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!
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
Being a creative person, i.e artist and writer, I’m the first to admit: being talented can be tough. It’s a privileged blessing and fun first and foremost! And I would choose to be a creative again in my next lifetime. But, to rise above so many other talents and be seen by a very large world of art and book buyers – is tough.
The highs of selling the first art piece or book is often very quickly followed by the lows of sustaining sales – or even just getting a foot in the door, or a little bit of recognition. Almost every artist, illustrator, designer, writer, author – any creative person – will agree to this.
In my world, the one person who has kicked my creative butt out the ‘this is tough gutter’ – is my mom. Yes of course friends and siblings have done the same. But moms just know how to make you knock that ‘tortured artist’ hat right off! Moms know exactly when to have a ‘take no prisoners’ approach to a sorry sod artist, or when to be completely sympathetic when a writing block hits.
The first person to see my art or a new book, is my mom. Not because I seek approval, quite the opposite. My mom can be brutally honest! Recently I read a book summary to her… and she yawned! Rude? No, not really. Honest. That yawn alone saved me from posting a boring summary! I wrote a new summary that same night, and guess what? Sales went up.
Moms, we creatives need you. We won’t always say it, but we do. Many of us are complicated beings who see the world from very different perspectives. In fact, we create whole new realities! My mom keeps my escapist behind firmly on the ground. Her advice is worldly, and I apply it in my business, books and art clients. Her common sense very often adds reality to my ambitious dreamscapes.
All you moms with artists and writers as children – your kids are architects of new universes. We bring new worlds, thoughts and experiences to the readers and art buyers of the world. And that’s quite a job, being such an architect. We often times hit the ‘weird’ button or do something completely inexplicable. But, that’s why we have our maternal units – to just smile and accept us. Or, maybe pull us back in line (I for one sometimes need that! ;)).
So! Mothers of the world (especially my own) – I salute you! This blog post is totally dedicated to every mother who loves her creative child! Even though you may sometimes wonder what alien pod we crawled from… 😉
Many hugs and thanks to you all!
I thought I’d share a few pages to allow readers the opportunity to “peek inside” more than what’s viewable on Amazon 🙂 I want to share Nhakira with the world, and one way of doing so is to allow readers to ‘meet’ her!
Below I’m giving you an exclusive excerpt from Chapter 29. Enjoy!
Something awful was coming into the room along with the evening breeze.
“No… Please no.” Nhakira could only whisper.
Fear had taken her voice.
Although she couldn’t see anything except for a disturbance in the air, she recognized the evil and predatory presence.
The demons were there, directly in front of her. One by one their bodies took shape and it was the most terrifying countenance she’d ever witnessed. If she was ever to see death’s face, this was it. The four Seeker Demons didn’t materialize instantly.
Their bodies sculpted themselves with their intricately shaped skeletons materializing first. Long tails swayed threateningly as the elongated spine and smaller bones twitched and clicked into place.
The whole scene resembled a macabre marionette show. The rest of their frightening bodies took shape; first the veins, arteries and organs slithered over bone. Muscle materialized, swiftly covering their legs all the way up to their heads.
Reptilian skin completed the horrifying pack of Seeker Demons, flexing claws and hissing out deathly breaths. They were huge and towered above Nhakira. Their high-pitched sound was earsplitting loud and made her cringe.
Complete silence fell over the barn.
The Seeker Demons stood perfectly still and poised in predatory positions. One of the Seekers bent forward and opened its snake-like jaw right in front of Nhakira’s face. A long, smooth and shiny black tongue flickered out. It licked her face probingly around her brow, cheek and neck. Nhakira gagged and bit back a scream of revulsion. She could smell decay and death on its foul breath.
The first demon’s head snapped back. It opened its jaw further with a vicious hiss and Nhakira could see at least four rows of razor sharp teeth receding into its throat. It was going to attack. The demon hissed again and Nhakira watched as its jaw opened further. Pungent saliva dripped on her face in thick blobs, and its tongue flicked excitedly when its head dove down straight at her.
The last thing Nhakira saw before closing her eyes was the Seeker’s open mouth right in front of her face with the horrible smell of death engulfing her.
But before the Seeker Demon could bite into Nhakira’s face, a blinding blue bolt struck the demon and drove it through the wall next to her. The other Seeker Demons turned around to see where the attack had come from. Nhakira also peered between their long legs.
A black silhouette stood in the hole through which the Seeker Demons had entered. He was aiming a glowing staff from the shoulder, ready for another blast.
The remaining three Seekers hissed and growled, tongues flicking anxiously. They broke up and started approaching the Dreamcharmer from the front and sides. Jaws opened and horrible snarls escaped the demonic beasts.
Nhakira got up from where she’d been cowering. She couldn’t let the Dreamcharmer get hurt, or worse, die because of her. She had to do something to help him, even if it meant poking one of the bastards with the Srekaw Guard staff.
As if reading her mind, one of the Seeker Demons turned back and growled fiercely. When it lunged for her, another bolt hit the Seeker, blasting it through the same wall as the previous demon. The other two attackers hesitated. They were shaking their heads, communicating. Nhakira could ‘hear’ their sounds again and she sensed they were discussing the best plan of attack, unsure of the Dreamcharmer’s power.
One of them insisted that they attack simultaneously, but the other disagreed saying they should attack from opposite sides as not to give their intended prey a chance to escape. One thing was clear; they intended to butcher both her and the Dreamcharmer.
Nhakira listened to them. Panic and fear mixed to become a disturbing turmoil in her stomach. She had to do something right now, even if it meant sacrificing her life in order to save the Dreamcharmer. He was special, a magical creature who obviously harbored a good, pure heart.
At least her soul would leave this world knowing she’d saved another being. Her stubbornness had brought the Dreamcharmer here to this death trap.
At that exact moment, something shifted inside her. A sensation of power surged through her entire body in a warm sizzling rush. It flowed into every limb and filled her with a force so strong that she felt lightheaded.
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!
NHAKIRA “Chosen” NOW Available on Amazon Kindle:
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!
Connect with me on Twitter! @JenVinci and Meg! @Enigmeg
NHAKIRA “Chosen” NOW Available on Amazon Kindle: