Sunday, 30 August 2015

Reading and Writing...away from Home

Instead of posting in Linzé's Mischief today, I decided to add a post to show you some photographs. Enjoy!

Sunday 30 August 2015 (21h05):
Boesmansberg Guest Farm - our home away from home
Being away from home isn't always easy, especially if it for work. The travel, the long days, the difficulties when things don't go as planned. But sometimes there is a weekend in-between the work days where you can recharge your batteries, like we did this weekend.
Yesterday, a few of my colleagues and I went to a local church fete. It has literally been years since I had been to one of these things, especially in a rural area. Back home our local fetes in a big city, are not the same as I remember from being a child in a small town in rural South Africa.
Prieska, in the Northern Cape province is as rural as you can get. It is the closest town for many of the farmers in the area, and while it has no mall (local joke) it has three of the major supermarket chains represented, the major banks and a co-op or two, everything a farmer needs.

Not the heat they had predicted!
I had a good chuckle when I Googled 'Prieska mall' and actually got four hits! Trust me, there is no mall in this town.
On our way back to the guest farm, we had a good laugh. We cruised the CBD of Prieska, had to search for the venue of the fete, and drove all of 2.6km in the process! Back home the closest shop is 2km from my home, and the closest mall (yeah, a real one) 5km away.I love small towns, but living in a big city sure does have it benefits.
The Orange River flows past Prieska
The closest city is Kimberley, and an almost four hour drive away. Local businesses, such as the guest farms of the area, get their products delivered from Kimberley, since it is more cost effective.

The week ahead sees the second stage of our testing that is planned. While the weather prediction says high temperatures are on the cards, we have been having cold and rainy days. We can still test if it rains, but it's not comfortable working outside, especially when it's cold and windy on top of that.
I finished reading the third book in the Antique Mystery series by Eileen Harris. The review of books the last two books will see the light of day, once I get back home.
Today had been a quiet day, although the wind is howling like mad at present. I spent the day writing, and it was good to get a few hundred words done. I haven't been able to do that the past week, and will probably not have a chance to write again until I am back home. Such can be the life of a writer with a full time job!
On that note, I wish you a successful week.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Creating Dangerous Characters - reblogged post

The 10 Secrets Of Resilient Characters

'Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.' ~Josephine Hart

The key to surviving in this world – and any fictional world you create – is resilience. It is not the strong who survive, but those who can weather change, because life is nothing but change. You do not need to be braver or bigger or louder. You do need to be able to bend with the wind, get up when you fall, and move forward when it seems impossible. This resilience strengthens you emotionally in either a positive or a negative way, and allows you to continue.

This is why your two most important characters – your protagonist and your antagonist – need to be resilient. Resilience is neither good nor bad, which is why it works for all characters who have goals and the desire to achieve them.

Are your main characters resilient enough for your story?
Resilient characters:
  1. Accept help when they need it
  2. Adapt to change
  3. Learn how to cope with setbacks and disappointments
  4. Focus on finding ways to get around problems, rather than on the problems themselves
  5. Make mistakes and then learn from them 
  6. Learn to accept constructive criticism
  7. Make the most of their strengths
  8. Recognise their weaknesses
  9. Recover from failure and rejection
  10. See the bigger picture in challenging situations
We do not enjoy reading about static characters who are trapped by their thoughts and circumstances. We want them to find that self-belief that forces them out of the prison of their heartaches, tragedies, and even the limitations of their victories.
So dare to create dangerous characters who have more moments of strength than moments of weakness. We love characters who are strong enough to withstand anything we throw at them - these are the characters worth rooting for.

Reblogged from

Friday, 7 August 2015

This could be Heaven, or this could be Hell… - Guest post by Francis H Powell

The most leading question most people ask themselves on a daily basis must be…what happens to us after we die? Many religions lead people to think, if they lead a good life, they will go “to Heaven” or if they lead a bad life…they will end up in Hell. Hell is perhaps a good way to keep people on the right road, and a good stick to beat them with, should they go astray.
With my story “Cast from Hell” the last story in my book of short stories “Flight of Destiny” I written a tongue in cheek story about somebody who is rejected by Hell for being too good…they die a middle aged man but are sent back in the body of a woman, in her twenties, replacing the soul of a woman in a coma.
At the start of my story, I envisage what Hell is like and what the devil’s modern day preoccupations are. The Devil’s heyday was the middle ages, a time when superstition reigned and the church had a vicelike grip on the population. My vision of what Hell is like in the modern day era is far from being like Dante’s inferno…This is my description of hell…To my surprise, there was no evidence in Hell of people being grievously punished. The slothful were not being goaded with burning coals. The gluttons were not being tormented with thirst and hunger. There were no hedonists being bathed in burning pitch and stinking brimstone, or envious individuals howling with grief over that which they could never possess. The proud were not being brought down. The covetous were not being denied. In fact, the damned seemed to be living in a modicum of comfort. I never detected any weeping, wailing or gnashing of teeth. The place, called by some gehenna, the bottomless pit, was admittedly no holiday camp, but things there had grown shoddy and dysfunctional.
My description of the “devil” is one worn out over a period of time, a devil that has become “insipid” and unimaginative and I make the point that the world's leaders have usurped the devil’s job with their ineptness, lies and monetarily-advantageous wars. Watch the news and we can see Hell is clearly on earth, for many wretched souls.

In my story I take a quick glance at what Heaven might be like…in comparison to Hell…I took a last look survey of Hell. It looked like a vast airport terminal: vacuous, tedious, and hum-drum. By now I couldn't wait to leave. By contrast, I have often tried to imagine Heaven. To me it would be one long party in a great vivant night club, not unlike this second life to which I was now looking forward to I closed my inner eye as instructed and waited while Charon transported me to earth's dimension. Apart from the cliché images of Heaven, those pearly gates, streets of gold, winged angels and the Righteous, with their bodies made perfect and immortal, singing the praises of God forever, what are people’s visions of what Heaven is like? Also what kind of existence would this constant praising of God be like anyway?
One of the plus points of Heaven would be according to many the fact that witnessing the torment of the damned will be one of the joys of paradise. This seems a strange notion.

Peter Bell the Third by Percy Bysshe Shelley
"Hell is a city much like London – / A populous and a smoky city; / There are all sorts of people undone, / And there is little or no fun done; / Small justice shown, and still less pity." Shelley's Hell bears a close similarity to Regency London. "All are damned – they breathe an air, / Thick, infected, joy-dispelling".

Huis Clos/No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre
"L'enfer, c'est les autres." A valet leads three characters to a windowless room, which is Hell. To what torment are they condemned? Each other's company. In the course of the play, the characters probe each other's sins and bring alive their guilty memories. "There's no need for red-hot pokers."

About the Author
What better way to put all my angst into short stories. Born in a commuter belt city called Reading and like many a middle or upper class child of such times I was shunted off to an all-male boarding school aged eight, away from my parents for periods of up to twelve weeks at a time, until I was 17. While at my first Art college through a friend I met a writer called Rupert Thomson, who was at the time in the process of writing his first book “Dreams of leaving”. He was a bit older than myself, me being fresh out of school, but his personality and wit resonated, despite losing contact with him. I had a stint living in Austria, where I began writing. It wasn’t until I moved to Paris, that my writing began to truly evolve. I discovered a magazine called Rat Mort (dead rat) I sent off a short story, in the hope it would match the seemingly dark world the magazine seemed to embroiled in. I got no answer. Not put off I sent two more stories. Finally I got an answer. It seemed the magazine editor was a busy man, a man prone to travelling. It seemed my first story really hit the right note with him. His name was Alan Clark. I began writing more and more short stories, some published on the internet. A bit later my anthology Flight of Destiny slowly evolved, published April 2015, by Savant publishing.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Book Review: Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine

I spotted this book, small as it is, on a bookshelf in a secondhand bookstore and took about three seconds before deciding to buy it. It was only once I started reading it, that I realised it is intended for children older than eight who want to learn how and what to write. I kept on reading. Why? Because the book is straight forward. No fancy words, no trying to explain abstract concepts and leaving the reader, or writer, hanging.
Short chapters to explain the essence of dialogue, characterisation, using your senses when writing, showing not telling, etc. Each chapter has at least one example that illustrates the content and at the end there is a section with recommended exercises to practice.
The author touches on aspects such rejection letters, but mostly the book is focused on writing. My favourite lines from the book comes from the chapter about writing for oneself, journal writing if you like.
"It also makes me more of a writer. It makes writing penetrate all the way into the marrow of my bones. It makes writing as natural for me as thinking and talking."

Thank you, Gail for reminding me what my writing means to me.

Linzé's Rating: 

Find the book on Amazon

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Reblogged: Seven Ways Blogging Improves Your Writing

Today, it seems that everyone is a blogger. Setting up a blog is simple. If your mother can set up a Facebookprofile, chances are she will be able to set up a blog.  

So, if it is that simple, why are you not blogging? Not everyone wants to write about his or her life. An online diary is seriously not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you spend time online, you will notice not all blogs are personal diaries.  Those, which are personal blogs, are well written and have compelling stories, and they are entertaining.
As a writer, you should be building an author platform, so if you don’t want to tell us about your session in the gym you can tell us about your books, your writing and what you are reading. Start building relationships with your future readers now.

If that is not enough motivation to get you blogging, consider these seven points:
  1. It gives you a deadline. Writers always perform better with deadlines. It forces you into a routine and helps you remain focussed.
  2. It gives you something else to write. Sometimes we need a break from our novels and blogging will help with that.
  3. It is a daily, weekly or monthly commitment that forces you to write. 
  4. The comments are great. They give you immediate feedback. However, some comments are not always great, but consider it a good way to start developing a thick skin.
  5. You can write about anything. It is a wonderful creative outlet. Consider it a place to explore and take risks with your writing that you wouldn’t usually take in a full-length novel.  
  6. Consistent blogging will help you create a body of work over time that comes in bite-sized chunks.
  7. Allows you to create a platform to promote your books.
Blogging is a big commitment and it takes time, but it is worth the investment. Spend time online and find blogs that you enjoy. Then take the plunge and start your own blog.

Note from Linzé: This post was reblogged from

Art Journal 2020: Friendship

It has been a while since I did an art journal post, mostly because I couldn't decide on the topic. But once I did it was only a ma...