Award winning outback romance
Thank you to everyone who has supported Wedding Bells By The Creek and taken it to Number One. Almost as much cause for celebration as the wedding itself.

My travels

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Painting people

Lawsonia inermis – also known as the henna plant. Beware imitations

One a recent trip to Morocco, I decided it was time to give in to a long held desire – and get myself a tattoo… not a permanent tattoo of course. A Henna tattoo.

There are all sorts of horror stories about tourists getting caught by henna artists using banned chemical additives resulting in severe reactions and all sort of problems… often requiring medical treatment. So I checked with our hotel and followed their recommendation of a henna parlour.

Five of us – four girls and one young man – set off in search of body art. Continue reading

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Squirrels have their special day

Not exactly a common site in outback Australia.

Did you know that January 21st was/is World Squirrel Appreciation Day? I certainly didn’t.

I grew up in a country that doesn’t have squirrels. When I say that, it startles many of my UK friends. Squirrels here are so commonplace. They have adapted well to an urban environment. And of course are all over the countryside.

When I first came to the UK, and met my first squirrel, I was delighted. I still smile every time I see one. Why? Continue reading

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Balloons, berths and butterflies

The cover of my antique Verne. That's a travel problem I've never had.

The cover of my antique Verne. That’s a travel problem I’ve never had.

This week, I travelled half way around the planet in 22 hours. Well – 22 hours in the air plus quite a few more hours hanging around airports. But when you say 22 hours, it seems so impressive. Move over Jules Verne and your 80 days. Verne wrote a lot about travel in exotic places, and I do like an adventure story.

Travel has always been tough – but there’s tough then and tough now…

Which brings me inexorably to butterflies. But first… Continue reading

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Driving in the Outback

You don't have a lot of options on outback roads.

You don’t have a lot of options on outback roads.

When I first came to live in England, one of the things that amazed me was all the conversation about roads – or more precisely routes.

I’d listen to people saying – ‘The M3 was jammed so I exited at the A30 and came via the B389…..’

This doesn’t happen in the outback of Australia.

We don’t give all our roads numbers in the same way. But more importantly, a lot of the time there is only one road that leads from A to B. In the towns, of course, there are options, but where I learned to drive there was only ever one road that went where I wanted to go, and it was flat and pretty much straight, owning to a lack of rivers and hills. And as often as not, it was a dirt road as well. Continue reading

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Looking into my own past

Hollowed out tree truck make great water troughs - and they are free. I'll bet there are many still in use today.

Hollowed out tree trucks make great water troughs – and they are free. I’ll bet there are many still in use today.

 

When I travel I love going to museums – but recently I found myself going to a museum near my old home town in Queensland. It was like looking back into my own past.

The thing about remote and rural communities is that they don’t change quickly.

Whether it’s Australia, or the UK or anywhere else in the world, rural communities tend to be pretty self-sufficient. They have to be. Even in the 21st century, someone in a remote community can’t just drive up the road to buy a new… whatever.

And of course, farming communities survive at the whim of the weather and the economy – so as often as not, even if a new ‘whatever’ is available, it’s too expensive. Continue reading

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The PM and the painting

I met an old friend at London’s Royal Academy the other day … a friend who caused a million dollar controversy in Australia when I was still at school. I remember it so well.

The ‘friend’ I am referring to is Jackson Pollock’s iconic painting – Blue Poles. Painted in 1952, it was purchased by the National Gallery of Australia in 1973 for the sum of one point three million dollars. At the time that was a world record sum for a painting by a contemporary artist.

Blue Poles (photo from Wikipedia)

Blue Poles (photo from Wikipedia). No photo could ever do it justice. It is teeming with life and energy.

The director of the National Gallery was unable to spend more than £1,000,000 – so approval for the purchase was given by the then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. And what a fuss that caused. Continue reading

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The ‘one day’ house

We all have them – the ‘one day’ house. Go on… confess. I bet you have one too.

‘One day – when I win the lottery….’ or ‘One day when I am fabulously rich…’

It’s otherwise known as the dream house. I think I started designing the house of my dreams when I was about eleven or twelve. Living in Queensland where it’s hot, and being a bit of a history nut, my dream house was always going to be a lovely colonial building – with wide verandas, and high ceilings, and stables and lawns and….

I found it recently. Someone else had built it for me.

homestead Continue reading

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She wrote what he said

James Patterson- photo from his Amazon author page. Such a long long list of works.

James Patterson- photo from his Amazon author page. Such a long long list of works.

Can you imagine writing with the world’s biggest-selling novelist? Taking his ideas and turning them into chapters – and then… gasp… he looks at those chapters and criticises them. He tells you exactly what you got right and wrong.

My knees shake at the very thought, but that’s what working with James Patterson is all about. Collaboration. Most of the books that come out with his name on the cover are collaborations. Some criticise him for it. Others think it’s great. And I learned because of it. Continue reading

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International Authordom

Authordom could describe authors, agents and editors from all over the world discussing the state of publishing.

Authordom could describe authors, agents and editors from all over the world discussing the state of publishing.

Ok –authordom isn’t a real word, but bear with me. I think it should be.

According to the Oxford dictionary, dom is a suffix which denotes a state or condition (freedom); rank or status (earldom); a domain (kingdom) or a class of people (officialdom).

That’s us – isn’t it? Continue reading

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Romance by the sea

The view from my balcony at the hotel

The view from my balcony at the hotel

A balcony, a sunset, a sea view and a glass of wine – no, not a romantic weekend away (I wish) – it was the 25th Annual Romance Writers of Australia conference. This had the theme Ain’t Love Grand, and was held in the lovely city of Adelaide.

This is the second time I have travelled down under for this conference… and what a great time I’ve had both times. These are my tribe – like minded readers and writers, most of whom have the same accent I have.

There were some great speakers (I will share some of that with you in the next week or two when I recover) … some fun social events… and many books, of course. Continue reading

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