Category Archives: Writing


In the month since I abandoned my writing career for a job as painter, decorator and general housekeeper in a futile attempt to ameliorate the neglect I’ve lavished on my home for the last few years, it became perfectly clear to me why my writing career began so late. Instead of a head full of ideas that I longed to share with my readers, instead of rushing through pesky morning tasks to at long last reach my desk, my thoughts have been dominated by “to-do” lists, cataloging every little outstanding chore. And those lists just keep getting longer. Thinking back, it’s no wonder that during my years as a mother of three children, my brain was more than occupied with daily necessities related to soccer teams and school parent-teacher councils rather than novel plots.

Although the projects here are far from finished, I am determined to stretch my writing muscles this afternoon, lest they completely atrophy from disuse. For during my time-out, the world has not stood still.

  • Italy has a new government,
  • Germany has a new political scandal
  • and in Great Britain the temperature of the debates concerning Scottish independence is rising steadily.
  • Most astonishingly, the people of the Ukraine have succeeded in jettisoning their unloved president.

That’s a lot to cover in a blog post. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it short. Let’s start with Italy.

So the mayor of Florence turns up in Rome, uninvited and unelected, and tells Enrico Letta that he’s going to run the government now. In some such fashion that is how Matteo Renzi became the new Prime Minister of Italy. In Florence his record – and reputation – as mayor is controversial. Apparently he cared more about keeping the city cleaned up and safe for tourists than about the needs of the populace living there on a permanent basis (i.e. voters!). However, although he’s a center left politician, he has not been too easy on labor and its interests. Will he have the wherewithal to pull off the reforms necessary to turn the country around? I sure hope so. But of course, a cynical reaction would probably be more understandable. For so far, no one since World War II has emerged on the political scene with the power and gumption to clean up Italy’s Aegean Stables.

In Germany, a Social Democratic member of the Bundestag, Sebastian Edathy, laid down his mandate and left the country. Why not? Nothing wrong about that. Except evidence had  turned up showing Edathy had in the past purchased pornographic photos of children from a Canadian website. He, of course, denied the whole story. They aren’t porno, he claims, because the children aren’t posed in sexual acts. They are only naked. Uhhuh. So why did he quit and leave the country?

As if child porno wasn’t bad enough, the real scandal for Germany is that the then-minister of the interior, Hans-Peter Friedrich (Christian Socialist), informed the top ranking SPD politicians – Gabriel, Steinmeier and Oppermann (now major players in the current CDU/SPD coalition government) about their fallen angel. Friedrich, who had become agricultural minister in the new government, was forced to step down and now faces charges of disclosing classified information that allowed Edathy to flee.  And the other three SPD grandees? I wonder who they informed…and what will happen to them…

Then there is Britain. And Scotland. In coming September the Scots will be going to the polls to decide if they want to stand on their own feet rather than be a part of the United Kingdom. The Scots leader, Alex Salmond, is a lovable kind of guy. However, he seems to live in a world of his own. And I don’t just mean Edinburgh. After David Cameron and the Bank of England had declared that if the Scots secede, they will NOT be allowed to continue using the pound Sterling as their currency, Salmond still happily insisted they will. It’s just posturing, surely. “Why wouldn’t they want to share their beloved pound with us?” he muses.

Oh yeah, the EU. If they declare their independence, Scotland will no longer be a member of the European Union. What? says Salmond, that’s absurd. But the leadership of the EU has raised its collective fingers in a no / nein. You will have to apply, just like any other country who would like to join. While the Scots in favor of independence believe that their dwindling supplies of North Sea oil will fuel their new status, the population north of Hadrian’s Wall would be well advised to make a reality check before taking what looks like a plunge into the deep end.

Of course, the most exciting – and scary – story in the news at present is Ukraine. Who of us doesn’t want to see these people freed from the yoke of tyranny as embodied in the persona of Viktor Yanukovich? The good news is that he’s gone – even if he also needs to do a reality check after hearing him say he is still the rightful president of the Ukraine. So much potential for the progression of the country to a democratic and prosperous nation is evident. But it has to happen first. The Orange Revolution didn’t bring the desired results. Will this one?

Located as it is, between Europe and Russia, it is an endangered species. How far is Putin willing to go to keep the Crimea under his power for the sake of his Black Sea Fleet? One hundred years ago when the First World War broke out, the tinderbox that was the Austro-Hungarian Empire supplied the match that set off an unspeakable conflagration. Now in our 21st century, Ukraine could become a bridge to reconcile the differences between the east and the west. Or it could be a box of matches.

As citizens of the world, we have a lot on our plates. So keep reading – Stay informed. It is the only world we have.

And speaking of bridges, this is the road to the one I’ve built:



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Filed under Great Britain, Italy, Politics, Writing


Call me morbid….

…if you like, but when November arrives, I, like many people, start thinking about the year’s demise. All around us, nature is delivering the same message, telling us it’s time to go inside, build a fire, eat nourishing hot food and uncork a bottle of red. Around us the politicians are still wrestling with their coalitions, with budgets and policies, with fiscal and Euro crises. As for me, I’m ready to hibernate like the forest and its inhabitants, ready to hunker down with thoughts, good books and good stories to tell. So indulge me this poetic post. I’ve been fiddling with this poem for years, this being its latest incarnation.



Like lovers bedded ‘neath night’s cloak,

Mist caresses Earth,

Till crows heralding dawn

Cry with startling  mirth.

They screech, they circle,

Black dots in the haze,

They light on the oak,

Bare and wizened with age.

Their conclave is brief,

Suddenly they scatter.

A lone duck quakes,

Settling the matter.

Fog fragments rise from folded hills,

Like remnants of a dream.

They disappear when daylight breaks.

They’re seldom what they seem.

Wind whispers through nearby woods.

A scarlet leaf breaks free.

It mounts and hovers, it pirouettes.

A gust carries it off to sea.

My lungs are filled with limpid air.

What scents do I perceive?

Dank leaves embracing forest floor?

Roses hoar-frost filigreed?

Orchard strewn with o’er ripe apples,

Their gifts to Mother Earth?

Crushed chestnuts tread along the path,

Not knowing their own worth?

What weighs upon my heart so heavy?

One more breath, I’m not deceived,

The heady scent of mortality

Is the shroud enveloping me.



Filed under Endings, Fiction and Other Truths, November, Poetry, Seasonal Reflections, Writing

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