Monday, 24 November 2014

32. Networking

The newspaper column went astray this month, but lucky for you, you get to read the latest embarrassing family episode. :)

For those who don’t know, Bunnings Warehouse is Australia's largest household hardware chain with stores in Australia and New Zealand.

We ventured to Bunnings last weekend where we made a sizable donation acquiring plants, fertiliser and enough scented woodchips to clear the nostrils of a thousand sinus sufferers. We’re not natural green thumbs, but we were eager to beautify our little patch of dirt. That is, until hubby asked our teen to retrieve the gardening tools.

I’ve been under the misconception Aussie kids emerge from the womb knowing to check for creepy crawlies before picking anything up. By the bloodcurdling scream and the sound of metal bouncing off the wall and onto the tiles, it appeared our teen had forgotten that all-important rule.

With visions of snakebites, scorpion stings and walls covered in blood, we rushed inside to discover she’d seen a huntsman on the shovel and shot put the defenceless implement down the hall squashing the spider in the process. Once our heartbeats returned to normal, our teen wasn’t so keen to continue gardening. Neither was her little sister - once she’d stopped laughing.

Forty minutes later, hubby had a sore back from digging and removing last year’s attempt, and I was ready for a few of those ‘extra special’ drinks. Oh well, there’s always next weekend.

I should add, unlike the spiders, no plants were harmed in the making of this garden. They are now growing happily in their new beds. We may not have planted some of them according to their little tags, but so far, they’re all thriving. We’re taking that as a win.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend a couple of workshops over the past few weeks and met some wonderful people who love the process of writing as much as I do. They also have publishing experience and an awareness of the industry I am yet to achieve. Fortunately, they are also very willing to share in this knowledge. The other wonderful thing about attending these events is establishing connections with these amazing people who’ve achieved the dreams to which I aspire.

Isobelle Carmody is a fantasy writer who has written fantasy, science fiction, children’s literature and Young Adult novels / works. She has five series, eight stand-alone novels and over twenty short stories / collections. She has been writing her Obernewtyn Chronicles series since the tender age of fourteen. She has a background in journalism, but now writes fulltime when not travelling to conduct workshops. And it was a fantastic workshop.

Because she’s a young adult writer, most of the attendees were teens, but a few ‘oldies’ were filling the seats too. Not that it mattered because Ms Carmody has that wonderful ability to speak to all ages and we were engrossed in everything she had to say. She shared pearls of wisdom on words. They should be rhythmical, musical and pleasant to the ear and of course, engage all the senses. She talked about character journeys – are they physical, emotional, and spiritual or a combination of the three. Do they have relatable emotions? And just when the character thinks that he/she knows what’s going on, it’s the writer’s job to change those expectations. Placing a spanner in the works of your poor, tortured characters is one of the things a writer loves best.

Ms Carmody also mentioned things she believes a writer should be observant, attentive, to ask questions and really listen to the answers, be aware of their surroundings, be interested in the world and other people, ask the same questions to people of different ages – their responses will always be different based on their experiences. I need to improve on some of those. :/ We also did some character exercises. She gave us each a photo and asked us to tell her about the person in the picture. There were some very interesting interpretations and of course, because there were different age groups in the workshop, their stories reflected this. I swear we were only there for half an hour and not the two-hour workshop scheduled. If you have a chance to attend one of Ms Carmody’s workshops, you certainly won’t regret it.

You can find more on Ms Carmody here -

At the beginning of the month, I also attended a Central Coast Queensland author’s chat at my local library conducted by Bundaberg writers, Ms Sandy Curtis and Ms Cheryse Durrant. Also attending were Benaraby writer, Sue Ellen Pashley, Rockhampton writer, Shelley Nolan and Bundaberg writer / illustrator, Jackeline Read. I met the lovey Ms Curtis a couple of years ago at my first Bundaberg Writefest. (And if you’re interested in writing, then this festival is definitely worth attending.) I didn’t think she’d remember me, but to my delight, she did. Of course, I had a fan girl moment, and I don’t think I stopped smiling for the rest of the session (or the day, for that matter.) I was also thrilled to meet the other ladies, most of who belong to Darkside Downunder (an online paranormal writers group of which I am also a member). How wonderful to enjoy a face-to-face conversation rather than an email or webpage one.

Ms Curtis and Ms Durrant talked about their novels, the process of publishing and writing in general. It was a relaxed, informal conversation and once again, time seemed to pass far too quickly. I purchased Ms Curtis’ latest release – Grievous Harm and Ms Durrant’s debut novel - The Blood She Betrayed (the first in a series) so look out for review time next month. :)

Now for a few links as not all the writers have blog sites yet –

And for those who are interested in the writers’ festival –

Back to work now. It’s been a busy month. Two members of my family share a birthday this month and deciding on a cake to suit them both is always interesting. Last year’s effort was a batman / butterfly combo (see blog #20). This year’s effort was more practical as well as a bonus given they both enjoy Minecraft. If you compare cake photos, you can tell my skill level hasn’t changed, but at least I found something that suits both genders (and the age gap.)

I also spent a wonderful weekend away helping celebrate the engagement of a dear friend’s daughter and catching up with wonderful people I’ve not seen in far too long, I have some major writing to pursue otherwise my November writing goal is going to fall a tad short. I do have a new column to write, writing group homework to finish and since I played secretary at this month’s writing group meeting, I need to type that too. You see why I don’t have much time for housework, right. ;) 

Happy reading :)


  1. D, your daughter acted wisely! Spiders should be dealt with, violently if necessary - signed, Arachaphobe

    How lovely to meet some fellow Darksiders. It sounds like you've been BUSY. Housework happens in the less busy times ... I've heard such times exist, kinda like yowies :)

    1. lol She's made sure to check for critters since then. Admittedly, I would have dropped the shovel too.

      It was lovely to meet them. Always exciting to meet fellow writers. Hopefully we'll meet one day too. :)

      Ah yowies - it seems they've already been in here to 'clean'. ;)

  2. D.D., I hope your daughter isn't scarred for life! Spiders...ugh.

    It's terrific you've been able to attend some writing workshops - there is always so much to learn and be inspired by.

    And the cake looks great. Well done!

    1. Our house backs on to a nature reserve. We've come in contact with all sorts of wonderful (and not so wonderful) critters. I don't think she's scarred for life, but she's certainly inspecting things more closely before picking them up.

      I agree, it is wonderful to attend workshops and chat to like-minded people who 'get' your brand of crazy. :)

      Thank you re the cake. :)