Category Archives: writing

Liebster Award by Pat Ritter

liebster

One of my nominated contributors Pat Ritter does not have a blog, so I will post his contribution to the Liebster Award here.

The Drover

The Shearer by Pat Ritter

 

11 Facts about me that is not well known:  

1. Suffered from asthma (shortness of breath) from age three to six years.

2. Parents moved to country town of Roma so I could overcome the illness.

3. Attended Roma State Primary School from grade one to grade 6.

4. Met Jimmy Keegan in grade one and been friends every since.

5. Joined Boy Cubs at Roma.

6. First encounter with a policeman Constable Rollie Cole when eight years old, wanted to become a policeman since that meeting.

7. Years later when I was twenty-three years old I again met Rollie Cole when I was a policeman and thanked him for being him, he had a huge bearing on my career and life.

8. Met my wife-to-be in front of Cunnamulla Post Office a couple of days before my twenty-third birthday and ‘love at first sight’. My mother passed away only three days before we met and I actually thought my mother sent her blessings from heaven.

9. Always wanted to do the ‘right thing’ by others because my belief is ‘treat others how you would like to be treated with courtesy and trustworthiness and the same would be returned twenty fold.

10. I’ve always had an guardian angel sitting on my shoulder particularly when I was a policeman, especially when someone wanted one morning to shoot me with a M1 Carbine Rifle pointed directly at my forehead.

11. Throughout my life I’ve been lucky to have fallen in love with one person and know what it is to ‘love’, unfortunately she was taken from me too soon but now I have my children and grandchildren living next door on my property where Bub, I’m certain, looks down from above.

 

The 11 questions: 

 

  1. What did you want to be when you were young?

A police officer, since the age of eight years it’s all I ever wanted to become. Life has been kind to me for I achieved this goal. Twenty years as a police officer, fifteen of those as a detective. My final year to establish ‘Crime Stoppers’ programme for Queensland Police Service until at 42 years of age I underwent a pacemaker operation. Twelve months later I retired on medical grounds.

  1. Kindle or real book and why?

Kindle. I absolutely love my kindle. Size, quality and number of books it holds is remarkable. Another reason is because I write and publish e-books.

  1. Looking over the last 10 years, what is one goal that you have achieved, and one that you have not achieved.

The past decade has been tough; my wife lost her fight with cancer. I’ve written a tribute on her life (click onto my website http://www.patritter.com.au and click on free book ‘In Remembrance of Bub’). Time seemed to stop, then her voice called to me from the grave to write. At the time of her passing I’d written and published about six books, now I’m working on my 15th.

Pat Ritter book.

  1. What are your plans for retirement? Will you travel and if so, to where and why?

I am retired, after the passing of my wife I decided to stop work and write full time. I’ve travelled throughout Australia and yearly go on a Christmas Tour with a local travelling tour.

  1. Who is your favourite poet and why?

Unfortunately I’m not into poetry. Don’t know why, have enough trouble writing stories.

  1. Name three words that describe your personality.

Happy – Willing to always help others – Honest & Trustworthy.

  1. What was your latest blog post about?

Unfortunately I don’t write a blog. Daily I post a page from a book I’ve written and published on a group ‘keeping up with my writing’ on FB.

(https://www.facebook.com/groups/142322619148826/).

  1. If you had to choose one place in the world where you would spend your remaining years, where would it be?

Here at Brooloo. I live on acreage with both my children and grandchildren. This is MY place to write and enjoy the remainder of my life.

  1. What’s your favourite genre to read?: science fiction, fantasy, comedy, romance, crime…?

Initially I started off reading fiction and enjoyed the variety of books I’ve read. When I wrote non-fiction I read many of these stories to help with my own writing. I read as many books as I can from various genres and different authors to place myself in their seat when they’re writing.

10.  How many school friends are you still in touch with?

Possibly about five, one whom I’ve known since five years old.

11.  The Internet – a good friend or a necessary evil?

Wonderful friend, actually I don’t know what I would do without the internet. From speaking with many friends on FB daily to searching Google for information about my next novel. Can’t live without it.

 

(Pat has not listed other authors he might ask to take part in this blog. Hopefully we can look forward to seeing more Aussie authors joining soon.) 

 

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The Liebster Award

liebster Thank you Suzie Tullett author of Going Underground and Little White Lies and Butterflies, for nominating me to take part in this ‘award’. It’s for newish bloggers/writers, and the idea is I list 11 facts about myself, answer 11 questions from Suzie, choose a handful of other newish bloggers and put 11 questions to them… and so it goes on! I shall try to be as entertaining as possible and not to bring shame on Suzie’s taste for selecting me.

I must confess I don’t blog as much as I would really like, or should, and the excuse I make is always that I am busy either at work or at home doing all the things that have to be done to keep a home running. Every day I promise myself the time to sit and add more to my books or to write a splendid blog about something totally awe-inspiring, and every night I retire to my bed with someone else’s book to read and wonder where the day went.

I’m not as clever as Suzie with her prowess at other languages, unless you count my ability to swear when the occasion demands strong words! So now on to the 11 Facts about me.

1. I will sleep in an awkward position for most of the night and wake up in pain, rather than move my cat from his comfortable spot (usually on top of me) when he is sleeping so soundly and peacefully. clayton in bed 2. As well as cats and dogs, cows and horses increase my heart rate on sight. I have always been like this and God help anyone seen abusing any animal by me. Cruelty to animals is high on my list of what should never happen in this world – in my view there is no excuse for it. None. At. All.

3. I am the youngest of 3 girls. By the time I was old enough to notice people around me, my two sisters had grown up and were in High School, so I was virtually an only child. I was treated like a boy by my father who wanted a son, and grew up learning how to change tyres, drive cars and trucks, dig a garden and grow veges, mow lawns, chop wood and all the general stuff boys did back then. I could run rings round my boy cousins at my grandparents’ farm with milking and hand raising the calves, piglets etc. My uncles were all very important to me and indeed I liked spending time with them far more than with my aunts who all seemed to be ‘picky’ and ‘snippy’ like my sisters were. My mother and Gran however, were the most loving, kind, calm and understanding ladies I have ever known.

4. I love warm climates. I thrive in the heat and wilt in the cold. The cold goes right through my bones and if I don’t see sunshine for a few days in a row I suffer SAD – (Seasonal Affected Disorder).

5. The Kennedy Family and everything about them fascinates me. I have read many books about them especially JFK and Jackie. I can remember clearly where I was on the day he was shot.

6. I did my nurses’ training straight from school as it was a means for me to leave home and my father. Training hospitals had nurses’ homes attached. The Matron (British trained and super strict) lied about my age to get me into the first exam, and that resulted in me being the youngest person ever to become a registered and qualified nurse in my home state, with honours. The downside to that is it was not ‘known’ as my age had to remain a secret. Below is a photo of what used to be the Nurses’ Home.

Front ent to Nurses' Home

7. During the 7 years I lived in the South Island of New Zealand, I worked part time and managed our farmlet where I hand raised friesian calves, pigs, chooks, lambs and 2 kids. My then accountant husband did very little apart from chartering small planes to go to horse race meetings. This is what our farmlet looked like below.

waianiwa

8. My favourite colour is red but I wear a lot of black.

9. I like to cook for large crowds rather than 2 or 3 of us.

10. I was sent to school with the nuns as a young child because my mother was ill and my father too busy.

11. People thought I was from England when I was a kid (and sometimes still do) because I can mimic the various English accents, especially when talking to someone with an accent.

So much for the facts about me. Now if you haven’t drifted off to snooze-land, here are the questions set by Suzie:

1. What did you want to be when you were young? 

I wanted to be a doctor. I wasn’t allowed to continue my studies though as my father was of the belief that girls just got married and had kids so further education would be a waste of time and money.

2. Kindle or real book and why? 

After much resistance, I now have a Kindle and am enjoying it due to the fact I can read at night in bed without the bedside lamp on to keep my husband awake. Even so, I adore the real thing – there is nothing to beat that book smell whether it’s a new book or an old one. The feel of a book in my hands as I read and turn pages gives me much pleasure.

3. Looking over the last 10 years, what is one goal that you have achieved, and one that you have not achieved. 

Well the goal not achieved is the easier of the two! I have not finished any of the books I’ve been working on for far too long now!  The major goal over the past 7 years, was to create a garden on the 3 acres where we built a large home here in Victoria. By the time we sold up, the garden was looking very established with tree lined driveway, hedges neatly trimmed, conifer trees on the fence lines for privacy and David Austen heritage roses doing very well despite the black spot and aphid problems in the area.

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4. What are your plans for retirement? Will you travel and if so, to where and why? 

I don’t know if I will ever fully retire. I tried to once when I first gave up the job I loved in Perth to come here to Victoria, but after a few weeks I got myself a job with a little local newspaper. The people there were all ‘cowboys’ and I couldn’t bear it for long so I quit and worked on establishing the garden as mentioned above. Three years later I decided there was only so much talking to the cats, dog and plants one can do before going a little crazy. My part time hours suit me just fine.

I’d like to travel overseas again. The river cruises in Europe beckon. Also a catch up trip to New Zealand is on the list of priority-to-dos for us.

5. Who is your favourite poet and why?

I’m not really into poetry but I do like ‘Funeral Blues’ by Wystan Hugh Auden. Both my husband Tim and I love this and I have promised him that should he kark it before I do, I will recite it at his funeral. The words “he was my North, my South, my East and West’ sum up exactly how I would describe what my husband means to me. ‘Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun’ will be, I am sure my feelings if it ever comes to be that I am the one left behind.

6. Name three words that describe your personality. 

I asked my husband about these words….he said ‘intelligent, honest and humorous’ – which are good enough words I think. I also think I’m patient and generous but not when it comes to fools.

7. What was your latest blog post about? 

Our new wuppy Daisy…she is an adorable West Highland Terrier born just over 3wks ago now. I found out about her birth through a good friend of mine, and soon enough was put in touch with the lucky lady who has Daisy’s parents and 2 sisters. For the past 20 or more years now I have wanted a Westie but the time has never been right, or there has never been one available. I refuse to buy from pet shops as that is helping keep puppy farmers in business. It’s true that patience pays off. We collect our new baby in about 5 weeks’ time. So excited! Here is a pic of her just for good measure…

Daisy 3

 

8. If you had to choose one place in the world where you would spend your remaining years, where would it be? 

We have already made plans for this. Last March we flew up to Queensland to look at homes with our wonderful real estate agent, Trevor Newman. Trev found us the most delightful home that ticked off the features we listed. It had to be a Queenslander (big high set home with verandas, the more the better). It had to be in a nice street with a nice garden or one that could be easily made nice at least. The timber etc had to be in good nick and if at all possible it had to have a Poinciana tree. The house called Morning Light was built in 1856 and is superb. It ticks off all the features listed plus more. I’m really looking forward to sitting on the verandas in the cool breeze on a delightfully hot sunny day, and watching the world go by or reading a wonderful book, or maybe doing some patchwork quilting again. The options are endless and I’m looking forward to it all.

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9. What’s your favourite genre to read?: science fiction, fantasy, comedy, romance, crime…? 

I am not a big fan of science fiction in books or movies, fantasy is ok. Being a bit of a scaredy-cat I didn’t like crime too much until recently when I read a book by a gorgeous author friend of mine George Rigby called ‘Candy Man’ and I have been pretty well hooked since. I do enjoy my comedies and romance though and if the two genres are a mix in a book, I’m in heaven.

10. How many school friends are you still in touch with? 

None actually. I was in touch with a girl for quite a number of years, but we had not seen each other in that time. Then I visited my home town after my first divorce to spend time with my father who was having a knee replacement, and I took the opportunity of visiting this girl. Over lunch it was clearly obvious we had nothing in common and couldn’t even keep a conversation going. She was right into her kids, the school, her husband’s plumbing business, her parents and family, her friends in town etc and she could not understand my lifestyle at all. I had committed the ultimate sin of a good Catholic girl and was divorced, I had a career and I lived in a beautiful house by the river in a big city….that was too far from her spectrum of what life for a female should be. I have not been in touch with her since. On the other hand, I have a darling friend I nursed with who is like my sister – love her to bits – and another who was my best friend during my first marriage and divorce etc. As I said to the latter recently, it’s lovely being able to talk to someone who knew me back then.

11. The Internet – a good friend or a necessary evil? 

When the internet first began coming into our homes on our PCs, and we could email, message and look things up on the ‘net’, I really wasn’t that thrilled. I worked on a data based computer system at work and by the end of the day a computer was the last thing I wanted to see. Time changes everything though and over the past 10 years I have used the internet for everything. I don’t have a telephone book in the house – banking is done online – shopping is mostly done online – contact with everyone is done online and of course there is face book. I resisted joining face book for years but gave in as it was really the only way to keep in touch with my beautiful Irish writer friends when our website went awry. I probably spend too much time online when I’ve got the spare minutes to sit in the office on my PC, or in front of TV with my laptop. I really don’t care. I love it.

So who can we look forward to reading about in the not too distant future? 

Well first we have the wonderfully talented writer Anne Ireson. Her book The White Cuckoo was a wonderful first publication. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good story with a bit of mystical romance to colour it.

The White Cuckoo

Another author I have invited to take part in this blog, is a fellow Aussie Pat Ritter. I’ve been enjoying some of the pages from his book The Shearer, on his face book page where Pat generously shares it with friends.

The Shearer by Pat Ritter

 

 

We will also hear from the lovely Anabelle Bryant author of ‘Wicked Scoundrel’ which I truly enjoyed reading, and her second just released book ‘Duke of Darkness’ which I am yet to read but have had it on my Kindle since release day. Both stories are beautifully written and romantically typical of their era – I was delighted to submerge myself in Anabelle’s first book and become a character watching from the sidelines.   Pics of her beautiful books below.

Until then, hugs to all. xx

 

 

duke of darkness

wicked scoundrel

 

 

The Next Big Thing

Well here we are on the Next Big Thing and this week I am it. Nominated by the very talented writer Jane Risdon whose blog you will find at wp.me/2dg55 – do have a look as it makes very interesting reading indeed. 

I’ve read a few of these blogs now, including Jane’s and Anne Ireson’s both of which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I just hope I can do as well with mine.

The questions prepared for me to reply to are:

When did you first realise you wanted to write?

One of my earliest memories, apart from the one of my mother sewing her finger to a dress she was making, is of sitting at the kitchen table with pencil and paper, and rather than drawing like most kids at the age of 4 would choose to do, I pestered my mother about how to write words for my ‘story’. The genre of choice back then was usually the life of cats of the household, or cows and calves in the dairy that had each been named by me personally.

My mother was an excellent teller of stories and loved nothing better than to grab a few spare moments in the day with me and write great yarns about life on the land, droving cattle, milking the dairy cows,  the big sale days at the stock yards and of the violent summer storms that brought us the much needed rain for the paddocks, as well as the homestead water tanks.

As I grew older I put my writing to one side while I studied nursing, and didn’t get back to it until my move to New Zealand with my first husband where I wrote about topics of conversation and concern of the day, and hand rearing Fresian calves and pigs on our 15 acre farmlet. Being an honest Australian, I wrote as I saw it, but my husband said he was embarrassed by my frank opinions published in the local newspaper, The Southland Times. So once again writing was shelved until I felt the pull a decade later, to take up the pen again, by then a single mother and a cancer survivor.

What are you working on at the moment?

As Jane mentioned in her blog, I have four books on the go as WIPs. In reality I have a few more besides. My main pieces I’m working on though, are a book about an elderly woman who decides to do something for herself after having spent many years being the dutiful wife and nurturing mother of a large family, and she plans her road trip round Australia. Getting going is the hard part because of all the drama her family and friends bring to her door. Currently I have thoughts of making the story as 2 books as I don’t want the first one to be too long so that the reader will get bored with it all (as I do with long dragged out books).

The fun part of this book will be when she gets on the road and visits friends and relatives she has lost contact with over the decades – Isla (the feisty lady), wants to know why they shelved her in their lives, and along the way they all find things out that is life changing to say the least.

My other 2 main WIPs are at each end of the spectrum as far as contrasts go. One is about a young man who is grieving the death of his beloved grandmother and has his beliefs and ideals turned upside down by the jealousy and nastiness of his family when the will contents is revealed.

The other is based on 4 couples, all wealthy in their own rights, professionals, movers and shakers of the business world who together attend a Day on the Green, an all day concert at a country outdoor venue. There they meet two girls, one of which attracts the attention of one of the males and one of the females of the couples. The party carries on through the night at the mansion of one of the couples, with dire consequences and the potential to ruin everyone’s career, life and social standing.

Is there anything else you are working on?

Yes I have several other works on the go, and one day I will have to bite the bullet and sit myself down for a full year or two and do nothing else until they are all complete. I won’t bore you with the details here though.

What do you read and do you have any favourite authors?

I read virtually anything that appeals to me. I enjoy light hearted lifestyle stories, romance, family sagas (Penny Vincinzi being a fave here), saucy and involved such as the style of Jilly Cooper, good kids’ books of all kinds, especially the Harry Potter series, and biographies. I adore anything written about the Kennedy family (President JK and Jackie etc) and the Clintons as well as other American politicians. Sadly I find most of their Australian counterparts dull and boring in comparison.

My favourite authors are many including Mary O’Sullivan, Santa Montefiori, Penny Vincinzi, Jilly Cooper, Nicky Pelligrini, Elizabeth Buchan, Roisin Meaney, Cathy Kelly and the late Maeve Binchy. I also read many others such as Marian Keyes, Victoria Connolly, Sarah Webb, Shirley Benton, Melissa Hill and a variety of Irish girls – you can always depend on a good laugh in a story written by one of the Irish girls.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Forever! I have the bad habit of editing and re-reading and re-writing the pages written the day, week, month before. Then I proceed from there, only to do the same the next writing session. I dislike doing the same chore twice so I try to avoid that at all costs. Whether this method will pay off in the end or not, who knows?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Well I would like to think that I will find a publisher to do all that for me, but realistically it seems as if the quickest way to be a published author these days is to be a self-published one and mainly in Kindle. So we will just have to wait and see for that one.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

In my road trip book I’d like someone really earthy, educated and intelligent to play Isla – someone like Dame Judi Dench would be perfect! (Dream on I can hear you saying). With the book about the couples which I call my ‘Melbourne book’ I’d like to see Ewan McGregor, Dennis Quaid, Glenn Close and Charlize Theron as some of the main characters. We can all dream though can’t we?

Last year I had the great privilege and excitement of having four of my short stories published in an anthology of short stories, called ‘Telling Tales‘. The idea was born on a face book page created by the lovely Sue Welfare where we submitted short stories or just a paragraph of a story each week for each other to read, comment on and encourage. The proceeds of the book published as an eBook as well as printed version, went to the Norfolk Hospice near where Sue lives.

It was a proud moment for me when my work colleagues kept coming to my desk to inquire where they could purchase a copy. Their feedback on my stories was very encouraging for me to keep doing what I love.

My other passion as many of you will already know, is my garden. We live on a few acres here in Victoria, and the climate lends itself nicely to the English country garden type of plants, which I love, despite being a born and bred Queenslander of the tropics! I adore roses especially David Austen heritage blooms. Poppies, daffodils, tulips, camellias  azaleas, wisteria are among my favourites in my garden. I have so many daisies that form beautifully flowering hedges, I often think we could name our place ‘The Daisy House’.

For the next ‘Next Big Thing‘ I have nominated some very talented and wonderful writers, all with varying degrees in success in their chosen field. They all deserve to be read and applauded, so I hope you will all visit this blog again for their links which I will post here for easy (I hope) access. They are, Ruth Gilhool, http://wp.me/P2W5eu-7

Robin Greene, (whose address I will add as soon as I have it)

Megan Wynne http://www.meganwynne.com/category/blog/

and Neil Jameshttp://nealjames.webs.com/apps/blog/

I’m hoping Jean Long will be well enough to do it too. Sadly Carol Matthews and Lizzie Lamb had to decline due to other commitments.

One last thing I would like to mention, is that I am new to blogging and had a panic attack almost when Jane Risdon asked me to do this – I didn’t even have a blog, so I had to build one…..it was ok but I knew it could be so much better….then Nettie Thomson came to the rescue and offered her services for which I am so grateful. Nettie made my blog beautiful and is always there for help and to answer my silly questions on what to do or how to do something.

Should you need any help with your blog or to set up a blog of beauty, please don’t hesitate to contact Nettie at Meldrum Media. Contact Nettie on her blog at http://wp.me/p2R and I’m sure she will be  only too happy to help you. I thoroughly recommend that you do!!