Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Fête du prince

Today the 19th of November Monaco shuts down and celebrates its monarchy and national day. I get to enjoy an extra paid day off and of course as sods law will have it, it’s pishing doon with rain.(As we say in Scotland) Down by the port in Monaco there has been a fair with all sorts of brightly lit attractions to entertain children of all ages and all over town red and white flags have gone up. Shops have decorated their windows with roses and little flags and Place du casino is a sea of red and white.

I do believe that this colourful out pouring of patriotism is genuine; Monegasques have a lot to be grateful for. This tiny principality of 2.02² Kilometres has seen a huge improvement in its economic fortunes in the last century. In a short time it has gone from tiny place stuck between the rocks and the sea without any natural resources to the planet money it is today. 

The Royal family is loved here and they’ve had a huge influence in making Monaco what it is today; from building the casino in the late 19th century to attracting major financial institutions. Some people might say that only a few families have an awfully big say in what goes on in planet money, but today you will hear no criticism. Being such a tiny place it is inevitable you bump into a royal at some point and even I in my short period working here have met one of Albert’s nephews. So the relationship the Monegasques have with their monarch is often a personal one. I’m sure despite the rain Monegasques will turn out in force to cheer on Albert&co.

So happy fête du prince Monaco, may the good times last!

Friday, 15 November 2013

I was nominated for a Liebster award

Thanks Adrienne Reiter for nominating me for this award. check out her blog @ http://adriennereiter.blogspot.fr

I've done a bit of research on the internet.(Why wouldn't I, if it is online it must be true!) What I can find out about Liebster is that it works like a chain letter. It isn't an actual award you can win. (I'm sure my writings don't merit anything like that.) I normally discard chain letters but I have decided to take part in the Liebster award as it is said that it was created to recognize and/or discover new bloggers and welcome them to the blogosphere. In the digital world of the internet, this seems like a nice gesture, in my opinion! So I'm going to nominate 10 that have less than a 100 followers. I also like the fact that I have to answer 10 random questions that will let you know me a bit more.
~Rules For Accepting The Award~
~Link back to the blog that nominated you.

~Answer the questions they set for the blogs they nominated.
~Nominate 10 blogs of your own, and be sure to let them know, with a link to your post!
~Ask 10 questions for the blogs you nominate to answer in their post.

Here are my questions and answers 1. Cats or dogs? Cats definitely, this might come as a surprise to people that only know me from my book, as the main character hates cats. Cameron my vampire has a liking for small dogs, but I couldn't bring myself to letting him bite anything as adorable as a cat; so if you're a vampire, take heed; cats taste vile!
2. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I moved to the South of France a few years ago, and it is still a total dream but if I had to choose it would probably be Malaysia as I adore the food.
3. Psychology or sociology? I tossed a coin with this one; it's psychology:)
4. Which fictional world would you most want to visit? I know this world isn't too fictiony but I would love to walk into the Great Gatsby. I just love the jewellery, cars and airplanes of the 1920's an era of so much hope and exuberance. 
5. Which fictional world would you least want to visit? I have to go off topic here as the fictional world is not in a book. The world I never hope to find myself in is in one of
Hieronymus Bosch's paintings. His vision of hell would give anyone nightmares.
6. Fellas, boxers or briefs? Ladies, boy shorts or floss? Shorts.
7. What do you claim as your talent? Finding things, whether it is objects being misplaced or finding your way to a location.
8. What's the name of your first pet? (if you never had one I apologize and hope you were still hugged as a child.) Kiki a little black and white cat.
9. Have you now, or will you ever go back to Myspace? Never been on it, not likely to start now.
10. How many hours a day are you on the internet. (be honest!)
Not enough, so much I want to do and read. Mostly just an hour before work but on my day off about 4 hours.
Here are my questions for the nominees:
1.Plane, train or automobile?
2.What would make you give up your computer for a month?
3.What is in your opinion the best film adaptation of a book?
4. to continue, what was the worst film adaptation of a book?
5.Fiction character you would most like to kiss?
6.Fictional character you would really like to kick up the backside?
7.Favorite food?
8.If you weren't a blogger or a writer what would your dream job be?
9.If you had a superpower, what would you like it to be?
10.A new planet has been discovered and you have the honour of naming it, what will it be?

Here are my nominated blogs:

I hope you all accept the award and have fun with it.

Being put out to Grasse

Being put out to grass is a term from the horse racing world; it means that a racehorse is being retired. I’m neither a racehorse nor retired but I had the dubious pleasure of having to go to Grasse a few times in the last few months. An hours bus ride through the Provençal hills will take you to this town, famous for its perfumes and infamous for its Sous Prefecture that issues the driving licences. (I’m not the only one who has run into trouble with this institution.)
In August my purse was stolen. Annoying but bank cards where easily blocked and replaced. More problematic was the stolen UK driving licence as it can't be issued to a foreign address. After some phone calls and internet research I put myself out to Grasse in search of a French licence.
Visit one, august: A very friendly lady assured me I was best to come back on the 15th of September as they were making changes to the licence and my paperwork would just be left on a pile in the office until then.

Visit two, September: A not so friendly lady took great pleasure in tearing up my carefully filled out forms as they were filled out in blue biro instead of black. She then pushed all my other papers back over the counter saying I needed a copy of the police report regarding the stolen purse.

Visit three, Late September: A friendly gentleman told me the proof of address I provided was now a week out of date, before pushing the papers back over the counter.

Visit Four, October: Everything checked and double checked I handed my papers over with trepidation. All seemed fine until the clerk got to my UK declaration of a clean licence. Some eyebrows were frowned and managers consulted. Then the whole bunch of papers got pushed back again with the remark that this was not the right declaration. (Really, I had seen you 3 times before and now you tell me!) The poor civil servant at the DVLA suffered the brunt of my frustration as how dare they send me the wrong declaration. The lady assured me that each local authority in France has different rules. The UK issues 2 different declarations and soon I would be in possession of both.

Visit Five, November: Not without trepidation I handed the pile of papers over to the clerk. I held my breath as each sheet was scrutinised. She nodded and started tapping away on her computer, a few minutes later I held a provisional French licence in my hands. It is silly the things that make us punch the air in triumph, but this certainly did. Pfew, this racehorse can retire now, at least until the next run in with officialdom.   

Monday, 11 November 2013


Maybe if I had moved here in my 20’s instead of my 40’s I would have been fluent in French and have integrated in local live. This isn’t the first time I’ve immigrated to a different country. I moved to Scotland from my native Holland when I was in my early 20’s. Being young, single and scared of nothing I picked up the local habits and customs easily; after a few years I felt more British than Dutch. Is it the fact that I’m older, married and less courageous now that I’m not integrating that easily or is it that French culture is just less accessible than Anglo-Saxon culture? 

Even here in France where they put in a lot of effort to retain their language and culture, for instance by limiting the amount of non-French language songs that can be played on the radio, you see more and more that Anglo-Saxon culture is taking over. The latest series from the USA are as eagerly watched here as elsewhere in Europe. More and more English is sneaking into the language, often its use is bemusing. For instance a Macdonald Big Mac meal deal is described as Best of big Mac. (Which bits are they leaving out? Is it just the pickle and the burger?)

In the book Cameron is making fun of English George as he hasn’t fully adapted to French life and he is certainly not an unusual example of an expat in the south of France and although I have put in a lot of effort in, I am resigning myself to the fact that I’m more like George than I’d like to admit. I have caught myself moaning about the quality of tea. The same brand of English tea just taste different here. Even with the right tea bags it is a rubbish cuppa as the water is so hard. I have to decalcify my kettle every two weeks. Yes I’m doing very badly at being French, considering how riled up I get about the quality of a cup of tea.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Half arsed

I decided to make some changes in my life as doing things half-arsed is never a good thing. Firstly there was the book promotion. After receiving an email from Amazon-KDP about their new feature to reduce your book for a limited time. I thought great idea, let's put that into place in the 20min I have before I have to catch the 8.10 to Monaco. Pleased with my new plan I posted the usual link to Amazon.co.uk everywhere. Now on my day off I read the offer more closely and I can only do this offer to Amazon.com or Amazon.uk.co, but not both. Already having set it up I decided to repost all the info with the correct link. And feel free to reblog this:

My book at the reduced price from the 8th till the 14th is only available on Amazon.com at $0.99. You can find it via the following correct link:

I've also decided to quit my job as I'm not really enjoying it and frankly I'm more tired after my day off than before it. Often walking around like a Zombie uttering barely comprehensible french phrases. I've re-negotiated my contract down to the end of the year and I'm looking forwards to devoting myself fully to writing and promoting. One of the reasons we moved to France was to get a better quality of life, to enjoy the sun and all the other fine things the south of France has to offer. Working 40 hours with a hefty commute and no thanks certainly doesn't fit with that philosophy!

Sunday, 3 November 2013


KDP select has added this new feature where you can reduce the price of your book for a set time, while still keeping your percentage of royalties. I decided to give it a try and will be reducing the price of my book to $0.99 from the 8th until the 14th of November. So if you haven’t bought the book yet, now is the time to do it. If you have bought the book and liked it; please share it on your blog or Facebook page and tell your friends. I have been told by many people that they thought it was very funny. I’m hoping a reduced price will result in some reviews too.

I’m very new at the publishing game and at the moment I’m experimenting with different promotions. It’s exiting as I have no idea how this will go, but I’m looking forwards to seeing some data at the end of the promotion. Here is the link to Amazon:

Happy reading……