31 December 2014

Keep Love Alive... in Twenty-One-Five!!


As 2014 disappears like a shadow in fear of the promising light of the New Year, we all take time to reflect on what has come and gone.

For some the good memories overpower the bad, and then others choose to drag the baggage of what was along with them.

For me - books were written, published, read and reviewed. In the same fashion, so was everything in my life. But the evaluation I received on a personal note was not as kind as a reader blown away by the characters I had created, but rather the brutal judgement of self. I felt uprooted when I lost love, was taken from those that are most dear, and battled to carry on.

Reading comments for what I had written brought the realisation that I truly believe life will be okay. Yes, we have storms. Rain washes down and threatens the integrity of our foundation. Yet writing this now, I am able to see and feel the sunshine of tomorrow waiting to shine on my face.

After months of unmotivated silence, I am glad to announce that the words are flowing once more and I will have a new book soon. You see, as in my stories, love is usually waiting around the next bend. All we need to do is keep moving forward in order to find it. I am not referring solely to love of a romantic kind, but also to a love for one’s self.

Everyone talks of finding the love of your life, but how can you return that love if you don’t know what it feels like - inside? They walk into your darkness with a glow of promise, yes, but you can’t feed off that flame…only use it to light your own. Two burning at full strength will create a light that none can extinguish or hide.

As in my first book, Infirmity, I am reminded of the following…
Love is not a feeling... It is a choice.

A choice to accept love. A choice to savour it like vintage wine, careful not to waste. A choice not to take love for granted, and to count your blessings when as simple a gift as having coffee made for you in the morning is a reminder that somebody actually cares.
That feeling of belonging is enough fuel to make sure you keep going through even the longest day.

Though this may have started out as rather down, my message to you as you head into 2015 is to keep love alive. If you have it: cherish it. If you’ve lost it: search harder. If it died: plant a seed of hope and it will grow.

So…as fireworks light up the sky in anticipation of an exciting new start, don’t let your hopes and dreams fall to the ground like smouldering embers. Keep them alive in 2015. You are never too old.

And for those looking for love…keep at it and don’t lose hope.

 
I have found mine.

 
All the best for 2015!!

3 December 2014

A Time For Giving...



 
Christmas.
A time of year when everybody gears up to spend and create memorable moments with friends and family.
Gifts are presented and usually judged by the amount spent, the store name that appears on the receipt, or even whether the gadget bought is not too outdated or ‘uncool.’
But after all the curve balls life throws at us, maybe we should go back to the basics.
Christmas is a time of giving and receiving, yes…but of ourselves and not our cards to swipe.

Love.
It makes the world go around, they say.
It also makes us blind, others murmur.
To me…it is a circle of life.
We are born, wide-eyed and helpless, needing to be loved for the sake of survival. And as the years go by and we age, there is actually not much difference.
We build castles and surround ourselves with items of beauty, but often fail to see the most precious gift that can ever be bestowed on any one person…
…love…

So as the year draws to a close, I look back at the weeks and months gone by and thank God for all those who filled my life with joy and happiness.
My tree may be empty, but the caring and love I received during the year will decorate my inner branches with lights far brighter than the stars in the sky.

Some of us have loved and lost, but after all this…love still conquers all.
Bless all of you, and bless the spirit of Christmas.


To continue with a cause I feel strongly about and a pledge, 50% of all proceeds from the sale of My African Dream will go to wildlife conservation, and more so towards the fight against rhino poaching.
 

22 September 2014

BIG 5 may soon become BIG 4...


I once again shed light on the problem of rhino poaching in Africa that threatens the continued existence of these beautiful beasts.
With today being World Rhino Day, it helps us reflect on what we are turning a blind eye to. If there is a fuel hike…we petition and threaten to burn down the fuel plants…If McD’s delivers a shoddy product, we boycott them…and so on.
But as we sit in our comfy recliners, drinking a glass of red or white… why should we care, right?
Wrong…
 
The decline of the rhino will reduce grazing land, which will also lead to the decline of the gazelle, antelope and zebra. And if these animals die out, so will lions and leopards. Can you picture a world where your children, or grandchildren, never get to see any of these animals . . . either in a zoo or on the Nature Channel? Not only will this change the savannah, but it will ultimately reduce tourism and lead to fewer jobs in a country already battling with unemployment. The stats are everywhere if we actually take the time to read them.

Never before have I been more excited to release a book, and never before have I been proud to stand up and make a noise in the hope that someone actually listens. My African Dream is due for release this Thursday, and I am seriously looking forward to stand by my pledge of donating 50% of all author proceeds to rhino conservation.
 

4 September 2014

RELEASE DAY GIVEAWAY!!!

My African Dream
by Mario Saincic

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: September 25, 2014
Available for pre-order on Amazon!

My African Dream finds Millicent Cramer in the heart of Kenya, a world she only ever dreamed about. Even her wildest imagination could not have prepared her for life on African soil, but what she experienced there changed her life forever. She found the harsh beauty overwhelming; the people comforting; and even found love…but the biggest thing she discovered was a purpose for her life - a calling far beyond anything she had experienced before.


Enter the giveaway for a chance to win 1 of 15 ebook copies of 
My African Dream by Mario Saincic

OPEN INTERNATIONALLY



"Remember that each book sold will help fund rhino conservation and preservation."

21 August 2014

Cover Reveal: MY AFRICAN DREAM


What started as a dream, at around Christmas time last year, has finally become a reality. The months trailed and I thought I’d never finish, even threw it in the trash a few times, but were it not for certain people…this day would never have arrived.

Patricia Baxter…thank you, sweetheart!

I battled with stubborn characters, headstrong and determined, and even wrestled a lion or two; but nothing prepared me for the dreaded cover…

HEART COVERS, a new cover design business, accepted my plea and took on the task. It wasn’t easy seeing as only the best would be good enough for my baby, but with patience and creative genius, I finally gave the nod.

So here it is…
 
 

My African Dream is available on Amazon as a pre order, and will be released on my birthday, September 25th. Watch this space for an upcoming giveaway…

Remember that each book sold will help fund rhino conservation and preservation.
To the animals of Africa it is not a dream…it's survival.

16 August 2014

Write to Save Our Rhinos


In a world of writing, we are often inspired by a mood, a memory, or even a dream. And then when we least expect it, we are consumed by a need to stand up and make our voices heard. Well, a few months ago this happened to me…
 
A very close friend told me a story of how she would stare at an image from a webcam positioned at a watering hole in the middle of Africa, watching as the wild animals mulled around in an existence that most of us didn’t understand or weren’t aware of. She had never left her home town never mind her state, yet here she sat dreaming of walking on the hot, dry sand that was far from her reach. It made her long to be there, and made me smile that someone could feel passionate about the world outside of their borders. I’d listen as she told me of how their every move made her wonder what it would be like to see these magnificent creatures in person. This soon unleashed a feeling inside that captured my thoughts for a few months as I was inspired to write about my own desire.

Born and raised in Africa, I often take the beauty of nature for granted. I could easily climb in my car right now and drive less than an hour to go play with lion cubs, feed a giraffe, or even pat a zebra; yet she can’t…and probably never will.
This realisation moved me in a way I didn’t expect. Sitting in front of my television and listening to reports of what was happening in the world around me, on my doorstep, in my back yard…I thought of her and of future generations to come.

The harsh reality of how a magnificent animal can dwindle towards extinction, while we sit back and watch, came over me like a Tsunami of icy water. Being spoilt with the vastness of the African bush, I remembered the countless times I had been on game drives. It always amazed me even though I had seen it a hundred times before, and listening to the questions she had asked, my mind wandered to what her face would look like if she were given the chance to sit on the back of an open Land Cruiser as I had done. I would probably muse at her silent stare, gaping mouth, and even laugh when she jumped in her seat as one of the wild animals charged. This picture reminded me of one such occasion when I sat comfortably on the back of a vehicle, panic-struck, and watched as a majestic black rhino stormed towards us. The ranger stood up straight, rifle raised and ready, but held back. Probably more curious than angry and on its way back from a bout of supremacy over territory, the raging animal didn’t stop. I could barely hear a sound over the pounding feet that twirled up a cloud of dust, and there was no way the tranquiliser could kick in before the rhino struck the side of the vehicle.

Looking down, I couldn’t believe what I saw. The horn that was probably two feet long had pierced the side of the vehicle, and the tip was hidden from sight. The animal shook its head a few times before freeing the horn and standing still as though to inspect the gaping hole. The effects of the dart must have kicked in because the animal suddenly seemed dazed. He staggered away, and soon after the ranger radioed for back-up. The second vehicle was barely in sight before we all drove off.

I loved that day. It was one of my favourite memories of being out in the open. But right now, it makes me extremely sad. My sons have not had the opportunity to take a game drive yet, and I am not sure when they will. I just hope it is some time very soon, for that rhino I had the honour of seeing up close, and many like it, will not be around for much longer. They are being brutally slaughtered on a daily basis, and unless we as the guardians of all animals on earth do something about it, they will soon merely be a memory and admired in museums much like dinosaurs are.

It was this revelation that led me to sit down and write in the hope of creating awareness of what was happening, and four months after I started I wrote the final chapter of My African Dream. It is a romantic suspense set in the heart of Kenya, and finds Millicent Cramer in a world she only ever dreamed about. Even her wildest imagination could not have prepared her for life on African soil, but what she experienced there changed her life forever. She found the harsh beauty overwhelming, the people comforting, and even found love… But the biggest thing she discovered was a purpose for her life - a calling far beyond anything she had experienced before.

My African Dream was written with a need to get the message out to the world. I held it back from self-pubbing with the idea of approaching agents and publishers. To be honest, I have only queried a handful, and as much as any writer would like to see their work in print…I kind of got lost in the process. You see, it all changed from getting a message across to the pride of being published. I sat with the manuscript for months while wondering what to do with it, until my writing buddy and editor reminded me of something. They highlighted the passion I’d had while writing the chapters and creating the characters, the laughter I experienced when I threw the book at Milly only to see her come out on top every time. But most importantly, the awareness I was trying to create.

So with this, I have finally decided to publish My African Dream as an ebook. Some may say ‘whoopee doo-dah,’ that’s easy to do… Well yes, they are right, and it is…but in showing my support for the organisations that are combatting rhino poaching and in an attempt to get the message across, I am making a pledge.

Seeing as I am not able to physically help track down poachers - and believe me when I say that I will take extreme pleasure in doing more than just tracking down - and I wasn’t born with a golden spoon in my mouth , I am going to help in the only way I know how.

For the life of the book, I will donate 50% of all author proceeds to various organisations that are actively part of rhino conservation. This is the least I can do to help make sure that future generations are able to see these majestic beasts like I have: roaming free and out of danger.

Over the next few weeks I will be updating my blog with regards to the cover, the organisations that I will select, and then also the release date of the book. I will post it on Amazon as a pre-order, too. I am also giving serious reviewers and book bloggers the opportunity to receive a copy of the book, and they can contact me via Facebook, Twitter, or by leaving a message on my blog.

Remember that each book sold will help fund rhino conservation and preservation.
To the animals of Africa it is not a dream…it is their life.

17 July 2014

Let's cook!!


In some posts, and on my Amazon bio page, and Twitter, and FB… I have claimed that I can cook.
Well, I can.
For some people it is as simple as following a recipe, step by step and using exact weight measures, but for me it isn’t. And truth be told, I hate recipes. So when I do cook, I follow the mood and setting I am in at that moment.

So…today…I will try and share one of those with you.

A basic lasagna…

Ingredients:

Two bottles of red wine

Enough Mincemeat (Ground beef)

One Large onion

Two Cloves of garlic

A bunch of fresh basil

A bit of fresh rosemary

Sachet/small can Tomato paste/puree

A few zucchini/courgette/baby marrows

A green/red/yellow pepper

Ample grated cheese

Sheets of lasagna

 
Method:


This is the part where you need to pay close attention, and remember that tasting food while it cooks is a must…

·         Pour a glass of wine. Make sure it isn’t mere cooking wine, but also not Grandpa’s vintage private collection

·         Take a sip

·         Insert CD or connect iPod. The preferred music is something along the lines of Andrea Bocelli. This is a must to set the stage. Nothing too sad or melodramatic: tears affect the taste of the sauce

·         Chop the onion. The finer the better, basically because if your kids are dead-set against them, you can disguise it and they won’t know the difference

·         Sip some wine, and keep sipping during stages of preparation unless forming part of the instructions

·         Chop the garlic. With this it is paramount to be very fine. Large chunks can catch the guest by surprise and cause either a face that would crack mirrors or a spew. If it is one of your in-laws, you will never be able to come up with an excuse good enough

·         Chop the basil. It doesn’t have to be to fine, but small enough that all the natural aroma is set free

·         Rosemary the same as the basil. The reason I use fresh as opposed to the dried variety, is because the dry one doesn’t soften when cooking and, well, it just isn’t cool when you find one twig in the middle of a mouthful of delicious food

·         Chop the zucchini or courgettes or baby marrows into rings. The thickness is up to you, but it should show when you slice the cooked lasagna later

·         Finely chop the peppers. NOT chilli peppers, sweet peppers

·         Place a pot on the heat and drizzle with olive oil. Virgin, extra virgin, seed blend: it depends on personal taste. If you have a gas cooker, especially a Smeg, I am jealous

·         Take a sip of wine and turn up the music as this is where it all turns into culinary foreplay

·         Brown the onion and garlic in the pot. They should turn a yellowy brown. If it is way brown, oops, clear it from the pot and chop another. As the onion turns transparent, add the peppers

·         Once browned nicely, add the mincemeat or ground beef. Try and make sure that it doesn’t form compact pieces like small meat balls. It should be loose to give the sauce a smooth texture

·         By now your glass should be empty. Pour another

·         As the meat starts to cook, add the basil and rosemary. Stir it in nicely. Salt and pepper should be added at this stage. For those adamant about not cooking with salt and allowing the guests to add their own later…it’s kinda difficult when the dish is layered. Pepper should be corns ground with a mill and not the powdered variety

·         During this process, sip more wine

·         When the meat is almost cooked and starts to brown in areas, add the tomato paste or puree

·         Stir it in nicely

·         Sip

·         Add the zucchini

·         Sip

·         Stir the lot together until the zucchini is evenly spread

·         Pour in half a bottle of wine. Yes, half a bottle. And depending on the size of your wine glass, that should mean your first bottle is toast

·         Drown the pasta layers in a flat dish with warm water. Try not to let them touch each other as they may be stubborn when trying to remove later. Also, don’t use the dish you will finally put the pasta in unless you dry it properly first. The water will mess with the taste

·         Enjoy the music and savour the wine

·         Bring the meaty wine mixture to the boil and lower the heat to let it simmer. All the flavours and textures need to marry in the pot, and this also gives you time to finish your glass and pour another

·         If you are not a usual wine drinker, calm down because you will soon start twirling while giving your rendition of what Bocelli should sound like. Twerking is frowned upon and doesn’t quite go with opera. If you are like me, just close your eyes and let his voice sooth your soul

·         Inspect the pot and make sure the wine has reduced enough that you hardly see any liquid

·         Take it off the heat

·         Sip

·         Pause

·         Sip

·         In a saucepan, prepare a basic b├ęchamel or white sauce. I will not dictate how you make it as recipes differ and I rarely follow them. Personally, I do mine with butter-milk-flour way. For those that have never made a white sauce before, here is a link. This recipe uses parmesan cheese in the preparation which adds a little extra tang, but it is not necessary as it can be hellishly expensive. I also use chicken spice instead of nutmeg

·         That was tiring, so finish your glass

·         In an oven tray, lay the first line of lasagna sheets so that they overlap slightly. Some people put the meat sauce first, but I just find that having the pasta on the bottom kind of keeps the meal ‘solid’ and doesn’t allow the base to flatten when you cut the first slice

·         On top of the lasagna, pour on a healthy portion of meat sauce and smooth evenly. Add a thin layer of white sauce. Oh, and by the way…cooking is creative freedom so you can experiment with the white sauce by adding ground pepper to turn it into a pepper sauce. Or grated cheese for a cheese sauce…

·         Seeing as you get the picture, you can reward yourself with another glass, but that would depend on your spouse or partner as you will need to open the next bottle. I don’t have that problem

·         Once you have layered the lasagna enough and to your own satisfaction, finish it off with a final layer of white sauce and sprinkle the grated cheese on top. The common cheese used is usually cheddar or gouda, but feel free to use whatever you want. For creativity when presenting the meal, I usually sprinkle a bit of paprika to break the overpowering yellow of the cheese, and you can garnish with chopped parsley

·         Bake in the oven at around 180 Celsius or around 350 Fahrenheit until just before the cheese burns

·         While it comfortably develops into a meal that will impress most guests, sip, and sip some more


That is a basic lasagna, and when done should look similar to this…

 







 Enjoy......

 

20 March 2014

Reach out and touch someone

Hello all, and yes, it has been a long while...

From the previous posts we have established that I write and love cooking, and this all ties in with passion defining us.
Well there is more - I design too.

No, this is not a 'look at me' post, it is merely a way of trying to get my message across. You see, I am blessed in many ways. Not blessed as in being extraordinary or extremely talented, but blessed in the sense that I am given opportunities on a daily basis to reach out and touch someone.

By designing I mean houses. Certain people want a brick and mortar structure, others want an investment, and then there's my favourite kinda people: those that want a home. You can spot them a mile away. They come in all shapes and sizes, cultural backgrounds, ages, and with varied lifestyles. The newly weds walse into the meeting with stars in their eyes, nervous as hell because this is probably their first step taken as a married couple, and with a blank expression of not knowing what to expect. Their excitement soon turns to elation when they realise that they actually have a choice. Then the ideas fly...
The rest vary from a couple having a vague idea, calmy asking questions while the wife gently rubs her growing tummy, to a family looking to finally settle in a place they can call their own. Each different, each unique...but by taking the time to listen to them they have been touched.

You have a chance each and every day to reach out and touch somebody.
The person that cuts you off in morning traffic because they are late after cleaning up after a messy baby may be doing so because their boss is from another planet, and if they do not arrive on time they could be suspended or fired. So before you give them a total rundown of how equally stressful your morning was, and this in sign language - smile and wave.
Or the girl working at the checkout that accidently rang an item twice at the end of her horrid shift of listening to customer complaints all day - smile and give her a break.
The same with social media. Ooh... I hear sighs filling your room as you read that last bit. Yes, there are people out there that can be extremely demanding and rude, some of them even let all the bots and apps do their talking and thinking for them; but there are those that just want to reach out and be heard - touch them.

And every now and then, while reaching out to someone, the strangest thing happens: a person turns around and touches you right back. It feels weird at first, almost like getting a response to a tweet or a FB post, but it's kinda cool.
When designing, you give ideas and try to interpret what the client wants, but when they give feedback you become a better person. One such client was tall, bald, and riddled with tatoos. At first glance they appear, in search of a better word - scary. Their attitude was firm and backed by a 'no bullshit' tone. This is like most people we meet on a daily basis. But where we think they are being rude, they are in fact just keeping everyone at a distance in order to protect themselves from exposing too much and getting judgement in return.

At first I was apprehensive to meet the 6'5" Harley biker. Tatoos ran up his arm and his voice demanded respect. Once we actually sat down over a whiskey, a side opened up that I didn't expect. Turns out the man was a blues guitarist with a heart the size of the US. The design went smoothly and through interaction, is probably one of my best to date. It was amazing how a simple gesture of reaching out effected my life.

So reach out and touch somebody, you may be surprised what you find...




Andre Weston
 
1952.09.29 - 2013.07.05
Biker, Bhuddist, Husband, Father, Guitarist and friend
 
Thank you for reaching out and touching so many