Sentence a day – November

The month started with another trip to Sydney for work, was punctuated by a trip to Wellington, New Zealand for pleasure, and contained a lot of rain and, conversely, not much walking.

In other news, I participated in Nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month – and nailed the 50,000 words in a month challenge. It’s a new book and I’m loving it.

Ok, let’s get the sentence a day thing underway…

1.Still in Sydney, still want to go home.

2. Miracle of miracles – Jetstar on time. Homeward bound.

3. Happy Birthday to Adventure Spaniel.

4. Markets, sun, pool, and lots of words written. I love starting a new novel.

me, poolside at home

5. Bohemian Bungalow for lunch – quirky, fabulous, and great music.

6. Work ugh. Beach walk and pelican squadrons in the evening.

The pelican squadron

7. Rain and storms so no walk this morning.

8. Nano word count on the way up. I’m loving how this book is coming together and love Provence Aimee as a writing destination.

9. A little wet on the morning walk, but some great light in the skies.

10. A good start made on the Christmas shopping and grey be gone thanks to my hairdresser.

11. Markets, brekky tacos at Jimmy’s, and spent the afternoon preparing slowly cooked five spice lamb and olive oil chocolate mousse from Nigella’s new book.

12. Food, flavours, scent and story with author Josephine Moon at Cooroy.

13. Do I really need to go to the “office”? I want to keep writing instead.

14. Sarah’s last exam for the Uni year – good luck sweetie.

15. Last day of work for the week and it’s a doozy. Fish and chips by the beach on a balmy Mooloolaba evening.

16. Off to Wellington for the week, but first, have to do battle with the commute to Brisbane airport. Flying across the Sounds is beautiful – there is no blue-green like the blue-green on New Zealand. It’s so good to be back. Sometimes I feel almost quasi-kiwi…is that treasonous?

17. A tour of parliament, a look around the Supreme Court, and an excellent bowl of pho, some shopping and sundowners on the deck. Bliss.

18. More shopping, more touristing, a few cocktails and an excellent dinner at Pomelo on Oriental Bay.

 

19. Brekky at Caffiend in Petone, a drive around to Makara, the cracking of the Christmas crack and a delayed flight home #orderanotherwine #ilovenewzealand

20. Test files – oh the pain. In other news, passed the 40,000-word mark in nanowrimo.

21. Still raining, still processing test files.

22. Yay Wednesday means writing time, and boy did I get some words done.

23. Meetings, meetings, meetings.

24. Hit the 50,000 words almost a week early. Nanowrimo nailed! Nailed, I say!

25. Grant to Brisbane for a post-cricket catch-up, Sarah to her Christmas party – that means I get a whole uninterrupted evening to re-organise and categorise my blog pages…and watch The Good Wife re-runs.

26. Astro group catch-up in the morning, Christmas tree trimming and present wrapping in the afternoon. All Christmas shopping officially done.

27. Morning walk, afternoon walk, and a tolerable day in the office in between. Monday done well.

28. Test files again… will it ever end?

29. Travel group meet-up tonight – talking travel over Turkish food, don’t mind if I do. A lovely group of ladies. Sarah off to Sydney – I miss her already.

30. It’s raining still. There are rumours of boat-building and a rounding up of animals happening up the hill.

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishSeize the Day ProjectWrite of the Middle50 Shades of AgeLifestyle Fifty  and, of course, me.

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?

 

 

 

 

2016: My Year In Books…

Girl with books

Inspired by Angela Savage’s year in books post from this morning, I figured it was a good opportunity to look at my own reading history for the year. Angela based her post on a set of “bingo” categories, but given that I’m shocking with categories, here’s my 2016 between the page.

How many books did I read?

According to Goodreads, I read 45 novels: 13,742 pages.

Yes, that’s a lot of reading, but I’m on a bus for an average of 3 hours a day – longer if there’s a traffic problem on the M2- so I have plenty of time to do so!

The longest book…

Ok, I’m not great with commitment, so the longest book I read was Penny Parke’s Out of Practice at 496 pages. Apparently the average length of a book I read is 312 pages.

The shortest book…

Nick Earl’s fabulous Gotham, at 57 pages.

Any new series?

I worked my way through a few (new to me) series:

The Cotswold Murder series by Rebecca Tope. Although the character of Thea Osborne – the house-sitter at the centre of each of the mysteries – was not one I found easy to like, the stories and the locations (and Thea’s cocker spaniel, Hepsie) I had no such problems with.

I also worked my way through Victoria Purman’s boys of summer series, and DB Tait’s Deception trilogy (including the Christmas novella). I’m really enjoying the way DB Tait brings the Blue Mountains to life and look forward to the next outing of her characters – and not just because she’s a Facebook friend.

On the subject of romantic suspense, Bronwyn Parry’s Sunset Shadows was one of my top reads of the year.

Inspired by Agatha Raisin’s The Quiche of Death, I also made a fair dent in MC Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series. Given the number of these that Beaton has written, however, I’m thinking I might just stick to the TV series.

On the lighter side, I read all the Carole Mortimer Alpha, Knight Security, and Regency Unlaced series too. Yep, guilty pleasures – sort of like kraft cheese spread on white bread with butter and taco sauce. You won’t find them on my Goodreads list, but at the length of a long M2 commute or an afternoon on a pool lounge, I consumed them like one does a bottle of bubbles.

Thanks for the recommendation…

I rely on my book blogger friend Debbish for additions to my to-be-read pile, and she certainly didn’t let me down in 2016. One of my 5 star reads this year was The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. Given that he was the original writer of one of my favourite TV shows – Midsomer Murders – I should have known I’d love it.

Another recommendation I’m grateful for was from Angela Savage. One of her blogs introduced me to Sue Williams and Murder With The Lot and Dead Men Don’t Order Flake. Cass Tuplin is a reluctant investigator with a takeaway store in Rusty Bore – and it’s crime the way the way I like it, with more than a touch of earthy humour.

Speaking of which…

I’m currently reading Good Murder, by Robert Gott. It’s set in wartime Maryborough, and I suspect I’ll finish it by the pool tomorrow – make that 46 books for the year. As an aside, I’ll be working my way through this series too. Murray Whelan eat your heart out.

Inspector Rebus…

Yes, he’s back – and Ian Rankin has again resisted the temptation to rest on his laurels. I look forward to a Rebus most years, and Rankin keeps delivering. Last year’s was good, this year’s was better.

Books adapted to a movie…

I tend not to read blockbusters – in much the same way that I tend not to watch anything nominated for an Oscar. I’m a bit of a reverse snob in this way. This means that often I don’t watch movie adaptations.

I absolutely adored Bill Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods – almost a journal of how he attempted the Appalachian Trail. Yes, it puts my Milford Track dramatics into the shade, but the writing was so fabulous I watched the movie….which I enjoyed, but, let’s face it, there was little resemblance to the book – although I’m sure Bill must have gotten a thrill out of being portrayed by Robert Redford.

Which led me to…

Devouring pretty well anything by Bill Bryson. His The Road To Little Dribbling and had me giggling, and DownUnder…well, let’s just say it’s probably best not to read that on public transport. Travel writing – but not as you know it. You won’t look at a cow in the same way again. Or a rabbit.

Genre hopping…

Given that I write romance, well, contemporary romance, that’s what I mostly read. Having said that, I never read it while I’m writing it and, as Wish You Were Here took me so long to knock out this year, I hopped around a few more genres.

I’ve already told you about the travel writing and romantic suspense, but I also took a waltz into regency romance. I have to say, my experience with Carole Mortimer’s Regency Unlaced series had left me a tad jaded – something about the constantly tenting pantaloons will do that (am I allowed to say that in a blog?) but (Facebook pal) Anna Campbell’s Christmas novella A Match Made In Mistletoe was thoroughly enjoyable. I’ll be reading a few more by her in 2017.

The Magpie Murders was also my first step into classic cozy crime – a la Agatha Christie. It led me to a confession: I’d never read any Agatha Christie. How can that be? I’ll be rectifying that too in 2017.

Craft books read…

John Birmingham’s How To Be A Writer. Simply wonderful – and essential reading for anyone who wants to make money from this gig.

Any business books?

Something called Extreme Leadership by two navy seals whose names I’ve conveniently forgotten. I had to read it for work, and, which there were absolutely some good common sense lessons in there, I couldn’t get past the war stories…literally. I got excited for a few minutes when one chapter started something like this: ‘Goddamn it,’ I yelled, slamming the door behind me. Sadly, that was the highlight…for me, anyway.

2017?

I have a heavy writing schedule planned, so will limit my chick lit again this year. I have a cozy crime series fermenting at the back of my brain, so intend to read more widely in this area – just not anything where the kid is taken or the dog dies.

What about you? Any favourites? Recommendations?