1 August 2012 - It's Bin A Pleasure

Quote of the day:

"We all have the extraordinary

coded within us, waiting to be released."

Jean Houston

G'day guys,

 Here is a short story I wrote many years ago. It might just make your day.

'It's Bin A Pleasure' (c)

He’d spent all day searching for work. Heading home with no good news, his beaten-up
old car hissed and farted along the muddy road, the wipers singing a tune he’d
rather not hear. He’d spent every day looking for work since the factory had
closed but he was still positive. Something would eventually present itself. Sooner
rather than later he hoped. It was Christmas and money was tight. Any work
would have been better than social security. He was committed to finding
something – anything. Not only to feed his family, but also for his own
integrity. What others thought of him was unimportant. What was important was
what he felt inside, that feeling of self-satisfaction and a sense of personal
achievement. Sure, he could have taken his family to the city, but living there
didn’t really appeal. The city conjured up visions of hell and frustration.
Some of his friends had made the ultimate sacrifice and left the serenity of
the bush to head for the bright lights of suburbia. None of them were happy.
They told him on a regular basis.

He continued on at a safe speed, noticing landmarks he’d seen countless times. After all, it was a road he knew well, having travelled down it so often since he was a boy. Just on the right was the old Gernan home that burned to the ground decades ago. Around the next corner would be the old dairy with the crooked roof.

‘Why on earth would I want to leave a place I know and love? God, Mum and Dad are buried here. That must stand for something,’ he muttered as snowflakes made the wiper blades work harder.

Turning at Sharp’s Corner, he almost collided with a blue Jaguar parked on the
shoulder. Standing beside it was an elderly woman, obviously in trouble. He
pulled over and came to a halt some metres in front of her vehicle. Little did
he know she’d been standing there for the past hour, hoping and praying someone
would pass. She smiled wanly as he got out of his car. Deep inside, a part of
her was petrified. It was the first time she’d been stranded. Squinting at the
man, her mind visited a million strange and awful places she’d seen in horror
movies. He looks weary and down and out. But maybe, just maybe, he’s an angel in disguise, she thought.

Grabbing his cap and reliable old coat he slammed the door and trudged slowly back to the elderly woman. He could tell she was nervous, cold and frustrated. It was etched into her face. She also looked well heeled, wearing polished boots and a long leather coat.

‘Evenin’, maam. In trouble are ya?’ She folded her arms and frowned.

‘Yes. I think I have a flat tyre on the far side,’ she nervously replied, pointing blindly.

‘I see. Well. Why don’t ya pop in the car and get outta the weather. I’ll take a look at it for ya. Me name’s Bob. Nice to meet ya.’

‘Hi, Bob,’ she said with a smile, quickly took his advice and found the comfort of her car.

Satisfied the woman was out of the weather, he inspected the vehicle then opened the boot and retrieved the spare tyre, carefully hidden under plush carpet provided by the famous Jaguar company. He’d never changed a tyre on a Jag before but he had enough knowledge to work out where the Jack fitted. ‘Thank God the spare’s full of air,’ he murmured and set to work.

The flat tyre was off and the spare was fitted in ten cold, dirty minutes. As the last nuts were being finger-tightened, the woman lowered the window on the passenger side. ‘I’m so grateful for your help, Bob. This weather is frightful. I feel so awful. I’m in here while you are out there repairing my vehicle. I’m ever so thankful to you.’

He looked up. ‘Think nothin’ of it. It had to be done, eh?’ Minutes later he sighed. With the punctured tyre in the boot of the car, he slammed the lid and wiped his grubby hands on his jacket. ‘All fixed, maam. You drive carefully now. Don’t forget to get the spare fixed as soon as ya can.’

‘Thanks, Bob. How much do I owe you for your kindness? I must owe you something for your help,’ she said, noticing black smudge marks on his face and snowflakes on his cap and the shoulders of his jacket.

He rubbed his whiskered chin and offered a gentle smile. ‘Nothin’at all. But … maybe next time ya see someone who needs a hand … see what ya can do for ‘em. It’s bin a pleasure ... merry Christmas.’

‘But … ‘

‘No buts, maam. Take care now ... and happy new year to you and your family.’

Stepping back, he waited for her to drive off before he slid into his own vehicle and grinned as it cranked over first time. Although it had been a dirty job, he smiled inwardly and pressed on towards home, always pleased to help someone in trouble, especially city folks.

*  *  *

     Parking the Jaguar, she hurried up the steps to grab a cup of coffee. It had been such an awful day until she met Bob. The general store stood alone in the miserable weather, but she refused to chance another fifty kilometres before another one appeared and soon found a seat close to an old-fashioned heater. Within seconds, a very-pregnant waitress
appeared with a menu and a welcome, steamy face-towel to freshen things up.

‘Evening. What can I get you?’

‘Hello. Just a black coffee please.’

Steaming coffee arrived within minutes. It was hot and presented with a genuine smile.

‘Thank you.’

‘You’re welcome.’ As the waitress returned to her chores, the owner of the Jaguar admired her for working so late in such a lonely part of the world. She also admired her friendly attitude and service. Strangely, the name Bob came to mind.

The coffee was not only hot, it was also good quality. Wanting to press on, she paid her bill with a $100 dollar note and quietly left the store as soon as the waitress ambled away to seek some change. Returning, the waitress noticed her customer had gone. On the table were two fifty-dollar notes resting beside an empty cup and a simple message had been
scrawled on a napkin.

Thank you. It’s bin a pleasure…merry Christmas.

 After the tables had been wiped, rubbish removed and sugar bowls topped up, the waitress left around midnight. Preparing for bed, she recalled the words written by the mysterious woman who’d left her an almighty tip.

‘How could a complete stranger have known we needed the money, especially with a baby on the way?’ she whispered and crawled into bed. Smiling at her sleeping husband, she gently kissed him and whispered a message. ‘It’s going to be okay. Sweet dreams, Bob. Merry Christmas.’

The End

(Copyright Clancy Tucker)

Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... leave a comment or send me an email: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker.



31 July 2012 - Writing For Kids

Quote of the day:

"It takes courage to lead a
life … any life!"

Erica Jong

Writing tip of the day - Writing for kids.

G'day guys,

Many years ago a good mate and I would have a monthly dinner at a close friend's home. Di was a single mum with two young daughters - Sheree and Tracey. One evening when the girls had nestled into bed, Di asked me to tell them a story. Di knew I'd always been a storyteller, but I wondered, 'What will I tell them?' Di's answer was simple, 'Tell them what you've seen on your travels overseas.'

Sheree and tracey were wonderful kids; 5 and 6 years-of-age at the time. They were gorgeous kids, and so polite. Anyway, nervously, I entered their bedroom and started to tell them about America, a place I had lived for some time. Naturally, I gave them a brief introduction, explaining how long it took for me to fly to America, the size of the Jumbo jet, how many states existed in the USA and how many people lived there.

Minutes later, I was chatting about New York City, The Statue of Liberty, snow, extreme heat, the Empire State Building, how high it was, how the building swayed in the breeze and many other major highlights. The girls were enchanted. The next morning Di rang me to say that the girls had raved about America during breakfast, and continually asked, 'When's Uncle Clancy coming for dinner again?' Mm ... now the girls are in their early 30's and have kids of their own: Kate, Ben, Kai and Summer. However, Sheree and Tracey still vividly recall those storytelling episodes in detail.

So, what's the secret to writing a good story for kids?

I guess you have to try and recall what you were like as a kid when someone read you a story. All the gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions, hand movements and special effects that helped to grab your attention. You also have to decide if your story will be an adventure, humorous, fantasy, science fiction, magic or dramatic story. The same principles apply in a book, whether it is a picture book or novella.

What do children's publishers look for?

1. Many kids books are published each year so you will have heaps of competition. Brace yourself. Publishers will be looking for originality, or a different slant on a theme.

2. Your story must appeal to kids: language, storyline, sentence structure, be fascinating, understandable etc.

3. 'KISS' - keep it simple stupid!

4. Don't forget who you're writing for. What you like may not be easily understood by kids.  Write for the specific age group you are targeting, not yourself.

5. Be a storyteller.


Be observant. Watch and listen to kids. They are great teachers. Don't forget to include smells, feelings, sounds, shapes and weather in your story. As a photographer, I've walked hundreds of miles over the years with a camera around my neck, waiting, waiting for that great shot.  Yes, I see things through the lense of a camera and grab it. Sometimes I perceive something might happen, especially with kids. What do I do? I wait ... then Bingo! Sometimes what happens might be totally unexpected, but who cares. I've captured that very moment and learnt more about how kids play or react to different situations.

Test your skills on your clients.

Many of my students are writing stories for kids. I always suggest that they test their work out on kids and have those kids answer a simple questionnaire like I do with my readers. The results can be quite gob smacking.

NB: This post is dedicated to Sheree and Tracey - two wonderful listeners.

Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... send me an email or leave a comment: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker.


30 July 2012 - Writing Groups

Quote of the day:

"You can cheat some people, try and cheat God,

but you can never cheat yourself."

Writing tip of the day:

G'day guys,

Today I want to introduce writing groups. Although writing is generally a solitary job, at some stage you will need to speak to another writer, whether you like it or not. However, not everyone shares the same passion as you, nor will they have the same aspirations or be at your level. So, what do you do? Maybe there is a local writing group. I joined one many years ago but I soon left. Why, because no one was as serious as me. I'm not being critical at all. A majority of them wrote for personal satisfaction and enjoyment. Others wrote for their family. I wanted, and still do, wanted to write for the world. Why not, eh? So, check out your local area, join a group and make your own mind up.

Online: there are many online groups to join. They might be a chat group, message board, online forum or maybe a social networking site such as Facebook. Do your homework and find a group that suits you. LinkedIn is a great networking site with many discussion groups for writers. What are the advantages of joining such groups?

1. You will meet other writers and be able to swap stories and moan and groan together.

2. Share successes and frustrations.

3. Exchange information ... calls for manuscripts, contests, short stories and poetry, contract advice and heaps more. I've met fabulous writers via the Internet as you will see with the guest author's interviewed in the coming weeks. The oldest is 92, and he still has a fire in his belly. The youngest is 18 and so savvy!

4.  Connecting with like-minded people can save you swags of time on the Internet and introduce you to ideas you never thought of. Keep your mind open.

5. You can learn tips from others, probably people who have already done the hard yards. You might learn how to write a good cover letter or how to give your characters some lustre. Most writers are on the same page. They are willing to support you and pass on their knowledge.

6. Connecting with other writers in person or online can introduce you to friends. However, you will find people who are not as keen or ambitious as you. I have many times, and have found them difficult to deal with. This is a very tough gig so do not be dragged down by someone who wants you to make their lunch, pack it and eat it too. If they are 'wannabe writers', and you are a serious writer, let them loose. Surround yourself with positive people.

7. Ask questions!

 Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... send an email: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker


29 July 2012 - Jasha Levi - Guest Author

Quote of the day:

"Be liberel with your praise"

Clancy Tucker

G'day guys,

I've decided to introduce a weekly guest author who will answer questions I have put to them. Today's guest is a good mate from the USA - Jasha Levi.  Jasha has had a remarkable life and is still maintaining his rage in his 90's. Go Jasha! He has written several books and is a great activist for self-published authors. Gotta give him some brownie points for that.

About Jasha Levi:

From Sarajevo in 1921 to New York in 1956 and beyond, this is a memoir of my journey—before, during, and after the Holocaust—over continents, through wars and peace, hatreds and brotherhoods, successes and hardships, uprootings and setting up roots again.

It was a particularly winding and arduous road, from the 1940 student revolt that toppled the pro-Nazi government in pre-war Belgrade to the 1941 escape from native Quislings in Sarajevo; from a three-year confinement as an enemy civilian during WWII in Asolo, Italy, to the chasing out—in 1941–45—of the Yaeger Division in the last year of war in Dalmatia; from battling Soviet attempts to dominate Yugoslavia in 1948, to becoming a journalist with the world as my beat.

While reporting from the UN on the Soviet invasion of Hungary, I sought asylum in New York in despair over my homeland ever becoming a democratic nation. At 35 I started a new life in America, as a laborer, draftsman, sales clerk, and eventually executive of two national non-profits.

'The Last Exile' is about a youth with literary ambitions in a sleepy town in the Balkans who survives on the periphery of the Holocaust and finally makes it as a man in the center of the world.

My new book, 'Requiem for a Country', takes another look at the same life and times, but it expands into a political memoir and history lesson. Its text reads like an adventure novel, yet it can serve as a geopolitical primer, with footnotes and annotated, tackling the controversies of our times.

Anyway, here are some links to the great man:

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Exile-tapestry-life/dp/1439251045/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327719602&sr=1-4  - 'The Last Exile'

http://www.jashalevi.com/  - Jasha's website

Author interview:


I wrote love poems and newspaper articles before I wrote a few books on foreign affairs, but I was 89  before I published my non-fiction report on my life.


When I discovered the love of words from listening to people talk and reading book from all over the world.


Being able to express my feelings, thoughts and concerns.


Becoming one and then staying true to the calling.


Just a different kind of scribe.


Breaking the “personal barrier” – becoming able to speak about my life from a perspective of time.


I just finished 'Blood Without Honey', a three part eBook on the Bosnian genocides. One part is my translation of the report written by my niece who survived the three year siege of Sarajevo.


Classic literary works I wish I had written.


Non-fiction for public consumption, funny pieces for friends, great literature in imagination
only. Can't tell a story I haven't lived or fictionalise the one I experienced


If it is in you, let it out. But don't forget to learn to write the best way you can. Read
everybody else, but first master the classics both for their excellence as writers but also for their mastery of language.


In my experience, deadlines have always cured me of it.


I used to get up early, when no one was around talking, and write in peace. Then I learned to simply ignore the din around me. Now my best times are somewhere between two
and seven in the morning,  when my ever more fleeting thoughts are undisturbed by extraneous din.


Used to be anyplace with a pad and pencil. Now, it is at my computer. No more pretense of
waiting for the muse to show up. They never do anymore.


The final edit.


The list is as long as literature itself. I've loved Greeks and the Russians, the French,
Checks, Austrians, one Rumanian (Panaiot Istrati, a youthful fancy), great
American depression writers, Yugoslav classics unfortunately not well known
abroad, and one world famous Southerner at whose door I learned all I wanted to
master in English: William Faulkner.


I cherish but discount the comments by those who know me, because I think they factor in the friendship. The best is when I am told that someone enjoyed hearing me talk
about my experiences.


I don't quote the dead. Seriously, nobody was rude enough to tell me.




Theatre, classical music and classical jazz, folk music, visual arts.


Very much so. Wouldn't go out into the world unwashed.


When all goes well. After all, I took me 90 years to deserve that.


Less than a year ago, I started The indiePENdents.org to fight for the place in the sun which is still denied independent  writers. Its progress gives me great joy. I continue writing on a regular basis. Always have projects I start that need to be finished. Anything to postpone the inevitable. I've been in a hurry all my life; now I have all the time I want and I use it
to the best of my abilities, which – I am glad to say – are still concentrated
in my brain while somewhat AWOL from my legs.

Thanks, Jasha. Love ya work!

Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... email me: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker


28-July-2012 - Prime Minister's Literary Awards

Quote of the day:

"Books are cool.

They take you away to awesome places."

Clancy Tucker

Comment of the day:

 Mm ... winners of the Australian Prime Minister's Literary Awards were announced on the 23rd of July in the National Library in Canberra. Well done to the winners.  The awards attracted the highest number of entries since its inception, and entries were received from every state and territory; including books, e-books, websites, documentaries and audiovisual material.

I especially clap the winner of the inaugural poetry award. Why, because I have fought hard to have a poetry award included in the PM's Awards. Yep, poetry was not considered cool until 2012. Amazing, eh? Yet, Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson is on our ten-dollar note and he is the author of Waltzing Matilda - a famous Australian author and poet. Sad indeed.

I am still fighting hard with the Prime Minister's Department to overturn their antiquated rules. Sadly, self-published authors cannot enter our Prime Minister's Literary Awards. Nor can they enter the Victorian Premier's Awards. Amazing, eh? It is 2012, isn't it?

Here are the winners: well done and congratulations to you all.

Fiction – Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears
Poetry – Interferon Psalms by Luke Davies
Non-fiction – An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark by Mark McKenna
Prize for Australian History – The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia by Bill Gammage
Young adult fiction – When We Were Two by Robert Newton
Children’s fiction – Goodnight, Mice! By Frances Watts, illustrated by Judy Watson

Personal comment:

Here are a few statements made by Arts Minister, Simon Crean, at the National Library - an obvious politician, not self-published author.

1. "The enthusiastic response in the Prime Minister's Literary Awards shows that we are in a golden age of Australian writing." Golden what, I ask?

2. "These Awards provide important recognition of the depth of serious pursuit in literature, historical research, prose and verse and celebrate the pre-eminent literary talent we have here in Australia." Unless you are self-published!

Final comment:

All you readers, teachers, librarians, parents, uncles, aunties and grandparents are not permitted to see the full list of books that are available in this country. Nope, you're only allowed to read those books that are published by mainstream publishers. Self-published authors are the great unwashed and considered to be a threat. So, next time you choose a book for your class, your child, niece, nephew or grandchild, ask yourself one question: is this the best on offer?

Answer: NO!

*** Olympic Games***

Mm ... is there a connection between the abovementioned subject and the Olympic Games? I guess there is. It's all about fair competition and a level playing field - NOT!

Best wishes to all competitors in the London Olympics. I've always likened writing to an Olympian. A writer works for years to perfect a novel, only to have it rejected by publishers. The same applies for Olympians who train hard for four years, hoping they will stand on the dais and hear their national anthem. But, if they break down days before their race or event, they then have to step back, take a deep breath and train for another four years for the next Olympics - an eight-year wait to win a medal. That takes passion, hard work and stamina.

*** Go Olympians ***

Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... email me: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker.


27 July 2012 - Bruno's Seven Wives

Quote of the day:

"Better than the gold of
kings, are memories of happy things."

G'day guys,

Today I present some light humour. This is one of several bush poems I included in 'Gunnedah Hero'. It's called 'Bruno's Seven Wives'. I'm a sometimes poet, but I enjoy having fun with words. This poem is about the Australian gold rush in the 1850's.

 ‘Twas way back in the big o’l Rush – the golden one I mean,

I met a Latin bloke, so rough and tough and downright lean.

It happened quite by chance down at a ‘Sly’ near Tamba Creek,

of all the wildly tales he had ‘twas gold he hoped to eke.

Me and Bruno, we had fun and laughed with happy glee

but two pint-pots and pretty soon neither of us could see.

We made the other patrons leave with all our talk and noise,

we didn’t mean them any harm, us larrikins of boys.


Ol’ Bruno, he was quite a lad and had a wife or two,

was my turn to get lucky when I met a girl named Prue.

She was a strong and solid lass, and boy she had a smile,

made her way to see him as she walked a lengthy mile.

He said she was his seventh – and I thought him up to tricks,

lucky that I’d kept the peace, then met his number six.

A shorter girl with darker hair was quite a charming maid,

poor Jane, she sat there all forlorn, a-lookin’ rather staid.

I got up in the morning and had Bruno come to me

with another bold and fearless lass he called his number three.

Ah, this one was a sweetie – so damn young and pretty too,

the newest one of Bruno’s and by far the best of few.

She too was Latin, seems that she had followed him by sea,

had crossed the wildest oceans just to find and be with he.

I liked that gal indeed – for me it was her Latin charm,

though nought a chance I knew I had, but lookin’ did no harm.

A week had passed us by and then I met a bawdy one,

a girl so full and amply built; by God, she was some fun.

And just when I had chances and some thoughts I might deplore,

Bruno came upon the scene this time with number four.

To make things even worse along came woman number two,

so there I was just starin’, there was nothin’ I could do.

I sat still all agog and just admired his lovin’ way,

while Bruno made the sounds that seem to make all women sway.

That lean, smooth Latin lover, he said everything just right,

he charmed the girls, he soothed their souls and left me no delight.

I’d never seen the likes of him; smooth charm he sure did ooze.

old Bruno played it super cool and let his women choose.

He knew of all the tiny whispers girls so like to hear,

it was a tried and simple style and made them feel no fear.

I’m sure it was his charming grin and true romantic heart,

that offered him the full-proof edge and left me with no start.

Yet me and Bruno stayed as mates like bees inside a hive,

but some time  later on the scene out came his number five.

She was true Irish, just like me, but greener than the rest,

her name was Kathryn Ryan and by far the very best.

One night while we were sittin’ ‘round a hot and roarin’ fire,

just havin’ fun and laughin’ ‘till the humour turned to ire,

it was a bold and tough old wench who came upon the scene,

she bowled right in on all of us, so hard and downright mean.

‘Twas Bruno’s number one; a scary gal called Madame Lash,

who spat out evil anger making all the others dash.

Then she let forth ya know, she was a swearin’, cursin’ dame,

and left our dearest Bruno feeling weak and kind of lame.

That’s how it happened way back then, back amidst the Rush,

When I met a clean lean Latin - so full of lovely gush.

That’s how I came to find meself a cute ‘lil Irish wife,

when Lash got hold of Bruno and caused a heap of strife.

Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... send me an email: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker


26 July 2012 - Writing a blurb

Quote of the day:

"Don’t expect to find one
right way to make yourself more creative."

Writing tip of the day:

G'day guys,

As discussed in other posts, writing is one thing, but marketing it is vital. The cover is important, so is the blurb on the back cover. I guess you have to think laterally. As you sit in your favourite writing place, you have to imagine why a reader would walk into a store and pick up your book and buy it when there are thousands of others to choose from.  You have possibly already written a story synopsis and chapter summary, so you have a fair idea how to precis' or cut to the chase - or be 'economical with words' as I call it. Here are a few points on writing a blurb on the back cover. Quite simply, it must seduce the reader to buy it.

1. In  a bookstore or on the web, readers only take eight seconds to make up their mind about whether or not they want to buy a book. EIGHT SECONDS!

2. The first hook is the cover. Is it attractive? Is it engaging and relevant to the story within?

3. The second hook is the blurb. This is your only chance to convince a perspective reader that they really need to read your book. And, you only have about 100 words to do it.

Elements of a good blurb.

a. A hook. Something intriguing to draw the reader into the story.

b. A powerful opening statement.

c. Emotion to engage the reader.

d. A payoff or promise that leaves the reader wanting to know more.

e. Pose a question ... what if ...?

f. Use the present tense.

g. The blurb should reflect tone, author’s voice and atmosphere.

h. Don't give any vital details away - just seduce the reader to want to buy your book.

Example: Blurb for ‘Gunnedah Hero’

 "Fourteen-year-old Gunnedah ‘Gunnie’ Danson has a 500-word assignment on drought. His late grandfather has left him a box containing a manuscript. It’s been written by Gunnie’s great-great-grandfather, Smokey ‘Gun’ Danson after his journey up the long paddock during a harsh drought as a fourteen-year-old drover in 1910. At the back of the manuscript is an envelope. It’s NOT to be opened until Gunnie has read the entire story.

 Gunnie spends the weekend at Wiralee Station; a cattle station that’s been in the family since 1848. There, he reads the awesome manuscript and learns of Smokey’s adventurous journey. Gunnie overhears several secretive conversations. His snobby Aunty Kate wants to divorce his uncle and sell Wiralee Station. He finishes the manuscript and opens the mysterious envelope. Will it legally prevent his aunt from selling Wiralee Station?" 

Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... send me an email: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy


25 July 2012 - SHOW, DON'T TELL

Quote of the day:

"To try where there is little hope is to risk failure.

Not to try at all is to guarantee it."

Writing tip of the day:

G'day guys,

Mm ... here is a subject that has driven writers and publishers crackers - show, don't tell. Lee Child once made a  very reasonable comment, “We’re not story showers,” Child said. “We’re story tellers.” ... "Do your kids ever ask you to show them a story? They ask you to tell them a story. Do you show a joke? No, you tell it."

I guess I've always had a few simple rules: write for your reader, cut to the chase and keep things moving - mentally or physically. Your readers are your clients. What would they want to read? The answer to that is simple; something that is engaging - a page-flipping book they can't put down. Here are a few ideas that might help. some of them I have mentioned before, but they are important for your reader to stay engaged in your work:

1. Conflict - resolution, conflict - resolution etc.

2. Keep throwing different complications in that the reader will figure out later. I call them 'Sharks'.

3. Kick some ass and give your reader some action.

4. Show via the characters action, speech, facial expressions, body language, movement, appearance. Example, "Bill creaked when he raised his arthritic arms above his eighty-year-old body.'

5. Don't forget: the senses - sight, smell, sounds, and weather, height, colour, shape etc.

6. Keep the reader in suspense.

7. Give important scenes through action and dialogue.

8. Don't waffle. If it doesn't add to the story, cut, cut, cut. Don't clutter your story with too much detail and description.

9. Dialogue has to be crisp, sharp and pointed to be effective.

10. Do not tell the reader everything. They will work it out.

11. Avoid long sentences. Streamline them - snip, slash, cut.

12. If in doubt, cut it out.

Here is an example that shows how I described Smokey to the reader in three snappy sentences - done via dialogue.

"Other than the near-disaster with the wild bees we did well for our first day. We made camp opposite the entrance to a property we both knew well—it was Molly’s place. A
weather-beaten sign on the gate said two words: Swenson Station. Roley glanced
at the sign and smiled.   ‘How about that Molly Swenson?’ he said. ‘What a cute filly she is. Shame she’s too young for me; I’d love to meet a nice girl like her and have some kids.’ He looked across at me and frowned for the umpteenth time that day. ‘Mm. It’s okay for good-lookin’ blokes like you,’he said.

‘Huh? Good looking?

‘Yeah. Look at ya. Tall, good lookin’ and popular. You’ve got all that blonde hair and those blue eyes. You’d easily catch a girl like Molly Swenson.’

Keep Writing!

Don't be shy ... leave a comment or email me: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker.


24 July 2012 - Mm ...

Quote of the day:

"I have always felt that the moment

 when we first wake up in the morning

is the most wonderful of the twenty four hours."

Monica Baldwin

G'day guys,

Just thought this might make you smile. The S.C.B.W.I (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) had a contest some years ago (for a year's free membership) so I entered. Not for the membership, but for the discipline and exercise of writing. So, I used
some imagination in my entry (I'm sure you didn't need me to tell you that, eh?).
I loved doing it and reckon it would be a fabulous exercise for school kids.
Anyway, you had to write 75 words or less to finish the following scene:

"While walking home from school Ben takes a detour through the woods and is caught in a sudden snowstorm. Cold and afraid, he ducks into a cave for shelter. Once inside the cave, he's amazed to find … "

 This is what I reckon Ben found:

Two Professional wanderers around a campfire.  One looked up.

"Come For’ard, son. You look like The ghost. I was just talkin’ To Jim about Sweeney ... The vagabond, from The blue mountains. How he, Bertha, Bill, Ruth and Corny Bill went Outback and got Knocked up. Don’t feel Rejected, son. After all The southerly buster will pass, and Waratah and Wattle will be As good as new.

"Hey, you’re Bourke and Talbragar," gasped Ben.

"Eureka, son!"


This piece contains 75 words, including 21 titles of poems written by Henry Lawson. Thanks to Henry Lawson, for the Poems mentioned in this - a famous Australian poet and writer,
born June 17, 1867 at Grenfell, New South Wales.

PS: I did not win - didn't even crack a mention. That's what it's like.

On a sadder note:

I am shocked and saddened by the events that transpired at the movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado earlier this week. It is hard, if not impossible, to understand what would drive a seemingly normal human to randomly slaughter and injury so many other human beings. My thoughts and hearts go out to the victims and survivors. CT

Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... send me an email: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker


23 July 2012 - CONTRACTS

Quote of the day:

'What you will do matters.
All you need is to do it."

Judy Grahn

Writing tip of the day:

Every author waits for the day they are offered a contract by a big publishing house. However excited you are, take a deep breath and read it in detail. Signing what I call a 'Dud contract', could turn your life and possible budding career upside down.  Be careful.

There are many issues to consider:

eBooks, film rights, length of contract, world rights, territorial copyright, moral rights, advances, royalties, paperback and hardback copies, inspection of accounts, subsidiary rights, digital rights, cheap editions, remainders, proofs, revision, format, publisher's liability, termination and reversion of rights, assignment, mediation, copyright infringement, artwork  et al.

Frightened by the above terms? Don't be. Doing your homework will pay off. Trust me!

Here are a few pointers that might help.

1. Check the contract in detail - read it many times, and note the points that confuse you.

2. Seek legal advice. In Australia, authors can consult a literary lawyer via the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). They also produce a very good book, 'Australian Book Contracts' :  http://www.asauthors.org/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=ASP0016/ccms.r

3. The Arts Law Centre of Australia also offers a service. Please note: Arts Law is an independent, non-profit organisation with limited resources. If you are seeking legal advice it is preferable that you use their online legal query form. Requests for legal advice are answered in the order that they are first received, priority is not given to telephone messages. http://www.artslaw.com.au/contact/

4. Check the Internet and learn about the terms that confuse you in the contract. Do your research dilligently. It's your work and your career. Don't throw it away. Once signed, the contract is binding. As mentioned in previous posts, many authors have been caught short - very short. So, don't be lazy.

5. Predators and Editors: Once you receive a contract, check them against the following website to ensure that they are legitimate and good folks to do business with.


This site also enables you to check book stores, agents, awards, lawyers, screenwriters, magazines etc.

6. Check which authors the publisher has published and do your research. Track down the authors and contact them. You need to know how they found the publishers to deal with. It could be time well spent.

 7. If in doubt, say NO!

Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... leave a comment or send me an email: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker.


22 July 2012 - Interview with Clancy Tucker 3

Quote of the day:

"Don’t quit! When your luck is out

and your world turned about, when the road is long

and the sun is gone. Rest a while. But for God’s sake smile.

For you’ve done your bit. But you don’t quit!"

G'day guys,

Here is part three of the interview with Anastasia Gonis: Clancy Tucker: A Writing Life Begins with Self Publishing, by Anastasia Gonis ©

"Clancy Tucker has entered his book in eight contests and intends to enter it in six
more (which he’s probably done by now) one of them being the Miles Franklin
Award. It’s a book of incredible merit, historically valuable in content. I ask
what will have been proven if/when he wins. ‘It’s about personal satisfaction. I think
it would make a fantastic prescribed text for school kids because it’s a great
story. It’s an Australian story published in Australia; everything happens in
Australia. ‘Interestingly, our High Schools’ prescribed text is To Kill a Mockingbird, an American book. My mate in Alice Springs, his 15 year-old daughter’s prescribed text is the same. My question is this: what happened to the Australian books? Why do we get an American prescribed text for our schools? ‘To answer your question, as a prescribed text, it’s not like some of the other texts that I had to read in my past which I found quite haunting and difficult. I hope that even the most reluctant readers will say, that’s an interesting story! The other thing is that it may subtly introduce an interest in
Australian history.’

After affirming that money is not his main aim, I suggest that winning prizes; having
his work acknowledged in that way does shape an author’s future. ‘Well, I hope it does! I’ve thought about that also. I have thought about it a lot over the years. I always say to people I’m not cocky, I’m confident. ‘When I was a teenager I was very shy. But I’m quietly confident with this book. I’m very proud of my work. I work hard, and I think in thirteen years, I’ve learnt a lot about writing. I’ve thought about the glamour side too. It’s not the sort of thing I care about. I’m a good stand up talker. I’ve given eulogies at
funerals and whatever. I do it easily. But, I’m not that insecure that I’ll go
all gushy when someone wants to interview me on radio or TV or wherever. I’m
not looking forward to that. But I realize it is part and parcel of a journey.'

The content of Gunnedah Hero was ninety-eight percent from Clancy’s head based on real life experiences.  But whose experiences? ‘Mine, my experience as a kid spending a lot of time on farms, talking to old farmers, probably that very observant trait I have again. My expression is that “everybody has a hard drive and you go through life collecting all these experiences. But with writing, for me, it’s the catalyst that lets it out”. Most people have
been shocked by that fact. Even friends and author friends that have read it
said “you must have done a lot of research”, but I say no no, no I didn’t!’

Then how important is memory? How does memory stand you in such good stead? ‘It’s a wonder. I’ve lived a fairly interesting life. I think maybe it’s the subconscious. It’s that hard drive. You go through life collecting memories. Other people die and a lot of information dies with them. I have the catalyst to let them out.

There are two more books in the Gunnedah Hero series. Book Two, The Drover’s Blanket is finished and the third is coming up. The same characters appear in the following two books but will they be as exciting and eventful? ‘I thought you’d ask this. What I try to do in all my manuscripts is create connections. It’s a bit like that envelope in the story. It’s a lure. I’m seducing the reader. You find out what’s in the envelope in the last three
pages. (It’s there throughout the book though). There’s one stage during the
story where it slides out of the book, and Gunnie looks at it. He looks at the
seal on the back. That seal of the Attorney General of NSW is tied in with the
photographs he is looking at in the main foyer of Wirralee, where there was a signed photograph. Gunnie gets the picture all the way though the book, and so does the reader, that Smokey was a very influential man. He surrounded himself with interesting people. ‘Getting back to your question, Gunnedah Hero is mainly Smokey’s story. You only hear little tidbits about Molly. The only time you spend time with her is the last day of school when they have a bit of a tiff because she wonders why he hasn’t told her he’s going up the long paddock.  ‘A Drover’s Blanket (without saying too  much) is Molly’s story. It’s about what happens to Molly while he was up the long paddock. I think it’s more powerful than GH. The third story will be Magic Billy. Kids love the character of Magic Billy because he has a great sense of humour. The books are about the three main characters in GH. Billy doesn’t play a large role in the first book. But I feel I’ll have to do a lot of research for that book because there will be strong indigenous content in that. ‘Every female asks me if there’s going to be some romance in A Drover’s Blanket? They ask “What about Gunnie and Jenny?”  ‘Here’s a very interesting thing. The first company to offer me a contract, asked what I thought was a stupid question. He said, is there any reason why you made Gunnie and Jenny fifteen? I answered; I thought it was obvious. They’re only fifteen. I can write until they die! I’ve got another thirty-five stories I can write about. When he got it, he said – Fantastic!’

I thought ten completed manuscripts are waiting to be published. ‘I’ve actually
got eighteen completed. They are not all historical in content. My short stories could be around one hundred and forty-five in number. There are some that could be Novellas because they range in length from a page and a half to 25,000 words. Some of those longer short stories I can pinch parts out of, or modify, and use the concept that’s in them for the GH series.’

Although Clancy gives out teasers on his other books that make me long to hold and read
them now; he can also see them visually ‘as movies’. But the thing that reveals the most about this writer and what his work really means to him is what he opens up about next.  ‘You probably don’t want to know this but, about three years ago, I was looking
ahead. I retain the copyright for seventy years after I’m dead. I thought I’d
better be a bit visionary here. I re-wrote my will over a three month period. I
established a Clancy Tucker Foundation. Out of it I was allocating funds. If
something happened to me tomorrow it’s in my will. The money coming in from my
books after I’m gone would be directed from my grave as to where it goes.  Rather than being used by a lawyer or an accountant, I wanted to allocate where it went. There are a couple of scholarships in there ... one for school kids who are aspiring writers, and the other for an unpublished author.‘

In his ‘engine room’, the place where Clancy writes, he has ‘books and nostalgic
souvenirs from your travels’. I was interested in where he’d travelled and how strongly had his experiences influenced his writings. ‘Many years ago I was sitting in a restaurant with a whole lot of others. I went to the toilet, came out and everyone went all quiet. Typical of me, I said, alright, you’ve been talking about me. What have you been talking about? My
mate Kev said, well we were. We wanted to know out of all of your travels what
was the biggest highlight? I was looking at them and I knew they thought I was
going to say it was when I was at the top of the Empire State Building on the
clearest day in eighty years in New York City. Now to get the clearest day in
NY is fantastic. So the photographs I took were brilliant. Or they might think
when I was at the top of the Eiffel Tower; went to midnight mass at the Vatican
in 1973. But no, do you know what I said to them? The most influential people
have been the poorest people I have ever met. “Why? Because they have happiness you can’t grab, stick in your pocket and take home. You look at the modern world today, everyone’s got a plasma TV, two cars, two kids, two boats, two storeys, but a lot of them are unhappy. I’ve spent a lot of time in South East Asia and been to many villages. If you go to any village
at this time of the day, you’ll see kids playing in the street like they did in the 50s. There’d be fifty or sixty of them. Now, you go to most streets in Melbourne, you won’t see kids in the street. ‘South East Asia always reminds me of my childhood. There’s no TV, no mobile phones, that sort of stuff. Mainly we played cricket or footy. Fifty kids! How they influenced me was the simplicity of their lives. They weren’t moaning that as a foreigner, I had a microwave and they didn’t. There’s only one TV in the village and that’s in someone’s house. Every time you go past in the night time there’d be sixty people in there. It’s like a mini picture theatre. ‘I hope that answers your question. The same applies to observing with some of the photographs I have here.’

Clancy forwards me some photos which make the covers on A Drover’s Blanket, and another book he has written called Pa Joe’s Place. The photography is exceptional. ‘Rather
than only be known only as a historical fiction writer, my next book, Pa Joe’s Place, is about a seven-year-old Thai girl I met in 1973. The story’s set in Thailand and is probably the most powerful story I’ve ever written. What I’m trying to do is let people know that I don’t just write historical fiction.’

But a lot of his other books aren’t historical fiction. They are diverse and cover themes such as racism, bullying, environmental themes, disability and more. But it’s people too, that have brought him to the stage of his writing life, not only his work. ‘I feel I must give extraordinary credit to Lou and Elaine Morris. I went to them to have my EBook of Gunnedah Hero done. In the two months that I’ve been dealing with them, I couldn’t fault them in their drive, their enthusiasm, their knowledge of marketing and so forth. They’ve done more for me in 6-8weeks than any publisher has done in thirteen years. Even the Blog tour Elaine started. There’s fourteen blogs. They’re fantastic. I couldn’t have done that. I wouldn’t even have thought of it. I mentioned that I was Self Published. They’ve got GH on their website and only take ten per cent. It’s selling at $30. The irony of it is that they only earn  three dollars. If I had published that book through a mainstream publisher, I would only have got three dollars and I wrote the b****y thing. I think it’s appalling! ‘Out of the four people: the authors, publishers, distributors and bookshops, the last two are the ones that make the money. It’s thirty-three per cent and thirty-five per cent. Recently Barry Jones did a book strategy study.  They’re intellectuals. They were not really getting to the
nuts and bolts. ‘When I first wrote to the Prime Minister, I wrote to the Australian Society of Authors, the Victorian Writers Centre (now Writers Victoria), the Wheeler
Centre, NSW Writers Centre, and others saying, why don’t we get together and
write letters and get this poetry category out. I got replies but they were too
busy and so on. The interesting thing as I thought of it later is they’re
reluctant because they’re probably funded. To me, it’s a matter of ethics.
Ethics are always number one. When the poetry category was finally included in
the PM's Literary Awards, I got emails saying: go Clancy; love your work. They
don’t realize it’s the numbers you have to have. A good example is the
anti-Vietnam War marches in Melbourne. The biggest marches in the world were in
Melbourne. It’s about numbers. ‘But you can’t get numbers in this case because writers are very solitary workers. To try and get them together and organize them is fairly impossible. But that’s why I was trying to go to the writer’s organizations to support me on an issue
like the PM’s Literary Awards and Self Publishing. I still think it’s deplorable.

Clancy confesses that he’s very loyal. He has already decided that he’ll stay with his
Printer, his editor (he had three editors before Julie) and yours truly for all
future books. Other editors have wanted to change his work to their design. But
he reminded them that it is his story. ‘That’s one great thing with Julie. She
knows I’m a great storyteller and never tries to alter my story. She just looks
at impactful things.’

Well, Clancy has surfaced and he has made an impact with his first publication. He’ll
continue to be vocal about issues that are important to him and all writers, especially about Self Published books being submitted in the PM’s Literary Awards. He’s a fighter and never gives up. It took him almost a lifetime to be published and he has just started. Good one Clancy! "

Anastasia Gonis (c)

Clancy's comments: Anastasia is a scintillating interviewer and a well known book reviewer. She is skilled at her craft and is not scared to ask pertinent questions. I am grateful to her for wanting to interview me. I am also grateful to Vicki Stanton from 'Buzz Words Books':  http://buzzwordsmagazine.blogspot.com.au/ Check out her website. It's very interesting.

Keep writing! 

Don't be shy ... send me an email: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker.




21 July 2012 - Interview with Clancy Tucker 2

Quote of the day:

"Poor is the man whose
pleasures depend on the permission of another."


G'day guys,

Here is part two of the interview conducted by Anastasia Gonis.

Clancy Tucker: A Writing Life Begins with Self Publishing, by
Anastasia Gonis ©

"I approach what I know is an important issue. Clancy has rejected four contracts
for his manuscript from publishers in Melbourne, Sydney, New York and the UK
because they wanted the rights to his manuscript. He was eager to elaborate on
what it was that they were offering in contrast to what he was wanting. ‘An
expression I often use is ‘I am the C in the circle - ©, I own my work. My
point is that I see the relationship between an author and a publisher like a
marriage. For example, in New York, the contract person in the company wouldn’t
alter one full stop in the contract. My view was that if that’s how tough they
are with the contract, what were they going to be like to work with?

 They all went to literary lawyers, and I paid a lot of money for the lawyers to look
at the contracts, but they still wouldn’t change. Other writers don’t do that.
They just sign the contract.’ It disturbs Clancy that he didn’t find the appropriate publisher for his work and he’d no alternative than to Self Publish. But he takes things in his stride,
this tough Aussie bloke. ‘It can be frustrating. But, as I often say to people,
you have to be very passionate. This is a very tough gig. As I’ve found out in
the last six months, that writing is one thing, the other side is the business
side. You can’t afford to sign a dud contract. You have to be a business person
as well as a writer.’

But how do you become that if you have no knowledge of the business side of
writing? ‘I’ve spent the last thirteen years, full time, learning about all sorts of things. I
have piles of manila folders on Talks to Schools, Copyright, Self Publishing,
eBooks etc. So, over the years I’ve collected all this information slotted into
these folders. Friends of mine that are writers come to me and ask, what do you
know about EBooks, and I’ll lend them my folder. My aim thirteen years ago was
to get published. But then, along the way, you win awards.

‘This is a side issue, yet related. I’ve been lobbying to get Self Published authors
included in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. We have managed to get poetry
included in the award which surprised me because Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson
is on our ten dollar note, he wrote Waltzing Matilda, and the poetry award category has just been included. ‘I’ve written some fairly detailed letters to the first assistant secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department. I almost think we’ve become close friends. I’m
like a dog with a bone. I think it’s a major issue and one of the major issues
made to her as I rattled off all the book contests that I netted. None of them
discriminated against self-published authors. So, if there’s no leadership
coming from the Prime Minister’s Department in regard to her award, it doesn’t
augur well for publishers like me struggling in the wilderness.

Self Publishing doesn’t come cheap. The cost for Clancy’s book was substantial as he
had professional editors work on the book and poetry editors for the poetry. The
editor who looked at the work was a very good one. It was Julie Jay from Rebus
Press. She considers me one of her best clients because most of my writing is
very clean. Roughly, including the poetry, the cost was $1500. Then
we go to the cost for the publishing. ‘I got nine quotes. I’m very practical
because it’s a tough gig. From the nine quotes I picked the second cheapest.
The reason I picked them was because they were the only ones that sent me a
sample of the printed book (mock book). I took it outside, kicked it, tried to
bend it, stomped on it, threw it, and it survived. I thought: this is a top book!
And when I said yes, go ahead, and paid the money, I had nine boxes delivered
three days later to my house. Some of the others were pick-up in Melbourne,
pick-up at various other places. I was pleased as h**l!  The man I dealt with was Italian and he speaks Italian and Thai. So do I. I’ve been going to South-East Asia for thirty-eight

Self Publishing has become very popular. Many new writers with obvious talent have
chosen to Self Publish. Could it be that mainstream publishers make it too difficult
for them? ‘I think they do it out of frustration. A lot of my friends and associates have
asked me, did any of those four publishers come back the next day to
renegotiate? I said no. I firmly believe it’s because the average publisher
gets 2,000 manuscripts a year. If they’re going to meet someone proactive like
me who challenges contracts; that goes to a lawyer, they’re not going to deal
with me. There are 1,999 other people who are going to sign the contract
anyway. ‘On that point, I’ve even had discussions with the former head of the Australian
Society of Authors, Dr Jeremy Fisher. I asked him why the average contract in
Australia is 17 years. He said, ‘what would you have?’ Three years, I answered.

It’s like a marriage. There’s the writer dealing with the publisher, how do you know how the relationship’s going in two years time? So, if everything’s going swimmingly in two to three years time, I’ll just resign the contract for another three years. ‘This is the important point, and I’ve met people who have done this – authors that have signed a dud contract.  If it’s 17 years, it’s absolutely locked up for that time. So the publishers can sit on it. I’ve even spoken to authors that have had two books published and two years later haven’t received a cent. They’re forced to consider legal action. ‘But you can imagine what would happen. It would be seven years in court; it would probably be sorted out on the steps of the courthouse at the end of those seven years. My point is to avoid all that. A lot of my friends say that I’m the only one that they know of that Self Published, purely to enter book contests.’

Part three will be posted tomorrow. Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... send me an email: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker.


20 July 2012 - Interview with Clancy Tucker 1

Quote of the day:

"Be not afraid of growing
slowly, be afraid only of standing still."

Chinese proverb

G'day guys,

Today I thought I'd share some insights into how I tick. This is part one of a series. It is an interview conducted by Anastasia Gonis,  a great interviewer and book reviewer. Grateful thanks to Anastasia and compliments to Vicki Stanton who is the proud owner of  'Buzz Words Books': http://buzzwordsmagazine.blogspot.com.au/

Part one:

Clancy Tucker: A Writing Life Begins with Self Publishing, by Anastasia Gonis ©

"Clancy Tucker unearthed is like discovering gold. He’s lived an interesting life. For
forty years he’s been involved in Human Rights. He’s not only a writer, but a
poet and established photographer. He has lived in four countries and speaks
three languages, and has dreamed of publication for 38 years when he bought a
computer and sat and looked at it for three days. Then he started writing and
never stopped.

He calls his writing space the ‘engine room’. The walls are full of his
photography from all over the world. He admits he hasn’t enough time left to
publish all the books and stories he has written and planned. But he’s made a
fine start with the outstanding Australian historical fiction novel for teenage
readers, Gunnedah Hero. He dreams of the day this work is used as prescribed text in High Schools. It has all the attractive qualities a young reader longs for in a book. His first-hand
knowledge of farming and the land with its many challenges, places him in a
position to recreate the harsh realities of country life in words.

 It is visible in the body of work and the ideas he has, that Clancy utilises his
poetry and photography as channels to express himself as a writer. He observes
things clearer as if through a lens.  This adds a certain added dimension to his writing to a great degree. When asked if this is how it really is for him, he ponders. ‘Interesting
question! I’ve often said to people that I see things through the eye of the
camera.’ I’m intrigued and want to know in what way? What more can he see?

‘It focuses things. My lounge room has fifty-five photographs from all over the
world, framed on the wall. It might be sunsets in Bali, the Thai King, kids. Photographs
of people who didn’t know I was taking their photograph. I think you take a better photograph rather than a contrived one. And I think when I use that expression,
it’s a mental process. I’m driving in the car or I might be overseas, and I look at something and I think, that’s a good shot.  You look at something in a square lens and
suddenly what you’re looking at is what you’re going to get a photo of.’

I press on. How does this square lens facilitate his writing? In what way does it
give it another dimension? ‘Maybe it’s the way I’m made. Maybe I’m deceptive. I’ve always been an observant person. That’s probably what drew me to preferring to take photographs of people; especially kids who are fantastic and so unpredictable. That’s what
inspired me to photograph people. I think it’s a subconscious, subliminal

Visual images of outback country fill the reader’s mind as they turn the pages of Gunnendah Hero, as he’s photographed many country people. But they aren’t
the only images that fill his writings. When approached about the others, he
admits to having ‘thousands of photographs’ which have inspired his writing.

He has an impressive resume and has won three National Literary Awards, and High
Commendations for his stories. The outstanding poems interspersed through the
story and positioned to complement the prose and the storyline, are Clancy’s
original poems. ‘I never studied poetry. It came from the heart. I made sure that those four major poems in the story related to that period and tried to put a bit of humour in
there for the kids that would read it. There’s one particular poem right at the
end of the story where Smokey is in Gunnedah; he’s lying in a real bed with
crisp sheets. At the end of the bed is the only dog he’s got with him, the Blue
Heeler. That’s when I whipped in the poem The Mighty Queensland Blue. I tried to make the timing perfect. Then Smokey looks down and realizes that he’s just read a poem about the dog at the end of his bed."

Part two will be posted tomorrow. Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... send me an email: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker.


19 July 2012 - GREAT BOOKS

Quote of the day:

"Half of the harm that is
done in this world is due to people  who want to feel important."

T S Eliot

G'day guys,

Here are references to some great books to read. To be transparent, I wish to state that I am associated with all of these people or their organisation in some way or another. Check them out.

1. Books by members of 'Authors Australia': an organisation dedicated  'To foster a community that is pro-active in servicing our society of authors without personal financial reward and to encourage efficiency and promote high ethical standards in the field of writing, professional conduct, service to the public and our commercial endeavours.': http://www.authorsaustralia.org/

2. 'A Question of Resistance' ... 'No Time for a Retreat'  and 'The Smith's Grand Tour of Britain' by Paul Smith (The Wise Grey Owl from the United Kingdom):http://www.wisegreyowl.co.uk/php/content.php?Books=View&Book=7f1a61a8-d97f-11d4-e12d-9ffc9708b7fa Other books can be found on this website. Paul Smith has just walked coast to coast in the UK to raise funds for the Marie Curie Cancer Care. Go Paul! Love ya work.

3. 'The Last Exile: The tapestry of a life' by Jasha M Levi.

Blurb: The road from Sarajevo in 1921 to New York in 1956 and up to the present
covers a distance. It was a particularly winding and long one for the author,
from the student protests against pro-Nazi government in pre-war Yugoslavia,
WWII civilian confinement in Italy under Mussolini, fighting against German
troops and Quislings in Dalmatia in 1944-45, battling Soviet attempts to
dominate Yugoslavia, reporting from the world and the UN, and finally taking
asylum in the US in despair over his country ever becoming a democratic one. In
The Last Exile, Jasha Levi opens himself and the mosaic of his turbulent life
and times to the public scrutiny, his readers should find his memories as
compelling as his intimates always did. http://www.jashalevi.com/

4. One of Australia's newest publishers: Morris Publishing Australia has a stable of top authors. Give them a try. MPA have been great people to do business with. They organised my eBook for 'Gunnedah Hero'.


Stephen Anastasi

Kathleen O'Dwyer

Kim Stedman

Elaine Ouston

George Ivanoff

5. Wonderworld-variety:



This blog features selective genres of ebooks of indie authors for free.
They invite Readers to have a look at the featured books, booktrailer links,and
links to author page/website are majorly highlighted. They want to bring popular books from indie authors in front of readers. This blog recently did a sensational promotion of 'Gunnedah Hero'.

Give them all a try. You might be surprised.

Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... leave a comment or email me: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker.


18 July 2012 - RESEARCH

Quote of the day:

"Dwelling on the negative
simply contributes to its power."

Shirley MacLaine

Writing tip of the day:

As you know, I write young adult fiction. What you probably didn't know is that most successful young adult fiction writers are in their 60's. Why, I guess because they have a wealth of knowledge and decades of experiences to draw on - the 'hard drive' as I call it.  That may be so, but how do you appeal to young readers? Personally, I pitch my work at reluctant readers; usually boys. I also try to cut the waffle and keep things moving. The avid readers will devour what you write, and the reluctant readers might start reading.  Let's hope so, eh?

Imagination: Kids have vivid imaginations and a thirst for knowledge. They are also curious and do not have the 'baggage' we adults have. Why this? Why that? ... they continually ask ... sound familiar? So, it's important to keep their interest. Also, they will probably check certain things in your book via the Internet - just to make sure you got it right. Give a teen a DVD, a can of soft drink and a packet of chips and he will lounge on the couch and be entertained. However, he doesn't have to use his imagination. Nope, it's all there in front of him: shooting, noises, blood stains, action, humour, music etc. Imagine the same teen reading a book. He will have to conjure up scenes and imagine what the characters are like. Ah ... that's your job as an author. Yep, you can't shy away from it. You must make a funny character funny, a sad scene sad and an exciting scene exciting.

Book review: I recently received a great book review for my first book. However, the reviewer made one mistake. He stated that many of the towns mentioned in the story were 'probably fictional'. WRONG! Just because he couldn't find them via the Internet did not mean they did not exist. Those small towns do exist. They were just too small to crack a mention on the Internet. Why did I use real towns in my story? Easy. To make it more credible, knowing that some of my young readers would do the same as the reviewer and check - check to see if cranky Clancy was pulling the wool over their eyes. Real facts give your story credibility. I wrote that particular story with a map beside me. That way, I knew the town names and also knew the distances between them - important facts when you're writing about a drover pushing cattle up the sides of the road during a big drought to keep them alive. The drover had to know where the next town was so he could replenish his supplies.

'Sheeza': This story is about a famous Australian sheep dog - a kelpie. A young boy trains Sheeza to become a champion. Not sure if any of you have ever seen sheep dogs in action. If not, do it. They are extraordinary animals and, having been a farmer, I can assure you of their loyalty - stronger than humans. So, knowing that sheep dog trials are big in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, I researched the Internet for a few hours, printed off a few pages of facts and got on with my story. That research made the story more credible, especially for city kids who have never experienced a sheep dog trial.

Here are some comments about that story made by a UK publisher:

Idea: An emotional and child –friendly concept enveloped in a down to earth
traditional animal drama.

Plot: Strong animal story clearly executed with a believable dog and boy
relationship given added depth through the boy’s physical disability.

Content and Themes: Good animal theme suitable for the intended age group with sheep-dog details naturally woven into the story.

Characterisation: The boys are quite strongly drawn with a believable relationship between them. Good emotional tone between characters, including the dog. Dynamics are given some edge with the inclusion of a ‘bully’ character creating menace.

 Writing Style: Traditional narrative structure but the content is quite visual. A good pace is maintained through the sheep dog trials. Writing is fluid and exciting.

Clancy's comment: Sad news is that this story has not been picked up by a publisher. Trust me, it would make a great movie - one for the entire family.

James A Michener has been a sensational author who writes thick, chunky books. I read 'Centennial' and was gob smacked to find that the first fifty pages contained geological information about the shifting of the earth etc. That's fine, but you can't do that for young adults. You have to be snappy and get on with it.

So, my point is simple: teens and kids are smart. Don't underestimate their intelligence or their capacity to absorb information. If you write a believable story, the same kids will ask their folks to buy your next book. Now that's a great idea! The same points apply to those who write for adults. I nearly threw 'Centennial' away, but I persisted because I knew that James A Michener was a top writer.

Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... leave a comment or email me: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker.



Quote of the day:

'The real essence of work is
concentrated energy."

Walter Begehot

Writing tip of the day:

G'day guys,

 All writers have different approaches to writing, but generally there are three methods of attack:

1. Dream up an idea and shoot from the hip. That's me. Most of the time I have no idea where the story will head or finish up. Fortunately, I find it an adrenalin rush and the story becomes self generating. It's exciting and normally takes me three months to write manuscripts 85,000 to 100,000 words. A few years back I went overseas two weeks after completing a manuscript and wondered why I was so tired. Mm ... any wonder?

2. Plan everything out before you start writing. I have been to an author's home and found entire walls covered in A3 sheets of white paper. Each sheet contained personality traits of the characters, chapter points and other issues relevant to their manuscript. The entire story was mapped out. I found it gob smacking, but that's the way she approaches a novel.

3. Write everything by hand, then type it up. Many authors do this. I certainly do. Why? Good question, but I think it relates to the fact that many of us started writing early in life; well before computers. Our mind was trained to write on paper. It's an odd connection between the hand and the mind. However, as with most things, do whatever you find best. There is no right or wrong way. Experiment until you find a happy and creative space. Once you have typed it on your laptop you can go back at anytime and add or delete any part.

Just do it. Many people over the years have told me they'd always wanted to write a book. My stock answer is, 'Do it!'. However, they usually cringe and give some excuse for not having started. My simple advice is this: writing a manuscript or short story is a draft in the first instance, so just let it out, let it rip. You can sort it out in the many revisions you will do; especially the first read. Revision of your work is vital.

Be brave. Try to be brave in each story, play or manuscript you write. Step out of your comfort zone. Maybe use a different gender as your main character, or write a story about something you have to research. It can be an enriching experience. I wrote three manuscripts in what I call the 'Kick Ass' series where the main protagonist is a girl. She is 14 in the first manuscript, 18 in the next and 32 in the third. That surprised some of my feminist friends. On the other hand, 'Mister Rainbow' has a boy and girl as the chief protagonists. Why? It allows you as a writer to give a male and female perspective to whatever disasters or events occur in your story. Also, it makes the book appealing to boys and girls.

f. Retain your own voice. Retain your own voice at all times. Never try to emulate another writer's style. Find your own and present it well. It's great therapy.

***A message for all self-published authors***

Self published authors! Looking for exposure? We think that to reach readers, they should be able to see your titles in the first place. The do-it-yourself marketing and social media publicity may pave a way to some, but where most readers could see them is on display in bookstores. We are trying to open the doors of independent booksellers to indie authors. How? Look up The indiePENdents.org -- a non profit, volunteer membership organization, set to level the playing field. It is non commercial and free, with just one item on the agenda: the interests of new literary talent, neglected by the publishing industry.

 Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... leave a comment or send me an email: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker


16 July 2012 - BAD LANGUAGE

Quote of the day:

"No great deed is done by
falterers who ask for certainty."

George Eliot

(Mary Anne (alternatively Mary Ann or Marian) Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880), better known by her pen name George Eliot)

G'day guys,

This blog is reaching some distant places. 'Gunnedah Hero' has been included in a reading group on a top independents website in the UK: http://www.wisegreyowl.co.uk/php/content.php?PageName=Home&Books=RG Also, a top literary person in Belgium has requested a copy of the short story I mentioned in my blog of 13 July 2012 - 'A Rose for Anna'.

Writing tip of the day:

 Although I've been known to drop some clangers in conversations, I do not use profanity in my manuscripts. Why, because I do not think you need to. My job is to boss words around, not try and impress people with profanity. Yes, I have used the occasional 'shit' or 'bastard' in my work, but only when it is necessary, or for emphasis.  Using such words sparingly gives them more value. A few months ago I started to read a book from one of Australia's young star authors. However, I got to page seven and found the F-word mentioned seven times on the one page. It was overkill. I flipped ahead and found similar pages and discontinued reading the book. I probably sound like a prude. Wrong! Ask anyone who knows me. His overuse of the F-word was boring; even irritating.


'KY!' is the story of a young Muslim refugee girl who is bullied by two girls at school. This is what I wrote:

"The next morning Rida found awful notes in her locker. Pimples and her friend had obviously poked them through the small air vents in the metal door. She read them, scowled angrily and screwed them up. One of their notes said three words: “F -- k Off Terrorist!” Rida mouthed the words and wanted to walk directly to their lockers and scrawl three similar words on their lockers: F -- k Off Bullies! Instead, she walked away but she knew there would come a day when she’d be so angry she’d write something on their lockers. That day was looming."

Question: why did I place dots and not write the full F-word? Easy. Teens know what it's all about, so I let them fill in the dots themselves and chuckle.

Political correctness:

I would not be considered politically correct - at all. At one point in 'Gunnedah Hero' Smokey reminisces about his Pop rolling cigarettes. This is what I wrote about that subject:

"I loved the smell of his cigarettes, and watching the slick way he rolled them. I think he enjoyed me watching him do it. He would pull out a small portion of the tobacco and roll it between his two large palms, with one of the small
cigarette papers sitting on his bottom lip in readiness. When the tobacco had
been sufficiently rubbed he’d fold it gently in the paper and roll it quickly
and neatly. Then he’d lick the edge of the paper to seal it. The final act was
to pinch off the end, pop it in his mouth and light up. It fascinated me.
Sometimes he made two cigarettes at the one time and stored one behind his ear for later. How he managed to juggle a cigarette on his bottom lip staggered me. It would cling to his lip even when he was talking – bobbing up and down as his mouth moved."

Comment: my editor commented that  some teachers, parents and others might consider this paragraph to be unsuitable for kids, bearing in mind the dangers of smoking. She also mooted that it might be seen to be encouraging kids to smoke. However, I disagreed. Why, because the story is historical fiction and the year was 1910. The story would have had no historical significance if I'd removed everything that was now considered to be politically correct. Many folks rolled cigarettes or smoked pipes in those times.

 HOWEVER, it's your manuscript and your choice. You choose what you want to include in your manuscript, whether it's profanity or stuff that is deemed to be politically correct. But, some publishers, parents, grandparents, librarians or teachers may not accept or buy your work if it is too over the top. The same goes for violence and any other socially unacceptable behaviour. Don't forget. Every aspect of your book will contribute to its sales: cover, font size, blurb, language etc.

Keep writing!

Don't be shy ... leave a comment or send me an email: clancy_tucker@hotmail.com

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker.