Thursday, 22 December 2011

Born without horns

It was fortunate for the Mother -
though in the end it was not,
a King cannot forgive a tryst
with a God Bull, no matter how
hard the full moon presses down
upon the earth, a palm pressed between
willing thighs, stirring desire; hot tea,
blown first then carefully sipped
in a summer stung by the scorpion sun -
that Androgeus was not
born with his horns fully formed.

It did not help him either,
however, for the hooves for feet
gave away the fact that Midas
was not the sower of the seed.

The Mother, still bruised and torn
by the hard heels of her son as he kicked
his way into sunlight, was slain outright.
It may even be that she was glad;
granted relief from the haunting
of that night. Her body ached
with the memory of the Bull’s embrace.

Androgeus was banished down the stairs
to a moonless, sunless cellar,
where water dripped taunting whispers
and the stone drank itself dense
with the indifference of the earth,
there to live out his days chained
to the wall, food fed between thick lips,
and placed upon fat tongue
by young virgins stolen from other lands.

The females served two purposes.
Their theft made other lands fear his Father
and the tips of the girls’ fingers, when
they brushed his flesh, their scent
as they drew close, and the fear that formed
in tiny beads of sweat upon their innocent
brows, tormented Androgeus no end.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Healing and Personal Meaning

December 16, 2011

Danny Fahey, The Tree Singer, Perth: Dragonfall Press, 2011
 Reviewed by Neralie Hoadley
The Tree Singer by Danny Fahey, is a publication that resists easy categorisation. For this reader it was an exploratory venture in terms both of the type of story and its electronic delivery (my first eBook). In both cases the experiment was rewarded.
I am a new-comer to fantasy as a literary genre and made the mistake of repeatedly trying to understand this interesting book through the lens of another story-telling style. At first I found myself reading The Tree Singer as a fable. I tuned into the way Fahey uses the fairy-tale timelessness to speak about a community finding healing by moving through despair towards hope. In the opening pages, twelve year old Jacob is suffering with ‘the sickness’, an unspecified plague that has already killed many in his small fishing village and left the rest living in a state of fear, grief and impotent anger. Jacob meets a mysterious stranger, Simon, who imbues him with a wondrous sense that life has possibilities outside his poor stricken home. Jacob finds he can suddenly imagine his own future as a maker of lovely musical instruments, flutes, even though he has never played one. Simon is a healer who uses the laying on of his beautiful hands to bring things to right, to remind creatures both human and non-human of their deep natures so that they may fulfill themselves. Some of the writing in this section of the book is quite lyrical as it allows the reader to imagine the mysterious forces that allow the stunted garden to thrive, the fish to return, the mad to be made steady, the grieving to learn to look for what is present rather than absent, and for the talented to honour their skills. There is a lovely purity in the way Fahey writes of the power of affirming life and hope. It does not have the self-conscious artifice of popular modern fables such as The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Jacob, the hero, continues to grow and develop his talent, becoming a master flute maker of increasing renown, until the allure of the city draws him away from the simplicity of village life and love.
As the story progresses it becomes clear that a ‘New-Age’ tinged tale is not Fahey’s objective. He foreshadows a great rebalancing whereby the healer might be found to be at odds with the community and one who is denounced by his young disciple, Jacob. At this point I found it necessary to reassess my reading. I was raised on CS Lewis and as a child I enjoyed the Narnia tales, which use religious allegory as their bread and butter.  So when young Jacob denies knowing the great healer Simon three times within hours of entering the city of Cathel, I was in familiar territory. The cock did not crow but the scene was nevertheless set for a martyrdom and possible resurrection. This does, in fact, come to pass. Jacob is both the denier and the betrayer, resulting in Simon’s death. These two biblical names, Simon and Jacob, stand out amongst the array of others  – Justoff, Lynstre, Brannon, Thomkins – and the biblical allusions continue in theme and plot.
The city of Cathel is depicted as unhealable: too large and too corrupt for goodness to flourish, so conflict and disease are unleashed. The city is devastated. The healer is denounced and attacked.  Jacob limps home encumbered by the shame and guilt that is born of his betrayal of the beloved Simon. He hopes for love and forgiveness from his childhood sweetheart, Maddie, who has been waiting at home for Jacob to return to marry her. But the dying Simon has beaten Jacob to Maddie’s comforting arms. Maddie rejects Jacob as a traitor to goodness and loyalty.
Here the tale takes a Gothic turn. Jacob becomes an outcast, surviving on fish and bitterness in a rough shed set apart from the village. Jacob watches village life follow its course from afar, and, like Mary Shelley’s monster from Frankenstein, is simultaneously attracted and repelled by the life he cannot be part of. His self-loathing makes him more and more monstrous, to the point where he makes a precious child suffer for the sin of his innocence and hope. Scenes of Jacob’s gratuitous cruelty to the boy, though the boy seems ultimately to be unharmed, are rather disturbing to read.
A lonely death as a twisted outcast seems Jacob’s fate. However, Jacob finds redemption in forgiveness. The quest for redemption is explicit here. Yes, this seems to me to be a very, very Christian story. His first love, Maddie, forgives him for his betrayal and thus shows him that his life is not over. Jacob is able to break free of his self-imposed bonds and explores the world and his talents anew. This would appear to be a sufficient happy ending. But, Simon is reborn also, and the cycle of healing is complete.
As I have said, Fahey’s book is my first foray into fantasy writing so it may be that I am completely missing the point by reading it through the lens of the fiction with which I am familiar.  Or perhaps that is the point of fantasy: the reader is able to engage imaginatively so that the story might take on a more personal meaning.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Heading off tonight to a book launch for another Dragonfall Press author.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

A Review On Steep Stairs

Here's a review opf the Tree Singer

Thursday, 27 October 2011


So what I need is for people to rate this book if they purchase it on Lulu

and for people to Review the book on Lulu! Please....

and those who have read THE TREE SINGER could you recommend it on the Kindle forums and rate it (if you can) on the Amazon site.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Woodcarver's son

So the new novel is out now - available at Beatrice Benn and

Friday, 16 September 2011

Knock backs

received another wonderfully brief - thanks but no thanks from Random House on Catalina

But! On rereading Catalina I can see why - I think it is too long and s begins the wonderful journey of another edit - I am determined to cut at least 10,000 words off the total losing almost all of the last fifth of the book. Its too drawn out.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Minotaur continued...

So 4 thousand words in I starting to get an idea of what the heck it is I am writing. The minotaur is going to meet the Fisher King and he is also going to lead a small band of mythological creatures into a sort of promised land.

The Fisher King waits in a bomb shelter, trapped and lost

The Minotaur - Androgeus - falls into the shelter after a digging a hole in its roof.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Minotaur

The idea for the new novel started with a single - line: '
It was fortunate for the  mother of the Minotaur that he was not born with his horns fully formed.'

So that's the start of the new novel.

Monday, 5 September 2011


so Catalina is now at Random House - they actually asked for the full manuscript!!!!! It has been there, hopefully being read by someone, for 3 months now and I am beginning to wonder if I should call and see what's up, or should I simply sit tight and get on with other things.

And ain't that the thing about writing...the waiting... The dreaded letter or these says, the dreaded (and far shorter, think pick as opposed to sledgehammer) email saying thanks but....

Catalina is a children' fantasy - about a girl called Catalina, who happens to be a princess, an aunt who just happens to be the wickedest witch ever and Peter - who happens to get turned into a wolf boy - what else?

Review of The Tree Singer

 another from  SFFANZ

Reviews of The Tree Singer

from Motley Press (issue 4)

The Tree Singer by Danny Fahey
Reviewed by Cran Herlihy
362 pp; published in 2011 by Dragonfall Press.
There is something about working with wood - a
sense of connection in the visual and tactile
exploration of grain and whorl; the scent of
shavings and resin; the dark red hardness of
jarrah, or the golden softness of pine. It is easy to
lose track of the time when finishing a piece by
hand; lost in the planes and curves when sanding,
or applying the coats of oil to penetrate and
preserve and bring out the colours.
In The Tree Singer, Danny Fahey has captured
and conveyed this sense of timeless connection.
Most of Fahey's light fantasy is a delight to read -
the voice fits the narrator's character extremely
well; and a world where the claim, "I sing to the
trees", doesn't lead to white jackets and a padded
cell is definitely a world worth visiting.
The narrator, Jacob, begins his tale as a teenager
blessed with a naive innocence not seen sinceWalt Disney was animating fairy tales for young
baby boomers. Jacob begins with little hope and
no dreams for the future, traits he shares with the
village in which he lives with his widowed
He introduces us to Simon, a stranger not born
but brought forth complete; a receptacle of lost
knowledge, prescience and the miracle of healing,
but without memory or conscience. It is Simon's
touch which removes Jacob's illness and plants
the dream of making the finest flutes in the land.
It is Simon who heals those most important to
Jacob, and who teaches the boy how to sing the
perfect branch from a tree. Simon is the
instrument of Jacob's happiness and success.
Of course, those wiser in the ways of the world -
any world - know that innocence and happiness
simply can't last; eventually, the other shoe must
drop. Jacob, years later a man in a city threatened
by plague and war, meets Simon again; a Simon
twisted and fouled, bitter at his own failure and at
the city which overwhelmed him. All those years
before, Simon had predicted that Jacob would
feel compelled to betray his friend. The
instrument of Jacob's success thus also became
the means of his downfall.
For Jacob, ashamed and alone, redemption is a
painful path finally found in three distinct
moments involving acceptance.
The few continuity issues and hanging questions
barely detract from Fahey's ability to write a
compelling story; the language, content and
production aim The Tree Singer at the YA

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Getting published

What a journey! In 1975 I dreamed of being a published author - mind you I didn't know a thing about how to become a published author and in those days there were no Writing Courses to help. So now, in 2011 I am a published author. Along the way I have had poems published, a couple of short stories published and then a novella called The Unrelenting, Unnerving Life of Pinocchio (which I am currently expanding)  was published digitally by Art & Sole publications (I'll talk about digital publishing in my next blog).

After Pinocchio was published, I sent the manuscript for The Tree Singer off to Dragonfall Press - a small, independent publisher of Fantasy and Sci Fi based in Western Australia. They picked it up, a contract was signed and now the book is in a small group of book stores waiting...

I have no agent, no million dollar 3 book contract, no movie deals (with producers in a mad bidding frenzy, waving dollars and percentages around like confetti),  no invitations to writing festivals, in fact not much at all has changed, but I do have a book published (and some days I walk past the local bookstore just to see it) and, as they say in that old song, you can't take that away from me.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Blues new ad

Blues new ad: See Carlton’s new television commercial

Ebooks and the new world order

So eBooks have overtaken traditional books in sales by Amazon. How do people feel about this? At work I have an Ipad but still prefer my books to be bound in paper. Have others made the leap into the electronic reading age? As a writer I understand that my books must be available as eBooks but there is nothing better than seeing the book on a shelf or in someone's hand.

Same for browsing for books. Just can't come at browsing online. I like to hold the book, smell the fresh paper, see the image on the front cover. Mind you, I am pretty sure I said the same thing when I encountered computers - 'Give me my old typewriter any day. Pen and paper over keyboard and screen' etc.

Been a while since I've even seen a typewriter and now I write straight to screen.

First Post

Had the Book Launch for The Tree Singer last week, went very well. Would like to thank Kevin and Lee for their wonderful words and readings hawthorn for their support. Sorry to those people who could not buy a book - we sold out! Book available as an ebook (Kindle app.)