Hard to believe that one of the biggest things to happen to me in my Writing Journey is something I haven’t talked about in here at all.

I recently had the honour of being included in the 100 Micro Memoirs from 100 WA Authors. Ourselves, the first anthology of its kind in Australia, Put together by the awesome people at Night Parrot Press, it includes 750-word stories from some of my absolute favourite authors/people too.

Seriously, I cannot state it emphatically enough the honour I feel having MY NAME and MY STORY published by a REAL PUBLISHER alongside so many people whose writing and accomplishments I admire and am inspired by.

They include (but are not limited to), In order of appearance:

Scott Patrick-Mitchell – I know SPM mostly through his prolific prize-winning for poetry but also he just seems a genuinely wonderful person too. I believe we cross paths occasionally when I comment on Holden Sheppard’s FB or something similar.

Katherine Allum – I’ve only seen her about the traps but liked she’s a fellow Murcan Expat (like Laura from NPP) and a beautiful writer. Her entry in this anthology is heartbreaking and beautiful.

Melinda Tognini – Another somebody I’ve seen around but I enjoy her through her blog and her newsletters. Great writer, neat person, Her entry in this is also heartbreaking and beautiful. I think I’m sensing an theme.

Sarah Moredoundt – Seen her around the newsletters and whatnot, recognised her name from something I’d read a while ago and can’t remember, but her story is simply beautiful. Heartbreaking only insofar that anyone who has ever been a parent knows That Exact Feeling she describes so thoroughly in the moment.

Gillian O’Shaughnessy – I’ve known Gillo for years, having interacted with her during her midday radio show on the ABC. Always through text, I would sign them using a fake name and she’d often read them on air. I remember once she wanted people to call/text with simple, three-ingredient, recipes and I said something about pasta, fresh basil and extra, extra virgin olive oil. Now, I have no real idea what makes olive oil virgin, extra virgin or what, but I know some of it tastes better, and if it’s a hero of a recipe you want the good stuff. So that’s why I said, “extra virgin olive oil too. I mean, the kind that’s never even seen a boy naked before.” or something equally irreverent and slightly-naughty. I was rewarded by Gillo snorting while she read it and saying quietly, presumably to her producer, “I can’t say this on air…” Achievement Get. Years later I’d email her and tell her I very much enjoyed her writing and congratulating her on the transition from ABC Radio Legend to author, even admitting my secret radio-text-name. When I found out she was in this anthology too, I emailed her my excitement and she told me how she was looking forward to meeting her “anthology buddy” at the book launch.

Andrew Tetlaw – This name tickled me because I knew I knew him, but it was only after Googling him that I figured out it was from my time with the Australian Web Industry Association and the Port 80 events here in Perth. Awesome to see he’s in this anthology too. His story is short and aching and reminds me of my wife’s stories of her mother and step-father. Sad that so much can be said about a generation in a few short words.


The ill-fated Book Launch for Ourselves was on the same night our youngest became a teenager, and only a few days before my hip-replacement surgery was scheduled. Wife’s body wasn’t co-operating in going to this launch and mine wasn’t either. Even after I’d emailed Laura Keenan (NPP) and she was so gracious and sweet about providing accommodation for somebody like me that would need somewhere comfortable to sit and need to bring along a cohort of children and spouse instead of the simple “+1”.

I wish I could have gone. It would have meant a lot to me to meet these people that I’ve only known through text and media for so long. I would have loved to have shared words, thanked them for what they’ve brought to my life, make them smile, make them laugh.

But I’m hardly me any more. I’m 25kg heavier than I would normally ever be. When I walk, it’s with a cane. I’m in pain a lot. A lot of the time. My mood is understandably affected by this. Which is a nice way of saying my mental health has suffered quite considerably.

Not to mention the impending house move as well, a stress that’s clouded over our heads for a while now. But the surgery, my new hip, my new lease on life, was something so hugely on our minds. We just couldn’t really focus on anything else. Except our boy, that is, and making his favourite meal and cake of course.

The surgery didn’t go through, an ingrown toenail had gone infected and they wouldn’t risk it. I’m still… processing this, and only yesterday was offered another date. My anxiety renews. As does my excitement.

Regardless, for the SECOND TIME I am a “published author” and I remain so incredibly excited that I’m immortalised in literature along with people whose writing (and achievements) I admire so much.

It really does mean the world to me, and I could not be more proud.


The Featherfoot

Yet another example of masturbating my book characters all over a short story, this is an interaction that’s heavily-based in my world, and maybe wasn’t the best way to slap a short story together.

Especially for something as exciting and important as The Little Journal, something put together by the most-excellent people at Writing WA and Night Parrot Press.

750 words about speculative fiction, horror and other “super genre” stuff, I feel like an idiot for trying to shoehorn my already-created world into something that I really should have just written something fresh for.

But yeah, always learning. Usually the hard way. But I do like this story, if for no other reason than I’m in love with my characters and the world I’ve created.


Glutey watched his cousin appear from the night behind their enemy, the axe’s blade shining in the moonlight as it swung at the man’s head. The deathblow passed through though, and the dark-hooded man disappeared like mist. Glutey knew then this was a Kadaitcha, a Featherfoot. A demon here to exact revenge.

He didn’t know Noongar well but he knew some of the stories. Most books were gone along with the rest of society when “The Pulse” hit late last century, sending the world into darkness, but the storytellers did their best to instil fear. It had worked, Glutey was terrified.

He and his cousin hadn’t meant to attack the hooded man but he’d stumbled across them after they’d raided a sleeping camp of some stupid Avonists who’d wandered too close to the border. Glutey staggered backward in the dark, glancing left and right, wondering how to tell the Featherfoot it was his cousin Tega’s idea to cross the Derbarl Yerrigan and come south.

Reluctantly, he’d followed Tega across the river separating north from south of what used to be Perth-Boorloo, intending on killing, raping and taking whatever they could. Now a demon was on them and it was all Tega’s fault. Glutey had no idea if Tega could get them out of this and braced himself to flee. Tega wouldn’t though, he was the fiercest and toughest fighter Glutey knew. Sparring with him and roaming to raid or spar with other tribes, there was no one faster or deadlier.

Panic suddenly filled Glutey’s heart as he watched the Featherfoot suddenly appear right behind Tega, the blade in the demon’s hand sinking into his cousin’s neck. Poor Tega stumbled forward a few steps, his face a mask of anger and surprise, his life leaking out from between his fingers, before falling face first into the dirt. Glutey watched as the demon then disappeared.

Glutey ran. Tega was the brave one, Glutey always just along for the ride. He had no idea how to avenge Tega’s death against a demon, instead running as fast as he could back down the trail toward the river. All he wanted was to retreat back through the ruins and back to the lake. He’d be safe there.

Glutey barely made it twenty metres before he heard something on the trail ahead. Gripping his axe and moving slowly forward, his blade still sharp and deadly despite shaking like a leaf. Heart hammering in his chest, eyes like chicken’s eggs in the night, he searched anywhere and everywhere for the force that was now stalking him.

Tears stung his eyes and he tried to force it down but a voice inside his head talked openly, calmly, about his home. “Irony is thick, that they call you gangs from North of the River ‘Joondals’ after Lake Joondalup.”

The demon whispered to him from inside, and despite the calm voice Glutey’s body was frozen in terror, he couldn’t move a muscle. Sweat mixed with his tears as the whispering continued.

“The Noongar suffix ‘up’ means ‘place of’ but ‘joondal’ can be either ‘whiteness that glistens’ like water, or ‘creature that only moves backward’ like you’re doing now.”

Glutey, still frozen in fear, felt his bladder release.

“My blade still thirsts, so go backwards now, Joondal. Back to your tribe, your gang of rapists and murderers. Tell them of my blade. Tell them of this night.”

Suddenly unfrozen, Glutey felt his legs moving as fast as they ever had, branches whipping across his face and stinging his arms. With every strike he imagined the Featherfoot’s blade in his neck and he ran screaming into the night. He’d reach the lake eventually, but never again would he feel safe.

“Kaya, mate. Nice touch with the ‘thirsty blade’ business.” The Edge Guard stepped out from the trees. Moonlight glinted as he slung his plasma rifle onto his shoulder. “You forget that I’m under orders not to let any of them go though.”

“Kaya yourself. You forget too, that to them I’m a demon, a legend.” The hooded figure suddenly appeared, his smile shining from under his beard. “One terrified survivor is worth a hundred of your summary executions by plasma rifle.”

“Maybe…” the Edge Guard’s voice said in his friend’s head, “Neat trick there though. Disappearing and all.”

“Thanks, been practicing. You have too, I like the body freeze thing. How’d you make him piss himself?”

“I didn’t. Must be something to this Featherfoot legend-thing after all.”


Another Furious Fiction piece, this one for March. Here’s the prompts:

  • Each story had to include a character who revisits something.
  • Each story had to include the same colour in its first and last sentence.
  • Each story had to include the words CAMP, FAST and SPARK.

I’d forgotten the details of this one, which usually means it came to me in a “flash” and then disappeared just as quickly.

Which, for my money, is a fkn fantastic way to write short stories and may be the most-inspired and direct-from-brain-to-fingers as a story can get.

Of course, for as much as I really, really liked this story and happily shared it with my writing buddies, Robert reluctantly pointed out that I’d missed the prompts!

“Shit,” said I, “They WERE in there, but I had to trim words to get under 500, and in doing so lost the word ‘spark’.”


It’s one thing seeing your childhood irrevocably changed after a flood, the fishing and swimming holes and the camping spots all gone, the blue of the water gone brown, your memories all that are left. It’s another thing entirely to not remember where you buried him, the first one. The worst one.

You fight down the rising panic. After all, it’s not like the flood washed away a metre of topsoil, right?

It’s well after dark, no one’s been down this trail for weeks but you find yourself moving faster than is necessary, reminding yourself to calm down and do this right.

Memories come flooding back. You’d gone to pull him out and had only pulled his shoe off, sending your ass backward into the grass. Putting his shoe back on had been painfully triggering. But you’re here now, and it’s nearly done, all of it. Twelve years and four states later, this is the last one.

You’re more than relieved that digging will be easier this time as the climate-catastrophe-level flood cleared most of the trees. The one before in the desert hills, the first one’s brother, was out there with nothing but red dirt and rocks. Your shirt and hands were redder, he’d given quite a fight even as his life sprayed across the two of you. Digging after that was the worst.

Not easy like the banks of that river basin over east. That one was all easy. You didn’t know him in person, but you could tell that he knew you the second he saw your face. He’d seen plenty, and he took one look at you, closed his eyes, tipped his head back and just took it. Easy ending, easy burial.

This one you drag with the rope, easy as. The hole is easier than the first time too. It all is, especially now that it’s nearly done. Tree branch raked over, shovel pitched into the river, and you were never there.

But you head back up only to find a park ranger’s ute right next to yours. An odd calm settles over you and your weary smile for the ranger is one that means it.

She smiles back. “I thought that was you! What the hell you doing out here?” Her words bubble out. “When did you even get back? How long are you back for? How have you BEEN all these years?”

You don’t even lie. “Good, been good. Just got in. Long drive, but I wanted to see what was still here for myself. You know, unfinished business.”

“Ah yeah, the flood. Yeah… hey, so good to see you! Fancy a beer? My shift’s over in an hour. We can catch up.”

You were never sure, but you thought she might have been like you all those years ago. There was always a connection, of sorts.

“That’d be great.”

You take in the blue of her eyes against the brown of her uniform and smile and mean it, because it would.

The Black Stump – Flash Fiction

Stringybark Stories has a great newsletter and sometimes has these giveaways of their anthologies based on Flash Fiction comps. 100 words that had to include: foetid, portrait, sensitive and joyful.

I have no recollection of the inspiration for this one, which makes re-reading it, rediscovering it, all the more fun. It’s like reading something, enjoying it and thinking it’s good, then feeling that old-familiar warmth of Imposter Syndrome and Fear of Narcissism when you realise that YOU wrote it. Heh.


Lionel was always running from something as long as I knew him. I peered over the 4th-floor railing, through the foetid air of the city, and knew the question was: Pushed or Jumped?

Anna being questioned inside, a portrait of calm. An overly-sensitive teen, I knew she hated him since the day he married her mother.

A happy child, though never joyful, she changed after he moved in. I saw it. Something happened when she got older too, though I never knew what.

I looked over the railing again and realised it no longer mattered. It was over.


Cibus Potentia

This was an entry for Writing Battle, which is a concept that I still find amazing and fascinating. You write something under 1000 words that follows a few prompts, then it goes to “battle” against another story and a group of folks vote on who wins. Meanwhile, you do the same for another group, reading two stories at a time and deciding the winner.

I had a great time, though once again had only that to take away as I didn’t even win my first battle with this piece.

This isn’t just inspired by the Spec-fic I write under my pen name, it’s literally the first meeting of two of my main characters, Dukan and Ranton (though Dukan’s name is never used). I felt like it hit the prompts and the feedback all seemed to centre on how they, the readers, all wanted to know more about the MC and how he got there.

Perhaps I’m guilty of being too in-love with my characters and risk masturbating their interactions all over a short story when they’re best left throwing their weight around in my books. Dunno. A part of me thinks that it’s a slam-dunk to Spec-fic with a world I’ve already built, but I frequently fail to Consider The Source when I’m submitting a short story.

Which sucks, because if I had the headspace and energy to do my research, get inside the heads of the judges et al, then write something specific to them, I’d probably have a much bigger chance of getting something noticed.

It all remains a Learning Experience, I suppose. And those are never easy. Opportunities missed still hurt, but that’s how we learn, no?


His legs dangled out the bars of the cramped cage as the smell of cooking meat wafted in through the tent’s open flap and set his mouth to watering while nearly sending him into a ravenous rage. This would be the fifteenth day he’d refused to eat, and he wondered how many more he had left.

The two initiates were a welcome surprise as they carried their meals into the tent. Tattered robes and smiles, they jabbered excitedly at their overflowing plates before they saw the captive and remembered their orders.

“Does Prelate Ranton really believe he can be saved?” the taller one squinted, “By us? They say his days here in the compound are nearing an end.”

He looked barely older than a boy at first but his thick arm held out a plate to the captive. Despite the hunger, despite the steam rising from the cooked meat, the captive turned his face away from it.

The shorter initiate snorted. She looked too young as well but had a worldliness about her that the captive recognised. She’d had it hard out there, either life in the Territories or slogging through the forests. Harder than the male had, that was for sure.

He figured it was likely why she was here, though both would have been drawn into the Hoytist’s for their promises of peace, order and, of course, bounty. Scrapping and clawing for 60 years after The Pulse wiped most of humanity out and here was a ready-made paradise in the forests. All you had to do was shave your head and worship some asshole named Hoyt.

“More to it than that,” the captive thought as he inhaled the aroma of the meat, “A lot more.”

He looked down between his legs at the old padlock on his cage and smiled. He’d practiced picking this style lock and would have been long gone had the Hoytists not stripped him.

“By the Hoyt,” the taller one chewed, “He refuses this! Cooked meat the likes of which I’ve never tasted, yet still he smiles!”

The other one approached. “Hoyt be praised, this meat’s amazing. A nuttiness I’ve never tasted in meat! May he someday be saved.”

The taller one turned to her. “So… who did you save? When you came in?”

She regarded him with haunted eyes, clutching at a small doll hidden inside her sleeve. “My sister. You?”

The captive recognised the hemp twine used for the doll’s hair. He’d once brought the local doll-maker thin strips of bendy metal for the doll’s innards.

“Mum,” he took another bite, “She couldn’t do for herself out there.”

“And,” she regarded her fellow recruit, “Who did you send?”

He chewed thoughtfully. “My brother. He was always so good at foraging he’ll be fine in the forests. He always had an acorn in his mouth, finding so many of them he was even a bit fat. Can you imagine?”

She lowered her eyes as a sadness took hold. “I sent mum. I didn’t want to, but those are the rules when you enter, the Prelate said. Besides, she’ll be fine too. Probably.”

The tent was suddenly filled by a wide form in sweeping robes. “By the Hoyt she will!” boomed Prelate Ranton, “The Hoyt provides for all! Even this wretched recluse here, resisting all resplendence with reproachful reprises.”

The captive gave Ranton a dark look. Ranton glared back before turning his softened eyes to the female initiate. “And? Has he? All may partake of our bounty, saved or no.”

“Bounty? You sick fuck,” The captive cast his eyes between the initiates, “Didn’t either of you ever wonder how the Hoytists forbid trade with the only territory to have pigs or goats, yet there’s all this cooked meat? You see any livestock around here?”

The initiates looked to each other, then almost in unison said back, “The Hoyt provides.”

“No…” the captive’s mouth twisted, “Turns out you provided. You there, think about how your fat brother ate heaps of acorns and consider why that nutty-tasting meat’s dripping with juices.”

The taller initiate’s eyes squinted in consideration as the other’s eyes boggled in horror. She quietly spat her mouthful back onto her plate and his chewing stopped.

The initiate turned to the Prelate. “By the Hoyt, Prelate Ranton, I know the apostate blasphemes but where does the compound source such bounty?,” he caught himself, “I… I mean, am I able to visit the Preparatory to witness the Hoyt’s benevolence?”

Prelate Ranton’s large eyes turned downward, saddened. He pursed his lips and shook his bald head at the captive. “You would waste their welcoming with your words, wouldn’t you wastrel?”

The captive bared his teeth back. “Scientia potentia est.”

Ranton looped his arms around both initiate’s shoulders. “Of course you may visit the Preparatory, my itchingly-inquisitive initiate,” a blade was suddenly in his hand, “You have my word.”

It was less than a full-second for the Prelate’s blade to slice the jugular vein of the shorter initiate before flashing across and neatly severing the same in the taller one’s neck. The captive gripped the bars and growled angrily as they fell, even as Ranton’s eyes never left his.

Ranton breathed out. “You’re almost right, that knowledge is power. But you and all your Latin and vaunted book-learning still aren’t powerful enough to oppose the will of the Hoyt.”

“Someday,” the captive whispered, “You’ll burn for this.”

The Prelate smiled grimly as he gripped the dead male by his ankles and started dragging. “Maybe. But all your vaunted volumes will never make you as venerable as you view, my valuable vulnerable. Now I need to keep my word and take him to the Preparatory to finish bleeding out before he’s carved.”

The captive watched him go before slipping his hand up the dead girl’s sleeve, retrieving the doll, and quickly dismantling it. Venerable or not, he knew the doll’s skeleton would make fine lockpicks, and that his days in this place were indeed nearing an end.