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After my most epic online absence ever, all I can say really is, Eish! It’s been a little nuts. I live on a game farm now, way out in the bush, and the start of the rainy season brought a few not so pleasant surprises internet-wise. This is a beautiful, huge and rambling place, accessed via quite a long stretch of really bad sand road, which becomes pretty much impossible to drive on when wet, even with an SUV such as I have. The internet hub is situated in the main office, which isn’t a problem at all for me, except that in the past few weeks we’ve had power outages, the most horrendous computer malware attack, and an electrical short which knobbled us all until the electrician could wend his way here. The cherry on the top was that I got a little slack and stopped neurotically inspecting everything I eat and got royally glutened. Very sick puppy I was. Still far from a hundred percent as far as the poor old innards are concerned.

Happily though, I’m still kicking, and the power short/malware/internet/soggy road have all been overcome now. Before all of this rotten divil nonsense struck we had a rhino capture here, which was absolutely amazing (will share pics and proper story about that later), however, there was a documentary filmmaker along with the road crew who (I kid you not) made off with my laptop charger, and it took weeks before I could lay my hands on a new one. In the meantime I wasn’t too perturbed because my friend and owner of this paradise said that I could use her computer in the office. Not a problem then. All I had to do was transfer anything I needed to email by memory stick from my desktop in my chalet to that and tra-la-la. However, and without any delay at all— Enter malware attack and— Celiac attack— Well. You get the picture.

Lately the rain has meant that the cellphone signal has been zero, so VERY few emails have been got to. It’s clearing now and all is fabulous again. I’ll get to all your emails but will take a while, so if there’s anything I need to see now please zoom over a fresh email and I’ll get right on it. So, with all the devilish attempts to foil my scribbling career now properly squished, I shall attempt to move on with some small degree of decorum.

I’m incredibly grateful though. It’s been a pretty rough year—the roughest in my life so far. Terrifying and challenging, and a good couple of times it was very tempting to run and hide, and give up trying in general. I’ve had the most amazing love and support from my friends, who are all angels straight from Heaven in my book, and I reckon that now the worst is over. I could NEVER have done it without you guys. I’m also so grateful for the support of “my” authors who have given me the privilege of working on their books, thereby showing me the way forward, work-wise. Thanks for your support and patience during the growing pains.

I’m hoping to stay right here right through Christmas and in to next year, which I’m hoping will be epic for all of us, only in really good ways. Once I’ve made head or tail of my turgid inbox and appeased anyone who wants me drawn and quartered for my super long absence, I’m planning on getting a little festive in general. Festive and bookish again, with a bit of luck. Please give me reminders of anything I’ve missed of yours for sharing or generally catching up.


Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year everyone! 2014 Was a crazy, wonderful year for me. Lots of stressful, scary things happened, but other things happened too that were more wonderful and unexpected than I could have ever hoped for. So I have only gratitude and not a single regret for last year, as well as a much firmer belief that many of the things that happen in our lives are most definitely not random.

Online I’ve had a ball, meeting new friends, entrenching old friendships, and meeting new friends that instantly became old friends. Life’s funny fantastic like that sometimes. I’ve learned a lot, and grown a lot, and am a little more comfortable in my skin now than I was for a while. For my goals for 2015 I definitely plan on firstly being careful with treating myself like a new recruit in the army and piling on the pressure, as is my way. One thing I’m definitely planning on doing is spending a bit more time with my art and photography. I’ve wanted to write and illustrate a children’s book for ages now, so that’s definitely in the works for this year, and some of the designs I’ve been playing with I might start selling as one off premade ebook cover art too. Shadow People two and three, a few more short stories, Princesses Africolonial Cuisine tongue in cheek recipe book needs to be finished, and a couple mainstream books are all in the pipeline, so I’m looking forward to it all.

I want to thank all of you for sharing your worlds with me, and allowing me to share mine, but mostly for being the awesome friends that you are. You’ve taught me, made me happy, made me sad sometimes, and made me laugh. Your support and friendship means the world to me, and I wish you only joy and success in all that you do – I’m happy and grateful to be with you for the ride.  Here’s some crazy doodle memories of my 2014.

Nosy Neighbour (2) Cropped

Seeing my neighbour over the wall having a stroll in his banana hammock Ghost Doodle Cropped (2)Finding out that there’s ghostly guest Sneezing Doodle Cropped (2) Getting sneezed on in an epic manner Meltdown Doodle Cropped (2) Dealing with stress Hit a Happy Medium Learning how to hit a happy medium cooltext1860214350

Marian Allen Shows Me The Way

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Marian Allen rose to the occasion and flexed some of the most buff, ripped, author muscle I have ever seen. Cool!!


More On Amazon Reviews

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I follow different blogs for different reasons. Some for indie writer news and views, some for the weird and the wacky, or poetry, painting, Africa, humour, GF recipes, science….. You get the picture, I’m sure. Most – not all I hasten to add – don’t religiously stay on their topic of choice, and some bloggers blog about wildly different things every day. It used to worry me a little that I fit into this last category. I’d look at the very professional sites of some of my fellow writers, who write only on subject or about their own or other authors books, and I’d think that maybe I’m sharing too many personal tidbits, not to mention looking a bit like an oddball with my occasional forays into the mysterious and unknown. How could readers take me seriously? Well.

I have no idea.

But I don’t think I’m about to change any time soon. Personally, being very serious, and blogging every day about only books and writing would send me into a downward spiral of despair, leading to a meltdown and absinthe in bed, no doubt. So.

In my ongoing Reviews of Amazon Reviews, I give you these two awesome and most helpful ones, found while trawling online for books on how to paint, and ending up in some sort of hardware department.

banana slicer
20,402 of 20,715 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved my marriage July 30, 2012
By Mrs Toledo
What can I say about the 571B Banana Slicer that hasn’t already been said about the wheel, penicillin, or the iPhone…. this is one of the greatest inventions of all time. My husband and I would argue constantly over who had to cut the day’s banana slices. It’s one of those chores NO ONE wants to do! You know, the old “I spent the entire day rearing OUR children, maybe YOU can pitch in a little and cut these bananas?” and of course, “You think I have the energy to slave over your damn bananas? I worked a 12 hour shift just to come home to THIS?!” These are the things that can destroy an entire relationship. It got to the point where our children could sense the tension. The minute I heard our 6-year-old girl in her bedroom, re-enacting our daily banana fight with her Barbie dolls, I knew we had to make a change. That’s when I found the 571B Banana Slicer. Our marriage has never been healthier, AND we’ve even incorporated it into our lovemaking. THANKS 571B BANANA SLICER!

Like the Banana Slicer on Facebook if you feel you must.

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Pens, Especially for the price, September 21, 2012
Vitaly D. (New York, NY) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: BIC Cristal Stic Ball Pen, Medium Point , 1.0 mm, Black, 12 Pens (MS11-Blk) (Office Product)
My girlfriend turned me on to these pens after she saw that I often lost my more expensive pens. These pens write very smoothly, and give off an air of seriousness which helps me to focus and get work done. I ordered these online after I was having some trouble finding them in stores. I will definiatly be purchasing these again if and when I have lost these guys.

And for no apparent reason, Mars gives Curiosity Rover the finger.

Till next time friends. xxx


Rules Is Rules

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I lost my blog nerve, and wasted hours and hours. So far today I’ve written three posts. The first came across as stilted and boring because I was trying to follow lately read instructions. The second I published, then quickly deleted because it seemed callous and offensive. The third little gem, which was a tiny little story called The Reviewer, where a crazed author tracks down a reviewer, and… Well. It occurred to me that with that one I might come across as a nutter if I published it. Then it occurred to me that I might actually be a nutter, and just not realise it. Nutters probably don’t. Do they? This has all been most stressful indeed, and all because I’ve come across and read a few things in between my reading up of all things book marketing, Google, and SEO.

I found a couple of articles telling you how to blog. They were particularly particular. I never knew there were rules before, so I’ve just shared what I felt like sharing. I’ve shared things that I believe in, things that I’m doing, things that I’ve seen, am cross about, or generally just find fascinating. Apparently this is completely wrong. These instructions say that the only way to go about things is to cart a notebook around and actually look for interesting things to blog about, then list them down, do some research and Bob’s your uncle. But. You have to make sure that they’re not too short or too long, not a silly waste of time, and most important of all, don’t contain anything that might upset or offend anyone. So, that was the end of that. I took myself off to see if I could paint a dragon eyeball. I couldn’t. After wandering back to my computer, I found to my horror that I couldn’t even think of anything to say in reply to a friend’s message. Those instructions had turned me into some sort of cowardly zombie.

Then I got cross. No matter what you say, there is going to be someone somewhere who is not going to like it. I bet you there’s someone out there who would find Anna Karenina silly, Shakespeare boring, and Barney the purple dinosaur offensive. Well. I’m not too sure about Barney myself to be honest. Anyway. I find it worrying that some happy blogger somewhere will come across these very precise instructions and be put off entirely from sharing something magical, funny, silly, over the top, or offensive. I like reading these things. They make me smile, laugh, shed a tear, or want to storm across oceans and poke someone in the eyeball. I don’t want to read some contrived crap written by someone trotting around with a notepad and pencil trying desperately to find something to talk about. Within reason, write and share whatever you feel like sharing. There are certain things which really are universally offensive, and if you’re crass enough to share that sort of thing you should hear about it fairly quickly, and hopefully never do it again. Bugger those rules I say, and bring on the photos, scribbles, paintings, poems, rants, advice, and whatever else you think we’ll enjoy. Some of us most certainly will. Those who don’t won’t. And there’s not much you can do about that. But that’s what blogging’s all about in my book anyway.

Till next time friends. xxx