Monday 27 June 2011

Rejection Blues (also known as Strains of Woe)

After struggling with rejection blues for many years, when blogger Misha Gericke invited me to do a guest post, I recalled how hard it was for me to overcome the wretchedness of each rejection letter. Here are my remembered Strains of Woe

 “…so shall I taste
At first the very worst of fortune’s might,
And other strains of woe…”    (Sonnet 90, Shakespeare)

What beautiful words! But, to an unpublished author, they are no consolation when the lash of fortune’s might is another rejection letter (or e-mail) from a publisher.

I’ve been writing since 1997. That’s fourteen years and seven completed novels. That’s a lot of rejections I’ve had to learn to live with.  Rejection becomes easier when a new writer finally realises that rejection letters are all part of the process of becoming a professional story teller. Rejection letters can be worn like a badge of honour, but they can also bring the curse of self-doubt.  And self-doubt can become your greatest enemy, for it freezes your creativity and weighs your writing down with your most secret fears.

What can a fledgling author do to overcome the rejection blues? Go to Misha Gericke's blog to read about the five stepping stones that can help you find your way from rejection to publication. If you comment on Misha's blog before 1pm South African time on Wednesday 29th June, you stand a chance of winning a US15 gift voucher.

Free Image from ClipArt

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Another Review of "Dancing in the Shadows of Love"

eBook edition
Available at Amazon
and other stores
Freelance editor Helen Ginger reviews "Dancing in the Shadows of Love" :

...described as “a novel of hope and mystery,” I would describe it as haunting. The women and their stories will stick with you long after you’ve put down the book. The world Lulu, Jamila and Zahra live in is foreign to me, but their emotions and fears and quest for love are not.

For me, it was like entering a strange world where things are a bit upside down and new to me, but each day I was compelled to go back and continue reading, to find out what would happen to them. Of the three women, Lulu is the one who threads their lives the rest of the review on Helen's blog 

Thanks to Helen for her final words: I give Dancing in the Shadows of Love a rating of Hel-of-a-Writer. I’m definitely amazed by Judy Croome’s writing.

My Three Favourite Romantic Heroes

Who are your favourite romantic heroes? 

My image of the Romantic Hero has always been that of a complex character, with secret conflicts hidden beneath a sophisticated and ruthless fa├žade. Their personal code of honour is god to these brooding iconoclasts; loss, suffering and alienation are the price they pay to uphold that honour in true heroic fashion.

The idea of taming of this dominant male thrilled my feminist heart with girlish fantasies. Still does, actually, although I’m no longer a feminist and modern romance heroes are rarely forceful and too often politically correct.

When I started looking for my three favourites, I found I was in love with an alarmingly high number of romantic heroes. After much gnashing of teeth, I whittled my heroes down the complete article and come join the conversation over at For Books Sake.

Monday 20 June 2011

Reading eBooks without an eReader

My first car was a red Volkswagen beetle. I loved that car! Except for a day about three weeks after I got my drivers licence. There I was, driving merrily along, the wind rushing through my hair when dear  little bug died on me. Poof. Nothing. I couldn't get it started. In pre-cell phone days, it was a mission, but eventually I found someone who knew someone who knew my Dad. Called him from an important meeting to rescue me, the first thing Dad did was check the petrol gauge. Empty. I won't repeat the words that burned my tender ears as Dad explained I can't just switch the car on and expect it to go. A car needs petrol, and that's that!

Not being technically minded, I still find it difficult to understand how cars run on petrol, why computers need anti-virus programmes and that eReaders come in many shapes and sizes.  

I love my first eReader - a wireless 3G Kindle - with as much passion as I loved that little red bug of mine. And I'm equally clueless about how eReaders work. I switch the Kindle on, buy a book and read.

Now that my own book Dancing in the Shadows of Love is published as an eBook, many people are asking me how they can read it, because they don't own an eReader such as a Kindle or a Nook.  The good news is that - unlike my Volkswagen which couldn't work without petrol - you can read an eBook without an eReader.

You can read it on your laptop or desktop. You can read it on your Iphone or Blackberry. You can read it on almost anything. 

1. On Amazon there are FREE DOWNLOADS FOR KINDLE to various reading devices. All you do is download the software onto your device of choice and then you can buy my book (and as many other eBooks as you want) and be reading within minutes.

2. You can also read an eBook in the EPUB format by downloading the free Adobe Digital Editions software  to your computer or device, and adding the file to your library.

3. Barnes and Noble has the same option of FREE DOWNLOADS FOR NOOK.

4. Smashwords is an eBook sales platform that offers many formats of eBooks for sale, including the simple PDF format, easily readable on your laptop or desktop or you can download the EPUB format, readable on the Adobe Digital Editions software (No 2 above.)

These free software programmes are a great way to ease into the new world of eBooks. I used the Kindle for PC programme for about 6 months before I took the leap and bought the actual eReader for the convenience it offers (reading a Kindle device in bed is a lot easier than taking your laptop into bed!)

For those of you interested in finding out more about the technical side of eReaders, or who want to compare the different eReaders, here are some links with more information than my technically challenged self can give you:

Back to Basics: What exactly is an eReader?

Comparing eReaders: Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Sony

Detailed Comparison of eReaders

How to Read an ebook: Formats, Devices, Dedicated Readers and iPhone Applications

Buy your Kindle or Nook from Amazon or Barnes and Noble directly, but here is an interesting site which shows different eReaders for sale Shop for eReaders.

Although it still needs petrol to work, I now drive a car that has so many bells and buttons on it, my little red Volkswagen looks archaic by comparison. As the eBook market grows and expands, I've no doubt that the future holds many exciting reading possibilities for both eBooks and eReaders.

But, for now, all you need to remember is that you don't need an eReader to read an eBook!

Remember to enter the LAUNCH COMPETITION before 30 June 2011 for the chance to win great prizes, including a full manuscript critique or an Amazon US$100 gift voucher.
Dancing in the Shadows of Love is available on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. 

Friday 17 June 2011

Going up and up... Amazon's Fiction/Visionary & Metaphysical Category.
Yesterday "Dancing in the Shadows of Love" was reflected as No 77 in this category on Amazon Kindle store. Today, thinking it would drop, because its overall ranking is low, I checked again and saw this:

The $2.99 is only for those who (like me) have to pay whispersync fees; the US launch price is  still only $0.99. 
I know this is only a very small category of the multitude of eBooks for sale on Amazon, but it does feel nice.  I'll enjoy it while I can, because tomorrow who knows where "Dancing in the Shadows of Love"will be ranked!   

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Shosholoza: Moving Fast, Moving Strong

For anyone who watched the 2010 Soccer World Cup held in South Africa last year the sight and sound of the vuvuzela became commonplace. As Bafana Bafana ran onto the field for the opening game of the tournament, the buzzzzz surrounding the vuvuzela was almost drowned out by a song, traditionally sung under times of hardship, but now the unofficial sports anthem of the New South Africa. I like to think of it as my writing anthem: when the going gets tough...sing Shosholoza for motivation!

The power of this song gave Bafana Bafana an unexpected victory, just as it pushed the underdogs South Africa to another unexpected victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Against the might and experience of the New Zealand All Blacks, Captain Francois Pienaar led his Amabokkebokke team to a thrilling victory because of two things: the wisdom of President Nelson Mandela who, to roars of approval from the emotional crowd, walked onto the field wearing the previously hated Springbok jersey, and the sound of forty-four million South Africans of all colours singing Shosholoza with all their heart and soul across the nation. This was more than a rugby game; it was a new beginning, one requiring much hard work and commitment (and a miracle or two!) in a land filled with hope for the future.

Left: Many of my childhood Sundays were spent at the mine sports fields of the Free State goldfields, supporting my Dad's team leaders as they competed in the traditional Gumboot Dance, singing Shosoloza.

And so this song of encouragement had made a momentous journey: from the train journeys of the migrant workers leaving home to work in the faraway goldfields of South Africa, to inspiring Nelson Mandela during his long years of imprisonment and, finally, to the sports fields of a new South Africa.

Shosholoza is the rhythm of a nation hard at work and you can sing along to the video performed by the Drakensberg Boys Choir below:
Shosholoza, shosholoza (Moving fast, moving strong)
Ku lezontaba (Through those mountains)
Stimela sphuma eSouth Africa (Train from South Africa)
Wenu yabaleka (You are leaving)
Wenu yabaleka (You are leaving)
Ku lezontaba (Through those mountains)
Stimela siphum' eSouth Africa (Train from South Africa)

Gumboot Dancer Image from Travelling Fiesta

Sunday 5 June 2011

A Hopeless Dream of Love?

Pilgrim Soul: In Dancing in the Shadows of Love, your character Zahra speaks of a hopeless dream of love. She says, “We are lost, and I was aware that the glimpses we have of love, a transcendental love that is sacrosanct, are reserved for the privileged few.” How do you define transcendental love?
Judy Croome: It’s an a priori human potential that exists within all of us, irrespective of our culture or religion or life circumstances. When we find within us that capacity to overcome our subjective hurts and emotions; when we can reach out a helping hand to others, across all the external barriers and differences that separate us, and all the pain and suffering of our own secret wounds, we transcend our humanity and reach our Divine potential.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, "If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." When we’re hurting or angry or betrayed, and we can still find the inner strength to tap into that a priori compassion within our soul to disarm our hostility towards others, then we have made the dream of transcendental love a reality.  Zahra, lost in her despair, does not realise that this love is available to all of us…if we choose compassion instead of hatred; peace over anger and forgiveness over revenge.
Kuan Yin, Goddess of Compassion 
by Susan Seddon Boulet (American, 1941-1997)
Pilgrim Soul: In another section of Dancing in the Shadows of Love, you write: “The secrets of life eat away at the foundations of our being and even their weight cannot keep them drowned forever.” Can secrets be transmuted into a positive experience?
Judy Croome: Absolutely. And sometimes that transmutation the complete interview by CLICKING HERE
Author Judith Mercado of "Pilgrim Soul" was born in Puerto Rico.  When she was a young girl, her family emigrated to the United States. Her parents became Pentecostal ministers and so began a peripatetic life as an author and businesswoman, White House Fellow and sea-farer living aboard a trawler cruising from Martha’s Vinesyard to South America.  Judith Mercado writes multi-cultural fiction.  
Remember to enter the LAUNCH COMPETITION before 30 June 2011 for the chance to win great prizes, including a full manuscript critique or a US$100 book voucher.