Venice – An Artist’s Delight

April 28, 2017 in Art, Books, Non Fiction, Travel

A sketchers guide to sketchingAmazon buy buttonA treat for the eyes. Venice – A Sketcher’s Guide, by professional contemporary artist, Allan Kirk, is a beautifully illustrated book that captures the essence of this Italian city. It’s Allan’s view that there is no ‘right’ way to sketch and paint but, in his wise commentary that accompanies the numerous colour illustrations, there are hints and tips galore that many will find invaluable.

Coffee tables often groan under the weight of glossy books that seldom get read. This gem is not in that category. It is a work that delights with its fresh approach to artistic endeavour, and that most beautiful of destinations – Venice. Unputdownable. For Venice lovers, and for those planning to make their first visit, this will make a superb companion.

Allan Kirk is a teacher of art who is currently based in the South of France where he offers painting courses to students of all ages.

Purchase this Book

Available now from Amazon, you can purchase this Sketcher’s Guide for Venice and  find great practical tips to improve your sketching using Venice for the inspiration. Use the links below:

Amazon buy button

A Tame Colonial Girl – An African Adventure

March 18, 2017 in Books, Travel

Afican adventure This African Adventure begins when a small girl, born in England, travels to Kenya to join her parents who had arrived there overland via the Sahara Desert circa 1947/1948.

It is essentially an intimate diary of her life living as a colonial girl amongst the natives of Kenya at a time when there was a hierarchial class system and when decent white girls were not supposed to be too associated with their black counterparts.

As she matured into adulthood her working life led her to encounter many prominent people in the Kenyan government.

She ran a business in Mombassa on the coast of Kenya and for a short time she and her partner worked for an ‘Aid Transportation Company’ in the port of Assab, Eritrea, where living in a tent proved to be better accommodation than the best local hotel.

Having given up her business on the Kenya coast, she and her partner left the beach resort to start a Safari Company. This move saw them visit nearly every point of interest on the map of Kenya. She was an English girl who had learned how to survive and live in Africa.

The author ‘Wendy Stanley’ shares her times of heartbreak and suffering, such as her parents separation after many years of fighting together as a team to survive in a new country that seemed like a million miles from where they had come from.

Life isn’t all heartbreak and suffering  however, Wendy also shares times of great joy, especially the joy that came with the birth of her two children and the way of life they had for more than sixty years in a country she came to adore…. her beloved Kenya.

A Novel Out of Africa




Purchase this Book

Available now from Amazon, you can purchase this Story of A Tame Colonial Girl and  be reading it in minutes if you chose the Kindle version. Use the links below:

Manufacturing Processes – A Miniature Guide to Engineering & Materials

May 19, 2014 in Books, Manufacturing Processes, Non Fiction

Manufacturing Engineering

Ever wondered how things are made?  Those products you see and use every day. This book reveals  how engineers and designers  decide which manufacturing processes to use when they want to create a new product?

Most books covering the topic of manufacturing engineering tend to be encyclopaedic in nature, but if you are looking for a simple overview of the most common manufacturing processes, which materials they are suited to, the cost implications and their pros and cons, then The Miniature Guide to Manufacturing may be just what you need.

Manufacturing Guide

It is a ready reference for anyone interested in finding out how things are made, and will be particularly useful for manufacturing professionals or engineers still studying or recently qualified in an engineering discipline.

So if you are looking for an insight into what manufacturing processes are available this book provides you with the main methods grouped under four general categories :

  • Machining
  • Casting
  • Forming
  • Joining

The most common mechanical manufacturing processes grouped together in one convenient reference book.

It is a valuable guide that will lead engineers to the processes most likely to deliver different products under consideration to a commercially acceptable standard. It is not intended to provide an in-depth dissertation of all aspects of any specific process. 

Purchase this book

Available now in Kindle format from Amazon, you can purchase the book and be reading it in a matter of minutes. Use the links below:

Prefer a paperback or perhaps in a different digital format, you can get the book on Createspace or from Smashwords and their associated distributors. See the links below:-

Also available through Apple’s iStore

You can see the author’s profile using this link Brian Stephens – Author

Website Marketing & SEO Guide for Beginners

January 21, 2013 in Books, Internet and computers, Non Fiction

Web Marketing GuideSEO for Content Writers

Content writers refers to anyone that has to produce and publish information on the Internet, primarily in the form of static website pages, as blog posts or as articles. On page optimization is a technique all content writers should consider, as it is critical to ensure publications are found, indexed and returned in search results by search engines.

What is organic search engine optimization?

This web marketing guide introduces the reader to the best SEO strategy for populating a web page or post in terms of the biggest bang for their buck. Where keywords should be located, why each web page on a website needs to be different to the others and unique in it’s own right (unless of course duplicated content is openly declared) and what information should be included in the <head> section of a website so that search engines can quickly and easily determine the subject matter of a website and match that page to enquiries that are being made in search engines.

What is Organic Search Engine Optimisation?

Organic search optimisation differs SEO utilising free natural traffic methods from paid advertising SEO. Organic equals natural and, when it encompasses the process of link building or social signals, is the preferred option of major search engines such as Google, not forgetting of course that they would ultimately prefer you to use a paid advertising campaign utilising their ‘Adwords‘ facility so that they can earn money from your efforts.

This guide walks you through the search engine optimization secrets for producing website copy that will bring traffic to a webpage using on-page optimisation techniques and introduces you to the best methods for off-page optimisation, including Google’s own recommendations for building links to a website page. The primary objective of course being to secure a place on the first page of the search engine results for keyword terms that are actually searched for.

Optimising a Website

The optimisation of a website relies heavily on identifying the correct keywords that are used by people searching for the information, products or services which relate to a specific website page, blog post or article. Included in the guide is a basic free method for identifying keywords that can be used to help in the selection of keywords for your specific niche.  Even a basic analysis is far better than just guessing or no analysis at all.

Once the correct keywords have been identified, using them in the right way for your content and link building activities becomes the priority and the methods for doing this are clearly explained, along with a few methods that should be avoided so that you do not incur the wrath of the big search engines for utilising bad practices or black hat techniques.

It goes without saying that website SEO optimisation is a bit of a moving target but if you are aware of the basic techniques that have stood the test of time and are the core principles of SEO practices then you can be confident that your efforts will not be in vain. That is why this web marketing guide will prove to be a valuable reference for years to come.

Purchase this Book

Available now in Kindle format from Amazon, you can purchase the book and be reading it in a matter of minutes. Use the links below:

Printed Version

Smashwords Listings

Apple iStores Listings

Book Extracts

Below are a few short paragraphs from various chapters of the book:

Keyword Optimisation

So first let’s dispel a little myth, “keyword density is important”. Actually no, it’s not, and the reason why is the law of diminishing returns. You select your primary keyword or keyword phrase and you mention it once, that’s good. Then you mention it again, that’s still good. Now you go mad and stick it in every other sentence, but frankly you are wasting your time and what you are also doing is potentially alienating your human audience, because the content starts to suffer in terms of readability.

Page Rank Sculpting

First of all an explanation of what page rank sculpting is. Essentially it is about how links are used to pass page rank to another page. So, for example, if your home page is say a PR4 and you link from there to eight other pages, those eight pages will get a little share of the authority coming from the PR4 page.

Related Books

You can see the author’s profile using this link Brian Stephens – Author

Jewels of French History Books – The Lauragais Story

May 7, 2012 in Books, French History, History, Military History, Non Fiction

French History BooksThis new History of the strategically and commercially important ‘Land of Cockaigne’, south east of Toulouse, is aimed largely at expats and tourists who have been taught little about French history. Conspiracies, cock-ups and catastrophes mark the 5000 year history of the Lauragais. It was the heartland of Catharism, and the home of Peter Paul Riquet, the pioneering genius behind its ‘Canal du Midi’, an icon of European industrialisation. The area suffered from the attention of the Vandals, the Inquisition and the Gestapo, and has lived it up on the proceeds of wheat, woad and airbuses, to the music of its troubadours.

History of FranceAnimals also make a contribution to proceedings, there is a canine commuter from Montauriol and a hard working donkey from Plaigne. Mischievous imps disturb the antics of their rivals, disrupt wartime supplies of bread and uncouple carriages from their engines. These lighter moments may help readers over the horrors of the thirteenth century anarchy, the truly grizzly putting down of the Cathars during the Albigensian Crusade and the Black Prince’s merciless terrorist raid. Master-Spy William of Nogaret dishonestly removes Popes and tortures Templars. Enjoy and learn from a book where Wilfrid the Hairy meets Cicero and everyone eats Cassoulet.

The Lauragais’ has been at the centre of the action in the South of France from Roman times until present day. This most superb contribution to ‘French History Books’ is meticulously detailed and highly researched, and throws much needed light on the history of the region and France in general. A book to make you cry and laugh out loud in turns.

Purchase this Book

Available now in Kindle format this French History Book is available from Amazon, you can purchase the book and be reading it in a matter of minutes. Use the links below:

Amazon eBooks

Smashwords Distributors & Goodreads

Lauragais HistoireIf you need the book in a different format then you can also find it on Smashwords in multiple formats here under  French History Books or you can now get a French Language Version on Smashwords as well.

You can see the author’s profile using this link Hugh Nicklin – Author

Book Extracts

Below are a few short paragraphs from various chapters of the book:

“The Bosnian weaver was indeed odd: he was a pacifist in an age of violence, and his long term objective was suicide. He was a vegetarian, but ate fish in the confident belief that fish do not have sex; he was celibate in an age of love shortly to be celebrated by Troubadours; and in a world where everyone since Roman times had believed in a maximum of one God, he believed in two. This celibate, suicidal, pacifist, fish-eating, vegetarian, ‘dualist’, Bosnian weaver was, according to his enemies, addicted to secret ceremonies in which he kissed cats’ bottoms; for this reason he was called in German a ‘Kattare’ and in the Lauragais a ‘Cathar’.”

“De Montfort’s victories had serious consequences for the Lauragais: towns had been taken, commerce ruined and noble dynasties destroyed or exiled. Hundreds of dispossessed lords were wandering the roads with their families and servants. The conquerors imposed their language and their customs, installing northern Frenchmen in the Lauragais to oversee the vanquished.”

“In November 1942 the Germans occupied the Zone Nono. The young seminarists, still at Carcassonne, watched the German armoured vehicles driving in. The occupation brought oppression, exactions, and executions of hostages – and the anti-Semitic policies approved by the Vichy regime, such as the compulsory wearing of the yellow star by Jews in 1942. ”

Find out more about the Jewels of French History Books on HubPages using the link provided.


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