Award winning author

Bookings are now open for my three 2020 residential writing retreats, co-tutored with RNA Chair Alison May. Details can be found here.

History

Defining beauty

On a recent museum trip – I saw images from the Qajar dynasty in Persia – the period from 1795 -1925. The display focused on the women of that period.

My attention was caught by description of the beautiful women of the Qajar court – paragons of beauty with a thick monobrow and moustache.

There are paintings and a few very rare photographs of the Qajar women - showing a very different idea of beauty

There are paintings and a few very rare photographs of the Qajar women showing very different ideas of beauty

Today’s women use cosmetics to highlight curved lips or long lashes. The Qajar women would paint on a moustache if they were not lucky enough to possess one naturally.

This got me to thinking about how things change – and particularly how our perception of beauty changes. Continue reading

Share this page...
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmail
Follow Janet here...
FacebooktwitterpinterestrssFacebooktwitterpinterestrss

Bright shiny things…

Fabulous lines and angles and light and shadow make the museum quite beautiful.

Fabulous lines and angles and light and shadow make the museum quite beautiful.

 

As part of my ongoing love affair with museums, I recently lost myself for a few hours in the fabulous Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.

The building is a work of art in itself – a beautiful collection of lines and shapes and angles on the outside and modern bright spaces on the inside.

I love the British Museum and its is eclectic collection of bits from all over the world. This was very different. This museum is devoted to a single culture, giving a much greater insight into its diversity and depth. Continue reading

Share this page...
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmail
Follow Janet here...
FacebooktwitterpinterestrssFacebooktwitterpinterestrss

Concrete and Cybermen

The Southbank buildings are iconic - but I never thought beautiful was the right word.

The Southbank buildings are iconic – but I never thought beautiful was the right word.

Architecture can be brutal.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a remarkable opportunity to deep into the bowels of two fabulous buildings – the Haywood Galley and the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre.

I’ve been to both many times before, for concerts and exhibitions. Both are now closed for refurbishment – and we had an opportunity to join a tour, with two National Trust experts to tell us all about these iconic buildings.

I was in for quite a surprise. Continue reading

Share this page...
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmail
Follow Janet here...
FacebooktwitterpinterestrssFacebooktwitterpinterestrss

Becoming 'the great'

Alexander - certainly a great warrior - or perhaps the leader of a great army

Alexander – certainly a great warrior – or perhaps the leader of a great army

I’ve have been wondering… How do you get to be called ‘the great’?

Presumably, someone else has to give you the title because taking it for yourself would be a bit vain (although I’ll bet there were a few who did).

I understand Alexander the Great – after all, he conquered most of the known world.

The Great Khan – otherwise known as Genghis Khan let a bloody rampage across most of the known world and murdered millions.

I’m starting to see a pattern here. Continue reading

Share this page...
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmail
Follow Janet here...
FacebooktwitterpinterestrssFacebooktwitterpinterestrss

In praise of horses

No surprises that this is one of my favourite horse-related icons - the Cowboy. He pops up in the books I write too.

No surprises that this is one of my favourite horse-related icons – the Cowboy. He pops up in the books I write too.

My mother used to say that the very first word I spoke wasn’t Mummy or Daddy – it was horsey. I am entirely willing to believe her.

Like most young girls, I loved horses. But in my case, it was a love affair I never grew out of.

Circumstances over the years changed the nature of my relationship with horses, but I’ve never lost that first great love, as evidenced by the fact that of all the books I’ve written, only one does not include horses. For that one, I had to go to Antarctica.

With all that in mind, it won’t surprise you to know that on my recent trip to Melbourne, I spent a lovely afternoon exploring the National Gallery of Victoria’s exhibition entitled – you guessed it – The Horse. Continue reading

Share this page...
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmail
Follow Janet here...
FacebooktwitterpinterestrssFacebooktwitterpinterestrss

A sudden diversion in time

My sudden historical bent has nothing to do the with lovely Ross Poldark... but he hasn't hurt.

My sudden historical bent has nothing to do the with lovely Ross Poldark… but he hasn’t hurt.

It had to happen one day.

Regular readers of this blog know I am a bit of a history buff and spend as much time as I can climbing over ruined castles, old abbeys, stone age forts and the like wherever I find them.

I have always said I am not a big fan of historical fiction… but slowly more and more historical reads have somehow found their way on to my bookshelf and into my e-readers.

So, I guess it’s time to fess up…. This morning I found myself doing some serious historical writing research. It was before breakfast too! Continue reading

Share this page...
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmail
Follow Janet here...
FacebooktwitterpinterestrssFacebooktwitterpinterestrss

Wool seen from the other side

I tried spinning with this sort of wheel once - it was really hard to get a nice even yarn.

I tried spinning with this sort of wheel once – it was really hard to get a nice even yarn.

It will come as no surprise to regular visitors to this blog, but for those who don’t know – I am a knitter. I enjoy it so much, I made the heroine of my latest novel a knitter so she could share my hobby.

I find knitting relaxing. It helps with the RSI after all day using a computer keyboard and I get a real thrill when I finish a project, particularly if someone says it looks nice.

And let’s not forget I am Australian. For a very long time it was said Australia rides on the sheep’s back. The wool industry has always been an important part of rural Australian life.

But for an Australian, the wool industry had always conjured up vast sweeping outback paddocks littered with thousands of sheep. And shearing sheds stripping the wool for export.

In UK, however, the story is somewhat different, as I found out in a visit to the National Wool Museum in Wales. Continue reading

Share this page...
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmail
Follow Janet here...
FacebooktwitterpinterestrssFacebooktwitterpinterestrss

A very big hole in the ground

An industrial icon

An industrial icon

I like holes in the ground. The bigger the better! Whether it’s a cave or a mine, I like going underground, even more so when there’s a sense of history attached.

My most recent underground adventure was at the National Mining Museum in Wales – otherwise known as Big Pit – where I was guilty of an ‘ooops’ that was just a little bit dangerous… sorry folks. Continue reading

Share this page...
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmail
Follow Janet here...
FacebooktwitterpinterestrssFacebooktwitterpinterestrss

Industrial Archaeology

The iconic balance tower at Blaenavon - when it was built, the owner was chided for wasting money on attractive design rather than pure functionality.

The iconic balance tower at Blaenavon – when it was built, the owner was chided for wasting money on attractive design rather than pure functionality.

I recently travelled back in time about 200 years – into the heart of the industrial revolution.

I explored the coal pits and the iron works and the factories that were part of that amazing period of history.

I found it fascinating, inspiring and in many ways very moving. It was a story of great innovation and invention – but more than that it was the story of a people of steadfast determination and also of their great suffering.

My journey started in 1787 – with the building of the great ironworks at Blaenavon in South Wales. Continue reading

Share this page...
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmail
Follow Janet here...
FacebooktwitterpinterestrssFacebooktwitterpinterestrss

A secret revealed…

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the brilliant and tragic Alan Turing

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the brilliant and tragic Alan Turing

 

Accolades are pouring in for the movie The Imitation Game – featuring an amazing performance by Benedict Cumberbatch as the Enigma code-breaker Alan Turing.

The movie has served to focus attention on Turing and his work at the secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. It’s also served to highlight the injustice of the treatment he received when he was convicted for what was then a crime – being homosexual.

Recently I visited Bletchley Park – that was before the movie publicity began, and my knowledge of what happened there was pretty sketchy.

The old saying is right – truth is sometimes much stranger – much better – than fiction. Continue reading

Share this page...
FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmail
Follow Janet here...
FacebooktwitterpinterestrssFacebooktwitterpinterestrss

Writing retreats 2020 - Intensive tutor-led retreats with Janet Gover and Alison May

Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild OneColorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild One
Email sign-up
Sign up to my email list to be the first to hear about new releases, special offers, competitions and other exciting news. You'll only get emails from me, and those not very often.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!
Archives