My heart has diminished

It's still too early, too raw. I lost a fragmet of my heart on Monday. To others it's "just" a dog. But to me it's a friend, a shadow. Even now, I still can't process the immensity of the loss, the gaping absence. He's not at the gate when I arrive home. He's not at the gate when I leave for work in the mornings. He doesn't collapse on the Oriental carpet in my bedroom and sigh like the world's ending. He doesn't flip onto his back so I can scratch his belly.

I miss his warm brown eyes when he sticks his cold, wet nose in my hands while I'm reading on the couch. Or the way he'd sit and happily take his medicine twice a day. Or if I said the magic word "biscuit" how he'd just about fall over to sit at my feet. Or bark hysterically if he even gained an inkling that we were about to go for a walk.

There were those thin, threadbare howls whenever the moon was full, like he was the smallest, loneliest little wolf in Africa. He was not the best-behaved dog. He was not the dog that replaced Sandra, my previous Belgian Shepherd. Nietzsche had absolutely no recall. If he escaped the yard or slipped the leash, he would lead us a merry chase for the better part of an hour before we'd be able to catch him.

He was not good with other dogs either.

But that was okay. He was my watcher by the gate, whose brown eyes were filled with such depth of emotion. He was my friend, my companion, and I will miss him as much as I still miss Lola and Sandra. Our lives are measured by dogs, I've heard it said, and it's true. Nietzsche was there for a part of my life where there was good and bad, and he never judged me. I wasn't always the best of owners, but I did the best I could, under circumstances. And he was always there.

And now my friend is gone. It seems trite to say that no one can ever take away the love that we shared, but that doesn't help me right now, where I suffer an unimaginable pain at his absence.

I know in time this pain will dull, and I'll be left with bittersweet memories. But right now I *hurt*. I hurt so much I don't have the words. It's never *just* a dog. He was a piece of my soul that has splintered off and diminished, separated from me by the unavoidable veil of death. In time, I know, I will open my heart and home to another dog, and my soul will grow to encompass a new life.

1484184_10151784274857027_1932189275_nBut that time is not now.

Farewell my friend, you are, as they say, returned to the spirit. I will not resort to hackneyed terms that state how you've crossed over that rainbow bridge and that you're in a happier place. The Devil knows your last day was filled with unimaginable pain, and that you were frightened when I left you behind in that hospital. And when you died, you were alone. And I wasn't there.

I hate myself for that.

And I miss you so, very much. For all those times I took your unconditional loyalty and devotion for granted.

We nearly had ten good years, my boy. So much love for you it hurts.

RIP, Nietzsche (May 3, 2005 - December 8, 2014).

Cranking it up

So we went out on Friday. Which means I actually had to put on proper makeup and wore jeans out socially for the first time in dog knows how many years. We went to the Mercury in town to see two bands that friends of mine are in. One was Terminatryx and the other was Subvers. Both most excellent, even if the guitars overpowered the vocals on both counts. Funny to know that next year it's going to be me up on stage, but jawellnofine, I'm trying not to think about live performance too hard.

Saturday I woke up feeling like I'd smoked 40 cigarettes. Considering that I no longer smoke, this was seriously shitty for me. I've also come to realise that half the problem with hangovers was most likely the fact that in the past I used to inhale so much secondhand cigarette smoke. Despite the fact that allegedly there's legislation banning smoking in venues, this evidently hasn't filtered through to Cape Town's nightlife. Hence another reason why I'm not in a hurry to go out again.

AmpSo anyhoo, the next bit of fun times is that I now have a halfway decent amp. I bought a 10W Marshall amp from a mate of mine who's buggering off to the States. Got to play with my new toy last night and I can't believe I lasted all this time with the shitty little amp that I'd had up until now. I'm not looking back.

Spent most of today stuck in developmental edits for a novel I'm working of for a local publisher. This is the third round and I'm satisfied that I've done the best that I can do with the author. It's not been easy, but then again, developmental edits are not for the faint of heart. But they are very rewarding when things start pulling together. I'm also over the dog's back with edits for SSDA. Now *that's* been a helluva ride. I've also gotten my teeth back with regard to editing, so a big thank you to Rachel Zadok for having the confidence in my ability.

And I've been listening to a lot of dark ambient of late. Particularly from the Cryo Chamber label. This is what's playing now.

In which I swiftly run out of weekend...

Despite my best intentions, sleep was an elusive beast this weekend – contrary to my wishes. Friday night the BSD had another seizure, at 1am, so I had to do the whole bucket-and-mop routine. Needless to say I suffered to go back to sleep afterward. Saturday was not much better. I had neighbourhood watch.

WritingWe saw action with our patrol within the first five minutes when we encountered a bin picker. Which in itself is not strange for South Africa – on garbage collection day. But, hello, this was midnight on a Saturday/Sunday. We ended up tailing the guy, who resolutely picked his way through bins until the cops came to collect him. Life in South Africa. I often feel like we're under seige.

The husband thing and I watched the second-last disc in The Lord of the Rings boxed set. So many years now and those films are still beautiful and stirring.

Other than that, the weekend was spent mostly editing, writing and reading, intersersed with enough vegetation and socialising. A good balance without me feeling as though I'm being run ragged. And so I face the upcoming week, feeling marginally better about things.

Oh, and I planted a tree. One of those little ficus trees you can buy that if you try to grow them indoors they eventually turn yellow, lose their leaves and die. I had this one in a pot for a number of years and I could tell he wasn't happy. So, off he goes, released into the wilds of the Treehaus garden where a bougainvillea died. 

Remind me again why I do this thing?

This past week was awesome. Also, it sucked cock and balls so far as a routine went. It's HorrorFest, which means me stressing my nut with regard to the Bloody Parchment event, which was on Wednesday. But it went well. Better than most. Everyone had piles of gooey, oozing fun, and then we went off to Roxy's to celebrate with chilli poppers and double-thick chocolate Oreo shakes. Or at least that's what I had because nearly everyone else was imbibing the alcoholic beverages.

I miss drinking. I don't miss the hangovers and not remembering what happened the night before. Also, booze is expensive. I'm a better person because I no longer drink. I really miss red wine, but hey, what can one do?

Booze = seizures.

We're not going down that road again. It's a slippery slope.

IzikoWeather in Cape Town at the start of the week was weird, kinda summery and hinting at a misplaced Highveld electric storm that never happened. (See pic of the gallery). The city's donned her verdant, late-spring cloak but the southeaster's ripping the far south to shit. I hate summer. Give me the between months, and I'm happy.

Needless to say, after having to go out Every Night of the Past Week (capitalisation intended) I'm gloriously hermitting between editing stuff, reading and giving myself brain damage playing Sims and that stupid candy-crushing game. I like the comfortable numb of tablet-based games.

I didn't pay Skyrim today because we had our cleaning lady over, so I ended up getting into an editing buzz which was awesome. First time this past week that I really *felt* like editing. Also worked a bit on my writing. Not much, but I've inputted chapter 1 of The Shadow Gates (book two of my The Gatekeeper Cycle). I've also edited a bit of my current Wraeththu Mythos story for Storm Constantine. I'm surprised that the thing still holds together nicely and that I like the words.

Have become a serious hipster with my writing—doing everything by hand. First editing pass is with a red pen. Then I input. I like the fact that I'm using scrap paper that eventually finds its way into the recycling or compost bin. I like the tactile sensation of shuffling sheaths of paper. It offers the illusion of progress, of creating something tangible.

Note to self: Don't do Mac OSX updates when you're not sure your MS Word will still work. I am now learning LibreOffice. MS Word has fucked me over one time too many. Screw industry standard.

Oh, hello

An absence, of quite a while. A lot has happened. I don't think anyone reads these things anymore. And it seems kinda weird to put stuff out here for people to read. I look at my last posts here and I want to crinkle up like a bug that's just been sprayed with pesticide. Was that me? Man, it burns.

Oh, hello. Still alive. Still kicking. It's been a crazy few years where I've torn down my life and built it up again. The southeaster is blowing. Let me tell you how much I hate the southeaster.

DixiesHere you pretty much see why I hate the southeaster. You can't go outside. Long hair is a bitch. Sand in everything. Hey, it keeps the tourists (mostly) away.

36 years I've been living in the far south peninsula and I'm still not used to this shit. On the bright side I don't live in Noordhoek or Hout Bay anymore, and where I'm currently at is a little more sheltered than it used to be.

What else can I say to catch up the past three or so years?

Ah, music. Yes. Music, playing guitar again. Singing.

Writing, not for the sake of selling books, but for the sheer pleasure of putting words down and creating stories, because, frankly, there is no accounting for people's tastes. I'm just one voice in millions who consider themselves to be in possession of earth-shattering talent. Who'm I kidding? Who's going to hear me over the roar of the wind?

January update

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:

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:

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: or mail me at:


We shouldn't have left home today...

 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:

Hyperventilating and running around in circles.

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

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

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.