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Wipptee — an Australian rural romance

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A cozy mystery with a feisty enemies-to-lovers romance on the side.   A young woman wants a quiet life in a small country town, but her past crimes as an animal rights activist return to haunt her.  BUY EBOOK  Maddison returns to Australia after five years away, desperate for a happily-ever-after future with her husband. But Daniel is missing and wanted by the police. Maddie follows a lead to Rakali Springs, the town where everything first went wrong for her and Daniel. She receives a hostile reception, but the Brackton family, Grace and her four sons, are willing to give her a place to stay.   It doesn’t take long for Maddie to discover that everyone has an agenda. Grace, the family matriarch, is determined to end destructive land clearing on neighbouring Wipptee farm at any cost. Matthew guards his secrets well, Liam is sleazy and unpredictable, and Travis wants only regular work for his earthmoving business. Worst of all, Constable Theo Brackton never misses a chance to accuse, crit

Rakali Springs — an imaginary Australian country town

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  I made up Rakali Springs. There's no such place, but I imagine it to look very like the pretty little towns in New South Wales' western slopes. Towns like Cootamundra or the town in this picture, Cowra.  The houses have corrugated metal roofs, and the older houses are wooden cottages. Houses are spread out on large blocks, and trees and gardens grow everywhere except in drought years. Most have railways running through, but these days there are only grain trains, no passenger services. The grain gets a royal ride and the people are jolted around on buses. Rakali Springs is the scene of the action in the cozy mystery / rural romance Wipptee. BUY EBOOK NOW

Writing Wipptee — a little mystery, a little romance

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 It's five years since I moved to the country, and I've wanted to write about it since the first day. I've always been a city girl, and I imagined the country as a quiet, somewhat behind the times, place. I was so wrong. There's a boiling cauldron of politics, and while retail is limited, there's no shortage of informaton or internet access. And the idea that people live and die in their native town isn't true either. People move all over the place. There's constant change. Another shock — the country is industrial. Trucks, machinery, warehouses, factories, and now wind and solar production, are everywhere. Some of the great issues of our time converge in the country. Animal rights, farm invasions, the right to protest, the destructive potential of agriculture, people's lifelong dedication to landcare and land repair, and mining rights, create a potent mix of conflicting views. In this book I try to capture some of this, against Maddison Debranz's qu

Better sandcastles: the angle of repose

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My story, The Empty Quarter was inspired by the concept of the angle of repose. The angle of repose is a kind of tipping point. It's the highest slope that the pile can form without becoming unstable and beginning to slide, a point of balance. It's the reason why wet sand makes better sandcastles than dry sand — it has a much higher angle of repose. Image: Sandcastle, Dover Castle (cropped), Gaius Cornelius via Wikimedia, Creative Commons licence   Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International  ] [Read more about the science at  Wikipedia  ] What if one of the contaminants in sand was an alien species? What if, as a result, the sand dunes towered upwards at angles impossible back on Earth? In my story, the steep dunes cause an accident which is a turning point, a tipping point, for the people involved. Just like the angle of repose is a tipping point. But there's a second tipping point in my story, not for individuals but for the culture of the human colonists on my

The Empty Quarter (a short story)

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A science fiction short story about personal and ecological loss. What if your colony's glorious history was a lie? Two young surveyors travel into the desert dunes. It's been 500 hundred years since human colonists terraformed their planet. No signs of alien life have surfaced in all that time. But now, a tragic accident in the sands uncovers a long-buried secret. The early settlers lied, and the future is changed forever. A 2200 word short story. First published in 2018 in the Australian science fiction and fantasy magazine  Aurealis edition 115 , edited by Dirk Strasser. Newly published as an ebook.  BUY ebook   

Reading journal: Victory on Gallipoli and other what-ifs of Australian History edited by Peter Stanley

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Genre: Non-fiction Published: 2017 Date read: July 2018 I’m interested in alternate history. It’s a bit like studying history in reverse. In the study of history, the European approach is to examine primary sources to establish facts, and then retro-fit an interpretation onto that information. The interpretation changes as society and our current pre-occupations change. Alternate history is different. It postulates a change in “known” facts, then  tries to deduce what would have changed as a result. Of course some retro-fitted interpretation must still be present, but is usually not explicitly stated. In this volume, the authors do exactly this. I have a couple of complaints. Firstly, the events they have examined all fall into the traditional ‘famous men’ theme — military history, political events, and you guessed it, famous men. There are 24 stories, two are about women, and they are both political women (Vida Goldstein and Edith Cowan). Secondly, the interpretation. I

Reading journal: Exile by Glynn Stewart

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Genre: Science Fiction Published: 2018 Date read: August 2018 Competent science fiction tale from a solid professional writer. Isaac Gallant and a bunch of revolutionaries are exiled through a one-way wormhole to a distant galaxy, and must establish themselves on a new planet. But of course there are aliens, lots of them, and deadly dangers. Not a bad yarn. I’ll read any sequels. Great cover.