This was not an easy read. I did a lot of research into apartheid when I wrote African Me & Satellite TV, and just reading about some of the history of some of the things that were done to black people hurts badly. But even though you cringe in shame for the insanely barbaric doings of other whites, you can never feel the shame of millions of people for being classified as sub-human because of the colour of their skin. This book does a good job of getting you a little closer to that feeling than the any of the history books I’ve read.
I grew up smack bang in the middle of apartheid. Where even little white children expected “respect” from adult black people. I always found it weird how many people suddenly had stories about their black “friends” during the struggle after having seen very few real white…
View original post 1,530 more words
Well, I’ll be going home today and, to tell the truth, much as I’ve had fun with all the other animals, I’ll be glad of a rest. I may still be a pup at heart…but my bones don’t always seem to agree.
Peace on earth… that sounds pretty good about now. And anyway, I miss my sofa… and her… you get used to your own two-legs. Get them properly trained. And the fish will be missing me. And goodness only knows what the hedgehogs and the pigeons have been up to while I’ve been gone!
I suppose you don’t have that problem, working away just the one night every year. But, then, you have such a long way to go that you must turn time inside out to do it… so maybe your night is half a year for us!
Mind you, I’m not the only one wishing…
View original post 405 more words
Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – New Book on the Shelves #Non-Fiction The Secret Life of Humans: Reflections on the Good, the Bad and the Painful by Jo Robinson
A huge thank you to Sally Cronin for sharing my new non-fiction book on her fabulous Christmas Bookstore. I hope it will resonate with many, and even though I’m sure it will make some just a little bit cross I truly believe that it may help some of the very many walking wounded in this world today. Thank you Sally!
Delighted to share the news of the return of Jo Robinson with a new book just in time for Christmas. A non-fiction look at what makes us human. The Secret Life of Humans: Reflections on the Good, the Bad and the Painful.
About the book
What makes us human? Sadly most people hide the most interesting and helpful of these things away. We walk around with facades in place of who we believe people will like, respect, and love. We pretend to be what we are not. In so doing we are losing touch with our own humanity, and progressively, individually and as societies, moving farther and farther away from who and what we really are. This book delves into the dangers of this.
It explores reality and the things that hurt and hinder humanity. The things that if we finally begin to consider could save ourselves and the world…
View original post 462 more words
Usually, you see Twiggy and Lucy in action here but this week is a little different. I’m actually going to promote my books (gasp). Now don’t run away cause there is something in it for you. If you leave a comment, you will be entered into a drawing.
Here’s What I’m Giving Away Today:
One of two $5.00 Amazon gift cards and
One of two of my E-books (Your choice).
There will be a total of four winners.
Thank you, Ladies.
Here are the books
This is the John Cannon Trilogy. It is a continuing story of John Cannon’s struggles with a terrorist organization whose objective is the destruction of America. You can click on each of the covers for a trailer.
Click cover for the trailer.
When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven…
View original post 434 more words
I’m edging back into weekly blogging again and I’m planning on weekly posts rather than daily posts, so here we go with the sticking of the toe into the water to begin with. It has been a very busy six months. After the previous three years of insanity it has been good to finally be able to just get on with working on what I love, breathe a little, and figure out what my new life will be. What I finally figured out is that you never know. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. This year has been filled with all sorts of fabulous projects from editing jobs to illustration and a couple of cover designs. I’ve had to move the publication date for my new non-fiction book, The Secret Life of People further towards the middle of September as work for my clients is always a priority, but the second week in September so far is looking like the time of its arrival into the world. I’m really looking forward to that.
I’ve also managed to load my first Youtube video. I have a few more in the works and will definitely be loading one per week covering my writing life and all things self-publishing. The video editing is a steep learning curve so hopefully my future videos will be a lot more tightly knitted—and with a whole lot less umming. I’m sure that at some point I’m going to get an um or two in the comments. If you want to know how to format a full bleed book for print on demand please check it out on Youtube. If you fancy more writerly videos then please do subscribe—I’ll try to hold back on the umming in future.
Watch this space for the introduction of the third book in the Myrtle the Purple Turtle series by Cynthia Reyes and Lauren Reyes-Grange, where Myrtle meets a gorgeous new friend, and by the way—zoom up to the top of this page if you’re looking for a new book cover design – there’s a sale happening up there.
Between scientists and conspiracy theorists I’m not sure which give scribblers more crazy wonderful character ideas. Although— I challenge any author of science-fiction, who is also diligent in their research of real-life science and theoretical physics, to swear that they have never ever had a tinfoil hat moment. Such as when Google starts popping up conspiracy theories after you innocently ask it something quantum. My television is connected via my internet provider through a little box thing that they supply, which puts me in the very happy situation of being able to watch Youtube videos on my TV from the comfort of my couch with a nice glass of vino. Probably not ideal for a writer of things, vino notwithstanding. Youtube, being just like its daddy Google, will then recommend similar things to your recent views and send you spinning down rabbit holes all over the place, while holding tightly on to your tinfoil protection against the deadly rays being directed at all times, by dark forces, at your noggin.
Sometimes I wonder though. What I’m currently wondering is whether NASA and Co get some sort of thrill out of deliberately taunting innocent conspiracy theorists. Several ancient legends tell of a rogue planet—either a single planet or a system of small planets circling a brown dwarf star—depending on the legend. It has been called all sorts of things—Niburu, Nemesis, Wormwood, the Destroyer, and so on. Nothing about its apparent destined arrival is in any way fabulous. Some have it appearing in the sky with gassy wings. Mostly they say that it is going to do some damage to our world, if not destroy it completely. All agree on its redness though. Modern doomsday planet experts predict pretty much every year that it is sure to appear imminently and either squish us all like bugs or send us into some kind of ice age shortly on the heels of planetwide floods, earthquakes, and other horrible stuff in general.
So when Planet 9 was actually discovered a few years ago there was a whole lot of conspiracy theorist “I Told You So-ing!” Much orbit plotting happened and soon our beloved conspiracy theorists shared their plottings to show a huge elliptical orbit taking thousands of years as Number 9 zoomed way out to the Kuiper Belt before zooming right back to an alarmingly close proximity to Earth. Time frames coincided nicely with everything from Noah’s flood to the destruction of Göbekli Tepe and other strangely amazing constructions of humans in the distant past that we cannot at all reproduce today with all of our cleverness. Explanations were offered of our similarity to Hugh Howey’s characters as post apocalyptic “rememberers”. Apparently this thing zooms by every so often thousand years and sends us down the snake to the bottom of the ladder. While good stuff for science-fiction—Planet 9 is a fabulous part of one of the books in my own series—I gave the idea of being squished no more thought after reading about it a couple of years ago. Then, in the past few days, up popped planet (225088) 2007 (OR) 10, which was found, with its own little moon, beyond Neptune in 2007. I assume that Planet 9 and 2007 (OR) 10 are one and the same potential death star. At least I hope so. Two Destroyers would be a bit much on the universal humour scale.
This planet has remained monikerless until now while its discoverers apparently needed to “research” it a little more. It was originally dubbed Snow White as it glowed white and was assumed to be small, and only something rather large would reflect white from that distance if it was a dark colour. As things turned out it was not small and white after all—it was large, and RED, and in possession of its very own methane. “Checks tinfoil hat” The scientists who discovered it are asking the public to help by choosing one of three available names for the not so newly discovered planet. ONLY these three names are available to choose from. They, and their meanings are:
Gonggong. Gonggong is a Chinese water god with red hair and a serpent-like tail. He is known for creating chaos, causing flooding, and tilting the Earth.
What’s that you say?!!!
Holle. Holle is a European winter goddess of fertility, rebirth and women.
Vili. Vili is a Nordic deity who defeated frost giant Ymir and used the body to create the universe.
As for Gonggong—all I can say is please let’s not pick that one. The other two, while seemingly rather boring and innocuous, have too much to do with winter and frost (read ICE AGE after SQUISHING) for my tin hat liking—not to mention the rebirth bit–which would only be needed after a good squishing after all, so I would like to suggest a slightly sweeter name for that poor innocent planet. Seriously scientist people, couldn’t you just have gone with Rose Red seeing as Snow White turned out to not be white? Luckily Amazon is already aware of the danger and writers have a whole lot more to make real.
Today is International Children’s Book Day. It is also Hans Christian Anderson’s birthday. The annual event is sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People and has been celebrated since 1967. Each year a different national section gets to be the international sponsor of the day. An author from that country writes a message to the children of the world and a well-known illustrator designs a poster for that year. The 2019 sponsor is Lithuania, and both the message and this year’s poster are by author illustrator Kęstutis Kasparavičius, with the theme for the year being “Books Help Us Slow Down”.
The objective of the day is to share great children’s books, so of course, who but the fabulous Myrtle the Purple Turtle could I share on such a day?
Written by Cynthia Reyes for her daughter Lauren, the first Myrtle book shares the lesson that while people might sometimes appear to be different superficially, we are all just the same. It shares messages of love and friendship and never judging before knowing all you need to know. Illustrating book one was wonderful and terrifying in equal measures for me. I did not want to get it wrong. I am sure I did get quite a lot wrong, but Cynthia and her family were all involved in the birthing of the visual Myrtle into the world, and they were kind and patient as the little purple turtle came to life.
Myrtle is a lovely Turtle. Not an ordinary Turtle. She is Purple and different from other turtles. After being bullied by another turtle, Myrtle tries to become someone else. In the end, Myrtle and her friends help children learn to not be afraid of being different. Myrtle the Purple Turtle is a thoroughly engaging story that stresses the importance of self-acceptance and friendship.
Myrtle’s second adventure was much easier, illustration-wise, but I was plagued with life dramas that just kept coming, so it took a lot longer to become reality than it should have done. Once again, the Reyes and Reyes-Grange family astounded me with their patience and care, and Myrtle did indeed get to show a whole bunch of animals that just because you’re a little slow, that does not mean that you can’t succeed at anything that you set your mind to.
Myrtle the Purple Turtle returns with another great adventure! Myrtle and her friends are turned away when they try to join in a game with others. The friends walk away, feeling hurt, but that’s just the start of the story. Find out how Myrtle, Gertie, Hurtle and Snapper solve the problem, in this second picture book about Myrtle the Purple Turtle. A perfect book for children ages 3 to 8 (and adults who like turtles), it follows Myrtle the Purple Turtle — a bestseller, praised by thousands of children and adults, teachers and librarians around the world.
Now Myrtle has begun her third adventure. There are new creatures around The Big Pond to meet, and a new obstacle to be overcome in this sweet little purple girl’s own inimitable way. This journey will be much quicker to publication than the previous two, so watch this space for more of Myrtle.
A truly inspirational read indeed!
**WINNER OF THE DIAMOND BOOK AWARD FOR BOOK OF THE YEAR***~~Cynthia Reyes has done it again. Weaving together the strands of her life — the pain, the joy and the totally unexpected — she shares in this new book intensely lyrical stories of life with her husband in their historic farmhouse north of Toronto. As in her first book, A Good Home, Cynthia pulls you right into her life – into the couple’s kitchen, the bedroom, the verandah, under the ancient apple trees, and in the prolific gardens she and her husband created before a car accident changed their lives. After years of being held hostage in the farmhouse by her injuries — post-traumatic stress, a head injury and excruciating pain — the author takes the reader with her on her search for joy, beauty and faith.You will experience her daily challenges, but you will also find…
View original post 334 more words
A massive thank you to all who shared my cover reveal post for The Secret Life of People and the request for answers to questions. There has been a HUGE email response and I am very busily answering everyone as well as requesting interviews for future posts with some truly amazing people – and catching up on comments and posts too. If I haven’t answered you yet I promise that it will be by no later than tomorrow. Thank you very much to all of you!
At the same time I am rearranging the layout of the book and adding the results from all of your answers to the questions. I do think that I should have added another question to “Do you believe in life after death?” in the form of “What do you believe happens after death?”, so if anyone feels up to answering that one in the comments or privately it would make me a very happy bunny indeed.
In the few weeks leading to the launch of The Secret Life of People I’m going to be dusting off some of my older books and shorts and putting them on either free promotion or Kindle Countdown deals for anyone who hasn’t read them yet. Currently Echoes of Narcissus and Nkoninkoni are free and African Me & Satellite TV will start its 99 cents Countdown Deal sometime tomorrow if anyone fancies a read. In case you think that Nkoninkoni is some kind of foreign, an especially huge thank you to the very popular author Kevin Cooper for his review of it, which can be found here. While you are there I thoroughly recommend that you start on his own list with a download of Miedo – absolutely brilliant!
Any writer who doesn’t collect books is lacking in the tools of their trade in my opinion. No matter how many degrees you have, or how many times you can insert the words thus and henceforth into your manuscript, if you don’t read a whole lot you are missing in your writerly education. Seeing the words thus and henceforth would stop me reading anything by the way, but that could just be a personal weird quirk I suppose. Chuck Wendig thinks that reading The Lord of the Rings is tantamount to the worst kind of abuse with all the oldy worldy stuff, so I’m not in bad company. Loved the movies. Chuck is fabulous in general and in his honest originality – poop bits notwithstanding. I tend to avoid people who use words like that. Go away users of the word thus! I have a huge collection of books. More than 3000 in my Amazon Cloud alone. The paperbacks that I have are all special though, given that space no longer allows for the piles I had previously accumulated.
I will beat old ladies with sticks at boot sales to lay my hands on a first edition of any sort of recipe book or children’s illustrated book. Among other ancient collections of receipts, as recipes used to be called, I have a first edition Mrs Beeton which is much loved. Apart from the dead parrot recipes and lark’s tongue bits, I love it. Lark’s tongues on the menu – seriously? They are rare (the books – and the lark’s tongues I expect) but finding a really old children’s book in good condition is a much rarer find. Children tend to be a little rough with their books, so they don’t tend to survive as long as recipe books. Looking in general at the children’s books that are most sought after online the other day – as you do, I opened a list of “the most horrible children’s books of all time” thinking that it might be good for a laugh. It was. Then I found lots of people listing The Giving Tree as the most horrible. I had to look.
I tried to read it with an open mind. Some people said that it was a lesson in selflessness. Others said that it had been banned in schools – or libraries – I forget – because it was sexist. I tried really hard to wear my “what we writers write is our business and if you don’t like it you can lump it hat” but I couldn’t keep it on. Adults can mostly see the truth for themselves, apart from those who still think that 50 Shades of Gray is still the best book ever – but children learn from books. In The Giving Tree, the tree loves the man so much that she is prepared to give him anything. He is not backward in coming forward with requests, and soon he has taken her apples, branches, and finally her whole trunk. The fact that the tree is a she and the human is a he might have some meaning, in which case, it is indeed sexist. Finally, the poor tree is left as a stump, and the final illustration in the book is of the man sitting on it.
The overall message I got from this book was that it is loving to be a doormat and take any abuse coming. It is loving to let someone take and take until there is nothing left of you, and then to finally disrespect that nothing by plonking his backside on it. On the other side of the issue, the lesson is – it is fine to take as much as you want from someone who loves you enough to be prepared to give it, no matter how big of a tool you are, and then – when they are all in – it is fine to sit on the bit of them that is left after your selfish depredations. A horrible book indeed.
A couple of years ago I wrote a children’s book (Winnow and Blooey) – even got around to illustrating a few pages – about a little boy who learns how to respect and care for his badly neglected budgie from a fabulous wild canary after getting lost in the woods, and accidentally shrunk when he got hungry enough to eat a wild mushroom. Yes – I know – magic mushrooms are probably not the best subject for kiddies. When I really got around to thinking about it, I was so terrified about leading young minds in dodgy directions that I trashed it right away. Now I am very happy to illustrate for children’s authors who know what they are doing, but not at all ready to take the chance myself. Whoever published The Giving Tree hopefully meant it for adults, although what the actual message was still eludes me. Also – children like picture books if they can lay their hands on them – no matter who they were intended for, so it is generally dangerous to leave lying around. It has 2659 five star reviews on Amazon – over ninety percent loving readers, but so far, it is the first book, ever, that I have considered giving one star. That seems too much to me so I am going to give it my newly minted MINUS TEN STAR PANTS award. Hopefully it will teach the people who read it that it is a book about how not to behave – both as the tree and the human.