Friday, June 08, 2018

Wednesday, June 06, 2018


Packing the car at dawn at the motel in Coolgardie 

after our first night away.

WE ARE HEADING OUT...looking at some corners of Australia after we endured a series of health issues for more than six months. Now that things are looking up, we are off to explore...

Glowing gold-burnished Eucalypt trees near Norseman

Lake Cowan -- mostly dry and salt...

At Eyre, looking at the great Southern Ocean. It was cold and windy!

Bunda Cliffs, Head of the Great Australian Bight, where the female Right Whales come in from the Antarctic to give birth once every 3 years or so...

(And before you ask, they are called Right Whales because they were considered the "right" whales to hunt because they swam slowly and floated when killed. As a consequence they were once hunted to the edge of extinction)
And if you look carefully you will see the female Right Whale centre right.                      Ok, so it looked better through binoculars!!     

For non-Australians -- we have headed from the west coast of Australia in a more of less south-eastly direction, ending up on the coast of the Southern Ocean as we cross the Nullabor Plains from our state (Western Australia) into South Australia. We are now 2,000 kms away from home (1,250 miles). We have been travelling 3 days.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


What's the difference between me (and other professional writers) and a professional athlete? You know, like those talented young folk now showing us their skills and brilliance at the Commonwealth Games?

Let me tell you.

I had to have a job unconnected with being a writer, which enabled me to earn a living. In my spare time I laboured alone to hone my craft. I sacrificed time and money I could ill afford, sending manuscripts off by snail mail (back in the day), buying self-help books, attending courses, etc, etc. Eventually I made it, and started to get paid. A bit. I still had to fork out money to help me -- attending conventions, for example, and I still had to work. 

After some 10+ years, I actually made enough to earn a living (although I doubt it was enough to support a whole growing family--but by then my family was grown).

Now let's look at athletes. They also had a talent and a passion, probably noticed while they were still at school. They came to the attention of sporting bodies or trainers. Like me, they worked hard. Unlike me, they had so much help. They had trainers. They had encouragement or paid professionals devoted helping them, along with tech experts, videos and science labs... Most would have had financial help, perhaps in kind, or even in cash. They were sent off to compete at meets, in and out of Asutralia, mostly not at their own expense.

And now we hail them as heroes, mention them on TV, applaud their achievements, offer them endorsements, free trips and adulation. Good for them.

What I wonder is why do they deserve it, and we writers don't? Why is there so little money for us, especially while we are still struggling? Why do we give so much adulation to athletes and not to writers -- to physical achievements, not intellectual ones?

I'd do it all over again, mind you, and I don't regret a minute of time spent on my writing career, and I'm very thankful for the financial help I have had (from the Public Lending Rights for example) --but I do wonder sometimes about the imbalance ...

Sunday, February 25, 2018

SWANCON / NATCON IS COMING - Do you want a critique of your WiP?

(WIP = Work in Progress)

I will be at Swancon 
(which is also this year's 
Australian National Science Fiction Convention)
in Perth, W.A.

 To be held over Easter. If you want to attend, buy your membership here.

I am giving a workshop, free to attendees of the convention.

Participants who wish to do so can also submit the first 500 words (opening scene) of a SF/F/H novel in advance of the workshop, and will receive a private written critique of their work from me on the day. There was to be a cut off for submission of these first pages by March 1st, but as I am not being inundated by entries, I think we can extend this for another couple of weeks!

The workshop will look at how to address common writing issues within manuscripts generally, looking at ways to reinforce strengths, identify weaknesses -- and provide advice on how get rid of the boring bits!

Spaces are limited so attendees will need to book. Manuscript extracts can submitted to with Strong Beginnings in the subject line.