Showing posts with label South Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Australia. Show all posts

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A nice review about writing character

Melton Library
My writing colleagues and I often go on about the importance of plot and if one of our stories is strong or seems to lack something. As my Wordsmith's of Melton friends are a critiquing group, discussion can be quite robust and at times it becomes difficult to subject a piece for critique, then an unexpected review comes into our inbox. This is one of those.

I had passed out a few final drafts of my Detective Voss novel 'The Price of Innocence' for the members to read and identify strengths and weaknesses in the manuscript. To say I was chuffed with Sonia Doherty's review is an understatement and I have pasted it below.. Thank you Sonia.

I have started reading Voss and one thing you do really well is relationships and people. You create interesting characters and how they interact. You make us like them, flaws and all, and not like others. Some we watch grow throughout the story and some we laugh at how they behave. In all your books this is one thing that has stood out to me.


For anyone interested in writing I would recommend working with other writers within a community based critiquing group similar to ours because your writing will grow from it. Check out Writers Victoria. S A Writers and your local library should be able to help direct you too.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A little bit from KUNDELA

To celebrate the finishing of my Detective Voss manuscript, I thought I'd like to share a little bit from my first novel Kundela. The setting is Port Augusta, at the cross roads from Pert to Sydney and Adelaide to Darwin. Regarded as the gateway to South Australia's outback Port Augusta has many attractions to interest the visitor.  
In this chapter Senior Constable Jeff Rankin has asked his superior about getting forensics to examine the remains of a dead steer clay panned (shot and dressed on its skin) on the Gillespie's property, Wanooka's Well. The sergeant has another plan.

Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award 2013 
Kundela is available through the Kindle Store for less than $3.00 for another 2 weeks.

The Sergeant had stored an assortment of tools in the back of the patrol car earlier and now, with a frozen cow’s head riding alongside everything they needed, the two officers drove to the gliding club. Jeff unlocked the gate and swung it open, red dust powdered by the car’s wheels hung in the still mid-morning air as Jeff returned to the passenger seat.
‘What’ve you got planned?’
‘Watch and learn Jeffery boy. Watch and learn. When I was a kid, I was fishing out in the gulf and caught this big spider crab,’ He indicated its size by taking his hands from the steering wheel, stretching his arms across the width of the car, ‘My old grandad showed me how to keep it as a trophy and that’s what we’ll do with this one.’
Doug Simpson stopped the car and pointed to a bare patch of ground near a stand of acacias that defined a long established bull ant’s nest. He opened the boot and took out a toolbox. It contained a mix of spanners, knives, string, pliers and tape.
‘Here Jeff, put these shopping bags over your boots, use the rubber bands to seal them against your trousers. You won’t want any of those angry little buggers getting into your strides. I parked back a way, because I don’t want any of them riding back to the station with us.’
Jeff watched as his boss worked, setting up his bush laboratory. Ants reacted to the vibrations coming from movement near their nest and streamed out in angry lines, ready to attack the intruder. A deft hand sent the lid from a twenty-litre paint tin, frisbee style into the centre of the nest, stirring them up even more.
Jeff wondered what an onlooker would make of two police officers dancing around in the scrub. He looked at the ground, high stepping, trying to keep away from the insects, and then he worked it out. Studying his footprints in the sand more closely he yelled, ‘Modern day Kadaichi Man. That’s it Boss. Look at your footprints. They look the same as in the photos. Those buggers had their boots covered, but why? There was no ant nest close enough at the kill site.’
Doug unrolled his long shirtsleeves and, tucking them into the blue rubber gloves, placed the beast’s head onto the plastic lid. Battalions of soldier ants attacked, clambering onto the plastic protecting his shoes. Jeff burst out laughing as his boss danced and stamped his way back to the car, his jagged movements ensuring any remaining ants fell into the dry red dust, while he brushed at them savagely with his hand.
‘Now we have to protect it from eagles, foxes and crows. Pass me that old plastic rubbish bin and a few bits of wood’
Jeff stood back as Doug assembled his contraption. First, he placed the bin over the thawing head, then the woolpack Joe had given him to cover it last Friday and around the perimeter, he used the wood Jeff had collected to hold everything in place. Ants swarmed over Doug’s boots again, he started stamping and slapping at them, making sure none breeched his defences.
‘I should take a photo of you and put it up in the rec room,’ Jeff laughed.
‘After all I do for you. I don’t think so!’
Back at the car, Doug stripped off the plastic bags and pulled his trousers out of his socks, checking carefully to see if any ants remained on his clothing. Once satisfied he was ant-free, he removed his gloves, putting his and Jeff’s discarded protection into a zip-lock bag and sealing it.
A stop on our trip through the Oladdie Hills north of Orrooroo
searching for inspiration when writing Les Gillespies Gold
‘Now we can come back in a couple of weeks and they will have stripped that out, leaving any projectiles on the lid for us. What do you think?’
‘Should work I reckon. With those skills, you could have a bit of blackfella in you too.’

‘Don’t think so, mate.’

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.