Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Brogan's Crossing Reviewed

Maine-based writer Karen Bessey Pease has posted a review of my crime thriller Brogan's Crossing on her blog. I'm tickled pink that Karen, a respected American writer, holds my novel in such high regard. It's the stuff that keeps us writers writing.

Thank you, Karen.

I mentioned in a blog post a few weeks ago that Brogan's Crossing is on the longlist for this year's CAL Scribe fiction prize. I can't over-emphasise how happy I am to be in the running. It means that my work is being read by three of Australia's most highly-regarded industry professionals: Aviva Tuffield, Fiction Acquisitions Editor at Scribe Publications; Blanche Clark, Books Editor at the Herald Sun newspaper; and Mark Rubbo, CEO of Readings bookstores in Melbourne.

I'll keep you posted on whose work goes through to the shortlist as soon as I find out.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Tragedy Down Under

My name is Kazza and today, I am posting on Jack Ramsay’s blog. Jack and his family are at the epicenter of the devastating floods in Queensland. What follows is a posting I made to my own blog a couple of days ago. Jack and Ali--and those many others who have been or are in harm’s way--are in my heart and on my mind.

I have many dear friends in Australia.

Pete and Naomi, Ali g and KK, and Dozy in New South Wales.

Crookedpaw in Victoria.

Jack and Ali and Larry in Queensland.

Of these, Larry is the only Aussie friend I have actually laid eyes on—the only one I have hugged and kissed, poked and prodded, eaten and drank with. Napped nearby, cut grass with (well, I cut--and he directed the operation) gotten lost on a dirt road with. Larry bought me lunch, I bought him supper. Larry cooked for me, I washed dishes for him. I built a big bonfire and went swimming in the moonlight, while he crabbed at me for doing something so foolish. Larry brought me jewelry from Laos and gave me his Drizabone coat. I handled his car rental, gave him a place to stay for a month, and put two bullets through his cell phone for him.

But even though I have never held the hands of my other Aussie friends, or leaned against them while laughing, or shared a timid bite of Vegemite, that does not mean that I love them any less. I have been incredibly blessed. These far-away friends have enriched my life more than I ever thought possible.

That’s why I am worried, tonight.

Australia, and especially Queensland, is experiencing a terrible tragedy. Flooding there is the worst on record. This land which was recently experiencing a terrible drought is now inundated with water. The rain won’t stop. The ground is saturated. The rivers are over-flowing and the dams are taxed. I am watching and listening. This girl who shuns the television can’t seem to keep away from it.

I am very, very worried. And I’m ten thousand miles away.

I can’t hug, or hold, or poke or prod. I can’t give them a place to stay, if they need one, or rent them a car to get to high ground. I can’t share Vegemite with them or build them a fire to help them dry out and get warm. I’m helpless. And I don’t like the feeling, at all.

My heart goes out to all those thousands of Aussies who are affected by this terrible event. And my thoughts are prayers are with my wonderful friends who at the epicenter of the Australian flood.

God Bless you. And please… be safe. Please.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Friends in Dry Places

It's at times like this I'm glad I have friends. I wanted to blog about writing today, but the weather's had its say and I have more pressing (and far less pleasant) tasks to see to.

Instead, I thought I'd link back to a review of an excellent novel written by a good friend of mine, Corinne Van Houten.

Though Corinne lives on the west coast of America and I'm here in soggy Queensland (the "sunshine state"... pah!) in Australia, we met on that oft-decried website for writers, authonomy, and we've found many things we share in common - not least of which is a desire and willingness to improve our writing.

So, thanks to Corinne's great novel, I have a blog post today. Thank you, Corinne :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Picnic's Off

Such a disappointment for a man with an esky full of beer and sausages. Never mind - could be worse. I'm counting myself lucky, in fact, and my thoughts go out to everyone affected by Queensland's devastating floods, but especially to my cousins in Rockhampton.

Good luck, and God bless.

Photo: Kookaburra Park, inundated by the Brisbane river, new year's eve, 2010.