Most perfect description of the human voice – ever.

Sometimes there are people in this world who understand language, words, form and creation better than others. I have many favourite writers and poets that fit into this description. But no one more so than Jennifer Lean, a Cape Town poet whose words will leave you breathless. Somehow, in the fewest words possible she manages to cut you to the bone, strip away all pretenses and defenses, and lay bare the human condition. Her point, sharp as a fencer’s blade, is always made with perfect weight and delivery in the last line. She reaches a core in a reader’s heart, soul and spirit in a way that is indescribable to us mortals. But you will know it when you read it. I will simply leave you to digest.

What must stay

I live dutifully in my sunlight liquid spaces.
Daily I rinse traces of myself away.
Wash imbibed memories down drains.
Sometimes I baulk. Watch for days
as a feather brought in on a breeze
whispers its way along stretches
of my carpet. Watch spillages of books
heap where they hope not to be
in the way. Am seduced by
the singular perfection of a fossilised gecko
on a windowsill.

I watch the sooty stain above my fireplace
grow year by year.
Some signs of what one cannot see
must not be wiped away.

~~~~

And then this extraordinary comment on Salli Terri’s voice:

From this to those

(Salli Terri, Bachianas Brasileiras No 5 – Aria, Heitor Villa-Lobos)

Salli Terri’s voice is unearthly.
It gathers up the scorch
of these fireside coals,
this sky, indigo
beyond the colour,
this inscrutable substance
of moon.
It gathers up all yearning,
this sound within wings, and flies.
It stretches itself infinitely
upward, infinitely outward,
becomes thin, ever thinner,
senses-shattering,
eventually evaporating
into those unknowable silences
where the human voice
implodes.

~~~~

And here is that music that inspired these beautiful words: Salli Terri

Listen – and read. It will blow you away!

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Amazon and the ‘foreign’ writer

Mystery thriller

Mystery thriller

I live in South Africa and have several books (10) published on KDP. Amazon is refusing to pay me for book sales in certain global shops because I have not reached the obligatory $100 dollars sales target. As I have been in these shops for 3 years now, with minimal sales in these areas, I am unlikely to reach their target until I’m 140 years old. So I cancelled those shops on my list of outlets and requested the money owed. And guess what? They refuse to pay me unless I close my entire KDP account and then – and only then – will they pay me all monies owed.

Does this in any way make sense to you? Would you classify this as fair? Would you call it good business relations? I find it bizarre – and also a framework of how large organizations so often become detached from the real world and assume themselves omnipotent and unaccountable.

Here’s the other interesting thing if you live beyond what Amazon considers the ‘real’ world – they pay you by sending a check through the post. I kid you not. They refuse my numerous requests to be paid via EFT or (even easier) PayPal. It is as though there is only America and Europe and no one else really counts. I have explained that South Africa has a very sophisticated banking system but a very untrustworthy postal system. I have told them I have a PayPal account specifically for receiving book payments. Their response (for months now) ‘we’re looking into better ways to provide you with a better service’ – or some such wording. A check through the post! It makes you want to weep.

A check through the post means I have to drive to the bank and find parking (petrol and parking fees). Then I have to wait to be attended to (sometimes up to an hour). Then I have to fill in pages and pages of forms – and then once this joy is over, the bank takes 25% of the money for the processing charges.

Psychological suspense thriller

Psychological suspense thriller

And then the other thing Amazon does to ‘foreign’ writers. They add $2.00 onto every one of my books selling in certain ‘foreign’ shops. Why? Because of ‘taxes’ and ‘operating costs’. Two whole dollars per BOOK! Consequently, my sales are compromised in these shops anyway – no wonder I will never make their $100 target. I have never felt so ‘punished’ for dealing with an organization in my life before. Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords and Apple never mess with my book prices (always $2.99) and they sell all over the world. Why is Amazon so different and peculiar and difficult?

So here’s the thing: I have closed all Amazon global shops for my books except for UK and US outlets – and of course, South Africa – otherwise I see a page without pricing details.

Why are writers outside of the US and UK treated like this? Why have GLOBAL shops if you haven’t got the wherewith all to manage things in an up to date and equitable manner?

A warning to all ‘foreign’ writers: Amazon will see you as an odd, quirky, weird, possibly of Martian extraction – and definitely with a mindset only capable of operating in the 1960’s.

But then maybe it’s just South Africans they single out for this suffering. And then, honestly, to be fair to Amazon – there are days when we do fit that description rather well.

But seriously, guys – a check through the post? Who does that in 2014?

Happy writing!

 

 

 

D-Day Commemorations in Pictures

Stephen Liddell gives a stunning pictorial remembrance of D-Day – not to be missed!

Stephen Liddell

Most of the D-Day veterans are sadly no longer with us but this past weekend has seen commemorations with some of the few more survivors.  All photos from BBC, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Getty Images, AP.

Paris Guard of Honour A Paris Guard of Honour escorts The Queen down the Champs Elysees in Paris

The Queen in Paris The Queen is the only state leader who served during WW2 and here she is laying a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris

A number of events were also held in Portsmouth which was the Headquarters for D-Day planning including a Drumhead ceremony, commemorations and a special flypast by the Red Arrows acrobatic team.

Red Arrows The Red Arrows perform a fly-by and stunt-show at Portsmouth, the D-Day Headquarters.

Allied Flags Flags of the U.K. and U.S. are flown on the south coast of England.

British Veteran A British D-Day veteran visits the grave of his friend, killed 70 years ago today.

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Finding magic and legend in a sleepy Welsh village.

Jenny Lloyd of “Leap the Wild Water” fame is travelling the beautiful countryside of Wales. A journey full of scenic wonder, history and cosy anecdotes.

jennylloydwriter

WP_20140522_12_21_17_ProMyddfai is a little more than a cluster of pastel-coloured cottages encircling a church. Yet, in the 11th and 12th centuries it was a centre for healing, inhabited by the Physicians of Myddfai, renowned across Wales. The remedies of these herbalists were recorded in the Red Book of Hergest; one of the most important medieval manuscripts written in the Welsh language.

 

WP_20140522_12_00_59_ProBeyond the little village, a lane takes you up to the mountain of Myddfai. This is where the physicians gathered the herbs and flowers used in their remedies.  Beyond Myddfai is the Black Mountain range and the mountain lake of Llyn y Fan Fach.

The first physician of Myddfai was named Rhiwallon. He was court physician to Rhys Gryg, Lord of Dinefwr Castle, about 1200AD. Rhiwallon was awarded land at Myddfai and he treated the poor for free. He passed on his knowledge to his descendants who carried…

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MY INTERVIEW WITH ACCOMPLISHED STORYTELLER CHRISTOPH FISCHER

Bob Rector interviews the very interesting Christoph Fischer – writer, reader and reviewer extraordinaire!

RectorWriter

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small hamlet, not far from Bath. He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and ‘The Black Eagle Inn’ in October 2013. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalization. His newest novel, Time…

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Game of Thrones – The fact behind the fiction

Stephen Liddell shows how close the plot of Game of Thrones runs to the fascinating and complex plots of medieval English history.

Stephen Liddell

Like many others I am an avid fan of Game of Thrones, not the novels as I simply don’t have time to read them but most definitely the television series.  However I don’t have access to the particular TV channel that broadcasts it in the UK so like probably many others are a year behind and watching the events over one or two Westeros crazed afternoons.  Game of Thrones is a success for many reasons, not least the complexity of the plot lines, the vivid reality of life in its environs and long character arcs that reward long term view whilst all the while us viewers are well aware that anyone could be killed off in an instant and by the third season probably all of us fans have seen this happen once or twice.

What separates Game of Thrones from similar shows or movies is not just its huge…

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