Monday, September 26, 2011

My Romances as Ebooks!!

Two of the romances I wrote for South African publisher, Sapphire Press, are now available as ebooks. Do you have a Kindle? Why not give them a read?
Buy Kwaito Love HERE!

And buy Mr Not Quite Good Enough HERE.

I'm slowly slowly moving into the digital age. Watch out- my short story collection, In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata and Other Stories will soon be out as an ebook with HopeRoad-London. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Win a Signed Copy of Signed, Hopelessly in Love!!

To celebrate my book coming out and in honour of Botswana's Independence Day (30th September) I'm giving away a signed copy of my latest young adult book, Signed, Hopelessly in Love.

So how do you win??
The winner is the one who, in the comments section below, best completes this sentence:

"The best thing about Botswana is_______."

For this I will pull in, as yet unidentified, impartial judges to make the final decision.

So try your luck and let me hear what you think about my lovely adopted country! Deadline is next week Thursday (29 Sept) winners announced on Independence Day.
Good luck!

Monday, September 19, 2011

You Can Buy My Romances in Gaborone Now!

I was in Gaborone this last weekend. I led a Writers Association of Botswana (WABO) workshop on "Getting Published". Before coming back to Mahalapye I did a bit of shopping in Gaborone and passed CNA. I knew the Sapphire Press titles were now being sold in CNAs in South Africa but I thought I'd just check- and there they were!! What a lovely surprise! Kwaito Love was there and my newest Mr Not Quite Good Enough, I didn't see Can He Be The One? . And the other great thing is that they are reasonably priced- only P49.95. That is a fantastic price to get Batswana buying books and reading them.

I'm very excited!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Pot of Gold is NOT at the End of the Rainbow

I've always been a big dreamer, a rainbow chaser.

I remember growing up with a mother legally crazy, a father always gone, and a step-mother who could have given any fairy book step-mother a serious run for their money in the evil department and thinking -one day I'm leaving this place. I dreamt about my escape every day. And one day I did it. I left that place. For good.

I remember at university I went to "Out of Africa" with a friend on a hot summer Saturday afternoon. All we wanted was a room that was air conditioned, but I was surprised to find a new rainbow. I came out of the theatre, and as my eyes adjusted from the inside darkness to the outside brightness, I said, "One day I want to live in a place like that", and I followed that rainbow until I found the place where I live at the end of it.

Not so long ago I thought- I wish one day I could have a book published. Another dream to head toward, another rainbow followed. One dream after another, rainbows followed up and then down to their eventual ends.

This last week I received my author copies of Signed, Hopelessly in Love. I put a photo of the stack on Facebook with a status that said, "I'm a little bit happy". It's book number fourteen to be published, actually more than that if you throw in textbooks and nonfiction, but number fourteen for my fiction. It's not that I'm becoming blase about the event. It's just that when the book is finally finished, printed and bound, going out to do whatever it is it might be able to do, then I feel like my job is over, the dream has been accomplished. I feel like I've reached the end of my rainbow.

I don't see my books as my "babies" as some authors do. It's sort of the opposite for me. In the case of my children, once they were born the journey started. Now all of the wonderful things could be discovered about them and about me with them. But a book is born at the end of the journey. Books are sort of anti-babies for me.

My books are products of my hard work. Of my imagination. Writing is it for me. I'm proud of my books, I'm happy with myself for having produced them. I'm happy when readers enjoy them. But to be honest, I've found once the book comes out, for me it's as if everything is over and there's a bit of sadness in that. A lot of my other rainbows have been like that too.

Most people believe when our dreams are answered we'll be happy. We believe at the end of the rainbow there really is a pot of gold. But I've found it's not quite like that. For me there are bits of gold everywhere along the way and at the end of the rainbow? Well, at the end I'm just done, done collecting my bits of gold and now I must go looking for another rainbow.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Has it come to this?

I'm a practical person. I accept that the longed for times when writers wrote and readers read their work has passed. Writers now must write and then they must perform. They must read their work (make sure you read well), they must be entertaining, they must twitter and Facebook and market market market. They must be experts on everything from the status of book reading in Africa to why Mugabe is still president of Zimbabwe...even when you're not Zimbabwean. But this? Has it really truly come to this?

This author is sitting in a shop window during a literary festival and writing while people pass by and gawk at her. Am I the only person who feels very sad about this?

Oh for the times when no one knew us. When the words were what mattered. When publishers sold our books, not us.

History, I guess. Nothing more than history now.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Interview in The Voice

A couple weeks ago I was interviewed for one of our national papers, The Voice, the same one I write a weekly column for- It's All Write. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

Q. You are one of Botswana’s renowned writers, where did the love for writing come from?
My love of writing comes from my love of reading. I had a problematic childhood and books were where I found refuge.
Even now there is no better way for me to spend the day than reading a well written novel. Because of my love for books I was always fascinated by authors. One of the first letters I ever wrote was to an author of one of the books I’d read. I remember the book was about monkeys. My teacher posted it for me and when the author wrote back my teacher laminated the letter for me (lamination was a big deal in the 1970s), that letter was one of my most prized possessions for a very long time.

What else do you do besides writing?

I’m a full time writer. I make all of my income from writing and things associated with writing (running workshops, speaking, etc.) Seven years ago when I decided to see if I could make a living as a writer, I wrote everything that came along. I freelanced for many local and foreign publications, I wrote radio scripts, I wrote for television. In quite a short time I was making a good enough income to live on and sold my business. But always my main goal was to try to live on my fiction writing. I’m not sure how sustainable my current situation is but I’m working hard all the time to reach my goal of living exclusively on my fiction.

Read the rest of the interview HERE.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Send Your Work Out! Now!

When I was speaking about the publishing climate in Botswana and Southern Africa at the LSE in February, one of the questions I got from the audience was - what about people who just want to write for themselves and not submit anywhere? It seemed such an odd question to me that I struggled and in the end one of the people in the audience answered it for me.

I suppose writing for yourself has its purpose. I suppose it helps you to work things out, to figure out how you feel about things. But for me, to be a writer, to call yourself a writer, you must have readers. Perhaps my working class background dictates that work must equal pay. (It also means that pay must equal hard work, which is part of the reason I never seem to do things the easy way; but that is another blog post)

I know other writers might not agree with me, but I just think writers must submit. There is always the fear of rejection, but still you must submit. My cure to rejection angst is to have many things out there in Submissionland, so that one rejection doesn't sting too hard. As I write this I have:
1. Query for a book sent to two different publishers in India
2. A short story sent to a magazine in UK
3. A column sent to a magazine in UK
4. A romance novel sent to a publisher in USA
5. An adult novel sent to a publisher in UK
6. A young adult book sent to a contest in South Africa
7. A detective novella sent to a publisher in Nigeria
8. A short story sent to a publisher for an anthology in South Africa

Of course some of these I have more angst about than others. If a rejection arrives, I will feel sore for a bit without a doubt. But I know that's part of the game.

Submit! The worst that can happen is they say no. That's the worst, and it's not so terrible. Really. With a list like mine, I get lots of NOs, so I'm speaking from experience. I've been keeping a submission journal since 2005. One day I should work out my average, like a batter's average, of how many acceptances I get as opposed to rejections. It might be quite depressing. But it doesn't matter, eventually I do get some acceptances, and so will you.

Good luck!