Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Publication news

Thanks again to Matthew Lamb, editor of digital literary journal  'Review of Australian Fiction', for supporting Australian authors, both established and emerging. It was great to be partnered with established author, Kate Gordon, in one of seven issues for volume 7*, with a focus on Tasmanian writers, curated by Rachael Edwards (previous co-editor of Tasmania's literary magazine, 'Island'). 

 Other exciting news is the upcoming March 2014 writers festival in my region of the Tamar Valley - 'Beaconsfield Festival of Golden Words' - with 70 authors booked, including recent 'Miles Franklin' winner, Hannah Kent, top selling author of 'Burial Rites.'
I'm looking forward to meeting her!

For anyone else writing historical fiction, you might also like to join the newly established Tasmanian branch of the 'Historical Novel Society':
contact Steve Rossiter:


*Shameless plug: copies of my short story can be purchased for $2.99 at

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Getting Published - in literary magazine 'Review of Australian Fiction'

Getting published is one of a number of reasons why fiction writers write.

One of my favourite bloggers, West Australian writer, Amanda Curtin, recently wrote about the reasons that writers write:   She aligned herself with Joan Didion who, in the article 15 Famous Authors on Why They Write, is quoted as saying: ‘I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.' 

I responded to Amanda that, first and foremost I'm driven by the creative urge, discovering characters who I chase into the imagined places I have them inhabit - yes, the pure pleasure of that experience. After that, it is a bit of every other reason that the article identified including the desire to be read, to be published. 
With that in mind, I was happy to learn that Matthew Lamb, editor of the digital literary magazine, Review of Australian Fiction,  was publishing my short story 'The Space Between', in his next issue, Volume 7, Issue 5I met Matthew for the first time recently at the launch of the latest issue of Tasmania's literary magazine, Island (see sidebar for link) which he also co-edits (busy man). We talked about his focus on Tasmanian writers in the latest volume of the Review of Australian Fiction: six fortnightly issues where an established Tasmanian writer mentors an emerging writer, with their linked stories published together in each issue. An exciting opportunity for emerging writers. 

My gratitude to writer, and friend, Kate Gordon, for inviting me to partner with her. 


Monday, August 26, 2013

Update: Three novels and a Masters

I started this blog several years ago when I began writing fiction fulltime (as opposed to being an academic, domestic violence researcher and a social worker fulltime), because that's what contemporary, hip and happening writers do - they blog. Prospective publishers will want you to have an on-line profile, I heard - an audience they can tap into. I joined Facebook and surfed the social media waves (I couldn't bring myself to tweet - that was a bridge too far). 

But, in the same way that it is a journey of discovery to find your voice when you write fiction, finding my voice when blogging has been harder. Or is that just me?  I struggle with who is my audience, which aspects of myself am I portraying, what will be my focus? 

When I created the blog in 2010 I wrote that I thought about interviewing Australian women writers, inspired by the Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews. I even bought the latest you beaut recorder. But my own writing took priority and it never happened (and now another writer has done something similar with female and male authors, establishing a subscription PDF 'magazine', and I love it!).

Consequently, my blog has languished this past two years while, happily, my fiction writing has progressed (three novels: an adult fiction novel, currently with an agent; a co-authored young adult (YA) fantasy novel, currently with a manuscript assessor; and a historical/legend YA work in progress, the writing component of a recently completed Masters of Creative Writing. 

I could delete the blog but hey, it's doing no harm. So, I shall post this update and maybe, just maybe, I shall return a little sooner next time. 

In the meantime, here are some sites I've found useful on my writing journey.

Best wishes, 

Shirley    A Sydney, Australia literary agent decodes the world of publishing to assist writers.     Two stories every week from Australia's best authors.     Australian Literary Magazines.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An agent

25 November 2011: a good day.

The day I obtained a literary agent, Selwa Anthony.

A validating experience for an emerging writer.

Another step on the journey.


Monday, October 3, 2011

A new day

Dear Blog,

It's been a while. I've been busy. Yes, yes, that old chestnut. No, really. You've been left languishing in the dark hole of cyber space while its author went off to focus on other pursuits - like finishing her first novel. Yes, it's finished, working title, 'The Secret Carrier', and the next step is seeking an agent/publisher.

I know, I know, me and a million others. But, being a classic glass half full woman, annoyingly optimistic and perhaps the best reframer yet, it'll be try, try and try again - like most 'new and emerging writers'.

The process of writing is after all an end in itself - the creative venture is a heady place, a time-warped space, a sometimes altered state. But mostly? It's just practical, i.e. sit in a chair and write: get off Facebook, ignore the emails, no, the blinds don't need cleaning, no, you don't need to ring that long lost friend - just write. On a good day it's 3000 words, on a bad one, it's re-reading what I've written and 'fiddling'.

Anyway. I'm back and I'll try to visit you more often now that your existence may be discovered after I chose to dive into the deep ocean of social media on Facebook and surf the wave - without floaties, too!

See you soon.


Best First Lines of Novels —

Best First Lines of Novels —

One of my favourites on this list is Anne Tyler in "Back When We Were Grownups":
           'Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.'

It somehow speaks to those untaken paths we all might have taken, not in a regretful way, necessarily, just a 'What if...?'


Monday, March 21, 2011

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability | Video on

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability | Video on

I found this presentation by social worker, Brene Brown, brutally honest and inspiring.

It reminds me of the importance of connecting with one another and of the struggle for authenticity.