It’s nearly Friday, folks . . . Who would like their book reviewed?

Earlier we discussed the issue of begging our blog friends to buy our books. And the consensus is that reviews (and stars) are worth more than sales when you are a new writer. Nobody wants to buy your book if somebody else has not already a) purchased it and b) taken the time to review it. help wanted

Personally, I am not crazy about the idea of asking Granny and Aunt Sue and all the neighbours to review my book. If you read some reviews on Amazon, it sounds as though that is exactly what happens. I would rather have five reviews than ten sales. And I would rather have five reviews from thoughtful readers and writers (YOU, my blog buddies) than twenty Granny/Aunt Sue/neighbourhood reviews (especially if they think that reading was something they had to do at school, and no more).

As promised, I am going to institute a Friday Freebie blog. This our attempt (yours and mine) to get our works reviewed on whatever digital platform they may be. Instead of us thrusting our books into the faces of all our Blogville buddies, asking them to buy, buy, buy  . . . we are going to read and review each other’s books.

The only criteria (criterion for the grammar Nazis), is that it MUST BE FREE on Friday 1 May. So, if you have some free days left on your Amazon promo, or you have a free book on another platform in need of reviews, LET ME KNOW. And I am going to make up a blog spread with your book’s cover, a short description, and the link to your platform. So I think you know what I need.

Wait, there is another criteria (criterion for the GN): You MUST review AT LEAST one other book from Friday’s blog. This is a Give-and-Take scenario (scenarion? :-)).

Send the details to

Please send it soon, as I am going to need some time to get the layout sorted.  The great thing is that we can all reblog the post (and connect it to our Facebook pages) and who knows, we may even scoop a few extra reviews along the way.

Let’s see if this works.

I’m looking forward to seeing a few books up on Friday.


Please don’t . . .

cropped-blog.pngPlease don’t . . .

I had to get to this one sooner or later. I seem to have a whole lot of issues with blogging. Maybe it’s because I am still recently from the real world out there. Anyway, I have a new itch that needs scratching (gnomes, you’re safe, I won’t be picking on you).

My itch is the number of self-pub authors that want me to buy their books.

There, I said it.

I need to enlighten you a little.

I, too, am a self-pubber (sounds like it involves alcohol) and I, too, am looking for people to buy my books. But if I buy your book, then you have to buy my book and the whole writing world will collapse because authors will die of starvation. I am also on Amazon and although my sales are not terrible, they are not enough to purchase all the books that are continually being offered to me.

I DO believe that blogging is a great way to network and cry on each other’s shoulders and encourage each other, but it is not a bookshop. When I go to a bookshop (digital or otherwise) I like to browse. If someone is going to stand in front of me and keep holding their book up to my face, I will go to another bookshop.

However, I do think that we can productively support each other by the reciprocal providing of reviews. I don’t know how I sell any books with no reviews, or a solitary bad review (which is attached to my current best selling work — a puny short story which somehow sells despite my desire to disown it).

My point is this: tell me when your book is FREE on Amazon, and I will read it and review it for you. When you are a new writer, reviews are more precious than sales, believe me. Perhaps I will start a Freebie Friday Blog. You place your book FREE on the Friday, I will set up the link to it, and we can all provide reviews.

Let’s be sensible about this, and let the READERS buy our books, not other writers. Let them make some money first. . .

Poem: prolife [the vanity of publishing]


Up to my bloody hips in jellyfish foetuses

I march,

respectfully trying not to tread on the dead

of those gone before.

Pushing, pushing to the promised land.

My lungs dare a deep breath–

but these unborn do not stink

for in South Africa

smiling babies are raped and slashed open wide

while we muse at our sterile slabs,

pickling our miscarriages in formaldehyde.

And, at a lucky climax in our meaningless lives,

we get to dress them in esoteric book covers bearing our names

and sir publishing god christens our vanity and our death


What gnomes and toddlers can teach us about blogging . . .

I love blogging. It satisfies an urge that I have – the urge to talk. But blogging is about a whole lot more than just having your soap box moment. I have been blogging for a couple of weeks now, and something was scratching the nether regions of my consciousness. Something was wrong. And I stayed away for a couple of days, trying to figure it out.  And then I had my eureka moment . . .ameleah1

But it began a week ago, when I took my granddaughters to the animal farm. The youngest, Ameleah, just fell in love with one of the gnomes, and promptly sat down and asked the gnome to be her friend. Needless to say, the gnome smiled in a friendly manner, and looked pretty and colourful, but he wasn’t about to become her friend. I eventually distracted her with promises of all the lovely smelling donkeys and pigs and goats that were waiting for their lettuce leaves and bread. But she really wanted to be the gnome’s friend. Two year old minds are not easy to change.

Then today we went to feed the animals again – I don’t know what they would do without us – and there was Mr Gnome again. I’m not sure it was the same one, but Ameleah went and sat herself down next to him and said in her adorable helium voice : “You be my fwend?” And what did the lifeless chunk of concrete do? He just sat there and ignored my granddaughter. Oh, he still looked cute and colourful, but that is all he is good for. He ain’t gonna be anybody’s friend. Ever.

ameleah2Then the clichéd penny dropped. That was the problem with blogging. I am trying to make friends with bloggers, but most of them are gnomes – concrete ones. They have great looking blogs and they say great things, but that’s where it ends. Because they never look further than their gnome noses. Look, I make an effort, and I will read your posts and say something as often as possible, because I believe that blogging is a way to build some sort of friendships in Blogville. If I have nothing to say, I like to leave a “like” or two where it fits. Don’t get me wrong, I have made some really super friends here that I would invite to dinner any day of the week (most of them would need to be chaperoned, though, or muzzled at the very least), but there is a large number of people that have ignored the fact that I am a person with my own ideas too, and am not just here for their edification. In other words, you stroke my ego and I’ll stroke yours. That’s what friends are for.

Anyway, now that I know what the problem is, I also know how to solve it. If you won’t be my friend, I will just go and search for another. The donkeys at least see the lettuce in my hand and smile at me before making funny noises. Okay, my rant is over. I feel much better. And, by the way, if you have just read this post, it’s not meant for you. But then you will know exactly what I am talking about.

The world is full of beautiful people . . .

cs3. . . if we just take a look around us

This morning I sat in a coffee shop and spied my prey sitting nearby. Writers are always looking for things that they can spin into their web of lies – I mean stories.

What really caught my attention was the little snippets of conversation that floated across to me on Brazilian aromas.

Before continuing with my tale, I need to confess that I am a techophobe/technofool, whatever you might want to call it. But I learn just enough to get by, and nothing more.

Anyway, the oldest of the whiteheads (left in the above image) was speaking:

“I cannot for the life of me understand why all the youngsters have laptops.”

Lady in crocheted hat: “I’m sure it’s so that they can go onto the internet.”

Oldest of the whiteheads again: “Nonsense. It’s matter of what is in vogue. You can’t go onto the internet with a laptop.”

Gentleman with his back to me: “Why not? I thought you could.”

“It doesn’t plug in, that’s why not. My grandson explained it all to me. I don’t remember the details, though.”

Lady in hat: ” But if you have a special phone you can.”

Oldest: “That’s far too expensive. I’m really not interested in the internet . . .”

I was smiling and choking at the same time. Once I had dried my eyes, they were talking about something else. But I want to assure you that I do not hold their ignorance against them. Until a few weeks ago, I still plugged my cell phone into my laptop with a USB cable to connect to the internet. Wi-Fi hot spot on a cell phone? I had never heard of it before. Now I am on the cyber highway, with my laptop upstairs while connected to my phone in charge downstairs. Man, it still feels like magic.

So, yes, I get the old trio (there must be two and a half centuries between them) and I think that they are fortunate not to have to deal with things that are a “matter of what is in vogue”. And I get it that I am only a second or two ahead of them – technologically speaking, not biologically. I can just about claim a half-century to myself at this point.

Back to the topic. Beautiful people. They aren’t beautiful people because they are cyber-clots. I know plenty of ugly techo-morons. But I watched the old lady with the woollen crocheted hat as she ate. She is really old, I assure you. But her eyes were smiling like those of a young girl, and I held my breath each time she lifted the scone to her mouth . . . and closed her eyes. She was simply enjoying the scone topped with grated cheese. At one point she said, “My goodness, this place gives such generous helpings of butter. Real butter.”

Know this: when I get to her age, I want to be just like her – still enjoying the things I enjoy now. I will close my eyes every time I take a bite out of a fresh scone. These are the beautiful people that fill my world, and even though they have no need for the internet, they have just debuted on it anyway, from a small coffee shop in a hospital in Three Rivers, South Africa.

[I am so thrilled that my cheapy cell phone took such a poor pic. If you enlarge it enough, it looks like an oil painting. How cool is that?]

#WW Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

Shannon A Thompson

Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

Lately, I’ve been trying to help a lot of fellow writers find publishers, literary journals, and websites where they can share their work. The market is HUGE (hence the giant, capital letters), but for many, this is both a positive and a negative description of the industry. With so many options, how does someone know where to submit? And with so many opportunities, why do I keep getting rejected?

rejectThere are so many answers for this, and none of them are accurate. It’s all guesswork. I can’t tell someone why their manuscript was denied by so-and-so, and I can’t explain why someone else’s poetry made it into The Gettysburg Review over someone else. Only the judgers could, for certain, say why, but even then, it often comes down to their mood that day or their theme that month or how well it would fit in…

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Living together in a harmonious society is not just a pie in the sky goal. It can be done, and it begins with our children and grandchildren. What better way to influence this than by offering books that pose the ideal.

Scribbles on the Wall


I want to ask you to join me on this campaign #multiculturalbooksmatter in an effort to bring attention to books that celebrate multicultural characters, especially in children’s literature.
Recently, I’ve become aware of the need for multicultural children’s books. This infographic by Lee and Low shows the state of diversity in children’s literature as of right now:

Click on the link to go lee and Low site. Click on the link to go Lee and Low Books site.

Even though demographics have shifted considerably in the past years, the number of multicultural/diverse books — or by diverse authors–published since 1994 has stayed pretty much the same.

Who is it to blame? Publishing houses with a preconceived idea of what sells and what doesn’t? Agents who don’t give a voice to authors with an accent or from a different background? Authors who do not reflect the world we live in? Book lovers who do not buy books that have multicultural themes or characters? We could…

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It’s Tuesday

The art of blogging nothing . . .


I am trying to see what my site looks like because I think I just nuked it into obscurity. For my millions of fans out there, here is a recipe you can try while waiting for me to sort out the explosion

Have a great day!amish bread

What not to buy on Amazon #1

Imagine paying real money (that you actually earned by showing up at a regular, or irregular, job) so that you could buy this book:

cockroach  Here is the link if you really want to have a look inside.

Seriously? I would rather have my eyes stapled shut and be forced to listen to Nickelback. Over and over again . . .

I’m supposed to be writing my bestseller novel instead of ghostwriting. But now I find myself browsing through the loaded shelves of Amazon.

Procrastination, methinks . . .

What do writers do while waiting for their book to become a NY Times bestseller?

Okay, what do I do while waiting for my book to become a bestseller? Let me rephrase that: What do I do while finishing my one-day-soon bestseller?

Some people are still teachers (I gave that up when marking tests became a pain). Some are on the dole (we don’t have that in South Africa). Some wash cars or pack groceries. Hmm. Maybe next week.

In the meantime, I edit other people’s books. I rewrite, polish and proofread the books of others. And while I am crossing the Ts and dotting the things that need dots, I am thinking: “I should be doing this on my own book”. And then I swear that I’ll not do another book edit. And then the fridge magically becomes empty (again!) and I take on another job.

But, worse yet, I ghost write books and blogs for others who ghostwriter

a) cannot do it but want others to think that they can,

b) are too lazy, or

c) just want to keep me from writing my bestseller. They figure that as long as I am writing stuff for them, I won’t be writing my own genius-work and that will leave more room for them at the top.

I suspect the answer is c).

And I’m done with doing work for others while neglecting my own writing. Perhaps my writing is not bestseller material, but at least it is mine. Writing my own mediocre stuff knocks the socks off writing books with titles like How to Prevent Identity Theft (35k words) and my all-time favorite 12 Reasons Why Kefir is Better for You Than Yoghurt (10k words). Seriously, I have written books like that for other people. And, sad to say, I got money for it. On second thoughts, I would never have done it if there weren’t a substantial amount of money involved.

So, when you browse Amazon and think “Who on earth would want to write a book on 101 laundry tips”, remember that nobody wants to write a book like that. Some poor idiot-wannabe-writer is just trying to make a living while waiting for the Titanic to return to harbour. And, just for your information, and because I want to protect you, don’t believe everything you read in a book from Amazon. Most of the books are NOT written by professionals – or even people who give a shyt about the topic. It’s about making money. Nothing more. Even in my case . . . amish

But that is changing as of today. I’m going to plant vegetables and sew my own clothes and fix my own car and bake my own bread. Then I will be able to afford to sit here all day and do what I love most – write my books.

And you thought I was going to say blogging!?