Australian Writers’ Centres

Your local writers’ centre can be a useful resource. Not only can you find like minded people to talk to (if you live close enough to visit in person), but most centres also have a library, an assortment of workshops, regular talks by published writers and they can even provide advice on contracts, agents, and publishers.

Becoming a member means that you have something you can add to your writer’s resume too (which never goes astray).

Below, you will find links to a number of Australian centres, with a short blurb from the appropriate website.

ACT Writers Centre
The ACT Writers Centre has a Meeting Room available free for use by members and a computer, printer, fax and photocopier available for use by members. We have a growing library of books about writing and by writers. We also sell books by members on consignment. The noticeboards are full of information about publishing, competitions, writers’ rights, and writing courses.

Central West Writers’ Centre
The Central West Writers’ Centre provides development and promotion services for literary activity in rural Australia in the Central West of New South Wales.

NSW Writers’ Centre
The Centre offers literary resources and professional information to established and aspiring writers of all kinds. It provides a spacious venue for events such as book launches, readings, literary evenings and lectures as well as meeting spaces for writers’ groups and literary organisations.

NT Writers’ Centre
The Centre offers a range of activities and services for writers including workshops, literary events, manuscript appraisal, a regular newsletter, special projects and an annual writers’ festival.

Queensland Writers’ Centre
Provides writing tips and resources, advice on handling rejection and rates of pay, details for workshops, seminars, competitions and much more.

SA Writers’ Centre
The Centre acts as a resource centre for writers of all ages and experiences. They focus on writing activities and work with a wide range of organisations to promote and encourage writers and literature in society.

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre
The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre supports numerous initiatives that promote Tasmanian’s appreciation of literature. These include workshops, residencies and mentorships for Tasmanian writers, as well as providing professional advice to TWC members.

Victorian Writers’ Centre
The Victorian Writers’ Centre is dedicated to nurturing and promoting the diverse writing culture in Victoria. As the leading provider of information, resources and skills development, the VWC connects and supports writers and writing within the broader communities throughout Victoria.

Book Review Update

It took some time, because I couldn’t find a plugin that could help, but I am pleased to say that I’ve gone through every book review on this website (all 143 of them). All links have been updated where possible, or otherwise removed. All affiliate links have been deleted. All book cover images have been updated, and all reviews without a book cover now has one. I have also added ratings to the reviews where I had a rating on Goodreads but not here, leaving a handful with no rating (sorry, I didn’t want to give a guess based on what I had written).

My early reviews were a bit of a mess, and I have updated them as best I can so that they fall into line with the later ones.

As previously stated, the posted reviews are from 2005 to 23 February 2019. My next task is to try and find a later backup with the rest. Failing that, the other option is to copy and paste them from Goodreads and/or LibraryThing. Honestly, I don’t fancy that option at all. I’ll keep you posted (excuse the pun).

And on another note, I discovered something interesting (or at least it was interesting to me). During this long, tedious update process, I discovered the first audiobook I listened too was Shadows by John Saul in September 2009 and the first ever ebook I read was Realmshift by Alan Baxter in November 2009. 2009 was a big year of discovery it seems. Sadly, I cannot tell you the title of the first book I read or what year it was read. It was far too long ago, and I have no idea.

Edited on 30 January 2023: Lucky me, I found another backup and have uploaded another 55 reviews today, so the reviews now go up to November 2020. All are up-to-date as far as I can tell. Please let me know if you find anything amiss.

Book reviews added

Following that website issue I’ve been harping on about recently, where I lost 18 years worth of posts (don’t get me started on how I feel about that), I managed to find a backup of all my early book reviews. Yay!

I have uploaded around 143 book reviews today. They range from 2005 to 2019, and with luck, I’ll find an easy way to upload the reviews from 2019 to present as well. With the help of a brilliant WordPress plugin called “Term Management Tools”, I have tidied up the categories and tags that were originally used — and in some cases, were not used at all. Now they are consistent, which is great.

However, I have noticed another issue. It appears that a lot (possibly all) of the images are missing. That’s a job for another day. Hopefully, I’ll find another plugin that will make that job heaps easier too.

In other news: I’m also having issues with the store. I’ll circle back to that in a few days. Stay tuned.

Punctuation in Dialogue

This is an area I know a lot of people have difficulties with. I’ve seen a lot of mistakes made where writers are not sure where to put a comma or full stop. Here is an example of the correct way to use them:

“I meet a wizard today,” Sam announced.

“Sam, you’re nuts!” Peter replied. “Wizards don’t exist.”

“They do,” Sam insisted, “because I meet one today.”

With the first piece of dialogue, some people make the mistake of placing a full stop after the word “today” (ie “I meet a wizard today.” Sam announced.), which is wrong. The dialogue tag is part of the overall sentence.

In the second set there are two complete sentences so a full stop is placed at the end of the dialogue tag. Also, when using a name or another word like – hey, oh, well, boy – you should always place a comma after that word. A good way to test this out is to read the sentence without the word, if it makes sense without it use a comma – if it doesn’t make sense then a comma is not required.

With the last line, the dialogue tag is placed in the middle of a complete sentence so you should place a comma after the first part – the word “do” in this case – and at the end of the dialogue tag as shown.

Oh, one more thing, ALWAYS start a new line for each person who speaks. ALWAYS!

Learn something every week

It turns out that my provider didn’t have to upgrade the php on my website, I had that option the whole time but didn’t know. I discovered a website with instructions on how to do exactly that by accident. Of course, I followed the instructions and … it’s done. We now have the latest version of php installed.

In other news, I really want simple, easy-to-use plugins. I don’t need anything that has every bell and whistle that you can think of. But simplicity is not on the agenda these days. Everything appears complex, and from my experience, they don’t work without a lot (and I mean a tonne) of knowledge and patience. I have neither at this stage. What happened to simply activating a plugin and using it?

Anyway, the subscribe plugin didn’t work. But I figure that maybe now that the php has been upgraded, maybe I’ll try it again. If it doesn’t work straight up, then I’ll forget it.

Working on Subscribe Now

There have been a number of improvements over the last day or two. Currently, I’m working on the Subscribe to the Newsletter option (while I wait for my provider to update the PHP so a shop can be activated).

Yet, like everything else, the Subscribe plugin has chosen not to work properly too. It won’t allow people to subscribe so, at this point, it’s pretty useless. I’ve asked for support and hopefully someone will help me fix the problem. To be honest, I’m tired of all the issues and will look for an alternative.

Next on the list will be the shop. And then I’ll try to resurrect the author interviews. And finally, some content. I’m going to be busy.

Slowly building an online future

My apologies. I have started and restated this website over and over again, these past few days. Some plugins no longer work, so I need to find a replacement or rethink how I want to proceed. For instance, due to my internet provider not updating the php used on this website, I keep seeing a message “This plugin does not work with your version of PHP.” Annoying, and, yes, I will contact the provider.

I want simple, but secure, so please bare with me while I work my way through all the pages to fix issues and find new, and hopefully better, plugins to use. I am yet to settle on how I will offer my books for sale on the website. That is definitely a “coming soon” notation.

Meanwhile, several pages have been updated. I will work through the rest of them and then start work on the sidebar and footer.

Thanks for your patience.

Hello world!

Well, a funny thing happened a few months ago. This website was hacked!

Actually, it wasn’t even a tiny bit funny, but it happened and I had no access to my website for over two months. Then, when I finally did have access, I couldn’t access WordPress’s Dashboard, which was like having no access to the whole site, as I couldn’t do anything.

Restoring backups did nothing as the Dashboard was still not accessible. Even if I restored backups prior to being hacked, which I did (multiple times). Finally, I came to the conclusion that maybe this happened for a reason. Maybe it was time to revamp the website and remove all the old, out-dated posts. Today, I decided to go with that option.

My only regret is that all my book reviews have been lost. But, I must move passed that little upset and move on. Besides, those reviews are all on Goodreads and I will share a link to them later. I may copy and paste some, but not all, of them. That is a decision for another day.

For now, some content is here. It needs to be fixed up and I’ll do that over the next week or so.

Welcome back to the Desk of Karen Lee Field. The desk is new. The content will be simplier. I hope you like it here and will come back to visit again soon.

eBook Review: The Box-Car Children

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb: The Boxcar Children tells the story of four orphaned children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny. They create a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar in the forest.

My review: This book was written in 1924, and I read the original text.

The book was written by a school teacher, so she was around children a fair bit so must have had a good understanding of how they behaved. The thing to remember when reading the story is that it was written almost 100 years ago, so the reader should expect some odd descriptions and old-fashioned speech. And, I guess, out-dated values too.

I easily put those things aside and took the story as-is. Four orphaned children run away and make a life for themselves. The older children take care of the younger ones. They find ways to manage. They find shelter and earn money to buy food. I can’t imagine children today doing these things, but I accept that this is only a story. It’s for entertainment purposes only.

It’s also aimed at children’s imaginations. I would have loved the story as a child and I loved it now because it allowed my imagination to fill in the blanks. I believe children who can read by themselves will enjoy the adventures of the boxcar children.

eBook Review: Tales from the Red Sun Village

Tales from the Red Sun Village: Volume 1 by Mark Swaine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb: The legendary warrior Kamui Li visits the people of a settlement in the badlands of Purgatoria. In a bid to build morale, the dangerous Samurai recounts three campfire stories to the nervous people of the village to help them overcome their fears of this dangerous new world.

The Midnight Foot Masseuse
A down on his luck chef encounters a demon living under his bed, a demon with a penchant for giving foot massages that somehow improves his life, but at what cost.

Plus a Few Upgrades
A tech savvy girl purchases a cursed videogame console from a car boot sale, and now she’s in the fight for her life whilst avenging her brother’s.

The Child’s Ward
A monster seeks weapons of mental mass destruction as an ignorant teen keeps vigil over a sick infant in the children’s ward of a hospital.

My review: This is speculative fiction for young adults. The audience around the camp fire appear to be much younger, but I definitely would not allow younger children to read the book as it might give them nightmares.

The stories within the book are tied together by the campfire gathering. And there is a reason for the children being told the stories, but I won’t spoil it for you. Just know that they are not random fables.

The stories themselves are … gruesome. Consider them, for the most part (except the last story), to border on horror. There is blood and guts, be warned. Fortunately, I’ve read my share of horror so I’m fine with it, but some people don’t like reading graphic fighting scenes. The book will not appeal to everyone.

I haven’t read any other Red Sun Village books, and this book didn’t give me enough information to know if the story fits in with the other books or not.

The stories vary. The first one felt totally different to the others. It was well written and held my interest and had a neat little twist at the end. The second story was based on gaming. I’ve played PlayStation games since the beginning and I’ve killed countless zombies during that time, so you could say I enjoy gaming. But the story was too long for me, and because of that, my attention waned. I guess I prefer to play the game, rather than read about it. But I feel certain that the target audience will feel part of the team and will love it. The last story felt a little disjointed. Or maybe I was slow in catching on because I have been unwell recently. I didn’t realise what was happening at first, so I felt confused. When I did catch on, it all made sense.

I liked the way everything was brought together at the end. That was well done. And I especially liked the very last message.

What I didn’t like about this book was the cover. To be honest, I would never chose to read the book based on the cover as it does absolutely nothing to catch my attention. Personally, I think that’s a shame as I believe many people make decisions to read books based on the cover alone. In my opinion, an updated cover would do wonders for the book overall.

Regardless of the cover, I believe the book will be well received by readers who enjoy details that allow the scene to be alive in their minds, and can envision themselves amongst the action.

I received a review copy of this book, and this is an honest review.