STORM II – Cover Reveal

STORM is just around the corner! Pre-order the electronic version of STORM Volume II before 31 May 2104 and you will get it at the reduced price of $1.50!

Storm Volume II final


STORM Authors – Richard T Wheeler

Tell me about your journey as a writer.

How much space do you have available on your blog?

In short, when you are raised by a librarian and a university lecturer, you tend to grow up with books. I remember a dissatisfaction with the TV shows and comic books that my primary school peers were spending their time on as well as an ennui towards school work in general. Most of my time was spent in the dazzling embrace of books. My most vivid memories came from an illustrated version of King Solomon’s Mines by Sir H. Rider Haggard, and, while it terrified me utterly, it instilled in me sense of wonder in the written word. Now, I don’t recommend that book to someone as young as I was, what with the bloody giant ice skeletons throwing spears through intrepid adventurers and Zulu warriors, (yes that image is still ingrained in my memory), I would, however, recommend reading as a primary escapist entertainment vehicle for children. It made me interesting at dinner parties as a child.

With that background, I find the odds that I would be interested in the inner workings of creating fiction quite staggering. I found that I was good at telling tales from an early age (lying is such an ugly accusation), and started writing short, plagiarism riddled stories by the time I hit high school. Thankfully, all those early attempts were lost to humanity when my parents moved house for the first time. From there, it was a losing battle to attempt to integrate into normal middle class society before I caved to my inertia and started taking writing seriously.

I am currently consuming literature and books on the craft of writing at a ferocious rate while attempting not to deride every attempt I have at writing as drivel to be deleted for the good of future generations who might be as ill-advised as to publish it posthumously.


How did you decide on the name for your story in STORM?

Naming a thing gives it identity, gives it form in the imagination and an anchor point for whoever is experiencing the thing. It’s of little help, say, if you are experiencing the object “elephant”, but is a lot better than the terror of the unknown when experiencing said elephant without that framework.

There is a lot to be said about the title of a short story, a novel, or similar. It is the first impression that you will make to a prospective reader, and as such the single most important thing to entice the reader (up until she opens the work and reads the first line, whereupon that line becomes the most important thing, and so forth). Without a great title, she might never get to the first page.

A book can be written on the process of naming a story, the semiotics of it, the psychology of it, the marketing angle, I’d be genuinely surprised if there weren’t several in existence already.

How did I name this story? I took a line from the denouement that seemed to fit and then retroactively tried to apply all the above angles to it. A moment before I decided to become insane and call myself a lemon and declared the puddle in the back yard a gin and tonic, I gave it a rest and stuck with A Girl called Storm.
What was your favourite part of the writing process for your STORM story?

The challenge of facing off against the shorter format, knowing that I’ll have no space to wax philosophically, to extrapolate extraneously, for additional expositional information or for redundancies.The word count limitations tested my current skill at exposition, and I relished that challenge. I found that I grew as an author by writing this short story and pushed out at my horizons to complete it within the deadline that I was provided.
What was the most difficult part of the writing process for your STORM story?

“A person who publishes a book wilfully appears before the populace with his pants down. If it is a good book nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book nothing can help him.” ― Edna St. Vincent Millay

I have a bit of a pathological fear of letting a piece of writing go. What if one more draft would have made it suitable for human consumption, whereas currently it was an affront to sighted individuals everywhere? I had it edited by our miracle worker in-house editor, Vanessa von Mollendorf, and with her blessing, I pressed send and tried my damnedest not to panic like a father dropping his teen daughter off in front of a crack-house in a bad neighbourhood. I let it go, the cold never bothered me anyway.
What other projects are you working on?

Currently I am in the process of completing the first draft of the second novel in the SanguinemEmere series. It had a bit of a rough time on the backburner in the writer’s equivalent of development hell and I feel that one more push through the breach will get it to the editing stage, and then, to indie publication like its predecessor.

There is also a new project for my author page (, where I intend to serialise a novel over 12 months via the page at no cost to the reader. That project will launch with the first two chapters on 1 June 2014, with two chapters delivered on a monthly basis thereafter.

I have also been approached by the esteemed proprietor of this fine page to contribute to a short story to the Flight of the Phoenix collection that she is involved with. I look forward to seeing her reaction to the submission.

On top of that, there is a ghost story novel set in 2010 South Africa that is in development if I can find the time. I hope to finish it this year in light of all the above. It’s going to be literary fiction, because the themes hijacked the story at gunpoint.


Author bio

Richard T Wheeler is the co-author of the SanguinemEmere mythology and author of A Girl called Storm in the STORM Anthology. His first co-authored novel, Bought in Blood was published on Amazon in an attempt to save the reclusive and endangered Lesser Spotted Old School Vampire. It is an ongoing conservation project.

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, he farms stories and crippling self-doubt from wherever he can make a laptop and wine spend time in the same room with him. That is if and when he can pry himself away from the novels by Jim Butcher, Sergei Lukyanenko and Terry Pratchett.  He considers borderline alcoholism as part and parcel of the writer’s job description and is starting to understand why Ingrid Jonker walked into the sea.


Get in touch with Richard:

The STORM is about to arrive!

The time has come. STORM is available for pre-order on Smashwords! You can buy volumes I (USD2.99) and II (USD1.50) or get yourself the entire collection as separate short stories (which will, of course, cost much more).

Naturally, I spent today (and yesterday) preparing my shorts for Smashwords and they are now available at USD0.99 each.

Click on the cover images below to go check them out!

Beyond_cover The Gravic Exacerbation


STORM Authors – Vanessa Wright

Tell me about your journey as a writer.

I have been making up stories; some would call them tall tales, since the age of five. I wrote until I matriculated and university, marriage, work, children; the ordinary things we attribute to life interrupted the flow. In the intervening years, I have always felt as if I had lost a vital part of myself. Now, I have come full circle and the most important thing driving me is the need to tell these stories that make their presence felt whether I am awake or dreaming. The flood gates are open and I have no idea how to curtail the flow.

How did you decide on the names for your stories in STORM?

A storm in a teacup, the science fiction story, was easy as the story revolves around a teacup, much like my grandmother’s set which I still own. It was a precious item which was only brought out when the pastor came around on his yearly visit. I decided to have fun with the item, although I know my grandmother would surely have frowned upon it. Dandelions for Mother was the difficult one. The story had been edited and was sitting there in my files, burdened with the moniker Storm 1. It was only after my friend Linze Brandon suggested a few titles that I suddenly knew what the title should be. It changed the ending slightly.

What was your favourite part of the writing process for your STORM stories?

The joy of telling the tale and laughing out loud whilst writing A storm in a teacup. My youngest son popped in to inquire as to his mother’s insane giggling and I had to admit to entertaining myself with the writing thereof.

What was the most difficult part of the writing process for your STORM stories?

Dandelions for Mother took me to a darker place and I imparted part of my being. Grief and heartache lies at the heart of the story and I lived it while I wrote it. It is always difficult to bounce back thereafter.

What other projects are you working on?

What am I not working on should be the question. Red Tape, a crime thriller is currently being submitted to publishing houses in South Africa. I am putting the finishing stories in place for Bikinis and double fudge sundaes, a book that has grown from my blog and features the inimitable, hilarious Muse. I am working on a sequel to Red Tape, named Something evil comes… featuring the same detectives. I am 13000 words into Dead-Lee, which was born in entirety from a dream. Last, but not least is Fever Dreams, a literary work in four parts featuring transformation, living, dying and regeneration. The A to Z blog challenge and Camp NanoWrimo kicks off in April. Looking at all of this, I realise how insane I truly am….


Get into contact with Vanessa:

Twitter: @Artysoul1966


Smashwords author profile:

Goodreads author profile:



STORM authors – Linzé Brandon

Tell me about your journey as a writer.

I wrote my first story in 2001. It was a romance between a professional photographer and his research assistant. It was not particularly good, but it got me hooked. After another year or two, I submitted another story, this time I gathered my courage but it was rejected by a publisher with great feedback. Although disappointed, it did not stop me from writing. Eventually, I came across the online writing course from UCT and it looked like the perfect opportunity to formally learn the craft and test my wings once more. After another rejection, with wonderful feedback yet again, I decided to self-publish. While I continue to learn and hopefully improve as a writer, I have not looked back on my choice to become an indie author.

How did you decide on the names for your stories in STORM?

This is the hardest thing for me to explain – I just know. reGENESIS is the prequel to an existing sci-fi romance series. While it is a narrative, the story behind the stories of the Third Gender Series, there is no romance in this story. The Cutting Horizon was exactly the same. The title just came to me just as I sat down to start writing the first draft. Since the thunder storms in the story impact directly on the main characters, I felt that the title worked.

What was your favourite part of the writing process for your STORM stories?

The writing. I loved to sit down and get to know my characters as I wrote their stories. As a pantser, I never quite know what they were going to do next. The stories turned out better than my original ideas for both of them.

What was the most difficult part of the writing process for your STORM stories?

I don’t like editing, maybe because I am not good at it, but I do edit my stories at least three times to fix plot gaps and cut excess words where necessary. Then I print it out and tackle it once more. I don’t write “fluff” but sometimes a scene is superfluous or in a wrong place, those I delete or move without a second thought – my three sets of coloured pens have become my best friends. I am a firm believer in getting another person to edit my work; it polishes the end product in a way that I cannot.

What other projects are you working on?

I have made a list to help me to keep focus this year, and so far I am not doing too badly. I need to finish the editing on OBSESSION, the third book in the Third Gender Series. I am also in the process of finishing the first draft of my third novel, MICHAEL’S MYSTERY (Camp NaNoWriMo in April is earmarked for that) as well as finishing a bundle of erotic romance short stories. Only two more stories need to be finished before the editing process can begin.

Contact Linzé

Twitter: @LinzeBrandon

STORM Authors – Carmen Botman

Meet Carmen Botman! I thoroughly enjoy her company and can’t wait to read her work.

Tell me about your journey as a writer.

My journey has actually been a lifelong one. I knew that I wanted to be writer from a very young age, writing my first story at the age of six. When I was nine, I asked my parents for a typewriter so that I could start typing out my stories. My parents were always (and still are) very encouraging and bought the typewriter (an orange/pink Olivetti), which I still have to this very day. After school I studied something completely unrelated (Occupational Therapy) and stopped writing for a few years. About three years ago I started writing seriously again and I don’t intend on stopping anytime soon. After all these years, things have come full circle, and I realise that I have always known that I still want to be a writer.

How did you decide on the names for your stories in STORM?

Dahlias and Daisies was straight forward – it’s the flowers that feature in the story. For The Icarus Curse, I was trying to think of a metaphor for one of the characters in the story. I remembered the Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus that we learnt about at school and thought that it was a good match.

What was your favourite part of the writing process for your STORM stories?

The flow was really easy for both stories. I actually started Dahlias and Daisies first, but struggled a bit because dramas are not really my forte. I got the idea for The Icarus Curse, started on that and it flowed easily. When I was done, I rewrote the beginning of Dahlias and Daises twice and then the words came – thankfully.

What was the most difficult part of the writing process for your STORM stories?

I challenged myself in both of them. This was both the first dystopian story and the first drama I’ve written. It was difficult at times, but very rewarding in the end, so much so that I want to experiment with more genres to see what else I might like.

What other projects are you working on?
I am currently working on another, yet untitled story for The Flight of the Phoenix anthology. I am once again challenging myself to the nth degree, so we’ll see what happens in this one.

Get into contact with Carmen:

Blog Facebook Twitter Smashwords Goodreads Google+

STORM – Blog tour request

The Pretoria Writers’ Group is requesting hosts for a blog tour of the STORM anthology.
It is an anthology to be published in two volumes (I for fantasy/scifi/dystopia and II for contemporary stories) intended for an adult audience (no erotica).
The tour will be from 11 to 24 May 2014.
If you are interested please email your preference for hosting to

1. This is NOT my personal email and only messages with STORM HOST in the subject line will be attended to.
2. Please indicate which Volume of STORM you would like to host (or both)
3. Please indicate if you would like to review (either or both) of the Volumes (a limited number of ARCs in PDF will be provided before the tour commences)
4. Please indicate if you would like to interview any of the authors on your blog (please provide the name(s) of the author and your questions in the email)
5. The authors are: Linzé BrandonVanessa von MollendorfNatalie MyburghCarmen BotmanCharmain Lines and Richard Wheeler.
6. The covers, buy links to both volumes, short excerpts of the stories in the relevant anthology (I = 6, II = 4) and the Smashwords author profile links for all the authors will be provided by 7 May 2014.

If you have any questions please include them in the email – thank you.

STORM authors – Charmain Lines

I asked my fellow writers a few questions so you could get to know them before STORM comes out.

First up is Charmain Lines. I’ve actually not seen her in a while because she was doing research in the UK for a book that took far more time than she had initially planned for, but she was one of the first two to sit down for the interview!


Charmain Lines

Tell me about your journey as a writer.

I write for a living – articles, newsletters, employee magazines and the occasional coffee table book for corporate clients. In 2010, I attended a workshop on dream mapping and goal setting and walked away from it with the wildly improbable goal (WIG) of living abroad, writing and researching a novel. With my mind and heart opened to the notion of fiction writing, I enrolled for an online writing course (where I met Lizette) and started writing my first novel, Unfinished Business, that I self-published in 2013.
How did you decide on the name for your story in STORM?

I’m still not 100% of my story’s title, but because it has a fairy tale quality about it “Once upon a time” seemed appropriate.
What was your favourite part of the writing process for your STORM story?

Experiencing its unfolding. I learn every day that fiction writing is an almost magical process of the story taking over when the writer gets out of the way.
What was the most difficult part of the writing process for your STORM story?

I was incredibly busy with work writing at the time I was doing my story, hence it was difficult to find the time to get my mind back into my story.
What other projects are you working on?

The first draft of my second novel is a few thousand words away from being completed and I’m busy writing a book for a community in Ireland who’ve succeeded in saving a local wetland (bog) from being destroyed. It is a fascinating story of a town standing together, even invoking EU legislation to force the Irish government to do the right thing, and now finding the best way to preserve a unique habitat.

Like Charmain on Facebook

And try out her published works on Amazon or Smashwords!

My experiences: Writing for STORM

Since last year October, I have been working on and off on short stories for STORM (Pretoria Writers Group’s anthology coming out in June 2014). It’s been a strange ride. When I just started out, I thought to myself: This will probably be fun. I don’t have any trouble writing flash fiction, how different can it be?

Funny thing is: A short story is not just 500 words.

As you can see from the short stories I’ve put up on this blog, I have tried my hand at stories of 250 words or shorter. Ye olde flash fiction. If you want something that actually hits harder than a kitten’s paw, you’ll have to cut out anything that isn’t absolutely essential to the story. It really breeds a certain mindset.

Short stories, on the other hand, are actually closer to 5000 to 12000 words or so. You really have to think differently to write something of that length. Unlike flash fiction, you have time to reveal a little more about your characters; you actually have time time to describe some scenery…but you still can’t just put in everything. It has to move at sufficient speed to present a whole story in roughly a tenth of a normal novel. (When I say normal…I mean normal young adult fantasy…i.e. 300 to 500 pages or more.)

To me, writing a short story feels like writing a story with only three or four chapters.  As a matter of fact, that’s how I structure them in yWriter5. I create three or four chapters (usually, unimaginatively called “Beginning”, “Middle” and “End”), I make sure the initial exposition goes into the chapter 1 scenes, the story develops in chapter 2 and things wind down (or up, as is the case in Beyond) in the last chapter. (In retrospect, that’s kind of a no brainer, yes?)

But I digress. What I meant to say is: Writing short stories takes skill and developing that skill on the fly is no mean feat. I’ve burnt my fingers more than once. I’ve had more success than I expected. All in all, I’ve learned a lot and I’m grateful for it.

Come June this year, you’ll have the opportunity to see me in action. STORM is coming! And nothing will be the same again!