Monday, January 31, 2011

Cyclone Yasi...

We're boarding up windows and doors, making fruitcake and casseroles for the days ahead without power... looking out at our beautiful trees and hoping...
but woke up this morning to find the forecast tracking map is bringing Yasi straight over us...

Stay safe, fellow North Queenslanders.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nice surprise...

In the post today, I discovered a dream (modest but real) come true. I'd always hoped, when I wrote my Southern Cross trilogy (The Cattleman's English Rose, The Blind Date Surprise and The Mirrabrook Marriage), that these stories would one day be repulished with all three books in one volume.
I guess, ideally for me, that volume would be in English, but I'm not complaining that my dream has come true in Germany.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bits and pieces...

A quick trip back to Townsville meant we were there to wave off our grandies on their first day at pre prep and day care.
Our big girl was so grown up with her hair in a plait and tying her own shoes. She loved her day at pre prep and wasn't ready to come home.
Travelling north again on Australia Day resulted in lunch at Cardwell. How lucky were we, dining on fish and chips while looking at this gorgeous view?
Home again, found two gorgeously different roses growing on the same bush. These darlings came from a thorny stick someone was throwing away and I stuck it in the ground.
Also... am so relieved that Courier Express has found me. Had a phone call today about a box of books arriving from Cairns, and we're meeting at a servo in Malanda for the pick up. Am gradually getting the hang of living in the sticks. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

market day...

Despite the rain, we went to the Yungaburra markets this morning, but there weren't many brave souls there, compared to the usual big crowds. We still enjoyed ourselves, of course, and as we're heading back to Townsville tomorrow for a few days, we bought a few things for friends and family.

One friend likes anything a bit unusual, so we'll be taking him purple potatoes and an ice cream bean (Those long things in the pic below are organically grown ice cream beans), and we also found locally grown garlic, mangoes, sweet potatoes etc etc...

Did you know that most of the garlic we buy in the supermarkets is not grown in Australia? And yet, apparently, the Australian garlic is very highly regarded by serious cooks.

I also bought plants for the garden (including a fabulous pineapple ginger plant and a peacock orchid -- both with gorgeous perfumes) and came home and planted them in the rain. The flowers in the bucket are heleconias -- a bit like ginger flowers.
So with ginger flowers and ice cream beans, it's a very different world up here in the Far North. :)

But the dogs are the same :) -- and I spotted some lovely ones, happy to be out for a splash in the rain, or prepared to wait faithfully behind a stall...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Desert Island Keeper

I woke to lovely news this morning. A Miracle For His Secret Son has been given Desert Island Keeper status in a review at All About Romance.

We authors try to take reviews, good or bad, with a grain of salt... but it's hard not to enjoy the postive ones -- and these reviewers are known to be tough.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Romance Writers of Australia Flooded Communities Book Appeal

We've all seen the devastation the recent Queensland floods have wrought
and have wondered how we can help. We know that for many affected
families, books will not be high on their priorities list for some time
to come.

We also know how valuable books can be in providing time out when
reality gets tough.


With the aid of some wonderful volunteers, we've put together a Romance
Writers of Australia Flooded Communities Book Appeal.

What we need?

FICTION BOOKS! Romance books, children's books, young adult books, genre
books, whatever - either new or in sparkling condition.
Please send them to:
RWA Flooded Communities Book Appeal
PO Box 1717
Noosaville Post Office
Noosaville BC
Queensland 4566

When to send them?
Now! And any time over the next few months. The books will be boxed and
delivered to the appropriate libraries/schools/neighbourhood
centres/community centres in batches as soon as the communities are
ready to receive them. We'll be liaising with councils, libraries
and schools to ensure this is done appropriately. Feel free to pop a
note inside, or if you're an author, sign it.


If you have a question about donations, email Jess Anastasi: mailto:Jess%20@%20jessanastasi.%20com%20(no%20spaces)

If you work in a library / council / community centre / school in a
flood affected area, email Rachel Bailey:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year's Resolutions for the Creative Writer

I couldn't let January go past without talking about New Year's Resolutions, and I thought this concept from The Writers' Store was definitely worth passing on. (By the way, they send out a great ezine with all kinds of terrific writing articles). Check it out. It's worth signing up, even if you don't plan to write screen plays.

This month they are offering a free downlaod of a calendar that will really help you with your writing goals this year.

This is how they explain it... Don't break the Chain -- Jerry Seinfeld's Method of Creative Success. It's worth reading, honestly!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


It's hard to write about the recent and current flooding disasters. Some of the images we've seen on TV and in stills have been truly horrifying and it's tempting to try to shut off the imagination -- not wanting to face the reality that so many people are dealing with.
I know that at least one member of Romance Writers of Australia has lost everything, as have thousands of people all over our huge state. The Premier's Flood Appeal is one way of helping, although RWA will also be starting up a book collection for damaged libraries.
As I have family in Toowoomba, the Brisbane Valley and Brisbane, I've been particularly tense listening to the news over the last few days, and the phone has been running hot. I was especially worried about my mum who lives on 5 acres of lovely garden in the Brisbane Valley. When we visited her at Christmas the closest bridge to her was already under water and since then all other crossing have been flooded.
College's crossing
Despite offers of accommodation in Ipswich and Brisbane, she opted to stay, not really expecting her last route to be cut off, or to lose her power and phone. Last phone call I had, before the lines went down, she was still calm, however, (much calmer than I was) and playing Patience by candlelight.
As you can imagine, this was extremely worrying for the rest of us, but to my relief we received news from a neighbour yesterday morning that Mum was with them and they had cooking and showering facilities. I knew Mum would be OK if she could have a cup of tea.:)
After that I could pay more attention to the images of Brisbane, where I knew my daughters and my sister and their families were high and dry.
But what a shock to hear from Emma that they couldn't shift the pianos out of the Queensland Conservatorium, which was almost certainly going to be flooded.
And to see the shopping centre in Rosalie  (above) where Vicki and I bought flowers on Christmas Eve. And Suncorp Stadium, famous home of Queensland Rugby League was also filling with water!
The biggest irony is that this area of SE Qld and much of Eastern Australia has been in drought for the last decade. Dorothy Mckellar sure got it right when she referred to our 'sunburnt country' (which she loved) as a land of 'drought and flooding rains.'

A final ironic (personal) twist for me is that the book I've just finished is set in this area. My hero has a farm on the Darling Downs and the heroine is working in Brisbane and there's quite a bit of travelling and key scenes en route via Toowoomba -- the very path of the terrible inland tsunami that horrified us all. I felt distinctly squirmy working on the manuscript on Monday and Tuesday while so many terrible events were unfolding.
I can only express huge admiration for everyone who's coping with this so stoically, or helping, or preparing to get stuck into the horrible clean up.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The beauty of clouds...

In the country there is no doubt you become much more aware of and attune to the beauties of nature. You can't help it.
Last night we had spectacular clouds...

Followed by a spectacular sunset...

Friday, January 07, 2011

Week One of our Year in the Country..

Our life in the country has just become.... countrified. Threw clothes in the dryer this afternoon and there was a dreadful clatter and thunk. E investigated and found a snake had crawled into the motor through the hole at the back. Yikes.

Will now check that laundry door and window are shut each night.
On a much nicer note, Kelly Hunter is talking on Liz Fielding's blog about the new RIVA line that's being launched with her wonderful book With This Fling this month. Hear all about it and read and extract -- and find out where you can download it for free!!!
Also my article The Joy of Sensuality is being featured on this writing blog.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Happy New Year!

A slightly belated Happy New Year to you! Here's hoping it brings you health and happiness and many hours of reading pleasure!

I might have to change the tagline of this blog, as this is to be OUR YEAR of LIVING in the COUNTRY!
Our past two weeks have been busy, testing times during which we discovered we're not as young as we used to be... and all that jazz.

To begin with, cyclone Tasha dumped a LOT of rain on the Tablelands while we were away and our first task was to dig new drains around the garage and then clean out the mud as a fair amount of "stuff" including my books will be stored in there.

Our extensions are lovely, but not quite ready to show you yet... Still, our house is slowly emerging from the pile of boxes. After an apartment with masses of built in wardrobes and storage, we're facing the challenge of creating free-standing storage in line with the country style look. We converted a wardrobe into a pantry, and I think it works quite well.

Here it is above (on the right) closed ...

And here it is open. In the drawers below, I have all those plastic bits and pieces, and baking tins and falling to pieces recipe books. Very handy really.

Other corners of our living area are starting to look more homely, too. Here's one -- and I'm thrilled to say I get better Classic FM radio reception in this spot than I've ever had anywhere...

And even our sideboard, the first piece of furniture we bought after we were married, has found a home and looks as if it belongs. (Below) No we weren't married in Victorian times. We did buy it as an antique. :-)

We're so glad we painted all our walls white last year. It's really paying off now, as the whole place feels bigger and fresher.

We're thinking of calling this little place Cloud Cottage. I got the idea after hearing rainforest described by a botanist on TV as cloud forest. Romantic, isn't it? Over the years, we've tried out many, many names, but this is the one we both like. so I think it will stick. What do you think?

Now it's back to revisions for me. They should have been in before Christmas, but my editor kindly gave me an extension, so I'd better get my head down.

Oh, and I've seen Molly Cooper's Riva cover. Not exactly how I pictured Molly.