Jailbait

Jail Bait bookcover2 copy

The writing has taken a backseat lately while we prepared for our exhibition, Benthos Illuminated at Umbrella Studio Gallery. I enjoyed wading around in the shallows looking to see what I could see and taking photos with my cheap underwater camera. It was good to be painting regularly too even, if it cut into my writing time. That is up now, until April 10, so I can get back to the keyboard and finally get Jailbait posted.

At the end of Tough Like Donna we left Roz naively confident that everything was going to be alright now that she had acknowledged her sexuality and confessed her love for Donna. Of course it won’t be. It is impossible to keep secrets in a dormitory and once their secret is out they can expect to be vilified, at the very least. Roz will be expelled from boarding school, and separated from Donna.

In Tough Like Donna Roz was struggling with the universal teenage dilemmas of love, lifestyle and career. In Jailbait she has made her decisions, and must battle to achieve her goals, which will take willpower, determination and sheer hard work.

As usual I will put up the first chapter of Jailbait on this blog for you to read.

 

 

Working one day a week

My real job (the one that pays me money, not like writing or painting) has slowed right down. We usually have a slowdown in December and into the new-year but this year the busy period wasn’t as busy as usual and the slowdown has come early and has lasted longer than usual.
I always feel that there is a disconnect between work and the rest of my life, but it is even stronger now that I’m working only one day a week.
I found myself on Monday morning going through a half-forgotten routine to get ready for work and then being plagued by doubts as I drove in. Was I even supposed to go in that day? Then I arrived, and walking through the front door was like going through some strange science fiction portal. I found myself in a place I knew intimately but which had no connection to me.
I did my duties in a kind of a daze. Only a part of my mind was engaged in what I was doing. Another part was outside, dispassionately observing. I thought that this would make a good subject for a blog.
Then this morning (Wednesday) I tried to remember what I had thought about. It was hard to bring back the idea for this post. It’s like my Monday head doesn’t talk to my regular self and even now I can’t clearly recall the feeling that inspired this. The sense of being drunk or drugged or not quite there seems to be confined to Mondays and I can’t access it the rest of the time.
I probably shouldn’t post this. I fear that I have probably let out more than I should, and the nice men in the white coats will be here any minute to take me away. What the hell. The whole point of this blog was to let people know who I am and how I think. If I leave out anything too awkward it won’t be real, or meaningful.

 

Tough like Donna is Available on Amazon.com

Well that’s another book up on Amazon. It wasn’t as difficult and didn’t take as long as the first one so there’s hope for us yet. Not that it was easy. There were still a few niggling problems.

I enjoyed writing these two books (Tough like Donna and its sequel, Jailbait). It was fun being a teenage girl for a while. Some might wonder what qualifies me to write about a teenage girl, especially one from a broken home. That’s a good question.

I think it helps not to have had any children of my own, so I still have access to my younger self. There seems to be an amnesia that comes over people when their children arrive. Too often parents seem as shocked and horrified by their children’s behaviour as their parents were with them. I remember being young. I even remember some of the parents of today when they were young.

The divorce was essential to the story because it gave Roz a clear choice of value systems. A stable upbringing can leave a young person thinking that their parent’s values are absolute. I needed Roz to be faced with a choice, and the knowledge that it was a choice.

Then the question, why did my protagonist have to be a girl? A boy would have had to come up against the prevalent and bloodthirsty myth that a real man is a violent man. That will require a book in itself, which I’m not yet ready to write, so I chose a female protagonist. I don’t claim to ever have been a girl myself but after another forty years of experience they aren’t quite the total mystery they were when I was seventeen.

As you can see below, I have put up the first chapter of Tough Like Donna as a sample. I had a problem with the tabbing in that post so please forgive the lack of tabs.

This is the link to Tough Like Donna, if you are interested in purchasing it.

Tough Like Donna: Chapter 1

Tough Like Donna bookcover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOUGH LIKE DONNA
G. D. Buckley

CHAPTER 1
The eleventh of November was Remembrance Day. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 the armistice was signed that ended the Great War. At school we had to stand up and think about the soldiers for one minute.
I knew Mum wasn’t thinking about the soldiers though, when I came home and found her just staring at the radiogram like that. Something terrible must have happened, and not just something a long time ago.
“What’s wrong, Mum?” I asked.
“Oh, Rose, he’s been dismissed.” Mum’s voice was so low I could hardly hear her.
“Who, Dad?”
“No, Whitlam. Gough Whitlam has been sacked.”
“Oh!” Mum liked Whitlam but Dad didn’t. I didn’t know much about politics, but I guessed there would be a fight when Dad got home. Mum and Dad had been fighting a lot lately. Sometimes it was about politics and sometimes it was about Mum going to art school.
It wasn’t fair. Mum’s art school had already finished for the year but I still had to go to school for weeks more. Mum wished her school was still going and I wished the holidays would finally arrive.

“Did you hear about the dismissal?” Mum asked Dad when he got home.
“He had to go, Adrienne,” Dad said. “The man’s a lunatic. He was destroying this country.”
Mum gave him her scary look. “Do you mean he was finally dragging it into the twentieth century?”
“Well, let’s not fight about it, agree to disagree. I’ve got some good news.”
“Oh?”
“I’ve been promoted.” Dad stuck his chest out like a proud rooster. “We’re going to Sydney.”
“Just like that?” Mum said.
“No, not just like that. I’ve been working on this for months. It’s a great opportunity.”
“And you didn’t think to tell us? Don’t you think we have a right to know what you’re up to?” Somehow Mum had put me on her side. I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to be on a side, any side. I tried to sneak off to my room but Mum grabbed me. She held me out in front of Dad like I was some kind of weapon she could hurt him with.
“Look at your daughter,” Mum screamed. “Do you expect her to just pack up and leave all her friends?”
Leaving all my friends wouldn’t be too bad. I didn’t have any real friends, not real close friends. My friends were just school friends. I talked to them at school and that was it.
“Can we leave Rose out of this?” Dad asked.
This time I was on Dad’s side. I wanted to be left out of it. Not that it mattered what I thought. No-one ever asked what I wanted.
“No, we can’t leave her out of it,” Mum said. “She’s in it, whether you like it or not.”
She let go of my arms and I ran off to my room. I jumped onto my bed and buried my head in the pillow. I lay there the whole time they kept arguing, and stayed there after they stopped. I must have gone to sleep because Mum woke me up when dinner was ready.
“Now, dear,” she said. “Your father and I have decided to separate.”
“Good!” I’d heard enough fights to last a long time.
“Oh, don’t say that, dear.”
“Well, it’s better than fighting all the time.” I got up and went out to the dining room.
“Did you tell her?” Dad asked.
“Rose,” Mum said, “you have to decide if you want to go to Sydney with your father or stay here with me.”
“Oh.” I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It was too soon.
They both looked at me like a couple of lovable puppies. I could make one very happy but I had to kick the other one. I thought it was cruel to make me decide. It was like a movie I saw once where the Nazi guy told this lady that he was going to shoot one of her sons but she had to decide which one.
“You don’t have to make up your mind yet,” Dad said. “We won’t be going until after Christmas.”
“We!” Mum shot him a look that would burn steel.
“Now, Adrianne…” Dad began.
“Okay, let’s just eat our dinner. Shall we?”
We ate without speaking. I don’t remember what we had. I don’t remember if I put salt or sauce on it. I do remember that I didn’t ask for salt or sauce. If I couldn’t reach it I went without. I left the table as soon as I could and slunk back to my room.
As I lay there trying to sleep they started fighting again. Now, they were fighting over me, but not because either of them really wanted me. Mum was too busy with her art studies. Dad would be too busy with his new job. I was just a prize. I was a point they could score.
As I drifted off to sleep I suddenly thought of boarding school. I didn’t know anything about boarding school. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like, but it was a way that I didn’t have to decide which one to live with. Nobody wins so nobody loses.
Next morning at breakfast I said I wanted to go to boarding school.
“Boarding school?” They both looked stunned.
“I want to go to boarding school in Brisbane. That’s half way. I can have holidays with both of you in turns. That’s fair.”
They both looked at me like they’d never seen me before. Dad’s mouth kept moving but no words came out. It was like he wanted to say something, but stopped himself every time.
Finally Mum found a weak little voice. “If that’s what you really want, dear.”
“I’ll do some phoning around,” Dad said. “See what’s available.”
I hadn’t expected them to agree straight up like that. I suppose they both just wanted to not let the other one have me. This was a way of winning without having the hassles of putting up with me all the time.
It turned out that there weren’t many boarding schools, and all the good ones were booked out years in advance. Mum and Dad spent weeks trying to find one that would have me. I knew long before they made their decision that I would end up in the rattiest old dump there ever was.

RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY

BLOG 7

I sometimes get depressed thinking about the slow pace of social change, but then I’m reminded of how things were back then.

When I was young the White Australia Policy was still in force, the stolen generations were still being stolen, men were only allowed by law to beat their wives once a week and to spare the strap was to spoil the child. Caning in schools was regular and brutal and in the home what would today be considered severe cases of ongoing child abuse were considered a normal part of the proper disciplining of children.

The most insidious thing though was RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY, most often expressed to me as, If you can’t respect the man, at least respect the position he holds.

What this meant was that any child who said anything about any adult was more likely to be punished than listened to and anyone of any age could be ostracised for criticising their social superiors. The result was silence. And within that silence anything was possible. The FitzGerald inquiry exposed some of the official corruption but the rampant paedophilia of the time is taking longer. The larger the authority gap between perpetrator and victim, the deeper the silence.

Back in the seventies it was university students who led the push for reform. Now the mantle seems to have been passed to Palm Island. RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY seems to have worn thin with those most often abused by that authority.

Thoughts on approaching sixty

It’s interesting the things I have been thinking about as I approach sixty. I always thought I would be able to retire at sixty. Now suddenly I have to work another seven years before I can get a pension. People are living longer, I’m told.

Sure, there are more older people now than when I was young, but there are fewer children and far fewer stay at home wives. I would be prepared to bet that there are more people in the workforce as a proportion to the total population than ever before. And this does not take into account the improvements in technology that we are constantly being told threaten to put us out of a job.

I could understand the need to work longer if we were even close to full employment. We’re not. Unemployment is high and youth unemployment is way too high.

How will it help the economy if I work an extra seven years and a young person never gets a job at all?

How I made the book covers

simon-bookcover1-web

Essentially, the cover for Simon and MacGuffin is a woodcut print. I used a craftwood placemat of the kind sold in hardware or craft shops for painting with folk art. I carved away the design using ordinary wood carving tools. Then I rolled it with black ink and printed it in my homemade press.

The carved away areas stayed white while the raised areas printed black. The image is also reversed, which means the original image, especially the lettering, has to be drawn and carved in reverse. I’m getting better at this now. I managed to make four covers without any back to front letters.

My best prints were scanned and touched up and then coloured in Photoshop. Lynn helped. She has to help me with most computer things. OK, I admit it. Lynn did all of the Photoshop.

We made covers for the first four books like this. They should make a nice set. After that I will try doing covers based on my paintings. I have a painting done for The Black Marquee and an Idea for The Vietnam Cold-Turkey. That should give me an idea of what works before I get round to publishing the five part saga. I think books in a series should all have similar covers so I will probably do all of those in one go.

Fire Dance will be the sequel to The Black Marquee so it will have a painting on the cover and One Year and a Day is the sequel to Chironex so it will have to have a printed cover.

That, for what it’s worth, is my thoughts on book covers. I have been warned that the covers are essential for effective marketing and I should have them professionally done. They may well be, but I’ve never been one to take good advice, especially when it would require the outlay of more cash than I realistically expect to make from the project.