Monday, December 15, 2008

New from old

Hi all,
Well today I am very excited to show you some pictures of my work space. And yes, I have been doing some work, so there!
We have been gradually adding some overhead cupboards and some full height bookshelves, so I can now un-store my many boxes of books hidden during the rest of the house renovations. Add some lovely timber blinds and clear off the years of non-filing from the top of those beautiful timber bench tops and voila!! A very lovely working office once again. We have used new and recycled goods during this process and it's a rather eclectic look. But never mind, you get that being married to a builder who won't throw ANYTHING away. Just as well, coz I'm still here too.
The shelves used to be old kitchen cupboard doors. My desk was recycled too. It used to display our sons train set several decades ago. Add a couple of legs and now it's a desk. Now don't laugh too much, it just happens to be true.
Outside, the two large windows reveal a beautiful entry/patio area complete with water feature, lovely tropical plants including orchids, and oh, did I mention the rubbish bins? We can't have everything it seems.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Adapting reality

Hello to all of my online followers. I miss you all.
As most of my posts include some element of photography, I thought I would talk about that topic today. Not sure if I have mentioned one of my favorite things to do with a camera - to find the abstract within reality. Maybe it's my warped view of looking at life causing me to think this way, LOL.
I recently purchased a new camera to zoom in on smaller abstractions or larger ones, whichever way you look at it. The larger than life problem now is I'm having a nervous breakdown learning to use it! With little success. What I have been keen to do is find new editing software to fine-tune the pictures. So, I've now downloaded the free software (because I can't afford to buy any)and have to learn to use both the new camera and the new software. I'm not really happy about that fact, but thought I would share the first one I think would look lovely on the wall.
Family - growing tummies all around, all are round!! Future babies doing well.
- visitors!!
- birthday parties everywhere!!
- wedding planner/decorator Annie has a job to do!!
- renovations still under way!!
- health so-so, actually well, but torn tendon in wrist still excruciating!!
- medication - fabulous!!!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

One of my favorite photos

Angled Sunset

As the sun sinks in the sky I'm assured that night will darken the earth and the giver of light will rise again in the morning. I'm hoping this is true of my writing.
I have some more exciting news. We are expecting grand-baby Number 2!!! This little one will be born in Mid May, just weeks after the parents were to be married. So one door closes but another one certainly will open!! Just like those sunsets and sunrises.
I sincerely apologize to all my readers for not updating this blog as often as I'd like. Hope you understand that life does get in the way some times.
Regards Annie

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bring back Spring - it is inevitable

Here down under we will soon be lapping up the warmth of Spring. What I would love more than that is some spring in my step. Still experiencing ill health and NOT enjoying what usually brings me pleasure at the moment finds me determined to build my immune system to make it work for a change!! I am really hoping the new season will not only occur weather-wise but also health-wise. When I am feeling better my doctor has promised he will attack my wrist with a scalpel - now isn't that something to look forward to?
Now that you know how I'm feeling, do you think it's possible that I would jump up on a stage and start singing and dancing? Nope, you guessed that right.
Let's look at this scenario regarding characterization. Valerie Parv says it's inevitable for characters to react a certain way that isn't contrived. In other words, if you have set the heroine up as a timid, li'l thing with a people phobia, she would never consider jumping on the stage with me to sing a duet and dance too. Once a writer has gifted characters with their personality there's an inevitability as to how they act and react.
As a writer, care has to be taken to portray characters true to their created personalities for what Ms Parv calls the 'ring of truth'. As a reader I am so frustrated when I see this abused. I could put a recent example in here but don't want to hurt the published author!! There was a scene that I could never, EVER see the heroine indulging in for the sake of her hero. Sorry, but there are just some things that are inevitable and this scene was SO contrived that I was getting annoyed. Still, she's published and I'm not. I guess if the story is good enough there are some things we can skip over. But I won't be picking up this author again.
How about you? Have you read something that was so out of character it turned you off the story or even the author?
Regards Annie

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Go Ahead... look the part!

I haven't done anything on the blog this week because I have been sick. Nothing too serious just quite nasty, and hopefully, short-lived.
It did give me the perfect opportunity to look the part. (What is she talking about? I hear you ask.)
We Aussies are experiencing the chilly days of winter 'down under'. Here in Queensland where the promotional tourist banners brag 'beautiful one day, perfect the next' we get... hmm let's see now... maybe a couple of cold days hmmm let's be generous and say, we get a week. Well, we are having that now! LOL
My hubby is what we 'down under' would call a tuff Aussie male. That means, he will sit there in his Tshirt and shorts and deny that he is cold and tuff it out, macho like! Aahh but I can see his feet edging closer to the heater. Oh didn't I tell you that he makes sure the heater is on but 'tuffs it out' just the same!
That's right, I forgot I was talking about looking the part. Well, here it comes.
Sick, warm cuppa beside the bed, great book in hand, doona up around the ears, trackie dacks (that's what we call 'em anyway. The translation would be... the lower part of the track suit) Tshirt or maybe a sloppy joe (oh translated kinda like the long sleeved trackie top LOL) AND let's not forget the fluffy dressing gown and slippers (but not while in bed - well - most times anyway!!). But Queenslanders rarely even own slippers, we just wear socks with our thongs. OOPs translated that would be flip flops. Now I don't know what would look worse, fluffy bed socks with your thongs or ours!!! ROFL cough cough (holding crutch, don't ya hate it when ya have to do that?)
I forgot the best bit. Because there is a book in hand we can stay there all day (oh I mean in bed not with hand in crutch!! Come On) and call it research.
Until a food craving comes, then that would be time to get up and do some exercise - walk downstairs, boil kettle and make another cuppa, raid the fridge (but only briefly, too cold to linger), zap whatever is in your hand (from fridge - preferably leftover chicken/vegie soup) in microwave, trudge back upstairs, and settle in for more research!!!
My dog is so desperate for company he has taken to running away all day. AND he hates the cold so much he wraps himself in the tiny mat we wipe our feet on at the back door (I guess that's what you do with a mat anyway isn't it?) - when he's at the back door of course!
Well, back on subject, the looking-the-part bit, NO I AM NOT taking PHOTOs!!!
Regards Annie sniff sniff cough cough
PS Announcement - any reference to real life is purely fictional of course, and bears no resemblance to anyone/canine living or dead ROFL cough cough (hold the crutch)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Floor Plans

Design - Homestead 37 - copyrighted to Newstart Homes

Whenever a new house is about to be built, the owners and builder pour over their floor plans making sure every detail is accounted for before construction begins. My DH is a builder and my bro is a house designer and my DD and her hubby are developing several properties, so I have seen my fair share of plans in my time.
As I am about to start a new story, I am still researching a couple of ideas. One of them includes the house where a lot of interaction will take place. In order to do it justice I think it is always important to draw a floor plan. I have done this several times: once for the main house of my last story, the other was a pub where several scenes were set (although the detail here wasn't as complete as for the house).
I not only use the collage for visual accuracy but I draw the floor plans to give credibility and ease for describing scenes.
Go to March 14 for my blog on collage or copy and paste this link -
If the heroine turned to walk away from the dining table and walked into a wall it could prove a little embarrassing. It also helps when it comes time to describe the light or shadows or views from a room or balcony etc.
Do you use this floor plan kind of planning in your research or do you merely go with the flow and design around your characters wants and needs? I would be interested to hear your comments.
Regards Annie

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Abstract expressionism and music

My friend Froyle Neideck is an artist who uses music to inspire the creative process. Concentrating on abstract expressionism she conducts workshops to inspire original thought and encourage self expression. Creativity, she says, is the language of the heart. Read more on her website - by clicking the title of this blog - and check out the testimonials and her paintings. I have several! Now read here what she says about the importance of music in her creative process.

"My inspiration comes from colour itself, and my approach to art is most akin to abstract expressionism. My paintings are a celebration of the creative process; whereby the initial inspiration is the spring board and from this the art evolves.
At the moment music is playing a vital role in my creativity. It is the catalyst from where I am drawing my emotional expression and my paintings are often the execution of a visual colour melody."

I think any workshop that develops this kind of creative expression is always valuable to anyone in the arts. There are never too many roots to support a healthy plant.

When my wrist gets better I look forward to doing one of Froyle's workshops and when I do I will post a pic of the masterpiece here!!! Now that's confidence for you.

I'd love to hear what you think on this one... Do you think we, as creators of the written word, need to develop creativity or just concentrate on crafting words alone?

Regards Annie

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Heroes, heroes everywhere!!

I've been looking to the music scene for some inspiration for a hero. There seems to be plenty, but which will I choose? Bonnie Taylor is holding out for a hero. Metallica’s hero of the day isn’t John Lennon’s working class hero. Thank goodness we don’t believe as Tina Turner does, because she doesn’t need another hero. I do. I always need another hero. Bring on the hero and bring him on now. My friend is like Neil Young, sharing appreciation for the western hero as does ELO with and even wilder western hero. Then there’s Loverboy’s home town hero, Terri Clarke’s unsung hero and the Days of Yore sole hero while Jamie O’Neil has somebody’s hero, but it seems he doesn’t belong to Trixter because according to them nobody’s a hero. There are all the other heroes, the list goes on… TV hero, Juke box hero, war torn hero, space-age hero, Zero the hero and let’s not forget yesterday’s hero (though he’s probably a bit out-of-date for us LOL). And the birth of a hero probably means a series or a very long wait! What we want is for our heroine to join Emery in holding out for a hero or, no wait, yes, yes… I’ll have what Reel Big Fish is having – a brand new hero!! Will you join me? I promise to share!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our Hero has a 'Soft-Spot"

Don't we all love a great hero? Of course, that's why we read and (some of us) write romance. Recent conversations have brought up the issue of how strong (or alpha) writers should make the hero.
One statement kept coming up. 'He should never be weak.' The last thing writers want to portray is a weak hero but how to make him a sensitive new-age guy while still have the strength to take the 'hero' role of a story is the balancing act of every writer who wishes to steer away from the true alpha portrayal.
But even an alpha needs a soft-spot.
Cynthia VanRooy says most romance novels portray the hero as the macho, alpha male type character. So, how does the writer develop him further? She says to “create a hero the reader will fall in love with… by showing the little boy within the man.”
Well, little boy within the man, hmmm… my DH quoted for a good many years that he was just a “growing boy”. Please let the man emerge, and quickly! LOL
Cynthia continues ”I don’t mean you should have him [the hero] exhibiting childish, immature behavior, but rather show what hurts him, excites his enthusiasm, makes him proud. Show his soft spot. Is he a sucker for kids, does he love animals, worry about his mother? You can get away with a lot in terms of macho behavior… as long as he demonstrates what Suzanne Brockmann refers to as the save-the-kitty factor”.
How to portray the ‘save-the-kitty factor’ will vary with each hero, but let’s never forget to show his soft-spot – especially the one in his heart for the heroine.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Role of a Lifetime

My good friend Jennifer Shirk has just had her book released and you really should check it out.
Here is part of the set-up as per her website - to access it directly click on the title above...
There’s more to life than playing make believe...

Sandra Moyer has a good reason to distrust actors. She was once married to one who left her and her child. However, she’s desperate for publicity to help her struggling preschool. Hollywood playboy Ben Capshaw’s request to access her classes to prepare for a role is an offer she can’t refuse.

Check it out by reading more plus an excerpt (on her 'My Books' page) and don't forget to watch the trailer on her homepage.
Regards Annie

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock, sml

Monday, May 26, 2008


Some of the news I wanted to share with you is not so earth shattering, though for me it is sensational news. All my family who have been staying here to recoup finances etc have moved out. Several times a week our household bulged with up to seven extra people (though usually it was only five) with the lounge/dining area transformed to resemble multi-bedroomed sleeping quarters. While it is always lovely to have family here and I enjoy them heaps, the addition of three little ones under four meant all our time went to just running this household.
So, now I am home alone while DH is at work and I can hear the bubbles popping in the fish tank!!!
You have no idea how excited I am.
But wait, there's more.
We found out while on holidays that we will be grandparents (our first natural grandchild) in the new year. Everyone is in 'excited hyped up mode' about this little new addition to our family. It was totally unexpected news for us as the couple is still studying but unbeknown to us they had been trying for some time. They are a truly amazing couple and will make fantastic parents and, of course, they will have some of the best grandies on the planet!! Two lots actually!!
Well that's all for today. Stay tuned for more holiday pix...
Regards Annie

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Holiday Pix

Click on pic for larger size of shots of the 1st day.
Geelong and Port Phillip Bay.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Home from holidays

Hello to all my cyber friends.
Sorry if you've been checking here an found nothing, because I haven't written in ages. I've been away with DH on holidays. We had a lovely 10 days traveling by plane 1200 kms to drive over 1700 kms from Melbourne in Victoria to Adelaide in South Australia. Of course, it isn't that far between the two state capital cities. But using the coastal roads where we could, there have been many a photographic opportunity to take advantage of and add the ks on the dial. Unfortunately I lost my voice somewhere in Victoria and haven't found it since. This is DISASTER for someone who loves to speak as much as I do!!
If I can, I'll upload some pix over the next week or so. I also have some fantastic personal news coming soon so - Stay Tuned!!
Regards Annie

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Love conquers all

pink frangipani

Everyone who as ever been in love or dreams of being in love can tell their own version of how it should be or how it came to happen that they fell in love with the person they are with. And don't we all love to hear a good love story?
I am so glad falling in love is not a straight forward process. It is as varied for each couple as we are individually unique.
Without the diversity of situation, circumstances and the individuality of participating characters, romance writers would have nothing to bring their readers. And the more complex the better. It is that thrill of discovery that lures a reader to find out the answer to that all important question. How will this seemingly impossible situation resolve itself? I love to read about them, as much as anyone, to find out what happens of course.
Do you have an amazing story of love reunited, or everlasting love or love lost?
I'd enjoy hearing about them.
Regards Annie

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dreaming write

Some concepts made on other blogs and their comments have inspired my new train of thought. Dreams. As writers we could use more time in our week and someone suggested we lose sleep. I could NEVER do that. Not a happy chappy without my sleep!! LOL
I had a lovely romance story dream last night (while sleeping blissfully - it does happen occasionally) and then I tossed and turned trying to write the thing in my head. I have had a few of these but have never taken the time to write them down straight away to see where such a plot or thought would take me.
I have often imagined some of the other genres inspiration may well come from dreams, having marveled at their inventiveness - especially in 'other world' type scenes depicted.
I am wondering if anyone else has used an actual dream scene to include in their novels. And if so, did they turn out successfully and inspire other plot paths to enhance the overall story? Or not work at all?

Friday, April 11, 2008


Networking is another facet to the writing of romance that enhances our ability to get our name out there. Blogging is one way. I love the comments (as, I'm sure, we all do) from you all who take the time to leave one. It also helps me know whether to keep writing here or not. So keep at it one and all - even if it's just to say hello.
Networking either face-to-face or online can provide us with answers to our professional questions and build those professional relationships we all need in this business.
I have been busy this week setting up some social networking pages and we all know how much time can be wasted there!! LOL But in the process I have learned a little (the tip of the iceberg really) about some basic webpage editing. Also found another photo site I like which includes an editor so I can fuss over my pix a bit more. WOW, there goes another major chunk of time.
Anway, I would encourage you to take a look at Please add me as a friend as I would love to see you there.

Friday, March 28, 2008

To cling or not to cling

Mentoring and receiving instruction
“If you be a lover of instruction, you will be well instructed.” Isocrates
While I was on my morning walk the other day I saw a vine clinging to a tree. It reminded me of mentoring. Weird I know, but then, that’s how my crazy mind works sometimes. Most times. The vine starts out crawling along the ground, it makes its way to the tree, then clings while it grows ever upwards.
Mentoring is partnering with someone more knowledgeable for the purpose of instruction. The corporate world has grasped this concept in a big way, and it's successful among youth programs. Have you ever thought about a mentor in the ‘trade’ of romance writing?
How would I do that? While the question seems a big one, may I add some of my own thoughts on this topic? While you may not need a mentor in the true sense of the word, there is a wealth of information out there already available for newbies to glean from.
Firstly, read widely and generally. Find the niche within the market you feel most comfortable with, (that is, if you haven’t already decided). The one you enjoy reading will prove to be the most obvious place to start. For example – It’s no good trying to write a paranormal if you don’t enjoy reading paranormals, even if the market is huge.
Secondly, find a few writers whose work you love and examine their content, voice and technique. Check out if they have a web presence and learn all you can from them.
Next - join groups, associations and forums with the aim of seeking out those more knowledgeable on topics of interest to you. Historical writers could do worse than forming a professional relationship with a history buff. And, while you’re involved in those group/forum situations don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make a list if necessary, to be prepared. Most people are happy to share their insight of what they’re passionate about. You may find someone who will help you more than you could ever imagine.
Even by entering competitions with feedback, you are submitting your work to others who’ve walked further up the road to publication than you. This feedback can be a valuable source of instruction.
Like the vine, use the strength of the other for your upward growth.
“Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz
Any othe ideas I haven't thought of?

Regards Annie

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What is Romantic?

Tell me your thoughts about a romantic setting?
It's funny how we all have a different opinion, even about what constitutes a romantic setting. Last night there was a beautiful full moon with clear sky and stars. Lovely. I called my family out to see it and the response was varied. One howled like a wolf!! And so did his fiance (they are the perfect match aren't they? LOL) My husband wished he was on the beach fishing. The children were just in awe and looking for the cow that jumped over it. I thought it was romantic.
My family lives in a gorgeous sub-tropical paradise on the coast of Australia and although we love where we live, appreciate it's natural beauty and get out in it as much as possible, to us it's still just home. Many come for honeymoons, weddings and romantic get-aways while everyday life goes on around us. However, I never take it for granted and even though I have traveled quite a lot, there's no place like my home.
Valerie Parv wrote about romantic settings in her book The Art of Romance Writing. She says "many writers are surprised to find the setting is not the most important element" when writing a romance. She says many of her powerful settings are just everyday places. While setting is important, it is the relationship between the hero and the heroine that keeps us glued to the page.
What's you idea of a romantic setting and have you used your special place in a manuscript yet?
Regards Annie

Friday, March 14, 2008

Collage helps my creative process

As promised here is my collage of ideas which feeds my creative process regarding story construction.
I love Powerpoint. Starting with a blank page, I can add big or small pix, text or whatever. For my writing collages it's mainly for pix, though.
I'm attaching some jpg files of the Powerpoint slides I have used for my previous story. I usually keep one page or more for each topic. EG the first one is for heroine's setting: (Click on images to see larger versions.)

I just look for pix online that feature aspects I'm thinking I might use. (Add to page via copy and paste) In this story the heroine owns a B&B and is where she meets up again with school friend hero. Quite a lot of interaction and different scenes happen here and in the garden.
Another slide is setting pix for the rockclimbing and abseiling aspects of the story.

Here the main characters H/h have a slide but other settings like the country pub are here too. If I can't find a pic that's exactly as I visualize, I just insert a couple of different ones for an eclectic mix!!
The pix can be edited easily and shuffled on the slide to format or resize or cut and pasted to another page as required.

This slide was for careers, cars and children.
The best thing about a Powerpoint file is it can be as big or small as needed because if more inspiration is needed then an entire slide can be inserted, cut or the order rearranged by dragging and dropping.
I found these slides most useful for getting the feel for the settings. Pix mostly came from real estate ads, these helped big time. AND the entire display is always only a click away, filed with my WIP.

As usual photo files can be quite large, though usually online they are already resized. In order for the Powerpoint file to remain small, it is important to format the pictures before saving the file. Here's what I do: Right click on the pic, then choose Format Picture, then choose in lower left of box Compress, in Compress Pictures box click on all of these: All Pictures in Document; Resolution to Web/Screen (you will notice the res changes to 96 dpi) and BOTH lower options for compressing and deleting cropped sections of pictures. Click OK then OK again in the other Format Picture box.
Also when I am done I select all pix on each page by clicking the mouse in the top left of the slide and dragging it to form a box down to the bottom right. This selects all pix on the slide and then I do the following: In box after right click choose Grouping > click Group (this selects all pictures within the dotted line box made from the mouse). If you want to edit or add pix you need to do the same only Ungroup beforehand. This step is not necessary but I find it useful. Once these are grouped they can be saved as jpg files or whatever, which is what I did for this blog.
I hope none of this sounded basic or condescending - that was not my intention.
Let me know if any of this was useful or not, or if I omitted some aspect.
Regards Annie

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A novel, creative process

I wanted to extend the ‘creative flow’ theme of my blog entries lately to include the creative process of constructing a story worth writing.

Emma Darcy says in The Secrets of Successful Romance Writing that she starts with a single situation and visualizes it in her head. She asks herself questions about this one scene—like what is happening, why it happened and for what purpose. I like how she equates this part of the creative process to a jigsaw puzzle. If pieces don’t fit or if she has too many mixed pieces, she aborts the project and starts again.

First ideas for my next story have just been put down on paper and I hope it is worth writing! It’s certainly shaping up that way, so I may soon be in a frenzy to get those words on the page. In my previous manuscript I had included a couple who were already married. As I’d already nutted out their personalities and really liked them, I started asking myself those questions of how did they meet and what circumstances drove them into each other's arms. The answer took months to come but now it has just dawned on me and it is so obvious that it just isn’t funny. Actually it’s a bit of a ‘doh’ moment for me because it should have been clear all along.

Not sure if you’ve noticed my problem or not yet. Because this story precedes the previous one, I will have to lay the older one down for a while. The new one is set a decade before but the old one has already helped the new story because a lot of the dramatic ending I have in mind has already been mapped out, but the consequences of that event are revealed in the older manuscript.

Has anyone else had this happen during their creative process or has there been such conflicting ideas that you've just had to abort and start again?

Regards Annie

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Creative Play

Thanks to everyone who commented on my Creativity post last week. It is a subject we could discuss forever and probably will.
Here are some pix we took showing creativity at play. I am amazed at just how creative littlies can be-though the clever ones belong to 'teacher-in-the-making' Aunty Zoey.

A child looks at an exercise bench and sees a bus. So everyone has to get on board and pay their money before they climb on board! A child draws, paints and plays with play-dough creating another world not restricted by perspective. A child tells a story with full expectation that imaginations will be perceived as reality. Aah to be a child again with no restrictions on our creativity.

Oh and here is a pic of the gorgeous necklace Zoey made for me. I love it.

(Not my pearly complexion or pretty neck!!)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I went to a workshop on the weekend for creativity. It used drama to release the creativity within each of us. It was fun and actually turned out to be very relaxing.
We were each asked to define creativity. Here's my answer: the outward expression of an inward yearning.

Creativity can take many forms. The most obvious is within the arts. We understand clearly the outward expression of artists, writers, potters, handicrafters, dramatists and other arts creators. But what of a smart business person who finds a gap in the marketplace and cleverly finds a product to fill the niche? I consider that as 'creativity'. How about you? In what other unusual areas do you see the outward expressions of an inward yearning?

My daughter-in-law creates the most beautiful hand-crafted jewelry. My son has a very inventive mind for business ideas. My brother is an artist who now sees the abstract within the reality, expressed via his digital camera, to amazing effects. Many people I love are musicians. They make such beautiful creations. My hubby builds with his hands, creating something new every day. I don't really like cooking, but I know others who love it and create the most awesome meals etc. My best friend decorates cakes for special occassions. My sister-in-law is a floral artist. As a family, we have also examined how creatively we can incorporate learning into child's play. And of course, there's all of you out there, creating new sentences and stringing them together! Amazing.
The options for using creativity in our everyday lives are almost endless.

What do you think?

Regards Annie

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Holiday coming up

Thanks Chicki, Eric and Suz for responding to my last post. I forgot to say that we are not going on holidays until May. So I guess I will have to wait a little while heh?
Regards Annie

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I wasn't going to post about writing as I am not doing any ATM. But then I thought about what I am doing and thought I would share with you.
I have decided to change the ending of my story. As it is a finished manuscript it will affect most everything. Someone challenged me (prob reading this now) to put the characters motivation in one word. That did make me think because I'd never defined it that precisely. In doing so I realized that by changing the ending of the story the motivation of the major characters is changed, therefore their entire perspective and portrayal within the story changes along with it. So carefully she must proceed. In order to do this correctly and because of some big personal issues also ATM I am laying this down just for a week or so.
Now, personally we are planning a holiday. I would like to share it with you. I managed to get some great sale priced flights to Victoria and from South Australia back to Queensland. You Aussies have already preempted me I guess. We are doing the Great Ocean Road. Flying to Geelong then hiring a car, then driving along the iconic coastline for 10 days to Adelaide where we will fly home.
For those of you who don't know about this amazing part of the world - this is the southern end of Australia and has some magnificent coastal views. We are planning to drive about 200ks per day and visit a friend half way. I'm sure I will let you know how it all goes, both itinerary and actual trip, not to mention photos. Speaking of which, do a search on for 12 Apostles, you won't be disappointed.
Regards Annie

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

To honour you

My ALL TIME favorite shot that I took in the Privy Garden of Hampton Court Palace in London, England.
I post this to honor those who have passed this week.
My Auntie Jean, my neighbor Bruce, and a little girl called Clare, aged 11.

Click on image to see its delicate beauty...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Australia Day weekend

Views from Point Glorious lookout. Abseiling is done from the rocks here. I have based my story around consequences from an abseiling, rock climbing accident. Meanwhile enjoy the views. No drought here...

Warning: This is a 7MB movie. Sorry if you don't have broadband.

Now, here are the ones I promised some of you...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tragedy, fiction and reality

Okay, now I am feeling pretty terrible. The tragedy my heroine has to deal with has just happened for real. Close to where I live, a young woman fell to her death during a climbing accident. Of course in my story the victim was a male. The situation sounds very similar to what I conceived in my head (well, with the help of my rock-climbing instructor son).

The Sunshine Coast Daily reported the news on its website - the original article can be found here.

It was a news article that ignited my first thoughts for my first manuscript. A group of climbers got into difficulty in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales in Australia. I researched the topic and found many instances where accidents occurred, similarly to the one mentioned here. I figured where there was a group of young people on adventure there was bound to be a love interest. Then the 'what ifs' started happening. And my story was born.

While the loss of a loved one is a sad thing in real life, don't forget the power of a tragedy to build emotion, action or progress the plot in a work of fiction.

Regards Annie

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Making something from nothing

Here's a pic of my frangipani in flower. Just a year ago I was given two lovely pots as a gift. I wanted to put something special in them and checked out the stock at the local plant nursery. I decided I could achieve the look I wanted by raiding my own garden. What you see here is the result.
What you can't see is the determination to make something from nothing. To use what was in front of me, taking some effort to plant the thing, water it and watch it grow. Funny thing about frangipani is that it may look like it's growing, then all of a sudden it has used up the sap within the branches and struggles to survive. I've got to say I thought this one was going to die. After waiting a LONG time, along with a commitment to keep watering while it looked dead, I started to see some signs of life. Now I am enjoying its reward.
Not sure if you've picked it yet (excuse the pun), but this whole process can be juxtaposed with the writing process. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and a commitment to nurture the gift within, even as it struggles for life.
We must take something which only exists as a thought and put the ideas down on paper, make them coherent, throw in some complications, resolve the issues and with any good fortune, it will be entertaining. But then even when the words are already on the page, we need to prune it by editing, plant it by targeting it where it will flourish, water it by networking and marketing and learning more about our craft, and then wait for signs of life!! Hopefully one day we will all reap the reward of our labors.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Effervescent personalities

An Inside Sport magazine article has broached on the topic of personality on the tennis court, saying there was a complete lack of effervescent personalities.
Do your characters have effervescent personalities? It is an interesting question. If they don't, then what kind of appeal do they have?
A personality profile is one of the first things I fill in around the skeleton of my new characters. Not everyone can be that "effervescent" person but it is important to give your story real personalities. I recently read a sentence during a critique that seemed totally out of character for this particular character in the story. By compiling the personality profile, the writer is able to regularly check to make sure real personalities are being portrayed.
Of course, the alpha male, in my opinion is totally unreal but that's another topic.
How do you make your characters appear real or true to their personalities? Do you do a profile or just model them after 'real people' you know?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Invincible summer

Greetings all. Happy New Year.
Although the Christmas holidays weren't really kind to our family, there were no disasters or tragedies. Even in the hard times, glimmers of hope often emerge to bring a smile to our face or joy to our hearts. I cling to those and look forward to more of them in 2008.
The new year gives us a time of retrospect, to look back but also look forward. What are you looking forward to? Soren Kierkegaard's quote about living life forward but understanding it backwards, caught my eye this week. Don't you wish you had hindsight today! If only we knew then what we know now. How differently would we act or react or make decisions. If only we had hindsight sooner. But then that would deter from the experience of life itself.
Albert Camus wrote "In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer". Some times we must dig deep to find that invincible summer but it is always there. Never lose touch with it. If you don't know what your invincible summer is, I really hope you find it in 2008.
Your life's destiny dwells there.