Orange is the new white …

A week or two ago I had the pleasure of taking part in Westville Girls’ High School “Tech Week”. I was allocated two time slots, my purpose being to speak to the girls about my journey, and the use of technology in The Legacy Trilogy (the Gifting procedures, etc). Which was all fair and well, and something I was looking forward to.

Seeing as I would be making a trip “out of town” (Westville is a good 20kms from Hillcrest ;) ) I figured I might as well make a day of it and stop by the Pavilion to get my daughter a birthday present (I’m incredibly thoughtful like that). I spent an hour painstakingly applying my make-up so that I wouldn’t be intimidated by the fresh-faced beauty of the teenage posse I was about to face, packed my passport and some food for the road, and off I went.

All was going well, and I was (very-nearly-almost) bang on schedule. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I don’t believe in spoiling my children, so I only had about seventeen shopping bags and an electric scooter under my arms as I weaved frantically through the crowds in a mad dash to get to the talk on time. (As one does when one is in a hurry, I may also have stopped to grab a Cinnabon)

At that point my cell phone rang. Of course, I had to answer it, proceeding to almost knock myself out with a bag of “Top Model” books as I did so, and then began an exciting conversation that I honestly cannot remember. At all. Because here’s where the whole experience becomes somewhat of a blur….

Firstly, I want to make it very clear that I am impossible to con. I don’t fall for tricks, plots, scams, ploys, sales pitches, telemarketers, pyramid schemes, dulcet tones, hypnotism, mentalists, one-legged men, children pretending to be orphans, dogs with no collars, or Christmas carollers. I’m a cynic, plain and simple. You cannot take me on – you are going to lose. I will eat you alive and spit out the pieces. I’m cold as ice, snappy, scathing and insanely perceptive.

Which is why I can honest to God say I HAVE NO IDEA how I ended up in that chair….

One minute I was nattering away, striding through the mall with single-minded purpose, and the next, someone steps in front of me, holding out a piece of paper. So intent was I on my conversation that I did the unthinkable. I HESITATED. I’ve  heard that your life can change in the blink of an eye, but I never really believed it ’til now. Turns out it’s true. A split second was all it took.

I found myself seated on a high stool in a miniscule shop, my packets unceremoniously dumped on the floor beside me while as Asian man bewailed the fact that my skin looked tired, dull and in desperate need of some “pop” – all spoken in what I assume he thought was a convincing French accent, while the waft of curry breezing in from the back room made my eyes water.

“What foun-day-shion do you use?” he demanded next, to which I proudly and unflinchingly  announced: “Kanebo.” I swear his immaculately tweezed brows disappeared into his hairline and he gave a sort of cough-sneeze-fart that indicated he did not approve.

Before I could even open my mouth to protest, said “Frenchman” produced a wet wipe out of thin air, and any cries of “stop!” were smothered as he pressed it against my mouth like some “Christian Grey” wannabe and simpered, “Trust me,” in a low voice (he may have dropped the French accent at this stage, but quickly resumed it when he announced me “zee most beautiful woman”).  I was so stunned, I shut my mouth. Three brisk wipes later, my mornings efforts had been eradicated, and I sat with a naked, blotchy face. Plus, I was late.

“Now, you see, zee problem wiz ozzer products is zat zey cannot match perfectly to your skin tone, no?” the Frenchman tutted, without giving me the chance to disagree, “But here, I can mix up a variety of colour to ensure zat zee end result is identical to your own colouring. Zee key is zat zere is no visible transition from cheek to neck…” At this, his finger trailed seductively from jaw to collar bone. I glanced discreetly at my watch.

“Now!” he clapped his hands together in obvious delight. “I work my magic!”

With a sprinkling of powder, a swish of a brush, and a great to-do, he started to work afore-mentioned magic, and I believed, for an instant, that I might just be in the hands of a master artist. Sweeping motions, followed by “Look zis way, non, non…zat way” and I obeyed every instruction, too terrified to do anything else.

“I’m really late,” I murmured eventually, my voice breaking as I dared interrupt the master.

“It is not worry, I am done!” he announced, dropping everything and lowering his head as if this small action had sapped everything from his creative spirit. The Frenchman was spent. I almost felt like we had performed some bizarre tribal marital ritual. There was a dramatic pause, and I held my breath. And then….

“Voila!” he spun my chair around so fast I almost lost my balance. As I rotated at warp speed I caught sight of my handbag and all my parcels on the floor and reality reasserted itself. This is SA, after all… what if I had been scammed and this was all an elaborate ruse, set up to rob me of my purchases!?

And then, I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror, and everything else faded away. I gazed upon my visage, unable to speak for approximately 3.7 seconds. The Frenchman watched on, awaiting the praise that would no doubt spill from my lips when I finally caught my breath.

“I’m orange!” I roared, getting to my feet in a rage. “I have a talk in ten minutes and I’m freaking* orange!”

“Orange?” he replied dumbfounded, gazing at me as if he couldn’t see it. As if I didn’t look like a pumpkin has taken a dump on my head. “Non, non… zis is not orange…”

“Give me my stuff!” I roared, loud enough to catch the attention of a dazed-looking woman who was entering the store with another salesman. Blinking, she seemed to realise where she was, and she backed up faster than Fat Amy at an aerobics contest.

“Run!” I mouthed at her, scooping up my parcels and shooting the surrounding salespeople a dangerous look. Everyone took a step back, raising their arms and showing me their empty hands. My Frenchman, however, was not letting me go without a fight.

“Do you want me to pack up zee products for you?” he asked gaily, to which I seriously considered throwing the scooter at his head…………

Needless to say, there was no time for damage control. I owned that tangerine face. On the bright side, my teeth looked whiter, and my eyes a little more blue than green. At least that’s what I told myself.

Melissa, xxx

* I totally didn’t say freaking. I said something much, much worse… ;)

First published on Melissa’s blog.


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    The Legend Book Launch – Invitation


    First we had The Legacy. And then Melissa brought us The Legion. And now we have The Legend, the conclusion to one of the most page-turning trilogies ever written.

    If you live in KwaZulu-Natal Melissa is launching The Legend on the 19th of February and it would be great if you can go along.

    Book Launch Invitation - The Legend by Melissa Delport

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      The Legend eBook Release – ThunderClap

      Next month we release The Legend, the final book in The Legacy Trilogy, and we need your help …

      Have you heard of ThunderClap?  It’s the first-ever crowdspeaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. It allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style.

      Please join our The Legend Release Day ThunderClap, and you and others will share the same message at the same time, spreading the news about the release through Facebook and Twitter.

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        Melissa Delport’s month of NaNoWriMo


        As you all know, I participated in the NaNoWriMo 2014 challenge in November. As you probably also know, I was barely active on social media throughout the month…I honestly couldn’t find the energy to brush my hair, let alone come up with sharp and witty repertoire to post!

        Shew!!!!! NaNoWriMo took it out of me. I haven’t been that tired in a very long time. Now that I have had a full day to recover, here is the low down:

        For those of you who don’t know what I have been talking about, November is NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth (NaNoWriMo, see?) The basic premise is that it challenges authors to write a 50,000 word draft novel in ONE month. To put it into perspective, here are the rough word counts on my previous books (note: it takes me approx. 6 months to complete a manuscript)

        • The Legacy: 97500
        • The Legion: 105000
        • Rainfall: 92500
        • The Traveler: 89500
        • The Legend: 97000 (Two months ’til release day!!!!)

        So, 50000 words in a month is basically TRIPLE the word count I usually manage – and I am fairly quick to begin with.

        Anyway, never one to back down from a challenge, I signed up with great aplomb. I admit, I “adapted” NaNoWriMo to suit my own purpose. Instead of a new 50000 word draft, I wanted to add 50000 words to the manuscript I was currently working on. I had just completed the first book in my new series: The Guardians of Summerfeld, and I was in a bit of a funk. I had written two full-length novels that hadn’t been released yet, and my morale was low. Writing a book takes a huge amount of energy and commitment. When I finish a book, I feel physically and emotionally drained. What lifts me out of this is the launching of the book…it’s a natural high – the excitement, the feedback. It motivates me to start again and recharges the batteries, so to speak.

        I completed The Legend draft manuscript earlier this year, and of course we now wait for the big launch in February. I had also completed the first book in the Summerfeld series. I know many of you are waiting for it, and I am truly sorry that I have held it back, but I did not want to have a long wait between books, so I am hoping to complete the series, or get as close to completion as I can, and then stage back-to-back releases. But I digress…

        The point is that two books down with no “release high” had me down in the writing dumps. NaNoWriMo seemed the perfect platform to stretch myself, and rekindle my writing mojo.

        When the 31st of October rolled around, I had written 7501 words of book 2. And then I did the UNTHINKABLE!  I WENT on HOLIDAY for the first two days of November. This may not sound so bad, but daily word count is like compound interest (to quote a very dear writer friend). Breaking it down, you need to write 1667 words per day (including Saturdays and Sundays) to complete the 50,000 word target. The problem is, if you miss two days, that’s 3334 words you have fallen behind. And so it adds up….

        Not too perturbed, I arrived back on the 2nd, after an amazing getaway with one of my dearest friends, and my 3 young people, and I was raring to go. Like my never-ending stream of diets, the first 3 days were a piece of cake (pardon the pun). And then I ran out of steam. What followed was literal rollercoaster of ups and downs, high and lows, fist pumps and F-bombs.

        It was H.A.R.D. Harder than I thought it was going to be. My average bedtime for the month of November was between 12 & 2am. I was tired, desperate, and bleeding from my eyeballs (well, not literally, but they constantly had that scratchy raw feeling.) My husband told me not to sweat it…I’d already written 6 books, I would finish this one when I finished it, what was the point of putting myself under so much pressure. But I didn’t quit… And I am so glad that I didn’t. Instead, I cried on the inside, like a winner, and….


        I did it. In fact, I blew it out of the water with a total of 52076 words in 30 days. To put that into perspective again, if I maintained that pace, I would release a book every two months. Which is never going to happen…

        What I learned…

        Here is what NaNoWriMo taught me. This challenge, to me, is not about craft…it’s about discipline. You cannot hone your talent, or become a better writer, not when you are writing at that pace, but it does teach you to write everyday…to treat your writing as you would a normal day job. It also forces you to write through the walls. When writing a book, you hit walls, where you just can’t find the words, and every sentence is agony. Often, this results in me taking a few days “off”. I stay away from my work in progress until inspiration hits. With NanoWriMo, you do not have that luxury. I learned that if you just write through it, you suddenly find your feet again, and you can write through that “block”.

        I know I wrote a LOT of crap in November. I know that I am going to have to do a whole lot of editing and will probably change quite a bit of what I wrote. But there were also moments of BRILLIANCE. My plot developed considerably, and the story took twists and turns I never expected. I wrote more sh*t this past month than I ever have before, but I also think that I wrote some of the best scenes of my life. And for that alone, I am delighted I participated, and YES, I WILL DO IT AGAIN.

        Thanks to NaNoWriMo, the Guardians of Summerfeld Book 2 is 2/3rds down, and I am secretly harbouring hope that I might finish this book by the end of this year. Which means that we are that much closer to my next release. I won’t put a date to it yet, but rest assured, it will be sooner than you think.

        Thank you to every single one of you who support me, who read my books, review them, recommend them, and most of all, who have faith in me. I cannot express my gratitude enough!

        Much Love


        Originally published on Melissa’s blog.


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