Friday 29 November 2013

Good Aiden

It was really pleasing to see encouraging sales results for Aiden's Alibi. In it's first week, the book peaked at #3 in the short fiction section of the Aussie Amazon store and made it into the top 5% of all sales on amazon.com.

If you've read the book and you liked it, please consider returning to amazon to write a review.

And if you don't yet own a copy, you can buy it here.

Saturday 23 November 2013

New Australian Story


Anyone who has written, and tried to have their work published, will know how hard that goal is to achieve. That’s why I’m so pleased that my first complete book – a novella written under the pen name D.B Allen – has just been published and listed on Amazon as a Kindle e-book.

 
Aiden’s Alibi is the story of a guy called James Davison. James has lost his wife and after a year, he still wonders if he can move on. Then he meets Aiden’s mother. So is she the answer, or just another question? Is this the real thing, or something else altogether? James’s life is about to get a lot more complicated.

Thanks to the team at Silky Oak Press for hours of hard work on the manuscript, especially Juliette, whose stunning cover art for this book still blows me away. Even if you don’t much like reading, and if you can spare a couple of dollars, you should buy this book just for the cover. If you don’t have a Kindle – no worries – you can download a free e-reader from Amazon as well.

If you like Aiden’s Alibi, please give it a review on Amazon. And then tell your friends! There are plenty more stories to follow!

If you are in Australia click here 
 

If you are in another country click here:
 

Monday 14 October 2013

So you think you can...

So you think you can write?

But you'd like to be better?

Professional Critique services now available.

Email me at coachwoodcritique@gmail.com for more information.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Singo sentence

Wrote this lolling by a resort pool on Sentosa in Singapore...

The sky like a monsoon - water and air as one - frangipani flowers and sunscreen, marine diesel and Tiger beer, durian fruit and Java birds, the jungle, the city ... and me.  

Friday 5 July 2013

Week of Words

It's been an interesting week of words - this first week of July. A policy on vacancy management in community housing. A magazine story about a malnourished orange monkey. Reviewing copy edit for a short story pending publishing. Rewriting a manuscript that's almost old enough to go to big school. Emails and gmails and social media of many colours.

So how's your week been?

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Old Stones - Fresh Lesson


After fifty years together, The Rolling Stones gave their first headline performance at the famous Glastonbury music festival last week. Now I’m a long-term fan, but the general consensus was that this performance was the best ever seen at Glastonbury and maybe the best show the Stones have given in decades. So I gave it a look. Oh yes... Mick Jagger – a few weeks short of his 70th birthday – strutting and jumping, energy bursting out of a body that never really could contain itself. Keith Richards, stalking the stage, pumping out those menacing, growling riffs; back in control of the engine room for the biggest band on earth. Even Charlie Watts, renowned for his glumness, seemed to have a permanent smile on his face for the entire set. The crowd was massive, and wild. Flags and chanting voices. Fire and music. The Somerset earth vibrating. The director of the festival summed it up best when he said, “I pity next years’ headliners, trying to top that.”
The whole thing got me thinking – here are men, artists, in their late sixties and early seventies. Men wealthy beyond imagination. Men who have no need to perform or work another day in their lives. Men beyond pension age. They had nothing to gain playing Glastonbury. In front of a massive audience – many of whom were not Stones fans – they could have looked very silly. Yet, they walked out onto that already famous stage and gave a performance to beat them all. How? Why? I can’t help but think it’s the passion for their art. It’s the enjoyment they get from playing together and having an audience come along for the ride. I know the sentiment is a touch clich├ęd, but if you love what you do for a living, it never seems like work. Glastonbury was a fresh life lesson, from men who have done a lot of living. Love what you do, do it better and better, and you’ll never work a day in your life.
Like that idea? I like it - yes I do.

Friday 14 June 2013

Last Ride

For those of you in Sydney, there is a good movie on this Saturday night (June 15th) on SBS. "Last Ride" is based on the novel by Denise Young and stars Hugo Weaving. Despite a limited cinema run, the film received high praise from critics.

If you can't see the film, the book The Last Ride is available on Kindle and in other e-book formats. It won a Premier's Award a few years back. It has solid 5 star ratings and is a gritty, realistic Australian story. 

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Rainforest Reflections

About five years ago I started a project which was going to be a coffee table type book. Photographs and nature writing. Never finished it. I still have plans however...

Anyway, here is a piece from it that I quite like.

Toonumbar moves again. Seasonal change has found even this isolated remnant of the Big Scrub. Fruit fall is underway, sprinkling the leaf litter with pinpricks of colour.

And the air above the canopy fills with the rushing beats of a hundred pairs of wings, twisting into the branches until the trees begin to bear smoky grey flowers. The Topknots know when to arrive.

And the old Carpet Snake knows the increased sun means his winter fast is at an end and hunting can begin. While the whipbird’s breeding calls echo between the last surviving trunks of Red Cedar.

And up though the canopy, the blue sky becomes blanketed by a chromatic silver veneer. Soon there will be thunder and lightning and wind and warm forest rain. Toonumbar moves again.

Monday 27 May 2013

Achievements...

The postman came today - as he does most days - but aside from the usual bills, this time he had a parcel for me. The Rolf Boldrewood Literary Award comes with a nice little cheque for first place, but also a bronze statue of dear old Rolf himself. It was the bust that arrived with today's post. And while winning cash is nice - hey, we all need to live - the tangibility of a little award; it's lustre and shine; the heaviness of the bronze; the craft of the sculptor; seeing my name on the plaque; kind of means more. It helps make all those redrafts and struggles for good sentences seem worthwhile. Almost like an achievement...

Monday 29 April 2013

Review Common Thread Anthology 2012

This review comes from Alicia Thompson at the NSW Writers' Centre. You might recognise a name...

The Common Thread is actually a writing group (looking for new members) that has published an annual anthology of their work since 2004. In 2010 they held their first competition. This Anthology is a 'bumper edition' covering both 2012 and 2011. The bonus for readers is that this book therefore contains four prize-winning stories.

Apart from the pure enjoyment of reading short stories, this book makes an interesting study for any aspiring writer developing their short story skills and thinking of entering their work in competitions. If you've ever wondered what distinguishes a winning entry from other entrants, reading this collection may give you some helpful clues.

Apart from the four winners, the collection contains a further twenty-four pieces, seven of them poems. The stories cover a wide range of creative ideas and display a good deal of inventiveness; what makes the four winning entries stand out though, is the execution of the idea.

Both Stephen Reilly and David Blissett (1st and 2nd prize winners 2012, respectively) have chosen relatively dark material. Their stories have a sharp-edged realism to them. The previous year's winners, Theresa Layton 1st prize and Erica Woolgar 2nd, both displayed strong psychological understanding and emotional intelligence. The voices in all four stories are unsentimental and economical.

While the winning entries are of a high standard, the other published stories can be a bit uneven in quality. The writing itself is technically of a high standard and shows great care has been taken over editing, but there are several stories that could have benefited from further workshopping. A few of the pieces descend into triteness or self-indulgence and one or two don't take enough care with credibility. Non-winning entries that show a defter handling of their material include the prose of Liz Newton and Rosemary Hansell.

Altogether, this collection is a wonderful example of a group of writers who clearly have fun exercising their craft, exploring new possibilities and pushing themselves with different techniques. Read with care, this book is effectively a mini-workshop containing many lessons and ideas to take back to our own writing.

Alicia Thompson is a Sydney writer and teacher currently studying for her Masters in Creative Writing at UTS.

Friday 26 April 2013

Anonymous in a Food Court

I walked past you today. Anonymous. How long has it been? Months? Certainly not years. Is your memory that bad? Or am I easy to forget? I guess I've changed. And so, apparently, have you.

It was busy in the food court. Waves of human voices, the click and hiss of coffee machines, the UEFA Cup on the big screens. You were in that grey suit and skirt, scarlet blouse, hands clasping a take-away coffee like a life source. I said hello. Used your name. You walked right past. Didn't say a word. I ceased to exist.

I walked right past you today. I never said a word. It's been more than a year. You've really changed. And now, sadly, so have I.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

New Winton in October

Happy to see Tim Winton has gone back to the manuscripts and is releasing a new novel in October. "Eyrie" - sounds promising.

Monday 18 March 2013

Great Sentence #13

No point calling these posts "great sentence of the week" anymore - now they are coming out less than monthly.

Anyway... this is the very first sentence of Temple's Broken Shore. Simple, but stunning. You can almost feel the temperature of that wind...

Cashin walked around the hill, into the wind from the sea. It was cold, late autumn, last glowing leaves clinging to the liquidambers and maples his great-grandfather's brother had planted, their surrender close.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

I don't know what this means...


Yesterday there was sunshine...
And a beautiful girl in a dark green dress, riding a bicycle backwards, yet pedalling forwards.
 
Yesterday there was rain...
And lines in business wear, being led to their doom in the sinking glare of a dried salt lake.
 
Yesterday there was dawn...
And a boy fishing from a leprous jetty, line hanging in water the colour of a national flag.


 Yesterday there was evening...
And a bedroom at the bottom of an azure sea, air like water, two innocents making love.
 
Yesterday there was night...
And a room full of sleepless souls, bleeding, trust broken, wondering if there’ll be tomorrow.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Exciting...


I’m in the very early stages of an exciting new book idea – working with a guy who I’ve followed on YouTube for years. Watch this space...

Saturday 9 February 2013

Reminders...

It's good to be reminded of things. Reminded what being rich feels like - and if you had breakfast this morning, even it was only a drink of clean fresh water, then you are rich - or how much beauty there is all around us. It's a nifty skill to have if you're a writer.

Here's an example. Have you ever been close enough to a snake to see a rainbow shining on it's scales? Probably not. Here's proof... look closely. Can you see the rainbow? Or just snake scales?

 




Thursday 31 January 2013

Great Sentence of the Week #12

I love weather: winter sunshine poured out like an oil slick on an ocean of chill air with the suspended odours of simmering bushes and basking rocks; fierce winds that rock the trees, combing the twigs and old nests out of their tresses, tug-o-warring with earth for their roots. Symptoms of Place (Blackman)

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Finish this please...

Attention: any writers out there... I was out walking the dog yesterday when these few sentences came to me...

It was one of those days that made me wonder why I bothered. Outside, the sky was the colour of a recipe gone wrong, the air a compound of stale bushfire and fresh dog shit. Thunder overhead. I looked at myself in the mirror, sucked in one last deep breath and.....

Feel free to continue the story, using the comments section. Let's see what you've got....

Wednesday 16 January 2013

A new year, Temple writings, and the promise of good reads...


So it’s 2013 already. A year of heatwaves and fire – and we’re only two weeks in. It’s also been a busy two weeks at my desk. I’ve been writing every day, but usually for someone else. I’m hoping that next month there will be time to do some writing for myself. And that there’ll be time to read...


A colleague recently put me onto Peter Temple, specifically his book The Broken Shore, which was listed as one of the top 20 Australian Books in last year’s ABC poll. I’m taking her advice – and looking forward to the read. 2013 also holds the promise of a new book from Tim Winton, and at least one from my friend Mark Tredinnick. And Gents – if you’re out there – I’m optimistic. There are spaces on my bookshelves already.