Sunday, August 31, 2014


Don't worry. I'm not going to number them all. That would be ridiculous, even though I have been known to behave in a ludicrous fashion. Nothing so preposterous here as to seek to number all my Writing Activity Statements. I simply want to make the point that W.A.S. is a series and apparently series sell. Numerous times during the submissions phase of A Muddy Red River's development was I asked whether it was part of a series.

Readers seem to like to read about the same character, doing the same basic thing in a variety of settings or situations. I might say more about book series another time but this is a W.A.S.

3200 words were added to the first draft of my W.I.P. on Saturday which I was very pleased with considering the circumstances which led me to write yesterday's post about boxes. I'll be attempting to close a few boxes today and store them away. What do you have planned?

Saturday, August 30, 2014


What is the purpose of a box? Physically boxes provide space for things to be either transported or stored, or both. They are organisational devices. If they are strong they are effective, but even if they are weak, depending on the purpose for which they are used, they can still efficiently do the job for which they have been assigned. Boxes are made of different materials: cardboard, plastic, wood or metal, and they come in different shapes and sizes. Some have handles, and some do not. Some have lids, and some do not. Some boxes keep secrets. Other boxes reveal them. Some boxes contain treasures: things of either real or sentimental value, or both. Some boxes contain trash, while others hold a mixture of the worthy and the worthless.

Although I have a place to stay, I don't feel like I have a home at the moment. Much of my stuff is not with me, or is with me in boxes. Some of the boxes are full of things which I don't want any more. It should come as no surprise to anyone how easily one accumulates crap. It should come as no surprise to me, and yet I marvel at the things I have held on to, and the length of time which they have been in my possession. I wonder too, about the reason behind the keeping. Some things I know why, others I don't, but of the former, there are things which now seem so unimportant.

Moving away from the obvious: a house is a box, and so is a car. The human body is a box, and the mind is housed in what we colloquially refer to as the brain box, which is a huge closet with an alarming number of boxes in it. Many of these boxes are locked, or so we think, and we do not want to open them. We put people and experiences in these boxes because sometimes we just don't know what else to do with them.

Life becomes very messy when we open up too many boxes at once. Think of the temporary chaos which results from moving house. That horrendous sense of disorder invades our thoughts when we are under stress. Feeling emotional or physical pain causes, as Lucas called it, "a disturbance in the force." To deal with this disturbance we often start opening up boxes to find a cure.
The search for solutions may become frantic, and instead of being an orderly and peaceful process towards resolving a problem, it becomes a violent ransacking.

Does anyone understand what I am saying? Is there anybody listening? Can anybody hear me? Is anybody out there? It's time for a stock take.

Photograph sources:

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Double Minded Man

In the Bible, James says that the double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

I'm really having trouble writing. Yesterday I had nothing to post. I haven't done any work on my WIP, and now I feel like I can't do it. I think maybe I should work on bringing another idea to life. Something less personal. Having only very recently decided to go for it, I now find myself doubting whether it's a good idea. Uncertainty has paralysed me.

Anxiety is beating me up. My mind is battling hard to overcome the dictatorial authority of my feelings. It's been an exhausting and tough few days. Focus and purposeful action are elusive.

Are you struggling with anything at the moment?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


For lack of anything better to write today due to ongoing technical difficulties in my life preventing me from writing, I thought I would just share the a selection of the songs which are currently soundtracking my life. Not an exhaustive list of course, but a list nonetheless.

Baby When You're Gone - Bryan Adams

Shine with me - P.O.D.

Amnesia - Five Seconds of Summer

I'd Die to be with you tonight - Jimmy Barnes

Addicted to You - Avici

and Never be the same again - Jessica Mauboy

Which song or songs are soundtracking your life at the moment?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Not Write

I sat down to write,
but I got into a fight.
Eventually I took flight.
So today I no right,
and that's not write.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Another chapter

I banged out another chapter yesterday evening before I went to soccer training, and this morning entered a flash fiction piece called The Twelve Days of Misery in a competition. Also, in my inbox, this morning there was another rejection of A Muddy Red River. I thought I contacted everybody. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014


In the Australian taxation system we have a thing called a B.A.S. (Business Activity Statement) and it has to be completed and submitted to the Australian Tax Office each quarter. This post is a W.A.S. It has nothing to to do with tax, and I can submit one whenever I like it, or not as the case may be.

Today's Writing Activity Statement actually covers yesterday because I am writing this in the morning before I go off to paid employment. To the job I would like to leave so I could concentrate on writing, but I can't because my writing income won't cover the bills...yet.

I submitted two stories to writing competitions. Should I be fortunate enough to sufficiently impress the judges and win, I plan to use the winnings to get the Devolution project up and running. That's the one for which I cannot find any willing investors. Also yesterday I added approximately 2000 words to my WIP, and did some more planning and thinking.

W.A.S. complete.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Crap Parenting

The most important job which any man or woman will ever hold is that of parent. Being a mother or father is an incredibly difficult and demanding job. Although the duties undergo significant changes along the way, parenting is a life long career. Once you have a child, you are committed until you die, or until they die. You will more than likely receive no financial reward, and at different stages perhaps not even much praise for your work. Your heart will be broken multiple times, you will suffer anguish and anxiety, you can expect sleepless nights, an overwhelming workload and a paucity of gratitude.
You will bear most of the heavy, heavy load of responsibility for the upbringing of a good person and a citizen. You will carry the weight of occasionally naive and unrealistic expectation. Your stomach will be twisted into knots which threaten to cripple you as you make decisions for another person.

I love being a dad. I have two children, teenagers now, and they are beautiful people who care about other people. They demonstrably love me and my wife, and each other. They live purposeful, busy lives, working, studying, playing and socializing, and they don't get into trouble. They don't get into trouble because they don't look for it. They are sensible and sensitive, and they make good decisions. They are forgiving and brave.

Are these awesome children my handiwork? Are they my legacy? Am I defined by what I have done for them, and to them, and who I am to them? Can I take full responsibility for the people they have become? Of course not, but as a father, a parent, I have played the role God assigned to me, and I have done my best to raise my children to love God and to love others.

The pain I have experienced for them, and at times because of them, is nothing at all compared to the joy they have given me. My life would be so shallow and meaningless without them. Through them, and through fathering them, I have learned so much about myself and the God who blessed me with them. To love is to suffer, but I suffer gladly because they are worth it: the happiness they bring, and the rich satisfaction I feel sharing their lives, the pleasure and fulfilment that comes from being a dad is the single greatest thing in my life.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on being a parent, even if you are not one.

This post was inspired by a story I read about the poor quality of modern parenting. Read it here. crap parenting

Photo sources:

Friday, August 22, 2014


I wrote approximately two thousand words yesterday. Not impressive at all, although I did also do quite a bit of planning and organising. I decided for example, that this book will probably need to be in two parts, so I wrote the last chapter with a teasing end. Furthermore, through much contemplation, I developed a stronger sense of the heart of this book. It will be my best so far.

Add to the above, four stories submitted to writing competitions, a wad of administrative tasks completed, and a little housework, and I'm going to call yesterday a success. How was your day?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Write Now

Today I am going to seriously start writing again. I've been so busy with other stuff, and I still have some stuff to do this morning, but I am going to rip in today. I  have 10087 words down, and I've written a full chapter plan. I have two chapter ones, a chapter seven, and something called a 'later chapter' and today I will resume 874 words into chapter three. I've set myself a little challenge: how far can I advance this project in three weeks, and at the same time complete two more assignments for my Masters? Stay tuned.

Did someone say little challenge? When have you bitten off more than you could chew?

Special offer

I am under exposed. Obscure. One way to gather more readers, is to get reviews posted by those who have read my books. If you are one of my treasured readers who have already posted reviews, I say thank you very much. If you are among those who have read one of my books, but as yet have not posted a review on the purchase site, may I offer this incentive.

Review one of my books and I will give you a free digital copy of one of my other books.

To those who have not yet purchased any of my books, may I offer this incentive. I will give a free digital copy of either Devolution, Loathe Your Neighbor or Ashmore Grief to the first 20 respondents. Simply leave a comment.

To those eagerly anticipating my next novel, A Muddy Red River, which will be brought to you by Rogue Phoenix Press, I say thank you, and stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On to other things

I finally managed to work through the list of publishers to whom I submitted A Muddy Red River, to inform them that I had signed with another publisher.

The tale of the tape: 66 queries submitted. 12 rejections. 46 no replies. 6 joint venture offers. 2 traditional press offers. 1 contract signed with Rogue Phoenix Press.

Now on to the next project, or should I say back to it. I've had a bit of a change of heart and now I know exactly what to do now.

A Muddy Red River

Monday, August 18, 2014

Three days

After a fairy long dry spell, it has now been raining for three days. Technically, today is the third day and it would have to rain all day for it to be true to say, at the end of this day, or perhaps in the evening, that it has been raining for three days. It has also been three days since...since...never mind. Christ was in the grave for three days before rising from the dead. That's an historical fact. I wonder if anything else which has died recently will come back to life. There is always hope.

A Big Ask

I want to have a new cover designed for my debut novel, Devolution, and re release it in India. Why India? Much of the action takes place in Mumbai, and the lead female character is Indian. I've found a publisher over there who will publish it and promote the you know what out of it. Big market there. I reckon it will sell, but I don't have any capital to get it off the ground. I know it's a big ask but would any of my supporters/friends/followers like to invest in Devolution?

Check out Devolution right here

Saturday, August 16, 2014


As previously mentioned I attended a concert on Wednesday night at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre to watch my niece perform. Wakakirri is a national festival that celebrates learning via the creation and sharing of stories. To enter the Wakakirri challenge schools create stories using dance, creative movement, acting, song and film to be performed, screened and displayed to audiences across Australia.

NarraweenaThe show I watched on Wednesday was a part of this festival, but basically it was a glorified school concert. Not to be derogatory, but my expectations of school concerts are fairly low. I expect to be entertained, and for there to be some talented performers, but overall I know it's going to be a bit lame. They are just children after all. There are exceptions of course but generally, one knows what they are going to get at a school concert, and really, attendance is more about providing support and encouragement for the children, especially those to whom you are related.

Macquarie Fields Public School
Nine schools performed on Wednesday night and most of them were quite fun to watch. I couldn't help admire the amount of work that had gone in to the creation of these dance stories: the costumes, props, choreography and music. A few of the performances stood out, but one of them actually made me cry. It was very dramatic and moving. Overall, I was surprised by the quality and I left on a high, before heading to McDonalds for a sundae with my daughter.

Some of the young performers I watched at Wakakirri may go on to careers in the entertainment industry. I wish them well, and I thank them all for entertaining me, especially Macquarie Fields Public School for moving me.

What has been the best 'school concert' you've seen?

Read more about Wakakirri

Friday, August 15, 2014

Missed a day

Who wants to be a fascist about these things? I missed a day. Never mind. I won't be flagellating myself over it. And today I don't really have anything to say. We all have days like these. It may surprise you to learn, or not if you've been following closely, that I have been having a lot "days like these", but I have managed to keep writing something. I'm pushing through the turmoil as best I can, and I won't give up, but I just get sick of it all sometimes. Boo hoo.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

More rejections

I received two more rejections this week. Although rejections are unwelcome and often unpleasant reminders of how hard it can be to find a publisher, I already have one so I don't really care. In case you missed the news, I signed with Rogue Phoenix Press.

preview my forthcoming novel here  A Muddy Red River

I still have 13 more emails to write to publishers from whom I have not heard.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Move Me.

Most of my favourite books and films have entered into my esoteric elite by virtue of having entangled me emotionally. Last night I watched my niece perform, with her school, at Wakakirri. wakakirri Eight other schools shared dance stories with the audience. I'll have more to say about Wakakirri in Sunday's post, but there was one performance in particular which really moved me.

Unlike the others it was an essentially melancholic tale, and it told the story of the impact of war on a typical Australian family. The combination of music, lighting and dance was so powerful it actually made me cry. Whoever wrote and directed that wonderful piece of drama deserves great praise, and I will be writing to the school today to deliver it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Refuge of Routine

I finally made it back out on to the road for a run this morning after many weeks of recovery and physiotherapy to treat a torn hip flexor muscle. I have missed my morning runs but in their absence I found a new thing to do. Getting up at the same time has provided the opportunity to write this blog (I'm running late now trying to do it.) To write to publishers to inform them that my manuscript has been accepted, to reach out to people on Goodreads, and to check emails. If I can't do one thing then I must find some other habit to fill that void.

Routine furnishes me with an anchor for my otherwise tumultuous life. I mean, it's all over the shop these days, but even when, back in the day, it was serene and ordered, I still loved routine. Routine is a refuge from chaos, and at the very least it helps maintain the illusion that I am in control.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Three AM

A blank page. A cold night. I can't sleep and I can't do anything awake. Hold on? Or let go? Go back to bed. At least it's warm there. Why did I bother writing this? Now it's 4am.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's my birthday's It's My Birthday came on the radio as we were driving home from the Sydney Aquatic and Gymnastic Centre at Rooty Hill. It had been a big day. It was still a big day as my daughter piloted us along the freeway, having competed that evening in her first acrobatics competition for around 18 months due to a back injury which put her out of action for 6 months. She is part of a trio who had a disrupted preparation for the tournament. Their goal was simply to score enough points to qualify for the NSW state Championships. They succeeded.

Proud dad? Hell yeah. I love my children more than my life and although I've let them down recently, they showed me how awesome they are by writing beautiful words of love and forgiveness on my birthday card. Tears filled my eyes when I read it. As I write this, my vision is blurry once more.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

I'm not a comic book fan. I know a number of the various characters and superheroes which exist in the Marvel and DC Comics universes, especially those of course who have made it to the silver screen. However, when looking for a film to go and see last night, I came across Guardians of the Galaxy and thought how stupid it looked. I'm a sci fan but it looked like just another special effects extravaganza with a flimsy plot and cheesey try hard dialogue.

One lesson I have learned is that, although I'm generally a high expectations kind of guy, sometimes low expectations can be a good starting point. We were considering Hercules and Lucy but my son seemed keen on seeing Guardians so I thought I'd take a shot. At best I was hoping for some light entertainment with countless explosions, spaceships and cool looking aliens. I mean if that's all it was then my money would have been well spent.

With my daughter drip feeding me her M & Ms in the stifling heat of the cinema, and my son following instructions to suppress his newly burgeoning cough, the good times rolled, and I laughed and thrilled, and was captivated for almost the full two hour run time. Guardians of the Galaxy was really very funny and clever. It delivered exactly what I expected in terms of content, but so much more in terms of style and wit. A sequel is on its way, and I for one, will be lining up for a ticket to see it.

When have your expectations of a film been exceeded?

Friday, August 8, 2014

God says...

God says to his children, "I understand your fear and your doubt and your pain, but I want you to know that I am love, and love conquers all. My love never fails. I am your courage, security and comfort. I will never let you down, nor will I forsake you."

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Pretty Good Gatsby

gatsbyYesterday, I showed  The Great Gatsby to my class of English language students. We had been discussing the successive topics of fame and fortune, and rich and poor, so Luhrman's adaptation of the brilliant F. Scott Fitzgerald novel was appropriate. It was the second time I had seen it, and what struck me was how much more I enjoyed it the second time. Pondering this, I realized that the first time I watched the film was very soon after I finished reading the book. That first viewing of The Great Gatsby was tainted by constant mental comparisons between the film and the book.

Readers know that by and large, films, no matter how good they are, are not as good as the novels or short stories upon which they are based. Why? Imagination. Nothing engages the imagination more effectively than a book.

I am prepared now, following my second viewing of The Great Gatsby to elevate its status from pretty good to great. Have you ever seen a film which was better than the book upon which it was based? 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Spent part of the morning writing emails to inform the various publishers to whom I submitted either a query and sample, or the full manuscript of A Muddy Red River, that I have signed with another publisher. Thankfully they were all okay with simultaneous submissions which meant I could send out a lot of submissions in a relatively short period of time. It also means that now I need to, out of courtesy, let them all know. No problem. I may submit to them again in the future, who knows?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Breath of Encouragement

A very special friend of mine, who is also one of my greatest supporters, sent me a link to an interesting article. It was in my inbox this morning. The link is below if you want to read the whole article which is about the power of author branding, but here's what I took from it.

Lee Childs, the creator of the Jack Reacher series, has sold 475 000 books and been translated into 16 languages. In the early days, he recalls standing in a book store for 3 hours, and managing to sell 5 books and make some new friends.

I've been there and done that. Now I want to go where Lee Childs is now, and I believe I can. Thanks for the encouragement Delia.

the power of author branding

Monday, August 4, 2014

I don't feel like it

There are times when you have to push yourself to do things that you don't want to do. To perpetually surrender to the call of the sloth within to resist activity because you don't feel like it is to travel down the path to indolence. But why should life be all about doing things we don't want to do just because we have to? Sometimes trivialities receive unwarranted promotions. Ask yourself if it really matters before you wield the cat 'o' nine tails against your own flesh. 

Some things are important and some things are not. Figure out the difference. Sort your laundry. Okay, I'm taking my advice, how about you?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What next?

A Muddy Red River will be published by Rogue Phoenix Press next year. I'll have some work to do on the manuscript and cover, and will share the latter as soon as it is available, but it's time to think about the next project. It would be more accurate to say begin the next project rather than think about it, because I have already given it a lot of thought. Since I completed the manuscript, my efforts have been intensely focused on finding a publisher. With that box happily ticked, what will I do now? 

I will write and/or submit more short stories, particularly targeting writing competitions to try to raise my profile. I would like to hit 50 short story credits before my fourth novel is released. I will write another novel. I will try to find an agent. And I will get on with  my study as I'm still falling behind.

Lastly, I will enjoy my work and my play.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


It is not possible for finite minds to comprehend the infinite. We can imagine it or try to imagine it, and depending on how good our imaginations are, we may scratch the surface of the reality, but we can never truly grasp the infinite. Let's look at a concept like eternity for example. Eternity is a long time time right? Eternity is forever. I know you are reading this and saying, 'Duh! Of course eternity is forever," but have you ever really thought about it? Eternity is not just a long time, it is actually timelessness. What is timelessness? What does it look like? How does it work? 

I have no idea because I, like you and everybody else on this planet, was born at a certain time in the past and I have been progressing through time at the rate of twenty four hours a day towards an unknown date in the future at which point my physical body will expire. I will carry on this journey that we call life, irrespective of what happens to me - agony, ecstasy or monotony- until my time is over.

At this point of the discussion, disputes about life after death typically arise. Some people believe that physical expiration is ultimate termination. When you're dead, you're dead. Others, in fact the majority I would argue without fear of being contradicted, believe in the immortality of the soul. Various religious traditions suggest different manifestations of this afterlife, but essentially all accept the notion that there is life after death. Some sort of heaven for the good, and some kind of hell for the bad. That is far too simplistic, but this is a blog not a book.

Presumably when people who don't believe in any sort of after life talk about "forever" they just mean "until they die." We fall in love and it is forever. We are always waiting forever for things to happen, or for something to end. We say we'll never do this or we'll never do that. His name, her deeds etcetera will be remembered forever. Forever?

Yesterday, I waited forever for the referee to blow full time so that we could hold on for a draw against the more highly rated team we were playing, and then towards the end of forever we snagged a brilliant goal to win. That match concluded about 16 hours ago which feels like forever.

This thing called life which some of us think lasts forever, will be over in the twinkling of an eye. It goes too fast for us to properly enjoy it or even understand it. If you want to hold to that view of forever - the short, over in the blink of an eye view - be my guest but I would invite you to think, to really think about timelessness because if this blur on history which is my life is only about the years I spend on earth wrapped in this mortal coil, then I cannot see the point. There must be more. Don't you think?

Photo sources

Friday, August 1, 2014


I don't normally use the word "chuffed". In fact, I may never have used it, but that does not mean that I can't start using it now. It might become my new favourite. Who knows? Anyway, I'm feeling chuffed this morning due to the level of interest shown in the manuscript for A Muddy Red River. I received another contract offer from a publisher yesterday. However, interest is one thing, exposure is another, and sales? Well that is a further leap into unknown territory for me. I write quality fiction which hardly anybody reads...but they soon will.