Monday 27 February 2012

My Dad (31-10-1928 to 26-02-2012)

Isaac Benjamin Heinemann ca 1960 in baseball uniform
The  Midland Braves, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
Hero Worship (Stroke #11)     

How hard it is to remember what was
When I a small child and you a grown-up hero:
Daily reality has me grasping at straws
Of old images I stoop and pick up.

The cheering of a scattered crowd
Rising to their feet at the hard-hitting sound:
You struck the ball right to the moon
With bases loaded and two runs to win.

There you were, on the next day, boldly splashed
Across the front page of the Bulawayo Chronicle:
High above the ground, flying into home base,
White uniform unsoiled and a pompadour of debonair dark hair.

Somewhere in the years gone past
I’ve lost both you and that crackling paper icon:
All I have left is a sad Doppelgรคnger,
A grey-haired child who reminds me of you.

My Dad & I.
Will I Remember? (Stroke #20)       

Will I remember, when you have gone,
Entirely gone away,
The shape of your hands
With their strong blunt fingers?
Your gold wedding band scratched and worn
On the same hand that has a shortened forefinger,
The tip sliced off when, long before I was born,
You swerved to avoid  — A cow? A child? —
And your motorbike went one way and you another.
The colour of your eyes is already faded,
Except when you wear
Your favourite blue-checked shirt from Woolworths:
Then they are the movie-star eyes of my youth.
I’m used to your thin grey hair,
Instead of your shiny black kuif,
And your nose — Ouma’s nose! My nose! —
Has never changed.
You’ve shrunk.
Now I must bend down to kiss you,
Where once you threw me high in the air,
And I knew you were a god come down to earth,
More handsome than any father has a right to be.
When I weep for all I have lost already:
Your sage advice, your mischief,
The safety of your strength,
I ask myself:
When you have gone, entirely gone away
Into the silence of the great beyond,
Will I remember even this?
Kuif  = Greased back fringe; an Elvis Presley pompadour hairstyle
Ouma  = Grandmother

Finis (Stroke #25)

Cold numbers that mean the end.
How peaceful you look there,
At rest in the light of the full moon.
Safe and free and calm.
Your face once again the face of Love.

My beloved father died yesterday at 13h35
after a long illness, bravely borne. 
Kind, strong and; loving, he was a gentle giant of a man. 
We love you, Dad, and thank you for the gift of your life.

Please note: as part of mourning my Dad,  
I will be off all social media sites until April 2012. 
Any social media commitments made prior 
to my Dad's passing will be met.
If you wish to contact me urgently, 
please  email me via the "contact me" page.

Friday 17 February 2012

Good Writing News

I've just learned from The Literary Lab's latest blog post  that my short story The Gold Miner has placed second in the competition and will be included in the VARIATIONS ON A THEME anthology to be published by The Literary Lab in March 2012.

I won $100! Good heavens. That's the most amount of money my writing's ever earned...just multiply it by 8. Yikes. That's R800!! :):)

Firstly, congratulations to Yat Yee Chong, who placed with a story called Three Weddings! And also to all the other writers in the anthology - I can see from some of those names we have a wonderful treat in store when the anthology comes out!! I can't wait to read all the stories when the anthology comes out. You'll find a list of what excellent stories to expect from this third anthology from The Literary Lab here

And last, but not least, a great big thanks to Domey, Michelle, Scott (and not forgetting behind-the-scenes Becca!) from THE LITERARY LAB for all their hard work and dedication in compiling these anthologies.

You can buy the previous anthologies here:

Friday 10 February 2012

Special Offers on Books, Books and More Books

Below is a special offer by Modjaji Books, a Cape Town based independent publisher that is doing fantastic things for women in Southern Africa. Please help if you can.

Modjaji Books plans to be at the Cape Town Book Fair 2012 for all sorts of good reasons. So please help us generate the cash we need to pay for the exhibition stand. Take up one of these special offers - you win and so do we! Please share on your pages too - that would be hugely appreciated. I know I can count on your support and you won't be sorry.

We have fabulous new books coming out over the next few months:

Swimming with Cobras by Rosemary Smith* - memoir - Black Sash R195 (due out in Feb)

Bare and Breaking by Karin Schimke -* debut collection of poems R145 (due out in Feb)

Got No Secrets by Danila Botha - short stories by young SA/Canadian writer R145 (due out in early March)

 Absent Tongues by Kelwyn Sole's - a collection of poems, his 7th (a Hands-On Book) R145 (due out in Feb)

Eloquent Body by Dawn Garisch***- a memoir R190 combining a life of science and a life of creativity (due out in March)

Looking for Trouble by Colleen Higgs *short stories set in Yeoville (1980s and early 90s)* * (A Hands-On Book) R145 (due out in March)

*(South African)* African First names Dictionary by Phumzile Simelane* with a chapter on naming practices R195 (due out in April)

The prices next to the books are the prices that you will pay in the stores. All of these are fabulous books and we are offering you 4 of them for R600 or 6 of them for R800. The special offer is on for a week - it ends on Friday 17th February. If you have already bought and paid for any of the above titles in a previous offer, you can choose 2 of the above titles instead or any other Modjaji title.

Or you can choose a single title and you can have 10% off the price. All the special offers include postage in South Africa.

Inbox or email Colleen Higgs at  for payment details and with your address.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Meeting Ann Summerville

Ann Summerville
Today my guest is author Ann Summerville. Ann wrote her first short story before her age reached double digits. Born in England, she moved to California in search of a warmer climate, before settling in Texas (one of my favourite states in the USA!) A multi-pubbed author, Ann is a member of Cowtown Crimesolvers, the Fort Worth Chapter of Sisters in Crime. and currently lives in Fort Worth, near her daughter and son-in-law, with her son, two boisterous dogs and a somewhat elusive cat.

Welcome to my blog, Ann! I'm looking forward to hearing more about you and I'm so happy to have written a guest post FIVE STEPS TO WRITING A NOVEL for your blog today.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Spending time with my family, which continues to grow. My daughter is expecting twins in April.

In one sentence, how would you describe your book to someone who knows nothing about it?

The Berton Hotel delves into the mystery of a woman, who disappeared in the 1930s from a prominent Texas hotel, and her great-granddaughter’s quest to find out what happened to her.

What are your strengths as a writer?

The one comment I have consistently heard from readers is that they have a feel for where the story takes place and are immersed quickly into the location and the story.

Even more than writing the dreaded synopsis, I hate outlining. Do you outline your books?

I start writing a chapter or two. I step back and take a look at where the story is going and then write an outline. I find it helps when I need to change something in the story or add a character.

Czechoslovakian author Milan Kundera, when interviewed by Lois Oppenheim, said, “I understood one very simple thing: an author, once quoted by a journalist, is no longer master of his word." At what point do you think a story no longer belongs to the author?

Once you have an agent and/or editor your story is no longer yours. That’s why I prefer to self-publish. I have many author friends whose books were changed so much by their agent/editor that they “lost” characters and ended up in an entirely different genre.

Thank you, Judy for inviting me to your blog today. I love that with blogging you can meet up with friends on different continents.

Ann, I agree with you that one of the many joys of blogging is that you can make new friends all over the world. Talk about a global village!  And good luck to your daughter in April with her expected twins. You'll have a double dose of joy! 
You can connect with Ann on her website or her blog or on Twitter @cozyintexas. 

The Berton Hotel is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Other e-reader formats are on