Category Archives: Uncategorized

A fascinating peek at Hungarian history

The policy of the house of Austria, which aimed at destroying the independence of Hungary as a state, has been pursued unaltered for 300 years. Lajos Kossuth (1802-1894) A bronze winged genius, a protecting spirit defiantly bearing a torch of freedom, stands guard with a powerful lion atop the recently restored massive wedding-cake-like mausoleum memorializing […]

via Postcard from Budapest, Hungary: Graves reveal layers of Hungarian history — postcards from san antonio

As some of you may know, I was born in Hungary but left as a very young child. I have been back to visit relatives, but there’s so much of Budapest I’ve never seen so I’ll be journeying with Post Cards from San Antonio along with everyone else. Enjoy!

Missing in action

Apologies for not answering comments the last couple of days but I’ve been at the hospital where the Offspring has just had a malfunctioning appendix removed. This was preceded by a great many tests, all of which proceeded at a glacial pace, and very little sleep, for either of us. The op. went well and the Offspring should be coming home today or tomorrow. Normal transmission will resume as soon as possible. 🙂



Botanic art – the Beckler Project

I’ve been a fan of Anne Lawson’s work for a long time now – I’m the proud owner of one of her garlics – but I didn’t realise that the work she and her colleagues do is real ‘citizen scientist’ stuff that will help in the longitudinal study of Australia native plants in the Minindee area. The following is a small snippet from her post:

‘If you have been following my blog for a while you will remember the annual trips that the Fella and I make up to Menindee, a little country town about an hour out of Broken Hill. If you are new to the blog, or have forgotten let me briefly explain.

I am part of a group of botanic artists who go up to the semi-arid area of Outback New South Wales to collect and paint the plants that were found on the Burke and Wills Expedition of 1860. Dr Hermann Beckler was the collector as well as the doctor on the Expedition. Our Project began in 2010, and the Fella and I have gone up since 2011.’

You can follow the link below to read more about the project and admire some of Anne’s work:




What I learned from House of Cards and a young ventriloquist [Updated]

And another update – WordPress reset my default settings, that’s why comments have been ‘off’. If you’re getting ‘Likes’ but no comments, you might want to check the settings for your blog posts. 😦

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Whatever you do…PLEASE watch the video of the little girl and her puppet. Please…:)

C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

House of Cards has returned to Netflix and I binge watched, just like all the other seasons. As I took it in, I wondered what lessons I could apply to my own writing.

Here are my thoughts:

  1. When too much time passes between seasons (or between books in a series) it’s easy to lose the thread. I sat there thinking, who are these people and what are they talking about? I have to put out my books in series faster. If I can’t, I need good recaps.
  2. I’m a fan of varying the tone. House of Cards was especially witty in its first season. Now it’s relentlessly grim. Plots should be music with up ups and down downs. This is the drone of an air conditioner.
  3. When the plot gets so convoluted that you have to make a character say, “I meant to do that all along,” the plot’s not working. I…

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Architecture – underground [update!]

Apologies – for some reason, comments were turned off on this post. Slip of the finger perhaps. 😦 Anyway, comments are now back on and thank you for the likes.


Ever since the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009, I’ve daydreamed about building an underground house that would be naturally protected from the ravages of fire. This stunning house in Greece would need some additional work to make it fire proof but the design is so beautiful I couldn’t resist featuring it:

The interiors are designed so that natural ventilation and clever use of shade mean there is no need for air-conditioning, even in the height of summer:

This I like. I’m less enamoured of the stark white interior design. There is nothing cosy about it, and as so often happens with many modern designs, it only looks good when everything is just so, ticketty boo. Perfect to look at but not to live in.

You can find the complete article and all the pictures at:

Off to lunch with my sister-in-law. 🙂


Miira – book 1 sneak peek

Okay. Finally an image I’m happy with. The bit on the right will be the front cover. The bit on the left the back cover. And the odd, transitional bit in the middle will become the spine. I don’t have exact measurements for the spine yet, but I can adjust the dimensions quite easily as the spine is made up of 2 separate vector images:

To give you some idea of how complicated this process was, here’s the same image broken down into its component parts. This first one is the background image:

On top of that sits a composite image made up of a vectored, coloured background:

and a vectored foreground:

The original of this foreground was used in the graphics I created for Innerscape Episodes 1 – 5. For the print version cover, however, I had to clean it up completely by ‘trimming’ out every wire…manually. Now, I can change the coloured background to anything I want and it will show through. Both the foreground and background images were a huge amount of work, but worth it in the end…I hope.

Then on top of these images sits another composite image. This is the portrait of Miira which is made up of a gilt frame [which had to be cut out and altered to fit the middle of the circuit board:

and this glorious picture I found on


The final touch was to add a suggestion of depth:

The outline rectangles are a very slight shade lighter than the pure black of the background. From a distance, they create an optical illusion which makes the face appear as if it’s set back inside the frame:

I still have the lettering of the Title etc to do, and that’ll be another learning curve, but for now I’d really love to know what you guys think. Oh, and the title will be ‘Miira’, but I’m still tossing up between ‘Miira, book 1 of Innerscape’ or ‘Miira, Episodes 1 and 2 of Innerscape’. Anyway, I’ve got a full day’s work today so I’d better get to it. 🙂




Please Don’t Buy My Book

As a reader, I do look at ‘Also Boughts’ in my never-ending quest to find new, favourite sci-fi authors. But…as a writer? -face palm-
Thanks for a great post, David. I’ll be doing some serious thinking as a result.

David Gaughran

I’m just back from The Smarter Artist Summit in Austin, Texas. I won’t try and capture the magic of the event – Kobo Mark does an excellent job – but I would like to talk about the big takeaway: the dangers of Also Bought pollution.

Also Boughts are probably the most important aspect of the entire Amazon recommendation ecostructure. And also the least understood.

They are much more than a little strip under your book’s description – they power a huge chunk of the recommendations that Amazon serves to readers.

The Also Boughts are what tells Amazon that the readers of my non-fiction also like reading Susan Kaye Quinn, Sean Platt and Johnny Truant. Amazon uses this data to decide who to recommend books to – because Amazon is always seeking to show readers the books they are most likely to purchase.

For this reason, it’s important to monitor your…

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Poignant and lovely

My thanks to Lori Greer for introducing me to this lovely little video. Only 12 minutes long and worth every second of viewing time. Enjoy 🙂



The Case For Compulsory Voting …

We take democracy for granted at our peril. It’s actually a fragile thing, and like a good relationship, you have to work at it.

Filosofa's Word

There are a number of reasons that we in the U.S. find ourselves with a madman at the helm.  Certainly, the Russian connection played a role, though it remains to be seen just how much of a role.  James Comey, perhaps pressured by another, played a role.  Voter laws that disenfranchised members of certain groups had a role.  But perhaps the largest reason was voter apathy … many were simply too lazy or too disgusted with both candidates to take an hour out of their year to go vote.

Only about 25% of eligible voters voted for Donald Trump.  Let that one sink in for a moment.  About ¼ of citizens over the age of 18 voted for Trump, yet he now sits in the Oval Office.  Voter turnout in the 2016 election was only around 55%.* Barely half of all those who had the opportunity to…

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Mesmerizing Animated Masterpieces

I’m not religious, but if it takes a religious celebration to focus our thoughts on kindness and goodwill to our fellow man, then so be it.

This weekend I’m posting nothing but uplifting information, and here’s something close to my heart – beautiful graphics made even more clever by modern technology. Enjoy. 🙂


For the 50th anniversary of the Edward Hopper’s death, a British digital agency, Verve Search for Orbitz chose to make the most famous masterpiece of the artist, by creating beautiful GIFs.

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