TRAVEL  – AMSTERDAM

In May of this year DH and I spent a week in Vienna, and after only half a day I fell in love with the city. It’s absolutely beautiful and steeped in history.

VIENNA HOTEL

We stayed at the Erzherzog Rainer Hotel and I was thrilled to discover it had an interesting history as well. It’s located in the heart of the Freihausviertel also home to many small shops and was established in 1813 by Leopold Nedomansky who was the court supplier for picture frames. The appointment was quite an honour, except the nobles were lousy at paying their bills so he thought about businesses which demanded immediate payment – restaurants and lodgings. He went ahead and built a hotel, but was savvy enough to realize he needed a patron to give it a bit of class. He flattered Archduke Rainer by naming the hotel after him and he was on the road to success. – I’ve always said it’s ‘who you know’.

2CF500A8-9301-4E09-A469-DB7756D02ADE

The same family owned it for 80 years before selling it to another family of hoteliers, but in that time it has been used as lodgings for the top German soldiers during the Second World War, and if I remember Hedda Hopper and a couple of other famous people have also stayed there. And now, of course, there’s me too.

HISTORY

Now you must all have heard that behind every great man there is a woman – or preferably in front if the truth be known. In this case, as poor old George was catapulted onto the throne, the woman, lady behind, beside and in front of him was his wife, Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, a Scottish lass who had married the Prince several years before.

GLAMIS CASTLE

She was brought up in this little shack north of the English border.

RED CHEEKED BIT

I’ve shared the opening pages of the Amie series here, now it’s time for the three memoirs. My first one, Walking over Eggshells sold all of 37 copies in the initial twelve months after it was published – before I found out I had to tell people about it – I had this belief that people would magically find it all by themselves!

 https://www.books2read.com/u/md7Py3

The first time I tried to leave home, I was three years old. Not that I could have told you that at the time, but many years later, while looking at some childhood photos, I asked my mother what age I was when I wore the red hat and coat. “Three,” she replied, and I remember quite clearly putting them on for my first intended escape into the outside world.

It was a cold, overcast day in a quiet suburb of Dublin at the beginning of the fifties. We were in the lounge, and my mother was sitting by the fire listening to the radio. I walked quietly to the door, hoping she wouldn’t notice, but as I reached up towards the door handle, she reminded me in her cold, hard voice not to let the cold air in from the hallway. I opened the door just wide enough to squeeze through and pulled it shut behind me.

I dived under my bed and pulled out a small brown, cardboard suitcase. I’d thought about this departure for some time and had already made a mental list of what I would need on the journey to my new life. I packed three Noddy books, my favourite doll, a comb and a clean pair of underpants. I struggled into my coat and hat and I was ready to run away.

Quietly, I crept back along the hallway to the front door and gazed up at the door latch. It was way above my head.

“And where do you think you’re going?” My mother stood in the lounge doorway, her arms folded across her chest and she looked furious. Having got this far, there was no turning back.

“I’m leaving home,” I squeaked.

“Oh, really? And where are you going?”

“I’m, uh …” I knew exactly where I was going. I’d thought about it very carefully, but I was not about to tell my mother. She would know where I was and maybe, just maybe, come and try to bring me back.

“Little girls who want to leave home should be tall enough to reach the doorknob. If you go, then don’t bother coming back. I never want to see you again. I don’t want you. You’re nothing but a nuisance. I wanted a good little girl who would do as she was told, not a bad, bad little girl like you.” My mother went back into the lounge and slammed the door.

I blinked back the tears. Why couldn’t my mother love me? I tried so hard to be good. Earlier that morning I had broken a glass full of milk. It had slipped out of my hands and crashed to the floor.

“Look what you’ve done now!” screamed my mother.

“I’m sorry, Mummy, it fell,” I burst into tears.

“Clear it up right now!”

“Yes, yes, but please don’t be cross with me, please. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” I was shaking as I looked at the mess on the floor. The milk was slowly disappearing under the stove.

“You never give me any reason to like you. You’re always saying ‘sorry.’ If you really meant it, you wouldn’t do the same thing again and again and again. You said ‘sorry’ when you broke my best cup. I suppose that just fell, too? Don’t say ‘sorry.’ ‘Sorry’ doesn’t mean anything to you.”

As soon as my mother had gone back into the lounge, I dragged a chair from the kitchen, climbed up and opened the front door. I jammed the suitcase in the gap and returned the chair to its place in the kitchen. Then, as quickly as I could, I grabbed the case and ran down the front driveway.

Till next week, take care.

 

Advertisements

MONSTERS AND MONARCHS

ALL AMIE BOOKS OCT 2017Now on the first Monday of the month, I usually write about a book thing rather than my travels – such as they are. Right now I’m in the “Shall I, shan’t I?” stage regarding my next book. Do other writers suffer a sort of empty nest syndrome after launching their latest offering out into the world to meet the general public? (Not that Amie has gone anywhere she’s still lurking in the shadows!)

This time after the flurry of all the screaming and shrieking about the launch – delicately of course – I sat back and thought ‘what now?’ I was physically and emotionally drained. At that point, I heard a little voice from under the bed crying out to me. Don’t laugh! I’m a very sensitive person and I have these flashes occasionally. It was Horatio, begging to be let out.

IMG_0881

Back in the 1980s, I wrote several short stories for children which went out on the South African Broadcasting Service. They asked for more Horatio tales, but I had a miserly thought that instead of receiving a few Rand for every flighting I could add a few extra stories and have a whole book. Of course, this would sell millions overnight and I’d be off on my mega yacht in no time at all. I submitted a different series of stories about a witch to the SABC, completed Horatio and gave the manuscript to my then agent. I even produced what I now know is called swag to go with it.

I understand she tried Penguin in London who wrinkled their noses and that was that under the bed it went in South Africa, through 10 house moves, then packed into a cardboard box and flown to Spain and thrown under yet another bed, along with all those awards I shall never look at again.

So in my indecisive mood I decided to take action – not an easy feat getting under our bed the hydraulic lift thingie doesn’t work too well and I nearly sliced off an arm hoisting it out. Would you believe the two copies I have are typewritten on real, old-fashioned paper!

IMG_0882

Yes, that’s how long ago I wrote it. So now I’m labouring away, got an illustrator lined up and soon I will pluck up the courage to tell DH that the next offering will have pictures in it! I must just tell myself that I will not have a nervous breakdown trying to get it out for Xmas, or I’ll aim for Christmas 2018.

Since I’m already out there in 3 genres, what’s one more? I’m probably schizophrenic as it is, and it gives Amie a break for a couple of months.

HISTORY

Not only was Edward or David as he was called – they like things to be very complicated, downgraded to a Duke, the British royal family refused to be friends with him. He had broken the unwritten rules by saying he didn’t want to be a king anymore.

EDWARD viii

That was not on. If you are born a king or queen then you become a king or queen and you rule whether you like it or not and you stay ruling until you go to the big throne room in the sky.

The House of Windsor does not do this abdication thing and let the youngsters take over and have a go. In the UK the Heir Apparent might wait for years and years and years.

But there was no stopping Edward from making history and after a lot of fuss, his younger brother had to step in and take over.

THE BOASTING BIT

AMIE 1 AWARDS 18 OCT 2017

Just have to share with you that October was a great month with two really unexpected awards. Amie African Adventure was a Finalist in the Book Excellence Awards in the Adventure category and a Finalist in the IAN awards in Literary Fiction.

And, Walking over Eggshells was a Finalist for First Non-Fiction in the IAN Awards, so I am very thrilled.

Till next week, take care.

THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN OFTEN

I’m trying to type this up with my eyes closed and that’s not easy for me as I’ve never learned to touch type. I do so hate this self-promotion stuff, but as DH informed me in ‘that’ kind of voice if I don’t tell anyone I write books then no one will buy them.

So I suggested he write this blog and got ‘that’ look. DH wouldn’t touch Social Media with a bargepole. He must be the only person on the planet who doesn’t have a Facebook page and has only learned that Tweets exist since they’ve been showing Donald’s efforts on the BBC news. He’s just told me to stop whinging and get typing. (Rumour has it he was browsing the yacht chandlers yesterday, but I’ll be lucky if I can afford a bath sized boat for him to play with – which I wouldn’t buy anyway as we only have a shower).

51xr1Y8zEtL

Big breath and here goes: My first memoir Walking over Eggshells is on sale until Monday at $/£0.99 if you want to grab it cheaply – available on all outlets. myBook.to/WoE

The blurb is:  Walking Over Eggshells is an autobiography that tells the story of a mentally abused child, who married a “Walter Mitty” clone. They moved from England to Kenya, from Libya to Botswana and on again to South Africa. It took all her courage to survive in situations that were at times dangerous, sometimes humorous, but always nerve wracking. She had a variety of jobs, different types of homes, and was both a millionairess and totally broke. She met royalty, hosted ambassadors, and won numerous awards for her writing and television programs. She also climbed over garbage dumps, fended off bailiffs, and coped being abandoned in the African bush with a seven-week-old baby with no money or resources. She admits to being the biggest coward in the world, but her survival instincts kicked in and she lived to tell her story. This book will make you laugh and cry and hopefully inspire others who did not have the best start in life either. 

This morning WoE rose to the giddy heights of 242 overall in paid Kindle books on Amazon but of course, I had a little help from BookBub, no, make that a lot of help! And, as they do, it’s sinking a bit now, but I was there with the screen shot. And the little yellow sticker has gone too and I only blinked once! You may say “Oh how sad Lucinda” here. But I am thrilled with over 600 sales since BB did not accept it for America. WoE is also up for a paperback giveaway on Goodreads, closing date September 10th. That comes with a free bookmark and a pen – that’s the best I can do, I live in Spain and the postage is too expensive for mugs and aprons, wall hangings and Lucinda E Clarke pyjama sets. https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/241508-walking-over-eggshells

As I’m getting ready to put the 4th book in the Amie series up on pre-order, I’ve also dropped the price of book 1 to $/£0.99.

Amie – African adventure – in case you might like to meet her. As far as I know she is the only female spy in Africa – though that doesn’t happen until book 3. And the blurb for that is:

AMIE 1 NEW COVER KINDLE HIGHER RES

Just an ordinary girl, living in an ordinary town, with nothing but ordinary ambitions, Amie Fish is plunged into hot water when her husband is posted to a country she’s never heard of. Amie’s ability to adapt and make a life for herself in equatorial Togodo lands her in more trouble than she could have imagined, her life is threatened and everything she holds dear is ripped away from her. She is left fighting for her life. If she could have seen into the future, she would never have stepped foot on that plane.

It’s got lots of nice reviews and you’re not taking a massive chance at that price, are you? And, if you’re enrolled in KU it won’t cost you a cent. myBook.to/Amie1   

WRS Kindle Cover (1)

 

And, there’s more. I launched part one of my free book The very Worst Riding School in the World at the end of June and to date, it’s had over 1,200 downloads pushing that to #1 in genre on 5 Amazon sites.  myBook.to/WRS

Finally, if you still need reading material here’s a final reminder for the big book competition http://bookhub.online/book-giveaways/super-summer-reads-giveaway  press the link to enter before it ends on Sunday.

That’s all from me until Thursday and another author to meet, I so prefer that 🙂  And if you’d like to share this post, I really won’t mind 🙂 (Luckily you can’t see me grovelling at this point, it’s not a pretty sight!)

Take care.

 

SINGAPORE AND A STUFF UP

TRAVEL SECTION ON THE BIG TRIP

Why did I like Singapore? It was neat, clean and well ordered, music to my Virgin Virgoan mind. One thing I noticed was the correct following distance between cars – two lengths between each while everyone managed to keep up a very respectable speed. I kept pointing this out to DH who tends to drive up other people’s bumpers but the only relpy was an indecipherable grunt.

We found this amazing place and I’m not sure we should have been in there, it was deserted, but it seemed to the entrance to flats or offices.

Gives a whole new dimension to the cafe downstairs!

HISTORY NONSENSE

Edward VII was right when he reckoned he would only reign for a short time, it was 9 years, not long besides his mother who’d been sitting on that throne for 63 – though the doctor did give her something for the chair sores.

But Bertie had a long life to look back on. In general the people though he’d not been a bad king, at least he got out and about unlike mum who sat inside and sulked.

THE STUFF UP

I’ve often said that those who got into the market place early had an amazing start, in the days before a new book was uploaded every 5 minutes. I should have been one of them as I published Walking over Eggshells in 2013, but then I knew nothing about marketing – not sure I know much now – so I sat with my book on Amazon and was surprised to see I’d sold 37 copies in that first year. I had no idea if anyone was going to buy it and I’m not sure I even thought about sales in those days. Ha, wish that was true now!

Then I saw an email address in the back of a book and as it was doing so well on Amazon I wrote to the author.

As they say, the rest is history. I joined Facebook, opened a Twitter account, put up a picture on Pinterest and devoured the blogs which dropped into my in-box. I was about to dip my toe into the world of marketing.

I decided that I had to be innovative and come up with something really different – but it backfired and I’ll tell you next week what it was. This I’m told is a cliff hanger! 🙂

Here is Walking over Eggshells, about to celebrate its 4th birthday.

Featured Image -- 5978

 

It’s the story of how my mother who suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder affected my life. I guess I should be grateful to Donald Trump as he is now described in similar terms and more people are aware of this syndrome. All I knew was that my mother didn’t love me and I thought it was my fault. She even succeeded in causing havoc from the grave after she passed on.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8HSNDW  and available on all channels myBook.to/WoE

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.

IMG_4248

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)

 

Featured Image -- 5978

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. 🙂

AWARDS IN MIAMI

We finally fell back through our front door last Saturday night after a fantastic week in Florida. We were suffering a bit from jet lag, and DH brought an extra 5 million or so little visitors home too. As a result he’s been sleeping upright ever since. I’ve tried to tell him that’s a small price to pay for being married to an award winning author – he looked less than impressed.

“And a medal winning author at that!” I exclaimed waving the medal in his face. He grunted and reached for the tissues.

silver-medal

Secretly I think he’s quite chuffed and I’m not only thrilled, I’m amazed and flattered and re-energized and I still can’t believe it. It’s such a thrill to think that faceless judges, half a world away, think my writing is worth awards.

A silver medal for Walking over Eggshells in the Inspirational category non fiction and an Honourable mention for Amie an African Adventure. (Personally I think the bright green sticker rf-aimie-1-hon-mention-low-resprettier than the silver one) but Honourable comes after bronze, so she did well too. (Probably much to Amie’s disgust as I shall certainly continue writing about her and putting her through even more horrendous situations).

We stayed at the hotel where the function was held and they ran a shuttle to the Miami Book Fair in downtown Miami. We met up with another writer who – now wait for this – used to teach at the same school in Benghazi, Libya as I had. How likely is that? To meet up in the United States – and as the school wasn’t all that large, there could only have been a couple of dozen teachers there at any one time at the most.

We both drooled at the Readers Favorite book display which was selling copies of our books for St Jude’s charity.

img_0596books-at-miami-book-fairimg_0600

And we also had them on display at the reception desk at the hotel. I threw in a few pens and they disappeared so fast!  (Several of the waiters had them stuffed in their pockets, but you never know, someone might look and log on and buy).

On the Fridbooks-at-hotel-deskay evening we sat and listened to several presentations from major players in the book industry, and I tried to get my head around how I can do all these sort of marketing things from rural Spain. Not so easy, there’s the language barrier for a start.

The event itself was great, with the presentation, the interviews and the pictures.

The extra cherry was talking to and interacting with other authors – book people who breathe, sleep, dream and obsess over books – just like me. Sometimes you sit and wonder who cares about books, with computer games and Xboxes and movies and other stuff like that for leisure time – but they are still out there!

I met authors from all over the world and we swapped information and ideas and networked liked crazy.

All in all a fabulous trip, made even better by travelling up to Tampa to stay with a reader I met on Facebook – who organized something very special for me, but more on that next week.

PS  I sneaked a pic of DH in there somewhere – did you notice?

As usual I got carried away while writing this and forgot to mention links to my books etc. So if you want to find out what all the fuss is about you may like to check out a few.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8HSNDW   Walking over Eggshells

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LWFIO5K      Amie an African Adventure

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015CI29O4       Amie and the Child of Africa

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M67NRG4   Amie Stolen Future

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QE35BO2     Truth, Lies and Propaganda

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VF0S3RG      More Truth, Lies and Propaganda

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8                  Unhappily ever After

SECOND WARNING FOR THE FAINT HEARTED – AND WILLIAM OF THE DRUNKEN BRAWL

SECOND WARNING:  If you think the other week’s picture of the little, furry dead things with tails for sale in the market was bad – worse is to come in this blog. So close your eyes when the pictures come up or you may never drink again.

I know our guides came for us at 8.30 each morning but if felt more like dawn, as this was now day 16 and frankly we were knackered. We’d not had a rest at all, no weekend off and all the temples we had seen were now just floating before my eyes one after the other.

Back to the river, and while we spotted a few other tourists all cramming into one boat, we had a forty-seater all to ourselves. Guess that’s how the other half live? It was two hours up the river, according to my daily diary, until we pulled up on the left bank and our guide strode off leaving me to negotiate some rather slippery floating planks which had no intention of either keeping still or meeting each other.

We had arrived at the Pak Ou Caves. We guessed these caves were holy in some way as you can only reach them by going up some very steep steps and the nooks, crannies and shelves were all wall to wall Buddha statues, most of them quite small. Our guide explained that every family member places his or her own statue in the cave. There are thousands and thousands of them. Some are quite old and damaged, while others are obviously new.

They show all the different positions – meditation, teaching, peace, rain, and reclining (nirvana). It was difficult to feel we were in a holy place as there were other tourists there and a couple of locals selling souvenirs.

You could go up even higher into the top caves. I took one look and declined – being the #1 coward that I am – but DH hopped out of sight, after giving me a very condescending look. He was back a few minutes later after he saw just how many steps he would have to climb.

We boarded the boat again and were ferried across the river to have lunch on a floating restaurant (boat on water tied to the bank) and then it was off to other rural villages – Ban Xanghai and Ban Xangkhong. Here, I suspect the locals engage in papermaking, silk weavings and wine making mostly to sell to the tourists. Close your eyes now if you are of a nervous disposition.

We fell into bed that night and I set the alarm for 5.30 am. Tell you why next time.

What more can I tell you about William IV? He was known as the sailor king. Well I guess he never expected to be king as he was the third eldest boy born to George III and Queen Charlotte. So he was allowed to join the navy as a midshipman when he was only 13 years old, although Mum and Dad insisted a tutor went with him which spoiled the fun a bit.

malta

But he got about and was arrested in Malta after a drunken brawl. Of course they let him go immediately  they realized who he was. It’s always who you know right?

Quick tip:- Walking over Eggshells is due for a promo on Thursday at $/£0.99 which is probably a bit silly me telling you that now, as no one is going to buy it for the next few days, but then remember, only my blog and FB page readers will know that.

Here are the links to Amazon and it’s also available on Nook, Kobo and Apple. (Smart pic with the silver medal on).

woe-ver9-1-silver-award-front-cover-75dpi-jpg-small-for-kindle

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

I’m writing an extra blog this week with more news. Take care and thank you for reading.