Monthly Archives: March 2013


Easter Sunday morning, half past nine. The central heating is humming away and outside the weather god vacillates. Shall I rain down a natural disaster upon these people or merely threatening them with wind and cold, black clouds? In any case he (or she) cannot make up her mind.

As for our part, we traveled down to our bolt hole in Italy with the faint hope of outrunning winter. In that respect, the effort was a waste of time. However, between the necessary smartening up of the place for the coming season’s guests and socializing with local friends, I would never say a visit to our cozy corner of Le Marche is wasted.

And then there’s the creative part. Getting away from home and its associated chores liberates the juices in the brain (sorry for bringing in such a technical term) so thoughts can run along different, maybe less worn out, neural pathways. Which brings me to the title of today’s sermon – uh…I mean, today’s ramble. (Don’t worry, although it’s Easter, I refuse to fall into religious mode.) (Indeed, I have no religious mode.) So…

What is a CREATIVE BREAK anyway?

Is it an interruption from your usual rutted routine that frees your mind from the box where it lives and opens it to more imaginative endeavors? Or is it, on the contrary, a foray into those very mindless, repetitious chores? While your body is busy wielding arms and legs in the fight to conquer weeds and rampant trees, or banish winter’s thick coat of dust and cobwebs, the mind has run off on holiday to escape the boredom and returns waving plans for all sorts of exotic schemes.

It depends entirely on the nature of your day job. And therefore, each individual will need to work this out for himself. As it happens, I took a several week vacation from blogging – which, believe it not, is not a completely mindless activity – to allow my neurons to bathe in the beginning of my new novel. While submerged, those cells are so busy – and outright ecstatic that they’ve been given their heads to run away with the story – that all other tasks are a pain in the ol’ proverbial butt.

BUT(T)…before we came down here, my neurons came up with some great ideas about where to take that story, and it all happened while I was bored out of my mind and thrashing my legs on the cross trainer at the gym. So a creative break can be a brief interlude at the fitness center (not ever too brief, as far as I’m concerned…) or a journey to parts south.

Sorry, I must interject:

Despite closed windows I am hearing the bells at the village church, calling the faithful to worship on this Easter Sunday morn. Even a few rays of sunshine broke through the apocalyptic cloud cover, if only for seconds, to underscore the joy of the occasion for those who believe.

Now I’ll end my musings and spare you my thoughts on Berlusconi, Pope Francesco, the Cypriot banking debacle, and why I am one of the few people who doesn’t blame Angela for everything that goes wrong in Europe. I certainly won’t get into the mess with the US budget and the question of why Democrats and Republicans are such two-year-olds.

One advantage of being in an area of limited internet access: for a brief while we can let the world and its problems pass us by.




Filed under Fiction and Other Truths

Guest Post: JACQUELINE GEORGE reports on a new endangered species

It’s not quite April 1st yet, but after a winter of  my serious (dis-)content, it is definitely time for a bit of comic relief . Although this story sounds a bit over the top, Jaqueline has sworn on a stack of Bibles that it is the truth. I believe her implicitly. Who could be so cruel as to make up such a story?

jacqueline george tag small

A long time ago, I was an author in search of an agent or publisher.
Only a writer can truly appreciate the morbid sound of that. Never mind,
I had a historical novel on offer and a book of very naughty short
stories. So I supported the local Post Office single-handed as I sent
out letter after letter. Mostly unanswered, but the few answers I got
hinted at my effrontery in approaching the upper tiers of the book
trade. Who did I think I was?

And then a break-through. I remember it so well, sitting at my computer
and receiving an invitation to submit a manuscript to a London agent.
Then I waited, and waited. Eventually, I sent a timid email and was told
the agent in question had gone into hospital and was not expected to
return to his desk — ever.

Then another break. An American e-publisher (they were much rarer then)
liked the naughty stories, and would publish them! In two months’ time! I
had made it at last. Six weeks later I received a general email saying the publisher had just been diagnosed with lung cancer and had 6-8 weeks to live. Obviously, publishing my book was not uppermost in his mind.

His wife passed the company on, and my book was released 6 months later
and did well. By then I had a second book ready, a tale set in Central
Europe (The Prince and the Nun). The new literary editor wrote it was
the best thing she had read in decades. She dropped off her perch soon
after and never saw it published.

We moved to Australia shortly afterwards, and I decided I really needed
to be part of the proper publishing industry. I started sending out
letters to Australian agents. Nothing had changed, except the level of
condescension. Either that, or my worm-like status had declined even

Eventually, a kindly gentleman actually asked for a manuscript! Wow!
Home at last. My next communication was not exactly from him. It was
from the lady tasked with clearing the effects of the late Mr W…

Well, a plague on them all. As far as I am concerned, the whole tribe of
publishers and agents (especially the Australian variety) can go and sit on their ivory towers — and I do mean on. If they are not going to stay alive long enough to publish my books, I will bloody well do it myself.
I can’t say it’s easy, but I now have a little business called Q~Press
devoted to publishing MY books. The Q~Press Literary Editor (me) accepts
everything I write and compliments me on its amazing quality. I even
offer to help other authors with the mysteries of ISBNs, and bar-codes,
and formatting etc. In fact everything except publishing. They can use
my experience and even the Q~Press name, but when it comes to
publishing, they are on their own. I don’t intend letting go of my perch
anytime soon.



Jacqueline lives in Far North Queensland, on the shore of the Coral Sea. She keeps herself busy with her cats and garden, and by writing books – some of which are far too naughty for her own good. You can find out more about Jacqueline and her books at




Filed under Beginnings, Fiction and Other Truths, Writing