Shadows: Now on Audible

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

Shadows continues to make it’s way out in the world.

You can now download the audio edition from Audible.com.

Shadows_Cover_24Feb15

So… if you want to listen to something creepy while you drive along a dark and deserted road or just before bedtime, go download it now. Your nightmares will be interesting, I promise.

Women In Horror Month – Interview with Joan De La Haye

Here’s my women in horror month interview.

SIMON DEWAR

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Welcome back, folks. I’d like to now shine the spotlight on South African horror writer, Joan De La Haye. Thanks for stopping by my blog to answer a few questions, Joan!

Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Well … I’m South African. I live in the capital city, Pretoria, with my two cats.
I was raised in Germany, Namibia, and Austria. My parents were South African diplomats so I had a pretty interesting childhood.
I studied art and design, and I’m also a qualified clinical hypnotherapist.
I write pretty dark, and twisted, horror.
Q. What draws you to horror generally, and was there a defining moment where something made you think “Fuck it, I’m writing a horror story!”?  
When I was growing up I always thought I’d write more literary fiction or crime novels. I never pictured myself writing horror. But then when I sat down to write…

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Editing: The thing that drives writers to drink

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

So … the first draft of Fury is done and dusted. I’ve gone over it with a fine tooth comb and killed a few of my own darlings in the process, which is pretty difficult in and of itself, but then I have to send it off to someone whose job it is to rip it to shreds and make me cry like a little baby. That’s what editing is all about. It’s dragging yourself and your book through the gauntlet kicking and screaming so that at the end of the process you have the best possible book. But that doesn’t make it any less painful.

I sent Fury off to my editor on Friday. Which means I still have a bit of time ahead of me to pace the length of my apartment while I agonise over what she thinks about every turn of phrase. Is she going to hate every word I wrote? How much red ink is there going to be? How much of a rewrite am I looking at? How long do I have to wait before I start badgering her about what she thinks? Even though I know she’s barely had time to get through the first few chapters. Plus she has other books she’s editing. Mine is not the only book on her heap.

And so I continue to pace and chew my nails. And while I pace and chew my nails, that wine bottle starts looking mighty tasty. It’s just the first round of edits, there’ll be another one with the same level of anxiety, and then it goes to the copy editor to double check everything.

I check my email every few minutes to see if she’s sent it back yet or if there are any messages from her, even just a pat on the head to say good job. I might be wrong, but once we send the book baby out into the world, we just want someone to pat us on the head and say ‘Good job little writer.’ We’re sort of like puppies looking for some sort of validation.

The thing you have to understand is that I’ve spent over a year working on it. No one else has read it. My editor is the first person to see the finished story. It’s been written in isolation. So having anybody read it is enough to cause a bit of anxiety, but having a red pen poised over every page ready to kill every word is enough to send any writer into an anxiety induced drinking binge, or am I alone in that one?

So … here I sit and wait for the editors verdict while I chew my nails and down a glass of wine. Hopefully my hangover won’t be too bad when I get those edits back because there’s nothing worse than dealing with all that red with a pounding headache.

[Guest Post] “Why is SFF Stifled in SA?” by Dave-Brendon de Burgh

It’s a sad state of affairs!

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I’ve been in the book trade (on the retail side) for around 10 years now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that the South African book trade is not Speculative Fiction friendly.

In the US and UK, the ‘big’ publishers all have a large and well documented stake in SpecFic – the term I use to describe Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, etc. and which was popularized by Robert Heinlein in 1947. All the ‘big’ publishers in the US and UK have one imprint –at the very least- which is focused on publishing Speculative Fiction.

No such imprints exist among the big South African publishers and distributors.

In fact, visit the submissions pages of the big publishers and you will come to see that Speculative Fiction –in either of the genres which the term encompasses- is laughably (and sadly) absent from the genres these publishers accept.

Penguin Random House…

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African Monsters

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

African Monsters is out!

african monsters cover

Fox Spirit books have done it again and brought you another beautiful anthology filled with diverse and thrilling stories set on the African continent. My tale, Impundulu (Lightning Bird) can be found within it’s pages.

If you’re interested in the myth behind my story have a look here.

But if you would simply like to read my story and all the other stories about some of the things that go bump in the night in Africa, hop on over to Amazon and purchase this beautiful coffee table book.

Just to wet your appetite here is the ToC:

Edited by Margret Helgadottir and Jo Thomas and with Cover art by Daniele Serra.

Nnedi Okorafor: On the Road

Joan de la Haye: Impundulu

Tade Thompson: One Hundred and Twenty Days of Sunlight

Jayne Bauling: Severed

Su Opperman: The Death of One

T.L. Huchu: Chikwambo

Dilman Dila: Monwor

S. Lotz: That Woman

Toby Bennett: Sacrament of Tears

Chikodili Emelumadu: Bush Baby

Joe Vaz: After The Rain

Dave-Brendon de Burgh: Taraab and Terror in Zanzibar

Nerine Dorman: A Whisper in the Reeds

Vianne Venter: Acid Test

Nick Wood: Thandiwe’s Tokoloshe

James Bennett and Dave Johnson (artist): A Divided Sun

If you enjoy it, please leave a review on Amazon and let us know just how much you’ve enjoyed the stories. Reviews help feed starving authors.

Fury: Going Indie

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last while about my career as a writer going forward and what’s the best path for me. Thing is, I’m impatient and a control freak. I’ve never been particularly comfortable with the idea of letting anybody have control of my future or my career in any shape or form. I get frustrated when I have to wait for others to make decisions that directly affect me and my career. It drives me completely nuts when I have to run anything by someone else or ask permission to do something. It’s my book, dammit!

So … I’ve made a decision that many may applaud and others will think is stupid. I’ve decided that I’ll be going full Indie with Fury and The Iron Witch series. I like the idea of having complete control of my own future. If things go pear shaped, I may revisit this decision. I retain the right to change my mind at any time. That’s my prerogative.

Fury should be out by March 2016. I’ve enlisted the help of David Henderson from My eBook to make sure that Fury is as professionally done as possible and the fabulous Monique Snyman will be editing it.

And let’s face it, anyone who knows me shouldn’t really be surprised by this decision. Hello! I ran an indie press for a couple years. I left it because I wanted to focus on my own writing career. I’ve never had the patience to go the normal route. The whole submission process to the big publishers has always been too tedious for me. I’ve never viewed being published by a big name publisher as the brass ring that many other writers do. It’s a status symbol I’ve never cared about. For me, just having my books out there and being read and enjoyed is the most important thing. Plus by going this way I can decide whether or not to translate my own books into any language I like, or whether to publish the audio edition whenever I so choose. The world is my oyster and I’m in control of it.

I’m going full on Indie, bitches!

May I introduce you to Pretoria

Hello my Freaky Darlings,

I was recently informed that using Pretoria in the blurb for Fury was a mistake since most of my American readers have no idea where or what Pretoria is. Is it something they can eat?

Since most of my stories and books are set here, in Pretoria, I think it’s time I introduce you to my city.

Pretoria 2

View of Pretoria from the Voortrekker Monument

Pretoria was founded in 1855 and named after Andries Pretorius, who was some or other hero from the Great Trek and famous for killing a whole bunch of other people. Pretoria has a bit of bloody past. If you’re interested in reading up on it, you can always have a look here. I’m not going to give you a history lesson right now.

Pretoria is now a grand old lady, rather sedate, unlike her big, bad sister, Johannesburg. Pretoria moves at a slow sedate pace. It’s where the diplomats drink their wine or beer while they watch thunderstorms from their patios and they learn how to braai (BBQ) boerewors (sausage).

Pretoria is also a University city, so it has a pretty decent night life. I should know. I partied myself stupid on way too many occasions while I was young and dumb. Hatfield used to be the place where I did most of my drinking and dancing, but the main area where the clubs were, was recently pulled down. I have no idea what they’re busy building in their place now. So the clubs seem to have moved to the East of the city.

The Union Buildings

The Union Buildings

Don’t let the façade of this capital city fool you. Like it’s counter parts, Washington, London, Paris, and Berlin, Pretoria is full of intrigue and murder. Spy’s lurk in the shadows. Crime bosses fight for turf, money, and power. This city has a dark underbelly. Corrupt officials fight for dominance in the halls of power, while people starve.

Pretoria is full of contradictions. On one side of the street you’ll have the entrance to a township, like Mamelodi, which in itself is full of contradictions. But on the other side of the street is the entrance to an affluent security estate where the wealthy hide behind their high walls and electric fences. In Mamelodi, on the other hand, you’ll find a shack made out of bits and pieces of mettle sheeting and bricks that were stolen from someone else’s house next door to a double story mansion. And parked in front of the shack will be a sports car, because a man’s car is more important than where he lives. The sports car could also be stolen or not. One never really knows in Mamelodi.

All in all Pretoria is much like any other modern capital city around the world. You can sit in a coffee shop and over hear someone talking German or French or Japanese. We have tall buildings and free wifi in certain spots. We have criminals running the streets. What we don’t have is lions and elephants roaming our streets or in our gardens. We don’t live in grass huts or in trees. And we have many different religions cohabiting in peace. Freedom of religion is guaranteed in our constitution, which is haled as being one of the most advanced and liberal in the world. Too bad our politicians tend to piss on it every day.

City Hall

City Hall

Oh! Same sex marriage has been legal here for YEARS! In many ways we are far ahead of the so-called first world. The dollar and the pound may be stronger than the Rand, but at least here you won’t have some religious nut refuse to give you a marriage licence because you want to marry the person you love and who just happens to have the same plumbing as you do. We also don’t have kids walking into our schools with machine guns and killing other students and teachers. Here you actually have to prove that you’re competent before you’re given a firearm licence and you can’t walk into any shop and buy a rifle or a shotgun over the counter. Which really cuts down on those mass shootings.

We do however have a President who’s the butt of most jokes and whose education is that of a middle-schooler. That’s right, our president didn’t even get to highschool. Sad but true. Be grateful that your President isn’t an accused rapist who thought having a shower after having allegedly raped someone with HIV would prevent him from getting the disease. It’s one of those face-palm moments. And that happened before he was President. So yeah …

I think that’s enough about Pretoria for now. I may do some follow up posts. We shall see.

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my city. If you have any questions about it, let me know.