Bettering Ridley

SECONDARY
Ridley: So last year, Latimer had the idea that 2015 would be a Year of Self Betterment. Basically, it was a plan to become the best version of yourself in all aspects of our lives. After she explained to me what exactly she meant, I (of course) loved the idea, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Now, obviously it’s 2016, and the year of self betterment did happen in 2015, but not nearly to the extend that I’d intended. So, this year, and more than likely next year and probably the year after (I see this as an ongoing project to be fair…there’s a lot of about me that needs bettering…) I want to continue and expand on this idea, so I said I’d share some of the areas in which I have been trying and will continue to try to be a better person.

Personally, I think there are very few people in the world who truly know where they’re going in life, it takes years of introspection, deep thinking, and list making before you start to understand what it is you really want from life. There are some people who are lucky from an early age, they find their ‘calling’ and they pursue it with a vigour and passion that is impressive. For the rest of us, it is trial and error, it is circumstance and happenstance, along with a vague idea of what you think you might like, and continuous questioning.

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So we hold on to what we do like, we avoid and change what we don’t, and we live. But my question would be, are we actively living? Are we aware of the days that pass? How often does it happen you let weeks and months and even years just drift by and the things you wanted to do, that course you meant to sign up for, that hobby you wanted to take up again or that place you really wanted to visit, just didn’t happen? I know I’ve done this, and once you take a minute to stop and think, it’s like emerging from far under water, you take a deep breath, look around at where you are and think, what happened? How did I get here? How did so much time pass and nothing has changed, despite having the desire for it?

The year of bettering Ridley, we’re taking control and actively living! It can mean anything, for anyone! So for me, it’s continuing some things I already have in place and it’s starting others:

  • Taking control of the direction of my career, so I began a masters October 2014, it finishes this year, which i can’t believe, that time has gone so quickly. It was something I’ve always wanted to do though, and education is never, never a waste, and I do like learning, and also i love all the new stationary, pens, highlighters and beautiful clean A4 pads that I get to buy (I know I have a problem….help me…. 😀 )download (1)
  • It’s continuing to write more, publish more books, to build upon the foundation Latimer and I already have in place. Do what you love, right?4863_9387c327726cfdaa62521c68712ec5ad
  • It’s to give back to my community, using my professional skills and my time, and to reconnect with charity organisations I was once part of when I was younger or becoming involved in new ones. While I’m trying to better my own life, it’s important to me that I do the same for someone else.images
  • It’s making more time and going to greater effort to better include the people I love in my life. It isn’t about what you have, where you are or what you do, life means nothing if you don’t have people in it who you care about and who care about you.images (2)
  • It’s finally mastering some sort of skill on the guitar after years of haphazard practice. I’ve been taking lessons!images (6)
  • It’s becoming fluent in a second language to a level that I understand the idioms and nuisances of a different culture, which many one day open doors to a new way of thinking. (Not to mention I’m always in awe of people who are able to flit effortlessly from one language to another, I find it so impressive.) This I have decided can wait towards the end of the year….or maybe 2017….but I will do this!! I need to decide on a particular language first!2073435727eb8d3f2f21e8192a3238a1
  • It’s about taking my health more seriously, taking time out to exercise regularly, relax, get proper sleep and meditate. Live the good life, not the fast life.Live-your-life-inspirational-quotes
  • It’s seeing more of the world, to do what I love to do and travel, experience different ways of living, expand my horizons and in doing so my views and beliefs.images (4)

 

All I’ll say is a big thank you to Latimer for her idea, for sharing it with me and letting me take part too! I look forward to trying to become a better person, and sure I’ve always worked well with targets, and with inspirational sayings (obviously I hear you say! Yeah yeah, you know you like them too 😀 )

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So….

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Spread Some Indie Love Blog Hop!

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We’re hosting a giveaway of our first book in the Keeping Secret series, for you to win a chance to get your hands on a signed paperback copy of Legend Unleashed or ebook book copies enter with the Rafflecopter below!

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When an infamous criminal is unleashed from his prison, it has consequences for everyone in Carwick. Temperance Levinthal in particular…

Temperance is satisfied with her ordinary life. Dealing with her eccentric, childlike parents is all the excitement she needs. That changes when Alastair Byron returns home.
After a failed matchmaking attempt by her father, sparks fly between her and Alastair-just not the good kind.
They are forced together though, when they are implicated in a grisly murder. Their search for the truth leads them to a secret world beneath Carwick, filled with werewolves, wizards and other magical faey.
However, uncovering the truth is far more dangerous than they’d ever imagined.
There are secrets within secrets.
Even Alastair may be more than he seems…

To learn more about Legend Unleashed and read some sample chapters go HERE!

The book trailer:

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER

To see the list of all the other fantastic Indie books and the blogs taking part go here!!

Now on to the next blog in the hop, Privy Trifles!

Let’s get our reading on!

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The Fey Man by James T. Kelly

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We want to welcome James T. Kelly to our blog, a good twitter friend and fellow published author, we wanted to share his new book with you! So we asked him a few questions and he was kind enough to answer them!

So James congratulations on getting The Fey Man published!!

Thank you! I still can’t believe it’s out there. It’s literally a dream come true. And thank you for inviting me to your blog!

1. What’s been the best part of the whole publishing process for you?

I think my favourite moment was holding that first paperback. I’ve been writing with a view to publication for almost fifteen years. So it’s been a very long road to The Fey Man, full of novels that will never see the light of day and abortive starts on other projects. But when it all culminated in seeing that paperback for the first time, that’s when it felt real. This was an actual book with my name on it. After all the years of work, that was really quite something.

2. Please tell us all about The Fey Man. (Ridley loves that it has dragons!)

The short version is that it’s about a man’s journey to return to Faerie and the war of dragons that gets in his way.

The longer version is that Thomas Rymour is a prophet who cannot lie, obsessed with returning to Faerie and reuniting with the queen of the fay. The elfs in the West are using magic to enslave dragons and invade the rest of Tir; the elfs in the East seek a fabled sword to break that magic. Tom thinks he can use that quest to get back to Faerie. But, of course, it’s not that easy.

I’ve tried to write the fantasy novel I always wanted to read, so it’s got fantasy staples like elfs, dragons, swords and quests. But it’s also got the fay of Faerie, a (very) reluctant hero, and a twist or a rethink for all of those staples. I hope the world I’ve created feels familiar enough that people want to enter but novel enough that they want to stay.

3. Do you see any of yourself in your main character Tom?

Oh sure. I’m a clueless, lovelorn liar too.

Joking aside, Tom’s the viewpoint character so I spend more time in his head than anyone else’s. Consequently he’s probably inherited more from me than the other characters. Tom, as he appears in The Fey Man at least, certainly reminds me a little of my younger self. He has a sort of teenage romanticism that I was prone to, a little victimhood, and a certain selfish and dogged drive to see his own desires fulfilled.

That said I think most characters start, if not with the writer asking “what would I do?”, than “what would make me do that?”. Even if characters are very dissimilar to their creators, they all begin with the writer and do ultimately reflect them in some way.

4. The Fey Man is an epic fantasy novel, why were you drawn to write in this genre in particular?

Well in truth I want to write in all the genres. The Fey Man was just the first story to be ready!

Fantasy is great because it’s so entangled with myths and legends. It’s filled with these evocative motifs that move and inspire us in fundamental ways. There’s a reason dragons and elfs and magic make so many appearances in fiction and, like I said before, I wanted to write them all as I wanted to see them!

5. We’ve said before we love the cover, did you work closely with the artist on it or did you give her free artistic reign?

I took the view that Annah’s the professional artist so her instincts are going to be better than mine. That viewpoint paid dividends! I gave her a detailed synopsis as well as a description of what I had in mind, but the rest was really all her. Her pencil sketch was just incredible. We discussed details and I made requests for amendments and tweaks, but that cover is far more Annah’s work than mine. I’m looking forward to working with her on the sequel.

6. Have you always wanted to be a writer, and was there any one thing, event or person that inspired you to become one?

I don’t think I can point to one thing that inspired me to be a writer. After all, I’d been writing stories since I was old enough to string words together. But a big part in moving me from hobbyist to aspirant was Orson Scott Card’s introduction to Ender’s Game, which chronicled the creation of the novel. It was one of the first times I realised that the writer was just a person making things up, and if they could do it, why couldn’t I?

Sadly my opinion of Orson Scott Card has diminished in light of some of the things he’s said about homosexuality, but I still have to credit that introduction to putting me on this path.

7. Tell us about your writing process, is there any time of the day or night you prefer to put pen to paper?

Any time is good writing time. I get up early to get an hour in before work (which is much harder in winter, let me tell you). I also write on my lunchbreak and, if I’m really on the ball, whenever I’ve got thirty seconds. That’s the great thing about the cloud; you can use whatever device you have to hand. For long stretches I use an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard and my phone for shorter bursts. I much prefer writing with a physical keyboard and a decent-sized screen, though; a phone just isn’t good enough to write on for too long!

8. What is your favourite thing about being a writer?

That’s a really tough one. There are so many things! I like that I can daydream and call it work. I like that I can tell the stories I want to read. And I especially love it when people read and enjoy my work.

If I had to pick, though, I think it’s the creation itself. It’s quite exciting to sees story rush into the page from your fingertips. And then to go over it, cutting, amending, honing the raw, ugly prose into something you can be proud of. I’m probably gushing, but creating something where previously there was nothing? Yes, that’s my favourite thing!

9. So what’s next for James T Kelly?

The sequel! I’m beavering away on the second volume which moves the story into the belly of the beast: the Western Kingdom. I’ve got a few other projects I’m working on as well so there’s plenty to be getting on with.

Thanks for asking me, I hope I haven’t waffled on too much!

James

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Thanks so much for stopping by and answering our questions James! There definitely wasn’t too much waffle, in fact we’d love to hear more!

We wish James all the best with his new book! Make sure you check out The Fey Man on Amazon US, Amazon UK and Smashwords.

Twitter: @realkjtk

Feels like Christmas

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Ridley: I absolutely adore this time of year! I’m generally a big kid at the best of times, but I am a hundred times worse come the month of December! I love how happy people are during the weeks leading up to the 25th, how so much nicer they are to their fellow man, how more generous they tend to be, more caring, everything seems brighter and nicer bathed in sparkly fairy lights. This time of year, we all tend to look outside ourselves more at those around us, and really stop for a moment to realise just how lucky we are. 

So…in order to get more into the Christmas spirit I’ve lined up my favourite Christmas ads. Now, hear me out, I know Christmas ads are now big business here, and I shouldn’t be using them to get me into the Christmas spirit, as this holiday is not all about presents and what you’re going to get from Santa. I know different companies spend millions developing these ads, recording them, and then they have big Christmas ad reveals, which get shared by thousands on social media sites (if they’re any good, and some of them really are). But I’m not afraid to admit (don’t judge me!) that I’ve gotten choked up watching a few of them!

Somehow, even though the ads are obviously trying to sell you something or encourage you to shop somewhere in particular (overlook this), they still, in strange way, capture the meaning of Christmas too, where it’s not about what you get or buy, but who you’re with. It’s about surrounding yourself with the people you care about, it’s about trying to bring a big smile to their faces, being the reason for them to laugh and just generally spreading the love!

So this Christmas, stop for a minute, and just remember what it’s all really about:

 

John Lewis, their ads just get me every time, I adored last years one with the bear and the rabbit, but this one with Monty the Penguin kinda chokes me up at the end, so so sweet. This is what I’m taking about, make others happy, it’s the secret to your own happiness too! (Also who wouldn’t want a best friend like Monty I ask you?):

 

The Sainsbury ad is just beautiful, heartbreaking, heart warming and just plain fantastic all at the same time! That this really happened (though possibly without the addition of the chocolate bar obviously) just makes it all the more special:

 

All I’ll say is…she really is worth it, don’t you think? Show others how important they are to you!

 

Make someone happy, the song says it al!! Coca Cola ads are always Christmas to me anyway.

 

And this is not an ad, but it’s still my favourite songs to sing this time of year! Muppets Christmas Carol is on repeat in our house!

 

So, if I haven’t hammered the point home enough, Happy Christmas to all our friends and family, have an absolutely fantastic one, and we’ll see you in the New Year!!

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Natural Wonders

Latimer: It’s been very hectic these last few weeks here at M. Latimer-Ridley! We’ve been busy with Unbroken Ties, Keeping Secrets 2… and editing the follow-up, Keeping Secrets 3!

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Added to all that – I’ve just moved country! Yup, for now I’m M. Latimer-Ridley’s London correspondent, at least for the foreseeable future!

I’ve been trying to get out and see things, subliminally advertised to me via the London Underground! There was recently an exhibition in the Natural History Museum, so last Saturday I took myself off to see some Mammoths and Neanderthals!

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I made the mistake of thinking London would maybe not be packed with tourists (this will never happen I’m sure)! There was a big queue to get into the museum, a queue to get to the exhibitions and a queue to see the dinosaur skeletons, which happen to be super popular (I’m not surprised, dinosaurs are great!).

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The Natural History museum is amazing. No one does buildings quite like the English – always so grand!

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The Mammoth exhibition was very cool; the museum had on loan Lyuba, the baby mammoth that was found in Russia – the most intact specimen of a woolly mammoth, she even has hair!

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I also learned here that ‘woolly mammoth’ is just a type of ‘mammoth’ and the biggest was actually the Columbian Mammoth. They had a life-sized model of it and it was amazing. I could have stood starring at it for hours. Nearby there was also a statue of a Short-Nosed Bear; which basically dwarfed a grizzly.

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The Proboscidea family tree!

The Proboscidea family tree!

This all led me onto the ‘evolution of man’ exhibition. I love me some evolution!

The great man himself!

The great man himself!

Recently, in the last few years the Neanderthal genome was sequenced, and it turned up some interesting details. Among other things, the results showed that non-African populations had some Neanderthal markers in their genomes, indicating that there had been some crossovers, and interbreeding between Neanderthal’s and modern humans in Europe.

It appears that when our common ancestor moved out of Africa they migrated north and eventually became Neanderthals, who were adapted to survive in the frozen climate. While, the African common ancestor evolved to become modern humans. Some of these modern humans then migrated north and became lighter skinned Europeans, and encountered their cousin the Neanderthal.

It was assumed that Neanderthal couldn’t talk, but actually the genome work showed that they have a similar gene to us called the FOXP2 gene that is involved in speech and language.

In the exhibition they also said that the Neanderthal markers that are present (to varying degrees, about 2%) in Europeans, largely affected the immune system. So it poses some interesting questions about responses to diseases.

There were also more ‘types’ of humans than just Neanderthal’s wandering around at the time, and they may have also contributed to the modern genome. This all raises the question of what we actually mean now when we say ‘modern human’.

Anyway, these were some great exhibits and I’m looking forward to seeing what else they show during the year!

And of course, I’ll be doing a series of museum hops around the city while I’m here 🙂

The Riptide Movement and Amy Huberman

new3_1Ridley: Found another band that I really like the sound of, yes, I’ll keep sharing these posts until you demand I stop! And even then…. 🙂

The Riptide Movement are an Irish band, so I’m pretty impressed some more fantastic music is once again coming from our own.

They really seem to be out in force this year, they played a free gig at the Bray Summerfest last weekend, and they’ve supported both the Coronas and Neil Young and Crazy Horse this summer, and I’m sure there were others, but they’re the only two concerts I know of personally, as I was at one gig and had relatives at the other (who came back raving about how great The Riptide Movement were too I might add).

I actually tweeted about how much I liked their song, “All Works Out” and they favourited the tweet, so I was well chuffed with myself for the rest of the day, and I really liked that they took the time to acknowledge a fan too! They get major brownie points for that in my book!

I also love that there’s this video of them from about four years ago busking on Grafton Street in town.

 

So here’s hoping this band continue on their upward spiral to success!

So far I like a lot of their stuff, but my favourite really is ‘All Works Out’, and another reason for it is because of Amy Huberman’s acting in it.

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As an aside, for those who don’t know who Amy is, she’s an Irish actress, who has been in many shows, but in particular she’s in the hilarious Irish film, The Stag.

She is also married to former rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll. I don’t think I’ve met anyone, man or woman, who hasn’t had a nice word to say about her, I think she’s probably a bit of a national darling to be honest. But actually I’m only after recently going on to her twitter feed after seeing her in their music video, and I found out she’s hilarious too. Some of my favourites….

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I get a similar look with Bio-oil to be fair, though it doesn’t end up smelling any way near as good, I think I’ll jump ship to coconut glazing instead.

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Confucius was a wise, wise man. Actually, I love that Toblerone ad, you know the one with the song? And yes…I know the words by heart….

 

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Sometimes I think some seagulls sound like old banger cars with bad batteries trying to start.

If you get a chance, check out their brilliant music, and her fantastic acting, I’m pretty certain neither will disappoint you!

I’ll stop now…. 😀

Unbroken Ties, Keeping Secrets 2

We’re back! Yes it has been a while, but we’re picking up lots of momentum recently and everything is back on track and progressing nicely!

So here it is, the cover for our next book, due out at the end of August – drum roll please… Unbroken Ties, Keeping Secrets 2!

Book 2 cover!!

Book 2 cover!!

We hope you guys like it! Please let us know what you think. The cover was designed and made my ourselves here at MLR and we’re v.happy with the results!

So, yes, this is book 2 in our Keeping Secrets series (Young Adult, Urban Fantasy), continuing on from Legend Unleashed (Keeping Secrets 1). The synopsis for Unbroken Ties is…

Unbroken Ties, Keeping Secrets Book 2

Trouble is brewing and tensions are high in Carwick, where Temperance is struggling to belong.

The wizards distrust her, the werewolves despise her, and someone wants her dead.

With Halvard’s duties drawing him further from her, and the surprise return of her brother, chaos grips Carwick, and Temperance soon finds her loyalty to her family tested like never before….

We hope you’ll come back to Carwick with us for the next story! If you haven’t already checked out Legend Unleashed, please click here to read some excerpts and see the book trailers! Or you can pop on over to Amazon!

 

Grouplove

grouplove_js_170913Ridley: I went to see this band a while ago in The Academy. I love going to concerts. Music is always fantastic live! They were really good! I’d like a range and mix of different types of music. From heavy metal to country, pop, rock, classical and everything in between! I can often be found singing Disney songs in my car too. Who doesn’t love a good old blast out of the Circle of Life from the Lion King? Is there anyone that doesn’t love that song?

So my favourite song from Grouplove, is Ways to Go. I think the video is just brilliant with the little kid in it.

Then we’ve a Coca Cola ad on the television, that has this song on it, so most people will recognise it, well here anyway!

Supposedly this type music is known as surfer rock.

Just some good tunes to relax and spend an evening listening to!

And of course, let’s end it on….

Lovely Laos

20140502_091324Latimer: I continued my adventure through South East Asia by crossing from Thailand into Laos. I have to say it’s one of the loveliest, most laid back countries I’ve ever visited. I’ll put my hand up and say I really didn’t know anything about Laos before I went there. So, here’s a quick list of facts/interesting info, about Laos!

  • Laos is actually called; Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  • Hello is pronounced – SAA-BAI-DEE
  • Thank you is pronounced – KUP-JAI; Thank you very much – KUP JAI LAI LAI
  • Currency is called ‘kip’
  • Biggest export is coffee
  • New Year occurs in Mid-April
  • It’s the most bombed country; due to its proximity to Vietnam and Cambodia
  • 75% people are farmers
  • 67% Buddhist; 32% Phii (a jungle religion); 1% Christian

First stop on the journey through Laos was a trip down the might Mekong River. Which gave me some time to catch up on my note-taking from my trip, eat some traditional Laotian food and have my first taste of lychee! 20140502_092012 20140502_102145 20140502_112257 20140502_161101 20140502_17410520140502_103556 20140503_115759

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Thai Buddha art catch up on the Mekong River!

We then went to the lovely town of Luang Prabang. Where I found myself up at 5AM to go and offer alms to the Buddhist monks, along with a lot of other visitors. This was a pretty special moment. My offering was some sticky rice; but… it’s very sticky (go figure!) and it was really hard to dish the stuff out without being overwhelmed by the sea of orange clad monks descending upon the streets of Luang Prabang! In Luang Prabang, I met some elephants and had a misadventure kyakking in a boat that had a hole in it and ended up capsizing, with me onboard, in a river full of elephants and their poo… yeah. That’s happened. The elephants were pretty cool about it though, looking on nonchalant as I resurfaced full of rage.

5AM in Luang Prabang

5AM in Luang Prabang

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Monks collecting alms

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Poor children from the mountains come into town and the monks toss some of their food into the children’s baskets. The children then take these baskets home to their families.

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Sticky rice offering

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Elephant rider

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Beautiful elephants having a snack

The RIVER... yesh.... hmmm, I have mixed feeling about you river...

The RIVER… yesh…. hmmm, I have mixed feeling about you river…

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Views of Luang Prabang

No trip of mine would be complete without me waxing lyrical on the food! I had some good food in Laos… We managed to stop off at a local families house in Luang Prabang for some traditional food, that was so good. We were also given a Buddhist blessing by the family for luck on our travels. Then it was on to the next stop on our journey! Vang Vieng and the capital of Laos; Vientiane! But that’s another blog post!

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Food, home cooked foooooood

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Yummy fresh mango and….. a traditional dessert, kind of tasted like coconut…. sorta!

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Blessings and welcomes; I would loose these along with my Buddhist blessing from Thailand when I fell in the river… damnable RIVER!!

For other posts about South-East Asia check out: Laotian Living and Trekking through Thailand

Trekking around Thailand

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Latimer: Lately I’ve been doing some globetrotting. Every time I hitch up my trusty wheelie bag and head off into the far blue yonder, I come back with lots of stories and lots of ideas. I think the most recent trip to South East Asia has me all inspired for writing!

Ridley and I are really excited to be working our way through our Keeping Secrets series, plotting and outlining all the books to come. We are back firmly on track now – and we’ll be releasing Book 2 by the end of August! So stay with us for updates!

In my recent travels I visited Thailand. It was a quick run through the north of the country from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, to a fly-by visit at Chiang Rai and then Chiang Khong (to cross into Laos). I didn’t see that much of Thailand really, but what I saw was stunning, beautiful, strange, inspiring and… stranger still!

Bangkok is a pretty cool place. There are lots of things to see there – when I was there I took a trip around the canals in the city and went to Wat Pho to see the huge golden reclining Buddha, which was amazing. Buddhism (and monks) feature strongly in my Asian travels; I sometimes think I’m starting to understand it, then I always get stuck and realise actually I don’t know much about Buddhism, but it’s really interesting.

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Bangkok canal views

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Reclining Buddha… massive!!

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He looks like he’s pretty comfortable here!

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Wat Pho outside views

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More of the Pho

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Yet more Pho!

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Another Buddha inside another temple in Wat Pho – I ear-wigged as this guy was explaining Buddhism to these people!

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Lot’s of monks – notice how young some of them are! All men in Thailand must serve a year (at least) as a monk before they get married, to be considered ‘a good man’ for marriage

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Thai green Curry… because… it’s Thailand!

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From the back of a tuc-tuc… the only way to travel in Thailand… I love tuc-tucs!

From Bangkok, I got an overnight train to Chiang Mai. Lots of people on the tour were worried about the overnight train, but having experienced the Chinese ones, I was no longer afraid. The ones in Thailand are actually brilliant; and compared to the Chinese ones, they are very spacious and comfortable – this coming from someone with extreme ‘creature comfort’ problems!

Chiang Mai was a fun place; we had a walk around in the blistering heat, went to see beautiful Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple ate some lovely Thai food and went for a cool bike-ride around the city. While on our bike ride we stopped at an orphanage for Hill tribe children, for dinner. I bought some lovely artwork by the children – it was Naruto inspired 🙂

During my time in Chiang Mai, I was coming to terms with the heat, I won’t say I ever ‘got used to it’, just learned to accept I would always be dripping sweat and needing to drink water and isotonic drinks.

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Train station catching my ride to Chiang Mai

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These trains are fantastic! So clean and comfortable. There’s a bunk that comes down from over these seats and the seats themselves are transformed into another bed – big and very comfy.

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I had the top bunk, which was fine… but not as big. I had some pocky for the trip!

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Some cool outside dining in Chiang Mai

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Artwork on the streets

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Beautiful, random temple

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More temple action

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Buddha outside the temple

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A very cool dragon vomiting snakes… well, maybe not but that’s what it looks like!! Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Walking up to the temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep bells

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Getting my fortune at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Monks visting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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I got this white blessing bracelet from a monk in Wat Phra That Doi Suthep; he said a prayer over it, for luck and safety in travel.

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A delicious vegetable spicy soup…. it was feckin hot though!

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Buddha overlooking the river on my bike ride around Chiang Mai

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Handle bar views in Chiang Mai

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Buddhas in Chiang Mai

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More views from my bike in Chiang Mai

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Chiang Mai temple

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Chiang Mai temple

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Chiang Mai temple

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Cool artwork done by the Hill tribe orphans

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More temples from my bike ride Chiang Mai

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Buddha and candle wax – from bike ride Chiang Mai

From Chiang Mai, we stopped off briefly in Chiang Rai to see the White Temple, which is a bit like Sangrada Familia in Barcelona, in that it’s unfinished at the moment and being built by the artist that designed it. It’s full of demons and cultural references – though I never got to go inside, as we were late getting there and it was closed! It’s supposed to have like cartoony stuff inside and be really strange and interesting. This temple was badly damaged after we had seen in, in the earthquake that hit Thailand – so I feel lucky to have seen it before that happened!

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Batman and Pinhead… heads.. .weird!!

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Freddie, Pinhead and Hellboy… retro weirdness!

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Yummy food in Chiang Khong

Yummy food in Chiang Khong

Then from Thailand, I took a bus into Laos! But that’s a post for another day!

For other posts about South-East Asia check out: Lovely Laos and Laotian Living