Wednesday, 21 May 2014

STORM Vol I and Vol II - the Pretoria Writers' Group Presents

This anthology has taken the world by STORM! As part of the pre-launch period you can now buy the two volumes at 50% of the normal price. The official launch will be 1 June 2014, after which the prices will be raised.

You can find out more about each Volume at the ANTHOLOGIES tab on top of this blog page, or click for Volume I or Volume II on Smashwords.

Reviews from our advance readers can be found on Goodreads (Volume I and Volume II). If you enjoyed our stories, as much as we did writing them, please take the time to leave us your review.

 Thank you for your support.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Author Blog Hop

1) What am I working on?
Having just, as in recent days, published our writers' group's anthology, STORM (Volume I and Volume II), I have to check out the projects that I have scheduled myself to complete this year. I made a list to keep myself accountable. The first one is to do my editing on the third book in my Third Gender Series, and then get it to a professional editor to make it perfect. The story is called Obsession and I hope to have it ready for publication by July this year.
The second project is to finish my third novel, titled Michael's Mystery. I estimate it to be about 70% complete, so there is still a lot of work to be done.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write in whatever genre my story needs to be written, so it is hard to pin it down. However, Obsession can be considered sci-fi romance and Michael's Mystery is a fantasy romance novel. So, yeah, I am a romantic at heart and will try to get my happily-ever-afters, in whatever genre happens to be on the cards.
I doubt if there is really a unique plot out there, so I cannot claim to be the next big thing in writing. I tell stories. Stories of people who want to find love, or not. Characters who get into situations where they have to make difficult choices, sometimes big sacrifices, and to my mind we as people often have to do the same. Maybe not using magic fireballs, or dragon swords, but the choices may be just as difficult.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write what I read. I love paranormal/fantasy romance and I also read a lot of erotic romance books. As you can probably guess by now, I am a sucker for romance!
While I also read historical romances, love murder mysteries and have been known to read extreme sci-fi, I do not write in these genres. Why not, you may ask? I have no idea. I just don't I suppose :)

4) How does my writing process work?

This is the simple answer - I apply butt to chair and I write. Planning in any detail doesn't work for me, ie I am a pantser. That doesn't mean that I don't do any research, on the contrary. I have tried it both ways - planning and pantsing - and decided to stick to the way I am doing it now. As a project manager in the military industry by day, I write in the evenings. And I try to do it for two hours uninterrupted every day. I try to do more on weekends, but it is not always possible - I do have a life after all :)

Thank you, Nomanono for tagging me in this blog hop :)

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Liebster Award - Butterfly on a Broomstick

A big thank you to my online friend J Lenni Dorner for giving me and this blog my first Liebster Award

"I am the in-between. There is a whole-hearted embrace of technology, but it conflicts with the fact that I'd rather be up a tree in the middle of a forest dreaming in peace. I love food, but I can't cook it well- the technical term for my skill level is "water-burner." (Luckily, I'm happily married to a chef.) While I can appreciate fashion, my own wardrobe emphasizes on comfort and function. Photography is a pastime I find enjoyable, but my beliefs dictate that I cannot appear in pictures. Basically, I should time-travel back to the 1300's to live, but still be able to communicate with the modern world via my smartphone." ~ J Lenni Dorner

Answer the 11 questions left for you
Nominate 11 more bloggers (not the person who nominated you, or the people that person nominated)
Leave them 11 questions for your nominees to answer
Thank and link back to the person who nominated you

The 11 Questions Lenni asked me:
1. What are your seven favorite books?
I don't have seven books, but I do have two authors whose books I have read many times - and you better not laugh too hard because they are at the opposite spectrum of the romance genre: Jane Austen and Maya Banks.

2. Who are your seven favorite twitter followers?
Jeff Joseph Author @author_jeff
Howard Roper @HowardRoper
Mackenzie Brown @mackbrownbooks
Sean Maxwell  @SeanMaxwell
Philip Catshill @PhilipCatshill
Shane O'Neill @ShaneKPONeill
Doug Simpson @1DougSimpson

Hmm...I noticed that they are all male - thanks, guys, you rock my twitter world!

3. What was the weirdest fortune cookie fortune you have seen?
In my part of the world, fortune cookies are not included in a chinese take-away meal, not for free anyway. So I usually go without.

4. What made you want to start blogging?
I thought it would be fun. It was only later that I learned that there are good and bad ways of doing it. Fortunately, I didn't start off too badly ;)

5. Which comment on your blog did you enjoy the most? (And who left it, and on what post?)
I am not going to single out a particular person, but I am going to mention the bloggers taking part in the recent April A to Z Challenge. They were awesome and many of their comments made me smile.

6. When did you know what you wanted to do with your life in regard to how you wish to be remembered?
This one does not have a single answer. As I grew older, my dreams changed, but while I was doing the things I had been involved it, I was living the life I wanted. Whether it was as an engineer, export consultant, business owner, project manager or published author. I live my life to please me, not any one else.

7. Are there any movies you are looking forward to seeing which premiere in 2014? (What are they and why are you looking forward to them?)
I have no idea what is on circuit right now, nor what is still coming this year. I am not much of a movie goer.

8. Do you now, or have you, had a living animal as a pet? (Tamagotchi doesn’t count.)
Yes. Since I got married and lived in a place where we could keep pets, we have had German Shepherd dogs. I love big dogs, but am particularly fond of the breed. Right now we have three, two females and a male.

9. If you had to perform in a little talent show next week, what would your talent be?
I would be the one organising the event ;)  But if I have to, I would dig out my bow and shoot arrows at people with apples on their heads.

10. What would your response be if a new friend proved to you that you aren’t human?
Cool! I always wanted to be an alien shape-shifter.

11. What is your favorite mythical creature without human attributes?
Dragon. I have two dragons keeping me company while I write. They sit on the bookshelf right next to my desk. I have been thinking though, that perhaps they needed another friend. Did I mention that I love dragons?

11 Questions for the 11 people I am nominating:
1.  What are the five things/activities you simply cannot do without?
2.  If your home caught fire, name the five things you will try to rescue? (loved ones are number six)
3.  What made you want to start blogging?
4.  Which comment on your blog did you enjoy the most? (And who left it, and on what post?)
5.  What was your experience in doing the A to Z Blog Challenge in April 2014?
6.  When did you know what you wanted to do with your life in regard to how you wish to be remembered?
7.  Do you now, or have you, had a living animal as a pet?
8.  If you had to perform in a little talent show next week, what would your talent be?
9.  What would your response be if a new friend proved to you that you aren’t human?
10. If there was one mythical character that you would like to have tea with, who would it be and why?
11. If there was one supernatural power that you could have for 24 hrs, which one would it be and what would you do with it? 

11 People I am nominating:

Vanessa Wright
Laura Scott
Tonia Hurst
Laura Hile
Natalie Rivener
Marcio Coelho
Red O'Laughlin
Carmen Botman
Richard T Wheeler
Stella Myers
Roslynn Pryor

This is so much fun, I can't wait to see what each person comes up with! ☺  

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Managing my Time by Linzé Brandon

I have recently been asked how I manage to do what I do, and while I work full time. Here is my story - on time management

I won't lie and say that it is easy, because it isn't. A few years back I had my own business doing consulting work and that taught me one thing: time management. When you work for a boss, you pitch up, you do the work as expected and go home.
But as a business owner, it is more complicated. Since I had been the only one in the business I did everything: the work, keeping the accounts, invoicing, marketing, etc. I learned that it was not just about priorities, it was about doing what I want to do - and doing the things I needed to achieve that.
I closed the business due to economic reasons, but those years taught me a lot about what I wanted, and how to go about achieving it.

This was also the time, give or take a month, that I started writing.

So here is how my days typically go:
We, Francois and I, get up at 5am to get ready for work. I work from 6am to 4pm on weekdays, except Wednesdays when I leave at 3pm and Fridays at about 1:30pm. So a fairly normal 45 hr week.

With such a long day, we have an early dinner - about 5:30 pm and then I make lunch boxes for the next day, take a shower, see to my personal email and social media responsibilities.
If there is time I will read a bit, but from 9pm I will write until I go to bed at 11pm.
I never watch TV, with the exception of the odd soccer game over the weekend - I am a Manchester United fan. So when people chat about TV shows, or movies, I am clueless, but it doesn't bother me at all.
Weekends are for chores, other endeavours, and social obligations, but when they are done I read and/or write. I have been doing this for years.

I never go anywhere without either a computer, my mobile phone (it has an app I can use for writing) or a notebook and a pen. Most of the time, at least two of these will always be within reach.
One of the reasons I appreciate the members of  my writing group, is that they feel the same about their writing. It is a passion, and we use the time we have available to us to work at that goal.
Of course, real life interferes but it is not the end of the world, we deal, we move on. But the end goal remains: I am a writer, therefore I write. That is why every member is now a published writer, and we had so much fun with the STORM anthology.

Like me, they decided that writing was important enough to them, that to sacrifice time doing some other things is worth every word we write.

Read more on how to be a writer here.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Cover Reveal: reGENESIS by Linzé Brandon

The human species is dying out, and the scientists are sitting with their hands in their hair. Nothing is working, not the old medicines, nor the latest surgical techniques.
Until one day during a meeting of a World Health Organisation committee, a young scientist came up with the idea to explore the use of genetic engineering. A few scientists researched the idea and came up with the solution to manipulate the fundamental code of life: the DNA helix. It worked, but there was an unexpected side-effect.
Would people keep fighting the plan for their future survival, even while they continued to die out?

This story is also available as part of the Storm Anthology Volume I 

Download/Buy reGENESIS

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Cover Reveal: THE CUTTING HORIZON by Linzé Brandon

Consumed with guilt, Bryce had been drifting away from his wife of ten years. Until one evening when he was about to cheat on her, he came to realise that he was about to do would not resolve anything. Leaving the woman behind in the hotel, he races home in a thunderstorm.
Bryce could not have foreseen that not only was the storm about to force him to face up to his failures, but it would also bring into perspective that things in his marriage might not have been all that simple to start off with.
House bound by circumstances, the Sinclairs have to face the facts, and decide if their future would continue on the same path or separate ones?

This story is also available as part of the Storm Anthology Volume II 

The Cutting Horizon

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Interview: STORM Author Carmen Botman

1. What inspired you to write your stories for the STORM anthology?

The Icarus Curse was inspired by my genuine interest in how we as human beings are destroying our planet. The changing of the seasons is an actual tangible example that we’re all currently experiencing. I also watch a lot of Doomsday Preppers.

Dahlias and Daisies: I think the release of a notorious gangster not too long ago, and the escalating gang violence in certain communities is what led me to write this story. The story is not far-fetched and although completely fictional, I’m sure there would be people out there that would relate.
2. Tell us what your stories are all about.
The Icarus Curse is about Shiloh Reed, the protagonist in the story, who discovers, after the earth has been virtually destroyed, that she inadvertently holds the key to the restoration of the planet. The fate of humanity rests on her shoulders alone.
Dahlias and Daisies is a story about survival, both physical and emotional, about rising up against the odds and living the life you are meant to live, no matter where you’re from or what you’ve been through. Both my stories have strong, female protagonists in them. Girl power!
3. What excited you about taking part in the STORM anthology?
I have never belonged to a writing group before this. I had known for a long time that this is what I want to do with my life and having the support of the group, it just made the task a lot less daunting and seem much more ‘do-able.’ I thought the theme itself was fantastic and I am always up for a challenge. The fact that my name will be on an actual book as a contributing author is still unbelievable.
4. What is your next project about and when can we expect it to be published?
I am working on a YA fantasy/adventure series called The Ternion Series. Book one, The Kindling, is complete and at present I am still deciding how to go about getting it ‘out there,’ in the great big world. It is a full-length novel and I am about two-thirds of the way with the second book. So, watch this space.
5. What is your biggest challenge in writing?
My biggest challenge is my strange mixture of overconfidence and self-doubt – simultaneously. I’m sure many other writers feel this way as well. I get an idea and think it’s absolutely brilliant; that it will take the world by storm (excuse the pun) and then halfway through or at the end, I’ll look at it and wonder what the heck I was thinking! And then I have flashes of my manuscript being rejected and retreat until another brilliant idea hits me and I start the process all over again.
6. How do you deal with this challenge?
I’m still working on it. Basically I pep talk myself into manuscript submissions and tell myself upfront that they’ll probably say no, so that when it happens I don’t feel too bad about it. But I just read an article by Jeff Goins recently about this exact thing – apparently I’m doing it all wrong! Lol. So, let’s just say it’s (I’m) still a work in progress.
7. What advice would you offer to other authors having to deal with this same challenge?
Just go for it. Develop a thick skin. Trust me, feeling totally confused about your status as an author or even getting rejected by publishing houses is MUCH better than not even trying at all. You will seriously regret not trying, so if this is what you really want to do, then suck it up and do it.
8. Please explain to my readers your writing process and how you manage your life to accommodate your writing.
All stories start with an idea. If I have the basis for a story, I ask myself ‘what if’ questions about the characters and the scenes in my head. I always try and plot something out in the beginning, even if it’s only an outline, and then I completely disregard these as the story unfolds. I generally allow the characters to take me where they need to go. I work full-time, so I spend at least 9-10 hours out of the house every day. I do the cleaning, cooking, washing, ironing, etc. as well. My husband is currently working and studying, so there are many balls to keep in the air, but lo and behold, I manage. See my blog post about this very question. 
You can find all Carmen's books on Smashwords

Monday, 5 May 2014

Cover Reveal: STORM Volume II by the Pretoria Writers' Group

STORM Volume II: Contemporary fiction, South African fiction is available at Smashwords a reduced price until 31 May 2014.

Author Blog Hop: Nomanono Isaacs

Nomanono Isaacs is a South African born published author of Escaping Apartheid: A Letter to My Mother.  She is a grandmother to two lovely Beings. A seven year old granddaughter, and a two year old grandson. She is mother to two wonderful daughters: an actress and a singer songwriter. 
She is currently putting together a plan for working with six children in schools on what she calls ‘A Love Project.’
She has been writing poetry for many years and would be putting these together for publication in due course. She currently has one poem on YouTube called ‘Never Succumb’ and plans on having more poems there! She is also currently working on her first novel!
She loves travelling, especially cruising, and intends on travelling to many more places!
When she left South Africa she lived in Swaziland, Botswana and Uganda before settling in England, in the UK, where she currently lives. 

You can learn more about Nomanono at:

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Interview: STORM Author Richard T Wheeler

1. What inspired you to write your stories for the STORM anthology?

I had a recurring nightmare of sharks with human eyes living in rain-filled construction ditches that were trying to eat me. (It was in fact the ditches that tried to eat me, the sharks were quite friendly once I got to know them. They were however, notorious cheats at cards) So instead of seeking an urgent psychological evaluation, I diligently wrote the concept down as a story seed for a novel. Perfectly normal behaviour for a writer.

When I met up with the Pretoria Writers Group, I heard that there was a potential space for me to publish a short story with them. Problem was, I had only until the end of the month to complete the story. I jumped at the opportunity and hashed out a rough, wildly confusing dreamscape in a week. The process of squeezing sense out of it took quite a lot longer, considering that the source material involved great white ditch dwellers.

2. Tell us what your story is all about.

Conventional wisdom states that the leopard cannot change his spots, that a villain will always be a villain. But if heroes can be corrupted, surely villains can be redeemed? What can change the nature of a man? How did he end up being a villain in the first place? Is there really such a thing as villains?

So here’s the story: Can a wrathful, perverted, murdering, soliciting, financial enslaver find redemption?

Note from Linzé: Richard's story title is A Girl Called Storm

3. What excited you about taking part in the STORM anthology?

The challenge. I’ve not dabbled in the short format at all. (Probably due to the truly dreadful short stories that I was subjected to during the course of my English degree.) I wanted to see if I can do it. I wanted to see if I was able to work on a short timeframe in an unfamiliar format and still have some success.

Moreover, the support that I received from the Pretoria Writers Group was overwhelming. I
finally felt that I had met some kindred spirits, and by making this effort, I will make a favourable impression on them.

4. What is your next project about and when can we expect it to be published?

I am currently mid-draft on a novel concerning an insomniac dropout who needs to deal with ghosts who possess him to fulfil their unfinished business whenever he sleeps. It’s set in Pretoria and has a full complement of corrupt vigilante cops, love at first sight and copious amounts of Oppikoppi. As for the publishing date, I’ve recently discovered that I’m terrible at writing and have pushed back the release date to Soon™ or perhaps to When It’s Not Terrible™.

The CreativeLife in review - planning, time management, and the creative life

  Hey there, creative friend! It's been a week or more since my last post but mostly because I have been taking time to do other things....