Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Saturday, 25 February 2012

High Tide and Green Grass

Near Surat
The country I know so well is showing me a bountiful and novel aspect.

New life is everywhere. There is a quality of renewal and transformation I have never seen before. Three exceptional seasons in a row have created something amazing.

Grass is high, green is the predominant hue, and the grey/brown overcoat that has always been a feature of this country has been shed.

The cattle are fat, there are birds everywhere, and the roos and wallabies are in the scrub, not on the roads.

Less welcome are the mosquitoes and sandflies. I’ve seen mossies that are so big they resemble a new breed of stick insect, and I’ve learned to lather myself with repellent before going outdoors. I have a rare blood group that seems to attract midges, and I’m also allergic to their bites. Being hospitalised with blood poisoning from sandfly bites after a canoeing expedition in North Queensland in the eighties remains as a strong and instructive memory.


Whilst Roma, St George and Mitchell have been inundated to various degrees, the local graziers are smiling. The miners aren’t – their operations have been severely disrupted by unprecedented surface flows. It’s to be hoped that all the salty water has remained contained – but I doubt it.

Thargomindah is accessible only from South Australia and Dirranbandi is isolated. Folk in these places are used to this, and plan for it.

I’ve managed to get most of my work done by modifying my itinerary and being a bit smart with emailing and data conferencing. Many schools are still recovering from the disruptions caused by flooding and evacuations.


Generally, the kids take it in their stride.

There are kids starting Prep who by now remember nothing else but floods every summer.

This makes a change, I guess, from many who hadn’t seen real rain four years ago. The seasons cycle here every five to seven years – rather than annually.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Toowoomba Wordsmiths







This is a promo for a Toowoomba Writers' group.

Why is it here?

Because I was threatened with unspeakable violence if it was not.
Seriously -  this glorious little catalogue should be your ‘must have’ reference for 2012, the National Year of Reading. It contains local featured authors, journalists, writers, wordsmiths and their books.All tastes are catered for.
The Authors –

Yvonne Winer - writer, educator

Yvonne Winer is the author of 33 books, which include picture books, junior novels, ‘Spiders spin Webs’ series, books for reading schemes, a song book, action rhymes, craft books and several teacher resource books. She is at present co-author of a teacher resource book of Traditional Tales and has also been contracted by that same publisher to retell several tales for their reading scheme for eBooks and electronic whiteboards. She was the workshop presenter for an interesting ‘shell book’ project in Vanuatu and this resulted in 46 stories all of which have now been printed in Bislama and illustrated by local illustrators for young Vanuatu readers. Her publishers include Margaret Hamilton Books, Scholastic, Charles- bridge, Pademelon Press, Era publications, Nelson, Longman and Angus and Robertson. Contact: winery@icr.com.au

Susan Skowronski - writer, editor, publisher, blogger

Susan’s self published children’s book Farmer’s Kids has been purchased by local schools and libraries and teaching notes are available to download for free. Susan is currently editor of Scope magazine, the monthly publication of Fellowship of Australian Writers Queensland, and her work has appeared in several anthologies, most recently Battered but not Beaten - stories of the 2011 floods in Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley. Susan is working on a ‘Children and Wildlife’ series. ‘Gordon’s Big Adventure’ is now available. ‘Quentin goes Hunting’ will be released soon.  Website www.susanskowronksi.com
Janet Kieseker - marketer, writer, business developer

Janet has a background in advertising, PR and communication. In 2001, she established www.ourmarketingdepartment.com.au http://www.ourmarketingdepartment.com.au/ after making a green change from Sydney. Janet realised only recently she is a writer, albeit a commercial one, spending her work days crafting TV and radio scripts, website text, media releases, newsletters and ad copy as well as the communication strategies that underpin them. Janet is a regular contributor to Highlife Downs Living magazine and founder of www.writersweb.com.au, http://writersweb.com.au/which connects emerging writers with readers. She is planning to write her first book in 2012 and is available as a speaker. Contact: janetk@ourmarketingdepartment.com.au or info@writersweb.com.au


Emma Mactaggart - writer, publisher

Having written and self published two children’s picture books a decade ago, she has been fine tuning the methodology of creating a children’s picture book ever since. The outcome: a program Child Writes, which is delivered in schools to primary school aged children. Graduates then have their books published by Boogie Books. Emma is also co-founder of writers‟ web, connecting readers and writers. She is represented by agency Speakers Ink. To celebrate NYR 2012, she has polished a workshop ‘Where do Ideas come from?’ (40 minutes / 80 minutes). Contact: em@boogiebooks.com.au

Carmel Rowley - author, blogger, publisher

Author and independent publisher of two adult fiction and one children’s book, Carmel Rowley has always loved horses; owning and breeding purebred Arabians since 1975. Riding and breeding horses became the impetus for publishing articles about the Arabian breed in Australian and overseas publications. A fascination for people and what motivates their life journey initially sparked the idea for the ‘Daughters of the Wind’ series, a first of it’s kind. ‘Tails Carried High’ and ‘Voices in the Wind’ has sold prolifically around the world, USA, Canada, Poland, Germany, England, Egypt, South Africa, New Zealand and continues to sell in Australia. Contact Carmel: carmel@carmelrowley.com.au

Robyne Matthews - designer, illustrator

Drawing on her extensive experience in photo editing, illustration and graphic design, Robyne branched into book cover and page design when she teamed up with local writer, Carmel Rowley in 2010. Since then Robyne has gone on to more cover designs and further training in manuscript preparation and scripting. Robyne is passionate about articulate design, and as a budding writer herself she under- stands that readers do tend to judge a book by its cover. Whether you have a design idea in mind or not, Robyne is happy to discuss your needs, without obligation, so you can plan ahead for publication. Phone: 0423 538 004. Email: 9Livesstudio@iinet.net.au

Breanda Cross - author

Writing began as a uni student where I became a flagrant professional student, gaining degrees in many useless disciplines, then writing about their inadequacies in journals. As part of a trio, I then turned to Mills and Boon, until the tendency to constantly kill off the hero, led to crime writing and participation in the Crime Writers Queensland anthologies. My Clauseou-type female character called Wannabe Bond appeared in many issues of Bullet, and later, a script and novel dealing with the Sydney Razor Gangs. More recently, a compendium on the Toowoomba floods has preceded an autobiography called My Death Diary. crimewithoutgrime@gmail.com

Steven West - author “What Happens When We Die”

Steven West is a retired Ambulance Officer and has written a booklet about his own near death experience and many others he has witnessed throughout his career. As well, he enjoys talking to groups on this subject. Contact Steven at www.heavenhereafter.com http://www.heavenhereafter.com/and whathappens.west@gmail.com

Bob Whittaker - author “Jellybeans in the Jungle”

Bob Whittaker is a retired school principal and semi-retired educational consultant who writes because he enjoys it. He independently published his first book in September 2011, and has already sold enough copies to cover publishing costs. He is learning on the job about marketing and promotion. Bob enjoys talking about writing, promotion and publishing and researching war history. He is available for speaking engagements through rwhittak@bigpond.net.au

The Books –

Eric the Echidna Has Lost His Spikes RRP $20.00

Children will love the beautifully illustrated pencil drawings that recreate the Australian bush and animals. Designed for 0-5years or early readers 6-8years. Eric the Echidna is a story about an Echidna who gets caught in a storm and loses his spikes. Journey with Eric and meet some of his friends, Derek the Dingo, Karl the Kookaburra and Cedric the Crocodile as they discover what it means to share. This locally produced, printed and published children’s book by Debrah Pacholke is available at Mary Ryan book store or visit www.erictheechidna.blogspot.com

Jellybeans in the Jungle (RRP $25.00)

This book is one man’s attempt to make sense of his experience as a conscripted soldier during Australia’s war in Vietnam. This book tells the story of his recruit training, and his posting to an infantry battalion which was deployed to Vietnam in 1970. He describes his service, punctuated by some grim encounters with both enemy and friendly troops, his R & R in Bangkok, and finally his return to Australia and his rehabilitation as a teacher of children with disabilities. Jellybeans in the Jungle is available from Mary Ryan’s Bookstore locally and on-line at http://jellybeansinthejungle.blogspot.com.au/

Child Writes - Creating a Children's Picture Book is Childs Play RRP: $29.95

How long have you held the dream of creating a children’s picture book? Whether you intend to give the gift of words and images in book form to your loved ones, write the next children’s bestseller; or help others to bring their ideas to life—Child Writes is a step-by-step guide to creating a children’s picture book. It provides comprehensive, commonsense and creative inspiration for anyone who has ever wanted to make a picture book.

www.writersweb.com.au or Mary Ryan's Bookstore (April 2012)

Battered but not Beaten: Flood Anthology RRP: $15.00

Battered but not Beaten is a collection of reports, accounts, stories, poems and first hand experiences of the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley 2011 flood, exemplifying the Aussie Battler spirit that rose against extraordinary adversity. The anthology is available from Mary Ryan Bookstore and the Toowoomba Visitor Centre.

Tails Carried High Book one in the "Daughters of the Wind‟ series RRP $29.95
After her mother’s death, Jessikah Lloyd throws caution to the wind, leaving England in search of her family history in Queensland, Australia. As disturbing secrets are revealed, Jessikah learns that, had her mother remained in Australia, she would have been the fourth generation in a long line of Arabian horse breeders. Jessikah finds the ego-driven world of the Arabian horse industry fascinating, but what she longs to know eludes her. How did her grandmother Emma Hagen die twenty-five years ago? When good-looking Marc Carey agrees to help her in her search for the truth, it’s not long before both Marc and the Arabian horse become irresistible. It is time to unlock the family secrets. www.carmelrowley.com.au,  
Dymocks, Toowoomba, www.equitainment.com.au

Voices in the Wind Book two in the "Daughters of the Wind‟ series RRP $26.95

The persistent neighing of horses resonated on the soft wind. Was it a warning or a reminder for Jessikah to heed caution and remember the past? Jessikah Lloyd is devoted to breeding Arabian horses. But a sequence of events, during the holiday of a lifetime, will alter her life forever. A mysterious incident in Venice is followed by the passion of the Palio in Siena. At a major German Arabian horse

show, events take a darker turn. Nothing can prepare Jessikah’s family for a deathbed revelation, linked to an old betrayal, or the traumatic events that follow. From the black soil valleys of Australia’s Darling Downs, the green hills of the Loire Valley, Venice’s antiquity and the rush of Siena’s Palio comes the next instalment in The "Daughters of the Wind" series.

www.carmelrowley.com.au, Dymocks, Toowoomba, www.equitainment.com.au
Danika and Yatimah From Egypt to the Outback RRP $16.95

Living on a vast cattle station in outback Australia, Yatimah is Danika’s grey Arabian mare. She is the most beautiful, intelligent, and loved horse on Dalry Station. To Danika, Yatimah is perfect. The first time Danika saw Yatimah, she gleamed silver-grey against the red outback soil. She galloped into her life and stole her heart, beginning a special friendship. Little did Danika know the finely-made Arabian mare would prove to be as brave and true as her heritage suggested. Share in the beauty, excitement, danger, fun, and friends, with Danika’s and Yatimah's outback adventures... www.carmelrowley.com.au, 
Dymocks, Toowoomba, www.equitainment.com.au

Gordon the Golden-Tailed Gecko RRP $9.95

Gordon the Golden-tailed Gecko lived happily in the forest at Allies Creek with his friends Gilroy and Gertrude. One day during a game of hide and seek, Gordon hid in a very dangerous place and was carried away on a big adventure. Without the responsible actions of three caring children Gordon may never have returned home.

Farmer’s Kids - A collection of Humourous Stories of Farm Life RRP$14.95

This collection of short stories and poems will make you fall in love with young Doreen growing up as a younger member of a large rural family in the nineteen fifties. She and her slightly older brother Dougie are allowed to tag along with the older boys, sometimes encouraged but often barely tolerated. There’s always something to smile about whether the kids are making a pipe, driving a truck or building a billy- cart. Although the stories are fiction, they really could have happened to anyone.

Child Writes - Creating a Children’s Picture Book is Childs Play RRP: $29.95

How long have you held the dream of creating a children’s picture book? Whether you intend to give the gift of words and images in book form to your loved ones, write the next children’s bestseller; or help others to bring their ideas to life—Child Writes is a step-by-step guide to creating a children’s picture book. It provides comprehensive, commonsense and creative inspiration for anyone who has ever wanted to make a picture book.

www.writersweb.com.au or Mary Ryan’s Bookstore (April 2012)

Battered but not Beaten: Flood Anthology RRP: $15.00

Battered but not Beaten is a collection of reports, accounts, stories, poems and first hand experiences of the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley 2011 flood, exemplifying the Aussie Battler spirit that rose against extraordinary adversity. The anthology is available from Mary Ryan Bookstore and the Toowoomba Visitor Centre

Tails Carried High Book one in the „Daughters of the Wind‟ series RRP $29.95

After her mother’s death, Jessikah Lloyd throws caution to the wind, leaving England in search of her family history in Queensland, Australia. As disturbing secrets are revealed, Jessikah learns that, had her mother remained in Australia, she would have been the fourth generation in a long line of Arabian horse breeders. Jessikah finds the ego-driven world of the Arabian horse industry fascinating, but what she longs to know eludes her. How did her grandmother Emma Hagen die twenty-five years ago? When good-looking Marc Carey agrees to help her in her search for the truth, it’s not long before both Marc and the Arabian horse become irresistible. It is time to unlock the family secrets. www.carmelrowley.com.au, Dymocks, Toowoomba, www.equitainment.com.au

Voices in the Wind Book two in the "Daughters of the Wind‟ series RRP $26.95

The persistent neighing of horses resonated on the soft wind. Was it a warning or a reminder for Jessikah to heed caution and remember the past? Jessikah Lloyd is devoted to breeding Arabian horses. But a sequence of events, during the holiday of a lifetime, will alter her life forever. A mysterious incident in Venice is followed by the passion of the Palio in Siena. At a major German Arabian horse show, events take a darker turn. Nothing can prepare Jessikah’s family for a deathbed revelation, linked to an old betrayal, or the traumatic events that follow. From the black soil valleys of Australia’s Darling Downs, the green hills of the Loire Valley, Venice’s antiquity and the rush of Siena’s Palio comes the next instalment in The Daughters of the Wind series.

www.carmelrowley.com.au,  Dymocks, Toowoomba, www.equitainment.com.au
Danika and Yatimah From Egypt to the Outback RRP $16.95

Living on a vast cattle station in outback Australia, Yatimah is Danika’s grey Arabian mare. She is the most beautiful, intelligent, and loved horse on Dalry Station. To Danika, Yatimah is perfect. The first time Danika saw Yatimah, she gleamed silver-grey against the red outback soil. She galloped into her life and stole her heart, beginning a special friendship. Little did Danika know the finely-made Arabian mare would prove to be as brave and true as her heritage suggested. Share in the beauty, excitement, danger, fun, and friends, with Danika’s and Yatimah's outback adventures... www.carmelrowley.com.au, Dymocks, Toowoomba, www.equitainment.com.au

Gordon the Golden-Tailed Gecko RRP $9.95
Gordon the Golden-tailed Gecko lived happily in the forest at Allies Creek with his friends Gilroy and Gertrude. One day during a game of hide and seek, Gordon hid in a very dangerous place and was carried away on a big adventure. Without the responsible actions of three caring children Gordon may never have returned home. Website www.susanskowronksi.com


 Farmer’s Kids - A collection of Humourous Stories of Farm Life RRP$14.95

This collection of short stories and poems will make you fall in love with young Doreen growing up as a younger member of a large rural family in the nineteen fifties. She and her slightly older brother Dougie are allowed to tag along with the older boys, sometimes encouraged but often barely tolerated. There’s always something to smile about whether the kids are making a pipe, driving a truck or building a billy- cart. Although the stories are fiction, they really could have happened to anyone.

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