Singleton Library Rocks!

St Val's image 2Valentine’s Day is a time to remember why we fell in love, to relive those delish moments and generally get all gooey.

Yes, yes, I know it’s also a time for some to reload the shotgun and or smack themselves up the side of the head for some past (or present) hormone induced stupidity… But for the moment we’re going to let those people sit in the corner and mutter obscenities while they wait till all the red hearts and streamers have left the shop buildings and people like me stop talking about (I’ve dropped my voice to a whisper) “St, Val’s Day.

This year, on St Val’s Eve, my husband took me to the country. It was a beautiful balmy evening, and after some reasonably frenzied and heated activity and nice wine, we shared an al fresco meal before heading home.  Romantic?St Val's image 1

Yeah, well that’s the romance writer’s version. The truth is in there, but perhaps not quite as it was portrayed.

TRUTH ONE: My husband DID drive me to the country, with author mate Michelle Douglas hitching a ride in the back seat.  We travelled an hour and a half north west(ish) to beautiful uptown Singleton so we could meet up with another  author mate, S.E Gilchrist to speak to Singleton Library patrons about all things romance.

S.E Gilchrist, Kaz, Michelle Douglas - and our driver my wonderful hub in the background!

S.E Gilchrist, Kaz, Michelle Douglas – and our driver, my wonderful hub, in the background!

TRUTH TWO:It was indeed a balmy evening. Gorgeous in fact. And two local vineyards, Catherine Vale and Hope Estate, supplied wine for the library event. So, yes, there was wine and it was yummy! 

TRUTH THREE:  Hot and frenzied activity did sort of happen. It was warmish  in the library  – or was that the wine(?) – and the discussion was quite lively! 😉 

TRUTH FOUR: Al fresco dining? Does Macca’s  on the run count? 😉  It was too late to find anything else and would be even later by the time we got back home, so we shared a quick meal before heading back down the highway.

TRUTH FIVE and the only one that counts: We had a wonderful evening. Rob Stewart and the staff at the library were so welcoming, and the patrons and guests were just a delight.  It was a truly special evening – fit for St Valentine’s eve. We made some new friends, caught with some old ones (writers from the Hunter Romance Writers ), sipped wine and talked books for ages and ages. We all write different types of books  which made it even more fun. 

S.E., Kaz and Michelle with some of the Hunter Romance Writers. Thank you Sandie James I(back right) for the photo.

S.E., Kaz and Michelle with some of the Hunter Romance Writers. Thank you Sandie James I(back right) for the photo.

  Thank you Singleton! Hope to see you again soon!  And a very happy (belated) St Valentine’s Day – and remember you don’t need a special day to show someone you care about them and that you appreciate them being in your life. 

Till later! Kaz

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It’s been a long hard road, but I’m back…

Tulips Hi everyone. So, it’s been a       while. It probably seems longer to me than it does to you – and that’s because the latter half of last year was possibly one of the  most difficult times of my life. In a wonderful twist, in a couple of ways, it was also one of the most joyous.

You know, I’ve known grief. I’ve lost people I was close to and traveled the rocky path that we call ‘family’ and endured the pain that inevitably comes with that particular joy. But, despite all that, nothing prepared me for the loss of my precious mum. It’s still a struggle every day, and I feel I’m only now beginning to find my feet again.

But life is wonderful in that even though they have thorns, the roses it offers are breathtaking.  Despite all the devastating pain, two wonderful things will always be associated with that time – and they make it impossible for the memories to be all bad. One was the birth of the most amazing little boy whom I believe was sent to remind us to smile – and he does so every day. As a family we are so grateful to have him.  The other was that I spent every day for eight weeks holding my mum’s hand. I’ll always be grateful for that.

On the work front, my next YA in the Dead series, with Allen & Unwin, has been pushed back to January 2014.   I’ve been working on the revisions, and trying to get back into the swing – something that’s been way harder than I expected.

I know I owe people prizes, which I will attend to as soon as I can.  I also hope to establish some regularity here again after I get back some of this back-load of work done. I have some nice little bits of news, so will probably post those soon.

To anyone I ignored in the past several months? Forgive me, and if it was important, give me another nudge.

Until then – enjoy every day; tell the people you love that you do. Don’t miss an opportunity. So, here I am – saying I love you. Hugs.

The Skinny on Lists

I read on a Blog-Advice blog (does that make sense?) that lists always draw a crowd. And that odd numbers work better.

Random prediction: Expect lists. Odd numbered ones…

 Here’s the first. Okay, so you may – or may not – have noticed that I haven’t been around. And I have to say upfront that I don’t have a note. Or a certificate from my doctor, though my psychiatrist offered… But I do have excuses aplenty for not hanging around much.

So, drum roll… My Seven Reasons for Not Blogging

1. I have perfected the art of lurking to such a degree that I can’t discriminate between loops and my own blog.

2. My computers were both sick.

3. I was sick.

4. My dog was sick.

5. My neighbour’s dog was sick.

6. My psychiatrist’s receptionist’s sister’s mother-in-law’s accountant’s dog was sick

7. I had revisions. Then copyedits. And I’ve been working three states; three capital cities…

What can I say? It’s been tough… So now that we’re agreed that I have been genuinely delayed beyond my physical control, just let me add one more comment: (If you imagine a thin, whiny voice this will work better for both of us)…

“I’m not the only one…”

It’s true!! This news was both shocking and strangely liberating. I mean, imagine me, beating myself up every day because I can’t seem to think up scintillating blog topics, or if I can I can’t seem to scratch out the time to do it. And then imagine me in a corner, curled into the foetal position, wailing and keening that I am neglecting my friends, my family and my followers, feeling like the biggest loser in blogland; feeling like the only blogger to ever miss a blog (or hundred…) And then I take a mo to perform a quick recon mission – and what do I find? Literally dozens of pathetic bloggers like me making the same whiny excuses!

I mean, really? How could I not know? So, do I feel better? Well, I did for about three minutes. But then I also realised that I’m just like everyone else. And that’s hardly special is it? Hardly unique.

Hmmn, do I sense a challenge coming on? Photos coming up – both RWAust and CYA. Plus ‘Prize Announcements’ and the real ‘7 Reasons Not to Blog’ – all coming up! So, stay tuned.

See? The challenge is working!

The Year of the Tiger

I got a bit sidetracked with Borders and edits and a couple of million other minor things, but here I am continuing the Chinese Zodiac series of posts.

Three down and gosh – only nine to go! LOL. Bet you’re excited huh?   

I’m continuing, because despite the lack of comments, anonymous people ARE dropping by to check out their predictions. I may not know who you are people – but I know you’ve been here!  <g>

So, Tigers… You’re a Tiger if you were born in any of these 12 year cycle years: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 etc.  

Traits: As your sign suggests, you are fairly volatile. Rules and barriers are there to be broken through, and you’ll rebel with little provocation. You’re energetic and like to be the centre of attention. Your temper rises quickly, but you’re also considerate and affectionate. You’re also a bit careless with possessions and careless about rules.  But if you put your mind to somthing – you’ll always be a huge success.

Best partners: Dog, Dragon and Horse.

Prediction: This is  a good year for you – success lies in wait. Good results could mean good financial returns. Your dediction and hard work will be acknowledged. Plan carefully for July, and set solid goals as they’ll probably come to fruition. Make sure you always think before you speak and always, always remember you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  This softer approach will be beneficial to your success.  

Go the Tigers!

Continuing Chinese Zodiac: The Year of the Rat

I’ve known a few so-called ‘rats’ in my life.  However, after reading the traits of the rat in the C/Z, then I’m thinking that either the poor little furry (?) creatures have just had too much bad press or maybe we need to adjust our thinking to echo more ancient Chinese philosophies.

Either way, those born in the Year of the Rat seem to be pretty cool people.

The years repped:  …1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020…

The traits: Bright, party loving, loves to socialise. Single minded when it comes to reaching goals. Quick to spot an opportunity and just as quick to grab it. Passionate nature and those with a rat for a partner are usually smiling.  (Ooooh la la!) On the downside they can get a bit moody if things don’t go their way – and sometimes bright and sparkly things can entice them to part with too much money, way too easily.  Rats are best partnered with Monkeys, Ox and Dragons!

Prediction: And so what’s in store for the Rat in 2011? Well, my experts tell me there could be a lot of hard work in store for the Rat this year, despite being off to a seemingly smooth start.   There’s warning for them to pace themselves and show some self control: ‘Don’t get carried away trying to get things you don’t need and can’t afford. It’ll be your downfall. There’s a fortune waiting in the wings – but only if you show some discretion.  You could be the only thing standing between it and success.  So think before you act and speak – and you won’t be sorry!’

Interesting year ahead Rats!

Chinese New Year: Go the Rabbits!

I’m a bad blogger. I did what I promised I wouldn’t – I got side-tracked. By Life.  By Work.  By Dreams.  By two flies climbing up a wall… You get it; I’m easily side-tracked.

But mark my word, things will change!

So, I felt that seeing  how I missed the traditional New Year and ringing in my new resolutions, that I’d adopt the Chinese New Year to make my fresh, new start.  And this is even more relevant that it seems because 2011 is The Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac – and that also just happens to be MY YEAR! So, if ever a year has to count, this is it!  🙂

Just because it’s fun – and fascinating – and a good way to kick off my new regime, over the next days and weeks, I’m going to feature the various personality traits of each Chinese Zodiac sign, and of course (!) I’m beginning with the Rabbit.  This particular year is also the Year of the Metal Rabbit – which means, this year I’m going to be more resilient – so I’ve got just three words: Bring It On!!!  

But just in case you’re unsure of where you stand, let’s  list each sign and what years they represent.  There are 12 signs and they appear in the following cyclic order: Rat; Ox; Tiger; Rabbit (hare); Dragon; Snake; Horse; Sheep (goat/ram);  Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig (boar).

The Years: (Remember that Chinese New Year begins on the first full moon of the new year, so  that has to be accounted for if you were born in late January or early February.)

Rat: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008.

Ox: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

Tiger: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

Rabbit/Hare: 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Dragon: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

Snake: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

Horse: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

Sheep (Goat/Ram): 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

Monkey: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

Rooster: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

Dog: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

Pig/Boar: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

Personality Traits of those Born in the year of the Rabbit:

Kind and loving,  gracious, cultured and possess beautiful manners. Might appear  to be pushovers, but are actually very strong-willed and strong-minded.  They are people likley to succeed, and pursue their ideals in a precise and orderly fashion. As naturally cautious though, they will act slowly  and deliberately.

Does this reflect ‘me’? Yep – pretty much.   Maybe some parts need some tweaking, <g> (like the orderly fashion thing… Must work on that!!!) for the most part, this sums me up pretty closely. 

So what Chinese Zodiac sign were you born under? I’m going to be posting the other eleven zodiac traits in the next days/weeks and I’d love to know if you feel you’re typical.  

And if you’re a rabbit, like me, is this close to your own personality? If you write, do you use the zodiacs as guides to creating character personality traits?

Till next time,  go the Rabbits – and “Bring it On!!!

Launch Day: ‘Tis the Season…

Yay! Thanks to the amazing Paula Roe, I’m soon to have two new websites and I NOW have two new blogs! I won’t tell you what happened last time I began a blog, other than to say three sniffer dogs are still searching for it in cyberspace – along with a cache of wonderful photos that will never again see the light of day. I also hold grave concerns for the aforementioned sniffer dogs…

But that was then and this is now. A brand new now, with brand new blogs and I feel it’s quite appropriate that I should be launching these blogs – yes two – in the midst of what I call ‘The Conference Season’. Just like ‘The Seasons’ of Merry Old London, this is a time when breathless, blushing, brand new authors make their ‘in-person’ debuts into the public arena. It’s a time when past debutantes gather and refill their creative wells – and ‘big’ sturdy goblets; to learn, gossip and recharge.

Okay – so it’s a long time since I could be called  Conference Virgin, but then again, it’s been a long time since I could apply the term ‘virgin’ to anything… But all that aside, this is conference season, so who cares? We kick off the season with the RWA conference in late July, this  year held at Orlando, Fla. This is a huge affair and while I don’t get over very often, it’s an amazing experience and always heralds the opening of the season to me. Two weeks or so later we hit the the big Aussie RWAust conference, held this year at Coogee Beach and which was totally amazing as always. (More on this in weeks to come.) And of course, running in sync with this is the expertly run Clayton’s conference that just gets better and better every year.

Barely three days after we close up shop in Oz, the exodus to NZ begins (at least for some very lucky authors) to attend the RWNZ conference. Are you seeing why I call it the season? Yeah – well just wait – there’s more! Three weeks or so later – and really before I have time to blink, let alone prepare, begins the Brisbane Writers Festival, which for me means the CYA conference run by the gorgeous Tina and Ally. So, now we’re September and no, it’s not time to put your feet up yet because then there’s SCWBI that will close up September for me.  Of course that’s just me – I also know that directly after the Coogee conference were a couple of Speculative Fiction conferences held both in Sydney and Melbourne that many of my friends attended.

It’s a crazy, frenetic and wonderful time, even if like me, you only manage 3 of the many on offer. That said, the 3 I’ve chosen will still see me reaching for the bourbon, the Bex and a bed! They’re exhausting and exhillarating; times of excesses of everything except sleep.

Since Coogee, not surprisingly the one question on everyone’s lips – whether they attended or not – has been, “What was your conference highlight?’

You’d think the answer would come in a flash, but you know? I’m still grappling with that one. Was it seeing amazing friends I adore and yet see only once a year? As MC I was privileged, both before and during the conference, to spend time getting to know the wonderful speakers and presenters, so naturally I have to add Deb Dixon (my new BFF) and Vicki Lewis Thompson (beautiful lady and reformed stalker) to my list of highlights. Additionally I gained some invaluable insights into the Oz publishing scene. Yep, I’ve got close to 60 books pubbed here but the kids publishing scene and the grown-ups publishing scenes are very different and it’s a new learning curve for me.   Was it the new contacts I made or the exciting requests I garnered from my pitch sessions?

Or was it that I came home in a steadier boat than the one that carried me there? Writing is synonymous with isolation, and that’s a scenario that can quickly do your head in.  Doubts plague us and make us question what we do and why we do it. But there’s nothing like a gaggle of excited authors all together under one roof to remind you that a) you’re not alone and b) you might be crazy, but you’re in good company.   

So thanks for dropping by to help me launch the blog. If you have young readers they might like to pop over to the Running With Pens Blog – which is my Kerri Lane blog. Stay tuned for the launch of the websites that will quickly follow. 

And if I could pose one question: What was your conference highlight? Can you pinpoint it? Go on! Show me up! I dare you…