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travel back in time

Thursday 5th May 2005, Madrid, Spain

Still having fun with that wide angle lens!

Ah... it's been great to be back in Madrid! Spring has well and truly sprung, and there's even been the occasional very warm day that reminds me summer is just around the corner. Sitting at my little corner office is much more pleasant now, with the windows wide open, fresh air carrying in the cacophony of nosies from the busy street below. A lot of people ask me what the hell I do with my time in Madrid. I'm sure people have an image of me sipping sangria in front of the tele all day, but in fact I am always amazingly busy. I spend hours scouring the internet, looking for employment opportunities. I've been working on a crazy new business idea (I know...what a surprise!) and will reveal that in time, after I've registered the appropriate domain name(s). I've been putting the finishing touches on the cover design for "Of Walls and Men", and co-ordinating book orders and payments. In between time, I've been battling to catch up with the emails that was unable to reply to while in France. And of course, I've been spending quality time with my sweetheart! But tomorrow I take leave of my Spanish lifestyle and return to France for another 'tour of duty'

The view from my corner office.

Maria and I enjoyed our weekend away in the rental car so much that we decided to do it again. This time our trusty steed was a Smart for-two, a tiny little thing, with barely enough space for us and our esky. In fact I've seen them parked 'nose-in' in what's meant to be parallel parking... and they fit! But it was surprisingly nippy, and although not fast enough to consider using the fast lane, had no trouble cruising at 140 kph on the occasions that we found ourselves on a motorway. And fuel economy... can you believe I handed the damn thing back with still half a tank of my fuel in it!! We did 500 kilometres over the weekend, and I could have got away with just putting in half a tank of gas. You gotta know that hurt...

Our chariot.

And yes, our little journeys are related to my new business idea, but all in good time. For the moment, there are other priorities. Fistly, there's another couple of weeks' work to be done in France. That will provide me with the funds I need to go ahead and publish "Of Walls and Men" at the end of the month. Orders have been rolling in *thanks to both of you* but in spite of the great promotional competition I'm runninng, they still barely mount up to enough to cover the costs of printing. Still, I will go ahead and publish at the end of the month, even if it means dipping into my own savings (what savings?) to pay for the postage costs. So if you've already paid for your order, your wait will soon be over. If you've placed an order and not paid, you can feel confident to go ahead and pay now, and if you haven't placed an order yet....

The latest Savage Files book is on its way.
 Reserve your copy now!

In my last update I reported that there have already been three lucky winners from "THE SAVAGE FILES BIGGEST COMPETITION EVER". Jon and Annabelle from Calpe in Spain have scored themselves a great carry-on suitcase on wheels, just like the flight attendants use. Richard from Singapore has emailed to sya thanks, that he received his new Swiss Army Knife, and the biggest winner so far is Sebastian from Hannover in Germany, who walked away with twelve months free travel insurance, courtesy of World Nomads, the leaders in travel insurance tailor made for backpackers and independent travellers.

Now I'm happy to announce another addition to the winners' circle- Eleanor from England has scored herself a nifty Swiss Army Knife. Her entry showed such an air of forgiveness that she was declared an instant winner: I dont blame the person who stole the one Ive had since I was 16 - I just hope they use it as much as I did! *If I was her, I'd be hoping the thief accidentally severed their jugular with it while trying to open a tin of baked beans.. is that spiteful? I hate thieves...* I will keep the competition open until I return from France later in the month, at which time all the winners will be announced. There are still loads of great prizes to be won, so check out the competition for your chance to join the winners' circle!

Visits to The Savage Files have been on a constant increase over recent months, and I appreciate your support. I've even started to earn a small amount of revenue through the various advertising affiliations that I have set up on the site. World Nomads of course has always been popular with my readers, and the CEO of Pac-safe emailed me earlier in the week to let me know how happy he is with the number of 'click-through' visits their site is receiving from links on The Savage Files. A couple of readers have even taken a shine to the items for sale in my online store, The Savage Files Emporium. But it was a promotional offer that I received from Vistaprint that gave me an idea. Vistaprint are famous for their free business cards (you design them yourself with Vistaprint's software, and pay only for postage), but for a limited time they have extended their free offer to include return address labels, magnets, note cards, and invitations. Click on the links to find out more, and read below for my offer...

FREE INVITATIONS - Expires 5/31/05
FREE NOTECARDS - Expires 5/31/05
FREE LARGE MAGNETS - Expires 5/31/05
FREE Business Cards & Free Return Address Labels - Expires 5/31/05

This affiliation thing seems to be working for thousands of businesses so maybe it will work for me. I've decided to give it a shot anyway, and here's my offer:

You all know that a print run of my upcoming book needs to be of a minimum number to make it economical, yes? Well, as it stands, I will have a large number of those books left over. So to stimulate sales, this is what I'm proposing. You can become affiliates of The Savage Files. You don't need to set up any account, you don't need to fill out a heap of forms. It's easy... just refer your friends to place an order for "Of Walls and Men" and you will get a reward, a commission if you like. Just make sure that they give your name as the 'referrer' when they place their order, and for every order I receive, you will get US$5.00. This can be paid either as a Paypal payment, or used as discount off your own future order. This offer only applies to orders placed between now and the end of May from the US, Canada, the UK, Spain or Australia. Sorry to the rest of you, but it can cost me up to $10 or $15 to post a book to other countries, and I only charge you $4 or $5. Discounts for multiple orders still apply, and if you have placed an order yourself you will be enterred into the 'referrer's competition' on my competition page, but otherwise this offer is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. I've always wanted to say that!!

Oh, and one last piece of great news which should interest those of you in North America who have teenage kids. Good friends of mine, Marcie and Jeremey Howard, have combined their love of travel, adventure and helping young people to achieve their dreams... to form Nova Explorations, a teen travel company focused on fun, safe, adventurous travel for students. Their philosophy is that active participation in a positive group setting heightens one's self-confidence, respect, and values, while promoting personal responsibility and discovering more about yourself than any classroom can offer. So if your brats are getting on your nerves, let Marcie and Jeremy put up with them for a while. Maybe they'll come back better people... or maybe you'll just get some peace and quiet while they're gone!!

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