Saturday, 28 March 2015

Excited Beyond Measure .... lol

I am so excited!

Two of my books were entered into a competition on Easychair Bookshop. 
http://www.easychairbookshop.com/#!competition-final-fives/c1fmb

My book Build A Love has made it to the final five in two categories - Erotic & GLBT - AND Book 1 in The Hunters - A Hunter's Heart is in the final five for the Series category! 

Now comes a nervous few months of nail biting till the winners are announced.


I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined this at the start of last year, not only am I a published author with over a dozen books to my name I'm now in the running to win a prize with two of those books.  

What's even more exciting is that only two of my books were entered and they BOTH made it to the final five in their categories.

              


The third book in The Hunter's series has just been released. A Hunter's Challenge came out on Thursday and already it's made it to the 30 Bestseller's chart - at #11.

That means every single book I've released has made it to the chart!  Something else that I would never have believed would happen. There are a lot of authors with my publisher who have never made it with one book let alone every book!

It just makes being in a final all so surreal.

The ebook versions of Build a Love and A Hunter's Heart are available at all online bookshops like Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Angus & Robertson, Bookworld. etc

A Hunter's Heart  is also out now in paperback form from most online bookshops like Amazon, Bookworld, Fishpond, Angus & Robertson, etc.

Amazon - Build A Love  A Hunter's Heart
Amazon - paperback edition.

Amazon - my author page

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Chiaroscuro

One of the members of the online photography group I'm in posted an amazing photo.

The prompt was Chiaroscuro. Chiaroscuro in painting is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark which in turn affects the whole composition. In photography and cinema it had the same meaning.

My picture for it was one of my Buddha busts which I achieved by bouncing the light of a torch off a mirror and onto the side of the head.

There were some amazing picture posted and I was in awe from some of them but then I saw this one.  It was perfect. There was a feel of Old Masters about it.

So I asked for and got permission to use it as reference in a painting.

I think its a bloody fabulous photo - very evocative and emotive.

Spent the last three days working feverishly - it was one of those things where you just had to keep going until you finished.

I'm happy with the result. A few times I was tempted to stop but glad I continued on. I've now stepped away from the easel and left it.

I did consider making it much darker originally but somewhere along the way I preferred the softer darkness - it seemed more fitting with my rendition.



Friday, 27 February 2015

Ramblings

Nothing exciting going on at the moment. I've been working on edits for my latest book and today I started another painting - a surfer on a wave. Really looking forward to getting away in May. I am hoping to get a few paintings done while I'm there.

Have to take a trip to my favourite art supply shop in Ryde - there are a few things I need. An A3 watercolour pad to take away rather than loose sheets and I have run out of a few colours.

When I went onto the website for the Mogo Zoo near Bateman's Bay - I'm hoping to go there one of the days I'm away - and they have Western Lowland Gorillas! I'm so excited I love them and they are fabulous to paint. Hope to get some pics I can use as reference.

They also have Meerkats and Giraffe so hopefully lots of photo opportunities for me to take pics for reference.
I have a couple of books due out soon plus some are now available in print.

I know I'm an author because I get a royalty cheque every three months but when you have a book that you can hold in your hand it seems more real!

At the moment four of my books are now available in paperback and by the end of the year that number could be ten!  It is so exciting to see them on my bookshelf .... lol

Gone back to blonde on the hairstyle front - I liked the red but I'm so grey underneath that as it grows out the red looked horrid.

So I think I will stick to the light colours.  Because of the dark red that was in my hair, it now is a pale mushroomy pink ... lol. So I will be going back to having bright streaks to give it a bit of 'wow' factor.  

Was sent this on the Internet the other day and thought it was funny - fits me to a 't'.

One of my author friends sent it to me.  He and his partner live in the US and writes some great books.

If nothing else, I have made some great author friends. The fact that I sell books is just the cherry on top .... who would have thunk it! 


Saturday, 14 February 2015

A Holiday in May ....

Well I've booked myself a short break.

Going to spend five days early in May at Murramarang Beachfront Nature Resort in South Durras, just 15 minutes north east of Bateman's Bay.

I've booked this Ocean Spa Villa right on the beach. Just a few metres from the water of Mills Beach on Beagle Bay.

It looks lovely inside, perfect for me.  Nice and airy and plenty of room to move. Plus there's that wonderful looking spa-bath!

It's should only take me just under four hours drive but I will stop along the way for a break or two and something to eat.


It should be perfect - gorgeous scenery, I could sit and paint on the verandah! Plenty of bush and apparently plenty of wildlife with kangaroos visiting. I'll have to make sure I keep my camera handy.

Will have to take a trip to the art suppliers before I go. I'll need a couple of watercolour pads rather than take sheets of paper, easier to use 'en plein air'.

Have to decide whether to buy a new camera took, still umming and ahhing whether or not to upgrade mine.

The weather should be good, the heat of summer will have passed and the really cold winter stuff won't have arrived. Instead it should be nice days with crisp nights - perfect!






Sunday, 8 February 2015

Holidays ....

Shocked myself .... lol.  I'd always wanted to go to Kakadu and Uluru and thought I'd make some enquiries as to costs.

WOW!

It's cheaper to go overseas.

Just the fares and accommodation for 5 days in Kakadu were over $6000 then you had to add the Uluru costs which were up around $3000 for a few days. Then airfares.

So scrap that idea.

Thought then about the Indian Pacific to Adelaide then the The Ghan to Alice and Darwin and that was even more expensive!

 It's just crazy to know that travel in Australia is so expensive!

I know we are a big country but you would think tourism Australia would try and make things more affordable so more people would travel.

Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Back to thinking of staying a few days on a beach somewhere. I could paint all day, maybe drive into the mountains if I felt like it.

Of course I have to decide where - south to somewhere like Gerringong or Bateman's Bay or north Port Stephens or Port Macquarie.  I must admit I'm leaning toward south - quieter.

How nice it would be if I knew someone who had a holiday place on the coast somewhere south NSW.

But as I don't I now just have to decide where and when :)

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Red, Red I See Red ...

They say a change is as good as a holiday so I decide I'd had enough of white hair. So I went - RED!

Later I will still have a few streaks of other colours like purple or blue or white but at the moment it's just cherry red...lol.

Update - tried a few streaks of purple! .... lol

I bid farewell to my four-legged visitors - my kids couldn't believe how much weight their baby put on.  Jasmine, the Shitzu/toy poodle cross was underweight - by a lot!  The vet was concerned about her weight when the kids took her for a check up after Xmas.

No problem now!

The vet would be very happy with her.  Think it must have been all the rice and pasta I fed them.  Fozzie always love pasta, rice, veggies and fruit so I fed my two guests the same way.  They loved it and now she is fighting weight ...lol.

Fozzie is very happy they've gone.  Now he has the run of the back AND the side yards again.  In the side yard I have an old mattress.  It sits on the outdoor table and Fozzie (and the two cats) love to sit on in.

Fozz is always on it whenever I leave to go anywhere.  Its comfy for him plus the whole side yard is covered so he is protected from the sun, the wind and the rain.

Still haven't decided on the DSLR camera.  The more I read, the more confused I am.  By the time I finally decide on one I bet they'll be another half dozen out that are better and I'll have to start from scratch!

Been thinking about having a few days break.  Was considering going down the coast somewhere.  Figured I could paint and photograph the water as well as take a trip through Kangaroo Valley, maybe Minnamurra Falls and get some work done there.

Just need to decide where would be the best place to stay for a couple of nights that would be in easy reach of all areas.

I did think about going up the coast but to go to the rainforest you have to travel further up whereas the Valley and Minnamurra are not that far inland.

As well there's Hampton bridge, that would be a great subject to paint.

 I stayed in Kiama a number of years ago but I was with relations so couldn't wander around as I would by myself or stop and paint. So now it's just a matter of deciding where and when.


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

ITIN, Painting Time ....

Spoke too soon re my ITIN - just got a letter from the US IRS - they want my original identification documents!!

WTF!!

They just returned them to me last week - now they want them back! OMG - I cannot believe how much hassle this is to get one bloody number!

They returned them to me last week saying they were now processing my W-7 form. Then today I get a letter from them saying they can't process my W-7 form because I didn't send any original documents! ...... aaarrrggggghhhhh!

Been painting.

Have sent back the first edits on a book that comes out the end of the month. On top of that I have submitted the 2nd in the series.

Waiting on my beta reader to give me the verdict on the 3rd book in the Vampire Hunter series - if I get the okay then I will tidy it up and submit it.

So in the meantime I've been painting. The kids have left - just have the four legged visitor's still so to get me back into calmness I decided to paint.

I'd got this great picture from Sue Grzazeck - one of the members of the FB photography group I belong to - to use as a reference so decided to tackle it.

 The original photo had some lovely colours in it. The sky had yellows, purples and blues which I really liked.
Mine
Mine

Thinking I might tackle some of the other photos I've amassed over the past twelve months.  Some are mine and some are from people who kindly gave me permission to use their pics.

I really like the movement in this seascape - love how the water is framed by the rocks.

I'm thinking once my four legged guests leave, I might have to take a drive either up or down the coast and get some more reference shots.

If anyone has any suggestions of places for me to photograph just drop me an email. (Somewhere within an hour or two's drive from Western Sydney ... lol ... much as I would like to I can't afford a world painting tour).

In the meantime I have some amazing photos from my FB buddies from all around the world for inspiration!







Friday, 9 January 2015

Invoices, Heat, Cameras and ITINs .....

Oh I love my solar electricity (and my solar hot water) .... especially when I get an invoice like this one!

When you think that I have used my ducted air conditioning a lot so far this summer makes it even more pleasing!

It's been so hot!

During this quarter bill we've had days over 43c (110f) with a few night that stayed around 30c (86f). For the past few weeks, it's been around the mid to high thirties but it is so humid. Plus it's only dropping to the low 20s overnight (70s in f).
At the moment there is no relief in sight until Thursday of next week when we are expecting a southerly change - just hope it's a good one. The worst is we still have February to get through and that's usually our hottest month!

My four legged family love when I turn that air con on - Fozz and Cali join me in either the studio or the lounge room while Spotty stretches out full length on my bed directly under the outlet.

Thank goodness I live alone - one cat on a queen sized bed, plus me then add Fozz who likes to sprawl across the bottom of it - there just wouldn't be any room for a boyfriend  (although maybe I could squeeze one in if I did happen to meet one ..  ).... lol.

Been toying with buying a new DSLR - mine is a Canon EOS 40d. I bought it in 2007.  I've looked at the Nikons but I figured if I just buy a Canon camera body, I can used the two lenses I already have and buy myself a macro lens for the new body.

So far I am considering the  7D, 70D or the 700D.  Basically I'm confused as all hell ... lol.  I don't want to spend more than $1200 on the body so that means the 6D is out.

If anyone out there has any of the ones above I'd love to hear your views on them.  I'm not interested on the video part of the cameras but it seems that most DSLR's have that feature now.

Got a letter from the US IRS department.  They returned my original documents that I'd used to identify myself so I could get an ITIN. There was no number included in the letter but they wrote that they were processing my W-7 form so I have my fingers crossed that they accepted my identification stuff.

It's such a long winded process just to get a tax number!

Wish you could just go to the US embassy here and prove who you are but they don't allow it.  The US tax agent I had to send my stuff to send me an invoice for $110 ... all she did was tell me what I needed then I sent everything to her along with sufficient postage for the US and she forwarded it on.  Nice way to earn a hundred bucks ... lol.

Like I wrote last year - if you want an ITIN and using form W-7 don't expect it to be a quick process.  I started this in July of last year and I STILL don't have one.

The funny thing is if I was self publishing and using Amazon I could send my aussie tax number to the IRS and they would immediately give me an ITIN!

Crazy, crazy, crazy!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Almost Back to Normal ...

Well the visitors have gone and now the two boys and I are trying to get back to normal, we enjoyed out visitors. But not Cali ...

... she spent the last 3 weeks in hiding - she doesn't handle visitors at all and spent most of the time hidden in my wardrobe.  Yesterday she finally ventured out.

She'd finally realised all was quiet so came timidly out from her hiding place then spent the day in her favourite position - alongside my computer.  I don't think she stopped purring ... just happy to be back to normal.

She even gave the boys a kiss - unusual for her because she and Spotty usually fight or else ignore each other.

The two four legged guests are still here for another couple of weeks; Fozz is not impressed at all.  I have to admit that the two of them aren't that fond of him either.

It was really hot so I fenced off part of the family room so they could come in and feel a little cooler.  Gizmo, the pug, was happy to wander around but Jasmine wanted to rip the fence down and eat Fozz. She is a Shihtzu/toy poodle cross, about 7 mths old and weighs about 1.5kg if that!

Fozz weighs in around 28kgs. So it is really funny considering she is so tiny and compare to her, he is a giant.  He looked at me as if to say - WTF!!

They spent the time barking at each other through the barrier I had put up.  I was hoping that by the end of their stay they would all be friends but I have a feeling that just isn't going to happen.

During December I gave my photo group a miss - it was impossible to try to take photos and post them on a regular basis but now that it's quiet I have started January's themes.

I liked today's - Faceless Portrait - I took a frame and attached a paintbrush and pen. Figured it would represent the fact I am both an artists and an author.

I thought by blurring most of the image except for my hands and the frame it would put more focus on the fact I use the tools in my hands and they represent me.

There are a couple of themes for the month that I'm not too sure what I will photograph -juxtaposition and humanity.  Still they aren't due for a while so I can put on my thinking cap.

Gone back to purple and blue for a while.  Have an appointment with the wonderful Jane who does my hair toward the end of the month and will decide what colour is on the horizon ... lol.

Sent in the first lot of edits for my latest book and now trying to decide whether to paint or write.  Probably end up doing a little of each.  Just have to decide what I'd like to paint.

Have a beautiful picture of snow gums that one of my pic group sent me, a wonderful seascape and another of a pile of old wood.  Then there's all the other ones I've collect over the past few months.  Oh well, time will see which I decide on.
I recently discovered Willi's cacao - I'm in heaven!

It is really rich so just a little every now and again goes a long way but the single origin flavour is amazing.  It is terribly expensive for such a tiny piece of chocolate but because of its taste I have no qualms about paying for it.

I love these two flavours - simply delicious!

Look at my great Christmas present!

I can't wait to figure it all out - once I do I will take some pics of the moon and stars.

Set it up late one afternoon on the weekend - all went well as I was lining things up. Felt something tickling my neck as darkness fell. Didn't pay too much attention until it kept happening.

Damn spiders!

Two orb spiders had decided to spin their nightly web between the guttering, the telescope and me!

Thank goodness I'm not scared of spiders.  I quickly gathered up the 'scope and headed back inside.  Now I'm going to have to find their homes through the day and move them to new abodes so I can star gaze in peace ... lol

I hope you all have a great year - 2015 - wow how fast do the years race away!  I'm not one for making new year resolutions and this year is no different but I will say - I intend to enjoy every minute of everyday even if it is just to admire one of my spider friends ... lol