Monday, December 31, 2012

2013- The Year of Uncertainty

Over the years New Year's Eve has become more important to me than Christmas. For me NYE is a time to take stock, to see how the last year went, and to prepare for a new one. It's an exciting time for me.

In 2012 I took a few trips. I attended the Caine Workshop in South Africa. I met a lot of great people and got a bit of insight into my own writing. It was a useful workshop for me. I came out of it knowing myself a bit better and understanding that my way of writing is not the wrong way (something I often thought), it is only my way and that's okay.  I also went to Nairobi and attended the Storymoja Hay Festival.

I wrote two books for educational publishers this year. One for a publisher in UK, about elephants, and The Second Worst Thing for South Africa's Oxford University Press. I took a wobbly walk into self publishing with the publication of three of my Kate Gomolemo Mysteries as ebooks at Amazon.

It was a disappointing year too. I finished the sequel for Signed, Hopelessly in Love, Signed, The Secret Keeper and after many months I had to make the decision to withdraw the book for consideration by the publisher. I'd always seen the first book as a series of three. Now I'm not sure what to do. I like the second book quite a bit, maybe more than the first, so I doubt it will remain unpublished for long. It's just waiting for me to decide what to do with it. I also had to make another difficult decision this year. I parted with a publisher I really liked working with because I could no longer continue to sign contracts that I was not 100% behind.

Both of these decisions came at the end of this year and have left me slightly lost. I'm trying to find a new path for my writing career.  I felt a bit as if I was finally realising the kind of writer I would be, and now the road disappeared. So I've pulled out the bush cutter and am back to finding a new way.

So as I step into 2013 it is an uncertain year that lies ahead. I'm working on a very ambitious project that I hope will meet with publishing success. I'm also attempting to expand my romance writing and am working on a romance novel I'm hoping to submit to THE BIG romance publisher.

Although it is never nice to have to end relationships, I feel in a way the hard decisions I made were needed. Writing is a tough business and when you find a nice little nest where everything is lovely, it's easy to become complacent. I think that was  happening to me. Complacency is the death of a writer. I think it's healthy for me to be uncertain and scared. It is good for me not to be able to see what lies ahead.

So I'm looking forward to this year of uncertainty.
I hope all of you also have a 2013 that you're looking forward to- Happy New Year!

(And with a new year, comes a new look blog- what do you think??)

Friday, December 28, 2012

President Zuma and the Dogs

So the South African president, President Zuma, decided to declare dogs and the caring for dogs a "white, non-African" practice. You can read more about it here. I'm not sure where he got his facts, but scientists are beginning to accept that the first domestic dogs actually came from Africa.He is actually perpetuating racist stereotypes in a country that can ill afford such behaviour.

Of course Zuma's utterances have made people angry. It has re-ignited the racist fire that is never completely out in South Africa. It's too bad because Zuma has many important issues to attend to and now he's taken the debate to a place that is not constructive.

I have three dogs, the youngest my puppy Delilah shown above having a snooze under my desk in the office. I love my dogs. But perhaps Zuma was trying to make a point albeit in a clumsy way. Some people go overboard when it comes to animals, at the expense of people. For example, I believe a dog that attacks a person needs to be put down. An uncontrollable dog is dangerous. I feel the same about wild animals that kill people. But some will say an elephant that has killed a person should be saved. People must have a sensible view when it comes to animals.

Having said that, I've always felt, in fact, that we have more of an obligation to domestic animals than wild animals. We took these animals from the wild and made them dependent on us. It is unfair now to abandon them. To mistreat them. Thousands of years ago we made a pact with them. It is wrong to go back on it. I just hope President Zuma's words will not allow people to renege on that agreement, thinking that somehow it is African to mistreat a dog. It is not, as so many Africans have been saying on the social networks after Zuma's speech. Being loving and humane is part of African culture. And so is keeping a promise and standing by your word.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Goodies of Late

Good things have been happening but I've been crazy busy so I thought I'd catch my blogging friends up on my life.

1. I have a new kids book coming out with Oxford University Press in South Africa. It's called The Second Worst Thing. It's about Dikeledi, a girl who has already gone through the worst thing- her parents' divorce. She realises it wasn't so bad in retrospect since now her mother treats her like a queen for fear she'll become a psychopathic serial killer and her busy father sets aside time to spend only with her. While she's working on Operation Popular Group, her plan to make sure she and her best friend Mpho make it into the popular group next year in high school, the second worst thing is creeping up on her, and it's going to ruin everything.

2. I was interviewed at For Books' Sake by the wonderful Judy Croome as part of her series on African women writers. The interview is HERE. If you're interested in reading about the other writers you can find them all here.

3. And my friend Tania Hershman has put up a blog post with all of the books she wrote blurbs for this year, recommending her readers might be interested in buying one or two of the books for Xmas presents. My short story collection is on the list which is HERE.

4. Rachel Zadok, Whitbread First Novel Award nominee and author of the fab book Gem Squash Tholoshe, has put up a very nice blog post about my story Moving Forward. The post is here and the first bit of the story here.

So that's me- what's up with you?