Writing On

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I managed to get back online properly on Monday. After months of internet drama, being on and then off again, I now have a reliable connection. Interestingly, the guy who installed the system told me that mine would be the last installation in this town for the moment, so I’m beyond grateful to be reliably back in the online world.

Last night our President announced that we would go into lockdown at midnight on Thursday. Hopefully this will save a whole lot of lives that would have been lost without a quarantine in place here. South Africans are a tactile bunch. As with the rest of the world, fear is abounding, and with the already devastating poverty here, many, many people are only now getting over the freezing in terror moments and thinking of ways to help each other. It is truly wonderful to see petty differences dissolve in this crisis and compassion taking over.

I hope to start loading new Youtube how to videos up again very soon for authors wanting tips on the nuts and bolts of publishing their books, but I’m still open for business for anyone wanting editing, formatting, covers, maps, or children’s illustrations to be done for them. I’m also planning on slipping in a few general chat videos on writing and reading.

I have had a couple of emails from clients wondering what I think will happen in the world of Indie publishing now, and I must say that I have absolutely no clue. It is too early to tell where this pandemic will end. One thing is for sure, during these quarantines, and even beyond as the world counts its losses and people figure out the way forward for themselves as individuals, as nations, and for the planet itself, the world needs both fiction and non-fiction. For escape, for inspiration, for hope, and for instruction. Now is also the time for journaling. A time to record this disaster for future generations. I have a feeling that even if there is a slight lull in sales of books (apart from the prepping guides) once people truly understand the true fallout from this pandemic, after that I believe that there will be a huge demand for quality eBooks, so all I can say is, don’t stop writing. And stay safe.

By the way, most of my books are selling for 99 cents on Kindle Countdown deals at the moment, and the shorts are free, so if you haven’t already read them and need something to do head over to Amazon.

Simile Similah

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It’s a lot more fun writing a book than finishing it in some ways. For me the trip goes a bit like this. Gets bright idea for a novel. Furiously starts to scribble. Absolutely certain that this is IT. The ONE! It’s AWESOME, and it’s going straight to #1! Finishes book. Makes big announcement. Gets back to editing. Decides book is absolute adverb riddled, tell don’t show drivel. Cries. Starts fixing it. Laughs out loud, realising that it really is AWESOME. Finds more adverbs and a plot hole. No. It’s definitely a lump of coal. Cries. Repairs and rereads through tears. YES! It’s BRILLIANT! But no…. Ahem…

There’s just a week and a bit before my next book goes live, and I’m a very busy bunny making sure that there aren’t any dreaded lurgies still lurking in it. I have an unnatural fondness for adverbs, even though all the world says that they‘re devil things, and I also like a funny simile or two in a story, whether it’s supposed to be serious or not. On the fence about removing one of mine, I went looking around for others, and found these.

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” Steve Martin

“Delly lost her temper at Peeta over how he treated you. She got very squeaky. It was like someone stabbing a mouse with a fork repeatedly.” Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

“The truth is like a nipple: the more you twist it, the more somebody is going to get hurt.” Jarod Kintz

“He had electric blue hair that had stuck around his head like tendrils of a startled octopus.” Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

“Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs, and then you had the urge to pass it on.” Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

So I reckon I’ll keep my funny little sentence just the way it is. While I was nosing about the internet, I found this hilarious list of similes from students. Number twelve is my favourite, “Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.” Now that really is a brilliant sentence.


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.

Sense And Sensibility

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December and January were pretty manic months for me. I slipped behind with the final polishing of Shadow People, and it was a terrible race to get it published on its publication date. Not really the way I like to do things, but what can you do?

Now that it’s stopped raining lemons, I have this week, with all the rushing to catch up, and in my own brilliant way, dropped the freezer lid on my noggin (lovely purple egg thing happening), walked into a spoon, and managed to totally delete over 4 000 notifications of things I needed to deal with. The spoon thing probably happens to everyone, and involves holding a large wooden spoon, pointy end naturally facing yourself, walking briskly forward, looking North instead of South, connecting with an unsuspecting wall, and driving said spoon into innocently lurking liver. Fortunately my liver has evolved into a pretty strong organ, what with one thing and another, so it’s hanging in there.

The 4 000 things To Do has me in a little bit of a panic though. People on social networks are much easier to offend than people in the flesh. I’m not sure if it has to do with the lack of eye contact, body language, or simply the fact that we’re all a little different in the sensitivity department. I used to get deeply injured if I remarked on anything, only to be completely ignored. Now I realise that people are busy. Things get overlooked or not seen. Possibly they’d had a spoon incident that week and also deleted their To Do folder. No matter really, it might take a little longer, but I’ll eventually track everyone down. They might be slightly baffled at getting replies to January comments in March, but then again, coming from me, maybe not.

In the meantime, I continue my hunt for typos, my quest for reasonable poetry, and begin to follow through with my newly formed desire to paint Lapillus and its beings for the coming covers of the Shadow People series. Right now though, I’m off to bake some gluten free Brownies. Tomorrow we’ll be venturing forth on our epic monthly shop, so I’ll see you all on Thursday lovely people, barring further incidents with kitchen implements.

Till next time friends. xxx