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."
"Aarrrgghh"
"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."
*Screaming*
"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 - http://suzyshearer.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/interviewed-by-gloria-herrera.html

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
housebound.

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 ....lol

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.
"http://velonews.competitor.com/2015/07/news/chris-froome-open-to-extra-testing-to-answer-doping-accusations_378247#sdJT78GWAShzY1ka.99

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'

Friday, 10 July 2015

Cold, Cameras and Cars

Really cold weather is on its way - an East Coast low is meeting a very cold air mass coming up from the Antarctic. The BOM is warming us to be prepared for snow as close to me as Katoomba. Strong winds and rain are also predicted for us on Sunday and Monday.

I love the cold weather but I have to admit I'm not really looking forward to this arriving. It was 0c the other morning with a deep frost covering the ground but the coldest it's been through the days lately has been around 12c. That is until today - it's hovering around 11c at the moment and there is a large rain band heading my way!

It will be interesting to see if this lives up to the predictions.

I'll get my winter woollies on just in case .... lol. Still I would rather have this sort of warning from the BOM than one that says be prepared for weeks of 40+!

Went to the Drive-in the other night to see Minions - much easy to go there than to the movies. Don't have to get all dressed up, can take a thermos of hot chocolate,  wrap myself up in a blanket and relax. Oh - and it is only $10!

Whoever came up with the Minion/Gru idea certainly struck gold.  I loved the two Despicable Me movies and this one was just as funny.

Sorting through all my photos to decide what to paint next. I have been working on the manuscript for the box set - about 22,000 words done - but I like to have a painting on the easel to break the work up.

I'm leaning toward something along these lines but knowing me I'll do something completely different.

Lol ... I'll probably end up painting a seascape or a bunch of flowers!

Still undecided on a new camera.  I had almost decided on a Canon EOS 7DII then someone suggested I buy another brand like an Olympus or Nikon and use an adaptor for the lenses I have. That's put a whole new spin on things so it's back to the drawing board.

Think I'll take a trip to Camera House and see what what's but it will have to be later this month. My car goes in to the smash repairers on Monday for an indefinite period.

Back in 2008 when the huge hailstorm ripped through my car got hammered. Now in one area that was supposedly replaced and repaired I have a big patch of rust.

The insurance company has accepted liability and are repairing it properly this time. They are sending it to a different repair place so fingers crossed.

The only trouble is it in the roof at the rear door and they aren't sure if it's gone through into the second layer skin.

So Monday I drop it off and they rip into the roof and lining to decide what needs replacing..... I just hope it doesn't take forever!

I know I prefer to be home but I like knowing my car is there in case I want to nip out for any reason. Instead I'll be stuck in the house for a least two weeks if not longer.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Exciting News ...

Really chuffed!

I've been asked to write a paranormal novella to be included in a box set put out later in the year. I think there will be 12 authors included - each to write a 20k-30k word story with a paranormal romance theme.

It's such an honour to be asked. The author who sent me the details and request is a amazing author. She has had books reach finals in the EPIC competition, one title was named Book of the Year and others have won awards in RWA-sponsored contests.  A couple of other authors included are also bestselling and award winning authors.

Such esteemed company I'll be in!

There is also talk of doing at least one or two each year and she told me my name is included as first refusal on them!

Who would ever have believed that I would now have 13 books published?

I've actually just submitted a 88k word manuscript and if it gets accepted that's #14!

What an exciting time - on top of getting two runner-up prizes and a 5th in a literary competition this year! As well every single book has made it to my publisher's top 5 best seller list with a couple making it to #1!

I just cannot believe I would ever be so lucky as a new author.


Saturday, 6 June 2015

This and That ....

Finally back to 'normal' after my break away. Mind you it's been an expensive few weeks.

I cracked a tooth before I went away and also had part of a tooth break away from an old filling. Fortunately the dentist was able to repair the old tooth by putting a veneer over the filling so it looks like I still have a tooth.  As for the crack, it's a hairline one and she would prefer to do a 'wait and see' rather than root canal work and a crown. I was happy to go with her suggestion ... lol.  Still it cost me a lot for the repair work.

Then I finally got #2 son organised to build me a carport. He's been going to built one since December but never got round to it.

We had another hail storm (actually 3 within 40 minutes) recently - thank goodness the hail was small, not like the monster ones of 2007.  They averaged out at over 8cm (3.5")!

Anyway in the end I bought all the materials to make a colourbond steel one. A few grand but I figured at least I'd have a chance of him erecting it all.

I was in shock when he told me he would put it up last weekend - just a few days after it was all delivered. Took him all day but I now have a carport, albeit without the down pipe connection because it got too dark.

Probably have to wait years for that ..... lol... but that doesn't matter.  The water runs down into the garden anyway.

A number of pavers will have to be cut to fit around the stanchions but that's nothing.

I bought a bigger one than I needed - its 3.5m x 5.5m which means the hail will have to come in sideways to get the car. Years ago (2008) my car was badly damaged by an enormous hail storm that did over $60,000 damage to my house as well any wonder I'm wary of hail storms now. ;)

So now instead of my poor car being pelted by the hail it's nicely tucked under shelter!

Just in time because it poured the night it went up.

Started a new painting - actually it was on the easel before I went away so I figured I'd finish it before I start anything from my trip.

The hardest part will be trying to decide what to start with.

I got a lot of great sunrise and sunset photos. Especially those taken as the sun was just rising. The sky was an apricot colour with purples and yellows. Totally amazing.

I love this one - the whole area was suffused with this orange/apricot glow as the sun rose. It was hard to capture the colours with a camera.  I did do a few quick washes just to get the colours down.

I like the way things are almost in silhouette. You can make out the rocks, trees and plants but they are almost lost against the rising sun.

The only thing I was disappointed with was the fact there were no raging surf opportunities. Although it was an enormous bay it was still sheltered so the surf was mild.

Think I'll have to take a trip up to the Central Coast and get some heavy surf picture when I know the weather conditions are good for them.

Trouble is even though I read the BOM report, I've raced up there a couple of times only to find that the surf is just normal - 90 minutes drive for nothing ..... lol.

Finger's crossed I can actually time it right. Either that or I take my next few days break in the area and hope for a day of windy weather ... lol.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Over The Moon!

The The winners have just been announced for the competition some of my books were nominated for. 

I had three titles entered in three categories and I managed to pick up a prize for each one!

Build A Love was runner-up in the Erotic Section and came in 5th in the GBLT.

My paranormal book - A Hunter's Heart was runner-up for the Series Section.
  

When making the announcements the site had this to say about the entries.

Each Category had at least 5 judges with some having 7. The judging was extremely close and every Judge commented on the high quality of works.

In 3 categories, the winner was awarded a perfect 10 from every judge! The highest mark separation between the winners and fifth places was 1.89, the lowest was 0.35!

Making the top 5 was no small achievement and each and every one of you should be extremely proud of yourselves.
  

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

And the Last One ...

Okay so this is the last post (I think ... lol) from my holiday. This time it's about art.

As I mentioned I took a lot of photos that I could used to paint from - hundreds in fact. Still here are a few, it gives you an idea of the beauty of the area. I've also included a spread of watercoloured sketches I did. I think in all I painted about 15 quick ones to use as colour and setting reference.