South Africa: Science Fiction in Conquest

Anike Kirsten, Author

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To mark the launch of Auriga: Character Perspectiveon the 26th, this month’s article will look at the growing community of science fiction literature in and from South Africa.

Science Fiction in Conquest

This beautiful country of ours has seen much in the way of disaster1, 2 and atrocities3, 4. It is a nation of colour, vivid and diverse, but tainted with the blotches of our history5. Healing is a slow process, hindered by the fear of change and acceptance, and we as South Africans constantly seek mediums through which we can express our discontent in the crippling social matters of the past that yet bleeds through to our present after decades of democracy.

One medium speaks out, its voice growing louder the longer society stagnates: science fiction. Still, in its infancy, science fiction (and speculative fiction in general)…

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Why You Were Taken (and other free 5-star thrillers)

Dear Readers

Print

The great news is that the audiobook for ‘Why You Were Taken’ is live! We’re so happy with it. You can listen to the first chapter here.

If you haven’t yet read the book, it’s currently free along with some other fantastic reads in this 5-star thriller giveaway.

WHEN TOMORROW CALLS

I’m knee-deep in the edit of the third book in this futuristic thriller series, and the cover designer has been briefed, so I’ll have something to show you soon. I’m feeling anxious about the work (especially the ending) because I think you’ll either think I’m completely mad (or a genius). It’s the weirdest thing I’ve written, and that’s saying something!

THE WRITING PROCESS

I was interviewed by Joseph Bendoski of the Start Writing podcast. We chat about genre-hopping, rule-breaking, cover design, and we cover a few marketing tips, too. I’ve never been good at public speaking, so a large glass of wine helped! Click here to listen to the episode.

FACEBOOK VIP CLUB

On the advice of other successful authors, I’ve set up a Facebook group for readers who enjoy my work. It’s a place where we can hang out and you can ask me inappropriate questions. If FB is your thing and you’d like to join, you are very welcome.

IN OTHER NEWS

Local online retailer Loot.co.za featured my work for Women’s Day! It’s surreal to see my books up like that. Thanks Loot!

 

TRY THESE INDIE AUTHORS


When the Sky Falls
4.4 stars (10 reviews)

Joseph Bendoski, who interviewed me for the Start Writing podcast’s audiobook is live. ‘When the Sky Falls’ is an unpredictable conspiracy thriller. You can also grab his ebook for 99c.

AMAZING BOXED SETS DEALS:
4.7 stars (152 reviews)

Whether it’s alien invasion or dark fairytales, heart-pounding galactic adventures or cyberpunk romance, Dominion Rising will satisfy with a thrilling mix of 23 brand new novels set in fantastical realms.

Murder and Mayhem
Fans of Paula Hawkins and Lee Child will love this limited-time boxed set of 20 new, exclusive thrillers by NYT, USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors. 
Pre-order now for 99c!
EMAIL ME!
If you do end up ordering the ‘Why You Were Taken’ audiobook, I’d love to know what you think of it! I’d be thrilled if you emailed me, or leave a review on Audible. 

 

***

That’s it for now. Happy reading / listening!

• JT Lawrence •
Author / Playwright / Bookdealer
www.jt-lawrence.com

Why You Were Taken
How We Found You
Grey Magic
Sticky Fingers
The Underachieving Ovary
The Memory of Water
Every Breath You Take
The JT Lawrence Suspense Box Set

PS. Want to make sure you never miss a release? Follow me on Amazon or BookBub.

Slade Harris is Alive! (New to Audible? Grab the FREE audiobook now.)

Dear Readers

 Slade Harris is alive and well, and you can hear his incredible voice now, too, because the audiobook version of ‘The Memory of Water’ is up on Audible / Amazon.

*Warning: You may need to take a cold shower after listening to this one*

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BONUS 1: FREE AUDIOBOOK

(If you are new to Audible, you can get this audiobook FREE by signing up for their free trial. It’s an amazing app — you won’t be sorry!)

 I love how audiobooks are helping me get through my (LARGE) reading pile, because now I can ‘read’ in the car, in queues, and when I’m wrangled into watching Peppa Pig with my kids. 

 

BONUS 2: 99c EBOOK

PS. I’ve priced the ebook at 99c for a limited time to attract some attention, so if you haven’t yet read it you can grab it now!

IN OTHER NEWS

In other news, I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT of ‘What Have We Done’, the third book in the series ‘When Tomorrow Calls’. Now to get down to some serious editing and revision. We’re still on track for an October release.

 

TRY THIS INDIE AUTHOR

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If you enjoyed ‘Why You Were Taken’, you may enjoy Yudhanjaya Wijeratne’s brand new release ‘Numbercaste’. Apart from the beautiful cover, it’s got a solid 5-star rating and some outstanding reviews. Think Dave Eggers (‘The Circle’), but edgier, with a bit of Orwell, and reflected in a Black Mirror. Sound brilliant? It is. You can check it out here.

 

***

That’s it for now. Happy reading / listening!

 

• JT Lawrence •

Author / Playwright / Bookdealer

www.jt-lawrence.com

Why You Were Taken
How We Found You
Grey Magic
Sticky Fingers
The Underachieving Ovary
The Memory of Water
Every Breath You Take
The JT Lawrence Suspense Box Set

 

The Memory of Water (plus a freebie)

Dear Readers

I’m so excited to share this new two-minute sample from my hot-off-the-mic audiobook ‘The Memory of Water’. Click here to listen!
 

Slade Harris will do anything for a story, including murdering the woman he loves. 
 

‘The Memory of Water’ was my debut novel, published by a small indie press in 2011. I’m always nervous to share it because it’s experimental, doesn’t stick to tropes, and it evokes strong reactions in reviewers. That said, it is my most consistent bestseller with over 45,000 downloads, and was my first book to be selected by a fantastic USA audiobook producer.
Whether you love or hate Slade Harris, this book will make you feel something. And now, Slade has a sultry American accent which *ahem* adds a whole new dimension to the story. We’re busy putting the final touches on the audiobook, and I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready to download.

 

PS. The audiobook versions of ‘Why You Were Taken’‘The Underachieving Ovary’ and ‘Sticky Fingers’ are all in production as I write this, so I’ll have news on them soon, too, including some free short stories on audio.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

I’m hard at work getting book 3 in the ‘When Tomorrow Calls’ trilogy ready to launch in October. I’m currently at 75K words and the momentum is building. Kate’s in a world of pain but I know she’s strong enough to fight her way out of it. You’ll get to find out exactly who Zack is and what he was trying to tell Kate at the end of book 2. I can’t wait to share this story with you!

 

DID YOU ENJOY ‘HOW WE FOUND YOU’?

If you read ‘How We Found You’, I’d love it if you’d leave a review on Amazon. It’s doing really well with 52 reviews and a 4.7 star rating, but every additional review helps to get it on new readers’ lists.

FREE SHORT STORY

If you have not yet read my short story ‘She Did It’, you can grab it from Amazon for free. It’s about a detective who relies on his gut (and his hallucinations) to solve an intriguing murder case.

 

TRY THESE INDIE AUTHORS


If you enjoy dark fantasy you may like ‘Child of the Night Guild’ (Queen of Thieves Book 1) by Andy Peloquin.

4.8 star average (70 reviews) 99c

Ruthless criminals are made, not born. Queen of Thieves—an insight into the transformation from innocent child to thief and killer willing to do anything to save the ones she loves.

 

Pamela Crane, author of the multi-award-winning thriller, A Secondhand Life, is back with ‘The Art of Fear’, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins.

4.7 star rating (47 reviews) 99c

A crime no one saw. A suicide no one questioned. A twist no one will predict…as Ari faces her demons and the killer behind them.

Instafreebie Promo: Kick-Ass Women 

If you like your main characters strong, with sass (and female), this free offering is for you. Hope you find something you like!

 

Frank Bowen is a Londoner on holiday in tropical Thailand. Half drunk and strapped for cash, he’s the perfect bait for a political plot that will leave him running for his life, with nowhere to turn.

Meet Jay Tinsiano’s ‘False Flag’
4.2 star rating (20 reviews) FREE


Max Chase has been set up by his own FBI bureau. Now he’s on the run with his wife and 12-year-old son from every security agency in the country. 

4.6 star rating (32 reviews)

Android Assassins (Setup, Book 1) is on sale for a limited time at $2.99.
***

That’s it for now. Happy Reading!

• JT Lawrence •
Author / Playwright / Bookdealer
www.jt-lawrence.com

Why You Were Taken
How We Found You
Grey Magic
Sticky Fingers
The Underachieving Ovary
The Memory of Water
Every Breath You Take
The JT Lawrence Suspense Box Set

PS. Want to make sure you never miss a release? Follow me on Amazon or BookBub.

50,000 Reasons to Celebrate

50,000 Reasons

We’ve got lots to celebrate this month!

 

50,000 must be my lucky number because not only have I reached 50K words in my new manuscript (the third book in the dystopian thriller series ‘When Tomorrow Calls’) but I have officially had over 50K downloads of my books on Amazon.

(I also learnt yesterday that a taser blasts its victim with 50,000 volts. Novel research … it never gets boring.)
50,000 downloads! When I set up my first indie title around this time in 2015 I would never have guessed this possible. I know I must sound like a stuck record but … THANK YOU! I couldn’t do it without you.

Also, thank you to Exclusive Books for their great placement of my latest release. Hey John Grisham! How you doin’?

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

My crazy schedule for the next 18 months includes launching book 3 in the ‘When Tomorrow Calls’ series — ‘What Have We Done’ — in October 2017, writing another 12 short stories before the end of the year, and then in 2018 writing the next four books in the dark comedy / urban fantasy ‘Grey Magic’ series: Earth; Water; Air; Spirit: which I’ll be publishing rapid-release-style towards the end of that year. (Coffee donations welcome.)

 

AUDIOBOOKS

We’re making great progress and at least three of my audiobooks will be available by August. Last week I received the first 15-minute sample of ‘The Memory of Water’ from the producer and I just love Slade Harris’s new American accent. If you have time to listen to it I’d love to know what you think.

 

FREE SHORT STORIES

If you have not yet read my disturbing short story ‘The Itch’ (part of the ‘Sticky Fingers’ collection) you can grab it here for free. I challenge you to read it and not scratch.


Also free at the moment on Amazon is my funny short story ‘Travelling Slacks’about a TripAdvisor review that gets out of hand. I hope it makes you laugh!

 

TRY THESE INDIE AUTHORS


If you enjoy my futuristic thrillers you may also like ‘The Mockingbird Drive’ by A.C. Fuller, which has an outstanding rating on Amazon at 4.8 stars. It’s the third book in the series so you may want to pick up book 1 for 99c first, or the whole series for $10.


Etisalat-award nominated Paula Marais is back with ‘Under the Surface’, an international mystery set against the backdrop of one of the world’s biggest natural catastrophes. Grab it today for only 99c. 

You can also score New York Times bestselling author E.E. Isherwood’s book ‘Sky Dancers’ at 99c for a limited time. As I write this it’s doing really well on Amazon’s Dystopian list … (I’m not envious at all!).
***

That’s it for June. All the best and happy reading!

Janita

• JT Lawrence •
Author / Playwright / Bookdealer
www.jt-lawrence.com

Why You Were Taken
How We Found You
Grey Magic
Sticky Fingers
The Underachieving Ovary
The Memory of Water
Every Breath You Take
The JT Lawrence Suspense Box Set

PS. Want to make sure you never miss a release? Follow me on Amazon or BookBub.

Free Audiobooks

Listen up!

If you’ve never tried audiobooks before,

Audible has a FREE TRIAL where you can download 2 free audiobooks. 

It’s a super simple process to join and the books go straight to your phone, so you can listen any time. I downloaded The Girl With All the Gifts and it’s brilliant! Definitely a great way to get more reading done.

Also available is The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s brilliant dystopian page-turner that’s trending hard due to the new TV series.

Most bestsellers now come in audio, so grab one that you’ve been dying to read and haven’t yet had the time.

My own audiobooks are currently in production and I can’t wait to share them with you. In the mean time, I hope you find the audiobook you are looking for on Audible.

To razing that TBR pile!

Happy listening!

Janita

• JT Lawrence •
Author / Playwright / Bookdealer
www.jt-lawrence.com

Why You Were Taken
How We Found You
Grey Magic
Sticky Fingers
The Underachieving Ovary
The Memory of Water
Every Breath You Take
The JT Lawrence Suspense Box Set

PS. Want to make sure you never miss a release? Follow me on Amazon or BookBub.

WHY YOU WERE TAKEN by JANITA LAWRENCE @pulpbooks

BOOKS FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

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BOOK DESCRIPTION

Jo’burg city is shimmering with a bitterbright tension, the perfect playground for a scarred, creative – and extremely efficient – assassin.

Kirsten is a roaming, restless synaesthete: an awarded photographer with bad habits and a fertility problem. Her life has been defined by what she calls her ‘Black Hole’: a painful hollow feeling where her heart should be.

Seth is a brilliant chemgineer and loyal member of Alba: an underground biopunk Truther organisation that exposes corporate bullies and black clinics. He has the hollow feeling too, but fills it with other things, like the drugs he designs, and women in ridiculous shoes.

Kirsten and Seth don’t know each other, but they seem to be connected; they feel echoes of one another.

At once familiar and bizarre, adorned by litter bunting and broken pavements, South Africa in 2021 is beset by a relentless drought and a fertility crisis. When…

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Best Launch Ever!

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Just a really quick one today to say thank you to everyone who bought a copy of ‘How We Found You’.

Your purchases shot the book up to #44 in category on Amazon’s Best Seller list and it made it to #4 in Amazon’s Hot New Releases! It’s the first time I’ve ever made the list on launch day. It already has 33 reviews and a rating of 4.8 stars out of 5.

To everyone who bought, shared, reviewed and talked about it —

THANK YOU!

If, for some reason, you haven’t bought the book but still want to, today is your last chance to grab it at 99c.

It will be back to full price on Friday.

(For those locals waiting for signed paperbacks — the stock will be here next week!)

Best launch ever! I’m so happy.

I hope the rest of your week treats you well.

Janita

• JT Lawrence •
Author / Playwright / Bookdealer
www.jt-lawrence.com

Why You Were Taken
How We Found You
Grey Magic
Sticky Fingers
The Underachieving Ovary
The Memory of Water

PS. Want to make sure you never miss a release? Follow me on Amazon or BookBub.

They Never Found the Bodies

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How We Found You
Chapter 1:

They Never Found the Bodies

Kate looks up from her holoscreen and blinks hard. How long has she been online? She only meant to look up a recipe for a quick dinner but has fallen into a rabbit hole quilled with xlinks. The open tab leaves all nipping for attention. Animated 4DHD in hypercolour floating before her – or as Seth calls it: Rainbow Crack.

The twins are far too quiet. They must be getting up to something. Defacing the walls with chocolate glitter? Baking their Lego cake in the real oven? Kate sighs, rubs her eyes and lets her warm hands rest on her neck. She pictures the multicoloured plastic blocks sagging through the metal grid. Caramelised Lego lava. She hopes the smell of burning plastic is a figment of her synaesthesia.

“Silver?” she calls. “Mally?”

No answer.

“Silver?”

Part of her wants to pretend she doesn’t notice the quiet. Peace is difficult to come by when you’re the single mother of four-year-old twins. Well, not quite a single mother, and not quite twins. Not quite four years old yet, either, but this is how life is: a series of not-quites and half-broken dreams.

The silence hovers around her like a fresh white cloud (Bleached Bliss).

“Mally?”

She unclips her feet from the pedals and climbs off her cycling desk. The holo leaves wink out, making the silence seem somehow louder. She calls again. “Silver?”

Maybe they’re watching something with their earbuttons in. She checks the games room. An animated film is playing silently on the cinewall, but no eyes are watching it. The bedroom floor is an obstacle course of discarded toys and clothes. She picks up Alba, Silver’s cuddle-bunny, and lays it gently on her pillow. The HappyHammox are empty, although Mally’s is swinging slightly, as if someone has just brushed past it. Kate stops its motion with her hand.

There is a mewling from the corner. She spins around and dread tingles in her stomach. Another sad cry escapes from a heap of teddies and trucks. Kate tip-toes over to the wailing pile and picks her way through it, discovering a Bébébot of Silver’s. Registering that its been picked up, the playbot stops crying and blinks at her.

“Mama,” it says. “Mama.”

The infant’s silicone limbs are warm to the touch. Its lips open and close, looking for its pacifier. Kate has never liked the soft robotics doll. It’s not the toy’s fault; something in her is just revolted by its similarity. Uncanny valley, they call it, when a robot bears a resemblance too striking for comfort.

“Mama,” it says again then roots for something to suck.

Kate turns the doll around, unbuttons the cotton onesie and lifts up the fabric to reveal the switch on its back. A shot of yellow adrenaline spikes her blood. It’s already off.

“Mama.”

Kate almost drops the thing. She toggles the switch on and off again, turns the doll around. It blinks at her.

Faulty wiring. Her heart is hammering. She takes a step and cobalt stars rip into her foot, and looks down to see that she’s stood on a toy Volanter. Curses crowd her head and she shakes them away.

She calls louder now, in a voice that’s not quite hers. “Silver?”

At least we’re in a high-rise. A nice safe apartment instead of a house on a road that can coax the kids away with the promise of adventure. Then again, scores of other people live in the block, and in her experience, people are far more dangerous than roads.

Kate hurries to the front door, checks the locks. Seth promised her that his new Safeguard, state-of-the-art security system is “bullet-proof” but she made him install some old-fashioned locks just in case. She doesn’t trust a retina scanner. Tech is wonderful until it stops working. She won’t settle for anything less than an old-school door chain, a deadbolt and panic hardware. Her synaesthesia interprets the sounds of the mechanisms locking as reassuring blocks of grey stacked on top of each other. Click, click, click. Not that it helps her sleep at night.

“Kids? Where are you?”

She scans the lounge, the kitchen, the study, the kids’ bathroom.

“Don’t panic,” she says, but the shooting neon yellow is back.

She checks Seth’s room, her bedroom, her bathroom. The shower door is closed. Did she close it? Is there something behind the frosted glass? A shadow? Her breath catches, heart-in-throat. Kate reaches for the retraction button, but hesitates. Her outstretched fingers tremble.

They never found the bodies.

Shut up. Just shut up.

She could fetch her gun from the safe in her bedroom cupboard but decides against it. Kate presses the retraction button and the superglass partition slides into the wall to reveal an empty cubicle of porcelain tiles.

A spray of relief that the shower is intruder-free. Terror that the twins aren’t in it.

Interwoven with the ribbons of fear is the scent of almond soap. Bad thoughts swarm Kate’s brain. She tries to keep them out but there are too many of them – in her head and in her throat, threatening to cut off her oxygen.

It’s happened again, the voices in her head say. Just like you knew it would.

“Shut up.”

The cold mist of fear rustles on her skin.

They’re gone. They’ve been taken.

• JT Lawrence •
Author / Playwright / Bookdealer
www.jt-lawrence.com

Why You Were Taken
How We Found You
Grey Magic
Sticky Fingers
The Underachieving Ovary
The Memory of Water

Cover reveal — ‘How We Found You’

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Hello readers! ‘How We Found You’ (the sequel to ‘Why You Were Taken’) is now available to pre-order on Amazon.

Here is the blurb:

Would you sacrifice your son to save your daughter?

There’s something different about Kate’s four-year-old son. He wasn’t created the old fashioned way. Now a violent cult wants him dead and Kate will do anything to protect him – until they take her daughter.

 

PRE-ORDER DETAILS

EBOOK

The pre-order is full price ($3.99) but if you wait till the 19th of May I’ll be running a week-long 99c promo to get it to climb the Amazon charts and gain visibility. As a member of this list you have the inside track, so if you’d like to grab the 99c deal you know what to do!

 

PAPERBACK

If you prefer a signed paperback (R248), you can pre-order directly from me. We deliver door-to-door to all major cities for just R39. Order 2 or more for a 20% discount and free delivery.

Alternatively you can get it from Exclusive Books, Skoobs, Love Books, and other local bookstores (RRP R268).

(If you live outside of South Africa, you’ll be able to order the paperback as a POD from Amazon or any major retailer as soon as it goes live.)

 

That’s it for now! I wish you a fantastic week.

Keep well, and happy reading!

Janita