Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Christmas

I'm at Noosa to spend Christmas with my daughters and their assorted loved ones. In a couple of hours my grandchildren Thomas and Lucy will be here and the the fun really starts.

My daughter Victoria made our Christmas tree. If you remember last year I spoke about my collection of Christmas angels from around the world. Below is an angel I bought in Japan!

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a New Year that brings you good health, happiness, good friends, loving family... and lots of wonderful books to read.

On the subject of books, I've just remembered that it was fifty Christmasses ago (Yikes, did I really admit that?) when I received the most significant present ever -- "Seven Little Australians" by Ethel Turner.

With that, my lifelong love affair with books began. The character Judy and her fate taught me right from the start about emotional punch! Soon after reading SLA, I began writing my first stories and poems and fortunate gal that I am, that's still happening.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Another quiet week in blogland

I know I've been letting the side down lately. But I have written another chapter and I HAVE written my Christmas cards and we've made another quick dash to Tarzali, because we now have a shed -- and once you have a shed, you really have to store stuff in it straight away, don't you?
And of course there are all those social occasions at this time of the year. I have another one this afternoon -- one of those parties where you need to take a plate. I’m also in the midst of revisions and I just don't have time to measure and mix, so I'm taking caramel tarts. And as I'm now officially in a cook book (SIZZLE, SEDUCE & SIMMER) I thought I'd share this really quick, busy- writer-friendly recipe with you...

Really, really easy (aka cheating) caramel tarts

Place ginger-nut biscuits in cupcake tins and bake in a mod oven for ten minutes, or until they start to soften. ( I guess you could also use the microwave to soften them.)

Push the biscuits (cookies) down into each cupcake base (I used a small, round dessert spoon) to make little tart shells. Once they’ve cooled, fill these dear little shells with caramel (from a tin – once upon a time you used to have to boil condensed milk, but now it’s all done for you.)

Top with whipped cream. Voila. A delicious and tiny sweet treat.

Oh, and I always leave some without cream so there’s a choice.

Friday, December 07, 2007

One of those weeks...

I haven't had much to tell you this week. Apart from the Elton excitement, it's been one of those plod, plod weeks where I'm still waiting to hear about the manuscript I submitted and my new story is slowly, slowly starting to take shape. The characters are coming to me through the mist, gathering shape and colour and substance. I written almost forty pages. With lots and lots of rewriting!!!

And, of course, whenever I discover something new about my characters, I have to go back and feed that layer in to the relevant part of the story, so there's a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. But I love that!

I'm trying to get as much of this story as possible down before Christmas, because from Christmas till mid Feb it will be family, family, family all the way. (Lovely!) But some stories take their own sweet time to grow. I have good vibes about this story, however. One thing's certain. It will have masses of sensual tension.

For now I need patience to let these characters and their setting and their mood continue to evolve and come fully alive in my head. Problem is, I think patience is the hardest thing to learn -- but possibly the most important. After all, impatience is really all about wishing our lives away. How crazy is that?

Meantime, I'd like to show you a few shots of Tarzali from last week.

Each time we go to Tarzali there are surprises -- always something new. Trees may have changed colour or come into flower. Birds or animals come and go. This time the Papuan frogmouth owl was back, calling his soft whoo, whoo, whoo from the cutting in the evenings.

And when we arrived, this carpet python was lying across the track at the front gate to greet us. I promise he's harmless. He was quite sleepy in the sun and didn't want to move.

These orchids were in flower for the first time! They are grown from pieces of one my mum's orchids and I was thrilled to have flowers at last. Other orchids (natives growing on tree trunks) were flowering too.

This photo shows why this area is called the Misty Mountains. It was taken in the late afternoon.

And how's this for an omen ? ... a rainbow over our extensions (in progress).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Unreliable blogger

I'm sorry I haven't posted for over a week. We took a lot of photos at Tarzali and I wanted to share them with you, but we forgot to take the little gadget that transfers the photos to the computer.
Had a lovely time up there, planted lots more trees and it rained to give them a really good start. We have peaches coming on and plums. V exciting to be able to grow stone fruit in the tropics.
And we have a roof on our extension!
Did I get much writing done? I hear you ask.
Some. I finally have a start and I know where I'm heading with my characters and I like them.
Came back for the Elton John concert in Townsville.
I am now so inspired.

I haven't been an especially keen Elton fan. He started during the seventies when I was busy having babies, so I just didn't have time to be a fan. But when I heard that such a huge star was coming up here for the first time, I wanted to see him -- to see what a truly great performer is like on stage. And I have to say he was magnificent. He kept 21,000 people (the biggest audience he's had in Australia) riveted for two and a half hours with just his voice and his piano and his passion and his talent. Amazing.

I feel as if I learned something about pleasing an audience -- giving people what they want in spades with a surprise thrown in here and there. Not that I'm suggesting I can do that.

But he was definitely inspiring. And I really want to write today.