Posts Tagged ‘pic of the week’

Pic of the week

This week’s photo is not exactly brilliant photography but more a reminder that life is random.

Because it’s not every day you see two life size plastic/fibreglass rhinoceroses travelling down the road.  (And my brain has been trying to come up with an explanation for where these two are going given they were travelling in the opposite direction of Melbourne’s zoos and museums and also drove straight past the only nearby circus…intriguing!)

In other news, in celebration of hitting the ten day countdown to release day, I’ve just added the last Blood Kin excerpt to my site. And don’t forget I’m giving away a copy of Blood Kin this weekend…details here. Keep checking back over the next ten days as there will be more giveaways and various bits of book info as I count down.

Pic of, um, last week

Last weekend I ran away with the writing gals to the gorgeous Mornington Peninsula (think beaches, wineries, spas).  But mostly we holed up in our favourite weekend rental and chatted and laughed and wrote a bit and drank champagne and ate bad things. Lovely.

And at the end of the weekend, there was this:

Double Rainbow

As Nathan Fillion would say “Double rainbow!” The main part was a full arch too. Not sure I’ve ever seen a rainbow over the water quite like it against the stormy light (I am developing a thing for photos of stormy light). And given the amount of stuff that seems to be going on around the world and in life generally at the moment, I am declaring it to be a good omen, pointing the way to the good times ahead (to misquote Jenny Crusie).

I’m actually running away again this weekend, off to see my folks and eat Mum’s roast (yum!) and get some words piling up on Sekrit project #1. So stare at the rainbow, contemplate the good things and, hey, if you want, don’t forget there’s a Blood Kin galley giveaway still running on the previous post.

Chapter One

The full first chapter of Blood Kin is now up over on my site.

It has been busy the last few weeks with day job stuff and starting to organise some landscaping for my backyard (yay). My backyard is only little but it’s kind of awkward…it has a slope in some parts and terrible horrible grass that eats lawnmowers and exhibits an alarming tendency to turn into a weed ridden jungle at the drop of a hat. So after trying different things, I’ve finally given in to the fact that it needs some landscaping. Which will hopefully result in a lovely useable space rather than a chore. Down with grass, I say! Well, in a teeny yard anyway.

I have been taking photos, but mainly of yarny things.  But here’s a sunset I snapped the other day in my car. Yay for phone cameras!

Quick pic

Just back from lovely weekend away with some of my best buddies from high school.  More detailed pics and blog later but for now….my fave shot…one of those fortuitous clicks. Not perfectly focused but still not too shabby : )

Pretty

Today is a lovely, lovely summer’s day in Melbourne. Not too hot, sunny, with a bit of a breeze. My mum has been down so that we could go visit my aunt and cousin and said cousin’s too cute little boy, all of whom live interstate. I didn’t grab my big camera as I left and, naturally, that meant we ended up taking a (slow and hobbly) walk along South Bank. So I defaulted back to the iPhone (yay for camera phones…the iPhone really does take some nice pics). I posted a bunch of them over on the Facebook page but here’s my fave:

Melbourne, which is a very pretty city and I’ve always loved this view up the river towards the CBD.

In other news, Blood Kin page proofs are done and so is my last chance to fiddle with the story. Hopefully I’ll have some ARCs to giveaway soon. I’m futzing around with a couple of other ideas which shall remain nameless for now and doing some planning but mostly I’m trying to get through the post book phase where a writer’s brain goes all fuzzy and all sorts of weirdness (like forgetting one’s purse, dropping things, turning up early or late for appointments etc) occurs. So lazy summer days are good therapy for that!

Catching up

Sorry for the blog silence but on Monday I finished Book 3 (yippeeee!) and have subsequently been suffering post book finishing frenzy brain. And doing the Blood Kin page proofs. Not sure this is a good combination which is why I am only doing short batches each day.

Yesterday Keri and I headed off to Sydney for the Australian Romance Readers Association Awards Dinner which was great fun. I did not win my category (not that I was expecting to) but I did want to say THANK YOU again to everyone who either nominated Shadow Kin or voted for it (or both). It was wonderful to be nominated for my first book. Congratulations also to all the very talented writers who did win (with a special shout out to my buddy Kelly Hunter for best short contemporary! Yay!!). It’s always fun to see friends and talk books with readers and writers alike!

Given that I am still somewhat limited in my mobility options (four months tomorrow since I busted this stoopid ankle) and that the weather in Sydney was both wet and steamy, there was no sight seeing opportunities and we flew back early this morning due to various other factors. So no exciting Sydney pics for pic of the week.

However, on Friday, I did put my poor grubby little car through the automatic car wash thingy, and given going through the car wash involves sitting in a switched off car with big green swirly things thumping around you, I thought I’d pull out the iPhone and see if I could get any cool pictures. There are a couple of either blurry big green swirly things or still big green swirly things and then there was this one…which I like because I like water and the textures it makes. The main thing I’ve learnt about taking pics in the last few years is that you have to take a lot of pictures to get the good ones!

Pic of the week #5

Snapped on Tuesday. I was in the car park near work and it was all grey grey grey with just one golden gleam of light….

Summer in Melbourne at its finest : )

In other news, writerpalooza continues. I’m getting close now and finally, FINALLY starting to get that feeling where the book kind of pops up in your head with bits and snippets all the time. After wrestling with the damn thing for MONTHS, it’s a relief. But would love it to be done, so much typing for the next three days.

Pic of the week, #4

I promised it wouldn’t be all pics of cats but tomorrow, according to the RSPCAs best guess at least, is the wee mad torti’s second birthday. So I took some “Last day of being 1 pics” of her.

Here’s my fave. Shows off her lovely ink splatter nose and her pretty eyes (even if she is wearing her “what are you doing now, crazy hooman?” expression).

Happy birthday for tomorrow, crazy cat! I’ll find you a nice box to chew.

Two birds with one stone

aka some further sourdough adventures and a pic of the week!

So Thursday morning, my starter (Seymour) was tasting distinctly sour, so into the fridge he went (refrigeration keeps the development of the starter sort of on hold).

The question then became, what was I going to make with Seymour? I looked around a bit on the web but, in the end, I decided to KISS and go with one of the recipes from How to Bake a Perfect Life. One because the starter recipe is from there, so it seemed a good fit and two, because the recipe still had a teeny bit of yeast added in case Seymour was a dud.

So this morning, Seymour left the fridge so he could warm up to room temperature again. I was happy to see he still had a few bubbles and had developed a liquid layer on top (apparently a good thing…you just stir it back it).  Then I set out to make the Soft and Delicious wheat bread from the book. Only mine was going to be soft and delicious half white half wheat bread as I knew I didn’t have the full amount of wholemeal flour I needed.

Bread is a funny beast, you never know how much flour a given amount of liquid will want to absorb on any given day…today is mild, overcast and slightly humid in Melbourne.  The recipe calls for 8-9 cups of flour all up.  I think mine has about 6 cups with maybe another half a cup added in through the kneading process and it’s about 4 cups of white flour to 2 cups of wholemeal.

So here’s the first step (well the second step after the dough rests for a bit initially)…dough after first batch of kneading ready for the first rise.

And about an hour or so later, here it is all nicely doubled in size (at which point the baker breathes a sigh of relief because the starter seems to be okay).

 

All nice and soft and squishy and full of the gases that help the bread rise.  Which means you have to get rid of some of the gases before you do the second rise. So you tip out the dough and “punch” it down. Though it’s really more like pressing unless you’ve had a no good very bad day (please don’t abuse the dough).

After it’s punched down, it gets another little rest (to recover from the pummelling as we all need to do), then you knead some more (baking is good for the arm muscles) and then shape the dough. I went with good old fashioned loaves-to-be-baked-in-tins.

The loaves go off for another hour or sough of rising (until they’ve doubled in size roughly). Which gives you this…

All nice and puffy again, ready for the oven. I heated the oven with a pan of water in it (commercial ovens are generally steamy…this helps get a crunchy crust). My oven is fan forced so I think I used about 170 Celsius rather than 180.  While the bread was baking, I refreshed Seymour (fed him more flour and water to make up for the part of him I used in the bread) and he promptly started to froth and bubble up nicely so apparently he’s happy to be used.

I started checking the loaves at about 40 mins as my oven tends to cook fast.  And the smell of baking bread makes me impatient to EAT the bread. Recommended bake time was an hour. Mine were done at about 50…and came out of the oven looking like this…(at this point, I stopped being slack and pulled out the good camera…they were so pretty they deserved the good camera).

That second one is my pic of the week, something about it just makes me happy. (And further proves the joys of a DSLR…exact same lighting, way better pictures!).

Of course, the proof is in the eating.  I womanfully let the bread cool for 15 minutes or so then cut myself a slice.

It is indeed, soft and delicious.  The crust is slightly crunchy, slightly chewy and while there isn’t a strong sourdough tang, there’s definitely a deeper flavour than you get with yeast alone. The crumb is more like a yeast bread (sour dough would have bigger holes) but it’s got a bit of heft to it. Final verdict overall – yum!

So, all in all, the first experiment is successful. I have a long weekend next week, so I’ll try a more traditional sourdough recipe with longer rising times etc.

Freedom

Aka Pic of the week #2

Not sure it’s brilliant photography but it is my poor right ankle free of the dreaded walking boot and venturing outside in thongs! Freedom after three long months.

Now starts the fun job of physio to make the darn foot and leg work as they should and the ankle is still not 100% healed so I have to be careful with it but the first big hurdle is passed.

If anyone is curious the pic was edited a bit in both Snapseed (which is a very cool little iPhone/iPad photo editor) and Photoshop Elements (another of my goals this year…figure out how to use Elements better!).