Saturday, October 25, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 40 & 41

Immerse Yourself In Another Language ..... AND Go Star Gazing

Asian Groceries
Yes, two challenges in one week, because I'm behind and need to piggyback these posts or we will get to New Year's Eve... and I'll still be behind. 

But I'm a lucky girl. Turns out both challenges this week were designed to make me think about key words and key themes in my writing. 

Oh, the fortuitous connectedness! 

Spending time immersed in another language gave me the opportunity to listen to the cadence of words. My Beloved and I snuck away for a coffee date to a local shopping centre well known for its Asian groceries and speciality shops. Most shoppers went about their business, sniffing fruit for freshness, loading up on greens and adding seafood items to their cart I could never identify. 

One man who couldn't find his wife rang her on his mobile phone. I tried not to stare but the Chinese chatter from them both rang over the shop and above anything else. I didn't understand their words, but I did understand their frustration. More than the shake of his head, his loud, clipped words told me he was not impressed with her taking off. Through the phone, her replies sounded even less patient. Theirs was a long tirade, easily interpreted as anger and perhaps the heated replies of a couple dealing with more than a lost spouse at the shops.

Within seconds their animated discussion ended in abrupt silence. The husband shoved his phone in his pocket and walked off down an exit ramp. Behind him, a woman holding a pink phone struggled to catch up and eventually let the crowd separate them. She followed in the frosty silence I guess would accompany them all the way home. 

But the words rang in my ears. Chinese words I don't know. 

But I could translate the sentiment. 

The snap-snap of accusation. The higher pitched jabs in reply. And the stone cold pause which screamed the universal false peace at the end of a public argument. 

Do my characters argue like this? With the right voice inflection and frustrated body language? Do they use words which convey the deeper struggles they battle? 
Warrandyte Mechanic's Institute

I went home with more than the image of a solid falling out. In my mind, I evaluated some of the best bust ups I've written so far, in light of the indecipherable argument I watched. 

But the watching didn't end there. 

Once the sun had gone down my Beloved and I headed for a quiet spot beside the river in Warrandyte. We journeyed in search of stars and other celestial bodies. To contemplate the grandeur of nature, the mysteries of creation and to take in the symbols of the universe.

With street lights to a minimum we were able to spot a few low hung stars behind sillouetted trees. I was reminded of how the Star of Bethlehem is a symbol in the Christmas Story ~ a heavenly revelation of something larger than what the innkeeper, wise men and shepherds could ever contemplate. 

Right above us, in the shadow of the 1880's Warrandyte Mechanics Institute, constellations as old as the heavens marked our place in the hemispheres. 

Can you see the stars? 

Through Warrandyte's dim lit apple orchards and all the way home, I mulled over my Phillip Island stories. Where ocean tides and the coming and going of seabirds echo my themes.

Abandonment. Return. Restoration. 

And I hoped our Asian couple had unpacked their groceries and their troubles together, and maybe... just maybe, were sipping a camomile tea under the stars on their back porch. 

Where are you most likely to find yourself immersed in another language? 

Where's your favourite spot for stargazing? 

Thanks for reading two challenges in one post, 
Blessings for a wonderful weekend,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Myra Johnson ~ Every Tear A Memory


It's my pleasure to welcome award winning author Myra Johnson to Ink Dots this week. Myra writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. She is a two-time finalist for the ACFW Carol Award and winner of the 2005 RWA Golden Heart. Her novel When the Clouds Roll By won the historical fiction category of the 2014 Christian Retailing’s Best Awards. Married since 1972, Myra and her husband have two beautiful daughters and seven grandchildren ranging in age from 19 down to 8 months. Although Myra is a native Texan, she and her husband now reside in North Carolina, sharing their home with two spoiled lapdogs who are always getting into mischief.

Every Tear a Memory  ~ The Great War may be over, but Joanna Trapp still fights a battle within.

Joanna Trapp found adventure serving in France as a telephone operator for the Army Signal Corps, but she still mourns her doughboy sweetheart killed in battle. After her mother’s death, she returns home to Hot Springs, Arkansas, and takes a job as a hotel switchboard operator, but after her experiences overseas, civilian life proves dull. 

She is surprised by the attention from successful hotel manager Thomas Ballard, whose practical nature starkly contrasts her own spontaneous spirit. Spending time with the affectionate and compassionate Thomas helps her broken heart begin to mend, yet Joanna wonders if she can learn to love someone so different from herself. Will their growing friendship lead to romance . . . or will Joanna’s future be forever clouded by grief?

Myra Says... 

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be...The British Isles. I’ve always wanted to see England, Ireland, and Scotland, and maybe do a bit of genealogical research along the way. I’ve been told that many of my ancestors came from England and Ireland. It would be fun to discover there’s a drop or two of royal blood flowing through my veins, but that’s probably pure blarney! But it would be so much fun to find out, right? 

The best thing I did today is... Enjoy a leisurely lunch on the screen porch with my husband. While the weather’s nice, we like to watch the birds and wildlife in our woodsy backyard. I’m already dreading the approach of winter here, but first we have to contend with the onslaught of fallen leaves! Autumn is my favourite season, Myra. I'd love to sit on your porch with you and watch the leaves fall. Enjoy for me...  

A secret pleasure of mine is...If I tell you, it won’t be so secret anymore! But I’d have to say it’s crawling under the covers at the end of the day and picking up where I left off in the novel that’s currently on my nightstand. The time I can devote to pleasure reading has dwindled over the years, so I enjoy every moment I can.

I wish I could relive the day when I...Wow, tough question! I wish I could relive certain special days in a state of more alertness so I’d remember them better, like my wedding or my daughters’ births or the day I received my first book contract offer. Other days, though, I’d like a do-over so maybe I could get it right this time, like being there for a friend in need. Or when someone offended me and it was hours or days later that I finally came up with the perfect comeback line. (Why does it always seem to happen that way?) Ah yes... that perfect comeback! We can always save them for another day. :)

When I was a child I dreamed I would...Be the next Peggy Fleming. Unfortunately, there were no ice rinks in South Texas at the time, so I had to pretend with roller skates. Even so, it was pretty hopeless, since I’ve never been a fan of falling on my you-know-what. When I gave up on ice skating, I dreamed of either becoming a famous actress or writing books. Writing books stuck, and here I am today!

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but...I secretly wish I could be a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. True, I’d probably get voted off the first week--or, at my age and fitness level, die of exhaustion! But what fun it would be to learn some of those dance routines! If I could choose my pro dance partner, it would be Derek Hough or Tony Dovolani. Thanks so much for visiting with us this week, Myra. I wish you every success with Every Tear A Memory. 


*****

If you'd like the chance to win Myra's Every Tear A Memory, tell us if you had ice skates or roller skates as a child. I had neither, but LOVED borrowing a pair from a friend when I visited. Skating was... and is... so cool. (But not the way I did it.) 

Leave a comment in the thread below and I'll announce the winner next Monday. 

Good luck and happy reading, 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Judith Miller ~ The Brickmaker's Bride


It's my pleasure to welcome Judith Miller to Ink Dots this week. Although born and reared in a small suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Judy moved to Kansas at the age of seventeen and has considered the sunflower state ‘home’ ever since. Judy writes historical romantic fiction and enjoys finding unique settings for her stories.

Writing Christian fiction is Judy’s second career. For many years she worked as a legal assistant in law firms and later worked in government law offices. She has retired from legal work in order to write fulltime —a vocation she considers both a ministry and a blessing.

She currently lives in Topeka, Kansas, and, in addition to her writing, enjoys reading, traveling, researching history, and Bible study.

The Brickmaker’s Bride ~ Ewan McKay has immigrated to West Virginia with his aunt and uncle, promising to trade his skills in the brickmaking business for financial help. Uncle Hugh purchases an operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, Laura, who helps Ewan re-establish business connections. Ewan quickly develops feelings for Laura, but she is being courted by a wealthy lawyer, so Ewan pours his energy into the new job so that he can become a partner in the business and bring his sisters from Ireland. But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan’s hard work is put in jeopardy. As his hopes for the future crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. Can she help him save the brickworks and will Ewan finally win her heart? 

Find Judy online at 

Judith Says... 

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow... I would choose Pullman, Illinois during the early 1890’s. I set a series of books in that location and although I’ve visited there many times while researching my series and for other events, I truly would have liked to have been a “fly on the wall” from the time the community was constructed until the railroad strike that brought this country to its knees and required presidential intervention. And for readers here in the U.S., the first book in that series, In the Company of Secrets, is currently a free e-book at most sites, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Please know that it is a continuing series of three books so there are still questions to be answered at the end of book one, but the series contains some truly fascinating history, a great love story, and a touch of mystery. However, if I told you a current locale I’d like to explore it would be a return to Europe on a River Cruise. I think it would be great fun to explore numerous cities and not have to change hotels and unpack at every new locale. Oh, that's one of my holiday dreams too! :)

The best thing I did today is... Kiss my baby granddaughter. I’m sure all the other grandmothers know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s nothing more delightful than a slobbery kiss from a grandchild. Nawww... what a sweet answer. :) 

A secret pleasure of mine is... Long weekends with a few author friends where we can brainstorm stories, enjoy good food, share our difficulties, pray for one another, and enjoy lots of laughter. I always come away refreshed and ready to get back to work.

I wish I could relive the day when I... It was really more than a day, but I’d like to relive a road trip that my husband and I made to Florida for the Christian Booksellers Association annual meeting years ago. Along the way, we stopped so I could complete research in Mississippi and Louisiana. We had such fun as we explored unexpected sites along the way, and met some truly interesting people.

When I was a child I dreamed I would... Become a ballerina, which causes me to laugh out loud as I type those words. However, to my mother’s credit, she paid for ballet classes where I soon learned it wasn’t going to be my life’s calling. I participated in one recital where the dancing teacher made certain I was at the back of the stage and my lacking efforts wouldn’t be seen by all.

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... I’m an introvert who has had to work VERY HARD to overcome shaking like a leaf when I get in front of groups to make presentations. After years of speaking to various groups about my writing, the fear has diminished, but speaking still isn’t my favorite thing. I much prefer sitting at the computer making up stories. Thanks for visiting Ink Dots this week, Judith. I wish you every success with The Brickmaker's Bride. 

***** 

Judith has generously offered two copies of The Brickmaker’s Bride for 2 lucky Ink Dots winners. To be in the draw, tell us who you'd like to take with you on for a long weekend away. Judith loved her brainstorming weekend with other authors and I also know how much fun those trips can be. 

How about you? Who's your choice for a long weekend holiday? 

I'll announce the winner next Monday. 
Good luck and happy reading, 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 39


Visit An Art Gallery 
Heidi Museum Of Modern Art

This week’s author challenge was meant to have me consider the story behind the title of a piece of artwork, and beyond... to what we discover on a level deeper than words.

I chose to visit the Heidi Museum of Modern Art, only a few minutes drive from Crabapple House. Beginning its life in 1934 as the home of Melbourne couple John and Sunday Reed, the Heidi Museum of Modern Art 
has since evolved into one of Australia’s most important cultural institutions. 

My visit confirmed what I already suspected. I’m blind to the beauty of modern art. I want to say I was transfixed by the collections and wandered around in deep appreciation of the storytelling on the walls. And floors. 

But that didn’t happen... so much. 

I looked and pondered and wondered, but modern art has never gripped me the way the view outside could. And did. 

Back through the gallery front doors and into the acres of parkland, I followed the winding tracks to the original Heidi homestead and the real piece of art ~ the decades-old kitchen gardens filled with climbing roses, cottage perennials and the remains of winter’s vegetables. 

Kitchen Garden ~ Heidi Museum Of Modern Art
The last of the leeks farewelled the colder months, and all around them new herb growth pushed up through the well tended dirt. I imagine the gaps between the cottage favourites will soon close in the flush of spring and summer crops, right where the straw mulch now coddles earthy rows. 

See... I have words about the potager at the bottom of the garden. But not many about the art work on the walls. 

Why is that? I guess it’s my preference and delight in seeing a landscape change and come to life in a million ways. A picture of my most beloved plants, hemmed in by a simple olde worlde style fence, draped in rambling roses. More Ink Dots. More me.
Kitchen Garden ~ Heidi Museum Of Modern Art

But I’ll be back to Heidi. In another few weeks when the weather warms and the gardens tell summer’s story. I don’t need a title. The beds and orchard will speak for themselves. And I’ll pass through the archways and ‘round hidden bends with thankful heart for the seasonal songs of the humble kitchen garden plot. 

I'm glad for the artists who banded together to form their community of painters and sculptors. They mark significant achievements in Australia's history. But I’m grateful someone thought to preserve the old farm style plots, the almost hundred year old fruit trees and the rickety barn now called the Doll’s House, where cows were milked every day by paint-stained fingers, itching to return to their brushes and canvases. 

Kitchen Garden ~ Heidi Museum Of Modern Art

That’s the story I most care to look at. A glimpse of yesteryear, still thriving beneath heritage blooms and rare herbs. That’s my kind of picture. 

How about you? Are you a fan of modern art? More traditional? Or do you care for a blend of all kinds of artistic expression? 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,

Monday, October 06, 2014

Carrie Turansky ~ The Daughter Of Highland Hall


I'm so thrilled to welcome Carrie Turansky to Ink Dots this week. Carrie has loved reading since she first visited the library and checked out a tall stack of picture books. Her love for writing began when she penned her first novel at age twelve. She is now the author of more than a dozen novels and novellas and winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award. She and her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, author, and counselor, have been married for more than thirty-six years and make their home in New Jersey. They often travel on ministry trips and to visit their five adult children and four grandchildren. When she's not writing, Carrie enjoys working in her flower gardens and cooking healthy meals for family and friends. She loves to connect with readers through her website: www.carrieturansky.com and on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. 



The Daughter of Highland Hall ~ Book two in the Edwardian Brides Series, The Daughter of Highland Hall, follows 18-year-old Kate Ramsey on a journey of faith and self-discovery as she travels to London to make her debut in society. Her overbearing aunt insists she secure a marriage proposal from a wealthy, titled man to gain a position and secure her future. As Kate begins making the round of balls and garden parties, she attracts the attention of Edward Wellington, who seems to have all the qualifications she is looking for, yet, she’s not sure if he is the best choice. Will that lifestyle bring her true happiness?

When a shocking family scandal forces Kate out of the social spotlight, she has time to volunteer with medical student Jonathan Foster, the handsome and caring brother of her governess. Jonathan, a strong Christian, is determined to help the poor in London’s East End. As her friendship with Jonathan deepens and her faith grows, Kate begins to envision a different kind of future, one that includes Jonathan. Is she ready to make the sacrifices that choice would require? If she does, what will her family and society think?
Carrie Says...
If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be . . .  the Lake District in England. I visited that area in May, but only had three days. There was so much more I would love to see in that district loved by children's author Beatrix Potter. Oh, I'd love to poke around Beatrix Potter country! Could I tag along? Her characters are some of my all time favourites! 

The best thing I did today . . . was read a great verse in Isaiah that really encouraged me. It's Isaiah 43: 18 - 19. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert."  I love the God is always doing something new in my life. That's a powerful verse. Thanks for sharing it, Carrie. 

A secret pleasure of mine is . . . picking flowers each week of the summer at Honeybrook Organic Farm where I own a share. The fields are filled with zinnias, cosmos, snapdragons, and lots of other beauties. I take them home and enjoy them all week.

I wish I could relive the day when I . . . visited Tyntesfield Estate in Somerset, England. Tyntesfield is the inspiration for the setting of my Highland Hall series. One day was just not enough for me. I'd love to go back and explore the grounds and house for a few more days.

When I was a child I dreamed I would . . . have an ordinary life, but my life has far exceeded my childhood dreams. I married a wonderful man who loves the Lord and has his heart set on serving Him. Together we've raised five children, traveled to many countries for ministry and pleasure, planted churches, helped families in the areas of marriage and parenting, and are now blessed with four grandchildren. 

I probably shouldn't tell you this, but . . . I'm on a mission to get healthy, and I'm seeing changes I've been praying for for a very long time. I haven't shared much about it yet, but I think it's time to trust these changes are going to last, and that's a huge blessing in my life. Thanks for visiting with us, Carrie. I wish you well on your healthy endeavours and every success with The Daughter Of Highland Hall. 

*****

For the chance to win a copy of The Daughter Of Highland Hall, please leave a comment below. Tell us if Beatrix Potter's books sat on your shelf when you were young, or if perhaps they're still there for your children or grandchildren. What children's books are/were your favourite? 

I'll announce the winner next Monday in the comment thread. 
Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, October 03, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 38

Paris in Autumn (Photo source Pinterest) 

Follow Every Impulse You Have...

This post was meant to be my Paris post. 

Earlier this year my Beloved’s calendar included an October visit to Africa via Paris, and I was meant to follow him and stay put in a quaint hotel in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. He was meant to complete his assignment in Cameroon and come back to spend the weekend with me. Oh glorious day! 

But some plans look better on paper. 

And when the Ebola virus threatens, we make new plans. 

There would be no roaming Paris in the Autumn, stopping wherever my nose and taste buds took me for morning coffee. There would be no turning left at this flea market and turning right at that patisserie. No ancient stone paths to explore. No hundred year old rambling roses to adore, heavy with dew covered rose-hips. 

Instead, I followed every impulse here at Crabapple House, far from the romantic notions I held for this challenge. 

Why even indulge my every whim and fancy? Why set aside five hours to do whatever I felt like without reservation?

To consider what’s responsible and what’s not. To contemplate if my characters act reasonably and if perhaps they’re a little too much like me ~ too predictable. 

So what do you do when the Paris dream is lost? I started with a fat long boo-hooey-sleep-in. With no school bells to break the day, I shamelessly slept until I could sleep no more. I fell into that dreamland only mid morning delivers, mixed with odd mashes of life seen in the mix of disjointed nonsensical scenes. By the time I’d untangled myself from the dream and the sheets, I was ready for the real world. 

But what impulse would drive me from bed? I didn’t have to think too long. 

I wanted to bake.

Maybe in salute to my lost croissants and milky morning coffee. Maybe to remedy the weeks where I’ve not baked as much as I care to. Maybe, because I wanted to make up for mama sleeping in when the guilts told me I should have been in the kitchen. 

So I baked. I covered everything on the to-do list in a deep layer of flour and pushed through to whatever took my fancy. I sifted cocoa, cracked eggs and checked the pitted cherries for pips. (There is always one pip in every jar of pitted cherries.) 

I threw a batch of brownies in the oven and prepared two dozen choc chip and cherry muffins. I don’t know what hungry hordes I expected to swoop onto Crabapple House, but I cooked for them anyway.

And when the brownies came out to cool on the bench, and the muffins rose with golden tops, I sat in the sun and roamed Paris, afterall. 

I’ve been reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. A meaty, indulgent journey into one woman’s search for true and long lasting joy and thankfulness. I’d set this book aside weeks ago, to ponder what I’d already read... and now, on this green spring morning, I wandered away from the to-do list drawn by the impulse to read until my fingers turned the end page.

To the very last chapter where a trip to Paris unveiled Ann’s journey to intimacy with God. Where this woman, who was where I wanted to be, shared from outside her comfort zone the random twists and turns in Parisian streets which lead her to what she’s never encountered before. 


I may not have tasted my Paris indulgence as planned. But Ann’s journey still plays on my senses and rings in my heart.

God allowed a little of what I craved, through the eyes of someone I’ve never met. Quite like the lessons we glean from well written stories and characters. 

Other people’s risks and impulses add to our experience, until our turn comes. My impulse to read in the sun with Gilbert the cat at my feet took me to where I longed to be in the first place. 

I think that’s kind of awesome of God to allow... Don’t you? 

What would you do if you had five indulgent hours? 
Cook, lose yourself in a book, run away...? 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,

Monday, September 29, 2014

Jan Watson ~ Buttermilk Sky


This week it's my pleasure to introduce Jan Watson to Ink Dots friends. Jan won the 2004 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest for her first novel, Troublesome Creek. Her other awards include being named the best Kentucky author in 2012 by Kentucky Living magazine, a nomination for the Kentucky Literary Award in 2006 and second place in the 2006 Inspirational Readers Choice Contest sponsored by the Faith, Hope, and Love Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Jan has published seven novels. As a registered nurse for 25 years at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, she incorporates her nursing experience in the hospital's mother/baby unit into her novels. Jan resides in Kentucky.

Buttermilk Sky ~ Weary of the expectations imposed on her by her strict upbringing, eighteen-year-old Mazy Pelfrey prepares to leave her home in the Kentucky mountains for the genteel city of Lexington, where she’ll attend secretarial school. She knows her life is about to change—and only for the better. Everything will be blue skies from now on.

But business school is harder than she thought it would be and the big city not as friendly, until she meets a charming young man from a wealthy family, Loyal Chambers. When Loyal sets his sights on her, Mazy begins to see that everything she’d ever wished to have is right before her eyes. The only hindrance to her budding romance is a former beau, Chanis Clay, the young sheriff she thought she’d left firmly behind.

Danger rumbles like thunder on a high mountain ridge when Mazy’s cosseted past collides with her clouded future and forces her to come to terms with what she really wants.

Jan Says... 

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be...I’ve always wanted to traipse around Paris, France. I’d like to sit outside one of those bistros sipping tea (no wine for me), eating croissants, and people watching. The closest I’ll probably get though is Paris, Kentucky where I can people watch while drinking sweet iced-tea and eating scrumptious ham biscuits. It’s good to bloom where you’re planted. Great attitude, Jan. I love that. :) 

The best thing I did today is... Summer is beautiful here in Kentucky but can be hot and humid as the day progresses—so I went for an early morning walk with my Jack Russell, Maggie. If we get out early enough we have the walking trail to ourselves. Maggie is not a fast walker; she likes to sniff and hunt. That fits my pace perfectly because I like to think and ponder.

A secret pleasure of mine is... cracking open a brand new book.  I always have one I’m reading, one I’m wanting to read and a third just in case one of the others doesn’t catch my fancy. Life is too short to finish a book you don’t like. Oh, I so agree!

I wish I could relive the day when I... graduated from college as a registered nurse.  

When I was a child I dreamed I would... have a peaceful house with a cat and a dog and so many books I’d have to move a stack in order to sit down. That dream came true.

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... I love to go to the theatre alone. I can immerse myself in the story without wondering what anyone else is thinking. And, I always have popcorn and a diet coke. I've had a few solo dates at the movies, too, Jan. Sometimes it's the treat we need to give ourselves. Thanks so much for being my guest this week. I wish you every success with Buttermilk Sky. What a beautiful cover.   

*****
If you'd like the chance to win a copy of Jan's Buttermilk Sky, please leave a comment below. Tell us if you read a book all the way to the end, even if you're not enjoying it, or if you put it aside when you realise it's not for you. I'll announce a winner next Monday in the comment thread. 


Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, September 26, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 37


Her Majesty's Theatre,  Melbourne
Attend A Celebrity Appearance, commanded my author challenge. 

Go to a gathering of those keen to catch a glimpse of the charmed ones who attract the beacon of public attention. Observe those feted individuals and ask the question... Does my story have a character worth writing about? Will my readers’ interest span from curiosity to devotion, the way some do for those blanketed in fame? 

I hope so. I hope my characters wrestle with the same issues of injustice, love and compassion the way Victor Hugo’s characters do in the stage version of Les Miserables.

That’s where my honey-girl and I caught a glimpse last week of actors dedicated to showcasing Melbourne’s version of Jean Valjean, Eponine, Fantine, Cosette and Marius. 

But what about real life celebrities? The ones devoted fans wait for outside stage doors? 

While we didn’t hang around to snag autographs or take selfies with the cast, we watched those who’d positioned themselves for whatever came after the final curtain.

A brush with fame. A small taste of the limelight, even from it’s very edge, when freshly scrubbed actors no longer in character but very much an attraction in their own right, exited the theatre to thank their fans.


I’ve had occasion to talk with a few ‘celebs’ in my time. When Guy Sebastian won the first season of Australian Idol my family bumped into him at Sydney airport and we chatted for a while. We took the ubiquitous photo and congratulated him on his win. And he rewarded our fan moment with warmth and friendliness we haven’t forgotten.

When I flew to the US in 2010, I bumped into all manner of famous ones on my flights from Melbourne to LA. Delta Goodrum dropped her phone on my foot but she rewarded me with a beaming smile when I returned it to her. The flight crew didn’t even know I was there. All attention was reserved for the music industry's girl hidden behind sunglasses, working on sheet music in seat 1A. 

But it was Sir Richard Branson who won that trip's prize for most attention catching celebrity. When you’re flying across the Pacific with the owner of the airline occupying the pointy end of the plane, there’s a special kind of happy on board, and I was no exception. 

Perhaps it was Sir Richard’s willingness to walk the length of the plane and high five excited passengers before take off which endeared him to all of us. A quick ‘have a good flight’ greeting from someone who didn’t have to, but chose to share a friendly wave.  

Like the actors who stall their dash for a midnight dinner to sign their names on a playbill. 

Melbourne cast ~ Les Miserables

Celebrities who most endear themselves to the public are the ones who stop to acknowledge the fans who wait for them. 

And so with fictional characters. The ones who grab our attention and allegiance are the ones who come off the page and enter our hearts. The ones who elicit a visceral response along with our admiration. The Jean Valjeans and the Eponines. 

Have you bumped into a celebrity? Are you a devoted fan of someone you’ve waited in line to meet? 


Blessings for a wonderful weekend, 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Andrea Grigg ~ Too Pretty


I'm thrilled to welcome my friend Andrea Grigg to Ink Dots this week and celebrate the release of Too Pretty. Andrea grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, but has lived more than half her life in Australia. She lives with her husband on Queensland’s Gold Coast, where they have raised their three adult children – two daughters and a son. 

Andrea loves words and finding out what makes people tick. Her debut novel, A Simple Mistake, is a contemporary romance, and was a finalist in the Caleb Awards 2012. Her second novel, Too Pretty, was released in August this year.

Too Pretty ~ Being beautiful isn’t easy – just ask Ellie Paxton.

Frustrated by a long string of empty relationships, Ellie makes a promise to God not to date for six months, a promise she’s determined to keep.

Tired of being continually misjudged because of her looks Ellie moves to Sydney for a fresh start. But when her path keeps crossing with the darkly handsome Nathaniel, that promise becomes much harder to fulfil.

As they battle with their attraction for each other, Ellie is not the only one to discover it takes more than simply looking in a mirror to find out who you truly are …

Could it be that God has a bigger plan? Could this really be one of those matches made in heaven …?

Andrea Says...

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be...my photo cupboard. If you equated the number of photos in there with the same number of people, you could say there’s a secret city lurking in my house. It holds a wealth of memories and just like an overseas holiday, I need to plan ahead to give it the attention it deserves. Ah yes. The photo stash. I think we have a cupboard like that and I'm always wondering when someone will make sense of our holiday snaps. Maybe when you've sorted yours, Andrea...? 

The best thing I did today is... I’m involved in a community choir at Pacific Coast Christian School where my son teaches. Today we sang an Aboriginal lullaby as part of the school’s NAIDOC celebrations. (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee). One of the parents played the didgeridoo and it was something else, I can tell you. It was a very special event and I felt honoured to be part of it. Sounds wonderful. Wish we had a clip of that lullaby. 


A secret pleasure of mine is... reading when I should be writing. Oops – now it’s not a secret!

I wish I could relive the day when I... got married. Geoff and I will celebrate our thirtieth anniversary in December and I would love to go back and be the proverbial fly on the wall and watch the day unfold. I remember a lot of it, especially what Geoff said to me when I walked up the aisle ;). It was really funny but I’m not telling you what it is because I’m saving it for a blog post. (Mean, aren’t I?) Congratulations on your upcoming milestone! What a fabulous achievement and celebration. Now we want to hear more of what Geoff said!!! 

When I was a child I dreamed I would… become a hairdresser, then it changed to an air hostess, but by the age of twelve I’d decided I would become a teacher. And I did! Teaching has given me a lot of joy, both from the kids and my colleagues. Oh, the stories I could tell...

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... I often leave things to the last minute. I have no idea why and I’m always promising myself to work on it and I AM getting better. (After umpteen years of trying I should jolly well think so!)  You know the saying, ‘I work better under pressure’? It’s really just a cop out. And now everyone knows!!! That 'working under pressure' must have delivered, Andrea. I'm hearing great things about your writing and can't wait to get stuck into my copy. Thanks so much for visiting with us this week. I wish you every success with Too Pretty. 

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If you'd like the chance to win a copy of Too Pretty, leave a comment below. Tell us how you store your family photos. Are they all mixed in together in a battered shoe box or filed in chronological order in photo albums? I'll announce the winner next Monday. 

Good luck and happy reading,