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Beneath The Wax – Available Now

It is with great excitement that I present to you my first “solo” published novella, Beneath The Wax. A big thank you to Nicky from Chasing Dreams Publishing who believed in me and pushed me to complete this work. And many thanks to quite a number of people, some of whom may never see this post, but were integral to sustaining me while I was writing. Thank you all.

 

Buy Beneath The Wax on Amazon button

1723: Constantine Bourgeois is a man of many secrets. Artisan by day, killer by night, he turns his victims into wax figures for his shop.

2045: Richard Baines works for the renowned Anthony Garfield Historical Museum. His mundane existence is a stark counterpoint to his fascination with serial killers and science fiction.

Constantine’s nightmares drive him to undertake a journey to uncover a long-forgotten secret. Richard’s research uncovers a company secret and the mystery of Madame Bourgeois.

Two men, two timelines, and truths that will only be revealed when they look Beneath the Wax…

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Writing Update: Novella Accepted + GameNationSA

“What is the title of your novel.” Nicky asks me in an excited and almost crazed WhatsApp message. “Do you have an idea for a cover? Is there a blurb? We need cover images for the upcoming blog tour!” The message continues. For a moment my mind goes into immediate panic mode before the excitement of this rather random message begins to sink in; my novella is about to get published!

On top of this exciting new journey, there was the rather sad ending of Gamecca Magazine where I had been writing as a game journalist for more the five years. This too came in a rather random phone call from my editor Walt Pretorius, who sadly told me the digital mag was publishing its final issue that coming week. Thankfully I had met with Boris from GameNationSA through a number of gaming events. After contacting him about writing for the gaming site, he was keen for it and this past weekend I went to GeekFest and wrote an article For The Love of Geek. His reply ended with “Welcome on board.”

So what does this all mean…

Naming the Novella:

Coming up with titles is a struggle I’ve had for… well most of my writing life. The draft I sent to Nicky was simply labeled Novella Draft 1 because I had no idea what it was called. How does one get around to coming up with titles? Well some just come to you “Junk Yard Angel for example, while others need nothing more than a single word that explains the plot like “Innocence”.

Here are a few ways to come up with your title:

  1. It’s in the Story: There could be a line in your story that encapsulates the basic premise of your story. It might be dialogue or the hero/villain saying some awesome speech about what their goal or purpose is. It could also be your main character’s profession – your story might just have a title in there. E.g. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, The Black Swan, The Books of Blood.
  2. It’s in the Plot: Perhaps the overall plot of your story has a main premise or character or time period. You can use these in the title of your book to make it obvious what it’s about. E.g. The Mist, Animal Farm, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  3. Symbolism for your Story: Nothing speaks to us more than metaphors and symbols. Look at how spiritual leaders and the like always use them to teach us some inherent lesson. Your book title could have the same concept, telling a bit about the book or the plot or the character using symbolism. E.g. A Song of Ice and Fire, Altered Carbon, Chicken Soup for the Soul.
  4. Simple Story Synopsis: I’ve seen a lot of the older horror novels use this premise often, usually prefaced by the word “The” and followed by the most basic, single-word, that says exactly what the story is about. E.g. The Dark Tower, The Haunted, The Legacy. Otherwise its just a simple premise as the title: Population Zero, Dark Harvest, American Gods.

While there are other ways to come up with a title, just make sure at the end of the day, the title is:

  • Memorable
  • Tells you about the book
  • Grabs the readers attention

Novella Cover Art

The name of your story can play a large role in the look and feel of your book cover. However there are many other factors to guide the design, as well as various sources for inspiration if the name is not enough. I personally had nothing in my mind and I did not want some clichéd “Goosebumps” cover either.

Here are ways I was inspired for my cover art:

  1. Main Character or World: My novella revolves around two main characters in two different time periods. For my cover, I decided to feature both characters in their respective eras to both display their personalities and to show the alternating timelines. You can do the same, showing your character, a character in their “natural habitat”, or a vision of where the story takes place.

Brian Smith The Killing Kind book cover C.L. Polk Witchmark book cover H.G. Wells The Time Machine book cover

  1. Title as a Picture: I had initially thought of using the name of the book for the cover, but also had a fear it would be too cliched and felt overdone. At the same time, there were also ideas that worked really well using the novellas name. You too can use the title of your book to inspire the cover.

Matt Wallace Greedy Pigs book cover Stieg Larsson The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book cover Brandon Sanderson The Final Empire book cover

  1. Mystery Between Title and Cover: This is, to me, one of the better and most effective cover designs used in the published space. Many books I own have this clever symbolism of title and cover and only once you’ve read through the book does the cover really both come alive and make greater sense. This cover usually grabs the readers attention and makes them question what the story is about.

Sean McGuire Every Heart A Doorway book cover  

  1. It’s Really Cool Okay!: Sometimes you can just have a really cool cover…

Ted Dekker Three book cover Ransom Riggs Tales of the Peculiar book cover Ray Bradbury The Illustrated Man book cover

  1. It’s a series: Occasionally series will have amazing covers that carry through with each book.

Scotland Yard's Murder Squad book coversWriting the Blurb

Writing blurbs is never easy. Once the title and cover of your book has drawn the attention of a potential reader, the blurb is either going to put them off or reel them in, and of course you want to reel them in.

So how does one go about writing a blurb?

  1. A Simpler Version of Your Story: Take the central aspects of your story that make it standout, and write a compelling, compressed version.
  2. Best First and Last Line: The opening line of your blurb should immediately pull readers in with a promise of good things. The last line should have the same effect, perhaps even ending on a cliffhanger for that final reel in.
  3. Set the Mood: Another way to write your blurb is to set the tone and mood of your story, so readers know immediately what they can expect both in terms of genre, but also story.
  4. See What Other Authors Did: Sometimes you just need to look at what you like in other books, or blurbs that you feel work and see what formula its built on. Then you can write it in your own style

Blurb for Stephen King’s new book “The Outsider

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.


No promises but as I continue along this whole “my novella is getting published” new phase of my writing, I will attempt to keep you all updated on the progress. Thank you for taking the time to read. What’s happening in your writing/reading world?

Author Spotlight

AuthorSpotlight

In the time that I’ve been writing book reviews, I have read amazing work (and some not so great) and all of them from great authors who are actually really nice people. Some I know personally and others are from across oceans, but one thing they all share in common, is having their works published. It’s an accomplishment worth noting and I would implore you to consider buying their books. I have even included book reviews as a way to convince you they are worth checking out:

 Angela Meadon

David Meredith

J.T. Lawrence

Michael Smorenburg

Sukanya Venkatraghavan

Warren Hately

Xane J. Fisher

And upcoming authors to the spotlight will include:

Ian Patrick

Jennifer Withers

Kerriann Curtis

Marry Ann D’Alto

Vanessa Hawkins


Read Them First

Let’s also not forget the amazing book blog that Vicky, Jen and I run over at Read Them First. Our blog focuses on:

  • New book releases
  • Book release dates
  • Book cover reveals
  • Author Interviews
  • Book recommendations

We love books, we know you do too, so drop by and be excited with us as we anticipate books from our favourite authors and genres, and those occasional moments when a new author tickles our fancy! Remember:

Quote-Book-is-a-gift

Announcement!

franz-kafka-quotes-sayings-non-writing-writer-insanity

Hey all!

It’s August already (wow how time flies) and I’ve participated and won two Camp NaNos, which has put my word count for the year so far at around 65,000 words, and this excludes side projects and any writing I did between May and June. And in a couple more months it will be NaNoWrimo to add another 50,000 words. That’s a lot of writing. That’s a lot of words but… it’s not enough. I mean, look at the word counts for all those popular books that make us cool in the right circles:

Harry Potter: 1,084625

Lord of the Rings: 825,045

And check out this infographic: Famous Literature Words by Numbers

You might be thinking,”but Nthato, you don’t need 1 Million words to be a successful author” and I will tell you, you’re absolutely right. And then you might ask, “So why get bogged down by those massive word counts” and I will stare blankly at you and walk away because I don’t have an answer. Rude hey? I know, I’m a horrible person.

No, actually I get bogged down because I realized I can write a lot of (unedited, grammatically disturbing) words in a day. But where are they all going? To the Drafts folder. Hence this announcement today!

Short Story Anthologies

That’s right folks, you heard it here first! I’ll be looking to publish two separate collections of my short stories, never seen before in the public eye. The first will be a Patreon anthology with short stories requested by patrons. The second will be my own personal collection of written works including poetry and, of course, short stories.

faulkner

 

Patreon

If you would like to be part of the Patreon anthology, please do visit my page on Patreon. I post both public and Patreon only short stories for you to enjoy. The last free piece I wrote was LRE TV presents…

Last Robot on Earth TV presents…

I’ve also updated the rewards you can get as a patron. If you can support, please do.

  • $1.00+ Per story

    Star:
    • A Patreon-only 1000 – 3000 word short story of your making. You tell me what you want and I will write it for you. You will receive a PDF copy of the short story in your email, with a special mention in the acknowledgments.
    • Insight into the making of the story, including sources, first drafts, revisions etc.

    $5.00+ Per story

    Superstar:
    • A Patreon-only +-3000 word short story of your making. You tell me what you want and I will write it for you. You will receive a PDF copy of the short story in your email, with a special mention in the acknowledgments.
    • Insight into the making of the story, including sources, first drafts, revisions etc.
    • All visual artwork and sources used for the making of the short story. Character insights, location guides, full backstory to the short story. Exclusive sketches of cover art for the anthology.
  • $10.00+ Per story

    Legend:
    • Your opportunity to vote for stories appearing in the anthology.
    • A free .PDF, .mobi, or .epub copy of the Anthology.
    • A mention in the acknowledgements.
    • Special access to the “Behind The Scenes” of the anthology.
    • All previous rewards.

     

Other things

Book Reviews

Nothing else has changed regarding all the other things I’m working on. Wednesday Book Reviews will still be going. Sometimes you gotta read when you’re not writing. If you’re an author with an upcoming book or a book already published, feel free to contact me for a review. You can use the form at the top.

Digital Art

I’m still working on my digital art for my July Camp NaNo work, which is a Fantasy story about… magic. Inspired by a series of things including Final Fantasy mage classes, JRPG awesomeness and storyline depths that would make anime watchers proud. Except, it’s African based. And I’m loving it.


What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Jozi Flash – Now Available and Free!

Jozi Flash Cover 2

Yes! The day has arrived (I know I am two days late but… long weekend things) and Jozi Flash is now available for download!

This free eBook is an anthology of short stories written by five talented South African writers, who met up at the 2015 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) write-ins and together with Nicolette Stephens, owner of Chasing Dreams Publishing (and a Wrimo herself), produced this collection of flash fiction shorts.

You can download your FREE copy right here:

ePUB – Jozi Flash

mobi – Jozi Flash

PDF – Jozi Flash


 

Please feel free to download, distribute, share and tell the world about Jozi Flash. I know myself and the fellow Jozi Wrimos would greatly appreciate it!

Quiet Season

Surprisingly I find myself staring at the blank page of a word processor on whatever machine I’m using at that particular moment – Hashtag FirstWorldProblems, I know – and I can’t help feeling as though whatever I am about to write is inadequate. It’s a feeling I’ve carried with me for years, something I attempt to get over by writing anyway. I even feel it when I’m writing my previews and reviews for Gameccamag, that the piece of writing I have put forth will be scrapped and replaced with better writing from my Gamecca colleagues – who in my opinion are fantastic writers.

Occasionally I sift through old writing and cringe at the jumble of now nonsensical words and paragraphs filling the screen. Riddled with emotion I no longer feel, obscure ideas not yet fully formed and paragraphs ending in mid-air – as though I just rode an incredibly long escalator ending at a solid wall.

If you, for some obscure reason, visit my blog to see what I have been up to, you will have noticed that my posts have been non-existent these last five months. In fact the last post I put up was hardly even a post but instead a reminder to both myself and to you my *insert superfluous adjectives* readers, that I was not dead. That I was writing in Offline Mode.

Offline Mode writing involved a couple of reviews (Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario VS Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars and Codename: S.T.E.A.M) as well as a couple of previews. You can find them all here: GameccaMag

There was also some short story submissions I sent through for a new book compiled by the famous and still rising Vincent V. Cava. One of my short stories was published before hand in our previous anthology which you can find here: Dark Tales

 

Vincent Vena Cava presents Dead Connections

Vincent Vena Cava presents Dead Connections

 

In terms of my own writing, I have been slacking severely but have no fear, I’m back. With a vengeance. My quiet season is now behind me, it’s time to write.

Dead Connection – New Anthology Underway

I’m not dead. Just writing.

Vincent Vena Cava presents Dead Connections

Vincent V, Cava presents – Dead Connections

Dark Tales: eBook now Available on Amazon!

cover

A while ago ( a few months ago in fact), I received a message from a fellow blogger, S.R. Tooms, regarding an anthology that a fellow writer Vincent V Cava was going to work on. This was on the heels of another book that the two writers had worked on and published as an eBook – Decomposing Head: Frighteningly Funny Tales That Will Rot Your Brain.

Knowing S.R. Tooms to be of a worthy reputation ( and buying and then reading the Decomposing Head book above helped too), I followed up on the information and began communicating with Vince. Vince let me know that this would be for a charity and therefore none of the sales would be for the authors or for him – in other words, not for Profit. Not wanting to miss the opportunity I agreed anyway, glad to have an opportunity to get my stories published…and besides, it was for a worthy cause!

Scares That Care, is the charity that we have been writing for, a charity that is providing toys, money and other various items to help children. It has been great knowing that for every person who reads my short story, which has been included in this anthology, is a contributor to this charity and is one of the many helping these children improve their lives; worthy cause indeed! You can find out more about the charity here: Scares That Care.org

The book is available as we speak, has been since the 20th of July (My Birthday! Yay!) and can be purchased on Amazon here –> Dark Tales Anthology

It would be great if you checked the book out, bought it, read it, spread the word you know but hey if you can’t it’s all good, sharing the link or even reblogging this post to reach others would be awesome too. I really appreciate it! Thanks!

PS – An audio book is on the way too!

Welcome Back, Happy Annivesary, and a Published Short

Out-of-Office

This month I had the pleasure of traveling thousands of Kilometers (or Miles) away, to a distant continent so famous for… well everything really; America. And man what a trip it was!

America:

Well first let me say that the trip itself was spontaneous and unplanned. A friend of mine from church (Yes you Jay) mentioned that he was heading to visit family in the States. As a joke ( with a hint of truth as usual) I told him “If accommodation and food can be provided, I’ll pay for my ticket to come!” To be honest, I did not expect him to do anything about it and I’d forgotten about it until three days later when his mother called me to ask if I was serious and willing and as one not to miss opportunities when they arise declared that I was willing and able! And thus the tale began. I guess I could describe the whole trip and experience for you but I think a dedicated post would suffice. There is still much more to write about.

Writing:

If you follow this blog closely, you would have noticed that I haven’t posted anything in more than a month (Like a month and two weeks I think) which is terrible in all honesty. I had not forgotten about this blog at all and in fact have been writing stories, updating other stories and doing much more while I was overseas and now that I have returned, its time to get a’typin’.

welcome-back1

Anniversary:

Hey its my THREE YEAR Anniversary! Yay! Wow I can’t believe its been that long since I started and now here I am and what has happened over the last three years? Well not loads but enough stuff to get me all excited and stuff. Firstly I’ve written more in the last three years than I have before then which is awesome! Secondly I’ve had the pleasure (and stress) of writing for My Xbox Live, online blog dedicated to Xbox and Xbox Games and with that I had the awesome joy and priviledge for writing for Gamecca and Gladget which have now become one mega-magazine in Gamecca and on my birthday, 20th of July, an anthology with my short story in it, was made available on Amazon!

Published Short:

So on the 20th of July, an anthology I was part of, published and released on Amazon, a book with my Short Story in it! Exciting! One of many great birthday presents I received on that day. This is the first time that my short story was both accepted and then published and I am, as you can imagine, extremely excited to add that accomplishment to my list of repertoires.

The name of the book is Dark Tales, and features thirteen different authors, each tackling the horror genre hoping to bring a new chill to the genre. All of the sales from the book will be donated to Scares That Care, a non profit charity that provides financial assistance to the families of sick children. None of us authors will receive any money in any form as all of this was done specifically for the Scares That Care charity. Thanks to S.R Tooms for giving the heads up on this book and Vincent V Cava for organizing, and working so hard to bring the book to life. Only eBook versions of the book are available. I hope you check it out. I must warn you  though, it is of the Horror Genre.

You can purchase the book here –> Dark Tales

Officially part of the Team

So I am officially writing for Gamecca, which is an amazing online gaming magazine. It was first published in July 2009 and has been going strong since. The editor, Walt Pretorious has been in the magazine industry for a long time and has been referred to as an “industry veteran”, and he was the man to offer me this grand opportunity. Thanks Walt! I feel very privileged to have become part of the team but this couldn’t have happened had it not been for one other integral player in this saga.

Somehow I found myself on the JHBGamers website a while ago as they were affiliated…somehow…to a company that was promoting the launch event of Prototype 2. I found myself at the event and enjoyed an evening of free food, drinks and gaming! I then made a point to add JHBGamers to my Facebook likes (as well as a bookmark on my web browser) and checked regularly for similar events. It took a long time but eventually the Resident Evil Launch Event was promoted with a chance to win a double ticket to the event by way of commenting how big of a Resident Evil fan I was. I of course entered immediately with the following post:

” The stench of flesh hung in the air, unmistakable, even under the cloud of dark smoke from the burning vehicle I’d just crawled out of. The last thing I wanted was to lose my only mode of transportation, let alone have an infested wound crawling up my leg like a dying spider… and yet there was a calm that reverberated through me, putting me in a state of tranquility. I wasn’t sure if it was the virus numbing my senses and hiding my pain and panic behind the delectable smell of flesh or I was in a state of severe shock… or hunger; either way, I knew I had to make it to the Launch Event. Not for the possibility of fresh meat..of course not…no…not at all…but for the thrill of putting my *dying* hands on a controller and sate the desire that the RE6 demo left on my *remaining* brain. Years of playing the game, from that first Resident Evil I laid my hands on – Nemesis – to the excitement of seeing that visual realization brought by the famous Mila Jovovich…ah joy. I must go…must go…must…”

Well that got me a ticket and next thing I know I’m driving to the Microsoft office building with much excitement and anticipation, wondering what was in store for me. Unfortunately I was unable to procure a “Plus one” to this event but that proved vital in my meeting of two brothers; Andrew and Kyle. They introduced themselves to me and became familiar faces in unfamiliar territory. It was these two brothers that also led to my meeting with Walt and the proposal to write for him was made. To be honest I did not think I had what it took to be a Game Reviewer and even with his prompting, I did not send an e-mail to find out more about this offer. It was, however, after I won another double ticket to the rAge Expo courtesy of JHBGamers (these guys are amazing!) that I again met Walt and he again suggested I send him a mail and that was when I thought “Why not” and sent it through. Now here I am, with an amazing opportunity at my hands and I intend to use it!

This post would be incomplete without giving credit where credit is due and of course all of this would not have been possible had it not been for the most integral part to any event that occurs in anybody’s life, and that is God. Indeed it is by His grace that all happened as it did and therefore I give all credit and glory to Him. The Sovereign One! Praise be to You, LORD, for Your provision.

Lorraine Ambers

Writer & Queen of Daydreams

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