Poet Progressing to Prose

Author Archive: isabel1

Progress on my novel “MIXED FORTUNES”

Within a few days I will have the files I need to upload the novel to Createspace and, when done, it will be available on Amazon as either print or ebook.
Why am I waiting for these when the original proofread file sits in my computer?
Well, I have a friend who is a graphics whiz and she is about to put the finishing touches to the covers – print and ebook.
As the story is told in present tense all the way through I have not given a title on chapters.  These would be a dead giveaway to that which follows. As such requires its own style of formatting.
As I have mentioned before, I hope to launch the novel on April 21st, this being what would have been my mother’s 100th birthday. This is in rather belated recognition of a persistent dream of hers during which she walked down a corridor of doors closed against her. But at the end there was a book. The way she talked led me to understand she thought the book made it all worth while.
I know there was little within “Life Before Lithium” which gave her any pleasure.

I like to think this one – MIXED FORTUNES – would have resonated with her given she gave me many snippets of the material it contains.

Testing myself within new and different environments

Lately I have been moving out of my comfort zones. Yes, that’s right – zone’S’.

I had to do something when I topped the bathroom scales at 102 kg. Loaded myfitnesspal.com to monitor every scrap of food and drink passing my lips. The only way I could eat that which I felt like eating required enough exercise to add to my daily allowance and still be on track for losing weight. I am now – after three weeks – at 98 kg this Sunday morning. I am tossing up whether to go for a walk or have a day of rest and modest meals. Meal planning has been a breeze. Into the supermarket and out with 14 frozen meals each fortnight (now into my second). It took one round to appreciate which are my favourite meals and on the second have eliminated the less enjoyable.

So that is one changed environment. The next is that I have started getting into the spoken word poetry scene here in Adelaide and there are many of those! I had been hesitant about going out and reading given that so many people find my lack of dentition off-putting, but it seems that I can read/recite with sufficient clarity for people to enjoy my work.  Not only am I out there reading, I also took park in a poetry workshop run by Jennifer Eades as poet in residence at the Adelaide City Library. Writing again now the novel is finished and handed to another properly prepare for Createspace. (Yes, I know I could do it myself, but I know me and there is always that one thing I forget to do.) She has done such a good job on  the cover. I think so.


How about you? Do you like it?



Out and about with my phone camera joining the fun of the Adelaide Fringe GooseChase. Capturing Street Art.





(Did wonders for my step count (Garmin) and distance and calories as measured in MapMyWalk.)



Next into another comfort zone. Until I joined and found myself contributing to steemit, I did not realise how little actual enjoyment I was getting out of Facebook . If you are looking for a more rewarding (in every sense) way of writing and sharing, then Google ‘steemit’ and follow links.

Within the steemit community I find myself able to write on a level I would never feel sufficiently free to do on Facebook. (Particularly after a sanctimonious comment made in reply to a post on domestic violence.) Within steemit I find the reward of bit coin tokens both receiving and giving to others far more motivating than anything ever on Facebook.

So, apart from updating calendar for poetry readings – and checking folk are alive and well – this is where you will find me in future.


Two surprises in one day.

Took myself for a long walk to clock up my 6000 steps goal. Rested at a bus shelter on the way home, (via West Terrace Cemetery) and there on the bench, was a book. I thought someone had lost it, but a label attached states

“Books on the Rail, take me home, read me, return me for someone else to enjoy.”

So… I now have a copy of Finding Nemo to enjoy.

Reaching the steps goal (taking it steadily) meant I could have some extra to eat as posting to my food diary within myfitnesspal.

The second surprise was tuning into a previously unseen episode of Midsomer Murders! With so many repeats over the years I thought I had, at one stage, seen them all. Not so! But I am beginning to guess what is coming next?
Had a busy day culling links stored as bookmarks. So many items of seeming interest which are now no longer available 404’s. Ah well.
This is my first post written which will go on-line as a Steem post. My fingers crossed.

New (ish) Year and a Fresh Start

Hopefully, 2018 will ind me a little more wise with my time and energy. For a while I had been running around like a headless chook (I will spare you a graphic) and not achieving much at all. Because as a person long retired who had allowed her retiring self to sink into doing as little as possible, I have only myself to blame. Now, I am on the verge of rewarding myself for some achievements.
First, finally attacking the weight gained while having Meals on Wheels delivered. Am on track, thanks to my fitness pal, to shedding slowly. Next, I started going out in evenings to poetry readings at bars and clubs. Open mikes. Well received. Discovered the price of beer which came as a bit of a shock! Manage to make one last the evening. Have been attending poetry workshops as the Adelaide City Library and finally getting back into writing poetry again. I have a bundle of books on the way from Createspace which is good as am being asked for copies!

Biggest step of all, is changing over to the  Steemit platform as a discipline to write more regularly within that community than I have been in that other place.


Clearing the desk uncovers a forgotten poem.

Tearing leaves from an old notebook, putting together a folder for the research necessary for the next book – the plot of which is REALLY shaping up – I came across a sheet used within a workshop run by David Chapple for Eyre Writers, Port Lincoln.

Against the prompts on the left side of the page I had filled the dotted lines, resorting to verse when under pressure. Here goes:

I grew up in…. Mount Helena

Where the weather was always….fresh and the air was cleaner.

And the sound of that time…. is the Jane Brook running

Friends ….taught me the Kellys were always punning

Family …. taught me that’s ow we were perceived

And…. now I live to be believed

Today ….I am as truthful as I ever can be

Tomorrow …. is when I deceive only me.

I wish …. I had not seen the vision of my future self

I’ve become accustomed to ….leaving the ream on the shelf

I know ….that my hope is that when I am dead

and ….you read my writing in the years ahead.

Mock up of cover

Any ideas about fonts? The picture itself is so close to my description to Mary of the rare image I actually see that she might be standing behind my eyes.


New(ish) Year. Old Thinking.

For a while I have been stuck on progressing next novel. (Breaking Hearts) Partly because I had plotted from beginning to end which left me no surprises to enjoy when writing. I tried adopting the approach I have seen/heard others use – pegging away at Aristotle’s Incline. It does not connect with me where it matters – it does not set my thinking alight. Whereas playing around with hexagons while working out “Mixed Fortunes” worked for me. That was an array of six hexagons forming the seventh in the centre. I was able to think in straight lines from there – which explains the straight line of present tense from beginning to end. The ideas to explore within (?) “This is My Body” OR “Perilous Plunder” (?) require more complex interactions between characters than in “Mixed Fortunes”. Did an Image Search on Google, playing around with concentric circles when I came across this labyrinth within the hexagon. EUREKA!

Another stumbling block to productivity has been holding my breath for a competition result due on February 3. A  matter of IfThisThenThat which has resolved itself after an action and conversation yesterday. The action was to apply for an advance on my pension to cover the cost of publication IF it needs to come out of my pocket. The conversation was with Mary G. who helped in working out costs of potential publication comparisons. Upshot is, if necessary, I will leave it in her proven and capable hands with even greater confidence as she created a mock-up cover which has  blown me away. As soon as I can work out how to load a pdf file here and show you, I will.

Now, to get out the coloured pencils and play with copies of the maze.

(But if the heavens shine on me on February 7th, and the pension advance stashed away is not needed for publication,  then I will take myself to Canberra for the Seven Sisters exhibition at the Museum and, with time and cash to spare also visit the National Gallery and Library while there.)




One of three magpie larks who drop by for some seed, dink and cool off.

Five sparrows also making it a pit stop.

Testing this post to see why graphics are not showing up in shared postings.

Have a great day.

Spellbound: Surfacing late in this Season.

Buried in books over this last week.

Thanks to recommendations by two persons, one on internet other in real life, I had my library hold and get for me, three books by

Barbara Kingsolver.

I will never be the same. TV turned off. Did I get dressed? I can’t recall. Did I stay awake for the New Year? No. Fell asleep as I could not continue to stay awake after reading. Did I start reading again as soon as I woke? YES.  Am I going to place a hold on other books? YES. So far I have kept my eyes glued to Pigs in Heaven, Flight Behaviour and The Poisonwood Bible.  

I am in total awe of the breadth, depth, research, compassion and ability to enthral her readers.  I guess, like most writers, when reading a brilliant work, there is part of the mind lost in the story and another part appreciative of the background knowledge, research, work and sheer slog going into the creation. I started to doubt my ability to ever write anything which could come within coo-ee distance of such masterful writing. Not only started to doubt, but fully doubting; aware of my lack of knowledge, education, diligence and determination.  But, as with any depression, there is a bottom to it and an upside out.  My upside, comfort and reassurance I found within that part of my life’s education and experience during the almost two years of putting one foot in front of the other described within Life Before Lithium . That period is the storehouse of experiences I could/should? translate into fiction. (currently free copy available from Smashwords during season sale).

Will I? Won’t I? Fact is, am feeling a bit in the doldrums; no creative energy unfurling my sails. Partly because I am waiting for a result due to be announced on February 9, 2018. That means, this way or that way about which I can do nothing until then. I have been trying to work on another novel – Breaking Hearts – not a romance, but a story about heart transplants. For this I have had to consciously create characters instead of letting them emerge as in Mixed Fortunes.  Trouble with that is I am drawing on facets of lives of people I know with a degree of detail which could enable identification – not on appearance, but on activity.

On the other hand, I could be out on the patio re-potting some plants, but then I really ought to go to Bunnings and bring home another bag of potting mix, but…. if I do that I know that not only will I get the mix, I will also get a few more saucers onto which stand pots and likely give into temptation to bring home more plants. This is while I am trying to restrain my expenditure to scrape together a couple of days in Canberra to experience the Seven Sisters display at the National Museum and, if going that far, check out the National Library and National Art Gallery.

Sitting here, talking to myself, knowing one person (Helen – Hi) will be listening while 120 have not heard from me via the Facebook page but not having had any feedback (other than H) will this post be READ? Feedback is like oxygen to an author!

Gives me a moment to wonder about freebies versus price one pays. Have been reading of the experiences of folk subscribed to Patreon and am wondering what I could offer to people in exchange for a regular, committed donation of even $1 a month (or more). Such a plan would certainly motivate me to post more frequently if that is what patrons wanted – or on whatever line of opinion, etc patrons would find interesting. Food for thought. Which reminds me, I have not had breakfast and it is now lunchtime and the library has been open for more than two hours. Will need to get dressed to go to the library and, being dressed may as well troddle onto Bunnings anyway. With Patrons I could buy more plants and get to Canberra, keeping my squirrelled away for book cover design if needed after the 9th of Feb.

What adventures?

What mistakes?

How many friends well or poorly chosen?

What is your story?

How interested are you in mine?




Were you born between 1973 and 1975?

If so,  I need your help. Badly! Reason being I have a 14 year old character who has turned up within my current project. I really do need her to carry the story (set in 1987) forward. My own children were about that age then, but my experience is that of a parent and I don’t want to try and second-guess how they may have thought about this or that plus the fact they had me and my problems to deal with so their experiences may well differ from my character.

Were I talking about 1953, I could use my own experience – left school age 14 and full time work force, but by 1973 I rather think laws about school leaving age and full time employment have somewhat changed.

What sort of issues played on your mind? Which memories from that time stand out for you? Would you have been baby-sitting back then? What are your memories of other people’s babies?

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