That’s a wrap – Sunday 10 December 2017

Monday before the rain

This week has brought with it deluges. Yes, I know that sounds exaggerated, but deluges we’ve had. Just when I thought that it wasn’t possible for rain to come down any heavier than we’d already seen it come down, Monday proved me wrong.

We had a waterfall in our backyard, and the pool lounge simply floated up and out of the overflowing pool.

Then just as we thought that was as heavy as we could get, down it came again last night. Again the pool overflowed, and the high water mark in the backyard was briefly a number of inches above the sodden ground.

In between was sunshine.

Now I love a good storm. Give me a bit of thunder and lightning and a downpour and I’m inspired. But this was damaging and low lying areas near us did suffer some flooding – including one of my favourite cafes in Mooloolaba, The Velo Project. Their Instagram account showed the water literally pouring in.

Anyways, enough about the weather…

What I’m loving…

The colours in our frangipani. Whether it’s against blue sky or grey, it’s striking.

A random sunset…

After a massive storm on Tuesday night. Striking, hey?

Where I worked…

While I always do my corporate work at home, I’m finding that I work much better on my personal writing projects away from the home office. Mooloolaba Surf Club is a favourite – as is Chances at Mooloolaba Wharf.

Where we lunched…

At Saltwater, one of the new offerings down at the revamped, re-energised Mooloolaba Wharf. What the developers are doing down here is fantabulous. Not only does this place have a really smart menu, the price point is very affordable ($10 for excellent fish and chips on a plate with a view), it’s licensed and the chips are amazing…really amazing. You know how sometimes the idea or the smell of chips is better than they taste? Not this time. All crunchy.

the view

Hubby had the fish and chips, Miss 19 had a couple of salmon cakes ($8 for two) that she said were better than mine – yes, I’m wounded – and I had the prawn sandwich ($10) which was essentially a prawn cocktail in a soft roll. I was in heaven.

What was disappointing…

Eumundi Christmas Markets on Friday night. We were all set to have a night of Christmas cheer and shopping with street food. Unfortunately, it not only pelted down with rain, but only a small proportion of the stall-holders set up. Very disappointing – and after we’d got the sort of carpark that you usually can only dream of getting.

What made my week…

Yesterday I caught up for lunch down in Brisbane with some ladies that I’ve known in the blogosphere for some time. Not only was it great meeting them in real life (IRL, as we say it) but it truly was like catching up with friends that I hadn’t seen in months. We all just clicked. Don’t you love it when that happens?

What I read…

I didn’t so much read as devoured Nicki Edward’s “One More Song.” It made me cry buckets in an absolutely good way, it took me to a part of Australia that I adore, and it told the story of characters that engaged me from the first few pages.

What I watched…

Miss 19, Adventure Spaniel and I had a movie afternoon today with Elf -one of our Christmas classics. It’s even better on the big screen…

I’m also beyond excited that The Crown Season 2 has landed, but I just know it’s going to play havoc with my word count. I can resist many things, but that isn’t one of them.

This is usually a political free zone but…

I restrain my personal political opinions here as much as I possibly can, but this week when the marriage equality bill passed, I was not only thrilled but relieved. It’s been an embarrassing fact that Australia has lagged behind other countries in legislating something that I personally believe we should not even still be debating in 2017. Love is love, and now it’s yes.

What I’m loving…

Just how over the top some people are with their Christmas decorations. There’s an entire street just down the road from us where every house (bar two….tutt tutt tutt…) is decorated to such an extent that the electricity grid must groan every night when the lights are turned on. Christmas seriously is the one time of the year when more is absolutely fabulously more.

How was your week?

That’s a Wrap – December 3, 2017

Monday morning on Mooloolaba Beach

It’s December already. How did that happen? It feels as though it was only yesterday that we were all full of high hopes for 2017 and now we’re singing the another year over song already.

Anyways, let’s wrap up the week…

What frustrated me…

Rain. So much of it. And most inconveniently, at the times that I’d normally walk. Yes, I have a gym membership for just those eventualities, but a treadmill has nowhere near the meditative qualities of a walk on or by the beach. Yes, I’m spoiled already.

I did, however, get out on Monday morning – and again on Monday evening.

What made me go awwww…

Baby scrub turkeys.

There are a few of them around at the moment. Aside from the fact that they are cute, the very existence of them is a marvellous one. Scrub turkeys are interesting in that they aren’t parented at all. The eggs are laid and incubated in a mound of what is essentially temperature-controlled compost. The father builds the mound, the mother lays the eggs, and that’s pretty much the end of their involvement in the process.

The chicks hatch, climb out of the mound and start scratching about for themselves and trying to avoid their father – who doesn’t recognise them as being baby scrub turkeys. They have about a 1 in 200 chance of making it through to adulthood, so seeing them out and about is heartening.

What made me happy…

me busy writing at Chances

Seeing Mooloolaba Wharf come back to life. This place used to be a hive of activity when we first started holidaying up here almost 20 years ago, then it went into decline. Now, thanks to a far-sighted developer, it’s on the way back. Chances on the wharf has become my favourite place to write and just this week two new eateries opened up – Rice Boi, which I’ve tried and is fabulous, and Saltwater, next on my list. There’s a new bar due to launch next week and already the place has movement again.

Lotus chips at Rice Boi

Avo smash – but not as you know it…

The new vegetarian cafe Two Point Oh at the Kontiki building in Maroochydore is doing an avo smash with a difference. On a bagel is beetroot puree, with one half of the bagel topped with avo slices, the other with smashed peas, and feta is crumbled over the lot. With rocket and lemon to complete it, it’s as pretty as a picture and tastes just as good.

Also new and on my list…

Raw + Rice the Sunshine Coast’s first poke (pronounced poke-ay) bar. It’s across the road from the Surf Club at Mooloolaba, next to Acai Brothers, and I’m keen to give it a try.

Sunshine Coast Daily headlines…

My favourite this week was:

“Are you a proud flasher? Coast police will crack down…”

A story about…wait for it… people who flash their headlights at other cars to warn them of speed traps.

A close second was:

“Snakes on the prowl…” Actually, this one was about snakes…on the prowl…for frogs.

What I wrote…

Not very much on the manuscript until Friday. Once I hit the 50,000 word mark I also reached the wall that I’d seen looming in the distance so I put it away while I got my head around writing the scene that was blocking me. I did that on Friday. It was tough.

What I blogged…

I popped up something about what I most enjoyed about the lead up to Christmas in the UK and the five things that mean Christmas in our house. I actually got some content up on the astro site after over a month off. I also posted something on the Sunny Coast site about Rice Boi – I mentioned that it was fabulous, didn’t I?

Finally, I organised all my writing posts on this site as well. If you click on the About Writing tab you’ll see everything nicely categorised in a dropdown menu. I’ve even popped some travel links in too from And Anyways. It’s starting to look the way I wanted it all to look.

What I missed…

That should read who I missed. Miss T has been in Sydney this week staying with my parents and catching up with friends. I’ve been sending her photos of Francesca the Macarena singing Christmas flamingo most days.

Ok, that was my week…how was yours?

That’s a wrap…

our frangipani

Ok, it’s been a week where lots has been done, yet I have no idea what I’ve done…does that make sense? Anyways, that’s what’s good about the discipline of these posts.

In case you missed it…

me typing the 50,000th word on Friday morning at Mooloolaba

I nailed my 50,000 word challenge for nanowrimo. I’ve still got 30,000 words to turn this great start into a novel, but the first 50,000 almost wrote itself. Thankfully I didn’t hit the dreaded manky middles until the 50k mark. Now to write my way out of it.

What I thought was really cool…

The play of the light on the water in the pool yesterday. I zoomed in – which is why the pixels are out, but it makes the whole thing look like opal, don’t you think? #nofilter

What I’m patting myself on the back for…

Being organised for Christmas. All shopping is done and wrapped. Don’t look at me like that – Miss T is going to visit her grandparents in Sydney this week so I need to send the presents down with her.

What made me happy…

Seeing our frangipani finally bloom – that’s it in the pic above.

What frustrated me…

Rain – just enough to keep me from my morning walk for most of the week.

A random flower pic…

This one. It was sitting in a jar at my friend’s hairdresser’s in Wellington. Why do I like it? Just because.

 

 

 

 

 

That’s a Wrap…

Jacarandas in Eumundi

I have to be honest – I struggled a tad with this week.

Partly I think it was because I was in Sydney for work (and didn’t want to be), and partly because I’m at that point where I just want to not log on for a few days. And yes, I know that only I work my corporate gig for 3 ½ – 4 days a week, but I’m really tired. The thing is, I effectively work two jobs – when you count the writing, which I absolutely do count.

I had a break in April – but that came straight after packing and moving house. Prior to that my last proper break was a week in November last year when I did the Milford Track.

I think I need a proper holiday, but I really don’t blame people for laughing when I say that. I live in flipping paradise.  I no longer need a break from my life and where I live, but I do need a break from work. And yes, I’m aware that there are so many of us who do – and I’m fortunate in that I can…take a break, that is.

Anyways, without further ado, let’s wrap this week…

What I booked…

A long weekend in Wellington with my bestie. This will tide me over until those few days at Christmas – and until my proper holiday in April.

What I’m loving…

Not used to having to wear a face (or shoes) on a daily basis, I left my lipstick at home in Queensland – which meant I had to visit the Bobbi Brown counter in the city and I had to buy a couple of the new crushed lip colours. Oh my! These are my type of lipsticks – apply it lightly and you get almost a stained lip. Build it up for something more formal. Just perfect.

What I bought…

Christmas ornaments. We buy a new ornament for our (mismatched) tree each year. This year will be the first Christmas since we’ve been married where we’ll be hosting and catering Christmas for friends – and we’re beyond excited.

These ornaments I found in DJs city store were perfect for our first Queensland Christmas.

What I didn’t know…

That Jett’s fitness clubs started life in Mooloolaba and the founder, a Sunshine Coast man, is now on the rich list.

Weird Coincidences…

On the plane last Saturday I was approached by someone I’d worked with many years ago – in late 2011 to be exact. I recognised her once she told me her first name – Ros. Anyways, on Monday morning while waiting for my BMF and coffee, I had an almost identical conversation with someone else who I hadn’t seen since late 2011.

His name came to me many hours later – Rod. His surname? Exactly the same as the woman I met on the plane on Saturday. Ros and Rod, same surname, no relation, both last seen in November 2011. Weird, hey?

What we celebrated…

My father’s 79th birthday, Happy birthday, Ronnie…

What blew me away…

The development in Castle Hill since I left.

What is seriously almost Melbourne cool…

The installation down at Barangaroo.

What frightened me a little bit…

Weird spiky pain in my right eyebrow upon descent into both Sydney and Maroochydore. It’s happened once before a few years ago, but was really quite nasty this time. I suspect it has something to do with sinuses. Best not to dwell on that one.

What made me giggle…

The headlines in Sunshine Coast Daily that come up in my notifications. I’m thinking that they’re trying super hard to match with NT Times, but can never match the sheer brilliance of “if you’re walking on the reef and you feel some sharp teeth, that’s a moray”, or the classic “why I put a cracker up my clacker.”

An assortment from this week includes:

  • Man viciously attacked by mystery snake – authorities on high alert
  • Supercells predicted as storms strike coast (as an aside, we don’t have thunderstorms here, we have super cells)
  • Predators on move – get shark smart

and my personal favourite…

  • Gunshots? Loud bangs spark alarms in Coast suburbs (the noises were later confirmed to be fireworks)

Something I heard at the markets…

‘You’ll need to carry the donuts – I have to carry all the kombucha…”

Where we lunched…

Bohemian Bungalow at Edmundi. Oh how I loved his place. You can read all about it here.

What I’m reading…

A Deadly Kerfuffle, by Tony Martin. I bought it for my return flight the other day and it’s flipping hilarious.

How was your week?

 

 

 

 

That’s a wrap…

 

I’ve been in Sydney (for work) for most of this week, so not a huge amount to report. We’ve had rain – buckets of it, gallons even. Ok, perhaps I’m exaggerating a tad, but we did get about 300mm over 3 days – more than 3 times the usual October average. The tanks are full, the lawns are green, and things are all still a tad soggy. We needed it but.

What I’ve been reading…

 

The Word is Murder, by Anthony Horowitz. You know how much I love Midsomer Murders, well, Anthony Horowitz was the one who adapted the series from the books by Caroline Graham. he’s also responsible for Foyle’s War – which I also love. Why wouldn’t I be into his books?

I picked up The Word Is Murder at the airport the other day and was unusually grateful for the inevitable delay that rain brings to Jetstar flights out of Sunshine Coast airport. As an aside this is because there are no air bridges and people seem incapable of walking in rain in a purposeful manner. Seriously, what’s the worst that can happen? Your hair gets curly?

Anyways, this is essentially the story of a reluctant author named Anthony who happens to have written Foyle’s War and Alex Rider, and some Sherlock Holmes, who gets dragged into a murder mystery with an unlikeable detective he met on the set of another of his creations Injustice.

It was all so realistic I found myself googling the names of the murder victims. Aside from the story – which is very cozy crime, something else I adore – I loved how he laughed at himself and the life of the successful writer throughout. Without giving any spoiler alerts, there’s a particularly farcical scene involving a script meeting with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. The reviews I read haven’t been great, but what do they know? I thoroughly enjoyed it.

What I’ve blogged…

I’m updating some of my older Bali posts from and anyways for this website. So far I’ve posted why I’m so hooked on Bali and a recipe for Bumbu Bali. I also posted a training plan for nanowrimo and managed to get a newsletter out. If you want the recipe for Dragon Wings with Avocado Dip that I included in the newsletter, you’ll find it here.

Over on the Sunny Coast site I popped up posts on the new kid on the Mooloolaba block, Central Beach Club, and something on a seriously luxe bar under the Spirit House wing, Hong Sa.

What I wrote…

Not much, I’m in copy edit mode!

What I scheduled…

Baby, It’s You and Wish You Were Here will be available on iBooks from October 25. I’ll pop the links in next weeks wrap. Of course, all 3 books are already available on Amazon… If you’re interested, and of course you are, you’ll find the links in the top menu bar.

What I decided on…

My cover for I Want You Back, and some new logo designs. Below is a screenshot of the cover – I’m yet to receive the jpeg, but you get the idea.

What I started planning…

And I’m using the word planning extremely loosely…my novel for nanowrimo. I have an idea that I’d like to take 30 days and 50,000 words to explore. It’s about grown-up issues with grown-up characters and is sort of what happens after the happy ever after – what happens after bin night, I guess.  I have no idea whether it has legs yet, but if it doesn’t, I’ll have only wasted a month.

A photo of a flower…just because…

I’m loving jacaranda season and am thrilled there’s one in my front yard, but this lovely lilly that I saw at The Ginger Factory today was screaming out to be photographed…

Ok, that was my week…how was yours?

That’s a wrap – the Bundaberg edition

sugar cane just outside of Bundaberg

So, the week that was…and a mini break to Bundaberg…

I could tell you about how busy the partition job was, I could tell you that I got my copy edit back for I Want You Back, and I could tell you about a new place we tried for lunch on Friday – Chances at Mooloolaba. It was good.

I could also tell you about the lecture I went to on Tuesday about the state of the reefs around the Sunshine Coast – it was put on by Reef Check Australia and it was seriously informative. But I’m not going to tell you about any of that. Instead we’ll talk about the mini break we took this weekend… Oh, and a warning…the weather was dull – really dull…so my photos are too.

Where we went

Bundaberg, or Bundy, as it’s known locally.

Originally a timber town, Bundaberg today is known for sugar and rum – and is the gateway to the southern islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s a few hours drive north from my home on the Sunshine Coast, and we could only manage one night away, but a break is a break, right?

What we came for

I wanted to see sugar cane. I had images in my head of fields of tall sugar cane against an impossibly blue sky. Sadly, all we got was grey skies and drizzle. I managed one shot with some blue sky behind it.

It’s not all about the sugar cane though. The soil around here is incredibly fertile and we saw fields of rockmelons, fields of berries, and fields of sunflowers.

Meanwhile back home in Buderim

The rain sheeted down. We’ve had 2 months worth of rain in 2 days – with more to come.

Where we stopped

All good road trips – even mini ones like this – need a good stop. On the way up we stopped in Maryborough. Yes, it was raining, but this town, on the banks of the Mary River, has some beautiful heritage buildings. One of its claims to fame is that PL Travers, who wrote Mary Poppins was born here.

We had breakfast at a little café in Customs House, A Spoonful of Sugar, and marvelled at just how high the floodwaters had got over the years.

This is a town that I’d like to spend more time in. The history fascinates me and, well, let’s just say I’d like to get under the covers some more.

Where we stayed

Bundaberg Spanish Motor Inn. It was clean, comfortable, blissfully quiet and a great price. The hosts provided a really friendly welcome. I’d absolutely recommend it.

Where we drank rum

Nope, I’m not a rum drinker – unless it’s in a cocktail by the beach. The thing is, Bundy is known for its rum and this weekend happened to be the Bundy Rum Festival – or something like that.

Despite the weather, they’d turned up in hordes to drink the stuff. Some dressed for the occasion, others just covered up in plastic ponchos.

Where we drank beer

The Bargara Brewhouse in Bundaberg. We each had a tasting paddle – and the beer was good. We were there a bit too early for lunch, but I’m told the sliders and chicken wings are worth sampling.

Where we sampled other fizzy stuff

Another thing Bundaberg is known for is ginger and, specifically, ginger beer. They do make other flavours as well – I use the lemon, lime and bitters to make scones, although apparently the ginger beer is good for this too.

I don’t really drink soft drink so the tasting was wasted on me, but you can really taste the fruit in their range – mostly because they use fresh fruit to brew the drinks. Yes, the soft drinks are brewed – just like beer is. At the end of the process though, the alcohol is heated off so you’re left with just the taste. Cool, hey?

Oh, and if you’re on their website, check out the recipes. I think they should turn the recipes into a cookbook…just saying.

Where I would like to spend more time

Bargara. Ok, the beaches aren’t like Mooloolaba but, let’s face it, I’m pretty biased about what I like to think is my beach. The black rocks are quite striking, and it’s a great foreshore area with, I think, the best ever playground I’ve seen.

We had breakfast at Rick’s on the Esplanade. I had the corn and zucchini fritters with bacon and eggs and it was good.

What I’m coming back some day for

The turtles.

Regular readers of the old and anyways blog know that I have a thing about sea turtles. They truly represent sea voyages and exploration and are the sign of the navigator. Anyways, female turtles also return to the beach where they were hatched in order to lay their eggs – and Mon Repos, just north of Bargara, supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region. I borrowed that last sentence from the website blurb.

The turtles nest between November and January and then 6-8 weeks later, from January through to late February/March, the little hatchlings emerge to scurry down to the sea. What makes this truly special is just how much the odds are stacked against these babies – just 1 in 1000 are likely to make it to maturity. I could go on, but I can see many of you glazing over already.

Suffice to say, I’ll be back.

How was your week?

Introducing The Hungry Writer – and wrapping the week

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that this week’s wrap-up is coming to you from a different website.  I’m phasing And Anyways out and am in the process of transferring some of the content across to here.

Why have I done this?

I originally created the author page midway through last year with the aim of showcasing my books and a focus on building my author profile – with a view to, of course, selling more books. There’s no point creating a product if no one knows about it.

And Anyways started life in 2012 as an overflow blog for everything I wanted to write about that didn’t fit on my astro site. With very few exceptions my astrology readers didn’t want to know about my travels, my life, or my writing. They just wanted the astro. Given that there’s a lot of them – almost 400,000 visitors in 2016, that’s what I give them. But I still wanted to write about my life – my travel, my experiences, the things that inspire my fiction. And anyways was created.

Yet, as I’ve begun publishing fiction the site address – a nod to a phrase I use constantly – has proven to be problematic. This came to a head a couple of months ago when there was a lot of confusion about what my site address actually was for the RWA program.

It’s become clear that I have 2 personas:

  • Jo Tracey who writes DIY astrology and
  • Joanne Tracey who writes fiction

My site statistics tell me:

  • There is negligible crossover from the Jo Tracey Astrology to either joannetracey.com or andanyways.com. Even when I’ve specifically linked in a post or a newsletter.
  • There is a little traffic from anyanyways.com to the astro site
  • There’s a lot of traffic from andanyways.com to joannetracey.com – and vice versa.

This tells me that the rambles of the hungry writer (my tagline for and anyways.com) and the books created by the hungry writer – based on those rambles – belong together.

It hasn’t sat well with me to have these posts on a different site from the books they inspired.  Baby, It’s You and Big Girls Don’t Cry are both set partially in Bali. Baby, It’s You, Big Girls Don’t Cry, and I Want You Back are set mostly in Melbourne – as will be the catchily titled Book After I Want You Back and Book After The Book After I Want You Back. Wish You Were Here is split between The Cotswolds in England and Queenstown, New Zealand.

In splitting the sites I’ve compromised both my traffic and my reach – and made life harder for myself from a content creation viewpoint. Yes, I’m a travel and lifestyle blogger, but primarily I’m an author.

To cut a long and increasingly boring story short, this site, The Hungry Writer, will be where you’ll find all my posts.  I’ve purchased the domain the hungrywriter.com.au and will be pointing it in this direction over the next week or so.

I still have some tweaking to do and widgets to set up, but I hope you can find your way around here ok.

For my and anyways readers, there will usually be one writing post a week going up here – probably on a Wednesday. For my author page readers, you’ll be seeing more travel and lifestyle posts. I’d really love it if we can all get along.

And for my astro readers? Jo Tracey Astrology is remaining unchanged. You’ll find it where it always is – here. I’m also keeping my Sunshine Coast blog separated for now too. If you’re interested in places to go, see and eat at on the Sunshine Coast, you’ll find them here.

Ok, without further ado, let’s do a quick wrap of the week. Other than redesigning my website, what else went down?

What I struggled with…

Time zone changes. Where I live – in Queensland – we didn’t go to daylight saving. This wouldn’t be that much of an issue if it weren’t for the fact that mine (and my husband’s) work is based entirely back to Sydney. I’ve kept my work laptop configured to Sydney time, but even so, it’s seriously doing my head in.

What frustrated me…

My astro website was down for what amounted to 2 whole days. This was due to an outage of the server that it’s hosted on. Beyond annoying.

What I didn’t see…

Sunrise. We had a couple of days of rain here this week – we really needed it – but mostly I didn’t see the sunrise because it’s now peeking its head above the horizon at about 5.20am – and getting a minute earlier each day.

What thrilled me…

Seeing the purple flowers appear on the jacaranda tree in the verge. There’s also a papaya tree, but that’s another story.

What I learnt…

The name of this plant – also in the verge. Thanks to my instagram followers, I now know that it’s an Ixora.

Where we lunched…

In our unrelenting search to find the perfect place to have a beer on a sunny afternoon – I know, it’s a challenge most sensible people would shy away from – we tried out Guru Life. I loved the spicy corn fritters, the pineapple wallpaper on the counter, the leafy courtyard, the mis-matched furniture and the duck pond.

You can read more about it here.

Also on the Sunny Coast site, was something on another beer garden/bar/Mexican restaurant – La Canteena.

Phew, that was my week – how was yours?