MEET JILL DOBY

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.

birthday 59

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.

book cover (1)

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.

resized cover kids, camels, cairo

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!

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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.

 

TOURISTS AND TITLES

CARCASSONE CASTLE

There is quite a town now around the castle and the basilica at Carcassone. Even though it was raining when we were there the place is packed with tourists.  The narrow streets are crammed full of eateries, souvenir shops, more souvenir shops and a few more souvenir shops. DH is always a little tetchy when there are swarms of people around but he does understand they were not going to clear the place for us.

There are also a couple of hotels in the citadel. I couldn’t find out – probably due to my appalling French – if any of these buildings had people left in them when they were all ordered to go and live across the river. Did they all flock back again when they heard the tourists were coming?

The only museum worth seeing according to the Trip Advisor reviews was the school. Now I’d hate you to think I am quite this old, but I did recognize some of the things I saw on display. And it was fun to practice writing with a nibbed pen and real blue ink in a pottery inkwell set into the desk. DH chickened out of that one.

HISTORY STUFF

Who knows if Edward thought through his decision to abdicate? His reign lasted 326 days one of the shortest ever (if you don’t count Lady Jane Grey who only managed 9 days). He couldn’t marry straight away as Wallace still had to finish getting divorced from husband #2.

300px-Wallis_and_Edward wedding

Edward was downgraded to a Duke and then took his new wife off to visit Germany (I showed a pic of this a couple of weeks ago). This was not a popular thing to do at that particular time, and from being wildly celebrated when he was younger, life didn’t seem like much fun. He also had to take a huge cut in salary of course. They don’t look wildly happy, do they?

I hope you don’t feel sorry for him, remember what he said when his younger brother died? Here is another quote:  from 1920 when he visited Australia about the indigenous Australians: “They are the most revolting form of living creatures I’ve ever seen!! They are the lowest known form of human beings & are the nearest thing to monkeys.”

So you can imagine how he felt down at being demoted, and serve him right.

BEGINNING OF Amie book 3 Amie: Future Shock

Behind her veil, the tears streamed down Amie’s face as she watched them lower the coffins into the freshly dug graves. She could remember little about the previous few days and constantly fought an overwhelming panic. Her mind was a jumble of disconnected thoughts, blurred memories and questions. People she didn’t know well had invaded her world to arrange this terrible funeral.

From where she was standing on the far side of the cemetery, partially concealed behind a tall Natal Mahogany tree, she could see Ouma Adede who had once foretold her future. What was she doing here? There were others: Mrs Motswezi from the orphanage where Amie had first found Angelina, half-familiar faces from the Club, couples they’d dined or swam with at the beach. There was a tall, very good looking man with blonde hair she had never seen before, he was probably from the embassy. And Ken, of course, the sun reflecting off his dark skin and black curly hair that showed his African heritage. Even Jennifer and Patrick were there, but Amie was not allowed to talk to them, neither could she approach them. At one point, without thinking, she’d taken a step forward as if to walk over and join them, but a hand had grabbed her arm and held her back.

stolen-future-kindle cover 150dpi

“You can’t go any closer, not now, not ever,” the stern voice displayed no emotion.

At last the preacher finished his eulogy. One by one the mourners filed past the graves on the way to their cars. Ouma Adede looked up and stared straight at Amie, even though she was shrouded in a black muslin veil and hidden behind the tree, and Amie could have sworn she gave a brief nod. But then the elderly witchdoctor walked out of the graveyard without a backward glance. Did their eyes really connect or was it her imagination?

Once all the mourners had departed and the preacher had hurried away, Amie was herded straight to the car, then back to her room and once more the door was firmly locked behind her.  Now Amie could weep in private.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M67NRG4

Also available in Spanish.

Till next week, take care.

 

FRANCE AND FALSEHOODS

TRAVEL SECTION

Well, it’s a whole month already since my birthday, but I promised I would share my adventures with you as it was a bitter/sweet experience.

I’d been waiting in great excitement for the big moment when DH would ask me what I’d like as a present and I had my answer all ready.

blonde wig

 

I wanted proper publicity photos, taken at one of those places which provided the wigs, the warpaint, and the Photoshop experts. I would then burst forth onto Facebook and other places with my long, golden locks flowing over my shoulders looking 25 years old with ‘go to bed’ eyes the size of flying saucers.

It was not to be. Instead, he waved the bed and breakfast booking for 3 nights in Carcassone. This would have been my second choice and I was looking forward to visiting the medieval walled city in south-west France.

We set off in the car very early in the morning and after a few hours realized we were in France. We’d stayed on the motorway (the tolls were horrendous) but it cut the journey by hours. We whipped round the Pyrenees and reached Carcassone in the late afternoon. We had a bit of a battle with the GPS as it insisted on trying to take us down a pedestrian street to the B&B. Later, we discovered that everyone else drove down these walk only streets! We found a teeny, weeny parking place right outside the door, but by the time DH had maneuvered the Tank (that’s what I call his truck thingie) into the minute space there wasn’t room to put tissue paper between the bumpers.

The B&B was lovely, though by the time I’d climbed the 3 flights of tiny, windy stairs I was exhausted.

Now to my mind, a castle is in a town right? Not in Carcassone. The town is one side of the river and the castle is on the other, very strange I thought. The first evening we took a gentle stroll into the town, and had a highly priced coffee.

We also popped into a church and had a look round.

Next morning we planned to go to the castle, but I began to have my doubts – and this is where the bitter part comes in. It was perched somewhere up in the clouds!! DH goes mountain walking in the winter, and it was no problem for him. I, on the other hand, see no necessity to walk farther than from the front door to the car.

I huffed and puffed up this HUGE hill – honestly nearer to a mountain – with not a coffee shop open until finally, we got to the top. Imagine my fury when I saw a car park right next to the castle! I was totally exhausted by the time we made it up there, and it didn’t look as if there was any public transport going back down either! I’d not planned a workout on my special day. I was too tired to take photos of the steepest bit. More next week.

HISTORY TWADDLE

Now George V was probably a little worried about keeping his seat on the throne. Not only had his cousin Tsar Nicholas of Russia been cruelly disposed of, Kaiser Willhelm II of Germany also got the boot. George and his wife May had 5 sons and a daughter and he is quoted as saying “My father was frightened of his mother, I was frightened of my father, and I am damned well going to see to it that my children are frightened of me.” GEORGE v PLUS WIFE

See, I told you he wasn’t a very nice person. His sons were quite terrified of him. Yet, and this is a spin doctor’s dream – on his father’s death he wrote in his diary “I have lost my best friend and the best of fathers … I never had a [cross] word with him in my life. I am heart-broken and overwhelmed with grief but God will help me in my responsibilities and darling May will be my comfort as she has always been. May God give me strength and guidance in the heavy task which has fallen on me.”  Somebody’s telling porkies! (London Cockney rhyming slang – pork pies = lies).

 

THE ADD BREAK

By the time you read this Amie: Cut for Life book 4 will be off the pre-order and you can take a peep in the look inside. Book one is also available in audio.

You can find them all here on my Web page – http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Till next week take care.

 

 

MEET SARAH JANE BUTFIELD

This month is a trip down memory lane for me as Sarah is another long-time Facebook friend. It must be at least 3 years since I read her first book. She not only writes books but runs her own promotion company as well and is a great friend to other indie authors.

sarah jane

Hi Lucinda and thank you for inviting me to your blog.

Over the last few months, aside from pursuing my writing and publishing goals and ambitions, I have been dealing with some happy and sad family events. The happy events include the arrival of a further 3 grandchildren and the sad events include a family bereavement and some challenges involving our precious dogs.

Anyway back to all things ‘writing and publishing’!

I have been nicknamed, ‘The Accidental Author’ for a very good reason, hence why I used it as the title for the first book in the self-help new author series. I started writing my first travel memoir as a cathartic exercise after we lost our home, business and pretty much everything in the Brisbane floods in 2011. I had for many years longed to write a romantic fiction novel, not with any thoughts of having it published, I was purely focused on the writing of it. As a young adult, I was hooked on Mills & Boon love stories and I felt sure that I had a love story to share. At that time, and right up until after I published my debut book Glass Half Full, I had no idea what I had got myself into and how addictive the self-publishing and writing to be self-published would become.

sarah pic 1

Glass Half Full: Our Australian Adventure, my debut travel memoir, and the award-winning sequel Two dogs and a suitcase: Clueless in Charente, are regularly found high in the Amazon rankings in categories including; Parenting, Grief, Christian faith, Step-parenting, Travel and France. My culinary memoir, Our Frugal Summer in Charente was voted as one of the ‘Top 50 self-published books worth reading in 2015’.

Sarah has also written memoirs about her time working as a nurse.

Sarah Jane, the roving Florence Nightingale, has had a successful career as a qualified nurse and used her nursing and later her teaching qualifications to take her across the world. Her new nursing memoir books are part of The Nomadic Nurse Series which started with the multi-award-winning Ooh Matron! Published  in September 2015. Book two, Bedpans to Boardrooms was published in February 2017.

Sarah has also taken a sideways step into publishing for other indie authors. She published the first three books in a series of self-help literature primarily aimed at aspiring and debut self-published authors, but which are frequently referred to and complimented on by established authors who are leaving traditional publishing houses and contracts and entering the indie or hybrid world of publishing.

Book one is permanently free as Sarah Jane wants everyone who has a story to share to be inspired and believe that it is possible to self-publish a book whatever you hope to achieve by doing that, it is called The Accidental Author, which has become Sarah Jane’s nickname on the motivational speaker circuit which she has now taken a foothold in.

She says: From a writing perspective, I am working on book 4 in the self-help author series called, ‘The Accomplished Authorpreneur,’ where I take the authors up a level in their skill set to achieve global exposure and maximise sales.

I am also developing an author coaching service with my Rukia Publishing partner Margaret Daly who is based in New York, to provide a ‘marketing for indies’ coaching course with an optional ‘Done for You’ service including educational packages to enable authors to learn how to successfully promote themselves and their books online and in their local area.

As always I would love to hear from readers, authors and bloggers who are interested in finding out more about my books and my writing, the publishing and marketing services that we offer at Rukia Publishing and from anyone who would like to get involved as a reader, reviewer, blogger, etc.

A little bit about Sarah:

Author Sarah Jane Butfield was born in Ipswich and raised in rural Suffolk, UK. Sarah Jane is a wife, mother, qualified nurse and now an international bestselling author. Married three times with four children, three stepchildren, and four grandchildren, she an experienced modern-day mum to her ‘Brady Bunch’, but she loves every minute of their convoluted lives.

Author website www.sarahjanebutfield.com   Connect with Sarah Jane on social media:  Twitter  @SarahJanewrites   @SJButfield     @GlassHalfFullTM  @TwoDogsMemoir

@FrugalSummer

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahJaneButfield

www.facebook.com/Twodogsandasuitcase

www.facebook.com/OurFrugalSummerinCharente

www.facebook.com/Ooh-Matron-1646665865549530/timeline/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/rukia_publishing/

 Blogs:  Sarah Jane’s Writing Blog http://sarahjanebutfield-glass-half-full.blogspot.co.uk/

Sarah Jane’s Blog at Rukia http://www.rukiapublishing.com/sarah-janes-blog

Subscribe to my newsletter for updates, competitions and sneak previews – http://eepurl.com/0IuML  

Support and networking for authors provided by Sarah Jane:

http://www.rukiapublishing.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RukiaPublishing

https://www.facebook.com/promotingauthors

Does anyone remember the old days when we all had one address? Now, I ‘m showing my age.

Thank you, Sarah, there is lots to explore in the links and book above.

 

 

 

 

 

MEET LINDA KOVIC-SKOW

My guest this week is Linda Kovic-Skow (and I forgot to ask her the origin of her surname it’s very unusual). She’s written books about her time in France which I thoroughly enjoyed.

LINDA KOVIC-SLOW

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Originally from Seattle, I currently winter in Saint Petersburg, Florida and spend summers on a boat in the Pacific Northwest Waters of Washington and British Columbia. I’ve been married for 32 years and I have two daughters. I am an enthusiastic traveler, but I also enjoy hiking, boating, reading, gardening and socializing with friends.

 

Can you tell us about your memoirs?

In the summer of 1979, when I was twenty-one and working as a medical assistant, I wanted a career change. I was thrilled when my resume landed me an interview with World Airways, but they encouraged all of their flight attendants to speak a second language. I was broke at the time, so I decided that French immersion was the best solution, and a job as an au pair would enable me to accomplish my goal in the shortest amount of time. To secure the position, I…er…well…I lied on my application and pretended to speak the language—fully aware my lie would be discovered once I arrived at my destination. Based on my diaries, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, recounts my adventure working as a nanny in France. The sequel, French Illusions: From Tours to Paris, recounts the rest of my adventure in France.LINDA 1

Were these difficult books to write?

I have to admit writing my memoir was a lot more complex than I initially imagined it would be. My diary offered a great outline, but I had to research and fill in, hard-to-find data on the Loire Valley, the Loire River and the town of Tours. Internet searches produced most of the information and travel books supplied the rest. From the beginning, difficult questions emerged, such as how to deal with the French sprinkled throughout the book, and how to format my internal thoughts. Oh, and I really struggled with how much detail to include in my own love scenes. Wiping the sweat off my brow, I wrote and then rewrote these scenes until I could read them without squirming in my seat.

LINDA 2

Do you have a favorite chapter in either of your books? Why?

 Ahhh…my favorite chapters to write came in the last section of my memoir. Throughout most of the story, circumstances required me to internalize my discontent and unhappiness with my employer at the Château de Montclair. Within these last pages, I finally had the opportunity to expose my true feelings in vivid scenes filled with passion and drama. It was a thrilling, rewarding experience.

 

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes. You will find my video at http://lindakovicskow.com. I searched the internet for weeks, listening to French music, trying to choose a song for my book trailer. When I heard “Imposture” by Danielle Pauly, from the album Café de Paris, my heart lurched. I loved the melody. I wasn’t sure what the title meant in French so I looked up the translation. It meant “fraud.” The song was perfect.

Linda Kovic-Skow is an award-winning nonfiction travel author. She is also the creator of AmazingAudioBooks.com, a website where you’ll find highly-rated audiobooks for $15 or less. (This I took from her author page – and, I see she has a blog too. When you read this Linda please send me the link).

Do your books have an underlying message that readers should know about?

Set in the beautiful Loire Valley, my memoir will remind older readers what it was like to be young, adventurous and filled with dreams. Younger readers will relate to the difficult decisions women make as they transition into adulthood. My hope is that both of these groups will come away from my book realizing it’s not too late to create your own memories. Go out and explore the world. Life’s for living, after all.

What is the most rewarding part of being an author?

Once I published my memoir and put it out there to the world, I hoped, more than anything else, that people would enjoy it. Positive reviews, whether voiced or written, put me over the moon with happiness.

My website: http://lindakovicskow.com

Put some time aside one weekend and dive into Linda’s books, you won’t regret it! And thank you Linda.

Till next time, take care.

 

(MER)LION AND LEADERS

Once I’d dragged DH out of the fort, we discovered the island was a mini Disneyland. Spotlessly clean, as you’d expect and I was too busy rubber necking to take many pictures.

The cable car stopped at several levels and you could get out and explore at each one.

The merlion is a mixture of a lion’s head with a fish body, used as a promotional symbol by the tourist board. Singapore was originally a fishing village but its original name was Singapura meaning lion city. The other picture is one you may have seen before and I’ll leave you to decide which is which.

UNBELIEVABLE HISTORY

Now it is said that George V didn’t like to sit to have his portrait painted, so he stood up instead. Here he is with his cousin the Kaiser on the left and his cousin the Tsar on the right. Yes, they were all related. And you know who was the common factor!

George probably didn’t think he’d become king until his elder brother Edward (yes, another one) died of pneumonia and the year after that he married the German princess Mary of Tek – a cousin and granddaughter of King George III. She’d previously been intended for big brother Edward so they passed her on so to speak. Honestly, being a princess isn’t all frills, flouncy dresses and dancing at balls, it’s more like the local meat market – aristocratic breeding and good child-bearing hips. Where did Disney get those silly ideas from? Which brings me very neatly to …

BOOKS

uae-with-5-star-review-medal

I’ve been tossing up whether to do a follow up to Unhappily Ever After. As it is, it’s a stand alone with all the loose ends wrapped up. It tells the story of how Cinderella decided to get a divorce from King Charming. No one ever questioned how this commoner, from the wrong side of the tracks, would fit into a royal household, and of course, she didn’t. All that protocol was too much for her, the other royals hated her, and she didn’t even produce a male heir only one princess who had a preference for other princesses. I guess my next project will come to me in the shower or other inconvenient place and by the time I’ve grabbed a towel, I’ll have forgotten what it was!

If you feel like a good laugh, here is the link  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8

Till next week, take care.