Friday, June 28, 2019

Fearless Friday - Creative Writing Energy

My Fearlessness has taken me into territory that I wasn't sure I wanted to go to, and beyond!

I'm writing a non-fiction book that's more in Cate's territory, but I'm not writing it as Cate. Which is terrifying because it's using all the alternate and spiritual practices I've been investigating (that most of my family and friends deem weird and wacky) and openly admitting that I use them.

Back in early 2018, I started blogging about them here, to see how brave I was! I called it Saturday Search and there were about 6-8 posts like this one

Then, I went off on something else and almost forgot I'd written them...until I was talking to fellow writer, Kim Petersen, who was writing similar things on her blog.

We got talking, and now we're putting together a book for writers, where we're opening up about our practices and techniques to access the deeper parts of ourselves.

This is our cover and blurb.

And we have a sign up for more information here:

We're hoping to help inspire other writers.

Would you like to come and join us :)

Friday, May 31, 2019

Fearless Friday - workshops

I've taught a few writing workshops, which I really enjoy, and tomorrow I'm off to do another one, this time with Kim Petersen.

I've only dabbled a little in Self-Publishing, but Kim's had a bit more experience in that, so we've teamed up to run a workshop together.

I don't know how we'll go because this is the first time we've taught together, but we've done author talks together and they've worked out easily enough. So I'm hoping for the same in a workshop.

Kim and I have been working a bit together, and it's nice not doing everything on your own. But when I'm Catherine, we become Cath and Kim, and if you're aware of that TV show, we're not credible! LOL! So we're going to try to be Kim and Cate ... and if we're lucky people won't laugh as soon as we introduce ourselves!

So that's my fearlessness this week - tandem teaching!

How's your fearlessness faring?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - snorkelling and underwater critters

Selfie :)
After my waves day, I decided to go down to the rockpool and see how the snorkelling was. I was going to go out into the ocean but I was on my own and no one about, so much safer in the rockpool (It's not Fearless Friday so I can totally admit that here!)

I had a few issues:
  • IT WAS FREEZING!!! Much colder than the ocean had been.
  • They'd cleaned it since I was last there and so much of the growth, the larger fish, and the rock on the floor were gone.
  • Did I mention how cold it was?

But I went for a swim anyway, and I was pretty happy with some of the shots. I even dug out Dakin's Australian Seashores to work some of these out!

Side on view - limpet (front), chiton (middle), periwinkles (back)

Top view

Reflection - and there's fish in the middle!

A close up of the fish
Reflections again

Another reflection
Top hat and nudibranch

Nudibranch (sea slug)

I love these things!

Limpet - side on


Monday, May 27, 2019

Update on waves

Saturday was magical. Warm, still, calm seas with lovely rolling waves. I went for a swim...with my camera...

Gorgeous day for a swim

Water like crystal
Waves coming in nicely, no undertow, so I could go out deeper
I was trying to catch the wave as it rolled over - a bit early here
And try to catch the wave as it rolled over...or a bit late!

And this time I nailed it - finally!

I was on top of the world - or on top of the wave anyway!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Fearless Friday - waves

I follow lots of photographers on Instagram because they're awesome and photography is something I love. Most of the ones I follow dive or snorkel or spend time in/near water. Some of them take these incredible wave photos...and I've been trying to capture this sort of a shot - and failing!

My camera isn't flash. It's just a point and click but it goes underwater; an Olympus TG-5. I love it, but I'm probably pushing it to its limits with what I'm trying to do (wave photos and night astrophotography seem to have limits!), but I'm not giving up yet.

This wee we've had lovely warm water, warmish air, flat seas with those waves that just pop up and curl over. It seemed to me to be the perfect conditions for me to get braver and try to get under a wave and grab this shot in my mind.

Let's see how I went:

Not so good in so many many shots! Sometimes the surf smacked me hard, other times it just tumbled me around, and sometimes it let me dive through unscathed (thank heavens for mostly that!)

But sometimes there was hope - a wall of water where I just wasn't quite in the right spot.

I'm learning more about my camera, and I'm totally having a ball in the surf. So I'm going to keep trying and one day, I might nail something cool!

Do you have these types of crazy goals too?

Friday, May 17, 2019

Fearless Friday

Where has the last month gone? I have no clue at all. The days just fly by.

I have a few things for this wonder, if it's been a month!

I have A Real Online Fantasy Parts 1 & 2 online now! Yipee! For a short time, it's even free. So if you'd like to download it, please do.

You can grab it from your favourite store by clicking here:

My other self wrote a story for an anthology with Kim Petersen and Beth Prentice. Kim has a blog where she's honest about herself and her life. She asked me to write a post for her site and so, I went with honesty. It's easier to be honest as Cate. So I'm a bit scared about this one, but anyway :) I'm owning it!

Teenagers and sex.

This article is saying something I've read before - that teenagers are highly influenced by porn. And not just highly influenced about sex... but confused about consent. 

Porn, a scripted film, does not show discussion, consent, or even 'realistic sex' but do kids know that? It appears that they don't. 

For so long, sex has been such a taboo topic, that people don't discuss it at all. This leads to people finding out about sex my whatever means they can. How did you discover sex? For me, it was via animals and nature. There was a conversation about sex after a sex ed video shown at school, but my questions were a little too confronting and I was sent to my room without answers. And really, asking if a man's penis is different to a dog's is not such a shock, is it?

So, if kids these days are getting information about sex from the internet - which is a pretty handy tool for information gathering - and no one is speaking about sex, then how do they know if what they find is 'real' or 'misinformation'? 

I'm so glad there are people going to schools to discuss sex honestly with kids. I wonder if they'd take an erotic author on the school chat tour? That's something I'd love to do.

Thanks for reading today. I'll try to get back to more regular blogging!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Real Online Fantasy Part 1 & 2

I'm so excited! I just got my rights reversal notification out of the letterbox for A Real Online Fantasy, my first published ebook, which means I can show you the stunning cover Patti Roberts from Paradox Book Covers and Formatting (or find her on Facebook) created for me.

A Real Online Fantasy is going to be re-released.

If you've read it, you might remember that Condamine's fantasy is the story. And since it was a short story with the Hot Down Under group, the word count was limited, so I could only ever have her fantasy.

A reviewer commented that they wanted his fantasy too - which is a valid comment, if there's a longer word count - and so I've written extra to include his fantasy.

So we now have Parts 1 & 2.

And since the cover is so incredibly hot, I'm thinking I need to write more parts... but there are so many stories to tell... I don't know what I'll do!

But behold... the hottest cover that I love so much.

A Real Online Fantasy Parts 1 & 2 will be available in ebook and print soon (fingers crossed I can manage that!)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Phallic Friday - female genital mutilation

This incredible article was on the ABC news website last Friday, it's about a doctor in Australia who is reversing female genital mutilation.

I didn't even realise this was possible, and yet it's been around in France for 15 years. Sadly, there are few surgeons who have learned the techniques. But it seems that those who have done the training are truly beautiful human beings and are about caring for all.

This article is so moving at the same time as it is horrifying.

The moving part is about the doctor and his quest for helping others. The fact that other surgeons go to Africa to help people there. The fact that the first woman to receive assistance in Australia has had such a life-changing experience. The way this article is written to give others information.

The horrifying part is that Female Genital Mutilation happens. That it is not only a cultural practice but one practiced because of religious beliefs too. That doctors perform this on young children. That women think it's fine to do this to their baby. That some women don't even know this procedure occurred. That surgeons don't seem to think it is worth doing this training, or discussing this procedure, or helping women.

I hope all forms of genital mutilation can one day be stopped, and used only as a medical procedure when a person is suffering.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - Sea Lions

I've no idea where time vanishes to...but it floats away too quickly sometimes!

Back to Kangaroo Island. Today we're at Seal Bay. This is the resting place of Australian Sea Lions. It's not unprotected, but it closely guarded by the National Park. I wasn't quite expecting how protected the place is. It's not a bad thing, it's great that the animals aren't affected by people and tourists aren't annoying them during their resting time. I point it out because it costs money - and more money to be close to the sea lions - and don't take your swimmers because you won't be swimming there!

Flipper tracks
When we went, we thought we'd just do our own wandering and not the guided tour. But then the staff pointed out that the boardwalk for the unguided is right at the end of the beach (up to the left when you're looking at the beach) and on the day we were there, there wasn't a sea lion up that end. There's a viewing platform but no beach access. In the photo above, the headland in the distance is where the boardwalk is. Those steps close by are the Guided Walk's path.

The guided tour is right there in front of the visitor's centre, and you walk down on to the beach, and although you're not beside the sea lions, you're probably only 20m away from them. If you're lucky, they may come up to you, or come past you. And you can see flipper tracks :)

Let me bombard you with my photos.

If you want info on Sea Lions, here's the Australian Museum.

If you want Seal Bay info, pop in here.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Fearless Friday - trusting the universe

Do you hear people say, "Trust the universe", or "the universe has your back"? I always have heard it said. I thought I understood what it meant. I thought I did it too, mostly. But lately, I've been hearing it more and being challenged in how much I trust the universe. This is an odd feeling for one who thinks they do it anyway!

When I trust the universe, I usually get signs, or synchronicities, to show me that I've done the right thing. That all will be well.

Do you ever get signs from the universe?

Maybe you see numbers repeating. You might open your iPad, or flick on the phone, and see 1:11 or 22:22 or 13:13. Or they'll be on something you drive past, or catch on something you glimpse.

Maybe a name gets repeated. You meet someone who changes your life in some way, and their name pops up over and over. In a character you read, in a salesperson, in someone new you meet.

Maybe you talk about something to someone, and then that thing happens. Out of the blue. Completely unexpected. This one happened to me this week. I spoke to someone about fruit bats - I'd raised them, he knew someone who had too. Some hours later, I had a fruit bat crash into my back verandah and I had to help it on its way. I've lived here 11 years and this is the first fruit bat that's crashed into my place, although they do fly over a lot. Weirder still, it was a juvenile fruit bat at about the size they're released after you raise them. I stood there in shock - it's a fruit bat, after we spoke about fruit bats - but no one else seemed to find that significant. I did. It was the universe telling me I'd done the right thing, even though it seemed odd.

Does this happen to other people? Does it happen to you?

Mostly I've heard people mention this associated with loss of loved ones. For example, rainbows are often a sign people see where they'll say, "XX sent me a rainbow, so everything's going to be okay." It's beautiful when that happens. I've heard it said about rainbows, flowers, animals, cloud shapes, even food. It makes me smile every time, but most especially when it's someone who I'd never have picked to say something like that.

I seem to be having quite a discussion with the universe lately. I just hope I'm interpreting the signs correctly! But I'm trusting the universe will clunk me on the head if I go totally off-course :)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday Story - ARRA Book Signing

Sunday 24th March Sydney

Bankstown Sports Club

10 am - 4 pm

Will I see you there?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Phallic Friday - definition of pornography

Back to a Phallic post today because I saw this interesting article on the ABC website on Monday this week, discussing pornography and the current definition (or lack thereof) and a proposed new definition.

The article is written by researchers from Monash University, Melbourne, and since one woman is a PhD candidate, I'm guessing it's her PhD project. What a neat topic!?

The lack of a definition for pornography is something that I've noticed. People often ask why is what I write called erotic and not porn. The first time I was asked this, I was a bit floored. I said that I wasn't writing to arouse, but to explore a relationship fully, including the sexual relationship. It was my understanding that the primary purpose of pornography was arousal. My primary purpose in writing erotic romance is to tell a story and delve into a relationship. My primary purpose writing erotica is to use words to describe a sexual act. When I write erotica, I'm a little more focussed on the arousal aspect that with a romance, because I'm playing with words to create a mood/feeling.

The major point of the article is that in any of the current ways of defining porn, consent is not mentioned. In fact, many instances where consent is obviously missing, are still referred to as porn, when in fact they should be termed as a "sexual abuse". For example, child porn has no consent (because a child cannot give consent) and should be termed child sexual abuse. Revenge porn, is an act of revenge where one part of a broken relationship releases sexual information without the other's (or others')  consent. Rather than labelling this porn, it should be termed online sexual abuse.

The researchers say that changing definitions, and word choices, can be a powerful instigator of social change.

I love this article. I hope it gets a lot of air time, because these word choices do make a huge difference.

Thanks for the research Monash University, Sarah Ashton, and Dr Maggie Kirkman, Senior Research Fellow, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - Long-nosed Fur Seals

Fur seal at American River wharf (spotted on our first day)
Long-nosed Fur Seals (previously known as New Zealand Fur Seals) hang out around Kangaroo Island, which is one of the reasons that calling mobile animals by names that reference a country is all sorts of confusing. It's nice now that there's a push to use the Long-nosed name - and people on KI were quite strict about distinguishing which type of 'seal' you meant when you used that generic name.

These guys aren't the friendly, puppy-like ones. As the dolphin guy told me, these ones might look fun and interact a bit, and then they'll bite you for no reason. He also said these are the ones most closely associated with sharks. He reckoned if you saw a Great White around KI, you were most likely with the fur seals. And this information was good for me, because I'd been tempted to jump in and have a swim with the first seal we'd seen (the day before the dolphins), but there were other people around and I didn't. So that was a bit lucky - I may have been sporting a bite and that would have ruined the whole trip!

At the end of KI, there's Flinders Chase National Park, and the SE corner has Admiral's Arch and Remarkable Rocks. There's a colony of Fur Seals around Admiral's Arch, which is surrounded by rock platforms. So the fur seals do their feeding and then come to these rock platforms for a rest (except for the anti-social one we saw at the opposite end of the island!)

There are mothers and babies, teenagers and bulls on the rock platforms. You could stand there for ages watching them. Some sleep, but there are others who are just trouble. They go around waking up and stirring up trouble. Some play in the waves or the gutters in the rocks. Others climb up and down the rocks looking for a better spot to lie. It was fascinating.

Initially, we saw rocks, then you might spot one or two of the lighter coloured seals, and once your eye got in, there seemed to be hundreds all over the rocks. Little brown blobs scattered in shadows, under overhangs, right on a flat rock that you'd just overlooked. It was funny to watch people come down and go, "oh a seal," and then a few minutes later, "They're everywhere."

We spent some time watching the seals surf onto the rock platform. A couple of them seemed to be just off the edge, playing in the waves, and then they'd take a few waves before they made it up onto the rocks and able to walk higher. I wish I knew if they were playing, or learning techniques.

One seal we watched make his slow way down to a gutter. It took about 10 minutes, and it was like he wasn't sure he was going in (a bit like people at the beach when it's not a hot day). Then he eased his way into the water - no belly flop, but a gentle slide. Once in the water, he was playing - diving, rolling, sticking each flipper up, head up, tail up, rolling, swimming, chasing his tail. It was brilliant to watch and well worth us waiting so long!

I think you can see why 7 days wasn't enough time to see everything on KI!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Story - Prince of Air and Darkness

M.A. Grant's Prince of Air and Darkness was waiting for me when I got home from holidays and I devoured it.

It's a m/m paranormal romance that has every paranormal creature I could think of mentioned :)

Roark is the Prince of Air and Darkness, the favourite son of the Winter Faery Court (favourite, probably because he's the only one who's stuck around!).

Finny is human, who possesses the ability to link with the energy of ley lines. This is something he can't yet control and is likely to kill him.

Roark and Finny have a strange relationship at the beginning. It's not hatred that keeps them apart, but Roark's thick thick walls. He is so guarded, so difficult to read and understand. Finny si sweet and incredibly likeable and open.

As the story progresses I fell for Roark. He's a fantastic character with such strength and purity of heart.

At times, this story was so incredibly human. It could have been a m/m set at a university campus...and then some mythical creature would appear on the page and bounce you right back into the paranormal. This wasn't at all distracting or a criticism, it's what made the characters so incredibly likeable, and what set up the series. It's the perfect premise - a place where everyone is mixing and 'equal', with just a few tensions that are escalating among the rumours of the possibility of war breaking out.

If you like paranormal, m/m romance - grab this book!

If you enjoy an emotional story telling, grab this book!

I hope you might enjoy it as much as I did.