Jennifer Scoullar, the Scholar

Paula Xiberras
05.07.15 8:15 am


Jennifer Scoullar recently had a chat with me about her latest book ‘Turtle Reef’. The novel is the story of zoologist Zoe and her new posting at a reef centre in the small town of Kiawa. There’s romantic interest in the form of a local and intrigue on the status of the reef centre’s animal charges.
Jennifer Scoullar’s surname may be of Scandinavian origin but it derives from the German word ‘Schule’ or the English ‘school’ and so ‘Scholar’. It was used as a nickname for a person with the ability to read and write at a time when such abilities were a rarity. One famous ‘Scoullar’ was William Scoullar, ironically a professor of geology, zoology and botany (

This is fitting reference as Jennifer says she herself lives and breathes animals and is an amateur naturalist, All of her novels include Australian flora and fauna so much so that she appears (after a brief flirtation with writing a thriller) to have cornered the Australian market in environmental romance, a sub section of the burgeoning rural romance genre. Jennifer says all the authors in this genre (which are mainly women) have formed a supportive group.

That passion for Australian flora and fauna extends to Tasmania which Jennifer has high praise for calling it ‘a magnificent place’, ‘the wildest place’ and tells me that she has two finished manuscripts set in Tasmania, one deals with the historical Tasmania 100 years ago and features the Tasmanian tiger in the Styx Valley. The second book will take up where the first let off and explore the story of Tasmanian devils!

Jennifer wasn’t always a novelist or even a naturalist, Due to her academic skill and to please her mother Jennifer entered law but always at the back of her mind was the little voice telling her not to abandon her desire to be a writer.

In this novel Jennifer ponders a tragic happening that needs to be overcome before a happy ending. Jennifer says her readers are familiar with her happy endings and may not like the inclusion of a tragedy. It’s a growing problem for an author who has established an audience to move away from expectation and create new challenges. The author has obligations to their audience and publishers to continue fitting their niche. If an author does veer off course they may have to resort to a pen name for these outings and such a situation may make the author feel they are being unfaithful to their established audience.

Not only do we get a good story when reading Jennifer’s books but we also learn without realising it, so well does she weave amazing bits of information into her story.

We learn via Zoe that dolphins need to remember to breathe! and that octopuses have been given a not so generous reputation by the famous octopus in ‘20,000 leagues under the sea ‘and Ursula from ‘The Little Mermaid’, when in fact they have amazing abilities such as being able to camouflage and shape shift and the females are devoted to their young to the point of their own sacrifice.

Turtle Reef is out now published by Penguin Australia.

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Plainly Great

Paula Xiberras
04.07.15 11:09 am


Nicole Alexander’s book ‘The Great Plains’ is as large and sprawling as the plains themselves. With a first name that means ‘people of victory’ and a last name that means ‘defender ’ or warrior. Nicole herself is a woman of the land victoriously defending her territory from whatever nature presents.

Although Nicole has never been to Tasmania her parents drove around the state in 1998. Nicole tells me of their visiting ‘the marvellous history’ and ‘the coastal areas’ and enjoying ‘the lavender farms’. Her last book tour saw Nicole visit Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia but next time she hopes to include Tasmania. That April Nicole spent three weeks visiting remote and rural areas on her book tour. She later declared herself non match fit when she injured her left arm requiring cortisone injections which halted her ease in driving around on tours.

Nicole likes taking an active part in getting herself around to her author events and this same independent spirit is seen in the strong female characters in The Great Plains including the tragic Flossie and the gothic tale of her jar.

Nicole’s story is an intergenerational one that traverses the great plains of Oklahoma to Australia and is peopled by historical characters like Apache chief Geronimo.

For her research Nicole took a trip to Oklahoma where she was able to study natural landmarks including the salt plains, ranges, waterways, green zone and the Apache centres for inclusion in her novel and she learnt how the Apache people ran their own newspapers, casinos, bowling alleys and museums. Nicole found being an Australian was quite a novelty. While in Oklahoma she observed the respect for nature in its twin roles as a source of sustenance both for the body in the food it provided and as a spiritual place that feeds the soul.

This respect for the dual nature of the land shown by the Apaches is also represented in many Indigenous cultures including Australia’s indigenous people and the comparison in well drawn by Nicole.

What may please readers is the fact Nicole says there is potential for a sequel.

‘The Great Plains’ is out now published by Random House.

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New crime fiction book

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media
02.07.15 4:12 pm

New crime fiction book, ‘Leona: The Die is Cast’, written by real life criminologist, #1 best-seller in Sweden.

In Leona: The Die Is Cast (Echo Publishing $32.95) a young girl walks into a bank in central Stockholm in broad daylight and manages to get away with several million. The robbery, unique in the history of Swedish crime, attracts great attention from the media, and the outsider Leona Lindberg at the Violent Crimes Division agrees to work the case.

Leona has an antisocial personality disorder, which severely limits her emotional life. She is incapable of experiencing real emotions (except for her two children), which often makes her act in a cold and inconsiderate manner. She has had enough of her stale middle-class life and wants to leave it all behind – for this she needs money and she has developed a gambling problem that pushes her into breaking the law. Because of her long career with the police department Leona has seen most of the mistakes criminals have made in the past. Combined with her knowledge of police work and the legal system, this makes her the perfect criminal. 

Written by criminologist Jenny Rogneby, Leona: The Die Is Cast is a thrilling crime novel with unexpected twists and turns. Jenny Rogneby began studying subjects such as criminology, sociology, law and psychology at Stockholm University where she later became a criminologist. For 7 years she has been working professionally as a criminal investigator at Stockholm City Police Department, investigating everything from thefts to robberies and murders. Her work inspired her to start writing and she formed the character LEONA, a criminal investigator with a dark past whose actions challenge social norms.

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Between Hope and Memory

Paula Xiberras
02.07.15 1:24 pm


In her book Michelle Crawford talks about the first whiff of cherry jam being ‘between hope and a memory’, a memory of fruit that was and a hope to turn it into successful jam.

It’s a beautiful phrase that could describe Michelle’s life and how she left behind the memory of a different career in the hope that her life in Tasmania would bear fruit.

Which it has done both metaphorically and literally. We recently chatted about Michelle’s book ‘A Table in the Orchard’ recounting her experiences in Tasmania so far.

Michelle always wanted a career in cooking which she had loved from an early age but in hindsight is glad she never went into the food industry straight away as she believes she wouldn’t have sustained the passion she now feels and maybe have burnt out!

When she did leave school Michelle worked in an administrative role for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra but found herself spending a great deal of time in the kitchen! Fast forward to one of the things she does now, chopping wood in Tasmania, Michelle says she finds tasks such as this far more satisfying because it is a means to an end and preferable to ‘bonding with budgets and spreadsheets’. Michelle’s still busy these days but it’s a different kind of busy.

Tasmania held many surprises for this mainland foodie among them the variety of potatoes ... she counted 11 varieties not to mention they cost a lot less than the 9 dollars a punnet for pink eyes in Sydney! and another positive the food tastes better in Tassie too!

Michelle’s book was born out of blogging but she admits it was quite a leap from a 200 word blog to a sixty thousand word book! The adaptations were worth it and Michelle compares getting the advance copy of the book akin to be handed a newborn.

Michelle’s book is a hauntingly beautiful tome with gorgeous photos. Unlike a traditional cookbook it is also part memoir and Michelle enjoyed the process so much she may write again as she is eager to take her table on travels from the orchard to other interesting surrounds.

Table in the Orchard is out now published by Random House.

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Colleen and Caulking

Paula Xiberras
01.07.15 7:15 am


I recently had a phone conversation with author Colleen Oakley from her home in Atlanta.

If you read Colleen Oakley’s book ‘Before I go’ you will notice that ‘caulking’ is oft referred to by her protagonist Daisy. For those that unfamiliar Wikipedia tells us that caulking is ‘the process and material of sealing joints or seams in various structures’, to seal. In Daisy’s case it is the windows of her house but in a deeper, perhaps subconscious sense it’s a task that never gets done, at least not by Daisy, it remains a job for her not so house handy husband. Daisy wasn’t able to seal herself and her husband in their happy and safe matrimonial bubble from the menacing forces of illness.

Colleen Oakley is yet to visit Australia but the former magazine editor now novelist’s best friend has visited and also she has Facebook friends here in Australia and so through these contacts she gets to experience Australia vicariously, although she tells me she would love to visit even if that might be quite a daunting process at the moment, considering Colleen has just added newborn twins to her family!.

Colleen basks in the possibilities of novel writing which she says allows her to write anything in comparison to the sometimes ‘paralysing parameters’ of magazine editing.

Collen demonstrates the solidity of her surname in the sober subject matter of her book ‘Before I go’. The book details the story of Daisy a young woman who is faced with a recurrence of cancer diagnosis.  What is heavy fair is infused by Colleen by a protagonist with both a questioning spirit and also one that refuses to be broken in spite of all the medical mayhem she must endure. In fact, in Daisy we have a protagonist who deals with her diagnosis with humour and its important derivative, humanity.

Colleen says the reason she decided to make Daisy, who is a college student and young deal with this diagnosis is that a young couple represent to us the ‘orthodox’ happy ever after story and it unnerves us when hurdles are put in its way. Colleen wanted to explore such a relationship in the context of not getting the happy ever after and in doing so wanted to avoid the Hollywood cliché and we do not see the demise of Daisy.

To create a true representation of what Daisy was going through Colleen spent time with a doctor in Atlanta who talked her through research on radiation, including cat and pet scans and the different diagnosis and treatments for Daisy’s condition.

As noted previously one of the recurrent images or allusions we get through the novel is Daisy’s mentions of messiness and indeed in the opening scene when Daisy’s doctor calls to inform her of her diagnosis the house is in a bit of a mess. We learn that Daisy is a great list make, a doer and achiever but in juxtaposition with this is the fact that ‘mess’ will always occur and just like the inability to seal out trouble, things will always have the potentiality to get messy, that life is messy and unpredictable and can’t be fixed by list making in an attempt to keep things organised and orderly.

Colleen says she didn’t notice these many references to mess until another reader mentioned it to her and suggests it was something that she may have subconsciously included in the novel.

Although the book deals with Daisy’s diagnosis it is not depressing, indeed some of Daisy’s imaginings are surrealistic and highly creative in nature and she never fails to engage and enfold us in her story. Colleen is to be congratulated on her fresh, life affirming and sensitive approach to a topic that might not have been so uplifting.

‘Before I Go’ is out now published by Allen and Unwin.

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Transportation Press, Tasmania’s newest publisher, is calling for short story submissions ...

Rachel Edwards
29.06.15 6:04 pm

... for its second book, The Third Script


The Third Script will include stories from Tasmania, the UK and Iran, and further Transportation Press’ aim to illuminate Tasmanian literature through inspired connections.

Transportation Press was pleased to see their first publication, Islands and Cities, a collection of new short stories from London and Tasmania, knock Richard Flanagan off the number one best seller for the first time since his Booker win.

Rachel Edwards, editor in chief says “I am delighted to be working again with Sean Preston as our UK editor and to welcome Shirindokht Nourmanesh, who will select and edit our Iranian writers.”

“We welcome the opportunity to publish excellent new literature from Tasmania and to open up our writers to more international collaborations,” she added.

Short stories of up to 5000 words will be considered and must be submitted before August 18. Selected writers will be paid $250 AUD and the book will be published in late 2015.

Submissions, accompanied by a 50 word bio, can be sent to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

For further information, contact Transportation Press’ Editor in chief, Rachel Edwards:

E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T: @transportlontas

Transportation: islands and cities is a collection of short stories from Tasmanians and Londoners to be published in book form in late 2014.

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Acorn Press: End of Year sale ...

Paul Arnott Acorn Press
26.06.15 12:07 pm

Download ...


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The ASA Bulletin ...

Australian Society of Authors
25.06.15 11:34 am


Make a submission to the Senate Inquiry on cuts to the Australia Council

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Jessica Dean Marketing UQP
25.06.15 11:31 am


Krissy Kneen
Poetry |  ISBN: 978 0 7022 5374 4 |  July 2015 |  B-format paperback |  104 pp |  $24.95

First Poetry Collection Brings Award-winning Results

Following the death of her grandmother, Australian novelist and bookseller Krissy Kneen turned to the art of poetry for the first time. Grief-stricken by her loss, she found herself unable to work on her latest novel, and became obsessed with writing poetry about her grandmother. The resulting poems won 2014’s Thomas Shapcott Prize for Poetry and are now published for the first time.

As a child, Krissy was very close to her grandmother, Lotty Kneen (Dragitsa Marusic). Lotty led an eventful life, emigrating to Australia from Slovenia, via Egypt and the UK, with her husband and two daughters in the 1950s. She kept her children close to her and raised her grandchildren as her own. This poetry collection captures their shared lives together and expresses the pain and loss of losing the one woman who held their world together.

‘The book was written in the strange suspended months after the death of my grandmother,’ says Krissy. ‘Poetry was like a new language I learned to speak in the bleak heart of grief. I had never written poetry before but suddenly the flow of verse was unstoppable. I felt like I was possessed.’ She wrote poems before work and in the evenings, and even woke up dreaming of lines to write.

‘To understand what was happening to me I began to read poetry. My world began to open to new possibilities. I discovered Anne Carson and Sharon Olds. I discovered other voices I longed for and ones that felt like they were in harmony with the voice I found only in grief.

‘The process of writing this book was the strangest event in my life. The death of my grandmother opened a vein in me and poetry poured out.’


‘Raw and exhilarating, Eating My Grandmother embodies the visceral paradox of grief.’ – Kristina Olsson, award-winning author of Boy, Lost
‘This year’s winning manuscript enacts an imaginative razoring of the seams of conventional mourning. At once exquisitely sensitive and blazing with wit and experimentation, Kneen re-imagines elegiac poetry.’ – Judges’ Comments, Thomas Shapcott Prize for Poetry


Krissy Kneen is the award-winning author of the memoir Affection (Text Publishing), which was shortlisted for the Qld Premier’s Literary Award in the non-fiction category, and the 2010 ABIA award for Biography of the Year; Triptych: An Erotic Adventure (Text Publishing, 2011); and the literary novel Steeplechase (Text Publishing, 2013). The novel that she was trying to write early in 2014 when poetry moved in, The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine, was published by Text earlier this year. She has written and directed short films and broadcast documentaries for SBS and ABC television, and has had short stories published in literary journals, books and magazines including Griffith Review, Kill Your Darlings,, The Big Issue, Best Women’s Erotica 2014, Women of Letters and The Lifted Brow.

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Sofie Laguna wins Miles Franklin prize for her novel The Eye of the Sheep

24.06.15 10:42 am


Sofie Laguna (above) has been awarded the 2015 Miles Franklin literary award, Australia’s most prestigious books prize, for her novel The Eye of the Sheep.

Shortlisted in 2009 for her debut adult novel, One Foot Wrong, Laguna took top honours this year for her story of a family struggling to cope with their young son who has learning difficulties. The book is published by Allen and Unwin.

The $60,000 prize was announced at a ceremony in Melbourne on Tuesday night. Named after Stella “Miles” Franklin , author of My Brilliant Career, the award was established in 1954 with a bequest from her will. A tearful Laguna thanked the “visionary and generous” writer in her winner’s speech.

“The Eye of the Sheep is an extraordinary novel about love and anger, and how sometimes there is little between them,” said Richard Neville, state librarian of New South Wales and chair of the Miles Franklin judging panel.

Neville said the book’s power lay in the “raw, high-energy and coruscating language” that its central character uses to describe his world.

“Jimmy Flick is a character who sees everything, but his manic x-ray perceptions don’t correspond with the way others see his world. His older brother understands him some of the time, and his mother almost all of the time, but other people, including his violent father, just see him as difficult,” said Neville.

Read more, The Guardian, here

Ed: Incredibly the Tasmanian writer ( Richard Flanagan ) adjudged world’s best in English - for the first time this year The Man Booker Prize was opened to all writers in English - has never won the Miles Franklin ... despite years of entering novels; perhaps the most surprising his lack of ‘success’ with Gould’s Book of Fish for which he won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (2002) ...

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WIN!x Two Books ...

Paula Xiberras
24.06.15 8:30 am

• WIN: Two copies of Two Fridays in April. Simply write to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) First in, best dressed!x And one has gone. Onya Rachel ...


I recently spoke to author Roisin Meaney from her home in Ireland. Roisin is excited about her twelfth novel ‘Two Fridays in April’ being the first of her books to get widespread release in Australia. Amazingly, unlike a lot of Irish people Roisin has no relatives in Australia but does have a cousin in New Zealand.

We are chatting about how Roisin, who worked as a teacher for 6 or 7 years, entered the world of writing.  Roisin tells me she owes it all to ‘cornflakes and cars’, well, actually cornflake box competitions. A compulsive reader like the majority of writers, Roisin said she was consciously reading the cornflake box when she noted a competition for a Ford Fiesta car, the competition required writing in a concise number of words why you desired the car . Roisin entered and won. With a talent for writing concise, compact language Roisin’s cousin encouraged her to enter the world of advertising, even providing her with a book on the subject. Serendipity intervened seeing her gain a copywriting position in the UK which she worked at for several years.

Soon it was time for Roisin to try her hand at something even more challenging, writing a novel. Again a competition came into the equation where would be writers were asked to send in their first three chapters, if successful they were offered a three book deal. Roisin was successful again and while staying in San Francisco with her brother, Roisin wrote her first book. 

Roisin, although she is now a full time author, hasn’t left her teaching career totally behind, still attending schools and libraries regularly to read books to the children.

‘Two Fridays in April’ Roisin’s latest novel begins with a sadness that impacts on the interlocked lives of a number of characters and the novel deals with how, over a year between two Fridays in April they are healed. Connections are important in Roisin’s novel and it is these connections between characters that ultimately repair the broken lives.

As to the original names of some of the characters in ‘Two Weeks in April’ such as the ‘Darlings’ and the ‘Quirks’ Roisin says there is no particular reason relating to the names of her protagonists except to say she likes to use ‘stand out’ unusual names for her main characters, leaving the more familiar names for her lesser characters.

Speaking of names Roisin’s surname ‘Meaney’ means ‘treasured or beloved’ and it would seem that this first widespread release of Roisin’s novel will see her become a treasured and beloved author to Australian readers too.

Pleasing news for Australian readers is that Roisin is working on a new book which features an Australian character, a girl from Brisbane who is visiting her sister in Ireland.

‘Two Weeks in April’ is out now published by Hachette.

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Season of Hate explores the impact of discrimination on society ...

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media
22.06.15 12:16 pm

Forthcoming book release, Season of Hate, explores the impact of discrimination on society.

Discrimination towards others is sometimes based on as little as difference of appearance or culture and fuelled by intolerance. When confronted by it, do we turn our backs and walk away, or take a stand beside the oppressed?

Playwright Michael Costello’s moving debut novel Season of Hate (Short Stop Press $29.99) is set in 1955 and explores the friendship between two white boys and Johnny, a mute Aboriginal teenager. In those first two years in their seemingly ideal world, the boys are exposed to the best and worst of human nature as they become aware of the undercurrents of discrimination and racial bigotry that erupt into violence.  In particular, that one night where Pat’s own life is challenged. The night where one wanton act places the town’s very livelihood in jeopardy. Season of Hate is a superbly written debut.

Sydney-based Michael Costello is now available for interview. He is an AWGIE winning playwright, television and screenwriter whose plays have been produced around Australia and New Zealand. Of his award winning play Royal Affair, Chris Mead, the Curator of the Australian National Playwrights’ Conference, stated “... rich, intelligent and seductive, (Michael Costello) writes with sagacity and wit”. He was commissioned by Sue Smith to write an original episode for her Close Ups series for the ABC and has received funding from the NSWFTO for a feature film. He is currently working on a new play and has two other novels in the works.

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Paul Arnott
22.06.15 7:31 am

In an intense Buddhist country like Myanmar, struggling towards democracy after 60 years of military rule, the story of a Christian leader in a very minority situation is worth telling.

Anglican Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo had a vision two years ago which catapulted him into directly supporting democracy, and wanting to tell his story. The story is told in a book published in Melbourne, and to be launched June 23 at 5.30pm at Bishopscourt, 120 Clarendon St., East Melbourne, home of the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier. It is entitled Dancing with Angels: the life story of Stephen Than, Archbishop of Myanmar. Acorn Press Melbourne is Publisher.

The life story of Anglican Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo, is full of unexpected events, as the back cover of the book illustrates:
Stephen Than Myint Oo has been to jail, suffered torture, released without conviction. The shadow of his jail record followed him for years, even while studying theology. But his faith and a slowly emerging commitment to democracy and civil society were ignited by an experience of angels, which reinforced a mission plan he had as Archbishop of Myanmar for a tiny Anglican minority within a Buddhist country to take their place in the nation.

Archbishop Stephen Than and his wife Nan will be present on June 23 for the launch. He will be spending two weeks in Melbourne, and is available for interview onJune 24 at 10am.
Author is the book is the Venerable Alan Nichols, a former Archdeacon of Melbourne, and former refugee worker in Asia. He has had a long involvement in refugees from Burma/Myanmar, from a first visit in 1988, to identifying projects in refugee camps for Anglican Overseas Aid, to a human rights documentation training course in 2006, and a most recent visit to refugee camps in 2014.

He has visited inside Burma four times, including in February 2013 travelling with Archbishop Philip Freier, and meeting with the Australian Ambassador, the Anglican Archbishop Stephen Than and visiting projects in Yangon, Toungoo and Hpa’an. Hehas written 15 books and a number of monographs. Among the books are David Penman (1991), Refugee Dilemmas: Reviewing the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Vietnamese Refugees, with Paul White (1993), Reluctant Conscience (1984), Rescued by Angels: The story of miracles during the Rwandan genocide (2001, 2003, 2006), and Escape from West Papua (2007). He was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2006 for dialogue on public policy between Church and State, and for services to refugees.
The June 23 launch at Bishopscourt, 120 Clarendon St., East Melbourne, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm ...

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Hobart Bookshop: Voiceworks, A Poem is a Parachute

Hobart Bookshop
17.06.15 7:41 pm



• Need to warm up for the winter? Why not join us in our cosy shop for the following events!

We are pleased to invite you to the launch of the special celebratory 100th issue of Voiceworks.

The evening will feature appearances by contributors.

This event is part of the The National Young Writers’ Month program, about which you can also find further information at their website.

When: Thursday June 25th, 5.30pm
Where: The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square

Free event, all welcome.

• We are pleased to invite you to the launch, by Avril Caney, of Megan Schaffner’s newest collection, A Poem is a Parachute.

When: Wednesday July 1st, 5.30pm
Where: The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square

Free event, all welcome.

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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New fiction book explores the impact that psychic readings can have on people

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media
17.06.15 11:36 am

Can the words of a Psychic influence your thoughts? Your Choices? Your Destiny? In the forthcoming novel, Can’t Find Fate (Vivid Publishing $27.95), author Lisa N Edwards tells the story of Nikki, a spirited Aussie girl who thought she had her life planned out –  to start a career, find a man, and have a family. Life seemed simple, until she accompanies her friend to a psychic which changes her life forever. The psychic describes her perfect soul mate - Mr Hollywood, a man with crystal green eyes.  Flash forward 17 years, Nikki’s career as a Hollywood Entertainment Lawyer has taken off, and the green eyed man is standing right in front of her. The words of the psychic are imprinted in her mind ...

“He’s nice to look at, nice to see, but if you chase him, he will flee…” - Nikki can’t chase him, and she can’t tell him what she knows, or should she just ignore the warnings to get what she wants? With her best friend, Siobhan, by her side, they navigate their way through this supposedly predestined life.  Nikki can try, but she can’t fight fate…

Lisa N Edwards sold her Melbourne Entertainment Agency - VisionsMCP in December 2013 to pursue her dreams. After successfully auditioning and completing NIDA’s Presenter Course in 2010, and years of acting training, she focused her sights on Hollywood and travelled back and forwards from Australia for nearly 4 years, pausing momentarily to concentrate on her writing projects. During this time, she also co-wrote an award-winning screenplay. After waiting for the right moment to write Can’t Fight Fate, Lisa decided that there is never a ‘right’ time, and so she made it happen. The next book in the three-part series, Chasing Butterflies, will be released soon. 

For more information visit

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Transportation Press: The Letter Project. Submissions for online publishing ...

Emma Waters Web Editor | Transportation Press
11.06.15 3:21 pm


Transportation Press: The Letter Project

Submissions for online publishing – open now until end of June

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Transportation Press publish illuminating Tasmanian literature through inspired connections, both in print and via our website.

The latest online writing project for Transportation Press, “The Letter Project” is go!

We are inviting artists, writers and people with something to say in a creative way to get involved.

It’s all about writing a letter from one part of the world to another. These open letters can be about anything and to anyone, they could even be from a place in time, but with the aim of opening up a dialogue and telling a story, fact or fiction, in the form of a letter.

Transportation Press, headed by Editor-in-Chief, Rachel Edwards, is currently collaborating with Iranian-American writer-editor Shirindokht Nourmanesh and London-based writer-editor Sean Preston for the follow up to the successful premiere publication, Islands and Cities: a collection of short stories from London and Tasmania ( Launch on TT HERE ).

To complement our next print publication, The Letter Project is drawing on these connections and beyond to build an online conversation in the somewhat nostalgic format of the letter.

Our editors are leading the way, by starting up the dialogue with open letters, posted through our website.

See our projects page for details on sending us your letter and to read posted letters:

We look forward to seeing your submissions!

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Forthcoming fiction release ‘On Brunswick Ground’ (Transit Lounge)

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media
11.06.15 10:40 am

In the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, a female narrator, who remains unnamed is trying to come to terms with the absence of Jack, the man she loves. In a bar she meets Bernice, a radio personality, in her late thirties and flirting with IVF. Finding a job as a gardener, she discovers that her co-worker, Mitali, has an unresolved mourning that attracts other deaths into its orbit. Later on, she befriends the resolutely mysterious bar owner, Sarah, and her daughter, Mary, who has, for potent (and as yet unrevealed) reasons, converted to Islam and donned a burqa.

The lives of these women are characterised by love and loss, and are woven together by their shared grieving at the senseless murder of Jill Meagher. On Brunswick Ground (Transit Lounge $27.99) traverses the world of longing, grief and personal loss with an assured and literary touch. It is a novel that is also heart-warming, and affirming. Catherine de Saint Phalle truly understands the surprising ways in which tragedy and loss can tighten the bonds of friendship and community.

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Australian Authors speak out on NT Intervention

Georgina Gartland
09.06.15 1:01 pm

“The Intervention to us was like Australia declaring war on us and in the process they demonised and dehumanised Aboriginal men, women and children.” - Rosalie-Kunoth Monks - Elder and Northern Territory Australian of the Year.

June 21 will mark eight years since the introduction of one of Australia’s most racist government policies, – the Northern Territory National Emergency Response package – otherwise known as the NT Intervention.

Many Australians are still waiting for the outcry over the suspension of the Race Discrimination Act which allowed this legislation to pass, not once, but twice. In 2012, the Intervention was renamed “Stronger Futures” and designed to impinge further on the human rights of those in remote communities for another decade.

Award-winning and internationally recognised Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian authors and commentators have taken a stand the best way they can, by using the power of their writing to generate much needed discussion and debate – in homes, universities and in work places.

Edited by Rosie Scott and Anita Heiss, the Intervention Anthology includes statements by Elders, poetry, commentary, fiction and non-fiction as a means of reaching out and speaking to as many Australians as possible.

“A powerful collection of views from Aboriginal Elders, experts, lawyers and some of the nation’s finest writers.  And an indispensable contribution to the urgent question of the wellbeing and dignity of Aboriginal Australians.  As Rosalie Kunoth-Monks puts it ‘We are your people and you are our people.’ We can’t not listen to each other.,’ said Anna Funder, an international award winning author.

Contributors to the anthology include: Debra Adelaide, Pat Anderson, Larissa Behrendt, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Eva Cox, Brenda L. Croft, Lionel Fogarty, Djiniyini Gondarra, Yingiya Mark Guyula, Rodney Hall, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Deni Langman, Melissa Lucashenko, Jeff McMullen, PM Newton, Christine Olsen, Bruce Pascoe, Nicole Watson, Samuel Wagan Watson, Rachel Willika, Alexis Wright, Yalmay Yunipingu and Arnold Zable.

The Intervention: an anthology will be launched by Gillian Triggs in Sydney on July 1 at the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence in Redfern

Other events include: 9 July at Ashfield Town Hall; 4 August at Charles Darwin University. Other events are being planned in Newcastle, Melbourne and other locations.

This project would not have been successful without the financial support from WITA (Women Inspired to Action) for crowdfunding, ‘concerned Australians’, the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, and extensive in-kind support from Curtis Brown, Kirby Brown and Booktopia.

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At War with Nature ...

08.06.15 6:37 am

This is a top read ...


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Politics | New Zealand

New writing competition to honour Tasmanian short story pioneer

Amber Wilson, Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Communications Officer
01.06.15 2:43 pm


A new short story competition in honour of eminent and accomplished Tasmanian short story writer Geoff Dean has been launched.

The Geoff Dean Short Story Competition will run biennially and is open to all Australian writers for outstanding short fiction between 3000-10,000 words.

Geoff Dean, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 83, had spent half a century writing short stories and he also played a key role in forming the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre. He published numerous works and won a string of awards for his gritty tales of humour and sadness. Born in Hobart, his short stories are described as some of the best in the country. Among his many literary prize and award wins were the State of Victoria Short Story Award and the Arafura Literary Award. His story, The Town that Died, was made into a TV drama and broadcast by the ABC in 1986.

The judges for the competition are acclaimed authors Amanda Lohrey, and Bruce Pascoe, and Caroline Dean – the daughter of Geoff and his wife Elizabeth. Caroline and her family have set up the Geoff and Elizabeth Dean Foundation to honour their parents’ legacy.

“Short stories are often an undervalued genre and yet in our fast moving lives, they fit perfectly,” Caroline said.

“They provide a bit of respite and a way to disappear into a different world for a short period of time. My father felt a short story would be as long as it needed and this competition is designed to encourage more complex short stories.”

The competition opens for entries today and closes July 13. The winner, who will be awarded $2000, will be announced on September 13 at the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival at Hadley’s Orient Hotel.

More information, including entry form, terms and conditions, FAQs and more, please visit

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Launched! Standing On Their Shoulders

Paul Arnott
31.05.15 4:57 pm

Rhys Bezzant’s book Standing On Their Shoulders was launched at Ridley College, Melbourne, on Friday afternoon. Standing On Their Shoulders tells the stories of twelve great heroes of the Christian faith. From early church father and Trinitarian theologian, Athanasius, to radical reformer Martin Luther, slave trade abolitionist William Wilberforce, theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer and little known Indian missionary Pandita Ramabai, who trained an entire generation of Christian leaders in the late 19th century.

Launching the book Acorn Press chair Paul Arnott said, ‘Rhys Bezzant is a quality theologian and historian, who writes engagingly at both popular and academic levels, not a skill that can be taken for granted.’

You can order your own copy of the print edition or eBook at

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Business & Baby on Board in top 20 for ‘SMART 100’ Readers Choice Index

Johanna Baker-Dowdell, Strawberry Communications
29.05.15 12:15 pm


Business & Baby on Board in top 20 for ‘SMART 100’ Readers Choice Index

Business & Baby on Board has been named one of Australia’s most innovative products, in one of the largest and most audacious innovation awards of its kind in Australia – the Anthill Magazine ‘SMART 100’ Index.

The business book written by Tasmanian entrepreneur Johanna Baker-Dowdell was not only ranked in the SMART 100 Product Winners, but was also ranked 16th in the Reader’s Choice list.

“I’m thrilled to have the book I worked so hard to produce recognised by Anthill as an innovative product, but to have the extra recognition from the magazine’s readership is really icing on the cake,” Johanna said.

“The words Innovation and entrepreneurship have been on everyone’s lips recently, so it’s great to see Anthill readers put their support behind the book that empowers and inspires women to follow their business dreams,” she said.

About Business & Baby on Board

Business & Baby on Board is the mum’s bible for starting out and succeeding in business. These women are mistresses of their own destinies with an armoury of skills that can be utilised while they are bringing up the baby.

“I was encouraged to write the book Business & Baby on Board because while there were many books and guides to help people wanting to start a business from home, there wasn’t much available specifically to help entrepreneurial mothers,” Johanna explained.

“Mothers in business face all the usual startup stages like market research, registration, taxation and marketing; plus working around a family reduces time available so they often suffer from mother guilt,” she said.

Business & Baby on Board looks at all the steps involved in planning, starting and building a successful business, through the eyes of business mums. Each chapter covers an important aspect of business through case studies from expert business mothers on each topic, plus how she started her business, issues she faced, her triumphs and advice for readers.

Johanna used crowdfunding platform Pozible to raise the money to self-publish Business & Baby on Board. The campaign was a success (in fact it was over-funded), and led to a digital publishing contract with Editia.

About the Smart 100

The SMART 100 Index was created by Anthill Magazine in 2008 to identify and rank Australia’s 100 most innovative products, proving to be one of the largest surveys of its kind in Australia.

In 2015, in response to a record volume entries, the program was extended to include the TOP 100 SMART SERVICES and the TOP 100 SMART PRODUCTS, in addition to the SMART 100.

“SMART 100 Readers’ Choice Winners embody the passions of earnest inventors and the dreams of budding business builders. They are the products of industries both old and new, from organisations large and small,” said Anthill founder and Editor-In-Chief James Tuckerman.

“The SMART 100 Index identifies and ranks new Australian innovations by applying a combination of crowdsourcing, collaboration and common-sense. We employ the judgement of ‘mavens’ and readers.

“Innovation is future focussed. It is about identifying and solving problems in ways that will change the way we live, do business and think.”

What is Anthill Magazine?

Anthill was initially launched as a print magazine, in September 2003, by its current editor-in-chief James Tuckerman, who at the age of 26 quit his day job, departing a promising career in corporate PR, to pursue his own entrepreneurial journey. It is for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs.

Since then, it has evolved into one of Australia’s leading online communities for Australian business owners. It is dedicated to innovation, entrepreneurship and the commercial development of ideas.


I’m trekking in Peru to help NBCF towards zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030. Support me? 

Buy your copy of my book Business & Baby on Board:

PO Box 1021 Launceston TAS 7250


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Young Writers to Take Over Hobart City

Amber Wilson, Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Communications Officer
26.05.15 5:05 pm


Aspiring authors aged 16 to 30 will soon be taking over the nooks and crannies of Hobart’s CBD, using their atmospheric surrounds to inspire potential literary gems.

The Inaugural Young Writers in Residence Program, run in partnership between the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre and the City of Hobart, is an opportunity for writers to explore different spaces in Hobart and compose an essay between 1500 to 5000 words in an observational or experimental writing style inspired by the space they choose.

Successful applicants can choose a space from the following and agree to spend at least two or three hours a day at the space over 14 days between mid-July to mid-August: Waterside Pavillion, Town Hall, Elizabeth Street Mall, Mathers House, Youth Arts and Recreation Centre, Aquatic Centre, Gallery Ten or Hadley’s Hotel.

Quotes from the writers’ work will be displayed on the “Soapbox” billboards in Mathers Place during and after the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival in September. The essays will also be available online and through social media, and each of the writers will be asked to read their work during September’s festival.

“Place is so important in informing a writer’s work, so writing from a place bustling with atmosphere, history and life would certainly be a valuable experience for any young writer,” Tasmanian Writers’ Centre director Chris Gallagher said.

“So we are so fortunate to live in a city like Hobart, which really does tick all of those boxes. This is a beautiful city with a burgeoning arts scene, making it a very exciting city for young writers.”

Entries for the program close June 15. For more information or to apply, visit




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Reviewed! High Beam

William Smith*
25.05.15 4:30 am


High Beam
A D.I. Mahoney Mystery
by S J Brown

Brad Finch, star recruit of the Tassie Devils football team and bit of a chick magnet, has been found dead in a trench on a Kingston building site. The ensuing investigation, led by D. I. John Mahoney, turns over a lot of stones revealing some corrupt characters in different walks of life, each intent on protecting one another’s back.

As the blurb with the book says ... Something is very rotten in the state of Tasmania.

This will sound familiar ... D.I. Mahoney is an outsider in his hometown of Hobart. Disillusioned by his private life and shocked by the corruption he unearths, he queries his capacity to continue in the job.

He must decide if he has the courage to “speak truth to power.”

Along the way, S J Brown comments on (has a dig at)  many aspects of Tasmanian life from the state of Hobart modern architecture to the corporatisation of sport.

He describes a footy function at the Elwick Racecourse:

“All and sundry were in attendance: all and sundry from the well-heeled end of town, that is. Without fail, various business owners, department heads from the public service and parliamentarians had accepted invitations to the gala event.

The middle-aged men and women who believed they exerted influence hovered together or simply threw their noses in the trough.

The Sports Minister looked as though he’d already enjoyed a long lunch before arriving for the 6pm function.

Aside from this group were the players, laughing and drinking with a bevy of local beauties ... Everyone wanted in on the act so any company associated with hospitality was donating product and services.

The whole Bacchanalian frenzy would not cost the club a cent ...  Great deal for the club. Randall could not fault the acumen of Rory Fotheringham. He may have concerns about the man’s scruples but he sure knew how to get things done ... to people’s advantage. Principally his own, of course, but the flow-on effect to the club was beneficial.

In front of him the lurid face of modern sport was playing out. The prosperous identities who had already booked the corporate boxes for every home game this season. The second tier supporters who would pay through the nose to attend match day functions ... The media which helped fuel the frenzy of attention that came with local participation in the big league. The players with their lucrative contracts that ensured they needn’t be distracted by everyday jobs ... Living the dream.”

This well-paced thriller builds up the tension, even though the reader is not in the dark as to who is behind the murder.

The author has a sharp, interrogative look at how influence is wielded in a small city, where everyone seems to know everyone else and where that knowledge gives people power over the lives of others.

*William Smith is a retired former teacher ...

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Alan Nichols, AM, writes the life story of Stephen Than, Archbishop of Myanmar

Karina Woolrich, Acorn Press
21.05.15 7:09 am


Stephen Than Myint Oo has been to prison, suffered torture and released without conviction. The shadow of his prison record followed him for years, even while studying theology. But his faith and a slowly emerging commitment to democracy and civil society were ignited by an experience of angels, which reinforced a mission plan he had as Archbishop of Myanmar for a tiny Anglican minority within a Buddhist country to take their place in the nation.

Alan Nichols captures the fortitude and determination of a quiet man, dedicated to his people throughout the country. Stephen lives through the pages as a man who ensures that his work and that of his church is for the benefit of all the people of the country. He is a true interfaith spirit, with a reach far beyond the numbers of the Church of the Province of Myanmar.
Christopher Lamb
Chair, Australia Myanmar Institute, and Australian Ambassador to Burma/Myanmar 1986–89

Archbishop Stephen’s gentle, devout and wise leadership is a great example for the worldwide church. He’s a quiet hero.
Rev. Dr Paul Barker Church Missionary Society Australia theological teacher and mentor in Asia

Alan Nichols’ accessible, educative and easy-to-read book introduces readers to an authentic and moving example of Christ at work in Asia, in this case among the people of Myanmar, in the unique, devout figure of Stephen Than, both thinker and actor.
Rowan Callick, OBE Asia-Pacific Editor of The Australian newspaper

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The ASA Bulletin ...

Australian Society of Authors
20.05.15 12:10 pm


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MAC, June 4: Book Launch; A Reason to Live

Josie Young
19.05.15 8:17 pm


Book Launch Moonah Arts Centre
23-27 Albert Road, Moonah
6-8pm, 4 June
Featuring: Q & A with author Josie Young, Community Speakers, Family Friendly Entertainment, Irissa Tribal Belly Dance
and book sales

“I believe that refugees, asylum seekers and humanitarian entrants are in need of our support, our prayers, our compassion and friendship… they don’t need criticism and prejudice.

I urge you all to read “A Reason to Live” and to open your hearts to those in need of solace.”

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Premier’s Literary Prizes judges announced

Will Hodgman, Premier Vanessa Goodwin, Minister for the Arts
18.05.15 4:36 pm

Booker winner Richard Flanagan makes his acceptance speeh

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is a strong supporter of our creative industries, which continue to create more jobs in our state in a sector that is important to our ongoing economic growth.

Today the Premier Will Hodgman announced the judges for the 2015 Premier’s Literary Prizes.

Eminent historian and author Dr Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, whose book Closing Hell’s Gates (Allen & Unwin, 2008) won the Margaret Scott Prize in 2009, will chair the judging panels.

“The Premier’s Literary Prizes celebrate the richness of the Tasmanian literary sector and acknowledges the influence that Tasmania’s cultural, natural and social environment has on the work of writers,” Mr Hodgman said.

“The prizes provide recognition for both established and emerging Tasmanian writers, as well as acknowledging the increasing influence Tasmania has on authors from elsewhere around Australian and the world.”

Minister for the Arts Vanessa Goodwin said the Premier’s Literary Prizes would recognise Tasmania’s increasing literary influence.

“Tasmania continues to strengthen our reputation as a cultural and artistic hub and we are seeing this result in emerging art and literary talent flourishing,” Dr Goodwin said.
“Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize victory last year shows that there is no limit to what Tasmanian authors can achieve. I hope that this year’s Premier’s Literary Prizes can help to set more Tasmanian authors on the path to national and international acknowledgement.”

On the panel judging the Tasmania Book Prize and the Margaret Scott Prize Dr Maxwell-Stewart will be joined by writer, critic and editor of Island, Matthew Lamb, and award-winning children’s author, Lian Tanner.

Tasmanian Writer’s Centre Director, Chris Gallagher and young-adult fiction author, Kate Gordon will complete the panel judging the University of Tasmania Prize.

The 2015 Premier’s Literary Prizes include:

• $25,000 Tasmania Book Prize - best book with Tasmanian content in any genre.
• $5,000 Margaret Scott Prize - best book by a Tasmanian writer.
• $5,000 University of Tasmania Prize - best unpublished literary work by an emerging Tasmanian writer.
• $5,000 Tasmanian Young Writer’s Fellowship - recognising a young Tasmanian writer aged 35 or under.

Entries for the Premier’s Literary Prizes will close this Friday, 22 May 2015.

Visit for eligibility criteria and online nomination forms.

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Extraordinary Political Cartoonist to Deliver 2015 PEN Lecture in Hobart

Amber Wilson, Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Communications Officer
13.05.15 12:14 pm


The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre is hosting what is sure to be an astounding evening with political commentary comic designer Pat Armstrong and award-winning graphic novelist Nicki Greenberg on June 6,  6pm-8pm.

The event, to be held at the Ten Days office in Murray Street, is in partnership with Her Majesty’s Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival. The avant-garde festival is now in its second year and is running across various venues including the former Mercury building foyer, Frankie’s Empire and the Homestead.

The lecture will form part of the annual PEN (“Poets, Essayists and Novelists”) brief in Australia – to help fight censorship. PEN is an international organisation that aims to celebrate literature and uphold freedom of expression. PEN International has just finished a week of back-to-back lectures in New York City, featuring Tasmanian Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan. Richard spoke in conversation last Friday with American novelist Claire Messud about his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and his father’s experiences in a Japanese POW camp.

Sydney’s Pat Armstrong is sure to draw strong crowds in his Hobart appearance – his story is fascinating. In early 2014, millionaire Graeme Wood pulled the funding to his experiment in Australian web-journalism, the Global Mail. The final piece that was published on the website was the extraordinary comic: At Work Inside Our Detention Centres: A Guard’s Story, a piece developed from a series of interviews with workers from Australian detention centres. Pat was the designer for the team, and one of the instigators of the story, which gained a Walkley nomination.

As part of the Hobart PEN lecture, Pat will be giving an insight into the process of producing an incredibly moving story in an unusual medium, as well as some of the difficulties experienced in journalism in dealing with stories about detention.

Pat will be joined on the night by award-winning Nicki Greenberg from Melbourne, who has written and illustrated a raft of children’s books as well as two well-loved graphic novels published by Allen & Unwin - The Great Gatsby, and Hamlet, which is described as an “imaginative and lavish” 425-page adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. Nicki will talk about the arduous process of adapting Hamlet to the page.

Ticket costs are $15/$10 and include a $5 donation to PEN. Tickets are available via Eventbrite here:

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Thrilling new fiction releases from Melbourne author David Finchley

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media
11.05.15 3:48 pm

Nathan Goodman has been married to Sylvia Gold for 35 years.  They have two adult children in a seemingly happy marriage… until Sylvia asks for a divorce to continue her affair with a younger man. Switch is a tantalising read that explores the murky depths of long term relationships. FICTION, RRP $24.95

Bearing the scars of a traumatic childhood experience, Martin Brophy has shielded himself from the media, believing overexposure to the news does people more harm than good. He joins forces with a disgraced former accountant to set up a social experiment to test Martin’s hypothesis, known as The Eden Effect. Its ramifications soon reverberate around the world and put the men against the might of global media, with devastating results. THRILLER, RRP $24.95

Whilst living abroad, Dr Andrew Marshall’s colleague and mentor has found a cure for a deadly form of brain cancer, putting the hospital on the world map. But after returning to work in Melbourne, Andrew discovers anomalies in some of the patients’ medical records, and becomes concerned that his mentor’s actions may have been unethical and illegal. Andrew finds himself compelled to search for the truth, even if the consequences could be disastrous for the department and ruin his mentor. THRILLER, RRP $24.95

All three releases will be available in July 2015. Melbourne-based author David Finchley. He was born in 1946 in post war Germany and moved to Australia with his family at the age of ten. After completing school, he studied Medicine at Melbourne University, going on to specialise in Neurology, which he continues to practice today. Having been able to reduce his workload, he now has the time to pursue his long-held desire to write.

Scott Eathorne
Quikmark Media

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