The ‘Why’ behind the Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books

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It’s an understatement to say I am excited! The online book fair is a first for me and I am are ready to start.

But before I get into giving you the details of the where and the when, I’d like to explain the point behind #AfricaOnBookFair.

I grew up in Apartheid South Africa, mostly at the end tail of the Struggle. In 1994 when we had our first democratic election I was still in primary school. Buying books, much less writing books weren’t something that was encouraged for any person of color. Yet authors of color prevailed.

They wrote books about the history of the country, books about their daily struggle. Wonderful Drum Magazine writers wrote some of the most memorable short stories that opened up worlds for me when I studied them in high school and university. Poetry like To Whom It May Concern by Sipho Sepamla still touches many around the world. But…yes there’s a but, I didn’t come across prolific romance stories set in my country and the rest of Africa, that didn’t have tinges of colonialism or was written for a specific audience that didn’t include readers outside of it.

The stories weren’t inherently diverse. Stereotypical roles for people of color littered these romantic texts and even till this day when I go to my local library and bookstores I have to hunt for romances written that’s multicultural or even interracial, romance that showcases the beauty and scope of the landscape as well as the people of this continent, and also the authors that come from it.

Romance authors in Africa don’t just write contemporary/historical novels in bush settings or urban settings, they write steamy reads about fairies and werewolves too. Local heroes and heroines making a life abroad. Nail biting suspense and mystery romance novels. Science fiction and fantasy. Young adult and new adult stories. They even interpret characters from different genders, races, cultural backgrounds and religions.

And I asked myself, where can you find these books and authors with so much diversity among them? Where is a place you can walk into and have a good fun old time getting book deals and meeting your next favorite author? You guess right. A book fair.

But because Africa is a really…really big continent, how do you get all of these terrific romance authors and their stories together in one spot for readers to discover them?

Thank God for the invention of the military programme that became the internet! Online is the easiest way to find things you’re searching for. Whether it’s the definition of a word (so guilty of that) or buying a pair of shoes, online shopping, buying and selling, and researching are things we consider common. Even in Africa.

Everyone owns a device they can use to access the internet.

And that’s how the #AfricaOnBookFair was created. It stemmed from this need to say, “If you’re looking for romance stories set in Africa or want to find out who your next favorite African author in every romance genre out there is, here they are. Online. Easy to access. You don’t have to pay to get in. You don’t have to stand in a queue. You don’t have to feel hot and sweaty. Or cold and tired. You sit in your home or wherever you might find yourself and check out what’s on offer.” Money you would’ve spent on gas, food and tickets to get in can go into buying extra books! As a bookworm, that makes me extremely happy.

And I know every little bookworm heart is giving a fist pump *laughs*

The Africa Online Book Fair aims to bring African romance authors and readers together. In a nutshell it is as simple as that. And I really hope you’ll come meet every single one of them.

Event date: Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th June 2017.

Starts: 10:00 am ( Cape Town time)

Ends: 22:00 pm (Cape Town time)

 

So without further adieu, here they are:

Aziza Eden Walker

Bailey Quinn

Elaine Dodge

Inge Saunders

Jayne Bauling

Joanne Macgregor

Kathy Bosman

Leenna Naidoo

Marie Dry

Nana Prah

Sherita Singh

Theresa Beharrie

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Link to the Event Page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/372063406523550/

Twitter: @AfricaOnBookFr

Instagram: @africaonlinebookfair

Books I’ve Read Recently

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I haven’t done this on my blog yet and thought, ‘hey why not?’ *smile*

I always talk about what I’m busy writing or what I’m going to focus on writing and post writing tips & motivations, and my own ramblings. But never about what I’m reading. And I do read. A lot *bug eyed*

I think it’s one of those writerly things. You read. Not just for enjoyment but also as a form of study.

So here’s a list of books/series I’ve read recently that stood out to me in no particular order:

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
  2. Joining by Johanna Lindsey
  3. Blood of Eve by Pam Godwin
  4.  Knight Security Series by Carole Mortimer
  5. Black Hills Wolves multi-author series by rebeccaroyce-5 & Heather Long

The Life and Death of Twilight

 

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I’m a fan. No seriously, I’m a fan of the Twilight series. Only I saw the first movie before I read the first book and wanted to throw the  book against a wall when I finally read it.

I remember arguing with a then friend of mine on just how ludicrous the idea of a 100 year old vampire falling for a seventeen year old was. There’s just no way. Of course there’s the ‘he can’t read her mind’, but then that just makes Edward one of the most emotionally unintelligent 100 year old vampires in literature. And I refused to believe R Patt’s Edward Cullen could possibly be so dense. So the argument raged on.

And then, Twilight Re-imagined happened. *crickets*

Edythe and Beau happened.

And every other character’s name except the parents was re-imagined. (Why do this? *wails*)

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Because I’m a fan of the series I went, I’m going to be required to have an opinion about this because I’ve been so open about my love of Bella, Edward and Jacob, why not give this re-imagining *cough* fan-fiction, a try.

I got as far as page 17 then skipped to the end but didn’t read all of it and don’t think I will return to the book anytime soon.

Nothing was reimagined here. The problems that were pointed out about Twilight are evident in Life and Death. But that’s not even the worse offense to me. It’s the fact that the author stopped being an author when she worked on this book. She stopped placing herself in her characters shoes. Because if she’d done that and she wanted to still keep Beau as awkward as Bella she could’ve done it by not giving him the same exact quirk as Bella, but actually thinking about what kind of quirk would make a teenage boy self-conscious.

Goodness, if she made Beau his own person, apart from Bella I would’ve been fine with that too. Because guess what? Men and women don’t actually think/act alike.

Maybe she should’ve read a few YA novels written by male authors to study how they write male protagonists. Or female authors for that matter since who can deny J.K Rowling brilliantly writing Harry Potter?

The Twilight series isn’t bad. However, this re-imagining is. It hurts to say it, but it does. I feel like Stephanie Meyer should write a couple of books under a pen name. Give herself a break from Twilight and its universe. Then after a few years, come back and give us Midnight Sun *smile*

 

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Here’s Why I Like Paranormal Romances

I’m the generation that grew up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed.  And I still own DVDs of both series, plus the Charmed books. The latter I bought a couple of years ago.

Since I can remember I’ve had a fascination with the supernatural. When I discovered Anne Rice in high school I was hooked to vampires in print. With Twilight and the Vampire Dairies paranormal romances experienced resurgence, especially amongst teens. And also in my reading world.

I’d been deep in a chicklit vortex by then. Loving romance sprinkled with humor and life and really relatable fantastic heroines. I hadn’t realized at the time that these ‘dark creatures’ of the paranormal world, would signal the end of my obsession with chicklit. But they had. And I’m not sorry *grin*

Paranormal romances like their TV shows and movies offers worlds where diversity is celebrated. Where being different is the norm.  There isn’t an expected blue print, in terms of the main characters racial or cultural background. Werewolves can come from any continent. They will still have a connection/something in common with shape-shifting wolves around the world. And that’s what, I realized, kept drawing me back to the paranormal genre.

It’s one of the things I like about paranormal romances.

Another thing I like about them is this, the badass characters male and female who in spite of living on the fringes of society, still thrive, still make their mark on the world. As a person of color, coming from SA with its history of Apartheid, I can relate to these shape-shifters. Even in romance, paranormal romances are not the ‘star’ genre. It’s not considered literary genius, even though it tests the reader’s ideas of ‘normal’ and acceptance.

I not only feel comfortable writing these types of stories, I celebrate them. I read them. I buy them.

So if you were wondering, why after two contemporary romance novels, I’ve written a paranormal romance about werewolves, these are some of my reasons. Though the biggest one has to be, I simply enjoy them. And I hope that when you pick up your copy of The Wolf’s Choice, you’ll be able to experience how much I loved writing this paranormal romance.

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Preorder Buy Link:

The Wolf’s Choice (Black Hills Wolves Book 64): Amazon:Kindle Store https://t.co/gipdx4OYiZ

#preorder #PNR #romance @DecadentPub

Public and Private Position: A Commentary Piece

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The US elections are on everyone’s newsfeeds whether you’re interested or not. All of us (the rest of the world) are a bit stunned at what’s happening. To be honest, (don’t throw virtual tomatoes at me) I expected Donald Trump to have fallen out of the race early on. The fact that he has come so far (and yes so close) is astonishing to me. The man is a walking billboard for every type of ‘ism’ out there, except feminism of course *drum roll*

Yeah don’t sue me. That was my attempt at a joke. I’m not a comedian, I’m a romance author *cheeky grin*

What keeps coming back to me this week, and has me on this US election train of thought, was something Hillary Clinton said, something to the effect of having a public and private position. Many were up in arms at this statement. And at first I was like “What are they going on about?” Everyone has a public and private position. But if you think about it, that’s not what she meant. She didn’t mean what Ludacris rapped in that funky tune of Usher’s, “We want a lady in the street but a freak in the bed to say…” *bobs head*

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You know the sentiment that underlines the lyric, that there are facets about yourself that you keep private, personal. It’s no one’s business but yours…sometimes those closest to you too.

Though that’s not what I believe those who don’t agree with Hillary’s sentiment appose. Because if you really study the statement and I mean, really study it, not just from your frame of reference or world view, than it becomes problematic.

Because, according to her, you can have a different level of integrity in private than you have in public?

The answer to that is no. You need to be the same person when no one sees you, when you are not scrutinized. Your yes needs to be yes and your no, no. You can’t flip in public.

Here’s a definition of integrity, so that you know what I mean when I use the word. This is what I understand by it. It is “the quality of being honest and morally upright.” That’s the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition.

To me, no one’s perfect. I believe we all need to be a bit more gracious towards each other. Exercise understanding and consideration. You can work towards perfection, though let’s be honest, that’s not something you will achieve in your lifetime. We are all works in progress. Every day is a practical exercise in learning what it means to be human. And let me just say, this is not a pro-Hilary or pro-Donald or in any way a political post as much as it is a social one. I’m not interested in their political agendas, frankly, because I’m not from the US. I’m from South Africa. This election doesn’t impact me the same way it does an American. I’m not emotionally, mentally or physically tied it.

What inspired this post was a recent correspondence I had with someone who will remain nameless *smile*

You see, when you are in a position of leadership you are always under scrutiny. Whether you lead five or millions, you will get scrutiny. That’s why parents shouldn’t be shocked when their grownup kids give them a review of how they were raised, because from the child’s perspective that might not always have been a positive experience. But who wants negative critique? No one. We don’t like it, I certainly don’t. But we get it anyway.

So back to Hilary and her statement. After I got this correspondence I realized that there are people who live by that statement’s level of integrity every single day. They shape it according to who’s in front of them. If you are powerful enough to cause trouble for me, I won’t be honest with you. If your level of significance is the same as an ant’s in my life, I’ll be brutally honest and then some. Their level of honesty and morality adapts to their audience. And that’s what some people have a problem with. That’s what I learned, I don’t like.

It’s false, fake, phony…all those lovely words we use on a daily basis to describe someone we wouldn’t trust as far as we could throw them.

I don’t object so much to the fake and phoniness if you’re both that privately and publicly. Because then you’d be honest. I mean there I have to give it to Trump. The man is disgusting in private and in public. What you see is what you get.

Where the problem lies for me is when you profess to be ‘nice’ in the eyes of those whom you can benefit from, because they have a certain level of power over you, and then ‘rude’ to the people you think, doesn’t have the power to touch you.

Because, that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? Accountability and responsibility? If I have no one to answer to, if I’m a dictator, if I can’t be held responsible for my behavior, if there’s no checks and balances. Then what’s to stop me from flipping the integrity switch in how I deal with people, in my work life, in the societies I join and organizations I belong to. To one person I’m one thing, yet to another I’m something else. No one knows what they’re getting. And that’s problematic.

And when you are someone that’s under scrutiny that won’t just be problematic for you, but dangerous.

I’m thinking of Elorra’s Cave the e-publishing company that had this huge lawsuit going on with its authors. Before the paw-paw hit the fan, the company had a public position that turned out to be horse manure (yeah I don’t swear, get over it). Authors weren’t being paid, unprofessional behavior within the company, etc. (Just do a Google search on the publisher with the word lawsuit and everything will spill out.)

The integrity they professed to have to us (everyone on the outside) was not what they exercised in private. That, my dear people, in the blogosphere, is what I call corruption. See how far having a private and public position stretches when viewed in light of integrity. This isn’t on the side of that funky lyric of Ludacris. This is something else, much sinister. And when someone exercises this form of ‘integrity’ and they have no level of accountability, you have to start asking yourself whether you still want to deal with them and what your responsibility are here.

Because believe it or not, you do have a responsibility (this is where your integrity comes into play).

If you’re dealing with someone in leadership where there are checks and balances, it is simple; report to those checks and balances, especially where their behavior can lead to a lawsuit. If there are none, then you have to wake up and smell the horse manure. You are part of a dictatorship. And if history has taught us anything about dictatorships, they don’t get overthrown without a level of bloodshed *cringe*

Of course if you choose the pacifist route, than sit back, sip that glass of red you poured for yourself, because you and everyone else around you, are royally…you know what *laughs*

 

#HappyWriting

#haveanawesomeweekend

#seeyouontheblogosphere

 

 

 

 

Sold!

 

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Sold! The Wolf’s Choice!

What every author loves to hear when it comes to their stories, “we are offering you a contract.”

I’m officially part of the Black Hills Wolves pack! Okay fine, not the Tao Pack, but certainly part of the Author Pack who makes this wonderful shape-shifter series howl with awesome characters.

Yep, I’m a werewolf nut. If Stephanie Meyer hadn’t written Edward Cullen so gorgeous, I would’ve been Team Jacob. Just saying.

So here’s a sneak peak at the not-yet-edited blurb. I hope you love it!

*And to all the readers who love my contemporary romances, I am working on another flirty romance but in the meantime, enjoy Rebecca and Blaine.

 

Blurb:

“I’ll pledge my loyalty to you through a blood oath, if you support my choice of mate.”

Drew sat back in his chair. “What does Rebecca have to say? The last time I spoke to her, she didn’t mention you.”

Blaine smiled. He hadn’t earned himself any favors. “She doesn’t know yet.”                         

 

Thirteen years ago Rebecca Ferguson died, at least to everyone in the Black Hills territory. With a human mother and unable to shift into a wolf, Magnum Toa, the deranged Alpha of the Toa Pack would’ve had both her and her father killed for deceiving him. Magnum didn’t allow humans to mate with members of his pack.

Now Magnum is the one who’s dead and Rebecca can return.

But coming back from the dead, building a new life after her divorce and opening a library in town isn’t the only obstacles Rebecca faces. Elijah, her father, doesn’t approve of her being in Los Lobos to the point where he forbids her to get involved with the pack, especially the males.

Their relationship has suffered because of her absence and she hopes to bridge the divide; confident that she doesn’t want a romantic entanglement with anyone human or wolf, anyway.

In walks sexy private detective Blaine Walker.

Thirteen years ago Blaine stumbled on his mate at the local Swimming Hole. The next day, she was dead. Once he learns Rebecca is alive and living in Los Lobos, he decides it’s time to give up his career in Brooklyn and return to Black Hills. But he knows it won’t be easy to claim her since Elijah’s unnaturally overprotective. The only way Elijah will back off is to challenge him.

A challenge that will end in one of their deaths.

The Toa Pack’s rebuilding itself and needs to guard against any threats outside or in. For Blaine to have any chance to claim Rebecca Elijah needs to be dealt with and to deal with Elijah, Drew, the Alpha of the Toa Pack, has to sanction the challenge according to pack law.

Rebecca can’t deny the old attraction she felt for Blaine is still there and even stronger now that they are grownup. She’s caught between the man fate has brought back to her and her father, whose affection she craved her whole life.

But there’s a secret governing Elijah’s erratic behavior that can cost Rebecca everything she’s worked hard to build and everything she thought she could never have with a man or wolf.

Will Rebecca and Blaine beat the odds stacked against them?

Or will the choices they make ultimately lead them down a path both of them don’t want?

 

 

Writing Tips & Motivation 2.0

I’m working on a new WIP (work in progress). I submitted the first three chapters of a WIP to the wrong Harlequin line and ended up with possibly one of the nicest and encouraging rejection letters I’ve ever received in my writing career. I was asked to resubmit something else since the story I sent in didn’t fit with the line and the editors liked my voice *slaps forehead* Can you say nut? Because that’s what I am. Should’ve triple checked. Anyway, I thought I’d share some writing tips that keep me centered as I work through my new WIP.

Hope it helps you too 🙂

*disclaimer: these images do not belong to me, I found them on the inter-webs.

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