Don’t throw out the baby! Why #Amazon doesn’t want your #BookReviews

Great idea, great blog.

Barb Taub

An open letter to Amazon:

Dear Amazon,

I should be your Holy Grail. I’m the real deal, an actual reader who goes through books carefully, thinks about what they mean and how they’re written, and then writes a considered, thoughtful, and hopefully helpful analysis—in other words, I’m a book reviewer.

Writers, potential customers, publishers, and oh yes—you, Amazon—should be jumping for joy and giving thanks that I’ve taken hours to read and yet more hours to craft reviews for hundreds of books. Instead, Amazon, you’ve decided to punish reviewers like me.

In the name of discouraging “fake” reviews, your new policy requires reviewers like me to spend $50 on Amazon’s US site and even more, £40 on Amazon UK before I can share my review. Have you thought about other solutions, or the effect this will have on legitimate reviewers?

Amazon has figured out how to conduct millions of legitimate…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Mae Clair, Lucinda E. Clarke, Sue Coletta, Kim Cox, Sally Cronin, Paul Cude, Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie, Eloise de Sousa, Angie Dokos, K. D. Dowdall

A huge thank you to Sally for including me and this is a big showcase for lots of good books to choose from. Go take a look.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to spring….. and there might be a hint of colour in the garden, as daffodils push their way to the surface, but there is plenty of colour on the shelves of the bookstore that I thought I would share with you over the next week.

If you are looking for you next book to read then look no further than these talented authors and over 600 books currently on the shelves.

Instead of the usual Cafe and Bookstore updates on Friday and Monday.. I will be featuring a number of authors each day with their updated reviews.

I will give you their listing which also includes a link to buy the books but also discover others that they have written but are not listed. You will also find a link to their website or blog to find out more information, and as you can imagine… they write great posts…

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A Character Guest Blog

Thanks to J A Allen 🙂

J. A. Allen

Amie Fish

written by lucinda e. clarke

LUCINDA 10Dear JA, I happened to be passing her laptop when I saw your email and I have to admit I feel extremely hurt. Why oh, why did you ask her to write something when I have a much better story to tell?

There is no comparison to her boring life when mine has been so exciting, well some might think that, but to be honest, she’s put me through so much hell, I’d leave her if I could.

I was quite happy living near London close to my family and friends, but then she packed me off to Africa with my new husband, just when I’d planned out the rest of my life. OK, so I settled down and it wasn’t too bad, except she had me out with a video camera recording all kinds of daft things including – wait for it…

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

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

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


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

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

Nancy Kindle JPEG

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

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


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

22 daydreams JPEG

The actual series is called: The Rowlings Years.

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

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

Wood, Talc and Mr. J: We never had it so good… >>>
Nancy Boy: for one year only… >>>

The All-clear: an anti-romance novella >>>

22 daydreams: or Wood, Talc and Mr. J, my social media ramblings thereof… >>> 

Website link >>>

Facebook link >>>

Twitter >>>

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

Until next time, take care.



We were about to explore the highlight of our trip so we made for the Hofburg, the seat of Austrian government since 1279. It was stunning, I just love buildings like this they are awe-inspiring.


The Hofburg is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. Together with its many squares and gardens, the Hofburg occupies an area of some 59 acres and is in many ways a “city-within-a-city,” comprising 18 groups of buildings, 19 courtyards, and 2,600 rooms.

I just adore large, impressive old buildings and it’s great to see this one is still in use. It comprises several palaces, the Imperial Library, the Imperial Chapel and the Treasury.

We spent a lot of time in the library – well I would wouldn’t I?

It houses thousands of books and precious manuscripts and is almost as big as my library at home!

Until the end of the Second World War in 1918, the Hofburg was the political centre of the monarchy. And the complex also houses something very special I’ll tell you about next week.


QE II in Malta

Prince Philip was serving in the navy, so off they went to live in Malta just like any other forces couple – if you can believe that. However, the king was ailing and possibly the young couple realized that their days of freedom were numbered. Of course, as a princess and later a queen, there were lots of fiddly things she would never have to cope with for example loyalty cards at the supermarket, queuing for hours at A & E after cutting her hand on the breadknife or facing a fine because she forgot to pay the TV licence. Nor would she ever have the frustration of booking on Ryan Air to find she’d spelled her name incorrectly and would have to cough up a huge amount to change it.


February has been a hectic month for me. The 6th is the day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, the theme in my latest book and it’s been full of interviews and newspaper articles. While FGM is a sensitive subject, don’t let it put you off buying the book (or reading it for free on Kindle Unlimited). I like to think of it as a private and sensitive subject wrapped up in a fast-paced, action-packed thriller as Amie is faced with the task of rescuing four little girls from undergoing this barbaric practice. Again, as the tension builds, she does not know who to trust.

When I get round to sending off to Ancestry dot com to discover my origins, it will come back part owl if you watch this video!! I blame the makeup I wore which is a rare practice for me. Yes, my debut on TV since I started writing books.

Here’s the link and a tiny pic.

Amie 4 PB+K

Till next week, take care.

Amie, Africa and Lucinda E. Clarke: An Interview with the Author

An informal email chat with Richard Gibney 🙂 So, I’m not on my best behaviour!


Lucinda E Clarke is the author of a series of novels set in Africa featuring her heroine Amie Fish (née

Reynolds). The original book of the series serves (perhaps) as a primer for those unfamiliar with African culture and issues related to endemic corruption (in countries like Zimbabwe) or the simplicity and beauty of bush life among such ethnic groups as the pygmies and Maasai.

She opened our email chat as I read the first novel, over the course of a number of weeks, with thoughts about starting the series with Amie: African Adventure and what she’s learned since.
I wish I could re-write Amie 1 as I’ve learned so much about novel-writing since then. I spend far too much time setting the scene, although as a series it does put things in perspective.
Perhaps this opening is a little chick-litty in a (good) way, in the sense of a…

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Giving the Women of Auschwitz a Voice – ‘The Power of Words’.

A sad and shameful time in history that should never be forgotten and serve as a lesson never to repeat if we hope to build a new and better world.

Rebecca Bryn

Royalties from downloads and page reads of Touching the Wire during Holocaust week will be donated to US Holocaust Memorial Museum  children AuschwitzAt the end of 2014, I published my first historical novel, Touching the Wire, a tale of courage, hope, and love set partly in Auschwitz, a place where courage was essential, hope was a luxury few could afford, and love was a rare shining beacon of compassion in a world dominated by the capricious brutality and hatred cultivated by Nazi Germany.

Much has been written about this heinous episode in modern history that informs and shocks. We like to think that it never happened before and that it could never happen again, but man’s inhumanity to man seems part of our genetic code, and we must be constantly aware of systemic racism, elitism, and religious bigotry that runs in the veins beneath the flawless surface of mankind’s…

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