Category Archives: Life/Family/Friends

One Man’s Treasure

I have a tendency to keep things. Odds and ends that appear to have no use. I have cupboards neatly stacked with broken items, material, left over pieces from projects and things I currently have no use for. I have been accused more than once of being a pack rat or a hoarder. Yet when I start a new craft project or someone is in the middle of a project and can’t find the exact piece they need, those cupboards of items become treasure troves waiting to be plundered.

Buttons for a vest, a piece of lace for a trim, bits and pieces for a decorative finish, items to personalise an otherwise bland purchase. It is amazing how many things can be reused, recycled or turned into something new. Some of my steampunk costumes have benefited from raiding my cupboards of treasures. Ribbons, lace, buttons, metal loops, fine chain, left over material, scraps of leather. You never know what you might find and what it might one day become.

Hidden in the Mist

I can never look at a picture without seeing more than what is there. It doesn’t matter what that picture is or how tranquil and peaceful the scene appears. I’m imagining things behind the cascade of a waterfall. Hidden caves, hollows where creatures lurk, traps for the unwary. Off in the distance creatures hide in the mist, waiting for it to spread and cover more of the land. The bushes with their burst of colours are camouflage for creatures with sharp claws and long fangs. Beneath the still water are monsters that will drag in those who venture too close.

A tranquil place for a picnic? Maybe for some. But my imagination has it filled with horrors waiting to strike. Waiting for the innocent to enter the area, traps ready to be sprung. Only time will tell which will get them first.

Is it any wonder I have an endless supply of story ideas to write? Stories are everywhere I look. Waiting to be told.

A Magical Storage Room

When I was in primary school my nana lived in a high set house, with several rooms beneath it including one that was filled with odds and ends. Most people saw junk when they looked into the tumble of items thrown into that room over the years. Things that needed to be fixed, others that were outdated or no longer needed. I saw treasures.

One entire wall of the storage room was filled with long louvers that ran the length of the room. They could be opened slightly to let in a small amount of light or opened completely to fill the room with sunshine. Eerie lighting accompanied spooky games where hiding places were needed to avoid the bad guys or for storm swept nights filled with magic and mayhem.

The louvers often became an elaborate part of the process of making a time machine work, or a shield to be raised when the space ship was under attack. There were broken handles from gardening tools that became mighty swords, poles to vault over pools of lava or a staff to help a traveller through steep mountains.

There were other treasures. Like the birdcage we used when we rescued an injured bird. It was brought out numerous times over the years and I still own it, having been given it a few years after I left home. There were also things I had no idea what they were or had been a part of, but that didn’t stop me from making up purposes for them.

To this day I rarely see junk. I see instead what it can be turned into and I see memories of games played long ago, filled with imagination, adventure and stories.

Following Dreams

When I was in my late teens, I bought a second hand silky oak bookcase. I’d actually gone out to buy an old timber trunk, but how could I resist the bookcase? Obviously I couldn’t and I brought it home and began to shift some of my books from their makeshift shelves and into the bookcase. I kept authors’ books together and when I was finished I stood back and admired the shelves. At that moment it struck me that the books of one of the authors had nearly completely filled the top shelf. I wanted to be able to do that. I wanted to fill the top shelf of the bookcase with my own books.

Over the years I mentioned this to a few people. Some nodded or shrugged, others laughed. Did I realise how many books it would take to fill the shelf? Well of course I did. I’m perfectly capable of counting and I could clearly see the books already in the shelf. Did I know how much work that would take? Yep. And I’ve never been afraid of hard work. Dreams are for children. Seriously? I think that person more than most needed a few dreams of their own to follow. And the winning comment- you won’t live long enough to write enough books to fill that shelf. A polite way to tell me to drop dead? Apparently not. A threat? Why would I even suggest that? Hmm, not sure… So a challenge then? Not that either. Oh well, challenge accepted anyway.

Recently I was able to achieve that dream. Filling the top shelf with my books. It has taken me a lot of years to reach that point, but I’ve finally fulfilled yet another one of my dreams. But I’m not about to stop there. The bookcase has another three shelves. It won’t be long before I start on the second shelf and who knows, maybe one day I’ll fill them all. I certainly have more than enough ideas to be able to write that many books and more.

Bring On 2018

It’s been a whirlwind of a year with a mixture of things happening. Both good and bad. As always I’m interested to see what the following year will bring.

I had so much fun at the many events I attended this year and especially loved meeting some of my readers and catching up with ones I’ve met previous years. I’ve been working on some of the novels I plan to release next year and have discovered so many characters that are in need of having their stories told. A pity there isn’t more time to do all the things I love to do. Although the problem might be that I have an extremely long list of things I love doing. I wish everyone all the best for the coming year and hope that you find time to do some of the things you love doing too.

Supanova, Brisbane 2017

Once again we attended Supanova, Brisbane. It was far more crowded than previous events, but equally enjoyable. As always I felt at home, loving all the costumes and having fun figuring out who each person was portraying. It was great to see people dressed as some of my favourite characters.

 

Our display this year outdid the previous ones and Clint did an amazing job recreating a scene from Assassins Of The Dead 2: Dragon Touched. There was also a beautiful timber counter with a display in the front for some of my books. One of the biggest hits of our display was the 4.2 metre long articulated snake that is made mostly from PVC pipe and must have featured in hundreds of photos. I can’t wait to see what Clint will create for next year.

  

We took so many photos it was difficult to choose which ones to post. If you would like to see more, you can check what I put on Facebook. Or better yet, why not attend Supanova, Brisbane next year and experience everything for yourself. And if you do, come and say hello. Like previous years I loved catching up with old friends and meeting new people and I’m looking forward to doing so again next year.

 

Celebrating Four Years

I’m coming up to that time of year when I celebrate another year since my first four stories were released on Amazon. It hardly seems possible so much time has passed. As usual, it has been a busy year and I’m looking forward to the coming year and seeing what it will bring.

During the past year I released three short stories, two novellas, seven novels and one nonfiction book, totalling 496,448 words. Which surprisingly was 81,188 words more than last year. There won’t be quite so many books coming out next year as I plan to work on some lengthier projects, including one that involves a lot of research. I do like to make sure things are as accurate as possible, even in fantasy. But don’t worry, there will of course be a book released in each of my series.

I have been busy working on next year’s books and wrapping up the last few for this year, as well as preparing for Supanova, Brisbane. I am also doing National Novel Writing Month in November, but luckily my writing style means there’s no prep needed for that. Which is good since everything else is keeping me busy. So if you are in Brisbane, Australia from the 10th November to 12th November why not visit me at Supanova? Not only will I have some of the things created from Rosie’s Rangers, but there will also be a display from Assassins Of The Dead.

I attended some great events this past year, including Romancing the Stars, Voices on the Coast and Story Arts Ipswich. I also met some amazing people, caught up with many of the wonderful friends I’ve made over the years and had the chance to talk to some of my readers in person. I’m grateful to all those who’ve helped including, but not limited to, my editors, graphic designer, industrial artist, family and most of all my readers. Without you, all of this wouldn’t be possible.

Train Adventures

During primary school we took a long journey on a train. My mum, two younger siblings and myself. There were so many things about it I found fascinating. We were in a sleeper carriage and the bunk was like a different world. A place to not only curl up with a book, but to catch glimpses through the window of the scenery outside. There were stretches of open land, not a house in sight, towns filled with people, railway sidings that if you had blinked you might have missed them. I thought of ways to describe the places we travelled through, wondered about who might have lived there or what was in the area. I also wondered about where we were headed, but was mostly fascinated by where we currently were.

Of an evening, as I fell asleep, the sound of the train travelling across the track made a unique sound. It was mostly a rhythmic lullaby, reminding me I was going somewhere, even as I slept, my dreams filled with equally fascinating adventures.

There were times when the sleeper felt cramped, especially with my younger siblings cooped up inside the cabin too. The corridor outside the sleeper was also an interesting spot. Large windows to the passing world, strangers on their own journeys and two directions leading to other carriages. I would have loved to explore the entire train, but sadly that wasn’t possible. But there was more than enough to keep me interested in the sections where I was allowed and of course I had books with me. When you love to read there is always something to do.

When we arrived at our destination, there was yet more to see. The station was crowded. There were numerous people, a mixture of noises, bright lights and lots of colour. So much to see, so many things to feed my imagination and fuel more ideas for stories.

It’s memories like this that I draw on when writing. Using them to add a touch of realism to even my fantasy novels. The wonder of going to new places, discovering interesting things and meeting fascinating people. I still enjoy travelling. Going to out of the way places and often taking random directions because they look or sound interesting. Not only do I enjoy travelling myself, but I also love to hear about other people’s journeys too. They can be as fascinating as experiencing my own travels.

Working With An Artist

Sometimes it can be difficult working with an artist when you have no ability to draw and you want them to see exactly what you can see in your mind. It entails phrases such as ‘it’s like this, but not exactly’ and ‘a bit like a mix of all these pictures together’ and ‘if you took this bit of that image and a piece of that image and this section of the other image you might be close to what it looks like’.

These highly descriptive comments often lead to a rather cranky looking artist saying, “Draw it.”

“But I can’t draw,” I explain for probably the fiftieth time.

The artist holds out a piece of paper and pencil. “Draw what you want made.”

I reluctantly take the paper and attempt to draw something vaguely like what I have been trying to explain. Handing the artist the piece of paper, I say, “It looks like this. Kind of.”

The artist turns the paper in various directions, frowning. “What’s this?”

“My drawing. I told you I can’t draw. Why don’t you draw it? You’re the artist.”

“I would if you told me what you want.” The artist hands the paper back.

“I’ll send you the description from my book.” Once I’ve done that, I return to the artist and wait until the description is read.

The artist looks up from the computer. “That’s not enough information.”

“I do need to leave some of the details up to reader’s imagination.”

“So I can make what I want.”

“No. It has to be like what I pictured.”

“I’ll make something and if you don’t like it, too bad.” The artist wanders off to the shed, muttering about authors and impossible tasks. There are often a few four letter words included. Well, maybe more than a few.

Days, weeks or months later, depending on the complexity of the task, I finally see the finished piece. “That’s exactly what I imagined. See, I did give you enough information after all.” Although for some reason the artist doesn’t seem overly impressed with my comment.

Parachute Silk Dress

I’ve always been interested in history, even as a child. My nana had a tendency to keep everything so her place was like a treasure trove of things to be discovered. Nana used to be a seamstress so there were old cottons, a treadle sewing machine, heaps of material and numerous buttons. Everything had a story. I spent hours asking her to tell me the story behind all the things I discovered.

One of the items was a dress I loved to wear. It was far too big, dragged on the ground and I used a scarf around the waist to make it look less like a decorative sack draped over me. The stories about it fascinated me. They involved World War II, rations, a lack of material and things remaining scarce even when the war had ended. Nana told me how there was an excess of parachute silk, left over from the war, and some of it had patterns printed onto it so it could be used for dress fabric. She was able to get hold of a piece of the material and make herself a dress. After years of rations and being unable to get much more than the basics, she had something completely frivolous and unnecessary. The war had ended and people were trying to reclaim their previous lives.

I still have the dress and occasionally wear it, thinking back over all the stories attached to it like threads holding it together. Memories of mine and ones that belonged to others. Of war, loss, scarcity and hope.