Thursday’s Child – Picnic at the Waterfall

January 22, 2018 at 7:30 am | Posted in Australia, Birds, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, household chores, Nature, Promotion, Reading, Writing | 2 Comments
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I am writing a few blog posts to introduce the main character in Thursday’s Child, my new Young Adult novel, which is set in 1960-61 Australia. Victoria Delaney (Tori) is fourteen, in her second year of high school. She wants to become a teacher one day, but events conspire against her.

*         *         *

From Tori’s Diary

Thursday, 8th September 1960

We had such a lovely day today. I am so tired I can hardly write. It’s only a few days until we go back to school for the last term before Christmas, so we wanted to do something special. We got Mam to let us go to the falls for a picnic! The four of us – me, Carol, Mickey & Frankie set off after we’d done our morning chores. Danny’s only a baby, so he stayed home with Mam.

We followed the road, then a track, and after about four miles, we came to the creek. It wasn’t hot, but it was sunny, even through the trees and we were glad to get there. The water was so clear and cold to drink, wash our faces and bathe our bare feet in. Mam had made us promise not to go in swimming, so I had to watch Mickey so he didn’t.

We played around on the rocks and paddled where the water was shallow just out from the falls. How lovely the rock wall is where the water flows over into the waterhole! I’m no good at geology, but I could tell that lots of different layers sat on top of each other. The water had made them smooth and dark, and where the sun shone, the rock glistened and the water sparkled.

Mickey kept his eyes and ears open for birds all the time, and told us each time he heard or saw a different one. There are so many! Honeyeaters, red wattlebirds and a couple of different finches are the ones I remember. Frankie followed Mickey everywhere, as he usually does, and one time he slipped off a rock into the water. Thank goodness it wasn’t deep. He grazed his leg & got wet, but he was dry by the time we got home.

Carol and I wandered around, sometimes together and sometimes in different directions, but we all stayed close to the waterhole. I was hoping to see a platypus, but we must have scared them away. We did see a water dragon, and when we were walking back home, we saw a couple of wallabies – I think its wallabies in the mountains, not kangaroos, as they live in flatter country. Some of the wildflowers were out too and the golden wattles along the roadsides were still in flower.

We ate our jam sandwiches and boiled eggs for lunch and drank from the creek. We loved it so much that we didn’t want to leave, but we’d also promised Mam we’d be back in time to do our evening chores. I have to help with making dinner, and there are the chooks to feed, eggs to collect, Danny to look after, wood to chop for the stove. We got home in time, so Mam was happy, and even with the five-mile walk back, we were too.

 

If you wish to purchase Thursday’s Child on Kindle, click here to pre-order. It will be available for download on the 1st of February.

© Linda Visman

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Thursday’s Child – Tori’s Book Review

January 18, 2018 at 7:50 am | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, high school, historical fiction, Nature, Reading, Ways of Living, Writing | 6 Comments
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I am writing a few blog posts to introduce the main character in my new Young Adult novel, Thursday’s Child, which is set in 1960-61 Australia. Victoria Delaney is fourteen, in her second year of high school. She wants to become a teacher one day, but events conspire against her.

As part of their English subject, Tory and her class were asked to write a review of a book they enjoyed. Here is Tori’s book review:

 

*         *         *

 

My book is “Man-shy”, by Frank Dalby Davison. It was published in 1931 by Angus and Robertson, and won best novel of the year. The other part of its title is “A Story of Men and Cattle”.

I loved this story, even though I had a feeling it would not end well; after all how can cattle win when they take on men? The main “character” for the cattle in the scrub is the red heifer, who becomes the red cow. The main human character on the cattle station is the stockman Splinter. We don’t see a lot of either of them in the story, but they are strongly present through it.

The author Mr Davison seems to really understand men and cattle and that makes the animals and people real instead of made-up. He shows the difference between the docile cattle of the paddocks and the wild cattle of the rugged ranges. There is also a difference between the cruel owner who only sees cattle as “beef on the hoof” to be turned into profit, and Splinter who is more sympathetic. Splinter is still a man though, and still has to catch and brand them.

Mr Davison really makes me see the countryside and feel the feelings of both man and beast. I like his descriptions of the spirited red cow who only wants to live in freedom. I also love how he writes, sentences like: “The sun went down behind the range, drawing the light with it.”(p.92)

The character I most liked is the red cow, and I am on her side all the way through. It is sad when she is caught and branded, but then she is released. Then she is caught again, but escapes. I was happy for her then. But the cattle station is turned into smaller, fenced-off allotments and the wild cattle can no longer get to water.

I was glad when she and her calf escaped from the final trap. Then I realized that she had doomed herself and her calf to the waterless rugged ranges. However, her mates had all perished by violence, while she would at least die as she had lived – free in her beloved scrubland. And that was enough for me.

 

If you wish to purchase Thursday’s Child on Kindle, click here to pre-order. It will be available for download on the 1st of February.

 

Thursday’s Child – Introducing my Main Character

January 15, 2018 at 11:58 am | Posted in 1960s, Australia, divisions in society, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, historical fiction, History, Reading, Social mores, Society, War and Conflict, Ways of Living, Writing | 4 Comments
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I would like to introduce the main character in my new Young Adult novel, Thursday’s Child.

It is 1961, and Victoria (Tori) Delaney is in her second year of high school. Her class has been discussing social issues that affect Australia. Her teacher, Miss Bradshaw, has given the class an assignment to complete for homework.

Choose an issue that you think is important and write a one to two page essay on it.

This is what Tori writes:

*         *         *

Why are girls and women treated as if they are not as good as boys and men? Why are they not allowed to do the same things as they are, or given the same opportunities?

It surprises me that women are even allowed to vote. I am sure that if it hadn’t been for the Suffragettes, they would still not be allowed to. I think it is very unfair that we are treated as if we are inferior. Women have often shown that they are just as good as men, the most obvious way is when they had to step in during the Great War and again in the last war.

Women who had never even lived in the country joined the Australian Women’s Land Army so that farming could carry on when the men went off to war. They did everything that the men had done. They drove tractors and did the ploughing, the reaping and the carting of the crop. They cared for the animals, shore the sheep and milked the cows, as well as butchering them for meat.

Some women took over jobs that needed specialist knowledge and strength. They became mechanics, drivers, engineers and aeroplane builders, as well as producing guns and ammunition.

The Australian Army, Navy and Air Force would have found it harder to keep going without the women who joined the special Women’s Services. They drove jeeps and big trucks, piloted planes to be repaired and returned to service. They became radio operators and even observers and anti-aircraft gunners.

It was mostly the women at home who made the men’s uniforms, who went into danger to nurse the sick and wounded, and who took over from the male doctors when they joined the forces. And many of them did this as well as raising families, often on their own, and worrying about their husbands and sons who were fighting or imprisoned.

When the war ended, the men returned home and, of course they wanted their jobs back. Most women were happy to go back to the home life they’d had before the war, but more than a few thought they had earned the right to work at jobs they had done well for many years. They didn’t want to go back to being under men’s thumb again.

They had kept vital industries going, kept the country fed and the forces clothed and supplied. They had learned new skills, felt they could contribute something to society. Now the exciting days of responsibility and self-respect were over, they didn’t want to go back to household drudgery and lose what they had showed they were capable of. It must have been really hard for them

Many women and even girls like me resent that they are not treated as equal to men, and are not satisfied with a life of pandering to them. What hope is there in that?

 

Tori will tell us a bit more about herself in the next few posts.

If you wish to purchase Thursday’s Child on Kindle, click here to pre-order. It will be available for download on the 1st of February.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Getting Closer!

January 8, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, historical fiction, Reading, Writing, Writing and Life | 8 Comments
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Front cover -Dave

 

The second proof copy of my novel ‘Thursday’s Child’ arrived today. It took less than a week from when I ordered it.

It looks great – the cover, the font, the setting out are all wonderful.  I don’t expect to find any issues, but it is always better to be sure than sorry. So, after a final check, I will be able to make it available on Kindle, and as a Print-on-demand paper copy.

I have also begun work on my third Young Adult novel, as yet untitled.

Exciting times!

 

 

 

Cover of my second novel

December 3, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, Publishing, Reading, Social mores, Writing | 14 Comments
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I am excited!

I will shortly receive a proof copy of my second coming-of-age Young Adult novel, Thursday’s Child, to go through and make sure it is ready for publication.

Here is the cover for the book – back, spine and front.

 

Book Cover Preview on CreateSpace

It is always rather thrilling to get to this stage.

 

 

 

A Letter to a Friend about Writing

November 30, 2017 at 11:55 am | Posted in Australia, Writing | 5 Comments
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I recently received an email from a friend who wants to write:

 

Linda, have you been writing anymore chapters on your 2nd book?  I tried what you suggested about just sitting down and start writing but perhaps I’m doing all wrong, to me it seems my sentences don’t have the flow that you read in yours and other books.

 

I gave her plaint some thought, and this is what I wrote back to her:

 

Hi Jane,

Sorry to take so long to get back to you about the writing.

To answer your question about my latest book, Thursday’s Child: I have completed it and am trying to get it published on CreateSpace. I am having trouble with it getting up there as they’ve changed the process since I did Ben’s Challenge. However, I am still trying.

Re your own writing: what kind of writing are you doing? Memoir? Fiction? Whichever it is, don’t worry if the words won’t flow. It took years before my own writing was at the standard it was for that first book. I am told that this second book is even better, & that’s due to constant improvement through actually writing a lot.

It’s that first draft that matters, no matter how good or bad it is. In my own writing, I am constantly editing. The book that comes out at the end has probably gone through 6-12 drafts! So don’t worry if you can’t get the flow immediately. You can’t make your writing better if you don’t write it first – even if it is badly.

Whatever you are writing, fiction or non-fiction, then you will find the writing will flow better if you imagine you are telling someone the story or writing a letter to them – perhaps one of your kids, or a friend – or even an imaginary person. Don’t think about the writing – think about the story and the people in the story. You can always fix it up and make it better once you have actually written it. With the computer, it is so much easier to go back and change things.

I find it hard to tell a story verbally. For me, it is the written word that lets the story flow. When I lived far from my parents, my mother used to tell me my letters were like a novel. If I get stuck, I imagine I’m writing it to a person (perhaps Mum), or I imagine I am the person in the story. It is amazing how a character (even a real one in a memoir) can come to life if you put yourself into their head and their emotions. Try it and see what happens. But don’t over-think it.

I am old-fashioned. I didn’t grow up with computers, but with paper and pencil/pen so, especially when I am writing my novels and short stories – and even poems, I do it longhand. I write it into an A4 school notebook. I can write, scribble, cross out, draw arrows to change the order, etc, as I go. It is only once I have the first draft of a chapter or a short story written in the book that I type it up, editing & improving as I go, onto the computer.

So, Jane, don’t think about the quality of the writing. Don’t try to make it good at first. Just try to get it down. I think the main things though, to release that creative flow, is to make it personal,  imagine you are telling it to someone. And don’t be impatient. The more you just write, the easier it will become to just write.

I hope these suggestions help you to get the writing juices going and flowing, Jane. Happy writing!

Best regards,

Linda

 

How do you get the writing to flow?

 

 

 

 

In Stitches

March 13, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Australia, Nature, Poetry, Writing | 27 Comments
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I have been occupied with other things than this blog lately. However, I would like to share a poem with you that I wrote a few years ago. It is about the beautiful Lake Macquarie where I live, and how I saw it one day as I walked along the shore.

The poem was recently commended in the Morisset Show Poetry Competition.

 

 

Wangi Bay stretches before me,

a coarse wind-ruffled

grey-green fabric;

patches of dirty brown

rain-stirred run-off

tacked onto it here and there

like jungle-camouflage.

 

Silver sequins

tossed onto the watery quilt

tumble and sparkle among

the grey jetty stripes and squares

and the multi-coloured

ship-shaped pieces

that have been tacked on

with contrasting whitecap stitches.

 

Here and there,

in out-of-the-way places

an occasional dot

of white embroidery –

a bobbing seagull or pelican.

 

A narrow, irregular strip

of breaking waves

marks the inner border

separating the nautical pattern

from its dark green edging

of eucalypt and casuarina

and spiky Lomandra longifolia

 

Today, the lake is a patch-work quilt

that I would like to take home with me.

 

 

© Linda Visman

11th October, 2010

 

A to Z Challenge – Y is for You’re in there!

April 29, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Poetry, Writing | 10 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

.

Do you ever have trouble finding a word?

.

You’re in There – I Know You Are!

.

Stop, Word! I saw you.

Get back here, I need you.

I’ve been looking for you everywhere.

Oh, no. Don’t you go and hide;

I know you’re in there –

Come out and let me see you!

.

Come on out. Please.

This happens every time I need you;

You’re nowhere to be found.

Stop hiding behind the others!

No, I don’t want them,

I want you!

They just aren’t right for this work.

.

Oh, please, Word.

Don’t you want to be famous;

Have everyone quoting you;

Be the very latest “bon mot”?

You do? Great!

Share? Well, yes, of course

You’ll have to share

The poem with the other words.

.

You don’t want to? But why?

They’re just the everyday words;

The run-of-the-mill words.

They just can’t do the job like you can!

I need a word

That says it just right;

That conveys the perfect idea;

That creates the exact emotion.

.

That’s you. Yes, you!

Oh, come on, Word.

You’ll look so good on the paper,

Or on the screen.

You’ll be admired, and …

.

Word! Come out, this minute!

You’re spoiling everything.

My poem will be ruined.

You don’t care, do you?

You just don’t care.

.

This is your last chance, Word.

Get yourself out here!

Come out of my memory.

Right now!

.

.

(c)  Linda Visman

A to Z Challenge – W is for Writers’ Block

April 27, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Poetry, Writing | 7 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

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I am stuck with my creative writing. How can I get my mojo back?

.

Writer’s Block

.

What’s happened to my stories; where did they go?

The tales I‘m well into have just lost their flow.

What should I do to regain inspiration,

When rust is corroding my imagination?

.

My stories began with energy and verve,

And it seemed I had hit on my creative nerve.

But now that my characters have lives of their own,

They won’t tell me the next bit – it’s like talking to stone!

.

I’ve set them in time, and in distinctive places;

You wouldn’t expect they’d keep hiding their faces.

Yet that’s what they’re doing; they don’t seem to want me

To finish their stories; to let them be free.

.

Perhaps they don’t like what they’re expected to do;

They’re sulking, annoyed at a detail or two.

But I can’t change the fact that they put themselves there;

I just want to help them – don’t they know that I care?

.

Where are you Carla? What on earth are you doing?

Ben, surely you want to solve the mystery that’s stewing?

Then talk to me. Tell me, what’s happening next?

‘Cause I’m puzzled and lost – and very much vexed!

.

If you won’t let me come back and live in your tales,

I’ll cry, get depressed and believe that I’ve failed.

But if you take me back into these stories I’ve penned,

I can make it all right when we get to the end.

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Inspiration! Come back!

.

(c)  Linda Visman

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Share Your World – 2015 Week #6

February 11, 2015 at 9:46 am | Posted in Gratitude, Writing | 5 Comments
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 Here we are again with Cee’s challengeShare Your World Week 6

 

What was the last time you went to a new place?

Just last week, actually. I wrote about it and posted photos last Friday of our ferry ride to Manly, on the north side of Sydney Harbour. It was a place I had never been to and a ferry ride I’d never taken.

If you were or are a writer do you prefer writing short stories, poems or novels, other? And what type of genre would you prefer?

I am a writer. I love to write, and have written, all those forms and others – poetry, short stories, novels, memoir, biography, essays. Although my novels tend to be historical, and aimed primarily at middle grade and young adult, I am not necessarily limited by genre. My short stories cover a range from contemporary to slightly paranormal to historical. My poetry is about real life and feelings, nature, the act of writing, and occasional humour.

Out of your five senses (touch, taste, sight, smell, hearing) which is your favorite?

All of our senses are windows to the world, and I don’t know that any one is my favourite. They each give me a different perspective that I would lose if that sense were not there. But if I go by the sense that I would least like to lose, I’d say sight. How awful to be unable to see my grandchildren as they grow up, to not see the trees and birds, the sweeping plains and sky, the sea and the mountains that I love. However, I would hate to lose any of my senses – I already suffer some hearing loss, but I hope it never goes completely.

If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than yours?

I would say hardly any of them. Although we are not well off financially and we have a few health problems, we have everything we need to enjoy a full life. We may not be able to travel widely, have a big house and car, or buy whatever we want, but we have a wonderful family, friends we care about, and we can take short holidays in our little camper van. We also have interests that stimulate us and keep us active and aware. We lead a simple but satisfying life.

Of course, there are things we would like to do and places we would like to see. We see many of our friends doing some of those things. But we accept that, for us, they are out of reach. It is that acceptance that probably ensures we are content – indeed, more content – with life than most other people.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week, I was able to catch up with a friend for lunch, and we spent two hours sharing, catching up and supporting each other.

Later this week, we will be on our way to a week’s holiday in our national capital and along the coast. We will also see a daughter and grandchildren, and perhaps other family members, siblings, as well.

(c) Linda Visman

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