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Archive for the ‘Competitions’ Category

Win “Teach Yourself” Books by Tweeting: Competition Ends this Friday, so Hurry!

Teach Yourself Everything

Teach Yourself Complete ZuluTeach Yourself Complete ZuluThe well-known Teach Yourself book series ranges a variety a titles and interests, such as Teach Yourself Zulu and Teach Yourself: Understand Psychology. In order to help you stick to your New Years resolutions, Pan Macmillan is holding a Teach Yourself Resolutions 2011 Competition, where you can win a Teach Yourself book hamper with titles that will help you in losing weight and learning a third language.

In order to enter win the competition, send in your New Years resolutions to Pan Macmillan’s Facebook page, or tweet to @PanMacmillanSA on Twitter, and don’t forget the hashtag #TYResolutions. The competition ends on the 4th of February, so get Facebooking and Tweeting soon.

How well have you stuck to your 2011 resolutions? Not that well? Good, but want to do even better? Pan Macmillan is here to help. All week we will be giving you tips on how you can lose that weight, learn a third language and maintain a healthy balance. All you need to do is tell us one of your resolutions and if you have managed to stick with it so far. There are three hampers of Teach Yourself books to help you succeed.

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Tweet! Win a Copy of Nechama Brodie’s Inside Joburg

Inside JoburgStand a chance to win a copy of Nechama Brodie‘s Inside Joburg by visiting Pan Macmillan’s Facebook Page and leaving a comment on your favourite place in Joburg, or by tweeting your favourite Joburg destination with the hashtag #InsideJoburg. Go, Go Go!

 

 

Here are tweets from those who’ve entered so far…


 

…and here are some of our own tweets about Joburg’s hot spots taken from Brodie’s book. Call it a mini #InsideJoburg Twitter guide!


Did you Know: In the 1950s, Nelson Mandela lunched daily (Meal: Mince Curry) at Kapitan’s restaurant on Kort Street, near his law offices.less than a minute ago via Facebook


Did you know: Johannesburg covers a geographical area slightly larger than that of Greater London – some 1644 km2,… http://fb.me/IGffLZUzless than a minute ago via Facebook


recommends the sinful Bundt cakes, mini lemon meringues & Brioches at Moemas http://bit.ly/dSvdLxless than a minute ago via TweetDeck


The Best of Joburg: Bean There-have a cup on the premises together with a small snack or pastry… http://bit.ly/jdIhpless than a minute ago via TweetDeck


A day out with the Family visit the National Museum of Military History! @brodiegal http://bit.ly/gyLaKlless than a minute ago via TweetDeck


Museum Africa (121 Bree Street) houses an astonishing collection of Africana, historical images and artefacts @brodiegalless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

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E-reader Competition Special: Excerpts from Mushy Peas on Toast and The Thirtieth Candle

Mushy Peas on ToastThe Thirtieth CandleWin an e-reader and a hamper of ebooks with Pan Macmillan and Marie Claire! Click here for the details on how to enter – and read on for excerpts from two of the books that you can win.

~ ~ ~

Mushy Peas on Toast follows the trail of a typical Jo’burg gal – Peas – who works hard and plays hard. Life is going well until she breaks up with her long-term boyfriend, and with the help of her extravagant Italian flatmate, begins a journey of self-discovery:

Back on the wagon

I am back in the dating game. After just a month. This has taken even me by surprise. I officially got lucky on Saturday – smooch lucky. With a guy called Hansel. Handsome Hansel is Austrian. It happened in a dark corner of Manhattan, a place for drunk, single people.

If he’s sensible, he won’t phone me again. But it’s all right if he isn’t sensible, I feel like a little roll in the hay, actually. I miss intimacy and am sick of hugging a bottle in order to find some. However, a month on from our unofficial divorce, I have hit my first getting-over-Anthony obstacle. He’s going on a date with someone from his bloody polo club. Apparently, as Bennet claims, but I take this information with a pinch of salt, she has a moustache.

So I’m not going to blow the fireworks they potentially have out of proportion. Plus she swings a polo mallet around. A moustached mallet-swinging bird. I will not panic.

It does, however, feel like I’ve been impaled in the stomach with a blunt instrument. When I first heard the news, I couldn’t breathe for an hour. My colleague Dierdra had to take me to the Radium Beer Hall during lunch for a double gin and tonic. Needless to say, after another two gins, I started breathing normally again.

It sorted me out because I’m reeling with resentment. I will now date with a vengeance. Guilt-free. I worried for a brief second that Anthony would feel hurt that I’m already dating, but if he’s out on the prowl then I’d better get out there too – even if I’m not quite ready. There’s no way he’s allowed to move on before I do. That is way too humiliating. Last night I went out with Austrian Hansel to prove to myself that I’m now really on the market.

~ ~ ~

In The Thirtieth Candle, thirtieth birthdays loom… Skeletons come creeping out of closets… How will this birthday end? Linda has just cast off yet another lover, while Dikeledi can’t seem to pin her fast-talking lawyer down to talk about marriage. Nolwazi has a secret – one she can’t share, even with her closest friends, while Sade has found the perfect man, and a new life that will shut out the horrors of her past forever. Or will it?

Linda was the first to arrive. She parked beneath the carport next to Sade’s Mini Cooper, and grabbed her cellphone to check on Nolwazi and Dikeledi. To her distress, Nolwazi’s phone was still off.

It was already six thirty. Was she with her secret lover? Linda hoped not. The man sounded like pure poison. There was a lot about Nolwazi’s relationship with him that Linda did not understand, especially the fact that he was a secret in the first place. Linda was very bad at keeping secrets, but she had promised Nolwazi never to mention the man to Sade or Dikeledi. The sheer effort of it made her want to gag.

She tried Dikeledi, who confirmed that she was on her way. As Linda walked up to the front door of Sade’s classy, modern cluster, the door opened before she knocked.
“Hi, girl. Looking good,” said Sade, offering Linda a warm hug.

“Thanks, you too. This whole engagement thing agrees with you.”

As Linda made herself comfortable on one of Sade’s cream leather ottomans, she noticed that Sade had changed her curtains. In place of her old, standard white linen curtains she had fitted glorious designer curtains made with a mixture of creamy organza and toffee-brown taffeta material. The results were quite impressive. The house looked elegant from every angle. Sade had always had good taste, and now, with the new job, she seemed to have launched into a serious style offensive.

“Your home looks really great, Sade. Do you have some Chardonnay while we wait for the girls?”

“Oh, wine is something that I don’t stock these days. Winston is not much of an alcohol person.”
“Well … yes, but you are.”

Sade pursed her red lips. “Ja, but … you know how it is in a relationship sometimes.”

“What? Are you pretending to be something you’re not?” asked Linda.

“Hey, wena. You’re always jumping to conclusions. Let’s go to Woolies quickly and grab some wine without an interrogation please.”

“Now you’re talking.”

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Win an eReader and eBooks for Summer Reading with Pan Macmillan and Marie Claire

It’s time to unwind. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting lost in a captivating book. Be it at the beach, beside the pool, or wrapped up at home this holiday, don’t miss out on your chance to win some spellbinding holiday reads and an eReader with Marie Claire.

The ebooks hamper from Pan Macmillan will include these great reads:

Emperor Can WaitMushy Peas on ToastMy Brother's BookOn the Other Side of ShameSummer of the BeesThe Thirtieth Candle

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Justin Germishuys’ The Discoveries of Wispish Wins the 2010 Citizen Book Prize

Citizen Book Prize 2010 Winner

Citizen Book PrizePan Macmillan and CitiVibe are delighted to announce the winner of this year’s Citizen Book Prize, held for teen-fiction manuscripts: Justin Germishuys, for his synopsis on his manuscript, The Discoveries of Wispish.

Justin is a 27-year-old bookseller at Exclusive Books Woodlands. His favourite authors are PG Wodehouse and John Steinbeck. Justin says, “I have enjoyed creating things. Sculpting, drawing, inventing amazing contraptions that don’t work, I’ve done them all, but writing is by far my favourite, because in writing everything that I imagine exists. Even dragons.”

He receives R10 000 from The Citizen, and review of his manuscript, with the possibility of publication, by Macmillan South Africa. Congratulations to Justin!

The runner-up this year was Nic Zav for The Altar of the Spirit Thief. Here are the two synopses:

The Discoveries of Wispish by Justin Germishuys

For five hundred years, a family of four dragons has been living in exile in an underground system of caves.

Manvreet, his mate Doris, their son Lester, and Grandpa are all sitting around a rock table when Doris calls Manvreet aside to express her concerns that cave life is stifling Lester’s development. She asks Manvreet to consider returning to the topside world. Manvreet agrees to think about it, but he is afraid of the unknown dangers outside.

The next morning, Manvreet saves an unusual human named William Wispish from drowning in the underground river. William is possibly the only survivor of a team of four cave explorers. Manvreet realises he can find out more about the outside world from this man. So, to Doris’s annoyance, Manvreet decides, in the hopes of establishing a bond and getting information, to take William on a tour of the caves. Lester begs to go along, but when Manvreet denies him, he storms off on his own, blaming William.

On the tour, The Chariot, a box carried by rats, breaks down alongside the underground river. After William has a near-death experience with a catfish, the two males have a snack and William tells Manvreet how the world has changed. Suddenly, a dire rat attacks William, but just before it’s too late, Manvreet rescues him.

That night, a wounded William joins the dragons, excluding Lester, at the Main Chamber for a dinner of dire rats. There he learns some of the story behind the dragons’ exile. He also finds out that, in the morning, because of his wound, he will be staying alone with Doris, who hates him, while Manvreet attends to some chores.

Being alone with Doris is scary, which results in William’s needing to use the dragon’s very large toilet. William almost falls in, but Doris catches him, after which their relationship improves so much that Doris confides in him about her relationship problems with Manvreet. William decides to intervene with cosmetology and dance. The couple reconcile and decide they need time alone, so they cunningly convince Grandpa to take William to the tannery.

During the tannery adventure, William endears himself to the gruff and grouchy Grandpa, loses three priceless jewels, finds evidence that his teammates could still be alive and, most importantly, makes leather pants to replace his pair that was torn when he was attacked by the dire rat.

Later, when everyone is asleep, Lester tries to abduct William but fails. Manvreet insists they go looking for Lester to get an explanation. To William’s surprise, Manvreet abandons him in the middle of nowhere, and Lester finally captures him and takes him to his den. There, William finds Maggie, his teammate, very much alive in Lester’s care.

Manvreet, who secretly followed Lester to his den, eavesdrops and hears Lester explain to William how he doesn’t want to leave the caves. To decide finally if they should stay or go, Manvreet challenges Lester to a showdown. Manvreet wins. They have to leave.

~ ~ ~

The Altar of the Spirit Thief by Nico Zaverdinos

Deep in the heart of Zululand, Sarah Stevenson stumbles across a diamond embedded in a mysterious cave, and thinks she has found the answer to all her problems. But instead she and Bongani Ndladla, who that very same night is orphaned in a freakish attack and with whom she shares a strange magic, are drawn into an age-old and bitter war.

Pursued by a mysterious shape-shifting man who is able to transfigure ordinary people into homicidal zombie-like ghouls, the two teens flee to a ramshackle hotel near Greytown. There they find themselves in the midst of an eccentric group of people calling themselves the Children of Orford. The leader of this motley gang, the amiable Baba Ali, tells them the ancient story of the war being waged, and the part that Bongani and Sarah are to play in it. And he teaches them how to unlock the magic lurking in their bloodlines, while they in turn discover another phenomenon – they literally share each other’s dreams.

But can these people be trusted? Sarah has misgivings and decides they must leave. She drags Bongani off into the night and into immediate danger. They are attacked by a gruesome swarm of tokoloshes, controlled by their erstwhile shape-shifting adversary. Fortunately, Ali and his friends catch wind of the attack and Bongani and Sarah are rescued, and afforded the chance to test their new magic abilities.
Bongani and Sarah are moved to Durban, where they meet up with an expert on the mystery magic, Ignatius Chinsammy – a veteran of the ancient war, now forever fettered to a wheelchair. Ignatius has discovered that the Children of Orford’s mortal enemy is set to uncover an artefact that will grant them absolute supremacy in the war. He sends our two heroes to retrieve it, but they fail in their quest and in the process Sarah realises that her birthright – unlike the pureblood Bongani – is that of the enemy they have been fighting – she is a child of the people she has come to hate. Fleeing her fate, she again places Bongani in peril and it is only through the quick thinking of Ignatius that he is saved.

Danger pursues them southwards and Sarah discovers first-hand how terrifying a perversely possessed mob can be. They are rescued from sure death by a kindly but bumbling police officer – another warrior in the primeval war – who takes them to a farm in Underberg. It is here that they meet the oracle Ouma Shipton, a woman who pervades their shared dreamscape. But battle soon looms and the two are whisked away to the Wild Coast for a final showdown with their adversaries.

In an almighty contest between these two factions, Sarah reconciles herself to the fact that she carries within her the blood of the enemy, and Bongani learns his true destiny. Our heroes fight for their lives to conquer all the terrors that have pursued them across the country. Except one … the shape-shifter is still on their trail.


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Just Four Days Left to Vote for the Citizen Book Prize!

Four Days Left to Vote in the Citizen Book Prize!


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2010 Citizen Book Prize: Shortlisted Synopses and Voting!

Citizen Book PrizeVoting for the 2010 Citizen Book Prize winner is officially open! Read through the eight synopses below, choose your favourite and voice your opinion at the voting station at the bottom of this post. Or click here to vote at the poll’s homepage.

The winner of the 2010 Citizen Book Prize – held this year for first-time, unpublished teen fiction – receives R10 000, ongoing publicity in CitiVibe, and consideration for publication by Macmillan South Africa.

Here are the synopses of the eight shortlisted manuscripts, followed by the Citizen Book Prize voting station:

Ben Croft and the Secret of the War Witch by Mohammed Fakir

Ben Croft thinks he is just another ordinary 17-year-old high school student who is struggling to adjust to his new school and neighbourhood. That is until he uncovers a deadly secret that has been dormant for almost 328 years. Gifted by ‘Chance’ he soon discovers that he is a very powerful magician with extraordinary powers. Chosen by ‘Fate’ he realises that his destiny is to free the world from black magic and to avenge the death of his parents who were murdered in a car accident by an evil witch. However, it will not be easy. To truly combat the forces of darkness, he will need to destroy the source of all wickedness – an extremely powerful witch called Malevolence!

Malevolence, however, is well equipped with armies of black magicians at her disposal. Ben will not be able to vanquish her until he has destroyed each of her six sisters, each of whom has control over their own continent wherein they reside. Each of them possesses a ruby, pieces of a powerful red diamond that, when reunited, will be capable of destroying Malevolence once and for all. Ben will only be able to acquire the rubies upon slaying each witch. As witches do not reveal themselves to ordinary humans, acquiring the rubies is his only hope of identifying the evil sisters of Malevolence.

After a series of strange dreams, Ben realises that there is a connection between the real world and the dream world. He undertakes a perilous journey to the Forbidden Cave at the top of Death Mountain. His whole life changes when he meets Dominico, an ancient magician trapped in the Book of Portals. Armed with the Book of Portals and Dominico’s magical staff, he sets out to destroy the first witch responsible for all the chaos and misfortune on the continent of Europe. An almost unbreakable bond is formed between Ben and Dominico as they set out on their quest to restore the world to its natural order, free from the interference of witchcraft and the manipulation of black magic – hopefully a lasting end to misery and suffering!

By destroying the first witch, Ben will have the allegiance of all other mystical beings and magical creatures around the world that are all fighting on the side of good. They will recognise him as their saviour and leader. Finally, they will put their differences aside and unite to destroy tyranny and oppression at the hands of the common enemy – Malevolence and her evil regime.

A cauldron of trouble is simmering and the magical ingredients have been added: a jug of fear, a bottle of courage, a scoop of sarcasm, a hint of humour and a jar of bloodshed. Stir briskly and leave to cool. Sip slowly near a warm crackling fire. And there you have it!

A war is brewing. Ladies and gentleman … take your seats!

~ ~ ~

The Discoveries of Wispish by Justin Germishuys

For five hundred years, a family of four dragons has been living in exile in an underground system of caves.

Manvreet, his mate Doris, their son Lester, and Grandpa are all sitting around a rock table when Doris calls Manvreet aside to express her concerns that cave life is stifling Lester’s development. She asks Manvreet to consider returning to the topside world. Manvreet agrees to think about it, but he is afraid of the unknown dangers outside.

The next morning, Manvreet saves an unusual human named William Wispish from drowning in the underground river. William is possibly the only survivor of a team of four cave explorers. Manvreet realises he can find out more about the outside world from this man. So, to Doris’s annoyance, Manvreet decides, in the hopes of establishing a bond and getting information, to take William on a tour of the caves. Lester begs to go along, but when Manvreet denies him, he storms off on his own, blaming William.

On the tour, The Chariot, a box carried by rats, breaks down alongside the underground river. After William has a near-death experience with a catfish, the two males have a snack and William tells Manvreet how the world has changed. Suddenly, a dire rat attacks William, but just before it’s too late, Manvreet rescues him.

That night, a wounded William joins the dragons, excluding Lester, at the Main Chamber for a dinner of dire rats. There he learns some of the story behind the dragons’ exile. He also finds out that, in the morning, because of his wound, he will be staying alone with Doris, who hates him, while Manvreet attends to some chores.

Being alone with Doris is scary, which results in William’s needing to use the dragon’s very large toilet. William almost falls in, but Doris catches him, after which their relationship improves so much that Doris confides in him about her relationship problems with Manvreet. William decides to intervene with cosmetology and dance. The couple reconcile and decide they need time alone, so they cunningly convince Grandpa to take William to the tannery.

During the tannery adventure, William endears himself to the gruff and grouchy Grandpa, loses three priceless jewels, finds evidence that his teammates could still be alive and, most importantly, makes leather pants to replace his pair that was torn when he was attacked by the dire rat.

Later, when everyone is asleep, Lester tries to abduct William but fails. Manvreet insists they go looking for Lester to get an explanation. To William’s surprise, Manvreet abandons him in the middle of nowhere, and Lester finally captures him and takes him to his den. There, William finds Maggie, his teammate, very much alive in Lester’s care.

Manvreet, who secretly followed Lester to his den, eavesdrops and hears Lester explain to William how he doesn’t want to leave the caves. To decide finally if they should stay or go, Manvreet challenges Lester to a showdown. Manvreet wins. They have to leave.

~ ~ ~

Secret Keepers by Luc Haasbroek

Ben Bolt is just an ordinary Durban boy – until the annual Bolt family reunion, that is. Relatives fly in from all corners of the world, but things are not right.

There are rifts in the family and secrets are thick in the air like braai smoke. Uncle Berald seems very edgy and suspicious, and when Ben’s grandmother, Ezmay, has a heated argument with his mother about a fairytale she’d told them, Ben begins to wonder what is really going on. What is his mother hiding? What is Uncle Berald so nervous about? Can Grandma Ezmay’s stories be taken seriously?

Ben’s only escape from the family dramas is his nightly strolls through the city. It is on one of these walks that he comes across two teenagers, George Edison and Winry Bright. They are seemingly unconnected people living ordinary lives on very different sides of the spectrum, but their stories collide under extraordinary circumstances. They meet at the scene of a terrible animal attack. And it is there – in that inconspicuous Durban alley – that the world’s best kept secret is revealed.

Uncle Berald turns out to be part of the Seekers, a secret organisation that exists on the thin line between reality and myth. For the last two thousand years the Seekers have guarded the greatest secret of all – the existence of vampires and werewolves.

As the world of the Seekers is gradually revealed to Ben, he realises that there is a lot more to reality than meets the eye. He is sent to Aeuxistrimm Academy of the Super-Gifted, the secret school where Seekers are trained. Between having lessons with Martians and vampires, riding Pegasus and sword training, the mysterious Society of Secret Keepers – the dark twin of the Seekers – is rising. The Society’s leader, the ex-principal of the Seekers’ academy, Virgil Angel, seems to have a secret agenda. For reasons unknown to the Seekers, the Society awakens the most ancient and feared werewolf of all time, Anubis.

Ben finds himself swept up in Angel’s scheme, and he becomes part of an epic adventure that will rock the very foundations of our world.

~ ~ ~

Sedgewood Boys by Luc Haasbroek

What can run but never walks? What has a mouth but never talks? What has a bed but never sleeps? What has a head but never weeps?

Nathan Walker is a boy with a love for riddles.

He lives an average life at a Durban North children’s home, until he wins a scholarship to Sedgewood Boys’ College.

Nathan tells us the story of his breath-taking first year of high school, one of laughter and tears, romance and friendship. From the tyranny of the prefects to the madness of his dormitory (a place where there are only three kinds of people – those who can do Maths well and those who can’t) Sedgewood is a place Nathan both loves and hates. But things are not quite as they seem.

It is revealed that the boarding school is owned by the South African military and has a dual function – educating young minds and training South African Secret Service agents.

As Nathan finds out, the South African Secret Service is a far cry from MI6 or the CIA. He is thrown into the world of South African espionage, a murky place traversed by few.

Nathan attempts to juggle English and Espionage, girlfriends and guns, cricket and code-breaking.

All the while, tension in the country is mounting. A large portion of land has been evacuated and fenced off, and the public wants to know why. Corruption and lies are rife and political unrest is rearing its ugly head. But far away from the dramas of parliament Nathan is nervous. He’s been given his first mission – to infiltrate and bring down a gang that has been terrorising a part of KwaZulu-Natal nicknamed ‘Savage Land’.

The mission goes routinely, until Nathan makes an unthinkable discovery. One that will make us think twice about how well we know our government and prove once and for all that we are not alone.

For the first time these events have been declassified and the public will know the truth.

~ ~ ~

Mystery at Ocean Drive by Janet Hurst-Nicholson

Everyone experiences a gut instinct that tells them when something is wrong. Jason Hunter has been mistaken more than once – but this time the feeling is overwhelming.

Jason is delivering newspapers on his motorbike when a Mercedes sweeps out of a driveway in front of him. He loses control of his scrambler and almost ends up under the car’s wheels. An attractive teenage girl leaps out to ask if he is hurt, but before Jason can reply the girl is bundled back into the Mercedes and driven off.

Jason’s instincts tell him that the girl is in trouble.

The following day when he delivers the newspaper he sees her in an upstairs window, but when he rings the bell and asks to speak to her he is told that there is no young girl living there. Why?

He goes to the police with his suspicions, but they inform him that 69 Ocean Drive is the Argentinean Embassy and they do not have jurisdiction.

Jason is not about to give up and he enlists the reluctant help of his friends, Marc and David. Together they make a daring attempt to learn the girl’s identity by using Jason’s radio-control helicopter to drop off a two-way radio to her, just managing to evade the clutches of the two burly men who seem to be guarding her.

Jason discovers that the girl’s name is Tessa and she is being held hostage by her uncle who is forcing the girl’s mother, a flying instructor, to fly in a cargo of drugs under cover of the Cross-Africa Air Race.

Jason has to make a plan – fast – to rescue Tessa and expose the drug smuggling. Using his unsuspecting sister’s catering business as a front, Jason smuggles Tessa out of the embassy while a party is underway.

But when they reach the airport no one believes their story.

In a desperate attempt to get the authorities to take them seriously they steal a plane from outside a hangar. Tessa is at the controls, but it is only when they are airborne that they discover, to their horror, why the plane was standing outside the hangar.

~ ~ ~

The House of Scarecrows by Domenico Pisanti

This is a story of ordinary problems juxtaposed with unusual (supernatural) ones. It’s about the marginal children; the different kids who, because they stand out, are ridiculed and bullied, not only by their peers, but who are also punished for their uniqueness by the adults in charge. But it is specifically because of their differences that they’re able to see that something is starting to go very wrong in the small town of Little Starkey.

Little Starkey lies on the way to anywhere. It’s a town of church steeples, a festival of lights, and nasty little nooks. Seen through the eyes of three very exceptional, but persecuted children, strange events begin happening that no one seems to be able to explain. There’s a scarecrow tied to the school pole, the death of the school librarian, the strange suburb of New Anglica and, of course, Torin, Diana and Scruffy have to figure out why Scruffy keeps losing his Thursdays. And what connection does Torin’s mom have to Diana’s mother? Who is the mysterious hobo who seems to know things, and who takes the three children to a strange house that looks like half a ship buried in the hillside?

This is the start of an epic adventure during which the protagonists learn about their heritage, the power of science and magic, and the enemies who hide in the shadows. They discover what Baxter Feathers and his enterprise are up to, and exactly what they are mining at Lake Tao. They even start to understand that there are watchers and enemies in the shadows who are directing Baxter Feathers over his dark purpose as he reports to the mysterious Mr Wu. They meet the assassin creature known as Tick Tock, and try to discover why it’s hunting Torin.

The story also answers the question of why left-handed children are punished in such a severe and inhumane manner, and what the wind chimes around Torin’s mother’s mansion sway to if not the wind (what warning are they foretelling?). We meet John Feathers, the bully who has made it his life’s mission to persecute the three friends, even though his fate is tied to them.

As things start to unravel in Little Starkey, metal and silver begin to melt. The school principal who talks to his dead mother in the attic reveals his own secret, the town librarian knows she is next on the death list, and the Ladies in Waiting appear to assist the children. The Nasty Little Nooks start to appear like cocoons all around Little Starkey, heralding the coming of the scarecrows …

A battle is about to begin, its fate is dependent on the fates of three children, each with an ability that they have to learn.

~ ~ ~

Wee Monk’s Tale: The Secret of Immortality by René van Zyl

A MYSTERY, A QUEST, A COUPLE OF GUTSY TEENAGERS AGAINST ALL ODDS

795 AD: A time of superstitious beliefs and dangerous forces. When Viking marauders burn the monastery on the Scottish Island, Iona, the orphaned Shaughn (14) is forced to flee the only home he ever knew in a desperate attempt to save a precious Altar Bible. Not willing to be left behind, his cripple step-brother Connor (14), with grand illusions of becoming a knight, and Heather (13), a superstitious, street-wise gypsy girl, accompany him on the adventure of a lifetime.

Hot on the heels of the relic follows the fierce Viking, Thorvald, who is convinced that the Altar Bible contains a secret recipe (a potion for eternal life). The escaping teenagers are cast into every imaginable medieval drama, from a bewitched castle to an encounter with a nasty Druid and even weird Viking Tournament Things.

Shaughn, who passes the time reading Latin (a super-weird hobby for even a medieval teenager!) is clearly not equipped for this mission. Meanwhile, the cynical Connor, who harbours aspirations of becoming a famous knight, notwithstanding a lame foot and serious lack of valour, appoints himself bodyguard to Shaughn. But the brothers can barely stay on top of the spirited horse they fled on!

Their only hope lies in the quarrelsome Heather. Half Spanish and severely traumatised by the abuse she suffered at the hands of her step-parents, her single wish is to find her mother who, according to her, was abducted by fairies when Heather was six years old. Skilled as an archer, she saves the naive boys from various predicaments but her superstitious nature soon drives them crazy. Shaughn, who is focused on his mission, is determined to educate her, while Connor finds it hard not to believe all her weird superstitions.

As if it isn’t enough that they are being harassed by a group of Vikings and their nasty offspring, an ‘undercover’ witch, the teenagers also have to deal with Heather’s drunken step-father (an ex-communicated monk who wants the Altar Bible’s bejewelled cover), the midget Druid and his ogre-like twin brothers who plan to sacrifice the kids on the night of the all-dead, and an eccentric Pilgrim who appears and disappears like a ghost. Their greatest enemy, however, might just be their own insecurities.

Through this journey of outsmarting medieval foes, the bickering children, barely equipped to deal with the threatening choices of real life, touch the lives of many hurt and lost people and also find real friendship. The journey teaches them to trust God unconditionally and to find the heroes inside themselves.

A note on the Altar Bible:

Fact: The Gospel of Colmcille is considered the most important treasure contained in the Trinity College Museum, Dublin. During the Viking raids on Iona in 795, the Bible disappeared and mysteriously reappeared at the monastery of Kells. How it ended up there nobody knows …

Fiction: Well, maybe three canny teenagers rescued it!

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The Altar of the Spirit Thief by Nico Zaverdinos

Deep in the heart of Zululand, Sarah Stevenson stumbles across a diamond embedded in a mysterious cave, and thinks she has found the answer to all her problems. But instead she and Bongani Ndladla, who that very same night is orphaned in a freakish attack and with whom she shares a strange magic, are drawn into an age-old and bitter war.

Pursued by a mysterious shape-shifting man who is able to transfigure ordinary people into homicidal zombie-like ghouls, the two teens flee to a ramshackle hotel near Greytown. There they find themselves in the midst of an eccentric group of people calling themselves the Children of Orford. The leader of this motley gang, the amiable Baba Ali, tells them the ancient story of the war being waged, and the part that Bongani and Sarah are to play in it. And he teaches them how to unlock the magic lurking in their bloodlines, while they in turn discover another phenomenon – they literally share each other’s dreams.

But can these people be trusted? Sarah has misgivings and decides they must leave. She drags Bongani off into the night and into immediate danger. They are attacked by a gruesome swarm of tokoloshes, controlled by their erstwhile shape-shifting adversary. Fortunately, Ali and his friends catch wind of the attack and Bongani and Sarah are rescued, and afforded the chance to test their new magic abilities.

Bongani and Sarah are moved to Durban, where they meet up with an expert on the mystery magic, Ignatius Chinsammy – a veteran of the ancient war, now forever fettered to a wheelchair. Ignatius has discovered that the Children of Orford’s mortal enemy is set to uncover an artefact that will grant them absolute supremacy in the war. He sends our two heroes to retrieve it, but they fail in their quest and in the process Sarah realises that her birthright – unlike the pureblood Bongani – is that of the enemy they have been fighting – she is a child of the people she has come to hate. Fleeing her fate, she again places Bongani in peril and it is only through the quick thinking of Ignatius that he is saved.

Danger pursues them southwards and Sarah discovers first-hand how terrifying a perversely possessed mob can be. They are rescued from sure death by a kindly but bumbling police officer – another warrior in the primeval war – who takes them to a farm in Underberg. It is here that they meet the oracle Ouma Shipton, a woman who pervades their shared dreamscape. But battle soon looms and the two are whisked away to the Wild Coast for a final showdown with their adversaries.

In an almighty contest between these two factions, Sarah reconciles herself to the fact that she carries within her the blood of the enemy, and Bongani learns his true destiny. Our heroes fight for their lives to conquer all the terrors that have pursued them across the country. Except one … the shape-shifter is still on their trail.

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2010 Citizen Book Prize Voting Station

Choose one of the synopses and click “Vote” to make your voice heard! (Flash required to view poll on this page; see link below if you don’t have Flash enabled.) One vote per person, please!

 

Voting closes at 9am on Monday, 30 August. Best of luck to all shortlistees!

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Citizen Book Prize Voting Announcement


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Win a Signed Copy of Jay Naidoo’s Fighting for Justice

The Just Cause

Fighting for JusticeTo stand a chance of winning one of 10 signed copies of Jay Naidoo’s Fighting for Justice, simply visit the Facebook page linked to via the image above and click the “Like” button. You’ll automatically be entered into the draw!

Book details


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2010 Citizen Book Prize: Submission Rules and Guidelines

Macmillan
The Citizen

Are you ready? The submission rules for the 2010 Citizen Book Prize – the only book prize to be decided by the voting public – have been finalized, and you have until 31 May to send in your youth novel/teen fiction synopsis, along with three chapters and a covering letter, to stand a chance to win the R10 000 first prize.

The complete guidelines are available below (click here to read and download if the document does not load). Here are the most important points to take into consideration:

The Rules

  • Only teen fiction and non-fiction will be accepted for The Citizen Book Prize 2010.
  • Submissions by adults are welcome, but all submissions will be stringently judged on their appeal to, accessibility for and targeting of, a teen audience.
  • All submissions should be typed and available electronically if requested; no handwritten submissions will be accepted.
  • Please make sure to keep a copy of your submission – we cannot be held responsible for a manuscript that goes missing in the post.
  • Please ensure that the pages are numbered consecutively.

What to submit

  • A synopsis of no more than 500 words. The public will vote based on a shortlist of ten synopses published in CitiVibe and on book.co.za, so this synopsis is crucial in winning voters for your submission. A well-crafted synopsis outlines the major plot points of the story, but importantly, it is interesting to read. It should tell the story in a captivating way.
  • Three chapters of your masterpiece. Submissions will not be valid unless they are accompanied by three selected chapters (these can be chronological, or selected, jumbled chapters). Submissions accompanied by entire manuscripts will also not be accepted. These chapters will showcase the brilliance of your work to the judges. We are on the hunt for beautifully crafted stories that will appeal to a teen audience.
  • A simple covering letter. A brief covering letter or email should accompany your submission. Please keep this to the point, with a few brief lines, a paragraph at most, motivating your submission, rounded off with all of your contact details to allow us to be in touch with you.
  • Poorly presented entries are difficult to process. Please adhere closely to the above guidelines – if your entry doesn’t make sense it will be disregarded.

How and when to submit

  • By email to: bookprize@citizen.co.za
  • Hard copies should be posted to: The Citizen Book Prize, Publishing Department, Pan Macmillan, Private Bag X19, Northlands, 2116. No hard copies delivered to Pan Macmillan’s offices will be accepted.

Deadlines

  • Submissions will be accepted from April 1 to May 31.
  • Authors may submit as many manuscripts as they like.

The Prize

  • The winner of the 2010 Citizen Book Prize will receive R10 000 in cash from The Citizen, as well as ongoing publicity in CitiVibe: interviews, reviews, updates, etc.
  • In addition, the winner will have the manuscript published and marketed by Macmillan, provided it is up to the standard demanded by the publisher. Please note: winning does not guarantee publication.
  • If Macmillan make the decision to not publish the winning manuscript, they will undertake to sponsor a writing course worth R5 000 for the author concerned.

Hone your writing skills; do your research – read as much famous teen fiction and non-fiction as you can; have friends or colleagues edit your submissions … You don’t want to miss out on your chance of being published and winning a prize, with The Citizen Book Prize 2010 for teen fiction and non-fiction – the only book prize decided by the voting public!

Further submission guidelines here:

Submission Guidelines for the Citizen Book Prize 2010


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The New-Look Citizen Book Prize: Teen Fiction and Non-Fiction in the Spotlight

Macmillan
The Citizen

Pan Macmillan, in association with The Citizen newspaper, is pleased to announce preliminary details for the 2010 Citizen Book Prize, which has a new focus on works for teens.

From The Citizen:

The global phenomenon of young adult fiction has taken the worlds of publishing and film by storm in recent years, cultivating droves of fans, sparking off sub-cultures, converting many adults into “grown children” fans, and raking in billions in revenue for authors, filmmakers, merchandisers and a host of associated industries.

From the spell-binding halls of Hogwarts of the Harry Potter series, to the troubled teen-romance of Edward and Bella in Stephenie Meyer’s enigmatic Twilight saga, teen fiction has rocked many a fan’s world.

This year, The Citizen Book Prize, in association with Macmillan, gives you the chance to share your carefully crafted and riveting teen fiction and non-fiction for a teen market.

Hone your writing skills; do your research – read as much famous teen fiction and non-fiction as you can; have friends or colleagues edit your submissions…

You don’t want to miss out on your chance of being published and winning a prize, with The Citizen Book Prize 2010 for teen fiction and non-fiction – the only book prize decided by the voting public!

Submission details coming soon – watch this space!


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