Archive for June, 2013

Outline of a novel

The Miner’s Wife


 Glory is on a downward spiral to insanity. She is a mining wife in a mining town in the middle of nowhere, on a road fallen off the edge of the Nullabor, where dead men tell no lies.

Glory’s husband, Jackson Reddy, has died in a mining accident, a hero’s death so they say, and his secrets have died with him. Only Glory knows the truth, Glory and two other people, Walt and Old Timer, who were with Jackson when he died. And neither man is saying.

Glory’s son, JJ, is home to sort out his father’s affairs. Her daughter, Araluen, works at the Railway Hotel as a skimpy and she is saving for a one-way ticket out of town (so it would appear).

But there are no secrets in mining towns. Dead men on salt-lakes whisper, and rumours grow into truths. Greed talks.

JJ’s friend, Shiner, is greedy; greedy for wealth, greedy for respectability, but most of all he is greedy for his father’s love.

Walt is Shiner’s father. He was also Jackson Reddy’s best mate. Now, he is Glory’s lover. Walt keeps to himself pretty much. Until Old Timer turns up back in town.

And they all must deal with his return. Because Old Timer owns the Rosie O’Grady, worked out gold mine, lying idle on the edge of the salt-lakes. The Rosie O’Grady, the reason Jackson Reddy is dead, and the reason Old Timer is back.

Someone is working the Rosie. Or someones’. Shiner, a miner’s son with ti-tree farms in Port Stephens and a wife with fancy tastes, and Araluen, a young girl with dreams of being a Geologist, but stereotyped by her looks. Together, they work the Rosie, and nobody knows, until Old Timer returns to town.

Glory and the three men who love her….one is dead, one is silent, and the third is back to collect what he left behind.  When Jackson Reddy died down the mine, it wasn’t a hero’s death. He and his mates had been stealing gold. Jackson, Walt and Old Timer, three mates, with greed in their hearts and lust in their eyes, and Glory, the woman who inspires them all. Then betrays them, one by one. Until all that is left of the three men’s friendship is hatred and lies and dead men watching over the salt-lakes with tears in their eyes.

But there is a new generation involved now and they have no intention of giving up what is theirs because of the tangled lives of their parents. Shiner and Araluen want the Rosie O’Grady and they intend to take her. And JJ is forced to join them because it is his inheritance they are stealing back.

It takes the death of Old Timer to expose the damage of generations, of corruption and greed in a town made famous for its gold. A cache of gold hidden in Walt’s fence posts for years is revealed, the gold good men died for. Shiner and Araluen claim ownership of the Rosie O’Grady and make their business legal.

And Glory? Mining wife, mother, woman in a town made for men, her dreams are scattered on the salt-lakes amongst dead men’s bones.

Mining towns do that to a woman.

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The cover of an ebook needs to stand out from the crowd. What do you think of the cover of FORBIDDEN…or do I wanna know??

Forbidden Cover Design 5

Of course I will enter the cover into the monthly design competition run by The Book Designer…here’s the link to last month’s winners:


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It reads like a bad Catherine Cookson novel:

You are one of the most unpleasant persons I have ever met. Your behaviours…demonstrate someone who is vindictive, vengeful, oppositional, a bully, abusive, immature, foul mouthed, selfish, destructive, vicious, pathetic, weak, manipulative, malicious, greedy and someone who totally lacks any sort of ownership for their actions or behaviours.

And so begins my memoir of my divorce. The quote is from my ex and he doesn’t like me anymore. It is part of a two page email listing my sins, with evidence, and he signs it with ‘regards’.

My question is, does the truth have any place in fiction? I’ve tried my hand at romance writing, three Mills & Boon rejections twenty years ago, with the final rejection boasting a single pencilled word in the margin, ‘almost!’. I still have the editor’s name and I will track her down one day and send her an excerpt from my newest work,’ The Timber Cutter’s Daughter’, set on the Atherton Tablelands of Far North Queensland in the early 19oos, not a romance so much as a saga.

sunrise in a mining town

I have another novel, written as part of my Phd in Creative Arts & Communications, called of all things, ‘Bringing Down The Moon’, which I’ve now changed to ‘The Miner’s Wife’ (did I mention my ex was a miner?). My novel, a literary tome of a thing, is about the slow descent into craziness of Glory, wife, mother, lover and woman living out her revenge in a town on the Nullabor.

She stands out at first, blond, pretty and fresh, setting out from the city, full of hope, wanderlust, and adventure. She paints her name on a rock at the Dundas in capitals then opts for two kids and a good pay-packet in Norseman. Welcome to Norseman, middle of nowhere. It could have been anywhere. A good wife will have the children bathed and sitting quietly when daddy gets home. Greet him with a smile. A shift-work smile. Norseman, a good place to bring up the kids. It’s taken a generation but now she’s a local. Safe, if you don’t count the border hoppers, east to west, west to east, keeping the coppers busy. No cappuccinos though, except at the Rainbow. Sans ambience, the Rainbow, but it no longer matters.

Now her dress is a washed out blue to match her eyes. She, who had once had an inner glow, is as faded as her dress, like the trucks covered in a fine white layer of mullock dust.

Life does that to a woman in a mining town.

The truth, as we know, is stranger than fiction, but do we really want to read about it? I’m not sure I even want to write about it. Maybe I’ll stick with romance novels…

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I was reading two articles this morning, ‘Faster, Authors, Faster!’ on Jane Friedman’s Writing On The Ether, and ‘The Sirens of Technology: Seven Ways Our Gadgets Drive Us Nuts’ by Richard Louv of slow-down-and-walk-in-the-woods fame, and I can’t help thinking I’m not keeping up. I don’t write fast enough, I don’t read enough, I’m lousy (but getting marginally better) at social media, and I’m frozen into immobility by my fears that I’m never going to get everything done that needs to be done in order for me to write, build a platform, publish my work, sell, sell, sell, whilst all the time writing some more, and failing some more to keep up with all the stuff I’m failing to keep up with…let alone walk in the woods.

And my WIP is not getting the attention it deserves because I’m too busy worrying about all the trappings of being a writer, and not doing enough, you guessed it, writing…

Timber Cutter's Daughter

But my daughter does. She keeps a blog, jabberwockyjournal.com, writes regularly, and reads all the time. How does she do it? She ignores all the stuff that doesn’t matter to her. She doesn’t know that she’s supposed to be writing so many novels a year (she’s too busy writing novels). She doesn’t have a facebook page and worries not a whit about promoting her work (she writes because she loves to write). She keeps up with everything she chooses to keep up with. She writes because she loves write.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere…

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Don’t just write what you see…write how you see and why you see the way you do. The telling is in the details and there is no detail more important than why…



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