What was your biggest culture shock going to Turkey?

I LOVE this question! But I can’t answer with only one thing!

I’ve been on a long journey that started the beginning of February 2019 and spanned many countries and cities: Dallas, Tx. Paris, Fr. New Delhi, Agra, & Goa, India, (Istanbul, Turkey for 2 nights) Jerusalem and Tel Avi, Israel, and finally Bangkok, Krabi, Thailand.

But let me go back to last year when I said jokingly: “I could live out a suitcase!” And that’s a big thing to say when you are 72!

I decided to take myself seriously and after decades of working full time, I liquidated my life, put my photos and important papers into one suitcase, grabbed my knapsack with my computer and my iPhone X and took off! Turkey was not on my list when I planned this amazing voyage. But, I planned all this through a company that specialized in long trips (mine was over 4 months) and Chris said, “Lynda, layovers are free. Stop in Istanbul.” He and Istanbul changed my life.

Why do I LOVE Turkey and what shocked and surprised me? First. two days were not enough. So I came back to Istanbul after Thailand loved it so much I recently applied for a long term visa!

YES, I was shocked in an amazing way, with Turkey. Let me share the reasons why:

  1. The #1 Country for the Sexiest Men in the World is Turkey Yes, it’s true. Just walk through Sultanahmet Square where the Blue Mosque is and you will see what I mean!
  2. I LOVE the call to prayer. Do you know that there are over 81K mosques in Turkey? Over 3100 are in Istanbul. I was brought up Catholic and spent a year in the convent. But I don’t truly identify with any organized religion. The call to prayer happens through loudspeakers at every mosque, 5 times a day. I find it soothing and very special.
  3. Islam. Turkey is a Muslim European country. Of the 17 million people of this thoroughly modern and gorgeous city, 96.4% practice Islam. And from what I’ve learned since I arrived here, the religion is not anything like what we learn and hear about in the West.
  4. The people are genuinely kind. I’ve never experienced any violence whatsoever—not that it doesn’t happen, I’m sure—but I walk the streets at night, take the trams, wander endlessly, come home from dining through the city, walking down the hills from Taksim, and never once have I ‘felt’ unsafe. Btw, it helps to have a built-in-danger alarm.
  5. And if all of these things alone didn’t surprise me, I must say the language drives me nuts!! Hah, I walk around with google translate, although most people involved in tourism speak English. I feel so stupid. I can’t wrap my tongue around the words. I can’t relate them to anything—I have some French, Spanish, and of course English. I can even understand some Italian! But Turkish, even though I watch Netflix Turkish cop shows, I still don’t get it!
  6. Food! Don’t get me started! If you haven’t tried Turkish Ice Cream—it’s so creamy—you have not lived!The food is so good and so plentiful. And do try the varieties of baklava, and chocolate, and Turkish Delights!
  7. The night. Istanbul never sleeps. You can find restaurants open at 2 a.m all over the city!

My “shocks” have all been positive—except the damn language!! haha.

Answered in Quora!

Lynda Filler is the author of 15 published books on Amazon. Award-winning Target in the Sun is .99c today.

Dangerous and/or taboo topics…

repost from Quora

How do you research dangerous or taboo topics for your stories? Do you ever worry that people will get the wrong impression?Lynda Filler, Winner of Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 BTRC at Writers and Authors (2009-present)

That’s a great question!

I think of that when I start going deeper into things like the “dark web” or “how to hack… “ and even anything about weaponry!

The good news is, I’m sure being an older female is a plus. I certainly don’t look or act like I’m involved in anything nefarious. But these are a few things that you might find interesting.

  1. I live in Turkey right now. Although I’m a Canadian and have been living in Mexico for the last 17 years.
  2. That means that since 2016 coup attempt things like this routinely occur when I am researching for my Code Raven Series:

At first, I thought it was my internet connection. I also discovered they block porn sites (research, remember!!) But when it happened day after day, I did some research. Wiki was blocked in April of 2018. These were some facts and conclusions I came to:

  1. Turkey coup: Court hands 17 top generals 141 life terms The accused were charged with crimes against the state, attempting to kill the President and the deaths of 249 people.
  2. Last year 251 journalists languished in jails as a result of doing their jobs, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based NGO. It marked the third year in which at least 250 journalists were imprisoned around the world, though it was also the first decline since 2015. (Jan 16, 2019)
  3. Turkey Leads the World in Jailed Journalists
  4. It’s probably a great idea to stop telling people that I’m a writer/author/novelist. And if this is being read by anyone in Turkey, I write fun thrilling, mystery suspense action books that have nothing to do with any kind of political affiliation or government hate!! I LOVE Turkey! That’s why I decided to get a visa and stay awhile!!
  5. And then I remembered Kashoggi. Hmm.

The solution to the issue as all techies will tell you is using a VPN. If you have any concerns whatsoever, I suggest you get a techie to help you set up your computer for your projects.

CODE RAVEN SERIES https://amzn.to/2YSQAst

The Cool Cats of Istanbul

Istanbul cats are famous. Who knew? They are everywhere and they are beautiful.

The religion of Islam teaches that animals are to be honored and cared for, but the Cat is the only one allowed to live in the home and walk into a Mosque. That doesn’t negate any other animals, it’s simply that the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) has laws for the treatment of animals and fellow man and he had cats!

I’m quite fascinated by the local cats, their beauty, their health, and their attitude. They know they rule! The community feeds the animals whether they are pets or not. I passed a cat on my street eating fresh chicken placed outside by the local butcher for the cats. Another day I encountered a lovely tabby having tinned tuna. It’s the same with the stray dogs. They are healthy and have been tagged by the city so we know they are free of disease. The dogs wander the streets; but hey are not aggressive at all. The spend their nights curled up in doorways or at the entrance of the Mosques.

When I go walking or take the millions of steps up to the top of the hill (Istanbul is a city of so many hills!) I stop to greet and chat with the cats. Even the street art pays homage to the superiority and love for the Cats of Istanbul! I thought I’d share them with you!

Do you have a favorite? I definitely lean towards the green eyes, and the Kung Fu Cat! I could go on and on, but you get that it’s a “Cats’ World” in Istanbul, Turkey!

Photo Blog 2 Istanbul!

She said what? Girls hanging out.
The Boys in Sultanahmet Square. I’d love to take a Turkish coffee with you!
Turkish Delights? But of course!!
Ohhhh, I’m so tempted. Just one more please!

If you would like to know more about my life, and what has inspired me to sell everything and travel the world, please pick up a copy of

LOVE The Beat Goes On on Amazon.

Every single day of my life since 2008 is a gift! #Gratitude

I admit it…

It’ been awhile. Have you wondered what happened to me?

I’m unpredictable, enigmatic, and always evolving. If any of my past relationships (men) are reading my blog, you can stop smiling now! I write sporadically, sometimes about topics that make you smile, shake your head, and check the post, wondering if I wrote it at all. “This is me,” as a dear friend of mine would say.

When you begin to understand me, I will do a 180 and you have to start all over again. It’s 2019. I rarely look backward, instead, I prefer to move on and live in the moment, moving towards the future. I have many amazing and beautiful things that happened in 2018, including taking back my emotional life and healing a very sad heart. Well, let me think about what I just said. I’m a woman. Do we ever truly heal our hearts? If we are open to love we will always be putting our hearts back together. So rather than look at 2018 let’s move right on into 2019!!

I have lived in Puerto Vallarta, on and off, since 2002. I fell in love with Mexico in the late 90’s. Many believe I moved here for a man. Let’s just say that I moved here out of love… a love that encompassed self-love, a lover, and a need to save my life rather than stay in a bad marriage and die a little each day.

And now the time has come to move on. I’m not saying I will never come back. But there are places to go and people to meet and stories to write and experiences to live, and love…yes, there will always be love.

I’m traveling first to the USA, then Paris to see my son and grandson, then I will visit India. I’ve never been before so if you have any places in India that touched your heart or spoke to your soul, please share them with me. After India I will spend a couple of days in Istanbul, and then I will have my birthday in Israel. First I will stay very close to the Wailing Wall, in the Arab Quarter in Jerusalem. Just writing this sends shivers up and down my spine. I’m drawn to the Holy Lands like many before me. I suppose my Catholic upbringing has a lot to do with that, but so does the life and death of IDZ, and the exploits of Samaar and Raven (operatives in my series, Code Raven– the first 3 are .99 cents).

After Israel I will go to Bangkok. From there I have absolutely no plans, but I will visit and possibly stay, in Bali. I will follow … my dreams.

Yesterday a friend of mine looked me in the eye and said, ‘You’re following your heart. You’re in love with him.” I objected profusely. “I’m in love with life, with travel, with places I’ve never been to and people I have yet to meet.” She raised her eyebrows and smiled. And then we both laughed.

Do I have a return ticket? No. I never look back and rarely go back, I always move forward. “But, will you come back to Mexico?”

“I always follow my heart.”

The prequel and the first two books in Code Raven Series available for .99 cents on Amazon