Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Boris the Butcher, Book 2, and 'A Song of Sacrifice'

Hey everyone, hope you've all been epic! I'm back with my just-what-the-hell-I've-been-up-to post... ;-)

First off, remember the first episode of the Toshiba Tablet Race which I posted last time? Well, the second episode is out - featuring Boris the Butcher, a ruthless and stylish Russian assassin, played by me! :-) Check out the episode below and let me know what you think. :-)

Next up, I've started writing Book 2 - the title of which I'll reveal after BETRAYAL'S SHADOW either has a cover or is released. ;-) 1K a day at the moment, so I'm easing into it, and I'm already deviating slightly from the plot-plan I've put together - thankfully so, because I managed to think up something much better. :-)

And I've also finished writing and submitted the longest short story I've 'penned' - so far. It's a companion-tale to the trilogy, and hopefully the first of three stories which will take readers into a different time and place and furnish more detail on events only mentioned in the novels, but which are actually significant. The story is titled A SONG OF SACRIFICE and what I can tell you so far is that my publisher is happy with it. :-) Look out for an official announcement regarding it soon (ish). ;-)

So, until my next update,

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Toshiba Tablet Race - Episode One

Why am I posting about this? You'll have to watch it to find out. ;-)

In case you missed it, I was the dude in the black leather jacket and jeans, with the pony-tail - yes, it's real hair. ;-)

I'll let you all watch it and spread the news far and wide - not because I'm in it, but because it's such a cool project, as I'm sure you agree! :-) (Check out this post, too, for an article on the Race)

In my next post I'll go into details - the two days that I was 'on set', so look out for that. In the mean time you can head over to the Toshiba Tablet Race's website for more info, and don't forget to check out their Facebook Page. Spread the word far and wide, people - Episode Two is on it's way! :-)


Friday, November 1, 2013

My First Author-Event, Edits, and More

Hey everyone, hope the day's been treating you well so far. :-)

I've been busy-busy-busy with the first batch of edits for BETRAYAL'S SHADOW, and now that I've completed them and sent them back to my editor I've got a chance to catch up on some things, including this blog and the other writing projects I need to finish before I get stuck in with Book 2. :-)

The editing process was a revelation, and I truly feel sorry for authors that don't have editors to help them fix and focus their manuscripts. My editor, Marius Du Plessis, is damned good at his job - he understands what Speculative Fiction should and can do, and he's a reader, too; his insights into the manuscript made the novel so much better than it was! The editing served, too, to get me focused that much more on Book 2 (title-reveal coming up soon), so that I have a much better and detailed idea of what's coming. This dude rocks, and I'm so glad that I'm working with him. :-) Oh, just in case you're wondering, Marius is also the Publishing Director of Fox and Raven Publishing. ;-)

We'll be getting into the final fixes and edits for Book 1 starting with next week, and then it'll be time to finalize the maps and the all-important cover - updates here as they happen. :-)

Three weeks ago, perhaps longer (my bad) I participated in my first author event. :-) It was hosted and run by the awesome Mandi Friedman at her beautiful venue, Indulgence Cafe, and though we didn't have many people at the event it was still a damned cool evening. It was and is an incredible honour to have been invited to the First Annual Horror and Fantasy Festival, and my co-authors at the event, Joan De La Haye and Monique-Cherie Snyman, were awesome fun. :-)

From left to right, Monique, Joan, Mandi and Me. :-)
Embarrassingly enough, I was the one who suggested that everyone who attend dress up to fit in with the Halloween theme, but I couldn't, I just didn't have the time - I literally left work and climbed into the car. :-) But, as you can see, I was given a pumpkin-hat to wear for the duration of the evening. :-)

Mandi chaired the panel for us (that's Joan with the Elvira-hair, and that's Monique with in the Voodoo-Priestess garb), and kept us talking and discussing Horror and Fantasy, what scares us, what Horror as a genre should and can do, the differences between Horror and Fantasy, and much more. Here's a clip from the event, wherein I end up talking about urinating in ... well, you'll have to watch it. ;-)

We all really enjoyed the event and will definitely return next year - should we be re-invited! ;-) And this time, I'll definitely dress up! Promise!

My amazing and completely gorgeous girlfriend, Leana. :-)

You can check out Joan's and Monique's posts on the event, too - here's Joan's post, and here's Monique's post. :-) We even made a local newspaper!

Definitely a massively cool evening - when I let you all know about next year's event, come and join us! Not only will the company be epic and terrifying (hehehe!), but Mandi makes sure to make incredibly satisfying and mouthwatering food, too. :-) Check out the website for more info - Indulgence Cafe.

In other news, I've got something very cool and very different coming up it has to do with THIS, so make sure you 'Like' the Facebook Page (and my Page, while you're at it) to get all the pertinent updates as they happen. :-)

So, until next time,

Friday, October 11, 2013

Horror Festival at Indulgence Cafe - You're Invited!

This coming Wednesday, the 16th of October, I'll be part of this Horror-themed festival, joining two other authors! :-)

It'll be my first author event, pre-publication of course (since BETRAYAL'S SHADOW will be published next year), but it's going to be a great event - we'll be dressing up, in keeping with the nearness of Halloween, and we'll be discussing all the things that make people scared!

Here are the event's details:

A night of Horror Stories around the campfire (minus the fire) with a collection of SA's Horror and fantasy writers as part of our Halloween line up for October 2013.

We will be welcoming Joan De La Haye Monique-Cherie Snyman and Dave de Burgh to sit and talk about the genre, the greats, the not so great and ZOMBIES of course!

I just love Walking Dead and World War Z just rocked! 

Come share my passion for Halloween with these fab authors!

Fantasy and Horror books and memorabilia will be on sale!

R100 per head for the evening, a burger buffet and a prize for the BEST costume! Yes, come dressed up!
RSVP to Mandi lollipops (at) telkomsa (dot) net or 011 782 5063

The authors appearing with me at the event will be:

and Joan De La Haye, author of the novels, Shadows and Requiem in E Sharp, as well as stories in various anthologies and novellas.

Please join us! :-) It's sure to be a great evening - good food, great discussions, and dressing up to suit the theme! :-)

See you there, and

Friday, September 27, 2013

For Your Opinion: Rou - an Afrikaans Horror Short Story

Hey everyone, yep, the post-title just about explains what you'll be getting from me today. :-)

I wrote this a couple of months ago after the first two paragraphs popped into my mind, and when that happens - well, I just had to write it. ;-)

Since Afrikaans isn't my home language, there'll be plenty of grammatical and spelling errors in this piece, which I'll fix in due course; what I need from you is:

a) Did you like it / Did you not like it?
b) Is there anything I could improve on?

And whatever other thoughts you might have regarding 'Rou'. :-) It's my first foray into Afrikaans fiction, and since I'm a Horror / SF / Fantasy writer, 'Rou' is what I've got for you.

Hope you like it!


Ek was toe verkeerd.

Die flamme lek aanhoudend teen die venter en die dun muur en almal buite wat geskree en gegil en gehuil  het, het nou stil geword. Lyk my die dorp het die stilte van die dood gevat en sy eie gemaak.

Ja, ek was verkeerd. Maar dis net die details wat ek nie reg gehad het nie - lyke in die straate, geboue wat brand en stukkie-vir-stukkie breek en pad-toe val. Die eind-punt bly die selfde – hulle  het nie geluister nie, hulle het besluit om doof te bly en 7de Laan te kyk en te se, 'Dit wat daar buite aan gaan het niks met ons uit te waai nie'.

En kyk nou - nou gaan elk een van ons alles verloor. Ek wens ek was reg - dinge sou dan nie so erg gewees het nie. Dit sou vining verby gewees het en Zuma sou op TV gepraat het en almal sou more werk toe gegaan het en… Wel, ja, man. Nie al hierdie kak nie.

Ek staan eindelik op, my hemp nat en klouend, en hoes ‘n paar keur om die slym uit my bors te kry. Ek spoeg en die nat klossie sizzle waar hy spat van die vlamme se hitte. Dis verby tyd om hier uit te kom.

‘n Stukkie van die venster klap soos ‘n skoot en fyn, geelirige glas-skerwes val op die mat voor die ventser – my ma het die mat vir my gekoop want ek’t so baie kaalvoet rond geloop; nou sal ek my voete fucked-up­ sny as ek dit try.

Ek kyk rond, skud my kop en vloek saggies. Alles wat kan breek was gebreek toe daai klomp hier in-gestrompel het – die ge-moanery het my wakker gemaak maar ek het net genoeg in my gehad om my kop so bietjie te lug en te kyk deur skreefies-oe en dan weer uit-te-paas. Hulle het my uitgelos, soos ek geweet het hulle so, maar in die soektog vir iets om te eet het hulle als gebreek en gegooi en stukkend getrap. Ek dink ek het die boom gehoor van my ys-kas toe dit omgekeer was. Pa gaan my bliksem.

Ek lag. “Pa is seker fokken dood, jou idiot.” Fok, almal wat ek ken is seker dood.

Nog ‘n crack en die venter val in, die hitte van die honger vuur trek soos ‘n invisible wolk in die kamer in en ek squint en vloek van die sudden-sweet tap van my sye af. Ek draai om en vee my hand oor my gesig – my ander hand werk nogsteeds nie soos wat die moet nie- en strompel na die spasie toe waar die deur was. Die ding le in drie stukke, gebreek deur vuiste en tande en skoppende voete.

Ek stap verby die stukke, in die gang af, op pad na die flat se ingang –dankie, Ma, dat jy vir my ‘n kamer op die grond-vloer gekry het- en die vuur brul en raas soos wat alles wat myne was vlam vat.

Oomblikke later stap ek tussen die gebuigde dubbel-deure uit en ek’s in lug wat ek weer kan in-asem – die rook is agter-langs my, en nou ryk ek die heavy, klouende reuk van liggaame en petrol wat brand.

Dit lyk as of ‘n oorlog op die straat buite my flat uit gebreek het. Gee nie om wat die government alles verander het nie – dis Kerk Straat hierdie. Ek lek my lippe, skud my kop, gee ‘n klein laggie. Nee, dis nie meer Kerk Straat nie.

Dis nie eers meer Pretoria, of Suid Afrika nie.

Een van daai moerse Coke-trokke staan dwars oor drie bane, met wat lyk soos ‘n Isuzu bakkie en ‘n Ford Fiesta onder-in en tussen die wiele gevrommel. “Lucky…” begin ek se, en my stem val weg, die gedagte nogsteeds in my kop van wat ek wil se maar ek kry net nie die word nie. Daar le ‘n paar twee-lieters in die pad, sommiges oop-ge-blaas, maar verder het almal die Coke uit gelos. Ek begin giggle, ek kan dit nie help nie – of mense drink nie meer nie of mense is nie meer dors nie. Take your pick.

Buiten die trok staan karre ooral, met swart curve-streepe wat agtertoe wys en stadig verdwyn teen die swart van die teer. Vensters is uitgeslaan, die spider-web-kraake hier en daar in rooi en pienk gemerk tussen stukkies vel. Nie een enkele lyk nie – nee, nie meer nie.

Dis nie soos wat ek in die movies gesien het nie – daar’s nie papiere wat ooral rondle nie, ook nie asof mense skielik mal gegaan het en besluit dat alles wat binne-in asblikke was nou moet uit. Daar’s net ge-vokte karre en stukke glas en die reuk van dooies en brandende petrol. Kerk Straat het sy gat gesien.

Maar ek kan hulle hoor – seker twee of drie bloke verder af, dalk oorkant die Unie-gebou. Miskien het hulle bymekaar gekom op die groot gras-perk om saam hulle hongerte uit-te-moan. Ek begin in die teenoorgestelde rigting stap – ek’s  nog nie reg vir daai klomp nie.

Ek kyk rond soos wat ek stap, maar als wat ek sien swem inmekaar in totdat daar net ‘n blur van rook-bloed-karre is. My kop begin tol met snaakse dinge – ek weet ek sien bakkies en trokke en bikes maar ek kanie die model-naame onthou nie, ek wat ‘n mechanic was, ek wat so baie bikes gery het dat ek nie almal kan onthou nie. Ek kom tot by ‘n robot wat groen wys en loop oor en op die lig-paal oorkant die pad is daar goed vas-geplak met woorde op, maar ek kan dit nie lees nie. ‘n Stemmetjie in my kop, soos ‘n iriteerende Poedel se blaf, se aanhoudend, ‘Daar’s iets verkeerd, Tjomma, jy’s besig om dit te verloor, jy moet mos kan onthou wat woorde is, jy’s ge-swat, man!’ maar soos wat ek verder trap word hierdie problem minder van ‘n problem, want… Wel, ja.

Wanneer dit begin, voel ek dat my dood-arm weer lewe begin kry.

Ek voel hoe die wind die haartjies laat reg-op staan; ek clench my hand in ‘n vuis in, wiggle my vingers los, clench weer. Die pyn van die byte is weg – die brand wat seker ‘n infeksie was is ook weg. En my maag voel hol en leeg en throb soos ‘n vinger wat hammer-raak gekap was. My bene voel weird, as of die joints heeltemal te los is, asof ek soos ‘n alien my knee in ander rigting kan buig. My mond word warm-nat van spoeg en ek besef –nadat my wange seer-styf word- dat ek op my tande kners.

Nee. Dat ek aanhoudend kou.

Ek weet wat gebeur – ‘n klein stukkie van my weet, anyway. En al is dit te laat en al weet ek dat ek iets kon gedoen het om wat met my, en wat met die hele land, gebeur, maak dit nie meer saak nie.

Niks maak meer saak nie. Nie naam-veranderinge nie, nie service-delivery nie, nie rasisme of arm wittes of belasting of Zuma nie; TV’s sal in TV-kamers bly speel todat die krag af gaan maar teen daai tyd sou 7de Laan lankal van die air af wees; niemand sal meer worry oor toll-geld of die petrol prys nie; niemand sal meer op die nippertjie jag om Kers-geskenke en dagboeke en handboeke te koop nie; niemand sal meer road-rage ervaar of voel nie. Niemand sal meer rou nie,

Daar sal net een ding wees, een ding wat almal gaan oorneem, en ding waarop almal gaan fokus.

Ek hoor die gehuil voor ek by die kind uit kom – en ek kan nogsteeds genoeg dink om te besef dat hierdie huil al lank aan die gang was, dat wat ek nou hoor net ‘n gebreekte-hart snuk-snuk is. Ek loer deur die kar se agter-ruit en sien haar – sy kanie meer as ses-jaar oud wees nie, met donker haartjies. Haar ma het te minste vir haar anngetrek voor sy dood was – ‘n jean met Jet-sneakers en ‘n kort-mou pinek bloesie.

Ek dink sy hoor vir my, want sy draai om, haar oe word groot en sy skree, en in daai oomblik onthou ek die ding wat my gebyt het, die kind met die groot oe en die gaapende mond en bloedige tande en handjies wat aan my vas-geklou het. Ek onthou hoe kwaad ek was, hoe bang, ook. Ek onthou hoe ek die seuntjie opgetel het en vas-gedruk het en heeltyd gese het, “Shhh, shhh, dis ok, als is ok, niemand sal jou meer seer maak nie,’ maar soos met baie ander dinge in my lewe het nie verstaan wat gebeur het nie, het ek nie gesien wat aan die gang was tot dit te laat was nie.

Hy was mos buite ‘n hospital, en daar was ouens –nurses or dokters, ek weet nie- wat aan gehardloop gekom het, maar toe hulle my met hom sien toe stop hulle, en dis toe hy my byt. Clamp, tande diep in my arm in, en pyn-pyn-pyn soos wat ek nooit gevoel het nie, en toe stamp ek die seuntjie weg terwyl ek skree en vloek en agter-toe skarrel.

My ouers het my kom sien, en ek’t vir hulle gese, “Daar was iets vout met hom, verstaan julle nie? Hy’t een of ander infeksie gehad, iets wat hom mal gemaak het, en julle weet mos hoe kak ons hospitaale is! Watookal dit is gaan uit kom, dit gaan verspry!” Ek het vir hulle gewaarsku maar hoekom sou hulle luister? Shit soos did gebeur mos in Hollywood, man, op die silwerdoek.

So ja, ek was verkeerd. Dit was erger as wat ek gedink het. En nou stap ek om die kar, na die naaste deur toe. Die dogtertjie gil en gil en gil en dit vat my ‘n hele paar tries voor ek die deur oop het.

Die hol-kol in my maag is massive nou, dis al waaroor ek kan dink, al waaroor ek worry, want die enigste ding wat al die res van ons oor worry is nou deel van my – dit neem oor vinniger as wat ek gedink het dit kon.

Ek mind nie eers meer die skree nie, want ek is te honger. Ek wil net die leemte in my vol maak, en hierdie gillende dingetjie is presies wat ek nodig het.

Ek vang een been soos wat dit na my toe skop, en ek trek die ding nader.

Ek is so honger.

Copyright Dave de Burgh 2013

Hope you have yourselves and epic weekend! :-)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Editing, Projects and Reviews

It's been a while since my last post, and I can only say that work and writing has kept me busy. :-)

This coming Monday (16 September) I'll be receiving the edits for BETRAYAL'S SHADOW from my publisher, and I can't express just how much I'm looking forward to getting started! I love this book and this story, but I know that there's plenty that needs fixing before the public gets to read it, and I'm looking forward to making this novel the best it can possibly be. :-)

I've got a couple of other writing projects I'm busy with, too - one of them (as yet untitled) is story that will pave the way for the novel, focusing on events thousands of years before the novel's beginning. The writing of it is proving to be both a challenge and a joy, since I'm now exploring concepts and ideas -part of the novel's back-story- in much greater detail. The story will serve as a kind of introduction for some of the plot-lines in the novel, but can also be read as a stand-alone tale - at least, that's the plan! ;-) As soon as I'm done with it I'll submit it to my publisher and get their take on it, and I'll keep you all updated. :-)

I'm also involved in a five-way collaboration with four awesome writers - Tade Thompson, Ashley Jacobs, Martin John Stokes and Mandisi Nkomo. The names sound familiar because all of them had excellent stories published in AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers, and we'll be submitting a story to a new anthology from Horrified Press:

The process behind our submission has been damned interesting, and we're all excited by what we've come up with! As soon as the story has been submitted we'll let you all know, and then it's your turn to hold thumbs for us! :-)

Over on the review blog, I read and reviewed the for novelettes that Fox and Raven has published so far, so check them out, discover some great new storytellers, and purchase your copies from Amazon US or UK:

Passing Visions by Martin John Stokes,
The Triarchy's Emissary by Nyki Blatchley
The Dead City Blues by Yelena Calavera
Pigs in Golfs by Mia Arderne

Remember to check out Fox and Raven Publishing for news, and if you'd like to keep up with me on FB, go ahead and 'Like' my Page. :-)

Until next time's sporadic updates on the editing of the novel,

Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: World War Z (Movie)


So, on Friday evening we watched World War Z in 3D - Pretoria no longer has an IMAX theatre, so it was normal digital 3D for us. I've been listening to the audiobook, an unabridged reading of the -dare I say it- legendary book, so it was always going to be interesting for me to compare the movie and the book. That being said, there's no 'one was better than the other' - these are two very different beasts, and rightly so. Both enjoyable and riveting, though for entirely different reasons.

I can't remember how long I've been a fan of zombies, but what drew me to zombies in the beginning were, I think, two parts of what makes them so terrifying -

1) the speed with which a zombie-plague spreads, and
2) how it levels the playing field, making of everyone who becomes a zombie the same.

In world where everyone needs to be an individual to survive life and to enjoy it, the threat of the 'zombie' is such that it reminds us that for all our hard work, for all our striving and sacrificing, something like this can come along and wipe the slate clean. I think it speaks to everyone's desire to be able to let go, to give up, a temptation that everyone's had, I'm sure.

What came across for me in the big screen adaptation of World War Z was how easy it could be, if the world just decided 'Fuck this, fuck it all, I'm joining the herd!'.

The movie starts with a bang, opening with a scene very reminiscent of Zack Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' - parents sleeping, and their bedroom-door slowly opens - you're expecting a snarl and a rush at the sleeping figures, and they do rush! But then it's just two girls waking up their parents and you let out a relieved sigh because you're just not ready for the mayhem and chaos, not just yet. Minutes later everything kicks in - chaos and confusion in a traffic jam, explosions in the distance, people running and screaming, and then the attacks, coming so hard and fast that the brain can't seem to understand what is happening. A true 'fight or run' compilation of moments that push Brad Pitt's character and his family into a frantic search for safety. As movie openings go, World War Z doesn't pull any punches.

Why it also worked well for me was that it boldly showed how Pitt's character would ultimately do the unthinkable at the movie's climax - find a way to fight back, and find a 'cure'. It's a very quick glimpse we get, but for the curious and eagle-eyed, it's one of those moments that get's the questions started: 'Why were all the zombies bypassing the old man?"

From then on we're shown just how quickly the infection has spread, with projections far exceeding what we've seen before - projections which I believed because of the great vista-shots showing hundreds of thousands of people running through city streets, pursued and hounded, cornered, and ultimately infected. The only drawback to the obligatory zombie-close-ups was how glaringly apparent the CGI was, but it's only a problem if you're looking for faults in the movie.

Pitt's character does the odd dumb thing -like driving in the direction of the movie's first before-we-see-the-zombies explosion just because an avenue has been opened by a garbage truck, and giving a scientist a gun on a fog-shrouded runway- but gladly he doesn't come across as the quintessential action hero. He gets hurt, gets tired, has emotional highs and lows, and manages to bring a dual focus to his role that other characters in movies sometimes cannot balance, which here is family and 'duty'. I use 'duty' because it's not actually his duty - it's something he decides to do because he recognizes that he's the only person who can do it.

Pitt's character is pushed and pummelled, going through situations that most people would shit themselves in - and sure, this is based on Speculative Fiction, nothing remotely similar to a zombie outbreak has ever happened, but Pitt's character is like a detective, following the clues into the dark forest.

The action in the movie is intense - the zombies are lethally fast, not driven like the zombies we are used to; they don't pause to devour intestines and brains and the like. They bite and move on, driven by the imperative to spread the infection as fast as possible, which leads to most people having to react instinctively instead of being able to plan a suitable defence against them. This ups the movie's tension considerably, but it has to be said that the best thing the movie could have done was let Pitt's character die, or be killed. We expect him to survive, and he does - in and of itself that's fine (this is Brad Pitt we're talking about), but the movie would have had a bigger impact if the 'hero' was killed.

But the big shots -especially the scenes that take place in Jerusalem- are breath-taking and hard-hitting. There was obviously plenty of thought put into how the zombies moved and reacted - they were given a clear and relentless lethality, with plenty of intelligence behind their actions. I don't like dumb, slow-moving zombies, mainly because someone has to be even dumber and slower to get caught by one, ;-) so these zombies were great.

I also really liked the fact that they were called 'ZOMBIES' - I'm really tired of movies that are populated with zombies were they aren't called zombies. I mean, seriously - it's a house-hold name, and when it happens humanity decides to call them something else? Not likely.

The lab-coated zombie at the end was hilarious, but served to completely creep me out - a balancing feat I didn't expect, and when the movie ended (incredibly shitty credits-music, by the way) every one of us who had watched the movie were talking about it. It's a really cool zombie-movie - interesting premise, a great detective-kind-of-figuring-out-how-to-beat-them movie, with excellent action, some truly frightening moments, and enough humour throughout to keep audiences from gritting their teeth for too long.

Go enjoy it! :-)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blog-Love and a Glimpse of BETRAYAL'S SHADOW

So, yesterday was one of the most epic and memorable days of my life. :-) Check out this post and this post to see why! ;-)

Today, I thought I'd give all of you a glimpse into what you can expect from my debut novel (coming in 2014 in both print- and EPUB editions); this glimpse comes from a post I did a couple of months ago when I was tagged by Joan De La Haye for 'The Next Big Thing'. It's a mini-interview of sorts that goes into some of the novel's plot- and character-details. :-)

Things might, of course, change a bit prior to the book's publication, but this should give you an idea of what you can expect. ;-)

What is the working title of your book?

The title I chose is BETRAYAL'S SHADOW - I was struggling to come up with a title for the novel after I finished writing the first draft, so I tried to focus on what the novel was about, and since most of the characters in Betrayal's Shadow betray something (an ideal or oath, for example) or someone, I thought Betrayal had to be included in the title. The 'Shadow' came from the effects these betrayals have, the consequences of the character's betrayals, how each betrayal touches all the characters. 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It began with vague ideas, at first - a general leading his troops into a final, suicidal battle against an enemy that had ravaged the land he lived in; brothers journeying to their uncle's fortress in the hopes of stopping a rebellion against their father, the King; a non-human child kidnapped from his village and chosen to be the vessel for a spirit. I ended up writing chapters exploring each of these ideas, which led to the birth of the main characters - Brice, Asher, Del'Ahrid, Khyber. Seiria (my main female character) appeared later. I then sat and wrote plot descriptions, played with different ideas, and kept right on 'playing' until I took part in the Random House Struik / Get Smarter Writing Course, and a year and two months later I finished writing the first draft. So, I guess this book was born from a couple of ideas that seemed to resonate with each other - none of the ideas made it into the first draft, though! ;-)

What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely Epic Fantasy - although *definitely* not yet as epic as the Jordans, Eriksons and Martins of the world... ;-)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Wow, I haven't even come close to thinking about this yet! O.o Well, let's see:

Del'Ahrid is an older man, dignified, a life-long politician who actually doesn't like being the man in the spotlight, just trying to do the best for his Emperor and the citizens of the Empire - for some reason I'm seeing the excellent actor who portrayed Maester Luwin, Donald Sumpter.

Emperor Jarlath looks like a man in his mid-thirties, well-built, with a slight arrogance to his smile but eyes that are haunted by past pain, suffered and caused; I think that the best fit for him would be Michael Fassbender.

Seiria is basically a whore, though she's plagued with nightmares and her love for Jarlath; she has massive inner strength, though she doesn't see it, and despite her beauty she's able to slip into commoner-garb and walk the markets of the Empire's capital without being recognized. I watched 'The Ward' this past weekend and I think that Amber Heard would be excellent as Seiria.

Khyber isn't human, though he is anthropomorphically shaped - he's thin, lanky, large-eyed, very expressive (both facially and with his voice and hands); so he'd be 'acted' the way Golum was, CGI'd up the wazoo, but I'm thinking presence and voice here, so I guess it would have to be Andrew Garfield.

Alun Dronald is a bit of a whiner, though he's competent and is itching for a command-role in the Blade Knight squad is which he serves (under Brice Serholm); he was a bit of a hell-raiser when he was younger, so he's picked up his share of scars, though he's still handsome enough to be quite the womaniser. My pick is Paul Rudd.

Brice and Asher are brothers, though Asher is younger by around three years; Brice is stronger, a bit taller and broad-shouldered, whereas Asher is slimmer and quicker; Brice is the warrior, the leader, he's charismatic without really trying to be (or is even aware of it), and Asher is curious and very intelligent. My pick for Brice is Guy Pearce and my pick for Asher is Taylor Kitch.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Betrayal depends on perspective, and perspective dulls any victory.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The novel, the first I've written and my debut (obviously, hehehe!), will be published in 2014 (sometime during South Africa's Autumn) by the awesome new independent publisher, Fox and Raven Publications. F & R have got huge things planned for the SFF / Genre scene here in SA, and abroad, and they've already published Martin John Stokes' PASSING VISIONS and Nyki Blatchley's THE TRIARCHY'S EMISSARY. I'm extremely proud and excited to have these guys as my publishers! :-)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

As we say here in South Africa, 'eish'! I'd like to think that Betrayal's Shadow is a novel that fans of Martin, Erikson, Kearney and even Peter V Brett might enjoy (like I said previously, this isn't *epic* like Martin- or Erikson-epic, but I've tried to incorporate elements of what makes their work so damned good, such as compelling characters and a gripping, evolving plot) but I'll leave that up to my publishers to decide. :-) Thinking about that kind of stuff would just get in the way of the writing! :-)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Well, I guess this answer has two parts: 1) Every book I've ever read has, in some way, left a seed of inspiration; it's only lately that I've begun to try and switch my focus from being a writer to being a story teller, and that's what draws me to writing - telling stories. 2) While I was taking part in the Random House Struik Creative Writing Course I began to see a whole other side to the publishing industry, a side much more focused on the writer - editing, proof reading, etc. And when I saw that I wasn't alone in the struggle (to write and get published and tell stories that people would want to read), I seriously thought for the first time that this is what I want to do. :-)

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

Hoo boy, another difficult question to answer. I tried really hard not to make Betrayal's Shadow a formulaic or by-the-numbers of predictable novel; I want to tell a story that will not only entertain but surprise readers, including myself; I don't want anyone to think 'Eddings' or 'Weeks' or 'Rothfuss' or 'Erikson' - I don't want Betrayal's Shadow to be quite like anything you've read before. How to go about doing that is the problem, or should I say, the challenge. ;-) I guess the short answer is that I try to take the story in directions you wouldn't think of, I try to put my characters into situations that might make you flinch or gasp or whatever, and I'm also trying to break some 'rules'. Whether I succeed at any of this is something for my readers to (one day) decide. :-)


Not too much info, I hope? ;-)

And finally, I have to thank Sarah Chorn for being an absolutely incredible and wonderful human being. :-) Sarah is the talented and awesome reviewer behind 'Bookworm Blues', a blog known to hundreds, if not thousands, of SFF readers. And if you haven't heard of Sarah and her reviews (which are always honest and extremely well written) then get over their now and check her site out. Sarah absolutely rocks! :-)

Until next time,


That's right, folks! Next year my novel hit's the shelves!! :-) Here's the official announcement, just made over at my publisher's website. :-)

I don't have words, even though I'm a writer and *should* have words. This moment is just too massive, too *too*, know what I mean? :-)

But thanks must go to certain amazing people, without whom this would never have happened:

Leana, my girlfriend, my best friend, whom I will one day marry and have kids with, who supports and strengthens and loves me without limit or reserve, I LOVE YOU!

My parents, Maree and Riaan de Villiers, who got me started with Richie Rich, Casper, Wendy and Archie; who kept me curious by reading in front of me and never forcing me to read; for allowing me and and my weird brain to be as creative as I wanted and needed to be. I LOVE YOU GUYS!

Celeste Sutherland Botes, the best English teacher a guy could have - THANK YOU!

Marius du Plessis - my publisher, for everything prior to this moment, this moment, and all that will come; thank you, sir. With all that's in me, THANK YOU!

There are so many others who needs thanks and hugs and high-fives - you all know who you are, and you have my undying gratitude for allowing me to be who I am. All of you, every single person, all of you ROCK. :-)


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Afrikaans Drabble - Maan-Man #Glipsie

Hey  Everyone, hope you've all been well and that your writing has been going well! :-)

I haven't been writing much lately - either my mind's been too busy or not busy enough; I've put Betrayal's Shadow on the back burner for a bit and I've been reading a bit more (really enjoying John Gwynne's 'Malice' at the moment), After a Twitter-chat with Nerine Dorman, we decided that we were going to try something - write a very short story, no more or less than 100 words, called a 'glipsie', or a 'drabble'. :-)

Nerine has posted hers, check it out here - great little atmospheric piece. :-)

Here's mine, though before you get started, just a warning to those who would like to read it - it's in Afrikaans. :-)

Die maan se gesig is groot tussen duisende sterre, wit en starend soos die oog van ‘n vuil ou man.

Ek staan waar drie skaduwees ontmoet, die van ‘n lig paal, ‘n houd heining en ‘n telefoon hokkie met stukkende skrefies glas wat soos tande in die rame sit.

Hier kom sy; weet nie dat ek hier wag nie. Weet nie dat ek so honger is nie.

Soos Ma my gevoed het moet sy my nou voed.

Pienk strepies in haar blonde hare. Haar asem snik wanneer sy my skielik sien beweeg.

Bloed spat, en die pienk word stadig donkerder. 

This'll be a regular thing on the blog, so let's hope I can keep it up - as most of you know, Afrikaans isn't my first language. :-)

Until next time,

Friday, March 8, 2013

That Horse Is A Bit Scary

As most of you may have noticed, I've been quiet for a while. There are many reasons I could give, but I s'pose the one that is most honest is that I've been suffering from a bit of melancholy with regards my published work, specifically the story that was accepted for AfroSF, 'Angel Song'.

The fact of it is that, retrospectively, while I really like 'Angel Song' and am proud of it, it just hasn't struck the chord I'd hoped it would, and as I've been delving deeper in AfroSF and reading all the stories, I can understand why.

'Angel Song' is a Military SF short story that looks at religion, specifically Christianity, from a SF angle. It is not, fortunately or unfortunately, a story that is set in Africa or South Africa. Its themes aren't centralized to any specific culture or country -even though I look at Christianity in the story- and so I guess that's why it's been largely overlooked or passed over by the readers who have read AfroSF. So far, at least. To put it succinctly  there is no 'African-ness' is 'Angel Song'.

Now, I'm still DAMNED proud that Ivor accepted 'Angel Song' for AfroSF, and I am DAMNED proud to share space in the anthology with so many excellent writers and stories. This isn't me moaning, trust me. ;-)

Rather, I guess I've realized that 'Angel Song' is a story that might have fit better in many other SF anthologies. The focus of any literature coming out of 'Africa' (and I use the word that way because many millions, if not billions, of people still think that Africa is a country) is, most of the time, African, and 'Angel Song' just didn't have that kind of focus. The anthology has enjoyed many reviews so far, and in most of the them, my story isn't mentioned at all - neither in positively nor negatively, so I had to accept the fact that, when put against the other excellent tales, it just didn't have the legs to stand amongst them.

And that's fine, I guess, but we writers want not only to tell stories - thereby exploring not only our own private, inner worlds, but the greater world that surrounds us, too - but recognition (in some form), or at least a nod of existence-acknowledgement. I guess it's akin to picking up your child after his or her first day of high school and, after you've asked how their day was, being told that no-one spoke to them, smiled at them, tried to engage with them - as if they were, for that entire day, invisible. This isn't an embarrassing cry for "Tell me what you thought about Angel Song! Please!" - far from it. It's just me realizing that writing a story and getting it published is just the beginning - as human -emotional- beings we need some kind of reaction, too. I don't write for the reaction - but the reaction does have an influence of how and what I write. I mean, if every published writer out there just churned out books, writing and writing and writing, and received no feedback, how would they be able to gauge whether their work *did* anything? It truly is as most writers everywhere have said, many times over: Writing the story is the easy part. :-)

So, that's why I've been so quiet - I've been grappling with whether or not Angel Song deserved to be accepted for publication, and how thinking about the story influenced everything else; I've got three stories I want to finish writing, and I need to get back to Betrayal's Shadow, too, and now, finally, I think I've reached the head-space to be able to do that. :-)

I also had a new idea today - I'll be taking an archetype of Robin Hood, throwing in some Dystopia and Horror, and see what gets born. Sometime down the line, of course, after I've finished the three stories I'm busy with:

the third story in my fractured fairy tales serial (which will be titled either Tangled or Tortured),
Superfreak (wherein I completely fuck up a strong, flying, red-caped alien),
and The Hyper-Adaptive Properties of Love.

So, until my next Peep-out-of-the-Cave,

Thursday, January 24, 2013

BIRTHDAY Published in Issue 2 of eSciFi!

That's right, folks - my first published story of 2013 is available to read and (hopefully) enjoy! :-)

BIRTHDAY is the fourth short story of mine that's been published and I'm really happy that Brandon at eSciFi chose it - I wrote it about three years ago after watching a movie that got my grey matter ticking and twisting, and it's gone through a couple of drafts to get it right.

I think I've said before that my ideas for short stories are usually fully-formed - most times the title pops into my find and the plot unrolls like a silent-movie reel; usually that means I have to get it out of my head and onto the page as quickly as possible, because I tend to screw up stories the longer I think about them. In BIRTHDAY I wanted to do something with the over-population, and so I wrote a tale about a guy who wakes up on his birthday in a world in which a way to manage over-population has been found, and implemented. I hope you enjoy it! :-)

Also included in this second issue were the following stories:

Wherever You Go, There We Are - Robin Reed

Not So Trivial After All - Marc Colten

The Budge - M. E. McCullen

Please head over to eSciFi and buy the issue - and while you're at it, why not get a subscription? :-) You can also join eSciFi on Goodreads (because we'd love to have you, and love talking about our stories and SF in general), and on Facebook. :-)

So, what's coming up next from me? Well, I've got a Horror story in the inaugural FreakEnd Madness Anthology, titled EXERTION, I've submitted a story titled A COMEDY OF TERRORS for Jhator Press' Dark Superhero / Villain Anthology, and I'm busy writing three stories at the moment:

The Hyper-Adaptive Properties of Love (SF)

Superfreak (Horror)

Tangled (sequel to Torn and Twisted, Fractured Fairy Tale)

I'm also going through my other Horror stories because I want to select one to submit to eHorror, but that's further down the line, and I'll (hopefully) be going on Leave in February, so then it's back to Betrayal's Shadow. :-) I will, of course, keep you all updated.

Until next time,


Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year, New Story In-Coming!

So, 2013 has arrived.

My New Year's Eve party was epic, and an eye-opener; it was a night of drinking, laughing, dancing, and (unfortunately) witnessing just how too much alcohol can affect people who a) shouldn't drink at all because they can't handle alcohol, and b) people who have incredible and completely ignored problems - a guy I'd just met lost his temper, smashed his windscreen with his fist and soon after spun his girlfriend WWE-style into his car.

Later on, around seven on the morning of the 1st, we dropped off a friend at her parent's place and this same guy's car was there - minus the entire windscreen and sporting a mangled, practically half-melted rim where the back-left tire was supposed to be. Long story shortened, this guy had 'lost' his girlfriend, his buddy, and his girlfriend's sister - he had no idea where they were and was frantic. So frantic that he had passed out outside his buddy's place. Anyway. The party prior to all this shit was awesome, so the night was actually kickass. :-) All things considered, not a bad exit from 2012. :-)

I've got two stories I'm working on at the moment - the third tale in my fractured fairy tale series for eFantasy (want to have it done and submitted by Friday), and a tale for an awesome anthology from Jhator Press (which I also want to have finished and submitted by Friday).

And this morning I saw the news that one of my SF / Dystopian short stories, 'Birthday', was accepted for publication in eSci-Fi - so I'm very happy! :-) I will of course post links and info and stuff as soon as the latest eSci-Fi issue is available. :-)

Another story of mine, a Horror titled 'Exertion', will be published soon in FreakEnd Madness Volume 1 - links and such as soon as the anthology is available. :-)

So I guess I really cannot complain about 2013 so far. :-)

I hope you all enjoyed your 2012-exit, that you're all safe and sober and bright-eyed, and that this year will kick even more ass (in every good way) than last year did. :-) Let's make it EPIC!