Friday, 19 December 2014

Merry Christmas

As we wind our way toward the Christmas and New Year holidays, I wanted to take a few moments and thank you for your friendship and support over the last twelve months.
2014 has been a great year for me and a one I’ll remember fondly. First highlight was having my short story, Banib the Bunyip win second prize in the 2013 Melton Short Story Competition. In January I learnt that my debut novel Kundela was commended in the FAW National Literary Awards.
An author may write in isolation, but when the manuscript is as good as they can get it, there is still more to do. If the writer is smart or lucky, they will find an editor with the skills to take their story and make it into a prize winning novel. Merlene Fawdry waved her magic over the manuscript for Kundela and I can’t thank her enough for the work she put in. She made it into a winner.
Unless a book sells, as a writer you feel as if you have under achieved, so I’d like to thank all of the book sellers who put Kundela on their shelves, your support of an independent writer is empowering.
Writers need readers too and to all of you who bought enough copies of Kundela to make a reprint necessary, I’m thankful. Feed back is like food to someone like me and to those who said how much they enjoyed the book thank you. Your encouragement empowers my resolve to write.
This year I finished another novel, an adventure set in Melbourne. Toby Farrier is a fifteen year old boy living with his grandfather. Toby gets into all manner of trouble, when he sets course to solve the riddle of a desk that has lain, locked and forgotten since 1930.
Currently I am working on the second book in the Kundela series. I have planned another children’s novel which I hope to start soon. Both manuscripts should be finished by this time next year.
Ruth and I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and we hope you enjoy a happy and prosperous New Year.
Once again thanks for the continued support

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Les Gillespie's Gold Roadblock

As I started my NaNoWriMo challenge I flew into the word count, but writing Gods are fickle and tossed a problem to me. I had written myself into a conundrum, Jeff was in the outback writing a poem to Tilly and for once I couldn't make it work.  Rough little rhymes are usually something that come to me fast and unforced, but when I required one in Chapter 20, I failed. Pressure off and I penned this poem in a few minutes.

Today I toss it out into the ether for any poets to read, rewrite and make better. It may not appear in the final draft, but the poem Adnymathanha Stars has helped me finish chapter 21 and power into the rest of the novel.

Leave me a comment with your changes or thoughts.
Adnyamathanha Stars

Throw open your curtains and turn out the light

Fear not the shadows, I’m with you tonight

Peer out of your window and look up to the stars

For I’m sending you kisses on light waves from Mars

All alone on my swag I stare into the night

Longing to touch you and hold you so tight

With each little moon beam, that falls on your face

I’m sending my love song, from this ancient place

I’m sleeping in places where my ancestors slept

Where stories of wisdom and old secrets, are kept

Now I see far above me vast constellations of stars

And know if I lost you, on my heart there’d be scars

Two nights ‘til I see you and my days will just drag

Two slow days of more listening, to young fellas brag

Two more days of them bitching, their unending moan

And at the end of these days, my darling, I’m home

So sleep well in our bed of springs, latex and foam

For I’m lying tonight on a mound of red clay and loam

Take kisses from moon beams that land on your cheek

Store in a glass, my candle of love ‘til the end of the week

Throw open your curtains and turn out the light

Fear not the shadows, I’m with you tonight

Out of your window look these old Adnyamathanha stars

And know I’m sending my kisses on light waves from Mars

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


I Wish
I wish I had a Puppy
I wish his name was Ben
I wish my little puppy
I wish he'd use a pen
I wish he’d tell a story
I wish he’d tell a tale
I wish my little puppy
Could do more than wag his tail

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Statement Lies

This is another one minute exercise from our Wordsmiths group. The idea was to write a story or poem using obvious untruths. Here is my answer to the challenge.

Statement Lies, a Poem


The sky is red the sea is dry

Time stands still when you cry
A mother’s hug is never warm

A child is quiet when it’s born

A belted dog will wag it’s tail

A fire siren does not wail

Monday, 15 December 2014

Ode to Aging

Ode to Aging


Now I’m growing older

And soon my time is done

I think about my travels

And victories I’ve won

Glory days of endless sunshine

And days of flooding rain


I remember holding close to you

To minimise your pain

Sobs that shook you to the core

I don’t want to see again

I felt your lips with loving kisses

No man could love you more


During one of our writing exercises this year, the group decided to try writing several one minute sessions to make a story or poem. The idea being to use a word drawn from a hat. This is one of my offerings and the word I drew for this one was once.
Once there was a hobbit
Once there was a hole
Once there was a table
Once in the hobbits hole
Once he took a pot of tea
Once he made a cake
Once I made a visit
Once to the hobbit hole
Once I ate with him his cake
Once in that hobbit hole
Once I drank with him his tea
Once I dreamt that he was me

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Allen Gibb the toddler who left home and came home a boy with polio

Allen Gibb is one man trying to help raise awareness to the way Polio ravages not only children but adults too. Australia had an inclusive immunisation programme that had eliminated the disease by the mid eighties and now we are under threat of it's return by people who for unknown reasons are refusing to immunise their children. I will post more of his story later, but as Allen now faces post polio syndrome, with the disease returning and further reducing his capabilities it may be timely to look at what he had to endure as a child. This poster shows the contraptions he was tied into to help him carry on and play as best he could with other children.

As Poster boy for the Crippled Children's Association he was doing his bit back then.

Now older and more world worn, Allen might disagree with the comments of the letter to the Down Every Street Appeal's helpers, but he would agree that the cause is still worth fighting for.

Mate I salute you.

We will soon have more to relay as Allen tells us his perspective of being a child suffering with this disease and how it is revisiting him now. In the meantime, we ask that you investigate the benefits of immunisation yourself, before saying no to immunising your childtren.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Memories of a childhood mate.

Over the past few years, thanks to the wonders of the internet, I have been able to keep in touch with many friends and family. School was one of those places where we all met people. Some we may not have become close to, but who we still remember. Over the years we be-friend some, find we don't get on with others and make enemies of a few. Time tends to erase the worst memories and today I find myself e-mailing them and swapping stories about our own good old days.
    My school was Orroroo Higher Primary School and at the time kids bussed in from Carrieton, Tarcowie, Willowie, Yatina and Johnburgh. In the sixties over three hundred and twenty kids filled the courtyard for assembly. Some stood out for academic prowess, others for their sporting ability and then there were the bottom feeders, people like me. We scraped through without recognition and had to carry home report cards telling our parents we must strive more, if we expected to achieve a pass mark.
    During these early years one kid stood out, not because he was different, but because he was away from school for big chunks of the year at times. We didn’t know why.
    Allen lived a few houses up the street from us. I didn’t understand until we were in about year five, that Allen was different, he had polio. Nothing stopped this bloke, we played cricket, rode our bikes (his was a three wheeler, but boy he made it go) swapped comics and dreamed. Never once can I recall him complaining of his condition. I think as most kids do he accepted it.
    As happens often, his family moved away and our lives went on. Allen enjoyed success in the education field and I followed into the family business.
    My memory is that he always had a positive attitude. Maybe it is something he dealt with back then. Today through social media and by collecting stories from other people, he is working to make others aware of what polio did to sufferers like him. His is work of great service. For me we were kids, Allen didn't have poliomyelitis, sure he had irons that made him walk funny, but I had freckles and was not academically gifted. Other kids were different too, that hasn't changed, at the time we just got on with.
Heroes come in different guises; Allen Gibb is this to me.

Check out his posts on Facebook to follow more of his story.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Kundela reviewed by AUSTCRIME

Scrolling through writing sites last night and found a review of my novel KUNDELA, on the AustCrime website.

Not the best review one could hope for, but an honest and helpful critique of my work.

Take a look and see if you agree:

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Back to writing Les Gillespie's Gold today

Today I have spent the morning research gold exploration company requirements and my head is in a spin. One good thing though it has allayed some of my doubts for the story line.  Word count is increasing and I can see the novel taking form. Roll on those last two words.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Character writing exercise: Goal, Motivation, Conflict

I presented this piece to the group today, who received it with mixed reaction. I wasn't as literal in my descriptions or conflict and aspirations, of Ciny, Faith and Ben, as the group expected,  but I wanted to convey the characters in a more abstract way. I'm interested in everyone's comments. You can find the criteria in the previous post. I hope you enjoy my take on a popular exercise.


I knew my target’s habits and knew what time he would arrive. The Awards Presentation would be crowded but the lines of people lining the red carpet would work to my advantage.

Television crews were set up everywhere and it was easy to blend in, my only concern was the occupants of room 515. From the fifth floor I would have a clean shot, it was only four hundred metres, the carpet would provide excellent background and alignment.

I learned Faith and Cindy McLeod lived in 515 from the names on the apartment mail boxes. I arranged tickets to the Oscars for them on the ruse that they won them in a competition. Their apartment would be vacant by noon and I did not expect them to arrive before midnight. Once inside, all I had to do was wait.

I dressed as a staff janitor, I stowed my rifle in a cleaning trolley and made it to the fifth floor. Just before noon the girls left via the lifts at the end of the hall. I used a stolen house pass to gain access.

I took a towel from the trolley and laid it on the table, where I put the unassembled rifle. I pulled a cleaner through the barrel, looked down the bore and started assembly. I knew I only need one shot, but filled the five shot magazine and put another cartridge in the chamber to be sure.

I moved furniture to make sure I was comfortable and cracked a front window open. There was nothing between my position and the target.

I shut the window and waited, at 2.30 the phone rang, I ignored it. By 3-30, I heard people in the hall, but they walked on. I kept the television muted and watched reporters accosting celebrities making their way along the carpet.

At 5.00 pm I opened the window again and took up my position. Flags hung listless from their poles, no wind, that would help. I lined up a couple of guests who were about the same height as my target, Ben.

A stretch Hummer arrived, at 5.10 the target and his escort stepped out. I cursed under my breath, the limo blocked my view. I cocked the rifle, slid the safety off and waited. The Hummer glided away. He was clear,  I squeezed the trigger and watched the bullet take its mark.

My end of the contract was complete. I closed the window, packed up the rifle, put the furniture back and sauntered out.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Writing Exercise

A few weeks back one of the members of my writing group showed three pictures to us. Tracey thought we could use them for an exercise on Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.

We all agreed and someone suggested by the end of the month we should write short story around the pictures of the two women and a man. We decided on names and the goals etc are below..

The Girls were:
  • Faith:   Serious and ambitious.
  • Cindy:  Bubbly and fun
Their goal was to meet and become the girlfriend of Ben.

The motivation was sisterly rivalry

Conflict was Ben's high profile and fitness regeim

I self-imposed a word limit of 500 words and took what I hope is a different approach. I will post the story on Wednesday after the group has shared theirs too.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Archie and Tana

Archie and Tana

It is a family tradition now

And it’s been this way for years

After school Archie and Montana, take a walk

Archie, he just listens, Tana, she just talks

She tells him ‘bout her troubles

And says what makes her laugh

A lead hangs loosely from his neck

And loops back around her arm

He paces close beside her

He’s keeping her from harm

Walkers stop to greet them,

And Archie loves a pat

They talk about each other’s day,

Well, you know our Tana loves a chat

And while they are out walking,

In her head she sings a song

Around the corner and up the street,

Her troubles, quickly gone

Archie stops to sniff another dog,

He lifts his leg and smiles

Tana tugs his lead and walks

And Archie moves along.

He hears about her friends at school

What they like to say, and do

He hears about her teachers

And about the bullies too,

How their words and actions cruel

Her feelings are quite often hurt

And sometimes there’s bruise

Archie seems to understand her plight

His brown eyes stare up at her

And seem to question why


She sees her own reflection

Deep in his soft brown eyes

Our Tana’s getting smarter

Every day, she grows more wise

A growing girl with pretty looks

She is nobody’s fool

Archie, he just looks at her

As his lips, they fill with drool


She stops to buy an icecream

From a hot pink vending van

She buys one too, for Archie,

On the insistence of the man

Tana’s sitting on a park bench

An icecream in each hand

Both looking at the sunset

Clouds of red and crimson

Reflected in their view

An image of the houses

Floating on the lake

She nods to people walking by

And wonders about them too


This girl her dog and evening

Eating icecream by the lake

Across the water wafts

The smell of barbeque

Of chops, and sausages

Of onions mixed with mushroom

There’s bacon in there too


Tana’s thoughts are miles away

Archie lifts his paw to touch her arm

She lets him lick her icecream

And then she drops the cone

She gave it to him willingly

Two gulps, and it was gone


She hears someone singing

To the strains of their guitar

And in the corner of the park

She sees him strumming

He leans back against his car.

His song is one of love and loss

And aching of the heart

She smiles, and cuddles Archie

Back home, they have to start.


She drops a coin into his upturned hat

The music man, he nods and smiles

Never losing his rhythm or his beat

And there in that fleeting moment

Tana imagines dancing to his tune

Playing tambourine and singing

Or banging on a drum

A magpie warbles overhead

Drowning out the city’s hum


All the bullies in the world

Are now so far from her mind

All she wants to do is sing

To be with people who are kind.

Archie’s picking up the pace now

And he’s straining at his lead

Leading her down the street

To the butcher and a bone

This is a daily ritual

As Archie makes for home

Tom the butcher likes them both

And with Tana likes to chat

Archie doesn’t care about the talk

He is all about the bone


Soon back at home and

Archie’s lead is dropped

Mum growls about muddy prints

On a floor she’s freshly mopped

‘How was you walk?’ she asks

‘Yeah it was good, just tops.’

‘Better hit the homework then

before tea’ Mum says

‘You know, how your time flies’


Mum gives Archie’s back a rub,

And a scratch behind his ears

She lets her mind wander

To days of schoolyard bullies

And she hears their pain filled taunts

Feels the constant push and punch

She remembers lost and lonely thoughts

She remembers fending off the tease

But knew her vitality was shrinking

Under the bully’s constant jibes


Andy knows how much you need a friend

In a daughter’s ever changing world

And how close a friend this dog can be,

To her loving, growing girl

Again her mind drifts back

To those testing days of growing up,

Her old dog sat there by her side

His ears, all pricked and keen

For hours she told him all about

Her hopes, her fears. and all of her dreams

The memory lives within her still

It makes her strong and warm

As it has done for years.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Looking for Les Gillespie's Gold

Spent today in the Orroroo area seeking the location of Les Gillespie's lost gold reef, I thought it may have been somewhere in the ranges of hills between Hammond and Carrieton. A further drive through the Oladdie Gorge and I am no closer to finding it. More work required. I did take some photos to help me with time and place. Take a look at Joe Gillespie's country in winter.

Hereford Cow took an interest in us as I tried to get her picture. House in the background was abandoned in the sixties

Oladdie staging house between Johnburgh and Carrierton.

The small outbuilding in the is built on the same line as the main building, this would have functioned as a hotel, ticket office and homestead in the early days.

Coal gas exploration threatens Joe and Laura's way of life, these are test holes similar to those drilled by RAYDOR Exploration on the properties of Joe's  neighbours.

With plenty of good information tucked into notebooks and the computer I need to get down to writing and help Joe find this reef before Charles Winkler does.