Introducing, The Heart is an Echo Chamber

Wednesday, 10th August, I’ll finally be sharing with the world The Heart is an Echo Chamber.

In October 2014 I released No Need to Reply. A chapbook by that name begged a reply. The Heart is an Echo Chamber is that reply, or more aptly, eight replies.

This tiny collection has traveled some pretty rough times with me. Every time I’ve almost finished it (the editing, the typesetting, the cover….), life has thrown a curve ball. And another. Not only has the collection traveled with me through this, but so have the eight writers who signed on back in October 2014. Thank you.

I think it is safe to say, it may never have come to fruition had it not been for Stacey (S.G.) Larner, who debuts as a cover artist. Thank you, Stacey! For your extraordinary illustration and cover design, and for being there to encourage me when I didn’t think I could face it again.

Below is more info on the chapbook and how to pre-order.

Front Cover

Every story carries a second side, sometimes heard, more often not. Or a beginning, purposely or accidentally unmentioned. An ending left out because to include it would make it all too hard.

Until now.

These eight stories echo the heart of another.

Revisited are a jar of olives, a sentient tarot deck, a redemptive poem, an international hotel room, a piano accordion, an anonymous text, an abandoned pair of shoes and a list of things.

**Available in multiple digital formats and as a limited-edition chapbook.**


“You know what it means to want the presence of someone, to want that ghost of a feeling that if you turn around slowly enough, squint your eyes tightly enough, you’ll slip into a different world that brings that lost soul back to you. How things should be.”




The Heart is an Echo Chamber – Lois Spangler
It Couldn’t Be – Tom Dullemond
Untethering – Adam Byatt
Letting Go – S.G. Larner
Pits – Kristen Erskine
The Princess of Swords – Helen Stubbs
Starless – Ben Payne
Emerging, Closure – Rus VanWestervelt



Buy the limited edition chapbook

$12.00 includes postage wherever you are in the world and free digital copies*.

(PayPal allows for you to leave a message–whether this be for a personalised message or to nominate someone other than yourself to have the book signed for.)

Chapbook Bundle

$17.00 includes postage wherever you are in the world, physical and digital copies* of The Heart is an Echo Chamber and No Need to Reply.

*No Need to Reply will immediately download. The Heart is an Echo Chamber will be forwarded to you upon release.



2013: As It Was Read

IMG_3821Regular readers will know that I am a bit weird. I don’t run my writing year as per the Gregorian calendar, but instead by the Chinese calendar. For convenience sake, I’ve been using the standard year as my goal posts for reading (simply because it is easier and I am lazy!)

Despite the shit fight that was 2013, I managed to keep a comprehensive list of the books. I read 34 books (2 short of what I had been aiming for – with 3 books a month). November was pretty much a write-off for reading, as I poured 79,000 words out in four weeks for NaNo.


I’m picky with my books, so it’s often hard to pick a best of. This year, THE SHINING GIRLS by Lauren Beukes stood head and shoulders above everything else I read, both in storytelling and in writing. Filling out the rest of the top five in no particular order were:

CLOUD ATLAS David Mitchell
WARM BODIES Isaac Marion
THE LAST BANQUET Jonathan Grimwood

Honourable mentions:

PERFECTIONS Kirstyn McDermott
PATH OF THE NIGHT Dirk Flintheart
NEUROMANCER William Gibson

Best anthologies:

     – this came out before I was even writing again!
MIDNIGHT AND MOONSHINE Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter


Re-Reads (6)

THE GREAT GATSBY F. Scott Fitzgerald
THE RED TENT Anita Diamant
ROIL Trent Jamieson

Anthologies and Collections (8)

IN FABULA DIVINO Ed. Nicole Murphy
THE TURNING Tim Winton (Re-read)
MIDNIGHT AND MOONSHINE Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter
NEXT eds. Simon Petrie and Robert Porteous

New Reads (18)

CLOUD ATLAS David Mitchell
LETTERS FROM SKYE Jessica Brockmole (E)
WARM BODIES Isaac Marion
SCARE ME Richard Jay Parker
AURORA: DARWIN Amanda Bridgeman
PERFECTIONS Kirstyn McDermott
PATH OF THE NIGHT Dirk Flintheart (E)
THE LAST BANQUET Jonathan Grimwood (E)
NEUROMANCER William Gibson
RYDERS RIDGE Charlotte Nash

Novellas (2)

DARK RITE David Wood & Alan Baxter

Elyora: The Novella That Keeps on Giving

…or how I got caught in the best kind of time loop.

I’m sitting at the outside table beside the pool and thinking it’s a fitting place to write this blog post about Elyora. After all, I penned quite a lot of my novella here, escaping out of the cold of the house and into the bearable winter sun outside across June and July of last year.

Elyora’s news is two pronged, but perhaps I need to back track a little given Christmas preparations subsumed much of the original news regarding it.


I wrote Elyora during the Rabbit Hole in June last year. Review of Australia Fiction picked it up for inclusion in their Rabbit Hole special edition. I was thrilled at the time and buckled down, under the auspice of emerging editor Lesley Halm (of Island Magazine), to tidy up the ugly manuscript in a somewhat mad time frame.

In mid December, after more crazy time-framed revisions, including some very badly timed speed vomiting and the worst case of self-doubt ever, Elyora was released via the platform alongside five other short stories.

In her editorial Lesley wrote:

Each of these were stories that came out of Down the Rabbit Hole. One is even as long as the 30,000 word goal they were trying to achieve. Don’t let that daunt you. “Elyora” by Jodi Cleghorn is a thrilling, unashamedly Australian supernatural thriller, which makes Jodi look like the love child of Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. You will be amazed that Jodi wrote this story in three days.

When I read this I almost vomited. What the hell was Lesley doing saying stuff like that? She couldn’t put my name in the same sentence as Gaiman and King, much less say it was anything like theirs. It was too much. I think that was part of the reason I stayed so quiet about Elyora when it came out – that people might read the editorial and expect more than they were ever going to get!


Sean Wright interviewed in January and in preparation for the interview I sent him through a bunch of my work, including Elyora. His feedback shocked me and yes, at the time I thought he was ‘just being nice’. After the interview he urged me to send Elyora to a paying market, it was not only good enough but I deserved some recompense.


On a whim I contacted a friend who is a commissioning editor at a relatively new digital press in the UK. I worked with Richard several years ago and it seemed to be as good a place to start as any, if I was going to seriously consider sending Elyora beyond the shores of Review of Australian Fiction.

In less than 24 hours I had a please send it through. A day later I was asked for a bio and a synopsis. A day after that I was told the manuscript was definitely a good fit for what they were publishing. I just had to do two things:

  • Think up a new name
  • Include a new beginning that made it easier to sell via the digital platforms it would be for sale on

I had a revised manuscript, with a new name and new 1000 word beginning, back to Richard by Monday. Tuesday it got the nod at acquisitions and I had a contract in my inbox by bedtime. That all happened in six days.

Within a fortnight from first touching base with Richard it was signed, sealed and delivered and I ventured out into the world with the good news Elyora had found a digital home with Endeavour Press* as River of Bones**.

BACK TO ELYORA morning I woke to a congratulatory email from Jo Anderton, saying we were finalist buddies and I WAS going to the awards night, wasn’t I?

The Aurealis Awards and me have a bit of a history of missing each other at vital moments, and it seemed it had happened again. This time because I had gone to bed early.

My hands shook as I sought out the press release and found I was a finalist in the short horror section alongside Rob Hood, Kaaron Warren, Felicity Dowker and Jo Anderton. Several days on and I still can’t believe Elyora is there, listed alongside stories from Rob, Kaaron, Felicity and Jo. Really?

I’m not sure when it will sink in. Or when I’ll feel it is a worthy inclusion. I still feel like a beginner on so many levels. The skin of the editor isn’t quite shucked off yet.

With an award nomination and a publishing contract in hand, all I really can think of is all the hard work, of the weeks of darkness when I opened multiple emails to Lesley to withdraw from the Special Edition because it was all too hard, that my writing sucked, the story was terrible and it had all been some kind of terribly mistake. And how I felt so very alone without my usual group of beta readers (and how it was too long to hassle Dan Powell with again – just to prop up my floundering self belief).

Elyora, regardless of what happens next, will always be the ugly duckling that ran on jet fuel, the story that showed me when push came to shove, I was able to rise to the challenge, even when holding a vomit bucket!

*The fact that I’m being published by a press with the same initials as eMergent’s, has not gone unnoticed!

**Release date and cover art to follow shortly – though I have seen draft artwork and it is  amazing!

A Short Story a Day for a Year: Catch Up

Three weeks in (two as a warm up and one official) to reading a short story a day I have a little catch up to do.

To date I’ve read two anthologies and have begun my third.

I started of with 10 Short Stories you Must Read this Year, which was a not for sale promotional anthology as part of the Books Alive campaign last year (an initiative of Art Council Australia).

It features the work of ten well known Australian writers, most of whom, sadly I had not read prior to picking up the anthology.

While all the stories were interesting in their own ways, the stand out was the final story of the anthology by Jack Marx, Letter from a Drunk to a Long Gone Wife. He explores a terrain which I have been long interested in, where do you  stop when you cross your moral boundaries. Just when you think Marx’s unnamed MC can’t possibly sink any lower, you are punched in the stomach – over and over again as he reveals all in a letter to his wife. Dark and brilliant writing.

Other greatly enjoyed stories were Melina Marchetta’s Twelve Minutes for the emotional landscape it explores juxtaposing the happiest of times with the most lost of times, Anita Heiss’s Manhattan Dreaming especially for it’s local references and use of colloquial Aboriginal language and Toni Jordan’s You Can Change Your Life because it sends up self development as the shallow and sensationalist activity I’ve always thought it was.

Kathy’s Lette’s Hate at First Sight reinforced to me, all the things I hate about chick-lit and why I won’t be picking up one of her books or any others of the ilk,  in the near future.

Moving on from 10 Short Stories you Must Read this Year I grabbed One Book, Many Brisbanes: an anthology of Brisbane Stories, which is the big competition all Brisbane writers aspire to win and be published in.

I have the special 150th Queensland edition from last year – where five writers were chosen as part of the competition and five well known Brisbane writers were invited to contribute. Given this mix I had high expectations of what would be between the covers.

All in all, it was a great disappointment as far as stories and Brisbane go. Many stories I felt could have occurred anywhere – just substitute suburb A for suburb B in any other Australian city. Most of the characters I really didn’t care too much about and I felt entirely lukewarm about Karen Foxlee’s winning entry Little Bird.

The stand-out stories were Adair Jones’ thought provoking 100 Points about a silent protest (the scene where he sews his lips together is chilling) and Janet McFadden’s Tunnel. McFadden’s story is all the more powerful for the fact it is a true tale with an unexpected twist at the end. She also masters and potrays the Irish accent with authenticity in the dialogue.

Along with many other Brisbane writers, I can’t understand how many of the stories ended up in the anthology. The other two thirds of my writing group both submitted stories last year which were brilliant, had fantastic twists and truly embodied the essence of Brisbane, but neither made the final cut.

I am thrilled to see, after doing a little bit of research that Beverly Fitzgerald, who I met in Kate Eltham’s short story writing class last year, secured a place in the 2010 One Book Many Brisbanes with her excellent story Sixteen Years of Beetroot. Congratulations Beverly.

At the moment I am enjoying Em Newman’s eAnthology From Dark Places. Well and truly worth the five and a bit dollars it cost to download from SmashWords. More on Em’s stories when I finish the anthology.

What has the past three weeks has shown me?

The short fiction written by ‘unknown’ and unpublished writers’ both on and off the web is of a far higher standard in many cases, than that of published and well known writers being picked up and published in the mainstream. I think we’re spoilt for choice and given most of the short fiction available on the web is free, very lucky.

Dan Powell was mad enough to join me on this reading adventure. You can find his week one wrap up here.

Borders 100 Favourite Books – Part Three

As promised earlier on in the week the final installment of Borders 100 Favourite Books – books 71 throught to 100. I will post the entire list later on in the week.

To refresh you on the legend:

bold – read    italics – intending to read   * – own the book

71.       American Gods – Neil Gaiman

72.       Road – Cormac Mccarthy

73.       Brave New World – Aldous Huxley one I do intend to re-read as it was a set school novel.

74.       In Turkey I Am Beautiful: Between Chaos And Madness In A Strange Land – Brendan Shanahan

75.       Breath – Tim Winton

76.       Jessica – Bryce Courtenay

77.       Animalia – Graeme Base

78.       Secret History – Donna Tartt

79.       Godfather – Mario Puzo

80.       Interview With The Vampire – Anne Rice …Started this but never finished it.

81.       Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

82.       Stand – Stephen King

83.       Bridget Jones Diary: A Novel – Helen Fielding …Another I started and didn’t finish

84.      *  New Earth: Create A Better Life – Eckhart Tolle

85.       Seven Ancient Wonders – Matthew Reilly

86.       Wild Swans: Three Daughters Of China – Jung Chang …the first book I read when I got back into read in 2007

87.       Notebook – Nicholas Sparks

88.       American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

89.       Belgariad Vol. 1: Pawn Of Prophecy; Queen Of Sorcery; Magician’s Gambit – David Eddings

90.       Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres and De Berni

91.       Looking For Alibrandi – Melina Marchetta … loved the movie

92.       Ps, I Love You – Ahern

93.      *  Prayer For Owen Meany – John Irving …though technically Dave ‘owns’ it.

94.       Thorn Birds – Colleen Mccullough

95.       Confederacy Of Dunces –  John Kennedy Toole

96.       Good Omens – Neil Gaiman, Pratchett , Terry Pratchett et al

97.       Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas: A Savage Journey To The Heart Of The American Dream – Hunter S. Thompson

98.       Chocolat – Joanne Harris

99.       Princess Bride – William Goldman …Paul Anderson will be happy to see this on the list.

100.     Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

5/30 Cumulative total 27/100

This is the first time on ANY of these lists that I have read more than a quarter of the books listed. Feeling pretty good and penciling in a number of those ‘to reads’ to this years book feast. Thanks to Dan adn Chris for playing along.

Image from bp631 is alive via Flickr. Another crazy person who took a photo a day for a year.

Borders 100 Favourite Books- Part Two

As promised last night – here is the second of three parts of Borders 100 Favourite Books.

To refresh you on the legend:

bold – read    italics – intending to read   * – own the book


36.       Mao’s Last Dancer – Li Cunxin

37.       Tomorrow, When The War Began – John Marsden

38.       Angela’s Ashes – Frank Mccourt

39.       Dune – Frank Herbert

40.       Catcher In The Rye – J. D. Salinger

41.       Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

42.       One Hundred Years Of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

43.       April Fool’s Day – Bryce Courtenay

44.       Pillars Of The Earth – Ken Follett

45.       Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer – Patrick Suskind

46.       Ice Station – Matthew Reilly

47.       Shadow Of The Wind – Ruiz Zaf

48.       Briefer History Of Time – Stephen Hawking

49.       Eragon – Christopher Paolini

50.       Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

51.       Tuesdays With Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man And Life’s Greatest Lesson – Mitch Albom

52.       Persuasion – Jane Austen

53.       Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

54.       Atonement – Ian Mcewan

55.       * Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

56.       Animal Farm – George Orwell

57.       Clockwork Orange: Play With Music – Anthony Burgess

58.       Little Prince And Letter To A Hostage – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

59.       Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

60.       Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis

61.       Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

62.       Really Short History Of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

63.       Crime And Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

64.       Lion Called Christian – Anthony Bourke and others

65.       God Of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

66.       Tully – Paullina Simons

67.       Time To Kill – John Grisham

68.       Marley And Me: Life And Love With The World’s Worst Dog – John Grogan

69.       Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

70.       Count Of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

13/35    accumulating total   22/70

Image from Magnus A via Flickr

Borders 100 Favourite Books – Part 1

It seems somehow appropriate that my return to blogging for 2010 is a book list. We had so much fun with lists a few years ago. This list is Borders 100 Favourite Books, taken from a popular poll last year. It seems to have a good mix of classics, literature and popular fiction and I was excited as I read through the five pages of books, to have read a couple on each page.

Across the next two days I will post parts 2 and 3, as it is a bit time consuming to sit and transcribe the entire list in one sitting. Without further ado – here is the coding.

Bold – read   Italics – intend to read * – own

  1. Pride And Prejudice – Jane Austen
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  3. Lord Of The Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
  4. My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
  5. Twilight Saga Collection – Stephenie Meyer
  6. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  7. Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  8. * Book Thief – Markus Zusak (currently reading!)
  9. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
  10. Magician – Raymond E. Feist (all time favourite)
  11. Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
  12. Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons
  13. Shantaram: A Novel – Gregory David Roberts
  14. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  15. Power Of One – Bryce Courtenay
  16. Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
  17. Angels And Demons – Dan Brown
  18. Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  19. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  20. Cloudstreet – Tim Winton
  21. Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini 
  22. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  23. Memoirs Of A Geisha – Arthur Golden
  24. Anne Of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
  25. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
  26. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
  27. Niv Mass Market Bible With Bible Guide – International Bible Society
  28. Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
  29. Life Of Pi – Yann Martel
  30. Fortunate Life – A. B. Facey
  31. Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  32. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland And Through The Looking-Glass: And What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll
  33. Cross Stitch – Diana Gabaldon
  34. Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
  35. 35.  A Child Called ‘It’: One Child’s Courage To Survive – Dave Pelzer

Final count: 9/35

How many can you count?

If you post this list to your blog please acknowledge this blog post, and honour the time and effort which went into transcribing this list from the original.

Image from brianjmatis via Flickr