2018 Goals and Intentions

2018-Goals

The year is almost over and it’s time to set some goals and plans for 2018. I know New Year’s​ resolutions are often not kept, but I find setting goals work for me. As long as they are realistic. There is something about setting your intentions that seem to direct your life along the right tracks to get where you want to go. I certainly found that to be correct for 2017. So cheers to another goal setting year in 2018

Writing

Having finished the ​first draft of my very first novel in 2017 I now want to spend​​ the first 2-3 months of 2018 editing and getting my novel ready for publishing. That means a couple of personal edits followed by sending it to a number of beta readers. I plan to self-publish​ first maybe using Amazon or Lulu as my platform. Stil, ​ need to do a bit more research before deciding on best strategy. Also, ​ want to research best agents & publishers to approach when I am ready to go down that road. My dream is still well and truly alive to publish my novel and do so well I can retire from work and just write. Many will smile and say this is most likely impossible, but I do not plan to let that stop me. Someone has to have success with their first novel and it may as well just be me.
I also want to continue blogging on a regular basis , maybe aim for weekly blogs as well as start my 2nd novel as a continuation of my first. I have a total of 3 in mind, but also tempted to do my memoirs, but this may need to wait another year. Only so many hours in the day when working full time.

Photography

I feel like my photography has taken a back seat to my writing in the last couple of months and I want to change that a bit in 2018. Have already organised my first assignment as a festival photographer in January attending the Bulli Folk Festival. This should start the year right and get me back into my other passion , taking good photos.
Having just bought the new Iphone 8 I have to admit its easy to get “lazy” and just use the phone. Its always handy and easy to carry with you everywhere you go. But I don’t get the same satisfaction from taking photos using my phone as opposed to my DSLR camera.
In 2018 I want to make sure I get out at least a couple of times every month and get myself some good shots. I joined a photography group in the latter half of 2017 that go on outings together and I plan to join them a bit more in 2018.

Happiness

I want to work on being happy with my life. I generally am a pretty content and happy person, but I feel 2017 has been a challenging year on a personal level. Not only did I loose a very dear friend to a freak accident , but I have also had to get used to my own little family living apart. I have had to do a fair amount of soul-searching to work out what it has meant to me and what I want. I do know what I want, and that is for my whole family to live close by, but I have to accept that is not always going to be the case.
On top of the challenges of 2017 I have to admit the looming big birthday in 2018 has also been playing on my mind. I am reaching an decade in life where many retire, but I am so not ready to retire in my mind. I have so many things I still want to do in life and to have to slow down and to accept that I am no longer a young person with endless possibilities has not been easy.
So I have to learn to accept all of that and still be content and happy in my own life. This I want to continue to work on in 2018.

Health & Fitness

Yes, it’s the usual New Year resolution I guess, but I really want to work on getting fit again. Ive have struggled with frozen shoulders and 3 broken ribs over the last 2-3 years, but next year I should be ready to get back into feeling strong, fit and healthy again. I want to lose some weight but more importantly I want to be fit and strong again. I know how much better I feel both in mind and body if I am fit. With all the things I have planned I need all the energy I can get and we all know the fitter we are the more energy we have. So 2018 is for getting fit and healthy.

Overall my dream for 2018 would be to have a huge success with my novel , enough to sustain a life style of being able to live where I want and when I want. Then I could be with my loved ones whenever I desire it. My ultimate dream for 2018 is now on paper and out in cyber world. The intentions are set for a great 2018 and I can’t wait to get started.

What are your goals and intentions for 2018?

Wishing all a very happy safe and fantastic 2018.​ Happy writing.

White Fluffy Stuff

It finally arrived! 

A thin layer of snow greeted us this morning. Didn’t see it fall. It was just there when we woke up. Had to take some photos of the magic in our backyard. 


This lonely bench with the setting sun just caught my eye on my afternoon walk. Imagine the stories this bench could tell….

Global Families

In this age of our shrinking world with tremendous travel and work opportunities, ​we often find ourselves living remote from our families and loved ones.
My family is a typical example of that. My sister and brother and their children and grandchildren all live in Denmark, my oldest daughter and I live in Sydney Australia and my youngest daughter in San Francisco US.
This year we have all managed to spend Christmas together in Denmark for the first time in over 20 years, and the experience has resulted in a lot of feelings and self​-realisations​ for us all.
It is totally evident that my girls are both enjoying the whole big family experience and feel connected to their Danish family in spite of growing up on opposite sides of the world with only minimal Facebook contact. But the connection is definitely there. The same sense of humour and many common interests. Can’t help thinking there is more to our genetic makeup than we realise. I have certainly brought them up in an Australian manner but also with many Danish traditions, which I guess may have shaped them, but not to the extent where there would be such a connection between them and their Danish family. I have loved being a witness to this, to hear their giggles and passionate conversations.
The weather has been gloomy, wet and grey most of the time. Typical Danish weather and what I often longed to escape many times when I was still living here as a child and teenager. I don’t know if I could ever live in these conditions again with such darkness and gloom for months on end.
At the same time I love being here with my family. To be able to just pop over for a coffee and a chat is such a treat and something I miss terribly when in Sydney. My siblings and I all have a strong bond and I love them both dearly. The thought of living close to them both is extremely tempting at times in spite of me absolutely loving my life in Sydney. I have a tremendous group of friends and a great job, I love the weather and the lifestyle. I just don’t like the distance from the rest of the world.
This is now a lot more in front of mind with my youngest daughter living away in SF and my oldest also starting to speak about moving abroad. I question where I will end up, where I will want to end up. At this stage I really have no idea, but the fact that I am questioning it is new to me. For all my time in Australia I have been certain that was my country of choice. Maybe it was only my country of choice, because it was where my little family lived, my girls and I. I honestly do not know at this stage.

With internet and cheap airfares it’s certainly so much easier to stay in touch, but I wonder how it will affect us going forward. Connecting digitally is better than not at all, but it cannot beat being together physically. I have certainly seen that this Christmas.

It has also made me wonder how many families do live apart. I know I am not unique in this. How do you deal with it? I would love your comments and thoughts.

Return To The Dark

I lived in the darkness of the northern winters for 20 years and yet returning to it feels both strange and comforting.

Having lived in Australia with its sunny skies for a lifetime now it blows my mind to see the sun not rise till 9 o’clock in the morning and then only grace us with its presence till mid-afternoon. By 4pm it is pitch black again and another 17 hours of darkness starts again.

I spent all of my childhood in Denmark and the long dark winter evenings certainly encourages a lot more reading and opportunities to “hygge” with family and friends. Hygge is this unique Danish word for spending cozy time with loved ones. It often involves good food, drinks, candles and warm heating. Basically, ​people connecting and enjoying each others company. No direct translation is available as its such a Scandinavian term. It’s part of our unique culture and something I miss.

But I must also admit after 6-8 months of cold grey days and long dark nights it can become really depressing. The term winter blues is absolutely real. I remember longing for tropical sunny places during those long winters. When spring and summer finally arrive​ everyone feels a sense of euphoria. Life truly feels like it starts again when the first signs of spring flowers emerge out of the cold soil. Tiny white winter flowers were the first I remember being the initial sign even if they were often poking out of the snow on the ground. A strong feeling of renewed energy and life comes over everyone both humans​s and animals. Again something you only truly experience in a climate of cold winter darkness.

In Australia where I live now, the seasons are too similar to really produce that sense of new life and energy. During our winters we may complain about the cold reaching “freezing” around 15C and the days getting shorter because we return from work in the dark. But its nothing compared to the cold north. Everything is relative to our normal environment and we all adjust accordingly.
Still, being back here for Christmas for the first time in over 20 years, in spite of the grey skies and the dark nights, it also feels strangely nurturing and comforting living in this darkness. It was such a big part of me for a long time and brings a lot of memories back on both a conscience and sub-conscience​ level. This return to the dark nights is reaching something deep in my core, a connection to my childhood and my parents who have long passed. A connection to what was part of me for maybe a relatively short time but a very important part of my life, a part that shaped the person I am today. I feel both a longing to be part of it again and a sense of loathing.

Being here in December is probably the best time if you have to experience this darkness. The Christmas lights are everywhere and so mesmerizingly​​y beautiful. The Danes seem to have both an overwhelming and understated way of displaying their Christmas joy. Unlike other countries, the lights are not flashing and multicoloured​,​, but just a plain light lighting up the trees and gardens. Walking the streets is a joy with lights and candles in every window. It looks classy and beautiful rather than crass and flashy.

I guess because of the extreme differences in Christmas celebrations in my old country and in Australia I am truly looking forward to spending it with my Danish family in this cold dark country. This to me is Christmas. Even after living longer in Australia than I ever did in Denmark it still does not truly feel like Christmas when it’s​ sunny and hot outside. The novelty of Christmas on the beach and BBQ’s in the backyards has certainly been enjoyed many times, but I think as long as I live itwill not​t feel like real Christmas to me unless its dark and cold outside.

Christmas is steeped in tradition and has so much magic for children. Maybe we all revert back to longing for how we spent Christmas as children. Or is the white Christmas in the dark something stronger.
I wonder ………..Would love your comments on this.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not I wish you all a wonderful and safe time filled with love and joy. May the writing come easy.​

Dreaming Of a White Xmas

The day has finally come.

In another hour I will be bound for Copenhagen. The cold north for a, fingers crossed, white Christmas.

We have been planning it for over 6 months and trust me coordinating time off, flights,​train trips​, ​and accommodation​ for 3 people living in 3 different places has been a challenge. But we are all on our way. On different flights, but all meeting up in Copenhagen for the rest of our 3-hour​ train trip to spend Christmas with our family in Denmark.

I still can’t believe it is actually happening. This is the first time in over 20 years that we have all been together for Christmas. My sister and brother and their family and me and my girls. It’s​ a Christmas miracle.

Last time I traveled​ to Denmark with my girls, I spent most of the 30-hour​ flight with my 3-year-old​ on my lap. She is now 26! My oldest was about 6 or 7 and too excited to sleep. Until we finally landed in Copenhagen. Knowing we had finally arrived in Denmark she relaxed and fell into a coma style sleep. We still had a 2-hour​ wait in Copenhagen before boarding a short flight to my​​ hometown​. If you have ever tried to wake up a comatose​ child with a toddler on your hip and 3 backpacks on your back​,​, you know what​ I am talking about.

This time will be easier. For starters, ​they are much older and flying on different flights!

But back​ to being excited! It really hit me this afternoon when I finished work and headed home to get ready for my trip. It became real then. Both my daughters were on their way and I was the last to board on my plane here from Sydney. I am leaving Sydney in a heatwave and will be arriving in ​freezing cold Denmark. It was almost impossible to think of winter coats, boots, ​and scarves in our sweltering​ heat. Time will tell if I have packed the right gear.

My sister will be picking us all up from the train station when we arrive around 7pm. She has planned a nice supper of Danish smorrebrod,​ fancy open sandwiched, and my brother and his wife will join us. They are all equally excited to finally see my daughters as well. They have seen me a few times over the last few years, always in the ​summertime​. But this time we could all make it and everyone is​ filled with anticipation.

I feel so lucky to finally be able to organize​ this. Its been a long time coming.

Just​ goes to show,​ if you want something bad enough and keep working towards it, anything is possible.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday time and safe entry into 2018. Thank​ you​ for your continued support and for following and commenting on my posts.

Keep dreaming big.

Inspired by Al & Val

Feeling totally inspired and motivated after listening to yet another amazing So You Want To Be A Writer podcast by Valerie Khoo and Alison Tait. 

Having just finished writing my virgin draft of my very first novel I am feeling exhilarated and dreaming of where this might all go. At the same time, I am wondering what to do next and whether what I have written is just total dribble or something worthwhile. I guess I am going through the usual self-doubt mainly because I am venturing into unknown territory.

So after listening to episode 215 of SYWTBW I must put pen to paper and say thank you to Val and Al for putting together such an inspirational podcast. I LOVED listening to their interview with new up and coming author Sarah Bailey.

Sarah described in detail the steps she went through from finishing her first novel and submitting to agents. The agony of having to be advised to re-edit her baby, change the writing and characters, is so relatable. I know I will need to edit my first draft and fully expect to change parts of the story, but also know it will be hard to be told that some parts of my many hours slaved over novel is just not as good as it could be. We all love our babies, and it was reassuring to hear Sarah tell us she fully accepted the end result in fact was much better than her first draft.

Sarah’s success of being published not only in Australia but now overseas, all while working full time, was motivational in so many ways. It shows that dreams do come true and Sarah’s down to earth personality made me believe it can happen to any of us.

Listening to good podcasts and being part of writers groups both online and in real life is essential to becoming/being a good writer. At least I find it inspires me and I think many feel the same way.

Thank you, Al and Val, for keeping our dreams alive.

Do yourself a favor and take a listen to their podcasts by following link below

https://www.writerscentre.com.au/category/podcasts/so-you-want-to-be-a-writer-podcast/

Comma Rules

Great tips! With English not my first language I found this of great value

Published
Categorized as All

Synopsis for Secrets in the Lake

A young freelance writer looking for love unwittingly opens a Pandora box of secrets beneath the depths of the Lake.

 

Mandy Reid, a successful young writer in LA, receives a call from an old flame, Sam Smith, regarding the death of a shared friend, Karl Sonenheim. The impending funeral brings Mandy back to Lake Haven, and to her mother’s old home, for the first time in many years. Friends reconnect, social dramas arise and as Mandy peels away the layers of her past in search of new love, dark secrets begin to reveal themselves, one by one, from the depths of the Lake.

When Mandy arrives in Lake Haven she encounters a series of intriguing men, including her old flame Sam, and she begins to yearn for love again. Is she really ready for love? Can she overcome the trust issues that plagued her since childhood?

You see, Mandy was born in Australia and lived her first 6 years with her parents and older stepbrother David who visited over the school holidays. These happy years all came to an end when her father suddenly died in a horrific car accident, and Mandy moved back to the US with her mother and lost contact with her stepbrother back in Australia. These events, paired with a string of bad relationships, now see Mandy struggle with and attempt to overcome her well-worn trust issues — so that maybe, someday, she might let someone in. But first, she must work out who she can really trust and who does not have her best interest at heart. Is Sam really as charming as he appears? The winery owner Ian Larson, what is with his obsession? Is Karl’s brother Marc Sonenheim the real deal?

Early on in her return to Lake Haven, Mandy connects with Karl’s widow, Emma Sonenheim. They once were very close as young teenagers but lost touch when Mandy moved away. Mandy is confronted with rumors about Emma and Sam, but these are heavily denied by Marc as just malicious town gossip. These rumors seem to have caused a rift between Marc and his old school friend Ian Larson, too.

As the circumstances of Karl’s death unfold, Mandy begins to question everything —  including her friendship with Emma. Why did Emma so desperately need a place to hide away after the funeral? Is there really something between Sam and her? Who is the anonymous caller and what is Karl’s secret?  Mandy discovers more than she could ever imagine about the lives and the people of Lake Haven, taking place oh-so-quietly behind closed doors.

Joyce Reid is Mandy’s mother and they have always had a strong bond. After all, it was just the two of them for most of Mandy’s upbringing. Joyce is a semi-retired yoga teacher and lives part-time in San Francisco and part-time in Lake Haven. She never remarried since Mandy’s father died but, like Mandy, she is slowly opening up to new love herself. They both end up back at the old house in Lake Haven for the funeral. Joyce understands Mandy’s dilemma and finally takes steps to help her daughter confront her issue after all these years and mend her broken heart. These reconnections have far-reaching consequences, leading to a new journey that neither Joyce nor Mandy ever expected.

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