Julia Hughes - writing thrilling adventures - time after time after time.
The short but very memorable couple of weeks Sickem spent terrorising, whoops, I mean visiting London is perhaps best glossed over quickly.
In truth, if a man capable of creating an entire new species of inhuman and all too human characters tells you to look after his dog, the only thing to say is 'Yes Randall, it'll be my pleasure.'
It took Sickem less than a day to swim across the Atlantic, and within twenty-four hours neighbours began reporting that their dogs refused to come out from behind sofas. I've no idea still where Sickem spent most of his nights. But it is very telling that all the Chinese restaurants around Soho felt an urgent need to close for a fortnight, while Mayfair became deserted after midnight. Still he's back home now (thank heavens) and producing original sketches for Randall's stories. Catch up with him over there, and you'll understand why in spite of all the mayhem he caused, he'll always be my wonderdog. Sickem's place.
First of all, congratulations to all those who took part and successfully completed the London Marathon. It's one hellavu achievement to tick off your bucket list, and a grand day for charities with millions raised by individual runners. Well done to all of you, or respect as the kids say.
Whilst it's great that so many charities will benefit, especially in these tough economic times, I've a cautionary tale from personal experience.
I really dislike raining on anyone's parade, so I thought long and hard about this post. It is written entirely without malice, but as a timely reminder to charity bosses just how important it is to acknowledge your grass root supporters. And here's why:
In his sixties, my dear old dad decided to enter the London Marathon, and ran at his own pace, finishing in a respectable five hours twenty odd minutes. Boyed by this personal success, the next time his entry was accepted, he collected and ran for a local charity. Dad duly collected the sponsorship money (and made up the shortfall) and then sorted out banking and sending off a cheque. He waited and waited for a 'thank you' letter from his chosen charity. It never came.
Time passed, and it was a few years before Dad successfully applied to the organisers of the London Marathon. Whilst by no-means the eldest in the event, he was certainly amongst the vetrans at seventy odd years of age. I begged him to run for my sons' school, and another well known charity. (I won't embarrass them by name).
Dad agreed, and we set to work collecting money. I told the charities involved dad planned on running for them, we received a t-shirt from the bigger charity and a mention in the school's newsletter. My dad's generation don't blow their own trumpet much; asking people for money however good the cause doesn't come easily to him either. But between us, we managed to raise a respectable sum. After the London Marathon had been completed, we collected monies, counted up the coins and notes, took it to the bank and handed two cheques over for equal amounts to the chosen charities. We knew the cheques had been received, by the simple fact that they were banked, but once again there was no official acknowledgement.
'It isn't that I want them to thank me, I know I didn't raise that much.' Dad explained 'It's just that I asked people for money. What do I say to them? What if they think I've put it in my own pocket? They must wonder.'
He really was genuinely upset not for himself, but for people who had handed over their hard earned cash as sponsors.
So I took action. Both parties who benefitted from Dad's run sounded surprised I asked for a receipt of some kind. I'm surprised I had to ask. In one case, not just the once either.
All Dad wanted was a short note on headed paper confirming that he'd raised X amount of money, to show and personally thank the people who'd sponsored him. Official confirmation Dad had handed over that money. Not thanks. Not appreciation: Just a receipt to confirm the money had been received safely. It wasn't a huge amount, a couple of grand each is a drop in the ocean compared to what some people raise for charity, and I'm certain the charities concerned were and are grateful for any financial help. And of course there are many many folk out there who raise funds day in day out, not just once a year, who might be wondering why the song and dance over this omission.
But hopefully I've managed to make it clear Dad didn't want thanks for himself, but for those work colleagues and friends who had actually handed over cash. Although in my view, if someone undertakes to run a marathon for you, the least you can do is say 'Thank you.'
No matter how big a charity you represent, no matter how small the amount collected on your charity's behalf.
To take part in the London Marathon is an ambition many ordinary folk dream about, and to raise money for charity at the same time is icing on top. If your charity was one of the millions benefiting, please don't take the dairy off someone's personal achievement by forgetting your manners.
The Bridle Path has received two very welcome reviews from both sides of the Atlantic. I'll bet my last shilling that mega successful authors get the same thrill when someone says 'Hey, not bad - I enjoyed the read'; I hope so anyway.
We're all so busy these days, with a zillion things to be done and calling for our attention, that's why I'm always especially grateful when people take the time to click a few extra buttons and tell others they enjoyed a particular storyline. Thank you to my two reviewers, your time and comments are much appreciated.
The Bridle Path is galloping up the charts, though in some unexpected genres, maybe I should have emphasised that it's a fairy tale only because the gal doesn't always get the guy. Almost as important as romance, The Bridle Path is about finding your own voice, not being ashamed of your past, and learning to ask for what you want. It's encouraging to see this little story doing so well in Amazon's Free Charts.
The jury's still out on 'giveaways' with some Indie authors welcoming the chance to promote their work with free downloads, and others not quite so keen. One thing's for certain, the best reason to be independent is I get to make all the executive decisions. I also get to make the tea too, but that's another story. Or a horse of a different colour. I'm going to get a little cheesy here at the risk of making some of you cringe, and say a massive thank you to all who've helped spread the word on Twitter and Facebook. If you haven't yet grabbed a free copy, there's still plenty of time, so go ahead and help yourself. And if you're feeling really generous, a shout out on Twitter or a 'like' on the product page or Facebook would be very much appreciated. Here are the links once more: The Bridle Path on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
After yesterday's misadventures, happily the Bridle Path is now free to download. It's a happy ever after story; one for all you romantics out there. The internet is aflood with free ebooks, that's why there's a generous sample on line at this site for you to try: After all, time is valuable, and just because something's free doesn't mean it's worth having.
A free ebook I can recommend without hesitation, is Stephen Spencer's Role Reversal, but be quick, today's the last day of the promotion. Here are the links: Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk. If you do decide to take a chance and invest time in either of these books, I'm certain you'll thoroughly enjoy Stephen's spooky tale of the Titanic, and I hope you'll enjoy The Bridle Path. If you feel it's time well spent, perhaps you'd be kind enough to stick a review on Amazon - that'd be much appreciated, and thank you in advance. Without Amazon and folk willing to take a chance with Indie Authors, we'd be nowhere, and feedback is always welcome.
The Warrior Queen:
According to what expert you choose to believe, the Roman Empire endured for at least seven hundred years, or if you count from the founding of Rome, over one thousand years. Considering the British Empire lasted around two hundred years, and America only emerged as a "superpower" after World War Two, which ever way you cut it, that is some time span.
One person in one little fog bound island defied the might of the Roman Army. Unsurprisingly, that person was a Brit. Having incited surrounding tribes to unite in rebellion, the ruler of the Iceni swept into Colchester to defeat a Roman garrison, before galloping sixty miles South West to raze London to the ground, before backtracking up to St Albans and indulging in a bit of sacking. For the Romans, this was an almost unprecedented defeat. To add insult to injury, the Iceni leader just happened to be a woman. Thus the legend of Boudica, the warrior queen was born.
Naturally, the Roman senate could not allow Boudica's revolt to succeed. To lose one of their provinces would be disastrous. To lose a province to a woman would be a humiliation they could not easily recover from, and therefore could not be tolerated.
Predictably, Rome quickly assembled every garrison they could muster to put down the rebels. Unlike Caratacus, rather than risk capture, Boudica is reputed to have poisoned herself. Like a comet, her glory was brief but spectacular, and her legacy lives on.
But isn't it tempting to wonder what would have happened had Boudica, Warrior Queen of the Iceni, surge of the mighty Roman Empire, triumphed? My guess is such an event would have caused more than a ripple in time.
Boudica calls her troops to battle
Boudica calls her troops to battle.
'Whoever were the first inhabitants of Britain, whether natives or immigrants, has never been answered: Don't forget we are dealing with barbarians'
Tacitus, Agricola, xi
No Easter Bunny - but an Easter funny!
Cute little dog in her Easter Bonnet!
Whatever you're doing this easter, whether it's hunting for eggs or chasing giant cheeses down a hill or attending a church service or maybe even a passion play on Brighton Beach I hope the sun shines or if the wind blows cold and the rain or even snow falls down hope you'll spend a warm cosy evening with those you love.
And if those you love have a little too much time on their hands, and turn their attention on creating easter bonnets for easter Sunday, take a leaf out of Tinker's book - grin and bear it.
"With Prime, Kindle owners can now choose from over a hundred thousand books to borrow for free including over one hundred current and former New York Times Bestsellers – as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates." Amazon information bulletin.
When Amazon Prime Membership rolled out, I didn't pay much attention. It seemed a very good deal for those who did a lot of shopping on the river, and even better if you enjoyed films. Then Amazon rolled it out to include books. Prime Members (stop giggling at the back) could 'borrow' any ebook enrolled in Amazon's 'Select' programme. Again, I didn't pay too much attention, though I was quick to see the advantages of offering free downloads, much as a busker will sing for nothing on the road to being 'discovered'.
But then something strange and rather peculiar happened. The odd person 'borrowed' my book. Extremely flattering, but I couldn't help feel that my 'borrowers' were being short changed, and could maybe get better value by going for one of the pricier books. That's why I've bundled together 'Complete and Unabridged' as the saying goes all three of the Celtic Cousin Adventures in an omnibus edition 'Time after Time after Time.' Simply to give a better deal to all those lovely people who decide that from the hundreds of thousands of best sellers to choose from for their monthly free read, they'd quite like to read my little stories on their Kindles. And of course, if you want to purchase Time after Time after Time you'll be saving yourself a few quid. Not to mention time!
The Celtic Cousins' Adventures - all three complete and unabridged in one omnibus edition: Time after Time after Time.
Available now from Amazon.com
Available free if you're a Prime Member in the States!
Available from Amazon.co.uk
Three books for the price of two. Told you I'd save you time and money. £3.80 in sterling, $5.98 cents in the States.
If anyone's out there thinking 'Hell's Bells' 'cos they've already used up their monthly borrow on a single, give me a shout, I'll gladly provide you with a copy of the omnibus edition free of charge.
Wren Prenderson; "A Ripple in Time" best hero.
"The Griffin Cryer" best Urban Fantasy. Thank you to the hard working judges and everyone who voted at the eFestival of Words, organised by Julie Dawson, of Bards & Sages.
A Raucous Time, A Ripple in Time, and The Griffin Cryer. Thank you to Julie and her hard working panel of judges and reviewers.
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