Belated Celebrations

January and the beginning of February was an interesting time for me, with some news that I thought I was coping quite well with, though in hindsight perhaps I was not… but all’s good now (I think), and there were a few good things that happened that I want to mention:

First, myself and two of my writing buddies: Aislinn Batstone and Kelly Matsuura, were published in the Independent Author Index’s Short Story Compilation, volume 2 on 31 Dec 2012 (Aussie time). I did start to read this, but only got a few stories through before life was temporarily turned upside down. I can say, that the stories I read so far are incredibly diverse – from writing style, to topic. Some I loved, some I wasn’t so impressed with, but even so I’m really looking forward to getting back into it again and reading the rest of the stories. The compilation is available for sale in ebook form from Amazon.  With stories to suit every taste, I think it’s worth the low price of $2.99!

The second bit of good news is another compilation! Those same ladies from my writing group and I were published in The Flashing Type, Issue 1: 50 Stories from freeflashfiction.com. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may remember that I had a flash fiction fantasy “One” published at Free Flash Fiction around the middle of last year. That story is now available in the compilation, which is available for an even lower price of 99 cents! This is one I have not yet had a chance to read, but I’m looking forward to getting to it soon.

Also, I submitted a query for my novella – A Faery Dream, to The Wild Rose Press, and the full manuscript was requested. Confirmation that I can write a decent query lol!

I was lucky enough to win a critique in early January by Joanne Wadsworth. She looked over the first 4 pages of my story, Red Sky. If you remember (did I tell you?) I entered this into the Seizure novella comp back in November, and sadly it wasn’t chosen. However Joanne gave me some brilliant feedback. She had some very encouraging words on my writing, and pointed out where I could tighten the text. Every so often Joanne offers these critiques as prizes on her blog, and she has some great posts on writing – so go follow her!!

And the last piece of good news, is that I entered Red Sky, into ABNA – The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and it passed through first round! It was selected, along with 1999 others, from a total of 10,000 novels! That is amazing and I am so excited and nervous.  This is more confirmation on my ability to pitch, as it was the pitch that was judged in this round. Second Round is announced on 12th March (USA time – 13th March over here in Aus), and judges an excerpt of the story – up to the first 5000 words. I still have an anxious few weeks to wait, though I have a few old stories to edit, and new ideas to explore – so plenty to keep me occupied!

A Perfect Place for Surprises

I wanted to show you my favouritist place in the whole world! (yes, I know favouritist isn’t a word lol – but it needed to be emphasised here)

Lee's Paddocks

This is The Paddocks (not quite it’s real name, but we can’t have everyone flooding the place!). I’ve been here about half a dozen times since my first visit almost 15 years ago. It’s a 5 hour walk – at a steady pace, although on saying that we did stop to admire the views a lot! I haven’t been here since before my son was born – I haven’t been on a bushwalk anywhere since before my son was born, at least 7 years ago!

The Paddocks is an absolutely glorious spot to go Bush Walking here in Tassie. It is the location in my story Sanctuaryas best I could describe it at the time. Description however, is not my strong point, so while I was there I set about practising that skill, taking particular notice of all the sights and sounds and smells. This is what I came up with…

Footfalls on the trail are muffled by the layer of leaf litter, broken occasionally by the crunch of twigs and and silenced by the soft spongy moss. Out in the open, crossing the paddocks – with their damnable button grass – is harder. The button grass grows in high clumps, close together, creating deep narrow ravines. The choices are to using the grass itself as stepping stones… sort of… or try and walk between the grasses, though when the base of the clump is halfway up to your knee this can be tricky (and what about snakes!!). Thankfully most of the paddocks have walking tracks where the button grass has been thinned out – but we did head ‘cross country’ a couple of times as we explored the area.

The scent changes; on the first day the sun shone brightly, warming the air and releasing the sweet scent of rotting leaves and hot moss, and surprising me with a fragrance that smelt distinctly of chai tea, even though none of the spices used in the drink grow here.  On our way out the temperature had dropped. We had enjoyed a thunderstorm on our first night, listening to the sporadic rain on the tent, as the flashes of lightning lit up inside and the thunder rumbled almost instantly overhead. Rumbled is not strong enough actually. For a moment, at least, the storm was directly over head – and the thunder thundered! It didn’t roar, or roll, and rumble seems a far more gentle word for what we experienced. It boomed, cracked through the sky.

But I’ve digressed a little. Because of the thunderstorm, it was cooler on our way out. The air was cold, fresh, crisp. The myriad of scents obvious the previous day were muted now, barely there.

The scenery was as breathtaking as always. Everywhere is green – all different shades. And varying shades of grey and brown as well, from the tall trees with their moss covered bark to the wet rotting stumps. But now and again there is a surprise of colour. Fungi mostly, brightening the bark. The odd flower – tiny purple and white ones, some with yellow stamens. And out in the open there is the brilliant blue sky and the distant mottled green mountains.

And on our way out we took a fork in the path – one neither of us remembered being there, from our separate trips – and discovered the most amazing waterfall – so tall, absolutely stunning.

And now I’ve said my piece – I’ll show you a few snippets:

Splashes of Colour
Splashes of Colour

I've walked this track at least 6 times before, and never knew this waterfall existed! Sometimes amazing things happen when you follow new trails.
I’ve walked this track at least 6 times before, and never knew this waterfall existed! Sometimes amazing things happen when you follow new trails.

During our walk inspiration struck, a couple of times, and I managed to jot down a few ideas, including one for a historical novel, based in Tasmania during convict times, and including a bit of fantasy and magic too.

But that is not my most exciting news from my weekend – my most exciting news is that my gorgeous man (who suggested the bush walk in the first place) proposed to me on the banks of the river, as we paddled our sore and swollen feet in the icy water. OMG! It was the last thing I expected at that moment. A wonderful surprise! 😀

The Ring
The Ring