Friday, 5 February 2016

Mrs Brown's Boys ....

Sitting here giggling .... last night I went to see Mrs Brown's Boys. Oh boy talk about a riot. It was so funny. The audience was in stitches the whole night.

Brendan O'Carroll (Mammy) seemed determined to make sure Rory Cowan (Rory) couldn't get one line out without laughing and I'm pretty sure he succeeded.  He had the cast in just as much hysterics as the audience.

The show was a combination of maybe three episodes of the show but with lots of very funny and very suggestive bits added. It was mainly Granddad's fake funeral.

At one point he made a comment which dissolved the cast (and the audience) into laughter then he realised what the next line by Jennifer Gibney (Kathy)  was.  He looked over at her and said 'fecken just realised what your line is...'

She nodded between her laughter then managed to get it out.  That did it!

I think everyone was hoping their bladders were strong enough to cope with that joke.

He even told everyone to get the phones out and take pictures when they lined up at the end of the show so of course I did.

If you get the chance to see the show like I wholeheartedly suggest you do - you won't regret it.  He'll be back in 2018 with a brand new show and I'll be in the audience!

The entire cast came out to sign autographs after the show and I thought about getting some but the line was so long it would take hours. Got home about 11:30 - still snickering at some of the jokes and funny lines.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Memories ....

It always surprises me how the brain works. How we can forget things, remember things, remember things differently to the way they actually occurred - I guess it's all a part of how we cope with things.

I thought about this lately when something that had happened a few years back was brought to my attention. The person who reminded me obviously had either forgotten the truth or had changed it completely in their memory.

Their version actually didn't take into account how over a period of month maybe years some very hurtful and hateful things were said and written by them.

Now maybe this was part of their mechanism for coping with things that happen but it reminded me that everyone sees things in a completely different manner. While this person had obviously ignored or forgotten what they had done, I painfully remembered it all.

It got me thinking about the brain. About how we handle information, how our memories can become distorted or ignored.

I recently saw a documentary that showed a number of people the same thing. They were asked to describe it immediately after then a week later. It was amazing to see how some changed what they saw to something entirely different yet others were able to accurately describe the event.

Anyway it just goes to show how some people will change the past to suit themselves but others will recall it with painful accuracy.   Me ... I remember and I won't forget the lesson.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Self- Promotion, Construction

As you know I am an author and when my first book was published was amazed to discover the amount of self-publicity that you have to do to promote your books.

Following suggestions by other authors  I'm in contact with, I opened up social media accounts to help in the process. So now I have :

  • a website
  • a blog
  • a Facebook author page
  • Google+
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr
  • Tsu
  • Wordpress
  • A monthly newsletter
  • not to mention various FB and Yahoo groups that deal with authors connecting to readers

So bloody many things. Now all of these take up time. I try and tweet every other day, post something on my FB page and Google+ weekly. I also have my author friends post on their blogs and/or websites. The others are maybe fortnightly but it all takes time.

It all takes up so much time that my last book wasn't publicised as much as normal because it was Xmas as well.

So I've just paid someone to do it for me for a few weeks. It will be interesting to see if there is an increase in sales with this person adding posts to many blogs as well.

Basically if you want to make a success then you have to put in the effort behind the scenes.

I remember when I sold my first book I thought I'd be lucky to make $50 a year I may never become a millionaire with my books but I am making an extremely nice income with them ... 

The funny thing is on top of  all that promo work you have to keep searching out the pirates and send out take down notices. It's an impossible task to ever get on top of - so far to my knowledge I've taken down 20 sites which is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the thousands of sites.

So whats the funny thing? Some of those sites keep tallies on how many times the books are downloaded ...  I'm cranky. If I got just one dollar (and remember I actually get at least twice that when I sell a book) from each I would have over a million dollars and that's just 8 sites from the thousands of sites!!

Where's a mechanically minded male when you need one?

Just bought myself a new chair for the office/studio - no bloody instruction sheet!

So I have this pile of pieces and a picture of the finished article ....  thank goodness I studied engineering way back in the 60s .... lol.

Still Mr Spot is having lots of fun in the empty box - he keeps hiding in it until Fozzie walks past then jumps out at him.

Fozzie - being the very brave dog he is has now taken refuge under my desk - his usual position with his head on my feet.  I guess I am supposed to protect him from the big bad puddy tat!

UPDATE : - Queen of the Allen key ... who needs instructions!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Better Late Than Never....

I'm laughing ...

Back in March of 2014 I tried, unsuccessfully, to get in contact with the Taxation department. I wanted to know the figure I needed to earn from my royalties before I would have to put in a tax return.

After hanging on the phone for hours and getting absolutely nowhere I ended up writing a letter as suggested on the ATO website.  I figured it may take a couple of months for an answer but at least I would have it from the 'horses mouth'.

Yep. Waited two months and got - no answer.

In the end I contacted a very nice accountant and she gave me the information I needed in less than a minute - $32k - now I had a figure.  Until I reached that amount I didn't need to put in a return because I was now over 60.

This morning - yes its January of 2016 - I get a phone call from the ATO in answer to my March 2014 letter!

Man I've heard of a backlog but that's ridiculous.

Anyway the man confirmed what I already knew that I had to earn $32k before I needed to put in a return. I thanked him silently laughing.

He then proceeded to tell me they - the ATO-  hadn't received returns for 2010 to 2014 but he could see I was eligible for tax free since 2010 as I was over 60 so he would mark my file for those years as such. I politely thanked him again and wondered 'WTF?'

I'm still shaking my head in disbelief - almost 2 years to get an answer? Bloody hell ....

Monday, 18 January 2016

Five Star Review ....

Just got a 5 Star Review for my latest book.

I love when my readers contact me or give honest reviews and this review was simply perfect.  I always try to make my characters 'normal' with flaws and vulnerabilities then hope that my readers can relate.  The fact that my characters are 'mature' and have faults seem to be to be more natural.

I try to have some point where the emotions override everything and if I succeed and have my readers reaching for the tissues or wanting to give someone a good shake then it makes me one very happy author.

When I get a review like this I know I did something right!

"Suzy Shearer has done it again! She has woven a tale of love, heartbreak and second chances that left me reaching for the tissues multiple times. She certainly knows how to write characters that will leave you in tears or ready to slap them up side the head. 

Alex has been described by his subs as having a frozen heart. He doesn't allow himself or his subs to become emotionally attached to each other for fear of getting hurt. That is, until he meets Kallie. She has captivated him just with her voice alone. Their first meeting has him reacting like he never has before and it throws him completely off. He doesn't know what to do. The reader gets to see a vulnerable and emotional side to a Dom and man that routinely is not present in a book of this genre. 

Kallie slowly gets to know the real Alex, after a bad start with him, and falls in love. Old fears come up again and with them brings back the old Alex. Kallie can only cope with old Alex for so long though. A series of tragic events will leave the reader on the edge of their seats to see if this couple will make their love last. Have tissues ready for multiple points throughout this book!!"

Buy Link :

Friday, 15 January 2016

Farewell ....

Another of my 'heroes' has left the stage - farewell Alan Rickman.  I loved him from the first moment I saw him in Die Hard and from then on watched every movie he was in.

He was the consumate actor - brilliant, funny, seductive - simply wonderful.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Pet Peeves, Procrastinating, Publishing ... and a Sad Loss

Decided this week was the week to get back to work - haven't done any writing or painting since mid December - but of course I got side tracked.

Okay I'll own up - I'm procrastinating about getting back into work.

I started reading and one book led to another .... you know the rest.

Anyway the book had some reference stuff in it that I knew came from Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time so wanted to explore it more. Went to the book case where I thought the book was and couldn't find it. Searched everywhere then finally realised I'd lent it to someone about 5 yrs ago along with a couple of other books and never got any of them back .

That got me thinking.

How annoying is it when you lend someone something and they never bother to return it.  I can recall lending The Golden Bough and The Gulag Archipelago to a work colleague back in the 60s and despite repeatedly asking for them back they were never returned.

I love my books and have no problem lending them to people but I do wish they would return them especially when asked.

I ended up buying new copies of both books from the 60s but over the years lost them when I had to downsize my book collection.  I'll have to keep my eyes open for them plus Hawking's book. I already bought a replacement of The Hobbit - can't possibilty live without Tolkien's works on my shelves.

Been slowly trying to rebuild my library now I have the house to myself.

Two of my more recent books are about to come out in paperback so that means I need more shelf space to add them. Of course the problem is still finding space to put in additional bookcases ... lol

So now you know one of my pet peeves. Tell me what annoys you? Is it lending things that don't get returned or something else?

The ebook that had one of my short stories in had been selling well - better than we actually expected. In fact one day it was #6 on Amazon's Horror ebooks category - ahead of Stephen King!!

Whoohoo ... lol.

None of us expect to make money from it - it was just a way of getting new readers but the way things are going we may even break even. It cost me $10 US for my share of the cover design and then $50 USD for professional editing. One of the authors was great at formatting so she did that for free.

We've decided to write another - same authors and the same theme - Paranormal Romance so I really need to stop procrastinating and get back to work .... lol.

Devastated by the news that David Bowie has died. He had his 69th birthday on Friday and released his latest album. It's fabulous.... I bought it on the weekend and then tonight I read he is dead.

At first I thought it must be a hoax, it was so hard to believe.  I feel like I've lost a friend - I have all his albums and think he was an amazing talent.

His music is immortal and I almost believed he was too.

Goodbye Sir David .....

Monday, 4 January 2016

2016 ... Hope Yours Is A Great One!

I never make New Year resolutions - always break them before the end of January ... sometimes before the end of the first week ... *snicker*

So this year I have no resolution once again but instead I'm hoping it will be a vast improvement the last couple health wise.

This time three years ago I was sitting in a hospital bed after having a 2.4kg mass removed and I was feeling pretty awful. It took over 8 months to recover but at least now all I have to show for it is a 20cm long scar and no belly button ... lol.

The following year I spent the year having to take antibiotics for 10 months.  Then last year I was diagnosed with PFX syndrome in my left eye. Hopefully all that is behind me and that it was my last hospital stay and last bout of health problems.

I guess it's all a part of growing older - just not the part I enjoy!

So apart from hoping I stay healthy I don't really have any real desires for the new year. Maybe it would be nice to meet a male friend as well I hope to have another book published, take a holiday and do some more painting. Hope my family stay healthy, happy and safe.

Simple desires - that's about it.

Of course winning the Powerball or Ozlotto would be very nice as well ..... bwahaha.

Anyway I hope your 2016 brings you all your hopes and dreams and you remain healthy and happy.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Namaste ....

I hope you and your loved ones have a blessed festive season. May your 2016 be filled with love, family, friends, joy, laughter and good health.

My wish for 2016 is respect, understanding, compassion and peace for all.
Namaste from Suzy

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Drawing Goodies, Books and Dogs

I just found this .... have to admit if I'd seen it when it was available I would have bought one. It would have cost be about $2500 but boy would it be worth it!!

Limited edition all numbered but look what's inside!

You can check it out much better at this youtube video :

I have this thing for anything arty - and this is up there at the apex of the arty things ... lol.

I can't resist at all. Whenever I go into an Art shop I know I'll walk out with a hell of a lot more than I intended too. Go in for one brush and I'll come out with a dozen, plus tubes of paint, maybe a few sheets of paper, maybe a watercolour pad or two. Oh and of course I might need a few more pencils. Oh and what about a kneadable eraser or three .... you get the picture.

I have two book releases this month - one on the 9th .... Melting Her Dom's Heart and the other on the 14th.

Melting Her Dom's Heart is the 3rd book in my Dark Desires series - I've been very lucky with how the series has sold.  Book 3 is only just released and already hit #5 on my publishers Best Sellers List.

Buy link :

It tells the story of a man who's afraid to show love and a woman who tries to break through the frozen exterior and into his heart.

The boxset I was invited to write for is all finished and ready for release on 14th.

Seven authors have written short stories for the anthology - all about paranormal heroes and heroines.

My story runs to about 120 pages. It's called Blood War.  At the centre of it all is a human woman who has the rarest blood type in the world - RH null. Two vampire brothers. One who will do everything he can to protect her and his mate and the other who wants to destroy her and control the immortal world.

Buy link :

My younger son and family are in Fiji at the moment and I have the task of running the office - they both have their own very successful businesses.

Been 15 years since I worked and this has been fun being a secretary.  As well as looking after the office I have their two dogs ... one a pug called Gizmo and the other a very tiny Shitzu cross called Jasmin. She's about the size of a chihuahua.

She spends all day jumping at the side door and barking at Fozzie or the cats.

My yard is now divided. Their dogs have the covered BBQ area and Fozz has the back yard and house.  why?

Well Gizmo just wants to play with Fozzie but Jasmin .... well Jasmin wants to eat him. As soon as she seems him she goes crazy. Barking and trying to attack.

And Fozz?

Well Fozzie is terrified of this little bundle of barking hell....bwahahaha.

Gizzie is too laid back to worry - anyway he'd much rather tear the inside out of his bedding, or bark at raindrops and shadows than bother with the others.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Books and Planes - and maybe Change .....

Well I only managed to get to book #16 in Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series even though I have the whole series. 
I finished book 14. The exciting climax ... the hero and heroine (the recurring characters Scarpetta & Benton) are in a hospital room with a convicted killer who has been working with Benton. Suddenly he wraps a noose around Scarpetta's neck and pulls her away tightening the noose all the while. Much drama as he drags her off strangling her.

The chapter ends - as it should on this scary hook.

Next chapter - Scarpetta and Benton are in a frigging car driving along having a conversation about someone else!!! WTF?? Three pages into the chapter there is a brief paragraph saying she passed out and the guards had gotten the baddie off her? That's it???

I can't imagine a publisher allowing that to a rookie author so why the hell would they not have a quiet word in her ear?

I found it really lacking so I went onto Goodreads. Talk about an eye-opener. For all of her books from 14 onward except 23 the first page of reviews are all either one star or none.

Everyone had the same thing to say and I ended up reading reviews for the 9 books I have left. They all basically said the same thing. It surprised me in a way because (yes I agreed with them) I would image Patricia Cornwell's PA or someone like her editor would have been reading at least some of them and realised that hundreds of people were all complaining about the same thing. The characters, the headhopping, the changes of tense mid sentence. The way she was taking her lead characters that made them so depressive. She was also not explaining how things happened - she writes something occurred that has a major effect on the story but then you never read about it again.

Anyway its almost as if she is just writing anything because she knows she had a huge fanbase and couldn't give a shit.  It was only in her latest book that people were giving 4 and 5 stars and saying she's gone back to her roots. 

I understand that you can't always pull out an amazing book especially since I started publishing but you would think that to have so many books given negative reviews by your fans you would start to pay attention. Bloody interesting - just shows that some authors the bigger they get the less they care.

Anyway rant over.  

So I dug out my Kathy Reich books there are 20 in the series and I had the first 10. I haunted my favourite online 2nd hand bookstore - Leura Books - and found 7 of the 10 then 2 more on ebay. Only need to buy a copy of Flash and Bones from wherever I can to complete my set.

Up to book #5 - Grave Secrets.  So much better than Patricia Cornwell!

Saw Cats on Saturday night - it was fabulous!

I wasn't sure if Delta Goodrem would be up to the standard singing Memory - but WOW ... she blew the theatre away.

Absolutely stunning.

Had a great seat on the aisle just 10 rows from the front. Had a 'cat' come and stare at me for a full minute just centimetres from my face at one point. At another I had to pat one of the 'cats' while another time one was brushing past me rubbing my arm.

Great audience interaction - some poor lady close to the front didn't see a cat beside her until he brushed against her. She let out a scream that shook the place. It was so funny - from then on whenever a cat came into the audience they made sure to rub against her.... teehee.

Just saw some reports on the new airport for Badgery's Creek - I'm not happy.

There are several plans for the runway alignment and one will mean the planes land and take of facing Blacktown. Another had them facing the beautiful mountains and a 3rd has them facing Penrith.

Regardless of which way I am sure this is going to impact on Western Sydney very badly.

Not only by noise. There is lousy infrastructure out here. The damn thing is going to run 24/7 - no curfews with at least 1000 aircraft movements a day. You can check out some info about it here and here.

Not happy Jan.  I know it won't be up and running until around 2026 but that doesn't really help.

All it does it add to the growing list of reasons I should move up to Lake Macquarie. It will be hard to uproot after living in the same house for 40 years but at the same time it will be a real adventure and who knows I might have some sexy hunky single male neighbours ..... *wink wink*.  Might even start my dating career again although I'm so out of touch with it. No dates for years .... lol... but it would be nice.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Books, Head Banging in Frustration ....

Working my way through Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetti series - up to book #14 Predator. My favourite 2nd hand bookstore closed but I was able to buy most of the series before they shut the shop.

I'm thinking when I finish the series I'll read the Kathy Reich's books that I haven't got round to starting.  Recently worked my way through Ngaio Marsh and then Dorothy Sayers books.

Between reading I've been working on another MS - it's kind of stalled at the moment so I decided to go back to one I started at the beginning of the year. Had a few new ideas for it so woke up yesterday morning all fired up and ready to go.


Everywhere I looked on my computer, my external hard drive and Dropbox there was no sign of it.  It was as if it never existed and I had this weird feeling that perhaps I'd dreamt the whole thing. But no, I did find my 'inspiration' folder for it.

As I write I tend to scour the Internet for things - in this case it was the plans of a house. So obviously I hadn't had some weird crazy dream, obviously I'd started writing.  Then I remembered around June/July I'd had a major cleanup on my laptop.

I was now fill with dread ... at some point I'd actually deleted the folder that had the book in it. I know I'd written at least 25k of words.

Downloaded a program that could search your drives and locate deleted stuff as long as it hadn't been written over.

Searched the partitioned hard drives, search the external back up drives, search the Dropbox - nothing. Mind you it did bring up lots of stuff but not the one thing I wanted. Yes ... before you ask I do a backup on an external drive BUT I saved the MS on the backup drive and on Dropbox so the backup didn't include the backup drive if you get my meaning.

Did a restore on Dropbox of deleted stuff but it didn't come up, probably because it was about 5 months ago and I've written and saved lots of other stuff on the folder.

So now the program is doing the last thing - searching my recycle bin. So far its been working through and taken about 5 hrs with at least 6 to go. I'm not very optimistic ... I think too much time has passed.

The worst thing is I can remember writing some great stuff and it would be impossible to replicate it now. I remember a few character names and part of the plot but the rest .... gone - like the entire folder.

Thank goodness I'm one of the people who can accept what's happened happened and move on ... that's after I finish banging my head on the desk .... lol.

That move up to the Central Coast is looking better and better each day  - Lake Macquarie views would certainly make my frustration evaporate

UPDATE : the program found 3 bits of the file but they had been overwritten and corrupted so that's that - back to the drawing board as they say.

On a funnier note.

Fozzie had his monthly bath today and the lady who washes and trims him decided he'd look cute if he matched my hair. Unfortunately she didn't have any purple but at least she got the same pink shade.

As she said dogs and their owners seem to grow very similar - Damn! Me with no makeup or glasses to see .... bwahahaha.....

But my sweet dog is showing his feminine side and rocking the pink!!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Graffiti - Time to Move? ....

So last night Fozzie went a little crazy barking around 12 - 1:30am. I yelled at him a couple of time and he settled back down.  This morning when the cleaners were here I get a knock at the door - the police.

Some delightful someones had targeted my tiny street and the long one alongside with graffiti.

Every car that was parked in the street was covered in grey tags and obscene words. Those house that didn't have front fences were also targeted with more graffiti on the brickwork.

Luckily I have a fence so my car was safe but my side fence took a hit.

In all about 3 dozen cars were completely covered along with a few houses and fences. I told the police about Fozz barking and they said they'd narrowed down the time to between midnight and 1:30.

When they left I saw everyone outside trying to remove grey paint from their windscreens and car paintwork. Check my fence and stood chatting with half the street. Gave some turps to a few people to get the paint off their windows and windscreen.

Then I noticed there was the lid of a grey spray can under one of the trees alongside my fence right where the fence had been painted so I rang the police.  Was told to carefully collect it in a plastic bag without touching it and they come back and pick it up.

When they arrive later in the afternoon they had two leads as well as my can lid so hopefully they catch the bastards ... fingers crossed they don't come back.

Wouldn't have been so bad if they did something amazing like this turtle... 

I'm starting to think it might be time to move - some nice houses on Lake Macquarie around Kilaben Bay that would be very nice to live in .... lol.

I could have me a big studio to work in, enormous block of land to have a few chickens and a much more laid back lifestyle.

2016 could very well be the year of the move. There are some beautiful houses up there within my price range and on 1/4 acre and are blocks. I'll get Xmas out of the way and then look.

Mmm - starting to sound very appealing - I think I just might do it! 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Lots of Happy Dancing ...

Been a heady few days.

I submitted a manuscript to my publisher a the start of the week and was really surprised when I got a reply back on Thursday telling me it was accepted. The quickest I've ever waited has been 9 days and the longest a month. So I quickly signed the contract before they had a chance to change their mind ... lol.

Then this morning I was checking my Amazon page - I'd added my latest book to my author page and wanted to make sure it was now 'live'.

Imagine my surprise when I found it was #74 on their Top 100 Paid Best Selling list!!

What an unbelievable buzz!!

It doesn't get better than that ... I get excited when my books hit my publisher's best seller list but to actually get one on Amazon is totally amazing. I'm gobsmacked ... lol. Especially when you consider there are over 2 million ebooks for sale on the site!

So I've been happy dancing around the house - of course the cats and Fozzie think I've completely lost the plot but I don't care.

Finished my Lion painting and now just gessoed a large canvas - 1.5m x 1m. Decided it was about time I did another oil painting. Think I'd like to work on a seascape. Got lots of pics for reference.  

It's just a matter of deciding which one of the few hundred I've got. Been a long time since I worked in oils but sometimes you just have to get out the brushes and the pallet knives and let it rip especially after doing a black & white watercolour.

UPDATE - It's now #27!!!!  Whoohoo .....
Just when I thought it was going back down (it went back to #47 overnight) - it's started climbing again and is now at #20!!