The witch-marks of Tasmania


Tasmania is a beautiful, haunted place.

Some of the most picturesque places on this island, like Port Arthur, are haunted by the past, distant and recent. Sarah Island’s wild beauty is haunted by the memory of the time when the entrance to its harbour was named “Hell’s Gates” by the unfortunate men who knew only too well the truth of the sobriquet. There are other giveaway names dotted around the island, like Gibbet Hill.

Even the most mundane locations contain eerily jarring remnants. At a local service club, the cold storage at the back of the kitchen looks odd and archaic, for good reason: it was originally the solitary confinement cell, when the building was a local lockup. The chill lurking behind its thick oak door seems not entirely natural.

Recently, though, a whole new window onto our haunted past has begun to come to life: reminders of a time when nearly all the common folk ardently believed in spirits and witches — and took measures to guard against them.

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Winter is here

Winter is well and truly setting in, here in Tasmania. The mornings are dark, and the grass crunches underfoot. Perfect weather for staying indoors with a warm computer.

Sadly, at the moment, journalism is taking up most of my writing time. It’s not as fun, but it helps pay the bills.

But I have just realised that I have nearly six weeks of leave time owing to me, so I’m planning on taking a week off soon, to go on a writer’s retreat. I’m hunting around, to see if anyone I know has a shack – preferably up in the mountains, and far from wi-fi signals.

But I have been working: Daemon Lover 3 is mostly finished, and Wonderlust 2 is … progressing.

I’ve also almost completed a standalone story: Taken in the Labyrinth  (working title), a minotaur story. I’ve revised and edited everything, but then I realised that an entire chapter needed to be scotched and re-written. In the re-writing, it suddenly became two chapters.

But that should be done in a day or so, then it’s on to formatting and cover design, and done!

Literary Punk Rock

I came of age in the Punk Explosion in the late 1970s, and played my own small part – as a freelance music journalist, public radio presenter, and ‘zine publisher – in the 1980s Indie revolution. That era has a lot of parallels with, and lot to teach the modern indie publishing scene.

The Sex Pistols: Punk was a bomb detonated under a bloated music industry.

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Here’s to 2018.

Well. 2017 ended as a bit of a roller-coaster.

The latter part of the year started well: in August, there was a five-week overseas trip. So, that was good.

But then, a week after coming back, our eldest son was in a car-crash, at his work. At first, it seemed he’d got off ok, but it soon turned out that he’d injured his leg badly. He’s only just come out of the leg brace, and was only cleared to drive again this week. He still isn’t back at work full-time, yet.

So, the end of 2017 was a bit stressful, you might say.

For all that, though, I have been writing. The second installment of Wonderlust will be published in just a few days. The third installment of The Book of Ecstasies is near completion, as is a new story, Taken in the Labyrinth, the first Gods and Monsters story.

So, kept tuned in: regular blog posting has resumed!

How has your new year shaped up, so far?