A Blonde Bengali Wife

A Blonde Bengali Wife
Travels in Bangladesh

We've Nearly Made It

Hello and Welcome!

Here is everything you
need to know about the progress of A Blonde Bengali Wife, the travel
book I've written about my love-affair with the fabulous country of
Bangladesh.

It's a blog about Bangladesh, about Bhola, and about fiction
and creative writing in general...

A Blonde Bengali Wife:


First published in September 2010 and launched in October 2010.

Reprinted and re-launched in November 2015 as an eBook available from Amazon UK/.com

#1 Amazon Bestseller


Follow it on Twitter @AnneHamilton7 and @Anne_ABBW and Goodreads

Buy it here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blonde-Bengali-Wife-Anne-Hamilton-ebook/dp/B016UDI86I





















Saturday, 23 April 2016

Bhola In Pictures

Just last week, the earthquake centring on the Myanmar region was equally strongly felt (measuring 6.9) in Bhola. Thankfully, there was no lasting damage - except perhaps to the nerves of Bhola's Children accountant, Sandy, who had arrived there from London for a few days!

As some kind of affirmation - to myself mostly - that all is well, I've been glancing through the recent photographs and thought, why not share a few more here. It's always a challenge to find 'action' pictures as opposed to group shots - after all, who doesn't want their picture taken - so completely at random (and even more randomly presented, I know - sorry! I do try...) here they are:


Getting one of the gardens ready for planting





Once the gardens are ready, different 'teams' take responsibility
 for each bed.


Lipi, the new school teacher

Posing in the physiotherapy area


Rihad with his new 'assisted device'

Can you see Tahid up the tree??

We currently have a specific appeal for funds to assist with paying Lipi's salary and for the ever increasing, very valuable physiotherapy work. If you know anyone who can help, please send them over to www.bholaschildren.org for more information.
 
Next month, back to a bit of writing - perhaps!
 
Anne x
 
 




Monday, 21 March 2016

Beautful Bhola's Garden

It's probably not often that the Scottish flag is flown on the island of Bhola. Actually, it wasn't this time either. When we arrived mid-February, the boys and girls, resplendent in new school uniforms, were waiting to great us waving Swedish flags - but the thought was there!

Two years since our last visit, and there have been many changes, but the warmth of the welcome remains, and in minutes, I feel as if I'm settled back into my second-home. We travelled on the overnight launch - a 'new' (aka 'almost sea-worthy') one - just in time for breakfast, and after that the time flew by!

Our director, Zakir. has now been in post for a year, and Bhola Garden is settled and peaceful - well, as much as a home and school for fifty one children, a large staff, and frequent visitors ever will be! The younger children head off to the local primary school each morning and have lessons in sign language, Bangla and tailoring, carpentry or cooking in the afternoons. Three of the older boys - each of them deaf - who did extremely well in their winter exams, won places at the local secondary school, and other have a placement in the technical college.


In addition to the local Trustees Meeting - a very positive experience, with some highly committed and influential members (all men just now; but three women are on the way; a huge achievement!) we had tea with the Superintendent of Police and the District Commissioner, both of whom have offered their total support to the project. Bangladesh remains an incredibly administrative country, so this is very significant. But we also had fun - the traditional 'picnic' on the river, where swimming ad a boat ride pleased everyone.




Children and adults work incredibly hard in the community. Each has his or her chores, and when there is a job to be done, everyone gets involved. A big project right now is extending the boundary wall to make room for some milk cows - we're calling the new land 'The Pasture', which in Bangla is less romantically translated as Goyal Ghar   or Cow Shed. Here the boys - Ahardot, Hassan and Rihan in the forefront - are building a new set of steps, and Deepok, our house-father, advises where the new wall will go.  Meanwhile, the girls are cooking an enormous chicken biryani in the neighbouring kitchen.




There is plenty of time for playing: we had a Sports Day with everything from three-legged races to musical chairs and a dance display, and Zakir has added a slide to the (very erratic) swings. The little ones have only a handful of 'indoor' toys; the few jigsaw puzzles and board games we left were received as such a treat, it was a very poignant moment (next time, I'm packing Lego - here Ripa and Mitu play with what they have)


I could write about Bangladesh forever (some would say I already have done!) so I'll leave it there. There are more photos on our Bola's Children blog on the website: www.bholaschildren.org and, courtesy of Dinah's camera and, back home, Trustee Nick's editing skills, there will be a video before long...

I do just want to add a thank you to everyone who has bought the eBook of A Blonde Bengali Wife. I was able to add the first royalties cheque to our donation - and it makes such a huge difference.  Thank you all - and pass it on by sending people to http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blonde-Bengali-Wife-Anne-Hamilton-ebook/dp/B016UDI86I

View from the third floor roof where the guest rooms are

Anne xx

 

Monday, 1 February 2016

A Blonde Bengali Wife Goes On (Blog) Tour



Brook Cottage Books is thrilled to be organising a blog tour for A Blonde Bengali Wife by Anne Hamilton.
The tour will run from 1st - 12th February, and will include reviews, guest posts, interviews and promo posts.
 
Date: 1st February
 
Date: 2nd February
Date: 3rd February

Date: 4th February

Date: 5th February
 
Date: 8th February
- Boom Baby Reviews
- The Gingerbread Cottage
Date: 9th February
 
Date: 10th February
Date: 11th February

Date: 12th February
 
Please do travel along with us by clicking on the links above. Not only will you be supporting Bhola's Children but getting an insight into some great blogs at the same time!
 
I'm delighted that so many people are willing to be part of A Blonde Bengali Wife's story - thank you to everyone involved!
 
Anne x

Friday, 8 January 2016

Writing Right in 2016

Happy New Year!
 
May 2016 bring you happiness, health, a bit of wealth, and many opportunities.


 
 
Tis the season to make resolutions, or resolve not to make resolutions, and I'm always on the fence between the two. I like the idea of a fresh start but surely the beginning of a new year, and all the hype and expectations, will just set me up to fail... That said, probably like all would-be writers, I do vow to write more. That is, write stories - not tweets, FB posts, features about writing, editing comments, book reviews, oh and blog-posts - and enjoy writing them.
 
That's the thing, actually. Any resolutions I would make would be boring, safe, obvious. But, one of the many fascinating things about the world of writing is that there are always people out there with the best suggestions and intentions and I wish I'd thought of them first.  So, from a random, stratified, clustered systematic (okay, just random) sample of writers I work with, here are some of the most 'useful'  and simple suggestions for 2016:
 
Seven Personalised Writing Goals
 
1 Start writing a journal and once a week make a story (true or not) out of the best bits.
 
2 Stop waiting for inspiration and write stuff, any stuff, anyway.
 
3 I don't write anything but shopping lists at the moment. So I am going to make my shopping lists  works of  literary art!
 
4 When I am editing I will imagine Anne sitting on my left shoulder, poking a pen in my ear and yelling 'Do You Need?'
 
5 Make a photobook with GREAT captions for momentous events through the year.
 
6 Remember that stories have a beginning, middle and end. I'm okay at the first, good with the second but the third just peters out.
 
7 Listen more.
 
And whatever you do, remember one thing.....
 
 
 
Anne x
 



 
 
 


Friday, 11 December 2015

Spotlight on Bhola

With A Blonde Bengali Wife well and truly reprinted, having reached #1 bestseller status (and still snugly in the top ten - #3 as I write) and gathering some positive reviews, I remain very grateful to all the people who are supporting it in whatever way.

This month I want to take a break from the writing and put the spotlight back on Bhola's Children. All is going well in the community. The new director, Zakir, and his young family, are continuing to settle in and call the place home.





Zakir is happy to get involved at all levels - though being decorated might not have been in his original job description! Meanwhile, his wife and daughters show off the more peaceful side of the boundary.


In addition to the woodwork and carpentry, the farming and agriculture projects, the metal workshop is really taking off (it's a bed frame in the picture) and offers another skill and train opportunity that will help the older boys when they seek employment outside.





 The female staff and girls have been concentrating on decorating their comfortable but functional accommodation and work spaces. (All the children have the opportunity to learn all trades, but gender roles so far tend to be firmly established...) The bedrooms and the tailoring/sewing room have all undergone the treatment.







There is always plenty of time for a well-earned picnic in the garden. It's winter in Bangladesh just now - for which, read the equivalent of a very, very good Scottish summer - so mornings and evenings are very cool but a lot of time is spent outside in advance of the increasing heat and monsoon rains.
It's not that often that everyone goes out on a trip together (fifty children, all the staff, school and work commitments, extensive transport needs...!) but here's everyone lined on the main road outside the familiar blue and yellow gates



Wishing everyone reading, the very best of wishes at this festive time of year and thank you for the difference you have made in supporting Bhola's Children.
The very best of happiness and health  in 2016.
 
Anne x

 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Oscars: 'A Blonde Bengali Wife' Style

Remember the old saying that a shoemaker's child is never well-shod? I am guilty of that this month: so busy writing elsewhere about A Blonde Bengali Wife, I've neglected my dear old blog! Then again, said blog has always been more of an on-line diary than an interactive and dynamic example of social media. Following the last couple of weeks where I've been 'appearing' on blogs that are outstanding, I'm quite tempted to revert to the old TV programme and suggest you leave here and 'Why Don't You... Go and do something less boring instead...?'

But first -

Before you go, do read on and find out how the new, re-edited A Blonde Bengali Wife became an Amazon Kindle eBook Bestseller (just rolls off the tongue) in ALL the categories in which it's marketed (UK and dotcom) and even hit #1 in the UK's World Literature/Asia. It's hovering just below there as I write...

In case anyone on the planet missed it, A Blonde Bengali Wife was re-released as an eBook on Tuesday 3rd November.  It really did feel like a real launch and it was exciting to watch the Twitter and Facebook posts and responses as readers very kindly pre-ordered and then bought the book. In fact the entire process of marketing and self-promotion, something I was dreading, has been interesting and - dare I say it? - enjoyable.  I had an image of both Twitter and FB being akin to a heaving, thrusting stock exchange, full of arrogant experts yelling, 'hey, look at me, you insignificant little newbie'. Actually, it's been like having a host of personal shoppers in a huge department store,  saying, 'welcome - let's see how we can help you make the best of yourself'.

I want to thank everyone who has supported this whole effort (and I do realise the re-launch is just the beginning) in whatever capacity from Liking and Sharing posts to parting with hard cash and writing reviews - and letting me revert to my original role as complete 'Bangla-bore'. The members of Book Connectors, a group on Facebook could not have been more helpful, and the various PhD groups I'm part of have shown extreme patience - given this has nothing to do with my PhD.

The guest blog posts I've had have been wonderful (more to come, too!) and worth checking out far beyond my feature:

A Writer's Blog - kendraolson.wordpress.com (Kendra)
Englanti Editing - englantiediting.com (Adrian)
Finding Destiny - katrinamarie25.wordpress.com (Katie)
Linda's Book Bag - lindasbookbag.com (Linda)
Sincerely Book Angels - sincerelybookangels.blogspot.com (Annette)

There are also the lovely reviews on Goodreads and Amazon UK - thank you, all. (If I try to name you all it will turn into the Oscars and I will inadvertently miss (or misspell) someone...

And then, the three people who can't be thanked often enough - each time more sincerely than the last - whom are real friends:

Claire Morley - www.myepublishbook.com
Alison Drew - www.alithedragonslayer.co.uk
Marie Campbell - @mariecampbell72

Three in a million! (And it's worth adding, that neither Claire nor Marie, who get paid to do eBook self-publishing and proofreading respectively, took any payment for their expert help).

I'm proud of A Blonde Bengali Wife (with whatever flaws she still has) but most of all, I'm proud of the book being linked to Bhola's Children. Thanks, again, to everybody, on mine and on their, behalf.








Please support Bhola's Children by reading A Blonde Bengali Wife  available here:





Anne
xx








 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Second Life For Bengali Wife

A Blonde Bengali Wife, the book and the blog, are now five years old (the story, of course, goes way back to 2002). This means that my initial contract with the publishers, LL-Publications is up, which coincides with their relocation to the USA, and my literary agent, Dinah Wiener, is now semi-retired (though remains as active as ever with Bhola's Children).  The book has, therefore, been out of print since June, but I've finished my PhD - yes, passed the viva and still haven't tired of the joke 'there's a doctor in the house' - so theoretically I have some free time.

Could there ever be a better time to step back, take stock, and decide the future of it all?  Does A Blonde Bengali Wife fade gracefully away, her job done? Or does she get a second lease of life? As the author, I don't want to see her go; I love her, warts (aka typos, unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, poor formatting and self-indulgent paragraphs) and all. But objectively, does she still have an audience beyond me?

Yes, she does. Over the past five years, sales have been more tortoise than hare; never going to break any records, but steady, with eBook sales slowly increasing over hard copy, and the royalties all go to Bhola's Children. And, hands up, this is with my non-existent promotional work  - I had a baby the week of publication and never got back on the book-tracks. Still, reviews have been 5 star, and I have had, and still receive, enthusiastic messages from unknown readers all over the world. Their comments, and my own ongoing relationship with Bangladesh - I've been back at least  a dozen times since that first visit - suggest that the book might be set in 2002 but the place I wrote about then remains very much in existence now.

So, the sensible decision, surely, is to e-publish a reprint (getting rid of the warts but not changing the character). The excellent local publisher, Pilrig Press, were willing to do it, and I, as author, was ready to grab the deal and run.  Until the writing professional in me realised that more and more of my consultancy and editing clients were intending to go the self-publishing route.  Wouldn't it be sensible to have the experience of e-publishing in the same way I have of the traditional search for an agent?  The problem is, that involves all the formatting, placement, marketing, promotional 'stuff' that I really don't understand - or much like.

Step in Claire Morley.  If you recognise the name, she's author of the Amazon Kindle bestseller, Tindog Tacloban, which I recommended in my September blog. Claire learned all that 'stuff', enjoyed it and found she is good at it.  She realised there are many writers, like me, who would pay her to help them; I knew she was on to something when she made me feel enthusiastic about tackling all the 'stuff'. The result is Claire's online company, My ePublish Book www.myepublishbook.com  (see the tab above, also).

We're going to be blogging about our joint experience of e-publishing A Blonde Bengali Wife, using it as a case study to demonstrate the process. And, together with professional proof-reader, Marie Campbell (more about Marie another time), we'll be able to offer three independent services 'under one umbrella' via the links on our individual websites.

It's new, it's exciting, and we're aiming for a re-publication date of early November.

Meantime, I'm editing, and I'm still working on building up the Facebook page (tab above) and my Twitter account @AnneHamilton7.  I'm looking for reviewers, and bloggers willing to offer me an interview/guest spot - and as you'll have gathered, I am very much playing with the aesthetics of this blog (See? This is why I need help with 'stuff').

I'm also selling the remaining hard copies of A Blonde Bengali Wife for http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/emergencies/child-refugee-crisis-appeal

I'd love to hear your thoughts... Please get in touch... And watch this space!

Anne x