Archive for the ‘breath of africa’ Tag

Jane Bwye Launches New Book   1 comment

When I heard that my friend Jane Bwye was launching a new ebook, I had to ask her about it and give her a high-five in the process. So I am joining her at her book launching event  on Facebook:
Jane, tell us about the new book.
Bless you, Lela! What a friend you are!
My book is a novella (30,000 words) called I LIFT UP MY EYES (quote from Psalm 121, NIV version). It will be sold as e-book only, and will be launched on Tuesday 7th October. It will be available on and .com, smashwords, and direct from Crooked Cat Publishers. My publishers are becoming more known worldwide now. Breath of Africa is also available on Google books, Tescos, etc. etc. but the new one will probably take a bit of time to filter through.
It is a story set in England, about love lost and found, and what can happen to a relationship when serious illness strikes.
I wrote it, because after Breath of Africa was accepted for publication, I felt like writing something completely different, and through my life I have been saddened by broken families because one or other partner has been unable to cope with the challenges.
Jane will send me links to the book when it becomes available on line, in the meantime, here are some testimonials by reviewers.


 A story about love lost and found, and what can happen in a relationship when serious illness strikes.

“Robert, Ann and Duncan…what a wonderfully complex, believable and sad web of emotions they spin before our wide eyes

 “…a powerful and moving story and so true to situations that may happen in life.”

 “I do like a practical and realistic faith. There is nothing whimsical or rosy coloured here, just a woman confronting one of the harder curved balls that life can throw.”

The e-book is available from:  Amazon, Smashwords and Crooked Cat

What are you up to next, Jane?
I’m about to book a flight to Kenya for next January. I’ll stay about five weeks, and soak up the atmosphere, do some more  research; do some selling of Breath of Africa paperbacks. And retreat to my daughter’s new little weekend hidey-hole in the African bush to progress the sequel to Breath of Africa! I think it will be called LAND OF HOPE – that’s it’s working title anyway.
I plan to do a bit of “exposure” of the new book over the coming weeks, sacrificing my Friday travel blog for the time being: (Tuesdays are taken up with author visits).
I am honored to promote your book, Jane. Authonomy, Harper Collins slush pile site, has a lot of great works-in-progress in need of polish, but a handful of wonderfully written books just seeking an audience. Breath of Africa was one such that simply reached out and touched me as a book that had to be read. I Lift Up My Eyes continues the same high quality.
Go check it out, folks. In the meantime — this is what folks are saying about Breath of Africa

Pinpricks of Ecstasy by Jane Bwye   1 comment

Dear Lela,
Here’s my reply to your piece about the aurora. I’m sorry I dont have any photos of African sunsets. I refused to take any, preferring just to stand in awe while they lasted.


Pinpricks of Ecstasy

Lela – I am uplifted by your fascinating account of aurora-watching for my blog and am inspired to tell you of what the heavens mean to me.
From as early as I can remember, I have been entranced by the sky. I seldom get up early enough to see the sun rise, but when I do, I pause to watch the translucent colours dissolve into vapours with the warmth of day.
My enthralment with the setting of the sun is an intense, almost anguished thrill which strikes my heart as I witness the glory of the red, orange and purple hues changing with every moment. Dusky clouds billow and curl, striking through that glorious orb with dense black lines; golden bars of light touch the ground; then the sun sinks beneath the curve of the earth leaving an after-glow, which, in Africa, is gone in a flash.
My family never failed to sigh with fake tolerance when I indicated the evening skies through the car window on drives home from school.
“Look at that sky,” I would exclaim. “Isn’t it just wonderful?”
“Awww – Mum,” they said. “You’re at it again.” Then, with a nervous tremble, “Keep your eyes on the road, Mum!”
I used to love doing jigsaw puzzles, but would ponder at the sheer ordinariness of those skies – bland, wishy-washy shades of blue and faint apricot with boring pieces all the same, impossible to fit in. On coming to live in the UK with its insidious pollution, I understood the reason why it was so. But I grew to appreciate the muted drama of the skies here, too, although the evening light lingers in these latitudes and dusk fades imperceptibly into darkness.
That thrilling, tingling feeling of ecstasy triggered by the beauty of African skies was missing. Why?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When that eye is filled with love, happiness and gratitude it is indeed a thrilling experience.
I did not want to leave Kenya; my heart was dull and no longer did I feel the beauty around me. Something was missing. Was it age that was stemming life’s infinite variety? I didn’t feel old.
It took me several years to settle here, to look around and realise that ours is the same wonderful firmament that envelopes the whole world – not just Africa. And there are other opportunities here, not available in Africa; the theatre, opera, concerts, societies of every conceivable kind. I still hanker after Kenya, where the birds show themselves off with panache instead of playing hide and seek behind leaves and branches. But the endless rolling downs catch my breath.
In time, I sense those little pin-pricks of ecstasy stabbing at my heart again. And I celebrate. I’m not too old! I just need to turn away from myself, embrace the heavens and rejoice in life and love, wherever I am.
You can read about Jane’s book BREATH OF AFRICA, listen to the trailer, and sample some reviews on her website:

Posted July 2, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Guest Blogs

Tagged with , , ,

The Center of Her Thoughts   Leave a comment

Here is the link to the interview I did with Jane Bwye —

If you ever wanted to know about my life outside of blogging, here’s your chance —


Interview with Jane Bwye   6 comments

Image of J. L. BwyeJane Bwye and I met through Authonomy, a Harper-Collins site for writers to critique each other’s work and practice book marketing. We were part of a Christian writers’ critique group which provided the commonality for our very different books. When Jane’s book Breathe of Africa was picked up by Black Cat Publishing, she left Authonomy, but we reconnected here on WordPress and on Facebook. I have always appreciated her patience and sense of humor, so when she reached out to me, I naturally responded.
I hope this will be the first interview with a writer on Aurorawatcherak. Jane will be following up with an article, with perhaps more to follow.
Jane has been a businesswoman and intermittent freelance journalist all her life. She lived in Kenya for over half a century, where she went to school, and brought up her large family.
She wrote regular feature articles for the Daily Nation in the ’60s, and under a by-line BWYE THE WAY… for The Chronicle, in the ’80s. She has coordinated/authored a cook book in aid of the National Museums of Kenya, and is working on a short history in aid of her local church near Eastbourne.
Product DetailsHer first novel Breath of Africa took 40 years to gestate, drawing on her experiences growing up in the country she still calls her home.
A world traveller, she buys a bird book in every country she visits. Now “retired” to the UK, she mentors small business start-ups, judges dressage, and advocates for the elderly, while indulging in her love for choral singing, playing tennis, duplicate bridge, and walking.
Jane, tell me something about yourself
That’s an open question, if there ever was one, Lela! Where do I start – and end? One thing: I’m a dreamer; always have been. Sometimes I know it’s been a form of escapism. I’ve looked forward to bedtime when I can dream myself to sleep in a maze of fantasies and block out the hard bricks of what life has sometimes thrown at me.
Perhaps that’s how I’ve survived? And how I’ve been able to conjure up stories to write down. Sometimes I’ve had real dreams and I write them down, before they can fade away.
Why do you write?
I write to give body to my dreams and thoughts; and to describe turning-point events in my life – and there have been many. When I travel, I write a diary (as in my Friday Round-the-World blogs)
I guess there’s always been a bit of a historian in me, so I date my writings and find myself doing research when publication is the aim.
I love watching people and I can’t help imagining what they might be thinking. I like to think the observations are stored away in my mind, to come out when I create a character.
Sometimes I write to clarify, or even justify my thoughts and feelings.
And I chronicle events in the lives of my family members, because I love them.
I write for myself.
What I remember most about Breath of Africa is the visual images your words conjure. After only a few paragraphs, I was right down in the long grass, hearing sounds that could only be large predators on my scent. Every scene wrapped me in the sights, sounds and scents of Kenya. What was the inspiration for the book?
Need you ask! Africa and its wide open spaces was the inspiration for my book. And nostalgia, as I sat at my desk cramped into a tiny flat on a crowded street in a teeming city in the UK – gazing through sagging telephone wires towards the hills of the south downs.

One primary focus of the novel is the interaction and clash of two very different cultures and worldviews, how that leads to misunderstandings and abuse of those who are not “us”. Can you talk about that some?

I grew up in a country where black and white were starkly different, but more so for the grown-ups than for the children. We were kept apart by our disparate societies.
But I enjoyed being with the Africans who were employed in and around our home; they were my friends – more so than my parents, who were always occupied with other things.
I know that many children of that era felt the same way, and several books have been written of childhoods featuring friendships across the races. In my idealistic fashion, I wanted to write a book in which those friendships lasted into adulthood and beyond.
But I was shocked by the extreme antagonism exhibited by some of our neighbours. The horrors of the Mau Mau murders were kept from my knowledge within the protective environment of our home, although I sensed an increasing tension and lack of trust.

Clearly, you draw on a lot on your own experiences in Kenya. Are there any real people who inspired some of the main characters?

Within the freedom of fiction I let myself go when I created a caricature of several extremist farmers in the character of Myers the white settler farmer.

I guess I was thinking of my step-father in describing the benign Boney, Caroline’s father, in the beginning of the book.
And of course there’s lots of me in Caroline – and also in Charles Omari Ondiek, who was in part inspired by the proprietor of an African business magazine I once worked for briefly in Nairobi.
I combined aspects of different friends from my school days into the character of Teresa.
Mwangi, the Mau Mau oath-giver, was a figment of my imagination, and maybe part-product of reading Nicholas Monserrat’s horrific “Tribe” books. (see this post on my blog)
I sensed a strong feeling of hope in your writing. So many writers who take on Africa seem pessimistic about the prospects of healing the rift between those two cultures. And, I would note that it’s not just between white and blacks, Europeans and Africans, but also between tribal groups. Yet, there is love across the cultures in Breath of Africa?  The 20th century saw some horribly barbaric upheavals in Africa which has led many observers toward pessimism for the future. Do you feel that there is hope for Africa in the 21st century?
Of course there’s hope in Africa! Without hope, there is no life, and its people are vibrant and forgiving. Hope lies in the younger generations – epitomised in forward-thinking schools in Kenya, careful to keep an even balance.
It also lies in that great leveler, the sports field. I was actively involved in Kenya squash, where all races and tribes would gather for the sake of the game; tennis too, and rugby. Some sports, of course, integrate people better than others and now through sheer force of numbers, teams are largely of one colour – though I would be surprised if they contained only one tribe.
Neither is business concerned with ethnicity. Many aspects of commerce in the 21st century are global, even in Africa, despite being “forgotten” by the rest of the world.
It is politics and sensation-seeking media which side-line Africa and highlight its horrors.
There are horrors everywhere in the world. And for me, the Middle East is more of a lost cause than the so-called “dark continent.”


I came to know you through a Christian writers’ forum on Authonomy. Do you believe that Christian faith holds any hope for healing the rifts between people groups in Africa or elsewhere? And, if you don’t want to touch on that topic, I understanding and won’t have issue with it.
Kenya is largely a Christian country. Faith and hope are strong among the poorest of its people, who exhibit a simplicity, happiness and gratitude for the smallest of mercies. People from churches overseas have had life-changing experiences when visiting to help communities in Africa, and I suspect the benefit received by those offering charity is greater than that of the recipients.
Africa can teach the rest of the world a thing or two about faith, forgiveness and the philosophy of life.
I guess that is why I believe so firmly that there is a future in Africa – even though it may not be the same hope as understood by the rest of the world.
Are you working on another novel?
I Lift up My Eyes, a novella about what can happen to a relationship when serious illness strikes. It will be published by Crooked Cat later this year.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
If I can do it – so can you! If you persevere, you will succeed, and I don’t expect you to take forty years, as I did.
Book Trailer:
Link to my Website and Blog:
Link to
Link to Smashwords:
Lela – Thank you, Jane, for being willing to be my very first

Changing Things Up A Bit   Leave a comment

I started this blog to promote my writing. I have a goal of publishing my fiction. If anything, this blog has slowed me down in that endeavor, but I’m also learning value skills that will help me in promoting my books. I also gained a non-fiction book which is tentatively titled American Colonialism and the Fraud of Alaska Statehood.

Still my heart lies with fiction. I have shared chapters of A Well in Emmaus, but that is a work in progress that is nowhere close to being published. Consider it a bouncing ball to get your attention.

I’m almost ready to publish The Willow Branch, which is Part 1 in a fantasy series with Christian influences. As such, there will be some changes on this blog.

Next Tuesday, I will introduce you to my friend and fellow writer Jane Bwye and her incredible novel Breath of Africa. I hope this will start a regular feature of finding other writers to highlight.

It’s a little different from the subjects I normally address, but we writers need to stick together and help one another. If someone is interested in being included, you can comment on this post or email me at

In addition, I’m going to start talking about my own writing a bit more than I have in the past.

I am not going to stop visiting the other issues that interest me. This is an addition … a remix … not a total change.

Valentine But

Books: fiction and poetry

Faith Reason And Grace

Inside Life's Edges

Elliot's Blog

Generally Christian Book Reviews

The Libertarian Ideal

Voice, Exit and Post-Libertarianism


Social trends, economics, health and other depressing topics!

My Corner

I write to entertain and inspire.

The Return of the Modern Philosopher

Deep Thoughts from the Shallow End of the Pool

Steven Smith

The website of British steampunk and short story author


a voracious reader. | a book blogger.


adventure, art, nature, travel, photography, wildlife - animals, and funny stuff


The Peaceful Revolution Liberate Main Street

%d bloggers like this: