Saturday, June 30, 2012


In the midst of a chilling winter, there are always those wonderful frosty mornings that turn into sunny blue-skied days. Last Saturday was one of those days and hubby and I took advantage of the weather and went for a stroll around the Anderson's Bay inlet. And as an aside, today has been another sunny day. I've been enjoying this one behind glass; feeling like a plant in a hot house.

As a child my family lived quite close to the inlet: a little bay off the Otago Harbour which is neatly housed into a small tidal lake by a causeway and bridge. My older brothers and I would catch crabs and other sea creatures. I have faint memories of the dove grey backs of the little crabs and the salty scent of the sea.

It makes for a nice brisk walk and the recent opening of a little cafe called Brew in nearby Musselburgh Rise makes the destination that much sweeter.

This one is taken from the causeway, looking south. No doubt those houses would get a bird's-eye view of the water!

Looking north from the causeway. The harbour has many of these quaint boat houses which, to me, look much more picturesque than the new stadium on the other side of the water.

As the tide turned water swirled under the bridge.

A common garden seagull.

A house perched upon the cliff.

Next week I'm off on holiday to the Maniototo basin. No phone, no computer - but I will have the camera. I'll tell you all about it when I get back.


I've started a writer's page on Facebook - the link is on the right hand side of my blog.

As you will read on the FB page I'm about to embark on a new venture. Sometime soon I will be ePublishing a collection of short stories. I'll keep you up to date as I progress through the process.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Miss Amelia Hughes

I haven't posted for awhile, but the reason is all good: I've been writing!

The last few months have been hard work and trying to write has been like pulling the proverbial hen's teeth. But something has just clicked in this brain of mine and it's all go.

I've been working on Amelia's story, (I really must find a title for this novel), and the characters are popping off the page. I need to have an image in my head for the MC and Amelia has always been a bit murky. Was she a brunette, a blond? Tall or short? What colour are her eyes and just what is she like?

Yesterday in the middle of a scene that showed her naivety and her taste for fine, expensive fashions, she leapt off the page as a fully developed and very much 'alive' character. Which, of course, makes it all that much easier to write about her.

What's more, I have seen this young lady before. In a painting.

May I present, ladies and gentleman, Miss Amelia Hughes.

Renior's Dance at Bougival

Well, I must get back to her. She's strolling up Maclaggan Street with a new acquaintance of dubious character. I need to save her before .... well, lets just say, I need to save her!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I haven't been around for awhile because me and the family have been laid low with various winter colds and 'flu. Not such a great time, but it has meant I've churned through a few good books.

One in particular grabbed me and wouldn't let go until I'd read the last page. Written by Deborah Challinor it is titled FIRE.

Although a work of fiction it is based on the Ballantyne's fire of 1947. Ballantyne's is a department store in Christchurch and the fire, which took 41 lives, is the worst fire in New Zealand's history.

Challinor's FIRE is set in 1953 at the time of the first visit to New Zealand of the newly crowned Elizabeth II. It follows the lives of four friends, who work at Auckland's Dunbar & Jones. I enjoyed reading about the lives of these very different girls and the larger cast of their workmates and family. The advent of the milk bar cowboys, fashions in the 50s and the Maori land issues.

Then fire broke out in the basement of Dunbar & Jones and the pace picked up. No spoilers here, but it would have to be the most exciting piece of writing I've read in a long time. It's taut, tense, and fast paced, yet there is time for touching, heart wrenching moments too. I urge you to grab a copy and read it - now!

Earlier today I finally finished writing another short story. It's for another Dunedin Writers' Workshop competition which closes tomorrow. As I know the judge will be reading this and our entries are anonymous I can't tell you a thing about it. You'll just have to wait a month.

So now it's back to Amelia's story, which is coming along quite nicely.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Lately I have been making headway with my NZ historical novel and another short story. The next competition for the Dunedin Writers' Workshop has a New Zealand theme and I'm working on a story set in Dunedin in the 1950s. A new decade for me - in fact it's a different century to what I normally write!

The work on my novel is moving from barely plodding to an easy ramble. Hopefully I'll progress to a trot or even a run in the near future.

My blogging friend Elisabeth Grace Foley has just released a short story - "War Memorial". You can purchase it here. It takes a refreshing angle on war and leaves you wanting more - in a good way :)

This week I have started up a new blog. Don't worry this one will still go on with its normal erratic postings! I just wanted to try something different and focus more on my home town of Dunedin and my take on living there. You can visit it here.

Have a great Queen's Birthday weekend and if you're from somewhere at the top end of the world, I hope the sun shines on you all weekend!