Blog Tour

Stranger In My Heart blog tour

A blog tour is a way of generating reviews and interest in a book. Book bloggers are invited to post on a particular day, with a book review, extract, author Q&A or other unique content. These posts are shared on Twitter so that you are reaching out to a wide audience of book lovers and creating a buzz around your book. I am very grateful to Anne Cater for organising a tour for me and creating this terrific poster. My marketing career ended before the internet was invented and I am learning fast but I definitely need help!

The Stranger In My Heart tour starts next week and I will share some highlights here as well as on Twitter. One of the bloggers, @shhh_bookblog, has already read my book and says “what a book, a must read” which is a thrilling start!

Cover Finalised!

Stranger In My Heart cover

It’s been a busy week. The cover of Stranger In My Heart is now finalised. I am moving forward with book marketing plans. I met up with my press photographer friend and we are planning a campaign in print media for the Bath/Wiltshire area, Shropshire and Hong Kong. He’s going to do a portrait shot of me at The Circus in Bath and will also be at the launch party in June, taking shots for the society pages in local magazines. We are preparing copy for press releases and I have been in touch with local independent bookshops inviting them to stock the book (and I’ve had very friendly responses from them!). The marvellous Anne Cater has organised a blog tour for me. The tour runs from 7 May – 17 May, which will generate reviews and create interest. I just totted up the total number of followers that my book bloggers have on Twitter and it’s over 40,000!

Next week I hope to find out when the book will actually be available. Thankyou for your patience.

Anna Chennault

When my Dad was Assistant Military Attache in Chongqing 1942-43, he worked closely with US General Claire Chennault. Chennault had founded the Flying Tigers and was a strategic thinker as well as an aviator. He crossed swords with US General Joe Stilwell over the strategy against Japan, arguing for an air war rather than the land war that Stilwell wanted, a story that I tell in my book. In 1944 Chennault met and fell in love with a Chinese journalist, Chen Xiangmei, 30 years his junior. General Chennault died in 1958, but his wife, usually known by her English name of Anna Chennault, has only just died. Her obituary tells of her work with 8 US presidents.

Claire & Anna Chennault

This photo of the Chennaults was taken in 1948.

Sacred Landscape

I have just travelled across Jordan for a week and have come home with 250 amazing photographs, almost all of landscapes and rock formations. There was something deeply resonant about the country, that several of us noticed, something that chimed with a fundamental aspect of us. Jordan is at the centre of the bible lands, the home territory not just to Christianity but to Judaism and Islam. The minimal signs of modern life as you journey through the desert allow you to really feel a current coming up from the deep. Our response to landscape is often driven by practical concerns – is it safe? Is it habitable? But this was different. With every photo I took I was driven by the beauty of my surroundings and, at a deeper level, a search for the divine.

I was struck by a sacred carving of an omphalos (umbilicus) at Petra. This represents the centre of the world, the starting point from which all things emanate. The carving is on the wall of the siq – the narrow gorge that eventually opens out to the famous Treasury, a birth canal if ever there was one.

Omphalos Petra

Did ancient people also feel that there was something very special about this place? Jordan is the land of the Old Testament and home to the grave of Moses. The Nabateans lived here from the 4th Century BC and were fabulously wealthy traders in Frankincense and Myrrh, important consecrated incenses. Petra was their city, at the precise crossing point of trade routes from India to Egypt and from Arabia to Damascus. As the siq opens out to the Treasury, it is as shocking (in spite of having seen the image many times) as an infant’s first sight of the outside world must be. Amazing, incomprehensible, impressive, overwhelming.

Treasury from Siq, Petra