Drip by Drip – a drama set in Cambodia

Periodically I will be sharing extracts from my fictional novel published by Hornbill Publishing that is now available from Amazon.

Drip by Drip Amazon Book Cover
Amazon Book Cover

Introducing Dr Yin, one of the chief protagonists of the story.

To set the scene, British tourist Bill is ill in a Siem Reap hotel bed with chronic food-poisoning and Dr Yin has been summoned by the hotel to treat him. Bill’s concerned wife Rachel is there to greet the medic.

‘Ten minutes ahead of cue there was a knock at the door and Rachel welcomed Dr Yin in.

He was an immaculately dressed and groomed petite man, wearing a light grey Hugo Boss suit, well-ironed white cotton shirt and silk tie beneath his white coat, together with expensive handmade black leather shoes and blue-rimmed Giorgio Armani glasses.

Yin bowed slightly upon crossing the threshold in a contrived show of deference.

Rachel clasped his limply held out hand and shook it, noticing immediately a lack of rings on either highly manicured hand.

She immediately sprung to the conclusion that he was gay, not that it mattered a jot to her. She had categorised homosexual men into two categories, those that liked women and those that were bitches, as well as one common factor, that they were all good at what they did.

This instantly assured her even further that all would be well.

“Soooo, what is problem?”

Rachel explained in detail as Bill lay groaning on his saturated bed, this despite the fact that Rachel had changed the sheets three times already.

“Oooh,” exclaimed the good doctor in such a way that his effeminate demeanour was confirmed. Even Bill in his uncomfortable state picked up on that.

“Soooo, how patient feel?”

“Pretty awful actually.”

Bill was then asked to repeat all of the symptoms already accurately described by Rachel, who immediately thought, “Bitch!”

Dr Yin produced a small plastic pot from within his white coat with all the flourish of an experienced conjuror.

“You give sample? Just put under anus.”

“Thanks for that gem,” thought Bill as he replied that he would try.

The effort it took him to get out of bed almost produced an instant specimen, but Bill managed to clench long enough to reach the haven of the bathroom.

Dr Yin turned to Rachel. “I look after him, he OK twenty-four hour. Two day ago, I treat big Australian man. He crying with pain. Today he visit temple.”

Bill did the business with surprising accuracy. He even had the presence of mind to wipe the pot just in case and place it into a plastic bag that had previously contained a disposable beaker.

“Oooh, thank you. I take to laboratory right away.”

Dr Yin’s thermometer confirmed Bill’s fever.

“I give you intravenous drip, saline and glucose. You agree?”

Bill looked at Rachel. This spooked him somewhat. He had never been on a drip in his life, not even when he smashed his ankle as a teenager. This somehow made it all seem much more serious and he was not sure what to say. He was however in no state to disagree.

His expression implored Rachel to answer for him.

“Why does he need a drip, he has been taking rehydration salts?”

“He very dehydrated. That why he have fever.”

Yin’s expression said, “Stupid woman” and was interpreted once more as “Bitch!” by Rachel.

Bill reluctantly agreed. He was a little disconcerted when he saw that Dr Yin was already prepared with a fold up drip frame on wheels and several bags of liquid. It struck him as all a little presumptuous, though in equal measure well prepared.

Before he knew it, his drip virginity was lost forever; with the liquid disappearing rapidly such was his dire need for hydration. He now felt like a proper casualty. He and Rachel were both given instruction on how to turn the drip off once the newly attached second bag’s contents were spent, which would occur whilst Yin was at the lab.

“What a snake and a bitch,” exclaimed Rachel once she was convinced the doctor was out of earshot. “He at least seems to know what he is doing though I suppose?”

Dr Yin knew exactly what he was doing. He was making a damned good living, that’s what.

He returned thirty minutes later. “You have, how you say, amoeba. Parasite. You get from contaminate food”

“Tell me something I don’t know,” thought Bill. He had already narrowed the likely cause as those sunset sips of tea. The water had been boiled, but the cup must have been infected in some way.

Khmer Temple, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
The Starting Point For Bill’s Tribulations?

“I give you pills. You good tomorrow. Three day ago, I see big Australian. He crying with pain. Yesterday he visit temple.”

Rachel noticed the inconsistency with the story but thought little of it.

There is a lot more of the inscrutable Dr Yin in the story as the plot thickens from small time scam to abject terror.

The book is available as a paperback or e-book from Amazon. Click ‘Drip by Drip’ for details.

Read An E-Book A Week – Reading At A Discount

This week is a special week as it marks the annual ‘read an ebook a week’ promotion.

It started way back in 2004 as a low key event as ebooks had just started to become popular, and is now a global buzz with all major publishers and booksellers getting in on the act to heavily discount their books for a week.

My books are no exception with all three of my ebook works on Amazon under the Hornbill Publishing label heavily discounted for a week by up to 67%.

Drip by Drip

Drip by Drip Cover
Drip by Drip Cover

Set in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and the UK, this is a story of how a dream holiday can turn into a living nightmare.

Bill & Rachel Brown are just an average middle class English couple looking to celebrate twenty-five years of marriage with their first real travel adventure in nearly three decades together.

What started out as a seemingly innocuous stomach bug was to spiral into a terrifying ordeal that would threaten absolutely everything that they held dear.

Could they find the strength to survive against all the odds?

Drip by Drip’ is now available as an ebook & paperback on Amazon.

Travelling By Train Across The Balkans

Travelling By Train Across The Balkans Will Linsdell Amazon Book Cover
Wilbur’s Travels Part One

Will (aka Wilbur) has been hooked on overseas train travel since a first inter-rail trip in 1987 that transported him to nine European countries in a whirlwind three weeks.

In 2006, circumstances determined that Will and his regular travel buddy Hamish were to embark on a new European tour by train. They were hooked all over again.

Will has now toured every possible European & Eurasian country by train, clocking up tens of thousands of track kilometres in the process.

With further books planned recounting journeys behind the Iron Curtain and throughout the former Soviet Union, this first book concentrates on the intoxicating & volatile Balkans region.

Synonymous with disputes and conflict, the region is beautiful, fascinating and most importantly peaceful once more.

Tensions borne from centuries of disagreement and occupation are still bubbling just below the surface however.

Follow Will on his journeys through Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Northern Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia & European Turkey, taking in the thrills, dramas & offbeat characters experienced along the way.

Available from Amazon as both an ebook and a paperback, ‘Travelling By Train Across The Balkans’ is a perfect reading companion for your own adventures.

This Is How It Feels To Be City

Cover of this is how it feels to be City - Manchester City Book
Manchester City Book Cover

Forty-four years since their last major league title, City were crowned champions of England in 2012 for only the 3rd time in their history, pipping local rivals Manchester United on goal difference in the process.

In 1999 they won a far less coveted trophy awarded for winning the Division Two promotion play-off final and thus propelling the club back up to the ‘heights’ of English football’s 2nd tier.

At almost exactly the same time, the aforementioned local rivals were completing an unprecedented treble of the English Title & Cup as well as being crowned champions of Europe.

Manchester City v Gillingham Play-Off Final Programme
Play-Off Final Programme

Without City’s 99 victory, it is highly likely that 2012 triumph would never have happened. Modern City may be light years away from the humble outfit of the late ’90s, but there are plenty of parallels to be drawn alongside all of the contrasts.

This book captures the dramas and the emotion produced by the two winning squads with both seasons culminating in unbelievable climaxes, as witnessed through the eyes of two lifelong City fans, 40 something Will and nephew Martyn, 17 years his junior.

Feel their hopes, fears, nerves, disappointment, resignation, exultation and final momentous relief.

Available from Amazon as an ebook or paperback, ‘This is How it Feels to be City’ can be enjoyed by lovers of all sport, illustrating as it does the experience of living the highs & lows of the game, together with a demonstration of the unwavering partisan loyalty that supporting any team in any sport entails.

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City captain Andy Morrison holds aloft the Division Two Play-Off Trophy
Alongside Teenage Goalkeeper Nicky Weaver

Designing Your Book Cover – An Expensive Business?

Fiverr Book Cover Designer – Meet Aomar…..

When I wanted a cover designed for my latest fiction book I did the usual searches and it was clear that it would cost several hundred pounds if using the suppliers suggested by Mr Google.

However, I knew what I wanted and that the cover should incorporate my own pictures. With the help of my Apple I was able to piece together something that I was happy with for my self-published work.

Then came the snag. For my paperback version I would need a cover, spine and back. I tried the Amazon help guides and the Kindle Direct Publishing template, but try as I might I just could not get it right.

What to do?

I turned to Fiverr and was extremely fortunate to find a chap called Aomar. Aomar is a Moroccan guy from the capital Rabat.

Fiverr Book Cover Designer Aomar

For a very reasonable fee, Aomar designed several covers with different fonts and colours, and made excellent suggestions on how I might improve the finished article.

Publishing a book is a labour of love and most authors are extremely pedantic about the cover. I was no exception and went back and forth requesting tweaks and redesigns.

All the way through Aomar was diligent, patient and very quick. I would have irritated myself with my demands, yet I could virtually feel his beaming smile and desire to please.

Thank you so much Aomar. I would not hesitate to recommend you for all types of graphic design and illustration, and will definitely work with you again for other books I have in the pipeline.

Drip By Drip Book Cover

Aomar can be contacted via THIS LINK. Just let him know what you want and he will perform his magic at a fraction of the cost that you might have expected.

Don’t just take my word for it either. Aomar has 67 Fiverr reviews and has been awarded a resounding 5 stars by everybody.

Drip by Drip is available from Amazon now as an ebook or paperback.

To read a book excerpt describing the arrival of the main characters into Cambodia click PHNOM PENH.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phnom Penh Street Scene

Book Excerpt from Drip By Drip – The Arrival In Cambodia

I recently published my first fictional book entitled ‘Drip By Drip’, a thriller set in Cambodia, and I will be reproducing some excerpts on my websites over the coming weeks.

The book follows a middle-aged English couple Bill & Rachel Brown as they embark on a dream holiday, only to find themselves embroiled with a ruthless criminal gang.

This first excerpt describes their emotions as they exit Phnom Penh Airport into the early morning heat and dust of the Cambodian capital, their first trip outside Europe for a quarter of a century.

The thrill that the pair felt as they touched down in Phnom Penh was palpable. Bill punched the air with delight, whilst Rachel shed a joyful, nostalgic tear.

They had anticipated the moment for nearly two months. In truth they had been longing for it for a lot longer.

The Indonesian capital Jakarta had been their entry point all those years before and Bill had wanted the initial experience to be pretty much ‘same, same’.

As soon as they exited the airport, memories came flooding back of what it felt like to be in that part of the world.

The late summer early morning heat warmed their faces and the evocative dust of Asia entered their nostrils, intoxicating them both and instantly transporting them back to simpler days.

Love rose up in their bodies, not just for each other, but also for Cambodia and all she represented.

Bill could not help himself, picking up Rachel and holding her airborne in a warm embrace. “We’re back!”

“Yes, darling we are, isn’t it simply wonderful!?”

Rachel looked remarkably similar to how she had been many years before. Still a petite size 10, wearing her trademark blue jeans and with her blonde hair scraped back into a ponytail, her skin still teenager fresh.

She even had her original rucksack from the ’80s as did Bill of course, no point throwing away something that still had plenty of use in it. Bill had expanded a little over the years, but still looked at least ten years younger than he actually was.

Their two daughters had politely refused the offer to borrow their vintage rucksacks for their own trip. Emma had actually joked that by rights they belonged in the British Museum, not on her shoulders.

Whatever, Bill and Rachel were glad to be reunited with their old buddies. The faded luggage just added to their sense of nostalgia and the notion that they would be re-enacting a spirit of adventure.

Shunning all taxi drivers and touts, they crossed the street to where a row of tuk-tuk drivers waited hopefully.

“Just because we can afford a little more luxury than before, doesn’t mean to say we have to buy it,” Bill had asserted.

Tuk-tuk, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

For once Rachel utterly agreed with Bill’s money saving scheme.

Synonymous with South East Asia, tuk-tuks are similar to a horse and cart only with a motorised contraption resembling a motorbike replacing nature’s beast. Slower than taxis, they have always nevertheless been hugely popular with travellers.

You can get a taxi anywhere in the world, but step into a tuk-tuk and you know you have arrived somewhere magical.

You feel at one with your location as opposed to being cocooned in an air-conditioned saloon. Your open carriage invites the sounds, the smells and the sights to come and sit right up there next to you and slap you jovially in the face.

Occasionally vendors of various varieties of fruit or paper handkerchiefs virtually do climb in with you as you wait at one of the few traffic lights in town.

Being full of barely contained excitement was exactly what the riveted couple experienced right then as they took in the scenes before them.

The highway code of Cambodia did not appear to be written anywhere, but everybody knew it. Drive at a sensible speed, approach junctions with caution and just merge without hitting anybody.

“I bloody love it here,” exclaimed Bill as he politely shooed away a young girl selling oranges.

Rachel just smiled and rested her head on her husband’s shoulder. She felt peace, tranquility, excitement, love and anticipation in equal measure, feeling that she could combust from all that emotion at any minute and questioning herself mentally as to why it had taken so long to come back to the region.

As their driver skillfully weaved in and out of traffic, Cambodian life played out in front of the enthralled couple like a movie reel.

Phnom Penh Street Scene, Cambodia

Impoverished locals sat in their wooden crate homes in the damp grime of the cracked and puddle strewn pavement and chatted happily to each other; some kids played a game tossing a rubber-band ball against a wall so that it bounced back into a target area they had drawn in the dirt; stall holders cooked up stews and rice dishes, other vendors sold weird looking vegetables and squashes, or exotic looking flowers and lotus pods that resembled green shower heads, to be offered up to Buddha.

Lotus Pods For Sale, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Traffic policemen stood in the road directing a variety of transportation, seemingly being totally ignored but presumably having a positive effect in a way known only to themselves and the road users; chickens scratched around in the gutter searching for anything edible; a huge pig sniffed the air and grunted.

Bill and Rachel lapped it up. Holding on to their hats, they drank in the scenes around them, both with huge grins on their faces.

Street Eating Place, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

They had agreed not to speak lest they consume an unwanted flying snack, however words were not necessary. They knew exactly what each other was thinking. They were so incredibly happy to be there. Neither had really realised quite how much they missed Asia, but both knew it at that moment.

Thoughts turned to potential future trips in Asia, to the likes of Burma, Bhutan and The Philippines. So much to catch up with.

Such was their enjoyment of their open-air ride, they were almost sorry when they arrived at the Blue Mango Hotel, their home for the next four nights.

Lotus Pods & Coconuts For Sale, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Drip By Drip is available now from Amazon as both an e-book & paperback.

You can see a few photos from my own visit to the Royal Palace of Cambodia here.

A History Of Ocean Liners In 50 Objects

For somebody that worked with most of the world’s cruise companies for eight years I have strangely never been on a cruise.

I have however been on many ships and a few liners though though my work, usually for meetings or a grand tour.

I was lucky enough to have lunch in the first class restaurant on the QE2 and to be invited on the press tour of the brand new QM2 before her maiden voyage in 2003.

A Suite On Cunard's QM2
A Suite On QM2

I also saw the original Queen Mary moored in Long Beach near LA – now a hotel since retiring from service with Cunard in 1967, and played blackjack in the casino of the SS Norway (ex-SS France), another fine liner that was sadly scrapped over a decade ago.

A good friend of mine from Devon as just had a fascinating book published telling the the majestic history of the ultimate sea going vessel, the ocean liner.

Mark Berry has a lifelong passion for the Rolls Royces of the seas. The iconic style of vessel conjures images of a bygone age, the Titanic, White Star Lines & Cunard, and opulent transatlantic crossings with fine dining and formal dress.

Don’t let the fact that most of us could only ever afford steerage class put you off! This is a great read for anybody that loves nostalgia. I will let Mark explain……

A History Of Ocean Liners In 50 Objects - a book by Mark Berry

The Book Blurb

Liners represented the ambitions of their nations in peace and war; their design, interiors and fittings incorporated the finest contemporary technological and artistic features.

In peacetime they carried celebrities, vacationers and emigrants; while in war they carried thousands of troops – and then war brides seeking new lives.

A History of Ocean Liners in 50 Objects takes in evolving technology, supreme luxury and fine cuisine, as well as hardship and the burning hope for a better life.

There is peril, disaster and death, international pride and competition, glory and war.

The objects tell a fascinating story, showing how the functional sea voyage has evolved from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century to the huge cruise industry we have today.

About the Author

Mark Berry grew up with stories of the sea.

His father was a marine engineer and would come home on leave with tales of places like Aden, Hong Kong and San Francisco, all hugely exotic sounding to a boy growing up in 1960s Britain.

After reading about the tragedies of Titanic and Lusitania, an interest in liners followed – and so started a lifetime of collecting books, ephemera and items from all kinds of ships.

Now retired after thirty-eight years in the property industry, it seemed only natural for Mark to share some of the items in his collection.

Mark and his wife Val have two grown-up sons and live in rural Devon with their cats and chickens.

When they can, they enjoy escaping to sea on a cruise liner or, even better, an ocean liner.

The Book

The History of Ocean Liners in 50 Objects is published by The History Press and is available from online outlets such as Hive & Amazon as an eBook or paperback.

The Queen Mary Ship
Picture of the Original Queen Mary
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Picture of the Queen Mary (shot on the QM2)

Drip by Drip – A Thriller Set In Cambodia

Cambodia

Every so often you visit a country that really touches you.

I do not mean that you have a great time – that is usually a given. I mean a destination that gets you thinking deeply, makes you unusually emotional and ekes a way into your very heart and soul.

Cambodia is one of a handful of countries that has had that effect on me.

I was totally beguiled by the ever so smiley people, enthralled by the stunning sights that lay within, but completely sickened by what I learned about the abhorrent Khmer Rouge regime of the mid-late seventies.

Those smiley people that crossed my path were the survivors and descendents of the most cruel and unjust dictatorship imaginable, comparable with the worst human atrocities of the last few centuries.

They live in a poor but beautiful country that is now happily back on its feet. I will remember them and their homeland for ever.

Lake, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. A beautiful country with a scarred past
Lake in Siem Reap Province

Drip by Drip

Cambodia inspired me to write. 

I left the amazing nation with thoughts sketched on my mind for a fictional book that would touch on that unsavoury past perpetrated by monsters, mixed with a whole new breed of demons born of the turmoil that followed.

‘Drip by Drip’ is that book. It is the story of a middle-aged couple who visit South East Asia to rekindle past adventures from their carefree lives before parenthood and bereavement took hold.

Unwittingly they lock horns with a ruthless criminal organisation, and what ensues tears their world asunder.

‘Drip by Drip’ is available from Amazon as an e-book and paperback.

Drip by Drip Book Cover, Amazon
Drip by Drip Cover

See also my articles about the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Detention Centre in Phnom Penh by clicking HERE.

The Killing Tree, Killing Fields​, Cambodia
The Killing Tree, Killing Fields