Friday 18 December 2009

An English Takeover

Just reading the latest edition of Australian mag, That's Life Fast Fiction (Summer Edition) armed with the knowledge that several bloggers I follow have stories published within. Enjoyed Who Killed Harry by Sally Quilford, a name I recognised, but unfortunately she is the only one with a name I know. Many great stories in this issue, so keep up the good work, English girls. I've been plugging away, sending stories, and hope I can reap some success in this mag soon. Writing a short story always brings a smile to my face and it is hard work (some say the hardest form of fiction), but now I have to work on bringing a smile onto the face of the editior...Happy writing!

Monday 7 December 2009

An Aussie Christmas

An Aussie Christmas is about simple food and the beach

Been reading the blogs I follow (mainly English for some reason) and a few Christmas stories are trickling through, enough to highlight the difference between a Northern Hemisphere Christmas and a Southern one. Hmm.

In Oz we have been suffering extreme heatwaves (40+C in some parts), bushfires (already!), floods (although I see England had a wee bit of a one), drought (in my area) and endless debates on Climate Change and Global Warming causing it all.

We're on our third leader of the Opposition and all due to Global Warming. Hum. All shaping up to the usual Aussie Christmas that we love so well. And the very reason the last few Christmasas I've managed to be in the Northern Hemisphere struggling through blizzards in Belgium and driving on snowy roads in France, not to mention being frozen in London. What is worse?

I'm about to become reaquainted with the lovely Aussie Christmas!

For many years we have struggled with the ridiculous idea of cooking a roast dinner in 30+C heat, but thankfully that is one of our British Empire traditions that has mostly found its way to the archives of modern history - now we go for prawns and lots of other delicious seafood, salads, wonderful crudites and cold trifle or cheesecakes for dessert.

Thanks to another British import - Masterchef (which I watched when I was in London a few years ago) - Australians have upped their expectations of food. We are now ALL masterchefs. The show has taken Oz by storm. We are out trawling the Farmers' Markets and Gourmet Delis to plate up the freshest and finest for our loved ones. So it ain't half bad!

Well and I managed fine getting the Chrissy deckies up yesterday - no lofts to climb, no dreaded lurgy laying me low in high summer, just a few boxes to get out of the backs of cupboards and bingo! Lights and colour. I'm completely addicted to fairy lights, so all the extra heat is going to add to the already warm temp and I'm going to have to crank up the air-con. What was that I was saying about Global Warming? Who's responsible? It is me after all....

Merry Christmas everyone!

But of course Oz does have its compensations - gorgeous beaches, swimming pools everywhere, resort holidays, watersports - being in a hot clime does have its good points...

Monday 30 November 2009

Finding my way

NaNoWriMo is finished for me. Lots of editing to do but that will be a joy. I could easily get 55,000 out of my story as certainly a lot to add yet.

There must be a trillion writing blogs out there so I'm working on mine (as always) making it a bit more Aussie. Not sure where I'm going but I'll know when I get there. I really don't take myself that seriously, but I love what I do, even if I try to go in too many directions at once. I'm sure no-one else has that problem.

With Christmas coming, realistically how much can we hope to write? I haven't reached the stage where I feel so driven I get up at 4 am, but I salute all you successful people who do! Writing is very individual and we all have to find what works for us - I'm a slow learner - haven't quite figured it out yet, but I'm getting there.

One thing I'll miss about NaNoWriMo is the guest motivational emails from successful authors. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a mentor yelling from the sidelines through a megaphone all the time! Nah, probably not...

Friday 27 November 2009

I Did It!

I'm glad to report that I've written over 50,000 words towards my romantic novel.tentatively called "Ruby", so now it'll take me the next year or so to edit. All good. Now I know I can do it. Loved the experience...Good luck to all those still heading for the finish line...

Monday 23 November 2009

The End is Nigh

I feel pumped today as I have a few hours of hopefully uninterrupted writing ahead of me. Had lots of dramas last week and hardly any writing done. Was able to hit it yesterday, Sunday, and got nearly 6,500 words done and it all seemed to flow. Maybe I needed a break to keep it fresh. I missed the 35,000 deadline on 21st (only had 27,597) so by the end of today I should be well over the 35,000 mark. Anyway, you can only do what you can do, huh? I've never doubted I will get there, couldn't live with myself if I didn't make the 50,000, so I do have renewed enthusiasm today. Let's hope it lasts. It's been a great experience to be plugging away on a regular basis. Hope everyone else is getting over the hump, too! Only a week to go! Gadzooks!

Monday 16 November 2009

Middle Earth

Well, I've reached the middle of the novel (25.000+) and admit I've been sitting on the fence, a bit of a Mugwump (Mug on one side and my wump on the other) thinking about which direction my story is going. Everything went great at first, I had my plan, my ideas, and didn't it flow like a river! Sweet! My characters have taken me for a bit of a ride, weaving, taking me to places I hadn't planned (not a bad thing!) but now I have to tug the reins a bit and forge ahead. I haven't exactly lost my way, just not sure how to proceed.

Was heartening to read that writers spend 97% of their time in the Middle!

I haven't written for a few days - family committments and other excuses - but I hope to do amazing things this week to make up for my days of zilch words. Okay, so I'll get down from the fence and get to it...

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Pep talk from Chris Baty NaNoWriMo

Some practical, yet very useful advice from Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo:

1) Write every day. Even if you just knock out 75 words before collapsing into bed, those 75 words will keep you connected you to your story in essential ways, and make diving back into your book much easier.

2) For now, stop thinking about 50K. Just sprint thousands. Visualize each writing session as a tall staircase made up of 1000 steps. You are part ninja, part monkey, and part stairmaster cyborg. You were born to fly up those steps. Bash out 250 words, and you've made it halfway to 500. Keep going for another ten minutes, and you're past 500 and within striking distance of 750. Once you hit 750, you could sneeze out enough words to get to the top! After each thousand, be sure to take a quick break and celebrate. Then fire up that monkey spirit and go run another thousand.

3) Remember that your book is important. I didn't say this in the Week One pep talk because we'd only just met and there's really only so much cornball sentiment from a random guy on the internet that anyone should have to tolerate in one month. But here's the truth: You have a book in you that only you can write. Your story matters. Your voice matters. The world will be richer for you seeing this crazy creative escapade through to 50,000 words.

Well, I've made it past the 20,000 mark which was the goal for all writers to reach by 12/11, so I'm a little ahead, for now!

Monday 9 November 2009

Plot Ideas, Characters, Wordy Details

A short paraphrase from a recent Pep Talk from Gail Carson Levine (author of Ella Enchanted) revving up NaNo writers:

When you run out of plot ideas, write about setting and what each character is wearing, in exquisite wordy detail. When you run out of setting and apparel, write about the voice quality of each speaker, speech mannerisms, facial ticks, body language. Hey! That sounds like me on a good day!

Now that I've cleverly downloaded the word count widget from NaNo Fun Stuff, I don't have to be so pedantic about my progress. Saturday I was a bit of a social butterfly for once, so only got about 700 words written and I've decided my brain is going to hurt if I don't take a day off, so Sunday I wrote zilch. I also gave the local Write In the flick. My fingers itched every time I looked at the computer but I stuck to my guns. I confess I had a bit of a play with my blogs etc.

I'm pretty happy how my story is going, but I have a love triangle coming up and I don't know who the heroine is going to end up with. Hmmm. I hope they can sort it out.

Happy writing everyone!

Friday 6 November 2009

The Importance of Taking Notes

Day Five 5/11 - Thursday - Words 2968 (14,084)

I'm a great note taker and when I don't have the laptop with me I write furiously in my notebook. These notes often become very useful, getting me over a blank moment or three. I can flick through my notes and sometimes find just what I'm looking for, or just see an idea I can use.

At times I wish I belonged to the era of handwritten books, as there's something very satisfying about looking at a blank page of luscious stationary and making the first mark with a new, expensive pen, preferably purple ink. I'll never be Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte, but there's a romance to their creativity, propped at an old wooden desk at a window framed in dark velour drapes. Plastic and chips can't match that- but hey, enough daydreaming! Imagine writing 2,000 words a day on notepaper, then editing, rewriting, eek!

These are some hot tips from my NaNo region:

  • Work 'as if' - make notes and keep writing, going forward as if you made those changes. Later you can go back and revise. You cannot write and revise at the same time (especially in NaNo month!) It is so hard to turn off that internal editor...
  • Leave out subplots. You can add these later when you rewrite. Just focus on the main characters and plotline and race through to the end (keep notes of developing subplots; if you have time during NaNo you can go back and add them in, otherwise leave it until December...
  • Use the 80-20 rule to focus. 20% of your time/effort should generate 80% of your results. Know what you want to do and what you really don't need to do...
So far, so good. Had a great writing day yesterday, nearly 3,000 words. I spent the rest of the time (as it's my one day off teaching), to work on reading and collating info on my Muscular Dystrophy blog. Satisfying day.
Cheers out there in writing land...

Thursday 5 November 2009

Questions to ask yourself about your novel

Day Three 3/11 - Tuesday - Words 2874 (9336)
Day Four 4/11 - Wednesday - Words 1771 (11,107)

A very useful little set of notes came my way courtesy of my local Nano region. They are good to check every now and then.

1. Character
  • How can I make the actions/reactions of the characters believable?
  • Have I provided enough background to understand the characters?

2. Setting

  • How can I make the setting contribute to the tone, theme, plot of the narrative?

3. Plot

  • How can I make the plot believable?
  • Do the characters have a significant role in the plot?
  • How can I make the plot fresh and original?

4. Theme

  • What larger issues do I want readers to think about as a result of my novel?

5. Dialogue

  • Is the dialogue natural?
  • Does the dialogue develop the characters and plot?
  • Does the dialogue show action?

Notes from Book in a Month, by Vl Schmidt and Writing for Emotional Impact, by K. Iglesias

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Book Keeping: Speed-Writing For Success - Content

To kick off National Novel Writing Month, an enterprising YA author reveals how her participation in the day writing frenzy landed her a book deal

Posted using ShareThis

Novel Writing

Day One: 1/11/2009 - Sunday - Words 3357
Had 950 words down before I left to the inaugural 'Write In' at the Milton Coffee Club. Took hubby along for an early brekkie of houloumi cheese and mushroom sauce on Turkish, yum. Good start. The Nanos had the back section booked and hooked (up) so made my way in there and got started. Found the ML already there was an English guurl. As they'd had their welcome BBQ the day before and had a meet-fest there, they didn't do the hello how are you thing, it was just set up your laptop and write. I had visions of actually meeting people but that wasn't happening. During the write fest I managed 2000 okay words, but I was longing for the quiet of home as I'm not a youngster who likes a lot of raucous commentary. Had one little competiton during the day, checking who could write the most in 10 minutes. Knew I wouldn't have a hope, so I plodded on. The winner (who was last year's nano winner) managed 460 words, while my count was 297. It was fun thought but everyone probably wrote crappola. Having excellent coffee on tap and a hearty slice of New York cheesecake was pretty good...

Day Two: 2/11/2009 - Monday - Words 2196 (6461)
My first day of writing at home and wouldn't you know I had a glitch. One of my students had emailed me a draft and had used the latest Office 7, so my program couldn't read it. After a bit of mucking around I remembered one of the gems I heard at the Nano write in - open everything in I had a poke around and tried it, and lo! it worked! So I had to edit 2 students' drafts, then into it.
A good day of writing and felt pretty pleased with the way the story is starting. Thought I might get some time after work to write, but got visitors instead, so will have to be happy with my total. My goal is 2000 words minimum a day, to cover the days when I know I won't get the chance to write.

Day Three: 3/11/2009 - Tuesday - 8.30 am -Words yet to be written
Getting this blog post done, then I begin to write. Ducked down to the 7/11 for my chocolate supply, so I'm set...

Saturday 31 October 2009

The First Chapter

Well it is scary watching that NaNoWriMo widget counting down and the day has nearly arrived. It's now Saturday 31st October 8.33 am. I've written my synopsis and am thinking about the first chapter. I thought I'd use my blog to write what I'm up to, a bit of an online diary thingy, as it's pretty much just between me and me and my little Foxy Lady up there (I love images as you might have noticed) watching what I write so intently and wisely and licking my tears of frustration away, so Denise, let's get this first chapter underway.

As I'm going with the Romance genre and am hoping to have a sweet little Harlequin book done by the end of November, I checked out a few 'how to write a romance 'books as you do. One of my foibles is I just keep checkin' out 'how tos' and never get around to the doing. I'm under no illusions that it's going to be easy to actually keep doing...
I found 'An Introduction to Romance Writing' by Sherry Anne Jacobs very helpful. She has some good stuff on the first chapter. What does she say? Well, I'm not too sure about plagarism in this case so Sherry and me are sharing stuff here. And, remember, I'm just talking to myself and Foxy. These are the bits I'll be paying attention to:

  • the first chapter is the most important part of the book (we all know if we aren't rivited from the start and life is too short to read a bad book, we toss it and reach for the next one)

  • get the hero and heroine out there so the reader can start caring about them. I'm in love with mine already, just gotta get other people to feel the same...

  • hint at the basic plot of your novel, show don't tell of course

  • set your tone (you can hardly help doing this) gotta have your own voice coming thru...

  • show physical setting for your story. I like Elizabeth Adler's style here. The setting becomes a character. I have some dreamy settings on the go...

  • get crackin' with that sparkling dialogue, hmmm, that can be tricky. Need help there! There'll be a lot of mumbling to myself and Foxy...

  • get some conflict happenin' with that hero/heroine or what's the point? Don't we all just love a good to-do...

  • trot out some subordinate characters (I'd hate to be one of those, wouldn't you?) But no man (or woman) is an island after all, although I could think of some exceptions...

  • there is a need for 2 'hooks' - one at the beginning, preferably in the first paragraph, and the other at the end (and this is not a fishing trip, but I'll certainly be fishing for hooks! That's terrible! I do hope I improve soon...there's always hope!)

Well, if I can do all that, I'll have a crackin' good first chapter happening. I could even be dangerous. Wonder what the other NaNoWriMo 150,000 adults and 35,ooo kids are doin' today?

A footnote about post dates. Blogger has my dates mixed up and I can't fix the problem. I am sick of doing the post options thing, so I'll write the real date somewhere...If anyone reads this and knows how to fix it, I'd be grateful. Blogger help just points out the Post Options option...

Friday 30 October 2009

New Writing Challenge


Well in a couple of days' time I begin writing furiously as I attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Have been formulating ideas as I'm definately not just a 'pantser' (flying by the seat of my pants) when I write. I like to have some sort of a plan. I'm definately a 'plotter.' So I have enough bits and pieces to get started. My Region (Brisbane) is having a 'Write in' at a Coffee Club just along the river from where I live. It'll be good to meet others with similar goals. I've already arranged to take my laptop to my local Coffee Club so I can write without interruptions, at least nothing more serious than another coffee order.

I've decided to go with the Romance genre as if I do persevere for 50,000 words, at least I have the makings of a Harlequin/Mills and Boon. Hmmm. Gotta start somewhere! I've had my nose in a couple of what we no longer refer to as 'penny dreadfuls' or 'bodice rippers', considering whether I can actually write in this genre. Jury's still out on this. I attended a Romance Writer's Workshop with Anna Campbell who has a trio of 3 'bodice rippers' out with Avon Books, and I learnt a lot and even managed to get applause with my 'pantser' version of a conflict between a hero and heroine.

Well, I'll soon find out if I can keep it up for a month won't I?

Saturday 24 October 2009


Ok, I've done it! I've just registered to NaNoWriMo. Read the novel about writing a novel in 30 days and think this might be just what I need at this point. I see I'm not alone. Lots of folks are gearing up ready for the big write fest. My user name is parisden.

Tuesday 13 October 2009



Got the email this morning. I finally finished tweaking a feature about Noosa, including an historic slant rather than just your touristy article. Really enjoyed the research. GoNOMAD, an excellent online travel site has bought it, so I hope it goes online soon! Now maybe I can move on to something else...this feature has taken an inordinate amount of time, but these days you have to have an edge in this highly contested market. Finding a new slant can be tricky. Hope you'll read it when it comes online. Don't worry, I'll let you know!!

Language Wars

I pounced on the table, beating off all comers, spread out my books and papers, and snatched a few enjoyable minutes of my latest novel (Constance by Rosie Thomas - great in case you're wondering) while I waited for my ESL student in the local library. 'If you're going to be understood, you need to speak American English or British English. If you want no-one to understand you, speak Australian English.' What the??? I spun around to project fiery darts at the snappy Yankee tutor who has taken up permanent residence at the end table, but he was protected by two dark Asian heads hanging onto his every word. My adrenaline had nowhere to go...Ha! I spied my eager Taiwanese student approaching, such anticipation on his face. Was I imposing gibberish on this poor soul? How unfair of me. I waited til he was seated. 'Whaal, Justaan, howdy. How y'all doin'? Everythang cool? Faantaastic! Waahl, let's hit it.' Justin blanched, clearly confused. Maybe he was terrified he'd missed something from the list of Australian idioms I'd given him to study. 'Eh...bonza,' he squeaked. Bless him. I'll make an Aussie outta him yet.

Thursday 8 October 2009


Well I am really missing Paris but that 20 hour plane trip is hideous, so where does an Aussie go when she needs to practise her waning French, munch baquettes with egg-shell crusts, spread slices with runny cheese, and pop a grape into her mouth while reaching for a chilled glass of bubbly? And only a 2-hour flight away? New Caledonia of course. Haven't visited before, but Lonely Planet assures me the hype is correct and Noumea is bursting with French-style food albeit at Parisien prices (as lots of it is shipped from the mother country), daily fresh food markets and little boutiques and French names for streets (or should I say Rues?) Gastronomic anticipation aside, I was delighted to read that New Cal (or NC) has a thriving writers' community of successful authors. Hope I get to meet some. It'll be inspirational to chat in Franglaise to kanaks and expats. November, roll on...
I'm even booking my accommodation in the Quartier Latin! Beat that!

Tuesday 6 October 2009


Somewhere between Brussels and Luxembourg. Hmmm. Just makes me want to leave Australia!Posted by Picasa


Just finding a picture to put on my new, revised blog led me to salivating over places visited and dreaming of places yet to visit (and write about of course!) Fraser Island, a short flit over the water from Noosa, is one glorious place. You can see how dazzling the sand is. We are heading into what looks like being a very hot summer, while you Northern Hemisphere dwellers are shaking the mothballs out of scarves and winter coats (that is if you actually put them away at all!) Strangely I prefer winter (an Aussie winter is very short and mild) so we don't get enough time to moan and groan. But one of my most exhilarating experiences was taking a train from Brussells to Luxembourg and driving through a blizzard most of the way. The photos of that trip certainly have a white hue rather different to Lake Mackenzie on Fraser Island, my blog pic. But what is the point of this entry re writing? Well, I've spent the day collating photos of Noosa, one of my favourite spots, to go with an article I'm pitching to Go Nomad an online travel magazine. Wish me luck...

Monday 5 October 2009


Well I changed the definition of time out alright! Phew! Been a long time between blogs, tweets, facebook status updates etc etc. Life does get in the way doesn't it? I feel like I'm missing a hand, though, as even though I've had a quick look at what all you other creative people have been doing and enjoying a quick peek through your blogs, I just haven't felt like I've had anything to say. Ever felt like that? Settling in to city life, finding too many shops to hit, not to mention relocating my private tutor business. Now I feel like I'm getting my act together for the mo' and will be blogging on a regular basis again, hopefully. Not that I still feel like I have much to say but it is good discipline isn't it? I also feel like a bit of a gate crasher at a party with all you English geerls I follow and you all seem so witty and upwardly mobile. I feel like I'm travelling on a bit of a tranquil pond and have a lot of rowing to do...til next time and I hope it's not months this time!
Truth be told I'm reading petite anglaise's book based on her blogging life (which is about to come to a halt!) and it got me rather missing my blogging life (even though it's very mediocre compared to petite's! and thank God for that...I also got a quick non-writing-related mention in our local rag re a big bridge opening (which starts in my street so makes jogging easy as it links to the cultural hub of town!) so that got my journalistic juices flowing (or trickling) too!

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Travelling again

My, I have such an exciting life! On Friday morning (early!!!!! because someone likes to get an early start!) will be taking a road trip to Townsville, North Queensland. It is over 1000 km, so will be on the road 2 days each way. It can be a very long trip, and unfortunately boring in some bits, as the road doesn't go close enough to the coast. You're driving through the wonderfully samish Aussie bush. Hopefully no kangaroos will pop out to say hi when we're travelling at 120km per hour! Anyway, thankfully you may say, my blog may be quiet for a few days as travelling is pretty exhausting (especially with a husband and puppy!) so I won't be feeling like chatting. It is a great time to hit the road over in Oz - winter - although our days are 26 deg C. Townsville is in the tropics (I'm in the sub-tropics) so it is still around 30 deg C. Not a bad winter!

Sunday 28 June 2009

My Sister's Keeper

Went to the movies yesterday and finally saw Angels and Demons before it leaves the theatres. Saw an ad for Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper coming soon! So exciting! It is a fabulous book on a heart-wrenching topic, but don't you always get worried when they turn a book into a movie? It becomes the director's POV, not yours as you imagine as you read. From the trailers it looked like it's the same story. Has anyone seen it yet? Is it out in the rest of the world????

Thursday 25 June 2009


Hmm, my husband finishes work today. Took early redundancy so he can stop staring at a computer all day and confusing his mind with data analysis and all that type of stuff which you think is pretty useless in your more lucid moments. Big party for him all day as his colleagues send him on his way rejoicing. Not all beer and skittles though. My life is staring at a computer all day so I'm wondering how this is going to affect me! Not being selfish am I? We dream of travelling together, he taking photos and me writing about travel. Pretty nice dream, but meanwhile, back at the apartment, how much writing will I be able to do???

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Working hard

I write like I read - I have multiple projects on the way at any one time. My bedside table always has a good variety of fiction, non-fiction and travel mags. Addicted to all. I'm really amazed that I've found an Anita Shreve I didn't like - Testimony - too many points of view and time changes. I don't mind a complicated book, but I found I couldn't get attached to any of the characters as it was too confusing working out who was who and what they were on about and the chapters were so short. This sounds like a book review and I guess it sorta is, but I'm just sharing my amazement as I love Anita Shreve's works, her beautiful poetic prose and her ability to keep you in suspense. Love the Pilot's Wife and Fortune's Rocks especially. Ah, well, you can't win them all. I actually love Jodi Picoult to bits too, and really didn't like her Change of Heart (it has a different name overseas) as it reminded me of The Green Mile. But, how hard those ladies must work! Jodi, a book a year or less! Wow! If I can write one in a lifetime I'll die happy! How about you?

Friday 19 June 2009

A difficult re-start in some ways

Moving is exhausting, especially when it's been done over a long, gradual period. Anyway, I'm re-grouping and settling in to life in The Big Smoke (as Aussies refer to cities). We really like to believe we're country bumpkins, but the truth is, most Aussies live in our very few cities or close by. There's a lot of glorious 'empty' space, full of red desert sand, spinifex and shatteringly-blue, cloudless sky. Great to drive through in an air-conditioned car, stopping occasionally to take unbelievable snaps of brolgas dancing or animal skeletons.

I've always considered myself a country girl, only briefly lived in cities, so who knows how long this will last? It's a good base to write and travel - and I'm ready for an apartment with just 3 lots of floor to ceiling doors to clean, instead of a two-story house at the beach surrounded by windows. Sounds idyllic but they spend their time covered in grime...hmmm, so not a poet....

Thursday 11 June 2009

Brisbane is now my home

You know what they say - home is where the heart is - and no matter where you are it is good to feel at home. Now I've moved from the very beautiful Peregian Beach to Brisbane, only a 160 km trip, yet another world. My view from my desk at Peregian was of the Pacific Ocean. I could see surfers, whales in season, and kiteboarders and walkers. My view from my desk in Brisbane couldn't be more different - I can see my kitchen! Wow! So really I have no distractions, I should be able to write and write and write! Here's to anything that'll keep me out of the kitchen!!! I even have a bed behind me, hmmm, feeling a bit tired????

Sunday 24 May 2009

A New Start

Well only one more week before I move to Brisbane full time. Be great to be in one place for awhile. I've changed my blog title so it reflects writing rather than travel. I'm starting up a separate travel blog to post my travel stories. I'm currently waiting for Nature and Health magazine to publish a piece they liked, a funny take on Coffee's benefits. Should be any time now. I haven't had much chance to be writing my stories but I've been trying to come up with some flighty angles so Fast Fiction will bite. Here's hoping.

Monday 18 May 2009


I'm so desperate to find the value in twitter that I actually went to the twitter guide website but must say I'm not much the wiser. I did learn that you can actually search using twitter, and somehow my following links managed to hook me up with Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia. My excitement knows no bounds. Now I can know every little Ruddism hot off the press.
If you're not Australian you'd never understand how casual we are about our leaders. We even have a name for it - the Tall Poppy Syndrome. You put your head up, we'll chop it off. A nation of apathetic sun worshippers that we are, how could anything a pollie have to say be important? However, I was looking for a simile so I chose one about pollies - '...spreading faster than the jet streams from the politicians winging their way around the world...' That will be included in an article I'm working on. I changed it from 'spreading faster than economic instability.' Rather boring...

Sunday 17 May 2009


On the road again in more than one way. Thanks to Antonia I feel encouraged to keep plugging away. Busy with researching a couple of articles and reading, reading, reading every spare mo. Just finished On Nefertiti Street, mostly about Egypt, and was quite startled to slowly realise this is the woman whose Ancient History texts I used when teaching Ancient History. Hmmm. Quite a woman! Also just finished The Spare Room by Helen Garner. Been wanting to read it for ages and was very moved when I did. Will write a book review of it for bookseraz.
Well, back to the packing...

Thursday 14 May 2009


Just reading through all the blogs I subscribe to and they are really inspirational. Seems people are hard at it everywhere, whether travelling to write about it, attending writing workshops, finding they're mentioned in other blogs, reviewing books...all good...hoping to get one done soon. I'm looking forward to being settled again and being able to work every day, not in bursts. Of course your mind never stops. There's always stories floating around. Meanwhile I have a few to finish up and get out there...

Wednesday 6 May 2009


Just home from a Brisbane trip again. Getting a bit discouraged as I'm not into how to get this blog underway yet. Very discouraging to have only 1 follower and writing for no one to read. Oh well, I guess I'll get it happening yet...

Tuesday 5 May 2009


I've been so concentrated on the travel article I'm writing and collecting pics for I've been neglecting the more creative side of writing - fiction. Last night I couldn't sleep so I wrote a whole story in my head. I've yet to see how much I remember. I was staying at someone's place so I couldn't get up and put it on the computer. Bother. Anyway, let's see how this story works out. Be so exciting to get it written and accepted somewhere...

Monday 4 May 2009


Was inspirational to read a writer's blog today and see she is 75% through her novel. That's so good! This writer also writes in other genres, both fact and fiction. There is a bit of a thing about that and it is good to see someone who has success in different genres. For myself, I like to write about travel primarily, whether fact or fiction, then fictional short stories, but of course am always researching bits for that novel I hope to write one day...When the days are longer, of course....Meanwhile I have to prioritise as am moving in about a month and will have to move this mess off my desk, so would like to toss off a few stories as it'll probably be a bit of a break while I get set up in my new abode...

Sunday 3 May 2009


Been up to Noosa today taking some photos. Place was really bustling as the Food and Wine Festival was on. Mainly spent time with the surfers of the National Park. Was a great day for the surf. Took some great action shots.

Also went to the Tourist Bureau and checked out some brochures. Best part of the day was the Mossoma Rocher icecream. Yum....

Saturday 2 May 2009


Just reading a news article by a local writer who points out that yes, it's hard work writing a book, quite miraculous to get it published, but the real slog begins as you try to get your work reviewed and sold. She told horror stories about out of a crowd of 20,000 at a writer's event, only 2 turned up to hear her speak about her book on Italy. Turns out they just wanted info on the trains from Milan. Bit hard to take.

So obviously those of us who've chosen to write have chosen a pretty tricky ride. But we can't help ourselves ourselves, can we?

Still working on my article for gonomad online travel site. I'm so verbose. Just cutting it down from 4,000 words to the required under 2,000 is a task and a half.

Happy writing everyone!

Friday 1 May 2009


Today I am torn, as well as under pressure. What to do first? Sell off some of my books on ebay? Edit that article I am writing hoping to get it published on Gonomad? Do a bit of swotting for that new student I'm tutoring next week? Polish a few short stories and get them sent off?

Really, life is so full, and that's just the virtual part! What with reading everyone's blogs, joining Twitter , which took ages since every Paris lover had taken every Parisian-themed name I thought of - finally settled on pichetsinparis, thinking of all the pichers of rose I scoffed at lunch time at the waiter's insistence, only to totter around all afternoon half asleep. I've also been searching writer's sites, writing my blog - how do we prioritise these days? Maybe you're more focussed than I am...hope someone is!
But I have got some books for sale on ebay. Now I'll have to go on every day to check on progress! Oh, well...Now I'll start on the gonomad article...

Thursday 30 April 2009


Just got back from a few days in Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland. Will be moving down there in a month or so. I like it there as it has a good buzz - lots of things to do which help a writer. I always spend a lot of time in the huge Brisbane Square Library, where there is a good research section. Over the Brisbane River at the Southbank there is the Queensland State Library which is fantastic for research, with librarians there to help etc etc.

Have a few articles on my mind - want to do one on Noosa, my hometown. Also Kakadu in the Northern Territory where we recently had a holiday and saw lots of crocs and gorgeous scenery. Thinking about a writer's tour of Britain too. Lots of ideas there about the places famous writers lived. Pity there weren't more hours in the day.

Moving and writing don't really mix, but I'll do my best...

Tuesday 28 April 2009


I think I live in one of the most gorgeous places in the world, but I still leave it every chance I get to go on a trip. Today the blue skies, perfectly blue ocean, gentle frothy white-edged waves take me back to Nice in the south of France. Did a 6 month trip in 2007/08 over a northern winter (cheapskate - cheap flights, cheap accommodation...). Every time the fingers and toes threatend mutiny we (husb Geo & I) headed to Nice, a cheap Easyjet away. There we would thaw out in sweltering 15C heat (ha, ha) while Paris was freezing it out.

From the first time I flew into Nice I was gobsmacked. The plane flying so low over the Mediterranean coast was exhilarating. I was in love. It was sun-bathed each time we arrived, and glittering with lights each time we left. Couldn't drag my eyes away.

Nice is a bit like around the Noosa area where I live, but the buildings are much more interesting, lets say I think they're drop dead gorgeous. Loved walking up Castle Hill and looking down over the gentle sweep of the Bay of Angels with the pastel boroque-style buildings edging the Promonade des Anglais where we loved to stroll no matter what the time of day or night.

Loved jumping on the cheap (1.50 euro a day) buses to go to such romantic towns as Cannes, Monaco, Grasse, Antibes, Cap Ferrat...Marseille cost a bit more!) No such thing as cheap public transport where I live, car is king, but I loved the European way of being able to travel in trains, buses, planes for a pittance. Boats were a bit heftier, but worth it.

Loved walking around Nice, or jumping on the local buses for a cheap tour. There's so much to see with all the places the great artists used to hang out. Love that it's all still there - Matisse's house, galleries, museums. Could spend a year there quite happily immersing myself, and that's just in the food.

Did Imention yet that the food is simple yet sublime? Loved eating in Nice. Even the Cours Saleya wasn't that expensive. Mainly ate fresh pasta with fresh Nice pesto drizzled over it with a suggestion of meat. Yum...And those pistachio gelatos afterwards, yum, was great to lick one of them near the Cours Saleya and watch while the police rounded up the petty and not so petty crims. So civilized the way all the cops in Nice can suddenly converge in one place where the action is happening. Don't see much crime in my neck of the woods, and we'd probably be flat out raking up that many cops in the whole of Australia, but they did look nice in their cute uniforms.

Better watch out...all this dreaming of Nice brings back so many great memories. If you've never visited, go....

Monday 27 April 2009


Another beautiful autumn day, arguably the best season in Australia. Sky clear blue, a slight nip in the air, temperature mild. From my desk I can see the Pacific Ocean gently lapping the golden sands of Peregian Beach, lucky me. Peregian Beach is a little European-styled village an ocean drive away from Noosa, the jewel of Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Noosa has become a mecca for foodies and I'm looking forward to the Settler's Cove Noosa Food and Wine Festival next weekend, May 1, 2 and 3. Famous chefs come from all over to ply their trade, such as Tetsuya of the No 1 Japanese restaurant Tetsuya's. People will be excitedly trying all the food and wine and having a great time.

That's what I like about Noosa. It has so much natural beauty which is reason enough to visit, but there is always a festival, a sporting event, an arty event to swell its numbers. The population is capped at 50,000, but on these weekends you can hardly move.

Hope this perfect weather holds. Our Queensland saying: 'Beautiful one day, perfect the next' is sure to apply.

Saturday 25 April 2009


Australians are a pretty laidback bunch, but when it comes to Anzac Day (April 25th), it is sacred. For awhile there it was pretty much in the doldrums, but has seen a huge resurgence in recent years. Nowadays young people are embracing the idea of Anzac Day, joining in parades which happen across Australia on this day and travelling to Gallipoli to see where the ANZACS (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landed on that fateful day, April 25th 1915.

It was a massacre and Australia and New Zealand lost thousands of their young men. They could ill afford the huge losses as both being such young countries there just weren't that many young men to go around. Yet it was the first war where we fought as Australians and it defined a nation. The ANZAC spirit of mateship is an over-arching spirit in Australians' relationships with each other. We admire the courage, strength, mateship of these young soldiers, and seek to exhibit similar values in our own lives.

Today when there are wars all over the world and it looks like there always will be, it is not bad to think about all the soldiers who have died in the quest to keep their lands free.

Australians still ask why did our young men have to die in Turkey? They were cannon fodder. This is where our ambivilance about the Brits stems from.

Good on you fellow Aussies for believing in this day...
'Fom the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, we will remember them...'