Just over one week to go.
It’s hard for me to believe the time is here and I’m about to embark on a wonderful, emotional journey. I’m getting teary thinking about the places we will go and the things I will see.
This whole trip happened because I was so tired of seeing Washington DC from a distance. The places I write about, the places my characters see—the desire to see them in person became too much. The result? My announcement that we were going to find a way to go. And we did! After more than a year of waiting, the dream is about to become reality.
I promised an itinerary, and here it is:
Hubby and I have set up a special page on Facebook (Cliffords Gone Travelling) to which we will upload photos daily. I’ll also be posting on my writer Facebook page, and doing blog posts.
All I have to do now is wait, but not for much longer.
The Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival was everything I hoped it would be, and nothing like I expected it to be.
The two master classes I attended were worth every cent. The fiction writing one reinforced many things I knew, and showed me lots of things I didn’t. Or should I say it showed me things I knew, but hadn’t acknowledged I knew—those vague snippets of information that sit in the subconscious and act without me realising. It’s good to have the out in the open, so to speak.
The travel writing class. Wow. Just wow. The class was taught by Tim Cope, who had spent two and a half years riding across Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan to the Danube. He gave a small grabs of the story as he explained how his editor helped him to shape his writing and give it focus and theme. I was impressed how Tim gave credit where it was due, sharing his (often harsh) critiques with us to help us grow in our writing. He never once implied writing beautifully had come naturally to him, and freely acknowledged the work of his editor in teaching him the craft. I now have so many ideas for my upcoming trip to the States. I can visualise a companion book to my two series; a story of discovering the places that are familiar to me because of my writing, and connecting my travel to the stories in my books.
One the real highlights was meeting Tigon, Tim Cope’s dog. He was given to Tim in Kazakhstan, and travels Australia with Tim whenever possible. Tigon slept for the first part of the class, and then woke so he could make the rounds of all the attendees, collecting pats and back scratches.
Probably the biggest thing I learned from the whole festival is to seize opportunities when they come along. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not big on doing writing classes, but if I hadn’t gone to the ones I did, I would have missed so much.
I'm not big on doing writing courses, but this week I’m off to do some professional development for my writer life.
The Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival 2017 is on in Hobart and I’m off to learn more about writing. In fact, I’ve already started. Yesterday I attending a Creative Writing Masterclass (sounds impressive, huh?) and today a Travel Writing Masterclass is on the agenda. Great timing, I know! Tomorrow I’ll be going to a couple of sessions on Adventure Writing, and Story and Science.
The festival is only run every two years and this may in fact be the last. The current arts funding has been cut to the organisation that runs the festival, the Tasmanian Writers Centre, so the future looks shaky.
All the more reason to go along.
I’ve linked to the programme here, and I encourage you to have a look at what’s on offer—and that includes you readers out there! You don’t have to be a writer to enjoy the sessions.
Maybe I’ll see you there!
Can you remember learning to read? I guess most of us were so young when we started that we don’t recall the process. I can’t. I have absolutely no memory of learning—it feels to me as though I’ve been reading all of my life. I know I started early. Apparently I used to steal my older brother’s readers and read them before he could. Yet another cause of sibling arguments in our home, no doubt!
Mum and Dad really encouraged my reading. I remember Mum was always bringing books home for me and allowing me to browse shelves at second hand shops. I read books over and over again and kept some favourites for many years. I went through phases of likes: The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, Kit Hunter, any book on witches I could find, and classics like Black Beauty and National Velvet. There was one time I would only borrow the thickest books I could find in the library, and as I went through the teenage years I read every doctor/nurse romance and the like the town library could supply. Then my parents introduced me to Georgette Heyer. Dad gave me ‘The Conqueror’ to read when we studied William the Conqueror in Year 7, and I proceeded to annoy my history teacher by knowing everything there was to know on the subject. I have read all of Heyer’s historical books, and own the complete collection—including the rare ones. Dad also gave me my first Horatio Hornblower book (historical British navy- read them all), and the Richard Bolitho books of the same genre. These days I absorb thrillers, and romance, at a steady rate, which explains the genre I write! I could go on and on and on, but I’ll leave it there.
I consider myself lucky to be a bookworm, and I can thank my parents for fostering my love of reading. In the end we shared reading. They would recommend books to me, and I would recommend books to them. Both of my parents have now passed away, but I have friends and work colleagues who are only too happy to pass on books and recommendations, so the supply is still coming.
Writers are told that to write, you must read, and read a lot. This has to be one of the few pieces of writing advice I not only agree with, but follow. I don't always read 'new' books, in fact I spend a lot of time re-reading books. These days I am trying to branch out a little and read things I wouldn't normally consider (Except erotica. Nope. Just no!). I've finished reading a thriller and my next book is about a trek on the Kokoda Trail.
I’d be happy to hear your recommendations! Any genre, fiction or nonfiction—whatever you’ve read and enjoyed. Just leave a comment!
I bought this book as it promised a short, exciting read. Wow! It started off gently, but steadily built, and built with suspense. Each time I thought I might have the end in sight and know the ‘who’, it would take off on a different line.
And then there was the incredible, not-at-all-anticipated twist at the end that stunned me.
A brilliantly crafted and well-paced story that certainly kept me turning the pages. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes something that gets the heartrate up with a twist in the tale.
Available on Amazon (AU) here
Since watching the very first episode of CSI, I have found forensics fascinating. So what’s the news in the forensics world? Check out these stories…
From Science Daily:
Oral bacteria helping to estimate time since death
A recent study has looked at the changes in oral bacteria in decomposing bodies. It has shown that in each test subject, the changes progressed at a similar rate. The researchers hope to be able to use the knowledge as a way of estimating time since death.
Read more here:
Getting DNA from explosives
A team of researchers are developing ways to optimise the recovery of DNA from detonated pipe bombs. The process of obtaining DNA is difficult due to the heat caused by the blast, or low amounts of DNA. The new methods have been successful in identifying the ancestry of suspects in most laboratory tests.
Read more here:
Forensic analysis of fingermarks
Researchers are using lasers to remove fingermarks from materials so they can be analysed using spectrometry techniques. By doing this they can capture and analyse proteins, genetic material, explosives, etc.
Read more here:
From Forensic Magazine:
Predicting crime using Twitter
An Assistant Professor in Virginia has developed a statistical method for predicting crime by analysing Tweets. During a recent test, he predicted 19 out of 25 crime types.
Read more here:
A new spray gel to be used in Co-op ATMs
Anyone who tries to break into a Co-operative (UK) ATM will now be sprayed with a long lasting gel. The invisible gel will stay on the skin and clothes for up to a year. Note – the summary of the article didn’t say so, but I assume the police have a method of detecting the gel.
Read more here:
What's it about?
It's about words and my life as a writer. There are also tips for those starting their writing journey, with a focus on self-publishing, and encouragement all round.