The paperback is also available on Amazon or here for £8.75 with free delivery in the UK only.
£3.99 postage for orders worldwide.
I’d be delighted if you’d be so kind as to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads, telling me what you thought of The Healing Touch. Reviews are really important. Not only do they tell other potential readers what to expect from a novel, but they also allow the novel to live in the world. It means I’ll be able to continue to write more stories for you.
You can reach me directly at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please bear with me if I don’t respond straight away. I endeavour to respond to each email.
The Healing Touch is one woman’s quest for love. She finds it. But it proves impossible to hold on to. Will she be third time lucky?
Gorgeous, talented, complex Isabelle Cooper, a sexy, youthful, fifty-five-year-old, is going through the menopause. But is it also a new coming of age for her? Is it time to question her long established position in life, her well-learned role? Is she bold enough to open new windows and walk through new doors?
When not one, but two new men enter her life, her world is turned upside down. Will the unexpected loss of one man drive her back inside her safe, albeit unfulfilling life, or push her into the arms of the other? Has she finally had enough of an unsatisfactory sex life with her husband in a loveless twenty-two-year-old marriage? Or will the cost and pain of ending it be worth feeling more fully alive than ever before?
A mesmerising story of loss, heartbreak, passion, and love in many guises, The Healing Touch is a gripping read you won’t want to put down. Funny, devastating, and uplifting by turns, The Healing Touch will leave you yearning to experience the perfect love yourself.
Answering Readers’ Questions
Is Sexual Neglect A
Angelina talks to Elizabeth Dockrell-Tyler – Part 1
Angelina talks to Elizabeth Dockrell-Tyler – Part 2
Angelina talks to Elizabeth Dockrell-Tyler – Part 3
Or from here for £8.75 with free delivery in the UK only.
£3.99 postage for orders worldwide.
I’d be delighted if you’d be so kind as to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads, telling me what you thought of Under A Namibian Sky. Reviews are really important. Not only do they tell other potential readers what to expect from a novel, but they also allow the novel to live in the world. It means I’ll be able to continue to write more stories for you.
You can also read more about Under A Namibian Sky here: http://circleofbooks.com/2017/09/05/under-a-namibian-sky-by-angelina-kalahari/
You can reach me directly at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please bear with me if I don’t respond straight away. I endeavour to respond to each email.
Hello, everyone! Welcome to the launch of Under A Namibian Sky. Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m excited to introduce Under A Namibian Sky to you.
I know this bit usually goes at the end, but I’d like to thank all the amazing people who have helped Under A Namibian Sky to become a satisfying novel for readers. It takes teamwork.
So, to my amazing editor, Christine, thank you so much. You asked all the difficult questions that made me dig deeper.
Thank you to my great beta readers for the amazing job you guys have done. Writing can be a lonely process and a scary one once you give your baby to someone else to read for the first time. Thank you for giving your honest feedback and notes in a kind and encouraging manner. It means the world.
And I don’t even know how to begin to thank the insanely talented and generous Sharon Brownlie for the perfect cover for Under A Namibian Sky. Not only did she capture the mood of the book, but also the characters’ personalities – no mean feat! Not only that, but she did the formatting. I told you she was talented. Check out the cover on my page.
So, what is Under A Namibian Sky about? It’s essentially a contemporary romance. It’s the story of Luca and Naomi and it’s set in Namibia.
Briefly, Naomi’s parents died when she was five. After being shunted from foster parents to foster parents, she was understandably traumatised, to say the least. No one had really taken the time to explain to her that her parents had died and no one had seemed to realise that she needed to grieve. As a result, she’d locked up her emotions and carried a deep and abiding fear of loving anyone else in case she’d again lose them to death.
But her grandmother’s best friend, Auntie Elsa, eventually adopted Naomi. She went to live with her and her husband, Uncle Wouter, at Desert Lodge. The lodge bordered on the Namib Desert and when she was old enough, Naomi was allowed to play with the San tribe’s children there. They taught her about the desert, about what plants were safe to eat and where to find water. This led to her working as a desert guide at the lodge when she became old enough.
Luca, on the other hand, comes from a very privileged background – the Armati supercar dynasty in Italy. He is the heir apparent. But Luca has other hobbies that he’s passionate about. One of which is photographing and painting elephants. His secretary, Santina, who has taken care of him since he was a child when his mother left them, arranged a holiday in Namibia so that he could fulfil his dream and take a break from work at the same time.
Luca immediately recognises how different Naomi is from the models he usually hangs out with. But she assumes he is just another one of the rich ‘princes’ who makes everyone’s lives hell for as long as they’re on holiday at the lodge.
I don’t want to give too much away but I will say this – Under A Namibian Sky has many twists and turns. A sneak peek is when Luca and Naomi come in contact with a tiny new born elephant. They help to rescue her when her mother is killed by poachers.
Namibia holds a special place in my heart because it is where I was born. The setting is perfect for romance, danger, spirituality and love.
As I said in the introduction, the cover was designed by the multi-talented Sharon Brownlie.
Covers are really important because they’re “the picture that paints a thousand words,” as the lyrics of one of my favourite Bread songs says. Or in the case of a novel, thousands of words!
I saw one of Sharon’s pre-made covers with a couple that looked exactly like Luca and Naomi. I couldn’t believe it. Usually, it’s impossible to get a picture that looks exactly like the couple in your head. But there they were.
Luca, as he appeared to me, is tall, athletic and although aristocratic, has a somewhat devil-may-care boyishness about him. A kind of Richard Branson vibe, if you like.
Naomi, also tall and athletic, is independent and strong and I feel the figure on the cover depicts her somewhat stubborn streak perfectly.
Neither Sharon nor I imagined Luca and Naomi to be in silhouette, to begin with, but realised that the night sky would have no light source to show them in any other way.
The picture of the sky that Sharon used, is an actual picture of the night sky over the Namib Desert. The fact that it has a purple tint, is a hint of the spirituality behind the fact that Luca and Naomi are soul mates.
In the distance, you can see the mother and the baby elephant that played such a big part in their relationship. Because Naomi had reluctantly allowed Luca to accompany her on the ellie’s rescue mission, he then invited her out for dinner. Perhaps without that initial dinner, who knows if they’d ever got together?
Again, I’d like to thank everyone who helped choose the elements for the perfect cover.
Blurbs are important. They’re usually the first thing people read when they’re thinking about buying a book and so, a lot of thought goes into writing one. Here is the blurb for Under A Namibian Sky:
Beautiful, vivacious, independent young Naomi grew up on the edge of the Namib Desert. After she becomes a safari guide, nothing is more exciting than showing off her desert’s fierceness, its raw beauty, and its exotic wildlife to guests staying at Desert Lodge.
Luca, the heir apparent to the Armati supercar dynasty, is blessed with the beauty of an Italian god and born to a life of wealth, power, and influence. In Namibia for a short holiday, he wants to fulfil his dream of photographing and painting African elephants.
Used to the wiles of such spoiled princelings, Naomi is suspicious of his motives. Begrudgingly, she feels drawn to his kindness, charm and aura. Impossibly, it appears he is equally drawn to the girl from the African desert.
But will the pain of their past experiences prevent them from being courageous enough to admit their soul mate connection? Will their love overcome the challenges they face when Luca ends up in hospital after a dangerous anti-poacher raid, and Naomi has to confront her fears about falling in love with him?
Compulsively readable, Under A Namibian Sky is an emotionally riveting romance that will enchant, fascinate and delight.
As I don’t want to spoil it for you, I’ll talk only about Luca and Naomi. I may post something on another day about some of the other characters.
Writing her, Naomi made me feel compassion and fury almost in equal amounts. I was sad for her that she was so traumatised as a little girl by the loss of her parents and by being moved from foster home to foster home. She was unloved and felt like a failure when she couldn’t make her new families love her. She was too young to understand death and what was happening to her. But her deep-seated fear that everyone she loved would die, stopped her from loving others when it’s so clear that it’s what she craved.
When she developed feelings for Luca, she talked herself out of those. I couldn’t believe that she would be prepared to give up such a love for fear that death would take her from him. But she was stubborn! It would take another traumatic event in her life to let her see the light at last.
Luca, on the other hand, having been abandoned by his mother when he was eight, regarded women with a healthy dose of suspicion. What made it worse, was that the beautiful models who he was used to having in his life, were mostly after his money and fame. But he realised pretty early on, that Naomi was nothing like them. He saw her strength, her independence, her vulnerability and her genuineness.
But when he overheard her saying something to her friend that he was rich and could have any woman he wants, he freaked out. It was a phrase he’d heard too many times.
It took a very distressing situation for him to realise that he loved Naomi and couldn’t imagine being without her.
These characters never stopped talking. I had no choice but to write them down!
As I’d already mentioned, Namibia is very special to me. It’s the country of my birth and although I haven’t been there for many years, I know it’s the kind of unspoilt place – for the most part – that doesn’t change. It feels good to know that something can be that constant, especially in this crazy fast-paced world we live in, right?
Desert Lodge is based on a real lodge near the desert. The people and the place will always live in my heart, no matter where in the world I find myself.
Like Naomi, I was lucky enough to have had children from the San tribes to play with when I was a little girl. They taught me about the desert. About which plants were poisonous, which were good to eat, how to find water, which insects were a good source of protein, and which to avoid if you wanted to keep your eyes! So, these are the things I share with Naomi.
The Namib Desert is vast. It’s silent. It’s unearthly beautiful. Parts of it has featured in Hollywood movies, and parts of it have become a source of joy for people seeking action-adventure holidays.
It is this aspect that Desert Lodge eventually adopts as well. But until then, they offer only sunrise and sunset safaris with desert guides in a truck or the odd walking safari with one of the anti-poacher guards employed to keep the wildlife safe.
Here is a short video that shows how San hunter/gatherers find water in the desert.
Under A Namibian Sky is a romance novel and one I hope you’ll all enjoy reading. The funny things is, I never thought of myself as a romance writer. My staple go-to genres have always been science-fiction, fantasy, psychological thrillers and horror. Those genres, of course, sometimes include romance as well. Yet, whenever I sit down to write something, romance is what comes out. It puzzled me until I analysed it and the truth dawned on me.
This is where my thinking led me:
The point that immediately sprang to mind is that we all want love. I’d go so far as to say, we crave it. When we read a romance novel, we experience the feelings of love through the characters in a way that may not exist in our everyday lives. It gives us that high, that hope that the love we yearn for, is possible for us as well. It helps to renew our belief in love. We live in a world filled with pain, divorces, disasters, acts of violence and war. When we read a romance novel, we reconnect with the idea of love, with the idea that there is something higher than the pain and discontent that pours daily from our TV screens or from social media. For readers who have not yet experienced a soul mate love, reading a romance novel can open them up to what that might feel like and how worthwhile a pursuit it can be for them. After all, as one of my characters in Under A Namibian Sky says: “In the end, love is all we have.”
At the other end of the spectrum is the fact that human beings and human relationships are complex. Stories are a safe way to explore those complexities and can even help us to deal with our own issues.
There are many other reasons why romance novels are important, but the fact that it can also be a form of entertainment is not to be sneezed at. When a reader with a demanding job, or a mum who is pulled in many different directions, read a romance novel, it’s a great way to just relax, have fun and escape from the daily grind.
Of course, even though nowadays romance novels are widely accepted, there are still people who turn up their noses at the thought of reading one. The idea that these novels are unrealistic at best – who really gets the happily ever after, right? – or at worst, that such novels are “trashy,” “titillating” or “fluffy,” and inferior to other genres, is still very much the perception, especially of those who do not read romances. (Interestingly, opponents of romance novels, often overlook the fact that classics such as Jane Austin’s books are the most sigh-worthy romances. I assume it’s because her books are “older” that it doesn’t count?)
And yet, the romance genre is the biggest selling genre in the book world. Why? Why do we read them?
I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts about why romance novels are important to you?
WHY UNDER A NAMIBIAN SKY?
Late one night, several months ago, I was watching a programme on TV about Mills and Boon (Harlequin to some of you.)
The programme looked at how difficult it is to write a good romance novel. How so many people have tried and failed.
The programme followed the journey of a traditionally published mystery writer going through the process of writing a romance novel. She went on away days with other romance writers, writer’s circles and writer’s workshops led by successful Mills and Boon authors at great settings. They filmed her at home making notes on her white board, writing, re-writing, getting frustrated and re-writing. Eventually, she handed in the manuscript to Mills and Boons offices here in London.
I never learned what happened to her novel. But having read a number of romance novels through the years, I wondered if I could write one.
I went on their website to learn more about what they’re looking for and discovered that they were actively looking for novels set in Southern Africa. Well, I was born in Namibia and while I’ve lived all over the world, the country of my birth will always live in my heart. There is a saying that once you have felt the Namibian sands beneath your feet, your feet will always walk you back to those sands. It’s a rough translation, but I think you get the gist. I’ll add to it that once you have Africa in your heart, she is a jealous mistress and will hold you to her bosom – you can never escape her arms.
So, it was a no-brainer for me to set my novel in Namibia. I know the place like the back of my hand. It’s one of the few places on earth where things don’t change, yet a desert is a place of ever-changing sameness. The sky over the desert, once you’ve seen it, will live in your heart and mind forever – it is breath-taking, yes, but more than that, it’s a most humbling experience. Its vastness reminds that we are a tiny part of something so big, we cannot comprehend it. The people are warm and friendly, and the animals are a reminder that the world offers more than concrete jungles and the rat race so many of us are only too familiar with. There is a deep peace, a unique calm that a place like Namibia offer, that you can’t find anywhere else on earth.
To cut a long story short, I wrote the required three chapters and submitted them along with a synopsis. A few weeks later, I received a long email from them, stating their interest in the novel and asking for specific changes. It was obvious from their email that they’d read the synopsis and the chapters. I felt encouraged and set about making the changes they’d asked for before running it past some of my beta readers. But after I’d re-submitted it, a few weeks later, I received a short email thanking me for my efforts but rejecting the novel. But rejection is a normal part of a writer’s life so it didn’t phase me.
By now, though, the characters lived in my head. They were talking to me, as characters are wont to do and they wouldn’t go away. There were other projects I wanted to work on but these guys wouldn’t let up. I had no choice but to finish the novel.
Luckily, the publishing world has changed so much now that Mills and Boon aren’t the only romance genre publishers.
That’s how Under A Namibian Sky came to live in the world today.
INTERESTING NAMIBIAN FACT #1
Namibia is a very large country – Namibia is more than a third larger than the UK and Germany combined or twice the size of California. It has rich deposits of diamonds, uranium and other minerals that are already being extracted extensively. There are 11 main ethnic groups living there.
INTERESTING NAMIBIAN FACT #2
What is a desert? To most people, it is a hot, dry area with little or no vegetation and often covered in sand dunes. Even though this may be an adequate definition of a desert, hot and dry are not specific enough to be scientifically accepted. Scientists use the measurement of rain, or rather the lack of it, to define deserts because water is the critical factor which controls all life and biological processes. According to such classification of deserts, the Namib is hyper-arid as it has a mean rainfall of less than 100mm per year. It is amazing that the Namib is a desert at all since north of it, Angola is subtropical and south, the Cape of Good Hope has copious winter rainfall. But the unique high-pressure zones and the cold ocean currents that border it has created the Namib Desert.
We know that the Namib Desert is old and could have been semi-arid to arid for about the last 80million years with true desert conditions predominating the last 15 – 20 million years.
INTERESTING NAMIBIAN FACT #3
Fairy circles – there is a peculiar unexplained phenomenon along the edge of the Namib desert commonly known as fairy circles. Unusually named they occur on sandy planes and on vegetated dune slopes. Scientists suggest that the fairy circles may, in fact, be termites which have eaten all the grass seeds in the vicinity of their nests.
INTERESTING NAMIBIAN FACT #4
What is the origin and meaning of Namib? The word is of Nama origin. It translates literally from Nama as “a bare plain” and means “the vast place of nothingness.”
Thank you so much for joining me today. I trust you enjoyed the launch of Under A Namibian Sky as much as I have.
I’m currently writing a novella in the Desert Love Series telling of Luca and Naomi’s life in Italy. It’s called Love In Modena, and you will receive a free copy when you sign up to my email list when it is finished.
I’d be very interested to know what kind of stories you would like me to write? Let me know what kind of characters you’d like, what obstacles and what setting – I’d love to hear from you!
Thank you again so much for spending time with me.
In a very interesting conversation with a good friend this week, we discussed her epiphany question – can healing emotional pain also heal physical pain? With her permission, I would like to explore that a little here today.
Very few of us traverse this life without some kind of emotional pain, from a boyfriend or girlfriend dumping us, or some kind of betrayal, or hurt, etc. We all carry our scars safely tucked away in our bodies. Many of us even pretend that we’re okay for years and years, and then suddenly, something happens or a light bulb goes on, as it did for my friend.
In her case, she had had an accident in which she broke her wrist at the same time as having the new, raw wounds of the ending of a very difficult relationship inflicted upon her. As a professional pianist, she thought her career would be over. It nearly was. She was unable to play the piano for many years. Gradually, her wrist healed but it was never quite the same and she has endured continuing pain there all this time. Luckily, she could save her career. But the emotional pain of the failed relationship continued to live in her body, as well. Lying in bed one night holding her painful wrist, the thought suddenly appeared that the two might be related.
I’m so grateful that she shared her epiphany with me. Emotional pain is such a deeply disturbing thing because there are no tablets we can take for it.
What struck me is the idea that our emotions and our memories live in the cells of our bodies. We’ve all heard or read about someone who’d had an organ transplant, only to start behaving differently than they had before their operation, or craving food they had never eaten before. When they investigated, they found that the person whose organ had been donated, had those character traits, or they liked those foods. We hear and read of people who are able to shrink cancerous tumours by talking to their bodies, thanking their bodies for keeping them alive.
But how many of us ever thank our bodies? We tend to criticize it, instead, wishing we were thinner, bigger, taller, shorter, had bigger/smaller boobs, or bigger/smaller other bits if we’re a guy, a different colour, straight/curly/more hair, etc. We cut bits off when we have operations and never give a second thought to thanking the part that was removed for having been a part of us until it became ill.
So, I feel my friend has a very good point, and we wondered what a possible perfect blue print for our bodies might mean? When we take the courage to heal our emotional pain, when we’re able to banish it from our bodies with love, perhaps our physical pain can be healed, too.
Years ago, I read an amazing book, called Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom – Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing in which the Author, Christiane Northrup, MD, talks about our bodies as our allies and how important it is to thank your body for carrying you through life in the best way that it can.
I’ll let you into a little secret – I start every day off by looking into my mirror and telling myself that I’m awesome, I’m enough, I’m a goddess and that I love myself. Then I give myself a hug before I start writing my happiness journal that used to be my gratitude journal. But now, I may also thank my body for helping me to be here for another day!
November is an interesting month. It is the eleventh and penultimate month of the year and the fourth and last month containing 30 days. It is also the month when many of my friends and family members have their birthdays.
A number of festivals and holidays also happen during November. I love for example that the pagan Owl Month starts on 23 November until 21 December, signifying change and the Long Nights Time. It sounds kind of romantic, and I love owls.
The month has always been quite an exciting one for me personally, because I love autumn, the crispness of the colder days, and the colours, sights and smells of nature during this time. Long walks in the late autumn sunshine is a particularly lovely thing to do.
But November is also the month known to writers as NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. It started in 1999 in America but now writers from all around the world join to write at least 50,000 words of a new novel during the month of November. If you join NaNoWriMo’s official website and reach your word count on 30 November, you receive a certificate that you can print out. It leaves you with a great sense of achievement and satisfaction, and many more writer friends if you so choose. I haven’t joined officially, but wrote my new novel, Forever And Ever Love, alongside NaNoWriMo and as I’m doing rather well, I may join next year.
There are many benefits of writing, even if you never intend to publish what you write. It can help deal with tragic and difficult experiences and it helps with loneliness – paradoxically, as writing is very much a solo sport. But writing, and talking with your characters, will definitely take you on a journey – maybe even one where you discover things about yourself you never knew.
Some writers use NaNoWriMo to get their next book well on its way to being finished. Others write just for the fun of it. But whichever way you go about it, try it – it is intense and fun!
What is love? That was the most searched for phrase on Google in 2012. It has dropped to third place in 2014. What is Ebola and ALS claimed first and second spots in 2014.
But it remains an interesting question, doesn’t it? What is love? It fills me with hope in our turbulent times that people are still searching for love. It confirms what I have always suspected; that no matter the person’s behaviour, at the bottom of everything is the fact that we all just want to be loved for who we really are. We want acceptance and the perfect feeling of ‘home’ that only love can give us.
It is also the reason for so many romance novels. Not that romance is the only form of love. But it is the one we seem to strive for the most.
In my debut novel, The Healing Touch, the heroine, Isabelle, loves three men deeply, but in very different ways. Based on real events in my life, writing The Healing Touch, was a deeply cathartic experience. And I’m delighted that readers have already been in contact to confirm that reading it has helped them, too. I could not ask for more than that.
At the beginning of The Healing Touch, we find Isabelle:
Isabelle switched off the tablet. The book was finished. She simply had to write this book.
She had no idea what category or genre it would come under, but she knew one hundred percent, that it would help others in a similar position. Even if it did not, it had helped her, healed her, made life make sense again.
After her colleague, dear friend, and much loved soul-brother had died unexpectedly, aged only thirty-three, her life had changed forever. She had felt so low, and life was utterly without point, that she had seriously contemplated checking out, not necessarily to be with him, but what was the point of it all?
Of course, the book could not exist without the people in her life who affected her day-to-day existence so profoundly.
James, who had transitioned where she could not follow, had, before he left, inspired her to strive for new horizons in friendship and in her career. Together, they had worked on two very important performance pieces, both of which she wanted to finish. She believed they were great and important works of art, and through their existence, he would continue to live in this world for as long as she did.
Victoria, her long-time friend and confidante, had become her trusted colleague as she created the music for these two projects. Victoria shared the secrets and sadness that James’s leaving had left behind, with dignity and reverence.
Simon was her husband of twenty-two years. They shared a strangely close bond, even though they had not shared intimacy or any kind of relationship for many years. He felt like an old shoe, comfortable, worn smooth where it otherwise might have chafed, but without the excitement of anything more stylish, more alive, more life affirming or expanding. Their non-existent physical relationship had instead become the thing that chafed, and the chafing had become unbearable.
Angelo was her delicious Greek lover, who had appeared in her life at exactly the right time. Throughout her marriage, Isabelle had never even looked at another man. But the lack of physical intimacy eventually became too much for a sensual woman like Isabelle. When she had to have her car repaired and Angelo, with his dangerous good looks and magnetic personality, turned out to be the mechanic who “healed” her car, she wondered if he could heal her, too. With the encouragement of several of her friends, she boldly approached him, surprised when he confirmed that he would be delighted to be her special friend. But now, a year later, their relationship had turned into the red-hot passionate love affair she had only ever read about.
Angelo had encouraged her to write the book, primarily so they could raise money to buy their own place. It was their little joke, of course. But writing the book had brought so many unexpected insights, not only into the people who shared her life, but it also gave her a rare opportunity to glimpse inside her own soul.
James was right when he told her once “…we don’t meet people by accident. They are really meant to cross our path for a reason.”