KEEPER OF SECRETS is now published and live and out in the world fending for itself. It’s been a long road to independence (it always is) and now she needs to find her own way in the world — find an audience. She is ‘child’ number nine and she is different from her siblings. She is born fully formed and quite ‘adult’. She uses stronger language and she knows about intimate relationships. She understands passion and mystery and she knows how to spy — not on you of course unless you are occupying France during World War Two or you have a secret worth stealing in the modern era. In fact, there are two spies, closely related, both in search of freedom — freedom for themselves and those that they love. Daisy and Susan will show you a world you had previously thought impossible — enjoy the ride, but don’t leave the book lying around in case the young ones might read it.
One of my favourite stories from RUFUS is Life Goes on Until it Doesn’t.
I remember writing it and thinking how often something like this must happen in real life.
I gave the unfinished manuscript of RUFUS to the person who I hoped would become my illustrator and she said that she was nervous as she read this story because “I really wanted it to end happily.”
As you probably know from reading the book, RUFUS does save the day, but RUFUS is not always around in real life.
This morning, I was going through my news feed and I came across this story. As I read it I too wanted to view a happy ending.
I understand that people can become desperate, but abandoning the one creature in your life who loves you without question only casts doubt on your ability to understand the things that really matter in life.
A little while ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing the then Deputy Leader of the Opposition in my home state. A little while later, he became the deputy Premier after winning the election.
I was a little cheeky on the day and put a few extra questions to him about animal welfare and his party’s plans, if any, to improve the situation. He kindly answered them (we have a shared love of basketball and have both been involved in coaching juniors, so I think he cut me some slack). To his credit, and his government, they have implemented some excellent changes to the way we deal with animals. They have also boosted funding to the RSPCA, the body that oversees the protection of animals in my state.
Dogs will directly benefit as the law is introduced over the next couple of years which will only allow ‘rescued’ dogs to be sold in pet shops. There is also a strong effort being made to stamp out ‘puppy farms’.
All of these initiatives are good, but they do not eliminate the central cause of the problem — people. The world is full of idiots and the trend is threatening to continue.
As I write this, the dog next door is barking because he wants to play with his humans. My dogs are curled up on the bed waiting for me to stop writing so they can go for a walk and the Dingoes across the road are on the lookout for us because seeing us means that there is a strong chance they will be able to join us on that walk.
Rather than being angry because of the actions of others I have decided to focus on the good things in my life, particularly the small fluffy things.
The third book in my anthology short story series is now on paper!
This is always a special moment because it is the last stage in a long process. The books arrived at my door a couple of days ago, but I have been busy pasting up RUFUS so that this book can also become a paperback. Now that I have a few moments I can share with you how excited I am that RED WHEELBARROW is finally on paper. This is book 3 in the series (if you add in Slightly Spooky Stories there are four short story anthologies) and book 4 is already under way.
This book is available from me (if you live in Australia) or from Blurb if you live anywhere in the world.
For a while I was submitting stories ‘right left and centre’, but recently I have been a bit more selective.
I tell you this because I know I would have hit the magic 100 mark a lot more quickly if I had kept up the submission pace. [It took 13 months to hit the 100 mark]
As luck would have it, my 100th rejection letter was an excellent email which contained some very positive comments and a few suggestions.
I got the feeling that the story did not miss selection by very much.
Over the past few months, my focus has changed.
Instead of flogging a few stories to various Lit’ Mags across the world I have decided to concentrate on the ones that published my stories.
Amazingly, there are a few.
But the real focus is to select the best of my stories and self publish them.
This is a slow and mildly expensive process but it offers the prospect of reaching a wider audience, and of ultimately making a profit [most Lit Mags don’t pay and the ones who do, don’t pay very much].
I’ve been published enough times to know that every now and then I write a story that people will pay to read.
All I have to do is work out which stories work best and gather them together.
You folks help me a great deal in that regard.
Your reaction, likes, comments help me to sift the ‘also-rans’ from the better stories.
So, thank you for your help.
Hopefully you have some fun during this process as well.
So, here’s to number 100. Raise your glass and toast to her round number. [Actually, since I first drafted this post, the count has gone to 101].
I sent in a heap of photos but this is the only one that they used.
It went missing about ten years ago and I thought that it was gone for good; but there it was: a little dusty and missing half of it’s cover .
But it looked like it would still play.
Back in the 1980s I was lucky enough to interview a legend of the music business, the pianola roll music business. Charles Urqhart was well into his eighties when I tracked him down and sadly he would be long dead by now, so the chances of another interview were slim to say the least.
He was a very friendly man and the interview was a glimpse into a forgotten era.
A long time ago I promised the National Film and Sound Archive that I would send them a copy of the tape if I ever tracked it down. Well, I’d tracked it down but how do I get a copy of an old compact cassette in this day and age?
I needed copies and I needed a digital transfer to keep this recording safe. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. ‘Back ups’, is the mantra of the twenty first century!
How lucky was I that foothills resident Paul has a shop in the Belgrave Arcade. Star Zone does all sorts of sound and music related activities.
I remembered seeing his shop when I was out walking our dogs. I really did not want to go traipsing down to the big smoke just to solve this problem and thanks to Paul and Star Zone, I didn’t have to.
When I got the call to collect my precious tape I was pleasantly surprised to find that Paul had ‘gone the extra mile’ without adding anything to the agreed price. He had downloaded an article and some photos on the history of Pianola Rolls and he made an extra digital copy for me.
He had spent a fair bit of time ‘cleaning up’ the quality of the sound (you can imagine how bad the sound was from a quarter of an inch tape recorded on a cheap recorder in the 1980s!)
Like everyone who lives in the foothills I try to support local business wherever I can so it was great to have my problem solved locally.
If you need any sound recording, video clips produced or records and tapes transferred to CD, Star Zone is the place to go. Belgrave Arcade shop 14.
There is a sign behind the counter at Star Zone which says, “Just Be Famous, you’ll feel better”.