Last Thursday I rediscovered my mojo and managed to write a few thousand words on a half-finished novel destined to be the fourth book in the Southern Skyes series. Feeling rather pleased with my output I made myself a cuppa and blissfully sat down in front of the TV to catch up on world news . . . AND was I in for a shock! Images of the state being consumed by fire flashed across the screen . . . the worst fires the state of New South Wales have experienced on a decade . . . all while I’d been playing with words. It made me realize just how far removed from reality we can sometimes get. People were losing their homes and possessions while I’d been ensconced in my make-believe world of historical fiction, oblivious to all but my creative thoughts.
Today it was announced almost 200 homes have been lost in the Springwood and Winmalee areas in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, which is just one of the areas experiencing bushfires. The Rural Fire Service said 193 properties had been destroyed and 109 damaged. My thoughts go out to all those who have been affected . . . the traumatized and grieving families, brave but exhausted fire-fighters, lost and frightened pets, injured livestock and scared, homeless wildlife. It’s a terrible time for all and I count myself lucky to be living some 100 kilometers from the worst of the fires, but it’s in time such as these that Australian come together to support those in need . . . that’s one of the things that makes Australia such a wonderful place – the camaraderie, or the mate-ship that is so embedded in the Aussie psyche.
We have much to be thankful for in the way volunteer services, charities and communities pull together in times of need, but beyond all I thank the brave men and women of the NSW Rural Fire Service who put their lives at risk to save the property and lives of others. Their immeasurable contribution is above and beyond what could ever be repaid.
The Newcastle Herald’s photographer, Phil Hearne, captured this moment where exhausted firefighters collapsed for a moment’s rest. #NSWRFS
The overwhelming enormity of the Heatherbrae fires. Photo by Simon White
#NSWRFS Crews fighting the Springwood fire near St Columba’s School. Photo by Eillie Southwood
It’s a bit weird that only last week I decided on a name for this fourth book I’m writing and find it somewhat incongruous, and a little disquieting, that the title I select was “Burnt Wattle”.
It’s been said indie authors live and die by their reviews, which is often true, but in my opinion this blog sums it up very nicely. We need your reviews so if you’ve read and enjoyed any of my books I’d love to see you post an honest review for each book on the site where you made the purchase. I know it’s a little time consuming, but we indies so need your reviews. Many thanks to those who’ve already done so, your time and opinion is really appreciated.
“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
I remember Kansas. Kansas was 1997, and I had just published two romances with Bantam’s Loveswept line. Kansas was traditional publishing with agents and editors and books with paper pages and professional reviewers who worked for newspapers or magazines like Romantic Times. Back there in Kansas, your average reader had no way to say yea or nay—aside from word of mouth, which, as we all know, is limited to the number of ears you can bend. Kansas, my friends, was black and white when it came to reviews. You knew exactly whom you were dealing with … for better or worse.
A bit more than six months ago, I jumped the rainbow and landed in Oz—otherwise known as The Land of Self-Publishing—embarking on a magical mystery tour where every day is an adventure. Where every– and anyone is a…
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“Spring is come, the grass is ris,
I wonder where the birdies is.”
That’s what someone wrote in my autograph book back in my school days. At the time I thought it was kind of weird, but kind of cute too. The main thing is it stayed with me long after the autograph book joined the discarded pile of youthful enterprise. In retrospect, it’s one thing I wish I’d kept . . . so many memories in one small book of pastel colored pages.
But, Spring has arrived in the southern hemisphere bringing more than just pastel tones to our lives as plants, shrubs and trees bloom with vibrant color.
Okay, so we have flowers you say, but where is da birdies? Well, they’re out and about being ever so busy building nests and rearing their young and in doing so they don’t particularly have time to spare for photographers.
But . . . yes, there’s always a “but”. Here are two pictures from previous years.
I love the colors of spring along with its freshness and promised new life . . . and new memories still to come.
Finishing off today with one of my favorites – Australia’s golden wattle.
From time to time I get asked this question by someone who hasn’t read the first book in the “Southern Skyes” series:
“Shouldn’t it be spelled s-k-i-e-s?”
I’m sure the enquirer is most likely thinking this author can’t even spell…and rightly so. It’s a valid observation, one which gives rise to a tiny bit of author concern whenever it comes up. Would you ever consider buying a book you suspected might be rife with spelling disasters? Probably not. I certainly wouldn’t.
But here’s the thing. When I chose the title I thought it would be fun to have a double meaning…a little play-on-words…a pun, perhaps. I wanted to create an image of vast blue skies and endless horizons – with all the possibilities that invokes – while making use of the surname, Skye, a major family in the story.
What I was later to learn as my author education grew was that I’d used something which is aptly termed “double entendre”. Wikipedia has a nice definition:
“A double entendre is a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. Typically one of the interpretations is rather obvious whereas the other is more subtle. The more subtle of the interpretations may have a humorous, ironic, or risqué purpose. It may also convey a message that would be socially awkward, or even offensive, to state directly. (The Oxford English Dictionary describes a double entendre as being used to “convey an indelicate meaning”.)
A double entendre may exploit puns to convey the second meaning. Double entendres generally rely on multiple meanings of words, or different interpretations of the same primary meaning. They often exploit ambiguity and may be used to introduce it deliberately in a text. Sometimes a homophone (i.e. another word with the same pronunciation) can be used as a pun as well as a “double entendre” of the subject.”
So there you have it. Skyes or Skies? Did I make the right choice?
Some days I’m not so convinced.
The compelling lure of forbidden and unlikely bonds, both in love and in friendship.
The drama in the fight to soar and thrive over otherwise throttled dreams.
The magic in the beauty of the island continent and the history of its people.
These are the elements that combine to make Southern Skyes a series like none other. And now you can purchase the first three books of the series, beautifully produced in luscious color and design, for a single price of $25 (USD, exclusive of shipping).
The books are not only a treasure chest of words but also a lovely set to feature on your bookshelf or table.
Become a part of “history in the making.” There is no better way to escape the hurries and worries of today than settling in with the Skye and the McCabe families in this developing series, Southern Skyes.
Order direct from the publisher: firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the Aussie Three-Fer! Offer good through May 15, 2013.
Author site: http://www.sharynbradfordlunnauthor.com
View details on the first three books of the series HERE.
As mentioned in an earlier post, the Aboriginal Tasmanians were the indigenous people of the Australian state of Tasmania, located south of the continent of Australia. The island was originally called Van Diemen’s Land and the indigenous peoples referred to themselves as Parlevar or Palawa. Prior to European colonisation in 1803, their population has been estimated between 3,000–15,000. Apparently obtaining accurate figures was problematic, possibly due to the elusive nature of the Palawa.
Several historians record that introduced diseases were the major cause of the destruction of the full-blooded Palawa, but author Geoffrey Blainey documented that by 1830 in Tasmania: “Disease had killed most of them but warfare and private violence had also been devastating.”
Other historians regard the Black War as one of the earliest recorded modern genocides. American historian, and genocide specialist, Benjamin Madley wrote: “Despite over 170 years of debate over who or what was responsible for this near-extinction, no consensus exists on its origins, process, or whether or not it was genocide” however, using the “U.N. definition, sufficient evidence exists to designate the Tasmanian catastrophe genocide.”
While it may be more comfortable, in this day and age, to attribute the demise of the Palawa to diseases introduced by European settlement, the active measures taken by both settlers and government alike to rid the island of its indigenous population cannot be ignored.
Between 1825 and 1831 a pattern of guerilla warfare by the Aboriginal Tasmanians was identified by the colonists, some of whom acknowledged the Aboriginal people as fighting for their country. Rapid pastoral expansion and an increase in the colony’s population triggered Aboriginal resistance from 1824 onward when it has been estimated by Professor Lyndall Ryan, and Australian academic, that 1000 Aboriginal people remained in the settled districts. Whereas settlers and stock keepers had previously provided rations to the Aboriginal people during their seasonal movements across the settled districts, and recognised this practice as some form of payment for trespass and loss of traditional hunting grounds, the new settlers and stock keepers were unwilling to maintain these arrangements and the Aboriginal people began to raid settlers’ huts for food. The official Government position was that Aboriginal people were blameless for any hostilities, but when an aboriginal man named “Musquito” was hanged in 1825, a significant debate was generated which split the colonists along class lines. The “upper class” saw the hanging as a dangerous precedent and argued that Aboriginal people were only defending their land and should not be punished for doing so. The general population, or “lower class” of colonists, wanted more Aboriginal people hanged to encourage a “conciliatory line of conduct.” Governor Arthur sided with the “lower class” and 1825 saw the first official acceptance that Aboriginal people were at least partly to blame for conflict. In 1826 the Government gazette, which had formerly reported “retaliatory actions” by Aboriginal people, now reported “acts of atrocity” and for the first time used the terminology “Aborigine” instead of “native”. A newspaper reported that there were only two solutions to the problem, either they should be “hunted down like wild beasts and destroyed” or they should be removed from the settled districts. The colonial Government assigned troops to drive them out. A Royal Proclamation in 1828 established military posts on the boundaries and a further proclamation declared martial law against the Aboriginal people. As it was recognised that there were fixed routes for seasonal migration, Aboriginal people were required to have passes if they needed to cross the settled districts with bounties offered for the capture of those without passes, £5 (around 2010:$1,000) for an adult and £2 for children, a process that often led to organised hunts resulting in deaths. Every dispatch from Governor Arthur to the Secretary of State during this period stressed that in every case where Aboriginal people had been killed it was colonists that initiated hostilities. While many aboriginal deaths went unrecorded the Cape Grim Massacre in 1828 demonstrates the level of frontier violence towards Aboriginal Tasmanians.
By 1833, George Augustus Robinson, sponsored by Lieutenant Governor George Arthur, had persuaded the approximately 200 surviving Aboriginal Tasmanians to surrender themselves with assurances that they would be protected, provided for and eventually have their lands returned to them. These ‘assurances’ were in fact lies – promises made to the survivors that played on their desperate hopes for reunification with lost family and community members. The assurances were given by Robinson solely to remove the Aboriginal people from mainland Van Diemen’s Land. The survivors were moved to Wybalenna Aboriginal Establishment on Flinders Island, where diseases continued to reduce their numbers even further. In 1847, the last 47 living inhabitants of Wybalenna were transferred to Oyster Cove, south of Hobart.
All of the Indigenous Tasmanian languages have been lost. Currently, there are some efforts to reconstruct a language from the available word-lists. Today, some thousands of people living in Tasmania and elsewhere can trace part of their ancestry to the Palawa, since a number of Palawa women were abducted, most commonly by the sealers living on smaller islands in Bass Strait; some women were traded or bartered for; and a number voluntarily associated themselves with European sealers and settlers and bore children. Those members of the modern-day descendant community who trace their ancestry to Aboriginal Tasmanians have mostly European ancestry, and did not keep the traditional Palawa culture.
Other Aboriginal groups within Tasmania use the language words from the area where they are living and/or have lived for many generations uninterrupted. Many aspects of the Aboriginal Tasmanian culture are continually practised in various parts of the state and the islands of the Bass Strait.