Saturday, March 30, 2019

20 Day Blog Challenge Day 6: My Biggest Influence

There are always people who influence your life, some positive and some negative. Some leave a mark without them even knowing it. It might be a famous writer or a teacher who inspired you once in your life. It could be your family or a close friend. Or your beta readers or just that person who picks you up when you are feeling down. 

Writing is a lonely business and if you don't have support, you struggle. I'm one of the lucky ones. I have all the people I've mentioned above in my life and I can list them one by one. 

This blog, however, I want to dedicate to the first person who saw my work and motivated me to carry on. The most significant influence in my writing came from Sarah Bullen from The Writing Room.

I wrote my first book in July 2016. I was a complete novice, but I didn’t let it stop me. No, I ploughed on and wrote almost eight books before I took the plunge, flew to Cape Town and attended Sarah’s Romance Writing Masterclass in May 2017.

I felt like a fraud when I arrived. How could I attend a Masterclass when I've just started out? Everyone in that class had been writing for years, not months like I did! But I'm glad I went. After the weekend I figured out you didn't have to be a master to attend the class but after the class, you would have mastered more than just the fundamentals of writing. I've also mastered my self-doubts, my writing skills and my confidence.

It had been a fantastic weekend with excellent interaction and discussions. Afterwards, Sarah mentored me through the process until I submitted my debut novel, Eye on the Ball, to publishers.

I had plenty rejections but finally, a small indie publishing house accepted my novel and published it in April 2018. Since then I’ve decided to self-publish and will soon release my tenth and eleventh novels.

Sarah’s motivation and mentorship hadn’t stopped. If I had a query or needed advice, she is still there for me.

For me, that was the biggest investment I could have made in my career. Who knows, if I didn’t go to that class, I might never have published my first book, what to say the others. And watch this space. There are plenty more to come.

#mentor #inspiration #influence #sarahbullen #thewritingroom #romancemasterclass #amwriting #francinebeaton #indieauthor #20dayblogchallenge #amblogging #indieauthorsofsouthernafrica #IndieRomSA #romancenovel #southafricanfiction 

Friday, March 29, 2019

20 Day Blog Challenge Day 5: My City

I started my life in the northern suburbs of Pretoria, otherwise known as the Jacaranda City. Every year around October, over 50000 trees lining the city streets paint it a mass of purple. Interesting enough, though Pretoria is called the Jacaranda city, there are fewer Jacaranda trees here than in Johannesburg. We also have one street in Groenkloof where you can find the white jacarandas.

Church Street, which had since been divided into different sections, had once been one of the longest urban streets in South Africa and the world. It possibly still is, but with the different names, I’m not sure you can call it that anymore.

Pretoria is the administrative city of South Africa and the home of government. It boasts over one hundred embassies and consular offices.

It’s most famous landmarks are the Union Building, Voortrekker Monument, UNISA, Telekom Tower. Museums, parks, art galleries and shopping malls are plenty. You’ll find food from almost every culture and might never run out of places to eat. 

Pretoria is the only city in South Africa who can boast with the three-time Super Rugby Champions, the Bulls. They play their home games at fortress Loftus in the heart of the charming suburb Arcadia. 
#amblogging #20dayblogchallenge #pretoria #mycity #PretoriaMyCity #indieauthor #francinebeaton #pretoria #jacarandacity #southafrica #mycity #iloveptown

Thursday, March 28, 2019

20 Day Blog Challenge Day 4: Meet my Guest: Leenna Naidoo

Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I've written mostly novellas, with two full novels, and many short stories. I only began writing seriously in 2000, but couldn't sustain it until 2010, when I wrote my first novel 'No Distance To Run'. I write mostly romantic suspense, science fiction/fantasy and mystery/adventure. In my writings, I like to draw on my own experiences of places, people and activities plus a big dose of fantasy--be that a hotel stay in Bloemfontein, a fish lunch in Perth, or investigating a crime on Mars.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest release is 'Settle Down Now Revised Edition'. I wrote the first edition between 2013 and 2014, and published it in 2015. It was very flawed, but I love the story, and would still like to explore the characters. Taking some very encouraging and well-thought out advice from earlier reviewers, I reworked the original story into the prequel 'Unsettled', and this new version of 'Settle Down Now'. I plan to write the next instalment in the series next, in which we'll learn even more about Rob's mysterious past. The story was inspired by my own fantasy of being extremely wealthy (I was earning very little, then nothing at all) and finding that elusive Mr Right. I decided to make it as fun and as over the top as I could. Before I knew it, contestants were turning murderous, and the story just grew. It was so much fun to write. Some of the lines still make me laugh out loud! Blurb: He has secrets. She has cents. Billionaire Charmaine Donnet's search for Mr Right goes public in the most humiliating way. Her dating coach, and trusted friend Joss, has turned introvert Charmaine's quest into a hit reality TV show. Events take a dark turn when one of the potential Mr Rights goes missing at sea. Charmaine is not sure she will survive this desperate Hart's cruise. Set in South Africa and the Indian Ocean, with echoes of Rob and Charmaine’s previous life in Scotland, the story moves from Durban to Richards Bay to the yacht ‘The Sunflower’. Introducing Charmaine when she learns of Joss’s plans for her, we are swept along with Charmaine onto the decks of the yacht together with the charming, competitive and often sweet men vying for her hand. With contests which show the uniqueness of each potential Mr Right, Rob often seems the last person Charmaine may fall for again. Murder brings tension, and matters to a head between Charmaine and Rob, especially as she hasn’t realised how much he has changed. With the yacht sabotaged and the appearance of pirates, everyone on board has to work together to survive and see that justice is done. Buy links: Pre-Order: Available after 17 March 2019 at most eBook stores. Download a sample from my Patreon on 17 March 2019:

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I grew up reading Mary Stewart, M.M Kaye, and loved Meg Cabot's chick-lit. I also love crime, fantasy and adventure stories, so I prefer my romance to have a dash of this or that. It seemed natural for me to write a romantic suspense with chick-lit tones.

What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning this book?
I drew much from my studies of TV Production, a short sailing course, and a cruise my sister took me on. I also spent a lot of time double-checking nautical terms and other technical details whilst writing. It was hard for me to complete the scenes of the storms without getting those sorted out in my head first. The coaching aspects drew on my own experiences with a metaphysical life coach friend, though she is nothing like Joss, thank goodness!

How do you select the names of your characters?
I like a good pun, and as Charmaine and Rob first met in Scotland and I wasn't sure of his background just then, I decided to give him a Scottish-flavoured name. Robert is very common, and for some reason the TV series 'Hart to Hart' was stuck in my mind, so Robert Hart. I loved that you could shorten it to Rob Hart! Charmaine's took a lot more time to figure out. I wanted her name to be similar to one any South African would be familiar with, but not too common. So, Charmaine ran off the tongue best. Her surname was actually inspired by one of my high-school teachers who really made an impression with me with her kind nature and tenacity to help all of us through our science course. It's a variation of her name. Then, of course, I could still have Gillian make horrible puns with Charmaine's surname, too! This is the kind of process I usually use to choose character's names.

How do you like to collect and organise your ideas?
I have a notebook with thoughts, ideas, and sometimes doodles. I also like to collect odd news stories (there was one recently about a guy who, if I remember correctly, ran a contest to find a person to holiday with him!) and I love talking to people. I'm not very organised, so I depend on the 'brewing method'. I allow the ideas and elements to collect and stew, then write it out in hopefully some way that makes sense. The exception is my flash and short fiction, which is often generated by a spark and quickly written.

How long did it take you to write this book?
I began it as my 2013 NaNoWriMo project and didn't reach the target because of work and family commitments. I took another three months or so writing full-time in late 2014 to complete it.

What's next for you as a writer?
I'm very excited about my science-fiction/fantasy episodic fiction 'Quest For The Wholly Pale' which is scheduled to be published later this year by FV Press. I've also had Rob's mysterious past to clear up, and have been researching aspects related to that already. So, I'll be writing more about him and Charmaine next. I'm also revising another adventure/fantasy set in China, featuring a South African teacher, called 'Situation No Win'.

Author Bio *
Leenna writes cross-genre suspense, romance, and dabbles in sci-fi/fantasy. She also reads the tarot. Her most recent attempts to channel Terry Pratchett-style fiction can be found on Fiction Vortex and StoryShop (Fictionite) in Quest For The Wholly Pale. Leenna’s most unnerving experiences include: looking a red kangaroo in the eye, flipping pancakes for the first time ever in front of her class, interviewing Alan Dean Foster, and teaching a hellhound how to share a biscuit. Sometimes she writes about these and other less nerve-wracking things; sometimes she doesn’t.

You can follow Leenna here:

#indieauthorsofsouthernafrica #amwriting #amblogging #leennanaidoo #suspense #romance #scifixfantasy #support #supportindieauthors #francinebeaton #author #blogger #20dayblogchallenge #day4

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

20 Day Blog Challenge Day 3: Why I blog

My writing journey started with blogging. I first had a photography blog years ago, but I must confess, I’m not a good blogger. 

These days I only keep my Pinterest and Instagram boards for my photography (Florescence Photography)

I also had a different blog about all my favourite places in Pretoria but then romance writing took over and I stopped blogging.

I blog irregularly. That is why challenges like these force me to blog. Nowadays I blog mostly about my books, my writing process and to make it frequent, I often host guest authors.

Blogging is not for everyone. If you want to be a successful blogger, you need to blog consistently. Your topics should be relevant and useful to your readers.

Blog posts also need not be pages long. It doesn't help to ramble on if you have nothing to say. So that's why I'm stopping now

#indieauthor #blog #blogging #francinebeaton #20daychallenge #indieauthorsofsouthernafrica #amwriting #amblogging

20 Day Blog Challenge Day 2: My Favourite Quote

Simeon Strunsky said, "Famous remarks are very seldom quoted correctly." 

I knew someone once who loved quotes. And always quoted them incorrectly. Nobody bothered to correct him anymore because he was one of those people who always knew best. He didn't even get the message when we gave him a dictionary with quotations. He still kept on misquoting text.

I love Dr Seuss. This quote from, "Oh the Places you will go" is one of my favourite quotes. I could quote the whole book. I love to share it with my nephews and nieces when they were leaving school. For me, it sums it up. It’s up to them what they have to do with their life. Nobody can make that choice but you.

 The last person who I gave this message to was my daughter, who flew the nest six weeks ago to study in Australia.

#francinebeaton #quotes #drseuss #ohtheplacesyouwillgo #famous #inspiration #20dayblogchallenge #indieauthor #indieauthorsofsouthernafrica

Monday, March 25, 2019

20 Day Blogging Challenge: Day 1: Where I Work

Sometimes we don't know what we have until we've lost it. 

I miss this space. In our previous house, I had a study where I could close the door when I wanted no one to disturb me. I had two walls where I tacked photos and pages of inspiration. This photo is deceptive. The desk wasn’t always so tidy when I planned a new novel or a series.

My desk was large with enough space to plot (if I plot, which happens rarely). And sometimes it had a cat too.

In December we’ve downsized and moved into a smaller townhouse. I still have my space. In fact, it is an open loft area, but the light isn’t nice and... it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t matter though. It is only temporary. From September we’ll be travelling and I will anyway not have a permanent workspace.

At least I adapt quickly to new situations. One day I may have a view like this. I won’t complain, will you?


#workspace #amwriting #20dayblogchallenge #indieauthor #indieauthorsofsouthernafrica #blog #authorblog #writingblog

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Meet my Guest: Bailie Hantam

Meet my lovely guest today, a debut author from Johannesburg, Bailie Hantam

Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I'm from Johannesburg, South Africa. I've been married 15 years (March 20th) and have a twenty-year-old daughter. Breaking Her Defenses is my debut novel.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Breaking Her Defenses is about a woman with a whole lot of baggage who makes her way to Johannesburg and finds love and happiness. Inspired by real life, I suppose. I am from Cape Town, and I found the love of my life in Johannesburg.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I love happily ever afters. Stories about love conquering all. And families. I've always been drawn to these elements and I couldn't see myself writing any other way.

What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning this book?
I had to do some rudimentary research with the Department of Social Welfare. There's not much information available - in part because they're dealing with minors. So for a lot of it I had to use some poetic license.

How do you select the names of your characters?
The actually come to me only when a character pops onto a page. I wrote the entire first draft using the phrase - her brother - because his name would only come when he came into a scene, and he only appears in the last scene. It means having to go back a lot and insert names.

How do you like to collect and organise your ideas?
HAHAHAHAHA - I have a note. On my bedside table. And my desk. And my bookshelf. And my handbag. Once a month I try and organise them. Remembering what I was thinking when I wrote some like "His *bleep* was insignificant" is another challenge.

How long did it take you to write this book?
Three months

What's next for you as a writer?
Book 2 in the Series. Wyatt and Mini's Story

Author Bio *
Bailie Hantam lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. She's been writing stories her whole life. Her love for the romance genre started back in her teen years, when she devoured everything ending with a Happily Ever After. She put off writing for nearly two decades while she concentrated on raising her daughter and helping with her husband's business. Now, with an empty nest, and a little more free time, she is finally writing and giving those characters in her head their own Happily Ever After.

You can follow Bailie here:
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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Meet my Guest: Georgia Lyn Hunter

Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I'm a nomad who lives abroad (Hubby's job does this), and I love reading, painting, visiting flea markets, and traveling. Thus far, I've written 9 books, and I'm currently working on my 10th one.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Heart's Inferno (book 4 of the Fallen Guardians series) Released Dec 18th, 2018

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I'm intrigued by the supernatural, mythology, ect. And find I always have a sense of deja vu when my dreams become reality.

What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning this book?
In my current book I'm writing, I have to research ice world, so naturally, I Google everything relating to this. From the Arctic to frozen seas, mountains, plains, etc

How do you select the names of your characters?
I write down many names, until the one resonates with the story I have in mind, and then I find my writing flows easily.

How do you like to collect and organise your ideas?
I don't really. I write as thoughts and ideas occur to me, then refine it. I'm more a panster sort of writer. I tend to have an outline in my mind, I never actually write it down, cause then it loses its essence by the time I start writing first draft.

How long did it take you to write this book?
My last book, Heart's Inferno took me 3 and half months to write first draft.

What's next for you as a writer?
I'm quite looking forward to my Fallen Guardians series being translated in Italian--first book to release this year, and my Contemporary into French--release for next year. And currently, I'm writing first draft of book 2 for my other series, Warlords of Empyrea, which ties in with my Fallen Guardians series, looking at a summer (June/July) release.

Author Bio *
Georgia Lyn Hunter loves to create characters who'll take you to the far and beyond to unforgettable adventures, steamy encounters and heart-stopping love stories... She grew up in the sultry climate of South Africa and currently lives in the Middle East with her family. An avid reader from a young age, she devoured every book she got her hands on. When she's not writing or plotting her next novel, she loves trolling flea markets and buying things she'd never use (because they're so pretty,) traveling, painting, and being with her wonderfully supportive family.

You can follow Georgia here:

#indieauthors #guest #guestblog #indieauthorsofsouthernafrica #romance #southafricanromance #love #georgialynhunter #fantasy #mythology