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And it has indeed been a very crowded month. After the big events around my book launch for 'Of Llamas and Piranhas' followed by book promos at meetings and radio interviews, there was a lovely respite during our house boat trip on the Murray, by now turning into an annual event. The six of us ate, talked, ate, slept, ate, read, ate, played a variety of board games, ate, took occasional shore walks, and - yes - ate some more. We've all come home to rigorous diets. Highlight was the birthday dinner for Anthony (69) and David (80) complete with cake, candles and sparklers. We've booked the boat again for next year.

Home, and into preparations for the next major event: David's first book launch combined with his main 80th birthday celebration at the Stirling Coventry Library. Over eighty people gathered for a night of speeches, toasts and cake cutting (I'm improving my fruit cake making and decorating skills with all this practice) and readings from 'In a Subjunctive Mood' which found a very appreciative audience. Rob Walker's launch speech and guitar playing added a lovely touch, and I enjoyed the chance to make the birthday toast to David to an audience that included friends from so many of his diverse activities.

Now we're into pre-wedding mode - my first chance to be 'Mother of the Bride'. But a very easy wedding to cope with, as they're doing all the preparations and plans themselves. All I have to do is is turn up (cheque book in hand) and enjoy. I must admit I've had fun going round the bridal salons with daughter - a real revelation of all the extras one can buy, ranging from genuinely appealing to totally tacky!

In all this, not much time for writing, always a sadness - and no word on possibilities of publication of my new novel. Both Felicity and I wait in the usual fear and trepidation for publisher responses, though her agent seems sure that her book will find a welcoming home.

 

Adelaide at its best - a glorious spring afternoon, clear blue skies, warm sunshine, no wind - this is October in Adelaide. So, after a healthy three hours in the garden with my trusty Ryobi Blower, I've come in to coffee and a quick catch-up of my web page.

And it is indeed a busy end-of-year that's coming. My own book launch may be over, but David's is to come at the end of October, combined with the celebration of his 80th birthday  (Not really! say most people; Not possible! say the rest  - but it's true). Plus a wedding in the family (no, not ours), and the houseboat trip on the Murray River (a week in among all the other activities) ... I feel as if I'm running in circles.

The launch for Of Llamas and Piranhas was a great affair. Well over a hundred guests and good book sales.Phil Hoffmann (guest speaker) and Mayer John Trainer (MC) both in fine form, the usual superb catering by the Immanuel Lutheran Ladies, wines generously supplied by Kies Winery in the Barossa Valley   - no wonder people left with smiles on their faces. Another launch to remember, with the Friendly Street Poets chairman, Nigel Ford, posting on Facebook next day that it was the biggest and best launch he'd attended. I'm grateful to the many people who assisted, and to all those who came.

No word back yet on progress of my novel, as it sits hopefully in publisher's hands. However, it's now been vastly revised and improved, by the astute editorial eye and comments from my novelist daughter, who would be one of the best editors I know. Meanwhile her own second novel has received enthusiastic comments from her agent and is also out seeking a publishing house to be its home. An anxious waiting time for us all. Fortunately, with so much else happening in my life, I don't have the time brood about the waiting period. Too many other things to worry about.

But meanwhile, the sun is shining and it's time to get out there into the garden again. The best ever crop of freesias has just finished, and the house has been flooded with their glorious perfume. The nectarine tree is in bloom, and I've planted impatiens and pansies in all the hanging baskets. My main hope this year is that the possums don't return! The awful daily routine all last summer of cleaning up their morning messes, and the loss of plants and fruit was devastating. It was scarcely a compensation to win the Salisbury Writers' Festival with a short story called 'Release' that featured possum experiences, though it did mitigate my fury. A little.

Annoying  - I've just typed several paragraphs of entry here, and somehow lost it! That's my brand-new computer teaching me who's boss. Certainly not me! I hate learning to use new equipment, and this MacAir with its brand-new updated version of Word is going to drive me, screaming, into an early grave.

Certainly it's been a busy six weeks here since I last wrote in this column. Trying to get In Search of Anna published is my major project, and several things at the Salisbury Writers Festival were heartening. I did a 'Five Minute Pitch' to an agent, who seemed interested and has asked to see the whole manuscript, also a publisher's rep who was very encouraging. Fingers crossed but no chickens being prematurely counted. I guess I went into both those a bit more confidently having won two awards in the Festival - a short listed Commendation in the poetry section and First Place in the Short Story  - a lovely bit of reassurance before making the pitch!

Apart from that things are moving close to the book launch for Of Llamas and Piranhas   - less than three weeks away now. I have some PR set up, radio interviews and  scheduled reviews in journals, but that is now occupying a lot of my time. With David away for four weeks studying Gaelic in Ireland on a scholarship for an immersion course, I have - in some ways - more free time, but in others less. We've been keeping in touch with email and text and phone calls - but I've also been charting the time in a daily poem called A Non-traveller's Diary. Which has nbeen fun - but won't be for publication! That plus a few short stories has been the total of my writing production in these weeks. Everything IS accelerating!

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