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June 27, 2016 / diannegray

Add book previews to your blog

I came across this trick the other day and thought I’d share it because (I think) it’s so cool.

On the right side of this page are pictures of my books. If you clicked on the picture of the book it used to just take you to my amazon page where my books are located (boring!)

But I’ve changed that after finding this cool little trick. Now if you click on the book it will take you to the actual story so you can start reading. To get back here, you just go to the top left of the book page and click on the back arrow. I think it gives you about 20 pages.

People often ask me which of my books I can recommend for them and I never really know what to say. There are several reasons for this:

  1. I like them all
  2. I write cross-genre so it depends on which genre interests you
  3. I’m the laziest marketer in the world

But with this new trick, you can start reading them all and find the one(s) you like. Also, if you’re reviewing someone’s book you can put a preview of it on your blog (saves you the time to put in quotes from the book).

When I tested it out it took me to the Australian version of Amazon, so if you live in the US, UK, Canada etc. let me know if it doesn’t work (and I’ll probably cry and start all over again).

Here’s how you can do it if you have books on Kindle:

  1. Find the book you want to share
  2. Click the “Embed” link next to the other sharing options to get the Kindle instant preview.
  3. Copy the URL
  4. Link the URL to the picture of your book and place it on the widgets page where you want it to go on your blog

….in the meantime – my Guinea Fowl are doing wonderfully well and have started sleeping in the big mango tree behind the RUC instead of in the sugar cane. There are still four of them and I’m setting up a nesting spot for them in the back shed. It’s amazing how excited I get over silly little things like this! I’ve contacted everyone in the area and no one knows where these birds have come from, so I guess it’s finders keepers.

It’s getting cooler in the tropics (thank goodness) and the other morning I even saw fog over the hill! I sent this picture to the newspaper and was rejected (again). I hope you enjoy it!

Foggy morning

***Have a great week!***



June 20, 2016 / diannegray


Last week five unexpected visitors turned up at the RUC in the shape of white Guinea Fowl.

Guinea Fowls1

They’re not tame, but not native to Australia either – so I have no idea where they’ve come from. I travelled around to neighbours to see if anyone had lost this cute little Confusion (yes – the collective noun is a Confusion of Guinea Fowl and they really live up to it!)

No one is claiming them. I’ve looked online – no one has reported them missing.

I can’t catch this Confusion because they become confused when I approach (and they’re faster than chickens). My Snow White Powers (as hubby calls it when I’m near animals) don’t work on them.

This morning when I went outside I could only see four of them. Good grief! What happened to the fifth? Dogs, wild cats, snakes – I don’t even want to think about it.

I’ve left some seeds in the shed hoping they’ll settle in there every night, but they just run into the sugar cane and disappear for the evening looking really confused. I feel like a Mother Hen trying to protect them.

If you know anything about Guinea Fowl your expertise would be greatly appreciated.

Last week I talked about some photos I‘d sent to the local newspaper in the hope that they would publish them. They didn’t (hey, I’m used to rejection), so I’m now going to share them here with you.

The Sunbirds love my passionfruit vine and most afternoons they come by to drink their fill of nectar. So I finally captured a shot of this little beauty.

Olive-backed Sunbird_WP

Looking for a flower

Sunbird and flower_WP2

Found one!

Sunbird and flower_WP1

Having a nice sip of nectar

*** Have a great week!***

June 13, 2016 / diannegray

Cat Moon

It was a cat moon kind of night on Friday night. I was out on the writer’s nook writing a short story when I looked up and saw this. For a brief moment I thought I was being stalked by a celestial feline (and there isn’t even a cat in the story – maybe I should add one).

Cat moon5

I also got some pretty cool pics of birds the other day. I’m going to send them to the local newspaper. Hopefully they’ll like them – I’ll let you know how I go.

*** Have a great week! ***




June 8, 2016 / diannegray

Wild Life

This post is actually about wildlife, but I thought I’d break the word into two as my life is pretty wild at times.

My English niece arrived on the weekend for a visit so I thought I’d introduce her to some of my animal friends. I tried to take a selfie with a couple of naughty Rainbow Lorikeets but they kept photo-bombing my phone.

Mr Crocodile was happy to see us – but you should never get this close unless this bad-ass is behind a fence.

We stumbled across this beautiful albino Kookaburra – who knew only too well how absolutely beautiful it was next to its normal cousin!

Then this Pademelon who was quietly grazing near two King Parrots

The Bee-eaters (Merops ornatus) were out in force when I got home so I got a couple of shots of these gorgeous birds. The photos don’t do their colours justice.

The sugar cane cutting season has started so it’s been busy around my neck of the woods. I’ve been doing a bit of writing – enough to keep me out of trouble anyway 🙂

*** Have a great week! ***

May 20, 2016 / diannegray

Only cats and writers live more than one life

I thought of that line the other day when I saw my mother-in-law’s cat run in front of a truck. I nearly had a heart-attack thinking she was going to be squished (you’ll be pleased to know that the cat and the truck survived unscathed).

After the shock subsided I thought about the “nine lives” myth and related it to the many lives I’ve lived through my words. Once a story is finished I close that life and start another. But to do this I need to open a new reality and live through the story.

If I get a phone call when I’m writing it takes me a few seconds to snap back into this reality and remember who I am, what I’m doing and what I’m supposed to be saying.

Hello, is a good start.

   What are you doing? Feel like coffee?

Um, not sure at the moment, because saying you’re just about to walk into a serial-killers house to search for bodies doesn’t quite cut it with elderly neighbours.

So I’ve taken to putting my phone on silent when I’m writing.

Having tradesmen working in the house is just as difficult. I’ve had a tiler doing the bathroom in the RUC and he learned pretty quickly to avoid me when I’m at the computer. Actually, he has no choice – I can’t hear what he’s saying when I’m writing.  He tells me I’ve been In The Zone and he’s absolutely right.

I got a little crazy and put the words on one of my favourite pictures.

Cats and writers_1

When I’m old and decrepit (like next week the way I’m going) I can pin it up on my wall and brag about how young and fit I used to be 🙂

Have you ever been accused of being In The Zone? 

Sometimes I don’t even have to be writing to get to that state (as some people will attest when they say I’ve ignored them in the street!)

I’m feeling pensive today so I thought I would link this post to the WP daily prompt.

xxx Have a great weekend! xxx

May 14, 2016 / diannegray

Writing for Competitions

This morning as I slipped on my shoe I felt a ball of cold stuff under my toes. For those of you with arachnophobia it would be your worst nightmare. I’m usually more careful, but I was in a rush. I didn’t get bitten – I pulled off the shoe to find a huntsman spider looking at me as if I was insane for testing its patience like that. If I had been in a nightclub I would have won the break-dancing competition.

I bet you’re glad I shared this story with you – you’re welcome. But that’s all beside the point of this post.

In the last few years I’ve been asked a lot about writing for awards and competitions. I feel like my first big break came when I won my first award. Then over the years, winning more awards really helped me polish my writing as well as landing me a few good jobs. It also provided me with some great marketing tools and introduced me to a load of interesting people.

This week the lovely people at gave me the opportunity to talk about writing for awards and competitions. It’s only a short article, so if you’ve got a minute, please go over and check it out.

My Writer’s Nook has been getting the work-out of its life for the past month or so. It seems my muse came back from vacation with a vengeance and is shooting me with so many arrows of ideas that I’ve been averaging about 5,000 words a day (not all good words, but hey – they’re words!)

So I thought I put my favourite picture here – the view from my Writer’s Nook.


xxx Have  great weekend! xxx


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