Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Pirates of Aireon

This review is from: The Airmen (Part One: The Pirates of Aireon) (Kindle Edition)
When reading the new novel by R.J.Ashby and the first in a series called The Airmen (this first book is titled The Pirates of Aireon) I was quickly reminded of a series of Sci Fi books from my youth called The Lensmen series by the famous E.E. Doc Smith. Like that series, in this book we are quickly thrown into a world where men are men and women are even more dangerous. This is real swashbuckler reading where the action starts on the very first page and does not stop until the last page. The author throws everything he can think of at his young hero called Jardan and as the body count rises we find ourselves drawn further and further into the world of this young airman as he strives to stay alive on the wild water planet while battling monsters (both human and alien) all while being hunted by one of the most evil characters I have come across for a long time, the unforgettable Jatta.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the second in the series published by Dragonfall Press. It has a real old fashioned feel to it (and I mean that in a good way). This is not a book about the niceties of life, not a book that wants you to take a deep breath and sink into some fantasy creation of gentle creatures and romantic settings. This is a kick-arse adventure book where action is piled on top of action, the whole story weaving precariously back and forth, doomed to collapse any moment under the weight of chaotic action - except it does not collapse. Instead it just makes the Reader's heart beat faster and faster as you wonder how the young hero will manage to escape this time, and then this time and again.

When I finished this book I just held it for a moment and tried to catch my breath and then I looked at the last page and read the title of book 2 in the series - The Kraken Hunters. That is as good a sign as you can get for a book. Having finished the first I immediately wanted to start the second. To R.J. Ashby I can only say,'Hurry Up!'

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Hi all,

if anyone is interested I would happily send a paperback (signed) copy of either Catalina or the Tree Singer in return for a review posted on both Amazon and Goodreads.


Sunday, 4 November 2012

I have just finished the first write of Catalina's sequel

it is called Catalina's choice.

Where Catalina was for young readers and up

this is a more adult fantasy. It stands at just over 88,500 words.

Now begins the task of editing....

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Catalina Book launch

Tuesday December 4th 


Dymock's Bookshop

793 Burke Road Camberwell

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Catalina available at Amazon.

It is


or you can go into a bookshop and order it
by Danny Fahey
published by Dragonfall Press
ISBN 978-0-9852517-2-7

go on - you know you want to - and it would be fantastic for my publisher - a wonderful independant company from W.A.

Go on.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Catalina paperback

So I have the proof in my hand. Catalina is now a paperback!

Lee, the cover is brilliant.

Just need to give it a read for a final approval and then its off to the best seller list surely....

It's a great feeling, holding the book in your hand, smells like a newborn babe, weighs about seven years of your time - it becomes real.


I crossed them proverbial tracks,
walked the bridge, swam the divide,
left the wrong side and sought shelter
in the place of plenty and light.

The cost casts shadows still -
it seems the new home is no home at all;
inside the boy crawls to a corner
and watches shadows play upon the wall,
remembers his beginnings on that side,
hears the screams and feels the hard hand
or the taunts and bullying tricks
of his brothers and school friends – fear makes a terrible bed partner;
works its way into your psyche like urine
trickling across the sheets.

There were the nights when father chased someone
around the entire block, a brother or sister, hitting their ear,
or other nights lying in bed listening to the brewing overspill
of alcohol and far too long working hours.

I crossed over
but the secrets remain and draw patterns
I can never escape
no matter how far I run

but my children
have had no such nights, never felt the belt,
the tongue lash or had to walk a night street
searching for a sister to the sound
of crinkling venetian blinds as neighbours
drank their fill of some other poor sucker’s misery.

My children have no bridge to cross,
no tracks to bother with -
they are the success
despite all my accumulated failures,
they are the proof the climb out of the pit,
despite the scars and injuries, is worth the effort.

Stirring the pot of memories

The jasmine returns, white faced, blush of pink,
the tendrils lacing through my mind,
reaching back into the dark bin of years -

walking along the dirt track in Blackburn,
heading towards the lake – I was
a student of Drama, a  stumbling writer of poetry,
wearing the white cotton shirt, with the three buttons
and large collar, that I dearly loved
and lost, like so many things,
one drunken night somewhere, with someone -

Most likely I woke in the morning and it was gone
without a memory of where or how
as I said

like so many things -

It was the 70’s or perhaps
it was fresh-faced 1980 and drugs were freely shared
without the desperation there appears to be nowadays
or was it just
that I was so much younger then and unaware
of the desperation, thinking it
was just the normal state of being, as if my feet
were always in rich loam, fed
by the rain of new experiences and the feel
of new hands to hold, like roots gripping the earth?

We shared a house in Laburnum,
it had Jasmine -
that’s the trigger, the scent, the pink flowers that haven’t opened,
the ones that have, and your face somewhere,
wrapped in all those tendrils,
the words lost but the ache
throbs still, verdant even after all these years.

We may grow old and we may grow weary
but our memories
are forever ours and, like scent,
remind us of all the chances lost,
the way our lives, like the jasmine’s creeping tendrils,
take us always in search of the light
but, mistakenly, away from it also.

Lost Oedipus

He runs through a forest.
His heartbeat,
his feet,
pound the earth -
tom-toms signaling fear.

Night creeps close;
first stars, like memories,

The rhythm of his feet,
his heart,
his breath,
keep him moving
as sweat,
cold as his father’s words,
berate his forehead.

At the end of all things
he is alone,
his muscles heavy,
the shoes on his feet thin.

The distance will never
be enough.

He runs,
feels the onset of a stitch
begin to unravel
his will to move forward.

He falls,
face down in the earth -
leaves, like leeches, cling
to his skin.

Breathes in the damp,
the dirt.
The weight of this orb
pulls him into her soiled arms;
he will never find peace -
though her embrace
grows familiar
as cold numbs fingers and brain.

In his memory
his lover’s eyes
mother’s dismal
father’s fury -

cycles spinning round
and again.

Light wanders away,
night cradles without comfort.
In his falling mind
he swims
yet drowns -
knows no one will find him
soon enough.

Geoff Hooke's Ubu

Many years ago now I went to see a production of Ubu the King directed by Geoff Hooke - I think it was in a space he operated in Fitzroy (?). 

The thing that struck me about this play was the moment where the actor  playing Ubu absolutely beat the crap out of a  human size ragdoll dummy. It was a brilliant moment of theatre because of the violence unleashed, to the point where we the audience forgot the actor/dummy thing and began to imagine the violence, the pain, the anger etc. It was a brilliant lesson I have never forgotten.

It taught me that imagined violence is so much better than that in so called realistic dramas. To this day,  about 30 years alter, I still tell me students when it comes to death/violent scenes lead the audience to the moment where they imagine it, then stop - their imagined scene will always be better than your acted scene.

It also reminds me of something someone else taught me, I think it was Jenny Kemp, but we are talking about more than thirty years ago here, and that was crying was for the audience, not the actor. I think this is another example of the power of the imagined. As an actor we build the emotion until we are at the brink of tears and stop, allowing the audience to move beyond the brink to their own tears. If we, the actors, cry, what need have the audience? Our job id to lead them to the emotional experience, not do it for them.

Dumb New World

THE cash-strapped Newman Government gave $200,000 to the production company behind Big Brother to ensure the TV reality show returned to the Gold Coast, three months after scrapping the Queensland Literary Awards. 

Forget Brave New World, forget the new education budget, this is the real world - well the real reality world of TV. After all we don't need books, certainly not ones of any literary merit, not when we can have Big Brother and all the cultural and educational cookies that comes with the show.

So glad we have our priorities right.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Peter Gabriel - Mercy Street clip

Mercy Street - for Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton reads...

The Truth the Dead Know

The Journey

It is in the sound of the apparatus, like gods,
they surround him, stare into the heart of him
and murmur a decision about him,  that I feel
my disconnect from the prospect of his death.
I offer silent prayers to these unknown machines.
Every labored breath he takes, I promise another act
I will perform as penance, as payment, a stalling
of the ferry’s price, as if my thoughts are a cat of nine tails,
and I flay my future with this fear of being left fatherless.

On his finger resides a clip, as if he is dangling on a line,
or being dangled; a slim chance that he may yet return
to my shore, open his eyes, cease his ramblings
about a past before I was born and smile again at me,
his last boy - this father of mine fights a battle in a white room
and outside the world is grey but between is the deep abyss.

I have not the words of farewell, sacred or profane;
they got lost somewhere in the journey – I
cannot remember when he held me, or the feel of his lips,
only his chin, rough as sandpaper, and his watery eyes
that smiled at me whenever I found my way home.

I have wandered far, thought I had left him behind
and now I stand at his bedside and realize
he is about to take the farthest journey and I stand here
and try to remember every shattered aspect of us.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Ghost farewells Ratts.

Sadness is the first response. No matter what the head thinks, the heart is heavy. I remember all those years ago listening on the radio as a kid made his debut. We weren’t a great team then, we were building and this kid was another block in the foundation: A kid with heart.

I remember it was a week or two later I saw him play. Didn’t look much but he got the ball. Then I watched him develop and while others were hailed as champions this kid just kept getting the ball.

Something about the way he played spoke to that little kid in me. All I ever did was go after the ball. If I had have been a footballer and lived the dream of playing for the old dark navies, I would have been happy to play like Ratts: Tough as nails, uncompromising, brave.

And as he kept playing I started to notice his skills. The way he read the play, the delivery by hand or foot. There was more to this kid than I thought. I guess there is more to each of us than anyone thinks, that’s what is so great about sport – it reminds us that none of us are just the sum of our parts, that we can be so much more.

So then he came back and coached the team. He got to live out two dreams - To play and to coach this great club of ours. No matter what happens I hope he remembers that.

So Ratts is gone as coach but that kid still lives in my memory, still wearing the number 7, getting the ball, time after time. Always in the heat of it, thriving in the congestion.

Rats is gone but we should remember that just like that kid, as a coach he was always prepared to give it a go. I was never his biggest fan, but he is a Carlton man through and through, a club champion, a premiership player and now an ex coach of this famous club, and as the song says, they can’t take that away from him.

We should also remember that it is important people try, that people have a go. Ratts had a go – that makes him a success at the things that really matter. At sticking your hand up, at wearing the heat, having passion, testing yourself and taking the whack. He did so today, he took the whack, and he took it with dignity. He is ever the Carlton champion.

Thanks Ratts, thanks for everything and good luck.

Farewell Geppetto

The old man hardly dents the bed;
chest sinks into a sea-green song's depths.
The candle light flickers, casts shadows
upon the ceiling and wall as if friends
have gathered. The middle of the night
meets the dawn with a fork –
fool's choice offered at the last.

Pinocchio holds the withered hand
that once gently held him; strokes
the knuckles and nails, feels pain as his wood
atomically realigns into flesh - regrets
choices made along the way.

Strings force steps
but at least they offer
an uncomplicated path

'Existence is easy as a tree
or a log to be burnt,' he whispers at three
in the morning. The old man's chest
creaks like an old galley ship
then moves no more.

Pinocchio knows no prayers to say over the body
cannot see the spirit leave the flesh, feels
tears slide down cheeks that once sprouted leaves
instead; cries into the dark 'Geppetto is dead!
Now I understand what it is to be alive,
Geppetto is dead!’ His toes wriggle
to break past the floorboards
and enter the earth – seek sustenance
in a connection to everything abandoned.

Should have a paperback copy of Catalina in my hands by the end of next week. Give it a final read, if everything is okay it's ready to go!

Then it is setting a launch date and I'll let you all know where and when.

Whoo Hooo!

I am 17,000 words into the sequel!

Things are going well.

The Hanged Man

 She needed a cave, my arms
 are wings.
 She sought words, I continued
 to scream.
 She asked for quiet, a second
 I wanted a battle, a shot at

 We wiggled about in her black silk
 sheets, cacooning ourselves with flesh,
 hiding from days, pretending nights
 rolled into each other like waves,
 love leaking like blood; nightmares, dreams
 and regret strung up like Christmas lights -
 so the whole world could see what was coming

 everyone except me, anger
 makes us blind, deaf to all
 but inner voices, desperate
 for another round when the bell
 has rung, the door slammed shut
 and without ever knowing how
 it came about I sat beside the table,
 telephone in hand, dial tone,
 the New Greek oracle, signalling
 a finality the heart understood far
 more than the mind ever would.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

another old ghost of optus

 The Clampetts move to Carlton
(there's oil in them thar hills!)

Just sit right back and (yes, yes, I know, I am mixing sitcoms here but after last night anything is possible) I'll tell you a tale, a tale of a fateful trip that started from a suburban ground that lost is famous grip (etc). Oh how the poor have struck a rich vein! (see, back to the Clampetts now) As a kid I was dragged along to that horrible '69 GF when the Tigers knocked off my beloved Blues – in those days I thought with Big Nick and Johhny Goold we could not lose – and then again when the mongrel Tigers flattened Big Nick and whacked Southby from behind and the world stopped for all Bluebaggers in the after shock.

I have always hated Richmond. Bartlett's balding runs, Bourke's battering rams, Brown's whacks. I have hated the yellow and black but when you're down you keep the rage quite, you wait. You accept the smug comments and wait. You take the glib jokes, the snide remarks and  continue to wait. Last night the Bluebaggers unleashed the frustration of several ordinary seasons and showed the town they are back, back under lights on the biggest of stages, strutting their stuff, the mighty Navy Blue jumper glowing in the balmy night. I was there with 86,000 others screaming, there with my brother and niece, as we have been through the dark days, watching, believing, seeing the dark blue gold sprout and rise higher and higher into the glorious evening sky.

So I take joy in last night, hill-billy joy, kick up ya heels and dance a jig joy (and in the distance I see a small stone hut and the Tiger fans outside in the dark banging on the door screaming Wilma! No entry for them. Not tonight, probably not this season). I praise Hughsey and co for the picks, not the number 1's – they were almost givens, but the kids, kids like Robbo and Garlett, like AJ and Sauce. Others too, Jammo, Bower and so on. Finally we have dug deep and now have depth (confusing metaphor I know, but after last night you cannot expect much sense out of me, just joy, just navy blue joy that keeps on rising up like a series of glorious sunrises).

Last night we showed we're not coming, we are here! We've loaded the car full of goodies, grabbed a few more members and headed on into town to play with the big boys. Yes siree, we are back. Oh I know there is still ground to make up, still some niceties to learn, some yokel bad habits to ditch, but the thing is the work is being done, the boys are striving, pushing themselves and each other and at the front stands Judd. He's lucky you know, very lucky, he and I will never meet, 'cos if we did I would become an embarrassment! What a player! He's our Goold and Gags, our Dominator and Swan, he's Jezza and Fitzy and Sticks. He's them all and still his own man. He's Chris Judd and he's ours!

What a midfield! I remember the mosquito fleet, the small, fast and furious army of mid fielders the Bluebaggers had that drove opposition teams mad and propelled us to some great flags. Well this time the fleet is as just maddening but bigger, stronger - we've caught up with the times. This fleet is a swarm of wasps!

Okay so we've been poor, we hunted rabbits while everyone chose lions. We turned from riches to rags and lost ourselves in a great depression – but now, now we've found ourselves again and for this I thank Ratts. Its all very well to have good players but every team needs a coach. We now have ours.  Ratts and the boys chose some kids (and we supporters panicked, trust has taken an almighty belting these past few years) to strut their stuff on the big stage, and strut they did. We Bluebagger Clampetts sure know how to dance!

For a time there in the third, the eyes went all misty and I started catching glimpses of Jezza or Sheldon or Buckley or Goold, even Big Nick seemed to flash passed (though wearing the number 8 – how good was the kid's game last night?). The thing about this game is that when it's good it captures all the other good moments so the mind sets up a highlights reel of what's happening and what has happened in the past. Last night did that. It brought the great times back while showing the future.

We play this game as fast and furious as a banjo player from the deep south (as yes, deliverance is upon us!).

In that old sitcom the Clampetts never lost themselves even as they were feted upon by the frivolities of Beverley Hills. Truth is Carlton did lose itself. But with hard work and leadership back in place we have found our core, we are back, sure not at the top, not yet, but we are Carlton again, we know how to play this game and last night, like so many times in the past, from child to adolescent to man, the team did not let us down.

Best for mine was a working man, Haddles in the middle, under everything, tackling anything in black and yellow that dared touch the ball, hand-balling, kicking to targets, the in and under genius to go with the runners. Wiggo too, another blue collar type, like gold nuggets are these types, the players who just lay themselves on the line time after time. Robbo's another gem. Then the oil, the dark blue glide across the grass of Murph and Judd. And that's leaving out The Kruise, Gibbsey and a host of others!

Its only the first game in a long season, the first of many tests, the first of many times each and every Bluebagger player will be placed under pressure, but it was our first test and we passed it with flying colours – that's all you can ask.

Leading the bear home

This gilt cage
swings in a breeze created
by a harsh voice,
feet curled
like old leaves
around the wooden perch.

I sing for supper, dance
for lunch, weep when breakfast
does not come.

I have seen my name
in lights brighter than stars,
discovered a cage needs no bars -
guilt stronger than finest steel.

I befriended the dancing bear,
licked raw patches that once had fur,
fed him rats cut
into the shapes of salmon, dreamed
with him of rocks and water and leaps
into freedom.

It was not until I let go
of faith that the door
finally opened - wings not from angels
but through acceptance; feathers
of words and cadence.

I was once a tree,
once turned only towards the sun
now I move about the land
leading the bear back home.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Books that transported me. Narnia Series

The post I gave about Enid Blyton  and her books, in particular The Magic Faraway Tree, got me thinking about books that transported me as a kid. These books took me to worlds as a kid that I have since carried with me forever.

The first book, or in this case set of books, is the Narnia Series.

These books after the Faraway tree (and more powerfully than) instilled in me the love of fantasy, the wonder of a world at the back of the wardrobe, a world where normal children were transported to fantastical lands populated with mythical creatures.

I read and re-read these books. I still remember the covers (pictured above) the smell of them, the joy of having the next in the series to read.

In a time where Television didn't dominate and we rarely went to the movies books were the real escapist lands and of all the lands I escaped to as a child, Narnia is still one of my most cherished.

Free Book Giveaway

In recognition of Catalina's imminent releae in paperback

available in eBook  Catalina eBook

Okay so I have decided to give away

3 copies of the Tree Singer to three first 3 comments posted requesting the book.

Must be residing in Australia

Just promise me you'll give a rating and review on Amazon (and Goodreads if you are a member)

Friday, 17 August 2012


Strips of light penetrate green summer leaves
that are still thin like new born children.
The edges of the leaves turn golden; trees,
crowned with sunshine, genuflect – you,  
rays igniting long, brown hair, in floral dress,
red flowers the colour of blood, bare
feet embracing ground, greet me in the garden.

In your tanned arms, a child sleeps;
tiny round mouth, scented milk breath - I ache
to touch soft scalp, to bend close, smell
the head innocent as unfurled sunflowers.

Your eyes of cornflower blue ask me to leave.

Closing the gate, the metal latch clicks, as final
as your eyes, I remember once you carried my
child - decide against that particular path.

Unreasonable tears make driving home difficult.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Bob Marley

No woman no cry

The Apps men

We are not the hollow men
We are the filled men
The complete men
The technological men

We have screens so flat
We need not think
Just a swipe,
A slimy spread of our fingerprint
An oily wake
And all is revealed.

We are the Buddhist men
The jihad men
The Christian Dior men.

We cover everything
By placing it online,
The aether has been restored
The sun displaced
The earth is back in its rightful place.

We have mobile screens
Ipad screens
Filter the screams of the poor
The drought and flood victims
By placing them within
The safe four walls of another device.

We are the apps men
The gluttonous men
The never sated, never aging
Wrinkle free, hair dyed men.

We move from App to App,
Hermes with sandals not winged but plugged in.

We have exercise bikes,
Exercise balls,
Tracksuits and running shoes.
We have shiny Lycra and water bottles,
Sweat bands and fish oil tablets,
We swim and sauna and search for perfect abs.

We are not the hollow men
We are the filled men
The complete men
The technological men

This is the way the world crumbles
Not in heat
Not in climatic change
But through dead batteries
Or a credit card that refuses to purchase
The next device needed to stay one step behind
That which will be sold tomorrow.

This is the way the world crumbles
Not with the whisper, a plea, a cry
But the lack of bang for your bucks.

We are the Buddhist men
The jihad men
The Christian Dior men.

This is the way we end
Leaping into the Internet
And lost forever
In pathways not real.
Hands do not touch
Voices speak in typeface
And the colour of her eyes
The smell of her
The way she smiled
When spoken to is forgotten.

This is the way it ends
Not in the sweat and labor
Of the teenage leather backseat
But with a porn industry stealing souls
Selling need
Instead of desire
Making hands work for release
While eyes burn with the lies
Of what is really wanted.

We are not the hollow men
We are the filled men
The complete men
The technological men

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang
But another parlor trick
A new launch of the next big thing
A journey into nothing.

We are the Buddhist men
The jihad men
The Christian Dior men.

While planet earth succumbs,
Whimpers, we elope
With hobbies and apps and meaningless games
Where birds are flung and diamonds won
As if any of it
Actually meant anything.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Walt Whitman

Out of the cradle endlessly rocking

John Lennon


A recurring dream after father’s death

Caught an old red train from the end of the pier
along the ocean, the water always close,
whispering ‘go home, go home’ as its liquid arms
touched the shore a thousand, thousand times,
to the land bridge that before white man’s heavy steps
connected Tasmania to the mainland. From there
I walked to Tasmania along a path the colour of deer skin,
and passed a lot of faces, who travelled the other way,
I did not know, yet somehow did - as if they were
the faces of my genealogy, a history of people who knew me
and remained silent. Their eyes watched without judgment
as I passed, always drawing closer to the round green hills
of Irishtown, the curving road through the farmland
called Fahey’s Lane, named after some long dead ancestor.
I arrived at a farmhouse, an old weatherboard, unpainted,
the tin roof  covering the porch slumped forward
with the weight of too much rain, the glass in the windows
spotted with dust from past rainfall and everywhere
people walked, looked and did not utter a word.

The sky over head was blue, the distant ocean
also blue tinged with the white tops -
surf coming in to crash the island’s ancient rocks
like kids embracing their mother’s legs.

I came to the front door
and found myself standing beside
my father’s coffin – and then
understood this journey was a trip back
to his and my childhood. I stared down
at my bare feet and guessed they were the size
from when I was eleven, maybe twelve, smiled
at my knobbly knees that smiled
from underneath my old grey shorts.

The sadness of recent months dwindled, like
grains of sand falling down a funnel into
someone else’s psychic trouble.

I turned back to the front yard and saw
a young boy run past, who squealed and laughed,
chased by a mother’s angry voice that called

The call woke me.

I discovered myself in my bed at night; left its warmth
to stand before the window in the sunroom, my feet filling
the indentations in the beige carpet, signs
of too many sleepless nights,
and stared up at the stars - thought about Michael,
my father, dead and buried three months ago.
My silence was not filled with his death
but at the thought
that a son never meets his father as a child
and the knowledge
my own son never will.

Catalina reviews

And so the eBook is out there now, and already some people on Goodreads are reading it.

the next step is for some reviews. So if you do read Catalina, please review at Goodreads, if you are a member there. Or at Amazon or Barnes and Noble etc. Kindle also has a forum I think for reviews.

As far as eBooks go reviews are just about the best way to get sales. That and word of mouth.

If you do read Catalina and want to have a chat about the book drop by here and post a comment on this post (or one of the other Catalina posts, I'll find it) and I'll reply.

As soon as I find out the dates for the paperback I'll let people know and I'll sort out a book launch also. Probably at Readings in Carlton. I might do some other signings also - Andrews in Ivanhoe for one.

So please, if you purchase an eBook, give a review. Even star ratings help. In the eBook universe, everything helps!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

My earliest remembered poem

This was in a school book when I was a wee lad. It is the earliest poem I can remember.

Michael Met a Duck

By J Dupuy

Michael met a white duck
Walking on the green.
"How are you ? ” said Michael.
"How fine the weather’s been!
Blue sky and sunshine,
All throughout the day:
Not a single raindrop
Came to spoil our play."

But the sad white duck said,
"I myself want rain.
I’d like to see the brooklets
And the streams fill up again.
Now I can’t go swimming,
It really makes me cry
To see the little duck ponds
Look so very dry."

But behold, next morning,
The clouds are looking black:
Down the rain came pouncing,
Said the duck,  "Quack, quack.
Ponds are full of water,
Ducks are full of joy."
But someone else is not
And that’s the little boy.

Catalina - ebook


The ebook is available now at

Can't wait til I get a hard copy in my hand.

Monday, 13 August 2012

who remembers?

Enid Blyton

So I want to say a thank you to Enid, to my mother who bought me her books and to my sister who often read her to me.

Enid fired my imagination. Took me to Toyland and to realms inhabited by pixies and brownies, elves and talking animals.

Enid filled my mind with the wonder of stories, with the colour of the imagination, with the idea that fantasy can take us on journies further than the most distant star.

The Magic Faraway tree and the enchanted wood filled my sister and I with a belief in magic. How often we hunted for that tree, hoping the next forest, the next bend in the road, the next dream, would take us to the land of topsy-turvy where we would spend hours walking on our hands.

The wishing chair became a game for us, as did the belief in flight, the whispering that one day we would travel to another land by some magical means.

Enid was prolific, with her noddy stories, her Toyland stories, the Secret Seven and Famous Five adventures. Rainy days meant stories from her world. olidays were filled with her worlds. Lonlines s banished bya a mere opening of a book. Enid gave me the gift of story.

I carry it with me still.

This is just a way of thanking her, and letting my mind as I write, drift down those old lanes and country roads where adventures where found to wait, like shimmering mirages.

Poetry reading

To The Reader

Me reading Not A Rhapdsody...

Not A Rhapsody In The Night

Not A Rhapsody in the night (an edit)

(in response to T.S.)

I find myself here, ear to brick post, hair pushed out of eyes
and shirt torn where it got caught on a barbed word
as I crossed through your domain to this site, late on some street
whose name I have not bothered to read, outside a house
whose occupants, as far as I am concerned, might as well be dead.
I certainly am, that has been made dead plain, or crystal clear.
I might even enjoy their decaying smell. You certainly did.
It may echo the smell that resides within this chest of mine
where ribs wriggle like maggots around withering, white flesh.

The port bottle is clenched, a precious key to a distant door
(as if there is hope if I merely turn things the right way
to find sunlight where only night dwells) and my eyes
stare up and stars stare down. We eyeball each other blindly
as I take another swig and nothing is said except inside my head
where words rotate, spin, cartwheel, conjugate misdeeds,
misunderstandings, misplaced agreements and donated misdemeanours.
All hoarded and then given back to me in the hour before the fall
(everything resides on the spinning, gaudy deck of the fairground horses).

The brick post I lean against cares little, less even
than the cheap port (at least it fires the pitbull stomach
with its leaden purge of all the things we’ve said and haven’t).

If the night could only be bent. Curved like an arch,
or the rainbow bridge, so that morning light would spread
and these demons finally be laid to rest for another day.

But night, like your mind, my absent one, is set,
and I am doomed to forever gyrate around
what has occurred (Yorick, held in the greasy palm
of your easy and indifferent judgment).

The moon will not rise. Venus has drifted too far
and Pluto, they tell me, is not even a planet.
But Mars, oh Mars remains, laughing in red;
and your words, like Saturn’s welded rings,
go around and around in my head
as the temperature, this undying night, drops
to below that needed for a heart to bloom.

The bottle finally spits itself dry.

I smash it against the road - enjoy the miniature explosion,
wish I could repeat the gesture
on the inside.
Would I then be cleansed?

Or would it set off a series
of explosions – a beginning, an end?

The sequel.

Since I had finished the original version of Catalina I thought the book was finished. Even when, with edits and conversation with my editor, I deleted the whole section about the Ship of Dreams, I thought Catalina would be a stand alone book.

I am not one for trilogies - I used to love them but that was before everyone started writing them, all the publishers wanting the threepeat (or the sevenpeat). But therer were some unfinished thing about Catalina.

In conversations with Dragonfall Press I began to hint that there was more because I knew there was but I couldn't work out how to start. I thought perhaps of traveling back in time and writing about the witch as a child and the grandmother (who began the mess with Catalina's grandfather) as a child - 3 women - Catalina, Griselda and Isabella. The three books have a nice ring to them (and I love the Triple Goddess aspect) and perhaps one day I will write those other two novels but they are not the continuation of this story.

What I really wanted to do was get Peter back home to Mellothande for a while and then bring him back to Arboroth but the rules I had set up for crossover points didn't seem to allow for this to happen. I was stuck.

And there was the section about the Ship of Dreams that I (and my wife agrees with me) really loved but that didn't really fit in with Catalina - even though the Ship of Dreams was the original title and where the story actually began.

Then Lee finished her wonderful work on my cover and her work set the wheels in motion. Sometimes we just need a trigger. The eye in the cover was the trigger. I've got the picture sitting on my kitchen table and every day I'd give it the once over - then it happened.

I have now started writing the sequel. 13,000 words in and it is taking shape. The Ship is back and Peter does manage to go home and I can get him back. The rules are in tact, it fits together.

Colin Wilson spoke of writing as a problem to be solved. If that is true then a sequel is like a rubik's cube. How can you get everything you have set in place to fit with the new adventures you wish to explore?

For a time I had almost given up.

But triggers are wonderful things, or as Kevin said, 'Sometimes you just need another viewpoint, another eye.'

Lee gave me that.

And so now I am busy on the sequel.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Poem hot off the press.

The Farthest Journey

It is in the sound of the apparatus, like gods,
they surround him, stare into the heart of him
and murmur a decision about him,  that I feel
my disconnect from the prospect of his death.
I offer silent prayers to these unknown machines.
Every labored breath he takes, I promise another act
I will perform as penance, as payment, a stalling
of the ferry’s price, as if my thoughts are a cat of nine tails,
and I flay my future with this fear of being left fatherless.

On his finger resides a clip, as if he is dangling on a line,
or being dangled; a slim chance that he may yet return
to my shore, open his eyes, cease his ramblings
about a past before I was born and smile again at me,
his last boy - this father of mine fights a battle in a white room
and outside the world is grey but between is the deep abyss.

I have not the words of farewell, sacred or profane;
they got lost somewhere in the journey – I
cannot remember when he held me, or the feel of his lips,
only his chin, rough as sandpaper, and his watery eyes
that smiled at me whenever I found my way home.

I have wandered far, thought I had left him behind
and now I stand at his bedside and realize
he is about to take the farthest journey and I stand here
and try to remember every shattered aspect of us.

First ever Ghost of Optus Oval article

John Ragsy Goold and my overcoat

Ragsy Goold; the name stirs memories form my long ago childhood. Ragsy, with his unique kicking style, where he'd hold the ball (always a drop punt - in a time when the drop kick and the torpedo punt still reigned supreme) at the point of the ball, elbows bent and he'd lavishly drop the ball, his
right arm then flinging back and up dramatically. That was the thing about Ragsy (so named because he worked in the clothing, or 'rag' trade), he was always dramatic.

He always ensured his ankle guards and wrist guard were glowing white to match the great white CFC monogram he wore proudly on his chest, and with his long flowing locks, cut a dynamic figure through a young boy's mind. Ragsy was my idol. I loved his dashes from half back, his long accurate drop punts, most of all I loved his flair for the game. Ragsy played the game as an entertainer as well as a sportsman - he leapt high to punch or mark, and always seemed to have a bit of the thoroughbred about him - which is probably why after he retired, he took up fox chasing, polo, and riding his beloved thoroughbreds across the paddocks and over the fences of his property, I think he may have even represented Australia at the sport – really, that’s sort of how he played as a footballer. All sinewy muscle, long legs and famous leaps for the saving punch.

Ragsy was part of the great backline that helped revive Carlton's fortunes. Legendary players Wes Lofts, Ian Collins, Kevin 'Racehorse' Hall, Vinnie Waite among them. All great teams have a great defence and the defence that Ragsy was an integral part of was no different. Where others provided the biffo, the muscle or the defensive pressure, Ragsy provided the dash, the flair, the sense of adventure that all great backlines must have. Don't get me wrong, he was tough, all footballers are, but he was also a ballet dancer, a player of such flair that for hours I was John Ragsy Goold in my backyard, kicking the ball his way, dashing forward to gather the ball, elbows flying, running straight, kicking long...

I have had many favourite players while following the Blues, but there will always be a special spot for Ragsy Goold - running the lines, all long hair and flashing, white guards.

As a young man I moved to Carlton and began acting in a place called one-c-one. One night after a play, I was walking home. It was winter, and I was wearing my favouritte overcoat, a genuine ankle length tweed affair I had picked up in an Op Shop in Oakleigh for three dollars. As I strutted across Lygon Street, a deep male voice behind me called, 'hey laddie, how much for the overcoat?'

I turned, and there was my childhood idol, Ragsy Goold, two beautiful women in tow, smiling and waiting for my answer. I loved that coat too much to part with it, even to Ragsy, so I shook my head - and he smiled, then walked off.

I stood for a moment in the middle of the street shaking my head in disbelief. Ragsy bloody Goold had just offered to buy my overcoat! I knew at that point, as a young man of about twenty three, that life was going to be full of surprises and very entertaining - a bit like John ‘Ragsy’ Goold. He was my childhhood hero but I was now a young man, a man setting out to find his own path, a would be writer, a sometime actor - that coat was mine, my 'artist as a young man in Carlton' coat, and separate from those childhood memories of my football heroes, and perhaps that's how things should be.