Must love wolves


Anyone who has read Seldom Come By might get the sense that wolves have a special place in my heart.

Some of my readers have asked how that came to be, given I grew up in rural Queensland, where the closest thing to a wolf was a TV cartoon series called: Cattanooga Cats. Do you know it? It featured a skit called: “It’s the Wolf” better known as “It’s the wool-uff!” For some reason, we – my parents included – had a fascination with this program. I loved the rock star cats; my elder bother, Greg, loved Motormouse and Autocat; and my sister, with her blonde curly hair, was nicknamed, Lambsy, after the frightened yet artful lamb forever chased by the wool-uff. The moniker stayed with her for 10 years.

There were no wolves on the sloping hills of Cedar Pocket that’s for sure. But there were rare sightings of red foxes. And whenever there were, my father would speak about them in gleeful tones: “Hello Mr Foxy Loxy.” As if they were long lost friends. His sister had married a man named Len Fox, so perhaps each time he saw them they reminded him of them. Who knows?

Even though European red foxes were an introduced species to this country they were relatively harmless to stock unless starvation or bravado forced them to raid your chicken coop. But mostly the sighting of a fox was a privilege – like the sighting of an iceberg for one Rebecca Crowe.

Many years later when I lived in Sydney I spent countless weekends in the Blue Mountains, rock-climbing, canyoning, bushwalking or horseriding in the Megalong Valley. One late September afternoon when I was horseriding by myself I came across a vixen and her cubs in a paddock that was dry and over grown with pale tussock grass. She stared at me, sizing me up, knowing instantly I was no threat to her or her young. Still, she decided to veer wide, but rather than duck under the barb-wired fence to make a quick escape, she nimbly climbed up the wooden fence post, perched ever so briefly atop to glance my way before bounding off. I loved that about her: her telling me she was leaving, not sneaking away and that her leaving was on her terms.

A few months after this encounter, I travelled to Sweden, where my partner’s brother and his wife lived about 90 minutes from Gothenburg. It was late January and each morning and afternoon we would crunch through tamped snow as we traipsed through hushed forests of spruce and birch. There, large elk roamed, carefree. So peaceful, so right, so at one with humanity.

In some things, LIKES absolutely attract LIKES. And I have been very fortunate in my life to share the communion of nature with other like-minded souls; to witness, in awe and celebration, the marvels of the animal kingdom.

Leaving Hils and Katsi was bittersweet. Ahead of us was the multi-isled city of Stockholm, with its Vasa Musuem, its Gamla Stan and its Skansen Zoo. It was there I came face to face with my first-ever wolf.

On a cool still morning I stood in front of a woven wire fence and stared at a grey Nordic wolf for so long that the fence disappeared. This wolf’s eyes were like none I had ever seen – not in a human or an animal.

Full of aquamarines and emeralds. Full of life, intrigrue and trust.

I can’t tell you how long I stood there staring at this wolf staring at me.  I did not want to move. Neither did she.

That wolf made its way into Seldom Come By.

And so I wanted to share with you this amazing four-minute movie of the wolves of Yellowstone National Park.  So you can see why I love wolves.

Sharing the Love this Valentine’s Day

Feb 12 Fbook Mast

Over on my Facebook page  I am running a 5 day promotion to celebrate Valentines day.

I am giving away 2 paperback copies of Seldom Come By  to 1 lucky person and 2 ebooks to another – so you can SHARE the book, and the LOVE. To enter you simply have to:, with a friend OR give both copies away to 2 friends you love.

1) LIKE my page (if you have not already done so)

2) COMMENT on my giveaway post, tagging the NAME of  the friend/s you would give a copy of Seldom Come By to if you won.

Tell your friends about it so they can enter as well 🙂 Competition is open worldwide!

All those who comment up to 6 pm Monday 17 Feb AEST will go into the draw. The winner will be announced on my Facebook page on Tuesday 18 Feb, so please pop back then. If not claimed within 48 hours the prizes will be redrawn.

You can also earn BONUS  entries, by commenting on any previous Facebook post – or any new ones I post over the coming days.

Please Note: this giveaway is not endorsed, affiliated with, or otherwise connected to Facebook in any way.

When you can’t get past an experience

Boat in the fog copy


I had my first DNF (Did Not Finish) today. The reader couldn’t get past THAT Scene. You know the one that shan’t ever be mentioned here or over on Facebook.

I tried to encourage her to keep reading, to reassure her that life gets better for the people she had taken into her heart. But, no.

I understand why she was upset. Truly I do. I was a MESS writing THAT scene.  I was a MESS editing THAT scene.

Adding to her distress was a lot of physical pain, for which she was on medication. Sadly, it was all too much.

 “Tears fall and I ache,” she wrote to me.  And: “Why?” And: “Reading books isn’t supposed to be…torture.”

I’m sorry for her that she invested so many hours reading my book and didn’t get to experience that satisfying feeling that comes at the end of a book that you so enjoy. For prior to this point she was enjoying it. She messaged me: “I woke up looking forward to reading your book. That’s how good it is!”

I appreciate her writing to me all the same and telling me what she thought. I really do. She was very polite and respectful. I would send her a gentle hug if I could but I’m not sure how welcome that would be. I sense she thinks I’m a tad disturbed or need counselling. For the record: Seldom Come By is not autobiographical.

The description of Seldom Come By reads:

But as the war moves towards its final harrowing days, they both discover that tragedy and terror can strike anywhere, setting their love on an unforeseen path.” 

Harrowing. Tragedy. Terror.

 Now, I’m wondering whether I should have a WARNING label on my book.

You will fall in love with people. At some point, terrible things will happen to them. BEWARE OF LIFE. 

So did you want to throw my book at the proverbial wall?

Have there been other books or films that you’ve read or watched where you’ve gone: “No, I just can’t continue.”

I have walked out of two movies in my life – I should warn you I am a wimp when it comes to horror films. I don’t do scary or horror very well. Just ask my partner, Mark, or my work mate, Alistair.

The first was The Fly with Jeff Goldblum…in the wrestling scene when he snapped his opponent’s wrist and you saw the bone pierce the skin. Gasp! Gulp! Way too graphic for me.

The second was in Cape Fear, which had a great cast and came highly recommended by Melina, a part-time actress, with whom I worked. It was good but it was terrifying. I just wanted the Robert de Niro character to die. Die!  And leave everyone in peace. Please! Near the end when he was riding under the car I just had to get up and walk out. I’d had a stressful week and wanted a relaxing, uplifting movie, not one that was going to give me a heart-attack in my late 20s.

There was another movie that I’m sure I would have walked out of, had I seen it at the cinema, and that was The Piano Teacher. Fortunately, we were at home watching it on video. Still, we had to pause it while I rushed to grab an ice-cold washer to drape over my face while I lay down and willed myself not to faint and willed myself not to think about what that woman had been doing with a razor blade. Some time later we decided we would continue. Surely it would get better. Surely this woman would redeem herself in some way? It was not to be.

So what about you? Have you had any books or movies you’ve had to pass on because the experience was unbearable? Care to share?