Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fabulous Five!

By Anna Campbell

After many years of writing from the corner of my Sydney bedroom, with a gorgeous view of the back of the next-door block of flats, it's been wonderful settling into my current office. A whole room! Whoopee! Big storage cupboards! Yeehaw! Filing cabinets, thanks to a thoughtful present from my brother for my birthday! Yippeeeee! Not to mention, two desks, a big bookcase and a view. I'm as happy as that infamous pig in mud!

In celebration of my beloved new environment, I thought I'd pick five things that accompany me every day as I work, and share them with you. Little things but with a big impact for me - they never fail to make me smile.

Firstly, I have my Newfoundland puffin which my good friend and fellow travel nut Lindsay gave me after she did an amazing trip to Alaska and Canada. I've only ever seen puffins once, when I did a wildlife tour from the Isle of Mull in Scotland. They're amazing birds, full of vivid personality. It was a magical day visiting the Treshnish Isles and seeing them nesting and squabbling over each other and setting up for the breeding season. And my toy puffin is graced with a Beatles badge which my critique partner's daughter gave me. Somehow Puffin and Badge belong together (and I've always been a Beatles fan so that brings some lovely associations too).

Then there's a fairly new addition to my menagerie. A lucky bamboo plant, a gift from our own Bandita Buddy Amy Andrews. So far, it's still thriving in spite of my usual toxic touch with green things inside. Long may he reign and spread his good fortune!

I have a couple of cat figurines that I've collected. I love the wonderful, elegant lines of our feline friends. Two in particular are favorites (I count these as one choice - so sue me!). The upright one is a copy of an Ancient Egyptian cat from the Metropolitan Museum in New York. He always reminds me how magical I found that city during that first visit - in spite of the fact that I was as sick as a dog (not a cat!) and jetlagged beyond reason. The curled up cat is carved from Welsh slate and comes from a gift shop in Cheddar Gorge in Somerset where I set Untouched. He's so smooth and cool and he sits perfectly in the palm of my hand. And he's so realistic, you can almost hear him purr.

Next on this tour of my favorite things is a gorgeous card that Amanda, one of my oldest friends, gave me to inspire me. She's not a romance reader but she's obviously gathered that sometimes the Frog Prince is the base fairytale for my stories and the heroes need to go through a major character arc to transform into the princes that they really are. The bug-eyed frog always gives me such a giggle! And with that tongue hanging out, you know he's more than ready to fall in love with the wonderful heroine I'm going to give him!

The last of my fabulous five is a little souvenir I've had since 1986 and he's gone everywhere with me. Jonathan, a friend of mine when I lived in London, gave it to me after he went to the Domesday Book Exhibition in Winchester. This cute little guy's name is Rufus and he's the poor monk who did all the writing for the Domesday Book. For those who don't know, the Domesday Book was basically a catalogue of everything William the Conqueror owned in his new kingdom. After his hard day's writing, Rufus used to down a horn of good French wine and drop off to sleep. Know just how he feels (although my wine is generally a local product!).

So do you have anything that shares your days with you and makes you smile? Is it the object itself or the associations it brings to mind? I don't think it's accidental that most of my objects are presents from people I care about or souvenirs of places I love. Come on! Let us into your working world! Spill the beans!

And don't miss the contest fellow Bandita Christine Wells and I are currently running. Just tell us which historical romance heroine you would be and you're in the running for some great prizes including a signed hardcover copy of Untouched and an ARC of Christine's next release, The Dangerous Duke, a signed copy of Scandal's Daughter, a beautiful diary and a stack of signed coverflats. Just visit the contest page of my website for details! Good luck!


Gillian Layne said...

Love that frog!

Gillian Layne said...

Well, whaddaya know... a GR! And I was just cruising the web for some 17th century erotic poetry (research, ya know) and thought I'd pop by and see who was awake. ;)

My youngest painted a rock to look like a ladybug. It sits on my lamp and makes me smile. And I have a stuffed grey felt bunny, holding his own little wooden bunny, propped on the Victrola that's next to my desk. A copy of Julie Andrew's book Simon's Gift is sitting up next to him, so I can just enjoy the exquisite illustrations when I look up. A flippin' big pile of Regency research books.

Finally, I've framed a copy of a Mary Engelbreit print that says "Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training." It's a picture of a teacher telling a messy child to stay within the lines.

Gillian Layne said...

Congrats on the office, lady! Be sure and save room for a little tray to hold a champagne flute and bon-bons ;), you know, necessary romance writer equipment....

Anna Campbell said...

Gillian!!! Forget the frog. You got a ROOSTER!!!

Yeah, the frog always gives me a giggle. He just looks so darned eager. I don't think the princess got much sleep once he turned into a prince ;-)

Ooh, love 17th century erotic poetry. You meet the most interesting people in the lair!

Sounds like you have your talismans just like I do. What a great selection!

Anna Campbell said...

Snork to the champagne flute - as long as it's full of orange juice. I always THINK I'm writing better when I'm drinking. Sadly, I eventually sober up and the cruel reality hits! But rather like the idea of the bonbons...

Christine Wells said...

I love your collection, Anna and I'm very envious of your office space!

As Jeanne observed when she analysed my work area, I don't like a lot of clutter around me when I write, but I do have a special friend--a plush Tigger toy that my dear CP gave me--mainly to remind me not to be so much of an Eeyore. *g* He makes me smile.

Christine Wells said...

Oh, congrats, Gillian! My goodness, you're quick off the mark.

Mmm, bonbons. I definitely write better with chocolate!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey,I've seen Tigger. He's gorgeous! He has a glint in his eye like my frog, in fact ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, do you want to tell the punters something about the Dangerous Duke seeing I'm pimping our contest?

Christine Wells said...

Thanks for mentioning our contest, Anna. I'm so excited about it because all of these wonderful prizes go to the winner, including a to-die-for HARDCOVER of Untouched and a rare signed ARC of The Dangerous Duke. (In fact it might be the only arc I give away--they're like hen's teeth!)

The Dangerous Duke is about a duke who accidentally steals a lady's erotic diary. My hero, Max, is a former government agent who is ruthless about getting the job done, but when he tangles with Lady Kate Fairchild, he's met his match! If you'd like to read an excerpt, visit my website at

--End of commercial---*g*

p226 said...

There's a picture of my boy on my desk. That's about it. My desktop wallpaper on my computer's my favorite rifle. Everything else is just clutter, mess, electro-gizmo parts... I'm very bad at maintaining a good working environment. And there's just not much there that says anything about me other than "slob."

Oh, there is a great pic of my wife on the wall, too.

I should probably follow your lead. Put some objects here and there that actually inspire thought. And clean the place up. I'd probably function better. Glad you have it! Maybe one day I will.

terrio said...

I thought for sure at 1 in the morning I might have a chance. If only I wasn't posting my own blog I might have nabbed him!

I love the tour and all your favorite things. Funny enough I started working on moving my writing space around just a little while ago. I'll do the heavy lifting tomorrow (since it's my entire bedroom) but I'm hoping the change of scenery and cleaning up the clutter will get my writing unstuck. I think my muse is a neat freak!

For me the things I keep around are ones that remind me of someone or something special. I have a strange array of knick knacks but each has a tiny place in my heart. I guess they are the tangible symbol of the memories.

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, there's a short trailer to that commercial. I've read The DD and it's a great book, really sexy and witty and full of the warmth that made Scandal's Daughter so wonderful.

P226, hmm, guns on your screensaver, huh? Actually I have a wonderful lighthouse in Maine with a big wave crashing up against it. But to each his or her own, I guess! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Terrio, sorry you missed the rooster! As you say, at that hour of the morning, you should have been in like Flynn! What a wonderful way of putting it - that's how I feel about my knickknacks too. And believe me, there are MORE!!! But it somehow turns my workspace into a place that I want to be in. And it brings the spirit of all those people I associate with the bits and pieces closer. Is that too airy fairy? I hope you have the same success with your office/bedroom! Are you on Yo Ho today?

terrio said...

Forgot to say congrats, Gillian. And I love the mention of bonbons as my peg board is filled with cards and pictures my friends sent me after some surgery last year. A bunch of us girls from the Eloisa James bulletin board call ourselves the Bon Bons. So, I always have my Bon Bons with me! LOL! And they are much less fattening than the other kind. *g*

terrio said...

Yes, Anna. I post our latest Hottie Crew Member of the week every Sunday. If you want to start your week off right with the perfect inspiration, you should really come check them out.

They are mouth watering to say the least! LOL! Sorry, my commercial over too. And I know just what heroine I would be. Must enter the contest.

Anna Campbell said...

Does a pirate have a peg leg to go with her peg board?

And seriously, if I wrote with chocolate, I'd need TWO seats to get me to San Francisco! So I think I like your bon bons the best too!

Anna Campbell said...

Just been over, my piratical friend. Hubba hubba! To think P226 wastes his screensaver on military hardware! ;-)

terrio said...

Astute point about the background. Though I don't think p226 would see it the same way we do.

I have last week's hottie - a total angel - on my desktop (literally I wish!) right now. You should look him up. And I have a ton where these boys came from. You let me know and I'll hook you up. *w*

Anna Campbell said...

Terrio, thank you, but I think more of what you've got at Yo Ho, A Writer's Life for Me is likely only to distract me! A girl needs to concentrate on her writing some time, you know ;-)

p226 said...


I have an editor on my laptop that has a transparent background. So, if I want to, I can look through the text to the image behind it. If it were some hot girl, I'd never be able to focus. So I use a solid background in the editor.

I'm jealous of AC's office. Which is to say, I'm jealous of AC having the will to create/keep an office like that. Though, if I could post images in the comments, I'd show you guys a screeshot of my "digital office." That's to say my laptop. And I spend an enormous part of my life there. That's the equivalent for me of AC's office with all of the significant items around.

Nancy said...

Gillian! Way to go on the rooster! I like the caption on your poster, and the ladybug rock sounds really cool.

Anna, I envy you the bamboo. I'm also generally "toxic"--loved the way you put that!--with plants. My grandmother had African violets on her windowsill, and they were always thick with purple and lavender and pink blooms. Mine lasted two weeks, if we interpret "lasted" generously. I've settled for plastic violets in a cup, a little thing that once belonged to my mom.

You and Christine are very tidy in your space. I'm anything but. It sounds as if my space and p226's and Terrio's have that in common. I clean up periodically and even throw things away, but it never seems to last. I could almost swear the papers clone themselves when I'm out of the room!

Terrio, I also have a "strange array of knick-knacks," as you put it, that mean something to me. It's hard to single one out.

Anna Campbell said...

P226, believe me after all the strange places I've lived, this office is something I can hardly believe I've got too! Makes me feel like a grown-up! And it's wonderful having a workspace that's actually designated and designed as a workspace, if you know what I mean. Every other workspace I've had has had to double as something else. Or usually several something elses.

Nancy, I'm not by nature tidy but I think I love this space so much, I actually make a bit of an attempt to put stuff away. And actually having adequate storage sure helps with that. As you can probably tell, I LURVE my office ;-)

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Anna, can I quote you on that trailer? Oops, I already have your quote on my cover, don't I?*g* Thanks so much, I'm very pleased you liked The Dangerous Duke.

Helen said...

Congrats Gillian on the GR have fun together

Anna I love all of your special keepsakes they are beautiful and full of memories I have a lot of little things that are special to me that are always close by I have a hanky box that one of my Aunties made me for Chrissy when I was about 10 she made it with cards covered in plastic and blanket stitched together with a lid that the card says Just For You. I collect elephants and have them all around the house with the trunks facing doors for luck and little things from my Mum and Grandmother. And I too have a couple of cat figurines around that are very much like cats that I have had.
Loved the post and your office is lovely.
BTW I am reading your book Christie and loving it.
Have Fun

Gillian Layne said...

Christine, your books sounds decadent! Can't wait to read it. :) Dear Anna, I KNOW yours is---but to see it in hardback--wow!

Nancy, oh my gosh, my grandma had African violets too, and they were so perfect. You've just brought the best memories flooding back this morning, thank you!

I'm going to try and go back to bed, now that pup's been out and back in. GR rounded up the kittens, who were over the moon to see him again, and they're messing about in the kitchen. I had my hopes up for breakfast in bed, but so far the only thing I've gotten is a frozen daiquiri.

Donna MacMeans said...

Ouch - the internet hate my rather lengthy post detailing the bits and pieces of souvenirs around and about my work area. This one, then, will be brief. I have dangling tinkerbell fairies and stars over my computer. Pirate chests, crowned frogs, corsets and Scarlett O'Hara on a shelf. Postcards and book cover magnets cover my file cabinets. While numerous mobiles and a giant Chinese dragon kite hover overhead. What can I say? I live in clutter. I guess that's why I write Victorian *g*.

Donna MacMeans said...

Forgot to add - Your office sounds lovely, Anna - and looks so clean (I'm jealous!).

Way to go Gillian on the GR. There's a tenuous connection between the rooster and erotic poetry, but we won't go there *g*.

Tiffany Kenzie said...

I just need my music. And a blanky, cause I'm always cold, and my feather pillow to lean back against (I have what I refer to as a 'writing' chair in my room). And ton's of books on the radiator stand. I keep the heat off in my room (yes it gets cold in the dead of winter) so their isn't any damage to my books. I keep my old erotica there.

And I totally love the frog. and the puffin. I've never seen one in real life. But I will do the far east coast tour one day, I've only made it as far as Halifax in my domestic travels.

One day I'll graduate to an office. When I get a bigger flat! But for now, it's me and the writing chair that I gotta fight the cat for space on.

Joan said...

Anna, lovely post and I am in great envy over your bamboo plant. (Do they grow in 20 degree F weather?)

I like puffins too. I saw them first at the Baltimore Aquarium years ago when it was brand new. I could watch them for hours.

Sitting here at my cluttered desk/office space I look up and see a framed picture my goddaughter gave me that says "Take the Time to Dream". A picture of her, her Mom my BFF and me at her wedding in a frame rimmed with friendship sayings.

Then there are the animals: Beanie babie sized dragon, polar bear (I love polar bears), My Golden Heart goat, the penguins and a hedgehog...with Romance Bandits, RWA, TGN and my CP TL Gray's book button "Object of His Affection" buttons stuck all over him.

My lucky stone from Doolin, Ireland. My Irish flag.

Fill up the shelves and you only have to dust twice a year :-)

My computer wallpaper is of rolling green hills....guess where it is :-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, what a fun topic, Anna! And I too love your office space! I keep sentimental and odd objects around my writing space. Since I share it with my Accountant DH, I try to keep the visual clutter down. It drives him bats. I tell him not to look at it! Ha! I keep a skull (I use it in workshops) a bunch of research books, pictures of the family, a witch hat that says "A Little Wicked" my calendar and iPod. Can't live without music. My screen saver scrolls pictures of...well everything, from cars with guns mounted on top to the kids (w/o guns), the dogs, the vacations. I also have lots and lots of pics of houses. When my son wanted to know why we were stopping to take pictures of a random house on Cape Cod, my DH said: "Some people collect baseball cards, son. Mama would like to collect houses. Since we can't afford twenty houses, she takes pictures." Heehee. In my own defense, I collect them as inspiration. I like to know where my hero/heroine would live. :> (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) to see if I can win something...I mean off to see if I can decide what Historical Heroine I might be...

Keira Soleore said...

My tally...

1. I have a Jane Austen action figure standing next to Nora Roberts' bobblehead doll

2. Two book thongs made by a close online friend, a filligree bookmark by Annie West, and a beaded bookmark made by an author at RWA

3. One mug from Candice Hern and another that has a hilarious quote by Hemmingway

4. Two Ghiradelli chocolate cans by Candice Hern and two Valrhona chocolate tins by a very close friend of mine

5. One card picture showing off the beauty of Hawaii. Two small pictures of oceans and beaches. One BICHOK (bum in chair hand on keyboard) charm by Ninth Moon, One postcard of Blue Medicine Buddha.

Anna Sugden said...

Great post Foanna ... I am so envious of your office!

One of the things I'm looking forward to when we move home is my own office ... right now, I'm in a corner of the living room.

I like to work in 'organised clutter' - tidiness freaks me out! (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it *g*).

I'm surrounded by pics and objects that have special meaning to me. One that will make the Banditas smile is a very special gift from my dear friend Christyne Butler - it's a little Heidi the sheep that baas! Christyne gave her to me in 06 when I finalled in the GH and I have carried her with me to conferences ever since - to bring me luck. Heidi will come to SF with me too *g*

Kate Carlisle said...

Ooh, I'm so jealous of your lovely office, Anna! And your fave things are wonderful. Thanks for the tour!

I'm surrounded by toys. Are we surprised? LOL. They help me think and plan and plot (that's my story, anyway). Let's see...I've got a slinky, a squeaky dolphin, a beach ball, a wooly willy, an etch-a-sketch, one of those magnetic gyro wheelie things, a magic wand.

I have a frog prince, too! He's very cute and royal and he's got a wide, satisfied grin on his face. Plus books everywhere, the three red roses my chapter gave me for my first sale, a fleur de lis paperweight from Versailles, a baby Buddha. Photos, maps, stacks of research papers. Yeah, it's a mess. LOL

Good job snagging the rooster, Gillian!

jo robertson said...

Anna, cute, darling, and (as my dad used to say) ugly as a mud fence (in a sweet way, of course!).

Yay on the GR, Gillian!

I have a teapot that was part of a Rosenthal china set my mother brought back from Germany in the early 50's. This was before the Berlin wall went up (much less came down) and it was smuggled over the border into the American zone of Berlin). I love the delicate design of green roses on a white background. And of course, it never ceases to remind me of my mother as a young woman.

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, I think some people are bowerbirds, aren't they? And you and I definitely call into that category! For those not from Oz, bowerbirds are gorgeous and utterly fascinating. The lyrebird is a bowerbird! The male of the species builds a bower for his lady love and then decorates it with bits and pieces. I remember seeing a satin bowerbird's (the most beautiful thing - blue black all over)bower up at the Lamington National Park once. They're so intricately built, like a grass hut. And he'd decorated it with anything colourful he could find. Feathers. Milk bottle tops. Chocolate wrappings. They love colour and shiny stuff, and especially anything blue so he was very proud of a couple of plastic straws he had. They then dance in front of the bower to attract the girl. And what's great? She has all the power. She decides if the bower and the guy are up to her standards or she just gives him the flick!

Anna Campbell said...

Gillian, you're starting to sound as spoilt as a female bowerbird! Be a bit grateful. A cocktail in bed is a cocktail in bed is a cocktail in bed! And he makes a mean daiquiri!

Donna, love the sound of your office! Would love to visit and see it one day. All this stuff inspires me. I hope it inspires you too!

Tiffany, I used to have a tiny little corner of my bedroom that was my writing space. And I wrote most of CTC there so clearly you can get work done wherever you are. But the extra space is lovely! I always have music playing too.

Anna Campbell said...

Joan, I think bamboo plants are pretty hardy - the proof of that is that this one is still alive. I think that's a lovely gift from one writer to another. Apparently it's good feng shui to have something growing in your workspace - if Amy comes round, she can tell you more!

Actually, sounds like you have a similar approach to what inspires you to what I have. Love the sound of your talismans!

Anna Campbell said...

Duchesse, you're a heroine in your own right ;-) Love the idea of taking pictures of houses. I do something similar when I'm in the UK. I'm always scouting locations! And I'll put a little bit of this one with a little bit of that one - that's a fun bit of writing! Actually another piece of inspiration in my beloved office is two notice boards that are absolutely crammed with nice notes and cards I've had from people and postcards. Again, it makes me think of the people I love and the postcards are often of historic homes so that feeds even more into my architectural inspiration.

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, your office sounds lovely. It's such fun to talk to fellow hoarders. Seriously, this stuff is part of the creative process for me. Hmm, Miss K, we'll have to do something about getting some Anna Campbell inspiration for you. Perhaps a pez of the Duke of Kylemore (we'll know what's under the kilt before you can say Och Aye!).

Anna, you've got a Heidi! How cool! Actually I think organised clutter describes me too - although I do think having adequate storage really helps keep things in order. Actually, must tell the Banditas - on my noticeboard is a gorgeous black mask that Donna got for us all at the conference last year! Can't have a board about my friends without the Banditas featuring!

Anna Campbell said...

Um, Kate, is a wooly willy what I think it is (heaven help us if Tawny pops by!)? I can imagine that would help you plan ;-) Hey, it's been lovely to see that we all have our little sets of talismans that are part of our process. I often sit there touching the two black cats - they're both just so smooth and tactile (and they don't devastate the local wildlife like a real cat would do!).

Um, Jo, I hope that ugly as a mud fence comment (very cute!) refers to something from my list and not the writer or we'll have pistols at dawn in San Fran, Bandita! ;-)

I love the Rosenthal teapot story. It's lovely to sit at your work and be connected forward and back in time and right across the world, isn't it?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna, you beat me to it. What the heck - besides the obvious - is s wooly willy? :> Maybe we should tell Gillian, as she was the one searching the web for 17th century erotic poetry. I believe a "wooly willy" might be more *this* century. Grins.

Anna, I love the luck plant. I am a huge proponent of having something livng and green around when you're working. One of these days, when the boys are a weeeee bit older, I'm gonna have an office all to myself so I can hang as many pics, and bulletin boards , and set out as many touchy-feely baubles as I desire. Grins.

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, I hear you on the office. It's well worth it. And the fact that you and I have had to wait so long makes it so much sweeter, I think. I still think back to your wonderful talk at RWA Dallas about working spaces.

Nancy said...

Donna, fairies are cool. I actually have two Tinkerbells, one a note holder and one in a tiny, perfume atomizer snowglobe the TSA wouldn't let me carry on. It survived, I think, because the Disney people had packed it in bubble wrap when I bought it.

Helen, I have friends who collect owls and another friend who collects pigs. I bet your elephants look terrific.

Gillian, why are African violets only a grandmother thing nowadays? I don't know anyone who has them now. Surely they're not _that_ easy to kill!

Tiffany, I waited years to have my own space, which I think made getting it all the sweetr. Meanwhile, though, if you have a chair and a computer and books, it sounds to me as if you're good to go. I have a friend whose cat likes to walk on her keyboard. Does yours do that, or does winning the chair fight win you the space?

Jo, your teapot sounds like a wonderful keepsake!

Christie Kelley said...

Oh Anna, great post!

I can't wait to have an office again. This time with a door, bookshelves and a walk in closet. Maybe then I'll have my five little things. Right now, I can't even think of five things I have packed away.

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, join the ranks of people who finally got an office. And if we're a little bit smug, well, who can blame us? Love the idea of the fairies! And I've been told African violets are kill-proof but I tried them several times and I can swear on a stack of Bibles, it is indeed possible to kill them! Long live the bamboo!

Christie, I don't know how you've managed to stay sane, let alone continue writing through all your renovations. But won't it be wonderful when they're done and the house is just as you want it?

By the way, there's a wonderful interview with Christie and a giveaway of Every Night I'm Yours at Risky Regencies today. Pop over and see what she has to say and you could win a book.

Joan said...

Kate said: wooly willy

OMG.....they come with wool???? Is that for the cold nights????


Maureen said...

My desk always has pictures of my children on it which I show off whenever any asks about them.

Anna Campbell said...

Maureen, photos work! Absolutely! You'll notice next to my plant a photo snuck in which is another treasured possession. My writing friend Denise Rossetti put that together in its beautiful frame to mark a special lunch Christine Wells, she and I had when we had all sold (we all sold within a very close period and this was our celebration at the Pelican Waters tavern!).

Christine Wells said...

Gillian, thank you! I like the sound of 'decadent'.*g*

And Anna, I don't think I'd sold yet when that photo was taken. But it was a great lunch, wasn't it? I was so stoked for both of you, little knowing my sale was just around the corner.

Anna Campbell said...

Hadn't you sold? You were just around the corner, then! That photo definitely always gives me a smile too.

Caren Crane said...

Gillian, congrats!

At work, I have a pic of the kids from last Christmas and one from the first Christmas we had all three. I also have a darling reindeer ornament (he's quite saucy) that a friend gave me, plus a nice shadowbox another friend gave me and about a billion sticky notes. *g*

At home, I have clutter on my tiny desk that is my work area. I do a an "It's Good To Be Queen" notepad from a CP, a heart-shaped massager for my neck and back and a paperweight from my youngest daughter's trip to Australia (no, I haven't been and yes, I was insane to send her and stay home!).

I have framed (but not hung) my GH certificate, which I take out and gaze at when I feel especially low in spirits about my writing.

Eva S said...

Hi Anna,
congrats on your office! What a cute Frog Prince, I bet he will be a real prince someday, just wait!
I have a small corner with a shelf for my TBR mountain and pictures of my daughters.And some dragons and fairies and lighthouses...I'm a collector of almost everything...

Congrats Gillian, I hope GR learn some great poetry!

Anna Campbell said...

Caren, what a fabulous selection. I hope I get to see your office one day too! There's something about decorating a space with things that mean a lot to us, isn't there?

Eva, I can't kiss the frog because being cardboard, he might collapse on me (they don't make princes like they used to!). But I'm sure he's a prince at heart too ;-)

MsHellion said...

5 things

1. Jack Sparrow bobble head doll, who agrees with everything I say. Very important.

2. Jack Sparrow TALKING doll, who says Davy Jones fell prey to that greatest of all beasties: LOVE.

3. Jack Sparrow poster (sense the theme here?)

4. POTC 1, 2, 3 to play on the nearby TV for background noise and inspiration; it helps, truly

5. Number of writing books which I can flip through at any given time, for a bit of distraction or a bit of help

Amy Andrews said...

Great pic of that plant Anna. Pleased to see your keeping it alive - and you doubted you could!!!
Having said that, I have 2 lucky bamboo's in my office, one each from my kids for mother's day one year and I have to say one of them is looking a little worse for wear!! Even lucky bamboo needs water???? I blame the deadline.
I'm not a huge Feng Shui officonado but green is good and I figured Lucky Bambo spoke for itself.

I think its great to have your own writing space and to claim it as your own with things that mena something to you. I'm getting there with mine. I have the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on my wall, my fairy on a stick, a lovely glass wind chime, some photos, some inpirational quotes and a ceramic plague I bought in Positano picturing a medieval looking guy writing with a quill and the caption at the bottom says Lo Scrittore.
That's me - a writer.
Puffins!!! Dont get me started on puffins!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Ms Hellion, take two aspirin and lie down in a darkened room. And don't get up again until the fever passes (hmm, perhaps lie down with JS?).

Amy, lovely to see you popping in to check on the bamboo's health (you nurses are so great to have around!). Don't you like puffins? EVERYBODY likes puffins, surely! Don't you have a wonderful painting in your office now (insider knowledge never hurts!).

jo robertson said...

Yikes, Anna, I should clarify. Definitely "mud fence" refers to the cuties on your desk and in your office.

jo robertson said...

Oh, and yes, I love being surrounded by mom's things, especially when I'm writing historical, seems to fit. I have all kinds of things from here decorating my office -- dried flowers from her funeral, lace doilies, pictures of her and Dad when they were really young, 16 and 20, black and white. It's comforting.

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Jo! I was just about to book an appointment with the local cosmetic surgeon ;-)

Lovely you've got things from your mother surrounding you. I've got a lot of things from Mum and Dad in the rest of the house but my work area was somehow not really part of my relationship with them. Not quite sure why. I do however have a lovely photo on top of the CD stand of the two of them in each other's arms which I think is gorgeous.

doglady said...

YAY, Gillian! Another snatch and grab for Passion's Slaves. The GR will have a ball at your house.

Anna, I love your office and all of your favorite things. I know your view must be an inspiration all by itself!

My writing studio is still a work in progress, but it is getting there. I have turned my livingroom into my own personal writing lair. It has the most windows and the best views. The front window looks out over another work in progress - my English cottage garden. The back window looks out over my back yard in which all of my large dog runs form a sort of courtyard. This enables me to keep an eye on the outside doggies.

The newest addition to my office always makes me smile. It is a nearly four foot knight in armor, sword included. He looks great next to the fireplace and the mantel from which hangs my medieval battle ax. On the mantel and on the walls next to and over the fireplace are large framed photos of my dogs and cats - some current, some having passed on - their unconditional love and funny faces are a real inspiration.

Of course there is also my framed autographed cover flat of CLAIMING THE COURTESAN on the wall behind my desk. I also have some nicely framed postcards - one of Chatsworth from Anna C again. And several of some lovely old homes sent to me by Nicola Cornick.

All of my autographed romance novels are on my desk between my kitten on books bookends. I have a gorgeous stationary box my brother made for me on my desk as well. It has a place for a quill which is now occupied by my purple plume pen and my pen from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, also courtesy of Nicola Cornick.

Next to them is a small figurine of two tiny goldfinches cuddled together. My husband gave it to me before I left for Germany this first time.

I have a lovely shadow box my best friend made for me when my chapter made it into the Avon FanLit novella. She recreated a scene from my chapter complete with a bed with purple drapes and a tigerskin rug which the hero trips over. There is even a little brass plate with the inscription "Tiger, tiger, burning bright" These Wicked Games and the date.

The rest of the walls have framed signed coverflats on them to remind me of what great writers have encouraged me to stick to it.

Oh and I have my frog prince too - a short,fat frog statue with a slightly beat up gold crown and big red lips.

Cassondra said...

Oh, dear.

Anna I love your office, and you're right. Adequate storage space is the trick. And it's what I'm missing.

I'm a neat freak. And my work area is an absolute pile. I nearly can't see over it. I'm cleaning and clearing a little at a time because I need a clear, zen environment to write, but this past fall I went ahead and bought a laptop so I could go OUT and write--in coffee shops, the bookstore, ANYWHERE where there's not a pile and I don't have to clean it up before I write. Otherwise I'll never write.

The things that would STAY if I threw all else away ....a mug with a picture on was a custom ordered "photo mug" given to me by friends. The picture is of someone I knew long, long ago. I know that sounds strange but it grounds me in a way, to have that--almost like he's with me now.

There's a little bear that my critique partners gave me in Atlanta the year I finaled in the GH--when we all got there for conference--He's holding a sign that says "You DID IT!" They gave it to me right before the GH ceremony.

There's a little crystal cube with the skyline of NYC etched inside it--you can buy them on the street from vendors up there in the touristy areas--this one has the Twin Towers still standing, Lady Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge--all special to me for different reasons- It sits on a base that flashes all different colors of gaudy lights.

The bulletin board is covered with the little foil wrappers from Dove Dark Chocolate Promises. Friends of mine smoothed them out for me and made them flat. One says, "Count the Stars," another says "Listen to your heartbeat and dance," and another says "Love without rules."

I can barely see it through the clutter, but if I ditched the rest, those things would stay.

Gillian Layne said...

Well, dearest GR and I are camped out watching P & P on Masterpiece tonight, and waiting for yet another ice storm to arrive in the next few hours. He's packed and ready to head for warmer climes....

Spoiled, Anna? (Ooops, pardon while I readjust the telly antenna and grab another bag of popcorn. And another bottle of wine--I assume GR has a designated driver, er, flyer coming by to pick him up.) I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. ;)

flchen1 said...

I love reading about these special inspirations that live in your work spaces! I don't currently have a real workspace, and am kind of a messy person, so I'm not sure what I'd choose to put there. These days, at least a photo of my babies (OK, they're not really babies anymore), and a couple of bears from the collection we've accumulated over the years--we have ones for most of our major life milestones ;)

Anna Campbell said...

Pam, it sounds like you're well on your way to having the ideal writer's retreat! Love the sound of all your bits and pieces (I have my favorite books in the bedroom!). Where on earth did you get a suit of armour?!!

Cassondra, I love the sound of your space too. All that might be clutter, but it's meaningful clutter. Isn't it strange as writers how we have to go through an almost religious process to work. You know, have our icons and our idols around us to inspire us to make story magic!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Gillian, when you've passed the GR on to his next owner, can I come and stay? I think you sound like a wonderful hostess! And I promise never to mention the S word again ;-)

Fedora, sounds like your bears could be a good match for my puffin! Hope you get a proper workspace one day. Seriously, it's changed my life!

Keira Soleore said...

Foanna, I'm a right hoarder, I am. Those were just a few of the things I mentioned. There are many more on my desk, and I adore seeing them every day. My family is fascinated every time they venture near my desk, though I have a firm view that some things belong to the individuals and some things belong to everyone. They're respectful of that (most of the time.)

Foanna wrote, "Hmm, Miss K, we'll have to do something about getting some Anna Campbell inspiration for you. Perhaps a pez of the Duke of Kylemore (we'll know what's under the kilt before you can say Och Aye!)."

You've put me fair to blush, you have Miz Campbell. Such goings on in the land Down Under. Peeking under the what-what.

Jo: I loved that story about the teapot.

Yes, Foanna. I commented on Friday's blog about Jeanne's wonderful, wonderful talk about office spaces. I'd just finished listening to it on tape, and I couldn't stop oohing and aahing about it.

Pam: Your writing studio is indeed an inspiration!! Brava!

Keira Soleore said...

Cassondra, I love things neat, too. What a nice coincidence, wouldn't you say?