 & 2).  I wrote a short blog on how the more things change, the more they stay the same.  If you’re interested you can find it here… How It All Began    https://melaniepsmith.com/how-it-all-began/  

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I have an Associates of Science degree in Marketing, a Bachelors in Business Management and a Masters Certificate in Conflict Resolution, Negotiation and Mediation.  I was still deciding how to use my education when I started a part-time, summer job with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office.  Part-time turned to full-time and I ended up staying for over twenty-six years. I eventually retired in the spring of 2016.  The job was difficult at times but very fulfilling and always interesting.  Why do I mention this?  Well, because they say write what you know.  I know law enforcement.  For over two decades I was assigned to the Special Operations Division and spent my time supporting Search & Rescue, K9, the Mounted Posse, and the Motorcycle Unit.  I thought that tote goat and my Shetland pony (Coalie) were strictly for adventure… turns out they were training for the future.  Who knew?

In addition to my regular duties, I coordinated communication and logistics for our SWAT and Child Abduction Response Teams.  In this capacity, I spent hours manning the Command Post on emergency callouts like hostage situations, barricaded subjects and missing or abducted children.  My time working with the police helped me gain insight and experience that I now use to create intense novels that are interesting, realistic and suspenseful.

I still love adventure but these days I spend my time camping and riding ATV’s with my husband and our Border collie “Port”.  Or, you can find me exploring backroads on my Harley. Occasionally, I still go horseback riding with my friends.  But mostly, my exploits are conjured in my mind, expressed on paper, and shared through my novels.

MY WORK

My Warrior Series is a completed paranormal romance collection.  There are 7 novels and 2 novellas in this set.  For book descriptions, purchase links and eTrailers see my Paranormal Brochure.  There’s also a sneak peek of my new work in progress… The Immortals.  Divergence will be the first novel in this trilogy.  Unfortunately, the project is still in the beginning stages and won’t be available for some time yet.

8_Warrior Banner_ Series

http://geni.us/Warrior

My Thin Blue Line series currently has two novels Mount Haven and Moondance Ridge.  The third novel, Subterfuge, is nearly completed and I expect it out sometime this year.  You can see all my police and crime novels with appropriate links in my Criminal Suspense Brochure.

http://geni.us/SuspenseBrochure

This brochure also includes information on my unique Police Procedural Crime Blog.  What is a Crime Blog?  It’s a series of short stories (nine per season) that follows Deputy Paige Carter as she solves local cases. Each episode introduces a new crime; similar to police procedurals on television like Blue Bloods, Longmire, or Bones.  Want to try it for FREE?  Subscribe to my blog and you will receive the entire 1st Season as my gift to you just for signing up.

http://geni.us/Blogsignup

The first episode of Season 3 – Paige Carter: Deputy Sheriff Series, was just released in April on my website.  So far, I’ve received amazing feedback and it was even featured in the local paper… the Sanpete Messenger.  As an added bonus to my readers, the current season is only available on my website and always FREE.

http://sanpetemessenger.com/2016/12/01/manti-backdrop-for-crime-series/
https://melaniepsmith.com/crime-blog/

Season 1

Paige Carter was an FBI agent who specialized in forensic science.  She decided to quit her job and move back to Manti, Utah.  She is determined to solve a cold case that occurred over ten years earlier.  Why so passionate about a cold case?  It was her mother’s murder and as far as she can tell…the local cops didn’t even try to solve it. 12_Paige Carter S1

Amazon http://geni.us/PaigeCarterS1
Nook http://geni.us/BNPaigeCarterS1
iTunes http://geni.us/iPaigeCarterS1
Kobo http://geni.us/KPaigeCarterS1

Season 2

Season two brings a unique blend of criminal investigation and human interaction to every episode.  Paige is still working to rebuild her personal and professional life one step at a time.  Follow her progress as she fights crime, searches for a killer and tries to deal with the undeniable chemistry she shares with her mysterious neighbor.

13_Paige Carter S2

Amazon http://geni.us/PaigeCarterS2
Nook http://geni.us/BNPaigeCarterS2
iTunes http://geni.us/iPaigeCarterS2
Kobo http://geni.us/kPaigeCarterS2

Season 3

Things are heating up in Manti in Season 3 of Paige Carter.  General Nathan Porter’s national security threat has now become a problem for Paige, her neighbor, and the small town she now calls home. Follow along as she works to stop a terrorist cell, investigates local crimes and struggles to manage her personal life.

14_Paige Carter S3

https://melaniepsmith.com/crime-blog/

 Connect with Melanie

Website http://geni.us/mpsmithpublishing
Amazon Author http://geni.us/melaniepsmith

http://geni.us/MPSFacebook
http://geni.us/MPSTwitter
http://geni.us/MPSmithYouTube
http://geni.us/MPSGoodreads  

I’ve lost count of all those books, but Melanie is certainly a prolific writer and a couple of those are destined for my TBR list.

Thank you so much for being my guest today and a further HUGE thank you from me – Melanie is also in a Facebook group – Independent Author Promotion Group – and there are 17 of us who have joined together to help promote each other. Melanie has designed some stunning graphics for several of the writers. I’m absolutely thrilled with mine and I will be sharing the posts on this blog in the coming weeks.

If you would like a guest spot, either pm me on my Facebook  page

https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

or email me:- lucinda@lucindaeclarke.com

 

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MEET PAUL SPADONI

My guest this week is an American with Italian roots, and he’s no lightweight in the writing department. For example:-  He was named Washington Journalism Teacher of the Year in 1986, Distinguished Adviser in 1996 and Vocational Teacher of the Year in 2000. He supervised student newspapers, yearbooks and literary magazines that earned more than one hundred state and national awards. He also writes a popular blog, Living (with) Abroad in Tuscany, and is a speaker and author on the topics of Italian living and genealogy. He graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in editorial journalism and Western Washington University with an MA in education.

I’ll hide here quietly in the corner while Paul tells us more.

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I never meant to be an illegal alien, but I couldn’t help myself. I grew up in America proud of my Italian heritage, and I had always thought that living in Italy for a year would give me a greater appreciation for what my grandparents had left behind in order to give their children a chance for a better life. However, I had tried unsuccessfully for several years to find conventional employment in Italy, so when I received a job offer with cash payments, no visa requirements and no work permit, I jumped on it like a man who had just downed a quadruple espresso. Never mind that I spoke little Italian and would have to haul my wife and two reluctant teenage daughters with me. I had to indulge this compulsion.

Actually, my wife needed no persuasion. She not only carried her own load but also stood behind me, pushing when I felt hesitant. The daughters were not so eager, believing that high school years are the best times of one’s life, and I’d be forcing them to miss a precious one-fourth of this paradise. They begged us to let them stay behind with friends, but we knew better. Were we right? We had little idea, but we’d soon find out. And I could tell you how the story ended, but that would spoil the suspense.

After our year abroad, Lucy and I continued to travel to Italy regularly for short trips, and when I retired from teaching in 2010, we started going to Italy for three months every year. It was then that I started an online blog about our experiences.
All of this led to the publishing of a memoir this year, ‟An American Family in Italy: Living la dolce vita without permission.

PAUL S'S BOOK

Through a series of follow-up visits, I gradually undertook the challenge of trying to understand both modern Italy and the old country of my ancestors. With little formal training in the methods of genealogy and a slowly developing knowledge of Italian, I stumbled my way into discovering my family’s roots back to the 13th century. My struggles to obtain my permesso di soggiorno, codice fiscale and Italian citizenship and passport provide amusing examples of the best and worst ways to work with the Italian bureaucracy.

Now we live in Italy about four months a year and in America the rest of the time. We have homes in both places, and it works out just perfectly. We usually live in Italy in late winter and early spring, and then again for about a month in the fall. paul s

This takes advantage of the moderate weather in Italy during these seasons, and then the beautiful summers of the Pacific Northwest.

Our immediate family is in the States, and that’s a strong draw to be there for the greater part of the year, and especially during the winter holidays. After a few months in one country, we start yearning for the other again, so going back and forth leaves us always with something fun to look forward to.

In October of 2015, I became the proud owner of a home in Tuscany, in the city where my grandparents met and were married.

For more information about my ongoing adventures in Italy, here are links to my blog and personal websites:
https://livingwithabroadintuscany.blogspot.com/
https://www.paulspadoni.com/

Thank you, Paul, I know a lot of readers love learning about people moving to live in different countries and I’m sure your story will be of great interest to them. Thank you for being my guest this week the second person to fall in love with Italy and move there.

Until next time, take care.

 

MEET JILL STOKING

I’m thrilled to welcome another long-standing Facebook friend as a guest this week. I first met Jill through the group We Love Memoirs but there was so much I didn’t know about her until she sent me the information for her blog post. I have such admiration for her. So many people have amazing lives and it’s lovely to get to know them better. We have no idea what the people we casually chat to on our devices, experience day to day, and can only respect their tenacity and their compassion. Time to let Jill tell you her story in her own words.

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Hi. I’m Jill Stoking, the author of ‘Joan’s Descent into Alzheimer’s’. Not my only published work but the most significant. Other stuff consists of articles, short stories, and poetry, published in various places.

Eighteen months into her stay at the nursing home for EMI 2000.

This, however, was a big deal because it’s about my mum and the years caring for her while juggling a melting marriage which finally dissolved completely. Not a laugh a minute read it’s true but my sense of humour veers to the dark side and it’s there if you’re anywhere near my wavelength. When Lucinda said she wanted a zany, humorous piece I took the view that either she was totally on my wavelength or I’m not who she thinks I am.

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Once the care years were over I went slightly off-piste, finally ending up in Kent on the North Downs – the only place I’ve ever lived where you have to strain the chalk out of the drinking water. I live with QT my canine buddy, who has a pheasant phobia.

It was all going great. I’d even started a second book. Then I began noticing slight absences in my memory, which worried me enough to visit the doctor who subjected me to a ‘mini-mental test’. You can view them online but I didn’t know that then. I thought I was doing okay – alright, I couldn’t recall a name and address I was asked to remember and the drawing of overlapping pentagons at the end of the test – well, I couldn’t do that either. The upshot was that I was sent to have my brain and thought processes looked at in greater detail, which took the best part of a year to complete. In September of 2015, I was diagnosed.

Mild Cognitive Impairment with an Alzheimer’s Pattern.

There are no prizes for guessing where that’s going, given that my mum’s youngest sister is now near the end of her own journey with Alzheimer’s. I perceive that this is not much of a zany read at the moment but on the days when I can stand outside myself, I see the humorous side of some aspects of life with the early stages of dementia.

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The day after the diagnosis, QT and I escaped to Dungeness on an early autumn day with wall to wall sunshine. We sat on the shingle and indulged in people watching. For those who are unfamiliar with Dungeness, it is renowned for its nuclear power station, having two lighthouses and being a truly quirky place.

We passively observed a near drowning as a rather rotund lady ventured into the sea for a paddle on a shingle beach that had, at that point, a steep shelf. The outgoing tide dragged the shingle from beneath her feet leaving the poor woman prostrate and taking on water. Several Good Samaritans rushed in to retrieve her. I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t one of them.

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I got into conversation with a young dad who was teaching his sons the art of fishing. The only fish worthy of being classed as a ‘catch’ was reeled in by the oldest lad and was deemed suitable for fish fingers that night.

I glanced back at the nuclear power station.

On the way home, via the supermarket, I stopped at the petrol station to fill up. Went to pay and my credit card number had completely fallen out of my brain.

Now, I don’t use cash, everything is paid by credit card but even after two attempts, I was nowhere nearer to paying for petrol. I asked the girl if I could step away from the machine for a moment, knowing that if I got it wrong a third time the card would be locked.

Glancing behind me I was amazed to see a queue of lorry drivers – ten good men and true – who hadn’t uttered a single word throughout my ordeal. Fortunately, I have my card numerals attached to the phone numbers of much loved but departed friends who, even post mortem, are continuing to bail me out.JILLS BOOK

In my book, it’s obvious that before I was aware that my mother had dementia, I found her initial symptoms irritating. I had no clue that I would be following in her footsteps. Nobody witnesses me turning my place upside down on a daily basis, searching for misplaced items.

Friends know I have memory problems and that once I’ve slept, most details from the day before have gone, unless they’ve been written on the door that serves as my notice board. They’re incredibly patient and caring and that’s worth a great deal. I’m still driving but only have a one year licence which is being reassessed as I write. Understandably, I limit my driving to places I know well and visit often.

www.facebook.com/jJoansDescent

www.facebook.com/jill.stoking

www.joansdescent.weebly.com

http://joansdescent.weebly.com/book-reviews.html

(This link will take you to my web site review page and a button link to my book on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com)

Jill your story is so inspiring with a wonderful sense of humour, and you certainly have that (right in my wavelength) is the biggest weapon we have against adversity. I’m honoured to have had you on my blog today. thank you.

Until next time, take care.

 

 

 

MEET CLARE PEDRICK

I’m thrilled to welcome my guest this week who also forsook the grey skies of UK to live in the warmer climes of Europe – only no one mentions that Europe can be very cold in winter. Just when you thought you had read everything about relocating and renovating an old European building along comes this book with a difference – a love story with a house and the battle to make it habitable and blend in with the local community. Over to Clare.

Clare and house

I’m told that most people who buy a house take the trouble to get it checked out first, and see that there is no serious structural damage, or reason why they shouldn’t invest their money in that place or property. When I fell in love with an old farmhouse in the hills of Umbria, I took less than ten minutes to make my mind up, before writing out a cheque on the spot. I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to tell my elder brother, and called him that same evening from the only telephone for miles around, which was located in the corner of the village shop.

Even the crackling phone line couldn’t disguise the horror in his voice when he heard what I had done.

“What does the surveyor say? Presumably, you’ve had the property checked out?” he said reasonably.

“I haven’t got a surveyor,” I answered.

“Well, what about a lawyer. Surely you’ve consulted one of those?”

“Er, no. I haven’t.”

“Well don’t worry. We’re still in time to stop this. We can get your deposit back if you only decided to buy the place this morning.” My brother was trying to sound calm and reassuring.

“No, we can’t. I already paid the whole amount. And I don’t want to pull out of the deal. It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my life.”

In my defence, there wouldn’t have been much point in having a surveyor inspect my new purchase, as there wasn’t a great deal of it left standing. The old stone house that I had rashly just bought had hardly any roof, gaping holes in most of the stone floors and one entire section that had disintegrated into a pile of rubble.

But I was just 26, and blind as only a person in love can be. I had seen an advert for the house in an English newspaper just three days earlier and boarded first a plane, then a train to reach a remote corner of central Italy, on a journey that was to change my life.

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The story of how I came to buy an old stone house perched on a knoll outside a tiny hamlet in the hills of southern Umbria is told in my book Chickens Eat Pasta: Escape to Umbria.  It’s a love story really, with the house itself of course, and with a man, I later met there – a strange coincidence given that I was only the 43rd resident in the little hilltop village, where everyone knew everyone else, and most of them were related.

By rights, the whole unplanned adventure could and maybe should have gone horribly wrong. Not only had I bought an old ruin with no clear idea or plan of how to restore it. I had also inadvertently chosen one of the most highly seismic areas of Europe as my future home. The village where my house is situated is in one of the most earthquake-prone areas of Italy, and as I soon discovered, tremors are quite common, generally heralded by the glasses rattling on the shelves.

This was my house when I first saw it

The house when Clare first saw it

But as things turned out, my insouciance was rewarded. I made some extraordinary friends, who looked after me and helped me through some very difficult times and encounters, and these make up a cast of characters who are every bit as important as the protagonist.

Of course, I’m by no means the first person to write a book about doing up a property in a foreign country, but my story is very different from the best-known titles in this genre. For a start, it’s not a syrupy tale of sunshine and happiness. Not everyone was kind to me, nor was it always warm. The climate in this part of Italy can be very harsh, and I well remember that first winter, with no heating aside from the open fire, and the bitterly cold air seeping in through the rotten window frames and missing panes. The only way to get warm was to go outside and chop wood, before heating water over the open fire to cook a plate of pasta, all by the light of a candle as the sun sank over the snow-capped mountains.

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The village that became Clare’s second home.

These days, my house has a roof, solid window frames, electricity and heating. It’s also been renovated to withstand earthquakes which involved dismantling the building brick by brick and lining each room with wire cages so that the structure would flex instead of collapsing when the earth shook beneath it. That’s just as well given the massive tremors that have struck this part of Italy over the past 18 months. My experience has confirmed a strong belief in the power of love, friendship, and coincidences – and that just sometimes, it pays not to ask too many questions before taking the plunge.

my house now

The house now.

From Clare’s press release:

As events unfold, the strong storyline carries with it a rich portrayal of Italian life from the inside, with a supporting cast of memorable characters. Along the way, the book explores and captures the warmth and colour of Italy, as well as some of the cultural differences – between England and Italy, but also between regional Italian lifestyles and behaviour. It is a story with a happy ending. The author and her husband are still married, with three children, who love the old house on the hill (now much restored) almost as much as she does.
I wrote the book partly for our children, who have grown up spending their weekends and summers there. The house has been completely restored – it’s hard for the children to understand how dilapidated and basic it was when I was first bewitched by the place.”

You can follow Clare on her Facebook Book Page, her own Facebook page and on Twitter.

Read her blog about life in Umbria here

Chickens Eat Pasta is published by Troubador and is available for purchase direct from the publishers here and in all the usual places in both ebook and paperback.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Chickens-Eat-Pasta-Clare-Pedrick/dp/1784623512

CLARE PEDRICK is a British journalist who studied Italian at Cambridge University before becoming a reporter. She went on to work as the Rome correspondent for the Washington Post and as European Editor of an international features agency. She still lives in Italy with her husband, whom she met in the village where she bought her house.
PUBLISHED 28 July 2015
£9.99 (Paperback)
ISBN 9781784623517 (Paperback)
Distributor: ´Orca Book Services. Tel: 01235 465521.

Email: tradeorders@orcabookservices.co.uk
BIC subject category : BM – Memoirs / WTL – Travel writing
Paperback 216 x 138mm Portrait
ADVANCE INFORMATION
please contact Sarah Taylor
Tel: 0116 279 2299 Email: marketing@troubador.co.uk

Troubador Publishing Ltd, 9 Priory Business Park, Kibworth, Leicester LE8 0RX

Most people would not have shown as much courage as Clare and stories like hers are inspiring, they show what can be achieved if you are determined and prepared to step out of the everyday rut. You can’t help but admire Clare – a huge thank you for being my guest this week.

Till next time take care.

 

 

 

MEET CHRIS ROSE

This week’s guest is someone quite new to me, but then you never know what writer or genre to expect on here each Thursday do you? Hopefully something for everyone. Until I jumped onto the treadmill of this writing / marketing lark I had no idea there were so many different genres and sub-genres, and sub sub genres. I’m not quite sure which box Chris Rose fits into, but I’ll let him explain.

Chris RoseA big thank-you to Lucinda for inviting me onto her fabulous website.

I Chris, I was born and bred in Sheffield, England, a long time ago, and misspent the majority of my ‘young’ years on the Northern Soul circuit, which mainly consisted of trips to Wigan’s Casino Club just about every weekend, for young, Soul music connoisseurs who wished to dance all night long – oh, those heady 1970s! I mention this because it’s around the time and place my first novel – Wood, Talc and Mr. J: We never had it so good… – is set.

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Having written the book, and beginning to market it, I also began to kind of write blog posts alongside, about everyday aspects of contemporary life but then making comparisons with the main character in the novel, Phillip Rowlings, and his world, and wondering just how different the 1970s were, and how he might have reacted and so on.

In time, people were telling me I should make a book from the best of these blog posts, and so I published 22 daydreams (or Wood, Talc and Mr. J, my social media ramblings thereof…) It may already seem a little outdated, times changing so quickly, but it kind of acts as a study guide to the main novel.

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And since then I’ve felt compelled to carry on the journey with the main character, slowly but surely bringing him up to date – that’s the aim. The sequel, Nancy Boy: for one year only…, is set in France in the 1990s. It’s a bit more of an introspective and quite a different world from Phillip’s Soul music days.

And since then, for the third book, I’ve begun a trilogy of novellas, the first being The All-clear: an anti-romance novella…, which is now published. The next will be The Battleaxe of Hastings: an anti-hist-fic novella…, and the third, Broken Strings: an anti-chick-lit novella…

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And if you love a bit of comedy in with your tragedy, books that make you think and laugh at the same time – and very British! – then these are books for you. Sorry, though, no vampires, nothing paranormal, vulgar or too tweety, happy-every-after tweety…

22 daydreams JPEG

The actual series is called: The Rowlings Years.

But one last thing, I’m currently writing a book that has nothing at all to do with the series. It’s a little aside and something I couldn’t resist. That’s all I’m saying for now, but it’ll hopefully be published early in the coming year.

And until then, all the best for 2018, peace and love to one and all!

Wood, Talc and Mr. J: We never had it so good… >>> http://amzn.to/2zbiAv6
Nancy Boy: for one year only… >>> http://amzn.to/2xZjAFN

The All-clear: an anti-romance novella >>>  http://amzn.to/2jHgDQN

22 daydreams: or Wood, Talc and Mr. J, my social media ramblings thereof… >>> http://amzn.to/2A0hOGk 

Website link >>> http://thetheatricaltwistofwrist.com/

Facebook link >>> https://www.facebook.com/TheTheatricalTwistofWrist/

Twitter >>>  https://twitter.com/WritingOnACloud

Thank you, Chris and I love that you call my website fabulous – flattery will get you everywhere with me!

Until next time, take care.

MEET ROBERT FEAR (FRED)

This week’s guest author I know from chats on FB, particularly in the groups Indie Authors Support and Discussion and We Love Memoirs. I’ve also read many of his books and enjoyed them. How many of you will pick up on the word ‘time’ in one of his titles? I’m really pleased to welcome Robert/Fred Fear on this week’s blog, starting with a brief biography.

Robert Fear has lived in Eastbourne, on the south coast of the UK for half his life. He moved there to be with Lynn, his future wife and is still there with her thirty years later. As cat-lovers they have taken on several rescue cats over the years and are owned by three at the moment – Hazell (tabby), Jet (black) and Sparky, a bouncy ginger one-year-old.

For his day job, Robert works as a self-employed software consultant. In his spare time, he writes, edits and self-publishes books, and organises annual travel writing competitions.

Robert’s interest in travel goes back to his twenties when he spent most of his time abroad. His experiences included; a summer in Ibiza, hitch-hiking around Europe and touring the USA & Canada. His most eventful trip was in 1981 when he travelled around Asia.

Born into a religious sect known as the Exclusive Brethren, his father John took the brave step of leaving it with his young family when Robert was nine years old. Robert never saw his grandparents again but is thankful for being able to grow up outside this restrictive group. His life has been full of adventures that he would never have experienced otherwise.

Robert Fear - Author Pic

Fred was a nickname that Robert Fear was given while at school. It became his travel name and he is still known as Fred to this day. In this blog post Fred talks about the background to his self-publishing ventures.

Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia is the edited version of a handwritten diary that I kept during my travels in Asia between February and July 1981. The final collection ran to 600 pages of closely written detail.

It was almost forgotten for many years, only making an appearance when friends asked to see it or to read it.

Fred's Diary 1981 cover v2

In 2005 I decided to start typing up my diary onto the computer. I managed to get the first two months done but then ran out of motivation.

A couple of years later there was an article in a PC magazine about Kindle and self-publishing that sparked my interest.

The second part of my diary was released in 2009 and its title, Time in Thailand, probably indicates to you that things didn’t go as planned. £99 to Hong Kong was published in 2011 and covers the first part of my trip where I did some work as an extra for Chinese television.

By now the bug had truly bitten and I started planning the release of the whole diary. Over the next two years, I typed everything up and started editing the diary for publication, all in my spare time.

Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia was self-published in December 2013 and was relatively successful. It was a long book though. The paperback version ran to 564 pages and contained 165K words.

During the first few months of 2015 further editing was undertaken and the second edition, released in October 2015, contained less than 100K words, with around 360 pages. It has also had a professional final edit and a wonderful new cover.

A lot of my spare time over the past couple of years has been devoted to making my father’s dream come true.

It started for me back in 1992 when my father, John, was becoming increasingly frail and was confined to bed most of the time. Visits to the hospital became more frequent and the doctors were talking about months, not years.

John had been working on his memoirs for several years and had already typed up many of the chapters. He also had plans in place for finishing the remaining chapters of his book. Now he was unable to continue and my mother, Mary, called me to see if I could help. I was more than happy to.

In the evenings and at weekends I sat at my computer and transcribed the chapters that John had already finished. These were duly printed off and sent back to him. It was a period of reconciliation between father and eldest son as we discussed the changes that he wanted made and planned for the missing chapters.

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During the months following his death, I continued working on John’s memoirs with the help of Mary and my brother, Alastair. The limited edition was published under the title Exclusive Pedigree and if it hadn’t been for a chance remark the life of the book could have ended there.

Towards the end of 2015, I was visiting my mother for a few days and gave her a paperback copy of the second edition of Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia, which she wanted to read. The conversation turned to self-publishing and we started talking about John’s memoirs. Then came the bombshell, “Did you know Rob that John always wanted to have his book published properly?”

Thanks to the tremendous support of beta-readers and fellow authors alike, my father’s memoirs were professionally self-published in July 2016. I think John would be proud of the finished result, a fabulous tribute to his life entitled Exclusive Pedigree: My life in and out of the Brethren.

Travel Stories 2017

While working on the second edition of Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia, I started a blog in February 2015 to assist me with the editing process. To encourage people to visit my blog fd81.net I started a Travel Story competition for entries of between 500-1000 words which I ran in parallel with daily diary extracts.

It was such a success that I subsequently ran another competition for Travel Highlights of between 50-100 words. Again this went very well. I decided to publish all the entries in a new book called Travel Stories and Highlights.

Travel Stories 2018

In 2016 I re-ran the two competitions. Again, there were a lot of fantastic entries and a 2017 Edition of Travel Stories and Highlights was published in December 2017 with the best 50 travel stories and 50 highlights from both sets of competitions.

This year was the third year for the competitions and the response has been so terrific that I have been able to publish a brand new 2018 Edition containing 60 compelling Travel Stories and 40 absorbing Travel Highlights.

Twitter:  @fredsdiary1981

Fred’s Blog:   fd81.net

Facebook:    www.facebook.com/fredsdiary1981

Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia   getBook.at/FredsDiary1981

Exclusive Pedigree: My life in and out of the Brethren  getBook.at/ExclusivePedigree

Travel Stories and Highlights: 2017 Edition   getBook.at/TravelStories2017

Travel Stories and Highlights: 2018 Edition   getBook.at/TravelStories2018

Thank you, Robert, for being my guest today and I can personally recommend his books, especially if you like traveling.

Till next time, take care.

 

MEET VALERIE POORE

I have, I really have! What I mean is that I first met Val on Facebook, we got chatting, we enjoyed each other’s books, then we discovered a real live person we know in common and finally we met up twice – once in Amsterdam and again in Spain. We’re planning another meet up soon, so many of our early experiences are amazingly similar. A very warm welcome to a really nice person. Over to you Val.

VAL PIC

Firstly, thanks so much to Lucinda for letting me sneak in here this week. I’ve coveted a spot on her blog for ages, so now I’m here I’d better make it good!

So what can I say about myself? That I’ve been writing all my life? That I’m finally finding my creative outlet? Yes, well, none of that is very interesting is it? Perhaps it’s truer to say that I’m a writer by accident and it’s all Peter Mayle’s fault. Yes, that man has got a lot to answer for in more ways than one and now I’m addicted.

The thing is that like Lucinda, I lived in South Africa for a long time. How I got there is a story I have yet to tell in full, but it had to do with an errant husband and being very cold in the UK. In other words, we urgently (and I say that with emphasis) needed somewhere to escape to and I was determined it should be somewhere warm. ‘I don’t mind being broke, but I do mind being cold and broke,’ was what I said to him before we decided where it was we were going to flee to. The immediate outcome was three years on a South African farm, which I absolutely loved, along with the heat, the drought, the primitive conditions…hmm, I think I’m going off track here, but actually I did love it all. The end result was that I was so happy there I spent a total of twenty years in South Africa.KindleCover

When I came back to Europe in 2001, I missed it so much I decided to buy a barge and live on the water in the wettest country you could possibly find. There is a kind of logic to that but I’ll let you think about it.

Anyway, while I was still busy missing my former home in 2004, I read Peter Mayle’s book A Year in Provence. Now I know this book has had a mixed reception, but I really enjoyed it because I could see so many parallels between his experiences with local French country people and my own with South African rural people and I thought ‘I can do that’. And so I did. I wrote my own memoir about my life on our South African farm and I called it African Ways. It took me a while to finish it and then to publish, but it eventually came out in 2007.

Well, having done that, I got the taste and then the addiction for writing.

I went on to write a memoir about my first year of living on a barge, and then a novel about a child growing up on a barge in the early 1960s when the Cold War was at its height. Since then, I’ve notched up another four memoirs (mostly about boats and boating) and another novel. So, Peter Mayle, if you’re reading this, see what you started?

It is actually true I’ve always liked writing. I did quite a lot before when I was in South Africa; things like short stories that were read on the radio and radio plays that weren’t. But I’d never written whole books until African Ways. The trouble with Africa is it gets in your blood and so now I’m in the process of publishing the sequel to African Ways. Once again, I’ve wallowed happily in the memories of that fabulous country. I’m also working on a novel set in Kwa-Zulu Natal, one of its provinces and where I used to live, so you see I’ve got a lot in common with Lucinda. Oh and I’ll just say here I’ve loved all her Amie novels. They take me back there and I can wallow all over again (nothing like creeping round your blog host, is there?). VAL BOOK 3 SHEEP

So with that, all it remains for me to say is a huge thanks to Lucinda for this opportunity to ramble on about myself and my writing. I’ll keep doing it until I drop whether anyone buys my books or not, but I’d thrilled if anyone reading this does give them a try. Just in case, the link to my Amazon author page is here:

https://www.amazon.com/Valerie-Poore/e/B008LSV6CE/

Val, I’ve no idea why it took so long for you to be on my blog, but you can come again soon – I adore all that creeping (cheques in the post).

This last book on the left is highly recommended, I laughed out loud all the way through and although Val tells me it’s only partly memoir-based, I’m not sure I believe her 🙂

Till next time, take care.