Thursday, 26 March 2015

I'm on Facebook!

Because all the cool kids are on Tumblr.

Have you liked my Heidi Kneale, Author facebook page? It's got this really cool graphic:

It's worth liking for this quote alone.

Question of the Day:

When you want to escape reality, what's your Go-To book?

The comments await your escape plan.

Her Grace loves the escapist nature of fiction most of all.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A to Z Challenge: Theme? What Theme?

For the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I have chosen not to go with a particular theme, but indulge in my usual TASE Day randomness.

TASE stands for Talk About Something Else. Back when this blog had more of a structured theme, TASE Day was a day when we posted off-theme.

TASE Day is the anti-theme.

So for the Month of April, I shall be rambling on about whatever tickles my fancy, including some posts that fit in to the usual theme of this blog: Romance and the readers & writers who love it. After all, if I stuck purely with TASE Day, that would make it a theme, wouldn't it?

Her Grace is Random like that.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Top Ten Excuses for My Next Book Being Late

GloamingPowder understands.

  1. Oh, midnight your time. I thought you meant the deadline was midnight my time...
  2. My printer ran out of ink. (Ignore the fact that all my mss are emailed nowadays.)
  3. My semester's final essay was due at the same time. (Ain't no way I'm risking failure at school, especially when I'm paying them.)
  4. The hospital had no wifi, so I couldn't email it to you.
  5. Oh, I've got until Friday... what do you mean, Friday was yesterday?
  6. Teething baby.
  7. Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam.
  8. I gave up deadlines for Lent.
  9. Stupid #%$*! story's not coming together!
  10. Zzzzz.... Zzzzzz.... Zzzzzz....

Her Grace has too many deadlines at the moment

Monday, 16 March 2015

TASE Day: Quiz answers - Storm or Bushfire?

Storm or Bushfire?

Did you have fun?

Bushfires are a regular feature of the Australian summer. It's not uncommon to have a bushfire plume on the horizon nearly every week of summer.

However... two unusual things happened this year. First, we had very unusual weather, in that we had rainstorms. Rain! We never get rain in the summer. So some of these pictures are of genuine clouds and rain. (Ohmigosh! Rain!)

Second, we had a firebug deliberately setting fires in our area. This is a Very Bad Thing. There are very stiff penalties for arson, because bushfires are extremely dangerous. They can present a real danger to property and lives.

So, here are our storms and bushfires.

1. 5 March 2015: bushfire. This fire was deliberately lit about 25km from where I live. In Western Australia, when the hot, dry East wind blows off the Nullarbor plain, it can fan flames, and send great plumes of smoke across to the coast. First Ladyship's train from school was delayed because of this fire.


2. 25 Feb 2015: storm. These are ordinary cumulonimbus clouds. Perth sits on the coast next to the Indian Ocean. Cool, moist air rolls in during the afternoon (aka the Fremantle Doctor). It rolls across the coastal plain until it hits the Stirling Ranges (they call it 'mountains' but it's really only a scarp). The air lifts, and creates these fluffy clouds that sometimes drop much-needed rain into our reservoirs.

It was unseasonably humid during February this year.


3. 3 Feb 2015: bushfire This is the Bureau of Meteorology's Serpentine radar. Normally this tracks rainfall, but sometimes it will pick up other atmospheric disturbances, such as this bushfire south of Marradong, which burned uncontrollably for about five days.

The other colourful bits on the radar are genuine, very much out-of-season rainstorms.


4. 4 Feb 2015. Bushfire or storm?  It's both! This is a pyrocumulus cloud, which is generated over areas of extreme temperature, such as a volcano, or in this case, the Marradong bushfire. To give you a sense of just how big this cloud is, Marradong is 80km south southeast of my photographic location. If you guessed either storm or bushfire, you get a point. If you guessed both, you get three points.


5. 5 Feb 2015: storm. Okay, this wasn't even a storm, but very low-lying clouds of humidity that rolled in one afternoon. These clouds were almost low enough to be considered fog. These kinds of low-lying clouds are almost unheard of in this part of the world.


6. 27 Feb 2015: bushfire. This was the Safety Bay bushfire, another one deliberately lit by the Perth firebug. This was shot at the Safety Bay Exit of the Kwinana Freeway. This fire is literally burning on the other side of this intersection. If you look real close, you can see the green-vested police officer, who has blocked off the road. If you look even closer to the right side of the picture, just above the guardrails, you can see a touch of orange flame.

The entire freeway was closed due to bushfire. This is us taking the detour.


7. My, how angry and dark the Third of March is! (2015) storm, yet another unseasonable bout of rain.

Perth doesn't get much rain, so when we do, we're quite happy about it. When we get rain during our parched summers, we are doubly-happy. I love summer rain. It's a shame I don't get to see it terribly often.


8. 2 Feb 2015. storm for Culford. Armadale and Ocean Reef are also getting a pounding. These same fronts also rolled over Culford about an hour later.

Did you notice the Marradong bushfire in the lower bit of the map?  Despite the week of rain we had, Marradong burned for a rather long time.


9. 28 Jan 2015: simple afternoon storm.  These are excellent examples of a Really Hot & Humid Day. The temperature this day hit about 40C (105F) and was rather humid. When the Doctor rolls through then hits the Stirling scarp, these clouds will billow up. Sometimes they bring welcome rain.


10. 3 Feb 2015: bushfire. This is the aftermath of the Safety Bay bushfire (see Question 6).


Tally up your score and let me know how you went in the comments.

Do you have an impressive storm or bushfire picture? Please share!

Her Grace enjoys watching both storms and bushfires, albeit from a bit of a distance.

Monday, 9 March 2015

TASE Day: Quiz time! Storm or Bushfire?

Let's have fun with a quiz called--
Storm or Bushfire?

Below are a set of pictures. You need to tell me if it's a storm (or a normal cloud) or an Australian bushfire (what you Northern Hemisphere folk might call a forest fire). Stick your guesses in the comments.

Note: any pictures taken from a car window were not taken by Your Truly, Her Grace but by my automotive co-pilot Second Ladyship.

I'll post the correct answers next week.

So, is this a storm or bushfire?

1. This panoramic shot was taken 5 March 2015:

2. This billowy wonder was shot 25 Feb 2015:

3. This radar was captured by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology on 3 Feb 2015. What do you think the green circled disturbance is?

4. Captured this shot in the parking lot at work on 4 Feb 2015. That's quite a billowy... ? on the horizon.

5. And this was taken in the afternoon of 5 Feb 2015.

6. Driving home 27 February:

7. My, how angry and dark the Third of March is! (2015)

8. Another BOM radar shot 2 Feb 2015. Poor Culford. Should they bring out the brollies or get the heck out of Dodge?

9. And this one is 28 Jan 2015, looking east to the hills.

10. After the storm, 3 Feb 2015:

Her Grace enjoys watching both storms and bushfires, albeit from a bit of a distance.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Friday Interviews!

You might have noticed I interview fellow authors on Fridays.

If you're interested in being interviewed, drop me a line. You don't have to be a bestseller or even widely-published. I might even intervew a pre-published author from time to time, where we talk shop.

I'm also open to blog topics you'd like to see me cover. Otherwise, I'm happy to ramble on about the interesting stuff in my life. Long live TASE Day.

Meanwhile, this is the World's Most Boring Cat:

Her Grace admires the wisdom of sharing knowledge.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Back to School for the Astronomy Major

I find looking up into a star-filled night sky romantic. On a warm summer night I will often lay outside and gaze at the stars.

Could do it all night if I didn't keep falling asleep.

For me, university semester starts this week. This semester, my course: Stars and the Milky Way Galaxy.

Astronomers have a streak of romance in their souls. The mnemonic for the star types on the Main Sequence is "Oh, be a fine girl. Kiss me."

This semester's term paper is on either Dark Matter or Gamma Ray Bursts. I'm leaning towards Gamma Ray Bursts.

And now I leave you with a beautiful shot of the Andromeda Galaxy. It's a shame it's so faint in the night sky. If it was bright enough to grace the human eye, it would appear larger than the full moon.

Enjoy, and think romantic thoughts.
Adam Evans took this shot with an hydrogen-alpha filter.

Here is a big zoom video of one of the most detailed images we have.

If it were bright enough, this is how big Andromeda would look from Earth.

However due to the inverse square law, it's not terribly bright. The core, the brightest part, sits about Magnitude 3.something, so it can be seen, to a degree, by the naked eye, just off the square of Pegasus. Andromeda is the farthest object we can see with the naked eye. Impressed yet?

Her Grace shall always love the stars. True perspective comes from studying the universe.