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June 19, 2014 / diannegray

Freebie, pitcher picture and anniversary

Just a quick update to let you know my novel Let Sleeping Gods Lie is free on Amazon until Sat 22 June. Pick up a copy, I promise you won’t be disappointed. This novel is set in Australia and the scenery is based on the land around the farm where I live. The story is about a man called Nick who returns home to visit his estranged family of cult members. Nick has a demon on his back and the closer he gets to the truth, the harder it is to shake it off. For some reason I have no reviews on Amazon for this one (there are reviews on other sites) so if you decide to read it, please feel free to leave a review.

The other day when I was wandering around the garden I noticed my Pitcher Plant was in bloom. It’s an odd looking thing!



Do you like chilli plants? While I was hacking my way through the rainforest of my yard weeding the other day I found two Bird’s Eye chilli plants. I’ve picked some of the chillies and am going to infuse them in oil to add to anything I feel like eating HOT!

Chilli 004


I received a notice from Word Press on Monday congratulating me for my 2 Year Blogging Anniversary.

Whoopee – congrats to me! 

June 4, 2014 / diannegray

What is your life theme?

I’ve finished my latest novel The Devil Seam and have sent it off to my first Beta reader for comment. Thank you to all those who encouraged me (and cracked the whip!) when I posted about the pain of finding a good ending. I finally found an ending I loved after a week of cleaning, mowing, sanding and painting!

There is a scene in The Devil Seam where the two main characters have a short discussion and differing opinion about the theme of a certain book. I’m sure you all know what a theme is – a universal idea or message carried through a book (music or art); a thread woven through a story which can be a lesson about life or humanity, good overcoming evil, survival, chaos and order, everlasting love, fear of failure (the list just goes on and on).

This got me thinking about life themes. When I finished the book a few friends came over to help me celebrate so I asked them about their life themes. If they had to describe a theme or thread running through their life, what would it be?

What an interesting discussion! At first there was a fair bit of thinking going on. This wasn’t something anyone could come up within five minutes, but during the course of the evening life themes began to sprout and grow.

The life themes that emerged were – fear of failure, overcoming loss, belief that true love conquers all, greed and downfall, faith and doubt, the search for truth, and the will to survive.

Have you ever thought about your life theme, maybe you have more than one?

Feel free to share your thoughts about life themes in the comments.

In the meantime I took another video of the morning birds from my veranda. I did it mainly to compare it to the last one to see how much the sugar cane flowers had taken over the countryside.

The first video was taken three weeks ago and the second was taken this morning. I couldn’t zoom in on the second one because the sugar cane flowers in the foreground made the trees blurry.

They’re only 30 seconds long and even if you don’t watch them, you can clearly see from the still shot what an amazing difference three weeks makes!

 I hope you have a wonderful week!

May 28, 2014 / diannegray

The Life Enthusiast Chronicles with Dianne

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The lovely and talented Britt Skrabanek posts a monthly series called The Life Enthusiast Chronicles. This month she has featured yours truly. Head on over and check it out :)

Originally posted on a physical perspective:

Last month blogger gal pal Kate Johnston revealed her passion for wolves, encouraging us to take a moment to think about how much we could save if we all fought for something wild. In my series, The Life Enthusiast Chronicles, fantastic humans from all over uncover what makes them passionate about life.

Today I’m stoked to bring you—all the way from Australia—Dianne Gray. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Dianne through the blogging universe. Along the way I have found a fellow writer with a heart of gold, someone I look up to very much. So far, of her many novels out there, I have only read “The Everything Theory”…and I was blown away. Beyond the amazing award-winning author that she is, Dianne is a terrific human who has a knack for making us laugh and cry as we read her blog which explores the beautiful transitions of life. She’s a Life…

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May 22, 2014 / diannegray

Writing a good ending

While procrastinating pondering on the ending of my new book The Devil Seam I’ve chosen to do a lot of things I wouldn’t normally do (washing clothes, vacuuming floors, repainting a wall here and there, staring blankly at the sugar cane flowers, watching the weeds grow) – you know, the sorts of things that help put off the inevitable.

Cane flowers 009

View from the veranda – the sugar cane in flower!

View from the ground looking up - yikes it's tall!

View from the ground looking up – yikes it’s tall!

Don't leave your vehicle parked in my yard for too long, or nature will reclaim it

Watch those weeds grow! Don’t leave your vehicle parked in my yard for too long or nature will reclaim it.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the ending of my novels because I absolutely love a good ending. I also believe if someone is going to invest time and money to read a book, I really think they should get bang for their buck and feel like they’ve been thoroughly entertained when they read those last words. My greatest satisfaction is the thought of someone getting to the end of one of my stories and saying ‘WOW!’

There are about three good scenarios to end The Devil Seam and I’m trying to decide which one I should use.

In the meantime, the indecision on the ending is distracting me so much that I decided to set it aside for a few days and spend some time putting excerpts of my other novels on Goodreads and WordPress. They are only one or two pages long so if you’ve got a moment feel free to have a read.

Do you like a good ending in a movie or book? Do you find it hard to write endings, or do you start at the end and work backwards?

May 14, 2014 / diannegray

RUC – The Big Room

big room

I’m still working on The Big Room in the RUC but I thought I’d share some before and after shots with you.

I’ve actually named them before and after, but upon reflection I’m thinking it’s probably pretty obvious (I hope!)

Kick off your shoes – enjoy a tea, coffee, wine or beer and come in and relax with me.


To do list

  • rehang doors to bedrooms
  • paint door architraves
  • put in thresholds
  • hang pictures on walls (and I’ve got a LOT of pictures – lucky I’ve got a lot of walls).

I’ve put a mud map below of the RUC so you can see where I’m working. I’m not very good at architectural drafting, so bear with me. A couple of people have asked me to do this because they can’t picture the entire place when I’m talking about the parts I’m working on.

So far I’ve put up before and after shots of the kitchen and writer’s nook. Now it’s time for…

…wait for the drum roll


image courtesy: Clipart

The big room

The RUC is a perfect square (although, I’m not sure if my silly drawing looks like a perfect square, so just pretend). And The Big Room is slap bang in the middle (the white part in case you missed it) ;)

The front door faces due South.

Did you count the amount of doors I had to sand & paint/varnish and repair? Ick!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the RUC you may be a little shocked at the before pictures. The RUC was an empty building for some years and was going to be demolished when we saved it and moved it to the farm. I even have a copy of the demolition order! Vagrants had lived in it for some time. There was a fair bit of ‘street art’ on the walls (I say street art, but there was no art to it) and I removed it before I took the before pictures because it was pretty disgusting, so you don’t have to worry about seeing amateur street art in this post. However, I did leave the painted feet on the floor for a while (even though those feet annoyed me for some time!)

We put fibre cement sheeting beneath the revamped floor. I would never have thought of this, but hubby has worked in the fire protection industry for so many years that this was the first thing he thought of. Fire safety is his number one concern and the sheeting now ensures if there is a fire in the man cave below it won’t spread to the floorboards above. The exterior cladding on the RUC is also made of the same material in the event of a bush fire that spreads to the sugar cane (God forbid).  This is something I would never have thought of – so thanks hubby for keeping us safe!

The book shelves you see on the walls were the old Rugby Union Club trophy cabinets (Silky Oak). I removed the top curly bits and I’m going to make shelves out of them.

Check out the front door in the first photo. I scraped/burned/sanded nine coats of paint off that to discover it’s beautiful Silky Oak wood.






 I hope you enjoyed your visit!

Now – I’d better get back to work :D


May 12, 2014 / diannegray

A cool editing tip – ninja typos

I’m almost finished one of the three WIPs I’ve been working on. It’s called The Devil Seam and is about a best-selling author who is kidnapped by a serial killer who wants her to write his life story. As with most of my books it’s got twists and turns and has been a lot of fun in the making.

I’ve only got one chapter to go and when I get to this stage of the process I start editing.

One thing I notice when I write is (I) have the annoying habit (of) leaving out small words (in) the manuscript. When I first started writing (I) would get my manuscript back (from) an editor (or) beta reader and it would look (a) bit like this paragraph (well, not quite this bad, but you get my drift). Other mistakes I can make are leaving the r off her or writing were instead of where and of instead of off or if – those kind of annoying little things.

I’m sure I do this because my mind races ahead when I write. I’ve got the entire scene in my head and my brain is ten steps ahead of my fingers that are trying to catch up on the keyboard.

I call these kinds of typos ninja typos because they’re so well camouflaged – particularly in the eyes of the author. When I read my manuscript I usually read what I intended to write, and sometimes this isn’t what is actually on the page. Occasionally I’ll see one and then I get caught up in the story and my mind skips over them again. I read somewhere that even the best editors find it hard to pick up two of these ninja typos if they’re in the same sentence.

I’ve discovered a way to pick these up. It can be fairly painful at times, but it’s well worth the effort. I have Adobe Reader read the manuscript to me electronically. The electronic voice doesn’t know the story or get caught up in the action of the big fight scene or the love scenes or the cliff-hangers. It just reads every word that is typed on the page (in a very monotone voice).

You don’t get the inflections you would if a real reader was reading it (this is why it can be painful), but you certainly pick up missed words or the occasional misspelling (for example, scrap vs scrape).

It’s not a cure-all, but it goes a long way to assist in the editing process.

How this is done.

  • Save As – your manuscript to PDF
  • Once it is saved, go to View – Read Out Loud
  • Activate Read Out Loud
  • Click on paragraphs and the reader will read it to you.

I did this yesterday and picked up about 10 mistakes in 30,000 words so my fingers must be getting faster on the keyboard!

In the meantime, here’s a picture of the first flowers on my Frangipani. I planted the tree from a cutting earlier this year.


Have a great week and happy editing!

May 9, 2014 / diannegray

Allow me to bore you

I was sitting on the writer’s nook this morning having breakfast and watching the noisy (cockatoo) neighbours when I thought I should film them to bring you a little closer to my world (you know how much I love to bore people). Lucky for you this video only goes for 30 seconds.

I had to cut the beginning and end off the video because my stomach kept rumbling in the background.

A few weeks back I talked about the rat that had eaten the fruit in my kitchen. Since then, I’ve made sure there is absolutely nothing in the kitchen every night and it hasn’t been back.

However, I think this rat may have been searching through my bookshelf and found The Art of War. One of it’s favourite quotes must be, “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” 

Last night I left my Mother-in-Law’s (M-I-L) Mother’s Day present on the bench. When I woke up this morning I found it on the lounge-room floor (the rat must have picked it up and carried it there).

Sorry Lindt, and M-I-L, and chocolate lovers all over the world (you may need some time alone after viewing this picture).

rat eaten chocolate 002


I think it’s time to invite M-I-L’s cats for a sleepover…



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