And the verdict is …?

It’s been three weeks since I’ve written and there are several good reasons. Let’s just say I’ve run the full gamut of emotions – happy and excited but also terribly, terribly sad. I’m not going to get into the sad part in this blog today – it’s too raw and an unfinished story. So I’ll confine myself to the bubbly parts, especially the long-overdue feedback on my manuscript assessment!

Before HWB and I headed to Sydney for the big reveal we were invited to join our great friends Hannah and Nick for their work Christmas outing – a whale-watching cruise and BBQ. Yes, the summer BBQ season has officially launched!

Hangin’ with friends

Unfortunately I was prevented from joining the gang on the boat as I was doing an interview for a new job – still with World Vision but in a role which would present exciting new challenges (still waiting for news on that one …). But HWB went out and had a fabulous time communing with dozens of dolphins – his favourite creature of all time.

Despite blustery conditions, the following BBQ down by the wharf was lots of fun and the perfect location to take in views of our fabulous inlet.

HWB and the lads were in their element charring things on the grill.

Lads 🙂

The following day we hit the long road to Sydney. It’s a five hour drive from Narooma and I was quivering with anticipation, hope and fear all the way. On the morrow I would hear – from someone who really knows – whether or not there was a glimmer of publishing hope for Under New Management.

The verdict was delivered at Writing NSW by publisher and editor Linda Funnell. And …???

She really, really liked it. “Lively and engaging writing style…page turner … topical setting … appealing protagonist … strong opening … well-handled dialogue…”. In short she skipped straight to the bit about how to get the manuscript out to agents and publishers!

Linda 🙂

As we dug into the details, Linda helpfully delivered some pithy advice on a couple of areas for fine tuning and happily confirmed my instinct to stick with the susurrus. She also advised me to retain my controversial title. Some beta readers haven’t warmed to Under New Management. Sorry guys, it’s staying – for now anyway 🙂

I floated from our session filled to the brim with renewed enthusiasm and plans to dive straight into final editing. But first HWB and I planned to make the most of our time in the big city of lights.

Since HWB hails from Malta via Melbourne and I’m an Adelaidean, neither of us know Sydney very well and on previous visits we’ve generally stayed in the tourist hub of Circular Quay and The Rocks. This time we stuck a pin in the map halfway between Writing NSW and the city centre and found ourselves at the very lovely Verona Guest House in Glebe.

Verona Guest House

After exploring this gorgeous locale, Glebe is now my new favourite Sydney destination. It’s like a village within the city, buzzing with boutique eateries, adorned with Victorian and Edwardian architecture and pulsing with a friendly, community vibe. But its best gift was a dinner with dear friends of ours, Jeremy and Bettina, who joined us for a wonderful evening at Pizzeria Alfredo.

Happy times 🙂

The fun didn’t stop there! On Saturday afternoon we shopped till we dropped (we tend to go a bit crazy when we visit places with more than one shoe emporium – Narooma’s totally gorgeous, but a teeny bit short on boutiques) and then headed to our favourite Sydney restaurant for a nosh.

Quaffing 🙂

Malabar in Darlinghurst serves up divine south Indian cuisine, with each flavoursome, aromatic dish excelling the last. I’m not generally into posting food pics (except when dining in Michelin-starred restaurants in castles in Carcassone), but Malabar’s spinach chaat deserves recording for posterity. Who knew that chickpea-battered spinach leaves could taste so ambrosial?

Spinach chaat – yum!

We rounded off our city adventure with an evening at Happy Endings Comedy Club where we laughed ourselves silly for several hours – a pre-emptive exercise that buoyed us up for what was to become a difficult week ahead.

Bright lights- the iconic Kings Cross Coke sign

I now draw a veil over the last seven days. It was precious, and painful and poignant and not to be spoken of lightly.

This afternoon as I sat quietly back at home I was filled with a deep gratitude for the great joys of life – family, love, inspiration, adventure, friends, nature. I found that it’s not possible to be entirely sad when a king parrot is chirping madly on your deck demanding that his seed dish be replenished.

Now, as the sun sets behind the spotted gums, I’ve come to a place of tranquility. I know that whatever the week ahead brings HWB and I will be ready to meet it, hand in hand …