Life After an Author’s Mistakes

Prismatic Prospects

I recently took a survey that asked me, “What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as an author?”

Oh. Ouch. All the ouch.

There’s a lot of research, trial and error, learning, and growth that comes along with this authoring and publishing gig, especially for those of us who are in it for the long term. It’s a journey that requires creativity, business know-how, and oftentimes a combination of both.

Yet, my biggest mistake as an author wasn’t exactly a creative one or even all that business-related. It was part of the result of being grievously maltreated for ten years.

I’ll not go into all of those details in this post. But suffice it to say that I published some books in reaction to the constant demands for marketplace productivity from a twisted, abusive manipulator who feigned to care about my success and wellbeing—because my productivity would help the manipulator look…

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Grumpy Old Gods, Volume 2 – now available for pre-order!

I’m excited to announce that Grumpy Old Gods, Volume 2 is now available for pre-order at Amazon, with the publication date set for 9 August. If you would like an advanced review copy in return for an honest review on Amazon, please let me know – we are happy to oblige and are grateful for all reviews.

A plethora of grumpy old gods are back in a second anthology of mythical fun. Join us for 13 new tales of deities that are retired, reborn, waning or AWOL from their assigned posts as they hilariously navigate life, death and everything in between.

Don’t forget to grab Grumpy Old Gods, Volume 1 if you haven’t already – review copies are also available upon request.

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Wizard of Ends, Grumpy Old Gods and On the Premises

I’ve been a busy bee since my last blog post, my life filled with endless hours of work, 20,000 things to do and our national power company’s constant load shedding (in which, lately, they often cut the electricity three times a day for 2.5 hours each time)… and not so much writing. The good news is that I have recently been able to start writing again – something I have been aching to do for a very long time.

Wizard of Ends fans will be glad to know that I completed Book 3, Mountains of Eclador. That said, it might still be a while before it will be ready to publish. Although the last word is written, there is still a lot of work to be done in perfecting it, and I would also like to revamp the series covers before Book 3 is published.

In other news, earlier this year I submitted a short story to the first Grumpy Old Gods anthology and was over the moon when it was accepted. My story, Out of Luck, along with 12 other short stories, will be included in the anthology, which you can get on pre-order at Amazon. If you enjoy the anthology, please don’t forget to leave a review on the Amazon book page – I would very much appreciate it!

Another thing I am super-chuffed about is being asked to be one of the judges blind-reading short story competition entries for On the Premises, an online fiction magazine started in 2006 by Tarl Kudrick and Bethany Granger. The magazine offers a diverse range of stories in all genres. If you don’t already read it, you’re missing out! You can read the latest issue here – for free. Incidentally, all are welcome to enter the competitions – if your story makes the top ten, but did not win a prize, you can get a free critique as a consolation prize if you want one (other stories can also be critiqued on request for a fee of US$15), and there are monetary prizes for the winners. To keep up to date on the latest contests, visit the magazine’s contest page.

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SA Indies Rock Lit Awards – I’ve been nominated! Author of the Year 2015 & Editor of the Year

SAIRI promised you news today and here it is! I’m happy to announce that I’ve been nominated for the SAIR Editor of the Year and Author of the Year 2015 awards.

I’m honoured to have been nominated for these awards and hope you will take a minute to vote for me. This year is certainly looking up, and these nominations have given me some much-needed motivation to get down to writing again.

Voting closes 12 March 2015, so get your votes in before then!

Good luck to all my fellow nominees!


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A New Year and a New Way

Good morning and happy New Year!

I know it’s a little late to be wishing you a happy New Year, but better late than never, right?

I had a smashing first post of the year written and waiting to post on 1 January, and then…

…And then my life was shattered and, it felt, my dreams.

On New Year’s Eve, I left the house for no more than twenty minutes… and returned to a house that had been burgled.

I was devastated, numb, and so very angry with God or the universal consciousness or whoever runs this universe. It seemed as if, no matter what I did to help myself, something outside my control would destroy it. My PC was stolen – along with all the books I had started writing. I lost everything I wrote on Legends of Origin, Book 4: Beyond Orion. I lost three years of research on another book. For a few weeks, I thought I had also lost Wizard of Ends, Book 3, but thankfully I had worked on that in the last few days before the robbery and had saved it to email. I lost work templates and documents for three companies. I lost over a year of work for one client. I lost all my baby and personal pictures, other than the handful I had posted on Facebook and emailed to friends and family. Book covers, promotional material, blog posts for my company… So much lost… It left me shattered and feeling as if my very soul had been raped.

For the last two months, I’ve been demotivated and unable to write. Every time I sit down hoping to continue with Wizard of Ends, my mind shut down, as if my creativity had been stolen too. It doesn’t help that I am oh so short on time. We are still trying to recover from the loss. Yes, I had back-ups – on my laptop and a few USB sticks… all of which were also stolen in the robbery. Insurance took over a month to replace all our stolen items, and then, because we did not have proof of the expensive PC equipment we had, they replaced our jacked up PCs with entry level junk. Insurance paid out for many of the stolen items, but not nearly enough to replace them.

It’s taken me this long to motivate myself to write my first blog post of the year. For a few weeks, I was so demotivated that I didn’t believe I would ever again write to publish, and perhaps not at all. Now, I know I will – because it is not only my passion, but part of what makes me the person I am; thus, without writing and sharing my work, I am an incomplete slab of misery.

Then there’s the time it took to recover what I could from email and friends/family. I have only just recovered the last of what I can. What I had filled almost 2TB of HDD space. What I recovered did not fill a 2GB USB stick. I’m sure you can imagine how upsetting this was, and it sent me spiralling into depression – something some of you already know I battle with when things get too tough.

Thankfully, there is a silver lining (although there are still many days and moments where it feels as if the silver lining is not worth it). The money insurance paid that isn’t near enough to replace the stolen items is now being used to increase security and to toddler-safe our garden. Finally, I can put a timeframe on when my daughter can safely play in our backyard 🙂

I have decided that I will no longer pre-write blog posts to keep my blog busy three times a week. I do not have it in me – emotionally or time-wise – to do that again. I also probably won’t have time to write three blog posts a week like you are used to (which is why I pre-wrote six months’ worth of blog posts, all of which were lost in the theft). However, you can rest assured that my blog will indeed go on, just a little more flexible than before. I still believe that regular blog posts increase visibility and sales, but I can’t say that I’ve experienced any major increase in sales since starting my blog just over a year ago. Thus, I am removing the stress factor and my blog posts will be more sporadic than usual, but, hopefully, more entertaining and relevant too. I will still be sharing guest posts, but am going to be stricter about people following my guidelines, as I no longer have the time or inclination to reformat blog posts that come in a format other than what I requested. Those of you who are waiting for guest posts to be shared, please send me an email reminder along with the details – all my notes were stolen with my PC and I cannot remember who arranged what with me (if you have already emailed me about this since the robbery, you don’t need to do so again; I will get back to you the second I am able). I apologise for the inconvenience.

Of course, I am also looking for fresh guest posts – entertaining topics and relevant to writing and/or reading. Be creative and send me your ideas.

I also have two lots of exciting news that I will share with you shortly – one tomorrow (because I don’t have time to share those details today) and the other once everything is finalised.

Watch this space!

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Recap of 2014, New Year’s Resolutions & Christmas Cheer

xmas banner2014 has been an eventful year, and probably the busiest and most stressful year of my life thus far. Despite the fact that I am sleep deprived and often standing on the brink of insanity, I’ve accomplished myriad things during the course of this year.

First, my husband and I kept a baby alive for a whole year – yay us! Okay, so that’s not nearly as dramatic and fantastic as it sounds, considering said baby hasn’t had as much as a sniffle yet (touch wood). Still, we were not only new first-time parents at the start of this year, but had to figure out how to work at home with a baby in the house full time – not an easy feat, I assure you! Amidst working full time and figuring out how my life is going to work from now on with a baby in the picture, I also managed to write and publish one full-length novel, Creator Species, Book 3 in my Legends of Origin series, and two novellas, the first two books in my new Wizard of Ends series. I even managed to get quite far into writing Wizard of Ends, Book 3: Mountains of Eclador. Plus I survived the stress of my husband’s fight with a power tool and subsequent operation/hospital stay – with my sanity intact, incredibly!

My New Year’s resolutions, in no particular order:

  • Retain sanity no matter what
  • Meditate daily
  • Stockpile chocolate and coffee
  • Pay all the medical bills finished
  • Restrain self from bashing anyone who wakes the baby
  • Make sure my daughter has plenty of books
  • Be done with next year’s Christmas shopping before October 2015
  • Get stinking rich so I can write and publish more books per year

Since this is my last post for 2014, I’ll leave you with some Christmas cheer and my favourite Christmas joke:

Santa Claus was having a terrible day. To start, he couldn’t have his morning coffee, because the coffee machine had mysteriously stopped working overnight. Then he burnt his toast, tripped over the broom and had a huge fight with Mrs Claus about his leaving presents all over the place. The day continued in much the same way, and, when it was time to deliver Christmas trees to the fairies, his regular reindeer refused to fly, so he was forced to use the back-up reindeer, which weren’t in the mood to fly either and had to be bribed with carrots. During his deliveries, Santa had to make numerous unplanned stops to retrieve trees that had fallen from the sleigh. At his last delivery, he tripped on the doorstep and fell. Just then, the door opened and the fairy peeked out, saw Santa sitting on his bum with a Christmas tree in his lap, and burst into giggles.

“That’s a lovely tree!” she trilled. “Where should we put it?”

And that, my friends, is how the fairy ended up on top of the Christmas tree.

Have a magical holiday season, everyone! See you next year and don’t get up to anything too naughty!


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Authors, Promote Your Books for FREE with Humanmade

humanmade-logoAny author who has ever tried to find free marketing opportunities knows how many ‘rubbish sites’ one has to sift through in order to find the good ones. One of the sites I’ve discovered that’s super easy to use is – you click the ‘submit your talent’ button on the website, add your book’s details and Bob’s your aunty… you’re done and can sit back and wait for the confirmation email. The best part is that it literally takes a few minutes per book, so it won’t cut into your writing time too much, and it’s not only for authors – all creative people can showcase their work.

Here’s a little more about this free promotion site, from the owner: is a free promotion website (with a human touch) for talented people and their works. It gives users the opportunity to increase their web presence by having special pages for their works and the ability to receive comments and rating by visitors.

Although the website is heavily used by authors, writers and poets to promote their books, it is also used by other talents. Talents’ categories/directories currently include Books and Authors – in the following genres: Business, Children, Crafts, Fiction, Humor, Inspirational, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Religion and Spirituality, Sports and Technology, also, Artwork, Music, Performing Arts, Personal Websites, Photography and Videos. Other categories can be created at anytime to suit users’ submissions.

The website currently functions by direct submissions by visitors, then by reviewing submissions by site moderators/webmaster. Once accepted, the work will be indexed according to its appropriate category and published. What’s great about this talent promotion website is that each talented person will have a separate profile page showing his/her biography, website, blog, links to social networks, summary of all works indexed at the website in addition to a contact form enabling other users to interact with him/her directly to his/her personal email address (this is if the user wishes to).

Each work submitted by the user will have a separate page on the website, featuring work description, image and other related links. Each page has sharing and book marking tools which will help visitors to spread the word about this work. Also, there are rating widgets and a comment form, which will open the door for discussing the work and gives visitors the chance to share their insights about it.

Website moderators also utilize various social networks to spread the word about indexed works in order to give its web presence a boost and help it receive more attention. also helps talented people in the field of promoting their works by the initiative ‘Learn from the Talents’, which is a voluntary collaboration with the featured talents on the website to share their experiences in promoting their works. It comes in an interview (questions and answers) format. Although it is based on special invitation by site moderators, users can request to share in their stories through this initiative.

Since established in 2007, several changes have been made, and other changes are in process to improve the website and enhance users’ experience. One major change would be shifting it to a full talents’ community website, where users can submit, publish and edit their works by themselves, with more tools to interact with other users. For that purpose, we are running a poll to evaluate users’ opinions to decide on the future shape of the website. is open for all to visit, enjoy and use. Your comments and suggestions are always highly welcome.

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JUST RELEASED! No Angel – Pippa Jay’s latest offering, a futuristic urban fantasy novel

bannerFBToday I’m sharing an extract from the futuristic urban fantasy novel No Angel by Pippa Jay, which was released today. Enjoy!

NOANGELHow far would you fall for love?

Centuries ago, guardian angel Lucien committed a terrible sin. He gave into his own desires and revealed himself to the mortal woman he’d been charged to protect. By kissing her, he condemned himself. Torn of his wings and his angelic powers, thrown down into the City Below, Lucien now serves Satan as an incubus who claims souls for his master from the City Above, and who feeds on the energy stolen from his mortal lovers. Dark, sexy and charming, he’s been top of his league for decades uncounted.

Until His Infernal Highness decides to send Lucien looking for a lost angel. Lucien has no idea what he did to deserve such a punishment, and the touch of an angel could destroy him. Yet the challenge and the potential kudos of seducing one of his former heavenly kin leads him on.

But when he finds the angel, he learns he still has more to lose than his already forsaken soul.

Please add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE, or sign up HERE for Pippa Jay’s no-spam newsletter for special previews on cover reveals, new releases, the latest giveaways and discounts, and upcoming news.

Extract from No Angel

But where to find an angel? Just as his kind haunted bars and restaurants, where the old sins of lust and gluttony rose strongest in humans, so angels would be drawn to places where hope burned brightest. Hospitals. Aid centers. Churches were a rare commodity as the twenty-second century progressed, preserved more for their architectural value than any religious use. Sometimes people would marry there, strong traditionalists still clinging to the past. The only church in Lucien’s territory—which was larger than most—was St. Bartholomew’s. It was as good a place as any to start. Continue reading

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Pre-publication extract: Wizard of Ends, Book 3: Mountains of Eclador

Today I bring you another pre-publication extract from Wizard of Ends, Book 3: Mountains of Eclador. This will probably be the last until the book is published next year. Enjoy!


Lanaran and the soldiers of Ends followed Rune along the narrow path she had opened in the mountain face. The sorceress still followed the kreag’s magical trail, which Lanaran wished he, too, could see. It irked him that he would be lost without someone as insufferable as her.

Rune slowed her horse until she was alongside him. “The trail grows thin.”

Lanaran’s heart sank.

“That’s a good sign,” she said. “With an enchanted tail spell, the ‘tail’ gets thinner the closer one gets to whatever it is one follows.”

Lanaran heaved a sigh of relief.

“We must proceed with greater caution, lest we give away our presence.”

He nodded, adrenaline searing through him in anticipation of the fight he imagined would soon come.

They rode in silence until the noon sun was directly overhead, then Rune gestured for them to stop.

She pointed ahead, to where solid rock blocked their way. “We’ve reached the other side.”

Lanaran groaned. “Don’t tell me we have to go through that whole trance-like procedure again?”

Rune shook her head. “No. I saw this when I followed the magic to its source.”

She waved her hands and the rock shimmered and vanished, revealing a lush valley beyond.

Lanaran urged his horse forward, followed closely by Rune and his soldiers. Greenwood trees lined the valley sides, their melon-sized yellow flowers in full bloom, which was strange for this time of year. Unknown red-flowered bushes spread out between the trees, so small they were half hidden in the long grass. Birds chirped above and the familiar hum of a night insects filled the air – also strange, since night insects never came out at day.

Rune whispered, “Something’s wrong here.”

“I agree,” Lanaran murmured. “Is it more magic?”

The sorceress frowned and flicked her long fringe out of her eyes. “Yes. Of the worst kind.” She scanned the surroundings, as if expecting to see an enemy. “I know Lashlor said it’s impossible, and it is, but…”

“Yes?” Lanaran hissed, impatient.

“It’s Eldryn’s magic. I’m certain of it.”

Lanaran cocked his head. “The ancient sorcerer – the one who’s dead?”

She nodded.

“As you said, that’s impossible.”

“I’m not wrong,” Rune insisted. “It’s Adranalis – magic that survives death. It’s almost impossible to undo.” She fell silent for a moment, then her eyes widened almost imperceptibly and she spun back to the rock face, which once again looked solid. She waved her hands as she’d done just minutes ago, but, this time, the rock did not shimmer and vanish. She touched it and cursed, then whirled back to face Lanaran.

“I’m trapped! I’m trapped in this insufferable mountain again!” Rune sank to her knees and put her face in her hands, then looked up at Lanaran. “You should not have sent Lashlor away.”

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Ley Lines & Orion’s Harvesters

Since ley lines are vital to my plot in Legends of Origin, Book 2: Orion’s Harvesters, I decided to share a bit about them today.

The answer to whether or not ley lines exist and what they are depends on who you ask. Oxford Dictionaries defines a ley line as ‘a supposed straight line connecting three or more prehistoric or ancient sites, sometimes regarded as the line of a former track and associated by some with lines of energy and other paranormal phenomena’.

The general consensus among some schools of belief is that ley lines are natural energy rives whose power we could harness, if we knew how.

While there is some evidence to suggest that ley lines are, in fact, underground ‘rivers’ of energy, and/or perhaps an anomaly in the Earth’s magnetic field, there is no conclusive proof – at least, none accepted as fact by everyone in the scientific community.

Origin of the term ‘ley line’

In 1921, an amateur archaeologist named Alfred Watkins noticed that many footpaths on the map of Blackwardine connected the hilltops in straight lines. As he studied the landscape further, he grew convinced that these straight lines, which he called ley lines, were the remnants of ancient trading routes – an ancient road network that used hilltops and other landmarks as sighting points.

Interesting theories and facts about ley lines

  • Ley lines connect many ancient monuments and other mysterious places in straight lines. Places ley lines pass through include Stonehenge, the Egyptian pyramids, Glastonbury Tor, Machu Picchu, Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, the pyramids at Xian in China, southern Japan’s Dragon’s Triangle, the Bermuda Triangle and Easter Island.
  • Ley lines are, to this day, largely perplexing.
  • Evidence suggests that birds, animals and fish use ley lines to navigate to their breeding ground or warmer climates, and some say that even bacteria use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate.
  • Some believe that ley lines’ energy comes from the energy of ancient humans who once walked along them.
  • It’s said that one is more likely to encounter paranormal activity in places intersected by a ley line. However, it’s generally accepted that electro-magnetic fields affect the mind and body, causing things like hair standing on end, a tingling sensation, or an altered perception, all of which might account for the ‘paranormal’ activity.
  • Some believe that UFOs use ley lines to navigate Earth’s surface.
  • Some think that ley line energy can be either positive or negative, as opposed to neutral energy.
  • It’s believed that ancient humans deliberately built massive structures along ley lines to harness their power.
  • It’s said that the nexus – the place where two or more ley lines intersect – is a place of immense power.

Ley lines in my sci-fi fantasy series, Legends of Origin

In Book 2 of this series, I introduce an ancient ley line weapon that makes Earth’s most powerful nuclear weapons look like firecrackers.

With this ley line weapon, some humans can harness Earth’s untapped natural energy. Hidden in Table Mountain, the massive ancient weapon is three storeys high and half a kilometre long, with a DNA helix-like structure rising from the centre of the dish at its tip.

Klarion, the Zephlo (alien) Liam meets in Book 2, uses ley line energy to open a portal to his home galaxy. Exactly how he does so will only be unveiled in later books.

Extract from Book 2, Orion’s Harvesters

Vareck and Jacques stood on top of Table Mountain, the ground trembling beneath them as the wind buffeted them, ripping at their clothes and hair as if determined to drag them over the mountain’s edge. A few metres away, the ley line weapon ascended from the ground, the deep, juddering groans as it rose higher giving the impression that it was about to fall apart, quite literally. Gus, whose job it was to fire the ancient weapon, sat strapped in the seat two metres below the dish.

“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” muttered Gilbert, standing next to Vareck.

Tempted to agree, Vareck bit back his first thoughts. “We have no choice.”

“There’s always a choice,” said Gilbert.

Vareck glared at him.

“I’m just saying…” Gilbert took a step back as the weapon came to a grinding halt.

Vareck spoke into his radio. “Fire it up, Johann.”

Seven minutes passed before a high-pitched whine filled the air as the energy river beneath Earth’s surface flowed through the ley line weapon, giving its copper surface a turquoise-white shimmer.

By now, it felt as if they were in the middle of an earthquake, and Vareck worried that this part of the mountaintop may collapse under their feet. Once the weapon had charged to full capacity, the whine and juddering should stop. Vareck counted the seconds. Come on.

Danie hurried into view carrying four sets of earmuffs just as the ancient weapon fell silent. Swirling mists of turquoise and white energy cloaked the dish, hiding Gus from view and slowly spreading out across the sky. Good; it would hide the weapon’s exact location and make destroying it a little harder.

A low hum replaced the whine. Vareck grimaced, hoping it wouldn’t grow louder.

It was time. Would the centuries of waiting and passing down information, of keeping the weapon in good condition, of preparation… would it all be in vain, or would it save humanity?

Goosebumps prickled Vareck’s cold flesh, and he rubbed his arms as he stared up at the dish – similar to a satellite dish – near the weapon’s tip. The DNA helix-like structure rising from the dish’s centre was barely visible, a mere pin to the eye. The silence hurt his ears, and he scanned his brothers’ faces as they locked their gazes on the weapon.

“It’s time,” Vareck murmured. “Everyone ready?”

“It doesn’t matter if we aren’t,” Danie said. “If we wait much longer, there won’t be any humans left to save.” He looked at Vareck. “I have to finish packing up. We’re nearly ready to load the first lot of crystals and medical supplies onto the first truck.”

Vareck nodded. They were moving as much of their equipment as possible to various smaller bases across South Africa. When this was over, military, air force, government, media and other curious parties would be crawling all over Table Mountain to see the weapon and those who had fired it. With any luck, no clues would be left behind – other than a few red herrings, of course.

“God speed, Brother,” Jacques said, slapping Danie on the back.

“Have fun.” Danie winked as he left.

Vareck sighed, glanced at the towering ley line weapon, then raised his radio to his lips. “Gus, fire at will.”

Just when they thought that either the weapon hadn’t worked or Gus had lost his nerve, blinding turquoise-white energy jetted from its tip, heading for the Harvesters’ spaceship. It struck the ship’s underbelly with a resounding boom that Vareck could have sworn he actually felt. Black smoke poured from the alien craft, raising cheers from the small group and those who were on guard duty to ensure no unwary soul happened upon the weapon.

Strangely, the energy had discharged in utter silence… although it could just be that the wind had snatched away the sound before it could reach their ears.

Vareck spoke into his radio. “Fire again, Gus. Keep firing. It’s working!”

How many times could the ley line weapon be fired until it had to be recharged? That was one of the few things their ancestors hadn’t mentioned. Stupid, since it was vital knowledge, as far as Vareck was concerned. Perhaps those texts had simply been lost over time, or maybe their ancestors had been under the mistaken impression that firing the ley line weapon only once would do the trick.

Earth’s ley line energy streaked towards the Harvester spaceship again, causing more smoke to billow from its underbelly. Flickering red dots appeared on the craft as small fires erupted across its surface. Not even Cape Town’s gale force winds could whip away the cheers this brought.

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Legends of Origin, Book 2, Orion's HarvestersSmashwords
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Legends of Origin, Book 3, Creator SpeciesSmashwords
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