Thursday, 31 March 2016

Cabins and Cameras and Commas ...

Well I've booked my week at Easts Beach - looking forward to painting all day and writing all nights   ... lol. Heading there in May.

The cabin I booked sleeps 5 and the shower looks as if all five could fit in at once ... lol.

The place looks really roomy and nice and clean. Even has a BBQ on the covered verandah.

I'll take one day to head up to the rainforest to photograph and maybe get in a sketch or two.

I've been there before and when I went I saw a few lyrebirds, even managed to get a blurred photo of one.

Hopefully this time if I do see one I'll be able to take a decent shot.

On that note I'm still umming and arring about buying a new camera.

Think I'll have to take a drive to Penrith - to Camera House and see what they have and what prices. Still leaning toward another Canon, mainly to EOS 70D because I mainly take landscapes/seascapes and after talking with several people it looks the best one.

There is a new 80D coming out but from what I've read and talked about it wouldn't do me any better and it's about $800 dearer - I can use the two lenses I have on any EOS. That would mean if I go for the 70D I could buy the camera body then splurge out on another lens. Maybe a macro or a wide angle or both!

Unfortunately the hottie in the pic doesn't come with the camera .... rotfl.

My inspiration for the hero in the MS
Time will tell if I buy it before I go away - my EOS 400D still has a lot of life left in it.

Going through my latest MS, have around 87000 words written. Its the story and an Artist and a Sculptor.

Now it's time to re-read and edit. Time to add bits, take bits away and tidy it up then I can send it to my beta reader before I do the final tweaks and polishes.

I've turned on the 'speech' ability in Word 2013 and am listening to it talk while I make any corrects when I hear something that doesn't sound right.

Every author has a crutch - sometimes it's a word they use too much or a phrase. For me it's Absolute Constructions. So when I go through the MS I have to make sure I don't have them close together or use too many.  

That was one of the things that pissed me off with the last editor - she picked up the missing words and spelling mistakes. She did find the extra commas but not all the grammatical errors which I think are really important if you want a story that flows.

So it was up to me to find where I'd used passive voice, too many/too close absolute constructions, incorrect tense. I even found a dangling modifier that she should have picked up as well as a head hop that somehow slipped in. 

On top of that I've sent off my short story to the new editor I've employed. Thankfully this new editor is also an author so he will know exactly what to look for. I really confident this time.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Ski Flying ...

I've got hooked on watching mens' Ski Jumping and Ski Flying. Last night the season ended so I'll probably have withdrawal symptoms for a while but at least I'll get to bed at a decent hour.

I've sat on the edge of my seat watching them fly, amazed at the distances they cover.

Early in the season I found myself favouring the oldest competitor - Japanese flyer Noriaki Kasai. He actually holds the record for the most individual starts - 501 and this has been his 27th season.
 He won silver at the 2014 Olympics.  He also holds the record for the longest jump for over 35s - 240.5m (789 ft).

So I really wanted him to have a podium finish. He did a few 3rds during the season but not enough to get him onto the podium at the end. Still he finished 8th overall, 5th in Ski Flying, Japan took 5th in the Nations Cup and he took 7th in the Four Hills Tournament.

The season was all Peter Prevc - he blew me away.  He actually got 1139.4 points which was the most ever. He also became the first flyer to win the title  3 years in a row.

He took #1 in everything except the Nations Cup where Slovenia came in 2nd behind Norway.

So now I have to find a new obsession to watch ... or else just catch up with the thousands of books I have and need to read ... lol

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Toys, Painting and Publishing ...

New toys ....

Discovered these great blocks!

Each tin has 6 coloured blocks - one is 6 graphite blocks and the other six charcoal.  They are made by Derwent and each blocks is 6cm x 2cm x 2cm. 

Can't wait to try them out. I've set up some paper on my easel and going to work through each colour/type. I'll let you know my findings if you're interested.

We Will Remember Them
I've booked in for a portrait class with Kristin Hardiman. She is a very famous Australia artist who specialises in equine, portrait and landscape works mainly in Oils.

I've only been painting portraits for about 5 or 6 years and most are animal so any tips I can get will be most welcome.

My Life Studies sketch club has finished for the term - Easter and then the school holidays mean I have to wait until May for it to begin again.

I'll try and work on some of the sketches I've done and see if I can build up some paintings. I'll also use some to test out the new toys ... lol.

I've finished my short story for the second anthology with 6 other authors. Now I need to find an editor. Last book I wasn't at all impressed with the editor I used - too many mistakes snuck through that I fortunately found before it was published.

So now I'm on the lookout for one that doesn't charge an arm and a leg. Some want up to or over $100 per 1k - my story is 30k so that's a lot of cash. Trying to find a cheaper one that doesn't skip half the mistakes ... ;) It's expensive enough when you self-publish so it's important to try and keep costs down.

At least my other books are done through my publishers and their editors are great.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Klutz ....

I've always known what a klutz I am - if something can be dropped, knocked, walked into, destroyed then I am the one who'll probably do it unintentionally. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll agree.

Anyway back to my tale - as you know each Saturday I work with a nude model. Because I prefer to paint my studies naturally I have a jar of water in front of me. Each week I tell myself to remember I have a jar of water and to be careful. Each week I somehow manage to listen.

So this week - stop for a 15 minute break to give the model, David, a chance to stretch out his kinks and to have a drink. Made myself a cup of Chinese White tea (you know the tea you drink black Anyway drank about 3/4 and set it on the little table I use in the hired studio.

So back to work.

David does a couple of 10 minute poses then he'll do some 30 minute one. So I'm working on the 10 minute one - completely absorbed in what I'm doing .... yep you guessed it I imagine.

I go to dip my paintbrush in my tea instead of the water. Tried to do a fancy save but instead managed to send the rest of my tea flying. All over the table, all over the floor near me. Spent the 10 minutes wiping and washing up instead of painting.

I'm sure next time I have a cuppa I'll either finish it or else put it somewhere safe - like in the next room!

My other fear is singing out loud.

I plug my earphones into my iPod and let it rip. At home I always have music blasting out when I paint or write. My iPod goes on first thing in the morning and it gets turned off when my computer does at night. I plug it into a set of speakers hanging on the wall in the studio.

So anyway back to Saturdays when I go out to paint. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm not at home and not burst into terrible out of tune singing...

I know I'd be banned if anyone heard me 'sing'.... lol

Who else out there in blog land is clumsy? Who else has to constantly remind themselves not to trip, walk into things, not drop stuff.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Bath Time

They say you should save water and shower with a friend ....

So Fozzie had a bath with a friend the other day.

Pippi is scared of baths - just like Fozz - so my lovely groomer decided to try them both together.

Fozz looked at Pippi as if to say "Don't cry. I"ll look after you mate."

Now I'm not really sure which one of them cried the most but at least when it was all over they both looked pretty spiffy.

Look at the difference in size!  Pippi is full grown and Fozz is a labradoodle so he has plenty of poodle in him.

Fozzie got shaved down in December to help him
cope with the heat - he is slowly getting his long curly coat back. By the colder weather he'll be all thick and warm again.

Pippi looked twice his size after the blow-dry ... all primped and read for action.

It was all too exhausting - Fozz had to catch up on this sleep when he came inside after it.

It's his birthday this month - 11 years old - so I guess we can understand the need to rest after such a tiring ordeal ... lol

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

IKEA and Lindt Chocolates ....

So I took a trip to IKEA - now that it's only 8 minutes away I can indulge in wandering through their marketplace whenever the urge takes me.  I wanted a new wooden chopping board and found an enormous one there for only $19.

Also bought a smaller one to put the kettle on. So after wandering around and buying a few items I left IKEA and headed down the road.

Now almost opposite IKEA is the new Lindt chocolate factory outlet shop.  I figured I'd better go in and do a little research on chocolate flavours.

It's a real smorgasbord of delights.

Oh where to start!!!

The hardest part wasn't starting it was stopping!  With every item they make just sitting there begging to be bought it's almost impossible to walk in and ignore them.

So of course I didn't.

The staff were very friendly and helpful.  I had selected a few handfuls of the round Lindt Lindor balls - they have small and medium sized bags for you to fill up. When I took them to the counter the nice man told me if I was to purchase an empty box (there are 2 sizes) I could actually stuff more in because they didn't go by weight.

Naturally I bought 2 boxes - one of each size.

Turns out by buying them that way I saved almost $40 ... the guy weighed them and gave me the price. So if you are going to indulge and like me can't stop at a couple of handfuls consider buying one or two of the empty boxes. I have to tell you I stuff them in so well ..... lol.

On top of the Lindor balls, they had bars of chocolate, boxes of pralines, chocolates and seasonal boxes and gifts (like Xmas stuff or Easter).

I also bought some drinking chocolate - little flakes of pure indulgence.

Now all those chocolates weren't just for me in case you're wondering but my pantry does have some yummy things in it now. (In case you think the larger box looks a bit empty that's because my DIL and I had to sample all the new flavours before I remembered to take a photo).

Had to take a picture of a couple of blocks plus some unbelievably delicious orange thins -they are to die for - on my new wooden board just to show the size of the chopping block.

Just might have to take a trip there again soon - maybe in the April school holidays when my grandson comes for a week, I think he would absolutely love seeing all that chocolate .... ;)