Shifting Perspectives: Orion is Upside Down!

What do you see when you look up at the stars?

A chance remark I made the other day in response to Frank Prem’s illustrated poem, Southern Stars for Christmas, raised a question or two about what we see in our night sky, depending upon where we are in the world. If you follow the link you’ll see the thread, and as a special bonus, you’ll get to read Frank’s poem and see his southern star pics.

We can all see some of the same stars

If you live in the northern hemisphere, you can see all of the constellations in the northern part of the sky and some of what is visible from the southern hemisphere. As you travel downward towards the equator, you’ll be able to see more of the sky from the southern hemisphere’s perspective, while also losing more of what you’d normally see in the northern hemisphere. And vice versa, of course.

There are some stars that you can only see from one hemisphere, which is why if you’re in the North, you’re so familiar with the Polaris (the North Star) and conversely, if you’re in the South, you know the Southern Cross.

But some constellations, like Orion, look different!

Coming originally from the northern hemisphere, I’d say Orion is upside down here in the South, but maybe it’s the other way around. I guess it depends on what you’re used to. Either way, you can still make a huntsman out of the two-dimensional pattern of distant stars, which form the constellation.

A new night sky can be a little disorienting

I remember, not long after first moving to South Africa, getting up in the middle of the night and looking up at this strange, unfamiliar sky. It was a clear night and here was very little light pollution compared to what I was used to back in the well-lit city of Liverpool. The huge velvet sky, pin-pricked  with the brightest, densest stars I’d ever seen, was magical. And in that part-way point of being half asleep and properly awake, when all around me was silence, I thought for a moment that I’d been transported to a completely different planet.

We’re all looking at the same moon…

…but we might not be seeing the same part of her.
Click here for the ‘sciency’ bit.

In the northern hemisphere you have the famous Man in the Moon. But for me, here in the South, one of the loveliest sights is of the African moon lying on her back. I think of Karen Blixen’s words every time I see our beautiful moon reclining languidly in our night-time sky.

The African moon has influenced my writing. Just last week, when I wrote Home for the Holidays in response to Sadje‘s What Do You See? prompt, our lovely moon popped up in the second verse. She also puts in an appearance in Trance, one of the lyrical pieces from my San Man series written earlier this year. Moving hemispheres, countries and cultures has had an increasing impact on my writing journey and now, ten years on, the British author has become a South African one, and my soon-to-be-released novel, rather then being set in England, is set in my adopted country.

Frank suggested I post some pictures of my African sky at night. Unfortunately there’s been a lot of high cloud about in the past week, but if I eventually get some good ones, I’ll post them to my Instagram feed on the sidebar.

What do you see when you look up at the stars?

I’d like to read your book!

Looking for books

As I’m sure most of you know, I really love to read.

Almost as much as I love to write!

I have my nose in a book or, more usually, my Kindle whenever I can, and knowing how important it is to other writers, I post a short review of whatever I’ve read.

If you’re curious about the books I read this year, here’s my Goodreads ‘Year in Books’.

Now I’m ready to load up my Kindle for 2020, and I need to do this within the next three months, since that is the length of my super-duper deal on Kindle Unlimited.

So, fellow writers, add your Kindle Unlimited book links below,
or recommend someone else’s.

2019 on Goodreads

 

Black Friday Blues

Black Friday Blues by Chris Hall lunasonline

This weekend wasn’t the best time to try an ebook giveaway. I really should have known though, because if I’d checked on what happened this time last year, I wouldn’t have bothered.

So what happened? I hear you ask. Especially after the (northern hemisphere) summer giveaway of The Silver Locket did so well: 292 copies downloaded and up to #7 in the genre hit parade (albeit briefly).

Oh, but how quickly I’d forgotten the November 2018 debacle. A five day giveaway of the same book had resulted in just 20 copies downloaded. Now this year, buoyed up after the happy surprise of last August, disappointment reigned supreme again.

I was all over LinkedIn and more than a little bit on Twitter. I pitched in on Instagram and posted all over my personal Facebook page. Loyal friends locally liked and shared: one more download!

Of course it didn’t help that the Facebook Elves took 6 hours to approve my US ad. Maybe they were busy approving the million other ads (or were they busy giggling naughtily over the slightly racy start to chapter ten?). Or, when I tweaked the UK audience demographic yesterday morning, the edit was still under review 10 hours later, well past the Great British tea-time.

Two days of ‘bigging it up’ and busily checking the KDP reports. All for just 17 bites. Couldn’t I even give these away???

No! No, because everyone’s in a Massmart store filling their shopping carts with improbably-sized flat screen TVs, so huge that they totter precariously over the edge of the super-sized luminous pink trolleys they wheel, dodging and weaving through the slippery-floored over-peopled mall. (Or so my friend Jonathan told me. You don’t think I ventured out that day? Are you mad?).

Still, after a tiny flurry of downloads in Canada, You’ll Never Walk Alone peaked at a heady #47 in Romance Action and Adventure.

All wasn’t lost anyway. I have three free books from other indie authors to read on my Kindle.

Just remind me next year to concentrate on the last few days of NaNoWriMo and give the Black Friday thing a miss.

After all, wouldn’t we all rather be writing?

 

Feel Free to Use this Badge

Hands off our content, Tygpress!

This, That, and The Other

With all of the unauthorized harvesting of our posts that is going on at tygpress.com and seemingly not much that can be done to stop it, I created this badge that I will attach to all of my blog posts going forward.EDC343BA-4E67-4F78-BDFB-02FE6D5C0A26Please feel free to grab this image and post it on your blog. By doing so, this image should show up on your posts that have been stolen by tygpress.

You’re welcome.

View original post

Just sayin’

000Make an author's day by JI Rogers

Some really helpful advice from author, J I Rogers.

If you were wondering how to jump aboard the ‘author’s helping authors’ band wagon, this makes it so easy!

You can see from the side panel that I regularly read and review books on Goodreads. I also post the review to Amazon for the books I’ve downloaded and read by indie authors. I know how important it is.

So, all of you ‘indies’ out there, time to help each other out. Share the message and post your book links!

And to all you gallant readers: let’s have your reviews! Pretty please?

 

Going up country!

big elephant3
‘Big Elephant’ ©Cliff Davies 2008

This afternoon we’re packing our bags and heading off up country for a few days. This is the kind of thing we’re hoping to see, so maybe there will be animal adventure stories next week. After all, this is Africa!

In the meantime, be warned. A deluge of chapters from my work-in-progress novel for younger readers is scheduled. I hope you have the opportunity to dip in.

Where Writers Get Stuck: Marketing

This article gave me a little prod of encouragement when it comes to marketing. I’m clearly not putting enough energy into my efforts and I need to re-double this for my forthcoming novel ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

A Writer's Path

by Allison Maruska

Now it’s time for the super secret post you’ve all been waiting for. Remember this Twitter poll?

View original post 893 more words

A Basic Guide to Twitter Pitch Parties

I know a couple of folk who are up for #PitMad tomorrow – good luck to you guys!
Here’s some useful advice should anyone be considering entering a future contest, plus a bit about the etiquette on how to respond to people’s pitches on Twitter.

Jo Conklin

If you’re a writer on Twitter, every now and then your feed is going to blow up with book blurbs for a day. If you’re wondering what the heck is going on, the answer is…a pitch party. This is an event where writers share a one-tweet length description of a completed book, in hopes of attracting an agent or publisher.

I’m not pitching..what do I do!?

It may sound counter-intuitive, but DO NOT LIKE PITCH PARTY POSTS. Agents and industry professionals use the like button to indicate interest in a pitch. YOU, as a friend, should show your support with comments and retweets ONLY. Re-tweeting raises the post’s visibility, and it becomes more likely to catch an agent’s eye. It’s also a great way to make new friends and build your following.

I want to pitch!  What do I need to get ready?

Remember, a pitch party is a way to…

View original post 765 more words