Thursday, 17 October 2013

Misha Guest Post: A little South Africa and The Vanquished Knight

I'm happy today to introduce another author doing a guest post this month. This time it's Misha Gerike who some of you know as the blogger at k. But she has also recently released her novel The Vanished Knight and now I'll hand the reigns over to her.



Thanks so much for letting me visit, Sheena!

Sheena asked me to write about living in South Africa, but the only way to get what it’s like is to actually live here. Instead, I thought I’d share the top five greatest things and five sucky things about living in South Africa.

The great:

1)      The weather. Plenty of sun, not a lot of disaster phenomena.
2)      Climate variation. There’s a place in SA for everyone. From dry hot deserts to tropical paradises.
3)      The views. Especially in the Western Cape, but not limited to it, there are some spectacularly beautiful places to visit. If you’re in Cape Town, do go to Table Mountain, but do take up to four hour drives in any direction.
4)      Standards of living are pretty good, if you can afford it. In my town, what most Europeans would call a mansion costs about the same as a small two (maybe) bedroomed house in Europe. Food costs (in particular meat) are relatively low.
5)      The food. Particularly biltong, which is cured beef similar to jerky.

The not-so-great:

1)      Poverty and unemployment. No one really knows how bad it is, but counting the people who gave up on looking for work, we might look at something like a 50% unemployment rate.
2)      Crime. Some areas are very dangerous to live in, due to the above-mentioned poverty and gang activity.
3)      State healthcare, pensions, service delivery, education etc. not at a particularly high standard. Especially outside Western Cape.
4)      Inflation. Our target percentage is between 3% and 6%. Reality is 5%-6%, so now some of you might see why I respond to complaints about 1 or 2% with amusement. To us, it’s not really cause for concern. It’s a fact of life. Unless you’re poor and living on the dole. In which case, odds are you’re screwed.
5)      Bank costs. Due to said inflation, all our banks levy bank charges in order to be profitable. So in a sense, we’re all screwed money wise. If we bury our money in the back yard, inflation will wreck its value in a few years. Savings accounts actually aren’t much better, because the bank charges are often more than the interest rate. And if not, the difference isn’t big enough to match inflation. Yes people. In SA, we can and do save money in a bank and still walk away with less money than we’ve saved.
The verdict? I love living in South Africa, and think anyone with a certain amount of smarts can actually eke out a great life here. Also, it’s a great place for foreigners with Pounds, Euros and Dollars to vacation. Because your money value multiplies by up to a factor of ten, once you’ve converted it to Rands. To give you an idea, a good, middle income for a single person equates about $700-$1000 per month.
At the same time, writing about the negative bits to South Africa reminds me of just how fortunate I am. Got a job, a good salary, private healthcare, and a life-style comfortable enough that inflation, while felt, doesn’t really cramp my style. I know that this is an immense blessing, the value of which I’ll probably never fully grasp.
Would you want to visit in/live in South Africa?

And don't forget the novel.



Blurb:

Since the death of her parents, Callan Blair has been shunted from one foster family to another, her dangerous secret forcing the move each time. Her latest foster family quickly ships her off to an exclusive boarding school in the Cumbrian countryside. While her foster-brother James makes it his mission to get Callan expelled, a nearby ancient castle holds the secret doorway to another land...

When Callan is forced through the doorway, she finds herself in the magical continent of Tardith, where she’s shocked to learn her schoolmates Gawain and Darrion are respected soldiers in service to the king of Nordaine, one of Tardith's realms. More than that, the two are potential heirs to the Black Knight—Nordaine's crown prince.

But when the Black Knight fails to return from a mysterious trip, the realm teeters on the brink of war. Darrion and Gawain set out to find him, while Callan discovers there is more to her family history than she thought. The elves are claiming she is their princess.

Now with Darrion growing ever more antagonistic and her friendship with Gawain blossoming, Callan must decide whether to stay in Nordaine—where her secret grows ever more threatening—or go to the elves and uncover the truth about her family before war sets the realms afire.

Bio:

M. Gerrick (AKA Misha Gericke) has basically created stories since before she could write. Many of those stories grew up with her and can be seen in her current projects.
She lives close to Cape Town, with a view over False Bay and Table Mountain.
If you’d like to contact her, feel free to mail her at warofsixcrowns(AT)gmail(DOT)com, Circle her on Google Plus or follow her on Twitter. If you'd like to see her writer-side (beware, it's pretty insane), please feel free to check out her blog. You can also add The Vanished Knight on Goodreads.

Links: 



39 comments:

  1. Wonderful spotlight today. I just added this to my tbr list, it sounds great. Congratulations Misha!

    And hope you are feeling better today Sheena-kay. (:

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  2. Yay for Misha!
    The verdict? I also love living in South Africa! We east-coasters also have spectacular views and the best weather in the entire country!

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  3. In other words, have a Swiss bank account if you live there.
    I would visit. Author Karen Walker was just there and she posted some amazing photos of her trip. Plus several of my blogger buddies are there and I could visit!

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  4. Thanks Elise! Hope you enjoy it once you get a chance to read it. :-)

    Hi Michelle, that you do. We in the Western Cape have miserable winters.

    Alex it's a great place to visit. And if you're ever here, do let me know! ;-)

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  5. I've had a chance to visit Cape Town. Gorgeous. I stayed in touristy areas, but had the chance to see a shantytown or two. It was sad. Your book cover looks amazing. Good luck.

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  6. Banks in the USA currently you lose money as well to inflation with savings accounts and CDs, before the fees are even considered, but not nearly as harsh of a situation as in South Africa.

    The USA is amassing a crushing national debt, which will be devastating in the long run.

    We do have a huge variety of climates and places, like South Africa, but we do have a variety of weather-related concerns...one region has hurricanes, others tornadoes, droughts, blizzards...all depends on where you live.

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  7. Hi, Sheena & Misha,
    SA sounds pretty much like Jamaica and I love living here. :) The table mountains I'd like to see. I hope the tour is going well.

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  8. Wow. Very interesting. Sounds like a beautiful place to visit.
    And I love the cover, by the way. :)

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  9. Nana yeah there's a huge difference between the touristy areas and shanty towns.

    Terry, the US's national debt will be just as devastating to our country.

    Joy I'd love to see Jamaica one day. :-)

    Thanks Rachel! And yes, South Africa is a stunning place to visit.

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  10. I would love to visit there some day. Interesting to learn more about the country and that photo is just gorgeous.

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  11. Very interesting post today, ladies. I'd love to visit. And that photo is gorgeous!

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  12. It seems like such a beautiful place! It's definitely on my list of places to visit!

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  13. We were lucky enough to holiday in Cape Town a couple of years back and just loved it. Everyone is so friendly (which is not something we take for granted while living in Dubai). I would love to go back at some point. I do recall the shanties on our drive out to the airport and the contrast of them to the town is astounding, and very sad. We also visited the vineyards in Stallenboch (sp?) which were magestic! Loved this little insight into your home, Misha. X

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  14. Julie, Gwen and Samantha it's a great place to visit. If you ever do, I'll show you some awesome places. :-)

    Yeah the Cape Townians are very friendly. Stellenbosch is an awesome place, but then I might be biased, because it's my Alma Mater. :-)

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  15. Congratulations Misha, maybe someday it will be good, and better, but how awesome to live in such a beautiful place!

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  16. I've always wanted to go to Africa for a safari adventure, and I would definitely visit South Africa, too. It looks beautiful. I'd like to know more about how you came to be there! Were you born there, Misha?

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  17. Thank you all for stopping by. Congrats Misha on having a successful guest post on my blog today.

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  18. This was a great post - thanks for sharing Misha. I wouldn't want to live there but definitely want to visit. I imagine the landscape is pretty spectacular, and want to see it with my own eyes. :)

    The sun part turns me off though. I avoid the sun where possible, not just 'cause I'm highly susceptible to skin cancer.

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  19. Thanks Yolanda, I'd like to think things will be better one day.

    Hey Laura. Yes I was born here, and have never lived anywhere else.

    Thanks again for having me over, Sheena. :-)

    Trisha, yeah it's more advanced here than the rest of Africa, but quite a step back from the First World countries. As for the sun, I avoid it too, and find it pretty easy. Common sense is all you need to do it.

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  20. Sounds interesting, and I really like the cover!

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  21. This sounds good! Going to get it for my nook now :)

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    1. Oh wow thanks! Hope you enjoy it. :-)

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  22. I really enjoyed reading this, Misha. Thanks for posting it. And good luck with The Vanished Knight! :)

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  23. Love the cover, Misha! And Sheena-Kay hope you're feeling better.

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  24. Wow! that was really an interesting post. I love hearing about life in other places. After living in the Caribbean (a place everyone thinks of as paradise), I have to say it's obvious that no matter where you are, there are always pluses and minuses. I think the trick is to work at making those pluses always outweigh the minuses. It just takes a little effort.

    The book, which I've seen all around the blogosphere this week, really looks interesting, best of luck with it.

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    1. I agree with you. Nowhere is just paradise, which I why I decided to share some of the bad bits too. I especially wanted to show that the people who've been complaining about their economy don't have it as bad as they think.

      And at the same time, I know there are places on my continent who has it MUCH worse than we do. It's all a matter of perspective.

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  25. misha! beautiful cover, great blurb & ive always wanted to know more about sith afica, i have a couple of friends there, noow you too! sounds gorgeous with problems many cities are facing these days... i would love to visit some day!

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  26. Hey Tara. Yeah it's got issues, but a lot of places do. :-)

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  27. South Africa sounds intense. Such an interesting place to live, and yes, I would love to visit. The poverty, inflation and government sound a little scary, but then that seems to be the way of the world these days. Best of luck with your new book.

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    1. Yeah we're far from the only country with those problems. In fact, I'm pretty sure a lot of countries have it a lot worse than we do.

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  28. Great post, and yes, I would love to visit South Africa! Love the straight forward way of your discussion, giving a good range of experience. So many of us are blessed with the lifestyles we're able to live, and I try not to take that for granted.

    Good luck on your book!

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    1. Thanks Nancy! Yeah when I did this post, I didn't want to be completely negative, but I didn't want to be fake too.

      Living here isn't a walk in the park, and at the same time, there are privileges to it too.

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  29. it's like getting the best and worst. regardless, South Africa would be a great place just to visit! and congrats on the book!

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    1. Thanks Tammy. South Africa is an awesome holiday destination. There's something here for everyone. :-)

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  30. Even though I agree with you on all the negatives, I still love living in South Africa :-) Because of all those positives! We're moving to Cape Town next year, but I think Durban will always be my favourite place to live in SA ;-)

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    1. Rachel we should TOTALLY have coffee once you're here!

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