Why things aren’t always clear-cut…

Absolutely fascinating article about the history of that scandalous pastime, the waltz (turns out it was kind of scandalous)!

M.M. Bennetts

There are a lot of armchair historians out there these days…which, don’t get me wrong, I think is a good thing.

For one thing, it may mean that the publishers who seem to have given up on publishing history in favour of celebrity drool-fests might rethink their strategy and go back to publishing works by the likes of Charles Esdaile, Dominic Lieven, Andrew Roberts, Michael Broers and all these other fabulous authors I admire.  And that wouldn’t just be a good thing, it would be a grand and noble and enriching thing.

(It would additionally mean I’d have to add another bookcase in the Growlery, but who’s counting…)

Yet it often also means another thing, and that is, everybody’s got an opinion on everything.  No matter how small, somebody’s going to give it to you when your views don’t match theirs.

Let me give you an example.  Let’s consider the…

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Bad friend, with good books…

Her Italian Aristocrat Louise ReynoldsSecrets in TimeHouse-for-all-Seasons-Jenn-J-McLeod-194x300Ask Me To Stay Elise K Ackers

As those of you who keep up with my shenanigans will know, I have, of late, been locked deep in the writing cave* finishing a manuscript (a new romance which there will be more on soon, I hope).  Consequently, my blogging has been somewhat neglected.  This, in itself, is not that big a deal (well, it is, it’s slack, but I’m sure your wheels haven’t fallen off as a result).  But what is a big deal is that, due to the locked-cave sitch, I FORGOT I WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE GUESTS ON THE BLOG THIS MONTH!

There’s no excuse.  I have a little diary for the purpose of keeping up with the blog calendar and it is right next to my left elbow as I type this.

But in spite of its existence and extreme cuteness, I did it. I forgot.  I think I mostly forgot is was April.  Which, given it is my birthday month, is something of a worry

Now, I have left it too late this month to actually interview these authors, so I’ll have to do that another time (and I will, because they are all completely awesome).  But in the meantime, the least I can do is introduce you to their books, because they are also extremely cool and you might just be in the market for some reading diversion.  So, without further ado, may I introduce you to: Continue reading

Lest We Forget

Today, the 25th of April in Australia we observe Anzac Day.

The recording above is of the Last Post, which is traditionally played at ANZAC day services.  I took this recording from the Australian War Memorial page on The Last Post, where they explain its history and its role in funerals and other services marking the passing of service men and women.

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and is an acronym that has its origins in WWI.  It is particularly associated, in our national memory, with the terrible loss of life at Gallipoli in 1915.  (If you would like to read more of the history and the modern-day memorials beautifully maintained by the locals on the Gallipoli Peninsula, see this site.)

But Anzac day is an opportunity to remember and honour all the men and women who died in the service of their country.  Those who will not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.  We honour their memories, not to glorify war, but lest we forget.

The verse above, familiar to anyone who has ever been to an Anzac Day service, is taken from a poem called ‘For the Fallen’, which was written by an English poet, Laurence Binyon, in 1914.  It was written for England’s lost soldiers, but I reproduce it after the cut in full, as some of the imagery is beautiful and the terrible loss of war is something all countries share. Continue reading

Let’s talk about love…

My writer buddy Eleni Konstantine, invited me to visit her blog and said I could talk about whatever I liked (she’s a brave girl, Eleni).

So I got thinking about why I write Romance and I discovered a whole heap of new reasons and some surprisingly deep thoughts about why the world (not just me) needs Romance.  If you’d like to read it the post is here (with bonus Foreigner music clip, if you’re old enough to remember).

Have a good Wednesday!

I cannot begin to tell you how honoured I am to be the inspirtation for the monumentally talented Resa’s latest creation. Please, go and look at this beautiful gown and tell her how great she is!

Unexpected joys

I was all set to write a post about the 200th Anniversary of Pride and Prejudice – but it will have to wait.  Because last night (that will be a joke in a minute, wait and see) a young friend showed me this video:

And I LOVED it.  This adorable 20-year-old is so clever and talented and FUNNY!  There are few things I like better than funny.  As Lizzie Bennett would say, (note P&P reference!) I dearly love to laugh.  Make me laugh and you’re half-way there.  Half-way where, you ask?  Pretty much anywhere, frankly.  I am absolutely going to learn this song (have I mentioned that I sing?) because I think it will knock ’em dead as a party piece.  My friends are mostly past this stage, but not so far that we don’t remember.  Get a few wines into ’em and I reckon they’ll be joining in in no time.

Anyway, so impressed was I by this young lady that I watched a few more of her videos.  Which is how I came across this one:

And this one made me cry.  I was sitting at my desk, surrounded by mess I need to clean up, almost hyperventilating about all the things I need to do this month (writing! tax! deadlines! eek!) and this song made me stop, forget all of that and cry.  Can a creator ask more than that?  If what I write can do that – take people out of their lives for a bit, have a laugh, have a cry, make them forget their troubles for a bit – I will be very, very happy.

I also like this one, a bit of musical philosophising:

Lucy is on Twitter and Facebook, if you want to follow what she gets up to.  I’m a little late to the Lucy party, it seems, but I have always adhered to ‘better late than never’ – especially when it comes to talent!  And in case you hadn’t found her yet either, I just wanted to share my unexpected Wednesday joy!

Have you found anything that surprised and delighted you lately?

Happy New Year!

It seems I have taken an unannounced hiatus from the blogosphere…

I had a post all lined up full of Christmas wishes and saying that I’d be back in the new year – but apparently I neglected to schedule it properly and it didn’t go up.

Which I then neglected to notice, as I was interstate with family and generally too full of Christmas to get to the computer.

I hope that, if you celebrate Christmas, you had a lovely one, full of good things and light on family dramas (which we all know can follow Christmas, like hangovers follow champagne).

Whether or not you celebrate, I hope that it was a season of peace and goodwill, that you weren’t too hot (if you are at my end of the world) or cold (if from northerly parts) and that, if you travelled, your luggage travelled with you.

I will be taking an extra week off regular posting.  I have some ideas for sprucing up around here – my brain it teems with endless schemes both good and new! – and I’d like to get at least some of them sorted out before launching back in.

In the meantime, I have called on the very lovely Jacquie Lawson, purveyor of delightful e-cards to the world (and to me, for several years now, saving my butt many a time when I haven’t got to the post office in time) to wish you a happy New Year.  Click on the link below to see it and I hope you like it!

Happy New Year

Cross-eyed and behind

Behind the eight-ball, behind the times, behind on my to-do list – just behind!

I have helped to graduate approximately 4,500 students in the last week or so.  This has involved leaving the house with the commuters, driving into the city and spending five and a half hours at this lovely place:

Picture from Wikipedia

Picture from Wikipedia

most of it on my feet and all of it concentrating hard.  The job I do is on stage with the Chancellor and the Deans, helping to make sure that the right names are read with the right degrees and the student gets the right piece of paper.  It sound simple enough, but it can be tricky when you have many hundreds of graduands at a time.  And you know, when some of them have difficult names, like this girl:

This is why, at Melbourne University, they don’t let the students fill in their own pronunciation cards for the Deans to read… (Doesn’t mean we don’t laugh when it happens at someone else’s ceremony, though…)

Was it more than a lot of people do regularly? No. But I am out of practice with the whole drive-commute thing and graduations are very intense and it really took it out of me.  With the result that, all the other things that were on my list to do have fallen WELL behind.

So tonight, instead of finishing a stack of shiny blog posts and doing the draw for the pretty bangle and the like, I am frantically wrapping presents that should really have been posted today, but will now have to go tomorrow and wondering when I can go to bed.

I am hoping that, tomorrow, once the post is gone, I will be able to do the draw, do some proper posts and catch up!  But in the meantime, if you are looking for some good Christmas presents, don’t forget books, e and paper.  There are many lovely books out there, new and old, just waiting to beguile your break, or soothe your working days.

If you are in Australia or NZ, all the Destiny Romance titles, including Rules are for Breaking are on special, through all the outlets and they are now available worldwide.  So if you are getting or giving a Kindle or Kobo or iPad mini or other reading device for Christmas, they’d be a great place to start!

If you were a student this year, I hope your results were all you desired and that next year is shaping up well!