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Monday, August 15, 2011

Judy Croome and "Dancing in the Shadows of Love" Giveaway!

Today we have South African author Judy Croome visiting and she has copies of her novel, DANCING IN THE SHADOWS OF LOVE to giveaway to three lucky commenters!

Judy Croome lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her short stories ‘Born Beneath a Balsamic Moon’ and ‘Heroes Day’ have been published in ITCH magazine. Other short fiction and poetry appeared in “Notes from Underground Anthology.”  She was recently shortlisted in the African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition.

If you could choose only one time period and place to live, when and where would you live and why?

Regency England. My choice is probably influenced by my love of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen romances, but the easy grace of life in those times strongly draws me. The reality of the era (especially if you weren’t an aristocrat) was probably grim, but those times strike me as being perfectly balanced on the cusp between a mellow, bucolic existence and an exciting period of social transformation. There was time to enjoy the beautiful and gracious things in life, and yet the promise of technology was already beginning to ease the physical hardships of life.

Do you draft your stories in longhand or on computer? 

First draft is always in longhand, in pencil. Then I transfer it onto computer and do all my edits on computer. If I try to write the first draft on the computer I get too easily distracted by the temptations of the internet and email and, more importantly, when I write in longhand, I feel closer to the words I write.

What single thing would you do to improve the quality of your life?

I’d lose weight. I went on my first diet when I was fourteen, and developed an eating disorder in my mid-thirties. I’ve finally accepted I’ll never have a svelte body like Kate Moss, but I can be a healthier weight than I am now. Since I’ve gained so much weight I’m not as energetic as I used to be and I can’t do as much in each day (I used to only sleep 4 or 5 hours a night; now I puff and pant my way through the day and need at least 8 hours sleep) So, yes, losing weight would dramatically improve the quality of my life on both an emotional and physical level.

Tell us about “Dancing in the Shadows of Love”

Author Jesse Hanson summed up the novel well when he said, “The Court of St Jerome is a spiritual enclave that proves to be the point of convergence of the principal characters, three of whom are women of diversely troubled backgrounds. All three are seekers of love, but to find or obtain love, they must first learn what true love is. The lessons are often exquisitely painful; and they are, I think, uniquely feminine lessons. Ultimately, each of the three characters learns the lessons she needs to learn. Do they find love, any or all of them? Well I won't say. Is it a love story? Yes. Is it a unique love story? I do think so. It is worth reading. I recommend it to those who are interested in exploring the question: What is love anyway?” 

How did you come up with the title?

That’s a long story! When I started writing it I called it “Albino Blues,” but the supervisor for my Master’s degree didn’t like that title. After some serious brainstorming, we finally agreed on the title “And the Sea Looked.” I liked that title because the sea/ocean is one of the major symbols in the book, meant to represent a neutral, non-judgmental and ever-present Divine Presence that watches over our lives.

But when I was struggling to place my book with an agent or publisher and, despite receiving many good comments about the book, getting nothing but rejections, I treated myself to a visit to a psychic (with a father who was born with a caul over his head and who is a gifted dowser, of course I visit psychics!) and she channelled a message from my Ouma (grandmother), who said “The name is wrong!”  

I was attached to “And the Sea Looked,” so I had quite a struggle finding a new title before realisation hit me. I’d always known the painting that I wanted to use for the cover was “Man & the World of Stars” by Wenkidu and, one day I looked at it and realised what my new title should be: the painting shows three women dancing as they reach up to the Divine Presence in the sky above them. And my final title was born: “Dancing in the Shadows of Love.” Third time is the lucky charm!

Where can we find out more about “Dancing in the Shadows of Love”?

You can watch the book trailer, read an interview with the cover artist Wenkidu or read chapter one on the dedicated blog “Dancing in the Shadows of Love.”

Judy, thanks for visiting us and sharing about Dancing in the Shadows of Love!

Nas, I enjoyed my visit over here at your blog! I'll be drawing the names of three readers, who will each win a print copy of my novel “Dancing in the Shadows of Love.

Thanks for this fantastic giveaway, Judy, now where can readers find you?

Readers can chat with me on Twitter and befriend me on Facebook.

Judy Croome’s unusual novel “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” is available as both a print and eBook from Amazon.com, and as an eBook from Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

34 comments:

  1. I love the color, Judy. There's something very mystical about it, which I think is very fitting given the history of your title! I'm definitely interested in reading your work, especially after reading Jesse's review of it. And more power to you for writing longhand! I could never do it now that I have a computer.

    Best of luck, Judy, Nas! Thank you both for the awesome interview and giveaway!

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  2. Judy, that is a great point you make in favor of writing in longhand--no social media distractions! Congratulations on your new book; I'm so glad you took time to guest post on Nas' blog today.

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  3. Hi Marlena and Michelle,

    Thanks so much for coming by. Dancing in the Shadows of Love is a wonderful tale. You would love it!

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  4. I read somewhere that writing longhand stimulates the creative side of the brain. It's something I've always wished I could do. Congrats on your latest release, Judy!

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  5. Sounds great. :) I couldn't imagine drafting in long hand. Your poor little hand!

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  6. I'd love to write in longhand, but my hands get so tired! Nice to meet you, Judy. :)

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  7. Hi there, Lacey, Alleged Author and Lydia,

    At the moment I have pain from the right shoulder through the hand and I can never imagine writing long hand, even typimg is difficult!

    Thanks to you all for coming along to read about Judy!

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  8. I couldn't imagine writing anything longer than my name an address in longhand these days. Even when I did write I always loved the computer keyboard more than a pencil. Something about easily seeing your mistakes in black and white and being able to fix them just as quick. My hand hurts just thinking about writing a whole novel in longhand! Thanks for the interview and giveaway Nas & Judy!

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  9. Gosh, so many comments already! Am I just late or is this the effect of time zone differences? :)

    Nas, it's great to be here! Hope your right shoulder gets better soon!

    Marlena: The cover is based on the ancient San art and they were a highly mystical spiritual people. SO I really love the cover and how the colours all gel (in the aura colour chart, orange and blue are on complementary colours)

    Michelle: Hemingway was a fan of writing longhand, and Louise Erdrich is a modern writer I know of who still prefers longhand for the first draft. It's not for everyone, but works for me :) And I'm glad I could visit!

    Lacey, I can well believe that - my writing is definitely different when I write longhand vs computer.

    Alleged Author: :):) My hand appreciates your concern! :) (Another good effect of longhand writing is it forces me to break more often and come back refreshed!)

    Lydia K: Nice to meet you too...and your hand muscles (?) soon get used to it!

    Lolarific: Strangely, I started writing longhand to avoid the internet distractions and ended up preferring it. I think if you can discipline yourself to stay off the 'net when writing (which I can't!) then computer writing is a lot easier.

    Judy, South Africa

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  10. The internet has a lot to answer for with all its distractions, but I'm not sure I could write longhand.

    Wouldn't it be fun to visit Regency England? I suspect the rules would drive me crazy though :)

    Good luck with Dancing in the Shadows of Love.

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  11. Great interview, ladies! And wow, first draft in longhand? I'm impressed!

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  12. Shelley: I suspect I'd be hopeless at sticking to the etiquette rules and restrictions of Regency England too! :):)

    Talli: Glad you enjoyed the interview! :)

    Judy, South Africa

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  13. Lovely to meet you, Judy!

    I am amazed at the number of authors who write their first drafts in longhand; however, I can see the attraction of writing away from anything electronic. Far fewer distractions!

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  14. Dancing in the Shadows sounds absolutely scrumptious.

    And I am totally with you on the weight thing. I was a skinny minnie with energy to spare until my thirties. Then I started having children and packing on the pounds. Recently I took a blood test, found out I was severely depleted in a whole host of vitamins. Doc prescribed some powerful vitamins to build me back up and my food cravings have practically disappeared.

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  15. Judy, I love your picture with an elephant. That is very cool! I'll check out your book. Nice to meet you. Great interview Nas!

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  16. Judy,

    Drafting longhand would kill me, but I understand not wanting to be distracted by the 'net etc. Nice to meet an author from so far away and in such an exotic location too! Gonna go over and check out the book blog. Wishing you success with the book.

    Nas, good questions that allowed me to learn a thing or three about Judy.

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  17. Hi Judy!!

    It was really heart-warming to read how the story title came to be..and "Dancing in the shadows of love" sounds like an awesome book!

    Great to "meet" you!

    Fantastic interview, Nas!

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  18. LIZ: Lovely to meet you, too! It’s surprising how many authors still write in longhand - - maybe because I do it too I’ll often notice in interviews the most unexpected people still prefer it (just can’t remember them now – haven’t had first cup of tea yet!)

    REGINA: That’s so true! OnceI was put on chromium and magnesium my cravings were drastically reduced. Was such a relief to know that there was a physical reason! Now I just have to *lose* the weight I piled on (although it’s provided quite good padding against the awfully cold winter we’ve had this year!) Hope you’re back to being a skinny minnie!

    KERRI: That day with the elephants was such a great day in the Pilansberg Game Reserve – the elephants we hugged were all orphans from Zimbabwe who had been saved from poachers and brought down to a safe haven in South Africa. They were really gentle giants!

    JL: South Africa, as beautiful as she is, is just home to me…and every time I visit Nas’s blog I’m filled with yearning for the exotic beauty of Fiji (friends of ours have just spent 2 years living in Fiji and loved it!) Thanks for the good wishes and your comment on the Dancing in the Shadows of Love blog. Isn’t the artist Wenkidu a fascinating man?!?

    JU: That title gave me such headaches! But it was worth it because it’s just perfect for the book and the cover art. Nice to”meet” you too!

    Judy, South Africa

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  19. Hi Judy, I can see you're having fun time chatting with all my friends!

    Thank you all my lovely friends for coming along and keeping Judy company!

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  20. What a great story, Judy! I love the new title. I think it's cool how you looked at your story with a fresh perspective, and sometimes changing a title can do just that!
    Nice to meet you!

    Thanks, Nas!

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  21. PK Lovely to meet you too!

    Nas, when things have settled a bit I hope to visit with you & your fabulous friends more often! There's a lovely vibe on this blog - so welcoming and lively!

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  22. I also love drafting in longhand, although I haven't done it in almost a year. I really have to start something new soon.

    :-)

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  23. Nice post. Writing a first draft in longhand seems like a good idea, for the reasons you mention.

    I used to write short stories on thin (blue) paper that I got from someone whose father worked at an office supply store. It worked brilliantly.

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  24. Misha, I've done short stories and poems in the past year or so, but I also really need to start the new novel that is hammering away at the inside of my head. And when I start it'll be in longhand with my trusty HB pencils!

    Leeswammes: Great to see you here! Blue is great colour to work with creatively so that probably helped! :)

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  25. Very interesting cover. I love the color too!

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  26. Theresa, if you find the cover interesting when you have time pop over and read the interview with the cover artist Wenkidu which adds such depth and meaning to the cover!

    Judy, South Africa

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  27. The story sounds so interesting. I love the cover. What's it like living in South Africa? I've never been and haven't had the opportunity to talk to anyone who has.

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  28. Hi Judy. Hi Nas. I was intrigued that you write your first draft in longhand. Wow. I totally agree that you feel more connected to your writing that way but I made a point of training myself to write on the computer.

    Denise

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  29. Hi Judy and Nas :)

    Judy, I love the story of how the title was born!I am an expat from Port Elizabeth who lived in Johannesburg before moving to Australia in the '90's. It was great to share your experience. Good Luck.

    Lovely blog as always, Nas. I enjoy visiting your site.

    Kind Regards

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  30. Donna: South Africa is wonderful! Like any country it has its problems, but there is an energy, a determination to succeed against overwhelming odds that breeds an underlying sense of hope. Our biggest threat is the negativity that surrounds our image and which is often perpetuated by irresponsible media reports. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else! :)

    L'Aussie(Denise): I've tried writing on the computer but I always go back to pencil & longhand. It possibly works well for me because it forces me to slow down and think (when I talk, my mouth runs away from me and writing directly onto the computer isn't much different!)

    Juanita: Yay for Port Elizabeth, the windy city! My Mom was born there. Hope you still support the Bokke even though you're now in Aus! :)

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  31. Congratulations to the following three winners, who each get a print copy of my novel "Dancing in the Shadows of Love":

    1. Lolarific
    2. PK Hrezo
    3. Juanita Kees

    I'll be contacting you shortly to arrange delivery of your book.

    Thanks to Nas for a great interview, and to all of you for making me feel so welcome! It was great to visit and I hope to pop in again when I can! :)

    Judy, South Africa

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  32. Thank you so much, Judy! I am looking forward to reading your lovely novel. All the best for the future,

    Regards, Juanita

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  33. The hand connects the heart and the brain to the page. Therefore longhand is the best way to write.

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  34. Congratulations to Juanita, PK Hrezo and Lolarific!


    Thank you to all my lovely friends for coming by and thanks to Judy for taking the time out and to be with us!

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