The Babylon Eye is launched!

A cyber-dog, lost in the void between worlds. The woman who must find the dog to win back her  freedom. A spy’s betrayal that could kill them both.

It’s alive! The first book in my new “Linked Worlds” series, The Babylon Eye has been published and is available from Amazon.  I’ve dropped the launch price to $0.99 for the first three days 🙂  It’s the first book of a three-part series. I wrote The Babylon Eye in 2015 and have just finished writing the sequel, The Real. I plan to publish The Real in February 2017.

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The Babylon Eye is a science fiction novel set in Cape Town, South Africa, where technology from an alternate world is used to create cyber-beings and bio-mechanical hybrids. Access to the other world is through the Babylon Eye, a space-station-like town that exists in the void between the worlds.

The story follows Elke Veraart, a prisoner who used to be a member of a vigilante group that protected rhinos and other endangered animals from poachers. Before she was imprisoned, Elke was a talented trainer of gardags, cybernetically enhanced attack dogs. Elke is offered a deal. One of the most advanced gardags is missing, and presumed to be lost in the Babylon Eye. If she can find this creature, her prison sentence will be commuted and shell be win back her freedom. But Elke soon realises there are other hunters on the gardag’s trail, and they’re willing to kill to protect their secrets.

You can buy the ebook version of The Babylon Eye here.  The print edition will be published early in February 2017.

Cover Reveal: The Babylon Eye!

Everything’s ready for The Babylon Eye launch, including the final cover design. Here it is:

babylon-eye-real-book

The Babylon Eye is a science fiction novel set in an alternate version of Cape Town, South Africa, a world in which the divisions between nature and technology are blurred. The setting, the Babylon Eye, is a  town set in the portal between two worlds. The technologies of both worlds combine to create cyber-beings and bio-mechanical hybrids.

And what is the story about? Here is the description:

Meisje is no ordinary dog. She’s a gardag, a cybernetically enhanced living weapon. She’s also lost, hungry, and lonely. Elke Veraart is on Meisje’s trail. If she can find the dog she’ll win back her own freedom. If she fails she’ll be sent back to prison.

As she closes in on the gardag, Elke finds her admiration for Meisje growing. And Meisje, weak with hunger, begins to wonder if she could trust the woman who is hunting her. Then Elke discovers that there are other hunters searching for the gardag and that her orders have changed. She no longer has to find Meisje. She has to kill her.

If you’d like to be notified when The Babylon Eye is published, you can sign up for my mailing list. I only use it when I launch a book (about once a year) so you won’t be inundated with emails 🙂

The Babylon Eye Cover: discarded designs

I don’t think I’ve ever gone through so many different versions when designing a book cover! The Babylon Eye went through quite a few look and title changes.  Since I’ll soon be doing the cover reveal for this book, I thought I’d share some of the discarded designs. Keep in mind that the look of the design isn’t the only criterion, it has to convey the genre, set up reader expectations for the tone of the book and also be adaptable enough so that it’s possible to make tie in the sequel’s cover.

First attempt: at this stage the title was just Babylon Eye (no “The”) The dog is too flat and a bit clumsily drawn. Also not to sure of that title typeface!

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In the next one the dog’s pose was inspired by the Persian bull mosaics from the Ishtar gate (there’s an Ishtar gate in the story).  The main problem with this design is that it doesn’t really convey that the book is science fiction.

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Something completely different for the next one. I’m not very fond of books that show the characters on the cover myself, but it’s a popular look. But my attempt doesn’t really work. It hovers uneasily between a sort of children’s book look, and something a bit more serious. I also really don’t like the fake plasticy gold of the title.  And Meisje (the dog) looks a too goofy!

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At this stage I was spinning my wheels and trying out different titles. The ghostly author name in the top left is not intentional!

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My next idea was to focus on the main character. Yet again, a title change.  This isn’t too bad but it doesn’t feel right for this particular book. I liked the typefaces though.

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And after many more attempts, I ended up with my final design and title. Watch this space for my cover reveal 🙂

If you’d like to be notified when The Babylon Eye is published you can sign up for my mailing list. I only use it when I launch a book (about once a year) so you won’t be inundated with emails 🙂

Wolf Logic is published!

At long last,  Wolf Logic is available for sale on Amazon.  Wolf Logic  is part of the two book series that starts with Crooks & Straights. These are fantasy novels set in an alternate version of contemporary South Africa where magic is real and magical creatures live and work among the rest of us.

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For those of you who don’t have the first book yet, here is the link to Crooks & Straights.  

The Swan Drawing

This might be my final illustration for Wolf Logic.  I’ve not posted all the illustrations on here…got to save some surprises for the book itself!

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Insects and Squid: More Wolf Logic drawings

Here are some more illustrations-in-progress for my book Wolf Logic.  These really are unfinished!

This one is of a “lacefester” which is a creature that appears early in the story. Not very dangerous, but better left alone. It has the ability to create a mesmerizing hologram between its antennae, to distract potential enemies.  It’s much sought after for the powders and talismans that can be made from its dried body, so there aren’t that many of them around any more.

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Gia spends a lot of time cutting up squid in this story. So I had to draw that too, of course:

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Illustrations in progress for Wolf Logic

I’ve finished writing Wolf Logic.  (Or I hope I have, I’m still waiting for some feedback from my critique partners so we’ll see what happens then!)

In the meantime, I’ve started on the drawings for the book.  Here are some I’ve already shared, but redrawn.  Billy and Spyker:

Billy is a big guy, but very gentle, generous, and good natured. He’s not quite human, having a bit of bear in him. He loves surfing, helping his friend Spyker to create street art, and he funds this by selling illicit and stolen magical technology.  He’s not the most responsible of people, but he has a warm heart.

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Spyker is not as easy to get on with as Billy is, and I suspect Billy is his only friend.  He is an artist, creating magnificent graffiti pieces that Billy enhances with lighting and other electronic flourishes.  Spyker can climb like a gecko, and has an affinity for electricity – he can shock you with a pinch. He’s not very reliable, and cares only for himself.  But you can get on his good side by admiring his artwork.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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…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:

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

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

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No.  Not working.  Need a completely different direction.

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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 🙂 .

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

 

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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

Tea-cup Genie

More work in progress – illustrations for my book Crooks and Straights.

This is of a teacup genie.  It’s not finished yet, but nearly there.  At first I got the face all wrong.  Far too serene for this character.

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Second attempt is better, but now he looks a bit too wise:

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The teacup was fun to do:

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Not finished yet – but it’s looking a lot better now.  Struggling a bit with all the pale shades of grey.  I think his face needs a bit more work…

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