Thursday, July 31, 2014

Luna's Children: a moment with JM Perkins

For countless centuries, mankind has watched as the sun goes down knowing that Luna will rise in its place, to rain her brilliant shards of light upon the Earth. But for the cursed and afflicted, that silvery orb brings horror and death.

Luna's Children Stranger Worlds and Full Moon Mayhem will offer a range of tales featuring the werewolf, a perennial favourite. Today's guest is contributor JM Perkins.

Excerpt from "The Sponsor"

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,Courage to change the things I can,And wisdom to know the difference.A haggard, tired-looking man stood center in a ring of battered metal folding chairs filled with people. The sitters looked up at him, expectant.  James hesitated before speaking.
"Hello. My name is James and I'm a... we... wer. God I can't even say it."
Susan nodded, encouraging him.
"My name is James and I'm a werewolf."
"Hi James," said the group.

JM Perkins is a San Diego-based genre fiction writer and former survivalist with over a dozen of his short stories sold, published, printed and adapted: on the web, in print anthologies, and on Public Radio International. He used a successful kickstarter campaign to publish his first novel, and cohosts the podcast 'John vs Patrick.'
This story was inspired by the Serenity prayer and the concept that Werewolf was mythologically inspired by ancient reactions to PTSD.
Learn more at

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Mouth by Lux Zakari

Title: The Mouth
Author: Lux Zakari
Publisher: Smashwords edition, 2013

Two words best describe this story: “short” and “wicked”. Lux Zakari writes intelligent erotic romance that will appeal to those who enjoy stories that are sexually charged yet have a little more bite to them than the average romance fare.

The premise for The Mouth is simple: A group of young women begin to obsess about a socially uncool guy who surprises them with an unexpected talent – what he can do with his mouth – but I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.

The underlying theme follows on how we tend to objectify the opposite sex, but for me to say more will ruin this story.

Zakari is in top form with this piece, which totally made me sit back with a stupid grin on my face by the time I was done. Nicely done, lady. Very nicely done.

PS: If you’re looking for a sample of Zakari’s fiction then this one’s ideal – you can read it in less than 10 minutes.

Note: Amazon might have charges for those outside of the US, but you can download it for FREE off Smashwords.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

To Err is Human with RA Meenan

Today I welcome Luna's Children author RA Meenan and hand over my blog to her for a short guest post. You can pick up the corresponding Stranger Worlds and Full Moon Mayhem over at Amazon.

Werewolves are extremely popular these days and they’ve opened the floodgates for all kinds of werecreatures. There’s werecats, werecoyotes, wereeagles, and even werepenguins.

But what about werehumans? A “reverse werewolf?” What would happen if a wolf turned into a human?

A traditional werewolf, when changed, loses his mind and morals and becomes a raving monster. But what would happen if a wolf turned human and GAINED human morals? Wolves rely on killing to survive, but humans consider killing immoral. So how would a wolf cope with this conflict of interests?

This is what I intended to explore in my story.

Originally I wanted to write the story through the perspective of the wolf, but the more I tried writing it, the harder it got. So I invented Deckard, a somewhat single minded wolf expert living the hermit life among a huge problem of illegal camping and man-eating wolves.

And he was exactly what the story needed. He has it in his head that wolves always fall into the same patterns, so when the pack he’s observing behaves differently than his expectations, he doesn’t know how to react.

A small sample…

The wolf smell had dissipated by now. Maybe it’d be safe to call for survivors.
“Anyone alive out there?” Deckard called as loud as he dared. He cupped his hand over his ear. Nothing. “Anyone at all? I want to help you!” Nothing. Not that he expected anything. He kicked loose dirt over the warm ashes and turned to leave.
Then he heard the whimpering.
He cupped his ear again. More whimpering. Down by the river. He edged toward the bank and found the source.
A young man, barely seventeen, sat huddled and naked at the bank of the river. Specks of blood covered his body and face. Bloody streaks outlined his mouth. Sticks and leaves stuck out of his long black hair. He looked up at Deckard with unnatural fear.
Deckard bit his lip. This would be an interesting one.
See RA Meenan's website.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Book of the Dead edited by Jared Shurin #review

Title: The Book of the Dead 
Edited by: Jared Shurin
Illustrated by: Garen Ewing
Publisher: Jurassic London, 2013

I apologise for taking so long to read this book because it’s the sort of anthology that I suspect was written specifically with someone as Egypt-obsessed as I am (so I totally rationed out the stories). When Jared Shurin puts together an anthology, it will be something special, no doubt about it. This one was something a little extra special, not only due to its star-studded cast of authors, but also the really nice touch of illustrations by the very talented Garen Ewing. And of course the subject matter.

The Book of the Dead promises and delivers an eclectic ride filled with mummies, mysteries and more (alliteration intended), and filled me with tremendous happiness. As can be expected with all projects of this nature, I liked some stories more than others, but all gathered here are masterful works in their own right, and I hope that at some point Shurin puts another anthology of this nature together.

“Ramesses on the Frontier” by Paul Cornell is a delightfully quirky excursion into the Egyptian conception of the afterlife. Instead of the expected arrival for judgment, Ramesses finds himself haunting a museum, and the journey that follows is most unconventional.

“Escape from the Mummy’s Tomb” by Jesse Bullington is a humorous yet poignant love triangle that superimposes the metaphors of classic horror cinema over contemporary London teenagers.

“Old Souls” by David Thomas Moore hits me hard – eerily similar in premise to my novel Inkarna, in which ancient Egyptian souls keep returning. Moore certainly plays with all the emotional trauma of eternal life, loss and love.

“Her Heartbeat, an Echo” by Lou Morgan tells us about the curious relationship of a night watchman and an enigmatic princess, who is part of an exhibition touring museums. This one’s absolutely sweet, sorrowful and touching.

“Mysterium Tremendum” by Molly Tanzer introduces us to Marjorie, who isn’t a bad sort, and during an era when most women will opt for marriage, she’s looking to build a career at the library where she works – and her life is about to become a great deal more interesting once she crosses paths with a mysterious stage magician whose show might be a little more authentic than expected.

“Tollund” by Adam Roberts turns my preconceptions on their heads. In a glimpse of an alternative history, Egypt and its Islamic culture has thrived while Europe remains in the dark ages. A group of Egyptian scientists travel north to uncover bog mummies… with catastrophic consequences. A lovely reversal and a big thumbs up from me.

“All is Dust” by Den Patrick tells the story of Darren Butler, who finds himself meeting up with old friends, but it’s that usual schpiel of how people have drifted apart over the years and try to force the friendship – and as can be expected of most stories in this anthology, the gathering takes a turn for the super weird.

“The Curious Case of the Werewolf that wasn’t, the Mummy that was, and the Cat in the Jar” by Gail Carriger – Mr Tarabotti, accompanied by his valet, Floate, is a rather dapper secret agent in a Victorian setting where the English have embraced the concept of the supernatural. Werewolves and vampires are real, but Tarabotti is in Egypt, ostensibly to have his aged aunt’s cat mummified… But there’s rather more to this story than meets the eye.

“The Cats of Beni-Hassan” by Jenni Hill is another delightfully creepy tale told by cats to a dog – that’s about all that needs to be said on the matter. :-) Just read the story already.

“Inner Goddess” by Michael West is the ultimate in women’s revenge stories. Elizabeth Wilson might be a downtrodden student in an abusive relationship with her professor, but with a little divine intervention, the results, though predictable, are no less satisfying. Oh, and extra Nerine points to West for tapping into one of my greatest phobias related to cling film. More than that I won’t say.

“Cerulean Memories” by Maurice Broaddus is a story about death and memories. A man is a collector of objects related to the way people died, and a young boy wanting to sell his deceased brother’s skateboard is privy to more than he bargained for. This is a poignant and evocative tale, with some lovely unsettling imagery.

“The Roof of the World” by Sarah Newton was a story that I wasn’t quite sure what to make of. It has all the hallmarks of a classic gothic horror in the vein of Frankenstein but in the end I felt that I was waiting for it to deliver a more solid punch. However, I suspect the fault may lie with the reader on this point.

“Henry” by Glen Mehn blends ancient Egyptian funerary practices with modern computer programming in a way that you’d not expect. Not quite a murder mystery, but definitely a mystery well worth the read.

“The Dedication of Sweetheart Abbey” by David Bryher is another story I’m not quite sure how I feel about. There isn’t much of ancient Egypt about it save for the mummification of a particular individual, but there’s certainly enough weirdness following in a SF vein. The entire story left me with a bit of a WTF, but it was pleasing to read, nonetheless.

“Bit-U-Men” by Maria Dahvana Headley is a heady mix of literary (and literal) sweetness and obsession, and by far one of my favourites in this anthology for its sadness and magical surrealism.

“Egyptian Death and the Afterlife: Mummies (Rooms 62-3)” by Jonathan Green is a short, haunting evocative piece – essentially a vignette – as told by a faithful servant remembering his mistress.

“Akhenaten Goes to Paris” by Louis Greenberg is definitely a signature piece for the author. This story features a gleefully macabre cabal of mummies who contend with long-distance relationships in the present era, and as the name of the story suggest, Paris specifically. Louis knows how much I adore his writing, so I’m going to stop gushing. Just go read his novels. (And specifically his Darkside series that he writes with Sarah Lotz as SL Grey.)

“The Thing of Wrath” by Roger Luckhurst is a ghoulish murder mystery in the Victorian era as the narrator sets out to uncover the link between stelae depicting the ancient Egyptian deity Thoth, and peculiar deaths by strangulation.

“Three Memories of Death” by Will Hill is my clear favourite of the lot, and I can see why Jared saved this for last. I was on the verge of tears by the time I reached the end of this story in which a priest and a pharaoh discuss the nature of death and farewells, throughout the years. Beautiful and poignant, and I want to squish the author and tell him how much I need to frame this piece of writing so I can read it again when I need to.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Legacy: Melissa Delport

I can't describe how incredibly happy it makes me to see South African authors getting out there and making splashes in the publishing pool, and today I'm excited to introduce Melissa Delport, who's all the way from KwaZulu-Natal on our East Coast. Welcome, Melissa!

You've got exactly 30 seconds to tell someone who's never heard about you enough to make them buy your novel.

If you crossed The Hunger Games with I am Number Four, and threw in a love triangle for good measure, the result would be The Legacy. It is fast paced, action-packed, and has something for everyone.

What provided the story seed for your trilogy? Give us a little background for how the books grew from that initial spark. 

I have always been fascinated by the idea of apocalypse and how we would survive, if at all, and the concept of man’s “fight” or “flight” reflex. When there is nowhere left to run, dystopia is at its best. The Legacy came to me in a typical “light bulb” moment and I knew that I was on to something. I spent a day or two plotting the story and then I sat down to write.

What sets your books apart from other dystopian settings that seem to have become so popular of late? 

I find that most of the dystopian books I have read are along the same vein: youngsters surviving against all odds. The Legacy breaks that mould, in that the characters are adults; exceptional individuals equipped with skills that allow them to not only survive but excel. They make a conscious choice to go to war against the tyranny that has seized control, they are not unwillingly foisted into this role. That choice is key to the story. There is also the opulence of the New United States, which is a pre-war environment, with none of the desolate ruin that characterizes most dystopian fiction. The “fight” of my characters is more against political oppression than the typical turmoil of an apocalyptic catastrophe.

What do you love the most about your characters? Can you tell us more about them? What are some of the conflict points they need to resolve?

I love the Legacy characters because I have invested so much into them and I know them so well. I am currently working on the final book in the trilogy, and I’ll admit it is bittersweet. Rebecca is the fiery protagonist, a woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her goal, at great personal sacrifice. She is determined and headstrong, the ultimate weapon for the Resistance. Reed, her equal, allows me to bring in a bit of humour - he is sarcastic and brash, but remains Rebecca’s greatest asset. The conflict arises in the character Aidan, who is Rebecca’s childhood friend and sweetheart, and who doesn’t understand her obsession with defeating her enemy. All of the characters in this series have obstacles to overcome and personal conflicts that they need to resolve but, ultimately, they are all working towards a common goal, and their lives are intertwined through that fact.

What do you enjoy most about being a storyteller? What do stories mean to you? 

I love the escapism that stories offer, and being able to give that to someone else is both humbling and terrifically rewarding.

How do you approach the creative process? Can you share a little more on what goes into creating your novels? 

First, I split the wheat from the chaff. As a writer, your imagination is always in hyper-drive, but it is essential that you only focus on those projects that are, to your mind, exceptional. Once a story has taken hold, I plot a very basic outline, my main characters and a few key scenes. Subplot and secondary characters evolve as I go along. I find that if I over-think it, the story doesn’t flow. A story has a life of its own, and I like to let it take me where it wants to go.

EXCERPT – The Legacy by Melissa Delport
Chapter 25
“We’re not going back, Tiny,” Reed’s voice comes out of the blue and I turn to him.
“Um, yes, we are, Cowboy.” I force myself to smile at him. “This is Aidan we’re talking about; I have to find him before he gets himself into real trouble.”
“He already has.” He sounds exhausted when he says this, like it is literally draining him. My father does not contradict him and I frown in confusion.
“What are you talking about?” I ask, panic starting to override my determined calm.
My dad reaches into his pocket and pulls out my cellphone.
“Sorry, Bex, I took it from your bag just after you arrived.” He slides it across the table.
I do nothing but stare at the phone for a while, I don’t know if I want to see what they are talking about.
“Rebecca,” Reed starts, but I don’t let him finish. I snatch up the phone and flip open the cover.
My hand flies to my open mouth and a stifled yelp escapes me. The photograph on the screen shows Aidan sitting in a chair, bound by his wrists and ankles. Both of his eyes are blackened and there is blood trickling from his nose.
I slam my fist down on the table, denting the metal.
“Motherfucker!” I scream, fury rising up inside me like an unleashed animal. I kick the table over and, running at the door, I kick it right off its hinges so that it slams into the passage wall.
“Becca!” My dad is beside me in an instant. “Calm down!”
I don’t acknowledge him; I put my fist into my mouth and bite down on it for a second. Then I raise my head, flip open my phone, hit dial and bring it to my ear.
“You son of a bitch!” My voice is so low it is a wonder he can hear me.
“Well, if it isn’t my errant wife.” Eric’s voice is light, but the underlying tremor reveals how angry he is.
“Where is he?” I don’t have time to play games with Eric. I ignore my father, who is frantically waving his arms trying to get my attention.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?”
“Where is he, Eric?” I growl.
“Why would you possibly think that I would tell you that, Rebecca?” he snaps back, all pretences abandoned.
“Because I’m going to find you, Eric, one way or another, and if you make it easier for me I might just let you live.”
He laughs harshly into the phone.
“Really?” he calls my bluff.
“No, not really,” I answer. “I’ll probably kill you anyway, but if you tell me where Aidan is, I’ll do you a favour and make it quick. And slightly less painful.”
“Such fire, Rebecca! My, my, what a brilliant little actress you are. I never suspected. Not once. Not your abilities, not your betrayal, and certainly not your boyfriend.” My blood runs cold and I realise why Reed and my dad have been trying to get my attention. In reacting so emotionally I’ve played into Eric’s hands; I’ve just confirmed how important Aidan is to me.
He will not tell me where they are. He wants to torture me.
“I’ll see you soon, Eric,” I say slowly and clearly into the mouthpiece. “I’ll find you.” There’s an arrogant chuckle on the other end.
“Not if I find you first, love.” 

Wife and mother of 3, Melissa Delport is the author of The Legacy Trilogy and the stand-alone self-published ebooks Rainfall and The Traveler.
She graduated from the University of South Africa with a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 2000
At the age of twenty-four Melissa started a logistics company (Transmax) from the spare room of her flat and built it up to two fully operational depots in Durban and Johannesburg. Now, 10 years later, she has sold her business in order to write full time.
Melissa lives with her husband and three children in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The Legacy (book 1 of The Legacy Trilogy) and The Legion (book 2) are available now and the final book, The Legend, will be released early 2015.
An avid reader herself, Melissa finally decided to stop ‘watching from the sidelines’ and to do what is her passion.

The Legacy at Amazon, Kobo, Nook, Kalahari, Takealot

Melissa on Twitter

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Luna's Children: Introducing MR Williamson

Today's visitor is one of my fellow Luna's Children authors, MR Williamson, who shares that his love for days past most influenced his story in the anthology.

He says: "My father, Russell Tandy Williamson, was raised in Drummonds. The river, and its 'Landings' have a great history there.

"Being a good part Native American (Eastern Shoshone), I like just about any story of American Indians.  One of the best, in my opinion, is 'Last of the Dog Men'.  If you notice this part of the opening story, the young boy (from 'The Dog Men') kicked it off pretty well."

Here's an extract from MR's story...  

Ray started the Chevy, eased off on the clutch, and the old car lurched forward. Two more gears and they were lumbering east on the Richardson Landing Road and away from the paddle wheeler. They had barely turned south on Old Drummonds Road when Gabby quickly sat up.

"Slow down a bit, Ray,” he requested as he pushed his black, horn-rimmed glasses closer to his nose. “There’s somethin’ up ahead a ways. I saw its eyes shine in the lights.”

Just as Ray pressed the bright light button on the floorboard, something darted from the scrub on the left and ran through the beams of their lights.

“Geeeze!” exclaimed Ray as he slammed on the brakes, bringing the Chevy to a sliding stop. “What the devil was that?” he added excitedly.

Gabby, pushing himself away from the dash, exclaimed, “I don’t believe my eyes.” Quickly opening the door, the old riverboat man got out, looked up ahead in the lights, and then back to the hogweed just right of the Chevy. “This one don’t belong to the eyes I saw, Ray. What we almost hit was a young boy, and a naked one to boot.”

Buy Full Moon Mayhem here and Stranger Worlds here.

After retiring from ‘Ma Bell’ in the year 1999, I seriously took to the pen.  Through E-Bay and various bookstores, my novel collection, The Pragamore Chronicles, eventually reached more than eight countries.

My poetry has won the Editor’s Choice Awards from the International Library of Poetry in 1999, 2000, and 2002. View from the Easley Place, a short story, is on exhibition at Munford Library. My stories are published in such anthologies as Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells (‘Quest for the Dragon Scale-Kerlak), ParAABnormal (‘Spotter’-Sam’s Dot), Stories in the Ether (‘Shelled’-Nevermet),  ‘Unlikely Friend’ (Sam’s Dot), and ‘Apprentice’ (Sam’s Dot).

Added short story features for 2013 include, ‘Hell’s Gate’ (Seven Star Press), and ‘Phagan’s Shadow’ (WolfSinger).  Coming short stories are ‘Cry Wolf’ with Dark Oak and ‘The Ghost of Queen Anne’s Revenge’ also with Dark Oak.  On the front burners for 2014 (and working with the editors) are the novellas, ‘The Moleskin Cap’ with Terri Pray and her Under the Moon Publishing and ‘The Curse of the Monkey’s Paw’ with Tyree Campbell and his Alban Lake Publishing.

In the works are novellas, ‘In the Shadows of the White Owls (Held by Under the Moon), ‘Bedouin’, ‘The Angel of Holloway’, and ‘Ooze’.

The year 2014 promises to be a ‘One-Of-A-Kind’ for me.  It starts out with the publishing two, novellas, two large short stories, and then sours from there.
Keep reading and I’ll keep writing. . .

MR Williamson can be emailed at See or    

Monday, July 21, 2014

Who Are You Going To Get Rid Of? by Benjamin Dancer

Today I hand over my blog to Benjamin Dancer, author of Patriarch Run. So, a big welcome to Benjamin...

There are too many people. But who are you going to get rid of? I bet you have someone in mind. But you can’t do it, can you? Most of us wouldn’t even try.

It’s not an easy topic to discuss, getting rid of people. Which is why it’s hard to talk about overpopulation. That...and the ever-present issue of denial.

So let’s start in a safe place–with math. It doesn’t matter how low the growth rate of the human population is, if it’s growing, the population will eventually double. Ask yourself this: how many times can the number of people, 7 billion, double before it becomes a problem?

No matter what your answer to that question is there is a coming crisis.

Let’s say you pick a really small number for the growth rate of the human population: 1.14% per year. How long do you suspect it will take to double the number of people on the planet?

Answer: about sixty-one years.

And, yep, you guessed it: 1.14% is the estimated growth rate of the human population today. At the current growth rate, you’ll have 14 billion people in sixty one years.

Does anyone think 14 billion is a good number of people to have? What would it take to feed that many people? And what would be the consequence of that population be to the non-human members of the ecosystem?

Right now, there are 1 million new people added to the ecosystem every five days.

I’m a high school teacher, and as a graduation requirement each of my students conducts a long-term research project on a global issue of their choice. I’ve been teaching for seventeen years, and I’ve never seen a version of this project that didn’t have the issue we’re now discussing hidden at its root. As a matter of fact, I’d be hard pressed to think of an environmental or social issue that wasn’t a symptom of the same root problem: there are too many people.

And it’s getting worse.

It’s true that the growth rate is going down in some parts of Europe. Some people cite that fact as a dismissal of the overall problem. But it’s the overall problem that we have to face. In other words, it’s the planet-wide growth rate that matters–not a localized subset. Right now, the planet-wide growth rate is pretty low: 1.14%. And that, by any scientific measure, is a crisis for just about every species on the planet, including our own.

So that brings us back to the question: who are you going to get rid of?

Dan Brown, an author you might have heard of, tackled that problem in his novel Inferno. Another author, one you just now learned about (me), tackled the issue in a different way in his novel Patriarch Run. It’s a thriller with a soul. Characters you care about. Issues that matter. It’s a coming-of-age story. A story about fathers. A story about the lengths a mother would go to for her child. In the end, it’s a story about humankind and the fate of our species.

Find out who Jack would get rid of. I promise you this: it’ll be downright entertaining.

Contact me on Facebook, and I’ll send you a copy for free. You can also buy the book at Amazon, Smashwords or Barnes and Noble.

About Benjamin Dancer:
Benjamin is an Advisor at Jefferson Patriarch Run, a coming-of-age story. He also writes about parenting and education.

County Open School where he has made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. He wrote the novel
Twitter: @BenjaminDancer1

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Terminatryx: rooted in industry

If CapeTown industrial metal band Terminatryx’s new album, Shadow, can be summed up in one word, it would be “epic”. The heavy, unrelenting guitars and rhythms are contrasted by lead singer Sonja Ruppersberg’s softer vocals, but don’t be fooled – there’s steel beneath her exterior.

And if one thing can be said, the band have had staying power since they first embarked on their sonic assault of the South African music scene since 2002. Consisting of Sonja Ruppersberg (vocals, backing vocals), Paul Blom (bass, programming, guitars, keyboards, backing vocals and production), Ronnie Belcher (drums) and Patrick Davidson (guitar), Terminatryx draws on influences such as Ministry, Fear Factory, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, among others, with a dash of thrash metal thrown in for good measure.

At times the music is true to its industrial roots, with pounding rhythms, yet at other moments (and especially with the album’s gloomily melodic title track, "Shadow"), Ruppersberg’s voice soars above the grinding guitars, eerie, ethereal and unforgettable.

Most of the band members have also been active in the local music scene for years, with Blom having been part of the metal bands VOD (Voice Of Destruction) and K.O.B.U.S!; Davidson, who is currently active with the metal band Mind Assault; and Belcher, whose new rockabilly group The Flaming Devilles is worth keeping an eye out for.

The Terminatryx sound has gained a greater dynamic range with their latest album, which was co-produced by Blom and Theo Crous (Springbok Nude Girls, K.O.B.U.S!), and picks up from where the well-received remix album left off. The broad range of lyrical themes treats the duality in the self – good versus evil; the state of the world and the individual’s inability to deal with it; hypocrisy and political correctness; and emotional despair.

Though the tone is more often than not dark, the album maintains an underlying sense of playfulness and humour, and the music itself carries through with the almost mechanical precision typical of its genre and sweeps listeners along with its energy. Instrumental interludes are suggestive of the cinematic themes that are influenced by Blom’s and Ruppersberg’s continuing involvement in their project The Makabra Ensemble.

And, remaining with the theme of film, mention must be made of Blom’s and Ruppersberg’s curatorship of annual film festivals such as the South African HorrorFest, the X Fest and Celludroid, events which are among the few in the country that cater for alternative, independent and fringe cinema.

This involvement in visual arts translates directly into how Terminatryx is presented to its fans. In addition to making music videos, such as the much-lauded video for "Virus", which featured extensive special effects, Terminatryx also creates a strong visual element through the medium of photography. These images, created by local visual artist Dr-Benway, have found their way into publications such as De Kat and Playboy.

Though Blom says he’d like to make feature films, cost and time factors have him happy to settle with music videos, and also put a lot of effort into the merchandise for sale at gigs, which all add up to create a lasting legacy in what is an essentially ephemeral industry.

He adds: “Our music is about expression. You have to be overtly commercial to tour South Africa, and ours is not music by numbers. If we had a population here to sustain alternative art full time, we could reach a wider audience. Merchandising, however, is big, and something that many artists neglect.”

Ruppersberg is always touched when fans request that the band sign items after shows, and adds: “I don’t automatically think autographing a CD is a big deal, but people still like that personal touch; it’s amazing and that carries value.”

Staying on track with their current goal to add to their multifaceted offerings, Blom and Ruppersberg are planning on releasing music videos for each song off their latest album, with "Shadow" and "Gone" currently in the final production stages.

Says Ruppersberg, who directed the first video: “'Shadow' is currently the song that’s the most popular and accessible. The idea for the music video is an old-style black-and-white horror, and we used Leon Visser as the cinematographer and editor. With 'Gone', director Johnny Swanepoel came up with a gritty, gothic-style video, with a slight horror theme that was shot in the bowels of the old Castle Brewery.”

See the "Shadow" music video here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"The Study Break" Miracle Austin – featured author

Since I'm going to be celebrating with all the Luna's Children contributors, I'll be featuring a few of the authors from the anthology on my blog over the next few weeks. Today's special guest is Miracle Austin, who penned "The Study Break".

Austin writes: "'The Study Break' was inspired by two, young college girls’ boredom one Friday night. They drove into the city to a hot club with fake IDs. They met two older frat boys and decided to hang out a little longer at the frat boys’ apartment. Their Stranger Danger buzzers were broken. Surprisingly, nothing bad happened.
"So, I started to think about what if something did go horribly wrong, not only for them, but also for other young, reckless girls driving into the city to that same club.
"The rest is the story…

Miracle Austin is employed in the social work world. She’s a new author who enjoys writing diverse, free-verse poetry with mini-stories and short stories. She’s transcending into the novella writing, as well. Horror and suspense are her favorite genres, but she’s not limited to.
She’s been writing ever since first hearing Drive by the Cars in junior high, but is a late bloomer in the publishing world. She completed her first novella, Boundless, a collection of her free-verse poems with mini-stories and short stories. Finally, she resides in Texas with her family while working on her second novella. See

Purchase Stranger Worlds and Full Moon Mayhem.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Sea

There is no denying the sea’s allure—and perhaps I can be accused of taking the ocean’s appeal for granted, as I grew up in a seaside village and even now reside within walking distance of the coast.

When I was little, my mom used to tell me to watch out for the white horses in the bay. Being the imaginative child I was, I strained to see the sea horses of my dreams, with nacreous hides and foamy manes. All I saw, however, was the turbulent Atlantic with its dressing of whitecaps, and I grew quite irate.

“There aren’t any white horses!” I’d yell at her (and we’d had this argument on more than one occasion).

In hindsight I realise she must have found my stubborn denial and literal interpretation rather amusing.

I’ve always wanted there to be more to reality than what we see on its surface. What lies beneath the ocean is largely a mystery to us unless we own diving gear or can access some sort of submersible. A whole other environment exists there that is hostile to our very being, as land-walking, air-breathing mammals. Seventy percent of the planet’s surface is hostile to us, in fact.
Yet many creation myths speak of our birth in the primordial ocean and I suspect, on a deeper level, we still hear that siren call luring us back. The sea connects all things, is shaped by that which is known and transmits that which is unknown.

Often I’d go for early morning walks with my parents or grandparents, during that wonderful magic hour before the sun was properly up and the rest of the world was awake. Only at these times, with the tide out, would we discover a few of the sea’s secrets: slick, gleaming mermaid’s purses; a delicate paper nautilus, still whole; sea urchins like green buttons; and sea glass polished to smooth teardrops.

The trek fishermen would be bringing in their catch, mostly mullet and a few mackerel and the odd skate, but sometimes stranger fish, like gurnard or cat sharks.

Even now, my daily train journey follows the False Bay coastline for part of the way, and I’m privy to the ocean’s many moods. There are days when I stick my face out the window so I can breathe deeply of that salt-sweet air.

The sea finds me in my dreams; sometimes she is a benign mistress. Other times she is a destructive force. Those who love her are captivated. She flows through our veins and we can never escape her.

I'm proud to announce the line-up for The Sea an anthology of short speculative fiction: 
Lola and the Sea Lion by Alex Hughes; Songs of the Sea by Camille Griep; Dead Shark Dawn by Don Webb; Sirens by J.C. Piech; The Setting Sea by Patrick O’Neill; Up She Rises by S.A. Partridge; The Something in the Sea by Amy Lee Burgess; Dredge by Wayne Goodchild; Kajsa’s Curse by Steve Jones; Deeper Creatures by Andrea Jones; A Cruel, Intemperate Sea by Barry King; Canyon by Martin Rose; The Wire Bird by Simon Dewar; My Name is Legion by Diane Awerbuck; Pins and Needles by Benjamin Knox; A Drought of Tears by Rob Porteous; Salt by Toby Bennett; and Choiceless Beach by Anna Reith.

Purchase your copies at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and Nook. Print will follow shortly.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Luna's Children edited by D Alan Lewis

While I’ve been writing quite a bit about magicians and vampires, I haven’t given wolves much time, but this was remedied last year when I saw a call for submissions for Luna’s Children – anthologies featuring werewolves. Now, while I’ve edited a fair amount of fiction involving wolf shifters or werewolves, (See Amy Lee Burgess’s The Wolf Within series and DC Petterson’s Lupa Bella), I’ve been itching to write them myself.

A few of my earlier (and mercifully unpublished) stories involved wolf shifters. One was a female monster hunter who had a raven companion. Oh dear dog it was… Okay, it was fun to write, but looking back now I understand why the thing never sold. The other was set in my Books of Khepera universe and told the story of the tall blond bouncer outside The Event Horizon. Yes, he’s a werewolf, and his name is Viking. (Okay that sounds fecking awful summing it up like that).

And that was the sum and total of my werewolves, until I got round to writing for this anthology. I wanted to do something different. Yes, I know we have wolves in Africa (there’s the recently described Egyptian wolf, in addition to the Ethiopian wolf) but I wanted to write about our “painted wolves” AKA the wild dog. Like their lupine brethren, the African wild dog also runs in packs, but in appearance, they are vastly different. They have large, rounded ears and magnificent mottled markings that give them their name.

In conducting my research, I struck upon the fact that the young females of the pack are driven out to find packs of their own – which provided me with the story seed, and where we join our two sisters and litter mates, who’re headed north until they cross paths with an enigmatic wanderer. What follows is my own imagining of what shifter culture would be like in Africa, and I’ll offer you a small taste here.

A small taste...
“Humans have it so easy,” Mariette said. “I sometimes wish we’d been born dull.”
I whimpered. “Don’t say that.” But my words had no force to them. I’d had the same unworthy thought. I couldn’t imagine life without the thrill of the hunt, going days after prey and running with the pack, thinking, feeling, the world alive around us in crisp detail. “But it would’ve been easier if we’d been boys.” Boys never had to leave the pack once they came of age.
Both of us had been living in denial that this day would come.
Haai! Look!” Mariette pointed as we passed a figure by the side of the road.
Some dude hitching. She slowed the car and gravel spattered against the undercarriage as we pulled to the side of the road.
“We shouldn’t be picking up hitchhikers,” I said even as she shoved the car into reverse.
“It’s like more than thirty-five fucking degrees Celsius outside, sis, the guy’s boiling. Besides, he looks like no one’s stopped to give him a lift in ages. After all, it’s not like we’ve got anything to fear.”
She had a point, and I shoved my misgivings deep where their muttering wouldn’t bother me. Mariette was older than me by five minutes. I deferred to her on most things. Yet we didn’t need to complicate our lives with someone else’s problems right now. But where the hell had the guy sprung from? Like he’d just materialised out of the heat haze on the tarmac and stepped into our reality.

Do go out and support this worthy project. I think the cover art is simply fabulous. Purchase it at Amazon: Full Moon Mayhem and Stranger Worlds.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

On Dawn's Bright Talons

Every once in a while there’s a novel that I put out that’s what I term a “heart” novel, and Dawn’s Bright Talons is one of them. And let me tell you this one has been a journey of years – so much so that I no longer have a clear idea of what sparked the novel off.

I must add, that this is the first secondary-world epic fantasy that has seen the light of day (we won’t discuss the ones that didn’t quite make the cut, okay?). If I dig deep enough, I will admit to borrowing a little from an older, mothballed work entitled The Black Goat (it’s the name of a ship, my dearly beloveds, and the novel was about vampire pirates and ironclads and there’s a verrrrrry good reason why it never saw publication).

My characters came to me quite clearly. Isabeau is young, and still enamoured with the idea that she’s immortal (don’t we all feel like that when we’re sixteen?). She’s a dancer at an upmarket club in the city of Ysul, and she’s determined not to become a courtesan like her late mother. But she’s not doing a particularly good job raising her younger brother, as he’s running around with the wrong sort in town. Not only that, but she has no idea that she’s the heir of an ancient lineage of hereditary dhampir – a quirk of genetics thanks to her parents (who probably should never have enjoyed their dalliance). The only problem is that she may not live long enough to come into her full powers, because her natural prey – vampires – will do everything in their power to stop her from becoming a threat to their existence.

Oh, and the city of Ysul is riddled with vampires. They lurk in the shadows like malignant spiders tugging at their webs and ensnaring the unsuspecting into doing their bidding. They’ve done a lot of convincing to ensure their so-called mythological status, so anything that will upset their cosmic apple cart, so to speak, needs to be dealt with. Only none of them expected Isabeau to drop into their game. The mere fact that she even exists, is a rather unpleasant surprise for them. In the wrong hands she could be a powerful weapon. Left unchecked, she could spell the end to their machinations.

You'll also get to know Michel. He’s a young vampire who had his fill of all the political intrigue, and he’s done the unthinkable – he walked out, and refuses to have anything to do with his kind. Unfortunately for him, this has placed him in a vulnerable position, because all fledglings require a patron. When his erstwhile patron goes missing, an elder reels in those shadowy threads, and Michel is drawn back to dealing with his kind when he'd rather be running his theatre.

Of course there is no such thing as instalove for my unhappy couple. By all rights Isabeau might find Michel a tasty, energising snack, and Michel has to tread carefully, because his loyalties are about to be severely tested.

Here's a small taste...
“It’s best you attend at your earliest convenience, milord,” the young man said. He bowed at the waist, in the manner of the Delrochian families, his arms crossed over his chest. To the eye, he was unremarkable: drab hair neither blond nor brown, and a sallow complexion that spoke of mixed heritage. Ezekiel chose all his minions with care, but to what end with this one?
I stared impassively at the servant, who looked up at me with hopeful brown eyes. He was still new to this game. “Very well. Tell the lord I’ll attend at my earliest convenience.” I spoke the last two words with a sneer. Yes, it rankled that my grandsire saw fit to summon me thus, using a new lackey, no less.
He remained rooted to the spot. I smelled the sourness of his tension, the way the sweat dampened his armpits. Tiny beads of moisture collected on his upper lip and his eyes darted from side to side, as though he checked for hidden dangers. Who was I to let him think otherwise? Unlike the other vampire lords, I did not live cosseted by dozens of servants and men-at-arms. It was just me in this empty Willowbrook residence, the windows on all three floors firmly shuttered tightly against any light that might hope to intrude.
“I have a carriage, milord.” He gestured to a small cabriolet that had been drawn down the side street, half obscured by one of the large magnolias. The distinctive crescent symbol of my grandsire’s bloodline stood in clear relief: silver against black lacquer. The horse, a rangy bay, snorted, as though it was aware attention had shifted to it.
Slowly I turned back to regard the youth. His hair had been cropped close to his head not too long ago—a recently freed slave then. He must have a brand somewhere on his body. What motivated Ezekiel to have one such as this in his employ? The servant shuffled his feet, and I could only imagine how he must perceive me—a cold, dead thing like his lord, studied in my movements and almost reptilian. I might strike in a flash, and make good on the eternal threat of violence I held onto.
“Please inform your master I shall find my own way to his estate. I have matters I must attend to before it is convenient for me to address his whims.” Though I wanted to laugh at the youngster, who wasn’t much older than I’d been when I’d been turned, I didn’t. Instead I inclined my head ever so slightly, stepped back and shut the door with a quiet snick. Only then did I take heed of the fact that my hands trembled terribly.

Liked this? Feel free to feed your readers at,, Kobo, Nook and Smashwords. But, of course, if you're venturesome, three lucky readers who sign up for my newsletter will each receive an ecopy of Dawn’s Bright Talons.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Dangerous Beasts unleashed: Fire

A while ago I (unashamedly) went over to the “dark” side of writing erotic romance, and not only did I discover that this was fun, but I also discovered a bunch of stories that I wouldn’t ordinarily have dared to under normal circumstances. Granted, there are erotic elements in some of my novels, but the driving force behind my regular line of fiction isn’t necessarily romance (though the characters do fall in and out of love).

So, that’s how TherĂ©se von Willegen came into being: basically Nerine’s stories with a whole pile of additional *schmexxors* as we like to call it among my fellow authors. You’ll still find all the usual elements, but let’s just say that things will be … erm …  a wee bit more frisky. Or, as one friend described my latest, “Wow, Nerine, this is quite saucy.”

For those of you who like this sort of thing, I already have two novel-length works available. One is Tainted Love that I published a while ago. It’s a bit of a reverse-Cinderella story, about the good girl who discovers her innate, natural flair for exotic dancing after she gets retrenched. Then there’s Hell’s Music, which ties into the Books of Khepera universe, although my notorious Jamie only gets a brief appearance as a secondary character. Both have their feet firmly planted in contemporary culture.

Which is why I’ve decided to start dipping my toe into writing fantasy erotica, and releasing these in bite-sized pieces, which seems to favour the current climate of mobile reading. The first of these is my tale The Salamander Lord, which is themed according to the element of fire. (Yes, there are more to follow.)

Everything the witch Enya holds dear is threatened by the advance of the Golden Empire. In order to find the power to better her magical skills and help save her sisterhood, she’s sent on an impossible mission to capture an elemental. Not just any elemental, but a creature born of fire—a salamander lord. Only Enya doesn’t expect her passions to be ignited in the ruins of Castle Mondragon. Nor is she prepared for the immense power her fascination with fire unleashes.

To whet your appetite, here’s a little teaser…
She hissed against his lips and dug her nails into the satin-slick skin above his hipbones. The man pulled back, his smile a wicked slash as he regarded her.

“What do you want to offer, little witch? My price is to hear you moan and sob. I want to pin you to this couch and sink myself so deep within you that you’ll be split in twain with lust. I will take my fill of you. Or...”

“Or?” she all but whimpered.

His eyes gleamed. “Or you return to your sisters. Alive. Unharmed. And I will give you this.” He sat back on his haunches and held out his right hand palm up. A tiny flame fluttered into life and shivered before winking out.

“Wait,” Enya said, confused. “You just saved me after making me promise to pay a price and now you’ll let me go with fire...”

“You choose. You can have fire. Any fool can hold a flame but can you truly say you know fire?”

* * * *

Like that? Well, feel free to purchase a copy at Smashwords, Nook or Kindle for only 99c. Alternatively, three lucky readers who sign up for my newsletter here, will each receive a free ecopy of The Salamander Lord.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb #review

Title: Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy #1)
Author: Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb's The Farseer Trilogy numbers among the epic fantasy reads that I always intended to read again. Having read Assassin's Apprentice again, it's clear why her books are considered classics that you will find at almost every good bookstore.

What starts with the almost standard trope of the boy hero with royal parentage, is quickly subverted. Boy or Fitz as he is later known begins life as the unwanted, unexpected son of king-in-waiting Chivalry, and grows up in the stables then is later apprenticed to the assassin Chade.

He was born with the Wit, the ability to touch the minds of other living things, but if anyone were to discover this ability, he would certainly be put to death.

The Six Duchies face an external threat from the Viking-like Red Ship Raiders, who devastate coastal settlements and leave survivors "forged" (magically violated and devoid of all empathy). Yet from the inside, there is strife. King Shrewd's son from his second marriage, Regal, has pretensions to the throne, and bears Fitz little love.

Hobb has populated this saga with a rich cast of fascinating, diverse characters. Though the story is slow paced it is richly textured and it is all too easy to lose on self in the world she has created. I suspect this novel would have been released under the YA banner had it been written now, but Fitz comes to readers with a surprisingly mature voice.

He really has a difficult time and his personality is such that readers can see that he has so much to offer others if only he had the opportunity to share his love. Due to circumstances he is a lonely child, however, and makes do with the scraps he is offered. He experiences much loss and cruelty yet he remains steadfast to his king. This is the redeeming aspect of a character some might find cause to despise because of his vocation.

Hobb has it all in her writing: solid world building, ancient mystery, unforgettable characters, high adventure and enough courtly intrigue to give old GRRM a run for his money. I am looking forward to reading the rest in this series again. At least this time half the books won't be missing courtesy of our sorry library system.