Tag Archives: personal

Rest in peace, Peter (Rabbit) Lehmann

It’s a sad time for our family right now. My grandfather, Peter Lehmann, passed away yesterday (28 June 2013) at 82 years of age. Known as the ‘Baron of the Barossa’, Peter lived an extraordinary life. He entered the wine industry when he was 17, and over the next 30 years, became one of Australia’s leading winemakers and most loved personalities. There are plenty of articles online about that side of Peter at the moment, such as: The Australian article and Herald Sun article.

But I wanted to reflect on who Peter was to me – never ‘Granddad’ as he wasn’t a fan of that title; to me, he was always Peter Rabbit. We lived in different states, so most of my memories of him are from the many Christmases my family spent in the Barossa, full of amazing food and (as I got older) wine. I remember playing countless card games with him when I was young and I’m glad he never let me win – I had to earn success.

As I grew up, our relationship matured into mutual love and respect, and both he and his wife, Margaret, have a very special place in my heart. I’m sad that he didn’t get to meet his first great grandchild in person, but happy that technology let him ‘meet’ her on screen.
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Both he and Margaret read The Big Smoke (my first book) and said it was ‘a damn good read’.  It felt wonderful to get such great feedback from two people I admire and respect so much.
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Tonight, to honour Peter, my husband, Mark, and I decided to open a bottle of Peter Lehmann wine that’s been maturing on the shelf for years – a 2002 Mentor. It’s been a long time since we’ve had to use a cork screw. Mark had a bit of trouble with the cork, and when he finally got it out, red wine sprayed all over him and the kitchen.
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“Looks like Peter had the last laugh,” I said. And I could honestly imagine him looking down on us at that moment, having a good chuckle. He always had a great sense of humour.
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Here’s to you, Peter Rabbit.  You’ll be dearly missed.

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Sailing, bookstore news and the NA Crush Tournament

Sailing

Guess what I did last week? I took a four-month-old baby sailing. Doesn’t that sound like a great idea? No? Turns out you’re right. Little Mackenzie wasn’t a huge fan of the open seas, but seeing as we booked the holiday with friends eighteen months ago, we gave it a good crack anyway.

Despite Mackenzie’s misgivings, we had a great time overall. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself in the middle of the beautiful Whitsundays!

Bookstore news

Moving on to book-related matters, The Big Smoke is now available to buy in two bricks-and-mortar bookstores! It’s a wonderful feeling to see your novel for sale at your favourite bookstore (Avid Reader, West End), on the same shelf as one of your favourite authors (Nick Earls).

The Big Smoke for sale at Avid Reader bookshop

The Big Smoke for sale at Avid Reader (third from the left).

New Adult crush tournament

NA Crush Tournament banner

The fabulous NA Alley team has announced they will be holding the very first NA Crush Tournament! What does that mean, I hear you ask. It means that heroes from the New Adult genre will battle against each other for the crown of ‘best New Adult crush’.

Seb

Seb – a worthy contender for the NA Crush Tournament?

NA Alley will post the official rules of the competition next Tuesday (4 June), when nominations for crushes open. I’m looking forward to taking part in the competition (and just between you and me, I’m also hoping that someone might nominate the hopeless-yet-loveable Seb from The Big Smoke).

Your turn

Would you take an infant sailing? Who’s your latest literary crush? Anything exciting happening in your world that you’d like to share?

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Filed under New Adult fiction, Personal, The Big Smoke, Writing

A shining spotlight, a bumpdate and a Goodreads giveaway of The Big Smoke!

A shining spotlight… 

The wonderful Juliana Haygert has been kind enough to shine her author spotlight my way. Have you ever wondered what my nicknames are? Or maybe you’d like to know what I’m working on now? All is revealed in Juliana’s Author Spotlight!

Bumpdate 

It’s been a while since I’ve provided you with a bumpdate (read: pregnancy update), and seeing as I had my baby shower on the weekend, I figured now was the perfect time! I’m now 32.5 weeks pregnant and feeling a lot less mobile than usual. I had a wonderful baby shower on the weekend and have exactly 16 days of work left before I go on maternity leave (not that I’m counting ;)).

My ankles are swollen, I’ve been getting heaps of practice contractions, and I only have to walk 100 metres to feel like I’ve climbed a mountain, but all in all, everything is going really well. Can’t wait to meet our little girl!

A Goodreads giveaway!

On my travels throughout the blogosphere, I’ve heard many indie publishers say that Goodreads giveaways have helped them gain exposure for their books and generate excitement. So I figured: sounds awesome, I’ll jump on the bandwagon and give it a try!

This means I’m giving away two paperback copies of The Big Smoke to two lucky Goodreads members. If you’re keen to read The Big Smoke but haven’t had a chance yet,  make sure you enter the giveaway by 14 December (it’s free!).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Big Smoke by Cally Jackson

The Big Smoke

by Cally Jackson

Giveaway ends December 14, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

How about you?

What’s happening in your world? Have you ever won a book from a Goodreads giveaway? Have you ever run one? What was your experience? Do share! 🙂

P.S. Next Tuesday will be one month since I launched The Big Smoke into the world. To mark the occasion, I’ll give you an update on what I’ve learnt so far since launching – no holds barred! Stay tuned…

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Filed under Competitions, Personal, The Big Smoke, Writer interview, Writing

The Year I Turned 18 Blogfest: my post! So many memories…

In the third stop of my blog tour, I’m guest posting on Rebecca Enzor’s blog about revising after contradictory beta reader feedback. Make sure you check it out!

And in the fourth stop, I’ve been interviewed by Bailey Kelsey over at Bailey is Writing! She’s got some awesome questions so make sure you drop by and read it!

Blogfest badge

As you probably know by now, I’m holding a blogfest called ‘The Year I Turned 18’ to celebrate the release of my debut new adult novel, The Big Smoke (in which the two main characters both turn 18). Posts can be about anything from that year – something momentous that happened, what your hopes and dreams were at that time, diary entries, anything that comes to mind. 

And this is MY post for the blogfest, all about the year I turned 18.

With my dad at my year 12 formal on the night after my last day of high school.

In preparation for this post, I pulled out my diary from 2001, excited to take a trip down memory lane. Unfortunately, I discovered that the vast majority of my diary is totally boring! I’m not quite sure why I decided to record monotonous events in such ridiculous detail, but I did. I shan’t bore you with those parts! Here’s a quote from early in the year while I was still waiting to find out which university I’d be getting into:

‘Sometimes you’ve got to wonder whether dreaming is that great if it sets you up for a fall. But I can’t possibly think that, because so much of my life is taken up by dreaming. But the dream world of mine and reality are so different. Will they ever be similar? Probably not, but I’ll still keep dreaming. Something’s got to keep me going, doesn’t it?

Why can’t I just be satisfied? Why?? I have so much which I probably take for granted, but on the inside my emotions are constantly see-sawing. Can’t you just balance, please? I don’t even know what I’m bloody complaining about. But maybe that’s part of the problem. I DON’T KNOW.’ 

How’s that for turbulent teenage hormones? 😉 And here’s a bit more:

‘Life just isn’t what dreams are made of. At least, not my dreams. The one thing that really scares me is, what if Billy [ex-boyfriend] is the best thing I’m going to get in life? What if it’s all down hill from here?’

Cheery, wasn’t I?!

A bit later after those entries, I discovered that I’d got into the course that I’d been dreaming of – drama at QUT. Unfortunately, I didn’t really write about it because I was too busy writing page after page about this random boy I obsessed over for two weeks. Teenagers! 😉

But getting into QUT meant a move away from my country home town to Brisbane (sound familiar?!). Here’s a diary excerpt from the day before I moved:

‘Kate [a close friend] just left. She slept over last night. We both cried today because it will be the last sleep over we ever have here, like this. It’s really just starting to hit me now. I’m moving out of home tomorrow. TOMORROW. As of tomorrow I’m supposed to be responsible and mature enough to look after myself. No more Mum and Dad to remind me when I’ve forgotten something. If I’m going to eat healthily, it’s up to me to buy myself fruit and vegetables. If I want to have clean clothes, I have to wash them myself…

It’s weird, I can’t wait to do it [move out], but then in other ways I don’t want to leave at all. I’ve been throwing out all of my old posters, and it just feels like the end of my childhood….’

Here’s the posters I was talking about:

My bedroom wall

My bedroom wall

And here’s me at my new home in Brisbane:

Outside my home in Brisbane

Outside the Brisbane share house

My room in the share house

My room in the Brisbane share house

Sometime later, I wrote this entry about my first trip back home:

‘I really enjoyed going back home to visit. It was really good to see Mum and Dad that night. However, the person that really affected me was Jack [my then seven-year-old brother]. I went down to him in the dirt where the pool used to be. The way his eyes lit up when he saw me almost brought tears to mine. He hugged me so furiously as well. It was really nice to hang out with them on the verandah, like usual. Mum even cooked roast lamb for tea… Jack was mortified that they made me do the dishes. I miss him so much! 

It was fairly cold with the air conditioner on, so I went to get a jumper out of my room. It then hit me that my room no longer held my belongings – they were all in Brisbane. Dad laughed because he realised what I’d gone to do. It made me feel quite sad though, standing in my room with none of my old stuff in it.

Mum and Dad said that in some ways, it felt like someone had died. I know exactly what they meant. It reminded me of when Kerry [a friend] changed schools at the beginning of year seven.  When the rest of us talked at lunch time, I could feel her absence. The conversation seemed to be missing an element that Kerry had provided. When I realised she’d never be back to fill that gap, it truly felt that, in a sense, she had died. 

But I was back. Back listening to Mum and Dad argue, and Jack being told to be quite and sit on his chair… ahh, home! 

A couple of months later, I wrote this poem:

The morning after…

As I sit, waiting for the train
I look through murky eyes
God, I feel like hell today
But I guess that’s no surprise
At a place called Cannon Hill 
Wherever that might be
I don’t really even care
It means sweet nothing to me
The only thing that matters now
Is getting home to bed
Hopefully that will calm
The throbbing in my head

Bits and pieces of the party
Are floating through my mind
People drinking Bourbon and Rum
Or whatever they could find
When I arrived at the party
There were only three people I knew
But as the night progressed
That number slowly grew

Watching a bunch of people 
I’d never met before
I could tell who were friends
And who wanted more
A couple at the party
Were quite saddening to view
She flirted with all his friends
And there was nothing he could do

By the time my accompniants left
I was feeling quite at ease
I’d made friends with everyone
Even the girlfriend tease

Crashing at a bloke’s house 
That I barely even knew
Seemed quite fine and natural
What else was I to do? 

As I awoke the next morning
My stomach let me know
That my fun was definitely over
It was obviously time to go

An expensive taxi trip later
I’ve still got to bus and train
On the wrong side of the city
When even thinking’s a strain!

But despite my current seediness
And having to wait around in the rain
I know that come next weekend
I’ll probably do it all again. 

Towards the end of my first semester at uni, I had a very short romance with a guy I worked with at Eagle Boys Pizza. My diary says this:

‘Well, I broke up with Ben, so that’s over. Somehow, everybody at work found out about us, so we’ve been the topic of constant conversation and jokes ever since. It’s interesting between us though because we’re still friendly, but what happened between us is always present. I’ve actually been dreaming about him recently, but it’s not really him. I mean, it’s him physically, but personality wise, it’s someone else. I guess it’s my made-up Mr Perfect’s personality – someone I unfortunately haven’t had the pleasure of meeting!…

Mum and Dad have supported me so much lately with all of my uni fears and struggles. A few nights ago, Dad drove all the way to Brisbane and took me home because I just flipped from the stress and thought I was going to drop out of uni. Mum and Dad both totally supported me and allowed me to consider it at home that night. The next day, when I had decided that I at least wanted to finish the semester, they helped me do what I had to do to get back on my feet. 

They also helped me when I slacked off with studying for my only exam and then totally panicked for fear of failing it. They helped me get my head together and study for it. Dad called me every two hours while I was home to see how I was progressing and to keep me motivated. It was so insane though. I just let myself get into a mess and I hid in it because I was so scared and so unprepared to do anything about it. I just wanted the situation to go away and not to deal with it.”

That was the last diary entry I wrote for more than five years. At the end of that first semester, I returned to my country home with my tail between my legs. Although I didn’t realise this at the time, it was a classic case of big fish/small pond to small fish/big pond syndrome. At my country high school, I was the best at drama. In my uni drama course though, everybody had been the best at high school, and now all of a sudden I was only mediocre. Poor little teenage Cally couldn’t handle that!

So I dropped out of acting. Interestingly, I couldn’t go for long without a creative outlet, so I turned to writing instead. And I decided to write a novel based around a lesson that I felt I needed to learn  myself (which you may have picked up on from some of these excerpts). The lesson was this: getting a boyfriend wasn’t the answer to finding happiness; I had to do that on my own. Those first ideas were the seeds that grew into what we now  know as The Big Smoke!

My 18th birthday

My 18th birthday (with my brother, grandma and father also in the photo)

Ready to hit the clubs

Ready to hit the clubs

Before the year was out, I met the guy (at the Pig N’ Whistle pub) who would become my next serious boyfriend. A very cute boy called Mark… who is now my husband of eight years! And to think that 17-year-old Cally was so worried that her most romantic days were behind her! Kind of makes me smile now… 😉

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the roller coaster that was the year I turned 18 (Note: I’ve changed some names from my diary entries to protect the innocent!).

If you’d like to read more posts for the Year I Turned 18 Blogfest, visit the Linky List!

And don’t forget to visit Bailey’s blog and Rebecca’s blog for my interview and guest post!

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Filed under Blogfests, The Big Smoke, Writing

Some very exciting personal news!

I’m skipping today’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group post to bring you some very, very exciting news. This has nothing to do with writing but I simply MUST share this news with all of you!

I’m…. having a baby!!!!!!!

Baby Jackson

That’s in my belly!

Considering how impatient I am, you can only imagine how hard it’s been keeping this news a secret from most of the world for the past couple of months. But we’ve finally passed that magic 12-week mark, so now I can shout it from the rooftops!

This means that in the next 12 months, I’ll have two babies entering the world – my book baby The Big Smoke and an actual human baby! Things don’t get much more exciting than that! EEEEEP!!!!!

I’d love to get some suggestions for names from you all – I’m looking for something a little bit different but not too out there. Let me know if you have any ideas. 🙂

P.S. Don’t forget to support insecure writers!

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Grateful in April

Have you heard of Melina Schamroth‘s awesome brain child Grateful in April? It’s a global campaign that encourages all of us to focus on feeling good about what we’ve already got in our lives.

According to Melina, it’s amazing what can occur when you find ways to be grateful for what you already have. And you know what? I’ve got to agree. I’ve been receiving Melina’s daily tips for the last week now and this gratefulness thing is really growing on me.

So I thought I’d encourage all of you to check out the campaign before April is up. And to get you thinking about what you’re grateful for, here’s just a few of the things I’ve realised (or re-affirmed) that I’m hugely grateful for:

  • for my amazingly patient and wonderful husband
  • for my parents and their unerring love and support
  • for my big little brother and his wicked sense of humour (like when he told me my blog posts go straight to his spam folder – at least I hope he was joking!) 😉
  • for my wonderful circle of friends and extended family – for those I’ve known since childhood and those I’ve only known for a few years. Thanks for all the fun times – and the support through the not-so-fun times.
  • for living in a country with a good medical system and understanding of mental health (I’m not saying that it couldn’t be improved, but compared to many other countries, we are very fortunate)
  • for the positive attitude of my manager and team at work – they make coming to work five days a week so much easier!
  • for flexible working options
  • for the magpie that sung me a little song as I walked through my front gate today
  • for the ecstatic greeting my dog Lucy gives me every time I arrive home
  • for all of the authors who have captured my imagination and made me want to follow in their footsteps by becoming a writer
  • for my beta readers and the hours they’ve each put into reading and providing feedback on my book
  • for my fellow writer-bloggers, who continually challenge, entertain and inspire me
  • and finally, for you, my readers, for your insightful, encouraging and often hilarious comments! 🙂

Your turn

How about you? What are you grateful for this April?

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