Sleepless in Pretoria

Tomorrow, term 2 starts.

A term I’m a bit apprehensive about.  It’s an enormously long term (12 weeks).  A lot has to happen – studio concert, ceilidhs, exam entries, that’s just on the studio side.  The agenda for P’kaboo is equally packed if more exploratory and not quite as crisply defined.  So I’m sitting here unable to go to sleep though I should (early start tomorrow).  Looking at the overhauled P’kaboo Bookshop page and wondering if it is at all accessible on mobile or if it breaks.  Looking at that lovely review Nikki Mason wrote for “The Morrigan”, wondering if I ought to post it to the P’kaboo Blog (of course I must).  Looking at what Smashwords is doing and how the books are performing, and knowing I need to move to a publisher account so I can give those benefits to all our books.  Looking at my cats and wondering if I can trust them to be good tonight.  They have been naughty a lot, lately.  I don’t understand why.  And then there is the homeschooling syllabus I must finally at least try to put together…  We’ve got 5 subjects already:  English & Math, both with the formal state syllabus books; art (as taught by Oldest, who took it as her main course in high school, to Wildest One), music (of course), and now, zoology.  No, I do mean, zoology.  My homeschooling has mostly been modular.  It works well.

I have to go sleep.  In the interim, pls have fun clicking around in my newly upgraded P’kaboo Bookshop.

Screenshot (100)

Or go preview “Nix Romipen”, the 6th in the Solar Wind series (and the bridging sequel to the Shooting Star series).

Nix Romipen

nixromipen-front2Romania. A place of harsh contrasts; dangerous and beautiful wilderness; a silent invisible people. This is where Federi was born; and this is where he takes Paean in their breakaway from the Solar Wind, their bid for freedom. But Federi is hunting big game now, unravelling the curse of Falco. And something is watching from space…

(The cover is temporary; I don’t have the final cover yet.  The release for this book is scheduled for 1 November this year, it can be preordered or previewed on Smashwords who make these options very accessible.)



“Well, Sally’s gone, but I’m still here…”

Just an update:  The promo at Smashwords has come to an end.

But do not fear.  My experiment with x free downloads of Solar Wind 1 is still going, so you can still grab a copy of “The Mystery..”, and “The Assassin” (the second book) is still priced at the experimental “Reader sets price”.  So you can, if you feel like it, set the price at $0.

This “Reader sets price” is a puzzler, because it leaves the reader to guess how much $ equivalent of enjoyment they will get out of a book.  It would make more sense to have them first read the book and then decide what it was worth to them.  This is why I have it on the second of the series.

Regardless, enjoy!  And the next post is going to be a normal blog post again.  Promise.

Click here to pop over to Smashwords, to find the series.




The future of paper books

Ebook sales down, says Nielsen Research.


Remember that discussion (mostly that worried discussion) about the future of paper books?  Remember predictions how ebooks would “never quite” replace paper books because there would still always be some crazy collectors around?

Well, it seems that worldwide, the crazy collectors are in the 75% majority.

Ebook sales soared exponentially these past few years, but for the first time now they have levelled off and in some places, dropped back.  Why?  Could it be the practices of certain places of removing an ebook off your Kindle without your say-so?  Could it be that readers started to be data-mined for preferences, reading habits, etc while they were reading, and the information used to fine-tune ad targeting?  Could it be that the NSA …  but ah, no, I’m now fantasizing.

Still somehow the feel of a good book between our fingers has not been replaced by, no matter how cute and convenient, a Kindle or Tablet.  Despite market forces doing their worst  best.

Could it be (horrors) that there were links in the text that took you right out of the story and elsewhere?  Could “Vibrant Ads” have got into the ebooks?

I still think ebooks are a fantastic idea.  I wish every school in the world would make them available (and the readers alongside).  For free.  Imagine kids only needing a schoolbag for their writing utensils, art supplies and lunchbox, not to lug tons of books about.  These days they don’t even use schoolbags, they use caddies like in golf.  That stuff looks like dustbins on wheels, but I guess if they’d been around when I was a kid I’d have given my left eye-tooth for one.

It’s funny how a few years back we still stressed whether paper books would be around, and now bold statements are made such as, “we always knew ebooks wouldn’t replace paper books” … really?  Did we?


you know where to get them!!  🙂


And here is a sneak peek into one of our authors’ novels:


by Leslie Hyla Winton Noble




Story Post: From ‘Arcana’ – by gipsika


Arcana – by gipsika


Rain was sheeting down in a never-ending grey haze when Ivy Pennington opened the front door of her 4th level flat to brave another workday. Papers to file, files to study, she thought with irritation. When she’d set out on her career as a young accountant, she’d expected that companies would be a lot more up-to-date where e-filing was concerned. So she had to have the sodding luck to sign up with a store that had apparently never heard of computers yet – and in this day and age! She stepped out into the passage and turned in a fluid movement to close the door, her above-knee navy skirt swishing just a little too flippantly for the gravity of her professional image…


That was when she glanced down. At the toes of her stiletto shoes sat a small, black kitten, staring at her with intent green eyes. The poor little fellow looked bedraggled from the rain. Ivy reached for it, meaning to scratch its ears; it backed away a little before allowing her to touch it.

You poor little thing!” She put her briefcase down and returned inside to pour some milk into a flat tupperware, for lack of a saucer (she didn’t own such old-fashioned things). When she put it down on the floor she realized that the kitten had followed her into the flat.

Ha, flat, she thought sarcastically. This was not a flat. It was a box. The walls were painted ever so tastefully light-grey in keeping with modern interior decorating, and while Ivy subscribed to everything that was fresh and young, somehow the colour grey didn’t seem to make the grade. She wasn’t even allowed to repaint.

Later, she thought impatiently, watching the little fellow – she didn’t even know if it was a tom or a jenny – thirstily lap the milk. Her thoughts were working on hyperdrive now – she was running late. She’d need a place for him to sleep; and he needed to get out, to do his business – that would be a problem, on the fourth floor! And when she came home from work, she’d have to find out where he belonged…

The green eyes lifted to stare at her again, and a tiny pink tongue slipped out and licked a small black nose. There was a lot of milk left in the saucer, but the kitten seemed to have quenched its thirst.

Have you lost your mommy then?” asked Ivy. “Did you lose your way? Where are you from?”

Meow,” came the quiet response.

Ivy decided that this couldn’t wait. She took out her smartphone to text her boss – then remembered that the boss only had a landline. With an exasperated grunt she dialled his number.

Oates and Son, how can we help you?” chirped the voice of the chicklet who manned the receptionist desk.

Biljana, please tell Mr Oates I’m only coming in at noon,” said Ivy. “Family crisis.”

Shall I put you through to him, Ivy?”

Those honeyed tones! As though being under twenty gave Biljana a preferred – hmm. Maybe it did, thought Ivy.

No, just relay my message to him please,” she said but realized she was speaking to a line in transit.

Graham Oates; good morning.”

Ivy gnashed her teeth.

Morning, Mr Oates. I have to solve a family crisis this morning, it really can’t wait – so I’ll only be able to come in to work at noon – is that alright?”

There was a heavy sigh.

Oh dear, Miss Pennington. There’s a lot of work. I hope it’s nothing too serious?”

No – that is, not that serious for me, but it might be in future,” she waffled frantically. Just accept it and let me go, boss!

What’s the matter?”

She had so hoped he wouldn’t ask! It was none of his business; but to say that to your boss’s face…

My niece,” she invented. “She’s going to have a baby and she’s still in school. I have to prevent greater disaster.”

A momentary shocked silence, then, “Well, I’ll see you at noon, Miss Pennington. Good luck!”


Ivy ended the call and stood for a moment, disoriented. How on Earth had that lie slipped off her lips? She was a dead-honest person, she never lied! Well, scrap that good record, she thought acridly. She gazed down at the kitten, unable to understand herself. She wouldn’t have studied financial science if she’d had a dishonest hair – hmm. Maybe she would have, she thought with irony. Maybe, specifically.

Come, baby,” she murmured to the little black cat and scooped him up. He clung to her collar with little claws, his fuzzy baby hair tickling her neck. “Let’s find out where you belong.”

The funniest little sound came from the cat. It sounded like a mini motorbike trying to start its engine. She realized he was learning to purr, and it made her smile. Well, she’d better come up with a good explanation for her boss, backtrack and let him know that it had turned out to be only a scare and that her niece would be staying with her for a while until temperaments had cooled… gosh! She was spinning the lie further! She shook her head at herself, changed her shoes for more comfortable walking pumps, and left the flat – this time with a handbag rather than her briefcase, and the kitten nestling cosily inside on a towel.

It was mid-morning when Ivy sank into a corner seat at a little bistro. She had asked all the neighbours in the flat block, poster, called the SPCA to hear if there had been a call for a missing kitten, and made the round of all the local vets she was aware of.

Apparently the kitty was a tom. She decided to call him Peridot, after the colour of his intent eyes. If he didn’t belong to anyone, she supposed she could keep him. He had been very well-behaved, sleeping quietly in her handbag. At one stage he had started scratching at the towel; at which point she had quickly put him into a flowerbed, where he dutifully did his business and even covered it up. She made a note to get a cat box on her way home, and a bed for him. And of course cat food.

And the call reached her.


Oh shucks. Here was her own lie, coming back to haunt her! Somehow that bastard of a boss must have investigated with her family…

What’s up, Bonnie?”

Bonnie Pennington, her niece with whom she didn’t have too much contact. Unlike Ivy, Bonnie wasn’t a fiery redhead but a gentle, sweet-natured brunette. The kind of kid one would wish to have. She was fifteen now, and never gave her mother a day of hassle.

That her boss had bothered her niece, irritated Ivy. To cause Bonnie such –

Can I come and stay with you for a while, please?”

Ivy nearly fell off her chair.

No ways! She couldn’t take Bonnie in right now – she’d just adopted a kitten! Argh! What kind of logic was that? But there wasn’t space in her bachelorette box! It was tiny – just a place to crash, until she could afford better!

Why, Bonnie, what’s the matter?”

Well, I’m not sure how it could have happened… there was this boy…”

No, something said inside Ivy, in disbelief. It’s not what I think!

… and … we sort-of fell in love, and we… got together – and… and now…”

…you’re pregnant,” completed Ivy.

No! I mean – yes, but it wasn’t like that! Mom wants to throw me out…”

I’m dreaming, thought Ivy. I’m seriously dreaming.

Come and crawl in with me for a little while,” she offered despite herself. “But Bonnie, there are house rules. Okay? And I have to find us a bigger pad, can’t have you sleeping in the bathtub forever…”

In the bathtub?” squeaked Bonnie, horrified.

Kidding,” said Ivy. “When will you be around?”

After school,” said Bonnie.

Fine.” Ivy hung up and proceeded to stare at the fifth dimension in confusion. Right.

Can I help you, ma’am?”

Oh. She’d been staring at her waiter without realizing it.

The bill please.”

Outside, the rain was still falling persistently.


Copyright © gipsika, 2013

This book can be purchased as ebook from:

The Everywhen Angels: NEW RELEASE AT P”KABOO

NEW RELEASE: The Everywhen Angels


Late last night we completed everything for the first release of

The Everywhen Angels.

Another intriguing novel by our talented Marie Marshall!

Below an introduction to the YA novel by our partners in Scotland, the Bookseeker Agency.
This precedes another YA novel from the same author, for lovers of paranormal and vampire fiction; we are hoping to bring out “From My Cold Dead Hand” early next year.
Read and enjoy:

News, 10th December 2013

December 10, 2013 by

everywhen_angelsWith a fanfare, we can announce that Marie Marshall‘s new novel aimed at older children and teenagers, The Everywhen Angels, is now published. It tells a story of kids in a comprehensive school on the outskirts of London, who find themselves with strange powers. Perhaps they are the first skirmishers in the great battle of Armageddon – but how would they know?

Despite their visions and their adventures, they have to deal with the normal stuff of teenage life – homework, parents, bullying, dating, not talking to strangers, bereavement and so on. But do they really know what is going on?
Angela, the poet with the questioning mind believes they don’t; hers is the first pair of eyes through which we see the story. Charlie, her boyfriend, is a young man with a vision – but does he really appreciate the trouble he’s in? He tells his story backwards, from the last scene to the first and makes the reader question what is good and what is evil. Ashe is the youngest and smallest of the group – diagnosed with Asperger’s, he is in fact the key to everything. But that isn’t to say his path is easy.
The novel is not just a fantasy adventure. It’s action breaks the rules of time, encompassing murder, a bomb outrage, a flood which engulfs London, and the Battle of Waterloo; it’s themes include guilt, courage, cowardice, and delusion. The author says of it: “I believe children can handle difficult philosophical questions. They can handle stories told in a strange way. Young readers are much more intelligent than adults give them credit for.”
The Everywhen Angels is available direct from P’kaboo publishers in eBook form, with possibly more formats becoming available in due course.

(… Excerpt from the Bookseeker Blog)

The Everywhen Angels is available at the P’kaboo shop in epub and pdf ebook format, and will also be available on Amazon shortly, in Kindle and paperback.

– See more at:

The trouble with writing

“This novel is a work of fiction. All characters are fictitious.  Any resemblances to persons, living or not, are purely coincidental.  This book is not suitable for you if

  • your name is any of the following:  Ivy,  Alison, Bonnie, Bex, Jake, Bryan, Marc, Janet, Mr Oates, Biljana, Fareed, Neeva or Dayib
  • you have a niece, aunt, mother, daughter, boyfriend, sister-in-law, wife or husband
  • you are in any way related to the author
  • you are sensitive about religion, politics, sex. language and violence
  • you’re younger than 16 (SLVPR)
  • …  (fill in ad lib)”

Had to happen to me that I’ve just polished and finished a beautiful Nanonovel for Iain’s site (Honeymead Books), edited, cover-designed, ISBN’ed and all, and here I get a blog follower who, herself a sweetie, carries the name of the main villainness?  AAARGH!

It’s due for launch on the 5th of December, together with Douglas Pearce’s “Pourne Identity”.

 Honeymead Books to go live on 5 December!



Last Chance

One more round.  🙂

The Four Winning Titles are still up for free download. The downloads are down to single digits now.


to download your copies.

If you have already downloaded and read one of these books, and you are writingly inclined, please consider submitting  reviewsbutton

to buddy up to the authors WIN a paperback copy of ANY title in the P’kaboo shop. 


IMPORTANT:  This is the last post concerning the winning titles before they go “off the air”.

MORE IMPORTANT:  You’ll still be able to buy these books and more at the P’kaboo Store after the free downloads have gone off the air, and they will be winners no less.  They all passed an important milestone.


Tomorrow I play in 2 performances.

1.  The Orchester Alla Breve is performing:

  • Beethoven: 7th symphony
  • Mendelssohn: 4th Symphony 1st movement
  • Saint-Saens: “Organ” symphony, Maestoso

This is at 15h at the Musaion (University of Pretoria) for those who are interested, and the entry charge is R100 for adults, R50 for children & pensioners.

2. The Divertimento Ensemble is playing a Christmas event at a church in Pretoria.  On the menu:

  • Corelli “Fatto per la notte di natale”  (Christmas concerto, from his 12 concerti grossi)
  • Bach:  From the Christmas oratorium, 2 movements
  • Sibelius:  Andante Festivo
  • … and a whole lot of Christmas carols.

This is not an open event unfortunately so I won’t post the time & place.

We had an orchestra rehearsal last night and a LONG one this morning.  I’m quite pooped.  But:  It sounds good!

I’m in the process of uploading the website for the Divertimento Ensemble, still missing 1 detail.  We’re “for hire” for weddings, functions and birthdays.  For that totally enchanting light classical touch.

wedding music at Equestria

Deco at a place where we played for a wedding

At any rate:

Bookshop updates include (not really an update) :

The downloadable winner ebooks are still available…  for a last few days.  

CLICK THE IMAGE to get to the downloads
(I’m a bit tired of the red button).

December 20, Launch of Lupa, Forest Circle Quest and Freedom Fighter at Glenstantia Library


More stories…

Just a quick update, there are two new shorties up on P’kaboo since the last update, bringing the count of the included ones to 11.  We’ve got 2 more under consideration by another author, and are waiting for another few submissions.

Remember the project is open until beginning of December (around the first week).

If you have some favourites you’d definitely want to see included in the bundle, please post this in the comments.  Similarly, if you know of another author who might want to submit, pls post a link to his/her blog so that we can approach them.

And also enjoy the blurb competition!
Happy reading!

~ gipsika ~