The Flight of the Phoenix on Unisa Radio

Before 25 July 2015, I had never before been in a radio station studio before. I arrived a good hour early…you know, so I have time to get lost trying to find the campus where it’s situated and then get lost trying to find the right building and the right room and so forth.

It turns out, I used to work on the very campus where Unisa Radio has its building. And it took me all of 5 minutes to find the station’s building inside.

IMG-20150723-01571

Going on air was actually quite relaxing after stressing myself out beforehand. I guess it also helped that our DJ, SindiM, was really easy to talk to and she didn’t ask any questions I wasn’t prepared for.

Unisa Radio SindiM

HJ Kruger, SindiM and Natalie Rivener

To listen to our interview, click here.

Afterwards, true to form, HJ and I spent an hour talking about writing and story ideas. It’s a writer thing – you get lonely sitting behind your PC screen tapping away at the keys. And, when you finally see someone who can relate, you develop instant verbal diarrhoea and overcome all paranoia about the other author stealing your ideas.

Unisa Radio sign

HJ Kruger and Natalie Rivener taking a shameless selfie…haha

The Flight of the Phoenix – podcast

This is your chance to hear me displaying all kinds of bravado on Release the Geek, the official GeekXP.co.za podcast!

GeekXPbadge

Les (from Release the Geek) actually podcast ambushed me one sunny day while I was at home with my son (who was almost 3 months old at the time)…so, you might get to hear a little baby voice here and there. *blush*

All in all, I think it went quite well. And I put my foot in my mouth less often than usual.

Click here to listen to the podcast!

The Flight of the Phoenix – Authors

Last but not least is HJ Kruger. I met this multi-talented artist/writer/designer during my university years. He is an absolutely fascinating creature and I have spent much time marvelling at his art (photography, paintings, stories, designs and more).

He has slaved away hours working on cover and banner designs for The Flight of the Phoenix and we are eternally grateful for his fantastic work.

Here is his interview:

How has your participation in The Flight of the Phoenix changed your approach to writing?
Let me start by saying what an amazing experience it’s been collaborating on this anthology. Flight of the phoenix taught me to be more focused in my writing and also to be more flexible. In developing a story specifically tailored for a publication I leaned to be receptive to constructive criticism and respect the creative process. The best thing of working on this project was the support and developmental feedback from the publisher, Siygrah Books, that always assured me that my story was in the best possible hands from the start.

Is writing a short story much different from screenwriting?
Screen writing is a lot more structured with a more defined format. The use of adverbs and inner dialogue, especially narration, is widely discouraged. Because a screenplay is never supposed to be a piece of literature by itself, it should rather be looked at as the creation of a blueprint that will guide and aid the filming process. When writing a short story I feel a lot freer to explore the minds of my characters and describe their inner realms, something that is sadly absent when you have to tell a story visually.

As the cover designer of the anthology, what was your biggest challenge?
The original image was a stunning hand-drawn image by Elsabé Viljoen; my biggest challenge was to reinvent the image to better suit the market and genre expectations and I think that the process was well worth it and yielded a image that both me and the publisher were happy with.

Get into contact with HJ Kruger:

https://www.facebook.com/hjkrugerwriter

The Flight of the Phoenix – Authors

Ahhh, Richard. The man who set me on the next journey in my writing career. He’s one of those guys who will charm the socks off you. I can’t help but listen to his advice. Heck, today I came home with a tub of coconut oil and a packet of coconut flour just because he was telling me about its amazing baking applications.

Initially, I actually met him because he was my middle sister’s best friend’s little brother (at the time, all I really knew about him was that he kept a rat called Rattex). Try that for a tongue twister! Say “my middle sister’s best friend’s little brother” six times fast!

He kept popping up in my life and I never suspected that he would one day be writing right along with me…and that I would learn so much from him.

Here’s what he had to say when I asked him a few questions:

What was the biggest lesson you learned as a contributor to the anthology?

Each writing project teaches you something about yourself, but a collaborative project can acquaint you with your limits. Limits of personal time management, limits of personal leadership and, more importantly, the limitless potential of a collaborative effort. Writing is usually a solitary affair, but when writing for an anthology it’s not just you. Your work needs to match up to others, so you naturally up your game.

An anthology gives you an opportunity that you also don’t always have readily available, access to other writers and an overarching volume editor. These two parties also have a stake in the quality of the anthology, so they tend to provide focussed and valuable feedback to your work, and you to theirs.

If you have the opportunity to write for an anthology, I’d recommend it. Your co-authors will make you a better writer, and hopefully, so will you them.

What are your current writing projects?

It’s a pretty exciting time, actually. I am writing a series with a co-author, the talented Carmen Dominique Taxer, and simultaneously blogging about the process of writing, post-production, publication, and marketing the series on DauntlessWriting.com. I have the aim of doing this full-time, as opposed to trying to squeeze it in between full-time drudgery at a traditional nine to five. We’re going full indie, taking responsibility for every facet of the creative process. Marketing is creative too! I’m hoping that the non-fiction work will be of some help to others who walk the same path as we are.

The series itself is something that I believe will have seen the light of day if the traditional gatekeepers of the publishing world had their say. The beauty of indie authorpreneurship is the ability to do what you want, when you want to, and not being beholden to someone else’s idea of what will be “worthy” for publication. If traditional publishers were honest with themselves, they would admit that they have no idea what makes one book explode onto the bookshelves of every home in the world and another fizzle back down into obscurity.

The series is called Sanguinem Emere, (which is an archaic legal term that, loosely translated, means redemption bought through blood). It is a Gaslight Vamp series which draws from diverse inspirations, such as from the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles to A Song of Ice and Fire, to the Steampunk genre, to the classics’ Gothic Horror. Like I said, traditional publishers would have had no idea what to do with this.

If an aspiring author approaches you about writing their first novel, what advice would you share?

ABC. Always Be Creating. There is a reason that the first episode of the Dauntless Writing Podcast is on this topic. The rest of the stuff will follow, just get yourself in the seat and write. Even if you think your writing is no good, even if you think you have a bunch of other stuff to do first, like reading up on craft or publishing. Write, because the best way to get better is by writing. Read up, by all means, but never let that stop you from putting words on paper.

Priority number one is Always Be Creating. You can always make it better later as you learn new skills and techniques.

Contact Richard T Wheeler

His personal website

Dauntless Writing

Vampire Bibliographica

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter – @RichTWheeler

The Flight of the Phoenix – Editor

Every book has its evil editor and I have the honour of filling that role this time. I sent their stories to beta readers. I made my writers jump through hoops. I made them rewrite whole stories. I demanded pictures, author bios and links to their online presence. I had to strongly resist the urge to drive over to their houses to strangle them.

Being an editor really is no cakewalk. You have to tell people that their pride and joy is riddled with errors and inconsistencies. You  have to wheedle and needle people for stories they promised time and time again and simply did not submit. You have to cajole and encourage and sometimes even berate your writers (friends, family and acquaintances).

I’m not a heartless person. In fact, I have been known to be a real softy. But, goodness, did this anthology make me learn the value of giving a cold shoulder to people you love…and to yourself.

I was among the very last to submit a story. My story’s second round of beta reading happened in the last two weeks of editing the book. And I’m very relieved to say that my feedback meant minimal changes.

During the compilation and and endless editing on The Flight of the Phoenix, I have learned more than I ever expected to. I had a crash course in learning how to use Scribus, an amazing open source programme for desktop publishing. I learned how to publish a book on Amazon and CreateSpace. I had to relearn how things work on Goodreads. I had to rediscover what my preferences were for writing conventions. I had to put my foot down really hard to get things the way I wanted them. And…I learned that Amazon will make us wait 3 months before we get to publish on Smashwords. And publish on Smashwords we will (in October).

My advice to anyone who wants to publish a book:
Get your ducks in a row, it’s not easy. You need to keep to your own deadlines. You need to keep your writers to their deadlines. You need to learn skills you never knew were necessary and things like that take time.

To get your hands on our book, use any of the links above and remember to get your discount code from me on via our Facebook page.

The Flight of the Phoenix – RSA Book Launch

Good news! We are hosting a book launch in South Africa! Don’t miss out! Come meet the authors, have your book signed, take a photo! If you missed out on the pre-order price, you can still get 10% off your local print-run copy by buying it from us at the book launch.

Where: Rooihuiskraal Public Library

When: 25 July 2015, 14:00-17:00

 

The Flight of the Phoenix – Authors

Of all the authors, I have known Elmien Grove by far the longest. She and I met one fateful day just before we turned ten. We spent a heck of a lot of time together. We would ignore each other for hours on end reading books side by side. We wrote shameless fan fiction stories throughout high school…for each other…about our favourite musicians… Hahaha… Ahem!

She has always had a gift for writing. Her style is approachable and speaks directly to the reader. Where I like writing high fantasy because of the vaulted language and flowery words, she writes in a way that has you through the story before you even realised that you have started reading.

I love this woman to bits and I’m sure you will too. Here is what she had to say when I asked her a few questions:

What was the biggest lesson you learned as a contributor to the anthology?
The biggest lesson I learned while contributing to this anthology was that writing a story is only a small part of what you need done in order to have a polished end result to publish. The beta readers, the editors and the marketeers have blown my mind with their expertise and sharp sense of what is currently on point and in demand. It has been a huge learning opportunity for me.

What are your current writing projects?
Currently I am focusing on writing the invitations for my wedding, autobiographical pieces about both my fiancee and myself for the wedding website, my blog and the story I aim on entering for the next edition of this anthology. With all the tools I’ve been given by the other writers and editors during the process of compiling The Flight of the Phoenix anthology, I have high hopes that this one will need slightly less tweaking.

If an aspiring author approaches you about writing their first novel, what advice would you share?
If an aspiring author asked me for advice on writing a novel, I would probably say: “I have no idea, but when you find out, please let me know”. On writing in general, I would suggest getting into a routine, in order to minimize the emotional component and fear of running into a bout of writer’s block. Even if you sit down for only half an hour everyday and just start typing, eventually it should flow more naturally and your confidence will improve over time. Spend less time trying to come up with ideas and more time rambling right onto the paper. You might be surprised at what emerges.

Connect with Elmien Grove

Blogger: http://ellenell.blogspot.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/elmiengroveauthor

 

The Flight of the Phoenix – Authors

I met Andrea Vermaak over a decade ago at the University of Pretoria. Back then, she was studying publishing and was a member of the Inklings (the creative writing society).  It didn’t take much for us to recognise kindred spirits and we have stayed in contact ever since. What a pleasure to have her right next to me, chasing our dreams!

Andrea’s interview:

What has been your high so far with The Flight of the Phoenix?
I have been able to rediscover my passion for writing short stories. This particular passion has been long dormant. I’ve also had the opportunity to write a story that has been burning a hole in my mind for quite some time already. Being able to complete a story is always most satisfying.

What was your worst low?
I think my lowest point was trying to write the middle of my story. I knew how I wanted to begin and end it, but finding plot points for the middle and trying to sustain Draca’s torn state of mind was very difficult. I, however, learnt a lot about myself, as well as writing, during this journey.

What are your future writing plans?
I want to finish the novel I started writing years ago. It has undergone many changes and many drafts have been written. It is now time to polish it off and send it out into the world. I’m definitely going to write my short stories for Siygrah Books too. It has been a pleasure working with and learning from this amazing group of people.

Get into contact with Andrea:

Blog: andreavermaak.worpress.com (Beyond Words).
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AndreaVermaakWriter
Twitter: @AndreaVermaak
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AndreaV83
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=47213899&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

The Flight of the Phoenix – Links

It’s time to get your hands on The Flight of the Phoenix!!! Pre-orders are open! Now, since we are not in charge of how our platforms work, we’ve had to get creative with how we’re doing pre-orders.

CreateSpace (print-on-demand via Amazon – so, worldwide distribution) and Amazon (eBook). To get your pre-order discount, please contact us via our Facebook page and I will personally send you a coupon code.

For our local South African print run pre-orders, contact all authors directly. We are all reachable on Facebook.

Elmien GroveRyhen E KnightHJ KrugerCaldon Mull
Natalie RivenerAndrea VermaakRichard T Wheeler

Please note: The pre-orders are limited to the period before 16 July 2015. From there on, they will be available only at the full price, so, don’t wait! Get your discount now!

FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX COVER FINAL copyThe Flight of the Phoenix on Amazon, CreateSpace
and in South Africa!

Leave us a review on Goodreads if you like it!

The Flight of the Phoenix – Authors

Next up is Caldon Mull. During the many years that I spent at gaming conventions and LARPs, I got to know this man and could never quite put my finger on why I found him so charming. Maybe it’s because he’s a fantastic cook. Maybe it’s his easy manner and captivating voice (though he’ll be quick to tell you it’s not a voice for radio…go figure). All I know is: I enjoy his company even when I don’t see quite eye to eye with him.

Here follows my interview with him…

What has been your high so far with The Flight of the Phoenix?

Being selected and identified with a group that is currently producing high quality work in my area. It has been lonely writing, and knowing that there are others who are doing the same thing as I am doing has proved to be refreshing. The genre is very, very small in South Africa, and yet overall the quality and originality of fantasy and science fiction has a long history going back to the 1950’s and almost nobody in this country recognizes that South Africa SF has a really good international reputation. Perhaps The Flight of the Phoenix will be the next ‘novel of the decade’ for the genre in this country, and I am pleased to have been selected as a contributor.

What has been your worst low?

There was a point where it didn’t look like the compilation would get off the ground and it burnt me a little. I have not had particularly good luck with collaborations (mostly because of my own personality, more than lack of opportunities, or lack of trying) over the last two decades and I was concerned that this would go the way of all of the other attempts I have undertaken. However, I am resilient and my faith in the editor paid off and I am quite proud of The Flight of the Phoenix, because I think the selection of material for the volume represents the best work of the contributors, to date.

What are your future writing plans?

I am currently on a path, and I am compulsive enough to continue with that route until the loop is closed. I envision a major release of my own material in May, and October to complete my current publishing schedule.  In 2016, I need to examine my contracts and then see if I can publish a genre novel a year for at least two genres from my backlog until my list is exhausted. As I am rated as ‘solidly mid-list’ the only way through that is to experiment with breaking into cross-genre work and see where that goes. The Flight of the Phoenix provides an ideal and uncomfortable excursion into the Young Adult genre that I would not have ordinarily thought to make, and thus I will continue to support the project for as long as I am able to. That is what is so exciting for me, the ‘treasure-horde-in-your-backyard’ sort of excitement.

Get into contact with Caldon:

Smashwords: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Caldon

Print paperbacks: www.createspace.com

Goodreads: Caldon_Mull