Wednesday, December 31, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Weeks 51 & 52

Lord, guide me around this next bend...
Do Something To Get Your Adrenaline Going, AND Meditate. 

I saved the best for last. You bet I did. 

After a year of following the 52 Dates For Writers book, I've reached the end. Thank you so much for sharing in my adventures in 2014. I've posted from my hometown of Melbourne, from Sydney, Phillip Island, as well as San Antonio, USA, Indonesia and Singapore.

No matter where I've been, it takes courage to show up on the page and realise as a writer I'll be exposed to the scrutiny of something I’ve created from the deepest part of my heart. All of the dates in 52 Dates For Writers are designed to help me become the kind of writer who is not afraid to look inwards in order to write. 

And THIS gets my adrenaline going. Make no mistake. Every time I write a blog post, my adrenaline trips and pumps a little faster. Each time I enter a writing contest or share a chapter with a writing buddy, my words are delivered with a blood red ribbon. That scarlet twist of anxiety, pride and fear. These are the emotions I can’t escape as an author.

This adrenaline has run all year long. It picked up pace after the RWA conference in San Antonio and RWAust conference in Sydney, where I consulted with self publishing experts, among a swell that’s rising and gathering many in its fold. And the mood in the indie writing community is buoyant and celebratory. The fuel of happy adrenaline. 

For me, it spilled over when I won the Inspirational Category of the TARA Writing Contest in the middle of this year. 

To cool my ruby slippered heels and make sure I’m on the right road God has for me... I pray. I meditate on His word and voice to me. After all, I know it’s God who layered the writing dream in my heart when I was clueless as to where it would land me. Or cost me. And it’s God who’s rescued my writing dreams and set me on the course I’m on now.

After much prayer and meditation I’m looking forward to the culmination of my writing dreams. 

Being able to share my Phillip Island series with dear readers is my aim for 2015. Yes, I’ve now got a plan and dates for my book releases. If that’s not enough to launch a flood of adrenaline and humble prayers, I don’t know what is.

And with your encouragement, God’s direction and my Beloved’s unending support, I plan on returning to this blog with my author announcements sometime next year.

There’s solid work to be done for this little Aussie author in 2015, but I have the best support team. So keep your eyes on this space... I can’t wait to share my author news with you. Your prayers have always blessed me. Please keep them coming, (even when I’m absent, head down, writing hard) and when the time is right... I’ll have my best adrenaline-shooting book news, right here on Ink Dots. 

Happy 2015, dear friends. 

Blessings for the New Year, my dear friends. May God rise and reign in our lives with His wisdom. And may 2015 unveil another flood of happy adrenaline right from God’s heart... to yours. 

Love to you,

Friday, December 19, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Weeks 49 & 50

Visit A Castle AND Assume An Alias. 

There are days when we find ourselves so far from home, we might as well have assumed an alias. Who are we when we’re not in our natural setting or comfort zone? How far can we really stray from our everyday persona?

Assuming An Alias was a challenge from my 52 Dates for Writers book, designed to push me into beh
avior not consistent with who I am, so my characters don’t end up all sounding and responding like me.

Pushing myself to be someone I’m not... is meant to be good for me. It teaches what my ordinary life can’t. Shapes me with a new awareness and leaves me with something fresh to use in my writing. 

Nearly all of my challenges have allowed me to slip into an alias of sorts. Most times I’ve needed an extra layer of boldness or bravery. On a few occasions I’ve had to pretend I could achieve something, until I realised if I stretched myself... I actually could. 

Bundled together, weeks 49 and 50 found me in Singapore, tagging along on a work trip with my Beloved. I’m always thrilled to meet up with him on a business trip for a happy chunk of writing days while he teaches. This trip offered three of these days. And a few days of sightseeing as well.

I’m not overly fussed with my writing location. I’m just glad for the uninterrupted writing time, which in the past I’ve enjoyed in relaxed airport lounges, in our room, in the executive lounge, even the hotel foyer. This time, my Beloved booked a dedicated room for me to work in.

You know, the kind of room where professionals gather to plan schedules and strategies. With secretaries and assistants. Big company meetings. Corporate affairs... and attire to match. 

What was I doing in this fancy room with the RESERVED sign on the fat round table? All by myself. All for .... just me?

I felt a little uneasy being watched all day by the hotel staff and those who stopped in the lounge to read the newspaper while they waited on their pots of tea. Where were my colleagues? The ones who would occupy the 7 empty seats around the boardroom table.

I messaged a few writing friends back home, telling them how much I wished they were with me. I sent photos of my writing space, wondering how I came to sit there with my pretty dress and work heels. Like someone at their day job.

Didn’t my writing day happen in ordinary Melbourne cafes or by the fire at Crabapple House? In my thrift shop writing shawl. With Gilbert the cat nearby and the pull of domesticity not far off.

One dear soul wrote back to remind me I am an author. No matter what I’m wearing or where I’m sitting. She reminded me of the agents and editors who’ve communicated with me as a professional and how important it is to believe in myself.

Oh... that. You mean I can’t deny it, even when I feel like a fraud? When the author mantle weighs on my shoulders like a well braided costume from a medieval theme park?

Nope. She wasn’t buying that. She’s read Carry Me Home, the first book in my Phillip Island series and that makes her my reader.

She’s a happy reader. And I’m the author. The happy author.

That RESERVED sign reminded me there’s a place for my books, and it’s not so far away. There’s a place and a time when I’ll be able to share my writing with other readers.

And if I have to slip into my working heels and fancy dresses, and take command of the big fat table to make it happen, then so
Shrek's Castle ~ Universal Studios, Singapore
be it. I’m getting closer to that day and soon enough, that RESERVED sign will make room for the OPEN FOR BUSINESS sign.

And I can’t wait to share that with you, dear friends.

Oh ... and Visit A Castle?

That happened at Singapore’s Universal Studios. I’d battled a stomach virus the day before, so I did what my 52 Author Dates challenge instructed. Soak up the atmosphere and focus your thoughts on the castle’s history.

As a fan of the Shrek franchise, I did just that. 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Regina Jennings ~ A Most Inconvenient Marriage

It's my pleasure to welcome Regina Jennings to Ink Dot this week. Regina is homeschooling mother of four from Mustang, Oklahoma. She enjoys watching musicals with her kids, traveling with her husband and reading by herself. Regina graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustangalong with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. For more posts by Regina or information about her novels—A Most Inconvenient Marriage, Caught in the Middle, Love in the Balance and Sixty Acres and a Brideplease visit her website -

A Most Inconvenient Marriage ~ Abigail Stuart Thought She was Jeremiah Calhoun's Widow.

But Jeremiah Calhoun Is Very Handsome, Very Alive, and Very Perplexed.

Most Inconvenient Indeed.

With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he's gone--a practical solution for both of them.
After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain--until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail's story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she's never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn't trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?


Regina Says... 

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be...  Scotland. We were in Edinburgh for a few days last year, but I’d dearly love to explore the Highlands. I don’t know if it’d be warm enough in December though. Maybe I should pick a warmer location. Australia's warm in December, Regina. You could try visiting us! 

The best thing I did today is... spoke to a group of Girl Scouts earning their “Make a Book” badge.

A secret pleasure of mine is... sniffing essential oils. I only have two kinds and I don’t use them for much, but whenever someone pulls one out of their purse, I have to have a sniff. I like smelling stuff.

I wish I could relive the days when… my family was traveling together. When the kids were smaller my husband traveled a lot with his work and we tagged along. We grew so close being in a new city every month and only having each other to rely on. We still travel occasionally, but now the kids have more commitments and it’s not as easy to pack up and leave for a month. Oh, we've done something similar. We followed my husband to Bangkok for a year when the children were little. Right now I'm with him in Singapore. Minus the kids, sadly. :( 

When I was a child I dreamed I would... have a maid. In fact, I swore I would have one. That’s what I told my mom every time she bemoaned the disorganization of my bedroom. I’m still dreaming about getting one. I hope that dream comes true someday, Regina. 

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... I’m extremely laid back about germs. Hand sanitizer? No, thanks. I’m building immunities. I’ve been to leper colonies in India, shared a ceremonial cup of tea with a (topless) woman suffering from malaria in Africa, and spent more time at various stockyards than I care to recollect. Not much grosses me out. Wow... you are not easily turned off! Good for you. Thanks so much for being my guest this week, and I wish you every success with A Most Inconvenient Marriage. 


For the chance to win a copy of Regina's A Most Inconvenient Marriage (e-book outside the US) tell us which essential oils you love (like Regina)... or perhaps cannot tolerate. I'm a big fan of my own blend of eucalyptus and lavender. Great for adding to bath salts. How about you? 

I'll announce the winner in the comment thread here, next Monday. 

Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, December 05, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Weeks 47 & 48

Our Tandem Bike
Ride A Tandem AND Take A Tour Of Your Hometown

It’s only fitting my blog post about a bicycle built for two, should also carry a second author challenge. (And yes, I’m piggy backing a couple together to make up for the weeks I lost earlier this year in the US.)

This week I Toured My Hometown on a Tandem Bike with my Beloved. How clever, right? Two challenges wrapped in the one fun activity?
Melbourne's Luna Park

Well...I could list at least ten ways I’d prefer to explore Melbourne and none of them would require riding a bike with two wheels, two seats and two brains at the helm. This challenge tested our communication and trust...and that’s what the tandem challenge was all about.

Forced to work out the delicate balance of riding together, when only one of us really made the decisions and set the pace, brought a different dynamic to our date. In the end I’m glad my Beloved steered. And I’m not ashamed to admit there were a few turns on the bike path between Melbourne’s Luna Park and Brighton Beach, where I closed my eyes and hoped for the best. You can do this when you sit at the back. But you’re not allowed too much snooze time.

I pedaled faster when I was told to, slowed down when instructed, and tried not to panic when I heard the words, ‘bump coming up.’ 

Palais Theatre Melbourne
And the most valuable lesson I learned was not so much on the tandem bike, but on the dismount. The rider in the back must hop off first. Completely. And move away. Or else the front seat rider might knock her and the bike over when he dismounts. Tricky. And nothing we could have known by just looking at our fancy contraption.

Much like a marriage, this challenge had us laughing at the parallels between riding a bike path as one entity, and taking life’s road together as husband and wife. As an author challenge, it was designed to make me contemplate how two of my characters on the same path, with the same desired outcome, might strike difficulties and have to work together to sort them out. 

That real life blend of experiences. Bumps in the road, alongside beautiful beach breezes. Clear and constant communication vital for our safety and enjoyment. Total trust that the other person wouldn’t topple our combined efforts. 

We learned from earlier mistakes. We laughed at ourselves, proud that after a few hundred metres, we had worked out a way to stay aloft and take in the seaside views without falling into oncoming traffic.
At the halfway mark we stopped for a drink and long look at Melbourne’s cityscape behind us. Luna Park and the Palais Theatre just a shadow on the horizon, the legacy of early 1900s architecture and innovation. The Scenic Railaway at Luna Park is the only remaining roller coaster of its era operating in the world, built by JD Williams and the Phillips brothers from America. 

Listening to it’s rickety rumbles, one might think a time machine had transported us to 1912. And I was happy to let the kids scream their way around Luna Park, like generations before them.

Like many couples before us, we sat on the grass and watched the gulls fly. Glad for the cushioned car seats which would take us home, gladder still for the day out together exploring an historic slice of Melbourne town... and giving repeated thanks we wouldn’t have to ride a tandem bike, perhaps, ever again. 

Are you a fan of bike riding? Where do you ride?

Have you ever ridden a tandem bike?

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,