Latest News

Getting exciting

Monday, 01 June 2015 16:34

Only four days to go to the launch of the new book, Bystanders. It's been a packed few weeks. First, the publication and the excellent response to the Literati group's production of Something in the Blood - Vampire Tales with a Christian Bite. The launch, in the North Adelaide Lutheran Church, was a fun occasion, and the garlic bread and red cordial we served seemed to get an appropriate reaction... Guest speaker, Dr Lynn Arnold, gave the book a tremendous introduction to the world, and made it clear that this was an arena where the popular interest in vampires and Christian concerns could meet most productively. Four of us read excerpts from the book - including my poem 'Apostate'. Sales were good, and the audience enthusiastic. A good night.

Now I'm in the throes of preparation for my own book launch, with some great publicity in the morning's Advertiser, in the Articles of Faith section.  The photo, with my huge old family Bible, Heilige Schrift, could have been worse, so I'm relieved. On other fronts, good to see the latest issue of The Write Angle arrive in my mailbox, with poems by both David and me. But little writing is getting done, as my main work for the moment seems to be promotion and marketing of Bystanders, a very time-consuming affair. Roll on the launch, and back to real life. One of the really good side-effects of this launch, at the West Torrens Auditorium, has been the getting back into touch with so many old friends who are planning to attend.

Almost winter - but not of discontent

Thursday, 14 May 2015 13:22

End of May is close, and winter's almost on us, but what a splendid and colourful autumn it's been. And very satisfying in many ways. An excellent review of Passion Play in the latest edition of Polestar Writers' Journal, a lovely magazine whose pictures are as much a delight as the text. News of acceptance of several poems by various magazines, such as Tamba, and publication in others. I'm including the Passion Play review on the relevant page in this web site. All encouraging.

As is the response rate to invitations to my next major book launch, Bystanders, on June 4 at the West Torrens Library Auditorium, by now my book launch 'home'  .. this is the third one they've hosted. It's shaping up well; so far almost 150 acceptances in the week since the first invitations went out. Anyone reading this who would like to come, please do - but very important that you email or phone me to let me know. With these events I need to keep a careful eye on numbers so that catering is covered adequately.

Meanwhile tomorrow night (Friday May 15) our writing group Literati will launch its latest book, a wonderful and quirky collection of Christian vampire stories (yes, really!!)  It has a great title:  Something in the Blood  - Vampire Tales with a Christian Bite.  There are thirteen writers of the 16 Tales - David and I have one each and while all the others are prose we've written poems. Story poems, true. We have no idea how many people will come to the launch in the North Adelaide Immanuel Lutheran Church, where Rev Dr Lynn Arnold will give the launch speech - but we plan to serve, among other suitable goodies garlic bread and red cordial. Very Vampire.


I'll add another post to this page when I can report on the event and its outcome. The press coverage in the Adelaide Advertiser last Monday, with Mark Worthing, Dimity Knight and me all obeying the photographer's orders to 'look horrified' should have created some interest in the event ...

Bystanders by VALERIE VOLK

Monday, 27 April 2015 19:19
 

ECHOES OF STORIES PAST

Autumn posting

Monday, 13 April 2015 16:32

The trees are turning ... the trees are burning. No, it's no longer bushfire season, but the flaming colours of autumn in the Hills are a reminder that this year too is slipping past with unnerving speed.

It's been a busy six weeks, which included Writers' Week with its stimulating guest speakers - the Helen Garner session was really valuable. Then an Easter trip to Canberra for a family gathering, and also reunions with many old friends. On the way home, a stop in Albury where we met for coffee with Paul Grover, editor of Studio journal, where I've had poems published for the last six years. Always a pleasure to be in the company of so many good writers, and a special treat to meet and talk with Paul after all these years of email contact.

Now it's back to routine, with final decisions to be made for the cover of Bystanders, and the tricky question of text on both the front and back to go with the very dramatic image that has been suggested by Wakefield. I never like decision-making, and these are so crucial. Lots of planning to do for both the launch and also general marketing and PR for this book, which is meant for such a wide variety of readers. 

Good news from Poetica Christi, who tell me that they will publish both my 'Sestina of Childhood' and also 'Two Vignettes of Childhood' in their forthcoming book based on the theme of 'inner child', news that really pleased me. Also that this year's Friendly Street Reader will once again include one of my poems - since I started serious publication of my writing there has been at least one of my poems in this annual Reader each year - very encouraging. As was last week's InDaily, where two of my poems, 'The Glass half Empty' and 'Stratification' appeared.

And the other exciting news is that the Christian vampires book  - yes, you heard me! A book of stories and poems about Christian vampires! - by the Literati writing group is now in print. Something in the Blood - a great title, isn't it! - will be launched by Dr Lynn Arnold on Friday, May 15 at 6.30 at the North Adelaide Immanuel Lutheran Church. All welcome. Do come, if this very novel concept intrigues you.

 

 

Still summer

Monday, 23 February 2015 14:50

It's February. It's summer. It's hot - and I'm happy. I love this weather, even the 40 degree days. But then, that doesn't mean that I'm anti the cold weather. In fact, I really enjoy the minus 30 weather of Siberia in mid-winter, or the Arctic Circle, when there's almost total night. Am I just a creature of extremes? Or do I lack discrimination? Maybe both.

So summer is rolling on, and I seem to have done very little new writing. The hectic socialising of the Christmas two months meant of little - let's be accurate - NO spare time, with non-stop house guests, and months of housewife/hostess activities. It wasn't writer's block I was experiencing, but it was Writer Deprivation. It's amazing that I actually did manage to write two poems in amongst all that cooking/washing/ironing ...  But so good now to be getting back to my desk and writing again.

The two Studio reviews of Passion Play appeared in the latest issue of the journal, and gave me great joy. They are both now on the 'reviews' pages of the the Passion Playsection of this web site, if you'd like to share my pleasure in them. I suggested to someone that I'd like them on my tombstone; she pointed out tersely that I'd need a mausoleum to fit them. Too true. 

My other main activity at present is preparing for the publication of Bystanders - the new book Wakefield Press is releasing in May, ready for the June 4 launch by Lynn Arnold. I hope very much that all friends and anyone interested will come to that event at the West Torrens Council Library Auditorium  - but do let me know if you'd like to join us, just for catering numbers. I'm interested to see responses to this new book - my sixth, but the first full length prose publication. Up to now, my published fiction has all been shorter pieces, mainly short stories. At least my non-poetry-reading friends are feeling great relief about the new book ...  Strange, that!

Flowers & Forebears by VALERIE VOLK

Monday, 16 February 2015 21:31
 

A FEAST FOR THE SENSES

Flowers & Forebears

Monday, 16 February 2015 21:24

So many months ....

Friday, 30 January 2015 16:34

It's hard to believe that two months have slipped by since I last posted on this web site, but Christmas has come and gone with its nine weeks of non-stop house guests. Lovely to have them all, as offspring came from interstate and other friends from overseas, and the months went by in a seemingless endless stream of meals cooked and washing and ironing, but oh so exhausting. I can see why my writing life has languished in the morass of living. Maybe a holiday from writing wasn''t a bad idea, no matter how frustrating. But now this other life resumes ...

Flowers & Forebears has had a great response. So many people buying multiple copies to send as small gifts or in lieu of Christmas cards. I had two re-printings done by Ginninderra Press and am once more almost out of stock. What a great idea of Stephen Matthews and Brenda Eldridge to create this series of Pocket Poets, and how good for the poetry world to establish a whole new reading audience through these small non-threatening volumes. Check out the sample poems that I am about to put on this web site, and you'll see why I say that flowers have a wonderful power to evoke memories.

Meanwhile, enough publications of my poetry have reached my mail box during these two months to keep me on track. Poems published in the last two months in magazines like The Mozzie, Tamba, Poetry Matters, InDaily Poets' Corner, Poetry Monash, have all reassured me that there is a writing public out there that I can connect with, and lovely incidents like the lady who came to me in tears after a poetry reading in the Adelaide Hills to say how much she had been moved by my poem. It's moments like  these that keep me writing when frustration sets in.

I'm waiting eagerly for the next edition of the journal Studio to arrive  - I've seen an advance copy of the two reviews of Passion Play that it will contain, and they are heart-warming. I definitely will post a link to these when they come. Meanwhile I'm working hard on organising for the publication and promotion of my next book, the sixth, to be released by Wakefield for a June 4 launch. More of this in another post on this page.

Back home again!

Thursday, 27 November 2014 09:24

When I look at this 'News' page, it's a horrible reminder of how fast time passes. The last entry is dated August, and it's now three months later. True, we were overseas for almost two months of that time, and both the Irish and the German weeks were splendid. Totally different! Ireland was mainly a bus tour, hosted by the well-known Celtic singer from Melbourne, Maria Forde, whose passion for Irish music and the homeland of her forefathers made this trip a real delight. Our most articulate bus driver, Oliver, proved a mine of information on Irish history and proved to be a raconteur par excellence! The combination of unbelievably spectacular scenery, good weather, and many nights of music making in warm and friendly Irish pubs made for a very happy trip. (And yes, I did write a 'poem a day' - and have come back from this tour too with a swag of memories captured in verse.)


The German weeks were equally good in a very different way. Travel by train the length and breadth of Germany was quite an experience in itself ... you try manipulating heavy cases up the steep narrow steps of German regional trains! But the warmth of welcome and wonderful hospitality of our friends and relatives in towns all over the country made this time also a very happy experience. Perhaps the best moment for me was sitting in the warm golden light of a small chocolate/cake cafe in the main street of Oberammergau while outside in the grey afternoon snowflakes fell lightly. Magic!

Then it was home and back into work! Straight on with preparation of the Bystanders book for release next May, while meanwhile I found myself part of the very innovative Ginninderra Press series of publications: little Pocket Poet books, each one featuring twenty pages of poetry chosen by writers who have published books with this small boutique publishing house. I found that I had many poems written over the years about flowers and their power to evoke memories - so was born my book in the series, called Flowers & Forebears, released this week. Most of them poems which recollect my grandparents, parents, significant others, memories conjured up by the flowers of the title.  Samples and more about this book will be featured elsewhere in this website in the next few days. And yes, you will be able to order copies from the last page, as usual.

So it's been a very busy time, and the influx of Christmas house guests is almost on me. I love it.

 

Second half year

Monday, 18 August 2014 15:06

And how rapidly it's going! Suddenly it's more than half way through August, and getting very close to our trip to Ireland and Germany. We do seem to be totally unprepared for departure, but then I usually feel like this at this stage. So maybe all will be well.

So much of this last month has gone on double-barrelled work: lots more book promotion of Passion Play - more guest speaking, which is always fun, and audiences have been so receptive that it's worth the psyching up ahead. But at the same time I've been getting organised for next year's book. Once the contract with Wakefield Press was signed, a great flood of relief swept over me, especially as all the readers ahead had given it such a positive reception and written great letters of endorsement for it. Also relieved that Wakefield want to publish it next year instead of 2014 - this suits me admirably and leaves me free to go away with a clear conscience and time to do the needed revisions and fine-tuning when I get back. 

So Bystanders (another book that's been simmering in my mind for many decades) will see the light of day in the second half of 2015.

Meanwhile I've had the fun of getting back the copies of A Poem a Day, based on the 33 poems I wrote, one a day, as we travelled round Spain last year. David put it together using Photoclub, a business that's worth a strong recommendation, and each day has a double page, a colour photo on the left and the poem for that day on the right hand side. I'm delighted with the way it's turned out, and we've produced a few copies for family members. I'm now thinking I might try to record our time travelling in Ireland in the same way. Journals and photo books are a great reminder, and we'll always do these, but the 'poem a day' book captures memories in such a special way. The power of verse, perhaps?

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