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!!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Deep Musings ... lol .....

Just realised I haven't been out with a male  on a date for almost two years .... lol.  Since I got fed up with dating websites and the idiots on them it's a bit hard to meet anyone.

Sure there's a chance while coasting down the supermarket lane or scouring the shelves at Bunnings but it's highly unlikely. Although I have been chatted up a few times at Bunning by little 20 year olds .... so cute. Since 2011 I think I've been out on 5 dates .... how sad is that!  ROTFL.

This from a writer of best selling and award winning erotic romance novels .... how funny/ironic is that!

I have no idea how to meet new people. I guess I could go to the local club but it just doesn't interest me. I hate poker machines, I don't drink and not into crowds.  My life drawing sessions aren't on until next year. I feel like a goose when I go to the movies by myself or to a restaurant.... although I do it.

I really do enjoy being alone I don't know that I could handle having someone live with me. But it would be nice to have a friend.  Someone you could ring and say 'want to go to a movie?' or 'I'm want to go take some photos want to come along?'.  Also it would be nice to have some emotional contact.

I was at the hairdressers the other day and a woman client, probably in her early 50s, was complaining. She said she hated being alone. The hairdresser said she thought she was married and the woman said she was but she only saw her husband at night.

I was really confused and I think my hairdresser was too. My idea of being alone is when you don't have someone in your life. This woman said she and her husband went out a few times a week and did things on the weekend but it really made me wonder what sort of life she had if she thought she was alone.

It reinforced my idea that no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors. No-one knows what people hide or feel.

I'm working on my 4th book in a series that deals with things that happen behind the shut door. To the outside world people show one side of themselves but often that view is completely faked.

I know I show a mask to others and the 'real' me is only shown when I shut the front door. Of course no-one sees 'me' because I live alone but you get the general idea.

In fact sometimes it is hard to show the 'real' me even to let alone trust someone enough to take off the mask.  If I was honest I don't know that I ever really have. I've got close. I worn a 'half mask' but never in my life have I gone 'naked' with someone else.

I guess I never met another person who I could trust enough to bare myself. And that's really what it's all about - trust. It's finding someone who you can put your life in their hands and know that they would do whatever they could to protect and honour you.

Kind of like a Dom and a sub - she has the trust to place her safety in his hands and he has the love and commitment to protect, care for and respect her. All comes down to that one thing - trust.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Stinky Hot Weather and Shopping ....

Got my test results back from seeing the specialists - been poked, prodded, examined and photographed ... lol.

Wasn't the good news I was hoping for but I guess it could have been much worse.  Can't do much about the results just have to deal with it and move on.

The weather is warming up early this year. Its 4:30 in the afternoon and it's 30c (86f)!  Going to get hotter over the next week with Monday predicted to be 36c (97f).  I hate the heat. If this is what it's like in early Spring I'd to think what Summer will be like.

According to one of our chief meteorologists we can expect heatwaves, bushfires, droughts and thunderstorms because the El Nino developing looks to be the strongest on record.
The latest severe weather outlook from Sky Weather, released yesterday, shows the 2015 El Nino, a global climate pattern, is already the strongest of its kind in 17 years.
Took a trip to the new IKEA. 
We have a Business Park that's being developed 10minutes drive from my house.
As well as my favourite store - Bunnings they have opened IKEA. I've waited a little for the initial crowds to die down so went yesterday. Wandered through the Marketplace section and bought a few things. Let's face it anyone who can resist buying at least one item in IKEA deserves a medal ... lol.
Later this year Lindt chocolates are opening their main Australia factory/office and they intend to have a factory outlet shop - guess who will be on the doorstep when that opens.... bwahahaha.
Costco, Aldi, Maccas, HomeHub and Masters are also either now open or will be in the next 12 months. I was impressed that IKEA has covered their roof in solar panels generating electricity for the entire shop.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Norman Lindsay ....

It never rains - it pours.

Got a week of tests from the 28th - not what I was looking forward to doing but I guess when life throws you a curve ball you have to try and catch it. I had planned a completely different week that didn't involve being poked and prodded!

Still it's probably better than later on. This year I've had my grandson for a week during each of the school holidays but his mum mentioned he would most probably be away this coming holiday so wouldn't be able to come and stay. At least I can hopefully get these tests all sorted before the Xmas hols when I hope he can come for a week or so.

Caught up with some old friends and met some new ones on Saturday. Had a delightful day at the Norman Lindsay Gallery at Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains.  I got there early and wandered through the gardens and gallery. Did some sketching and took a few photos then met my friends for a leisurely lunch about 11.30.  Didn't leave until close to 5.

Lunch was delicious. I had a delightful Goats Cheese, Semi Dried Tomato, Caramelised Onion and Basil Tart served with a Parmesan Salad and then indulged in another tart – lemon and lime curd tart served with Coconut and Kaffir lime Sorbet.

We sat outside under the trees and listened to the birds. We even watch a fat blue tongue lizard wander across the pavers and stairs to settle in amongst the shrubs.

I have always admired Lindsay's work especially his watercolours. I absolutely adore his female nudes always so lush and voluptuous!

Of course his statues, etchings and oils totally amazing too.  Such a prolific artist.

I was home by 5.45 - nice to have such a wonderful place so close to home.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Pre-occupied ...

Sometimes in life you feel absolutely helpless - like I do at the moment.

When someone you love is seriously ill and there is nothing you can do to help, to cure, to ease them you feel like some useless blob ... especially when it's your child.

I imagine lots of people go through the same emotions I'm feeling at present and you do come out the other side of the tunnel.

This week I think will be hard - waiting and sending thoughts for a good outcome out to the cosmos.

I feel a little like a duck - calm and unruffled on the surface of the water while paddling like the devil underneath.

Still I'm remaining positive - the signs are good.

To keep my mind occupied I'm working on a new manuscript and also painting.

One of the members of my online photo a day group posted a stunning portrait of a lion. I ask for and got permission from him to use it in an artwork.

So I've blocked it out and started working on it. Then last night I remembered a couple of other photos I'd got permission to use so will be sorting through them.  I have a couple of very large canvases (over 1m) that I would like to do some oil work on.

Usually I'm a watercolour girl but every now and again I like to break out the oil paints and my palette knives and let it rip!

It's a great way to get completely lost in an artwork -with watercolour you need to concentrate. It's a very unforgiving medium. Whereas with oils I can let my hair down and just have fun!

I prefer to use palette knives rather than brushes with oils so using a large canvas makes complete sense - plenty of room to throw that sucker around ....

One of my palette knives I've had since I first start painting as a child - it's seen a lot of work and a lot of growth. My father gave it to me and not only is it a
great tool it has sentimental value as well. It's the little one lying across the others.

I've finished two manuscripts recently - one is a 30k word paranormal romance for an anthology with a group of authors and the other is a 71k contemporary romance that I started at the beginning of the year but got stuck on. Had a break-through idea last month so was able to finish it. Sent it off to my beta readers who gave me the thumbs up.

I've done another edit on it and will leave it for a week or so then do a re-read and edit before subbing it to my publisher.

Been rolling another idea for a book around in my head and started writing things down. I use a program called Scrivener for my writing. It's a fabulous tool.

It's a word processor and a project manager all in one. I can scribble out my ideas, take notes, research, add pics and have it all alongside my writing for easy reference on the one screen.

Although Word 2013 is good, Scrivener allows me to do so much more and have it all in the one place and on the one page.

Before I bought it I would use both Word and Excel but Scrivener eliminates the need for using the two programs at once.

Yep I a convert!!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Look What's in My Driveway ......

At last! My car is back!

I was to pick it up late yesterday afternoon. So got there at 4pm as requested - staff rang down for my car to be brought round.

"Oops sorry - it's filthy, needs to be detailed and clean up before we can return it."
"Don't worry we'll drop it off at your house 8am tomorrow."
"Fine because I have an appointment at 9."

Five minutes after arriving back home get a phone call.

"Er sorry. Just checked the car, you don;t have a windscreen. It's being put in tomorrow morning."
"But we'll drop off a car at 8am for you to use until yours is ready."

So this morning at 8 a nice little new Toyota Corolla gets dropped off at my house. Perfect!

Oh oh - it's an automatic!  I haven't driven an auto for 45 years!

Figure out how to put it into gear and off I go to my appointment. Wanted to tie my left leg down as I kept wanting to put it on the non-existent clutch ... lol.

Get a phone call at 11am - "Your car is all ready to be picked up!"

Thank you, thank you. So picked it up at 12.

Nice new roof - all spick and span and very clean and shiny.  One little rubber thingy missing but it's on order. I didn't care as long as I could have my car back!

I could have had 5 days worth of a loaner but it didn't really make sense as my appointments could all be moved except for today's one.  I'd arranged a loaner if my car wasn't returned yesterday.

Anyway it all worked out in the end. Hopefully I never have to go through having a 'Rectification' on an old repair ever done again!!

Funny just how much you depend on something and really notice when you don't have it. I have a pile of mail to post, I need stuff from the supermarket that I kept forgetting when I did online orders. I want some delicious freshly baked bread.

In the end I was so tired and so bloody cold (dropped down to 10c today) so I just nipped into the supermarket for essentials.  I'll go do a big shop another day.

I'm one happy lady!!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

An Amazing Review! ....

I was just given an amazing 5 Star review for one of my books - Her Cravings Mastered.

Gloria is a professional reviewer so this review really made my day!

Gloria Herrera's review     5 of 5 stars
Read in July, 2015

This is an impressive story of a domestic abuse victim and her search for independence and freedom. You hear about abused women who stay in relationships that are abhorrent. You hear that they stay with the abuser and then you wonder ... Why?
This story looks into the heart of a woman who survives years of abuse at the hand of her boyfriend and finally seeks to free herself from his control. Years of working toward her goal to succeed and prove she can achieve everything he denied her, melt away when he threatens her again. Jessica has become a successful businesswoman. The impact of Dennis coming into her life again and making demands, weakens her with the terror of his influence. She has a good man in her life now who believes in her and her abilities. Out of the strength of this relationship springs the needed moral support for her to stand up to her abusive ex. Aiden Dowling is her strongest supporter. He loves her just as she is. His love and assurances help Jessica flourish.

Gloria Herrera
Mature love can be just as exciting and passionate. This story is well-written and believable. I was transported into Aiden and Jessica's world. My only regret is that the book ended.

As an author when you receive such wonderful reviews it makes the whole writing process that much better. It gives encourage and make you feel you're on the right track - thank you Gloria!

As well Gloria interviewed me and you can read the entire interview on my blog -

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Aarrggghhhh ......

Just found out they have to replace the entire roof on my car - one has been ordered from Toyota but they have none in stock.

Who knows when I'll have my wheels back!  It been almost 2 weeks already and there is no sign on the horizon that it's going to happen any time soon.

Who knows when the new roof will come in and then it has to be fitted and painted and then the lining replaced -  aarrrgghhhh - months!!

I know it's only because I can't do it but I really want to go out - I want to go up the mountains and take some photos but instead I'm

I want my carport filled again ... lol!

Isn't it funny how when you can't have something that's exactly what you want!

I'm usually very happy to stay snug in my house yet because I know I can't leave I really want to go out somewhere.

Oh well at least I'm getting a lot of writing done.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Dancing on Stage and on Wheels ....

Earlier this year I went to see The Rocky Horror Show in Lyric Theatre in Sydney.

I saw it the last time it was in Sydney when it had Iota as Frank'n'furter. This was a completely different production but I did enjoy it.

I do think the previous one was the better of the two - the audience participation was encouraged with everyone getting streamers to throw during the birthday party.

In this production the AP was sadly lacking although Craig McLaughlin certainly milked the audience with every gag.

I love RH - been a fan of it forever and often waste a Saturday afternoon watching Tim Curry strut his stuff.

Anyway I've now got tickets to see Cats in December - another of my favourite shows.  Been wandering around the house singing Jellicle Cats since I booked

Decided to try and get to the theatre a few times each year.

Singing in the Rain is coming next year as well as Sound of Music.

As for Dancing on Wheels  -  once again the Tour De France is on. Been watching it each night and once again there is speculation about drugs. This time it's Chris Froome, the race leader.

He had an amazing win on the first day in the Pyrenees. He claimed the stage victory at La Pierre-Saint-Martin after some amazing riding.

Drugs raised their ugly head when it was suggested that his heart rate was too slow for the work he did. 

But the 30-year-old Briton says that’s normal. “I’ve put that data out there myself in my book. I said my maximum heart rate is only 170,” said the Kenyan-born rider. “After two weeks of the Tour on Ventoux, it’s quite surprising it’s 160. It’s normally a bit lower than that.

Since the Lance Armstrong drug fiasco any rider who shows remarkable acceleration or decimates their rivals is in the sights.

On top of the drugs thing there are suggestions he has some hidden motor on his bike which, claimants say would account for his amazing bursts of speed.

How hard must it be to have to defend your riding and continue on with each stage. Only he knows whether or not he's clean I guess time will tell.

I've only been watching the Tour for about seven years but thoroughly enjoy it. How on earth they managed to push their bodies day after day. How the hell they can get back on their bikes after falling astounds me.

This, of course, is coming from a woman who has no idea how to ride a bike.

When I was a child my parent's gave me one but I could never master riding. Even when I was a teenager and in my twenties I had no luck. I just can't seem to balance ...  I'd need more than just training wheels to stay up ... lol.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Happy Dancing ...

*Happy dancing round the room*

My 14th book has just been accepted by my publisher!

I am so excited!

I wonder when the excitement of having a new book dies?  I doubt it ever would.

This one will be close to 300 pages long - a contemporary ménage romance set here in Australia in Katoomba. One hero is an indigenous Australian - figured it was about time someone showed an handsome male Aborigine in a romantic setting ... lol.

Spent a lot of time researching indigenous customs and languages I just hope I got it all right. Even found an online children's education site that teaches Warlpiri language - the language of my hero.

It was so interesting and I found myself spending days getting lost in their culture and customs.  I even had to learn about Skin names and how they affect each person.

On top of that I've sent of the MS for the box set to one of my Beta readers for their thoughts. If I get the okay then I'll tidy it up and send it to the organiser. The idea is to have the full set published in October.

At this stage there will be between 6 and 12 authors participating with a book each. The general theme will be Paranormal Romance.

Peter Fowler - 'Our Old Ones are Dying. Campsites are Empty. Our Language is Disappearing'