Frocks can be romantic. Ovarian cancer is never romantic. That’s why I’m frocking up and joining in Frocktober, an Australian campaign to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and to raise funds for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.
Every ten hours, one woman dies from ovarian cancer in Australia. That’s one woman, every ten hours, who never gets to see a happy ever after with her loved ones. Because symptoms of ovarian cancer aren’t clear and the disease can strike without warning, it’s often not diagnosed until its late stages, significantly reducing the chances of survival beyond five years. But there’s not yet an early detection test, and that’s desperately needed as survival rates increase markedly when ovarian cancer is detected and treated early.
A key goal of the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation is therefore to raise ovarian cancer awareness and vital funds for the development of an early detection test that will save women’s lives. That’s a cause I’d like to support, and Frocktober is a great way to join in with women across the country to do just that.
Now, those of you who know me are probably scratching their heads, trying to remember seeing me in a frock! The truth is, I haven’t worn one for at least seven (or more) years, although I have very occasionally worn a skirt. I put on a lot of weight while I was dealing with the brain aneurism procedures from 2008-2011 as I couldn’t exercise hard, and then post-surgery infection damaged one leg, so I’ve been living in Target cotton trousers and t-shirts most of the time, with good trousers and loose tops for the conferences and other events I go to. For a whole lot of reasons (excuses?), shifting the weight has been hard, and there’s still some great clothes hanging in my wardrobe that I won’t be fitting into anytime soon.
So, for Frocktober, I’m going to commit to wearing at least one dress per week. In public. Both for the fantastic and worthy cause that it’s supporting, and to give myself the motivation to start rebuilding my self-confidence about my appearance and getting more serious about losing some weight.
Now the funny thing about committing to this is that yesterday when I made my decision, I had only one dress in my wardrobe! No, I’m not going to go out and buy a heap of dresses, because that’s not in the spirit of the campaign – the theme this year is ‘Love the frock you’re in’ and participants are encouraged to dig out neglected frocks from the back of the wardrobe, find op-shop treasures, be creative and make things, and/or swap between friends. I’m going to sew from my (not insignificant!) stash of fabrics and make some dresses, and today I found what might be a treasure in an op-shop.
At least one day a week in October, I’ll wear a dress. That’s my commitment. Yesterday on Facebook I invited others to join me, and we’ve formed a Frocktober team – and what better name for a group of romance writers, readers and friends than Romancing the Frock? Our team so far includes fellow suspense writers and good friends, Helene Young and Amanda Reynolds-Smith; my niece Lauren and my sister-in-law Trisha; and my friends Alison, who I’ve known since we were just 7 years old, and Tara, who I originally met through the local knitting crowd few years ago. We’re aiming to raise $2,000 for ovarian cancer research so that more women have the chance to lead long, happy (and romantic!) lives. If you’d like to support us, you can donate on our Romancing the Frock team page on the Frocktober site. Even a few dollars – the cost of a cup of coffee – can go towards helping to save women’s lives.
Today, I wore the one dress from the back of my wardrobe when I went into town. The extra challenge today was that this morning’s temperature was minus 2 – although fortunately the sun shone and warmed the air up before I had to go out! I did, however, need a cardi over the top of the dress. So here’s me, Romancing the Frock for week 1 of Frocktober:
And you know what? Despite being short and too-round, despite the swollen scarred ankle, despite being a long way from fashionable… I did love the frock I was in
We had a fabulous launch yesterday for Darkening Skies! The venue – Granny Fi’s Toy Cupboard and Gallery in Uralla was wonderful, and many of my friends and family came (some from great distances!) to celebrate with me. Acclaimed author Sophie Masson very kindly spoke about Darkening Skies and officially launched the book. Gordon took a video of the main proceedings – Sophie’s speech followed by me talking a little about the book – and you can view it on YouTube:
Then there was booksigning, chatting, bubbly and nibbles and more chatting:
… and my niece Lauren couldn’t resist starting reading!
After we’d packed everything up again, my visiting family (Mum, sister Andrea, brother-in-law Andrew, and niece Lauren) and our friend Bob came back to our place to eat pizzas and leftovers, and we chatted well in to the evening. Lauren finished reading Darkening Skies before the pizza was all gone, and then joined in the conversation. (She doesn’t take after her bookworm aunt one bit. Nope. )
All in all, a wonderful day, and many thanks to Sophie, to Fiona and Beattie from Granny Fi’s, to David from Dymocks, and to everyone who came to launch Darkening Skies. I’m blessed with wonderful friends and family.
Congratulations to the winners of my weekend giveaways of Darkening Skies!
I fired up the random number generator and asked it for a number between 1 and 20 for the entries from the newsletter subscribers and it decreed the winning number is:
The seventh person to email their entry to the newsletter contest email address was Rebekah! Congratulations Bek – I’ll email you to get your snail mail address.
The random number generator went to work again to select the winner from those who commented on the blog post:
Commenter number 4 is Sally – congratulations, Sally! I’ll email you, too.
Goodreads have also drawn the giveaway over there, so those signed books will be winging their way to the winners tomorrow.
Thank you everyone for joining in my celebrations for Darkening Skies release!
Darkening Skies will officially be out on Tuesday, so to celebrate, I’m giving away signed copies this weekend in three giveaways. So, lots of chances to win – and much more fun than the Australian election which is taking place this weekend!
One giveaway will be open only to newsletter subscribers, and the newsletter I’m sending out tomorrow morning will have the details of how to enter that. So you still have a few hours to subscribe if you wish!
The second weekend giveaway will be here on the blog – just comment on this post during the weekend about why you’d like to win Darkening Skies, or what you’ll be reading this weekend to distract yourself from the election drama, or suggest a book for readers who enjoy my books (because I can only write a book a year, and you all read faster than that!) On Monday evening (Australian eastern time) I’ll randomly draw one lucky winner from the commenters. For this giveaway and the newsletter one I will post to anywhere on the planet that has a postal service. (And if I’m organised enough, I will post them on Tuesday!)
The third giveaway is on Goodreads – unfortunately it’s only open to people in Australia, Canada, US and UK because for some techno-reason I couldn’t scroll in the Goodreads form to select more countries. If you’re a member of Goodreads, click the link below to enter.
We’re definitely on the countdown to release day! And in a week there’s the local launch, so if you live in the Armidale/Uralla area or you want to visit, please do come along.
Now, if you’ve subscribed to the newsletter, entered the Goodreads giveaway, don’t forget to leave a comment on this post - why you’d like to win, and/or good books to read when you don’t have one of mine
I’m delighted that a (very) short story I wrote some years ago for the Woman’s Day magazine is now available as an ebook.
An author almost always knows more about characters than what goes it into a finished book, especially with secondary characters. This short story allowed me to introduce readers to two characters from Dungirri’s past mentioned only briefly in As Darkness Falls. The story stands alone – you don’t need to have read As Darkness Falls, but if you have, you may remember a few sentences here and there about Bella’s father, Patrick O’Connell. I loved writing Dear Ruth and having the chance to give you a glimpse of Patrick and Ruth’s love story.
So, pour yourself a cup of tea, and imagine it’s billy tea, brewed on a campfire by a river in the Australian outback… I hope you enjoy Dear Ruth.