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.

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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

WARNING 1 – THE BIG TRIP XV

WARNING:  for those of a nervous disposition, do not read this post, as it has a gruesome picture in it for lovers of little furry friends.

We bade a fond farewell to our guides with pleas from them to recommend holidays in Cambodia – and I do recommend it. The people were so friendly, the hotel was gorgeous and the ruins amazing.

It was time to move on, away from the wide majestic waterways and the inhabitants who eek out a living there, and take an afternoon flight across yet another border to Laos. Still a communist country and not as prosperous as Vietnam from what I could see. Luang Prabang is a lot further north and very much colder – though I must admit it was January.

I wrote in my diary it was a bit creepy, the bed was lumpy and the wedding party drums kept us awake for hours – yes, this is me who always reckons she could sleep through the 1812 played at the foot of the bed. But we were both so cold even cuddling didn’t keep the chills away. It was a nice hotel though but a little out of town.

Our first visit was to a market.

The little things with tails? Please don’t ask.

I was blown away by this little girl playing with a cell phone wearing Disneyland leggings. On one hand it shrinks the world, on the other emphasises the enormous gap.

Then it was off to another temple. I’ve been puzzled in the past about Buddhism, and was determined to sort out the principles on this trip. Instead of a greater understanding I became more confused. There appear to be dozens of slightly different sects with varying rules. I mention this as we were off to another temple complex called Wat Xieng Thong. Plus a trip around the Royal Palace museum.

Next time, dining on tree stumps.

Can I find anything more interesting to say about George IV? Well I scratched around a little and can share with you the following.

When he was born, an attending courtier announced he was a girl.  He didn’t like living in the small houses (huge mansions to you and I) preferred by his father, as I’ve mentioned they did not get on.

So he went mad building enormous residences for himself once he got to sit on the throne.

buckingham-palace

Buckingham Palace from the back for a change.

He was mad about clothes and spending money and he was very selfish and self-centred. When he was old he slipped into a fantasy world assisted by laudanum and cherry brandy. He believed he had personally defeated Napoleon. He had his first serious love affair at 17 and tried to divorce his wife, except Parliament wouldn’t let him. He only married in the first place, a good, acceptable, Protestant princess so the government would pay all his debts. He was blind drunk at his wedding. Wow, don’t you wish he was your neighbour?

OK here comes the advertising bit (well I’m told I should include it). Can I persuade you to go on my mailing list? As soon as I’ve sent Amie 3 off to my editor, I will be writing some back stories only available to a special set of people. Also you can find out when you can get my books free or cheap and there’s the occasional competition to win free books just for signing up J

You can either pm me on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

Or email me on: –  lucindaeclarke@gmail.com

 

 

 

BACK EAST AND GEORGE IV

I’ve digressed a couple of times from The Big Trip as other things popped up in my humdrum life, but I hate to leave loose ends – so onwards with our Far East tour.

By now my takkies/gym shoes/pumps/trainers were falling apart and the hotel in Siem Reap sold me a very nice pair of fake Nikes. As the pretty receptionist told me, “you can’t tell the difference” – and I certainly couldn’t – apart from the price.

We dined in the hotel that night, sitting in solitary splendour with a waiter and a half each. Where all the other guests were, we had no idea. We even went out for a walk but we couldn’t find them. Later we learned they’d gone to a show. We booked for the following night.

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More temples the next day, honestly I was beginning to get templed-out. I ducked out of the second one and went browsing around a local market instead.

 

The third temple was fascinating, not because it had been used in the Tomb Raider film, but for the tree growing out of the ruins.

The next day we were driving through the countryside to a local town where we saw this bride and groom. As I was slithering into the photographer’s covered tent he turned and looked. I was preparing to make a million apologies, grovelling an inch off the ground, when he ushered the happy couple outside so could get a proper photo – at least I think that’s what he said.

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Another boat took us on Tonle Sap Lake which was truly enormous, I thought I was on the Mekong, but although this lake flows eventually into the delta, for six months of the year the river flows in the opposite direction, out of the lake and then into it again.

As the level goes up and down, some of the lake people relocate to the land. We were there in January and it was just mind blowing to see floating petrol stations, a church, basketball court, the usual houses and, believe it or not a crocodile farm.

 

I don’t think George IV was all that interesting really. He spent a lot of money – didn’t they all? Had lots of mistresses – didn’t they all? Fathered a lot of illegitimate children – didn’t they all? He also founded a couple of important institutions and things which probably aren’t very important.

He was on the throne for ten years and if you think you’ve got money problems, look at his – he owed £630,000 which in today’s terms comes to £58,700.000. His by-now-not-so-by-now friendly bank manager had confiscated all his Visa and Mastercards, but that didn’t stop him. I think he should have been admitted to retail rehab, but if you’re king, you only have to ask the parliament to bail you out I guess.

georgeiv1780

Oh, I ought to do a bit of promoting stuff I suppose. You must on pain of death Can I persuade you to go on my mailing list? As soon as I’ve sent Amie 3 off to my editor, I will be writing some back stories only available to a special set of people. Also you can find out when you can get my books free or cheap and there’s the occasional competition to win free books just for signing up J

Either pm me on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

Or email me on Lucinda@lucindaeclarke.com

 

Till next time.

Elephant Dentistry and Amsterdam

If you read this blog regularly you may remember that every time we take a holiday something goes wrong. And this time was no different except it all happened before we even left home. When I go away I make a big production out of it, it’s all part of the fun. The house has to be squeaky clean, the washing up to date and I’m packed hours and hours before we leave – from my pre-made list of course.

This time was no exception, and to keep the kitchen nice and clean we set out for our favourite pasta place in the village.  IT HAD GONE!! We stared dumbfounded at the empty store till a kind man told us it had moved to the next small town. Off we went but failed to find it, so back to our village, parked the car and went to eat somewhere else. An early night we agreed as we had to be up before dawn for the drive to the airport. Back to collect the car only to find it was locked in the underground parking garage – huge steel shutters between us and our transport. Another kind passerby suggested the police station might have a key. So back up 3 flights of steps and into the cop shop. They were sympathetic, but no they didn’t have a key, could we come back at 8am when the garage opened? No, we couldn’t we had a plane to catch. We pretended we were tourists and luckily I had my passport already packed in my bag. Mind, they could tell we weren’t local, not with my level of Spanish. Wait outside, they told us. So we sat on the steps and waited and waited until finally we were told to hurry back to the garage. There a friendly cop was playing with the metal doors as they shot up and down. Having taken our details in the office DH was escorted to the car and he was able to drive out.

We landed in Amsterdam and being me I had to see everything. First it was the Royal Palace

Then a daylight cruise on the canals so we could see where we were going. Then a visit to the Sex Museum.

A stroll through the Red Light District.

The next day we made for the Rijksmuseum to see the Night Watch.

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Whoops wrong pic

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Then to the diamond museum where we bought nothing at all of course – and on to the Van Gough Museum with a special exhibition about his madness – oh so many of us writers have exactly the same frustrations don’t we? I felt a real affinity with him.

And here I am on my birthday in the middle of a fountain.

The Heineken Brewery was next, even though I don’t like beer.

A church with an impressive organ and after dinner a night cruise on the canals. Then a walk through the Red Light District, visiting the Museum of Prostitution, and I have to hand it to Amsterdam, it’s regulated, open, honest and treated just like any other business. No pics here of course, but the girls looked absolutely beautiful. Millions of story lines flew round my head – why were they here and not starring in Hollywood?

Next day we visited the Jewish Historical museum and the Museum of Resistance which was amazing – but a little uncomfortable as it all happened not too long before I was born. Then the Red Light District. However, I must explain that our hotel was on the fringes, and as we are a little old for the nightclubs, the coffee bars in the area are humming late into the night.

Finally on our last morning we had a meet up with a FB friend Val Poore and that was magic. We have so much in common and we’ll be getting together again very soon. DH didn’t nod off either as we chattered about books and books and books and previous lives.

And the elephant dentistry? We found the perfect picture for the cover of Amie 3. She meets a lone bull who is frantically looking for a female to love, so he’s unpredictable and dangerous. Only problem with the pic is this ellie only had half a tusk. So we sent him off back to South Africa where my clever photographic friend worked Photoshop magic and gave him a smart new pair. I decided to stop at that.

Finally, thank you to all the people who sent kind birthday wishes, I’ve tried to thank everyone personally, but if I missed some, please forgive me.

THE BIG TRIP XIII – MORE SIEM REAP AND THE NEXT KING

Ankor Wat stretches for miles and miles and miles.

I know some people spend days there and it was possible to get passes for a day, three days and a week.

Much as I am in awe of the magnificent buildings, there is still a lot of debate as to what / when / and how the exact history evolved. Our guide, a delightful man named Solly, was super attentive, holding my arm every step along the way. DH was getting quite huffy about it, watching like a hawk to see what part of my anatomy the man was going to grab as we approached yet another step. I couldn’t decide if the friendly Cambodian, a perfect gentleman, thought I was just too delightful and wanted to help, or if he thought I looked so decrepit I needed help.

Within the complex we saw the Bayon Temple, the Elephant’s Terrace and the Bakheng Temple. I’m ashamed to admit I can’t remember now one from another, but then if I have problems remembering what I did yesterday, maybe that’s not surprising.

But the whole experience was a delight and one I would not have missed for the world.

Well poor old George III ruled for a lot of years, I’m sure it’s not important how long but several decades. Every now and again his son stood in for him which did not please Daddy at all. They had continued with the family tradition of not getting on with each other and George IV didn’t like his wife either.

GEORGE IV
George IV

He got into a big sulk and went off to build himself a discreet little hideaway in Brighton where no one would bother him.

brighton pavilion 2

A footnote. I am offering an e.copy of any of my books for free if you’d like to sign up to my mailing list.  lucindaeclarke@gmail.com

DH AND AMIE 3

Did you miss me last week? No, I thought not. Well for the last seven days I decided to get my head down and go over Amie 3 once again thoroughly before sending her off to my editor. I’d sent a very early draft through to DH and he found a few things wrong (of course he would).

So, come the morning we sit down together and I steel myself to hear the worst.

ME:    Well you can’t complain this time that she never goes off for a pee. She spends half her time in this book behind one bush or another. Her plumbing system is in full working order.

DH:    OK I noticed that but there are still no sex scenes.

ME:    I’m not sure my readers are looking for gratuitous sex, and I don’t use many swear words either.

DH:    I’m not talking bondage and erotica here but you’ve just told me she’s a healthy young woman. She has needs. (Every man’s dream right?)

ME:    You know I find sex scenes a little tricky. It must be the most undignified way to behave sober there is. And how can I possibly ever describe it better than millions before me? He whips his clothes off, she rips her clothes off and they wriggle around for a while praying she won’t get pregnant.

DH:    I still think you’re cutting it too short you could go into a little more detail. Right, what about this boring bit in the middle?

ME:    Boring? And what bit would that be? I can’t have her racing about on every page, it’s not natural surely. Fast paced is one thing, frenetic is another. Look we have her (spoiler) and then she takes refuge in (spoiler) and isn’t this bit (spoiler) exciting?

DH:    She’s crying again.

ME:    Well I’d cry if I saw (spoiler).

DH:    You might, but then you’re not superwoman.

ME:    Thanks.

DH:    She’s a strong heroine, and I think you’re basing her too much on yourself.

ME:    What! Hardly!

DH:    Well no, not the brave stuff, that’s not you, but she’s still snivelling an awful lot, toughen her up.

ME:    But she’s survived so far, that makes her tough. She’s not an Olympic weight lifter or a body builder. I want my readers to like her and feel for her. If she’s too tough they won’t relate to her will they? If you had your way she’d be dressed in black leather with boots and a whip!

DH:    Now that’s an idea.

ME:    Noooooo!

DH:    You want to sell to both men and women right?

ME:    Yes.

DH:    Then make her strong, not wet and drippy.

ME:    Amie won’t appreciate you saying that.

STRANGE LOOK FROM DH, HE MOVES A LITTLE FURTHER AWAY ROUND THE TABLE.

ME:    It’s a writer’s thing our characters live in our minds they are real people.

DH:    There’s not enough detail, all these guns for example. What size calibre are they?

ME:    Ah, now I did lots of research on the net and I did play with a gun once and those cartridge thingies…

DH:    (RAISES EYEBROWS) Magazines?

ME:    Yes those things it’s really hard to load the bullets into them and they hurt my fingers. I had a couple of dates with the policeman in Durban and he let me play with his.

DH:    (EYEBROWS FURTHER UP) His what?

ME:    His gun! I must have had a premonition I would need that experience one day so I asked him to show me where the bullets went and how to load them. It took me over an hour to get all six slotted in against that spring.

DH:    Figures. Good thing you weren’t in a shoot out at the time. Now Amie has a car in Durban, what kind?

ME:    Does it matter?

DH:    Of course it does, people want to know that.

ME:    (MUTTERING) If you insist, I’ll give her a Corolla, they make assemble those in Durban.

DH:    And a 737 will never get from London to Johannesburg.

ME:    Good point, I’ll up that to a 747. So is it as good as the other two? Did it hold your attention? Did you find it exciting?

DH:    I read it all the way through didn’t I?

(DH GETS UP TO MAKE COFFEE.)

Well at least I had a nice email from my editor this morning and she says it’s the best thing I’ve written so far (she’s terribly good at the sugar coating stuff), but of course there is lots of work to be done, including my tautologies – I really must look that up, I wonder what they are?

On the brighter side, Amie 1 an African Adventure got a Bronze in the Global E Book awards in popular fiction, so that cheered me up.

Have a great week.

$/£ 0.00318 for a smile

Once upon a time when I was writing for a living (and are we going back a long, long way), I wrote mainly promotional, educational and informational content – usually for radio and television, often in a drama format.

few of the videos I made

Then, as I got to the wrinkly stage, pretending to be retired, I turned to books. I wrote three memoirs, and two novels. If there was any theme it was Africa, well I lived there for almost forty years, so I got to notice quite a lot, especially filming in deep rural areas miles away from cities.

Then I broke the mould and published my political/satirical book set 200 years on in Fairyland, possibly described as similar to Tom Sharpe or Monty Python. I was unsure if the rather ‘British’ humour would transcend the Atlantic, but surprisingly I’ve had more sales on the other side of the pond.

UAE KINDLE COVER

Readers who knew me best from the Amie novels (and let’s face it, she has a very limited sense of humour), expressed surprise as it was so ‘not’ my genre.

Most writers have a genre we’re told ‘it’s the right thing to do’. So, Ludlum writes spy books, Steven King writes horror books and Edit Blyton wrote books for children.

But as often as I could, I put a humorous slant on most of my writing. It’s there in my memoirs, even in Walking over Eggshells. I’ve had to see the funny side of life in order to keep sane through the ups and downs of the bizarre situations I found myself in.

So Unhappily Ever After is possibly more me than Amie’s servant, telling her story to the world (well OK to the occasional reader who clicks on the link).

Why am I rambling on like this? Just a reminder that Unhappily is at $/£0.99 this week for 311 pages of really funny stuff, even I giggled at some of it. And as an extra teaser, here are some of the Twitter adds I put together (no, not going in for the graphic awards any time soon), which might give you a taste as to what it’s all about.

UAE FRIDAY 5 AUG

It climbed to #6,246 overall in paid books this morning in the US and #35,868 in the UK but I had a bit of help with one of those promos. Go take a peep, here is the link

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

and please, if you are in a good mood, reblog this for me as well? And if you feel depressed then check out the look inside and smile.

Have a great week.

THE BIG TRIP XI – CAN THO AND BIT MORE GEORGE III

Can Tho is on the banks of the Hau River in the Mekong delta area, but it felt as if we were by the sea – it is one big delta.

We spent the night in Can Tho and went walking along the promenade and came to this!

That must have cost a bit and slap bang in the south which was not in favour of the man on the platform.

Now from pictures on the internet it looks as if there are hundreds of tiny boats floating by the banks, but the following morning we were whisked up river to see the permanent floating villages. We were told they did relocate every six months due to the flooding, but I wasn’t sure how they managed this. How do you move a petrol station twice a year?

Then it was time for more eco village pursuits. Making rice noodles and a couple of extra pictures to prove I was there.

 

You can see how brave I was!

Back to Ho Chi Min city (Saigon) to fly to Seim Reap and I’m sure you can guess why they took us there.

 

Not only was George III interesting because he was mad, other exciting and interesting people lived at the same time – such as:

The peasants in France who revolted under Napoleon, who wanted France to become Top Dog. This could NOT be allowed of course, so Nelson with his very close friend  Hardy [of “Kiss Me Fame.”] and an Irishman called John Wellesley, who became the Duke of Wellington, and thus English, defeated Napoleon once at Waterloo and then again on the playing fields of Eton, which only proves that geography is not taught in French schools.

I’ve used up all my pictures for this post, so can you please imagine them?

Would Do you want  How about joining my mailing list? As soon as I’ve sent Amie 3 off to my editor, I will be writing some back stories only available to this special set of people. Also you can find out when you can get my books free or cheap and there’s the occasional competition to win free books just for signing up.

Either private message me on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

Or email me on Lucinda@lucindaeclarke.com

A NOT ABOUT ME BLOG (THOUGH I MAY GET A MENTION)

Now I admit I am only half way through it, but when I heard that CeeCee James had brought out a new book I was thrilled and clicked to buy. This time it’s a murder mystery set in a small American town when the local car dealer salesman is found crushed to death under a train. I am dying (ha ha) to know what happens but sheer self discipline sees me writing this blog instead.

I first came across CeeCee’s books reading her memoirs, as she also had a tough childhood. Now she has continued her writing career with I think her first novel. Good luck CeeCee holding thumbs.

Here is the link.    https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Taste-Murder-Angel-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01INPHQJQ/

CeeCee's murder book

Some of you may have received an email from me about a competition run by author Paula Wynn. It’s a chance to win almost 30 free books – quite enough to keep you occupied throughout the summer – and some will be in paperback format. It’s a mixed bag with fiction, non fiction and a children’s book.  It’s simple to enter and I think (you know how untechie I am) this is the link you click on. It closes this weekend so you only have a couple more days to enter.

The link is here :  http://bit.ly/29aEN1v    (you’ll have to do the cut and paste thing as it doesn’t seem to work on its own)

Take a peek at the books.

July-book-bundle13WEB

There is other author who has left me in the dust and gasping in admiration. Her name is Michelle Monet and she is writing her first memoir and asked for a couple of tips, (she has some silly idea I know what I’m talking about). I had no idea she was so famous and so brilliantly talented. She was a Barbra Streisand tribute singer for years until it all got too much for her. Then she became a very successful artist and PBS even made a programme on her. She’s still working on her memoir, but in the meantime she has brought out an illustrated book of poetry. It’s in paperback for now, and here is the link.

https://www.amazon.com/Catch-Poem-Tale-Compilation-Ponderance/dp/1535295031/

MICHELLE MONET POETRY BOOK COVER
I’m sure it will be a great success.

Reviews from both should be up on Monday, and now you know what I’ll be reading this week.

OK, I can’t resist it. Here is a banner of all my books. You can have any one of them for FREE  if I may add your email address to my mailing list – either leave in the comments below, or through a pm on my Facebook page (I’ll check my hidden messages and it’s private) and immediately  an e.copy of your choice will be winging its way through the ether. There are six of them to choose from in three different genres.

http://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Have a great weekend 🙂

 

THE BIG TRIP XVI – SAIGON AND WE GET RID OF GEORGE II

It’s Monday so it’s blog time and we are off back to Vietnam to continue the trip. If I thought that going around the tunnels was harrowing, the afternoon was even more of a shock. We were taken to the War Remnants Museum.

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and neither of us took pictures here. The displays were quite gruesome and understandably there was a strong anti-American and anti-French flavour to the exhibits. Curious, I asked our guide how he handled taking visitors from the United States here. It’s a big tourist attraction he told us and everyone must come.

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Saigon or Ho Chi Min City was cleaner and more modern that Hanoi, but if possible the traffic was even more chaotic – scooters everywhere.

The post office is a major tourist attraction. It was jammed full with stalls selling all manner of cheap tourist tack, and just a few people in there trying to use the mail service.

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And then we were taken to the Cao Dai cathedral built in 1933 the highlight being the mid day mass. Of course every other tourist in Saigon was there too and when the service began we were herded up into the balcony.

From what I could gather the community encompasses Christian, Buddist, Taoist and Confusians. The major focus was the ‘third eye’ and I have to let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Well I’m going to get rid of George II because he’s beginning to bore me. Apart from fighting with his dad I don’t think he was a very interesting king. Don’t just take my word for it as this next sentence comes straight off the internet and we know we always get the truth on there right?  For two centuries after George II’s death, history tended to view him with disdain, concentrating on his mistresses, short temper and boorishness.

GEORGE ii MONDAY

He spent a lot of time fighting with his son Frederick who was later to become George III – yes I know his name was Frederick, but please, just please don’t ask.  But he was so much more interesting, to begin with he went mad.

I’ll tell you about that next time.

A footnote. I am offering an e.copy of any of my books for free if you’d like to sign up to my mailing list.  lucindaeclarke@gmail.com.

Have a great week.