Moeraki Boulders08 11 21 Fleurs 2I can’t believe it’s  been a whole year since I wrote the entry on Larnach Castle, which was my 7th anniversary trip.  This year it was DH’s turn to plan the surprise, and he did a fantastic job.  We drove to the sleepy fishing village of Moeraki, about an hour north of Dunedin.  Moeraki is most famous for its very unworldly-looking collection of boulders, which I have visited a couple of times before.  But I had no idea that the town had so many other interesting things to see.


Like the Katiki Point lighthouse and wildlife refuge, where we saw four of the sweetest little baby furs seals.  FleursAnd Fleur’s Place, the world renowned seafood restaurant, where we had a fantastic dinner upstairs in the loft.  We also rode our bikes around the town, but it was too cold to stay out for long!

The next day we drove into Oamaru, and visited the historical district.  After a nice lunch at the Star and Garter, accompanied by live piano music, we strolled around the magnificently restored stone buildings and visited an artist’s cooperative.  We finished the day by walking a bit of Graves Track, which hugs the cliffs (sometimes scarily so) on the ocean side of Oamaru.

Just back from the Catlins, where we spent four days in glorious (for there anyhow) weather.  The ocean was still a little cold for my taste, but there were quite a few surfers in the water.

I did a little writing while I was there, but really the weather was so nice I just wanted to be outside.  Given the fact that the sun doesn’t set until about 10:15 PM at this time of year that makes for some pretty long days!

In the evenings I amused myself by making a cardboard model of a Viking ship.  It took a lot of cutting and gluing.  I have never tried anything like this before and I found it quite enjoyable, although I don’t think my results looked exactly like the picture in the book.  Next I have an Elizabethan warship to put together, and it will be even more difficult.

Curio Bay tree stumps

Curio Bay tree stumps

One day we drove further along the coast to a place called Curio Bay.  It is a natural rock shelf that the tide washes over, full of interesting tidal pools.  You can see the occasional yellow-eyed penguin.  But the most amazing thing is the petrified wood forest of stumps and fallen trees.  These were laid down during the Jurassic period, back when NZ was practically at the South Pole and part of Gondwanaland.  It is an amazing place.

I just finished week five of C25K.  The last run was twenty minutes in a row.  I did it!

Progress continues on Dawnmaid.  After two more quick exchanges the editing is finished, and will probably appear on the virtual shelves next week sometime.

It is school holidays here in New Zealand.  Winter term break, so two weeks of playing in the snow, and  playing video games inside by the fire.  I expect my progress with Wintermoon Ice will slow as a result.

What I am listening to:  Niafunke/Ali Farka Touré

What I am reading: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ship and Boats/ Graham Blackburn

add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Another quick post from my sister’s computer.  We have been here nearly a week, in Pensacola Florida.  The weather has been glorious.  Our days revolve around seeing family, shopping, and making huge meals for all ten of us to sit down and share.  My sister comes and goes as she is allowed.  She is a busy physician with a pathology practice, so 12 hour days are the usual for her.  But she still manages to run a small farm with chickens and three enormous horses.  Amazing!

The weather has been glorious since we arrived, sunny and not too hot.  Of course we plan to go to the beach, and to Mobile, Alabama for the day, and more shopping…

I am an American, in case I haven’t mentioned it before.  I moved to New Zealand seven years ago, following the call of my heart.  I am happy there, but I don’t really feel at home, if that makes any sense.  The language is the same, but the people are very different, and I sometimes feel a little uneasy.  Americans, as you may have heard from time to time, are not the most popular people in the world right now.

I try not to get sucked into arguments, because I don’t think it helps.  People here have preconceived notions as to what Americans are like (fat, obnoxious, opinionated, stupid) and the best way to counter those opinions IMHP is not to be any of those things.

But it sure is nice to be back again.

It is funny how being away from creature comforts makes you appreciate them ever so much. The humble toilet, with its cascade of flushing water, has been sorely missed by yours truly for the past 5 days. But now I am home again! At least for three days or so. Then we are probably going back for more. (more…)

I need to do some serious rewriting on the first six chapters of my newest book. It is lacking a certain “je ne sais quoi.” Well actually I do know what. Not enough conflict. My problem is that I like all my characters too much. I am attached to them, and I don’t want them to suffer. (more…)

After looking at my blogging buddy Susan Shay’s site, I have decided to go all festive and post a picture of our Christmas tree. Tree

I know it looks a little funny, but we always cut the top out of one of the big pines we have on our property. That way the tree goes on living, and we get the smell of fresh pine tree inside the house.

I will tell you a crazy thing about living in the south part of New Zealand. Right now, at Christmas time, it doesn’t get dark until almost 11 pm. So there is absolutely no point in putting Christmas lights up anywhere. 😦 I really miss them. In the USA, the kids and I always used to drive around the neighborhoods and admire the lights. A few people do put lights up here, but who wants to be driving around at midnight to look at them? (more…)

Spent a day and night at the beach house this weekend. We had really nice weather, warm and sunny. Did a little painting and maintenance on the house, went for walks, saw a young seal and a penguin on the beach. Not many surfers around, as the waves were small. Sometimes there are ten or fifteen in the water, when we have a big surf. Some people have told me that Purakaunui Bay is a premium surfing spot and people come from all over the world to try their luck there. (more…)

Awesome weather today, sunny and mild.  We spent the morning running errands,  going to the Farmer’s Market in town, and looking for Christmas presents.  Usually by this time of year I am done with my shopping, but this year, thanks to my publication schedule I haven’t even started yet!  Not that I am complaining.  I’ll just have to do a couple of marathon days sometime soon.

My name is up on the Mushroom website as one of their authors, although if you click on  me you get a 404 error. 😦  Hopefully that will change sometime in the next few days.

I did some new words today,  chapter 2 of “Beyond the Gyre.”  I was trying to write a conversation (well more like an argument) between ten people all in the same room.  It was pretty difficult and I am not sure how successfully it turned out.  I’ll have to read what I wrote tomorrow and see what I think then.

I may, perhaps, sign up for an intensive screenwriting seminar to be held at the University of Otago at the end of January.  I know little about writing for movies and television, and I don’t have any plans to do so, but I thought it might help me with dialogue and pacing and scene setting, within the framework of a novel.

Has anyone done any screenwriting?  Is it a subject in which it would be worth trying to acquire some skills?  This class is expensive, so I don’t want to do it unless it will be beneficial to me somehow.

Spent the weekend at our place at Purakaunui Bay in the Catlins Range in southern New Zealand. Before you all go– ooh, she has a beach house, I should tell you that this house has no electricity, indoor plumbing, running water, cellphone service, internet, TV reception, or even a road to get to it.

Here’s a picture:

Purakaunui Bay

You have to park the car up at the head of the bay and then walk about half a mile to get to the cabin.

It’s quite private, and I love it.

The view from the deck.

I bring my laptop and do a little writing, but the battery gives up after 2 hours, so I can’t do much. (I already mentioned the no electricity thing.) But that is good, because I go for walks on the beach instead, and look at the seals and penguins.

The water is incredibly cold, but bearable if you have a full body wetsuit. Which I do.

I feel very privileged to have such a wonderful place in my life