Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Best wishes to all for a joyful Christmas, and a wonderful 2008.

Our Christmas tree is only a simple. small one, but I think it's pretty:

And to continue in the seasonal traditions, I baked another batch of fruit mince tarts today - I wonder how long they'll last??

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Solstice surprise

My DH isn't much into Christmas, so I usually give him a gift, or a special dinner, for the Summer Solstice.

This year I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, but I did come across some shelving on special at the hardware shop. Since we don't have a shed or garage, most of our shed-type stuff is stored in the carport, and it's been getting steadily untidier as we've acquired more equipment for our outback trips. The local black snake can find plenty of places to hide, which isn't a good thing.

So, on Friday, for a Solstice Surprise, I spent a fair amount of the day while the DH was at work putting together the shelves, sweeping out the accumulated dust, debris and spiders, and using the shelves to tidy up a large amount of stuff.

This is before the tidy up, and below is after:

Despite aching bits of my anatomy from hours of hammering together shelves by myself, I was pleased with the outcome, and so, too, was DH, which is what matters.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Snuggle time

No, this photo wasn't 'staged'. Ted lives in and around the basket; he's a favourite toy of our other dog, Tansy, who loves to play 'fetch Ted' (not to mention have a chew of Ted.) Jaffa, The Princess Dog, isn't much into games, but she does like to snuggle into things, and on this occasion Ted served the purpose.

This was taken not long after both dogs had been clipped, hence the shorter-than-usual fur.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Catching up, and cuteness

Oops. It's been a while since I posted in here. It really doesn't seem like two months, but that's what the dates say!

So, what's been happening? I had a great meeting in Sydney last week with my publisher, and met quite a few of the fantastic team who will be working on and marketing my book.

I went up to Sydney from Canberra, where I went to give a paper at the conference of The Australian Association of Writing Programs, and also to take the opportunity to see the family - especially my niece, who's off to France tomorrow for a 3 month stay with a host family. I had fun, shopping for shoes and clothes for her, and helping her to pack!

I've submitted my resignation from my day job, and will finish up there next week. I'm planning to take the opportunity to focus for the next 12 months on building my writing career. I'll probably be doing some casual work and maybe some short-term project work as well, but the writing will be top priority. I'm almost counting the hours until my freedom, next Thursday! I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to take this opportunity, so I'm intending to make the best of it. I have another novel to finish by July, and I'm hoping to have the third one well underway, if not almost finished, before the end of next year.

Spring is about to give way to Summer here, and as we've had good rains recently, the landscape has a fair amount of green, and the dams are close to full. The wildlife is doing it's thing - one of the two wallabies we see around has a little joey, the turtles are laying eggs, the swallows in the carport are raising their second brood for the year, and this afternoon, when I took the dogs for a walk, we saw this:

Koalas are very shy creatures, and hard to spot when they're up in the trees, so we only see them a couple of times a year. Today was my lucky day!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Call Story

There have been requests for my Call Story. On one of my email lists, Anna Campbell said I had to make sure to include every squeal. Does that mean I have to include every cough, sneeze and wheeze, too?

Yes, I was sick, suffering from a really bad cold or flu. On Thursday a week ago, agent Clare Forster from Curtis Brown Australia, who'd been considering the manuscript, offered representation, and we had a good phone discussion (interspersed with coughs and yes, a squeal or two), the result of which was that she'd email the agency agreement the following day for me to consider.

Thursday night I had to sleep in the recliner chair, rather than bed, so that I could breathe AND sleep. The manuscript was with a publisher, and we knew it would be discussed at a meeting on Friday, but didn't expect any decisions from them for a while. So, I was off work again on Friday, and when the phone rang mid-morning I muttered a mild swear word as I trudged from the study through to the living room thinking it might be a tele-marketer.

It was Bernadette Foley from Hachette, very excited, offering to buy my books. And there was me, trying to be professional and coherent while coughing and squeaking. It's one thing to imagine seeing your book on the shelves - I'm sure every aspiring writer has done that almost daily! - but quite another to have a publisher enthusiastically discussing books and plans and careers, and making it real :-) When she emailed through the offer letter on Friday afternoon I confess I did check who it was addressed to, because I did think 'Wow. Are they really talking about me and my books??'

Clare has been fantastic, discussing options with me, explaining things, and discussing details with Hachette during the past week. The manuscript was also out a couple of places elsewhere, so we needed to decide what we wanted to do. For two days of this, I didn't have a voice, which quietened down my squealing a bit. Yesterday, we decided that yes, we did want to accept the offer. Clare phoned Bernadette, I phoned my DH, and then Bernadette phoned me. Yes, there was excitement. And some squealing. Constrained, professional squealing of course :-) And a lot of grinning.

I'm still a little shell-shocked, and trying to get my head around the shift from 'aspiring writer' to 'author', but I do feel incredibly privileged and thrilled that I'll be working with such wonderful and experienced people.

The DH brought home champagne and Chinese food for dinner for a small celebration, and it was nice to just enjoy the moment with him. We'll probably go out for dinner next week with some friends.

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged, cheered, supported, and been with me along the way. I suppose it's possible that I might have been able to do it alone, but it would have been a long hard struggle, and not the rich and heart-warming journey that I've experienced.

Friday, September 28, 2007

It's official - I've sold!

It's been an amazing week or so for me. Last Thursday, I had an offer of representation from a agent with a great depth of industry experience, Clare Forster from Curtis Brown Australia. The following day, I received an offer for my books.

Now that all the discussions are finalised, I'm thrilled and over the moon to be able to say that I've today accepted the offer from Hachette Livre Australia (one of Australia's major publishers) for two books :-)

This is for my GH winning book, and the next one. The titles will change, and I'm not quite sure yet which name I'll be writing under, but I'll sort that out in the next few days.

They will be published in Australia as a trade paperback under the Hachette Australia imprint, with the first book probably out next September. Bernadette Foley and her colleagues at Hachette have been wonderful and enthusiastic, and I'm really looking forward to working with them.

The DH is bringing home a celebratory pizza, and I'm hoping some champagne, too! We'll go out for a proper dinner celebration some time over the weekend or next week, but town's a bit far away to go back in there tonight.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Media article

There's a short article in The Australian today about my research and my writing. It wasn't the best interview I've ever given, but it's come out okay. The journalist interviewed me on a busy day a few weeks ago, not long after I'd done a radio interview, and it didn't really click in my head while we were talking that he was doing the article for the Higher Education section, so I didn't gear my answers properly for that readership, or give him a great angle for the story. Oh, well - I'm learning! Next time, I'll do better :-)

Friday, September 21, 2007


I've been juggling too many things lately; although my job went back to part-time, I've added some casual work and some consultancy work this month, plus I had almost a week in Canberra a week or two back, visiting my folks. It was great to have some time with them; I saw my sister and mother in August in Sydney, but I hadn't seen my Dad, or my sister's family, for months.

My niece and nephew are growing up rapidly - and wonderfully! At 16 and 13, they're young adults I'm delighted to know and spend time with. We celebrated my mother's 75th birthday while I was there, which was a heap of fun, and special to have that time with her and the family.

Then it was back home again, and back to working on all the various tasks on my To Do list. Things will quieten down after the next week or so, though, and I'll be able to have some more concentrated writing time, which I'm looking forward to. I could have done without the bad cold, and throat and sinus infection, but that's going to be better any day now, right?

And speaking of juggling - this morning I didn't do it so well. While washing up my favourite mug after breakfast, I dropped it and broke it :-( I bought a gorgeous pair of pottery mugs with matching sugar bowl and milk jug in New Zealand, back in 1980, and I've used them almost every day since. One was broken a while ago, but I glued it back together and still use it with care. However, this one now has its handle in multiple pieces, and while I can probably glue it together, I don't think I'd trust having hot tea in a mug with a dodgy handle. Here's a photo I took ages ago, before the crash:

I'm going to miss that mug - 27 years is a long relationship!

Monday, August 27, 2007


It's been a rough few weeks, with too much work and not enough good stuff. However, rather than complaining (again) about that, I'll just mention in passing that the winter is coming to an end, we've had two gorgeous spring-weather days after a week of desperately-needed rain, the wattles are coming out in flower, blossoms in town are blooming, the willows down by Burying Ground Creek have a sheen of green, there's a gorgeous magnolia out on my way to work, the blue wrens are busy flitting around outside the kitchen window, and there are a fair few wallabies, wallaroos, and kangaroos down in our bottom paddock.

So, my life's definitely got some simple joys in it. :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I had great time at the RWAustralia conference in Sydney at the weekend - it was wonderful to catch up with people, and there was the extra bonus of having my mother and sister each spend some time in Sydney with me. (Mum would have been there longer, but unfortunately had to go home after one night as Dad was ill.)

Highlights were the awards dinner, and some quiet time catching up with my friend Jennie Adams - over a plate of 'High Tea' cakes in the hotel restaurant :-) - and seeing my friend Mel Scott win the well-deserved (and very prestigious!) Emerald Award.

I got home late on Sunday afternoon, collapsed in a heap of exhaustion with a book, went to bed, and then returned to the madness that is my day job on Monday morning.

I know I've been overdoing things lately, and it's really hit me this week, with a perpetual migraine keeping me company, and constant fatigue. The day job is insanely busy, and since returning from Dallas, I have only had one weekend where I've been able to spend most of it at home.

So, I'm looking forward to this weekend. I don't have anything I have to do on either day, and if I'm really lucky I won't even go into town. And then next week, my job reverts to half-time hours - the pressure will still be on, as the work doesn't go away, but I'll have two extra days at home each week. I have some consulting work to do next month, and some marking work for the uni, but at least I don't have to drag myself in for a full-on, brain-draining day at the office every day.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Version 2,987....

I'm supposed to be sending out my book to the two agents and two editors who have requested it. One wanted a long synopsis - but did I have a long synopsis? Nope. I can write a decent short synopsis, but the long synopsis has proved a challenge.

However, it's almost done now - only the last couple of paragraphs to do, the ones which summarise the resolution of the book and the final scene.

Yep, the final scene. The one I'm still not happy with, despite having done multiple versions of it, and having submitted the book to contests and done well. I'm not really up to version 2,987, but it feels like it. The only other scene I had this much trouble with in the book was the love scene.

I worked on the scene again last night, and I'm feeling a bit happier with the revised approach; I think it better captures the tone of the book, and will be optimistic and positive without glossing over or belittling the real challenges still ahead for the characters, and the drama they have experienced. It needs to be quite tight, word-count and pacing-wise, it needs to be realistic, but it also needs to have enough in it to assure the reader that these two people will be able to make their relationship a long and joyful one.

Last scenes in romances are definitely a challenge. Often, when reading books, I'm left with a slight sense of dissatisfaction - either it's too rushed, or not enough answered, or the character growth isn't convincing, or the scene has slipped into a standard proposal of marriage and declaration of love, while losing a sense of who the characters have been for the previous few hundred pages.

Nope, it's definitely not easy. I'm hoping to finish this one off tonight, so that I can then print off and parcel up the various packages for the people who have requested them. I'm leaving for the RWAus conference on Thursday, so I want it all sent off by then.

Of course, agonising about this scene has reminded me of a great last scene in a romance that I've read - one that was perfect, absolutely right for the characters and the story, with a wonderful twist right at the end. Which book? Kelly Hunter's Priceless. An absolute gem of a story, brilliant right the way through, and the ending is... priceless :-)

So, any recommendations of other wonderful endings??

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dallas photos

I finally found the lead to download photos from my camera...

A batty gathering on the Sunday morning - L to R, Michele, Pam, moi, Tiana and Theresa.

The awards night - Theresa, me, and the gorgeous Melanie Scott, double GH finalist.

Me with Michele, Tiana and Theresa.

Friday, July 20, 2007

RWA Dallas report

I started writing this post a couple of days ago, but then Blogger seemed to be having a few conniptions and wouldn't save it.

My week in Dallas was a wonderful, amazing time, and I was already glad I went long before I won the Golden Heart. Spending days immersed in the romance genre with people who respect it, love it, read it and write it was inspiring.

Highlights and great memories:

Monday - meeting Penni from the e-Harlequin boards, who collected me from my hotel and showed Wayne Jordan from Barbados and I around Fort Worth. It was a very pleasant day, in great company, and I got to see Texas Longhorn cattle, as a bonus :-)

Monday evening - meeting Tiana, an online friend from e-Harlequin's BatCave, and having dinner with her. Then meeting my Australian roommate for Monday and Tuesday nights - Joanne. I hadn't met Joane before, but we all clicked and the three of us stayed up too late, talking!

Tuesday - Tiana kindly took Joanne and I shopping to the huge Grapevine Mall. I didn't spend heaps of money, but it was fun to see all the different shops, clothes and other items and to spend time with Tiana and Joanne. We did find a sparkly top to wear with my black skirt for the Awards night, so that was something I could stop worrying about.

Wednesday - over to the conference hotel, the Hyatt. We arrived late morning, and the crowds were starting to gather, a definite hum of excitement in the air. I met up with my roommate, Michele, and Theresa, another online friend. It's such a buzz to finally get together with people I've 'known' for ages. I braved the crowds of the literacy signing for a while, but being determined not to collect copious quantities of books (due to luggage restrictions and too-high postage costs), I restrained myself to only buying two books - Anne Stuart's Ice Blue and one from Wayne Jordan.

Thursday the conference program started in earnest. With the PRO retreat, Golden Heart and Golden Network activities, and an agent and editor appointment, my diary already had a fair few entries in it, and as I didn't want to overload myself too much and produce a three-day migraine, I gave myself free-time gaps as well. So, there was a lot I didn't get to, but I did benefit greatly from the things I attended - and I was able to spend time with Tiana, Joanne, Michelle and Theresa, AND read Ice Blue (which I thought was the best of the series; I felt the characters were better developed, suited to each other, and the heroine wasn't TSTL).

Friday morning was my agent pitch, and that went quite well despite my nerves. I came away with a request for a partial and a very positive impression of her and the agency, so I'm definitely hoping that she will like what she reads and offers representation. My editor pitch also went well, resulting in a request for a partial. (This weekend I will finalise the long synopsis that the agent asked for, do the cover letters and get everything ready to post express post on Monday.)

Saturday was a great day - a wonderful workshop in the afternoon with Barbara Samuel, the rehearsal for the GH Awards, enjoyable dinner with Theresa and her roommate, Adrienne, and then the big Awards ceremony.

I was quietly excited about the Awards, and only a little nervous. Being a finalist was such a wonderful thing, a brilliant rich cake that was a fantastic experience and prize in itself. Everyone who saw the 'GH Finalist' ribbon on my name tag was congratulatory and encouraging, sharing the excitement, and the group of GH finalists that I got together with a number of times during the conference were an amazing, warm, and fantastically friendly and supportive group, so I was on a high from all of that. There'd been a quiet voice in my head a few times in the weeks proceeding that every now and then would say, 'you're going to win', but then another practical, logical voice would reply, 'there are 8 finalists, any one of them could win, and they all deserve it and being a finalist is just brilliant, anyway.' (Yes, I'm a writer. There are always lots of conversations going on in my head :-) )

I'd asked Theresa to be my guest in the reserved area - we've been online friends for a while, and share many things in common. We arranged to sit with Melanie Scott and Keri Arthur - Mel was the other Australian GH finalist, and a double finalist, and she and Keri were among the first Australian romance writers I'd met, back in 2004, at a mini-conference in Canberra, so it was special to share the occasion with them.

All the GH finalists looked gorgeous - beautiful formal dresses, sparkling eyes, and everyone genuinely wishing each other well. I was proud to be part of such a generous group. I get emotional, and when the lights went down and the ceremony started, I was teary and trying to keep from sniffling with the joy of it all. When Theresa turned to me and told me how proud she was of me finalling, and how honoured she was to be sharing this with me, it was a struggle not to have full-on waterworks. (The voice that said, 'you know your face and nose go all red and blotchy when you cry' helped :-) )

There were a few glitches in the order of the slides and announcements for the first couple of GH categories, which was a bit of a bummer and must have stretched the nerves further of those in the early categories. We held our breaths and kept our fingers crossed for Mel in her two categories, but someone else won both. Mel's going great places, though, I'm sure, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we get to drink champagne to a book sale at the RWAus conference next month.

My category was second last, and I can't really describe how I felt by then - excitement, moved by the emotion of the occasion, trying not to cry when each of the finalist's slides went up, because they were all gorgeous and deserved every success. There was a pause while Stephanie Bond, the presenter for the award, opened the envelope, and I'm not sure that I consciously thought anything during that time. I think I did breathe, though - a long, deep breath. Then she said, Falling into Darkness, and I knew I'd won. I stood up, and heard the applause and the cheers, but I was ready to cry again, and I couldn't hug my friends right then, because if I had I knew I'd break out in tears. I remember walking carefully to the stage, conscious of not tripping up the steps in long skirt and high heels, and Stephanie handed me the envelope and the box with the heart pendant. I hadn't written down a speech or notes, but I knew who I wanted to acknowledge: my parents, for showing through 50 years of marriage that love based on a firm foundation of respect and commitment can achieve wonderful things; Gordon, for supporting me to come to Dallas, despite the expense; all the many people in RWA, RWAus, for their support, friendship and encouragement on the writing journey; all the people who had made me feel welcome and among friends at the conference, and congratulated me when they saw the GH finalist ribbon; and my online writing group - I said something along the lines of 'they can be a bit batty at times, but there couldn't be a more supportive, wonderful group of people.'

Afterwards, there were many hugs, a few more tears, lots of smiles and grinning, photos, a glass of wine, dessert, and general celebrations. Later we went up to Joanne's room so I could use her computer to email my family, and I was able to talk to my sister using skype, which was fantastic. (Gordon was off bushwalking, so I couldn't talk to him straight away, although I did email him.)

It was an amazing experience, wonderful and exciting and humbling and inspiring. Thanks to everyone who helped along the way, and who has cheered and celebrated with me. I still look at the card that Stephanie read the announcement from, and get a shiver of excitement. And if some of the above isn't coherent, it's because it's all still too new and amazing to describe in mere words!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Golden Heart

I'm finally home again, after all the excitement of the RWA Conference in Dallas and the absolute, amazing thrill of winning the Golden Heart award for best romantic suspense manuscript.

I'm very, very tired though, and am having trouble locating a functioning braincell, so please excuse this short post! I'll write more later, but in the meantime, my friend Theresa was with me at the awards, and took some photos - you can see them on her blog.

Super congrats also to fellow Australian, Barbara Hannay, who won a RITA Award.

It's time for me to take my jetlagged brain and body off to a warm, cosy bed. I have to go to work tomorrow, so I need a solid night of sleep!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Radio interview online

My interview for ABC Radio National's Bush Telegraph went well this morning - although I was nervous about it because I knew many of my online friends were listening in!

If anyone wants to listen to it, the audio file of the program is now available. It's in the program for Friday 6th July. Click on the audio links to the right to either listen via streaming or download the file. I'm about 26 mins into the program. (The audio files are only online for about two weeks.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Flight reading

I leave on Saturday just before midday, and by the time I get to Dallas, about 48 hours will have elapsed. Not all of that will be on planes; I have almost 24 hours in Sydney, and 4 hours at San Francisco.

However, there's plenty of reading time ahead. I don't want to take too many books, for luggage space and weight reasons, so I've selected from the TBR pile:

Nora Roberts - Northern Lights
Rita Herron - Last Kiss Goodbye
Stephanie Laurens - The Perfect Lover
Carla Neggers - Abandon

Those should keep me entertained for a reasonable amount of the trip, particularly since I'm hoping to sleep for hours on the Sydney to San Francisco segment.

Two more sleeps...

...before I leave home to head to Dallas. I'm even vaguely organised; I haven't actually started packing the suitcase yet, but it's out from under the spare bed, dusted, and I've been stacking clothes that I'm going to take on the bed, ready to be packed.

The DH solved a couple of technical problems for me last night, so now I can charge my iPod without the laptop, and I have an additional, large memory card for the camera, so I don't need to take the laptop with me. I don't think I'll have much time for writing, anyway, and I'm assuming I'll be able to find an internet cafe or similar to check my email occasionally, so it will be a relief not to have to lug the laptop around and worry about it's safety. Given that I've developed a very painful right shoulder, I sure won't miss the extra weight.

I just did a quick calculation, and I suspect that I land at San Francisco at about 3am, body time. I'm planning to sleep as much as I can on the plane, but I'm not looking forward to that part - no airport is fun when the brain thinks it's the wee small hours of the morning! Ahh, the joys of travelling ;-)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Media whirl part 2

The media interest continues - yesterday TV station NBN filmed a segment for the regional evening news, and ABC Online contacted me and later posted an item on their news website. Today, I had an interview with ABC Radio Canberra, and tomorrow morning I have one scheduled with ABC Radio in Central Australian. I suspect that will be the last one, other than the Radio National one we have scheduled for next week, just before I go.

It's very cold here, and after all the excitement - and frantic workload at work to juggle around it - I took tonight off, and watched Dr Who on TV. Now I'm finishing my bedtime cup of chamomile tea, and listening to the wonderful music of Falling You at I'm itching to buy some more music from magnatune - they have some great stuff, and 50% of the income goes directly to the artists - but I'll have to wait until after Dallas, when I might have some $$ again.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Media happenings

It’s been an amazing couple of days. My university sent out a media release yesterday morning, about my being a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart Award. I expected the local paper to pick it up, and perhaps the regional radio station, but the response has been overwhelming - I’ve done two radio interviews today, for the local regional radio station and the regional station for the north coast, a television news segment, an interview for the major news agency that feeds across the country, and I’m lined up for another TV news interview tomorrow, and a spot on Radio National next week, just before I fly out to Dallas.

The interviewers have been quite good, although Barbara Cartland or pink chiffon negligees have been mentioned in most of them. Because of the early British influence on the romance genre in Australia, the two most common things that non-romance readers tend to say when romance is mentioned is 'Barbara Cartland' and 'Mills and Boon'. However, I think I did an okay job in talking about the diversity in the genre.

I saw the TV segment on the local news tonight, and I was quite happy with it - although our TV reception for that channel is pretty bad, and it didn't record very well at all. And, of course, the sweater I was wearing made me look fat :-)

The cameraman took some pictures of me at my computer at work 'writing', so I had to write something. Yes, on the news was the close-up of the screen where I had written the amazingly elegant prose 'His chair squeaked as he pushed it back.' Okay, so I'm not going to win the Nobel proze for literature with that! However, it is very hard to just write creatively at the conclusion of a media interview, when there's a camera looking over one's shoulder.

So, it's all been quite an experience, and an incredible response from the media. I was expecting the local interest, but the rest is quite a surprise. And the pleasant part is that it shows that there is a growing interest in the media about the romance genre - which can only be a good thing. I hope I've done the genre justice today.

As far as I can tell, none of it's available online, so I can't put links up to the interviews. However, next week's segment is on Radio National, which is streamlined live, so I'll put a link for that up closer to the time.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Contest success

I found out earlier in the week, but couldn't say anything until it was officially announced:

My two entries in the RWAustralia Single (Title) and Loving It contest placed second and third. The manuscripts are Dark Legacy, the loosely-linked sequel to my Golden Heart finalling book; and Shadows and Light.

Both manuscripts have been challenging to write, for various reasons, and each has had a number of versions, so I'd entered them in the contest primarily for the feedback, to see if what I'd done with each of them worked. It seems so :-)

Big congrats to Melanie Scott, who won the contest. She's also a double Golden Heart finalist, and I'm really hoping I'll be giving her a huge cheer (or two!!) and pouring champagne for her at the awards night in Dallas. Mel was one of the first people I met at the first romance writers conference I attended, and she deserves every success.

Speaking of Dallas, in three weeks exactly I'll be heading to Sydney airport to get on the plane to San Francisco, and from there to Dallas.

From winter in rural Australia to a luxury hotel in a huge, bustling hot city - it will definitely be a contrast! I am becoming quite excited, although there's a huge list of things I need to finish before I leave. I don't usually pack ages before I go away, but because I'm taking summer clothes that I'm not currently wearing in freezing winter temps, I have started piling some things on the guest bed. I may even start making a list, soon :-)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Guest blogging

I'm GuestBlogging about my research over on Romance By the Blog today. Hop on over and visit!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dallas, here I come...

It's decided - I AM going to the RWA National Conference in Dallas in July. It will be a quick trip, just a week away, with a day or so in Dallas to get over the jet lag before the conference starts, and heading home on the Sunday afternoon.

I'm not looking forward to the whole flying half-way across the world thing, but it's good incentive to lose some weight, so I'll fit into those tiny airplane seats a little more comfortably! I've traveled several times on longer flights across to Europe and the UK, and coped okay, but I was slimmer then.

In between bouts of nerves, I am looking forward to the conference. This will be my first US conference, and 10 times larger than the Australian one I went to a couple of years ago. So, it will be quite an experience! It will also be my first visit to the US since 1983; I'm sure a lot has changed in that time.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Updated web site

I wasn't particularly happy with the website design I've had for a year or more, so in this last week it's undergone a major renovation. If I had the money, I'd get a professional to do it, as my visual design imagination and skills aren't at the professional level, however, I've had to do it myself - at least for now.

So, please check it out at

I welcome feedback on it!

(And now I'll need to update the look of this blog to go with it... )

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Decisions, decisions

The RWA needs an author photo from each of the Golden Heart finalists, and, as I'm no gorgeous model with a portfolio of glamour shots, I need help in deciding what to send!

I'm still not used to the new hairstyle and colour (I had my long hair chopped off last Thursday), which adds to my indecision about what looks best.

So, 1, 2, or 3 - or option 4 - drag long-suffering DH out for another photoshoot?

(The sharp-eyed amongst you will note that I've used my absolute minimal photoshop skills to make my blemishes less obvious in no. 3. Hmmm. I'm not sure that's me.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Golden News

Well, I said I'd blog again if there was exciting news, and there is!

I was overjoyed and honoured to find out yesterday that my ms, Falling into Darkness, is a finalist in the RWA's Golden Heart Award, in the romantic suspense category.

I still can't quite believe it!

Congratulations to all the other finalists, and commiserations to those who didn't final.

Finances are fairly tight, and getting to the US for the conference and awards ceremony is very expensive, so I'm not sure yet if I'll make it to Dallas. Probably not, but all hope hasn't quite been extinguished, yet!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Farewell - for a while

After a lot of thought, I've decided to take a break from this blog for a while.

I've found it a bit difficult to blog well here, for a range of reasons, but mostly because I've been conscious that with my PhD research on online romance readers and writers communities gearing up for major action this year, I've needed to keep my public image relatively neutral - which has meant not commenting on a lot of issues and topics around the genre.

Given that I'm not published (yet), and my writing progress doesn't make for scintillating reading, and the above-mentioned reasons for not commenting loudly on genre issues - well, that doesn't give me a whole lot to write about, on a writing blog.

So, I'm going to take a break. In between work and PhD I'll still be writing, and I'm currently sending a manuscript out to agents, so if there's any exciting news I'll post it here - and start blogging again, if there's a career to blog about ;-)

In the meantime, if you want to see the scenery and wildlife around here, there's my photoblog, and I also have a textile blog where I post about my occasional textile projects - and the pairs of socks I knit while I'm staring at the screen, writing!

Thanks to everyone who's visited this blog - see you again when I have a writing career to blog about!