In 2001, I had a bright idea. I'd combine my love of writing with my software skills and create a writers' website, a place where writers could showcase their work, readers could enjoy a wide range of writing, and publishers could unearth new talent. It took sixteen long years to launch Tall And True!
"Right-o, can everyone hear and see me?" asked Julian, who, as leader of the Five, had scheduled the Zoom meeting. "Yes," his brother Dick beamed back, "splendid stuff!" Cousin George responded with a curt nod of her short-cropped head. "Woof!" "Timmy likes it, too," chipped in Julian's sister Anne.
#FuriousFiction is a monthly writing competition run by the Australian Writers' Centre: 55 hours to write a 500-word short story based on a brief. First prize is $500 with the winner published on the Writers' Centre website. April's #FuriousFiction fell on the first weekend of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Elliot parked at the side of the road close to the beach. He grabbed a brown-bagged mini-bottle of tequila and the salt shaker and lemon he'd pinched from the restaurant where he worked as a kitchen-hand. "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" was on the radio. Elliot turned it up loud to hear it over the breaking waves.
My niece turned twenty-six at the end of March this year (2020). I gave her a copy of Both Sides of the Story, an ebook collection of short stories I'd recently reworked and published. The gift was special because I wrote the stories for a writing competition a month before my niece was born in 1994.
Bad News (England, 1993): The evening news was depressing—all bad as usual—and the weekend weather looked just as gloomy. I got up and went to the kitchen. "Do you want another wine?" I called back to my wife. No response. I'd swear she's going deaf, but she hears everything I mutter under my breath.
The writer John Banville observed, "Memory is imagination, and imagination is memory. I don't think we remember the past, we imagine it." I have vivid memories of my early childhood (I believe they're memories, not imagination), which is why the #5YearOldSelfie challenge on social media caught my eye.
It was a flight of fancy, inspired by a newspaper ad: "Moscow and St. Petersburg, 7 nights with Jules Verne Travel". It sounded exotic, impossible. But this was 1993, Leningrad was St. Petersburg again, Boris Yeltsin was Russian President, Russia was opening up. Glasnost made all things seem possible.
Beneath the Willow opens with a prologue set in rural NSW in 1953. It is a dark scene of fear and domestic violence. The novel then steps back in time and place to the working class suburb of Balmain in 1915. Australia is at war in foreign lands and sons of families have answered her call to arms.
With the spread of the Internet, PCs and digital devices, and DIY websites, blogs and ebooks, the barriers to publishing are lower than ever before. However, the barrier between writing and good writing remains high. With the Mini Style Guide on your desk, you can be a good writer and a good editor!
It is Christmas Day 1994 at Bilgoa Beach on Sydney’s northern beaches. A "pink shouldered" Charlie Bright is pacing up and down on the sand at the water's edge, "like a coach on the touchline", calling out to his children, mastering their sleek new Christmas present surfboards on the waves.