For International Women’s Day

the images shows words like respect, brave, leaders, creative, peace, strong etc forming a pictogram of a women

To mark this day, International Women’s Day, I’m posting a poem which I wrote in 2020. I wanted to remind us that wherever we may be in the world, we have a bond of common experience. I’ve found it when travelling in parts of rural Greece and Spain and, when I moved to South Africa and met women from more diverse cultures and with very different life experiences, this connection came even more sharply into focus for me. It’s called ‘Sisters’.

growing up on distant continents
without a common tongue
lives so seemingly different
rich north, poor south
experiences diametrically opposed

and yet

sharing corresponding smiles
weeping mutual sorrows
our hearts are touched
by the same love and loss

because, in the end
we are all
sisters under the skin

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another reason I’m posting today is to draw attention to the release of After Rain Skies by Michelle Ayon Navajas (Michnavs – Poetry by Mich to us here on WP). It’s a is a collection of true and inspiring stories of abuse and violence in prose and poetry, which I know has taken Mich some time to bring herself to write, given that it deals with complex and deeply emotional issues. Mich is donating a portion of her royalty fee to the Perak Women for Women Society, an NGO that helps and supports victims of abuse and violence, and with which Mich has become closely involved.

You can download a copy to your Kindle here:

Chris has got a new book out!

Read yourself into the venue via my second Six Sentence Story this week. The Prompt Word (helpfully) was BOOK.

A neon sign lights up the narrow side street which leads to the Six Sentence Café and Bistro where a bearded man waits, watching as a minivan draws up. The driver leans out of her window and waves, and a leather-jacket-clad man wearing dark glasses, despite the lateness of the hour, emerges from the vehicle carrying a box marked ‘books’.

Low-lit ambience and laid back vibes wash over the now-iconic interior, where sunflowers grace every table, and the author, fidgeting with her special book-signing pen, observes the figures who drift into the room, each familiar from their glowing presence in cyberspace.

The scene is set, D has done a marvellous job; passing the author’s table, now loaded with shiny new books, she places a calming hand on her shoulder, winking at a recent arrival, who slides into a side booth with an enigmatic smile, indicating the bottle of apricot liqueur that’s partly concealed within her capacious handbag.

Returning to the bar, backlit by the reflections in the long mirror, D gives a nod to the MC. The tall, slender man strides onto the stage and offers a lavish introduction to the now inwardly-quaking author, who lays her pen aside and advances.

~~~~~~~~~

Now on stage, I turn and survey the room, shading my eyes against the spotlight, I can’t see you properly, but I know you’re all here. Thanks so much for coming to the launch of my new novel, Spirit of the Shell Man.

I have to admit, I’m a little overwhelmed.

My heart-felt thanks goes to my fellow Proprietors of the SSC&B who’ve done so much to set up our little soirée, and to my ARC readers, Chris Nelson, Paula Light and Gretchen Bernet-Ward who have offered such encouragement in their feedback and reviews. Chris recently posted his review on his blog – I’m thrilled with it – you can read it here.

Okay, that’s enough from me, I’m no good at this self-promotion stuff, but since the audiobook version is being recorded at the moment, here’s a foretaste from Chapter 7, beautifully narrated as always by the wonderful Terry Lloyd Roberts.

Spirit of the Shell Man by Chris Hall in paperback and ebook

Grab your copy here!
USA ~ UK ~ AUS ~IND ~ CAN ~ ESP ~ DE
South Africa and the Rest of the World

As you’ve heard, the audiobook is being recorded at the moment and will be available soon.

~~~~~~~~~~

PS – catch you later at the after-party🍸🎷🎸it wasn’t just books in the back of that van!

Conversing with my Characters

The image show a cold blank window and a room lit with reddish glow

A frosty atmosphere pervades Cynthia’s normally welcoming sitting room which has nothing to do with the February cold. Gina regards me steadily from across the room and Gary, who’s perching on the arm of her chair, wears the expression he normally reserves for the rare occasions when Liverpool FC fail to win. Even Asmar, Cynthia’s cat, has turned his back on me.

Connor addresses me from a commanding position by the fireplace. ‘It’s not that we don’t understand your need to follow your authorial instincts, Ms Hall, and we’re delighted about the upcoming release of your new book, but this latest little series you’ve embarked upon doesn’t seem to be turning out as we’d hoped.’

‘As soon as we saw the title we thought we’d be in it,’ says Gina, ‘but no, you gave the starring role to Joey, and his character only gets a tiny mention in the final paragraph of our novel*.’

‘Then Ceridwen appears and she’s from a completely different book**,’ adds Gary. ‘She must be getting on a bit now.’

‘I would rather like to meet her,’ says Cynthia thoughtfully. ‘Not only is she a woman in her prime,’ she casts a meaningful glance at Gary, ‘but I think we’d have a lot in common.’ She draws her purple pashmina around her shoulders and looks at me earnestly. ‘I hope you’re not going to saddle her with the jade camel.’

‘Saddle the camel.’ Connor chuckles. ‘Good one, old thing!’

Cynthia gives him a withering look.

My gaze travels from one face to another. ‘I honestly thought that you’d all come forward once I’d started the story. That’s the way it usually works.’

‘Oh, so I suppose it’s also our fault that you’re still not starting our sequel.’ Gina’s eyes narrow. ‘We know you’ve already begun thinking about a sequel to the sequel you’ve just finished.’ She nudges Gary. ‘Did you see? She’s already covered that whiteboard of hers with ideas.’

Connor raises his hands towards her in a calming gesture then turns to me. ‘Sorry, Ms Hall, it’s just that we feel we’re not getting the exposure we deserve.’

I have an idea.

‘Listen. Why don’t you all come to the launch of the Spirit of Shell Man next Friday? It’s being held at the Six Sentence Café and Bistro. My back catalogue books will be there, so you’ll be able to engage with readers.’

‘Is that a real place?’ says Gina in sceptical tone.

I smile back at her. ‘It is if you want it to be.’

Connor’s eyes light up. ‘Might I bring along some of my slim volumes of poetry?’

Book launch invitation: join me for the launch of my new novel, Spirit of the Shell Man, Friday 4th March

Grab your seat at the launch here at lunasonline next Friday!

* You’ll Never Walk Alone (2019)
** The Silver Locket (2012)

The Much-Heralded Book Launch

local authors Paul English, Jill Morsbach and Chris Hall standing behind a table stacked with their books
Paul English, Jill Morsbach and me at Bookworms bookstore

This time last week I was hauling a bag of my novels into Bookworms bookstore in preparation for last Saturday’s book launch event. We’d certainly had a big build up, with Bookworm’s owner, Waldo, inviting folk to come along and ‘rub shoulders with literary geniuses’. Ahem.

Here we are on the big day, posing happily for the paparazzi!

Paul, as some of you know, is my writing buddy. We meet up over coffee and cake and have ‘writerly conversations’ from time to time, email each other when stuck and generally exchange ideas about our current projects. You’ll find Paul over at Backroom Bulletin where he chats about his writing progress each week. Here’s Paul’s take on the event.

I hadn’t come across Jill or her books before, but after chatting on the phone a week or so before the event, I went down to Bookworms to snag a copy of her new book, thus ensuring a sale of one of mine! I’d almost finished reading Noah and his Solar-Powered Ark by the day of the launch, and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can read my review on Goodreads here and meet Jill herself at her website here.

Also at the launch were a couple of beginner writers and it was great to offer them encouragement on how to progress their craft. All in all, it was a fun morning, and although sales were quite modest, it was lovely to meet both readers and writers and talk about books.

We also got a super write up in the local newspaper, the Bolander, which is widely distributed in the local area and also online, making it so much easier to share with you: Book launch at Bookworms.

As Waldo says, when quoted in the article: “Our very first book launch went down famously… and I’m looking forward to many more to come.” – I couldn’t agree more!

Now, I must dash. I’m off to meet my beta reader friend Laurette for her feedback on the manuscript of my soonish-to-be-released latest novel. The cover is almost ready and I’ve even finished agonizing over the ‘dreaded blurb’. More about ‘Spirit of the Shell Man’ soon!

Looking forward to a live launch!

Book Launch Event

How cool is this going to be? A ‘real live event’… at last!

My favourite local bookstore, Bookworms has arranged a book launch next Saturday, 15th January, for Cape Town author, Jill Morsbach to introduce her new middle grade novel, Noah and the Solar Powered Ark.

Better still, bookstore owner Waldo extended Jill’s invitation to other local authors to join in the launch. Keen to support any book-related event, and even keener to publicise and, dare I say it, sell our books, fellow Somerset West author, Paul English and I jumped at the chance to join her.

By great good fortune, the author copies of Paul’s latest novel, Scorched Earth: Takeover arrived here just in time.

Although I don’t have a new novel out quite yet, it is at least a happy coincidence that Song of the Sea Goddess has its first book birthday that day. The sequel is ‘still in production’ but it’s not too far away from release. You might even get a sneak peak at the cover soon…

Look out for my freebie e-book offer next weekend to celebrate that special book birthday.