Archive for April, 2012

Kat Quickly – have you read her books?

April 29, 2012

Just a reminder about a mate of mine and her books, if you haven’t come across them on Amazon and loads of other e-publishing places. Kat Quickly writes of the racier, saucier parts of life, both real, as in her short story collection, Infidelities, and fantastical – her novel The Ice Chronicles inhabits the realm of paranormal fiction with lashes of erotica thrown in. Read the following blurbs and check out the extended action at your favourite e-book provider – links provided. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them!


The Awakening by Kat Quickly – already available on Andrews UK

What if you were the one who could do something about Global Warming? Would you believe the ramblings of a strange but handsome older man, and accept your destiny as the immortal daughter of Ursula the Warrior Goddess, protector of the Great Ice, and save the planet?

This is Carmen Whyte’s destiny: of which she is oblivious until she meets Victor Bernhard, enigmatic owner of Great Blizzard Publishing Enterprises. Once Victor takes Carmen’s hand she senses a powerful connection that she spends much of the novel resisting. After all she is engaged to Andrew Adams: the most desirable bachelor in New York. Victor must bring Carmen to accept her fate; re-awaken the Half-lings, immortal half men-half bear/wolf, shape shifters like Victor, and restore the Great Ice.

Carmen must accept her destiny willingly; expediently. Evil forces are gathering. The most dangerous threat is Andrew’s father, Will, powerful Senator & industrialist. Will’s initial approach is through Andrew. But as Victor’s influence grows, Will’s sense of urgency spurs him to drastic action. Will knows that Carmen can only be disempowered through marrying a mortal and bearing his children.

Thus a battle is waged – a battle Carmen is reluctant to join, despite Victor’s warnings. Her true powers of insight and healing are slowly emerging. Finally the truth of Carmen’s birth is revealed, she sees Andrew’s true heart and goes to Victor. In a dangerous final confrontation between good and evil Carmen and Victor defeat Will and Andrew. Andrew is humiliated, now Carmen’s sworn enemy.


Infidelities by Kat Quickly through Andrews UK

Infidelities is a collection of 7 short stories about relationships. The spotlight is on love, lust and sex, but mostly desire. What happens when you look outside your main relationship? Do you just look or do you act, unable to remove dangerous illicit thoughts from your mind? Should you give into your desires, ignoring the consequences of your actions, for you and for those you claim to love? Can a marriage survive infidelity?

Read the 7 stories herein and see what happens when seemingly respectable women, those with children and good jobs, living quietly in their lovely houses give into their desires. It’s not only the heat of the tropical settings, it is the heat of their passions that will inflame your own senses.

Johnny Depp: Why?

April 28, 2012

Last night we watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because of the story and because of Mr Depp. We all like Johnny and over the years have seen many-many of his films. This morning beloved baby girl asks why and when? Indeed it was before Pirates of the Caribbean, as he was the hook that got me into the movie theatre.

Dragon: Pirates of the Caribbean, Mum, what do you say? It’s holidays, time for a movie.

Me: A pirate movie, dragon, me? Get a grip.

Dragon: No it’ll be good, the trailers look cool.

Me: No, not interested. Disney, pirates, predictable plot, mooshy ending: not for me.

Dragon: It’s got Johnny Depp.

Me: Ah. In that case. Yes.

Clearly from this interchange I had been fond of the actor before the wondrous adventures on the Black Pearl with the exquisite Jeffrey Rush.

So, this morning as the eggs boiled, I needed a little think – what had we seen before the pirate adventures that made me change my mind in an instant once I knew he was in it?

Perhaps it was Edward Scissorhands, or What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? He was fine in Chocolat but not the reason I watched it – that was because of the book. I loved him in The Ninth Gate and From Hell, and perhaps that was when he settled into being one of my preferred actors, not my favourite, but he was edging up my list. Certainly Captain Jack Sparrow has ensured I see most of his movies these days – Finding Neverland, Sweeny Todd, Blow, Dr Parnassus, Alice in Wonderland. And I do love Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

Why Mr Depp? Yes, he is devilishly handsome and appeals to all the women in my family (a bit David Bowie in that regard) but beloved paramour likes him too, so it’s not just about the superficiality of his good looks or his seeming niceness – visiting hospitals and schools as Captain Jack. He seems a devoted father and cool with Vanessa – good luck to her. He seems to be one of those famous types who only does the celebrity bit when he has too, not one who revels in the adulation of the fans.

We love his fearlessness as an actor – his variety of roles, his brilliance with eccentricity. Sure he’s rich enough and famous enough now to pick and choose and who cares if he makes a dud movie, but his career right from the start reflects oddballs, weirdos, those outside, those who are other and strange. You know you’re watching Johnny Depp the actor these days, but you lose the man and find the character very quickly: you believe and you go along for the ride. It doesn’t matter who he is, he is brilliant, you are within the story, with him, no matter what.

Isn’t it wonderful to see a handsome actor not restricted to being a Romantic hero, or to superficial roles in Rom-coms – to eschewing any sort of stereo-typed roles at all? But a handsome man who can do anything he sets his mind to. Isn’t it reassuring to know that his longevity in movies is assured and that watching him age will be a pleasure? (George Clooney too, I guess) (Images courtesy Google Images)

12 Songs that Tell You You’re an Aussie – for Anzac day 25 April + Redgum – Only 19 for all returned servicemen

April 24, 2012

These are the songs that, no matter where you are in the world, if you were a child of the 70s or 80s in Oz, will send you straight back there in an instance. You’ll be singing and bopping along and some of them will make you cry. It’s being homesick for Oz and your youth and it’s okay. So, in respect for Anzac Day and homesick Australians, these are just for you…

My Island Home, Warumpi Band – the original and the best – God bless, Neil & George

Great South Land, Icehouse – so atmospheric, fab

Sounds of Then, Gangajang – this is the tropics at its best, feel the storm coming

Treaty, Yothu Yindi – every version is great – you choose!

Down Under, Men at Work – perhaps the definitive Oz OS song – sing it loud, be proud, remember we won the Auld MUg after 132 years to this song

Way Out West, James Blundell & James Reyne – always loved James R – absolutely LOVE this song

I Still Call Australia Home, Peter Allen – classic, you have to sing and feel the distance

Khe Sanh, Cold Chisel (one for Vets too) – this is probably the best Chisel song, but there are so many

The One Thing, INXS – when MH was so very young and they were so very good

Beds are Burning, Midnight Oil – hard to pick the definitive Oils, but this brilliant!

It’s A Long Way to the Top – if you want to rock n roll, AC-DC – the definitive AC-DC for some of us, who always knew it as – it’s a long way to the shop if you want a chicko roll – this is the original clip too

Love is in the Air, JPY – schmalzy, sooky but just so singable – I defy you to stay in your seat

I Was Only 19, Redgum – a bit sombre but Anzac Day is a sombre occasion – reminds you of the inanity of war – always and forever, no matter if it was WW1, Vietnam or Afghanistan

Writing In Response 4: Songs

April 21, 2012

Writing In Response 4: Songs

Inspiration comes from many places, your life mainly but a good writer is open to ideas from many places. Today’s inspiration is from songs, some you will know, some not. Listen to them again. Listen to the mood, the feeling, the music. See the story in your head – which isn’t necessarily the story in the song.

On the Beach, Chris Rea


Kashmir, Led Zeppelin


High Hopes, Pink Floyd (most of their stuff is a novel in waiting)

Reckless, Australian Crawl (+ the whole of The Boys Light Up – full of stories)


Tea in the Sahara, The Police


Teo Torriatte (Let us Cling Together), Queen


Knights in White Satin, Moody Blues


Wild is the Wind, David Bowie


Sister of Mercy, The Thompson Twins


Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number, Steely Dan


Mori – Origin Spirits of the Past theme song

(Thanks YouTube)

Mid Week Poem – No Regrets

April 18, 2012

So my son

My beloved only boy

Take it all  – Carp diem

Be exactly who you want

Be the Bat

The last Doctor

Be John Nash, Steven Hawking, Einstein

And Newton.

Get thee to Oxford

Expand your beautiful mind

Win a Nobel for Physics

Fight a duel in James Bond – as 007, then

Stand tall and gracious on the Olympic podium, epée in hand.

Eschew the rat race

Deny normal

Ignore mediocrity.

But in all of it, through all of it

Be Happy

Find Love

Live your life as Large as you can

Take risks

Be foolish

Take no prisoners.

And if it all fails

If it all comes to nothing one pale grey afternoon in your forties

Then take comfort

In knowing you were truly loved

That you had a big go

That if you had never tried

You would never have known anything worth knowing

Never have won, even if you finally lost

And been forever haunted

By failure and disappointment.

Because, my beloved boy, it is far far worse to have lived

A small life being safe

Than to have reached for the brightest star

In the most distant galaxy

Only to feel it implode under your far-too-ambitious touch

(Images courtesy Google Images)

The Artistic Imperative – Or why Writing’s better than Drinking

April 15, 2012

By now you know that writing is as essential to me as breathing, that it is one of the things that nourishes my spirit, that makes me who I am, that it brings me joy.

But having spent an almost blissful holiday immured in my book (as well as blogging a bit more often) with the return to work looming I have been reminded of something else.

I took to writing because it was the thing I was good at as a child and won my only school prize for. I have won a few other prizes/awards over the years but not enough to cover my mantelpiece (unlike a child of mine who has a room of prizes, as well as his newly won PhD scholarship to Oxford). It works out as one a decade, so due again, methinks. I took to writing because I couldn’t paint, I couldn’t do this…

And so because I couldn’t paint such pictures by hand I painted them with words and haven’t stopped. I can’t stop, which is the imperative. If I don’t write I am not me. I took two days off from the novel in the holidays, as part of my revision plan. One of those days I wrote not a thing. It felt very odd.

I write to say something, to explore ideas and characters. But what I enjoy is being in that other world, just like reading, except I have the control and the power over all that happens (she smirks, gleefully). I found that to be a great relief at stages of my life. My work is not a place of pleasure or joy, it is grinding and stressful, without needing to be which also makes it frustrating. How to escape? Drinking comes readily to mind as an escape from all sorts of unpleasantness in life: extreme sports, gym addiction, sofa surfing, other drugs fit the escape bill.

Writing is my great escape, my addiction if you like. I can’t live without it and it makes the real world bearable. I live with my characters, struggling with their problems. I fall asleep thinking about how a room in their house is laid-out, I give them a wardrobe of clothes, I decide what car they drive. I wonder why my journalist was killed and who killed her? I found this out towards the end of draft 3. I struggle with making my protagonist suffer more. She does now – her life has collapsed and she can’t get it back.

I go to sleep thinking about the book, the current aspect that needs working through for tomorrow’s writing. I wake thinking of the book, ready to write. I become a sort of ghost at home, eating with my family, washing up, walking the dog, but back to my little room and my iMac where the real adventures are taking place. This is happiness.

Tomorrow morning work will interfere with this process, taking up too much thinking space with inanities, something new and time-consuming to be concerned with. But my escape is always here. My little writer’s notebook ever present, my mind, unwilling to relinquish all space to work or the real world, will continue to imagine and create and so I will continue to write and escape, because I still can’t paint as I’d like and never will. That’s my youngest daughter’s province and I think she finds Art as comforting as I find writing.

What about you? What is your imperative, what drives you to create or helps you to escape? (Images courtesy Google Images)

Writing in Response 3: Other Texts/Stories

April 13, 2012

Writing in Response 3: Other Texts/Stories

Writers are readers first, you know that. So, why not go to some of your favourite pieces of writing, or films even, for inspiration. Remember Peter Carey wrote Jack Maggs in response to Great Expectations and Bridget Jones’ Diary was a modern take on Pride and Prejudice. The film 10 Things I Hate About You is the modern version of Taming of the Shrew. So if others can do it, why not you?

Here are some ideas to get you started.


Take the original and …

1. Use the title of an original text as your own. Start with the classic writers Shakespeare is useful here – 12th Night, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, etc.

Dickens the same – Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, etc.

Broad titles are probably best, here are some for a start –

The God of Small Things

A Tiny Bit Marvellous


The Importance of Being Earnest (or Justin, or Beatrice)

Far from the Madding Crowd

War and Peace

Tender is the Night (and on you can go)

2 . Use the central idea and remake as your own – eg Bridget Jones

3. Use the opening line as your start point for an entirely different story. Here are four famous openings to set you in the right direction. For 100 opening lines visit

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea – ST Coleridge, Kublai Khan


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since – F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again – Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca


4. Use an original image from a poem to wrap a new story around, for starters-

The Love-song of J Alfred Prufrock by TS Eliot

Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll (as did Monty Python)

Kublai Khan by ST Coleridge

Under Milkwood, by Dylan Thomas



1. Take a minor character and give them a story of their own – eg Stephanie Meyer in The Short Life of Bree Tanner and Jack Maggs, who is based on Magwich

2. Take any character and give them a whole new story – what would happen to Jay Gatsby if he’d never met Daisy?

3. Re-write a key scene from a different character’s point of view – in fact re-tell the whole story from another character’s point of view. How would Catcher in the Rye read then?

4. Kill off a character you hate in as gruesome a fashion as you want – enjoy their demise! Patrick Bateman from American Psycho comes readily to mind


Extra Parts for the Story

1. Write an extra episode for anywhere in the novel where you’ve found a gap

2. Write a prequel – what happened before any of the book started to anyone

3. Write the sequel – a common enough thing – take any element of the story and continue it – think Douglas Adams and his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy and more…

4. Try some ‘what if’s’ for the story at key points and change the direction of the narrative, the outcome, the ending

(Images courtesy Google Images)

Games – mid week poem

April 11, 2012


she turned on him,

spun round on her spiked stiletto,

hiss-ssing, almost ss-spitting, facing him down –

Who cares about your blue eyes

your hairy chest

and Cuban heels?

Who cares?

She advanced on him

Stabbing her sharpened scarlet nail into his chest

If you can’t be pleasant to me

Smile hello

hold a simple conversation

nod casually in the tea room

pass on  the stairs

If you can’t do that

If all you want to do is play stupid games

–       wink and

–       sigh and

–       touch and

–       beckon and

–       insinuate and

–       imply and

–       then NOTHING

All the boring time

Then I’m not in love with you.

Not any more.


She stood straight

Tall on her new black spikes

Flexing her blood clotted talons.

She stood clear.

From him.

Get fucked

Take your ageing arrogant arse

Out of my life.

Go play games with someone else.


She shut the door

In silence she left him,

a small tap tapping on the hard office floor as she slipped away

From him

Fast and Clean.

(images courtesy Google Images)

Writing in Response 2: Fabulous Images – People

April 10, 2012

Have a close look at the following images, of people alone and with others. Examine the pictures, is there a story here about one of these people?

Use the following prompts to dig into the pictures

1. Who are they?

How old are they?

Where are they from/where are they going to?

Who is their family – are they still alive and well?

Do they have friends, or are they lonely?

What might their occupation be?

Do they have magical or special powers? What?

Are they well known to others?

Are they loved or despised how do others feel about them – why?

Are they healthy or ill in some way – will it kill them?

How are they feeling, is this temporary or how they normally are?

What 6 key words describe their character?

What 6 key words describe their life?


2. Why are they here/ in this situation?

What is the situation?

Is this the beginning of something or the end?

What has happened to get them to this place?

What must they do to continue their story or journey?

Who else is involved?

Do they regret what they have done or are they proud of their actions?

Do you envy them or pity them?


3. What is going to happen to them?

Do they know what will happen next?

Do they have enemies – who/why?

Will they return to their normal life?

Will their life change forever?

Is love involved?

Will their life be over soon – how/why?

Are you worried for them or pleased for them?


(Images courtesy Google Images)

The Things That We (I) Love

April 8, 2012

On Easter Sunday when we remember that Christ died for us, if we’re into that sort of thing, while we eat our choccy eggs, it’s timely to think of the things we love. Here are the things that I love, that make my world a richer place.

My family – my patient and kind husband, my clever and wonderful boy, my two lovely and gorgeous girls. These things I love best and most in the whole world and can not imagine life without any of them.

My dog – devoted, loyal, handsome fluff bucket, my Zanzibar, who brings joy through his love, company and devotion. As well as being handsome and well behaved in public, bringing credit and admiration upon us all.

My friends – across the world, across time. Thos I work with now, who I’ve worked with since 1984, people I went to school with, old students, writing friends, best friends, old friends, new friends. I can’t exist without my mates – to laugh with, cry with, get drunk with, take advice from, do wild and stupid things with, grow old with. Thank god for Face-book so we can keep in touch in this ever changing place.

Writing – I write, therefore I am. Writing is essential to who I am. I write everyday. I love imagining, creating, making, publishing. I love blogging – sharing my ideas and different writing genres with an instant and mostly appreciative audience. I’m happiest writing my books – the beginning stage as it unfolds before me, even the angsty drafting stage when the feedback you’ve got says you aren’t as fabulous as you’d like to think you are. So making the story work, crafting is a joy. A struggle too, but mostly a joy.

Books – reading. I love reading, losing myself in another world, someone else’s version of reality. I can’t understand how others won’t or don’t read –how can you live like that? So, reading for information, to know more is important but reading for fun, for pleasure is where it’s at.

Music – I’m listening to iTunes as I type. I listen to music as I write, I listen to CDs in the car and the radio in the kitchen. I lugged my vinyl around Australia for years and brought my CD collection to the UK. I can’t play an instrument but I can’t imagine life without a song or a tune going on in the background. Best song ever – Echo Beach, Martha and the Muffins.

The water – being in it and on it. I miss my house in Tasmania, on its little headland on the river, with its jetty and boatshed. I love the beach, the river, the ocean. I love swimming, sailing and rowing – dinghies and shells. I’ll have to get back to the water soon, I think, it nourishes my spirit.

Mechanical things – my iMac, where would I be without it, central and vital to my existence. My Pfaff 1222E (no longer with us) was a brilliant sewing machine that I made so many amazing clothes and soft things on – must get a new one. My various cars over the years – especially my Jag XJS V12, despite its unreliability, was the best fun to be had on 4 wheels, especially dragging an off duty policeman on the way to work when 8 months pregnant with baby girl – good times, as the boy would say. Other cars have also bought joy, but perhaps that’s another blog?

What are the things you love – animate and inanimate? What are the things that make your world go round, that bring joy to you? We all have them and we need to remember what it is that we love and be grateful to feel love. I’m sure you’re loved too. (Images from Private Collection & Google Images – but my XJS was just like this!)