Writers on Rafts

Being an expatriate Brisbanite, I have watched the events of the last couple of weeks unfold with both horror and pride.  Unspeakable loss and unbreakable spirits.  Like many, I wish I was close enough to pick up a shovel to join the army of volunteers...but I'm not.  The QWC (Queensland Writers' Centre) has however provided a way  to make a contribution beyond a direct donaton to the Premier's Appeal.  Writers on Rafts is gathering donations of  signed books and other services from writers, agents and publishers across the nation, to be auctioned for the benefit of Queensland's flood victims.  You can keep posted here  A brilliant cause and the opportunity to pick up bits and pieces from your favourite writers, publishing houses etc.



Brisbane is my hometown.  I grew up in a house very close to the banks of the Brisbane River.  The river always seemed sleepy and gentle then.  I'm thinking of home, of my homestate and of all the people there.  


Season's Greetings

Happy New Year everyone.

To all the readers and booksellers out there - thank you for your support in 2010.  It is very valued.

To all  the writers out there - Good Luck.  May 2011 be the year your manuscript finds a home.

Resolution:  Update Website more regularly.




Sisters of Crime - wrap up

'Twas a dark and stormy night...the wind howled inconsolably as the rain fell in near horizontal blasts, and the Sisters in Crime gathered at the Bells Hotel.  Angela Savage arrived late.  Dark hair, blood red scarf, taller than me.  She looked flustered...a little guilty. 

"You're late, Savage."  I waited for her story as I wondered if her name was more than just a way to get her attention.

"Power failure," she replied.  "Stuck on a tram."  An alibi of sorts, I suppose...hard to witnesses. 

Later still was P.M. Newton... assured, clearly formidable, much taller than me.  She came in battered, claiming to have fallen foul of a taxi door.  Interesting. The dried blood and stitches on her brow a vague collaboration, and yet, I was uneasy.

Apparently the transport system was on the offensive, imprisoning and attacking writers.  Coincidence...perhaps...but my gut told me otherwise.

Carmel Shute sat on my left...also living up to her name...but with a camera.  I noted that she was taller than me.  I let her gather her evidence...the photos could be useful when the body turned up.

Across the table was Robin Bowles, sassy, blue fingernails and a set of knuckle-dusters she called rings.  Also taller than me. The queen of True Crime...she'd learned a few tricks.

Dangerous place for a girl called Gentill...but body.

Also at the table, Vikki Petraitis...a school marm with an edge.  Could be volatile. Not suprisingly she was taller than me.

I'd brought my sister.  "Watch my back I said...but take photos of the front."  She's a good egg, my sister, reliable, discreet.  But cold instinct told me that we might well be out of our depth.  She's not much taller than me.

Dinner arrived, mountainous proportions.  I checked the ladies' room.  Still no body.

We moved upstairs and had it out...the conversation was thick with murder and mirth.  I was watchful.  I took note of everything.  They were all taller than me. 

The evening drew to a  close and the Sisters of Crime disappeared into the night.  I was bewildered...where the hell was that body?! 

About to make our own getaway, we made for the door, but Lindy Cameron barred our way.  Smooth manner, short hair, somewhat taller than me...there was something clandestine about her.  She made us an offer.  "We'll take you home...get into the bus."  She wouldn't let us refuse.  The door of the bus slammed shut like a coffin lid.  No witnesses other than the Sisters in Crime from the Mornington Penninsula.

"The GPS has been trying to kill me for a while," Cameron claimed, as we pulled away from the relative safety of the Hotel. 

So, she was trying to cast herself  as a victim, was she?  I laughed ironically.  A ploy...a red herring!  I was on to her.  Someone began to sing "The Wheels on the Bus"...Their plan was obvious...our screams would be drowned out by the musical account of the bus' journey through town. I got ready to go down fighting...and then...we were home.

My sister and I waved them away into the darkness.

"They were lovely," she said. 

I nodded grimly, as clarity finally slapped me in the face.  "Good Lord... I'm short."


PS:  For a more sensible account of this terrific evening have a look at either Angela Savage's or P.M. Newton's blog.




Off to Melbourne for dinner with the Sisters in Crime at Bells Hotel in St Kilda on Friday.  Will be appearing with fellow writers Angela Savage (Behind the Night Bazaar, The Half-Child) and P.M. Newton (The Old School) on a panel that evening, to discuss crime fiction etc with Robin Bowles to keep us in line.  I'm really looking forward to the discussion.  Both Angela and Pam write very different kinds of crime fiction and between us we represent a range from "sort of" cosy to hard-boiled police procedural.  I've read all their published work and am honoured to be included their company.  On Friday morning I'll have the privilege of addressing the students of Glen Waverly Secondary College and that afternoon, will be at  Dymocks in Glen Waverly signing books (or making coffee if no-one turns up).

NB: Venue for the Sisters in Crime event Bell’s Hotel (upstairs), 157 Moray Street, South Melbourne (cnr Coventry). Mel 57, G1. Try 112, 55 or St Kilda Road trams. Free on-street parking after 6pm. No need to book for the event or dinner (downstairs) from 6.30pm. $5 (members)/$10 (non-members). Men — or ‘Brothers-in-law’ — welcome.