The Jealous Wall, Belvedere County Westmeath

The Jealous Wall built in 14th Century to block the view of Lady Rochford seeing her accused lover.

Shrewsbury, England

Shrewsbury, an old medieval town in the West Midlands of England. It is the county town of Shropshire and River Severn.

Lough Ennell, Ireland

Lough Ennell with shallow waters has the some of the best spawning streams of any Lough in Europe.

The Ruins of Fore Abbey

Fore Abbey (630AD) is a Benedictine Abbey ruin, situated north of Lough Lene in County Westmeath, Ireland.

Tullynally Castle, 17th Century

Tullynally Castle is situated 2 km from Castlepollard on the Coole Village Road in County Westmeath, Ireland.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Ozone Cafe, a novel

It appears that I have exhausted every avenue for publication for my novel The Ozone Cafe, baring of course vanity publishing which is costly. I intend to produce a .pdf version and make the work available for download + cost. I will be posting more details of this later!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Manuscript Opportunity with Walker Books

Are you an Australian or New Zealand writer with a fiction manuscript ready for submission.

Welcome to Walker Wednesday!
UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who has submitted to the first Walker Wednesday! We will be accepting manuscripts again on 7th of December.
Walker Books, the leading children’s books publisher in Australia and New Zealand, is now accepting YA and middle-grade submissions from all published and unpublished writers on the first Wednesday of each month (AEST).
We are looking for YA/MG manuscripts with strong writing, engaging characters and well-developed world-building. We are open to YA/MG of all genres, but are particularly interested in submissions with diverse characters and/or written by diverse authors.
Submission Guidelines
Please email a 1-page cover letter and the first 50 pages of your manuscript as a Word document to
The subject line of your email should say “Walker Wednesdays Submission” and include the title of your manuscript.
Your cover letter must include:
• A few lines about yourself. Have you been published before? Why did you write this story?
• A synopsis of the manuscript.
• The word count of the full manuscript.
• Your thoughts on the manuscript’s position in the market. What are some similar books or authors?
If you follow the guidelines and your manuscript is successful, you will be contacted within 3 weeks with a request for the full manuscript for further consideration.
Due to the large amount of submissions, we are unable to respond if you have failed to follow the submission guidelines or if your manuscript is unsuccessful.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Song: A Break in the Weather by Jenny Morris contributed irony to my story title!

Title of Jenny Morris's Break in the Weather used as ironic in my flash fiction piece. Just won a highly commended in the Out of the Asylum Writers Spilt Ink Competition - Prose section.  Also a break personally going from poetry to prose.

A Break in the Weather

He sighed into the dismal drama of his life and battled on. There were days when he had little strength, moving forward with stiffness. He had a new home with squared windows and a robust roof. Yet he felt imprisoned after the entirety of green, the forest and the open sky. Although he walked under the same clouds, his garden had shrunk to an allotment size.
   Sometimes he heard his dead wife’s laughter, but knew that was an illusion. He saw the same faces in the convoy of early morning walkers and only had the company of his shadow when circuiting the park. A few dog owners drifted past, nodding, others crooned about Pippa or Bluey, and most were less impassioned about the weather. When they were gone there was nothing more to add. It would have been easier just to ring an empty bell.
    At night he watched TV, its flashes of colour and noise livening up the room. One evening he watched a program that gave him an idea to visit his local tavern.
    The main bar was dark and musty, mostly men his age seated on stools. On his second Friday night visit, he was hoping to chat to one regular who had previously spoken to him, but the man leaned on the crook of his arm, crouched at the bar, his empty glass propping up the sadness in his face. 
    Come this Saturday, the bartender said. We get a good crowd and usually a country music band. You'll have fun.
    The night wasn’t what he expected, and it brought a change to his face. A younger crowd greeted him. Handshakes and shoulders touched like a bridge. In that crossing, he encountered the simplicity of conversation over a round of beers. He noticed, above the hubbub of music, laughter and voices, all the young men sported beards. They were impressive, neat and tidy, colourful and not at all housing breakfast crumbs, toothpaste or foreign bodies.
   It's the rage now, said one fellow. Why not grow one and join the club?
   He went along every Saturday night. Why hadn't he thought of growing a beard before? In all his eighty years he had lathered and shaved, rinsed and patted.
   Overnight the hairs inched forward beginning as little brown wisps. He looked like Benjamin Disraeli. When it had grown and bushed out he resembled Sir John Forrest. After several months of growing it long and unkempt, he was Gandalf.
   The young men invited him to car trials, quiz nights, beard contests, and to zero birthdays. Mostly, it was a thirtieth or fortieth and the talk revolved around shapes, styles and colour. There was the Johnny Depp, the David Beckham, the Santa Claus, the goatee, the short-boxed and the stubble. Words like 'soul patch, terminal and mouche' suited his sensibilities. The men told him about a city barber where he could have his beard trimmed and coloured, but if he couldn't afford that, there was the beard trimmer at K-Mart.
   Each morning he splashed water on his face, and gazed at himself in the bathroom mirror. He was not a bearded Anthony Hopkins or George Clooney, but it was easy to see what had taken place. His old look had gone in a different direction while his new existence stared back at him with a neatly trimmed moustache and a bristling, Silverfox beard.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Award Mentorships

2017 Emerging Writers’ and Illustrators’ Mentorship Program supported by Copyright Agency Cultural Fund

The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) Emerging Writers’ and Illustrators’ Mentorship Program provides the winners of these award mentorships with the opportunity to develop their early draft manuscript to a publishable standard through 13 free mentorships with professional mentors. Applications are assessed on literary and artistic merit and developmental potential.
Entries will be accepted in the seven genres of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, young adult literature, children’s writing and picture book illustration.
The 2017 program will support 12 mentorships from any eligible genre, funded by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, plus one additional mentorship – the Edel Wignell Mentorship – for children’s writers. This mentorship is funded by the income from the acclaimed children’s author, Edel Wignell.
Successful applicants will work closely with a mentor selected from the ASA Mentors’ list for 25 hours over one year, with an additional two-hour consultation available following completion of the mentorship. A further five highly commended applicants will receive a two-hour phone consultation with a mentor they have selected from the ASA Mentors’ list.

Monday, 1 August 2016

A Writing Exercise - An Autobiographical Event

Writing What You Know
This is an autobiographical event that occurred back in the fifties when my family went camping every school holidays. The exercise that I am currently teaching is that this anecdote of being "nearly" caught in flood waters will be turned into fiction/ art!

Our Victorian Trip
When I was seven, my family was on a camping trip to Melbourne. We had left the calm August shores of Broken Bay with the sun spreading its warmth over the foothills. Heading south along the Hume Highway, we had camped at several places like Bowral and in Goulburn. Dad was a little pressured to get to Melbourne as we only had two weeks in the school holidays. This was the longest trip the family had ever taken.
   Along the highway and heading to Wagga Wagga, storm clouds moulded a dark and foreboding sky. My father, an experienced country driver, kept up a great speed in our station-wagon. My older brother and I were pigeoned in the back seat, beside my baby brother harnessed to his. We played eye-spy until all we could see in front of us was "R" for rain. A deluge battered the vehicle. We rocked as lightning flashed its craggy yellow line on the passenger's side window. My mother's side. We needed petrol. We all needed to pee. And so we headed to a roadhouse restaurant. My father kept up the humour about the worst storm he had ever rowed in, and blamed the school holidays for the usual crappy weather. But by the time we arrived his mirth had turned to one of concern. We watched as four cars were pulled by the swirling waters, and continued to watch in amazement as they travelled down the river, then sank. We were ordered to stay inside the car as the Murrumbidgee River's edges had collapsed on the other side. I remember holding in my stomach, as if my own water was about to burst its banks. My older brother Robert wanted a pie and sauce and Dennis (the baby) cried snot over his own hunger. I can still remember the image of all the people behind the plate glass licking their ice-cream cones and looking out at us in our station-wagon, a parking lot that was full of cars, yet ours was the only one that had people in it.
   Dad yelled. "Hold on tight." I'll never forget his grit, and that determined look on his face, when he did a quick handbrake turn and we headed across the highway, ploughing through field after field of harvested wheat or barley. I really can't remember which, but Dad planted his foot that day and headed to high ground. He steered us away from a raging river, a greatly reported flood that now lies archived as one of the worst to hit the south west of New South Wales in forty years.
   In hindsight, the farm trip was the highlight of the school holidays. We sailed past astounded cows, horses, fir trees and yelping dog until we finally came to an abrupt stop outside a loading shed. The farmer was very kind and gave us some fresh milk. We also go to use the farm's toilet and the family allowed us to bed down for the night in their hay barn. We huddled together that night, safe and dry and you could hear Dad telling us over and over, 'You might take the wrong road out of town, but you always come to a right stop.'

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Voting for all issues the Greens stand for!

I'm new to voting for the Greens in this Federal Election (2nd July, 2016). I was once a Labor supporter, but since they have changed their policy on Asylum Seekers I decided to stop my support for them. I am against domestic violence, animal cruelty, against cruelty of any kind and to my mind Australia's handling of desperate refugees on Manus Island and in turning back the boats is appallingly inhumane. (Where are they? it's all hush, hush. Where are they living, under the sea? Are they floating on some nether world for the rest of their lives? Have they reached the Kingdom's doors? The government's policy of "safe borders" is a policy of xenophobic hate. Australia is a large continent and could support more immigration, and it should lend a hand to those escaping oppression, rape, murder, war crimes, pillage, loss of  home and country, indeed loss of value and worth. There are old sayings my grandmother taught me and I apply it here, as if I was in the same position as them. She said, Helen, 'Always remember to treat your fellow human beings as you would like to be treated' and added concerning those less fortunate than me, 'There but for the grace of God, go I.'

Monday, 30 May 2016

Writer's Block: Is there such a thing?

Quite patiently, Ben Watts cut apart and stitched together scenes from 53 films (find a complete list here) showing characters suffering through writer’s block. Adaptation, Barton Fink, Shakespeare in Love, The Royal Tenenbaums, and, yes, Throw Momma From the Train–they’re among the films featured in the 4-minute supercut above. If you give the clip a little time, you’ll see that the supercut has an arc to it. It tells a tale, and has an ending that Hollywood would love.