I don't normally go for these blog award thingies, since they're a bit like a chain letter, but I read through The Versatile Blogger details and I reckon it's a good opportunity for me to highlight some of the bloggers who've provided me with some fantastic content to liven up my lunch hours when I've a chance to catch up with what everyone else is up to. Their words are a joy to me.
I don't read magazines--I simply don't have the time to pick them up--and in general the content of most make me despair. So what I like about blogs is that I can pick the content that I want to read.
Why do I blog? I believe in generating interesting content related to my interests, which are mainly concerned with fiction. I don't believe in just screaming "BUY MY BOOKS" from the highest heavens but feel as a writer it is my duty to provide entertainment and information to those who have an interest in my work. Hey, and maybe I can even share something thought-provoking that will enrich your outlook on life.
First off, I'd like to thank author AJ Brown for nominating me. He's a fellow author at Dark Continents Publishing and we recently released under the publisher's Tales of Darkness and Dismay collective. Thank you!
Then, I'm supposed to share seven things about myself.
1) I'm a born-and-bred Capetonian. I've lived in Cape Town, South Africa, my entire life, and find myself moving farther and farther south as the years progress. The Cape Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places in the world and I have to often remind myself that some people still dream about visiting "the Fairest Cape of them all".
2) Egypt is one of my great passions. I absolutely love her history and her mythology. When I was a wee lass of 11 I was very sad when I realised that the ancient Egyptian religion was no longer being practiced because the ancient Egyptians were so much cooler 'cos they venerated a cat-headed goddess, among many others.
3) Music is one of my great loves. I used to play in an assortment of grunge, goth and black metal bands when I was a young adult. I am a classically trained musician, though, and matriculated playing piano and classical guitar. I'm sensible about music nowadays because whenever I get the urge to start a band, I open a fresh manuscript on my computer instead.
4) I'm a qualified graphic designer who majored in illustration and photography--yet I work as a sub-editor at a newspaper publisher. I'm still somewhat puzzled at the strange course my career path has taken. I wanted to be an astronaut or a game ranger. Then a rock musician. An art photographer. An illustrator of graphic novels. And now, at night, I edit fiction because I prefer that to watching TV.
5) I write. A lot. My friends know this to be true. I've been known to write a 90 000-word novel in only two months.
6) I love travelling. I've been to Namibia, Ireland, Mauritius, Zambia and to some awesome places closer to home. My editorial regularly features in newspapers in South Africa. My favourite place in the whole world is a small farming hamlet in the Eastern Cape, called Nieu Bethesda, where Helen Martins's Owl House is.
7) Plants. I grow lots of strange ones. I have a baobab tree in a pot that I grew from seed. I particularly love caudiciform succulents such as pachypodiums and dioscorea. About 30-odd species of aloe grow in my garden, of which one is my ultimate favourite Aloe dichotoma x barberea "Hercules".
While I'm not going to prattle on about 15 blogs you absolutely HAVE to follow... Here are a few of my favourites...
1) First off, I have to mention Carrie Clevenger, who writes the most amazing flash fiction. She's also my co-author on a number of titles. She delivers all manner of fantastic content and often spots some pretty darn amazing fresh sounds.
2) Then, staying with Carrie, take a look at her Crooked Fang. The vampire Xan Marcelles is her brainchild and he's got a smart mouth of him, and is also the star of the show when it comes to fiction.
3) I review for You Gotta Read Reviews, whose blogging crew do the most fantastic job of reading and reviewing a vast amount of stories. As an author, I appreciate it when the reviewers look at my novels, as every good word counts for something.
4) Amy Lee Burgess is one of my close friends and also one of my Lyrical Press authors. She's been writing some amazing Friday flash and I always feel like I've learnt something when I've finished reading something she's shared.
5) Thanks must go to Arja Salafranca who is one of my colleagues, but who has also encouraged me to write and look beyond the narrow band of genre fiction. Thanks to her, I've pushed myself harder to write editorial content which has been published in numerous South African newspapers.
6) Although I don't know Scott Stenwick personally, I always enjoy reading his posts at Augoeides. His attitude is refreshingly irreverent yet he makes some pretty darn astute observations about society.
7) The late Peter Steele had a great impact on my creativity, his music seeing me through many dark nights as a wangsty young adult. I'd like to thank his family for putting together For the Love of Peter Steele in his memory. Thank you for making the circle bigger.
8) Another one of my Lyrical Press authors, Sonya Clark, puts together a diverse, fascinating blog that looks at a wide variety of topics. She also participates in Friday Flash, and is definitely worth following. Oh, and did I mention she LOVES music?
9) I first met Annette Bowman through my writers' group and spent some time with her when she visited here in Cape Town a few times. She runs a blog called The Stars are not made of Fire, which always delivers informative and diverse content of interest to authors.
10) Icy Sedgwick writes fantastic fiction, be it a short Friday Flash or her longer works. She also goes out on ghost hunts and offers a large range of content on her blog that is always lovely to read up about. You won't be sorry you followed her.
11) Synde writes about a bunch of stuff, including books and music, but her life has been so interesting, I reckon she needs to write her memoirs. She's been behind the scenes at some very interesting spots and I value her opinion about some of the latest publishing trends.
12) My good friend Cat Hellisen recently celebrated the release of her novel, When the Sea is Rising Red. Not only is she a fantastic fantasy author, but she bakes simply devilish cupcakes and I've spent many hours in her company talking shop.
So, there you go. If you're ever stuck for decent content, here are 12 blogs worth following.
And... here are the rules for The Versatile Blog Award.
* Thank the award-giver and link back to their blog in your post.
* Include a link to the original blog, The Versatile Blogger Award.
* Share seven things about yourself.
* Pass this award along to fifteen blogs you enjoy reading.
* Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.
* There is no deadline for responding, although I would imagine that being “fairly prompt” would be the polite thing to do.