Gaming and selling cards

August 15th, 2016

Over the Easter weekend I held a card stall at a gaming convention, an alternative to running a game as I had been unwell and didn’t have time to write it.  I didn’t do my usual range of cards, instead focusing on a range that reflected the themes of the games – fantasy, horror, historical, alternate history etc.  I also did a selection of children’s cards as there is a day where younger players are the focus.

I was surprised by what did sell – dragons and wizards, and Egyptian themed things – and by what didn’t (children’s cards and anything steampunk).  I might do it again in the future, but not for all four days of the weekend.  Still it was an interesting experience – and if you are interested in anything here let me know, I probably have some left…

Elder sign book marks & trinket boxes

Elder sign book marks & trinket boxes

Small cards

Small cards

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Another wedding card- My Mothers dress again :)

August 14th, 2016

I knew there was another one!  This was from a family friend’s wedding in February.

Stamp:  My mother’s dress (Inkadinkado, Dawn Houser), stamped on to cardstock which is distressed, stained and rolled in the corners.  The dress itself was given a light wash of iridescent gold Twinkling H2Os, and then the stamped piece was layered onto a piece of gold paper (slightly offset) which was also rolled at the edges.  Meanwhile the base card (metallic cream) was edged in aged mahogany distress ink, and then a piece of Serendipty paper (with birds etc) was distressed and layered on top.  The stamped design and gold paper with then layered on top at an angle.

Then to decorate:  Kaisercraft burgundy pearls in all 4 corners, and the bottom 2 of the stamped piece (not the upper parts of that as they were rolled).  A wooden bird piece was added in one corner, and 3 ribbon roses in the other corner (attached with glossy accents)

The envelope was distressed in the same way as the stamped cardstock (edge in ink and stamped with mesh design).  I used doublesided tape and then added MegaFlakes down the side to get the foied effect, and then added a single ribbon rose and pearl around it to tie it back to the card.  I don’t have an image of the card interior, but had another strip of foiled tape.

Birds and roses wedding

A few more cards

August 14th, 2016

A wedding card (using a favourite stamp) and a farewell card.

Although this stamp, My Mother’s Dress, is not strictly a wedding one, I find it works well on wedding cards if I am designing for the bride.  I used it a few years ago for my manager, although this time I was going for a different feel and colour palette.  While there is a hint of pink, I was going for creams, and the stamped piece is mounted on a piece of gloss card that has been stained with alcohol inks in a range of browns and rust colours, making a rusted piece of card.  The dress itself was coloured with twinking H2Os, and I have used a real lace doily and some vintage style washi tape at the top and bottom.  I really liked the softness of the overall effect, and was pleased with the whole card.

Sepia and lace wedding

The second card was also for a work colleague who was leaving, as she appreciates my work I put a lot of effort in.  The lady was stamped onto patterend paper, which was layered onto craft card which had been punched down one side and stained.  I wrapped lace around both pieces, and then layered it onto a piece of matching paper (same series) which had also been stained around the edges.  A cream flower was attached to the front.

The envelope was decorated with a journalling tag from the same series, lined so I could write her name, and then a flower was attached to the front.  I really liked this one too – obviously the cream and sepia palette is a think for me right now, but I think it works 🙂

Vintage charm farewell

Alison Goodman: Scene diagnosis

March 25th, 2016

Alison Goodman is an Australian writer of Young Adult fiction, including YA historical supernatural fiction set in the Regency period.

Her seminar looked at four different diagnositic tools that can be used to analyse a scene to work out if it works, and what can be improved.

Useful tools to take your scenes to the next level.

Goal and need: 


  • External and known by protagonist
  • A conscious desire

And / Or


  • Hidden and not known
  • The psychological growth necessary for your protagonist
  • An unconscious desire
  • Something that the protagonist must learn to become whole

For the strongest story, these should be in contradiction

How the go about goal – often based on false belief

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Chris Corbett – How stories work

March 25th, 2016

Chris Corbett has written over forty hours of television – including episodes of MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES, STINGERS, THE DOCTOR BLAKE MYSTERIES, BLUE HEELERS, THE SECRET LIFE OF US, MCLEOD’S DAUGHTERS and ALL SAINTS. He also wrote and produced the short films FENCES and THE APPLICANT which have screened at various festivals around the world including Tropfest and the Aspen Shortsfest. He has taught screenwriting at RMIT’s Professional Screenwriting Course, AFTRS, Open Channel, Melbourne University Summer Film School and at the Victorian College of the Arts.

Chris shared with us his expertise for writing scripts (which translates well to writing stories), which he structured around asking a series of questions.  So without any further ado, here are Chris Corbett’s Questions to ask of any story:

Question 1:  What is the world of the story? 

  • Is it distinct and interesting?
  • Could the story happen somewhere else or are there reasons it can only happen there?
  • What are the things the audience needs to know about this world in order to understand the story?  Eg Monsters Inc we need to know a lot of setup in the first few minutes
  • In Romeo and Juliet we need to know that this is a world where you must have your parents’ approval for your choice of partner
  • In Breaking Bad we need to know that this is set in America which does not have universal health care – so a cancer treatment can bankrupt you and leave your surviving family destitute.  The same story wouldn’t happen in Canada, France or Australia
  • Edge of Tomorrow and About Time are set in worlds that have specific rules that the story relies on

For the rest of the baker’s dozen questions, read on. Read the rest of this entry »

Back on the air…

February 24th, 2016

Despite good intentions, I once again got behind with posts.  This was due to a number of reasons, including:

  • making cards for the crazy Christmas period
  • making different cards for the New Year period
  • going into hospital for major surgery on 23 December
  • while I was recovering from surgery, my brother visited from the UK, bringing his lovely wife to Australia for the first time which meant I had hostess duties – plus I had to make some artwork for them too

The result of all that was that I haven’t had time to do much posting, but I will try to make good on that over the next few weeks.

To start with, here are some of the birthday cards I made in the second half of last year.  No instructions this time, as they are all variations on cards I have done before.

Aimee's bday card

Butterfly bday card

Sweet Treats bday

Sweet Treats bday

Jubilee bird birthday

Jubilee bird birthday

How to plot a pageturner: C.S. Pacat

November 1st, 2015

Plotting to create ‘narrative traction’, the page turning quality that drives readers through a book (and keeps them up until 3am)



  1. To learn new way of thinking about both writing and reading that raises your awareness of how page turning quality is created
  2. To learn techniques and strategies for  writing narrative traction


What is plot?

  • Plot is just one thing after another – plot is what happens
  • Plot is the book’s middle, beginning, and end
  • Traditional Three Act structure – plot has a shape


Act 1

Inciting incident – client commissions for a job


Act 2

Dark moment


Act 3

Build up to climax


Narrative traction 

  • Is the page-turning quality that drives readers through a book
  • It is not generated by accident
  • Use of specific techniques to create the desired result

Tension is NOT narrative traction

  • It is the promise that what is about the happen is something that the reader wants
  • It occurs when we believe that what is about to happen is even more interesting that what is happening now [my emphasis]
  • Not the same thing as escalation
  • Interest shifts to what happens next

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Opening keynote address: Graham Simsion – Men in romance

November 1st, 2015

Graham Simsion is the author of The Rosie Project, background is in script writing

He is the only person who could have written The Rosie Project, but everyone has the ability to write their own story.

Male protagonist (Don) was easy to write, Rosie was the hardest – was originally called Clara but she was too much of a magical pixie dream girl so Simsion worked with his wife to create a believable realistic background

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Opening address: CS Pacat ‘The courage to be romantic’

October 4th, 2015

CS Pacat is the author of the ‘Captive Prince’ trilogy.  Captive Prince and Prince’s Gambit are currently available, and Kings Rising will be available in February 2016.

“In order to write romance we must allow ourselves to be seen, really seen, and that is an act of great courage.”  – CS Pacat

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Pitch Perfect

August 27th, 2015

Kate Cuthbert (Escape digital imprint) and Sue Brockhoff (Harlequin Single Title) 


Pitching is way to get attention, get to know editor or publishing house

Good way of getting manuscript in front of editor


Before you pitch:

Are you ready?


  • Who are you pitching to?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What are they not looking for?
  • What are their parameters? Eg genres and subgenres, word length etc (category is 50 – 60k, while single title is around 80k – 90k)
  • Do your plans and theirs coincide?

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