Sunday, 29 May 2016

Linzé's Mischief: 29 May 2016

I stare at my computer screen and think, half the year is gone. Poof! Just like that. It isn't fun to realise that the novel I should have published in the next two weeks, isn't finished yet (editing still in process). With the deadline for the second book looming, I really need a kick in the pants.
While it doesn't count as a valid excuse, I have been reading the next book on my review list - with a pen and a notebook. Usually, I make a few notes as I read, about the characters and the story, but this one is in a different class altogether.
taking notes, notebook and pen
Image from 123rf.com
Not that I don't enjoy the story, but taking notes is essential for this book. You will see why very soon since the due date for my review is the 6th. Then it is the last book on my present list. I think I shouldn't take on any more to read for review until the two books on my to-publish list are ready for the professional editors.
Spent some time today doing the outline for my next art project - sunflowers in pastel. I suppose I could have spent the time editing, but after a good lunch with the in-laws sitting down would only have resulted in a nap. At least, the time drawing I spent standing upright with a white pencil and a dark blue A2 size paper stuck to the board on my easel.
There is a public holiday coming soon that I can spend getting started on the drawing. I will share as soon as it starts to look like something worth looking at.
My first blog serial has now finished, and you can look out for the next one coming in about the middle of June. It is slightly delayed due to my review commitments. The cover and synopsis are already uploaded on Wattpad if you want to take a peek.
With a busy week lying ahead for me, I wish you well, until next time!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Cover Reveal: All of Me by Jonali Karmakar

*** Cover Reveal ***

Title: All of Me
Author: Jonali Karmakar
Length: 69 pages
Publication Date: May 29, 2016
ASIN: B01G0P8JGK


Book Blurb:
All of Me is a collection of thirteen little stories that have been gleaned from real life as well as imagination. Exploring a range of genres, these throb with everything primal to human nature: fear, angst, joy, love, and longing. Some stories are designed to elicit smiles, chuckles, and maybe even a belly laugh or two whereas some are meant as a reality check. Universal in nature, each story provides a glimpse of what women empowerment or a lack thereof can mean in a person’s life.

From a small hamlet in India to the roads of Australia; from a mother’s betrayal to a daughter’s confession; from an extra marital affair to a same sex relationship learn for yourself the what, how and whys.

Originally written for anthologies and ezines, these stories have been revisited and updated for this new collection.  

About the Author:

Jonali Karmakar is a fiction writer with a Masters in English. Writing is not just her passion but her way of dealing with life. She loves being able to escape into the worlds she creates. Everything that she writes becomes a part of her and she wants her readers to know the woman behind those words. In addition to being an educator, she works as a content editor for a local news portal. She has been providing editing, proofreading and translation services for the past few years.

Jonali’s work has been published in several journals, anthologies and poetry collections both national and international. An avid reader, she loves flipping pages of anything and everything on the table and reviewing the same on her blog Eclectic Moods. She feels that reading and writing are the flip sides of the same coin. Writing is her way of communicating with the world. When she’s not writing or teaching she loves to experiment with her paintings.

She has quite a few accolades to her name.

Contact the Author:
This Feature is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by b00k r3vi3w Tours

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The Friendship Affair

The Friendship Affair by Linzé Brandon, blog serial
Not all long lasting marriages are happy. But what do you do if divorce is not an option?
University friends, Stephanie and Nick, meet again after twenty years. But life has not been easy or simple for either of them. Will this friendship affair stand a chance against reality?

CHAPTER 20

You love me?”
The absolute amazement on her face almost made him laugh. Almost. In fact, it would have been funny if it wasn't for the fact that her eyes were unnaturally bright and got wider by the second.
They were standing in her living room. Ever since they had left the restaurant, she had been silent, and those were the first words out of her mouth.
He stepped closer and took both her hands in his.
I do. I don't know why our lives had turned out the way they had or why we hadn't pursued a relationship when we were young, but right now the past makes no difference to what I feel for you.”
Stephanie slowly backed away to sit on the couch.
He never understood why anyone wanted white furniture, then he remembered that she had no children to worry about. He joined her. He moved a little closer but didn't reach for her much as he wanted to.
She blinked and looked at him with even wider eyes. “You really love me?”
He smiled and took her hand despite his inner voice telling him to give her some space.
Without an ounce of doubt.”
Her silence was a trifle disconcerting. “Talk to me, sweetheart. What are you thinking?”
Stephanie blinked, and two tears slowly rolled down her cheeks. She didn't look away from him. In fact, something changed in her expression to make him hold his breath.
I love you too,” she whispered and then looked down. Slowly she folded her hands over his.
But I cannot offer you anything beyond an affair. I cannot divorce Frederick. I am sorry.”
Nick quickly reversed their hands when she made to get up.
Oh no, you are not giving up on us. I don't believe that you have to remain married to ensure his care, there must be other options.”
He pressed two fingers to her lips when she wanted to protest. “If it turns out that there is no other way, then so be it. We can define our relationship. We are not young anymore, Annie. I don't want to be without you for however many years I still have left in this life.”
What about your children?”
Don't worry about my kids; they are mature enough to understand. Besides, you make me happy, and that is all they want for me anyway.”
He lifted her hands and pressed a kiss to each of her palms. “So what do you say?”
Stephanie began smiling, and his heart jumped at the love he saw when her eyes lit up. “I say, yes!”
He grinned and leaned forward to kiss the woman he knew was going to make the rest of his life one happy affair.
~ The End ~

The story is also available on Wattpad

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Linzé's Mischief: 22 May 2016

Tree stump pencil on white A4 paper
(bad pic, sorry)
I like to draw and paint and stuff and sometimes think I am the next Picasso. (Yeah, hardly!) But then you never know until you submit three pastel paintings for an international competition and cringe when the submit button sounds so final.
Make no mistake, I love my pencils and pastels (non-painting phase, clearly 😝) and do spend hours upon hours shading and sketching and getting dust all over me and the table and the floor. Even managed to mess in the garage, right under Francois' car. That will teach him to leave it outside!
Rose I drew while writing
Galen's Hope (A5)
Spent most of today organising my pencils. They drive me crazy because I want them on my desk, but not in my way. Finally got that sorted out.
Francois made a photograph of sunflowers I took, black and white for me as my next project. I am also contemplating doing the same photo in colour with pastels. Love the rich vibrant colours of the pastels.
My next bird project will be a Bateleur, aka short-tailed eagle. A photo was taken by Francois of the bird about to fly from a tree branch.
If it sounds to you like I am procrastinating in my writing (or rather editing) it is because I am. I started editing Waiting for Adrian, but yeah, I should have been finished with chapter four already. I have to make a plan this coming week, time is few 🤔.

Finished the Tai Chi course I had started in December 2015. It might sound like a long time, and it took longer than I thought it would, but I am so happy with the end result. At the end of the last episode, the presenter goes through the entire routine from start to end. I managed to follow, keep up and do the forms in time with him. I am so chuffed with that.
Jackal Buzzard - pencil on A2 white paper
(from a photo taken by Francois)
I wrote a review about it. There were many thumbs down from people about other 5 star reviews about the course, and I have to wonder why. I set myself the target to learn the forms however long it took me. Maybe they expected it to be easier.
Trust me, it looks easy, then you watch someone else do it and think, WTF?! Then you try and follow along and practice, and then it suddenly isn't that difficult at all.
I had a great time learning the Yang style forms.
I only hope they will make a course for the 42 forms too. As far as I understand it is usually the competition style forms, but why not?
In the meantime, I will continue my daily Tai Chi practice of the 24 forms.

The submissions for project JOURNEY have been coming in and there are only a few days left. The editors are already busy with the early submissions. If all goes to plan, the anthology might even see publication earlier than originally planned.

Tuesday will see the last chapter of The Friendship Affair. I hope you liked the story. The next one will be coming online in June and will be available on Thursdays.

So here is to a great week to all of us, until next time.
 💖
Linzé

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Book Review: THE SEEING PLACE by Aziza Eden Walker

BUY THE EBOOK
I volunteered to the review the book. It is a romance novel set in South Africa, in Cape Town, mostly. We meet Thuli first, a woman who knows what she wants and has achieved a lot of success in her professional life already. Although you get the impression that she is older (I expected her to be in her early forties), it is actually a surprise when she does reveal her age to Andile. She is portrayed initially as rude and arrogant, and I found it difficult to like her especially her lack of manners when she first meets Andile.
Thuli's behaviour throughout the story is fairly consistent, and you eventually come to like the character. Yes, she does have good manners. The reader learns why she is so ambitious, and it is not difficult to empathise with her. She keeps some things to herself. This has some artificial feel to it, especially since all the characters in the story apparently knew this, and didn't tell Andile until later. Not all the supporting characters liked Thuli, so keeping the information to themselves did not make sense.
Andile is portrayed as a hard-working, yet struggling actor who has his own issues. He is likeable from the start, and comes across as the more human character. His issues and character traits are well portrayed in his behaviour towards the other characters, and shown rather than told. His inner dialogue also supports the behaviour he exhibits towards Thuli and the supporting characters.
Andile and Thuli's first meeting seemed to be the typical boy meets girl, they don't like each other and then fall in love kind of scenario. Their impressions of each other and interactions between them was reflected in their thoughts afterwards, instead of more focus being given to their actual dialogue and interaction.
There were several other characters in the story, and in some scenes I felt that their contributions were not supporting the main plot in moving the story forward. The scenes between Thuli and Andile could have been longer and more intense in some cases, instead of sacrificing words and scenes to have some of other characters in the story. This includes the love/sex scenes between the two main characters.
The sex/love scenes might have been edited to suit the publisher, to reduce the level of heat intended by the author. These scenes still felt too short for two people who had been desiring each other for a while. There was also very little emotion in these scenes and a lot more focus was given to the act itself.
The use of non-English words in the story was not too much and contributed to the local ethnic feel of the setting and the characters.
The opening of the story was well done. By the time Thuli gets to the small coffee shop, you feel just as hot, irritated and tired as she did.
The ending was done in such a way that it suited the style of the story, with a fairly satisfying result to tie up their happily ever after.
Overall the story was likeable and I read the whole thing in one sitting.
MY RATING of The Seeing Place



Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Follow Me: Botswana Mashatu Day 5


We had our last game drive in the early morning. As soon as we hit the area where we saw the female lions the previous day, the ranger noticed the spoor of a male lion. But he gave us the runaround and we never saw anything but his tracks.
While searching for the lion we came across...a leopard. Ha, the same old female we had found before. Lions forgotten, we trailed her for a long time and I took a stack of photographs of her.
When she left, we returned to search for the lions. This time, we found elephants in a fairly dense bushy area. Got a few good shots there too.
Then it was time to return to camp for brunch, after which we settled our bill and started our journey back home.
Six and a half hours after leaving the Mashatu Tent Camp (33 km from the South African border) we arrived back home, bone tired and hungry.
But it was an amazing trip where we met some awesome people, including our pro photographer Trevor Kleyn
If you have the opportunity to visit Botswana, the Mashatu area, part of the Thuli block, is well worth the effort, whether you are a photographer or not.
Here are a few last pictures from my camera to enjoy.





The Friendship Affair

The Friendship Affair by Linzé Brandon, blog serialNot all long lasting marriages are happy. But what do you do if divorce is not an option?
University friends, Stephanie and Nick, meet again after twenty years. But life has not been easy or simple for either of them. Will this friendship affair stand a chance against reality?

CHAPTER 19

She was beautiful, was his first thought when she walked into the restaurant that evening. He could see she had her hair done and was probably wearing a new dress, but that wasn't what kept his attention. There was just something different about her tonight. And he loved it.
He stood as she approached and held out her chair.
“Thank you.”
“How are you?” he asked after the waiter left with their drinks order.
She took a sip of her water and smiled at him. “You know, I am actually pretty good.”
He smiled back. “You definitely look it. And no,” he said when she wanted to interrupt, “it's not just the dress or the lovely hairstyle. You look beautiful.”
He leaned closer. “And smell like sin personified. Who did you cheat out of his taxes today?”
She laughed at his conspiratorial tone and leaned closer too. “That is my secret.”
His laughter joined hers.
Others looked their way, and he was sure he was the envy of many men and women tonight. But that was their problem. He had the pleasure of her company, and he was not going to worry about other people. Not tonight.
They ordered the wine suggested by the sommelier, and two dishes recommended by their waiter and laughed and talked as if nothing had changed between them.
Halfway through the main course, he started telling her about the divorce and the complexities of the agreement he had with Lena.
While he talked, she asked a few questions but listened mostly in silence. When he stopped talking, she was playing with her wine glass.
Their plates had been taken away, and he refused dessert for both of them.
He reached out and took her hand, pushing the glass to the side.
“Talk to me, sweetheart. What is going through that mind of yours?”
She sighed and slowly pulled her hand away. “You are a free man.”
“I will be. Soon.”
She sighed again, and her shoulders slumped a little as she contemplated her thoughts. He could guess what was coming, but he needed to hear her say it.
“I am not. Free, I mean.” She looked towards a table where a young couple was holding hands, clearly unaware of the world around them. To be that young. To be free to love like that.
She looked back at him. “I may never be free.”
He waved to the waiter for the bill.
“We need to talk about that.”
She blinked. “Didn't you hear what I just said?”
He smiled. “I did, but I am not going to let that stop me from loving you.”

He waved a finger at her. “And neither should you.”

The story is also available on Wattpad

Monday, 16 May 2016

Follow Me: Botswana Mashatu Day 4




Today we saw many birds. I love taking photographs of them, but I have to confess to being clueless about their names. Some I do know (or remember being told) and those I have added to their pictures. But the rest...sorry!
Also spotted a cat or three. 
Lions are lazy on the best of days. We got reports that even hours later they were still...flat cats. 🤔
We tracked the leopard for quite a while and eventually had to give up when she did a successful disappearing act into the thick bushes.
Then again...cat and mouse games are not purely for the domesticated felines I presume.
Enjoy! 😄

African Bee Eaters
African Hawk Eagle holding a piece of another bird it caught

Flat cats 😝





Red-billed hornbill

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Follow Me: Mashatu Botswana Day 3


We spend a lot of our time driving in a dry riverbed looking to spot animal tracks. The rivers are mostly dry this time of year, but there is evidence of high water flow when they are flowing. The water flow cannot be sustained throughout the year since the water is supplied from another area with higher rainfall.
The black sand in the bed is a remnant of lava flow (I asked 😊) from who-knows how many years ago. Botswana does not have any active or dormant volcanoes, so it is more likely soil that was brought down by the river. It has a larger grain than the general soil texture anywhere else in the areas where we have been driving.
I have been taking particular note of the smells as we are on the game drives. The soil when the tyres of the vehicle break the surface, the wild sage (in abundance!) that grows in certain areas and of course, the distinctive smell of fresh elephant dung.
What is also noticeable is the way the temperature varies as we go up and down hills and valleys. It is too warm during the day, but at night, the differences are easy to detect.
Here are some more pictures of our trip. Enjoy!

Our outdoor bathroom
The shower, no roof!
Yep, it's a bucket!

Sorry, I forgot its name

Bushbuck female - Francois took the pic with my camera

Some of our fellow Mashatu visitors

Another bird 😳

Eland Bull - they are shy and difficult to photograph

Old leopard female - she had been injured in her right eye - the rangers guess her age to be about 15 years

Banded mongoose family - running all over the place!

In the riverbed. Even the pro takes pics with his cell phone upon occasion 😝


Zebra - always a good model 😎

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Follow Me: Day 2 - Mashatu Botswana


Day 2 has been a busy day in the Botswana bush with lots to see and photograph. I also took some pics of our lodgings, but you cannot see much. Will see if I can do better tomorrow.
The sunset pictured came out quite well and I can see a painting or two in my future from these pictures.
Francois also took a picture of me. Yeah, not my best angle, but there I am. 😱
I have to make a backup too. Not many pictures so far, but backups are always a good idea anyway.
Hopefully more to see tomorrow.

PS: The wifi/internet is not reliable and you could be seeing this later than intended.









7 Blogging Tips for Fiction Writers

(This post originally appeared as guest post by Linzé on the blog page of BookMarketingTools.com)

I have been blogging for a while and like many authors I thought that my blog had to be about writing advice. Recently I have made the decision that there are more qualified people (and bloggers) that can help with advice for other writers. I don’t mind helping people out, but writing advice is not my forte.
If you feel that you are in the same predicament, here are a few pointers that could also help you out:

1. Share a story. If you are a fiction author, blog a story. I want people to read my books, so what better way than to give them a taste of my style. Stories less than 1500 words are ideal for blog posts. If you are a novel writer, like me, then the short form is a challenge on the best of days. If you cannot write a very short story, start a blog serial – post the story scene by scene or chapter by chapter. (Example The Friendship Affair)

2. Share your knowledge. If you also write non-fiction, then post about your area of expertise. Don’t make the posts too technical. I love to learn new things, and if your post tickles my interest, it would be the ideal opportunity for me to ask a question or two. Engaging readers is what we are all aiming to achieve and what better way than to use your blog for it.

3. Be a professional. You are a writer, so make sure your post is edited before posting it. Of course, the odd mistake does slip in, but it is better if your posts are edited to be free of errors. At least, do a spell and grammar check the post before posting. If you are like me and don’t have an editor on hand when I write posts in the middle of the night, an alternative is an online option such as grammarly.com.

4. Write about your writing life. Readers (and new writers) also like to know how you manage your writing, where you get your ideas from, etc. Blog about that. Your experience can be inspirational to someone else, or help them if they stuck with a similar problem but couldn’t find someone to help out.

5. Write from the heart. There is nothing as irritating as someone who wants to come across as being superior to their readers. Don’t do that, even if you write non-fiction. If you have a particular issue in your writing that you struggle with, blog about it even if you don’t have a solution yet. By doing that, you might engage with someone in the same boat, and together you can help each other. Be a real person, not a real jerk.

6. Join a blog support group on Facebook. I am fortunate that I belong to a group of awesome women who help out by giving feedback on each other blogs – posts, structure, theme and so on. I have established a relationship with them, which took time for all of us to develop. I can trust them to be open and honest, and they know they will get the same from me. While this group is for bloggers, not only authors, the benefits are there for all of us.

7. Share your posts. Some people in my Facebook group are still feeling their way around the blogosphere, and that is okay. This means that their posts are not open for anyone to read. As a supportive member of the group, I encourage them to publish and share especially if they get good feedback from the group. Sharing is important as it helps you to find more readers and followers. It also helps the search engines to find and index your blog for the reader looking for info or looking for something relaxing to read. Make sure you blog is set up that others can share your posts with their friends on social media.

There are many topics to explore when blogging, and you don’t need to feel compelled to do what others do just because you are a writer. This will be a good time to be different. Why not share some ideas of what you think writers should blog about?

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Follow Me: Botswana Mashatu Day 1


And here we arrived to gorgeous weather and lovely people. A few kilometres before the border post, Pontdrift, we got a very nice surprise: a leopard crossed the road right in front of us. Of course, the cameras were stored and I was too slow with my cellphone, but it was a great sighting. Now we have to find the leopard with cameras in hand, and it will be a perfect sighting. 😝
So here is a taste of what we saw (and shot) today.
Tomorrow I will add some more pictures - still to be taken - of the venue and the outdoor shower. Yep, we have the opportunity to commune with nature...naked!

Now it's off to make backups of the day's efforts and get stuck into the next book I have promised to read for review. Until tomorrow!