It’s probably no secret, to anybody who still cares enough to read this blog, that Real Life ™ has become a tad-bit overwhelming in recent days, which is one reason why entries on this site have become few and far between.

This week, for example, I find myself the latest beneficiary of the Spicy Flu Lottery.

Yep. Despite being triple-vaxxed — and literally on the day Luscious and I were off to get our fourth shot — I tested positive for COVID, and have been bed-bound since Friday afternoon.

Still, in the spirit of silver linings everywhere (All clouds have silver linings. It’s where acid rain comes from.) it will give me a chance to drop an entry or two in this long-neglected journal, and enable me to finish a few projects that have been hanging over my head for a while.

For example, I’ve finally managed to get my Diploma of Graduation from Mime School…


It’s traditional, at this time, to publish my end of year list. But as a) it’s more than thirty items long, b) I’m currently lying in a chalet in Fremantle, a long way from my computer, and c) I’m typing this on my phone, that one’s going to have to wait.

Instead, let me end this year of neck-deep shite with a list of goals for my first year back in Perth for almost half a decade. To whit:

Continue reading “2020 PLUS A TUTU, TOO”


So…… lot of weather we’ve been having lately, innit?……

All right, let’s talk serious shit. I’ve lost my way since our son Blake completed suicide back in September 2019. Of course it’s understandable — Luscious and I have been swallowed by grief, and anybody who can’t understand how that level of grief can affect you has my permission to stay quiet — but the ultimate end of that process is that my life has turned in upon itself and started eating its own tail. Everything that was supposed to be good about coming to Karratha — gaining fitness, writing more, lowering my stress levels, finding my post-50-year-old-future, etc etc and so forth — was destroyed, and what’s more, I didn’t care.

This can no longer be supported.

Continue reading “WELCOME TO THE BUNGLE. AGAIN.”


Earlier this week, I laid out 5 resolutions I hope to achieve in 2018. One of those was to lose weight. I always have this one, and I always fail. So what I need is a goal: something to aim towards that involves weight loss, but doesn’t make weight loss the end product.

Luscious and I stumbled across a couple of documentaries on the Crossfit Games during our Christmas Break, and that’s when I discovered Murph.

Murph is a competitive routine named after a US Navy Lieutenant and crossfit enthusiast, Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. It consists of the following elements:

Continue reading “FAT MAN MURPH”


So here we are, then. The 9th of November. By nano stats, that means I should have completed 15 000 of my unholy mess novel as of tonight. That means that, as of tonight, I’m only 7.56 days behind where I’m supposed to be!

But, like Jesus said when his Mum wanted to know who pinched all the tuna sandwiches, I have a hell of an excuse. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Wednesday 29 October: Agree with Luscious Lyn that the Batthaim has become too big, expensive, difficult to maintain and draining. Decide to sell the place.
Thursday: Appoint real estate agent we’ve been sniffing around for a while. Receive list of final renovations necessary to bring house up to saleable standard.
Saturday 1 November: Received square metre of soil. Spend half a day carting the bastarding thing out to the back yard to fill the giant empty garden bed that’s been sat there empty for two years. Plant colourful plants. Trim giant sprawling half-dead passionfruit plant. Patch cracks in upstairs room ceiling and kids bathroom. Do some actual writing, by virtue of mad panic and previously undiscovered wizard powers.
Sunday: More patching, sanding, and carting heavy bloody things all over the place. Pack family up and sod off for an hour while real estate agent brings people through.
Monday: Write the 2 thousandth and change words on the novel. Do shoulder stretches. Use bendy shoulder muscles to help pat myself on back.
Tuesday: Accompany Luscious to hospital. Be supportive husband while she undergoes horrendously invasive surgery.
Wednesday: Continue husband support role while trying to persuade increasingly grumpy wife that resting in bed does not involve any form of cleaning up or housework. More patching. More fucking sanding. More fucking painting.
Wednesday evening: Pack sore and sorry wife into car and spend what’s supposed to be an hour at cafe while real estate agent brings people around the house even though he’s been bloody told specifically not to do this today because Luscious is supposed to be resting and not gallivanting around the bloody neighbourhood.
Slightly later Wednesday evening: Real estate agent sells Batthaim. Becomes best friend for life.
Thursday: Packing. Lots and lots of packing.
Friday: Meet with mortgage broker just to make sure we can afford to actually move and won’t end up living in a shopping trolley and smelling like cat pee.
Yesterday: Fucking patch. Fucking sand. Fucking paint. Get in car and drive round and round and round suburb of choice looking at interminable series of ugly, run down and general piece of shit house I wouldn’t use for a crack house, never mind a place of residence.
Saturday, 3pm: Find the perfect house. Cry tears of relief. Wipe eyes, Put in an offer.
Rest of yesterday: drive from Baldivis to Southern Bloody River because the idiot not-local real estate agent didn’t actually have the forms to sign an offer. Sit around for the better part of two hours while idiot not-local real estate faffs about like an idiot, including actually having to read the forms to himself to make sure he’s got the right damn forms…… out of there by 6pm, nobody dies, it’s a close-run thing.
Late last night: idiot real estate agent rings. Lyn. I think he worked out who best to speak to. Our offer is accepted.
All today, starting at 6.20am and finishing at gone 5pm when I stopped caring about life: MORE FUCKING SANDING AND PAINTING. Empty, box, clean and deconstruct entire shed. Entire. Damn. Shed.

Yeah, so, all of which is an overly dramatic way of saying, hey, what a week: the Luscious one has had surgery, we’ve sold our house and have bought a new one, and for the rest of the year we’ll be packing and organising finances and– all being as per instructions– we’ll be moving house the day before Christmas.

Turns out, Real Life ™ trumps writing. Who knew?


Ah, well. It was worth a try.

Running order, day one.

After scant few months of a return to the school system, we’ve pulled Master 9 out and have re-commenced home-schooling. While he is currently not vomiting as often as he has in the past, it is still an issue, and his need to leave the classroom several times a day has become a real social issue– while it’s possible to ask 9 year old children to understand a peer’s health issues, it’s not possible to stop them staring every time he goes in and out, and a teacher can’t be asked to stop and wait for him to return before continuing with the lesson.

The overwhelming feeling that he has become the class weirdo, coupled with stress over the feeling that he’s falling behind simply because he has to try to catch up with what’s been said in his absence several times a day, has taken its toll. The number of sick days was starting to rise, the number of tearful mornings had just about become 1:1, the teacher conferences were happening weekly. With all the good will in the world– and his school had the very best of good will towards his situation– it just wasn’t working. No 9 year old should suffer stress and depression. Master 9 clearly was.

So we’ve withdrawn him, to give him a sense of power over his schooling, and a sense of equilibrium about himself and his social situation. It was a nice attempt, but ultimately, until he’s well enough to last a full school day, every school day, without being sick, the school system can’t make itself flexible enough to fit him and we can’t risk his progress any more than it’s already being compromised.

Back to work, at the dining room table alone.

I’m creased with fear for the little bugger: fear over his social progress; fear over his educational progress; fear over his mental and physical states; fear for his future. Hopefully, giving him the space and time to work at his own pace again, without the added stress of fitting into someone else’s agenda and with some semblance of control over the social interactions he engages in will help him cope with the demands his Rumination Syndrome places on all aspects of his existence.

There is no ‘simple’ in his life anymore. All we can do is simplify.


Over at Facebook, I was tagged in a meme that required me to list three things that made me grateful, every day for three days.

So I thought I’d list them here, too.

  1. I’m grateful for my art. It has provided me with friendships, income, travel opportunities, and was the vehicle by which I escaped the soul-destroying depths off despair I was slowly being crushed by while working in the Public Service. I’ll never be famous, I’ll never be remembered, and I’ll never be considered at even the middle of the tree, but my art has been the thing that has kept me from disappearing into the obscure midst of my mediocre family tree, and I’m grateful.
  2. I’m grateful for a reasonable income. Yes, we struggle, and we juggle finances on a fortnightly basis, but I’m aware that we do so from a level of decent comfort. My children go to a good school, my wife is able to study, essentially, full time, and we have room to both expand our horizons and entertain our hobbies & indulgences. We never suffer, and having both come from backgrounds of grinding poverty, Lyn and I have only ever wanted our children to appreciate a good upbringing.
  3. I’m grateful for the respect of my peers. I get little of it at work, and I rarely feel like an author doing good work, so when a fellow artist expresses their respect or admiration for the work I do then it usually comes as an enormous, and humbling, surprise, because, to be quite honest, I generally don’t know what I do to merit it. I’ve undervalued my work for so long– it’s only in the last fortnight, for example, that I’ve decided to set a minimum fee for appearances, despite doing them regularly for the last 12 years– that I’m always a little stunned when others do value it. And grateful, because sometimes, I doubt I’d go on without it.
  4. I’m grateful for my readers. Despite all the mechanical hoo-ha-ra that goes into writing, ultimately it comes down to entertaining a stranger with the power of your imagination and your words. Anybody who comes back for a second helping, or who picks up my work because they like the cut of my snippets, is someone who has chosen to invest their time and imagination into my maunderings. It’s a weird kind of long-distance love affair of the mind, and I’m thankful to all who take it on.
  5. I’m grateful for my children. As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve read this Facebook page for long enough– by which I mean half a day or more– my kids constantly entertain me, fill me with wonder, and enrich my life by keeping me innocent, impish and focused on doing good for others who need me in their life. Whether it be my naturally-arrived Miss 12 and Master 9, or my inherited bonus kids Cassie, Aiden and Blake, granddaughter Little Miss 2, grandson Little Man
  6. I’m grateful for the quickness of my mind. I’ve mentioned before that my father’s mind is failing, and it’s killing me to watch a charming, erudite, quick-witted man struggle for words and concepts he used to fling about like gossamer. I love being funny, I love being deliberately unfunny to spark a funny exchange, I love to tease, to argue, to explain, to build worlds and concepts out of nothing more than my vocabulary and my ability to knit words into never before-seen shapes and tastes. All my other gifts belong to the people who bestow them upon me. This is the only thing I have going for me that is purely mine. If it ever begins to desert me, I don’t know what I’ll do.
  7. The care and love shown to Master 9 during his illness by people who have no other investment in it than they are his teachers, or our friends. From just-because gifts, to messages of support, to structuring his classroom, people have gathered round him for the 14 months of his illness and provided him with an atmosphere of caring and support that has done wonders for his morale and self-esteem. To Kris, Kim,Grant, Lilysea, Mark and countless others, my gratitude.
  8. Free education. I went to a shitty High school in the 80s, when my pre-Child Support Agency divorced mother raised two teenage boys and covered a mortgage on a single mother’s pension and a $30 a month in child support payments, and thanks to a nominally free education system I still managed to claw my way through 4 years of University. Now, it’s going to cost tens of thousands of dollars to send my children to a good high school. Much as I would love to do my Master’s degree, I simply can’t afford it. My wife’s attendance at University each semester is a matter of financial negotiation. My eldest sons struggle to hold down shitty part-time jobs and find enough time to attend to their study obligations. If I were starting my educational career today, I’d be working at K-Mart full-time, because that’s the best that people like me could have hoped to afford. I’m grateful that free education enabled me– and subsequently, my children– to escape a lower-class existence through education.
  9. A stable political system. Yes, Tony Abbott and his Ant-Hill Mob of witless cronies are a blight on our culture, and yes, we can argue back and forth about the relative merits of our chosen allegiances until we’re blue in the nads. But nobody shot at me today, and I own my house, and my children are safe and my wife can wear whatever she wants and get herself a tertiary education, and any meal I’ve missed since I was at Uni has been by choice, and I have freedom of travel, speech, religion and thought. And I’m an artist, and a well-paid member of the permanent workforce. I’ve never been conscripted, I’ve never fought in a war, or against my own people. I’ve never been gaoled for my beliefs, tortured, or disappeared. My neighbours don’t spy on me. I’m safe, and warm, and comfortable and educated. And I’m grateful.

And, things being what they are, here’s a little bonus extra grateful content:

10. Above all else, I am grateful for the presence of Luscious Lyn in my life. We have been together almost twelve years now, which boggles me to think of, and in that time we have faced innumerable struggles, traumas and hardships, but throughout it all she has been the pivot around which our family revolves. She has brought me unparallelled joy, belief and support, and whatever happiness I have managed to gather unto myself has been, in large part, because she is beside me, pointing me always towards positivity and joy. I cope, and occasionally flourish, because of her. I am a better person because of her.

And for that we should *all* be grateful.


Ye Gods. Where does the time go? Busy busy busy. There’s been a 2 week holiday in there, somewhere: two weeks where I kept the hell of Facebook and the internet and writing while I bent my back over exercise and gardening and house maintenance tasks that needed doing—and lost 2 kilos into the bargain—and entertained myself with my Lego addiction. And damn it if I’m not happier for having done so.
So. What’s gone on in that time? Bits and bobs, my friends. Bits and bobs.

Swancon happened over Easter, and I wouldn’t have paid much attention this year except that, for reasons known only to her, the lovely Satima Flavell-Neist asked me to say a few words in her defence as she launched her debut novel, The Dagger of Dresnia.

Satima’s a fantastic inspiration to anybody who feels like they’ll never achieve their publishing goals:  The Dagger of Dresnia is the result of 11 years of hard work, faith, and perseverance, and it’s pleasing that she’s managed to partner with an aspiring press like Satalyte Publishing, who are looking to stake out a permanent place in the Australian publishing landscape. It’s a bold venture, and I’m hoping that both Satima and Satalyte receive the very best of fortune, not to mention sales.

If you can judge a person by the quality of their enemies then Satima must be rubbish indeed, especially if you can get the likes of Juliet Mariller and Glenda Larke to speak at your lunch. Or maybe that just speaks to the quality of your work, and of you as a person, non?

The Dagger of Dresnia is book one of a trilogy, and you can purchase it from the Satalyte website here. I managed to snaffle a few quick snaps of the launch in between talking-type duties:

A formidable ‘Dagger of Dresnia’ cake, baked by local author Carol Ryles

Satima reads an excerpt

Busy at the signing table
Guest speakers Juliet Mariller, Glenda Larke and Michelle Drouart wonder where to stick the knife, while Carol Ryles stands by and lets them kill her cake.


Rockingham children’s author Teena Raffa-Mulligan has started a new blog, In Their Own Write, dedicated to writing advice and experiences from the mouths of established authors.

In her wisdom, she’s asked me a few questions, and I’ve told the world to milk cows and have sex. And some other stuff. Go here and read my interview, and catch the rest of her line-up here while you’re at it.


Almost a year to the day ago, Master 9 came down with a mysterious illness that caused him to vomit more than 40 times a day. School quickly became impossible. A normal life became just as impossible. Luscious withdrew him, put her life on hold, and set out to home-school him while she and the medical profession set out to determine what was wrong.

A year later, with a diagnosis of Rumination Syndrome under his belt, a year of the hardest emotional work I have ever seen a parent put into a child paid off. His vomiting has diminished to the point where he can go entire days without vomiting, and generally, if he does, it’s once or twice a day at worst. He and Lyn have battled every step of the way: against the illness, against despair; and against a medical fraternity that couldn’t give a shit about doing anything more than convering their own insurance premiums. They’ve never given up, never taken negative advice at face value. Bit by bit they’ve dragged GPs, specialists and surgeons in their wake, and changed both our lifestyle and environment until this week, for the first time in 12 months, this:

His first day at school in a year. For now he goes back one day a week, under the care of a teacher who is so understanding of his condition she has organised special care and infrastructure to ensure he has a safe space to retreat to should he be unable to stay in class, and coping strategies for when he can. But even one day is a victory, and he’s already talking about how soon that one day can become two, and two become three, and on until he’s back at full time.

I am so proud of them both I can barely find the words.


A year ago, a chance remark from Luscious prompted me to embark on a scheme of grand stupidity. I would build all of my Lego sets once more, and when they were built, I would photograph them, because reasons, that’s why.

Naturally, that didn’t take into account the umpteen set I would buy over the course of what I dubbed The Great Set Rebuild of 2013, because things go better with 1950s Hollywood titles, so that, eventually, it became the Great Set rebuild of 2014 and, finally, the Is This Frigging Thing Not Over Yet of It’s Never Going to be Bloody Finished.

And yet, here we are. 99 sets, in all. It would have been 100, but for an incomplete set that arrived last week with filthy, unusable parts that I’ve had to source from third parties. However, sets were built, photos were taken, and here, for what it’s worth, you can wallow in the glory that is my Set Rebuilding Fu.

I’ll tell you this for free, though: I can’t wait to get back to building bloody MOCs…..

99 sets. Count them…. or better yet, don’t count them, I already had to…. 99.

And theme by theme:

Classic Space, Alien Conquest and Star Wars



Creator and Racers
Various themes, all celebrating the power of flight…
Possibly my favourite of all themes, Galaxy Squad

And proving why it’s my favourite, each of the sets separated into their playable ‘second mode’.
Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, Kingdoms and Fantasy Era

Monster Fighters

Ninjago, Chima and Pirates of the Caribbean

Pharoah’s Quest

And lastly, proving that themes may come and go, but my love of insane spaceships will never die, Space Police III
Sad news the other day, with the passing of the immensely talented Bob Hoskins, at the age of 71 after a short bout of pneumonia. Hoskins had retired from acting in 2012 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, but he was one of the most talented, varied actors I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, and the film landscape is immeasurably poorer for his passing. A short, tubby, genial-looking bloke, his capacity to play anything from doltish mook (Who Killed Roger Rabbit?) to vicious killer (The Long Good Friday) to sweet romantic lead (Mermaids) and all points in between (The Dunera Boys, Mona Lisa, hell, close your eyes and throw a dart at IMDB and you’ll find a brilliant performance in something) placed him at the very top rank of actors, in my opinion.
See ya, Eddie.


Day job. Writing career. Hobbies. Social media. Family. Wife. Exercise. House maintenance. 

The trick is to keep them all separate. 
Now, here’s the thing: the stresses of my day job, they’ve been bleeding over into my home life. That’s put pressure on my relationship with Luscious, which has bled back into my work life. I’ve been bringing that home with me, which has affected my relationship with my children. Because I’ve been so stressed, I’ve been eating badly, which has affected my ability to exercise, which has affected my weight loss. I’m lethargic, tired and constantly in pain because of it, which has affected my ability to perform the multitudinous house maintenance tasks that need doing. And I’m tired, so I’ve been spending my spare time flaked out in front of the TV or playing stupid Facebook games instead of pursuing the one actual hobby I have that I’ve spent hours and hundreds (I’m not saying thousands, I’m not…) of dollars on over the last couple of years. And spending hours and hours on Facebook and Twitter and blogging. Hours and hours and hours. And hours. 
You notice I’ve not mentioned writing yet?
I’m fat. I’m miserable. I’m in pain. I’m stressed. My time management is for shit. My writing career has stalled to the point where I barely feel able to call it a career anymore. I’m directionless. 
Either this can’t go on, or I can’t.
This can’t go on.
Luscious calculated last night that she’s spent in excess of 200 days on Facebook since she joined 7 years ago. If that’s the case, then I’ve spent more. That’s insane. Simply fucking insane. So here’s the thing:
As of today, the Facebook games are gone. The continuous Facebook posts are gone. TV is relegated to the status of reward for work completed. Blogging will happen once a week– other than my Thumbnail Thursday posts, which take my 5 minutes and aren’t really content, not really, and those things like Goodreads reviews which flick over here automatically. But blogging will happen to a calendar: if I have a lot to say, I’ll say it once a week. If I don’t, I’ll post a picture of a cat or something. Work for everyone else.
I have to exercise. I have to eat well. I have to re-read Booklife and decide whether I really am the low-level journeyman author I’ve drifted into being or whether the career goals I once held are still relevant; and if they are, I have to sit down and put the work into redirecting my career back towards those goals. I have to spend time with my kids. I have to maintain my house. I need to reconnect with my wife and make damn sure that nothing, not a fucking thing, intrudes while I’m doing it.
If you’re here because you’re a friend of mine then you know we’re friends already and we’ll catch up somewhere along the line, and there will be carousing and laughter and starting conversations mid-sentence like we’ve never really been away. And if you’re here because you’ve read and enjoyed my work– or, at least, can recognise a train wreck when you see one– then thank you, I appreciate and relish your company, but if it’s the work that brought you here I’m sure you’ll be happy at the thought that I want to put my head down and bring more of it into the world.
I can’t get rid of my day job. I don’t want to get rid of my wife and my kids. I absolutely want to get rid of the fat and stress and feeling that I’m wasting what few days I have left to me. I want to pursue this Lego hobby that has become an artistic joy to me. And I want to write. I really want to write.
I can’t fit it all in. Something has to go. Until I can find a better balance, it has to be the web.


My year is almost done. Apart from some sporadic popping up and commenting, I’ll be closing the doors on the world next week for a ten day break alone with my family, to recharge the batteries that fall so desperately low by this time of the year.

So before I go, my thanks to everyone who helped make our journey through a difficult year that little bit more possible, and especially to everyone who took notice of our son’s health struggles and were there to jolly him up with Facebook comments, good wishes and offers of friendship that were invaluable to him and so uplifting to us.

And my most especial mention to our friends Lilysea Oceanesque, Grant Watson and Sonia Marcon, and Kim & Kris McMinn, who went above and beyond the call of duty by treating him as not just the son of people they knew but as a friend in his own right, and whose gifts and words of encouragement kept him from the brink of some very dark times. Your kindnesses will not be forgotten.

To everyone, a glass raised for 2014.


Well, I warned you things would be a bit quiet around here for a short while, didn’t I?

So let’s catch up.

Firstly, health matters are slowly on the improve. Luscious can get out of bed now, as the bed rest and immobility appear to have finally gotten a grip on her condition. Miss 11’s asthma is being managed: her birth mother was a chronic asthmatic, and I’m all too familiar with the routines associated with breath testing, puffs, washing of chambers and associated routinery, and Lyn’s eldest came close to death when younger from the same condition, so we’re both hypersensitive to any changes in breathing pattern, lip colouration, or tingling in the extremities. In other words, we’re all over Miss 11 like blankets on a pig. And we continue the hospital trips and juices in support of Master 8, who had had pipes up his nose, down his throat, into his stomach and just about every orifice except his third eye and still maintains a diagnosis of Rumination Syndrome and the best we can do is manage it and hope it goes away.

As always, a change in habit becomes the habit becomes normality: we live our lives around puffers and vomit bags and we keep moving on.

Writing-wise, Marius and Gerd have officially completed their journey, and so I move on to other things: Magwitch and Bugrat is with a publisher, and I’m feeling the itch to write fresh words, which means I really have to shift my arse and complete the editing on Father Muerte and the Divine so I can get it out of my in-tray. I’m desperate to start a new novel by the beginning of November, so expect the odd excerpt from the Muerte work as I renew my acquaintance with phrases I thought I was dead clever for writing when I came up with them and decide to share them with you.

First off the rank for me, however, is a jaunt to the murderous confines of CrimeScene WA, the crime writing convention taking place this weekend, where I’ll be co-presenting a critiquing panel with Juliet Marillier and Alisa Krasnostein. Two days of lazing about the hotel, talking shop, expanding my skill set and teasing out the kernel of an idea I have for a crime novel is just the thing I need at the moment: an escape from the pressure of work, an immersion in the world I want to live in full time, and a weekend away with my beautiful wife, it comes at exactly the right time.

Check out the programme here, and head along if you’ve got a spare day or two: the lineup of speakers looks awesome and anything that teaches you a better way to murder someone can’t be all bad, right? I’ll pop up a con report after the deal, so you can see what you’ve missed, but you’d be far better just coming along.

And I’ll have another entry in my It Could be You anthology series tomorrow: one of the reasons I’ve not been blogging is that I’ve been rereading it, and have once more been lost within it….


Typical, isn’t it? As one rises, another falls……

Recently, I blogged about the problems our youngest son has been experiencing with something called Rumination Syndrome, a condition which causes him to vomit in excess of twenty or thirty times a day. It was a post touched with more than a little despair.

About a week ago, a good friend of Lyn’s visited for the first time a while, and offered a potential management solution: Lyn’s friend has been suffering from cancer, and has responded by ‘going raw’- eating nothing but raw food, avoiding anything that has been processed, and eliminating all possible toxins from her system. I’m happy to say that it seems to have been working, but one of the things she mentioned to Lyn was a method of raising the alkali levels of our boy’s stomach: a freshly prepared juice of green apples, celery, and mint, with a bit of beetroot every now and again for added flavour.

It was worth a shot. Fuck it, at this point just about anything is worth a shot.

In the last 4 days, his vomiting has decreased to little more than half a dozen times a day. On occasion, we’ve even managed to get him into bed without having to change his bedding. This, my friends, is a major breakthrough. He still has episodes– it’s possible he’ll never not have episodes– but for the moment we seem to have found a temporary abeyance, and it’s enabled us to visit the touring Egyptian exhibition at the museum, travel to the WA Scale Model Expo, and generally travel around town without having to pack a change of clothes and a three-pack of sickbags just to go food shopping.

He can do things like this now.

Which is just as well, because since last Thursday….

Luscious woke up with chest pains on Friday, which became a trip to the doctors, which became an ambulance ride to the hospital with a suspected heart attack after a dodgy ECT result. A terrifying eighteen hours later she was released back into the wild with a diagnosis of muscular spasms so sever that they had affected the ECT monitor, but nonetheless, we’ve been edgy and clingy ever since: she’s still in bed three days later, and any but the simplest of movements leaves her wincing in pain.

And our daughter has turned lung-hacking coughs into a diagnosis of bronchitis, so she’s lying on the bed next to her mother watching Pretty in Pink and other assorted girlie movies for the next two to three days at least.

I am, literally, the last Batt standing.


First my wife dies of an infection that was, quite literally, a one-in-a-million occurrence.

Then my mother, after a ten year battle with three different types of cancer, finally falls victim to GANT, a type of cancerous tumour so rare there had been less than 50 recorded cases in the US when she was diagnosed, and that delay in diagnosis was a significant factor in her inability to combat it. (Yesterday would have been her 72nd birthday. So it goes.)

More recently, my father is diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a somewhat obscure form of lobar degeneration resulting in a loss of linguistic ability and semantic dementia.

About four months ago, our youngest son started throwing up. Twenty, thirty, sometimes more than forty times a day. Every day. From the moment he woke up to the moment he fell asleep. He hasn’t been able to go to school. He can’t swim at the beach or the pool the way he loves to. We can’t plan a trip of more than half an hour’s duration without making sure we have a supply of sick bags handy. For four months we battered our heads against doctors, specialists, emergency rooms, constant referrals to hospitals that took one look at him and sent him home with a shrug and a command to keep him hydrated until a specialist could look at him….

Last Wednesday night, Luscious and I snapped. We packed two overnight bags and, as soon as he woke on Thursday morning, Luscious drove him to Princess Margaret Hospital, the children’s hospital in Perth, where she plonked herself down in the waiting room and refused to move while the staff watched his sick bag fill up. When it was so full it burst, what do you know? They admitted him.

This is what it takes to get action from the health system in my State. The butt-covering only stops when they can’t ignore the vomit dripping onto their carpet.

24 hours later, we had a diagnosis.

He’s suffering from Rumination Syndrome, a condition with no known cure but an 85% of positive response to treatment. In short, his body has tricked itself into regurgitating food for further digestion, and all we can do is attempt to train the associated swallowing and breathing muscles back to ‘normal’ behaviours in the hope that muscular reflex will limit the occurrence of the regurgitation. It could take months, possibly years, and there’s a good chance he’ll never be free of it completely. We’ve an idea about some of the potential triggers, and we’re combating them as much as we can, but that’s little consolation when we have to change his sheets twice a night because he’s thrown up on them, and his home-schooling takes place between vomiting attacks and medication for the constant burning in his throat and gut.

This is a kid who was almost not born at all– he almost miscarried on several occasions– and then was born so cross-eyed he needed corrective surgery to stop him going blind before he was five. He’s had more surgery at eight than I have at almost 43, spent more time in hospital than I ever have, whose calmness in the face of needles, MRIs, and invasive procedures is so pronounced that nurses comment on in it in genuine wonder, and the reason is simply that he’s so damn used to it that it’s as normal to him as picking up a book.

Just for once, couldn’t he get a good old-fashioned manflu?


12 years ago I had a car accident, and when the chiropractor x-rayed me I had shrunk by a centimetre and a half, and my body’s vertical axis had slid to the right and twisted, so that my natural line of balance involved leaning forward and to the left like some sort of physical representation of the Greens.

Yesterday, after a gap of four years or so, my new chiropractor x-rayed me– I have lumbar pain and dysplasia that would impress the dancing skeletons in a Disney movie– and discovered something that had been hidden by the car crash damage.
My left leg is almost two centimetres shorter than my right. and what’s more, it always has been. There’s some medical name for it that I missed because I was too busy goggling at the x-ray, but what it amounts to is this:
All the calf-tightness and cramping I experience when I was playing sport: this.
The lumbar pain and excessive bowing of my lower back: in part, this.
The degenerative arthritis that’s beginning to effect my lowest vertebrae: 40 years of this.
My excessive weight gain over the past ten years: naaaaah, that’s just me.
So here’s me– fat, middle-aged and wonky. And wondering why nobody ever played me on the right wing….

Me and a few mates. Owned by Disney. Aren’t we all?


It’s been a week, so can I please stop feeling so damn sick? It’s been nothing but dizziness, nausea, pain in the stomach, and general shittiness beyond compare. I even spent most of the afternoon at the hospital today, establishing that yes, my GP was indeed a bit hasty, and it wasn’t appendicitis after all…..

Really, I’m over it. You’ve had your fun. Let’s move on.


Stayed in last night, and is staying overnight again tonight, as he’s not responding to treatment as well as had been hoped. He’s actually quite bright and happy, but walking makes him dizzy and he’s still wheezing.


Well, now this is an interesting sensation: woke up this morning at 5.30, and went in to deal with an unsettled Connor, and discovered something fun and wacky–

I can’t straighten my back. It’s completely seized up at two points, down at the sacra iliac (Dunno if that’s spelt correctly. Don’t care right now) and up round the rhomboids, and I can’t unbend. And boy, does it tickle just a little bit…

I’ve managed to get the keyboard down off the computer table, so I’m currently typing this on the floor, supporting myself by kneeling and balancing on my forehead like I’m performing the most devout salaam in the world. It’s another 3 hours before I can have any more painkillers.

And I’m on a temp contract so every day I take off work costs me real cash in the hand.

Anyone fancy coming up to my place today and killing me?


2 months before Erin was born, I was involved in a car accident when the driver of another car decided stop signs were for other people, and blessed me with a lifetime of chirporactor bills.

A straight spine may be the shortest journey between hips and skull, but I’m made of more interesting stuff than that. Of particular fun is the spot just between my shoulder blades, where the spine takes a 20 degree turn to the left. The chiro keeps putting it back where it belongs, but every now and again…

I rolled over in bed the other morning. That was all. Just rolled over. Spine went pop. Audibly.

My chiro had better name his next boat after me, that’s all I’m saying. At least I can stand up straight again.


Thanks to Luscious, the depression has passed. And hopefully, the block as well. I owed Mynxii a single-panel cartoon for the next Swancon progress report, and drawing it the other day seems to have released something: I’ve come up with the plot for my Eidolon story, plotted out my Fading Twilight story, and best of all, worked out what happens to finish the novel and written 800 words of same.

Lyn’s out with the kids all afternoon, so I’ll get some more done today as well. Thank goodness that’s over, until the next time.


I’m part of the workforce again, as of Monday. Unavoidable, and it’s exactly the kind of part-time job I wanted, but I find myself in deep ambivalence about the whole thing. Thing is, anything that isn’t writing or being at home with my wife and children is an interruption, nothing more or less.

Ah well, can’t have everything. I don’t want to work, but lifestyle demands. Better get off my arse and sell this novel…


Spoke too soon: Lyn ended up back at the hospital yesterday. We were booked in for an ultrasound, but Lyn was in so much pain the radiographer rang up to the ward with the intention of getting Lyn induced. So we went up, and we waited, and we waited… after a couple of hours a doctor came by and said, yes, an induction might be a good idea but it’s not my decision to make. I’ll go and get the ward specialist. It’s her decision.

So we waited, and we waited. After another few hours the ward specialist mosied by (maybe she was on a tricky back 9 or something all afternoon) and said yes, an induction might be a good idea, but it’s not mydecision to make, especially as it was now evening time (we’d arrived at the hospital at 11.30am, but apparently irony isn’t allowed on ward after dinner). The team that’s been looking after you is on in the morning, so I’ll keep you in here overnight and they can decide.

So Lyn was consigned to a ward for the evening, along with another 3 patients who also hadn’t got any sleep in the last 8 months. She’s given enough medication so that she wakes up on more than one occasion hallucinating, and everybody’s happy. Except Lyn and I, of course, but at King Edward Memorial Hospital the patient doesn’t count if you’re a doctor and have something better to do. Like your nails or hair. Or finding someone to pass a buck to.

I arrive back at the hospital at 7.30 this morning. The doctor comes round at 7.45. His first words are “What are you back here for this time?”

This does not bode well. At least it wouldn’t bode well, if we were given any boding time. Without waiting for an answer to his question he proceeds to tell us that he’s not inducing anybody until 38 weeks, and Lyn’s problem is she just can’t handle pain. You can see the physiotherapist and the psychiatrist, he declares, and sweeps out. Probably had a tricky front 9 to confront or something.

I shan’t go into the problems getting a wheelchair so we could leave. Suffice it to say that Lyn cannot walk from our bedroom to our toilet, less than 10 feet away, without assistance. If you understand this at the first attempt, you’re overqualified to work at KEMH. We did not stay for the physio, much less the psychiatrist. We have a perfectly good chiropractor, who knows and understands us (and who we were able to get into see with but a phone call), and the last time Lyn saw the hospital Physio she needed a wheelchair. Which was a bitch to get our hands on this morning. See how it all fits together? Unlike Lyn’s pelvis, which nobody at the hospital seems to give a rat’s arse about. Her pain is physical, not a matter of coming to terms with it psychologically. It needs relief, not “coping strategies”. We’ve got more coping strategies than a citizen of Baghdad. They’re not working, which is why Lyn’s in pain. See how it all fits together?

I have a couple of friends who are doctors (such as the frabjous Chris Lawson, the best hard SF writer Australia has seen in years, if ever) and I know all doctors are not uncaring, self-absorbed hacks. But the ones at KEMH are.

Don’t go there. Find a manger, or a dumpster, or a burnt out car. Anywhere else would be better.


Had an appointment with a chiropractor today, in light of last week’s car accident. I went a few days ago and he took some x-rays, but today was the first bone-twirling session. Apparently there isn’t a supporting bone between my skull and toes that’s where it should be (no surprise to some, I suppose). I’m not so much a body as a partially completed game of Jenga.

I’ll need to go twice a week for the next few weeks, then weekly, then… well, it’ll depend on how good a Jenga player the chiropractor is, I suppose.

Was this what my Mum meant when she said she wanted me to be comfortable in my own skin?


Tell me which of my stories are your favourites, or if there are any you really hate. I’ve got a project coming up soon where such information might be very handy indeed. More on this subject in due course.


I had a car accident three years ago yesterday. A woman came through a stop sign without, well without, and t-boned the car I was driving, writing off the car and giving me injuries to my back and neck that I’m still having treated three years later.

Three hours short of three years, and it happened again. Not so bad this time (the car is still driveable), but if I were to believe in such things I’d be freaked out by fate around about now.

Here’s a hint to all you drivers out there: amber means SLOW DOWN AND PREPARE TO STOP!


Went to dinner at a Thai restaurant last night, a Swancon fundraiser with special guest Sean Williams. It was a delightful night, with articulate, enjoyable conversation, sensational food, and wonderful company.

We had to leave fairly early after dinner, and so couldn’t stay for the late-night conversations: my neck was giving me a lot of pain, and Luscious was just about out of energy and needed to sleep, but it was the kind of event we don’t attend often enough. A brilliant evening.


For no reason at all, Luscious turns to me this morning and out of the blue announces “It’s a good job I’m not pregnant to The Rock, otherwise this baby would be Third Son From the Rock.”

Who are you, and what have you done to my Lyn?


Took Aiden and Blake to see the Yu-Gi-Oh movie today. They’ve been wanting to go since they heard one was being made, and wanted me to take them. They even put together a card deck for me so that I can duel them, and presented it to me before we went. Then they bounced around like insane happy things all the way to the cinema, while we were buying the tickets, while we were buying the sweeties, while we were finding our seats, while we watched the movie, and all the way to lunch, where they bouned around like insane happy things and told their Mum & sister all about it. I have to learn how to play the damn game so that they can duel me tonight.

The Yu-Gi-Oh movie is really really really bad. The boys loved it. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


She’s 13. She’s the coolest creature in the world. The rest of the family are nerds (hey, if the propeller beanie fits…), and she lets us know it in no uncertain terms.

So how much did I laugh this afternoon when Cassie, instructing us in the correct way to pronounce “Bach”, told us to say it like we were speaking Klingon? 🙂

My work here is done…


A big woohoo to Ray and Donna, on the birth of their daughter Grace on Wednesday. I’m stonkingly happy to be an uncle again! We’re off to the hospital with the kids this evening to meet the new arrival and ooh and aah and get clucky and stuff. It’s probably a good thing Luscious is already pregnant…


We went to the hospital on Wednesday for a progress report on our own pregnancy, and to set the ground should Lyn need to be transferred during the home birth. All seems to be progressing wonderfully, and despite the doctor’s best attempts to persuade us to forego a birth in our own surrounding in favour of travelling 40 minutes to the kind of place we’ve both had terrible birth experiences in, we felt really positive coming out. We’ve now reached 21 weeks, so we’re now closer to the birth than the conception, and all is happines and light in our pregnancy for the first time since Brisbane at 6 weeks.


A couple of things going down at the Katharine Susannah Prichard writer’s centre on the 8th of August that involve the Luscious One and myself. Firstly, the Thursday morning writing group we attend will be launching it’s second anthology Word Thirst between 10am and noon, with readings from both Luscious and I plus others, as well as nibblies, music and champagne. I’ll say that again: CHAMPAGNE! Copies of the anthology will be on sale for 9 bucks, and if TLO and I can rustle up some of our own publications we’ll have them there as well for purchasing.

Same batday, same batplace, at 1pm, comes the announcement of the KSP SF Awards. My story The Dark Ages has been shortlisted, and the event will feature readings from the various winners. Last year saw the likes of Luscious, Carole Ryles and Matt Chrulew taking to the podium, so if you’re into West Oz SF get yourself down there and give it some support.


On the subject of KSP, Luscious and I were interviewed there during the week by a journo from the Midland Echo. Not sure when the interview’s coming out, but if you receive the paper, keep an eye out for it. We forgot to ask for copies, so let us know if you see it and we’ll arrange to grab one or two.


Received news today that my erotic horror story Love Me Electric has been accepted for publication in the anthology Consensual a Trois. It’s the second time in a row I’ve placed with this outlet: Moment was featured in their second anthology. It’ll be for sale at Swancon Thirty next March.

1173 WORDS

That’s how far into my submission for the upcoming Daikaiju anthology I managed to get last night. Quite pleased with myself, I am: Lyn and I had 90 minutes or so to write, and I wasn’t interested in working on any of my current projects, so I just sat down and started banging my flippers at the keyboard (Thanks Adrian, for that saying!) and out it came! Luscious finished her own submission during the week, and it’s bloody good, so the house is just full of giant monsters at the moment.


Kid free weekend this weekend. No plans. Lots of writing. Sleeping in. Aaaaahhhhh…..