Sunday, July 24, 2005


Well tomorrow is my big departure day!!!!!!!! One week in Reno--no kids--no pets--no hubby to look after. I am very excited to get away from my responsibilities for a whole week and meet like-minded writers who enjoy what I enjoy and understand my daily anx:)

I haven't actually zipped up my case ready to go yet--in fact, I still have a couple of major things to get sorted out tomorrow morning. Not like me at all, almost as if I can't believe I'm really going :) Anyway, I have a million outfits, shoes, make-up and toiletries, everything a girl needs when she's away!! And no diapers--wayhay!!!! I also heard the police and firemen are holding their Olympics the same week in Reno--LOL--a romance writers conference and this...??? Think someone higher up is organizing things ;-)

DH is reinstalling the gate as the older dog disappeared earlier. We live on a quiet street, but only 500 yards down the street is a six-lane highway (gulp), anyway she was fine. DH dug holes yesterday (like any Irishman worth his salt he finished in no time at all) and we found the cracks in the walls, the tree roots and other assorted problems which he hopefully fixed. Now he just has to grade the earth, lay a path and reinstall the front steps while I'm away :) No problem :))

So I'm looking forward to going away, looking forward to coming back and generally looking forward...

Have a great week everyone. I won't post until next week--but DH said he might????????????? Crikey!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Romance Junkies Contest

Romance Junkies run a fun contest where YOU get to vote on the first chapter of a story.

Being a complete glutton for punishment and enjoying the cruel and unthinking comments people can make on other peoples writing, I have entered both my stories today :O I don't know when they go up--but I am assured they will go up.

Please note: I have changed this post and removed the names of my stories based on an email advice sent out to contestants. A) it said please vote, B) it said don't just email all your friends and get them to vote else you just get the most popular person and not the best story winning. LOL. Well as I am SO popular I'll play by the rules. So please check it out regularly and when my story goes up I will say--but I won't tell you which it is. However, it may be easy to spot LOL--as my name is there (cringe as I just realized this fact!! Anyway--I have TRIED to play fare!!!)

So I'm putting pressure on myself--contests, editor and agent appointments and the writing conference in Reno (yeehaw)!!

What are you guys doing to give yourself more stress?

Bridget Jones

Last night we watched Bridget Jones--The Edge of Reason. It was so funny and lighthearted and cringe-worthy. LOL. I can totally see myself getting into those stupid situations and being hauled off to prison for 10-15 years for accidentally smuggling cocaine! I can also see myself careering out of control down the ski slopes--having done it a few times myself :)

Her hair problems, make-up disasters, trying to squeeze a size 16 (UK) into tummy tamer knickers--maybe I should have packed those for Reno??--Oh no, I like to breathe!! The wardrobe mistakes--the relationship ****-ups!! All very funny and very sweet because in the end she got her man.

I especially loved the scene where Colin and Hugh get scrapping in the park (was that Greenwich?), man they looked like they really enjoyed that and Hugh deserved a good shoeing!!

So Bridget got her man, the Happily Ever After of any good romance.

DH did surprise me by blurting 'She (Rene) looks better there, than when she was so skinny for the Oscars.'


Men do notice things...must be why he steals my People magazine :)

Friday, July 22, 2005

2000 women

Can you imagine it??? I love women, but I'm not sure about 2100 all in the same place as me LOL. And imagine the male romance writers...I shudder with sympathy!!

I've been in an almost-all-male situation once. Mining camps in the far north of Canada and on a ship--there were two other girls and about 70 blokes. If I had to go into the camps for any reason I would literally have men following EVERY move I made with beady eyes as they salivated over my incredible body, (Note: Incredible can cover all evils :D). And, like the footy song--I never walked alone!!

I thought I was insanely popular with the helicopter pilots as they got to pick the people/crew they wanted to take in their chopper and I was ALWAYS picked first.

But let me tell you something about helicopter pilots--they are obsessed with weight. Not in a 'does my bum look big in this' sort of way, but in a 'I could get a few more kilometers carrying less weight' sort of way. Needless to say being five-foot-one-inch tall of medium build, that is why I was popular!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2005


My family motto is To Envy is to be Inferior.
My husband's family motto is Stand Sure.

So picture me in Reno Standing Sure, not envying anyone LOL!!!

Think I can do it???


Grrr. Being far from family makes it hard to do stupid little things, like nip to the bank, or shop or hairdresser. Basically we have to do everything with the kids--from selling houses, buying houses, painting, Do-It-Yourself, writing, even going to the bathroom involves a threesome. Now I LOVE my children and I love my families, but sometimes I wish we were all closer.

DH is great, a real hands-on dad who takes time with his children, but I miss the casual way you can entrust your family with your most precious possessions and nip out for a bit of a break.

This isn't a moany post--this is a be grateful for what you have post--as I see so many people take this support for granted. Family can be a pain, it can be an obligation you don't want, but really family is a blessing and you should take a moment to appreciate it!!!

I love you family--even though you are too far away to babysit LOL!!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

What would you do if you were rich???

People my parents know recently won nine million pounds--$20+ million dollars--on the lottery.

If I had that sort of money I'd move house--or somehow cure the water problems of this house ;-) Maybe put everything on stilts? I'd buy another house in North Wales for my family to use, I'd buy a house in Mull or one of the wee islands, plus a boat, for retirement (and for family to use). Maybe one in Ireland to rent out. I'd install as much renewable energy into each property as I could (geothermal heating, solar power, etc). I'd get my mother a helper--maybe two!!

Then... I'd visit my CPs and treat them to some fancy hotel spa for a weekend, I'd take the kids to DisneyLand, I'd tour the national parks of N. American in a camper van (Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Glacier National Park), I'd return to Australia and visit my friends, do another camper tour in the Red Centre, tour New Zealand and see where they filmed Lord of The Rings, I'd fly to Churchill to see Polar bears and Alaska to see the scenery. I'd go visit family in Africa--even if they don't have any fuel!!!

I'd set aside a good portion, say a million dollars to aid programs that fed starving children or helped improve African farming methods--maybe more???

I'd buy one pair of diamond studs--because I've always fancied a pair. Might buy some real furniture, although truth be told I actually like Ikea.

I wouldn't stop writing though DH could decide for himself if he wanted to stop work...I bet he wouldn't :)

What does that say about us I wonder???

OK--what would you do with $20 million???

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

LA Times horoscope

Taurus (April 20-May 20). Completing a long, drawn out project leaves you with a feeling of accomplishment and in the mood for celebration. Call on a friend who can truly appreciate the work you've done -- someone who will "get" what all the fuss is about.

Now isn't that funny :)

The story so far...

Sheesh--my life is getting out of control.

I finished the 3rd draft of my wip last night. Very proud to have got that far. Needs another two sweeps I'd say before I'm happy with it--and my CPs need to see if I've pulled everything together at the end.

I finished working on my pitches. I abandoned my online course as the instructor had a personal crisis and disappeared for a week. I might check out the rest of her suggestions, but I don't want to tangle up my thoughts now I have the thing pretty much straight in my head. Lord, all that work for 3 minutes of talking and a lifetime of making an impression--maybe I'll post them online LOL.

My DH is having a nightmare time in his life so I'm sending big kisses his way--he left the house saying Well at least we aren't starving and being kicked out of house at gunpoint. So??? Must be really bad as he is the optimist in the family. Life isn't easy just now.

I have a week to fill before I leave. My plan is to maybe do a read through of my first manuscript while my CPs read my second manuscript. I might even take a night off and relax. I have planned kids things this week--out with my friend today--zoo tomorrow--informal mom's group Thursday. Then maybe we can do family things for the weekend.

Monday, July 18, 2005

My CP has SOLD

Kim has sold her second manuscript this summer!!!!! This one is a single title called Spirit Warrior and comes out in 2006!!!!

I am so proud of her :D

Now if only I can emulate her in some little way I'll be extra-happy.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Packing so far...

OK--so we are more than a week away, but the clothes are all on the hangers waiting to be placed gently into the suit-carrier. Please don't think I have any reverance for clothes, but I hate ironing :)

So far I have packed:
Tea bags
4 pairs of shoes
5 outfits for day wear, 2 for appointments, 3 evening get-ups,
Hair straighteners
Make-up (note I can pack it now as I never wear any LOL)
7 pairs of knickers (I was seriously worried I might forget these essentials given the focus on what I'm wearing on top)
1 pair of tights--under pressure as I hate those too
2 pot noodles
1 box cuppa soup
Swimming cossy
Folder containing my program
My pitches (which I finally wrote without the help of my online course but with the help of 3 great Critique Partners)
A couple of sample query letters for the interactive workshops
The first two pages of both my manuscripts for more interactive workshops
Headache tablets

My daughter has lent me some glitter gel and drawn me a picture :) So I should get noticed LOL. Need to pick the perfect book for the trip...

Mustn't forget:
Earplugs ;-)


Last night, before I went to bed, I found myself plucking gray hairs from my head.

How sad am I????

Stormy Waters

Last night we had one of those massive storms where the lightening flashes so much it was rarely even dark. The rain/hail was so bad our yard/lawn is lapping over the top of the flower-beds. I knew we were in for a storm as our flowers had just started to open--must be time for the heavens to open!!

So...on one side I have rubble and lots of it. The front door steps are removed and I have a four-foot drop to the ground. Outside the back-door and the French-doors is the deck--and deck is a really good name for it because it overlooks water and lots of it. So. I have no sane escape. If I need to get the car out of the garage I need wellies and rockclimbing boots. Or I could swim to safety???

I am getting just a tad fed up with the weather.

On the bright side (touch wood) no tornadoes, no hurricanes, no river flood (yet).

Saturday, July 16, 2005


I LOVE music. I like it so much I sometimes think there might be something wrong with me. As a small child I played my mom's Beatles 45's on the record player--stacked up about 5 at a time and let them scratch each other to death. As a teenager I loved the 80's pop scene--but I discovered Bruce Sprinsteen aged 16 and never looked back. To me his songs are fabulous and resonate with my working class background. Haven't got his newest albumn yet, maybe that can go on my Christmas list :)

I also love country, classical, then everything from Great Big Sea to Jann Arden to Nirvana and Ronan Keating...see there is something wrong with me.

I find it drowns out the background noise that surrounds me and lets me focus on my writing. Other times I turn Avril Lavigne up loud just so I CAN'T hear the kids moaning at me.

I'm wicked--what can I say :)

Friday, July 15, 2005

And another thing...

My DH has been to Home Depot eight times this week and now he has a jackhammer. Anybody knowing my husband would be suitably scared :)

Of course he didn't get the earplugs or saftey goggles--so we're improvising.

My Hero

This is the picture of Eric Bana I've been using as a model for my current hero's looks. Isn't he gorgeous??

I love the lean mean fighting machine he played in Black Hawk Down.

So OK--I get to oggle gorgeous men...but it isn't as if anybody pays me to do it...yet :)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Thought of the Day

The giving of love is an education in itself... Eleanor Roosevelt

Ain't that the truth, LOL.

I sometimes wonder--what would have happened if we were made to marry our first serious boyfriend/girlfriend? I would have been stuck with a neo-conservative, motorcycle riding guy, whose father I couldn't stand (not even a little bit).

Thank goodness I found my DH.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


I have just discovered I'm a coward.

Funny because I thought I was pretty brave. I've had two babies. That was brave. After all having experienced childbirth, I knew what I was facing the second time round. Squeezing a football out of the top of a pop-bottle comes to mind. Blinding pain, one minute on, one minute off, for 6 hours. And drugs, pah. Dimorphine/heroin? It was like brushing a nail file over a nine inch nail of pain. It had little effect on me and I wonder what the heck all the is fuss about.

I've been in the wild with black bears. Had horses bolt on me, had horses lie down and try to roll on me. I've flown around the world, pregnant and with small kids. Traveled through Singapore Airport at the height of the SARS scare. I've swum on the Great Barrier Reef knowing sharks were around because we'd seen them earlier when we'd been in the submersible. Taken boat trips on crocodile infested waters. I've changed a flat tire on the M6 motorway. I've been in a helicopter with a depressed and slightly mad pilot. I've been at the top of the CN-tower and the Eiffel tower and never blinked. And I live in a place where temperature extreme is about as fierce as it can be.

But I couldn't climb up a ladder yesterday. LOL.

DH is changing our guttering and needed help, but I couldn't get past the sixth or seventh rung.

I'm a coward, sorry :(

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My Grandad

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This is my grandad and I'm very sad. He was supposed to visit us for a month or so, to soak up the rays of August in the prairies. Unfortunately due to his age and health it'll cost $2500 to get medical insurance to cover his trip--which he/we can't afford.

He's visited and stayed every year since my granny died. Now I'm far away and I don't know the next time I'll see him! That sucks.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Quote of the Day

Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them... Joseph Joubert


How to bore the pants off you and discuss the weather (Now is that trousers or knickers? I don't know where that expression comes from. My mind suggests knickers because if you're really bored...OK, I digress, sorry).

Yesterday is was so hot and sticky it was a nightmare. DH was putting up new guttering and looked like he'd just stepped out of the shower the whole time. Last night we had a big lightening storm--the thunder was way off, but the rain--it lashed down! But it hasn't broken the heat here.

Today it says 95% humidity and a temp of 26C. Yesterday it must have been 30C and 99% humidity and didn't that remind me of Brisbane!!!! I don't mind heat, but I hate that thick, cut-with-a-knife humidity. Here's hoping the floodway copes with the Red River and the humidity breaks!!!

OK--it is only 9 a.m. but the ac has to go on!!

And why is it men only get really energy conscious when ac is involved????

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Yesterday I had a very productive day. Took kids swimming, got haircut, lunch, helped dh on an outside project as the weather was gorgeous, went swimming again, worked on my KOD workshop homework and caught up on my disappearing course (it's not magic, but it is brilliant), called it a day at 6 p.m. and then ironed until 10 p.m. stopping for a five minute break to put the kids to bed and 10 minutes to eat dinner (dh cooked). We watched Sideways as dh zonked on the couch and I ironed (it was a pretty big pile :))

I wasn't really taken with the movie. It was quirky, but the wine talk turned me off and although I liked the two main characters I found Miles-the lead-too unattractive to love (not physically, just his character--though OK physically he wasn't for me either). Sorry :( But his journey and anx trying to publish a brilliant but unmarketable novel tugged my strings. If you don't write a book that can fit into a specific part of the bookstore, you won't get published. That is a fact of writing you need to learn. I'm still working on that aspect of my first manuscript, trying to define what type of romance it really is. Pretty much Danielle Steel meets Mary Stewart. LOL.

News wise Birmingham was the centre of a huge evacuation last night. It is not that far from my hometown and brings the threat of terrorism to the heart of Britain. Everybody knew London was a target--but Birmingham? Makes you wonder.

And I am seeing hope for the environment...not because of the G8 summit but because the thought of relying on foreign oil is (apparently) finally making the American politicians think. BBC news article

So--let's all cross our fingers that it isn't too late, even as the earliest hurricane of the season in the last 200 years hits the Caribbean. It could just be a fluke--couldn't it???

Saturday, July 09, 2005


I find the fact that Brits, Canadians, Americans and Australians supposedly speak the same language-very funny. Some examples...

UK..............................N. Am
Bin.............................trash can
Car park........................parking lot
Fanny...........................not going there

So... things get a little confusing. I'm always telling my daughter to get on the pavement. I'm always sticking things in the boot. Somebody was admiring my pitchers recently and I was looking for pictures and thinking she'd gone bonkers.

In Ireland hurling is an official sport and in the Midlands cock is a form of endearment! My favourite Irish word in the world is feck. Supposedly it means 'darn', but sounds better :)

I haven't even touched on the Aussies. I can never remember if football is Aussie Rules football, or soccer, then there is rugby--league and union--I just like the cool kit.

No worries, G'day, Fair dinkum, I'm crook, Pommy (usually followed by bastard), arvo, how ya goin? Actually I think the aussies are closer to the Brits in language--they say loo, bloke, my shout (apparently), fortnight, flat out, and most importantly they know what a cuppa is :)

Friday, July 08, 2005


It is hard to know what to write today. How to follow death and mutilation with fluff? But then I was also thinking, if the people in London can get back on the buses and trains and go to work, I can write a stupid blog post!

I'm busy collecting things for my imminent trip to Reno. I bought a kettle--sounds really dumb, huh? But the rooms don't have tea/coffee making facilities and it was only $9. I'm addicted to tea, totally. I could give up alcohol, no problem, chocolate--with major distress, but I could never give up tea. My Englishness coming through! I was raised on tea, think I was probably drinking it out of a bottle :)

I also bought tic-tacs as everyone assures me breath mints are a must??? I don't normally send people gagging in the other direction, but maybe this time it'll be different? All I keep thinking is 'Fancy a tic-tac?' Was that an advert, way back?

I bought new pj's--my roomies will be pleased to know :)

What else am I taking... Clothes, LOL. I am a scruffy jeans and T-shirt sort of girl. I thought grunge was invented so I could fit in :) But I have to be smart for Reno--playing dress up--in case... In case what? I'm not sure why actually. Published writers say 'you must present a professional image' but I wonder why?

Why do we place so much perception on what we wear? I can be smart in jeans. I can be seriously professional in jeans. As a scientist wearing anything smart was liable to get covered in fish gore within a couple of hours--I can't tell you how disgustingly dirty and smelly I have been in the name of professionalism.

But I'm packing all my good clothes, all those wedding outfits that have only been worn once and even my going away outfit from my wedding. It still fits . So I'm going to be smart--until I'm confident enough to just be me (by then I'll be old and cantankerous so no one will care--eccentric is the word if I'm rich). And hope I stand out for being a nice person in a variety of nice outfits, minus the hats :)

Thursday, July 07, 2005


My thoughts are with those people caught up in the bomb blasts in London.
God bless you and keep you.

BBC News

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Day before yesterday hubby came home from work very very proud that his picture was finally up on the University website. Excited for him, I had a look, and suggested he might want to look a wee bit less unkempt (5 days growth of beard, wrinkled T-shirt and unbrushed hair). He huffed at me and said I sounded like his father. But the next day he went back and got another photo taken. LOL Lovely hubby

So if anyone you know is looking for a masters project...
I just needed a happy picture :) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


I got my PhD way back in 1993. A long time ago now, but they were some of the best days of my life so far--where I met most of my best friends.

I was trying to remember what it was like--and realized it was much like my life is today. Typical day started about 8 a.m. and finished at 10 p.m. That was my day as a student--at least 4 days a week--unless an experiment went wrong in which case I'd wasted all of the preceding day's work, but I'd get off early.

And that is my day as a mom and a writer, LOL. (plus night duty)

Some people have funny attitudes to people with Ph.D's (or fuds as we called them). Some people get intimidated, others get shirty and start quoting the old 'university of life' crap. What--you think I live in a vacuum? Some people are determined to prove they know more than you do about some freaky obscure subject. Very likely--I'm not good at everything.

Let me tell you what a Ph.D. tells you about someone--nothing about their intelligence that's for sure...just that they can probably pass basic maths and English.

What it tells you is they know how to work hard, perservere against crappy situations, equipment failures and idiots who call themselves professors. They also know how to live on next to nothing for a surprising amount of years... sound familiar?

My dad always gives me grief about 'university types'. It annoys me because it makes out that I think I'm better than somebody else--not so--not even close. I respect and admire anyone who works hard. I am deeply grateful to those men and women who put their lives on the line in the military. I am in awe of teachers because I can barely cope with two kids, let alone thirty! I even admire people working in MacDonalds because I know it would drive me crazy.

But maybe that happened a long time ago :-)


I got a rejection letter from an agent yesterday--one I'd actually forgotten I'd written to (and I have them all noted down on file normally). Anyway, this was the least encouraging response I'd received so far, BUT she did take the time to write a personal reply and that was worth a lot.

So I was down again, thinking I should get a real job, earn some money to put into the family funds, rather than emptying the coffers. Seriously--people think writers earn a fortune when they get published (not true), but how do you take into account the years of unpaid work (late nights, missed social events, gruelling intense effort?).

Then DH got home and he was so encouraging, so wonderfully supportive. How hard is it for him to keep going to work, never knowing if I'll ever actually earn money again? When we got married I was the main breadwinner, I was the one with the big career plans. Amazing how things can change...

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th July

What is the freakiest thing to ever happen to you?

I remember going for a pee behind a man-sized boulder up in Northern Labrador once. The mosquitoes had finally quit, we hadn't seen a bear the entire six weeks we'd been working up there. So I risked sneaking off to expose my bohooty to the pale sun.

Finishing the job, I turned around and twenty feet away was this big black bear, just ambling up to the falls where we were working. Soooooo.... I followed the rules. Kept my eye on his butt while I walked slowly (facing him) back to my buddies, to hide behind the biggest guy. They were all hollering at me (notice I'm writing this in North American ;-) ) "There's a bear!!"

As if I hadn't noticed a 500 lb animal walking parallel to me :)

I was proud of myself for not running screaming into the distance LOL.

They really do look like big cuddly toys out in the wild. It is quite incredible to come face to face with such a wild creature.

The next day I was better prepared...bear-bangers. Good job really as I met three bears at the same spot :) Just call me Brownilocks!!!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Getting away from it All

OK--so we've pumped the garden--again!!!

There has been so much rain in the last few days the floodway overspilled and when we drove west it was like driving over causeways, with what I assume are fields normally filled with crops, only this time filled with water. It has been a terrible year for the farmers. Not that I usually feel sorry for farmers, but it is July and they haven't even planted out crops yet!

Stuffed Posted by Picasa

My weekend away was less than successful. Our hosts were fabulous lovely people, location very quiet and relaxing, but my kids--well my son, was seriously hard work. He didn't sleep (well maybe three-stinking hours each night), he didn't eat (just one sausage over three days) and he cried whenever I put him down.

Dogs weren't allowed inside so they got tied up outside and bitten to distraction and managed to dig a dog-sized hole in our friend's yard (thankfully he didn't hang himself, the silly mutt). Our youngest dog is not happy with us!!!

Sooooo..... Rather wished we'd stayed home. DH had fun, lots of beers and golf and company. Yep, he chilled out.

I guess with me trying to work each evening and weekend it doesn't leave much time for US. But what can you do? I'm not a shrinking-violet-follow-the-guy-around-doing-what-he-wants sort of girl. I'm driven. Pretty much regardless of what I do, I like to do it well.

I didn't get to read, or edit, or hike, or sleep, or draw. Rather than getting away from it all--I pretty much took everything with me :(