It is impossible to look anywhere now without Covid-19 and its effects being right there in your face, except of course when you manage to lose yourself in a good movie or book. At this point most of us have realised that we can’t choose not to partake in this horrible pandemic. It turned lives around the world upside down almost overnight, and it is still plowing on like a slow train. Some of us are fortunate enough to be able to socialise online, and be able to stockpile provisions for at least a few weeks. Luckily for some the biggest problems are boredom. There are millions of others who don’t have running water, or food, or adequate shelter, and knowing that makes boredom seem like a blessing.
We know that sooner or later this will pass. It is obvious though that our world will be changed. We will lose people that we wouldn’t have lost so soon. There will be a whole lot of mourning and grief. Then our new normal will begin to show itself. Maybe as soon as it’s safe to do so there will be lots of parties and hugging, but maybe there won’t be. Could be that some people will be more cautious about getting too close to others. Smaller airlines will probably go out of business, and cruise ships might not seem like fun things to be on any more. We don’t know what the future holds. Business owners don’t know whether they can weather this particular storm. And this applies to authors also. We are all wondering what to do next. Some suggest promoting their books. Others suggest giving away their books for free.
If you follow the bestseller lists on Amazon you will see a big upsurge of children’s books in the top 100, so yes, if you are selling children’s books, you might very well see an increase in sales at this point. I’ve asked quite a few people what books they are buying for themselves right now, and most of them said that they’re not. People are reading the collections they already have, and they’re taking advantage of the many freebies on offer right now. So I’m thinking that if you have a book ready to publish it might be a good idea to hold off for a little while, and either work on perfecting it a little more or get started on another. Now is a great time to be offering any of your books for free, not from a marketing point of view, but rather as an act of kindness for a world locked in terror.
This doesn’t mean that you should throw up your hands and stop writing. People are not going to stop reading—in fact, on the other end of this there will probably more people reading. Take advantage of this time to write and perfect new books, so that when the world can breathe again, you will be ready. Work on your covers and future promo banners. Go over already published books and see if they need any tweaks. Keep on creating fantastic places for people to dive into and forget about the chaos for a while. It’s a good time to share whatever beauty you can make—writers, artists, poets—your magic will always be needed.
It’s also a great time for readers to gravitate to e-readers. There will most definitely be more people buying eBooks, so it is probably time to think about making our own eBooks as pretty as they can be, rather than being the poor relation of the paperback. It’s a lot cheaper to buy a full colour eBook than it is a paperback, so all of us writers should be taking a good look at our Kindles. It is also a good idea to note that with all the online working now and in the future, there will be a lot more people with computers and wifi connections. Books can be read with the Kindle for PC app on laptops and computers also.
On a lighter note, I regularly fall asleep while reading, only to be woken up immediately when I drop my Kindle and it hits me in the eye, but so far I haven’t managed to lose it. I saw this question on Quora, “How do I find my dead Kindle?”. Expecting to see hilarious answers I of course opened the thread. Apart from one answer beginning with “Dead or alive you’re going to have to search for your Kindle manually”, which did give me an unexpectedly lengthy fit of the giggles, the rest was quite serious. It appears that losing Kindles in the home is a real and horrible thing. Considering that some people have their entire libraries only accessible via these fabulous little critters, maybe Amazon should incorporate some sort of bell thing with a long life extra battery that can be activated with a little remote. You can pay me later Jeff Bezos. Yes—the world needs a beeping Kindle. Or maybe some enterprising individual can create glow in the dark cases for them.
Back – again. Finding equilibrium comes in stages I think. Happily, I seem to be finding mine now, and getting used to this new life I’m finding my way to. The Horde are also just settling down properly too, and I’m only now seeing how much their poor little feathers must have been ruffled with it all. Jelly’s exploring properly for the first time, and they’re all getting back to their old crazy selves. The seed ball that I got for them that I thought I’d get major kudos for instantly became the Birdy Horde Destroying Scary Thing of DOOM. Talk about alarums and excursions. So that terrifying thing is going outside to scare the wildlife away instead.
Finally, every day isn’t always a bad hair day anymore, and happy has slunk back up from the basement, supplying laughter and joy once again. I thought that my writing would have changed somehow, but I think it’s still the same old scribbling, from the same places. I see now that we can’t ever say what will happen. No matter what we do, or what our intentions on, our lives will take the courses that they have to, so we may as well enjoy the ride regardless.
My intentions were to be zooming around blogland a lot more than I have been, and that’s still what they are. So let zooming commence. I’m going to take baby steps getting back up to speed with the zooming though. I’m going to aim for three posts a week, and my Epic Comment Catch Up of All Time trip in between. Now that I’m around and about the town a whole lot more, I reckon I’ll take a pile of photos to share of interesting things and people around here. So, with a bit of luck – and elbow grease, I shall see you all in the land of blog all the time again.
I haven’t at all gotten to answer any comments in the past couple of weeks, and I’m SORRY, and I will get there – promise. It’s taken me a whole lot longer than I expected to get back to blogland, and I’m only starting in properly now. It’s been a bit surreal around here lately. I had TWO nasty surprises in the past six weeks, with members of the local bands of rotten criminals trying to open windows at three in the morning, and me seeing them through the windows BOTH times. That brings the number of attempts by them to get in to four altogether, so I must admit that the last one on Good Friday morning knocked me off my perch a bit. There’s something horribly personally, and somehow violently, invasive seeing an actual person right there on the other side of the glass, even if they do run away. Needless to say I haven’t been sleeping the sleep of the just that I so richly deserve, so I’ve been rather bleary. I’m a whole lot better now though, and waiting with eager anticipation for the riot control self defence kit that I ordered, the very presence of which will guarantee me some good snooze time I think.
Other than that I’ve had some lovely work coming my way with many, many thanks to my wonderful supportive friends here, especially Sally Cronin and Chris Graham. I want to give an extra BIG thank you to Chris – The Story Reading Ape for designing my fabulous new logo for my Indie Support Services.
Don’t forget that there are all sorts of things other than covers that he can do for you Indies. From video trailers to banners, maps, and logos like the perfect one he designed for me. Zoom on over and follow him if you aren’t already – he is a wonderful font of help and support for all authors.
It’s so good to be able to finally start getting back to the books I love in all their forms. I found a particularly interesting one called The Voynich Manuscript that I’m sure a lot of you will find fascinating too. It’s been carbon dated to the early fourteen hundreds (1404 to 1438) and is named after the man who bought it in 1912. It’s written in an unknown alphabet – one that to this day has yet to be deciphered even though the most talented code-breakers and linguists have tried since its discovery. It’s filled with drawings of the craziest alien looking plants you could imagine, as well as pictures of women zooming through what appear to be tubes. Then there are astronomical drawings, and finally a couple that look like a combination of plants, the tube zooming females and the astrological designs.
The mind boggles. My mind does anyway. A lot of very staid and well educated personages have found all sorts of realistic explanations for this book, but I’m a writer so not apt to head straight for the boring. I reckon the writer of this most peculiar tome was either from the fourth planet from the central star in the Zerg galaxy, trying to draw a map home because her peers had found a fabulous way to use whacky plant tubes as interstellar transport (I deduce that said writer was female and the reason for the book was that said peers had decided to search for more plant-worthy men on another planet and forgot her behind) or that it was written by an aspiring adult comic book creator born before his time.
Either way—interesting stuff. If you want to download the PDF for a bit of nutty inspiration you can get it at Holy Books. The download is quite big though—over 50MB.
It’s brilliant to be properly back in the bloggerverse. I’ll be finishing up a couple of cover designs this weekend before diving into my sci-fi series book edits again next week, and now that I’m finally having some quality time back at my computer again with two of my favourite things, I’m pretty much grinning all the time. I abandoned my sketching and painting for so many years that I really didn’t think that I’d ever get back into it, but lately all the rust is falling away and I’m amazed at the huge joy it brings me. It’s weird how we sometimes stop doing the things that we love for whatever reasons, sometimes forever, and that’s a huge shame. It’s also weird how so many of us humans think that getting pleasure from an activity must mean that it’s not work and not worthy of our quality time. It’s the same with writing – how can it be your day job if it’s your favourite thing in the world to do? The truth really is that if that’s what it is – your true happy place, you’ll probably do it so much better than any other kind of “work”. It’s definitely worth striving for, to spend your life doing the work that you love, rather than getting to the end of it and looking back with huge regrets. Put as much work into work that you love as you do your day job, and with a bit of luck and elbow grease it will eventually be your day job.
Now that I’ve discovered that our illustrious scientists have discovered that Earth is actually a billion years older than they thought it was I have lots of tweaking to do to my series. Tweaking, I reckon, is the most dangerous thing to do as far as inserting all sorts of terrible inconsistencies is concerned, especially in a very long story that you’ve been away from for a while, but an extra billion years is way too cool for me to pass up. Anyway – now I’m off to paint covers and ponder what weirdness could possibly reside in dark matter.
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.
Seeing my neighbour over the wall having a stroll in his banana hammock Finding out that there’s ghostly guest Getting sneezed on in an epic manner Dealing with stress Learning how to hit a happy medium
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.
PORTABLE SIN BUNS
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
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.