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I am a writer, editor and reviewer based in Perth, Western Australia: my first novel, The Dagger of Dresnia (Book 1 of The Talismans) is published by Satalyte and available from their website as well as Amazon.com and other online outlets. As both writer and editor, I specialise in historical and high or epic fantasy. If you have a manuscript in preparation, don't waste money on editing too early. Instead, let me help with a mini-assessment of your work, based on careful reading of your synopsis and first 20 pages. Then, when you've worked on the manuscript in line with our discussions, I will be happy to do a full edit before you send it off into the big wide world. My fees are very reasonable - for more about my editing work, CLICK HERE

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've Lived - Sydney

Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
Blue Lake

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
From Kings Park

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

Inner Peace Blog

Inner Peace Blog
Awarded by Joanna Fay. Click on the image to visit her lovely website!

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award
Awarded by Kim Falconer. Click on the pic to check out her Quantum Astrology blog!

Fabulous Blog Award

Fabulous Blog Award
Awarded by Kathryn Warner. Click on the pic to check out her Edward II blog!

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Sunday, 17 May 2009

Wrong in the head

Well, friends, tomorrow I go to have my head read.

Actually, it's to have a CT scan of my poor brain, which according to certain of my friends, has probably always had something wrong with it. My mother always assured me I was not right in the head, so maybe this goes back a lo-oong way. However it only caught up with me properly a few weeks ago, when I realised that I could not remember what I'd done five minutes earlier, kept losing words (which is most unusual for me: if there's one thing I'm never at a loss for it's words) and kept making silly mistakes in daily tasks. In short, I have become quite muddle-headed.

This would happen just when I'm deperately busy (see my penultimate post) and trying to do extra stuff including facilitating a reading of The Merchant of Venice for fellow members of the Perth Shakespeare Club. The whole thing skirted disaster. The day before the reading someone noticed I had not cast a couple of parts. How can one not cast a couple of parts, given a list of dramatis personae and a list of willing readers? I could, and did. Fortunately I was able to cast them both at very short notice, as well as two parts that the readers had to reneg on due to illness. The reading of acts one and two went really well, after all, so I'am grateful for small mercies. We'll tackle acts three, four and five at the June meeting, and maybe I'll have my head back together by then.

At first, the doc thought it was thyroid trouble causing the brain fog. I did indeed have a dearth of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, but I think it must have been a lack of iodine because a few good feeds of fish pulled the levels back to normal. The foggy-headedness, however, has persisted. So tomorrow I have to take two buses and a short walk to a place where they will take nice coloured piccies of the old grey matter to see if anything else is wrong. The doctor assures me that it's not Alzheimer's, and I agree. I fully expect to get some kind of dementia, but not yet. Most of my family succumbs to dementia in their late seventies, but I should have ten more years of normal brain function before it's my turn.

I have a gut feeling that it's actually caused by a medication I've been taking for some time for a hiatus hernia. The literature tells me that it can cause confusion, depression, anxiety, memory loss and many other complaints, and I suppose I've been lucky not to have had these side effects before. I've been on the stuff for three years, and I'm one of those people who falls asleep for twelve hours after taking a pill for travel sickness. If a med can cause strange side effects, it will cause them in me.

But even if we're erring on the side of caution, the doc and I both think brain pix will be a nice thing to have. Maybe I could have them made into a collage with the pretty ones they took of my heart three years ago.

Old age? I'd just as soon give it a miss, were the alternative not so very final:-)
Sunday, 10 May 2009

A new best friend

This is Benny, my latest little charge. He is a proper raggamuffin of a dog and although he is black (with some silver stripes, earned through long service) he reminds me more than anything else of Ginger Meggs, a popular comic strip character in Oz when I was a child. (Ginger Meggs was of the same ilk as Huck Finn or Sweet William, for those of you who are of the American or British breeds.) In short, despite being a well bred miniature poodle, Benny is a bundle of mischief, always covered in grass seeds or something more unsavoury, sloppy in his personal habits but with a heart of gold and of the sweetest temperament you could wish for in a canine buddy. I'm enjoying his company immensely!
Sunday, 3 May 2009

Busy, busy, busier yet

My blogging has become, to say the least, spasmodic lately. That's because my life has become somewhat chaotic since I arrived back in Perth in early March, having gone from pleasantly industrious to red alert.

The pleasantly industrious part lasted a few weeks while I was house-sitting at the home of furry friends Gretel, Sara and Sonia. The first two ladies are of the canine variety, and both are of an age at which they need to watch their health, so there was a good deal of medication to be dealt with as well as the usual walks, bathing and grooming. Sonia the cat is as dignified and self-sufficient as ever. She's no longer young, but still enjoys excellent health apart from the odd fur ball, the bane of all long-haired cats everywhere.

It was a worrying fortnight, as I'd come back to Perth to find that two of my friends had breast cancer. However, they both had surgery and their prognoses look excellent, although one is in for a long round of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Not much fun, I shouldn't think, but far better than the alternative. I lost two friends to breast cancer within a few months of each other back in 1995, so I am always relieved when I hear of someone who has taken early, appropriate action. Go have that mammogram, friend. It could save your life.

Of course, at sixty-six years of age I'm in the same boat as my furry friends: the body is packing up and so are those of my contemporaries. My personal current grizzle has to do with an underactive thyroid. It lowers my energy, sometimes to a level that's hardly worth measuring; makes me excessively, constantly tired; raises the heartrate and the anxiety levels, makes me feel cold even on a hot day and makes my skin so dry I could use #3 sandpaper to exfoliate. I am eating extra fish in the hope of giving the poor thyroid some reserves of iodine, but although that's helped a bit it looks as if something stronger might be needed. So perhaps soon there will be still another medication joining the hoard - or maybe that should be horde, for I have enough meds on that bench to make an army of pills and potions.

The current state of panic, I believe, is April's fault. April brought me not only the usual stress of getting the new Specusphere reviews ready to roll, but also an editing job that I really, really, wanted to do, quite apart from the financial angle. It's a biography of Jimmy Melrose, a young Australian aviator back in the 1930s who was something of a national hero. His death at the age of only 22 created a national outpouring of grief. Yet today we seldom hear his name, and the author of the biography is keen to redress that. She has written an excellent manuscript that's a pleasure to work on, but as so often happens, I received it so close to the projected publication date that it has tipped me into a state of chaos. Even so, I thought I was almost on top of things until I received a record number of reviews to edit and upload for The Specusphere. Twenty-eight of them! It's great that I have a fine team of reviewers and the trust of a dozen or more publishing houses, but to go with those things I really need two more sets of hands and eyes. It's been truly stressful this last ten days and it didn't help that for reasons beyond my ken the webzine went live on Friday instead of Sunday - sans most of the reviews. Last night was a late one, seeing me up until midnight to get them online, and meantime, authors and fans were desperately hitting the titles in the Table of Contents, only to find no substance behind the facade. As the hits mounted, so my desperation grew and I felt little but out-and-out exhaustion when I finally put the last review to bed.

But now, as usual, I am thrilled to see my babies online and already getting lots of hits. Go and see The Specusphere's nice new front page, and dip into the reviews while you're there!

So now I've only got a couple of days to do the last pass of the Melrose book (wish me, and the poor long-suffering author, luck!) and then I move on to a new housesit. The one I'm in now is lovely - in fact, I'm not a house-sitter, really, but an honoured guest in a flat owned by my friend Pam - but I haven't had time to explore this delightful area (Woodlands, in Perth, if you'd like to check Google Earth) because of the crazy workload. I'm hoping that as from this Wednesday, when I move to Shenton Park for two months, my life will slow from a gallop to a nice easy trot.
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