Thursday, 30 April 2015

The start to finding the twist I need in Les Gillespie's Gold

Mad Charlie did not like his last hand and called for a new pack. 

The mood in the Imperial Hotel was sombre. 

Over two hundred and fifty thousand pounds of tokens sat between them on the table. Only four hours ago John Billings’ lost the deed to his dairy farm. John sat in the corner drained, he could not go home. He had no home. 

Bald Bill Simpson too, had folded a broken man and the title to his engineering shop added to the pot. Together these two upstanding citizens owned only the clothes they stood in. Only Charlie, three other players and the dealer remained. 

There was still a lot to play for.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

How does a writer get lost when he is the author of the story?

I am struggling, not from a lack of inspiration, but from too much of it and it is downright annoying.

For the past few weeks I have been trying to wrestle Les Gillespie's Gold into the mystery / crime / Aussie-adventure, that I want it to be be. Unfortunately I find myself introducing new plot-lines that are not pushing the story forward, nor building tension between the characters. At the moment my writing is too tame and I know I have to be ruthless in my approach. Every time I find a nice picture in my head of Tilly or Jeff in a romantic setting, I will  imagine them up to their knees in blood. I think it is the only way to stop all of this romantic writing bleeding from my fingers.

So today I am increasing my character backgrounds by writing stories about the people who have influenced my character's lives. The evil ones will have a troubled history and that will make them bloody nasty. the Heroes will lose their nice side and be flawed, some may lose their life, or at least an arm, or similar. Certainly their temper will go. I sure it is time for Jeff and Joe to punch someone or each other.

Even writing this post has helped me get on track. Who should I murder in the next chapter, friend or foe.

When the books finished, I guess you'll be able to let me know if it worked.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Remember Richie

If I had a bat I’d put it out
For the voice of cricket
And there’s no doubt
I listened as he made a ton
Or spin a ball or saved a run
As kids in summer
We would take his name
Tip and run
Our backyard game

When World Series took the field
Talking skills and knowledge
Were revealed
For generations
He called our game
Tonight the world of cricket
Is not the same
So I’m asking all
No I’ll just shout
Get your bats and put them out.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Les Gillespie's Demons

This is a first draft of a chapter that never made it into Kundela, after talking to a mate I thought I would put it on the blog for all to see. Most of the story is fiction but the action on the airfield came from a true story told to me by an old digger.

I hope you like it.


Not yet twenty-one and conscripted into the Army in 1942, Les Gillespie was a complex individual. He too had seen the nightmare of battle but unlike his father or his son, the Second World War had caused a devastating effect on Les’s life. The scars from his war were ever close to the surface of his agitated mind.
Les first saw action in New Guinea. As with many others dragged from the peace of a country farm, Les and his mates were much unprepared. Thrust into battle in the jungles of a country they didn’t know, to fight an enemy they couldn’t see, by a government for whom they had not voted.

Long after the war had finished, the horror of it all still visited him daily. Vivid images, mates around him cut down instantly, dying on the spot. Others screaming in pain as bullets from a Jap machine gun strafed and ripped the steamy airfield.
The groaning Dakota had left Port Moresby in darkness. Hoping he could land these raw conscripts on an abandoned enemy airstrip, the young pilot wanted to land and leave before the withdrawing Japanese would know. Delayed by poor weather their advantage had been lost.
Hearing the droning engines, a few retreating enemy soldiers returned to the badly damaged airstrip. Diving into a gun post as the war-weary aircraft touched down into the wind, the Japanese were ready. Turning to unload, the pilot noticed a movement in a machine gun nest about 200 yards away. ‘We’ve been spotted! Get everyone out now! I have got to get this thing back into the air.’ He ordered.
Two out of the three men landed that day were slain or injured. The ten who made it alive were gritty and determined to survive. Stuck in a compromised position they used their dead comrades for shelter to regroup.
Their commanding officer was dead. Nobody knew what to do next and panic raced through the ranks. Quickly summing up the situation, Les knew to survive, someone needed to bring this decimated group together. A couple of minutes passed before Les took charge. An attack on the Japanese machine gunners pinning them down was their only chance.
Les yelled, ‘We have to shove as much fire as you can muster on those yellow bastards so I can get close enough to put a grenade or two up their arse’
The Japanese had limited ammunition and sensing their advantage stopped firing. The airfield grew quiet and the next few minutes dragged like hours, for the surviving Australians. Looking around his mates, Les counted ten men fit to fight and another five who, although wounded could return fire. ‘On the count of three throw as much shit as you can at them,’ Les commanded.
He knew each man carried an army issued Lee Enfield 303 rifle. Although these bolt action rifles were no match for the machine gun firing at them. Les reasoned if they directed volley on volley toward the enemy position, the Japs would be unwilling to creep above the safety of their sandbagged dug out to return fire.
The young diggers may have a slender chance.
Now ready, each soldier, with his rifle butt pulled back hard into a young shoulder. Les quickly toted up their odds, ‘ten in the magazine and one in the breech’ it wasn’t an assuring count ‘only one hundred and sixty five bullets, boys we are really up shit creek’ he thought.
‘Okay, keep the fire constant, on the count of three, start firing and keep doing it until we get a result.’

This morning belonged to the brave. Their sights adjusted to two hundred yards and trained just above the position of the battle hardened Japanese fighters, the tension built. Each young Aussie filled with frightened enthusiasm, sharpening each of their senses. Their adrenalin surged, excitement replacing their fear. Now, the signal they were waiting for, Les yelled, ‘One, two, three!’
As he heard the second volley of shots, Les leapt out from behind the human barrier and into full view of the Japanese. His comrades concentrated their fire at the target. His 200-yard sprint seemed to take forever as Les scouted around to the blind side of the open machine gun nest.
Now and within in range he could see his enemy. An over-arm action and the first of his grenades sailed toward its target, in an instant a second was on its way. Les managed to get a third and fourth away and he dropped to the ground covering his ears with cupped hands.
Shrapnel began falling around the battleground as dirt and dust filled the air. Looking up, Les could see that the enemy were dead and for now, his troop was safe. Still in danger, Les knew they should get away and find a secure area to regroup.
             ‘We had better move out He barked, ‘get as many of the wounded who can walk onto their feet. We will come back for the others when we can.’
Leaving their dead and wounded in the open was the only option open to them.
Secure in their jungle hideout, Les shivered as he heard each single shot from a Japanese pistol echo toward him. Its owner laughing as he repeatedly emptied life from each of the wounded Australians. This scene lived in Les’s memory forever. Images of that day played repeatedly in his mind and for the duration of the war, created a wanton recklessness within him.
Les started taking extraordinary risks, living a most dangerous and hateful war.


When victory came, others were able to put the terror behind them. His mates were excited about coming home and building a new life. Les however, carried home a few physical reminders and a tormented mind. Pains from the few pieces of a Japanese grenade lodged in his body were a constant reminder of his hatred for his enemy.
Les didn’t settle easily into his life after the war. Sleeping in his mind and always close to the surface were dangerous thoughts of an agonising past. He was no longer the gentle soul who had left Wanooka’s Well for war, War had changed him, losing all sense of compassion and any happiness he felt soon dissipated. Always angry he became increasingly hard on his wife and their only son Joe.

Thursday, 5 March 2015


Last year I was reading a paper while waiting for my wife when a headline prompted me to scratch down the following few lines. Today with the action happening in Indonesia and the penalties imposed on drug dealers there, I thought it might be topical if I posted this poem / song lyrics.

It is a first draft and I'd love to hear your comments.

Crystal’s staring at the pavement

Of the Grand Paradise Hotel

Where police tape flickers

before the morning breeze

And she’s lost in the bloodstain

Left where the victim fell

Second night of a two week honeymoon

They’d spent the day in bed

And food came to their room

Making love all through the morning

She thrilled with inner movements

And glowed there in his spoon

Dinner at the restaurant

at the Grand Paradise Hotel

Then dancing in the ballroom

With the man she knew so well

The music pumped the pulsing light

And the world could go to hell.

Now she’s staring at the pavement

Of the Grand Paradise Hotel

And thinking about that pill

Wondered why he thought he’d need it

Was it just another thrill?

The dealer was the devil

And he pushed a little hard

Toby palmed two hundred

You can’t put that stuff on a card

They danced until the small hours

And made it quite a night

Then in the elevator

He held her really tight

She kissed him in the lift

He caressed her in the hall

And when he laid her on their bed

She offered him her all

Then somewhere in between

The darkness and the light

He swallowed what the dealer sold him

And believed he could take flight.

Now Crystal’s staring at the pavement

Outside the Grand Paradise Hotel

She’s staring at the bloodstain

Where her Toby fell

The dealer was the devil

And he pushed a little hard

Toby palmed two hundred

You can’t put that on card

Now Crystal’s staring at the pavement

Outside the Grand Paradise Hotel

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Value of Children Stories

Since my children have blessed me with grandchildren I have gained a better perspective for the importance of good stories in a child’s life. I remember being with my own children, sitting on their beds and reading Dr Seuss, Enid Blyton, Rudyard Kipling and Australia’s own Colin Thiele.

It didn’t matter that Mr Percival was lost, we knew Stormboy would save the situation. Noddy and Big Ears shared many scrapes and came out the other side, better for their adventure. The Famous Five taught us courage, while Anne of Green Gables helped my girls discover the enjoyment of reading. While they read they also watched movies and listened to music. Every piece, a story told in its own way. Sure some of the stuff served up was trash but over time they learned to differentiate between the two.

Who didn’t sing along to Achy Breaky Heart when it came out, Billy Ray Cyrus had a story to tell too, and the song did very well for him. Everything we do has a story to it and hopefully we can teach our children to be confident when they speak and write. Helping them to understand the stories they see or hear helps them to craft their own presentations. We are assured this century will be remembered as the, Information Revolution, in the same way as we speak about the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century. If that is to be the case then reading and importantly , understanding what has been read is important. Reading is the best way anyone can learn how to craft their own story. Therefore we need to help our children see the subtleties of good writing.

I spent some time last year with a three year old, her grandmother and I were on duty to entertain for three hours. We put Chitty Chitty Bang Bang into the DVD player, and who doesn’t like one hundred and forty minutes of Dick Van dyke. The story written about the same time as Ian Fleming was creating James Bond has his style all over it.

Granny who hadn’t seen it before was entertained too.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Les Gillespie's Gold Update

This book is taking longer to write than I first expected. As I understand the process better now, the more I have tried to craft a better tale. I hope that everyone who enjoyed Kundela will be blown away by Les Gillespie's Gold. I believe I have broken the back of the story now and am ready to draw all of the plot lines together.

I hope to have the manuscript ready for editing soon.