31 July 2008
30 July 2008
Toward the beginning of the book, Bly gives a list of ten secrets of success.
- Define what success means to you. Then pursue success as you define it--not as others do. For me, it's doing what I want, and avoiding the things I don't want to do. For you, it may be getting your novel published or becoming a radio talk show host.
- Love what you do for a living. Noel Coward said, "Work is more fun than fun." Time never moves more slowly during the day than when you are working at a job you loathe.
- Find the intersection of your passions and the needs of the market. What do you like that also interests other people, and that they are willing to pay for? Therein lies your writing career.
- Become the best you can be at what you do. Work tirelessly to increase your skill and knowledge. It's been said many times that there are only two ways to improve your writing: write and read. So do both. Write every day. Read all the time, and read widely. Also, take writing classes. Attend writing conventions.
- Specialize. Master and dominate a niche of the market, rather than attempt to be a jack of all trades. Constantly add to your storehouse of knowledge and experience in the specialized fields you write about, whether it's cats, crafts, cooking, or computers.
- Be the consummate craftsman. Always do your best on every job. Never give work short shrift because you agreed to short money. Once you tell the client you are taking the job, she expects and deserves nothing less than your best effort.
- Be the client's ally and partner, not her adversary. The angry writer who is constantly screaming at agents and editors is a cliche. Embrace the positive attitude of prolific author Isaac Asimov, who said, "I love my publishers!"
- Do not undercharge. Charge what you are worth. But don't overcharge; don't make it difficult for clients to hire you.
- When in doubt, get the money up front. A retainer check for half the fee is the quickest way to separate serious clients from time-wasting prospects.
- Don't waste time with things that may be pleasant or entertaining, but do not help you achieve your goals. Value your time as the precious limited resource it is.
These tips have been helpful to me (I have the page marked in my book), and especially number two. "Love what you do for a living." That is the reason I resigned from my teaching position in order to become a full time writer. Harlan Ellison explains it perfectly when he says, "I didn't choose to be a writer. That's what I am--I'm a writer."
Bly's book also quotes Ray Bradbury, who explains the passion for writing:
The act of writing is, for me, like a fever--something I must do.... I've never doubted myself; I've always been so completely devoted to libraries and books and authors that I couldn't stop to consider for a moment that I was being foolish. I only knew that writing was in itself the only way to live.
While I appreciate Bly's ten secrets for success, I feel I don't really need any success secrets. Writing is so much a part of me it doesn't matter if I'm successful, or if my writing is something that stays only in the realm of Blogger. I'm a writer. That's just what I am.
So thanks, Mr. Bly, for the tips, but I'll be writing regardless, thank you.
29 July 2008
- You measure time by word count.
- You look up from your work and pitch an idea for dinner to your significant other.
- To find out about your aunt's surgery, you send your mother a query email (and attach two writing samples).
- In a phone conversation with a friend you ask, "Can I quote you on that?"
- You get a screentan.
- You close personal emails with "I look forward to hearing from you soon about this exciting opportunity."
- Your thumb has to be pulled away from the space bar like skin on a leather car seat.
- Starbucks asks you to be on their board because of your "generous contribution to the company."
- You finally sit down to watch a little television, and try to use the remote to bring up a Word document.
- Your cat poses as a client to ask your rates for tummy rubs.
We know caffeine is stimulating. And recent research reveals even the aroma of coffee gets people going in the morning (as is apparent from my morning routine). What’s more, caffeine is addicting, so people become dependent on it to get through their days.
We also know caffeine can be harmful to our health. Pregnant women, for example, are encouraged to cut back on caffeine to protect their unborn children. Others find caffeine begins to effect them negatively. My mother can’t have caffeine or she gets “the shakes.” My mother-in-law gets terrible headaches if she has any caffeine.
If you’re a regular coffee drinker and you're considering making the switch, I urge you to do so carefully. If you're addicted to coffee, quitting "cold turkey" is not smart. If you do, you could suffer headaches, irritability, nausea, and other symptoms of withdrawal. So if you decide to reduce your caffeine intake, you should do it slowly to let your body adjust to the lowering levels of caffeine.
If you drink coffee every morning, get some decaf to mix in with your regular. The first day you do this, your grounds should be 2/3 regular and 1/3 decaf. Drink this combination for a few days, letting your body get used to the reduction in caffeine.
After a few days, adjust the coffee so ½ is regular and ½ is decaf. Again, drink this for a few days as your body adjusts. Then switch so only 1/3 of your coffee is regular and 2/3 is decaf. After a few days of that combination, you should be ready to switch to full decaf with little to no side effects.
Once you’ve made the switch to decaf, be careful about introducing caffeine back into your system. If you’ve weaned yourself off caffeine, then go to Starbucks and order a double shot cappuccino, your body will be more effected by the caffeine than it did prior to cutting caffeine out of your diet.
As with anything, you should make yourself aware of the health risks with caffeine intake. If you’re concerned, talk to your family doctor.
And remember: you don’t have to sacrifice your health for the smooth, delicious taste of coffee.
28 July 2008
--Simon Worrall, The Poet and the Murderer
In playwriting, dialogue is what drives the story forward. Exposition, characterization, and plot are all revealed through conversation, so dialogue is what makes or breaks a script.
Dialogue can reveal a lot about a character. After all, a young woman who says, "Can I help you?" is very different from a woman who says, "What can I get you, sugar?" is very different from a woman who says, "Whatcha eatin'?"
So as you write dialogue, you should try to be very aware of what the word choice reveals about your character, and what you want to reveal about your character, and that character’s relationship with other characters.
Dialogue is a great way to employ “show, don’t tell.” It’s easy to tell your readers that your main character is a reality TV junkie, but the story reads stronger if your character peppers her conversations with references like “Make it work!” or “the Jays” or “The game has evolved.” It gives the character depth, and is more subtle than simply telling the readers about the person in big blocks of narrative.
So how do you strengthen your dialogue?
Eavesdrop on conversations. The best way to pick up dialogue is to listen to it. Just as you would watch people to come up with a great character description, you should listen to people to pick up their syntax and dialect. I’ve had entire stories emerge from a snatch of conversation, and I’ve developed characters from listening to one side of a cell phone conversation at the mall. So when you’re around other people in line at a department store or you’re waiting for a table at the bar of your favorite restaurant, listen to what people say, as well as how they say it.
Read plays. There are amazing playwrights that write dialogue that simply pirouettes off the page (much more beautiful than leaps, yes?). Go to your favorite bookstore, and let yourself wander back to the drama section. Pick up a few plays that pique your interest, and read the dialogue. More than that, study the dialogue. What does each line reveal about the character? How does each conversation shape the people, their relationship, the plot? How does the playwright use the written dialogue to create pirouettes?
Watch plays and movies. Just as reading plays can help you learn tricks and tips for writing dialogue, watching movies and plays can do the same. The people who write the scripts spend a good deal of time getting the word choice and syntax just right, and other writers can learn from that work to get our dialogue just right, too. Watching plays and movies can be a little more helpful than reading plays because you’re able to hear how the dialogue sounds, and see the character embrace the dialogue as part of the role.
Since taking the playwriting class, I’ve found myself being more careful about my dialogue, and when I overhear conversations, my mind immediately thinks about what kind of character the speaker is, and how I can transform the bit of dialogue into something read-worthy.
Even though you may not do it consciously, writers are always listening to dialogue. So what's the best bit of dialogue you’ve ever overheard?
27 July 2008
I've been trying very hard to stick to my schedule, but I've learned that schedule isn't always the important thing, and yes, there are times when the clock shouldn't dictate your writing.
When you're on a roll with a piece, you should keep writing and get that extra work done. Obviously, if you're writing and on a roll you're being productive. It wouldn't make sense to interrupt that productivity just because the time you've set aside for writing has ended. I don't know about you, but if I'm writing productively and stop in the middle of it, I spend half my writing time the next day trying to remember where I was going with what I was doing, wasting precious writing time the next day. If I keep writing, I can finish my thought process, and then stop at a more natural place so when I pick up the writing again later or the next day, I'm better able to get into the writing quickly from the natural stopping place.
Not only that, I've had days when I feel completely stuck and can't write, and it would be even more frustrating to be stuck when I know only the night before I stopped myself from writing!
When you're on a deadline and writing an extra couple of hours means the difference between making the deadline and asking for an extension, keep writing. I set deadlines for myself frequently to keep myself on track, and if I've let myself get behind a little bit, I sometimes have to write a bit longer to get caught back up so I can stick to my deadline. Freelance writers not only have their own deadlines, but the deadlines of their clients as well. I'm working on a project right now that's on a particularly tight deadline, so I've kind of thrown my schedule out for a bit so I can be sure to get this project finished by deadline.
When I started writing to a stricter schedule, I did so to make sure I didn't short-change myself by spending half my day "researching" by posting on writers' forums. Since then, my writing schedule has been helpful to make sure I didn't spend every waking hour writing at the expense of my family life. But I've also learned that there are times to look away from the clock and just keep writing.
In his book Getting Started as a Freelance Writer, highly successful freelance writer Bob Bly draws the comparison between writing and dentistry. An old saying by dentists is "If you're not drillin', you're not billin'," which reminds us that in order to get money from writing, you must be writing. So even if you have your schedule, don't be afraid to write a little longer. After all, that little longer now is money in your pocket later!
25 July 2008
24 July 2008
As the author follows the trail of a forged Emily Dickinson poem across America, he journeys into a labyrinth of lies and intrigue where truth is illusion, and nothing is what it seems. Filled with the page-turning suspense and tantalizing sleuthing techniques of a literary thriller, The Poet and the Murderer paints us an unforgettable portrait of a man whose greatest talent - and greatest tragedy - was his ability to conceal his depraved brilliance behind the unique gifts and enduring celebrity of others." His greatest forgery, a fifteen-line poem in the style of Emily Dickinson, dazzled and then shocked the world of auction houses and academia. By weaving together the story of this masterful forgery with fascinating insights into the life and work of America's most elusive poet, Simon Worrall has created a book that explores the edge between art and artifice, and genius and madness.
23 July 2008
- The "Coffee Fairy" leaves coffee beans under your kid's pillow in exchange for their molar.
- You quiz the pimple-faced teenager at McDonald's on the exact roast date of the "100% Arabica" coffee being served that day.
- You vandalize the local Starbucks by breaking in and taking a hammer to the new Super-Auto espresso machines, and as you leave, you spray paint a message that reads "Real Baristas grind and tamp their own coffee!!!"
- You ask for the espresso machine and grinder in the divorce settlement, but agree to give your wife the house.
- You enjoy watching squirrels after eating nuts into which you have cleverly embedded a coffee bean. You repeat this dastardly behavior on other animals like dogs, cats, armadillos, and blue jays.
- You had your pool made into the shape of a coffee bean when viewed from above. Unfortunately now that the divorce is final, your wife gets to enjoy it now, with along with the pool guy.
- You contend that Elvis' favorite snack was actually a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, 3 Qualudes, and a non-fat, 2 pump, extra shot, caramel macchiato chaser.
- Your favorite BBQ rub includes ground coffee, and you insist on using it on that $52 hunk of Filet Mignon, despite your guests telling you that it tastes like crap.
- You spent $6300 on a new DSLR Digital Camera setup, simply to take close-up photos of coffee beans and naked portafilter shots. Your current girlfried is considering a palimony suit.
- You roast your own coffee, but you insist on roasting each bean individually for the ultimate in quality.
22 July 2008
21 July 2008
Years ago I took a directed study with my academic advisor called Personal Mythmaking. One of the earliest assignments I was given in the course was to write about my favorite work of art. It started as a description of the painting, Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers, and developed into my reflection on the painting, which developed into a sort of emotional catharsis.
Art can be very powerful, so there have been many times I use art to help me give words to particular emotions. I didn't realize how helpful visual art was to me until the exercise my academic advisor gave me, and it's something I haven't stopped since. In fact, I have several Van Gogh prints on the wall in my office space to remind me of the importance of visual art in my craft, and there have been a few times I've stopped what I was writing to just look at the prints before I pick back up where I was in the writing. Believe me: it helps!
If you haven't written to art before, I highly recommend it. Here is your process:
Choose your favorite work of art (it can be a painting, a sculpture, found art, whatever).
- Put the work in a place you can see it clearly (on you computer screen, or sit in front of it at the gallery or museum or whatever you have to do short of stealing it).
- Begin writing, letting the piece, how you feel about it, what you see, etc., guide your writing.
- When you feel you've said what you need to say, stop.
- Email the result to me at nicolepalmby (at) gmail (dot) com to be posted, if you wish. (Be sure to include the title and artist and a picture, if possible, as well as your name.)
- Repeat as needed to inspire you!
20 July 2008
18 July 2008
When I hear that phrase, I immediately think of a strong cup of coffee from an indie hole-in-the-wall coffee house I used to know, and wish I could replicate it at home. I'm making progress, of course, but whenever I bring up the idea of an espresso machine at home, my husband raises and eyebrow and turns away. I guess the one I want just isn't practical in our one-bedroom apartment (but so pretty!). So I'm having to adapt my coffee desires with the limitations of not living in a fully-functional coffee house.
Though I don't have one (yet), I think one of the best ways to make a great cup of coffee at home is with a French Press. It's easier to control the strength of the coffee, the temperature of the water, and how much coffee is made over a traditional coffee maker.* It would work out much better for me since my husband doesn't drink coffee--I can make just enough for me and have considerably less waste.
If you would like to use a French Press, I do want to let you know it's easier than you may think. True, it's a bit more involved than scooping coffee into a filter, filling the resevoir and pushing a button, but it's less involved than a manual espresso machine, too. So here's how it works:
- Grind your coffee beans in a burr grinder. You should only grind enough for the coffee you're making at the time since ground coffee stales faster than beans. When you grind the coffee, your grinder setting should be a little coarser than the setting for a traditional coffee maker.
- Pour your coffee grinds into the French press. You should use approximately two level tablespoons for every six ounces of water.
- Boil water on your stove, then take the water off the heat for about five minutes. This will allow the water to get to the proper temperature (195-205 degrees).
- Pour enough water over the beans to wet them, and allow them to expand a little.
- Pour the rest of the water over the grinds and stir.
- Place the plunger over the press to retain the heat, but don't press it down yet. Let the coffee brew for three or four minutes (or longer once you figure out how strong you like your coffee in a French press).
- Push the plunger down slowly. This pushes the grinds to the bottom (under the plunger) and the brewed coffee to the top.
- Pour your coffee.
- Add sugar and/or cream to taste, and enjoy!
- Be sure to clean your French press completely after each use!
*NOTE: If you do use a traditional coffee maker, be sure it's one that boils the water before pouring it over the coffee grinds or a drip-style coffee maker. If the water isn't hot enough when it's poured over the grinds, your coffee will be bitter instead of rich and delicious. (Don't say I didn't warn you!)
17 July 2008
16 July 2008
15 July 2008
14 July 2008
13 July 2008
07 July 2008
When one puts animals in books, one should include a wide spectrum of emotions not just good/bad animals. Like us, they are complex living beings with a wide variety of emotions. In short, we are tired of reading about one dimensional animals!!
I'll be expanding on this theme for the Dojo someday, when I manage to wrestle enough time away from the 14,253,862 projects on my plate to update the bloody thing. But let's just do a quick hit-and-run to keep the Hankinator happy, shall we?
I'll leave it to our literary barista to hit this from the non-SF side. I'm just going to say this: if you're writing a mystery novel, please o please do not stick a cat in there contemplating its own awesomeness. Patricia Cornwell did that in one of her incredibly awful non-Scarpetta books, and it was surreal in the very worst way.
She could've at least avoided the Egyptian motif (soooo overdone!) and gone with a feline with severe self-esteem problems.
In fact, you should avoid animal soliloquies entirely, unless sentient animals are a central part of your story.
Now, let's move on to SF. I've noticed a definite tendency among many SF authors to have their animal characters act just like humans. Aside from the occasional reference to four legs and fur, you'd hardly know you're dealing with an animal as a main character. Talk about one-dimensional. They're delicious, nutritious, and act just like humans!
We won't even discuss those authors whose animals, like their people, wear white hats or black hats with nary a shade of gray. Ridiculous. It's obvious that animals, like humans, will be a complex mix of contradictory urges. Take my cat, for one: she has her moments when she's a perfect saint, and days when I think I'm living with the devil incarnate. You've all owned animals that, while usually well-behaved, occasionally give in to their baser impulses and leave you with a house full of chewed-up slippers and gnawed turkeys.
It's bad enough when an author's animals act just like people, but when they act just like cardboard caricatures of people, it gets really bad.
There are a few quick fixes for the urge to write one-dimensional animals.
First off, think of all the pets you've owned. Different personalities, weren't they? Proper little individuals. Write down a list of their traits, and notice how varied they are. The cats are as different from each other as they are from the dogs. Even fish have their unique moments. And horses - ye gods, the horses. Ours had Issues. One suffered from claustrophobia and the other separation anxiety. They had days when they wanted to go out and play and days when they'd do everything in their power not to stir from their stalls.
Second thing to do is research animals. There are some ways in which they're similar to people, but astounding ways in which they're different.
Start with physiology. Their senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch are far different from ours. Get to know how they experience their world. What does yellow look like to a dog? What does it feel like to find your way with your face, as cats do in the dark? Read all you can on the way the perceive the world and how their bodies work, and then try to move inside those bodies. Try to be the animal.
World seems a lot different, doesn't it?
Next, delve into animal psychology. There's a remarkable number of books that will tell you about the mind and society of dogs, cats, birds, horses, lizards, and just about anything else humans can get their hands on. They don't think quite the way we do. Figure out what their mental world's like. That will allow you to do new and interesting things with your stories rather than just telling them from the point of view of humans masquerading as animals.
Study their language. How do they communicate? How would that communication affect their relationships, the way they think? Language is a huge part of who humans are - people who think in different languages see the world differently. Imagine how much different it would be for animals who don't have the human vocal chords and language centers in their brains. They'd have to experience things differently.
But all living things have fundamental similarities. Once you've gotten through figuring out what's drastically different, it's time to move on to what's nearly the same. Almost every animal is going to have the same basic needs: food, water, shelter, sleep, sex, and love. Doubt me on the love part? Why does your cat sometimes deign to give you the time of day? That's right - she loves you because you feed her.
Finally, and most fun, bust the stereotypes. Cats are aloof and uncaring, small gods almost right? Write yourself a clingy, insecure feline in need of constant reassurance. Dogs are unfailingly loyal and friendly? How about a dog that's using that stereotype to grift? Talk about the world's greatest con artist! How about a cat and a dog that team up to fleece the gullible - the cat as the mysterious psychic, the dog as the shill in the audience, leading audience members to suspend their disbelief because he's so friendly and trustworthy? There's a story!
You're welcome to write it. I won't be using it - refer to the 14 million etc. things above.
Right, then. Off you go. And remember to make your animals well-rounded individuals, or Hankinator shall be very upset with you.
02 July 2008
01 July 2008
A lot of the action in The Gatekeeper is set in the year 1347. At that time there was a castle in West Derby, where I was brought up until the age of twelve. We know a castle had been there since very early times because the Doomsday book mentions it in 1086. The reason this is important to me is because the grassy plot in front of my house and the field behind it were part of that castle. Actually my house was outside the defensive walls, on the site of the midden, so I was actually brought up on the site of an old rubbish tip!
The village of West Derby was very important to me. The main square was paved with cobble-stones. I thought this was to make kids crash their bikes when it rained, and it certainly did that. At the side of the square, there was a courthouse and yeoman's house built in the time of Elizabeth the First. There were stocks which had been placed there to punish workers who, after the plague of 1348-51, tried to increase their wages because of the scarcity of labour (contravening the Labourers Statute, 1351). So it was a place of great historic interest but there was more. One of the very narrow old streets in the village had special properties. When I walked along it my footsteps would sound; click, click, click but then they would change to; dump, dump, dump. The ground was hollow in an area that seemed to lead to where the castle had been. I was sure it was an escape passage in case of siege and if I could get into it I'd find gold and weapons – all things of great interest to a schoolboy. I was a bit young to think of damsels in distress and I suppose she wouldn't have waited a thousand years for me to save her, anyway. Also, I came against a very stubborn adversary in the local councillor. He lived near there and wouldn't let me dig a hole in the middle of the road to satisfy my curiosity.
I also roamed around the fields of the vast estate of Lord Derby, the Earl of Sefton. This had been a Royal Hunting Forest in the middle ages and was only a few hundred metres away from my house, over a high sandstone wall. Even though it was trespassing to go in there, it was the most fantastic place to find willows, which grew really the straight new branches that we used as swords or made bows and arrows out of. Many of our games were inspired by Robin Hood and The Crusades.
Sorcery and Such
I'm happy to include time travel in my story because my family is Manx and they're all very superstitious. On the Isle of Man many people still believe in mystical creatures like the Phennodderee, the Bugain and the Fowar. My grandmother wouldn't have electricity in her cottage. She said it was the work of the Devil. She also swept the floors from the walls in, so as not to brush good luck out. At night the back door was left slightly open, to let the Phennodderee in if they were weary or cold. And in case they were hungry, she left out saucers of bread and milk. It was years later I put two and two together and realised that's why even the stray cats around there looked well fed.
A History of Story Telling
My father was a great story teller and I've tried to follow his example. I've always tried to make up short stories for my kids. At one stage my wife told me I should write a book of them and try to get it published. As you know, men always do what their wives tell them to do, so after thirty-odd years that is what I'm doing now. But I'm sticking to adventure, not the scary stories my father sometimes told.
I remember one of them was about a Bugain, the nastiest of the Manx mystical creatures. You see, there were three kids in my family and I was the youngest. I had to go to bed first and my bedroom was built over the garage, away from the rest of the family. There were none of those modern lights which you can switch on at the bottom of the stairs and off at the top so I had to go to bed in the dark.
After the story that night I was petrified. I crept up the stairs with my knees shaking. It was when I'd nearly reached my room I froze. I had heard the Bugain. It was shuffling along the corridor higher up, grunting at times and breathing heavily. I was mortified. I knew I was a gonner. I just hoped the end would be swift and painless. But then something happened – something seemed to go snap inside my brain. I started to get angry. I was determined not to go without a fight. I'd show that monster he'd taken on more than he'd bargained for when he picked on me.
I crept up the extra stairs and flattened myself against the wall around the corner from where my pursuer was slowly creeping toward me. My heart was thumping wildly as I prepared for the end. I waited until the creaking of the floorboards was right there then I threw myself around the corner with a bloodcurdling yell.
It was my grandmother. She had been heading toward the toilet ... carrying a full chamber-pot. Well, you guessed it. I was blamed for the wee on the ceiling. I was blamed for the wee dribbling down the walls. But she wasn't blamed for acting like a ghost and frightening me! So at an early age I learnt that life was not particularly fair. And in The Gatekeeper, Jenny, the heroine, soon came to the same conclusion.
Any YA historical fantasy writer who has not had the fortune to be brought up in an interesting location, come from a crazy family or been scared to death by his father must rely on research. The internet is so important and I also read old books or reprints of old correspondence such as the Pastern letters. My recent find is Wynkin de Worde's training guide for young lords written in the late thirteen hundreds. One of many instructions he tells them is:
'Don't spit over the tablecloth or on it
Definitely don't blow your nose on the tablecloth.
Don't spit in the water brought for washing your hands.
Don't spit a long way away from you but when you do spit, spit from behind your hand neatly near your chair.'
So large numbers of guests at a normal meal would very politely spit all over the floor – gross!
Writing for YA
When I have an idea for a story to write, it is always the sort of story I'd be interested in reading myself. I don't dumb down the language even though I don't include swearing but that is because I don't like swearing in real life. I don't include too much gore but I do portray the horrors of life as they were in those days. I use as many really interesting facts as I can.
I like fast moving stories and don't spend time telling my readers the sky is blue and the trees are green. I think they should know that. I read my work over scores of times. I read it out loud (although my dog is really worried by this and looks at me as though I've finally gone round the bend).
I also use footnotes for those facts that are not often known these days but need to be understood for the sake of the story. Many would be ugly information dumps if I put them in the text and I don't like looking facts up in the back of the book myself, so I don't inflict it on others.
Some of my scenes would have been considered a bit risqué when I was a kid but things have changed and I think it is a normal part of today's society.
Richard Blackburn, author of The Gatekeeper:
I was born in England during the Second World War. I grew up in a house built on the site of a 12th Century castle in a village that was important when Liverpool was just a few fishermen's cottages. My family was Manx, full of superstition and stories of the Phennodderee, Fowar, Bougain and Mermaid.
I emigrated to Australia at the age of twenty and worked at first as a bookkeeper on a cattle station to the north of the Simpson Dessert. I then moved to Darwin and worked as an internal auditor in the Health Department, travelling extensively around the Northern Territory. Finding the 'Top End' lacking in adventure, I moved on to Papua New Guinea where I worked for thirteen years among the primitive people, as a District Officer. This involved being a police officer, magistrate and senior Australian representative in the area he was responsible for.
Since returning to Australia I have gained an Associate Diploma in Management, an Advanced Diploma in Administration and a Degree in Information Technology and have worked for a number of Government Departments. I completed two TAFE short courses in creative writing to make sure my style had not been crushed completely by many years of writing in the public service.
My interests outside work are now restricted to my family and scuba diving. I have had to give up parachuting and long-distance running due to a back injury and now have to be content to leave the real excitement to characters in his stories.
I have had The Gatekeeper published in Australia by Zeus Publications and the sequel, Rudigor's Revenge, will be available later this year. Next year both stories will be published by Lachesis, Canada, probably as one book. I am presently writing the third book in the series and I have submitted another four books to my Canadian Publisher. These are aimed at a younger YA audience.