Chris & Andrew 076Collective nouns aren’t normally associated with brides, what with only one usually in a room at a time (South Korean mass weddings notwithstanding).

But oh my lordy, we needed a compendium of collective nouns to describe the bevy of bridal treats that turned up for our 20th wedding anniversary party on the weekend.

Dozens of my nearest and dearest slipped, shoe-horned and shimmied their way back into their wedding finery to celebrate with hubba hubby and me.

A train of brides chugalugging on champers. A bouquet of bridesmaids blessing us with their fragrant presence. A gabble of groomsmen that could be heard a suburb away.1383718_10152579227633725_4419480155957365272_n

Oh, and for some unexplained reason, hubba hubby chose to wear a safari suit, but each to his own.

I love him dearly and when it comes to wedding parties, no-one cares what the blokes wear, do they?

Chris & Andrew 070

Funny the things you do when you have a new book out.

I hate the thought of shopping (even more than camping or cleaning) and spring fashion means little to me beyond discarding the dacks of track and swapping my uggies for birkis.

Yet this week, in the interests of shameless self-promotion, I found myself purchasing a frothy frock and MCing a Spring Fashion Parade fundraiser for three hundred and fifty mums from Brisbane Boy’s College.

BBC wnner Bronwyn McEntee 2

I even did my bit for worthy causes such as Hope Foundation and Street Swags by auctioning off the right to have a character in my next novel named after one lucky winner.

The ladies were quick to take up the challenge, and after a couple of champagnes and a spirited bidding war, the lovely Bronwyn McEntee (pictured here) emerged the victor, outbidding dozens of less committed bibliophiles, to take out the prize for an undisclosed sum.

Congratulations Bronwyn, I already have an evil character in mind for you in my current work-in-progress. Watch this space!



campingTwo things I can do without in my life.

1. Cleaning. Yesterday, a nice man demolished our bathroom. Today, the haze settled to a fine blanket of dust coating every surface in our house.  I started Mr Sheening after breakfast, but unfortunately I started with the bookshelves in the dining room, precipitating an avalanche of chaos that has now engulfed two entire rooms. (I am dealing with this by hiding out in my office and writing this very important post.)

2. Camping. I came clean to hubba hubby on our wedding day. I don’t camp, don’t try to make me. I won’t, he promised. And so far he hasn’t.

Not that my last (and only) camping experience particulary scarred me. It was vaguely pleasant, I recall, in a bracing, cold-showery sort of way, in the beautiful Conondale Ranges near Gympie.

I went with a friend from National Parks who came well-prepared with an itemised list.

I’m bringing the tent, the camp oven, a saucepan and frypan, utensils, cutlery, plates, two bedrolls, a hurricane lamp, a torch, a portable table and chairs, an esky, ice, food for two days and a night, a pack of cards, a portable radio-cassette player and earplugs in case the other campers are noisy, she said. What are you bringing?

Um, the red wine? I suggested.

Fast-forward twenty-odd years, and I am about to break my ‘No Camping’ rule.

Yes, I am going on camp for two days over the September school holidays – the Meanjin Young Writers’ Camp at Griffith University. And the good news is that I get to sleep in my own bed at night!

I’m going with the good folk at ALEA – the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association, who are preparing now for their 34th Annual Young Writers’ Camp.

ALEA are bringing the kids (up to 120 keen young writers from Grades 5-8), and the authors (including the awesome Melaina Faranda, Julie Fison, Pat Flynn, Kate Hunter, Mark Svendsen and of course, little old me). And what am I bringing?

Um, the red pens?

Now, you’ll have to excuse me, there’s a tsunami of books spilling out of the dining room that needs my attention. Putting them back on the shelves will be quite enough cleaning for one day. ;)


car back2Eight weeks after it was stolen, my station wagon is finally back home – paddle board on top, and wetsuits and boogie board still in the boot.

Brickbats to the thief for gouging every panel before hoiking my key into the bush (that’s malicious damage, dummy, on top of auto theft when it goes to court – and yes, they did get your fingerprints).

And bouquets to the good folk at Yamba Police Station, the forensic cleaners, panel beaters and painters at Raven Smash Repairs at Grafton, Advanced Car Carriers and Allianz Insurance for bringing it home.

A short story – with a twist in the end.

When police found my car abandoned in the bush, I ‘fessed straight up to the insurer and panel beater that the little divot in the centre of the back bumper bar couldn’t be blamed on a robber. That was me, nudging a post.

No worries, they said. And blow me down, they fixed it anyway.

Karma. My car is now in better nick than before it was nicked. Don’t you just love a happy ending to a story?


Choice article from Rocky Life to kickstart Book Week  2014 – Connect to Reading.

Looking forward to connecting with heaps of readers this week at Ashgrove Literature Festival, St Williams Grovely, and Sharing Stories – Connect to Reading with Authors & Illustrators – a Book Week Event for Kids aged 10-13 | Book Links Qld Inc.

Hope to see you round the writerly ridges this Book Week!


Indigenous Literacy Foundation

I rarely give away my favourite books. They’re like friends that I like to keep close, on hand for when I need the  fun and comfort they offer.

Even lending them out is fraught. I press them onto friends in the afterglow of reading, blissfully unaware of what went where, and to whom, and only months later wonder what happened to those that didn’t make it back home.

So when Riverbend Books asked if I’d like to celebrate National Bookshop Day by donating a favourite or much-loved book to the Great Book Swap to aid Indigenous Literacy I immediately said yes,  because it’s such a great cause. But later, I felt a secret pang about donating a favourite or much-loved book. 

Sigh. So much easier to give away the ones that we don’t care for.

But luckily this story has a happy ending.Great Book Swap

A quick search of my bookshelves unearthed two copies of one of my favourite books: Karen Foxlee’s gorgeous modern fairy tale, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy.

(I can bring myself to part with the paperback because the American hardcover edition with its gloriously illustrated end pages will never leave my shelves.)

So, hope to see you on Saturday 9 August at Riverbend Books where I’ll be swapping one of my much-loved books.

Which favourite book are you prepared to part with for a good cause?

CBCA QLD Book Week Dinner

Image  —  Posted: July 29, 2014 in Events, Intruder
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