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Write a blog, they said.

You can turn it into a book and make a ton of money. Only…guess who “They” are? Maybe the same people who said, “You can cut off that bridesmaid dress and wear it to parties.” Or “This will hurt me more than you.” Or “Take calculus. You’ll need it someday.” Well, I have to say to Them that I have a closet full of (long) bridesmaid dresses. It hurts me like hell and you’re not screaming. And there is no such thing as calculus in the real world.

Only… what the heck. I pulled some blogs together with new material, and self-pubbed on Amazon. Then I sat back to see what happened. Not that I was obsessed or anything. I only looked at the Amazon rankings every nanosecond or two.

Me occasionally checking sales rankings on Amazon. [image credit: Dawson Bros. Funtime: "Facebook Stalker"] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgl25IadVPk

Me occasionally checking sales rankings on Amazon. [image credit:  “Facebook Stalker“]

So in the interests of getting a life, I decided to check out the competition. After all, how many books could be on Amazon with search words “Travel, Humor, Memoir”? Crap. 896. (Or about half that, if you cross out Bill Bryson.) And lots of them have seriously great covers. I can’t deny that many looked…interesting. [Cough. Sex Lives of Cannibals, cough, cough] But somehow among all the photos and bright colors, a gentle watercolor wash cover caught my eye. Two Old Fools on a Camel: From Spain to Bahrain and back again

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five challenge is to take ONLY FIVE MINUTES to browse an unfamiliar category and select a book based solely on the cover art.

Book blurb:


51TKMrNZ4dL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Reluctantly, Vicky and Joe leave their Spanish mountain village to work for a year in the Middle East. How could they know that the Arab revolution was poised to erupt, throwing them into violent events that would make world headlines?

Teaching Arab kids, working with crazy teachers, forming life-long friendships and being placed under house arrest, Vicky and Joe laugh and lurch through their year in Bahrain.

With grateful thanks to Nadia Sawalha for the wonderful Arabic recipes.

Victoria Twead is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Old Fools series:

#1 Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools
#2 Two Old Fools – Olé!
#3 Two Old Fools on a Camel
#4 Two Old Fools in Spain Again
# One Young Fool in Dorset: The Old Fools Prequel

In 2004 Victoria Twead nagged poor, long-suffering Joe into leaving Britain and relocating to a tiny, remote mountain village in Andalucía where they became reluctant chicken farmers and owned the most dangerous cockerel in Spain. Village life inspired Victoria’s first book, Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools, which was quickly followed by more, all of which fast became Amazon bestsellers.




My Analysis: I loved the blurb and the cover. But looking at some of the 3-or-less star reviews showed that while people really enjoyed the earlier books in the series, several complained that the stories about locals in this one seemed mean-spirited or even insulting. On the plus side, many readers called it laugh-out-loud funny, and one—a teacher in Bahrain—thanked her for her honest description of the country during especially challenging times. Overall, I think that it’s a PASS for me, but I might take a look at the earlier books in the series.

BUY or PASS:   PASS (but maybe look at other books in the series)

Here is Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge. It only took five minutes and a couple more to write up, and was a ton of fun. I hope you’ll consider joining in. All Rosie asks is that you link back to her original post here so we can all join in viewing your challenge results.

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

Rosie Amber's Friday Five Challenge. Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

Rosie Amber’s Friday Five Challenge. Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

My Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

  1. Go to any online book supplier,
  2. Randomly choose a category,
  3. Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,
  4. Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.
  5. If there are reviews, check out a couple,
  6. Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?
  7. I’ll be back next week with another Friday Five Challenge, do feel free to join in.