A missing man, a stolen baby and a plot of land where nothing grows. Are they connected? One person knows.
It’s 1878 and a ship, the Loch Ard, strikes rocks and sinks. All perish except two teenagers, Eva Carmichael and midshipman Tom Pearce. Eva and Tom struggle to survive in a remote gorge. Finally they’re rescued by a local farmer and Eva and Tom become inspirational but unwilling international heroes.
In 1840 the fates conspired to put a demented Major-General in charge of a British army in one of the most hostile regions in the world. The result was catastrophic. Many thousands of people died, with only a handful left alive. This book is their story of survival.
Ex lovers Nathan and Alana are lead on an epic adventure through landscapes of the world. As their passion is reignited, together they uncover truths of political espionage while exploring architectural, historical and religious facts few have known.
Longlisted short story written for Australian Writers Centre 500-word Furious Fiction competition. March 2023 Smithy drags a cobwebbed canvas chair under the patio and sits listening to the sporadic ticking of the tin roof. Sweat drips. Out on the baked flattened lawn, Collie lays gnawing at a mutton bone she’s dug up from a month-old […]
Leaving: Excerpt from Oleanders Are Poisonous High Commendation in the 2015 Monash Short Story Writing Competition I hear Samuel get up before five o’clock and start knocking about the house like a blowfly. He’ll be trying to find stuff to keep himself busy: cleaning up last night’s tea cups, turning on the washing machine, cutting […]
Profile | Dr Vikki Prior The shady side of sex addiction and the trauma of surviving domestic abuse. First published in Go Festival magazine, 2014 Vikki smiles as she slides into a seat at my table. Alluring. Any man would be happy to park his shoes under her bed. Inappropriate? Perhaps. Although she’s just come […]
It’s every new mother’s worst nightmare: finding out your newborn child might die before she reaches her first birthday. This article was first published in print and online in Go Festival Magazine, 2016. I’m sitting in Lauren Tyrrell’s lounge room in Kurunjang, near Melton. Four-year-old Ava, a cheeky blonde toddler, is clambering on her mother’s […]
‘Shit happens. Life happens. It’s our job to do the best we can in whatever circumstance we’re given. There are things we can control and things we can’t. I couldn’t control Lance dying, but I could control how I chose to respond.’ This article was first published in print and online in Go Festival Magazine, […]
Six-year-old Katie questions the authenticity of religious dogma and the harshness of adults who qualify the importance of kindness to suit their own limitations. Originally published by Lizard Skin Press in 2012. Awarded First Prize in the 2010 Monash Short Story Writing Competition. It seemed a miracle had happened. All the time Katie had spent […]
‘Work Less, Make More: The Millennial’s Guide to Financial Freedom’ is about the golden rule of personal finance … If you don’t manage your money, someone else will! The truth is, personal finance is not about how much you earn – it’s about how much you convert to wealth.
Learn the difference between developmental editing, line editing and copyediting.
The Chinese Doll is set in Australia from 2020 to 2024 and after reading it you will have a better sense of steps the Chinese Government could take to satisfy its avarice, in relation to acquiring knowledge, to support its growth and need to control.
In her 30s and nursing a floundering relationship, Regina is restless. Throwing caution into the wind, she joins a sailing yacht in the Caribbean and meets an alluring man during a sunset party. When her sailing trip is cancelled, Regina ends up stranded in Antigua and must face tough decisions.
“Show, don’t tell” is one of the most common phrases new writers will hear. Why? Because “showing” is at the core of quality fiction and creative non-fiction writing. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Chekhov “Show the readers everything, tell them nothing.” Ernest Hemingway […]
It’s the small details that add authenticity to your story For a story to come alive, allowing the reader to vividly picture and feel the experiences of your characters, you need to create a rich world of small details. Every detail you weave into the narrative helps to create the time, place and mood of […]
Em dash vs En dash Em or En? What’s the difference? How do you use them? Once upon a time the humble comma catered for most of our parenthetical needs, but now the curvy comma has been usurped by the elegant dash. The mechanics Physical difference The em dash — is the length of the […]
Do your characters nod, smile, shrug or raise their eyebrows too often? Are you finding that you’re telling readers how your characters feel, rather than letting readers interpret your character’s interiority from their physical actions and reactions? Then this blog is for you. Here you’ll find three lists: Body gestures that convey emotion Body movement […]
One of the first things authors often do when introducing a new character is halt the story to describe a character’s appearance for the reader. Is this necessary? No. It’s not. While it’s important for a reader to form an “picture” of a character, a detailed physical description isn’t necessary for them to grasp who […]
To whom am I speaking? Sound familiar? It’s awfully formal, isn’t it? In the casual tone of fiction and creative non-fiction, we tend to lean towards “who”, rather than “whom” simply because it’s how the majority of people speak in real life. Of course, if you have a character who always speaks in a formal […]
Lay laid or lie? So confusing right? Believe it or not, even editors have to occasionally double check themselves on this. It seems to be something that just won’t stick in our heads. So how to remember? I have a little saying that helps me: Humans don’t lay eggs Let me explain. The most common […]
Armchair travel writing told with humour and insight. A young Brit/Aussie couple pedal their way up mountains, through medieval towns and along the byways of Europe in 1984 — when physical maps and phone boxes were modern travel essentials, and going ‘off grid’ wasn’t something for which you paid extra.
Family-friendly adventures told from the perspective of Sidnie, the charming, clever cocker spaniel. Will delight dog lovers and armchair travellers of all ages and is a fun, fresh way to rethink our human-pet and US-Australian relationships.
Can you imagine reading a book about what it takes for someone to convince themselves to kill, and have them believe they’re doing the right thing? No, this story is not about the military, or suicide bombers, but about law abiding citizens, whose ethics are up-ended by circumstance.
How to quickly sort your manuscript chapters with click and drag, using Word styles.
Yes, I did the dirty on my own beta reader team Nothing shows trust in your own services more than using them yourself. And this month, that’s exactly what I did: I booked four of my own beta readers. I booked four of my own beta readers Recently, I finished the first full draft of my […]
Inspired by real life events during East Timor’s violent and tumultuous independence struggle, a female Australian diplomat and a young East Timorese woman must choose what they’re willing to sacrifice in their fight for truth and freedom.
Situated on the banks of the Murray River, the town of Whitworth appears idyllic. Like the river, deep secrets and hidden dangers lie beneath the surface.
Book marketing for self-publishers Marketing is effort plus determination How to market your book? Oh gosh, marketing is not my forte, and I wish there were a magical solution for authors to get their books out into the big wide world. Unfortunately, the reality is usually a hard slog with a learning curve, but it’s […]
A storm was brewing and the clock in the square was striking midsummer when Thorsten Mackinder arrived in the village of Finster … For over a hundred years, the village of Finster has been cursed to eternal darkness. The only relief is a single lamppost …
Melbourne’s streets might not be as charming as Rome’s, as romantic as Paris’s, as edgy as New York’s – but they’re more than capable of telling a good story. In this collection of essays, short fiction and poetry, some of our best emerging and established writers turn their pens to the streets of Melbourne.
Free agents or captives of our past? In this short story collection, Life, Bound, characters find themselves caught in situations not of their own making, or trapped by ingrained habits, walking in grooves carved out by past events.
Follow the path of a “newbee” beekeeper – the steep (sometimes vertical!) learning curve, the stings, the wins with nature and the losses. Add in two kids, a recalcitrant dog, a flock of feathered friends on a suburban block in Melbourne, and what could possibly go wrong?
In Australia, one-third of all births are caesarean and one in ten women experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Jodie presents her own story as a case study for how midwifery care can make birth kinder and safer for *all* women.
When Beth’s marriage ends, she’s determined to build a new life in the country for herself and her children. She thinks she’s achieved the impossible, but when her estranged husband tries to change the rules, Beth’s peaceful world is turned upside down.
Escaping from a disastrous relationship, Kathleen Devine flees to an isolated lighthouse off the Victorian coastline. Taking up the position of Head Teacher to the lighthouse keepers’ children, she is ensnared in the lives of those marooned on the lonely outpost and soon realises no-one can escape their past.
An Australian ghost town. A resident demon and a local Shaman. A confrontation with evil awaits.
Been offered a publishing deal for your manuscript? Before you get too excited and sign that contract, you’d be wise to do some research first.
Alyssa Martin is facing a future of medical treatment and uncertainty. So when she returns to her hometown after ten years away, she’s seeking a distraction from her grim reality. Fate sends her Dean, a fun-loving and carefree guy from her past. Determined to enjoy life while she can, Alyssa recruits his help in rediscovering all their beachside community has to offer.
When Erin finds a snow-shaker she embarks in a magical journey of possibility. In a world of droughts and floods where water won’t behave, Erin’s imagination shakes things up and shows her that she can help make a better world.
Leila’s nomadic life is held together by her regular taxi driver, Sali. During the forty-minute drive from her home in Melbourne to the airport and back, their relationship develops to become an unlikely friendship. Their stories of grief and loss, and their mutual passion for poetry, especially haiku, are the glue that binds them.
What is point of view? (POV) Point of view (sometimes incorrectly called viewpoint – I’ll explain this later) is simply defined as the perspective of who is telling a story. It relates to how much access to knowledge of the story and characters the narrator has. The point of view you choose affects the boundaries […]
Set against the stirring Victorian Alps, comes a suspenseful novel of recovery and new beginnings from a talented new voice in Australian rural fiction. Perfect for readers of Sarah Barrie and Nora Roberts. Reid’s beloved home is under threat, and with it the beautiful, haunted Nat, who he’s never been able to forget.
Fifty-five years after Betty’s father deserted his family, Betty is determined to learn more about him. Her search leads to Poland, where she unexpectedly inherits a family apartment from a half-sister she never knew – a time capsule of her father’s life.
When Nicole Webb’s husband is offered a job in the ancient city of Xi’an in north-west China, the couple jump at the chance. Landing in a world they know nothing about, culture shock hits Nicole head on. All eyes are on her and her three-year-old daughter Ava, the only blondes in the jam-packed arrivals hall.
Catriona is a young woman who sees herself as ‘one of the boys’ but finds her life turned upside down with the arrival of a new Team Leader at her IT firm. A dark and humorous exploration of both female and male toxicity, this novel will remind readers to be careful what they wish for.
The year is 1986, Guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh has been exiled from the United States after the highly scandalous failure of his Oregon ashram, Rajneeshpuram. Four different perspectives reveal how this movement fell apart from the inside out.
What would make a champion kickboxer and loving father turn to ice? A brutally honest and powerful memoir straight from the plot of Breaking Bad. A raw and harrowing story of survival. Proof that even the most appalling fall from grace can lead to redemption.
With a Bucket list, a motorbike and a map, two Aussie Adventurers live it up in France. Between renovating their house in a Breton village, they travel on Roman Roads, see Gothic Cathedrals, drink delicious coffee and discover a love of France with le joie de vivre.
Filter words are excess words that put a barrier (filter) between the reader and what a character is experiencing. They do this by placing the character in the central spotlight, instead of the experience.
It’s easy to talk to these women, tell them my deepest secrets. Look where we are. What else do we have to hide? When nineteen-year-old Mia is fired from her temp job, she answers an ad in the newspaper. It says: ‘Erotic Massage. Good Money. No Sex.’
Judi Westerholme is only just coping in her new role as foster parent to her orphaned niece, when her friend, Pete ‘Macca’ Macclesfield, is murdered. Suddenly, Judi’s world is upside down, and despite warnings from police to keep out of it …
You don’t know the New York fashion world until you know its haunts. In the months since Pandora English left the small town of Gretchenville to live with her mysterious great aunt in a supernatural Manhattan suburb, her whole world has been turned …
Lizzie, Megan and Sam became accidental friends over good coffee, banter and wrong-world jokes at school drop off. Lizzie is a part-time midwife with four kids and a secret past. Sam is an ex-chef and stay-at-home dad with an absent, high-flying corporate …
When Ashley persuades her new husband Steve to leave snowy Canada and join her for a year Down Under, she looks forward to an easy transition. After all, Australia’s just Canada with more sunshine and strange animals, right?
Twenty-eight year old Katie Cook lands her dream job in the world of professional tennis. It was like being invited to the Academy Awards, except they were all wearing branded tracksuits. Katie finds life in Sydney to be not quite measuring up …
Juliet’s elderly grandparents are killed in their Adelaide home. Who would commit such a heinous crime – and why? The only clue is her grandfather Karl’s missing signet ring. When Juliet’s estranged sister, Lily, returns in fear for her life, Juliet suspects …
Love is … a moment by the seaside at St Kilda Beach, luminescent sand between our toes, the poetics of a dawn tide pivotal to our playground, the hush of you and me in the whirligigs of the sea, our anxious thrill at the cusp of a new …
Dear Reader, Learning to love my body has been a journey. I didn’t want to live in her, much less learn to love her. In this collection of personal essays, I dig into the complex relationship I have with parts of my body by writing love letters to them.
Art dealer Alex Clayton travels to Victoria’s Western District to value the McMillan family’s collection. At their historic sheep station, she finds an important and previously unknown colonial painting – and a family fraught with tension.
On Christmas Eve 1969, a letter from Australia House, London, brings welcome news for newly-weds Anna and Joseph Fletcher. Young and idealistic, Anna falls passionately in love with their adopted land. Seven months later …
Two sisters, Amelia and Simona Lillostra, share a secret. One so distressing to them it is never to be revealed. What they didn’t count on is a young Russian man entering their lives, a man related to Amelia’s Russian lover from WWII.
Ten years after the disappearance of her best friend, and the death of her mother, Cassandra Noble escapes her country childhood in the Flinders Ranges to pursue life as an artist in the city. On the threshold of a promising …
In the rural Tasmanian town of Dunton the body of a former headmistress of a children’s home is discovered, revealing a tortured life and death. Detective Jake Hunter, newly-arrived, searches for her killer among past residents of the home.
No Defence is the inspirational, heartfelt memoir of Kenny Mcilwain’s extraordinary courage to share his long-held secret of being sexually abused while serving as an apprentice in the Royal Australian Navy and the fight for his …
Reluctantly holidaying on Magnetic Island with her dysfunctional parents, eighteen-year-old Eve Clarke meets gorgeous Todd Scott, his younger sister Lizzy and quirky Ryan Williams. Her joy at finding new friends is short-lived when the island is struck by an abnormally violent storm.
For years, the ‘ghost ship’ – a monolithic Timberwolf starship – has been hidden from time. Now it’s about to reappear and Striker Force Raptor have been assigned to retrieve the vessel and return it to its rightful owners, once they’ve deciphered its incredibly advanced technology.
Is it an editor’s job to help a client get published after the editing process? The answer is no. While I do provide a submission and back cover blurb review service – if I’ve edited your book – it’s not an editor’s role to research publishers or agents for clients. This is the legwork every […]
Details Author name: Lisa Walker Book title: The Girl with the Gold Bikini Genre: YA Comedy, Crime, Romance Launch date: 28.01.2020 Buy links Booktopia Summary Whenever I see a girl with a gold bikini, I think of Princess Leia. Here on the Gold Coast, gold bikinis are common, so I think of Princess Leia a lot. […]
They don’t have the safety of distance to rely upon–only five days to decide if they are made for each other before Harry leaves back home. Or will the mysterious scarlet chair determine their fate?
After years on the run, Joel, Max and Sam have spent a peaceful year living on Arcadia. Now their idyllic life is about to be thrown into disarray as Prime Bradley asks them to join Striker Force Raptor on a MOSAR mission to the jungles of Hikaru – a planet tidally locked to its host star, Daisuke.
Update: April 2021 I tried again and won on day 14 with this entry: Scrunch Gloves off, hard work done, she spies a single autumn leaf. She’ll scrunch it and sprinkle it on the soil, no harm. Except for the wetness revealing the leaf’s hidden occupant. April 2019, I took part in the Writers Victoria […]
Let’s look at these tricky grammar errors and how to avoid them Some of these terms might sound odd, but they belong to real grammatical errors, sometimes the result of which can be quite amusing, if not confusing. But once you learn what the errors are and how they work, they’re easy enough to spot […]
Semicolons – the most misunderstood punctuation mark Confusion is common If you don’t know how to use a semicolon, you’re not alone. Love them or hate them, some writers regularly confuse semicolons with commas, most likely because they’ve never been taught the correct usage. The wonderful (I love its elegant little tail) semicolon has only three […]
A few years ago a foreign man settled in Kyushu alone and began to explore.
He found a host of things that elude the casual visitor — Christian samurai, Japan’s first ancient rice field, its first tea bushes, yakuza gangsters, and the island where James Bond concealed himself disguised as a Japanese fisherman.
When twenty-six-year-old Kaylah loses her job, finding a new one is harder than she anticipates. Her brazen honesty and fun-loving nature eventually attract Jason’s attention, the emotionally guarded owner of Edge Marketing, and she is offered a job as an assistant. Everything seems to have finally fallen into place.
That is until Elisha, an attractive and confident marketing consultant, starts an unwarranted siege of taunting against her.
Where is it? The momentous change in attitude that’s supposed to come when you’ve faced a pivotal moment in life? Did I miss it? Apparently, because life is still life, is still life. As each day rolls by, it amuses me that I continually think I almost feel like my old self, but I never […]
The civil-war-ravaged streets of Terra Primus are a hazardous place for a sixteen-year-old, but Joel is determined to make it to Arcadia to reconnect with his father’s legacy. Starving, injured, and hunted by his father’s nemesis—a striker scout—Joel makes an unlikely friend in a magnificent Canine Maximus.
Dialogue punctuation is an area of fiction writing that often baffles new and experienced authors alike. Here you will find simple explanations on how to punctuate and lay out your dialogue, plus the difference between direct dialogue, indirect dialogue and internal dialogue. ‘Single’ or “double” quote marks? Single and double quotes (quotation marks) vary from […]
I laughed in shock and wobbly excitement when Nigel Featherstone’s email dropped into my inbox, offering me a placement at Hardcopy 2018. If you haven’t heard of it, Hardcopy is a professional development program for Australian writers, run by the ACT Writers Centre at the National Library of Australia. The program is held yearly (alternating […]
If you were to run your fingers through the steampunk regrowth on my scalp, you’d feel a moonscape – a field of shallow bumps and craters stretching above my right ear, back to front. It’s fascinating trying to imagine what it looks like, when I can only sense by touch. And I find myself doing […]
I’m lying on a table, glad there’s a cloth over my eyes so I can hide my tears, although I’m sure my occasional gulping breaths are giving me away. Sarah is hurting me – in a good way – trying to drain my blocked lymphatic system through deep massage. But far out! She speaks softly, leaves […]
My scars are not ugly; they’re testimony to the skill of my surgeons. Strength It’s been a week of being surrounded by strong women who have nurtured me, held me up, made me laugh and think outside myself. A week of family connections. A week of starting to pick up the pieces of my work […]
I’m home and patiently healing. It’s bliss. Truly ruly. I’m planning on returning to work next week (from home). And yes, yes, I will pace myself and take naps whenever I need to. Purrrrr. Endone is still my friend. I lost my brave Thursday, I lost my brave after leaving the HDU (neuro ICU ward […]
Remember how I was joking about having ‘lasts’ last week? Well, I’m one hugely lucky girl (and I don’t mean my new George Foreman-style swollen face). The initial surgery went well but was longer than expected. I hit the surgery table at 7.30 am and got to recovery 11.30 am, waking up around 1.30 pm. […]
It’s been a funny week with lots of black humour about last coffees, last cheesecakes, last gigs, last Walking Dead episodes. Some friends have found this hilarious, others horrifying. Laugh, damn you! Nine o’clock tonight I’ll be having a final MRI with GPS tracking dots – I’m going to ask if I can have some […]
Before I get into the nitty gritty stuff, I want to share this: I have some strange and hilariously wonderful friends. Meet Odette the Ostrich. Thank you Annie and Wendy. This poor birdy looks like I feel his morning – we both could have done with a sleep in. I suspect, also like me, she prefers […]
Okay, I admit it. I’m human. Today I was a drama queen. We (Chris and I) attended my pre-op clinic appointment at Monash. We were told to allow 3-4 hours. It took 2.5 hrs. Pretty good, huh? But … I’ve lost a little faith in the admin system. I hand over my referral letter. The […]
So, about the anti-seizure meds: they are reputed to sometimes cause hallucinations. Hmmm did this stuff really happen? BTW: no spider pics appear here – some of my mates have phobias – but there’s spidey talk, so just preparing you. Jo B. some of this may be your doing. Interesting fact: The arachnoid (as opposed to […]
We have lift off. Woot! My “W. Stealth Guided Craniotomy” will be on Tuesday 5 December, 2017. Tuesdays rock! I was born on a Tuesday. Hopefully, I won’t die on one. Mwah ha ha. Do I sound a little manic? I am! Said auspicious occasion will take place at Monash Neurology, Clayton. Op will be […]
I want you to know I’m not scared, and I don’t want you to be scared for me. It’s surreal, yes, but on the whole, I’m balanced, calm, positive. I’m also getting out of doing step classes because of my current fuzziness. Do I need an excuse? Nah. Bunnies are cute. Enough said. Ooh! I […]
Today I got new hair and my very own fabulous poem from my clever bro-in-law Peter Collins. The anti-seizure drugs are kicking in and making me drowsy but I managed to fight through to get my mailer subscriber list happening. New Hair: My gorgeous friend and hairdresser of many, many years, Lucia Motta Miko, came […]
Today Chris and I met with the neurosurgery department. Not too encouraging to arrive and find they weren’t expecting me at admin. But one look at my referral and they said, ah yeah, don’t worry, we’ll make sure we fit you in. Apparently big Clusterfluffs bring benefits. Only had to wait an hour. Goodo. And […]
Ice cream in my head Clusterfluff This year, for my birthday, the universe gave me an unusual present. Yup, kind of unique as presents go. Not the type of gift I’d normally (well, ever) choose for myself, but as brain tumours roll, it’s the best brand available: Meningioma. While I’m digesting this news, I’m hanging […]
Boozer, brawler, ladies’ man – nineteen-year-old Harris Derwent is not a good guy.
His one attempt to play the hero – helping out his old flame, Rachel Watts – has landed him in hospital. Now injured, broke, and unemployed, he’s stuck back in the country, at his father’s mercy. Harris needs to pay off his dad’s debts, and fast. But working as a runner for a drug cartel is a dangerous path – especially if Harris agrees to narc…
I hear a woman’s screams, deep in my head. Mine.
I’m out of control.
Hot on the heels of her debut novel, Climbing the Coconut Tree, S.C Karakaltsas showcases a collection of relatable yet at times unnerving and riveting stories where the unexpected takes us by surprise.
What’s the best way to get your writing noticed? Let people read your work. You’re writing because you want to read, correct? So you need to take a chance on your work being seen by those in the know. Entering short story, unpublished manuscript or poetry competitions is one great way to firstly, get your […]
Harsh reality: on a cold autumn morning, Dale Craig stands at the end of his driveway, his life in ruins. Alone and confused, he’s in denial. ‘It’s over!’ His marriage has just been sunk in the Sea of Love by a two-word tsunami. Surely this can’t be happening? Another divorce? What lies ahead is a challenging four-year journey of self-discovery.
Any writer knows that the creative mind is a tenuous friend, given to disappearing just when you need it most. You think you’ll never speak again, that the relationship has desiccated into a hot crumbly mess you could use as chili flakes. But then, like a cool fifty bucks you find in the pocket lining of […]
It’s 1948. Eighteen year old Bluey Guthrie leaves his family to take the job of a lifetime on a remote island in the Central Pacific. Bill and Isobel, seasoned ex-pats help Bluey fit in to a privileged world of parties, dances and sport. However the underbelly of island life soon draws him in.