Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

To all of my friends who have visited and commented about the stories posted on this blog, Happy New Year.

2013 is going to be an exciting year with a couple of projects to complete and one or two to start.

Stay safe and healthy my friends.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Alzheimer's Christmas Surprise

A couple of days before Christmas I was bemused that my wife couldn't remember that we'd arranged to go to our daughter's for Christmas lunch. Each trip to the supermarket we bought another ham, more bread, extra sausages, and additional mince pies. Assured that her very own case of Alzheimer's disease had set in, but not wanting to mention her obvious loss of memory, I kept quiet.

I became even more worried when a day or two before my mother arrived from interstate, the purchase of a new Christmas tree and decoration was discussed. Wasn't it my wife, who when we first met reluctantly purchased a small tree sparsely festooned plastic ornaments to pacify my pleas to decorate the lounge room.

About six months ago our daughter had discussed her mother's lack of ability to remember what she'd told her a few days before, it was worrying her, and would I talk to my wife about it. Great, I can hardly remember what colour socks I have on today and now she wants me to go where no sane man would willingly go. To speak about subjects my generation consider taboo. There might be something in all of this dementia stuff though so I'll soon be taking the test myself. I reckon it's the easiest way out, and if the report is positive I have a good reason for everything I forget to do.

Back to our provisioning for Christmas. We were to meet with friends for a dinner and Christmas get together, tell some lies, discuss our families and be home before eleven. It used to be before dawn but now we fall asleep after a feed, so eleven is curfew. Our task was to supply a dessert and fruit salad was the sweet of choice. A syrupy sweet perfume filled the kitchen as a trolley load of fruit was diced sliced sugared, and drenched to perfection.

'Are you sure we are going to need all of that tonight?' I asked trying not to sound too concerned about an obvious over catering situation.

'We can always have the leftovers for breakfast, and besides I will put some in the fridge to have later. And your Mum's here, she likes fruit.'

A confident wave to shoo me out of the kitchen indicated it was time for me to do something somewhere. I left and only came back into the kitchen in time to see the last utensil go into the draw and the tea-towel being hung in the rack as the last of the water gurgled as it drained from the sink. Perfect timing I thought.

Our phone rang early next morning, the grandchildren would be staying home today. Their father having strayed next door early the previous afternoon had been invited to pass an expert opinion on the quality and taste of the neighbour's Christmas home brew. Apparently a difficult task, and the afternoon and much of the evening was lost. She would leave the kids with him while she had her hair done, part punishment, part opportunity.

I'd been looking forward to the grand-kids coming, after all it was Christmas Eve and they’d be full of questions. I'd found a new red-back spider residing behind the shed to show them, a couple of sunflowers were poking their shoots up and they could also keep my Mum occupied for an hour or two. All of my boxes were ticked yesterday, but now my plans were screwed. I'd have to find something else to do and I'd promised to leave the computer alone over Christmas. So dragging my bottom lip I mooched about the garden, kicking the occasional stone off the lawn and pulling a few weeds. I even opened the caravan sat at the table and dreamed of a campsite overlooking a creek filled with fish, yeah that would be good.

Maybe next Christmas.

I felt a couple of arms close around me, warm in their embrace and my wife’s kiss on my cheek as I turned the key in the lock. My dreams would remain inside the van for another time. I know my kids would go la la la la la la, but to my wife I said. 'No point in feeling frisky Mum's still here.' She just shook her head and laughed.

We picked a miniature weed or two from the garden that had been well weeded a week ago. Boredom had morphed into apathy and I'd lost a bit of enthusiasm for Christmas, a call to my daughter working interstate went to message. My son phoned to confirm a postal address. Both calls had been short and sharp, I knew they would call Christmas night when they had more time. Oh well I could catch up with a mate later in the day that would lift my spirits, but then nah that wouldn't work. Mum would wonder why I'd snuck out without her. After all she was only here for ten days surely her only son could entertain her for ten days.

A four wheel drive rolled into the drive way and wanting to know how sick my son in law was I was keen for our daughter to spill the goss. The woman riding in the passenger seat looked familiar but I didn't recognise her at first. Thinking it must have been a friend from the school run, there were kids in the back but the tinted windows hid their faces.

'G'day there.'

I recognised the voice immediately and the face I knew, but my mind was still confused. The time and place was all wrong. My eldest daughter and her family had come for Christmas. Those melancholy thoughts of earlier in the day immediately fled and Christmas cheer filled our home for the next three days. I'm not sure what happened over Christmas other than my family had been able to keep a secret to surprise me for over six months. Time to talk disappeared among laughter, food, movies and the Boxing Day Test. Too soon it was time to get everyone to the airport and send them home.

With them gone, the house is much quieter and I'm waiting for my wife to return from her shift at work. And yet every room is full of joyous memory moments that will last until we meet again next Christmas. Today I'm back to writing again and have a million anecdotes and stories from the last few days to draw on over the next twelve months.

To the secret keepers, many thanks for a very merry and surprising Christmas, you blew my socks off.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Ag Machinery Industry Anthology Questions

 Ever wondered what happened to all the wonderful characters who designed, built, sold, and worked the farm machinery that built our country into the agricultural powerhouse it is today? I have.
There isn’t one definitive research area where these stories can be found, and I would like to try to address this. Over the next twelve months I intend to produce an anthology of stories from tractor and machinery men and women across Australia. At the same time I will regenerate the AgList website and accommodate your stories there too.

With your help, I believe we can tell the story of Australia’s farming communities in an interesting and humorous way. Therefore I invite you to participate in the following questionnaire and begin recording your story for future generations.

Please feel free to expand or contract the elements of your answers to tell your story. I appreciate the effort it will take to answer but believe that unless we begin to record the important human side of our industry this history will be lost. I am trying to address this.

Each question is set in a table, start typing under the question, remembering to save the document before returning via e-mail.

Your Name:                           

Your E-mail address:             

How did you get started in the machinery game?
And what was the first role, and for who?
Tell me a bit about it, anything interesting happen
Did you have a career plan or did it just evolve?
Worst day at work, can you tell me what happened and when?
And to balance things the best day at work, can you tell me what happened and when?
Was this your first career choice?
If not what happened?
How many different jobs have you held during your career?
Describe your best job ever, be careful if it’s not the one you hold now.
Tell us about any favourite times or parts of your career?
What was the best product or service you ever owned, sold, or worked on?
What is the most important innovation you’ve seen?
So how far did you go in school, and did you do any study after leaving?
What do like most about your work today?
What is that you are doing today, and who do you work for?
Can you remember your first pay packet, tell us how you felt when you held it in your hands and can you tell us how much it was?
Can you tell us what you see any challenges the industry will face over the next few years?
And is there any advice you can give to anyone considering a similar career?
I would like to include my story on the AgList website.
Yes:                                     No:                      (please mark with an X)


Thank you for participating, if you wish to attach any photos of yourself or products that add to your story I would appreciate them.
Email your answers to;

Yours sincerely,

Terry L Probert

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Terry L Probert: Writing Plans for 2013

Terry L Probert: Writing Plans for 2013: Before I wrote Kundela I wanted to capture the stories of the men and women who drove possibly the biggest advances in agriculture since the...

Writing Plans for 2013

Before I wrote Kundela I wanted to capture the stories of the men and women who drove possibly the biggest advances in agriculture since the mechanisation of farming at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

This is my main focus for next year and I am seeking people to help me by recording their story.

Background for the book

To my mind  the thirty year period between 1960 to 1990. During this time farmers focused on minimum till practises and big advances were made in the delivery of irrigation systems that meant a dry country like Australia could maximise production on limited rainfall.

From the mid seventies Australian companies became world leaders in the design and manufacture of farming plant and almost weekly a new design or practise would emerge to make farming more viable. To support this march of progress, these companies employed and  trained many skilled people to carry this knowledge to the farming community and in turn train the buyers how to get the best from their purchase.

I look back at this period with fondness for the pride and enthusiasm we had then. We in Australia were making stuff and had many talented people who could sell their skills on the world stage.

So this is a call out to anyone who ever wielded a pen, drove a tractor, setup a pump, designed a plough or partnered someone involved in the ag industry during this time to tell their story. To be part of it all just drop me an e-mail at probertconsulting @bigpond and I will send out some info to take it from there.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Kundela Chapter 9 a sneek peak

We are in the final editing stages of Kundela and I'm extremely pleased with our progress. It's amazing what a difference a few restructured sentences and some proper punctuation can do to a manuscript and I have Merlene Fawdrey to thank for that.

To give readers a little tastes of what is in the book this is a sneak peak from one of my favourite chapters. Joe and Laura have just found the camp of the bikies who have trashed the homestead and are hell bent on revenge. I will only leave this passage on the blog for a week before I take it down.

Thanks for dropping in.


Joe may have been over sixty, and with adrenalin now surging through his veins, he forgot his recent tiredness. Running back to the site where they’d kept watch, he picked up his rifle and settled into a sniper’s position. Taking aim, he took a deep breath he relaxed, letting half of the air escape slowly his lungs. He caressed the trigger with his right index finger. It was cold and, feeling it come against the trigger spring, he knew exactly what he needed to do. The rifle punched into his shoulder as he sent the first bullet toward the shell under the Harley where the girl had been tied.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Why you should include a timeline in preparing a story.

During the last eleven or so months I attended a longditudanl workshop on novel writing hosted at the Melton Library and given by Merelene Fawdry. In that time I listened intently making copiuos comments in the margins of the comprehensive study notes she provided. As Kundela had been almost completed I was able to follow her teachings whereby through ignorance and luck I'd managed to include and understand many of the points we were learning.

The whole process filling me with pride, allowing me to say 'I am a writer.'

Jump forward to this November and to when I started writing Toby Farrier. The planning was first class I had chapter outlines set and made sure there was a logical flow to the story. I developped a story board for tracking the action and places. Much moe reliable than drawing on the memories securley filed away in my head. I even wrote a story about a bus ride for the characters helping to fix their little nuances into my memory banks. Character charts completed for the main players helping to prompt me for things like hair colour, relationships, and other minute details. So you would think that writing this book should have been a simple matter of blasting the words down. After all the bones of the story had already been written.

Not so, because now after 25,000 words I realise I have a problem with the timing of the action.Or more to the point I should have planned a timeline. My only course of action now is to go over the story and plot the happenings. Taking care and drafting a line of sequences with dates and times to flow the series of events.Either that or find a good reason for Toby to have a party on the last Monday before school breaks up for the Christmas holidays.

Thanks for reading my rant and if you are planning a story of any kind learn from my mistake and jot down notes as to the timing of events. It is much easier.

Okay it's now time to get back to Toby and get his story finished.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Lauren E Mitchell

Lauren E Mitchell is the Municipal Liaison contact / organiser and gee-up person for NaNoWriMo. To manage all of these tasks and manage to exceed the target word count requires a big effort from one individual and I'm sure there were helpers along the way but Lauren made it happen. Therefore a big thanks to you Lauren.

To the others in my buddy list I watched as your word count powered to and past the target congratulations to:

  • SatyaPriya   
  • Lauren E Mitchell
  • Mergwen
  • Black Cockatoo
  • Aimz_ICR
  • Chrismackauthor
  • VinnFjordwall
I look forward to following your progress next year.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Melton Wordsmith members past & present dominate the Melton Short Story Competition.

A wonderful night at the Arnold's Creek Community Centre where the Melton City Council presented the prizes to  the Melton Short Story competition winners. I was pleased to see that my writing group Wordsmiths of Melton members past & present had a good representation among the winners.

Congratulations go to Julee Stillman, Loraine Jones, Craig Henderson, and Toni Iannela who all picked up gongs. To hear Julee's winning entry read to the gathering added an extra dimension to the evening.

A big mention to the council for supporting the writers of our area and promoting the idea that anyone and everyone has a story to tell. Competitions like this one extend an idea into desire and then over time a writer crafts a story and with every word they improve their craft. Bringing well known authors to Melton to talk to aspiring writers is inspiring and offers excellent role models to follow.

The winning entries of the younger writers were beautiful and listening to them being read with my eyes shut woke every sense to the descriptive action.

Well done everyone.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Time to get back to Toby

After a week of doing other things I am trying to get back into the story of Toby Farrier. With 18 chapters and 24500 words down already I know I won't meet the 50,000 word target by the end of this month. However the novel is turning into quite a good story and I think it's worth seeing it through until it finishes around the 70,000 t0 80,00 word mark.

Toby has a few dramas to face yet and I hope to get chapters 19 and 20 posted tonight.


Terry L Probert

Thursday, 22 November 2012


Yeah I guess everyone has forgotten about the first novel.

The good news is that Merlene Fawdrey met with me today to give me a progress report and firm up out publishing plan.

We are looking at submitting the copy edited draft during the early weeks of December and will call for independent readers to give a review for the publisher.

We had a great meeting and I am looking forward to the next part of the process.

Thanks for dropping by


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Only 57 words today towards the NaNoWriMo tally

Bad day on the writing front but a great day of fishing with four lovely trout in the fridge. Need to have a big push tomorrow. The story is running really well and I have the middle and end figured out, it is now a matter of getting the words down.

Thanks for dropping by,


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Dormant Brain Syndrome

This morning after a nice lay-in a good breakfast and a saunter around the backyard, I am still searching for a glimmer of inspiration.This was always going to be a busy week and then I have thrown NaNoWriMo into the mix as well so I had better burn a bit of midnight oil over the month to complete this challenge.

Good luck to all those who are on track and may inspiration and perspiration combine to carry the rest of us for the next few weeks.

Monday, 5 November 2012

A slow few days of NaNoWriMo

I thought I would offer a report and an excuse for no new chapter posts on Toby Farrier.

I have had a few commitments to other projects since Friday and haven't had a lot of time to open the computer. Hope to have more done by tomorrow night and have set myself a 25,000 word count by this time next week.

I know the rules say don't worry about the editing and just to type away; but I have had a quick look at the draft for the first time this morning and can see that it really needs another hard drafting session.

Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, 2 November 2012


Today is a bit hard after a big effort yesterday housework gardening and other obligations are in the way. Have to hit the keys hard tonight and find another 2500 words to finish chapter four.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

NaNoWriMo has started

Well the kick off was over seven hours ago and I am yet to write a word.

The plan for this wet Melbourne Thursday will be to try and get the first three chapters down. I'm hoping for between 5,000 -6,000 words over the next nine hours. If I have planned it properly and ignore the character's demands for bigger parts I may get there.

I will post the Chapters one at a time on the Toby Farrier page of this blog.

Good luck to all participants.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Toby Farrier: Character Profile

To create my new novel TOBY FARRIER I need to construct the details of each character.

I have adapted a sheet developed by Merlene Fawdrey, converting the information into a table that I can use to build character profiles for the protagonists of each story.

I find a written character profile to be absolutely necessary, it helps me maintain consistency through the story. When I was writing KUNDELA for some reason I changed the names of the two characters part way through and it took ages to fix. I also read on Fleur McDonald's website that she uses photos as prompts as well and so later today I may be seen carousing the newsagent's shelves for teen magazines.

For the next week only, here is a look at what makes Toby, Toby.

NAME:                                               :  Toby Farrier

Position in story:                                 :  Main Character

15 yrs
Socioeconomic level as a child:
Lower Middle Class
Socioeconomic level as an adult:
Stanhope Victoria
Current residence:
Lives with Arthur in Brunswick
Year 10 Student
Bright Student, Inquisitive, loves writing and loyal
Pocket Money from home only
Birth order:
Siblings (describe relationship):
Eldest child who disrupts his other 2 siblings
Spouse/partner (describe relationship):
Children (describe relationship):
Parents (describe relationship):
Father: Darren        Mother: Tracy  have a hard time with Toby’s disruptive behaviour.
Grandparents (describe relationship):
Arthur Farrier takes him in and gives him a new focus.
Grandchildren (describe relationship):
Significant others (describe relationship):
Relationship skills:
Good communicator, has made new friends since moving to the city.
Physical Characteristics
160 cm
55 kg
Eye Colour:
Hair Colour:
Black spiky styled hair with blonde tips
Glasses or contact lenses?
Gold rimmed round lenses
Skin colour:
Light olive
Shape of face:
Square good looking pinned earlobes
Distinguishing features:
Jagged scar on left cheek from a broken bottle in a school yard fight
How does he/she dress?
Likes skinny leg jeans, white muscle Tee shirts and sand shoes.
Once fidgety and on edge he has calmed under Arthur’s tutelage
Habits: (smoking, drinking/drugs/addictions etc.)
Loves Allen’s Snakes and enjoys a roast lunch with Arthur on Sundays
Any physical illnesses?
Fine never sick
Played a bit of Aussie rules to please his dad but would sooner read and write stories.
Favourite sayings:
Come on Toby focus, we can do this. Maate!
Speech patterns:
Normal well spoken Aussie English
Style (Elegant, shabby etc.):
Trendy Target
Greatest flaw:
Quick to anger but now under control
Best quality:
Loyal and Honest
Personality Attributes and Attitudes
Educational Background:
Still at school
Intelligence Level:
Top 10 student in every class at high school
Any Mental Illnesses?
Parents thought he had ADHD but a change of glasses by Arthur’s optometrist turns his attitudes
Learning Experiences:
Watches listens learns ad takes lots of notes
Character's short-term goals in life:
Get through school
Character's long-term goals in life:
Famous novelist
How does Character see himself/herself?
Confident and able no challenge too big.
How does Character believe he /she is perceived by others?
Super cool by a few friends but despised by the thug element in his school because of his quick whit
How self-confident is the character?
He doesn’t believe his own publicity grounded and knows his limitations. Works to his strengths
Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof?
What would most embarrass this character
Being reminded of his early ADHD (he keeps this link very close to his chest)
Spiritual Characteristics
Does the character believe in God?
He hasn’t been influenced or exposed to any formal religion but wonders about an afterlife
What are the character's spiritual beliefs?
Is religion or spirituality a part of this character's life?
If so, what role does it play?