Archive for the ‘Cake decorating’ Category

I keep thinking I will commit to blogging and then I don’t blog. I have ideas and then poof my mojo goes out the window. All the things I’ve neglected have piled up so that tackling them seems way harder than it actually is. I haven’t sent a newsletter. I haven’t updated my book links. I haven’t written or published anything in ages. I feel like a proverbial slacker. And what is worse that I feel like if I just pretend then no one will notice and I’ll stop feeling guilty. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.

I have to turn my mind to the positives though. I have been working on the Phd. I have been doing craft and baking bread and existing in the world. I’ve been exercising and losing weight. The garden was looking good but the weeds are coming back with a vengeance. Sadly. I’ve also tried looking for a job. Why? you ask. Renovations! Yes, we want to make this place pretty. I just want a new kitchen but that entails new floors. But that saga will continue throughout this year.

I lost a writer friend to melanoma in January and that hurt. She was younger than me and so talented and lovely. I was amazed how she could reach out to me and offer support when my dad died, when she was facing horrible uncertainty. We even tried to meet up and have a hug when I was transiting through Brisbane but with her treatment and my flight and logistics we couldn’t do it. Now Aiki Flinthart is gone. But her work will live on. Huge condolences to her family. Buy her books!

My fascination for doomscrolling has been curtailed by some kind of normalcy in the chaos. Pandemic looms large. Vaccines are being rolled out. We won’t get them here in Canberra until later in the year I think. Then we have to see how long the protection from the shots last for. I feel I am less fearful than I was and that’s probably due to Australia’s stance on keeping the country locked down and its citizens safe. I cannot imagine what it is like in the UK or the USA with the disease rampant.

In lieu of hours on social media, reading the latest bad news, I have discovered Duolingo and even signed up for the paid version when they had a special around Christmas. I doubt I’ll get to speak these languages fluently but learning and revising keeps the brain functioning and creates new pathways I think. I have studied Japanese and Spanish at university but alas never spoke it and lost my skills. Now with Duolingo I can practice and revive them. I have also dabbled in Italian and so I’m doing that as well. French is something I’ve wanted to learn but never got far at all so I’m doing that too. Irish because why not. Although the Irish language is hard, I figure with my mostly Irish heritage my ancestors probably spoke it. It is a way to discover my roots. I am trying Chinese and that’s the hardest. There is no slow button! Anyway, I’m finding it hard to keep them all going. I was trying Maori but that’s getting hard with apps either too advanced or stopping too soon.

I mentioned that I have been working on the Phd and my supervisor and I hope I will submit around July. I have some feedback to get before then and address. I have a presentation at the end of the month and then one in May (pre-submission). Then I won’t know what to do with myself. Hopefully once the mental load lessens I will feel more creative on the writing front. I hope the Phd has not driven the creativity from me fully.

Anyway, I must get to those book links so I can send the newsletter and they don’t do themselves.

Here are some pics of my craft projects over the last few months. Note I did not make the animals on the cake!

And then there is

Read Full Post »

The best laid plans are meant to be tramped upon and splattered against the walls. I thought I was going so well and then I don’t know what happened. I fizzled. I lost confidence. Maybe I can blame the Hashimoto’s. I have energy which is great. I don’t have hypers but I have had a couple of crashes in mood and energy despite the meds. The meds are great though. I thought they worked well for energy but not the brain. My brain feels more calibrated though.

I’m off to write with some friends today for about a week. I thought I’d have more done but um I haven’t. I’m progressing things and will be on track before heading back to work. I’ve started some reading for the PhD, mostly Mills & Boon books with some retro which are so fabulous and interesting. Really I mean it. I met with the wonderful Doreen Watt who has an amazing collection way back to the beginning of Mills & Boon and she has a service where she helps people by supplying that ‘missing’ book as well as an amazing database. I’m just back ground reading at the moment to give me ideas on where to focus for the Feminism in Popular Romance research.

One of the reasons I’m at a confluence of indecision is probably the three projects I have on the go. The YA romance is in the final stages of revision, although I have some late feedback that has challenged me. I need to think on it. The Regency Romance is clear in my head and a chaos vortex on the page. I jumped a few chapters when I last drafted it and now I have no idea what is supposed to go there. And it’s messy as all hell. I dictated a lot of it and it’s full of wrong words (misheard by the software) and I’m not sure I want to play in that sandpit right now. That leaves the SF romance to complete drafting. It was my plan to work on this after finishing to draft the Regency, but um …I only read through the Regency draft and got some feedback on the opening. It should go in the too hard basket.

So for these writing things I like to have a project in mind so it should be the SF romance…I’ll settle on that then. Even though I haven’t read it through. I’ll just have to push on.

Meanwhile, I have the editor working on Argenterra and the edits are coming through. Egads! I’m going to try self-publishing this story has  been close in submissions and wasn’t taken up and after 13 years trying to sell it and reworking it over and over, I’m going to push it out there.

I have been working on a guitar cake. Photos later in the week! And I’ve picked up a discarded craft project, a granny triangle rug. I’ve done no housework and I’ve not prepared my study for the Phd.

Mmm maybe I’m not so slack after all. I did take the evening off to watch Jupiter Ascending though! Love it. I know people (particular friends) hate this movie but to a SF romance lover and a paranormal romance reader it’s a fab meld of everything.


PS. The other me, Dani Kristoff, is a finalist in the ARRA awards for Spiritbound.

PSS.I am very sad about the passing of David Bowie and Alan Rickman this week. I haven’t been able to even watch stuff about Bowie. He was an amazing artist and I’m just so shocked and saddened.


Read Full Post »

I’m so tired and I was caught up doing some stuff for Conflux 9, which zapped me.

However, I thought I would preview by blogging a picture of the UFO cake I made for the launch party.

I had the idea to make a space ship cake, one of my own design. However, time grew short and then I got the idea to use the tagine to make the cake. For those who don’t know what a tagine is, it is a Morrocan ceramic baking dish. Here is a picture of mine.




It seemed really cool but when I made the cake, the top of the tagine and the base did not fit into the oven and it was really hard to judge how much mixture but…

ufo cake 1 Here is how it turned out. The inside is lime green cake, with a lemon spread filling. It has a butter cream underlay and a fondant overlay. It looked a bit like a crayon when we started so we did a black wash and then etching. You can see my daughter here doing all these crazy alien language designs over it. If you look closely you can see the little green alien sticking his head out.

Here is a close up of the alien.

UFO alien close up

It was very fun to make, even though we were rushed. Because I was sick all week I had no prep time. We were doing this a few hours before the party.

My daughter Erana had the idea to use glo sticks to offset the cake.

UFO glo

So it added something to the kitsch SF party.

Here is a look at the inside.

ufo green cake


That’s enough about the cake. Tomorrow the launch party guff.

Read Full Post »

Last post I talked about how I hadn’t completed an outline but that I used key questions to work out aspects of the plot for this paranormal romance I’m working on. This seems to be working. I have revised the first part to add additional characters and I find that the questions give me greater clarity with the broader story and world-building, something that I had been a bit sloppy on. Perhaps I never took this story seriously before, even though I think it is a cool idea. Although I like reading paranormal novels, this is my first attempt at one. I have managed a couple of short stories, which were published. I find them an interesting flex of the writing muscles, a chance to dance in the moonlight and let my hair down.

I read the first Dark Brotherhood book, Dark Lover by JR Ward. It was a pretty cool book for a number of reasons. Nowhere near as hot as I expected, but I’m told the series gets hotter. I was a bit taken about by the glossary up front. However, I could see why Ward wanted to differentiate her vampires from the common tropes. She has an interesting world setting, which sets it apart. I thought her approach was clever too. I’m on the second Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson book, Blood Bound. I’m still trying to figure out how she does it. If there is romance then at this stage it is very low key, just a kind of attraction with a very slow build. With two potential lovers, I’m not sure who I’m backing at this stage. I think it is because Briggs’ world-building is so interesting and immersive and the story is also very pacy. I find this book unputdownable.

Speaking of flexing my writing muscles, I’ve had the first lecture in Writing for Young People yesterday. I’m scared witless. It is an intensive writing course so basically I have to produce product, a kiddie book, a poem based story etc every week. I’m excited by learning something new and exploring new things and I’m also anxious about it. I guess I want to be good at it. I didn’t realise that I had this competitive streak, that I really want to do things well, when I choose to do them. Perhaps that will rub off on my generally because I have been a lazy writer in the past, accepting what I had written without really seeing that I could improve it (not always but I had/have bad habits).

Along with work (I’m writing issues papers again), gym, cake decorating classes (actually I’d call it an expensive addiction), organising Conflux 9 (2013) Natcon with Nicole and life generally, I’m pretty full up. However, I find that being busy makes me productive. Somewhere I have to fit in making a Victorian costume in the next month.

Tomorrow, I explore yet another frontier by heading to the Australian Romance Writers Conference in the Gold Coast. The link to Diamonds are Forever is here. I’m quite excited about going. I don’t know much about the industry but I know I have a number of romance novels in me so yet again I’m flexing those writing muscles by exploring new territory.

Also, it is a bit of a holiday for me.  I’m staying an extra day to hang with Matthew in Brisbane. It is so much warmer there than here.
Below is a picture of my first cake. This one has butter cream. The next one will be covered in fondant.

My first cake decorating attempt. The green icing was lime flavoured.

Read Full Post »