My first book! – Free on KindleUnlimited right now

kindle image

This is a reblog of the post about my book. For a limited time, it will be free to KindleUnlimited readers if you would like to download it. It is short and an easy read.

I finally did it and my first book, Letters from Cairo by Kerry Duncan is now available as an EBook from Kindle/Amazon from both the UK and US sites as well as other European countries. For a brief moment it was the best selling guide to Cairo when it had only sold 10 copies – I guess no-one wants to go to Cairo… It is a short book and the title says it all, ‘This is a memoir not a travelogue’. There is another book with the same title but it is much more expensive than mine and I bet it’s not as funny! The current price is $4.49 – about the price of a Venti Latte. It is published on Kindle Select so they may reduce the price at times to market the book. It is available on a variety of Amazon sites including Amazon UK.If you don’t have a Kindle you can download it to your PC or other small device with this app – https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page?ie=UTF8&ref_=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd

It is a poignant, hilarious and revelatory memoir about our expatriate posting to Cairo during the second Gulf War between 2002 and 2004. Some of you may empathize if you have been to third world destinations but the essence is about my battle to deal with illness in a foreign country during a very stressful time. The book is short, despite 10 years of writing, editing and agonizing about writing a memoir. Although I had worked as a research writer in the old country this time gave me an opportunity to hone my writing skills for pleasure. Writing this blog has opened my eyes to the joy of sharing with other writers and photographers. Thank you, all my followers, for giving me the confidence to finally publish. A very special thank you to Ed Mooney, my very first follower, who encouraged me and taught me WordPress etiquette.

This is the link to the book on Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Cairo-This-memoir-travelogue-ebook/dp/B015JFY1F0
If you read it (some may be able to borrow it) please give me a review.

Downtown Houston

midtown water
It can be hard to sell Houston as a tourist destination but it is a great place to live. For any of you who have just stopped on a layover or a brief visit, you may not have seen it’s beauty among the many freeways and suburban sprawl. These photos were taken when we stayed downtown (midtown is really part of downtown) to go my work Christmas party in December – so look at that weather, folks!
sidewalk cafe houston
Many of the restaurants have lovely sidewalk patios which come alive when the downtown workers finish work.
skyscrapers downtown
Although we have large skyscrapers in downtown, it has a very quiet and peaceful feel and unlike other parts of the city has nice sidewalks. The view from the top of some of the buildings is spectacular. You can see for miles around as it is a coastal plain with many attractive bayous that are filled with fish, turtles and alligators.
trees downtown
We even have beautiful trees, everywhere! It is subtropical so they just grow and grow and grow. Come visit some time, the folks are friendly. 🙂

A compliment

kerry mundo

I have been unwell for the last few days and so tired that you could see my drooping eyelid from an old scar. Then Teddy gave me a backhanded compliment today. His stats on Flickr had been down but his photograph of me was popular at least. Was that a compliment?

Anyway this is a photo of me on our wonderful trip to Baha in December and two photographic groups asked Teddy if they could include my photo. I immediately checked that they weren’t ageing swingers (there have been some weird stalkers of me on his site) but one in particular touched my heart.

The site is called Beautiful faces of women, men and children

For most of my life I have felt unattractive, most of it is part of my mental illness but some of it real, and today this made me smile. The other site was mundo global de photografies

Epically Awesome – that’s me!

epically awesome award

I have been nominated for an Epically Awesome Award. If it was in Scotland it would be the Pure, Dead, Brilliant Award. Anyway, lets get on with it before my head gets any bigger… 🙂

1. You are awesome; tell us why.
Surely it’s obvious – just look at my blog! I rarely feel awesome but I do appreciate that my writing affects people. In real life, I try very hard to be a good person with a peculiar mix of tactlessness and compassion. I think it works.

2. You are my friend; tell us about other friends.
I have so many friends and am lucky to have them. I have friends from childhood, college, work, neighbors and groups. It is so important to keep in touch with people if you want to maintain friendships (and Facebook doesn’t do it for me). Blogging has opened up a whole new world of friends who I share my deepest secrets with although it is a public forum. It’s a conundrum.

3. Be creative, but it’s ok if you are having trouble with this one/ There are no direct questions to answer; let yourself run wild!
minion ibis
Nature in its simplicity and grandeur warms my heart and makes me glad to be alive. My photographs of critters fill me with joy because I was lucky enough to share some private time with them and then share their beauty with the world. Gracias little Ibis.

4. Now notify your nominees and thank the blogger who nominated you.
Thank you to Callum at Student in Snowdonia for nominating me. Callum has a beautiful blog with very nostalgic photographs of North Wales. My husband and I spent our first two married years there and we weren’t much older than Callum.

My nominees are

Southern Georgia Bunny because her mom and my mum must have been spiritual sisters – awesomely weird and hilarious.

Hot Mess Memoirs because she made me laugh out loud at her story of an 80 year old pervert.

Samara’s Muses because, like me, she talks to weird people at airports and writes with poignancy.

On the Road Cooking because Pan cooks the most amazing food on a tiny wee oven in a truck!

Carmen from Escapades because she is taking midterms and yet still has an esthetically fabulous blog.

Autumn beckons

rust&green

It is the birthing of a new season and the dying of the old. Both exist together as they do with every species. This tree fern has a whiskered texture as the leaves prepare to feed the ground below. Summer is in decay, humidity and heat dissipating likewise the cicada chirps. Autumn is sprinkling it’s magical orange fairy dust as the nights close in.

sweetgum

The Sweet Gum leaves are not ready to surrender to old age and the invasive Tallow bewitches us with it’s exquisite oriental leaves in every season.

tallow

Yet, the seasonal food is naturally colored for autumn and contrasts so prettily with the ancient rock and lichen.

3pumpkins&rock

The Forgotten War

korean entrance

My only memories of the Korean War are that it was immortalized in the series MASH. It seems ironic that we remember the series so well, especially the theme song, ‘Suicide is Painless’ much better than the actual war. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M*A*S*H_(TV_series)

On our recent trip to Little Rock, Arkansas we stumbled on a beautifully serene memorial to the Korean War which lasted from 1950 to 1953. It was a complicated political situation after WWII and North Korea was annexed by the Soviet Union and South Korea was surrendered to the Americans from the Japanese who had invaded Korea in 1910. We know, all too well, today that this has not been a perfect solution and North Korea remains an unstable and worrying nation. I don’t think democracy is right for every nation but totalitarian dictatorship is the opposite of what most people desire.

This memorial really opened my eyes to the reality of the Korean War – how unfair it is that we have forgotten both the military and the civilians who were killed. Our hearts break when we see two very old relatives who occasionally get the opportunity to see each other after more than 60 years of separation. I was astonished by how many disparate nations worked together under the UN banner to achieve peace in Korea and dearly wish that we could come to some consensus on what to do about Syria. The global lack of decisive action has led to President Putin assisting the reigning, if despised, Syrian government and indiscriminately bombing Syria (and also Iran, accidentally).

We worry relentlessly that we will be infiltrated by ISIS terrorists if we accept more desperate refugees when we have much more to fear from domestic terrorism. There are many sensible ways for us to determine if refugees are legitimate but we react so quickly to media panic. Are we really still asking if President Obama is Muslim – AND WHAT IF HE WAS? There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a Muslim, Mormon, Catholic, Jewish or Atheist President. All they need to do is understand our constitution and abide by it.

I would never have visited this memorial if it were not for my friend GP Cox, fellow blogger ‘Pacific Paratrooper’ and I hope he enjoys it.
Click on this link to see the rest of the post. THE FORGOTTEN WAR

Kerry and President Obama

456A1624 (2)
This was taken in the Presidential Holiday Inn in Little Rock. The lobby was like a little museum with photos, articles and other presidential memorabilia – both Republican and Democrat. My husband has a Flickr and Getty Images website https://www.flickr.com/photos/zeesstof/ Don’t look at his photographs – they are better than mine. 🙂 He often posts photographs of me and I was highly amused that he had to block yet another person who ‘liked’ me a little too much… He blocked the person (who was female!) when he looked at her R (X) rated site. I know I am wearing shorts (expensive J Crew shorts) but it was very hot in Little Rock. It was hardly ‘Reader’s Wives’!