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Joynell Schultz – FREE FICTION BOOK GIVEAWAY – Win two awesome paperback books!

WIN TWO PAPERBACK BOOKS – Add to your book collection with two books by the wonderful Joynell Schultz

WINNERS NOTIFIED! Not a winner? It’s a great book anyway – follow the links to buy it for the beach now!

Add to your book collection with two books by the wonderful Joynell Schultz

Yes, you can win two fantastic fiction books by my friend Joynell Schultz. Joynell shares my love of travel and of course writing and is working hard to build her growing portfolio.

I’m thrilled to support her in my own small way by offering not one but two of her paperback books in my FREE draw.

Continue reading “Joynell Schultz – FREE FICTION BOOK GIVEAWAY – Win two awesome paperback books!”

What exactly is a GPS-guided travel article?

As a special LIMITED TIME INTRODUCTORY OFFER my popular travel article about Doha, Qatar is going to be available on GPSmyCity FREE OF CHARGE for a full week.

What exactly is a GPS-guided travel article?

You know what it’s like, you did all your travel research, read loads of travel articles about your chosen destination, then you arrive.

As you walk around you get the feeling you’re missing out, that you’ve forgotten something. You get on the flight home and realise you missed an awesome trip or unique sight seeing opportunity.

GPSmycity_citywalks

How good would it have been if you’d only had access to the great blog post you’d read, right there and then? OK, so you may have added it to your browser bookmarks but you’d prefer not to use up expensive overseas data charges to download it and anyway the wifi was hit and miss or a bit too dodgy to trust.



Oh well, guess that not being able to find that great museum or gallery is just something you accept as a traveller. Or not!

Next trip you can use a GPS-guided travel article.

What exactly is a GPS-guided travel article?

It’s a travel article written by a fellow traveller with GPS coordinates embedded within it AND it includes a map of the route taken in the article.

You can find thousands of these articles (from over 750 worldwide cities) at GPSmyCity. Once you download the app to your phone, you don’t even need an internet connection to view or use the guide and integrated map.



How cool is that! You’ll be able to take the same walk and not miss out on the reason you wanted to go there in the first place.

GPSmycity_screen

That’s going to be expensive isn’t it?

No, you can download the written content at your convenience, from GPSmyCity FREE OF CHARGE so that you can read it at your leisure later, without needing wi-fi.

Is that it?

No, if you do decide you want the full GPS-guided article, you just pay a small fee to upgrade ($1.99). Less than the price of a coffee to make sure you don’t miss out, that’s got to worth it, right?

It’s your own experienced personal travel guide, in your pocket.

Why am I telling you this?

As a special LIMITED TIME INTRODUCTORY OFFER my popular travel article about Doha, Qatar is going to be available on GPSmyCity FREE OF CHARGE for a full week.

JUST CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK:

5 Things to Do in Doha, Qatar

 

You can download it FOR FREE from the directory from Monday (5th June 2017) until the following Sunday (11th June 2017)

GPS-guided travel articles can be accessed in two different ways:

  1. Click on a link below for the article you are interested in (if you haven’t already downloaded the free GPSmyCity app, you will see a prompt to do so). After downloading the app, you will be directed to the article, where you can choose UPGRADE to get the GPS-guided version.
  2. From the GPSmyCity app, you can browse by city to see which articles are available.

What exactly is a GPS-guided travel article-



Why you should set up a new email account…then share it

The reason so many people, not just companies, want your email address is because they’re valuable.

I accidentally pressed ‘delete all’ in an email folder.

ARGH!!

Oh well, half an hour later I’ve managed to retrieve most of the emails, but that was time I really needed to keep building my online entrepreneur business.

However!

This reminded me how reliant we are on the tech that sourrounds us.

Think!

Is your business resilient?

Can you contact your friends without Facebook?

An hour after I retrieved my almost lost emails…I received a new email telling me an online forum I use is changing it’s policies.

(Not Facebook…this time.)

However…what if…have you thought about it?

I share my written work within a blog sharing website where I have about 100 followers. Sadly they haven’t shared their direct email with me so I’ve only got that one route into their world.

I’ve managed to find some of them on other social media, but it’s not always easy because of name changes and just simply finding folks in the mass of people online.

As the website is changing direction I will probably lose all those friends and contacts, it will no longer be a place where I can share my work. More importantly it’s a loss of 100 people who give me feedback and help me keep on track.

I feel I’ve lost an opportunity to share good things with them.

ARGH!!

Then…

I sat back, had a cup of tea (OK you guessed it I’m British) and accepted it’s pointless getting frustrated.

Humble drinks corner with tea

Anger is a waste of energy.

You can’t control the mass of information and forums on the internet.

You just can’t!

So?

What do you do to avoid being in this mess?

Continue reading “Why you should set up a new email account…then share it”

Want To Know How To Be A Screenwriter? Book Review of The ‘Last Book On Screenwriting’ – Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder

This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit

Want To Know How To Be A Screenwriter? Book Review of The ‘Last Book On Screenwriting’ – Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder

Blurb:

This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!

Ebook – CLICK HERE TO BUY!

Subject:

I realised as I was working on one of my novels, that it would be much better suited as a TV show or even film. I visualised it so much whilst working on it I decided I should investigate the possibility of editing it into a screenplay.
It was at this point that I realised my study hadn’t included a huge amount about it, and so many people just ended conversations about screenwriting by saying things like, ‘Why bother, it’s all about who you know, not what you know.’
Whilst this could be true, the six steps from Kevin Bacon do seem to cover the whole of Hollywood and beyond, I don’t like being fobbed off or deterred so I decided to learn a bit more about before writing it off (sorry really rubbish unintentional pun)


Continue reading “Want To Know How To Be A Screenwriter? Book Review of The ‘Last Book On Screenwriting’ – Save The Cat!, Blake Snyder”

Vietnam – The Hanoi to Hue Overnight Train – Not for the squeamish but an unmissable experience

British Rail would be twitching and litigating against such apparent recklessness

Hanoi train station

The station in Hanoi is quite bare compared to Europe’s sign-written, commercial railways. Stark grey concrete and not a word of English or at least none that we could see. No shops or the niceties of vending machines or cafes.

The trains are utilitarian and reminiscent of a film noire.

 

It’d make a great cold war film set. In comparison to the madness of colour, sound and constant frenzied friendliness that is Hanoi it just made me feel cool, cold almost and quite vulnerable.

Vietnam's bustling red lanterns and fast motorbikes

It was quite an odd feeling on a hot and humid day. 

This was when we were sure that going on a G Adventures accompanied group trip was worth the money. The vast open station with platforms lined with long anonymous aged trains was quite daunting. You know in an exciting way.

Officials in Vietnam like a good uniform preferably with braids and metallic trimmings demanding respect.

I didn’t get to grips with who was the police, security or rail staff throughout the whole trip. We meekly followed our impressively uniformed train guard and Cambodian travel guide across train tracks, YES, we walked across the train tracks.

Continue reading “Vietnam – The Hanoi to Hue Overnight Train – Not for the squeamish but an unmissable experience”

Why You Should Go On A Bike Ride In Hoi An, Vietnam

My untrained eye didn’t deceive me on that one as the seat dug into places it really shouldn’t, or at least not without due invitation!

Why You Should Go On A Bike Ride In Hoi An, Vietnam

What better way to immerse myself in the culture of Vietnam than to cycle. While somewhere in town a tailor was creating my beautiful hand made clothes, I decided to pass the time seeing a bit of the ‘real’ Vietnam.

Now let me admit I can ride a bike in the tradition of ‘you never forget’ however I have still to master the art of jumping up kerbs and no hands trick cycling a la BMX style. This basic skill of mine is enough to enable me to get from A – B but not in any artistic, or too speedy, fashion.

You can therefore imagine my trepidation / terror…

…when the cycle man arrived with a bunch of bikes with varying degrees of rust and dents, in my amateur opinion very aged brake cables and decidedly uncomfortable looking seats. My untrained eye didn’t deceive me on that one as the seat dug into places it really shouldn’t, or at least not without due invitation!

 

Well I had decided to try everything I could

I would embrace all new learning experiences with a smile so I got in position and set off. Wobble wasn’t the word to quite cover the way the cycle heaved quite violently at every bump, and let’s put it this way Vietnam is not known for its smooth pot-hole free highways.

Cycle_ride_in_Vietnam_with_local_cow

We took our life in our hands…

to cross a major junction, remember I can’t do hands free so…mirror ( what mirror), signal (WHAT NO HANDS) manoeuvre (don’t go too fast they will hit you!) took on a threat level as significant to me as a two year old walking across the UK M1 motorway. OK I admit it I was scared. It lasted approximately one minute until I reached the other side and then the absolutely stunning beautiful although rather bumpy raised grass pathways between the rice fields.

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5 Things To Do In Doha, Qatar – The Up And Coming Jewel Of The Middle East

The good thing about Qatar is that whilst it isn’t cheap, it isn’t prohibitively expensive so try it now before the crowds.

5 Things To Do In Doha, Qatar – The Up And Coming Jewel Of The Middle East

I’m sure most of you have heard of Dubai, but Qatar may not be on your radar, unless of course you’re a soccer fan. In which case you’ll be aware the FIFA World Cup will be held there in 2022. I’m not going to dig any deeper on that, just please don’t judge a place or its people until you’ve been there.

Dubai is leading the field in this area in the development of tourism but Qatar is not far behind, and with all the positivity and enthusiasm I’m sure they will soon be not far behind. The good thing about Qatar is that whilst it isn’t cheap, it isn’t prohibitively expensive so try it now before the crowds.

The modern hi-tech airport in Doha is an award winner and their staff are probably the friendliest airport staff I’ve come across. I’m impressed as I’m sure it’s not easy to keep your calm when stressed travellers are shouting in every language you can imagine. The taxi rank is easy to find, the taxis are all aqua blue.



You’ll no doubt be ferried down the city centre roads which are 6 lane motorways. They are packed with the biggest variety of 4x4s doing U turns and lane jumping you’ll see. If you don’t need to drive, don’t, it’s a skill here so let the taxis take the strain. The taxi drivers are mostly Indian, I asked ours if he liked driving in Doha or India. He laughed, much preferring Doha, as in India he advised us the traffic is just as chaotic but there are people, cattle, dogs and tuk-tuks as well. He thought the actions of the Ferraris, Bentleys and 4x4s were much easier to predict!

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If you’re heading across the globe you may be offered a stopover in Qatar, you can do much worse. Try to arrange a long weekend in Doha, it has some real gems.

1. Museum of Islamic Art

Doha_Museum_architecture

I could easily spend a full day here, on a regular basis. It’s a huge well designed modern museum, packed with well protected and well labelled artifacts from across a huge swath of the ancient and modern muslim world.

The various galleries span three floors. The fourth floor was closed on our visit, I think probably to prepare another exhibit. There was a temporary ‘threads’ exhibition on the ground floor, all of which was stunning in it’s beauty and history, it included unique an no doubt highly prized historic pieces. The whole museum is an educational, artistic and informative haven from the heat. If I lived in this city this would be a regular haunt.

Doha_jewelled_falcon

The cafe at the entrance is worth a visit too, although menu quite small, it’s ideal for a drink and snack. The free parking and free entry is great, and unexpected.

They should ask for donations as I’m sure all the tourists and locals alike would give generously. The fund could go towards continued protection of our art and histories, vital work in these troubled times.

Continue reading “5 Things To Do In Doha, Qatar – The Up And Coming Jewel Of The Middle East”

Vietnam – Mekong Delta Day Trip – Coconuts, toffee and snakes

‘Hello love, here’s your jacket spud and beans and by the way how about holding a Python later.’

Vietnam – Mekong Delta Day Trip – Coconuts, toffee and snakes

We had Mekong Delta trip as an item on the Vietnam to do list. You may already be familiar with my 1 – 2 – 3 method of planning a trip.

No? Well quick recap:

1 – MUST DO THIS!

2 – Really want to do this

3 – Will I have time / money to do this?

So back to the Mekong. It was a no 1 but prior to the trip I’d not booked it. We knew we had a few days spare at the end of our Vietnam tour so a trip to a local agent would not be a problem. We’d compare prices and get the best deal.

In hindsight maybe we should have done that, however as we had travelled and enjoyed our whole trip with the tour guide we didn’t. We took his recommendation and slotted into a trip he knew about.

We climbed on board a very rickety boat, very rickety!

If it’d been at the beginning of the journey it would have made me nervous but by now we’d melted into the way of the East. We’d accepted their Health and Safety concerns aren’t managed quite as they are in the West. Those who’ve been there will understand I am using a tad of understatement here! Some others on the trip were ‘newbies’ apparent by less creased clothes and a more nervous demeanour.

Vietnam Beauty

The local guide chatted to us in English and gave us a small printed map of our trip. We’d be out all day and see a lot, lunch included. The first stop off was reached and I took my life in my very shaky hands as I climbed up a rusty ironwork bridge to land. I love land. I don’t like bridges.

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No Spoiler Book Review – where my heart used to beat, Sebastian Faulks

I imagined him in a slightly mucky rain coat, hair a bit unbrushed, a bit of dandruff on his collar. In his youth, an army uniform well pressed but also well worn.

No Spoiler Book Review – where my heart used to beat, Sebastian Faulks

Title: where my heart used to beat

Author: Sebastian Faulks

Copyright: Sebastian Faulks 2015

Ebook

Audio Book

Blurb:

On a small island off the south coast of France, Robert Hendricks – an English doctor who has seen the best and the worst the twentieth century had to offer – is forced to confront the events that made up his life. His host is Alexander Pereira, a man who seems to know more about his guest than Hendricks himself does.

The search for the past takes us through the war in Italy in 1944, a passionate love that seems to hold out hope, the great days of idealistic work in the 1960s and finally – unforgettably – back into the trenches of the Western Front.

This moving novel casts a long, baleful light over the century we have left behind but may never fully understand. Daring, ambitious and in the end profoundly moving, this is Faulks’s most remarkable book yet.

Plot:

This story follows the life, as told by the main character to another, so very much from his view point.

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No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful Debut Novel – Part Star Part Dust, L M Valiram

It reads like an epic, maybe one day we’ll see it transformed into film, it has that cinematic feel.

No Spoiler Book Review of the Beautiful Debut Novel – Part Star Part Dust, L M Valiram

Title: Part Star Part Dust 

Author: L M Valiram

Copyright: L M Valiram 2017

Ebook

Blurb:

A millionaire, a widow and a monk. A plane crash. In Part Star, Part Dust, the poignant and unforgettable debut novel by L.M. Valiram, three destinies are linked for eternity in a tale narrated by Time.

Meet Radha. She was left in a dumpster on the side streets of Mumbai to die as she was born; premature and undernourished. Meet Mira. At sixteen she is to marry a man she has never met before. On her wedding day, she carries a knife. And Gaurav. People say love is more important than money. But what happens when having one means you can’t have the other?

Scattered across India, these three are intertwined in unlikely ways: the flower shop owned by Mira’s husband employs Radha’s boyfriend, Mira and Gaurav become partners in business and most importantly, an ill-fated trip to Delhi links them all in death and life. Set in the sensuous worlds of Bombay and Delhi, Valiram’s dazzling novel explores the deep meanings of love, family, and time.

Plot:

The blurb just about covers this, it’s a literary novel, following various well drawn characters through their lives. It is a fairly short book (the frustration with ebooks is that you can’t ‘feel’ it’s weight)

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