So Long, Farewell

Hello Lovelies,

Sadly the time to say goodbye to the beautiful city of Budapest is drawing near. After almost twelve months, the time has come for us to pack our suitcases and complete the long haul journey back to Sydney.

It seems like only yesterday that my husband and I were packing up our house and travelling with our three young children to the other side of the world. It was a rather daunting and somewhat scary thing to do, but it was something we needed to do.

There are many things I am going to miss in and about this city, but there are many things I definitely won’t miss, like living in a 2 bedroom apartment with a family of five and constantly telling the kids not to run or stomp for fear of pi$$ing off the neighbours below us.

I also will not miss having to travel on public transport with three children. Despite the fact that the public transport in the city is very reliable and reasonably priced and the fact that there is no way I would ever want to drive in the city of Budapest, I do miss being able to jump in my car and pop to the grocery store without worrying how I was going to get all of the groceries home.

I’m also not going to miss the dog sh!t. I mean it’s not like the city is covered in canine fecal matter, but you definitely have to watch out, especially when you don’t have a car and walk a lot of places. A lot of people live in apartments in the city, so of course when their dogs needs to… you know… they have to take it for a walk, but if you choose to have a dog and live in an apartment then for goodness sake, pick up your dog’s crap!

I’m not going to miss the smell that almost every city has, I’m not going to miss the loud rumbling noise of the tram going past and I’m definitely not going to miss the dirt and dust that seems to permeate absolutely everything in the old building!

Yet, there many things I am going to miss from this city like the gorgeous view of the Danube River, Parliament and the Chain Bridge I have right outside the window! I’m going to miss the amazing food (but my pants will be thankful) and I’m going to miss the history. Australia is such a young country when compared to Europe and I revel in the rich and long history of this country. Each building, each street, even the trees tell a story, a piece of history to be marveled at and admired.

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I’m going to miss the castles, the manor houses and all the amazing architecture. I’m going to miss having front row seats for any fireworks or special events on the river Danube.

I’m going to  miss the way the lights of the Parliament shine on the feathers of the birds flying above at night, making them look magical like the glowing wings of fairies.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone at home again and sleeping on a mattress that is actually on a bed instead of on the floor (I’m hoping my back will thank me for that one). I’m not looking forward to returning to the “real world” though and having to hold down a day job and do school drop-off and everything else!  I’m going to miss being able to stay up until some ridiculous hour of the morning writing, without having to worry about having to get up and work or get children ready for school the next day.

It’s time to start a new adventure, please be kind to me, world.

Budapest, you gorgeous city, I am going to miss you dearly. I will miss your beauty, your history, your inspiration.

I give thanks to the city of Budapest, for inspiring me to keep writing and to start József’s story. Being surrounding by the world of my characters has truly been an amazing experience, allowing me to immerse myself in their history and time and inspiring  my writing. My goal was to write a draft of József’s story in the form of a novel of 80,000 words. I am almost at the 80,000 word mark and their story is far from over, but I have finished the part of the story that is set in this beautiful city, now it’s time to explore the next setting of Sydney, luckily that’s where I’m heading.

And so now I say so long, farewell beautiful Budapest, I hope to experience your beauty again some day.




© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content


Stormy Nights and Rainy Days

storm flickr cc Dick Sijtsma
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user Dick Sijtsma

Hello Lovelies,

I am again appreciating another bout of rain and mild storms brings some relief to the heat. It may have only been around 32 degrees Celsius or so, but in a small apartment with five people living together, it does get a little suffocating at times, even without the heat.

I do like a good storm, watching Mother Nature lashing the ground with rain, the sound of thunder rumbling in the distance (or closer) and the sudden flash of lightning crossing a cloud darkened sky.

Endless days of rain or rain when you have to head out somewhere or something can be annoying, I’ll admit, not to mention flash flooding and other sorts of natural disasters this type of weather can bring. Yet most of the time I enjoy this kind of weather and love going for walks in the rain, marveling at the beauty created and the creatures that come out of their hiding places, also enjoying the weather.

It is also my favourite time to write, something about stormy and rainy weather calms me and inspires me and I will often reach for one of my notebooks (you can never have too many notebooks) to jot down a few words or even pages of words as I let the inspiration flow through me.

Yes, there is definitely something about stormy nights and rainy days that gets me into a writing mood. It gets me thinking, planning and creating. I don’t know what it is but I’ll take inspiration any way it comes, whether that be in the shower, when I’m doing the dishes, trying to sleep or during a storm. You don’t always need to be inspired to write, but when the inspiration does come it makes writing so much easier, the words flow and the story, characters and ideas seems to come from out of nowhere.

I still have around 6,000 words to write for this month’s quota, hopefully this stormy weather sticks around for a bit longer, it will definitely make things easier. You see, I’ve been struggling to make progress on chapter 22 in An Anguished Heart, I know exactly where the plot is heading (for a bit of a huge plot twist actually!) but I was having trouble trying to figure out how to get there, it was like a setting, a location was missing. That’s when it hit me, it was a location that should have been introduced earlier, with another section of plot I had left out between chapters 16 and 17. Now I am in the progress of filling in this gap so I am able to move forward with the story.

For now though, here’s a few words inspired by the current weather conditions.



Stormy Nights and Rainy Days

Stormy nights and rainy days

This is where I choose to stay

A blackened sky filled with clouds

And the thunder cracking, rumbling loud 

The rain is falling from the sky

The lightning striking low then high

This wild weather calms me so

Why this is, I just don’t know

Perhaps it’s the rhythm of the rain

Beating on the window pane

What it is doesn’t matter to me

Because stormy nights and rainy days is where I want to be

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I Want to See the World

Hello Lovelies,

I’ve written before about the unique ability books have to transport you anywhere and everywhere. With a good book in hand time, space and distance are not a concern. A well written book has the ability to take you places you’ve longed to visit and also places that you’ve never even thought existed. Whether these literary places actually exist or not is not of concern, in your mind you’ve been to many different places, in many different times in the past, the present and perhaps the distant future.

Even though we have travelled to many different places in our minds, with the help of a good book, sometimes it only leaves you longing for more. Sometimes you still long to experience the “real thing” and the book itself does nothing but spur on your desire to see the world.

You see, last week for my birthday one of my closest friends bought me the first volume of the Outlander series on DVD (thanks Jess!), as she understands my appreciation for a man with a great accent. The books by Diana Gabaldon, that the series is based on, have been on my TBR list for quite some time, but as the list kept increasing I haven’t actually gotten around to reading them. After watching the first few episodes I am totally hooked, but not just on the good looks of the men in kilts and the great accents, but also the setting of the series – the Scottish Highlands.

This got me thinking about other places in the world I would love to explore with my family and I came up with a list of sorts I would like to share with you all. Some of the places on the list are inspired by books, authors and works of fiction, others are there for other reasons which I will attempt to explain.

Salzburg and Vienna, Austria

Salzburg, Austria                    Image courtesy of Flickr CC Dimitry B.  

These are two places I have longed to visit since I was a little girl and first saw the movie “The Sound of Music”. Of course I loved the musical element to the movie, but I was also in awe of the beautiful locations included in this cinematic classic. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have seen this movie and also the number of hours I have spent on the internet Googling the story of the real Von Trapp family, as well as the locations used in the movie. I also really would love to say, “In the morning, I’m going to Vienna,” just like Captain Von Trapp.

Scottish Highlands, Scotland

Scottish Highlands. Image courtesy of Flickr CC Kristel Jeuring
Scottish Highlands.
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Kristel Jeuring

I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with Scotland in general, the history, the kilts, the accent, the Loch Ness Monster and of course the beautiful Scottish Highlands. After watching Outlander, my fascination with Scotland has only increased and I would love to be able to explore the region with my family, you can call me sassenach, I won’t take offence.

Hill Top, Cumbria UK

Hill Top, UK Image courtesy of Flickr CC Yvonne Eijkenduijn
Hill Top, UK
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Yvonne Eijkenduijn

If you’re not familiar with Hill Top, it is the beloved place where Beatrix Potter took inspiration for many of her stories and characters. As a lover of many of the classic Beatrix Potter characters and tales, Hill Top is definitely anothere place I would love to explore in person.

4. Château d’Ussé, France

Image Courtesy of Flickr CC Cristian Bortes
Image Courtesy of Flickr CC Cristian Bortes

Once upon a time, a princess slept for 100 years. The Château d’Ussé provided the inspiration for Charles Perrault’s tale, now commonly known  as Sleeping Beauty. You don’t have to be a writer to appreciation the fact that this picturesque castle was the inspiration for one of the most memorable fairy tales, in fact Charles Perrault is credited with laying the foundations for the development of the entire fairy tale genre.

Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Buckinghamshire UK

Image courtesy of Flickr CC marcus_jb1973
Image courtesy of Flickr CC marcus_jb1973

Roald Dahl, author of Matilda, The Twits, The Witches, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach and countless other magnificent pieces of literary brilliance. Any lover of literature cannot deny the indelible mark that Roald Dahl has left on the literary world. I’ve recently began sharing some of Roald Dahl’s brilliance with my seven year old daughter and my boys love watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the original film with Gene Wilder. I cannot wait to hopefully explore this wonderful museum one day and even though the webpage says the museum is aimed at 6-12 year olds, I’m pretty sure the adults would love to explore this great destination as well.

Bran Castle, Transylvania Romania

Image courtesy of Flickr CC Voyages Lambert
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Voyages Lambert

Bram Stoker’s gothic novel, Dracula, was inspired by the legends told of Prince Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes), who is said to have lived in Bran Castle. I love places that have a story to tell and Bran Castle is definitely one of those places, perhaps not the same story Bram Stoker had to tell, but a very interesting story nonetheless.

Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Copenhagen Denmark

Image courtesy of Flickr CC Eugene Phoen
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Eugene Phoen

Having grown up with many of Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tales, such as The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Emperor’s New Clothes and so on, visiting the childhood home of such a magnificent writer definitely had to make my list of places to see.

Venice, Italy

Image courtesy of Flickr CC David Henderson
Image courtesy of Flickr CC David Henderson

Like I’ve said, I love a place with a story to tell and I think Venice would have many great stories to reveal from its past. As the setting for Shakespeare’s Othello, I believe Venice would offer a wonderful world of inspiration and history which anyone could enjoy, although I have heard that it does smell a little.


Vajdahunyad Castle Hungary. Image courtesy of Flickr CC Bruno Girin
Vajdahunyad Castle Hungary.
Image courtesy of Flickr CC Bruno Girin.

Those of you who know me, would understand why the entire country of Hungary has been included on this list, in fact you might even be asking why it wasn’t first on the list. Well, perhaps I was saving the best for last or something. Hungary is a country steeped in tradition with many beautiful sites, castles and rich history, making it an ideal place of inspiration for just about any writer. In fact, as I’ve already said, Bram Stoker’s gothic novel Dracula was inspired by the stories and legends of Vlad the Impaler, from Transylvania. Transylvania at the time was actually part of Hungary. The country of Hungary has a rich and colourful history and the legends and fairytales of each region are fascinating. The legends of vampires is often said to have originated with the legends and stories of Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Bathory (Báthory Erzsébet), more commonly known as Count and Countess Dracula, two separate people in Hungarian history, whose lives gave fuel to the legends and myths of vampires.

IAs you may have noticed, I am very much a lover of history and I’m always interested in the stories and history of a particular place or location. Some of the locations on this list are purely for ‘fan girl’ reasons and others are for reasons of inspiration, exploration and adventure. This is by no means a definitive list, but simply a short list of some of the places I would love to explore.

Now it’s over to you, what ‘bookish’ places would you love to visit?



© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Searching for the Window

“When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” -Maria (The Sound of Music)

Hello Lovelies,

This week I’ve hit a few road blocks and so as the title of this post suggests, I’ve been searching for the metaphoric window in my writing and in my real life. The good news is that I’m getting closer to that window in my writing, unfortunately in real-life it isn’t so easy.

But enough about the negative, let’s focus on the positive. Last week I told you all that I hadn’t had much time to write as I was working on something else (if you missed it, you can read last week’s post here) and I promised to share with all of you what I was working on this week. Well, a week has passed and as promised I’ll let you all in on the secret, yesterday was my Grandmother’s 80th birthday and as her birthday present I made her a “This is your life” themed book, documenting the years from her birth up until the present. It included her ‘story’ (which I cut down to only 8 pages long!) and a collection of photos over the years including her the childhood, courtship with my Grandfather and her family, only about 110 photos, as I managed to cut it down from around 150! It was an amazing experience to exploring my grandmother’s story and I found out some pretty amazing things not only about my grandmother, but also the world which she grew up in. Here is a short excerpt from her story about the world she was born into,

It was the year 1934, the world had lived through the horrors of World War I and it was still enduring the aftermath of a severe economic recession caused by The Great Crash on Wall St in 1929. It was an era that is now known as The Great Depression.

It was in this year that Meccano Ltd introduced the first Dinky Toys and Percy Shaw patented the ‘cat’s eye’ road safety device. It was also the year when the “surgeon’s photograph” of the Loch Ness Monster was published in the Daily Mail –although it was much later admitted to being a hoax.

King George V was the reigning monarch and Ramsay MacDonald was the Prime Minister of England…”

What made this even more interesting, is the similarities between the world that my grandmother was born into and the world of Thomas and Rose. I did not purposely make this connection and as you may have read in some of my previous posts, Lonely Hearts originated from a dream I had, however terribly cliché that may sound, so perhaps on a subconscious level the link between the two worlds was made, but it wasn’t until I started to create this book for my grandmother that I realised the depth of the connection. My grandmother lost her mother at a young age, as did Rose (and Thomas) and what makes this subconscious connection even more startling is that my great grandfather’s name was also Thomas.

“…but in a small cottage in a village in the London Borough of Barnet called Arkley, Thomas and Bessie were eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child.”

retrieved from Flickr Creative Commons Copyright of wiatrak1
Retrieved from Flickr Creative Commons Copyright of wiatrak1

My grandmother was also an only child, both Thomas and Rose were only children. The more I think about this, the deeper the connection becomes, perhaps I knew these details of my grandmother prior to writing her story, but I know that I did not consciously make this connection between the two worlds when beginning Rose and Thomas’ story.

And…. there’s the segue into discussing where I am in Lonely Hearts. At this point I am exploring Rose’s relationship with her mother and how that has shaped her. I am also up to the point in the story where reader’s are given a small insight into the connection Rose has with her mother in the present tense of the story (just a reminder, Rose’s mother passed away several years before the story’s timeline). Reader’s also gain a little more information about the underlying cause of Rose’s nightmares and the darkness that gives the book its title and I can’t wait to explore these ideas in even greater depth.

Today I have a small excerpt to share with you all. Some of it may seem a little familiar from previous posts, as I usually do a small amount of editing as I attempt to bind one idea with the next. Although I can quite easily spot errors in other people’s writing, I am still horrified at my ability to miss the errors in my own writing, so be kind. Sometimes even in the way I speak, I cringe afterwards at my lack of correct grammar, I think some of my student’s are rubbing off on me!



“What am I thinking? Why am I even considering this? Thomas and I are from two different worlds, it would be best for both of us to go our separate ways. One evening, which will be lovely, I’m sure – perfect even, but it cannot go further than that. I cannot help but feel as though I am throwing something of immense value away and as I catch my reflection in the window, I see my mother’s face looking back at me and as she does in those moments when I need her help or advice she spoke to me, “Rosie, some things are just meant to be.” What does she mean? That Thomas and I are meant to be or are we are meant to go our separate ways? But before I could ask she was gone, the same as always. I missed my mother so much, she was the only family I had ever known. I am thankful for having József in my life, but it’s not the same, a girl needs her mother and she was taken from me when I needed her the most.

I thought about the days after she died, I had felt so alone and afraid. Sometimes I still feel like that, when the darkness closes in and another nightmare consumes me, pulling me down. It’s always the same, it’s dark and lonely, with nobody to love or care for me, then they appear and I’m no longer by myself, but the darkness grows deeper and fear and pain surge through me. Then I hear her voice, telling me to stay strong, pleading with me to hang on and to reach up out of the darkness, then he is there – József is the one pulling me out of the darkness, taking away the pain and the fear, offering me a father’s love and beginning to heal my lonely heart. Lately though, having József didn’t seem to be enough and the frequency of my nightmares have increased. Perhaps it is because I am now older and no longer the young girl he saved, but I feel the darkness pulling me down and the loneliness closing in again, I have to find a way to keep the darkness at bay, I cannot let myself slip into the darkness again, for I fear that if I do, it will be the end and the darkness will consume me.”

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Whole New World

Hello Lovelies,

One of the truly amazing things about writing (and reading) is the unique opportunity to explore different worlds. Books have the unique ability to transport us through time and space to different worlds and times. While constantly researching the setting for Lonely Hearts and the other books in the series, I have had to wonderful opportunity to not only explore different places, but also to explore a completely different time period.

Lonely Hearts is the story of Rose, beginning in The Rocks in Sydney Australia in February 1935. As part of my research I have not only been exploring The Rocks and Sydney as it was in 1935, but also what the world was like in the 1930s. Through my research I have been shown a whole new world, seeing places I never knew existed and in the words of Princess Jasmine I’ve found, “A dazzling place I never knew.”

CLip remains the property of Disney Animation Studios

What is even more amazing about this new world, is that it is the world that my grandparents grew up in and it has been amazing to gain a glimpse into the world of their early childhood. My grandparents were born in England in the early 1930s and my grandmother will be celebrating her 80th birthday next month!

The thirties was a truly interesting and glamourous era, despite the recession caused by the aftermath of WWI and The Great Crash of 1929 (now known as The Great Depression)  it was a time of glamour that was influenced by Hollywood. The age of the cinema allowed for people to escape from the reality of their everyday lives for a moment and stars like Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy and Greta Garbo influenced the fashion of the day.

From Flickr Creative Commons User -The Bees Knees Daily
From Flickr Creative Commons User -The Bees Knees Daily

The 1930s may now be known as The Great Depression, but I think the women of the era missed the memo and the fashion changed from the straight line dresses of the twenties to a rediscovery of the female form, fashion was flirty without being too revealing, with fitted waist lines and often full skirts, occasionally puff sleeves and shoulder pads in contrast to the fitted waist. Crossover and v-necklines were very common with skirt length being mid-calf for day wear and ankle length for evening wear.

Flickr CC -genibee
Flickr CC -genibee

I really am completely enthralled by this new world I have discovered and I can only hope that I pass on the findings of my discovery to my readers.

“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
Anne Lamott

Now I leave you with a short excerpt from Chapter 2 of Lonely Hearts, enjoy.


As József escorts Mr Heath to the shop front, he pauses in front of the counter I’m sitting behind, I stand and smile politely, pushing aside my wayward thoughts, “It was a pleasure meeting you Mr Heath, I hope your meeting went well and that we’ll be seeing you around every now and then.” I fib, knowing exactly how well the meeting went. He smiles his swoon-worthy lop-sided smile, “Rose, please it’s Thomas and yes very well indeed, but I think you already knew that didn’t you?” I give a small embarrassed smile as he leans in closer, mere inches from my face, “And believe me Rose, the pleasure was entirely mine.” The instant he steps back I feel bereft, as if I would do anything to feel him that close to me again, his breath caressing my cheek. As I attempt to restore my composure, Thomas extends his hand towards me in offer of a handshake. I gingerly extend my hand towards his, still embarrassed as the thought of my extended handshake earlier this morning comes to mind. Taking me by surprise, he gently grasps my hand, caressing my knuckles with his thumb and kisses the back of my hand causing me to shiver involuntarily, “Until next time.”…

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Quest for Knowledge and Understanding

Hello lovelies,

Welcome to another post.
Last week I spoke about setting the scene and introduced you to “Heath Manor”. I was going to share with you a description of Heath Manor from the perspective of Thomas William Heath, but I haven’t done much writing in the past week so that will have to wait until later, so stay tuned.

This past week I’ve been doing some research and character development, including the creation of the Heath Family Tree!

Through my research I’ve come to realise that I do not know much about the era in which the main part of my story is set. As I have said in previous posts, the setting for my story came to me as a dream, (I know, ultimate cliché) and your subconscious is limited to your own knowledge. So I have been doing a lot of research about the 1930s and I am beginning to gain a small insight into the era.

I want to know everything that there is to know about my characters. I want to know what Thomas’ favourite music is, what his relationship with his grandmother is like and how he met Maggie. I want to know what Thomas sees when he looks at Maggie, what type of clothes Maggie wears, how she does her hair and how her style and fashion differs from her grandmother-in-law.

The questions are endless, some of the answers are locked within my mind, waiting for release, other answers require research, lots of research!

I have already begun this research, with the help of Google. I have also enlisted the help if my own grandmother, who was born in 1934, who has been going through some photos of her mother’s that I cant wait to have a look at!

I thought I might share with you a few things that I have learnt about Thomas William Heath.
• His parents migrated to Sydney, Australia with his grandmother before he was born
• He was born May 13th, 1910 (a Friday)
• His parents, William John Heath and Emily Louise Heath, died in 1918, during the Spanish influenza epidemic, leaving him in the care of his grandmother Agnes Mary Heath
• He is from an aristocratic family, even though the family is wealthy, Thomas is a grounded person, who wishes to work for a living, despite his great inheritance.
Some of the details I have of Thomas are very specific but I still have a lot of work to do, other details I have of Thomas I have purposely left out, as I don’t want to give away the whole story! Some details about Thomas are just for my eyes only. As Thomas is the narrator for the majority of the story, this is the character I need to know best, I need to completely understand this character if I am going to be convincing in my writing.

The picture on this post you may have seen on my Facebook page, it is of a woman holding a typewriter ribbon. When looking at the photo I notice the poise and posture, the way she stands with confidence and touch of elegance. Her hair is impeccably styled, adding a hint of glamour and grace. This picture intrigues me and there is much I do not know about this picture and the era it is from, something I intend to rectify.

So here’s to happy research and the quest for knowledge and understanding.

Until next week, lovely people,


Image courtesy of SMU Central University Library

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.