Sunday, 4 March 2018

The bucket is empty...or will be soon

Pen drawing of a bucket (from Linzé's journal)
Two days ago my husband mentioned that it is a month to go before we go on our annual vacation. It has long been a contentious issue between us because of the cost to visit the UK. The South African currency is horrible when compared to the pound, and Francois has always used that point to counter any argument I had in the past. We finally sat down and did a budget and realised that this year we could afford to go. 
Then we started planning the vacation because I finally got my wish to do the number one thing on my bucket list: visit Scotland.
While I could regale you with long and eminently dull tales of why a visit to that particular country is in the prime spot on my list, I will save you the tears.
My husband, with his no doubt innocent and excited remark, got me thinking about that bucket list. And I realised that pretty soon it is going to be empty. Let me tell you; it is not a good image to carry around in one's mind.
Of course, it was not the only thing on my list, but the other things have secretly wound their way to the outside world over the years. Write a book: check. Publish a novel: check - number four was published about a month ago. Be self-employed: check - did that for ten years, and loved it. Be financially secure for retirement: check. So what now? After Scotland, that bucket will be empty.
It is damn near impossible to describe how it feels to have nothing I want to do, no matter how farfetched or big. Sure I can put stuff in there like space travel and an Olympic gold medal in archery, but those are not my dreams. Although I do like archery.
Our trip is a month away, and I am thinking about what to pack and what to leave behind, but underneath all the excitement this empty list is bothering me. More places to visit? I do not know. I have been to the one country in Africa (outside of my own that is) that I wanted to see, more than once. I have been to other countries in the world too, although there are many more to go if that is what I want to do.
And here we get to the crux of my predicament: what do I still want to do? As I sit here contemplating the words of this post, I have no freaking clue. I think that any new destination can be delayed since it would only be fair to go someplace Francois wants to visit. Since he is a photographer, I doubt that it would be a chore to accompany him.
And my bucket will still be empty. I am not sure how to handle this. It is a very odd experience this not knowing, or at the very least have a vague idea. There is nothing looming in my subconscious either.
Then a thought struck: do I need a bucket list? Surely, it is not the end of the world if I no longer have some big dream to chase? I do have my goals, and are those not some form of a bucket list? Perhaps what I need is a change in perspective, not another big and/or impossible thing. Who says it has to be impossible...again a shift in perspective perhaps?
Some things to ponder in the weeks ahead while I pack my suitcase for Scotland.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

A booty of music to celebrate

What do you do when you have met all your targets for one day? I mean after three hours of painting, writing enough words to exceed my daily target four times, and then also managing to make my watch ping that I have achieved my exercise target for the day.
My word count target for the year

Now the exercise target is a tricky one on the best of days, that is I why I now have a personal trainer to put me through my paces. However, that only happens tomorrow. Today, however, I made it by accident, shall we say?
I was on my way to take a shower when one of my all-time favourite songs started playing. So I do what anyone does when that happens...I shake my booty in time to the song!
So I shook my booty all the way to the shower with my Bluetooth speaker in one hand and my mobile phone in the other. Shake-shake.
In the shower, another song came on, and boy now I had to move and shower at the same time. And trust me, the shower cubicle is not the size where you can change your mind easily. So here I was, shaking my booty, while trying to wash it, and at the same time trying to prevent my hair from getting wet.
Good thing I was not wearing my glasses, because I do not think even I wanted to see that!
The question remains what now? There are still two hours before bedtime. What is a girl to do with all that time?
With a thunderstorm and wonderful rain singing the background chorus to my evening, there is but one thing left to do: read.
So here is to my week ahead. And here is to your week ahead. May it be blessed with success and plenty of coffee and books.

Until next time!


Monday, 15 January 2018

Cover Reveal: WAITING FOR ADRIAN by Linzé Brandon

cover graphic, Waiting for Adrian, author Linzé BrandonLife was perfect for young  Erin Ville.
Her days were busy with normal teenager things, while her nights were filled with the romantic dreams of a young woman in love.
Until those dreams became so much more than the wishes of her heart.

Who was she really?
Where did Adrian fit into all of this?

Premonitions of war.
Prophecies of the future.
In the middle of it all a young woman too fragile to save the Nations of Peace, and yet they didn't stand a chance of survival without her.

Would Adrian be the man she needed, or was she destined to wait for him forever?

Waiting for Adrian is now available to order on Smashwords.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

StoryCubes Short Story Writing Competition 2018


The Competition

1. Write a short story using the nine story cubes in the graphic (see HOW TO ENTER below).
2. The cubes must be used in the way they are laid out, ie. the opening 3 must be in the opening scene of the story, the middle 3 in the middle, and the last 3 in the ending of the story. The order of the use of the three cubes in every part of the story, is left up to the author.
3. Each story must have a single author.
4. No changes are allowed to stories already submitted.
5. By entering this monthly competition you declare that the stories you submit are your own work, and that you have not committed plagiarism in any form. If any story is found to be the work of another author, copied from any source on the internet, or other published work, the entrant will be banned from any future entries and any work already published will be removed with a public announcement to that effect.
6. By entering this competition you grant permission that your story may be published on Butterfly on a Broomstick and promoted on social media
7. The entry fee is not refundable, so make sure you submit your story on time.
8. South Africa is located in the GMT+2 time zone. Late submissions due to miscalculations on the time zone, will not be accepted as an excuse.
9. Three winners will be picked every month and their stories will be promoted on my blog, Butterfly on a Broomstick. Promotions will take the form of shares on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter.
10. Linzé Brandon is the administrator/judge of this competition, and will not take part as an author.
11. Judges for the month are not allowed to enter, but are welcome to do so for other months.
12. The judges' decision is final.
13. The submissions remain the intellectual property of each author.
14. The top three authors (with the most votes) at the end of the year will be awarded Amazon gift cards to the value of - $25, $15 and $8. In case of a tie, the prizes will be combined and divided equally.
15. The cubes will send out the 1st of the following months: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November.

The stories will be judged based on the following criteria:

1. Word count, excluding the title, must not exceed 750 words.
2. All nine (9) of the Storycubes must feature in the story.
3. All family friendly genres are welcome - that means no explicit sex, no violence, and no offensive language.
4. Stories that thrill the judges or make them laugh, cry, horrified or touched by your characters are what we are looking for.
5. The story is the most important, but take the time to edit your story before submission. Where stories are tied for a winning place, the better edited story will be chosen.
6. The top three authors for each month will be contacted by email.

How to enter?

1. Subscribe to my blog to get the nine Storycubes sent to your inbox, every month. No spam, I promise.
2. Submit your story in the BODY of an email message. Emails with attachments will be automatically disqualified.
3. Put the title of your story in the SUBJECT line of the email as follows: STORYCUBES {The Month you are taking part} - The Title of Your Story. The email addresses for submission and payment will be sent with the cubes every month.
4. Stories received after the deadline are not eligible. Since the cubes are different for every month, late stories will not be carried over to the next month.
5. Deadline for each story will be in your inbox.
6. Entry fee: $2. The Paypal reference number must accompany the entry to be valid.

How to get to the top spot?

1. Promote your story to all your friends on the internet.
2. Ask them to vote for your story.
3. Take part in the next month's competition.

NOTE: The details of this post will be relocated to a TAB on my blog, so you don't have to search for the rules next time.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Guest post and a new release from Charles Yallowitz

cover page graphic, Warlord of the Forgotten Age, Charles E Yallowitz
Thank you to Linzé Brandon for hosting me on her blog to help promote Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. This is the final book of my fantasy adventure series, which has spanned 15 volumes. After working on it for so long, I’ve found that one of my favorite parts of writing is to create and evolve characters. My heroes drove the story, traveled to reveal the world, and took whatever I threw at them without voicing too many complaints.
Many people have told me that they think it’s easier to evolve a character in a long series because you have time. I’ve learned that it’s not as easy as it looks and there are plenty of pitfalls when it comes to development. The biggest challenge is making sure the characters don’t go stale and fall into a rut. While there should be a core that remains stable, you need to be on the lookout for a plateau. Once you hit that, the hero has to either retire, find a bigger mountain, or get knocked back down. How do the three options work:
  1. Retire means they’re out and whatever was connected to them has to either be closed or handed off to someone else. I’m not a big fan of this unless it was planned because you have to depend on the audience accepting it. Characters develop fans who may not keep reading if their favorite is gone.
  2. Find a bigger mountain means developing news skills and traits on top of what they already had. Fresh subplots and a twist in the main plot can help here. Yet, you have a risk here as well. The character may become so powerful that people no longer believe there’s a possibility of them failing.
  3. Knocked back down is my favorite because it feels the most realistic. We all have our highs and lows in life, but a hero would be more susceptible. Their adventures leave them more exposed to loss and pain. If they’re kicked from the plateau then they have to get back there while battling the sense that they made a mistake. This can only be done so many times though, but it works out well for a long series because it requires time.
While not as major, I also learned that later outlines might not survive a character’s real personality. Many chapters were changed because a plan didn’t account for how I would write the character. I’ve come to depend a lot on my heroes, villains, and supporting cast when it comes to forming subplots and direct events more than my outlines. Those are guidelines for the characters to either agree to or toss in the garbage.
Again, thank you to Linze Brandon for letting me be a guest. Hope everyone who checks out Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age enjoys the adventure.

Author Bio & Social Media
Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world.

After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere.
He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.
All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN

Note from Linzé: You're welcome, Charles and wishing you all the best with the new release. 💜