Friday, 12 October 2018

The Man Who Voted For Australia Chapter 9

Jeff has an uncomfortable meeting with his very-British brother in which he begins to suspect the rumours about him are true. He learns that the Chinese woman is working for his brother, which makes him suspect her agenda, and he is invited by his son to go with the grandchildren and their other, Turkish, grandparents, to an Anzac Day ceremony. All of this is moving the story forward but something is missing. I think the problem is that Jeff's racist undertones are not relevant here - so where is the conflict?

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Making my hero reader-friendly

Working on a chapter today in which my hero is taking the bad guy role, expressing the opinions he will eventually reconsider and modify as the novel progresses. The difficulty is keeping the reader interested and sympathetic instead of antagonistic. In this chapter I've tried to do that by having the people he is talking take opposite, more acceptable views while clearly admiring and liking my character. I think I achieved it in both A New Era For Manny Youngman and The Man Who Didn't Like People, but it may be harder in The Man Who Voted For Australia because it touches on anti-Muslim feelings and there are racist elements that some could find offensive. My point is that most people have some racist feelings, however suppressed, and my hero is facing up to his and working his way through them. Hope that's coming through the words.

Friday, 28 September 2018

A good feeling

Local Shire Councillor Dave Tapley came up to me at a function yesterday to congratulate me on my books. He said he read The Man Who Didn't Like People in two sittings and went straight on to A New Era For Manny Youngman, which he thought was the better of the two although he liked them both. I have to admit I like it when people like my stuff. Makes me feel that self-publishing has been worthwhile after going all those years of writing without anyone reading what I had written.
Meanwhile both places in town which stock my books report sales and I should soon be getting the report on my first month of E-book and hard copy sales through Ingram Spark.
With all that and the progress I am making on The Man Who Voted For Australia I'm feeling pretty good about my writing at present.

Monday, 24 September 2018


I've got a lot of darlings to kill in both the novels I have been working on. It is tempting at times to create characters to highlight one aspect of a story but then have to do something with them, so they take on a life of their own, cluttering up the plot and distracting from the main story line. Several of the possible suspects in Murder For A Grandmother  and an MP and a some of the hero's staff in The Man Who Voted For Australia are going to disappear. It is going to mean a bit of work but I think both novels are going to be a lot better for it. On an editor's advice I am also going to rename Murder For A Grandmother. It is now The Grey Nomad Detectives' First Case. Other books will be The Grey Nomad Detectives' Second Case etc. The grey nomad's idea is the one which will attract attention to the books.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Rockingham Writers Convention

I'll be attending the Rockingham Writers Convention this weekend. Sessions I have booked in for include Presentation Skills for Authors, Marketing and Promotion and Crime Writing and there will be a panel discussion on independent v traditional publishing. Representatives of Fremantle Press, Escape Publishing and Wild Eyes Press and literary agent Jane Novak will be hearing pitch sessions but I have nothing to pitch this time round. This convention is unlike others because it aims at writers and not readers. Among the authors taking part will be David Whish-Wilson, Natasha Lester, Shona Husk, Claire Boston, Teena Raffa Mulligan, Tess Woods, Kate Cuthbert, Julie Lawrinson, Deb Fitzpatrick and Katy Dell, none of whom are million sellers but all with several books published and a growing readership.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Chapter 2

Worked on Chapter 2 of my Australia Day novel yesterday. Still not sure of the exact title but that can wait until the draft is finished. In Chapter 2 we learn about Jeff's family and he discovers that one of his daughters is for changing Australia Day and the other against. Both want him to support their cause but he is not very interested either way. Instead he consults his son about the proposition Matt has put to him and finds he is very much in favour. I spent quite a bit of time on the revision of this chapter fleshing out the family atmosphere, bringing in the grandchildren and having Jeff react with them, the idea being to give him a more human face as well as establish the family dynamics.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Australia Day revisited

Spent the morning revising the first chapter of A Vote For Australia and felt myself back in the groove where I want to be. Some of the reading I have been doing in my writing hiatus had given me some insights I think have helped the first chapter, particularly making the opening work better. I also added more description of the scene and the characters on the basis that some of my previous writing has been a little too spare. If on future reads it looks like too much padding I can take it out again but for the moment it seems to be giving the scene more substance.
The plan is to concentrate entirely on this novel. I've put Murder For A Grandmother and the Grey Nomads to one side as being too big a project to be undertaking right now and not in keeping with the author brand I am developing with A New Era For Manny Youngman and The Man Who Didn't Like People.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Sarah dropped by

It is always good to be appreciated by another author and I was delighted when Sarah Drummond dropped by and said how much she had enjoyed The Man Who Didn't Like People and found it fast-paced and un-putdownable. We had a chat about how much description needs to go into a novel and agreed we like to keep on-story without too much padding. Sarah's books, if you haven't read them are Salt Story and Sound, both set along the south coast here where we live. She is currently living about 30 km west of me in an even more remote spot at Broke Inlet and is working on a novel based on the fascinating characters who lived there half a century ago.
Check her out at or her blog at

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Sales pass printing costs

The sales of The Man Who Didn't Like People have exceeded the cost of printing, which is more than satisfactory. The launch at the Petrichor Gallery was a big success and generated the bulk of the early sales including copies of A New Era For Manny Youngman as well as the new novel. Feedback from readers has all been positive.
I have received the MS assessment from a professional editor on Murder For A Grandmother and will be working through that in more detail when I get back into a writing routine this week. My initial reaction is that I don't agree with some of her comments, but I will think about them some more before making any decisions.
I am going to make the attempt to work on two books at once. The first of the Grey Nomad Detectives series is mainly revision whereas Voting For Australia is only partially written and will need a different approach.
For the moment I have filed away my notes on a possible Broome novel but I will be reading David Warner's Before The Break which is a crime story set in Broome, to see how he deals with the culture of the town, which I found very different and challenging for a writer. I can see the town and its culture playing an important part in the story, but if it is not done correctly, the locals up there could be very unhappy.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Learning from reading

While I took a week's holiday in the sun in Broome I got in some reading in genres that I do not usually read. One was "Hallam Square" by an old friend, Anna Jacobs, who writes historical family sagas. I was impressed by the amount of descriptive detail she put in about what characters wore, their hair styles, facial features etc, and the fact that it made them come alive. Something I could do better I think. Also Jeffery Archer's "Cometh The Hour" where I found more descriptive detail delineating a big cast of characters. Expect to see more in my future books.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Heading for sun and research

I'm heading to Broome next week to, among other things, do some research for one of the Grey Nomad novels that will be set there. So far I have booked for visits to a crocodile park, a bird sanctuary, a pearl farm, a hovercraft flight and 4WD expedition and sea plane flight. It's the Shinju Matsuri festival so there will be dragon boat races and float parades and a lot more besides. Should be plenty among that to add colour to the story of my Grey Nomad detectives solving an old murder.
Meanwhile I am waiting for a report from an editor on the first in the Grey Nomad series and hope to have that published later this year or early next. The second is two thirds written and won't be long after that and a third is also well on the way.
Hesitating at the moment over whether to write this series under a pen-name. My two published novels, as Mike Murphy, are a different genre and I'm not sure whether it is a good or a bad thing to use the same name in different genres.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

First sale of my new novel

The first copies of The Man Who Didn't Like People arrived yesterday and already I have sold one to one of my Facebook friends.
Hard copies can be purchased from Booktopia. The e-version is on Kobo and should soon be on Amazon (which seems to take longer).
The launch will be on Friday, August 10, at the Petrichor Art Gallery in Walpole and with a mailing list of more than 1000 getting invitations I am hoping for a good turn-out.

It's the story of a man who has been living a hermit-like life in the bush (hence the cover picture) and has to go in search of the wife and children he left 22 years before. He has been told he is dying and there are decisions he has to make which could dramatically effect their futures. What happens when he finds them and the final decision he makes hopefully keeps the reader turning the pages to an ending I am particularly proud of.

Monday, 18 June 2018

I'm being framed

Walpole's incredible Petrichor Art Gallery has agreed to take three of my poems, frame them and exhibit them for sale as art works. The three are Tingle Tree, Tingle Tree; Down Deep Road and Why lovely, tree. All are set locally, with the tingle tree particularly being an iconic feature of the local landscape.
The aim is to test the market to see if tourists would be interested in them as unusual souvenirs of this area, and also to see whether local people would be interested in buying them.
If they are, I have three more poems ready for framing.
Petrichor gallery owners Liz and David Edmonds believe there will be a market for them and are very enthusiastic about the project.
Meanwhile I am still putting together a collection of my poetry which I hope to publish as an anthology later this year.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Interesting times

I have a lot going on in my writing - one novel about to be published, seeking a professional editor for another and writing another.

The one about to be published is The Man Who Didn't Like People. I'm doing it through Ingram Spark and it should be on Internet book sites and available to book shops in a few weeks. I had hoped it would be earlier but there was a hiccup with the wrong version being uploaded at one stage - all my own fault.
Here's the cover:

That's me in the picture. I took it on the back firebreak with a sensor-triggered camera.
It's the story of a man who has been a recluse for about twenty years after leaving his wife and children and going bush. Now he has to return to find them and make some decisions that will effect all of their futures.
As with my first novel, A New Era For Manny Youngman, I have taken a man with unconventional views of life and faced him with a situation that challenges those views. The aim is not to discredit them but to explore them, to see how they came about and whether they have any relevance to the rest of society.
It is strictly fiction but I have drawn heavily on where I live and my thoughts about the Australian bush and living in a small country town. They always say write about you know.

I am seeking a professional editor for Murder For A Grandmother, the first of a series about a group of elderly people travelling around in caravans solving murders. I have been sitting on this for a long time while I have partially written a second and third book in the series. My aim is to bring out the first and have the second and third available while readers are asking for them. So far I have a short list of two or three possible editors and will be making a decision in the next couple of days.

The new novel I am writing is A Vote For Australia Day, based on the debate over whether Australia Day should be celebrated on April 26th. My protagonist is a British-born migrant who finds himself caught up in the debate because his Australian-born daughters are on opposite sides. He is also faced with making a business decision which involves some controversial aspects of multiculturalism and a brother who arrives from England to head-up the takeover of an Australian business by foreign interests. Add in an MP friend who has had to resign for having citizenship rights in another country, and a romantic interest with a woman of Chinese ancestry and it is shaping up as an interesting story.

While doing all of this I am maintaining my websites, and and keeping up a strong presence on my own and other Facebook pages.