A Pet Peeve You Didn’t Know You Had

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Recently I discovered a pet peeve I didn’t know I had. It crept up on me slowly,  even though as I’m sitting here thinking about it, the revelation should’ve come on sooner.

I’m allergic to people who whine. No seriously, I start to itch every time a chronic complainer starts talking or does a status update or just breathes because you just know they are silently complaining about all the toxins in the air.  And have you noticed how chronic complainers always individualize their ‘issues’ as if no one in the world or history have experienced what they are experiencing? Somehow because they are experiencing them everyone needs to come to a standstill like we are all doing the #MannequinChallenge. *strike a pose*

The other day a chronic complainer on one of my social networks wrote this mini thesis on how tough their lives were, etc. and how because they form part of a certain segment of the population, their problems seemed to be double fold. And all I could think was, “Nope, that’s not true. You’re human. You have human problems, like everyone else.” Imagine saying that to a chronic complainer *bug eyed* They’d end up complaining about how insensitive you were.

So because I don’t want to be labeled as someone who’s insensitive (because I do have compassion for my fellow humans) I decided to reflect on why this annoyed me. Why someone ‘talking’ about their problems constantly makes my skin crawl and then break out into a rash (hey I told you I was allergic! *smile*).

 

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I realized something profound that might not be so profound to anyone else, depending on where you are in the world or your human development.

My people (the Coloured people of South Africa) don’t have a legacy of complaining. During Apartheid you’d have a tough time finding them and black people of SA complaining in public about their oppressive circumstances. It takes absolute freedom to complain. It takes a certain level of entitlement to complain. You have to know that when you open your mouth no one will throw you in jail or kill you. So my people, generally, created a culture of not giving voice to the issues that really mattered to them. And no it wasn’t just my people who suffered in silence, various groups in SA did.

I grew up learning that when you are going to complain about something, make sure it’s something worthwhile because  that action might come back to haunt you.

And that legacy is hard to shake. If I’m going to complain I have to consider how it will affect every aspect of my life. No I will not just call a waiter over to complain about bad service before my meal get to the table. Nah ah I’m not taking that chance.

Social media hasn’t really helped with this pet peeve, if anything; it only made my allergy worse. I’ve literally ignored people online just because I couldn’t stomach the complaining anymore. Goodness, we get it, life is hard. It’s really hard. And for certain people in the world, right now, especially when I think of the recent headlines in the news, it is really tough. So you complaining about a dishwasher, or stubbing your toe, do seem trivial.  And I’m not referring to that random once in a blue moon status update we all make. I’m referring to that chronic complainer who on a daily basis seems to be at the end of their rope. Like if just one thing should happen they will pack it all up and move to Mars because Earth just sucks.

It does seem contrite to say count your blessings…but it actually works. My grandmother used to sing, “Count your blessings name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” Every now and then when life becomes hard (like it does for us all) I start counting the good things/people that are in my life. Things I’m happy for, for that day. I deliberately focus on the positive. And yes sometimes that’s not easy to do.

There are so many things none of us have control over, being a chronic complainer isn’t one of them.

#happywriting

Divorce isn’t the End

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That title just made some people who know me extremely nervous *smile*

“When did Inge get married?”

“And when did she divorce?”

“How did I not know this?!”

Uhm…I didn’t. I haven’t. And we are probably not as close as you think if the third question went through your head.

But how can I know this then? I’ve never been married.  How I can speak for divorcees?

I’m not.

I’m not speaking for them. There’s so many things said about people who go through divorce on the internet, either by themselves or professionals. Not so much the ‘bystanders’.

And no I’m not going to comment on divorce in general. What I am going to shine a light on are the children, the grownup ones, who have to either pick up the pieces and/or deal with the emotional aftermath. The ones who have to resign themselves to a life of, “What can I say in front of my mother/father about the other, that in no way harms my relationship with both?”

It is funny how even the most amicable separations can turn sour, because even if both parties are okay with leaving, if the other one seems to have a way “better” time at moving on. Some bitterness sweeps in. And that bitterness, no matter the amount, has an effect on the children.

You can be the most well adjusted, emotionally intelligent adult there is, but when your parents go through a divorce…it wrecks your world. The experience tears something inside of you. You won’t realize until you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night unable to breathe because it feels like the air had been sucked out of your lungs. And as an adult, someone who’s thirty-three years old, people expect you to have it together.

You’re not a child that you lean on your parents support for everything. The bulk of sympathy goes to kids who still haven’t finished school. And trust me, I feel for them. They have absolutely no control over their lives; adults are making decisions for them. At least when you’re a grownup you can tell your parents, “Look I don’t want to deal with your drama anymore.” You can cause them to be shamefaced for the way they are acting, for the way they are having you be the grownup, when they raised you. Not the other way around.

So definitely an up and down side to being an adult with recently divorced parents.

Nevertheless here’s why I believe divorce isn’t the end for adult children with divorced parents, especially if those parents chose to get a divorce, rather than the one cheating on the other or being emotionally and physically abusive, etc. But rather them realizing that they’ve grown apart and want different things from life.

You can still be a family. Two years ago I didn’t think that would be possible. (And I know everyone’s circumstances/families aren’t the same.)

But there is hope of peace. Hope of everyone getting on well together. You don’t have to choose sides adult child of divorced parents *smile*

As we all know, a couple breaking up, most of the time, doesn’t have a direct correlation to the children. It’s their issues with each other. So don’t think that at any point in the future you won’t be able to pick up the strands of the relationship again. Yes, it’s going to be different. There’s going to have to be forgiveness and healing. You’re going to have to openly talk about your issues (if you have any) with each other. Because your mother is still your mother and your father is still your father. That bond isn’t going to go away just because your dad is married to someone new, or your mom chooses to live in a commune with people who dress in white and murmur affirmations under their breath. Just saying.  Through your connection, they are still your family. And that makes something like divorce not final.

Death is final. And I have to say, people who compare the two with each other, might not have any plans of ever moving on from divorce. I still carry the death of my biological father with me, but I don’t carry my parents’ divorce with me. To me, the two can never be lumped under the same heading. I can make peace with a living breathing person, but I can’t with someone who’s no longer there.

So divorce is not the end. It’s the beginning of another different kind of life. But still life.

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Putting Yourself Out There

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Whether it’s in a romantic relationship or business partnership, you take a risk putting yourself out there.

All parties come with their set of skills and issues. Yes issues. The ones you collected from previous relationships and partnerships. You literally tell yourself to keep an open mind, to not judge people the same. This venture will be different; you won’t be picking up the slack. You won’t be the one left hanging after the phone call. But then you precariously find yourself doing a balancing act that would make an Olympic gymnast look like an amateur.

Putting yourself in a position where you have to rely on someone else is always scary. You have to trust that they’d have the best interest at heart for you or for the venture. You have to trust that you’ve made the right decision of entering with them into a relationship in the first place.

And I’m not someone who easily does that *pulls face* No I certainly don’t. And it doesn’t help that past experiences has basically taught me that I’m better of doing everything myself.

So of course, since I am self-aware I know my shortcomings. That I’d rather work on my own than do a group project (that has absolutely no bearing on my romantic status *straight face*). Because it takes a village to raise a child. That’s an African saying. And it holds true for taking on certain projects…true for having a healthy fulfilled life. Sometimes you need a little help from your friends.

That’s what the Africa Online Book Fair reminded me of again.

There’s a reason sites like Facebook got so big. Mark Zuckerburg understood the power of social networks, the power of people reaching out to each other, the power in connections and relationships. They can help you build things. The right people, with the right intentions and work ethic can build something solid.

Of course there is a flip-side to this coin. To this perfect picture I just sketched. Because people have personalities, come with their view points and sometimes misconceptions of what the objectives are.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across the latter. If people aren’t clear on what the end goal is it can impact how tasks are executed.

And once in awhile I’ve come across a rogue. You know what I mean, that one person who goes upstream while everyone’s going downstream. The one who deliberately swims against the current and you’re like why? That’s way too much effort and time consuming.

Here’s what I’ve learned when I’m working with someone and I’m required to be the number two (or four *grin*); I take a backseat. And not as a backseat driver. No. They should take the lead; I don’t try to make a grab for the wheel. If it looks like they are heading for a cliff I, politely, in a very reserved tone and with a modicum of caution, tell them that we are heading for a nosedive down a cliff. Usually that works. Because even though I’m an introvert with extrovert tendencies (I have a sneaky suspicion I might have developed into a full on self-aware extrovert over the years) I get on well with most people. Have been described as charming and likeable. And not just by people my age or ethnicity, class or cultural background. Across the board.

You know you’ve got people skills when eighteen and sixty year olds count you among their friends.

But in spite of this…in spite of the other side to the coin, I’d still say put yourself out there. Do it for your growth, do it for the experience, do it so you can write a blog post *laughs*, but mostly do it because it’s healthy. It’s good to come in contact with personalities that are not like yours. It’s good to see something come about from nothing. You learn new skills, make new contacts, and find out that the world is bigger than your experiences of it. That’s the reward.

No one can take away the lessons, the improvements away from you. You’ll know how to go about things next time in a similar setting, similar venture…another relationship.

So go on…take the plunge, put yourself out there.

#happynetworking

 

Saying Goodbye: Series Finale The Vampire Dairies

 

images vd season1 2Do you know where you were when you watched the pilot of The Vampire Dairies?

I do. I was studying my Honors degree at the University of Stellenbosch, living in one of the senior residences and a friend of mine had come over for a visit. We’d ended up getting our weekly dose of The Big Bang Theory and then decided (since we are both Twilight lovers) to give this new vampire TV series a try.

We watched it with mixed emotions. It was not Twilight. It was something different. But not bad different.

I didn’t know if I liked Elena Gilbert or not. She was the polar opposite of Bella Swan—confident, sassy, popular, had two best friends…and a tragedy. Let’s just speak truth for a minute here. I love Bella Swan, but until Edward Cullen showed up in her life, she didn’t have any level of depth that I could spy. The vampire gave her layers.

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Elena Gilbert (even though I was one of the character’s harshest critics) is introduced to us as someone who puts on the social mask that everyone expects of her, but deep down is still struggling with her parents death and the car accident she survived.

When Stefan Salvatore shows up and distracts her from what happened, it isn’t so much as he’s giving her layers but rather, as she so aptly puts in the last episode of the series, he brought her back to life.

I also from the onset became a big fan of Damien Salvatore, the very good-looking sometimes downright evil and reluctant hero and older brother of Stefan. You could already see just what he was going to bring to the table when he said with a smirk, “Hello little brother,” at the end of the pilot episode.

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And though the series was built on the love triangle between the two vampire brothers and a human girl, it ended up introducing us to the awesome witch Bonnie Bennet and organize freak who later also becomes a vampire Caroline Forbes, as well as Elena’s little brother Jeremy (in the books Elena has a sister), werewolf Taylor, Matt the human (yeah that’s how I thought of him lols at one point he was the only human amongst his friends), and his sister Vicki—whose death in season one threw us all. It was then that we all realized The Vampire Dairies meant business. This was going to be a show that’s going to grab you by the…uh nuts and take no prisoners. It was going to make itself stand out.

That was due to good casting and great storylines.

And let me not forget, they gave us the Mikaelsons; Klaus, Rebekah and Elijah…the Original vampire family. For that I will always hold a special place in my vampire-TV series-loving-heart for The Vampire Dairies.

I knew the end was coming after Nina Dobrev exited the series, but I held hope that it might go on to ten seasons *smile* I know, that’s pushing it. The love triangle, the tension between the three main characters that started us off, was gone. Because (oh I’m going to piss off a few people) I honestly don’t think Stefan was over Elena and vice versa. Yeah she chose Damien, but Damien can be so self-destructive that he would’ve ended up messing up their relationship (because as we’ve all learned in life, you can’t change for a person, you have to do that for yourself) and Damien’s whole premise of being good relies heavily on Elena. And we all knew Elena could be quite fickle sometimes. So there was still a chance, if Nina hadn’t left, that a relationship with Stefan would’ve been in the cards.

Hey, I love Damien, but I’m being realistic here. Damien was our foreshadowing of Klaus Mikaelson and anti-heroes are called anti-heroes for a reason.  

So Nina’s exit made it quite clear that The Vampire Dairies was coming to a definite end. Though we had time to prepare, it still took me by surprise at how emotional I was when I watched the last episode on Saturday. Yeah I know I’m a bit late to the party, but in my defense I’m thirty-three years old and was busy adulting, so put all my favorite shows on the backburner. (Yay Catch-up!)

 

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I was singing, “Please don’t leave quite yet!” and then The Fray’s Never Say Never. I hated that Bonnie didn’t get her happy ending with Enzo, but then again her ending was also fitting for the character. She’d always been this strong independent (black woman) witch who sweeps in and saves the day, sacrificing herself for the greater good and coming out on top, fiercer and wiser than ever. I loved how Caroline got what she’d always wanted, she married Stefan. Though she lost him again, she had that moment. She also got a family, because goodness, Caroline Forbes deserves to have a family dammit *sniffs* after what she’s been through. Oh and please plant her into The Originals. I’m still rooting for her and Klaus! *grin*

Matt became the Sheriff in Mystic Falls…yep uh kind of saw that coming a couple of seasons ago, but it’s also fitting. And Taylor, hot headed werewolf Taylor, is in the afterlife with Vicki and the rest of the cast who died.

There are so many other memorable characters like Rick, Aunt Jenna, etc. But I’ve just gone over nine hundred words, so I’m going to stop here.  

From 2009 till 2017 you’ve given us great television. You weren’t just a teen paranormal action/romance/drama but a solid show with a great cast and stories. I’ll probably re-watch my favorite seasons, so though this is goodbye, it does by no means, mean that you’ll be forgotten.

Yep I just had to go deep ala Elena Gilbert *teary smile*

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Feedback: Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books

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As the founder and one of the organizers of the #AfricaOnBookFair Romance Authors & Books, to say my nerves were fried when the weekend of the fair (2nd of June) arrived, would be an understatement.

The hosting of such an event on Facebook was a first for me, though not participating in one. Being a reader and getting to know authors, is the much preferred role of the two. But I was also extremely excited.

Here was an opportunity to bring people together, for authors to network with each other, for readers to discover new talent and for African romance authors to have another platform to showcase themselves. When you set out to do something like this you should 1) take a lot of deep breaths 2) give yourself room to make mistakes 3) surround yourself with positive people 4) surround yourself with people you can count on 5) check your resources 6) do your research and 8) set out to have fun!

Yep those aren’t very technical things except numbers 5 & 6, but they do help you to keep perspective.

That’s from a hosting perspective of the weekend.  Now as an author who also showcased their books for the weekend *smile*

Blog tours and Facebook parties rarely give earth shattering sales. Literary services will tell you that blog tours mainly create exposure and that’s what an author should focus on. Sales that do come from a blog tour are great, but the focus should be connecting with or creating a readership for your book(s).

Now Facebook book parties are a bit tricky, they’ve worked in the past to generate sales. But only when you diligently market your participation in the event. Facebook book parties are not as effective as they used to be. The ‘shine’ has worn off and some literary services don’t recommend having them.

So why did I as an author thought attending a Facebook book event will help me? Why participate in an online book fair? For the simple reason that online book fairs, according to my research, are still at the beginning phase of online book events and authors and those in the publishing industry has caught on that creating a comfortable and accessible space for both readers and publishing professionals seem to be the way forward. Attending an event like this annually creates relationships, networks and consistency that you won’t necessarily find at a Facebook party.

So I had 1hr to put my 4 posts up, and then for roughly a 1hr 30min I got to interact with anyone who responded on my posts. For me the time flew by, I thought the gap between me and the author after me might be too wide, but as the host of the fair *smile* I knew the time had to be allocated to slow down the social media for each author on our networks. That way you won’t have authors infringing on each others time.

As a bit of an experiment I put both my books for Decadent Publishing’s Ubuntu line on sale for the weekend. I offered nothing else. No gift cards, free books, swag, etc. because I wanted to test something. But not just my books. Authors who also write for the line and who took part in the fair, the publisher offered to put their books on sale as well.

I knew that the experiment would be skewed because all of us promoted ourselves differently and one of the Ubuntu line authors pulled out  a day before the event started. This would and probably did, affect the results.

I had invited some of my Facebook friends and also used my other networks to spread the word about my slot at the fair. During my hour, I also sent out private messages via Facebook inviting a few friends and reminding others. I posted in my publishers Facebook groups and also tagged DP on twitter. I thought of running an advert on Facebook or Twitter, but since I was hosting 2 out of the 3 days of the fair, I didn’t come around to doing it.

A few days after the fair I emailed my publisher and asked if the fair had in anyway hiked up sales for the Ubuntu line, and me, and she said it did. *smile* I’ll have to wait till my next royalty statement to see exactly by how big a margin.

One thing I’ve learned about online events the same as with physical events like say, a music concert. You have to tell people about it. Where you are going to be at, at what time, with who (if you’re not alone) and what they can expect from you. And not just once or twice, but multiple times before and, if it’s possible, during the event. Goodness, I got so sick of the Justin Bieber adverts promoting his concerts in SA, but I knew exactly where and when it was happening. (Thanks for the earworms after each advert Justin *raises eyebrow*)

So a heavy dose of marketing is definitely part of the plan next year for me as an author.

The experiment was a success, because I wanted to see if an event like this on a 99c book sale, for two of my books and other books of the Ubuntu line could bring in sales. And it did.

And this is the last thing I want to point out as a positive for an event like the Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Readers.

I’ve made some lasting connections with authors and readers during the fair. I was pleasantly surprised at an attendee (a Facebook friend) who I didn’t think would be interested in a romance authors event, show up with questions and engaging right up till my time was up. I got another writing buddy; I’m keen to hook up with. And as an organizer of the fair, two romance publishers already offered support us for next year.

I’ve already thanked the guest authors for the weekend via email, as well as my co-host Kathy Bosman, but I’d like to say another thank you. Without you the fair wouldn’t have been possible.

*bows head*

Link to the Africa Online Book Fair: https://web.facebook.com/groups/137410896799580/

Twitter: @AfricaOnBookFr

Instagram: @africaonlinebookfair

My “Booth” @ Africa Online Book Fair 2017

Yesterday was the start of the Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books! I’m very excited to be part of the fair and also to be hosting some awesome writers on our event page https://www.facebook.com/events/372063406523550/

I was the first author to open their “booth”. I have 4 posts: 1st introducing myself, 2nd a Amazon discount offer of Falling for Mr. Unexpected, 3rd a Amazon discount offer of Dance of Love and the 4th a spotlight on my new release The Wolf’s Choice. The discounts lasts until Monday (5 June).

If you want to learn more about me, come have a chat with me at the online book fair. I’m going to hang around the whole weekend!

If you found my blog via the Africa Online Book Fair, than browse around and subscribe to get regular updates from me (I promise I don’t flood people’s email).

If you want to go straight to the Amazon discounts, here are the links:

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Falling for Mr. Unexpected http://www.amazon.com/Falling-Mr-Unexpected-Inge-Saunders-ebook/dp/B00R4UACZW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418848131&sr=8-1&keywords=falling+for+mr.+unexpected

Dance of Love discount banner

Dance of Love http://amzn.to/1AaLcDS

And if you like shape-shifter paranormal romance here’s the links to The Wolf’s Choice (Black Hills Wolves #64):

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Amazon: Kindle Store https://t.co/gipdx4OYiZ

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/za/en/ebook/the-wolf-s-choice

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/711816

 

The Africa Online Book Fair: Interview Author Elaine Dodge

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The Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books is a weekend event, featuring 13 authors and 1 interview with an aspiring romance author. Each day will have a certain amount of authors that will showcase their books and who they are.

The online book fair takes place on Facebook. Here’s a link to the event page. https://www.facebook.com/events/372063406523550/

We are also running a sign up for our Newsletters competition that runs with the Africa Online Book Fair blog tour from 17 to 31 May. You could win a 20$ Amazon Gift Card.

Sign up for as many newsletters as you want, each one is an entry: https://tinyurl.com/kvttmhb

The winner will be announced after the fair.

Attending the online book fair and how it works is straightforward, especially for readers who’ve attended Facebook book parties. But also for readers who use the social network site daily.

All you need to do is go to our Event and click ‘Going’. It’s that easy!

And don’t forget to invite your friends!

Hope you have lots of fun and discover awesome reads.

Africa Online Book Fair Links:

Facebook Group Page:https://tinyurl.com/ka3ucvl

Twitter: @AfricaOnBookFr

Instagram: @africaonlinebookfair

Welcome Elaine!

  1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Zambia, grew up in Zimbabwe and am currently living in South Africa. I’ve travelled a lot – the first round the world trip was when I was 4. I trained as a graphic designer, and my brother and I ran our own company – The Artful Dodges – for a while. A long stint in advertising followed. Then it was time for a change. A change of country and profession.So, I moved to South Africa, where I fell head first into the local and international broadcast television industry for the next eight years. I discovered that what I enjoyed the most was telling stories. Apart from white-water rafting down the Zambezi, I feel most alive when I’m writing.

My first book, Harcourt’s Mountain, published byTirgearr Publishing, was nominated for the 2014 RONE Awards. My short story, The Man with a House on His Back featured in the Crossroads Press published anthology, Blue Honey and the Valley of Shadow.I am currently editing my second novel, The Device Hunter.

  1. What do you enjoy about being an author?

I love writing for the same reason I love reading. Stories can transport one to a different age, a different country or even off the planet. Stories can allow the reader to be anyone they like – a ship’s captain in Nelson’s navy, a Georgian heiress being courted by a handsome rake, a close friend of Jane Austen, a surgeon on the front lines, a detective in the 1920’s who has an unusual link to the dead. The possibilities are only as endless as one’s imagination.

  1. What type of romance stories do you write? And why?
    So far, I’ve only written one – Harcourt’s Mountain. But the kinds of romance stories I like to read all have the same things in common. Interesting, intelligent people falling in love against the odds, amidst challenges and adventure and often in unusual places or eras. Some of the reviews I’ve received for Harcourt’s Mountain have compared the book to Outlander, The Far Pavilions and books by Francine Rivers. I do prefer books where the sex happens behind closed doors and I write that way as well.
  2. Favorite place in Africa?
    Mana pools, hands down.
  3. Why do you think African romance authors and stories set on the continent are important?
    Africa often gets a bad rap, and that’s sad. Authors that choose to place their stories on the continent will help to change that.
  4. Do you think romance stories set in Africa & Africans vital to the publishing industry? If yes/no, why do you say so?
    The African continent is a huge untapped resource in terms of book sales. And who doesn’t love a well told story? Romance can be the main theme or a part of a story but everyone is hungry for stories and if they’re set on our continent that’s the icing on the cake. People like to be able to relate to the characters. It’s helpful if the character is the same ethnicity as the reader.
  5. What traditional food do you love, that one can only find in Africa?

Babootie for a savory and Koeksisters for a sweet.

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You can find Elaine online at:                                                                               

Website:www.elainedodge.weebly.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/ElaineRosemaryD/

Twitter: @ElaineRosemaryD