Books, Chooks, Cooks and Wombats  //  November, 2016

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Cake, wombats and wonder

The oven is full of five Christmas cakes, with another five waiting on the bench; the big boiler on top of the stove has one large and two tiny puddings cooking, four waiting to be boiled and four that have  had their first boiling and await their second…and I am wondering yet again why I am incapable of  making only one pudding and cake; or maybe three, because my Mum and nephew want one too; or make that four, as Robyn next door (i.e. 6 km down the road) donated the newspapers and deserves a cake or pudding in return. I always bake fruit cakes on a thick wad of wet newspapers to stop them getting crusty, and this year we have read our newspapers online: excellent for skimming many items of news fast; no use whatsoever for cooking cakes.  Read more about the past month, by clicking here.

Book News

Twenty five years ago Rainstones was published.
And now, three million books later,  there I an anniversary edition. And it is glorious.
I didn’t ever seen the proposed original cover:  that was a long before sending pdfs by email. I love the cover but never felt comfortable with it, as those were not the ‘rainstones’ that I’d known.  But this is perfect.  

If Blood Should Stain The Wattle

Book #6 in the Matilda saga, but each one can be read on its own.
This is Gibber’s Creek- an Australia- 1972- 1975, ‘It’s Time’ the years of idealism, Gough Whitlam’s government, the Dismissal, a time when Australia was deeply idealistic but there were many, many conflicting ideas of what the coming ideal world would be.
 I suspect that everyone who lived through those year is going to disagree with part of this book. It I written from what I experienced, but also, looking back and reevaluating. Apologies for the slightly wicked take on communal living. But for the rest: those years were, and still are, deeply controversial- and complex. This is the best I could do in a  single book.  But it is also time for Jed Kelly to choose between Nicholas, the new labor members for Gibbers Creek, and Sam of half Way to Eternity; for Scarlett O’Hara o dream of becoming a doctor, despite her wheelchair; for Leafsong, the ‘mute monster’, to enchant the world with food that is magically perfect for every problem; for Ra Zacharia to dream of the end of the world- and the beginning of a  new one.
It is also time for Matilda O'Halloran Thompson to finish the journey she began as a child at the billabong,  seeing her father’s dream of equal opportunity for Australia, not as the formidable matriarch of Gibber’s Creek who could buy a newspaper to have her vision unopposed, but, as her father wished, finally, to know that she has one vote only, no more, and at last no less, than any other Australian.

Other New Books 
Barney and the Secret of the Whales: the second in the secret Histories series
Wombat Wins! With the brilliant Bruce Whatley
The Diary of William Shakespeare, Gentleman
Part love story, part historical thriller, part triumph and part tragedy. But also- to my shock- in researching it I came across evidence that, just possibly, even probably, Shakespeare faked is death. This book shows how, and why

Ate carrots.

The Four Step Process

My Brothers, 'The Four Step Process,' in working out what job you need (which is so useful I have included it here)
1. Work out what you are good at.
2. Work out what you passionately love doing.
3. Find the common points in the last two.
4. Work out a medium term i.e. ten year strategy to find a way of making enough money to live on doing the net result.

Don't look for maximized income: just 'enough'.
But if  you are really good at the first criteria. chances are you will eventually make quite a lot of money. 

Writing Tips #566

See above. If you love writing, and  are good at it, don’t let anyone tell you that no one can make  a living as  a writer. Many people do, extremely well. Also don’t let the Productivity Commission and the Turnbull government stop Australian writers making a living form writing n the grounds that ‘few writers write for money.’

I hope few doctors enter medicine just for the money, either. And carpenters love wood. But why should what we make with our hands be treated differently from the worlds we build with our minds?  I am an old woman who has given much of her life to books, and I could weep at the stupidity of it…
Writer’s Block
Have just had a rush of emails about writer’s block.
Here is the answer:
Writer's block comes when you just haven't thought about your story enough - in other words, it needs more thinking about. Often it means that your plot or characters aren't strong enough to carry the story along, and you need to change them- which takes a lot of work too.  Good writing doesn't come easily. (Bad writing comes very easily- it's based on something your have seen or read.)  To be a good writer you need to learn to concentrate, to really focus on your story - and that is something you learn from practice. There's no easy way to show someone. You just have to keep sitting down and writing.  If the bit you are working on won't flow, trying working on a bit that you CAN visualize. Or just go for a walk, and think about your story critically. Are you sure the characters are really interesting and fully fleshed out, or are they think and cliché?  And try to write a bit every day, too, so you don't lose the thread. I'm sorry I can't help more. Writing classes can give you exercises to make you practice writing. But in the end it's something we all have to do ourselves: write things, examine them, say 'this isn't good enough', trash them. And then write some more.
What Kinds of Books Do You Like?
And emails about this one:
Basically any book, of any genre, that is brilliant, from funny books to biographies, historical fiction. I don't like fantasy unless it is  written by  six of my favourite authors who happen to write fantasy; love sci fi except 99.99995 of it is boring;  and mutter if historical fiction is inaccurate.


Note: there are  a lot more tentative bookings; nor do I have detail of the ones below yet. 

26 November AGM The Wombat Foundation, via Bungendore. 
30 November - Conference Canberra
29, 30 January - Sydney Conference
18, 19 March - Keynote at the Wombat Protection Society Conference Penrith. 
18 March -  First public performance of Diary of a Wombat. Yay!
7,8,9 April - Newcastle 
26,27, 28 May - Townsville Literary Festival
8,9 June - Adelaide SEATA
31 June, 1 July - Maryborough
8, 9 June - Sydney, launch of Goodbye Mr. Hitler and  talks at the Sydney Jewish Museum
28, 29 October - Ffrench family reunion Braidwood NSW

The November  Garden

Am trying not to count the fattening cherries, apples, plums, avocados.
Read more here.


You can never start cooking for Christmas too early.  Have a look at some of these never fail recipes; 

The No Longer Secret Fruitcake 
Christmas Biscuits
Dark and Fruity Christmas Pudding
Frozen Plum Pudding
Christmas Fruit Jelly
Totally Secret Frozen Fruit Salad


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