Friday, 27 June 2014

A Mission, A Dream, and a Cat – Meet Virginia Ripple

This weeks Pay it Forward Interview is from Christian Fantasy Author Virginia Ripple. On reading it I was surprised to learn that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was considered Christian Fantasy. You learn something new every day! She has some great advice on time management for those writers struggling to organise their daily routine and I love the point Virginia makes about taking time out each day to be still, quiet and listen, Read on to find out more about this fascinating and prolific author.
Originally posted on Jessica Schaub Books:
Over the last several months, and for months to come, I’ve been interviewing authors who have self-published their work or have published through small publishing houses. From each, I’m amazed by the mission behind each book and the hopes of the author to share a theme. I have learned something valuable from each – and the trend continues this week with Virginia Ripple.
If you are a fan of fantasy and also appreciate authors who include their faith, then Virginia’s books are certainly for you!
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1. In your biography on your website, you shared something that really struck home – While working part-time as a Religious Education Director and writing the other half “the teeter totter of passions unbalanced” your life and you found yourself writing less. Many people reading this will find encouragement that they are not alone in feeling frustrated with not having enough time to write. What…
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Same Country yet Poles Apart.

While everyone gathered at the beginning of the week in the Northern Hemisphere to celebrate the summer solstice by watching the sun rise over Stone Henge, we down under looked towards celebrating the marking of the days beginning to grow longer.
Aussies are in the depths of winter and counting the days towards summer warmth where they can once again embark on that much loved sport of swimming in the ocean.
Hang on! Why wait til summer? Not likely, Aussies are made of much tougher stuff and wait for no right weather conditions. Residence of Hobart, our most southern capital city, (if you head any further south you’ll be in Antarctica), chose to mark the winter solstice with a naked dip in the Derwent River. Well almost naked, they all wore red swimming caps. The water temperature was a chilly 11 degrees C as all 700 brave Tasmanians held their breath and took the plunge into the shivering waters.
Meanwhile, here in the Top End of the country where the winter nights never fall below 17C and the days still reach a balmy 30C, Territorians braved the depths of the ocean for their annual winter swim. Fannie Bay Life Saving Club held a race across the bay that took my breath away when I first heard of it. I have been warned never to swim in the ocean up here for danger of crocodiles, sharks and box jelly fish, yet these amazing brave souls took to the water like a school of fish splashing about in a frenzy.
Two major swim events, both held on the winter solstice, in the same country, yet they couldn’t have been further apart.
I on the other hand chose to spend the day amongst petrol rev heads at the V8 Super car races held annually at Hidden Valley race track. As I gulped down another bottle of water,  wiped the perspiration from my face and applied yet another layer of sun block I wondered what on earth I was doing here? Then I guess the petrol fumes embraced me as the roar of the F18′s soared overhead, the drivers revved their engines and the race began! Maybe raising three boys has rubbed off on me a little more than I thought as the enthusiasm pumped through my veins.
As for swimming, yes I did eventually collapse into our pool on my return home. So I guess I did eventually end the day the same way as so many other Aussies began it, with a dip in the cool  refreshing waters of Australia. 10411399_10204286700036341_7697395678804501304_n
Only two days later I was reminded again just how poles apart we are in this country. While the heat continues to reign down over Darwin, the south of the country was in the grips of the largest blizzard in years. The Snowy Mountains had their best snow fall to begin the school holiday season in ten years or more and my boys called to say it snowed on our property all day.Did it make me homesick? It sure did. We may only get light snow that melts when it hits the ground with the occasional thin blanket enveloping the ground and surrounding mountains, but it is beautiful.
I sound like a tourist campaign, no matter what the weather you are looking for, we have it somewhere here in Oz. As the Queenslanders say, Australia truly is”Beautiful one day, perfect the next!”

Friday, 13 June 2014

I’m on Foot……Again!

Here we go again! Three weeks into living in the tropics and no physical means of transport except my own two feet! I can generally walk a fair distance and it certainly is much flatter here than the hills back home, but the humidity makes me feel like I’ve hit a brick wall generally halfway to wherever I am going.
So I decided it was time to consider buying a car. There is no point transporting my car from home up here as I will need it there on my return visits.
Now we find out the true meaning of NT in Northern Territory. Every car I considered was not available to drive away, as they say, Not Today, Not Tomorrow, Not Tuesday, Not Thursday, Next truck or maybe Next Train. You see everything you want in the Northern Tebaht busrritory has to be shipped up by road train  or rail from down south and it appears that is always months away. The waiting begins!
It reminds me of rubber time in Thailand where nothing ever happened in a hurry, everything was either “mai pen lai” never mind, or “mai me” no have. A shrug of the shoulders and all would be good…..eventually.
I persisted with walking or using baht buses for a while in Thailand, it seemed easy enough, or so I initially thought. For the uninitiated a baht bus is kind of like an old blue ute with a roof over the back with two long seats either side that you climb into and hang onto for dear life.  One is expected to barter with the local currency, Thai baht, for the fare to wherever you want to go.  This was fine during the wet season or the really sticky humid season, but didn’t work out so well during the tourist season.
Off peak season I knew exactly what my fair should have been to take me from our expat compound down to the main street of Pattaya to shop, then return, 20 baht each way, fair enough I could agree to that. However once peak tourist season hit the baht bus drivers get greedy and suddenly want 100 baht, I don’t think so! There are three prices in Thailand, Thai, expat and tourist price. I’m not a tourist, I’m here for the long haul!
One day I refused to pay their asking price, I bartered in my best Thai, but baht bus after bus continually drove off, they could pick up the tourist dollar and make a lot more. I was getting anxious, the school bus was due home any moment, I needed to be home for my boys. A Thai on a baht bike had been observing the interactions and stepped forward to offer me a lift home. 5 baht on the back of his motor bike and I would be home in 5 minutes.
My husband had always warned me never to get on the back of a baht bike. Far too dangerous, he always said. They weave their way in and out of the traffic with no concern for the passenger. I stood their considering my options for a split second, hubby didn’t need to know and I was desperate to get home. Like a rebel I reluctantly agreed, he smiled and helped me onto the back of his bike, reached around to pull my arms tight around his waist, it was obvious how nervous I was, and we were off. I took a deep breath and didn’t know whether to close my eyes but the driver was to my surprise slow and careful.
It took a few weeks but eventually the guilt inside me rose and I confessed to my husband. Within the next week I had a car and a driver. A friend for the rest of our stay in Thailand, someone I not only trusted my life with on the roads but my children as well.
My husband knows me well enough after all these years that when I say I need transport, he had better do something about it. So the car is ordered, we now play the waiting game, come on August and we’ll see if the car actually arrives here in Darwin NT.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Write to Empower – An Interview with Author Nikki Rosen

This weeks Pay it Forward interview is from Nikki Rosen, an inspirational author who has written not only from the heart but from truth. Nikki’s book has been helping women all over the world since publication. Read on to find out how and why?
Originally posted on Jessica Schaub Books:
When I first started the Pay-It-Forward Author Interview Series, I knew I would meet all types of writers from all over the country and the world. I’ve been amazed by the stories they write, their candid honesty about the writing process, and their willingness to share secrets of their craft with others. How often in other businesses do you find people in the same business so willing to help one another? The ‘secret sauce’ and the ‘family recipe’ are well guarded to keep that something special an exclusive right.
Not so with stories.
I am amazed by the writers who have come to share their work – and now I am humbled by Nikki Rosen, author of In the Eye of Deception: A True Story, Dancing Softly, Twisted Innocence, and No Hope? Know Hope: A Healing Journey.
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Nikki has won awards for her writing, and rightly so. Her story…
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Thursday, 5 June 2014

They Call This Winter?

Sunset 1I find myself here in Darwin in the so called “dry season!” It is winter everywhere else in Australia. While my family pile on more jumpers, watch the fog roll in as they rise, light the fire each evening and prepare for the usual neighbourhood bonfire this coming long weekend, my husband and I have landed in the Top End, a place where winter doesn’t really exist. Everyone here tells me that we are lucky to have arrived now while it is “cool” so that we have time to acclimatise before the “wet season” hits but my clothes are already sticking to me every time I leave the air conditioning. I find it somewhat reminiscent of our two years in Thailand some twenty odd years ago. Tropical climate, humidity, palm tree lined streets, tiled floors, even to the extent that the stairs in our rented house are awkwardly unexpected heights. I keep finding things in the house that don’t work or kitchen utensils not supplied. It is amazing how inventive with the cooking you can be when you don’t have transport to just pop down to the shops to pick up a missing item. I feel like I an an expats wife all over again but someone forgot that Darwin is still in Australia! The only difference is that this time I don’t have three babies desperately hanging off me for love and support. Sunset 2
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. My husband is gone by 5:00am and doesn’t return til 6:00pm 6 days a week so I have plenty of time to myself to contemplate my writing. That is when I can get into the swing of things. We have only been here a week and so far I have been busy setting up the house and admiring the amazing view over the ocean. I admit I can waste a bit of time staring out across the bay watching the yachts sail past. I thought the kangaroos on my property back home could be a distraction but I’m finding the sea quite a draw card. The sunsets have been stunning! Each evening they have provided something new and spectacular, the ash cloud wafting across from the Indonesian Island of Bali has certainly added to the intensity of the colours.20140528_182701
So, I need to make a plan. Walk first thing in the morning, early, really early! Before the heat and humidity get to me. I am older than what I was twenty years ago after all! Swim a few laps in the pool to cool down, you can’t swim in the ocean, too many crocodiles, sharks and jellyfish! (I do want to live). Then I’ll still have a few good hours at my computer to check emails, facebook and finally WRITE!
One of my projects I’m considering writing (as well as my children’s books) is  “Snippets from Thailand, an expat wife’s memories.” Would it make interesting reading? What do you think?

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Strands of Thought - Children's Author, Kai Strand: Three Times A Charm with Sandra Bennett

 This week I had the amazing opportunity to be interviewed by fellow author Kai Strand. To learn a little more about my writing endeavours and myself read on:

Strands of Thought - Children's Author, Kai Strand: Three Times A Charm with Sandra Bennett: Welcome to Three Times A Charm. I love introducing my readers to new authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the...