Category Archives: From Melissa

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.

 

Melissa Delport’s month of NaNoWriMo

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 COMPLETED THE NANOWRIMO CHALLENGE!

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

Melissa

Originally published on Melissa’s blog.

 

Library is a Dirty Word…

Being a voracious reader, I simply cannot get enough of books. Literally…cannot-get-enough.

LibraryYou would think then, that a library crammed with books of all sizes, sorts and shapes would fulfil my every fantasy – be the Mecca to my pilgrim – but sadly this is not the case. In fact, just the opposite is true. I avoid going into the library at all costs. Not least because the sheer sensory overload of such an abundance of books might cause me to faint, right there on the old carpet tiles, but mostly because (lowers voice to a whisper) I do not like to share.

Now that it’s out, burning a hole through the book-whore confessional, I feel the need to explain myself. Books are my indulgence, my escape from the world, my home away from home. And I’ve always fancied myself more of a “home-owner” than a “tenant” kind of girl. I am territorial and possessive over my fictional friends and I shudder at the thought that so many others have laid claim to the library’s offerings. Filthy fingers touching the pages, eyes devouring the sanctity of the script…these books have been violated…tainted even. “Communal contamination” I call it. A vulgar prostitution of the things I hold most dear.

Book ShopI cannot bear it. Instead, my Mecca is the book store. The hushed, hallowed aisles of reverent shelves filled with brand spanking new books that have known no touch before mine. Where the pages emit the spine-tingling creak that can only be heard when a book is opened for the very first time. The heady smell of all that new paper and the whispers of fellow book whores, wandering the aisles in search of their next meaningful relationship.

Of course, this obsession comes with a price. In order to keep up with my bookish whim, a credit card (or two) must be sacrificed. Perhaps my wardrobe is a little barer than most and regular trips to the hairdresser must be forsaken. I’m prepared to go ‘Ombre’ naturally, one week at a time, if it means new books. My children, too, have been caught up in my web of self-gratification. They own more books than they can count, and they cannot even read yet.

And then there are those who want to “borrow” my books (shudders involuntarily). Borrow my books? As in, take them away and put your filthy paws all over them? Erm…I don’t think so. You can borrow my husband instead, or better yet, go to the library – they’re all about sharing over there.

First published on It’s a Book Thing (23.07.2014).

 

 

10 Things you DIDN’T know about The Legacy

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Legacy

Here are ten fun facts about book 1 of The Legacy Trilogy:                        THE LEGACY

1. The book was intended to be a stand alone novel, not a trilogy. The war was to end with the fall of Eric Dane. As the story progressed, I realised that I wasn’t done yet, and so The Legion and The Legend were born.

2. Kwan’s wife, Nina, was initially named Elizabeth. I changed her name to suit her character when she went from being simply ‘dead ex-wife’ to ‘super-bitch’.

3. Morgan Kelly was originally older and intended to be Kwan’s love interest.

4. Aidan Moore did not exist in the initial story plot. *gasp* About a month after I started writing the book, I went back and wrote him in.

5. I used my daughter’s name in the book – but only once. I have done this with all 3 of my children’s names – they are mentioned only once in: The Legacy, Rainfall and The Legion.

6. The character of Jonathan is based on my own stepfather who has the same name.

7. Rebecca’s friend Jenna Larsen looks just like my own friend Jenna, but her surname was taken from a woman I used to do business with.

8. Kwan Lee is the only character I struggle to visualise in my head.

9. At the advice of a friend, I seriously considered removing the scene where Reed and Rebecca discuss the stars, but in the end I opted to keep it in.

10. Initially the 3 Gifts were to be: Speed, Strength and Intelligence. Healing worked better for the story, so Intelligence was scrapped and instead, I introduced characters who were naturally exceptional smart to fill this gap.

Stay tuned for 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Legion…coming soon.

Originally posted on Melissa’s blog.

 

Book Tours – ready, steady, go…

As I am sure many of you know, I am about to embark on a very exciting series of virtual book tours, across a few of my titles. A few people have asked me exactly what a virtual tour is, so I thought I would blog about it, as there is far too much involved to cover it all in a FB post.

A virtual book tour is very basically a tour of your book on the internet. You don’t physically travel, but you are hosted by well-known bloggers, who are primarily readers.

A tour can last anything from a week to three months, usually with 1-2 stops a day. Each stop is hosted by a different blogger, and depending on the host, a number of different posts could feature, such as:

  •  Book review
  • Author Interview
  • Character Interview (this one is quite fun, actually!)
  • Book Trailer
  • Guest Blog (the author writes a guest blog for the host’s website)
  • Book Excerpt
  • Character Outlines
  • Dream Movie Cast
  • Music Playlist

The list is endless, but it is all good fun, and requires a lot of hard work to put together.

My tour dates are:

  • The Traveler 19th May-16th June 2014
  • Rainfall 16th June-27th June 2014
  • The Traveler 23rd June – 23rd July 2014
  • AND The Legacy Blog Tour: a two month whirlwind tour from 21st July – 19th September. To follow this tour, please go to: The Legacy Blog Tour Schedule and Updates.

My first tour is for The Traveler and it runs from the 19th May – 16th June. The schedule for this tour is as follows, so if you want to follow the tour, simply visit the tour stops on the specified day :)

Continue reading

You’ve got SPAM …

Having your own website is awesome. It makes you feel legit, even if you only have 2 subscribers, which essentially means you are paying approximately a hundred bucks per person, per month, to read your blog. Like I said… awesome!!!!

But, along with the uber-cool “it” factor, having a website also means you have to deal with spam. Ditto for email, Twitter, Facebook – the internet is full of shit.

Being a busy person, I hardly have time to reply to each and every piece of spam I receive but I did want to address a few particularly colourful posts that deserve a mention.

 1. My self-proclaimed soulmate, Mr King Whala ♥. Thank you for your very public post on my official FB author page. While your turban did not deter me in the least and I quite fancy being a queen, as an author I simply could not overlook your atrocious spelling and grammar. I cannot thank you enough for supplying no less than 7 email addresses and 6 international phone numbers, but as to your suggestion of a “fec-to-fec” meeting, I must respectfully decline. My husband has a shotgun and an alibi.

 2. To the delightful Russians who hacked my website and proceeded to use it to sell Viagra: I’ll take ten boxes. I am willing to come to a compromise. Writing is a tough game, and should it not work out for me, I am quite willing to allow this sales trade to continue, so long as I get a cut. In the meantime I have (sadly) changed my password. I do so hope that women across the globe are not too disappointed should their deliveries not arrive.

3. My Chinese friends:
In answer to your delightful post:
グッチ アウトレット 公式,オロビアンコ バッグ メンズ,オロビアンコ 財布 ラウンド,オロビアンコ バッグ 新作,オロビアンコ バッグ リュック,オロビアンコ 財布,オロビアンコ 新作\オロビアンコ アウトレット,プラダ バッグ アウトレット,プラダ 財布 メンズ,プラダ バッグ
I reply simply:
ケース,ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド 財布 新作\ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド バッグ セール,ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド メンズ,ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド ネックレス,ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド

4. Nobephype: Seriously, if I wanted knock-off Louis Vuitton Handbags, I would simply take a trip to China Mall. I speak fluent Chinese (see post above).

 5. Dearest Cerys Matthews: While others may have been baffled by your post, which read only:
???: ?? ?????? ?? ??????????? ???? ? ??????????? ???? ????? ???????????? ?? ?????, ????????? ? ?????-?????. ????? ??? ??????? ??? ???
My answer is simple: Yes…no… to get to the other side…1.77245….
(Note: Anyone who gets this is officially in my inner circle :))

6. Lissohancialm: With regards to your offer for a revolutionary weight loss wonder product. Firstly, how dare you presume I have a fat ass….. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ve paid full postage and packaging.

 7. Hi Paulo K! You mention it’s hard to find my website on Google and that it only rates in the 22nd spot. What were you searching for exactly? If it was lesser- known authors, I’m well-chuffed I made it so high. If you were searching for Russian Viagra suppliers there is a problem with placing. I should be number 1.

 8. My new bestie, Miss Gugu: I am delighted to have won the UK lottery, despite never having purchased a ticket. Ever. In my whole life. Be that as it may, I have purchased the R180 airtime and sent it along…I can’t wait to receive your call!!!

 9. And then later…..Dear  Thomuuux Worldpill. Your opening statement reads: One pill may turn your bedroom into the heaven of sex and pleasure! Been there, done that, have three kids to prove it. But if you have any products that turn your bedroom into a room in which to sleep for hours on end uninterrupted, send me R180 worth of airtime and I’ll give you a call.

 10. To the naked fireman who sent me a friend request on Facebook. I’m sure you look just like your profile pic, which incidentally is the splitting image of my favourite celeb, sadly, your hose didn’t impress me enough to accept your invitation. Also, as I mentioned to your predecessor, Mr King Whala – my husband has a shotgun. And an alibi.

Happy Tuesday everyone!
Melissa
xoxox

Originally posted on Melissa’s blog.

Love Thy Neighbour…..& ALWAYS attend the party!

imagesI8TVMMK3

To quote a cheesy theme song: “Everybody needs good neighbours.” The song ends: “Neighbours… should be there for one another….that’s when good neighbours become good friends.” I beg to differ….. When the wine gets flowing, THAT is when good neighbours become the BEST of friends.

I have always liked my neighbours – all four sets (it’s a long story that has to do with a few pan handles). We have tea, our kids have play dates, and we try not to annoy each other in so far as possible. We borrow eggs, stock cubes, and the occasional bottle of wine, and all in all, we live in a mutually beneficial, peaceful suburbia. Until just recently… when one little party took us from Stepford to Wisteria Lane, faster than you could fall over a fence. Fortunately, photographic evidence emerged that enabled us all to piece together the fragments of what we could remember.

To give you a little idea of how this party evolved, here is a brief, step-by-step reconstruction:

1979556_10201759984589203_903463994_n Exhibit A: 8 pm.

Cute, isn’t it. That’s me and my beloved, sharing a sweet moment in the Photo Booth. Notice how our heads are inclined toward one another in the last image – this body language shows that we are made for one another, and considerate of each others feelings. Neither one of us plays a dominant role, but rather we are a mutually exclusive, happy couple who operate on a basis of equality and acceptance.

1970748_10201759990949362_499547283_n  Exhibit B: 9.30 pm

This is me and my neighbour, having fun with the camera. It was cute and playful, and cemented a burgeoning friendship. Like a small sapling, with enough love and a liberal sprinkling of water (that’s a metaphor for working hard at the friendship and appreciating all our special times!) this would likely become a life-long camaraderie.

10150772_10201760013269920_987186192_n  Exhibit C: Some ungodly hour

That is NOT my husband.

What the hell is on my head?

WTF????

So, at around this time, the wheels fell off.

I have to say, that this Photo Booth was the highlight of the evening. No wait, that would be a lie. It may have been the Jukebox. Either way, I cancelled my ENT check up for the following week, due to the flaring up of “the nodules” (I have blogged about these before, in case you missed it) I couldn’t face him, I just couldn’t.

The evening culminated in most of us jumping into the swimming pool fully clothed. I think I performed the most spectacular pirouette over the swimming pool net, but that may have been wishful thinking. (This little adventure also cost one x iphone and one x Samsung S4, neither mine, thank goodness)

The point, I am making, however is that THAT party, changed everything. My neighbours ROCK. The evening started out a bit stilted, naturally. One tends to always put one’s best foot forward in these situations. Early conversations were along the lines of:

“I love what you’ve done with the wallpaper in the entrance hall.”

“Oh thank you, I’m not sure about the colour, though.”

and:

“When are you sending your little one to school?”

“I’m not sure that she’s ready, possibly in a few months.”

And then, later:

“How many scones in the airconditioning?”

“Purple.”

“I eat feathers.”

“Snakes and peanut butter.”

“Every nose!”

“In my left shoe.”

And it all made perfect sense, you know….

Just to be clear, we are all perfectly normal, fully-functional, mature adults. We’re good parents, we have respectable jobs, and contrary to what you may be thinking, there is not an alcoholic amongst us. But when neighbours are good, good times are sure to go bad!

Here is a montage of a few choice moments:

10155770_10201760013469925_905381986_n1962761_10201760006149742_1622830352_n1379711_10201760017070015_1837233065_n1743561_10201759997149517_2068829319_n1070085_10201760012069890_671390587_n1619092_10201759993229419_1383539339_n1148912_10201760012629904_1906956743_n

Happy Thursday, everyone!

xxx

Originally posted on Melissa’s blog.

Predictive Text

AAARGH!!!!!!

Predictive text makes me want to break stuff. And when activated on a touch screen, there is no limit to what can go wrong.

This evening I told my bestie that she needs to move back home so that we can see each other all the urine. All the urine? WTF?

And every time I go for dinner in Westville, my babysitter hears I’m heading to Nashville. Yeah, cause that Taylor Swift needs all the competition she can get!

Then there was the time I was sending a friend my famous brownie recipe and told her she would need eggs, flour and Mike. Mike? really. What kind of brownies are these… tall, dark and naked???

Another favourite is when I said “I’ll see you in web minutes”.  Apparently I, unlike everyone else out there, operate on Spiderman time.

Spiderman web

Sent the hubby a romantic text… “You are my one and oyster.” Um…….

Oysters

Predictive touch screen text can literally destroy relationships, be warned.

After a few glasses of wine, I was trying to compliment a recently divorced special lady who was feeling a bit down and doubting her ability to snare a new man, let alone one who would be good to her kids. I told her she was looking sexy and would find another……. She never responded. Turns out what I really said was: You’re looking sixty, you’ll find neither.

My friend got really sick once and she messaged me all about how awful she was feeling. I sent her kisses, except instead of xxx, it read zzz… we’re not really talking anymore.

zzz

Unfortunately in today’s fast paced world, we rarely have time to check, and re-read every short message we send. But maybe I should. Or send them to my editor for proofreading, because I must be the world’s worst.

And I’m not even going to mention the time I told that woman to suck off…..

Happy Wednesday everyone, here’s to gearing down for the weekend!

Originally published on Melissa’s blog.