Moving on Monday

time on a grandfather clock

Yes. It’s about time! Time to get moving again on all aspects of my writing life. It has been a long while and a lot has happened. Too much to list here. Time for me to get back in the saddle, as the saying goes. So, what am I up to?

My Blog Here ’tis. Begun again. As you see. Apart from my own images, I still have a few old friends in the picture gallery from “Dollar Photos” which has unfortunately closed, but you will see some new ones appear from a new provider. Of course I want to make sure I’m covered as far as copyright, as do we all!

My WIP (Work in Progress) “Shattered” has been giving me all kinds of grief. I can’t count how many times I’ve rewritten the beginning. I’m trying a new tactic… once again.

My Editing Business For some time I’ve been working toward my own editing business. I have a new project coming shortly and I’m putting the final touches on my editing website. So, if you or someone you know is looking for an editor, I’d appreciate it if you would consider me!

“Torn” is still with a publisher, awaiting a decision. Hopefully more on that soon!

Thank you for your time. I hope to see you here again soon!

Waiting is not easy


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Bambina mentre guarda lontano
Not many of us like waiting. We wait in line everyday for everything from checkouts to pay for our groceries to fuel for our cars. We wait for family and friends when we are playing taxi, we wait impatiently for our dinner to cook and for our post to be delivered. One would think we get accustomed to waiting, but no, I think I can answer for most people, we never like waiting.

Waiting for babies to come… waiting for that phone call from your potential sweetheart… waiting for the flu to give up it’s hold on your body and go away… waiting for children to grow up enough to get some sense out of them – though those words can be a double edged sword.

We are also required to wait in other ways, waiting for the call to say we have a job – now that’s never an easy wait. At least I’ve gotten so far as being asked to some interviews in this last month. So, I’m keeping busy applying for jobs and working on another writing style which I’m hoping will become an income stream for me. It’s not easy but it’s impossible to stop everything just because I haven’t yet got what you are waiting for.

Waiting to hear whether a publisher likes your book enough to want to publish it? That’s an even longer wait sometimes. You may have guessed that “Torn” is in limbo at the moment. At least it’s not a quick “no” so I’m hoping that’s a good sign. In the meantime, it’s being judged, as I write, in a competition. Which will come through first? We’ll have to wait and see.

What are you waiting for?

Apologies for going Missing in Action…


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Retirement crisis concept as a couple of adirondack chairs sinking in the ocean during a thunder storm as a metaphor for financial investment problems for retiring seniors who lost their savings or broken dreams symbol.

My humble apologies for neglecting you, my friends. Life has been all go and not much stop recently. Now, though, it’s time to get back into routine.

My work on “Shattered” has slowed to a crawl. This is Rosaleen’s story, a redemption story. She and Mary from “Torn” were childhood friends and I’m sorry to say that the Rosaleen of “Torn” was not the friend Mary knew back when. She had always wanted more… more money, more things, a higher position in social circles and she thought she had it all, until “Torn”. Now she must start again, from the bottom; and when I say from the bottom I mean much further and she’d have to dig!

I’m sorry to say that Rosaleen died in the first iteration of “Torn”. She died in childbirth. She was swept off the ship en route to Australia. She was left behind in Africa. What I didn’t do to try to kill her off is hardly worth mentioning but – she survived. She always was a survivor. If there is one thing that stands out from counselling, it is that the victims are dead. The fact that one is a live makes one a Survivor. But, don’t be content to merely survive, make sure you go on to thrive.

Survivors are the backbone of my writing. I admire and look up to people who have not just survived but who go on to thrive. Those who pick themselves up by their own bootlaces and head onward and upward.

Who are your inspirational literary thrivers? One who was in part the inspiration for “Torn” was Elizabeth Gaskell’s John Thornton from “North and South”. For those of you who have not read this book or seen the miniseries where Richard Armitage does a very memorable job of playing “Go where you will… the name of John Thornton of Milton is know and respected amongst all men of business…”. From childhood poverty after his father’s suicide he paid his father’s debts AND raised himself and his family to fame not “in England only, but in Europe…” as his mother proudly declares. To be bankrupted himself, lose everything and yet not afraid to begin again.

Of course, beside him he had the resilient Margaret Hale, survivor of much family heartache and tragedy. Surviving and Thriving are always so much better when  you are not alone.

So, I’ve told you mine, now please, tell me about one of your inspirational literary heroes?

Books which have stayed with me…

This was in response to a Facebook post asking for my top ten books which have stayed with me. That’s not to say ten most favourite books. I thought it might be interesting to share here. I thought I’d make mention too of why I’ve put these books on my list. I’d love to see your list(s).

  1. The Ice King – Dinah Dean Dinah wrote a series of books set in Russia back in time. They were so sweet and moving I was sorry that was all she wrote.
  2. Venetia – Georgette Heyer Love Georgette’s sense of humour and light touch Especially love listening to Richard Armitage read three of them (Venetia, The Convenient Marriage and Sylvester)
  3. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen Give me anything Jane Austen esp. Persuasion
  4. The Tigers Woman – Celeste De Blasis The first of hers I read, historical set in the US. Couldn’t believe it surprised me in the end!
  5. Princess Smartypants – Babette Cole Also Prince Cinders… Yes, a children’s picture book but laugh out loud funny.
  6. The Smile Connection: How to Use Humor in Dealing With People – Esther Blumenfeld Very useful tips and tricks
  7. The Prince of Tides – Pat Conroy Very confronting movie and book but wonderfully lyrical prose and depth of feeling.
  8. Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them : When Loving Hurts and You Don’t Know Why – Dr Susan Forward This explained the situation for me when I couldn’t see how a particular woman could stay with a particular man. A lesson in choosing life partners. Look at some of her others too.
  9. Balance of Power – Richard North Patterson Great treatment of all the various sides of the gun control debate. Quite topical now.
  10. Tallies Knight – Anne Gracie I laughed all the way through this debut book of a great writer.

Koala Fun


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Koala relaxing in a tree, Queensland, Australia

House-sitting for friends had a fun side for us this week. We had a couple of visits from local wildlife.

It’s mating season (or so I’m told). We were sitting here minding our own business and heard a koala in the nature reserve behind the house. My niece (here from New Zealand) ran out to try to catch a glimpse but she managed only to see his back as he climbed up one of the trees out in the reserve. So, for some nights she’s tried to see him again and she has, but not close enough to get a photo.

Our hosts say they’ve only once had a visit from one. He came and scratched on the security door but wasn’t interested in coming in. So my niece has managed to double their number of sightings!

Though they’re not entirely sweet smelling or sociable, this guy does look cute lolling up there in the tree doesn’t he? It’s quite a life for them. They sleep 20 hours a day and don’t they look cute while they do? Mama koalas carry their joeys-yes, they are called joeys as are little kangaroos-for around a year.

The house we are sitting is in the Redland Bay area, the south side of Moreton Bay. In 2008 there were reportedly 1500 koalas living in the area and it’s common to see yellow warning signs on the local roads to make drivers aware of their presence. Many people only ever see what looks like an old grey jumper up a tree, the back end of one of these cute furry creatures.

We are here for a few days yet so I’ll post an update if we manage to capture a photo of our little grey neighbour. Though, maybe I won’t need to post an update – you may hear the excitement without one!

Why “Torn”


Main Beach at sunrise (Main Beach, Queensland, Australia)

“New Horizons” and “Torn” were born of my wondering what would it be like to:

  • lose everyone and everything you loved and cared about
  • come close to losing your life due to starvation
  • leave your home, your homeland everything you’ve ever known
  • sail from the “Harbour of Tears” to colonial Australia
  • leave 40 shades of green for a harsh and unforgiving land
  • stay loyal to one you loved who is now more like a stranger
  • learn to love and care for two young boys not your own
  • find the courage to begin again, build a home and family

One would need to be a special kind of tough to face a land so unlike your home, to dig deep and find it in your heart to laugh and love and live again. Would I have the intestinal fortitude to not just survive but thrive again? Would you?

Well, Hello there!


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2013-06-15_655Yes, I know. I’ve been very quiet lately. I ran out of poetry suitable for posting, the 100 word stories have gone missing in action and I’ve had some changes happen in my life which have run away with my time. I’ve been struggling to blog and felt the need to learn more about what I can do. So, today I’ve started Blogging 101 with WordPress. Hopefully you will notice a change in the quality of posts. All feedback gratefully received.

Assignment 1 is to tell you a bit about me and why I want to blog. Some of you will know this already so please bear with me because here we go again. I hope it’s not too boring for you.

Ever since I was a very little girl, I have loved words. Big words, little words, poetry, prose, a bit of everything. In fact, one of my earliest memories is from when I was first going to school somewhere between Grades 1 and 3. We lived 9 miles outside of Proserpine in central Queensland, Australia. For one of the very few times we ever received pocket money I spent my entire shilling (yes, this was pre decimal currency – about 10 cents), a fortune to me as a young kid, on a “Little Golden Book”, called “Out of My Window”. I took it back to school and almost the first thing that happened was one of my schoolmates dropped there chocolate icecream/popsicle onto it. I was devastated.

There were years when poetry flooded out of me. Teen angst city! There were years when I wrote a poem every time I went to the wedding of a friend. It became quite a tradition. None of those are posted here because they were personal to those friends. If you disagree and would like to read some, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. Then the poetry dried up but never did my love of words, of reading and writing. Life got in the way as it does.

My jobs have continued adding to my vocabulary. I loved temping, that is, working for an agency, short term assignments as a legal secretary, clerk, taking dictation and later transcribing from analogue and now digital dictation and worked in some very interesting jobs. The photo above is one taken when I was working on my very first computer at work (as opposed to one at college).

One temp assignment led to 9 years working for a veterinary pathology laboratory and learned soooo much about the insides and outsides of all kinds of animals. I typed reports on butterfly pupae, beached whales and about everything in between. I loved it and looking back, I wish I had stayed there. But, life goes on. We live and learn.

As a matter of fact, while I work on getting some editing and copywriting jobs, I’m returning to temping after being made redundant in my last position. That is, I’ll be working for an agency on short term assignments. Over the years I’ve worked as a legal secretary, administration officer and clerk, taking dictation and later transcribing from analogue and now digital dictation files. I worked in some very interesting jobs. Years passed and I ended up deciding that if I was ever going to be a writer I had to just do it. So I started writing.

As a compulsive reader I loved reading authors like Dick Francis, Michael Conley, Richard North Patterson, John Grisham so started with a who-dunnit. Much as I loved reading them, I found out that I didn’t want to live in that world all the time it takes to write them. I tended toward depression at the time so I changed my direction.

My other favourite books were those of authors such as Jane Austen, Enid Blyton, Elizabeth Gaskill and Georgette Heyer so I started writing books with happy-ever-afters. When I entered my contemporary story in a competition, one of the judges commented that I had an “old-fashioned voice”. Lights went off. Duh. Of course. I loved historical stories.

Watching Colin Friels in “For the Term of His Natural Life” was not a hardship. I saw it just before I went on holiday to Tasmania to see the places mentioned by Marcus Clarke in his classic book of that name. However, I didn’t want to write convict stories. I hated Port Arthur and Macquarie Harbour. I hated what happened to the convicts, what people do to people.

My subscription to “The Classic Drama DVD Collection” of BBC period dramas was one of my all time best buys. I still watch them over and over any chance I get. After watching all the Jane Austen series’ I came across Richard Armitage and  Daniela Denby-Ashe in the adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskill’s “North and South”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched it and happily bring it out for anyone who wants to watch it again or for the first time. The plight of the Irish wasn’t a highlight of the series but I was fascinated by what I saw and what I learned afterward. My research led me to write “Torn”.

So I’ve decided “Torn” is to be the first of a series about people who came to Australia voluntarily. There will be some convicts but they won’t be about convicts and their hardships. Australia is such a multicultural melting pot. My own ancestors were English, Scots, Irish and Finnish. “New Horizons” will explore some of those and hopefully many others.

“Torn” follows Mary and Liam at the time of the Great Famine as they set sail from the “Harbour of Tears”, Cork in Ireland with her friend and his horses to Moreton Bay which is at the end of our street. Yes, I did a lot of research and it took me a long time but it’s currently with an editor awaiting a decision.

Entering writing competitions has led to two short stories being published in the RWA’s “Little Gems” anthology and I collected 63 poems from 28 members of the “North Pine Bush Poets” in an anthology as a fundraiser when the club hosted the Australian Bush Poetry Championships. They were popular and the fundraising continues despite the boxful I still have in my office. My own three contributions are here among the poetry on my blog.

Like so many other writers I’d love to live by my pen. Whether that means working as a temp again or editing and copywriting until I can live by my books, well c’est la vie.

I hope you’ll find something you like in my blogs and will be excited with me when I finally see my own book(s) in print.

Word for the Year: Determined


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A team of people walking upward on connected gears with the words Attitude, Vision, Strategy, Focus and Success symbolizing the elements necessary to achieve a goal and be successful in business or life

Little did I know when I decided that my word of the year will be Determined, how soon my determination I would be tested. Just one week later, here I am made redundant… unemployed. Determined is exactly what I need to be. Determination backed by attitude, vision, strategy and focus.

I’m determined that very soon my editor page will be up and running and I’ll be on my way to being self-employed.

I’m determined that, one way or another, my book will be sold, available for you to read.

I’m determined to succeed.

That said, all encouragement will be gratefully accepted.

What happened?



This happened!

Well at least this is what my writing life feels like.

All the pieces are there, or so I’m hoping, but putting them together in a recognisable pattern seems beyond me.

Lately when I pick up a piece it’s blank! I hope when I turn the blank ones over there’s a picture on the other side which fits into the others… somewhere, but lately the picture is either blurred or indistinguishable.

Maybe I need new glasses. Not rose coloured glasses. I’m a little too much of a realist for that. Come to think about it, maybe I need a pair just occasionally.

I’ve lost the picture for my jigsaw. As any jigsaw enthusiast will tell you that may be a problem or it may be just an extra level of challenge. Let’s say I’m challenged. Yeah, that sounds about right.

The good news is that I have ten days off work coming up soon. I’ll be turning over all the blank pieces of the puzzle hoping to find that picture. I plan on reclaiming my office and setting my goals for the next year. Yes, that’s right, goals rather than New Year’s Resolutions.

The good news is that I’ve written a post! After being MIA for a while, that feels good. Damn good. Thanks very much to those who have read this far. I promise I’ll try hard to put that picture together and, like a stubborn-almost-to-the-point-of-masochism jigsaw enthusiast, I’ll get there. I promise.

Don’t ask me to define “there” just yet but the picture is a work in progress. A stunning jigsaw-worthy scene. I just start with the edge pieces, define the boundaries then look at each piece carefully and put it together, piece by piece.

Poppa and the Bull

Red bull sports mascot or character smashing out of background

Yes, Poppa and the Bull is one of my favourite short stories. It’s being judged as I write this in a competition. Again. Let’s hope someone else loves it as much as I do. This story is special to me for a number of reasons.

Some years ago my husband and I did a trip outback way out where there are more flies than ants at a picnic. I became, reluctantly, reacquainted with the “Great Australian Salute”. It wasn’t as amusing as it sounds – much to the delight of my sister-in-law. Note to self, explain the term in another post.

But I digress… While we were in Longreach, my dear husband’s darling uncle who shall remain nameless, told us the story of what became “the rodeo of the white flag” in what became “Poppa and the Bull”.

His touching story of a truly disastrous first-and-last date stayed with me, begging me to rewrite history with a much more satisfying ending as I’m very sure the hero wished.

As I wrote it, it morphed into a multilevel web of spider silk spanning the generations. Which made keeping the tenses straight a real challenge to say the least.

Here’s hoping I can give you the big reveal soon. Unlike the bull above I trust. I apologise for him. He looked ferocious but looking at him again has me thinking… he had a great orthodontist!