Thursday, 14 February 2013

10. Valentine's Day

I have been remiss in doing this so thank you to my followers, new and not so new. I appreciate your support. Some of you I know, and some I look forward to meeting someday as I am already reading and enjoying your stories too. :)

Now, onto this post’s subject where I ‘out’ myself a little. Contrary to my love of reading and writing romance, I don’t consider myself as being romantic in the traditional sense. Candlelight dinners are not for me – I like to see what I am eating. Flowers are wonderful to receive but they can be frighteningly expensive, and I’m afraid I like chocolate more than it likes me. As for romance movies, I prefer action, fantasy and science fiction to those bittersweet portrayals where investing in the Kleenex tissue company is strongly advised.

Believe me; my fellow movie patrons would thank me for avoiding such films. That way they don’t have to witness the monstrosity who’s wandering blindly out of the theatre with a snotty, glowing beacon for a nose and scarlet-rimmed eyes bulging out of their sockets having gone through the proverbial emotional ringer. Mercifully, that cringe worthy spectacle does not translate to books, which I can read (tissues at the ready) safely at home.

No matter what genre I read, most have a commonality to them. To varying degrees, they involve romance. What’s an action hero without a damsel in distress? (It’s even better when the damsel rescues him or they manage to save each other). Behind every detective desperately trying to solve a crime, isn't there a past relationship that divulges more about the character than said character realises or one that develops between he/she and the characters he/she interact with? Past, present, future - time has no relevance when it comes to stories of romance. Love transcends it. And whether the characters are way out in space, inhabiting a forbidden planet, scouring the jungles or deserts, passing through the deepest oceans or simply walking across the street, one never knows when one might meet the love of their life (or their death or somewhere in between).

didn't plan to write romances. I wasn't sure I could do them justice. But no matter what my intentions were when I began to write and no matter where I lead my characters or what dire situations I placed them, they lead me right back to the object of their desire. Oh, they fought the good fight, found their place in the story and learned to be a better person / creature / entity, but they wanted their happily ever after too, and most of the time I let them.

So where does my sense of romance lay if I don’t have a traditional concept? It’s all about the word, the thought and the deed. I know I am loved when my husband keeps the children entertained so I can write. And then there’s the fact that he has never tried to change who I am. He lets me be myself. We do little things for each other that may not seem like much to anyone else, but to us, it shows the respect and patience, (the latter of which I have very little) we have for each other. To me, the fact that we can rely on the other is very romantic indeed.

The other thing that assures me there is romance in my soul is from living in the shadow of the loving relationship my parents had. They loved each other deeply, so deeply that for a long time when I was growing up, I despaired ever finding a relationship as solid and as magical as theirs. My parents held hands in public and stole hugs and kisses well into their twilight years. They teased each other mercilessly, but they were there for each other right up until the moment my father left this world. They grew old together – again, my idea of true love and of romance. It is that sense of everlasting love that I draw from in my writing. My parents’ marriage was a fairy tale come true. What better ‘happily ever after’ is there for this non-traditionalist romantic than that?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. :)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

09. My Summer Break

I apologise for my tardiness but the cantankerous weather and the petulant internet weren't in any hurry to let me update my blog. (Though having the transmitter blow off its tower during the worst of ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald’s erratic soiree down the Queensland coast may have had something to do with the latter). Therefore, I wish you a belated Happy New Year and hope my fellow Aussies enjoyed their Australia Day celebrations despite some of them being very wet, wild and windy and in some cases, far worse.

I want to personally thank as well as praise the professional and volunteer workers who often risked their own safety to help others. I hope everyone else assisted these marvellous people by being responsible for their own actions and safety. It’s one hell of a clean-up job, but I’m sure we’ve all seen that tireless Aussie spirit shine through time and time again.

On a less formal note, for most of the summer break I’ve dedicated my time to the family. But to be honest, I’ve cheated. Those ‘internal voices’ are very insistent about having their stories told. Fortunately for me, the external voices (aka the family) are, for the most part, quite capable of taking care of themselves from time to time. I’ve entered a few competitions and managed to jot down a couple of chapters for my current work in progress without the family dynamic suffering too greatly.

As luck would have it, I’ve also found time to read. J

Annie West’s ‘Girl in the Bedouin Tent’ was brilliant. I love how her heroine managed to retain her inner strength and dignity despite her dire situation before the hero managed to save the day. In truth, I use that last phrase loosely because really, they saved each other. As much as I love strong female characters, I love the sense of equality between the heroine and hero even more. Ms West – your books are on my list. J And for those who haven’t managed to find them yet -

Another book I read was a collection of memoirs, short stories and novel extracts by Margaret Sutherland – A Quintessential Love Affair. At one point, I had to put down the book and walk away. The resonation with one memoir in particular tugged ruthlessly at my heartstrings and I needed several moments to compose myself. To me, to evoke such a strong emotion, is powerful writing indeed. Beautiful work, Ms Sutherland. J Her website is as follows -

My current read is a book I discovered in my mid-teens. Long before the 50 Shades phenomena took the world by storm, there was LACE by Shirley Conran. As I sneak in a chapter here and there, immediately I remember the titillation, the intrigue and the somewhat morbid fascination I had over the experiences the four main characters endured. Happiness, grief, lust, love, betrayal – it unfolded through the pages as though I lived each teenage girl’s life. Now that I’m reading it as a more experienced woman (hey, I can hear you laughing...), it’s quite amazing how my reaction to this story has changed. I question their actions, their feelings and their motivations instead of taking them for granted, and yet, it takes little thought to remember what that naiveté felt like. It’s also of great comfort to be able to greet a preloved book like an old friend, don’t you think?

And last, but by no means least, I get to brag about my fantastic new banner. I cannot thank Helen of HELZKAT Designs enough for creating this for me. All I did was mention the emotion I wanted to evoke with my banner and Helen came back with a multitude of designs from which to choose. Believe me, it was not an easy task. I wanted all of them. Helen was also incredibly easy to work with as well as being a very talented lady. Not only does she do web designs, she also writes wonderful stories. If you’re interested in any of her work whether it’s her designs or her writing, this is where you’ll find her.

Once again Helen, thank you so much. J

Now, I have a book to finish, competition outcomes to brood over and of course, since the vertically challenged people in the house are back at school, stories to write. J