The 10 Best Days Of My Life: #feelingnostalgic

I’m feeling nostalgic, and very ‘zen’ at the moment and it made me ponder the reasons behind that. I very rarely feel either ‘nostalgic’ or ‘zen’. Usually I feel like I rush through my life forgetting things I should remember, and remembering all the stuff I wish I could forget!

So the fact I’m feeling this way has made me ponder the reasons why.

Me at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Such a highlight... you can tell by my face! ;)
Me at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Such a life highlight… you can tell by my face! 😉

Nostalgia first. This weekend is the Margaret River Show. The very best night of my life happened at the Margaret River Show when I must have been 14 or 15. I remember going to the Show with a girlfriend, and riding the Ferris Wheel with the guy who was my high-school (and unrequited) crush. Spinning and whirling and thinking how wonderful it was to be spinning and whirling with him!

I woke in the small hours of last night and for some reason, I started thinking of the 10 best days/nights of my life! Why? Because that’s what I do when I’m feeling nostalgic – I make lists!

It went like this:

  1. The Margaret River Show at age 14 or 15 with the High School crush.
  2. My wedding day (you could make that my wedding week – except I didn’t like my hen’s night much)
  3. The night in hospital when I had my first baby, and it was just him and me and I had time to reflect on what had happened that day and what a marvel he was. And the day my second son was born and he opened his eyes and looked at me.
  4. The first time I saw Bridget Jones Diary at the Margaret River Cinema. I’ve still never laughed so much at any other movie.
  5. The day I walked across the bridge at Victoria Falls. (Must go back)
  6. Hot air ballooning over the Masai Mara and having champagne breakfast out on the plain.
  7. Trekking to see the gorillas in the wild in Zaire. (Maybe I should have grouped all the above into my Africa safari when I was 19. I had my 19th birthday in Tanzania and that could have made the list too).

    With a chimpanzee in Zaire, the afternoon after coming back from a trek to see gorillas in the wild. Happy times.
    With a chimpanzee in Zaire, the afternoon after coming back from a trek to see gorillas in the wild. Happy times.
  8. A friend’s wedding in the Barossa Valley (hello Maarit Linke). Hubby and I had a wonderful time at that wedding (pre-kids) and we ended up walking from Tanunda to Nuriootpa (in heels, well I did, not my husband) because we didn’t want to wait for a taxi to take us home. And because we were young and foolish and thought the 10km walk (or whatever it is) at one in the morning would be fun. (Which it was… but oh our aching feet)
  9. Singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ ba ba baaam, at the top of my lungs in a restaurant in Hahndorf while a guitarist sang & played. We had just had some incredible good news, hubby and I. It was a huge relief and we were celebrating.
  10. A trip I did to Kalbarri to fix my broken heart when I must have been about 24 or 25. I went on my own, and I remember meeting a couple of dudes who were on a fishing trip, playing pool with them (Seal’s Kiss From A Rose was all the rage) and spending time at the beach, or fishing or horse-riding. That week restored my poor battered confidence no-end.

It might be all the recent ‘gratitude’ posts on Facebook that are feeding this nostalgia too. I feel very balanced and centred in my life right now… which leads me on to the ‘zen’.

It’s almost two years since we left South Australia and returned to my roots in Western Australia. We’ve built our new house and we’ve made some wonderful new friendships, and rekindled old ones. The kids are happy in their school, and life is good.

I’ve finished my 4th book this week, So Far Into You, and it’s now out with my trusted three friends and critique partners who are reading it for me, and they’ll soon tell me what they think.

I’ve said on my blog, and I’ve told anyone who’ll listen that I’m usually incredibly impatient with my writing. Not so this time.

Normally at this stage, I’m foaming at the mouth wanting to get the darn thing “out there”… get it into the hands of publishers and have it join the massive queues of books they have in any one time in their submission pile.

Previously this impatience is one of the main reasons I’ve chosen the self-publishing route. If you choose early to self-publish, then once you’re happy with your book and beta readers have seen it and (presumably) it’s edited and polished to an inch of its life, well at that point if you want to, you can send it out to the world and let readers judge if it’s any good or not.

Not this time. I’m happy to wait.

See, feeling very zen.

Could you list the best 10 highlights in your life? I’d love to know what they’d be. Feel free to share in the comments or write your own blog. We could start our own meme! 🙂

So Close To The End: Book 4

It’s been a big couple of weeks on the writing front. If everything goes to plan this weekend, I might even type the magical words: The End on my fourth completed book, by Sunday arvo.

I can’t tell you how exciting, and how relieving that is!

This is the book that I’ve often dubbed: “The Book That Will Never Be Written”. It’s actually the very first romance I ever tried to write. I submitted it too, and it was only after the rejections came in that I realised I knew nothing about writing, and it was complete and utter drivel! Sometimes a would-be author needs the hard lessons.

That crappy draft has sat around for about four years now, and between other books I’ve pulled it out, looked at it, sometimes edited a bit of it and thought: eeeeek, I can’t possibly fix that up.

But sometime during this year, I stopped trying to fix it up, and I just started re-writing. I kept all that draft, I had about 50,000 words, and if anything it served as a reminder of how far my writing has come, and gave me a loose template for a plot to follow. This time around I had a much better idea of how to get the story to unfold the way I wanted it to.

In four years, this book has had many names.

Initially, it was called Fringe Benefits.

Then it became variously HBOB2: Her Brand Of Business, and/or Her Brand Of Bargain, neither of which I particularly liked. I chose those names to tie in with my debut Escape Publishing title, His Brand Of Beautiful, because the books were very loosely linked through the wine industry setting, with a couple of other very minor characters showing up from my other books, including the journalist Jennie Gray who is in His Brand Of Beautiful, and who gets a mention in the excerpt below.

Anyway, as I was writing this excerpt (the close to Chapter 16) I had an “aha!” moment with the title, and I’ve now got a completely new title for the book that works so much better.

If you get so far as to read this small excerpt, see if you can pick what the new name might be. It’s something Seth says to Remy, and I’ll give you a clue: I haven’t called my new book “Find My Way Back With A Torch”.

Wish me luck for getting to ‘The End’ this weekend, I think you’ll hear my squuuuueeeee from wherever you might be if I make it.

Excerpt: (Lily’s Book 4)

They’re in Remy’s kitchen. Remy is cooking, and Seth says checking his phone:

 

“Ah. It’s that journalist from Channel 7. Jennie Gray. She’s been chasing us for an interview the last few days.”

Remy stopped spreading mozzarella over the second pizza. “Us?”

“She wants to come up here and take some photos of us at home and interview you.”

It hit the pit of her stomach like a lump of lead. “Interview me? The media?”

“Don’t worry, Rem. I’m putting her off.”

“Why would anyone want to interview me?” She grumbled. “You maybe, sure. But me? I’m nobody.”

“You’re not nobody, and don’t worry about it. I think she’s just looking for a different angle, and I’ve been in the papers a hundred times. Don’t worry. I’ll look after it.”

Remy sipped her champagne, glad the food wasn’t far away. She was starting to feel light-headed and that dizzy feeling wasn’t helped by thoughts of journalists and cameras.

“You know what I’ve really loved about living here?” She said.

“What?”

“I love that no one knows me. I love how anonymous I am here, especially how it was in the beginning. Do you know that in five years, I can only remember one time when I ran into someone I knew in the supermarket in Mount Barker? It’s not like living in Margaret River.”

“That might change now you’re with me.”

“Yeah. I’m kind of afraid of that.”

“Can you handle it, Rem? I mean, without freaking out. Because if it’s an issue we should probably stop right here.”

She wished her stomach didn’t give that awful lurch at the thought of stopping right here. The last thing she wanted to do was stop right here.

“Maybe stop after pizza, hey? I’m starving.” She tried for a tone that said she was good with it, she wasn’t about to fall to pieces, but her hand shook and mozzarella cheese missed the pizza base and skittered across the counter. Seth reached for her wrist, held firm enough that her gaze flicked to his.

“I don’t want to stop. I’m all in, Rem. I’m so far into you I wouldn’t know how to find my way back if you gave me a torch.”

Her arm jerked in his hand, she couldn’t help it. All of a sudden it was like the heat in his skin would burn her up. Hell and Tommy, what was she supposed to say to that?

The oven timer buzzed. So she said: “Pizza.”

Did you pick it? Let me know in the comments! Happy Weekend everybody, I’ll be writing!