My Google Group
is a story about the people who live in an
Edwardian (or Federation, as it's called in Oz)
terrace in Melbourne. I'll be posting
100-200 words a day. Bit like a cartoon
strip or a soap opera. Or Tales
of the City (Armistead Maupin's wonderful
series set in San Francisco). Tales of my
It was an exercise I started
to get my writing going again. I
endured some bad stuff in my life, and
somehow I found I was unable to write.
I thought to myself that if I could make
myself do 100 to 200 words a day, come what
may, the creative juices would start flowing
Artist's Way, a book about how
to unleash your inner creative genius,
strongly recommends that you write three
foolscap page in longhand about anything
which comes into your head. By just
writing, not letting your inner Critic
sabotage your inner Creator, you allow
Creation to burgeon. Majorca Flats
would be my equivalent of three pages of
So I started writing my
hundred-and-fifty words a day. At
first, it was hard to do. I used to do
frequent word counts to see if I was
anywhere near the limit. Now
I really look forward to it every day.
Now I have to do word counts because
each post is too long, I'm enjoying myself
so much. And as always happens, the
characters have come alive to me, and have
taken control. Part of my pleasure in
writing Majorca Flats -- in fact in
any of my fiction -- is that I don't know
what's going to happen. Oh, I have a
vague idea. But it's just a changeable
sketch. All the colouring, all the
details are as yet undefined. When I'm
in the grip of the Muse, even I don't know
what I'm going to write, how my characters
are going to behave. In an interview
here in Melbourne, Armistead Maupin said
pretty much the same thing about his own
writing. So I'm on the right
Almost every day I post a
new Majorca Flats episode.
Those in the blog
have an attached, more-or-less related
image, and each blog post has a link to
the next post and the one before. So
if you want pretty pics (some of which, I
warn you, are not safe for work) read the
story via the blog. Every ten
episodes, I upload the latest chapter
here, to this site.
You can read older episodes
and the latest episode at my
The first volume in
the Tapestry of
Life Series, and the first novel I wrote.
I began ElvenSword in
my head long before I started writing it. My
lady and I, and our eldest son had been on a trip
through South Africa to see it for the last time,
because we were emigrating to the UK. On
the road back to Cape Town we passed through a
town called Willowmore. Now you would
imagine that such a town had a river flowing
through it, lined with willows. Nope.
A dry desolation, the river bed just dust
and sand. A few miles on the other side of
the sadly misnamed Willowmore, I noticed one or
two wildflowers in the storm water drains next to
the road. A few miles further on, there were
more. Then we passed a few stumpy bushes,
and a couple of pines, and then within a few
miles, we were in a magnificent rain forest.
The idea for a great trek came into my head, a
story about a man who comes to an inn in those
great southern forests in the Southern Cape,
and takes the inn's boy with him.
The man is heir to the throne of a great
empire, and the story was to have been how they
would work out their love for each other while
allowing the soon-to-be emperor the chance to
produce heirs. I even wrote a bit of it.
But I was so dissatisfied with my writing I
put is aside.
Still, the idea of something like that haunted me,
a story about men loving men and women, and having
to do what honor and duty demanded, and the price
A visit to Christchurch (South Island, New
Zealand) which has a splendid extinct volcano
right on its doorstep gave me the idea of Cappor.
And I wanted to set the story in the
southern hemisphere, where it gets colder the
further south you go. The final catalyst was
Lynn Flewelling's Luck in the Shadows. I
used this to see how to write a story. The
first few chapters were terrible. But gradually I
got the knack of it, and started to write better.
I rewrote those first few chapters nine or
ten times -- and I'm still not happy with them!
I found, also, as countless writers have
found since story-telling began, that my story
evolved and changed in unexpected ways, that the
characters themselves shifted and grew. And
is very different to the story as I first
conceived it, though you can see the underlying
themes are common.
I wanted to write about a world where love
happened despite gender. I was sick of
stories dominated by heterosexuals. But I
also thought that in a world where the gender of
your partner really
didn't matter, most people would be
bisexual to some degree or another, that they
would have a ceremony and and institution for
same-sex marriage, and that they would have very
different values to those we have. So to
complete the switch, I made it a female-dominated
society, where the duchesses and queens and
empresses outrank their consorts.
Sequels are hard.
After all, the most interesting aspect of a
novel is the way in which its characters, or at
least, the protagonist, changes, in this case how
Fluin assumes the mantle of his destiny ("It is
your destiny", said in a portentous Star Wars
tone) . So how do you put in further
changes? Well, you can have a different
protagonist or protagonists, or you can make the
hero from volume one undergo further dramas and
problems, while still developing his character.
Or you can show how his friends change.
I also was afraid that volume one had been
too rainbow coalition. I wanted more angst
and loss and danger. Like I said, hard!
As you read this volume of The Tapestry of Life,
you will see the solutions I have chosen to this
dilemma. I hope you agree they've worked.
This is volume 3 of The Tapestry of
just started this, so what you see
here is all I've written. It's how
in the end Fluin fulfills his destiny, how he
tries to do what is right at great personal
cost, and how in the end the Goddess rewards
him. Now you know the story, but hey, we
all knew that Sam and Frodo would make it to
Mt Doom! We just didn't know how!
Like so many of my stories, the inspiration for it
came in from somewhere odd. I read a
newspaper story that David Beckham (the
metrosexual soccer player, in case you didn't
know) likes to wear his wife's thong undies.
This sexy, straight man wears lace? So
I wrote a short story about an ex Aussie (or
Ozzie) rules footy player (Oz plays Ozzie rules
football, soccer, and both rugby league and rugby
union) who is straight (and wears his wife's
lacy thongs). He finds he has no friends
when he's no longer a football player.
Except one. Who hates footy, and makes
the mistake of falling in love with him.
The short story just kept on growing. I grew
to like all the characters so much I simply had to
explore their lives It's become
a novel. This novel has ended up exploring
the issues of bisexuality, of how we can have two
loves, how people manage that, and how
denying part of your most profound self can be
lead to sorrow and pain and loss, not just for you
but all those round you. And of course, how
love, the kind that seeketh not itself to please, is
marvelous and healing and helps make all this
I also wanted to explore how sometimes love,
physical -- no sexual
-- can come from friendship, and how friendship
can come from sex. Tom, the footy star,
connects with Adam because they are friends first.
Will connects with Sean because he picks him
up in a bar. Only afterwards does their love
expand and grow into something precious. Yet
they both end up in the same place.
This novel has a sad
history. I'd written 20,000 words, a fifth
or a sixth of the complete story, when my laptop
was stolen. The backup disks were with the
laptop -- I'd never thought of theft, just of hard
disk failure. Bleagh. For a long time
I couldn't even face the story, but recently I've
had a re-look at it. I like it a lot.
The whole story is blocked out and ready to
go. Somebody said that the story is
reminiscent of Tanya Huff's The Fire Stone,
and if it is, I am honored, because she is one of
my favorite authors and that is one of my favorite
books. The story is set in the same world as
the Tapestry of
Life trilogy, but with different
characters. But I've finally gotten
back to it, and have started posting new chapters.
||I Get no Kick
This was my third
novel (though I hadn't finished DemonThrong
when I wrote it) It was my most confident
novel to date. I knew more or less exactly
how I was going to write it, I was confident
about character and story development and
dialogue, and it just flowed from my 'pen' taking
only three months to write. I grew so fond
of all the characters that when I'd finished it I
felt a real sense of loss. Champagne was
'crossover' novel. It is an urban fantasy, a
story set in Melbourne, but also in a fantasy
kingdom. It explores issues that
fascinate me -- how men grow up, how love varies
with the person you love, yet is still love, how
you can deeply wrong people and yet still turn
away from the dark side. I got a blast
writing this. I hope you get as much fun
||Zing Went the
Strings of my Heart
This is another novel
I haven't finished. But it's not forgotten!
It's a sort-of-sequel to Champagne.
It's about the outsiders in Melbourne -- the
were creatures, the wizards, the aliens, the
vampires. But it's also about the lonely,
all those who don't fit in. And naturally,
it's about love.
||Gift of Dragons
My first SF novel.
I wrote this for Melissa Scott's novel
writing program. Wow! It was such a
pleasure to work with her. For those who
don't know, she's a major alternate-sexuality SF
and fantasy author. This story is about 1/3
written, but again, it's definitely not forgotten,
and I'm girding my loins to finish it. It's
a first contact novel, a tale about how humans 50
years from now find their first extra-terrestrial
civilization. And what lessons it holds for
Earth, and for our own culture.
||The Music of
A het romance with a gay character, partly written,
set in a country town in Victoria
Four guys share a house. One of them is gay,
the other straight. Well, straight-ish.
A story about a café in a small country town, its
owner and the people who come to visit.
A man goes back to the country town he grew up
in and the boy, now man, he was in love with.
||Heaven is a
Pair of Wooden Wings
A stranger turns up at Jake Fribourg's
farm, a stranger with a deadly secret.
And Jake loses his heart and finds out too late he
|| Black and Deep
This is a thriller written by my lady.
The story is set in a village we lived in for a
few years in Norfolk. My lady attempted to
get it published with twenty different publishers,
and not one took it, despite it being at least as
good as P.D. James. Yeah, I know, perhaps
I'm biassed, but I will tell you that I read the
typescript in one go, staying up till four am, and
the next day was a work day!
She got so discouraged by these rejections that
she more or less gave up writing. She and I
are cooperating on a hetero romance (The Music of Love)
targeted at the Mills & Boon (Harlequin)
market, and also on a couple of gay-shaded stories
Road, about a man who goes back to his
home town and the love of his life. She is
an invaluable editor of my work, and what style I
have is due to her influence and teaching. I
wish she would start writing in earnest again,
Darkness fell. It
was always darker in the maze. The high hedges
held in the shadows, kept out sunlight and
sound. Time stood still in the silent
corridors that led into each other, led to
nowhere. The blindfolded child, dumb with
terror, felt his way along the prickly walls
with soft white starfish hands.
Wilde Oats page