Wedding triptych – mixed media art

November 11th, 2014

I have not posted for a while, as I was extremely busy with work right up to the day I went to Europe (yay) for nearly a  month.  There was sightseeing involved of course, but the main purpose was to attend my brother’s wedding.  He has lived in London for the past 10 years, and got married to his lovely French partner there in October.

Although they wanted money for their ‘dream honeymoon’ experiences, I decided I wanted to do something a little more personal than that.  So, using the paperblocking technique that I had previously used on Curiosities, I decided to make a triptych using the gorgeous ‘Curtain Call’ papers from Graphic 45.  Techniques:  paper blocking, stencils, stamping, embossing, sponging ink, gold leaf.

So without further ado…


Panel 1 - Let's dance

Panel 1 – Let’s dance

Panel 2:  Curtain Call

Panel 2: Curtain Call

Panel 3:  Cinéma

Panel 3: Cinéma

(note:  for reasons I don’t understand, these pictures are very small.  I will investigate and see if there are larger ones)

Mixed media – Paper Blocking

August 28th, 2014

I created this for the August 2014 Craft stamper ‘Take it, make it‘, it is the first time I have entered anything like this and I enjoyed the opportunity to play around and challenge myself.  NOTE:  sadly I missed out uploading this by the cut off (I blame the International Date Line), but I still had a lot of fun making it.




I have created Curiosities based on the following articles:

  • the Paper Bocking style as shown in the ‘Pretty in Pink’ article by Jean Hardy, August 2014, p10; and
  • making my own embellishments from silicon moulds, as shown in ‘Hearts and Flowers’ article by Trish Latimer, January 2014, p30.

I really loved the concept of paper blocking, and it meant I dared to use those papers I love so much I keep ‘saving’ them for something special.  Now I have used them but still get to keep them.  However instead of using a pencil to outline the papers, I used my sponging block to swipe aged mahogony ink around each piece to give definition.  It seemed to really pick up the creams and burgundies in the papers.  The Gold leave Rub n Buff is also randomly on the canvas, and also on the embelishments I made using paperclay.  I added a little more texture around the edges with my Ageing Block from Lucy’s Stamps (sadly no longer in business)


Curiosities - close up

Curiosities – close up

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Breakout 5: Self-Defence For Women: How To Write a Fight Scene – RWAus14

August 28th, 2014

Susanna Rogers – 2nd degree black belt in kickboxing, published romance author.  Publishes under the name Nina Blake 

  • likes to feel powerful
  • teaches kickboxing
  • can’t run, catch or throw, but can kick and punch


When in stressful situation or danger:  fight or flight mechanism kicks in

Physiological changes include:

  • heart rate rises
  • increased blood flow to muscles
  • pupils dilate
  • non essential things slow down (digestion stops)

There is a third factor that is rarely mentioned:  freeze

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Breakout 4: The Dark Side: Psychology, psychopathy and stalking – RWAus14

August 26th, 2014

I have to admit that I had a great time at the dinner on Saturday night, and went to a room party afterwards.  I decided to sleep in a bit on Sunday morning so I missed the first session of the day (which was noted as TBA in my schedule anyway), and got there in time for my first breakout session.


The Dark Side:  Psychology, psychopathy and stalking

Professor Karl Roberts

  • Chair and Profess of Policing and Criminal Justice, University of Western Sydney
  • Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, University of Massachusetts, MA
  • Expert witness in the UK

This was an excellent, informative session, and provided a lot of information and ideas for those writing crime, suspense, romantic suspense, mystery, thriller or other sub-gentres in the crime category.  Over all I would say it was one of the best all weekend, aside from the Friday workshop.

HOWEVER – and I don’t want to direct this at anyone specific (and I probably wouldn’t know their names anyway) – it also suffered from one of my pet hates.

Professor Roberts took questions from the floor from the start.  People were asking specific questions that presumably related to what their own story.  He jumped to the end of his presentation and despite saying he would go back, he didn’t really.  The whole presentation got derailed by those who only wanted to discuss psychopathy because it related to their own writing.  A lot of the information in his slides wasn’t even shown to us let alone discussed (I think a lot of it was on the psychology, but I’m not sure).

While I had some questions myself, I refrained from asking them at the time.  He provided us with his email address and said he was happy to answer questions we have that way.  I hope that in the future people will be less selfish about hogging the presenter’s time, because I for one was extremely frustrated we missed out on so much content.

And I would suggest that in future, all questions other than clarifications be kept to the end.

And now, on to the presentation we did get:

What do forensics psychologists do?

  • focus on human behaviour
  • assessment
  • human performance
  • explanation of motivation
  • clinical – psychological problems
  • forensic – specific application to crime and offending

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Saturday final session: AMG & Wrap up – RWAus14

August 25th, 2014

Presentation of the First Sale ribbons

There were quite a few this year – I think 25 or so standing at the front, and of course others who were not present.  I didn’t record names, I am sure the list will be available in Hearts Talk or on the website.  Congratulations to all :)


just the highlights, the minutes will be available to RWA members.

Change in membership structure – will no longer be divided by published / unpublished.  There are now three categories:

  • Aspiring (unpublished)
  • Emerging (first 1 – 3 years of publication)
  • Established (3+ years)

There are going to be programs tailored for each category, and members are to self-select their status in their website profile.

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Sunday Program – RWAus14

August 24th, 2014

Again, my breakout sessions are highlighted.
Registration opens

Arrival Tea & Coffee


TBA  (this was the early program, not sure what ended up going here)

Harlequin Digital – Malle Valick

Audition Submission – Selected Editors & Agents

Morning Tea

Sunday Breakout Session 1

  • Self Publishing 101 – Marie Force
  • A Lady’s Wardrobe Unlocked: Cloth and clothing in Georgian Times – Bronwyn Parry & Beverley Eikli
  • Psychological Warfare – Prof. Karl Roberts
  • Conflict: The Key To Your Romance Novel – Rachel Bailey
  • How The World’s Best Storytellers Do It – Analysing Pixar’s Secret to Success: Part 1 – Kathryn Fox


Sunday Breakout Session 2

  • The Publishing Process – Lucienne Diver
  • Get Your Rocks Off: Writing Convincing Sex – Kate Belle
  • The Staircase of Turning Points – Ebony McKenna
  • Self-Defence For Women: How To Write a Fight Scene – Susanna Rogers
  • Skin The Cat – There’s More Than One Way To Get Published – Cate Ellink / Ainslie Paton / Kylie Griffin

14:20-15:20 Sunday Breakout Session 3

  • Luminous Dialogue – Cherry Adair 
  • It’s Not Just About Ripping Bodices – Maisey Yates / Jackie Ashenden
  • Getting a Grant – Patsy Poppenbeek
  • How Romance Rocks in the UK – Kate Byrne
  • Author Branding – MalleVallik

Afternoon Tea

Keynote Address – Cherry Adair

RWA 2015 Conference Launch

16:10 – 16:15
Fundraising Announcement

16:15 – 16:30
Conference Close

Little Gems – Moonstone: Official Launch – RWAus14

August 24th, 2014

Little Gems official launch:  Moonstone

Little Gems - Moonstone 2014

Little Gems – Moonstone 2014

Cover design:  Sheridan Kent

Contest winners:

Josephine Brown—The Minstrel’s Trial
Rowena Candlish—Minnie’s Year Of Living
Rowena Candlish—Jake’s Best Friend
Heidi Catherine—My Moonstone Love
N.F. David—Luna and the Moonstone
Fiona Greene—The Moonstone Legacy
Jennifer Hoff—The Farewell Letter
Fiona Kekic—The Heart Surgeon
Linda Knightley—Moonlight On Water
D.D. Line—Moonstone Hill
Patricia Poppenbeek—Catch Of the Day
Anne Prince—The Real Thing
Michelle Skidmore—Moonstruck
P.J. Vye—The Girl Who Refused To Marry

Little Gems Anthology 2014 – Moonstone is available now


Cat birthday card

August 24th, 2014

My brother’s birthday was in July, and he is a big fan of cats (like all my family).  I have a tin of Cavallini & Co vintage cat poster stickers, and I found one that actually has July on it – a Harper’s cover from what I can tell.

Because I am trying to use up my paper pads and scraps, so I pulled out the green and blue colours from the sticker, and layered in onto a piece of white cardstock.  This was edged in blue ink, then placed on a piece of blue scrap patterned paper also edged in ink.

I then too piece of blue cardstock the same side as the A6 card, and embossed it with my new Coutour Creations small dots embossing folder.  The blue card was distressed with my distressing tool, and then blue ink swiped around the edges.  All layered onto the A6 white card, and three small pearls added to the top right side.  Inside ‘Happy Birthday’ was stamped in blue.

I was happy with it, recipient was happy with it, all is good.

Harper's cat birthday

Harper’s cat birthday

Breakout 3: Revision & Self-Editing: James Scott Bell – RWAuS14

August 24th, 2014

Revision and Self-Editing for Publication (2nd edition) - James Scott Bell


No manuscript is ever submitted exactly the same as it will be published – revisions will be required.   Just accept that.

Have a strategic approach to revision to make it consistent and easier.

Robert Heinlein’s 2 rules for writing

1.  You must write
2.  You must finish what you write

You will learn the most about writing a novel by making yourself complete one – and learning how to fix things

JSB’s corollary: 

3.   You must learn your craft as you write

eg  Read books on writing and craft, go to conferences, learn technique


 JSB rule:

don’t bore the reader

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Breakout 2: The Inside Story: Valerie Parv – RWAus14

August 16th, 2014

Australian auther Valerie Parv is an international best seller, who has sold more than 29 million books.  She writes primarily for Harlequin / Mills & Boone, however she has also written a few books on the art and craft of writing.  I have the revised 2004 edition of The Art of Writing Romance, and also Heart and Craft, which is a collaboration by some of Australia and New Zealand’s top romance authors.  I have found them both interesting and informative books – the way some of them describe their personal writing process is hilarious.

Valerie Parv also has an annual writing award that was established in her name in 1999.  Contestants have to submit the first 10,000 words of a novel, and a 1,000 word synopsis of a romance or romantic elements novel.  The winner is mentored by Valerie for a year, and nearly all the winner have gone on to have top selling books.  She is incredibly generous with her expertise and her time, and often runs workshops at the RWA annual conference.  This was her workshop for the RWA 2014 conference.


How to Draw Your Readers into Your Fictional World 

When you are on facebook, you have a feed of comments and images.  You think that everyone you know sees the same thing, but in fact they have a completely different experience.   Likewise, when you write, you think readers are going to experience the story exactly the way you meant it.  But they will take different elements away from it.


How can we get our readers to see our world exactly the way we intended.  It doesn’t have to be identical, because as long as they are reading they are part of the experience.  However there are techniques to allow readers to get as close as possible to the way we envisaged our story.    Five techniques are detailed below:

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