Sunday, 10 September 2023

The CreativeLife in review - keep learning, and creative projects

 Hello creative friend!

  Like most of you I'm sure, it is sometimes tough to find a moment to write a blog post, or just find time for yourself. I still have to do my planning for the coming week, but here I am checking in. And it's been a while, ouch!

  Recent times for me included being hit by a nasty cold, and I am still struggling to completely shake it off. I don't get sick, but when that one bug kicks my butt, trust me it does a good job to take me down. But I am recovering, so there is hope! LOL!

  I have just finished the Find Your Joy Taster course, presented by Louise Fletcher. Maybe one day I will be able to afford the full 12-week course.

My ink and wash painting for the Artkula
September Photo Challenge
  There was a bit of overlap with the Art Soul course as well. The presenters use mostly watercolours, whereas Louise's course use acrylics. I love ink and watercolours so I did a few of the lessons too. But there was one lesson where I skipped the class, and rather watched the artist's website course. I am still learning oil painting, and she used cold wax medium which I am unfamiliar with. I've ordered some, and will soon have something new to play with.

  Of course, one of my favourite online artists will soon have her taster Lifebook course starting a bit later this month. Since I am a fan of Tamara Laporte, it was a no brainer to enrol in that. I own her book, and have been doing my own Lifebook since 2021. But there is always something new to learn or experiment with, when it comes to art.

  On top of all the courses, and challenges, I have decided to take part in a national art competition. The deadline is the end of October, and the theme is to interpret and redo a painting from one of the old masters. Not a simple thing for sure. It took me about 4 days to properly plan the painting, and so far I have done most of the preparation work. I painted the first layer of colour on the background, so it is now simply a case of getting it done. Not as easy as it sounds though, but definitely a challenge and fun, I have to say. I am not going to say more, but I will share when I am allowed to do so according to the rules.

  Prime Prey's (Book 6 in the Nations of Peace series) cover is done, and I am happy with the editing. The prelaunch information is already on Smashwords, but the cover and the final manuscript will only be published in November.

  When I have a few moments, I am working on a small series of contemporary novels revolving around two paintings with supernatural abilities. The first draft of the first novel is done, and the second is a few pages long. They will only see the light of day next year, or even maybe 2025. I will have to check my planning for the next books in the Nations of Peace series.

  My dogs are telling me it's time for dinner, so I will love and leave you for now.

  Wishing you a creative week, until next time!

🇿🇦💜  Linzé

Friday, 8 September 2023

Book Feature: NEVER WAKE: An Anthology of Dream Horror

Where do we go when we dream?

  Since the beginning of time, people have argued the meaning of dreams. Are they symbolic visions that hold great meaning and personal significance? Are they portals into other worlds? Or are they just a series of random events our mind shows us when we fall asleep? Whatever the case, this much is true—the mind can be a scary place to venture, even for a few hours.

  NEVER WAKE is an anthology of dream horror, bringing you several mind-bending tales of nightmares, hallucinations, and phantasmagoria from some of the hottest talent in horror fiction. But don’t worry—when you (wake up screaming) flip the last page, just remember to tell yourself, “It was only just a story…”

  Unless it wasn’t.

  Featuring an introduction from Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann and stories from: Cynthia Pelayo, Philip Fracassi, Gwendolyn Kiste, Eric LaRocca, Lee Murray, Todd Keisling, Laurel Hightower, and many more!

Buy link:

An excerpt from the anthology, from Philip Fracassi's story, "Specter."

  The book is large, almost like a dictionary. The cover is black leather, and there’s no title. No words at all. There are designs, however, carved into the leather. Intricate, beautiful designs: a pair of large hands holding sand that spills between cupped fingers; a snake eating its own tail; a large, closed eye in the center; stars, moons, planets…

  Jenna lifts the cover to reveal a neat inscription written in the center of the first, blank, page.

For Jenna,
When you dream, dream of me.

  “It’s beautiful,” Jenna says, part of her wanting to leaf through the book then and there, feel the thick pages within, read the different meanings of dream symbols…
  But her friends are already standing, antsy and ready for the cake and ice cream portion of the event. The final meal before the party is officially over and they can go home to daydream about their own childhood birthday parties, the wonderful gifts they’ll hope to receive.
  Jenna carefully sets the book back into the sturdy black box, her eyes unable to leave the cover.
  “Jenna?” her mother says. “Come on, let’s blow out the candles.”
  “Okay,” she replies, and begins to fold the thin tissue paper back over the book’s cover, when she pauses. 
  The embossed eye in the center—the one she would have sworn was closed only a moment ago—is now open wide. As if watching her.
  As if seeing her for the very first time.
  Realizing she must have seen it wrong the first time, Jenna dismisses the chill that climbs up her spine at the sight of the open eye. She dutifully covers it with the paper, replaces the cardboard lid, then heads for the kitchen to have cake and ice cream with her friends.
  She doesn’t notice Nana watching her as she passes by the table, a rare smile curling the old woman’s lips.



Kenneth W. Cain
 is an author of horror and dark fiction, and a Splatterpunk Award nominated freelance editor. To date, he has had over one hundred short stories and thirteen novels/novellas, as well as a handful each of nonfiction pieces, books for children, and poems released by many great publishers such as Crystal Lake Publishing, JournalStone, and Cemetery Gates Media.

He has also edited eight anthologies, with two more coming in 2023. He lives in Chester County PA with his family and two furbabies, Butterbean and Bodhi. His full publishing history is available on his website at


Tim Meyer
 dwells in a dark cave near the Jersey Shore. He’s the author of more than fifteen novels, including Malignant SummerThe Switch HouseDead DaughtersLimbs, and many other titles. When he's not working on the next book, he's usually hanging out with his 
wife and son, shooting around on the basketball court, playing video games, or messing with a new screenplay.

He bleeds coffee and IPAs. You can learn more about his books at

Thursday, 17 August 2023

Book Feature: LOST by Shilpa Suraj


Lost is a story of love, betrayal, honour, revenge, and everything in between. It’s also a love story that sets fire to the world they live in leaving them with no choice but to rise from the ashes anew…

Lieutenant Rahul Jaishankar of the Indian Navy is a man of honour, principles and commitment. His love for his family, his ethics, and his integrity is only eclipsed by his love for his country. He has no time or space to love anything or anyone else. Until the day Ayaana Sahni explodes into his life. Suddenly, she’s all he can think of, all he can hope for, all he dreams of, awake or asleep…

But Ayaana isn’t a dream he can afford to have. She’s an illusion. Ayaana Sahni is actually Aarushi Mittal. And Aarushi Mittal wants only one thing…Vengeance. And no man, not even one as deliciously gorgeous as Lieutenant Rahul was going to get in her way.

An award winning, intrepid journalist, Aarushi spends most of her life abroad working on the kind of devastating stories that the world would never hear of if not for people like her. But it has come at the cost of her personal life, at the cost of time with family, and at the heartbreaking cost of her friend’s devastating tragedy.

Aarushi needs to atone for her negligence, she needs to right the wrongs done in her absence, and she needs to make the villain in her friend’s story pay. What she really needs to make that happen is a way into the tightly knit community of the Indian Navy and Lieutenant Rahul Jaishankar is it. And if that means there is some collateral damage along the way, then so be it. Even if the collateral being damaged makes her yearn for dreams that don’t exist. Surely, the Lieutenant would understand, wouldn’t he?

Aarushi isn’t built for love. She’s built to burn down the world for her loved ones instead. So what if this man makes her want things she’s never wanted? So what if this man makes her heart ache for something she’ll never have? So what if, suddenly, this man is all she wants?

Goodreads * Amazon IN * Amazon US

Read an Excerpt from Lost

She swung the door open, her eagerness on full display. Rahul leaned against the wall outside her flat, in loose tracks and a t-shirt that had probably been washed ten thousand times. He looked warm and rumpled and enticingly cuddle-able. 

“Hi Ayaana.” Rahul smiled, a weary smile. 


Her smile dropped in wattage as she held the door open and made way for him to enter. He didn’t move, instead waiting on the threshold for her to precede him.

Oh right. The whole gallantry thing. She turned around and started hopping back down the little corridor. She heard the door shut behind her and then a warm hand captured her crutch holding hand. 

A shiver worked its way through her. He was so close. So big, so warm, so everything. A ridiculous urge to curl into his solid, stable presence and cry overcame her but she shook it off. She shook it all off. 

“Problem, Navy?” 

His eyes, so close to her own, flashed in amusement at the nickname. 

“You’re doing it wrong,” he murmured.

“Doing what wrong?” Why was she breathless? 

“The crutch thing.”

She raised one eyebrow and tried to look haughty. “You’re criticizing my ability to limp on a damaged foot?” 

But she ruined the effect with the breathless whisper that accompanied the words. 

He looked down at her, his gaze dropping to her lips before moving to land on her crutch. “You’re hopping too much. All the weight and pressure is on your shoulders and back. You’re not leveraging the crutch enough.”

He slid one arm around her waist to anchor her, his other hand going to wrap around the knuckles she had tightly clenched around the handle of the crutch. He helped her raise the crutch in the air and place it forward while using his other arm to coax her body into not leaping into a hop to compensate. Only when her weight rested on the crutch did he let her body slide into step with it. 

“Better?” he asked, the word a waft of heat against the shell of her ear. 

Aarushi shut her eyes, as unreasonable sensations cascaded through her. She nodded her head, just once, in response to his question. 

He released her and stepped back, cold air rushing in to take the place of the delicious warmth of his body. She reached instinctively for him but stopped herself before she made contact. Her fingers curled in mid-air before her hand dropped to her side. 

About the Author:
A published author with Harlequin India – Mills & Boon India Collection and Juggernaut, Shilpa Suraj’s books have hit both the Hot New Releases and Bestseller lists on Amazon. Her next novel, tentatively titled ‘Wrong,’ has been contracted by Rupa Publications and will release later this year. She is also part of the Flipped Anthology by Harper Collins and had an audiobook book Insta Reddy release with Storytel.

She is, amongst other things, currently working on ‘Frazzled and Fabulous,’ a humorous, true-to-life parenting story that is part memoir and part nonfiction.

An avid reader with a passion for creative writing and storytelling saw her participating in writing competitions at school and dabbling in copy writing for an ad agency as a teenager. Twenty years in the corporate space, including a stint in Corporate Communications for Google, India, and a spell at entrepreneurship all hold her in good stead for her multiple current roles of author, mother and Head of Human Resources & Public Relations at an architecture and interior design firm.

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter


Friday, 16 June 2023

Book Feature: IT HAUNTS THE MIND and Other Stories by Nick Roberts

From Nick Roberts, the best-selling author of The Exorcist's House and Anathema, comes fifteen dark tales that are as horrific as they are moving.

Witness absolute evil in “Sally Under the Bed” and “It Haunts the Mind.” Endure vengeance and violence in “The Noose” and “The Bitter End.” Face the realities of addiction and grief in “Thanks for Sharing” and “The Weeping Wind.” Survive otherworldly monsters in “The Paperboy” and “Voodoo Bay.”

In balancing the terrors of the supernatural with the horrors of real life, this collection drags you down the dark alleys of a haunted mind, forcing you to confront your demons, both real and imaginary.


EXCERPT from the WEEPING WIND by Nick Roberts

The porch swing squeaked as I rocked back and forth with the tips of my boots. A frozen wind found its way to my bones despite my multiple layers. Steam rolled over the brim of my coffee mug, and I gently blew it away. I looked out at the rolling Appalachian hills enshrined in a starless night. I take time every year to reflect, and it’s been thirty since the accident. My family is safely tucked away inside. Even if they were awake, they know not to disturb me on December 6th. I was only five years old at the time. Little girls aren’t meant to see such things. 




Maddie, my older sister, was in the backseat of the car with me. She was nine. Even in the blackness of the winter night, I could see the shiny streaks of her tears in the moonlight. She stared at the back of the empty passenger seat then let her gaze drift to the dark world passing by her window. 


Something heavy thumped in the trunk as Daddy turned the steering wheel just in time to avoid driving off the sharp turn. My booster seat rocked at having not been properly secured. He made an agitated grunt and breathed rapidly. The car straightened out just in time for Daddy to whip it around another curve. Such were the roads in the mountains of Fayette County, West Virginia. 


I haven’t been back since. 


“Don’t worry, girls,” Daddy said through a strained throat. “Your mama is just fine. We’ll go back for her.” 


I looked at Maddie for guidance, but she continued staring out the window. I wondered if she even heard Daddy. 


“Where is Mommy?” I asked the back of Daddy’s headrest. 


Maddie shot me a look that seared my right cheek. I returned her gaze. My stomach got that cold feeling when I saw the wide-eyed look on her face. Daddy snorted deeply, clearing his sinuses like usual. He always told us he had bad allergies.

“Your mama…” Daddy began but seemed to lose his voice. 


He snorted again and cleared his throat. 


“Your mama stayed at the scenic overlook, baby. I told you that.” 


“But it’s so cold, Daddy,” I replied. “Does Mommy have her coat?” 


Maddie looked back out the window. 


“Of course, she does,” Daddy answered.


Nick Roberts is a native West Virginian and a graduate of Marshall University where he earned his doctorate in Leadership Studies. As an active member of the Horror Writers Association, his short works have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies. His novel, 
Anathema, won Debut Novel of the Year at the 2020-2021 Horror Authors Guild Awards.

His best-selling novel, The Exorcist's House, was released in 2022 by Crystal Lake Publishing. He currently resides in South Carolina with his wife and three children and is an advocate for people struggling with substance use disorders.

Sunday, 28 May 2023

The CreativeLife in review - reading, painting, and coffee

 Hello Creative Friend!

    This week's post is truly a mix of stuff, and I am sure that you are well aware that life happens the way it does, and all we can do sometimes is to go with the flow. I had that experience the past few weeks, and several days it was not easy to cope with. That is what coffee is for, right? We deal as best we can in the best way we can.

🇿🇦 💜 🇿🇦

I am reading Life by Julian Baggini & Antonia Macaro

Once you have developed the capacity to be stimulated by your own

thoughts, experiences and reflections, you will never be bored and life will

never be without interest. The inner life is thus a source of remarkable self sufficiency. 

You learn that your happiness need not depend as much on

others as you might have believed, and you might find yourself thinking, as

Rousseau did, that ‘These hours of solitude and meditation are the only ones in the day when I am completely myself and my own master.’ 

~ Life by Julian Baggini & Antonia Macaro 

🇿🇦 💜 🇿🇦

    To be honest, I had so much coffee that I had to stock up earlier in the month than usual. But that's life.

    The 2nd week of the exhibition starts on Wednesday, so if you're interested you can find the details here. Entrance is free, but booking a ticket is helpful for the gallery to manage the numbers.

    With the end of the month coming up, I had two paintings to finish. They are part of the Artkula challenge for May 2023. I was hesitant with both because I don't like painting portraits (the Photo Challenge) nor do I like repainting the same image (the Themed Challenge). While neither will win any awards, I learned a few things along the way which to my mind is what taking part in these challenge are the most important thing.

🇿🇦 💜 Learning on YouTube this week - sketching with ink to improve my skills 💜 🇿🇦

   The next few weeks will be interesting work wise since I have two vastly different products to test. One of them is a whole system which we tackle in parts, and it is going to be a challenge. I love a challenge so I am looking forward to that one.

   In our art group we are busy do a drawing with charcoal. It is our second drawing of Big Ben as part of the buildings, and architecture does add some challenging details to the project. Despite the mess, I am enjoying it. With the paintings done, I will probably spend the rest of the day working on the charcoal project. After making myself a cup of coffee that is. 😏

Wishing you a creative week.

Until next time!

🇿🇦 💜 Linzé

PS: Keep an eye out for the next book feature - it might scare your pants off! 😁

Thursday, 25 May 2023



Why would anyone want perfection when they could have Vaani Jaishankar instead?

Aditya Khamankar was a chartered accountant who built his life on a bedrock of numbers. For no matter what happened, numbers and math never let you down. They stayed the same. And that fundamental fact defined many of his choices. He was the obedient son, the diligent student, the overachieving employee, the reliable friend. All he wanted in his life was routine and sensible discourse. All he craved in that same life was peace and quiet. And then his senior partner’s flighty daughter came home. And life as he knew it was never the same again…

Reality television villain and tabloid fodder, Vaani Jaishankar lived for the arclights. The notoriety, the glamour, the larger than life noise that came with it held her in thrall. Until the industry she loved and the people she trusted used and abandoned her. And now, she was back home. Darkening the doorstep of her childhood home, something she’d sworn she’d never do and working in her father’s accountancy firm…Could God just take her now already? And then there was her father’s business partner…

What happens when Perfection meets Flawed? Do the cracks beneath his façade show? Or is it as well hidden as the foundation of grit and ambition her shiny polish conceals?

When attraction wars with common sense and love burns a fiery rope that ties them together, Aditya and Vaani need to decide if this is enough…If they are enough for each other? For the world doesn’t believe they are and the world isn’t done with them yet…

Book Links:
Goodreads | |

Read an excerpt from Flawed

Shravan Uncle and he were still discussing their plans and action points when they strode into the office together. They came to an abrupt halt when they saw her perched on a tabletop chatting with their intern, Rama. She was swinging one ripped-jean-clad leg as she bent low over his system to look at something on his screen. Rama on the other hand was looking right down her flimsy crop top.

“Vaani!” Shravan Uncle’s voice cracked like a whip through the office space. 

Their entire staff jumped at the same time. So basically, three people were startled. Vaani, Rama and Aditya himself because that was currently their entire staff. 

“You are here to work,” Shravan Uncle continued his harangue. “Not to distract everybody else and stop them from working.” 

“Who is this mysterious them?” She made a show of looking all around their empty desks. “I can only see sweet Rama here. And he was showing me how to use your boring accounting software. You should be happy that I am taking initiative, no?”

Fear swam through Aditya at the thought of her accessing their software and fiddling with their client’s accounts. 

“You’re not going to be working on that,” he said, his voice coming out gruff and angry. 

“Oh?” She stared at him as if seeing him for the first time. “What am I going to be working on then?” 

His brain froze. What would she work on? He scrambled for something, anything that he could use when Shravan Uncle said, “You can start by keeping the office clean.”

Her mouth dropped open in outrage. “Of all the sexist things to say, Appa,” she seethed. “Just because I am a woman, I am in charge of housekeeping, is it?” 

“No. It’s because you are the only one here who has not sat for any accountancy exams,” her father said bluntly. “Also, you failed math in school.” 

Aditya cleared his throat, pity clearing out the chaos in his brain. Vaani’s mortification was obvious for everyone to see.

“Actually, there is something else you can do,” he said. 

“Don’t say bring everyone coffee,” she warned. 

The pity disappeared beneath a swell of irritation. 

“We just landed a large contract,” he snapped. “We’re going to need new employees. You can find them for us. Consider yourself our very first Human Resources professional.”

About the Author:
A published author with Harlequin India – Mills & Boon India Collection and Juggernaut, Shilpa Suraj’s books have hit both the Hot New Releases and Bestseller lists on Amazon. Her next novel, tentatively titled ‘Wrong,’ has been contracted by Rupa Publications and will release later this year. She is also part of the Flipped Anthology by Harper Collins and had an audiobook book Insta Reddy release with Storytel.

She is, amongst other things, currently working on ‘Frazzled and Fabulous,’ a humorous, true-to-life parenting story that is part memoir and part nonfiction.

An avid reader with a passion for creative writing and storytelling saw her participating in writing competitions at school and dabbling in copy writing for an ad agency as a teenager. Twenty years in the corporate space, including a stint in Corporate Communications for Google, India, and a spell at entrepreneurship all hold her in good stead for her multiple current roles of author, mother and Head of Human Resources & Public Relations at an architecture and interior design firm.

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter

Sunday, 30 April 2023

The CreativeLife in review - BuJo, art exhibition, and water

 Hello Creative friend!

This post covers about two weeks, but I am sure that you will appreciate it more for me keeping (or trying to) it short and not bore you with the minutiae.

Living in the beautiful country of South Africa does come with serious challenges these days. I am sure that my fellow countrymen and women are just as frustrated as I am with the constant problems with our power network. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that we resorted to installing a solar power system at home. While lack of power can and do create a lot of frustration there has always been another problem that bothered me more: no water.

Living in an urban area means we are dependent on our water to be pumped to reservoirs from rivers and dams via purification plants. For that to happen, we need power for those pumps (and they are power-hungry monsters). We have load-shedding schedules (which we can use for planning) to help with those power cuts. When there are multiple failures in the generation plants, we often find ourselves without power between 8 to 12 hours per day - for days on end.

No power at home also means no power to pump water. And then recently something seriously went wrong in the water supply network and we were without water for 4 days. In some areas, people didn't have water for almost a week. I never thought myself to suffer from anxiety, as a practising Stoic resilience training helps a lot, but being without water created a level of anxiety that I didn't all!

It also made no sense. I have about 20 litres of water in reserve for filtering our drinking water. Nothing to do with a crisis, I happen to have space for the four 5-litre bottles that I rotate for daily use. We catch rainwater in two large tanks outside, which we use to flush the toilets. Since it rained a few days before the water crisis, I knew those tanks were full. So it was only water for showering. So no rational reason for my anxiety, but rational thought notwithstanding, I was not myself for those four days. I think it has to do with control. With power outages no longer a problem in my home, water became the issue. Something to think about for the future.

My podcast listening this week Rafi and Klee

You might be familiar with Bullet Journaling (or BuJo for short) with all those YouTube creators and their hours of creating beautiful setups. I tried a BuJo a few years ago and didn't like it. Recently I have reread the book and decided to try it again. When I looked at my planner, I noticed that despite not being a formal “BuJo” I have been using the basic concepts anyway. So I got myself a dot grid journal and set it up to use from July. My current planner ends in June.

With the upcoming art exhibition and my book projects, my current planner didn't have enough space to plan and organise everything that I have on my plate this year. And no, no pretty pictures and drawings within sight. I used a bit of washi tape or a water-based marker to underline a heading or two, but this is the extent of the creativity I added. I would rather spend time drawing or painting than decorating a planner. My journal will remain separate, but if you read Ryder Caroll's book, you can also use the BuJo for long-form journaling. I am not.

Connect with me on Substack

I did transfer the ideas from my Ideas Journal to my BuJo. It made sense that is why I did it. So one less journal to keep up to date. I had already used some of those ideas, I just never bothered to update the Ideas Journal, so it had to go.

The new paintings I planned for the exhibition are making slow progress. Too slow in many aspects and irritates me to no end. I am tired and find it difficult to stand for even a short time to paint. I have not lost interest in the paintings in fact, I am excited to see how they will look, so I am hopeful my energy levels will improve soon so I can get back to painting.

I have been working on an abstract portrait graphite drawing and it is looking good so far. I had not planned to put it in the exhibition but if I can get it done I might do that.

I think this post is getting too long, and I need to wrap it up before you fall asleep. LOL!

Wishing you a creative week.

Until next time!

💜🇿🇦 Linzé

The CreativeLife in review - keep learning, and creative projects

  Hello creative friend!   Like most of you I'm sure, it is sometimes tough to find a moment to write a blog post, or just find time for...