Yes I am still here

It’s only a month into the New Year and already I’ve broken the only tangible resolution I made. To Blog regularly, once a week. So…we will just pretend last week never happened…which is in fact the reality.


I made Lemonade Scones today. They were actually quite edible.

The Recipe

The Real World

It’s been an interesting fortnight. We had our Australia Day holiday on the 26th January. This is where we celebrate  invading  arriving in Australia to create our first penal colony settlement at Sydney Cove. It’s a strange thing to be a country that considers convict ancestors to be the next best thing to royalty. There are odd things that resulted from this particular history. Something our American friends probably cannot comprehend.

We are in fact a country founded on the principles of government social security. When you are a small colony of soldiers and prisoners, half way around the world from home, someone has to look after the widows and orphans and indigent residents. Ever since, there has been an expectation on the part of the citizens of this country that the government should be a safety net. There is now an ambivalence among taxpayers with a fine line being drawn between the traditional “Little Aussie Battler” and the chronic “Dole Bludger.” Good times.

Meanwhile, we have done a remarkable job confining our indigenous Australians to the sidelines. I wasted a lot of time this afternoon looking for an old school year book that published a poem I wrote in 1976 for an event in July for what was eventually to become NAIDOC week. (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee). I couldn’t find it but IIRC the title of the poem was “Gone.”

Instead I’ll share a poem I remember making an impression on me when I was in primary school. I think it was the first time I really thought about Indigenous history. Kendall was a white, Victorian era poet and he wrote this at a time when it was the general consensus that the Aboriginal peoples of Australia would die out.

THE LAST OF HIS TRIBE by Henry Kendall

He crouches, and buries his face on his knees,
   And hides in the dark of his hair;
For he cannot look up to the storm-smitten trees,
   Or think of the loneliness there --
   Of the loss and the loneliness there.

The wallaroos grope through the tufts of the grass,
   And turn to their coverts for fear;
But he sits in the ashes and lets them pass
   Where the boomerangs sleep with the spear --
   With the nullah, the sling and the spear.

Uloola, behold him!  The thunder that breaks
   On the tops of the rocks with the rain,
And the wind which drives up with the salt of the lakes,
   Have made him a hunter again --
   A hunter and fisher again.

For his eyes have been full with a smouldering thought;
   But he dreams of the hunts of yore,
And of foes that he sought, and of fights that he fought
   With those who will battle no more --
   Who will go to the battle no more.

It is well that the water which tumbles and fills,
   Goes moaning and moaning along;
For an echo rolls out from the sides of the hills,
   And he starts at a wonderful song --
   At the sound of a wonderful song.

And he sees, through the rents of the scattering fogs,
   The corroboree warlike and grim,
And the lubra who sat by the fire on the logs,
   To watch, like a mourner, for him --
   Like a mother and mourner for him.

Will he go in his sleep from these desolate lands,
   Like a chief, to the rest of his race,
With the honey-voiced woman who beckons and stands,
   And gleams like a dream in his face --
   Like a marvellous dream in his face?

ARC Reviews

At the moment I’m reading Numbered by Amy Andrews and Ros Baxter. They did a great story called Sister Pact a few years ago which I enjoyed, so I’m keen to see how they handle this one.numbered It’s about a young woman with breast cancer who is working her way through her bucket list and she and her best friend, her mother, and one or two nice young men are having an adventure of a lifetime. Or what may or may not be left of it.

Movies I’ve Seen

Despite spending two days in Brisvegas last week, I didn’t get to see any movies. I did finish my back to back, one a night viewing of the entire Harry Potter series. This is the first time I’ve watched them from first to last in one go and I was impressed. The character arcs were so very clear and particularly in Snape’s case, very moving. A fine legacy for Alan Rickman amongst an amazing body of work.

Tonight, I watched Maleficent followed by Enchanted. An interesting combination that worked surprisingly well. True Love’s Kiss and all that, interpreted differently in each one.trueloveskiss

What I’m Writing

My larger projects were put aside while I did two short, 3k, stories for the RWAus Little Gems Competition. The Gem theme this year was Sunstone which I had to Google. I also entered the NYMidnight short story challenge with a 2500 word first round entry. Each entrant is allocated a number and each number related to a story theme. My genre was Fairy Tale. My subject was An Accusation and my character was a Bed and Breakfast host. That was challenging indeed. I still managed to turn it into a romance. We had eight days to complete it. If we make it to the second round we have 4 days to complete a 2k story and the final round is 24 hours to write 1500 words.

Now that is over for the moment, I’ll be getting back to my Wattpad Roadtrip novella and my Sekrit project. There are some first chapter opportunities with Harlequin I’m looking at but will let them percolate for a day or two before I decide whether to participate.

Something Funny This Way Comes

While searching for my school yearbook I came across these notebooks. The last remnants of my teen writing frenzy. It was quite amusing to read them and I could easily see what I was reading or watching at the time I was writing. I guess these days it would be considered fan fiction. I wonder if any of you can guess what my influences were. And I still have to fight against the temptation of writing sentences that go on for pages and pages…

The Notebooks of Doom

Response to responses….The Big R

The Real World.

Big excitement of the week is the installation of an exhaust fan in my kitchen. This has been an ongoing saga. Last year, we repainted the kitchen and discovered just how deep the grease from the stove had penetrated the paint. We had to scrape it back to the bare wood. So we decided aexhaustfann exhaust fan was a necessity. The only problem is that the stove is in front of a window so I can stare at the view while I stir the pot. (one of my favourite occupations…stirring).

This meant that any of the normal exhaust fans which fit to the wall or cupboards above the stove were useless. So we started looking for an island stove exhaust fan. Apparently this is a luxury design because the prices were *cough* a little expensive.

Finally I found a display model at a Harvey Norman store. And this is it. Now I just need to renovate the entire kitchen to match it.

ARC ReviewsallIamHelm

I’m reading Nicole Helm’s All I Am, number two in her Farmer’s Market series from Harlequin Superromance this week. I don’t read a lot of Superromance but I’m really enjoying this. Especially as the hero has that special quality I particularly like in my romantic heroes and heroines. *nods* He’s an injured veteran who wanted to be an animal vet. She’s the town party girl. It’s a small town world with ordinary people you can’t help but like.

Movies I’ve Seen

No.4 and I went to see Daddy’s Home with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. I’m not a big fan of the type of comedy Ferrell usually stars in. The only movie I’d willingly watch twice is Elf and then only at Christmas when the gooey sentimentality of the season overwhelms my critical faculties. Daddy’s Home had some really funny moments. It had some moments of pathos for Will’s character as the step-father of two cute but resistant kids and the slightly dorky husband of a VERY attractive woman. He spends a lot of time trying a little too hard to be the best Dad ever.

He’s just starting to make some headway with the kids when biological dad turns up. Mark Wahlberg does a good job as the free-wheeling guy who knows everyone and has been everywhere. And his animosity to the man who is trying to take his place with the kids is obvious from their first confrontation at the airport.

The good things: These two guys have something to teach each other and eventually it works. There is enough slapstick comedy that my son was entertained. The ending worked well and the epilogue is funny if clichéd.

The bad things: Well, thererickmanalways was nothing particularly bad in it. Just a vague distaste for two grown males competing over kids and wife without considering the fallout.

With Alan Rickman’s death I naturally had to watch Sense and Sensibility. I love the depth he brings to the role of an older man with a tragic past, falling for a young woman who cannot even see him, especially once the younger Willoughby enters the scene. Watching it last night, I noticed that first moment when she really sees him, after her illness when he has ridden ventre à terre to get her mother. *swoon*.

Then I started watching Harry Potter of course.

What I’m Writing

I’m still working on my Sekrit project but it’s been a slow week with only 500 words. Mostly this is because I’ve received responses back on my The Spy Who Saved Me submissions. It was a standard form letter from Carina UK. The agent from the #Pitchmas request also didn’t feel she could represent the story but she did say…

I really enjoyed your strong narrative voice in these opening pages…

So that made me feel pretty good. I didn’t actually receive any notification from Momentum but they say if you don’t hear from them within a month, they aren’t interested. The month was up on Wednesday. I still have two more responses to come and the results of a competition.

As mentioned last week, I had an urge to write a road trip story after watching Need for Speed. So I’ve started what will be a short novella for Wattpad. I’ve written 2k so not a bad effort for the week, even if it isn’t really what I should be working on. I’ll start posting it after the weekend. Even though I don’t get a lot of reads on my Wattpad stories, I do find the occasional positive comments helpful when I’m feeling like nobody loves my work. Of course I know everyone loves me…

I’ve been sorting through some boxes of older books that were dumped into the shed when we did some rearranging a couple of years ago. So I ended up Prozac reading Penny Jordan’s The Caged Tiger, Margaret Mayo’s Return a Stranger and several Diana Hamilton reunion romances. I also finally read Anne Gracie’s Tallie’s Knight, one of her very early works.


One Week Down

We are a week into the New Year and somehow the holidays are fading fast. Here is an update.

Everythings big in Texas

Real World Stuff

New Years Eve was a quiet evening. We had a couple of relatives over for a meal. Roast Pork and my famous apricot Pavlova for dessert. I did intend to stay up and watch the Midnight Fireworks at Sydney Harbour on television but everyone else went to bed and I was writing my Runaway Christmas Elf story for Wattpad and missed it.

The following day we went to Texas. Texas, Australia. It’s a small town of around 1300 people an hour or so drive west of here on the border of New South Wales. I haven’t been there for around 30 years. We had a picnic lunch and DH and my BIL took some photographs. I was interested to have a look around because I have a partial manuscript I started to write a couple of years ago for a Harlequin competition. The story is called “The Last Virgin in Texas.” I’m good with the snappy titles.

ARC Reviews

Rabbit Processing Factory, now a museum. A good place to freeze the tale off those plot bunnies.

I’ve finished reading the ARC for the Secret Confessions: Down and Dusty set of short stories from Escape Publishing.  The set is a nice combination of Rural and Erotic Romance. Set in the very small town of Milpinyani Springs, (smaller even than Texas) the eight stories touch on the lives of eight very different women in need of some serious loving. Each one is written by a different Aussi or New Zealand author so there is considerable variety in story and style. They are all pretty warm and some of the language is explicit. I’ve done individual reviews on Goodreads for each of the stories.

Movies I’ve Seen

I took Mother Dearest and No.4 to see The Peanuts Movie this week. I always loved the Peanuts cartoon series as a child so I was interested to see what they did with it. I particularly liked Snoopy in his writing endeavours and his ongoing battle with The Red Baron. The story line basically followed a school year in the life of Charlie Brown and his friends. As an Aussi, this was kind of fascinating. There is also a touch of romance for Charlie Brown.

A dental trip gave me the opportunity to see a movie with No.7, my fourteen year old daughter. She picked Joy. I was curious to see it because it came highly recommended by movie aficionado and romance writer, Heidi Rice and her equally discerning sons. For a movie that wasn’t an action flick and wasn’t a romance, it kept me interested right to the end. No.7 thought it was pretty good too.

I also watched Need for Speed on television. It had a no-name cast apart from Michael Keating and was based on a video game but I enjoyed it. Now I want to write a road trip story.

What I’m Writing

I finished my Seasonal romance short which turned into a novella, The Runaway Christmas Elf, on Wattpad. They have a happy ending, but I’m thinking I might do a little epilogue for Ori and Holly when I have some time.

I had my first writing session for the year with local author Dakota Harrison. She’s working on some exciting projects at the moment. I’m finding it very motivating spending the time talking over progress and then getting into the writing. I spent the day getting up to speed on my Sekrit project. It’s a reunion novella with a musician hero and a nurse heroine set mostly in Brisbane. I’m around half way there so hoping to get it finished this month.

I’m still working on #Spymaster, the second in my Spy series begun with my SYTYCW15 entry. It’s nearly a month since I sent #Spymistress off to several publishers and into a competition. I know it’s a bit soon to expect to hear anything, holiday season and all, but I will admit to checking my emails extra carefully.

That’s about it for the moment. Thanks for dropping by.