ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Dreams - My story extract for the Milestone Blogfest - #fridayflash below

Thank you to Donna Hole for hosting this Milestones Blogfest to celebrate reaching 100 followers. You are already well past that so congratulations! 

This is the ending of the story I first shared on the Bickering Blogfest. You can read it here if you want. However, in this story of dreams, the milestone is reached when my hero, Cassie, opens her French – inspired bistro at a little beach village in Sunny Queensland. Lots of sensuous food…and more! Read on…Please indulge me. I just had to include some pics...to complete the escapism...


Cassie's by the Sea

I finished my run along the beach, then jogged towards the village. There it was, Cassie’s by the Sea. My heart did a little flip. I wondered how long before I could look at my bistro and not go all ga ga. Maybe never, and that was probably a good thing.

The outdoor eating area was already filling, the cheery blue awnings providing relief from the midday sun. My customers were studying menus, deciding between the fish or the steak. I smiled at them as I passed by, double checking that little pots of roses had been placed on each table. They smiled back and called out:

‘Hey Cassie!’
‘How are you?’
'This is the life!’
‘What a day!’
‘Enjoy your walk?’

I felt their warmth, their regard for me. I couldn’t help basking in the glow. This was my life, my happiness. The only regret I had was that it had taken me so long to realise that not only had Michael never shared my dream, he was not the man of my dreams.

I pushed through the two-way door leading into the kitchen. I slowly inhaled the exquisite aromas. ‘Yum,’ I sighed blissfully, looking around. François was hunched over the range, stirring a creamy béarnaise sauce. His dark black hair was partially hidden under his chef’s hat, but I loved the way stray locks fell over his forehead.

I looked around the gleaming kitchen. His handiwork was everywhere, laid out like offerings—pans of his silky pasta simmering on the stove…crisp cheesy lasagne bubbling away in the oven…little pots of his sauces arranged along the plating section like jewels…his huge casserole of Boeuf Bourguignonne richly stewing in its mushroom and red wine base…his amazing French Onion Soup ready to be plated…the salmon rillettes…the chicken liver pâté…the potato and smoked fish croquettes—all prepared with minute attention to detail.

French food with a lighter touch. I saw the crustless leek and gruyère quiche, the day’s special that always caused a stampede when it was on the menu. François’ ingenuity was legendary; how he had discovered ways to cut the fat and kilojoules without sacrificing taste or texture. It was no wonder the lunch crowd grew in number from day to day. I admired the salads—crisp curls of greens, reds and orange, the hearty Niçoise.

François put the first serve of oven frites in to warm—you can’t have a French bistro without potato chips! Then there were desserts, works of art like you’d find in the patisseries of Paris, but with an emphasis on fruit rather than cream.


I had found treasures in France, but François was no museum piece, he was far more precious. He was the rarest, most amazing find. ‘There is nothing like a dream to create the future’ I whispered to myself.

‘Hello darling.’ I put my arms around his back and hugged him. He turned to me, his face flushed with his culinary efforts, and kissed me lingeringly, his long artistic fingers entwining mine. ‘Ah, chérie,’ he sighed. ‘How’s our bébé?’ He gently placed his hands on my stomach, loving me and the new life I carried. François took a deep breath, inhaling my scent. ‘Oh, chérie, you smell of the beach, so Australian.’

‘Ah, and you smell of the kitchen, so French!’ I giggled.

‘Ah,’ he murmured, content, ‘the best of both worlds!’

Reluctantly I broke our embrace. I donned my cute red, white and black uniform and left the heady aromas of the kitchen behind. I stepped up to the counter, and joined my excellent staff, Max and Tia. My heart was full. One milestone reached and the greatest of all yet to come. I gazed around, watching my bistro fill, anticipation on every face. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life!

I often think about dreams. I’ve learned that when we are dreaming alone it is often only a dream, but when we are dreaming with a special someone, that is reality.



The End

So tell me what you think s'il vour plâit, then off you go to read some other entries here.
©Denise Covey, 2010


Friday, 30 July 2010

#Friday flash - HIGH TIDE

HIGH TIDE


It was foolish to come back. This hated place held too many memories, too many secrets. But they were memories and secrets she could no longer ignore. What had happened in the past, what had happened to her here, had haunted her and refused to let go.


So here she was.

She shut her eyes against the peaceful sounds. The ocean’s regular rhythm, the seagulls’ calls, the far-off cry of a child. She wanted no part of peace; just coming back had thrown her spirit into turmoil, a place where there was no peace.


Opening her eyes, she looked around. There it was, the beach house, its timbers broken and exposed. Over the intervening years the relentless tides had eaten away at its foundations. It now teetered on the edge of the dunes, on its knees in the sand, ready to surrender to the next king tide.


But today the ocean held no threat, its gentle waves were lapping the sand, leaving a trail of silvery froth and grit. She fell to her knees onto the wet, silky sand, her body hunched over. Memories of that night came rushing in like a tidal surge.

At times she had almost forgotten why she had been running away from her memories for so long. She had shared her dark secret with the world but had hidden it from herself most of the time. But the mind was tenacious, it held on to things, remembered things best forgotten. Here today, confronted with the physical triggers to traumatic events, her mind was searching its dark recesses, unearthing hidden secrets which had been buried. Through the years, in her silent moments, she had heard it speaking so softly, in the gentlest of whispers, as it tried to speak to her of its memories, its stored secrets. Then there were the other times where she felt her pain come rushing to the surface without warning, hurtling through her like a runaway train, threatening to derail her altogether.

She cried there, hunched in the wet sand, her solitary figure sobbing hot tears. She no longer wanted to carry that heavy hurt, she wanted the pain and sorrow to be but a distant memory.

She had to face the pain head on if she was ever going to find healing…

***


It was a night when the wind roared.

The Pacific waters rose and fell in a dance of wave and tide outside her window. When the winds calmed, the moon rose and sat outside her window.

She’d been dreaming of the sea again. It happened every night. This night, she opened her eyes and watched the moonlight creep across her bed like a soft lover’s caress. The sheets were tangled and fell over the bed like waves. She kicked off the covers and threw herself across the bed like a marionette without strings.

The moonlight dancing on her bare skin revealed her beauty. Its gentle light overlooked the angry welts criss-crossing her pale legs. She groaned in agony. The welts throbbed, but she had no ointments to ease the pain. But that was his intention. He wanted her to suffer.

She could hear his loud breathing coming from the next room. Loud snuffles and snorts as he slept the sleep of the damned. She heard him tossing and turning and prayed that he stayed asleep. For a long time.

***
‘You will not marry that infidel!’ he’d screamed.

‘Ahmed? An infidel?’ she’d yelled. ‘He is of the same religion as we are. You know this.’

A vicious fist across her mouth.

‘You will marry who I say. It was decided when you were born. Abdul will be your husband!’ he spat.

His eyes had turned red with rage and he’d reached for his belt. She couldn’t believe what had happened. Her father had always been remote, but to her he had been the gentlest of men.

‘Father!’ she’d screamed, ‘don’t do this!’


The hard leather bit into her soft skin. The pure force of his anger made the blows harder to bear. He had been taken over by a brute force, hate. Her heart broke afresh with every whop of the tough hide.

‘I will kill you!’ he’d screeched.


‘Mumma, help!’ she’d pleaded to the black-clad figure cringing in the dark corner. Her mother remained silent but her eyes communicated her pain as she flinched and whimpered with every blow.

***


Night after night. Day after day. The beatings continued. Only the moonlight and the night sounds were her friends. Her door was bolted against the outside world. The food was passed in, served without love, eaten without relish. No-one spoke to her. She had become a prisoner.

But she was not going to remain one.

He had forgotten the faulty lock on her window. She had remembered.

The crashing waves were coming closer and closer as high tide approached. Soon the water would be just below her window. She could hear its relentless pummelling. The sound and rhythm reminded her of her father’s blows which continued without mercy. He would not be denied his will. She would never marry Abdul. An impasse. She was her father’s daughter after all. She would die before giving in to such an archaic arrangement.

There was a big storm earlier in the night. It would cover her tracks nicely. She hadn’t been able to communicate with Ahmed but he knew what was happening. She’d heard his thumping on her father’s door. She’s heard his pleas, his angry yells as her father’s friends dragged him away.


She knew he was waiing for her beyond the dunes.

The sea called to her. The scraping window drew her into the bright night. A soft splash and she was swimming in the whirling tide. It first dragged her out to sea, then pushed her towards the shore. She swam for her life, her robe tangling around her feet like a shroud. But she was not going to drown. She tugged at the sopping material then swam harder, using all her strength to surf to the beach before the tide sucked her back again.

She was thrown head first in an untidy tangle onto the gritty sand. She scrambled to her feet, lifted her heavy robe above her knees and ran for the safety of the dunes.

Ahmed whispered my name.

***


He saw her as he stood on top of the dunes, next to the crumbling wreck that had been her home, then her prison. A few long stides and he was by her side. He gently lifted her and cradled her and rocked her and their baby as she cried in his arms.

His own eyes were full of tears and pain.

THE BEGINNING


©Denise Covey, 2010


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Aussie Short Story Competition for Aussies


It is highly frustrating when I see a competition and get all excited, then read the fine print and see it is only for UK or US residents etc. Happens a lot. However, here is a competition for Aussies only! Woo hoo! In the age of email subs, I don't see why competitions should suffer from xenophobia, but sadly this is life.

As I have quite a few Aussie blogger friends now, I am putting this up in case you've missed it. A literary magazine, Wet Ink  has this short story competition each year. Here are a few guidelines to whet your interest. Click here for full submission details. There is a $15 entry fee.

Here's the blurb:

Presenting the $3000 Wet Ink Short Story Prize

First prize is $3000, 1 year’s subscription to Wet Ink, and publication in Wet Ink.

Two highly commended entries each receive $100, a year’s subscription to Wet Ink, and publication in Wet Ink.

Closing date for entries is 31 August 2010, so start writing, and good luck!

Have a great week writing,

Denise

Friday, 23 July 2010

#Friday Flash - Wired

Wired


I am always up when the city awakens. I love the early-morning darkness. I brew my coffee in my tiny kitchen then move onto the balcony where I watch first light creep over the top of the beautiful old sandstone buildings, changing the zinc rooftops to burnished fire. The wonder of the moment always enthralls me.

As I sip my café au lait I listen to the sounds of the city coming to life–there is the first hum of traffic as the delivery trucks burrow into loading zones askew with crooked cars, the deleterious of drunkards. I watch the huddled shapes of shiftworkers hurrying home, I watch slowly-moving hulks heading to the job, I watch the great unwashed staggering from doorways with theatrical stretches and yawns. I’d like to take a nightstick to their lazy rumps. No doubt they’ll head off to Café Homeless for a free breakfast. They don’t have to work like the rest of us.

After the motley crew have slunk off in search of sustenance, delicious smells begin to waft my way. Ah! Divine! I inhale the delicate scent. The bakery underneath my building has just cranked out its first batch of bread and pastries. Oh, that Marcus! I sigh. The best pastry chef in the city. I feel honoured to choose from his selection each day. My taste buds tingle in anticipation of the flaky, creamy éclair I will have with my second cup of coffee. The mille feuille I had yesterday was to die for.

A flash explodes in the corner of my eye. It’s the sun glinting off the windows of the offices that tower above me, rudely jutting into the now grey-blue sky like a giant meccano set constructed by some obsessed youngster—upwards, ever upwards in a dizzy vertical spire. The huge ungainly edifice is directly across the street from my humble abode. From my eyrie I can see shadowy workers jerking about like marionettes—stretching, joking, laughing together with that special early-morning office cameraderie, preparing their desks for the day’s mundane tasks. Oh, les miserables! Do they ever long for someone to save them from such a humdrum existence?



Ha! Movement below! I lean towards the balcony rail. There’s the coffee delivery boy departing the café next door, a young man dressed rather warmly for the weather, his long black hair falling in waves to his shoulders. He walks smartly into the foyer of the office block, the huge glass revolving doors sucking him in like he was entering a portal into another world. I watch as he approaches the receptionist who sweetly slips a Visitor Pass around his neck, lifts a gym-toned arm and points to the lifts. He moves off, bearing his fragrant cargo before him like a precious offering to the little gods of industry. I can imagine how the aroma of the 100% arabica beans will permeate the lift, where incoming workers will sniff appreciatively and hurry to their desks with an extra spring in their step. How did we reach this impasse, I ponder, when workers can’t work without this milky, creamy drug coursing through their veins?

My first cup of coffee has me nicely wired. Woo hoo! My eyes shift back and forth, up and down, but keep returning to the foyer of the office block. The receptionist is yawning ever so discreetly at the end of her night shift, no doubt dreaming of home and a nice soft bed. Perhaps a lover awaits her tender embrace or it may be that she still lives with her doting parents. She certainly looks young enough. And who wouldn’t be enarmoured of such an industrious, comely child? Her blond hair falls in a lustrous curtain as she bobs her head under the desk. I do so enjoy watching her work.

The foyer is all stainless steel and glass, a modern monstrosity in this ancient part of the city. The first of its kind to be constructed here. There will be no stopping the downward spiral into tastelessness. Many fought to keep this building from moving from the architect’s plan to its passage to bricks and mortar—they especially loathed the idea of modernist lines and the use of cold steel and glass sitting incongruously next to the weathered sandstone of the surrounding buildings. Even with all its inbuilt environmental factors (Level 6 I believe) and light carbon footprint, it would always be a building to loathe, a blight on the landscape.


I continue to watch the activity in the foyer, fascinated—the arrival of the morning staff, the departure of those who had manned the phones through the night, lucky blighters. Industrious little bees flying in and out of the hive.

Imagine my surprise when the hive shudders as if some violent giant had grabbed it in a vice-like grip and shaken it with superhuman strength. I watch, rapt, as the ugly foyer changes from the insipid grey I hated to glorious burnished fire. I watch, open mouthed, as the fire eats the foyer like some ravening beast, then climbs heavenward like the very flames of hell.

I was pleased to tell this story to the detectives who interviewed me.

I was glad to  help.

Finis



©Denise Covey, 2010


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Embrace e-books embrace blogland - looking for authors!

Thanks to Francine from Romancing the Blog who put me onto this new e-Romance publisher who is actively seeking authors!

New Romance E-Publisher getting set to hit the Internet Spring 2011. Taking submissions NOW!

EMBRACE!


With two heat settings . . .



UK Based - Embrace Publishing is aimed at romance readers and writers.


http://embracebooks.blogspot.com/2010/07/welcome-to-embrace-books.html



Set up by editor at Salt Publishing (Jane Holland) who also targeted HM&B as an author. Her mother being the late Charlotte Lamb of M&B fame!


http://charlottelamb.blogspot.com/


There are two imprints:


Red Velvet and After Dark





Red Velvet guidelines: 50-60K (word count)
Sexy Sophisticated Romance
Categories: Contemporary, Historical, with feisty heroines and believable Alpha males. Contemporary, historical, paranormal.
No millionaires required. British settings and characters welcome, but not essential.
Sexual content required, but should not be overly explicit.
Same sex novels are welcome.etc.


After Dark guidelines:


50-65K






Hotter romance and erotica
Open to more unusual storylines within contemporary, historical, paranormal and same sex storylines.
Must include explicit sex, which in some cases may be central to the plot.

Novellas are welcome in both lines and across all categories, up to 25K

So Guys and Dolls get your manuscripts polished and press send!

Click on the badge on the top right of my sidebar for more details on submissions.


Good Luck!




Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Just do the following:


•Grab your current read


•Open to a random page


•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page


•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)


•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants (and anyone reading the post) can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser.
 

My first entry for Teaser Tuesdays is showcasing an Aussie book as I'm also joining the Aussie Author Challenge where if you're a Fair Dinkum Aussie you have to read and review 8 Aussie books by at least 5 different authors before the end of December this year. If you're not Fair Dinkum, you still have to read 3 Aussie books. Check the details as there are so many excellent Aussie authors.
 
Meanwhile back to #teasertuesdays and a bit of the early Aussie bush...
 
"Then the team swung out from the bush, turning into the track, sunlight striking down through young green of the red gum and jarrah saplings, splashing the big red and white bullocks inthe lead. Red, tawny, black, and white backs of the beasts moved slowly, with rippling sway, against the lighted and shadowy depths of the forest."
from Working Bullocks, by Katharine Susannah Prichard, p.5

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Blogfest of Death

Thank you Tessa from Tessa's Blurb for hosting this blogfest of death. It has been a challenge for me to come up with a suitable story. All right for those who write about vampires, demons and death all the time!

Okay, you can't expect anything too cheery for this blogfest. The idea for my story comes from a haunting event which happened on a beach near where I was spending the day with a friend when I was a teenager. My take on events is purely fictional.



Real Gone Surfer Girl

He struggles to slide open the locks of the ancient tin trunk. They won't budge. They have seized with age.

Impatient, he grabs a hammer. Two bangs, and he watches the locks swing from side to side like the pendulum of a grandfather clock.

He lifts the lid.
He takes a deep breath. A heavy smell permeates the attic.
He leans back on his heels and tries to recall the scent.

Bitter gall?


He reaches gnarled hands into the trunk.
His fingers fumble along one side, then the other.
He feels a rustle of old documents before…
…he finds the precious object.



The photo is sepia-old with edges torn and grungy, crinkled with age.
He holds it in hands that tremble.
He can see a slim figure wearing a beach shift over her swimming costume, casual '60's style. One hand on her hip, the other clutching a blue frisbee.
Her hair is sun-bleached white, glinting, trembling on her shoulders. Her eyes laugh into his.
Her smile breaks out of the photo’s dingy frame and breaks his heart all over again.

He has to resist the urge to kiss the degrading paper.
He holds it close and peers at her with eyes burning, empty.
He whispers to the photo.


Rosita.
Rosita.
Rosita.


Can she hear him – somewhere?




***

When he stepped out of his house and saw the cloudless blue sky, his spirits soared. ‘You're my blond-headed stompie wompie real gone surfer girl, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yip!’ he sang on top of his voice, throwing towels into his Kombie.


The beach was not far from his Sydney home. He had taken up his usual posse on the hard sand not far from the waves, ready to relax in his banana lounge. He erected the garish beach umbrella he always brought with him, then lay back to enjoy his Sergeanne Golon novel (Angélique in Love.) He had his beat-up box Brownie camera close by, as always.

Towards midday he had slapped on some zinc cream and sipped his creaming soda, feeling content just listening to the breakers and watching the families play their beach games. 

She runs by his lounger, kicking sand onto his book. He looks up, annoyed, and yells Hey! She is chasing her frisbee. Someone must have thrown it too far. One of the show-off teenagers she’s hanging with. He hates the sight of them, one especially - the bully - pushing, shoving, yelling. A menace.

She steps prettily into the frothy waves to retrieve her frisbee.

He watches the boys watching her.


He too is fascinated by her beauty. How is it that a girl can grow into such an alluring woman? Her white hair falls in a soft curtain, skimming the playful waves, burnished with the sun. She picks up the frisbee, turns around, sees him watching her, camera poised. She shrugs, poses jauntily, hand on hip, then runs off. She skirts around him this time.


Running like a young fawn, she heads back to join the group. The game resumes. She forgets about him no doubt.

He puts aside his book and watches, an uneasiness creeping over him.

That’s why he notices when it happens.


The bully tries to touch her. She skitters away. No more frisbee with those gauche youngsters.
He watches her walking away, putting distance between herself and the beach crowd.
He watches her bend slightly and disappear under the old jetty.
She wants to be alone.
Don’t go there! he wants to scream out loud. Come back, come back.


He watches until she is out of sight.
He wavers. Undecided.
He begins to move, then stops, feet buried in hot sand.
He watches the spot where she disappeared, willing her to show herself again.
He sees the group of boys follow her. He sees their furtive glances. He sees red.
Then he sees no more.
They have disappeared, so quickly.

Fool. Fool.
Hurry. Hurry.


He kicks through the burning sand in panicked pursuit.
He can see the boys but not her.
The bully is not with them. The other boys stand sentry-like under the jetty.
His heart shudders.


Full of knowing, he lurches towards the boys. He grabs a pimply youngster by the throat.

Where is she? he snarls.
Who, man?
Don’t be smart, kid, or I’ll deck you one. Now where did she go? Where did your mate go? Are they under there? He points a shaking finger towards the inner darkness.
The boys panic, push him aside, run back to the crowd.


He hears a muffled scream. Out of the darkness. Her.
He bends towards the sound, anguish oozing from every pore.
Her screams get louder. Coming from way under the jetty, where the dunes begin. A place of rotting timbers, trickling water, soggy sand.
He hears a sickening thump. The screams stop.
He dives into the woody cavern.
Thump! Something hits him hard.
He tastes fear, blood and blackness.



***

He rouses himself from his shuddering nightmare and feels inside the trunk again. This time his hand finds a yellowed news clipping.

‘BRUTAL TEEN MURDER’, the headline screams. ‘Rosita de Rosario, aged 15, violently murdered at Maroubra Beach, Sydney, on Sunday. Naked body found buried under old jetty. Teen witnesses alert police, lead detectives to the body. Estranged father charged with murder.’

For a few minutes more he stares at the photo taken on what was to be a special visitation day with his Rosita.
He places it in his pocket, next to his heart.


***

He walks up and down the beach, his heart cold, unfeeling, oblivious to the glories of the summer day.

 
He forces himself to walk to the jetty.
It is unchanged.
Unlike him.
Prison does that to you.
Thank God for DNA tests, even if it took so long.
Or he’d still be rotting away.
But those punks got what they deserved in the end.


***

He is staring at a young, beautiful girl. About 15. Like Rosita.


She is running into the surf, her bright red bikini a beautiful contrast to the dancing, iridiscent blue waves.

Her white hair streams behind her like a bridal veil.

Maybe she’ll live to wear one, he thinks, full of bitterness.

His fingers itch, spasming around his brand-new Canon digital camera.

She spins around, sees him watching her.

"Hey you old pervert," she yells, ‘no pictures.’


THE END





The murder has never been solved...

Now go here to read some more deathly stories.


Friday, 16 July 2010

Best Advice to Writers Blogfest


I felt it would be presumptuous to submit an entry to this blogfest as I'm not a published author, but I have put up the banner from Peevish Penman (above) so I didn't forget to go read the entries, which I have been doing for the last two days. So sorry to disappoint you if you have dropped in to read my words of wisdom as I've been commenting all over the place. (Okay, if you must, my advice is to write, write, write and soak up tips from everywhere, but only use what suits you and your style.)

I have read some great advice straight from the heart of these dear authors/writers. A little phrase that will be with me forever is from D W Cunningham of Literary Asylum: 'Leave new footprints.' Love it. So, go check out some entries by clicking on the banner above.

Happy writing, Denise.


Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Flash Fiction - you get to vote for the winner

Cakes from Laduree, Paris

Deanna from The Other Side of Deanna is hosting her first writing contest. See details here. Basically write a story (fiction or creative non-fiction) of less than 1,000 words with the theme - Birthday. It is a great contest to enter and there is actually a prize - a $19.95 Amazon voucher.  The contest closes on July 24th, so get cracking!

Read some great #fridayflash fiction here.


I've joined up the for 50,000 words in 50 days writing challenge. It's bad timing as I have visitors and school's just started again, but is it ever a good time? Somehow writing just has to get done. I needed the motivation to get moving on my second novel which I've been researching, so thanks Sarah and Summer for giving me the kick off.

Hope your writing is going stupendously...Denise


Friday, 9 July 2010

More Awards for moi!

Thank you VR Barkowski for not one, but two, awards. One is the Versatile Blogger Award and the other is the One Lovely Blog Award. Thankfully VR has combined them, so all I have to do is tell you 7 things about me. As I've done this before, I'll just have to stretch things and hope I don't repeat myself.


The lovely Olivia J Herrell from That Rebel With a Blog also awarded me with the One Lovely blog Award, so thank you so much! I'll have some passing on to do!

Tell you what, people are changing the rules as it suits them, so if you are following me you definitely deserve both of these awards, so please grab them for your blog, then pass them on as you see fit! Just remember to link to moi and leave a comment so I know you have taken up the offer. Then we are all happy!


SEVEN THINGS ABOUT ME


  1. My bedside table is a tip because I never read one book at a time, I must have at least 4 on the go at once - one or two fiction, one non-fiction, one classic, one travel memoir - at least! Then there's research, YA books...

  2. Who needs a classroom of adolescents when you can do one-on-one tutoring? I gave up the wild side of life to concentrate on mainly ESL students (and my writing.) Love their enthusiasm, and I learn so much about their cultures. I am forced to read books I would never bother with otherwise (e.g. The Book Thief) but end up becoming engrossed. Am currently revisiting Pride and Prejudice, Future Shock and Great Gatsby. Yummmmyyyy. Nice work if you can get it!

  3. I love the feeling of having a real (ahem) book in my hand as opposed to an e-book. Maybe I'll change down the line, but not yet! Am I a Luddite?

  4. I adore libraries (I tutor most of my students there!) if for no other reason but to see the avalanche of people loving books. Go you good people!

  5. I don't procrastinate near as much as I used to, so be encouraged, there may be a cure. My cure is to sit at the computer with my fingers on the keys and to remember to hit them occasionally.

  6. I have the most adorable little (and I mean little!) dog, Foxy Lady - a chihuahua/miniature foxy mix. She is the size of a regular tissue box, (just right for apartment living) but has the personality of an alsatian and the temperment of a labrador. She lights up my life and gets me running at least once a day, maybe more! She never tires, and hauls me up hills. Looks hilarious and passers by laugh or stop to chat. A good little ice breaker.

  7. By the end of 2010 I hope to have my novel polished and out there looking. Also hope to get my second underway soon, whilst writing my short stories and travel stories. #ShutUpAndWrite!!



Thanks for reading. I'll be looking forward to reading yours, 'k?

Bye now, #amwriting...Denise






Thursday, 8 July 2010

Butterfly Award and ramblings of a returning blogger

Noosa Main Beach

Hey, miss me? I've been away up on the Sunshine Coast (100 km's north of Brisbane) spending some good times with my daughters. It was fabulous, but I decided to put the netbook away and just take a break.

Anyways, lots has been happening in the blogosphere while I've been catching some rays, wining, dining and coffee-ing and gazing at gob-smackingly beautiful scenery, so it'll take awhile to catch up. Oh, and look! Nearly 100 followers! How did that happen??

I've missed a blogfest (shock! horror!) so sorry to Shelley from Stories in the Ordinary who hosted the I Can't Say It Blogfest. I've been reading some entries and they're darned good. Pop over if you can.

Some lovelies have dropped by and left me some awards to pick up, so this will take some time. This is the point of this blog post and I'm finally getting to it. Blah! Blah! I'm so verbose.

Due to such a concentrated busy time to-ing and fro-ing between blogs, I realise what a PAIN word verification is! And the blogs who even want your email address! I just want to run away and leave no comment. Too much time! Look, if the odd alien pops in to leave a comment I can live with that, can't you? So how about going into settings and turning off word verification! Pretty please??? Do we really need it??? If there is a good reason to keep it, please tell...

Anyways, the lovely missali (a fellow Aussie) from Love Miss Ali,  has given me the Butterfly Award (which will be added to my awards slideshow later.) To collect I have to tell you what makes me smile. Hmm, now that's not too difficult. I'll be buzzing around looking for bloggers to pass this on to who might have something to smile about too!


WHAT MAKES ME SMILE


  • The ocean - there's something about the ocean view that always inspires me

  • Love - maybe this should be first, as what could be lovelier than love? Husband, kids, friends, family, views, blogging...

  • Chocolate in any guise - smile, smile, smile

  • Coffee - especially when a favourite barista adds a special design on top just because I make him smile with the amount of coffee he makes for me.

  • A scene that sparkles - more than a smile, a holler, a whoop!

  • Seeing a place for the first time when travelling. Hard to wipe the smile off my face.

  • Blogger friends who award me - thank you for making me smile
That's just skimming the surface. Have a great day all!


Thursday, 1 July 2010

Share Your Darlings Blogfest - July 1

Hey, yeah, I entered too many blogfests this week and it is all a bit confusing. Thank you to Michelle Gregory from beautiful chaos for hosting this one.



This is an excerpt from near the beginning of my WIP novel with the working title, Ruby. It is part of a scene where the MC’s meet. I was having a bit of fun with the Aussie/French connection. May be too corny, but at the moment I thought it met the criteria for the Share Your Darlings Blogfest, even if these darlings get killed off in the editing process…please read and enjoy a bit of escapism..



The moment Ruby laid eyes on him she knew she was about to make a mistake.


Ruby was comfortable in her body, she had been for twenty-three years, yet suddenly she felt someone had tripped her wires. Everything had gone beserk. She felt a stranger to these feelings coursing through her veins, surging through her from head to toe. Not only was she in a foreign country, she felt she was a foreigner in her own body.


She managed a tremulous ‘Bonjour, je m’apelle Ruby,’ while holding out a perfectly manicured hand. Michael saw that she was his fantasy come to life— a glorious mane of long red curls, mysterious green eyes, heart-shaped face, lips of an angel. He couldn’t drag his eyes away. He watched her lips move, imagining kissing them.

‘I’m a great fan of whales,’ she continued, looking up quizzically, and blushing fiercely as if she could read his mind, ‘but today is my first trip to see them in their natural habitat. It’s been one of the most exciting days of my life, without a doubt.’ She hadn’t realised this until she spoke it out loud. It was the truth. She nodded her head, then turned her gaze back out to sea. Sensing he was looking at her, she turned back, meeting his eyes.


He reached out his hand to her small one. Ruby felt little electric tingles filtering through their clasped fingers. Michael seemed to sense something too—he couldn’t resist bending his head and kissing her tiny hand. Was it a French custom? he asked himself, No, you clot; they kiss each other on both cheeks a million times! Better not go there.

‘I’m Michael Asher, your skipper,’ he smiled, ‘Ruby…I agree...whales have that effect on you. I’m out here nearly every day of the season and I never take them for granted.’ Letting go of her hand, he moved beside her so they were both leaning against the rail, gazing out over the ocean. They watched the beautiful creatures in a thrilling silence. There was no need for words, they’d made their connection. The whales were communicating for them.


Ruby loved how he’d kissed her hand. Was it an Australian custom? Somehow she doubted it. She’d heard that Australian men had no finesse, were dismissive of women. Yet he had made this sweet gesture, so gentlemanly, so sexy, so Sea Captain. She was shivering with delight. She looked down where their hands lay close together on the rail. His hands were burnished gold, no doubt from hours at sea. Hers looked so palely white beside his. She knew if she touched his hand, sparks would be zipping all over the place.


Rubbing her chilled fingers together, she wallowed in the sweet tension, never wanting this moment to end. She felt a primordial force drawing her to Michael, the whales, the ocean.


‘Look!’ Michael shouted, grabbing her hand again. ‘Over there!’ Ruby struggled to see in the failing light, but following his pointing finger she could make out some dark shapes turning in the frothy water, shapes silhouetted in the beginnings of a glorious sunset. The colours were magnificent – the sky had turned a soft pastel, with fluorescent orange stripes edging the clouds. Closer to the horizon there were transparent purples and a shade of jewel green Ruby had never seen before.

Ruby took it all in. She had to fight the urge to reach in her backpack for her camera but she decided this moment was more to be savoured in the flesh than digitally. She wasn’t risking losing the magic. Moments like these were rare. She took a ragged breath and with her green eyes wide with wonder, she leaned into the rail, side by side with Michael, drinking in the glorious sight.


‘These Australian sunsets will take some getting used to. I’ve seen some beautiful sunsets in France, especially in Nice,' she whispered in awe, 'but these Australian colours are different. Add whales and dolphins to the mix and it’s miraculous!’ Ruby knew she was gushing, but she couldn’t help it. She was blown away, her emotions heightened.


They both stared intently at the pod of humpbacks. Ruby’s heart was thumping with joy and delight every time their tails hit the water.


‘This is amazing!’ she shouted above the noise as other passengers came out to watch. ‘I don’t want this day to end, ever!’


Ruby felt her cheeks turning as red as her hair. She knew she sounded like a child, but she couldn’t help herself. Today she was on holiday, responsibilities cast aside. She wanted to scream out loud!


Michael glanced at his watch, turned to her, obviously amused at her enthusiasm.

‘There are many hours in the day yet Ruby. I’ve got to return to the bridge now. We’re getting close to port.’ He sounded regretful. ‘Maybe I’ll catch you before you leave the boat? Will you wait for me? Maybe dinner?’ His eyes searched hers.


‘Yes. Yes. Yes.’


Tipping his hat to her, he clattered up the ladder to the bridge. He had to stop himself from yodelling on top of his voice.