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.



Happy Summer Days

Happy New Year and welcome back to Ink Dots.

It’s been a crazy summer for me, with my book launch, (see Facebook author page for all the pics) beach trips to Phillip Island, a family Christmas at home, and a breathtaking stop in Fiji to soak up the sun and recharge my author batteries.

December and January have certainly delivered above and beyond anything I expected as a debut author. On December 18th I took receipt of the first print run of Carry Me Home and within 3 weeks, you wonderful people had bought Every. Single. Copy.

Pinch me, hard!

I did not anticipate I’d SELL OUT so soon and I’m still giddy to have shared the story with so many readers.

To those who bought those first print copies… I offer my heartfelt THANKS!!!

It’s because of loyal readers like you I could order the second print run and look into the face of 2016 with great anticipation.

I’ll be disappearing into my library to work on book two in the Blue Wren Shallows series this month. But before I do…I want to honour those who’ve taken the time to message me their reader feedback.

You really know how to bless an author in the early days of her writing career. I could not have wished or dared for more. But that’s exactly what you returned to me! Much more than my giddy heart could have imagined.

You might recognise the part you played in my delight in the following photos. Bless you for sending them to me and posting them on social media. If only every author had such faithful readers. You guys are the best.

Now, take your bow!

(And if I’ve missed your pic… message me and it will be my pleasure to add it ASAP)

***** For my Australian AND international readers… To celebrate the second print run of Carry Me Home, I’m offering all new mailing lists subscribers the chance to win one of two autographed copies. No matter where you live, this contest is open to you. Just sign up for the Ink Dots Newsletter in the month of February (scroll to the bottom of this page) and you could be that winner. Good luck!


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carry me home ~ pinterest board


For years I’ve collected reference materials to feed my addiction to all things yesteryear ~ thrift shops being the best hunting ground.

I’ve brought home the inspiration for many stories, still to be written, but the delicious details remain on my shelf for that day when I’ll spin that tale.

In recent times, I’ve added pictures to my collection of words.

Pictures which capture mood, flavour, anticipation, and, most importantly for a novel set in Australia, setting.

I keep these pictures on a Pinterest board, aptly named… Carry Me Home.

It’s my little stash of how I imagine this story might look.

You’ll see, Shadrach, Finella, Molly, and their home.

Parts of Phillip Island. Their farm and belongings.

The tokens which meant something to them.

This visual representation of my story came together after I’d written it. A helpful aid in the editing process when I wanted to sink deeper into my story.

Now it’s your turn.

Come see what I added to the Carry Me Home ~ Pinterest Board.

Which picture catches your eye?








Local History Checks ~ Carry Me Home



Details mean everything to the historical author.

It’s the life threads of another time which draw us and that’s what we want to share with our readers.

So it’s paramount this deliciousness is woven alongside the imagined in a way which keeps the reader believing.

Much of my historical inspiration has come from journals, old letters, newspaper archives, cookbooks, and historical records of island life in it’s infancy.

I thought I had the details sorted when I finished writing Carry Me Home. But I knew I couldn’t trust my information gathering alone.

So I reached out to the good people at the Phillip Island Historical Society. Two of their members agreed to read my manuscript for historical and local accuracy.

This was the first time I’d seen my story on paper. It had survived many rounds with critique partners and editors, but now it headed off, printed and all cosy in polka dot boxes, for those who cherished island history more than I ever could ~ the descendants of Phillip Island’s pioneers and early settlers.

I thoroughly enjoyed receiving their feedback. Who knew the marram grass I thought belonged on the island in 1874, had not been planted until 1910? I learned the better option was spinifex, and so I went with that. Cool word. Spinifex.

On all local matters, I deferred to the experts. Where there was a general issue with historical accuracy, I returned to my desk to research further.



While the use of mum might sound too modern for the 1870s, I found it commonly used as early as 1835, and the word pester appears in literature dating back to 1588. And did you know the phrase, if the shoe fits, wear it… dates back to 1705, and the very modern sounding, I guess, was used by Shakespeare and Charels Dickens?

Double checking to keep a word or phrase, or delete it, brings some satisfaction. I know I’ll never get it all right, but I won’t leave any questions marks unanswered, either. It must be in the nature of a history nerd. I need to know for myself if my word choices fit the time. Anachronisms bother me as a reader, so the writer in me works extra hard to make sure there are none to trouble my audience.

I’m so grateful I had the assistance of the Historical Society members on this manuscript. Their fresh eyes picked up typos and simple errors, too.

And when I collected my polka dot boxes, minus the chocolate reward I’d stuffed in there, I was ready for another round of edits and revisions. This time, armed with something solid. This was not just a love story, anymore. The historical scaffolding on which it draped had been checked by those who knew best. And I reclaimed my absolute favourite combination, the wonderful weight of history and romance… and took it home where I could polish it some more.

“We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiralling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.” Shirley Abbot