Category Archives: publishing

Darwin: Jabiru and Kakadu

Before we left for the Crocodile Hotel at Jabiru Paul took us to Cousins Lookout and Waterhole. It was not what I was expecting. Lookouts for me meant going to the top of a hill (one tree lookout and tower in the Dandenong ranges comes to mind) and seeing vistas of rolling wooded hills and deep valleys. This lookout was a grassy slope overlooking a billabong.

Cousins Lookout was marked ‘closed’ on the roadworks board at the main turnoff but when we reached the actual road there was nothing to be seen.  We decided to take a chance. I’m so glad we did.

       

In the early morning light wallabies were everywhere.  I kept seeing large termite mounds and just had to take a picture. They reminded me of when we first saw them in 1973. They had not changed and were familiar to us.

      

We had a resident geko lizard on our ceiling at Mary River Retreat. At night he actively chased bugs and sometimes he came half way down our walls. We loved watching him. I was reminded of the gekos in Malaya. There we always said,  for the first year we sit and watch them. The second year they watch us and the third year we are up there with them. To Alan the ceiling of the unit reminded him of our truck canopy all those years ago.

 

We arrived back to our unit only to find a family consisting of grandma, grandpa, mum and dad, and four boys had arrived for the Easter holiday. Mum was not happy. she said loudly that the grandparent’s unit was better. “You must have paid more,” was her comment. “Ours smells and has lino on the floor. I’m going to see if I can change.” The children were all scrapping and yelling to go into the pool to escape Mum’s mood and to get away from the heat.

I put on my headphones (a hospital gift from Marian) to drown out the noise and wrote with my apple pencil in my ipad (a gift from Paul last birthday). Fabulous. I could scrawl away in my ipad and not hear a thing. Tomorrow is Good Friday. Tent pegs are hammering, voices calling, the golf buggy hurtles by filled with an adult driving and laughing children and the water spray is tut, tut, tutting. They are happy campers preparing for the Easter holiday but the peace without the headphones has gone. Tomorrow we are happy to move on to Kakadu.

To help me understand more about our destination I searched for information about Kakadu on the internet. This is what I discovered.

Kakadu 2431.jpg

The name Kakadu may come from the mispronunciation of Gaagudju, which is the name of an Aboriginal language spoken in the northern part of the park. This name may derive from the Indonesian word kakatuwah, (via Dutch kaketoe and German Kakadu) subsequently Anglicised as “cockatoo”.

Kakadu National Park is a protected area in the Northern Territory of Australia, 171 km southeast of Darwin. The park is located within the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory. It covers an area of 19,804 kms (7,646 sq mi), extending nearly 200 kilometres from north to south and over 100 kilometres from east to west. It is the size of Slovenia, about one-third the size of Tasmania, and nearly half the size of Switzerland. The Ranger Uranium Mine, one of the most productive uranium mines in the world, is surrounded by the park.

The Aboriginal traditional owners of the park are descendants of various clan groups from the Kakadu area and have longstanding affiliations with this country. Their lifestyle has changed in recent years, but their traditional customs and beliefs remain very important. About 500 Aboriginal people live in the park, many of them are traditional owners. All of Kakadu is jointly managed by Aboriginal traditional owners and the Director of National Parks with assistance from Parks Australia, a division of Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Energy. Park Management is directed by the Kakadu Board of Management.

Our accommodation at The Crocodile Hotel was superb. Our unit was large, comfortable and right beside their swimming pool. The dining room was close by. We had several meals at the hotel restaurant. On the first occasion I had barramundi fish and it was superb, as were all our meals. The lovely young waitress was a new French backpacker who had just arrived and was learning the language and the craft. Our room was just behind the head of the crocodile hotel in the picture below. You can just see the shade sail over the swimming pool. In the heat it was lovely to go for a swim in cool water before showering and heading off for dinner.

Kakadu is indigenous owned and we were very aware of and respectful of their culture. Paul and Marian took us to view the rock paintings at Ubirr, a group of rock outcrops in the northeast of the park, on the edge of the Nadab floodplain. There are several large rock overhangs that would have provided excellent shelter to Aboriginal people over thousands of years. Ubirr’s proximity to the East Alligator River and Nadab floodplains means that food would have been abundant and this is reflected in much of the rock art there. Animals depicted in the main gallery include barramundicatfishmulletgoannasnake-necked turtlepig-nosed turtlerock-haunting ringtail possum and wallaby,

   

Paul pushed Alan in his wheelchair in 35 Celsius heat and made sure Alan looked at as many paintings as possible. Paul also ensured Alan saw a remarkable variety and concentration of wildlife by stopping at every bird-hide and shelter along the way. He was so professional in the way he unfolded the wheelchair from the back of the four wheel drive car and had it ready for Alan to use.

Burrunguy, formally called Nourlangie Rock, is located in an outlying formation of the Arnhem Land Escarpment. There are a number of shelters in amongst this large outcrop linked by paths and stairways. The shelters contain several impressive paintings that deal with creation ancestors. Some of the stories connected to these artworks are known only to certain Aboriginal people and remain secret. Anbangbang Billabong lies in the shadow of Nourlangie Rock and is inhabited by a wide range of wildlife which would have sustained traditional Aboriginal people well. We had many picnic lunches and loved the peace of this place. I took many photos of information to read at my leisure.

  Photo of Anbangbang Billabong

From the Jabiru airport we took a kakadu Air one hour scenic flight. I wanted to get an idea of the size and shape of the land and you can only do that from a small plane or helicopter.

 

The vast expanse of Kakadu lay spread out before us.  I saw the flood plains below and the high escarpment rising out of the mist. It would have provided shelter for centuries from violent storms, flood plains and billabongs during the wet season. I imagined aboriginal people sheltered by rock cliffs towering above. Imagined them waiting patiently for the monsoon to pass and the dry season to begin. They would huddle around fires, gossiping, story telling and adding to the art work. An abundance of wildlife kept them healthy and alert. The commentary through the headphones was informative and fascinating. There was so much to learn and to see and I was spell bound by the sheer size of the area.

Jim Jim falls were fascinating from the plane and we were given every opportunity to see them. I’d noticed on one of our car trips that the road to them was still closed. We decided not to try to get through this time. However  viewing them from the air was amazing.

     

How generous of the indigenous people, now that they own most of Kakadu to welcome all people to their country. However, certain areas are closed to everyone, indigenous people included, because that area is the resting place of the Rainbow Serpent and she must not be disturbed.

 

45 years later

Forty-five years. Turn around three times and those years have gone in the blink of an eye. 

Yet so much has changed. We have changed from the wide eyed uninformed thirty year old Melbournians with two young boys optimistically starting out on what we called The Trip of a Lifetime. Now, our over fifties son and wife are taking two mouldy oldies (by that I mean late seventies and early eighties) back to revisit Darwin. What will have changed? How will life have changed, apart from the wheelchair and extra luggage?

In 1973 we traveled in an old F100 truck with a pick up camper in the tray from Melbourne, via Ayers Rock, to Katherine and Darwin and back. It was the year before Cyclone Tracy wrecked havoc on the top end. However, we saw the devastation on the television and were aghast at the destruction of lives and property. Victorians were not aware of the impact WWII had on Darwin and we knew nothing about the indigenous population. We were amazed to discover so many different tribes, each with their own language and culture who didn’t understand English speaking Southerners from Victoria.

As individuals we, and the Top End have changed. Before every large event in Melbourne is a recognition of indigenous people and a Welcome to country ceremony. We have said Sorry for past transgressions and indigenous people now vote and are counted in the census. Kakadu has been returned to it’s indigenous owners and tourism is tolerated in certain sections of Kakadu . The Crocodile Hotel at Jabiru is indigenous owned.

Forty-five years later we traveled in style, staying first at the Palm City Resort. It was hot, over 30 Celsius hot, and I loved our villa and personal spa hidden amongst tropical vegetation.

 

Relaxing with a glass of champagne I wondered about this new city, seen so briefly. It appeared lush, tropical, multinational and laid back. Darwin city reminded me of a teenager. I felt it was still growing up and finding its way. It seemed to me to be like the Gold Coast used to be before the high rise buildings came to town. Darwin, to me was like a large country town, accepting diversity and welcoming.

Next week: what the Hop on Hop off bus reveals. 

November Event: Sip and Savour Panel Discussion

Sip and Savour Historical Flavour evening with the HNSA (Historical Novel Society Australasia)

 

Nov 8, 6:30 PM · Mail Exchange Hotel · Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
HNSA Melbourne Chapter presents Glenice Whitting, Lynne Leonhardt & Alli Sinclair in conversation with Robert Gott.

The featured authors will discuss stories of immigration – of migration to Australia and connections to the old country.

Central to memories of the old country is feasting – sharing of food and drink evocative of the old country. In that vein, the panel discussion will be accompanied by beverage pairings – from Australia, Germany and Italy.

Tickets ($25.00) can be purchased from Trybooking: https://www.trybooking.com/VRJZ

Ticket price includes wine/beverage sample and cocktail supper. Venue: Mail Exchange Hotel: Function Rooms 688 Bourke St, Melbourne. (corner of Bourke Street and Spencer Street, opposite Southern Cross Station). Enter via the Bourke Street entrance, down the escalators, through the Bistro. Function rooms face onto Bourke Street.

Come and join us and other writers at this event.

I’m taking the train to Southern Cross Station so I can enjoy tasting the wines from such different countries

Bios

Glenice Whitting is an Australian author and playwright and has published two novels. She was a hairdresser for many years before she became a mature age student and was awarded entry into the Golden Key International Honour Society for academic excellence. Her Australian/German novel, Pickle to Pie, was short -listed for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. It co-won the Ilura Press International Fiction Quest and was launched during The Age Melbourne Writers’ Festival. The old German scripture cake recipe is in the back of  Pickle to Pie

Lynne Leonhardt grew up on an orchard in Donnybrook, Western Australia. As a young adult, she worked in London and travelled extensively. She studied music and English literature at the University of Western Australia while bringing up four children, and later completed a PhD in Creative Writing at Edith Cowan University. Her first novel, Finding Jasper (Margaret River Press, 2012) was longlisted for the 2013 Dobbie Award. Her second novel, is scheduled for publication early 2019 .

Alli Sinclair is Australian born but spent her early adult years travelling the globe: scaling mountains in Nepal, Argentina, and Peru, rafting the Ganges, and riding a camel in the Sahara. Alli’s books explore history, culture, love and grief, and relationships between family, friends and lovers. She captures the romance and thrill of discovering old and new worlds, and loves taking readers on a journey of discovery. Alli now lives in Geelong, Victoria.

Robert Gott was born in the small Queensland town of Maryborough in 1957, and lives in Melbourne. He has published many books for children, and is also the creator of the newspaper cartoon The Adventures of Naked Man. He is also the author of the William Power series of crime-caper novels set in 1940s Australia: Good Murder, A Thing of Blood, and Amongst the Dead.

About HNSA

HNSA Melbourne Chapter is a local chapter of the Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA).

The Melbourne chapter meets for monthly lunches and supports an annual panel event series. HNSA Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HNSAustralasia/ HNSA Melbourne Chapter Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/242775092782782/?ref=br_rs

28: A Memorable Book By Christopher Lappas

A good book entertains. A great book makes you thinks about life and all its complexities. 28 by Christopher Lappas is a great book.

I took this book into hospital and read it after my knee replacement. I found myself totally involved with the characters.

It’s not an easy book to read, however, you become totally involved with the different relationships between 28, Scribe, his son, Andre and Scribe’s ex wife. However, I became so involved that time past quickly. Reading 28 meant that I wasn’t worrying about anything. I had lost myself in the story. As the story progressed, very little was as it first seemed and I found myself asking challenging questions as Scribe and 28  both struggle with demons in their past. I questioning again and again all the uncertainty of life and living, of destiny, motivation, and consequence.

The principle setting for the novel is in a hospital. The narrator is given the name Scribe by 28. She is a woman with a number for a name and their first meeting leaves him in confusion and disillusioned.

28 is the central character and Scribe is drawn into her stories (are they about herself or someone else)? She is an enigma to herself, to Scribe and to the reader. We want to know more about her. Why is she in a room on the lowest level of the hospital and Andre is lying in a coma in a higher room. Why is Scribe so fascinated by her stories? This book is definitely a multilayered work of art.

I was fascinated by the reoccurring theme of 28. It is everywhere in and around the book. The title, the number of chapters, the floors of the building, beads, almonds and 28 herself. Is it a coincidence that Ilura Press have the paperback selling for $28?

On the publishers website www.ilurapress.com, Christopher Lappas talks about the process of writing this book. I found his comments relevant and insightful.

This courageous, and memorable novel entertains with  a story of relationships and allows us to experience the characters personal growth and their final belief in themselves. I was left with a sense that 28’s life goes on past the last chapter . I found the end both surprising and elegantly clever.

I can’t wait to read Christopher Lappas’ next book and hopefully I will not be in hospital but home to enjoy it to the full.

2017: 28 by Christopher Lappas ilura Press

ISBN: 9781 9213 25304 

Aus$28.00

 

And the Winner is…

Helen Luxton has won a copy of Something Missing and Pickle to Pie. Her name was drawn after my workshop last week on Life/Memoir Writing at the Hastings Library.

Over twenty writers attended, all with fascinating projects. On a table, near the books for sale, was a list. It stated that if you subscribe to my website http://www.glenicewhitting.com you had a chance of winning a copy of my latest novel, Something Missing. I felt that a copy of Pickle to Pie would also be helpful to Helen.

Life Writing

Life writing is considered an all-encompassing term. This genre involves the recording of personal memories and experiences. Life writing includes not just biography and autobiography but also Memoir

Autobiography is ‘I’ writing (writing the self)_It is ‘mystory

Memoir (from the Latin, meaning memory) is a subclass of autobiography. It is an autobiographical account of someone’s life. However, the focus is on the events a person remembers rather than the self. (The writer remembers passages of dialogue from the past)_it is ‘ourstory’

Biography is writing her/his story_it is ‘theirstory‘.

Below is an outline about what we managed to cover in a brief time. 

Life Writing/Memoir Workshop 31/7/2018

Hastings library

Every family has fascinating stories and even secrets. The stories of ordinary family life must be told. Finding the best way to tell these stories can be a fascinating journey and the chance to create a valuable resource for your descendants. However we all want to write an account that is memorable, engaging and not boring.

What about the family’s murky secrets? Don’t shy away from these stories. They can be healing to you  and helpful to the reader as they provide the opportunity of insights: such as a marriage taking its last breaths, the death of a child etc

How can we do justice to intriguing ancestors?

Should my story turn into fiction? How much dramatising is acceptable?

Who is my reader? What kind of publication is appropriate?

 Self publishing where I pay for everything myself?

Self publishing: using Busybird or Lou Lou.  (you still pay)

 Small press publisher. They pay, but what about Marketing?

 Traditional Big Publisher: such a Pan McMillan etc. Pitch it to them on Fridays and Mondays.

Do I need a professional editor? —Yes, Yes, Yes:

I had an American editor to check for any mistakes for the American section of Something Missing. She said a campervan was called a pullalong camper. An English editor provided by MadeGlobal Publishing asked What is a Doona? I changed it to continental quilt.

Structure: Make a W.A.I.N  (Where Am I Now?  —

Write the first draft without any thought. Knock that writing citic off your shoulder: lose control. Forget about grammar, spelling and being nice and polite.

Take Risks 

 Free writing:  Don’t stop writing for at least 15 mins. Write anything that comes into your head. Get messy, and leave it for the adult writer to clean up later when revising your book.

Join a Writer’s Group & the Victorian Writers in the Wheelers Centre in Melbourne

Read everything you can lay your hands on. Hazel Edward’s has written a very good book titled ‘Non Boring’ Family History’. This is a practical guide for those wanting to shape their family research into a readable family history.

Happy Writing and have FUN

Happy 2018

I love starting a fresh, clean New Year. I always have a brand new completely empty notebook ready to add my hopes, dreams and New Year resolutions.

This year I’m going to exercise more, eat less, watch my weight doesn’t get out of control and finish that third book. Fingers crossed etc etc.

Looking back at last year’s journal I find that what I’ve written is a more realistic jotting down of what actually happens. It can be nothing like what I’d hoped and dreamed but on the first day of this amazing brand new year I am totally optimistic and everything seems possible.

I’m teaching Memoir Writing again this year and will thoroughly enjoy being with a group focused on writing their stories.

I’d like to thank everyone that has touched my life in a positive way last year for all your kindness and support. You mean the world to me.

May 2018 be filled with happiness, good health, good will and love for you and your loved ones

Magical Moments: Part Two

Another Magical moment was our last meeting of the Memoir Writing Group at Godfrey Street Community House. Most of us are writing life stories but some are using the Memoir genre to tell their tales. I’m delighted to say that we have bonded into a group that welcomes others and give excellent feedback on the writing in progress. Most of us continue our stories during our 15 mins splurge (or stream of consciousness writing). I can’t wait to start 2018 but we all have a list of inspirational quotes and exercises to keep us writing over the holidays.

Last but not least was the Swinburne University Alumni Christmas afternoon tea. Beautifully presented with a Charleston Theme glitz and glitter. I had a great time catching up with Wendy and Peter Dunn, Breda and Alfred. We sat around a small table decorated with tall feathers and were waited on hand and foot. The afternoon tea was superb consisting of ribbon sandwiches, beautiful cheeses and tiny fancy cakes plus an unlimited supply of wine, soft drink, tea and coffee.

Christmas is a magical time of catching up with family and friends.                   May your Christmas be filled with happiness, peace and love.  

  

Magical Moments: Part One

It was a Magical Moment when I heard that Pickle to Pie is being republishing by Ilura Press on Amazon.com and they will have it as a print on demand book. It will be available in this form from their website and at bookdepository.com

My second book Something Missing is available at Fishpond.com.au with free delivery

                               

It was indeed a Magical Moment when Chloe Trindall from the Godfrey street Memoir Writing Group had a short story published in the Women Who Write Melbourne anthology A New Beginning

Women Who Write, Melbourne is a supportive networking group for Melbourne women writers. They are open to writers of all ages, levels of experience and all genres.
The Facebook page is for members to engage with one another, keep up to date with what’s happening in the group and the writing community.
Every month they hold meetings in the Melbourne CBD and post details on their  Facebook page as well as any additional events they organise.

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I loved reading the excellent short stories by very talented authors. There is something for everyone in this anthology

The day of the book launch was portrayed as having the worst, most violent weather ever imagined and as I donned my ski jacket and armed myself with a scarf and brolly I wondered if I was crazy to catch the train and tram to Lu Lu’s cafe and gallery in North Melbourne for this book launch. But I was determined to go come hell or high water.

  

We had a wonderful time listening to extracts of prose and poetry. Unfortunately, because of the weather we all had to cram into the cafe section instead of being outside in one of the best courtyards in Melbourne

Why don’t you join this amazing group of writers on Facebook?

Twitter/Instagram @womenwritemelb

On Sunday it was the Christmas gathering of the Hysterical Melbourne Historical Writers

We met at the Vic restaurant under the spire of the Arts Centre. It was great to be able to swap stories and publishing experiences. Many thanks must go to Celia for organising these get-togethers.

Walking over the bridge near the Hamer Hall I was delighted to see the Christmas Tree in Federation Square.

Hamer Hall was also decorated in festive attire.

Godfrey Street Community House also had a Christmas get-together to thank Carol for years of tireless service. We will miss her so much but know it is time for her to be able to do the many things she wants to do. Many thanks Carol for all your kindness and support

Christmas is always a busy time spent catching up with family and friends and I love every minute of this silly season.

Writing Awards: Fingers Crossed

MadeGlobal Publishing entered Something Missing into the Nita B Kibble Award and I’ve entered the novel into the International Book Award. Now if only all the planets would align…Fingers crossed.

According to A Dictionary of Superstitions by Oxford University Press, to cross my fingers will prevent bad luck and I may therefore get what my heart desires.

A Dictionary of Superstitions

Nita B Kibble Literary Award

Since the inception of the Kibble Literary Awards many Australian women writers have received prizes, each benefiting from Nita Dobbie’s foresight and vision. Perpetual Trustees have the responsibility to maintain the Trust into perpetuity. To ensure female authors continue to benefit from the prize, the awards are now offered on a biennial basis, and the next to be awarded in 2018. Works published after 4th December 2015 are eligible to apply. Something Missing was launched at Swinburne University on the 11th December 2015.

MadeGlobal sent four books and I had to supply proof of citizenship (birth certificate/passport) with the two cover letters and the completed application form.  I feel very positive about this one. I’m definitely an Australian author and this book is about two countries (Australia and America) two women and a life altering pen-friendship.

The International Book Awards

Sponsored by American Book Fest

Now celebrating the 9th annual award’s program, winning a 2018 International Book Award will, according to the blurb, give my book added “prestige, honor and tells prospective book buyers, librarians and media professionals to take the book seriously!”

If only :>).  File:Hands-Fingers-Crossed.jpg

For this award I needed to send a copy of Something Missing, an entry fee (larger than expected because of the exchange rate ), a completed entry form, Promotional material (photos of myself and the cover of Something Missing, blurb, book tour questions and replies and a cover letter) With a bit of luck, this  story about two women and the similarities between the Australian Outback and the Arizona Desert, many Australian and American readers will enjoy reading about Maggie and Diane’s drama and friendship.

All I have to do now is sit back and wait, with my fingers crossed until the short lists are announced next year.

I’ve told everyone I have to wear black opal for good luck till then (p 294)

 

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Kindred Souls

What joy it was last Sunday to catch up with kindred souls at the Historical Novel Society of Australasia 2017 conference at Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia.

My time was limited but everyone was kind, considerate and understanding.  To be surrounded by supportive authors made me feel as if I belonged to one big family and I began to reflect on how important they had all become in my life.

 Dr Wendy J Dunn, author of three books, the latest published was Falling Pomegranate Seeds: the duty of daughters has walked beside me for many years and sent so many opportunities my way. Dr Dianne Murray, author of Printed Ink was down from Sydney and I  couldn’t wait to talk to her face to face. Elisabeth Storrs, another prolific author, of the Tales of Ancient Rome, an historical fiction series set in the early Roman Republic and the little known civilization of Etruria, met me off the train and took me to where I could sign in.  And so many others too numerous to mention here. It was a great life-affirming day of fun and companionship with like minded people. I was delighted to be part of this supportive group of talented authors.

As writers we all know how health issues and family can quickly take all our time and energy. We put our lives on hold for a little while until things improve. During that time it is the kindness and support of family and others that carries us through

I thank you all