African Me & Satellite TV

Princess – Portable Sin Buns

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It’s amazing with how busy you get, you forget your early blogging days, where you sat glued to your monitor with bulging out eyes and sticking out tongue, waiting desperately for someone to LIKE what you’ve written. Then that crestfallen disappointment when nobody does – even though you’ve only got three followers and two of them are your aunties. I must say that I love this bloggerverse more every day, and all the wonderful warm people I now get to call friend. Anyway, I suddenly remembered one of my first posts in those old shy days when the writing always seemed stilted, and you felt like you were peering in people’s windows and reciting poetry to them without an invitation, waiting for the laughter and jeering to begin. And then you find out that bloggers don’t generally roll that way – that they’re a pretty cool bunch after all. Anyway. Now I want to practice rescheduling posts on WordPress, so I shall inflict it on you. This post was “written” by Princess – Suzette’s cook in African Me & Satellite TV.


I have decided to share with you, a very simple chicken and prawn dish.  You can serve it with rice if you wish, or do as I do, and fill buttered buns with it.

I do not eat chicken.  I have seen that it is the one of God’s creatures that has been given the most hardships, and receives the most cruelty.  I have arranged with God that I will not eat any sort of bird, unless he can show me in some way that it is the reborn spirit of one of those cruel people, who care so little of the pain of animals, and so much for the making of money.  The bones of such a bird, I will crunch with relish!

I also do not eat prawns.  Mr Herman once brought four lobsters home from Harare for me to cook.  These creatures jumped to the floor, and caused much terror for myself and Felix.  That cat had his nose crunched very painfully until I pushed that beast off with a broom.  I do not wish to see such things again, and I will certainly not eat the flesh of their cousins.

So I see you ask, how then can you cook something if you cannot taste it?  I will tell you what I have been told by madam and all of her many friends. That my cooking is always perfect.  Why should I not believe this, when I can see that it is true?

I make many things which I cannot taste.  Cocktails for instance.  Obviously I do not drink alcohol, as I am a good Christian woman. But only once did I create a drink which was not very highly praised.  Madam’s friends had especially enjoyed my Pickled Onion & Gherkin Martini, so I thought – what about garlic?  That was thought to be my one failure. But after thinking myself about this, and remembering how Mr Collie had spat it on to the shirt of Mr Herman, who then fell from his chair, and caused Mr Themba to cry very loudly, I believe maybe it was not such a terrible drink after all.



I make these for Mr Herman to take when he goes fishing on his boat with his friends.  He says that they are so good, they have to be bad, so he calls them Portable Sin Buns.

500g Chicken Breasts – sliced into thin strips

500g Prawns, cleaned & peeled

–  Boil their heads and shells in 150ml water for 15 minutes & strain

1 Tablespoon Grated Onion

1 Grated Clove Garlic

1 Teaspoon Tomato Paste

Salt & Pepper

2 Tablespoons Garam Masala



Chopped Parsley

Shredded Lettuce

Buttered Bread Rolls


Brown the chicken with the garam masala, onion & garlic in a little oil.

Quickly add the prawn stock, tomato paste.

Allow to reduce until most of the liquid has gone.

Add the prawns and parsley and cook till done.

Season with salt & pepper to taste & add as much mayonnaise as you wish.

Spread the lettuce on a buttered roll and fill up with the chicken & prawn mixture.


The Good, the Bad, and the Lurgies

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I’ve been really sick this week, but not dead yet so things are looking up again. It’s because I’ve been overly gung ho about drinking the tap water here after everyone warned me not to. I reckoned that the news reports of this municipality happily dispensing crap in the water supply didn’t apply to me. Well. Bottled water for me from now on, and I really don’t recommend cholera, no matter how “mild”, as a new way to diet. I’m still not feeling a hundred percent, so I’m going to take it easy for another couple of days, and not allow myself to zoom around too soon. Anyway.

Before I was taken down in my prime, I had the most fantastic birthday ever on Saturday. Thanks to the most wonderful friends on the planet, turning fifty was actually a lot cooler than I expected it to be. I learned that one guy can singlehandedly ingest a small chilli and garlic plantation on Portuguese buns and live to tell the tale, and that you’re never too old for pressies, choccies, champers, good buddies and laughter. I remember my fortieth birthday as being a bit of a downer. It felt like I was officially middle-aged and that everything would be all downhill from there. Fifty is totally different. Apart from the recent invasion of the innards, I’ve never felt better. I certainly don’t feel old, and I’ve got no intention to swop the skinny jeans or heels for twinsets and slippers quite yet.

I have to do an emergency re-edit and format of African Me & Satellite TV now. I thought that it was in really good shape, and that Shadow People would be the one with hidden typos or issues, but that’s just had another proofing and one typo was found. African Me apparently has quite a few issues, and I’m cringing with terror, so I’d better get to finding them. The second book in the Shadow People series is still a good way away from publishing, but my lovely furry friend and genius cover designer Chris Graham has finished the cover, so now the new book excitement has already started for me. It’s gorgeous! Thank you Chris!

SP Book 2 Cover High Res tinted - with font

It’s Read Tuesday!

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Today is Read Tuesday guys. A day for me to release my inner book glutton and load up my Kindle with piles of discounted and free books. There are some awesome authors on this list, so click here – Read Tuesday – and get shopping. And don’t forget the bookworms in your life this Christmas – check out this post on how to gift an ebook from Misha Burnett.

My African Me & Satellite TV is discounted on all major Amazon sites. It’s 99 cents on, and equal currencies on, and the rest. Also on Smashwords. Shadow People is also 99 cents on, Amazon UK, and Smashwords. My short story, The Visitation is free today on and Amazon UK.

I’d be most grateful to any of my friends who would share this news anywhere at all. Now – I’m off on a book binge – happy shopping!

Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013

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Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013

Celebrate His Life

As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Nelson Mandela
For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Nelson Mandela
Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity. It is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made, and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.
Nelson Mandela
Resentment is like drinking a poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.
Nelson Mandela
I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter. I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret, that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.
Nelson Mandela
As I walked out the door towards the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew that if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.
Nelson Mandela
I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed towards the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.
Nelson Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
Nelson Mandela

Interview by Phil A Davis

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I had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by architect and an author I greatly admire all the way over in Hawai! Thanks so much Phil!

Jelly & Button


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Hopefully I’ll get good covers for the Shadow People books with my painting, but I’m losing too much time trying to tweak the picture I started for African Me into something good enough to use for its cover. I’ve only got a few weeks till D-Day, and I still have lots of tweaking to do all over the place. After quite a lot of bad language, and making things that look like this:


I got a tiny grip on how these things work now, and finally managed to make a cover I like.

AM Cover V1 - Copy

It’s totally appropriate to the story, and I think it will translate well on the paper book. I hope so anyway. It’s amazing how much you learn as you cruise along the self-publishing road. When I think of my bright-eyed, bushy-tailed self a year ago, zooming around and just “doing stuff”, I really have a good laugh at my cheek. What I thought was really awesome back then, isn’t so much any more. Blush. Never mind. Learning all the time.

Till next time friends.

OI! Buy My Book!

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Ha ha! I’ve been thinking about marketing quite a bit now. I decided not to actively market until I had more than one book out (a la Hugh Howey), and just see how things in the self-publishing world worked first. So now the time has come. As soon as my revamped current scribbles, and the new African Me go live next month, it will be that time. Over the last year, I’ve been mainly watching, and reading as much as I can about how to sell books as an independent author.

Even though my career was in sales, I still find the thought of flogging my own writing quite daunting. It’s not quite the same as selling a product, where what you see is what you get. Somebody’s not likely to buy a product or service without knowing exactly what they’re going to get. With a book though, you’re selling something ethereal. A possibility. A promise. Your buyer isn’t sure that they’re going to like what they pay for even if they’ve liked other books written by you before.

I figured that that definitely is the first step for me though. No selling till there’s more than one to sell, and that there would be at least a couple of people who had read what I write and might like some more. I’m not expecting to have fans lurking at the bottom of the garden, hoping to get pics of me doing something outrageous to sell to the Enquirer, and I don’t anticipate lots of sales to happen immediately, or even in the first months of trying to ply my wares. Selling doesn’t work like that for any product unless you have Lady Luck not only rooting for you, but camping out at your house. A successful product needs advertising as well as word of mouth to make people want to buy it. Would you buy the baked beans you know and love for $1, or beans in a jar for 10c from a lady on a corner, even if she tells you they’re better than Heinz? Nope. We want what we can be pretty sure we’ll like.

Indies can’t generally afford major advertising campaigns in the places already famous authors have their books publicised, such as magazines, billboards, television. So they use what they have – virtual launches, parties, giveaways, and social networking sites to get the word out. Intrepid bunch we are. Finding a way into one of those big boy forms of media isn’t likely for the arb scribbler such as myself, unless I streak across the court at Wimbledon yelling, “Oi!! Buy my book!!” That would do it I reckon, now that I think about it. Could be a really good marketing strategy doing something outrageous, or out of the box.

From a purely sales point of view, with limited funds, I think one or two other things might be worth a try. Traditional mail for one. Send out real paper flyers. Have some posters made up. Hire a graffiti artist to splash your name around a bit in the dark of the night – ok that’s not legal – but still… Put out piles of bookmarks with the cover of your book and contact details on it, for people to help themselves to. Buy those chocolates that you can have your own image printed on the outer package. Balloons. Mugs. Whack your cover and info on these too, and hand them out anywhere you can. People love free things, and for those writers not so keen on handing out free copies of their actual books, promotions along these lines might help a bit.

Not many people get to make money selling anything at all without either spending money, a lot of hard graft, or a tangibly superb product. Probably a little of each would be best. Anyway… I’m only about to start the marketing trip, so I’ll just carry on stalking the successful guys, and listen to what they suggest. Pinch nose, close eyeballs, and jump into the fray I go…

Till next time friends.

Van Gogh pd book

Getting it Write

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I think the malaria is gone for now – won’t know for sure till Tuesday when the last course of tablets is done. But I’m vertical, and must be on the mend, so that’s that in the illness department for now. Being sick generally makes me angry. I don’t feel sorry for myself. I tend towards rather vicious thoughts of what I’d do to whatever it is that’s ailing me, if I could only lay my hands on it/them. Right now I’m in a good mood, thinking about all those rotten parasites dying tiny horrible chemical deaths. Not normal, I know.

I would estimate that it’s going to take me a couple of weeks to catch up, work and social networking wise. But that’s alright, I think, I always do. I used to believe that if I never blogged for a day, or if I didn’t answer a comment or message immediately, that people would be appalled at my laziness/arrogance, and immediately unfriend me, cursing the day they’d ever come across me. Some did, I think, but they aren’t important, and the loss of them might not be a terrible thing. I don’t think badly of any of my friends when they disappear from the radar for a while, or if they’re not sitting eyeball to monitor, twenty four hours a day, purely on the off-chance that they might miss a comment I leave on a status of theirs. They’ll get around to it when they can, and if they don’t, that’s cool with me too.

Life happens to all of us with varying intensity at different times. Why shouldn’t we be there for people we like, just because they’re not around every day? The Indie scribbler’s life is wild enough without having to worry about that sort of thing also. We’re only human. And most of us came here with just a story or two, and no clue of how hard it would be to keep up. Even if we stop cooking, cleaning and bathing, there will still be stuff left undone. Generally your poor old manuscript at the bottom of the to-do list. We’re not professional bloggers, marketers, or publishers. We’re all just doing the best that we can. I get that, and so should anyone on the self publishing merry-go-round. I believe that with time things get easier, but unless you have a virtual assistant or two, and nothing ever happens in your real life, we all fall down now and then. But, we get up. And our friends are still there. And off we zoom again.

With the really weird, and often horrible, trip I’ve been on this last year, particularly these past few months, of being more off than on, I’ve found that the circle of friends I have in the old world wide web are the coolest friends indeed. Wonderful friends who support each other, and very likely we always will. The users and takers fall away over time, and when they do, you generally realise that they gave you nothing, and you were giving more than they deserved anyway. Really good people don’t whine or bale, and those are the ones that are important. To me anyway.

I did a lot of snoozing this last week. I generally pop out of bed around four am, and then zoom through my days, till I totally run out of steam, conk out, and repeat. I like being busy. All this enforced snoozing, and lack of activity, got the old grey matter agitated. It brought African Me fully to the forefront of my mind, with the question, “Why the hell are you taking so long to publish it?”, popping up every time I woke up. I’ve gone over this book literally hundreds of times, tweaking, changing, deleting. But still, every time I think it’s ready for the big wide world, something puts the brakes on in my subconscious, and then I’m off to page one again, convinced that I’ve missed something.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I realised that the only thing that’s preventing this book from being published is fear. Mine. The main character in African Me has quite a lot to say throughout the book, but particularly, a couple of harsh things in the beginning. The things she says are controversial, to say the least. I must have had the fear of being personally attributed with my character’s words lurking in the back of my mind all this time. So I put the question to the guys at our Readers Meet Authors and Bloggers community on Google+. Their answers really got me thinking. Should I change things, take out things that might cause anger? Should I type my disclaimer in capitals, and in red letters, then let loose the book, and hope I don’t get stomped on? Or bin the whole thing? Last night I was toying with the changing or the binning. The letting loose suddenly seemed a little too scary to do at all.

Then this morning, the first blog I happened to open was Stephannie Beman’s. She’d seen a question from a writer, asking how he could get the joy of writing back. He’d lost it – lost his mojo, poor guy. She very cleverly figured out that his problem wasn’t writer’s block, but that he was trying to write what he thought, or others thought, that readers wanted to read, and not what he wanted to write. Her blog post was called Writing For Yourself First. Light-bulb moment for me!

I think that in this last year, I’ve totally forgotten what it was that started me writing this book. And maybe now a little of every little thing that I do is strongly angled towards not getting up anyone’s nostril, or rocking any boats. Terrified of people hopping not only on the one star nasty train on Amazon, but also terrified of hurting any feelings. The possibility of both offending or hurting all sorts of feelings exists with this book. But there’s also the possibility of opening a couple of eyeballs to the truth. The funny thing is that it’s got nothing to do with politics, or even so much what’s been happening in Zimbabwe in recent years. It’s purely fiction, happening in Zimbabwe, with the thread of South African apartheid, and its legacy running through it. Still. My delaying tactics have clearly been brought on by fear that I was moving too far away from what people want to read. Or know about. I was scared to either hurt or anger people around here also.

Then, as the universe does, it made sure that the very next blog I opened showed me that my cowardice sucked. This young man showed me that. His story isn’t what African Me is about, but his courage in speaking his mind made me ashamed at even considering bowing to what ifs. Even though the only theme of importance in my book is racism, strong points of view from all angles and current affairs seem to have crept into it, so I risk making quite a lot of people on all sides of several fences quite cross indeed. So be it.

I’ve decided. I’ll not be doing any socially, or politically correct, tweaking and editing any more. I had something I was trying to share when I wrote this story. A point I wanted to get across. So that’s what I’ll be doing. That’s the thing with life. You really don’t have to read anything, or look at anything you don’t want to. Except on Facebook, that is. That’s your choice again. If you don’t want to take a chance on seeing anything disturbing, don’t join it. As an example, there people share those awful pictures of geese being force-fed, or bleeding after having their chest feathers regularly plucked out for down pillows and comforters. People get well freaked out and yell at the sharers for bringing down their day. That’s the nature of Facebook though, you can’t necessarily expunge from your brain what pops up under your eyeball. I’ve seen lots of things there that made me want to expunge my actual eyeballs at the time. But I’m not sorry that I’ve seen them. I believe people should know what, and who, makes up the world they live in. That’s your personal choice though. My personal trip doesn’t include avoidance, and if there is ever anything I can do for those poor goose guys, apart from not buying down or eating fois gras, I’d be really quite keen on doing it. Especially if it involves doing what they’ve done to the doers. Anyway. The book stays as it is.

Obviously as writers we want people to read our books. Buy our books. So we zoom around madly, finding out about marketing, market trends, WHAT PEOPLE WANT. Well. I figure that seeing as how I’m a people too, I have first dibs on what at least some people want. You can never give everyone what they want, so why stress about it. I’ll never make a million bucks writing a Zombie Meets Elf, Who Whups His Crumbling Bum into a Frenzy of Pixie Dust, erotica book. Not that I have anything against that sort of thing. People like it. And I certainly wouldn’t mind making a million bucks. I just can’t write that way. I can only write the way I do. It could be that the way I write is really crap. Only time will tell. I’m still very new to this game. But at least if I get blasted, it won’t be for trying to do something I don’t have the talent or ability to do. As Stephannie says, there’s no point in writing at all, if you’re not writing for yourself first.

This post is longer than my usual, but I have been absent a bit, so I hope I’m forgiven. I just zoomed through my unfollowers on Twitter. I get as much pleasure zapping them with my own unfollow button as I do squishing rotten little stinging insects. They follow you, and being a normal, polite Tweep, you follow them back. Then, when they’ve amassed 40 000 followers, they just unfollow 39 900 of them leaving them with an account which makes them look AWESOME! At least they think so. Just like Bieber. I’m not sure if they then sell these accounts, or keep them for themselves, believing that anyone with half a brain cell is going to think that they’re the coolest thing since white bread. Rotten little time wasting tools. Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but unless I really, really, really, want to hear what you have to say, I’m not going to follow you on Twitter if you don’t follow me back. And if you have tens of thousands of followers, and are following ten, I’m not going to follow you to begin with. I’m still pissed off at Gordon Ramsay for not answering a tweet I sent him. I unfollowed him immediately, and considered for a moment removing him from my book! Hah! Only for a moment though. I couldn’t come up with a replacement tv chef quite as outrageous as he. Still. He now has ONE less follower. And he doesn’t know I watch every episode of Ramsay’s Hotel Hell after all. So…

Till next time friends.


Stranger Than Fiction – I Know.

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Whoever’s been in charge of the universe for June and July, should please reconsider their enthusiasm with lobbing challenges at me. It’s getting a bit much now Big Fella. I’ve decided to hang about here as long as I can today, catching up with blogging and so on, so forgive me if I get a little spammy. I’ll also be keeping a weather eye out for any more of these things that float about and make life “interesting”. Mainly, rotten little tentacled bugs, considering the way my life’s been going lately.

After my poor parrot was sick as a… parrot, there’s been Jelly hurting his leg again, and me bringing a rather large guava tree branch inside (in a bid to try and lose my dawn to dusk live feather boa for a few hours a day), which then subsequently fell on me when I forgot it was there, and zoomed on forth to get my morning cup of tea. It also fell on Angus, as he predicted it would when I brought it in to begin with, but we’ll say no more about that.
Then I lost my balance a bit, when I was carrying a nice warm bowl of home-made stew type stuff for the dog and the chickens outside, and with a perfect flick of the wrist, ended up with horrible looking, warm gunge, all over myself. Not a good look, any day of the week, I can tell you. Bits flew all over the place. Including into my left ear. The chickens created such a scene, you’d have thought arma-egg-don had arrived. And I’ve got a pulled muscle to add injury to insult also. Crappy internet issues followed, although I should be used to those at this point, and now I have my second round of malaria in less than a year happening. Happy days, you say? Well… I’m going to have to insist on it.
I do feel crap though. I’m dosed to the eyeballs with everything I can think of. I don’t want to head down the quinine route again, and end up hearing Mozart’s piano concertos in my head, for two weeks straight. I’m not having the musicals return without a fight. That quinine had me seeing the weirdest things, and having even weirder dreams. Not good stuff at all. Then, there’s the still quite recent memory of the last bout of malaria not being so keen on leaving, and death becoming a point to ponder. Bugger all that I say! I’m typing! And also most definitely planning on moving, in the foreseeable future, to climes less prone to full body invasions by bugs.
I’ve been getting on with all the editing that African Me is needing. I’ve honestly been tempted on many occasions to toss the whole thing in the bin. It’s so littered with newbie grammar gremlins and plot issues that I’m embarrassed. It’s not a good idea to write a doorstopper novel before you’ve so much as written a one page short story. I’m realising that I’ve still got years of learning this craft ahead of me.
PP AM Final Cover
When I wrote Shadow People for the NaNoWriMo, I got very excited about the whole “write on through without editing” thing, but now I’m thinking that this isn’t such a great idea. Maybe getting it pretty well near perfect as you write it is slower, but you have a lot less chance of problems with grammar or plot sneaking through to the final result. With Shadow People 2 growing nicely, all my previous scribbles are getting makeovers and tweaks too. I’m hoping for the first week in August to launch all my new and improved books. That’s if I survive that long. And if I don’t, I’ll be spending my spectral evenings visiting whoever’s chanting my name, while tossing eye of newt and toenail of toad into their bubbling cauldron. The swine!

Till next time friends. Which should be shortly.

Bad To The Bone

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You’re unlikely to go through life without meeting a really horrible person or two. I’ve come across a couple with no redeeming qualities at all. It’s true that some people really are not nice in any way. I find them just as fascinating as anyone else though – you never know when you can use them in a future storyline. I think writers are many things. We gather all sorts of knowledge in our quests to fill our worlds, and make them real. We research and learn about things that most people wouldn’t give a moment’s thought to. We’re also just as likely as psychologists to say, “And how does that make you feel?”, to a stranger, or listen raptly to the big-mouthed fellow that everyone avoids at a party.

This is the way of the scribbler though. We have to know what makes people tick if we want to write books about them. I’ve always been fascinated with the darker side of the human psyche. I wonder how people get to be the way they sometimes end up. Life hurts some people so badly that they break and stay broken. Some fight their way out of horrendous situations, and emerge as beacons of love and kindness. Then there are others that go the evil route, and become sadists and killers. It’s the ones in between all these things that I find most interesting.

I have two characters in African Me that are just downright bad. I’ve been trying to find ways to give them positive traits to balance out the awful, because I read somewhere that all bad people must have some good in them. So that got me thinking that they might be too bad to be believable. Then it occurred to me that this isn’t actually true. There really are some people rotten to the core. I’ve come across many as I’ve trawled the web looking for insights into human nature. So that’s one editing chore out the way. My baddies will stay just as bad as they are. If what you write feels right to you, then that’s the way you should write it.

Till next time friends. xxx

PP AM Final Cover