Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An Evening of Fantasy & Romance

Like to read? Talk books and writing and storytelling? Meet authors? Come join me and three of my writing buddies in Melbourne on June 18th at Dymocks Bookstore in Collins St in the heart of Melbourne. 

It's free, but you need to RSVP for the event at www.trybooking.com/HXNC Bring along a printout of your ticket to win a book pack including 2 signed titles from each of us!

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

An Anniversary & a Giveaway

The word wenches — the historical romance authors I regularly blog with — are celebrating their 9th anniversary. That's a long time in blogland.

We're celebrating with a series of posts about our first ever book, and with a giveaway. Eight winners will win one of these books, and one winner will win all eight of the books!

To enter the giveaway contest click here: http://bit.ly/WordWenchesGiveaway

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Making stuff

In my downtime I pursue a range of crafts -- not for any reason except that I enjoy it, and because sometimes when I'm concentrating on doing something fiddly with my hands, it helps me sort out story ideas and plot problems.

One of the "craft" things I do is to make necklaces and bracelets and earrings — not for sale, but just for fun. And sometimes for friends. At the moment my passion is for rough-cut crystals and semi-precious stones and though I already have plenty of jewelry in these materials, I keep making more in different combinations -- just because I can. And because I enjoy it.

I made the bracelet above last night. It contains rough-cut amethyst, quartz crystals, chrysoprase and a couple of baroque pearls. Might have to make a necklace to go with it. 

I made the combo above back in December for a Christmas outing with friends -- red coral, lapis, chrysoprase, crystals and malachite. Funny how the light and the automatic camera shows things so differently -- both pics are of jewelry taken on the same untreated balsa wood tray. One pic shows it as white, the other as yellow -- and the greenish chrysoprase stones in both pics are from the same batch.

Do you follow any craft that gives you pleasure?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Puppy Love

On New Year's Eve I came home with a puppy — not a tiny puppy, maybe 5 or 6 months old. I'd seen this picture on Pet Rescue and I was a goner.

I drove down before Christmas to meet her and make the arrangements—she had to be spayed, innoculated and microchipped before they'd release her — and collected her on New Year's Eve. She was named Amelia then, but I changed it to Milly.

Since then we've had a LOT of fun. She's a sweet-natured, affectionate little soul, very playful and active, but also quite happy (after a good game) to play by herself in the garden, or snooze on her bed beside my desk while I work.

Of course, sometimes she's not snoozing, but yumphing happily on a rawhide donut.

When I first got her, I bought Milly one of those "tug-of-war" ropes, with a tennis ball at one end and a rope handle for a human on the other.

The tennis ball was first de-fluffed, then thoroughly killed (and a post-mortem conducted — disappointingly hollow and untasty — and the remains scattered) but the rope, one end all shreddy, damp  and delicious, the other end still a neat handle for a human, remains and we have fun playing tug-of-war and learning (one of us anyway) to "give."

So she was playing with the rope thingy all by herself in the lounge-room this morning, tossing it up and pouncing and catching it and giving it a good vicious shaking and all excellent fun.

Then her back foot got caught in the handle, and hah! the rope is fighting back! So naturally she's not going to be defeated by a shreddy old rope, no matter how delicious. So she gives a biiiig tug and plonk! Down goes a surprised puppy. Looks around. Who pulled my foot from under me?

But there's nobody there, and this rope needs to be taught a lesson, so up she gets and wrestle-tug-shake-growl...

And then plonk — floored puppy again — what? Pull my foot out from under me — again? Baaad rope. So growl harder, pull harder. . .  fall harder! Damn rope!

Over and over for about 3 or 4  minutes.

Heartless here did nothing to help, just laughed and laughed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Australian Romance Reader Awards

Every year ARRA (that's the Australian Romance Readers Association) announces their awards, and I'm delighted to announce that my book, The Winter Bride, has been nominated for several awards in the 2014 awards:
Favourite Historical Romance
Favourite Continuing Romance Series
Favourite Australian Romance Author 2014
and my hero Freddy is nominated for the The Sexiest Hero from a romance published in 2014
The full list is here.

Thanks to ARRA for organizing this Reader's Choice Award and thank you to those readers who nominated my book.
The winners will be announced at the ARRA Convention in Canberra in March 2015.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Growing tea

A few weeks ago, a friend was given a pile of peppermint tea branches and she was drying them to make tea from the leaves.  I wondered whether it might take from a cutting, so I begged a sprig from her. I wasn't sure it would work -- they'd been picked a couple of days earlier and the leaves were well wilted.

But I broke the twiggy bit in half and shoved the pieces in a pot, and nipped the growing tip out and because it was too small to make tea from, I popped it in a tiny glass. And lo! they're all growing. In the photo above, all those bright green leaves are new. You can just see a couple of the darker ones underneath.

The pot ones are doing so well, and even the little growing tip in a tiny glass has sprouted roots -- - you can just see them in the pic below. I'm so pleased. This isn't like the ordinary soft mint plant I've grown before, and it's delicious as a tea.

I always get a kick out of growing things I can use. Do you like mint or herbal tea? Or grow things to eat?