Saturday, October 22, 2005

Life and stuff

It's been a busy week, with one thing and another. Work is busy and I've worked a few late evenings; I got off my butt and went to the gym one night; we've been having very frustrating modem problems at home with consequent limited, slow, internet access, and to top it all off, on Wednesday my mother had a minor stroke.

She's 500 miles away, and at times like these I really feel that distance. She's recovering very well, but as my father is disabled and can't care for her, and she's currently not able to care for him, it makes a tricky situation. My sister's been doing a great job, but it's quite a load.

So, I'll head down to Canberra in a few days to help out for a week or so, when Mum gets out of hospital. And support them, along with my sister, in finding out information about long-term assistance and talking through the possibilities. It's a very hard time for them both.

Just when I thought I wouldn't be going away again before Christmas, I'm off again....

But in other news, I had a fantastic chat/brainstorm session with some of the Belfrights this morning, working on a background plot for a trilogy I've been outlining. Bouncing ideas off each other is great fun and generates much creativity, so I really enjoyed it. I also solved a few plot issues in the process ;-)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Simple pleasures

I'm enjoying playing with my new digital camera. I think it's meeting a need for me at the moment to be able to do something creative that has quick results. My other creative activites - writing, weaving, knitting - take so long to produce results that they're not as recharging for the soul as I need just now. However, with the camera, I can take it to work, photograph things during the day or on the way home, pop it in my pocket while walking the dogs, and then download and edit photos during the 'scrappy' time between getting home and after dinner, when I don't have much chance to do other things. So, by the time I sit down for the evening stretch of writing, working, or whatever, I've done something creative and produced something beautiful - and I feel good about it.

And talking about feeling good, today has been a day of simple pleasures and good things. A brainstorm (via IM chat) with writing friends in Canada, Australia and various parts of the US this morning; lunch with DH and a friend we haven't seen for ages whom I bumped into on the way to the cafe; teaching an informal workshop this afternoon to a fun group of fellow spinners and weavers; being inspired by some finished work brought in - a handspun/dyed/knitted rug, and a handwoven jacket; and a walk with the dogs in light rain this evening. There's some photos from the day up on my photo blog.

Now I've got a couple of hours in which to write... and I feel relaxed and ready to.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Author day thanks

Thank you to everyone who called in to our Author Day - and my humble apologies for the technical hassles during my hour! When yahoo stopped us reading messages from the website it created problems for me, as my email was coming in slowly, out of order, and/or not at all - and our modem kept dropping out (would you believe, messages were still coming into my gmail account 11 hours later??? No wonder I couldn't follow anything!!)

Huge thanks to Gerrie and Donica for stepping into the breach and helping out - I really appreciated it!

And congratulations to the winners of the sets of photographs - I'll put those into the mail (carefully protected with thick cardboard) in the next day or so, and will send them airmail.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Author Day Schedule

Below is the schedule for the Belfry Collective's Author Day, which starts in just a few hours. My hosting shift is from 4pm-5pm NY time, which is 6am-7am my time - but I'll try and pop in to say hello at other times, too. (I'll also do my best to be vaguely intelligent during my shift - but I warn you, 6am is not my best time!)

Pleasse do come and join the fun! You'll find the Author Day yahoo group at:

World Clock Configuration
6 am New York (EST) = 8 pm Canberra, Australia

Times shown are US EST:

6 am-7 am– Sweet Romance & Confessions, Highlighting Gerrie Shepard

7 am-8 am Women’s Fiction & Christmas Stories. Hosted by Gerrie Shepard
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Bobby Cole, Gerrie Shepard, and Merry Stahel

8 am-9 am Time Travel, Mystery, & Intrigue Hosted by Merry Stahel
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Merry Stahel, Donica Covey, and Liz Wolfe

9 am-10 am Erotic Romance Hosted by Lyn Cash
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Lyn Cash and Ann Wesley Hardin

10 am-11 am Romantic Suspense and Thriller Hosted by author, Liz Wolfe
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Liz Wolfe, and Bronwyn Parry

11 am–Noon Mainstream and Suspense. Hosted by author Merry Stahel
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Bobby Cole, Donica Covey and Shara Jones

12 pm-1 pm Suspense and Mainstream cont. Hosted by author Shara Jones
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Shara Jones, Sheila Holloway

1 pm-2 pm Hen lit and Chick lit Mysteries. Hosted by author Liz Wolfe
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Liz Wolfe and Bobby Cole

2 pm-3 pm Romance, Mystery, & Mayhem. Hosted by author Shara Jones
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Heather Rae Scott, Liz Wolfe and Lyn Cash

3 pm-4 pm Another hour of Erotic Romance. Hosted by author Lyn Cash
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Ann Wesley Hardin, Lyn Cash, and Alexis Fleming

4 pm-5 pm An hour with an Aussie flavor. Hosted by authors Alexis Fleming and Bronwyn Parry
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Alexis Fleming, and Bronwyn Parry.

5 pm-6 pm = Erotic and Sexy Romance. Hosted by Christine Zubko
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Dee Tenorio, Kris Starr, and Christine Zubko

6 pm-7 pm Contemporary Romance. Hosted by Christine Zubko
Authors highlighted in this hour are, Dee Tenorio, Donica Covey, and Christine Zubko

Sunday, October 09, 2005

New photo journal

I've succumbed!

I've got a new journal for photos:

I'll fix up links from this journal etc tomorrow.

Don't expect photos everyday, but since the camera is small and fits into my purse, I'll carry it around with me.

Birthday surprise

As well as being the Belfry Author day, it's my birthday on Tuesday. (I'll be 23. Again*.) DH gave me my present early - a brand new digital camera, all for my very own** - so I'd have time to enjoy it over the weekend.

I'm still learning how to use it, because it has a gazillion settings, but above is a photo of my writing corner - the one I set up a week or so ago after totally rearranging the spare bedroom and getting rid of a heap of stuff. And you can just see a bit of view of bushland outside that window. While I'm writing, I can watch the kangaroos, wallabies, birds - and even the snakes ;-)

*I've been 23 for a lot of years.
**I had been using DH's first one, an ancient model bought in 1997.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

More on Author Day...

Don't forget - October 11th, 6am to 8pm US EST - more info here.
(That's 8pm 11th to 10am 12th Aus EST)

What will there be??
  • Authors from the Belfry Collective to talk with
  • Excerpts of our books
  • Fun contests
Did I mention the prizes??? As well as free books and a heap of other fantastic prizes, my contribution to the prize pool is two sets of four beautiful 10" x 8" photo enlargements, suitable for framing, of Australian wildflowers - some of the photos from my website. They're some of my DH's photos, all taken around our place. (You can see more of his photos at his photoblog.)

I'll give away one set during my hour (4pm-5pm US EST) and the other set will be given away sometime during the rest of the day.

So, come along, meet the Belfrights, and have fun!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Belfry Collective Author Day

My critique group, The Belfry Collective, is holding it's first Author Day on October 11th, 6am to 8pm US EST (October11-12 for Australians).

There'll be authors hosting, excerpts posted, contests and prizes - a heap of fun!

There's information about the day here.

I'll be hosting for an hour or so from 4-5pm US EST time (6-7am Wednesday 12th, Australian eastern time), but I'll also be popping in when I can during the rest of the day.

And in other Belfry happenings, it was my turn to blog again this morning - so you can read my ramblings here.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


There's a contest over at my friend Shara Jones' blog, and you could win book 'undies' - beautifully beaded thong bookmarks that Shara has made. Plus you get to talk to an author or aspiring author.

All you have to do is go to Shara's blog, pick one of the authors she's linked to, ask them one of three listed questions, and then post their answer back in Shara's blog, and you might be the lucky winner. Easy, see?

The authors are all ready and waiting for your questions. Me included. And we were even before Shara decided that if you win, we win ;-) Honest.

So, ask away. I promise not to bite. And I can answer any of the three questions, several times ;-)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Historical romance

There's a reason I don't write historical romance - as a historian, I know how much hard research is needed to get it right. I don't often read them, either, because it's rare to find one without the sort of errors that make my teeth grate.

I read one this afternoon. And, not only was it an historical romance, it was set in colonial Australia - and written by an American. It's to her credit that I finished it (I wouldn't have bothered if elements of the story hadn't been good), but the ground-down state of my teeth is testament to the fact that it is very difficult to write an historical romance, and particularly risky setting it in a place you don't know really well - because there are always annoying readers who do know the place and history. In this case, my knowledge of the time and place wasn't due to formal studies or research, but rather to family history, because my g-g-g-grandfather was a convict in the mid-19th century.

The book was set in 1858, and the hero had recently been transported as a convict to Australia - except transportation to New South Wales actually finished in 1853. The author kept referring to the 'New South Wales prison' and the warden's progressive attitude in assigning convicts to work with local farmers - obviously unaware that the vast majority of convicts in my country's history had been assigned, rather than kept in irons. There was also the constant threat of sending the hero to Norfolk Island, but Norfolk Island had been abandoned as a penal colony in 1855.

The author tried; she really did, and at a guess I'd say she'd spent some time here, but maybe she tried to put too much in, and the inconsistencies tripped her up. Like talking on one page about how bad the drought was, and only a short time later describing kangaroos in waist-high grass. She also went on about the heroine's problems of being constantly surrounded by prisoners - murderers, rapists, thieves - and the lack of any polite society for her to mix with. Hhhmmm... by 1858, only a small proportion of the population were convicts, and there definitely was polite society, even though it might not have quite reached the dizzy heights of London. The heroine lived near Parramatta, a major centre, and there were plenty of gentile women in that area by then. Heck, there was very polite society in my town by then - 400 miles into the bush from Parramatta!

I *did* finish the book, because despite a zillion very distracting errors, the relationship between the hero and the heroine was nicely drawn. I won't rush to read it again, though - my teeth can only take so much!

Article posted

This afternoon, I finally finished an article I'd drafted a while back on tips for writers' web pages.

It's posted on The Belfry Collective web site now:

I hope that it's useful!