Friday, 30 December 2022

BOOK FEATURE: TRINOYONI: The Slaughterer of Sonagachi by Moitrayee Bhaduri



‘Someone is stalking the streets of Sonagachi.’
It’s the 1870s, and Calcutta is bustling with commerce and colonialism. A sea of changes has been ushered in by the relatively new British Raj, which has led to migrants from all over India filling up the city with their hopes and dreams.
Amongst these struggling masses is a serial killer on the prowl. Corpses of sex-workers start turning up at ponds and in the by-lanes of Sonagachi, Calcutta’s famed pleasure district, choked to death and stripped of all their ornaments. Fear has gripped the city and the nascent police department seems to be chasing shadows.
This is the story of Trinoyoni Debi: a sensuous seductress with a silver tongue and a love for all things shiny. But behind those eager eyes lurks a savagery that has made Trinoyoni the stuff of legends. How could such a breath-taking beauty be so terrifying? How many more will she kill before she is satiated? And is there anyone who can stop her? Follow her life as she transforms from a child widow to a famed courtesan and merciless murderer, becoming India’s first-ever serial killer.

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon.in | Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from Trinoyoni

Early Life

On a scorching summer noon in 1853, a tired Priyogopal Sanyal entered Purnendu Shekhar Chattopadhyay’s house, wearing an irritated look. The 50-year-old Sanyal had travelled a long distance and could barely sit straight. His drowsy eyes and half-broken walking stick made him look much older than his age. He was chewing on a betel leaf and behaving rudely with his hosts. 

People crowded around the house, inquisitive to learn about the man who would be marrying the prettiest girl in the village. Trina managed to catch a glimpse of the man and felt disgusted. She was appalled and couldn’t understand why God had chosen this tragic destiny for her.

‘Jamai babu was bedridden for two years because of a life-threatening disease,’ Trina overheard her neighbour saying.

‘Even in his bedridden state, he married four girls and rescued them,’ Priyogopal Sanyal’s friend, who had accompanied him, informed Purnendu.

With folded hands and a lowered head, Purnendu Chattopadhyay said, ‘Our daughter is very sensible and compromising. She excels at all household chores. She will not give you any reason to complain. I am grateful to Sanyal babu for rescuing her and agreeing to marry her.’ 

Tears trickled down Trina’s eyes as she saw her father begging Sanyal. 

‘Priyo babu has rescued ten other girls too. But your daughter is much older than his other wives,’ Sanyal’s friend remarked scornfully. 

Purnendu looked at the groom apologetically and pleaded, ‘I am an unfortunate father, burdened with the liability of an unmarried daughter. But as a Kulin Brahmin, I couldn’t commit a sin by marrying her off to a non-Kulin gentleman! Please forgive me.’ 

Priyogopal Sanyal looked at Purnendu and nodded dismissively. 

Sanyal’s friend added, ‘Priyo babu will accept the dowry and marry your daughter tomorrow. He will leave for East Bengal soon after to see his newborn son. Your daughter can continue living with you for now. You can complete the remaining rituals during his next visit.’ 

Purnendu nodded with folded hands and said, ‘We are truly blessed to have found him.’ 

About the Author:

Moitrayee Bhaduri is an author, screenwriter, and content specialist. Her first book, The Sinister Silence (Srishti Publishers, 2015), is an edge-of-the-seat murder mystery that introduced the feisty private detective Mili Ray. Her second book Who Killed the Murderer? (TreeShade Books, 2019) is a fast-paced psychological thriller that revolves around the murder of a TV actress in a beauty parlour.

Moitrayee also writes screenplays for TV and freelances with IT firms as a content consultant. Before switching to a full-time writing career, she worked with organizations like IBM, Deloitte, and Oracle, among others, in various writing and people-managerial roles, for 15 years. An alumna of Loreto College and Jadavpur University, Moitrayee also has a certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford.

Moitrayee enjoys conducting writing workshops for children and adults, encouraging them to cultivate a habit of reading. She is passionate about music, enjoys reviewing books and films, and loves dogs. Currently, she lives in Kolkata.



Contact the Author:
Blog * Facebook *  Twitter * Instagram * Goodreads 



Monday, 26 December 2022

BOOK FEATURE: Wrong by Shilpa Suraj


One wrong choice on the eve of her wedding has left Ananya married to one brother and in love with THE OTHER…

Ananya Saxena is the good girl who has always done the right thing. She is a dutiful wife, faithful daughter-in-law, fierce champion of the law. Except, in her heart was another phrase—reckless lover. An impossible choice for a good Indian girl. Duty had Ananya marry her best friend only to end up with a bitter, vengeful husband. Arvin Saxena is now a cripple, both physically and emotionally, after his wife’s confession the day before they were to be married. So, Arvin’s never-ending pain finds release only in hurting her. What he doesn’t know is that her secret sin was loving Arnav Saxena.

Arnav turned his back on all of them when she discarded him and married his younger brother.
When he is forced to return, it sets Ananya on a collision course with fate and she chooses desire over duty to embark on an affair with Arnav. For a brief glorious time, they have it all.

But soon, Ananya is faced with yet another life-changing decision when adultery, bankruptcy and a web of lies bring her to a crossroads. The dutiful wife or the defiant lover... who does she choose to be? And does she really even have a choice?

Book Links:
Goodreads | Amazon.in | Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from Wrong

There was a special place in hell for men who were in love with another man’s wife. Arnav contemplated the fifteen-year-old scotch in the crystal glass in front of him. It helped fan the flames of the hellfire in his gut. It didn’t stop his gaze from being drawn to the back of her dress. The outfit shimmered like silver smoke over her lithe body. He could see her husband’s hand resting possessively on her exposed back, a thumb gently gliding over her creamy, unblemished skin.

He clenched his glass and gulped down almost half of its contents, savouring the burning trail it left inside him. It did nothing for the guilt that was his constant companion, but it numbed the pain that clawed through him, be it only for a moment.

She laughed. It was a tinkling burst of sound that cut through the quiet murmur of the sophisticated, high society crowd that had gathered for the charity event. A few tendrils of her hair escaped the complicated hairdo her glorious waist-length mane was caught up in and flirted with the nape of her neck.

Cursing, he pushed back from the table. He needed a smoke and he didn’t care if the world thought it was rude of him to walk out right now. As he made his way through the throng, a part of him registered the way she leaned against her husband and murmured something into his ear. Turning towards her, he gave her an indulgent smile that spoke volumes about their relationship.

Oh yes, there was a special place in hell for men who loved another man’s wife. He breathed, crawled and existed in that abyss, for he didn’t just love another man’s wife, he loved his brother’s wife. Amidst the scum that grew in the filthy gutter of the deepest, darkest bowels of hell, he was the slime you scraped off the bottom of your shoe. He lived and breathed guilt, remorse and gut-searing pain. She was his friend, his passion, his endless torment, his curse. And yet, he loved her.

About the Author:


Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.


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


Tuesday, 20 December 2022

BOOK FEATURE: Bad Girl Gone Good by Alisha Kay

 


When Aisha Rajput, the queen of raves and celebrity after-parties, is asked to plan a hospital fundraiser, she's convinced the sun finally rose from the west. And yet, she is determined to blow this brief out of the water for it is her one chance at redemption.

Seven years ago, she shattered Dr Kabir Pradhan's heart with a deliberate, conscious act of betrayal. The least she can do to make up for it is to save his hospital.

Aisha is the woman who loved him and broke him. The last thing Kabir needs is for her to do it all over again with his hospital. He doesn't want her, he doesn't need her, and he certainly won't tolerate her. Or so he tells himself.

When the hospital board leaves them with no choice but to work together, the stage is set for fireworks.

When the heartache of the past collides with the irresistible desire of the present, the future looks to be in jeopardy. Unless the Bad Girl goes Good and saves the day.
But can she?
And does Kabir even want her to, for like it or not, his heart has always belonged to the Bad Girl, hasn't it?



Read an Excerpt from Bad Girl Gone Good


KABIR

The Rajmata of Bannor looked positively hunted as she stared at me.
“She said she’s on her way, beta. I’m sure she will be here soon.”
My brow creased in confusion.
“Who is on her way? I thought we were meeting to discuss how to raise money for the new NICU.”
“We are! But you can’t raise funds without a proper fundraiser. And if anyone can organise a superhit, blockbuster event for you, it is she,” declared Her Highness.
What was the old lady smoking? We weren’t a Bollywood production house. Usha Kiran was a hospital with a reputation for quality healthcare. The manic gleam in her eyes made me very nervous, especially when she started throwing around words like superhit and blockbuster.
“She?” I asked carefully.
“Kabir, you can’t pull off such a big event all by yourself. You need an event manager.”
No. What I needed was for these old farts to get their heads out of their asses and come up with a plan to counter Her Highness’s schemes.
“Your Highness, we’re trying to collect funds, and I’m not sure how blowing up a huge chunk of money on a grand party is going to help us do that.”
The other members of the board nodded in agreement. The very thought of wasting money on a fundraiser made them turn ashen.
She shook her head in disappointment.
“Beta, sometimes you have to spend money to earn more.”
“Well, we don’t have much, to begin with, and I don’t think I can authorise such an expense when I could use the money to buy new ventilators,” I said apologetically.
I knew she meant well, but she needed a dose of reality. There was nothing glamorous about what we were trying to do here. We needed state-of-the-art incubators, ventilators with CPAP machines, as well as a well-trained NICU staff, all of which cost money.
“What if the board doesn’t have to spend a single penny? I will donate the money you need to organise the event,” she replied craftily.
“With due respect, Your Highness, why would you do that?"
She banged on the floor with the end of her walking stick.
“Because it is time to try something new. The world is full of people who have more money than they can spend in this lifetime. And some of them are even willing to share that wealth. You just need to know how to approach them. As for the ones that don’t want to part with their wealth, you need to know exactly how to lure and skin them,” said Her Highness, with relish.
Were we still talking about raising money? I had a feeling there was a ruthless serial killer lurking under that silk-clad grandmotherly exterior. I sighed as I resigned myself to an uncomfortable meeting with the event manager. But I would hear her out before I showed her the door. It was the least I could do.
I looked at my watch pointedly and nodded.
“Fine. Let’s see what this wizard of yours has in mind.”
There was a sharp knock at the door, and it swung open.
“I hope I’m not too old for one of your lollipops, Doctor Uncle,” called a voice that I hadn’t heard for years.
And yet, it hit me with the same force as it had seven years ago.
Her Highness rose to welcome her, but I stayed frozen in my seat, unable to do anything but stare at that familiar face. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! What the fuck was Aisha Rajput doing here?
She walked into the room and greeted Her Highness with a warm hug.
“Now, where’s my favourite man?” she cooed, pulling away from the Rajmata of Bannor.
I clenched my jaw and stood up slowly to my full height as she turned towards me. When she spotted me, she swayed in place as if she had been dealt a body blow. I shot her a frosty smile that made her turn pale.
“Well, if it isn’t the OG Bad Girl,” I drawled.”


About the Author:
Alisha Kay writes funny, exciting and steamy stories, with spunky heroines who can rescue themselves, and hot, woke heroes who find such independence irresistible.
The first book in The Devgarh Royals series, The Maharaja’s Fake Fiancée, won the grand prize at the Amazon KDP Pen to Publish Contest 2020.

Alisha on the Web:
Instagram * Twitter 





Saturday, 17 December 2022

BOOK FEATURE: Love Bait by Varun Pancholi

 

Pranay Oza is excited about his life’s new phase - COLLEGE. And soon enough, life offers him much more than he imagined. Falling in love with a college senior and the love being reciprocated through anonymous love notes was like a dreamy sequence from a romantic movie come true.

But then was this love or bait?

It is college election time too and stakes are high for all the aspirants for the President’s post. It is the last chance for all of them to prove themselves capable of moving into professional politics.

But can a fresher Pranay Oza be critical to the elections?

At this age, decisions are driven by passion and consequences can be life changing.



Book Links:
Amazon.in | Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from Love Bait

Prologue

It was four minutes to midnight. Pranay climbed up the wall with the support of the tree trunk and took a pause to look around. There was no one to be seen, it was all silent and so he jumped on the other side as quietly as he could. He steadied himself and looked around again. Finding no sign of any movement, he quickly rushed towards the narrow pathway leading to the stairs, the one he had seen Amrita take the other night.

He quietly started climbing up the stairs. For once, he was happy the hostels rarely replaced a fused bulb on the stairways. It was not a dark night and the half-moon brightened the stairs enough for a cautious climb. His heart was racing fast, not knowing what to expect. He wanted to be quick but silent. “Why am I here? What do I want? Well, it’s a bit too late to think about it now.” But he firmly believed he was expected to be here at this hour.

As he reached the foyer, half way up to the first floor, he heard a creak. He froze in fear and almost stopped breathing to maintain absolute silence. The creak sounded like a door or window closed or maybe opened. He waited and tried to listen hard. But it was all very quiet apart from his drumming heart and his soft breath. The music from the common room remained faint. He concluded it should be one of the windows moving due to the wind.

He climbed up further and reached another small foyer.

There are two doors now, one to his left and one to his right. “It should be the one on the left,” he thought. It was a guess based on what he had seen the other night. He looked for room number but there was none, neither on the other door.

‘Left it is’ he decided. He took a deep breath and steadied himself. Still not sure what to expect, he took a step forward to lightly knock on the door. But as his knuckle touched the door for the first tap, the door creaked.

The door was open. Indeed! He was expected! His breath was still shallow, his anxiety level still high and his heart still pounding. He slowly pushed the door open. It was dark inside and his eyes took a few moments to adjust. The window on the wall to his right was open, the curtains were drawn and the moonlight was filtering in from the borders. There was another glass window on the opposite wall the room which was closed. The light coming in from this window was just enough to create an outline of the bed underneath. It seemed there was no one on the bed. The rest of the room was dark.

He took a step into the room and straightened himself up.

The room was eerily quiet and he could not see Amrita around. Was she shy and hiding from him? On second thoughts he wondered ‘Am I even in the correct room?’



About the author

Varun holds a Bachelors degree in Engineering from MS university, Baroda. Additionally, he holds double Masters in Business from Symbiosis, Pune and HEC Paris.

After working in India & France, Varun currently lives in Bahrain with his wife and two daughters. He loves reading and this is his first rendezvous with writing.






Sunday, 4 December 2022

The CreativeLife - weeks 46, 47, and 48 in review

Hello creative friend,

 I need to drink a lot of water because of the diuretic effect of some prescription meds. So on Tuesday I left my home office to refill my water, when I stepped into poop. Yup, right in front of my office. Inside my house. At first I thought there is a gecko running around, because they sometimes sneak in. I don't mind them, they are cute, but they are quiet. And the noise I was hearing told me it wasn't a gecko.

Following the sound, I found a bird in the area where I have the laundry on drying racks. And a lot of bird poop on the floor. And a frightened bird. It was a pied starling. It was either chased by one of the dogs into the house, I leave the backdoor open when I am at home during the day, or it flew in because it was curious. Either way, I had a scared bird on my hands and clean laundry which I was not in the mood to wash again.

Since there was only one exit, I had to get it back into the kitchen but it was not cooperating. Instead it flew into the living room making me cringe at the though of bird poop on the couches.

A bit of thought went into coming up with a solution. I closed the beaded curtain hanging in the passage to my office so it couldn't fly that way. I know it is a bit boho to have a beaded curtain, it usually serves another purpose, but it kept a bird where I could try and redirect it outside.

Inktober52 Prompt #45

It flew everywhere, pooped again, and thank goodness only the floors, except a spot on a curtain but I wasn't too boothered about that. Then I got an idea. Since it was avoiding the kitchen, I think the dogs were scaring it, I had to open the patio door. This door is difficult to open, but I managed.

Back to the bird. It saw the new bright light and flew right at it. I was holding my breath when it landed on a drying rack - with Hubs' work pants. Then it landed in a gap of the security gate. And flew away. Yay! No bird was injured in the process, but my mood was sour for sure. I have so much work to do, and now I had to wash the floors.

Oh well, it all turned out all right in the end, and the house had clean floors too.

I might have mentioned that I had decided to not keep up with the Inktober52 prompts during November to focus on NaNoWriMo. The idea was to catch up in December, and I did. Four drawings in two days - not too bad I think. Since I am up to date with the challenge, I can relax because I really don't like falling behind on challenges.

The priority is now to get all the work done before the lab closes for the holidays. While our group art sessions continue on Thursday evenings, I will not have time for anything creative for a while. I don't mind because the thought of the break, is really motivating despite year-end exhaustion.

I have also been contemplating my blog for next year. No major changes, just a few thoughts that may or may not be used.

Thank you if you had bought a copy of my latest novel, I really appreciate it. If you haven't grabbed yourself a copy yet, there is still a few days left. The rest of the series will be in the Smashwords end-of-year sale at 50% off from 15 December if you want to grab yourself a few more books to read this holiday season.

Thank you for reading, and I will chat again soon!

💜🇿🇦 Linzé



Sunday, 13 November 2022

The CreativeLife weeks 44 and 45 in review

 Hello creative friend,

The past two weeks have seen the end of Inktober and the start of NaNoWriMo. Both challenges that I take part in for my own benefit. This year my energy levels are taxed to the limit, and some days are more difficult than others to achieve the daily word count target of 1667 words.

https://qkt.io/yVOXtZ  <- Click the link to book your FREE ticket to the art show

As usual I get started with a bang and the words flow with ease and without too much thought. I am a pantser at heart, but this novel, Jarod's Choice (working title only) has been brewing in my head for a while now. Before the start of NaNoWriMo I had already written about 12,000 words to get the story started. So it was not as if I was staring at a blank page on the first day. But then the notorious second week arrived and the struggle set in.

It was hard. Harder than every attempt at NaNoWriMo I have had before. Just writing 1700 words barely takes me two hours, but this time it took me nearly a day, everyday. I had my personal computer next to me on my desk while I was working and typed a few words here and there when taking breaks from work. It was difficult to say the least. Then Friday morning arrived and I decided that a change of scenery was called for. So I waited until load shedding was over, packed my stuff, donned a waterproof jacket because it was raining, and moved my butt to a local Wimpy.

Since I had already had breakfast, I ordered coffee, a slice of their decadent triple chocolate cake and got to work. Whether it was the coffee (I had two mugs) or the chocolate cake, or both, but the words came easily and fast. I could hardly keep up with my characters.

If these words will remain during the editing process is a concern for another day but writing more than 2000 words in an hour and a half does not often happen to me. Definitely grateful to the writer's muse who showed up when I was at the keyboard. The words have continued their flow since and I think my characters are happy with me, otherwise they would just make me struggle some more. LOL!

When the words were tough, I spent the time to work through the edits of the last chapters of Keeper of the Dragon Key. I still have to proofread the whole manuscript again, but I have set some time aside for that after I finish NaNoWriMo.

So it is back to writing now.

Thank you for reading.

Until next time!

🇿🇦💜Linzé



Sunday, 30 October 2022

The CreativeLife week 43 in review

 Hello creative friend,

If you are feeling like me on this Sunday evening, then you are both tired and grateful. Tired because of an additional daily challenge, and grateful that I managed the time and completed all the prompts on time. October is Inktober month in my life - not only the prompts themselves, but also making the time to draw every day.

I posted my drawings on Instagram, as the challenge requires, but also in a group called ArtKula.com. The group was founded by Phil Davies (the ArtTutor). He is a skilled instructor and like many others I have learned a lot from him over the years.

I was quite happy to get the invitation to join ArtKula, but getting involved in a new group is a challenge for me. I left many Facebook groups over the years because they grew so big that it became too overwhelming to try and have a decent conversation with anyone. ArtKula is different.

Pre-order available now
https://bit.ly/3zqXIle

It still has a huge number of members, over 13,000, but people have the opportunity to join smaller groups where similar minds can find common ground. Groups like watercolour, mixed media, and pen and ink. I belong to all three, but that is not what this blog post is about. I want to talk about community.

Artists that run online classes often have thousands and thousands of people doing their courses, and then their student join their Facebook groups and they love to call these groups a tribe or a community. To me that is not even remotely close to being a community. How can you form connections with 45,000 people? It is physically impossible in the real world, and I don't buy that social media can make it happen. What makes it happen is a smaller group of people who support each other. A small group of people who share things about their life and art and how the two impact the other. Because life and art are not separate things. People that find connection because they are willing to do the work.

While I spend a lot of time drawing and painting, even teaching art, I don't always share my art online, except Inktober and Inktober52. And now we get to the point of this post.

ArtKula also has a monthly challenge, where the members can explore different mediums as their own interpretation of the theme. October was Inktober month on ArtKula too. So it was with trepidation that I posted my first drawing for Inktober. I don't know if I was the first to post a drawing for Inktober, but it wasn't too long before more and more people started to post.

Artists of various skill levels. But one thing stood out above everything else: people were supportive. No negative comments that I could see. Of course, the group has moderators to keep us all in check, but I only had a positive vibe throughout the whole month.

Prompts elicited discussions, and laughs, and inspiration, and sympathetic comments like I have never seen in any other group before. It was fun chatting about the difficulties of finding time to draw, complaining about the prompts that we didn't like, and cheering the amazing drawings that many people made.

With NaNoWriMo starting on Tuesday, the finalisation of Keeper of the Dragon Key still on my to do list, and the art exhibition, I don't think I will have time to do much art. But one thing I do know: come December I will be back to take part in the ArtKula monthly challenge and to chat and learn from the amazing people I had met in October in this group.

If you are taking part in NaNoWriMo, I wish you all the best with your writing endeavours. May your target challenge you to achieve something new. If you are a veteran, may the 50,000 words be the next milestone on your writing journey.

Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

🇿🇦💜 Linzé


Sunday, 23 October 2022

The CreativeLive weeks 41 and 42 in review

Hello creative friend!

I hope your October has been a creative one so far. Mine certainly has with inktober on my daily to do list. A few of these prompts were definitely a challenge and some of them felt like they were picked by a child. Maybe they were? Hmm...

On a more adult note: I had applied to take part in a curated Christmas art market show at the end of November. Applying was a lot of work, and I decided that whether or not I got in, would make no difference. I decided to put my work out there and that to me was a victory in itself.

Dates and times of the art show in
Pretoria, South Africa.
Gallery address to come.

A few days later I got a weird WhatsApp message: I was added to a group by an unknown person. Upon further investigation it turned out to be the host of the show. Five minutes later the emails popped into my inbox: my paintings had been accepted. Good thing I was sitting down at this point because my first thought was how on earth was I going to deal with this on top of everything else?

I have a book to finish and publish. I have lots of work already on my plate and more coming in, and now an art show? A slight feeling of panic set in. I recognised this feeling because I have been there - it is the feeling of being overwhelmed. At this point I was tempted to say no, but decided to take a day and reassess my schedule against my to do list

I am only committed to take part in the show when I pay the small fee for which I still have a few more days until the deadline.

As I sit here writing this post, the feeling of helpless overwhelm has receded. The first time I felt this way I had no idea how to deal with it. In fact I was so out of my depth that I simply took a few days off and did nothing except to watch YouTube videos or series on Netflix. It hadn't helped, because the reason for the feeling had still been there.

Since that first time, I have realised that not doing anything is not a solution. For some things like mental or physical exhaustion it might be a good time to step back from work and other commitments, but this time there is no such need: I simply have too much to do and no time to do it in. Or do I?

That question made me pause to think about it. Nothing on my todo list was due tomorrow, except one thing. Neither was everything due this coming week. I have one thing to finish this week: the book. Even my work load is light this coming week. Sure the art show fee is due, but what do I have to do for that takes any more effort than authorising a payment which takes less than two minutes? It was the decision that needed the “task” to be done.

Then it hit me: take some time, and it doesn't have to be hours, and sit down to look at my calendar for the next 8 weeks. I don't usually have my tasks planned that far in advance, but what can it hurt to do it this one time?

I am still working on that planning but I know when which things are due for the show, the organiser was very clear about deadlines. Deadlines are good. Art show? Check.

The book's editing is very nearly done. And I will finish the last chapter this coming week. So that is a check, or soon will be. The next step is to work through the edits from my editor, and I have already started doing that. The cover is done, and I am very happy with the result. No, I didn't use my painting, it turned out to be too dark for what I had in mind. Maybe next time. Cover? Check.

When I made a list of all the deadlines ahead, and the tasks I have to make those deadlines happen, I knew I could make them work. If I couldn't have? My first priority would have been the book, but now I can do both and I am satisfied that there is enough time to do what I want without sacrificing any sleep, or letting my engineering clients down.

It is late in the year and tiredness do start to set in, but that is not unexpected. I still have December and about three weeks of rest to look forward to anyway. So I am not too worried about that happening because of the added work for the show.

I was reminded of the quote that says something in the order of - if you don't have a plan, you plan to fail. Since no one plans to fail, having some kind of plan in place can only help you to succeed. I have my plan, and that helped to deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed.

I hope that you plan to succeed in the coming weeks.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Until next time!

💜🇿🇦 Linzé

Sunday, 9 October 2022

The CreativeLife weeks 39 and 40 in review

 Hello creative friend,

  If you are immersed in the drawing challenges of October, you are doing a great thing for yourself. So many artists on YouTube and other sites constantly all say that they need to improve their drawing skills. And what better opportunity than Inktober?

  Of course, keeping up can be a challenge given all of our daily responsibilities, but doing whatever you can does contribute to improving your skills. Because it is about the practice, right?

  I love drawing and taking part in the weekly challenge of Inktober52 is also a good way to practice. You can see all the drawings I have done so far on Instagram.  Likes and comments notwithstanding, my favourite is the Gargoyle so far. The gold detail was a challenge to draw because I didn't have a thin nibbed metallic pen. I have since bought one, because gold details could appear on any drawing at any time. 😆

  My biggest challenge remain editing my next book. I managed to finish Chapter 16 on Friday, and am nearly done with Chapter 17. Will see how far I can get tonight. Maybe my editor will get two chapters in her inbox tomorrow morning.

  We had a heatwave badgering us the last two weeks, making it particularly difficult for me to work when we have load-shedding. I have taken to making a little siesta time after lunch, to recoup some of the energy drained away by the heat. I can't say if it really helped, but at least I felt better late afternoon. The heat is not unusual for this part of the country, but the lack of rain is not helping. Neither is the water restrictions that were imposed last week. Tough times indeed.

  I have experimented a bit with the background I want to paint for the cover of the book. I liked the result, but have now changed my mind on the style of background I want. LOL! My workload is still a huge challenge, but I will see what I can do this week, especially if I can finish editing Chapter 18 tonight. With only two Chapters left after that, I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

It is still hard to see the book ready for publication in December, but I am feeling a bit more optimistic. Pre-orders for the ebook will most likely be available from the end of October, so keep an eye out if you liked the first four books, or like adult fantasy stories.

Until next time!

🇿🇦💜 Linzé


Sunday, 25 September 2022

The CreativeLife week 38 in review

 Hi there,

What a week! As anticipated my workload was huge and there is little chance of it letting up soon. The pains and pleasures of being self-employed, so I am not complaining. The bills are not waiting and the current situation is getting worse on an almost monthly basis. Load-shedding every day between 6 and 12 hours? Yup, it is not fun at all and then our electricity provider keeps on raising the costs of a service that they are clearly not delivering.

Maybe it is time for us to go off-grid too. If only it wasn't so expensive we might have done so already. Not an easy decision to make, I can tell you.

I bought these sunflowers to use as
reference in a future painting.
Hubs took the photo for me.

Work and life challenges aside, I managed to finish three more chapters of Keeper of the Dragon Key. I will send the third to my editor tomorrow morning. The end is not yet in sight, so I need to continue working on it as much as I can to stand a chance of making the publishing deadline in December. Holding thumbs!

With Inktober coming soon, I have to start preparing for that on top of everything else. I really like the challenge so it is a good time to pull our my planner for the upcoming month. Oh, and Stoic Week is coming in October too. Fortunately, later in the month but still another thing that I want to spend time doing. Definitely time to do some serious planning.

With everything on my plate for October and November (NaNoWriMo) the art group will not have new projects to tackle. I need to finish a small painting I started during the week, and then I am free to use my time to draw. If you want to see my upcoming Inktober drawings, and all the Inktober52 drawings I have done so far, check out my Insta @LinzeBrandon. If I remember, the drawings are also shared on Twitter, but the challenge mainly runs on Instagram where you can see the awesome drawings made by some many other artists.

Since it is Sunday afternoon, and I still have a few things to do for the week ahead, I will say goodbye until next time.

Have a productive and creative week!

🇿🇦💜 Linzé


Sunday, 18 September 2022

The CreativeLife week 37 in review

 Hello there!

  Just a short post this week because work was again taking up most of my time. But I am happy to report progress on my editing of the Keeper of the Dragon Key.

  I also got all the cover graphics I want, and spoke to my husband about doing the Photoshop edits of the design I want. I have no idea how to use Photoshop and to be honest have little motivation to learn, but he is brilliant with it. As a photographer it is not even an option, so for me it is a benefit that he does.

  I can explain what I want, and then he creates the cover design I see in my mind. Perhaps I explain it well, or he is just that good. Trust me it is the latter. I have also used some of his photographs for previous covers, but this time I had to get the graphics online - from free sites of course. Infringing copyright is not something I am comfortable with at all.

  So here is the cover teaser 😋 and hopefully soon I can share what the real cover will look like.

 Since the editing is progressing a lot more smoothly than my last post, I better get back to it - while the iron is still hot, as they say.

All the best with your week ahead!

💜🇿🇦 Linzé

On my wishlist this week:

Couture Creations Alcohol Ink Blending Solution


Sunday, 11 September 2022

The CreativeLife week 36 in review

 Hi there!

Like many of you I was shocked to hear about the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. One of the art group friend's mom was kind enough to let us know. She was a person for whom I had a lot of respect for. RIP Your Majesty. 🇬🇧


It's been another crazy busy week where I did two jobs which would normally take a week each. Long hours for sure, which made the weekend that much more welcome. I finished my page for our art group's monthly challenge and the image was inspired by 
Michelle the Painter. Check out her channel if you would like to learn how to paint some interesting subjects in acrylics.

I plan to bind a few sketchbooks, but with limited time and a lot of creative projects also on the go, it has not happened yet. I was looking for something in my studio when I found a stack of small papers that I had been saving, They were the obvious inspiration to make a tiny book. It is not finished yet, but once done I will share a few pictures to show you. It is 46mm high by 32mm wide with a 5mm thick text block. The pages are blank and a bit heavier than printer paper, which makes it suitable for drawing with dry mediums.

Editing my book is making slow progress but as promised you will find an excerpt from it this week. The cover is still a concept in my brain, but it is no longer a vague thought of maybes.

Enjoy the sneak preview of the book, and I will see you again soon!

💜🇿🇦  Linzé


As promised here is the Prologue of Keeper of the Dragon Key, coming (hopefully 🙄) in December. Enjoy!


The Dragon Masters: Keeper of the Dragon Key

by Linzé Brandon


Prologue

Daérini Crea sighed in satisfaction as her body relaxed after being pleasured by her mate. She dropped her head to his chest while his hands caressed her back.

Hmm,” she purred deeply in her throat.

Adrian smiled at his mate's reaction. He still had a hard time believing how he happy he was with her in his life.

She closed her eyes and felt sleep claiming her mind under his stroking hands. He relaxed too and closed his eyes.

The couple had barely dozed off when another future being appeared.

Li! What the hell?”

Adrian sat up as well and frowned at his brother-of-joining's rude entrance into their bedroom. He glanced at his mate, scowling at their visitor. At least she held the bedsheet up to her throat. Future beings had little concern about each other's natural state, but he appreciated that she respected his feelings on the subject.

Li bowed with a solemn face and Adrian got a bad feeling. “I am really sorry for barging in like this, but we have a serious problem.”

Before either could reply, Daérini's body shivered and slumped against her mate's chest. Adrian held her gently as they waited for the vision to pass. He glanced at Li and the bad feeling got worse when he spotted the way Li wrung his hands together. They waited in silence since he could only see her visions if they were touching before it started.

A few more seconds passed before Daérini opened her eyes. “You saw it too?” she asked in a horrified whisper.

Li nodded. “We need to go and talk to Dad. This is a disaster.”

Adrian's eyes widened, but Daérini just nodded. “Give us a few minutes please?”

Li obliged and left them alone, closing the bedroom door behind him.

Conscious of their earlier activities, the couple shared a shower and Daérini brought him up to speed at the same time.

They dried off, got dressed and tied their wet hair into ponytails – warrior style. No time to lose, not even to dry their manes with magic.

Five minutes after he left them alone, they appeared again. “Let's go,” Li said and they all jumped to the fourth dimension.


Alu'Adr''Erinia,” they all said as they arrived in the fourth dimension to see the leader of the Order of the Future Beings – and Daérini and Li's father.

He bowed his head in acknowledgement. “Always good to see the children,” he replied with a smile, until he realised their sombre demeanours. “What have you seen?”

Daérini explained the vision and Alu's frown deepened.

Mother,” the younger people said and smiled at the newcomer.

Alu turned to Eri'Adr''Erinia. “This is distressing news,” he replied taking her hand.

What could have caused them to suddenly target the bridge again?” Alu asked to no one in particular.

Or who?” Adrian added, and the faces around him got more worried.

Alu and Eri shared a look. “I will go and talk to the High Lords. I don't think it's Lucian, but it’s better to make sure,” Alu said.

Daérini nodded. The rogue High Lord was causing havoc in the third dimension, but as far as they knew, he wasn’t able to dimension jump. As Alu said, it would be better to find out.

Li looked at his sister. “We need the Future Warriors to help to restore the bridge.”

Future Warriors?” Adrian asked looking down at his mate.

They are our cousins,” she replied. “Three women, powerful warrior-magicians who have to protect the man with the Dragon Key.”

The Dragon Key will choose to which future warrior to give the key. She uses this key to restore the link to the fourth dimension. They are the White Warrior for Peace, the Red Warrior for perfect Balance, and the Black Warrior for absolute Power,” Eri added quietly.

Adrian nodded. “So, what do we have to do?”

Li looked at his sister. “You need to activate their magic. I cannot help you.”

Why?”

Daérini sighed at Adrian's question. He was not going to like this at all. “I will explain later, but now I know what we have to do.”

Adrian pressed his lips together, but did not argue as they said goodbye to their future family and returned to their own home in Sera on the planet of Xa'an.


* * *

Adrian scowled as Daérini explained to him that the future warriors' magic was activated by sharing pleasure with them and that they had to do it. “Like you did for me, when we shared pleasure the first time.”

What?!” he exclaimed. “Daérini,” he sighed taking her hands, “I have no intention of pleasuring another woman. I love only you, and the thought of touching another woman is making me really uncomfortable.”

She stepped closer and put her arms around his waist. “I love you too, but there is no other way. We will help each other.”

How?”

The white warrior's magic is activated with a kiss from another woman,” she explained to his still frowning gaze. “The red and black warriors require both of us.”

She shrugged a little. “I will be with you and you with me. You are the one with the experience as I have not been with another man or woman before you.”

He wasn't happy. It was true that he was an experienced lover, but that was before Daérini and he never thought she would want him to break his joining vows to her. Looking into her aquamarine eyes with their silver rings he saw that she wasn't too thrilled about the prospect of sharing him with another woman. “Are you sure this is the only way?”

She nodded, biting her lip. “There is something else.”

He arched an eyebrow. “What?”

You cannot tell anyone what kind of magic my cousins practice. Their magic is not like anyone else's in the third dimension. It may also create problems for other future beings if it becomes known that their magic is different.”

Hmm,” he replied thoughtfully. “Do we need to speak to Grandmaster Géra about this?”

It was her turn to look thoughtful. “I don't know. There is nothing that he or anyone else from this dimension can do to help.”

Adrian's eyes widened. “And me? Us?”

Hugging him was no longer enough, and she pushed her body as tightly to his as she could. He tightened his arms in return.

I don't know,” she whispered. “But I am going to pray that my cousins will be successful, because I don't want to think of the possibility of us

His kiss interrupted her words, because he didn't want to hear the words that would destroy the reason he had found the love he held in his arms.


********************************


Sunday, 4 September 2022

The CreativeLife weeks 34 and 35 in review

Hi everyone, this week's blog is covering two weeks mostly because the first week was kind of boring with much of the same happening every day - you know: work, and more work. LOL!

I did manage to do my inktober52 drawing for the week, but other than than time for art was limited. This past week was a different story...I got myself into trouble.

As a member of Artkula.com (I suggest you check it out) I try to do the monthly challenge issued by Phil. I still need to finish two of the challenges (time, you know) but decided to use his Sketchtember challenge as preparation for Inktober coming next month. I also managed to twist the arms of my art group to pull out their pens and sketchbooks to join in the fun.

Sketchtember prompts 1 to 15

With little available time, I decided to sit down and see how many of the Sketchtember prompt I could do in about an hour and a half. That meant no pencil outline before adding ink. I Googled images for each prompt and practically drew the first one that caught my eye, directly with ink. Are they perfect? Far from it, but neither are any that bad that I feel like scratching them out. What did I learn? Draw without thinking and the end result will be good enough for a practice challenge.

Will I do the same for Inktober? The plan is to spend a bit more time on each prompt but on a day where I don't have a lot of time, I know I can get it done super quick and still get an acceptable result.

The next 15 prompts will have to wait until a bit later this month.

September is usually the month where I do my vision board for the next year, and this year is no exception. I am blessed with living the life I want, so my vision board is focused on my life goals of self-improvement and living a life of mindfulness and gratitude. Since these are not goals that can be “achieved”, continually striving towards perfection is what my vision board is about. Making a new vision board for every year reminds me to continue to strive towards being the best person I can be.

My vision board this year will be a small one, instead of the A2 size I did in the past, but that is okay. It does not have to fill up half a wall to do what I need it to.

In my next post I will share a few words from The Keeper of the Dragon Key. Another project that I have to stop procrastinating on. Will I make the publication date in December? At the moment it is touch and go, but there is nothing so motivational than a deadline, right? So I better get back to editing otherwise that deadline is going to bite me.

Stay creative, until next time!

💜🇿🇦Linzé

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....