A week ago I posted the manuscript of my Cambodian novel to my Australian Society of Authors mentor, Judith Lukin-Amundsen. She’s busy with other work at the moment so it may be a while till I get her feedback. We’ve only had one meeting so far this year but from that one meeting I was able to  look at the story from a whole new perspective. Judith is a bit magic that way. My friend Helena Pastor (a gifted writer of fast-paced, intriguing memoirs that explore social issues) has had Judith as a mentor before and again this year. She can’t speak highly enough of her either. I’ve got everything crossed Judith will like the major changes I’ve made and be able to show me even more ways to improve it. I’ve been working on this story since 2005 and I think  its finally finding its proper shape.

Khmer women walking in mined field

Danger Mines!

At the moment, I’m calling it, “When it Rains” but it’s had many other names – including Bittersweet, Chocolate Brown Vanilla,  Sugar Cane Juice, and A Lesson in Darkness. Which one do you like best?  Any new ideas welcome! It’s based on my time living and working in Cambodia in the mid-nineties when there was still a lot of Khmer Rouge activity and Westerners were being kidnapped and killed. Despite the ever-present danger, I feel deeply in love with the country and its people. It’s the most intriguing, captivating, perplexing and frustrating place I’ve ever been. Recently, I found a wonderful book  by Joel Brinkley, Cambodia’s Curse,  which helped add another dimension to my novel. Thanks Joel! He’s writing a novel set in Cambodia too. Fingers crossed the two of us will start some kind of vampire-like literary craze!

Khmer sugar cane juice vendor

Khmer sugar cane juice vendor

I’m so looking forward to seeing my story of Cambodia become a book too.

After I sent that off, I gave my blog a new look and even joined Twitter, thanks to the advice I received from the delightful Lisa at Twine Marketing. In just one hour she helped me focus in on what I really needed to do to pull myself together as a “brand”.  As irksome as that initially was, I now realise it’s a reality of the modern writer’s world.

Soon I’ll get to my other two projects; a combined memoir and personal healing guide “First Aid for Your Heart”, and “Into the Fire”, the novel I’ve been working on over the past year. Oh yes, so much to do!
I gave my last remaining copy of Thrill Seekers to my friend Luke Denham , an extraordinary film-maker, who is now working on creating a knock-out promo clip for the book. Can’t wait to see it.  I’d love it if you could “like” my Thrill Seekers page on facebook and friend me too.
I finished teaching my Yoga Writing course at the Queensland Writers Centre on Tuesday. It was a wonderful experience with a lovely warm group of people who were willing to give everything a go. I learnt heaps and hope they did too. I look forward to teaching a one day workshop on overcoming Writers Block at QWC early in the new year.
Life is good. Onwards and Upwards!

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