Friday, August 30, 2019

Phallic Friday - sex ed

I'm in the last week of my OWL for RWA (ie an online writing workshop for Romance Writers of Australia) on Getting Comfortable Writing Sex. I can't begin to tell you how exciting it's been...and when I put it into words, I sound kind of nutty, but let me try.

18 people signed up for it. I thought it might be just me, so that was a relief.

Not many of them have been interactive, but 2 people have been really chatty. We've discussed published sex scenes - about 10 - and looked at what's worked and doesn't work for them.

We had a discussion about word choices, which was really interesting. There are so many words that people find objectional/offensive/uncomfortable. And everyone's different with their tolerance levels too. Such a great discussion.

Both people who've been active, have had lightbulb moments (what a thrill for me). Both have written a sex scene and shared it. Both have stretched where they thought their comfort zone was. One has taken the feedback and written more sex scenes that have so much more in them, that it's fantastic to see that development. The other has gone back to look at spicing up their whole manuscript because they enjoyed writing their first sex scene. Can you believe that?

Never in my wildest dreams did I hope that my course could have that impact - okay, maybe in the wildest dreams, but not the realistic ones! And I'm thrilled. We haven't done anything except read and discuss published sex scenes. But these writers have been open-minded, willing to discuss and push their boundaries, and I'm so grateful for their enthusiasm and openness.

I've taken a bit of a leap of faith, and I'm running a similar course with a face-to-face group with writers in general (not romance writers). The leap of faith is that I've only asked for a guarantee of petrol money, no payment for a 4-6 week course. Funding was applied for, and apparently this course was quite a volatile proposal that caused much debate. Should public money be used to fund sex? In the end, the answer was no.

Even if it's not funding sex, apparently writing sex scenes is still the same as funding sex.

I'm a little sad about that.

But it's not unexpected. There's an article on the ABC News website today, written by a 20-year-old, about the lack of sex education/discussion in society (you can read it here). And I just finished watching a TV series on SBS called The Hunting, (you can watch it here), where the theme was sexting and lack of discussion/education around this topic (also the law, patriarchy, racism, and other riling topics were touched upon, and sometimes not resolved much to my annoyance). SBS has also put out an education package to help with people who want to help discuss the sexting issues with kids/teens/others (you can find that here).

I hope things might change in the future, and that sex may not be such a taboo topic that we shun it or shy away from thinking about it or presenting/discussing available information.

And I hope one day that I might be able to receive funding and payment for a writing course, even if it discusses writing sex scenes!

Did you watch The Hunting

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - Toado

It's an age since I've done a wildlife post, and an age since I've been swimming/snorkelling, so I'm going to traipse down memory lane here.

I'm not a great fan of winter because, although the water isn't freezing, the air is cold and it makes swimming uncomfortable...unless you have a wet suit and then you can manage it the swim and getting changed - under a warm shower!

In teh bottom left of the photo is a toado (as I call them) which are properly called a Common Toadfish, but they're also called a Weeping Toadfish according to the Australian Museum Website (you can find it here).

A weeping toadfish because of the marks beneath their eyes...which I have to say I've never noticed. Not when snorkelling, or when fishing and catching these pesky things! I must have a better look next time.

I call these pesky because we always caught them when we were fishing as kids. They put up a pretty reasonable fight, so you'd think you had something good...but a toado. It was so disheartening. At least they're easy to get off the hook, even with their prickly skin. My sister changed our view on them when she caught one on an empty hook - that was pretty fun. I'm pretty sure she also caught one on bubble gum, although maybe that was another kid. Anyway, these guys are a fishing kid's joy/pain!

They have a great coloured camouflage system too, like sharks, where the top of them blends well into the ocean background (sand, rock, weed) when you're looking down on them. If you're looking up, you see their pale underneath, which makes them tricky to spot. Really clever.

And as it warms up here, I'm a bit keen to get into the water again. I have had a couple of quick ocean dips this winter, but I haven;t snorkelled since May/June when I thought it wouldn't be so cold and yet I was chilled to the bone!

Roll on summer fun.

Are you a fan of winter? How about toados?

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Weird Wednesday Wonderings

This is just a random weird post of me trying to sort out my head.

So, I did a thing a few months back, where I rented out space to a young guy who needed a place to stay so he could keep the job he loved.

When he'd been here for some time, something happened. Actually, a whole lot of things happened. But in a nutshell, I got really busy doing things and even though I noticed things were slipping with him, I didn't know how to ask without prying so I left it. I did most of the usual things I'd been doing but I didn't do any extra, or ask any questions.

Then he left his job. Left our place. Something happened and he was gone back home.

I'm left wondering if I did enough. Wondering what on earth happened. Did he really love his job and then fall out of love with it so quickly?

I remember being a kid, and yes, these things happen. You drift in and out of things. Permanence isn't necessary because there's a whole world to explore. You aren't bound by commitments.

Although, I was bound by duty - or what I perceived was my duty. I was taught that commitments were things you couldn't break and I often took these teachings to the nth degree.

I was a Brownie Guide and when I was 8 years old, I made the Brownie Promise which was quite a solemn oath that I took very seriously - and I find even to this day, it often plays in my mind. The words were: I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God. To serve the Queen and my country. To help other people and to keep the Brownie Guide Law. The law was: A Brownie Guide thinks of others before herself and does a good turn every day.

They're pretty full on promises for a little kid to make. And I was promising to put everyone before me - which kind of grates at my nerves today.

These promises have very much shaped my life.

When I was the age of the young man who stayed with me, I had an opportunity to quit what I was doing and take another path. I didn't take the other path, not because of any deep thoughts, but because I'd be breaking my commitment to what I was currently doing.

When my jobs have been detrimental to my mental health, I've hung in there ... because I'd made a commitment.

I wonder what my life would be like if I'd not taken the Brownie stuff to heart and followed opportunities as they arose.

I wonder what this young guy's life will be like and if in time, he'll wonder what would have happened if he'd stayed.

Maybe life is all about these sliding door moments. Destiny is all about whether or not we manage to slip in the closing door, or stay right where we are.

I have no answers to any of this. It's just random musings to get them out of my head.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Fearless Friday - promo

I'm just back from the annual RWA Conference, this year it was in Melbourne. It's such an incredible weekend of information, friends, networking, catching up on industry news, meeting people, talking, and all sorts of book/writing things.

This year I had a mission. As the other me, a friend and I had a book out - for writers. So I planned to do promo and generate some interest at conference. I had a heap of magnets to give away and a box of books to sell.

The layout of conference wasn't really conducive to people picking up freebie stuff. And people don't really pick up freebies. So, I grabbed all my courage and I roamed around at morning tea shoving magnets in people's hands.

I don't know why, but I feel like a beggar when I do that. I wonder if I had to beg in a past life, because it's massively uncomfortable for me to face down that fear/discomfort. Actually, it is a fear, because I'm waiting the whole time for someone to yell at me and chase me away - I'm not quite sure who would do this, but it's still that fear in me.

And then I had to leave early, and I had about 60 books that weren't looking like being bought and weren't going to fit in to my luggage restriction for the flight home. What to do!?

I shoved them in unsuspecting hands.

And yes, even giving away a book I still felt like a beggar. I know it's insane. But I did.

I gave away quite a lot of books, facing down all that fear of someone yelling at me.

This week is recovery week.

I love conference, but man it takes it out of me!

I'll try to get post some notes of what I learned next week - my brain might work by then!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Connecting with Strangers

I don't know who said this, and googling didn't help me this time, but I love this quote:

People are only strangers if you let them be strangers; otherwise, they’re only strangers for an instant.

It's coming up to RWA Conference time, so meeting people is on my mind. I went to my first RWA Conference in 2009... and shared a room with my Critique Partner. We'd been working together for a bit over a year, and yet we were meeting face-to-face for the first time at conference - and sharing a room! Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn't it? But it was awesome!

For quite a few years I've shared a room with someone I've not met face-to-face, and it's been such fun. It's the whole 'getting to know you' after already kind of knowing them through their online presence.

The wonderful thing is that most people's online presence is just the same as their face-to-face one! That's always astounding, even as it seems obvious.

Recently, I've had a boarder share my home, and it's been a similar kind of thing. You know someone from chatting to them in a work situation, but you get to meet them on a whole different level in a out-of-work space. I've really enjoyed that experience, and I'd do it again too (you know, if it was entirely up to me).

This RWA Conference, I'm sharing with three people I've never met face-to-face, but they all know each other. It seems crazy that you can chat to people for years online and never actually manage to meet up... but I'm rectifying that! And I'm so looking forward to it.

How do you go with strangers? Do they quickly become friends?

Friday, July 26, 2019

Fearless Friday - YouTube

OMG! I've taken this Fearlessness WAAAAAYYYYYY further than I ever expected to go.

I'm doing YouTube videos.

Not just writing a book where I discuss the weird and wacky and writing... but now I'm putting my face out there and speaking about it freely. With a lot of laughter!

This is getting over quite a lot of my fears.

I'm not great at public speaking, but I have been doing it through my roles in various jobs for some time. So fear of public speaking is being addressed.

I have a dread/hatred of seeing my face... and now it's out there, in your face, on weekly videos! And last weekend, I told my family about this, and my 7 year old niece said, "You're using your face on YouTube?" If it wasn't a kid asking me, I'd have got my back up about that question, but I explained that it was the only face I had and I just had to do it. But I misunderstood what she was asking. As a kid, her Mum won't let her put her face on YouTube, so if they're on there, it's faceless (which is great for a 7-year-old). So, her shock and horror wasn't about me using my face as she deemed it ugly or old or something (as I'd assumed) but that I was 'allowed' to use my face as an adult. Lucky I didn't jump down her throat with my issues causing poor assumption of her question. So, my face fear is being smashed (or at least faced!)

I'm talking all sorts of alternate/woo-woo/spiritual practices and how I use them in my daily life. Pretty much looking the fear of ridicule squarely in the face.

I'm opening up the right side of my brain - although the left is still doing plenty or rationalising!

We've done a few weeks of this now, and I may even be starting to relax and even enjoy it - or at least forget we're on video as we chat.

Hell, they're far from perfect or polished. I roll my eyes too much, laugh way too much, look in all weird directions, think for too long, waffle, and we talk over each other... but I think we might be improving! Slowly. Maybe!

So, if you're at all interested in Creative Writing Energy: Tools to Access Your Higher Creative Mind, feel free to tune in to Wacky Wednesday videos to learn more (or at least have a laugh).

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

WORKSHOP: Getting Comfortable Writing Sex

I'm doing an OWL for RWA in August. More details are here.

And OWL is an Online Writing Workshop. My workshop is on Getting Comfortable Writing Sex.

I have a 4 week course, with all the notes available up front, where I want to create a space where people can freely talk about writing sex scenes.

Maybe you have a difficulty knowing what to write, or how to write it.

Maybe you can write them but you've never let anyone see them.

Maybe you just want some tips.

Maybe you want a place where you can learn more about sex scenes.

Maybe you just want some practice with feedback and open discussion before you expose your writing to a wider audience.

I don't mind why you come along, I'm hoping some people will!

I've got some sex scenes from published novels to discuss. I've already filled them with comments to start the discussions and the thinking off.

I've broken down one scene using Margie Lawson's EDITS system to show that sex scenes need to be well-crafted the same as any other scene in your story.

I've attacked a thesaurus, so we can discuss word choices.

And hopefully we'll have some time to write our own sex scene and share them.

It's not all about erotic romance and erotica. I've taken sex scenes from a variety of romance subgenres and even non-romance stories.

I'm hoping some people come along and enjoy sex scene discussions. If not, Nicolette Hugo and I will have some ripper discussions and maybe even some time to write some way juicy sex scenes!!!

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.