Guest Blog – Michael Burrows author of Where the Line Breaks

Ryan O’Neill calls Michael Burrows’ debut novel, which was shortlisted for the Fogarty Literary Award, ‘an engrossing war story and a captivating tale of love and obsesssion’.  In this post Michael shares where his inspiration came from.

The idea to write Where the Line Breaks came to me at 4 or 5 am, Anzac Day 2013, sitting in Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli coast in Turkey after a long night of readings, stories, music, remembrance and moving testimony.

The moment came when someone approached the microphone and recited a few lines of war poetry. I can’t remember which poem exactly, but it was one I was familiar with – Owen or Brooke, maybe? There’s something special about war poetry; the juxtaposition between beauty and barbarity. So it was that night in Gallipoli – the poetry cut through the chill air and you could almost feel the crowd glowing with appreciation. I loved it. My only question was, why weren’t they reading Aussie or Kiwi poetry?

And then I thought, but who would they read?

Where the Line Breaks concerns the discovery of an anonymous Australian war poet, our very own Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon, called the Unknown Digger. At one point during writing, my novel was titled The Sky Where Red Stars Move, a line from the Leon Gellert poem ‘Red’. I hadn’t heard of Leon Gellert before researching my novel, strange as that seems. How was it that I knew of Brooke and Owen from school, but hadn’t even heard of ‘Anzac Cove’ or ‘The Last to Leave’?

Leon Gellert was born in Adelaide in 1892. He landed on Gallipoli on that first Anzac Day, was injured three months later and though he attempted to re-join the fight, he was repatriated as ‘medically unfit’ in June 1916. Maybe that’s why he isn’t better known – he didn’t have the tragic death of a Brooke or an Owen to push his poetry into the national consciousness. Unlike Graves or Sassoon, he stopped writing poetry after a few years and turned to journalism. He died in 1977 at 85 years old. But his poetry is wonderful, and in Gallipoli to Gaza, Jill Hamilton recognises him as ‘the only Australian poet whose work can be compared with that of the leading soldier-poets of the World War’. My personal favourite Gellert poem is ‘Anzac Cove’, with its devastating closing:


There are lines of buried bones:
There’s an unpaid waiting debt:
There’s a sound of gentle sobbing in the South.

Reading this poem for the first time, I really felt the gut punch of the Australian war experience, different to anything I’d experienced reading Brookes’ ‘The Soldier’ or Owen’s Latin homework.

Likewise, with the works of Clarence Michael James Dennis – or C. J. Dennis as he became known. Born in 1876, unlike Gellert, he never fought for his country, but his works, particularly The Moods of Ginger Mick, capture the sound of Australia like no-one else. Dennis was known as Australia’s version of Robbie Burns and the ‘laureate of the larrikin’. After his death in 1938, then Prime Minister Joseph Lyons said, ‘he captured the true Australian spirit.’ Read these lines out-loud in your finest Steve-Irwin-esque voice and tell me you don’t love it:

On the day we ‘it the transport there wus cheerin’ on the pier,

An’ the girls wus wavin’ hankies as they dropped a partin’ tear,

An’ we felt like little ‘eroes as we watched the crowd recede,

Fer we sailed to prove Australia, an’ our boastin’ uv the breed.

I love the dropped endings of words, the slurred ‘uv’ and ‘wus’. That’s why I opened my novel with an excerpt from The Moods of Ginger Mick.

Those two poets are my personal favourites, but there are plenty of Australians who deserve to be better known, like Private William M. McDonald (read ‘Camps in the Sand’), Archibald Nigel Guy Irving (read ‘The Dead’) or Oliver ‘Trooper Bluegum’ Hogue (read ‘The Horses Stay Behind’).

The Unknown Digger is a fictional creation, but he is inspired by the works of countless Australian soldier poets. I hope Where the Line Breaks encourages us to take a closer look at our own homegrown poets. Who knows, maybe this Anzac Day we can read a few lines of Gellert or Trooper Bluegum – something written by the original Anzacs themselves.

 

Where the Line Breaks is available in all good bookstores and online.

https://www.fremantlepress.com.au/products/where-the-line-breaks

You can visit Michael online at:

Twitter: @mperegrineb

Facebook: facebook.com/mperegrineburrows

Instagram: @mperegrineburrows_artist

Website/blog: www.mperegrineburrows.com

Guest Blogger: Emma Young, author of The Last Bookshop

It is lovely to welcome Emma Young, author of The Last Bookshop, to Aussiereviews, to speak on her favourite bookish books. Over to you, Emma.

I was once a bookseller. At various shops across Perth, Western Australia, I covered and stickered and flyleaf-labelled titles destined for libraries, I bought and sold second-hand volumes, and I special-ordered non-fiction and technical books. Across the years I saw the challenges: the tight profit margins; the hard physical work; the need to be knowledgeable, continuously upbeat and helpful; the commercial headwinds forcing shops to pack up and move, or reinvent themselves repeatedly. I saw how at the heart of a bookshop’s success is the strength and sincerity of its connection to bookish people. I met so many such people, who asked me so many weird questions, and had such astonishingly varied interests, that of course it was not long before I began to think to myself, ‘This stuff would fill a book.’

I have finally written that ode to bookshop life: the difficulties and absurdities, but above all the joys of a business that’s about more than money. It’s called The Last Bookshop and it’s just been published by Fremantle Press.

Fun fact: my book mentions a grand total of 78 specific books by name. I know this because my editor, Armelle, made a list of them, for no doubt excellent editor-y reasons best known to herself.

But it’s not just my book that celebrates books, bookshops and writing. I come from a grand tradition of such stories. And since compiling this shortlist of my favourites, I see the influences they have had on my story, so I’m pleased to share my top five.

  1. 84 Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff

This gentle, charming story is a collection of real letters between outspoken New York writer Helene Hanff and antiquarian book dealer Frank Doel from Messrs Marks and Co, at 84 Charing Cross Road, London, beginning in the 1940s. What begins as a simple back-and-forth to fulfil Ms Hanff’s insatiable need for rare books blossoms into an epistolary friendship that spans decades. I can’t overstate how sweet, funny and touching this book is.

The 1987 movie adaptation is also good, starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins: lovely escapism with a cup of tea on a wintry afternoon.

2. Underfoot in Show Business, Helene Hanff

Helene Hanff’s account of her early days trying to make it as a writer in New York, employed as an apprentice playwright by the New York Theatre Guild, is equally enjoyable. It’s side-splittingly funny and utterly absorbing, a fascinating account that transports you effortlessly into her world.

If you loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls, this is very like it – but the real thing. It’s most likely out of print, but I urge you to find a second-hand copy.

3. The Diary of a Bookseller, Shaun Bythell

Wigtown, Galloway, Scotland: officially designated Scotland’s National Book Town. The largest of the second-hand bookshops is The Bookshop, run by Shaun Bythell. His published diaries are caustic and bad-tempered. He is Black Books’ Bernard in the flesh, though a big heart is just visible beneath the misanthropy. A hilarious book – the sort you constantly read bits aloud from to your partner, though they wish you would shut up, because strangely they don’t love books about books as much as you. It’s cruel Bythell wrote this; he essentially stole the book I wanted to write.

If you need more when you’re done, he’s also written three more books in this vein.

4. The Red Notebook, Antoine Laurain

 Bookseller Laurent Letellier finds a handbag on a Paris street and commences a journey to find its owner. The best clue he has: a notebook inside, filled with scribbled notes that drive him mad with curiosity to locate the writer. A beguiling tale of a meeting of hearts and minds, this is a light and cosy read written with a delicate touch. It’s incredibly French.

Now that I think of it, this would be a nice Mother’s Day gift

5. My Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff 

A New York literary memoir, a coming-of-age tale and a fitting accompaniment to Underfoot in Show Business. Rakoff is another penniless wannabe writer new to the city, this time 1990s NYC. She takes a job as assistant to the literary agent of the reclusive J.D. Salinger, tasked with answering his fan mail. She’s supposed to send form letters, but – partly bored, partly touched – she begins writing back …

This is a nostalgic evocation of a pre-digital New York. I read it after a month’s stay there, which I highly recommend, but since that’s impossible right now, reading this is an excellent substitute. A big-screen adaptation has just been released starring Sigourney Weaver (though I just happened upon two scathing lines of review by the Guardian that I can’t unsee, so we’ll view at our own risk, shall we?).

 

Thanks for sharing Emma – I am off to add some titles to be wish list.  The Last Bookshop by Emma Young is available in all good bookstores and online.

 

Connect with Emma here:

 

 

Guest Blogger: Susan Midalia – My Writing Life

 

On the cusp of releasing her new novel,  Everyday Madness Susan Midalia shares how loss compelled her to become a writer.

I’ve been an enthusiastic reader for decades, but one particular event in my adult life impelled me to become a writer. A few days after my father died, I found myself scribbling words onto a page without understanding why. The writing initially resembled a series of diary entries – spontaneous, private jottings – about my difficult relationship with my father. But soon I began to see patterns, a shape, a sense of purpose in those muddled beginnings. The story became, in short, a therapeutic exercise: a way of trying to understand what it might mean to be a daughter who didn’t love her father, who indeed had no respect for him. Then, by a series of coincidences and without any planning on my part, my story ended up being published in a literary journal. What happened next was both unexpected and immensely gratifying: I had responses from readers telling me that my story had encouraged them to reflect on their own fathers, on the process of dying, on the nature of grief, or the inability to feel grief. I realised that my story had moved from self-expression to communication: that my words had made some kind of difference to people I didn’t even know. I realised, too, that I wanted to keep doing this wonderful thing: turning black marks on a screen into something for people to believe in. So, in 2006, and with the blessing and crucial financial support of my husband, I quit my teaching job and embarked on a full-time writing life.

Since then, I’ve published three short story collections: A History of the Beanbag, An Unknown Sky and Feet to the Stars, all shortlisted for major Australian literary awards. I have also published two well-received novels: The Art of Persuasion (2018) and Everyday Madness (2021). I’m keenly aware that my writing life is a highly privileged one; most writers I know need a day job to pay the bills, but I have the luxury of spending unlimited, unpressured time doing what I love. It also helps that our children have left the parental nest, both of them leading happy and productive lives. One of those children told me I had to stop writing about sex (definitely an exaggeration). My husband told me I had to stop killing off husbands in my fiction (I tell him it’s simply a device to move the plot along).

What do I love most about writing? I love the challenge of creating characters who are not like me. I love encountering the unexpected: characters who refuse to do what I want; a plot that changes tack; a new character who didn’t feature in my original intentions; reaching a conclusion that surprised me. I also love the process of self-editing. Rethinking, changing words or the structure, making sure that every word in a sentence is necessary, or tossing 20,000 words in the bin and starting all over again. It’s both a lot of hard work and a lot of fun, and I wouldn’t write if it wasn’t fun.

My subjects are typically ‘domestic’ – marriage, family, relationships in general, and the daily world of work. While ‘domestic’ writing, especially by women, is often dismissed as a trivial or predictable depiction of ‘ordinary’ life, I believe that no-one and nothing is ordinary. A good writer can make putting out the rubbish an interesting, even an extraordinary, experience; it’s only a matter of finding the right words.

My new novel, Everyday Madness, is darker than my previous fiction, but I’ve injected some humour into the narrative. I think humour not only alleviates the gloom; it can also encourage us to think about human motivation and actions, about social problems and the necessity for hope. As the great comic writer Oscar Wilde observed: ‘Humour is the most serious form of literature.’ Even something as crude as a fart joke can make people think. As small children, my sons loved playing with a toy called a whoopee cushion, which made a loud, farting noise whenever someone sat on it. They did it so many times, and every time they would collapse with laughter (as did their parents, I have to confess). Now why do some people find that joke hilarious? I’ll leave you to think about that!

 

Thank you f or visiting, Susan.

Everyday Madness is in all good bookstores and online.

You can find Susan on Twitter or at her website

 

 

Guest Blogger: Josephine Taylor author of Eye of a Rook

Guest blogger Josephine Taylor hopes her historical novel will shine a light on a condition many women have but most don’t discuss

I’m always reassured when I hear other writers advise, write what you feel passionate about, because that’s why I wrote Eye of a Rook.

I was angry. Angry that so few people knew about a condition that was so debilitating and that affected so many women, including me: vulvodynia. And I felt frustrated and helpless – at least at the beginning, way back in 2000. Then, in 2003, I started writing about my experiences, and I began to feel more in control, more an agent in my own life. I researched and wrote and eventually began a PhD, which turned into a memoir – a kind of embedded sociological detective story that delved into the history of vulvar pain and hysteria, and that explored more recent understandings of pain that won’t leave, from psychoanalysis, psychiatry, neurophysiology, feminist studies… The resulting investigative memoir, Vulvodynia and Autoethnography, won several awards, but it was an unwieldy beast from a publisher’s perspective. So, while I continue to draw material from it for my personal essays, with many published, I’ve left a full-length memoir to one side – for the moment at least!

After I finished my PhD in 2011 the pressure inside me remained. I knew that somewhere between 10% and 28% of all women would experience vulvodynia in their lifetime, so how could I contribute to beneficial change for them? What was I to do about the BIG story I wanted to get out into the world? I had no conscious idea. Fortunately, my creative life had its own plans, and at a writing workshop in 2013, two Victorian men came to life in response to a writing prompt. One was a man called Arthur, with fine brown hair and dressed in a frockcoat, and the other was a real-life surgeon I’d been researching, Isaac Baker Brown. It seemed that Arthur was consulting Brown about his wife, Emily, and contemplating the surgeon’s radical ‘solution’ to hysteria. This initial scenario turned into a short story which now also included a scene with a contemporary Perth couple driving tensely to an appointment. It seemed that the modern-day Alice had the same pain as Emily – the same pain as me – and both women needed answers. The short story, published in an anthology as ‘That Hand’, became the first chapter of Eye of a Rook.

I wrote my novel in timelines separated by almost 150 years because I wanted to show how little has changed since 1866. In fact, my research had shown that the understanding of chronic pelvic pain and specific pain states like vulvodynia has stayed largely stuck for many centuries. It’s men who have, until very recently, studied, written about and treated mystifying female complaints across recorded history, and medical understanding has been based on a male model. Knowledge skewed even further in the twentieth century, as the theories of Sigmund Freud were taken up by psychiatry then gynaecology, especially in the US. Under this influence, vulvar pain was interpreted as psychosomatic, a woman’s way of acting out unresolved unconscious conflict, a ‘defense mechanism’ against intercourse. The onus was placed upon the woman, rather than the limits of medical knowledge, with women generally told or made to feel that the pain was ‘all in her head’.

Both Alice and Emily come up against this kind of ignorance and dismissiveness, enduring harmful treatments and worse. Both reach out for help, with Alice finding community in a support group and Emily relying on her husband at a critical moment. I hope that readers will be able to relate to or empathise with Alice and Emily’s pain and the decisions all the characters make, for themselves and their futures.

My biggest hope is that my book will be read by women with vulvodynia and that it helps them in tangible ways. More, I hope that the people these women depend on read it: family, friends, GPs, physiotherapists, gynaecologists, dermatologists, urologists and psychologists. I hope that those who live with chronic pain, who may have been made to feel that they could be doing more for themselves or that they are exaggerating their symptoms, read it. I hope that Eye of a Rook will shine a light where one is so desperately needed and bring this conversation into the public domain.

Eye of a Rook is available in all good bookstores and online.

Thanks for visiting, Josephine. You  can learn more about Josephine, and connect with her

At her website here.

On Twitter.

On Facebook.

And on Instagram .

 

Guest Blogger: Sally Bradfield Discusses the Genesis of Not Quite 30-Love

It’s always a pleasure to meet another Sally, and today I am excited to be welcoming Sally Bradfield as a guest blogger at Aussiereviews. Over to you Sally. 

The Genesis   

Hi, My name is Sally Bradfield and I spent many years (try twenty) travelling the globe working in marketing and communications on the professional tennis circuit. Yes, I met and worked with all the household names you can think of: Serena and Venus Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Anna Kournikova, Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic…

My first real tennis job was a WTA Communications Manager. The WTA stands for Women’s Tennis Association. Watch the movie on Billie Jean King (who I am also proud to know), called ‘Battle of the Sexes’ to understand how the women’s tennis tour began.  I remember starting this job and being blown away by being paid to travel around the world, staying at five star hotels, eating room service and watching tennis. I said to a few long term employees – how could you ever get sick of this? Then the real work began. As the meat in the sandwich between getting players, sponsors, fans and tournaments together, the communications team are always fighting an uphill battle. You work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week and get yelled at a lot.  But you do meet amazing people, see unbelievable places and watch astonishing athletes at play.

About ten years ago, I gave it all up to settle back in Sydney. I am married to a former professional player, now coach – Nicole Arendt (who is American, but moved here so we could live in the greatest country in the world). I missed tennis and some of the travel. A bit like Hotel California, they kept calling me back. Each year when the tennis came ‘down under,’ I worked at the Sydney tournament, visited my friends at the Australian Open. Every couple of years, we went to Wimbledon. Nicole often played the legends event and we are given special access forever as Nicole’s a member of the Last 8 club (having reached the Wimbledon Doubles Final). We feel very lucky and blessed to be able to keep in contact with the old and new crews, without having to travel full time.

A few years ago, I talked about writing a book about my life on the tennis circuit. I enrolled in and completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Sydney’s UTS. There I started my fictional novel. The first title was ‘Balls in my Face.’ My UTS lecturers hated the title, but I thought it was brilliant.  The first draft took my several years and it was way too close to a thinly veiled autobiography.  Fun for me and interesting to others, but likely to end up in litigation.  At some point, I will write my autobiography, but it will be truthful, rather than hiding under the fiction tag.

As the drafts evolved, the protagonist, Katie Cook, became less Sally Bradfield and more her own person. An amazing thing happened, she started to speak to me. She was her own woman (twenty-eight and full of opinions). She was certain of the way her story should be told. I was not always in agreement. She mostly won!

The tennis characters in the book are all fictional, but the world they live in, is very real. It was important to me that those in the know, felt the book was an accurate depiction of life on the Tour. So far the feedback from those people has been extremely positive, which was really fulfilling. They said it was like ‘reading about my life.’

There have been books about life on the Tour before, but they always felt like they were written by outsiders and they mostly were. I’m proud to have my book stand on its own feet and hopefully entreat people to want to know more about the tennis world. It’s a great place to visit…

You can purchase the Ebook via this link;  https://books2read.com/u/bzvzx

My website www.notquite30love.com has more information and links how to buy.

My author Facebook page: https://bit.ly/357v5bs

Instagram: NQ30love

Twitter @sallybradfield

 

Below is a little more about the book and about me.

Twenty-eight year old Katie Cook lands her dream job in the world of professional tennis.

It was like being invited to the Academy Awards, except they were all wearing branded tracksuits.

Katie finds life in Sydney to be not quite measuring up and makes the move to follow her childhood obsession with professional tennis, running away to join this circus of a world and finding work as a publicist.
Racing around the globe faster than a Contiki tour, creating internet scandals wherever she goes, Katie is seduced by the appearance of glamour and her weakness for bad boys.

She falls for one of the troubled champions and starts a trending relationship.
With an archenemy placing social media bombs in her way and hashtags haunting Katie in her sleep, she navigates her way through a series of social media and love crises.

Katie has some decisions to make. Does she want a hero or a career? Will she end up happily ever after? What does that even mean?

One thing is for sure, she will never schedule an Instagram post again! #Girlscanbeheroestoo.

The story is written by a tennis insider and has been described as The Devil Wears Prada meets the exciting world of professional tennis.

Author Bio

For almost twenty years Sally Bradfield has worked with the who’s who of professional tennis. 

She has travelled the globe working as a Communications Manager/publicist for the WTA Tour. She worked alongside Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova and hundreds more.

Subsequently she joined the men’s tour as Brand Manager for the ATP. She ran major events with Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and many other household names.

Wanting to leave the suitcases and hotels behind, Sally settled back in Australia with her retired tennis champion partner, Nicole Arendt. Together they live in the Blue Mountains in NSW running tennis and fitness businesses.  

To find out more visit www.notquite30love.com

Sally also has a Podcast series called  No Challenges Remaining.

 

Guest Blogger: Ingrid Fry Talks About Time and Motivation to Write

It’s my pleasure to welcome guest blogger  Ingrid Fry, debut author of four new books, released in March. Over to you, Ingrid.

Don’t Let Time Steal Your Book

How the hell did you manage to write four, eighty-thousand-word books in the space of eighteen months, and, get them published?

As a published author, that’s the question I’m most often asked, and, often ask myself!

I thought a short blog on the topic would be helpful to anyone who feels they have a book inside them but are struggling with how to get started and keep going.

If you love to write, and plan to write a book one day, not having enough time is often the excuse we use to justify our inaction.

In these days of Corona Virus, all the ‘not having time’ memes indicate that lack of time is not the real reason behind why we don’t start all those things we want to do.

My four-book series would never have seen the light of day if I hadn’t ‘made time’ and set achievable goals. As Charles Buxton so rightly said, “You will never find time for anything. You must make it.”

I started a blog on my website to document my writing journey and road to publication. By doing so, I hoped to inspire, motivate and make it easier for other aspiring writers to achieve their dream. The blog didn’t get very far, because I soon realised, I had to narrow my focus if I wanted to achieve my dream of writing a book.

Tapping into something that motivates you and drives you forward on a daily basis is a crucial component to writing that book. You really do have to “start with the end in mind” and identify your “why”. Whatever your aspiration is, whether it’s achieving fitness goals, losing weight, learning the guitar; your “Why” has to be identified and kept in mind if you want to accomplish your dream.

Write down:

(1) all the reasons you want to achieve that goal

(2) all the ways your life will be better for achieving it

(3) how you will feel when you have succeeded, and most importantly

(4) how you will feel if you don’t achieve it.

It’s important to put this in writing, refer to it regularly and update it as new things come to mind.

Having daily achievable goals was the other key to my success. You can learn more about what that looks like from my blog post How to Get Started and Write That Book

Here’s a little about me and one of my motivating forces; my “Why”.

Mum and Dad were writers. Good ones too.  Dad died at 87 and Mum at 93. They both lived extraordinary lives, the content of which would fill many books.

They both swore that one day they would write a book about their amazing adventures.

It never happened.

Time. Time and not enough of it was the excuse that stole their dreams.

I’ve always wanted to write stories like the ones I loved to read. I grew up on a diet of Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy and Metaphysics.

They were the books that fired my imagination, excited, enthralled and transported me to distant worlds.

I wanted to write a book. But like Mum and Dad, I kept putting it off. It seemed too huge a task. My life was littered with a trail of short stories, poems, illustrated children’s books, notebooks, ideas, creative journals, but ‘the book’ loomed like a mountain above me, impossible to climb.

The motivation – the “Why”– to take that first step came from my parents.

I didn’t want to lie on my deathbed with a precious dream unfulfilled.

So, I wrote that book.

And then another. And another. And another!

And I’m halfway through one more.

I’ve done it! I’ve written that book, and some. But I still have one regret.

Mum and Dad aren’t here to read them.

Is your soul aching to write a book?

Then don’t be like my parents or many other would be writers and get to the end of your journey filled with regrets.

Do it now. Your soul will sing.

‘There is no greater joy than expressing the song in your heart.’ ~ Ingrid Fry

Resources

Bird by Bird (Some Instructions on Writing and Life) by Anne Lamott

This book is a great place to start for guidance and inspiration, especially if the road ahead seems overwhelming.

Word by Word, an audio workshop by Anne Lamott 

This audio workshop provides you with the opportunity to hear Anne in action. It is laugh out loud, poignant, informative and will provide you with the encouragement and ideas you need to get started and most importantly, keep going.

 

About the Crystal Sphere Series

Following an encounter with a mysterious crystal sphere, Maggie is compelled to lead her partner Jason, an eclectic entourage of humans, and a telepathic beagle into battle against a dark force and a very nasty villain intent on destroying humanity.

Maggie, the reluctant protagonist, is a psychic, computer programmer and corporate couch potato.

For her, things don’t get much more strenuous than walking the dog. Unfortunately, walking the dog is where it all begins, and now the fate of the world rests in her hands.

As a keyboard warrior and intuitive, Maggie feels ill equipped for the battle she has to fight. Music assists in keeping her sane, helping to muffle the psychic barrage that bombards her mind.

Each chapter in the series is linked to a tune that readers can follow via Maggie’s playlist on Spotify.

Set in current day Melbourne, Australia, this urban comic fantasy takes the reader on an action-packed journey across regional areas of Victoria and interstate. The story combines adventure and edge of your seat suspense, with a good dose of humour and a sprinkling of romance and spice.

Even readers who normally wouldn’t consider books with a slightly otherworldly element, have fallen in love with the story, describing it as “a sexy, funny, action packed story with characters you will fall in love with.”

Buy links:

Paperbacks

eBooks

Descent into Darkness

Journey to Hell

Quest for Light

Search for Truth

Limited Edition Box Sets

Maggie’s Playlist

 

Brief Bio:

Ingrid was born and raised in Berkhamstead in the UK but spent much of her childhood commuting between England and Austria. Emigrating with her parents many years ago, she has called Australia home ever since.

A writer, business development consultant and minder of a husband and a beagle with superpowers, she lives in a leafy suburb on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Lakes Entrance is her second home and it was from there, much of her first four novels were developed. In her spare time, she enjoys pistol shooting at the local gun club, dancing at The Caravan Music Club and as a passionate karate nerd, well on her way to a black belt in karate. Her fifth book in the series, Battle for Blood is due in 2021.

You can visit Ingrid’s website here.   Ingrid is represented by Tale Publishing

The Geography of Friendship, by Sally Piper

They haven’t seen each other for years, but here they are, falling onto the same old pattern as though there’s no other worth considering. Maybe it’s more to do with the place they’re walking through. Maybe the land has designs on them – maybe it always had – robbing them of the power to choose alternatives.

It’s been twenty years since they first walked the rail as teens, and twenty years since their friendship fell apart. Now, Samantha, Lisa and Nicole are walking the same trail, in an attempt to salvage something, even though it is clear to at least two of them what its they are trying to salvage.
That first hike was meant to be an adventure, a kind of coming of age in the wilderness, but what happened in those five days changed all of them, and severed their friendship. Will revisiting the scene of those terrible five days really mend their friendship, and will it help each woman to heal the wounds which continue to effect their lives?

The Geography of Friendship is a finely woven story. the use of three perspectives, and the shift bewteen the events of the past, the present and those in the intervening years, could become complicated, but rather makes for a pleasing complexity as the reader gets to know each woman and gradually piece together what has happened.

Absorbing and satisfying.

The Geography of Friendship, by Sally Piper
UQP, 2018
ISBN 9780702259975

The Yellow House, by Emily O’Grady

‘They’re weird,’ Wally said.
‘They’re family,’ Mum said. ‘Your aunt and your cousin.’
‘If they’re family, then why’ve we never met them?’ Wally asked. ‘Why’ve we never even heard of them?’

Ten year old Cub is excited when her aunt and cousin move into the long empty house next door to theirs. Cub’s family – her parents, older brother Cassie, and twin brother Wally – are outcasts, ostracized by the town for the terrible crimes committed by her grandfather before Cub was born. Cub has limited understanding of why they are hated, but her only friend in the world is Wally, so she has high hopes that Tilly, her cousin, will be her new best friend.

But the presence of Tilly and her mother don’t create the kind of change Cub is hoping for. Rather, the tensions that have been bubbling beneath the surface seem to rise up, and when Cassie brings home a new friend, Ian, the tension rises.

The Yellow House, winner of this year’s Vogel Literary Award, is gut-wrenching story of family secrets, betrayal and inter-generational disadvantage. Seeing events through the eyes of Cub gives the story an intriguing perspective – Cub is naive and innocent, in many ways, and the readers must navigate and interpret events only through Cub’s understanding.

Unsettling to read, this is a well-woven haunting tale.

The Yellow House, by Emily O’Grady
Allen & Unwin, 2018
ISBN 9781760632854

Book of Colours, by Robyn Cadwallader

She lifts a hand towards the bundle, but lets it drop again. Anticipation is a strange creature. For nearly two years she has waited for this moment, and now it is here, she doesn’t want to unwrap the parcel. How long has she imagined the illuminators with brush and quill, bent at their desks day after day, choosing colour and gold leaf. How long has she waited to see their work. But now she doesn’t want to look inside.

When Mathilda orders a prayer book made, she imagines it as a thing of beauty, both a sacred object and a symbol of the status she and her husband will hold. But when it is delivered, almost two years later, much has changed. For the illuminators, too, life has changed. In their small shop in London, a team of five have worked on the illustrations, each with their own things to prove and their own reasons for being there. The creation of the book is as complex as their lives, and the life of the woman for whom it is intended.

The Book of Colours is a complex, well woven story of life in 14th century England. Set against the backdrop of real events, and with a strong cast of characters from all walks of life, the story alternates between the events in the months after the book is delivered, and those in the time it is being worked on in London. The richness and complexity of the illuminations in the book are echoed in the rich, complex lives of the characters, particularly Will, an illuminator with a troubled past, Gemma, the wife of the master illuminator whose shop Will works in, and the Lady Mathilda, for whom the book is destined. Gemma’s husband, John, their son and other minor characters are also presented as rounded, intriguing characters.

Like the precious book in the story, this is a book which will stay with the reader fora long time.

The Book of Colours, by Robyn Cadwallader
Foruthe Estate, an imprint of Harper Coolins, 2018
ISBN 9781460752210

White Gum Creek, by Nicole Hurley-Moore

For an instant as he approached the counter, there was a warm, tingly flare erupting somewhere in her core. She told her friends – she even told herself – that all she wanted to do was reach out and help this guy. She didn’t exactly know how she was going to go about it but he needed to be around people again.

When his wife died in a tragic accident, Nick Langtree became a recluse, living alone in a caravan on his farm, punishing himself for Sophie’s death. But it’s been six years and his friends think it’s time he forgave himself and allowed himself some happiness. Tash Duroz, in particular, wants to reach out to him. But deep down she knows she’s kidding herself that she just wants to be friends with Nick. What she feels is something else.

Nick is hardly aware of Tash, though he appreciates her friendliness when she serves him at the bakery. he is, though, willing to start getting his life back on track. If only strange things didn’t keep happening around the farm. It’s almost as if Sophie is haunting him – but maybe there is someone who has a grudge against him.

White Gum Creek is a story about dealing with heartache and grief and forging new beginnings, as well as friendship and self-forgiveness. With an element of mystery to keep the story moving forward, it is a satisfying, engaging read.

White Gum Creek, by Nicole Hurley-Moore
Allen & Unwin, 2018
ISBN 9781760631109