Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tasmanian Adoption of Children Act 1920

The comments on this blog are my opinion only. I do not represent or have affiliation with any group or organisation and the information offered has been researched as thoroughly as resources allow so it can be presented as fact rather than supposition. This information is not intended to override the opinions of others, but to expand knowledge through the presentation of another point of view.
To clarify my previous blog post relating to the Tasmanian Adoption of Children Act 1920, specifically the age limits for adoptive parents. Whereas the Registrar General set age guidelines in response to the increase demands for children for adoption, these were guidelines only and not legislated as required practice and therefore were not compulsory under law. Applicants outside of these age guidelines could still make application to adopt, with each judged according to their individual circumstances. Unfortunately, the reasons for the granting of an adoption outside the age guidelines recommended by the Registrar General has not been recorded on a case by base basis and this has led to speculation by some of adoption practices in Tasmania.
HUNDREDS WANT TO ADOPT CHILDREN "Child hungry" couples are besieging the Registrar General in Tasmania (Mr. C. A. Ward) with adoption applications. The biggest demand is for girls.
"'THE demand for children for adoption Is a long way ahead of the supply," Mr. Ward said yesterday. "Adoptions in Tasmania increased from 36 in 1934 to 200 last year. This year is expected to break all records." Mr. Ward said that when an application to adopt a child was made a date was fixed for the hearing of the application before himself or a Police Magistrate. In the interval the Registrar-General's Department made confidential enquiries into the suitability of the applicant. Parental Age Limit in all matters of adoption, the child's welfare was the paramount consideration. The age limit for people wishing to adopt children from birth had been fixed at 45 years for women and 50 years for men. This was adjusted according to the child's age, The limitation was necessary so that a child could be assured of adequate parental control until he or she reached a responsible age. "Applications for adoption are so much in excess of the supply that we are able to select for children the best of homes." Mr. Ward said; 'Most applicants wanted to adopt children from birth. Younger children were by far the most popular.

In relation to the above article, it is not all that surprising the numbers of children available for adoption increased during the thirteen years from pre-World War II 1934 to post-war 1947, when a combination of conservative social attitudes and the baby boom led to more babies available for adoption. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Age guidelines in Tasmanian Adoption Act 1920

Doing a bit of research this morning and revisiting old documents. When read after a period of years since the last reading it's interesting what stands out. 

From the Tasmanian Adoption of Children  Act 1920

Adoption of female child. 

3 On the application, in writing, in the prescribed form, to a police 
I. Husband and wife jointly ; or by 
II. A married woman alone, but with the written consent of her husband ; or by
 III. Any unmarried woman or a widow who is in the opinion of the police magistrate at least Eighteen years older than the child ; or by 
IV. Any unmarried man or a widower who is in the opinion of the police magistrate at least Forty years older than the child -

an order of adoption of a female child may be made by the police magistrate in favour of the applicant in the prescribed form and subject to the provisions of this Act. 

By whom male child may be  adopted.

4 On the application, in writing, in the prescribed form, to a police 
I. Husband and wife jointly ; or by 
II. A married man alone, but with the written consent of his wife ; or by 
III. Any unmarried man or a widower who is in the opinion of the police magistrate at least Eighteen years older than the child ; or by 
iv. Any unmarried woman or a widow who is in the opinion of the police magistrate at least Thirty years older than the child -

an order of adoption of a male child may be made by the police magistrate in favour of the applicant in the prescribed form and subject to the provisions of this Act.

While their is mention of minimum age for single adoptive parents, there is no mention of an upper age and there are no age barriers for married couples.

This information may be of interest to any person who believes they were adopted by a married couple outside, or older than, the specified age guidelines and where this belief has led them to assume money changed hands to facilitate this, as such legislated guidelines were non-existent.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

And why is this about adoption?

It’s cold in Ararat today but I’ve had help to stay warm.

On Monday I received a beautifully wrapped, large parcel via Express Post. Inside the textured purple and white box and wrapped in purple, mauve and white tissue paper was the most beautiful handmade wrap – in shades of purple, mauve and black, complete with my initials on one edge. I put it on straight away, slipping my hands through the sleeve bands, luxurious with black fringe, and the warmth of the wrap and the gesture that brought it blocked out the chill of the day. Then I opened the accompanying card and letter to read words of love and gratitude that humbled me. The present was from –I’ll call her Maria – who had been in my care as a young girl in the 1970s and 80s and now grown into a wonderful and caring woman. We have had spasmodic contact over the intervening years. She has got older and I have aged, but the bond between us, born of shared experiences and mutual respect, remains strong. Maria has qualities many aspire to, but few achieve, like perseverance and loyalty and the ability to love unconditionally. Life has taught her that. Yet it could have all turned out so differently had the currently touted reforms have been in place.

I won’t tell Maria’s full story here as it’s not my story to tell, but I’ll give a brief background. When I met Maria she was a state ward, unable to live at home and deemed by the Department of Community Welfare Services to be in need of long term permanent care with the recommendations she have minimal contact with her mother due to their perception of the relationship as destructively volatile. This effectively left Maria cut off from not only her mother, but also her two sisters who resided with their mother and whom she loved dearly. Fortunately for Maria, common sense action from workers at the coal face ensured ongoing mediation aimed at reconciliation was implemented through meetings and contact visits, including periods spent at home, so Maria never lost touch with her family as so many in care did. Throughout this process Maria maintained her own name and identity, her community contacts and the culture of her nationality. She remained a part of her family, even though separated by residence, and eventually took her place within the family fold. The love between Maria and her mother grew stronger with the years until her mother’s death in 2012 and she and her sisters have a close bond that sustains and supports them through their loss. With children now of their own, they are a family.

And why is this about adoption?

If current suggested reforms had been in place when Maria was young she could quite easily have been placed for adoption or, at the very least, placed in permanent long term care with minimal and unsatisfactory family contact. In her case, a twelve month time limit on family reunification would certainly have impacted on her life in a way that would have made any future reunification almost impossible, as supporting and strengthening families can be a lengthy process over a number of years before results may be seen. 

Maria would, in so many ways, be a different person than she is today had she been adopted. Her experience of ‘family’ would have been quite different and her values tweaked to suit her new environment, rather than learning and growing and finding her place within the dynamics of her biological family.  Most likely she would, like so many adoptees, suffer from rejection, abandonment and separation issues and spend her life struggling to understand the decisions made by strangers and why these were deemed to be in her best interests.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Australian Adoptees

As an adoptee, I have my own story and this has been told in The Scent of my Mother’s Kiss, available on Amazon. Initially published as The Little Mongrel – free to a good home, Fixwrite 2007, this revised edition includes a chapter on Rock Lynn House, Launceston, Tasmania, the home in which I was born. 

Operated by the Salvation Army between 1895 and 1960, the function of the home was, to a greater degree, driven by the social change and attitudes that influenced policy and practices, which led to an increase in separation of mothers and their children through adoption.

I took me a long time to write the Rock Lynn House chapter, as I wanted to present an account that was well researched and free of bias. To maintain this impartiality required me to look at the bigger picture, to look beyond the years immediately preceding and following my own birth in 1946, to the conditions of disadvantage for women as sole parents in late 19th century, post transportation Tasmania into the 20th century. 

I had no pre, or recently, conceived ideas or opinions on Rock Lynn, accepting it as the place of my birth and that of my adopted siblings. It was the big place over the back fence of the house across the road from my grandmother’s house, where a salvo officer lived with his family road when I was growing up, a place that carried an air of mystery that I sensed was part of me, of who I was. 

I was also fortunate in not writing from a position of anger or need to blame, having long ago made the decision not to let the past impact on the present or whatever future may be allowed me. This doesn’t mean I’m happy with my adoptee state. I’m not, and never will be. However, I refused to embark on, or attach to, any present-day blame finding or retributive campaigns that feed rage and discontentment and ultimately, disillusionment, when the answers sought are not forthcoming.

With the book now in print, I’m happy with the result, even to the point of changing my somewhat negative opinion of the Salvation Army, seeing in their work a nobler intention that surpasses retrospective criticism.  This book is my truth and one that I'm comfortable with.

In relation to the adoptee community, what I’d like to see, but suspect I never will, is a time when all Australian adoptees are on the same page, when there can be consensus as to recommendations for legislative, policy, and practice reform, coming from the power of a united voice. A time when the emotional and psychological experience of the adoptee can be combined and filtered into a common voice, unfettered by the expression of unfairness and injustice of our individual experiences. To present to politicians, those who influence policy, and media, a clear mandate for change in favour of adoptee rights.,

Failing this, I’d set my sights on a more realistic goal, that of mutual respect between Australian adoptees for values and opinions held by all, understanding these have been formed through the diversity of the adoptee experience. To allow each adoptee to hold their personal truth, free of coercion, intimidation or adopting the role of ‘expert’ in order to over-ride or silence individual opinion.

With DLF and the rich, the famous, and the celebrity bedazzled gearing up for National Adoption Awareness Week 8-14 November, it would be amazing and productive if the adoptee community could set aside individual differences and anger at past practices, to focus instead on their shared beliefs and values and develop strategies to mount a credible campaign against the DLF driven propaganda in November.

DLF calls it Adoption Awareness Week yet, apart from a few well-chosen high profile adoptee supporters, where is the voice of the majority of Australian adoptees?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Scent of my Mother's Kiss

Pre-release information - new book

The Scent of my Mother's Kiss

Originally published in 2007 as The Little Mongrel - free to a good home, and now revised as The Scent of my Mother’s Kiss, this 394 page book includes a new chapter on Rock Lynn House, a Salvation Army Maternity Home in West Launceston, Tasmania, that operated between 1900 and 1960. 

 Opinions on adoption vary, depending on which side of the triangle you're sitting on. This book has been written from the perspective of an adoptee, tracing her formative years from the blank slate of birth to the verge of adulthood and the relentless search for the key that would erase the debilitating fugue of not knowing

This book contains references to and gives insight into the day to day practices and operation of to Rock Lynn House, Regent House, Elsternwick, Mt St Canice, Hobart, Winbirra Remand Centre and Winlaton Training Centre. 

Expected Release august 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Last post on the subject of PDs

This is my last post on this subject for a while. I wanted to do the initial research for this novel and then let it rest while I worked on other much neglected projects. I’m pleased with the information I now have and how this fits within the character framework of the intended novel.

PDs are expert in making you doubt yourself and the abuse. This self-doubt leads you to mistrust your own instincts and interpretation of events. One of the techniques used is Gaslighting, where constant emotional invalidation become the norm. It is a technique abusers use to convince you that your perception of the abuse is inaccurate, where false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt their own memory, perception and sanity and to think the abuse is indeed their own fault or that it never even took place.

On a previous post I touched briefly on what happens to some people who are victims of smear campaigns:
  • They may become alienated from their family and friends.
  • They lose contact with their children for months or even years.
  • They may lose their jobs.
  • They may spend tens of thousands of dollars or more fighting false accusations of the BP attacking them.
  • They may have restraining orders placed upon them based upon false accusations.
  • They may end up in jail or prison due to false accusations.
  • They may develop severe mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and others.
  • Some may commit suicide.

I am grateful to those who have contacted me privately with anecdotal accounts of their own abuse and the impact this has had on a deeper, personal level. There are many similarities in these stories, which tell of:
  • Living in a state of constant stress and anxiety (even during periods of inaction by the smear campaigner)
  • Ongoing depression and a sense of hopelessness.
  • A loss of  trust in others.
  • Becoming emotionally crippled.
  • A loss of sense of self and their place in the world.
  • Debilitating low self esteem.
  • Lack of self confidence.
  • Experience of social isolation, and feelings of alienation and social isolation.
  • Fear.
  • Loss of reputation.
  • Hyper-vigilance(on constant alert).
  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled.

Many touched upon what the PD in their situation failed to realize, that if their aim had been to ruin the victim’s life through extreme ‘punishing’ or ‘pay back’, this had been achieved, and even a cessation of the smear campaign and other threatening behaviour would never restore the victim to their former state of well-being or anything close to this. 

For many, the damage done had been absolute.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these or other mental health issues, support is available at:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Personality Disorder Glossary

Anger - People who suffer from personality disorders often feel a sense of unresolved anger and a heightened or exaggerated perception that they have been wronged, invalidated, neglected or abused.

Baiting - A provocative act used to solicit an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another individual.

Blaming - The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.

Borderline - Having, or exhibiting the characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

Bullying - Any systematic action of hurting a person from a position of relative physical, social, economic or emotional strength.

Chaos Manufacture - Unnecessarily creating or maintaining an environment of risk, destruction, confusion or mess.

Co-dependency - A relationship in which an otherwise mentally-healthy person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected by an addiction or mental illness.

Cognitive Dissonance - A psychological term for the discomfort that most people feel when they encounter information which contradicts their existing set of beliefs or values. People who suffer from personality disorders often experience cognitive dissonance when they are confronted with evidence that their actions have hurt others or have contradicted their stated morals.

Confirmation Bias - The tendency to pay more attention to things which reinforce your beliefs than to things which contradict them.

Cyberpath – A Cyberpath is an online predator or psychopath who uses the internet to recruit, stalk, abuse or exploit their victims.

Depersonalize - to make impersonal or to deprive of personality or individuality.

Depression - People who suffer from personality disorders are often also diagnosed with symptoms of depression. Targets of smear campaigns may also suffer debilitating depression.

Emotional Abuse - Any pattern of behaviour directed at one individual by another which promotes in them a destructive sense of Fear, Obligation or Guilt (FOG).

False Accusations - Patterns of unwarranted or exaggerated criticism directed towards another person.

Frivolous Litigation - The use of unmerited legal proceedings to hurt, harass or gain an economic advantage over an individual or organization.

Harassment - Any sustained or chronic pattern of unwelcome behaviour by one individual towards another.

Instrumentality - Instrumentality is when a person is treated like a tool for another person's own purposes.

Intimidation - Any form of veiled, hidden, indirect or non-verbal threat.

Invalidation - The creation or promotion of an environment or situation that encourages an individual to believe that their thoughts, beliefs, values or physical presence are inferior, flawed, problematic or worthless.

Lack of Conscience - Individuals who suffer from Personality Disorders are often preoccupied with their own agendas, sometimes to the exclusion of the needs and concerns of others. This is sometimes interpreted by others as a lack of moral conscience.

Lightbulb Moment - A Lightbulb Moment is the description many non-personality-disordered individuals use when they first discover the existence of personality disorders. For the first time, they have discovered a plausible explanation for the strange and frightening behaviours of a family member who suffers from a personality disorder and learn that their situation is not uncommon. It is as if a light were just turned on.

Manipulation - The practice of steering an individual into a desired behaviour for the purpose of achieving a hidden personal goal.

Name-Calling - Use of profane, derogatory or dehumanizing terminology to describe another individual or group. This is one of the most common tactics people use to hurt others or disparage them. It often occurs when someone has an emotional argument to make with little or no supporting logical argument.

Normalizing - Normalizing is a tactic used to desensitize an individual to abusive, coercive or inappropriate behaviours. In essence, normalizing is the manipulation of another human being to get them to agree to, or accept something that is in conflict with the law, social norms or their own basic code of behaviour.

Objectification - The practice of treating a person or a group of people like an object.

Projection - The act of attributing one's own feelings or traits to another person and imagining or believing that the other person has those same feelings or traits.

Proxy Recruitment - A way of controlling or abusing another person by manipulating other people into unwittingly ‘doing the dirty work’.

Self-Victimization - Casting oneself in the role of a victim.

Stunted Emotional Growth - A difficulty, reluctance or inability to learn from mistakes, work on self-improvement or develop more effective coping strategies.

Targeted Humour, Mocking and Sarcasm - Any sustained pattern of joking, sarcasm or mockery which is designed to reduce another individual’s reputation in their own eyes or in the eyes of others.

Threats - Inappropriate, intentional warnings of destructive actions or consequences.

Unchosen - Unchosen's are people who are in a family relationship with a person who suffers from a personality disorder. They are called "unchosen" because they had no choice in entering into that relationship. Unchosen's include children, parents, siblings or relatives of a person who suffers from a personality disorder.

Adapted in part from Out of the Fog

Monday, March 9, 2015

Depersonalisation and Objectification

Tomorrow I intend to post a Personality Disorder Glossary, but for today I want to look more closely at two entries from this:

Depersonalisation - to make impersonal or to deprive of personality or individuality

Objectification - to treat a person as a thing.  To degrade to the status of a mere object.        
I realize I’ve been guilty, in a writerly sort of way, of depersonalising the antagonist in this novel. This has not been through intent to deprive him of his personality, but from a writer’s habit in the planning of a novel of referring to the part a character will play – a distance relationship before we get inside the story and the mind of the characters. To remedy this I'll call the characters, the main ones that is, by name from now on – calling the antagonist by his name, Julius, and the protagonist as Ruth.

This takes me back to the previously mentioned glossary entries, Depersonalize and Objectification, and Julius’ use of these to define his target as an object of loathing, as a thing (not a person) to be scorned.  

This almost makes sense when you think about it. A non BP parent may have a pet name for a child, one they use in everyday interaction that implies a close relationship and affection, however, should the child offend or have cause to be disciplined, the parent reverts to use of the given forename. While there are a number of sound reasons for this, setting boundaries, sending clear messages etc. it is most often anger that robs the tongue of the usual endearment or familiarity.

Take the case of a non BP husband angry with his wife. He may usually call her Babe or Honey but, in the heat of negative emotion, he can’t bring himself to address her with this intimacy, taking a step back to make sure she understands the depth of his anger.

In both of these examples the lapse is temporary, even when taken to the extreme and accompanied by abuse and insults, and the affection returns once the crisis has passed.

In other situations the person experiencing the anger will remove themselves from the relationship for a while through choice of words:
your child, your brother, sister, father, mother etc. and this can be taken further using objectification and name calling, attacking the very foundations of human interaction. Your child can be become your bloody child; the dickhead, garbage guts, etc. 

Used often enough, these names tend to stick and can even worsen in time as the abuser seeks to further demean and depersonalise.  

While Depersonalisation and Objectification may have not been a conscious decision on Julius’ part initially, his extreme unresolved anger and heightened or exaggerated perception of having been wronged, made it difficult, if not impossible, for him to maintain the previous intimacy of using Ruth’s forename. She became the bitch, the evil bitch, the lying bitch, and those around not only failed to challenge this, they became so inured it formed part of their own everyday speech and language choice.

This is another example of how PD's groom of recruits to their cause, desensitising them beyond normal moral and ethical constraints that govern human interaction.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Grooming recruits and Psychological Projection

I don’t want to spend any time at the moment cogitating over title alternatives, but I came across a word in my keyboard travels yesterday that could be a contender – Unchosen.

This is a term used to describe people who are part of a family network that includes a person who suffers from a personality disorder (PD). They are called Unchosen because they had no choice in entering into that relationship and may include children, parents, siblings or extended family of a person with a PD. They are the unwilling, often initially unknowing, participants in a smear campaign.

In this novel the protagonist is the Unchosen; the target of the BP antagonist’s sustained smear and fear campaign that forms the outline of the story.

It's an interesting concept, but in this post I wanted to summarise my findings on adult grooming and recruitment and use of Psychological Projection.

Adult Grooming is correspondent to child grooming and applies to any situation where an adult is primed to allow him or herself to be exploited or abused. While it is a common assumption that grooming is only practiced on the very young, identical emotional and psychological processes are commonly used to abuse or exploit adults. By careful selection of words and posturing, recruits are groomed do much of the dirty work for the BP, unaware, having been persuaded by the BP’s rendition of truth. They take up the cause align themselves against the target.

The smear campaigner frequently  engineers situations in which abuse is inflicted by another person and recruits friends, colleagues, family members, authorities, or any other third party to do their work for them, using them to threaten, stalk, convince, harass  and otherwise manipulate the target. Carefully crafted scenarios of embarrassment and humiliation provoke social sanctions of condemnation, contempt, social exclusion and shame against the target.

Defamation of character and destroying the credibility of the target is the ultimate goal, while convincing others that the target is the persecutor and they are the victim. Through use of Projection (see below), the BP conducting the smear campaign, while perpetuating constant, residual torment, claim they are in fact being tormented by their target, creating rescuers who then take up their cause, believing they are protecting the BP from the ‘bully’. Usually, the claims the BP makes about her target are the truth, but about their own thoughts and actions.

When a person has uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, or even behaviours, they may project these onto other people, assigning the thoughts or feelings that they need to repress to a convenient alternative target. Psychological Projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is a bully may accuse other people of being bullies. Projection tends to come to the fore in normal people at times of crisis, but is more commonly found in personalities functioning at a primitive level as in narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Looking at Smear Campaigns

Paranoia Unleashed - the making of the novel

So far it has been established that the antagonist (yet to be named) in this novel has, at the least, a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and as a significant part of the intended action centres on a smear campaign conducted by the antagonist against family members over a period of years, today’s post follows that theme and I will expand on this in the following days. This is part of building the character of the antagonist to get it right from the onset.

Smear campaigns are considered one of the classic behaviours of BPDs and the target is the person against whom the perpetrator conducts the vilification. Quite often this is against people who have stood up against some form of unfairness, abuse, or entitlement. These campaigns are often done behind the scenes against people who are or were related or emotionally close to the perpetrator and it may start months or even years before the target is aware it is happening.The intent is to destroy their reputation and relationships with family, friends and with community contacts and may extend to forcing the target to leave the community, putting them in prison, or even killing them. 

As with so many things involving BPs and their typical inability to understand or respect boundaries, there really are no limits. They will use basically any means available to them to cause damage to their target, including denigration, endless disparaging remarks, fabrication, false accusations, and even grooming others to lie on their behalf as part of their campaign.

A smear campaign involves lies, exaggerations, and cultivation of mistrust toward the victim by playing on the sensibilities of others, using people’s empathy and morals to turn them against the victims – most often for having done nothing more than disagree with the smearer. Many are passive participants who will listen and believe the lies they are told, while others become actively involved in spreading them further. The target may find that there are dozens of people, many of whom they have never met, who believe and repeat the lies they have been told. This is the insidious nature of the smear campaign.

Smear campaigners try to ostracize their victims and make them feel alone, unpopular, and unsupported by others while they play the victim, the hero, or both, manipulating others to think they are good people who are rightfully standing up against the victim’s supposed immorality or abuse.

Smear campaigners insinuate that the victim is mentally ill, unreasonable, incompetent, untrustworthy, or abusive and they enjoy the feeling of having gotten back at their victims, believing it is completely justifiable – even fun – to mistreat someone for having an opinion that is different from theirs.

Smear campaigners do not acknowledge the wrong they do, and cannot typically be expected to genuinely confess or apologize — even after they’ve been proven liars.

Having established this element of the antagonist's character, this is probably as good a time as any to touch briefly on what happens to the people who are victims of these campaigns. 

  • They are alienated from their family and friends.
  • They lose contact with their children for months or even years.
  • They may lose their jobs.
  • They may spend tens of thousands of dollars or more fighting false accusations of the BP attacking them.
  • They may have restraining orders placed upon them based upon false accusations.
  • They may end up in jail or prison due to false accusations.
  • They may develop severe mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and others.
  • Some commit suicide.

Adapted from an article written by Rob Print

In the next post I'll explore 'grooming' and some of the methods used in this.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Paranoia Unleashed – the unfolding of a novel

Paranoia Unleashed – the unfolding of a novel

After several years researching and writing family history, I’m in the preliminary stages of planning a new novel, a psycho thriller with a working title of Paranoia Unleashed.

While I've loosely plotted the story-line, this won’t be a ‘tap and go’ writing process, as it’s my intention to spend as much time as it takes in researching personality disorders and behaviours, and the impact of these on those around them, in an endeavour to understand the dynamics within the PPD's family. 

I will be posting my progress on this blog and inviting comment or opinion from others more closely associated with the subject as the project develops.

In Paranoia Unleashed, the protagonist has a Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD). This is the anguish-filled normality of his life that impels him to seek retribution for slights against him, real or imagined, going to inordinate lengths to create ‘evidence’ to substantiate his claims of persecution.  

This, in turn becomes part of the ‘grooming kit’ he uses to isolate and control others in order to validate the beliefs formed by his paranoia.

It is his reality.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Hidden Risks - 

a story of concealment and loss of family name

A history of the the descendants of Henry Stagg and Elizabeth Biven Coakes of Meander in Tasmania, this book follows the lives of several transported convicts and their descendants. 

When a young woman, Florence Risk, dies in 1917, her children are separated and all traces of her life buried with her in an unmarked grave under a miss-pelt name. One child, Kenneth, is raised by a maternal great-aunt. She gives him a new identity to shield him from the social stigma of being an illegitimate, mixed race child, effectively expunging his Middle Eastern ancestry. His two older brothers are placed in state care and denied return to their father's home. In this book, the layers of the past are uncovered to re-unite the Risk family and to integrate past and present.

This book would be of interest to:

Available on Amazon and Kindle

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 150246201X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1502462015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pre-release information - How to make Barsony plastic ribbon lampshades


Why pay in excess of $100.00 for refurbished or new plastic ribbon shades for your black lady lamps when you can make your own for less than $10.00.

This simple 'how to' guide for making plastic ribbon lamp shades for retro lamp bases, tells you where to source materials and gives step by step instructions for a basic shade. Includes information on Barsony and Kalmar ceramics, many colour illustrations and refurbishment hints for Barsony lamp bases.

This 58 page book will be for sale on Amazon within the next few days at a bargain price of $19.99 US with Kindle version free when you order a print copy or $4.99 US on its own. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Villains and Valour: a history of the Holmyard family of Tasmania

Released today...

Villains and Valour: a history of the Holmyard family of Tasmania

by Merlene Fawdry

See purchase details Here 

Or go direct to Amazon

Friday, August 15, 2014

When dialogue kills a story

In the past week I've begun to read two books. I never finished either of them.

The first, an historical novel written in 1976 by a famed and multi award winning Australian writer, the second, a recent publication and fourth book by an Australian writer. Both lost me almost at the first quotation mark because the dialogue lacked credibility.

With the first book there is dialogue on the second page between two Tasmanian Aboriginals pre-European settlement, written as spoken in articulate high-educated English. Although the unnaturalness of this jarred, I accepted it as one might accept a translation from an unknown language, squirming a little as the speculative speech between these proud people was reduced to class-valued interpretation. Two pages over, when the daughter of the former was speaking, the dialogue had been written in the worst interpretation of pidgin English I’ve ever read, making an intelligent woman sound like a complete simpleton. At this point I found I could not take the book seriously. I felt insulted on behalf of the historical figure being portrayed and embarrassed for the writer despite her fame. I closed the book.

The second book, also speculative non-fiction of early Tasmanian history, had been extensively researched. It had a strong story line that stood out above the telling rather than showing narrative, but the dialogue was, for the most part, quite unbelievable for the era and setting. There was also an issue with consistency, i.e. in one string of dialogue, ‘here’, is written with a dropped aitch (‘ere), two lines down the aitch is pronounced, then the same word is misspelt as, ‘ear, in the next. Dialogue, as an extension of characters, needs to be above all true and consistent. What really stood out for me in this book though, was the phrase, ‘man up’, which has been around for less than a decade, suddenly thrown in as dialogue between characters. At this point I lost interest in reading further, conceding that, while I’d wasted money in buying this book, I didn’t have to waste time in reading it.

There are many aspects to writing dialogue if it is to be believable and, when used well, it is an excellent technique for injecting needed breaks into numerous action scenes, long narrative and/or descriptive passages. Unfortunately, writing realistic dialogue proves to be one of the most difficult aspects of the creative writing process for some writers and without this, readers can quickly lose interest as such false notes often distract from the essence of the story.

Visit the following page for an informative article on writing dialogue -

Friday, June 20, 2014

The carousel of blogging

It's two months since my last post - a dead stop in the middle of two challenges - the A-Z of Blogging and NaPoWriMo. Without mention of all the other challenges of life that get in the way of regular blogging, I think the timing of this latest hiatus says a lot about taking on too much at the one time and the need to set achievable writing related goals.

Blogger absenteeism is comparable to school truancy, where each day off compounds the issue, putting an ever-increasing gap between student and education. It's like jumping off a playground carousel, watching it spin and being unable to time the leap back on.

So, after watching the spinning of the carousel of time, I've made the leap back on to a blog that's lost its spin, hoping I can find the momentum to set it in motion once more before it spits me off again. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 18 - letter P in A-Z of Blogging

Peace is that elusive place much sought after, yet rarely found. It is the Nirvana of harried mothers and fretful fathers and the fantasy of the troubled. 

Peace is...

Peace hand holds with silence
in night darkness
until a rill of conscience
washes over the sleeper;
cease-fire ending
as the nightmare begins.
Peace is...
the silence
after fists of passion
have been spent
and she answers back no more
his heart pounding
hers stilled forever.

Peace is...
the stillness
after the last cannon fires,
when smoke settles over corpses
strewn across battle fields
in the period of shock
before the keening begins.

Peace is...
the calm
of a starving child
born into famine
accepting of its fate
no blame or shame

to fill empty bowls.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 17 - the letter O of A-Z

Ooooooooooooo! Really?


It’s a strange feeling
this state of being ousted
from civilised society
no harsh words flung
at twenty paces
or less
no direct hint
of the exact transgression
or which social more
has been broken
just the chill
of a silent phone,
the blank stare
of an empty mailbox,
and the clipped consonants
of polite conversation
when avoidance is impossible.