Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The blessing of parkland


I am blessed in having a nearby off-lead park in which to walk my dog.  I live quite close to the city, but I believe at some stage this land was planned to become a freeway. Luckily it never eventuated, so now we have a lovely half-wild park.

One side of the creek is fairly natural and "bushlike", except they mow the grass, and the other contains ovals and a bike path and a big area of wild-ish parkland. 

Since the planting of gum trees and other native vegetation, the native birdlife has been returning and now we regularly see ducks, kookaburras, currawongs, magpies, rainbow lorikeets, and many others— well a lot of them we don't so much see as hear— so it  can feel more as though you're in the bush, rather than a fairly short distance from the city.

If you want to hear the sounds they make, here are links: kookaburras, currawongs, magpies, rainbow lorikeets.  I'm assuming you know ducks. 

And this is my dog surveying her domain. She jumps on this old chunk of concrete every single night.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Wrap bracelets

They've been around for ages, and hadn't particularly appealed to me, but then a friend of mine came home from a trip to the US with one and it was fine and so pretty and all faceted semi-precious beads — much nicer "in the flesh" than the pics I'd seen on line. My friend said, "You should make one of these."

So I did. I made the first one with leftover beads — some semi-precious, some antique beads and various others. And I wore it and liked it and decided I needed another one in greens, because I'm very fond of wearing green. And then I saw some pink freshwater pearls with large enough holes for a needle to pass through —  I love pearls, but all mine are so finely drilled a needle and thread won't go through them — so I bought them and made a third bracelet.



Here they are tastefully displayed on a paper towel roll. A few friends have delicately hinted they wouldn't object to a wrap bracelet coming their way, so I guess I'll be making them for a little while longer. I don't make jewelry for sale, only for friends and only to entertain myself if I'm watching TV or  mulling over a plot problem. I think if I sold it, it would take all the fun out of it.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

At Dymocks

Here's a pic of last night's Fantasy & Romance panel at Dymock's bookshop in Melbourne -- from left to right, Keri Arthur, C.S. Pacat, Melanie Scott, me and Sarah Fairhall, the panel moderator. Pic taken by the wonderful Maria Matina.
Don't you love the panels behind us? They're from the adult coloring competition that Dymock's ran — apparently coloring books for grown-ups is the latest thing, and seeing them all displayed here I can see the appeal -- such bright and lovely designs, like a wall of fabulous tiles.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Romance and Fantasy Event

If you're in Melbourne this coming Thursday evening, why not come past Dymocks in Collins St for a great discussion of romance and fantasy with me and my friends Keri Arthur, Mel Scott and CS Pacat. It starts at 6.30 pm. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Gorilla Love



A dog is a heat seeking device.  There is sun this morning, after days of grey and rain and cold — it's winter downunder — and Milly has found herself a small spot of it, and is sunning herself and her orange rubber gorilla.

Usually they lie at (or on) my feet in front of the small strip heater under my desk, she and her gorilla.

She's had that gorilla for nearly six months, since her first week here. It was a welcome gift from a friend. She was terrified of it at first — it had a wonderful two-tone squeak and had a tendency to bounce or roll when patted with a paw. 

It took Milly ages to brave it, and I had a lot of laughs at her tentative pat-squeak-leapback routine, but eventually she lost her fear and totally fell in love with him. His squeak is gone, and he's a bit grubby, but otherwise he's whole and undamaged, which is amazing for such a flimsy rubber toy that gets such constant dog-love. 

Tennis balls, on the other hand have been peeled, stripped and thoroughly destroyed, bones reduced to mere knobs and she'll even chew on a bit of wood in the garden. But not the orange rubber gorilla. She loves him. 

I suspect he might need a name. Any suggestions?

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Spring Bride ~ enter the hero

Here's a short excerpt from my new book, The Spring Bride. In it, you meet my bad-boy hero, Zach, for the first time. (Whitehall is where the government offices were.)

"Sir?" A clerk poked his head into the Honorable Gilbert Radcliffe's discreet Whitehall office. From the outer office, Zachary Black watched, faintly amused by the clerk's excessive caution. Surely he didn't look that dangerous? 

"Yes, Evans, what is it?" Radcliffe sounded preoccupied, busy.

"There's a man here asking to see you." The clerk lowered his voice. "Demanding to see you."

"And?"

"The thing is, sir, he's a gypsy."

"A gypsy?"

"Yes, sir. Dirty and disreputable-looking. I would have shown him the door, only the fellow asked for you by name, sir, insisted you'd want to see him, and wouldn't take no for an answer." He added doubtfully. "I could try to have him removed, if you insist, sir, only he's quite large and I fear it would be. . . difficult."

"An ugly customer, eh? Well then, send the fellow in. I'll deal with him."

The clerk turned to Zach, and stepped back to let him pass. "Watch yourself, gypsy. Mr Radcliffe might be a gentleman but he won't put up with any nonsense."

Zach winked at him, and sauntered into the the office, saying in a roughly accented voice, "Gen'leman give me a message for some toff called Mr Gilbert Radcliffe--that you, is it? Said I was to give it only to 'im. Said Mr Radcliffe would give me a gold guinea for it."

The Hon. Gilbert Radcliffe leaned back in his chair, regarding his visitor through narrowed eyes. His gaze took in the the darkly bristled jaw, the worn, faintly foreign clothing, the muddy boots, the shabby sheepskin coat with the faded but outlandish embroidery— and most damning of all, the small gold earring. "Gold, is it? For a scoundrel such yourself?"

"Gold, 'e promised me." Zach edged closer. "And gold is what I'll 'ave."

Gilbert Radcliffe wrinkled his nose. "Faugh, that smell. . . Have you been sleeping in a barn?"

Zach's mouth twitched, but he whined in an aggrieved voice, "I come a long way wiv this message, I 'ave."

"Shall I call someone and have the wretch removed, sir?" said Evans from the doorway.

"No, no." Radcliffe waved him away. "Bring a pot of tea and two cups." 

The clerk gave him an incredulous look. "Tea sir?"

"And some biscuits?" Zach added hopefully. "Ginger ones?"

The clerk gave him a dirty look and glanced at Radcliffe, who nodded. "Yes, and biscuits—ginger if you have them. And shut the door behind you." When the clerk had gone, Radcliffe looked at Zach and shook his head. "He probably expects you to steal the spoons."

Zach gave him an indignant look. "I'll have you know, Gil, I haven't stolen any spoons for, oh, weeks."


To pre-order The Spring Bride:






Booktopia   




Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Spring Bride -- another snippet.


Here's another little snippet of The Spring Bride, out on June 2. I posted several others on my facebook pages and on twitter.



There are two slightly longer excerpts on my website.  

Enjoy.