Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blogging frenzy

I'm guest blogging on the South African Tourism website again here, if you'd (please) like to go and have a look. For a change, I'm shamelessly promoting South Africa rather than myself.

Still resting up in Joburg while Broomas the indefatigable 1997 300Tdi Land Rover Defender is kitted out with some more gadgets (for those who are interested, it's a Frontrunner four-box drawer slide, and a rear fender mountd 40 litre fuel tank).

More travel tales and frippery here soon.

Welcome, UK and South African readers

Dark Heart, due for release in November, 2012, in the UK and South Africa!


If you've stumbled across me and my books and you live in the UK or South Africa (or perhaps other parts of Africa and the Middle East where my books have been showing up lately, then you may be wondering (well, at least I hope you're wondering) where you can track down the rest of my books.

So far I've written NINE novels set in Africa. All were originally published in my native Australia, and they've been re-published by my UK publisher, Quercus Books. Quercus has committed to publishing my next couple of books and they'll be progressively rolling out all the old ones.

As all of my books were previously available in South Africa through a different publisher, Quercus has committed to releasing all of them there, first. So far, FAR HORIZON, ZAMBEZI, SAFARI, IVORY, SILENT PREDATOR, THE DELTA and AFRICAN DAWN have all been released in South Africa. Another of my earlier books, AFRICAN SKY is due for re-release soon.

In the UK, at the time I'm updating this post (November, 2012) you can so far buy SILENT PREDATOR, THE DELTA and AFRICAN DAWN. The other titles will follow in the near future.

The good news is that my ninth novel, DARK HEART will be released in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK in November 2012.

If you are new to the blog, please feel free to browse around and, if you wish, even sign on as a follower. We're a happy band of friends here, generally united by a love of all things African, and a desire to take the p*ss out of yours truly (that goes for me as well).

I use the blog as a kind of informal travel diary when I'm in Africa, and as a tool of shameless self promotion (which I try to keep to a minimum) when I'm back in Australia.

So, sit back, have a cuppa or a drink (depending on whether you're at work or at home, and what your employer's drug and alcohol policy allows), put your feet up, and enjoy. Or get back to work.

Cheers, and thanks for coming.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Of course!

Adventurers Don and Barry enjoy a sustaining beverage midway through their quest to conquer the Okavango Delta on deck chairs, with yours truly, centre, displaying his recently obtained four-pack, courtesy of Vision Personal Training, Crows Nest.

So, where to start? At the very beginning? No... too boring. Miles and miles of Botswanan nothingness en route to Hwange (Zimbabwe), via such uninspiring locales as Martins Drift, Francistown (might come back to that one, as we did have a tire slashed by would-be thieves), and Nata.

No, I've got a better idea. Let's start halfway through, at a good bit, where I'm drinking beer in a river in the Okavango Delta, the setting of my latest book, THE DELTA. (How's that for a seamless segue... seamless, I hear you cry/groan!).

It's amazing the people you meet in Africa. I came across these two fellow Aussies drifting down the Khwai River, which is, in actual fact, a tributary of the Okavango, in Botswana, and not the setting of an Alec Guinness movie, as I'd always thought.

These brave chaps were single-handedly navigating the Okavango Delta on floating lounge chairs with nothing but Castle Lager and Cheetah kill to sustain them (Cheetahs will run away if you threaten them, lions will kill you, as our heroine, Sonja, points out in the aforementioned novel).

I stopped these two latter-day Stanley and Livingstones and asked them if it was safe to be consuming alcohol in a river in THE DELTA.

I'd read an article in the authoritative SA 4x4 Magazine, bible of the modern-day beer-drinking African adventurer, a couple of years ago about this very place, the Khwai River Community Conservancy, which sits on the north eastern border of the Moremi Game Reserve in THE DELTA. The article promised abundant wildlife and camping at a fraction (about half, in fact) of the cost of staying in Moremi, just across the river. The local community would be uplifted by our money, and we would get to see lots of animals do all sorts of silly things that are banned in national parks - like swimming in the river.

That particular article featured a picture of some rather burly Afrikaner gentlemen sitting on lounge chairs, up to their necks in 'delta wine' (as the local waters are sometimes known), while supping on beers. The intrepid crew from SA 4x4 had been promised by locals that there were no crocodiles in the waterways in which they were reclining.

So I asked these two gentlemen, Barry Humphries (right), and Donald Bradman (left), what the situation was with crocs.

"We asked an African safari guide from one of the camps around here if there were crocodiles in the river," Barry informed me, over long drafts of rehydrating fluid.

"And what did he say?" I asked.

"He said; 'of course!'"

Armed with that information, what else could I do, but slip into my tatty Australian Army running shorts and reach for the Esky (cooler box/chilly bin, to foreign readers).

Just out of shot in this picture are two burly Land Rover Defenders which our party parked across the river to act as a crocodile barrier (like, I'm sure that would stop them). Just off to the left of this picture, about 300 metres back were a couple of lions that we'd earlier been watching sleeping off a big meal.

And people ask me if Africa is dangerous?

"Of course!"

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm back... sort of

... just stumbled in from the windswept, dusty plains of Etosha Pan, Namibia, and currently slaking my thirst with an ice cold Windhoek Draught or two, in the eponymous city (Windhoek that is, not Draught).

I've just been wading through a span/stack/heap of emails and noticed a couple about a Mr Damien Mander, former Aussie commando who was shot in Zimbabwe while working on anti-poaching patrols.

Thanks Anonymous and Naturesmark for mentioning this little incident in the blog comments. Geepers, it sounds a lot like my fourth book, SAFARI! Anyone remember that one (ex Aussie special forces soldier training anti poaching patrols in Zimbabwe)? Hmmm?.

All is well. Or, at least it will be after a few more beers.

I miss you all and will be back in more regular contact in a few days' time with tall tales and true from my travels when I get back into South Africa.

Much to report...