Tag Archives: Out of Air

Marriage & Romance

How wonderful to watch some of the Royal Wedding yesterday, so many years after Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s. Teenagers then, we crowded into our school hall for most of that day, savouring the moment, not to mention the opportunity to skip classes. Even in South Africa, we felt strangely included, similarly to yesterday.

Thanks to the massive scale world media of course, but perhaps also in part because of our British ancestry. At least, that would figure according to Malcolm Gladwell’s fascinating book, Outliers. As for the present, though, Prince William looked dashing, what a beautiful bride Catherine Middleton made . . . and what a gorgeous dress Sarah Burton (for Alexander McQueen) made. I whole-heartedly endorse the fashionistas’ praise 🙂

On the subject of weddings, we recently attended one in Botriver, near Cape Town. I mentioned our pending trip in a previous post, promising some photo’s, but to be honest I took pitifully few – feeling rather too social. Instead, I’d like to share a link to the official photographer’s beautiful blog, which showcases a stunning celebration: Tasha Seccombe Photography. There are four posts altogether, if you feel like a leisurely browse.

It took place on a wine farm in the wildest wind, lending a wintry, Highlands feel. Being partly Scottish, I loved the bagpipes, along with the kilt worn by Warren (the groom) – and the bride, Jen, was simply lovely. Apart from plenty of traditional delights, technology played a role too. Jen’s parents were in England, unable to travel for health reasons, so they shared the experience via Skype. Isn’t that cool?

Our sincerest wishes go to both couples for a magic married life, filled with romance. Being a chik-lit/romance novelist, that’s significant to me 😀 While in Cape Town, I did take the following pic of Foresters Arms (“Forries” to the locals) because this restaurant and pub features in my first novel, Out of Air, and I wanted a photo for the book’s website. We had a fabulous Friday lunch there, finding it as vibrant today as in 1994, when the story is set:


FORESTERS ARMS restaurant & pub – Cape Town, South Africa

So if you happen to take a trip to the Mother City – and fancy a British feel – put it on your list of places to eat . . . drink . . . and be merry! Continue reading

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Saving a Turtle

Another big thank you to Hills of Africa Travel – for being simply the best! Today, they’ve featured the second part of their interview about my novel (chick-lit/romance) on their blog: Out of Air: A Story of Sheer Inspiration – Part II.

In case you’re wondering about the book’s title, a fellow writer and student on my first novel-writing course, Leilani Basson, suggested it during a brainstorming session. This followed a discussion about the inspiration, which includes scuba diving. Dave is a long-time instructor, and introduced me to it almost twenty years ago.

We shared an amazing experience once, when he saved a giant leatherback turtle from running out of air. It was held fast to the sea bed by three fishing lines, attached to triple-hooks in its mouth. Wedging his diving knife handle into the huge beak, Dave gradually worked the hooks out, freeing the turtle to come up for air. Through it all (15 – 20 minutes), it seemed to relax into a kind of trance, as if realizing he was there to help.

This is one of my most special underwater memories, contributing to certain key scenes in Out of Air, as well as the title. Metaphorically, it relates to Gina’s breathless state of being as she strives to navigate the storms of her search for true love.

I don’t have a photo of the leatherback, but here’s a loggerhead sea turtle instead:


EYE TO EYE WITH A TURTLE – Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Mozambique


LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE WITH SCUBA DIVERS – Mozambique

My sincere thanks to Leilani, and especially Dave. Without him, Out of Air would not exist – for countless reasons.

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Gift of Love

Just a quick note to say HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, everyone!

Here’s a pic of Dave’s gift. I Hope you’re being treated too 😀


VALENTINE GIFT – OV&P Studio (www.ovpstudio.com)

Also, a HUGE CYBER HUG to our fabulous friends at Hills of Africa Travel, for featuring an interview today about my novel: Out of Air: A Story of Sheer Inspiration . . . MWAH! Continue reading

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A Novel Valentine

Sincere thanks to the stunning team at Hills of Africa Travel in the USA, for requesting an interview about my novel for their blog. This has been the catalyst for creating the website www.outofair.com – artwork by my gifted stepson:


OUT OF AIR website – Home page screen shot

The article will take the form of a two-post series, the first on Monday 14 February, which is Valentine’s Day. That also happens to be the day the story begins. If you’re not familiar with it, take a look at Chapter 1 to discover Gina’s Valentine surprise – not what she had in mind for her romantic dinner à deux!

Hills of Africa Travel are also the reason behind the penguin pictures on the website, because it was while documenting their magic Soul Safari 2009 that we visited Boulders Beach in Cape Town. Here’s a snippet of video we created from the encounter. If you watch closely, you will spot the camera in Dave’s hands 🙂
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Lost in Light

I wonder if I’ll ever cease to be amazed by the power of meditation. Reading Eckhart Tolle’s Stillness Speaks – another transformational book of his – has drawn me deeper into the practice, with joyful results! The complete concept for my next novel Lost in Light and sequel to Out of Air (see My Books) has arrived in technicolour. You know how it goes: weeks, months, years of living occasionally converge into a point of perfect clarity.

If you’re interested in the storyline, please click on that last link. In the meantime, the following image, poem and quotes encapsulate its heartbeat:

BROWN SNAKE EAGLE in flight

LOST IN LIGHT

Embraced by love
beyond her dreams,
a formless fear
arises inside

What if it all
vanished tomorrow,
never to return her
into the light?

Yet love’s power
beckons her deeper
towards the heart
of the sun

Where she feels the fear
but has to follow,
in order to learn
that there is no loss

Only change –
and pain is caused by
the simple illusion
of holding on

Acceptance
is the answer
to receiving the gift
of grace.

©Naomi Estment

“Throughout history, there have been women and men who, in the face of great loss, illness, imprisonment, or impending death, accepted the seemingly unacceptable and thus found “the peace that passeth all understanding'”.” – Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

“Acceptance of the unacceptable is the greatest source of grace in this world.” – Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

My thanks again to Amanda Patterson of The Write Co., whose two novel-writing courses I’ve completed in the past. They continue to teach me, profoundly, along with the downloads from the phenomenal Writers Telesummit and Your Creative Career Telesummit. One of the things I’ve learnt regarding the nature of chick lit (my natural genre, mixed with romance) are the three primary themes – betrayal, revenge and loss.

If you’re familiar with Out of Air, you’ll know it involves some juicy betrayal. Dust on Fire gets down and dirty with revenge, while Lost in Light explores loss. Nevertheless, being chick lit, they’re all a light read 🙂 Nothing like variety to spice up the challenge of keeping pen to paper, and consistent meditation to keep it real. In line with that thought, here’s a final quote from Stillness Speaks:

“Artistic creation, sports, dance, teaching, counseling – mastery in any field of endeavor implies that the thinking mind is either no longer involved at all or at least taking second place. A power and intelligence greater than you and yet one with you in essence takes over. There is no decision-making process anymore; spontaneous right action happens, and “you” are not doing it. Mastery of life is the opposite of control. You become aligned with the greater consciousness. It acts, speaks, does the works.” – Eckhart Tolle

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Global Day of Action – “Hands Across The Sand”

Here’s something special that SANCCOB are doing in Cape Town today: participating in the global Hands Across The Sand initiative.

This morning, people who care are joining hands across the sand at Blouberg Beach, wearing green and bearing placards that say “Yes” to clean energy, while doing their bit in a bid to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Rocky, SANCCOB’s endearing ambassador penguin, will be there as a living reminder of the threat of ocean-related pollution to sea birds. African Penguins have recently been reclassified as ENDANGERED, as per the IUCN Data List, with oil pollution rating as a key contributing factor in their declining numbers. Their plight features in my first novel, OUT OF AIR (see My Books).

Here are two pics of these engaging birds, which Dave took last year at Boulders Beach:


AFRICAN PENGUIN – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa Continue reading

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Breathe!

One of the most precious gifts of yoga is the mindfulness of breath, and its deep flow into and out of the body. This is not only incredibly relaxing, but cleansing and energizing as well. Above all, it helps to bring your awareness into the present moment. The crazy thing is that I’ve been isolating the experience to the actual classes, without practising it in the rest of my life. When in fact, each and every moment we are free to breathe however we choose!

Apparently us women especially have a tendency to breathe shallowly, something I certainly do, as I’ve discovered while scuba diving. So much so that I often unconsciously skip-breathe underwater. While this can increase dive-time considerably, it leads to a splitting headache on surfacing, which is attributable to raised carbon-dioxide levels. This brings my novel, OUT OF AIR, to mind. As the title suggests, it explores the topic, in a literal and metaphorical way (see My Books page). Of course, we all know that oxygen is important for optimal brain function – all the more reason to breathe better, in order to write better 🙂

Here’s a photo that Dave took of me at Ponta Do Ouro, to help illustrate the scene:

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