Monday, 16 June 2014

Come on, Hop along!

I have been invited through the writing grape vine to participate in this wonderful exercise, the Blog Hop. The idea is that I answer a few questions about my own writing, then point you to the blogs of three of my writing friends (but in my case four, because I canJ) where they will answer the same questions. All you need to do is hop along and enjoy. One thing I know for sure is that you will enjoy their writing, as all four are masters in the art of storytelling.

May I also thank Kirsty Ferry who invited me to be one of her authors. You can find more out about Kirsty’s award winning work and her publications on her blog here
The four authors I invited are David Turnbull, Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, Jo Robinson and Rebecca Raisin and you will find the links to their blogs at the end of my post. 
So here we go!

The questions:

1) What am I working on?
Now that is a good question! Where’s my list.....? (And I am not even joking J )
My life is split into four:
a) The Compliance Specialist – As it currently pays the bills and for my extensive range of interests, it takes most of my time (full time). But I love what I do, it is what I studied for and now specialise in. I therefore do most of my writing either before work, lunch hours and after hours. It keeps me busy and out of trouble.
b) The Writer - I am currently working on my International crime thriller I started about two years ago with the first draft about 90-95% complete. I have however learnt through my writing and the projects I have completed since then that I will probably have to rewrite most of it. My writing has changed considerably since then and I know it will be much better the second time around. I therefore like to thank all the editors who have cast their eyes over my projects over the last two years and helped me to progress and improve.
About the book: It is an International crime thriller playing off in the UK and SA, seeing how a husband will move all boundaries to avenge the killing of his beloved wife. By doing so, he unravels the mystery behind her gruesome and ruthless killing in Windsor and sees him mixing with the law on both side of the Atlantic and the dangerous gangs of South Africa. (One gang in particular, which I intend to feature and researched, I have already been warned about. I received a warning letter by its author that I should tread carefully as to what I disclose) 
I hope it to be a thrilling chase that will have the readers exhilarated as the main characters unfold the mystery and new discoveries are made.
If all goes well, I would like (new) first draft finished by December 2014.
c) The Publisher - SpringbokPublications first saw light at the start of 2013 and we published our first book the same year called Plight of The Rhino (for more details see; What have you been working on, section)
We have received numerous submissions since then and are currently in the process of publishing Blood Tide by Holly Stacey 
Blood Tide will be available in electronic and printed format within the next two weeks. Please visit our website to learn more about this exciting book and its author.
We are also working on Isabella: Captured Souls, a collaborative novel by six different authors. We are very excited about this creative project and publication - it will see the culmination of almost two years’ work and bring to life this picture of a beautiful young girl, Isabella.

Please visit our website for the authors’ bios on how this project came to life. We believe it is a first of its kind.
We are also looking at a children’s fantasy trilogy, the first book to be published later this year or early next. But for more info about that or other upcoming news, please follow us on FaceBook or complete our contact form on our website at
d) The Freelance journalist - With Springbok Publications taking off last year, I was unable to contribute regularly to my column Brandpunt in The South African newspaper. But I have started to pick up the reigns again by interviewing Matt from Braai365 on Mothers’ Day. This article was published on 06/05/2014.
Last week (9 to 13 June 2014) I conducted interviews with the owners of St Marcus, the South African shop in Roehampton for The South African, and met up with the literary agent and poet Isobel Dixon for the Dutch Magazine, Maadblad Zuid-Afrika. Please keep an eye out on my website for publication dates and to keep up with other projects I currently work on.

2) What you have worked on recently?

a) The Writer - I have had some short story publishing success last year; Die Hol Kol published by Boekemakranka (South Africa) Nico’s Story: a Defiance of Science (Edited by Dean Tucker) and Fedha Nguvu (Springbok Publications Ltd)
b) The Publisher - As I mentioned earlier Springbok Publications had as its first publication, Plight of the Rhino in 2013, where all the profits on the book goes to Save the Rhino International. The 22 animal stories and 5 poems, by new and established authors, come alive as each of them takes you on a journey with the chosen wildlife animal.
Beautifully written, I believe you will enjoy every single one of them and whilst doing so, you are contributing to a very worthy cause i.e. saving the rhino from its senseless poaching. Please help us to protect our wildlife heritage by buying your copy now. It is available from Springbok Publications’ website, Save the Rhino’s website or all Amazon platforms in print or electronic format.
d) The Freelance journalist - I have had articles published in The South African, most memorable my articles about our wildlife and in particular our poached rhinos. Please see all my articles under my writer’s bio for the newspaper here .

3) Why do I write what I do?

Charity - Most of my published short stories were written towards specific projects, charity, in the cases named above. I just feel it’s important that we should all try to help the unfortunate; no matter what their status or race. We were also put on earth as its keepers, so how can we not try to stop those who misuse their power? We should all aim to make a difference with what we’ve been given.
As for my Historical fiction; I have always been intrigued by history and its hidden treasures. I love to read and research the genre and learn interesting facts that would have been forgotten if not retold and relived somehow.
And then, of course, the Darker things in life sometimes so innocently and beautifully portrayed by the masters of the craft Stephen King and the produced/director Alfred Hitchcock.

 4) How does my writing process work?

My ideas seem to pop into my head at the strangest of times and places so I have learnt to always have something with me to record these ideas on. I therefore always have with me a notepad of some sort, but now with the new phone technology, I most often use its notepad when I am out and about.
Depending on the time and place, I will then afterwards expand on those notes and allow my brain to delve into it more. What usually happens next is that my brain will subconsciously work on it, this is usually in the early morning hours when I try to sleep or when I drive and when it has sorted out the outlay and structure, I will know and start making time for it to be written down. This is for my short stories. The very important next step is to set enough time out to write the story’s first draft. To me it is important that I have complete silence and enough time to just relax and release myself into that world. I go through all the emotions of the characters and sometimes have to stop, just to get my breath back. Sometimes I am really drained after a story, but that usually manes it’s a good one! I will then leave the story for a week or two, after which I start my own editing process and then forward it along to a few writing buddies I trust to give me their fair opinion and editing notes.
I followed the same process when I wrote my crime novel, the only difference being that I would try to keep to the structure that would lead to the climax at the end. I am one that likes to know where I am going J
So there you go! Some insight into my writing world.
The authors I asked to hop with me are:

David Turnbull is the author of a children’s fantasy novel featuring dragon hunters and airships – The Tale of Euan Redcap. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, both online and in print. His most recent anthology inclusions are Black Apples Belladonna Press, Breaking the Rules Boo Books and A Chimerical World Seventh Star Press. His story ‘Aspects of Aries’ which appeared in Astrologica Alchemy Press was recently selected to appear in the forthcoming Best British Fantasy anthology due for release later this year by Salt Publications. He is a member of the Clockhouse London group of genre writers.
Debz Hobbs-Wyatt was born in Essex and now lives and works as a full time writer/editor from her home in the mountains of Snowdonia. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bangor University and has had several short stories published in collections includingThe Theory Of Circles which was nominated for the prestigious US Pushcart Prize 2013. She made the short list of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2013 and won the Bath Short Story Award 2013. Her debut novelWhile No One Was Watching, about a little girl who disappeared from the grassy knoll at the same moment John F Kennedy was assassinated, was published in November 2013 by Parthian Books.
Jo Robinson currently lives in her homeland, South Africa, after having lived in rural Zimbabwe for eighteen years.  Her obsessive affection for the African continent, most humans, and all creatures feathered and furred are what inspire her writing.  She is the author of the short stories Fly Birdie and The Visitation, the novel African Me & Satellite TV, and the science-fiction/fantasy series Shadow People.
Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short-story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn is falling in love with them — just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and, most importantly, believe in true, once-in-a-lifetime love.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Long awaited update!

Well Helloo!

It has almost been a year since winning Nano 2012 and my last Blog post. Since then so many things changed, I have met really wonderful people through my writing and Social Media sites, strengthening relationships and I even managed to meet some of my virtual friends.  New opportunities crossed my path, some good and some not so, but I am always set to learn from both.

If I look back at where I was a year ago, I am really astonished to see where I am today - Things certainly changed! Let’s start off where I last left – Nano 2013 and the birth of my first ever Novel.

My Crime Novel (Name to be revealed closer to completion)

Well, as you know or would have seen below, I reached the word count to be classed a ‘Winner’ for Nanowrimo 2012. I subsequently continued writing the novel and pushed through December to reach 90% completion, when I had to stop and honour my commitment to a collaborative novel I was invited too earlier the year: Please see below Isabella: Captured Souls.

The Novel is still safely kept and every now and again one of the characters pop into my head, just to confirm that they have not been forgotten. I also have very special friends who remind me on a regular basis that they are looking forward to reading my first full length novel.  I will be honest, and this is not an excuse, but my focus might have swayed a little from this exciting venture to another of my own and possible the most exciting time of my life – Springbok Publications.

My aim is to get back to my Novel later this year, when things have settled down a bit, and have the first draft done by February 2013. Why so long I hear you ask? Well I do believe my writing has improved since I started, so I will probably end up re-writing most of it during this time.

Jack is still milling around. In fact, he cannot wait to introduce his special way…

Springbok Publications
In the early hours of another 'fresh' January morning, Springbok Publications was born.
The name is not only a combination of suggestions by two of my closest writing buddies, but very significant in meaning to me. It will not only remind me of the Country that fount my routes and where the Springbok roams free, but of the nature of this beautiful little animal.
Free and fast, proudly stotting and jumping with joy, effortlessly leaving earth and gravity behind, contagious its energy and grace. But it also reminds me of the frail nature of the Bok and that we should always stay humble and keep our feet on the ground, for we share the land with beauty and beast and only by keeping alert and reading the signs around, we will survive, until we humbly meet the King.
The birth of the Bok changed my life! Three days after it got to its feet, I appointed my first editor and since then, we have been jumping along.
Now a registered company, Springbok Publications aim to publish two books this year:

1)   Isabella: Captured Souls
     The collaborative novel I mentioned earlier. It is a tale of love and loss across the years, Isabella: Captured Souls is a paranormal novel with a difference. The story is told through seven different points of view, culminating in something that will change all their lives forever.
     Please see the website to meet the authors and for more info. Isabella is currently being edited and everyone is very excited and waiting for its release.  

2)  Springbok Publications Wildlife Anthology – Plight for the Rhino.
     23 Writers from around the world gave their time and talent for this anthology, where all profits from the sale of the book will be in aid of Save the Rhino International. 
     We have the most wonderful writers on board and I cannot wait to share their animal stories with you. We are proud to announce that the first Anthology will be published by November 2013.
     Please follow our progress on the website, there are big news to be announced soon!

There are more projects in progress, but with the two publications in full swing we will have our hands full till the end of the year.

Freelance Writing:

The South African - I continued to contribute to The South African newspaper in the UK and my Brandpunt column had its 1 year anniversary in May. Follow this link to find my column and the rest of my published articles.
Not all my articles are in Afrikaans, some are in English (This is when I’ve been naughty and thought it would be more appropriate for an even wider audience)

Maandblad Zuid-Afrika: - I am very proud to have had an article published in this very informative and factual Dutch magazine and am happy to announce that, in early 2014, another article of mine is scheduled for publications (If accepted off course).  

Short Story success:
An announcement I made earlier this year and something I am still very proud of, was my first writing success in South Africa! Die Hol Kol (The hungry spot), a short story I wrote was published by the South African publisher Boekemakranka.
My Kort vir jou Sop (My short for your Soup) is a collection of short stories by some of South Africa’s most renown writers and I am really honoured and thankful to have my mere story included in this publication. All proceeds from the sales go to local charities, the Authors' royalties to Kleinmond Soup kitchen and the Publisher’s, to the Friends of Kleinmond Library.

Please support these charities by buying a book (Amazon), it is a very special collection and made the headlines in South Africa.

Wright for Light - I am very honoured and thankful to announce that another short story I wrote (Nico’s Story – a Defiance of Science) was published in the Write for Light collection. All the proceeds from this book will go to Light for Children - a charity that helps vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Ghana.
From the Amazon page, please read below:

Discover thirty-eight inspirational stories and poems by authors from all around the world. Relive their tales of hope, courage, strength and perseverance as they all unite to respond to the following:

Tell us about a time in your life when you found light in the darkness.

Write for Light is a collection of true stories and poems that are touching and triumphant, bold and beautiful. We invite you to explore the extraordinary lengths people go to in order to find light in dark times.

Please support this Charity with me! (Amazon)
So that is it!!
For those who managed to read to the end, I thank you and I promise to keep the next one much shorter. Thanks also for your encouragement and support on my journey, it is much appreciated.

Thanks again.