Thursday, 31 July 2014

July instagram - a mix of old and new

Instagram is my photographic 'hello'.  I like to put something up almost daily, whether old or new.  My winter garden has been a constant subject - it's been lovely seeing more bulbs flowering this year, their second in the ground.  My thrifted blue bird cage (bottom row, second left) is a feature no matter what time of year, but particularly beautiful against the stark, leafless apricot tree mid-winter.

Sophie's bed (top right) made an appearance in a shout out to Ken Done who was recently featured on The Design Files.  Mum made my KD doona cover at least in early 1988, if not before.  We couldn't afford one from the shop, so she cleverly pieced together one of my own which is still being used 26 years later!  Great work mum!

Are you a photographer?
What's your favourite subject?
What would fill your Instagram account?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

creative writing for children

How best do we inspire the next generation of writers?  One way is through copying out their favourite stories.  This was certainly something I did as a child and Sophie has carried on the tradition.

Encourage copying, I hear you say, shock, horror!  What is the woman talking about?

But think about it for a moment:

* It helps them find a preference for a writing style - they obviously choose something they're drawn to and this will help develop their own voice

* It teaches them about sentence structure, grammar and spelling - even if the kids aren't consciously aware that this is going on in the background

* It introduces a wider vocabulary than they would normally use

* It helps them learn about paragraphing, the next stage on from writing purely in sentences

* It helps with pronunciation as they read their work aloud to you and stumble across unfamiliar words

* Sophie says that she can also make up her own words sometimes and add them in, which I'd say is a great step in my first point, helping to develop their own voice (this has happened in her adaptation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid)

I'd love to think we have children out their preparing to become the voices of digital natives - those who have been brought up in the age of the internet.  This is just one of many ways we can add to their toolboxes.  I'll discuss more as time permits.

How do you encourage children to write, either your own or others?  
Are you a giver of books, a teller of tales, a writer of stories?  
What tips do you have to share?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

photography collage: picmonkey

Whether they're levitating, holding a balloon or dancing like a wild thing, I love a good collage of the kids' photos.  This was via Picmonkey and you can push and pull the photo sizes to your heart's delight.  I left them without any spacing and used a green background to achieve the rectangle in the centre.  There's quite a few different options, so it's well worth checking out.  Going back through the photos reminds me of how many I still need to print… oh well, one day!

Do you Picmonkey?  If not, what's your favourite photo editor?

Monday, 28 July 2014

fiction writing: research

Authenticity is essential in writing, whether fiction or non-fiction.  My novel-in-progress has required a surprising amount of research, some of it still in progress.  I've had to look up things from the expected baby weight at four months, to what team Geelong played on 7 September 2013 and whether it was a home game.  Politics-wise, I needed to know when Kevin Rudd got back in and the date of the 2013 federal election.  It turned out that the Geelong-Fremantle home game, which two of my characters attend, coincided with the election, which meant a trip in advance to the polling station to vote…

I'm attempting to place these details lightly in the background of my novel, rather than actually naming dates, for example.  The baby weight is mentioned in a visit with the maternal child health nurse and is used to illustrate the scene.  There's also a coastal getaway associated with the Geelong-Fremantle match and it had to fit in with the male character's leave from the mines.  All very complicated, which is why I also have a 2013 calendar printed out and highlighted on my desk!

Do you write?  Where do you start with your research and how do you keep track of it all?

Friday, 25 July 2014

recent reading, viewing and books on the go… july 2014

It's been a Nashville and Girls fest this month.  I loved Connie Britton in Friday Night Lights (not to mention Coach Taylor mmmmmmmmm) and she's just as wonderful in this new-to-me series.  It's a brilliant story revolving around Britton, an older singer, having to stake her claim against an up-and-coming juggernaut in the form of Hayden Panettiere - great soundtrack, fabulous cast, love it!  Season two of Girls is darker than the first, but fantastic all the same. Lena Dunham is amazing - this series has further extended her acting abilities even though at times it makes for gruesome watching (cotton bud anyone?!).  On an aside, I googled Adam Driver, her on-off love interest in the show, and found he's in an upcoming movie with Connie Britton - wow!  Watch out for This is where I leave you, it looks as though it's going to be amazing!
Reading-wise, I'm almost beat by the glut of books on my bedside table.  This is just a small selection, so be another catch up soon!  The From-Aways by CJ Hauser features two new arrivals in a coastal Maine town, trying to find their place in an established fishing village.  Old meets new with not always successful results.  How Lucky You Are, Kristyn Kusek Lewis focusses around Waverly and her friends Kate and Amy.  I'm still reading this, lugging it around the house with me for whenever I get a quiet moment.  A lovely novel about friendship, a fabulous debut.  I must also give a shout out to Claire Brown who designed the beautiful cover - it's just gorgeous - see the detail in the spine alone.  Funnily enough I've been too busy to read Busy yet, but I'm looking forward to getting some tips!

I think I'll have to lie low on the reserves for a while or I'll never get through these books!

What have you been reading lately?  Do you have a glut like me, all of them equally enticing, or are you facing a book drought?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Links for writers July 2014

Have you ever wanted to turn your blog into a book?
Blog to book via Blurb and Melbourne Writers Festival is one such opportunity and it's my pick for this month's writing opportunities.  Three bloggers will be chosen to produce a Blurb book based on text and images from their blog during MWF.  Other prizes include tickets to two industry seminars and $500 worth of hard copies of their books.  Entry is open to bloggers across Australia and closes on Wednesday 13 August 2014.  Details here.

Looking to pitch?
Open Pitches is a new place to find opportunities for writers and editors.  Current pitches include Overland and Griffith Review.

Lane Cove Literary Award
Categories include short story, memoir and poetry.  Open to Australian residents over the age of 16.  Entries here by 27 August 2014.

Why you write - putting it into words
What's the overwhelming urge that gets you writing?  What are you working on now?  If you haven't done the meme Why I write yet, here's your chance.  Current on blogs throughout Australia and the world, this party has explored the creative urges of writers big and small.  Link to mine here.  When you've written yours, please let me know as I'd love to read it.  Then leave your link at Maxabella and Always Josefa so other people can find it too.

What opportunities have you found lately?  
Have you been able to participate?  
Or are you like me, trying to concentrate on one project alone currently, with no time left to spare?!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

creative habits uncovered

As a creator, what gets your juices flowing?  Huffington Post recently ran an article on habits of extremely creative people*.  Referring to Stanford University research, it said a person could increase their creativity by 60% by going for a walk - impressive stuff!  The article then cited ten well-known creatives and their techniques for reengaging creativity.  Steve Jobs held walking meetings; Toni Morrison watched the sun come up in silence.  Bill Gates held an annual think week and retreated from the world - including his family - to read through papers in silence.

Some things are more achievable than others
It made me think of how I reconnect with my own creativity.  Often, I have ideas about my manuscript when I'm in the shower!  It's probably one of the only moments of the day I can think uninterrupted for a second or two.  I often think I need to get a waterproof pen so I can write down my thoughts - funnily enough, in HuffPost's comment section, someone said their best ideas came to them in the bath.  They used bath crayons to record them - now there's an idea!

Travelling by car
As a passenger, I always need pen and paper with me.  There's something about staring out the window that really gets my thoughts flowing.  Being the driver is more complicated and I often have to rely on memory which isn't always successful.  Walking alone is a great way to solve a problem or think through the next steps of a scene.  Walking as I do, though, usually with a child or three and a dog, is not always successful.

Reading is a huge prompt for ideas
I can be reading anything and think of a question needing answering in my manuscript, whether it's related or not.  A line about the weather can make me think about what the characters had for dinner last night, or what colour is someone's hair.  A picture in a magazine can be a prompt to remind me to use more description in a scene.  I read at night with my tablet next to me and email myself notes to follow up in the morning.  Not a very relaxing way to read, I'll admit, but necessary all the same.

What gets your creative ideas flowing?  Do you record your thoughts during this time or do you rely on memory alone?

* Thanks to my dad who emailed me the article.  He found it via news.com.au and I traced it back to its original source xox.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

writing milestones: celebrating achievements

Do you believe in celebrating your achievements?  I do.

Last night I achieved my goal of 80,000 words on my manuscript.  I set myself the target in March 2013, originally aiming to reach it 12 months later.  The deadline flew out the window.  As far as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Oriented) goals, the achievable factor was limited by actual hours in the day vs life in general.  I've said it before, but my writing occurs in pockets of time (right now, after breakfast, one child out the door to school and the next due to leave in an hour).

In terms of whether my manuscript will ever actually get published, who knows?  It's certainly my aim.  If I don't succeed this time, then maybe the next one will do better.  I just know that I have to take a minute to whoop about a bit and say, I did it!  I have actually achieved what I set out to do.  When the first draft is scrubbed and polished and I'm happy to call it completely finished, I've promised my family we'll go out for dinner.  Celebrations don't have to be limited to the end product, especially when you don't know what form that end product will take.

Celebrate the steps, both big and small.  Enjoy your successes, no matter what form they take.

Monday, 21 July 2014

weekending - the garden

The winter garden continues to impress - a beautiful pink camellia (variety unknown as it was a plant orphan in the nursery) has finally opened.  I've been watching it for the past few weeks, half wondering whether it was dead as nothing was happening.  I was delighted, then, to catch sight of this stunning bloom a couple of days ago.  Our hellebores are doing really well as plants, green and leafy and no shortage of water this season, however this is only the first flower I've seen - perhaps there are more to come.  These photos were the result of a dash late Saturday afternoon, that beautiful blue sky behind the desert ash had me running out the door.

Writing-wise, I'm up over 78,000* words now which is the first time ever.  I've been fairly close, then edited madly and had to work my way up again from 60,000.  The first 50 pages are now heavily edited and it's time for the rest.

How was the weekend?  Did you have sunshine where you were?


* 30/7/14 Just had to come and edit this post - I'd written 37,000 words instead of 78,000 - a time where proof-reading would have come in handy - whoops!

Friday, 18 July 2014

The big details - photography

I love close up photos, whether they're of people, plants or objects.  Their revelation of details - a child's smile or the knit of their warm winter hat.  This white chair, once my younger sister's (thank you Auntie Kate, Soph loves it!) - its wicker crisscrossed and zigzagged, a different pattern for each section.  A wine barrel, thin lines running down the wood, a small dark stain on the diagonal.  I first blogged about my love of the photographic close up in 2012, saying its almost best to check people's preferences as two of my previous employers' views on this subject varied widely: my newspaper boss said close ups were more intimate, whereas another one thought this style chopped off the top of your head, a mistake.

What do you prefer?  Are you a fan of the close up?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

why I write

I was recently tagged by Jodi Gibson as part of the writing meme featured on Maxabella and Always Josefa.  I've mixed up the original order of questions because for me, the most important one is...

Why do I write?
I can't imagine doing anything else - and believe me, as someone whose always wanted to be a writer, I have: grant writing, communications and marketing, journalist, graphic design, photographer, accounts and office administration, handcrafter, ice cream shop attendant, cleaner, farm worker, nanny, baker and more.

My huge love of reading was the springboard for my early writing career, most notably 'An Orphaned Duckling', self-published in late 1983 (when I was nearly 10!).  Mum says I taught myself to read when I was quite young, but my older sister says she played a large part in it herself - thanks A!

Wherever I've been, I've always written.  In my late teens and twenties I had wanderlust and travelled, always with a pen and pad by my side.  I've journalled and written fiction and poetry and have the proverbial bottom drawer filled with projects from over the years.

This is the ideal stage to pursue my writing career, a short window of time before my youngest child starts school in 18 months.  At that point, I'll be looking at going back to work part- or full-time, so it's now or never!

What am I working on?
I'm 75,000 words into my first full-length manuscript.  It's a fictional piece about first time parents, one of whom is working away from home.  I'm currently editing and working towards the end of my first draft.

I started this piece when we were living overseas - my husband is Irish and that's where we commenced married life.  In early 2013, I committed towards completing this unfinished project.  The progress I've made since then (over 60,000 words) has been achieved in slots of stolen time - after breakfast, cooking dinner, the odd quiet moment when everybody else is out of the house.

How does my writing differ from others in its genre?
My writing reflects the sum of my life experiences.  I've lived in 33 different houses in three countries (Australia, Scotland and Ireland) in cities, out in the bush and in small country towns.  I've had many jobs, as listed above, and met heaps of people along the way.

In my married life, we've survived mainly on one income, taking over ten years to finally live in our own house.  Earlier on, Joe and I juggled my part-time with his full-time work so we could care for the kids between us (attempts at daycare were unsuccessful - great facilities but the kids just wanted to be at home).  Most recently, I've worked from home.

Put this all together and it feeds the way I write, from being empathetic and able to develop a budget in my grant writing or giving voice to the male protagonist in my manuscript, from my time spent working in the country.

How does my writing process work?
I veer from being highly organised - developing system cards to break down each chapter - to writing on the fly.  My editing is split between the computer and the printed page.  Both methods are effective, but the latter means I can sit anywhere and read out loud.  It's amazing how many errors I've found this way, from syntax to flow.

On the blog, I either use my photos as a starting point (my love of photography is equal to that of writing) or talk about recent experiences, books I've read etc.  I have three lively, creative and beautiful children who provide a great deal of inspiration.  There's also our garden which we started from scratch (bar a few larger trees) when we built our house - photographing it changing through the seasons is a real love/obsession of mine.

I'm always having ideas and if I'm not physically writing, my mind is working away by itself.  I'll be driving along in the car and think of what comes next in my manuscript and have to mentally store it away until I get home.  Sometimes this is more effective than others, but eventually the thoughts return!

Here are some links to other posts for further thoughts on writing:

As I see it: the truth about writing

The word terminator

Working differently

Developing character: writing insight

Filtering the narrative voice (in pictures)

Now, it's over to you!  If you read my blog and you'd like to join in, please leave a comment and I'll add your link to this post.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

a room with a view: hot-desking at home

I took my work and moved to Tom's room to edit yesterday morning.  I sat at the desk and read it aloud, scratched in more changes and continued to refine my manuscript.  I'm currently using a windowless workspace (bottom right) and covet both the boys' bedrooms as they face the back garden - very wintery and bleak at the moment, but views and natural light all the same!  It's a form of hot-desking at home - moving around the house when I don't need to be stuck in front of the desktop.  An ideal solution - the boys can keep their bedrooms and I can share their view!

Do you work from home?  Do you hot-desk or do you have a fixed workspace?

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

winter garden: frost

The winter garden continues to give me fabulous photographic opportunities - over the past week, we've woken to an icy frost.  The red image above is the seat from the seesaw - no one used it in a hurry that day!  The oregano from my small herb garden had delicate white tinged leaves - maybe the edges are thinnest which is why the frost gathered there?  This beautiful clear blue sky no doubt delivered the frost - not a cloud to be seen.  I love this shot through the bird cage hanging in my apricot tree - no birds of course, purely decorative!

What season is it where you live?  What photos have you been taking lately?

Monday, 14 July 2014

family chores: helping around the house

Inside a home, there's always something to be done.  One of our old family friends said that whenever she visited my own childhood home, there was always someone doing the dishes!  These days, my kids are lucky to live in a house with a dishwasher and the older two usually split the work between them - Tom (11) takes the top tier with glasses and breakables while Sophie (7 1/2) does the bottom.  Yesterday, Jono found the dishwasher filled with clean dishes and decided to tackle the job himself.  I was writing at the time, so I had full view of the kitchen and could supervise as he went about his work.  At 3 1/2 I thought this was something to be encouraged!  As parents, we can underestimate how capable our kids are - and often, the fact that the kids actually do want to help. 
Yesterday we made the most of the sunshine and had a barbeque for lunch.  Tom made a salad inside, then helped cooking the sausages.  When Sophie suggested we eat outside, she then took it upon herself to set the table and brought out cutlery and condiments for our meal.  At the end, the kids cleared everything inside and it was a real treat to not have to do anything (apart from caramelise onions, but I considered that a necessity!).  Now we're getting back into the term, the kids make their own school lunches and pack their bags - a great help in the busy mornings.  Joe and I consider it's all part of raising independent and resilient kids - and it looks like it's working!

What chores do your kids chip in with around the house?  How do you encourage their participation?

Saturday, 12 July 2014

hello sunshine!

It's been so grey and wet over the past week,  I thought we'd never see the sun again!  Perfect weather to get out for a walk and relish in the outdoors.  What a great end to the school holidays.

Happy weekend!

Friday, 11 July 2014

a virtual basket of flowers - in other places

It's raining again, which is lovely of course for those who need it, but it's somewhat challenging for the school holidays.  We're going to snuggle up and stay indoors reading, watching movies and playing games.  I've already slotted in an editing session this morning and hope to get back to the computer later this afternoon.  I'm planning on folding the washing and listening to the latest podcast from Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo whose weekly podcasts for Australian Writers Centre are fabulous.  I'm also hoping to finish Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings, which I've just loved.  Great to find another must read so soon after finishing We are called to rise.  If you enjoyed The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, I think you'll really enjoy The Invention of Wings.

As usual, I've come across many great links during the week via Facebook, Twitter and other blogs.  Here's a few I hope you'll like:

* 5 Mistakes Writers Make - remember, it's down to YOU at the end of the day, not just the selling and writing, but your authenticity too…

* A review of More than Honey, a brilliant documentary we watched during the week showing the disturbing decline of bees and the impacts already being felt around the world

* Jodi Gibson's Why I Write Post - an lovely insight into her writing process as part of this current meme.  Jodi has kindly tagged me next, so I'll be putting something together over the next few days

* Therese Creed sent in an unsolicited manuscript and was published!  There's hope for us yet!

What have you found to read this week?  Please leave a link in the comments.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

the writer's edition: month 15 check-in

Since last month's check-in, my word count has dropped below 60,000 words, climbed to 75,000 and is now sitting around 74,000 - such is the nature of editing.  I can feel my work strengthening from all the cuts and feel really pleased with where I'm going.  It's been fantastic to have good books to read during this time - beautifully crafted text helping shape my intent, my aim to have my words as well received at some point in the future.  I've booked to go to the Faber Academy in Melbourne - Getting Published, run by Sue Hines, the Group Marketing Director at Allen & Unwin and Murdoch Books.  I'm also going to a synopsis and pitch writing workshop run by Writers Victoria later in the year - essential to get these parts right!  I'm hoping to attend Write around the Murray in September, a couple of days to myself soaking up other people's words - bliss!

Just a quickie today as school holiday chaos reigns around me - everyone's still in pyjamas and we have a few jobs to do, so I'll sign off.  Until next month...

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

school holiday activities at home: indoor games

When I was a little girl we had a house at the beach - I filled the many hours of school holidays with card games, largely taught to me by our neighbours.  They were brothers - related to us through our dad - who played a grandfatherly role in our lives.  K taught us to use chopsticks, not with Chinese food, but Smarties. D was the card sharp - he passed on to me the secrets of Sixteens Patience and Clock Patience and fulfilled my frequent requests for Mars Bars and Lemonade.  My love of the chocolatey treat marked our friendship so greatly, that when I married, he brought me one on my wedding day.
The soundtrack to my children's lives will feature Connect 4 on high rotation.  Click, click, click as pieces fall into place, shrieks from the opposing player who realises they've been beaten, the deeper tone of the holder opening, the slot machine sound as red and yellow spill down.  There's no age limit to win, losing only your pride as the seven year old grins at you from across the table, another victory notched on their belt.  With rainy days ahead, we'll be seeking out more games to play, books to read and another background noise to add to the childhood soundtrack.

What indoor games does your family play?  What would you recommend?  And do you prefer card sharp or card shark, because google says it can be both?!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

must read: we are called to rise

Don't you love finding books so beautifully written that you want to rush to read them, but force yourself to slow down so you can savour them for longer?  We are called to rise, the debut novel from Laura McBride, is one such book.  There are four narrators whose stories become interconnected, brought together through a terrible tragedy.  In her author's note, McBride says "the one thing that almost kept me from writing my story was that is was so unbearably sad" - well, I'm glad it didn't stop her, otherwise the world would have missed out on writing as exquisite as this:

'It all matters.  That someone turns out the lamp…tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit… wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed… accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends the dying'

This is condensed from a much larger paragraph (p197) and it's one of the best pieces of fictional writing I've read in a long time.  McBride is a community college teacher and writer and I hope it won't be long before her next novel is on the shelves - not the library's next time, but on my own!

Have you read it?  I'd love to know what you think too - please leave a comment below!

Monday, 7 July 2014

hanging it up - tom's bedroom

When I answered Tom's SOS to help find the Lego police van door yesterday, I realised it was time for drastic action.  Time to clean up those bookshelves, pick the pencils up from under the desk and sort out the school bag and sports clothes - oh, and get those pictures up on the wall!  Since Tom and Jono swapped rooms, there hasn't been a moment until now to do those finishing touches.  A joint effort yesterday between Joe, my step-father and I resulted in a room makeover any boy would love.
Room for Lego on the shelves (hmm looks like the bottom left one needs a bit more work!) and a boy who's tall enough now to reach the books on top - perfect.  Tom's finally got his map of the world back up and can dream of the places to which he'll travel when he's older.  Jono and Sophie are very impressed with Tom's room and can't wait until we pay the same attentions to their own.  So confident his room will be a great success, Jono said last night that his room's going to be better than Tom's - classic comment from a 3 1/2 year old!

And guess where the Lego van door was?  In the bookshelf!  I wouldn't have thought to look there...

Friday, 4 July 2014

june instagram and something a little bit exciting!

June on Instagram - colder weather, foggy mornings, irises in bloom.  Snapshots of our daily lives, no words required.  School holidays now - a delightful cousin fest and catching up with friends.  Library visits, coming home with bags chock full of books - even after my last haul, I still collated another trove of exciting new reads.  Making our way through Girls, so glad to finally get on board.  Editing when I can, snippets throughout the day, gaining and losing words, all part of the fun.
And the exciting part?  You may recall that I entered a Writers Victoria competition a couple of weeks ago… I was delighted to receive a High Commendation from the judges.  At some point, my piece is meant to be published - I'll let you know if is.  Realising that it could be some time before my manuscript is finished, it's lovely to receive this by way of feedback.  Onwards and upwards!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

simple school holiday activity - the cardboard box

Our kids love nothing better than a cardboard box and with this cold weather, it's great to have something on hand for a simple craft activity.  Yesterday one formed a hand drawn background for a train set.  The white bits everywhere are snow (of course!) - Jono's become a fan of the scissors and has been constantly demanding more and more paper to satisfy his needs!  The kids thought it was great fun to scoop up snow flakes and sprinkle them over their game - not so fun is the clean up and I think we'll be finding little white sprinkles everywhere for some time to come...

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

recent reading, viewing and books on the go

There's been an explosion of fabulous books and DVDs from the library.  Every now and then I have a moment like this where all the good stuff comes in at once - this recent influx follows a long drought of average reads, so it's been terrific.  Help! for Writers is a wonderful resource with great tips about tightening up your writing, whether fiction or non-fiction.  I've since found another book by the same author (Roy Peter Clark), featured below - Writing Tools: 50 essential strategies for every writer.  This will join the other one in going on my 'must buy' list.  Have just started watching Girls - what a find!!  Late to the party on this one, but had to wait for it to come into the library.  How I live now was very tightly filmed and comes highly recommended.
David McCullough's You are not special originated from a commencement speech at Wellesley High School.  Footage of the event went viral as people debated the message McCullough gave his students. It's definitely thought-provoking stuff about the way we treat our kids today.  One of my best reads in 2014 so far is Mistakes I made at work: 25 influential women reflect on what they got out of getting it wrong.  Edited by Jessica Bacal, an eclectic group of women tell their stories - essential for anyone in, or anyone who's been in, the workplace - also a great resource for people beginning their careers.  This must read shows the power of admitting you're wrong and what to do next.
Billie Templar's War has been published to rave reviews - I'm only a few pages in, but enjoying it so far.  The kids have recently discovered Tom Gates - my Tom was given one of the series for his birthday and loved it, then generously let Sophie read it too!  They were delighted to find more through our library system.  Graphic Design x 100 features recent design from around the world - amazing work.  The Australian Writers Marketplace 2013 is chock full of information about publishing opportunities throughout the country - starting to wonder what next for my writing.  I'm still editing and think this process will take quite some time, but I'd like to be ready for the next step!

As always, all books featured come from our local library's network throughout Victoria - I order them online and just have to pick them up from the reserves shelf when they come in - great stuff!

What have you been reading lately?  Is there room on my bedside table for more?

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

things that make you go mmmmmmmm

Over the weekend I had the difficult job of taking photos to help launch a friend's business.  I was surrounded by chocolatey delights including homemade freckles, rocky road and chocolate spoons.  I'm sure I still have a chocolate hangover two days later!
It was very tempting for everyone in the house to have just a little taste and it worked well by way of bribery.  I particularly love this shot with the rocky road broken down, its ingredients telling the story.
The kids were delighted to try a chocolate spoon - dipped into hot milk they'll be great as party favours or just because.  
And just one more to tempt you!  Right, I think it's time for a piece of fruit!