MEALS AND MARIE BISCUITS

Now why did I ever think it was clever to alliterate all these headings, can you imagine how long it takes me to think them up? That’s right about 10 seconds.

THE TRAVEL STORY

Now I loved travelling around the Far East I really did, but, there comes a time when you just long for a good roast, or maybe an Italian and you feel if you ever look at another noodle you’ll slit your wrists. So, you can imagine our delight when we found this place in Penang, left over no doubt from the days of the British Empire.

We would never have found it but for a kind friend who has a holiday apartment on the island and was worried we were not having a good time.

We spent much of that in the shopping mall, just as good as many I’ve been in, but before we flew out the next day we decided to dine in the hotel.

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At first we thought the restaurant was closed, but as we peered in through the door, a kitchen person appeared and kindly called the staff in, laid the one table for us and we ate in total splendour, in total isolation watched by a fascinated and assorted crowd of hotel employees. I tried to reassure myself it was only because we were using knives and forks as honestly I think DH and I eat the same as everyone else. However, it was time to leave the next morning for Singapore.

HISTORY – THE NEW VERSION

Prince Alfred, Bertie’s younger brother announced his intention to marry the Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, the daughter of the Tzar of Russia. Bertie thought this a great idea as family members of his wife Alix had also married Russian royalty. Of course Queen Vic wasn’t keen but this time she didn’t get her own way

The wedding took place at the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, and to commemorate the occasion a small English bakery made the Marie biscuit with the Duchess’ name printed on the top.

But there was trouble when they got back to London, for the pompous Marie insisted on taking precedence over Alix, since her father the Tsar considered the Danish royal family quite inferior. Really, you’d think being royal was enough without being snobbish about the hierarchy of such posh families.

PROMO TIME

Of course the reason I write a weekly blog is not so you’ll buy my books (uncross fingers from behind back).

However if you like erotica, fairies, dragons and the wild west you won’t find any books written by me.

If you do like action adventure, biographies and memoirs and comedy you just might!

And this is the link to my author page on Amazon as I like to be helpful

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

My memoirs are wide and available on other channels.

Till next week take care.

DRAGONS AND DISASTER

THE TRAVEL STORY

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

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

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

HISTORY NONSENSE

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

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

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

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

 

THE EMBARRASSING PROMO BIT

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

Till next week, take care.

NEW YEAR – NEW KING

We settled in to our hotel in Penang but the restaurant, well advertised on the net didn’t appear to be open, so we sauntered off and found yet another shopping mall! All lit up for Chinese New Year. Once again I opted for Italian – my favourite food – although they had just about everything you could wish for.

Next day we walked around to look at the colonial buildings.

We took another bus ride, the best way to see what there was to see.

Due to the holidays everywhere was crowded with queues for the temples. We had no idea what was going to happen here. We went down to the fishing village area, but I didn’t take many pictures.

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HISTORY RUBBISH

Bertie was involved in another scandal over cheating at cards (they worried about things like that in those days). His big enemy Emperor Willhelm of German his nephew spread the gossip all around Europe. WILHELM ADULT

That is the Kaiser on the left.

When Bertie became King, he was called Edward VII. His one claim to fame was the successful operation for his appendicitis which previously had been considered fatal.  He was generally regarded as a good king, one of the most popular monarchs since the 1660’s.

THE NATURAL BREAK (ADVERTISING)

 

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I’ve not mentioned my first memoir Walking over Eggshells, for a while.  It describes living in the shadow of a parent with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder – a word that is being used a lot in the news lately, and may help to raise awareness. Read this book and learn what signs to look out for – I only discovered the problem after my mother died. WoE can also be described as a travel memoir, a disaster memoir and an inspiration.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8HSNDW

Till next week, take care. 🙂

PENANG AND PIED A TERRES

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

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

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

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

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

The bridge linking Penang Island with the mainland was spectacular.

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

But it was clean and comfortable.

FAKE HISTORY LESSON

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

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

MY BOOKS

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

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

Till next week, take care.

MARKETS AND MAYHEM

We had a whole day to spend in Kuala Lumpur and decided just to wander around. Quite a clean town with scruffy areas, but there was lots of interesting architecture.

We found this amazing market, part of it indoor and part outdoor. There was no tat at all. DH is hiding in there somewhere – you know how camera shy he is! To my delight I found a knock off Rado watch which was exactly the design I wanted. And yes, before you ask, it’s still working 16 months later! I was quite proud of my bargaining skills, learned in the Indian quarter in Durban, and despite watching the stall holder wrestle a huge flight case festooned with padlocks, out from a back store, containing silk lined boxes suitably labelled I didn’t believe for a moment the contents were real.

I am strong willed when it comes to buying souvenirs, and my only other purchase was a fridge magnet. I do hope you’re impressed.

Then it was the hop on hop off bus as we toured every route and stopped off at the bird park.

So had everyone else in the city and the place was packed. It took forever to buy rolls for lunch and just as DH placed these on the table, some feathered things dived out of the sky and swiped the lot. I’ve never been that crazy about birds and now I like them even less.

These two pictures should have given us a hint that we’d forgotten something – I’ll tell you next week.

HISTORY STUFF

Even while his mum was still alive Bertie was, to put it mildly, very naughty. He ran up huge gambling debts, (he adored buying tickets for the Lotto) consorted with actresses and was involved in several scandals.

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DISRAELI

Then he went down with typhoid (the same illness which had killed his father Albert), even his mama rushed to his bedside and the British public suddenly forgave him all his bad behaviour and cheered when he recovered. The politician Disraeli commented  “To have come closer to death and lived was an even greater achievement than to have died.

ADVERTISING SLOT

Just to let you know that Amie African Adventure book one in the series is still at $/£0.99   just so you can get to meet her for almost nothing!

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http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LWFIO5K

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LWFIO5K

Till next week, take care.

LOFTY VIEWS AND LOVERS

Well last time I left us half way up the twin towers, and after waltzing along the connecting bridge it was time to go higher. I noticed the nice (I love using ‘nice’ in my blogs as of course it’s a no no in books we all know that!) lady in the second bank of lifts wasn’t smiling. I don’t blame her going up and down all day. I wondered if you started working in the bottom set and then moved on up to working the top bank. I shall never know. The pictures speak for themselves, they need no words from me.

That first picture shows the information centre, and there was so much to read I almost forgot to look out of the windows.

Next it was on to Penang – but there was a big problem – something we hadn’t planned for. (This is known as a cliff hanger).

THE HISTORY RUBBISH.

JOHN BROWN

Well that got Bertie (#1 son) married off at last, to Alexandra from Denmark but he was quite naughty (had affairs and such). His mother – Queen Victoria – despaired of him, but honestly she couldn’t talk as she holed up with a Scottish gamekeeper who went by the unusual name of John Brown. She particularly liked his kilts.

But then John Brown upped and died so she took up with an Indian servant and elevated him while she learned Hindi. She called him the Munshi which roughly translated means Munchi.  We are of course supposed to believe she remained quite pure and corresponded mostly on Facebook and Twitter from one end of the palace to the other.

I think we better move on to Bertie next week, I’m quite fed up with the woman but, until very recently, she was the longest reigning monarch, she sat on that throne for 63 years. That’s quite some feat and goes to show how well they made furniture in those days, no IKEA rubbish for her.

THE HARD SELLL BIT

This is the section where I mention I write books and show you a picture of them, and very casually drop the links to my Amazon author page where you can see them all and go and buy them all.

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

Till next time take care.  🙂

 

TOWERS AND TANTRUMS

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

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

We stopped off on the bridge.

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HISTORY BIT

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

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

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

http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

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

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

Till next week, take care.

RIVERS AND RAIN

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

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

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

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

ADVERT BIT

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

HISTORY BIT

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

BERTIE YOUTH

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

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Albert not looking well.

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

Till next week. – to be continued.

ALMOST THE END OF BIG TRIP GUIDED TOUR – ON AND ON WITH VICTORIA

There was one more temple complex to visit, Wat Yai Chai Mongkol (don’t worry I can’t pronounce these names properly either). This was acres and acres of ruins stretching almost as far as the eye can see.

THE PROMO BIT (only because I’m told ‘it’s the right thing to do’)

Just in case you’ve not come across my Amie series – she’s the young housewife I take out of England and dump in Africa and then civil war breaks out. She has a terrible time and then the saga continues in books 2 & 3. I am currently writing book 4, it’s a wonder she’s survived this long. 🙂  This is the link for book 1. http://amzn.to/2ieb5zo

And to be extra helpful, this is what they look like. Thanks to Daz Smith for the covers and to Gabi Plumm for making them readable 🙂

THE HISTORY RUBBISH

You must have heard by now that Victoria was soppy over Albert, so soppy that she wanted to name all their children either Albert or Albertina until it was pointed out to her that they would get all their banks accounts and post and credit cards muddled up if they all had the same name.

A good example was the day Victoria turned 25, (she had already been on the throne for 7 years) and she received a portrait of himself from Albert with a group of angels in the background, and she was quite thrilled. (The day DH gives me something like that he’s out the door!)

TRY TO IMAGINE THE NAUSEOUS PICTURE HERE

Victoria was jealous of any time Albert spent with the children. Albert, or Bertie the eldest boy, wasn’t making much progress and the royal couple noticed with horror that he was everything his father was not, – charming, easy with the opposite sex and eloquent with a gay, (no, not that sort of gay) sunny nature. As they saw it, he was well on the road to ruin.

BERTIE SAILOR OUTFIT

 

But his greatest sin was one his mother could never forgive him for – next week, or maybe the week after if I change my mind.

IT’S MY EXPLANATION (AND I’M STICKING TO IT)

As one or two of you might know I used to work in the media, and I’ll never forget the awful day when the editor turned to me and asked what the next shot was. Now very few programmes are shot in order, you might even capture the final shot first. I looked down at the script and told him it was the guys climbing the pylon.

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“And the in and out points?” His fingers were poised over the controls. I checked the shot list, and then checked it again and again and again, panic rising, heart beat racing, I could even feel my blood pressure shooting skywards. But no, the shot wasn’t there. We had forgotten to film anyone even near the pylon, much less climbing it.

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I still shudder when I remember that moment, and from that day I meticulously made sure that every scene we ever needed was safely in the can.  Over the years I became more and more efficient and we were able to work faster and faster.  –  Patience, I’m coming to the point just now!

Then of course I retired (joke) and I began the book writing thing. My first book languished away on Amazon, picking up less than 2 dozen sales in the first year, until I discovered marketing, or rather the need to market. (Sad to remember I thought that people just ‘found’ books on Amazon and shot you to the heights of the best sellers). I ventured onto Facebook and a kind writer put up my web page and then I dipped my toe in the blog world.

So, blogs were a good way to chat to people. They give you more freedom than a short post on FB and trying to get much of a message out there about anything in less than 140 characters on Twitter was going to need a lot of practice.

So what could I write on my blog? I had no advice for anyone, I had used up most of my experiences in two more memoirs so I began to expand on my silly history of kings and queens of England based on a humorous lecture I’d given locally – entitled All the monarchs in 59 minutes and 3 seconds. It had taken me some time to write and it seemed daft not to use it as it would never see the light of day again.

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Then came the Big Trip and I really wanted to share this with the world, I was just blown away by the sights and sounds of the Far East. But, there was a problem, I was still fumbling my way through history, I’d only got as far as the Tudors. OK, I thought, I’ll combine them and do half of each.

I was still thinking how clever I was until a couple of writer friends pointed out at lunch yesterday that my blog is totally confusing. “You’re jumping around all over the place” they told me kindly. Readers don’t know what to expect!

Now, I’m getting to the point. It’s all in the planning. If only I could have my time over again for the last few years. For example, I would have realized that I needed to co-ordinate the covers on my Amie series – yes all series have matching covers I know that now – and it’s taking time and money to replace them all.

Amie covers right now – see not matching!

Even the cover of my first book was really amateurism, even though I was so proud of it at the time – and that’s now been changed 3 times.

I’ve learned that you need to build a platform of friends months before you even write Chapter One on the screen, and if you are even thinking of writing a book, practice Twitter, a basic graphics programme, familiarize yourself with analytics and how to format for the sales channels. It’s also helpful to find out how to convert your documents from one format to another, pdf, epub, mobi etc  and how to decide which blog host to choose and set up your page. You also need to suss out the promo sites and which ones give value for money and then there are the key words and the rankings and the … the list is endless. Dozens of people have written books about how to do all this, or whole books on only one topic of all the knowledge which will help you on your way to the top of the charts.

Of course I didn’t even know you had to plan, and let’s face it, often we are not sure what works if anything and to what extent.

The postscript to this is I’m afraid you will have to live with my lack of planning and suffer both the Big Trip and, currently, Queen Victoria a little longer. They will be back next week. We’re coming to the end of both topics and then I’ll be stuck!!

Now I’m sure you’ve noticed that I rarely push my books on here but I would like to mention my new monthly newsletter which will have news about my books and those of other people. Plus a downloadable back story to the Amie series, plus information about the pending court case (that is not serious). I hope I can find the sign up form here again, but if not, please leave a comment and I will happily add your name. Happy to cross promote with other authors, but to start with I am focusing on new releases and books with an African connection.

Oh, one final thing – my Goodreads giveaway is ending in 2 days – for 2 signed paperback copies posted worldwide. Here is the link. https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/217970-amie-an-african-adventure

Till next week.