Category Archives: Of interest

Images and Inspiration

Life has been busy and I haven’t managed to get myself and a camera to the beach for the photos I wanted to take to share here. I’m feeling pretty picture deprived! So I went looking online.

Antonino Leto - Estate caprese

Capri

If you have a few minutes (hours) type “famous seascapes” into Google. The result is an array of glorious images.

Speaking of which, the Metropolitan Museum has quite a collection. You’ll be absolutely unable to pick a favourite.

Plus, you can search out “floating gardens” for real world fantastic images. The floating gardens of London captured my interest.

I know this is a lake and not the sea, but … beautiful.

Small Island in Lower Saranac Lake

Lower Saranac Lake, Adirondacks

Politics in a Romance Novel?

Romance novels aren’t generally the place for political discussions. After all, the guaranteed happy ever after is seldom what we get from our politicians :) More seriously, discussing politics usually ends by annoying someone, if not everyone, and frankly that doesn’t seem worth the hassle. I save my political opinions to share with the car radio while driving — um, yeah, I’m the crazy lady talking to herself in the car. Fortunately, these days, people just think I’m on a hands-free phone.

So why am I so proud to say that my about to be released romance, It’s Love, Dude, has politics in it? Because I’m fudging what I mean by politics.It's Love Dude cover

“Politics” has a stinky smell because we often use the term to describe the bad behaviour of bickering politicians. But the political system in Australia is actually robust and makes our lives better. I wanted to celebrate the role of local Members of Parliament (MPs) who without fanfare just get on with the job of representing their communities, helping and fighting for them. So when I “met” my heroine Molly I knew she worked for her local MP. She loved living in her town and being the point of contact for people who needed help navigating government bureaucracy or getting an unfair law changed or simply having someone listen to them. It was about giving back to the community that supported her.

One of the joys of reading and writing romance novels is this glimpse into other people’s lives, and the chance to celebrate the good things we sometimes take for granted.

Cute Critters

Woylies are my cute marsupial hook for It’s Love, Dude, but they’re very far from the only cute critter in Australia.

My own bilby

My own bilby

You know about our kangaroos and wallabies, emus (not necessarily cute — stabbing beaks and wicked feet), Tasmanian devils and wombats. Then we have the weird but adorable platypus and the prickly echidna. But my absolute favourite are numbats, although bilbies run them a close second.

Myrmecobius fasciatus Gould

Project Numbat tells you all about these ant-eating cuties and what is being done to save them. Also, I absolutely love the painting Nosy Numbats by local artist Gilly Huber, well worth clicking through. N is for Numbat shows they can even be elegant.

The bane of my blog-life is tiptoeing around infringing people’s copyright. There are some absolutely fantastic numbat images online. Just google.

Numbat is the Nyungar people’s (south west Australia) name for the animal. Looking that up I came across the etymology of “bung“. It’s a Yagara word. You didn’t need to know that, but I was interested. Bung means broken. As in, “the TV is bung” and you all stare in horror at the dead screen.

Medium, the new social medium

Medium is one of the new social media that I’ve been interested in for a while, and yesterday, I received an invitation to post there. Yay!

If you haven’t heard of Medium, this is its explanation. And this is my page.

The potential for conversation and collaboration on ideas is so promising that I’m excited.

Art Gallery of WA – State Art Collection

Sometimes life holds some joyous surprises. I wandered into Perth on the weekend and ended up visiting the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Since I can never work out who holds what copyright, I’ll share an old photo of the gardens outside it, rather than the artworks inside — which is a shame because the art is good.

Anyway, once inside the gallery, I pursued my usual strategy of not knowing what I wanted to see, but just looking. That brought me to the Your Collection 1800-Today exhibition and in particular to its Your Collection 1800-1920: Here and There section which was housed in the older section of the gallery, a location that worked perfectly.

Having a memory like a sieve, I can’t tell you the names of the artists or their creations, but I saw wonderful old glass, paintings of life a hundred years ago and fabulous watercolours and sketches of Fremantle and Albany. The latter was fun to try and match current day landscapes to those of more than a century ago. I do remember that a painting by Arthur Boyd finally showed me why he’s so famous. Though I wish I could remember its name! The mountains in the background heaved with life.

The exhibition was a lovely experience outside of time. Quiet, reflective and yet humming with the energy of much-loved art. It reminded why I like the Art Gallery of WA: It always offers a visitor a welcome and a gift.

Freo Photos

It was blowing a gale, but ever intrepid in pursuit of running-away-from-current-manuscript, I ventured out to snap some photos of Fremantle mid-week. Above is Bathers Beach. So is below. And the very last snap is just a back gate … just to prove Fremantle is more than gorgeous beaches :)

Thanks to Sonya Heaney for introducing me to 500px. I now have a page there.

Thinking of heroes

Over the weekend I was reading The Guardian Weekly. An article caught my eye. Now, I try to keep off the topic off politics online. So, although the article by George Monbiot is “Ultra-rich suffer from bad case of Romnesia” I don’t actually want to talk about its social critique as such. You are free to agree or throw tomatoes at the screen when he says:

Rich lists are stuffed with people who either inherited their money or who made it through rent-seeking activities: by means other than innovation and productive effort. They’re a catalogue of speculators, property barons, dukes, IT monopolists, loan sharks, bank chiefs, oil sheikhs, mining magnates, oligarchs and chief executives paid out of all proportion to any value they generate. Looters, in short.

Okay, so either you think these people create wealth or, like Monbiot, think they just siphon it off … the point is, doesn’t the list look like a list of alpha heroes? That’s what struck me.

And then Monbiot ended the article with:

A century ago, entrepreneurs sought to pass themselves off as parasites: they adopted the style and manner of the titled, rentier class. Today the parasites claim to be entrepreneurs.

Hmm. I know it’s not a revelation: the lords and dukes of Regency novels are the CEOs and billionaires of contemporary romances. But it kind of was a revelation for me. I’m thinking through what it means when we frame romance novels as fantasies. Do we look for heroes who don’t actually have to work — is that our fantasy as readers?

Of course, there are lots of romances where it is the hero’s work that defines him – the defence force heroes, the policemen, the whole protectors/guardians theme, or the medical romances where the doctor is a hero. But still, there are plenty of Cinderella themes where the hero is a prince.

I always thought the appeal of the lordly alpha hero was that he was top of the pyramid. Now I’m wondering if the appeal is also that he doesn’t have to build the pyramid, he just lounges there like Pharaoh, supervising.

I’m still thinking on the question, but I thought I’d share it. And if you go along with Monbiot’s critique, it’s interesting to consider that these lordly alphas are merely parasites!