Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Musing on Roads Taken...

Just got my royalties for the 2nd quarter and it got me thinking.

When I sent off my first book to a publisher I never expected it to be taken up. I honestly thought I'd have a pile of reject slips... enough to paper a room or even a house and instead I only got one.

My bookshelf is slowly filling
I sent the same manuscript to two publishers - one accepted it after just five weeks and the other sent back a very nice note after 3 months saying they didn't publish the genre but suggested a number of other publishers that did - one of which was the publisher who'd accepted.

Anyway, apart from being over the moon, I was thinking - 'wow, maybe I'll sell a few books. Maybe I might make $50 or even $100'.

Well, that was certainly underestimation by me. I ended up selling enough to buy myself a new car and a few other luxuries.

Life is funny. It has a way of turning out as we least expect it. I never thought I become an author, much less have 17 books published. Those forks in the road are unexpected but sometimes they lead us to place we had only dreamt of.

Yes - sometimes things happen that we'd rather forget, roads we wished we'd never gone down, people we'd rather not have met but even those bad things are karmic. They make us who we are. They colour our lives.

Now I'm an author I use those experiences - both good and bad - in my books.

I get to kill of people who bug me, I get to make heroes of those that inspire me or those unforgettable men who I see for a fleeting moment in the street. I get to put my day-dreams into print and share them with the world.

Man, I wouldn't swap my life for anyone!

If you're interested in reading any of my books don't forget to check out my author blog and website!

But be warned they are not for the faint-hearted.

They are extremely explicit in language and sexual descriptions and most definitely unsuitable for under 18s and those who shudder at the thought of four letter words.... :)

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Food Gloriious Food...


Had a great week with my eldest grandson. Not only did we go to the drive-in, went shopping, visited people and drove around, we enjoyed some yummy food.

Went to breakfast the other day - most delicious. I had poached eggs and my handsome grandson had the works.

Then we decided to have a Mexican night - tortillas. They tasted great!

Earlier in the week we dropped into the Lindt Factory Outlet and collected some delicious chocolates. They had a 50% off for the Pick n' Mix so naturally we filled up a box each.

I filled mine witth the Hazelnut Chocs. By carefully layering them I got 1.5kg in the box - $25 instead of $110!

Cinnamon Custard Nachos
Sometimes you just have to spoil yourself.

Today (Saturday) did a little family fun and went to a new place called Lickits - a frozen custard place.
Cookie Lover's Sunda
My younger son and his family joined us for some unbelievable frozen custard.

Couldn't believe the size of the sundaes!

Death by Brownie
Banana Split




Thursday, 22 June 2017

ASD, Cars and Keyboards ...

Youngest son's wife was in hospital, so we had a worrying time again but thankfully all her results  have come back clear.

I really wonder what on earth has happened to my family and me in the past almost twelve months. It's like every horrid thing has rained down on us. Just when we think we can start breathing again something else happens.

Youngest granddaughter's results have come back - ASD, SPD and ADHD. Now the psychologist wants to have her elder sister tested because she is certain she has SPD as well and as that often goes hand in glove with ASD it makes sense.

Second eldest grandson has also been diagnosed as ASD - he was diagnosed a little while ago so they (elder son and wife) are a little further down the track than younger son and family.

Really isn't surprising given the amount in the family with ASD.

I've just immersed myself in my writing in hopes that all the bad things will disappear and no longer notice me or the kids.

Got an email from my Holden dealer to say my Trax Active is due for it's 9 month/15000km service on my birthday, the17th - had to laugh as I have just done 3000km.

Still I've booked it in for mid next month, the 19th. I have my eldest grandson for the first week of the school holidays starting July 1 so that km figure will go up but not by much.

The letters on my keyboard have worn off on many of the keys as you can see. Fortunately I touch type so don't need to look at the keyboard but I have to admit it annoys me.

Anyway I was checking out something else on Ebay when I saw an ad for a keyboard skin for my type/brand of laptop. Sent off for one from China for $2 and guess what? I now have letters!

And pretty ones at that!

Fits perfectly but it does feel funny. Once I've used it for a few days I think it will be fine. Who knows it might even inspire a new book!

Anyway, now I can sit with a rainbow in front of me as I type and dream of unicorns instead of my usual sexy men....

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Words, words, words ... and UPDATE ...

So I might have been wallowing in a huge pity party but I did manage a great achievement. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I joined the RWA (Romance Writers of Australia) challenge - 50k In May.

Well, I exceeded every expectation I had. I wrote 91,292 words!!!

When I find out the group total I'll post it as an update at the end of this post. Some had personal goals of 10k or 20k, others 50k or higher. Think there were about 60-80 of us in the challenge. We were hoping to break the 1 million mark!

I finished one manuscript and started another. It was a fabulous motivation. There were days I only wrote 50 words and other days were I couldn't stop filling page after page.

The wonderful camaraderie from everyone who participated was what made it all worth while.

So now I've got a MS to do a 2nd  draft on and a new WIP to continue with.

Positive motivations, positive re-enforcement can do wonders. A simple 'well done' or 'great work' inspires you to do more. - far more than 'is that all!' or 'you're not that good'.

People forget that words harm. Get told 'I wish I'd never met you' and it burns into the brain, hurting deeply, never to leave. They fill you with insecurities but get told 'you're nice' and watch how those simple words make a person feel good about themselves.

Anyway, I've ended May on a little high and hope that June will bring a much happier theme to my life.

UPDATE: Our courageous captain for 50k in May just posted this -

We cracked the million! You all totally rock. 

The 48 authors who posted their end-of-challenge totals produced 1,193,431 brand new shinny words. Congratulations to you all.


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Slowly Getting Back ...

Have you ever gone through a phase where you have no idea of who you are, where you are or what's happening?

That's me at the moment -things have been so chaotic, so mentally draining since last August. During the past week I think things have finally turned a corner.

The cancer spectre will always be hanging over the family, ready to attack if we're not careful.

But all the other terrible things have appeared to either be resolved or finally come to an end. It's unbelievable how many horrid things have happened in such a short period of time. But we've survived - somehow.

I'm drained.

My family always rely on me to be the strong one and I try hard to keep them happy and take away as much pain and worry as I can but it has it's effects.

I want to curl up in a ball and howl. I want to feel someone's arms around me, holding me tight and telling me everything will be okay. Of course none of that will happen.

I'll do my usual reaction of taking a deep breath and pretending I'm fine. It helps to not have anyone around except the kids. They have no idea.....lol.

Anyway, I've immersed myself in writing - written over 80,000 words this month. It's a great way to deal with the pain, the loneliness. I write myself a sexy handsome hero for my make believe world .... hahaha.

So finally I'm slowly getting back to the land of the living.

As well I've vegged out on a couple of series - Sherlock with Martin Freeman. Now that's good. But even better was the first and second series of The Tunnel- the French/English production.

Fabulous acting and great scripts as good as Broadchurch.

It helps to numb the pain by mindlessly watching episode after episode.

The only high spot is my latest book is out and it's reached my publisher's best selling top 5!

Whoohoo!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Thunderclap ...

If you can spare a minute can you support my Thunderclap campaign for my latest book release?

If I get to my supporters amount then on May 27 just one single post will be made on your Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr account (or all 3 if you support on each).

It will help me to reach a wider audience. Just click the link below. Big thank you!




Book 5 in the Dark Desires series is available for pre-order (15% discount).
OUT: Wednesday, May 17th
http://www.bookstrand.com/book/elephants-and-ever-afters


* * * * *

In case you're wondering about the last post - yes more rotten stuff - honestly I just wish all these horrid things would go away.

Monday, 8 May 2017

My New Book ...

My latest book is now available for pre-order - 15% discount! Available for download from May 17th.

http://www.bookstrand.com/book/elephants-and-ever-afters


Thursday, 4 May 2017

Feet and Edits ...

My foot is almost back to normal. It's only sore now where the initial wound was and just needs to heal up. It was a scare I can tell you, especially when the doc told me that before antibiotics cellulitis used to kill!

Anyway, I'm putting it all behind me and moving on.

Have my first round of edits back from the publisher to complete. I was rather chuff when I read the editor's comments - there were only minor mechanical revisions to be done. The editor also wrote they loved the story and the way it unfolded with plenty of drama and interest for the reader.

I also discovered I have trouble with 'passed' and 'past'. I though I got them right in the book but there were a few times when I put in the wrong one. One day I learn. It's like Vocative Case with commas -I used to stuff that up as well...lol.

Anyway, been working on them since the weekend and should have them completed today or tomorrow and sent back to the publisher. Then I will be able to start on my 50k in May - I hope to get one of my WIP finished. Well at least get it all down then ready for the big 'edit' read-through I do when I first finish a MS.

I never actually edit as I go, I'd rather get the story down first of all then go back through it. Usually I end up cutting bits out, adding others, moving chapters around before sending it off to my Beta readers for their opinions.

Younger son is feeling a lot better, his stitches are out and the wound is healing nicely. We all have our fingers crossed that it, the melanoma, and the bowel cancer are things of the past.


Thanks for you best wishes, I've had so many lovely emails! I've passed them on to him and he sends you his sincere thanks.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Yay!.....

My foot is responding to all the antibiotics I'm swallowing ....

Doc is very happy - no hospital stay for me! Oh and no foreign body in the orginal wound.

I don't think I could have handled going into hospital for a week after all that's happened in the past twelve months.

So I am feeling on top of the world!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Never Rains - It Pours...

A few weeks back I had my grandson staying with me for a while - we had lots of fun but one evening I scrapped my foot on a nail, it's almost between my big toe and the next - underneath. Cleaned it up and thought no more of it.

Today I had to go to the doctors about it.

My foot is so very sore, and twice the normal size as well as being red. Oh dear something isn't right.

Yep - infected and also now have cellutis in my foot. Had to have a tetanus shot, on 2 different types of antibiotics and then had to go have a X-ray. Doc is worried there may be rust in the original injury.

Nurse cleaned up the wound and dressed it for me. Have to go back with the X-rays tomorrow. Big chance I will have to go into hospital for a week on intravenous antibiotics. I'm supposed to keep my foot elevated and keep off it for at least the next four or five days .... mmm.

Had to go and have the X-ray today. Need to go out and pick them up tomorrow then go back to the doc. Also have a dental appointment in Penrith.

Well, I'll keep off it and keep it up today. Have to use it a lot tomorrow but I'll try and behave Friday and the weekend.

I just hope this terrible pain goes away quick.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Dealing with Being Alone...

Feel weird ... well maybe weirder ... lol.

Sometimes loneliness ready hits hard and I struggle. At the moment that's what's happening. All the drama and worries of the past five months have all but settled. Still one thing left to sort out and once that's solved the kids (and me) can get back to 'normal'. Maybe that's why being alone has set in hard.

Haven't done much painting or writing during this time but I did manage to finish one book that I started last year and sent it off to the publisher. Once again they have faith in me and have accepted it. At this point in time it looks like it will be out electronically mid-May and then print form early next year.

It's so exciting to know that I really am an author - those books on the shelves of my bookcase, the quarterly royalties, the pages on book shops that sell my books... even the car in my carport. They all confirm that I'm an author - and with this new book I will have 18 books published in my name and one more as an author in an anthology with 6 other authors.

What reinforces it even more is that my 18 books weren't self-published - they were all taken up by a well-known successful publishing house.

On top of that I realise I do have to get out more. I've locked myself away from the world for the past 6 years and I need to get out. I have to push passed the disappointments and pains from my past and get back into life. My self-esteem and self-worth were given a big knock and I know I'm not fully 'normal'. Instead I like to think of myself as a talented if slightly demented person...lol.

With that in mind once the school holidays finish I want to get out a paint 'en plien air' at least once a month.

As well I've joined a '50k in May' group of Australian romance authors. The idea is to encourage each other and keep to the goal of writing 50k words during May. I have a MS that I started but stalled on so decided I will finish that during May. We have to post daily - or at least every few days - our writing totals and what our goal is.

My goal is at least a 80k MS. I have 15k done already. If I can get to the 50k mark by the end of May I will be very happy.

I also started a local writing group - yep that was bloody brave (or insane) of me. We meet the first Saturday of the month. This coming meet will be our third. Still it doesn't seem to solve my feelings of loneliness... not sure how you get passed them but I intend to. Being alone as an introvert leads to over-thinking and somehow that loneliness becomes addictive.

Because I'm an introvert I can go months without talking to another human being without any problem.

But then suddenly start feeling morose and alone. I am sure at the moment it is a culmination of the year's worries and problems. My plans with writing and painting will surely help to dispel those feelings and I'll be back to my usual insane self soon.

Sorry this seems a rather morbid post - guess that's to be expected. I'm confident the next one will be more uplifting as much as the last post was!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Big Sigh of Relief ...

Son got his few dozen stitches out and his results .... CLEAR!!

Big thankful sigh of relief all round. In August he has to have another colonoscopy follow-up for the bowel cancer and now in October he had to have a follow-up on this new cancer.

The surgeon is very happy with the results - he did take an enormous chunk out and told son he was confident he'd got it all but to get the actual 2nd biopsy results are a dream.

Son just needs to heal then he will look for a new job (hasn't been able to work this year), still in the same industry but as a supervisor.

Now all we have to do is get ourselves back to normal.

Thanks once again for your good wishes - they worked!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Quick Update ....

Surgery's all done - huge chunk removed but surgeon is very happy. He is very confident that he removed all the cancerous cells and we can only hope he's right.

Now we have to wait a few weeks for the biopsy result but at least the bloody thing is cut out.

Big thank you to those who've sent me emails, I'm positive I've answered them all.... xx

Also to all those who posted comments - I have to apologise.

I accidentally deleted the comments this morning when I logged in for the first time since my last post and found them all waiting for my approval to post.

Beats me how I managed to do that but please understand I'm not firing on all cylinders but I do appreciate them all, even if I didn't get to read them - so an extra big thank you and kiss to those who posted those deleted comments!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

I'll Be Back ...

I'll be back ....

Once my family crises have all been either resolved or managed. Added to the list of worries - DIL is in hospital as we speak with severe chest pains - not sure what's happening as they (the medicos) are still doing a battery of tests, scans and xrays.

Big thank you to all those who took the time to send me an email wishing my son good luck and a speedy recovery, they are really appreciated. We have our fingers and toes crossed that the cancer will have been contained and not metastasized. His surgeon is extremely confident so all we can do is hope he's right.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Jury Duty ...

Last December I received a letter saying I was now on the roll for Jury Duty for the next 12 months. This is the third time I've received the dreaded letter. The first two times I was able to get out of it - 1st time because I was married to a serving Police officer, the 2nd time because I was a full-time carer.

This time I had no excuse so I kept my fingers crossed and hoped for the best. No such luck.

So a few weeks back I got a letter .... yep. I'd been called for duty. From February 28th for a trial estimated to last 4 weeks. Not impressed.

Nervously waited for the 27th because on that day I had to ring in the late afternoon to see if I was still required. Knowing how rotten my luck is I was sure they would want me still.

Oh joy! Oh bliss!

Rejected - but only until the 28th November. Then I'm still on the roll until the 5th January.

Feel like I've escaped Mordor ... lol.

Actually I am very relieved because it hasn't been a good year so far. Son diagnosed with Cancer, granddaughter diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and 90% sure she is also autistic. Suggestion that other granddaughter may also be ASD.

A few other shitty things have happened so having to sit through a four week trial was something I just wasn't looking forward to one little bit.

I'm just hoping that this means things are looking brighter - that son's surgery goes well and nothing else happens.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Winter Wonders ...

Zacopane
 It's that time of the year again when I put up with 43c+ temps and watch the Winter sports ... Alpine skiing, the Super G, the slalom, the ski jump.

I can sit in front of the TV at night and pretend that snow is outside my window and not the bloody heat.

Dave Ryding
I'm not a great one for watching sports but I do love watching the ski jumpers and the Super G. The only other sport I tend to watch is the Tour de France.

My favourite ski jumper is flying again this year - Noriaki Kasai - but he is being outdone by the younger guns. I have to say I love the style of Kamil Stoch, no wonder he's so popular. Last night's win on the Large Hill in Zacopane (Poland) shows he is on the rise.
Marcel Hirscher
Marcel Hirscher

The last two nights of slalom have been exciting to watch. The first night saw so may miss gates, many of the favourites. Then British skier Dave Ryding literally flew down the piste at an unbelievable speed.


He was leading after the first run but was beaten by Marcel Hirscher by 0.76 seconds. Marcel had a blinding run - he was 1.02 seconds behind going into the second run but stormed through to take first place.

Watching it you have you heart in your mouth as they leap out of the box and race down the mountain at breath-taking speeds. The hairpin turns, the close gates, the slick skis storming across the snow. Love it.

But in saying that I absolutely adore watching the skiers take off on the jumps  - to fly through the air for over a hundred metres. 

What must they think when they're sitting at the gate waiting for the green flag?

The way they soar, bodies stiff, almost parallel to the ground. The the landing - will they stay upright? 

Yep sure beats going outside in 43c heat ... lol

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Stupid Traffic ...

Last week I met up with a friend I'd met years ago through facebook. They live on the other side of Australia near Perth so it was exciting to finally meet up. A couple of my other FB friends joined us for lunch - we all belong to the same online photography group. The other two live locally and I've meet up with them a number of times through the past few years.

Anyway, the meeting was being held about 35-40 mins, just 28 kilometres (17 miles) away from me - at 11:30am. Just to be on the safe side and because I have to be early (lol) I left at 10:30 only to hit traffic on the M2 highway.

I sat in line with thousands of others moving a fraction of a metre forward every ten minutes or so and getting absolutely nowhere - rarely getting out of first gear!

After being in line for over thirty minutes and still having another 4 kilometres before the turn-off to Pennant Hills Road I figured enough was enough.

Pulled out of the line and continued through to the next turn off about at Christie Road Macquarie Park then drove around a half circle and came back onto the M2 going back the way I'd come. I'd noticed there was no traffic on the Pennant Hills exit coming from the city whereas the other way the build-up was almost 7 kilometres long.

So I breeze up the exit feeling rather smug until ... I turned onto Pennant Hills road and came to an abrupt stop.

The traffic was stationary. The same creeping a metre forward every minute or so and it continued all the way for 10 kilometres to the start of the M1. Thank goodness I wasn't going onto the M1 because I heard on the radio that the crawling traffic continued along the M1 for another 8 or so kilometres before it finally began to move ... albeit slowly but at least it was moving.

I really should have exited onto Ryde Road and onto the Pacific highway although I still would have been caught in the traffic - just not a much.

Anyway instead taking me 40 minutes at the most it took 2 hours and 10 minutes. Needless to say I was late but so were the other two coming from my direction. I was able to let my Perth friend know we'd be late as I actually played leap frog with one of my friends along the road ...  😳

Anyway the four of us had a lovely lunch - her husband joined us for a drink and a laugh then with nervous trepidation I began the trip home only to have no traffic and it took 35 minutes!

The moral of this tale is (and yes I was an idiot) -

Never try and go north from out Sydney's west during the Christmas break because every idiot and his dog are trying to do the same thing!