A Long Way From Misery

Jacqui Halpin, Jack Turner, A Long Way from Misery, Book   Launch-1

Jacqui Halpin is an Australian children’s author whose stories have won prizes in writing competitions and been published in anthologies. She attributes her love of storytelling to her father, Jack Turner. ‘Listening to the amazing adventures Dad had growing up stirred my imagination and transported me back to his world,’ Jacqui says. Jacqui has co-written her father’s memoir, A LONG WAY FROM MISERY, which is a rollicking journey through the Australia of yesteryear with a true Aussie larrikin who grew up on a farm called Misery.

 Jacqui is passionate about preserving the social history of Australia for future generations and is currently writing a series of historical junior fiction novels inspired by her father’s adventures growing up.

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June: Can you give us a short synopsis of the book?

Jacqui: A Long Way from Misery takes you on a rollicking journey through the Australia of yesteryear with Jack Turner, the larrikin shearer, as he rescues his brother from being drowned by a kangaroo, rides a wild steer through the house, and leaps off a moving train. But these misadventures are nothing compared to his mother wielding a carving knife.

Born in 1926, Jack lived in a different time, but the way he sees it, they were better days. He loved his childhood growing up with his siblings and mates on a farm called Misery, and retells it with delight.

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June:  Tell us a bit more about your Dad.

Jacqui: Dad has entertained many friends, family, and acquaintances over his long life with the tales of his younger years. He is a quick-witted larrikin who loves to laugh and make others laugh.

He was born in Rylstone, New South Wales in 1926, and raised on a farm called Misery. He moved to Queensland in 1956 and lives in Brisbane with his wife of 53 years, his three children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A former shearer with no education and a rough and ready upbringing, Jack’s ‘that’ll do me’ attitude has stayed with him throughout his long life and seen him through many a scrape. Hard-working, and with the ingenuity born from being raised in the bush, Jack has built and fixed everything from houses to toys.

He has had too many jobs to mention, met too many people to remember, and had too many adventures to record. He has lived an ordinary life full of extraordinary stories.

June: How long have you been working on Long Way from Misery?

Jacqui : It’s 12 years this month since my dad first gave me the audio tapes of the stories he could remember from his childhood and youth and I said I’d turn them into a book.

June: What was it like working with your Dad on writing the book?  Highlights? Challenges?  Any funny stories?

Jacqui:I don’t regret one minute that I’ve spent with Dad working on ‘the book’. I do regret that I has taken me this long, and now two of his brothers will never get to read it. If I knew back then what I know now it would have been published in half the time. One of the challenges was to put some sort of order to Dad’s stories.

He had a lot of stories (there wasn’t room for them all in the book) but he didn’t remember them in chronological order, if he had it would have made my job a hell of a lot easier.

We had so many laughs creating this book. I can’t remember what about exactly but just sitting round the kitchen table at Mum and Dad’s place laughing at what Dad was saying. Mum, too, has a great sense of humour. She has made countless cups of tea and lunches for me while we were working, and looked up the spelling of many obscure places that Dad shore at. And not with the aid of google, with a map and a magnifying glass.

One of the highlights while putting this book together was that Dad and I went to Rylstone and he guided me out to Misery Farm. It’s not called that now. Only the real old timers remember it as that. But dad found his way out there and I got to have a look around his old hut and take photos and get a better idea of how they lived. It’s falling down, which is a shame.

It was great to see Rylstone and walk with him on the streets that he walked as a child. And visit the pubs and the dance halls and the shearing sheds he had many an adventure in. I even got to meet some of his old mates too.

 June: What were your emotions on the launch day?  Where did you hold it and why?  What was the program?

Jacqui: Launch Day was a lot of work but well worth it. It was a celebration of all the hard work. A rejoicing for what we had accomplished. I could not have done it without the help of my family who were helping out all day.

My daughter, Emily, even had shirts made for the occasion. There was a great turn out of people. It was so uplifting to see so many friends and family there supporting us. Dad had a smile on his face all day.

It was held in Decker Park at Brighton because that’s where Dad and his family camped when they first moved up to Queensland. We had tea and damper and Hard Timer biscuits just like Dad’s mother made whenever visitors turned up at Misery. They were a hit. So many people asked for the recipe. I’ve now put the recipe on our blog.

Book Signing, Jacqui Halpin

 June: Why was it important for you to publish this book and set up your own press to do so?

Jacqui: I’d tried for several years to get a publisher, and although we had some interest, an agent read the first two chapters in 21/2 hours and asked for more, but no one would commit. Dad will be 90 this year. I couldn’t wait any longer. Besides, as Dad always says, ‘If you want something done, do it yourself.’ So that’s what we did.

 June: What role have writing buddies played in assisting you through the journey of writing, editing, and publication?

Jacqui: I have had a tremendous amount of help from my Write Link friends with this project. Their advice in self-publishing has been invaluable. Seeing the success of self-published authors like Karen Tyrrell, Charmaine Clancy and Nickolas and Alison Lochel, showed me that it was possible to do this self-publishing thing and do it well. I went through Book Cover Café and I could not have done it without them either. Anthony and his team were brilliant. I mean, you just have to look at the cover. I love the cover of our book! Anthony designed that.

A Long Way from Misery is available on Amazon or, for signed copies, through the authors at crownmountainpress@yahoo.com

For more information about Jacqui and her writing please visit her website:

jacquihalpin.com or follow her on Facebook www.facebook.com/jacquihalpinwriter

Jacqui Halpin, Jack Turner, A Long Way from Misery, Book   Signing-1

Congratulations Jacqui, and thanks so much for your visit to the blog!

 

Harry Helps Grandpa – Blog Tour Begins

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Wonderful to soon have Karen Tyrrell (pictured above) as a guest on the blog again.

She is doing a blog tour with Harry Helps Grandpa Remember.

Harry is about the special love between a little boy and his grandpa who was Alzheimer’s. Harry will do ANYTHING to help his grandpa remember. A heart-warming story, full of humour and HOPE.

You can catch her here on the 30th of June. But until then why not follow the blog tour! (which also includes some of my favourite blogs, like Ali’s, Dimity’s and Charmaine’s)

Harry Helps Grandpa Remember   is now on Amazon world-wide as a print Book and as an eBook.

ISBN: 9780987274083

Blog Tour Book Giveaway

Please leave a comment on any of the sites above for a chance to win a signed print copy or 5 eCopies of Harry Helps Grandpa Remember. 6 Copies in total to be won. Six Winners announced 3 July. Good luck.

Harry will be visiting these author sites: Harry Helps Grandpa Remember Blog HOPS

22 June: Harry Helps Grandpa Remember Now on AMAZON Karen Tyrell

23 June: Ali Stegert Interview Ali Stegert

24 June: Di Bates Buzz Words Review Di Bates

25 June: Robyn Opie Interview Robyn Opie

25 June: Jackie Hosking Review Jackie Hosking

26 June: Charmaine Clancy Author Platform Charmaine Clancy

29 June: Sally Odgers’ interview Sally Odgers

30 June: Jill Smith Review Jill Smith

30 June: June Perkins Interview My Blog

1 July Dimity Powell Review Dims Write Stuff

Magical Mystery Tour – After Yasi Hosts Revealed

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So now the After Yasi virtual book tour heads from Dimity Powell’s blog home  to Chairmaine Clancy’s web page.

I am so delighted with the retweets, shares, facebook posts, and comments coming into various spaces on facebook, the blogs and launch pages.  Queensland History, Australian Women’s Writers, ABC Far North, ABC Open and individuals like Sam Sochacka (amazing children’s literacy advocate) and others I have become twitter colleagues with, have really made my day.

A key part of setting up the blog tour is taking you on a journey through other blogs I admire.

Dimity is a tireless children’s writer who reviews books.  Charmaine is a dedicated author, teacher and writing retreat organiser whose blog seeks to encourage writers to develop their skills.

You all know how much I love ABC Open. They have been central to the mentoring that enabled many aspects of the ebook to be created.

Karen Tyrrell is dedicated to the development of resilience in children and adults.  She has many books people who like my book would also love reading.

Coming up are a poet, dance advocate, school counsellor, aid worker, and creatives.  But let’s leave some of the magic of their spaces a mystery as they are just around the corner.

My goal with this tour is to introduce the After Yasi –  Finding the Smile Within ebook to anyone who would benefit from reading it and exploring its various filmic, photographic and video hyperlinks.  Its first incarnations where a photo exhibition, followed by a community coffee table book mostly created for the contributors (but still available through blurb.)

The strength of an ebook is that for a full colour experience they are inexpensive and can encourage you to visit hyperlinked online materials.

If you visit any of the blogs leave a comment for your chance to receive a free copy of the ebook or a photographic print.

The tour will be continuing until February 3rd.  So stay tuned for the next installment.

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After Yasi Blog Tour

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After Yasi: Finding the Smile Within is going on a virtual book tour, commonly known as blog tour, blog hop or virtual book tour.  A big thank you to all those listed.

Best comments for each blog will be given a PRIZE, either a free copy of the ebook or a choice of a signed print of one of the photographs from the book. Would absolutely love it if you retweet, reblog and share this post – and the blog hop posts, to all your friends.

The After Yasi Blog Tour includes visits to:

Jan 27   (Tuesday) http://open.abc.net.au  ABC Open  (guest blog, June Perkins, storytelling tips for covering the recovery from a natural disaster)

Jan 27   Karen Tyrrell http://www.karentyrrell.com/

Jan 28 (Wednesday)  Dimity Powell (interview) http://www.dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au/

Jan 29 (Thursday) Charmaine Clancy (tips for writing about a natural disaster) http://charmaineclancy.com/

Jan 30 Jedda Bradley  – (interview)https://www.facebook.com/jeddabradleyartist

Jan 31 (Saturday) Carol Campbell  (review) http://writersdream9.wordpress.com

Jan 31 (Saturday) Gail Kavanagh  (review) http://gailkavanagh.com/blog/

Feb 1 (Sunday) Owen Allen (focus Dance) http://owen59.wordpress.com/

Feb 2 (Monday)  Ali Stegert (focus children and youth after a cyclone) http://ali-stegert.com/

Feb 3  (Tuesday) Melinda Irvine http://businessonblue.com.au/

Feb 3   Wrap up and thankyou blog from June https://pearlz.wordpress.com

You can find sample pages and more details of the ebook here: http://gumbootspearlz.pressbooks.com/

You are welcome to attend from wherever you are in the world -the online launch -February 3rd.

See the facebook page: The Launch Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/866286073402069/?pnref=story

*This schedule is still subject to  minor changes but I will post any changes closer to lift off. Apologies the visit to Michele’s blog has had to be postponed due to unforseen circumstances.

Books from our Backyard

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Kindly taken by Charmaine Clancy, me with the After Yasi book.

It was amazing to be at the Poinciana Lounge, when it was  full to the brim of Queensland books, authors, family, friends and literary supporters; double the amount of last year too.

A big thankyou to Queensland Writers Centre for creating a catalogue of Queensland books which goes out to libraries and others to promote Queensland authors and books.

Books from our Backyard  shares the variety of Queensland books, with crime, history, speculative fiction,  children, and young adult fiction, romance, memoir and life stories.

I met  Pia Dowling  who showed me her books on Organic Gardening, and growing and brewing your own coffee and tea.

Then I chatted with Kylie Asmyus about her book set in Townsville, not too far from where I used to live.

Sandy Driessen from Sandpit Stories said hello as did Julie Fison.

I caught up with authors Karen Tyrell, Charmaine Clancy,  and  for the first time in years the amazing Talitha Kalago.  We were onbooks-from-our-backyard a panel together at the Tropical writer’s festival years ago.

There were some industry people and members of the Queensland Writers Centre who were very welcoming and friendly.  It was good to put faces to names commonly seen in emails or online and receive helpful information and invitations to critique groups and workshops for writers.

You can see the books in display for the next twelve months at the state library Queensland.

Nick Earles, a highly accomplished Queensland author,  gave an address encouraging everyone to purchase and promote the purchase of books by Queenslanders.  Even purchasing just one book a year by a Queenslander could have an enormous difference on the production and sharing of literature created by the writers of Queensland.

He expressed his hope that many more people would be enabled to be career writers through such initiatives.

Books from our Backyard   is out in print and pdf and you’ll see it in libraries near you.  I was happy to see Pam Galeano and Lyn Marshall’s books featured as well.