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January 22, 2020

The two page synopsis and first ten pages of Death in the Sanctuary have gone off to the publisher and now it's waiting time.  In the meantime, I'm writing brief biographies for minor characters in my first Gemma Lincoln novel, Feeding the Demons, which came out years ago and which is being pitched as the pilot for an eight episode series based on the five Gemma Lincoln novels by an enthusiastic Californian screenwriter.  This is an exciting possibilities and my very talented nephew is also involved.  He is a very experienced film maker.  Between the three of us, I'm hopeful that something very interesting will evolve. 

January 13th 2020
I'll be sending off Death in the Sanctuary to a publisher this week and crossing my fingers that she likes it.  It's difficult for writers and publishers in this age where reading is no longer the most popular pasttime as it was in days gone by.  Now a book has to compete with very good stories (mostly) 24/7 on multiple platforms for very little outlay.  Why would a buyer spend money on a hard or even soft cover book?  I'll put that question on my FB and see if there are any hopeful and helpful answers.

January 7 2020

It's frightening how quickly time goes these days.  I think the universe is speeding up.  Here, in spite of the dreadful fires it's time to start afresh.  The firefighters have been marvellous -- brave, tireless and because of their efforts, countless lives and properties have been saved.  We think of those who have lost everything except the clothes they were wearing.  There's talk of a Royal Commission into these fierce fires and that can only be a good thing.  Time to implement the Bradfield project and pipe water down from the monsoon north of the country into the dry lands of the southern areas.  

December 21 

Coming up for Christmas and the smoke and the terrible fires are leaving their mark on our nation.  I hope in future there will be massive clean-ups of the combustible material on forest floors.  Over the last two decades, misguided forest management has allowed piles of kindling to build up.  
Still fiddling with Death in the Sanctuary.  It's true that a work is never finished, just abandoned.  I'll be abandoning this work in later January 2020.

December 13

THinking of the young people involved in the dreadful volcano eruption accross the ditch in New Zealand.  Such a tragedy for them and their parents and siblings.  I feel sure questions will be asked as to why this tour landed on White Island at all.  
Just about to finalise the cover for Death in the Sanctuary.  I've chosen a striking image created by a very talented designer, Nina Backovic.  She also designed the cover for Sisters, this year's novel.

December 4th

Unbelievably it's December and Christmas and Chanukkah just weeks away!!  Where did it go?  Still working out the best way to go with the cover of Death in Sanctuary and I'm still going through it for the umpteenth time and still finding cuts to make -- all in the service of leaner, cleaner, meaner...  I've just about cracked the Chrissy shopping and now I'm hoping to settle down into a nice summer (sorry about the Solar Minimum kicking in for the poor souls in the Northern hemisphere) and do more reading and work in the garden.  Water restrictions come in even harder next week but we have to do that while we pray for rain.  

November 29

In two more days it'll be December and another year, another book and another set of beautiful jacket designs to choose from.  The woman who designed SISTERS' cover, is Nada Backovic and she is brilliant!  She's just sent me through nine possible images for Death in the Sanctuary -- making it hard to pick one.  But there is one that three people now have all chosen as their favourite.  I'm waiting to hear what my daughter thinks of them.  Then as nothing much happens in publishing until the new year, I'll keep going through the text for those little infelicities that still lurk in the details.  

November 26

My husband and I have a tradition -- of reading to each other on Sundays and we've just started on Middlemarch  (which is my all time favourite English novel.) The lovely leisurely pace of the novel, reflects a time when horses set the limit for speed and people had entertainments such as cards, sewing, reading, painting and journalling -- pressing flowers, walking -- now we are bombarded 24/7 with movies, TV, games, Instagram, FaceBook, and all the other things that I don't know about.  I'm looking forward to reading the scene with the beautiful, self-obssessed Rosamund (with snake-like neck) in which she lifts eyes 'forget-me-nots under the water' because of her disappointment that the benevolent Dr Lydgate is leaving and all at once he is bewitched.  Later, he calls her 'his little basil plant'  -- Basil was supposed to grow best on the brains of a murdered man.

November 24

I've been reviewing Death in the Sanctuary and cutting areas of description of the convent, which although interesting, hold up the forward thrust of the story.  But to pick up where I left on the 22nd concerning the imagination, I believe the simile of it being like a language is helpful.  The imagination also helps a person have dramatic dreams -- which are very useful in the journey to 'Know Thyself' --  the inscription over the portals of the temple at Delphi.  A writer's first resource is the Self -- in all its conscious knowing and unconscious mysteries.  The more a person 'knows' his or her self, the deeper and richer their writing will be.  It is essential to remember Solzenitsyn's warning that: the boundary between good and evil runs through every human heart.  Thus a writer needs to face their inner darkness before they can be fully human.  But not live there!!!

November 22

I thought I'd start reviewing my writing life -- and maybe even a little of my more personal life -- in these pages over the coming months.   I'd always written poems and short stories during my school days.  We had to write 'Compositions' which were free writing on given topics such as 'A Day in the Life of a Penny' (This was during the days of Imperial measurements) or vaguer titles such as 'An exciting event' etc.  I loved doing these because they allowed me the use of my imagination.  I believe all children have wonderful imaginations but over the years as they grow, this is curtailed by various factors -- unhelpful adult comments, the constant use of watching digital stories where everything is already visually presented and there's no need for the imagination to be used and like an unused well, the lovely flowing of images and ideas slowly dries up and one grows into an adult who says 'I wish I had your imagination.'  The imagination is like a language; use it or lose it.    More to follow.

November 21st

After putting Death in the Sanctuary aside for two weeks, I'm ready to come back to it for another sweep through.  Already I've seen minor issues that need to be addressed.  Nothing like coming back to a work with a fresh eye.  I'm planning to write some journalistic pieces now that it's almost complete and while it finds a publisher.  I've recovered from bi-lateral lung cancer and I think people would be interested in hearing about that journey from almost ten years ago.  Also looking forward to reading all the books that are stacked up in piles some even on the floor!

November 9  Finally, I think I've got the final section of Death in the Sanctuary (once The New GIrl) sorted out.  It's been a difficult child, this 18th novel of mine and has taken me a long time to rewrite and reorganise.  A stringent structural edit took out about 20,000 words which left me with more story to find.  However, I've done that now and I believe it's flowing well.  Now I need a stern, impartial eye to review it and point out the flaws I've failed to notice.  Eventually, I'll be satisfied sufficiently and then send it to a publisher.  

November 4

Unbelievably it's November already and I'm still labouring over the final sections of Death in the Sanctuary.  But pleased because we had 13 mls of rain overnight after a very dry stretch.  I lost two fish from my pond to crows -- didn't realise they were keen fishers and now have had to grille the pond.  However, now that the Crow Takeway is close to them, the crow family haven't visited for a week now.  They are highly intelligent birds.  Now, back to the drawing board...

October 29

Still fighting to get Death in the Sanctuary right.  Too much early exposition interfering with the main focus -- that is he story I'm telling about the mysterious girl picked up by Greek fishermen from where she's been drifting in the ocean on a tiny life raft.    You would think that by the 18th novel, I'd know how to set up the story!  So moving chunks of it into smaller bites into other places, or discarding the chunk altogether.  
I'm also going to make a brief video wherein I talk about my Cretan novel, SISTERS, and the research that I did for it in Crete and how that features in the novel.  The Gestapo headquarters house in Kissamos, the huge cistern up in the mountains that the runners used, many of them just kids, to get information past the Germans from the Allied soldiers and airmen hiding up there and take it down to the bay where it could be handed over to the relevant people, all feature in SISTERS.


October 18

Just sent the cover design for Death in the Sanctuary off to the brilliant designer, Nada Backovic, who created the beautiful cover for Sisters.  Nada sent me nine draft covers to choose from and honestly, I wanted most of them!  But had to finally settle on the winner.  For DITS, I need something a little gothic, a little dark, but with rays of light penetrating.  It's a spooky story set in a 1960s convent boarding school, standing on a remote headland on the wild south coast.  I thought I was finished it but now I've decided that the last third just doesn't cut the mustard so it's been thrown out and now I'm writing it yet again.  So important to get that last section right -- and satisfying.

October 11th

How quickly the time goes!   I'm waiting for a call from my nephew, Al Morrow, a talented producer who together with US screenwriter/producer Sandra Kobrin and me, is devising a great pitch for making the five Gemma Lincoln PI novels into a television series.  It's been very interesting so far to be part of this process.  Of course, achieving this outcome would be marvellous and similar to winning one of the classic races at Randwick, but you have to have a horse in the race, and we've got a good one!  More info as it comes to hand.

September 24 

A weekend away at the Music in the Hunter weekend organised by Ida Lichter and David Constable of Constable Wines at Pokolbin was a blessed three days in the beautiful Hunter region.  Mendelssohn, Brahms, Beethoven and a couple of new ones (for me!) Webern and Crusell.  Magnificent playing -- the Goldner String Quartet lead by Dene Olding -- erstwhile concert master of the SSO who were joined by the Tinalley String Quartet in Mendelssohn's joyour Octet and David Griffiths was brilliant on the clarinet.  Magnificent playing -- world class - an then some!  An imaginative dining menu accompanied by Constable wines completed the wonderful indulgence. 
But now, it's back to work and I'm still wrestling with the ex-New Girl, soon to be Death in the Sanctuary, I think.

September 16

I'm still battling with the last section of The New Girl.  Also, I need to find another title as there's another novel called the New Girl that was published fairly recently.  I'm now looking at Murder at the Convent sort of ideas -- something smart, kinetic and alluring.  Like we'd all like to be.  Then working with two other very talented producer/writers to create a perfect pitch for the Gemma Lincoln novels as a television series.  Very interesting work -- challenging and constantly being revised into more and more improvement.  

September 4

Sisters was released into the US on September 1 and I'm hoping that American readers will enjoy it.  The novel received a very good review in The Australian national newspaper last weekend, and I was really pleased for that.  If people don't know about the existence of a book, how can they ever buy it?
As to the work in progress, The New Girl,  I'm almost finished the rewriting and will be talking to the artist in the next few days concerning an evocative cover image.  Spring has arrived and all is well.

August 16
Any US visitors to this site, please note that my latest novel Sisters is due for release in the USA on 1st September and that currently there's a Goodreads Giveaway operating on Goodreads site -- there are 50 free copies available so log on
See if you can get hold of a freebie.  I'm very happy that people in the US can get to read my novel S

August 12

I'm a third through the rewrite of The New GIrl and enjoying sharpening it all up. THere's now a new prologue that sets the story up better than the way I originally had (thanks to editor Louise) and a lot of slashing and burning!  "Kill all your darlings" is the rule and my favourite bits (like the self-washing toilet that I discovered in Sougia, southern Crete, and which originally featured in Sisters) had to go, sadly.  
There's now a Goodreads giveaway operating on Goodreads new reads and fifty ecopies of Sisters will be won by fifty lucky people who enter the competition.  Good luck.  Sisters becomes officially available in the USA on September 1st.  So, exciting times for my novel.

July 31st

I'm rewriting The New Girl, going through the very thorough notes and suggestions that my editor has listed.  It's slow work but I'm enjoying finding answers to some of the questions she's posed.  It will be a much stronger book because of her work. 
Sisters is released in the US on September 1st and I hope it will find a wide, discerning audience there.

June 12th

I thought for a bit of fun I'd include the very -- very -- simple recipe for what the Cretans call 'Horta' or Dandelions.  Next time you're digging them up, wash the greens, steam them or cook them in a little water, drain, throw a good slurp of olive oil over them, some lemon juice, salt and pepper etc, and they are quite delicious.  You'll need a good pile of them because they cook away to almost nothing!
I love them.  A bit like baby spinach -- and they're free!!!

June 4th 2019

The New Girl is currently being edited by Louise THurtell and I'm waiting for it's return by doing a bit of self promotion, so necessary these days in which authors are expected to work at getting their books noticed.  If people don't know a book exists, they can't order it or buy it.  
I'll be having a Sabbatical after The New Girl gets off my hands and refreshing myself in order to see where the imagination takes me in the coming year.

March 19 2019
Sisters is finally making its way into the shops.  It's been a long process, held up by unforeseen circumstances but now I'm hoping it goes out into the world and is well received.  This is the worry time for writers.  Will people like it?  Will it be well reviewed? Will it sell?  I'm hopeful that such a good story, well-researched --I lived in Crete for months in the northwest town of Kissamos where the story is set in order to get things right -- well, as right as a non-resident is able, with strong characters, facing difficult choices and often in some danger, create a novel which has been described as 'unputdownable'.  Wilkinson publishing has been very supportive (thank you Jess!) and although it's been a 'difficult birth', the result makes me happy.  I hope it'll bring the same satisfaction to all my readers.  
I apologise for the long delay between posts; pressure of work, and some tricky health issues have made life a little more complicated that it normally is.  Now I must get back into The New GIrl which I hope to have ready for a structural edit by the end of next month.  Happy reading.

December 23 2018
The official publication date for Sisters (used to be known as The Woman Who Loved God) is now January 8th 2019.  
I've been busy writing -- or rather trying to write -- because it's hard this time of year with all the interruptions caused by the season.  I spent the afternoon making mango mousse, the traditional food my family demands at this time of the year.  It's quite wicked, packed with mangoes, whipped cream, sugar and air.  But once a year, it can only do us good.

Can I wish all readers a Happy Christmas and a wonderful new year -- may all your dreams come true!

November 24th 2018

The novel once entitled The Woman Who Loved God is now titled Sisters and it's OUT!  It's available for pre-order before publication date in December.  Please click on the Wilkinson Publishing link on the front page of this website.  The name was eventually changed because people are scared of the G-o-d word!!!!  But it's exactly the same as described here.  Greta Maitland, Sydney screenwriter, gets a postcard from Crete telling her that her younger sister Xanthe (pronounced 'Zan-thee'  has been missing for some time and the Cretan police have run into a deadend.  I visted Crete three times, twice on research trips and lived there for several months, gathering the 'feel' of the place and the Cretan people -- the Irish of the Mediterranean as they are sometimes called.   Sisters is an exciting and thought-provoking novel, about family relations, whether or not 'I am my brother's (sister's?) keeper, examines betrayal and misunderstanding between couples, and is finally a ringing statement about choosing life!

At the moment, I'm writing the outline of my new thriller - The New Girl - set in a remote country boarding school, in the '60s where the gloomy corridors and weak electric lighting create a spooky background for a fast moving, gripping story.  Better go and finish it!

My absence from updating my news is because I've been flat out writing and doing outlines of my work

July 18th 2018


January 19th 2018

Apologies for leaving such a long gap between news reports.  I've been busy finding a publisher for my new adult novel "Sisters: a Soul THriller' having two short stories published, one in the US in an anthology called Sydney Noir, the other in a collection edited by Lee Kofman called "Split' and writing a new thriller, The New GIrl, set in a 1960s boarding school.  
Look out for "SIsters: a Soul THriller in November December of this year, 2018.

Finally, I should first wish everyone a Happy New Year.  I hope everyone had a great Christmas, Chanukka or whatever season is celebrated.
The Woman Who Loved God is still being read by a new agent, and I'm still waiting to hear the judgement!  Patience is required, plus getting on with other work, mostly at the moment, to do with the new 48 Hours Trilogy, The Vanishing, The Medusa Curse and The Crocodile Heist (my personal favourite because of the large crocodile involved!)  I'm also mulling over and making notes for a new adult thriller.
My frog pond is finally producing results and I've had two batches of frogs' eggs in the little cave made by the overhanging rock in the pond.  Now I'm hopeful of spotting little taddies soon.  

Here it is September (2017) and I haven't kept this page up to date very well.   I'm still looking for a publisher for The Woman Who Loved God as the novel is now with a number of publishers, waiting for someone to love it.  In the meantime, I'm getting on with writing a new YA novel, storylining and organising another exciting read for young people.  
Any time now, Book 2 of the 48 Hours Trilogy will come back to me for polishing.  The first book The Vanishing came out earlier this month with the second book The Curse of Medusa coming out next year.  I'm also dreaming about a new adult thriller set in a convent in the 'fifties or 'sixties, before the massive changes of Vatican ll shook the whole thing up.
Very spooky, very Gothic.  So I'm not sinking into any kind of retirement.



​The Woman Who Loved God is off to the USA seeking an American agent.  I hope someone over there loves it.
The first book of the new YA Trilogy The Vanishing is almost ready to go to the Bologna Book Fair where I hope there will be lots of interest in it.  
I'm currently writing a short story for an American publisher (if they like it!) to go into a collection called Sydney Noir. I"m setting mine in CLovelly -- the least noir suburb I've ever lived in, but you never know...
Other writing plans too...

January 31st 2017

Just sent my edited manuscript off to Fiona at Curtis Brown and now I wait to hear back from her concerning her thoughts on which publishers to approach with this work.  It is a departure from my genre novels, more a return to the stand alone novels I wrote in the '80s and '90s and I hope it doesn't disappoint those looking for a straight forward thriller.  This one, The Woman Who Loved God,  is a devious tale, but I hope ultimately very satisfying.

Jamuary 2nd 2017

I'm now working my way through the edited typescript of The Woman Who Loved God.  Nicola O'Shea, the editor, has made some very good suggestions to tighten and clear up the first section of the novel, and provide a cleaner through-line of the main narrative.  Her suggestions also strengthen Greta's motivation to go to Crete, not only to search for her missing sister, but also to try and discover more about their mother's early life and why she is/was the way she is/was.
I hope to deliver it into the hands of my agent by the end of this month or the first days in February.  Then, I sit back and wait for the offers!!!!   Well. that's the plan.

The first book in the YA Trilogy, 48 Hours "The Vanishing", will be off to Bologne Book Fair in April.  I hope it finds many excited buyers from all over the world.

Latest News

I've delivered The Woman Who Loved God into the hands of the highly regarded editor, Nicola O'Shea, for her structural editing.  I"m hoping I've got the structure largely in order, but one never knows -- as the poet Emily Dickinson said 'The mind is too close to itself' for disinterested judgement.
 Soon I'll be back on the YA trail with 48 Hours, however the first book will not now be coming out until September 2017 and that seems a long time away.  In the meantime, I have some ideas for another YA work and also another adult novel.  
Please message me any time on Facebook.  Love to hear from readers.

September 23rd 2016

Here I am, doing yet another draft of The Woman Who Loved God.  It's a happy way to pass the time until the books of the new YA Trilogy, '48 Hours" come back to me from the Scholastic editor, Angie Masters. for polishing and improvement.  (I need a personal editor, come to think of it, to polish and improve me!!)  
I feel very satisfied in the writing of TWHLG and hope that readers will find it an enjoyable journey, even thought it's a little different from my usual straight thriller novels.


23rd 2016

It's been too long since I added to this site.  I've been writing The Woman Who Loved God and now I have a strong first draft which I'm letting rest for a while.  I'll come back to it with fresh eyes, I hope, and take it to the next draft.
I've also been rewriting the ending of Book 3 the YA Trilogy "48 Hours' about Jazz and Phoenix, my two intrepid teenage investigators.  
Also some gardening and listening to music, reading and writing other more journalistic pieces.


Just hit the 10,000 words mark with the Woman Who etc.  Once I've got ten thousand locked in, I feel I'm really getting into the book.
Too many interruptions this week -- all of them very pleasing and necessary -- but they take me away from the focused attention I need to apply when writing.  Next week is less crowded.

March 2016

Just came back from eight days on Lord Howe Island where -- in a place where only 350 people live permanently and a tourist population of never more than 400 -- a man who spoke Hebrew (which I'm learning) then I bumped into writer Kathy Lette, who co-wrote Puberty Blues and who I hadn't seen in about thirty years, then finally, a guy who was staying at the same accomodation as we were, said 'You don't remember me, but I was the guy at Taronga Zoo who got you into the Komodo dragon emclosure when you were researching a book!  I was able to tell him that I used the info I gained from that somewhat scary close encounter with the great disembowelling lizard in two books -- one adult and one YA (Monkey Undercover)  How's that for amazing meetings in a tiny place.  

I'm currently writing The Woman Who Loved God, an adult novel, and waiting to hear what's going on with 48 Hours, which was bumped into this year for publication.  I'll keep you posted as to its progress.  

The five Gemma Lincoln novels and Dishonour have all been optioned by a Melbourne producer and she's hoping (as am I!) that the ABC will take one -- or both -- on to fulfil their Australian drama content.   Fingers crossed.​

Happy New Year and welcome to 2016 everyone!

January 16th 2016

This is the year I can finally write the novel I've been hatching for many years:  The Woman Who Loved God -- freed from the constraints of the classic thriller structure which for many books now, has formed the scaffolding for the now 37 novels for adults and Young Adults that I've written over the years.

This novel, set in Crete (mostly) the island in the Mediterranean from whence came my great grandfather, Konstantinos Koukousagis, provides the background to a novel about two women -- sisters - and their lives, interrupted as each one pursues goals that lead to very unexpected outcomes.  Of course, I'll be using my 'training' in the thriller mode, to create and maintain tension and suspense, but I feel much freer in this book to let my imagination play a lot more with ideas that have preoccupied me for some time.  Wish me luck.

October 2015

I've been absent from these pages for a few months, working to finish Book 3 of the '48 Hours Trilogy" -- well, it's finally written but just recently I heard that it will not be coming out until 2017 -- so apologies to anyone who was hanging on it!   
Now I'll do a springclean of my home which is long overdue and catch up on some reading before I start writing my  soul novel The Woman Who Loved God.

June 5th, 2015

Storylining Book 3 of the 48 Hours Trilogy -- making this book the best of the three as it's the last one.  Then I'll write it, the Scholastic editors will see any problems/additions and then it's up to me to write the first draft of the book.  That will be fun.

May 2015

Book 2 of the 48 Hours Trilogy is now safely with the editors and I can have a little break before starting to storyline Book 3.  Working with Scholastic Publishing is always rewarding because I send my storylines through and the editors take a look.  They often make very helpful suggestions or comments that I can incorporate into the first draft.

Unfortunately, I developed a head cold and instead of leaping around, I've had to settle for sniffing around and taking it easy.

The weather has been gorgeous until today -- just now it's turned very cold and dark with rain threatening.  My fish are all just hanging at the bottom of the pond.  They need warm days and nights to get them going.   Roses just about finished.

I had two very fine letters from young fans in the USA.  I love answering those letters and always include a postcard of myself with Pushkin, the non-wonder cat.

April 2015

Busy finishing Book 2 of the 48 Hours Trilogy -- just tidying it up now and this week I'll send it off for editing.

Yesterday, we attended the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Coogee Beach down the hill.  Getting up at 4am wasn't too hard.  I thought of all those beautiful young men and their officers who died to uphold liberty -- in the face of Germany's aggression.  We still have to fight for those ideals today.  The Anzac spirit reminds us of this lest we forget.

February 2015

I'm writing Book 2 of the new 48 Hours Trilogy, in which two clever young investigators take on a frightening case that has baffled the police so far.  Jazz Mandell and Phoenix Lyons don't much like each other, but they know that they need each other...

November 8th, 2014

There are now four or five good reviews of Dishonour which is pleasing.    I'm hopeful of overseas sales but that is out of my hands.  I was interviewed by the BBC for a program called 'Foreign Bodies' as was Peter Temple and spoke of the way a writer is influenced by the times and the place in which they live -- I defended Australia against charges of 'racism' as it's my experience that apart from the odd dickhead, Australians are largely a tolerant lot of people who do believe in the 'fair go'.  
Now it's back to work in the YA field, writing a new Trilogy '48 Hours' in which two intrepid teen investigators solve three gripping and dangerous crimes.  


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