I never thought of myself as a romance writer. My go-to staple genres have always been science-fiction, fantasy, psychological thrillers, and horror. Those genres sometimes include romance but it’s not usually the main subject of the book. Yet, whenever I sit down to write something, romance comes out. It puzzled me until I analysed it and the truth dawned on me. We all want love. I’d say we crave it. We want to be loved and fully accepted by another human being. It drives us.
When we read a romance novel, we experience feelings of love through the characters in a way that may not exist in our everyday lives. It gives us the high, the hope that the love we yearn for is possible for us. It helps to renew our belief in love.
We live in a world where we’re bombarded with images of pain, divorce, disasters, acts of violence, and war. But when we read a romance novel, we reconnect with 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 soulmate 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. As one of my characters says in my novel, Under A Namibian Sky, “In the end, love is all we have.”
Yes, love is all we have. We come into this world with nothing but love and when we leave again, that’s all we can take with us. It’s how we expand our souls through love while we’re here that matters most.
Human beings and human relationships are complex. So, stories are a safe way to explore those complexities and can even help us deal with our own issues.
There are many other reasons romance novels are important, but that it can also be entertainment is not to be sneezed at. When a reader with a demanding job or a mum pulled in many directions, read a romance novel, it’s a great way to just relax, have fun, and escape from the daily grind.
Even though nowadays, romance novels are widely accepted, there are still those who turn up their noses at the thought of reading one. That these novels are unrealistic – 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 Austen’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 you feel romance novels are important?
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.
The Healing Touch – Paperback
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. I read and respond to every email.
How do you live in a world without your voice, without passion, and without James…?
Isabelle spent her career as an opera singer and her life married to an emotionally unavailable man. With the onset of the menopause, Isabelle loses her most precious gift – her voice. As time marches unforgivably on, Isabelle yearns to experience the love and passion she’d always dreamt of in her operatic roles.
Throwing herself into her work, Isabelle finds her soulmate in the least likely of moments. When James auditions for the lead in one of her shows, Isabelle discovers the one thing she has spent her life searching for – him.
But when James unexpectedly dies, Isabelle must forge a new life for herself in a world that is suddenly unfamiliar and forever cold.
Is it too late for her to find the love she craves or could Angelo be the healing touch to save her fragmented soul?
Inspired by true events, The Healing Touch is a mesmerising story of loss, heartbreak, passion and love in many guises.
If you liked The Notebook, then you’ll love The Healing Touch.
Explore The Healing Touch, the first novel in the captivating Love Beyond Reason series today.
“Profoundly moving, delightfully evocative and totally absorbing… reminds me of novels by Nicholas Sparks.”
– Mary Anne Yarde, author of the award-winning series The Du Lac Chronicles.
Disclaimer: This novel is written in British English, contains some heat and a happy ending. Don’t forget, it’s also available in Kindle Unlimited.
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
“Often I am left with a feeling of ‘what happened after’ in romance books, and it was really refreshing to read a follow-up story.” – Mary Anne Yarde, award-winning author of the Du Lac Chronicles.
Naomi has found her prince, her Luca, her soul mate. In Modena, she also found her place in the world with him. But she can’t let go of Namibia so easily, not now she’s become the new owner of Desert Lodge.
Luca, the heir apparent to the Armati supercar dynasty, understands Naomi’s dilemma. Their decision to split their time and responsibilities between the two countries seems like the perfect solution.
Theirs is a lifestyle others can only dream of.
But neither expects that an unforeseen foe in their midst would test their relationship to the limits.
If you’ve loved Luca and Naomi’s story in Under A Namibian Sky, then you’ll be thrilled by Love In Modena, the follow-up novella to that much-loved contemporary romance novel.
Get your copy of Love In Modena today to find out what happens to Luca and Naomi once they leave the desert.
Disclaimer: This novel contains some heat and a happy ending. Don’t forget, it’s also available in Kindle Unlimited.
Or paperback from here for £8.75 with free delivery in the UK only.
£3.99 postage for orders worldwide.
Under A Namibian Sky – Paperback
A beautiful love story that will capture your heart.
No one remains lost. Love is the deepest healer of all.
Desert guide, Naomi Smith, is an ordinary young woman – until her world is shattered by the arrival of Luca Armati, the heir apparent to the Italian supercar dynasty that bears his family name.
Naomi is appointed to look after Luca and his older secretary during their short stay at Desert Lodge. She suspects he’s a spoiled brat, like all the other ‘princes’ who come to vacation there and readies herself for his demands. But she soon realizes there is more to Luca than meets the eye. When Luca’s secret is exposed, the hurt he carries allows Naomi to share her secret heartache with him.
Will the pain of their past experiences prevent them from having the courage to admit their soulmate connection?
If you like novels by M. M. Kay or Mary Stewart, then you will love Under A Namibian Sky, an emotionally riveting love story.
Explore Under A Namibian Sky, the first novel in the captivating Desert Love contemporary romance series today.
“The story was so compelling, I simply couldn’t put this book down.” – Amazon reviewer.
Disclaimer: This novel contains some heat and a happy ending. Don’t forget, it’s also available in Kindle Unlimited.
You can listen to Under A Namibian Sky here on my YouTube channel – each chapter read by me:
If you liked reading the stories in this series, I’d be delighted if you’d be so kind as to post a review on Amazon telling me what you thought. 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 connect with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I read and respond to every email.
UNDER A NAMIBIAN SKY LAUNCH
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.
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 newborn 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.
The original 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 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.
Unfortunately, this cover didn’t translate well into the paperback version and I felt a new cover was needed.
Stepping into the fray was my lovely niece, Mia Troost, a very talented artist, currently in her second year at University, studying for a BA degree in Graphic Design.
Mia’s brief, like Sharon’s, was for a romantic cover with a sky that takes your breath away, somewhere in the Namibian Desert, lovers, a tree or two, and elephants in the background.
Though I adore Sharon’s cover, I love Mia’s cover, too and I’m deeply grateful to her for stepping in at such short notice because I wanted the new cover to be available at the same time as the follow-up novella, Love In Modena, was launched. I feel Mia more than delivered.
Although I loved the cover Mia had created, I felt the novel deserved to live in the same space as other novels of its kind and I wasn’t sure that this cover did that job.
As I’m a member of The Alliance of Independent Authors, I checked their website for a suitable cover designer. I came upon the award-winning cover designer Jane Dixon-Smith, who took my covers under her wing and delivered the most beautiful and romantic covers to sit on the same shelves as other novels in the contemporary romance genre.
I’m deeply grateful for Jane’s amazing work. It was so easy to work with her and can’t wait for her to create the covers for my next novels.
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!
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 unspoiled 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.
I know Valentine’s Day is about romantic love, but being fascinated by the origins of things we take for granted, I discovered that the history of Valentine’s Day is rather obscure, and clouded by all sorts of legends.
The holiday’s roots lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15. But Pope Gelasius I changed the pagan festival into a Christian feast day, declaring February 14 the day to celebrate the memory of St. Valentine, a Christian martyr. But which St. Valentine is supposed to be honoured isn’t clear as there were about a dozen of them, the name being a popular one during the fourteenth century. There was even a Pope Valentine.
The festival used to begin when members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, gathered at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or Lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility, and a dog for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. The matches often ended in marriage.
But, in fact, the medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer may have invented Valentine’s Day as we understand it today. Chaucer did what many historical romance fiction writers of today do – he often placed his poetic characters into fictitious historical contexts that he represented as real.
Around 1375 Chaucer wrote a poem, “Parliament of Foules,” in which he links a tradition of romantic love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day. No record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to his poem, that received widespread attention. The poem refers to a belief commonly held, especially in France and England, that February the 14th was the beginning of birds’ mating season. His line from the poem, “For this was sent on Seynt Valenteyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” is supposed to be the reason for the invention of the holiday as we know it today.
We know that Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages. But written Valentine’s only started to appear after 1400.
Charles, Duke of Orleans, while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415 following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt, wrote a poem to his wife. It is the oldest known Valentine still in existence today. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.)
Today, Valentine’s greeting cards rival the amount of cards sent out at Christmas.
I saw this beautiful autumn tree on one of my recent walks in the park near my home, and just had to take a picture of it. It looks as though the tree has spent all summer absorbing all the colours of the sun, only to give it back as a thank you just before it sheds its leaves for winter.
I love all seasons, but Autumn is special – it’s filled with a kind of excitement for me – perhaps because there’s a crispness in the air and a very definite change in nature, or maybe it’s because it’s getting to the end of the year. This is the time of the year when I like to look back to see how many of my dreams came true. l also take a look forward to the next year, and to set myself some new dreams. It’s a game I play with myself every year. Most years I’m blown away by how many things I’d achieved and how many wonderful people I’d met.