This Sunday, September 18th, I will be giving away TWO FREE copies of my most recent memoir, An English Teacher in Mexico.
For your chance to win, all you have to do is ask me a question or two. That’s right! I will be in the hotseat ALL DAY to answer your questions, starting at 11:00am MDT. If you are not yet a member of the fabulous Facebook group, We Love Memoirs, who are promoting this Spotlight Sunday event, be sure to join today so you can participate. You’ll be glad you did.
You’ve all been watching the news. You know what’s happening. You know children in Ukraine are suffering. There is no need for me to repeat this information. What you may not know is what you can do to help. Here is one small way that you can.
Nashi, which means “Our Children”, is a Canadian charity that seeks to educate people about human trafficking. The organization has a safehouse for at-risk young girls in Ukraine, however all the girls have been temporarily evacuated to Poland due to the war in Ukraine. Starting from today and until further notice, I am contributing 100% of my royalties from my memoir, A Squatter in London, to this volunteer-run organization. That includes the e-book as well as the paperback version. Buy the book. Tell your friends. Share this post.
Despite references to my Ukrainian heritage and culture, the main theme of my book, A Squatter in London is not about Ukraine or Ukrainian children. However, if you are interested in reading about my travel experiences to then-Soviet Ukraine in 1982, I have contributed a chapter entitled Meeting My Grandmother to another author’s book. If you enjoy non-fiction, in particular autobiographies and memoirs, pick up a copy of Wish You Were Here. The book is an anthology of 20 different travel stories, expertly-curated by Alyson Sheldrake.
Recently someone left a 1-star ranking for my book and it’s affected me more than I care to admit. It was not even a proper review, just 1-star, with no explanation given whatsoever.
To continue writing or give it up altogether? That is the question many authors face. One day, someone who probably never should have picked up your years of blood, sweat and tears in the form of a published book, glibly awards you a 1-star rating. But the next, someone who has actually read and enjoyed said book, leaves a glowing 5-star review, explaining exactly what it was that kept them turning the pages.
Such is the life of a writer. A pendulum swinging back and forth – to write or not to write? A yo-yo of emotions, going up only to come crashing down. We have spent many hours (and in some cases, years!) perfecting our craft. We have pored over the manuscript, self-edited, wrote and re-wrote our manuscript, agonized over the perfect cover, and did our best to market our product.
Depending on our skill set, we probably hired professionals to assist us with formatting, editing, proofreading, cover design and marketing.
Some of us writers sent out dozens of manuscripts to traditional publishers, only to be rejected time and time again. We wrote query letter after query letter hoping an agent would represent us. Others took a deep breath and went the self-publishing route.
Why? Because we love what we do! We are storytellers and we want to share our stories with you, the reader. Our reward is your enjoyment of our craft. OK, making a few dollars in sales is nice too! So when our reward is a stinky 1-star carelessly posted somewhere out there in cyberspace for millions to see, it greatly impacts us in a negative way.
I’ll end this rant by saying, if you read any of my work and enjoyed it, consider leaving a review. Even one or two sentences makes a BIG difference. If, however, you didn’t, send me a private message and tell me what I could have done better.
Do you wonder what life was like in the Seventies? Do you like to travel? Do you like to read true stories from a bygone era? Better yet, did you live in the wild and crazy Seventies? If this describes you, this book might be just what you’re looking for.
US Readers: My memoir, A Squatter In London, is only 99 cents for a short time. Grab your copy now before it goes up in price.
Operation Julie – the Inside Story by Stephen Bentley
Stephen Bentley is an undercover cop. Steve Jackson is a hippie drug dealer – or is he? In order to infiltrate a global drug ring – the characters manufacturing and distributing LSD in the UK, a clandestine group of detectives need to live a double life. This raw, captivating account of working deep undercover in 1970s UK is told by a detective who lived it.
This true story describes not only the intricacies of an undercover operation but also the difficulties detectives experience in adjusting to “normal” life after the project is completed. The author does not hold back in describing the toll it took on his personal life, especially the effects on his mental health at a time when there was little understanding from superiors during an undercover operation and no support afterwards. And, to this day, the author remains conflicted about relationships he established in the past as he asks himself, “who am I?”
As someone who lived in the UK and Ireland while this investigation was going on, I wonder how close some of my acquaintances at that time were to Operation Julie detectives. One of the addresses given in the book was a stone’s throw away from a London squat I lived in.
A great read, but I think it could have ended sooner. All the rambling points at the end sound more like the author trying to convince himself. We, the readers already get it. Case closed. 5 Stars