Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Heroes of the Ashes: Book 2 - How the cover was made

As with the first book, I wanted to share a little about how the cover of The Heroes of the Ashes: The End of Life as You Know it, was made.  

Keeping in line with the next part of Esthers journey, which is actually the FIRST part of her journey, where we hear how she and Marybelle met and came to be in charge of a group of children, I once again used my own photos, including pictures of my children, taken right here in Geraldton.

The sunset shot was important because the beach, the ocean, the port, the silos, the Lighthouse; all  of these things scream Geraldton when we see them in pictures.

My choice was a picture I took as the kids enjoyed the beach at sunset late last year, as summer had started and we were desperate for school holidays. We were taking drives out late on a Sunday afternoon and enjoying our beautiful ocean, which I'm actually not that fond of, but I'm trying lol

My second photo of choice was from the Sunshine Festival last year.  The girls and I went down late and caught maybe the last hour of the live music that was playing. I'm not a jazz fan but the girls were totally digging the music and Miss 21 and I sat in the shade and watched the 3 of them dance. But it was Miss 5 who totally had me enthralled. She danced with such joy on her face and total abandonment of any self consciousness of anyone who may be watching.

My children are not directly represented in any way in these novels, but the photos I used embody the innocence that is a part of our every day life, not just me, but all of us who live in this country Australia. And it is  that innocence of everyday life that becomes lost to Esther, as we follow her back to where her story began.

Now  I must share with you; the cover is a bit of a teaser.  

This section of Esthers story is largely unwritten, compared to the rest of her tale, and I'm not sure where it will take me, so I have included The Ache Inside Part II on the cover, as we cannot leave poor Esther being shook to bits by Eden forever. 

We must get back to their story and move forward with them.

I hope you join me on the next part of this journey. 

I hope to have the first chapter up soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ahead of Her Time....Part 2

There are so many facets to my mother that I want to share that it has been hard to choose where to I'll start with the easiest.


The fact that I don't remember many birthday cakes from the parties I attended in the 80's apart from my own, speaks for itself I guess.  I remember party food that was different to anything I had ever eaten before, but the cakes have not imprinted themselves on my memory.  I remember ice cream cakes and basic round decorated cakes.

These were Mums first attempts at cake making for my brother in the 70's

I'm not sure why my mother was different to other ladies, other mothers, in regards to birthday cakes.

I think that surely she was not the only woman in Derby to purchase Womans Day & Womans Weekly magazines which contained recipes for baking, cooking & entertaining. Maybe this loops back to fact that other mothers were working and mine was a full time housewife.....

With all the decorated cakes we see on Pinterest, Facebook, blogs etc these days you may think "What's the big deal?'

Where my mother was ahead of her time was how she planned the cake and created it into being.

For starters we didn't have the internet. Ideas for cakes came from books, magazines, comics or the baking aisle in our local Elders supermarket.  I cant even credit tv shows with feeding my mother ideas because we had good old ABC and ONLY ABC until 1986. That gave us the options of an Inspector Gadget Cake, Danger Mouse, Mr Squiggle I guess...? or Astro Boy, but Mum would have had to have been able to get her hands on an image, which back then was not an option.

There also was not the HUGE selection of Australian Womens Weekly cook books and kids party cake books that are available in almost every supermarket and newsagents today.

She never made a cake exactly as she saw it in a magazine. Mum added her own little changes and touches, not just for the heck of it but she saw ways to make the construction and decorating of the cake easier to meet her skill level and also going on available ingredients.

Also most time Mum had a test run with the cake, either part of it, or all of it to make sure it would work. She would ice the test cake and serve it up for afternoon tea after school and we'd start to get excited....a birthday was coming.....  But seriously who has the time to make a test cake? Certainly not me...but my Mum did. Because if she was going to do it, she was going to do it right, or as good as she could get it.

When Mum used an image, for example my Barbie cake (the image came from a page in my Barbie club newsletter), she used tracing paper to trace from the original picture, then drew a graph over the traced image. From there she painstakingly & meticulously redrew the image on larger graph paper until it was the size she needed for the cake. These days we would just photocopy and enlarge, like seriously....

Mum started off only ever using butter cream icing and she loved using lollies on cakes, although as she attempted more sophisticated cakes, once again the Barbie cake, she made and coloured her own water icing. Strangely enough she always used packet cake mixes (still does) as I think she saw it as 'modern' as well as easier to keep boxed cake mix handy than all the separate ingredients; keeping in mind we often had weevils and such up North so it was easier to keep two cake packets safe than all the ingredients separately.

I don't even have all of the pictures available to share with you but there was annually a Santa cake or Christmas Tree cake made for the SEC Christmas Party, a love heart cake for my birthday, before we had shaped tins, a cabbage patch kid cake which consisted of drawing the head of the cabbage patch kid still in the cabbage patch.....

She really was a woman ahead of her time....and like people ahead of their time she was under appreciated by everyone. Everyone except her children.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Heroes of the Ashes Book One : The Ache Inside Part 1

I'm still working out how Wattpad works but I believe if I upload some pics here I can link them to parts of my work over there.

You cant seem to just add pictures to your Wattpad documents although I admit I have not yet had time to Google it as Miss 21 keeps telling me.

I thought I would also take the time to discuss how my book cover was made.

Firstly I used a picture of Miss 9 taken at Christmas time at Drummonds Cove beach.

 It was completely un-posed and I had not even heard of Wattpad at the time let alone been thinking about pictures that would be suitable for book covers. The picture was taken on my Nokia FABlet.

Then using Photoshop I overlaid a picture from our first WA/NT trip in 07/08 where we are heading to wards the Giles Meteorological Station, and Warrakurna Roadhouse, close to the NT border. Notice the white sand, which was unexpected. We thought we'd have red 'bull dust' all the way, especially after traversing the road that takes you from Tjukayirla Roadhouse to Warburton.

Then I had a picture of the chapel at Tardun taken when members of our church visited and where hoping to buy the facility.

I would have to say that my favourite result that was achieved with this process is that Miss 9 looks like the Waiting Lady statue that can be found at the HMAS Sydney Memorial here in Geraldton, and since part of Esthers journey is based in Geraldton it was a beautiful little incident of serendipity.

I also have photos of the Tardun buildings that I will share in this post.

Beautiful aerial shot above.

The picture above shows the red dirt prevalent in the area.

The diagram above shows the sizes of the parcels of land in our setting.

These next two shots show the front of the building proper with the covered walkway that joins to the chapel across the way.

 When I first started penning this idea in my teens I imagined my own highschool as the setting. I've lived in Geraldton for 17 years now and for reasons that will become clear in future chapters, there was no way that this story could not be set in the Geraldton/Midwest region.  The presence of a real life building such as Tardun is a bonus.

When I originally chose Tardun as a setting it had been vacanct for quite some time. It has however recently been sold.  This will not affect how I move forward in Esthers story as it is fiction after all.

The original pics and credits for the photos can be found here, here, here and here.

Esthers journey has been something I started writing when I was 14 years old. Over the years it has almost become a completely different story from how it started except for the underlying theme of a young girl/woman battling on her own in a post apocalyptic type environment.

 I believe the best writing I have contributed to this work has been within the last 5-6 years.

Now that I have committed to uploading chapters I feel both euphoric and freaked out. What if its not ready to be shared? I keep asking myself. And also, I'm almost through the first part of Esther story. A lot of the last part is written, but the middle section of her story "The End of Life as You Know It" is largely written only in my mind. I have started to freak out thinking once Esthers story is written, it will be finished!

I hope that when I get to THE END that her story feels finished for me.

Then I will know I have been successful in sharing her story.