Yesterday was a day of breakages so today was a time to fix things. My first goal was to remedy the 3,000 words short I was from yesterday.

I got up early full of inspiration, and had my best day yet; around 8030 words. I am now back on target with just over 30,000 words written since I arrived in Brisbane 18 days ago. As you can probably tell, I’m feeling very pleased with this achievement.

I havent’ done much else today except write, but I did manage to wander past Glen’s Espresso and take a photo with my new camera.

I have found that my apartment, lovely as it is, is starting to feel a bit small. As well as missing my family, I’m missing the wide open spaces of home. The unique sculpted kangaroos aren’t quite the same as the ones grazing in our front paddock.

So today, I took my notepad and pen and spent a lot of the day outdoors. I’d decided against taking the laptop because it lacked spontaneity. With a pad and paper, you can just stop and write your idea down as soon as it appears in your head.

Now that's what I call a bus stop

I found that Brisbane is great for this sort of write/walk marathon. So many places to sit and ponder. My favourites were the bus stops, but there were also plenty of concrete walls and park benches to suit my purpose.

This style of writing might not work for everyone, but it seemed to work for me. Walking is great for generating ideas – and of course in Brisbane, the weather is also well suited to this kind of activity.

I also blogged again at my new Boomerang Books Kids’ Book Capers blog. Today, I interviewed the old sailor from Claire Saxby and Cassandra Allen’s book, There Was an Old Sailor. He’s a funny fellow, that Sailor…and he eats just about anything.

After such a big writing day, I’m off to phone my boys then treat myself to a night of reading.

Happy writing.



As soon as I saw Glen’s Sandwich board, I had a feeling that I was going to be in for a difficult day.

This was the last pic taken with my camera, which then decided to utter its last gasp.

Of course, if I’m honest,  I knew things had gone awry way before then. It was actually around the time the air conditioner stopped working at my accommodation, and my restless night was explained by a room temp of 28 degrees C.

Fortunately, all these things were material and could be remedied – a new camera and a canny air con technician soon had things back on track.

And in fact, I had a lovely morning at the art gallery and the State Library and was treated to a tour of the Queensland Writers’ Centre.

I returned to my apartment to the great news that many of my writerly friends had been awarded in the 2010 CBCA Notables and Shortlistings. Congratulations to all the worthy winners. The full results can be viewed at

It was also an exciting day for me because I have been appointed the new Kid’s book blogger at Boomerang Books, and you can check out my first post at

Okay, so I haven’t reached my 5,000 word goal today, but the night is still young:-)

Glen was right, life can be a lot harder than not, but that’s what makes the successes all the more sweet.

Happy writing.



Today was a huge day for me. I got up really early and wrote 4,000 words. Being a lovely morning, I had my windows open and was treated to beautiful choral music from the church next door.

I abandoned the computer to have morning tea with my lovely niece, Emma who had travelled all the way from Byron Bay to see me.

Next on the agenda was the May Gibbs Literature Trust’s High Tea. It was a fabulous event. So many friendly faces, great food and wonderful chatter. I could go on about the fun, festivities, the venue etc, but I thought I’d let the pictures speak for themselves, so I’ve inserted them in a very disorderly manner  at the end of this post.

Thanks to the caterers, the library, the bookseller and of course to Judith Russell and her brother Murray and all the wonderful volunteers who made it such a great day.

Thanks also to my Brisbane friends and colleagues from the writing community who came along to show their support; Michael Gerard Bauer, Sheryl Gwyther, Julie Nickerson, Karen Collum and Lynn Priestley:-)

After the High Tea it was out for dinner with my good writerly friend, Julie Nickerson – a great way to finish off an amazing day.

I’m happy to report that I have now written 15,000 words, and am considering the possibility that I might get my first draft written before I leave Brisbane.

And now, after a huge day and fiddling around for ages trying to get the pics onto this post, I’m off to bed:-)

Happy writing.



fabulous food at the High Tea

I did a talk about what I've been working on

With my Brisbane writer friends

talking about complex plotting

more yummy food

And more food

The wonderful Judith Russell worked tirelessly as always to make the High Tea such a success


Mosaic art in Brisbane

I can’t believe I’ve been here two weeks already. So much has happened in such a short space of time. I’ve done 10 writing workshops with kids at the State Library of Queensland, researched and developed a lot of the background work for my series and written over 10,000 words of the first book. That’s what’s so wonderful about a May Gibbs Fellowship – no distractions, no responsibilities – just the opportunity to write.

Today as I stood in the supermarket queue, I wondered if I was getting into my psychological thriller/crime series just a little too much. When the man in front of me bought a box of chocolate, an anniversary card and a packet of rat poison, I immediately became suspicious – and my mind conjured up all sorts of scenarios about what he was going to do with the Ratsak. Fortunately he couldn’t read my mind – at least I hope he couldn’t:-)

Paddlesteamer at Eagle Street Wharf

It was a lovely day for a walk and I felt like I needed to free up my mind so I did a bit of a circuit down to Eagle Street and back along the river to the Goodwill Bridge.

There were lots of people out and about enjoying the beautiful day and of course I had to drop into the Southbank markets. I walked back along the river to the Victoria Bridge and back home. It was so much fun being out and about, and discovering more of Brisbane’s unique artworks and characters.

Maritime Museum from the Goodwill Bridge

It took me a while because I kept having to stop and sit on a park bench to write down the ideas and plot points that had popped into my head while I walked. Walking is great for getting my brain and creative juices moving as well.

Happy to report I didn’t buy any books today, which is a good thing because I just don’t know how I’m going to fit them all in my suitcase to go home again, lol.

Fortunately, I don’t need to think about that now. Tomorrow is my High Tea and then I have two more weeks of planning and writing…can’t wait.

Happy writing.



i found this interesting character waiting for a bus in Brisbane.

Today has been another big writing day, and at the end of it, I’m well on the way to 8,000 words which is great news for me because it means I’ll have something to talk about at my High Tea on Sunday.

With all the plotting and character development I did before I started, I’m happy to say that the words have been coming quite easily. I feel like I am just sitting at the computer and letting the characters speak for themselves.

Today, my main character discovered some significant information on the internet, and now it’s up to her what she does with it.

More walks around Brisbane included a visit to my favourite coffee cart to check out their words of wisdom, and I’ve enclosed a photo. I find Glen’s boards very serendipitous. Today, my character in my book was finding out about some of her sister’s secrets, and low and behold, Glen’s board was all about the spreading of secrets, lol

Don’t forget, you check out some of Glen’s other great sandwich boards at

And yes, I admit to badly missing my family, so today I sent them a postcard (even managed to find the post office) which I hope they receive before I get home:-)

Today, as I wandered around Brisbane, I also looked at some other great sculptures around the place. I love how diverse and original the sculptures are.  I love how clean and friendly and full of wonderful art and creativity Brisbane is.

Off to do more plotting.

Happy writing



A night out in Brisbane

As you can see, I have been experimenting with my blog today. Not sure I like it, but I’ll persist. Still some ‘minor’ issues to iron out like how to get my feather on the letter head etc. And I’m not sure about the columns on either side, makes it a bit cluttered.

Today has been a great writing day. I’ve now written almost 6,000 words so I’m very happy with how it’s all going. The more I write, the more I am getting inside my main character’s head. She has so much to tell me. I’m also learning a lot about her family background, and how her whole family is responding to something really bad that happened to them recently (in the story of course).

The old treasury building in Brisbane is still making money - as a Casino.

I so love this stage in a project where so many new things are unfolding all the time.  Still lots more to find out. Book One is just about plotted – and now I’m moving on to books 2 and 3.

After writing many words this morning, I spent the afternoon and evening with Queensland writerly buddy, Sheryl Gwyther. We had lots of fun brainstorming the projects we are both working on and talking about lots of other writerly things.

Sheryl standing in front of an amazing sculpture made from vegetable steamers.

I’d recommend to any writer, finding a good writing buddy who you can bounce your ideas off. It’s amazing how productive it can be – and great for allowing you to discover holes in your story.

Seeing as we were out and about this evening, I thought I’d include some photos of the sights of Brisbane at night.

Happy writing.



Today's gem from the boys at Glen's Espresso

Today I went past Glen’s Espresso Coffee Cart and decided I’d better introduce myself. There are only so many times you can photograph someone’s sandwich board before you start to look a bit suspicious.

Glen and Sergio admitted they had noticed me with my camera. We chatted for a bit – although they were extremely busy – it seems their coffee is very popular and although I don’t drink coffee myself, I’ve heard on good authority that they make a very nice drop.

I was very excited to discover that Glen and Sergio have their own Facebook page where you can see a collection of their creative sandwich boards.

It’s one of the things I’m enjoying so much about Brisbane – everywhere you look there are creative and talented people at work.

I’ve had a very productive writing day today. I’ve spent the day refining plot, adding details to my characters and writing quite a few words (I now have the first three chapters of my book).

The view from the rooftop garden

What I’ve discovered is that the plotting and character development is ongoing and needs to be updated as your story unfolds.

This afternoon, I spent a lovely couple of hours on ‘the roof’ being creative. I also bought more books hmm…might need to buy another suitcase for the return journey.

Happy writing.



Being far from home on your birthday isn’t easy – especially being away from your husband and kids, who you were already missing like crazy.

Just as well I have such great writerly friends in Brisbane.

And some of them travelled a long way to help me celebrate. Thank you Tina, Sheryl, Jules, Lynn and Ally for making this birthday in Brisbane so special.

It was lovely to dine out and talk about writing and lots of other fascinating things.

Plenty of writing and creating done today. I’m doing the tandem thing – writing and finalising my plotting. That’s how it works sometimes, the steps and processes are interwoven – developing character gives you ideas for plot and writing makes you see where the holes in your plot are.

After the bubble brainstorming of the plot, my next stage in the process is developing the plot arc. For this I also use my trusty butcher’s paper. Any ‘bubbles’ that are related to plot, I write on ‘post it notes’. I then arrange these in order of increasing intensity and basically, in order of  how I want the story to unfold.

Now I know where my story is going to start and how it’s going to end, and some of what’s going to happen along the way. Of course this can change in the writing process when characters like Lia decide to take me in a whole new direction.

Happy writing.



Today I discovered there are 103 steps up to my apartment. I thought I’d try and get a bit fitter while I’m here so I have decided not to use the lifts unless I’m completely exhausted or fully laden with shopping.

As part of this new fitness regime, I’m also trying to do a bit of light weight lifting.

Being a creative kind of person I decided to improvise and buy a couple of cans of baked beans. So the cans on this blog post are not symbols of an impoverished writer, nor are they a sign of an obsession with former Australian test cricketer Shane Warne who is well know for being partial to baked beans. My baked bean cans are simply a sign of a writer being resourceful.

And I have been resourceful in so many other ways today. I have joined up my plotting balloons with arrows and worked out the threads of the first book in the series.

I am also pleased to report that I have the first 500 words down on paper. I knew there would be no stopping me once I gave Lia free rein to tell her story.

Today has been so productive that I even fitted in all the mundane things like washing the clothes, and buying a new printer cartridge.

And I managed to take a little time out to have lunch with friend and Brisbane writer, Maree Kimberley… a writer still has to eat after all:-)

Happy writing.



Today is all about writing – and it’s down to the business of getting to know my main characters. That means I need them to tell me things about themselves – things that they wouldn’t tell anybody else – secrets, likes, dislikes – physical characteristics that might be completely hidden from the rest of the world.

I’m trying to find out what motivates them – what makes them do the things they do?

What is it about each character that causes THAT particular piece of action to happen?

My first step was to think about what my characters might look like. I always get a visual outline of them in my head – so that when they appear in my imagination to tell me things, they have an appearance; they actually look like someone. They are not just a vague presence that feeds me words and information.

To help me picture my characters, I use some stock photos I have from my collection. My characters won’t look exactly like the people in these photos, but they will have a general similarity. Some of the characters I’ve chosen are pictured above.

I interview my characters and build up a character profile for each major one.

After I’ve got them in my head, I start drawing information out of them – try and get them to tell me who they really are.

To do this, I interview my characters (just the major ones) and ask them for all sorts of information about their family background, their friends and enemies and their personality traits, flaws and attributes. It’s a fun process and I love getting down to the nitty gritty of who my characters are and finding out why they do the things they do – and sometimes this can motivate changes in the plot direction of my story.

One of the 'characters' I discovered in Brisbane

Have to go now, my characters are calling me, but speaking of characters, here’s an unusual one I came across when I was walking around Brisbane CBD this afternoon. It’s a steel sculpture by Cezary Stulgis and it’s called “The Overseer”.