Wednesday 3 April 2024

#IWSG April 2024 - Blogging, social media ...

 Here we are, another month done and dusted. Hope your month was rewarding in every way.

April 3 question - How long have you been blogging? (Or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram?) What do you like about it and how has it changed?

Hmm. The question this month makes me think. I've been blogging for a gazillion years it feels, but I think I began in 2007. 

Someone said today that blogging hasn't really changed over the years, but I disagree. Or, rather, it's we who have changed over time. 

I started with a travel blog to enter a competition, L'Aussie Travel, then created a Paris blog as a place to talk about my favorite city, then Flashquake blog where I posted my stories to the #Fridayfiction prompts, then began Romantic Friday Writers, which became  WEP, a trusted place to write flash fiction to prompts, and toyed with the idea of a separate blog for my paranormal pen name, Silver Tree. Way too much work. So now I'm going to make a major change to this, my author blog, and put all my eggs in one basket (couldn't resist the pun).

When social media became a thing - yes it wasn't always a thing - many of my blogger friends left for Facebook especially, which is a lot less work than blogging. 

Even though I'm a lot less enthusiastic about blogging than I used to be, I still prefer it to FB/X/Insta etc. even though I force myself to 'do' these when the spirit moves me. Blogging is much more personal and I do still have a few blogging friends left, not too many, unfortunately. 

Writing can be an isolating experience, so it helps to touch base with fellow writers once a month for the IWSG, and latterly, I catch up with my WEP friends each month or two on the WEP site. All good.

The awesome co-hosts for the April 3 posting of the IWSG are Janet Alcorn, T. Powell Coltrin, Natalie Aguirre, and Pat Garcia!

See you in May!


Wednesday 6 March 2024


Hi all!

Lovely to meet again so soon for the IWSG! March already!

I love the optional question this month -

Have you "played" with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI's impact on creative writing?

 I'm not one to put my head in the sand when something new arrives on the scene. It seems AI has well and truly arrived and is here to stay. We've heard the stories of them plagiarising authors and so on, and that needs to be sorted. But there are helpful things about AI and I wrote a whole post HERE.

AI is still imperfect. I ask it to write a synopsis and it gives me a blurb. That's okay. So I ask it 'how do I write a synopsis' and it gives me all the correct points. So I haven't taken it a step further yet and given them the synopsis points they gave me then tell them to write a synopsis for this story...ha ha. 

I've had some great blurbs written by AI but they needed a lot of editing and I mean A LOT! They like to write in quaint old-fashioned language.

So I always like to see examples. Here is ONE of the opening paras of a blurb AI wrote for my current WIP. What do you think of the language?

In the enchanting city of Paris, where the aroma of freshly baked croissants fills the air, Angelique Ravello has decided to revive her beloved cookery school after a devastating loss. Determined to start anew and heal her wounded heart, Angelique has sworn off men, focusing solely on her culinary passion.

The awesome co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Kristina Kelly, Miffie Seideman, Jean Davis, and Liza @ Middle Passages!

Thanks for coming by!



Thursday 1 February 2024

#WEP Get Together and #IWSG February 2024 - What turns you off on writers' blogs?

 Hi friends!

I am using this post for the monthly WEP Get Together and the IWSG. Although WEP is no longer operational, the team is tight and we're still having a meet and greet on the first of the month to share our news. Anyone is welcome to join us.

CLICK on the WEP site to read some inspiring posts!

How's the new year treating you? Any great successes? 

So far my year has made a slow start - I watch the New York news so I know the US has been battered by snow etc. Down here, Australia is battered by floods, cyclones (I got caught in one) and a long-lasting heatwave. Not an auspicious beginning to the year.

I have struggled to write amidst the mayhem. Hot, draining weather is not conducive to writing, which is why NaNoWriMo is in the Northern Hemisphere's winter. 

So my January plans of publishing two more novels has come to naught. One is ready, one is undergoing final tweaking by moi, then I'll be sending it out to betas and then an editor. Going to try a great development editor, Yolanda Renee. We've helped each other over the years. A great friendship which will continue even though we don't have WEP to hold us together. I'm playing back her kindness by showing her shingle.

See link above.

So, brings me to the IWSG question of the month:

February 7 question: What turns you off when visiting an author's website/blog? Lack of information? A drone of negativity? Little mention of author's books? Constant mention of books?

I think the question underlines what we mostly know - authors are doomed if they do, doomed if they don't. We get turned off if an author tries to sell us a book, or talks about it constantly, and if they don't, we think their marketing plan is skewiff. Hmm. Can't win. 

I think my website is unassuming. I have a Page for MY BOOKS which I'm pretty sure no one has ever clicked on. Correct me if I'm wrong. But blogging makes friends, not sales. Which, along with the constant dabbling by google and co which results in people not being able to comment etc, is why some bloggers leave for Facebook and Instagram or other socials. A lot less trouble. Do you agree?

The awesome co-hosts for the February 7 posting of the IWSG are Janet Alcorn, SE White, Victoria Marie Lees, and Cathrina Constantine!

Visit if you can!

See you in March!


Friday 1 December 2023


 Hello there!

Welcome to my last WEP entry. What's that? 

As many at the IWSG have been involved with WEP over the years I'm placing this information before my WEP entry which is below if you'd like to read it and call it my IWSG post. 

I'm not insecure about closing down WEP; I think the team has done a great job, been selfless in the interests of our writers for such a long time. But all good things must come to an end, even something as good as WEP.

This is our final WEP challenge, as after 13 years, WEP is closing down.

 This is partly due to the stressors on the team which have been relentless since Covid and are ongoing, and partly because of the drop in the number of participants this year.  We know many WEP members are experiencing their own stressors in the form of health challenges in themselves or family members which impacts their writing time.

 After much consideration, the WEP team concluded that this is the time to finish. Not exactly on a high, but not exactly at the bottom of our game.

 For thirteen years we have been a light for many struggling with their writing life, and many of you credit WEP with the improvement in your writing and confidence when submitting your work to publishers. This is what WEP set out to do and we can be happy in that we achieved the supportive writing community we set out to create. I know we could have done better in some areas, but due to time constraints we could not follow every avenue we would have liked.

 Thank you to all who have visited our website over the years and offered us words of encouragement and thank you to those who took up the challenges which made the hard work rewarding. Our wonderful judge, Nick Wilford, attests to the quality of WEP writing when he judges each challenge, so it’s not just us.

 A special thank you to those of you who have been with us for the whole journey and we’re sorry that closing down WEP will have a great impact, but all is not lost. More info on the WEP website.


 The WEP anthology is going ahead at this stage, for publication in May 2024, but as yet we do not have enough entries to take it forward. The end of December is the close of submissions, but if you intend to submit, please send Nila your information. We need at least 14 more submissions to make the anthology viable. It will be a precious keepsake, so if you want to see your story included for perpetuity, gain a publishing credit, send it in!

The awesome co-hosts for the December 6 posting of the IWSG are C. Lee McKenzie, JQ Rose, Jennifer Lane, and Jacqui Murray!

~*~ WEP ~*~ WEP ~*~ WEP ~*~

Now, for Over to You, we have been asked to base our story on our favorite movie. 

From the WEP Challenges Page: So...will it be a romance? action-adventure? family drama? horror? Or will it be a comedy? tragedy? thriller?

I'm not absolutely sure how to categorize my entry - it's mostly fact, partly fiction, part essay with pictures...whatever...please enjoy,


I watched The Song of Bernadette with my sister when we were very young. I remember we bawled our eyes out afterward, and to this day it’s a movie I can’t forget.

The Song of Bernadette is a 1943 American biographicaldrama film based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Franz Werfel. It portrays the story of Bernadette Soubirous, who reportedly experienced eighteen visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary from February to July 1858 and was canonized in 1933.  

The novel was extremely popular, spending more than a year on The New York Times Best Seller list and thirteen weeks heading the list. The story was also turned into a Broadway play, which opened at the Belasco Theatre in March 1946. 

DISCLAIMER: I am not a Roman Catholic, but I was profoundly touched by this movie. I do believe in miracles however. In these troubled times, we need all the miracles we can get!

A Song of Miracles

Based on a true story

In the quaint town of Lourdes, nestled amidst the rolling hills of southwestern France, a sense of serenity lingered in the air undisturbed by the echoes of the past that reverberated through cobblestone streets and ancient stone buildings.

Lourdes, SW France

Amidst this peaceful setting lived a fourteen-year old girl named Bernadette Soubrirous. She was an ordinary peasant girl, but the richness of her spirit made her extraordinary. Little did she or the townsfolk know her life would soon become entwined with the miraculous.

Bernadette Soubrirous

“Bernadette! Go fetch some firewood,” was her mother’s cry each evening. “Stop your dreaming, silly girl.”

Bernadette did not mind the menial task or the sharpness of her mother’s tongue. She loved to ramble beside the river, admire the wildlife and discover secret grottos nestled in its rocky banks.

It was an ordinary day when it happened.

Bernadette wandered along the banks of the Gave River collecting firewood for her family. Distracted by a strange breeze and a change in the light, she discovered a hidden grotto. Intrigued by its mysterious aura, she felt an inexplicable urge to linger. It was as if an unseen force beckoned her to stay.

Before her eyes, a vision appeared. A beautiful lady clad in white stood on a rock niche. Bernadette fell to her knees. When she looked up, the lady had disappeared.

I will come to this magic grotto every day, Bernadette whispered. As God is my witness, I will see you again.

Soon, whispers of an ethereal presence spread. Some of the townsfolk doubted Bernadette’s visions, while others believed, but there was an undeniable sense of magic in the air.

“Maman,” Bernadette said after seeing the vision several times, “I have witnessed a beautiful lady bathed in light by the river, who spoke to me with a voice as gentle as the breeze.”

“Enough of your silliness, my girl.” Her mother tossed her bright red hair. “Go fetch more firewood or you will go hungry tonight.” She grabbed Bernadette’s arm. “And stay away from the river.”

Bernadette, true to her vow, repeatedly visited the grotto despite her mother's warning.

The citizens of Lourdes stopped her in the streets as she made her way to the river. 

“Come with me. See the lady for yourself,” she told them.

On one visit, the lady asked Bernadette to drink and wash at a seemingly non-existent spring. Bernadette obediently dug a hole in the ground with her fingers and smeared her face with dirt.

“Ha! See! A charlatan, a trickster, an imbecile!” some onlookers cried, but their ridicule changed to wonder when water began to flow from the hole, and later to exaltation when its miraculous healing properties cured the sick amongst them.

Even more people flocked to Lourdes to witness these miracles for themselves.

The news of Bernadette's visions reached the ears of the town mayor, the sceptical Alphonse Lacade. Intrigued yet doubtful, he decided to investigate for himself.

“Do you truly see visions?” he asked Bernadette, trying to discern the truth behind her extraordinary tale. “I see sincerity in your eyes and you exhibit an unwavering conviction in your voice. I am truly baffled. This tale cannot be true.”

“My tale is true,” she said. “I know they say I’m just a poor girl who has never suffered. Why was I chosen to receive visitations from the Lady? I cannot explain. I only believe.”

The mayor doubted.

Many did not.

Soon the Massabielle grotto, became a place of pilgrimage. People from far and wide travelled to witness the miracles whispered to occur in Lourdes.

“Help me. Carry me to the waters,” the sick and blind cried.

“I need solace,” wept a young mother, clutching her children’s hands as she took her turn at the stream. “My husband has died. The mysterious Lady's presence comforts me.”

Bernadette watched in wonder as miracles occurred, overcoming scepticism and scrutiny.

Jennifer Jones as Bernadette

The hoards believed what they were seeing and spoke to Bernadette. “We have witnessed the inexplicable: the blind seeing, the lame walking, and the hopeless finding newfound hope. Bernadette, your song is our song.”

The grotto transformed into a sanctuary of faith and miracles, with countless pilgrims kneeling, praying, watching and spreading the good news.

“The whole world needs these miracles,” they told each other. “Look at Brother John. How long has he lay abed? Now he walks.”

Soon the kneeling believers were joined by men in robes standing behind them, watching those who could not walk, walk, those who could not see, see. They were a delegation of priests of the Catholic Church, cautious and measured, sent to investigate the authenticity of the young girl's apparitions. They spent hours questioning Bernadette and examining the witnesses, and deliberated over the inexplicable events unfolding in Lourdes.

In the end, after countless interviews and miraculous healings, the Church recognized the supernatural occurrences as genuine.

“We cannot doubt when before our eyes we see the lame walk and the blind see as Jesus promised. These visions are indeed a divine intervention. Even the mayor is now humbled by the inexplicable beauty of these miracles that have unfolded in his small town. We must see to the Lady’s canonization and build a sanctuary to The Lady of Lourdes.”

The Sanctuary to The Lady of Lourdes

The Song of Bernadette echoed throughout Lourdes, immortalizing the faith and resilience of a young girl who, against all odds, became the vessel for miracles. The grotto, once a hidden gem, now stood as a symbol of hope, drawing pilgrims from every corner of the globe.

The priests declared she must enter a convent. “You must spend your days in reflection and prayer with the Sisters of Charity of Nevers.” 

And so, in the heart of Lourdes, amidst the timeless hills and the flowing Gave River, the melody of miracles continued its song, carried on the wings of belief and the echoes of a song that transcended the boundaries of the ordinary.

Bernadette herself refused to take the miraculous waters when a tumor grew in her leg. On her deathbed, she sorrowfully maintained that she may never see the lady again. However, the lady appeared in her room, smiled, and gestured to Bernadette. Bernadette joyfully cried out to the apparition before she took her last breath.

The last words Bernadette heard: "You are now in Heaven and on earth. Your life begins, O Bernadette."

According to the RC Church over 7,000 people have been cured at Lourdes ...



TAGLINE: Do you believe in magic? The miraculous? The humble being exalted?

Thanks for visiting!


Wednesday 1 November 2023


 Hi all!

Seeing comments are often not allowed on my blog, thanks Google, I nearly decided not to post. I've got to choose whether to add a new comment system, or move to my Word Press blog. Neither excites me. I'm on vacation so and have no time to fiddle. 

I'm not answering the question about NaNoWriMo in full. Yep. I've done it 5 times, but I don't write that way. I choose to go slow and edit each day's work most of the time. Sure that wastes time sometimes, but I can't help myself. These days many writers have their project fully planned before Nov 1 which wasn't the original idea, but what the heck? You do what you do.

click HERE to read more - including a list of pros and cons for both which we probably all know. 

My latest book, Fijian Princess, (which I started writing in 2015! Told you I was a slow scribe). When I read it again, I liked it, so I decided to polish it up and have it edited AGAIN recently. I'd shelved it after an edit, pretty discouraged. So, about 3 editors have cast their weary eyes over it at different times and at considerable expense to moi. It looks pretty posh now and so it should. 

So do I self-publish? Or do I shop around for a traditional publisher, small or big? I can't believe I'm actually asking this question - I've been on Team Self-Publish from the outset but it's a ton of work. Not that I expect an easy ride if I actually lasso a trad publisher. Just check out Damyanti's FB posts about her latest book. She puts in the hours. 

My final editor says I have a great story, will attract readers around the world, so, hmmm, I'm insecure about this. I need your help.

I won't be doing anything with this ms or my Paris Cookery School until early 2024. The rest of 2023 is ridiculously busy mainly with travel. I'm down in South Australia momentarily and face a long trip home in 3 days.

The awesome co-hosts for the November 1 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, Jean Davis, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diedre Knight!


Anyone want to share their experiences with self-pub or traditional? I'd be grateful.

If you have some advice and can't comment, please flick me an email ...

Thanks so much for reading/helping -