Thursday, 27 October 2016

Bloody Idiot and Birds ...

Was going to take a trip down to Nan Tien through the week to get some kms up on my new car. It's booked in for its 1000km service on the 17th and as I'm lucky to do 4000km a year I figured I better get out and drive.

Anyway I saw that the weather report for Tuesday was warning of dangerous surf conditions so decided to go to the Central Coast instead. I've been wanting to get some dramatic photos of waves crashing on rocks and strong surf. Unfortunately everyone and his dog had the same plan. After driving to beach after beach and not being able to park anywhere I finally managed to get a spot at Shelley Beach.

Got some photos for reference but none that I really liked. Would have preferred to get closer to somewhere with lots of rocks. Still I was absolutely gob-smacked by some of the idiots in the water. Lots of swimmers being sensible and staying between the flags and a lot of people on boards doing the right thing. 

BUT ...

There was this idiot!

He was swimming in between a few large rocky outcrops that was like a washing machine being agitated madly.

In the first photo you can see him right on the edge of an outcrop. The waves were pounding in one after another in quick succession.

If you look very closely at the 2nd pic you'll see a tiny dot where his head is on the left hand side. I have no idea if he managed to get out of the surf unscathed but he was certainly tempting fate.

Anyway next week I'll try for Nan Tien and maybe a run up to Katoomba.

I've been feeding a family of Magpies lately. The parents made the baby (who is as big as them but still without his glossy plumage) stay up in the trees while they fed but over the past couple of days Mum and baby have been feeding on the ground. Dad has disappeared.

Mum calls each morning around nine to let me know it's time for her and the baby eat. Once they've finished they burst into a loud chorus for about 5 minutes ... I like to think they are serenading me and saying thank you...lol.

Anyway this morning there was an interloper.

A huge Australian Raven (Crow) arrive just as I feed the two Maggies. The baby quickly took to the trees but Mum stared down the interloper. Unfortunately it didn't work, he got stuck into the food then took off only to return a few minutes later with another Raven.

Once they left Mum checked out the bowl only to discovered they'd eaten everything. She stared into the bowl for about a minute then gave me a look that said 'they ate it all' so I filled it up again and she was happy.

A few minutes later the loud brigade started to arrive.

Within ten minutes my callistemon Bottlebrush trees, the melaleuca (Paperbark) tree and the big grevillea tree (Moonlight) were filled with the noisy chatter of Rainbow Lorrikeets. There were around thirty of them all 'talking' at once. I love the colours on these cheeky fellows.

From the back they blend in with the greens of the leaves then they turn or spread their wings and show off their amazing colours!

First thing in the morning, at sunrise, a group arrive.

Between them, the Magpies, a couple of Koels and some Noisy Miners it's impossible to sleep in.

The 'Dawn Chorus' ensures you're awake ... lol. Occasionally a Kookaburra will join them just in case I had an idea to sleep in past 6 o'clock. Then a flock of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos usually fly over from their night's roosting around 6.30am. They make their presence known by screeching loudly as they fly past.

I love it!!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Exciting News pt 2...


What's my exciting news?

I just bought myself a new car!!!

Used some of my book royalties and spoilt myself with a sexy hot little number.

I bought a Holden Trax Active - it's got an electric sunroof, roof racks, rear view camera plus all the knobs and whistles inside.

I'm now driving around in a bright Blaze Red one and naturally I bought a manual. The only time in the past 40 years that I've driven an auto was when mine was getting it's new roof and I hated every second of it. I mean it was nice to drive but ...

I love my RAV4 - it was a fabulous car. So easy to drive but it was getting old. I bought it new in 2004 and it only had 56,500ks on the clock but the value had gone way down.

It seemed like this was the right time to buy something new and get something tangible with my book royalties.

So I picked it up today and drove over to show my DIL (it's her birthday today so wanted to say HB too).

Very easy to drive - different from the RAV but just as easy. Same size as the RAV so I haven't lost any 'space' by changing cars.

Couldn't put it in reverse at first - then discovered you have to push a button on the stick. Kind of like the old beetles (my first car was a 1953 bug) that you had to push down to select reverse...DOH!

Played with all the gizmos - had the sunroof open as I drove along. Plenty of room inside. My DIL is 6'4 and she found the front passenger seat very roomy and comfortable.

Have to say it looks great in my driveway .... haha.

Now I'll have to get busy and write some more books ....

Monday, 17 October 2016

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Best Seller Lists ...

As you know I recently had a new book released.

I was excited to find I'd kept my winning streak of having every book I've released hit the top 10 of my publisher's Best Selling list.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined I'd be rubbing shoulders with some of their best writers - exclusive writers that make between 125k to 1/4 mill each year (plus a couple over that figure). Yet there I was, and am, it made me realise - hell I am an author and must be a fairly good one if readers keep buying my books .... lol

Anyway I logged on the other day and discovered this - I'd made 3 of their lists for Book, Author and Series!

Tymber Dalton is one of their top exclusive authors and there I am - #4 against 3 of her books!

Last year the owner of the publishing house rang me and offered me a contract to be an exclusive writer. I was over the moon and she gave me a week to consider the offer and go over the contract.

I was sorely tempted but at my age I didn't want to commit to writing a specific number of books in one genre each year for the next 5 years so in the end I declined. I think if I'd been in my 40s I would have jumped at the chance but late 60s ... nah.

Anyway money isn't all that important to me - as long as I have enough to pay my bills and keep me supplied in art gear I'm very happy. I've never been someone who likes to see the money roll in, I'm not really materialistic - there are too many things that are far better than money and are free.

I suppose some people can't understand why I'd knock back a guaranteed 125k a year (and that was the minimum starting figure). Some of you reading this would say I'm completely nuts but like I said I'm happy as I am.  I can write when I feel like it without the pressure of knowing I have to.

In the end I've decided to bring out one book a year. I honestly appreciate the wonderful offer, not just because of the money side but because of what it represented - it meant the publishing house considered I would be a valuable asset to them, that I am an author whose books are easily marketable. It means they think I'm good and that means a hell of a lot.

Anyway now I've finished blowing my own trumpet I'll shut up ... everyone deserves to get on the self-promotional bandwaggon every now and again.... lol

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Chocolate Time ...

My very favourite factory outlet - Lindt Chocolates - had its 50% store wide sale on this long weekend. As I had to feed my son's two dogs while he and the family were in Forster, it made perfect sense (well to me at least) to 'drop' in and buy a few goodies. I mean it wasn't out of the way, I had to pass it.....

.... okay - I went the long way to the kids house but it only added 5 minutes to the usual route. ;)

I have to admit I was a fairly good girl - I didn't spend as much as I have on previous occasions when they had 50%.

Bet you can guess easily that I love hazelnut chocolate and orange chocolate ... lol. Anyway those will last me a long time - I no longer stuff myself silly when I have chocolate, I take my time and savour it over weeks or months.

Some of the things in the outlet aren't available in the shops so you get to sample things you wouldn't normally. The place was packed - I wouldn't mind having their takings for the long weekend ... it would have been a very handy sum.

I also called into Bunnings which had an outlet next door almost to Lindt so the trip wasn't all chocolatey. I needed a new rake - got a steel one with an ergonomic handle - my last one finally fell apart and was sent to the great recyclers in the sky.

I do need to go to IKEA as well which is in the same complex (the Sydney Business Park at Marsden Park which is less than 10 mins away) but I promised my DIL I'd go with her.

Mind you the last time we went I forgot more than I remembered to buy so this time when I go I think I should make a list. Somehow last time even though I forgot a lot somehow my trolley ended up with a lot of things that I hadn't intended on buying.

The whole complex covers 256 hectares with lots of businesses opening every few months. Costco is due to open early next year; JB HiFi is almost ready to open it's doors. The Good Guys, Beacon, Pet Stock, Aldi, Repco, Snooze plus a few dozen other shops are either now open or opening this month.

It's terrible when 3 of your favourite stores are located within walking distance of each other. Now if they'd just open an Art Supplies place in the same complex I'd be a very happy girl.

Of course I'd probably be broke in a short space of time but at least it would be a happy broke... lol.