Thursday, 27 June 2013

Free 'Empty Bananas'!

Just checked Amazon ebooks - the introductory book in the 'Malinding' series is now on free offer for five days. Enjoy (I hope!).

PS - as I suggested yesterday, if you ignore the 'romantic episodes' the book is a fair guide to life in The Gambia away from the tourist area.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Decision made!

Right: 'Empty Bananas' goes on free offer in the next day or so. It's a Kindle e-book so you can download it from Amazon e-books. You don't need a Kindle Reader or a tablet; you can download a free Kindle app  and then you have access to all Kindle books from your PC or laptop. 'Empty Bananas' is the first book in the 'Malinding' series - you can find all four books if you search for 'Malinding'.
In Empty Bananas you meet most of the people who feature in the rest of the books. I'll repeat - all the characters (bar the girl I mentioned in the previous post) are creatures of my imagination. If you follow the directions the Malinding village you'll get very wet - I positioned it in the River Gambia, just beyond Mandinari village (which does exist!) Most of the other places I mention do exist- Banjul (the capital), Bakau (a fishing village), Kotu and Kololi and Serrekunda and Basse and ... all are real, all are worth a visit and I have been told that the Malinding books can be used as holiday guides (just don't try to visit Malinding!)
People with keen eyes and a good memory will note that certain English characters who play an important part in 'Empty Bananas' do not feature in the next three books - don't worry, you'll meet them again in the next, and possibly final, book in the series. I'm still writing it! Hopefully you'll be able to be re-united with them later this year.
The books are priced at 77p (1$), of which Amazon keep 42p and the writer's share, 35p, goes straight into the bank account of the charity Gambian Occasional Emergency Support. You might say it goes to GOES ...
Happy reading, and do think about a holiday to The Gambia one day!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Thinking about another free promotion for two of the 'Malinding' books ...

The first of the books, 'Empty Bananas', and the third, 'The Mechanical Girl' could be put on Amazon's Kindle ebooks free offer again. I thinking about what to do.
'Empty Bananas' was the book that started it all off. The first chapter, about an unhappy little girl, was a short story I wrote many years ago. I read it to my local writing group - Vale Royal Writers' Group - and put it back in the drawer. I kept thinking about the old man in the story and he grew into Ed, the anti-hero of the first book. I was concerned about the little girl, and she became Jodie, a world class wheelchair athlete.
I wrote the book and decided to publish it on Kindle. I was so keen to put it on sale that I published the wrong version; it contained all sorts of mistakes, and made a generally poor impression. Col gave it a very fair write-up and I was encouraged to wrestle with the technology and publish a better-edited version.

I wrote 'The Mechanical Girl' as a fictional autobiography of a youngster in one of the villages who enjoyed making toys out of scrap materials for the smaller children. She showed great ingenuity, making tools to help her in her task. I gave her a different name and wrote a fictional account of what her life might have been. She is the only one of my characters based on an actual West African. All of my other characters, and the village of Malinding itself, are pure fiction.

Right then; decision made. I'll put 'Empty Bananas' on free promotion, some time next week. Probably. I'll let you know! It won't bring any money to the charity (GOES, in case you'd forgotten) but it might encourage the sale of the other books ... hint, hint!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Working together.

GOES is, as I may have mentioned before, a very small charity. It therefore makes good sense to join with other charities or individuals from time to time to achieve a good result. We received the email below, which we publish with the senders permission, to illustrate a happy outcome in such a case. It also shows how determined the young people of The Gambia are to succeed for the benefit of their families and their country. We wish Xxxx every success in the future.
 Hi Tom,
Yes, he worked very hard and yes, I provided some encouragement and financial support to him. But...... you and Joyce stepped in when I couldn't and provided him with the funding for medical care he needed. You get both of our thanks and appreciation for that.

Happy for you to put something in your blog without my or his name and  that thanks to support from GOES, M was returned to good health following a severe bout of malaria and was able to gain the strength to go forward again in his life to successfully complete his studies and his exams funded and cared for by his British sponsor.

Something along those lines anyway. but yes Tom, credit where credit is due in order!!.
Hi Tom and Joyce,

Just a short good news message from Xxxxx.
They had their graduation day at Arabic school yesterday (similar to our last day of final term). He had a good time of celebration with his friends.
All pupils were called back into school today to check the lists of pupils who had failed their exams. (You will probably be familiar with this process from Mandinari). 
Xxxxx has emailed me to say that he has not failed! He doesn't know his final pass mark yet but at least has passed all his subjects.
He has tried really hard. Even to the point of not eating and losing weight in order to get his days and evenings full of study time.
I thought that you would like to know.
Next stages will depend on his results. Hopefully he will be able to secure a placement at college or university course in Banjul. If he does, I will make sure I help him every step of the way. 
Warmest good wishes. Thank you so much for your caring, loving support of him. You HAVE made a difference!! If you hadn't paid for his malaria treatment and the mosquito net, things may have been very different.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Still at work!

Apologies for not keeping the blog up to date, but I've not been asleep, at least, not all the time! For one thing, I've been hard at work on the next book - haven't decided on a title yet so, for the moment, it goes under the working title of 'The Fifth Book'! It will be the fifth (!) book in the Malinding series about life and love in an imaginary Gambian village. It's the story of Ed's eldest son, Ed-Lamin, who comes to England to study but finds that his dreams become nightmares ...

On the funding front we've received a series of donations from Stuart's friends - they don't linger long in the bank but soon make their way to people in need in The Gambia (the donations, that is - we hope the donors will also travel to West Africa and see what has become of their money!)

In my spare time I'm enjoying another ebook by Clarissa Vincent; 'The Voyage of Storm Petrel' - the writer sailed her small boat from England to West Africa, then sailed up the river Gambia from Denton Bridge to Basse - and then back to England through the French canals!

Ah, well; back to work ...

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Spring cleaning?

Yes, I know it's a bit late but then so is Spring this year! If you happen to be turning out old pairs of reading glasses (or even old mobile 'phones!) we can find good homes for them, via the clinic at Mandinari Village.
Just a thought (but thanks - the last lot all found good homes ...)

Monday, 3 June 2013

Do we need a jumble sale?

What we need is a fund raiser! Hopefully HMRC will soon provide a tax refund. That will mend a hole in the fund bucket - cash has been flowing out just a little faster than it's been flowing in recently. Thanks very much to VRWG and Stuart and his friends who have kept the good ship GOES afloat! You know who you are!
The most upsetting part of running a charity is having to say 'no' to people you know have very good reason for asking for help. They are the cause of us worrying our selves awake at night.
 Still, for the moment, we plod on. We've booked flights for our next visit to The Gambia - roll on November!
 If you happen to have a box full of old reading glasses we know a good home for them - Mandinari village clinic! One young woman was given a 'Distinction' for an exam - without the gift of a suitable pair of reading glasses she wouldn't have been able to read the questions! (Yes, a bit of an exaggeration but you know what I mean!)
 We really miss the heat of the sub-Saharan sun, and the smiles of our friends there. Go and see for yourselves, if you can - but be aware: the crocodiles and the mosquitoes bite, but Africa bites harder and won't let go! We went the first time 'just to have a bit of a look and to say we've been' - twenty (or is it thirty?) visits later we're still going ...

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Friends and places ...

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