Sunday, 30 October 2016

Linzé's Mischief: 30 October 2016

stress, work, life, balance, worry, fear

How do you stare fear in the eyes and win?
What is holding me back from chasing my dream of writing full-time? I have been asking myself this question for many months now and I still don't have an answer.

The facts:
  • I cannot make a living from my writing.
  • I cannot expect my husband to support me financially. It would be grossly unfair to him since it is not his fault that my writing cannot pay my share of the bills.
  • My day job is incredibly stressful and my physical health is suffering because of it. Thanks to my writing, I do cope well from a mental health point of view. Something I am grateful for.

Considering my options...
The obvious choice would be to find another job. And it turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. I am employed as a senior project manager. Outside of the military industry, I am unable to find the same job, because I don't have experience in software development where most of the project management jobs are these days.
Nor do I have the qualifications for the second most number of jobs in project management - construction. You need to have a mechanical or civil engineering background; I have an electronics engineering degree and it is not in software development.
Yes, I am an engineer, but I have been out of that game for almost ten years. Also not sure if I want to go back there.
The third choice would be to take a pay cut. And unbelievably, everyone in this country seems to think the only reason to find another job is to make more money. Yes, for most people that may be true, but I am not most people. So that option is clearly an impossibility, to my greatest frustration.

Plan A, because it worked before.
So I am back to staring at the monster in my life: what do I do? If I was ten years younger, plan A would have been to start my own business (again) and just go for it. I know what it entails since I had been down that road with success. But that was engineering, and yeah, that ship has sailed.
Ten years on and I am thinking about the issues involving retirement. Can I afford to retire? Thankfully, retirement is not the financial mountain I had feared (thanks to good advice when I was young). I am not going to live in the lap of luxury (not that I do that right now), but abject poverty has been averted because of listening to the aforementioned advice.
But I am too young to retire, so that isn't much of an option right now.

What about Plan B?
Plan B would be to start another company that has something to do with writing, my passion. But would yet another publishing company survive? There are already so many out there.
I registered Muses and Broomsticks (Pty) Ltd, and yes, it is a publishing company albeit with a slight difference. And so the fear remains.

Plan C?
In my immediate future, I am going to do NaNoWriMo, edit and publish Waiting for Adrian, and move on to writing the fifth novel in the series. So the status quo continues...and with it a victorious monster. For now.

It took me so much longer than usual to hit 'publish' on this post. But I managed to slay this monster. I will slay the big one too. One day.

Until next time!
Linzé


Saturday, 29 October 2016

Nine Things to Help Make your NaNoWriMo a Success in 2016

NaNoWriMo, 2016, National Novel Writing Month

November is around the corner, and NaNoWriMo is already taking centre stage in many of the social media sites where writers congregate. If you plan to take part this year, make you are prepared for what is install for the 30 day, 50k challenge.
  1. Tell your friends and family that you will be taking part in NaNoWriMo. Explain the time commitment. Say ‘no’ when you have to. December is time enough to catch up with them again.
  2. Week 1: Get ahead of the word count target as soon as you can. Writing 1667 words per day requires a 1.5 to 2 hour commitment from you depending on how fast you write.
  3. Make a backup of your work. You will spend hours writing. Don’t be stupid and take the risk of losing it with computer problems. Backup! Backup!
  4. Week 2 is the most difficult week of NaNoWriMo. Be prepared for things to interfere with your writing. See point 1 and 2.
  5. The people in your life will not take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously as a writer.
  6. Week 3: Focus and make sure you are keeping up with the word count target. If you get stuck, ask for help/support. Take part in word sprints and word challenges to help you to keep going. This is not the time to give up!
  7. Week 4: Dig deep. Keep calm. Keep writing, even if you feel like giving up. Even if you feel you are not going to make it. Keep writing!
  8. Week 5: Start validating your word count. Backup your novel/short stories. The NaNoWriMo website will not save your file for you. It is your responsibility.
  9. Don't forget – enjoy the challenge!
Do you have any special tips that work for you in November? Please share in the comments below.

See you at the write-ins and support groups!
Linzé

Monday, 24 October 2016

Spotlight: SCORCHED SOULS by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef

Welcome to another exciting Spotlight Tour with Novel Publicity. Today, I’m sharing the spotlight for Scorched Souls, the final story in the Chosen Trilogy by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef. Don't forget to enter for your chance to win some great prizes including an Amazon Gift Card, a Paperback of Scorched Souls and a dream catcher!

Participate in the Giveaway at http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2e77192111/

Get your copy at http://smarturl.it/Scorched_Souls

Here’s an Exclusive Excerpt:
I lean back in my chair; he’s dumped a bucket of ice water on my head, and the chill settles into my bones. “So the Chosen were set up to fail. You’ve planted a bomb on the planet to explode when the Deltites take over.”
He nods, a smug self-congratulatory grin on his face. “A Heart Stone to be precise. It was the only logical action to take.”
Bile burns my throat. “But billions of humans live on the planet.... They will all die. They have souls.”
Still, my father’s logic is undeniable.
“Another complication has developed.” Two different human faces materialize above us and hover in front of the image of Earth. “The woman’s name is Summer Stone. She’s what humans call Native American, and is the mother to the Alpha among the Chosen. The man is not from her tribe. He’s what they call Irish.”
“So?” Why does he care?
“The calculations behind the Chosen were extremely advanced and fragile.” A third face joins that of the others. “The Alpha’s name is Juliet Wildfire Stone. She was supposed to be born from a union between two members of the same Native American tribe. That genetic combination was the only way humans could produce a Chosen strong enough to be an Alpha and draw power from the other three. The secret order had specific rules regarding this, yet they failed to heed them. Fools! I can’t predict what the outcome will be of this particular pairing.”
I study the faces and notice that Juliet has inherited much of her physical appearance from her mother: the long straight black hair, the caramel colored eyes, brown skin and high cheekbones—all but her sharp nose, which resembles her father’s.
Her eyes seem to sparkle, but I shake my head. These are only holographic images. I can’t read too much into them or let my imagination cloud my reason. “I don’t understand the problem. Either she is powerful enough to be the Alpha, or she isn’t. Since you want them to fail, why do you care?”
My father bores his gaze into me, and an icy blade carves into my chest and twists. “There is a third possibility.”
My body turns weak. I’m lucky I’m already sitting. It’s unthinkable, but it’s the only thing that might frighten my father. “You’re afraid she’s an... abomination.”
“I can’t rule it out. Even if she is, she won’t be strong enough defeat an Elite, but we can’t take any chances. I want you to go to Earth. Make sure the Chosen fail and never find out about our plans. They can’t tell the Deltites about the Heart Stone I’ve planted on the planet. If they retrieve that crystal, all would be lost, and they could use its power against us.”
“Me.” I point to my chest. “Why me? Why not send someone else, someone who has already proven—”
“I trust no one else with this! You will succeed and return to Alpha, and when you return you will take the final test. This way we have an excuse for your... reluctance to finish the final exam.”
Two small discs fly into his hand, and he hands one to me. “This one is programmed with my brainwaves. You will use it when you have succeeded. I will keep the second here, so I can contact you... if need be.”
I sense the implied threat in his words and bow my head. “Yes, father. As you command.”
If pure evil exists in this universe, it’s sitting next to me, and I am this monster’s son. What does that make me?
I glance at the hologram of Earth above me. It’s a beautiful planet.
He’s sentenced billions of humans to die, but can I carry out the punishment?

About The Book:
Fate and destiny clash in the explosive, heart-pounding conclusion to the award-winning Chosen series.
~~~~~
Survival is not enough.
Alliances will be formed.
Loyalties tested.
A choice made.
My name is Juliet Wildfire Stone and I’m not just a Chosen, I’m the Alpha… and the fate of Earth rests in my hands.
When I finally met the Prime Elector, he wasn’t anything like I expected. He was supposed to be our mortal enemy, a monster I needed to destroy to fulfill my destiny, yet he was nothing like that—he’s young, brilliant, and looks like an angel.
Caught in the middle of a conflict between two ancient foes, which threatens to rip Earth apart, I must do what is right at all costs. To choose my fate, and Earth’s future, I will need to navigate a new path, form unlikely alliances, and solve ancient mysteries forgotten for centuries.
Yet I cannot do it alone. Will the other Chosen follow me? Do I have the strength to make the right choice, or will the people of Earth be enslaved for all time?

About the Authors:
Jeff Altabef is an award-winning author who lives in New York with his wife, two daughters, and Charlie the dog. He spends time volunteering at the writing center in the local community college. After years of being accused of “telling stories,” he thought he would make it official. He writes in both the thriller and young adult genres.
Jeff is very happy and proud that his co-author for the Chosen Series is his teenaged daughter, Erynn Altabef. Wind Catcher, the first in the Chosen Series, has won the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal for Coming of Age Novels, the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award for Best YA Fiction and a Mom’s Choice Award.
As an avid Knicks fan, Jeff is prone to long periods of melancholy during hoops season. Jeff has a column on The Examiner focused on writing and a blog designed to encourage writing by those who like telling stories.

Connect with Jeff on: 
Website: http://www.jeffaltabef.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jeff-Altabef-Author-479282732198216/?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeffAltabef
Newsletter: http://www.jeffaltabef.com/newsletter

Erynn Altabef
Erynn Altabef is an avid reader, dancer, and community activist. Some of her favorite authors are Veronica Roth, Joelle Charbonneau, and her dad! (That would be Jeff Altabef.) She just started her freshman year at Connecticut College is proud to be a camel!!!

Connect with Erynn on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/erynnaltabefauthor/

Thursday, 20 October 2016

THE BILLIONAIRE BARITONE

The Billionaire Baritone, blog serial, Linzé Brandon, sweet romanceAmethyst loves music and enjoys hip-hop dancing to spice up her dull and dreary life. But one evening on her way home from dance class, she hears a voice that drew her away from her route.
Caught in the act of eavesdropping, her life is about to change in a way she has never foreseen.

David didn't quite know what to do with the beautiful trespasser, but when he learned that she was injured, taking care of her was the only solution.

Little did he suspect that she was about to take care of his lonely heart in return.

CHAPTER 19

When they eventually came up for air, Jeff and Phyllis were openly smiling.
David smiled too. He couldn't do anything else.
“There is one more thing, and you are entitled to say no this time, and I won't push you.”
“Sounds serious,” Amethyst replied.
“The Morecroft Foundation hosts an annual Christmas charity event to collect money for children to learn and study music at school. Jeff and Mother have been after me for years to sing with them, but I have refused—”
“Because you don't sing duets with people,” she finished for him.
“Yes. But I will sing if you will sing with me.”
Her eyes widened. She looked from one son to the next to the mother, biting her lip with tears in her eyes.
“Will you sing with me, my heart?”
Her tears told him she knew how much this meant to him. “I will. For you, I will. May I ask—”
“Name it,” David interrupted, making her smile at his eagerness.
“Can we add dance to the list for the kids to study? I love dancing, but it was always too expensive for private classes—”
The kiss told her everything she needed to know.

Three weeks later.

“Do I look okay?”
Phyllis stood next to her soon-to-be daughter-in-law. “You look beautiful. My son is going to swallow his tongue when he sees you.”
The two women giggled at the thought of the dynamic CEO of the Morecroft Corporation being speechless.
A knock on the door reminded them that it was time to go.
“Ready?”
The women shared a quick hug before leaving the dressing room. They were met by Jeff and David and true enough, her fiancé was speechless when he saw her.
Amethyst felt beautiful when he looked at her. The lilac gown with its silver beading had been his choice. The silver heels and the strings of small beads the hairdresser had woven into her long hair were the perfect items to complete her outfit. The only other thing she wore was the engagement ring of diamonds and amethysts on her left hand.
She often looked at it and pinched herself until she looked into his eyes, then she knew it wasn't a dream.
Phyllis winked at her and took Jeff's arm as David escorted her to the stage to loud applause.
Sure enough, the press had been scathing about her background, but she kept her head high and her back stiff when they were approached in public.
When the applause died down, Jeff sat down at the piano and played the introduction to Jingle Bells.
When David took her hand and opened his mouth, she forgot about the press and the people attending the event. She looked at her husband-to-be and sang with him, for him.
By the time the last notes of Silent Night faded into the theater, people were on their feet applauding with a deafening noise.
David lifted her hand to his lips. “I love you.”
She cupped his cheek with her right hand, healed but still a little stiff. “And I will sing duets of the heart with you forever.”

The End.

You can read the entire story on Wattpad

Thank you for reading Amethyst and David's story.
I hope you enjoyed it.
💜  Linzé

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Book Review: CORPORATE CITIZEN by Gabriel Valjan

Title: Corporate Citizen: Roma Series Book Five
Genre: Mystery-Suspense/Thriller
Author: Gabriel Valjan
Publisher: Winter Goose Publishing
Purchase link: http://amzn.to/2b9E2qE

About the Book from the back cover:
A call for help from an old friend lands Bianca and the crew back in Boston. On a timeout with Dante, due to revelations in the aftermath of the showdown in Naples, Bianca is drawn to a mysterious new ally who understands the traumas of her past, and has some very real trauma of his own. Murder, designer drugs, and a hacker named Magician challenge our team, and Bianca learns that leaving Rendition behind might be much harder than she thinks.

About the Author:
Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series from Winter Goose Publishing as well as numerous short stories. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he enjoys the local restaurants, and his two cats, Squeak and Squawk, keep him honest to the story on the screen.

Twitter: @GValjan

Linzé's Review
I volunteered to read and review this book as part of a blog tour. It wasn't until I opened the ebook that I realised it is the fifth book in a series.
It doesn't take you long to realise that the books must be read in order, despite the claim that they could be read as standalone books. There is a lot of history between the characters and their past associations that is not revealed in the story.
The story is complicated with several murders, conspiracy theories and conjecture that makes it difficult to follow given the context and history.
I liked Nick. He is not the main character and yet he is easier to understand and empathise with than the others in the story. He enters the story as a suspect and gets involved in the process. While he has his issues, his character is likeable and also someone the reader can sympathise with.
Bianca is the main character and the lead investigator in the story. If it wasn't for the character list at the start of the ebook, it would have taken the reader at least four chapters to get that information. As a character she appears cold and distant, even though her actions (she touches her friends and the cats without hesitation) say the opposite. As the main character she is not easy to relate to, and that might also be because of the lack of reading the first four books in the series.
Her past and her issue with intimacy was explored without any depth, and might again be because I haven't read any earlier books.
The other characters were sometimes confusing. They were either addressed by a nickname (prior history again), first name, or last name. It makes it difficult to figure out who is who, despite the character list. A list in a printed book is easier to refer to than in an ebook.
I liked the cats and the way they took part in the story. Their individual characters were well woven into the story, although in the end, they could have served as an opportunity to explore more of the 'human' side of the characters.
In the end, I remained confused as to the motivation of the antagonists in the story for involving some of the characters in their schemes. Again, maybe details in earlier books, or setting up a plot for the next book somehow.
The plot was complicated and the author did hint throughout the story what the reader should expect at the ending, yet all the while creating an expectation of a different outcome. It was not entirely a satisfying ending, despite continuing the story with another book.
There is a sixth book in the series, and from the way this book was written, the story would simply carry on.

It is difficult to rate the book based on my experience, so my rating is based on my experience of the characters, the plot, the structure and the limited backstory as presented.

My rating

Author Interview: René van Dalen

Welcome to the sixth author who took part in our JOURNEY project, René van Dalen.

What made you decide to take part in the JOURNEY project?
I thought it would be a good experience as I’ve never done anything like it before.

What is the title of your story? How did you come up with the title?
Destiny. Every journey has a destiny at its end. My characters went on a journey to discover theirs.

JOURNEY buy link https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/669319
What inspired your story?
In my novel, Hard Rock Unrehearsed, the characters make a brief but important appearance. This project gave me the opportunity to write about what happened to them.

Please tell us about the journey of your character(s)
Rock drummer Richie Vierra is on a downward spiral. When he almost dies of a drug overdose his ex-girlfriend, Jennie Robson, comes back into his life and together they fight the demons of their pasts to gain a chance at a future.

What other things, besides writing, do you like to do?
I love reading, music, and exploring. I’m a gypsy at heart and would love to travel the world and see and do everything! Reading, music and travel doccies gives me that opportunity while sitting at home.

If the end of the world is about to happen, which person would you want to be with for those last minutes? Why?
You want me to choose one! Not possible! My three are the most important people in my life so I’d want to be with them when the lights go out. They are also funny and irreverent which would make for a hilarious rather than tearful ending.

What did you learn about yourself or your journey as a writer during this project?
That I can work to a deadline without pulling my hair out in clumps.

What do you see as your biggest challenge as a writer?
Conquering social media. I totally suck at it! But I’m getting better, slowly.

What tool/software/technique/process do you find the most valuable to you as a writer?
I’m a list-maker. I take copious notes as I write. I find that I need to put things down on paper to help me plan out the plot twists in a story. Recently I joined Pinterest and make storyboards for my characters using sourced images. It’s a visual aid to flesh out my characters.

Do you have another project in the pipeline that you would like to share with my readers?
I’m busy rewriting and re-editing Hard Rock Unheard, the first novel in my Hard Rock series and working on the second novel in the series. The working title is Hard Rock Unsung and follows Trace Hanover, the lead singer of Storm Front. After almost losing Richie, his best friend, and their drummer, to drugs, he makes sweeping changes to his lifestyle. Then he meets a woman who has no idea who he is or what he does for a living. Their road is not an easy one.
author, René van Dalen, Rene van Dalen
Author: René van Dalen

Find René on social media
Twitter: @RenVanDalen1


Thank you, René!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Linzé's Mischief: 16 October 2016

I am bone tired. What a weekend! As mentioned last week Francois had photographs selected for an international photographic exhibition that opened this afternoon. It was one amazing experience.
You might have heard about the concept of storytelling in photography, and this exhibition was the definition of that. It is also known as street photography, or photojournalism. That means the photos are not posed. It happens in a moment, and if you didn't capture it right then, the opportunity is gone.

Here are some of the pictures I took at the exhibition. You can see more on Instagram.
Histories of Shanghai and Beijing, 3cities+1, photo exhibition, Johannesburg
Histories of Shanghai and Beijing on a pillar at the exhibition

Francois Venter, photographer, Johannesburg, 3cities+1, exhibition
Francois next to one of his photos (bottom right)
History of Johannesburg, 3Cities+1 exhibition, Rosebank, Johannesburg
History of Johannesburg in the 3Cities+1 exhibition, Rosebank, Johannesburg












I also finished a course on Business English (www.shawacademy.com) and managed to score 97% in my final assignment. Quite relieved that I did it today since my next course (also with Shaw) starts tomorrow. It runs into November, yeah, NaNoWriMo is going to be a challenge this year.
I decided to switch to editing. I cannot seem to get my tush in gear and finish Waiting for Adrian. So NaNoWriMo it will be. I have never not made the target, and I am not planning to do so this time.

And that is about all I have energy for tonight. I have to finish reading a book for review that is due on Tuesday. Since I take notes while reading, the review will be easy to write, but only if I finish reading it!
Look out for my interview with the sixth Journey author, René van Dalen, also coming this Tuesday, and the last chapter of The Billionaire Baritone will be coming your way on Thursday.

Until next time!
Linzé

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Cover Reveal: UNSURPASSED by Charity Parkerson


Charity Parkerson, Unsurpassed, award winning author, erotic romance, cover reveal, No Rival series

Book 1 in the No Rival series

For months, Aubree has been obsessed with two men—best friends, Max and Ryan. She’s resigned herself to having her desires be nothing more than a late night fantasy. When the pair invites her to a weekend party hosted by a famous MMA champion, Drew Alexander, she accepts without a qualm. She never expects the two men plan to make her secret longings into reality. Unfortunately, that’s only half their agenda. When Aubree learns the men’s true intentions, she turns to Drew for help.

Drew is unlike anyone she’s ever met. He’s fun and playful. Dark and brooding. He’s everything she’s been searching for rolled up in a delicious package. Unfortunately, Max and Ryan aren’t finished with her yet. Aubree has to choose—does she cling to the friendship she’s had with Max and Ryan, or risk everything on one man who could make all her dreams come true?

Amazon universal buy link: http://mybook.to/Unsurpassed

Author Bio

Charity Parkerson, authorCharity Parkerson is an award winning and multi-published author with several companies. Born with no filter from her brain to her mouth, she decided to take this odd quirk and insert it in her characters. 

*2015 Readers' Favorite Award Winner
*Winner of 2, 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards
*2015 Passionate Plume Award Finalist
 
*2013 Readers' Favorite Award Winner
*2013 Reviewers' Choice Award Winner
*2012 ARRA Finalist for Favorite Paranormal Romance
*Five-time winner of The Mistress of the Darkpath

Connect with her online:

--Website: charityparkerson.com
--Facebook: facebook.com/authorCharityParkerson
--facebook.com/TheMenofSin
--Twitter: twitter.com/CharityParkerso

Rafflecopter


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 13 October 2016

THE BILLIONAIRE BARITONE

Amethyst loves music and enjoys hip-hop dancing to spice up her dull and dreary life. But one evening on her way home from dance class, she hears a voice that drew her away from her route.
Caught in the act of eavesdropping, her life is about to change in a way she has never foreseen.

David didn't quite know what to do with the beautiful trespasser, but when he learned that she was injured, taking care of her was the only solution.

Little did he suspect that she was about to take care of his lonely heart in return.

CHAPTER 18


I counted on my fingers. “I am not smart, or beautiful like your other girlfriends. Hell, I fall over my own feet for no reason. I swear. I am penniless. I didn't finish high school...do you want more?”
Then David sat down next to me and muddled my reasoning again when he kissed my hand before holding it between his. “You're beautiful, more so than those empty headed women, I used to hang out with. And no one blames you for your circumstances; you did the best you could. You can finish high school and study anything you want, which I know you can do. If you insist, you can work. And," he mock-glared at me when I opened my mouth, "I think it's cute when you say 'hell'.”
I groaned his name. “Aren't you listening?! I don't fit in your world. People will say I am a gold digger and laugh at you behind your back. Maybe I am a gold digger out to catch a rich husband.”
The next moment I find myself on his lap. "What are you doing?"
He chose to ignore me. “I am listening much better than you think. I know you are not a gold digger. You are too independent for me to believe that for one moment, your financial status notwithstanding. Secondly, your concern for your colleagues and the people at my factory told me more about the kind of woman you are than any private investigator could.”
My heart sank. “I suppose I cannot blame you for getting a PI to investigate me. I would have done the same to protect my family against someone like me.”
I wanted to leave, but he held on tight. “Someone like you? Explain.”
I shrugged. “You know. Poor. Unsophisticated. Born on the wrong side of the tracks.”
It was his turn to frown, and yet he didn't let go of me. Didn't he hear anything I said?
“You like my mother don't you?”
I nodded. “Sure, I think she's great. What does she have to do with anything?”
“A lot more than you think. She came from nothing too. She married my dad for love, and they made the rest work. Did people gossip and say all kinds of terrible things? Yes, they did, but they didn't let that stop them from being together. In fact, they chose to befriend people who didn't care about those things either and were the better for it.”
I sighed. What was there left to say? He had answers for everything it seemed.
“You're sure you don't mind?”
He lifted his hand, palm towards me. “I solemnly promise that I love you and that I don't care about all the other things. We can make it work if you want. Do you want to marry me?”
I swallowed hard. Could this be happening? I put my trembling hand against his. “I solemnly promise that I love you and that I will marry you and will try my best to be a good wife.”
His laughter made me smile until he pulled me tightly against him. I forgot everything when he kissed me.
“Excellent!”
David pulled back and sighed aloud. “Can't we get a little privacy in this house?”
It was my turn to laugh. Who cared about the intrusion when I held the heart of the man whom I loved with the whole of mine? I lost my breath when he kissed me again.


You can also follow along on Wattpad

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Author Interview: Charmain Lines

I welcome the first JOURNEY author to my blog today, Charmain Lines. She is a return visitor and I am happy to have her back.


1. What made you decide to take part in the JOURNEY project?
I needed motivation to focus on my writing and from previous experience with a writing project run by Linzé, I knew the project was just what I needed. Furthermore, I had recently read a book that had left me with story ideas that were a perfect fit for the “Journey” theme.

2. How did you come up with the title of your story?
It is called “The wars of men” and I only came up with it after, during my final edit, the main character uttered these words.

3. What inspired your story?
A book I read about Eugene de Kock, a security police operative during South Africa’s apartheid years.

4. Please tell us about the journey of your character(s)
The main characters are a woman and her two sons who move from South Africa to Ireland to start a new life. The story is set some 20 years after their physical move and plays out on the day they are confronted with the past.

5. What other things, besides writing, do you like to do?
At the moment I travel! My husband and I are on a 3-month European adventure that is taking us from Spain to France to Ireland to Italy. My day job is freelance writing and editing for mainly corporate clients.

6. If the end of the world is about to happen, which person would you want to be with for those last minutes?
My husband. We’d be able to talk about what is happening, remind each other of the great memories we have made together, and comfort each other.

7. What did you learn about yourself or your journey as a writer during this project?
I was reminded, again, to trust the process and be ok with not knowing exactly where the story will go.

8. What do you see as your biggest challenge as a writer?
Spending more hours at the keyboard than what I already do as a professional writer.

9. What tool/software/technique/process do you find the most valuable to you as a writer? 
I don’t use any writing tools, but the most useful and valuable technique is to never start editing before the first draft is done.

10. Do you have another project in the pipeline that you would like to share with my readers?
I’m working on a full-length novel, this one in Afrikaans, which is my home language.

Thank you, Charmain. Enjoy your travels!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Linzé's Mischief: 9 October 2016

Thursday, 6 October
With the ebook version of JOURNEY now available for pre-order (hint, hint!) I am focussing on helping the typesetter to format the book for printing. Since the ebook and print book look quite different in terms of layout and front matter (the stuff that goes between the cover and the story), it is taking me a while to get my head around to that.
I thought to add the author photographs to the book, but unfortunately, only two of us have photographs that are suitable for printing; resolution of photographs for printing have to be at least 300 dpi. So I guess that idea is a no-no.

Friday, 7 October

Updates have been sent to the typesetter, and now we are getting closer to printing. Now I have to do the cover of the whole book. Fortunately, the text of the back cover is already done, I just have to add it to the graphic. A task for the weekend :)

I often tell people that I don't brag about Francois' photographs because he is my husband. I brag because the medals hanging on my living room wall are the evidence of my enthusiasm. Then, we found out today that three of his photographs are going to be part of an international photographic exhibition that opens next Sunday in Rosebank, Johannesburg. I went, wow!
Guess where I will be next Sunday? Will make sure to get some pictures to share with you. I am so proud of him.

Saturday, 8 October

The second part of the Indie Author course was postponed - people getting sick - so I convinced Francois to go to the Belgian Market, which seems to be an annual event. I am a huge fan of Belgian chocolate, so it was a must for me to go.
It was a bit disappointing that my favourite Belgian chocolate brand did not feature at the market. But, the waffles were great. And Francois bought a gift pack of beer that he likes. (Check him out here)

Earlier in the week

After doing the Tai Chi course, I wrote a review for the website selling the course, practically begging them for the 42 form Yang style course. I have a book, but videos are so much better, don't you think?
It became available last month. I almost fell off my chair with excitement. Within two ticks it was on my wishlist, waiting for the invariable discount vouchers to come. Having an exchange rate where $1 costs me almost R14, can be stressful on the wallet.
That meant that I had to be patient, despite my overwhelming need to click that 'buy' button. Then my self-control and patience were rewarded. Within four hours after putting the course on my wishlist, the 20% discount offer popped into my mailbox.
Of course, five minutes later, the invoice and payment confirmation also appeared. Now I just need to find the time to start the new course in earnest. In the meantime, I am still practicing the 24 forms.

The course on Business English I am taking will finish this coming week, then I will have a little more time on my hands. That is after reading three books for review, completing the editing on Waiting for Adrian, organising and hosting the book launch of JOURNEY, and doing NaNoWriMo at the same time?

Yeah, December sounds about right. Damn!

Lots to do this week, so I better get cracking on planning everything.
Until next time!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

THE BILLIONAIRE BARITONE

The Billionaire Baritone, blog serial, Linzé Brandon, sweet romance
Amethyst loves music and enjoys hip-hop dancing to spice up her dull and dreary life. But one evening on her way home from dance class, she hears a voice that drew her away from her route.
Caught in the act of eavesdropping, her life is about to change in a way she has never foreseen.

David didn't quite know what to do with the beautiful trespasser, but when he learned that she was injured, taking care of her was the only solution.
Little did he suspect that she was about to take care of his lonely heart in return.

CHAPTER 17

His hand was warm and distracting. And confusing to my head which had to be clear right now. I could feel the frown showing my confusion and pulled I my hand away. “You mean I still have a job?”
David frowned in return. “Why wouldn't you?”
“Mr. Henry is not a nice man. He managed to fire some people in the past even when they did nothing wrong.”
That earned me a few raised eyebrows, but I had a more pressing concern. “Am I still getting paid, or do I need to find another job?” I looked down at my hands. The bandage and splint a reminder that my stay here would soon be over.  “I cannot afford not to have a job.”
“Okay, let's backtrack a few steps here. What did you mean he fired people when they did nothing wrong? There are laws against such things.”
I glared at David. “You cannot be serious! How can someone like me get a lawyer, let alone pay him, to fight a company for unlawful dismissal? Get real.”
My stomach suddenly rolled at the smell of freshly brewed coffee and perfectly toasted bread. I got to my feet instead. “I am not hungry.”

*  *  *

Jeff nudged his brother. “Go after her.”
“Why? I cannot force her to eat.”
Jeff rolled his eyes. “Idiot. She needs you to understand her position. You are in love with her, and you need to convince her to stay.”
“We want her to stay,” Phyllis added.
David's jaw dropped. “I am not in love with her.”
Jeff slapped his shoulder. “Yes, you are. Mom and I can both see that, so stop arguing with the truth and go get her. Now!”
Frowning, he got up. “Am I in love?”
“Yes!” the reply came in duplicate.
Shaking his head left the room. Was he in love with Amethyst? Even now his heart ached for the difficult position she could find herself in. 
In the hall he stopped, not sure where she went. She was mobile and could be anywhere on the estate.
He spotted the housekeeper in the entrance hall checking the fresh flowers in the tall floor-standing vase.
“Excuse me, Mrs. Neethling, did you see which way Amethyst went?”
“If I am not mistaken, she went to the kitchen.”
Thanking her he ran to the kitchen, startling the chef and one of the maids, and then out the back door without pause.
There were only a few places she could go from here. He doubted she had a hankering for the vegetable garden or the greenhouse. The only alternative left was the theater his dad had built for his two boys to sing and play the piano.
He found her just inside the fence where they met that first night. She was sitting on the ground staring into the street outside.
“May I join you?”
She shrugged and kept looking away.
“Do you really want to leave that badly? Does your job mean so much to you?”
Her shoulders moved again, but she didn't reply.
“Amethyst, please look at me.”
“I can't,” she whispered.
“Why?”
“Because.”
He smiled. “I used to say that to my mother when she asked me why I didn't want to sing duets with the other kids.”
She turned to look at him. There were tears on her cheeks. She quickly tried to wipe them. “Why didn't you want to sing duets?”
He reached up and wiped the tears away. “Because I didn't want to sing with someone who didn't understand that music was not just about the right notes and harmonies.”
“It had to come from the heart,” she whispered.
“Yes. I want you to sing a duet with me. Not just on a stage, but at night when we are alone, and no one else can hear us.”
She blinked her blue eyes wide with the same hope warming his heart. “Why me? I am nothing special. Just someone you felt sorry for.”
He shifted and brought her into his arms. “Maybe in the beginning. Maybe for about five minutes. But after that? I just wanted to be with you. It was hard not touching you, kissing you. It still is. Because I am in love with you. I want you—”
She gasped. “You're in love with me?”
He smiled and nodded. “Yes.”
She threw both arms around his neck. “I don't want to leave. I thought you were sorry for me. I don't want you to be sorry for me.”
He pulled back a little to look into her eyes. “Do you think you could love me? I know I am not a people person, but I could learn.”
She touched his cheek. “I don't have to think about it. I love you. I think I fell for you that first time you picked me up in your arms.”
He didn't give her another moment to explain. Sealing his lips to hers, he tightened his arms around her. Yes! his heart told his head. Never had anything felt so right than holding Amethyst in his arms.
Amethyst moaned softly when he touched her lips with his tongue requesting her full participation. He didn't just love, she gave love in return.
It was his turn to moan when she surrendered to their kiss.
“I think we should leave.”
They broke apart at the whispered voice.
“Jeff!”
She giggled at David's exasperated voice.
“You could have left without saying anything.”
Jeff grinned. “I could, but then you would have killed me when you saw your picture in the tabloids tomorrow.”
David groaned. He got up and helped her to her feet. “Sheesh, can't a man not even propose in private?”
Amethyst froze while Jeff's grin grew by leaps and bounds.
“Propose?” she croaked.
Jeff slapped his brother on the back. “I think you should take this inside before the press realise how close to the fence you are.”
When they heard sounds like running feet, they ran themselves. Amethyst managed without stumbling or adding to her injury.
Inside the house, she planted her hands on her hips, wincing when the splint dug into her flesh through the light pants she wore.
“Are you okay?”
She glared back. “Don't change the subject.”
David bit his lip to keep from laughing. In pleasure. Their first fight. Women wanted to please him. Amethyst didn't seem to have that problem. She was perfect for him.
The matchmaker, Jeff, seemed to have miraculously disappeared, the bastard.
She folded her arms and frowned at him. “You can't marry me.”
“Why not? It is the next logical step once we now agree that we love each other.”
“For other people, maybe. But we can't.”
He took her head between gentle hands and made her look at him. “Again. Why not?”
She pulled his hands away and sat down on the stairs. “Why not?”

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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Author Interview: Andrea Vermaak

Today I welcome Andrea Vermaak to my blog. Andrea's contribution to the JOURNEY anthology was invaluable. Not only did she contribute her own story, she was the editor for all the authors, and she let me bully her (okay, it wasn't that bad 😉) into mentoring Michelle's first forays into Young Adult stories.

author, editor, Andrea Vermaak, JOURNEY anthology
What is the title of your story?
Break Away

What inspired your story?
Other writers always tell me to write what I know. I've drawn from many aspects of my life to write Break Away: from people I have met to experiences I've had. The old man in my story is, however, inspired by a few lines in 'Kill your heroes' by AWOLNATION.

Please tell us about the journey of your character(s)
Jenna, my main protagonist, goes on both physical and emotional journeys. The two journeys are inseparable; metaphorically speaking, of course.

What other things, besides writing, do you like to do?
Read! All writers have to read! I go to an adult ballet class once a week despite having three left feet, and I try not to sound like a dying mosquito when I attend my weekly violin lesson. I guess I adore music and movement no matter how bad I may be at them!

What did you learn about yourself or your journey as a writer during this project?
When I am stuck, I must not give up! This particular project has been very challenging because my story is a bit too close to the bone. I am afraid of who will read it, so I try to veer away from the truth, but the story loses its backbone when I do. I have to keep reminding myself that it doesn't matter who reads it, I must just keep digging deep and keep on writing!

What do you see as your biggest challenge as a writer?
To write a great ending. My draft endings are always too obvious, too soppy, or both.

Do you have another project in the pipeline that you would like to share with my readers?
I have two short stories for which I would like to write better endings (told you so), as well as bits of a novel which I would like to finish during NaNoWriMo this year.

Thank you, Andrea! It was a pleasure working with you on this project.
Note from Linzé: Andrea has agreed to be my editor for Waiting for Adrian - yay!

😱 If you missed the interviews with the first two JOURNEY authors, Melissa and Michelle, just click their names 😎