witches

HEXENHAUS IS IN THE HOUSE

When I say that Hexenhaus is in the house what I really mean is that she is in book stores. Having this book published is a dream come true for me, one of those biguns from the bucket list crossed off….and don’t it feeeeeel good!!!

This is a tale of three girls whose stories span four hundred years and take us from medieval Germany with its witch hysteria to late seventeenth century Scotland where mysterious things are taking place in a manor house and all fingers point to the young maid and the accusation is leveled at her – WITCH…..and then there is our contemporary girl who just wants to get through her HSC and win the affections of a boy from her local small town but the burning torches start hunting her and her mother  after ludicrous, senseless gossip starts singeing the edges of their quiet lives.

My stories were drawn from family history, the very real and tragic tale of the Renfrewshire witches (sometimes known as the Paisley witches) and a letter that sits in the Hanover University Library, written by a man to his daughter from the Hexenhaus, a torture factory that became the prototype for Nazi concentration camps and the inspiration for the evil cottage in Hansel and Gretel. The modern story was drawn loosely from my own experience of living in a small town.

My characters are brave and courageous and I love them all. They are all drawn a little from myself and my two sisters.

The mass panic and hysteria that saw these girls go through absolute hell and triumph in spirit, one way or another, is a reflection, a mirror, to what is going on in our own sorry world right now. I’ll let you read it and draw your own comparisons!

You can purchase Hexenhaus (GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT) at most good book stores. Or for your shopping pleasure and without the need to get up from where you are sitting now, you can click on any of these link and order it and it will be delivered to your door (lazy option).

Dymocks

Booktopia

Riverbend Books

Abbey’s Bookshop

Where the Wild Things Are

Potts Point Bookshop

Robinsons Bookshop 

 

 

LIFT-OFF

Well, there you go! HEXENHAUS was officially launched on Monday night with the help of the sensational Bec Mac. Launching a book is really one of the most rewarding aspects of the rather solitary life of a writer. For months and months and MONTHS you sit at your laptop and tap words, sculpt sentences, shuffle paragraphs and excise entire organs from your manuscript while keeping her heart beating and the passion simmering.

When you finally have that book in your hands it is an emotional experience but when you come together with all the people in your life that matter the most, to celebrate the safe arrival of your book, it is tantamount to a spiritual experience. Thank-you to Riverbend Books at Bulimba for your hospitality.

I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity by my publishers at UQP to breathe life into my three very special characters. Veronica, Katherine, Paisley; I salute you and I now send your stories of empowerment, courage under fire and grace in the most difficult of circumstances, into the world.

In The Crucible (which has inevitably been compared to my little book of witch hysteria)….there was the clearly drawn analogy to the hate and fear of McCarthyism, the Red Terror, fear of Communists, during the Cold War! IN HEXENHAUS I have drawn the timely parallel between the Early European witch-hunts and  irrational hysteria of imagined folk devils and the current climate in our world of politically driven ‘terror’ of others, the rife and hateful Islamaphobia that is dangerous and destructive to the inherent goodness of humanity. Love, tolerance and community are under direct attack by the insidious racism that runs, as an undercurrent, through our Western political systems. My novel of three young women facing persecution by scared and small-minded people shines a light on the source of people’s ability to be caught up in baseless hysteria when in a mob led by burning torches.

Perhaps my cautionary tale will help readers to see that historical connection. Let’s make sure that the Burning Times of the witch-hunts and the 20th century Holocaust do not ever happen again. Ever.

Hexenhaus is available in all good book stores – Dymocks, QBD and Booktopia and lots of independents like Where the Wild Things Are, Beachside Bookshop at Avalon Beach, Abbeys, Macleans, Riverbend Books, Love That Book and many, many more. Need I remind you that Christmas is coming up? Buy HEXENHAUS for yourself, a friend, your daughter and your grandmother.

Peace out.

A Year of Words

I’ve been wondering what this blog will be all about. What theme will it embrace? I’ve talked(rambled) about some witchy business and the rock books I liked in my first two blog entries. No theme there. So I’ve decided (after reading someone else’s) to make this blog about my year as a writer.

Writing has very little to do with words and lots to do with the spaces between the words.

I’ve been writing since I was four. Most of the things I’ve written have been self-indulgent garrulous weeds that spread across countless pages but were not meant for a greater audience. The dream of course for those who are drawn to writing, is to be PUBLISHED. In newsprint, magazine or better still…..a book.

I have decided (of course this is largely out of my hands) that 2016 will be my breakthrough year as a writer. God knows I’ve done the apprenticeship, put in the hours and now it’s time to make a splash.

It’s already the end of January and here is where I sit.

I have a young adult novel being published this year by UQP. This is very, very exciting. It is exciting because I can feel in me waters that THIS one, this epic tale of three women, spanning 400 years, all accused of witch-craft, THIS one, will make waves. This book knocked on my heart and demanded to be written. I have just been assigned my editor and I love her to pieces and this is the first time I have edited a book with someone I already knew. We will weave a spell into ”Hexenhaus” and when the hurly-burlys done….it will bewitch all its readers.

In addition to this exciting venture I have entered a cart-load of short stories into various competitions – The Newcastle Short Story Comp, The Hope Prize, the Josephine Ulrick prize, Elizabeth Jolley and will continue to fling them at whatever comps arise through the year.

I also have a manuscript, a romantic sort of drama thing, that my agent has sent out into the marketplace. It is fishing for a beloved home. This one, about grief, mothers and sharks, is a story so very close to my heart and I am in that awful waiting place – that sitting by the phone, waiting for the cute boy to call thing. Purgatory. My agent liked it. Dad liked it. Zeus liked it. I liked it. But will a publisher like it? Will it get its moment in the sun? I believe in it. And that’s a start. But as my guru davidji always tells me – ” I have control over my actions but not the fruit of my actions” and therefore I must release it to the wind and wait for a gust, a slipstream, a sirocco. I must be still. And wait. Patiently. I DON’T DO PATIENCE VERY WELL AT ALL!

I am off on a ten day Buddhist meditation camp soon where I will be silent and have no contact with others, not even eye contact. No reading. No writing. Nothing but the stillness of my own mind. That will drive me fricking bonkers but I have decided to write a book about it next. A book about ten days of absolute silence with my own thoughts, memories, hopes and dreams. Who knows what demons and flighty sprites might visit me there? My son lives on a property near the retreat so I always have the option of escaping and running away to his place….but I won’t. It is my challenge (coinciding with a significant birthday ending in a 0) and I intend to rock it and find bloody enlightenment!

The first writing comp that I entered has just announced their winner and it wasn’t me. Thanks for nothing! First strike. Writing is like playing the lottery. Sure, the odds are better. But it’s still as much luck as skill. Judges, publishers, readers. You can’t please all of them, all of the time. And there are many, many amazing writers out there that I have to compete with. It’s a dog eat dog world. Grrrrr.

Back to the drawing board…..finishing off a young adult murder mystery that I plan to enter into the Text Prize. See ya next time.

Life’s a Witch

 

My new blog. Gearing up for a brilliant 2016. My Brilliant Year. The most exciting thing about 2016 that I can think of so far……is….that I have a new book being published! This is almost as exciting as welcoming a new baby into the family, being just as terrifying and awesome and sometimes messy.

Some days I have to remind myself that this is real because the only thing harder than getting a book published, is getting a second one published and here I am gestating my third book-child.

One Way or Another was a troublesome, exciting, willful and difficult child who threw me into the public arena, howling and screaming. It was a rush. There were interviews with the Footy Show guys, three-page spreads in the Sunday Magazine splashing my dirty laundry all over the country and twitter trolls. She was a mischievous imp of a book.

Then came Sandy Feet, a gentle little boy book that whispered sensitively and wrapped himself up in angsty knots. It was a book that was born of some personal pain and drew on some of my legal studies. He will always be my very special baby.

This year …..we will have a big, epic sweeping tale of witches, yes witches. This new daughter of mine, tentatively called Hexenhaus will be strong-minded, brave and ambitious. This baby will be a lot like me – outspoken, deeply and passionately devoted to feminist issues, while employing a few mystical magic tricks up her skirts along the way. The due date is late September and little Hexenhaus is already stirring my belly with excitement.

I am looking forward to editing with a brand new editor….she will be, like the others before her, my midwife, and given that this book is about the terrible European witch-hunts it seems a fitting description given that many of the victims of that holocaust were midwives.

I am off to my first writers festival in Brisbane in April to discuss the relationship between rock and roll and literature. Exciting times.

In 2016 I will turn 50 but I go into the new year feeling about fifteen. The future looks bright. I just have to survive Christmas first…..