Category Archives: Life/Family/Friends

Penelope

I had a porcelain doll when I was a child and at the time I was reading a lot of Greek myths and chose the name Penelope for her. I always wondered who had it worse. Penelope stuck at home waiting for Odysseus to return and missing out on all those adventures, or Odysseus struggling to return home as he faced all kinds of challenges. I spent many hours pondering this question, as well as many others, about not only that story, but all the other Greek myths I read, particularly stories about their many gods and goddesses.

Penelope, the doll, came with a fancy outfit that could be removed, but the problem was, I had nothing else to put on her. Luckily my grandma could sew and we spent a lot of time designing and making clothes for Penelope. That was my favourite part about her. Not the fact that she ended up having lots of clothes, but the designing and creating of those clothes.

Grandma had tins of buttons, containers of ribbons and leftover pieces of fabric. I spent hours searching through all the items, matching ribbons and buttons with fabric, deciding what type of garment they’d suit and talking over how I wanted them to look. We spent months creating a wardrobe for Penelope and I spent more time creating clothes for her than I ever spent playing with her. But that was what I loved about her. Creating her clothes.

I still enjoy making clothes today. These days I make them for myself and family, either everyday clothes or costumes, sharing the fun with my children. But I still regularly remember all the days I spent with Grandma, creating clothes for Penelope and the many hours of fun we had making them together.

Bring On 2019

It’s been an extremely busy year, in a good way, as well as another great year. That doesn’t mean it was perfect and that nothing went wrong. Sometimes, it’s those moments that don’t go according to plan that can be the most interesting and take you down completely unexpected paths.

I had a marvellous time at Supanova, Brisbane in November and enjoyed meeting new people and catching up with old friends. Clint certainly outdid himself with the display this year. It was also lovely catching up with some of my readers and discovering which books they are waiting for and which series they love the best.

I can’t wait to see what the coming year will bring and where the unexpected happenings will take me. Or what kind of windy paths and fascinating destinations they’ll lead me through and ultimately to.

I wish all of you the best in the coming year and may the path you find yourself taking bring a smile to your face and create memories you will want to cherish forever.

December

I know December can be a difficult time of year for some people. For me, it’s a time of family and sharing and giving to those in my life. There’s all the lovely food we prepare for our celebrations, but it’s far more than that. It’s sharing that food with people I love and care about. There are moments of sadness when I think of those who can’t be there with me, or of the ones I have lost. But there are also moments of looking back and thinking of the good times I’ve shared with those no longer with me and being grateful for how long I had them in my life. Even while wishing that time could have been longer.

Storm, Rhys and I have decided to share our joy of the holiday season with our readers and during December the first book of Guardians Of The Round Table will be reduced to 99c. May the coming month be a time of being with those you love and sharing moments you will be able to look back on in years to come. Moments that will make you smile.

You can find Guardians Of The Round Table 1: Dexterity Fail at the following retailers:

Amazon

Google Play

iTunes

Kobo

Barnes And Noble

Smashwords

Keys

I’ve always found keys interesting. The older and more unique the key, the better. Part of it is the thought of what the key might once have open. I’ve lost count of the number of keys I’ve found over the years in various secondhand shops and at garage sales, unable to resist buying some of them. Large, old keys that likely opened door locks, fancy keys that were possibly used for wooden trunks and tiny keys that might once have belonged to jewellery boxes.

I wonder at the stories attached to the keys, about the locks they once opened and the people who once owned them. Ideas trickle through my mind, some racing as the fantastical takes hold while others meander more quietly through with tales of large families and sturdy homes.

As always, I see stories in everything. Even in a simple key. More so in the not so simple ones.

Sand And Cubbyhouses

My dad lived across from the beach, for a number of years, when I was growing up. It was great being able to walk out the front door, cross the road and be on the beach with its long stretch of golden sand. If you walked in one direction, you’d reach the mouth of the river that we sometimes swam in. Clear waters, gum trees edging the banks and a few boulders alongside it that were perfect for sitting on when you were drying off. If you walked in the other direction, you reached a creek that was muddy and good for catching prawns with a cast net. And of course, there was plenty of beachfront between them to swim, walk, have campfires and just hang out with friends.

One year my sister and I both decided we wanted cubbyhouses. And of course we each wanted our own. My sister wanted hers in the mango tree out the back and she was happy with a platform type of cubbyhouse that was open and accessible by a ladder. I guess I must have been the difficult child as I had other ideas. There was an old water tank stand out the side, basically four large, round posts with cross beams on top of them that looked like a tic-tac-toe grid from above.

My cubbyhouse needed a roof and walls since I wanted to be able to sleep in it. I also wanted it to be two storeys and have a verandah out the front where I could look across to the beach. And windows. I needed windows. I might have been a slightly demanding child at times, but at least I knew exactly what I wanted. I admit to being only slightly demanding though. And I was willing to help build it.

A roof was added to the water tank stand, high enough above the crossbeams that when ply was added to the crossbeams I was able to sit up on them without hitting my head on the roof. With some space to spare. The centre of the crossbeams was left open. When walls were added, leaving a section of the ply covered crossbeams outside the walls for the verandah, the upstairs floor of the cubbyhouse created a ‘U’ shape.

Looking out the front door.

I also got the windows I wanted. An old canvas tent was cut up to make the walls, cut in a way that the windows of the tent ended up in the right places for the cubbyhouse. It was perfect. I could sleep upstairs, sit out on my verandah that overlooked the beach and have various odds and ends downstairs. I used it for a lot of years. Having sleepovers in it with friends, lying down upstairs listening to the rain on the tin roof as I read and sitting on the verandah talking with friends. Sadly I have no photos of the cubbyhouse, but since it was at the side of the house, I had the same view as what could be seen from the front door. The road, some gum trees, the beach and the ocean, islands in the distance. It was a good view and an even greater cubbyhouse.

Winter

It’s that time of year I dread when the days are too cold for me and the nights make me feel like I’m not far off freezing. It’s time to pile all the blankets and doonahs on the bed and turn the heater on in the late afternoon so I’m not walking around the house in the evening with my breath misting the air in front of me. It’s the time of year when I start watching the calendar and counting the days until spring arrives. When the days will warm while not yet being those terribly scorching days of summer when I’ll be counting down until autumn comes.

There are many things I do love about this time of year. The way the morning fog nestles amongst the hills and mountains so it looks like islands out at sea. The vivid, clear, cloudless skies and the many flowers that are still in bloom on the aloes. We also tend to see more deer about, often coming up to the fence of our house paddock and occasionally entering it. And it’s also nice to be able to bring out some of my favourite blankets that it’s too hot to have on the bed during other times of the year. I also can’t forget jackets. I love being able to wear some of my favourite jackets.

Even though it’s too cold here and I look forward to spring, that doesn’t stop me from visiting colder places. Some things are worth braving. Like the cold weather when you want to visit somewhere that is best seen during winter.

So I’m looking forward to spring and after that, I’ll be looking forward to autumn. My two favourite seasons of the year. Which season, or seasons, do you prefer?

Good Luck With That Plan

There are times when I think I know where a scene is going, but it’s late at night, or really early in the morning, and I decide to write it after I’ve had a sleep. I should know by now that things rarely go according to plan. So many times when I do this, I’m woken by a dream of the next scene. And do you think it’s the scene I planned to write? Of course it isn’t.

My characters might as well start the dream with a grin and say, “Good luck with that plan.” Not that it isn’t a better scene. It always is. But it’s one of those things I’m both grateful for and slightly annoyed by. Or at least I’m annoyed until I get past my initial grumbles about wanting another hour or two of sleep. Or even possibly a few more minutes of sleep. Yeah, I know, good luck with that plan. It doesn’t take long before I’m working on the scene, lack of sleep forgotten, completely immersed in the story, grateful it’s going in a far better direction.

An Overdose Of Cuteness

I was surprised to discover it was possible to visit the local RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and play with the cats and kittens. Or at least play with the sociable ones. So if you’re unable to have pets where you live and would love to spend time with some cute and adorable animals, why not contact your local animal shelter and see if they allow visits. It’s also likely that they’re in need of other help as well and would appreciate volunteers who are interested in helping take care of the animals who find themselves in need of a home.

The day we visited the local RSPCA there were several kittens, all wanting to play. There were also older cats, some that wanted time alone, while others were excited to have visitors and demanded to be patted. The kittens pounced on the toys that were provided for them to play with, raced around with each other and purred loudly when they stopped long enough for some attention.

They were all so adorable and playful, several trying to escape their rooms to try and follow visitors home. It was extremely difficult to resist them when they looked pleadingly up at you as you headed out of the room, their eyes begging to be taken home with you. And it wasn’t only the kittens who were adorable. There were cuddly older cats, regal ones and ones that stretched out in front of you expecting to be patted.

So if you’re looking for an overdose of cuteness, why not see if your local animal shelter allows visitors. I know the cats and kittens at our local one enjoyed all the attention they received the day we visited.

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.