Monday, 24 November 2014

Hot, Hot, HOT!

Spent Sunday hiding inside.

It was HOT!

No that isn't the right word - it was almost Boiling!

The Sydney basin knew there was hot weather coming, the interior of Australia had been sweltering with temps over 45c (113f) so we knew what to expect. Even so it exceeded expectations.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) predicted 43c for my area but by 2pm we  reached over 44c (112f).

If this was a taste of what we can expect from now on with climate change I don't like it!  I'd much rather a nice pleasant autumn or a cool winter than this.

It seems so strange, plastered all over the Internet are pictures of the US buried under metres of snow while we swelter.

It's hard to comprehend when you're melting into a blob of sweat that there are people on the other side of the world frozen solid.

The average temperature for this time of year for my area is 27c.

Fortunately we got a lovely cool southerly change in the evening, it kept the night time temps hovering around 22 or 23 which was still hot for sleeping but a bloody sight better than trying to sleep with temps in the 40s!

Today is a very muggy 32 with thunderstorms predicted for late today then another southerly. Wednesday through to Sunday are all predicted to be around 30 but the night temps are expected to be between 12 and 15 - much better for sleeping.

On top of it all - there is rain predicted. Have my finger's crossed for that. I've given up water the plants. Figure if they can survive this, they'll survive anything.

All my trees look happy, the frangipannis are all budding up. My giant strelitzia had gone crazy- it was about a metre tall when my son planted it out for me a year and half ago. Now its around 4 metres!

Guess it loves the heat and dry weather!  Now all I want is for it to flower!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

A Little Self Promotion ...

Your chance to win an ecopy of Build A Love - my new MMF menage erotic romance.


Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Menage a Trois/Quatre
Word Count: 54,859
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[Ménage and More: Erotic Ménage a Trois Romance, M/M/F, HEA]

Harriet Kempton has spent the last twelve years of her life being an Ice Queen to protect her heart. Stabbed, raped, and left for dead, she can no longer trust any man. She is shocked when she meets two handsome builders, Bryan Garrett and Marco Campione. Harry feels an instant attraction to them both and wonders if it’s time to take a chance on love again. But can she get over her past and move on? Even more important—can she accept a relationship with not one but two men? Two men who have a loving sexual relationship with each other but want Harry to complete them. Harry has a demon to fight if she has any chance of future happiness. Will these men stand alongside her and help her or will her past be too much for them to handle?

Note: This book is written in first-person point of view.

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Kurrajong Photos ...

The other day, the local female members of the worldwide photography group I belong to arranged a meet-up.

We went to Kurragong, one of the member's father owns property there so we all rocked up for a photography session and a BBQ lunch.

It was a perfect day.

The house was amazing and I know we all wished we owned it. It is fifty years old and inside full of room and lots of charm.

The dining room fitted us all with ease. We all wandered all over the acreage, taking lots of photos.

I did a little sketching.  Believe it or not, if you squint that's me right in the background, sketching ....lol.

I managed to get a number of photos that would be perfect from some of the themes of this month.

It was also a pleasant drive. Took me about 40 minutes. 




Passed some cows on the way and stopped to take their photos - one was very nicely standing and facing me the whole time.
Went passed the new Sydney Business Park. Won't be long till some of the places open. Bunnings is almost finished.  Looks like they are working on the inside fit-out. Ikea has the actual building finished. It's due to open next year.  

Will be great to be able to drive ten minutes and get to these places instead of having to travel to Rhodes for Ikea.

All in all it was a lovely day.

Still reading the Henning Mankell book's. I am really enjoying them. Only have a couple left, time to start looking for another author to read.

Think I might have to take another trip out to Parklea Markets and see what they have on offer in the second hand bookshop.  Either that or go to the Sallies shop at Minchinbury. They have a large second hand book second.

Then again, maybe I should just go to both ....lol.

Thursday I am determined to get the last of my Christmas shopping done. Most of it I have done online but there are a few things that I need to look at in person before I buy.

I hate shopping at the best of times and keep putting it off but I am determined to do it this time. Then comes the fun job of wrapping everything up -NOT!

Oh yes - and I have to get my Christmas cards written out and ready to post .... Yep I guess you've gathered - I'm not a Christmas person .... lol

Christmas - bah humbug!!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Tattoos, ITINs, Taxes ....

Still trying to find a new tattoo artist - the last one I used was great but the tat parlour was fire-bombed (rotfl) during some sort of turf war and closed. The artist moved to Victoria.

Yesterday I heard about another so I am thinking of seeing what they're like today.

Have to go to the fruit market so I will take a detour and check them out.

Finally got all my paperwork together to send to the US, a least its organised just waiting for one more document to arrive - I can't believe how much trouble I've had to get things.

I needed a certified copy of my license and do you think it was an easy thing to get? No chance!

I sent off the application for a certified copy as I was told to by the RMS (Roads & Maritimes Services) rep.  Waited and waited for a reply. Weeks went by and still no word.  Finally rang to ask what was happening. Was told they had a backlog.

Then waited another week still nothing so I rang again, only to be told they don't do it! The very nice woman I spoke to asked me to re-fax everything and she would see what she could find out. Another week of nothing so I rang again.For some reason they were under the impression I was living in the US despite me having a residential address and phone number in Sydney....lol

After faxes, countless emails and lots of phone calls, I finally got through to someone who would listen to me yesterday on the phone. Went through my story and he said he 'get back to me' - yeah, heard that countless times in the past 6 weeks.

But guess what?

He did.  Got an email from him within 30 minutes. .  Still he did say the RMS don't issue certified copies of licenses but he would see what he could come up with.

 Then late in the day I got another email with a copy of what he had arranged.  The original should be here by the end of the week then I can send everything off.

I have to tell you if you need to get an ITIN from the IRS in America don't expect it to be easy.  I've been told by their agent out here that even when I send everything over they still might reject my documents and ask for more.

She said even she doesn't understand why some applications get knocked back and others get accepted. There's no rhyme nor reason to it.

Ggggrrrrr!

Still it means I will only have to pay 5% tax to the US instead of the usual rate, so I will be keeping everything crossed that they accept my stuff and give me my ITIN first time.

At least once I have my number, I don't actually need to fill out an annual return - my publisher will automatically send the IRS my 5%. Of course if I earn huge amounts then I will need to submit one but I don't think I have to worry on that score.

My earnings are enough to keep me happy without going sky high and into the big tax brackets.

Mind you - I certainly wouldn't knock it back if I earned six figured amounts each year .... lol

UPDATE - I saw the tattoo artist, went through his portfolio and his line work was very good so I got him to do the Sanskrit tat on my wrist that I've wanted for ages. I wasn't as impressed with his colour work.

I have to admit  the line work is fantastic, extremely crisp and clear, especially considering all the fine lines and little circles.. He did a very good job and I love it!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Books, books and more books ....

I've got hooked on a new BBC series - Wallander, staring Kenneth Branagh.  I'm not a great one for television but when I find a gem like this I can't get enough.

On the weekend I decided I needed to read the books.  Years ago I read The Fifth Woman and enjoyed it.  Anyway, I took myself to Parklea Markets on Sunday - needed more white tea leaves anyway.

Parklea Books
While I was there I called into the second hand bookshop - discovered 8 Henning Mankell Wallander books so I got the lot.  There were also a few Dorothy Sayers that I have been looking for so I got those as well. Ended up buying 17 books in total.

Now I am half way through 'Faceless Killers' - and loving it!

My bookcases
Got home and put the new /old books into one of my bookcases - it's getting rather full.  I've only got one full shelf left on the 2mtr one and a few spaces on one of the smaller one. I'm going to have to start looking around the house and see where I can stash another.

I did have an idea of getting a bookcase built along the front of the kitchen bench.  My bench is over 3 metres long and there is enough room to built one the length.

Spoke to my builder son and he said it would be fine to build it there. Of course - telling me is one thing, getting him to build it is another .... lol.

Still the good thing about living alone is I can do what I like when I like and if that means having piles of books stashed everywhere then so be it.

On the subject of books - I'm rather chuffed. Of the 9 books I've had published every single one of them has made my publishers Best Sellers list.  Their top 30 Best Sellers list is updated hourly and I managed to get them all on it with 2 hitting the #1 spot, 2 hitting the #2 spot and 2 more on #3! My latest book that came out last Friday is sitting on the #13 spot.

One even stayed on the #1 spot for 14 days!!

I'm so excited to think that a new author could be so popular.  It may not be the New York Times best sellers list or even Amazon's but it's still a Best Sellers list and I've cracked every single time!

I'm looking forward to the new year when the paperback editions of some of the books start trickling onto the market.  Then I get to put them on my own bookshelves!

Got some great comments about my hair recently. I'm due back to the hairdressers this week - last month I went bright red and I loved it.  Another great thing about living alone - I can have crazy hair colours.  Yes it would be nice to have a male friend but I would have to find one who was modern and forward thinking - not a stick-in-the-mud old grouch, one who thought they were more important or one who didn't treat me nicely .... lol

Anyway, think I will be keeping my hair crazy red for a while, what do you think?

Friday, 17 October 2014

Crazy Weather ....

Crazy weather!

After a warm start to Spring, the weather decided to go slightly crazy.  On Monday and Tuesday afternoons/evenings we had enormous thunderstorms.

From my back door
The one on Monday was the daddy of all storms - at one point it ranged over 700kms long and 50 wide. Watching it get closer and closer was scary, wondering what on earth it was going to do.

Then on Tuesday another storm rolled in, it was no where near the size of Mondays but it was actually worse. The Bureau of Meteorology called it 'a storm of the century' and said that it could be classed as a cat 2 cyclone.

I kept my fingers crossed that I wouldn't get hit like I did in December 2007 when $60,000 of damage was done to my house.

Fortunately my house survived this time unscathed.  Still there was flooding everywhere in Sydney. Even railway stations! The airport was closed.

Raging winds, torrential rain, hail - thunder that rocked the house.  There was even lots of snow on the Blue Mountains as close as Blackheath, just 80kms away, up to 20cm!

What was really weird is that just 12 months ago almost to the day there were tragic bush fires in the Blue Mountains that caused 2 fatalities, burnt 248 houses and had a damage bill of $100 million!

Welcome to Australia - land of weather extremes!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Win an ebook ...

For your chance to win either a copy of A Hunter's Choice or book one - A Hunter's Heart - just leave a comment on my FB page and tell me what is your favourite paranormal creature.




Visit http://suzyshearer.blogspot.com.au/ to read about A Hunter's Choice.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Vets and Taxes ...

Took my handsome doggie to the vets for his yearly check-up this morning.  He passed but has some slight 'crackling' behind his eyes which may be a sign of cataracts.  I'll have to keep my fingers crossed that it isn't. He also has a tiny lump on his tummy but the Vet said to just keep an eye on it.

Because he was so good at the Vets - well he shivered and shook but sat - I took him down to the local dog park.

He ran around like crazy and was soon exhausted. I was going to take him for a wander along the trails but there were signs up everywhere warning that there had been a lot of snakes recently seen.

As I was walking back to the car, a nice guy stopped me and told me to steer clear of the trails as he had personally seen two snakes in the past week.  I thank him and was glad I had decided not to walk them.

As I was heading back to the car, he asked if I would stay a little longer and talk. Told me he like mature women .... lol.

I declined - a) Fozz was exhausted and b) he looked like he was about 35.  Still it was very flattering, not to mention he was tall and very cute.

Came home to find the final edits for my latest book in my inbox so looks like work for a few days.

On top of that I am trying, with little success, to get what is known as an ITIN - Individual Taxpayer Identification Number - from the US.  I wrote back in May and never heard back so started again.  Found one of their agents in Victoria and she has been advising me on the requirements.

Unfortunately the US IRS won;t accept documents signed by a JP instead they must have either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency.  She warned me that they reject documents left right and centre.

Because Australia has a tax treaty with the US - I am entitled to claim an exception on royalties.  Instead of paying 30% tax I will only have to pay between 3-5%. That is if I can get this bloody number sorted.

I don't have a passport so need other forms of identity. It must have a picture so I am now in the process of getting a certified copy of my driver's licence complete with mug shot, plus my birth certificate!

Then I have to hope that the IRS accept it - if they don't I'm up the creek without the proverbial paddle!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Painting .....

Needed a break from writing and, as I had a wonderful photograph, decided to do a little painting.

A friend of mine from the FB photo group posted this amazing shot a few months ago.  I asked for, and got, permission to use it as a painting reference.

You have to admit it is an amazing photo.  The detail in it is fabulous.

So I went through all my photos trying to decide what to paint when this leaf just jumped out at me.  Spent the last few days working on it and I think I'm happy with it.

Posted it on my art blog.

Now I have to decide what I want to paint next.  I have about 45-50 photos from the group.  Each one has something magical about it, so it is such a hard decision.

Then each day more get posted and I find myself adding to my growing list .. lol.

There are some amazing photographers in my group - this is just a small selection of the photos I've got permission to use as reference.

 




Monday, 22 September 2014

Reptle Park ....


Took a trip to the Reptile Park at Gosford on the Central Coast on Sunday.

First weekend of the school holidays so was able to take my eldest grandson with me. We met up with my younger son and his family.

A great day was had by all. The kids had a great time, patting kangaroos, crocodiles and snakes.

We when sat down for lunch this cheeky Rainbow Lorrikeet decided to join us.  He was taking food from our fingers but when we stopped he jumped onto the tray and helped himself.
The little ones loved watching the big salt water crocodile get fed. Lots of 'oohs and aahhhs'.  Later they got to touch a baby one about a metre long and though it was wonderful.
They enjoyed seeing the giant Galapagas Turtles ... although they couldn't understand what this one was doing - thank goodness we didn't have to explain it .... lol.

There were lots of kangaroos for them to pat and even some dingo puppies.  The kangaroos have a special area that is their 'rest area' where they can escape when they are fed up with visitors patting them.

They all bundled together in the sun and rested away from little hands.

Eldest granddaughter was very excited to see an echinda - she was impressed with his very long tongue as he ate his dinner.

Another had buried himself in the warm earth and only had his quills showing.

This Bush Stone Curlew looked like it was too much bother.

The beautiful Tawny Frogmouth didn't even bother opening his eyes when we arrived in his cage.  The children had a hard time to find him until we pointed him out to them.
These three little lizards were enjoying the warmth from the heat lamp in their enclosure.

Very glad these redback weren't actual size - it's bad enough when you find them in the house without having to deal with ones this big!

Love seeing the Cassowaries - they even had an egg, although it was just sitting on the pathway.  Mr Cassowary did check it regularly.


By the end of the day we were all tired, the two younger grandkids fell asleep within five minutes of sitting in their car. Not sure about my grandson, but I know I was quite happy to put my feet up when I finally got home after a perfect day.