Monday, November 29, 2021

This post is mainly to warn Australian Authors! Included in my warning I hope to reach other authors who wish to use the services of Kirkus Reviews to attract a local, US or international readership.

You may have seen the Australian eBay advertisement on TV called eBay Tuesday where customers who do not use eBay are denigrated. The actor’s spiel is a mantra called, RIPPED OFF, ROZ.  Let me tell you if I were to do an advertisement on KIRKUS REVIEWS I would use the same spiel, yes – this author is a RIPPED OFF, ROZ!

Several, well in the main, disadvantages that I have faced by getting published in the United States, New York City, has been due to COVID,  the lockdown events, its restrictions, and the disadvantages of being unable to achieve an American promotion of my novel over there.

Unable to travel to New York, I sought the services of KIRKUS REVIEWS.  Firstly, I paid for a review. It was so, so. In the opening sentence, my young couple were “feckless”. The rest was slighly positive, except for the very negative comment by the reviewer saying it was :-

An often entertaining, if unevenly executed, tale of the extraordinary lengths that people can go in pursuit of their dreams.

That didn’t bode well for me, since the idea of a review is to sell the book, esp. in the US. I thanked Kirkus Reviews for their effort, but $400 later, I now realise I was a RIPPED OFF, ROZ!

My other effort was to place a book advert on their website. $1,600 later, I was again a RIPPED OFF, ROZ!  Not only didn’t the ad appear the first time, the 2nd time on contacting them asking for a refund, OR what transpired was a second screening in November. Again, the advertisement which was meant to be on several pages as follows, Homepage 970×250: (third integrated) – Review pages 970×250:  (third integrated) – News and Features 970×250: (third integrated)  -Book List 970×250: (third integrated) – only appeared a couple of times on “DISCOVER BOOKS” – a quick flash and it was gone! I spent hours scrolling through only to find it twice - once near their magazine and the other above a novel by Isabel Allende.

I have since written to Kirkus, complained that the ad should have been a fixed/static showing for 2 weeks, and asked the ad girl to let the company know about my book ad expectations and criticisms. Of course, a RIPPED OFF, ROZ, should not complain to an American Company – how dare she!

So folks, save your money. Don’t use KIRKUS REVIEWS as your book advertisement will only be A FLASH IN THE PAN,  that neither ‘you” or ‘book buyers’ will see.



Saturday, November 6, 2021

I am pleased to announce that in October 2022 I will be spending time as a KSP Fellowship recipient for rwo weeks working on my next novel *The Tattooed City* /Tattoo City (a working title).

I was not expecting to receive my acceptance email as the Katharine Sussanah Pritchard Writers Centre is highly competitive and prestigious. The centre has announced all the successful writers. They are: Demelza Carlton, Anne de Monchaux, Terena Boniwell, Leni Shilton, Shannon Meyerkort, Mark Keenan, Leigh-Michel Hobbs, Brooke Dunnell, Trish Versteegen, Karen Herbert, Jacie Anderson, Emma Hall, Miranda Luby, Emma Pignatiello, Anna Fursland, Narelle Hill, Ashleigh Hardcastle,  Danijela Kambaskovic-Schwartz, Adele Tan, Kylie Boltin and Helen Hagemann.

March 2020  - May 2022

Prior to Covid-19 I was accepted into the Eramboo Artist Environment and was to spend three weeks
working on my novel *The Ozone Cafe*.  My position is still valid & awaiting my presence.Hopefully I will be able to attend the centre sometime in 2022.  So Mark McGowan (Premier) I am hoping that you open the West Australian borders in time for me to arrange my trip to Terrey Hills, NSW - without quarantining, without wearing a mask and that my two Covid shots will allow me to travel, freely!

Saturday, July 10, 2021


While I'm on the other side of the country (I wish I could march), I am very supportive of women who have come forward with reports of sexual assault, violence, rape, and harassment in the workplace. It appears that we all need to band together FOR MUTUAL SUPPORT. I am a writer and will continue to speak my piece here on this blog. It may go unnoticed, but at least I am a small voice in the dark saying, too!  "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"

Two main things have caught my attention recently and that is the Honourable Kate Sullivan - inspired by Brittany Higgins, one of Australian parliament's longest-serving women has come forward with sexual assault allegations for her time spent in the Old Parliament House. She was a Liberal parliamentarian for 27 or so years, serving through the Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke, Keating and Howard.governments.

Totally inspired most recently that Kate has been included in the ABC's July 2021 documentary with Annabel Crabb.titled "MS REPRESENTED". I did look for review sites to add my comments, but alas none were forthcoming, not unless I joined a myriad of websites like MMB Ltd, but who has the time to join etc. etc.? 

did us women proud on MS REPRESENTED. There she was in Parliament naming the politicians who harass, invade privacy and who are drunk in Parliament, pointing the finger at their irreprehensible behaviour including Cory Bernardi.  I am so proud to call myself a Greens voter and very proud of that young woman who stood her ground and told it like it should be told. Firm, tough, strong, eloquent, calling them LESS THAN MEN. I stood up in my lounge room and clapped continually, then rewound (on iview catch-up) and watched her performance several times. So proud and heartwarming to see her actions in this  #METOO - TOXIC ENVIRONMENT a Greens Senator who can give those dudes some necessary scthick.


Read The Big Hush my previous post on Brittany Higgins & Dorothy Hewett (1923 – 2002) 

Acknowledgements: to the ABC (good program),BBC and the Guardian, thanks guys!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Dorothy Hewett Award - Name remains by UWA

 In our current #METOO generation, for the life of me, I cannot understand why the University of UWA hasn't changed the title of their manuscript award. I wrote a letter back in 2018 insisting that they change the name of the award, only to be fobbed off. It smells like corruption! It seems to me, and it's only speculation, but in "speaking out" about their mother's pedophile pimping when they were children, Hewett's daughters must have been threatened by some hierarchy in the literature world, esp. a well-know publisher.  And how many women in high prestige jobs has this happened to? Just thousands folks!

BRITTANY HIGGINS  - Another #MeToo - A quote from the ABC. Ms Higgins had originally decided not to pursue a complaint with police as she felt that the pressure of going public about the rape "would affect her job". 

Brittany Higgins has alleged being raped by a federal staffer in Parliament House, and the matter is now due for the courts. And "justice matters". Since speaking publicly about the allegations, she has referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police.Says ABC news. "The ACT's Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold confirmed he received a partial brief of evidence and a request to provide advice on any prosecution."  

Here is a link to my previous post titled Dorothy Hewett Exposed as a Miscreeant

YES - As Glen Kirchner (a US Federal Prosecutor for 30 years) would say - "Justice Matters."

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

 Synopsis – The Ozone Café  

The Ozone Café is about three separate owners of the café and its demise through political corruption.
‘I never thought of this place as a ship,’ said Winifred.
‘Rennie and I, we had a few drinks the other night when we organised the wall. He told me a few things I didn’t know. When the café was first built, I just said to Rennie I wanted the outside walls curved like a woman. I wanted two stories with a deck on top, and have it rendered smooth as a woman all over. Rennie said he had trouble at first wondering how he would do it, but he eventually found a style, it’s called a P & O Orient. Like the large ships of the thirties. That’s why the building has the top deck and rails. It’s based on the bow of an ocean liner. All this time, I never knew, and he didn’t tell me, he just said, ‘you got the curves you wanted.’

Middle aged Vincenzo Polamo has migrated to Australia to start a new life. He has left his family back in Calabria, but hopes they will join him when they are ready. He eventually settles in fictional Satara Bay and with the help of his builder brother, builds the Ozone Café in 1957 in an ideal beach location in this popular holiday town. When Vincenzo comes to terms with knowing that his wife Maria will never set foot in Australia, the long hours of making a success of the café with an Australian cuisine, and without familial help, he sells the café, as well as being with Mandy a new woman in his life.
Unbeknown to Vincenzo, the previous property that was owned by Stan Sawbridge (Stan, the Man) still holds a Demolition Order that his Real Estate Agent Ronny Williams fails to remove during the sale. In the meantime, Vincenzo meets three children, Winifred, Casey and Nicolas Battersby (wheelchair bound) and creates a seascape mural on an outside wall, a dedication to them.
Joe Pendlebury is the second owner. However, he suffers setbacks with too few customers, poor health and a violent storm that causes wall damage close to the mural. Winifred, who has worked in the café, believes that Pendlebury is dismantling the mural and tells Vincenzo. In suspicious circumstances, Pendlebury uncharacteristically disappears and therfore his wife Shirley sells the café to Con and Dion Lasaridis (Greek boys).
Con and Dion Lasaridis (Greek boys)
In this act, Nicolas Battersby dies from muscular dystrophy and this heightens Winifred’s concerns to keep the mural sacred in his memory. While the Ozone is a success, the cracked Ozone wall is a serious problem for the Greek boys who cannot convince the Heytesbury Shire that the side courtyard wall has been professionally rebuilt. They lose the café in a court case when the Shire enforces the unrevoked Demolition Order of 1946. The Greek boys believe it’s due to the undercurrent of political corruption, but cannot afford to fight them in the High Court.
When the Shire takes its time to demolish the Ozone, Vincenzo, with the help of his brother’s industrial machinery, removes the mural from the café. In broad daylight they act as a bogus demolition team reinstating the brick seascape in Vincenzo’s front yard. Still intact, a fountain wall is built, becoming a lasting memorial to Nicolas Battersby, as well as the sole surviving piece of The Ozone Café.

The Ozone Café is an exploration of power and control and of those who survive the most powerless of unfair situations. It is a David and Goliath story; the café just as fragile as the people who inhabit it, does not survive while Shire authorities prepare to tear it down. One small glimmer of hope remains - with the reinstatement of the mural as the last surviving piece of the cafe.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

One of the events that I am connecting with since having a novel published is Book Clubs. I have recently supplied 8 books to a Cottesloe Book Club and I will be their guest on 24th August. Hopefully, the group will like the novel. I know that a lot of readers do not like the Speculative genre and many book buyers have said to me ‘it’s not something they usually read’, but once they got into the story they liked it. That’s all an author needs. A reader who likes the book. Some interesting comments have been, ‘part love story, part mystery & part thriller.’ ‘quirky, loved the Gothic included, ‘storyline most unusual but grabbed me in.’ ‘I found it very interesting in a subject I was not knowledgeable in’ and mostly (which I love) ‘I couldn’t put it down!’ I am offering a good supply of books to any Perth Book Club at a discount of 20%. My offer of books includes personal delivery, background notes, plus author visit to the meetup group. I can be contacted @ or SMS to +61404666156 – Please mention “books” in the text. The Last Asbestos Town is published by Adelaide Books, LLC New York, USA – You can buy on Kindle @ or directly from the publisher!


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Setting of the Novel. This largely takes place inside a Girl Guide Hall. 

I drew on several visits to the South West, in particular Collie. The Girl Guide Hall is real, having stayed there, is owned by a friend, and that has since been renovated. Also In 2009, I read a novel by Honey Brown titled Red Queen about a futuristic killer virus, so this author inspired me to speculate a future on asbestos and to write the premise of “what if?”


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Setting: The photograph to the left is named Coal River in my novel. I used an actual setting of a South West country town and this is a way of writing about what you know. I also had a dream that was so crisp and clear that I thought it would make a good novel. (I wrote the dream into the novel). It was around the time when Prime Minister Tony Abbott had brought in Australia’s Border Force to keep out Asylum Seekers. Mulling over ideas for the novel, I wondered what if fascism (or totalitarianism) took over in our country. How horrible life would be. So I mixed the dream with the idea of an Asbestos Task Force enforcing the removal of all known asbestos.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

I'm offering a "FREE" Smashwords ebook to any reader or reviewer! Please note: This novel is not about the medical dangers of asbestos. It does however (on the subliminal level state that this menace should be totally eradicated from our lives. The Last Asbestos Town is a speculative novel on what might happen in a totalitarian society where there is no choice and power to effect programs are total. It is only when the powerless stand up for their rights that shows that my characters who believe differently to the status quo do stand up for their rights.

I'm offering a free EBook as a giveaway to anyone doing it tough during Covid-19. You can contact me @ and I will provide a link to Smashwords with a code that will allow you to purchase a Kindle copy, an ePub or an eReader copy at $ 0.00 There are so many people in Melbourne doing it tough and my offer for you during "Lockdown" is I will supply up to 4-5 book links to those individuals. My publishers, Adelaide Books LLC New York, offered the free ebook for family & friends, however I haven't had to use it yet, so I can still supply this link to worthy people. The main thing is you have to open a Smashwords account, so people savvy with opening online accounts it should be easy. Any author wants their book read and I am like thousands who would love to know from readers what they think - good or bad!

Just a note:  My novel will delight, entertain, intrigue and have you smiling!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

My debut novel is soon to hit the bookstores (online) end of April/early May as the publication is by Adelaide Books LLC an American publisher situated in 5th Avenue, New York USA. A long way to go to promote the book, or even to meet the Editor-in-Chief, Stevan Nikolic. Nevertheless, I have been amazed how professional Adelaide Books are and that they have gone ahead with the book in these dire times. I'm due to receive 45 books but this will take a long time, since they have informed me that their usual international postage/delivery has been disrupted. So too, a planned book launch! But I have waited over a year for this book and another 6-12 months won't matter. BECAUSE the story is too great to suppress.
An Australian National law has been passed and a group known as the Asbestos Task Force (A.T.F.) is formed by the government to systematically remove all known asbestos from towns, cities and suburbs.  The city of Perth, Western Australia and surrounds have undergone this removal, and gradually the task force spreads further afield into the South West. Their target has reached Farmbridge, an old pioneer town with numerous asbestos houses and buildings. Newly married, May and Isaac who plan to renovate their home, an old Girl Guide Hall, experience the imminent threat of losing their home after receiving their fateful letter.  Believing their home is not made from asbestos, the couple set out on a relentless quest to save the hall from demolition. 
The following is the latest email and I have viewed the PROOF copy. The font on the opening chapters of the split narrative of Isaac & May is terrific! I love the cover and it's a pic of the Girl Guide Hall, the main catalyst of the novel.

Hi Helen,
Here you will find attached the PDF of the formatted interior of your book and the jpeg of the front cover, for you to proofread and approve for release.

If any corrections needed, please enter them directly into PDF by using "sticky notes with comment boxes" or, if your computer doesn't have that option, you can list corrections in the separate word document in the following manner:
Page No...........line no........ written..........change to........

After we receive your corrections back, we will update the master file and go into printing.
Stay safe and healthy.
Adelaide Books / Adelaide Literary Magazine
244 Fifth Avenue, Suite D27
New York, NY, 10001
office: (917) 477 8984  (Mon. - Fri. 9 AM - 5 PM)
cell: (646) 574 9902

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Bus Shelter
A wide structure that lets you in and is never trimmed, a space for prams parents and packages. In between it is so clean a place of space and a large awning that is a roof and this shows judgement and outlines are only changes in outer shade where a whole shade within remains cool yet darkness is the least thing for lightness lets the light in and this is surely conducive to the waiting as a shelter is for the waiting watching circling standing a bolster measure for the leaning on brown boards and within a gracious proximity are benches for the elderly for the sitting, the clock tick tick ticking as time strings along like a feather fall and there’s a pointing to several minutes on the list of arrivals within the hour or possibly the half-hour the route traced under finger and there is no reason to say that the timetable could be better or the bus might be on holiday for a courteous occasion is sometimes to slow the senses to a back pedalling of the bike pedal which shows patience as the real reason for a bus shelter is that it is a  perfectly unprecedented arrangement, a holding bay between time and space a place for old ladies children babies and there’s even more expectation when a compressed sound of a engine slows and a line gathers in the momentum.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Ticket Box

A box that is an open window but only open if not closed. Certainly there is service a greeting friendliness chit-chat from within and much the same on the other side when a ticket is purchased. A small wooden house not quite a home as its purpose is not to house but to act and every act should be personable as out of the box comes a piece of paper. A tin soldier is not a box but very well could be a ticket box a sentry with open arms mechanical shutters, a door, there has to be a door for the one person inside possibly two if enough room to work in a room for the people inside work. Tea milk coffee biscuits to wile away the time should sales be slow and this is more likely on a Monday for a Monday is a day past Sunday and possibly the tourist train is getting a wash. Sunday could be crowds queues questions and sighs within and only when sunset arrives does the Sunday sign turn to CLOSED.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Children’s House by Alice Nelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading The Children's House . A little slow at first, but as one reviewer has stated the text is often meandering and meditative. Once the story got going about the nurturing aspect of "the children's house" on an Israeli kibbutz, themes of love, comfort and Marina's childlessness and her motivation emerged. The association of Marina with the little refugee boy Gabriel, esp. her love for him was heartfelt and appeared to evoke a personal aspect / history. I was drawn into interesting characters such as Constance and wanted to know more about a possible trauma [although imagined], the elderly nun Vera, her part in the chapters with Constance and Gabriel esp. her perspective on what mattered at the convent. I found Jacob to be that typical CIS white male who acts accordingly, exhibiting a dominant post-colonial fear and also unable to place himself in the shoes of his barren wife. While this book was more character driven, the shifting timeline was interesting and certain historical events not well-known personally such as the scarring of Holocaust survivors, the genocide in Rwanda, its aftermath and the effect on families. As Peter Carey once stated, 'No one writes a novel to dramatically illustrate what everybody knows!'
Alice Nelson's prose is florid and poetic, her descriptions in the early part of the novel are worth repeating here.
Page 17: 'The world was offering her the figure of a mother at a time when she thought she had stopped looking behind her for what had been lost.'
Page 25: 'How can they survive this white time with no leaf on any tree, and the cold so strong that even one small square of bare skin can send it deep into you?'

View all my reviews

Monday, June 17, 2019


Lovely yellow golden slippery juicy dribbling from the tongue and the joy of sectioning each section small tasty single bites exaggerating the buds and the slip slip through the teeth a party in the mouth a season of smell touch peel cook with garlic spring-onions mushrooms coconut stock and tender chicken if free range with choices to be made of skinless or on the bone and supposing there is a bone a good meal comes in the order of sound a corkage of wine the clatter of dishes single or large and possibly there is a crockpot of steamed rice with side colours of red and green and an aromatic suspense should arrive along with bated silence as the cooked spices yellow curry and the tender chicken and golden mangoes slip onto the plate.

Saturday, May 25, 2019


The region is tropical sweltering sun sea dazzle humidity warmth and there is every reason to stay and simpler to be in a room but everywhere life is courage to be there for the light and shadow and shade and coconuts cashews and cocktails by the pool waiter in earnest topping up kindness drink to eyes to the bright of overtaking and that is a turning of sobriety to sway and swagger not fall definitely not as the symmetry of liquid amber is lost drunk but certainly not too drunk to toast another taste difference scull another bottle a golden brew icy lick lips lick lips it is not a birthday to send everything away and there is no use at all denying thirst for respect for thirstiness in any country is mutual. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The late sky is a gate which opens is open at the hour of closing. Summer says it is so. In the middle of a tiny spot a white light is in bright and comes before the blackening. A. an orange balloon and B. not dangerous and never bursting only an explosion of beautiful, beautiful. Go amber, go gold, a football, a goal landed in the sky. Suppose a good seat is mango juice, a front seat with toes dipped, beach in rubbed purr, ooh ooh ooh leather soles gone and a whole time of ladies simple pleasure smiles toes heels calves sales ladies little sales big ladies little feet satin smooth not saddles of mutton. The day again in a bolster, a blessing, warm not hot and another show of sunset shutting in twenty-four hours.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

A square table of a period, French provincial and a joyful array of the region with croissants and slender butter and placed with a little difference is a small white bull. Not a real bull. It shows perhaps a borrowing. Spanish, but not, certainly not, as it holds milk for the tea. The tea is weak but nevertheless the decoration is blue, a kind colour around the room in a choice of chairs, not too small for the back and the leaning yesterday and it is likely that today is a holiday with eggs and coffee. Delicious eating without explaining an accent as food is a language, yes, and no need to explain a carafe of juice with an arrangement of seasonal fruit and a side serving of baker’s crusty snaps. Waiting is lengthening for the bacon and mushrooms if that order is really necessary but if in the eating there is a needed respite, a platter of cheese is there for the tasting, and a declared respect for the cook when the door swings open and a tray of pumpkin soup is strong and mushy with early morning warmth which is a kind of astonishment for tears and fullness and a certain bursting when there is further talk of salmon with a dash of pepper, kind cuts of ham, sausages thick and thin, a breakfast different and pleasanter and certainly there is no surprise waving the chicken away.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The view is wholesome, somewhere a mountain looking back and the town not far off under weary feet. A balcony is a place of shade an open entrance that shows one way in one way out. A balcony for lovers in a play showing we are all much smaller up there if there is ivy and joy and a caller below. A railing is essential strong and not tardy, it should be solid with a table the colour of dishes an open page with spectacles and even when the room is open a book and spectacles will show that the balcony is not empty. The book rests in its own place and there is victory in the borrowing if the author is not cranky. Changing the table might alter the view to a better side if hot and that could make things better and bigger and if it does not make things bigger, then the outlook is not hindered from not being. Should the view grow smaller near the mountain there could be currency in binoculars a movie in the making or a yodeller imitating the lips of sweet sweet sweet Susie Asado. This is so very charming and harmonious for those sharing if there is pleasure under an awning wine and song. Essential too that the slider remains open to the main room inside and if a corridor leads the way every other room will be headway to the balcony and this shows nearly enough choice at midnight or dawn.

A suitable room for sleeping, well housed, a kind of delightfulness without any complaining if the measurement is right. A window is a wide veil and that means a spectacle of shadows and very likely a verdant view below. An arrangement might be two bedrooms of different colours particularly a purple room with a wise chair for thinking. It is so necessary to sit without custody or betrayal when the mind has no vacancies. In a green room there is nothing wasted on waking only suitable bedding is never white and that means changing with special attention if there is no spring or stream to clean, for cleaning is a tradition of gallons given away. Too much devotion to water means reduction and is not lessening in an age of lessening. The main action is washing wearing renewing and certainly a bedroom is not for eating. It is a soft place for reverie if the mood is right, a right place for dreaming and a good place to order titbits of secrets in repose.

The Last Asbestos Town

The Last Asbestos Town
Debut Novel by Adelaide Books LLC, NewYork USA


Published by Australian Poetry Centre, Melbourne

of Arc & Shadow

of Arc & Shadow
Published by Sunline Press, WA

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Helen Hagemann MBA (Wrtg): ECowan

Helen Hagemann MBA (Wrtg): ECowan
Author & Poet


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