Wednesday, 30 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 18: Planning for Pantsers - the Plot (2)

Now that you have chosen the character and set the direction for your story, it is time to put some clothes and shoes on it, ie research. Now before you rush off to the nearest library (I hope!) or burn the keys on your computer with enthusiasm, stop!
What do you need to research?
When you decided on the setting of your story, it set you on the path for step 1. If it is a fictional place, you can make up the details. If, however, it is a real place, and you don't know it personally, research is required. But make a list!
Where in the town/city/community is your story placed?
Do you need street names?
Are there businesses or factories or houses? Is it a harbour? What kind of shipping does it cater for?
What other distinctive landmarks do you need? Historical monuments or buildings? A river, or bridges?
Only research what you need. You can get so engrossed in the information, that you will gather too much, and waste time with information you don't need and are never going to use.

The next important thing is time. When does your story take place? A hundred years ago? Prehistoric times? Two thousand years from now? Is it set in World War I?
Of course the future cannot be researched, so you have to use your imagination, but also a little savvy given the genre of your story. Science fiction will have gadgets and smart computers, whereas two days after Armageddon, who knows?

Real historical events require more in-depth research, but again, only find out what you need to know. And be aware of the circumstances that people lived in at the time. No mobile phones, food shortages, wars, etc.

Now your story has character, you dressed it in the proper threads and you wave it on its way with a tear and a smile.

See you tomorrow!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Series Feature: Harmony Run Series by Sarah Elle Emm

About the Book:
After two members of The Freedom Front are arrested and interrogated by the UZTA’s tyrannical President Nicks, Rain Hawkins and her friends face the alarming reality that their plans to liberate the mixed zones across the United Zones of The Authority might not come to fruition. While the resistance movement is growing outside the walls of the zones, the president’s forces are strengthening and putting citizens everywhere in more peril than ever. When Rain receives warnings that her cousin, Calista, has agreed to support plans to kill the mixed zones, and that her life could be on the line at the upcoming pure zone initiation ceremony, she must decide where her loyalties lie and if all of her allies can be trusted. As The Freedom Front use their abilities to unravel the mystery of the ceremony, The Authority captures some of their friends, forcing TFF to either go into hiding, or plan a rescue mission that could jeopardize everything they’ve been fighting for.

Buy now at Amazon Paperback I Kindle

Other Books in the series:

PRISMATIC  Goodreads I Amazon
OPALESCENT  Goodreads I Amazon
CHATOYANT  Goodreads I Amazon

About the Author:

Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS, August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.

Stalk the Author:
Website I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads I Amazon Author Page

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 17: Planning for Pantsers - the Plot (1)

Today I find myself in the murky waters where the planners excel and the pantsers shrink away in disgust (fear?) - the plot. Just as the planners are gleefully rubbing their hands together, I have to disappoint you, I have not converted. If the pantsers were about to dig out the razors to slit their wrists, I say, relax. It is not that bad. Being creative does not mean there is no rational thinking involved. Before despair blackens the horizon into eternal winter, let me tell you where I am coming from.
  1. You have to know what genre you want to write. There are guidelines (I am not going to call them rules) for the major genres that you need to know to be able to compose prose that your readers will want to read. Even if you are thinking about zombie romance with serial killer dystopian undertones. Follow your gut and write in whichever genre you want, zombies and vampires notwithstanding.
  2. By deciding the genre beforehand, your mind will already be plotting the story based on this genre. If you are not sure what genre it is, then write: end of the world story where undersexed teenagers are trying to overthrow the government. Not much for an actual plot, but it is a start.
  3. The plot is your compass. It helps to tell you the direction your story is going. Planners have a smart compass - it can tell the future. Their compasses know that around the next corner there is a monster lurking that needs to be defeated by the hero. A Pantser's compass is intuitive - it doesn't know there is a monster lurking, but it puts butterflies in your hero's stomach when he approaches that corner.
Of course, the story winds its way around and over many obstacles that may change, but be careful of changing the character/genre of your story. Your future will be darkened with many rewrites.
If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Monday, 28 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 16: A little writing humour

Instead of writing a post today, I decided to add a few tidbits of humour on writing. And of course, being an engineer, project manager and had to be Dilbert. Enjoy!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 15: What I learned at #ROSACon2015

Like all good things, #ROSACon2015 had to end. Two days of sharing experiences, and making new friends. Listening to presentations were I either learned something new or was reminded of an important aspect of writing.
Work sessions and discussions that were open and honest, even when the discussion got between the bed sheets. This was a romance authors' conference after all!
We shared lots laughs, but were also moved to tears. The organisation is still in its infancy, but the foundations have been laid for a future of authors growing within themselves, growing as writers and passing on the lessons learned to help and support new authors.
While the publishing industry is changing almost by day, self-publishing notwithstanding, there was much to be learnt from the experienced authors. Persistence, coping with fear and rejection, the daily demands of our time, and commitment to our craft despite all the challenges we have to face.

I enjoyed making my presentation on marketing for authors. While the subject matter is very close to my heart, there was not enough time to cover all the aspects in an hour. It is a good thing then that I am committing myself towards finishing the first draft on Indie Author: The Good, the Bad and the Hard Work by the end of November.
Once I am back home, I will assess the progress on the book and update my planning to ensure that it will be completed on time. In the meantime, my travelling is done until December, and my posts will return to the schedule to complete the book, and a few more posts on planning for pantsers and NaNoWriMo.

See you tomorrow - from my home office!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Follow Me Day 3 - #ROSACon2015 pictures

As promised the pictures from today's presenters. The Conference is now over, but keep an eye out for the feedback posts about #ROSACon2015 - see you next year!

Karina Szczurek Brink
Karina Szczurek Brink
Jayne Bauling
Jayne Bauling
Joss Wood, Rae Rivers, Elsa Winckler
FltR: Joss Wood, Rae Rivers and Elsa Winckler
Rae Rivers, Phoenix Kelly
Rae introduces Phoenix Kelly

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 14: Follow Me...Stellenbosch @ #ROSACon2015

Some of the Conference attendees: Day 1
Yesterday I was asked to be one of the bloggers for one of the presentations. The presentation was about Internal vs External conflict - that one thing that sets a story apart from a narrative. I don't know when the post needs to be ready for the SA Romance Writers' blog, but will let you know, and post a link if you want to read it. There will also be posts about the other presentations that you can have a look at.

Today is the last day of the conference and here is what I have planned for my day:
1. The Category Romance Formula by Joss Wood

2. What do you mean I have to market my writing? presented by yours truly
I will be giving the presentation to everyone subscribing to the mailing list on my blog. I have also received a few requests to give the presentation back home too. If you are interested, please keep an eye out for the details of the date and venue. It will be in the Pretoria/Centurion/Johannesburg area.

3. Tips to overcome the fear that can paralyse our writing by Rae Rivers

As promised there will again be more pictures online (in a second post) after the conference finishes today for you to look at.

See you later!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Friday, 25 September 2015

Follow Me to #ROSACon2015 - Day 2

Some of the speakers today:

Left: Romy Sommer (chairman of ROSA); right: Joss Wood (author)

Rebecca Crowley and Jo Watson

A few of the dinner pictures as promised :)

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 13: Follow Me...Stellenbosch @ #ROSACon2015

The Butterfly in Linzé's Mischief
One of the benefits of using an online journal is being able to write blog posts while attending a writers' conference. The first day of the conference I will be attending the following talks:

1. Options for Authors today by Rebecca Crowley
2. Say what (is it about writing dialogue) presented by Joss Wood

Then I will be skipping a few presentations to go to a book shop with antique and rare books. I just have to go. As a book collector this kind of shop is my kryptonite. I don't know if I will find any books that will interest me, but if I don't go I will never know. I saw on their website that they had books that might interest me - and so the opportunity arises.

I will be in time back for the next session that interest me:
3. Just because you could, doesn't mean you should by Marie Dry

I will add my notes and impressions (and also lessons learned) as the second post to my blog. Will also try and get some good pictures of the speakers for you.

Tonight is the conference dinner at a historical building in town and some fun and mischief might result. Put a bunch of writers together, and the end result is guaranteed be unpredictable. Keep an eye out for my update later tonight.

See you later!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Follow Me - Day 1 Pictures

The view from my room @ Le Verger Guesthouse In Stellenbosch
Le Verger Guesthouse - my room is the one on the left
I took a few pictures with my mobile phone from the plane, but cannot upload them here. I have a Samsung phone and a Apple Mac - they don't talk to each other :( If you want to see some of my aerial shots, please visit my Facebook page.

There will be more pictures tomorrow!

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 12: Follow Me...Johannesburg to Cape Town

Linzé is a Member of ROSA
Part of the rules for the 35 Day Author Blog Challenge is to go to the parent website and post your daily post link for everyone else to see. When I went back to get the link for Day 10, I realised that the post had originally been scheduled for Day 11, oops!
I didn't fix the booboo and I have to apologise for that. If you didn't spot it, well, I am not going to tell you what it was. :)
If you read my Journal, Linzé's Mischief, on Sunday you would have seen that I have been having difficulty on deciding what clothes to pack. Well, the weather forecast clinched it for me, so I am packed and ready to go.
I even relented on my own decision to pack my camera. Yeah, yeah, I know, what is a mind if you cannot change it? So I did, and now I will be able to post some decent pictures for you on Facebook and here on my blog. To make it slightly easier for me, I will add another post today with some of the photographs I have taken along the way. Also keep an eye out during the coming days for pictures of the #ROSACon2015 venue, my fellow attendees, the speakers and some of the mischief we are getting up to.
Here is to a lovely long weekend for me! If you are a rugby fan, like many of my friends and colleagues, enjoy the world cup games!

See you later, from Cape Town and Stellenbosch!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Guest Post: Revenge by Francis H Powell

"Vengeance is mine," sayeth the Lord

Revenge has to be cold and calculated and has to have the ultimate impact. The better you know the victim of your revenge, the better. What are some of the ultimate true life “pay backs”.
There’s a new phenomenon, posting photos or videos of former partners on the internet, naked or doing sexually compromising things. This seems tasteless…mind you who recalls the infamous severing of John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis by his wife Lorena…as a man this makes me squirm, even thinking about this. There are more sophisticated ways of meting out revenge, take Lady Graham-Moon, (whose name speaks volumes) her retaliation against her two-timing husband, included pouring paint over his BMW, cutting up his Savile Row suits and, perhaps the most devastating of all, giving his vintage wine collection to the neighbours.
Revenge is an instinctive part of human nature, Relationship psychologist Susan Quilliam says that if you define revenge as wanting someone to hurt as much as you do then it is indeed a natural human instinct. However not all us (maybe thankfully) have the brevity of a Mrs Bobbit, or Lady Graham Moon, we fantasize about the terrible revenge we are going to enact, but we don’t see it through. Susan Quilliam also says that this instinct for revenge is nurtured during our childhoods.
Fictional revenge, who can forget “Carrie”, by Stephen King, the revenge she takes out on her cruel despising classmates, at a school prom. “The Cask of Amontillado”, by Edgar Allan Poe, also hinges on the subject of “revenge”, the story set in Italy concerns a man who takes revenge on a friend, believing this friend has insulted him, the revenge taking the form of burying this friend alive. Revenge is steeped in The Count of Monte Christo. The thirst a person might have for revenge is a burdensome as the original act that thrusts them into revenge.
In my book of short stories, revenge often comes to the fore. In “Mutant” revenge appears twice, there is a revenge for a revenge. Firstly a Scientist takes the ultimate revenge on his cheating wife, firstly by causing a car accident, secondly to have the audacity to splice a fish tail onto her torso, then placing her in an aquarium for all his selected friends to gloat over her new appalling situation.

Her case was flooded with intrusive bright light. So the price of my infidelity is to be displayed like this, naked to the world, a freak in a lavish giant aquarium, she lamented.

However she manages to escape and enact her own brand of revenge.

With my story “Slashed” a brother has lived in the shadow of his older brother, who is a “genius painter”. The brother is also a painter, but far more mediocre…When one evening drunk, he passes his brother’s studio, the temptation is too great to gain entry and he forces his way in and causes the maximum amount of damage…absolute carnage of his brother’s masterpieces, in a frenzied blitz of art vandalism.

About the Author
What better way to put all my angst into short stories. Born in a commuter belt city called Reading, like many a middle or upper class child of such times I was shunted off to an all-male boarding school aged eight, away from my parents for up to twelve weeks at a time, until I was 17.  While at my first Art college, I met a writer called Rupert Thomson, who was in the process of writing his first book “Dreams of leaving”. His personality and wit resonated, long losing contact with him.  Later I lived in Austria, in 1999 I moved to Paris.  During my time in Paris I met Alan Clark, who had a literary magazine called Rat Mort (dead rat). I began contributing and got hooked on writing short stories.  My book Flight of Destiny is a result of this obsession.  I also write poetry.
Connect with Francis online

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 11: Planning for Pantsers - scene setting

As pantsers we tend to write our stories chronologically. To be able to do this, we sit down and read what we wrote the previous day and then simply continue where we left off. This is a simple process when you write every day and keep the story and characters alive in your head while you are writing.
But what if you did not write yesterday? Or the day before? What if you had to work overtime for two weeks and was simply too exhausted to look at your story? How far do you go back to pick up the plot?
The major plot would probably stare you in the face during the last scene, but now the finer details of the sub-plots are gone from your memory. Do you start reading from the beginning, or is there some way to help you keep track?
If you need to read many pages every time your writing is interrupted, you will be frustrated because you are reading instead of what you want to do...write.
But there is help and it's not so complicated as you might think:
  1. Use visual images to help you with the setting of your story. A Pinterest Board is an excellent tool to gather and pin landscapes or seascapes, or a city, or spaceship where your story is taking place. Even fantasy or imaginary graphics could help you. The world is filled with exceptional artists and pinning their work to your board could help you create the most interesting settings for your stories.
  2. If you cannot find what you are looking for, make a drawing. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it is only an aid to keep your story straight. I did a drawing of the village of Akan for my Nations of Peace series so that I could remember the lay of the land. Where the forest was, the houses, the school of Magic and Knowledge, etc.
  3. Another way is to sit down and describe the city, town, farm, asteroid or spaceship in as much detail as you can. The lights, the smells, the sounds, the odd green colour of the walls, etc. Describe each room. Or specific place (such as the barn) where your story could have a scene. You are not going to use so much detail in your story, but writing it all down helps to fix the setting(s) in your mind. By adding the details you can add depth to the story via the experiences your characters have in that environment.
  4. All the points described here are especially helpful when writing a series where the characters or stories have the same setting in common.
  5. It will also save you a lot of reading time to refresh your memory when you have not written for prolonged periods of time.

Keep all your notes, planning and preparation in the same place for quick referencing to save time. You can then focus on writing, instead of constantly backtracking to search for details about the setting.

See you tomorrow!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 10: 6 Easy SEO tips for bloggers

Linzé Brandon, author, Google, Butterfly on a Broomstick, Goodreads, Amazon
Linzé's Google Result
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the technique used for websites, and blogs, to be found by Google or any of the other search engines. While most people know about keywords, it is one of many algorithms used by the search engines to find your blog and list it on the results page if someone searched for something.
For authors the one thing that we want others to see is our books, isn't it? Whether the searcher types in the title you want yours to be listed first. Problem is that book titles are far from unique.
With almost two hundred thousand books being published every year (yep, it is that many and growing!) the probability of duplicated titles are getting higher and higher. So if you want to have a high ranking, you have to the be keyword. Sounds weird I know, but you are your brand and unless you are writing one book and one book only, the title is not going help you much. Unless you think of something completely new and catchy - which of course, I hope you do - your name is the only keyword that will help with search engines.

Here are some easy SEO tips for bloggers to get going:
  1. Your blog has a theme. Make sure the majority of your posts are about this theme. I would say >90% of posts should be about the theme your chose for your blog.
  2. Plan your post content and use the keyword a maximum of five times in a sentence that make sense to the reader. The shorter the post, the fewer the number of keyword sentences. In a post of 500 words, 5 times could work. In a short post of 300 words or less, don't use it more than 3 times. If you do more, it will only irritate your reader.
  3. Use the keyword in the title of the post.
  4. Use the keyword in the first paragraph of your post.
  5. If you use a graphic image with the post, make sure to add its metatags too, since the web crawlers cannot see images, only recognise the text associated with it.
  6. Don't use your name all over, use it to tag book covers. The images are just as important as the text on your blog.

Is there more to SEO for bloggers? Yes, there are many ways to help your blog to be visible and gain a high ranking in a search, but using keywords and metatags is an easy way to start and not technically challenging for even the most inexperienced blogger.

See you tomorrow for the first of my Follow Me posts - I am on my way to #ROSACon2015

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Monday, 21 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 9: Planning for Pantsers - backstory

Photograph and cross stitching by Linzé
Planning for pantsers might sound like a contradiction in terms, and to some extent is it. However, without at least some planning the amount of editing that a pantser has to do, is exponentially more than that of a writer that plans her story in detail.
As a fiction pantser, and a non-fiction planner, I have learned that there is a way for a pantser to plan without going into details about the story. I am a pantser because I don't want to know how the story is going to end until I write...the end.

That still leaves a round or two of editing that the planner may not have to do, but it significantly cuts down the number of edits you have to do, if you plan at least some aspects of your story.

Backstory is a tricky thing for pantsers and planners alike. This is especially important when you write a series of books, with either the same lead character or group of characters. You need to keep your story straight so to speak, or your readers will call you out for inconsistencies and boo-boos.
Each and every single writing course will tell you that backstory needs to be woven into the thread of the story. That means you don't start with 10,000 words explaining the main character's childhood abuse or bullying or sexual history in detail before the story starts.
You have to write the story and add a sentence here or a small paragraph there to fill the blanks. Like the thread that holds the tapestry in place for the stitches to be sewn into. In the back. You are aware that it is there, but you don't look at it, nor does it stand out to compete with the image.
Good backstory telling works the same way. Your reader will read it without noticing it. It is there; it provides necessary colour to the story, but it is NOT the story.
If you have this habit of writing 10,000 words before getting into the actual story, then do that, just remember to cut the words and save it another file for you to reference. Or leave it in your first draft, and cut it when you start editing. Just remember to draw those threads into the story when you cut the backstory text.
If you don't do this, then you need to write the backstory anyway. You need to have the history of your main character (at least) done before you write. What made him the man he is today? How did she get to the place/time where the story will start?
This is not a character sketch, but it is history and experiences that your character(s) have had to make them the way your define them in the character sketch.

See you tomorrow!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Sunday, 20 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 8: Make it a good morning, and a great day

Earlier in the year I started reading The Artist's Way with the intention to follow the program this year. To my shame, I have to admit that I have not progressed further than Chapter 4. The one thing I did start, and am still doing is what the author calls morning pages.
While I have been keeping a diary since I was very young, the idea of morning pages struck me as a better approach and I have since converted to the practice.
For those of you not familiar with the term, morning pages is written first thing in the morning for about half an hour. It is a brain dump basically. Anything and everything that pops into your brain can be written down, there is no structure nor any other rules. The idea with morning pages is to get your brain cleared of all kinds of stuff so that you can then focus on being creative for the rest of the day.
Since I start work at 6am, I have no time to do this "first thing" in the morning. So I do that as soon as I get to the office. While I wish that I would have 30 minutes available, ten is about as far as I get.
But, 10 minutes is better than nothing, and I find that even that small pinch of time makes a difference. Not only does it help me get clarity on the issues inside my head, I have upon occasion gotten an idea for a story. That alone makes the effort worthwhile. And I get to write every day.
The one other pleasure I gain from the experience is writing by hand. And in long hand too!
If I have a little time, usually over the weekend, I will use a fountain pen or even a nibbed pen to pen my thoughts.
Morning Pages is journal writing at the next level, and that alone makes me grateful that I found The Artist's Way.

See you tomorrow!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Saturday, 19 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 7: Review a book (part 1)

Photograph by Linzé
This is the first of three posts about book reviews. The second will be aimed specifically at reviewing erotica or erotic romance, so watch out for that if you need some guidance. The third will be about reviewing non-fiction.

I am a blog host for two websites, and every now and then I volunteer to read and review books for them. While my first choice of genre is romance, I also read and review mysteries.
So how do you review a book that you liked?
That is the easy one. But I have a request: please don't tell me the story...seriously! I really can read. Rehashing the synopsis or summarizing the story (without giving away the ending, of course) is really not helpful. That is why the author/publisher adds a summary/teaser to the book or website so people can see what the story is about.
What I want to know when I read a review, is what you liked about the characters, or the plot, or the story. Why should I also read this book? Is the hero hot and sexy, yet an interesting character to read about? Is his enemy a multidimensional character with his own issues, making you almost want to root for him instead? Is the story believable? Does the plot keep your attention to such an extent that you lost sleep in order to finish the book?
Do you like the way the author wrote the story? Can you smell the roses? Will you pay money to read another book from the same author?
The answers to these questions tell me what your experience was when you read the story, and that is what I want to know.

But how do you review a book that you wouldn't normally read? I am honest, I do not like reading out of my preferred genres, but sometimes someone asks and then I say I will do it.
Since I am a romance lover, happy endings are part of the definition of the genre. Now I read  a book where a happy ending is not a guarantee, and oftentimes it can be tragic. Okay, so I don't like the ending, now what? Do I shoot down the book? Of course not.
I don't give the ending away, but if I am not careful in writing my review, the tone of I might give my displeasure of it away and that would be unfair to the author.
So how do I tackle a review, of say a literary novel, where the ending may not have been to my liking? I do it the same way as a review of any other book.
The characters, the story and the writing. Just because I may not have liked the book, does not mean that the book has no merit and cannot be enjoyed by a number of people.
So instead of shooting it down outright, unless the writing is bad or the characters one dimensional, I will say what I did like. Even if you don't know the technical details of creative writing, you can still write a positive review.

See you tomorrow!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Friday, 18 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 6: Another Follow Me Tour

One thing that I love about blogging is that I can show you my country as I travel for work or pleasure. Or in this case a writers' conference. Yep, I am grinning like an idiot, as it will be my first local conference. Local as in the same country, but not the same province. I live in Pretoria in the Gauteng province and the conference is in Stellenbosch which is in the Western Cape province. For my non-South African friends - if you can find Cape Town on a map, you will see that Stellenbosch is not far away.
Since I am not much of a travel writer, I will beg your indulgence as I do my tour guide impersonation from 24 to 27 September. One thing I should mention in my favour is that I can take good photographs, so at least the pictures will be something to look at. And I should warn you, this is one of the most beautiful parts in my country, even if the region is famous for its wine making. Cheers!
"Stellenbosch fan Papagaaiberch grut" by Fmalan at en.wikipedia.
In the meantime I have to finish preparing my presentation. Yep, I will one of the speakers at the Romance writers Organisation of South Africa (ROSA) Conference. My talk will be on marketing for writers, and it will focus on the things a writer have to do to get started on marketing.
I will be talking about topics such as branding, blogging and social media. The contents of my presentation is an extract from Chapter 6 of my book, Indie Author: The Good, the Bad and the Hard Work.

PS: I will email a PDF of the presentation to my blog subscribers after the conference.

See you tomorrow!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Thursday, 17 September 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge - Day 5: Suddenly the challenge is too much, or is it?

Linzé Brandon (photograph Francois A Venter)
Most writers work full-time to pay the bills and write after hours to indulge in their passion. I do the same. Only writing to me is not just a passion, it is an escape from the stressful hours I call work obligations.
I have often heard that people say they didn’t write or have stopped writing because real life interfered. And I think, seriously? If your writing is not part of real life, then what is it a part of? A fantasy? A dream? Of course, bad things happen, and it happens to everyone.
Think about it. If you or you child gets sick, you get time off from work. If someone close to you passes away, you are allowed time off. My employer allows me time to take care of myself or other issues, but then I get back to work. Right? The question I then ask myself, why should I stop writing if something happens? Is there not anything more to writing than spinning tales in book format?
Unlike my job, I find that writing can be therapeutic and healing. It doesn’t have to be the next book in my fantasy series that I write; it can be my journal. Sometimes it is only my journal and nothing else for days. The need to write has become such a part of me, that even when ‘real life’ happens, I have to write about it. Yes, I share my pain with people I love, but it is not the same as pouring out everything onto paper.

Paper never gets impatient with me. It never tries to ‘help’ where help is often not what I need. Sometimes people understand, sometimes they don’t. But in writing I can let go in a way I cannot do with another person. Perhaps that is just me, or perhaps you are the same, but it works for me. Writing is my ‘real life’ and the longer I do it, the more it becomes part of the way I define myself.

See you tomorrow!

If you want to see what the other participants are blogging about, you can find their blogs here. Why not pop on over and leave a comment?

Book Tour: Made in India by Biddu

As a child, Biddu dreamt of going west and making it big as a composer. At the age of sixteen, he formed a band and started playing in a cafe in Bangalore, his home town, At eighteen, he was part of a popular act at Trinca's, a nightclub in Calcutta devoted to food, wine and music, At nineteen, he had college students in Bombay dancing to his music. 
In his early twenties, he left the country and ended up hitchhiking across the Middle East before arriving in London with only the clothes on his back and his trusty guitar. What followed were years of hardship and struggle but also great music and gathering fame. From the nine million selling "Kung Fu Fighting" to the iconic youth anthem of "Made in India" and the numerous hits in between. Biddu's music made him a household name in India and elsewhere. 
In this first public account of all that came his way: the people, the events, the music tours and companies Biddu writes with a gripping sense of humor about his remarkable journey with its fairy tale ending. Charming, witty, and entirely likable, Biddu is a man you are going to enjoy getting to know.

About the Author
Biddu was born in India, where he started his career playing in a pop band whose influences lay in the classic repertoire of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Following his early success, he decided to hear West and move into the international music arena. He struck gold, signing the unknown Carl Douglas and producing "Kung Fu Fighting?" which went on to become a hit all over the world. He also wrote and produced hits for Tina Charles and soul legend Jimmy James. 
Around this time, Biddu became involved in Indian music: he composed the cult "Aap Jaise Koi" for the film Qurbani which set a new landmark for sales in India He followed this up with a pop album, Disco Deewane, with Nazia Hassan, which became the largest selling pop album in Asian history, and was the first Indian album to hit the charts in fourteen countries. In 1995, Biddu wrote and produced the three-million-selling album Made in India with the singer Alisha Chinai. To date, Biddu has sold over thirty-eight million records worldwide.

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