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EYRELINES - Eyre Writers' Quarterly Magazine, Winter 2024 Issue

Updated: May 31

As the proud editor of Eyre Writers Quarterly magazine I'm pleased to share their latest issue here on my blog.


Welcome to this third and special issue of Eyre Writers quarterly magazine. In addition to showcasing our members' work, we take pride in announcing their writing achievements, including contest wins, book releases and author events.


Previously we've chosen to spotlight one member per issue. But this time around so many members are releasing new books we've had to turn our June edition into a Special New Release Issue. We interview Helen van Rooijen on the release of not one, but two new collections - one of short stories, the other of poetry. Karen White talks about writing and publishing her very first novel, Finding May's Country. And I chat about my latest thriller, Target In Sight, coming out in July.


It's great being part of such an active and productive group!

President and editor, Diane Hester



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Member Spotlight: MARY GUDZENOVS


In this issue we talk with one of Eyre Writers founding members - Port Lincoln born Mary Gudzenovs who can trace her family ancestry all the way back to Henry Hawson.



When did you first discover writing and what got you started?


I started reading and writing before I went to school and loved it right from the very beginning. I have stories that I made into little books from when I was about 7 but seriously started writing when I was 12 years old. Home from school sick one day I finished reading my newest Famous Five book and with nothing else to do, started writing my own.


When I hit high school I discovered a group of like-minded girls and started sharing my writing around. It makes me shudder to think of others reading that stuff now, but everyone seemed to like it, even the boys at the back of the class who had a hard time reading what they were supposed to, let alone making the effort to read my romantic drivel.


After I finished school I took a course in Journalism and did creative writing classes at TAFE - where I became a founding member of Eyre Writers.



What genres/forms do you most often write in and why do you like them?


Crime and Mystery are my favourite genres. Although my first self-published novel, Light of Solserus, was actually a Speculative Adventure, or Quest. Genre's confuse me sometimes.


My next novel Carenza McCloud: The McCloud Treasure, is a straight light-hearted mystery about a woman who is suspected of killing her boss. As much as she would like to at times, this isn't the case and so, she must nudge the police in the other direction while trying to figure out who is setting her up. l'm currently working on book 2 in a planned Carenza McCloud series.



How often do you write?


Not often enough! The majority of my writing is done at the private retreats. When I get home I then have a body of work that I can pull apart, re-write and polish ready for critiquing.



Where do you get your ideas/inspiration?


I'm a big fan of crime documentaries and horror movies. Combine those and I could come up with anything! Otherwise, the news, overheard conversations and songs have provided wonderful ideas in the past.



What is your writing process?


My writing process has taken a long time to settle. First I create a broad strokes outline of the story from beginning to end, researching the nitty gritty options as I go. Then I write the first draft, tidy up the plot, and then get into my second layer of writing. After that I do some more tinkering with the plot, get comments from my critiquing partners and do more layers of the story as needed, adding depth and detail each time.



What are you currently working on?


Aside from my mystery novel I am working on a follow up to my non-fiction local history, 175 Years: A Pictorial History of Port Lincoln. As usual it's taking me much longer than I anticipated to complete. I'll get there eventually.


My latest piece is a short story with the plot formed from combining two real life murders and their motives. Lots more research required. (For many years I yearned to be employed as a researcher!)


I'm also developing a catalogue of notebooks on Amazon. I really enjoy the design process and can spend hours searching for images that spark my imagination, and hope that they will do the same for others.



What are your writing goals?


To continually improve my writing and make some money from fiction writing.



What do you feel you get from Eyre Writers?


Eyre Writers has always been a great support to me over the many years I have been a member. My writing would not be as good as it is now - but I still think there is lots of room for improvement - if I hadn't had the opportunity to attend all of the wonderful workshops, retreats and meetings. The honest criticism and praise has made a difference to my outlook on writing.




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POETRY CORNER


Old Timer's Remedy

Dennis Lightfoot


When her husband Bill

Began to forget his name

She realised that Alzheimer's

Was to blame

To help him remember

She did a simple thing

She tied some string

Around his finger

Now when asked his name

He plays her little game

Bill just holds up his hand

Shows them the twine strand

For a moment he might linger

Then points to his finger

It's stringer…..um... Bill .. Bill Stringer




No Fear of Amber

by Diane Hester


I don't really fear l'll end up like her

though I see how many offspring might

I just never liked the stuff,

never sought the comfort she must've

found in those jeweled glasses.

I take solace in my child's tastes -

wine still hurts, scotch still burns,

 beer wrinkles my tongue with its bitterness

I won't push past these initial warnings

I can't, I mustn't,

for if I do, I know, like her,

I'll never return




Sisterhood

by V.K. Tritschler


Misery has many faces

Because she lies through them all

Her smile, plastered but disingenuous

Followed by crocodile tears

Suggest that she is ever changing

But really, she is a fixed beast

Hunched over snarling

Unable to see joyful beauty

I'm her surrounds

But her sister Happiness

Is equally contrary

Boundless energy and laughter

Punctuated with twists of joy

Does not view the reality

Of the world around her either

For she is blind to cruelty and sadness

In her thirst to remain unchanged

And so I sit with Contemplation

The least known of the family

Whose role it is to look outside herself

And simply watch the world unfold


And I have to remind myself

That Misery and Happiness

Sitting at my table

Do not reflect the entirety of me

For they will come and go

As all siblings do

But Contemplation

She will sit down with me and dine



Dilemma

by Diane Hester


These days I write with chocolate ink

It does create a problem

It seems you can't digest the words

Unless you chew and swallow them




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Interview with KAREN WHITE on the release of her debut novel, Finding May's Country.

by Mary Gudzenovs



Congratulations, Karen, on publishing your very first novel! What a great milestone and achievement, you must be thrilled! Please tell us a little about your story.


'Finding May's Country' is a mystery suspense saga set in the outback of South Australia. During a stay at remote Mirna Springs Station, journalist Sarah Wills accidentally stumbles on a well-protected secret that places her life in serious danger, triggering a traumatic kidnapping, dramatic escape and an epic journey of survival in the outback. Sarah walks an ancient path through one of the most rugged and remote areas of the Flinders Ranges in her quest to find Aboriginal elder May's desert country. The stakes are high - those who wish to harm her have everything to lose, and will stop at nothing to track her down.



What was the inspiration for your story? Where did you get your original idea from?


It's amazing how, when you look back over your own life you can retrieve memories gathered during the history of your existence that continue to stay with you, often shaping who you are and what you value. I believe that writing can be integral to the bigger process of understanding what part you, or others, have had to play in the events of your life. Although fictional, I guess you could describe the inspiration for my first novel as very much a part of me; what I have witnessed, learned, experienced or imagined during my own lifetime.



Where and when is your story set and why did you choose that particular place?


Much of my story is set in the Northern Flinders Ranges where I grew up. I tapped into my own knowledge and experience of the ranges, having spent most of my early childhood living on my late grandfather's sheep and cattle stations, in the far north of South Australia. Growing up in the Ranges, I developed a deep love of the outback. My intention when writing 'Finding May's Country', was to capture the essence of the harsh and unforgiving beauty of a remote and untamed land that is the Australian bush.



How long did it take you to write your story? Was it smooth sailing or were there any major setbacks. If the latter, how did you overcome them?


To date, my story has taken around two and a half years to complete to publication stage. The ideas for the story came to me very quickly. Once I had the concept in my mind I went with the original plan. The last two and a half years have definitely not been smooth sailing. As a new writer, I wrote tons of material which later had to be edited down quite dramatically to make my story stronger and more realistic. Whilst it might seem really good to have an idea to add to your developing story - my advice is to make sure that you are a) ensuring that your new material links in with the rest of the story and is not too disjointed and (b) be kind to yourself, slow down and ensure that you are taking notice of your grammar and how you are writing the story because if a lot of work is needed on editing later, (as mine did) you will realise how this can really hamper the process.



Do you have any advice for authors seeking to publish a novel?


There are many aspects to consider when considering the publishing process:

1. What is my time line? 2. My budget? 3. Determining your publishing vehicle, e.g. self publishing or choosing to approach a publisher? 4. Think about finding a professional copy/structural editor. Unlike the title, they do not touch the structure of your work but rather advise changes that they believe will further enhance your work. 5. Proof reading essential. 6. Just as you might write with courage, also have the courage to take your novel over the line and see it on the shelves as a completed book. Never feel afraid to fail. If you stumble, pick yourself up and start over again.


A qualified Social Worker, Karen's career has spanned several decades, during which time she has worked closely with communities, groups and individuals across Eyre Peninsula. Karen describes her passion for writing as the perfect fit in her life right now. In her first novel, Karen has enjoyed inventing complex and intriguing characters that will hopefully loom large as life for the reader in 'Finding May's Country'.






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"Self doubt only deprives the world of your fullest, most creative expression."

Holly Ransom, The Leading Edge


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Hope For Writers

by Diane Hester


Before you abandon your publishing dreams, consider the list of books below, just some of the many that were rejected multiple times before going on to become bestsellers.


Catcher In the Rye, J.D. Salinger

Watership Downs, Richard Adams - 20

Animal Farm, George Orwell

Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell - 38

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, John le Carre

The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling

The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

MASH, Richard Hooker

The Dubliners, James Joyce - 22

Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beacher Stowe

The Hunt For Red October, Tom Clancy

The Godfather, Mario Puzo

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - 12

The Exorcist, William Friedkin

The Client, John Grisham

A Separate Peace, John Knowles

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

Dune, Frank Herbert

Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth

Carrie, Stephen King - 30

The Diary of Anne Frank - 15

The Caine Mutiny, Herman Wouk



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Interview with

Helen van Rooijen

on the release of

her two new

collections


by Diane Hester





Congratulations, Helen, on the release of not one, but two new books - a collection of poetry and another of short stories. Well done!


Thank you. It's always a buzz when getting my books, and especially these books, written, sorted and anthologised, and the printing is finally done. Thanks to Mary, Aileen and my husband Martin, who excels with my cover art work. I had so many short stories and poetry, I decided to put them into books. My family nagged me and I didn't want them to just disappear.



Do you find there's a general theme or topic to the poems you write? What generally inspires you to write a poem?


Inspiration can come from anywhere. But it is usually triggered by something I see, something that has happened to me, a feeling or a want and a need to speak. Odd things have come my way in life, and they generally creep into poetry as that's the only place they or it fits. Questions of life and death. Time. The Inland and the Murray River, archaeology, birds, I love these and more. Sometimes writing is just recording something beautiful.



What about your short stories? Do you find yourself drawn to a particular genre?

Where do you get your ideas from?


Again, from anywhere, but if you look at the cover of Long Beach that started from a photograph I took of my grandson on a beach a long time ago. In my story 1 changed him to a girl. It suited the tale I wanted to tell and I may have been inspired by that image. It had to have a story to tell. A child on a beach, an old man fishing with his wife and it must have an ending, an outcome. Similar to my poetry, most of my poems are stories and they emerge from anywhere and I have to let an idea hatch to write any story or poem. My previous work as a social worker/nurse, ambulance volley etc, have crept in as themes too. I write about people. I used to read sci-fi and often what I want to write is best fitted into that genre. They are still about people, but in different places and times. Reading widely is essential.



Several of your poems and short stories have won or placed in competitions.

Were there any particularly exciting wins for you?


All the wins were very exciting and hopefully they reflect who I am and the hard work I put into writing them; then the 'groan' of editing them. It's never easy.

Like most of us, l've had many the 'did' nothing!



How long have you been writing? Do you write other forms besides poetry and short stories?


l've had a little animation film made and almost another one from another story. I'm 80 now and I think I've been writing ever since I could hold a pen and, thankfully, now just tap on the keys due to arthritis. I used to tell my father stories and he encouraged me, as did my teachers at school. These days I write mostly 'detective style' novels. Some maybe come from working in government jobs - including housing crises, DV work and the Port Lincoln Prison.



You've self-published some other books. How many does this make for you now?


Six in all, counting the two here at proof stage. Four detective genres published, another three quarters done, and another one planned and plotted, using my current main character again. The first three were a series and the 'new' ones will be the same. After that? Who knows. I'm a person of curiosity and have a need to know, and to write as long as I can.



What's next for you? Are you currently working on another writing project?


Time and my thoughts will tell, plus my interactions with people and places. Hmmm…..an aurora and mists over the sea... Interesting. Maybe a story there, or at least used somehwere in description.



Helen has been with Eyre Writers almost from the time it was founded, attending meetings during her lunch hours just to be with other writers. Over the years she has served as the club's president as well as its treasurer. She holds a degree in Social Work she aims to inspire others to write.







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OLEANDERS

by Christine Houweling


When my neighbour told me she was going to chop down an Oleander bush to put in a chook run I volunteered to do a little research. This proved interesting with much conflicting information.


Please Note: there are many, many beautiful poisonous plants in our gardens but usually they are unpalatable.


The beautiful shrub, Oleander was first introduced into Galveston, Texas in 1840. In 1900 after a tornado, Oleanders were used to replant the devastated city. Now the city of Galveston contains the most extensive collection of Nerium oleander to be found anywhere in the world. Oleander is the state flower of Texas.


The seeds are the deadly part of this hardy attractive large shrub. The film, 'The White Oleander' and the TV series 'Gilligan Island' have promoted the Oleander as a method of murder where, in actual fact their bitter taste deters man or animal from eating them. The only known deaths have been from premeditated use.


In their defence - Yes, the leaves and sap are irritants to the skin but so are Mulberries and Grevilleas to name but a few.


Japan: Months after the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima (1945), a small patch of red oleander flowers bloomed out of the irradiated rubble. Since then, red oleander has symbolised both the dangers of nuclear war and the hope of a more peaceful future.


In a similar spirit, the Oleander Initiative gathers educators from around the world to transform the lessons of Hiroshima into relevant and impactful peace education activities for their students.


The Oleander Initiative generates deep awareness of the catastrophic humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons and equips participants with intellectual tools for conflict resolution and mutual understanding.


REF: oleanderinitiative.org Ray Matsumiya


Oleander is a plant. Its use as a poison is well known. In fact, Oleander is reportedly a favourite suicide agent in Sri Lanka, where oleander poisonings exceed 150 per 100,000 each year. That's a high number. Approximately 10% of these ingestions are fatal.


Despite the danger, oleander seeds and leaves are used to make medicine. Oleander is used for heart conditions, asthma, epilepsy, cancer, painful menstrual periods, leprosy, malaria, ringworm, indigestion, and venereal disease; and to cause abortions. medicinenet.com 11/6/21


Ecology:

Some invertebrates are known to be unaffected by oleander toxins, and feed on the plants. Caterpillars of the polka-dot wasp moth (Syntomeida epilais) feed specifically on oleanders and survive by eating only the pulp surrounding the leaf-veins, avoiding the fibers. Larvae of the common crow butterfly (Euploea core) and oleander hawk-moth (Daphnis nerii) also feed on oleanders, and they retain or modify toxins, making them unpalatable to potential predators such as birds, but not to other invertebrates such as spiders and wasps. [citation needed]


Honev:

The Oleander flowers require insect visits to set seed and seem to be pollinated through a deception mechanism. The showy corolla acts as a potent advertisement to attract pollinators from a distance, but the flowers are nectarless and offer no reward to their visitors. They therefore receive very few visits, as typical of many rewardless flower species. Fears of honey contamination with toxic oleander nectar are therefore unsubstantiated.


Herrera, Javier (1991). "The reproductive biology of a riparian Mediterranean shrub, Nerium oleander L. (Apocynaceae)". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Societv. 106 (2): 147-72. doi:10.1111/1.1095-8339.1991.tb02289.x.



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Interview with DIANE HESTER on

the release of her latest thriller,  

Target In Sight

                               by Aileen Pluker




Congratulations, Diane, on the upcoming launch

of your new book. Can you tell us a little bit about the story?


Thanks, Aileen. Target In Sight is a witnesses-on-the-run thriller set in the heart of Tasmania. The back cover reads:


On a rainy winter night in Adelaide, Aliese Coleson

witnesses a horror she'd have given the world not to see.

Fleeing with her disabled son, she takes refuge in a remote

cabin in the wilds of southern Tasmania. When a light plane

crashes near her hideout, Aliese must decide whether

to save the injured pilot or let him die.

 Choosing to risk it, she brings the unconscious man to her cabin,

who, upon waking, has no memory of who he is or why he's there.

As he fights to regain both his strength and his past,

the stranger bonds with Aliese's emotionally fragile son,

something few have been able to do.

But when Kellen Reid's memory returns Aliese is

hit with a staggering truth - it's not just the killers

 who have been hunting her.

And he has led them right to her door.



How many novels does this make for you now? How long does it generally take you to write one?


Target In Sight is my fifteenth novel but only the seventh one to be published. (When I first started writing I couldn't settle on a single genre and experimented with half a dozen before deciding suspense was for me. Because I'm now aiming to establish myself as a suspense author, those other manuscripts are sitting in drawers in my study somewhere. Maybe one day... It generally takes me about a year to finish a novel and I do it in 4 distinct stages: plotting, first draft, revising, polishing. The first draft takes me about five months and the other stages 2 months each.



Novelists tend to fall into one of two categories - 'plotters' who outline before they write, and 'pantsers' who get an idea and wing it, flying by the seat of their pants. Which are you?


I'm a die-hard plotter. Pantsing sounds so wonderfully creative l've been sucked in to trying it several times but in the end I had to accept that it simply isn't my process. I prefer to be guided by the three act structure and outline my stories accordingly. To me, plotting a story first is like carding wool before you spin it. It gets out all the rubbish that doesn't need to be there and 'opens up' the material so it's easier to work with. Plotting takes a little more time initially, but once it's done it's so much easier to 'spin the yarn'.


Having said that however, I'll confess I have never followed one of my outlines exactly as I wrote it. In the process of writing a story my characters always tend to take over and do things I hadn't expected. And I'm fine with that. The purpose of the outline isn't to bind me to a fixed plot but simply give me a road map to follow when I sit down to write each day. Without it I can waste too much time!



Do you write every day and, if so, what's your routine?


Yes, I write most days. I get up early to avoid interruptions and work for three hours. Some writers aim to hit a daily wordcount but because I'm doing different tasks at different stages of a project I just aim to get my three hours in on whatever phase I happen to be in.



What advice would you give aspiring novelists?


The best advice I ever heard about writing is, Write the story you'd love to read. Surprisingly that took some research for me. I had to look closely at my favourite books and films, isolate recurring elements that drew me to those stories, and then put them together to create my own. The result was the first book I ever got published, Run To Me, so I think the process really made a difference.



What are you currently working on and what's next after that?


I'm currently working on a novel version of a screenplay I wrote last year called, The Ravine. Over the last six months I worked with two film producers to develop the story which they hope to pitch to streaming networks sometime this year. If the movie ever gets the green light, I hope to have the novel ready to release around the same time. Fingers crossed!



SAVE THE DATE: Target In Sight will be launched on Sunday, 14 July at 1pm in the Port Lincoln library. Refreshments are provided and all are welcome!



Diane's debut thriller, Run To Me, was shortlisted for

the U.S. Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in

Mystery Suspense.







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Eyre Writers is a group of like minded people who share a love of writing in all its forms. We strive to inspire and support one another in developing the skills of the craft and pursuing personal writing goals.


The works presented here reflect a diversity of writers at various stages of development from beginner to multi-published authors and include 'raw', unpolished pieces derived from exercises. Our aim is to give the broader community a taste not only of our members' work but of the sorts of things we do at our meetings in the hope others may choose to join us!


Eyre Writers meet on the first and third Wednesday of every month from 1-3pm at the Port Lincoln Library. We welcome new members aged 18 and over.


Annual subs are $30


Current office holders

President Diane Hester

Vice President Mary Gudzenovs

Dennis Lightfoot


For further information visit www.eyrewriters.com.au

or message us via our Facebook page



Cover Image:

Ken Martin sculpture on Port Lincoln foreshore

by Dennis Lightfoot


Published by:

EYRE WRITERS INC

PO Box 1771

Port Lincoln SA 5606


(C) Eyre Writers Inc, June 2024

Copyright of individual contributions is retained by the authors.

All other rights reserved by the publishers.

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