Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bye Bye Lorain

My editor at HarperCollins NZ, Lorain Day, is leaving and that makes me feel strangely sad.

The heady days of excitement as Ripples On The Lake was accepted and published are long gone.  You'd be hard pressed to find a copy for sale on any of the book shop shelves now.  Heaven knows, my royalty payments have dried up like a creek bed in the Sahara!

And as someone who doesn't even classify themselves as a writer anymore I have no reason to mourn her leaving for new adventures.

But I do.

There are still stories in my head.  One day, I might have taken that lonely, courageous step of trying to find the words that match the tale I can see.

And it would have been very nice to have someone who liked what I did in the past read it and give her verdict.  (I am, in fact, legally obligated to give HarperCollins "first peek" at any future writing.)

But their next Head Editor might not like my style - or my love of the exclamation mark!

As someone who has written and submitted a number of stories, I know how dreadfully hard that first "break" can be.  And after all my efforts, I sort of "lucked" into it in the end when an Australian agent who rejected me said try Lorain Day at HarperCollins NZ.

I did.  I sent her a first chapter with a postcard that had two options: "Please send complete manuscript" or "Idea does not interest me at this time"  - please tick one.

She ticked the first option. 

It was one of those times when life seems to stop for a moment and the universe imprints upon you. I felt as if I had spent half my life collecting mail and always wondering if there would be a reply from some publisher or agent.

And there it was!  Someone wanted to read the whole story.

I fell in love with that woman right there at the mail box!

So although we never met and although I am not currently writing,  I am indeed sorry to hear that she is moving on.

Bon voyage, Lorain, I wish you well.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Stroll

Drat! My lovely Sunday stroll which was supposed to be a bush walk turned into a hunt. I guess there is always that danger when your "bush walking" companions are a hunter and his 2 dogs.

Anyway, before I go any further, a warning for the faint hearted. There is an image of a dead animal lower down. If seeing that is going to totally trash your day then I won't hold it against you if you click away now although  you can safely look at the first 5 images.

Most of the images are of dogs and bush - nothing gory.

With that warning out of the way, we'll continue. Now I know that most of you probably neither like nor approve of hunting. I don't actually like it myself, BUT, I married a keen hunter, we have hunting dogs that I adore so inevitably I do end up on the odd hunt.

I'd gone along this morning because hubby was trying out tracking collars on the dogs for the first time and we were both interested in seeing how far the dogs went. Our NZ bush is very dense so that once the dogs leave the track you have no idea where they are until they "open up".

Our dogs are pig dogs and the idea is that they find a pig in the bush and then bail it. This means that they stand and bark at the pig, circling round it if necessary, so that it can't run away. The hunter hears the dogs barking, rushes in and dispatches the pig.

This first image is our old dog Diesel. He is the father of our two "boys" and he knows he won't be going along. His days of hunting are behind him. The collars have just been taken of Jem and Bruiser and Diesel is forlornly curled up beside them.

This is where we headed. We're taking the gate on the right and will wind up the mountain in the old ute until the track becomes undrivable. I have actually been right to the top of Mt Titiraupenga - admittedly with hubby providing much pushing from behind. That last bit is steep.

Hubby putting the tracking collar on Jem. Note the cigarette dangling from lips - the health revolution has completely passed him by!

Jem in the lead with Bruiser not far behind as they race across a clearing.  Just stretching their legs.

Jem coming up out of a creek after having a drink.  This hunting/bush walking is thirsty work! (This is the point where all vegans probably want to leave although the images are not gory - I promise.)

At this point, the dogs opened up and hubby grabbed his gun and knife and dashed off after them.  I dashed quite a bit more slowly after them all - I like "the action" to be all over by the time I get there!

Jem and Bruiser had surprised a deer on the side of a gully.  It jumped into a creek where the two dogs bailed it until hubby arrived and he shot it.  And yes, I did say deer - they're supposed to be pig dogs but with no pigs about they decided a deer would do!

Oh dear, did I mention it was on the side of a gully?  The deer ran to the bottom. It took about an hour for the two of us to manhandle it back up to the track.  Before the back surgery, hubby would have put it on his back and carried it up, but not now.

That's steam coming up of hubby; that is the deer to the left.  I'm supposed to be on the other end of that rope pulling but as you can see, I was actually taking a photo!

We finally make it back to the track.  You'll note that the deer has been gutted and head off.  This lightens the load. The deer will be kept in a chiller for about 4 days to tenderize and then hubby will divide the meat and share it out amongst family members.

Final shot is of me showing off my bloody, dirty hands and scratches.

And in fact, I can truthfully say, if it wasn't for the blood, dirt and dead animals, I really would enjoy hunting!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why I Love Working From Home

I love working from home.

The days when I happily sprung out of bed before the sun had rose to raise off and feed bawling calves or exercise racehorses are long gone. Oh, and the pumping gas - do you remember my days at the gas station.

I do have very happy memories of those days (except the gas station!) but no great desire to do it all again.

No, nowadays - I do still spring out of bed before the sun is up - but it is to light the fire, make myself a cup of coffee and wander into my "office" to see what has happened overnight to my two website.

These are a couple of my "work colleagues"! As soon as it is daylight, I race out in my pj's and let the young dogs out of their kennels. Needless to say they are all very happy to come in and help.

You'll remember I was always a "stat-fan" - haven't changed a bit. The pulse still quickens if an extra person or two has visited. The Probiotic site gets about 1500 visitors a day, but the Charm site is just a baby in comparison and gets only about 30 or so visitors.

I've no doubt the Charm site will grow - it isn't getting much of my attention at the moment. You'll remember that the hubby had back surgery and was left with foot drop as a result so I'm proud to say that we now get the bulk of our income from my website endeavors. I'm concentrating on where the money is until we are clearly supporting ourselves adequately.

At the moment we are supporting ourselves - so long as we don't have an emergency!!

You'll note I have not lost my love of the exclamation. Such a useful punctuation mark.

So, yes I do love what I do. Winter is almost upon us and I know that I will be tucked up snug and warm, beavering away on my websites, helped by my trusty companions.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Blogger Returns

Is it really almost 9 months ago since I last posted here?

I can't quite believe it is that long but I guess blog dates don't lie.

Saw a few old blogger friends over on FaceBook and thought I'd just take a sentimental look at the old blog and discovered it spammed to the max! Have removed over 70 comments from the post below this and still hundreds to go on other posts.

Ghastly wretches!

I feel as if these spammers have trashed my humble little blog with their links for their pills and potions.

I bet they've left cigarette butts in the potted palms too!

Anyway - there is a silver lining to every cloud - it's bought about a burst of love and activity for the old blog. I'm filled with maternal concern for it.

So I shall spend the next few days removing spam, cobwebs and cockroaches. And if anyone remembers me, do pop by and say hello.

I'm the one with the can of 'roachkiller!