All posts by Melissa

Melissa Delport, the author of the dystopian novels The Legacy Trilogy - Book 1 is The Legacy, Book 2 is The Legion and Book 3 is The Legend,

The Legacy Characters

I have come to realise that women are fickle. Deep, meaningful, life-changing quotes don’t interest us, but stick a picture of a gorgeous hunk on FB and all of a sudden, your reach quadruples. Shame on you, ladies! And all the power to ya ;)

As my FB post about who I pictured Aidan to be seemed to get so much attention, it was only a natural progression to blog about the other characters, hence this post.

When I started writing The Legacy, I had set images in my mind, that I used to describe my characters. I actually find this the easiest way to remember all the details about them (hair colour, eye colour, etc) because otherwise halfway though I have forgotten.

As you know now, Aidan looked like this in my head:

54861610justin-hartley-1-smallville-season-8-jpg[1]

This fine specimen (aka Justin Hartley) has long been a firm favourite of mine, ever since he first wore those “toit” green tights as the Green Arrow on Smallville. I even sat through the entire first (and thankfully last) season of Emily Owens MD, just to witness this eye candy every Wednesday night. The CW axed the show and my withdrawals began…so imagine my delight when he showed up in the third season of Revenge!!! And he is just SO Aidan…. handsome, clean-cut, wholesome. Yum!

Then there’s Aidan’s nemesis, our Sexy Southern Bad Boy, Reed. In my head, he looks like this: sawya[1]

But lately someone said she pictures the guy from Thor (Chris Hemsworth)… so now I am torn. I still think this is more Reed, though ;)

Eric. Oh how I love to hate Eric. And what blog post would be complete without my darling Ian?? No words, Ladies.. just drool at my Eric: (I bet you all saw this one coming!) 1350492647_7910_ian-somerhalder[1]

Michael and Morgan. You all know I’m a big fan of Pittacus Lore’s I am Number Four series, and these two fit the bill for Michael & Morgan Kelly perfectly!I AM NUMBER FOUR

So that leaves us with Rebecca. The feisty, kick-ass heroine of the series. I love writing about Bex – I love that she’s strong and beautiful and the leader of an entire army. It’s just awesome. Because Bella Swan nearly killed me, and I wanted a female lead that would never, ever (and I mean EVER) be anything like Bella. So, for what its worth, this is my Rebecca Davis:

Ashley-Greene-Images[1] Yes, its ridiculously ironic that she played a lead role in the Twilight Saga, considering my comment above, but lets just chalk this one up to artistic license!

Enjoy your week ahead, stay safe xxx

From Indie to Published

Two very exciting things happened today. Firstly, I had my hair done. It looks fantastic – all blonde and sleek and shiny. It’s awesome. Oh…. and I became a published author.

*insert shriek of excitement here!!!!*

I am so, so thrilled to finally share this news with you all.. it has been a while in the making and for fear of jinxing it, I had to keep mum until all the negotiations and logistics were ironed out.

The Legacy Series & I have been signed by TMP (Tracey McDonald Publishers) and will be re-launched in July 2014. I am now feeling the pressure of being a legit author, as I have a deadline to complete the final book in the series. (Yes, I said a deadline- how cool is that :))

It also means that The Legacy & The Legion (as well as book 3, when it launches) will be available in stores, so all those without Kindles can get their hands on it :)

This is a huge turning point in my career & it coincides with my selling out of my company, after 10 years. It is bittersweet, because as most of you know, the business was very near & dear to my heart, but the time has come for me to focus on my writing. I look forward to being able to write books in the daylight hours & get some much needed sleep!

I want to thank each & every single person who has supported me through my indie career, and to everyone who has read & loved my books! You all ROCK!

If you would like to be updated as to the Legacy news & launch dates, etc, please go and like this page: https://www.facebook.com/EnjoyABook. I will, of course, repost all information on The Legacy Book Club FB page too!

My publishers website is:  http://traceymcdonaldpublishers.com

I will keep you all informed as I learn (and I am sure, love!) this process, which is every authors dream come true.

That’s enough for now… I have some champagne to be chilling!

Much Love

Melissa

 

Fame, Fortune & Filthy Fingers!

There is nothing quite like one’s own family to keep you grounded. I started my writing career with big dreams about radio and TV interviews galore, glossy double page spreads showcasing my beautiful home and me, in a gorgeous linen trouser suit, with adoring husband at my side and 3 exquisite children at my knee. People would stop me in the shops, asking me for advice, inspiration, and of course, my autograph.

Let me start by saying that none of this has actually happened. I am not sure when I realised that writing is not as glorified as I expected, but possibly it all started way back when I wrote my very first book. I printed out sections of my manuscript as I went along, beautiful pages of New Times Roman, printed on the best quality print paper and ready for my initial read through. Later, I went around the house searching for self-same pages, painstakingly straightening out crumpled up bits, trying to read through a rainbow riot of felt-tipped scribbles and of course, unfolding about fifty paper aeroplanes.

“This is mommy’s work!” I yelled, tears pricking at my eyes. “My hard work! Do you know how important this is to mommy!” To which of course, the answer from my six-year-old was, “Mom, Presley’s pooped in the bath.” And my three-year-olds subsequent: “Eeeeuw, dissss-gusting!” I looked to my husband, beseeching him with watery eyes and he looked vaguely alarmed, before leaping to his feet and pointing a finger half-heartedly in their general direction. “You know you shouldn’t touch mommy’s things,” he scolded. His supposed support would probably have been far more effective if, in vacating his seat, he hadn’t revealed a wad of manuscript pages, on which he had been playing hangman with my eldest.

Things went from bad to worse. Short of wet wipes, manuscript pages were used to clean up unmentionable things. Realising my two-year old had taken to doodling on the tiles, the kitchen cupboards and the walls, in absence of her favourite drawing material – I gave her as many pages as her little heart desired.

Eventually I conceded defeat. I stopped printing and worked digitally. Everything was done on my laptop, which all three of my children know to never, ever touch. When my editor sent me a memo asking if “She dived aside, the cargsjgadsyrdyardgbshnbdkajdbmasssssssssbj missing her by inches” was a deliberate sentence, I realised that the sanctity of my laptop had been violated. “This is Mommy’s computer!” I roared. “It’s very expensive and you are not allowed to touch it!” Unfortunately, in my desperation to prove a point I was holding it out to show them. My two year old promptly stuck out a chubby finger and smeared Nutella across my screen.

And then there was the fame that I had dreamed of. My first ever newspaper interview came to fruition. I spent about three hours meticulously straightening my hair, and applying impeccable war paint. Of course the inevitable scuffle broke out in the lounge and I padded down the passage to resolve it. Then I started making notes, just in case, and asked my neighbour to please watch my kids for an hour. Reluctantly, she agreed. Half an hour later, I graciously greeted the journalist assigned to my interview, laying out a beautiful platter of snacks and a pot of tea in teapot I borrowed from my mother in law. All went well, apart from a few curious glances at my face, which I put down to reverent curiosity. Halfway through the sounds of screaming emanating from next door had become impossible to ignore. I rolled my eyes and whispered conspiratorially, “My neighbours kids.”

Waving her away a short while later, I chest bumped myself in the mirror. I had done it! I was on my way! Only three hours later did I realise I had only made up one eye.

Determined to act as cool as a cucumber, I refrained from calling to find out when my “piece” would appear in the paper. Then, one day I got a text message form my friend saying “Hi Michelle!” with a smiley face. To my horror, my article was out. They.called.me.Michelle. The whole way through. My family thought it was hilarious. My husband tried to call me Michelle in the bedroom. I almost punched him in the mouth.

I actually have been stopped in the shops, my hair scraped back in a frazzled bun, wearing dirty, scruffy jeans and a toddler hanging on each hip.

“Excuse me,” a timid, breathless voice asked. I straightened up, beaming. This was it! I had been recognised! It was inevitable really – by this stage I had appeared in no less than four obscure community papers. I quickly dropped the kids.

“Yes,” I turned, beaming. Thank goodness I had been perfecting my smile in the mirror for weeks. Slightly taken aback, the pretty brunette stepped away from me.

“Um… it’s just that I think your child dropped this.” She held up an empty BarOne wrapper. My six-year-old disappeared faster than a Hogwarts house-elf disapparating.

“Oh no,” I replied smoothly, “that’s definitely not mine. My children don’t eat chocolate.” Her gaze slid from me to the two toddlers I had just released, their entire faces covered in brown slobber. “Look, I’m very busy, is there anything else you wanted to ask?” I waited smugly for a request that was never forthcoming. I keep a pen in my bag, just in case. I think it’s dried up.

All in all, being an author is far from glamorous. Being a mother to three young children, even less so. But doing both? I’m living my dream, six-page spread aside.

*****Note: I did try to buy the “suit” that was to be my own brand of classy chic. I couldn’t squeeze my arse into the linen trousers.

Self publishing Diaries: A Cover Story

I am currently working on the cover design for The Legend, which is an exciting part of the publishing process. Luckily, I now have the most awesome publisher to guide me, and of course, my uber-talented, graphic-designer bestie, Wendy, but working on this latest cover took me back to my first, disastrous attempt.

Way back when I started my writing career (I say this as though decades have passed, but in fact it was only 2 years ago this month,) I had no idea how everything worked. I was overwhelmed and terrified that my ‘masterpiece’ would be snatched up by someone who might steal my idea, and pass it off as their own. (Note: I have since learned that in fact getting someone to even READ your manuscript is a feat, let alone getting them to like it enough to consider stealing it.)

In desperation, not wanting to fumble my way through the process, I instead paid someone to fumble through it for me. I now advocate other writers to never, EVER pay someone to assist you in the self-publication process. There are many reasons I say this, which will come out in dribs and drabs, but for now, I will address the issue of: COVER DESIGN.

I approached my vanity publisher with great enthusiasm. In fact, I had an inkling that once they read my manuscript, they would love it so very much they would make the transition into full-blown traditional publishing simply so that they could distribute my book. It was going to be THAT big…. I soon began to doubt that any member of their organisation had even read my book, as you will see for yourself.

I describe The Legacy as an edgy, action-packed, adrenalin inducing thrill ride. Dystopian, with a slight element of science fiction. Rebecca is the strong and feisty leader of The Legion – an army of super-soldiers, intent on defeating the most powerful leader since WW3.

I was asked if I could supply a brief – a simple idea of what I wanted or didn’t want. This was what I supplied:

“My story is slightly futuristic and the genre is dystopian – common novels in this genre are the Hunger Games, The Host, etc.  Think ‘I am number four.’  My lead character is a soldier (not in the traditional sense with soldier garb, but she is rising against the President and can kill people with her bare hands).  If I had to compare her to anyone I would say Sarah Connor from The Terminator, without the guns.  She is beautiful but she is also very strong and “kick ass” There are a few elements to the story that could be used in the cover, but obviously not all of them as it would be very busy. They are:

  • The famous Chicago city skyline (I know this is DONE, but possibly just as a pattern on the back cover above the text, or something, just the outline so not obvious)
  • A boundary fence
  • Atomic bomb/nuclear symbol
  • A woman (main character is a strong female lead) but I don’t want a preconceived notion of what she would look like, so maybe the back of a beautiful woman walking down a road or something
  • Wealthy city (all the wealth has been fenced in)

Here is the first cover I received (Note: I actually had to take a few calming breaths before opening this document because I could not deal with the thrill of seeing my story in picture form) You might want to do the same…..

COVER #1

THE LEGACY - COVER OPTIONS 1 (4)

At this point I experienced what could only be described as a cross between the anti-climax of the century, and an irrational urge to laugh until I peed my pants. I love a good sense of humour and this had to be someone’s idea of a joke, right? Because, surely… SURELY no-one in their right mind could expect me to take this seriously. Turns out… they did. Now perhaps being a new writer, and somewhat “green”, people assume you are an idiot. I owned a successful business and have a degree or two, so I’m not entirely stupid. A horrible, sinking suspicion began to gnaw at the back of my mind. Did they not even read my book?

In my head I wrote the following reply:

“Hi. Did you perhaps read my book? The cover doesn’t really seem to fit the story. (***understatement of the century***) While I truly appreciate the (100% PAID FOR) time and effort you have taken with my cover, I must point out that red is not really my favourite colour. Could we perhaps try a more modern & clean cut font? I also feel that Rebecca, being a soldier who could quite literally rip your throat out with her bare hands, might want to rethink that wardrobe. The year is 2044, after all. Also, while I like the serenity, and reading is most certainly my favourite pastime, I am quite sure that no novel is gripping enough that you would remain so utterly engrossed in the story that you would fail to notice the END OF THE FUCKING WORLD nuclear explosion going off in the background. The park bench is lovely and quaint, but perhaps best suited to a period saga.”

Cover #2

THE LEGACY - COVER OPTIONS 2 (3)

“Hi again. Wow, well this is different! I’m not sure if you have found the time yet to actually read my book (for the big fat fee I am paying, you should have made a big blockbuster movie out of it by now) Um, if I’m being utterly honest, the blue is really not what I had in mind. Also, the picture itself is a little too steamy for the genre of my book. (I mean, WTF is she looking out of the window for?? “Honey, come to bed,” – “Just give me a second, love, I want to watch this atomic bomb first.”) This seems more suitable for Mills & Boon, or an exotic romance – perhaps 50 Shades of Orange.”

Cover #3

THE LEGACY - COVER OPTIONS 3 (3)

“Are you freaking retarded?? And don’t even TRY and tell me you read one page of my book! In case you are not familiar with any other profession but shitty graphic design, here are a few others:

Soldier: a person who serves in an army

Lawyer: the person in this crappy latest cover design

Oh, and another thing: Did you know there is an entire spectrum of colour out there… even my three-year-old has progressed beyond red, yellow & blue. Stop, just stop! This is becoming physically painful. I will provide my own cover, give me a day or two. Oh, and by the way… the eighties called – they want their pictures back.”

Thankfully, I have a BFF who is a gifted graphic designer. I had not called upon her initially because I was paying good money for a service an I wanted my pound of flesh. Instead, for free, I got the most marvellous cover, which was everything I had wanted and more.

Needless to say, I never went back for my subsequent books, and I put it down to another publishing lesson learned – have more faith in your book, and don’t pay someone to do something you are more than capable of doing yourself.

Melissa

xxx