Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Married At First Sight - last of the weddings

This is the last of the show for this week - but with 3 episodes next week, I might save my notes for the third show and write 1 post. Trailers indicate lots of failures early on, so interesting times ahead.

So, from tonight's episode:

Craig & Andy got married. They were polite on meeting, but there seemed to be a good sense of fun. Their celebrant was quite intrusive and that caused them to bond. They have quite a relaxed manner with each other. Early on Craig was quite gushy and really into Andy, who was more reticent, but I think the photos changed this reticence. Andy's afraid of heights and they had a helicopter flight, which allowed Craig to hold Andy's hand and 'protect' him. It seemed to flip the roles and make both settle better.

But then at the reception, Craig introduced Andy to one of his guests - his ex, after a 13 year long relationship. It didn't go down well. In the end a straight talking female friend got Andy to see this from a different view, but I think Andy will have trust issues.

Craig's quite showy, Andy reticent, so I wonder how that will go.

Bella & Michael we didn't see a lot of tonight and maybe because they were still all over each other. By the end of the evening, he still hadn't mentioned his child, so that makes me wonder how that conversation will go. He's very emotional and quite into talking about his feelings, hopes and dreams (or maybe it's just these speeches).

These two are like the fairy tale wedding and I wonder if that will last. Will they get past the 'dreamy' first impressions to find the person beneath, and will they like that person too?

I'd love to see insta-love work, but... I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Jess and Dave were so very awkward together in the 'ceremony' and during the photos. It was really difficult to watch because they made little attempt to help each other, and neither seemed to know what to do. After the photos they sat together for a bit and talked and they began to relax slightly. They seem to share a similar sense of humour, but there's so much reserve beneath the goofy fun. I don't know if they'll get past the surface and like the depths.

There was quite a lot of relaxed family/friend interaction at the reception, which didn't seem as obvious in other events, so that may indicate that there are a lot of similarities.

Jess seems to be the driver though. He says he's into her and pleased, and he does initiate a few kisses and touches, but on the whole, she leads, she holds him, she moves in on him, she asks the questions. And they have very little real eye contact. There's so much holding back.

The shows are edited, and I wonder if they're edited in such a way to put you off working things out. So that ruins some of my fun... but anyway, to me, it seemed like the first two couples, Keller & Nicole, and Monica & Mark, were more down to earth (or maybe it's less showy) than the next three. But it's the magic of TV, it could be anything!!

I'll await next week's shows and see who sticks out the honeymoon. The shorts seemed to indicate two split before the honeymoon is over and if I had to pick (which is really difficult) I'd guess Jess and Dave because they seem so distant already. It could be any of the others - Bella has to accept the child Michael has (if he tells her). I'm not sure how Andy and Craig will go with their trust issues. Keller and Nicole have his tattoos and his leaving the Navy to work around.

I'll say that it won't be Monica and Mark because I think they have enough in common and few issues, so they should be able to get through for a bit.Let's see :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Married At First Sight - more weddings

I was late turning on the second night's show - oops - so I missed the intros. Can't watch them until tomorrow on the 9Now app. But here's what I observed and picked up after the experts' intros.

Craig, 42, and Andy 40.
Both have been cheated on in the past and so monogamy is very important for them. Both felt alone as teens and coming out was isolating.

Andy is a control freak and spreadsheet crazy. He keeps people at a distance but he's committing to this experiment.

Craig is looking for an equal, but someone who adores him too. When this guys gets stressed, he gets sort of angry and snarly and irrational. Seems like a drama queen.

Their 'wedding' moved to NZ, and wasn't shown in the episode. So waiting to update tomorrow night.

Bella, 30, and Michael 32.
Bella is a radio announcer, career girl, into Sex In The City. She's described as warm, vibrant, cosmopolitan, but in the past she's been a help-a-holic picking up 'bad' boys who need help.

Michael is ambitious and has his own business. He's self-made from poor beginnings. He's described as confident, grounded, emotionally mature. He has a 6 year old son in NZ.

The experts liked the 'creative commonality' of this pair.

At the 'wedding', they were both stressed but okay at first meeting. Both into each other but at first there was no contact, just words and mutual shaking. They both seemed to have quite over-the-top, but almost mirrored, reactions. When they did hold hands, they clung and then he gave her lots of soothing thumb strokes. After the 'ceremony' they had a crazy insane pash with her going in hard, but him up for it.

My concern is, will this 'insta-love' will burn out. They can both talk, so if they can get through by talking to each other, it may work. One good thing to see is that insta-love/lust is real, let's see how it goes!

Jess, 31, and Dave, 28.
Jess seems very sure about doing this experiment. She's loud but deep down is quite insecure (my observation; no expert opinion on these two yet), especially about her looks. She does seem to be quite desperate to find love.

Dave seems kind of dorky but happy being that. He comes across a bit shy/unsure too, although maybe that's my observation only and might be wrong. He admits he needs some physical attraction for this to work.

At the 'wedding' he doesn't look like he's happy when he meets her, but she's not unhappy at all. They're both awkward and he seems to step away from her at the 'altar' (and I initially thought she knew this and would be hurt from it, but judging from what she said after, I'm wrong). They're both standoffish, but both say they're committed to the process and will work at it. She comes across as quite confident (making full eye contact with him, answering the 'vows' quickly), and for him this is a turn on.

Before these two met, I said, "I can't see this pair making it." They just seemed very different types of people. Yet, I hope I'm wrong.

Let's see what tomorrow's night show brings - the trailers are promising someone walks! It'll probably be the people I think will stick :)

So...any one else got picks for who'll make it and who may not?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Married At First Sight

Just over a year ago, I wrote a post for the Naughty Ninjas about Married At First Sight, season 1 (here). I was intrigued by the premise of the show (people paired by 'experts' and then putting them through the rigors of a wedding, reception, honeymoon, and living together), but I wrote that post retrospectively.

So this is Season 3, and I thought I'd try to do it as it happens and give my thoughts first up - because I was very wrong last time! And I like to torment myself and see if I learned anything from watching season 1.

We met two couples tonight - Keller, 26, and Nicole, 28. And Monica, 28, and Mark, 30. These are my notes from what the experts said, and my impressions:

Keller and Nicole
He's tattooed, ex-Navy (has only been out 3 months; finds transitioning difficult; had trauma with refugee contacts), sweet and compassionate, family-oriented with 4 siblings plus a bunch of foster siblings. He's a boys boy. He's quite optimistic about the experiment.

She's a primary school teacher and loves kids. She's warm, bubbly, giggly. Grew up in the country (Junee). She has a big bouquet of open roses, which looks gorgeous. She didn't really freak out or go over the top for the wedding. Her dad's had a leg amputated and he's at the wedding and this means a lot to her.

The experts said they both have a share vision for family, with strong commitments to family. They feared that Nicole is highly influenced by others' opinions and they worried about Keller's tattoos and how others saw them.

My observations and guesses:
  • They both had the same reaction pre-wedding, "Oh shit."
  • he's immediately happy seeing her, and she was okay until the tattoos freaked her.
  • he holds her hand, which centres her completely and immediately
  • he's written gorgeous vows that are fun too, and this wins her over
  • he's really looking after her in the photos, which means she relaxes more and more with him
  • he makes a huge effort to win over her folks (we don't see his folks, even though his family are important to him, which was weird)
  • I'm wondering if he's really as sweet and gorgeous as he's portrayed. And if he is, will she believe this of him?
  • I'm also wondering how fucked up he is by what he's had to do in the navy. He's already said transitioning is difficult and he has issues, it seems going into something like this just adds to his stress, and I wonder how that will manifest
  • They seem kind of into each other, but she has some hesitance and I wonder if it's the tatts. He also seems to be at odds with them - he's made a big deal out of saying how much he worries about what people think of him because of his tattoos, so why does he have them? Is it some kind of outer covering to hide behind? 
  • I'm not entirely sure about these guys because there's hesitance and it's so early; but hopefully they'll be kind to each other because they seem to be kind and gentle people.

Monica and Mark
He's relaxed, outdoorsy, an exerciser, bad surfer but he loves it, fireman. He's a bit goofy, loves comic books and is a gamer.

She's a perfectionist, goal-oriented, focussed and determined, she doesn't let men in easily. Her father died when she was quite young. She's a control freak. She comes to the wedding in a Kombi van. She has a bouquet of wattle, and greenery and white (can't quite remember - but it was different). She didn't really freak out or go over the top either.

The experts say they're hoping that he'll bring fun to her seriousness. That they were both into each others' looks and smell. They fear the perfectionist because a perfectionist always causes issues with their uncompromising attitudes.

My observations and guesses:
  • he's happy when he sees her (says he's punching above his weight) and she's pretty stoked too.
  • they immediately introduce themselves and chat - too bad about the celebrant! (others are usually formal and stiff)
  • they have lots of eye contact, lots of immediately attraction. 
  • they look good together.
  • there's lots of talking and laughing
  • they're talking a lot - about each other, and their emotions re the day
  • she has a bridesmaid who's kind of OCD about knowing everything and she's almost directing their chats, but the bride is quite hesitant to give her a lot of information. This friend could be quite persuasive I think, but at the moment seems to like Mark and be okay about the deal. Not sure this will last.
  • he seems a guy who's a bit caught up in his appearance, and maybe hers. This didn't work so well with a similar couple last season (but I missed so many episodes, I don't know what they were really like).
  • I'm intrigued by this couple because superficially they look good, but I wonder how they'll go getting to know each other more. They're talking a lot, which is a good sign, but I wonder how deep they'll go. 
  • I wonder how she'll cope with his gamer side. She seems far too serious to tolerate games, but maybe I don't know her enough yet to make that call
  • they share a similar sense of humour
  • This will be interesting. I can see this one working well, or failing miserably.

And those are my impressions from tonight. There are 3 more couples tomorrow, so I'll see what they bring!

Please note: my predictions were so bad last time, these will probably be the same. But I find this an interesting exercise for working with characters in stories - what makes characters work? And I always shy away from opposite characters, so I'm hoping this will give me more skills to bring opposites together.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Phallic Friday - Sex/Life

I was excited to see an article about a TV show that I watched in the 1990s. It was one of many events in my life that gave me confidence to speak openly about sex.

Here's the article:

I watched this show - I lived alone, not long moved out of the family home - and then I'd get to work and we'd discuss it. I worked in a male-dominated industry but they were like my big brothers (or they forgot I was female). So, the discussions were serious discussions about what the show had shown, and sometimes our reactions to that.

It was a brilliant discussion starter. It had great and interesting articles/interviews. It opened my eyes to a lot of things - even the discussions at work showed me things I didn't know.

It was a fascinating show.

And in the article there's a photo of ManPower. I organised a bunch of work women to attend ManPower - even my boss's wife came (he insisted that she go with us, which I thought was lovely!!). Jamie Durie is in ManPower at that time - can you pick him? He's the reason I went and yes, I got to sit on his knee. Yes, somewhere I have a photo of that special event!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

RWA Conference Report

Glenelg, South Australia, before the Jetty
I went to the RWA Conference.

I'm pleased to say that I enjoyed myself. I did conference a little differently this time - I didn't stay in the venue but a short walk away, I got outside, I didn't have majorly late nights talking to everyone, and I didn't have high expectations. These changes worked for me!!!!

View from the Jetty - the conference hotel is on the right
Adelaide is my favourite city in Australia, and Glenelg is gorgeous. The Stamford Grand is functional elegance and a fantastic location for a conference. I enjoyed the venue and location a lot. Great food nearby. Lots of space around. Short walk to shops, tram, beach, fresh air, parks, other motels. Just a great spot to be.

My conference highlights were:
  • Listening to Keri Arthur's talk. She's one of my favourite authors and Dad and I fight over who reads her new book first. Her talk was so honest, that it gave me a new look at the industry. She's a big name, NY Times best seller, and yet she has hassles. She struggles to know what's the right thing. She gets messed about. She has to stand up for what she believes is right, even when it costs financially. On the outside, her career looks like smooth sailing - it was refreshing to hear that no matter where or who you are, not everything is smooth sailing.
  • Daniel DeLorne gave another honest, open talk about gay males. I really enjoyed his light humour, his openness, honestly and the refreshingly normal way he spoke about sex. There isn't a lot at conference targetted for the erotic author, so this was great!
  • There was an Academic Conference stream and I LOVED IT! I loved being challenged to think about what we read and write. I loved the depth and breadth of the views expressed. This is the second academic conference held as part of RWA and I hope it continues. It makes the conference for me.
  • Catching up with fellow Naughty Ninjas, Lily Malone and Sandra Antonelli. I was so lucky to be talking to Lily when Sue brought Lily's new book to give to her. It was Lily's first look and it was such a privilege to be there. And Sandra presented the work from her PhD at the Academic Conference, which is fab!
    Lily, her new book, with Sue Brockhoff from Harlequin Mira
    Lily and me

Sandra and me

Some of my personal 'funny' moments were -
  • Running 'home' in the pouring rain, heels in hand, after the Harlequin Author Party. The ground was slippery (great excuse, hey?) and I felt all of 16 and sneaking home late :)
  • Taking a great sunset shot under the jetty, all dressed up, thinking I wouldn't get wet - and of course I did! My boots filled with water, my good trousers were soaked to the knee. Luckily it was after my publisher meeting! I do need to grow up, but there's no fun in that :)
View under the jetty - at sensible low tide

View under the jetty - at high tide, when you might just get your feet wet (or your legs!)
I still have problems with my attendance at conference. I find so many people are all about themselves - that's all they want to talk about, how great they are. I find a lot of people have different views to me about the publishing business, and I struggle with that. There are entirely too many people and it's much too noisy!! (I'm such a hermit!). There's too many options - at one stage I wanted to be in 3 places at once. It's still expensive. And erotic authors are generally not catered for - but I suppose that can be said about a lot of sub-genres. It just gets on my goat when people talk to me and acknowledge one type of my writing, yet this side of me is 'just sex' - as if I don't craft a story with as much care and diligence.

But, all up, I'd go again. I'd do the more casual approach again too. So far, I'm tired but I'm not sick and out on my feet like in 2014. I might finally be working it out :)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Romance Writers Conference

I'm off to the Romance Writers of Australia's Conference this week - mainly to catch up with Lily :)

I'll try to take photos and post things...but I'll probably get talking and forget!

I'll try to find interesting wildlife, ideas for saucy posts, some interesting tidbits, and inspiration!

I'll be back next week!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wildlife Wednesday - soldier crabs


When I was a kid, we always found Soldier Crabs at the central coast when we were on holidays - every low tide (you know, for the few days we were there on holidays!).

I've been here 8 years and on Saturday, I saw my first lot of Soldier Crabs. It took me right back to being a kid.

The little scuttling marching noise of the crabs coming out of the sand and marching to the water was EXACTLY how I remembered it. It's what caught my attention first. Immediately my heart jumped. "Soldier crabs," my mind yelled like a five-year-old. I scanned quickly, camera at the ready and clicked and clicked and clicked.

They move so quickly, and I'm such a big predator, they weren't happy to pose for photos. And getting one to stay still on my hand so I could take a shot was tricky. I have lots of photos of a bare hand!

They don't bite or nip, these guys. I remembered that from when I was a kid, but was relieved to see it was still the case!

They march in groups, like regiments, scurrying out of the sand to catch up to the rest. They were of all sizes - tiny ones to large ones (the large one is the size of the one in my hand - they were slower to catch!).

Here's some more information if you're intrigued:

Australian Museum info here
and some more here with cute illustrations

Here's an article about Moon Snails attacking soldier crabs, with video.

And here's one with lots of info.

I'm hoping I get to see them again! Soon :)

The sand after eating, and small soldier crabs emerging/hiding

All the white near the water are crabs

Scaling the log

A loner...lost!