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May 2, 2016 / diannegray


After scoring a bronze in the Ruth Rendell short story award I’ve now been commissioned to write another story. I’ve been doing a happy dance since receiving this news yesterday – but it’s probably time to hang up my dancing shoes and get to work!

So I guess you’re wondering why I named this post Ulysses. 

It could be because I once read Ulysses by James Joyce as a bet with a friend who said I’d never get through it. Well, I got through it and at times it was a struggle but I’m really glad I did. Parts of it are completely unreadable, but I think this was due to the author experimenting with different styles of writing and use of language. Other parts of it flow like poetry and leave you with an overwhelming feeling that you’ve just stumbled upon the most beautiful words ever written. The most important lesson I learned from reading this book that there is no right way to write a story – be yourself, think like a child, write from your heart.

The other reason I could have named this post Ulysses is because I stumbled across a beautiful butterfly on my dog walk the other day. The Blue Mountain (or Ulysses) butterfly with its iridescent electric blue wings is unique to this part of the world. It was once a threatened species, but due to dedicated conservationists it’s now more prevalent.

Do you realise how hard it is to get a photo of these beauties? They move so fast! This one stayed still for me – what a star.

It’s just a baby – but still colourful.

Blue mountain butterfly

Then I saw this one – I don’t know the name for it but I see them everywhere here.
It must have been a good day for butterfliesButterfly

xxx Have a wonderful week! xxx


Leave a Comment
  1. tchistorygal / May 2 2016 7:36 am

    Congrats, Dianne. How long will this project take you, or do they give you a deadline?

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 2 2016 8:19 am

      Thanks so much, Marsha. No deadline, but it should only take about a week because I had already started on a several great stories (my muse is up and running faster than ever) – and I’m thrilled. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • tchistorygal / May 2 2016 9:57 am

        A week???? Wow! I’m so impressed! BTW I love your butterflies, too. Would you like to do an interview or a podcast after it comes out?

        Liked by 1 person

      • diannegray / May 3 2016 5:45 am

        Sounds fantastic, Marsha 😀


  2. Theo Fenraven / May 2 2016 7:43 am

    I love butterflies. 🙂 These are beauties.

    Congrats on the new writing assignment!

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 2 2016 8:22 am

      You know how difficult it is to photograph butterflies – so I knew you’d appreciate these ones 😀 Thanks so much for the congrats, it’s always a thrill to think people are interested in your writing xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Theo Fenraven / May 2 2016 8:36 am

        I have a big collection of butterfly photos. They’re gorgeous! Each so different from one another.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. the eternal traveller / May 2 2016 7:48 am

    Dianne, how exciting. Congratulations! You did well to get such nice photos of these butterflies. They don’t stay still for long.

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 2 2016 8:23 am

      Absolutely right! Wow, they’re swift little creatures. I’m usually chasing them with my camera outstretched while I’m tripping over branches and stones – these ones were perfectly behaved 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill Weatherholt / May 2 2016 7:50 am

    Congratulations on another story, Dianne! That’s wonderful news. 🙂 Wow! Your photos are beautiful! I’ve always loved butterflies. Happy Writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 2 2016 8:24 am

      Thanks so much, Jill! I’ll be typing away madly (yes – that’s a good word) today 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Carrie Rubin / May 2 2016 7:51 am

    I’m pretty sure I’d never make it through Ulysses. You deserve a treat for that. Gorgeous butterflies, though.

    Best of luck with your new story. Congrats again on your win!


    • diannegray / May 2 2016 8:28 am

      Thanks so much, Carrie. This writing life is a roller-coaster. I think my muse is making up for the flat spot I’ve been in for the past few years because the stories have been coming thick and fast. I’ve been writing about 2,000 words a day for the last few weeks so this commission has come just at the right time 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amy Reese / May 2 2016 7:52 am

    Congratulations of the commission, Dianne! What great news. Good for you for reading Ulysses. I believe that one one was assigned, but I don’t remember it very well. Thanks for sharing these little lovelies with us. What a nice thing to come across on a walk!


    • diannegray / May 2 2016 8:30 am

      Thanks so much, Amy 😀 It was a lovely surprise (just when I needed the boost) 😀
      Ulysses is a slog to get through (and a huge book!) but I’m glad I got through it xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy Reese / May 2 2016 1:53 pm

        Good luck with the story, Dianne. Not that you need it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • diannegray / May 3 2016 5:48 am

        Thanks so much, Amy. I’ve never been commissioned to write a story before and I’m thinking ‘what if they hate it?’ LOL 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amy Reese / May 3 2016 2:30 pm

        They won’t. They’ll love it!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. avwalters / May 2 2016 7:56 am

    I made it to page 79, twice. Congrats on the commission, but even more so on finishing Ulysses. (Nice Butterfly, too.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 2 2016 8:31 am

      Haaaaaa! I actually think that’s as far as my friend made it as well and he is a prolific reader 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. JackieP / May 2 2016 8:21 am

    Now I know who to hit up when I want someone to read a long book for a bet. hahaha! Congrats on the winning of bronze and the new writing gig! 🙂 Flutterbys are always beautiful and that blue one is amazing!


    • diannegray / May 2 2016 8:33 am

      The bet is on, Jackie haaaa! Love it 😀

      Thanks so much for the congrats and I’m so glad you love those little flutterbys 😀


      • JackieP / May 2 2016 9:02 am

        I’ll have to think of a good bet then. 😉 xxx

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Jacqui Murray / May 2 2016 8:28 am

    That’s a great weekly quote–be yourself, think like a child, write from your heart. I will aspire to that for the next seven days.

    Liked by 2 people

    • diannegray / May 3 2016 5:41 am

      I hope it works for you, Jacqui 😀 It works for me xxxx


  10. mcwoman / May 2 2016 9:42 am

    Congrats on the award, Dianne! It’s nice to have people concur one is a good writer. As far as Ulysses, I had to read the damn book in college–after 25 years, my eyes glaze over by the very mention of the book. Can’t say I was (or am) a fan.

    Liked by 2 people

    • diannegray / May 3 2016 5:44 am

      It can certainly be an eyes glazer, Barb!

      Thank you so much for the congrats 😀


  11. Pagadan / May 2 2016 11:54 am

    I admire you for having read Ulysses… That’s almost as impressive as winning the bronze! Congratulations! Twice!!


    • diannegray / May 3 2016 5:46 am

      Thanks, Joy. I’m not sure which one is the bigger achievement 😉


  12. anotherday2paradise / May 2 2016 12:39 pm

    I just finished writing my butterfly post for tomorrow, and then I see your beautiful photos. Ulysses is so magnificent, and the black and yellow one isn’t too shabby either. 🙂 Congrats on your commission. Wonderful news! 🙂


  13. Photos With Finesse / May 2 2016 2:24 pm

    Congrats on the bronze award! And your butterflies are lovely. I’ve only seen those blue ones in captivity (our zoo usually has a couple), and they are lightning fast even in an enclosed butterfly house! (We did actually have them fluttering around one of our neighbourhoods in 2013 after our massive flood shattered the windows of the conservatory they were kept in! Sadly I still didn’t manage to capture one ‘on film’.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 3 2016 5:50 am

      They are really elusive, Suzan. I usually see a blue flash and they’re gone! I’ve tripped a few time trying to chase them. Luckily this one stayed still long enough for me to snap 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  14. pommepal / May 2 2016 2:48 pm

    Congratulations on the new assignment Dianne, I’m so pleased to hear that you have bounced back into top gear. Those butterflies are gorgeous, well done I know how difficult they are to capture having stalked many and never yet managed to get that beautiful Ulysses, they are a real icon of the tropics as they flit through the trees, and always produce a gasp of wonder..

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 3 2016 5:55 am

      You are so right, Pauline. I usually only capture a glimpse of that electric blue flash and they’re gone!
      And thank you for the congrats. I can feel myself getting back to normal (whatever that is for me – lol) and coming to terms with the death of my mother. I just need to get through Mother’s Day and I’ll be right 🙂


      • pommepal / May 3 2016 7:22 am

        Mother’s day will be sad for you, be gentle with yourself and celebrate the memories.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. davidprosser / May 2 2016 5:25 pm

    Huge Congratulations on the commission Dianne. Enjoy the writing. The photographs are great and well caught. You’ll have to have a camera to hand next time you go walkabout.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 3 2016 5:57 am

      Thank you so much for the congrats David. It’s wonderful to know that our creativity is appreciated by others (the icing on the cake, as they say). 🙂
      xxx Massive Hugs right back at you xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  16. nrhatch / May 2 2016 11:23 pm

    Go you!
    Have fun musing with your muse.


    • diannegray / May 3 2016 5:59 am

      My muse is going ballistic at the moment, Nancy – wow, I must have done something right! 😀


  17. Andrea Stephenson / May 3 2016 12:31 am

    Congratulations Dianne! Beautiful butterflies 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Cynthia Reyes / May 3 2016 12:59 am

    Hooray, Dianne! On the good news, on the butterflies, and for this lovely post. Hooray!

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 3 2016 6:01 am

      Thank you, Cynthia! It’s wonderful when you know all that hard work is appreciated by others 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  19. danniehill / May 3 2016 12:59 am

    You’re a winner, Dianne! Very nice award. I like your philosophy on writing is close to mind, except instead of thinking like a child I like to act like a child… Well done, pretty lady

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 3 2016 6:02 am

      Haaaaa – I love it, Dannie – act like a child! That made me laugh 😀

      You’re wonderful xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Kate Johnston / May 3 2016 1:05 am

    Those flutter-bies were posing for you! Congrats on your award and your book prospects!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 3 2016 6:03 am

      Thanks so much, Kate. I love those flutter-bies – especially when they flutter-stop for me! 😀


  21. claudiamariefit / May 3 2016 4:55 am

    This is so beautiful!! I remember when I used to live in Cairns, I would always stop whatever I was doing when the ulysses butterfly would cross my path. It is weird but every time I would see one – something postive would happen that day.

    I love butterflies but this one is so special.

    Thank you for making my day, Dianne!

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 3 2016 6:05 am

      Awww – that’s so lovely, Claudia! This little one must have bought me some luck! I’d never thought of that 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Janna G. Noelle / May 3 2016 5:25 am

    Congrats on your bronze win, your commission, and getting the photo of the Ulysses! You’re right about how hard it is to get butterflies to model for you.


    • diannegray / May 3 2016 6:05 am

      It’s great when things start falling into place, Janna. Thank you 😀


  23. Luanne / May 3 2016 8:16 am

    Congrats on the story commission (and the prize)!!! So wonderful for you and SO deserving, Dianne! The butterflies are stunning. I enjoyed taking photos of the ones at the pavilion here, but these are wild!!! What a thrill!


    • Luanne / May 3 2016 8:16 am

      Oops, and I’ve read Ulysses! Such an odd book, but I know what you mean about how some places are breath-taking. So odd!


    • diannegray / May 3 2016 2:21 pm

      We have a butterfly sanctuary here as well, Luanne, but you’re right, it’s such a thrill seeing them in the wild! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  24. EllaDee / May 3 2016 10:41 am

    I loved the story that got you the place in the Ruth Rendell short story award… but then I again, I love all your stories 🙂 Congratulations on the new story commission. I’ve never read Ulysses… seemed a bit daunting, but I might give it a go one day as your explanation makes it less intimidating and more interesting. The gorgeous butterflies are such a gift. I love seeing them in the garden. You’ve dne well to take such good shots of them.


    • diannegray / May 3 2016 2:25 pm

      I hope everything is going well at TA for you, Dale. It can be a very busy life when we move to the country! Make sure you have your camera ready to capture those beautiful birds and butterflies 😉

      And thanks so much for the congratulations and the lovely comment about my writing xxxx


  25. jmmcdowell / May 4 2016 8:09 am

    Congratulations on the award and commission! 🙂 And when it comes to choosing a favorite Ulysses, hands down the butterfly wins! No contest at all, really. 😉


    • diannegray / May 5 2016 8:00 am

      I really is a beauty! And thank you so much for the congrats, my dear 😀


  26. agjorgenson / May 4 2016 12:04 pm

    Wow, what lovely photos! And thanks for the great reminder about what writing is about. Congrats on the award and good luck on the next steps!


  27. ramblingsfromamum / May 4 2016 7:17 pm

    I’m sorry I’m late, I haven’t been reading many people’s posts the last few weeks. Congratulations on the commissioning. Well done darlin and for the exsquisite photos of our beautiful creatures, the butterflies. Down to work for you now ~ be yourself, think like a child, write from your heart. 😘


    • diannegray / May 5 2016 8:03 am

      It’s great to see you here, Jen! I totally understand why you’ve been away from blogs and you’re not late at all – it’s always a pleasure to see your beautiful face here xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Charissa / May 5 2016 2:52 am

    Great news about the writing. Good luck with that. And that blue butterfly is gorgeous beyond belief. I Love it! You have such cool creatures there.I’m glad you share them.


    • diannegray / May 5 2016 8:04 am

      Those blue butterflies are just beautiful, Char and I love that you love this one too! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  29. roughwighting / May 6 2016 7:57 pm

    Ohhh, Dianne. This post is so beautiful in so many ways. I could never see the point In Ulysses – if parts of a book are unreadable or at least un-understandable, why write it, or read it? But you put an entire new (florescent blue) light on the matter. I’m now INSPRIRED by Ulysses because you are so right, the book shows us how to write what we are, think, breathe; to write from the child within us, and from the heart, and to believe in whatever we write and how we write it. That said, GOOD LUCK with your new story. I am very anxious to read it when you’re done and ready to share. Let’s all keep that magnificent Ulysses butterfly in our hearts and minds as we write our stories.


    • diannegray / May 7 2016 8:23 am

      What a beautiful comment, Pam! I love the fact that you talk about keeping that beautiful Ulysses butterfly in our hearts and minds as we write – wow, your words are so wonderful!
      I’m so glad you found this post inspiring 😀 We all need little inspiration in our lives xxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • roughwighting / May 7 2016 9:56 pm

        I’m looking for a butterfly memento (blue if possible) of some kind to place next to my writing computer. Anything that reminds us, right? xo


      • diannegray / May 9 2016 8:22 am

        What a fantastic idea xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  30. Roy McCarthy / May 7 2016 3:15 am

    Excellent and encouraging news on the writing front Diane. I think I read Ulysses many years ago but maybe I dreamt it.


    • diannegray / May 7 2016 8:25 am

      Haaaa – you sound like me. Roy (did I really do that or did I dream it?) This comment gave me a good giggle. Have a lovely weekend, my friend xxxx


  31. ParentingIsFunny / May 9 2016 7:29 am

    Congratulations on the short story! And nabbing a picture of the shy baby Ulysses butterfly. It’s beautiful!


    • diannegray / May 9 2016 8:23 am

      Thank you so much for the congrats and I’m so glad you love that beautiful blue butterfly! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Sheila Morris / May 10 2016 12:31 pm

    Congratulations on the bronze award, my favorite Australian Author Dianne Gray!! That’s truly exciting, and I am so happy for you!! Keep up the good work…:)
    Those butterfly pictures are amazing – really terrific!! You have come a long way in your photography. I can see you love it.
    Now get to work!! 🙂


    • diannegray / May 11 2016 10:07 am

      Thanks so much, Sheila! – for the congrats for the award and the photos 😀 I hope all is well on your side of the world xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  33. restlessjo / May 11 2016 4:39 am

    Thank you for the butterflies and enjoy writing your story x


  34. Prior-2001 / May 11 2016 7:51 am

    oh I do know how hard it is to capture butterflies – and I have a blue butterfly story to share someday – from 2010 – and I will try and come back to share it. anyhow, not only did you get this shot – but the rich, deep velvet blue is wonderful.
    and yawn to getting thru JJ’s Ulysses- seriously admire this even tho you share about it in such humble way – and love your tip about “no right way to write” – because I think when writers try to hard they lose their essence and their voice – which is what we want and need.

    and ok author Di, I have a quick grammar question for you regarding the use of a comma before the conjunction but….

    in your two sentences below – is there a reason to not use a comma before the but in the first sentence- and this is a legit question because I am so curious – ?

    Well, I got through it and at times it was a struggle but I’m really glad I did. Parts of it are completely unreadable, but I think this was due to the author experimenting with different styles of writing and use of language.

    Liked by 1 person

    • diannegray / May 11 2016 10:14 am

      Haaaaa – I love this comment! I don’t know much about grammar – I just write it like I say it and if I take a breath during the sentence I put in a comma (LOL).

      I can’t wait to hear about your blue butterfly story 😀


      • Prior-2001 / May 14 2016 5:36 pm

        Hey (first -typo for the word TOO (add an o for me) ha!
        and I hope it was clear that I quoted you in the ending of my comment – I was mobile and so things were “fast” typing – sorry
        and thx for the grammar feedback – you rock!

        and best wishes with your writing- I kind of feel excited about it too – that is so funny to me – but is another reason why I like blogging – the sharing of life’s different moments and glad your muse is awake….

        Liked by 1 person

  35. harulawordsthatserve / May 13 2016 12:20 am

    Hey Dear Dianne 🙂 That blue butterfly is INCREDIBLE!!! Australia sure seems to have lucked out when it came to creation deciding where to share out the birds and beasts! Great news on the commission, and even greater news that your muse is fully in residence – that must feel so good. I read in the other comments…2000 words a day?!?! Amazing! Love and blessings, Harula xxx


    • diannegray / May 13 2016 12:01 pm

      Thank you so much, Harula! It always puts a smile on my face when I see you here 😀


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