I’m just at the finishing stages of the third book of the A Celtic Trilogy series. Its title is The Tourmaline Bracelet and is set in WW1, based around Elen’s great grandson Harry Jameson. I just have editing and proof reading to do for release August 2017. I ordered a matte cover version of Elen which arrived this week.I am really pleased with this compated to the glossy option they provide, and will definitely use this again!
This morning my fox terrier dog Billy and I went out for our daily walk. We usually take the path at the back of our house then walk up the covered steps where the council have thoughtfully placed a bench for us walkers, but today I decided on a different route. We have a flooded plain area at the end of our street for the local wildlife; a conservation patch that is a favoured haunt for the local wildlife. On more than one occasion I have heard sounds and movements through the tall eucalyptus trees and lemongrass bushes; cracking twigs, chirping and rustling. My psyche is very calm when it comes to local wild life, but this IS Australia, the land that has the most poisonous wild life in the world.
This morning I’m happily strolling along the outskirts of the flooded plain area when a screeching and a flapping appears on my nearside. A magpie, perched on the lowest branches of the tree, watches us intently through orange eyes; a clear indication that it was a juvenile bird. I step back onto a twig, just as a butterfly flies into my vision. I muffle a scream, startling my dog at the same time.
Have you ever felt silly? I have, just this morning…..
Slinking away as quietly as I could, a sudden movement on the path ahead indicates that a large black lizard has heard my clumsy movements. He flicks his tail at me, running into the bushes.
My dog goes bananas, barking frantically, hackles raised. I nearly lose hold of his lead, which would be disastrous as he;
1) has no road sense; and
2) would run into thick bushes which lead to the Aussie outback and never be seen again!
Disaster abated, I walk quickly down the road, dragging Billy with me, who was still barking and pulling himself towards the bushes. No sign of the lizard of course, he was halfway up the mountains by now….
A glutton for punishment, Billy and I take our evening stroll after dinner. Before we had even got past my front door porch, Billy had grabbed a massive cane toad into his mouth. He shook the knobby lump, legs flailing around his mouth and spit hitting my legs, the wall, everywhere. I scream into the hallway and my hubby ran out, holding a broom in his hand, ready to swipe the thing onto the lawn.
What a drama! I frantically wipe the foam off my dog’s mouth with a damp cloth before we continue our walk – we hadn’t left the front door yet!
I think the next time we go for one of our lovely, leisurely, and relaxing walks again – I will ensure that I am properly prepared, with a cover over my head, a stick to shoo away the wildlife, and boots to protect my feet.
This is a short story I wrote over the weekend as part of my Creative Writing Course. The theme this week is ‘Place’ particularly an experience/event/time or people that has made a lasting impression on us.
I chose to write about my trip to Melbourne with my son, who’s now totally immersed in the Melbournian lifestyle. Melbourne is an eclectic, Bohemian, unique corner of Australia, which totally goes against all the notions of wide open rural landscapes, kangaroos on every corner and blue sparkling beaches along its vast coastline.
Melbourne leaves a lasting imprint on your psyche, and is well worth a visit.
The tram rumbles on behind us as we hurry down the street, passing noisy school children like chattering monkeys, clad in matching hats and wooly socks. I feel a bumping against my elbow and a young woman brushed past, clad in a long flowing skirt scattered with animal prints. A whiff of cigarettes fills my nose, mixed with spicy herbs and perfume. She has a brightly printed scarf over a mass of dark curls, reaching almost to her bum. A flash of yellows, purples and deep blues from her headwear, almost reflecting the sky in front of me. A church bell chimes and I think again of the lateness of the hour and our reasons for hurrying. Quickening my pace, I glance into a shop window, drawn to the shiny objects in its glass frontage. Musical instruments of all shapes and sizes are displayed there, waiting to adorn a pub or nightclub or even the corner of a trendy living space, reminding me again of the sheer mood of such an eclectic street. Up ahead, a sign flashes intermittently, welcoming us into the alcove below. We stop in the doorway, catching our breath for a moment. Loud music pulsates from the deep interior, muffled by the street traffic and the stairs leading downwards.
‘Now is not the time for dawdling,’ a voice fills my eardrum, and I nod, suddenly feeling self-conscious. I glance at the mirrored wall, hesitating. Will my clothes be suitable? I’ve had my dress a while. What about my hairstyle? It’s the same style that I usually wear. What about my makeup? The same products that I’ve always used. How will I cope if he rejects us? Even worse, that we’ll embarrass him?
With a clipping of heels, we descend the steps, into the darkness. The music is louder now. My husband takes my hand, nudging me.
‘There he is,’ he shouts into the pulsating noise, as my son, guitar in hand, appears on the stage.
I have just finished the epic read Barkskins by Annie Proulx. Whilst its very long book that needs a certain amount of time to finish, I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys epic historical fiction that is so superbly written and has strong leading characters that bring the settings to life.
Barkskins – Annie Proulx
Set in the late 17th century, Charles Duquet and Rene Sel are two penniless Frenchmen, settling in and trying to conquer the new land of New France. This epic read covers 300 years and deals with themes of colonisation and the effects of settlement on the Native Peoples (in this case the settlement of North America ), family relationships and loss, all set in the boreal forests and the consequent eradication of the forestry due to European settlement.
This is a book that needs time to read, to immerse yourself into, and to completely understand the strong characters, superb writing and details that are covered here. The book continues down the lineage from the original main characters and the hardships they face while conquering the breathtaking landscape and peoples around them.
Proulx has written Brookeback Mountain that had an Oscar winning film attached to it, so her work is first class. Anyone who loves epic historical fiction is in for a treat.
The Commonwealth Games are arriving on the Gold Coast next April 2018. Spanning a two week period, the Goldie has been preparing for the Games for what seems an age! There are road works, traffic jams, new buildings being constructed left right and centre (including a new light rail!), as well as the added improvements to Carrara Stadium and the Olympic sized swimming pool in Southport.
Its a multi sporting event, involving the 70 countries that make up the Commonwealth, including (in no particular order), Australia, Canada, UK, New Zealand and South Africa.
It promises an array of sporting events, including Athletics, Swimming, Boxing and Badminton. Tickets range from $10 – $20 which I think is good value, although the opening ceremony is around $500!
We are planning on getting a few tickets – I’m interested in the athletics, and hubby wants to watch the boxing.
I’ ll be glad though, when the road works are completed and the Coast gets back to normal! ☺
Rhian parked up in the last available space in the tiny school car park. Just one space left! Quickly, she manoeuvred the car into the spot.
Looking down at the brand-new dashboard, she switched off the engine, still coming to terms with driving the large jeep-like people carrier that they had bought the previous week. Matt’s enthusiasm as they left the car sales showroom the previous week was entrancing, and they’d taken advantage of the powerful engine as they drove down the Pacific highway,
‘What would they think of this back home?’ he’d laughed, ‘We can drive onto the beach and allsorts, it’s awesome!’
Jack and Carys had giggled at his enthusiasm, strapped in the back of the humungous vehicle, Carys looking small in the large car seat.
They’d been living in Australia for just over a month now, and were loving it. The lifestyle was laid back, the weather fabulous, the scenery breathtaking. The route to the border to New South Wales had taken them past eucalyptus trees, glimpses of azure blue ocean, and the smell of frangipani overwhelming the senses. They were lapping up the sights and sounds of this new landscape. Just last weekend they had picnicked up beautiful Mount Tamborine with its gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, and the high-rise apartments that made-up Surfers Paradise. From this height the apartments looked like little Lego pieces arranged along the coastline.
‘Mam, hurry up or I’ll be late. I can see Ryan over there, waiting for me!’ Jack’s voice broke into her thoughts.
She glanced at his eager face and smiled. He had settled beautifully into his new school with the minimum fuss and bother, enjoying the Australian school environment. Any nerves that she had felt were diminished the very first day when Jack had skipped out of school, chatting away to a group of other boys. At nine years old, he was young enough to adapt quickly to his new life. Carys on the other hand, was not so keen on the crèche that they’d enrolled her into. Rhian thought that she was still cranky from the long plane journey and the heat. She was not sleeping as soundly as she had in Wales. Rhian made a mental note to buy a free-standing fan to help cool the evenings.
Unbuckling the car seat, she held onto their hands whilst they crossed the road to the school gates. The sun was already a golden globe in the sky, promising another day hot sunshine. She smiled to herself as she remembered the first week that she had stood at the school gates waiting for Jack to appear. She had been chattering away to Carys when they were surrounded by a group of nine-year-old boys, Jack included.
‘Hi mam, this is Ryan, and Tyler, and Blake. I told them we are from Wales.’
‘Hello boys, how did school go?’ Rhian replied, looking at the faces gazing up at her with what can only be described as utter confusion!
Jack giggled as he looked at their puzzled faces.
‘You must speak slower, mam,’ he giggled. ‘They are just getting used to your Welsh accent. Either that, or they think you are from Middle Earth!’
‘Don’t be cheeky, Jack!’ she replied, adjusting Carys t-shirt, Across the front were the words: I ❤ Australia in bold gold and green letters.
I recently attended a writing seminar at the State Library in Brisbane. Hosted by local author Belinda Pollard and author and entrepreneur Joanna Penn, the seminar offered tips on self publishing including things to do and things to avoid amongst the reams of self publishing advice that is available.
Joanna Penn runs a blog called The Creative Penn, she is an international speaker, author and self publishing guru. She writes best selling thrillers and offers tips and advise on formatting, book covers and self publishing on platforms such as Amazon’s KDP publishing site.
There was a lot that I was familiar with, plus a few tips that were really helpful. I’m glad to say that the seminar was very informative, informal and fun.
Check out her book, Author 2.0 Blueprint, which offers lots of sales and marketing tips. 📚
My local library has a book sale going on this week. I was a little late to the party and thought that the best books had gone, but perserverance is my middle name! Besides everyone has their own tastes. I picked up 11 books for just six dollars. These are a few of my gems. Two of the books, by Hannah Kent and Emma Donoghue have already read but I am excited to add them to my collection!
Here’s a review of the fabulous Donoghue goodie, The Wonder.
An English nurse is sent to rural Ireland where a young girl has not eaten a morsel for months. Tourists have flocked to see this ‘wonder’ but is she real or is it a hoax?
Lib Wright’s role is to observe and watch her patient like a hawk:
“More water?” She offered the spoon. Anna’s eyelids flickered but didn’t open; she shook her head. “Be it done to me.” What ‘s the source of an 11 year old girl feeling resigned, powerless? Or, do those words mean something else, altogether to the child?”
This is a top class historical psychological thriller that draws the reader in from the first few pages.