I love, love, love roadtrips. I love the road unfurling beneath the tyres, and looking around the towns and villages I pass through. I particularly love those long stretches of landscape that you can get on Australian roadtrips with few signs of civilization.
Most of our roadtrips are done in a very basic way: a four wheel drive with a platform bed in the back, a fridge, a camp stove, and a couple of chairs and a table. The small and unobtrusive nature of the four wheel drive allows us to take very small tracks, and camp in very out of the way places, just pulling over quietly beside a track. In thirty years of doing this, we’ve only been moved on a couple of times, but our footprint is small: no tents, no paraphernalia strewn over a wide area and no campfire. I don’t think it would work to travel that way if we weren’t unobtrusive.
The other sort of roadtrip I love are campervan ones. We don’t own a campervan, but we often do campervan relocations. The companies that hire these mobile homes often need them moved from city to city. In Oz, typically at this time of year, they need them moved south as people want to drive north for the winter. For as little as $1 a day, we rent a van and have a few days to drive it to where it needs to be. We drove from Brisbane to Adelaide (about 2,200 kilometres) in a week, passing through the outback communities and the mining town of Broken Hill (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert anyone?). We’ve gone from Airlie Beach to Brisbane, and several times we’ve done the Brisbane to Sydney run.
I’m just back from such a trip. We had four days to drive the 1,000 kilometres to Sydney, which is a nice cruisy pace. The van was super-comfy, and easy to drive, and we took a winding route, part inland, part coastal, to reach the metropolis.
I can usually write on the road too. With one of those laptables, and a small laptop, I can usually average a thousand words on a stretch of smooth highway. It’s not as easy as at home–there’s always bumps and resultant typos, drama when something gets accidentally highlighted and deleted, and of course the distractions out of the window. I averaged 1,500 words a day on the most recent trip.
The main character in my novel Not-So-Straight Sue buys a campervan and takes a winding trip around the Queensland outback before reaching the small town that will be her new home. Certainly, my campervan trips were the basis for writing Sue’s experiences on the road. Sue’s trip, though, is part of her story of coming to terms with her identity and accepting herself. Each kilometre of dusty road settles the landscape deeper into her psyche, each long night of solitude and stars reaffirms her decision to return to Australia.
You can read about Sue’s campervan trips in Not-So-Straight Sue which is available from Ylva Publishing and the usual suspects. You can also hear me read an excerpt from the book on Bookchats, part of The Lesbian Talkshow podcast.
My own campervan stories pop up from time to time. I’m only back home for two days, but I’m already planning the next one.
“Not-So-Straight Sue” is available from Ylva Publishing and from:
Listening to books. It seemed strange to me at first. After all, the voice of a narrator can’t compare to the voice in your head as you curl up in silence with a good book. I’m still not on board with audiobooks (although they’re tempting me more and more), however I do love book clips read by the author.
It’s great (and sometimes unexpected) to hear what an author sounds like. The voice that produced the stories I love. Different accents, different intonations, faster, slower, the smile in an author’s voice or the sombre cadence as they read something more weighty. I very much enjoy these, and have often gone on to buy the book after hearing the clip.
If you know lesfic, you doubtless know The Lesbian Review. I often check out their reviews and top ten lists when I’m pondering what to read next. And their podcast, the Lesbian Review Talk Show, has the book clips segment that I love to listen to.
Now, if you’re so inclined, you can once again hear my strange mix of accents reading from my novel, Not-So-Straight Sue. The romance, set in outback Australia, has an American character, but don’t worry, I don’t attempt a Texan accent! You’ll have to listen to my blend of Aussie, with a bit of Brit, reading a very Australian story about an Australian lawyer and a Texan doctor.
Please do check it out at The Lesbian Talk Show. I hope you enjoy it.
Want to know more about Not-So-Straight Sue? Check out the review over at The Lesbian Review.
You can purchase Not-So-Straight Sue from the following places:
So many writers whinge they don’t have time to write. Yeah, I’m absolutely one of them.
I have writing goals. They’re not set in stone but they’re always there, sliding in and out of my head like melted ice cream. I want to write two novels each year. Ideally, I also want to have two novels published each year, but as I work with a publisher, that one is largely out of my hands. I can’t control publishing schedules.
I’m a fairly fast writer. When I’m in the groove, I can manage 1800 words an hour. When I’m not in the groove, I’m lucky to manage 500 words. Staring into space is so time-consuming. Even so, I should be able to knock over an 80K novel in, oh, 60 or so hours? Even at 6 hours a week, that’s only ten weeks. And that schedule allows six months per novel. Six months! That is so much time.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve used this photo in a post. A lot. Because I love it. I love it for many reasons: tennis is my sporting passion and Amelie Mauresmo (now retired) represented the pinnacle of women’s tennis for me. Huge skill, power, supreme athleticism, grace, fire, and persistence. An all-court, attacking game with a huge variety of strokes. She won two grandslam titles: the Aussie Open and Wimbledon. She was gracious and calm in the face of criticism about her personal life, her physique, and her temperament. When she was 19, she outed herself at the Australian Open after winning the final, when she jumped into the arms of her lover. She basically shrugged at the backlash, called the detractors “a little stupid” and carried on. Amelie Mauresmo is forever and always my Number 1 tennis crush. 🙂
Putting aside the sheer enjoyment of watching (and playing) tennis, it’s also one of the few sports where women earn the same as men (more for some of them, once endorsements are factored in), and where the sport receives equal viewing coverage. Continue reading “Tennis Season!”
Farewell, 2016. Seldom has a year been so up and down. Let’s start with the ups, because I’m a glass-three-quarters full kind of person. And I’m a writer, so this post is mainly about writing.
2016 was the second year I focused on writing longer fiction. Novels. It still feels like a big scary jump for this little black duck who spent the first fifteen years of her writing career writing short stories.
Today, I’m telling you about a new release from acclaimed erotica author, Lisabet Sarai. Lisabet is one of those golden authors who has been around in the erotica world for a long time. She consistently produces wonderful (and hot!) stories, writing across a variety of genres.
I was thrilled to include her story “The First Stone” in my 2015 anthology Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire.
Over the years, I’ve read many, many of her stories–even the ones that push my comfort zones. She’s that good.
Lisabet has a new 8,000 word story out for the holidays. You can read about it below.
If you’re not hootenannied out from the love and free books over at Women and Words over the last twelve days, there’s one more free lesfic romance on offer at Ylva Publishing.
Today only, 24 December, you can download a free copy of the first book in my Girl Meets Girl series. Never-Tied Nora. This is the last book in Ylva’s Advent giveaway.
So if there’s still room on your ebook reader, and you fancy some happy romantic reading, check out Never-Tied Nora.
“Never- tied -Nora left me feeling elated and joyful in a way no book has done for a long time. ” Goodreads Reviewer Continue reading “Free book! One day only!”
I haven’t done much reading this month. December is a hugely busy time in the day job (sigh), and I’ve also got a deadline to turn my latest manuscript into my publisher, Ylva, by the end of the year. I’m editing away and will make this deadline (I will squeak in with minutes to spare, but I’ll make it), but that means reading time is down to a few minutes before I fall asleep. Which is Queensland is about 9pm. Hey, I get up at 4am!
I’m not very far in to Slow River by Nicola Griffith, which I’m really enjoying, although finding I have to concentrate. If I drift off, the book’s changed to a different part of the protagonist’s life and then I’m all WTF?!
I’m nearly at the end of Jen Silver’s Christmas At Winterbourne which I love, although I can’t read that when I’m tired either as there are many characters to keep track of. Love the setting of the lesbian retreat in a mansion in the snowy countryside, which sounds quite delightful right now, as it’s a humid 33 degrees here and I’m sitting as close to the fan as I can get.
If you read Lesfic, December is a very good time to get your paws on some excellent free reading.
The ever-awesome Ylva Publishing (and I don’t say that just because they publish my stuff) is giving away a FREE book each Sunday in December, plus one on Christmas eve, which is a Saturday this year, if like me you never know what day it is. Today (quick! quick! get over there) is Fletcher Delaney’s novel Without a Front: The Producer’s Challenge, which is book 2 in her “Chronicles of Alsea” series. You can get that over at Ylva.
Then on Christmas Eve, you’ll be able to download my novella Never-Tied Nora, which is book 1 in my “Girl Meets Girl” series. Keep an eye on the Ylva site on 24 December for that one.