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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!***

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