January update
profile 2010
This past week between NYE and today have been absolutely fantastic. The good doctor and I spent most of our time in a semi-vegetative state lurking in the Treehaus. He put a big dent in our internet quota while I did what I usually do when faced with large stretches of uninterrupted time: edit, write and read. Granted, it's been a particularly nasty summer, with some temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius, though here where we live, there's usually a cool breeze.

Just a quick update with regard to the assorted bits and bobs: 

Both my Khepera books are in print and are available electronically on Kindle at Amazon and assorted other vendors, with my next urban fantasy, entitled The Namaqualand Book of the Dead due for release in March. Go check out my Lyrical author page here: www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php

I've had some very positive feedback from a reviewer, who wrote:
The pacing is quite fast as the chapters are not terribly long, and it becomes very easy to say to yourself that before you put it down for the night you'll read just one more chapter. 10 Chapters later in my case, I realised I had only a few hours before having to get up for work. 

I just love keeping readers up past their bedtime! This isn't the first report of such situations!

Recently, writing as Therese von Willegen, I released my first contemporary erotic romance entitled Tainted Love, which is available here: www.bookstrand.com/tainted-love

While this quite a departure from my usual fare, it's amazingly fun to write and I've recently sold another entitled Hell's Music, to Lyrical Press, which is due for release later this year. What I can promise my readers is alternative characters with a bohemian, slightly off-the-wall flair, from strippers through to Ozzy Osbourne-style shock-rockers.

While all these exciting small press happenings take place, I'm busy with two bigger works to pitch into the agent mill later this year. One is, as always, a work of urban fantasy and the other a bit more difficult to peg. All I can say is it's a colonial era-type fantasy involving vampires, pirates and Event Horizon-esque haunted ships.

Wearing my editor hat, I'm always on the lookout for well-written urban fantasy, steampunk, paranormal romance, erotica and BDSM yarns ranging from between 15 000 words to 95 000 words. Go check out the Lyrical Press submission guidelines if you reckon you've got something hot: www.lyricalpress.com/submissions or mail me at: nerinedorman@gmail.com

We shouldn't have left home today...
profile 2010
 It's not everyday old, good friends visit but it also happens to be Boxing Day here in South Africa, the day where, traditionally, people still stuff themselves half to death with leftovers from Giftmas day. So, we **innocently** thought to meet our friends at Cape to Cuba in Kalk Bay. Fortunately they booked a table.

What we didn't book on was half the Cape Flats deciding they were having a day out on the beach in our stomping ground.


After we passed old men whipping out their trouser snakes to piss on the walls and gam dagga smokers imbibing in thick clouds of their choice herb... we walked from Fish Hoek (Clovelly parking) to get to Kalk Bay because the traffic was that stupid.

While I'll not discuss the damage to my plastic, I will add that I enjoyed a number of cold beverages, good company and some chilli poppers while watching the unwashed masses writhe across Kalk Bay beach... all from the relative safety of the nouveau bohemia offered by the Van Vuuren mafia in Kalk Bay.

The it was the walk back to the car. We are happy to be hiding in our Treehaus. Tomorrow I'm at work... **gah-gah-gah** but that's okay, I'll live.

I have plenty of my own stuff to keep me busy and I'm using this festive season to catch my tail with regard to edits.

* * * *

For anyone who is into contemporary erotic romance, I had my first release under my pen name Therese von Willegen, with Siren at the start of December.

Read more here: www.sirenpublishing.com/theresevonwillegen/

Hyperventilating and running around in circles.
profile 2010
Crazy times I live in at the moment. And I’m finding it a bit difficult keeping my head above water. The trick I’ve learnt from the dark tea-time during June/July where I spent nearly every evening in tears after getting home after work, is to say no.

I’m saying “no” a lot. Mainly to myself when I feel I can’t get everything done.

But I’m also just trying to do one thing at a time, and recognising the symptoms when I start getting flustered, dividing my experiences/responses into physical, emotional, intellectual or a combination of the aforementioned states.

Trust me. It helps.

Yesterday the husband’s emails were especially biting. Yeah, we were having an email war. I stopped. Looked at what his initial message communicated, and realised I’d not read his words properly and had had an emotional reaction which clouded my ability to respond like a rational human bean.

Not that humans are all that rational, or human, but I’m sure you get my drift.

But, I’d been busy, my blood sugar levels were low and I’d reached a fey state of mind. Note to self: eat an apple at 3pm every day. Make it a rule, stupid.

But I’m losing the plot here.

The last few months of this year are winding up to a frenetic pace. My “to do” list is as follows:

Help with husband’s photo shoots (this weekend);

Co-ordinate the Bloody Parchment authors’ event (October 27);

Attend one of the evenings of short film screenings at the SA Horrorfest (be f***ed if I knew which evening but it has to be one where my husband’s film is showing);

Fly up to Zambia to review a lodge (October 31); and

Fly up to Johannesburg to attend a red-carpet screening event featuring a bunch of my husband’s films.

I’m sure there’s a bunch of stuff happening in between but if I look too closely, I may just get a full-scale panic attack and run around in tight circles before I collapse.

Oh, did I mention I’m currently running the submissions mill for my contemporary romance novel Hell’s Music? Rejection, she will be visiting my inbox a bit more often, methinks.


Let’s not mention that I’m also editing, reading and writing during every spare moment. I do this for fun, folks. And it’s fine, except when I start whimpering at having to take anti-malaria tabs because I’m FLYING TO F***ING ZAMBIA.

I mean, seriously, WTF?

Oh, wait… I live in Africa.

Sore fingers
profile 2010
This is probably one of the better reasons to have sore fingers: I'm playing bass again. Why? I come home in the evenings sometimes and have a lot of nervous energy I need to get out somehow.

Hell's Music is now complete. I'm at present busy working on the synopsis and query letter. 

And yes, this puppy, even though it's only a romance novel, is going to do the Full Monty with the agent mill before I seriously start hunting for publishers.

Grumpy people suck
profile 2010
Today was day one of the filming for the next BlackMilk production, The Lovers. Contrary to my earlier threats of somehow purchasing a ticket to Timbuktu, I was there, behind the scenes, helping with the set-up and packing up. Oh, and of course helping the husband with the sourcing of some of the materials required for the props. And dusted off my archaic knitting skills (but you'll have to see the movie to understand).

We shot the interior scenes today at Leon's flat in Gardens, a lovely old 1960s building and all went well, the different shots waxed within good time. The only complication was the grumpy folks living in the apartment block, one particular old grumpy lady coming up to bitch and whine about the "heavy boots" and the moving of furniture.

To be perfectly honest, we moved one cupboard twice. As for booted feet, no one was jumping up and down. And we were well within limits of reasonable hours (busy from about 10am until 5pm). So, really, the woman could have just bloody well dealt with it. Oh, wait, it was Sunday. We're all supposed to be hibernating.

I think she sent her husband up to case the joint, because this really doff old geezer stood at the open front door, his mouth flapping inanities no one paid the least bit of attention to. We later met him on our way out at the front door. My god, the feelthy look I received (well, I was wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a Path of Sin T-shirt). But he looked at Zolty and passed some sort of comment, and also tuned Other Leon some stupid phrase.

I mean, WTF? If I ever, ever make it to old bones, which isn't bloody likely and not something that particularly bothers me, I sincerely pray that I don't become a crotchety old self-righteous grump. I've met some 60-year-olds who can party along with the young 'uns and they're IMPRESSIVE. They have more buzz than I do sometimes.

So, really, a message to grumpy old folk. Get a freaking life! We're out trying to do stuff and if it means we gotta move a few bits of furniture around then so be it. We're creating things of beauty. We're not hiding in our miserable little apartments and sniping at the young 'uns, okay?

Status report:
Finished edits on urban fantasy novel for a fire-and-brimstone author I'm working with.
Put away a good chunk on a romance novel I'm editing.
Hell's Music now cruising at 57 000 words.
An idea for a short vampire erotica piece sort of outlined.

What editors/authors do over weekends.
profile 2010
 I've come to the startling conclusion that my life is a circus. Almost literally.

Today my lovely husband announced they'd be writing, filming, editing and screening their next film within three weeks.

Erm, excuse me, does anyone know where I can buy tickets for the bus going to Timbuktu?

Looking on the bright side, at least it will keep him out of mischief.


But, moving swiftly onward, last night I was dragged off to some studio in Woodstock so the Black Milk crew could collaborate with the Squid Circus to make some short film clips for the performance art piece they're screening f***-knows-when. 

It's all become a hideous blur. I arrive on set, power up my netbook, plug in my earphones and allow Peter Steele to weave his dark magic while around me people let blood, get flesh-pulled with meat hooks and, I suspect, plot further atrocities in the name of performance art. All while the photographers and cameramen are busy snapping away.

One day I shall write about this and no one will believe me.

I don't believe me.

Can anyone say "Cinema of Transgression"? Richard Kern wouldn't be out of place among the people I hang out with. Just the fact that I even know who Richard Kern is... **sigh**

Someone gave me a cold Windhoek and I retreated into the far corner of the very large couch that threatened to swallow me, my computer and my fake Docs. Occasionally I'd glance up, see people cavorting in white robes wearing masks that wouldn't look out of place on the set of Silent Hill.

But ja... progress report:
My new system of working simultaneously on edits at different stages is helping. I don't **sense** I'm hideously behind.

I'm STILL not done on the freebie for a writers' group. I think I've controlled the bleeding of my eyes. Ruptured corneas are no joke.

Hell's Music now stands at approximately 53 000 words and counting. I'm adding between 500 to 1 000 new words a day, deadlines willing.

I'm getting ready to begin third-draft edits on The Black Goat once Hell's Music is done.

I've outlined book three in the Khepera series: Khepera in Shadow. When I'm going to get 'round to it, I don't know.

Please note I am not currently discussing Camdeboo Nights. It's still currently under consideration with a publisher.

Productive weekend
profile 2010
 Yesterday was, once again, the Adamastor Writers' Guild monthly meeting and we were back on track with our work. I was glad to run through the outline for the third Khepera novel, tentatively entitled Khepera in Shadow. I was particularly grateful for the fact that the other writers could help me with a difficult scene that, had I left it to my own suppositions, would have smattered of bad Hollywood cliche. 

At the moment I'm busy preparing for the upcoming Bloody Parchment event under the auspices of the SA Horrorfest. The location is still up in the air but I spent yesterday afternoon and most of the evening on Saturday with the two SA Horrorfest organisers. Thomas was busy shooting Paul and Sonja for the event poster, while I helped on the fringes by drinking cola and vodka, editing novels and occasionally stepping in to tighten corset laces. All in a day's work for a busy little author.

The pictures look stunning and I'm looking forward to the festival of horror. I'll be writing a piece that I'm hoping to submit to the national papers, for which we'll use the photos Thomas took yesterday.

Today's been glorious. To be quite honest, I've spent most of the morning mucking about, drinking tea and doing a bit of maintenance around the house (the dreaded poo patrol) and later I'll be taking some cuttings (mostly aloe) for some friends of mine who've just moved into a new place. I've planted to lemon pips and I'm hoping to grow these (and not kill them like I normally do).

Next month I'll be purchasing some Aloe dichotoma seeds and start with a succulent-growing programme again. A lot of the plants (mostly A. ferox and A. plicatilis) are big enough to go into the ground, so I need to get back into the vibe again. But I'm really chuffed to see how well my plants are doing in the garden. Especially my Aloe thraskii x marlothii, which are becoming quite spectacular.

I have an A. ferox hybrid (think it has some arborescens in the mix but the leaves are too long) has a huge crop of birds 'n bees pods I'm waiting to ripen. The only other Aloe flowering at the time was my A. thraskii so this should be interesting if I can get them to germinate.

And so... we head toward summer, which I'm not really looking forward to, mainly for the wind. I love the inbetween months here in the Western Cape, where we still get some rain, not so much wind and it's not bloody boiling. I have plans to take the bus up to Namibia to see my soul sister, who'll have given birth to her son by then. I'm quite excited as I'll be the fairy gothmother and it's probably the closest I'll ever get to having sprogs of me own.

Revisiting my old friend, the Highlander
profile 2010
 No matter how corny Highlander is now, more than 20 years (yikes, I'm OLD) since its release, I still love the film so very, very much. Funny thing is, I find my sympathies in my dotage tending more toward the Kurgan, who coined such an immortal line as, "It's better to burn out than to fade away". Or maybe it's my continuing fetish for six-foot-tall weirdos with long black hair (shades of Type O Negative, anyone?).

Christopher Lambert was one of my most sincere crushes as a teen, and we incidentally share the same birthday (March 29), and I still have a soft spot for him in my heart, but only in his role as Connor McLeod. The rest of his movies just didn't send me into transports of delight. Maybe it was the lack of long hair.

Looking at Connor as a character, I see a man who has a great gift yet is too afraid to live, whereas the Kurgan is his visceral dark half.

And I like the Kurgan. He's brutally honest. (laughs)

Yes, he's Not a Very Nice Man, but he grabs life by the balls. 

It's been a while...
profile 2010
As if to make up for a generally sunny winter, the Cape weather has decided to be maudlin and teary. Not that I mind, since it just makes it easier for me to stay home, warm and drink lots of cocoa.

Busy with a truckload of editing at the moment, mainly stuff for Lyrical, tho' I've received my second-round edits for The Namaqualand Book of the Dead which, although it only releases April next year, is good to get out of the way so that I can concentrate on other projects. I think this was one of the last projects that I still wrote out long-hand in my notebooks before transcribing to computer. Overall I'm happy with the writing as it's closer to my current style than Khepera Rising is.

I suspect the next batch of edits that will come in will be for my Siren Bookstrand release, Tainted Love, which releases December. I checked with the publisher, and my contract arrived (always a relief since the SA postal system can be a bit unpredictable). I was entertaining visions of having to find a flatbed scanner in this day and age.

I've been toying with a book three for my Khepera series and had a vague idea based on some of the travel writing I've subbed over the past year involving a ghost town out in the Karoo. I'm glad to say I've found the plot. The story has an ending, but it's open to development and, it being a Jamie story, has a hint of more disasters to follow. It's tentatively entitled Khepera in Shadow and I expect it to be my next project.

I'm holding back from editing The Black Goat mainly because it's under consideration with an agent in NYC. I'm not too phased whether she takes it but I subbed it to her based on a call for submissions. At the moment I'm feeling so blah about literary representation I'm not going to lose sleep over it. I seem to be doing fine without it for now as the smaller presses aren't that bothersome and I'm more than happy with the professional attitude of the two I'm dealing with at present.

My latest WiP, Hell's Music, still needs some work. I woke up to the need for a secondary character to have some of her own say, so I've had to go back to the beginning to insert a few scenes for the reprobate sister. Gods, and she is a little rotter but she has her redeeming qualities and her interference in the plot will be useful.That will be another Therese von Willegen novel, since I'm not releasing my contemporary romance under my own name.

It's all about branding...

And there's not a helluva lot going on in my life worth talking about. In general, I'm being very, very boring, but as they say in Afrikaans: Stille water, diepe grond, onder draai die Duiwel rond.

Return of the Crickets, and meanderings.
profile 2010
The crickets have returned. When I stand on my balcony late at night it's quite unreal, knowing leopard toad breeding season is upon us and hearing the crickets as well a multitude amphibian chorus.

It's true what they say that the Western Cape doesn't really experience winter the same way folks do elsewhere. Yes, it's cold at night, especially when there's no cloud cover, but it rarely plunges below 0 degrees Celsius and once we're past Longest Night, all the signs of life returning to our land becomes evident. 

It's green, days are generally warm when there's no cloud cover, and we only receive rain every ten days or so when a three-day cold front brushes past.

And now the crickets... Harbingers of summer and the southeaster, and long lazy days when it's too warm. I love these in-between months where we receive the best of all seasons. I hate the height of winter and summer, when it's either too cold or too warm. Maybe it's because I was born in late summer, with a preference for times that are neither here nor there.

Things are progressing well. I had a brief flirtation with my Black Dog on Wednesday but I was able to contain the symptoms, realising what I needed most was to retreat into the Treehaus and keep the world at bay. 

I'll be honest. I hate humanity. I no longer identify myself as being a member of Homo sapiens sapiens. I may wear this form but it hides something Other, alien. I look at people who are blinded by petty emotional squabbling, oblivious to that magic residing dormant within all of us.

It is all too easy to bank that flame within, that spirit to reach beyond the comfortable borders of our existence. Life provides so many distractions that if only we were able to look past these ephemeral noises we could be so much more, DO so much more.

It's not always easy remembering my Self, knowing the universe is infinitely pliable so long as I am aware of which threads to pull, but I try, and today is a day of Self-remembering, of recognising within me the potential to be everything I want to be. 

As a fellow Traveller of the Path Less Followed told me a few months back: "There's no such word as 'can't'," I must continue with my Great Work, no matter how impossible it seems, no matter how many obstacles throw their illusory obstructions in my way.

It sounds simple when put in words but there's one question I must ask myself every day: "What do I really want?"

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