Friday, December 20, 2013

Paint Nite!

A good friend of mine recently told me about paint nite, its an event where you go to (in our case Casey's Pub) have drinks, eat and paint. I knew I had to try it out because there was a brief time in my life were I did dabble in paintings. After being sent the link to Paint Nite's website I signed up for African Sunset. Ezra Edmond was our Artist for the night, he was a lot of fun and encouraged us to do our own interpretations of the painting.

This is painting was done by Ezra, however, the original one was done by Jessica Behm and she created this for Paint Nite. I took a photo of African Sunset so you could see what we were aiming for. Over at my table we were very competitive with our work which made it a very entertaining night.

We did very different things with our paintings:
 Grace decided to go with blues and instead of a sun she did the moon which she later called a spaceship because as you know a moon doesn't rise.

 Carol went with darker hues with her painting. 

And here I am looking very serious as I work. (I actually took this photo off of Paint Nite's Facebook page! I didn't realize they took this one of me or I would have smiled!)

This was such a fun and competitive night that we decided to return for Cherry Blossom night. 
Here's my painting of 'Cherry Blossoms' originally created by Kristina Elizabeth for Paint Nite. 

If you'd like some more info on Ezra you can take a look here: Ezra Edmond
this link is updated regularly with info on his paint nights.
Or if you'd like more info on Paint Nite Events
and of course you can take a look on their facebook page:
They do have paint nites in other areas so you might found one near you and if you do be daring and try it out. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty

I've always loved the story of Sleeping Beauty, there is a timelessness about it. Its a story that we are all familiar with as there have been countless interpretations of the tale. I've been a patron of the The Ahmanson Theatre and they always mail me magazines containing info on their upcoming productions and listed among them was Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty. Although this was not just any interpretation of the story this was done was beautifully done and told in a creative new way.

Its a Ballet of course, but its not only a ballet its a Gothic Romance with Vampires and Faries. I was lucky enough to watch this December 1st which was the last day it would be at the Ahmanson. I really wish I had seen it sooner because I knew that once I told my friends and family about this show they would want to see it.
Matthew Bourne, the man behind this incredible production was there and he stepped out onto the stage at the very beginning, before the curtains went up, and welcomed us and explained his version of the show and even shared that this show would be the last for many of the cast. Before the Ballet began we were treated with a local ballet troupe who performed, they were students who probably ranged between the ages of 12 and 16 and they were stunning.

This ballet was beautifully done and I would see it again because there is so much detail that you really should see it twice just so you don't miss anything. I also know several people who are jealous that they missed out on this and are waiting for it to come back.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

From the Outback

Title: From The Outback

Author: Ann B. Harrison

Publisher: Self Published

Formats Available In: Digital

Blurb: Although desperate to get out of her dead end job, Sami is cynical when she hears of an inheritance from the grandfather she never knew. But once she and her young brother arrive in the beautiful valley, she discovers they are not wanted...especially by the sexy vineyard owner next door. 

Will she persevere and make a home for them, or give in and take the easy money when the going gets tough?


A thump sounded on the bedroom door, jarring her from a deep sleep.

"Go away." Samantha Grace Rose Darling groaned into her pillow.

"Sami, phone."

"Tell them to fuck off and let me sleep." She threw a pillow at the door seconds before it eased open and her brother poked his head in the room. "Garth, I'm warning you, go away."

He sighed and she waited for the usual whine to follow. "There's an old guy on the phone. Said he wants to speak to you."

"Tell him I'm not here." She rolled over, brushed the hair from her face and then glared at him through half-closed eyes.

"I did but he insists on speaking to you. Said he wasn't going to go away until he does."
She groaned, pushed her blanket off with her hand and slowly slid out of bed. With languid grace Sami advanced on her brother intent on doing bodily harm to whoever it was who had the audacity to disturb her sleep. Holding out the phone, Garth waited for her to take it before he backed out of the room and quietly shut the door, leaving her alone.

"This better be bloody good. I pulled a double shift last night and I'm freaking tired."

Walking over to the window, she pushed aside the faded curtain and flinched when the bright Alice Springs sunlight filled her room, scorching her tired eyes. She promptly dropped the curtain into place wishing she'd left it alone. Sami rubbed her eyes and waited.

"Am I talking to Miss Samantha Grace Rose Darling?"

"Yeah." She dropped down to the edge of her bed, her fingers tracing a bruise on her leg from when she had bumped into a tray of glasses last night. I am such a klutz.

"Miss Darling, my name is Rupert Newland. I'm a solicitor with Newland, Newland and Cooper in Singleton, New South Wales."

She spat out a laugh before covering her mouth with the heel of her hand.

"I'm glad I amuse you. Now if you would be so kind as to contain yourself, I have news for you."

The voice on the other end of the phone was clipped and precise.

"I am acting on behalf of your grandfather's estate with regard to his final will and testament."

"I don't know who you're talking about. I don't have any family." Names ran through her mind but grandparents didn't come into the picture she had tucked away in her memory. "Nope. No grandparents I can lay claim to, sorry mate. You obviously have the wrong girl."

"Miss Darling, I have checked the facts and you are indeed the granddaughter of my late client. I need you to could come into the office for the reading of the will."

"Where did you say you were again?" Sami kicked through the pile of clothes on the bedroom floor and picked up the crumpled jeans from yesterday. She tucked the phone between her ear and shoulder to hold it firmly while she pulled her jeans on. One foot after the other she slid each leg into the jeans and yanked them up, wiggling her butt to pull them over her hips. Sami popped the button and did up the zip before she took the phone in her hand again.

"New South Wales, Hunter Valley. Singleton to be exact," he said.

"Mate, I don't know if you looked at the post code before you called me but I live in Alice Springs. In the middle of the frigging desert in the Northern Territory. I can't pop down the road and see you, understand?" She blew a stray curl from her face.

With one hand she opened her bedroom door and walked out to the lounge room. Garth tidied up his breakfast dishes and she smiled in his direction. He pointed to the coffee machine and Sami blew him a kiss.

"It will be worth your while to drive or fly down Miss Darling."

"I can't afford it, okay? It's not like I do double shifts at the pub because I enjoy the work. I need the money and there isn't enough at the end of the week for a happy little visit to your office. Tell me what you want to say and let me get on with my day now you've dragged me from my bed." She lifted a hand and rubbed at her eyes.

"Very well. You have inherited Buttercup Farm and it's contents. There is also a bank account with a small balance which I will disclose once you have formally proven your identity."

"Are you serious?"

Garth looked over at her, his shoulders raised in question. She shook her head and turned away.

"I did send you paperwork last week but I didn't receive a reply, hence the follow up phone call today." The solicitor’s bristling attitude irritated her.

A pile of unopened mail sat on the cluttered kitchen counter and Sami screwed up her face. Out of habit she threw the next day's mail on top of the pile, dreading the bills inside the envelopes. The longer she ignored it, the larger the pile grew.

"Sorry. I've um... been a bit busy and haven't got around to opening the mail for a few days."

"Well I suggest you do that. I need signatures to transfer the bank account into your name. It would be significantly easier if you were here in town. Since you are not, I would appreciate it if you could go to the nearest courthouse and have a Justice of the Peace witness your identity and your signature where I have indicated. It might be best if you  Express Post the papers back to me today. You have to decide what to do with the farm and the stock." There was silence for a few seconds. "If I might make a suggestion? There are interested parties if you should decide to sell the property. Would you like me to have it valued for you? I can arrange everything from this end if you would prefer."
"No, no. I need to think about this for a bit. I'll ring you back after I read your letter. Thanks for calling." Sami hung up and threw the phone onto the couch and dropped her head into her hands.

"What is it? Was the landlord after his rent again? Sami, tell me."

"No, Garth. It was a solicitor." A wobbly laugh rose in her throat. "It seems as though we had family after all, even though he's dead."

Purchase Links:

Traditional or Indie Publishing
When I subbed my first book it was the intention of getting a contract with a publisher. I wanted the validation of being good enough to grab the editors eye with my awesome story before I even thought of indie publishing.
I went on to publish four books with Breathless Press and two with their Young Adult house Lycaon Press before giving indie publishing much thought.
Why take so long, I hear you ask? Well, I had a lot to learn as a writer for a start. The industry is changing rapidly, something we all know. I had to find out where I wanted to sit and indie is now the place for me.
Let me explain why. I sell fairly well with my books. So well that I was approached by a large publisher and asked to write for them. As it turns out, they didn't like the book I was working on and I decided to self publish it. That book is selling hand over fist and I see my money every month, unlike most publishers who only pay quarterly. Was I thankful they turned me down? Hell yes!
The best thing about it all? I didn't have to wait for them to fit it into their schedule which can be as long as a year. You can make a lot of money in that amount of time.
It took me a couple of days to get the hang of self publishing but I did it. And I'm a techno dummy with things like formatting etc. Believe me, anyone can do it. I made my own cover, easy peasy and in no time, the book was live on Amazon. I also read the hype that they are cornering the market with the self publishing but let me tell you, I don't care. It works for me and I'm more than happy to stay with them.
I now have four books indie published and two more in the works. You could say I'm hooked on indie publishing now. 

FYI this is a great book to read if you are thinking along the same lines.
Ann's rural books can be found here
The book the publisher turned down is here

About Ann B. Harrison:

Ann swears she was born with a book in her hands and has never put it down. A lifelong love of reader has finally culminated in achieving her dream of writing...and publication.

She lives in the beautiful Hunter Valley with her own handsome hero of many years. Ann has always loved the ups and downs of life in small communities and she shares this with readers in her rural romances.

Strong sexy heroines with a good dash of sass thrown in feature in her stories. Of course these women need an equally strong hero. Bring on the outback hero and watch the passion ignite.

When not writing Ann enjoys reading, gardening, walking her very large dog Hugo and fighting with her computer.

Ann’s Social Media Links: