One of my stories, Nkoninkoni, has the honour of appearing in an anthology created for the purpose of donating proceeds to Save the Rhino International. Writers from around the world were invited to submit stories based on different animals. My animal was the Wildebeest, and writing about that awesome creature was an absolutely wild trip for me. Each story is beautifully illustrated by South African artist, Helmi, and the cover art created by talented UK artist Elaine McKenna. With the anniversary of The Plight of the Rhino anthology upon us, I decided to interview the man who made it all happen. Meet Conrad Brand.
Firstly, please share a little about yourself, and what you do in our writing world.
Hi Jo, thanks for your kind words and the opportunity to chat to you. I was born on the West Coast of South Africa and after meeting, my now wife, we decided to temporarily move to the UK to see what life has to offer outside of South Africa. That was 14 years ago… I mostly pen short stories and flash fiction, but am currently working on my novel, due to be released at the end of 2015. I have been blessed to have some of my short stories published in the US, UK and South Africa. I always have a piece of paper and pen to hand, because life around us is full of inspiration and story ideas. I am also a Freelance journalist with my own column called Brandpunt in The South African, a newspaper for South African expats around the world. You will also find some of my published articles in the Netherlands and South Africa. In 2012 I published Blog 4 Sports a collection of short stories and humoristic sketches available on Amazon and in some bookshops in SA. At the start of 2013 Springbok Publications saw first light and that completely changed my world, again.
Where did the idea for the anthology come from?
As a South African and someone who enjoys and loves our diverse wildlife, I thought that by bringing awareness to a certain cause, we as their keepers can make a difference in their existence. The senseless killing of our rhinos for nothing more than a myth and what is essentially the same as the nails on our hands, was something I am very concerned and passionate about so I decided to have as Springbok Publications’ first published book, a collection of short stories from writers all over the world. This would have the most impact to as many different readers possible.
How did it grow from idea to fruition?
It happened quite quickly actually. From starting the company, to getting a team together and then specialists to help with this specific publication, happened within months. Everyone involved was just so fantastic, and generous, by giving their talent and time to saving this beautiful species.
Tell us a little about the authors – how did you choose them?
Soon after the team was in place we sent private invitations to authors, known to the project team. To reach a wide and diverse audience I wanted to make sure that we have writers from different countries involved. The response was overwhelming and we ended up with fantastic stories and poems by new and established writers from England, Wales, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Australia, New Zealand and of course from South Africa.
Do you feel that you’re accomplishing what you set out to do with this book as far as spotlighting the extermination of the Rhino population of the world?
I think we definitely made more people aware of the imminent extinction of the species, and that it will be on our watch. Also that we can still make a difference, and there are very positive signs worldwide. The poaching numbers are still very high, and once again this year, record breaking, but there are positive signs that the message is getting through. Our benefactor, Save the Rhino International is working very hard to put their funds in the right hands and ensuring that the countries and people involved are being educated on the devastation they are causing. One year since the release of Plight of the Rhino I was amazed to learn about the vast advances that had been made against rhino poaching and how local communities now stand together to fight the cause. BUT I have also learned how these criminals fund their lives and activities more efficiently, all from a safe distance. It is simple, if we don’t continue in our efforts the rhino population in the wild will be extinct by 2026. So please help now to make a difference! Before it’s too late!
Is there anything about yourself that you’d like to share with us?
If you’d like to follow my writing progress or want to read some of my scribbles, please visit my website at Website. BUT, I would rather urge you to join me and Springbok Publications to stand up and make a difference in the fight for the rhino. Can you imagine one day, in less than 20 years’ time, to read in the newspaper that the last wild rhino had been shot today? Never will they be seen in the wild again and they would be lost forever. Like the rest of the animals already extinct. Buy your copy of Plight of the Rhino today – not only will you have a lovely read for your holidays, but you will have access to the facts and info of 22 different wildlife animals, all unique and special in their own way. You never know, you might actually learn something, like I did whilst putting this collection together. One thing IS for sure, you will be helping us to bring awareness to the Plight of the Rhino in the wild.
Cover Artwork ELAINE MCKENNA Copyright Elaine McKenna
To learn more about the fantastic work Save the Rhino International does and where your contribution is going, please visit their website at Save the Rhino International. For more information and news please visit Springbok Publications or follow us on Facebook. Gorilla by HELMI Copyright Helmi Lion by HELMI Copyright Helmi
Introducing Rebekkah Ford. Learn more about this fascinating author, and have a look at her very latest release.
After eighteen-year-old Carrie Jacobson discovers she was a witch in a previous life, she seeks to reawaken that part of her soul. With the help of an eccentric enchantress and a boy who is more than he seems, Carrie succeeds and is spellbound by the memories of her life in Europe during the 1600s as a powerful witch named Isadora. Carrie reverts to her bewitching, more volatile form and sets out to break a curse she cast long ago on her coven.
Carrie’s boyfriend Tree cannot help feeling uneasy about the changes he sees in the woman he loves. When Carrie’s past clashes with the present and dark magic intoxicates her once again, Tree must take drastic matters into his own hands and attempt to save Carrie from herself.
With Tree’s help, will Carrie be able to resist the allure of her new powers? Or will she plunge into the deep end and give into them?
Book Links :
Connect with Rebekkah Ford :
J.E. Spina’s first novel, Hunting Mariah, is now published to Create Space http://www.createspace.com/5060224. It will be available on Amazon sites in five days and 6-8 weeks to other online sites.
J E. Spina will be offering a giveaway on Goodreads as soon as the Kindle version is available. Please go to her blog for more updates on upcoming links http://jemsbooks.wordpress.com. and website http://jemsbooks.com
Here is the synopsis of Hunting Mariah:
An insane killer, obsessed with blood and death, seeks revenge with those he perceives wronged him. He is now on the loose. His next victim may be Mariah. During his rampages he writes macabre poems for his victims.
Mariah has lost her memory. Will she remember what has transpired in her past? Can Mariah escape the deadly killer’s grasp? Will she finally be safe? Will the killer be apprehended?
J.E. Spina’s novel has been a long time in coming…
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Today’s featured author is without a doubt the most humble person I have ever met, given all that she has accomplished, and prefers to promote and support the work of others over her own. She has been, and is, involved with radio, television, and publishing as well as being a very well respected author. The book I’ve chosen to feature today is Size Matters, but please do have a look at more in her own words here, whether you need help with publishing or would simply like to connect with this most talented and approachable lady.
Sally Georgina Cronin’s passions run very deep. Particularly in relation to healthy eating and the amazing way the body converts lovely fresh produce into fuel and protective chemicals that keep us fit and alive.
Having weighed 330 lbs (150 kilos) at age 42 and been told that getting to 45 was a bit of a stretch, she was highly motivated to make a difference. This she did, by studying nutrition and the human body, so that she could sort out her own issues and help others to also get motivated.
That was eighteen years ago: and in that time Sally has been communicating her particular brand of no-nonsense approach to health and diet in books, columns, articles and through her popular radio shows. She has worked with clients at her diet advisory centre in Ireland and also at a number of clinics in the UK. She not only worked with those needing to achieve a healthier weight but those already suffering from lifestyle related diseases. On the plus side she also worked with couples who were very motivated to develop a healthier lifestyle so they could conceive.
Sally’s first book Size Matters was a record of her personal journey as she lost the original 11 stone and the programme that she developed for herself and her clients to achieve a healthier lifestyle. That book has also been converted to an e-book to be shared with a new generation of readers. The story does not change – being obese is no fun at all!
This was followed by Just Food for Health, a comprehensive guide to family nutrition and health.
All of her books are available on Amazon and also through the publisher Moyhill (www.moyhill.com). And all of the books below are available in EPUB and Kindle formats
Forget the Viagra – Pass me a Carrot! : A men’s health workshop manual.
Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story : A tribute to a beloved friend.
Size Matters : A journey from obesity to health.
Just an Odd Job Girl : A novel about a new start in life.
Media Training: The Manual : A concise instruction manual on how to work
with “the Media”.
Two new books became available in July 2014
Turning Back the Clock : Anti-ageing. How to feel and look 10 years younger
Flights of Fancy : Eleven new short stories from Sally Cronin
Sally’s daily health and writing blog makes sure that she keeps motivated and delivering her message.
“ Everybody needs to take more responsibility for their health and lifestyle – making changes at any age can make a difference, not just to lifespan but even more importantly physical and mental quality of life”.
Have a look at the press clippings below. I was so impressed!
I’m halfway through reading Size Matters, and I can tell you that regardless of what you weigh now, this book is packed full of all the information that you need to inspire you to live a healthy and longer life. It’s already got five stars from me and I’m not quite finished reading it yet. It has a fascinating section on gut health and the effects of Candida Albicans on weight gain and illness as well as the solutions to these problems. If you want to lose weight, or simply begin to live a healthier life Size Matters has you covered from how to deal with those around you, to exercise, as well as precise charts and plans. Sally Cronin know exactly what she’s talking about, and her empathy and understanding together with her vast knowledge on all of these subjects will inspire anyone to begin the journey to weight loss, health, and fitness.
Last but not least – check out this great book for men’s health, and a brilliant way to look after the men in your life with food and nutrition.
This book has been called ‘…a brilliant and profoundly erudite epic…a heroic intellectual tour de force…’ (by David Lorimer, the Director of the Scientific and Medical Network) and both ‘brave…and totally insightful’ (by Ervin Laszlo) but the book defies description; it breaks all the rules and is unlike any other. It is so comprehensive in its sweep, original in its writing, and its synthesis, that to isolate any aspect is to misrepresent all the others.
Two characters, Reason and Soul, undertake a light-hearted poetic journey through the chronology of Western scientific thought to expose a bold hypothesis— that science has been guided by the gradual and accelerating recovery of memory. That recovery has been through the inspired maverick genius and it moves backwards through time; from man’s emergence, (at one with the natural world), through the increasingly separate disciplines to the holistic origins; the birth of stars and the start of time. This incremental excavation and transfer of memory to intellect implies the pre-human encoding of consciousness in the very structure of matter, and all organic life.
It is the sweep of history that exposes this reversal of time: It requires all the disciplines of science, all the epochs of thought, and only poetic economy could convey this accompanying purposeful complement to the Darwinian random and accidental. It is the wood and not the trees that the work surveys from the height of a poetic balloon. Yet, paradoxically, the collective journey has been lit by individuals, unique in their contributions to the field that claims only ‘objective’ repeatable and validated truth. The same pattern is mirrored in the history of painting and the structure of musical composition. Genius differs only in the languages of expression.
In nine Cantos the two companions travel through pre-human involution, and early man’s emergence on the Serengeti to the recorded civilisations of Greece, Rome, the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, into the Enlightenment and finally Modernism when the success of science completely obscures half of the story, the story of involution. Science’s external domination has reproduced the web of consciousness in the internet, and its tools are the bones of its journey, but the life of the spirit has withered through science’s insistence on objectivity, and its neglect of its own subjective origins. Mystical experience is perhaps the most attested and agreed upon encounter, across climes and times, differing only in the words chosen to clothe it.
But there is more to it than merely science; for science is a language through which to follow a deeper journey, Man’s collective journey inwards, to the nature of himself: which is why the scientific signposts are appropriately confined to end-notes to leave the poetic journey un-encumbered. They take no scientific knowledge for granted: they are not essential to the poetic narrative but instead caulk the ship of science in which we travel.
The scientific serpent of DNA, the most likely candidate for memory, ends with a soliloquy, an invitation to re-acquaintance with love, for episodes of love through contemplation and self-forgetting has informed science all along.
The work restores the spiritual, and finds it within the process of mystical science. The perennial philosophy is newly validated in twentieth century language.
By adding involution to evolution, mind and matter become two sides of a single coin, only perceived as distinct through the collective intellect’s division from its deeper self, from consciousness, from experience, from rapture and understanding. The co creation of God and the universe is what this book restores and is about.
Philippa Rees wrote a book that is a rarity: it is on a controversial, actually hair- and eye-brow-raising subject, and it is totally sincere. And totally insightful. If you the reader are as brave as this author, you are in for a fantastic ride. Getting close to science as well as to God at the same time. That’s no mean feat. Enjoy the ride – and the light! (Dr. Ervin Laszlo)
The lives distilled in the work of Philippa have been as manifold as the proverbial cat. But all have fed into the mix. Born in South Africa to a family on both sides of the Boer war divide (half fighting the other half) her childhood was equally extreme. As an only child of a single mother she was imprisoned in harsh boarding schools, but holidays were spent on her horse riding the mountains of Lesotho, or on safaris with a beloved grandfather inspecting African schools in the remotest areas of Botswana, shooting for the pot and camping under the stars.
In the background of solitary African existence there were always books, and a family that valued them: Her grandmother was a Barrett, related to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and her great great aunt corresponded with George Eliot, whose step sons she befriended in tragic circumstances. So writing and literature were the ways to make sense of experience.
Choices were always difficult because everything was equally interesting: university involved sampling five faculties before deciding on zoology and psychology. Early marriage to a marine biologist took her to an island off the Mozambique coast, scavenging on the mud flats for abundant sea food, but post only by occasional fishing boat. Her first book ‘Dryads and Drinking Water’ was set in Mozambique at the start of the civil war. Later life took her first to Florida and then to the Max Planck Institute in Bavaria where she lived in an eleventh century saw mill on the banks of a lake with an unrepentant Nazi landlady, while her husband worked with Konrad Lorenz and the exciting school of animal behaviour that surrounded him.
Following some profound spiritual experiences Philippa divorced and came to England with two small daughters, where she converted some barns as a music centre, and taught courses on ‘Saints and Scientists’ at Bristol University. But writing always came first, and none of it slotted into a Dewey Index easily. Her poetic novella ‘A Shadow in Yucatan’ is an evocation of the atmosphere of the sixties, set in Florida. A new ‘magnum opus’, a poetic history of Western thought, ‘Involution’ is due to be published in March 2013. After that she hopes to publish her short stories revealing the gulf between New and Old World attitudes and a novel based upon her personal experiences. She has four daughters and lives in Somerset.
In my last post, 13 Lessons I Learned From Blogging, a few hours ago I described NoViolet Bulawayo as “one of the hottest literary talents to come out of Zimbabwe.” It might have sounded hyperbolic, but she reinforced my observations by clinching the 2014 Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Legacy Award for her awesome fictional debut, We Need New Names.
She received the prestigous 2014 Hurston/ Wright Legacy Award for fiction on Friday at the Carnegie Library in Northwest Washington.
This award is a fitting reward for a young literary star on the rise. Her debut novel has taken the world by storm and caused such a sensation, I can only imagine what her future work will do.
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