Stringybark Short Fiction Award 2015

Was delighted to hear that my short story “Karikurla” received a Highly Commended in this Award. With over 230 entries being received, I am proud to be among the top twenty-seven entries. The criteria for this competition was that it contained an Australian theme. As such, my imaginary meeting between Paddy Hannan, the gold prospector and a young Aboriginal boy seemed a logical entry. Karikurla? The Aboriginal name for a bush with edible fruit which grows in the area and one of the suggested origins of the name Kalgoorlie, where Paddy made his famous strike.

Want to read more? Try the Stringybark Bookshop and look for “No Tea Tomorrow“.

Path to Redemption

This month’s short story is very different. Titled “Path to Redemption”, I wrote it as a soliloquy and from a man’s perspective. I have deliberately left it unedited and rough. I would be interested in comments on it as a change from my usual more light-hearted stories.

It came about when I was thinking of the phrase ‘Path to Redemption”. Do we all hope for redemption or are there those of us who don’t care. And these people – does the thought of imminent death really frighten them into seeking salvation?

Glory Days

My short story for this month is entitled ‘Glory Days’ and blends two of my delights, writing and belly dancing, in the story of an old veil, resurrected by the youth she thought was gone forever.

Belly dancing is to my body as writing is to my soul. To interpret the music as a form of dance gives me great pleasure and yes, being a woman, I am enthralled by the costumes. The troupe I am in changes their costumes regularly but I hope this year’s veil (a rainbow of colours) will not sneer at my very first veil, which I still have. All colours are wonderful, filled with light and promise. How sad to be envious of another’s attributes. For shame, Turquoise!

Happy New Year

2014 was an important year for me in the writing field. I entered competitions, won awards and featured in several anthologies. I wrote two books, Turn Right at the Pink Shirt and Paradise Landing.

In 2015 I hope to offer both of these books as ebooks on this site. With the advent of Paypal, online purchases are safer than ever and I will be looking forward to sharing my writing on the internet.

In the meantime, I wish everybody a happy and prosperous New Year.

Love Thine Enemy

The short story this month has its roots in my past in East Africa. I grew up in Kenya and my father often drove us down the escarpment of the Rift Valley to the small town of Naivasha, passing the little Italian church. Sometimes we stopped and visited the cool interior, the solid walls keeping out the equatorial heat. I have a photo of a younger self, sitting on the stone steps clutching my teddybear.

Many Italian prisoners of war remained in East Africa after World War II and settled on the land. I would like to think that the fictitious Captain Malatesta was one of those and that Emilio got to climb Mt Kenya with Peter.

A Sense of Deja Vu

Didn’t that happen before? No, it didn’t.

Just been reading the reviews of my short story of that name which will be published in Write Around Queensland’s anthology for 2014. People have been very kind. The story is about two young girls who depart on an odyssey around Europe to find their origins. Some of it I took from real life situations when I visited Spain. Although my ancestors are 100% Scottish, the Spaniards were convinced I was a local. In supermarkets, the check out chicks would chatter away to me whilst dredging up their limited English for my travel companions. Old Nonnas would take my arm to see them across the road, muttering about the evils of tourism as they glared at my companions. Perhaps some Spanish sailor from the wrecks of the Armada got cast ashore on a Hebridean islandand founded my family dynasty?

The Nandi Bear

Something new this month for your enjoyment.

Growing up in Africa introduced me to another culture and its beliefs. The Nandi Bear was a fearsome creature reputed to only eat the brain of its victim. Never seen, mention of its name was greeted with rolling eyes and the sign to avert witchcraft.

This is a true story. I heard the Nandi Bear that night and his claws are still deep inside me, waiting for a quiet moment in the middle of the night to drag me screaming into a nightmare.

A Faraway Shore

Here’s this month’s short story for your enjoyment. A love story which starts on a faraway shore.

Living on an island makes me more aware of shorelines and the sea. A shoreline is constantly changing as the tide comes in and bestows its offerings on the beach. Sometimes they are beautiful – a piece of driftwood shaped like a seahorse or a tiny glistening shell. Other deposits make me shake my head as I pick up plastic bottles, broken glass and lengths of fishing line.

So too do our lives change and I try to always find time to sweep my own personal “beach”. There’s a lot of rubbish there but sometimes I find a pearl.

Swallows & Amazons

Swallows and Amazons is a series of twelve children’s books by Arthur RansomeThe twelve books involve adventures by children during their school holidays in England in the 1920s and 30s.

As they revolve mainly around sailing. the Sailing Master of our local Boat Club decided to hold a Swallows & Amazons weekend. We spent four days on the waters of Moreton Bay with a group of up to twenty-eight boats from our Club, the Moreton Bay Wooden Boat Association and other boats from Macleay Island.

On Saturday, we sailed across to neighbouring Coochiemudlo Island for a capuccino in the island general store. Saturday night was a Pirate Night at the Tingira Boat Club, where Guy and I won first prize for our costumes, with special mention of our attention to detail, viz swords and treasure chest.

P1020607s

 

Sunday saw the boats on a “secret raid” through the cutting on nearby Garden Island. Not a race, the prize went to the boat who completed the course in the time nearest to the secret time. Sadly, we were far too fast.

IMG_0221_1

On Monday, Guy and I exchanged our borrowed 12′ Vagabond for our own 30′ sloop, Bonnington and joined a number of wooden boats who sailed to Blakesleys on North Stradbroke Island for an overnight camp, sailing back to Macleay on Tuesday.

IMG_0090

Glorious Queensland weather. Who could ask for anything more?