Precisely perfect

I love repurposing. This nifty ruler happens to be made from an old timber Venetian blind slat. The maker, his stamp is shown, was the man who meticulously built the Jabiru plane from kit-form that my son just bought from his place in Sale, Victoria.

He is a bit of an engineer and makes die cuts for all sorts of things with incredibly intricate machinery. This skill gave Rory confidence in his purchase decision, and considering I sat in the plane at between 2000-7000feet above the Nullarbor for four flying days to meet the West coast. I’m pleased he chose well.

Anyway I just love the simplicity of this little ruler which will take pride of place on my writing desk when I get home.





My Space

img_4728Here’s a photo of my upgraded bedside desk (only quiet place for me here). Just added the shelving – I bought two sets years ago, one lot went into our kitchen and we unearthed this set from the garage yesterday. I have no excuses not to write now and am excited to come here to work. Our room has a nice feeling of peace and light, (you can see the daylight in this pic and even as dusk approaches I sit here making shadows). There’s gum trees outside the window and birds chatter and bicker as they settle in to roost now that  it’s cooled down. I have everything I need here.

Xxx jay

Popular Romance


The Romance Story in Popular Culture



Last weekend, I attended the 25th Anniversary Romance Writers of Australia Conference at the Stamford Grand Hotel, Glenelg, South Australia. It was a grand affair, fitting of the venue and the theme: Ain’t Love Grand. This year the RWA aligned with Flinders University to present a parallel academic stream of workshops available to the 400 delegates there. I was really keen to meet up with some of my favourite authors and to feast on the writing workshops from international and local guest writers and publishers, but the academic stream piqued my interest. On the evening of my arrival, prior to day one, I put off checking into my beckoning 5-star luxury beachside accomodation to attend a free public event in Adelaide city; Representations of Love and Romance: Scholars and Authors in conversation. Scholars from the University of Alabama, Melbourne University, and the University of Western Australia, as well as a Medieval Historian, NY Times bestselling author Heather Graham, romance author May McGoldrick and Hollywood script consultant Michael Hauge, formed a panel to discuss the writing and representation of romance in popular culture.

My eyes were opened: popular romance books perhaps do not denigrate women as mindless waifs waiting to be swept off their feet to ride off into the sunset with a handsome, but often harsh princely type. Rather, they can teach us about dreams and relationships in ways that women want them to be: she wants to fall in love with the hero – who must have integrity and be lovable, and the heroine will overcome trials, be in control, can keep her career and – horror of horrors – even have a past!

I ponder about other forms and genres of popular escapism and fantasy. The notion of romance is rooted deeply in our popular culture: from the Bible, in songs, advertising, and high culture, there is a powerful romantic narrative of how to live the good life.

Why can romance be generally regarded as acceptable, but seen as mindless and embarrassing in print? To expand on this question, here’s an article that appeared in The Guardian newspaper this week:

As for myself, in between reading more literary tomes, for respite I love to devour rural romances and what I loosely term women’s fiction. So why do I shamefully drop the Romance/Women’s tag, to Rural/General fiction when I describe my choices? Do you?

I have just learned that romantic fiction is the biggest publishing sector in the world: that there are entire societies of romance fiction enthusiasts, practitioners and scholars in its grip. At the Conference I finally found a safe place to come out. When asked “What do you write?” I found myself answering, “Historical rural fiction, ummm,” head nodding and bright-eyed, “with romantic elements!”

What do YOU read and write?

#PopularRomanceStudies #WomensFiction #RuralRomance #WhatWomenWantToRead #AintLoveGrand #RomanceWritersOfAustralia


Travel inspiration through reading…


Name a book that inspired you to travel to the setting location….

This morning I read a great blog post by Rachael Johns who travelled to Bent, Oregon, USA, to research a novel series she’s working on. She asked followers to tell her about a book that inspired the travel bug… Here’s my response to her, which I’m hoping will win me a copy of one of her books!

I’m delighted to share my book of travel inspiration – yet to be realised mind you. At the age of 10, just before WW2, Gerald Durrell and his crazy family went to live on the Greek Isle of Corfu. They spent five years there and had wonderful and curious relationships with the locals. Gerald, born to be a Naturalist, would spend his days avoiding the family, by going off on nature and wildlife adventures in a little row boat to drop into villages along the shores and head up into the hills. He had the most wonderful encounters with local olive and grape growers and fishing families, all adoring his visits, some providing a second home for the lucky boy, plying him with all kinds of food and treats. So, “My Family and Other Animals” captured my heart and mind from about the same age Gerald was while in Greece and Corfu – around 12. It fostered my love of books, animals, other cultures and places far far away…. Jay xxx