Thursday, April 26, 2007

The writing process among other things...

You know... I hear a lot about different writer's approaches to their craft. And I'm often keen to experiment with different ideas, but one thing that has never worked for me is The Character Sheet.
I've heard of many writers who fill these in before they start, so they know their characters in depth and I'm so in awe of this. It sounds utterly organised and professional, but it just doesn't work for me. Oh, I've filled in the charts, but for me it's like forcing toothpaste from an empty tube. Until I start writing, those lists of characteristics in the charts just never feel REAL. Once I start writing, the REAL details of my characters come to me. It's as if they exist in another dimension and the process of writing uncovers or awakens them.
For example, right now I'm half way through a book and I don't know who my hero's father is. I know he plays an important role in my hero's story. Fatherhood is a significant theme... again, you might well be saying:)
OK, I could sit down and force this father into life, or I can keep writing until he arrives on the page. And I know he will, when I really need him. Sounds like magic? It is, but it's why I love writing the way I do.

Oh and here's a bit of name dropping..
Today, my good friend Lindy Nelson Carr, Queensland Minister for the Environment, got me to pose in a photo with her to launch the Premier's Literary Awards.

Tee, hee. The Literary Board would have conniptions if they knew a M&B author was helping to launch their lofty award for proper literatishoore.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Anzac Day

Today, 25th April, is Anzac Day in Australia. We commemorate all the men and women who have given their lives to defend our nation, and we remember this day especially because it marks our first huge defeat at Gallipoli on April 25th, 1915.

Much has been written about Anzac Day, about whether we should celebrate war and why Australia commemorates a massive defeat. I don't plan to add to the debate today. I can't imagine being an Australian without recognising Anzac Day in some form. I can remember at primary school in those dreadful years when I was prone to giggling, but had to take part in a minute's silence. I would imagine fine young men, landing at Gallipoli, being shot before they reached the sand. It would stop the giggles, quick smart. And those imaginings have lingered ever since.

The poem below sums up rather well, what Anzac Day is all about.


Sir - would it help if I shed a tear
I swear it’s the first time since this time last year
My spine is a tingle - my throat is all dry
As I stand to attention for all those who died

I watch the flag dancing half way down the pole
That damn bugle player sends chills to my soul
I feel the pride and the sorrow - there’s nothing the same
As standing to attention on ANZAC Day

So Sir - on behalf of the young and the free
Will you take a message when you finally do leave
To your mates that are lying from Tobruk to the Somme
The legend of your bravery will always live on

I’ve welcomed Olympians back to our shore
I’ve cheered baggy green caps and watched Wallabies score
But when I watch you marching (Sir) in that parade
I know these are the memories that never will fade

So Sir - on behalf of the young and the free
Will you take a message when you finally do leave
It’s the least we can do (Sir) to repay the debt
We’ll always remember you - Lest We Forget

Damian (Dib) Morgan 1998

To the right is a modern picture of Anzac Cove, where it all began...

Traditionally, we eat Anzac biscuits on this day. They're made from oats, coconut, butter, flour and golden syrup and are quite yummy and similar to the biscuits sent to the soldiers at the front.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lost in translation...

Just for fun, I pressed the "translate this page" button for one of my books on sale in Japan. Below is the result, but oh, dear. I THINK this must be Christmas Gift: A Family. But poor Hugh and Jo's story is barely recognisable.
I know the translation of the book is more accurate. Well... fingers crossed:)

Contents (from “BOOK” database)

The jaw of the accountant at the miscellaneous goods store which is small town of Australia every year had done the usual store clerk in Christmas Eve. There one car stopped with the emergency brake, the extreme handsome man got off. Becoming tense, the jaw dividing sewing involving from midst of the gift to the family, lifted in him who chooses the present. Oh with while and saying it runs, it waives that car which you go away, in addition it is start of every day. Be disheartened doing, when it returns to the house, while the mother rubbing the air, you informed the guest. He of the expectation which it starts waited at the kitchen! Snapping entering, you say that there is request in the jaw, but is.

Oh, and if you've read this far, here's another bit of news. A bullock escaped from the railway yards today and ended up in the Mall. Yes, there were traffic wardens on motorbikes trying to round up this beast In Townsville City Mall.
Apparently the poor fellow didn't want to be exported to India.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I should have known better...

I’ve had rather a mixed week. There have been a couple of lovely social occasions, including a gorgeous lunch to farewell one of my friends who is (sadly, for us) leaving town. Another friend’s husband did the cooking and everything was superb, especially a dish they call bugamundi. This is a combination of Moreton Bay bug (a small crayfish) and barramundi (a delicious fish, famous in North Queensland). These were stir-fried together with chilli and (many more things no doubt). Yummo!!

At the lunch, my friends, all teachers, shamed me into upping my exercise routine. My walks along the Strand are not enough. I should be “doing the hill”. The hill is Townsville’s famous Castle Hill and I used to walk up there with them but have slackened off in recent years.

“Let me practise on my own first,” I said, worried that I would be embarrassingly out of nick.

So on Wednesday morning I did the hill. I walked by road all the way from where I live (most people drive to the foothills), and I went to almost the top and was pleased that I managed this without any horrific gasping and panting. Then, as I neared the top and saw the place where the “goat track” joins the road, I was inspired to go down the goat track.

Big mistake.

I was about a quarter of the way down when I remembered that the last time I did this, I ended up in agony, but it was already too late to turn back. No way could I climb UP all those stairs. The goat track has hundreds of rough rock stairs and it's perched precariously on the edge of the hill. My thighs, by this time, were feeling distinctly shaky. My graduated lenses made it hard to judge these uneven steps and I tripped and nearly fell off the mountain on at least three occasions. I was terrified and exhausted.

Eventually, I made it home. But the round trip took two hours. And I soaked in a Radox bath instead of stretching… so you can guess the result.

Yes, screaming tight thigh and calf muscles for the rest of the week.

Of course, the view from the top is almost worth the pain. But I'm sure Phillipa Ashley would tell me that I should have known better than to do the goat track alone. (Read her book Decent Exposure to find out why:)

There have been other nice social events this week. My writing is chugging along – too slowly – but it is chugging. And I read The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley. Loved it so much I’ve ordered another of hers – Not That Kind of Girl.

Have started reading Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs. I really enjoy Susan Wiggs and this book is a finalist in this year’s RITA.

Will restart my exercise routine again… tomorrow.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Competition news

The winner of my March comp was Carol Thompson of South Africa.

A copy of Seduced by the Playboy, including my award winning book, Her Playboy Challenge, will be posted to Carol as soon as the Easter Holiday is over. (In Australia we have holidays for Good Friday and Easter Monday.)

And now for a new competition. In honour of my RITA nomination for Claiming His Family, I am giving away a signed copy of that book. You can enter the comp by sending me an email with Family comp as the subject. Good luck!

Oh and in other news, my book, In The Heart Of The Outback goes on sale tomorrow! I've put a new exceprt on my website, if you'd like to check it out.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Photo magic

We've been playing with our wedding anniversary camera and I thought I'd show you some of the results. I hope they don't take you too long to download. Please let me know if they do.

The photo above of the moon was taken last week at Tarzali. I love the fact that we can actually see the man in the moon.

And how's this for heavenly splendour?

We're growing Euodia trees because they're host to the beautiful lapis blue Dunk Island butterfly (sometimes known as Ulysses and pictured below, but not by our camera.)

And we were excited to find a caterpillar on one of the trees. Below, you can see he was eating leaves voraciously, but for once we don't mind.

Now how's this for a phallic fungus? (See below) This was growing in our garden at Tarzali. Who's got a good name for it? Fairies' Delight?

And finally, a family moment. Uncle A and Lilly. Awww....