Category Archives: Silk Threads

To describe, or not to describe…

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When I wrote Silk Threads, I had no preconceived ideas about the setting, because I mostly wanted to write about a person with Aspergers Syndrome.  Obviously the book had to be set somewhere and since hardly anyone knows where Bulawayo is…

However, that in itself creates a problem. Things that are obvious to me, views I see every day, are not so to a foreigner. Take the blue skies! Most days, here in Bulawayo, we have blue skies. Did I mention that, even once, in any of my books? I know I mentioned the heat in October, because even residents notice that!

Another thing I didn’t consider and now, (reading books about ‘how to write books!’)  I’m told is crucial, is my ‘Target Audience!’ Am I trying to sell Silk Threads worldwide, or to people who come from Southern Africa? (I sure don’t have to tell THEM about the sunny skies.) Several people have mentioned that I avoid descriptions and its true, I’d rather the reader created their own imagery. Who cares what the inside of the Academy of Music looks like?All the reader need know, is that it was private!

Below is a picture taken in the Matopos.

Matopos

Anyone who has lived in Matabeleland has been there. I’m guessing, if they had to wade through me trying to describe the Matopos they would certainly put the book down. But how do I describe to a foreigner what the Matopos is like? How do I describe the massive domes, the balancing rocks and that amazing ‘feel,’ the almost magical atmosphere? But I must, because most foreigners have never even heard of the place. At the same time, I must not lose my local audience too!

A picture saves a thousand words! I wish I could add photographs into my books. I’ve tried to come up with similies to describe Matopos! “Rocks split by a giant cleaver…” “Giant boulders strewn by an angry god…” Whatever the descriptive words, they include giant, huge, boulders…But how giant?Matopos

I’ve left the vehicle and person in this photo because it gives some idea how big (and these are relatively small, as Matopos goes) the boulders are.

This is the same ‘kopjie,’ without the vehicle.

Matopos

I’m guessing people in cities judge sizes by the buildings around them! Take this photograph below:

Matopos

How many fifty story buildings would fit into this one? Could I possibly fit a building into such a rural setting, surely the mental image just doesn’t fit? If I said it’s twenty square miles around would that mean anything? Perhaps I should say, this boulder would fit into the lower part of Manhattan from such and such a street…

Another thing I learned from reading books about how to write books, is this ‘genre’ issue…did you know, a ‘Romance’ has to fit a certain formula! It has to have a ‘happy-ever-after’ ending! I guess in our modern world, it can be about a gay couple….so where does Silk Threads fit? Without an obvious ‘hero’ and the ‘romance’ probably unresolved, where does it fit? I thought it was what I call drama until I discovered that drama refers to plays!  How about Saga? Well its long enough!

This morning I noticed a review of  Silk Threads on Amazon! (It was posted ages ago. Ooops!!!) I don’t visit the site very often since I hardly sell any books there. Strangely, Amazon allowed me to reply to his comment! (Last time I tried, I was refused entry as I didn’t have an account??? Duh – so writing a book and putting it on Amazon doesn’t warrant an account?)
Anyway, this is what he said:

I haven’t finished reading the book. From the portion I’ve read so far I think the author is an excellent writer. I have no problem at all with the sex. I’ve read very good erotic literature that is far more explicit than this. I have a minor problem with the plot premise. It’s about a search for a person that has spanned the globe for many many years and now the search has decided to concentrate on the area from which the person originated. Really? Did I miss something? You’re looking for a person and look everywhere on the planet but ‘home’ and now decide to look there? I don’t get it. Not at all logical to me.

Why can’t I finish the book? For me as a guy, ultimately, the book strikes me as a romance novel and for my own personal tastes I have zero interest in romance novels. That is my preference and not a fault with the author. I tried to read one other ‘new author’s’ book and had the same experience. (Though I didn’t think that other book was well written.) I’m sure some can argue this book is different but the periods of Svengali/Pygmalion transformation seemed too long and slow and didn’t appeal to me.

I encourage the author to keep writing. There is a huge audience for this type of good work IMO. I am just not that audience.

It didn’t occur to me, that a foreigner wouldn’t know, that people who left Zimbabwe, in the 1980’s didn’t return! For me, it was obvious Lisa wasn’t in Zimbabwe. She left in 1988 and why would she return, with the country going downhill fast? Inflation of the currency, corruption at high levels of government, currency controls! With European parents and plenty of money to spend, why would she remain in a dump like Bulawayo? And anyway, if she did, someone would know her, Bulawayo is a small place!

Now, with the immediacy of the internet, I not only get to identify that a United States reader doesn’t know that many whites were unprepared to remain in a post-Independent Zimbabwe, but that all my editing of the first part was still inadequate! (For the male readers!)

Of course, with e-books, I can easily change it! Tweek it with a few well chosen words and re-publish. It will only take a minute or two! I won’t change ‘Jack and Jill’ – I’m terrified of losing the anger I felt when I wrote it – maybe one day Il get round to editing it!

What is great, nowadays, are the discussions you can have with your audience. I love it when someone contacts me and we exchange emails about my characters or my plot! And how nice is this guy who hasn’t even finished the book to write such a nice review… AND give me four stars! Its horrid when you see a two star rating pop up with no reasons why the writer didn’t like it. Was it shallow? Confusing? Boring?

As for his last sentence. I’ve decided that I have to get on with my life – writing is an all-consuming occupation. I get totally involved, to the exclusion of all else, and that isn’t really fair to family and clients! And anyway, I’m going to need all the spare time I have to continue with my studies! I have nearly finished with ‘African Cuckoo,’ its only the editing that is required and then I will pack in my pencil, (maybe just keep my hand in with short stories or funny things that occur to me.)

 

Click here, to download Silk Threads from Amazon

Silk Threads

Click here to download A Pale

A Pale

Please post comments on the books here on my blog, or at Amazon.

You can email me at:

forfrankiekay@gmail.com

I love fan mail and discussing my books via email, so please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Silk Threads is free on Smashwords… please download a copy of Silk Threads  here:

Silk Threads

Reckless Gambol, a Silk Threads vignette can be downloaded here:

RG2.

And a copy of Jack and Jill here

Jack and Jill a short story

Please leave a comment on Smashwords

Do you ever wonder…?

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If people who cuss when driving on the highway, all alone in the car, know how stupid they look?

Recently, when visiting South Africa I invited my kids to see the Lipizzaner horses – Yup that is what happens in old age, when your kids grow up and leave home – you invite them to the Lipizzaner show, and worse, they say, “OK mum…”

We were staying in Vereeniging which is about 100km from Johannesburg and to get to where the kids live, I skirt Soweto,  pass Baragwanath Hospital and Southgate Mall!

Hey, it makes me feel at home, among the mini buses and litter.

Now, since Jeremy Clarkson has been booted, I have to tell you about my car myself! To start with, it’s big. Four wheel drive, with a three litre, inter-cooled, turbo diesel engine, it guzzles juice. It has wheels like, nine inches wide and it can go for 1600km without the need for a stop at the filling station. It’s called a Vigo and you don’t get them in SA, so every hairy Boer who ever claps eyes on it HAS to ask if they can play with the little back door that opens the wrong way. We buy them here in Zim instead of a double cab, so that every policeman along the road doesn’t ask for a lift – rather than squash into the jump seat, they rather wait for a double cab to come along!

Toyota Hilux Vigo

(See the little door? Its that half size one, behind the passenger door – and it opens backwards!)

These Toyota Vigo’s are imported by my brother in law from Thailand…

ADVERT ALERT – if any of you rich aid organisations out there are reading this blog and looking for a brilliant vehicle, that has the right mix of luxury and off road capability, you can get one from my brother in law in Bulawayo at the “Toy Shop!” Not only does he provide excellent ‘after purchase service’ he is SO cute – so even if you are not an aid organisation and just want a hunky mechanic to discuss anything at all about your car…visit the Toy Shop.

Sorry about that – where was I? Oh yes…my brother in law…

no, my car…

NO – people swearing when they are totally and completely alone, driving along the highway.

Leaving Soweto behind me, I hit the Western Bypass on the N1 and let me tell you, on a Sunday morning before nine, it’s a magic road. Widened and completely re-surfaced  to handle the vast traffic expected for the World Cup Soccer 2010, it is four lanes of driving bliss and yes, it’s not hard for my speed to creep. I wasn’t late, I don’t have that excuse, I just can’t resist that open road, gently rolling hills and awesome curves. A concrete wall about a meter and a half high, separates the incoming and outgoing lanes, ensuring that when there is an accident, you have to wait the obligatory four hours for the traffic to clear.

I got into the outside lane, and putting foot flat, admired the Florida Hills on my left, stared down my nose at the tiny pink match-box houses and….all in a heart stopping second, my hands vibrated on the steering wheel and an indescribable noise assaulted my ears. For a gut wrenching moment, I thought I was back in the Rhodesian Bush War, the sound of incoming AK-47 bullets, and the return fire from the MAG on the gun turret of the convoy vehicle. Or perhaps my gear box had come undone from its mountings and was whizzing around and around on the prop shaft, or maybe a guy on a jackhammer in the back seat?

No. It was simply those nine inch wide tyres I was boasting about earlier. They had crossed over a rumble strip cunningly disguised/included in the white line demarcating the extreme right of the road. Its put there to give sleepy drivers – about to crash into the wall – that last minute wake up call. Well, it works. It woke me up.

And I know, that somewhere up there in the bright blue afterlife is a Dominie chuckling and chalking another one up to the South African Roads Department. Another foreigner – yelling praises to the Lord on a bright sunny Sunday morning!

OK – so I cussed. All alone in the car and without thought to how stupid I looked, I cussed out loud. And no, I’m not going to repeat my  cuss words, or I will have to move this post to my bad language page!

But I can tell you WHO I cussed:

Zuma!

After all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do!

I made it to the Lipizzaner show:

LipizzanerLipizzaner Lipizzaner Lipizzaner

 

Of course, the part I really enjoyed was meeting the horses later at the stables behind the arena….

Lipizzaner Lipizzaner

 

Please have a look at my books.

Click here, to download Silk Threads from Amazon

Silk Threads

Click here to download A Pale

A Pale

Please post comments on the books here on my blog, or at Amazon.

You can email me at:

forfrankiekay@gmail.com

I love fan mail and discussing my books via email, so please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Silk Threads is free on Smashwords… please download a copy of Silk Threads  here:

Silk Threads

Reckless Gambol, a Silk Threads vignette can be downloaded here:

RG2.

And a copy of Jack and Jill here

Jack and Jill a short story

Please leave a comment on Smashwords

 

Leopards…

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RABSON Dube worked at the wildlife orphanage. He fed the animals, cleaned the cages and helped out around the place. A simple soul, he liked his job. He drank too much, but he swore this helped with his migraines.

Tall, with rounded, barrel chest and powerful arms, the task of carrying meat to the lions and bags of food to the elephant were easy for him. The smell of rotting meat and dung from the animal cages permeated his being, but Rabson didn’t appear to notice.

At night, in a dark alley, this spectre would be scary. His appearance was alarming, mostly on account of his bright red eyes. Inside, Rabson was a gentle soul with cataracts. Son of a scout and brought up on a private game ranch, he was good with animals, understood them, liked to talk to them. In his workman clothes, old overalls, usually open to the waist at the front, and a cheap pair of plastic gumboots he blended into the background, invisible to most visitors to the orphanage. Read the rest of this entry

Hey, I wrote a novel…

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I have a very supportive husband. When I told him I’d written a novel he said, “Oh. That’s nice.”

When I asked him if he would read it, he said “OK, sure.”

Now, I should probably say here, that he doesn’t read many novels. He is more into philosophy, articles about the universe and such. He belongs to physics forums. Does mathematics problems for fun.

Hey… I also read some serious stuff: obviously the latest psychology developments, new research in maths teaching… and I don’t read romance.

He didn’t know I’d been writing at all. He’d been involved in an electronics project with Ant, and like many Aspies, he has phenomenal concentration. We stayed with our kids in Randburg, and that’s possibly how I found the time to write two hundred thousand words!

It was Frankie Kay who wrote Silk Threads, not the boring me. Not the me who is a wife with two kids, sews, does the washing…no, this other persona came along and wrote the book. Each morning, after I’d had coffee, I sat, propped up in the bed writing furiously. Then, I’d get up and make a brunch for everyone. I’d scold the kids, do the shopping, visit brother in law and, if I was lucky, sometime in the afternoon, Frankie would get another chance to write. Also, like most of my projects, I wasn’t organised, didn’t write it chronologically, nor did I know the ending. It all developed from the characters. Once I had them firmly in my head, they decided upon what happened…all of this, going on in the background of me…while I outwardly got on with what it is women of my age and designation do.

Back home in Zim, my husband settled back to read this novel of mine…and I, now with nothing to do, sat watching him with trepidation.

It’s a long book though, and he didn’t finish it in one sitting. He refused to talk about it and I didn’t know what he thought. And yes, it mattered to me what he thought.

One evening, lying on my side of the bed, reading my kindle, I heard him make a disgusted sounding noise. Sort of a snort and an “Eeuw” all mixed up. He shifted slightly in the bed, pulling himself higher up on his pillows, his face screwed up in disgust.

“No,” he said with undisguised revulsion. “No, this is too much.”

I wondered what offended him, and looking over his shoulder saw he was not complaining about the ‘pony’ scene or the Mac Club one. He was at a ‘romantic’ description. A scene I thought I had done a particularly good job of. I thought it was nice and soppy and would appeal to female readers.

“No. I’m sorry,” he said. “This has got to go. This is awful. I will not be a party to this drivel. Take it out for goodness sake and put in a…I don’t know, put in a BJ or something!”

This was the first comment he had made about the book…he found nothing strange in the idea that his wife had written a story about a girl who allowed herself to be totally dominated by a coloured man, or that I had written graphic descriptions of this girl in various compromising positions. About whips and ropes. No, he minded my romantic scene, the one I had slaved over, so very hard.

Anyway…, I took his advice – didn’t inflict my idea of a romantic scene on my readers!

He read the book through twice; edited parts for me, encouraged me when I gave up on it. He says what he thinks, thank goodness. If he doesn’t like something, he says so. He insisted it was totally unbelievable that Eugene, a street kid, could have played the type of music he did, as proficiently as he did. That comment was the inspiration for my second book, (which, incidentally, is nothing like this one!)

I’ve been very lucky with the people who helped me edit my book. My sister, with her excellent English, my friend Allan (who still hasn’t read it) who told me he couldn’t get past the girlish goo in the diary entries! My brother in law, Mr. Perfect, who said only that he was “impressed.” Wow, that accolade from him was like most people hopping about naked on the top of a building, yelling!

As a critic, my mum was a disaster – she just thought it was brilliant – but I suppose that’s what mums are for?

A Silken Thread on Amazon is a different book from Silk Threads on Smashwords.

What began as a few changes I made as a result of email discussions with people I insist on calling “fans,” evolved into a totally different view. That’s the glory of e-books. It costs nothing to republish or make small changes and I’ve taken advantage several times.

Please have a look at my books. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t allow free books, so you have to pay for A Silken Thread.

Click here, to download A Silken Thread

A Silken Thread

Click here to download A Pale

A Pale

Please post comments on the books here on my blog, or at Amazon.

You can email me at:

forfrankiekay@gmail.com

I love fan mail and discussing my books via email, so please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Silk Threads is available on Smashwords…if you are into BDSM and more explicit scenes, please download a copy of Silk Threads  here:

Silk Threads

And a copy of Jack and Jill here

Jack and Jill a short story

Please leave a comment on Smashwords

Omar Shaykh…

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The real Omar Shaykh is not a chestnut. But how could I possibly have described a gray coming out of the stables in the morning? – Although Shaykh puts on quite a show – he doesn’t look anything like a polished copper vase…

DSCF0028DSCF0032He’s much whiter these days… Unlike the chestnut in Silk Threads, he is a very polite, gentle stallion. He has class as well as breeding…

Please buy my book, Silk Threads. You can find the link here:

Gutted

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I’m gutted – Smashwords rejected my book cover for their premium collection. “Some of our retailers are super-sensitive to nudity (even illustrated nudity)!!!”

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I missed my early morning alarm…I love the ha de ha’s in Randburg. They live off the dog food and give Vikkie plenty to stare at!!

This morning I was woken up by the Heuglins and the Hoopoe hiss instead. No motorbikes, police alarms or traffic noise!

As usual, the view leaving Johannesburg is much better than arriving!!! A few photos crossing the Hartebeespoort Dam and then one shot of the Waterberg – fantastic in the early morning…

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Birds in our garden…at least for now until the Indian Myna’s invade like they have in Randburg…

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At lease here the barbet can live in peace – Rabson declared war on them in his garden – he said they ate his tomatoes!!