1, 2, skip a few… 99, 100!

Did you ever do that when you played hidey as a kid?

Your turn to count to 100?

OK.

1, 2, skip a few… 99, 100. Coming ready or not.

Hide and seek

That’s what life has felt like recently. Big change. Coming, ready or not.

It’s been an eventful and tumultuous last few months. That’s my line and I’m holding to it. Though sometimes holding the line feels like I’m holding a handful of balloons…

Handful of balloons

…and sometime a bucket full of stones.

Bucketful of stones

Coming out this side, albeit slowly, I’m determined to be grateful for the all the tiny and colossal reminders to live my life to the max. My best life, with time for family, friends, fun, writing and wellbeing.

If not now, when?

My beautiful sister Mary, who I mentioned in my last blog, passed away in January. Back in September, I’d written that we’d enjoyed a few hours chatting and swapping stories on a warm afternoon. She was the best storyteller in the family, her gift inherited from Mum but honed by years of yarns with friends and relations, and decades of spinning stories to kids of her own and with her kindergarten teaching. She took on being the family glue when Mum passed and was truly loved by all. The photo is of the three sisters Mary, myself and Imelda.

Mary, Veronica & Imelda

My brother Mark described it well – we all have a Mary sized hole in our life. It’s going to be a hard one to fill, though we have so many beautiful memories.

I thought I’d manage my grief better than I have – it has been such a familiar friend to me after all. But I haven’t been this intimate with grief for a while. And ‘manage my grief’, who does that. Did I learn nothing. Ah yes, now I remember. It is what it is. All in our own good way and our own good time.

I miss Mary dearly. And never more so than when I have something to celebrate. I finally got Ochre Dragon, The Opal Dreaming Chronicles  Book 1, over the line and it was published on 5th February 2019.

Mary admitted to me that she bought 14 copies of my first book – Breathing While Drowning – because she wanted me to be excited and not disappointed if I didn’t sell any. Such sisterly faith in my writing!

Even though she wasn’t around to buy a copy, plenty of family, friends and strangers were. Ochre Dragon made it to Amazon #1 Bestseller, and I’m grateful to every person who bought a copy, told a friend, shared on social media, and sent me good wishes. I am so blessed.

Ochre Dragon - in hand

I’m also very glad I shared so many moments with Mary over the past few months – and years.

Is it time for you to stop and share a moment with someone close to you?

Just in case you’re wondering about Book 2 of The Opal Dreaming Chronicles (Huon Staff) – it’s still a few months away. Though I’m beginning to feel the weight of responsibility to get it out so readers will know what happens next.

And in the meantime, I’ve had a short story accepted into one of the first fantasy anthologies to support gender equality. This is likely to be out before Huon Staff (TODC Book 2).

Dark Dominions will be published on a Kickstarter campaign if we can generate the funds. So if you’d like to contribute a dollar or two, follow the link HERE. As my regular readers and friends know, women’s empowerment is important to me. This is an opportunity to ensure equal book time, equal pay. And if you look really closely on the back cover, V.E. Patton is the last author mentioned.

So yeah, I’m feeling grateful. How about you?

Thanks for reading.

Veronica

If you’d like some sneak peaks at my next book, sign up to my Book Friends list in the website footer to get my irregular newsletter.

Time for fun! And that means what exactly?

You should have more fun!

What on earth does that mean? Fun according to who?

Can you see where this is going?

The sound of ‘should’ tends to bring my shoulders up to my ears. I figure I’m getting a little long in the tooth to be told what I should and shouldn’t do. So when someone (especially me) tells me I ‘should’ do something, it’s a flag to stop, reflect and reconsider. Who says I should do it? Why?

I ‘should’ still be in bed. It’s a public holiday here in Melbourne (for the footy Grand Final tomorrow) and many Victorians are having a sleep in. Not me. The stories in my head stop me going back to sleep. Echoes of peculiar dreams to accompany the soft breathing of Strack lying beside me.

Then there’s the father-son combo of roosters in the back yard competing to welcome the dawn with their raucous chorus, the complementary warble of magpies, and the harsh craawk of ravens. Following that up with one offspring showering, breakfasting, and heading out the door to his early morning shift in the city.

And those damn stories – yep still there.

Some of them are fiction and some not. These days the see-saw has tilted more towards fiction, though I still have my days when I replay those bad moments over and over and over – re-telling that same poor tale. Why do we do that? We wouldn’t pay money to go back and watch a bad movie, so why would we replay one in our head – especially one where the protagonist (us) comes out feeling so bad.

Time to re-write that scene. Which is where I was going with the ‘you should have more fun’.

Time for fun is on the dreamboard over my desk.

Problem is, I discovered that a few years ago that, apart from reading, I didn’t have any hobbies, so fun was more a concept than a reality. I’d spent a lifetime working for others and then I started my own business and spent way too many hours working for myself. Now that mightn’t be so bad, but it was a sad indictment of my ability to have fun.

I needed some time to think about what I define as fun. Was it adrenaline junkie physical feats of madness?

Leaping for fun

Nope.

Was it more classical, passive pastimes like concerts and live theatre?

Nope.

And the list went on. I’m not a painter or a crafter, though I’ve done lots of things over the years — but none really struck me as a fun now, as something I wanted to do again, and again.

I could think of lots of things that weren’t my idea of fun but not so many things that were. Now I’m getting better and I’ve found a few things.

Yesterday was a beautiful reminder of exactly the kind of fun I like.

Conversations. I spent a couple of  hours swapping stories with my sister. Both of us on our banana lounge, enjoying a warm spring afternoon, just chatting about life, the universe and everything – and there wasn’t even any wine – or whining for that matter.

Just memories, dreams, laughter. I am so very grateful to have her in my life.

That’s my idea of fun. What’s yours?

And if you’re wondering about the next book – it’s close – really close.

Thanks for reading.
And if you’d rather listen to me read the blog, head over to SoundCloud HERE

Veronica

If you’d like some sneak peaks at my next book, sign up to my Book Friends list in the website footer to get my irregular newsletter.

Are you a gongoozler in your life?

Valerie Khoo and Alison Tait (from the podcast “So you want to be a Writer”) issued a word of the week challenge the other day. Use “gongoozler” in a blog post somewhere.

So how does gongoozler fit into a blog on living a conscious, joyful life? Tips on life, loss and my literary dreams. It fits very easily. Gongoozler means an idle spectator. And if you know me, or have read any of my blogs, you know that I consciously gave up being a gongoozler a few years ago. I decided enough is enough, time to learn to feel and heal, no more letting someone else drive, or working myself to death for someone else’s dream. I made a choice to change, to be a fully committed participant in my own life, and to follow my own dreams of writing. Continue reading

What’s your bold potential?

When I read the campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day I thought, brilliant! Be bold for change – be bold for change and take action – take action for gender parity – forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world.

Why do we still need this, haven’t we achieved gender equality? That’s a big no! At the rate we are going, the gender equity gap won’t close entirely until 2186 – another 169 years.

Progress is still too slow for realising the full potential of one half of humanity within our lifetimes.

Continue reading

Breathe in deeply, breathe out, repeat.…

So, I’m a published author, I made that dream a reality. What else is possible?

Breathe in deeply, breathe out.

If I can write and publish a book after dreaming about it for decades, then I believe anyone can. If I can survive sharing with the world the deepest hurt of my life and how I found my way home—what else is possible?

That’s what I kept asking myself just before I fell into a big emotional puddle the other day. Up to my neck drowning; again. Tears close to the surface, fear and anxiety rising, the joy disappearing under a tidal wave of overwhelm.

Breathe in deeply, breathe out.

Continue reading