A Nice, Unexpected Getaway…

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“Hey Lewis, I’m renting an Airbnb for my girlfriend’s 21st birthday, and we are going to have a small get together. If you can make it then that would be nice.”

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My reply:

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So it was set; pizza, swimming and possibly beverages of the alcoholic variety. Chiang Mai hadn’t had a corona infection for around 30 days, and there weren’t that many people coming to the party, so it was safe enough. Plus there was pizza, so if we died, we’d die happy…

The place was called Luipu Pool Villa @Thapae, and is a stones throw away from the main tourist area. Once I got given the Google Map location it was pretty simple to find. So I went to a nearby 7/11 and got some chocolate for Catherine’s 21st birthday (Plenty of thought behind the gift, I’d make an excellent boyfriend…) and went on my merry way.

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Good pizza, good company, and a good swimming pool. It was a great night, but 10 o clock was looming and it was an hour before Chiang Mai’s night curfew was due to start. I was getting ready to leave but Chris (My mate, the one who rented this Adonis of a villa…) said I could stay if I wanted to, so I did what I tend to do in these situations and flipped a coin…

“Heads I stay, tails I don’t.” I said as I flipped the coin. And you know what it landed on…? That’s right; tails… Which meant I did something I very rarely do; I DEFIED THE COIN!!! I did a best out of three and scored two heads, so alcohol was consumed and an oversized bed was slept in by yours truly.

For reasons I don’t really want to go into publicly, I didn’t want to go back to my apartment. Chris said to me I could continue to stay if I wanted. Of course, I put up a semi-reasonable fight, but Catherine said she didn’t mind me staying and they both said I wasn’t intruding on anything, so I doubled down and bagged myself a bed in a villa with a pool for a few days!

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Of course, I went home from time to time to give them space and so I could do Lewis things. I also helped out with the alcohol purchases and the clean up duties, but apart from getting embarrassingly drunk and somehow getting a free shot of Tequila Rose (Your guess is as good as mine…) the few days were uber relaxing.

Posh shower, and the final night consisted of us meeting a new group of people who owned businesses nearby. They tried to convince me to join the pool team, and I all but accepted. No alcohol was involved this time, so answers on a postcard as to why I agreed to join. Maybe it was the good food…

So after Catherine shyly admitted 30 minutes before check out that she was going to miss the house, it was time for me to go. As hilarious as it sounds I managed to gatecrash a romantic getaway! The house was big enough that I wasn’t intruding (at least I hope not…) and I didn’t feel like either of them were uncomfortable that I was there in the evenings. I’ve known Chris long enough that I’m sure he would have told me if I had overstayed my welcome.

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Thank you Chris and Catherine for letting me be the third wheel. This getaway for me was extremely random, but highly appreciated and much needed. Once I start selling millions of books I’ll return the favour. Honest…

Quarantine In Thailand

I’m not writing at the moment, so to keep my brain mentally sharp for when I do start writing again I thought I’d write a blogpost about how life is in Thailand during this COVID-19 virus

The main reason for this is because I have heard what is going on in England right now, and I thought telling people the perspective I have as a foreigner in Thailand might be interesting for some people. So let’s start with:

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CURFEW

We are not house bound like so many other people in various countries. However there currently is a curfew in place from 10PM-4AM. I’m not 100% sure why this is, there are various conflicting reports and rumours but it is a lot better than not being allowed out at all.

This curfew has been in place for about a month now and there is no sign of it stopping any time soon. The only reason it affects me is because I spend a lot of my nights awake because of how peaceful it is and it is much cooler during the night. Sometimes I like to walk to the 7/11 and buy things for my apartment like milk etc… I can’t do that, but on the grand scale of things it isn’t that bad.

CLOSURES

For obvious reasons anything that involves large groups of people has been closed until further notice. So bars, kickboxing fights, massage parlours, markets and anything else generally touristy is closed. The shopping malls are also closed, but certain things inside are open like the supermarkets and the banks. Some restaurants are open but only available for takeaway. You order your food at a desk, then you wait on a chair for about 15 minutes and they bring it down for you. It is strange of course, but at least it allows some people to work.

Masks are mandatory. If you don’t have a mask you get turned away. They also have a digital thermometer to test your temperature before you come into the mall, and alcohol gel for you to use as you go in and out.

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RESTAURANTS

This is a big industry in Thailand as the economy tends to thrive on its local community and small businesses (one of the reasons I like this country so much). This includes restaurants, so they have been hit financially not just because of the curfew (a typical evening outdoor restaurant will stay open until 12, but some are 24 hours) but because now you cannot eat inside the restaurant. This has lead to more people shopping at supermarkets and cooking food at home, which is nice, but doesn’t help these small businesses trying to get by.

This has been relaxed in the last few days and some outdoor restaurants have outdoor seating with social distancing in place. This is good for me because Thailand’s charm for me is being able to eat at restaurants twice a day. I’m not a fan of eating at home – especially in a small apartment – so even with takeaways having to eat in a studio flat was tough for me psychologically. Being able to eat outside again relieves a lot of that self-inflicted tension, and helps me let my mind wander which I hope will be beneficial for future books

SELF DEFENCE / MUAY THAI

All of these schools are closed until further notice. This could be linked to the rise in infections after the big Muay Thai fight in Bangkok around March/April time where infections could be traced to the fight or people who knew people who went to the fight, but the reality is it is pretty obvious why a full contact activity has been stopped to reduce the spread of infection.

I am currently here on an ED visa learning self defence after I thought it was a good idea to block a punch with my chin in Serbia, so this is frustrating for me because I cannot learn any self defence until at least July at the moment. But it is what it is. Health is far more important and I can always do a bit of exercise at home. I’m not learning any self defence but I did pick up a few basics before the coronavirus took over, so I can take that as a positive.

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VISAS

This was an immediate concern for any non-Thai citizens as we didn’t know if we had to leave or what was going on. At first panic ensued because the government declared all foreigners needed COVID insurance (which is understandably pretty expensive) and a COVID test that was no older than 72 hours old if you wanted to extend or apply for a new visa. Then there was the issue of being with hundreds and hundreds of people at immigration whilst doing your visa. It was very anxiety inducing for many people, myself included. Of top of that, borders were being closed in many countries including Thailand, so people were left with the stress that they may not even be able to exit the country if they wanted to, and be in fear of breaking immigration laws due to their visa expiring.

Then the government relaxed the visa situation for non-Thais and said they didn’t need to go to immigration and all visas would be automatically extended until the end of the month. This didn’t affect me as I have a long term visa, but I’m sure this was a massive relief for people all over the country. This has now been extended until the end of July. I must admit this has been handled really well all things considered.

LOCKDOWN

What I mean by this is the closing of borders as mentioned above. This has also been extended to provincial borders. This has helped immensely to contain the spread of the virus, and as of the 12th of May there have been no new infections in the province of Chiang Mai (where I am based) for 33 days. This would have been much harder to control with dozens of planes flying in, hundreds of buses arriving and thousands of local and international tourists arriving in Chiang Mai on a daily basis. It is horrible to see businesses suffering because of this, but sadly it is necessary right now.

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GENERAL FREEDOM

Unlike other countries, we are free to leave our house whenever we like (except for during the night curfew) so this has been great for my mental health. I don’t go out that particularly often, but it is great to know I have the option if things get overwhelming. I have my wits about me and wear a mask wherever I go, but overall most of my life is business as usual apart from anything touristy I would like to do like go to a bar and watch Watford play.

INFECTION RATE

Thailand was the first country to get the virus aside of China. During that time the general public still believed it wasn’t a big threat so they carried on with their day without a second thought. Logic would dictate that Thailand would have a huge infection rate compared to the rest of the world, especially as the culture is very much based around going to condensed places like markets, small local restaurants and bars, and it also has a huge Chinese tourism industry which would easily spread the virus around without anyone realising. However the opposite has occurred and only 3,000 people in the whole of Thailand have been infected so far. All things considered, this is nothing short of a miracle, especially when you think 1.2 million people have been infected in the US and they got the disease far later than Thailand did.

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THE FUTURE

Like any country, no one really knows for sure. Thailand is starting to slowly open up again. There are a few domestic flights that are now allowed, some shops have been opened and there is a tentative plan to slowly reopen all businesses bit by bit. My main worry aside from the threat of the virus has always been the local people. Many of them cannot work right now and bring money in which is a huge concern for everybody. So I hope that these businesses do open again soon and things go back to normal so they can ease the financial pressure that is looming over them. Of course we have to watch out for a second wave, but as long as we are careful and we do this properly, I’d like to think the average Thai person or Burmese immigrant will not have to worry about how to pay their rent or afford food in the near future.

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So that is my brief personal analysis of what is happening to me during this pandemic. Everyone’s experience is different, and I hope this has been an interesting insight as to how my life has been whilst in Northern Thailand during the pandemic. I hope for everyone’s sake this dies down very soon and we can get some degree of normality again

TWO New Reviews For My Book Madison!!!

I’ve just published a new book, however I’m still getting reviews for my previous book, my seventh book called ‘Madison’.

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“I enjoyed reading the story. It starts off with a lot of sense of humor and witty jokes. I definitely got good laughs throughout the story, especially at the beginning. As the story unfolds, more drama begins to arise. It’s interesting to see how the author mixes his sense of humor but also adds some drama to the story. The mixture of feelings makes the story and characters much more vivid. I could envision everything unfolding as if it were a movie playing. I felt as if I understood the family, what they were going through, and each individual‘s personal story. It is especially interesting to see the unfolding of Maddie as she goes through different stages of life and how her stepdad responds to each situation while still dealing his internal drama and insecurities; his fear of not being a dad but finally realizing his true potential. I highly recommend this book for the author’s wit, humor, and drama.” Francisco

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Thank you for leaving such a kind review Francisco, I appreciate it!

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The second one didn’t leave a review, but they did leave a 5 star rating. So thanks randomino!!! Glad you enjoyed the book!

Also ‘The Chatroom’ is getting good feedback so far. Thank you to those who have already bought it, for those who are curious, you can click on the three images to view Madison, My Amazon homepage or The Chatroom respectively:

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The Chatroom Has Been Published!!!

This book has been five years in the making. I had the idea around mid 2015 but no idea how I was going to execute it.

I had a few ideas, but they were mainly terrible. Then in 2019 something happened to me where I had some time off work, so I decided to focus 100% on this book (since it is a lot more psychological than my other books. The last one to be this intense was The Butterfly Killings.)

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Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085ZF36T6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

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I can’t remember exactly what gave me the idea to make it an internet style chatroom, but once I started I realised this was the missing piece of this particular book, and I could slot five years of ideas into this book to gel it all together

There were a lot of times where I thought I was going to have to give up on this book because of the sheer complexity of it. Not just that, but it was hard to make a book set predominantly in one chatroom constantly interesting with a story that moved along well. When it was over I breathed a huge sigh of relief and could finally say it was finished.

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So, eight books now. The boy from Watford done good! I hope you enjoy reading the books as much as I enjoyed writing them.

P.s. A lot of people are stuck inside at the moment, so I thought I’d publish this book a couple of days early in case people were looking for something to do. The original publish date was the 20th, but I pushed it forward so others had something to read.

The price is a discounted $2,99 until Friday night, which was the original publish date. So grab yourself a bargain before it goes back up!

Book Publishing Date Revealed

Currently on the final edits, and The Chatroom will be published on the 20th of March

Barring any unforeseen circumstances I’m hoping to get everything ready in a couple of days. I can’t promise anything, but I’m working hard to meet self-imposed deadlines.

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A friend of mine also mentioned the corona virus (as in it will be nice to have something to do while the majority of people are self-quarantined), so the plan might be to release the book a few day early to help people alleviate the boredom while stuck inside.

I’m not too sure yet, but if I can finish everything ahead of schedule the reduced rate will still apply until the 21st of March (24 hours after the original publish date) so it will give you more time to pick up a bargain!

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Have a great day.

Book cover – The Chatroom: Exclusive Preview!!!

Final edits are underway! I have a few slight additions I need to make but nothing particularly major. I’m hoping to have this book published by the end of March but as of now I don’t have a set publishing date.

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This will my EIGHTH book on Amazon. It is amazing what can happen if you keep pushing forward, even if it a little bit every day…

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I will do another post as soon as I have a publish date. Remember; for the first 24 hours you can buy the book at a reduced rate, so make sure you buy it as soon as it is out.

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Links for previous books:

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lewis-J-F-Clarke/e/B00MCKBZFK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1535662420&sr=8-1

Rest of the World: https://www.amazon.com/Lewis-J-F-Clarke/e/B00MCKBZFK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1535662420&sr=8-1

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What do you think of the cover? Let me know in the comments below:

Editing Or Writing…?

I’m having a bit of a dilemma. I’m on my tenth book but I’m not particularly into it for whatever reason. The story is fine, and it is complex enough to keep me interested in building enough twists to keep others interested, but I can’t seem to physically get the work done this time around.

Whether it is psychological issues or just being lazy; something is stopping my subconscious from spitting this one out in the same style as my other nine.

So my other option is to abandon book 10 for the time being and focus on the edits of book 9, getting that one published then heading back to book ten with a bit more confidence and momentum.

I’m not sure how this is going to pan out. Whatever happens, I better not give up…