Happy Ever After – A sneaky peek…

With Happy Ever After ready to go back to my editor I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at the story and its setting.

The blurb…

Kate and Neil Spence met at Circular Quay after the Hiroshima Day march in August 1985. Kate was marching, Neil was not. It was love almost at first sight.

And they all lived happily ever after…or did they?

Over thirty years have passed, their children have grown and Kate and Neil have gone from being happily married to being happily separated. That is until Neil asks for a divorce – and another wedding brings up feelings that both had thought were long gone.

What’s it about?

Happy Ever After is a love story, but more than that it’s a story about love. It’s a story about how love changes, grows and is challenged over the years. It’s about the curve balls life throws us just when we’re ready to begin realising our dreams. It’s about living the better or for worse and richer and poorer thing and it’s about coming out the other side. It’s about family, friends, second, third and even fourth chances for a happy ever after. Mostly though, it’s about love.

The setting…

Happy Ever After is set mostly on Sydney’s north shore. We also visit Queenstown and the Milford Track – in the rain when the mountains look like they’re crying silvery streams of tears.

A starring role goes to my favourite tree in Sydney’s Botanical Gardens. It’s the Moreton Bay Fig that sits above the Opera House. From here you can see across to Fort Denison. I’ve eaten many a sandwich under the shade of that tree.

Where did the idea come from?

I was listening to some of my old protest style music from the mid 80’s while I was cooking one Saturday afternoon– songs by Goanna and Shane Howard, Redgum and Midnight Oil.  The music took me back to my first year at uni. Although I wasn’t involved in student politics, there was a rumour going around that Midnight Oil might be playing at the end of the annual Hiroshima Day march. So I marched…well, sort of. To be honest, it started off as a lark but got a tad boring and I bailed out about halfway down George Street.

Not that it mattered – Midnight Oil weren’t there. They were touring the US at the time. I got to see them later that year at a Wilderness Society concert for the Daintree Rainforest.

Of course, these days rumours like that couldn’t get properly started, but back then we didn’t have social media, the internet or mobile phones. Back then it was harder to stay in touch if you fell out of it. I had fun having Kate find coins and a pay phone to call and let her parents know she’d be home late.

Anyways, it started with the music and, just a week later Happy Ever After became my 2017 NanoWrimo project.

Happy Ever After will be published later this year. Sign up to my newsletter for publication dates and pre-order deals.

 

 

Sentence a Day… May

Banks of the Seine
The banks of the Seine

The first week of May saw a continuation of our France road-trip and the final stage – in Paris.

Then it was back home to work – and save for the next adventure!

What else? I got the structural notes back from my editor and somehow managed to finish the rewrite this month. This book is determined to write – and rewrite- itself.

Anyways, here is May in a sentence – sometimes two – a day.

Le Marais
Exploring the Marais district

1. It’s a public holiday here in France for May Day. F dropped us off just outside of Paris and we caught the metro in. Spent the afternoon exploring Le Marais – where we’re staying – and the banks of the Seine. Love this city.

2. Lots of ticks in boxes today: Notre Dame, Shakespeare & Co bookshop, the Left Bank, Latin Quarter, a cruise on the Seine, Galeries Lafayette.

3. A great first half of the day with the markets at the Bastille to start, a walk to and through Pere Lachaise Cemetary (with the world’s funniest accidental guide). Second half not so great – a wander from Champs Elysee through the posh part of town and down to Place de la Concorde. That part of town is really not me – too much money, too many people and too many pickpockets.

Bastille Markets
Bastille Markets

4. Paris redeemed herself today with Promenade des Plantees, the artistic viaduct, flower markets and ice creams at Ile St- Louis. I’m in love with this city again. It’s not goodbye, it’s a bientot.

5. Off to the airport at 7.30am this morning and on our way home.

6. Saturday and Sunday spent on planes. Finally walked through the front door at around 7 pm. Why does Australia have to be so far away from everywhere?

7. It’s our 24th wedding anniversary – and a public holiday for Labour Day. The two are not connected. Spent the day washing clothes.

8. Back to work – do I have to? Oh, that’s right, I have the next adventure to save for. Stood on the scales & rather than the OMFG moment, I had an OMG moment of a different sort – I’d lost half a kilo…in France! There could be something to this French paradox…

9. Mammogram this morning (all clear) followed by work.

10. Craving pho so indulged at lunchtime.

11. Hairdresser this morning (greys be gone) and a good start on the rewrite of One More Dance/HappyEver After/Book No. 5. (My editor’s notes came back last week.)

12. Markets followed by brekky at Jimmy’s. Life all back to normal.

13. Mother’s Day and lunch at Corbins – yum cha with a difference.

14. Back to work Monday and finally some blue skies for this morning’s walk.

 

15. Take yesterday and repeat.

16. Some good progress on the novel rewrite in the best office in the world.

17. Managed to sneak a walk in before work and before the rain started.

18. A stormy morning cleared to a fab Friday. Back to the Surf Club for more words.

19. Markets this morning, house-cleaning & the Royal Wedding on TV. Saturday taken slow and easy.

20. Relatives from Gloucester (UK) called in today. I made a lemon and thyme cake in the bundt tin – the recipe is a keeper and will make it into the next novel I think.

21. The day is so beautifully blue it seems a pity to be inside working.

 

22. Mum and Dad here from Sydney for the rest of the week – hoping the good weather holds.

23. Canal cruise in Mooloolaba and a drive up and down the coast to show Mum and Dad around.

24. I had to work so hubby and daughter took Mum and Dad out to the hinterland for a look around and a picnic.

25. Lunch at Sum Yung Guys for a friend’s 60th.

26. Markets this morning & then whipped up a batch of lemon lime & bitters scones (the recipe is here) for morning tea before taking Mum and Dad to the airport – we’ve had a great few days.

27. Astro club at Golden Beach followed by lunch at Woombye Pub. Parmy and rissoles – you can’t get much more old school than that.

28. Do I have to go to work?

29. I repeat, do I have to go to work?

30. Noosa to buy some gifts, lunch with hubby at Betty’s Burgers, and work on the novel this afternoon.

31. A beautiful morning with a pod of dolphins playing just offshore. Another big day in the day job. In other news, I finished the rewrite on One More Dance/ Happy Ever After/Book No. 5 tonight.

Ok, that was my May – how was yours?

The Novel Project – Week 19

Okay, yes I’ve missed a few weeks. I have been writing, but I’ve also had competing priorities with the day job and a few other bits and pieces. I think it’s what we call “life”.

So, where am I up to?

I’m done with this book…for now. This morning it went off to my editor for a structural review. Once she gets back to me I’ll do another re-write, but I don’t expect to be picking it back up until May – when I’m back from my holiday in France.

This novel is both the fastest one that I’ve written – I started on November 1 at Nanowrimo – and, at 105,000 words, the longest. At times it felt as though it was writing itself. That’s not to say that it was easy writing – it absolutely was not. There were scenes in this that I had huge emotional difficulty with. I found myself in tears on more than one occasion – not a good look at the Surf Club, let me tell you.

There were also times where I had to put it away for a week or so at a time – when the characters were taking me down a path that at times I didn’t want to go. Most of the time I ended up letting them lead the way.

This book is about a love story, but that’s not all that it’s about. It’s also about loss, second and third chances, and new beginnings. It has grown-up characters and grown-up themes.

When I started this book I wanted to write about some of what happens after the happy ever after, and I also wanted to write about some of the unexpected challenges that face us in middle age – especially regarding age discrimination in the workplace. I’ve done that – to a point – but the single question I started this story with very quickly went out the window. Up until two weeks ago I truly had no idea how it was going to end.

It’s set in both Sydney and New Zealand, so I hope will be a good companion piece to Wish You Were Here. It’s also a story that excited me from the minute that I began writing.

And the title? Well, it won’t be Happy Ever After. At this point I’m undecided. Book No.5 is the current oh so catchy title.

So, what happens now – while I’m waiting for my editor’s notes? I keep writing. I’d decided to delay publishing I Want You Back until I was ready to release the other two books in the series, so that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow – picking up Tiff’s story again. I was at the 25,000-word mark when I put that one aside at the end of last October.

I also have a freelance astro article to write before I go to France (did I mention that I’m going to France for a holiday?) and business as usual in the day job. I have plenty to be getting on with.

Until next time…

Jo xxx

 

 

Happy Ever After – Week 9

I’m not long back from my morning walk. The surf has been spectacular over the last couple of days. It’s because of the Super Moon bringing super high tides, and a tropical low off somewhere in the Coral Sea.

I could have stayed down there and watched it for hours. Plenty were. I don’t think I’ve seen so many people (outside of whale season) just standing and watching the ocean – or quite as many surfers in the water at one time. There is, however, work to be done. And, as I have to log on later this afternoon into a teleconference for the partition job, a limited number of hours to do it in.

So, progress on the novel. I’m nearly done – with the first draft anyway. A couple of chapters will have it finished – hopefully by the weekend. I’ll be going straight into re-write mode with this – it has an appointment with my editor mid-March.

I also pulled out I Want You Back over the weekend and did another proof-read. It feels as though I’m missing something, but I don’t know what. Perhaps it’s because I intended releasing this as part of a three-book mini-series that I’ve managed to interrupt with Happy Ever After, I don’t know. At just 73,000 words it’s also much smaller than anything I’ve written previously – again because I intended it to be the first in a three-book mini-series. It’s not much longer than a genre romance. At that length, there’s very little room for sub-plots.

Anyways, I’ll write the blurb this week and send it off for formatting, but I’m still undecided as to whether I release as a stand-alone. The alternative is waiting until I’ve completed Tiff and Alice’s stories. I’ll need to think about that, but if anyone has ideas, please let me know!

Until next week…

 

Happy Ever After – Week 8

Yes, I know I’m late again in getting this out. Another Wednesday where I had to log into the partition job this afternoon. Sigh. The things we do to make money, hey? I am, however, fortunate I have the flexibility – plus, I had a few hours this morning where I got some decent words out.

Speaking of work, I had someone ask me this week what I meant when I refer to the “partition” role. Essentially it’s how I differentiate between my work – i.e. my writing – and my corporate gig. Both of the jobs happen from the same home-office, but if I were still in Sydney, I’d be doing the corporate gig from a real office – one with partitions. Therefore it’s the partition job.

Ok, now that we’ve got that sorted out, how’s the writing going?

Good, thanks for asking. I’ve got through the tricky bit where I kept crying into my keyboard and I’m pushing through. I had a good chat with Debbish the other day about a bit of a plot problem that I’ve written myself into a corner with and have a clearer idea of how I’m going to resolve that. And as much as I loved her suggestion about turning the whole thing into a murder mystery, I’m not going there – as it is my browsing history (solely for research purposes) is a concern to my husband.

It’s something I’ve done a bit with this book – write myself into knots, that is. Partly that’s because this is the first time I’ve written a story that’s not purely about a romance. It absolutely does have a romance at the heart of it, but the story is much wider than that. It’s also partly because my story has changed so much from when I first started writing it. It’s one of the reasons why I’m glad that I’m an indie author. I don’t have to explain to anyone why the story that’s being delivered is profoundly different from the story that was pitched.

Another thing that’s occurred to me this week is just how much layering in of texture I’m going to need to do in the next draft.  There’s an excellent cast of family members in this book, but not so many friends or colleagues. I’ll pick that up with the rewrite.

So, that’s your update for the week. I’m still on track to finish the first draft in another week or so – although I’m now going to be away for most of the middle of February. It’s part work and a little bit of play. What it means is that I need to make the most of every spare minute.

Until next week.

 

2018 – The Wellness Goals

In line with my word of the year heart, my wellness goals this year are aimed at heart health – improving it, healing it, making it sing:

  • Healthy body
  • Healthy mind
  • Healthy relationships

As a result of some extreme and sustained stress and anxiety in 2015/2016, I experienced high blood pressure – at one point dangerously high blood pressure. I’m an asthmatic and the medication I was placed on reduced my heartbeat to a level where I literally couldn’t breathe. Instead of feeling as though my heart was beating out of my chest, I felt as though my lungs were carrying a lead weight. My fitness disappeared overnight and climbing even a short flight of stairs left me breathless.

Although the doctor (eventually) changed my medication, I’m not on any at the moment and a pharmaceutical fix is absolutely not a long-term solution for me. Although our lifestyle has changed over the past 12 months, there’s no doubt that my weight is continuing to place stress on my heart.

This year is about healing both the physical and emotional hurts I’ve inflicted on that poor organ over the last few years. In short, I need to lighten up – in mind, body and spirit.

Healthy Body

1.Alcohol

Ok, I drink too much alcohol. My one glass a night has crept up to ½ a bottle a night – and more on weekends. It started as a way of managing the anxiety of my job and the crap storm that was happening elsewhere in 2015/2016. It was my way of winding down and numbing the events of the day – yes, my job back then really was that stressful.

Even after I left that job in July 2016, there was other stuff happening, long commutes, and…you don’t need the details. Suffice to say, I continued to self-medicate and de-sensitise.

These days that’s pretty much going straight to my belly with no nutritional value at all. I don’t intend giving it up completely, and would like to say I’d go alcohol-free during the work week, but in the interests of being nice to myself, will limit my midweek drinks to one glass of red a night – and not one that looks like this!

2. Water

At the other end of the spectrum, I’m slack on my water consumption. This is a problem as my body is one of those that tends to hold onto water. In the summer or on long flights that means my ankles become cankles by the end of the day. Then I spend all night back and forth from the loo to pee it all out again. Too much information?

My heart needs more water to do its job properly, so more water is what I’ll give it.

3. Nutrition

Generally speaking, we eat well. We eat and cook seasonally using fresh ingredients. I gave up sugar (including hidden sugars) a number of years ago – with the notable exception of the above-mentioned alcohol – but my portion sizes are too large (remember what I said in my word post about boundaries?) and although I never eat after dinner, I tend to snack in the late afternoon. This really is a mindfulness thing, but the changes I intend to bring into 2018 are:

  • Smaller portions
  • Meatless Mondays
  • No snacking
  • Reduce wheat and gluten – good sourdough can be my once a week treat

4. Exercise

 

I’ve fallen off the daily walk wagon in the last couple of weeks, but up till then was walking 5 km most weekday mornings.

As for my gym membership? I haven’t set foot in the place since November, so strength training simply hasn’t happened and everything is very floppy. Sadly, the opposite is true of my joints. I used to pride myself on my flexibility, but that’s non-existent these days.

In the interests of doing things that make my heart sing rather than groan:

  • I’ll re-commence my morning walks, but add in a longer one once a week. I’d like to set myself some sort of challenge to work towards, but am not there yet.
  • I’m getting back into the pool. I swam most of my life – until a boxing-related shoulder injury some years ago. It’s time to get wet again.
  • Although I hate it with an absolute passion, I do need to get to the gym and do some strength work.
  • Yoga. I spend a lot of time sitting on my bum, so need both my body and my mind stretched.

Healthy Mind

 

I still struggle with anxiety – those moments that consume my brain with worry and make my heart race, especially at night. As a result, my sleep patterns are less than ideal – alcohol helps me get to sleep, but it also leads to disturbed sleep.

I have to find ways of coping and switching off that don’t involve alcohol. I also need to learn how to let go of the things I can’t control – lighten the load my brain copes with. I spend way too much time worrying about what other people think and trying to control that.

These tactics should help soothe my mind:

  • Morning walks help me deal with the corporate gig and get my day off to a good start, and are integral to my mental health. Walking beside the ocean soothes my mind and makes my heart sing. In addition this year:
  • Swimming along a black line has always been an active meditation for me. It’s the main reason I’m hitting the pool this year.
  • I’m giving meditation a whirl and also recommencing a yoga practice after many years of absence. I’m starting with just 10 minutes a day…surely that’s achievable?

Healthy Relationships

This year marks 29 years that hubby and I have been together, and 24 years married. It’s easy to take each other for granted over that period of time. In a busy life, one on one time takes a back-seat.

In view of that, I’m suggesting we have regular beach walks together – it will help his heart too! – and a date night (or lunch) once a month.

While the three of us eat our evening meal together at the dining table with no telly, I’ll be reinstating the Saturday night specials – where I prepare a more elaborate or special dinner with music, candles and proper table settings. It’s something that we used to always do but has slipped over the years.

Ok, those are the goals…I’m joining with a group of bloggers to check-in monthly in a Wellness Wednesday style post. Wish me luck!

[inlinkz_linkup id=757950 mode=1]

2018: The Word

Although I don’t always achieve as much as I set out to achieve, I am a goal-setting junkie. Every so often I think I should throw the goals out the window and just let it all be and flow, but I know myself a tad too well for that to work:

  • I have major issues with boundaries – I have no idea where they start or end. It’s why I can eat mindlessly whatever is on my plate and, also why I set myself deadlines – without them, I’ll drift on and on.
  • I’m a tad like Dory when it comes to focus. This meme literally is me.

  • I have a tenuous connection with reality and can successfully convince myself – in the absence of evidence to the contrary – that anything I want to believe is true can be so. This is great for when I need to believe that anything is possible, but not so good when I’m confronted with an expanding waistline. I truly admire those people who can manage their weight through the fit of their clothes. Nope, unless I see it on the scales it isn’t happening.

Why I set goals

Without goals, I drift and achieve absolutely nothing. I need the discipline and structure that a goal brings in order to get anything done. As far as I’m concerned, the stretchier the goal the better – that way wherever I end up landing is way further than I would be if I’d aimed too low.

It’s like how I always leave the bottom ¼ of a cup of coffee or tea – no matter the size of the cup. I’m the same with goals. If I aim high I’ll tend to get most of the way there, whereas if I am low, I’ll tend to get most of the way there. Same same but a very different result.

Word of the year

Further, I need a focus point. Something that’s front and centre that reminds me every day why I’m doing what I’m doing. Over the last few years, I’ve had a word of the year to help me do that:

2017 Adventure

2016 Awesome

2015 Fearless

This year? I faffed about with SIMPLIFY and hubby suggested a phrase: What’s Important?

While both were great suggestions, it felt more like a way in which I’d approach my goals, but not necessarily words to guide me this year.

I thought long and hard about HEALTH. It really fit what I want to achieve this year:

  • Healthy body
  • Healthy mind
  • Healthy relationships
  • Healthy business

Then I decided that at the base of each of these four primary goals is one thing:

HEART

I’ll blog my wellness and creative goals separately, but at, sorry, the heart of each of my goals, will be this word. My priorities this year will be to do things and be with people that:

  • improve the health of my heart
  • lighten the load on my heart
  • heal my heart
  • contribute to the happiness of my heart
  • make my heart sing

Do you do a word of the year? If so, what is it?

 

2018 – The Business Plan

Here at The Hungry Writer, my business partner (Kali, Adventure Spaniel) and I have been busy doing some future planning.

We’ve been brainstorming, whiteboarding and thought balling. We’ve tossed around ideas, set some blue sky targets, taken a helicopter view of the situation and gone for a stroll through the blame garden. We’ve confronted the variables of our economic landscape and recalibrated our thinking in terms of our client base moving forward. We’ve looked to reposition our offerings in line with the goals underpinning our mission statement and with a view to nurturing and cherishing our ongoing commitment to excellence at every level. Outcome focus as a means of achieving positive deliverables within a realizable factual matrix. We’ve drawn a line in the sand and we have some clear visions regarding future-proofing the company and generating passive income.

Kali in planning mode

What does this mean? I poured a wine and started to write some stuff down. Kali alternated between snoring and wagging her tail encouragingly. By the time I finished my wine, I had a business plan for 2018.

Vision Statement

To be a financially successful independent author.

3-year strategy for focused growth

  • Increase product offering
  • Increase independent income to day job levels
  • Do more speaking at conferences and workshops

5-year strategy for focused growth

  • Continue to increase product offering
  • Increase independent income to mid-six figures
  • Be known as a successful writer

Values – my WHY

Success, for me, is defined as living (or being) the following values:

Freedom

  • The financial freedom to travel, explore and create
  • The professional freedom to choose and pursue my projects

Independence

  • The financial independence to build my own income and success
  • The professional independence to work with teams of my choice

Make a difference

  • Fiction: To be known as an author whose books provide a happy ending and whose stories make a bad day feel better
  • Astrology: To provide readers with the tools to expand their potential and increase their good day ratios

The Challenges

  • I have good traffic and social media presence on the astro site – am currently ranked in the top 50 astrology sites – but have no product to sell.
  • I have products to sell as The Hungry Writer but have limited traffic to the site and limited awareness of my books. It surprised me recently when regular visitors to my page via the weekly links were unaware that I’m an author.
  • I work 3-3.5 days a week in a corporate gig, so time to create needs to be tightly structured.

My Priorities: 2018 in focus

Double the number of products offered for sale.

Currently, I have 7 products for sale:

  • Baby, It’s You (Amazon)
  • Baby, It’s You (ibooks)
  • Big Girls Don’t Cry (Amazon)
  • Big Girls Don’t Cry (ibooks)
  • Wish You Were Here (Amazon)
  • Wish You Were Here (ibooks)
  • Wish You Were Here (Ingram Sparks print on demand)

In 2018 I’ll:

  • Release I Want You Back on all platforms
  • Release (working title) Happy Ever After on all platforms
  • Package and release six astro ebooks for sale on Amazon.

Double business income year on year and keep an eye on the numbers

Despite fiction being responsible for over 80% of my cost base, it accounts for just over 22% of my writing income – the remainder comes from freelance astrology commissions. This needs to begin to even out.

Just as I monitor the numbers on the websites, I have to take my head out of my own arse and do the same with book sales. Monthly.

Work smarter

  • Traffic on both sites responds to new content (see graphs below), but this is time-consuming to produce, so I need to be smarter and more focused on my content offerings
  • Repackage where possible (astro posts)
  • Develop a calendar for blog posts and batch post and schedule in advance once a week to maximise time I can spend creating content that will be income producing in the future

Increase email list- both astro and fiction lists

  • Develop a schedule for newsletters – and stick to it
  • Develop a “lead magnet” for each brand to grow mailing lists

Increase general brand awareness

  • Draft list of potential speaking topics and begin actively seek out opportunities
  • Develop press releases for all new fiction
  • Begin developing networks in Sunshine Coast and Brisbane
  • Increase traffic to The Hungry Writer – target is 40,000 views in 2018. It was just on 30,000 in 2017.

  • Increase traffic to Jo Tracey Astrology to 500,000 views (it was just over 400,000 in 2017)

Checking in…

I’ll check in on progress on a quarterly basis – sort of like my own mini CEO roadshow.

What about you? If you’re an author (indie or traditional), have you planned how you’ll grow your author business this year? What’s your ‘why’?

 

 

Happy Ever After – Week 6

Ever wanted to know what it’s like to write a novel?  I’m in the process of writing a new novel and will be blogging my progress week by week here.

Ok, so the words are coming again. Having solved my plot problem and finished the second season of The Crown, I no longer had a valid excuse.

I’ve actually gone back and looked at the first few chapters again over the past week. I woke in the middle of the night the other day – something I do most nights – and realised two things:

  • I hadn’t given Kate any friends. She has an extensive family – and family is very much a theme of the novel – but if she’s lived in the same city for 50 years, she’d have friends.
  • I hadn’t given Kate a job – or even a daily purpose

Without either of these things, the story was always going to be single dimensional and overly introspective – both of which would mean the story was likely to be as boring as batshit and Kate about as likeable as that.

So I’ve gone back and started to flesh some of that out. I’ve mentioned before that I really start to hit the stride of a story in the second half? That means that the front part of my story usually requires a lot more re-writing. I’m covering some of that as well, but won’t be spending too much time on this – my aim is to get the first draft done as quickly as possible and then come back and flesh out the layers.

Am I on track to finish before Christmas? No. I think I’m going to need more words to tell this story…speaking of which, I’d better get back to the writing!

While I have your attention, thank you to everyone who has followed or supported my journey this year. I wish you and yours all the very best of everything for the season.

 

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?