This is a reprint of the January 2021 Newsletter – to get the news before anyone else, make sure to sign up for my newsletter!
Hellloooooo and welcome back to my UNTAMED * UNEXPECTED * UNFORGETTABLE world.
I hope you had a divinely memorable Valentine’s Day, but most of all, I wish you love every day. Even if it’s a lick of your hand by a faithful pooch or a purr in response to your devoted touch, know that you are loved.
Moviemakers call the earth-shattering scenes in a script ‘moments’ whether someone dies or someone comes to a startling realization. Of course, there have to be tons of ‘moments’ to keep us glued to the seat/couch and eating popcorn.
In real life, mammoth moments are rare – thankfully, otherwise we’d be worn out – but there are dozens of moments in our every day.
And if we’re conscious of them, they will find us.
When they do, write them down: A smell that brings back poignant memories; witnessing someone else’s joy; an unexpected belly-laugh.
I’m always surprised how many moments I’m lucky enough to experience in a day once I list them.
And the coolest thing? Tomorrow’s a new day to collect fresh moments. And the more we look, the more we’ll find.
Get lost in this gorgeous piece I found on a South African Facebook page. It’s a piece of vivid prose that boasts a thousand moments, and each speaks to my soul. How I wished I knew who wrote it. I so wish it had been me.
So, jump aboard my camo jeep. It’s roaring and ready. Prepare to capture each moment as you feel the stirrings of autumn wind in your hair, and let the imagery of these words take you to my (other) home, South Africa!
BY: AUTHOR UNKNOWN
I sit here quietly, thinking about what it means to me to be South African, a visitor to South Africa, or even African. It seems easier to explain the effect that this land has on me…
The perfume of rain on African soil. The scent of woodfires drifting across the highveld on winter evenings. There’s a very distinctive aroma just as one starts coming into George/Knysna/Plett (I’ve never figured out which herb it is), in much the same way the smell of wild sage defines the area around Santawani in Botswana. The odour of thatch in a game lodge. The bouquet of dust and the various plants when one gets into the bush, sometimes a whiff of something dead. The tang of the ocean at the seaside. The smell of ‘moer’ coffee over an early morning fire, or the delicious aroma of roasting meat over flames – whether you call it a braai or shisa nyama (but definitely not a barbeque, a barbie or a ghastly sausage sizzle!)
There is also something about the light here. “Santorini Blue”…I don’t know if that’s an actual colour, but it seems to describe the hue of the highveld sky on a winter’s day to perfection. We live in “Big Sky” country – whether blue, or orange in sunset or dark grey and rent by lightening, or velvet black and filled with stars that seem close enough to touch – the sky is ever present. As is the moon. I am always aware of the moon, from sickle moon to the full fecund globe that is full moon. Silver light gilding thorn trees, juxtaposed against dark shadows on the savannah, is not a sight one easily forgets.
The caw of the raucous Hadedah in suburbia, the burbling call of a rainbird when a thunderstorm is on its way, the beautiful Diederick’s Cuckoo announcing the arrival of spring, the screech of a barn owl or the evocative call of the Fish Eagle.
Jackals calling as the sun goes down, a lion’s roar quite literally making the air reverberate, or the chilling whoops of the hyenas. The cacophony of barking geckos that start up as the sun goes down over Deception Pan, or a veritable orchestra of frogs around a pan in the summer months. Cicadas shrilling on days so hot the air shimmers, or a nightjar calling in the dead of night in the bushveld.
Days of withering heat often followed by the lightest cool breeze, just as the sun is setting. A gentle little wind, which plays with your hair like an absent-minded lover, reminding you the cool of the night will soon be with you. Walking in the bush early in the morning, the sun’s rays catch the dew on spiders’ webs, reminding you that life, both seen and unseen, is all around you. Trout fishing as the sun peeps over the horizon in Dullstroom, so cold that the water droplets freeze on your line…
The colors of this land are not subtle. The blood red of the coral tree, the green metallic glint f sunbirds the striped black and white hide of the zebra, or sapphire blue of a kingfisher. The miles and miles of yellow and orange daisies in Namaqualand in September, or pink and white swathes of cosmos along the roads in April. The lilac and turquoise of the roller, the tawny hide of a lion or the emerald green of a little dung beetle that makes its appearance in the summer months. From the golden dunes of the Namib to the unimaginable number of greens in the Knysna Forest. All vivid and arresting.
Talk to me of Morrungulo or Tsodilo Hills, the great Drakensberg, Platteland dorps and the great Karoo. The warmth of Sodwana Bay or the icy kelp forests of the Atlantic Ocean. Of wine farms and fynbos in the Cape, to meerkats and diamonds in the north. Show me our people in so many hues, with brightly coloured traditional costumes and even brighter smiles.
All of this creates a frisson of excitement, passion each and every day, a vivid, immediate sense of being alive that I have found nowhere else…
These are my people. This is my land.
Because I am, at the very core of my being, a child of Africa.
It’s not every day when out of the blue, a designer you admire, dedicates a collection to you. We talked of ‘moments’ earlier, and this, dear friend, was a MOVIE MOMENT for me, and you can bet I will buy the DVD and the BluRay too of the day Sandra Springs told me of her new ZEBRA line and her generous dedication.
In January, I promised one lucky reader the chance to win a piece of Sandra Springs’ unusual and exquisite art-jewelry for men and women.
Our lucky winner rightly named Buffer as Iris’ beloved dog in War Serenade, and her name was drawn from all the entries.
AND…HERE SHE IS…OUR WINNER FOR JANUARY (drumroll)…
HUGE congrats, Jeanna! Have fun shopping for your treasure in Sandra Springs’ jewelry box, and more than that, enjoy WEARING Sandra’s unique and interesting piece of art. Show it off, girl, and send me a pic!
Sandra’s work is not only exquisitely hand-crafted and timeless, but affordable. Give her a little look and I’ll guarantee you’ll get stuck in the exotic world she’s so skillfully crafted.
And you never know…YOU may soon have another chance to snag one of Sandra Springs’ sensational pieces! WATCH THIS SPACE!
I NEED YOU!
Are you interested in receiving an ARC of ZEBRA? I have chosen FOUR *ARC readers to date – two U.S. and two outside the U.S. I’m looking for six more, so email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org – subject: ‘ARC’ and tell my why YOU would make a great ARC reader. (A good answer is that you enjoyed War Serenade. :o))
*ARC – in author-speak – is an Advanced Review Copy. I will choose 10 readers to each receive a copy of ZEBRA just prior to its release. Your copy will be identical to the one which will be published. Volunteering for an ARC is devoid of conditions, stipulations or ulterior motives.
However, my goal is to find readers who’ve read War Serenade and might enjoy ZEBRA. Of course, once you’ve read ‘him’ and deem him worthy, it would be thrilling if you’d tell your friends or write a review on my new book.
If you’re interested in an ARC reader, please email me at: email@example.com – subject: ‘ARC’ and tell my why YOU would make a great ARC reader.
There’s an author I’d love you to check out.
JoMarie DeGioia is an author who’s exceedingly modest. You’ll never hear her brag, so I thought it was time I bragged on her behalf.
This astounding writer has published nearly 50 novels. I implore you, if JoMarie DeGioia OR Josie Dennis (more on the latter later :o) are new to you, dive in if you’re a lover of historical romance, paranormal, contemporary romantic comedy (JoMarie calls them Sassy Hallmark Movies’).
JoMarie came out of the gate at a gallop. The first in her historical romance series, titled More than Passion in her “Dashing Nobles” series, became an international best-seller and hit the 150,000 mark. WOW!
Ms. DeGioia’s latest historical fiction is The Courtesan Countess, the first in her Regency-set Historical Romance series, “Secret Hearts.”
A gentleman who masks his emotions. A lady who pretends to be something she’s not. Secret desires…secret pleasures…And a love to reveal both their hearts.
**Notes to self: 1.) Remember to turn down the air conditioning at the start of a JoMarie DeGioia novel. 2.) Have a lace, or thin paper hand fan close by. 3.) Have a cell phone plug-in fan at the ready too cos you know how H-O-T Ms. DeGioia can make a girl under the collar…
SECRET: Ms. DeGioia as the very naughty, Josie Dennis writes for very adventurous readers. Read Josie Dennis ONLY if you DARE!
Whether your taste be naughty or nice, every sub-genre from JoMarie is laced with delicious humor, steam (in varying degrees), complex, flawed characters, tender romance and inevitably, what she calls ‘hot eye moments.’ That’s when you will probably shed a delicate tear, or like me, have a really good, UGLY cry.
What you are guaranteed with JoMarie DeGioia and Josie Dennis both, are intrigue and mystery, unexpected twists and of course, a Happy Ending. ;o)
And check out JoMarie DeGioia’s podcast LOVE BY THE PEN, found everywhere you get your podcasts. For readers and writers alike, JoMarie talks favorite books, her author-journey, tips for readers and writers for leading Romance Book Groups and MORE! www.jomariedegioia.com
Go to www.jillwallace.com for an extensive interview with Author Extraordinaire, JoMarie DeGoia and her nemesis, Josie Dennis.
Before we hop out of our camo jeep, I have another something to read you might like to check out: The Lantern Deep Darkness.
Smast is a debt-slave’s son fighting for his inalienable right to live and love on his own terms. His concept of ‘self’ vanishes after he meets a guilt-racked princess, Pragvi — for him, everything will always be about Pragvi.
He’ll become the world’s most unlikely superhero one day. Nothing whatsoever — not unspeakable agony, not the certainty of death — will deter Smast from taking on the enigmatic enemy who has been stalking Pragvi since before her birth.
If that sounds interesting to you, you can read this complete trilogy boxed set for free! Click here!
Until Next We Meet…
…HOPE you enjoyed your little safari. Did you see the blushing hyenas today? Methinks they’d taken a peek behind Josie Dennis’ covers!
Remember to join in for the fun discussions on my Facebook Readers group called ‘Club Untamed.’
Don’t be bashful…let me know if you’d like to be an ARC Reader. firstname.lastname@example.org – SIX MORE SLOTS OPEN.
Wishing you a multitude of MOMENTS every day.