10 Surprising Facts about Tanzania, Africa you never knew

 

 

So Alex and Sam introduced you to the spectacular Tanzania, Africa in ALEX HUNT and The Chase for Rhapta, but here are

10 Surprising Facts about Tanzania, Africa you never knew!


1.  Dr. Leakey, the famous East Africa archaeologist, discovered the earliest human skull in the world, which dated back 2 million years in the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.

 

2.  The coconut crab is the world’s largest crab and native to Tanzania.  Apparently it is also one of the tastiest crabs in the world!

 

3.  Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock band ‘Queen’ was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

 

4.  The world’s longest river, the Nile, originates from Lake Victoria, Tanzania.

 

5.  Once a year a million wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya. The world-renowned migration is so epic that it became one of the seven natural wonders of the world!

 

6.  Tanzania sports the famous mount Kilimanjaro which is the world’s tallest free standing mountain at roughly 5900 meters (19340 feet) above sea level.

 

7.  The moon shines so brightly at night that you won’t need a flashlight to see where you’re going.

 

8.  The most expensive wood in the world comes from the Mpingo trees commonly seen in Tanzania. This wood is used in many top quality music instruments.

 

9.  Tanzania houses the world’s largest volcanic crater, Ngorongoro, which has a diameter of 19kms (11.8miles) and is 600 meters (1968 feet) deep.

 

10.  Tanzania is home to the world’s only tree climbing lions!

 

 

Let me know which is your favorite fact you never knew about Tanzania!  Leave a comment at the end of this post or email me.

 

And if you missed the book, just click on the image below and get it from any of these online retailers:

 

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The Golden Urn Unveiled

Photo by AP

 

Since the release of ALEX HUNT and The Golden Urn (Book 2 in The Alex Hunt Adventures), my inbox has been flooded with questions about the Golden Urn.

Thank you to all of you who have already purchased my book!

 

 

Similar to the lost city of Rhapta in ALEX HUNT and The Chase for Rhapta (Book 1 in The Alex Hunt Adventures), the Golden Urn is indeed a true-life relic which was in reality stolen.

So, in the spirit of sharing the history and true facts behind this remarkable ancient relic, I have put together a couple of images and a news article for you to enjoy.  Of course it is important for me to reiterate that my book, Alex Hunt and The Golden Urn is purely fictional; based on the events surrounding the urn’s theft and not necessarily real.

 

 

 

This was the float they used to transport the Urn with in a massive parade up the mountain to the Oudong temple.

 

 

 

 

Thousands of people gathered in the streets along the 40km (approx. 24 miles) journey to Oudong.

 

 

 

 

The Royal family and dignitaries arriving at the Oudong Temple to return the Golden Urn to the shrine. 

 

 

 

The majestic Oudong Temple

 

 

 

 

Oudong Temple at the top of the mountain displaying the four stupas.  The largest on the right is the one the Golden Urn is kept in.

 

 

For those who would like to read a little more about the actual incident, please click here

 

Now that you have some of the facts and visuals down, I’d like to just mention that I am incredibly proud of this book!  I started my writing journey exactly one year ago with two light novellas that are not worth mentioning!  I fondly refer to them as my bicycle training wheels.

In December 2017, I self-published Alex Hunt and the Chase for Rhapta and, 5 months later, Alex Hunt and the Golden Urn was born.

I had an incredible virtual journey through Cambodia and Vietnam as I dug my heels into this baby of mine in the hope of having you, my readers, join me on my imaginary relic adventure.

With at least five more ALEX HUNT books brewing, I am beyond excited to show you what Alex and Sam get up to next!  So, watch this space!

If you haven’t subscribed to my VIP Reader list yet, please do so here.  My VIP Readers get special behind the scenes emails packed with exclusive information on upcoming books.  (I don’t spam your inbox.  I’d far rather be writing another book!)

Should you have any questions about ALEX HUNT and the Golden Urn, you’re welcome to shoot me an email at books@urcelia.com  or leave your comments at the end of this blogpost.

Lastly, Alex and Sam would love to go on Summer vacation with you, so don’t forget to pack at least one (or two!) of their adventures! You can pick them up here

 

Thanks for reading!  You’re welcome to Like and Share with your friends and family.

 

Disclaimer – Alex Hunt and the Golden Urn is a work of fiction. Characters, events and dialogue found within are of my imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, either living or deceased, is purely coincidental.
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Our South-East Asian Family Adventure

ALEX HUNT Adventures Book 2: Another action-packed Treasure Hunt laced with conspiracy and crime!

With just 10 days to go before ALEX HUNT and The Golden Urn releases on Amazon Worldwide, I thought to share a few of my personal experiences in South-East Asia!

Having recently enjoyed an adventure holiday with my family in fantastic Phuket, I had the advantage of recollecting the sounds and smells of a South-East Asian jungle, the scorching heat, and humidity in the middle of the day and the fascinating culture that greets you on every curb!  So it wasn’t that hard to pour these experiences into the pages of my latest book which is set in neighboring Cambodia, for you to enjoy.

Our family adventures took us deep into the jungle on an elephant safari in the midst of torrential rains.  To adequately describe the exhilarating sensation of feeling a giant elephant’s scruffy skin under my bare feet as it slides through the muddy mountain paths is just about impossible!  At this point, I must mention that I do not support animal cruelty and captivity of these majestic creatures!  Our elephants were roaming the jungle freely and exceptionally well taken care of by a certified veterinary run sanctuary.  Touching their flapping silky ears and feeding them bunches of organic bananas was an experience we will never forget!

With three boys (and a husband that permeates positivity) no adventure is ever complete without some sort of risky water activity so, again, we headed deep into the lush jungles where the locals made the most rural of rafts from a couple bamboo poles held together on both ends by jungle vines!  The mountain river was in full flood with the seasonal rains so balancing on these rafts were quite a skill.  Of course we got wet!  The water was crystal clear as we navigated the raging rapids through the winding jungle river.  Coiling green jungle snakes just missed our heads as they hung from the branches above us.  Scary indeed, but, boy!  What an adrenalin rush?

We visited several shrines and temples allowing us to acquaint ourselves with the Buddhist faith and culture.  As a Christian, watching their discipline and reverence for their god was admirable.  One cannot but have respect for their centuries-old traditions and practice.

Remnants of the December, 26th 2004 Tsunami that left thousands injured and dead was evident throughout our visit, but what struck me the most was how dedicated and humble the people were.  Many have lost loved ones, and yet, they smiled and displayed total contentment in their overly simplified lives.  Happy and satisfied with very little!

Our adventures also included snorkeling in the middle of the Andaman Sea.  I got some solace in learning that the sharks were all vegetarian! (Yeah, right!)  Thankfully, they decided to stay away, and all limbs remained intact.

Now, in the event, some of you are wondering where this is leading.  My visit to Phuket planted the seed for my latest release, ALEX HUNT and The Golden Urn which is available on Pre-Order Now!

Though the culture was very hospitable, there were certain alleys and neighborhoods one would just not dare to venture into.  Day or night!  So this sparked my research into the crime related activities that are rife in most of Asia.  And when I found the news article on the Golden Urn that had been stolen from a mountain shrine in Cambodia, my creative mind ran away with it!  YES! ALEX HUNT and the Golden Urn is based on a true story!

If you’re interested in reading more about this incident, please click here.

Now, if you are curious to find out what exactly our sassy Alex Hunt and her sidekick, Sam Quinn got up to in Cambodia, click on the Pre-Order link below and pick up your copy of my latest book ALEX HUNT and The Golden Urn now!  It is currently in Ebook format but will also be available in Paperback on May, 26th 2018!

What I will say is that Alex kicked some serious butt! I had a lot of fun writing this Adventure Thriller, so I do hope you enjoy it.  For those who have already ordered your copy, THANK YOU!  Your support is much appreciated!

Over the  next 10 days I will be sending some extra tidbits out on the book, so if you’d like to be included in it, please do sign up to my VIP Reader’s list below!

See you between my pages!

BUY NOW!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ALEX HUNT receives Readers’ Favorite 5-star seal!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALEX HUNT and the Chase for Rhapta receives a warm literary welcome with the distinguished Readers’ Favorite 5-star seal!

I’d like to share with great joy (and pride!) that Alex Hunt and the Chase for Rhapta just received the highly renowned Reader’s Favorite Five Stars Seal!

Reader’s Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet.  They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors.
They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award contest companies.

To receive this esteemed 5-stars seal is no small feat!  As an author I had the opportunity to submit my book to their pool of 1000+ reviewers and staff in the hope that my book is found worthy of reading.  Thousands of books never get selected and fall by the wayside.  Once a book is selected, the reader will give a completely honest and unbiased review of the book based on several stringent criteria.

Being awarded Five Stars is a high accolade affording you, my readers, the assurance that Alex Hunt and the Chase for Rhapta will make a fantastic read!  So without further delay, here is the review!

Reviewed By Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers’ Favorite

Alex Hunt and the Chase for Rhapta by Urcelia Teixeira is A Relic Chaser Adventure. Alex Hunt lost her mother in the search for the Lost City of Rhapta and now her father has gone missing after a disturbing phone call. Alex must go to Africa because all the clues point to her father being on the same search, but she is agoraphobic, making things hard for her. She bites the bullet and sets off on an adventure with Sam Quinn, the top archaeology student from the university. On the trail to find her father, Alex overcomes many difficulties, searches out ancient civilizations and finds relics, but will she find the Lost City of Rhapta and her father?

Alex Hunt and the Chase for Rhapta: A Relic Chaser Adventure by Urcelia Teixeira is a fun story with plenty of action, all based on a true story, the Legend of Rhapta. This is a fast-paced story, action from page one all the way through. It’s not just about relic chasing and ancient civilizations, it is not all adventure and action; we also have a little romance thrown in for good measure. The addition of historical facts gave an air of reality to the story, blending culture and history with action and adventure, a kind of Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider style of story. The characters were very well developed, and the story follows a natural path with plenty of twists and turns in it. I also thought that the subject of agoraphobia, a serious issue, was very well dealt with. Top marks, great story, and highly recommended for younger and older adults alike.

 

To read the review on the Readers’ Favorite site, please click here

 

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Alex Hunt and the Chase for Rhapta – Is Rhapta Real?

Rhapta Ruins – image courtesy of Seaunseen.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Rhapta Real?

Many of you have emailed me wanting to know if Rhapta really existed? The short answer is YES!

My latest book Alex Hunt and the Chase for Rhapta is based on the legend of a real metropolis that mysteriously vanished under the sea and recently, in 2016, a diver by the name of Alan Sutton discovered ruins he believes to be the lost city of Rhapta.

He has written a fantastic blog on his discovery and included some exceptional photographs and even a video for you to watch and learn more.

To read all about it you can go here

For those who have read my book, thank you!  I do hope you will now see it in a different light.

As I am only eight months into my newfound writing career, I humbly ask that you share my book with your friends and on your social media pages.  I have a deep desire to write full time somewhere with a ocean view!

Some inside track exclusively to you my faithful readers…  I am three chapters in on Book 2 in the Alex Hunt Relic Chaser Adventure Series!

 

Watch this space!

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Profanity vs Principles

Profanity vs PrinciplesProfanity vs Principles?

One of my readers (if you read this post, please don’t take offense!) recently commented in her review that she felt my book Alex Hunt and the Chase for Rhapta was more suited to the YA market because of it not containing any swearing.  Now I didn’t necessarily see that as a negative comment, on the contrary, I’d love to be so talented that I speak to several genres at once, but it got me thinking and subsequently led me to write this post in the hope that my readers will understand who I am.

Let me start by just saying, that my Alex Hunt books are not primarily aimed at the Young Adult book market but aimed at the Action & Adventure and Historical Fiction Adult book markets.  With that said, however, I would be proud to have fifteen to twenty-five year olds also read my books.

I have been receiving a lot of mixed reviews on this book, some of which literally left me crying wanting to throw in the towel, but this one stole several hours of sleep and made me question something far more critical.  My morals.  Yes, yes, fellow authors. I hear you saying “see this is why you don’t read your reviews,”  and I get it.  Reviews have a way of cutting deep into the core which can, in turn, affect your writing and in some cases,  your very being.  I honestly don’t think this reviewer intended her feedback to sound harmful in any way, shape or form by the way.  It was her personal preference.  But to me it’s a case of profanity vs principles.

So let me explain why I lost sleep over this review compared to the suspicious one star one who has no friends or followers on Goodreads and reads a 600-page book practically every day.

You see, these words brought me to a face-off.  Do I write what I know sells like hot cakes, or do I stay true to who I am?

Most of you will choose the latter, of course.  It’s the right thing to do, but when you’re an Indie Author, like me, trying to break into an industry dominated by authors who challenge faith, human existence, and sexual morality, the answer isn’t that easy.  There are millions of Bestselling books on Amazon that contain mounds of excessive profanity, blasphemy, eroticism, rape, incest, graphic crime and demonism and they all sell!!  In the millions! Somehow these twisted dark underworld plots are what readers choose to escape an already saturated world encompassing all of the above with.  And that’s fine by me!  To each his own.  Far be it for me to judge.  I just choose not to add to this!

Besides the fact that I have children who emulate and look up to me, I have my values which I hold very dear.  I have a stepdaughter on the brink of adulthood, two tween sons and a little one who copies everything his brothers do.  Why on earth would I want any of my children, my mother or my mother’s best friend even, to read anything I am not proud to say across the dinner table from them?  Am I perfect?  Heck no!  Do I strive to be?  You bet!  Do I fall short?  OF COURSE!  I’m no saint.  And yes, there is very light swearing here and there in my books but it’s a long way off of a book I have to hide from my pastor.  I have a choice.  A choice to not write books with excessive vulgar swearing, blasphemy, explicit sex, etc. etc. etc.  I want my kids to read my books and pass it onto their friends with confidence knowing that their mother is the same person in front of them than through her books.

When I first put pen to paper, I made a choice.  A moral decision.  My books should carry my readers away from the perils of this world, inspire them, educate them and, to the YA’s reading my books, set an example.   I drew a line in the sand.  If I don’t sell as many books and lose half the reader population, so be it.  But I’d rather go down in The Good Book upstairs as an author who didn’t sacrifice her morals for the sake of the almighty dollar.

In closing, I have been at it for a mere seven months now.  Self-published three books with a fourth one in the making.  I am determined enough (ok stubborn!) to keep at it until I hit the nr 1 Bestseller spot on Amazon (or leave this earth). I shall not be shaken.

So,  if you choose to read my books, THANK YOU!  I vow to continually work hard at keeping you engaged and interested through all my books to come.

See you between my pages!

 

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What makes a good story for a book?

What makes a good story for a book?

During a recent Book blogger interview, I was asked: ” What makes a good story for a book?”  At the time, I thought it to actually be a fairly normal question for her to ask me.  I mean, I’ve often wondered after having read some of my favourite authors’ books, how they’d come up with that particular plot for their book?  What sparked it? But this question could have easily also meant something entirely different.  Like, how do you prefer drinking your tea?  Sugar? Milk? Cup or Mug?

Now, I realise she probably quite literally meant to ask how I come up with a concept or a good plot to write a book. I get it.  But I chose to answer her by saying that it all really depended on the mood you’re in whilst reading or choosing a particular book.  My answer took her completely by surprise, but think about it for a second.  It’s kind of like switching on Netflix and scrolling through lines and lines of thumbnails trying to choose your next curl-up-on-the-couch movie.  What’s going to make for a good watch? So you start by scrolling through the categories and then slowly hone in eventually settling on something you hope is going to be worth watching.   If it’s late at night and around Halloween, well then you’ll probably choose a thriller and thoroughly enjoy it.  If it’s Christmas and you’re curled up in bed in the middle of winter, then you’ll most certainly pick a nice Christmassy movie, right?  Your mood in life pretty much sets the tone for many things but how you perceive it on your end as a viewer or a reader is essentially the key to this answer.

You see when you write a book, your mind should not be focussed around yourself in a particular moment but instead, you should always look at your writing through the eyes of your readers.  How would they read this sentence or paragraph?  Can they feel the emotion you’re trying to evoke through your words?  Are they bored? Are they curious to read more? See, unlike the visual enhancements a movie gives you, a book needs to be written in such a way that it transports the reader to a fantasy world only they can conjure up.  Based on their own fantasies and subliminal memories.  A place where they are able to put a face to a character, fill a house with furniture and colour schemes or smell freshly baked muffins on a breakfast table.

Which touches on the very thing I wrote on in one of my other blogs on Reviews.  A great review is most certainly dependent on not only whether my reader enjoyed reading my book, or what the story was about or even how many adjectives you used, but also on whether they have read the book at the right time and in the right mood!

So, as a writer, in my mind, the answer to What makes a good story for a book is quite simply…. The Reader!

 

PS:  To see if I’ve hit the spot, please read one of my books and let me know by posting a review

What makes a good story for a book?

What makes a good story for a book?

 

 

 

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Book Sales vs Book Reviews

Which sells books? Book Sales or Book Reviews?

It’s practically the first wall you hit after having written a book.  Book Sales and Book Reviews.  Which sells books? Your Book reviews or more Book Sales?

As an aspiring author, I’ve pondered this conundrum many times. I’ve plucked up the courage to finally write my book. You know…the one I’ve had on my bucket list and swore I’d write before I turn fifty?

So I wake up in the middle of the night with a storyline to what I’m certain will be the next bestseller, and make a mad dash to my laptop. Armed with a strong mug of coffee I start thrashing out keys at the speed of light as the words and paragraphs gush out, slowly bringing my debut novel to life.

Having then also conquered the self-publishing beast, my book is live on Amazon and Goodreads and I’ve even gone one step further in creating a paperback through Createspace.

Voilá. I am an Author. A self published Author nonetheless, but now what?

As a new Author, writing your first book, is a personal achievement that brings great joy and you tell yourself that it was just that… for yourself.

But deep down you want your book to sell and get recommended amongst avid readers on online book forums and the likes who can appreciate reading a good book. So you join all the online Indy Author forums and start interacting with readers, fellow authors, reviewers and the likes in the hope that you can create somewhat of a book following with online friends to generate some Book Sales.

A month down the line you have plenty of free book downloads (having entered all the online book giveaways, countdown deals and free book promotions!) but no book sales to speak of and once again, turn to the online book forums for advice.

Only to then learn that, in order to Sell your book, you need Book Reviews. Confused you ponder this statement to kingdom come because, in order to get the Book Reviews in the first place, you need to Sell your book, but to Sell your book, you need Reviews? Say what now? What comes first? The chicken or the egg?

Some new Authors would even suggest paying for Reviews and trust me, there are plenty “Books Reviewers” out there that will offer their services for free if you send them a free copy of your book to review. Months later, with no book review anywhere on any Amazon marketplace site, you go back to the small print on their blogs only to see they do warn that their inboxes are always inundated with requests to review so don’t expect your review anytime soon!

So next time you ask yourself, which sells books, you need to ask yourself at this point. Why are you writing? Do you really need to beg and pay for reviews or would you rather rely on organic book sales and therefore organic honest reviews?  Wouldn’t this be a more truthful reflection of your actual talent?

Writer Inspiration - which sells books

 

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Hello Indie Author world!

Indie Author and Self-Publishing

It’s official!  My longterm goal to achieve before I hit the half-century mark has a big green tick behind it!  In fact, it has two and a third on the way!

I am an Author.  A Writer.  A Scriber.  Whatever you want to call it.  I wrote a book and published it!  Self-published it.  So now I’m also fondly known as a Self-published Author or the slang… Indie Author.  Now some of the more… shall we call it, established traditional authors out there, somewhat frown upon us Indie Authors with our Indie Publishing.  Apparently, you’re not really an Author unless it was done the traditional way, referring to having had an actual Publisher rip through your hard work with a red pen and copious amounts of personal opinions and ideas causing you to be rejected beyond what your confidence (or any human being’s) should withstand.  Only to then make you write and re-write your manuscript until they’re finally satisfied it will sell.  Of course, should the Author survive this torture, the pressure would be on to produce more such self-esteem challenging works because there’s now a salary paid employee whose sole task it is to blast the market and social media with marketing your book and a Publisher who needs to make his share of the book he so fondly re-wrote.  How can it not sell??

You see, these Authors (not all I should say!) look down upon us Indie Authors.  As if likened to the woman who chose the Caesarian route over enduring twenty hours of painful authentic labor.  (She still birthed right?)  But they haven’t had to learn how to edit their own book cover, conquer the mighty Amazon or figure out social media campaigns and meta tags.    They merely did what they loved doing… write a book, and then proudly sat back while someone else does all these things with their own money.

Now please!  I’m by no means coming down on the traditional Published Author, please don’t get me wrong.  Anyone brave enough to willingly put themselves through the criticism and rejection over and over again certainly deserves an honorary badge or medal in my book.  I certainly am not brave enough for this I humbly confess.  (I did however still celebrate when my first book ever was written went live on Amazon!)

I’m merely expressing how tough it really is to be an Indie Author.  Something no google or Wikipedia ever mentioned when I googled “What is an Indie Author”  So let me put it out there to enlighten those other Authors like me.  (By the way, Wikipedia’s definition of an Author is in fact “ An author is narrowly defined as the originator of any written work and can thus also be described as a writer. “ … just saying!)

To write a book for the first time is challenging but to figure out and execute Self-publishing pushes you beyond that same confidence thrashing measures as you are now up against the criticism and personal options of the almighty Reviews!

So next time you doubt yourself based off of the lack of Reviews or Sales you might or might not have, DONT!  Just keep writing….

 

Indie author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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