Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Chishamiso published in Jamaica

My short story, Chishamiso was published on the 7th of October 2012 in Jamaica's Sunday Observer Bookends Magazine. As some of you know, this story first appeared on the LET'S TALK ABOUT IT ALL WITH THANDI website. There were calls for the story to continue, and I was prevailed upon to develop on the original idea, so a novella may yet arise from all this.

I am exceptionally pleased with this publication in Jamaica. I don't know if there have been other Zimbabwean writers who have been given this kind of attention, but it establishes the potential for our two cultures to interact without neccessarily going through Europe and America's media. Recently, I was published in a South African magazine, Jungle Jim. There is a project to reach out to Italy and Brazil as well.

I want to thank Bettina Sibanda, who asked me to write this story first for LET'S TALK ABOUT IT ALL WITH THANDI, and Empress Makeda Barbara Blake Hannah for drawing it to the attention of the Bookends editor, Sarah Leach. And, all those people who have read it.





Tuesday, 28 August 2012

What I have been up to since I last blogged

Been busy in the real world

It has been a while since I have been on my blog. It has been a while since I have been doing a lot of writing online when it comes to that. But that is not to say that I have been twiddling my thumbs, not with a dozen deadlines to meet! Actually, my hiatus from the World Wide Web has seen much activity in Middlesbrough.

I read an excerpt from the forth-coming Cursed Shall Be Thy Kine at the Middlesbrough Literary Festival. That was my first time to take part in the Festival.

I was in Summer Loliday at the Arc in Stockton-on-Tees, where I played among other interesting characters, a zombie a named John. That was great fun, and I think we had a good review or two.

___________

Straight after the last night of this performace, I was on the coach to London where I had promised an old school mate that I would talk to kids at his church about creative writing. That had not been organised well at all and I never got to address the children. I did spend several hours at a bus stop, trying to get a good Samaritan to let me use their phone. For some reason, the charger at my seat was not working so my Samsung 7's battery was flat by the time I got to Victoria station. Only one person let me use their phone. The unfrienldiness by so many people holding Bibles and coming from the more than fifteen churches I counted on my way from Victoria Station is something I had forgotten about since I moved up north.

Anyway, my stay at the bus stop in Lewisham inspired a story- not about the mean-spiritedness of the locals, but a blind old man I helped find his bus.




On the Dread Eye Detective Agency front, Fernanda and I came up with a new logo for the agency. The eye in the middle is a nod to the Pinkerton Agency, the first firm of private investigators to use the eye as a symbol of the trade and the first to use the term “private eye”. Of course, the lunatic fringe has its own interpretation. A short story called Lights, Camera, Murder! has made it to the pages of Jungle Jim, Africa’s premier pulp magazines.

Zimbabwean humanitarian, Betina Sibanda, approached me for a short-story for her new website, Letstalkallaboutwiththandi.org. I sent her what I had planned to be just a short-story, but people have written in asking if it can be expanded, so there is now a serialised Chishamiso, about a woman who has been wronged by every man in her life. Jamaican author, former Senator and Rastafarian matriarch, Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah gave the story and some of my other work publicity and Chishamiso caught the attention of the island’s main Sunday magazine. That I should have this impact in the year that Jamaica celebrates its 50th anniversary is special. This is the country which has contributed immensely to the assertion of a Pan-African outlook and culture and I wish it well. I would also like to thank Empress Makeda Barbara Blake Hannah. As many of you know, she is the pioneer of what I call Rastafarian Fiction and the main inspiration behind my writing The Man Who Turned Into a Rastafarian.

Former ZBC TV presenter and actress Happiness Pemiwah, who is now deejaying for Eric Knight and Ezra “Chisa” Sibanda’s Visions Radio called me up and suggested we do a radio play. So, every Sunday 1930 GMT, there is A Time for Everything. I did a reading from the forthcoming Cursed Shall Be Thy Kine at the Middlesbrough Literary Festival in the Reference Section of the Central Library.

On the film and TV front, a producer called me to say that he had finally gotten round to making a short film based on my screenplay. I can’t even recall the name of the screenplay but that obviously was not time wasted which is still more than can be said about everyone else I worked with this year and will not be working again.

There is a psychological movie being shot in Middlesbrough. I don’t want to say too much about it, even if we haven’t signed a confidentiality clause. But I did get a part as a mad preacher. The director allowed me enough creative freedom to create the mad preacher character and I based him on some the maddest preachers I have come across- the Hebrew Israelites. For those who don’t know, they are a bunch of foul-mouthed clowns who think that the Twelve Tribes of Israel are the African-Americans, the Native Americans, the Hispanics and the West Indians, essentially everyone in the Americas who does not fit the description of “Causasian”. They find proof in facts such as the Mexican penchant for siestas and that Issachar was blessed by Jacob as seeing that the “rest was good”, hence Mexicans are Issacharites. But it is their dressing, cast-offs from the wardrobe department for Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves and hiphop bling, that gave me ideas.

Last week I did a reading at Elliots, a restaurant on Linthorpe road run by a Londoner who has great taste in music. The place is set to be a hub for the artistic community, so I will be hanging out there a great deal. Artist Mai, who organised the event, had an exhibition there. Great work, Mai!

OK, that about summarises what I have been up to since I last blogged. None of it has hurt sales either, which have picked up as a result of Empress Makeda's work as a publicist. Not bad for a chap who still doesn’t have an agent and a major publisher behind him, eh?

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

At last in print!!


Last week, I uploaded the files for MunaHacha Maive Nei on to amazon's CreateSpace site and this is the result. For those who have waited for this, I present to you a print edition of my novel.

Diaspora Publishers, who had issued a print edition of their own, have since withdrawn it, for obvious reasons. Not least among them is the fact that mine is better formatted, and cheaper too. And it has an ISBN.

Now, for the business of promoting sales.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Amazon pulls the plug on MunaHacha Maive Nei?

The following is the correspondence I have had with amazon Kindle over their decision to withdraw MunaHacha Maive Nei? because it is in a language that they do not support.

What exactly is that supposed to mean? Does the decision indicate animosity towards ChiShona, and African languages in general? Even if that were the case, I am not sure this is something amazon would admit publicly.

This title has been selling a few copies a week since I published it last year. It has made money for amazon and for me. It is also a ground-breaking project; the first science fiction novel in ChiShona and the first ever ChiShona novel to appear as an ebook first before getting printed. Why pull the plug now?

I am gutted by amazon's decision, but I am exploring ways of getting around this. Just as I had jumped on Kindle as a route towards reaching my readers, bypassing the established and untenable publishing paradigm, I have to see if there are other means out there.


THE CORRESPONDENCE

Kindle Direct Publishing kdp-support@amazon.com



Feb 13 (7 days ago)

to me

Hello Masimba,

Thanks for your request to publish your book in chiShona. Although we don't currently support publishing in this language, we're continually working to expand the number of languages and titles that are available to our worldwide audience, and we’re excited that you want to offer your title.

Please check our forums periodically for updates on newly supported languages:

http://forums.kindledirectpublishing.com/kdpforums/forumindex.jspa

We're sorry we haven't been able to address your concerns to your satisfaction. We will not be able to offer any additional insight or action on these matters.


Thanks again for your interest in publishing on Kindle.

Regards,

Susanne N.
Kindle Direct Publishing
http://kdp.amazon.com
=============================
Connect with KDP and other Authors and Publishers:
Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/KindleDirectPublishing
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---- Original message: ----

Dear Amazon Kindle

I don't understand what you mean by "not supported". There have been
sufficient downloads from members of the book reading public to
demonstrate its potential. It is the first ever science-fiction novel
in chiShona, and the first novel in that language to appear as an
eBook first before going in to print.

I wonder why you have decided to pull the plug on a project that has
not harmed you in any way. Are you hostile to African languages?

Masimba

On 2/9/12, Kindle Direct Publishing <kdp-support@amazon.com wrote:
Hello,

As part of our efforts to provide the best experience possible for customers in the Kindle store, we are taking this opportunity to notify you that your book(s) is in a language not currently supported by KDP. As a result, we will be removing your book(s) from the Kindle Store:
MunaHacha Maive Nei? (Swahili Edition)(ASIN:B0054GLXH4)
Please note that we are only accepting new submissions in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese at this time. The Kindle community is expanding quickly and we’re working to support titles in more languages in the months ahead. You can stay up to date on the latest Amazon KDP news
by visiting the link below:

http://forums.kindledirectpublishing.com/kdpforums/index.jspa

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

Best regards,

Kindle Direct Publishing
http://kdp.amazon.com