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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!

Once again the shortest day is past, and spirits tend to rise - well, mine do anyway - when the sun is with us for longer stretches each day. I could relate to primitive peoples singing the sun's return from the caverns of the deep ...

Six weeks ago my last entry here, I note, talked about the pleasures and rewards of my research week in Melbourne, and the need to get ahead with In Search of Anna, the prose novel I've been writing for the last 18 months. Melbourne DID provide the impetus, and the first draft of this novel is now completed - all 95,000 words of it. Such enjoyment in the writing. I feel quite bereft at having completed it - like saying farewell to a close friend whom I have lived with for so long. Now, of course, the hard work begins - revising, editing, and searching for a publisher. The writing is the pleasure - this is the tough stuff. Plus, now I no longer have the excuse I've been using all this time, and will really have to clean out my kitchen cupboards!

While dealing with Anna, I'm also hard at work on the book launch for Of Llamas and Piranhas on Sept. 20. Kies Wineries has been very supportive with wine for the launch; my wonderful catering team is booked up again, and in a few weeks the launch invitations will have to be sent. It's a busy time.

A few really encouraging things in the last few days  - a poem accepted by Poetry Matters and it's on the list for competition outcomes when the next issue appears; a lovely email from Poetica Christi saying that my poem 'The two-sided coin' has been selected for publication in their next annual book, and while not winning the competition it was at the top of the 'Specially commended' list that the judge provided. Poems published in The  Write Angle, The Mozzie and in Studio were good to see, as was the very favourable revue of Bystanders in that same journal. It makes it all worthwhile, and keeps me writing! And compensates for the rejection slips ...

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