Tag Archives: Kate Forsyth

All Your Mother Wants is Books and Pyjamas 


Do you know what your mother really wants for Mothers’ Day, Birthdays, etc? Books and pyjamas. Possibly also tea. But definitely books and pyjamas. Let me help you out in your mighty task of buying your mother that perfect gift. Here are my perfect pairings to delight that special mother in your life.

For the Dog Lover

My first gift recommendation is Monty and Me by Louisa Bennet. A cosy pet detective about a funky dog who knows how to solve a crime or two. 

Pair this book with some super cute pyjamas like this onsie.

Dachshund lovers are there own seperate breed of people so you need to get them an extra special gift. Try Destination Dachshund by Lisa Fleetwood. It’s a really sweet travel memoir about love, grief, and there’s a dachshund spotting competition involved.

Combine Destination Dachshund with something like these adorable pyjamas that will warm the heart of any dachshund lover.

For the Mother that Loves Thrills, Chills, and Spills

You can’t go past L.A. Larkin’s chiller, Devour. It’s Antarctic noir. It has action, suspense, and some sexy sex. Step aside Robert Ludlum, L.A. Larkin is here.

Pair it with something like these fabulous matching onsies. One for you, one for your mother. Heaven.

Does your mother like more action than you can poke a stick at? Grab her Crimson Lake by Candice Fox. Even ultra famous reviewer Jason Steger reads Candice Fox.

Pair it with fabulous red satin pyjamas like these.

For the Mother Who Loves Love

Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester is the perfect option. It even has mother in the title. Just go out and get it already.

Pair it with flower pyjamas instead of actual flowers.

The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth is an evocative weaving of WWII, fairy tale, and love. Lush settings and intense conflict.

Pair it with rose print pyjamas, like these ones, to tie it all together.

For the most Fantastical of Mothers

This years hottest new Fantasy release is Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer. Gods walking amongst people, magic, warriors, and people living in trees. What’s not to like?

Pair it with some forest or bird pyjamas.

Jane Rawson’s From the Wreck is a speculative fiction take on family history. It is set in the 1800s and is gripping from start to finish. Expect Aliens, ghostly apparitions, and some light cannibalism.

Pair it with some good old fashioned long johns. Check out how much this model loves hers.

For the Mother Who Wants to be Kept in Suspense

Does your mother enjoy rotting mutton and murder? See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt is for her. It delivers the story of Lizzie Borden with a heady feast of flavours.

Match it with a super cute lamb onesie, obvi.

Please Don’t Leave Me Here by Tania Chandler brings you grunge music, amnesia and the seedy underbelly of life. Relive the 90s and see if you can find out who Brigitte really is.

Pair it with something super sexy.

For the Mother Who Likes to Laugh

Our Tiny, Useless Hearts starts with the smashing of plates, progresses to cutting the crotch out of trousers, and even incorporates a nod to the famous Romeo and Juliet balcony scene, but gone horribly wrong.

Pair it with some adorbs, heart-print pyjamas.

The Lucky One is Caroline Overington’s eleventh book and is full of hijinks and corpses. There’s a grumpy old man who doesn’t mind getting a bit of air to his nethers, a drunk art, a mother who wants to talk candidly about her sex life, a teenage waif and a sexy cowboy. Plenty of laughs but also lots of suspense.

Pair it with something fit for an heiress.

For the Mother Who Says No to Fiction

We’re All Going to Die by Leah Kaminsky. This is actually a joyful book about dying. I can definitely see the funny side of handing something with this title to your mother, but the content is great too.

Pair it with some killer pyjamas.

The Mad Woman in the Attic, get in that attic, Mother, where you belong. It’s a collection of essays on the portrayal of women in literature. It first came out in 1979. I love this book.

Pair it with some crazy good pyjamas.

For the New Mother

Things that Helped by Jessica Friedmann is a collection of poetic essays that express the yearning of her soul after the birth of her baby.

Pair it with something like these classic silk pyjamas for true indulgence.

Why not grab my fab book for the slightly frazzled mother in your life? Confessions of a Mad Mooer: Postnatal Depression Sucks explores my struggles through depression after the birth of my twins. Having three under three was chaotic and exhausting. It’s conversational, practical, and quite funny.

Pair it with these cow pjs to complete that mad cow vibe.

Now run off and spoil that special mother in your life. Just quietly, gin is also good.


The Kirribilli Club: #Robinpedia


A view from the Kirribilli Club.

The Kirribilli Club is located on Harbourview Crescent in Lavender Bay. It is practically right next door to the Australian Writers’ Centre’s Sydney branch. Kirribilli Club has a history as an Ex-Services Club and is  a member owned not for profit organisation. However it does have Dedes Watergrill restaurant, Sunset Cafe, U-Bar, Sports bar and a stylish cocktail lounge. Given the scurrilous, yet somewhat true, rumour about writers and their love of liquor I don’t think I need to say why this place is a valid entry for Robinpedia…

… but since when have I ever been subtle? Given that Lavender Bay can be a tad quiet on weekends, as it’s mostly seen as a business area, the Kirribilli Club has become an important source of nourishment for students, of the Australian Writers’ Centre Sydney branch, that forget their lunches. And given that writers, both students and masters do a love a tipple, it is at times popular after classes for impromptu “writers’ meetings” and the partaking of “writers’ juice.” It has been said that even internationally renowned authors have been spotted there, drinking their “juice” and “meeting” away… it has been said by me, because I have seen them and “juiced” with them.


A view from the Australian Writers' Centre. Notice the similarity in view with the Kirribilli Club.

For more information about Robinpedia please look here.

If you have any further information that you believe should be added to this entry then please write it in the comment section of this post.

Happy Mothers Day, Here’s Your Damn Book Now Leave Me Alone



Few occasions say buy a book like Mothers Day. Ladies love reading, amirightoramiright? So I’m here to help you chose a book that she’ll actually like rather than one she’ll pretend to like but secretly wonder why the hell you bought her something about pirates and heaving bossoms.

My number 1 recommendation is Kerri Sackville’s Little Book of Anxiety. Don’t pretend like you don’t know why I’d recommend this book, us mothers are anxious, nagging, beasties, and this is a humorous look at anxiety that the anxious mumma in your life will enjoy.

My 2nd recommendation is Primary School Confidential by Mrs Woog. A truly hilarious look at all things Primary School. It’ll make your mum laugh and cringe at all those memories.

My 3rd recommendation is Lisa Fleetwood’s Destination Dachshund. It’s a beautiful family travel memoir about three generations traveling the world together. You could get this one for mum or grandma… it might even inspire them to take you to Europe for a family vacation. Free trip! Woot!

My 4th recommendation is a bit of a change of pace from the first three. Emily Maguire’s An Isolated Incident. An Isolated Incident is a haunting thriller that explores everyday violence. It has real depth and covers some unsettling themes. This is something that your mum can sit down with and really engage with. A novel that will stay with her and really make her think. Perfect for the mum who loves to explore social issues.

Coming in at number 5 is The War Bride by Pamela Hart. A beautiful tale set in 1920s Australia. It is the story of
Margaret Dalton who comes to Australia from England and has to create a new life and form new friendships. There’s a touch of romance for the mums out there who like a bit of a love story.

Number 6 is Lisa Heidke’s Callahan Split. Love, sibling rivalry and tennis. What’s not to like. Get it for the mum who loves tennis or has a sister.

Number 7 is The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth. It’s Beauty and the Beast meets WWII. It’s evocative, it’s romantic, it’s beautiful. Your mother will love it.

At number 8 I have Fiona McArthur’s Aussie Midwives. A heartwarming look at those wonderful people who work around the birthing process. Your mum is sure to be touched by this gift, after all, she probably gave birth to you.

9 is Incredible Bakes That Just Happen to be Refined Sugar Free by Caroline Griffiths. The name says it all. Delicious recipes that everyone can enjoy. If your mum loves to cook then this is the gift for her… and you because she can make you delicious treats from it. Bonus.

And coming in at lucky number 10 is Rhonda RobertsGladiatrix. Perfect for the mum that loves Speculative Fiction. Despite Spec Fic having a rep for being a “boy’s” genre the majority of the readers are actually females. And we love to read about kick ass female leads. So grab your mum a copy and she’ll give you a big thanks. This is Science Fiction with an Australian character heading things up.

So, what are you waiting for? Go get that mother of yours the perfect book.


Brace Yourself; Book Recommendations Are Coming


The Holiday season is upon us and every mother flipper is in need of gifts, Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, and so many more http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson246.shtml . Heck, there are even some birthdays. It’s a gift heavy month in the Western world.  So here are the books I’d recommend… apart from my own, buy it for yourself,  consider it your gift to me.

Let’s get started!


The Princess Betony books by Pamela Freeman. They are gorgeous. They’re small so the perfect size for little hands with beautifully designed covers. These books take the princess stereotype and subverts it. A great balance for any child that has been over exposed to less progressive princess merchandise.


Hansel and Rose by Caroline Magerl. The art in this picture book is simply incredible. It’s a book about belonging, loss and hope. So many important lessons and feelings simplified. A great book for your young early-primary aged friend.


The Callahan Split by Lisa Heidke. Tennis, sibling rivalry, professional ambition, and some romance. What’s not to like. I did offer to design the book cover for her, she didn’t go for it for many reasons  (the book isn’t about Tom Selleck, I’m not a designer… she doesn’t know me. So many reasons) but I still think it’s a great read.


Tiddas by Anita Heiss. Say you read parts of my serial because you wanted to read about a book club but thought my characters were “unbelievably slutty” and “Neanderthals” then this book probably has the depth you’re seeking. I highly recommend it, even if you’re not an uptight jerk who slut shames characters you’re going to love this book because it is sensational. It explores so many complexities in friendship and personal choice.


The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth. Combines masterful story telling, the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, and WWII. If that’s not enough to get your interest then you’re dead to me and I don’t want to know.


The Little Book of Anxiety by Kerri Sackville. Fuck The Little Book of Calm, this book is the book you want. I don’t care if you swallowed The Little Book of Calm, you need to get this book which shares tales from the author’s own anxious life. If you’re an anxious lady, Kerri gets you.


Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier. Full of magic and mystery this is a captivating read for all Fantasy addicts. Juliet Marillier always produces exceptional novels so you can’t go wrong buying anything of hers.


Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres. Kickass sci fi by a kickass writer. Get this one and read it. I don’t want to sound like a total horn dog but there are some exciting characters in there. Somebody pass me my salts.


And as for anthologies, you cannot go past Cranky Ladies of History. It is just spectacular and the name says it all. I cannot recommend this one enough. Get it, get it, get it!!!!! Seriously, look at that cover. The whole thing is gold.

Possibly the best idea of all is to buy all of these for yourself and forget the world for a bit. You deserve it. Happy reading.

Please note that these aren’t all new releases, some are old, some are new… some are borrowed and some are blue.

An Ode to Vaguebooking: Arguments That Never Happen in the Spec Fic World


An Ode to Vaguebooking: Arguments That Never Happen in the Spec Fic World


Dear Fellow Writers,

Recently there was a vague Facebook status on a popular page (a vaguebook if you will), that indicated that writers are not allowed to write about the same topics as each other, especially not if they are friends. The status publicly shamed people who wrote about the same topic as the poster and anyone who dared to say that it isn’t cool to try to publicly humiliate those who write about the same topic as you merely for writing in the same field were called bullies. Ironic. So let’s see how this would play out if it is in fact appropriate to bags topics and deny your friends and others the right to write about the same issues as you… as we all know about six degrees of separation we can’t just leave it to divide topics amongst those nearest and dearest because they’ll somehow be connected to the big players. So let’s see what this would look like on a large scale. Let’s look at the celebrated writers.

I personally would need to throw out a bunch of work because I recently read a wonderful book by internationally acclaimed Kate Forsyth where she recasts an old tale (The Beast’s Garden) so that means I would have to scrap the “Asylum” series that even Garth Nix himself felt had merit (oh yes, that’s a shameless brag, shameless and proud – I did a course with him and he read my first chapter). I really quite liked it… shit, better throw out Snake Song whilst I’m at it. An established writer has already done this kind of thing so I’d just be a “random” or a pretender and never as good, that’s what the vaguebook post stated. I apparently would totally deserve a public dismissal if I ever tried… But then again, Margo Lanagan writes retellings of old folk lore, Tender Morsels, READ IT, it is brilliant. And I’ve heard that Kate Forsyth and Margo Lanagan are friends so I guess Dr Forsyth would have to pull all those books from shelves… but oh wait, Juliet Marillier wrote Daughter of the Forest, one of the best spec fic books of all time in my humble opinion. Does this mean Lanagan and Forsyth would both have to pull work from publication? My brain is about to seep out of my ears now that I think of Sophie Masson. They all breathe fresh life into old tales. And I’m pretty sure they’re all friends. (This assumption is based on hearing them speak at festivals and avidly following them on social media.) I’m pretty sure they all recommend each others books too. Oh my brain.

It’s pretty clear in the Spec Fic world that nobody owns a topic or sub genre or issue or whatever. There is enough unique voice in each and every one of us that we can write about the same things without it being a threat to anyone else because we will all do it our own way.

Thank you Australian Speculative Fiction Women Writers for showing the true spirit of writing comradeship. You are an inspiration to me daily and you do the whole writing community  proud. I’m thankful for your generous spirit towards up and coming, and established authors alike. May we all be more like you and raise more people like you too.

My heart is bursting with Speculative Fiction pride at the moment but…

I’d like to note this same kind of comradary is seen in other genres. To give just one example, both Lisa Heidke and Anita Heiss write fabulous “Chick Lit” novels and are best friends. At least from my cyber stalking they seem to be. And both encourage upcoming writers beautifully.

In the blogasphere there is Kerri Sackville  (also an author) and Lana   Hirschowitz that come readily to mind. They are constantly referencing each other on their pages and even sharing some of the same stuff. They are always encouraging of people commenting and participating. So this encouragement in writers isn’t just in the novel world. It is on Facebook, on Twitter and on Blogs.

Writers by and large are awesome and generous. Don’t let anyone vaguebook you into thinking otherwise.

If you are unfamiliar with any of these women please search them out and follow their pages/blogs/tweets/books. Support those who support others.

Speculative Fiction Festival at #NSWWC


Be Careful What You Wish For

As you all know I can’t resist a good festival so I of course went to the Speculative Fiction Festival at the New South Wales Writers’ Centre run by Cat Sparks. A good time was had by all. My main take-aways from the day are listed below. Enjoy.

Garth Nix

  • Garth Nix is so brilliant and so talented that he sold his first short story at the age of 19 to a magazine he didn’t even submit to. No I don’t feel like elaborating on that story because the specialness might decrease and I prefer to keep him godlike in my mind.
  • Garth Nix states that there are no dead manuscripts. A manuscript might not sell simply because it does not fit with the appeal of the time, in another five years it might suddenly be in. Don’t ever throw away manuscripts, resubmit, recycle, repurpose them.
  • Garth Nix said that I could sit in the same sunny spot as him. I died and the ran away. Totes kept my cool…

James Bradley

  • Initially thought that he would live out his days as a poet in poetry excellence of the most poety kind. Turns out he unfortunately needed to have written more than six poems to do this.
  • If you win a cheque, don’t lose it, the organisers of whatever competition or award you won it for will be pissed off that they have to rewrite it.
  • Authors get rejected all of the time. Don’t let rejection deter you because even if you have one success that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a nasty rejection lurking around the corner.

Kate Forsyth

  • Submit your manuscripts typed. Publishing houses don’t generally accept ones hand written in an exercise book that you have illustrated yourself.
  • Always be brave and keep on persevering. Never let your own fear or ego hold you back.
  • Kate Forsyth signed a copy of Impossible Quest 3 for my niece. I am now the favouritist aunt ever.

Marianne de Pierres

  • Internal logic is key to ensuring that your work is believable and accepted by the reader.
  • Marianne de Pierres says she doesn’t know how she feels about a lot of issues hence her characters have different views and she allows them to sort through bigger picture issues. Her works are explorations not morality messages.
  • Write to you personality style. That being style, genre/subgenre, length, strength of message etc. You have to write your novel not somebody else’s.

Stephanie Lai

  • Stephanie Lai starts with a human/scientific problem and then develops the story around that.
  • Stephanie Lai leans towards short stories because she loves quick immediate communication and gratification.
  • Stephanie Lai says to keep the science real but the world fun and fantastical.

Isobelle Carmody

  • Isobelle Carmody crowd funded her book before crowd funding was a thing. That’s how cool she is. She sold shares in her first book for $30 each and agreed to give the money back should she ever be published.
  • Isobelle Carmody has never been rejected. She humbly claims that it is because she takes so long to write her books that publishers are too scared to say no lest she never write another one or takes even longer next time.

Bruce McCabe

  • Bruce McCabe starts with real life problems being explored in scientific labs today, then moves out twenty years and explores what will be happening with those issues and advances.
  • Bruce McCabe feels that trying to box Science Fiction into a narrow definition isn’t productive. That there is a whole spectrum of sci fi ranging from hard to soft and they’re all equally valid.

Pamela Freeman

  • Okay, I am so spun out by what she said to me personally that I cannot even remember what she said on her panels. It would have been insightful too because she always says really good stuff. Pamela Freeman told me that she had read my ebook What Happens in Book Club… and had laughed so hard that she had to read bits to her husband. I nearly died in fangirling overload. I’m not confident that I am actually awake and this isn’t some extended dream. If I truly am awake… GO ME!

Now the bit that you really want, WHAT DID THE PUBLISHERS SAY THEY WANTED?!?

FableCroft Publishing

They are looking for sci fi. Middle Grade and YA. Make sure you read their submission guidelines or Tehani Wessley will cry. You don’t want to make her cry do you?

Ticonderoga Publications

They like anthologies. Love them! So write an awesome short story. Just don’t be sexist, and violent for the sake of shocking rather than for the sake of the story, otherwise Liz Gryzb will cry. You don’t want to make her cry either, do you?

Just quietly, I did pitch to one of the owners the idea of making a The Voice / Literary Pitching crossover show. They weren’t down with it, so if you have any great ideas like that, don’t pitch those to them. Russell Far rather kindly pointed out that although spinning chairs would be fun, they don’t actually see the person pitching as it is, only their words. Good point Russell, good point. However, if there are any TV execs out there who like my idea I am prepared to except my millions of dollars now.

Pantera Press

Their rep was so warm and wonderful that I think everyone wants to now submit every manuscript to them. Seriously, he was lovely and so caring. He was the Rick Martin of the Panel because he had such passion. The rep in attendance likes Romance so I think we’re all switching just to work with him.


Genre fiction with a very clear audience in mind. So none of that boundary hopping, all over the place, wishy washy stuff. Keep it tight, keep it focused, keep it commercially appealing.

Harper Voyager

Wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of Epic Fantasy. But please don’t use humour in your submissions, or guilt trips over the fact that your family will starve if they don’t pick up your manuscript. They don’t like that.


Submit through the UK website

Hope to see you at the next festival.


There’s Something About @KateForsyth


Happy birthday Kate. Geminies are lovely. My three year old is one. I’m not biased at all… Those are my baby boys in the pic.

Albert Einstein said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Well it would seem that birthday girl, Dr of Fairy Tales Kate Forsyth, has made it her mission to make the world a more intelligent place one book at a time. She came to Fairy Tale notoriety when she published Bitter Greens in 2012 and has gone on to release The Wild Girl, about Dortchen Wild one of the sources that the Grimm brothers used, and most recently The Beast’s Garden. Now of course before she released these three tombs Kate Forsyth was a well established author with 20+ titles under her belt. Not only is she a writing juggernaut, but is also one of Australia’s most recognized and most well liked authors who regularly teaches fledgling writers. Even little old me. So I thought for today, seeing how it is fabulous Dr Forsyth’s birthday, we should show her some love back, lord knows she needs it, she must be exhausted from all the writing and teaching she does. So I’m going to share some of my favourite Kate Forsyth quotes that I have memefied (is that a word?). I would love to see yours too.


That’s me reading on my honeymoon.