Friday, March 27, 2020

Two Free Books

I have a couple of books that are going for free on Amazon over the next few days, until the end of March, I think.

The link is HERE.

One of those books is The Return of Gabe Mcleod.
I mention this because my next published book will be the second book in this Frazier Bay series, The Heart of Matthew McLeod. Set in the fictional small South Island town of Frazier Bay, it involves a family history mystery element, two people, Matthew and Anna, bruised from their previous relationships, and many of the characters from Frazier Bay.
If you feel like some reading material, in these troubled and troubling times, then please follow that link to get them.
~ Joanne.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Lock down

Kia ora world,
Well, it's just over 24 hours until we go into a four-week Lockdown. I just heard on the news that 20% of the world's population is in lockdown.

Last night I got an exercise book and began writing daily posts, backdated from when it started to get real, this whole thing. The earliest reference I had to Covid-19 was noting the signs in the doctor's surgery when I went in on Monday March 9th to get my asthma prescription, which I did to make sure I had the inhalers if I succumbed to the virus. That was all. Preparation in the event of...
I started thinking about keeping a day-to-day detailed diary, not because I EVER ever ever thought we'd go into a lockdown, or that jobs would be lost, and the world tossed into disarray, and death tolls would rocket, but just because, why not.   

When it was announced here on Saturday 14th, that anyone coming into New Zealand, even from Australia, would have to go into a two week self isolation, it became serious. My brother was coming over for five days (next week, actually) so it all came closer to home,  and he cancelled his flight. Not the end of the world at all, at that stage. Just an inconvenience. The next day I went to visit my mother at her rest home and when they asked if I'd had any contact with anyone who'd been overseas and had gotten back in the past two weeks, I mentioned one of my workmates, so I couldn't see mum for a week. And I thought that was bad.

Now, we're on  the cusp of going into the lockdown, and I will be working from home. (I still have a job, phew!) I thought it might be sensible to have a non-laptop based project I can dabble at each day that doesn't involve making cakes or biscuits, and then eating them. I am thinking about fashioning something like this rustic-looking compost heap.  I saw it at an historic museum last year, and was quite taken with it, and think its very do-able; Scope the backyard tree for similar sized branches, cut them down, strip the leaves, and assemble it and see if it works out, and how long it takes until it ends up a mess of twigs on the ground because I am no builder/engineer.
I guess I'll see how it goes.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Dating Daisy and Charlotte's Wish are free

I currently have a few books for free for just a few days.
These are:
Charlotte's Wish, and Dating Daisy.
Head to my Amazon page for more info and for links to download.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Peaches and the cherry guava

It is Autumn, officially,  here in NZ, and there's plenty of heat although not a lot of rain. Much of the country is in drought, although rain is, yet again forecast this week. Here's hoping.
I don't have a big garden at all, but I do have a few trees.
My peach tree was a bit of a failure in its output. That's not new, but I found some small peaches today and here they are. They are the size of apricots but pretty nice to eat.

In more exciting news, though, there are heaps of green fruit on the red cherry guava tree and today I noticed they are starting to ripen. Yay!! Last year I made my first ever lot of cherry guava jelly and it was a massive success. This is  a tree that must have grown from a seed dropped by a bird (possibly my neighbours had a tree years ago and the seed came from there, who knows) but because the tree grew next to a huge camelia tree, I never knew it was growing until it became obvious there were two trees there, and one of them was not like the other. Then, a few years ago, it started fruiting and when I consulted a tree-loving friend on whether these red berry things were edible, he said they were. I got the camelia tree cut out a couple of years ago in favour of the cherry guava, and the first few years I just eat them off the tree when I went by.

But last year, there was a bumper crop and so I looked up recipes and made the guava jelly. This year its looking the same, so I will do it again. Good job I saved the jars.
The downside, like with any jam or jelly, I guess, is that they are loaded with sugar, but so yummy spread on toast, and pretty darned nice just to pull off and eat!

Friday, February 21, 2020

Retro fashion I would wear

This is pretty groovy. A dress from 1966.
 Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 34-S832D

A Poncho!! So Seventies. We had ones a bit like this.  I will might knit one. Or at least, have a go, one day!
 Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections FP08477

I'd wear the dress second from the right. It's a 1930s floral dress, neato length, too. And maybe the bathing suit next to it, if I ever went near water. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections FP3000-0088. 

I like the black dresses. But spare the hats. This from a fashion show in the sixties.
Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1269-W212-32

Thursday, February 13, 2020

A Desert Romance

Today is Valentine's Day and I was looking through some old images on line for something Valentine-ish when I found this. It is not actually Valentine's Day material at all, but it was very interesting. Winnie Comber and Irene Speller were actresses in Damascas when they were seen by a young Prince who became so infatuated with them, he asked Winnie to become the chief wife in his haram of 50!! She refused, he tried to kidnap the young women, and they then had to seek protection from the British Consul. This was reported in August 1927!! Fake news perhaps?  I don't know but an interesting story, none the less.

Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19270804-48-2 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

An adventure with Bobbie the cat

A cat story.
It began eighteen months or so ago (actually July 2018) when we became the proud parents of Billie and Bobbie, two female cats from the SPCA. Adorable tabbies, they were a "bonded pair" who may or may not have been related. It was quite sad because they had actually been adopted some months earlier but their new owners had returned them.
I have never heard of that before. Who would return such adorable kitties?
Well, we were the lucky ones. So we adopted them and we love them to bits.  I am not sure how much they love us back, but you take that chance, as cat owners.
About a year ago we became convinced Billie had a serious skin condition and so took her to the vet.
Geoff the vet pronounced her a bit on the chubby side, but that she didn't have a terminal skin condition. What she had were fleas which were aggravating her. It was mortifying to say the least. We are not newbie cat owners (she thinks defensively), but he pronounced Billie in excellent health. Although, he said, she could do with losing a wee bit of the flab.
A few months back, we noticed that Bobbie, the smaller of the two, had lost a bit of weight. In fact, I thought she was looking quite skinny; malnourished, even. We gave her  a flea treatment, and also a worm treatment, assuming this was the cause of this sudden malaise. Nothing really altered, so we began to monitor her eating, just in case big Billie was eating all her food.
But no. Bobbie was eating quite well. Yet she definitely had changed a bit in herself. She seemed to be a lot more unsettled, she'd leap in and out of windows, she was terribly energetic, but also slept very well, and while you would think this was nothing to worry about, I was worried. She seemed to miaow a lot more, too, although she didn't appear to be in pain or discomfort at all.
It was odd. But even more was that she was skinny. So skinny. In fact, she was positively starving-looking next to Billie.
A family member thought it sounded like she might be suffering from hyper-thyroidism, and when I was chatting to a cat-loving friend this week, they said Bobbie's symptoms sounded very much like it. They had a cat with it, and it's quite a serious condition.
Blimmin heck, I thought  and I rang up the vet and got an appointment for later on that afternoon,
I kept an eye on Bobbie in preparation for the  vet visit, and allowed plenty of time to capture her. And when it came time to get her... well. What a fiasco. She ran away. Then a bit later when I nearly got her, she slipped under the fence and couldn't be bribed out even with her favourite treats. She went up on to the garage roof, and would not come down. I got the fam to help (that is, the six foot three family member) but Bobbie was clearly suspicious of all this, and it was agreed. This was hopeless.
If I was a smoker, I'd have had one.
I rang up the vet and said, I'm not going to make it, and they said, we can fit her in in two hours time.
Praise be.
Relieved, I pottered around, but about an hour before we were due to leave, I was informed she had gone up the tree in the back yard.
No worries. I gritted my teeth. It's all good. I had time.
I paced the kitchen, looking out the window. Bobbie was clearly not coming down from that tree, She was high, high up in those branches. Escaping capture. Maybe even planning to live up there.
This was a nightmare.
Time passed, the pacing increased. There was much swearing and panic.
If I was a smoker, I'd have smoked the packet.
But there was still time. I had the keys in the car ready to go. All I needed was Bobbie.
And then,  finally, she came inside, because it was getting close to tea time. I grabbed her, locked her up in the carry case, and off we went.
I got to the vet in good time. All the other people in the waiting room were patting their cats, and talking soothing words to them.  I didn't bother because Bobbie hated me and no amount of "good kitty" was going to change that although, in hindsight, I may have looked like an actual caring cat owner if I had been all loving towards her, but I can't be bothered faking such things. So I read magazines while she tried to escape from her carry case.
Soon, her name was called, we went into the consultation room, and I told him (that would be the lovely Geoff) why I was there. Bobbie had lost weight, had been acting strangely, and I had diagnosed her as having an over active thyroid.
He laughed (politely). She would be a medical outlier, he said, because that is reserved for older cats.
I felt a bit of a twit, again, but was pretty happy it wasn't the dreaded condition,  but was still  concerned as to what it was and what he was going to find. The vet weighed her, he checked her out.
Her weight, he said, was nothing to worry about. In fact she was a really good weight, and the perfect weight for her frame. She had some fat on her, actually,  but she was just a lean machine.
Bobbie, you beauty, I thought.
Then he asked a few questions about her and he came up with a possible explanation for her strange behaviour and her weight loss. He determined that it could be she was acting a bit oddly because she was defending her territory against other cats.
Indeed, I told him, with excitement, in the past year there have been a couple of cats around which weren't there before.  We have chickens, too, so these interloper cats tend to like to observe our chooks.
Many's the time I've run outside and chased off a cat who is eyeing up our birds.
This was all coming together as a plausible explanation.
I told him that she had in fact, just that afternoon, gone up the tree. Clearly to do a reconnoitre of the hood, I thought to myself. Not escaping from me at all.
Two and two was making four and as I gazed at non-hyperthyroid Bobbie, I knew I was looking at a (lean) warrior princess.
But that wasn't all.
Geoff got out a comb, ran it over her a few times and he said, "And she's got fleas."
FLEAS?? I just wanted to faint dead away.
I had a noticed a flea or two, I admitted, but not on her or Billie. For a start, they'd had treatments less than a month ago, and I had flea combed Bobbie a few times that week and found nothing.
Clearly my technique was rubbish because she had fleas, and Geoff the vet had the evidence.
Talk about feeling an incompetent cat owner.
YET AGAIN, oh my golly gosh, I had taken a cat, with a diagnosed-by-Joanne condition, to the vet, only to be told they were in good shape and by the way, they had fleas.
But what great news. Our Bobbie is not sick.
Oh, no.
What she is, is the defender of her universe, bounding around and using energy and building muscle as she preserves her territory, defends it against those neighbouring intruders.
What a cat!

Saturday, February 1, 2020


Until February 5th, two books are currently free on Amazon.
They are Marrying Melinda and Blue Creek Bachelor.

These are stand alone books: that is, they are not part of a series, so please grab them.

Head to my AMAZON author page for the links, and if you enjoy them, please do leave a review,

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Mini Golf Och Aye

Summer holidays means... mini golf!  Actually, any holiday means Mini Golf, if its not too ridiculously expensive. Not that I play it a lot, and I didn't really play it regularly, eg on holidays, until some years ago when we went along to a cute mini golf course in Feilding, in the Manawatu, and it became a regular thing we did when we were in that great part of the country.
I was in the South Island recently and happened along to the Riccarton Park Golf Complex in Christchurch. It has big golf too, if that be your thing, but it is not my thing, at this stage in life. 
So MacDuffs is an 18 Hole Mini Golf that has a really cute Scottish theme, including a castle, a Loch Ness Monster, and the sound of bagpipes along the way. I liked it a lot and next time I'm down that way, will pay another visit and try and beat my appalling score.
 Plus we got a free Chuppachup at the end. Can't think what it was for, now, but... yay!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Happy Anniversary Day Auckland

Today is Auckland Anniversary Day.
On to that in a minute....
I still hope to have Bringing Back Emily up by the end of January. That is ... in a few days time.
I have gone back over Jack and Sage to fix up a few issues with those stories and to double check consistencies.

Also I am removing my books from wide distribution (ie Apple, Kobo etc) to focus on Amazon and having them enrolled in the reading programme.
It has been a bit of a decision to make but I will trial it again and see what happens.
If it doesn't prove a good decision, I will go back to wide again. That is the joy of indie publishing; nothing is set in concrete and you can play around and find your market.
So FINALLY I will have my first trio of books in the same series, the City of Sails series.
Interestingly, (I think that's a word), today is the anniversary day for Auckland, aka the City of Sails. 180 years old apparently.
The weather is hot and fine, and last night there were spectacular fireworks in the city.
Not that I went, being a non-fan of such events which involve crowds of people and jostling and crowds of people and parking/traffic dramas, and crowds of people (did I mention crowds of people?) and  all that stuff that one, ie me, tends to avoid.
No. I stayed home with the fam which was nice. I watched some telly, read a bit, washed a dish or two, and I made some mega-fattening, uber-wonderful afghan biscuits which have all gone.
A pretty good evening.

Two Free Books

I have a couple of books that are going for free on Amazon over the next few days, until the end of March, I think. The link is HERE . ...