What do San Diego and Kakadu have in common?

It was amazing to see animals in the wild after having been so recently to the San Diego Zoo.

Here is is the Plumed Whistling Duck we saw in the Kakadu park in Australia. Not a perfect photo, they were far away and suffered camera jiggle, but this is one of my favorite photos anyway. It was just the feeling I had being there among so much bird life. I wasn’t sure if the amazing displays of birds would be present during the dry season, but I wasn’t disappointed.


Here is the photo of the whistling duck from my San Diego Zoo, May 6th post (https://niccicarreraromance.com/2017/05/06/san-diego-zoo-birds/) clearly a different species, but related.


There was enough water in the Kakadu to see wildlife without being overwhelmed by monsoons (and thrown overboard to swim with crocs). I don’t think they do tours in the wet season, or “The Wet,” as locals call it. Here are some shots showing the environment in The Dry.



As you can see, it’s still not so dry! These are fantastic wetlands. Let’s hope they continue to be because they are vital habitat for almost 300 species of birds.

I hope you have a good Monday, or a good Monday evening for my Australian friends and a good week ahead. I will be continuing to share photos from our mad dash around Australia, so stay tuned!

Day 3, 2015, writing musings

2015 so far is very good! We’re just three days in, but each day is a mini lifetime.

How are you faring in 2015 so far? Well, I hope.

I am busy working with John Holland to finish the middle-grade fantasy we are co-authoring. Here’s my Aussie friend and co-author:

John Holland
John Holland

Here I am right now (you can see the WordPress editor on my monitor). That is my new plant, a lucky bamboo supposed to bring prosperity, fortune and happiness.

Author at work 2
Nicci Carrera

Our middle-grade book is coming along well.

When I edited the last of John’s four novellas, Left of the Rising Sun, I realized he has a great voice for kids. One of the things I like the most is how much humor comes out in all of John’s books.

He allowed his mind to drift off into daydreams, a distraction from the danger.

When I’m grown right up into a big tall man, I’ll come back here and bring a girl. That girl will probably be Sally. I’ll show her how tough I am. She’ll be amazed by the way I catch food, and I’ll be really handsome, too!

Buck wasn’t sure he was going to be that tall or big, though. His mother was short and a little plump. Dad was average height and slim.

But maybe I’ll take after my great grandad! He was a big tall man and he was a great man, too. He used to captain a pearl lugger at Broome. Probably was a pirate as well. He certainly looked a bit like a pirate in the old photos his grandmother had shown him. A big man in a captain’s cap smoking a pipe. He looked fierce and very tough in the photos. I think I will look a bit like him when I’m big.

Or I might become a boxer or buckjump rider. Dad buys The Ring Magazine and Hoofs and Horns. The life of those people in the magazines would be great. Both are dangerous sports, but I’ll be big and tough enough not to feel danger. I’ll just laugh quietly, and everyone will cheer at how good I am. Sally will be in the crowd. She’ll be so proud of me! She’ll want me to marry her, and later on, I will. But first I’ll tell her to go away, because she used to like Reggie more than me.

She’ll cry and go on a bit about how sorry she is, and she’ll say that Reggie isn’t as big and handsome as I am. So I’ll relent and say, okay we can get married.

I didn’t have a lot of experience with kids, but when my husband and I met John Holland and his family, we were introduced to some of his grandchildren. Spending time with them made me want to write for them, and edit for them, when the material is appropriate, like Left of the Rising Sun. John’s grandchildren were thrilled to receive their granddad’s signed book as a Christmas present.

All of this led to our decision to write a middle-grade book together, using the world-building manual my husband helped us create for the book we wrote together last year. (My husband is an avid science fiction reader, and…well…just really smart. He’s a big part of our team.)


I’m really gratified and thrilled by the Amazon reviews for Left of the Rising Sun. One of the reviewers called it a “deceptively simple book.” That’s how I felt about the book, because the writing is straight-forward in style. That style allowed me to enjoy seeing Buck’s character and his growth as he was set against trials and when he found himself responsible for another person.

As a writer and as an editor, I have to tell you, that’s the real joy, when a reader says she or he saw and felt what you thought and felt about the story.

If you want to check out John’s books, please see the right frame. Click on any of the book covers that look interesting, and you will be delivered to the book’s Amazon page.

I’ll close with a mountain shot I took over the holiday.


I hope you enjoy the third day of the shiny new year.


Book review, A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute


Having a book loaned to you by a friend is special. When a person loans you a book they think you will enjoy, they are matching the wealth of their own experience with their understanding of you. This was loaned from a critique partner who is a very special kind of friend. A critique partner knows what is closest to a writer’s heart, because she knows what the writer is writing about and therefore passionate about.

My friend and her husband worked hard to find the book in the shelves of their new home when we were visiting for dinner. Because they had just moved, their home is still settling, and it took some looking to find it, but they were determined I shouldn’t leave empty handed! He found the book and gave it to my friend and she held it to her heart as she told me a bit of what it was about.   

I am co-authoring a novel with an Australian poet and my husband and I recently spent time in Townsville so that we could meet and work together in person. This novel mentions Townsville and goes into a lot of detail about Queensland, and some about the Northern Territory. The book starts with the remarkable survival of the main character of a death march she and many other prisoners took through Malaysia during World War II. Though a heavy topic, Shute handles this part of the story with a matter-of-fact tone devoid of emotional manipulation and it is based on a true story, though the actual march took place in Sumatra, not Malaysia. The way Mr. Shute handled the story, in this simple, straightforward manner, made this harrowing part of the tale interesting and not too horrific.

The rewards for reading this part of the story are great. The novel contains my favorite story line, the triumph of hard working people of strong character overcoming circumstances to create something of meaning and lasting value.

This book was copyrighted and first published in 1950 by William Heinemann, Ltd. I read the edition published in 2000 by House of Stratus, Ltd. The copyright is held by the Trustees of the Estate of Nevil Shute Norway. I mention this because the copyright page is a good reminder to authors to make sure you take special care to provide for your estate. There’s a lot to consider and prepare for if you want your chosen heirs to continue to benefit from your work. I attended a lecture on this topic recently at a Romance Writers of America (RWA) meeting and was regaled with tales of literary estates ranging from the good, the bad and the ugly. This recent re-release of this classic work looks like Shute Norway’s estate planning fell in the “good” category.

You need to designate who will be responsible for handling future publishing of your work as well as who will receive the royalties. They can be different people. Your work will live on long after you are gone and can be a source of pride and happiness, or pain and disappointment.

No, I have not set up estate planning for my published work yet, which at this time consists of my romantic short story! But I do plan to handle this if and when more work is published. But regardless of the size and significance of your work, you might want to think about how you want future royalties paid out, who will inherit the copyright and future royalties, who will be responsible for future releases and subsidiary products, and who will handle your online presence, like your websites and Facebook page or if you want those shut down.

A Town Like Alice is such a good example of how your book will continue on and influence more people than you can ever know. This book was a marvelous experience for me, I was moved, I learned a great deal, and it opened up my mind to new possibilities. And the author died 53 years ago!

Lighthouses of Victoria, Australia, 1, Split Point

Leanne (of Leanne Cole Photography fame) took us to this fabulous spot. I must admit that at the time I was dizzy from travel and not really able to absorb everything. I mean Melbourne and The Great Ocean Road are somewhat overwhelming. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much mental alertness to point a camera and click. Now I can go back and enjoy some of the nuances of the experiences.

Looking at these photos reminds me of the feeling I had at this light house. The feeling was cozy. Some lighthouses feel lonely to me.

I wonder if you will get that feeling from the photos.

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