Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Killing my social media for a minute

Back in May (Fri 19/05/17) the Moorabool Writers' Craft group launched it's second anthology of stories.Nineteen writers and poets contributed work and I created the cover art.

Life has been busy since then with COMMITMENTS(non story telling stuff) and some writing. I wasn't getting enough story telling down on paper so I killed my super procrastinator - SOCIAL MEDIA! It lasted a week and my output of story was enormous. Unbelievably enormous so I realised that if I could just discipline myself over the social media thing I could have it back.

I just completed the Comics Book Masterclass  and I am buzzing with excitement about combining my art and stories. I was inspired by creating my first ever graphic short story for the Words of Wynham writing competition in which I short listed. My little story is titled "The secret dreams of Mum' and the judge gave me some excellent feedback. The story is good but the art looks like a first draft beside the incredibly brilliant digital art of the other participants. Still my black and white pencil art held its own telling the story. I knew I needed more so I signed up for Julie Ditrich's courses.

Someone pointed me in the direction of the Sticky Institute and suggested I consider Zines. If you think zine is half a magazine you best go look them up like I did. I am doing zines!

Anyway I am glad to be back blogging. Hope you missed me. <3

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Grammar things

Affect vs. Effect & 34 Other Common Confusions (Infographic)

I quite like grammar things especially handy charts. The problem is I either run out of ink too soon or run out of walls to stick them on. I really need a studio. No I don't need a studio but I would like one with great big whiteboards and magnets so I can story board all my stories and not have to pack them up all the time. A studio with a big padlock on the door to keep fiddle fingered curiosity at bay. I could put my red pen in a place and it would still be there when I come back from the domestic duties.

Knowing my luck I would misplace the key and have to get a locksmith in to charge me an arm and a leg to open my great big padlock.

It looks like I shall stay and write and create art right here in my overly cluttered bedroom with two desks and fourteen shelves and a very serviceable floordrobe with my bed tucked in the corner with the teetering piles of partially read books on it.

When I chase the skirts of JKR's financial success *clears throat meaningfully*,  that is to say, when I have achieved a certain level of financial success from my creative endeavours, I shall acquire a dwelling with a suitably large room so I can just sleep in my bedroom and all of this creative stuff can move out. Promise!

Ps thanks to the graphic making clever person for this poster.

Sunday, 2 July 2017


Today I am learning about accessibility for my site.
This may just be my own personal little babble blog but I believe it is important to make it accessible to anyone who might want to visit.
To that end I am going to attempt to make what I share here, comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

I may not get it right but I will try.

I downloaded a thingy that speaks to me. It is a robotic electronically generated voice that won't shut up and babbles every time I move the cursor. It drives me crazy so if it is supposed to be the program for people with sight challenges it must drive them crazier. I can turn the thing off - they need it to access the ether.

Colour choices are a important
Sound needs to be thought about
Sub text, subtitles, documents, images, other graphics all need to be labelled apropriately

Apparently my blog is almost as difficult as breaking into a Swiss bank account to leave a simple comment and I don't know how to fix it? I have tried several things, I googled the help files, I asked in forums but still it is not working and I do not know what to do? Sorry dear willing to comment but cannot-ers.

I shall keep working on it.
a magpie

'Accessibility benefits everyone'

some links...
Australian Government Accessibility
Vision Australia
The Kernal ( a few years ago)
Media Access Australia
United Nations on Accessibility
Internet Society2012 but still relevant
Huff Post has something to say on the matter
Council of Europe 

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Puffing Billy



Yesterday, toddler-boy and I went on a train trip. We wore scarves and gloves, beanies and two jackets. There are no windows on Puffing Billy and the temperatures in winter are quite chill for Australia.
Nanny and toddler boy in front of the train engine
Louis, who is now an official volunteer with the Puffing Billy team, invited us along as his guests. Thank you Louis.
Louis the volunteer

 I haven't been to Puffing Billy since I was a child so I had a child's delight in rediscovering the fun of travelling very slowly up a tree covered hill in Dandenong Ranges.
up the hill and around the bend

I mentioned to Louis that it would almost be faster to walk but getting somewhere fast is not the point of Puffing Billy. If I had been a little less svelte challenged I would have eagerly sat on the window ledge with my legs sticking out. Toddler-boy was happy to do so while the train was stationary at the platform.
Toddler boy sitting on the window ledge

 We stopped at Lakeside for an hour and a half and had lunch by the lake (yes there is one) with a few colourful companions.
Rosellas at lunch

You can look at all the professional photographs and read about the mountains and the train on the official sites if you follow the links but here on my blog I am just going to tell you I had a fabulous day.  Thank you Louis and the Puffing Billy team.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

A night in Ballan

Tonight was the celebration of an idea.
 Ballan, the tiny town with a big heart, has hosted the Black Lite Black Nite festival for the past week,
 A small but dedicated group of artists, many of whom belong to the wombat regional arts group  decided to create a community event in Ballan to get people together. Many other creative organisations from quilters to writers and plenty of eager children from the local schools, made some quirky fun and beautiful pieces of art for the festival. I contributed a few pieces as an individual artist and as a member of the Moorabool Writers Craft group.

The art was created with a view of having it glow under UV light and the local businesses enthusiastically supported the display of art in their windows.

The town lit up. Many people came from far and wide to see the window displays including myself who dragged one of my sons and grandsons out into the chilly winter evening, well rugged up to go and see.

As a contributor I was invited to attend the final night celebration at the Mechanics Institute Hall in the main street of Ballan and what a lovely night I had. 
I was greeted at the door by Carmel, who I have only met once, with an enormous smile and a hug and a genuine desire to see that I was ok. She made me feel very welcome. As a stranger in town on my own it is a bit daunting to step into a hall full of people who have known each other for years but I sat at a table with a local couple who also made me feel very welcome.

The very new Ballan CWA put on free soup and cup cakes in the supper room and it was so delicious I had two cups of soup and three cup cakes. They were too good to resist.

The CWA also had a raffle to raise funds for homeless youth.Guess who won the first prize? Yes me!
I won a beautiful handcrafted huggle rug made from preloved clothing and stitched with love. I spoke to the creator of the rug, Symone Barry, and she told me she was launching herself into a new career, reinventing herself as an artisan of hand made works that hold a story for each piece of fabric she puts into them. I was so excited to win this beautiful piece and hugged it to me, however another person had had her heart set on it so as I left I gave it to her and wished her happy birthday. I hope she loves it. 

Symone Barry thank you for the beautiful rug. I had a triple dose of wonderful tonight, first speaking to you about your craft, wining the rug and then gifting it to a stranger.

As for the rest of the evening, there was plenty of toe tapping live music with a variety of bands. I found myself smiling all night with the friendliness of the locals, good food, good music and a fabulous cause to support - community.  Well done Ballan and thank you.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The best laid plans of chickens usually end up scrambled

Best laid plans....mine were to be organised and regular and on time and professional and instead I had toddler troubles and tummy bugs. Coughs, sniffles, temperatures and plumbing problems have a tendency to derail even the most meticulous plans.

The highlights of the holidays...

 The toddler recovered and lovingly shared his illness with the rest of the household. This knocked out almost two weeks of the holidays. So much for getting lots of assignments finished.
 The fast food franchise next door, renovated, and added a powerful flood light that turns our bedrooms, and front and back yards into permanently glowing spaces. The upside of this is I never have to switch on a light when walking through the house after midnight.
 Toddler delighted in the choc fest side of the Easter weekend.
I created lots of art for the Ballan Solstice festival to be held in June. It should all glow in the dark but so far it doesn't. I discovered I needed to look for UV active paints. Glow in the dark and phosphorescent are leftovers of the disco era and were scary in content,  apparently, according to the helpful paint guy I found in a distant hardware story. I have ordered some invisible security paint that glows under UV to highlight the art.

I am back to classes and falling a bit behind in reading and missing deadlines. I need to reoganise myself and catch up. Cheer me on crew. <3

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The last week of term

I have two weeks of solid hard work to do over the mid semester break, especially if I am going to come close to mastering the meta language of our language. Thank fully Mike is making it start to make sense. I hope he never reads my blog because the dangling and misplaced things he would find here are sure to give him nightmares. They will disappear as the year progresses I am sure.

It has been a sleep deprived week with a sick toddler and so much to do however I am managing and my brain is loving me.

I have to play around with the photo manipulation program on my computer and design a logo. I have an idea in mind and as soon as I work out how to do it, you will see it here on my blog.

So a short, short blog this week.

Have a wonderful week all.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Blog Decision

 There was not much of a decision to make about choosing a theme/genre for my blog. I already consider this a lifelong learning blog. I do love to learn.

So week four or is it five, flew past. I am so glad I scheduled my calendar to remind me to blog.

I gave a short talk on Creative Non Fiction, had my research proposal approved, signed up for the state library and Trove, and checked the online resources at both and at several local libraries with which I hold a card. I checked a final edit on the anthology I have three stories in and created the cover art for.
Okay stop checking, it is week four...I spent today in court and I am three weeks into four of an OWL.
which, as the logo clearly states, is an online writing lab. Short short courses that will fit into any budding writers lifestyle.

I don't write romance with a lower case or capital R, I write relationships into my works but the relationship is not the focus of the story. The Romance Writers of Australia organisation is a marvelous one to belong to no matter what you write. Take a look at some of their short short courses and squeeze a little writing polish into your busy life.

I finished A Sparkling Guide to Gripping Goal, Motivation & Conflict with CT Green, last month and this month I am taking Bring your story into focus: why ‘show don’t tell’ is a layer cake  with Sandy Vaile.

I know what you are thinking "This woman is insane, a diploma and short courses, insane!" and you might very well be correct but I am fairly likeable crazy apparently. 

Another task this week in Writing for the New Media was to look at other blogs and see what I liked about them, plus write up a report on them, and then implement some of the things I like into this blog. Apparently I need the little linking icons for my other social media so I will put them in soon. I suspect my blog will change a bit over the next few weeks as I experiment.

Please let me know what you think of the changes and feel free to suggest things that would make landing on my blog easier for you.

Have a great week <3

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Four weeks have flown

Next week I have to make a decision about this blog. What genre is it? Well it is a bit of a babble about my learning and my writing so I am thinking it fits into lifelong learning. Is life long learning a genre though or just a theme? That is probably the question I need to answer first.

Academics will tell you they dislike Wikipedia and other encyclopedia because they are too generalised but I love them as the doorstep to more specific knowledge. Thank you 'pedia' put together-ers. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about lifelong learning.

So fourth week of my new direction and I am feeling good. Stressed, tired, overworked but really good. My brain is having a party.I am managing to jog a little up the first flight of stairs. Stepping firmly up the second flight and shuffling the last after a break on the landing. This is an improvement on the first week.

I am cringing in Editing 2 because I feel as if I am drowning in information but I also feel that the tutor/teacher Mike is going to get me through it and I will emerge greatly enriched and better prepared in my writing.

I am being more habitual about this blog for New Media and looking forward to creating a logo and webpage where I will link this blog and I am keen to learn how to use the photo manipulation program on this laptop I am typing from.

Creative non fiction is skilling me up for several non fiction projects I have in mind and I am excited about that 'big kev'. Once I have my extra extra tech day with my good friend Mica I will even know how to utilise all these library cards to access their online interface. (see what I did there Geoff? Of course you didn't, :) )

Industry Overview is of course vital. Many a rejection is in my folder because I did no do enough research in targeting my submissions. Writing a game plan is vital in any business and being professional means getting business sense. So I am writing a plan and  planning to publish!

Mists and Thimbles is proving extraordinarily stimulating in terms of story ideas. I loved reading fairy tales, myths, folk tales and legends when I was young but have not visited the pantheons for a long time. It is lovely to be back amidst the magic. I love that science is also still investigating the far past. There are many an archeological discovery that add some truth to the legends. Try this article about Sutton Hoo  
I am popping in this short video because I had to work out how to do that for my new media expectations. Let me know in the comments please,  if it works.

Advanced fiction is my final subject for this semester and I am so pleased I am enrolled in it. I have been working on several novels for a few years now in between, kids, dogs, domestic drudgery, life, the universe and everything and thought I had two close to complete, but now I see they are about as finished as the buildings in Huff post's (and they are even more worserer than encyclopedias) list of seven unfinished monuments. I managed to write scene cards for one manuscript and discovered a whole host of discrepancies in my narrative.

On that note, I shall wind up my post and leave you with a sunset (taken by me on my phone).
For my fellow students, how are you enjoying your studies?
For my fellow travelers, do you consider yourself a lifelong learner?

ps deliberate misspelling of words is deliberately aimed at my dearly beloved deliberate grammar tyrants. <3 You know who you are.

Friday, 3 March 2017

The thrid week - I should have known better

Publication Puberty Blues

One of the adages bandied about in the writing community is "If someone asks you for money up front to publish - you are being ripped off".

I managed to avoid having my wallet heavily skimmed over the past few years but I sure as heck didn't make any money as the pile of publications with my writing and art has grown. Sure, some of the publications were raising money for good causes and I am a sucker for a good cause but I have had to pay for a copy of most and have not had the budget to acquire some and I won copies of others in competitions where they were offered as prizes, I have only once been given a copy of a publication and that was a small writing group.

Too many  small press like to groom the little hopefuls(like me) to "do it for the experience", "it will get your name out there."

I am no longer doing it for "EXPERIENCE".

That term makes me very angry. So many people offer the dubious thrill of experience as the payment for artists/writers/musicians creativity. The creative person is expected to pay their rent and electricity bill and put food on the table with "EXPERIENCE" while the person taking the creative work makes plenty of money from the hard work of others. There are far too many sharks in the waters folks, quite a few wolves in the woods and plenty of naive, gullible, bright eyed creatives out there losing a lot of money for the thrill of seeing their name in print.

 I should have known better.

 I should have valued myself and my work.

I should have known that I am entitled to be paid for my work the same as a surgeon, a mechanic or a gardener would be, even fast food teenagers get paid and so should I.

I should have learned my industry the easier way.  Through study and research.

It takes a long time for the pay cheque to come for a writer, which can be disheartening, and having something - anything - published can be a big, albeit temporary, boost to the self esteem but in the long run it isn't worth it to throw away your treasure to the sharks.

I have learned some valuable lessons over the past few years and come through relatively unscathed and now I know that what I create is worth being paid for. 


Guess what, there is a serious typo in my title. It is there to remind me that I need to practice my copy editing skills.

I feel out of my depth with the meta language of our language but, just as with my other language studies, slowly but surely and with plenty of practice, I will acquire the knowledge to know the function of the words in sentences and it will take my writing to a higher level. It might even help me with the cases in the other languages.  Cheer me on gang. <3

Do you have a 'rip off an artiste" story you could share with me? Tell me in the comments.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Writing for new media task

Here I go uploading some images and text into my blog because this year is all about proving I have the skills to do these things. I am also listening to a podcast on 'fake news' which will run in the background as I type and upload. In today's media savvy world I guess I need to have all these skills in peak efficiency. I am sure my kids would laugh at my Neandertal level of skill but I am trying. \

So first up. Here is an image of Julian Assange.

Here is a cut and paste of the text we were given in our zip file for this assessment task - ' Julian Paul Assange (born 3 July 1971) is an Australian computer programmer, publisher and journalist. He is editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, an organisation which he founded in 2006. Subject to extradition to Sweden for legal proceedings, he was granted political asylum by Ecuador in August 2012. He has remained in Ecuador's London embassy and, as of February 2016, he is unable to leave without expectation of arrest.

In February 2016 a UN panel issued a non-binding legal opinion that Assange had been subject to arbitrary detention and should be allowed to walk free and be given compensation. The findings were rejected by UK and Swedish prosecutors, as well as UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Philip Hammond.' (I need to find where this image and text came from so I can cite them properly but for the moment I am going to say they came from a zip file for students)

Here is an image of a family who may or may not have accessed medical grade marijuana for their child's health issue. Any medication administered under the supervision of trained medical practitioners can have beneficial outcomes.

'In a ground-breaking session in the Federal Parliament, the Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, introduced the much-awaited Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill 2016 (Bill), which proposes to introduce a legislative framework enabling the cultivation of cannabis in Australia and facilitating access to medicinal cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

The introduction of the Bill follows the announcement by the Commonwealth government last October, which foreshadowed amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (Act) to enable the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes, and facilitate the manufacture of medicinal cannabis products for use in accordance with the provisions of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

In a heartfelt address to Parliament, Minister Ley said: “Deputy Speaker, many people have worked incredibly hard for this day. For the day that the National Parliament provides the missing piece in the patient’s journey when it comes to accessing safe, reliable, legal medicinal cannabis. It is a very proud day for many members and senators as I said who have worked hard. For those in the community who have advocated strongly, who have pushed, who have prodded, who have expressed their passion loudly and determinedly ... and others who treat patients who are convinced of the efficacy and the relief that is provided by these products, they should be recognised here today." '
(I cannot cite this yet but will come back to it - also a file from a student zip)

Finally here is an image of AWESOME Melbourne
(Cannot cite the photographer yet, but I will do so soon - once again a student file with no citation) Melbourne is my favourite city in Australia although I have been to most of the capital cities in most of the other states and I have had some wonderful experiences in those cities, Melbourne is definitely the city that makes my heart sing.

Now the podcast is over and we are being encouraged to look at and think about Post-Truth information and the way information is being disseminated and manipulated for mass effect. 'The truth is out there.' it might just be very, very difficult to find.

What do you think of 'Post-Truth'?

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Returning to Study

Last week I enrolled in the Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing at VU.  Those of you who have been following my writing journey, since THAT health issue gave me the opportunity to quit the day job and launch myself into the life of a full time writer, will know I have been writing and engaging in all sorts of writing challenges, attending conferences and sending little bits and pieces out to ezines, anthologies and competitions. I started the PWE a long time ago but life tends to get experiential in my neck of the woods and my studies have oft been put to one side for other commitments. My writing has frequently been interrupted with such earth shattering needs as 'What's for dinner?' or 'Where are my glasses?' and frequently 'Can you drive me to...'

"No more!" I cried and ran to VU, keen to enroll.

"I am going to write full time if it means you all starve to death in my stead" I yelled at the Offspring (mine not the band).

"What have I done?" I gulped repeatedly as the mountain of course material grew and grew.

"At least I will get fit even if it kills me." I gasped and didn't actually speak as I pulled myself up the third level of stairs to the classroom, sucked in some Ventolin(TM) and stubbornly refused to use the lift.

My calendar has everything loaded and I have read some of the required reading.  I discovered I already have most of the  required texts after I rearranged my bedroom shelves so I am off the starter blocks and ready to go.

So what else have I been doing apart from attending classes and sorting my folder? 

It is day 11 of Christie Wilde's #14daysoflitlove  and I am going strong with the fun word prompts.

It was week four of the OWL I enrolled in and I met the deadlines of that too.

I have my questions ready for my ESL discussion group tomorrow night at 11pm.

I am creating art for the cover of The Moorabool Writers Craft anthology.  (We meet on the first Sunday not the third - the banner will change)

I completed some art for advertising the Moorabool Shire Literary festival coming up in May. I am also on the committee and attended a meeting and read a metaphorical, as opposed to metric, tonne of emails about it. The inaugural Peter Carey short story award will be happening there so check it out.

 Have I mentioned I also have a 2 and half year old and three adults living with me? I managed to pull the shower to pieces today and replace all the rubber grommets, did two loads of washing, chatted with visitors, made phone calls, tracked down an elusive text, washed dishes and bathed the littlest. I have watched a movie, listened to some music and read a few books so it appears I have been relaxing at some point until I tell you it was Emma the girl with the yellow bow, Emma and her cohorts doing that wiggling thing, The Wonky Donky and at least one Mem Fox

I announced that I was diminishing my procrastination on social media. The irony being that I am studying a subject which directly relates to writing for social and other contemporary media.

I am very excited though and expect to have several of my novels to second draft during this course.

It is now 2am and I suspect I should get a little sleep before tiny person wakes up and demands some vegemite toast.

Cheer me on everyone.