For the next two weeks the Africa Online Book Fair is having a blog tour to promote itself. As part of the promotion it’s having a 20$ Amazon GC #raffle and 4 Guest Authors along for the tour. I’m one of those Guest Authors *smile*
My post for the fair’s promotion will be up on the 17th of March, the tour itself, is starting on the 15th of March till the 2nd of April. So a lot of time for anyone to enter the #raffle if they want to. An entry link will be posted with every blog stop.
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.
I have been writing since I was seven years old and making up stories every since I can remember. When I was about eleven I discovered my sister’s romance books and I never looked back. They were category style romances written in Afrikaans and the library couldn’t stay ahead supplying. I love to travel and I lived in Zambia, Morocco and Spain and did short tours to Mozambique, Portugal, Brazil, Italy and Zimbabwe. I’m a bit of a couch potato and love reading and watching television. My absolute favorite thing to do is writing the stories of the characters living in my head.
2. What inspires you to write?
Everything. Movies, conversations sometimes even a look on someone’s face. I love the people in my head who plague me to write their stories all the time.
3. What project are you most excited about right now?
I am excited about several I have written and are editing. I wish I could clone myself and do them all at once. Next up is Alien Betrayed and can’t wait to get back to it and finish editing. I have also written a gargoyle story and one about a very arrogant but endearing dragon who walk into a camp of dragons who refuse to accept her as one of them.
*Ooh gargoyles and dragons!*
4. Which authors are you currently hooked on? Any recommendations.
I love Nalini Singh and read each and every book that she puts out. Jayne Anne Krentz has been an auto buy for me since I was in high school. I have almost all her books, even the ones she wrote as Jayne Bentley. Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kristen Ashley, Kresley Cole, G.A. Aiken, Shelley Laurentson and so many more.
5. If one of your books could be made into a movie, which one? And why?
Maybe my first book but only if time and money is spent on a good script writer. I have noticed that most romances does not translate well to the movie screen. Or rather are not made into good movies.
And here’s an excerpt:
Slowly, slowly, she turned her head.
Red, devilish eyes stared at her with unblinking menace from the mouth of the cave.
Natalie froze. The most savage gaze she’d ever seen followed her trembling hand as it crept up to cover her vulnerable neck.
He growled, and she nearly jumped out of her skin.
The temperature dropped, as if the very air was terrified. The sound of the wind, slapping against the canvas over the entrance, died as the alien continued to stare at her, sitting with his hands still tied to the wall.
Her mind screamed at her to move, to get dressed, to render him unconscious once more. Anything but stand there frozen, with her hand against her throat. His gaze traveled down her body to settle on her bare breasts. She could feel the heat of his eyes, searing her flesh. At last, her muscles obeyed and she dived behind the stack of crates. Drawing her knees to her chest, Natalie closed her eyes and pressed her back against the boxes.
I tied him up, he can’t hurt me.
She peeked around the corner of the containers, straight into his unblinking red eyes.
“Uh, hello?” She waved hesitantly then cringed. “Um, excuse me while I, um—”
Hiding behind the boxes again, she fumbled for her knitted blue sweater, slipping it over her head before pulling on the thick woollen pants. Resting her head on her knees, she closed her eyes for a moment then dried her palms on her thighs. She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, then stood up and walked around the stacked boxes.
He watched her every step, like a predator stalking its prey. His nostrils flared, as if he could smell her from such a distance. Could he hear the sound of her heart, beating in intense panic, as well?
What did one ask an alien? Especially one you’d clobbered and tied up?
“Do—do you speak English?” She barely heard her own voice over the pounding of her heart in her ears. The cold, in the surrounding air and rising up from the floor of the cave, seeped into her bare feet until her knees ached. She reached for her boots, never taking her eyes off him.
His expression didn’t change.
If only she could believe he was more scared of her than she was of him. This alien, this male didn’t fear anything, did he?
Desperate to get her boots on, to feel less vulnerable, she moved to sit down on the cave floor, but her sore muscles protested and she lost her balance. The empty boxes scattered as she tried to right herself, her bum landing with a faint thump. She half expected the alien to start laughing at her clumsiness, but he only continued to watch her with his intense gaze.
Natalie retrieved one of the scarred leather boots and jammed her left foot inside, only to realize it was the wrong foot. She hastily jerked the boot onto her right foot and reached for the other one. As if she wasn’t frantic enough, his gaze, following her every move, was making her more self-conscious.
“Well, do you? Speak English, I mean?”
I was tagged by fellow ROSA member Louise Rose-Innes to take part in the Meet the Character Blog Hop.
Louise writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Born in sunny South Africa, she`s a lover of sunshine and the sea, and this is often reflected in her novels. After completing a post graduate in Marketing Management, Louise headed off to the United Kingdom to gain work experience and travel. She now lives with her family in leafy Surrey, and when she`s not writing, is traipsing through the countryside, or kayaking on the river Thames.
Her debut romantic suspense novel, Personal Assistance, has recently been published through Entangled Publishing. She`s a member of the Romantic Novelists` Association (RNA) in the UK, and the Romance writers` Organization of South Africa (ROSA). You can visit Louise at www.louiseroseinnes.com
So without further introduction, there`s someone here who can`t wait to for me to introduce him to all of you.
Everyone, meet Damian. *Damian steps up, signature smoldering dark gaze in place*
Damian, this is everyone.
*me shaking my head as Damian flashes his killer smile* *face in palm*
Today, I`m joining the Meet the Character Blog Hop to introduce all of you to my favourite leading man Damian Davidson from Falling for Mr. Unexpected (set for a SA Spring release 2014).
Meet the Character
What is the name of your character? Is s/he fictional/historical?
I`m going to let Damian introduce himself…
My name is Damian Davidson, I was born and raised in South Africa, Stellenbosch, but moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of my acting career. I was supposed to follow in the footsteps of my brother and father, and become a surgeon, but I caught the acting bug when I took part in my senior showcase.
I did try to appease my father by enrolling for medicine at the University of Cape Town *shrug*, but it had only lasted two years. Needless to say, my father disowned me and I ended up penniless on the streets of LA, working as a waiter and then model before I got my first break in a French film.
I`ve been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, so I`d say switching medicine for acting hadn`t been such a bad idea *grins*
When and where is the story set?
I live in LA, but a recent *ahem* sex-tape scandal has forced me back to SA, to Strand, a coastal town in the Western Cape where I own a beach house. I hadn`t been there in years, so I figured it would be safe from the paparazzi. I was hoping after a couple of weeks out here the story would blow over and I could go back to LA. Alas I got more than I bargained for.
What should we know about Damian?
I`m a very private person. A career in the public is probably not the most logical thing for someone who loves to lead a private life. I don`t mind interviews, obviously *smiles* and talking about my acting roles, but the paparazzi can be very invasive and tabloids have a way of getting their facts wrong. The image they portray of a celebrity isn`t always accurate.
What is Damian`s goal?
The goal is to get away from everything Hollywood since the movie I`ve been working on was brought to a stop because of the scandal. The idea is to have a couple of weeks of relative peace, which also means, and I honestly love my fans, but I need a reprieve. The sex-tape seemed to have sparked a rise in fans sending underwear in the mail and posting naked pictures of themselves on my car`s windshield *clears throat* Which is probably why I mistook my brother`s sister in-law, Emma Cupido, as an *ahem* obsessed fan.
Our first meeting wasn`t pretty- me, in nothing but a towel, her half-naked clutching her clothes against her body, she had taken a dip in the ocean on my private beach. Something my brother failed to tell her when he offered for her to use the house for the school holidays. He`s been taking care of the place while I was out of the country.
What is screwing up Damian`s life (main conflict in writerly speak)?
Emma Cupido and her bruised feet *grimace* Who knew a box filled with hardcovers could cause so much damage. She even has a broken pinky-toe *ouch*
I had initially shown her the door, but I couldn`t kick her out after the ‘accident’. Imagine the headline. Damian Davidson throws out injured woman on the streets. So no peace for me, since in spite of her miniature size, Emma does have a way of taking up a lot of space. Most disturbingly in my head.
Oh and have I mentioned that because of Emma, I now have to inform my parents, with whom I haven`t spoken to in four years, that I`m in SA? No, well the word awkward doesn’t even begin to cover the situation.
What is the title?
Falling for Mr. Unexpected– I guess I`m Mr. Unexpected *grins*
When can we expect the book to be published or when was it published?
Happy to meet all of you Spring 2014.
Meet Next Week`s Authors
Zee Monodee is an author who grew up on a fence – on one side there was modernity and the global world, on the other there was culture and traditions. Putting up with the culture for half of her life, one day she decided she’d stand tall on her wall and dip toes every now and then into both sides of her non-conventional upbringing.
From this resolution spanned a world of adaptation and learning to live on said wall. The realization also came that many other young women of the world were on their own fence.
This particular position became her favourite when she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing – her heroines all sit ‘on a fence’, whether cultural or societal, in today’s world or in times past, and face dilemmas about life and love.
Hailing from the multicultural island of Mauritius, Zee is a degree holder in Communications Science. She is a head-over-heels wife, in-over-her-head mum to a tween son, best-buddy-stepmum to a teenage lad, an incompetent domestic goddess, eternal dreamer, and an absolute, shameless bookholic.
Marie Dry- Ever since she can remember Marie wanted to travel. She had the privileged of living in Zambian, Morocco and Spain and sees herself as a bit of a gypsy. Every few years she gets restless and has to be someplace new.
All her life she has read romances and was fairly young when she decided she would write the perfect story that had all the elements she looked for in a romance. Marie found it a wonderful experience to see the characters in her head coming to life on the page. So being published by Black Opal Books is a dream come true for her.
There are several wonderful moments in her life that she would never trade for anything. One of them is meeting President Nelson Mandela and the second, being published.
Kathy Bosman loves reading and writing even more. She homeschools her three kids, so in between unsuccessfully explaining the difference between subject and predicate or how to divide fractions, she enters an imaginary world of troubled and passionate characters whose stories take over the page.
Kathy lives in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, where the summers are hot the winters cool, and bugs thrive. Her first published novel, Wedding Gown Girl, came out in 2012 with Astraea Press. She belongs to the Romance writers` Organization of South Africa (ROSA) which has been her greatest support and inspiration the last few years.
Nana Prah is a multi-published author of contemporary, multicultural romance. Her books are sweet with a touch of spice. When she’s not writing she’s reading, indulging in chocolate, and enjoying life with friends and family.