Expat In Bacolod

Stephen Bentley - Writer

Curious Case of the Iceberg Lettuce and a Cranky Book Reviewer

Welcome to the World of Books (and Iceberg Lettuce) You may ask what an iceberg lettuce has got to do with book reviews. Read on my friend … One of my recent book reviews  on the Goodreads website was for a book called A Harvest Passion by Emily Murdoch. I also posted my review on Amazon. While I was on the Goodreads site, I spotted a 1* Review. I thought ‘no, it can’t be.’ But it was and here is what was posted by the reviewer. If there’s a worse book out there, I can’t think of what it is. This was awkward and weird, with neither main character having anything remotely interesting about them. There was absolutely no reason for them to “fall in… Read More

The Sugar Bowl of the Philippines

Negros Island is well known for sugar production and is known as the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines.  Below is a further article by Butch Bacaoco in his series Cane Points and reproduced with his kind permission. Butch knows his stuff about the sugar industry and in fact I listened in awe one day to a “history lesson” about the industry that involved an Englishman named Loney. This is an extract from the SRA’s website about the history of sugar in these islands: Although sugarcane was raised since pre-Spanish times in the Visayan islands after its introduction, it did not become much of an industry until after 1850. There were a score of small plantation in the province of Iloilo and a few in Negros… Read More

#1 Pro Tip – Try Before You Buy Social Media Tool (Be Happy)

Twitter is still partly a mystery to me. I say “partly” because the penny is starting to drop. If you want to have a presence on Twitter then you need to engage! It’s no good just shouting about your book, blog, or whatever else you have created and believe is a masterpiece. So, let me tell you about my #1 Pro Tip about social media in general and Twitter in particular. Before I do that, who needs it? If you are a “creative” then I suggest you need it. That applies if you are a writer, blogger or musician. You want to ‘tell’ the world about yourself and your work. This article could go on at length about social media and Twitter. It is such… Read More

War on Drugs – Beware 1) Misinformation 2) Vested Interests

Disclosure: I have a book to sell and promote ‘Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story.’ It is a true story of my undercover cop days infiltrating one of the world’s largest drug gangs. I make the disclosure in light of the words “vested interests” in the title of this piece. I, unlike some others, have no vested interests in the debate on drugs. As I wrote in my book, “I am   neither pro or anti-drugs.” I am all in favor of an intelligent, fact-based debate. But other than that, I have no vested interest in advocating a view about the so-called ‘War on Drugs.’ It was the BBC who said that Operation Julie was the start of the ‘War on Drugs.’ As I… Read More

Mither (Word Wednesday) – Number 1 Awesome Brit Word

The usual starting point of Merriam-Webster has let me down this week. It has an entry for ‘mither’ but bangs on about it being Scottish for mother or something like that. Wrong! So that means we go to a new source – the Oxford Dictionaries, another American English online resource. And it is spot on: Definition of mither in English: mither Pronunciation: /ˈmʌɪðə/ Entry from British & World English dictionary VERB dialect, chiefly Northern English 1 Make a fuss; moan: oh men—don’t they mither? 1.1 Pester or irritate (someone): More example sentences the pile of bills would mither her whenever she felt good What I cannot deal with is mithering colleagues who constantly bombard you with their insane comments or ways of working. He’s like… Read More

Lifetime of Baffling Brownouts in Bacolod – Is There Hope?

The article below first appeared in the Negros Daily Bulletin in the Cane Points feature written by Butch Bacaoco. I know Butch well. We are almost related and I suppose will be after I finally tie the knot with Zabrina, his cousin.  I am sure he will not mind me describing him as an extremely intelligent man with a flair for writing. In fact, it’s more than a flair. He is a trained professional and was editor-in-chief of the Bacolod Sun Star for some time. I became aware that he had started writing the Cane Points series and asked his permission to reproduce selected articles here. He agreed. I feel it is important to tap into certain local issues. After all it is my new… Read More

Book Review: ‘Carly’ by D.M. Wolfenden

This is my review posted on Goodreads and UK Amazon. It is a very short story but brilliantly written. This is the “blurb” on Amazon: Written in British English, including some slang. Carly: Her cousin, Lisa disappeared, her family murdered in front of her. Held in prison for kidnapper’s murder, she has to try and find a way to save Lisa. Carly by D.M. Wolfenden My rating: 5 of 5 stars Carly by D.M. Wolfenden is an excellent short story. And by short, I mean short. Yet, that does not detract from the quality of such a well written tale of a dialogue between Carly and the reporter Vanessa in a police custody interview room. The main character of Carly comes alive from the pages… Read More

11 Reasons Why You Should Watch This Space Or Miss Out!

That’s correct – “11 Reasons Why You Should Watch This Space Or Miss Out!” There are 11 days left in August including today August 20, 2016. Your opportunity to win a FREE signed copy of “Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story” and a $50 Amazon voucher will be greatly enhanced by watching out for the final questions designed to select a lucky winner! I must express my thanks to all of you for supporting my efforts as an “indie” author and my blog. It’s truly appreciated. Let me recap on the 3 competitions I ran in connection with my book: Competition # 1 There is a winner in the competition in the post Undercover Cop – What Would You Do Next? Drum roll! And, the winner… Read More

Discover Phoenix Rainez: Author Spotlight

Phoenix Rainez (what a cool name) welcome to Author Spotlight. I’m sure we would all love to know if that is your real name. Bio Born and raised in Zimbabwe, and now living in England. I’m a wife and mother of two daughters and four adorable young grandchildren. My work day revolves around caring for elderly with dementia. I’m an incurable romantic, reading romances and always on the lookout for a good romantic film. My favourite films without a doubt are Romeo and Juliet, Titanic and Love Actually. Paranormal romances would have to be Twilight and Vampire Diaries and yes I have read Fifty Shades and seen the film. I write under the name Phoenix Rainez. Why did I choose this name instead of my… Read More

Why Spooky Scary Sixth Sense Should Not Be Sniffed At

Call it a “spooky scary sixth sense” or something similar, I’m sure many of you have experienced those moments. They maybe give you a sense of spirituality, familiarity or even déjà vu . Those moments have been experienced by me and it’s only now that I am able to make any sense of them. Allow me to explain and to do that you need to know I recently wrote about my paternal grandfather. Since I wrote that article I have made some progress in my research for the book. Only today I found and read this passage from an eye witness account of the sinking of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse: Finally, at 1735 hours on December 8, 1941 with all other immediate… Read More

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