About Me

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Queensland, Australia
I'm an Australian author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Action/Adventure, and Historical fiction. I live in Queensland, Australia. www.noelleclark.net

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Five days until my first NaNoWriMo

I am excited and a little nervous. I am as prepared as I can be for my marathon 50,000 word write-fest which is what NaNoWriMo is – the National Novel Writing Month. This is an international competition with no prize except a sense of achievement and a book that has been fast-tracked by an enforced (self-imposed of course) period of intense writing.

My work in progress is my first book called ‘the Stone of Heaven and Earth’. I have done a lot of research and have planned to the enth degree. My outline will hopefully keep me powering on through 30 days and 30 nights of NaNoWriMo.

I have lots of ‘buddies’ to help me through this adventure, both local buddies who will join me for joint writing sessions, and virtual, most of whom I have met through Twitter.

Here is a list of what I have done to prepare for my NaNoWriMo journey:

• Told my large household (including 7 month old and 4 year old) that I am UNAVAILABLE during the month of November

• Booked no social activities in that month

• Organised to have two days off work to give me two extra full days of writing

• Worked hard on a fairly detailed outline

• Done as much research as I think I will need

• ‘Buddied up’ for support

• Prepared my writing space – my desk space, room, comfort

• Bought lots of lollies and other little treats

• Worked out a daily timetable to give me extra writing time by getting up earlier, streamlining my daily chores, working out how I can use train commuting time to write, and removing any barriers that I can use as an excuse NOT to write.

So, now as the clock ticks down, I am keen to get going. Follow my first Wrimo journey here on my blog. If you are a NaNoWriMo-er, please buddy up with me under the name ‘Karob’, and I will do the same. Leave a comment here and an email address and I will get back to you.

Bye and see you all on 1st November!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wine not!

Some fun wine drinking signs I found in the Margaret River wine district, Western Australia

These are some South Australian vinaigrette salad dressings.  The best is the blood orange chardonnay one.

Capel Vale winery, Margaret River, WA

Look what I found!

A map of Shanghai in 1912! Awesome!

I also found a fantastic website to help me with my research for NaNoWriMo and it is http://www.onwar.com/aced/nation/cat/china/

This website listed all the wars and conflicts in China in the period I am writing about. Nice and simple, easy to understand, unbiased. Just factual... on this date, this person did this to this other person. Nice.

My NaNoWriMo journey is moving forward but am anxious to start writing. But once 1st November comes, I know I won't have the luxury of time to do all this research.

Anyway, back to it eh?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vale Sara Douglass 1957 - 2011

It has taken me a couple of weeks to finally mention the death of best selling Australian author, Sara Douglass, in my blog. I have been busy reading other people's blogs, people who knew her longer and a lot better than me, people who have read every book that the prolific author published.

But I came to know Sara Douglass through my son who has been an avid fan for a long time. For years he begged me to read the trilogy, Troy Games, and for years I resisted. Eventually I tackled the page heavy first book and found that I actually DID love historical fantasy, that Greek mythology was exciting, interesting, fun and I found that I could not put the book down.

However, it was on Sara Douglass's (real name Sara Warneke) blog called Non Such Kitchen Gardens that I found the Sara that I knew. She lived in a stone cottage in Hobart, Tasmania. She had totally renovated the cottage to make it beautiful; she had simply the best kitchen garden growing in a climate that is so foreign to my sunny little vege patch in Brisbane has; she had two cats, and she was a solo pilot in life, much like me. Her wit, sometimes sharp, her humour, and her wonderful weaving of words, endeared her to me, no matter that I had never read one of her books until only a year or so ago.

I am putting a link here to Sara's most poignant piece of writing ever so that others who may unfortunately find themselves in the same predicament that Sara found herself, can be comforted. It is called 'The Silence of Dying'. Please take the time to read it. http://nonsuchkitchengardens.com/wordpress/?p=606

Goodbye Sara Douglass. Thanks for the books that will live on as classics. Thanks also for your blog called NonSuch. I loved it and will miss it.

http://warneke.id.au/wp/?p=6188 a nice eulogy from Sara's brother

Our Nation's Capital - Canberra

I am champing at the bit, waiting for 1st November until NaNoWriMo starts. I have been plotting, preparing, researching and dreaming. I just can’t wait to start. And guess what my darling daughter and her husband did for me! Take a look at this photo and you will see what I came home to after a three day visit to Canberra, the nation’s Capital. They set me up with a brand new office desk, so comfortable, so spacious, so professional. I don’t know about others, but I can definitely write better when in an uncluttered and inspirational environment. As you can see from the walls, I have all the maps, photos and research about China in 1914 pasted to my wall to inspire me and keep me moving forward with my story.

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Visiting Canberra after my last visit about forty years ago was fun. I went to a formal presentation in Parliament House, had dinner at the National Press Club, and got to visit the War Memorial. Canberra is a fairly sterile city with no discernable CBD, yet is meticulously laid out around a manmade lake called Burley Griffin. Very picturesque.

The War Memorial in Canberra is a very thought provoking and sacred place. Every Australian who has been killed in all the wars and conflicts, is remembered here. There is also a very good, but sometimes harrowing, museum with dioramas and displays. I even got to see the memorial plaque for Kenny Gant, a friend of ours who lost his life in the Battle of Long Tan in Vietnam. I was about 10 at the time, but I still remember Kenny. RIP Private Kenneth H. Gant.

Here are a few snaps from my visit.

Marble interior of Parliament House

The Australian Coat of Arms outside Parliament House
Pte Kenneth Gant
Bronze statue outside National War Memorial of Simpson and his donkey, ANZAC Cove 1915

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The research journey

I am presently immersed in China in the years 1914 to 1920. It is an immense job and very time consuming. But oh so much fun! And I am able to place my characters, my grandparents, in the place and see them laughing together, holding hands, walking along. It is so nice. Aw.

Yichang, China. In 1915 it was called Ichang and, as it is today, a major port on the Yangtze River. Today it is the last port before the massive Three Gorges Dam complex. When I was there in 2009, I felt such a strong presence of my grandparents, Oliver and Darl. They were married there in late 1915. We arrived in Yichang late one evening, went to a restaurant in the red light district for dinner (go figure??), and then later headed down an ancient road, the ONLY road from the city centre to the wharves. This road, cobblestoned and rough, so narrow that our bus could barely make its way through, passed at snail pace through an urban ancient area. I said to Robyn, this would not have changed since they came through here. It is the ONLY road from the city to the wharf. As our bus was sometimes stationary for ages, we could see inside people’s homes. They were cooking, sitting around, some were watching TV, some were outside smoking, just watching the one lane of traffic. How they must hate living on this busy road. This was an OLD area. Oliver and Darl would have passed on this very road to board the river boat to take them back to Shanghai. I cannot describe how close I felt to them that night.

Okay... an excerpt from my work in progess...

Singapore wharf was noisy, hectic, exotic. Darl and Annie were leaning on the ship railing looking down at the chaotic scene below them. Oriental men carried heavy luggage and trunks by a stick across their shoulders and the loads dangling from either end. Barefoot and wearing strangely shaped round straw hats, they ran sure-footed up and down the gangways with their heavy loads. The girls saw large baskets of exotic and strange fruits and foodstuffs being brought onboard. There was no band, just a cacophony of sounds emanating from the busy wharf. People shouting, the creak and squeak of pulleys and chains, metal clanging, hawkers calling out to sell their wares. The air was thick and heavy with humidity, dark clouds hung threateningly above the ramshackle shacks and buildings on the wharf. Annie and Darl reeled from the strong smells that wafted up to their vantage point. They could not identify what the smells were, but the ladies were fanning themselves to keep some air circulating about their faces, and this helped to dispel some of the unpleasant odours. Dressed in their normal shipboard attire, they looked longingly at the colourful, sleeveless frocks and broad brimmed straw hats that the handful of European ladies on the wharf were wearing. They would have gone into the salon to await the departure from hot and smelly Singapore, but it was far too hot in there. No breeze at all to blow away the thick air. They were better off watching with interest all that was happening in this strange place.

After a whole day of unloading and loading, of farewelling passengers that they had become friendly with, the Tasman was finally ready to depart. The hausers were dropped, and a tug slowly pulled the ship out from the wharf into the harbour, and then left them when the Tasman reached the South China Sea. Next stop, Hong Kong.

On the first night at sea, the Tasman rocked and rolled alarmingly. The wind was so strong it was screeching through the rigging on the fore and aft mastheads. The acrid smoke from the single funnel was being pushed back down into the ship making it most unpleasant. The cabin boys were hurriedly running up and down the hallways of the passenger accommodation carrying china bowls. The smell of vomit was becoming worse as passengers succumbed to sea sickness.

Okay, that's all for now.  You will have to fork out money to read the rest of it.  :-)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A busy month behind me

All my good intentions of writing at least one blog a week in the lead up to my first ever NaNoWriMo went down the gurgler when my work commitments took over in a very drastic fashion. A server upgrade to our system led to two weeks of crisis meetings at a very high level, long days, sleepless nights, and a fairly chaotic home life on top of all that, meant that I just couldn't either find time to write anything, or my muse had left me temporarily for more peaceful places.

So, here I am on the 2nd October. A new month, well into spring now, and the weather is temperamental. We had 33 and 37 degree days in the first weeks of September, and now I sit here with a jumper on because it is a chilly 10 degrees at 5am on Sunday morning.

I went to bed early last night so that I could get up and start planning my next chapter. I need to have clear direction for when Wrimo starts. Here are my thoughts from this morning:

- the meeting
- the wedding plans, the wedding
- Oliver and Darl after the wedding taking a walk along the Bund
- the political climate
- transfers
- another wedding

that will do for now. Off to get researching and planning now.