Saturday 3 November 2018

New Triskele Book Release - The Swooping Mapgie

"Heartbreaking drama of lost innocence, deceit and a scandal that shook Australia." Jill's Book Cafe

Cover by JD Smith Design

It is difficult for any Australian born after the feminist movement to understand the plight of being sixteen, pregnant and unmarried in 1970. The sanctity of marriage was still the vital cornerstone of society and it was impossible to envisage raising a child outside this union blessed by church and state.

For a girl bringing such disgrace to her family, it was an unforgiving world. Rather than being able to rejoice at bringing forth this new life, these girls were shunted into a world of shame –– hidden at home or sent interstate to homes for unmarried mothers.

But The Swooping Magpie isn't simply the story of a society refusing support to mothers battling to raise an infant alone. It also exposes the brutal adoption industry practices that targeted healthy newborns for infertile couples.

1970s photo from the collections of the Wollongong City Libraries and the Illawarra Historical Society

Until the mid-70s it was common practice to adopt out the babies of unwed mothers. In the 1960s, Sydney’s Crown Street Women’s Hospital was one of largest sources of Australia’s adopted babies. Patient documents from Crown Street and other maternity hospitals show that from the moment most unmarried girls arrived, their records were marked “for adoption”.

From 1950 – 1980, an estimated 250,000 girls had their newborns taken. Many claimed they were duped into signing paperwork whilst under postpartum sedation, or made to feel selfish if they kept their babies. Forced to pay this terrible price for pregnancy outside marriage, thousands of women harboured their grief, in silence, for decades.

Photo courtesy of Camille Perrat

We might ask ourselves how these women survived. Did they “just forget about it and get on with their lives” as urged by an arrogant and punitive society? The stories I heard demonstrate that frequently, the trauma of their loss never left them. Made to feel unworthy and unfit, they developed psychological problems. Some never married. Some never gave birth again.

The Swooping Magpie is on NEW RELEASE promo for only 99c/p from your favourite retailer:

If you'd like to read book 1 (a standalone) in this 1970s Aussie family drama series, The Silent Kookaburra is also available at your favourite retailer.

Cover by JD Smith Design
"Unsettling psychological suspense blending the intensity of Wally Lamb with the atmosphere of Peter James, this story will get under your skin..."

Photo courtesy of Camille Perrat

Photo courtesy of Camille Perrat
Happy reading!

Friday 28 September 2018

News: Snow Angel and Boxset Bargain!

By JJ Marsh

Beatrice Stubbs is back!
The old girl retired at the end of Bad Apples, but there's no way she'll stop having adventures.

By JD Smith Design
This book has been coming for a long time. I always wanted to write an homage to the Golden Age of Crime and its literary ladies: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham, Josephine Tey and Georgette Heyer. Even as a kid, I loved all that intrigue masked as innocence and the mucky truth behind the public façade. Locals have their own traditions and codes of honour, creating a wall of secrecy outsiders rarely penetrate.

The cover is by our resident genius JD Smith Design, and below is the blurb.
Release date is 16 November for ebooks and 6 December for paperbacks.
Pre-orders  available at Amazon and all other retailers.

Then I have a present for you.
Snow Angel: Old secrets, new lies

Love is a driving passion.
So is hate.

December in a small Devonshire village is the perfect time for a Yuletide fête, a wedding or a murder. Now retired, Beatrice Stubbs is busy with wedding preparations. Not for herself – co-habiting with Matthew is as far as she’s prepared to commit – but Adrian and Will are getting married. She’s Chief Bridesmaid and the theme is Narnia.

When a local celebrity dies in suspicious circumstances, Matthew encourages Beatrice to do a little private investigating. Her enquiries turn up more than predicted and she discovers her nearest and dearest are capable of deceit.

A snowstorm hits the village and Beatrice chases a lead, throwing everyone’s plans into disarray and threatening lives. Ancient forests conceal a complex web of connections and loyalties, false reputations and poison.

To celebrate the seventh book in the series, Boxset One is on sale until Sunday. This weekend only, you can get the first three novels at the criminally low price of £1.99/$1.99.
On Amazon
At all other retailers

If you're still not sure this is the series for you, why not try the prequel, free of charge?
Subscribers to my mailing list get Black Dogs, Yellow Butterflies as a welcome present.

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday 19 September 2018

The Big 5 Winner!

The Winner of the Triskele Books/Words with JAM 2018 Big 5 Mentorship Competition is ...

Philippa Scannell!!

An incredibly strong field of entrants led to much wrangling over the shortlist. But once chosen, we were absolutely sure any one of the finalists would be worth a year of support, advice and shared expertise.

Over to judge Roz Morris, whose job was even tougher. Here's her report.

How to choose a winner in such a breadth of entries? There were narrators who were unreliable or dreaming; narrators who were hiding or tormented or unsure if they could trust their senses. Narrators who were on the brink of terrible events. They wrote in voices that were defensive, or confidential or sassy or secretive. Some were fiction; some were not. You might as well compare apples to airspeeds.

To begin with, I was at a loss. But as I read, I realised there was a common value I was picking up. It was this: the strength of the writer's relationship with the reader. It's a quality all books stand or fall by, how intimately they win the reader's confidence. Explaining this is not easy; it's more a feeling - a feeling that the author is in step with your thoughts as they place their words. Our job title even says it - an author has authority.

And so I chose Rape And The Road To Recovery.

The clincher was this sentence:
'Although I was raped, I promise never to say, ‘I know how you feel’.

A simple statement. But reader, it knows your biggest question before you've even figured it out yourself. It creates a tone, too, of plain speaking, truth seeking. It establishes trust. Indeed, you might notice a charming paradox because its effect contradicts its literal meaning. By saying 'I don't know how you feel', it proves that it does.

You might argue that this author had an advantage because the material was real experience. But that is not what gives it this power. The treatment is.

The excerpt goes on to consolidate that relationship with the reader, with facts that speak of the author's scope and sensitivity. It mentions resources, words that survivors often use, experience teaching self-defence, research beyond the immediate subject on attitudes and education. Although the writer's journey may have started from a personal trauma, this book will be wider than that, and wiser. It has - in short - authority.

All of us at Triskele Books are delighted with Roz's choice. It is a privilege to work on such a book, not to mention a challenge. This is the first step on a journey which will educate all of us.

But let's hear from the winner: here's how Philippa reacted to the news of her mentorship.

I can't believe it! I created Rape & the Road to Recovery to give a voice to the voiceless and to show that rape can happen to anyone, anywhere. Writing the book was a journey in itself and winning this prize makes it feel like all the tears and rejections along the way were worth it. I can't wait to tell all the people who contributed to the book.
It is hard to put in to words how happy I am to know that my book has a real chance of getting published now and getting to the audience it was written for. Winning this mentorship is such a huge opportunity. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Roz Morris and everyone at Triskele Books.

Philippa and the Triskele Team will check in regularly to report on progress. But for now, we raise a  glass to say congratulations to Philippa and well done to the shortlisted authors. All the very best on your publishing journey!