Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 - Thank God it's over...


50 239
...that's the amount of words I wrote in November
- and I'm very proud of that number. 

After finishing one work in progress, I dove right into the next one. 
I've never written so many words in a month and even had days when I wrote three thousand in a row - a first for me. The words flowed without any language barrier. I broke through it with NaNo's help.
Now I just need to keep the rhythm I found and concentrate on my story. Editing comes later.
All in all NaNoWriMo 2015 was a great success for me.

Congratulations also to my fellow writers Patricia Baxter, Mario Saincic and Scott Jordan for surviving the last month and attaining the goals they set for themselves! You've done something to be proud of. You all sat down and took on the challenge that is NaNo. No matter how many words you wrote, we all won and learned something from November.
I'm looking forward to see you all next year. ;)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Recipe...


It's already been a year since I moved to South Africa, and I think it's way past time to share a typical SA recipe with you. The first sweet treat I ate after landing here was a Milk Tart. It is a no-bake tart with a very delicious creamy filling. 
It was divine!
Of course, I had to try making one myself. You will find lots of variations, but this tart doesn't need any fancies to be delicious. I stuck to a simple and easy recipe and was very proud of the end result. Even the locals couldn't get enough of it. 
Without further ado...the recipe:


Milk Tart

Ingredients

Crust:
  • 1/2 a packet of Tennis Biscuits (THE South African biscuit with a fresh hint of coconut) which can be substituted with digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 125 g Butter, melted

Filling:
  • 500 ml (2 cups) Milk
  • Cinnamon
  • 80 ml Brown sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 45 ml (3 T) Cornflour 
  • 45 ml (3 T) Flour
  • 5 ml (1 t) Vanilla Essence
  • 30 ml (2 T) Butter
  • more Cinnamon for sprinkling

Method 


For the crust, combine the crushed Tennis Biscuits and melted butter before pressing the mixture into a pie dish. If you like a thicker crust, then use a full packet of biscuits. Set it in the fridge to cool while preparing the filling.


Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the milk and heat it to just under boiling point. If you see steam, take the pot off the heat. 
In the meantime lighlty beat the eggs with the sugar, and then add the cornflour and flour.
Pour your egg mixture into the pot with the milk and return to the heat all the while stirring until it thickens.
Stir nicely and thoroughly to keep the mixture from catching on the bottom of the pot and to prevent lumps. Even if there are a few, don't panic. 
Once off the heat, add the vanilla essence and butter. Whisk thoroughly until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust and sprinkle cinnamon decoratively on top before returning it to the fridge. Allow to set for about an hour.

Enjoy!



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Gideon Smith & The Mechanical Girl" by David Barnett

Genre: Steampunk
Date of Publication: September 11, 2013
Length: 351 pages


Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire. Airships ply the skies and Queen Victoria presides over three-quarters of the known world--including the East Coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.

London might as well be a world away from Sandsend, a tiny village on the Yorkshire coast. Gideon Smith dreams of the adventure promised him by the lurid tales of Captain Lucian Trigger, the Hero of the Empire, told in Gideon's favorite "penny dreadful." When Gideon's father is lost at sea in highly mysterious circumstances Gideon is convinced that supernatural forces are at work. Deciding only Captain Lucian Trigger himself can aid him, Gideon sets off for London. On the way he rescues the mysterious mechanical girl Maria from a tumbledown house of shadows and iniquities. Together they make for London, where Gideon finally meets Captain Trigger.

But Trigger is little more than an aging fraud, providing cover for the covert activities of his lover, Dr. John Reed, a privateer and sometime agent of the British Crown. Looking for heroes but finding only frauds and crooks, it falls to Gideon to step up to the plate and attempt to save the day...but can a humble fisherman really become the true Hero of the Empire?



My Review:

I was given this book as a gift and I'm so glad.

After the first chapters I could barely retain myself from clapping my hands in joy, bouncing up and down. This steampunk has more than I had hoped for...
Victorian world - cool
Airships - awesome

...but it gets even better:

A mechanical girl.
Famous characters and legends I would never have expected to find in one single book.
And to top it all off: Pirates of the sky.

I was a goner.

The writing style is fluent and had me completely hooked. I couldn't put the book down; it was so entertaining and engaging. Threads were spun and I had fun discovering how they were all connected. As for the characters, they took me by surprise as well. Gideon Smith is a naive but charming gentlman despite being the son of a fisherman, and a quite heroic one at that, even though he doesn't realize it. Icing on the cake: The people he meets along his adventurous journey turn out to be as extraordinary as he is and had me smiling at the pages in front of me.

I don't want to give too much away, so I will just say this: Read it, folks!



Find or Follow David Barnett here


Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions 2015...


The old and the young ones, and even dogs (meet the K9 Anti-poaching Unit!) are raising their voices!

Glad to have participated, especially when you think about these numbers:
Every 15 minutes an elephant is killed...
Every 8 hours a rhino is poached...
The number of lions has dropped drastically to 22 000 and 8 000 of them are held captive for canned hunting.

Looking back it is incredible that a book opened my eyes to the threat towards the African wildlife and especially to rhino poaching. Reading My African Dream by Mario Saincic was an amazing journey that shocked me to the bone.


‪#‎raiseawareness‬
‪#‎wildlife‬ ‪#‎conservation‬
‪#‎saveouranimals‬
‪#‎YouthAgainstExtinction‬
‪#‎GMFER‬


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Books, books, books...


My Kindle is filled with over 600 ebooks, most of which I still need to read. Although this compact, little library is very practical for someone who likes to take a book with wherever she goes, I have to admit that I still love paperbacks. Recently I've been missing their heavenly feel, touch and scent very much. Plus, add the sign Spring Sale and I'm a goner.



So, here are my latest purchases:

Gideon Smith & the Mechanical Girl
by David Barnett
(Steampunk)
The Raven Boys
by Maggie Stiefvater
(YA Fantasy)
Dearest Rose
by Rowan Coleman
(Contemporary/Women's Fiction)

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
(Suspense/Thriller)

Gideon the Cutpurse
by Linda Buckley-Archer
(YA Time Travel)

The Wolves of Midwinter
by Anne Rice
(Fantasy/Paranormal)



Friday, September 11, 2015

"Lady of Devices" by Shelley Adina

I'm so glad I got my hands on this one!

At the time of posting it is available for free in the Amazon Kindle Store, so go and get a copy.


Genre: Steampunk
Date of Publication: May 30, 2011
Length: 258 pages

London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world.

At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices.

When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his...if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals...


My Review:

Breath of fresh air...

This book is a long awaited breath of fresh air!
Instead of focussing on the romance aspect, like many other steampunk novels tend to do more and more often, this one was all about story and characters.
It had me turning page after page, curious to find out how the heroine would get through all the obstacles suddenly thrown her way. Claire is a vibrant young woman more interested in science and technology than lessons on manners and propriety. After her life is turned upside down and she ends up on the streets, she uses her mind and courage to make the best out of every disastrous situation.
A Victorian universe filled with a bunch of very interesting and entertaining characters (including a hen), funny gadgets and a good dose of adventure.

I can't wait to download book 2!


About the Author

RITA Award-winning author and Christy finalist Shelley Adina wrote her first novel when she was 13. It was rejected by the literary publisher to whom she sent it, but he did say she knew how to tell a story. That was enough to keep her going through the rest of her adolescence, a career, a move to another country, a B.A. in Literature, an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction, and countless manuscript pages. Shelley is a world traveler who loves to imagine what might have been. Between books, she loves playing the piano and Celtic harp, making period costumes, and spoiling her flock of rescued chickens.


Find or follow Shelley here

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Part 2 of Mario Saincic's Interview with Damien Mander - The Cause

Part 2 of Mario Saincic's great interview with Damien Mander.
Check it out and find out how the IAPF helps stop rhino poaching.

If you want to help raise awareness for wildlife conservation, then keep posting and tweeting today:
"I #vote @IAPF to #UpgradeYourWorld!"
Mario Saincic's Interview with Damien Mander - The Cause
Following my previous post where we got to know a bit more about Damien Mander, the man who turned a calling into a selfless organisation, we continue by getting insight into the threat that rhino poaching has on the extinction of this species.
Read more...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mario Saincic's Interview with Damien Mander - The Man Behind A Cause

Mario Saincic keeps his promise and writes for a cause‬. He wants to help raise awareness, support organizations and keep rhinos from being poached.
Check out his inspiring ‪‎interview‬ with Damien Mander, founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF).
If you want to help this man and his mission, then tweet and post until August 23rd:
"I ‪#‎vote‬ @IAPF to keep ‪#‎rhinos‬ safe and to ‪#‎UpgradeYourWorld‬!"


Mario Saincic's Interview with Damien Mander - The Man Behind A Cause
Being fortunate enough to hear Dr Jane Goodall speak at Chimp Eden, South Africa, earlier in the year, I also met a man that demands attention. Not only is he tall and riddled with tattoos, but his mission and unselfish commitment to bringing an end to illegal wildlife trade is nothing short of inspirational.
Months later, Damien Mander gave of his time to conduct a Skype interview with me, and I would like to share it with all of you...
Read more...


Friday, August 21, 2015

Kindle Countdown Deal for "Ivory Guard"


My new adult, paranormal romance Ivory Guard (The Guard Duet, #1) is available as a Kindle Countdown Deal until the 26th of August. 
At the moment it is 99cents, but that won't last much longer. ;)




Friday, July 17, 2015

Interesting IndieReCon Advice

Don’t Make These Mistakes that First-Time Self-Published Authors Make: Miral Sattar
At Bibliocrunch, I get a lot of authors coming to me for self-publishing advice. Over the last four years we’ve been in business, these are some of the most common mistakes I’ve seen.

 1) Having Vague Goals

The first thing you need to do as an author is define your goals. Are you looking to get more readers? Or looking to sell books? It’s easy to get more readers if you’re a first-time author, but it’s harder to sell books.

 2) Not Getting Your Work Professionally Edited

Once you’ve written your book, an editor is important. If your book needs a lot of work a developmental editor will evaluate and critique your manuscript, suggest and provide revisions and shape it into a smooth, workable piece. Next you might want to get a copy editor to catch any typos. It’s also helpful to make sure that your editor has edited works in your specific genre. You wouldn’t hire a non-fiction editor to edit your fantasy novel. Not getting your work professionally edited is like not testing a drug before it goes out into market.

 3) Not Hiring A Professional Cover Designer

People judge a book by a cover. They will judge how it looks on a black and white Kindle and how it looks on a tiny iPhone screen. It’s important that your cover design catch the reader at first sight. A mistake that a lot of authors make is they design the cover themselves. If you’re not a designer you should hire a designer. Before you hire a designer check out the designer’s portfolio to make sure your vision and your designer’s vision are the same and that they’ve worked on covers that are similar to your genre. Also, make sure that you have rights to use the images in the cover, and whether you own the cover designer or whether the designer does.
Read more

Monday, June 1, 2015

Giveaway with Pure Jonel

Thank you to Pure Jonel...
...for a wonderful review
...for organizing this great giveaway
...for helping me spread the word about the re-release of Ivory Guard (The Guard Duet, #1)
...for doing an interview with me - my first one 
(to discover it hop over to Jonel's blog on June 6)


You rock!!!






GIVEAWAY and INTERVIEW with Pure Jonel

Enter for a chance to win a copy of the new and fully edited Ivory Guard
May 30 - June 13


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Giveaway with Tome Tender

Thank you to Beth and Dianne, the wonderful women from Tome Tender
...for your fantastic review of "Ivory Guard"
...and for EVERYTHING you two have done (and still do) to promote my books.
You're awesome.


Enter Tome Tender's GIVEAWAY for a chance to win 1 of 5 ebook copies of Ivory Guard (The Guard Duet #1)
May 16 - June 5

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful women out there!
Be it moms, grannies, aunties or friends.

My heart is especially with my two best friends from high school...who will soon - like, any day now - be mothers. May you both enjoy and cherish the new light in your life.



Monday, April 27, 2015

Birthday Giveaway - And the winners are...


Kim
Ernest A.
Kate
Denisa
and Miranda


Congratulations to the winners and a BIG thank you for participating and spreading the word. I had lots of fun and throughly enjoyed the interaction with new-found friends and followers it brought.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Birthday Giveaway


Birthday Giveaway

Thanks to Honest and Brutal Edits a fully edited and revised edition of Ivory Guard is now available on Amazon. 

To celebrate Step One of my big editing project and birthday, I am giving away 5 ebook copies of Ivory Guard (The Guard Duet #1)It feels like a totally new book to me, and I want to share that with you. 

As an aspiring indie author it's not always easy. We know that our works need editing, but as often in life it comes down to money.
And at the time I didn't have enough of it to afford an editor. 

Hmmm...to publish or not to publish?

I decided to publish, hoping that the proceeds would be enough to allow for a good editor. Unfortunately, there are a lot of editors out there and it was bad luck that I happened to stumble upon the wrong one at first. But then I found Honest and Brutal Edits. H and B actually listened to me when I told them that English was not my native tongue, and that I needed them to have a closer look - especially at syntax and grammar. 
So, if you need an affordable, honest and brutal editor...well, then I have an idea who you should go to - just saying.

But back to the matter at hand...the giveaway.


Ivory Guard  (The Guard Duet #1)
New Adult Paranormal Romance
Originally published February 2014


Life will make you stumble... 

One peaceful afternoon Lillian finds two angels in her living room - wings and gloriole and all - telling her she is an Ivory. Half human and half angel, she is born to fight for humankind and guard the hellholes where the membrane between worlds is at its weakest. 
She, an important warrior? Yeah, riiiight. 

Life can make you fall... 

Raz might be an angel, but he doesn’t do compassion. His job is to train and make her a leader. So Lillian will just have to suck it up when she discovers the deadly truth behind his words. When she does exactly that, he has to admit there’s more to the bookworm than he thought. Much more. But there’s one thing he shouldn’t forget – in his world feelings come with a price. Is he willing to pay? 

Love will give you wings. 




The giveaway...right...
Here we go.
Thank you and good luck to all participants!



OPEN INTERNATIONALLY



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Announcement: Giveaway Coming Up

Step 1 in the overhaul of my books is complete!!!

Honest and Brutal Edits did a wonderful job with Ivory Guard (The Guard Duet #1)...so much so that it feels like a new book to me. 
To celebrate the upcoming release of the new and fully edited version - and my birthday as well - I'm giving away 5 ecopies. 

Feel welcome to stop by and enter for a chance to win!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Happy Easter!


Happy Easter, everyone!!!

I hope you can spend it with your loved ones...
or be with them in your minds and hearts.

Enjoy the long weekend...
I will take some time to relax with a promising new book in my hand:

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire