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The Cook's Toolkit

The Cook's Toolkit
The Cook's Toolkit by Clever Pumpkin.

Grace

Grace
Four women are about to start a mob war - and nails WILL be broken.

Daylight

Daylight
The romance is over: Edward & Bella twenty years on. My short story Daylight is now available as a free download.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Drug test the judiciary

My article proposing drug testing for the judiciary has been published on independent online journal, Independent Australia, and can be found here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Universal Truths


1.  Your left bra strap will always slip
2.  You will never find the right sized pot to cook corned beef in.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chris Isaak: Ironing Lady

Okay, first there was the episode with George Clooney, now this.
I had a dream about Chris Isaak last night.  Now, for those unfamiliar with the gentleman in question, he looks like this:
 
Ahem.  Now, without wishing to objectify anyone, it is not inconceivable that a healthy heterosexual female, presented with such a specimen of the opposite sex, may wish to… you know… as they say in The Simpsons, snuggle.  But for reasons known only to itself, when my mind decided to make me dream about Chris Isaak, we were trying to get the ironing done.
THAT'S RIGHT – THE FUCKING IRONING.
And it was his choice, the tosser.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: The End

I Am Shredder, Hear Me Roar

I escaped America, as you can imagine, with great alacrity, limping back to Wild Dog with my tail between my legs as quietly as I could.
Of course dear Oprah had taken it upon herself to offer her condolences to the real Salman Rushdie, who promptly shopped me.  One might have hoped for a little solidarity in the circumstances, but there you go.  I suppose I was only to him a mere romance novelist – not even that – merely an aspiring romance novelist: a shit-kicking non-writer of the lowest order. 
Of course, it went through Wild Dog like wildfire.  Everyone knew about it.  All I could do was lay low and wait for it – the inevitable knock on the door and whoever and whatever was behind it.  One thing was for certain: something was coming. 
So, seven days later, I am in the backyard, having a bit of a quiet suffer for my art, and sick as I’ve ever been – sicker – trying to work out what to do next, how to extricate myself from the whole sorry saga. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Sixteen

Today’s Horoscope: A long ago mistake comes back to bite you on the backside
~ The Pocket Muse  (Ideas and Inspirations for Writing)


Maybe it would have turned out differently if the little whack-job scientologist hadn’t just bounced the couch before me.  I don’t know.  But as it was, the audience was so…agitated, I don’t know… expectant.
I'd gone in on a swagger, having decided some time ago that the problem with we writers is that we're just not sexy enough.  A sad fact: the only people fascinated by writers are other writers.  All writer bios seem to read the same, wishing for a green and peaceful world.  No wonder people aren't interested in us.  I mean, what do we give them to be fascinated with?  Where are the guitar-smashing writers?  The nihilist live-hard-die-young-pretty-corpse writers?  The mean age for writers' liver failure seems to hover around forty-seven – way too late to compete with sexy dead-at-thirty rock stars.  I mean, why would anyone want to stick us on their wall when our version of a fight is throwing a hissy fit when someone suggests a novel can have more than one protagonist?  (How do you kill a writer?  I just told you.)  As the stuff of legend it hardly compares with Eddie fellatio-is-my-middle-name Irvine, now does it?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Fifteen

The Prosecution Rests




It’s the damnedest thing, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the damnedest thing.
The very same book passively rejected by Marly Rxxxxf (it stretches credulity!  Yes, Marly, that is sort the point, and the reason why God invented imagination) for needing too much revision, doesn’t need a jot of rewriting, and only the most superficial editing, once a publisher knows they have a way to market it.  As long as that bony bastard in the black shroud with the scythe thingy breathing down your neck will land your bouncy behind on Oprah’s couch, the majors will publish anything you write, no matter how bad it is. (Death: Unseen Opportunities – A Motivational Book for the Truly Perverted.  Yeah, right.  Try lobbing it at a publisher and they’ll tell you that you don’t have a platform unless you’re Death himself.)
I’ll let you in on another of big publishing’s filthy rotten secrets.  All those books that were rejected because they weren’t up to publication standard?  All those books that weren’t strong enough?  It’s remarkable – a book that has been rejected by all and sundry suddenly becomes eminently publishable once a writer has a name, once a writer has established a market.  They'll publish it without changing a single bloody awful word.  You ever loved a writer’s first book, only to be disappointed by the second?  I’ll tell you why – the second book was written first.  It was written first and rejected by every agent and publisher who looked at it, but who then looked at it very differently when that writer had readers who would come along and buy it on the strength of their ‘first’ book.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

PMS: You've Gone Too Far If He Needs CPR


























While research indicates that 75% of women experience PMS, it is listed as a 'rare disease' by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Victorian Government's Better Health Channel suggests that most women suffer from PMS, and advises that the best way to manage PMS is to keep a diary and cut back on caffeine and alcohol in the two weeks prior to menstruation.

Further, Research shows that women who are in a relationship with men experience worse PMS than lesbians[1] and that most men are indifferent to their partner's suffering, preferring to treat PMS as a big joke.

The Better Health Channel advises: Manage your stress in whatever way works for you,
so here's a list of essentials to help you do just that.

Chamomile tea is a very effective calmative.  Keep a boiling cup on hand to catapult at the bastard in your life.  Alternatively, fill a cauldron and ask him to get in (NB You might have to promise him sex afterwards to achieve this.)

Lavender oil can be wonderfully soothing if you break the bottle and hold it to his throat.

Tampons: Used to write PMS IS A RECOGNISED MURDER DEFENCE, ARSEHOLE on the wall.  Just see if the fucking dishes don't get done.

Sister, Who Died and Left You In Charge?

Despite the ever increasing number of women going out to work, year after year study after study reveals that women continue to shoulder the lion's share of the housework – as much as 85% more than men.  The Daily Mail reports that women still spend three times as long on domestic chores such as cooking, cleaning and washing than their husbands or partners.  Almost one in five men do nothing around the house at all, only rarely changing a light bulb or feeding the dog. 

Now more than ever, with a record number of women juggling the balancing act between family, career and housework, it's vital that we take the most efficient approach to housekeeping.  These simple tips will make housework a dream:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Fourteen

The Beginning of the End


Early morning.  The view from my window: Salman Rushdie giving pussy a hard time.  Jesus has risen and is looking on, laissez-faire as usual.  Herpes tingling ting-a-ling-a-linging, Salman Rushdie running with Herpes.  Jesus looking hangdog.
The name comes to me immediately – Proxy Moron Literary Agency – as does the agent’s name: Pat Rushdie.  I create an email account, then decide I’m not happy with the agent’s first name.  I change it to Felicity (no smart-arsery intended) and the agency name to Oxymoron Literary because for once in my life methinks maybe it’s best not to shoot myself in the foot.  Though looking back, I suppose Oxymoron Literary was bad enough.
What a bastard it is to have a conscience.  What I’m about to do makes me feel more than a little sick.  I send an email to Penguin, enquiring as to the romance editor.  I feel violently ill opening the response.  This is the closest I’ve come to having an anxiety attack since I stopped having anxiety attacks.  I open the email, expecting to be assailed by accusations:  LISTEN YOU ––––ING ––––KICKER OF A –––––ING WRITER, WE KNOW YOU’RE NOT A LITERARY AGENT, AND FURTHERMORE, WE’RE SICK OF BEING POLITE TO THE LIKES OF YOU JUST BECAUSE WE DON’T WANT TO HURT YOUR FEELINGS.  TIME TO FACE FACTS: IF YOUR ––––ING WRITING WAS ANY ––––ING GOOD, YOU’D HAVE MANAGED TO GET YOURSELF A ––––ING AGENT.  DOES THE FACT THAT YOU HAVEN’T TELL YOU NOTHING?  NOW –––– OFF AND STOP WASTING OUR TIME. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Thirteen

The Catalyst (precedes the Big Black Moment)

It was the worst day on my life – at least so far.
Trouble had been brewing for some time.  I had read the account of a top literary agent signing a writer and selling her novel within twenty-five days of her query letter.  There must be something terribly, terribly wrong with my writing I decide.  I order the book, desperately, dry-mouthed afraid to lay eyes on this exemplar novel.
I am eager and terrified to set my eyes upon this golden child which will drown mine in shadow.  I really am terribly frightened as I open the cover.  This pristine writing is about to expose mine as irredeemable (although I’m also looking forward to at least going out on a good read.) 
But wait.  This isn’t puzzling.  It’s soul-destroying.  It could be said this book hits the ground running.  But the ground is a desert bordello punctuated by rocks.  What happens when you hit the ground running?  You fall over.   
The abruptness of intimacy feels like an assault.  Come on! the best part of sex is the foreplay.  It’s like Christmas Eve: magical because there’s so much to look forward to.  Take the Christmas Eve out of Christmas, and all you’re left with is Boxing Day.  Take the foreplay out of sex, and all you’ve got is… puffing, panting and something that’ll be over too soon.

Rosemary Beer & Mustard Stew.

Rosemary, Beer & Mustard Beef Stew

The thing I love about winter casseroles is that you do a little bit of work late afternoon then get to relax in the evening as the casserole cooks itself.  It's like having a night off cooking, and of course, as anything slow-cooked reheats beautifully, making double and reprising it on another night does mean having a night off.  And, with all the vegetables you need included in the one pot, easy is guilt-free too. 

For the recipe to go www.cleverpumpkin.com.au


Monday, June 18, 2012

My Favourite Joke

A twelve year old boy walks into a bordello dragging a dead frog on the end of a rope.  He slaps a hundred dollar note on the counter and says to the madam, "I want to see a prostitute."  The madam says, "Eh, you're a bit young for this.  Why don't you come back in a few years time?"  The kid slaps another hundred on the counter and says, "I want to see a prostitute tonight."  The madam says, "Okay, take a seat.  That'll be about an half hour wait."  The kid slaps another hundred on the counter and says, "I want to see a prostitute with active syphillis."  The madam says, "That'll be about a five minute wait."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cheesy Tomato Tuna Pasta Bake



This is one of those deeply satisfying, simple dishes that sometimes you just have to have.   Serve it with plenty of fresh bread and butter to mop up the sauce.  Find the recipe on the Clever Pumpkin website.




Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Twelve

Write a funny  sex scene
~ The Pocket Baird (Ideas for guaranteed bestsellers.)

Well how about that.  There's a distinction between a ménage a trois[1] and a threesome, and technically a threesome isn't a threesome when three is a sum of two doing one, in which case, said threesome is soft swinging, or double teaming.  Well how about that. 
Obama had reneged on Gitmo.  His semen certainly wouldn't be staining my little black dress now.  I would have to earn a living some other way.  So, having found no more ways in which to put it off, I sink to the unthinkable, and start writing erotica.
The thing that put me off about erotica is that it isn’t very erotic.  It’s just, well… blunt, really.  A blunt object, I suppose.  Something I associate more with being hit on the head than giving it, much less tickling my ticklish bits.
MMMMMFM Oh bugger me!  No sooner do I come to terms with MMFM sex than they upgrade to MMMMMFM.  No.  That isn't possible.  Six blokes?  SIX?  I mean a woman only has three possible entry points, unless she's got a lot of piercings and even then she'd have to have worn really big dangly earrings for a lot of years for them to be any use.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Eleven

Trouble Brewing

The postie arrived very early this morning.  He must have been in a hurry to get my rejections to me, God love him.
It’s a day for new lows.  This is the first time literary agent has tried to flog me their book on how to get literary agent in their actual rejection letter.  Then there is the e-mail rejection.
The way I see it, in this business, you never know when the shit-kicking nobody you’re telling to fuck off today is going to turn into the next big thing overnight.  You would think that agents and editors would have the sense to realise that too.  A senior editor at a major New York house displays her great acumen in this regard by saying that my cooking project would appeal to those with a touch of OCD.
The problem with being a big fish in a small pond, sweetheart, is you never know when it’s going to rain.  Maybe the issue isn’t that my work isn’t strong enough, maybe the problem is that YOU’RE so effin’ JADED that you wouldn’t recognise a good book if it stood up and bit YOU on the arse…
Darkly muttering thus, I traipse down the road on a bitter winter Wild Dog day so windy that it really isn’t safe to be out on foot.  Though I wish I had worn a jacket, the prospect of being flattened doesn’t faze me in the least.  Vaguely I hear tree branches crack overhead, step over them as they fall, keep walking with my head down thinking my thoughts and muttering my mutts. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wild Dog Lasagne

Now that I've got your attention, perhaps I should mention that the town of Warragul is named after an Aboriginal word for "wild dog."  I'm calling this Warragul/Wild Dog Lasagne because it features sumptuous local produce: gorgeous Gypsy Pig free range organic pork fennel sausages and smoky/spicy Garfield pancetta.  If you're not lucky enough to have these at hand, then by all means use quality substitutes (or plain minced pork), but please do not be tempted to use surprise bangers from the supermarket or I'll be forced to come around to your place and cook it from scratch properly.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Ten

What Happens Next

You can’t beat country hospitality.  If this were a Melbourne train, they probably wouldn’t bother to make the announcement, just leave the passengers twitching, wondering why the bloody train has stopped this time.
But being a country train, they pay you the courtesy of announcing, Ladies and gentlemen, we apologise for the delay.  This is due to the train having a little bit of interaction with a cow – even though it’s unnecessary to announce it, that fact having first been discerned by all from the Mooooooooo! (presumably the bovine equivalent of, Oh fuck!  A train!) then again by the cow body parts flying past the window.
Given the improbability of flying pigs, I would have thought flying cows impossible.  There you go.  Live and learn.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Nine

The Beginning of The End of The Middle

I am going to my mother's for her birthday.  I pack a suitcase, go out for a little while to meet my mother at the doctor’s for her appointment.  When I get back, he is playing loud music and has left the toilet seat up.
He must think I had gone for good.
The music can be heard throughout the house.  Thirteen years, I didn’t know he liked his music loud.
He is celebrating.

***

And still (or should it be just the same) I am dishing up (it always irks me that he says serving) our cottage pie for dinner, and the moment I see that one corner houses a particularly golden, crusty pocket of potato, the dish is turned, a precise excision made: carefully I lift this little piece of daily art and cradle it, lay it gently, in all its glory and in all its loveliness, onto his plate.
Not for the first time I consider, it isn’t what he does for me that I’ll miss: it’s what I do for him.
Modern psychology apparently calls this co-dependence.  My grandparents called it love.
Because they knew nothing of modern psychology, they clocked up forty-nine years until death they did part.  Love is a dying art.  Love is a dying heart.
In thirteen years, I wonder if my other half and I managed to actually get together in the first place.
Lesbia Harford said it: Blessed then is the moment of love’s parting, when those two strong souls we sought to slay, recover.
I’m not feeling too blessed.

***

I’m trying to put together a pudding for after dinner when the not-other-half arrives home, comes into the kitchen, tosses a bag on the bench where I am working, says, there’s a muffin there if you want it, departs, goes upstairs, returns, tosses a cardboard box on the bench, says, that’s for you as well, then goes upstairs again.  I glance at the bag, wonder what has brought this on, wonder if it is a muffin he has bought for himself then found he didn’t want, and go back to working on the pudding.  My electric beater has died so I am attempting to cream butter and sugar with a stick blender.  This is stupid and I wouldn’t be doing it except my lovely greengrocer has made me a gift of some passionfruit, which I will not waste, am therefore attempting to make my favourite citrus and passionfruit pudding in difficult circumstances.  I can’t concentrate because the pain from my back is screaming at me. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pumpkin Pasta with Fennel Sausage, Pine Nuts, Chevre and Parmesan Croutons.

This is a fun variation on pasta with garlic bread.  With bread and pasta combined, it won't win any fans among the carbohydrate police, but hell, if you eat like this you'll be twice their size so won't have any problem bouncing their miserable bony arses clean off your front verandah.  Now, if you're a really clever pumpkin and follow the method in the same order as below, you can get away with using one frying pan for this – provided it can be used on the stove top and oven.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Eight

More Middle

It’s a great life if you don’t weaken: another saying of my grandmother’s.  Sarcastic bugger, my nanny.
I do the nastiest, most vicious, bitchiest thing I can do to my former agent: I send her an email thanking her for her time and effort.
Maybe she wasn’t a very good agent.  But she was all I had.

***

I’m due for another pap smear.  That must make me forty-two.  It took a health scare at thirty-eight for me to make a start on a twenty-four year old dream.  Now my relationship appears to be floating face down in a still pool.  Be careful what you wish for.   I wanted a writing life without distraction.  It looks like I’m about to get it, and get nowhere, at the same time.

***

My mother has come to visit.  She doesn’t want to lead me off the path of non-smoking righteousness.  So when she goes outside to have a cigarette, she makes a point of walking a distance away from the window and disappearing further down the yard behind a tree so I don’t see her.
She goes to this effort with every cigarette.  And then she comes inside and leaves her cigarettes on my desk.
I first become aware of this when the eyes in the back of my head nearly topple me over backwards in their eagerness to draw my attention to the packet of cigarettes on my desk.  The eyes in the front of my head want to see what the eyes in the back of my head are looking at so they spin my head around one eighty degrees to have a looksee.  The boogie-man’s-coming-to-get-you photo on the packet features a brain having a stroke, with blood bursting out of the grey matter colourfully.  My mind processes this as, Ooh goody –  cigarettes and a yummy jam doughnut!
Who do they think they’re kidding, hey?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Red Wine Ragu




If anyone suggests to you that it's okay to use cheap wine in cooking, shoot them.  They're a waste of the earth's oxygen and there isn't a snowflake's chance in hell that any jury acquainted with ragu made from good wine will convict you.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Seven

 The Middle

My agent wants to drop me.
I had sent her an email about a publisher I had stumbled across.  Perhaps, I ventured, if the publisher currently considering my book declined it, then we could try here?   She looked up their website, sent me a very enthusiastic message enquiring as to whether I would like to submit to them directly, sans agent; she would withdraw it from the publisher she sent it to, and that way, I would get to keep all royalties without paying an agent’s fee.
At first I am puzzled, and I blush when I read her email.  Have I given some offence by making this suggestion, I wonder?  Is this her way of telling me that if I think I know better than her, I can bugger off?  I consider my reply carefully.  I tell her I am more than content to wait to hear from the house my novel is currently with, and that she has already earned her commission.  It takes her a long time to reply, and she sounds disappointed.  Well, okay, she says, Let me know if you change your mind.  
And then I know. 

Stupid Bachelors

Sign I saw painted on the back of a truck today:

"Some men are wiser than women.  They're called batchelors."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Six

The Change Of Pace Is Over – Back To The Story Proper

I swore I wouldn't do it to myself again.
I had learned my lesson.  This time I'd rip out a formulaic romance novel with guaranteed to please ingredients – little more than a collection of scenes, screw the writing, I’m not that sort of a girl would be good enough for me this time, I would be that sort of a girl – give them what they want  Fifty/fifty five thousand words quickly written, that’ll do. This is, after all, only a potboiler, something to fund my writing proper.
Then it happens.  It’s not my fault.  On page three, he sticks his head up – an African taxi driver with personality to burn.  The taxi was just meant to get her to an appointment, that was all, but there he is, and I can’t ignore him.  Adisa is his name, and he’s a heart without a home.  It’s up to me to find him one, because he’s special and if I don’t find him a home he’ll wander around in the ether, bewildered and hurt.  Two days for three pages, all because of Adisa, the African taxi driver who is depending on me for life.
It’s started again.  House: self-cleaning. Washing machine: great thuddy nuisance, oppressor in disguise. Food [fu:d] a necessary evil; dinner [din-er] an interruption to work; [pahrt-ner] animate heat other side of bed – mount when work goes well; [ironing board] wonderful extension to desk – why brain not notice this before? [ironing basket] nightmare place; [anti-foaming agent] a food group found in coffee.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Chocolate Coconut Pudding


Simple though it is, this chocolate coconut self-saucing pudding is my favourite dessert on the face of this earth, probably because it comes from that most prolific of chefs: Mum.  Though these days, it seems I'm expected to make it for myself – I'm not quite sure why, maybe it's because I turned 46 on my last birthday, but that's no excuse for a mother to slack off…

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Five

Innocence Be Buggered


God, I was still so innocent.  It makes me so sad to think back on that time now, when adversity still seemed an adventure, when every slight made me rise above it, when I could still think of post office employees as characters, when the licking of a large postage stamp could be considered some quasi little erotic act.  I would soon be disabused of my innocence.
The life cycle of the emerging writer may be characterised thus:
Optimistic.
Bewildered
Drunk
Impotent
Omnipotent
Drunk
Impotent
Omnipotent/Murderous·

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sultana Lamb Curry


This is the best damned curry I've ever made – even if I do say so myself, which I do, because when you can cook as well as this, you can swagger all you like.  Please do not be tempted to change the recipe without first trying it; everything has its purpose.  The whole peeled tomatoes are much juicier than diced; the sweet, treacly sultanas balance the tangy tomatoes; the whole spices freshly ground really do another dimension.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Four

Tips & Techniques for Writers: A Sample Query Letter

Wantabadgery,
                                                                                                New South Wales.
May 10th, 2009.


Harper Collins Publishing Australia,
25 Ryde Road,
PYMBLE,    New South Wales,    2073.

Dear Sir,

If you allow the inert mass of congealed incompetency that is your submissions department to dally any longer, then I shall surely rot awaiting your response. 

I write again with regard to my manuscript, forwarded for your consideration some twelve months past.  Perhaps you have misplaced it?  I shall do you the service of refreshing your memory.   

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Genital Insecurity: Hidden Victims of the Global Financial Crisis

**Warning: this post contains links to images that are unsuitable for… well, God knows they're unsuitable for anyone, but particularly for children under 18.  Just so there's no surprises, the links are to images of sex toys, and in one memorable case, a shark attack victim that later became a sex toy**

Recently I encountered an artificial vagina for the first time (I had no idea that such a thing existed.)  While it's well known that men feel threatened by vibrators (and who can blame them – vibrators are such a fetching shade of pink, after all), it's very difficult to imagine that any woman could possibly feel threatened by something that looks like this.  Am I alone in wanting to pop a little hat, eyes and nose on it?  Am I the only one here thinking about Mr. Potato Head?  And what's with the look of slack-mouthed surprise?  Did Mr. Potato Head wake up one day in the witness protection program and wonder why his mouth was full?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Three

Conflict (Internal and External)

The question: if a tree falls on a literary agent and a writer smiles, does that mean the literary agent deserved to be flattened?  I am nothing if not philosophical.

   A dark and stormy night.  Finally, after all I had to do that day before I could have me some me time, I am at my desk, having me some me wine, trawling submission guidelines.    (The myth of the miserable dissolute writer is just that – we're delighted to be dissolute.)
Bed.  Teeth pulled in purgatory without the benefit of anaesthetic.  Either would be preferable to this deep sea exploration of the literary agent bowel from the date end up.  Never will you encounter a mob so inclined to bitch, bleat and bemoan the privilege of earning their living off your back.  So many were so appallingly brutish, boorish, demanding of homage or just plain repellent that I –  blissfully ignorant, little knowing that I would have little choice, crossed the most transparently awful off my list, thusly noting: Not in this lifetime, over my dead decomposing fucking body – and kept going,  flipping the bird (virtual) and margarita (actual) at the most conceited and trivial, secure in the belief that if only I kept wading through the mire, I'd find a polite and welcoming pony.  Not in this paddock.  Uh uh.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Caramel Ducks: A Small Dave Allen Tribute



There are brown ducks and there are white ducks, and in my neck of the woods, the brown ducks and the white ducks hung out in different parts of town, until recently.  For reasons known only to their good feathered selves, these ducks have, with a single shag, overturned the prevailing ducky apartheid and now we have brown and white ducks.  Their back feathers are actually a mouth watering shade of caramel, although the photos don't do it justice.

Who knows what their reasons were?  Was it a political statement?  Pure lust?  Or do opposites attract in the duck world, as in any other?  Did a society princess duck get into the schnapps, waddle to the wrong side of the tracks only to find herself knocked up?  We'll probably never know the answer to these questions, but as I chased these beautiful belligerent shits around trying to get a good photo, their caramel backs reminded me of a Dave Allen joke:

Sister Mary is racing around the convent corridors.  Having overslept, she is late for mass.  Rounding a corner she encounters another nun on her hands and knees scrubbing the floor.  "Who got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning?" the nun giggles.  Sister Mary flushes deeply and scurries on.  Bang!  She smacks headlong into another nun.  The flustered nun pulls back and laughs, "Who got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning?"  Sister Mary bows her red face and runs on, round another corner where a group of nuns take one look at her and chorus, "Who got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning?"  She rushes away.  Glancing over her shoulder Sister Mary draws a deep breath, relieved to be away from the laughing nuns.  When she turns forward again, Mother Superior is standing before her, inspecting her feet.  "Sister Mary," Mother Superior demands, "What are you doing with the Bishop's shoes on?"

Postscript: The next time I saw these ducks, I was without a camera.  They were perfectly content to waddle around not six feet away from me, the shits.
.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part Two

~ The Antagonist ~

Big Publishing doesn’t like to think for itself.  That’s why God invented literary agents.  You could say literary agents are tools of the trade.
I don't know what I expected.  It wasn't what I found.  (You have to submit to literary agents?  You mean, I don't just choose one?)  It's them versus us, them being writers and us being the agent/publisher – that single beast of two heads, one mind and half a heart. 
The Prosecution would have you believe it is writer's paranoia which casts publishing as a citadel.  Don't you believe it.  Death is preferable to allowing a breach in the perimeter.  Thou shalt nots: submissions with typos will result in swift death – only if there aren’t too many, in which case, slow death – the misspelling of an agent’s name will unleash the righteous and wrathful god of rejection, addressing an agent by their first name will provoke gang warfare, and any number of lesser offences will bring a bevy of heavies to your door, intent on kicking a troublesome writer’s head in.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trial of the Romance Novelist: Part One

Praise for
Trial of the Romance Novelist


'Thank Christ there wasn't more of it' ~ Frank Moorhouse

'We'll give you money to leave us alone – cash, and lots of it'  ~ Southerly

'Awful, just awful' ~ Heat

'Not only roman a clef but also roman a these, all the more remarkably bizarre for being told from the vibrator's point of view' ~ Jane Gleeson-White

'Jean D'Arque is not to be missed.  If you see her, shoot her ~ Carmel Bird

'Memorable for many reasons – none of them good' ~ Island

'Please, just fuck off' ~ Meanjin

Friday, March 2, 2012

Indians, Pirates, the Mob & Elance


The first time I uploaded an ebook for sale, it sold inside a minute.  My second title sold a copy within seconds – not long enough for anyone to read the blurb, much less a sample – and the penny dropped.  Somewhere out there, before my baby drew breath, its bastard twin was being conceived – quite possibly rewritten to the highest standard of Bangladeshi English. I am the mafia Don Ranjeet and I am going to shoot you with Vishnu's curses and cannolis, another one thing.  You dirty ratfink, is that vindaloo in your pants or are you just happy to see me?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Never Give Up

Fortune may favour the brave but that's hard to remember when life is kicking you in the nuts.  Here's twenty-one  relentlessly optimistic reasons to remember that when you're at rock bottom, the only way is up.

  • In her youth, J.K. Rowling was a Bay City Rollers' fan, proving that early bad taste is no barrier to subsequent success.
  • Stephenie Meyer is a bestseller, proving that subsequent bad taste is no barrier to early success.
  • It only took one cow to burn Chicago down.
  • John Howard became Prime Minister.
  • The greatest love songs are inspired by the worst heartbreak.
  • Pauline Hanson's parents didn't drown her at birth.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Julia Gillard vs Mike Willesee

Last Sunday 'veteran' journalist Mike Willesee asked Prime Minister Julia Gillard whether she cried much.  I'm soooooo disappointed The Big J didn't grab his scrotum, give it a good squeeze and say, "No.  How about you, Chuckles?  Hey?  How about you?"

A question better suited to Bob Hawke, methinks.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Nomination: Book of the Year

Out now on Smashwords: Men's Guide To Trouble Pussy

The blurb: 'Since the beginning of time, there has been man and woman. All women came with pussy. Its official name is “Vagina” and its purpose range from sexual activity, child birthing, and uterine secretions (that time of the month). Its power is almost limitless. It has shaped world politics, literature, music, and mental illness.'
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Yes, well.  Mine's also a Certified Practising Accountant.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cocky In A Glass


Many years past, I had an old cat named Ali-Tut.  "Love" doesn't begin to describe what I felt for that old cat.  The word hasn't been invented to describe what I felt for that old cat.  I raised her from a baby kitten, feeding her and her sister Speedie from an eyedropper.  She was with me from before I was a teenager, and she lived to be almost twenty-one. 


Old Tuts had her own sheepskin on the couch, but being a cat, of course she slept anywhere she pleased, frequently taking up more of my single bed than I did.  More accurate than a heat-seeking missile, she always knew where her best bet was between the sheepskin and my bed.  This she would ascertain by inserting one paw beneath the doona to see if the electric blanket was on.  Thus we passed many happy years, until I awoke early one morning to a tutt tutt tutt tutt tutt tutt sound, when I rolled over to see Ali-Tut contentedly lapping from my glass of water.  Three things immediately filled my mind:
  1. An image of Ali-Tut with a bird in her mouth.
  2. An image of Ali-Tut cleaning herself most fastidiously, paying particular attention to her arse.
  3. The question of just how many years she had been drinking from my glass of water as I slept.
Well I might have loved that old cat more than life itself, but I stil didn't want the tongue that licked her arse lapping from my glass of water. 

It had been many years since I've thought of the incident - that was until yesterday,
when undertaking my usual morning ritual of removing my empty chamomile cup and (usually untouched) overnight glass of water to the kitchen, I discovered this:
A cockroach floating in my glass of water

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Romance is Over: Edward & Bella Twenty Years On

Daylight is now available as a free download.
~Contains gratuitous swearing, violence and one offensively small appendage.  Not suitable for Twilight fans.  Not suitable for children under 40~

Download as a PDF (for PC) or, for a book-type view in the absence of an e-reader, Adobe Digital Editions can be downloaded free.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Clever Pumpkin's Lime Maple Summer Berry Puddings


Recipe here

2012: Lock and Load, Bitch.

Q.        How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?
A.        Just one – but the light bulb has got to WANT to change.

With that in mind, I have made only one New Year's resolution, and that is to be brutally honest with myself.

This means acknowledging that my deep and abiding love of chocolate will never change; because – hell's bells – I don't want it to. This new honesty compels me to admit that my love of ice-cream verges on the erotic, as does my deep salivating desire for summer berry puddings, beer-battered fish and chips (served with ice-cold beer) deep-fried arancini with fresh lemon, baked stuffed potatoes, snow-white chevre cheese, Italian fennel sausage, sauteed rosemary potatoes, lemon curd and chocolate coconut pudding.

In my heart of hearts I know my love of fresh fruit is owed only to its relationship to cheese and wine, as I know that the best way to serve healthy guacamole is with a side of Mexican banquet dripping in cheese, sour cream, and overflowing with tequila and lime laden margaritas.  Sniff all you want – at least the lime is good for me.

On that subject, I resolve not to fall off the wagon.  This I will achieve by not climbing on the damned thing in the first place.  Truthfully, I'd sell my mother down the river for a pina colada – and on Mother's Day, to boot.