Monday, 9 December 2013

Montana and the Pirates

This is a story written by Montana at the age of eight. It is amazing how competitive siblings can be and she sat at the computer and typed this story with out too much assistance, insisting it was her story. Over time I will encourage her to write it again and either add more to it or correct the punctuation and rhythm of the piece.
I am pleased that today's children are encouraged to express themselves in writing more so than when I was a child..
Once upon a time in a country where pirates who keep the other people very poor and frightened except for a brave girl named Montana. She’d once lived in a beautiful home with her youngest sister India, her big sister Kyamah, and her Mum and Dad.  Montana loved her family dearly and she cursed the day the pirates arrived and smashed the peace of their lovely village. As she watched the last sail burn on her father’s ship and it slip below the waves Montana swore she’d she would see that pirates face in Hell.

She felt the soft touch of her mother's hand stroke her long brown hair. ‘It’s going to be okay Darling, we have had troubles before and come through okay.’

‘But I hate them so much, I swear to you on life. I will get revenge.’

‘Come come Montana, that’s just silly. You’re only eight years old.’

‘But every day I grow a little bigger and get stronger and I promise you and this island that one day I will see to it that Blackbeard’s day will come.’

She knew just how lucky she was. Along with her family, Granny and Papa were there too, they would look after things when her parents were away. From today however things would change she would become one they relied on, and she knew it would take time.

‘Mum look down there, just outside the bay.' Montana pointed to the ship with the red sails, it’s black hull bristling with cannon and Jolly Roger. 'They call her Queen Anne’s Revenge, and I’m going to take her for Dad.’

Well on the other hand the pirates were much much worse in fact they stole everything mostly the money. There Captain was Black Beard . These pirates were the meanest things on earth back in those days. Captain Black Beard and his crew would sack every place in the village and the people had to give the pirates something, or money. Mostly money so the village got very poor and sick especially Montana's family apart from her, but  the pirates, they got very rich.

One day Montana was tired of Black beard and his crew's pillaging because Montana's family was very very sick, they didn’t have any food. Later the pirates came for more but instead of money or gold, they were ambushed Montana got her sword and put the point at Black Beard's heart.

Black beard whipped out his sword out and slashed it at Montana’s sword Montana was a very good sword fighter so the pirate couldn’t kill Montana easily. The sword fight ended and Black Beard walked back to his ship with his crew but Montana wasn’t finished she followed him back to the ship. Black Beard saw that Montana had followed onto the ship and realised she wanted more. He said. 'If you want more you have to face your fears.'

          'I know.'She said

They started having another fight Black Beard was about to stab but instead hit the sword and said. 'I’m to quick for ya” and didn’t die. Just then Montana swung back and stabbed Black Beard in the heart Montana had won.

Montana got all the things that was the villages and shared it all. For Black Beard well he had to be tied to a rope and swim around the boat three times. Montana's family got much better and lived happily ever after with no more pirates.

                                    The end!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

My Grandaughters' Bunyip Stories

About twelve months ago my grandchildren and I were looking for frogs and tadpoles in the local creek that runs through the golf course and into the park. We started making up stories about monsters and people of old. From that little game I produced a bunyip story good  enough to be short listed in the Melton City Short Story Competition.

Kyamah started the Dadididi tale you can find on the link below, she was almost nine when the project started and this is a very rough first draft.

After seeing children and teenagers receiving awards at the short story awards has re-ignited her passion to write, and even if Dadididi remains untouched you can see where her career as a writer began.

Montana too has worked on a yarn about kids a creek and a monster. She will post her story soon.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Writers Victoria

Today I received my copy of the December Issue of The Victorian Writer and found a wonderful piece on how to get off of the slush pile written by Shivaun Plozza. She has encapsulated a lot of information in about 450 words. Shivaun talks about the synopsis and how important it is to getting your manuscript read. Drop over to her blog where she has offered even more advice to would be published writers.


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Should I set up my publishing company and embrace other authors or not.

Since writing the post below, I like many other self published writers have hacked my story around numerous bookshops across Australia. I have pestered my friends, family, associates and anyone else I can think of, for leads to people who might like to buy a book. The only thing I haven't done is to set up at any of the many book fairs, as I have only had the one book to sell. This is the same problem facing any salesperson canvassing for sales, how can I strengthen my product line to make a sale every time I call on a bookshop?
Knowing I can only realistically expect to produce and publish one quality 100,000 word novel per year if I am trying to do the marketing and selling too, it's not enough. If I wait for three years I may have three books to sell by the one author, me. While they may be great novels, they are still too small of an offering to make me a serious competitor in the book sales business. Therefore, what options do writers like me have?
  1. We can continue to submit our work to the regular publishing houses and hope to land a deal.
  2. E-publish our work on the various forms and promote it via e-mail and social media trying to drive possible buyers to our books.
  3. Self publish via one of the many vanity publishers and do the rounds of friends and family.
  4. Develop your own publishing house to manage the printing registration and distribution.
  5. Establish a co-operative scheme to embrace authors of a similar mindset and present their work as a combined and professional publishing company that will attract the interest of distribution businesses across the globe.
Over the past few weeks I have developed a fondness for the latter scheme if I am unable to find a publisher for my next two novels. The only drawback I can see is that I'd prefer to be writing than building a business, and I'm sure this is the same for every writer I know. However if we wish to be professional writers producing quality work and being properly promoted and compensated this may be the only option for many.of us.

For now I'm only tossing a few an ideas around but would be interested in comments from anyone about their success and failures at becoming published in hard copy.

Either leave me a comment, or e-mail me at


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

To Self Publish or Not? That is the Question.

Having finished my novel KUNDELA I have sent out samples to different publishers. Having religiously followed their submission guidelines in the hope that someone would chance upon my masterpiece, I have checked the e-mail inbox daily with disappointment. Weeks of waiting and with response times now passing I have to face the possibility of not being picked up on this first round of enquiry letters.

I have been through most of the self publish websites and now have would be publishers from all over the world willing to publish and market my book for a fee, in some cases a rather large fee. I don't have that kind of money to spend, and I'm not sure that Francis from Frisco can be bothered with the marketing plan my novel needs. I think it's an opportunity for them to make money from the author rather than the other way around.

Taking the view that I'm a trades person with a commodity to sell takes the marketing of KUNDELA into an area I know well. I've spent all of my previous career in sales and marketing so I have the skills. What I don't have is the contacts, therefore I will need an agent or at the very least the contacts an agent has. The first question raised now, is how do I do I gain that knowledge. Therefore I started to research the people who have been in a similar situation to me and gone on to become successful and published authors.

From my research I find that it is necessary to embrace rejection as something that teaches you a lesson, and to learn from it. Another point I found helpful was to create a business plan for your proposal. To sell anything you need to know everything about it, what it is, what products it competes with, the strengths and weaknesses of both yours and your competitor's product.

Now I am on a quest to structure a business plan for KUNDELA, complete with a marketing plan, sales strategy and finance plan. Now I find that I'm on familiar ground with a product to sell.

Proving that writing is a business.

One of the sites I found helpful was a You tube Interview by Stacey Cochran with John Fuhrman as his quest. It is over 50 minutes long but contains some wonderful information.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Melton Short Story Competition

Last Friday night a good number Melton City Council's best writers, their  families and friends gathered for the annual short story competition. Each year the council has offered an opportunity for local writers to submit stories poems and plays and compete for both monitory reward and more importantly recognition among the writing community.

The Melton City Council provided three competition categories this year and offered monitory prizes for each. Entrants were advised of being short listed a couple of weeks prior and this added to the tension in the room as every author there wondered if they had been successful and their guests wanted to know who had won too.

Amra Pajalic, author of 'The Good Daughter' was master of ceremonies for the night and kept the night moving as she introduced the judges and winners of awards.

I'm told the adult section was fiercely competitive this year, and Beverly Eikli said she had a tough job picking the finalists. This comment lifted the spirits of the entrants as each of us wanted to know if the standard of our writing was of quality.

With a great sense of pride I listened as Beverly called out my colleague Chris Mack from last year's Longitudinal Writing Workshop as the first place winner.

Her story about a child finding her place among her peers was a heart warming account of a girl from a low income family looking for clothes at the local tip was read to the spellbound crowd. It was a wonderful rendition and something I'd love to have happen with one of my yarns.

In equal second place was Fikret Pajalic and I shared this award with him.

In third place was the fantastic Melton writer, Craig Henderson, who I believe should win almost everything he enters. Yes his short stories and longer works are that good.

When I think back over the months that I have spent with some of these people I find that the work and time given by Merlene Fawdry to assist and encourage writers of all skill levels is evident in the winning stories.I met Merlene last year by attending her workshop and was impressed by her drive and commitment to help us succeed.  Some months later I was in awe as she selflessly gave her time to copy-edit and produce an anthology of stories by Melton and Caroline Springs storytellers. Storytellers who by way of the book can be proud of the stories and poems she helped polish to make suitable for publication.

I have put my story 'Banib the Bunyip' onto Amazon's Kindle format and for December it is only US$ 0.99 to download.

Here is the link:

Banib the Bunyip is a Dreamtime story told by an Aboriginal boy to a group of kids on a school camp. It's a scary story that my friends and family love and it's set in Melton to the west of Melbourne. I'd love to get some feedback on what people think of the story so please let me know as both good and bad critique is welcome.

Blog Links:

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Save Mona 693 petition signatures and climbing.

With every project we plan there are milestones and one of these is a tipping point. For the wild rhinos across the world their extinction has already crossed that point and it seems they are doomed for extinction. So why should we care. We should care because we can and we don't wan to tell our children and our grandchildren we stood by and did nothing while these animals crashed into a bloody and horrible death at the hands of poachers.

From my point of view the problem needs to identify why the animal is being poached? Oh and I do know it is for the belief that the horn is an aphrodisiac but if that is the root cause it should be easy to manage a change in opinion by offering a substitute, the makers of products like Viagra spend millions each year telling us about a better sex life. I think this is like many things only available to the rich, it is about status and power. Rhino horn is about power, being dominant showing that you can thumb your nose at the world and everything in it. Proving that everything has a price and you can pay it..

Ask yourself these questions and maybe you will find the answer:

  • What turns a farmer into a poacher?

  • What can we do as a group?

  • What can I do as an individual.
If you want to do something to help today drop into the Save Mona website and sign the petition, we are not at the tipping point yet where a groundswell of support will cause politicians across the globe to do something but if you share your thoughts and encourage others to sign the petition maybe we can bring these animals back from the brink.

Click here now to take part: and please remember to post the link on your social media timelines too.
Terry L Probert

Friday, 15 November 2013

Kundela Update

Today has been one of frustration, and missed opportunities for NaNoWriMo. I have been refurbishing my contacts database to ensure that it is up to date and I'm sure that most of the bookstore were busy when I asked them to confirm their details.

The reprint of KUNDELA has arrived and I'm extremely pleased with it. The new cover distinguishes it from the old one yet retains its Aussie character. I have taken an opportunity to change a couple of irritations that bugged one or two fo my critics but that's all it needed.

To say I'm a happy camper is an understatement. A big shout to all of you who have bought the first copies, they were a small print run and your support is power for my pen.

More updates to come.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Save Mona

Thanks to all my Facebook friends who have liked and shared the Save Mona page. Your actions will create a groundswell of people expressing the same opinion and one day we may save these creatures and many others from extinction.

Let us all hope our grandchildren don't point to a photo of a rhino and say why didn't you do something Gramps?

Check out the website and leave a comment please:

And the petition:

Thanks everyone.


Introducing: Gino Di Massimo, Charlie Winkler's henchman

Meet Gino, a fictional character in my new novel Les Gillespie's Gold. Gino as you can see from his profle is a very clever and dangerous man. Probably a latent psycopath he manages to keep his urges to kill under control. He can hurt without leaving a mark and his presence is enough to intimidate most.
I'm not quite sure where he will pop up in the story but when he does he will cause trouble.
Check him out below

NAME:                                                 : Gino Di Massimo
Position in story:                                   : More than a Secondary Role 

Aussie born Italian
Socioeconomic level as a child:
Socioeconomic level as an adult:
Middle income group
Current residence:
Mile End
Mr. Fix-it for Raydor
Trained in Psychology and is a martial arts expert with a very mean attitude he is feared by most of his colleagues (Based on Harry Bennett. Henry Fords right hand man)
$120,000 + bonuses + expenses
Can’t keep a woman for long he tortures them both mentally and physically
Birth order:
Oldest of two
Siblings (describe relationship):
Rocco (dead, died in uncertain circumstances)
Spouse/partner (describe relationship):
Children (describe relationship):
Parents (describe relationship):
Maria came out from Sicily to marry Angelo in 1969. Angelo worked in the market gardens in Virginia until they started a fruit shop in the Central Market
Grandparents (describe relationship):
In Italy no current connection
Grandchildren (describe relationship):
Significant others (describe relationship):
Retains a mechanic to look after his dragster
Relationship skills:
Very smooth with everyone until he has what he wants and then discards them
Physical Characteristics
187 cm
Eye Color:
Hair Color:
Glasses or contact lenses?
Gold rimmed glasses photo grey tint
Skin colour:
Shape of face:
Square jaw
Distinguishing features:
Crooked nose
How does he/she dress?
Expensive suits and RM Williams outfitter when in the bush
Keeps looking over his shoulder and always chooses a seat in the back corner of any room he is not familiar with
Habits: (smoking, drinking/drugs/addictions etc.)
Doesn’t smoke. Likes good wine and only eats Italian food if possible
Any physical illnesses?
Drag Racing
Favourite sayings:
You’re mine
Speech patterns:
Aussie with a touch of Italian
Style (Elegant, shabby etc.):
Greatest flaw:
He has been able eliminate all his shortcomings but vanity will sometimes cause him to lose his cool
Best quality:
There isn’t one
Personality Attributes and Attitudes
Educational Background:
Adelaide Uni
Intelligence Level:
Very high
Any Mental Illnesses?
Learning Experiences:
Grew up being bullied for his glasses and being Italian it made him mean and vengeful
Character's short-term goals in life:
Screw everyone to benefit himself
Character's long-term goals in life:
Become very rich
How does Character see himself/herself?
As perfection in a man
How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others?
He doesn’t care for the opinion of others much
How self-confident is the character?
Very and driven by ego
Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof?
Logic he is very cool when cornered
What would most embarrass this character
People referring to his being bullied
Spiritual Characteristics
Does the character believe in God?
He is a devout Catholic and attends Mass most weeks
What are the character's spiritual beliefs?
God will forgive him for anything he does
Is religion or spirituality a part of this character's life?
Religion is a means of finding peace in his actions