Saturday, March 30, 2013

Week 3 in the vegie patch...

Zucchinis are flowering. Lovely Easter yellow. Whoops forgot to upload that photo.
And in the farmyard... two new little pigs have joined Thunder. (how she's grown!) This pic was taken only minutes after they arrived. Pigs are very social animals. She could smell these little guys as we drove in and she was capering about her pen in such a state. She was so excited that she was (almost) happy to share her food. The cup on a rope is one of their toys.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter tales...

I hope everyone's starting Easter in good spirits.
E has been away in Townsville and got back on Thursday afternoon -- too late for me to go to the PO, so my lovely editor is going to express courier my RITA books to get them to America on time for the second round of judging. But at least E got up that dreadful highway in one piece, even though he was held up for one and a half hours by accidents. Shudder.
He brought wine and prawns, so I couldn't complain.
And lovely tales from Townsville... including the fact that  Miss 6 is reading Zoe's Muster. She has a photo of herself as a bookmark and she insists that she's reading it -- she's even packed it in her bag to take to the island for Easter. We wouldn't dare to doubt her. (But don't worry about me corrupting a young mind. We know we have another story teller in the family -- the same little girl who blamed a witch when one side of her hair became mysteriously shorter.)
Anyway... I'm on another deadline, so I had to stay at my desk, but I sent Lindt bunnies for the girls, and after school Miss 6 brought hers over to E and asked: 'Is this from Nan or the Easter bunny?'
E, suspecting this was a trick question, hedged with some comment about the Easter bunny making all the eggs and delivering them to shops. 'Nan bought this one at the chocolate shop in Malanda.'
Little big girl gives a knowing grin and turns the bunny over to show the barcode on the bottom. But then she gives a nod of approval -- he got the answer right.
 E took also took this little miss out to dinner at their favourite Chinese restaurant -- just the two of them -- as her parents were busy and the twins had already left for the island. She chose her own outfit -- boots, skirt, nice top, headband -- and approved of E's clothes. At the restaurant, she knew exactly what she wanted -- a big bowl of chicken noodle soup. E was v impressed -- she ate with chopsticks, a spoon and... her hands.
When a friend of his walked in, he got up for a chat ... then E realised the friend was looking over his shoulder and grinning.  Our elegant young heroine had one boot off and her foot propped up on the table, examining an itch. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Exciting RITA news


Zoe's Muster is a finalist in the contemporary single title section of Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award.

And while I'm here, I can also tell you that my next Penguin, Home Before Sundown will be released on July 24th. I've seen previews of the cover and it's gorgeous. Can't wait to show you.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

What are you reading?

I've become an impulse buyer, which is pretty amazing for someone who lives almost two hours away from the nearest big city. It's all thanks to the internet, of course. And my impulses are restricted to books. I HEART The Book Depository. With cheap prices, free shipping worldwide, and with an easy peasy two click buying setup, this place is a dream to shop.
I mean... I do love physical bookshops and I know they're struggling... and I support them when I'm in town, but for my current lifestyle, online shopping is a wonderful lifeline to my favourite activity -- reading.
It's addictive though. Being a regular online, I'm often hearing or reading about great books -- so I trot over to TBD to take a look, and next thing I know it's ordered. :) and about ten days later, I get a lovely surprise at the Post Office.
So what have I been reading and plan to read?
Most of February was taken up with the seven books I had to read and judge for the RITA award. But apart from those books (some of which were great) these have been my favourite reads this year so far.
I loved Anne Gracie's The Autumn Bride, the first book in her new Chance Sisters series. The world Anne creates with Lady Bea and the girls is enchanting. All the characters are unique, strong and engaging. It made me think of Louisa May Alcott meets Georgette Heyer.
I read about Mhairi McFarlane's  You Had Me at Hello on it was selling super fast and I wanted to know why. I discovered it's the most delightful book from a debut author with an incredibly distinctive and wonderful voice. Mhairi had me from Line One.
I've met Kristin Hannah at Romance Writers of America conferences. When we go to the Literary signings, we sit next to each other (it's alphabetical) and I've seen the long line of readers who want to talk to Kristin, so every so often I reward myself with one of her books. Home Front is about a wife and mother posted to Afghanistan and the implications of this for her marriage and her family (and it's currently a terrific price). I wasn't disappointed.It's a very powerful story.
My editor at Penguin sent me Monica McInerney's The House of Memories and I enjoyed it SO much. It's a very emotional premise, but while this is treated with due depth and sincerity, there's also a lovely lightness about this book, which the author arrived at, no doubt, via the quirky secondary characters. It's my favourite MM so far.
And now, with the judging of other books out of the way, I'm looking forward to this little cache.

And I also have more coming in the mail, of course. One is Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier which was highly recommended by a friend. She says the Juliet Marillier is her favourite Australian author. The other book I've ordered is ML Stedman's The Light Between Oceans. After reading raves about this debut book on Goodreads, (something like 27,000 reviews) I couldn't resist.

So what are you reading? Any really strong recommendations?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quote for the week...

From literary icon Jack Kerouac... born March 12 1922

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

It's March... and we've planted vegies...

We've planted cherry tomatoes, big red tomatoes, mini eggplants, rainbow silverbeet, sweet corn,  capsicums, peas, beans, shallots and zucchini. The black stuff is weed mat, which we'll cover with pavers. And there's a new pumpkin crop growing near the compost heap.
Meanwhile, our herb garden is going gangbusters. It also includes a chili plant that keeps us very well supplied.

Now... we're keeping our fingers crossed that we don't get hit by too many other things that want to eat our plants.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Drama and dilemma in our garden...

This week we've butcher bird and magpie parents with hungry babies, and we've also had sunbird parents (a seventh their size) who've woven a beautiful nest near out front door and who also have babies. Nature being the way it is, the butcher bird parents want to feed the baby sunbirds to their offspring.
So...the poor little sunbird parents have been bravely trying to frighten the big birds away and we've been beside ourselves with nervousness.

Meanwhile the baby sunbirds have been oblivious to their danger and quite happily sitting in the doorway of their nest waiting to be fed, and trying to catch passing flies. (Can you see them there?)

Yesterday morning, we woke to find that they had gone and we hoped madly that they were safe. The nest was still intact, so we didn't think it had been robbed.

Then this morning E made a new exciting discovery. The clever parents have staged a halfway house for their youngsters, in this dense shubbery. From here, the babies can forage for their own food and test their wings while their parents bravely fight off any bombing raids.

Such devotion and ingenuity. I'm in awe...