Monday, November 24, 2014

Scarlet Stiletto Awards! Feeling like a winner just being there!

The Sisters in Crime host an annual crime short story competition exclusively for women writers called the Scarlet Stiletto Awards and this year, my entry,  "#hitandrun" , was shortlisted. Here I am with the gang of shortlisted authors!

Here's a bit of background to the competition from the website:
"In 21 years, 2,735 stories have been entered with 18 Scarlet Stiletto Award winners and other category winners going on to have novels published. Cate Kennedy, Tara Moss, Angela Savage, Josephine Pennicott, Ellie Marney, Sara Evans, Inga Simpson, Alex Palmer, Liz Filleul, Margaret Bevege, Patricia Bernard, Bronwen Blake, Jo McGahey, Cheryl Jorgensen, Kylie Fox, Simmone Howell, Sandi Wallace and Amanda Wrangles."

Readers of this blog might be familiar with my modest writing ambitions and failures (I wrote about the endless rejection here) and it was just a delight to be on an illustrious short list which included the real deal published authors like Angela Savage and Sandi Wallace. In fact - it was so delightful I think I almost smiled my face in half!

The awards were presented by the gracious actress Marta Dusseldorp, who charmed the audience with her intelligence, warmth and humour.
Judith Bridge from Perth took out the major award - The Scarlet Stiletto. Which is LITERALLY a scarlet stiletto shoe mounted as a trophy! She gave a gorgeous and hilarious speech!

It was a fabulous and slightly surreal night. Those Sisters In Crime are the most welcoming gang of criminally minded women you're ever likely to encounter. When I arrived I was ushered to a table AND given a glass of wine! I couldn't believe it. And I even got to chat to Graeme Simsion at the bar,  the creator of the wonderfully warm and funny "The Rosie Project"! I felt like a gatecrasher! (A rather conspicuous gatecrasher in those enormous blingtastic Anna Davern earrings and rather large op shopped skirt and hair dyed "psychedelic sunset" - hence the gloves for my hands psychedelic too! Eurgh!)

Firstly, the highly commended awards were given and as each writer walked to the stage their bio's were read out.  The calibre of authors was breath taking - published novelists, short story writers, creative writing teachers, journalists - which further made me feel like an out of my depth gatecrasher!  And when my name didn't come up in the highly commended, I was fairly sure I was getting zip - not that I cared, I couldn't stop giggling with just BEING THERE! I laughed clapped and hooted! I was so confident I hadn't won a thing that I was slightly distracted and chatting to the lovely woman next to me, Sue Williams, when I heard my name! Sheesh! I wasn't even sure what I'd got until I was staggering onto the stage in my six inch platform shoes, lifting my ridiculously enormous skirt so as not to do a Jennifer Lawrence style face plant (enough seersucker in that thing to clothe the whole Von Trapp Family in matching outfits!)  and there I was on stage being handed a certificate for SECOND PRIZE!! I know! Can you believe it??? And my bio mentioned crocheting plastic bags and playing tennis. Hilarious! Did I mention I felt out of my depth???

I even got to say a speech - which is all a blur thanks to nerves, adrenalin and champagne. I think and hope I said thank you to the right people and I think I told everyone to read more books by Australian Women Authors (see here my blog post about the Australian Women Writers Challenge)
At least when I was handed the microphone I didn't get mixed up that I was doing karaoke ..."and a one, two, three, four..."
So thank you Sisters in Crime and Pantera Press for my prize ($1000!!!) and for making me feel like Cinderella at the ball - even if I didn't get a shoe!

The photo above from author Anne Buist's blog post about the event.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Frocktober Day 31! Finale! My Frockiest Frock!

We're one day away from the beginning. What? The beginning? Am I confused? Topsy Turvy? Deranged? No I know what I'm talking about - we're one day away from the beginning....of PANTSVEMBER! 
Really I think frocktober has cured me of frocks. Here's my fanciest frockiest frock for the last day. It's fifties, it's frothy, it's flocked and it's pretty darn special.
Frocktober has been all of the frocktabularse fundraising fun I thought it would be and then some. I aimed to raise $500 and I've raised three times that. Your kindness and encouragement have made me feel terrific. Just goes to show what a generous community we live in and what a worthy cause ovarian cancer research is.
Because, laydeez, ovarian cancer sucks big time. It's insidious, difficult to diagnose and detect and then it kills you. One woman in Australia dies from it every ten hours. Gosh that's CRAP. What an evil slimy motherfrocker that ovarian cancer is.

The money donated to frocktober goes directly to the ovarian cancer foundation who aim to develop an early detection test. Because if you've been listening, you would know by now that a pap smear DOES NOT DETECT OVARIAN CANCER. But an early detection test would stop that nasty slimy tumour in it's tracks! 

  All the wonderful smiles, support, cheers, donations and frocking solidarity has made frocktober a joy to be part of. Special thanks to Helga for guest frocking, Kylie for cheering, Melita for inspiration, Eilis the frocktober friend, Patricia for frocking up and all the Made in Merri craft ladies. Youse all FROCK! And to each of my kids who all had to indulge me and photograph me! Thanks!
Now don't get teary, but here's a farewell frocktober film, "All Dressed up With No Place to Go"

You can still donate! HERE! 

You'll all be very relieved that you won't be seeing my mug on the internet for some time Hooray! Now...where are my tracky dacks? Oh that's right....I don't have any!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Frocktober Day 30 Cheating on the penultimate day

Doesn't get much frockier, right?
vintage 60's high necked
vintage high neck 60's backless yellow chiffon

A vintage 60's high necked backless yellow chiffon fro...hang on....
what's this? A vintage 60's high necked backless yellow chiffon frock-jumpsuit hybrid!
 Da da!

Is it cheating? Hope not! It's the penultimate donation day! You know the drill. Donate here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

frocktober day 29 picking mulberries

Ripe mulberries....

remind me of days by the creek...

bare feet on rough bark branches and hot sticky juice....

feasting and carrying home buckets full...
for mum to make into pies and jam while chiding us for our stained state.

Here. Try some!

Frocking the 70's floral maxi dress with pale blue platform shoes and floppy hat.

Donate HERE to frocktober - You know it's a good cause, right? Big thanks to Rosemary and Rosemarie and Clare who have donated in the last few days. The support from everyone has been so heartening. Even the kids have noticed how the frocks make everyone smile and chat!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Frocktober Day 28 "love is a battlefield"

Well I'm dragging out the big frocks from the top of the wardrobe this week - 

 This little number used to be blue like this one frock this town posted the other day -

 but I spray painted it copper around 10 years ago. Now the copper has worn off it has a kind of post apocalyptic '80's Pat Benetar vibe which I am not adverse to at all.

Me and spray painting frocks goes back to my teens when I spray painted a friend's mum's wedding dress black, cut it up and wore it to the school formal. With electric blue hair. And leopard print tights...

But I'm so much classier all these years later *cough cough* in my frock and suede boots! Yikes! look how far I've come....hmmm...

I've spray painted a few frocks in my time. You need to do it well in advance of wearing it though because the fumes can make you keel over. It's a bit anti social.

Now no pressure but there are only FOUR DAYS LEFT!!!!! Do I need to say it all again? Donate HERE if you can. It's a frockin' good cause because ovarian cancer is a silent killer that needs research funding. Donate for all your sisters, aunts, nieces, daughters, mothers and girlfriends! Let's work out a way to detect this early and save women's lives. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Frocktober Day 27 Rainy Days and Mondays....

 Last night a huge storm hit Melbourne. It was a very dark morning.... But the sun came out briefly and Joe and I dashed out and took some photos.

Today's frock made a guest appearance last year for Melita's frocktober. My mum bought it for me. It's such a lovely 1940's frock - grape coloured crepe with delicate beading and a little tie back waist. Wearing it brings back romantic memories of meeting my man in the city, back in the early days of our courting,  and sitting on the grass full of nerves and a heart doing cartwheels.

We're on the home stretch in the frocktober fundraising fun. This month hasn't just been about $$$ though. It's about awareness too. The small amount of research and knowledge I have of ovarian cancer and a day of threatening dark skies has put me in a sombre mood.

In the U.S they spread the word to B-E-A-T ovarian cancer by sharing the early warning signs. This is from a blog I found:

B = bloating that is persistent and does not come and go
E = eating less and feeling fuller
A = abdominal or pelvic pain
T = trouble with urination (urgency or frequency)
"Women who have these symptoms 12 days in a calendar month should see their doctor. And when they see their doctor they should be prepared to push for adequate testing because such symptoms can be hard to work with. Or, like me, you might have none of them and the cancer has already metastasized to the lungs. Early detection is hard. Prevention is hard. We just don’t have enough tools yet. "

I also found the terrific Susan Gubar  -a feminist literary academic who wrote a memoir about her ovarian cancer treatment.
I'll leave you with this is a quote from Susan Gubar.

"Ovarian-cancer treatment has not changed much from the nineteen-seventies. Much more money must be poured into research; the F.D.A. has not approved a new drug for ovarian cancer in the past twenty years. Of course, women need to heed early warning signs—a feeling of satiety, indigestion, bloating, urinary problems, constipation—but these often are so subtle or so ordinary that they can be easily ignored. The CA-125 blood test only works for some women, not for many others. Because ovarian cancer is often only detected in its later stages, it becomes a death sentence.
What is needed is a detection tool. Women whose ovarian cancer is found in an early stage can be cured. But they are in a small minority of those diagnosed."


Donate to frocktober if you can! AN EARLY DETECTION TEST IS THE KEY! Remember there are still craft packs, a Mexican pack and a gorgeous Betty Jo Design brooch that you can "buy" with your donation. Just leave a message on facebook, blog, twitter or the frocktober donation page!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Frocktober Day 26 In The Mood For Love

I'm wearing my "In The Mood For Love" dress. It's a film that swept me away when I saw it in 2000. It sank me deep into emotion, washed me along with sumptuous visuals and buoyed me up with a rich soundtrack.

The ever graceful and divine Maggie Cheong wears various cheongsams throughout the movie, but they are in western mid century prints. The combination was breath taking.

When I spied this frock at the recent Retro Star warehouse sale, half hidden in a pile of discarded garments in a dark corner of a make shift change room, well I crushed it to my chest like a long lost friend.

I'll never quite have the poise, grace, figure (or lovely long supple neck!) of Maggie Cheong, but I'll swan about in my green fifties rose print cheongsam with Nat King Cole's "Quizás, quizás, quizás" in my head.

I was asked a billion times where I was going! To the races? Nope - only to the supermarket, the doctors, a garage sale and a school fete. But I told EVERYONE about frocktober. You all know about it right? It's day 26 for goodness sake - but I'll keep saying it - DONATE HERE! All funds go direction to ovarian cancer research - a more than worthy cause. It's a killer disease and we could save lives with an early detection test. Thanks to my sister outlaw Leanne who donated! 

And as we have already done movie frocks, what are your favourite songs about dresses? She wore Blue Velvet?  Devil with a blue dress on?Can you think of any others????