Wednesday, November 10, 2010


You'll also see this photo of my untidy desk on on Friday the 12 th November. Sorry, Paula, didn't intend to steal a march on you, but I can't work out how to delete the thing now!

Scary, isn't it? Messy, yes indeed. I've slowed down, but I'm still collecting books. (Don't take any notice of the year date on the photos, my old digital camera absolutely insists it's 2001, not 2010. And I haven't won the argument with it yet.)

But the great thing is, I have a room to put them in! When we built this house we'd been married more than forty years, the kids were gone and had kids of their own, and in the modest three-bedroom home plan this was supposed to be the second bedroom. Well, hubby has a shed! And in it, among other other things, he makes clocks, like the one on top of the free-standing bookcase on the left. At least it has glass doors, and looks even messier because I've also stored framed photos in it, of our four kids (three boys, one girl). One each of them as babies one year old, and one each of their weddings. And they're in there so they don't get dusty!

I've actually blogged about my work area at
On Sunday September 12th, and titled it MY WRITING SPACE - QUICK, FIND THE DUSTER!
But I'd stuck these photos in the wrong file and couldn't, being aged and techno-challenged, work out how to post them there. So aren't these a treat? Because those aren't my only bookcases. You'd think just the built-in one my husband covered one wall with would be enough!

The other free-standing bookcase, on the right, I bought from a second-hand shop years and years ago. It's full too, and you'll notice an overflow on the top! Above it is an old European print picture I bought from a flea market, very old-world library looking. The original oil of the roses, down beside it standing on the remains of my former (read, spare) computer, I bought from an opportunity (charity) shop only this year. It's obviously not a professional effort but it's very pretty and was obviously painted with love. I just had no more wall left to hang it on!

And no, those aren't all my books. There's an old toolbox dolled up with cushions in the spare (third!) bedroom full of more. There's a five shelf cupboard down in the shed groaning at the seams with paperbacks. And in the lounge room there's a two-shelf set of Encyclopaedia Brittanica... Um, and in the corner beside my husband's chair we have HIS books - on a set of shelves made of bricks and planks painted white... All about interesting things like cars, sports, science, humour, woodworking and so on. Poor man.

By now you'll be thinking, this woman is a compulsive collector and reader! You'll be right about the collector part, but I actually get to read much less than I used to. Being slow on my feet means I'm slow getting from one end of the day to the other, and whatever time is left is spent on the computer. Writing, and checking my emails, and writer stuff on the Internet. And oh, all right, playing Solitaire sometimes. Just sometimes...

Monday, June 28, 2010


A rose can be a sweet pea if it wants, right? Nope, it'll still be a rose. But it can call itself Sweet Pea if it wants to.
The reason for this
peculiar statement is not peculiar, simply unusual. In modern society anyway.

The Events section of our Sunday newspaper devotes two pages to photos of recent weddings. I always take a look at them. It's interesting to see the wedding gowns etc., but really I try to pick whether the marriage will last. After all, about 46% these days end in divorce. It's quite impossible to work out who will and who won't stick together, because they all look happy and attractive on their wedding day, and anyway it's seldom possible to judge someone's character by their looks. However, there's another little game I play. I work out the bride's new name, that is, add her first name to his last. For instance, if "Kate Featherstone" marries "Peter King", she'll become "Kate King". (Names have been changed to protect the innocent young married couple from my opinions.)

A few months ago this silly game took a good knock. Headline under the photo said TWIST ON TRADITION. And explained this pair were doing it the opposite way. The bridegroom was taking the bride's surname. I've never seen such an example in all the years I've been gawking at wedding pictures. They're an attractive pair, and good-natured - if one judges by looks again. And intelligent; they both work in the medical profession So he becomes "Peter Featherstone"... And he doesn't look at all as if he thinks it'll be a problem. Even though it is his bride's father's surname.

I was intrigued. Granted there's no legal requirement for a woman to take her husband's name - it is simply a custom. And one which started, like many other things, as a French fashion, in the 1500s. The Scandinavians, bless 'em, always elected to name their girls "someone's daughter", as in "Ericsdottir", in the same way her brothers were called "Ericsson". This local civilized practice meant girls kept their family name and weren't required to be called "Mrs. Bjornson" if she married a son of Bjorn. But, of course, "Ericsdottir" still implied her father's name was the more important.

Some women nowadays elect to keep their family surname when they marry. And of course the family surname is their Dad's, and his dad's, and so on back to whenever legal marriage became the "in" thing. They can, of course, choose to be called by their mothers' maiden names. But hold it right there. If Kate Featherstone's mother was originally Judy Blenkinsop, then Kate would be calling herself by Judy's father's name, her maternal grandfather Bill Blenkinsop. (And actually I don't think Peter would prefer Blenkinsop over Featherstone.) And Bill's male forebears were called Blenkinsop, all the way back to the caves, the tribes, and the giver of names, probably a witchdoctor, who landed him with the name Blenkinsop...

But there's a way out. Kate could call herself Featherstone-Blenkinsop, hyphenated. This solution, unfortunately, for the reason of sheer length, seldom survives past the two generations, unless the surnames are short. "King-Ash-Bell" anyone? If everyone did it, imagine the length of the electoral roll, the crowding of addresses on envelopes, and the suffering inflicted upon those among us afflicted with a stutter. Nope, won't work.

But wait, there's more. In the first paragraph when I mentioned weddings I also mentioned divorce rates. (Like it or not, one often comes after the other, like the tin cans after the wedding limousine.) Now the men who are divorced are in the fortunate position of retaining their surnames. As for the ladies, most of them would be pleased as punch to get rid of his name and return to their own (well, their father's, who warned her the fiance was no good anyway). But there's usually children to consider, and the poor kids have already gone through enough without having their mother change her name to one different from theirs. So most divorcees reluctantly keep the ex-hubby's surname. Bummer, but at least the offspring aren't confused.

Ladies, it looks like we're stuck our husband's surnames. After all, unless we're sensitive about feminism, it doesn't do any harm. Except for the times we start looking for old girlfriends from school whom we only knew by their maiden names... Anyone have other suggestions? I'd love to hear them.

Though of course, if all men possessed the sensitivity of "Peter Featherstone", nee "Peter King", and take their wives' names, the situation would be at least reversed. He's a brave man, that. After all, he's continuing his journey through life with the surname of his father-in-law. And his father-in-law's father, and grandfather, all called "Featherstone" way back to the caves or the tribes or the witch-doctor who landed the first of them with the name "Featherstone"...

Kate Rose-Sweetpea and Peter Rose-Sweetpea, anyone? Or Kate Sweetpea-Rose and Peter Sweetpea-Rose? One of those cases where the possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


The Pirate And The Puritan by Mary Clayton
Historical Romance, heat level Sweet

Buy at:

1704 - Dangerous times, when the British colonies in the America's are threatened by Queen Anne's War. It is not the French but a pirate who captures Mercy Penhall, mute Puritan spinster. Fearing for her life and virtue yet drawn to the captain in spite of herself, Mercy unknowingly sets foot on a path of adventure and heartbreak that will test her courage to the limit. And in the end the secret she carries in her soul threatens to prevent even the small chance of happiness inherent in an impossible love.

Edmund Gramercy is an unwilling pirate, forced to join a hostile crew to save his life. He defies them to spare the captives and the women, but the silent Puritan tempts him like no other.

Can the impossible become possible for the pirate and the Puritan?

Reviews: Jody Allen: excerpt: "A heroine who can't speak and a pirate with a heart..."

Laura Miller: excerpt: "She is intrigued by his protection of her... He is drawn to her innocence and strength..."

Drebbles, Amazon Top 500 reviewer, excerpt: "...a sweet gentle romance... a rip-roaring adventure..."

Kym McNabney "Writing From The Soul", excerpt: "The story kept me on the edge of my seat, eager to find out what happened next."

Donna K. "bookcrosser", excerpt: "Instead of sexually tense bickering, these characters interact with kindness and respect." (reviewed by Steph), excerpt: Edmund and Mercy give hope to readers that love can overcome anything."

Christy Tillery French "reviewer/writer", excerpt: "An enthralling love story, moving from the high seas to colonial America."

Lesley West, Amazon Top 1000 reviewer, excerpt: "Edmund and Mercy are both damaged by life but are strong and sympathetic nonetheless."

Marion Marchetto, excerpt: "A story of depth and intelligence... A Puritan heroine instead of an English lass of the privileged class."

Beverly Romance Books "Beverly", excerpt: "Without one sexually explicit scene the author has sensuality ooze from the page."

Jackie B, excerpt: "Once I was hooked, I didn't want to put it down."

Monday, March 1, 2010


Blueprint For Love, Sexy Contemporary, set on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Buy link:

Property developer Paul McIvor wants to uproot the Palm Garden, a Coast landmark, to build a luxury hotel on the site. Cathy Brown, president of the local environment committee, wants the garden to remain standing. They are on opposite sides of the argument, and their personalities clash. Yet they are passionately attracted to each other.

Cathy, too accustomed to men who want her for her stunning looks, believes the attraction is only physical. Paul, embittered by a divorce, believes it is merely physical. But it just won't go away!

The fight for the Palm Garden throws them together and rips them apart. It seems impossible for them to enjoy a lasting relationship. Yet maybe the plans for the hotel will somehow serve as perfect blueprint for love.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


We're proud of all our grandchildren, they have interests they're pursuing with vigour. Just for now, though, we'll tell you about Carla.

She has a job as a personal trainer, she and partner Simon have 3 young children (yes, I'm a great-grandma!), and she works her little butt off on artistic and creative projects. She made the fascinator pictured herself. Not an artist in the traditional sense, but do have a look at her website. You'll be glad you did!

We think her talent was at least partly inherited from my own mother, Naive artist Reene Conroy, Carla's great-grandmother. My mum discovered she was an artist at age 62, and I had my first book published at age 61. Carla hasn't waited as long as that to express her own gifts!