Friday 29 July 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters challenge - My story, 'Heathcliff's Anguish.'

As I struggled with this challenge, a male POV of  'She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not, She Loves Me,' Heathcliff started snarling into my ear in the sleepless early hours of the morning. Who better to ponder love? Did Cathy love him? Did she not? For those of you familiar with Wuthering Heights, forgive me for the slight tweaking of plot. To those who haven't read this classic, go find it!

Let's listen to the moody, broody Heathcliff's monologue. 

Can you hear how the wind blows in from the mountains? Can you see the grey glint of snow in the clouds? Can you feel the dry leaves rustling? No! Your thoughts are elsewhere!

Cathy! How could you do this? You love me, I know you love me! We’ve loved each other since we were children. How could you desert me now? How could you give yourself to another man, if man indeed he is.

I see you now as I watch from my cold glass window. I see you and that loathsome crowd as you leave the house for the chapel. I’ll ignore their simpering ways. I’ll ignore how they press against you, touching your white cape and your beautiful hair. My eyes are for you alone.

My Cathy!

Do you love me?

I remember our days, carefree and wild, running on the moors like lambs in the springtime. How soft the grasses were as we collapsed in a heap of tangled arms and legs. How sweet the flowers were as I crushed you to myself, covering you with my cloak. How tender your body felt, as I caressed you through your soft gown. Oh Cathy! You did love me! Why couldn’t you wait?

I was penniless, a nobody. Well, I’ve made my fortune. I’ve come back for you, but too late!  Was that dirty, ragged, black-haired gypsy not enough for you? Did you need the handsome, rich Mr Edgar Linton after all?

Cathy, you never loved me. To you I was just a wild child, someone to tame. After that visit to the Linton’s, you changed. You wanted the refined life, a life of silk frocks and fancy dinners. Not the life you’d have with Heathcliff, your savage!

Don’t leave me Cathy!

Did I scream out loud? I see you turn towards my window. I see the fright in your eyes. Have you seen a ghost Cathy? Did you not think I’d return to claim you? I see your confusion. What a sight I must be. Some demented ghoul looking down on the wedding party. Someone who could tear you all apart in a moment. But I will bide my time.

Don’t think marrying Linton is the end of our story, Cathy.

I’ll be back to claim what is rightfully mine. You’re part of me. We’ll never be parted. Never!

You love me, not Edgar Linton!


I hope you enjoyed my story. 398 words. Please click here or on the Romantic Friday Writers badge on the top right of my sidebar to access more!

BTW, just read a great post on What Publishing will look like in 2021. Go here to read it. Do!

Monday 25 July 2011

Book review, In the Mirror, a memoir of shattered secrets, by Ann Carbine Best

I have waited it seems a very long time to read the memoir, In the Mirror, by fellow blogger Ann Carbine Best. I was delighted when it was in the mail when I returned from my overseas trip. It was great company while I tried to get my land legs again.

A memoir has to be cleverly written or it becomes just a recount which can be quite boring. Ann’s memoir is anything but boring! She has used her vast arsenal of writerly talents to compile a riveting story of her life. It is the generous use of dialogue which sets this memoir apart, drawing the reader in. I felt like I was going through the journey with Ann, (and offering her advice along the way.)

And what a difficult journey it is. For a married woman with four children to find out her husband really preferred men must have been painful beyond imagining. I’m sure many women reading In the Mirror would be yelling at Ann: Give him the boot! Don’t put up with it! But Ann is not just any woman; she is a woman of remarkable strength and purpose. She had married for life, she was protective of her children, she was not going to give up easily. Even her husband Larry said on breaking the news: ‘You probably want to leave me.’ Ann replied: ‘No. I don’t want to leave you. You’re my husband. The children love you.’ (p.23). And so Larry stayed, but wasn’t prepared to give up men. The marriage continued for seven years after Ann found out her husband had cheated on her. Seven turbulent years.

I was surprised at the extend of intervention from the Mormon church of which Ann and Larry were both members. It must have been helpful for Ann to have the men of the church to call on in her times of distress, but I didn’t always feel the advice they gave was in Ann’s best interests, but maybe that’s just independent me speaking.

For such a tale of woe, Ann is never woeful. She takes many blows, but receives them with grace. The reader can’t help becoming emotionally involved. I was very angry at some of the complications of her ex-husband’s gay life, how it affected the children, how it made a difficult situation even more difficult. I was angry at Ann’s financial struggle, especially after Jen’s car accident and resultant brain damage, while her ex-husband was in a position to help her but chose not to for selfish reasons.

Then I was surprised when Ann chose to marry again, this time to a man obviously addicted to alcohol, going against the advice of the church. But was it the financial pressure and her need to see her children secure that was behind this decision? Once again Ann and her family are put through years of turmoil until the inevitable happens and Tom is no longer with them.

Throughout Ann’s struggle, it is obvious she retains feelings for her ex-husband and that she regrets the breakdown of a marriage which she believed would last into eternity. In the Mormon marriage ceremony the bride and groom stand ‘in front of mirrors with mirrors behind them that reflected their endless images, symbolic of eternal marriage’ (p.197). This is where I think the title In the Mirror originates. But sadly even though Larry and Ann’s images were reflected in the mirror on their wedding day, their marriage was not to be for eternity.

For a great memoir which is a celebration of the resiliency of the human spirit, read Ann Carbine Best’s In the Mirror. I eagerly await her next memoir. Hear me Ann??
Available Kindle and Nook for $3.99

Friday 22 July 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters challenge - my story, 'Coming Home.'

If you're looking for the Wendy Marcus interview, go to the previous post.

It's great to be home again after a wonderful trip. I always suffer from jet lag (try 21 hours on a plane), but this time it's combined with a vicious virus as I explained in my previous post.  So here's my first post for Romantic Friday Writers which I set up before I left. I knew I'd be rubbish all week. I look forward to getting around and visiting all your wonderful blogs as soon as I get my land legs again.

Now to #RomanticFridayWriters post for Friday 22 July...The theme for the week is 'Coming Home' in honour of my return.
My entry is an excerpt about three-quarters of the way through my first (unpublished) novel called 'Ruby', genre, Sweet Romance
The hero and heroine had broken up. The hero, Michael, had left for Antarctica to join the anti-whaling movement, while the heroine, Ruby, had been busily running her boutique hotel at Noosa in Queensland. She is stunned (and delighted?) to find him on her doorstep at three in the morning…


The steady throb of a motor bike crunching the gravel woke her. She glanced at her mobile. Three a.m!  

Who could it be? If she screamed, would anyone hear? Having her own quarters next to the hotel had its downside.

She hadn’t locked up, so comfortable was she in the sleepy resort town. She stumbled out of bed, tripping over her slippers. Merde! She reached the door, turned the lock, then grabbed her phone and started to tap in ‘000.’

Someone knocked. Softly.

‘Who…who is it?’ she called, before she hit the final ‘0.’ The phone fell, she snatched her robe and slipped it on. She ran her hands through her hair, and stood, trembling.

‘Ruby. It’s Michael. I’m back.’

 Michael was back? But he was never coming back.

She ran to the door and fumbled it open. She stood, her eyes full of him.


‘Yes, it’s me.’

‘I’m not dreaming?’

‘No, here I stand. The one and only.’ He flipped his palms outward.

His face had carved into hard angles, his eyes like cold crystal. Where had the warm ocean gone? A soft gasp whispered from her throat.

‘Why do you look like a homeless person?’

‘Oh this?’ He lifted his battered Akubra and slapped it onto his crumpled cargo shorts. His hair now fell to his shoulders and hadn’t been combed for sometime.

 ‘I’m sorry I don’t meet your dress code for middle-of-the-night assignations. I forgot I was wearing rags, but I couldn’t wait to see you.’

Sudden panic gripped her.

‘Michael, why are you here? Has something happened?’

He stepped forward, reaching up his arms, leaning them against the doorframe, enclosing her.

‘Look at you,’ he whispered, his eyes raking up and down her body, ‘your mop of curls, your lovely face, your silly robe.’ He flipped the belt. ‘I haven’t seen you in this get up before either,’ he chuckled. ‘But I don’t see any scars. I thought you might be left with some scars.’

Scars? Is that why he was here? He couldn’t know about the fire, surely.

‘For God’s sake, Michael, give it to me straight. Why are you here?’

‘I just got off the boat. I’m an uncivilized cretin. I must have scared you. Sorry my darling.’

These were the words she’d dreamed of hearing.

‘Michael,’ she whispered, as she reached for him and drew him inside, ‘you’ve come home.’


I hope you enjoyed my #RomanticFridayWriters story.
Click on the image to read more short stories...
398 words.


Thursday 21 July 2011

I'm back, sort of, croak, croak. Wendy Marcus blog tour - How Soccer Relates to Writing.

This is not the post I imagined as my first after my sojourn overseas, but a nasty little French bug travelled home from Paris with me and has laid me low ever since. I've dragged myself from my sick bed to post, as I'd promised Wendy Marcus I'd host her. Unfortunately the date clashes with Romantic Friday Writers. So my pre-prepared post (thank goodness!) is going up a day early as is. 

Here we go!

Today I welcome Wendy S Marcus to L'Aussie Writing. Wendy has a debut Harlequin Medical Romance out, When One Night Isn’t Enough. Right now she's conducting a blog tour that has been extended into August! Please check out her News  page to see where she’ll be.

Today Wendy is going to tell us about soccer and writing:

How Soccer Relates to Writing

By: Wendy S. Marcus
Hi Denise!
PromoPicSmall.jpgThank you so much for hosting me on the 25th stop on my blog tour to promote my debut Harlequin Medical Romance, When One Night Isn’t Enough, which is currently available for purchase at Mills and Boon UK  and Amazon UK and on Mills and Boon Aus/NZ  as well as in stores in the UK and Aus/NZ and online in the U.S. 

My son, now 17, has been playing soccer since he was 5. Intramural soccer. Travel and premier soccer. Junior varsity and varsity high school soccer. Usually he plays on more than one team per season. Over the years I have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours watching my son play soccer in the rain, fog, sleet, snow, heat, humidity, and once through a swarm of bees.

What does this have to do with writing? Participation in competitive sports (in this case soccer) teaches children valuable life lessons that can benefit us all:

1) You fall down; you get up. Fast.
2) You miss the ball; you chase after it.
3) You get hurt; whenever possible, you shake it off and resume play.
4) You lose the ball; you do your best to get it back.
5) You elbow someone; you're going to get elbowed back. (Same applies for tripping/cleating/jersey pulling.)
6) Your coach tells you to do something; you do it, or you won't get to play.
7) You take a shot and miss; you keep shooting until you score. And then you shoot some more.
8) You win; you celebrate.
9) You lose; you practice harder, play better and put forth your very best effort to win the next time.
10) You never, ever give up...if you want to stay in the game.

Writing is hard work. It can be frustrating and lonely. But if you want to succeed, learn the lessons I mentioned above.

And consider this: A soccer team succeeds when one player is having a bad game so another picks up his/her level of play to compensate. When one player is down and his/her teammates pump them up. When the coach requests the impossible and the team unites in support of one another.

Become part of a team. Find a dependable critique partner. Join a local writing group. Find a supportive bunch of peers to accompany you on your journey toward publication. It makes the trip a little easier. (And a lot more enjoyable.)

I had help along my path to publication. A critique partner - Joanne Stewart - who questioned my choices and made me dig deep. Supportive writing friends – too numerous to mention – who supported and encouraged me and wouldn’t let me give up. And here’s the result. The following is an excerpt from When One Night Isn’t Enough. When you’re all done reading, leave a comment to tell me what you think. One lucky commenter will win a copy of the 2in1 UK edition of my book which includes a complete novel by Janice Lynn.


Float nurse Allison Forshay glanced at the clock on the institutional white wall of the staff lounge in the Emergency Room, wishing she could accelerate time with the snap of her fingers. Then the eight hours and six minutes that remained of Dr. Jared Padget’s last shift would vanish in seconds.
Along with him.
The chorus of sopranos belting out a private concert in her head came to an abrupt halt when the door opened and chatter from the busy outside hallway overpowered her glee.
Ali cringed, keeping her eyes on the patient chart open on the round table in front of her, struggling to maintain focus on her documentation for little Molly Dawkins, her first patient of the night. The three-year-old, blond-haired, blue-eyed terror had tried to bite the triage nurse and kicked at Ali when she’d attempted to expose the girl’s infected big toe. Then Dr. Padget had  arrived, complimented the pink polish on Molly’s tiny toenails, the delicate gold bracelets on her ankle and wrist, and the princess tattoo on her hand. In less than three minutes he’d charmed that little girl right out of her sandal, confirming Ali’s suspicion. Women of all ages were susceptible to the man’s charisma.
If there was a vaccine to protect against it, Ali would have opted for a double dose.
The subtle change in the air gave him away, some type of electrostatic attraction that caused the tiny hairs on her arms to rise and lean in his direction, her heart rate to accelerate, and her breath to hitch whenever he found her alone.
His blue scrub-covered legs and red rubber clogs entered her peripheral vision. He pulled out the chair beside her and sat down, brushing his arm against hers. No doubt on purpose, the rat.

“You’ve been avoiding me,” Dr. Jared Padget said.

“You’re hardly worth the effort it would take to avoid you.” Although, in truth, she was.
“I’m leaving on Monday.”
Yes! Finally! His arrival three months ago had thrown her life into a state of flux. Now, his temporary assignment over, his departure meant she could finally settle back into a normal routine free from his constant badgering at work and ‘coincidental’ encounters on her days off. With a flippant wave of her hand she said, “Here. Gone. Alive. Dead. Makes no difference to me.”
“Come on, Ali Kitten.” He snatched her pen. “You know you’re going to miss me.”
“About as much as I’d miss a painful hemorrhoid,” she said, glaring at him from the corners of her eyes. “And you know I don’t like when you call me that.”
“Yeah,” he said with a playful twinkle in his peridot-green eyes and that sexy smile, complete with bilateral dimples that tormented her in her sleep. He leaned back in his chair and clasped his long fingers, and her pen, behind his head. “That’s what makes it so much fun.”
Ali grabbed at her pen, making sure to mess up his neatly styled dark hair. He raised his hand over his head and back out of reach, his expression daring her to come closer.
She didn’t.
He chucked the pen onto the table.
“I hear a bunch of you are going out Sunday night to celebrate my departure,” he said, making no mention of the fact he hadn’t been invited.
She shrugged, tamping down the other, less joyful reason for the night out. “It’s as good as any other excuse for the girls to get together. And it’s easier and less fuss than burning you in effigy.”
He moved forward, rested his elbows on the table and leaned in close. “Was that supposed to hurt my feelings, Kitten?” His voice, soft and deep, vibrated through her.
Four hours into a busy twelve-hour night shift, and he had the nerve to still smell fresh from the shower. A picture of him naked, water sluicing down his tall, firm body, slick with suds, forced its way into her mind. It took immense self-control not to pound her fists against her head to get rid of it.
“What’s going on in that pretty little head I wonder?” he teased, staring at her face as if trying to see behind what she hoped was a disinterested expression.
Heaven help her if he could. For months she’d fought this attraction. First she couldn’t act on it. Now she wouldn’t.
Distance was the only thing that worked so she gathered her charts and stood.
Jared rose to stand directly in front of her, so close she noticed a tiny freckle on the skin exposed by the V-neck of his scrub top, a miniscule droplet of chocolate she wanted to lick clean. He smelled so good, his scent an intoxicant that impaired rational thought.
She stared straight ahead, at his clavicle, wouldn’t meet his eyes for fear the way he affected her would show. “Please move.”
“I think you don’t want me to move, you like me right here.”
“Now you can read minds?” She took a step back. Distance. What she wanted was distance between them. Preferably a continent, but the opposite side of New York State, the site of his next temporary assignment, would have to do.
“Yes, I can.” He tilted his face in front of hers. “And you are thinking some very naughty thoughts, Nurse Forshay.”
“Only if you consider me beating you with the bell of my stethoscope naughty. Now get out of my way.” She pushed his arm. “I’ve got to get back to work, and so do you.”
He turned serious for a change. “Are you ever going to forgive me?”
“To forgive you I would have to care about you.” She looked up and locked eyes with him. “And I don’t. Not one bit.”

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The Oz cover


Tuesday 12 July 2011

Postcard from Paris!

Well how would you like to be in Paris right now? It's pretty cool to be revisiting my favourite city yet again. The final week of our tour. This time we're just chillin' and thrillin' at the street life and our best haunts. Here's a couple of pics for you to enjoy. BTW my American blogging friends, this city is full of American teachers. Even at the hotel we're staying at. Lovely people who are so jealous of the long vacations Aussies enjoy, rather than their 2-week jaunts.

Who put the haute in couture? Not moi!

I love the way Paris does homeless. Nice guy. Love the dogs.

Shakespeare & Co to the rescue for a little reading material. Bought Hemingway's  A Moveable Feast just to do the genuine Paris trip. Then I went and visited Hemingway's old apartment, or at least got to the front door.

Hope you enjoyed your Paris Visite!

Au revoir!


Monday 4 July 2011

Postcard from Morocco

Who expected this Saharan landscape? Not moi! The Moroccan Sahara is 30% rocky. An amazing part of the world to explore. That would be the hubs and I enjoying a Moroccan moment.

Casablanca's old French Colonial buildings fascinated me, but I wish Morocco had the money to renovate them!

We saw a lot of this part of Morocco as we drove through the Sahara Desert which makes up 70% of Morocco.

Driving along the road we saw a semi-nomadic tribe. They allowed us to visit with them in their home where they live for 6 months of the year. It was an amazing set up. The baby is 2 weeks old and proud mumma wears the gold necklace her husband bought her for producing a son and heir.

Taking a tour is a great way to make new friends. Our Moroccan tour guide Abbe is in the centre with new Aussie friends Ron, Ashne and Chris. I'm on the right. Just stopped to see a huge reservoir near Erfoud, the most easterly part of the Sahara we visited.

I thought Berber Denise might amuse you. What fun we had riding camels up to the top of the highest sand dune in Africa and watching the sunset while our feet baked in the hot sand.

Signing off for now, bad me for blogging! Tried to resist. Hope you're all doing great while I'm enjoying my travels and getting all these story ideas!