100 Words: It’s dry season in the Cape now, so our dams are emptying rapidly. The 2017/18 drought is still fresh in our memories and with the electricity crisis, our water supply is in danger countrywide. But in a world where we operate like headless chickens, humans are in danger of running dry too. We need to help and serve others, but a tap without water cannot fill an empty cup. As we give, we also need to take in, switch off, take a rest and replenish – otherwise our taps will not only run dry, but our feeding source is threatened too.
Under 10-words Takeaway: Soak in the rain (rest) to replenish your resources regularly.
We all know that way back in history when women was prohibited to do certain jobs, they had to improvise if they really wanted to follow their passion. Men played female parts in plays written by men and if women wanted to write books and not be stereotyped for writing ‘silly lady novels’, they had to write under male pen names – which many did. We now know that George Elliot was in fact Mary Ann Evans and that the Brontë sisters – Charlotte, Anne and Emily – became Currer, Acton, and Ellis Bell.
What is less known is that men sometimes had to do the same. In this day and age, men are branded by another form of stereotyping, and publishing in certain writing genre is frowned upon for male authors. Although it is not such a general phenomenon, it happens and when scratching under the surface of the publishing industry, there are quite a few surprising male names popping up with female pseudonyms.
10 Dav Pilkey a.k.a. Sue Denim
Pilkey grew up struggling with learning disorders such as ADHD and dyslexia. What he didn’t have problems with, was drawing and imagining fantastical stories. He became known as author and illustrator of the Dog Man children’s graphic novels and the Captain Underpants series – starring characters which created themselves in his young mind when he was repeatedly dismissed from class in school and spending many hours in the hall – drawing. His books were translated into many languages and millions of copies were sold worldwide. Although he used the male pen names, George Beard and Harold Hutchins (two of the characters’ names in his Captain Underpants series) for his Captain Underpants spin-offs, he chose a female name – Sue Denim – for the Dumb Bunnies series published between 1994 and 1997.
He even posed for photographs as Denim, created a fake persona for her and included a list of imaginary titles written by her in her biography. She was so popular that she sometimes got more fan mail than Pilkey himself. The reason why he chose the name Sue Denim? Because when said quickly, it sounds like pseudonym. Duh!
9 Dan Brown a.k.a. Danielle Brown
Dan Brown has built a cult-like following with his well-known best-selling books, The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, which were adapted into movies, with Tom Hanks portraying his protagonist, Robert Langdon. In 2018 Brown was listed the fifth highest-paid author after James Patterson, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and John Grisham.
Although now a writer of coding- and symbolism-themed novels – probably coming from his years of spending time in the presence of his mathematics professor/writer father – Brown’s writing career started off with a totally different kind of book, co-written with his then wife, Blythe (nee Newlon). The book 187 Men to Avoid was a dating survival guide for women searching for ‘Mr. Right’ and it was published in 1995 under the pseudonym Danielle Brown.
8 Martyn Waites a.k.a. Tania Carver
Martyn Waites became a successful writer after trying his hand at anything from bartending to acting. Books from his various series normally has an investigative journalist at the helm.
When a former editor of his work was looking for a ‘British version’ of Karin Slaughter or Tess Gerritsen-type writing, Waites replied that he was the best ‘man’ for the job. When not being able to find his female voice in writing, he regularly consulted his wife for advice – so much so, that he made her co-author, and the pair has been penning novels together since 2009. Their Tania Carver novels consist of the Brennan & Esposito series, including novels such as The Surrogate and The Lost Girl.
7 Tom E. Huff a.k.a. Jennifer Wilde
Texan born Thomas Elmer Huff (1938-1990) found his female writing voice quite early in his career and has only one book published under his real name. He started out writing gothic novels under the pen names such as Edwina Marlow, Beatrice Parker, T. E. Huff and Katherine St. Clair. But it was as Jennifer Wilde that he really made his mark. These historical novels were written in the first person from the heroin’s perspective and many featured multiple male protagonists.
His first Jennifer Wilde novel, Love’s Tender Fury, had 41 reprints in the first five years, and his second, Dare to Love, topped the New York Times paperback bestseller list for 11 weeks. He didn’t plan to keep on writing under the Wilde pseudonym, remarking that he didn’t relate to her, so he published a novel as Tom E. Huff, but continued writing as Jennifer Wilde anyway. Various previous novels were re-edited under the Tom E. Huff name.
6 Peter O’Donnell a.k.a. Madeleine Brent
Peter O’Donnell was a comic strip artist and writer, who had also adapted Ian Fleming’s 007-movie Dr. No into a comic strip for the Daily Express newspaper. But it was his James Bond-ish comic strip character, Modesty Blaise, published in The London Evening Standard from 1963 to 2001, which brought him fame. He went on to write 20 Modesty Blaise novels. A movie was adapted and is available on You Tube.
His writing under a female name started in 1969 when Souvenir Press requested O’Donnell to write a Gothic novel. He sent in four chapters but received no feedback. Much later an American publisher contacted him to complete the novel, causing a predicament as he didn’t know how the story would end. He persevered, but because it was written for a female readership, he adopted a female pen name. The novel, Tregaron’s Daughter, was a success in the US and Europe and many more followed. In the 20 years of correspondence, his American publisher never knew that he was male. He got his wife to sign his letters as to give his signature a female touch. His pseudonym – Madeleine Brent. The same initials as Modesty Blaise.
5 Nicci Gerrard and Sean French a.k.a. Nicci French
Nicci French is the combined pen name for another married couple Sean French and Nicci Gerrard. Although each had their own separate writing success, the pair decided to start writing as a duet and is doing it already for 24 years. They met while working together at The Statesman magazine, where Sean was a columnist.
Sean’s solo books include three novels, three biographies and a compilation of essays. Nicci has written nine books, including the non-fiction book, What Dementia Teaches Us About Love.
Their first novel together was The Memory Game and they have since written 27 more, including the eight-book Frieda Klein-series. They have also written a picture book, The Fox and the Wolf.
How do two authors of different genders designate themselves as one writer? In their own words from an interview: “We hope that people read our books not as an experiment but as the work of this one particular writer, Nicci French, who has her own imagination and her own strange talent which is different from either of us.” They certainly have convinced me!
4 Roger Sanderson a.k.a. Gill Sanderson
Already surviving for 114 years and selling a book just about every 10 seconds, makes Mills & Boon books extraordinary and chances are that every adult woman in the Western world has read at least one of these books in her lifetime. The company started by Gerald Mills and Charles Boon in 1908 has served as escapism reading for women – created by women. Well, mostly. Throughout Mills & Boon’s history, only a few men have tread where no man normally does – and with surprising success.
One such man is Roger Sanderson, a retired English lecturer, who wrote the Commando comic series, where after he started writing romance novels with his wife – written under her name. He became so good at it that he pursued this writing genre by himself. He wrote more than 40 Mills & Boon novels and has also written for various publishers, such as STAR and Hale, and is currently writing for Accent as Gill Sanderson and for Desert Breeze under his own name.
3 President Benjamin Franklin a.k.a. Mrs. Silence Dogood and others
When young James Franklin started a journal with the goal to criticize the Massachusetts colonial government and religious establishment, he couldn’t foresee that he would be stood up by his little bro, Ben. Fourteen letters by a minister’s widow, called Silence Dogood, became quite a hit and wasn’t exactly what James and his band of Couranteers or Hell-Fire Club had in mind. When admitting that he wrote the letters, Benjamin Franklin was accused of vanity by his brother.
His brother’s critique didn’t prevent Benjamin Franklin from writing under pen names though. The man who would later become the president of the United States of America, wrote letters as both men and women throughout his life, but it was his female personas – Martha Careful, Busy Body, Alice Addertongue and Polly Baker – with whom women could relate, giving them a voice and fighting their causes. Indeed, a man ahead of his time in the eighteenth century!
2 Dean Koontz a.k.a. Deanna Dwyer and Leigh Nichols
Dean Koontz’ books are highly in demand with collectors, which led to many instances of fraud and hoaxes as pseudonyms/novels/letters and other works are accredited to him which are not his. He used the male pen names W.H. Allan, David Axton, Brian Coffey, K.R. Dwyer, John Hill, Anthony North, Richard Paige, Owen West and Aaron Wolfe – as well as his real name. One of his pseudonyms was used for an episode called Counterfeit, that he penned for the TV series, CHiPs. It was edited to the extent that he asked that it was attributed to his alias Brian Coffey, instead of his own name. He also wrote under two female pseudonyms – five books under the names Deanna Dwyer and Leigh Nichols respectively.
Koontz sold his first short story he wrote and then he received more than 75 rejection letters before selling more work. His first four novels were never published. He reads more than 150 books per year and revises every page he writes twenty to thirty times. He has an excellent sense of humour – evident in the answers to his FAQs on his website.
1 Jorge Diaz, Antonio Mercero and Augustin Martinez a.k.a. Carmen Mola
The female thriller writer Carmen Mola had been called “Spain’s Elena Ferrante” (pseudonym of Italian translator/novelist Anita Raja). Mola’s books, translated into eleven languages, had become so popular, thereby accumulating many accolades. In 2020, a branch of Spain’s Women’s Institute listed her book, The Girl – part of a trilogy – as a must-read book by a woman that “help us understand the reality and the experiences of women.”
Rumours were that Carmen Mola was the pen name for a male writer, needing to write under a different name. So, when ‘she’ won the prestigious Planeta prize – the richest literary award – for the book La Bestia, (The Beast) written under the pen-name Sergio López and she had to attend a ceremony attended by the Spanish king to receive her prize, the audience was stunned when three men – Jorge Diaz, Antonio Mercero and Augustin Martinez – took the stage.
The scriptwriters trio is widely criticized by gender groups for writing as women about women issues, but Mercero reply was simply: “We didn’t hide behind a woman, we hid behind a name,”
100 Words: One thing everyone agrees about nowadays, is that time is flying. Within the wink of an eye, we are facing the middle of the year already. Where had all the seconds gone? And what have I done to fill them? It feels that I am only brushing my teeth and going to bed. Is the earth moving faster around the sun or am I spending too much time using a screen? It might be the latter, because my screen time app shocks me daily. I have the same amount of time I always had, but get fewer physical things done.
My father taught me to always find North when getting to a new place. That way, he said, you would never get lost. He found his Way twenty-two years ago and doesn’t need the stars for direction anymore.
Me, on the other hand, still search for my North when arriving in a new town or city. Here it isn’t challenging at all, but I must confess that, when we lived or travelled abroad, I struggled to find it.
We lived in Egypt for a while and travelled to the Middle East and Europe and when I looked up at the night sky and didn’t see the Southern Cross in the Northern Hemisphere, I felt a bit lost. My inner compass just couldn’t find its North. Everything felt backwards and upside down. And it didn’t help that the Nile of the Bible flowed in the ‘wrong’ direction.
In Egypt I made East and West my goal. My husband, Deon, and I got lost while going for a walk on our second day in Cairo. We eventually saw the setting sun between the high buildings and followed it, because we knew that that was where the Nile was. In Cairo the Nile became my North – even though it was always East or West from where we were coming from or going to.
Tonight, when our son, Michael, walked to his cottage, he knocked on the window and called me to have a look at the stars. And there the Milky Way hovered in the load shedding darkness over our town with the Southern Cross reminding me – we are home.
Spoil the car enthusiast in your life with a unique gift – just because it is the beginning of a new year. 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads is the first writing prompts book completely dedicated to creative writing prompts about cars.
It is ideal for:
• Motoring journalists to boost thinking-out-of-the-box creativity and to get new ideas for articles.
• Teachers to add some fun to writing exercises in the classroom.
• Writers of any genre who use prompts for relaxation or for challenging creative abilities.
• Anyone who wants to boost their creativity.
• Gifts for car lovers.
The book includes information on free writing and on how to use writing prompts. 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads is available in paperback and as an eBook on Amazon Kindle Books. Rev up your creativity with anything from memory-inspired nostalgic prompts to outlandishly silly ones. Purchase a copy for yourself and/or a petrolhead in your life now.
A few prompts from the books
#4 Write a traffic report in New York in 2077 where electric buses, trams, taxis, flying hybrid cars and pedestrians on ‘Segway’-like vehicles are all competing to transport the city’s inhabitants.
#22 Transcribe the dialogue of a heated conversation you overhear between a 1964 and a 2019 Ford Mustang.
#31 Write down the titles and plots for your planned series of nine action movies featuring cars as main caractors (car actors).
#33 I will never forget that feeling when I sat behind the steering wheel of a real car for the first time…
(The words ‘fast’, ‘furious’, ‘need’ and ‘speed’ may not be used at all in the titles.)
#10 A hire car (that little blue Toyota Corolla Auris) finally has its say when it is the host of the TV program ‘The Roast of Jeremy Clarkson’.
#44 Write an advertisement (performed by cars) advertising chargers for electric cars.
#71 Write down the conversation four car friends (names, makes and models) have as they watch a re-run of the launch of Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster into space.
#96 Write a world-first automobile review about the first mass produced car, the 1908 Ford Model T.
#120 You are giving your eighteen-year-old petrolhead daughter advice on buying her first car. Write down the dialogue (including your issues about safety and all her passionate counter arguments about speed, power and fun).
This is a ‘working’ blog post which is updated regularly. Visit it frequently for updates and feel free to make suggestions of your favourite places and activities in Hermanus and the Overberg. No ads, please.
Find accommodation in Hermanus to fit your needs and then plan your holiday according to the information below. Make sure to come for long enough, because Hermanus and the Overberg have is plenty to do! You will need at least four days for an enjoyable (introductory) visit.
Starting at Grotto Beach, the cliff path snakes along the coast for 12,7 km, which makes it a fantastic walk, whether walking as a whole or just taking a short walks. It’s ideal for an early morning or early evening walk from almost wherever you stay in the village.
Benches are placed along the path for enough opportunities to rest. Take snacks and water along, as the sun can be scorching especially during the summer months. Always use sunblock on your walks and wear a hat.
Hermanus has plenty opportunities for walking. The three dams nestled in the mountains are reachable from Fernkloof, where there are various trails to follow to explore the mountains.
Always walk in groups and do not take dogs on paths where they are not allowed, (because of possible baboon presence). This precaution is for your own safety.
The Hermanus Camino
Hermanus has its own Caminonow! So, if you have five days open and fancy a walk, check it out.
Get tips on how to enjoy a safe and healthy holiday in Hermanus here.
The Rotary Way
The view from Rotary Way on the top of the mountain is spectacular and is a good starting point to orientate yourself with a ‘live map’ of the village underneath.
Do not feed the baboons if you encounter any there. If you experience any trouble with them, call the baboon hotline.
Hermanus Golf Course
Hermanus is a proud host of a 27-hole golf course (different course options), with beautiful fynbos, restored wetlands and wildlife to appreciate. There is plenty to keep the rest of the family busy, while Dad spend a few guilt-free hours on the greens.
Bicycles can be rented to explore the village and beach.
Kayaking between the old and new harbours can be enjoyed on good weather days.
Extreme sports are popular in the Overberg region and there are plenty of activities to choose from. A local not-to-miss sports event is the annual Walker Bay Outdoor, held at the end of April each year, where young and old can participate.
If you have your own set of Bocce/Petang, you can make use of the court in Swallow Park to play – or you can just enjoy a rest under the trees while walking in town.
Hermanus brags with more than twenty art galleries in the CBD and a few more in the suburbs, as well as in Onrus.
Open-air art installations are placed at various points in town as part of Hermanus FynArts and can be admired at any time. A weeklong annual FynArts event is held in June every year.
The First Fridays Art Walk was extended to an all around the year activity after lockdown, so make sure to plan your trip around a first weekend of the month, because on the first Sunday of the month the Art in the Park exhibition is at the cricket grounds (where the Saturday Country Market is being held).
Our Famous Visitors
While the Southern Right Whales visit Hermanus’ shores between July and November every year, while a few shy local Bryde whales is also observed in the bay from time to time throughout the year.
Other wildlife to check out on and from the land, are the dassies (hyrax), dolphins and penguins, birds and seals.
The Hermanus NG Kerk (DR Church) has a month-long market during December in the Grobbelaar Hall in town, while St. Peter’s Church has a Saturday morning market in the church garden right through the year.
A Saturday morning drive to surrounding towns provide more options.
Shopping in the CBD
The CBD offers lots of shopping opportunities with specialty and pop-up shops.
In High Street, shops and buildings are newly renovated and upgraded and the street provides a beautiful and vibrant walk within the village, with little tea and coffee shops and restaurants lining the street.
There are a few museums to visit in town. The De Wet’s Huis Photo Museum next to Market Square showcases photos telling Hermanus’ history and in the Old Harbour, the whale museum houses bones and information regarding our large Walker Bay inhabitants.
Apart from visiting the museum, the Old Harbour is ideal for fishing, snorkelling, diving and swimming in the small cove, with Bientang’s Cave Restaurant & Wine Bar offering a picturesque ocean view after the activities have left you hungry and thirsty.
The New Harbour
The New Harbour (read about its history) is situated at the end of Westcliff Drive. (Marine Drive becomes Westcliff Drive at the bend when you leave the CBD.)
Various companies offer fishing opportunities from The New Harbour.
There is also the option of taking a scheduled/chartered eco or sunset cruise on a 36’ sailing catamaran from the New Harbour.
Picnicking can be done in the gardens at Fernkloof, on the beaches and even on top of the mountain, while watching the sunset.
Most of the wine farms in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley also have picnic menus.
The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley also hosts regular adventure activities such as a Zip line, weekly Saturday Park Run, quad biking, cycling and walking are fun day activities for individuals and families to do.
Short Day trips
Shark cage diving is something for the not-so-fainthearted and is done at Kleinbaai (Gansbaai).
With the long days during summer time, day trips to as far as Paternoster are perfect to experience a different place, but be back in Hermanus by dusk, because – let’s face it – once here, you don’t really want to be away for too long! Consider the following possibilities.
Driving to Cape Town via Clarence Drive through Gordon’s Bay to go up Table mountain. Or shoot past Cape Town to see Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand.
It is ideal for: • Motoring journalists to boost thinking-out-of-the-box creativity and to get new ideas for articles. • Teachers to add some fun to writing exercises in the classroom. • Writers of any genre who use prompts for relaxation or for challenging creative abilities. • Anyone who wants to boost their creativity. • Gifts for car lovers. The book includes information on free writing and on how to use writing prompts. 125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads is available in paperback and as an ebook on Amazon Kindle Books. Rev up your creativity with anything from memory-inspired nostalgic prompts to outlandishly silly ones. Search on Amazon Kindle Books by the title or use the link https://amzn.to/3lwaUPh to purchase a copy for yourself or a petrolhead in your life.
About the Authors: Fielies De Kock and Michael De Kock is a mother-and-son team who collaborated for the first time on this book. Both are bloggers. Michael is a passionate car buff. Fielies likes blue ones.
125 Creative Writing Prompts for Petrolheads is a book (the first of a niche-inspired series) for the word lover who is also car crazy. Accelerate your writing with some out-of-the (gear)box scribbling – if you are just writing for fun or if you are an experienced ‘old’ hand, thinking that you have already written it all.
Get your creativity revved up with anything from memory-inspired nostalgic prompts to outlandishly silly ones. Whether it is for yourself or a gift to your dad, petrolhead girlfriend or bro, it will put some vroom in your writing life.