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I've been in Australia for two weeks. In that time I've met Rochelle Fernandez and Laura Brading from HarperCollins for the best cup of coffee ever.

Since then Rochelle has moved on to be Associate Publisher for International fiction, looking after all the books that come in through HarperUS and HarperUK. Good luck, Rochelle!

Enter: Anna Valdinger and Vanessa Williams to guide the Impulse writers along. I’m so excited to work with them!

The first edits for the Outback journey will be coming to a laptop near me around the middle of May. I’ll be nicely back at a desk by then, welcoming new thoughts on my story of sorrow, betrayal, and fresh growth.

We survived this first week’s super storm. So did most of the birds. My Aussie ear is coming back, sharpened by their song. Did you know that all songbirds, worldwide, came from Australia, part of the Gondwana?

Walking around Wentworth Falls yesterday was fabulous. Every bird in the forest was singing its survival song. “Look at me! I made it!”

TG for technology – I have voice recordings of them!

From the moment of our arrival, friends and fabulous memories have filled our days. We walk, visit, swim, eat. Get up the next day and start again.

Sydney feels like our home but we are anchored in Victoria. We love this place. We prefer our gentle island neighbourhood where a traffic jam is a five minute wait.

Australia delivers some of the best things imaginable: warm and engaged people, top beaches, fine horses, excellent wine, and good—often unusual—food.

Foods that I have personally sampled or considered sampling: bullets, melting moments, yoyos, vanilla slices, shark n taters, neenish tarts, lamingtons, party pies, hamburger with a fried egg, chook (fried or roasted), potato scallop, run over rooster. Over eight years, I’d forgotten most of these things.

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day. Alan wants me to go to the dawn ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli with him. I may even do that.

So many new things in such a compact time period! Finally tonight I sat down and started a new novel.

How do you get through times of great change? Do you lose yourself in the moment or scribble notes madly and turn them into golden prose?

Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Eastern Whipbird by Greg Miles

What is shaking your tree?

When our house sold in February, it had only been on the market for a few days. The buyers wanted possession in three and a half weeks. My husband and I had anticipated the usual sixty to ninety days to ease ourselves out of our North Vancouver lives. However, we are nothing if not adaptable. A bird in the hand and all that. We went into overdrive, and last week packed up a trailer and said good-bye to the house on the hill.

Word count: 335                                                                           Reading time: 1-2 minutes

For the next few months, we will live out of the suitcases and few boxes we brought with us. Our new place is in its original thirty-year-old condition and needs many upgrades. We’ve rented a tiny apartment a ten minute drive away. Empty and bare, our home waits for the contractor to start ripping out walls and tearing up the stained carpets. The ordered, relatively predictable life I had in November has vanished into the ether.

To add spice to the mix, my novel Lockdown is ready for release. I have been given a budget by my publisher, Great Plains Publishing, and must start planning my first book launch. Next week I travel back to Vancouver to lead the March session of the Young Writers’ Club.

Recently I read this Nietzsche quote: You must have chaos to give birth to a dancing star. I have adopted it as my personal mantra. From all this upheaval some good writing will surely be born.

What is writing if it isn’t chaos anyway? Still, for two weeks I’ve barely written a word. Now I am shaking myself out of my stupor. It’s time to retreat to writing when everything gets a little crazy. For one thing, it’s much cheaper than therapy. Writing is one place where I can create a world that makes sense, at least to me. It’s a place to escape the turmoil of building codes and construction.

When your world gets turned upside down do you capture the madness in your writing? Or do you step away and wait for things to settle before you start the next chapter?


Photo from dreamstime by: Stuart Miles