Friday, July 29, 2011

Another Romantic Fantasy

I’ve always had a romantic fantasy that has nothing to do with the plot of romance novel. Rather it’s a fantasy of living the life of a successful romance novelist. Some may call it visualisation, I call it day dreaming.
In this fantasy, I live in an apartment building in Sea Point, as serene and glorious as an ocean liner immured in the blue mountains of Cape Town. Of course, I live in a penthouse – you probably saw it on last week’s Top Billing.
In the morning, I wake up and have a fruit smoothie, hook into my iPod and take off for a long run on Ocean Drive. In this fantasy, I’m not only a wealthy novelist but I have a fab body – you probably saw it on last month’s Men’s Health. When I get back to my pad, my assistant Sebastian – I’ve already decided he’s a geeky/cute UCT English Major and works three mornings a week – has ordered in breakfast.
Over frothy cappuccinos and chocolate croissants, we discuss my social itinerary for the week. I get invited to every thing these days, so it’s important to be selective of what parties, galleries and openings I attend. After that, I have a shower and decide what to wear to my meeting with my accountant.
The accountant meets me at a trendy cafe, he’s a very serious sort of chap, and discusses my latest royalty statements. He advises some off-shore investments as a tax break and I nod sagely from behind my Ray-Bans. After that, I take an executive car to my publishers’ office. It’s such a chore but they want to show me the mock-ups of the covers of my latest bestseller. I have control over all the art work, so I have to be there. You’ve probably seen the latest one displayed in a Perspex holder above a mini-mountain of my books at Exclusive Books.
With the afternoon done and dusted, it’s time to have a long nap in my Top Billing bedroom – sleep mask, dolphin music on the background, silk pyjamas. In the evening, I attend a Veuve Cliquot launch, crammed with yummy finger foods and delicious celebrities. Of course, everyone wants to know if I met Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson on set when they were filming the big screen version of my last book. I’m not the type to drop names, so I just smile demurely and sip champagne.
It’s late when I get home, but of course it’s never too late for my fans – so I spend an hour or two responding to the endless emails from fans from across the world. In between, I confirm with my travel agent. Off to Spain in two weeks and then a quick shopping trip in London. I must say, I’m exhausted by the time I get to bed...
Of course the only thing I don’t do in this fantasy is write – because that’s the hard part. If you’re writing, you know what I mean. There’s no glamour in the actual graft of trying to get a book down: it’s hard, bum-numbing, sweaty work and nobody really cares if you do it or not. And whether you’re writing in a penthouse or a coffee shop in the mall, it still takes the same amount of work, the same hours, the same frustration and occasional joy. And when things are not going well, I conjure up this fantasy life. Sometimes it gets me through the bleak patches.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Voices is back!

The website has been updated, last year's entries have been wiped off the slate, and the new dates have been announced ... Mills & Boon's New Voices contest starts again on 13th September 2011.

For anyone interested in joining the madness (and fun!) this year, keep an eye on, the official home of New Voices. Click on the Terms & Conditions to check out the prizes, competition rules and whether you're eligible to enter.

To enter, submit a first chapter of your category romance novel to the website between 13th September and 10th October, and don't forget to read and comment on other entries - that's part of the fun.

And if you enter, please let us know. As with last year's contest, we'll be running a support group here on the blog. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

South African Writers Circle Short Story Competition

Annual Short Story Competition
This competition is open to all. SAWC membership is not a pre-requisite.


GENRE: Short Story (fiction only)

CLOSING DATE: 31 October 2011

FEE: The entry fee is R45 for members and R55 for non-members. If you would like to receive a critique of your entry an additional R10 is payable. You may submit more than one entry, each with the prescribed fee/s.


1. All competition submissions must be in English.

2. Entries may not exceed 2 500 words.

3. Entries must not have been previously published nor been placed in any competitions.

4. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained.

5. Entries will be judged on literary merit, use of imagination and ability to enthrall.

6. Entries must be typed in double spacing on one side of each sheet of A4 paper. Number the pages and keep a copy, as we cannot return entries unless a SASE has been supplied.

7. Provide a cover page for your entry. This must contain the title of the work, your pseudonym, and the number of words. The author’s actual name or address must not appear on the cover page or anywhere in the submitted work. Your name should only appear on the entry form (see below).

8. Attach an entry form and a cover page to the front of each entry.

9. For posted entries, please enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of your critique. Critiques will not be sent to entrants, even if they have paid the extra fee, unless a SASE with sufficient postage is provided. Qualifying e-mail entries will receive an e-mailed critique.

10. Entries may be posted to SAWC Annual Short Story Competition, Competitions Manager, South African Writers Circle, Box 2342, Westville, 3630; or George at Each entry must be accompanied by an entry form which can be found at:

11. EFT payments and direct deposits must include a reference (minimum of the first three letters of your surname plus your first initial and AC (for Annual Competition), for example, SoapJ-AC). Cheques must be made payable to the ‘South African Writers’ Circle’. If payment has been made by direct deposit, please include a photocopy of the deposit slip with your entry. Banking details are as follows: SA Writers’ Circle, Standard Bank, Current account, Hillcrest branch: 045726, Account number: 250780119.

12. Winners will be announced on the website and in the SAWC Newsletter. Prize winners will receive their prizes at the 2012 SAWC Annual Awards Luncheon.


1ST PRIZE — R1 000, the Frances Bond trophy and your story published in the SAWC Newsletter Write Now!
2ND PRIZE — R500.
3RD PRIZE — R250.
There are 5 HIGHLY COMMENDED ENTRIES — each win an SAWC pen.