Thursday, October 25, 2007


And that, plus Konnichiwa, is the sum total of my Japanese.

See you again in a couple of weeks. xxx

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sizzle, Seduce and Simmer...

You'll probably see this book cover popping up on a lot of Australian authors' blogs this week.
It's a fabulous new book that's being launched in Melbourne in Dymocks on November 1st. And it should be in shops everywhere next week. It's been compiled by the fabulous Marion Lennox and it started over a Melbourne Mob lunch. I think the idea was: "Let's have a book with short stories and recipes from all of us!"

Later, more of us, who are further afield than Melbourne (much further in my case) got in on the act and now there's a whopping 320 page book of short stories and recipes -- a real friendship collection. And a great Christmas present!!!!

Some of the stories have fab fun titles like Ally Blake's Tall, Dark and Fettuccine, Kelly Hunter's Sunday Morning Sushi or Bron Jameson's Breakfast at Timothy's. And the reicpes sound like so much fun. Coming into summer, I really want to make Fiona McArthur's cut glass jelly.

My story, Call Me Angel, is one I wrote some time ago and has a slightly paranormal touch -- just to be different!

Check out Sizzle, Seduce & Simmer next week. I'm sure you'll want it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mum's the word

It's ridiculous. I was walking through the markets in Townsville's Flinders Mall yesterday morning and I heard a young man call, "Mum!"
I knew that one of my sons was in Western Australia and the other was in Japan, but I turned around instinctively. Part of my brain was convinced, momentarily, that the call was for me. Funny how a mother's brain is wired, isn't it?
Actually, we're heading off to Japan next Sunday to visit our son who's been working there on a six months exchange. Can't wait to see him and to hear him talking in Japanese. Apparently he's very fluent now. He has our itinerary all worked out and we'll also be visiting the Harlequin offices in Tokyo. Hope to show you lots of pics.
I want to finish Sally and Logan's story first, except that it would be good to get the chance to reread it after our break in Japan. May yet talk to my ed about that, because the chances are, that the print out for Nell and Jacob will land on my doorstep this week. Proofreading would certainly put a dent in my plans for a dash across the deadline.
Am feeling just a little stretched.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Childhood backyards...

There’s a series of stories in this Weekend Australian Magazine about the childhood backyards of various well known Australians and it set me thinking about the backyard of my childhood in suburban Brisbane. My parents were keen gardeners and my Dad was an engineer, so he changed our sloping hillside backyard into two terraces with a brick wall complete with steps. This was terrific because the rotary clothesline was on the top terrace, but hung out over the bottom terrace, so I could play netball down below and use the rungs of the clothesline as my goal.

The photo is of me on my first day as a Brownie. The first badge I earned was the writer's badge with a story about a girl who had to leave the city for the outback. Obviously that's my core story:)

I spent hours playing with balls in the backyard. If it wasn’t netball, I was playing golf with a softball bat that Dad made for me from a silky oak branch. I’d hit a tennis ball into the drain (harder than it sounds). Or I played “sevens” with a tennis ball up against the garage door, or my sister Liz and I threw softballs at each other. If we didn’t have a softball we’d substitute a lemon, which makes a terrific thwack when it hits a softball glove.

Yeah, I was a sports freak, which is a little unusual for a writer. But I loved books and writing, too. We had no television, so there was plenty of time for reading.

When I was quite small I used to play with frangipani that fell on the drive at the side of the house. Turn a frangipani flower upside down and you have a lady in a beautiful white ball gown. Mine were the ladies in waiting at the Queen’s coronation. I had a book about the coronation and I was obsessed.

There was also a large garage that was old and made from timber and people had lived in it before our house was built. At various times my sisters and I transformed it into a hospital, a school, a restaurant, an artists’ studio and a cat nursery.

A favourite memory is our barbecue – no, not a flash brick one but a small round, portable one with a grill set over coals. I can still remember the prefect taste of a grilled lamb chop eaten for lunch on a sunny Sunday in winter.

Mostly our garden was very pretty with a mixture of native trees and exotic shrubs, but one untidy section developed where I used to blow the husks off the budgie’s seed and the seed grew. I tried to harvest the seeds and make my own budgie food, but I don’t remember being very successful.

At one stage Mum and Dad grew a few vegies and herbs and I remember the tangy scent of tomato leaves and grazing on fresh parsley and shallots. Oh, yes, and then I would sip the honey out of the bottom of russelia flowers and put nasturtium leaves with Vegemite on sandwiches.

About twenty years after I had left home and after my parents had sold up and moved away, I bought a Courier Mail on a Saturday morning. I swear I hadn’t bought one in all those years, but I’d been thinking about my old home and I felt the urge. And when I opened the paper, there was our house in Alexandra Street for sale.

I resisted the desperate impulse to throw up everything and run back to my roots. Well, my husband flatly refused to consider it. But it was the strangest coincidence.

I'd love to hear about your backyard memories.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Right or left brain

I saw this on Kate Hardy's blog and had to put it here as well. It's apparently a test of whether you are predominantly a right brain or a left brain thinker.
I am, according to this test, most decidedly a right brainer. Not surprising, actually. The description certainly fitted how I feel about myself, except that the left brain deals with words and language, so I'm not sure where that leaves my writing.
I suppose I should do a little more research and find out.

Elliot is away on a fishing trip tonight, which means he's going to miss the programme about Errol Flynn on ABC TV, which is a pity because he wrote a series of newspaper stories about Errol's times in North Queensland. Then again, knowing Elliot, he'd get all agitated about the bits they get wrong or leave out. So perhaps he's better off out in the bush, camping under the stars at Cattle Creek. (Sounds like something out of one of my books.)

Am currently reading Kelly Hunter's "Priceless" and am loving it. LOVING it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An about to be famous author

A month or so ago I posted about the launch of CafĂ© du Jour by Lilian Darcy, but I hadn't actually read it at the time. Now I've finally read her book and I don’t say finally lightly. Over the past few months I’ve found reading a challenge and I’m not sure why. It’s just taken me three weeks to get through a little Dick Francis novel. But I read Cafe du Jour in two days (while still completing my word count).

And I loved it. Loved? I was overawed, inspired, completely blown away. In case you can’t guess I thought it was fabulous and I think it’s a terrible shame that it won’t be published overseas.

There were so many things I liked about it – the wonderful tension of Susie’s relationship with Jody. The workshops – Lilian's imagination is incredible. The hospital scenes with Karen - especially the session with the occupational therapist. So enlightening. There were great plot turns, and there was nice Dr. Ewan and a host of other interesting characters.

I loved the little coffee metaphors at the end of each chapter. A type of coffee was described to represent each day in the story.

e.g. p. 36

A big, thick stoneware mug of basic morning caffeine -and-milk, which sometimes tastes bitter if I sip it too slowly. So I gulp it instead.

The character insights were also v clever. But most of all, I loved Lilian's writing. Wow! I probably thought wow almost every second sentence.

I feel so proud to have a friend who's written a such a wonderful 'real' book! I know, shoot me for saying that, but it's how I feel. Lilian has written 75 category romances, which is a fantastic feat, but I believe she has a great talent for literary fiction. So let's hope this book is the start of a brilliant literary career as well.

And it's not too late to buy your own copy of Cafe du Jour. I saw them in Target yesterday!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

two deadlines...

As well as the end of the month deadline for my Romance, which I have to finish early because I'm going to Japan to visit my son, who's been working there for six months, I have a new commitment.
Last week, I was talking on the phone to my granddaughter Lucy ( who lives in Brisbane) and I asked her what she'd like for her birthday on the 20th.
'I'd like you to finish our book,' she said.
And then I remembered.
And felt guilty.
Lucy and I started writing a story together when we were on holidays at Noosa. It's called: "The Fairy Princess is looking for a lock." And it's about a girl called Lucy (of course) whose cat finds a fairy at the bottom of her garden. Lucy has to rescue the fairy from the cat's claws and then the adventure begins.
So you can see, this is also a very important deadline. It will probably require illustrations as well. So my nights are about to become as creatively frantic as my days. Wish me luck.

Monday, October 08, 2007

A sneak preview

Thanks to the lovely readers who've sent emails about Needed: Her Mr. Right. It was huge fun to work with Liz and Jackie on that trilogy.

The hardbacks for my next book The Bridesmaid's Best Man arrived last week and I dutifully posted them off to my mum and my daughters.

This book, my 25th!, will be out in the UK and USA in January and in ANZ in February (I think). If out in Feb, I think the cover has a definite Valentine feel.
It's very pretty, isn't it -- rather like what I was hoping for, although my hero, Mark, looks a little too narrow shouldered and thin chested for an Outback cattleman. And my heroine, Sophie, is supposed to have milk white English skin and glossy curling hair.

Here's what the back cover tells you...

Sundown in the Outback

As the shadows grow long and the sun melts behind the hills it's just another day for cattleman Mark Winchester. But nothing has been the same since he was best man at a wedding in London six weeks ago and met bridesmaid Sophie Felsham...

A rainy morning in London

On the other side of the world, city girl Sophie is about to make the most difficult phone call of her life. The one beautiful night she shared with rugged Mark has resulted in pregnancy -- and now it's time to tell Mark that he's going to be the father of her child...

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Am chugging along with WIP -- about half way through and really enjoying writing something a little lighter.
Yesterday, I snuck out of my writing cave for half and hour and bought a cupboard from a local antique shop to use for storing towels in the bathroom at Tarzali. It's a very fresh pale green and cream (favourite colours of mine), and the shelves and inside walls are lined with pretty green and cream floral paper and I love it.
There don't seem to be nearly as many antique shops around as there used to be. I've always loved old furniture. Elliot and I bought our first piece -- an English oak dressing table, before we were married. I still remember the price -- $28.
But perhaps antiques are a baby boomer thing. I know my mother never liked old furniture and the young generation aren't really into them either.
It's getting very hot here -- very enervating. Everyone I know is tired. It happens every spring in the tropics. With the first hot days we feel really flattened and then somehow, our bodies must adjust, as we manage to soldier on through the summer.