Sovereign Hill ~ Winter Wonderlights 

Dear Ink Dots Readers, the engines are humming for the release of Carry Me Away, book 2 in my Blue Wren Shallows series. I am WAY beyond excited to share the beautiful cover, first chapter, and endorsements… and in the next few weeks I will have all the links here on my website and pretty much anywhere else authors take happy book news. Stay tuned…!!!

In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been up to in my quest to fill the creative well.

For an author besotted with all things Victorian Era, Australian Colonial, and just olde worlde, Ballarat’s living gold rush museum is one of my favourite places to visit. And in the last few years, July is a month not to be missed. 

Only 90 minutes from home, the 25 acre historical village of Sovereign Hill draws me like a moth to a freshly dipped tallow candle. Re-enactments, demonstrations, and the opportunity to wander and become lost in the heart of the 1850s is more than my idea of fun. It fuels the storyteller in me like nothing else.

Add the smell of real wood fires, the chill of winter, and a great big dollop of Christmas-in-July cheer, and I am right there. Sprinkle ‘SNOW’ over everything once dusk hits (even if it’s machine made and not the real thing) and I’m in another realm of glee.

I’ve have a romance series set on the Australian goldfields bubbling away for a few years now. Once I complete the Blue Wren Shallows series, set on ‘my’ beautiful Phillip Island, I plan to shift my attention to the wonders and dramas of this the 1850s.

Until then, I shall make do with the memories my Beloved and I captured this year when we visited Sovereign Hill for the Winter Wonderlights spectacular. I hope you enjoy sneaking into Australia’s Gold Rush Years with me, too.

Happy winter reading, or summer reading… wherever you’re cuddled up with a good book.

Dotti 

Phillip Island in the Winter

 

I spent most of last week at Phillip Island, working through the bones of what will become Book 3 in my Blue Wren Shallows series.

For those of you waiting on Book 2, Carry Me Away... it’s currently (happy-squeal!) in the lap of a few of my all-time favourite authors who are reading for endorsement, and my talented cover artist is putting her finishing touches on the cover.

I’m most grateful to those who continue to ask about Carry Me Away. I can’t wait for you to meet the characters who come to life in the telling of this story and cause their own trouble in Shadrach and Finella’s world. (Carry Me Home)

Until then, I want to share with you last Monday’s sunset and my scarf-wrapped walk to Red Rocks and back home ~ a true riot of setting sun and clouds playing in the shallows.

Somehow, I managed to sneak into the one majestic hour of stillness over an island battered by rain most of the week I was there.

Depending on whether I had my back to the sun or walked towards it, my phone camera captured all manner of wintery light and reflections. And even in the stillness, the ominous power of the clouds hung above me in a bruised sky.

And that, dear readers, is why I run away to write on this beautiful island.

To breathe in the beach after a storm. To capture the sun that falls into the horizon, and to wade through the shallows where my characters play and fight and learn to love.

These photos are unedited. But sometimes I like to run them through pretty filters and I post on Instagram.

You can follow me there for more photos.

Meanwhile, please join me on this quick stroll through the Blue Wren Shallows.

 

Phillip Island, Australia

 

Phillip Island, Australia

Sunset over Phillip Island, Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Rocks Beach, Phillip Island, Australia

 

Sunset, Phillip Island, Australia

 

 

Boats ashore, Phillip Island, Australia

 

Sunset, Phillip Island, Australia

 

Seagrass, Phillip Island, Australia

 

Sunset, Phillip Island, Australia

 

Sunset, Phillip Island, Australia

Australia ~ A place you feel (says chris hemsworth)

The grapevine, looking every bit the Queen of the Garden at Crabapple House, Autumn 2019

May is my favourite month because I celebrate my birthday AND Mother’s Day… only days apart. And because these special days occur when the weather is flush with brilliant rubies and saffrons, I have grown to love autumn more than any other season.

This year, I have even more reasons to LOVE the month of May. Many of you have found this journal page, and website, and my book, Carry Me Home, thanks to this month’s Christian Historical Romance Book Bundle Giveaway. (If you haven’t checked out the 9 FREE books on offer, you have until the end of May to take your pick.)

And so a big warm WELCOME to those of you who are newly arrived to all things Ink Dots. I’m delighted you’ve downloaded Shadrach and Finella’s story. If you’ve journeyed with these characters to the end, I am most grateful! Let me know what you thought of the story in the comment section below.

Fiction set in Australia may be something you’re already fond of, or something that’s completely new to you. Either way, I wanted to share this fabulous Tourism Australia link, with voiceover by Chris Hemsworth. If you haven’t opened your copy of Carry Me Home, here’s a peek into the majestic Australian landscape my characters occupy.

 

 

Click Here for Chris Hemsworth’s Invitation to Australia

 

Ventnor Beach, Phillip Island, Australia

What did you think of that quick tour of our beautiful country? I hope it inspires you to read or perhaps even re-read Carry Me Home. Because in a few short months, Carry Me Away, book 2 in the Blue Wren Shallows series will be ready for your reading pleasure.

So what are you waiting for? Step right into yesteryear and the beauty of Australia’s beaches and windswept cliffs and the Blue Wren Shallows of Phillip Island in… Carry Me Home

Happy Reading,

Dotti

Nearly There…

In a year of brokenness, where the notes of life did not always play sweet music in my ears, I found myself drawn to unfamiliar quiet places. To the stillness and the echoing ache to keep writing in the midst of grief, even when I did not know how.

There were many who stood beside me in those shadows. They ached with me and I learned the sweetest whisper is ‘don’t give up, you’re nearly there.’

And if nearly there is the flicker before the dawn, the dawn itself, the… here we are… is starting to shine, bright as day, in my author heart.

Many of you have messaged this last year, quietly checking in on me in a year of mourning and gently asking about the next book in my Phillip Island, Blue Wren Shallows series. Well, dearest reader, Carry Me Away  (younger sister to Carry Me Home) is on her way to YOU.

Cover reveal, promo announcements, and all the fun of releasing a book are some months away, but the excitement is bubbling up in those of us who are dressing this book for publication.

I want to thank ALL OF YOU, faithful friends, for your patience and encouragement. From the first words I ever penned in this story to the very last… I have been writing for YOU. And I am grateful for your loyalty.

If you have not already subscribed to my Reader Group, please join today. It’s the shortest road between me and you. And if you join before the end of April 2019, you could win one of three Everlasting journals.

This is an international giveaway… so what are you waiting for? 
(This contest is now closed. Congratulations to winners ~ Tammy, Alina, and Ruby.)


Don’t miss out. Scroll to the bottom of this page and join today.

Blessings,

Dotti 

 


 

 

The Year Of The Jubilee

 

So my Beloved turns 50 years old today. (Happy Birthday to you, my sweet. xx)

A much longed for confetti celebration in a season of steep hills and darker valleys.

And in a few short months, I too, will turn 50. (Gasp)

Embracing Life ~ The Year of The Jubilee

Last year, when we considered how we might celebrate, we fell upon the word Jubilee ~ n. the completion of 50 years existence, activity, or its celebration.

So we dubbed 2018 our Year of The Jubilee.

We made a list of big and small ways we would celebrate with each other, with family and friends, and stretch our Jubilee the whole year long.

Go on 50 Dates, Excursions, or Adventures

Share 50 Celebration Meals, (Coffee Catch Ups, Luncheons, Dinner Parties)

Send 50 letters, postcards, packages, or notes

Watch 50 Movies

Give 50 Gifts

Plant 50 Plants

And then… just for me, I added,

Read 50 Books

Absorb 50 TED Talks

January started well. I kept happy records in my diary. We sat on the foreshore at Cowes beach, Phillip Island, with my beautiful sister-in-law and watched the fireworks scream off the jetty – the prefect date for seeing in the New Year.

Then my cousin and her family stopped into Melbourne and we shared a celebration meal together. Three book gifts were given to three excited children.

I posted two copies of Carry Me Home to a library in Sydney, which had, only that week purchased them.

Movie ~ Easy

Book ~ Even easier

TED Talk ~ Listened while I brushed my teeth.

The addition of 50 plants to the Crabapple House garden I reserved for later in the year when the cool of autumn will best suit delicate roots. But we discovered the remaining Jubilee Dates were easy and fun to add to the growing list of celebrations, already achieved.

Wedding celebrations under an elaborate ceiling adornments and windows.

A Saturday breakfast with dear friends.

An elaborate Egyptian wedding.

A Turkish birthday dinner.

The gifting of a bag of no-longer-needed school clothes I had in reserve for a family of boys who go to the same school my boys attended. Fragments of life, shared with those we love. The gathering of ordinary moments that transform into memories.

And then… one hurried afternoon in late January I picked a fragrant pink rose from my garden. A tiny love token for a woman who had slipped into a hospital bed and never returned home. My last gift to Mum. It sat in a glass of water by her bedside, right to the end.

After that, the diary screams in emptiness. No TED Talks. No adventures. Instead of giving, I am receiving. Meals. Flowers. Messages. Cards.

I collected myself to write thank you notes, and shared a sweet family dinner to celebrate Mum’s life with our extended family. I packed food into boxes and pressed them into Dad’s fridge and freezer. Even in the shadow of grief, The Year of The Jubilee, somehow found us. Crying. Remembering. Smiling. Giving.

Many days later, I picked up an unfinished book. Then my Beloved and I watched a movie. The next day, we went on an historical walking tour of Melbourne’s laneways, a Christmas gift adventure from our son.

And today… well today is the real reason I write. Our bags are packed for a trip planned and booked many, many months ago. A European adventure to celebrate the life of the man I have loved since I was a girl of 19. With my dear Dad’s blessing, my Beloved and I fly out tonight to explore and celebrate all things that have bought us to this our fiftieth year.

My last rose gift to Mum. Now on my desk beside the ink bottles. Always part of my story.

I already know jubilation comes like a gust of confetti and silken ribbons. The ribbons are all the good people who wrap themselves around us with love. The wind is what pushes us to grow, teaches the lessons we’d rather avoid, and establishes our strong roots. And everything in between, is the flying confetti that litters our world with splendour.

Like petals picked, sifted, and kept as evidence of the life we’ve lived.

And the people we’ve loved.

 

Queen Mary 2 – Author Visit

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Once in a lifetime, an author has an innocent conversation with a friend who is the Business Development Manager for the world’s best cruise ships.

This leads to all manner of dreaming and scheduling and before she knows it, she’s in the back of an UBER ride on her way to the famous CUNARD LINE Queen Mary II.

And yes… in my wildest dreams I would never have imagined this would be MY author adventure, but thanks to my fabulous friend Andrew Perry, it is.

And I am still pinching myself.

To continue the giddy-fest of drool-worthy photos of this magnificent vessel, I bring you the day Rel Mollet, (my part-time assistant, part-time photographer and full-time partner in author world adventures) and I, boarded this recently remastered flagship on its 2017 World Voyage – Melbourne visit.

What an honour to be invited to deliver copies of my debut Australian Historical Romance, Carry Me Home, for readers from all over the globe.

Here’s how we rolled…

 

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Really, truly…. our first ever UBER ride. Early morning excitement – before the wind tore up our hair.

 

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We’re official! Passed security and tagged for embarkation.

 

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Aboard the Queen Mary 2 with our escort and dear friend, Andrew Perry. I think he’s saying, ‘You should live onboard and write away each day in some sunny corner.’ And I’m saying, ‘I so should.’

 

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One copy each of Carry Me Home for the 3 Cunard Queens – The Queen Mary II, The Queen Elizabeth, and The Queen Victoria.

 

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With the QM2 Librarian, Nathan, and Sandy, QM2 Events Co-ordinator.

 

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Talking all things libraries and the habits of seafaring readers.

 

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Top shelf, centre…. goosebumps and cheesy author smiles.

 

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The Queen Mary 2 is the world’s largest floating library, with a backlit collection of over 8000 titles to cover the reading delights of its 2600 passengers and 1300 crew.

 

Queen Mary 2

After my author visit to the library, Andrew took us on a 3 hour guided tour of the QM2. Melbourne put on a glorious summer’s day and showered us in sunshine, befitting a ship so grand.

 

 

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The QM2 has 14 decks. I think we covered every one of them!

 

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Acres of fine dining.

 

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We worked up an enviable appetite and were delighted with our delicious luncheon. Thank you, Cunard!

 

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The Grand Lobby. Lives up to its name and then some.

 

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The Captain’s Table…, a little larger than the rest, to welcome special dinner guests.

 

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Part of the Royal Family photographs in the Grand Ballroom. I’m looking at an original photo of Queen Mary, after whom the ship was named. Bliss for a lover of all things historical.

 

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Aussie Pride on a cabin door.

 

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The view of Marvellous Melbourne from the top deck of the QM2.

 

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Author life. It’s a hard job. Lucky for me my assistant insists on afternoon naps. In the sun. On a luxury ocean liner. #dreaming

 

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Most passengers were exploring the sights of  Melbourne.

 

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So, take your pick of deckchairs.

 

Queen Mary 2 (a)

The spectacular Royal Court Theatre seats 1000 guests for movies and live performances to rival anything seen on Broadway or West End.

 

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Illuminations – The QM2 seriously has a planetarium! Seating almost 500 guests it also screens movies and features lecture programs.

 

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What a magnificent vessel! Why would anyone want to leave? A cruise onboard the Queen Mary 2 is now TOP of my wish list.

 

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Rel Mollet and I had to be lured into our ride home by this generous gift of CUNARD boxed chocolates. Otherwise we might have stayed forever.

 

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I’ve learned a lot in my short time as published author. Here’s what’s impressed me the most – My readers are the BEST PEOPLE around. They cheer me on, encourage my writing, and constantly surprise me with opportunities to speak and showcase my work. This time it was this guy. Thank you, Andrew, for your generous heart and invitation to come aboard. The author life is never dull and this week in particular, it was off the charts super spectacular. #literallyblownaway