Through the windscreen from Cape Town to Durban

Some pictures taken through the windscreen en route from Cape Town to Durban, and a few from the journey back again. We took four days to get there, and three days to drive back again. Unfortunately the photos of the most beautiful part (through the Swartberge) came out all blurry so I had to leave those out.  The map of our route is right at the end.



Spyker Work in progress

Some more work on a character design – a little person who might be called “Spyker”. Not sure of that name yet.  He has an affinity with electricity, and is a thief, as well as a graffiti artist.



The speckles on his skin might change – I’m not sure if he has patterns, or pimples 🙂

In which I meet Three Thieves

Sometimes, when I get a bit stuck with my writing, it helps to draw the characters.  These are for my current work in progress, which is the sequel to Crooks and Straights.  I knew one of my characters had to have an unexpected meeting late at night, but I didn’t know who he would run into.  So I started drawing, and these three guys emerged:



I don’t know their names yet – Brendon says the big guy is called “Billy Bong”.  All I know is that they are thieves, that the big one is calm and even tempered, the little one is suspicious and has a nasty temper, and the creature is the sensible one of the group.

What’s in the Bowl

Once a week, I volunteer at the Two Oceans Aquarium, at the microscope display. It’s always a bit of a surprise what you’ll find in the bowls.  This one contains, among other creatures 

  • Anemone (not sure what kind,  the thing like a golden chrysanthemum in the middle there)
  • A Pycnogonida, or scarlet sea spider with egg pouches (see him just above the anemone)
  • A Red chested sea cucumber (little dude on the left that looks like a chilli with a moustache)
  • Golden sea cucumber, (peachy thingimajig bottom left)
  • Feather star (bristly person upper right)
  • Several barnacles
  • Nudibranch (not really visible against the left edge)
  • Billions of brine shrimp all over the place


Interlude with skink


Found this tiny fellow on my writing desk just now.  He was quite unafraid of me.


He was also not at all keen to go outside.  Snapped at me, even!  Brave little chap.


What’s in the Bowl?

Did my stint operating the Two Ocean’s aquarium microscope today. It’s always a bit of a surprise what you’ll find in the bowls.  This one contains, among other creatures

– Anemone (not sure what kind,  the thing like a golden chrysanthemum in the middle there)
– A Pycnogonida, or scarlet sea spider with egg pouches (see him just above the anemone)
– A Red chested sea cucumber (little dude on the left that looks like a chilli with a moustache)
– Golden sea cucumber, (peachy thingimajig bottom left)
–  Feather star (bristly person upper right)
–  Several barnacles
–  Nudibranch (not really visible against the left edge)
–Billions of brine shrimp all over the place

And that’s just one of the bowls!

Crooks and Straights is published!

At long last, after months of writing, rewriting, editing, illustrating, proofreading and formatting, the book exists and is for sale.  At the moment, as an e-book on Amazon, but soon there’ll be a print version as well.


Book Description:

Gia’s brother Nico is different from other boys. And being different can be dangerous in Gia’s world. Cape Town is no longer the haven for magical refugees that it once was. The Purists want to get rid of all magic and the newspapers are full of dreadful stories about the Belle Gente, the magical terrorists.

None of this concerns Gia, until the Special Branch— police who investigate the illegal use of magic—come knocking at her door, looking for Nico.  When Gia turns to her parents for help, she finds only more secrets. Then she realises that she was the one who put her brother in danger.

Available from:

Online sample:

You can read the first chapter here: Crooks and Straights sample page

Cover Reveal for Crooks and Straights!

 The book is finished.  All I have to do is format it and insert the illustrations.  And then…publish!  (If you want to be notified when this book is launched, please join my new release mailing list.  The ebook will be released first, and the print version some time later.)

Here is the cover – which took me simply ages to get right.


Just to give an idea, here is just a small sample of the contortions I went through to arrive at this design 🙂  First, a very “Deon Meyer” looking cover with a image of the neighbourhood that the book is set in.


Then a starry one that looks far too much like a children’s story. Or maybe not.  What on earth does this look like?


Then, a much more dreamy one featuring the full moon, which is an important symbol in this story. Also – I found the right typeface.


…but the moon is not as important as other things!  Must have a  captured swan, and drops of blood!  Things start falling apart a bit here:


Nope, that didn’t work, although I like the blue, red and white.  Maybe a combination of the swan, and Deon Meyer?


People said they could not figure out that it IS a swan.  Maybe if I zoom in on the thing, it will be better?


No.  Not working.  Need a completely different direction.


And after much fiddling, and combining with this image below, I arrived at the final cover, which is the one you see right at the top of this post 🙂 .

And that’s that!  Such a relief to have it all done.

Cold Water Afternoon

This is where I spent my afternoon yesterday, up to my elbows in icy water,  looking after the touch pool at the Two Oceans aquarium.  Encouraging children and adults to interact with the various creatures.  Mostly anemones and starfish 🙂

The colours in the photo didn’t really come out so nicely but those anemones are stunning.  Like living chrysanthemums.  They are greedy too!

Two Oceans Kelp Forest

I tried — and failed — to get a good photo of the Kelp Forest display,  my absolute, all time favourite tank at the Two Oceans.  Every time I see it, it grabs all of my attention.  It’s like one of those Japanese paintings come to life.

The kelp sways slowly from side to side,  the sunlight shines through the dim water, and every now and then a particularly large fish looms out from between the kelp leaves to give you a cynical mother-in-law sort of look.

Pretty Covers

I just got these proof copies of my “Sisters” series –  the new matte covers look really good.  I liked the glossy covers too, but I think these are better.  The illustrations inside came out nicely too.

You can get these from Amazon,  but if you buy them from The Book Depository then you get free international shipping.


Digital Strange

I do my illustrations on Photoshop – often in many layers.  This can create some strange effects.  Here I switched on all the layers of multiple illustration projects in one Photoshop file, so that multiple drawings are superimposed over one another.  Quite evocative 🙂


Two more creatures from Crooks and Straights

Two more creature-portraits from Crooks and Straights.

This is a haarskeerder – a kind of fae.  They are winged, and live in communal nests very similar to the way wasps do.  They line their homes with anything soft – including human hair (hence their name) and they like collecting small glittering objects.  They can be dangerous, as they have the ability to hypnotise any human that threatens their nest.


This is Paddavis, a household spirit similar to a brownie or a niss.  He is originally from Ireland, but has lived in South Africa for many years now.  He still gets sunburnt though!  Not the most reliable creature, he likes stealing food out of cupboards and leaving mouse droppings behind to cast the blame of his thefts elsewhere.



Rock Doll

A drawing that emerged as a result of my testing some Photoshop techniques.


Character drawings: Nico and Brakman

More illustrations in progress for “Crooks and Straights”
This is Nico, my main character’s younger brother.  The book is pretty much about her attempts to protect him from danger.



This is Brakman, a poor old man who used to be a werewolf.  Now he makes his living as a IT guy and does a bit of hacking on the side, if anyone is willing to pay him.brakman_progress

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