Friday, March 24, 2017

Phallic Friday - abortion & the media

I've been a bit confounded by a few reports this week of more footy boys being outed to the media by ex-girlfriends. Of course, I know nothing more than has been reported, so I may be getting the wrong end of the stick, however, I'm expressing my opinion based on what was reported.

They've been a couple of exes who've been quoted as saying, 'he made me have an abortion,' or similar words and using this as a reason for exposing so much more about their relationship.

This gets me. It's 2017. The feminist movement is alive and well. Abortion is a medical practice in Australia that is not illegal (subject to conditions). It is estimated that 1 in 4 women have had an abortion (data from page 10 of this booklet, downloadable here), so it's not an uncommon event. Australia has a social welfare system, good childcare systems, and reasonably good working conditions for parents (compared with many other countries). Illegitimate children are seen as no different to children in single parent families and there are a lot of those around (compared to when I was growing up).

How do men MAKE women have an abortion?

Sure he may have wanted that. Pushed for that. Paid for it even.

But a woman carries the child and since it's her body, ultimately makes that choice.

Sure, the guy can have a say, if the woman chooses to let him know, but he can never gag and tie her up to deliver her to a hospital for an unwanted abortion. That does not happen in Australia.

So each of these women have made a choice at the time, in the circumstances they found themselves in. It's a choice that, I hope, was freely made with support of information and counselling. If you need information, visit Family Planning here or download a fact sheet here.

Abortions can have severe emotional impacts. I'm afraid that the media has used this against these women.

You can be angry at the guy. You can regret the decision afterwards. You can hate the choice you've made. You can feel anything you want to.

But using it as an excuse for revenge doesn't sit well with me. And the fact that the media has jumped all over it and blown it into a huge story with massive coverage sits even worse with me.

Does the media's overblown drama of private matters annoy you too?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday - Wandering Jew

I have a flower for you today. It's from the Wandering Jew plant. And yes, I had to Google because I wasn't sure that the name hadn't been changed due to political incorrectness. In some places it's called Wandering Dew.

It's a weed around here, but we've had so much rain this summer that my weeding skills have been unable to overcome the weeds! So, I have lots of this weed, but it does have a pretty, bright blue, flower.

Not sure if I'll get a Friday post up - the day job has gone crazy! Fingers crossed it calms down through the week and I get to blog, and write, and read :)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Phallic Friday - footy player perves

Footy season has started again. And week 2 saw my team play at our closest ground, where we have tickets! So I got to cheer my team, while sitting in the area for the other team. Luckily I'm quiet and no one hassled me - but there were a few odd looks. (And yes, it was hell on my ears, and I'm paying this week...but I think it was worth it).

So, while I was there, I was thinking about stories. My MMF has a team in the background so I have a few other books planned in my head for different team mates, and so I was looking for some inspiration.

Because we're footy addicts, we sit through all 3 games (under 20s, the 'reserve grade' and the main NRL game). During the early games, some of the NRL guys sit around our seats, which is great for my Muse. I watch and file away all sorts of crazy things.

So, the other day it was this back shape that caught my eye. He looks good in his footy gear, but this is his club suit. It's that back shape we all try to describe - big shoulders tapering to narrow hips. Swimmers' build. But I took this picture because there's more that I've missed describing. There's the strain across the shoulder portion of the suit. The thick muscles along the spine. There's the way the suit moulds to his shape. And that waist is tight. Anyway...I won't go on or I'll drool!!!

Some guys have tattoos. This bloke's caught my eye and I wish I could have gotten a good photo from the front, because see that kind of striping effect on the back of his thighs, on the front they were angled more from the middle of his thighs going out and down. Maybe I have a perverted brain, but it looked to me like the sun was shining out of his groin. Do you think that was the intention? I just wasn't sure. And the tattoo went right down over his kneecaps...which must have hurt because there's so little flesh there. So I was wincing and frowning and trying to understand. But a great body trait for a character, I thought. Not the usual tattoos.

For the second half of the reserve grade, and during the main game, many of the U20s were in front of us. Most of them are so tiny. They're so young, their muscles haven't fully developed. Some of them have hands that I'm sure are smaller than mine. Some bite their nails. They all tap incessantly on their phone. A few have tattoos. They're goofy kids, mucking around at the footy together.  All guys, no girls with them.

But they're also giving, some are humble. A bunch of kids came up to them (kids 7 or 8 yrs old I guess) who wanted to chat, wanted autographs. One of the players had visited their school and so the kids had some 'ownership' of him, and he was great with them. He involved all his teammates in the signing, even if they were somewhat reluctant. They spun crazy stories that were clearly lies, but the kids ate them up, and the guys had their 'in' joke to amuse themselves. It wasn't harmful, just claiming familial relationships with 'stars'. The kids loved it all and went away on cloud 9.

I like sitting and watching. I like wondering about the groupings of players, and how that affects their on-field play. I like trying to find new, yet accurate, word pictures to describe people and bodies and interactions. I like getting ideas for stories, characters, teams. It's all amazing fodder.

Mr E thinks I'm a perve...but I call it research :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday - Bug

I found this bug, which I thought was a St Andrew's Cross bug, but I'm not finding too much info for that name. So I'm (again) guessing I call this thing the wrong name.

Okay, so I think it might be from the Lygaeidae family. Some info is here on the CSIRO website. It says they're a large family and include lots of agricultural pests (which must be why I was vaguely familiar with them).

They're also called cinch bugs.

There's another good website here from CSIRO again, but not much on my bug.

Oh, well, not a lot of info but at least I'm back taking photos of critters (even when my ID is wrong!)  :)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ARRC Photos

Helen Konstan was the ARRC17 photographer and she took some amazing photos over the weekend, but most exciting for me was that she got some of me looking half-decent - and that's not easy! So here are some of her pics.

PS I know it should be Wildlife Wednesday...but I'm out of wildlife temporarily! My mind isn't on the job yet -  I saw a weevil today and popped it on a bush without taking a photo. I've got to get my act together.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Catching up & ARRC

The ENT thinks my ear problems are an inflammation, so I'm on anti-inflammatories and there is some improvement. So that's a good thing! :) Fingers crossed it goes away soon.

I went to ARRC after that good health news. ARRC is the Australian Romance Readers Convention, which was held in Melbourne. I hadn't been to one before, and Cate Ellink was going to stay behind but there was a cancellation and they asked me to fill in on the Sports Romance Panel, so Cate Ellink went along after some discussion about my sweet and sexy sides being both there.

You may know if you follow this blog or the Naughty Ninjas, that I've had some jealousy issues with my two writing selves. Cate Ellink, because she's all about sex, cops a lot of flak and so I try to keep my two selves separate. Going to a convention with both of me was a first and I was quite worried about it - even though the lovely ladies on the ARRA committee assured me it would be fine.

And it was! No one cared. In fact some readers who only knew my clean self, said they'd hunt up my raunchy self too. I think it's the first time my two halves have been united and happy.

I participated in the Sports Romance Panel, a speed dating session, and also the Book Signing. They were all a lot of fun!

Speed dating was 4 minutes with 10 different people to talk with, about...well, I talked about different things with each person. Book covers, travelling, writing, reading habits, juggling work and writing, the publishing industry. Some of the readers were writers too. My session was on Sunday and by then I knew most of the ladies who popped onto the chair across from me, so it was like having a speed chat to friends.

The book signing was more fun that I expected. I sat between K M Golland and Beverley Eikli / Beverley Oakley, so the company was exceptionally good. ARRC produced booklets for the signing, and I signed lots of those. I had magnets and bookmarks, merkins and postcards. I gave away a lot of magnets, especially ones with naked chests, or calendars. Next time I might do a naked chest on a calendar!!! :)

Photo with thanks to @Kaetrin67 and her tweet
The Sports Romance Panel was the best fun. Four authors, and a fabulous moderator - and the other 3 authors hated sport! I sat in my Parramatta t-shirt, so I couldn't even pretend to hate sport!! I didn't feel too bad either. I'm not ashamed of loving sport. I'm not ashamed of loving writing about sex. I realised that I write sports people who love sex, and I enjoy that!

I had a bit of a fan girl moment. In the audience was C S Pacat. I'm a fan of her Captive Prince series. She asked a question about tropes - which trope do you write about? I didn't get to answer the question, but after a lot of thought, I realised what I write. And it's not what the others write (which doesn't surprise me at all!).

I love 'serious' sports people. I'm not up for the 'bad' boy/girl who makes good. I'm up for the professional who works their arse off to get better. To be the best. To keep achieving. I write about the perfectionist.

As a sports nut, I'm not interested in sports for fame, money, 'bad boys', or popularity. I'm interested in the psychology of sports people, the sacrifices they make to be the best, they way they push themselves, and their focus.

It's not really a popular trope when the romance genre (at the moment) is in love with 'bad boys' making good, and popularity, and Beauty and the Beast tropes. That's why I write what I do (even without realising what it was I was writing!) - I struggled to find stories that were about what interested me.

It's incredible that a simple question can open up a whole new idea in your head. It can explain so much about what you write and why you write it. It can show why you're not finding what you're looking for, why you're different, and even an angle for marketing.

I've always known I write differently to most people, but I've never quite been able to work out why that is, or even what it is. One question has changed my thinking. (And if I thought I fan girled her from her books, this question made me an even bigger fan girl! I won't even go to where she spoke to me and I became a jibbering idiot!!!)

So...I had an incredible weekend at ARRC.

Now...this weekend is Round 1 of the Rugby League season.

I'm pretty much walking on air - if only my ears were perfectly happy!!! :)