SPIRES AND SUPERMARKETS

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

While I had booked several trips in Prague, having lost my notes, I’ll have to stretch my brain here! But that’s fine, there isn’t a lot left to stretch.

We went for a walk to orientate ourselves.

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I noticed that much of the architecture is what I call European.

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Prague lies on either side of the Vitava river and is called the City of a Hundred Spires. I suspect this might be because there are a lot of buildings with spires on them.

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HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

Isabella now takes time out to do a bit of travelling round Castile with her brother, then pops into a convent for a bit of R & R. While there she gets the news that her bother has been poisoned.

She rushes off to see him, but he’s fine. She goes back to the convent but the next day he is dead. The assassins got the date muddled.

Isabella stays in the convent of Santa Clara and prays a lot she is very upset – well you would be, wouldn’t you?

AFRICA FACTS

Another observation about coming home on leave when you’ve been working abroad.

All of the places we lived in before we moved further south to South Africa were not very first world. For example, in Libya it was impossible to buy fresh milk, so we purchased powdered milk in tins. We had one choice of cheese, one of butter and most other products – no ready meals, not a lot that was familiar or hygienic. I only ever bought whole beef fillets – which I then had minced by the butcher, or cut into chunks. Goat, camel and chicken carcasses lying on the butchers’ floor looked so unappetising.

assorted bottle and cans
Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com

Back in England in the supermarket I stood rooted to the floor. Firstly, the sights, sounds, bright lights and piped music overwhelmed my senses. Secondly, I couldn’t cope with the range of produce. Butter: salted, unsalted, English, Dutch, French, Irish. Large sized, small sized, foil wrapped, paper wrapped. It was all too much for me. Kind people stopped to ask me if I was feeling ill?

grocery cart with item
Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

We desperately missed our pork products and often on landing would rush to the airport cafeteria and order bacon sandwiches and a glass of real milk. Usually we were feeling very sick by the time we climbed into the hired car! Makes you wonder doesn’t it?

Lots more information about living abroad in any of my books wrapped up in exciting, fast moving stories.

http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Till next time, take care.

 

 

 

VIDEO FORMATS

As promised, this is how I would lay out a video script for the same scenario as last week’s radio play. I’ve taken the part where the Green Giant chooses Englebert, the third under trainee front doorstep polisher at King Charming’s Palace to lead the happy peasants against their royal masters. He’s a cute friendly fellow five and a half short of a six pack.

You may notice that there are no descriptions as such, simply what you see and what is said. I have battled with the ‘show don’t tell’ as a result after writing hundreds of scripts. Writing novels is so very different and I’ve still got a lot to learn.

THE BOOK

“Come,” he commanded, “you will lead your people out of bondage. You will liberate their ills. You will speak for all the downtrodden in Charmingdon.”

“Me!” squeaked the man gazing into the Green Giant’s face. “Well, aw right, if yer want me to. I’ve always done as I’m told.”

The Giant pulled the man to his feet and led him to the front, amid cheers, hand clapping and stamping feet. If there were some peasants who looked a little startled by the Giant’s choice, he failed to notice.

“Here is your leader,” he boomed, waving the man’s arms in the air for him. “Greet your Comrade in Charge.” A renewed burst of cheering ensued and under the commotion the Giant bent to ask his name.

“Englebert, sir,” he replied bowing low.

“No!” exclaimed the Giant, “you don’t make obeisance to me, we are all brothers together, one and the same. We share everything, we are all equal.”

“Ooh,” replied Englebert, “can I have this nice coat then?” he fingered the green jacket.

“No, you bloody well can’t,” snapped the august Party emissary, “and get your filthy paws off it, you’re making it all dirty. You can bloody well earn it like I had to.” He slapped away Englebert’s hand and turned to smile at the audience afraid of what they might think of his behaviour.

“Shame,” sighed Englebert, “it’s such a pretty green.”

The Giant turned back to the crowd and held aloft an imperious hand. The peasants subsided and were quiet.

“Now is the time,” he announced, “for your chosen brother to address you all. I give you Comrade Englebert.”

“I don’t know where they all live,” complained Englebert.

THE VIDEO SCRIPT

 UNHAPPILY EVER AFTER  –  VIDEO SCRIPT

SCENE: PEASANTS MEETING IN HALL
 SHOT                             VIDEO                                             AUDIO
1. CU OF GREEN GIANT PULL BACK AS HE WALKS DOWN FROM STAGE
2. REVERSE ANGLE FROM ENGELBERT’S POINT OF VIEW, SHOW GG GETTING LARGER AND MORE THREATENING WITH DOMINANT SHOT.
3. GREEN GIANT PAUSES, LOOKS AROUND FOCUSES ON ENGLEBERT GG Come! you will lead your people out of bondage. You will liberate their ills. You will speak for all the downtrodden in Charmingdon.
4. CUT TO CROWD LOOKING VERY PUZZLED. SOME LEAN AND WHISPER TO NEIGHBOURS SFX CROWD: MUTTERING
5. CU OF ENGLEBERT LOOKING VERY WORRIED ENG:  Me!
6. CUT TO CU GREEN GIANT LEANING OVER HIM INTENSE EXPRESSION GG: YES
7. GG PUTS OUT HAND AND GRASPS ENG BY THE BACK OF HIS JACKET.
8. CUT TO 2 SHOT ENG CRINGING ENG: Well, aw right, if yer want me to. I’ve always done as I’m told.
9. GG HAULS ENG FROM STOOL AND FROGMARCHES HIM TO STAGE
10. CUTAWAYS TO SHOW CROWD LOOKING APPALLED ODD CALLS: Go for it Englebert

See how important you’ve become

Go man go!

11. PAN ROUND CROWD WHO BEGIN TO STAMP AND CATCALL AND WHISTLE. You be famous now!

Yeah you lead us in this …

12. GG TURNS ENG TO FACE THE CROWD STILL HAS A FIRM HOLD ON HIM
13. QUICK SHOT OF ENG LOOKING TOTALLY BEMUSED. HE DUCKS DOWN AS IF TO RETURN TO SEAT. GG: (Hisses) Oh no you don’t!
14. SHOT FROM REAR OF HALL AS GG ADDRESSES THEM – ENG IS TRYING TO DUCK DOWN BEHIND HIM GG: Here is your leader
15. GG TURNS ROUND DRAGS HIM FORWARD AND HOLDS UP HIS ARM
16. CUT OR PAN TO CROWD CHEERING WILDLY, SEVERAL SNIGGERING
17. TWO SHOT OF GG WHISPERING TO ENG GG: What is your name?

 

18. ENG BOWS LOW TO THE GG ENG: Englebert, Sir.
19. GG GRABS HIM AND HAULS HIM UPRIGHT GG: (LOUDLY) No! You don’t make obeisance to me, we are all brothers together, one and the same. We share everything, we are all equal.
20. ENG HUGE SMILE REACHES OUT AND FINGERS GG’S GREEN COAT ENG: Ooh, can I have this nice coat then?
21. CU GG LOOKS DISGUSTED
22. SIDE SHOT AS GG ANGLES AWAY FROM THE AUDIENCE AND BRUTALLY SLAPS ENG’S HAND OFF HIS COAT. GG: No, you bloody well can’t, and get your filthy paws off it, you’re making it all dirty. You can bloody well earn it like I had to.
23. 2 SHOT OF CROWD AS THEY PEER TO SEE WHAT’S GOING ON
24. CU ENG LOOKS SAD ENG: Shame. It’s such a pretty green
25. GG TURNS TO AUDIENCE AND SMILES BEATIFICALLY HOLDS HAND UP FOR QUIET SFX: FACE DOWN CROWD
26. CU GG Now is the time for your chosen brother to address you all. I give you Comrade Englebert.
27. CU ENG LOOKING TOTALLY MISERABLE TURNS TO ADDRESS GG ENG:  I don’t know where they all live

You must know by now how ‘untechie’ I am so the columns are not the correct width, but I fiddled for ages and this is the best I can do.  There would be a column for timing if you were shooting a documentary that had been pr-scripted as you work to seconds in broadcast, but for a drama you would have a good idea about length from rehearsals.

For interest, an average 46 minute script (that would air for an hour allowing for add breaks) could be easily 10 thousand words.

Just in case you would like to read more, Unhappily Ever After can be found here.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8

UAE WITHOUT BORDERS

I have news to share but that will have to be next week, this is quite long enough!

Take care

Lucinda

 

 

 

 

 

 

READ, WATCH, LISTEN

If you are an author what is your greatest wish? It must be the same as mine.

There is a ring at the doorbell, you open it and there stands Steven Spielberg holding a copy of your book. He begs you to allow him to make it into a major motion picture and thrusts the contract into your hand together with a cheque for an obscene amount.

If you are a reader, what could be better than telling all your friends that the writer of the latest blockbuster that’s breaking all box office records is your friend on Facebook and you knew them when they were just a poor little indie screaming ‘buy my free book.’

BUY BOOKS

We can all dream.

I’ve mentioned before that when the dinosaurs roamed the earth I wrote for radio and television. This gave me the weird idea that I could write. Once I started with the books, I was soon told my grammar was appalling, my commas were all over the place and I disgraced myself by beginning sentences with adverbs. You don’t have to worry about all that kind of stuff writing for other media. For the next three months, in my rambling blog on the first Monday I thought I would show the difference between the media.

I’ll use a passage from my comedy book as an example. The scene is where The Green Giant, sent by the Red Party to ferment unrest in Charmingdon chooses one of the peasants to lead the revolution.TWEET 2

The printed version:-

“Come,” he commanded, “you will lead your people out of bondage. You will liberate their ills. You will speak for all the downtrodden in Charmingdon.”

“Me!” squeaked the man gazing into the Green Giant’s face. “Well, aw right, if yer want me to. I’ve always done as I’m told.”

The Giant pulled the man to his feet and led him to the front, amid cheers, hand clapping and stamping feet. If there were some peasants who looked a little startled by the Giant’s choice, he failed to notice.

“Here is your leader,” he boomed, waving the man’s arms in the air for him. “Greet your Comrade in Charge.” A renewed burst of cheering ensued and under the commotion the Giant bent to ask his name.

“Englebert, sir,” he replied bowing low.

“No!” exclaimed the Giant, “you don’t make obeisance to me, we are all brothers together, one and the same. We share everything, we are all equal.”

“Ooh,” replied Englebert, “can I have this nice coat then?” he fingered the green jacket.

“No, you bloody well can’t,” snapped the august Party emissary, “and get your filthy paws off it, you’re making it all dirty. You can bloody well earn it like I had to.” He slapped away Englebert’s hand and turned to smile at the audience afraid of what they might think of his behaviour.

“Shame,” sighed Englebert, “it’s such a pretty green.”

The Giant turned back to the crowd and held aloft an imperious hand. The peasants subsided and were quiet.

“Now is the time,” he announced, “for your chosen brother to address you all. I give you Comrade Englebert.”

“I don’t know where they all live,” complained Englebert.

“What’s that got to do with it?” hissed the Giant in a low voice.

“Well, it wouldn’t matter anyway, because I can’t write addresses, I can’t even write me own name,” the peasant protested.

“No, no,” said the Giant, “talk to them, make a speech.”

Englebert smiled. “I can talk all right, nothing wrong with me tongue.” He turned and beamed at the assembly. “Hello,” he said.

“Hello,” they chorused back. Englebert promptly sat down looking very pleased with himself.

The Green Giant hauled him to his feet just as fast.

“You must say more than that,” he hissed. “Tell them what you do.”

“I’m the third-under-trainee front doorstep polisher at the palace,” announced Englebert proudly.

“You do you what?” His new mentor’s eyebrows shot up.

Englebert looked puzzled. “I polish the front doorsteps.”

“And how long, Englebert,” boomed the Giant, “have you been under trainee front uh, step polisher?”

Englebert thought for several minutes. “Oh I dunno,” he said, “as long as I can remember. All my life I ‘spose.”

“This man is typical of the injustice of this class system. He has never been given the opportunity to advance his position, to rise to … er, second-under-trainee front step polisher, to first polisher. Will he ever have the chance of polishing the steps all by himself, maybe to rise to the heights of being in charge of the very front door!”

As the oratory flowed, those who knew Englebert well, wriggled uncomfortably in their seats. They were very aware of his capabilities, or rather lack of them. He was very lucky to hold the job he had, it was only through the kindness of King Charming that the poor dolt was employed at all. He certainly wasn’t any good at polishing anything, they always gave him the bits at the side behind the pillars which wouldn’t show.

“Now Englebert, tell your people for what they will be striving.”

“I don’t know,” he mumbled miserably. Englebert wished this fascinating, well dressed, charismatic visitor wouldn’t use such long words. He really didn’t understand him at all.

The Green Giant gave him a nasty look. “What are your personal plans for achievement?” Englebert looked at him blankly.

“What would you like to be? What would you like to do?” the comrade asked with as much patience as he could muster.

“I don’t know,” Englebert paused. “I’m very happy,” he added.

“No! No, you’re not. You’re not supposed to be happy, that defeats the whole object of the exercise,” exclaimed the giant.

This confused the step polisher. “So you want me to be unhappy?” he asked obligingly.

“No! I’m here to make you happy! Can’t you understand that?”

Englebert couldn’t.

“Look, you’re not happy now, I want to make you happy, but you can’t be happy until after the revolution.”

“Why not?”

“Because that’s the whole point of the struggle, the result of which will make you happy.”

“It will?”

“Of course it will.”

“But why do I have to struggle first?”

“To achieve happiness. True contentment only comes after true suffering.”

“But I told you before,” protested Englebert, “I’m already happy.”

“NO, YOU’RE NOT!!”

“Yes, I am.”

If he’d had any sense, the Green Giant would have given up there and then, and departed for more fertile minds in less fertile lands. But a sense of obstinacy made him stand firm.

“Let’s start with the basics,” he said. “Money. Who would like to double their wages?” One or two hands were raised.

“Come on,” he exhorted, “everyone wants to spend, everyone wants a higher standard of living.”

“What for?” enquired Englebert.

“What for! New clothes, more to eat, better houses, a television in every home.”

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THE RADIO SCRIPT.

CAST: GREEN GIANT, COMMANDING VOICE THOUGH ORIGINALLY A PEASANT 30-40 YEARS. MID RANGE ACCENT

ENGLEBERT: PEASANT, SQUAEKY VOICE, VERY STUPID, CHILDLIKE, EAGER TO PLEASE, 40-50 YEARS BROAD COUNTRY ACCENT

PEASANTS: RAY – FRED – LOCO – SAM – UNEDUCATED LABOURERS. FEW LINES ONLY.

SETTING: HALL, FILLED WITH AUDIENCE OF PEASANTS

act 1 scene 5

RAY:   (FROM OFF MIKE CALLING) Evening peasant Loco, an’ peasant Fred and peasant Sam, you here too?

SAM:  (ON MIKE) Yeah, sneaked off work early well afore midnight.

(ALL SNIGGER AND GIGGLE)

SFX:    F’STEPS AS THEY ENTER HALL, OPEN AND CLOSE DOOR, BUZZ OF CROWD

INSIDE HALL. FEW STEPS SCRAPING OF CHAIRS AS THEY SETTLE DOWN.

SAM:  (LOUD WHISPER) ‘ere ‘e comes now.

SFX:    LOUD MURMURS OF CROWD, LOUD APPLAUSE. SHUFFLING FEET,

SNIFFING, COUGHS ETC HOLD THEN FADE UNDER AS GG BEGINS TO SPEAK

GG:     (ON MIKE) Welcome peasants to this inaugural meeting. Thank you all

for coming.

RAY:   (UNDER) Inorg…? What does that mean Fred?

SFX:    SHUSHING FROM AUDIENCE

GG:     (ON MIKE, LOUD) My name is the Green Giant, and I have been sent by

the Red Party across the border in Monrovia to lead you in your glorious

revolt. I am here tonight to choose a man to lead you in your revolution

for freedom! I am coming to choose a man among you worthy of the

honour of leading you.

SFX:    MURMURS UNDER

FRED: A revolution? Was’ that Loco?

LOCO: Never ‘eard of such a thing Fred.

SFX:    GREEN GIANT FOOTSTEPS, GENERAL CHATTER.

RAY:   Ooo Sam, he’s coming over here! I’m scared.

SAM:  I aint’ leading anything what I don’t understand.

SFX:    GG F’STEPS STOP

GG:     Come, I choose you to lead your people out of bondage. You will liberate

their ills. You, will speak for all the downtrodden in Charmingdon.

LOCO: Whose ‘he got there? I can’t see!

RAY:   He’s chosen … oh no!

LOCO: Ray, who, who’s he chosen?

RAY:   Looks like it’s Englebert. Lawd, what a choice!

SAM:  No, never! Englebert?

ENG:   (SQUEAKS) Me!

GG:     Yes you. Stand up.

SFX CHAIR SCRAPPING ON FLOOR.

GG:     Come up on stage with me now to address your people.

ENG: Well, aw right, if yer want me to. I’ve always done as I’m told.

SFX:    F’STEPS AS THEY WALK UP ON STAGE. LOUD TITTERS FROM CROWD,

SUPPRESSED GIGGLES.

MUTTERS: Never…

MUTTERS: Well really.

MUTTERS: Him!

GG:     I give you your leader! Greet your Comrade in Charge.

SXF:    LOUD LAUGHTER, WOLF WHISTLES AND CHEERS BRING UP, HOLD

GG:     (UNDER TO ENGLEBERT) What’s your name?

ENG:   Englebert Sir.

GG:     (SHOUTING) Quiet, quiet everyone!

SFX:    FADE DOWN CROWD

GG:     Englebert no! Stop bowing! You do not make obeisance to me, we are all

brothers together, one and the same. We share everything, we are all equal.

ENG:   Ooh, can I have your nice coat then? It’s such a pretty shade of green and

looks so warm, I’m, sure it would fit me, if I tucked it up, you are much taller

than me.

GG:     (WHISPERS) No, you bloody well can’t … and get your filthy paws off it,

you’re making it all dirty.

SFX:    LOUD SLAP, RAISE THEN LOWER MURMURS FROM AUDIENCE

GG:     (HISSES TO ENGLBERT UNDER) …

You can bloody well earn it like I had to. (LOUDLY TO AUDIENCE)

Now, is the time for your chosen brother to address you. I give you Comrade

Englebert.

SFX:    LOUD CHEERING, STAMPING FEET, WOLFWHISTLES ETC

ENG:   (UNDER ON MIKE) I don’t know where they all live.

GG:     (LOUD ANGRY WHISPER) What’s that got to do with it?

ENG:   Well, it wouldn’t matter anyway, because I can’t write addresses, I can’t

even write me own name.

GG:     No! You just need to talk to them.

ENG:   Thas’ all right then I can talk, nothing wrong with my tongue. (ON MIKE) LOUDLY ADDRESSING AUDIENCE) Hello.

AUDIENCE:   Hello Englebert.

SFX:    CHAIR SCRAPES ON FLOOR.

GG:     (HISSES UNDER) What are you sitting down for? Stand up you stupid man.

You must say more than that. These are your new faithful revolutionaries,

you must inspire them.

ENG:   Like what do I say?

GG:     Uh, tell them what you do.

ENG:   (PROUDLY) I (BEAT) am very proud to be the third-under-trainee front

doorstep polisher at the palace.

GG:     (HORRIFIED) You’re what!

ENG:   (ONE WORD AT A TIME AS IF EXPLAINING TO A STUPID CHILD) I polish the

front doorsteps of course.

GG:     (CLEARS THROAT – BOOMS) Ah. And how long, Englebert have you been

under trainee front uh, step polisher?

ENG:   (BEAT) Oh, I dunno as long as I can remember. All my life I ‘spose.

GG:     (ADDRESSES CROWD) This poor man is typical of the injustice of this class

system. He has never been given the opportunity to advance his position,

to rise to … er, second-under-trainee front step polisher, to first polisher.

Will he ever have the chance of polishing the steps all by himself, maybe to

rise to the heights of being in charge of the very front door! (FADE AND

HOLD UNDER RAMBLING RHETORIC) Advancement in later years …

opportunity for fulfilment … a new future …

RAY:   (ON MIKE) He better not get promoted, he can’t even do the job what he’s

got.

FRED: (ON MIKE) That’s true, they always gives him the bits round the side as won’t

show. If it was not for our beloved King Charming, he wouldn’t have a job

at all.

SAM: (ON MIKE) This ‘ere Green Giant is loopy I reckon.

LOCO: (ON MIKE) Can’t make head nor tail of a word of it.

SFX:    RESTLESS CROWD, MUMBLING. FADE

GG:     (ON MIKE) Now Englebert, tell your people for what they will be striving.

ENG:   I don’t know, you use all them long words as what I can’t understand …

(TAILS OFF)

As you can see, I’ve added in the extra peasant characters so they can tell us what is going on through dialogue. In radio you only have sound to work with, so it is either voices or special effects. Ha, I found I was a bit rusty, it’s a while since I’ve written a radio script. But I would welcome your comments. Would this work for you if you were listening? Apologies for the formatting which didn’t hold properly on the way into WordPress.

I have not transposed the whole passage but left it there either for you to try it out for yourself, or as a fun read.    myBook.to/UeAfter

 

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Next time, I’ll use the format for a video script, which will be different again.

Till then, take care.

I JUST DON’T WANT IT!

Since this is not the first Monday of the month I am a week late for my usual post when I have a little rant or I talk about books and marketing. (You are probably surprised I think about writing about books and marketing – yes?)

Sadly, I now know that I will never be the first person to visit Las Vegas and not put a single coin in a betting machine. It’s been done, but my point here is that I never waste money, and no one on this planet will persuade me to pay for something that I don’t need and don’t want.

pexels-photo-444964.jpeg

I’ve always had to be careful of the pennies, and I’m tough and unmoved by sellers of any kind. Those who have read my autobiographies will tell you I am super-tough.

set 1 of books

That said, I am wary of all the training and ‘tip orientated’ (not the rubbish kind) emails that drop into my inbox, promising me #1 in all genres within 10 minutes if I only cough up a couple of hundred (You can afford it! We offer monthly payments!).

I understand that some gurus, probably in the US have spent weeks, months, years, decades working out the very, best, persuasive selling techniques. Very few of them work with me. Why?

Firstly, in their excitement and enthusiasm they often treat me like an idiot. OK, so I am an idiot but I keep that a huge secret.

Secondly, I like to know up front exactly what this is going to cost, then tell me the benefits.

Do they? Not a chance. I am treated to a long winded (especially if you add in the ums and ahs) story about how they were broke and in debt before they had this amazing, brilliant, failsafe epiphany and now they’ve just bought a second Maserati for their 3 year old.

By now I’m shuffling my feet. Tell me the cost then tell me the main features of the product/wisdom/information.

Do they?

Not a chance. They waffle on and on and on, often two at a time if they are podcasting and they still don’t get to the point.

night-television-tv-theme-machines.jpg

I’ve watched videos on line for all kinds of products and it’s always the same. A lot of them last a full hour by which time I’m screaming up the walls and swinging off the curtains in frustration.

DH and I got caught once, you know those guys in the street offering a free bottle of bubbly to attend the presentation? Seven times I interrupted the hyperventilating salesman to try and speed him up.

“How much are the units?”

“I’m coming to that just now.”

Several more minutes pass as he waxes lyrical.

“Can’t we just jump to the price right now?” He ignores me and babbles on.

“Look, please.” (This is me being patient and polite). “If it’s above a certain figure there is no way we have the spare cash, and so, we are not able to buy one however nice it is.”

“I tell you in a minute.” He rabbits some more. He is not deviating one milimetre from his prepared script.

“But if you jump straight there it will save our time and your time when you could be talking to a prospective customer who does have the spare cash.”

“If you’ll just listen to …”

By this time, I’m ready to jump over the desk and strangle him and it’s building up my resentment to buy big time. I’m getting to the stage where if he offers me a whole condo for $5 I shall tell him it’s too expensive.

pexels-photo-164516.jpeg

And then there are the book blurbs – and we all know what we should put in those.

“As Carin is stalked by an unknown …. Can Matthew save her in time?”

“She yearns for love but could this be the one saviour she has been waiting for?”

“Can they discover the murderer before he throws them on the bar-b-que and eats them with a crunchy green salad like he’s done with his other victims?”

I just want to scream “Of course he/she/they will or no one would be left to tell us about it!”

OK, so I am really strange, it’s true that modern selling techniques just don’t hack it for me. That said I’ll simply put my Amazon author page address and you can visit it or not as you please.

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

Tell me I’m not alone! Does the above get right up your nose as well? (Now you weren’t expecting a phrase (or is it a clause with a verb in it?)  of such literary genius from me were you?)

Till next week when I will be back with the travels and history and the tale of the lap dancing club – take care.

 

OPERA AND OPPORTUNITY

TRAVEL

Hidden along the Stephansplatz in the centre of Vienna are several little arcades, and I wanted to explore them all.

IMG_0838

and then, much to my surprise there was this huge screen outside the Opera House showing an operatic performance. We stood and watched for ages until …

DH spied a Hop on Hop off bus and there was no stopping him – there is no shortage of them in Vienna which is geared up for tourists. We took the complete circuit of the Red route to get our bearings and got off a stop early to visit the Theseus Temple. It’s a rather strange place, even if you ignore the statue of the naked man outside, but what this uh, sculpture represents I have no idea.

By this time we had walked 8.2 kilometres, so time to find food – schnitzels of course and make for bed.

HISTORY

King George and his queen were very brave and stayed in London during the war instead of running away.  They did send the princesses to stay in their holiday home in the countryside.

 

buckingham palace
Buckingham Palace
WINDSOR CASTLE 2
Windsor castle, holiday home

 

 

 

 

 

ADD BREAK

While my first memoir Walking over Eggshells focused on my relationship with my Narcissistic mother (thank you, Donald Trump, for explaining this condition to the whole world) and the effect it had on my life, my other two memoirs focus on my career in writing for radio and television. The first is called Truth, Lies and Propaganda – and I’m a master in propaganda, in fact, I deserve a Ph.D.in the subject.

Truth, Lies and Propaganda

I have decided that tomorrow I am going to kill Caroline. I’d like to squash her flat under a road roller, or push her off the top of the Empire State Building, but I’m not sure how I could get her there, and I suspect Health and Safety have got it securely enclosed by now. I can’t shoot her as I’ve no idea where I’d get a gun, and a knife means getting up close and personal and I don’t want her blood all over me. I could poison her, but then I don’t know very much about poisons, and I really should dispose of her in a more interesting way. I’ve grown to hate her, and I want her death to be lingering and painful.

For months she has caused me unmentionable pain and heartache. I’ve sat up all night worrying about her, and if I give up and go to bed, her very presence has caused me to toss and turn until the early hours. I have to put an end to this. She’s got to go. So, how am I going to dispose of her?

 A combine harvester, that’s the answer!

I will mash her to pieces in a peaceful and idyllic cornfield, while the birds sing and the soft wings of the butterflies barely disturb the air. Her screams will resonate as she is dismembered into bite-sized chunks between the rotating blades and her blood spurts metres into the air turning the ripened, golden maize a brilliant red.

Yes, that’s what I’ll do tomorrow.

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a writer. In those early days, it seemed such a glamorous occupation, I so admired those people who could transport others into a land of fantasy, take them back in time to another world or forward into the future on another planet. What was more, you, the writer, were in control! You could give your characters a headache, or better still, break their legs or pop them into a wheelchair, and you could kill them off in so many different and exciting ways.

How about leaving them to be gnawed to death by rats, or drowning them in a vat of vintage wine, or poisoning them with their own birthday cake?

Of course, you can be nice to your characters as well. You can present her with a loving, rich, faithful and successful husband and four adorable children just like those in ‘Little House on the Prairie’, and make her stunningly beautiful at the same time. Now she’s beginning to sound nauseating, and you hate her already don’t you?

It’s time to make things go wrong. Enter the nymphomaniac, blonde secretary with the very, very, short skirt barely covering her knickers, legs that start at her armpits, big boobs and a predatory nature. Now, that’s more exciting isn’t it?

TLP HIGHER RES

As a child, I had very little control over my life so writing was extra important to me. It was the only way I could escape from the misery of everyday life. I would sit in my room and scribble silly little stories in an exercise book and then run and show them to my mother. She was not kind and sneered at my earliest attempts to influence the world of books – although my grandfather, a reluctant writer himself, was more encouraging.

A huge influence on me in those days was Jo in ‘Little Women’. I can’t remember how many times I read Louisa May Alcott’s story. Jo began writing when she was young, and I cheered for her when she sold a story and bought a carpet for the house, and then another story which helped keep the family comfortable in difficult times while their father was away fighting in some war or other. (At least that is what we were told. He wouldn’t have run off with another woman, would he? Or been serving time?) Jo was the heroine of the family for me, and I dreamed of making a fortune by writing such wonderful books that everyone wanted to read them.

Of course, life isn’t like that, and the usual questions came up as I reached the last of my school years.

“Do you want to be a secretary, a nurse, or a teacher?”

Frankly, I didn’t want to be any of them. My vision of secretarial work was being a lackey to some overbearing, loud-mouthed man in some dingy office. I would be sent to collect his dry cleaning, sharpen his pencils and spend hours thumping away at a typewriter making thousands of mistakes. I would never make a good secretary. Even today, I’m ashamed to say, I can’t touch type, my eyes are constantly glued to the keys, and even at my advanced age I still make thousands of mistakes.

Nursing was a definite no-no. I fainted at the sight of blood, not a prerequisite for a medical career, you’d agree. Even in primary school, they sent for my mother to come and take me home after I had fainted in class. The doctor was called, and I was put to bed for the rest of the day. And what had been the cause of all this? It was the human nervous system. The teacher had told us to open our biology books at page such and such and there, in bright, luridly coloured pictures, we could see what happens when you prick your finger. They showed the path taken by messages as they sped to the brain along the nerve highways and back again, armed with the new information that ‘Ow! That hurt!’

I even feel a bit queasy now just writing about it.

I collapsed several more times in high school, each time they decided to rip open a heart, an eyeball or some hapless animal’s lung. But the results were less dramatic and I was no longer in the spotlight for my disgraceful behaviour. The teacher simply instructed two of the biggest lads to grab me under the armpits, drag me through the door, and prop me up against the outside wall of the biology lab.

So that left teaching. I agreed to become a teacher as it seemed the least daunting career that could possibly be suitable. Not that I had any experience of children, they were about as foreign to me as the pygmies in the Congo. However, I convinced myself that teachers had nice long holidays, and they finished work early at three o’clock every afternoon.

I tried one more time, but my last few whines about wanting to be a writer were firmly ignored, and that was that. Dickens, the Brontë sisters, and Shakespeare would never have to turn in their graves worrying that I would pose any threat to their sales revenues.

As the obedient daughter, I would attempt to pour information into the heads of unwilling and recalcitrant children and earn a proper and respectable living.

Till next week, take care.

CHURCHES AND CINDERELLA

TRAVEL

Now I’ve had to scramble looking for where I left off before Christmas and the Best Reads posts, and yes, DH and I were in Vienna. In my usual boring way, I had sussed out what there was to see and do, making copious notes before we left. We didn’t hang around but walked into the centre of town to the opera house.

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We meandered up the main central pedestrian way – the Stephansplatz and visited St Stephen’s Cathedral, an imposing Gothic edifice which was begun around 1350 or so, so it’s quite modern as you can see!

I was eagerly eying the shops but Dh managed just in time to whisk me into St Peter’s Catholic Church with its impressive dome.

In the middle of the Stephansplatz is this amazing statue. It was commissioned by the Habsburg Emperor Leopold I at the end of the last great plague to hit the city in 1679. It’s probably the most intricate column I have ever seen.

HISTORY

Queen_Elizabeth_the_Queen_Mother_portrait

I recently read a book about Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, written by an insider who painted her as less than loveable, although she won the hearts of the British people.

Without her, George would have struggled as king, a role he certainly never wanted. To begin with, she insisted he have elocution lessons so he would sound posh without stuttering and so, of course, she chose an Australian to tutor him. Makes perfect sense. She was said to be very controlling and very bossy.

ADD BREAK

This week the opening pages of my comedy Unhappily ever After. You didn’t really think that Prince (now King) Charming and Cinderella would live happily ever after did you? Come on, she was from the wrong side of the tracks, and if truth be told, he was a bit of a wimp. The other famous Fairyland characters, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty get a similar treatment. Throw into the mix the Green Giant sent by the ‘Red Party’ to rouse the simple, stupid peasants into revolting against their royal masters and the stage is set for disaster.

(I should mention this book comes with the following warning which is inside the front cover).

This book is not suitable for children, nor is it recommended for adults who are of a gentle, sensitive or nervous disposition. The opinions as stated by the characters are neither politically correct, nor in fact even kind or considerate. The author takes no responsibility for their appalling actions. It should be remembered that it refers to a time before the new laws about correct speech were promulgated. No offence is intended to any race, gender, creed or belief of any persuasion, and as such this narrative should be treated as a work of fiction.

The death of Charming’s parents – they simply adored chariot racing and misjudged that final bend – brought untold wealth to the young prince and power beyond belief. In his hands was the authority to dispose of any or all of his subjects as he saw fit. He was a total autocrat in a land that did not expect to be ruled in any other way. Yet Charming remained his own sweet self. The result was a happy and contented kingdom where each day was as delightful as the one before and would be forever more. Nothing would happen to disturb Charming’s idyllic life or his upright, well‑bred existence – not even his wife.

Of all marriages theirs must have been the most mismatched in the history of time. Everything that Charming was, Cinderella was not. She’d had a hard upbringing, in one of the poorest areas of Charmingdon and she’d never shaken her common accent. She’d been born a peasant and she would die a peasant. Not all the royal trimmings in the world would ever change that. Not that Cinders had ever been seen to make an effort. Since becoming a royal she’d had all the advantages of dancing classes, elocution lessons, instruction in etiquette, even horse riding lessons, but having made it to the top without such accomplishments, Cinderella really didn’t see why she should bother now.

Time had not been kind to the Queen’s figure either. She had a particular fondness for chocolates, toasted marshmallows, cream cakes, doughnuts, waffles, sugar buns – oh let’s be honest – Cinderella had a passion for anything edible. She spent the greater part of her day consuming everything in sight, and as her figure grew outwards, her appetite grew in tandem. She was of average height, with dull, mousy hair, and the fair complexion and freckles to match. Her large bulk made it impossible for her to ever look smart despite heroic efforts on the part of her many dressmakers. As soon as she began to move, her flesh wobbled in every direction, and at the extremity of a pair of very stout legs were the most amazing feet you’ve ever seen. Even she had to admit they were not exactly the most beautiful feet, but, she had a lot to thank them for. She was the only female in the whole land whose foot fitted that slipper lost at the Ball, and that made them the famous feet that had become her trademark. They were always bare. She liked, she said, to wiggle her toes at all times.

Despite all this Charming adored her. In his eyes she could do no wrong. He did not recognize her common behaviour, her faults, her gross appearance, her appalling manners. To him she was perfection incarnate. True, she had a bit of a temper, but everyone has their little foibles and if she possessed an interesting way of expressing her feelings, well, that was part of her enchanting personality.

Cinderella was not so inclined to adore her spouse. The thought of being the most important queen in the land had thrilled and excited her two centuries ago; to get ‘one up’ on those snotty sisters of hers was a dream come true. But it all turned out to be very boring. She began to despise her adoring husband. He irritated her with his goodness, yet it was his very goodness that made it so difficult to be really nasty to him. He failed to understand her snide remarks, her sexual innuendoes, her criticisms. She sat for hours wondering how to free herself from this marriage she had come to loathe. Perhaps she should come straight out and tell him in a language even a four year old would understand. Yes, she’d procrastinated long enough. She’d tell him today, this morning, at breakfast.

Till next week, take care.

IT’S 2018!! SO …?

Firstly, I want to wish you all a fantastic 2018 with everything you would wish for – you can fill aspirations and resolutions in here ………… and that all those things you hope for yourself, your friends and your family in the coming 12 months will come true.

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PIC BY SEMNOZ

If you think about it, it’s all a bit of a daft hype isn’t it? The date changes and we all rush around starving ourselves to death, taking a deep breath and checking out the bank balance, or tapping away feverishly on the keyboard to complete that first/next book.

And all this because the date has changed and it’s not as if every culture even had the same timing either.

Standard_World_Time_Zones

Did you know over 200 years ago they were not afraid to mess with the British calendar?

The year 1752 began on January 1 (no great surprise there) but to align it to the one used on the continent they dropped the Julian calendar and adopted the Gregorian calendar which meant losing 11 days in the September – so Wednesday 2 September was followed by Thursday 14 September that year which came in at only 355 days.

Would I have been cross if my birthday fell in one of those 11 days – no birthday party and no presents – though I guess I could take a year off my age, because if the date of the day I was born on didn’t happen that year …?

Just for interest (I came across all this delightful information as I was changing over paper diaries) in the era for:

Byzantine the year begins on September 14 ushering in 6527

The Roman era will start on January 14 for the year 2771

While the Nabonasser year (please don’t ask) 2767 will commence on April 19th

The Japanese share January 1st with most of us, but they have already reached year 2678.

Finally, the Islamic New Year of 1440 will dawn on September 12th.

So, do not panic if you’ve broken or failed to achieve your New Year Resolutions by the middle of January 2018, you now have lots more dates to start all over again.

calendar

As usual, being so serious and level-headed I’m setting sensible, realistic goals for 2018.

Writing:- at least 5 words a day

House cleaning:- at least twice during 2018

Marketing:- 5 mins a day

Checking sales stats:- down to 549 times a day

Reading:- only one book a week

Leaving pc to do other things:- 20 minutes a day (that will include dressing, showering, eating, talking to DH etc, etc)

Talking: communicate with one other real, live human being who neither reads nor writes, once a month (that will be a tough one).

So, it’s none of this trekking off to the gym, walking up mountains, trying to touch my toes nonsense for me.

I’m already quite relaxed about my resolutions for 2018, and if I get a film contract, or a TV series or complete another book (Amie 5) it will be a bonus and I can reward myself with more cherry liquor chocolates.

That reminds me, I must check out the symptoms for chocolate poisoning. I’m knee deep in them here, not that I’m complaining – sheer bliss as the coffee jar is full as well.

WRS PRINT COPY

 

Final word, the paperback copies for The very Worst Riding School in the World have arrived.

That is part 1 and 2 – limited edition and never to be on open sale, but you might win one in a competition I’m having soon for my newsletter subscribers only. So if you would like to sign up, I’d love to have you.

http://eepurl.com/c-GqWr

That’s DH being camera shy again.

Till next time, take care.