Tag Archives: Writing

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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Timely Message from the Writing Stratosphere

Wintry warmth soothes my bones, spreading Sunday laziness through my body. Indistinct doggie sounds decorate the background. A yap here, gallop there, punctuated by noisy chewing, which I’m determinedly ignoring. I mean, really, how much damage can they do out here? The first whiffs of Spring float her pending arrival on the still air. O The Oprah Magazine is pleasant company, serving up some inspiring women’s stories and stunning images. What’s this? The sparkle of our nearby pool reflects sweetly off the page.

INSPIRING ARTICLE – O, The Oprah Magazine South Africa


VIEW FROM OUR BEDROOM DOOR

Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat Pray Love shares some timely insight. ‘Nearly all the women I know,’ she writes, ‘are stressing themselves sick over the pathological fear that they simply aren’t doing enough with their lives.’ Despite the fact that each and every one is doing ‘a lot’. Doesn’t that ring a clanging bell? It does for me 🙂 Elizabeth confides something enlightening: after writing 5 books, never mind the millions of copies sold and the movie just launched, she worries that she hasn’t written the right kinds of books, or that she’s maybe dedicated too much of her life to writing, thereby neglecting other aspects of her being. She asks: ‘Can we all lighten up a little bit?’

Brilliant point, corroborated by my primary muse, our gorgeous Jina. She’s a staunch believer that when all else fails, and even when it doesn’t, the best thing to do is RELAX!


JINA AS A KITTEN SNOOZING ON JOE’S PAWS

And when you’re done with relaxing, PLAY!


JINA AS A KITTEN: ‘Please can we play?’

Uh-oh, hysterical barking. A silver-grey streak catches the corner of my eye. Okay, so even Jina falls short sometimes. Composure be damned, I rush to her rescue. Guess all we can manage is our best in each moment. Or for a fresh change, a little less than our best!
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Outlook

Outlook is unique.

VIEW FROM THE DECK – Welgevonden Game Reserve, South Africa

Ah, the lure of a warm wooden deck, with a view of infinity! Squinting into the morning sunlight, I let it’s rays lick my throat. Vampires flirt with my mind. In particular, Edward Cullen. It’s all Sam’s fault. She’s the one who got me infected. Right here in this vivid piece of heaven. So I skip an early game drive – only one – to luxuriate in bed with my electric blanket. The bushveld runs on African time, which means there’s plenty to treasure.

I struggle a little to get into Twilight. There’s a challenge in diverting attention from nature. Birds twitter their greetings, while the scent of thatch cosies around me. It’s not compulsory, of course, but I’m curious about these books, being a novelist. What is it that makes them wing off the shelves? Can’t say I’m much the wiser by the ‘blood-slurping’ end, but it’s been entertaining. Thanks Sammy. I’ll read the next one, for interest’s sake. One thing I know anew, though, is that my novels will remain tailored to my own unique outlook. That’s just the way it is 🙂

Quotes to consider:

“Life… It tends to respond to our outlook, to shape itself to meet our expectations.” – Richard M. DeVos

“It is in literature that the concrete outlook of humanity receives its expression.” – Alfred North Whitehead

“Love…doesn’t allow any room for pettiness or narrow outlook.” – Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Here’s a pic of the culprit, just for the record:

LODGE BEDROOM – Welgevonden Game Reserve, South Africa
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Captivating Katberg

Every now and then a surprise discovery crops up. Like Katberg did for us. More specifically, the Katberg Hotel and Eco Golf Estate nestled in the Katberg mountains in the Eastern Cape. This is another of the delightful destinations we’ve come across on Dave’s motorbiking trail. It was the venue for the last national enduro event, which he participated in.

Unfortunately, due to mechanical problems, Dave didn’t finish, but we certainly made the most of the trip. The scenery was absolutely stunning, similar to the nearby Hogsback area, which is rumoured to have inspired JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (in particular the fictional forest “Mirkwood”), since he holidayed there during his childhood.

Here are a few photo’s to give you an idea of the surroundings:

KATBERG ECO GOLF ESTATE – Eastern Cape, South Africa


KATBERG ECO GOLF ESTATE – Eastern Cape, South Africa

An ostrich on the golf course 🙂

Just to confirm there was a race going on, here’s a shot of the pits in the morning, as well as Dave and the guys lining up for the start:

From Katberg, we traveled through the old Transkei, now part of the Eastern Cape, en route to an extreme enduro event on the Kwazulu Natal South Coast. More about that later, but here’s a shot of the sunset just South of Mthatha (Umtata), which is too spectacular not to share:


EASTERN CAPE SUNSET, Old Transkei, South Africa

For more photo’s from the trip, you’re welcome to take a look at my Facebook album: Kei National Enduro – July 2010.
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