And the Book is Done!

IMG_0575Family life got in the way numerous times while I was writing Truly, Madly Montana, book 2 of my Medicine River series so when Boy Wonder got on the plane to France at the start of October, I went into increasing hibernation so I could meet my October 30th.  This means I go no where and do not much else than write seven days a week.  I don’t think it’s healthy but it does keep my brain totally in the story!  I needed that after being pulled out of the book so often in the previous months.

I also pulled back on social media because I needed all the time I could get and given the constant noise out there in SM land, I doubt anyone noticed I was virtually AWOL, but I noticed something. I was a calmer without the constant bombardment of information. With the rise in screen use, decrease in exercise and the rise in teen/YA depression, I can’t help but think there are connections. I am not sure our brains/bodies have evolved enough to deal with it all.  Thoughts?

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Aussie Readers, Picture Perfect Wedding, my husband’s favorite book of mine (!) and book 2 of my Wedding Fever trilogy  is on shelf in print at Big W, Kmart and Target. Of course, it’s always available as an eBook and all the sale links are HERE.  With a 4.2 star rating at Goodreads, this book is well loved and comes with a cast of cute dogs, big, brown-eyed cows, cheery sunflowers and a very sexy farmer and the secondary hero is a firefighter. What more can you ask for 😉

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I’ve seen the cover photo for Truly, Madly Montana and it’s just goregous and I can’t wait to show it to you. I’ve had a wonderful time creating the small town of Bear Paw for this book and for Montana Actually.

Montana Actually is up for pre-order now (print and eBook) so if you’re a fan of small town, contemporary romance,  you might want to check this out. Sexy doctors and hunky cowboys are just two reasons to pick it up. Read an excerpt here. It releases January 6th and you can order it from The Book Depository,  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Google Play. Amazon and Google Play have it on sale at the moment for almost 50% off.

Now I’m off to play tennis, do a massive spring clean of the house, buy summer sandals, plant some annuals in the garden and get some balance back in my life. I’m not very good at balance….how do you do it?

The advantages of having an adult child; they come ski-ing with you!

The Lad is on his spring break and as he is a poor college/university student with few funds, he agreed to go snow ski-ing with his mother 🙂 I tell you, if you pay, they come!  Sadly, my husband and Boy Wonder had to stay home and work and attend school (sorry, guys) so it was just the two of us. We had a great two days ski-ing, didn’t argue, got along really well and we shared the driving! This vacationing/holidaying with adult children really has its pluses 🙂 The King Valley and the Alpine region are flush with pink and white bloosom and yellow wattle and it is such a beautiful part of the world the I always feel my soul reviving just being there.

As it is in spring, we got the full range of weather from cloudless, blue skies to blizzard conditions. The blizzard meant fresh powder snow to ski on Tuesday morning and I tell you there is nothing more magical than swooshing through the snow gums on 10cm of powder snow.  Here are some phone pics just to prove I was there cos now I am home dealing with the washing and it already seems a distant memory.

The Loo With A View! Mt Hotham, Victoria

The Loo With A View! Mt Hotham, Victoria

 

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Sunny & blue skies one day...

Sunny & blue skies one day…

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Blizzarding the next!

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Book Online to Save Time….Yeah, right!

save-timeAll businesses are pushing us online to order things and it’s supposed to save everyone time. Hmm, I think it saves the business time and money but it sure as heck isn’t saving me time. It’s SUCKING my time away from me in hours at a time.

Yesterday, I planned 15 minutes to firm up a few things for my up-coming ski-trip.  First off, the airlinechanged my flights and the website wouldn’t allow me to deal with it despite me completeing all this details. Then, I rang the skilodge and they insisted I book online…so I did, only their website wasn’t working and kept giving me an error message. I called them back and alerted them to it. Sigh. Only thing left to do was book the skipasses and that’s when I got into an infinite loop between agreements and the type of pass. So three phone calls later I was told, “Oh, yeah, the IT guys are working on that.”    So those fifteen minutes took three hours! 

Today, I checked the airline and they still have me on the wrong flights….I’m on hold as I write this blog.

Does anyone out there manage to book something in five minutes because if you do, please send me your top tips!

Revisiting my Childhood in Madang Papua New Guinea

DSCF2876I’ve just spent the last week in PNG. As a child I lived here for a few years and went to school. Although I was 7 when I left, I still recall a lot of those three years and it was great to be able to revisit.  PNG has been independent since 1975 however, it is still a very poor country and most people live in villages without electricity and children attend schools with dirt floors.

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We spent our week in Madang, where I lived as a kid and we stayed at the Madang Resort, where I did feel like I was being sheltered from the real PNG.

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Over the week we visited villages, went snorkelling and diving, sailed, and I had a trip down memory lane finding my old house, school and church. Here is a picture diary of our trip.

Tropical island with a sandy beach where we snorekelled and The Lad dived.

Tropical island with a sandy beach where we snorekelled and The Lad dived.

Delicate orchids in the gardens of the resort.

Delicate orchids in the gardens of the resort.

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My house then.

My house then.

The house today which is now owned by PNG Nationals.

The house today which is now owned by PNG Nationals.

My favorite flowers; the gloriousy perfumed frangipani.

My favorite flowers; the gloriousy perfumed frangipani.

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PNG women work really hard. They do all the gardening and harvesting and they attend the markets.

Food market

Food market

Kokomo Bird... so cute when they jump.

Kokomo Bird… so cute when they jump.

My school.

My school.

Me telling Boy Wonder about my prep classroom.

Me telling Boy Wonder about my prep classroom. It wasn’t this decorated when I went. It was new and had no windows or doors for the year as we waited for the louvres to arrive from Australia!

Kicking back reading.

Kicking back reading.

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Kar Kar island...the backdrop of my childhood

Kar Kar island…the backdrop of my childhood

Handmade pottery...no wheel involved.

Handmade pottery…no wheel involved.

Clown fish everywhere!

Clown fish everywhere!

Sailing. The resort had sea kayaks & two catamarans.

Sailing. The resort had sea kayaks & two catamarans.

It was a great week and a terrific escape from winter.

 

 

I’m Twenty-five!

yippeeI’m Twenty-Five!

I wish! However, I have just turned in my 25th novel to Harlequin Mills and Boon. Cue sparklers, pop Champagne, blow bubbles!!  It’s not going to hit the shelf until mid 2015 but I have to say, I am a little excited.

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My very first novel 2006

Back in 2005, when I sold my first novel, Pregnant On Arrival, I couldn’t see beyond the next book. I recall my first Harlequin Authors’ Dinner where authors were getting pins for milestones such as 25, 50, 100 books…GULP. I could never envisage getting anywhere close to those numbers. You see, my brain does not POP with ideas and I can’t juggle more than one book idea at a time so I guess I am a slogger.

The thing is though, as much as I find it hard to start a book, I ADORE finishing them. Love the BUZZ that comes when I hit Send on a manuscript, even if it does bounce back with revisions. The sheer JOY of knowing I have completed another book, that I got through the dark times in the middle when I had no clue where I was going or what I was doing, buoy me up for the next time….although there is always a point in every book where I say, never again!

Faned coversSo, here we are! Since 2005 I’ve written twenty-one category romances for Harlequin and four single title novels for Carina Press which is the digital-first arm of Harlequin. Twenty five books!

I’ve also written two short stories and a single-title novel for Berkley/Penguin which is out next year.

What’s next? Book two in my Montana series! I just have to go find an idea…..

Music Festivals

IMG_2393It was DH’s birthday this weekend so we spent Saturday at the Queenscliff Music Festival.

We’ve been to the Apollo Bay music festival a few times but we’d never been to this one. Technology has caught up to music festivals so we downloaded the ‘App’, spent some time reading up on the acts and listening to some You Tube clips and then basically ditched all that preparation when we got there 😉 The big distinguishing feature of the QMF is that all the acts are Australian. No overseas guests at all.

Queenscliff has a steam train and that was one of the ‘stages’ . You hopped on the train and listened to one of four acts as it chugged to Swan Bay siding and then you changed carriages and chugged back to town with another set. Too much fun!

I confess to not being a heavy rock lover so we mostly went to folk, blue grass and light QMFoscaronstagerock. We stumbled across a great new young band from the region, Murdena which was some blues, some country, some blue grass and they kept producing instruments…steel guitar, double bass, even a mandolin! Their biggest fan even joined his dad on stage for one song!

It was a great day, although super long….11am – 11pm and we left early! I am sure they were rocking well into the night. DH was happy as he got to see the John Butler Trio. As we stood in the huge ‘big top’ in a crush waiting for them to come on, surrounded by drunk people and the aroma of weed, I did feel a bit old! Still, it was a happy crowd and the music was excellent.

Do you go to music festivals?