MampoerShorts – crisp, punchy e.books

MampoerShorts LogoHave you heard about MampoerShorts? They are mini-books, or long-journalism. Short enough to read in a sitting, long enough to tell the whole story. Shorter than a novel, longer than a magazine article.  They are crisp, punchy e.books, written (mostly) by South Africans and aimed (mostly) at South African readers. Distilled by the country’s best and most engaging writers and journalists, they will fascinate, stimulate and inform.

MampoerShorts can be read on the Kindle Fire, iPads, Android tablets, Kobo, Gobii or on any smart phone. And for those who prefer reading the old-fashioned way, you can print them out from any computer.

You can buy MampoerShorts for $2.99 (about R27 at today’s exchange rate) and start reading within minutes.

Visit their website at for a full list of available e.books.

Below is information about one MampoerShortGorilla in the Room by Anton Harber.

Gorilla in the Room by Anton Harber“Where does the Big Gorilla sit? The Big Gorilla sits wherever he likes.”

In 1984 in South Africa, it was hard to be optimistic about the future of commercial media. Newspaper companies faced an economy in decline, escalating insurgency, and the threat of television. It was then that Ton Vosloo, new MD of the establishment Afrikaner publishing house Nasionale Pers, received a call from a young MBA student with an idea for launching pay television in South Africa.

Almost thirty years later, that young man, Koos Bekker, has played a key role in the transformation of the South African media, dominated today by household brands like DStv, M-Net, Supersport and M-Web. Bekker also built Nasionale Pers, a one-time apartheid relic, into a giant that dwarfs rival media companies in South Africa, and is big and confident enough to operate on a global scale.

Bekker is famous for having refused to take a salary or benefits. Yet this year, his shares could earn him a billion rand. In this MampoerShort, Anton Harber provides the first ever inside look at how Bekker operates, what makes him such a visionary manager, how he handles crises, and what his colleagues think of him.

Click HERE to read an extract from Gorilla in the Room.

  • GENRE: Business, Media, Personalities
  • LENGTH: 17 500 words
  • READING TIME: 90 mins
  • ISBN: 978-0-9921727-0-1


Is falling in love the beginning, or is it the end?

Beautiful Creatures Film Tie-In Book JacketBeautiful Creatures is a young adult novel written by authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and the first book in the Caster Chronicles series.

The movie adaptation has just been released in South African cinemas and stars Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich.  Click HERE to watch the official move trailer.


In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets…

There is a girl … (slowly, she pulled the hood from her head. Green eyes, black hair. Her name?  Lena Duchannes.)

There is a curse … (on the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it’s been promised. And no one can stop it.)

In the end … (there is a grave.)

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided.

The Caster Chronicles book series is followed on by another three books:

  • Beautiful Darkness
  • Beautiful Chaos
  • Beautiful Redemption



The Suitcase Under the Bed Seminar – Johannesburg and Cape Town Dates


The Johannesburg and Cape Town dates for our The Suitcase Under the Bed – Practical Advice about Publishing for Aspirant Writers seminars, have been finalised.


  • Venue: Monchique Guest House, Muldersdrift, Gauteng
  • Time: 08h00 – 16h30
  • Cost: R1 575 (includes resource material, a copy of How to Get Your Book Published and the Rough Guide to Social Media for Beginners, refreshments and a 3 course lunch)


  • Date: Saturday, 8th of June 2013
  • Venue: Chartfield Guesthouse, Kalk Bay, Western Cape
  • Time: 08h00 – 16h30
  • Cost: R1 800 (includes resource material, a copy of How to Get Your Book Published and the Rough Guide to Social Media for Beginners, refreshments and a 3 course lunch)

Click on this LINK to read what topics are covered in these informative seminars.

To book your seat please email Tracey McDonald on


Fantasy series The Wheel of Time comes to an end

Wheel of Time LogoSadly, 2013 sees the end of Robert Jordan’s epic series, The Wheel of Time.

This fantasy series, written by American author James Oliver Rigney Jr, under the pen name Robert Jordan, was planned as a six-book series, but it now spans fourteen volumes, in addition to a prequel novel and a companion book..

The author passed away in 2007 while working on what was planned to be the final volume in the series, although he had prepared extensive notes so another author could complete the book according to his wishes. Fellow fantasy author and long-time Wheel of Time fan Brandon Sanderson was brought in to complete the final book, but during the writing process it was decided that the book would be far too large to be published in one volume, and would instead be published as three volumes:

  • The Gathering Storm (2009)
  • Towers of Midnight (2010)
  • A Memory of Light (released on 8 January 2013)

Robert Jordan certainly didn’t know how to write short volumes – below is a list detailing books 1 – 14, and for your interest I have included the page extent, number of chapters, and word count for each book.

Title Pages Chapters Word Count 1st Publication Notes
1 The Eye of the World 782 53 305,902 15-Jan-90
2 The Great Hunt 681 50 267,078 15-Nov-90
3 The Dragon Reborn 674 56 251,392 15-Oct-91
4 The Shadow Rising 1001 58 393,823 15-Sep-92
5 The Fires of Heaven 963 56 354,109 15-Oct-93
6 Lord of Chaos 987 55 389,823 15-Oct-94
7 A Crown of Swords 855 41 295,028 15-May-96
8 The Path of Daggers 672 31 226,687 20-Oct-98
9 Winter’s Heart 766 35 238,789 07-Nov-00
10 Crossroads of   Twilight 822 30 271,632 07-Jan-03
11 Knife of Dreams 837 37 315,163 11-Oct-05
12 The Gathering Storm 766 50 297,502 27-Oct-09 Completed by Brandon Sanderson
13 Towers of Midnight 864 57 327,052 02-Nov-10 Completed by Brandon Sanderson
14 A Memory of Light 912 49 360 000 (estimate) 08-Jan-13 Completed by Brandon Sanderson

*All page totals given are for the most widely-available mass-market paperback editions.

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan

Click HERE to read the first chapter of the last book in the series, A Memory of Light, courtesy of Penguin Books.

No faults with The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

From the get-go let me say that The Fault in Our Stars is a book that you need to read!  It is a love story – one of the most genuine and moving ones that I have read in a long time. It is about teenagers who happen to have cancer, but it’s not a cancer book, because as the narrator bluntly puts it, “cancer books suck” — by which she means they’re full of clichés and sentiment that conceal hard truths.

Written by John Green, the story is narrated by a sixteen-year-old cancer patient named Hazel Grace, who is forced by her parents to attend a support group, where she subsequently meets and falls in love with the seventeen-year-old Augustus Waters, an ex-basketball player and amputee.

Hazel was diagnosed with Stage 4 Thyroid cancer when she was 13 and on her first words to Augustus (he lost a leg to osteosarcoma) he fell in love – not the kind of ‘teenage puppy love’ that you are imagining, but the ‘real deal love’.

This book by John Green brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.  It is about courage, hope, humour, sadness, irreverence, and loss.  But most of all … it’s about love.

The book was originally published for the young-adult market but is has seamlessly crossed the age divide and adults are enjoying reading it as much as teens.

The title of the book is inspired by a famous line from Shakespeare‘s play Julius Caesar (Act 1, scene 2). The nobleman Cassius says to Brutus, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.


2013 Time of the Writer Festival

2013 Time of the Writer LogoFor people living in KwaZulu Natal, diarise to attend the Time of the Writer Festival, being held from 18 to 23 March 2013.  Keep an eye on their WEBSITE as the programme line-up will be posted in the next couple of weeks.

During this activity-rich week audiences can expect to hear the opinions of award-winning writers on the creative and artistic processes and perspectives which inform their writing.

Evening readings, book launches and discussions will take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre while wide-reaching day programmes (free) are spread across Durban and surrounding areas as part of the festival’s ongoing effort to promote and nurture a culture of reading, writing and creative expression.



Knysna Literary Festival

Knysna Literary FestivalThis year’s Knysna Literary Festival will take place from 19 to 24 March 2013 and so far boasts these renowned local authors as guest speakers:

Deon Meyer7 Days

McIntosh PolelaMy Father My Monster

Riaan ManserAround Iceland on Inspiration

Sarah GrahamBitten

Rob CaskieRorke’s Drift and Shackleton Expedition

Shaka SisuluBecoming

Adrian BassonZuma Exposed

Rahla XenopoulosBubbles

The festival also presents a variety of events that combine the written word with uniquely Knysna experiences.  You can join the Delicious Word Journey and tour homes at Pezula Private Estate while enjoying exclusive wine tastings and delectable dinners.  Or you can board the Knysna Paddle Cruiser with Rob Caskie for a discussion on the Shackleton expedition and book.

Their 2013 festival promises to be a word-fest not to be missed – keep an eye on their WEBSITE for further information.


SHADOWS ON THE NILE – Kate Furnivall

Kate Furnivall, who is a favourite author choice for book clubs, and an author who writes in the historical fiction genre has just released her new book Shadows on the Nile.

Shadows on the Nile by Kate Furnivall

The story opens in London, 1912.  Jessie, a young girl, aged 7, wakes during the night and can hear noises out in the hall.  Instinctively she knows that something is happening to her brother, Georgie, who is 5 years old.  Georgie is an odd child – he is completely socially inept, although highly intelligent – he doesn’t talk much, spends many hours of each day counting things, cannot (cannot) be touched by anyone and cannot recognise what behaviour is appropriate, and what’s not.  He is very, very hard work, but Jessie loves him to the moon and back – she has taken on the role of his protector.

Jessie tries to get out her bedroom, but the door is locked.  She endlessly bangs on the door, and shouts for help, but no one answers her.  Eventually, exhausted, she falls back to sleep. In the morning, when she wakes up, she is surprised that her bedroom door now opens and the first thing she does is run to Georgie’s room. She is so relieved to see the shape of a little body under the blankets, and a head with masses of blond curls, on the pillow. She rushes over, gently shakes him awake and the little boy turns over, and smiles.

But it isn’t Georgie.  It’s another little blond, blue eyed boy.  He says hello to Jessie, tells her that his name is Timothy, and that he is her new brother.

It is a fabulous start to a book – Kate knows how to hook her reader, early on in the story.

The timeline then jumps to 1932, where choices made by Timothy lead them all to Egypt, where, it seems, he is working illegally on the ancient archaeological sites of the queens and pharaohs.

Kate’s other books – The Russian Concubine, Under a Blood Red Sky, The Concubine’s Secret, The Jewel of St Petersburg and The White Pearl were more steeped in historical fact, and I found Shadows on the Nile to be more of a romance-cum-adventure novel.

If you, or your friends, haven’t tried a book by Kate then I would suggest that you give her a go. My all time favourite of Kate’s is The Russian Concubine, but I don’t think you will be disappointed with any of her books.

For more information on Kate Furnivall, visit her WEBSITE.


Chai FM – Mike’s interview …

Chai Fm LogoThis morning I was on air with Terry Shakinovsky on Chai FM’s new book show, ‘People of the Book’.

Terry and I chatted to Mike Hardwich, the author of The Lion and the Lamb – Memoirs of a Vet.

If you would like to buy a copy of the book please email Mike’s office, on

And do yourself a favour and visit Mike’s website – this morning he blogged about doing C-sections and castrations on marmosets, I kid you not!  Mike’s website is