Random musings about airplane travel…

I like the idea of it – holiday international air travel that is. (Or at least I did until recently when peri-menopause kicked in – and several planes dropped out of the sky and into the Atlantic, but let’s not dwell on that.)

The buzz of the airport, the promise of an exotic locale, and the lure of duty-free bargains.

duty free

It doesn’t matter that I don’t need another perfume, lipstick or that one litre bottle of Midori. It’s the thrill of buying at less than retail. I feel like a winner! But every time I go overseas (okay, it’s not often), I spend a few hundred dollars I can ill-afford, on make-up and other paraphernalia I don’t need and more than likely don’t even want. I once bought a pure Merino woollen shawl that subsequently was given to the dog! I always justify my purchases by saying, ‘It was a bargain. I couldn’t say no.’

duty free 3
Once seated on the plane, I accept everything the flight attendants offer.
Yesterday’s newspaper? Yes, please.
Peanuts? Sure!
How about a pair of paper-thin cotton socks that don’t keep your feet warm or protect you from the perils of the bathroom floor? Absolutely.

We’ll just add that to the booty of ear-plugs, annoying head-phones that never sit on my head properly, and the eye mask I acquired as I was walking down the aisle. The plane hasn’t even taken off yet, but I’m feeling pretty darn pleased with myself. Yes, I’ve spent all my money buying duty-free frivolities but look at all the freebies I’ve been given. And I haven’t even mentioned the miniscule pillow and threadbare navy rug I’ve commandeered. Squished into an uncomfortable cattle-class seat, surrounded by useless goodies, I can’t move a centimetre.

Inevitably, the man seated beside me weighs a tonne and his right arm encroaches on my armrest and I can only stare out the window for fear of making eye contact and having to start a conversation with him.
Usually, but not always, it’s raining when the plane starts taxiing down the runway. And as it takes off, I’m thinking, ‘Is this it? Am I going down?’ Usually these fatalistic thoughts are fleeting because I know the most dangerous time for crashes is during take-off and landing. (I’ve since added Severe Electrical Storms to that list. And in my mind, a light sprinkling of rain is close to a SES, and therefore sufficient cause for hysteria.)


When I hear the wheels fold up into the under carriage, I’m still thinking, ‘Am I going to die on this plane with all this ridiculous make-up I’ll never wear and Midori, I’ll never drink?’ Part of me, most of me, actually, wants to rip the top off the Midori and start guzzling but that’s rather undignified, so I refrain. I couldn’t even if I wanted to because the man beside me will be snoring and given that I’ll be in the window seat, prime viewing for when disaster occurs, I can’t reach the overhead locker!

So I calm myself down by perusing the in-flight duty-free magazine and congratulate myself on the restraint I have shown so far. There are so many gadgets and trinkets: Opal encrusted koala broaches, for example. Nothing anyone would ever want but obviously, they sell!

duty free 7At 40,000ft, flying over the sea, I’m feeling more relaxed, thanks to a couple of glasses of bubbles and a heavy head. But suddenly the plane goes deathly quiet (poor choice of words?) and I can no longer hear the roar of the engines. How can the engines be operating if there’s no noise?

What the hell is keeping the plane in the sky?

After waking my snoring neighbour and forcefully grabbing a passing flight attendant’s jacket, I explain my concerns. She rolls her eyes and assures me that everything is ‘normal’ and that the engine is in perfect working order.
Likely story! I gaze up at the overhead compartments. Time to crack open the Midori and lipstick. Maybe a dab of perfume. If I’m going down, I might as well go down, drunk, but smelling fragrant and with my lippie on!

*PS As luck would have it, I’m off to London in six weeks! Six weeks! I can barely contain my excitement!

duty free 6

For the love of book clubs!

A short post today in praise of book clubs! I love them!

I have belonged to my fabulous book club for about eight years now…maybe longer, with mums I met when my son was in kindergarten. He’s in Year 12 now, so maybe we’ve been together for more years than I care to remember.

In the beginning, we diligently met once a month and read books. Yes, we did. It wasn’t, as some people (MEN) would mutter dismissively ‘a women’s wine club’.


153-1024x683However, over the years, we’ve become busier, probably meet once a term if we’re lucky – and again, if we’re lucky we’ll mention the cover of a book we like ‘and really should get around to reading’. More often than not, we drink wine and gossip about our wayward teenagers.



Occasionally, we go out to dinner or to the movies. A few years back we went to the interactive ‘Sound of Music Singalong movie in lieu of our regular meeting. It’s a lot of fun…and I wouldn’t trade my book club for the world.



HOWEVER, last week I was invited to speak at a book club about my latest book and the writing process – and I was astounded. Yes, there was wine (lots) and cheese (lots) BUT these women were serious book readers, with an agenda and everything!


I had a wonderful evening, not only talking about my books, writing, publishing, and everything that entails, but also talking about books. I must say, I really need to read a lot more! I often felt quite ignorant and therefore ate quite a bit more of the cheese than I should have. (One shouldn’t talk with one’s mouth full!)

So, inspired by Jacqui and Co at their Grown Up Book Club, next time my book club meets (April 1!!!), I need to get tough and suggest we all read a book over the Easter holidays – no excuses. But of course there will be excuses. After all, our children are doing the HSC and we are crucial to their academic success and therefore must be available at all times…aka we are time poor!

Pass the wine!

 *PS if anyone out there belongs to a book club and wants me to come along…I’d love to, but perhaps if you’re based in Perth or Darwin, we could chat via Skype!

Happy reading!

Writer’s Block, Procrastination and Fear…I Know Thee Well.

What ever label you wish to stick on it, sometimes getting words down onto the page is damn hard…almost crippling. Some days I manage zero, other days 200, and then miraculously on others, 2000. Why?

Some writers like Philip Pullman would argue that ‘The Block’ doesn’t exist. He would say that ‘Writer’s block is a condition that affects amateurs and people who aren’t serious about writing’.

I disagree. I am very serious about my writing but sometimes my block or fear is so all-consuming, I want to curl up in bed and pull the doona up over my head for days or even weeks.

Me pulling my hair out...what next?

To those who experience it, writer’s block is very real.
So, having established that, how can you overcome – or at the very least – manage it?

1. Stop writing your work in progress. (What am I saying? You already have stopped because you HAVE writer’s block!)

writers block

Instead, write something completely different.
Step out of your writing comfort zone and walk outside into your back yard, a local park, or the local cafe. How are you feeling? Write about the flowers/coffee you smell or the birds/conversations you hear. Use your five senses to write a paragraph or page that is personal. Just for you!


2. Break down your writing. Can’t figure out what comes next? Take your characters on a holiday, an adventure, or unexpected holiday. Santorini looks nice!

A holiday may be the furtherest thing from your protagonist’s mind, but what if? Where would they go and why? How would this adventure propel the story forward?


3. Off the top of my head, ask yourself this of your characters:

What would make this character super successful? A failure?
What WOULDN’T this character do? Do it!
If you were your character, how would you feel? HONESTLY?
Challenge them.

Break the rules…let your imagination run wild. A three legged dog? Why not? A potential love interest lurking in the camellias? Of course.
Keep asking yourself, what if, what if, WHAT IF?

4. Stop when the writing is going well. Finish your days’ writing in the middle of a sentence or scene so that when you start writing again tomorrow or in a week’s time, you remember where you left off and can easily pick it up again with confidence.

writers block25. Get inside your protagonist’s head and have them write to a best friend or relative they haven’t seen for ten years. What’s been happening all that time? Who have they loved? Where have they worked? Who has died? Don’t worry that some or none of this will make it into your novel! You, the creator, are unlocking your character’s past and their motivation for the future. (Profound, huh?)


6. Show up! As much as you don’t want to turn up to your writing job at six am, six pm, midnight… or whenever you have the time to write, you need to. Even if it means researching your protagonist’s work, hobby, weird obsession with Birman cats on the internet, it’s progress. (BTW, so is staring out the window.) But seriously, try to write, even if it’s a stream of conscious piece about staring out the window…

7. And what about all those famous authors who hated writing? When you’re really feeling down about yourself, read their biographies…afterwards, you’ll surely feel better!
Including, but not limited to:

James Joyce: “Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives.”

dorothy parker



Dorothy Parker: “I hate writing, I love having written.”




Silvia Plath: “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

Finally, I especially like this one by John Dos Passos: “If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works.
Cheers, John!

Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal: I never reread a text until I am finished the first draft, otherwise it’s too discouraging.

The key with these strategies to overcome Writer’s Block, Procrastination, Fear – whatever you want to call it, is not to lose momentum or faith.

Writing is mostly a solitary profession. It’s easy to lose heart and say ‘I give up’ or ‘I’m crap.’
You’re not, but you need to keep at your job.
As the old, but profound saying goes, ‘you can’t edit a blank page’.
So get to it and write even if it’s only 200 words.

images0I1MADOH zacIf you really can’t write, because, say your cat is sitting on your computer –

then READ, READ and READ some more.
(I’m off to scoff some chocolate.)
How do you overcome writer’s block?

Thank You, Cardiff Library

I’m having a great time visiting libraries and chatting about writing, reading …most topics really, and of course, my latest release ‘It Started with a Kiss‘.

Cardiff library 1

Thanks Debbie Robson for this photo!


Last Friday, I had the privilege of visiting Cardiff Library, up Newcastle way! It was a great night, not only because I caught up with lovely friends like Cathy Shay, Susan Whelan and Tracey Baglin, but because the audience asked terrific, insightful questions, laughed at my lame attempts at humour and genuinely seemed to enjoy themselves.

Looking a bit intense! Thanks to Susan Whelan for the photo.

Looking a bit intense! Thanks to Susan Whelan for the photo.

I was a bit sad when the evening was over, and have to say that doing events like these, is what makes all the alone hours writing and thinking up plausible plot lines, worth it.I could have stayed all night and chatted with guests!

Amanda from Maclean's Books. Thanks Cathy Shay for the photo!

Amanda from MacLean’s Books. Thanks Cathy Shay for the photo!

Huge shout out to Julie and Melissa at Cardiff Library – I’d happily come back this week if you asked me…not that I want to be tagged as your resident author stalker. Also to Amanda at MacLean Books. Thank you for coming along. I was very impressed with your stock!

Thanks again, Cathy Shay for the photo!

Thanks again, Cathy Shay for the photo!

So, if you’d like me to pop along to your local library, book club, twenty-first or bat Mitzbah, please call me. Chances are I’m free and would love to come!

Teenagers: hair, piercings and tatts. And universal truths.

When I was fifteen, my most rebellious deed was getting a perm. My mother warned me against it.

‘You’ll look like a poodle,’ she said, eyebrows raised.

I went ahead and got it done anyway. The fumes and acid solution alone should have killed me.


Mum was wrong. I didn’t look like a poodle; I looked like a lion – with a fuzzy, dried out mane. It was beyond awful. (Photo above – not an actual pic of me. Mine is more hideous.)

At the time I had long hair…a week later, a pixie cut. For the next two years, I didn’t want to leave the house. I still don’t think my dad’s recovered.
Thankfully, Mum refrained from saying ‘I told you so.’

Now, I have my own teenagers.
A few years ago, my then 14-year-old son walked into the house one afternoon sporting a huge diamond (fake) earring. I continued cooking the spaghetti bolognaise. I think it was three days before the upkeep got to him and he took it out.

A couple of weeks ago Mia, now 14, had her hair dyed purple. I think it looks amazing.

mia5mia 6Yesterday afternoon I sat with her while she got more piercings in her ears, 2 x helix and a daith (not death!).
She already had the standard lobe x 2 and a tragus – although she is stretching one of the lobes in both ears…

Mia 2
Mia 1Ouch. I couldn’t watch, although I must have because I did take photos at one stage. But I almost fainted, watching those needles!

I could feel the pain of the needles going through her ear cartilage. I can still feel it. Whilst we were there, Mia tried to convince me to get my ears pierced. No way!

I have no problem with colour or piercings, though on the drive home she did murmur something about a lip piercing which caused me to bite my own lips.

mia 4




But really, I don’t see the issue with self expression. It’s only hair and a few piercings. It’s not like she got a full back tattoo. (I have thoughts about that form of personal expression and freedom, but hey, there’s nothing I can do when she turns 18.)

I figure she’ll eventually get bored with me saying ‘Yeah, sure. Go ahead and do it.’
At least that’s the hope.

Where do you draw the line with self expression for teenagers?

My children are piglets and I have the photos to prove it!

(This is It’s official. My children are rooming with slugs and cockroaches.)

I have three teenage children including two boys 17, and 19. We’ll call them B1 and B2.

I love them dearly but (and I’ll be gentle here) they’re filthy feral piglets. A week ago their rooms were tidy – thanks to me. I know, I know, I’m supposed to be leaving it to them to establish their independence and instil responsibility, we all know that. It’s the doing that’s exceptionally tricky.

So, as I was cleaning up I swore it would be the last time, we always swear it will be the last time, don’t we? With one son doing his HSC and the other at uni this really, truly ought to be the last time.


This is the child who doesn’t put sheets on his bed…and always has several wet towels on the floor! (I picked up all but one because I couldn’t stand it.)

I get it…and I know I’m fighting a losing battle because despite my best efforts only one week ago, I’m sure that right now there are rodents lurking in both rooms. At the very least there are ants and cockroaches.

My mum (who coincidentally also had three children, two of whom were pigs – I was perfect ) has advised me to ‘shut the door and forget about it.’

‘But one of them is sleeping without sheets,’ I ranted.

‘Well that’s just gross, Lisa.’ Pause. ‘Close the door and forget about it. Is there any wine in the fridge?’

As I am writing this post, the oldest has come downstairs saying, ‘Mum, there’s a slug in my room. Did you know I killed a cockroach last night?’

No, I didn’t, son, but I’m sadly not surprised.


(This is the child doing the HSC!)

Help! What do you do about your older kids’ bedrooms? Do you just close the door and hope they survive the filth?

Stepping Out Of Your Writing (and Reading) Comfort Zone – Rachael Johns

I am delighted to have the fabulously talented Rachael Johns visiting my blog this week talking about stepping out of comfort zones – which is definitely something I need to do!

Before I start, I think you all should know that I bought Lisa’s new book today – IT STARTED WITH A KISS – and I’d much rather be reading it than writing this. I’m sure you’ll understand, it’s nothing PERSONAL! I’ve gobbled up all Lisa’s book and she’s one of my fave Aussie writers, so I’m itching to get back to her book!

(You are way too kind! Thanks, Rach.)

Then again… the next best thing after reading, is talking about reading or writing, so Hi there! I’m Rachael Johns, I’m a women’s fiction/romance writer and a reader of all types of genres (but not really paranormal or sci-fi). I love Diet Coke, cats, all things pink and only like cooking in my new Thermomix (yes, I finally caved and FYI it makes AWESOME cocktails). Anyway, I digress…

One of my favourite songs is Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen – it’s full of such fabulous advice and one of those I’ve been taking heed of lately is “Do something everyday that SCARES you.”  (I love this!)

Last week I went on a water slide and thought I was going to DIE during it. Now I usually love water slides (and rollercoasters) but this one was almost completely dark and totally petrifying. When I got off I felt as if I’d left my head in the tunnel behind me. I think this piece of advice about doing something that scares you can be adopted in all areas of life.

To me it means doing something new, something you’ve never tried before whenever you can… because often it’s the unknown that is scary. In 2014 I started trying to adopt this motto in my writing world.

Until last year, I’d written mostly rural romances set in Australia, but I said yes to writing a cowboy novella. I also wrote my first women’s fiction book, which has four female leads and is more about the relationship of sisters than lovers. And THEN I signed a contract to write my first dark, truly bad boy hero. (You are prolific, I like your style!)


I generally prefer to read and write beta heroes, who even if tortured are mostly nice guys, but this dude is my first alpha male. Eek! It is this book – an MC (motorcycle club) romance that I’m currently writing and it’s not just my hero that scares me. I’m constantly afraid that this rougher hero and more grittier story, with a greater heat level than I usually write, is not something I can achieve.

Everyday I sit down at the computer almost shaking with fear. I’m scared you’ll all be able to see I’m faking it. (Never!)

Seriously… ask my writing pals! And although I have no idea if I’m carrying it off, I’m actually enjoying pushing my writing muscles to the extreme, doing something different. I think it’s good to mix things up a little in my writing. Hopefully in stretching myself I’ll grow as a writer and maybe even find some new readers.But between you and me I’m really looking forward to getting back to rural Australia!

? In addition to writing, this year I joined a book club. For starters this forced me to get out of the house and socialize with some lovely women whom I’d previously only said Hi to at school pick-up (SCARY) and also read some books that aren’t normally my thing (also SCARY).

And I’m also trying to read more widely in my own time. In the last few months I’ve read some biker books, a little erotic romance and Booker prize finalist WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES and I surprised myself by enjoying them all. I think life (and reading and writing) can be so much more exciting, so much more rewarding, when we stop doing things that box us in and start doing things that challenge us more!

outback ghost finaloutback-ghost-final-666x1024s


So that’s my goal in 2015. Do more things that scare me and push myself to try new things in my writing and reading. What about you? What’s something that scares you that I might have inspired you to try?!

xo Rach!

Thanks for stopping Rach! I’m going to take your advice and push myself to try new things in my writing and reading, too.

Rachael’s latest book is OUTBACK GHOST,  (A bloody great read!) the third in her bestselling Bunyip Bay series; you can find out more about this and all Rachael’s books at http://www.racaheljohns.com

And if you’re wondering, the biker book is called FIRE ME UP and is already available to pre-order on Amazon http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00R04OX0W


It Started with a Kiss – Competition

I’m very excited to announce that my new novel, It Started with a Kiss, is out now!

For Australian buyers, it is for sale in all good bookshops, Big W, Target and K-Mart. It’s also available online at sites such as booktopia. Overseas readers can buy it at Amazon, iBooks and other places I’m not smart enough to know about.

Send me a selfie of you with a hard or e-book copy of my book – anywhere on holidays…it could be at the beach, by the pool, in the kitchen, in the back yard at home, up the Eiffel Tower, on the toilet, anywhere you are holidaying …(though I really hope you don’t send me a photo of you on the toilet!).



Post it on twitter, Facebook, in the comments section here…tag me and I’ll send you a signed postcard and twenty random entries will also receive an It Started with a Kiss coffee mug.

Friday mugs

Let me know what you think via Amazon and Goodread reviews. I can only write better stories if you tell me what you really think. So go for it.

*In other news, you can win a copy of It Started with a Kiss and/or Stella Makes Good by entering the Goodreads competition. Details on my home page.

Good luck and send me/post me those selfies…Get cracking.

You have until January 27! It

Karly Lane, rural fiction, noxious weeds and the silly season.

LH: Hi Karly, Thanks for stopping by less than two weeks till Christmas! EEK! What’s new with you?

KL: Life is pretty crazy at the moment in my world. I have novel number five called Gemma’s Bluff, now out. (Congratulations! LH)  We’re building a new house and every time I turn around someone’s counting down the days till Christmas WAY too fast!


LH: Like me, I guess. I haven’t even begun Christmas shopping. But Gemma’s Bluff, hey? Novel number five!

KL: Yes! Despite all that, I’m pretty excited to have Gemma out on the shelves. It seems to take such a long time to get to December… until it’s here!


LH: I am so excited for you. Can you tell me a bit about what Gemma’s story is about?

KL: Sure. Gemma has her life pretty much mapped out for her. She’s finished her University degree and is ready to step into the family business. Her best friend, Jazz, on the other hand, has no plans, no strings and no intention of allowing their last days of freedom to pass by without one final holiday together.
(Good on Jazz!)
So after organising with a farming friend from school to swap places for the summer break and work on her family’s farm, Jazz convinces Gemma to go on a working holiday; a real life McLeod’s Daughters experience. The only problem is once they arrive, Nash, brother of said friend they’ve swapped places with, thinks they’re experienced farm hands sent to give him some much needed help.
But it’s nothing that a little creative Googling and YouTubing can’t fix … how hard can it be to bluff your way through a bit of farm work….right?

LH: Hmm. Not sure I could get away with that. The story sounds fascinating. Lots of room for hijinks, mistakes and mayhem?

KL: I have to say Gemma and Jazz’s experience may well be life imitating art soon, as my family and I have just purchased a little place and are embarking on a ‘farm life’ adventure of our own! And yes, Mr Google has in fact helped me answer a few questions already. Like; what food scraps can you feed a cow without killing it? And if I accidently cook up a noxious weed thinking it was some kind of native herb…will it kill me? (Thankfully the answer to that was no! Although I won’t be trying that again anytime soon.) P.s are you picking up on the feeling that pretty much everything on a farm, in the hands of an amateur, has the potential to kill?

dunvegan 2

LH: Still, I envy you, living out in the country with the cows!

KL: Thanks. I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a fantastic new year! And if you’re looking for a summer read over the Christmas holidays, keep your eye out for Gemma’s Bluff. If you’d like to follow my farm journey to see what other unfortunate farming dilemmas we get ourselves into, feel free to friend me on Facebook for front row seats! Merry Christmas!


LH: Thanks, Karly! And a happy holiday season to you and yours…and your cows!

You can buy Gemma’s Bluff and Karly’s other books at bookshops, Target, K-Mart, Big-W and booktopia.com.au


It Started with a Kiss!

I am thrilled to announce that my fifth novel, It Started with a Kiss, published by Allen & Unwin will be available in store and online January 1, 2015.

Zac and book

I loved creating Friday Jones. All I knew when I started writing, was that my protagonist’s life would be turned upside down when her husband of twenty years, left her. I wanted Friday to fall apart – as you would – to have an affair with a married man – which you shouldn’t …and then I wanted her to join a dating website.

Friday’s best friend, Rosie, owns a divorce party business – and she is the one who signs Friday up to KissMeCupid.com – unbeknownst to Friday – and then sets her up on several dates.

Though at times I wanted to tear my hair out when the writing wasn’t flowing, I loved researching about online dating – many successes but so many horror stories as well.

Me pulling my hair out...what next?I don’t write tragedies. There’s always a bit of humour in my books but at one point I did feel particularly sorry for Friday – being judged by her neighbours, her community, her teenage children and even the cat!

And then when one of her flings takes obsession to the next level, things get even more disastrous for Friday.

Anyway, I hope you like it.

On my home page, you’ll find details about how you can win a copy of It Started with a Kiss on Goodreads and you can also win a copy by leaving a comment on my blog. I’ll choose one commenter at random!

Of course, you can also pre-order it at Booktopia or Amazon…

Cheers, xx