Sunday, December 27, 2009

What a blast!

As some of you know (especially those who came along - thankyou!) My book - Reflections - was launched by Toni Jordan on Saturday December 12th at the Cranbourne Library. The launch has become a bit of a blur for me but the photos that my good friend Tony Tulloch took jolt the memory sufficiently for me to tell you that it was a great success. So many wonderful people came along to support me and I am forever thankful for that.

Both John Irving and Toni Jordan said wonderful things about me and about my writing, and when the dust had settled later that afternoon and I realised I'd signed 51 copies that day, I was further over the moon than that fabled cow!

Since that day I have sold another 15 copies of my book and the interest in it doesn't seem to be waning. I'm hoping for a review or two in the new year (fingers crossed) but for now I'll leave you with the jacket blurb by the lovely Angela Meyer...Thanks Ange!

To blog or not to blog...what was the question?

Ok, so I haven't been blogging much and I want to change that come the new year. The only problem with that much do I really have to say? Most of the time I think my life is mega boring and not worthy of a blog post, the other part I'm usually so busy pulling rabbits out of hats (not really, but the metaphor kinda works for my writing sometimes) that I don't have time to blog. I guess I could set a blogging goal for the new year and make it an overall part of my writing goals for twenty-ten...well...we'll see...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ready for lift off in 10, 9, 8...

My book launch approaches at a rate of knots! I am nervous and excited. It's a little hard organising a launch from 2000 miles away but I'm doing it anyway...

My short story collection, Reflections, will be launched by novelist Toni Jordan (Addition - TEXT) at the Cranbourne Library 11am Sat 12th Dec.

For those who can't make it - the collection is available for sale on the Ginninderra website (

That's all for now :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

These are the moments I live for...

Today I had one of those moments that, as a writer, I live for...

You know, those brief yet vivid glimpses into the future, the discovery of new characters, of new directions for your story to go in; those moments when the writing comes easily, where you feel more like you're channeling the words than making any conscious effort to think them, where it's all flow and you wonder why it can't always be like this, and wish that you didn't have to stop soon and pick your kid up from school; those moments when your characters become real, and you are simply recording the overheard conversations between them, when you feel more like a fly on the wall, observing, than a writer, creating... know the ones.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

It's finally going to happen...

So I've checked with my publisher and he says the proof of my short story collection Reflections is on the way. He told me I could probably look at launching in November, but due to other commitments that month I'm tentatively planning for the 12th of December.

I will blog more about it and send out invites when I have everything booked and confirmed.

I think I might just have to get excited all over again!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Delving into History

As you may or may not know, I am currently working on a piece of historical fiction...a novel, no less...

In May I was lucky enough to win the Herb Thomas Memorial Trust Award and received a nice juicy cheque to spend on developing my writing career. Thanks to that money I have been able to afford a range of workshops and seminars at the Victorian Writers Centre, as well as a few choice events at both the Emerging Writers Festival and the Melbourne Writers Festival, which has just been and gone.

I thought it was about time I blogged about the two events I attended - a masterclass with John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas), and a seminar/lecture with Alexander Waugh (Fathers and Sons) and Glen David Gold (Sunnyside).

Both of these events were exciting for me. Just to break away from the monotony of my daily life as a mother and to escape my four walls and interact with other adults, specifically writers, is a treat.

John filled our day with readings from a wide array of historic novels, which proved somewhat difficult seeing as the titles and authors names were missing from many of the pages we had stapled together (there was a large amount of rustling). He also made us write and read what we had written aloud. No one missed out, we all had our turn in the spotlight or under it.

It's all in the details. That's one of the things I took away from this intensive day, along with the email address of a lady I'd like to stay in touch with (she's writing about her great-grandmother's immigration experience). It's the details that will bring to life any character in any time and any place. Specifics. Novelists should never generalise. Ever.

As for the other two writers, well I have to tell you that Alexander is a true and natural comedian. What surprising fun he was! He believes we should all, as writers, sit down and write 3000 words about each of our parents (more if we can - he certainly did). He says we'll be surprised at how little we actually know about them.

Glen's most helpful advice, at least to me, was that research needs an emotional context, that key emotions unlock scenes. He said that good (great) historical fiction needs three things - research, imagination and emotional continuity. Not all facts are interesting, he said, but the facts aren't what's important, it's whether they are interesting to the reader. It's how you dress it up.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Productivity Slump

How on earth do I keep the writing momentum up when I have to stop all the time, often for days at a time, sometimes for over a week? I thought I had this whole thing figured out but life keeps getting in the way.

Family life, though there are now only three of us here, seems to be getting more complex as the days go by. We are all so busy! The man's business is in it's pre-spring-busy-period, looking after Jay is becoming more and more time-consuming as he gets older, yeah - it should be the other way around but tell that to an 11 year old with autism and see how far it gets you!

Now I know why I was in two minds about this job. Oh (hell yes) I love it, but the time I'm off work goes so damn quickly and then it's time to go to work again. I know I'm just being a big sook, and that many ppl work full-time, have families and still manage to write novels...just wish one of them would tell me where I'm going wrong...

Someone? Anyone?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ghostly Poetry at Old Melbourne Gaol

I was pleased to be one of the many at Nathan Curnow's "Ghost Poetry Project" launch last night. Growing up in country Victoria, a good 2 hr bustrip from the big smoke, I'd never had the pleasure (unsure the word truly fits the context but it will do) of visiting the Old Melbourne Gaol. Needless to say my first visit, at night, was indeed memorable.

After Kevin Brophy officially launched the book, Nathan asked for the lights to be turned off. I took my partner's hand at this point and moved closer to him. Happily, not all the lights were dimmed, but hearing Nathan's voice moving in the dark above us as he performed some of the poetry from his book, was slightly unsettling, as was the cold of murderer's row.

The Ghost Poetry Project is the culmination of a year spent travelling to some of the most haunted locations in Australia (& off our coast). Nathan spent sleepless nights at the Old Adelaide Gaol, Junee's Monte Christo, and Port Arthur to name but three of the ten haunted sites represented, in poetry, in this volume, published by Puncher & Wattman Poetry.

"Take Heart & Courage", and buy yourself a copy today.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Library Sales & Space Restrictions

Today I went to my local library book know, just to look...

I spent over an hour in a room filled with books and people, funnily enough one of the only circumstances under which I can cope with a crowd. I switch off you see. Concentrate only on the hunt, for the perfect find, the bargain, the book I've always wanted to read but haven't. Some people might find this amusing, given I work in that very same library, but borrowing isn't the same as owning is it?

With my own books, I can decide on the perfect time to read any one of them. There they are lined up on my shelves at home (in a rough genre/type order), biding their time, patiently waiting for me to pick them up, open their covers and start reading.

When I announced my morning plans, my partner gave his usual response... "More books! Where on earth will we put them?" We have three 3' by 5'8" bookshelves in the downstairs office/study and I have a smaller shelf upstairs for my writing reference books. Jayden has his own 3' by 4' shelf in his room... They are all full, but as any lover of books will attest, there is always room for more.

My partner was out when I arrived home with two green shopping bags full of treasures. Jayden and I have hidden them away (in plain sight), reorganising & rearranging shelves to fit them in as inconspicuously as possible.

I think we did a good job... I guess we'll find out...

I can't help it! I LOVE books!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Heros and Fizzers

Our last family holiday was in 2007. We spent two weeks on Bribie Island, soaking up the sun and getting to know the grandkids. Jayden enjoyed battling the waves - the heroes that built up as they rolled in, and the fizzers - those that "fizzled out" by the time they reached us. Spending so much time in the ocean cleared up his eczema within days and the three of us felt so relaxed, so happy and healthy...

That holiday seems so long ago now, but the memories are still fresh. I've struggled through this winter. It's never been a good time of year for me (suffering from seasonal affect disorder), and as I sit here writing this I long for a break away from the routine of my life, a different environment, a warmer climate, a change of pace...

We've begun planning. It's something to look forward to.

...but what do we do with the cat!?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Putting my best foot forward

Tonight I attended a seminar at the Victorian Writers Centre with Kirsty Wilson, publicist for TEXT. She gave us the rundown on the marketing of not just your writing but yourself. I'm the shy-retiring type (as those who know me would attest) so this part of selling your book to the publisher has always freaked me out a little fact it's always freaked me out way more than a little bit.

I've had 4 yrs of getting used to the fact that, if I successfully sell my novel, I will have to wiggle my bum (metaphorically speaking - the gospel according to John!) for the media. So that I don't look like a total nob-head when the time comes, I've been going up to strangers, usually other writers I haven't officially met yet, and introducing myself. I figure it's gonna take me 2 to 3 yrs to write this novel (hell that's a long time!) and by the time it's good to go I will have gotten past the simple introductions and be on to having sustained conversations...that's the plan anyway.

When I first met
Toni Jordan at the 2008 Melbourne Writers Festival (remember to book your tickets early!) I asked her if it had taken her long to develop her public speaking style. If she had perhaps started off shaky, then improved. She disappointed me (and apologised for it - she really is lovely) by telling me it was all her and she could talk under water. As I'm not the best swimmer, I'll settle for being able to string more than two meaningful sentences together.

I'm getting in some practice on Fri. I'm being interviewed as a result of winning the Herb Thomas Memorial Trust Award for 2009. Got the call last week. Let's hope my feet stay on the ground and don't wind up in my mouth...

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Dungeon

Today I posted this status to my facebook account - "Off to the dungeon (which is more attic than dungeon really)". The point is I'm trying (doggedly) to write every day, and though I may refer to that writing time as being off in the dungeon, or in fact "eating the elephant", the fact is I'm lucky to have a dedicated writing space.

My first was the conveniently positioned study off my bedroom, but once I began cohabitting with my lovely partner it became a shared space and didn't quite have the 'feel' to it anymore. After many years in a teenager filled double story house it is now just me, my man and my youngest. Thus a four bedroomed (plus study!) house has become a literal castle with empty spaces and echoes and all (well - maybe I exagerrated the echo bit). Of the 2 upstairs bedrooms I now have one all to myself.

Believe me. I know how lucky I am...