Wednesday 17 November 2021

Queen of Tarts

Buy Queen of Tarts 1 

Queen of Tarts! I intended to write a shortish book, making it one of four titles riffing on cards...Who knows why- must have seemed a good idea at the time.

Anyway, I went for it when the opportunity came to write a Halloween story. I named my heroine- Queenie Hart, and afflicted her with what she calls the Caledonian Curse, in that, every October, her speech and thought patterns get taken over by a cranky and highly suspect Scotswoman. Queenie doesn't want, or like to burst into a flood of Gaelic or, worse still, cod stage Scots invective when anyone annoys her, but there it is- come October, that's exactly what she'll do.

The Caledonian Curse has lost her jobs, friendships, boyfriends and is about to lose her the unit she has lived in by default since moving in with a work friend who subsequently moved out. It's not all about loss, either... it can also be about cost, as Lassie Haggis, as Queenie eventually dubs her extra personality, has a penchant for online shopping for everything from a round trip to Scotland to a case of Islay Malt and a bagpipe serenade. It's possibly unfortunate that Lassie Haggis is in control when Queenie encounters James Stuart (not the king or the actor) at Circular Quay...

I had a wonderful time writing Queenie's story but, par for the course, it went long. Eventually, it went TOO long for the publisher who had taken it on. Therefore, I split the ms into Queen of Tarts 1 and Queen of Tarts 2. The first one ends on the edge of October, with a sinister rustling in the belfry. The second ones ends on the night of Halloween. Q#1 came out in October. Q#2 will be out in late November. Having left Queenie in a position where she's solved her most pressing problems, I realised there was still more of the story to tell. Therefore, I wrote Queen of Tarts 3, subtitled The Twelve Tarts of Christmas. (Did I mention Queenie is a baker?) In this one, most of the remaining mystery is unraveled... It comes out in late December. I had a wonderful time with bats, The Belfry, a rackety 96-year-old landlord, a grumpy landlady, a load of fairies, tarts, a basket of childhood, a mysterious painting, a bus called Ethel... anyway, it was all enormous fun. 

Oh, and naturally, I needed to know what happened to the grumpy landlady, Angel Petty, and to her new tenant, Penny Bunn, and so I wrote One Hundred Roses which comes out in February. I badly wanted to write Ninety-Nine Shamrocks for St Patrick's Day, but my computer crashed. Maybe next year.

Thursday 14 May 2020

Queen of the May

Well, it's been a while! I just wrote a FB post and suddenly remembered my blog. So, here it is, polished up.

My new romance Queen of the May is available right now! HERE.

May Day, I thought... might write a book for May Day. So I did. As a few of my local friends might possibly remember, way, way back in the day the Devonport Choral Society put on the light operetta Merrie England. 1979, that must have been... May, that must have been. In Merrie England, there's a song called The May Queen Comes. I've always loved the music from Merrie England, and I got to sing some of it on stage. I'm not the best singer in the word by a long chalk, but Mum and Dad were musical, and my sister did the photography, and I got to be part of the chorus. So, I sang and danced and had a village maiden's costume. It was wonderful fun.

Mind you, I got married a week after the show ended, so that was a busy year.

I think all this was in the back of my mind when I was writing Queen of the May. This book isn't autobiographical in any way. Lucy isn't in Merrie England. She's NOT in a musical called Queen of the May, and that's the whole point. She could have played the lead, but she didn't. (No way could I have ever played the lead, or even a named part.)

Nevertheless, I got to invent a new musical, and play with costumes, and interesting china, and invent a loved series of children's books... oh, this book has all sorts of the things I love in it.

Queen of the May is part of a long running series, but it stands alone easily, because most of the characters are new or have appeared only once before, in tiny supporting roles. 

Saturday 31 August 2019

2019 in Focus: August

2019 in Focus: August has gone to print. 
Every day in August I went for a walk with my camera and took photos. I chose some to represent each day and wrote accompanying verse. Every photo and all but one verse was created on the stated day (that one was done the morning after). The photos are not all in focus, but when I chose a fuzzy one it was for a good reason.

I knew I’d be away for part of August, so the theme is Home Away Back.

I made some of the photos into sets or collages. A few of them have been digitally altered to remove something ugly and intrusive or to create a flipped pattern. This was done in Paint. Colour, brightness and contrast are left natural and I didn’t use any effects. The coloured frames and text were mostly done using sampled colour from the photos.

 I managed to contain the size to 149 pages this time; let's hope I can keep September to a reasonable size too!

Sunday 18 August 2019

Jigsaw Cards Remade

Jigsaw Cards Remade
Well, they never did turn up, so I remade them using three sets this time...
Here are a few samples.
Pick one from each set to get an idea.

 hat horse ink bottle statue ice ice-cream Jack jumpers joey kite
 kitten kettle bird computer dingo dog cake brumby lake tree ring

A strange A flying A painted An inky An ice Black Purple sparkling
An ugly An angry A shining A scary A dripping A weird A tiny

I want I need I don’t want Scared of Running from Looking for I found
The teacher asked for Hunting for Finding Losing Chasing Packing
Selling Buying Inventing Discovering I laugh at Racing Getting rid of

I want a strange hat...
Looking for a flying statue
Discovering an inky cake...

Saturday 17 August 2019

Jigsaw Cards AWOL

Jigsaw writing... I'm holding some workshops in Townsville next week and (naturally) I can't find my jigsaw writing cards. I'll have a look in a few more places, and then probably give in and make some more. This time, I might try three different cards rather than two,  and make one set all objects, one set all subjects and one set all modifiers. Wish me luck!

Friday 16 August 2019

Blossom Perspective

This photo was taken in the dusk looking up through blossom. Interesting effect... It's the kind of thing that inspires thoughts and makes you look at things differently

Thursday 15 August 2019

Line 11 Page 111 2019 in Focus: June

Just to keep an eye to see
How long the nest would stay be-egged
I thought (you know) that roaming dogs
And kicking kids would have them pegged

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Line 11 Page 111 The Pixie Grip

Line 11 on Page 111 doesn't stand alone, so here's the paragraph.

"Peter, can I tell you something I’m scared of?”
She giggled. “Not while I have gingerbread in my pocket. Currie says if I ever see a bogle it’s probably someone with a bogle manifest, and gingerbread is bound to help.”
“It works on goats,” Peter G remarked

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Pearl 8

I'll be beginning work on Pearl 8 soon. I have an idea to use a different setting.
So far, we have books set mainly in the meadow, on the cliffs and an island, partly on a snowy mountain, in the forest, at Ogrefest, Big Rock and near the pond. The Kingdom, where all the stories take place, has lots of different landscapes and next time I rather like the idea of a desert.

Monday 12 August 2019

Gravity Defying Rock

I saw the weirdest thing in one of my photos a few days ago. I didn't see it in situ, just later, when I went through my pictures. It was so odd, I went back today for a look and there it was... the gravity-defying rock.
I wonder what the story is behind that one?