August 2016

Hello again from Buderim after a very exciting and busy August. My Sunshine Coast is still dominating my days, but at last I was able to send the final document to the publisher, complete with the chosen photographs. Such excitement when I received a copy of the cover and the first few chapters formatted to include the photos. I was so impressed with how good it looked when it came together. So many independent authors try to go it alone, but experts can add so much to the appearance of any publication it is well worth using their skills to lift your work to a level of professionalism. I am now eagerly waiting for a draft of the entire book after the design team have worked their magic.

One would think there would be time to put my feet up for a while, sit back and just enjoy some quiet time. But no, the Sunny Coast is still a busy part of the world for the writing community. A new indie-published author, Glennis Brown, is launching her first book the Fortune Seekers. It sounds like a promising read and it covers the same period as my second book - the early days of the colony.

Very generously Glennis has invited other local authors to join her to present our own books. It should be an interesting afternoon as together the books will be a varied collection. I’m looking forward to it – now to get a presentation together. If you find time, the event is at the Domaine Country Club Village, Noosaville on Saturday 24 September at 1:30. All welcome.

One of the downsides of being so busy is that I have missed a few of my regular writing classes. I did manage to get there last week and read a nostalgic piece about my experiences when we first came to Australia. It stirred up quite a discussion and once again I wondered why it is that as we get older, memories of our early years are very clear in our minds yet we lose so much of recent events. More especially, why is it difficult to bring familiar names to mind when you want them? I can remember teasing my dear mother-in-law as she was telling us about one of her grandchildren and went through four or five names until she latched onto the right one. Now I find myself doing the same thing.

Talking of things past – one of the books I enjoyed this month was Mrs Cook: the real and imagined life of the captain’s wife written by Marele Day. Based on real events this book has been written as creative non-fiction and is a very readable and informative story. Naturally, I kept putting the book aside to discover more about the facts and while I learned so much more about James Cook, I also realised Elizabeth was an amazing woman - surviving alone for long periods (more than 2 years in some cases) whilst her husband sailed to the ends of the earth. On her own she had to face the deaths of her children; six in all, every one predeceasing her until she eventually died at 93. Each chapter of the book is cleverly based on some personal item found in the cottage after her death, items that were significant in the lives of Elizabeth and James. The Frost Fair Print, the Fan of Time and the Porcelain Teapot and, from after their marriage, the various mementos that James brought home from his voyages. Especially moving was the chapter about a ditty box, made by the crew of the Resolution, James’ final command, after he lost his life in Tahiti. The box was made of timber from his ship and inside was a lock of James’s hair – all that was returned of his body. The book portrays Mrs Cook as a remarkable woman who was worthy of a remarkable man. Highly recommend it.

I’ll be back next month with more news from the Sunshine Coast.

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