Monthly Archives: March 2021

Book Launch

Today is the day. My little book is now out in the world.

I have mixed feelings. I always knew – on some level – that my first solo effort would be about animals. But I also thought it would be speculative fiction as well. Life is always throwing surprises at you.


Summer Brook Spring is an amazing book as it really captures the essence of living in Queensland. I love how the character of Freya is so relatable to me and how the girls are so different yet get along so well. My personal favourite part of the story is when the girls camp out with the calf and its mother. I just find it so heart-warming. Overall it is an amazing book for all ages. Logan (10)

When I first started reading this book I could tell that it was going to be one of the best books based in Australia that I have ever read, and it was! I do find it annoying how the father wants to take the Nan back to London though but I would guess you meant us to feel that way about it. I also think Freya is brave for doing the things she did in the first week being there because personally I would never sleep in half a shed with a calf, the calf’s mother and a girl I met within the week. Now to recommend this book to all genders, ages 8-12 Taylor (11)


Filed under Book Launch, Farm Book, The Summer Brook Farm Books

‘All the Murmuring Bones’ review

I had been a very happy reader over the past two weeks. I received both All The Murmuring Bones and The Tallow Wife And Other Tales, books by Angela Slatter, in the mail. I read them, and then reread the two volumes that share the setting of the stories: The Bitterwood Bible And Other Recountings and Sourdough And Other Stories. It’s been a delightful romp through Slatter’s complex and mythopoeic universe.

As you can see, All The Murmuring Bones has a different publisher to the other three books, who have all been published by Tartarus Press. Titan Press still managed to give the book a stunning cover image; it’s just a pity that all four books don’t share the same presentation. And that is probably my only nitpick. (I’m annoyed I haven’t the Sourdough in hardcover.)

Unlike the other three books, this is a novel and not a collection of stories. One of the features that delighted me was hints and flickers of the previous stories from her collections, used to create depth to the history of the family of the O’Malleys. The protagonist is Miren O’Malley, the last pureblood scion of the seagoing family. It is her bloodline that is a pivot to the entire plot, spinning and steering the action like a ship’s wheel. Miren is more than just a ‘plucky’ girl character running away from an unhappy betrothal, as her complex feelings about her family give her a motivation not often seen in fairy tale literature – she needs to save not just herself, but many other people who have had interactions with her family.

The book’s antagonists are members of Miren’s family, her grandmother, Aoife, her distant cousin, Aiden; and the mysterious sea-queen. The sea-queen is both the source of the family’s curse and the source of the family’s prosperity. It’s Slatter’s genius that creates a creature that can be both sympathetic and monstrous, like Medusa.

Angela Slatter’s prose is as lush and vibrant as a jungle, and it is often referred to as Gothic, as it is dark and dangerous and can haunt you for weeks after you’ve finished reading any of her books. It’s easy to get so distracted by her poetic details that you have to go back and reread a page to keep track of the action (well, that is the case for me). It’s not a book to dip into, because then you miss all the machinations that went before. Plan on having a day free when you start reading All The Murmuring Bones.

All the Murmuring Bones can be read as a stand alone book, but I recommend having a book binge by reading all four books in one fell swoop. Then you can appreciate the interplay between all the stories. Get trapped in Angela’s net.

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Filed under Angela Slatter, Australian Author, Book Review

Adventures with Cats

Yes, I am something of a cliché, an author with cats. I generally avoid mentioning my cats (and my family) when I write my author’s bio. But my furry family has been undergoing a change. We have a third cat who visits on a daily basis, and yesterday Bruce spent the entire day with us. I’m putting that down to the rain – it rained all day.

And yet, no Bruce today (so far).

Bruce is a black tom cat with lovely manners; his nickname is the ‘Soot Sprite’. He always asked politely to come inside. He is taller than my girls, but much skinnier. He doesn’t seem to have another family, because he was neglected and too thin when he first started turning up. He isn’t our cat, but he is always welcome to visit. He has a deep and croaky voice and he always says ‘goodbye’ when he is leaving. He is called Bruce because his full name is Bruce Man Bat Wayne – his expression resembles the Batman’s mask.

This is Artemis, who mostly goes by the name of Bean (because she thinks she is a hooman bean). Artemis suits her, as she loves to be worshiped like a goddess, and she hunts constantly: butterflies, lizards, dragonflies, and birds (alas). Bean also suits her, as she has sweet toe beans. She is our original cat, a rescue from the RSPCA. She has lots of personality and isn’t a polite girl. Indeed, she is something of a bully to the other cats. But she is also snuggle bunny and very chatty; that kind of love is irresistible. She also has the widest range of vocalisations I’ve ever heard, from the softest mew to a resonating wail (when she need to sing the songs of her people).

Then there is Tilly Mint, who we adopted when her original owner tragically passed away. We didn’t change her name, to avoid confusing her. Tilly is sweet-natured and polite; she taps ankles and mews when she wants attention or bikkies. It sounds like she is saying ‘ma’am’. She also uses her lush tail to signal her mood. She loves being brushed and petted, but isn’t too keen on being picked up or sitting on laps. She gets lost in the backyard, so I’m not sure she is terribly bright. She is often the target of Bean’s temper; she hides on a dining room chair under the tablecloth – but her tail always hangs down. Her voice is soft and sweet, just like her, and she is chatty. Tilly is also quite timid.

Both Bean and Tilly hate strangers at the door and storms. They were terrified during October’s massive hail storm – it sounded like the world was ending – and since then heavy rain or hail sends them into hiding. When Bruce turns up, Bean gets territorial, particularly if he decides to have a snooze on my bed (her territory). Tilly sniffs Bruce’s nose and since he is nicer to her than Bean, I think she likes him quite a bit.

The Stand-off!

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Filed under Uncategorized

The more things change…

…the more they stay the same.

The Australia government has been going through another series of revelations about the misogyny of our male politicians. No surprises, ScoMo, our PM, has proven to be useless at facing the challenge the problem. Today, when many women are marching to air their grievances against the ingrained unfairness of our society, he has offered to meet with a few women indoors, in his offices, rather than going out to face the activists and protesters.

No surprises there. He is tone deaf about reading the zeitgeist.

However, he’s going to have to wake up and get ‘woke’. No more depending on Mrs Morrison to tell him the realities of the female opinion on rape. No more ‘I believe him, he told me what happened’ when the other side can no longer speak.

No more hiding behind distractions – it’s time to take hold of the hose, Scotty from Marketing. Own the problem.

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Filed under Opinion Piece

Women’s History Month Article

For Gillian

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My First Solo Book

Summer Brook Spring

Above is the link to my book. Don’t you just love the cover …


Filed under Author, Iron Bridge Publishing, The Summer Brook Farm Books, Writing Career