The Dissection of Nhakira… Wow, dramatic…

Ok, so a few people have been asking me “who is Nhakira?” And, “where does her name come from?”

Let’s start in the birthing canal of a character… Sorry, that was a vivid metaphor… but fitting. As writer, I believe in writing with honesty. I want to create characters that say something I believe in – or stand against. I deliver a message, opinion or question inside my characters, and wrap it all up inside a cloak of fantasy, overdose of imagination, and trickery of magic…

So let’s strip away all the newness of my fantasy world, all the magic and spells, crystal staffs and evil bad guys…

Nhakira can be you.  She is anyone who is ‘stuck’ in life and want change. She is everyone who wants to ‘break out’ and be who they really are. She hides what she feels, underneath. She is the person fighting for liberty and equality. She’s the girl experiencing ‘first love’. She is the leader of a group that has to ensure success, and every person who has to face life’s challenges. She is the ambitious guy in a new job that has to outsmart others who have been in the game much longer. She is every person who has been discriminated against. She is the one that rises up against all odds to fight back.

Her universe is filled with magic, adventure, dark sorcery, rising of the dead, amazing creatures, demons, prophecies, secrets and enchanted kingdoms. But, her world is also a metaphor for our world. Everything in Nhakira’s story is a symbol that can be related right back to your world. Yes, as reader I want you to escape into her world and get away from your reality. Though, remember, her challenges are much more similar to your real challenges than you might think… But she overcomes them all through friendship, courage, love – and loads upon loads of ass-kicking!

“But she’s a slave, and I’m not a slave,” you’ll say. In some form or another, we’re all slaves to something, are we not? Some are slaves to their husbands and children. Quite a few are slaves to love – or the seeking of it. Many are slaves to work. I’m a slave to my passion and determination to write. Too many are slaves to materialism and money. And a precious few are slaves to bringing ‘good’ into this world… We’re all slaves to something. It’s both a negative and positive term, relative to application and interpretation.

Where does her name come from? Well… She gave it to me. Or rather, that subconscious corner of my brain that created her, made her whisper her name to me one night… Why exactly “Nhakira”… Not even I know. All I know for sure – is that Nhakira came with a unique message for everyone. Every reader will find a message, answer or inspiration they’re looking for in Nhakira’s story. Whether it’s just the seeking of fantasy, magic and fun – you’ll find it! If you want a darker side of fantasy, oh yes, my characters Mathus and Rothgylde will give you plenty of evil and even torture… Or, if you wish to find a few life lessons to ignite your thoughts, you will most definitely receive it through Nhakira, or Sal the Dreamcharmer – and especially through Lady Lalaigne, the ruler of a hidden kingdom…

Who did I write Nhakira for? Easy… I wrote her for YOU. The person reading my words, right here, right now… Nhakira has magic inside her, as do all of us, and she will remind you to rekindle your magic – and create a little for others around you too.

Enjoy her, and her journey. But I must apologize for Nhakira’s behavior through most of the trilogy in advance… She is sarcastic, complex, misunderstood, irrational and very stubborn! She has to be, because how else will we learn? 😉

Now, go experience her for yourself.

Much magic to you all!

Jeanine

Nhakira on Goodreads.com http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16003185-nhakira

US Kindle for Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA

UK Kindle for Amzon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA

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The Artist & Writer’s “Disease”

Dear Jen’s Personal Blog,

I have a confession to make… Today I coveted mine neighbour’s w-

WAIT! Wrong blog!

OKAY, moving swiftly along. For today’s ‘theme’, I’ve decided to ‘discuss’ a specific debilitating disease that’s been crossing my path of observation lately. The disease is called: AWLB which stands for – artists and writers with limiting beliefs. “That’s not a disease! That’s just a chick trying to be ‘creative’ and funny, and it’s so, like, FAIL!” you say… I say, it IS a disease because too many talented people suffer from it. And they’re passing it around like it’s a Sunday family fudge cake, of which everyone at the table want seconds and thirds, whilst sharing the same spoon with the sickest member licking the icing off with lip-smacking glee… Guess how I feel about this disease…

Recently I met the most amazing people, many of whom are artists, designers, illustrators and the like. They’re all different, unique, gifted with a touch of the obligatory “weirdness” that we creative types are labelled with. Hey, historically, the most gifted creators were all slightly touched by the mad finger that swirls the martini… See what I mean? That whole sentence was odd. Not that I’m saying I’m that gifted or even like one of the greats, but, just in case I do go down in history as one of the greats right next to Picasso or Dali or da Vinci – it would be nice to be known for that odd sentence “the mad finger that swirls the martini”…. no wait no maybe not so much… Anyway – let’s get back to the talented people who believe they suck. That’s right – they BELIEVE they suck at their talents. This might be you, reading this, right now.

You PILE the pressure on yourself, tear up your sketches, probably chew it and spit it out because ink tastes funny no matter how hard the self-destructing anger is ravaging your veins. Writers delete whole pages if not whole manuscripts in a fit of tormented self-loathing and whacking of keyboards. Cue the days and nights of; “why am I even trying? I’ll never get this right. My style is crap. My sketches are poo. I’ll never make money from this. I’m just not that talented. Check out that guy’s art – I’ll never draw like that! Check this woman’s book, I can’t write like that…”

STOP with the limiting torment people! You are gifted with a powerful LANGUAGE of the mind and the most prolific artist and writer you will ever meet: your unconscious mind. You have NO IDEA what you can do once you choose to stop attacking yourself now, and listen to words I am structuring and see what I say… You think that you are consciously drawing that character or writing that action scene. No. You’re not. All of that is coming from your unconscious mind. Did you know that your unconscious mind is in control of more than 95% of YOU. That includes your mind and body. You don’t think so do you? Well, while reading here, do you consciously remind your lungs to breathe in, and out, in, and out? No. That’s your unconscious mind doing that. Or, while you’re reading here, are you telling your bladder to not (literally) release? No. Unconscious mind again. Your unconscious mind takes in everything around you. Most of the information it captures – you’re not even aware of consciously – but it goes right into your unconscious mind where it’s sorted into all its necessary folders for later recall or use. Your essence, experiences, feelings and memories – all there. You consciously forget about these files – but the unconscious mind can retrieve what it needs in an instant.

The unconscious mind does not speak. It communicates in symbols. Pictures. Metaphors. You, as artist and writer, hold the key to literally be the ‘channel’ in art and writing for your unconscious mind to deliver treasures of thoughts, creations, interpretations, visualizations, patterns, puzzles, premises, stories, wisdom, worlds, new realities, new universes – an infinite horizons of creation

So when you tell yourself “I’m useless”, you are placing a massive wall between you, and your unconscious mind. You are closing the tap to a flood of amazing creation. Why would you do that? It seems almost… limiting, does it not? Why would you limit yourself? You do know why though, that answer will pop into your head right now, “why do you limit yourself?” Delete the negative reason to why you limit yourself, now, and override it with a positive goal.

And what’s the rush?! SO many artists have absolutely no patience with their creations… Those characters you’re writing and drawing are YOU! Did you know that? They’re little parts of you. Yes, even that disgusting monster skinning a rabbit in the nude – that’s you. The rabbit too. That came from you, didn’t it? You made that. Do you like it when people are impatient with you? No, who would? (unless you have a bizarre impatience fetish…but then you’d be part of a different ‘demographic’ of personality, and good luck with that). Yet, you’re impatient with those little parts of you that you’re creating… So should the question be “why am I impatient with myself?” Answer that… Hear if it’s really even such a valid reason, then override with a positive goal.

Choose to re-connect to your unconscious mind. Allow it to take control of your hand and draw what it wishes. Let your fingers on the keyboard be the carriers of the images and metaphors your unconscious wants to deliver. Become CONGRUENT with yourself, your talent, your unconscious mind. Draw what you feel! Visualize on paper and onscreen what is inside you (just don’t be literal people, no one needs to see what’s literally ‘inside you’ okay?).

When you draw without pretence, and write in your true voice – you’ll feel FREE. You’ll ENJOY what you’re creating. You’ll become addicted to the process again. And that’s the key to a successful artist and writer: the PROCESS. Not just the end result. Because the end result is dependent on the PROCESS – which all starts with you, tapping into your unconscious. Speaking in the language of symbols, and writing the pictures of thoughts…

…K, enough from me now…

Go think and prosper!

@JenVinci

NHAKIRA “Chosen” NOW Available on Amazon Kindle:

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA
US: http://www.amazon.com/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA

Allow An Editor To Mount Your Creative Tome With A Red Lance!

Yes it sounds a bit ‘odd’. But, as grass is to sheep, and cow is to milk, and as such lead to cappuccinos for human consumption – allowing the mounting of my tome was THE most important thing I could have done for my character and book this year! I.e. I got an editor. And for this I can holler a resounding “yeehah!”

And after this experience, I will climb towers and bellow it out to all indie writers: get Red Lanced! (OK, Red Lance is the editor’s red pen, and tome is ‘book’, just FYI.)

Self published authors. There are many of us. I think the last number I read was over 700 000 in the US alone. That is a large number, and it grows daily.

Self-publishing to Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks etc. is becoming big business for many writers who know how to write a good book, then sell it. Yes, I said ‘business’. As you enter the world of self-publishing – you are ‘publishing yourself’, so you are a publisher. And publishers are businesses that require planning, marketing, structure, and a team to make it work.

For Nhakira and her trilogy, I am lucky enough to be an experienced illustrator and book cover designer. I was giddy with excitement to do my own cover for a character I love. I compiled the whole book and formatted it. And yes, I did my own editing, probably close to 7 times – with rewrites! I felt pretty confident that my manuscript was ‘clean’ and polished. And I was all ready to publish Nhakira and have her fly into the world with her sarcasm, quest and powers.

But lady serendipity had her own ideas, and through various twists and turns of fate, I met Meg de Jong, and her sidekick – the Red Lance! She’s an experienced and connected editor with editorial experience in Canada, UK and South Africa. I inquired whether she’ll be my editor, she accepted – and she proceeded to mount my tome. [Insert the nervous face I had while she lanced my precious book! O.O ]

The book that I thought was so polished? Well, it was, the story and Nhakira was praised and congratulated as magical, but it was also wide open for improvement on technicalities. She guided me in the ‘fine tuning’ of grammar rules and character tips. She also taught me ‘little’ tricks that make a MASSIVE difference. Meg is now again fine combing the book, after all these important tweaks, to be sure the book is a clean sure-fire hit! And, I learnt a LOT in this process.

You know what?  Nhakira will be able to tell her story just so much better now. She will be even more inspirational and entertaining, including all the other characters and fantasy scenes. My grammar is clean. The spelling checked. Writer tools have been utilized. And as author, I now have 10 times more confidence in my work that shall soon join all the other amazing stories on Amazon!

If you’re a writer, or if you’re thinking of writing a book: get an editor. Especially if you are about to compete with 700 000+ indie writers. And particularly if people are going to pay money to read your book!

The more the polish, the better the sell. Or rather, that’s how I see it. And Nhakira’s properly refined now, as well as my confidence to send her your way soon! 😉 Thanks Meg!

Much warm greetings to you all!

JH

Connect with me on Twitter! @JenVinci and Meg! @Enigmeg

NHAKIRA “Chosen” NOW Available on Amazon Kindle:

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA
US: http://www.amazon.com/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA

 

Indie-Writers? NO. Revolutionaries! And Readers, You’re Awesome…

Why do I say that?

Until very recently, when any writer self-published, it was looked upon as ‘vanity publishing’ or the burning label of ‘not good enough’ was firmly smacked onto the writer’s book with a resounding echo of FAIL. Bookstores would pull up their noses as if the self-published book was made out of bison mucus.

The stink and stigma of self-publishing has been as suffocating to writers as a gag that’s been forced into your mouth.

But that gag is coming out.

Thanks to Kindle, Nook, Kobo etc. Yeah sure I am not going to laud them in this blog. I AM however going to say that e-book distributors are paving the way for amazing talents to finally be read. YOU as indie publisher/writer, or even if you’re a reader and supporter of independent writers and publishers – you’re awesome and part of something huge.

Because with every e-book you download, or every self-published book you buy – you are placing a brick in a whole new playing field. And this is a very fair playing field where the game is becoming expediently equal, and in some cases, even tipping in our favor.

The publishing industry is the only industry where “doing it yourself” has been stigmatized. Did you know that? In ANY other industry, when you start up your own business – you’re an entrepreneur. A ‘leader’ even! But in publishing when you self publish – which is basically like opening your own business – you are stigmatized as ‘vain’ or ‘desperate’… How does that even work? It doesn’t. That false label is quickly fading.

No, we indies can’t compete in bookstores. Not yet. BUT, we CAN compete – and even WIN – online. That is where we’re kicking butt. Yeah sure I’m yet to release Nhakira’s first book. And yes, I’m going to have either lovers or haters of my character and how I write. But I know I stand a very good chance to at least sell online with the intent of selling damn well – I may even be able to go book-to-book with a few published “names” out there.
So you as a writer, running your career and books like your own business, guess what, you’re an entrepreneur. You’re breaking through a massive wall of “stigma”. And you – the reader and supporter – wield the hammer with which we writers are doing it!

THANK YOU to every reader who chooses to download, support or promote independent writers and publishers! You ROCK!!!

Much love –

JH

Nhakira “Chosen” NOW Available on Amazon Kindle:

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA
US: http://www.amazon.com/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA

How To Kick Someone’s Car – And Like It!

Yeah OK first of all – do not go and kick someone’s car right this minute. Just hear me out first because I’m going to tell you how…

If you’re a writer or an aspiring writer, you have every reason in the world to kick someone’s car! But only on paper though. Unless someone’s car kicked you first. Then the gloves come off dude! You take that sucker down!

We live in a society where we’re taught to be nice – and that’s good. Nice is good. Nice makes things nice… (wow that’s such a NOT very impressive linguistic sentence *slaps wrist*). Anyway! Every so often, we come across a not-Nice person. Whether it’s in a grocery store and there’s this big jerk HOVERING behind you as if his deep mucus-rattling breathing in your neck is going to make the queue go faster! That’s not nice. OR drivers… I cannot begin to count the amount of no-Nice driving I’ve encountered. Especially living here in Cape Town!

And that is when I kick cars. C’mon, we all get frustrated. Does not matter whether you’re the nicest human on this planet – you will have days where you’re frustrated, or tired, or angry, or sad or just in a friggin’ mood. You’ve had that, right? And we can go into “The Law of Attraction” here and actually see why, when you’re in a bad mood, will you attract scumbags in grocery stores and dumbass drivers. But we wont. Not for this blog.

What we will do is justify your imagination. And we’ll justify using your imagination to feel better about a particularly frustrating or enraging situation. And we’ll kick cars together! All on paper… Or like me right now, sitting in a coffee shop with my Macbook. I’m about to write violent things while having a flat white coffee… Somehow that sounds pathological…. Moving on!

When you’re having a conversation with someone…let’s say an arrogant or pompous someone – and this someone says something that either makes you feel infuriated or embarrassed. What do we normally do? Some of us might have a quip at the guy (or girl). But most of us will internalize and walk away, replaying the pompous someone’s meanness and feel unsettled… Now what you should do as a writer is to rewind that conversation. Go back to the exact moment when the pompous someone said the offending thing: now picture exactly what you would’ve done or said…DO IT! DON’T HOLD BACK! (I think 99% of what you’re thinking right now – will be considered criminal. So luckily you won’t physically do it. But WRITE IT.)

You as a writer have the power to be at least a version of a psychologist for yourself. You have the most cathartic tool in the world: the power to transform thought and energy into words and communication. You can take all that negative energy that arises from time to time – and shape the energy into a character, action, scene, message or story. Like a sculptor using clay, you use energy to make new things out of the energy inside you, or energies sent your way.  Bad or good.

So even if someone sends you really crappy energy – YOU change it into an awesome literally and figuratively ass kicking scene… I have 3 books coming out between now and September. It’s a trilogy – but I promise you, there are things I write in that book I would’ve loved to do in real life – but Nhakira does them, and she does it well, I’m proud of my girl… Some of its plain scary and I admit it too…

Thus, to summarize – when someone makes you angry… Don’t suppress the anger! Think up a scene in your writer-brain where you act out exactly what you would’ve liked to do!

With your writing abilities – you can change everyday annoyances, frustrations and enraging situations into tangible scenes on paper. That’s powerful stuff. Your readers WILL relate to those scenes, because those scenes will be things THEY thought of too and they will love you for verbalizing their desires… See what I’m driving towards here?

And yes, obviously the same goes for happiness, and happy thoughts! But we’re not writing about happy thoughts right now. No, we thinking about kicking cars and growing huge mech-warrior arms with which to pick up scumbags in grocery stores and shake them upside down until they cry and promise to wear stilettos! And we like it!

…Hey, I feel good for having written that whole mech-arm thing! This writer is officially frustration and headache free… 🙂

Stay awesome you reader you! 🙂

JH

Blogging is WORK… Just Saying!

I want to make an official mention: Blogging is work! Sheesh!

I’m working with my editor to finalize the summaries for Nhakira’s 3 books, so in the meantime I’m building this blog to be in time for the official launch of NHAKIRA “Chosen” (August 2012, Amazon Kindle)

Dude… I totally get how blogging can be a full time job! MUCH respect to you bloggers out there! Giving you guys the ‘bro fist’… But have no idea what to give you girls? ‘the knowing pout’? Or… ‘high heel click’? Or…ideas please?

OK, this is me for now…I have summaries to write! 😉

Over and out!

Jen Henning

@JenVinci on Twitter

Why will you buy my books? Because I think about Unicorns…

Why will you buy my books? Because I think about Unicorns…

Really! I DO think about unicorns… and Smurfs. And jelly-obsessed Orcs. And squirrels that fight crime at night in mini-Batman suits…

Lately I think about unicorns a lot. I’ve always thought about unicorns, mostly because I love magic – and I have a horse – and voila! Unicorn!

But this renewed unicorn-thinking could be 1 of 2 possible reasons. One – because I recently visited beautiful Scotland where the unicorn features almost everywhere! And Two – because I think outside the box. No, not even outside the box. I choose to NOT see a box – because to still be inside or outside a box – that’s still limiting, isn’t it?

And I do not want to be limited. I don’t want to think limiting or live limiting or act limiting or illustrate limiting or write limiting!

I cannot sit and attempt to write anything akin to Terry Pratchett, John Locke, Patricia Cornwell, Karen Slaughter, Paulo Coelho, JK Rowling – or the Greats like Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dr. Seuss etc etc. I can admire all these writers though for their talents and clever sales acumen…

But then I’ll go back to thinking about unicorns. And still write what I write. And no – I don’t write about unicorns. Not yet anyway. I MIGHT add a unicorn in a book I’m currently planning with dragons in it…Meh, we’ll see.

What I DO do though (love that; “DO do) – is write from the heart. I just want to tell you a story. I want you to download my book onto your Kindle, go to the beach, have a cocktail…or 2…or 3…or more… And still be able to read my book and not have to reread whole chapters cos I lost you in detail or saga twists.

I want you to have a giggle at conversations not really ‘apt’ for Fantasy. I want you to RELAX. I want you to forget about the war on CNN. Or how guilty something made you feel. Or about all the STUFF that bugs your brain. Hey, it’s all about you…

I want you to have FUN when reading my books.

Yeah sure I too have serious moments in my books. Heck, I ‘teach’ as much as fantasy-swear. And I absolutely have some subliminal social commentary. BUT, its all done in a fun way. I have weird heroes. Very evil villains. Almost over the top villains…Cos yes, I base my characters on people and situations I know or have heard of. How REAL is that? Very… And I share it with YOU. In a fun easy-read way… I do not limit my writing in trying to be the next big award winner of some big prize. I let my imagination go to strange places and bring back stories for you to read.

And all because I think about unicorns…and Smurfs… Smurfs still boggle me even though I collect them (feel free to send me Smurfs as ‘thank you’s’ for enjoying Nhakira so much! 😉 #joke …

I’m just a storyteller. I do not aim to win accolades. Yes I want good reviews though, but I will learn from the bad ones too. I just want as many people as possible buying my books and having fun with magic, adventures, odd characters, really evil bad guys… And some surprising soul-touching depth…Because a teeny bit of my soul goes into every character I create and I share it with you.

Maybe I’ll write a whole book about unicorn trials and tribulations later. Or, a world where unicorns are normal and wear suits, drink beer, text on Smartphones, read on Unikindles (how clever am I !? ) and ponder whether humans ever really existed… Now THERE’s a future best seller!

And with that unicorn thought – I bid you adieu for now! I have unicorns to think about…

Cheers awesome reader!

Jen Henning

PS: I owe someone unicorn eggs… o_O Not even joking…

NHAKIRA “Chosen” NOW Available on Amazon Kindle:

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA
US: http://www.amazon.com/NHAKIRA-Book-Chosen-TRILOGY-ebook/dp/B0091JGKFA