Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Challenges of Being an Author Based in South Africa by Misha Gerrick

The Internet is an amazing thing. It’s made the world so much smaller, which has made it possible for me to sit at my desk near Cape Town and publish a book in the US. Without ever leaving my office.

But it doesn’t remove all of my challenges. I’m only talking from personal perception here, so any of my SA writer friends can tell me if I’m wrong, but let me share some of my biggest issues with being a writer based in South Africa:

1) The size of South Africa’s lit market is… well… miniscule. There are reasons for this. Mainly, books are considered to be luxury items, so very few people buy books. A bestseller in South Africa probably won’t make the writer enough to live on.

2) The South African publishing industry is still largely stuck in the Stone Age. As in… bookstores only buy from subsidiaries of the Big Five and like three South African publishing houses. So. To access this small market, you have to submit to these publishing houses where… they expect you to do your own marketing and where they probably won’t distribute your book into other countries unless your book becomes a bestseller.

3) Arguably, bookstore space in South Africa is split as follows: 80% foreign books, 20% South African books. The 20% is split as follows: 70% non-fiction and coffee table books with pictures of our wild animals in them, 29% Literary works, 1% Genre works. Which… you know, doesn’t bode well if you’re a genre writer (like me) looking for a publishing deal. I should also point out that it often feels like that 1% is almost entirely taken up by this (admittedly awesome) thriller writer named Deon Meyer.

4) No one here takes genre fiction seriously. I mean, if one of the biggest publishing houses in South Africa calls genre fiction “inferior” to literary fiction in so many words…

5) I have to pay over $100 just for shipping on my books so I can send them to the National Library (or else they take my ISBN numbers back. I can’t just buy the ISBNs and be done with it.) But they KEEP ASKING ME ABOUT PRINT RUNS. I mean seriously. Print on Demand is a thing.

Just not in South Africa. Like I said. Stone Age.


Anyone been to South Africa? Anyone read books by South African authors?

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About the Book

First, do no harm.” Blake Ryan swore that oath to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals.

Things are different now. Using regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay, Ryan has led a quiet life since the Second World War. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them.

Until a plane crash brings Aleria into his hospital. Her life is vibrant. Crack to predators like him. She’s the exact sort of person they would hunt, and thanks to a severe case of amnesia, she’s all but defenseless.

Leaving Aleria vulnerable isn’t an option, but protecting her means unleashing his own inner monster. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.

About the Author

Misha Gerrick lives near Cape Town, South Africa, and can usually be found staring at her surroundings while figuring out her next book.

If you’d like to see what Misha’s up to at the moment, you can find her on these social networks:


This had to be what dying felt like. Floating outside my body, waiting for that final link to my life to be severed, only vaguely aware of indescribable pain. More screams than I could count rose up around me. Hundreds of footsteps beat against tiles. I couldn’t open my eyes if I wanted to. Not when it was easier to listen and wait. People shouted for a doctor or an IV, or a thousand other things that made no sense. I listened to all the chaos, trying to untangle it in my thoughts.

Soon, I could go. The peace around me was so relaxing, completely out of place in the clamor I heard. I wanted it. To rest forever in that peace. Why not? There was a very good reason, but I couldn’t call it to mind.

A numb buzz shot through my body and shattered my serenity.

It happened again. Only this time was more of a sharp pulse. The third time jolted like lightning. The fourth…Hell. Suddenly, the screams were coming from me. My heart’s relentless thundering added to my torment.



My chest burned like fire. It hurt to breathe. Cold air drove down my throat and into my lungs, amplifying the inferno in my chest. My skin felt scorched. It couldn’t be. It wasn’t right.

I had to see. I had to understand why pain dominated my existence like this. My eyes were fused shut. My breaths grew shallow, trying to draw air when there was none. I tried to clench my teeth. I bit hard plastic. A pipe. Cold air suddenly forced back into my lungs, out of time with my own breathing. This was wrong. It wasn’t safe. I had to see. The best I got was a little fluttering of my lashes.

A high-pitched beep shot through my head. It repeated again and again. I wanted to reach over and slam my fist into its source. My arm wouldn’t lift. Something kept it trapped. A scream rose up from the depths of my soul, but the pipe jammed inside my throat stifled the sound. I only managed a whimper, trying my best not to gag. More air blasted into my lungs against my will. What was going on? I was trapped in my own body, but why?

I needed to move. I had to move. Now. Before… Even… Even though… Panic gripped me. The beeps increased at a frenetic pace. I needed to move. To be gone. Didn’t matter where. Just not here. Not defenseless. Not trapped.

The air sucked out of my lungs. I gasped, choking on nothing, strangled by invisible fingers. I tried to convulse my body. To twist myself free of what’s holding me.


The air rushed back in a cold flood. Seconds later it left, only to return in the same amount of time.

There was a rhythm to the air. In… out... in… out… The breaths were slow—sleep-like. I concentrated on this rhythm, striving to clear my head. If I wanted out, I needed to think. Calmly. Clearly. Eventually, those irritating beeps slowed. I tried to focus past the sound.

Voices buzzed about me, adding to my need to see, to do something to protect myself. No one seemed to pay attention to me. Good. I could use that to my advantage.

I centered my every thought on moving my little finger. It finally jerked, but collided against something solid. So the thing trapping my arm was physical and too heavy for me to lift. It was better to be trapped than paralyzed. With luck I could escape my restraints. I tried my other hand, but it was cemented stuck as well. Right leg. Left leg. Damn it! Both trapped. I had to move!


No, I needed to stay calm. I tried to make larger movements, biting the pipe in my mouth against the urge to scream in pain. There was no wiggle room.

Fearing that I might be blindfolded, I focused on blinking. It worked. My eyes opened and the blur faded, revealing ceiling tiles. Why would there be tiles? Where was the canvas of hospital tents? The distant sounds of bombs dropping? The power of their explosions rushing through my blood?

No. That wasn’t right. I wasn’t there.

Where was I, then?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

Relic Tech made a Run at the Top 100 on Amazon This Weekend

The Audiobook version of Relic Tech made a run for the Top 100 for SF Adventure on Amazon this weekend.

Made it to #158, which isn't too bad.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

And So it Continues...

My mower 'died'...and it took a very long time to have the mower I preferred delivered (there's quite a story there), but the new workhorse proved to be up to the task (note the deep grass going to seed).

Saturday, May 14, 2016