A few of my (current) favourite things…

It’s been a bit serious on the old blog of late, so I thought I’d lighten things up with some snippets from youtube that have amused me lately.

First, in honour of Valentines day, the adorable lads of Out Of The Blue are here to sing you a song:

Next, we have the inimitable Miriam Margolyes (who I’m pretty sure was born without any f**ks to give and who I want to be when I grow up):  WARNING FOR THE GENTLY NURTURED: MIRIAM MARGOLYES IS NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK, CHILDREN, OR PROBABLY LIFE.  (Funny, but.)

And then, a very short visual explanation of why I’m a Cumberbitch to my bootstraps.  Phwoar!  (If you’ve seen the season of Sherlock this is from, you’ll know that this might not even have happened and Molly will never have Sherlock to keep, but none of that matters.  It’s still amazing!)

And now I must climb out of the youtube rabbit hole and do some work!  Enjoy your Wednesday!

Feel Good February

Further to my post on Thursday, here’s a primer for how to do some good in your community.

feel-good-feb-2

This graphic came from my new friends at Feel Good February.  A friend put me on to them the other day I thought it was a fabulous idea.  The graphic below explains the concept, but you might want also to visit their website or Facebook page. Continue reading

The Honesty Ferret

So, this return to the blog has been interesting…

I was under the paw of the black dog of depression for a long time.  Well, a long time for me.  Not compared to those who have struggled always, but it took two years out of my creative life.

Recently, I got help and I’m feeling much better (you can read that story here if you want to) and the words are flowing again.

But what words!  Something interesting has happened.  I don’t know whether it’s the relief – make that the unbridled joy – of feeling normal again, or whether it’s opening up about my malfunctioning brain, but it seems my filter has fallen off.

In one week back on the blog, I’ve posted about mental health (mine, as above), music (nothing new there) and religion.  I don’t know what the modern list is for ‘things you shouldn’t talk about at the dinner table’ (or on social media), but I think I’ve hit two of them there!

Continue reading

Some music for the mid-week slump

Sometimes, whether it’s mid-week, mid-day or mid-life, you need a lift.

Music is one of my favourite lifters and recently, I have been delighted to discover  Postmodern Jukebox.  Their specialty is covers of modern songs in older styles – and man, do they have style!

I’ve included some of my favourites here, but there is whole rabbit hole full of others on youtube.  Make yourself a cuppa and go try a few.  There are links underneath the videos to buy recordings if you want them on your playlist.

Enjoy!

I can’t tell you how much I love this.  Actually I can.  I’m learning it and intend to include it in my future cabaret act!

The Star Wars arrangement alone is worth the price of admission, but Sarah Reich is fantastic!

Sadly, I can’t do an Andres-sisters-style number by myself, otherwise this might be on the list to learn too!

There is something appropriate about ‘Thrift Shop’ being done in a vintage style!

And finally, All About That Bass with harmonies and actual bass!

 

I love this project

I came across this project today on Facebook, thanks to a writer friend and I had to share it here.

It combines several of my favourite things: helping kids at risk, using business for social justice, helping people to help themselves and gorgeous handbags!  I have been thinking lately that I need a new bag (I’m kind of hard on them) and for the last few years I have made a point of only buying fair-trade or otherwise helpful handbags.  (Which, by the way, is so going to be my band name: Imelda and the helpful handbags.)  So this project came along at just the right time.  I have signed myself up for a ‘loop’ bag and am looking forward to it being in my Christmas stocking!  So if you are in the market for a handbag, or a little social justice action with your Christmas, hop over and pledge.  The project is here: http://www.pozible.com/project/186203.

FYI – In case you haven’t seen a Pozible project before, it is another version of crowdfunding, a la Kickstarter.  In other words, it’s an opportunity for people to raise start-up funds for a business or project by offering rewards to people who pledge certain amounts.  As the amounts go up, so do the rewards.  There are some wacky crowd-funding ideas out there, but this looks like one of the good ones to me.  Because the project will produce products, the rewards are simple and easy to understand.  The woman running the project (apart from being a cousin of a woman whose integrity I respect) has done this kind of thing before, so you can be reasonably confident that it will go ahead as planned.  And, as with all such projects, the payment is only processed if they reach their target.  I wouldn’t recommend all crowd-funded projects, but for all those reasons (as well as its intentions) this looks like one of the good ones to me.  See for yourself!

Cheers, Imelda

 

PS – just dropped back in to say something else about Kickstarter and Pozible and other such crowdfunding options.  One of the best reasons to crowdfund something is to maintain independence.  That doesn’t so much apply to the project above, but it does to two others I have contributed to, namely, The Illusionists documentary and the Wonky Health blog about medical policy.  The latter also supports my commitment to paying people for quality content.  I’m a writer.  Writers need to be paid, especially if we want informed, qualified content, which Wonky Health is.  I think I have supported a couple of other kickstarters as well, but those are book-related and I buy so many books, I have forgotten the details.  But I just wanted to make the point that the reason for the crowdfund is one of the things to take into account when assessing whether supporting the project is for you.

La Vie en Rosé

I was all ready to put up a post, but then I got news that this wonderful thing was up and I can’t possibly compete. A frock: A work of art: inspired by my work? I can die happy now, thank you Resa!

Art Gowns

Were you ever inspired to embellish an Art Gown with 300  wine corks?

Tip #1 – Do not attempt to drink 300 bottles of wine all in one night. Spread them out over a few days.

OR

Tip #2 – Share them with friends.

OR

Tip #3 – Read a romance novel byImelda Evans while you sip luxuriously

La Vie en Rosé is inspired by and dedicated to Imelda and her latest novel “Playing By The Rules”

 

Imelda2- k

OF course I would have to attach all the corks somehow so I bought 110 meters of old gold soutache. It was easy getting else wise creative with that soutache.

Imelda2- fImelda2- gI wanted more creative fuel for  so I asked Imelda,

“If you could put 1 color to Kate & 1 color to Josh what are those 2 colors? Not that I will use them, but what would they be?”

Imelda’s…

View original post 362 more words

Blog Hoppin’ with Lily Malone, golf and giveaways…

One of the joys of being a writer is meeting other writers – partly because it introduces me to new books and partly because many of them are just lovely.

LilyM_lowresToday I would like to introduce you to one of the lovely ones, who also happens to write great, fun romances.  Her name is Lily Malone, she has a new book out, called Fairway to Heaven and to celebrate, she is having a blog hop, with piles of giveaways.  There’s more about the giveaways (and the book) at the bottom of this post, but for now, here’s a picture of the main prize, just to keep you going:

PrizesSee, you like her already, don’t you?  (To be clear, the prizes are on the right.  That’s Lily on the left.  Just in case…)

But before we get to the giveaways, I have to live up to my part of the blog hop.  I have to write a post about golf.

You see, as the title would suggest, the book has a fair bit (see what I did there?) of golf in it.  So there’s a bit of a golfy theme to this here hop.

The problem is that, while I can just about tell one end of a golf club from the other, that’s about as close an acquaintance as I have with the game.  I am very willing to believe that it makes a wonderful backdrop for romance (surely those bunkers must be good for SOMETHING other than testing the swearing ability of hapless golfers?) but beyond that, sadly, I have nothing.

fairway to heavenHowever, never one to back down from a challenge, I decided that, in the grand tradition of high-school history students, I would tell you about something tangentially related to the subject at hand and hope you will be so blinded by my prose that you won’t notice. Especially since my tangentially related subject is alcohol. Continue reading

It’s school holidays…

And post submission, which means I am up to my neck in holiday shenanigans and trying to sort out the almighty backlog of home things that built up while I was finishing said submission.

Which translates to: one, three-day Karate seminar (I trained! A bit, anyway. I didn’t die!), one birthday sleepover party (with obligatory breakfast pancakes) one visiting nephew, a lot of thinking about/researching new stories, a lot of wrestling with a dodgy email system and a bit of washing of sheets and rearranging of rooms.  The tax and the filing have yet to be tackled (can’t imagine why).

Which all results in terrible blog neglect.  And any minute now, I have to take said nephew out to see the sights of Melbourne (the bits that haven’t been washed or blown away, that is – it was a bit wild overnight!).  So I thought I’d share a post from the vault.  It was one of a series about what makes a man sexy.  In this case, it was about clothes.  Specifically coats here, but other clothes can do it too.

In my recent release, Playing by the Rules, my heroine, Kate comes over all unnecessary when she claps eyes on the hero, Josh, wearing a dinner suit.  It was the first scene I ever wrote that made my beta readers fan themselves with a manuscript.  And it’s just a bloke in a suit.  Fellas, take note!

So without further ado, I introduce you (or remind you, if you were around the first time) to the wonders of the coat.  Enjoy!

Home is the traveller!

I’m back! Back from Perth, back from the quite fabulous Riding the Waves Conference, put on by the Romance Writers of Australia and I’m finally getting around to telling you how it was.

(Just quietly, who ARE these people, who manage to get blog posts up WHILE THEY ARE STILL AT CONFERENCE?  Clearly people who spend less time in the bar than I do.)

So, I went to the conference and it was fab.  I cannot go any further without thanking and congratulating the quite marvellous ALL VOLUNTEER conference team, who put on such a great show.  I always enjoy the RWA conference, but this was definitely one of my favourites.Selfie at conf cropped  There are too many people to thank individually and I would hate to forget anyone, but I’d like to do a special shout out to Shannon and her Mum who came up from Bunbury to help us out.  You guys helped to make my conference!

I am terrible at taking photos (as in, I forget to do it, not I’m a terrible photographer, although probably that too! 😉 ), so I only have a few.

I’ve included this one as it is a watershed moment – my very first selfie!  (My teen friends have informed me that it is a little lame to take a selfie in a mirror, but what can I say?  I’m rocking lame!)

This was me, prepared to go to the Friday night cocktail party, complete with pirate hat, to identify me as a conference-newbie helper.  I am wearing sunglasses, not because I drank rather a lot of champagne the night before a the Destiny Romance first birthday party (although I did, it cannot be denied) but because they always live on my head and I had to move them to put on the hat.  Yes, really.  In the picture below (at the cocktail party) I seem to have found somewhere to put them, but it’s also possible that they were just knocked off by the awesomeness of Cap’n Jack.JOHNNY

I am frantically busy finishing some projects at the moment, so I won’t go into detail about all the fabulous workshops I went to here (I will be expounding on some of the things I learned in future posts, so stay tuned for that).

But I can’t leave without mentioning two visitors I met who impressed me very much.

The first is Kim Hudson, who presented the Friday workshop on The Virgin’s Promise, her quite wonderful re-imagining of story structure.  Many parts of me are delighted by her work.  My latent academic is excited by the thoroughness of her analysis and the way she has shaped it into a proper theory.  The Hero’s Journey is a wonderful tool and it has been recognised as such for so long that it is very easy to think it’s the only way of looking at story.  But of course, it isn’t and work like this can start a whole new conversation about story and archetype that has far-reaching implications for how we see ourselves and our lives, as well as how we see stories.

The storyteller in me is also thrilled by a whole new approach to what makes story.  And the writer in me can see a whole swag of ways to use this practically in planning and deepening written stories.

So that was fun!  Also, Kim is an absolute doll whose presence was a joy.  A gifted presenter and a lovely person.

The other person I must mention is Sarah Wendell, from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.  I have been a fan (along with thousands of others) of her smart, snarky, funny website and reviews, dedicated to romance, ever since I discovered them and in person she did not disappoint.  She is whip smart, very funny, a wonderful presenter, a generous and genuine supporter of romance and a barrel of fun.  I didn’t make it to all her workshops but I loved the ones I did and very much enjoyed the re-enactment of her session on romance clichés that went on in the bar afterwards (there were actions, apparently).  I had the pleasure of chatting with her a little at the conference and meeting her again in Melbourne at an event hosted by Penguin here.  I can’t tell you how impressed I was that, at the second function, she remembered my name.  There were over 300 people (most of them women) at that conference and I bet she spoke to a fair swag of them over the weekend.  I don’t suffer from false modesty, but nor do I imagine myself to be particularly fascinating.  To be remembered was delightful, of course, but also seriously flipping impressive.  The lady is a pro.  If you like romance at all and don’t already follow Smart Bitches, do yourself a favour and start!

As always, it was also a joy to see so many friends both old and those I previously only knew online.  Always fun to see who matches their avatar!

There’s so much more to say, but not enough time!  I’ll be back as soon as deadlines allow.  In the meantime, don’t forget that Playing by the Rules is coming out September 15.  There’s a link to its page at the top right of this page and that’s where you’ll find all the buy links as soon as they’re available.

So – what have you been up to while I’ve been gallivanting?

I pinched this picture of the Destiny trade table at the conf from the Destiny facebook page, because I didn't think to take a picture of my own book!  PR fail!

I pinched this picture of the Destiny trade table at the conf from the Destiny facebook page, because I didn’t think to take a picture of my own book!
(Front, third from left, if you’re looking.) PR fail!