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.


Writing In The Pocket Of Grief

My mum’s 12 year cancer battle ended 12 days ago. In these last two and a half years she endured many months of distress including a difficult recovery from surgery last year, meant to buy her more years.

It didn’t. And now she is gone.


But her suffering has ended and if you’ve watched a loved one buckle under cancer’s cruelty, you will understand my thankfulness that God has set her free.

Free of pain. Free of confusion. Free of everything that darkened her days.

But her struggles did not define her. They were only part of her beautiful story. Her true legacy surrounds us each day. It comes over me in layers, like the beautiful writing gloves she knitted. Her warmth for my cold mornings at the keyboard.

All around me, memories of her. Her touch left in a thousand places, in all our homes.

In all our hearts.

But what about the gaping hole, and the thick silence? It grabs me by the throat and chokes hard when I least expect it. When I turn to share a snatch of conversation with her and she’s not there, anymore.

When I see the wilting floral arrangements that adorn my home in tribute to her, and know I must throw them out… because they too are dead.

How do I live as a motherless daughter? Where do I find myself, when a big piece of me is lost forever?

I go back to the story of her. A tapestry of Greek wisdom and Christian beliefs. Her cord of silly humour that still ran through the most somber of our days. Her fussiness, wound tight like a perfect braid. And her faith, which held her right up to the end, and holds me up, too. Her God, is my God. And nothing confounds Him.

The day Mum entered Palliative Care she was given a small blanket by hospital volunteers. A knitted riot of unmatched colours that in any other world, would… and should, never sit together. She smiled with me at the mess of patterns, of clashing tones and scrappy squares. Pieces, thrown together, as if by chance.

But not really. Those hospital knitters know what they’re doing.

While I held her hand, Mum breathed her last under that blanket.

I took it home and washed it. It dried on a summer breeze. Now it’s a beautiful, warm, weighted reminder of life’s unique moments and fragments. The beautiful and the ordinary, the delicate and the rough, all hooked in knitted loops. Each one holds the other in place. Each ending becomes the starting point for something new, and I am now wrapped in its comfort.

While my publication schedule changed during Mum’s illness, the words still flowed. Each day I wrote from the pocket of deepening grief.

But now… writing gloves on, I will pull the ugly-beautiful-blanket a little closer, too.

And I will publish the stories she will never read, knowing they too, are coloured pieces of me, and the happy fragments of a life that knitted us together… and made us smile.

Queen Mary 2 – Author Visit

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…



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



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



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.’



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



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



Talking all things libraries and the habits of seafaring readers.



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



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.




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



Acres of fine dining.



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



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



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



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.



Aussie Pride on a cabin door.



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



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



Most passengers were exploring the sights of  Melbourne.



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.



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



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



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.



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





Author Talk Snapshots


The nights have been cold and this winter has not been mild.

Nope. Melbourne continues to deliver its iciest blast.

But my readers have showered me with warmth and love.


Rustic bookshelf, scattered sea shells…

In June, it was my privilege to speak with the wonderful women of NewHope Baptist Church, in Blackburn. These girls sure know how to manage an event. Every corner of the room was festooned with details inspired by Carry Me Home.

A million thanks, to my beautiful team…Fiona, Surette, Laura, and Robyn. 

From shells to tea cups, lanterns and candles, to olde worlde books and nostalgic touches like handmade bunting… the entire room glowed with such attention to detail, I thought I may have walked into my own story-world.

And notice the carefully chosen tablecloth, matched to Finella’s skirt! Brilliant!

Many thanks to the beautiful souls who attended this Meet The Author event, and for your wonderful support! What a treat to discover such warm hearted readers.

Meeting you girls was the highlight of my June!



Old Bible


Book display


Beautiful Bunting


Vintage Books


Wonderful Readers


More Wonderful Readers


Stunners, each one

AND… just last week, it was a delight to chat with the good people of Phillip Island in the local library. We talked all things Carry Me Home, Displacement Fiction, and my road to publication. Many thanks to Helen and Jenny for their hospitality.

An Aussie author could easily believe the months of June and July are cold and unwelcoming. Not true. For this debut author, they’ve been a warm embrace.

Thank you, dear readers! Once again, you’ve blessed me beyond measure.



Book Signing At The Phillip Island Library



Meeting New Readers


Final Instructions…. Read Carry Me Home


I hope you’re keeping toasty or ice cool… wherever you may be.

Happy reading,

Dotti xx



One year on…

Last April, we shot all the photography for the Blue Wren Shallows series book covers, as well as the location shots I’ve used on this website. Each photograph captures the beauty of Phillip Island and the beaches where the stories of Finella and Shadrach, and the people who come into their lives, are set.

April, 2015

I’m privileged to walk these beaches when I visit my island. They remind me of critical scenes in my stories and continue to inspire new ones. One particular stretch of beach is where my daughter sat for this website’s homepage header. She’s perched on a washed up, sun-bleached log left for us by the wind and the waves.

My dear friend, Rel Mollet, spotted that piece of driftwood the day we went scouting the beach for suitable photography locations. It served us well later that afternoon when we took our cover model and photographer down to the beach for the last of the photography. (See this fun to revisit that day.)

Since then, I’ve walked that same beach a dozen times, maybe more. Each time that driftwood log is snuggled into the sand a little more. Last week, it looked like this… in places, almost completely buried by the kiss of the tide.


April, 2016

And I was reminded how much has happened since last April.

The happy launch of Carry Me Home.

The delightful months of introducing Shadrach and Finella to readers all over the world.

And for me… the opportunity to connect with many of those readers who’ve now become friends.

I’m thrilled to say book two in the Blue Wren Shallows series, Carry Me Away, is a now a complete story.

To me, it looks a little like the log in the photo. I can see the beginning and end. But there’s branches which need dusting off and polishing up. That’s what I’ve been doing these last few months and will continue to work on in the weeks ahead.

I’ve also been a little distracted by the happy engagement of our daughter to her sweet love, in February. And with their permission, I will share some of that deliciousness in my first newsletter, scheduled to be sent out next week.

Are you on the Ink Dots Newsletter mailing list?

You can subscribe by filling in the field at the bottom of any page on this website.

I’m so excited to share it with you.



Mornings look like this…

Summer days are racing by and I’m spending more and more time in the library working on the ending of Carry Me Away, book 2 in the Blue Wren Shallows series.

Lots of new reader friends have popped in to pick up their copy of Carry Me Home (book 1). They sit in that chair while I sign their book, but most of my days I spend in the library, all alone… working on this new manuscript. (Don’t be fooled. I’m not complaining. Alone = bliss for this homebound author)

Here’s a peek at my view one morning this week ~ surrounded by my words, my tea, and a little angel watching over me to make sure I’m on task. I’m in the thick of making life miserable for my characters. Really bad. Tissue box bad.

During a coffee catch up with a dear writing friend, we brainstormed a further ‘misery twist’ … and even I flinched. Thankfully there’s a giddy, full blown romantic thread to wrap around this story before it’s delivered to YOU, my dear reader.

If you haven’t signed up for the Ink Dots newsletter, now is the time to get on that list. You will be among the first to receive news about upcoming book releases, the first to glimpse cover reveals, and in the month of February, anyone who subscribes to the Ink Dots newsletter is in the running to win an autographed copy of Carry Me Home.

You can do that by filling in the field at the bottom of any page on this website. There’s two books up for grabs this month!

Good luck, dear friends!