Christmas is looming…

last year's effort - The Death Star

Reading: Dead in The Family by Charlaine Harris
Listening To: Lift by Sister Hazel
Watching: Bones Series 5

So it’s getting hotter, the cats have been shedding and there’s a sense of impatience, irritation and/or short tempers  in the air.  This all means Christmas in my house.

You know what else means Christmas?

  • The smell of plastic, wrapping paper and sticky tape 😀  Yep, like a Pavlovian reaction, as soon as I get a whiff of plastic, I automatically think of Christmas.
  • Baking fruit mince pies (my mom’s are the BEST!) and roast turkey.  I looooove turkey!!! And prawns.  And trifle.
  • Lunch.   Christmas at our house means a smorgasbord spread, full of cold cuts, cheese, crackers, prawns and assorted salad.   I’ve found that as you get older, when the joy of opening presents becomes less important,  food takes priority.
  • An early, early morning.  Thank you, 10yo child of mine 😉
  • Lamenting the fact I have no air conditioner in my bedroom.  THIS YEAR (royalties willing) I am going to buy one.
  • Lego.  I love Lego.  My son loves Lego.  My 15yo nephew loves Lego.  I’d probably build Lego even without the excuse of a Lego-obsessed child.
  • The line.  And we say it without fail, every year, barely an hour after every present’s been opened.  There’s a bag of rubbish on the floor, boxes have been ripped apart, toys are strewn and the tree is looking bare underneath.  We all look at each other and say the line:  “Huh.  Well, that’s it for another year.”

uh... don't think you'll fit, Sophy.

And of course, after Christmas comes the sales.  The crazy, crazy sales that means filling up that brief bare wardrobe space with NEXT years’ presents.  Like Mother Nature, my wardrobe abhors a vacuum.  Dammit.

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A new voice in Aussie romantic fiction!

Reading: Shakespeare’s Champion by Charlaine Harris
Listening To: the new magpie chicks in our backyard
Watching: How to Train Your Dragon

For those of you not in the know, The UK office of Harlequin has been running a “New Voices” writing contest via their RomanceIsNotDead blog.  Basically, entrants post their opening chapter, readers vote on it, and from there, they are shortlisted to a top 10 based on public votes and a panel of four judges.

There were over 800 entries.  Yeah, EIGHT HUNDRED!!!  It was an amazing feat to get down to a Top 10,  submit chapter two, THEN a Top Four (where they had to submit their pivotal scene)… then all the way down to the very last winning entry, where the author wins an iPad, an M&B editor for a year and publication.   And you know what’s even more cool?   It’s my lovely, talented friend Leah – writing as Leah Ashton – who won this awesome prize!

I met Leah a few years ago, when she was working in Sydney and was looking to join a crit group.  Me and my CP Linley were it (even though she had to drive over an hour to get to me!)  And you know, as soon as I read her stuff, I said to her, “I don’t say this to many writers but I do think you will get published.  Your writing is fun, expressive and very readable.”   I’m positive she thought I was just humouring her – she thanked me, smiled and nodded – but I tell you, I was right!

Even though Leah moved from Sydney, I get to see her at our RWA conference every year, sometimes with a new contest placing under her belt, but always so optimistic about writing.   And now, in 2011, I will get to scream and cheer when she collects her First Sale ribbon 😀   What an awesome, awesome achievement, Leah!   Now do you believe me?!