MEET ADRIAN STURROCK

Now I’m cheating a little here because in October I had Adrian as a guest in my newsletter, but I just adore the way he strings words together and I didn’t have enough space to include everything – so, here he is again 🙂  Making no excuses!! We all need a good laugh, especially on a Thursday morning.  🙂

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Adrian Sturrock is a writer, occasional musician, teacher and ethnic minority (except when in Wales), specialising mostly in observation and unconsidered opinion. He currently lives in Buckinghamshire UK with wife Natalie: his travel companion, best friend and the person responsible for keeping him out of trouble on social media. They have three children between them.

Adrian has been published on www.dcpolitick.com, and excerpts of his poetry/lyrics displayed alongside those of Benjamin Zephaniah in Luton Town Hall (though it is very unlikely that Benjamin is aware of this). He has been smiled at by Madonna and once spent an afternoon watching Ace Ventura, Pet Detective in Barry Gibb’s living room, where David English remarked on his shoes.

He is the founder member (singer/songwriter) of the highly unsuccessful band, God of Small Things, with which he recorded two studio EPs. (There are rumours that some of these songs even sold on iTunes.) His solo sets include the highs of playing to an audience of thousands at Lord Rothschild’s 82nd birthday bash and the lows of having to endure an audience of three elderly women eating soup. Tony Visconti once said of his songwriting, ‘Sorry, not my cup of tea’. Adrian intends recording again in the near future.

This bit is about the book.    https://www.amazon.com//dp/B0764KC23N

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I had originally intended to lie to you. I haven’t had a change of conscience on this issue. It’s just that I realise that I probably won’t get away with it. That’s the problem with the general public; they tend to eventually work things out. So I’m afraid that you are now stuck with the truth.

It was never going to be a dramatic lie. I wasn’t about to try to sell you a dodgy time-share or claim to be a kidnapped Nigerian prince in desperate need of your bank details. It was more about the timescale of events in this book. I was going to lead you to believe that this road trip was one single linear journey, a grand forty-day adventure across some of the best roads, towns, cities and mountain regions in central Europe. In reality, the trip was completed in three sections. This is due to the fact that I have a day job to factor in. Life is indeed a cruel mistress.

Between road trips one and three, the Syrian crisis happened, Brexit divided the UK pretty much down the middle and Prime Minister, Theresa May, declared herself the personification of ‘the will of the people’. There have also been a number of terrorist attacks across Europe, including Paris, London, Brussels, Istanbul, and Nice, allegedly born out of perceived cultural or religious differences but really due to a lack of respect between peoples.

Since this book was written, Donald Trump has become the US President and Mike Pence his Vice-President. Not even Mr Disney himself could have anticipated that one day Donald and Mickey would be running the White House.

What had prompted me to buy a sports car—for those who care, the car we used was a Mazda MX5 Roadster Coupe Sports 2ltr Graphite Limited Edition—was a sudden threat of redundancy at work. Yes, I know! One would have thought that I might have opted for quickly consolidating my financial position. I thought I might have considered this too. Instead, my feelings of insecurity led me to a surprise epiphany—it struck me that one can play safe all one’s life and still be screwed over; that good guys neither come first nor last—mostly because nobody is really watching.

Sometimes, the best way to stick a finger up at ‘the man’ is to defiantly indulge in something that excites you. Then, even if you lose, you win. So I bought the car—though I didn’t speak this train of thought out loud to my wife at the time. (Actually, I probably did. A few large glasses of pinot noir can make me a prolific and uninhibited orator. My dancing gets better too.)

As things turned out, while there were a whole series of redundancies at work, my own position remained safe. My first reaction was, ‘Woo-hoo! I’m still standing.’ My second reaction was, ‘Shit, I’m still standing … here!’ But that’s a conversation for another time.

Having bought the car, my mind then moved on to the question of how I could make best use of it. I felt that only using it for the ten-minute journey to and from work and for grocery shopping didn’t really cut it. I needed a proper reason to own a car like this.

‘I was thinking,’ I said to my wife one Sunday morning over breakfast, ‘how might you feel if I was to take off into France for a few days, you know, to get to have a proper drive of the car?’

‘If you want to,’ she said. ‘You not inviting me?’

‘I didn’t think you’d want to come,’ I said, surprised by her response. ‘For me, it would be an exciting drive. For you, well, I thought you’d see the idea of it as just a “bloody long time in a car”.’

‘I can do a bloody long time in a car,’ she said.

‘Okay,’ I said.

So I began to map out our bloody long time in a car.

“Adrian takes you on a journey of story, introspection, and wit; a journey well worth taking”

– Lane Belone, Founder of Increase Freedom

 “This read is a lot of fun, especially for travel-lovers and adventurers! I came out admiring how the author communicated the culture of the places he visited through an original voice, portraying his own expertise as an artist. Would definitely recommend to other travel enthusiasts!”

– Casey M. Millette, Author of the Cursed series

Keep up to date with all things Adrian Sturrock by subscribing to his rather lovely website:  www.adriansturrock.com Here, you can find out more about the locations in this book, and explore, amongst other things, photos taken during the road trip, together with information about routes and even a selection of hotels used.

Also, follow Adrian on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

His second book, RANDOM: a collection of articles, will be published in early 2019. Well, that is a while to wait, but in the meantime, this one is definitely going on my TBR list. Thank you, Adrian.

 

MEET MADELEINE BLACK

Madeliene Black is another of life’s survivors, but I will leave it to her to share her story.

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After many years of keeping quiet, Madeleine Black decided in September 2014, to share her story on The Forgiveness Project’s website and she completely underestimated what the response would be.

Many women and men got in contact and explained how reading her story gave them strength, hope, and a different perspective of what’s possible in their lives. The founder of The Forgiveness Project, Marina, often refers to the various people on her website as  “story healers” rather than “storytellers” and now she completely understood why.

In March 2015, Jessica Kingsley Publishers released a book called The Forgiveness Project: Stories for a Vengeful Age, by Marina Cantacuzino. It’s a collection of 40 stories from the TFP website, including hers and has forewords by Desmond Tutu and Alexander McCall Smith.

The sharing of her story also opened many doors for her in ways she never imagined and after that, the invitations started to pour in.

What it took for me to forgive  

I never intended to forgive the 2 young men who gang-raped me when I was 13 years old.  I wanted to hate them forever.  As far as I was concerned they were evil, sadistic animals and I wanted someone to kidnap them, tie them up, beat them up, rape and torture them just like they had done to me for hours on end.

But in 2003 there was a combination of events, which I believe released memories that I had locked deep within. My eldest daughter was turning 13, I was attending workshops run by a teacher of life and was studying for a psychotherapy course. The memories of that night started to come back and haunt me again in a way that they hadn’t before and I was unable to block them out anymore.

They were very disturbing; like a porn film running in my mind and to be honest for a long time I thought I was going mad.  I mean surely if it was that bad then I would have remembered it?  I now know that after a trauma it’s very common for our minds to numb out and shut off disturbing memories, but they can usually resurface many years later, once it thinks you are strong enough.

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So I decided that I needed some help to get rid of them.  I quickly discovered that I couldn’t get rid of them but that I had to face them and learn to accept what was done to me in order to recover and heal from that night.  I learnt that the way in was the way out.

It was during this therapy that my therapist suggested to me in a session that maybe they weren’t born rapists.  I could not believe what I was hearing and was completely outraged by what he was saying.

But he planted a seed within my mind and that seed started to grow.

They weren’t much older than I was, perhaps 17 or 18 and I wanted to understand what went so wrong for them?  How did they know how to be so violent to another human being?  What had they heard; witnessed or experienced that changed them so much?

I do believe that we all come into this world the same way as an innocent baby like a blank sheet and I don’t think anyone is born a rapist, murderer or burglar but that we get conditioned by life, which shapes the path and decisions we make.

A good friend used to be a midwife and she told me that she has delivered 1000’s of babies but has never once met an evil one.  That has really stayed with me.

And once I really understood that, I felt for them.  In their dehumanising of me I realised that they had dehumanised themselves and were cut off to their own source of aliveness

And the more I thought about being gang-raped and the 2 young men, I couldn’t help but take them into my heart and I started to feel compassion and forgiveness towards them.

I came up with a plan which I call my “best Revenge” many years ago when I decided to become a mother and live as good as life as I can.  I chose to be happy but I often wonder what must it be like to live with what you do to another human being?

Forgiveness for me initially was an act of self-love as I had so much blame and shame for what had happened to me.  And then it became an act of understanding towards them.  I chose to let go of all the pain, hate and resentment I felt for years, which has resulted in a much more peaceful and content way to live my life.

After all they would have no idea if I was consumed by hate, bitterness or revenge and the only person it would hurt would be me and all those in my life.  My healing came when I finally faced all the details of what they did to me on that night and learnt to integrate it. I realised that I’m not my body or the things that they have done to me.  The real essence of me could never be touched.

And if I am not what was done to me; are they what they did to me?

Her memoir, Unbroken, was published by John Blake Books on April 4th 2017

You can check out Madeleine’s book here:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XNLZ8RV

and visit her Website   www.madeleineblack.co.uk

 Facebook page  www.facebook.com/madeleineblackunbroken

 Twitter @madblack65

Madeleine, you are an inspiration to many of us. Thank you for sharing your story.

 

MEET SUSAN FAW

I really should run a competition for the ‘spot the typo’ on my blogs, for the moment they go live, I always see one – despite reading them very, very carefully. Let’s see what this week’s error is 🙂

My guest today is Susan Faw who writes fantasy fiction for the YA age group – and she’s won an award for her work – so please read on.

SUSAN FAW

Do you know when I first decided I wanted to be an author?

No, it wasn’t after reading Harry Potter. It was when I was about 4 years old.

My sister and I used to play a game before we could read before we were even school aged, where we would pick a picture at random from the only magazine my parents would allow in the house – The National Geographic Magazine. We would play school and whoever was the ‘teacher’ would make up a story about a picture and the other would have to ask questions.

You see, people love stories. Children love stories. Even back then I loved books and loved to tell a story.

And I still love to tell stories.

Which brings me to Harry Potter. Harry Potter did not create my love of stories. What Harry Potter did for me, was introduce me to a woman, a single mom, who was destitute and nigh unto homeless.

J.K. Rowling wrote the first book of the Harry Potter Series, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, in an unfurnished flat in London after fleeing an abusive relationship with her infant daughter. She lay on the floor of her flat day after day and wrote, and when Jessica was sleeping, she pushed the pram to a cafe and wrote some more. She was a university educated single parent, hungry, poverty-stricken and relying on food banks.

Yet despite the trials in her life, she wrote. Despite her situation, she wrote. She wrote because she believed in herself.

She wrote because she LOVED TO WRITE.

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I am also an avid reader and an unashamed fan of the Harry Potter series. Jo got one thing right, that so many authors forget. That in order to write, you just first love to read.

J.K. Rowling managed, in a day where electronics are king, to get kids and teens to put down their phones and their I-pads and turn off their TV’s to pick up a book. Not just any book, but a heavy many-hundred paged hardcover book and READ.

To me, that is true magic, in its purest form. She is my hero, she is whom I aspire to be. An author people want to read. For the money? No, although money is nice! I write for the pure joy of a story well told; to make a connection and be able to share the joy of new worlds with someone you have never and may never meet. The joy that comes from reading is the essence of real magic.

I would be thrilled to hear if you have one of my books and if you have taken the time out of your busy lives to try out my series if so I am so glad to have you along for the journey!

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I love connecting with my readers and others who share the same geeky fandom love. Come chat with me and tell me what are your favorite fantasy book series?

Find me on twitter: https://twitter.com/susandfaw
Find me on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanFaw
Or visit me on my website at http://susanfaw.com
Sign up for my newsletter for the latest news on new releases!
And last but not least, Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susanfawauthor/

Come chat! I assure you, I love to talk too!

Thank you, Susan. I have such admiration for writers who can connect with young people and also admire JK for what she achieved. Thank you for being my guest.


 

 

 

MEET FIONA HOGAN

The last guest I’d like to introduce you to in 2017 is Irish writer Fiona Hogan. I always say that the best writers come from Ireland, (well I would wouldn’t I?) and when I was last in Dublin, I was both amazed and pleased to see so many roads named after famous literary scribes.  I’ve read two of Fiona’s books and I included The Lights Went Out among my best reads in 2016. I remember writing in my review that I wished I could string words together so beautifully. This is what Fiona sent me as her bio.

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Fiona Hogan is a writer, blogger, editor and mother of five. She lives in the beautiful countryside of Laois, in the midlands of Ireland and spends a lot of her time daydreaming. She has two books published on Amazon under the name Fiona Cooke Hogan – The Lights Went Out and Other Stories; a collection of quirky short fiction and What Happened In Dingle, a rather long, short story. She also writes horror under the name FB Hogan and has two collections of gothic horror on Amazon  – Death Comes Calling and The Nightmare.

 

Next year she hopes to launch her first novel – Martha’s Cottage; a romantic fiction set in contemporary Dublin and also – The Mandrake Root, a psychological horror set in the South of England.
There is also a screenplay in progress and a book of poetry and a million other things that she hasn’t got around to yet.
“Greetings from icy Ireland. I’m sitting by the fire with a hot whiskey and beginning to feel a little bit Christmassy. It’s the perfect night to write, the teenagers have finally left the room for bed and I’m able to scribble down the first few lines of a new story – the muse visited today. I love it when that happens and I never take it for granted. This one will probably be another horror, although there are angels in there, so who knows? I’m a very greedy writer, I write in a lot of different genres, can’t be pinned down. My collection of short stories – The Lights Went Out is a smorgasbord of style and theme – with anything from fear, loneliness, romance to fairy changelings.
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I am obsessed with Tolkien and have a huge love of nature, it helps that the place I live is scrubby, and pastoral, very much like the Shire and my blog – unusualfiction is filled with my musings and verbal ramblings on subjects such as Sunday strolls and the changing of the seasons.
I grew up on a diet of Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft and at certain times of year – Hallowe’en especially, I get seriously inspired to craft short sharp blasts of horror just in case we run out. It could be my favourite genre, but there are some genres I haven’t even touched upon yet – sci-fi, young adult, and fantasy, there is such possibility and scope when you’re a writer although I think I’ll give erotica wide berth, writing sex scenes tend to make me laugh aloud.

“When I’m not writing, promoting my work and editing I like to find a nice quiet space where the teenagers can’t find me and read in peace.”

Fiona tells me she has also set up an editing business called The EditingHub and hopes to aid authors in their journey to perfection.

You can find Fiona’s books here:

The Lights Went Out and Other Stories by Fiona Cooke Hogan
What happened in Dingle by Fiona Cooke Hogan
Death Comes Calling by FB Hogan
The Nightmare by FB Hogan
And learn more about her on these links.
Thank you for being my guest this week, Fiona and best wishes to everyone for a Happy, Healthy and Bestselling 2018!

 

 

MEET KRIS WILLIAMS

I never realised what fun it would be to have all these guest authors on my blog. I’m learning so much about so many people many of them new to me. One of them is today’s guest Kris Williams and she has yet another interesting story to tell.

KRIS WILLIAMS

Ever since I was a little girl growing up in a crowded house on a crowded street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I was always so very curious about other children around the world who were growing up in their houses on their streets in their hometowns.

Were their houses crowded, too? Did they have to take turns with ten other brothers and sisters to use a single bathroom, like I did? Did their mothers dole out breakfast oatmeal that became less and less creamy by the time it got plopped into the tenth bowl further down the table? Did younger children in other countries always wear hand-me-downs, or was there ever any piece of clothing given new, just for them?

My curiosity about other children around the world didn’t mean I was discontent with my life in Pittsburgh. Not at all. My mother was a good cook and we always had enough food to eat. My mother was a stickler for cleanliness and we always had clean clothes to wear and a clean bed to sleep (although my mother’s concentration on cleanliness didn’t stop us from having to sleep three-to-a-bed at times). And my mother was passionate about reading. She regularly encouraged all of her children to read.

It was this last thing which stoked my curiosity because the world I read about seemed to me a gigantic, fascinating place. Reading planted in me an ever-growing urge to explore.

After college (& earning a degree in Graphic Design) I nabbed a job as a flight attendant, which gave me the opportunity to continue my education in graphic design at the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule in Basel, Switzerland. (The job provided for two requirements: money to pay for the school, as well as the means to travel to Switzerland.)  I was so excited with the opportunity that lay before me! Who wouldn’t want to study with some of the most well-known graphic artists and typographers in the world?

Upon arriving in Basel I was calmed by the Swiss craziness for order and precision (something I had been longing for since my crowded house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania …), and humored by Schweizerdeutsch, a musical Swiss-German dialect which calls all big things small.

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This calm humor soon turned into enchantment with all things Swiss.

From Basel, where the teachers patiently imparted their knowledge of design and typography to me and other foreign students like me…slowly directing us along their path of perfection…I was able to direct my attention toward the rest of Switzerland.

Switzerland’s mountains were where physical and emotional senses I hadn’t even known I possessed were awakened. Taking trips into the Alps and learning about the traditions that enliven them developed in me a profound respect for this “tiny” country.

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It is in Basel, Switzerland that I met Ruedi, the subject of Switzerland To Alaska: Just To Die. He worked at the design desk next to mine, and introduced me to his mountains.

When he told me of his dream to go to Alaska and spend a year in the wilderness there, I was one of the ones who thought he was crazy.

How far into darkness was it necessary to go to prove how tough he was? What were his limits?

He answered these questions simply.

“I’ll have to find out.”

What was the coldest temperature he could function in?

“I’ll have to learn,” he answered.

What animals could he elude or defend himself from? He’d have to wait and see which ones crossed his path. And if bears, wolverines, or even mosquitoes found him, would they be the death of him? Every circumstance could be dangerous, but he would test himself and see how he’d come out on the other side.

Ruedi’s trek from Switzerland into Alaska is a story of contrasts… a story that takes the reader from Switzerland — a tiny country full of well-mapped-out Alpine Mountains…quaint villages…well-honored traditions… to Alaska…a vast land of shifting rivers… frigid towns… unpredictable wildlife…and winters of unending darkness. The immediate question Ruedi had on his mind before leaving was: If I go in prepared, will that be enough? Will I survive?

After coming to know Ruedi-the-artist, I instinctively understood that because of his way of seeing, because of his way of expressing himself, because of his extraordinary journey into the wilderness, the world would be a poorer place if his story weren’t told.

Ruedi headed west in May 1982 to spend a year in Alaska. He took with him $5000 purposely saved for the journey, a mini-survival kit wrapped around his waist, a few woolen clothes, and a stout belief that he had the skill required to survive a year in the Alaskan wilderness. Five months after abandoning his mother, sister, friends, and job as a graphic designer, Ruedi found himself hunkered down in the Ray Mountains, having every one of his survival skills tested to the limit. How this Swiss explorer faced much more than he bargained for in the wilderness of Alaska is the extraordinary story of Switzerland To Alaska: Just To Die.

Glauser had wandered up and down the mountains and valleys of the Swiss Alps in his youth, always confident in his ability to endure whatever Nature sent his way. But Switzerland had become too tame. He needed a greater challenge. Settling into a routine lifestyle might have been more comfortable, but “settling” would never have forced him to face up to the insecurities so deeply entrenched in his being. Ruedi’s initial intent was to go it alone in Alaska or to have with him at most a pack of dogs. But in the end he opted for one solitary companion to go with him.

What challenged Ruedi were not only the unrestrained forces that nature presented but the constant inward journeys his circumstances forced him to undertake — journeys that required him to crawl deep into his soul. Ultimately, Just To Die is a book about survival. It is about what happened when one human being decided to test his ability to survive at one of the far ends of the earth. It is about one man who wanted to discover what his limits were.

Ruedi’s trek from Switzerland into Alaska is a story of contrasts… a story that will take the reader from Switzerland — a tiny country full of well-mapped-out Alpine Mountains…quaint villages…well-honored traditions — to Alaska…a vast land of shifting rivers… frigid towns… unpredictable wildlife…and winters of unending darkness.

Switzerland To Alaska: Just To Die is Ruedi’s story. I am simply the one who wrote it down.

For more information, to download the first chapter, or to order the book, go to:

http://www.kriswilliamsauthor.com

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Although she didn’t mention it. I suspect that Kris is still working magic with her graphic designs so that may be worth checking out as well.

Thank you, Kris, for being my guest this week, and telling us about your book, such a different story to tell, and one to read by the fireside in winter.

 

MEET PATRICIA STEELE

Today’s guest is a prolific writer and I’m going to have to squeeze all her books in in tiny pictures! It’s Patricia Steele and I know a lot of people are already familiar with her work.

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Patricia says, I’m a west coast girl that moved to the east coast and back again.  Twice. My imagination has always been etched in music, color and rose-colored glasses. I’ve had crazy characters and stories banging and fluttering around in my head, dying to get out, since I was old enough to hold a pen.  I’m a fan of historical fiction filled with adventure and romance.  And I’m addicted to genealogy! My sense of humor runs a little rampant at times, I’m no stranger to laughter, and I love a good anticipation scene.  I am proud to state that The Girl Immigrant, the first novel in my Spanish Pearls Series, is being whisked off my shelves. The second book in the series, Silván Leaves, is now available. My next project is a memoir titled, Fairydust to Daffodils about my daughter and her lost fight with Cystic Fibrosis.

As I mentioned Patricia is a prolific writer, here are a few of her titles.

Patricia has written six novels in two genres, which includes her series, Callinda Beauvais Mysteries, plus Tangled like Music, Cloisonné, two travel memoirs, a cookbook, two biographical family histories and a children’s book.  She writes for several Facebook pages: Hawaiian Spaniards, The Girl Immigrant, Patricia Steele Author Page, Silvan Descendants, Ruiz Descendants and her blogs, www.patriciasteele.blogspot.com and www.onspanishsoil.blogspot.com

She has been interviewed on the radio and online.  She is a speaker for the Arizona Genealogical Society.  Her work includes collaborating on a transcription project of the Spanish ship manifests (1907 to 1913 sailings from Spain to Hawaii) during the immigrations funded by the Hawaiian Sugar Plantations.

Patricia says she is a romantic who enjoys strolling through cobblestone streets and markets.  She is inspired by art and architecture, and thrives being surrounded by artists and intellectuals.  She enjoys the bustle of a city, but loves spending time in the smaller towns sitting at a café and having a glass of wine or cup of coffee.  Her soul is nourished by gentle friendships, a little romance and meaningful conversations about love, art and the meaning of life.

Thank you for being a guest on my blog. There is a lot more to find out about Patricia, so please check out her author page:www.patriciabbsteele.com

 

MEET JILL DOBBE

Jill and I have been FB friends for a long time, I remember beta reading her first book, or was it her second? Anyway, I’ve read both and I highly recommend them. She is so right that travel broadens the mind and introduces you to different cultures and peoples. Jill is a true traveler in every sense of the word and has some great stories to tell.

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I am an international educator and a writer. I write travel memoirs and articles about my experiences living in different countries while working as a teacher/administrator in American and international schools around the world. Documenting my travel experiences has given me opportunities to relive all the good, bad, harrowing, and remarkable events I endured along the way. Writing about traveling also comes naturally to me as I continue to encounter diverse cultures, distant lands, and historic sites in this unique lifestyle of mine.

I’ve been living in Honduras, my 7th country, with my husband, Dan, and Yorkie-Poo, Mickey, for the past six years and now call Tegucigalpa, Honduras, my home. Originally from Wisconsin, in the Midwestern U.S., I relocated abroad in 1990, and return each summer for two months. During the months of August through June, I work as an elementary principal at an American school and travel Latin and South America when school lets out for the holidays. It’s a lifestyle that I love, and the travel is just one part of it. Living in another culture, experiencing firsthand how indigenous people live, and learning about their customs, traditions, and languages are all eye-opening. Most days I feel like I’m living my dream, despite the occasional water and power outages, monsoon rains, crazy taxi drivers, and odors of raw sewage.

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My first memoir, HERE WE ARE & THERE WE GO: Teaching and Traveling with Kids in Tow, chronicles my family’s 10 years living abroad. We moved from Wisconsin to Guam with our two toddlers and from there onto Singapore, Ghana, and Mexico. During those 10 years we survived Super Typhoon Yuri while on Guam, swam with Orca’s in Mexico, chased elephants in the Ghanaian bush, and celebrated Chinese New Year in Singapore. After those 10 years we returned to the U.S. and went through a sort of reverse culture shock.

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My second travel memoir, KIDS, CAMELS, & CAIRO, was written after spending six years back in the U.S. I earned my degree in Educational Administration and then decided to head back overseas. I ended up in Cairo, Egypt, at a school which was predominately Muslim. During those two years, I endured my biggest culture shock, yet. The Islamic faith and Muslim culture were very new to me and I had a lot to learn about it, resulting in quite a few cultural faux pas along the way. I got used to the school week going from Sunday through Thursday and wearing modest garments that covered my neck, arms, and legs, but I never did get used to the brazen stares of the Egyptian men.

After Egypt, I moved to Gurgaon, India, where I was an administrator at a new international school. I loved India, its people, the country, the amazing colors, and the food, however, I constantly had to stay alert to the monkeys that roamed the city stealing whatever they could get away with. I’m now working on a 3rd travel memoir, which will include a few shocking stories about the pesky primates.

As long as I continue to live abroad and experience the world’s countries and cultures with an open mind and heart, I hope to continue my writing. Being open and aware to what the world has to offer is the best and only way for me, and for others, to live the global lifestyle and survive a cultural adjustment. Through my travel articles and memoirs, I hope to entertain and educate readers about the personal joys, and inevitable pitfalls of my life abroad, like the time I ended up bathing in a river full of sewage, the time when our kitchen in India was infested with ants, and when I nearly passed out halfway up Mt. Sinai in Egypt. Learning a new language, eating unknown foods, living without the comforts of home, and being far away from family, are difficulties that everyone who relocates abroad goes through. I strongly believe though, that the positives I’ve gained from challenging myself and becoming more globally-minded far outweigh the negatives I’ve encountered in my overseas journeys.

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

www.facebook.com/jilldobbeauthor

https://www.amazon.com/Camels-Cairo-Tales-International-Educator-ebook/dp/B01GD5UH30/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506010590&sr=8-1&keywords=jill+dobbe

https://www.amazon.com/Here-We-Are-There-Traveling-ebook/dp/B008PV3N9G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1506010590&sr=8-2&keywords=jill+dobbe

Thank you, Jill, for being my guest this week – and don’t forget to check out her books!

MEET ALISON RIPLEY CUBBIT

When I asked Alison if she would like to be a guest on my blog, I had no idea what an amazing story she would have to share. Take a few minutes to read it, it’s fascinating. Welcome, Alison.

ARC 2017 Profile Pic

About Me:
I’m Alison Ripley Cubitt, and I’m a multi-genre author and screenwriter. I worked in film and television production before turning to writing. I’ve gone back to film, this time as part of a production team with our own company, specialising in investigative drama.

I’m here to talk about one of my books, Castles in the Air: A Family Memoir of Love and Loss, which was partly inspired by the genealogy tv series, Who Do You Think You Are. I’ve always been fascinated by true-life stories, particularly those from the 20th century, which is the era that shaped my own life. I was reflecting on what a profound effect World War 2 had on so many people’s lives. Before I started writing my book, I had never really given much thought to how the war shaped my own family’s future.

In 1937 my grandfather was turning 40 and soon to be unemployed as he had reached the end of his commission as a Royal Marine. He was invited to apply for a job with the Admiralty based in Hong Kong but was given no details of what he would be doing until the third and final round of interviews. It turned out that he would be working with the intelligence-gathering operation in what would become the Far East outpost of Bletchley Park.
BRAG Medallion Book Cover

When war finally did come to South East Asia, my mother Molly was one of the last two remaining girls at her remote boarding school up country in  Malaya. The nuns had insisted that war or no war, education came first and that they must finish their School Certificate exams. With the ink barely dry on the exam paper, the girls still in school uniform, were driven down the lonely switchback road to the nearest train station to start their long journey home to Singapore. In the surrounding jungle, the enemy was watching and waiting for the signal to invade.

Molly and her parents were evacuated in January 1942, and she spent the war years working as a stenographer in the same naval intelligence unit her parents worked in. A high-spirited teenager, she would wait until her boss went out and then pull out the secret intelligence communiqué she was typing at the time, and go and dash off a quick letter to a friend.

During the war years, Mum developed a crush on a family friend who was much older than she was. She never got him out of her system, still secretly carrying a torch for him long after she married.
The book is told in two parts: the first, a series of letters written by the 15-year-old Molly, to her crush, Steve. I wanted the reader to have an insight into what life was like for a teenager in wartime and for this to be written in Molly’s own voice. In part two I take up the story of the woman who became the nurse and mother I knew.
The letters were a revelation as they had been kept hidden for nearly 50 years. It is a miracle they survived. Steve (who never married) had kept every single one. When he died, his niece sent the letters to my grandmother, who kept them hidden away so my father wouldn’t find them.

FB Ad Castles in the Air

Giveaway:
The first three readers who read this piece to like my Facebook page will win a free ebook copy. Don’t forget to let me know how I can contact you. To buy a copy, see below.
Buying links:
Link: http://amzn.com/B018KLSVUQ
Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B018KLSVUQ
Readers can connect with me here:
Website: http://www.lambertnagle.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lambertnagle
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisonripleycubittwriter

Alison, it was good to meet you and I will be checking out your book. So often our parents did not talk to their children about feelings and events and many of us have discovered the truth only through the letters they left behind. It’s only after they have departed do we wish we’d asked all those questions while they were still alive. This book may well shed light for all of us whose parents fought in the last World War.

 

MEET JIM MORRISON

Now I hope I have the correct picture up here for Jim Morrison, as I’ve had to do a bit of shuffling around with dates as some guests wanted features later, and some were not ready.  So, all the files I put neatly in labeled months are now being moved around and you can guess what happens then, can’t you?  Anyhow, I think this is a very nice author picture 🙂 I just hope its the correct author!

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I just want to thank Lucindae Clarke for this wonderful opportunity. Hello to all that read this, I am going to wing it as I have never done anything like this before, and have no idea what to say. So, if I ramble on a bit, then forgive me. Maybe I should start with my name, always a good place to start. My name is Jim Morrison, no not the famous rock star from The Doors. I was born in Raigmore Hospital in the year 1974, and the 19th day of the summer of June. I am from a wee town on the West coast of Scotland, Fort William in the bonnie Highlands to be exact.

I got the writing bug in high school. I think it was a test or exam I was doing. I had to write a short story about a war or something like that and my English teacher was very impressed and said I should keep it up and become a writer. I spent the next few years writing short stories at home, mainly featuring superheroes and I am sure I done one set in the wild west.

My childhood was very up and down, I do not want to say too much here. I will, however, be writing my biography someday and that will have all my heartache and shenanigans in that, so look out for that book. It will be 100% true life and will shock some people, and hopefully, make some people laugh at my crazy life.

I left school and home at the age of 15. Started work in a hotel as a kitchen porter. The job was okay, I was happy to be making money and partying way too much. Then I became a chef. This was a fun job that I enjoyed, I travelled around Scotland working in different hotels and meeting some cool people. I gave up writing and began to party a lot. I then became a breakfast chef. That was more enjoyable, I was in charge of the kitchen, I worked 5 days a week from 6am till 2 pm and had the rest of the day to myself.

But I gave up catering, it had lost its buzz for me and became a night manager. That was the best job, in charge of a hotel overnight. I loved it.

Going back in time now to 2008, I took an interest in photography. I still love to go for a walk with my camera and snap away at things. I have a photography page on Facebook if anyone wants to go and check out my work and like my page. Just look up J. Morrison Photography.    https://www.facebook.com/J-Morrison-Photography-268493803592438/

My photography work so far has been scenic shots, I have also made some videos. I would like to one-day branch out into all aspects of photography and try doing model shoots and helping people with their model portfolios.

Going back even further, around about 2003, I began to write again, this time it was poetry. I had notebooks that I took everywhere with me and used to write down what came to my head. I had over 300+ thoughts and poems at one point.

In 2005 I was offered a seven-year contract with the publisher, Publish America. I released a poetry book through them, that was a huge mistake. They only paid me 10% royalties and kept telling me my book was not selling, I knew my book was selling as it was in stock then out of stock on Amazon. I never published with them again, and you should avoid them. Fate's Monolith Cover Art  In 2015 I began to write novels again. I finally self-published my first book of poetry, it is a 182-page book of thoughts and poetry about social issues and the like. The book is called, Musings of a Highlander, and it is available online and in bookstores.  https://www.createspace.com/7295903

 

In 2005 I became a paranormal investigator and started my own investigation team, that was a fun time. I enjoyed it but everyone eventually left and it was just me so I gave up.

JIM MORRISON LIFE OF OWEN CONNOR

This is the cover for my latest novel, it is called “The Life of Owen Connor: Trapped in the Asylum & the Aftermath.” The story is about a famous rock star Owen Connor, his crazy upbringing. The bands rise to fame and the fateful night he ended up in an asylum. Read how he got trapped in the Insane Asylum and if he makes it out alive. The book is a thriller/horror with action and humour thrown in. Here are the buying links.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/197611537X

and all other outlets.

What I like to do when I am not writing is. Hill walking, playing Football (Soccer), Basketball, Mountain Biking, going walking out and about, exploring. I also love to read books, not into ebooks. I prefer a good hardback or paperback. I am currently working on a new novel, it is called, Highland Terror. The book is set in the Highlands of Scotland. It is a story about a girl that is just your average 20 something girl and she gets caught up in the worst terror of her life. Does she survive? If so how is she coping? Read the book and find out.

Thanks for sitting through my ramblings, look out for me on Twitter and Facebook. Add me and say hi.

 

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012304865403

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/JMorrisonAuthor

All Jim’s books are available from Amazon marketplaces worldwide, CreateSpace, Barnes and Noble along with Koko and the like.

 

MEET MARY L SCHMIDT

Today my guest is one of my favourite authors and I’m so pleased to welcome her to my blog. She has won so many awards with her first book that it’s becoming difficult to read the title on the cover! I read and reviewed her book and was overwhelmed with what she went through, I sobbed my way through it! But it has a happy ending as Mary is one of life’s survivors (whoops, was that a spoiler?) Learn more about this amazing lady.

 

Circa2011

Mary Schmidt writes under the pen name of S. Jackson and her husband, Michael, writes under the pen name of A. Raymond. Both grew up in the middle of Kansas, and they are eclectic authors having written 15 books thus far. They enjoy traveling, reading, poker, enjoying the mountains, and playing with two year old grandson, Austin.

I knew I would write a book eventually back in 1990. That year was a rough one for me and my family personally, and I’ve kept journals most of my life. I had many stories to tell but I wasn’t quite ready, mentally or emotionally, in going headlong into a 376 page book. When 2013 rolled around, I knew then that I was going to put words and stories from my journals into digital format.

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The hardest and most difficult part initially was actually going into and reading my journals from 1989 – 1990 as my first book is Non-Fiction/Spiritual in nature. I knew my book had to be written and I knew the many messages in my book needed to be published, so that hopefully I could help others through difficult times in their lives or the lives of others they knew. The timing was right as I had left nursing in December 2012. My first book was extremely difficult since the stories were real. Some days I could write one sentence and then I was done for the day. Other days I could write more.  From that was born When Angels Fly. From now through the end of October, When Angels Fly is 0.99 cents!

I have three books I would like to touch on in this post. These are books for children and I saw that Mary got a bronze medal from Reader’s Favorite for The Big cheese Festival. 

Awards:

2016 New Apple Official Selection E-Book Award

2016 Ring of Honor Circle of Books Silver Second Place Award

2016 McGrath House Independent Book Awards Finalist

2016 Number One Amazon Best Seller

2016 Reader’s Favorite Five Stars

2017 Literary Titan Silver 2nd Place Award

These are the American links for Mary’s books.

When Angels Fly https://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B017UNVWDI

The Big cheese Festival – a book for children about bullying.

http://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B01H3S381O

Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS 150th Birthday

http://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B072TPMDRH

Mary, it’s been great having you as a guest this week.