February had some days, a week or two, that were quite wonderful as far as my writing life is concerned. Although I was (am) still not writing, I was IN the writing world, attending book launches and chatting with the most awesome and beautiful bookstore owner, the brilliant mind behind SKOOBS, Theatre of Books in Montecasino, the terrific Deborah Du Plooy, who happens to be an events organizer/manager extraordinaire. Skoobs does not only host book launches. There are other arts-related activities that take place in that wonderful space in the Montecasino complex in Fourways.
Deborah and I talked about the planned South African edition of our Cinderella retelling anthology, Cinderella Reimagined, but only a little because there were other topics to discuss.
I am so excited!
Around mid-February, I attended the Indie Authors Networking. It was a fantastic day of learning and networking. All these great events and exciting activities take place at Skoobs. I’m so lucky to live only 5km (or less) away.
So, all I wanted to do one Saturday, when I returned home from a book launch at Skoobs, was to write. Unfortunately, I had work to do since our house is currently undergoing an interior facelift. Other chores demanded my attention, then the new work week started, and here I am trying to squeeze in a blog post between supper and sleep time. I take a deep breath… often. I know, days later, I will be able to hit the publish button. Eventually.
Indie Authors Networking (IAN)
I missed the last Indie Authors Networking talk I said I would attend so I decided it was imperative that I made it to the February one. I felt I needed to take writing a little more seriously.
I met Jann, a passionate children’s books author. I hope to be part of their literacy initiatives and drives. To make sure I just don’t think it, we have had a follow up chat yesterday, over coffee and delicious french pastries.
I also met Dave, whose surname is the same as my legal surname: Van der Merwe, author of the thriller/mystery, Shudder in the Wall, launching in less than two weeks at Skoobs. If you’re in Gauteng, do come by on the 13th of March. Book launches at Skoobs are awesome. Dave is also a finance person, like me… just more qualified than me. 😃
More importantly, I listened to Tamsyn Bester talk about editing. I think I found my editor. The evening was a win for me.
Book Launch – The Coloured Kitchen
One Thursday was the launch of an aesthetically pleasing to the eye cookbook, The Coloured Kitchen. It is written by someone I [kind of] know personally, from a former employer, Debbie Bailey. Not only did she do all the cooking and writing, she also did the food photography. She is surely one multi-talented individual. I only knew her as a brilliant marketer, which she proved once more since Skoobs was packed. It was the first book launch I attended that was rather huge.
It was a pity I had prior commitment with a friend who wad celebrating her birthday and I had to leave before Debbie could sign my copy. I even got a copy for my friend as a present.
Chat with Deborah Du Plooy
Have you ever chatted with someone for the first time for more than three hours? It’s easy to do that with good/old friends. Granted, I can carry a conversation for hours just by being me (*chuckle*) but I would probably bore the hell out of the other person. I don’t think either Deborah or I were bored. We spoke about writing, writers, published authors, book launches, charity, women, and my own babies, like Cinderella Reimagined, my NaNoWriMo novel, memoir in my head and other works in progress.
Cinderella Reimagined still excites me. We will launch the South African edition of the anthology, but edited by a professional and possibly with additional stories. The cover will both come from a pdf file so it will look its best. It is safe to say that this edition will be ten times better than the CreateSpace version. I am also thinking of trying out KDP as I gathered from fellow authors that the quality is better, especially when it comes to the cover. There’s plenty to give me excitement.
Our conversation about my [more] personal stories got me thinking of my way forward with my NaNoWriMo novel. I just wish I had the time, energy and brainpower to attend to it. It just isn’t the right time as my brain still battles to work after my new 09:00 to 18:00 full time job. I am hopeful though that my body and mind will soon be used to the longer hours and mentally draining work my brain does. I am still convinced that I will fulfill my purpose, or at least realize my dream.
I would like to write and publish many bestsellers but this dream isn’t as important or as big as my wish to write my own “To Kill A Mockingbird”. I am bracing myself.
Book Launch – Waya The Warrior Wolf
At 2:30pm on Saturday, I got a surprise message from fellow author, Cinderella Reimagined contributor, Ronel, the mythmaker, a.k.a. MiladyRonel. She was at Skoobs, attending a book launch. I grabbed my handbag and I was out of the house, on my way to Montecasino. I was late for the launch itself but I got a lot from it. I’m glad to have rushed to meet Ronel. Not only did I get to have that refreshing cucumber-infused gin and a shot of tequila (I don’t even drink gin and I do my best to avoid tequila), but I met some brilliant young writers and chatted with a few lovely souls.
The book itself is great, I believe. I had to buy three copies, not only because of the handsome author (*giggles*) (I’m allowed to say that because I am attached (*more giggles*), but because I think that children must be exposed to values early in their lives through stories to reinforce the good work being done by parents. I got one for my little princess, who later posed at Skoobs as she didn’t join me at the book launch, for my friends’ two children (to share) and two nephews (to share). Me thinks I should organize a book club for the five of them to discuss Waya.
I hope to take my five-year old away from YouTube so she can listen to the story.
I started writing at fourteen, maybe thirteen. I thought I was young. Then, I met Larna, an eleven-year old writer. Real life inspires her, which is the basis of her fiction. She is a girl after my heart! I do try my hand at fantasy but I think I do not have the imagination required of a fantasy author. I find it easier to create fiction from reality.
Ronel and I were just too eager to volunteer to be big [writing] sisters to Larna. Of course, I am old enough to be her [writing] mom, age-wise, but big-sister is great for me. I do hope to meet up with her and her mom so I can take a peek at her writing and maybe we can get her published when she’s twelve. (Aiming for eleven is just not realistic considering what Ronel and I have on our plates already.)
Do watch this space.
Young published authors
From the moment I met Megan Werner, I was a fan. Chatting with her, before I had the honor of holding my own copy of her book, It’s Up To Me, it was clear to me that writing her book at thirteen and being a published author at fifteen was a natural thing for her. I heard the amazing things she has done and even more awe-inspiring things she is doing. Talking to Megan inspired me to think about getting serious with the (self-)editing work on my non-fiction that will make it presentable to a professional editor.
I wrote it in 2003 and I feel… I know that it is not good enough for public consumption. I did start re-reading and editing but it was not a priority. I must now look at my priorities on weekends and even after work on weekdays. I realize that the South African edition of Cinderella Reimagined is on top of my list for March, if I want to launch in April, and I have Midsummer Night’s Dream retelling to write, but I need to make time for A Woman’s Voice (current/tentative title). I must start putting the edits together while I attend to the second draft of my NaNoWriMo novel, Crazy/Beautiful: A Good Enough Life (current/tentative title).
At the same time, I will be watching out for the great things that showcase Megan’s talent and general awesomeness.
P.S. I read her book on that same day I got it and I think that young people should read it. So, I passed it on to my friend so that her nine-year old daughter can get started with it. Of course, there was that firm instruction to look after it. It is signed by Megan and I must have it back, in great condition. You can buy the book by clicking here.