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November 18, 2016 / diannegray

Red and Green Week

Everything seemed to be going red and green this week. I had three sets of Red Finches hatch at the RUC. There were four nests but unfortunately I saw a snake in one on Monday night and by the time I pulled it out (yes, you read that right) the finches were gone (I was sad but I guess snakes have to eat too).

But the others all fledged and are now healthy and chirping around the cane fields.


This cute little guy (below) opened his mouth when I was taking my shot. I wonder if he was yelling at me because I couldn’t save his cousins?

Red Finch Mouth Open.JPG

Here are their nests. The first is a ‘before it’s fitted out’ shot.

Nest before.JPG

And the next one is ‘after the birds have flown the coop’ shot.


I bought the nests at a town & country shop close by for under $5 each. They’re pretty cute!

Now for some green

This little guy didn’t jump on me when I took his photo – so I was pretty grateful for that!


The Lichee trees are in full fruit and they’re very red and green!

The night of the election a spider jumped in my salad (I didn’t know if the spider or Trumps win gave me a bigger fright). I didn’t put the picture here because I thought it may freak you out too much – but I did tweet it if you’re brave enough to have a look. What a waste of a delicious salad! I had to have ice cream for dinner instead.

***Have a lovely week no matter what colour yours is!***

November 4, 2016 / diannegray

Guess what I found on the back of my pants?

When I returned home from my grocery shopping on Thursday I brushed my hand over the back of my pants and found this:


It’s some kind of plastic diamond sticker. I figure I probably sat on it when I had my coffee at the mall. I felt so stupid special. I’m sure most people at the mall would have thought I was starting a new trend.
“Wow! there goes the lady who sticks plastic diamonds on her bum! I want to be just like her.”

Apart from this making me enormously popular, my week was interesting – so here are some titles:


A Spider Ate My Mouse (Horror) – What is happening in the small town of Rucville? A woman battles a hairy eight-legged force who takes up residence on her computer mouse. Does she finish her novel, or run screaming from the house to fight again another day?


Sleepless in the RUC (Action) – A local resident stands against teens who decide to try out their new four wheelers at all hours of the night. Can one man really scare off these jokers? You bet!


Water! (Drama) – When a tractor catches fire the driver decides to head straight for the RUC to find water. The lady of the house is not impressed (unfortunately I didn’t get photos).


The Diamond  Buttock (Comedy) – How long can one woman walk around with a diamond stuck to her bottom when she’s not Kim Kardashian?  Will she ever be able to find the diamond’s rightful owner?

Thanks to those who played along last time I did my Week in Titles. Marsha Ingrao and Irishnana and (of course) the lovely boss-lady who inspired me, Jo (who doesn’t have a website so I can’t link here).


Before I sign off – I’ve changed my book covers for hard copy on Creatspace. Take a look on the right of the screen and let me know what you think       ➡ ➡ ➡


***Have a great week!***

September 26, 2016 / diannegray

My Week in Titles

I don’t know about you, but I really start to struggle when I know I have to name something (a child, a book, a poem, a pet…), but some people can pluck fantastic names out of thin air and it seems effortless to them. Grrrrr

When I worked full time I had a wonderful manager who was organising training for the team and she asked me to write two lists:

  1. Work I’m really good at and love doing
  2. Work I’m not so good at and don’t like doing

She tricked me because she took all the things from my #2 list (like mathematics, finance and contract management) and enrolled me into training. Had I been smarter like one of my colleagues (who said they didn’t like writing, sending emails and internet searches) I would have been enrolled in some really fun courses.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how wonderful my manager was and how she steered me towards some great career goals – so I decided to write my own #1 and #2 lists to see how much my life has changed over the years and maybe get stuck into some new forms of training.

The first words to come up in my #2 list were naming things and writing titles.

Hence, the name of this post. For each day of last week I wrote a title for a book or movie and just for fun I added a genre and short description (short descriptions also give me the cold sweats).

Here goes:


Dog Fight (War) – All hell breaks loose when an elderly man finds a box of old bones in his freezer and throws them to the dogs under a house called the RUC.


The Horses of Cane (Comedy) – When two horses escape and declare the sugar cane fields their new race track the farmers can only look on in disbelief (with hilarious ‘R’ rated out takes).


Children of Satan (Horror) – A trip to The Mall becomes a nightmare for an unsuspecting shopper when she realises its school holidays.


The Pudding Burned (Romantic Comedy) – A gas cooktop provides a valuable lesson for a married couple on how to work together when a tea-towel catches fire.


Leap (Thriller) – A man discovers how high he can jump when a red-bellied black snake crosses his path.  On landing, he is shocked to learn his wife can run faster than Usain Bolt.


Seed (Crime) – Who is stealing the bird seed? The twist in the end will shock you!


The Line (Drama) – One woman’s struggle with a clothes line in desperate need of repair will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Which one would catch your attention of it was a movie or a book?
(you can say none of them and I promise I won’t be offended)


That’s enough silliness for now. If you feel like writing your week in titles just link back to this post and I’ll link you into my next post.

Here is a picture of the horses that escaped and caused chaos to the farmers on Tuesday.



***Have a great week!***

September 5, 2016 / diannegray

I’ve been busy painting my face blue


image2I had a lot of fun with my son and his partner Hannah on their recent visit to the RUC. Between cooking up a storm and visiting the sights, we took silly photos of each other (hey – what else is there to do in the country?)

I’ve also spent the last four weeks going through every one of my novels (with a fine tooth comb) and reformatting them to sell on Create Space. What a job!

My problem with the novels stemmed from three years of technical disasters. After two laptops dropped dead on me I realised this had left me in the position of having no original copies of my work (now I save everything to disk and a second external hard drive). So I had to go onto the web, download the PDF files and reformat them into Word docs. This may sound easy for some, but not so for this untechnical blue-faced hen. If you ever need to do this, ask me in the comments section and I’ll give you my hints and tips.

The only good thing about this excruciating exercise was that it gave me the opportunity to read my novels word for word (yes, the formatting stuffs up when you convert from PDF to Word) and I really enjoyed rediscovering the stories. If you’re a writer and it’s been over three years since you published your book I highly recommend reading it again.

I’m feeling a little blue now that they have headed home so I thought this ‘blue’ photo Hannah took would suit this post just fine.

***Have a great week!***

August 1, 2016 / diannegray

Strange little friends


Since the guinea fowl suddenly turned up on my doorstep just over a month ago I seem to have attracted another type of bird. I’m sure they are some kind of finch, but I can’t identify their variety (and there are hundreds of them).

Brown finches The males appear to have a salmon coloured breast. They’re very cute little things and love to sit outside the Writer’s Nook and watch me write (oh yes, it can be a little off-putting at times because I want to photograph them!).

Maybe they’ve arrived en masse to protest because I’m writing a story about a cat (which I was inspired to do by some of you after I posted the photo of the cat moon. Thank you!)

Here’s another finch, You can’t see it’s colours, but I loved the fact that it was sitting on the sugar cane flower just before sunset. Now that’s what I call relaxation!

Brown finch

The finches I’m used to seeing are the crimson ones (like the one I took last year of ‘Elvis’ below).

Red Finch Elvis

Also, the Bee Eaters are back and I managed to capture this one gazing thoughtfully across the freshly cut sugar cane.

Bee eater

I don’t have a name for my ‘cat’ novel yet, but I can tell you one thing – I’m really enjoying writing it!

***Have a great week!***

P.S – the guinea fowl are settling in very well.

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!***