Working Away from Home

I’m writing this in Auckland, in a swanky AirBnB just above Eden Park! And none of us want to go to work tomorrow! Let me explain. I work for a company that does the garden’s for rest homes. During the Cyclone in February, one of the rest homes in Auckland was severely damaged. The boss asked our team if we would come up and assist with the clean up. And here we are. I am “flatting” with two of my workmates, for a couple of days. Talk about teambuilding. We’re only here for a couple of days, but none of us want to leave.

And I am writing too, I only have a few more chapters to do and I will be finished with Finding Sam’s Family. I find that really exciting because I love writing the happy ending. And Finding Sam’s Family has a happy ending on so many levels, an improved relationship with her husband, and actually finding the other half of her family.

So, I will continue to write while in Auckland and keep you updated with progress. And next week I’ll have some photos of our digs.

Kia kaha

Downwards Slide to June

Where has May gone?! And I still have about 13k words to go in Finding Sam’s Family! Progress has been good and steady, and I know that there are still ten days left to write (I’m writing this up on Sunday Evening), but ten days doesn’t seem like enough! It will be, it has to be. And of course, I’m heading up to Auckland at the end of this month (next Sunday in fact), to work up there for two and a half days.

With apple packing over, its meant that I have been able to get more writing done in the evenings, as well as writing in the mornings before work, so I’ve been hitting at least 1k per day, which has been really awesome. But I also had an Organic’s assignment that was due, so it’s been a toss-up between writing longer or assignment. The assignment won out. But its been submitted, so that’s something. One more assignment to do, and its mostly practical, like taking photos of my gardens, and seedlings and everything I’ve been doing, so I think I’m ahead on that one.

And I’ve been card making. I’m working on a project to make packs of cards that have sentiments that you are able to put on yourself to personalise the cards. I’m hoping to sell these packs of five cards for about $10 each, so keep an eye on things, I’ll keep you updated.

And its the weekend again, so I got out into my garden again. Sadly I had to cut back a lot of my dahlia’s as they were past their best, but I have noticed a lot of my jonquils and daffodils are popping up, so that’s the next thing to look forward to.

Lemon tree had a birthday, still some pruning to do once the fruit matures.
The front of the house to the left, which is my Dahlia garden. To the far right, my succulent garden.
Spiced Coffee, one of my favourite roses

Well people I could be updating my blog from Auckland next weekend, please forgive me if I don’t.

Kia kaha everyone

Sense and Sensitivity

Hello! I’m back! I’ve been writing, working, making cards, gardening, sleep, eat, rinse repeat. Some days feel like groundhog day, especially when it was raining, because there was no work, and I would go back to bed and fall asleep for another hour or two.

But Wednesday, we managed to find some fine weather and ended up back at work, which has meant that I have actually been sleeping through the night again. Its amazing how doing nothing makes you tired, but wide awake in the middle of the night!

Thursday, we got to work to find snow very low on the hills around us. This photo below is taken from work, looking towards Mt Campbell which is the one with snow on it. It has to be very cold for it to get on Mt Campbell.

Snow on Mount Campbell and surrounding hills.

So, I’ve also been writing and now nearly 2/3rd of the way through Finding Sam’s family. Loving where the story is going. I did do some planning, but a couple of characters have shown up, unexpectedly, one is Lewis, who is a friend of Cherie’s, its actually one of her workmates, but he’s become her best friend. They aren’t going out together, but they aren’t stopping people from making assumptions either. It suits them for others to think they are. I can’t wait to introduce you to Sam, Tom, Cherie and Lewis, and of course James. I’m getting close to the final part of the story, which is rather exciting. I have 17 days in which to finish the story.

And this weekend, after so many wet weekends, I have finally got into my gardens and given things a tidy up. Its nice to remove some plants, and plant some new ones. I have a plan over the winter to revamp my garden, so watch this space.

My soon to be cottage garden

Anyway, thanks to everyone for liking my facebook page updates, it’s really encouraging to know that you guys are actually getting the posts.

Hope you all have a great week.

Kia kaha

Week three Camp NaNo

Ok, so I’m sick. I knew it would happen from pushing so hard, but I’m surprised at how long it took. I’m not dying sick, just a sore throat, and a scratchy chest, which normally means that I have a cold, which has gone into my chest. Cold’s don’t usually floor me, but anything to do with my chest does, so I have to be extra careful this week to ensure that I get the rest I need.

I haven’t been packing as much this week, because it has been a wet week, which means that less apples are being picked, so less need to be packed. Hopefully we are back into it this week. I miss the money when it’s not coming in. Might have to find a second job to bring in the extra cash once packing has finished. I’m just not sure what. I’m too old for bar work, and only one service station is open all night…

Anyway, you’re not here to check out my health, you’re here to check up on my writing. Which has gone incredibly well this week, with 6337 words written. According to the NaNoWriMo website I should hit my target of 25k by Tuesday. I am considering stretching it to 30k, but then I’m worried that if I miss it, I’ll lose motivation.

I’ve enjoyed writing the story, the letters from James, and then the diaries, which my main character, Sam is now wading through. 25k is approximately the middle of the book, so I need to make sure that I can keep the rest of the story going. I sometime feel like I’m going around in circles explaining things.

One of the reasons for posting to my Catherine Mede facebook page is that when it comes to editing, I can show people what the revised version will look like, and I have quite a following. Thank you to those who have liked my posts, it encourages me to keep going.

Alright, so I’m entering the last week of Camp Nano, here’s hoping I can make a strong finish.

Kia kaha everyone.

Camp Nano, Week 2

Another successful week at Camp Nano, and I would like to thank all those who have been liking my posts on my Catherine Mede facebook page. At least I know I’m reaching some people.

I’ve really enjoyed working on the story this week, and it has been coming together nicely. The story has been flowing, and I hope to have more than 25k written by the end of the month.

Yesterday (Saturday), my partner, Mr H and I went to Wineheim to catch up with my Mum. She had some gardening jobs for me to do, and Mr H fixed her garage door so that it was more secure. Mum moved to Wineheim about 14 months ago, and the transformation in her garden is amazing. I came home with a sack full of Dahlia tubers, so if anyone wants any, just let me know.

I also caught up with my Dad and StepMum in Ferrytown. They are working through the process of downsizing, and I ended up with some golf clubs and a trolley, plus a couple of other items that can stay put at their place for now. They are moving into a lifestyle village (not retirement home!) and they need to get rid of things. Their place isn’t big anyway, but Dad has a lot of tools etc. I ask for what I want… but I have no idea what I want!

Anyway, plans to keep ticking along with the story this week, packing in the evenings, working during the day, only a few more weeks and I will have my evenings to myself again.

Anyway, until next time

Kia kaha

Mayhem and Bedlam

This week is going to be crazy for me, because I have taken on a job packing apples three nights a week. It’s for 4 hours a night. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but in the scheme of things, it will add up at the end of 10 weeks.

I also have my stretch (yoga) class and pole class to attend (on alternating nights to the pack shed work), plus organising tea for the nights that I work, because I start at 5pm.

I also have a day job, gardening at rest homes around the local district, and it’s going to make things very interesting with getting home on time to have a shower, get dressed, have dinner and then go to work.

On top of all of that, I have writing / editing to do, and an Organics course to work my way through.

Some people think I’m mad for taking on the extra work, especially since I still get ultra tired and occasionally need afternoon naps, but I’m looking at the bigger picture, and that is the money that I will earn through the packing, is going to be used for something specific – I want to get my teeth fixed. My front teeth don’t look very nice, and I’m very conscious of it when smiling at people, so I’m hoping that I can use this money to get the smile fixed, and then I can feel more confident and grin more, and perhaps get some updated author pics done.

I have been working my way through edits, and also looking at programs that can help me make book covers, because I am just crap at that sort of thing. I have managed to find some pictures, I just hope that they work out.

I’ve also re-uploaded Finding Amy Archer, because Amazon kept telling me that there was an issue with it, so I’m that I’ve managed to fix it. I’ve also been going through an increasing the prices of my ebooks to $2.99, except for Running Away, which is the book of the month in my newsletter.

Hopefully I survive this week, because it is the start of a long journey, but one that I am keen to get underway, and then I can smile about it at the end.

Progress

It’s Sunday evening, it’s been raining today, the first time in a while that we’ve had rain during the day. Fortunately, we got out in the garden yesterday and mowed lawns and planted plants. So today was a day for doing things I love doing. Instead I ended up having a nap.

But then when I got up, I thought I should get some more done on my Organics Gardening course through the Open Polytechnic. And now, I’ve been doing some editing on Compromising Positions, my romantic comedy.

I’m not quite half way through, I’m at Chapter 15 out of about 41, but I’m over a third of the way through. And getting back into a routine of editing / writing in the mornings again. It feels good to get back into the swing of things. All things going well, I hope to start writing my next story in April.

But here is an excerpt of what I’ve been working on. Hope you enjoy it.

Ten days later, most of my gear had been moved, except for the bed and the lazyboy. They had been too heavy and cumbersome for me to move on my own. I’d asked Kirsty for help, and was expecting her to arrive any minute.
“Hello, Jo?”
A sexy voice rumbled. My heart wanted to melt. I turned around to find…
Logan.
I looked him straight in the eye, and felt a giddy sensation overtake me and my knees went weak. I had to brace myself on the chair to stop from stumbling. We held eye contact for longer than we should have with an awkward silence. He stood in my doorway, a tight grey t-shirt showing off all of his muscle definition, his thumb hooked through the belt loop of his blue jeans, the other hand removing dark glasses his face. Silhoutted in the doorway he looked like a contemporary romance hero. I shook my head to gather my senses. He wasn’t who I was expecting to show up on my doorstep.
“Oh, Hi, how are you?” I tried not to show the surprise in my voice, but I don’t think I did very well.
“Were you expecting someone else?”
“No, yes.” I paused, swallowed and straightened myself up. “Kirsty actually.” I scratched my head and fidgeted, hoping he wasn’t watching me blush. There was a cute smile on his lips, his hazel eyes shone. I hadn’t noticed his eyes before. I guess I was too busy telling him to butt out.
“Kirsty asked me to help.”
My mouth opened wide, and closed again. “Okay, thank you.” I turned away from him, then turned back. I became hyper aware of him as his frame filled my only exit from the room.
“You don’t mind me moving in with your father? I mean, we aren’t a couple or anything.”
He smiled, and scratched his head and blushed. “I know, I talked to Dad, he said that you were only friends.”
“Did you think…” I did something vague with my hands, like a coupling. The red on his cheeks darkened, and he ducked his head down. He pulled at his lips with one hand.
“Ah, yeah.”
I wanted to laugh, but I couldn’t. His discomfit was actually quite endearing. I smiled at him. I stepped forward and held out my hand. “I’m Joanne Leicester. I went to school with Kirsty.”
He nodded and reached out to grip mine. It was warm and firm and my knees went wobbly again.
“Yeah, I vaguely remember you.” He said. It was my turn to flush and I felt the heat rising up from my neck. I looked away and indicated the bed and the lazyboy.
“They’re the only two items that need to go.” I said.
“Okay, are they ready to go.”
“Yeah,” I said as he stepped past me and looked into my bedroom. He looked at the stripped back bed, the clean walls, windows, floors. There was nothing in the room except for the bed and base, which I had propped up against the wall in order to vacuum the room.
“I got Kirsty’s truck, so we can put those in the back. He indicated with his thumb over his shoulder.
I looked outside at the Utility truck. It had a big deck, we could probably get the bed and the lazy boy on.
“What’s first?” He asked.
“The bed?” I suggested. We went into the small space and his scent filled the room, a masculine essence with a hint of leather and spice. I tried to quietly inhale it and commit it to memory, because I really liked it. We maneuvered the mattress out the doors and onto the ute. The base of the bed was next and they slotted in nicely together. The lazyboy was cumbersome, and awkward to carry, and I started to get the giggles.
“What’s wrong?” Logan asked.
“Nothing,” I replied as we tipped the chair sideways to get it to fit through the doorway. Logan stepped backwards, off the step and landed in amongst the bushes, the chair landing on top of him. My giggles gave way to full on laughter.
“Hey, its not funny, get this bloody heavy thing off me.”
I honestly struggled. I couldn’t lift it off him because he looked so funny, his head framed by soft white blooms of the gypsophla, giving him a haloed look. The more he thrashed about, the more the tiny flowers lodged in his hair. By the time he got out, he smelt of herbs and surrounded by white blossoms.
“Okay, giggly gert, you can stop now.” He said as he brushed himself down. A smile pulled at the corner of his lips as he spoke. He shook his head and a shower of white cascading from him. We lifted the chair out of the garden and put it onto the truck, where Logan tied everything down.
“I’ll meet you at your Dad’s.”
“Come with me, saves taking two cars.”
“I have to come back and clean.” I said.
“I can drop you back.” He said. I nodded and got into the truck.

The Ever Evolving Story

I am a plotter, I like to have an outline of the story before I proceed. I have tried to ‘pants it’, but I seem to lose steam fairly quickly because…well, I have no idea where the story is going to go.

In saying that, I am also flexible enough that when I’m writing the story, new ideas can develop and be fitted into the story.

Case in point, Compromising Positions. Originally this story was about a relationship between a gardener and a cantankerous old man that she gardens for, with a side story of a romance with the estranged son. This initially had the working title of The Gardener. However, upon reviewing what I had already written, and further ideas, I decided to focus more on the romance, and have the friendship with the older gentleman as a subplot. Then came the idea of having the two main characters catching each other in compromising positions, hence adding to the conflict within the budding relationship.

Then, I started adding back story to the characters, and the cantankerous old man was an ex prime minister, and being seen with a young lady sent gossip magazines into overdrive. So I wondered how this could impact the plot and subplot.

The latest evolution of the story involves a personal attack against one of the main characters, which adds a whole other depth to the story.

Its funny how stories sometimes take on lives of their own. What seemed like a good idea at one stage suddenly isn’t so shiny and good, and becomes lacklustre and ‘meh’, and often, I find, that my stories really need some flexibility when I’m writing them to allow more punch.

And I find that conflict is a good way to add punch, so I often look for ways that I can throw more at my characters, to see how they react. The more I put them through, the more they grow as people within my pages, and the more real they become to the reader.

When we write the stories of our lives, it evolves in ways we don’t expect. I didn’t expect to get to be in my 40’s and twice divorced with one child. I expected to be happily married with two or three children. How different that life would be from the one I live now. But I am happy with my life, I have a partner I adore, a son that is my world, a wonderful place to live, I work full time in a job I love (writing it a side hustle for me), and I can afford food for my table. I have faced hurdles, and I got over them and moved on. My life has evolved, and the conflict that has been thrown at me over the years, has provided me with a chance to mature, develop character, and become (according to me and my friends and loved ones) a better person.

I challenge you today, to look at your life, and see how it has evolved, and how it has made you the person you are today. The choices that you made have given you character and created the path for your life as it is today. Are you unhappy with your life? You can choose to change your path. Its your choice to evolve your life.

Have a great week

Catherine x