An Event!

 

People's LIbrary event

Exciting news! If you are in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, on the 8 September (next Saturday!) You could come along to the Salamanca Arts Centre and hear a snippet from my novella ‘What the Tide Brings’, alongside a wonderful tale from Isabel Shapcott’s collection of re-woven fairytales, and one of Pearl Maya’s short stories, many revolving around life in Outback Australia.

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I’ve been busy…

I have two lots of exciting news to share this week.

Chronos

First, I had a 100 word story ‘Undoing Life’s Choices’ accepted for publication in ‘Chronos: An Anthology of Time Drabbles’, which is already available for pre-order here, and will be published on 10 September 2018.

I’m especially excited for this because two wonderful writers from my online writers group, Kelly Matsuura and Aislinn Batstone,  also have pieces in this anthology. So nice to be published alongside such wonderful writers! 🙂

 

AND!

 

People's Library - my book

I’ve been sitting on my other exciting news for a few months now: my novella ‘What the Tide Brings’ is being printed as part of The People’s Library project – in their words:

The People’s Library is a contemporary artwork with a uniquely Tasmanian library at its core. Over 150 authors bring this performance library to life through readings, discussions and live events. Join us throughout September where a groundswell of public telling awaits.

And what’s very exciting, and somehow synchronistic with my first piece of news, is that two of the terrific writers from my local writing group are also having their books printed as part of this great project; Pearl Maya, and Isabel Shapcott. And as this project is Tasmania wide, it includes other wonderful writers and friends of mine, Freya Su and Lee Morgan.

I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone’s work in print.

The website is now up (click here to check it out) so you can see all the authors involved, and if you’re going to be in Hobart at all during September, there’s a calendar on the page choc-full of events, so make sure you call into the Salamanca Arts Centre to see all the amazing stories by Tasmanian authors.

I’ll have more news about this in the upcoming weeks, so keep your eye out for more details. 😊

 

 

(And if you’d like to keep up with some extra behind-the-scenes information, please visit my Patreon page. For just $3 a month you’ll receive one story and some background details that accompany that story, as well as hearing my news before anyone else!)

Welcome

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My blog posts tend to be sporadic, coming in clumps and then none for months. If it’s been a while since I’ve posted, don’t worry, I’m most likely working on something, and will be back sooner or later with more news to share.

In the meantime, please enjoy my older posts, I’ve reviewed some wonderful books over the last couple of years – maybe you’ll find something you’d love!

#AWW Review; Songlines by Carolyn Denman

So last year I had the opportunity to read this amazing book. Below is an adaptation of my Amazon review:

Songlines

“Can you hear the river crying?”

Songlines was such an amazing, beautiful story, it gave me goosebumps! And so Australian. I loved the way the author has woven together strands from completely different cultures in such a way they work seamlessly together! This story has biblical, Aboriginal and fairy stories all merged into one believable explanation.

The only thing that jolted me out of the story occasionally were the sometimes unusual metaphors – though I loved this one “as helpful as a chihuahua rounding up cattle.”

Such a unique story, I’m really looking forward to the next one in the series!

(Which happens to be available now!)

Publication with a difference – at the Tasmanian Craft Fair

So last year, in that gap while I wasn’t blogging, I was still writing, and submitting my writing, and being published, though not in the usual sense.

Every year in November, the little town of Deloraine plays host to the world renowned (is it? I’m sure it must be!) Tasmanian Craft Fair. Deloraine I’m sure must be the creative hub of Tasmania – or one of them at least – and among the many artistic and creative endeavors are the sculptures scattered along either side of the main street.

Last year, writers from Deloraine and across Northern Tasmania were invited to pick a sculpture and write a short piece (short being the key – we were given an approximate figure of 30 words) in some way linked to the sculptures. There were all sorts of pieces – fiction and non-fiction, lists and stories. I was lucky enough to have two of my pieces chosen:

 

and

 

There were so many wonderful interpretations of the sculptures – I’m hoping they repeat the idea this year!

Review – Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

egg-and-spoon

Stars crown the world, she said, but the lights in your eyes, those are stars, too.

They make up your crown, he said.

I am no queen of anything.

Something too few of us know while we are alive, he told her. We are all crowned with glory. Peasants no less than kings.

Egg and Spoon is the story of two Russian girls – Elena, the peasant girl, who believes in Baba Yaga and the Firebird; and the wealthy and highly educated Ekaterina, Cat for short, who believes the Baba Yaga and the Firebird are foolish superstitions.

Elena is suffering alongside all the other Russian peasants, struggling to care for an ill mother after her father has died and her brothers have been dragged into service for the Baron and the Tsar respectively.

One day, a train stops in their village, unable to go forward due to a broken bridge. The train holds Ekaterina, on her way to St Petersberg to meet the godson of the Tsar.

Through a certain twisting of fate Elena ends up stuck on the train to St Petersberg, and Ekaterina ends up left behind in Miersk.

While Elena experiences a life beyond her wildest imaginings, so too does Ekaterina, who after fleeing Miersk finds herself in Baba Yaga’s cottage, being eyed-off as a tasty treat.

Overall the character of Baba Yaga sits a little closer to the side of kindly-grandmother than fearsome-hag (as I imagine her from the Vasalisa tale, from which I know her best), and yet I like this portrayal. Mostly the old hags have been misunderstood, after all.

Baba Yaga is, in her own words… “I am the larch root in the spring and the feverwort blossom in the fall. I am the forlorn echo in the dry community well. The tisane that can chase away the blues. I live in isolation for my own protection and for yours.”

Both Ekaterina and Elena end up in St Petersburgh, which is flooded, because the snows have not come, and winter has not been as cold as it usually is.

The challenge now is to discover why things are not as they should be.

While the style of writing is unusual – there is a narrator who is seperate from the story (though he does have a minor part), and who occasionally addresses the reader, this is a brilliant tale, full of snippets of wisdom.

I couldn’t recommend this more.

 

#AWW2017 Review – The Spare Room by Kathryn Lomer

the-spare-room

A couple of years ago I saw Kathryn Lomer in conversation with Cate Kennedy, a fantastic conversation about writing that encouraged me to buy at least one book by each of these fantastic authors. I bought ‘talk under water’ by Kathryn, and loved it, so I was really looking forward to reading this one, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Spare Room is a beautiful story. Nineteen year old Akira has ben sent to Australia by his very stern, (an as Akira puts it himself) ‘very Japanese’ father.  The plan is that Akira will learn English and will then be able to take over the international arm of his father’s company. But Akira has desires and plans of his own, and his time in Australia shows him that he can have a life outside of his father’s plans.

But there is another story here too. Akira has lost his closest friend, Satoshi, who could not take the pressure of his own father’s expectations. In Australia, there is something off about Akira’s host family. As time goes on Akira learns that they too have suffered their own loss, and to begin with at least, Akira’s presence is not helping the situation.

I love the way Kathryn expresses the struggle of learning a foreign language:

“You often want to say something entirely different but you are limited to the vocabulary you know and you have to try and construct something from the little that you have. A bit like trying to make a salad when you only have braising vegetables, or trying to build a boat using nails. You get kind of warped into the shape of the words you know. There is a big gap between what you think and what you say. It would be a long time before I felt that the real me, the one with ideas and opinions and funny stories to tell, could find his way out again. For a while that person was trapped inside a new language.”

(Sometimes I feel this way with English too… except English is my first language.)

This is a lovely story, of how complete strangers can help each other heal, and how facing our fears often helps us overcome them.