Elaine Ouston

G'day folks,

It's been a while since I have promoted another author, but today is the day. Elaine Ouston is a colleague and friend who has assisted me in my career as an author. Not only does she run a publishing and editing business, she also has written a heap of books. This is her latest release.



What would you do if you were told your mother was to be executed on the next full moon, and you were the only one who could save her? That could be a hard thing to accept.


But that is the fate that is thrust upon the main characters in Elaine Ouston’s new young adult novel. Read more about Elaine and this exciting novel below.


Elaine Ouston is a multi-published author, writing tutor and editor. Her books include picture books for young readers, chapter books, and novels for middle grade readers. She has recently added a young adult fantasy novel, Restoring Destiny to that list. Today we are going to learn about the book’s journey to publication.


Synopsis: Restoring Destiny: a story of magic, deceit, teen romance, and a fight to save a life and right the wrongs of yesteryear. Rais and Kanda’s frustration at living in a cloistered world ends when the evil ruler’s troops come to capture them. They escape and are thrust into an unknown world, not knowing who to trust or where to go. All they know is they must find a man called Briador and be somewhere by the full moon, 14 suns away, to save a life that only they can save.


In about 2005 I was in a workshop called The Hero’s Journey presented by Paul Collins. We had to plan a fantasy novel using the prompts he gave us. I set out the bones of this story there. But it sat for some time as other stories and life got in the way of developing it.


In 2008, when I started my study for a Master of Letters in Creative Writing, I pulled out the plan I had written in Paul’s workshop and developed it as the creative component of that degree. The first 30,000 words of Restoring Destiny were written for this purpose. My degree was completed in 2010. I was thrilled when I obtained a Distinction for the course.

My supervisor was a fantasy reader and remarked that my story was better than some of the published ones he read. On a high from that, I set out to finish the novel, but work and other stories got in the way.

I worked on it between jobs and other books and finished it early 2020. With the usual amount of editing and revising it was finally ready for publishing in December.  

I sent it out for reviews and was excited to receive the following two reviews.


Review from Gayle Torrens – author


‘I recently got a copy of this book for my grandson, but I made the mistake of reading the first chapter to see if I thought he’d like it. That was it. The book never left my hands until I finished it.


‘This is a great fantasy story; well-written and saturated with enough excitement to keep the reader enthralled throughout.


‘The characters are beautifully developed, and I was drawn to them immediately. The male character, Rais, is brave, selfless, and ingenious and will appeal to the young male readers. His sister Kanda is loyal, feisty, and indomitable and I’m sure young female readers will quickly bond with her.


‘The plot is exciting and unpredictable and there are just enough teasers offered throughout the novel to keep the reader turning pages.


‘A great YA novel that would make a welcome gift for any young bookworm.’


Review from award winning author, Aleesah Darlison.  

‘Impeccable from the first page, Restoring Destiny is a deftly written high fantasy adventure novel. The characters are strong, fierce, and relatable and the story is packed with action and surprises. Get set for a remarkable ride!’


Thanks, Clancy for inviting me to your blog. The book may not have hit the bookshops yet, but it is available from my website. 


www.elainejouston.com or the publisher’s website www.morrispublishingaustralia.com and many online stores as a printed book or eBook.

Clancy's comment: Go, Elaine! I hope it's a big success. Don't be shy, folks. Grab a copy. 

As always ... love ya work, Elaine!

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G'day folks,

This public space is speckled with the eerie remnants of a defunct amusement park. 

New Castle, Pennsylvania, was a booming town at the turn of the 19th century, when the local amusement park, Cascade Park, attracted people from around Pennsylvania and Ohio. Officially opened on May 29, 1897, the park had a dancing pavilion (once the largest in the state), an outdoor theater, a rollerskating rink, Caterpillar and Dodg’em rides, a grandstand, and an indoor a rollercoaster called “the Figure Eight.” Folks would ice skate in the winter and swim in the pool in the summer.


Unfortunately, in the summer of 1927, a tragic accident occurred that would mark the beginning of the end for the park. Two guests died that were riding in the first car of the rollercoaster, which dipped through a gorge in the park. Some accounts said the victims were thrown from the car, while others said they were standing up in the car. After the deaths, the park put buckle straps onto the ride to prevent further issues, and the rollercoaster was eventually demolished due to termites.

In 1954 a new rollercoaster was built, taking roughly the same journey as the previous ride. Still, in the decades that followed the park experienced many periods of poor maintenance, resulting in many rides being closed for safety or lack of insurance. Vandalism was rampant during the 1980s, even while the park was still open, including someone stealing 15 carousel horses. 

The second rollercoaster met its demise when a falling tree caused damage deemed too expensive to repair in 1982.  The ’90s saw the park begin to look more like it does today: a nature park with picnic shelters, a playground, a restored carousel house, and fitness trail. While efforts have been made to repair the swimming pool as recently as 2014, you can still find the pool, closed, and in disrepair.

Today, many different relics of what used to exist at Cascade Park can be found, including supports for the rollercoaster along the creek in the gorge (leading to a very pretty waterfall), the remnants of the dam that created the lake, several buildings, seemingly not in use, and random concrete slabs. Still, the park remains in use today for concerts, events, weddings, or a simple leisurely stroll among the remnants of the abandoned rides.

Clancy's comment: What a shame, eh?

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G'day folks,

American multi-millionaire Alfred Vanderbilt died a hero trying to save women and children aboard the liner Lusitania, which was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915.

The ship, owned by the Cunard Line, was built to dominate the highly lucrative transatlantic passenger trade. Launched in 1906, it was completed the following year as the largest ship in the world weighing 31,550 tons.

The maiden voyage of the 787 feet (240 metres)-long liner took place on September 7, 1907, when she sailed from Liverpool in England to New York City. On this day the ship was reversing that voyage and was heading to the UK from New York with 1,959 passengers and crew on board.

But it was the time of the First World War and Germany, with a formidable fleet of submarines – or U-boats – was attempting to stop vital supplies reaching the UK across the Atlantic. Germany had declared the seas around the UK a war zone and warned that Allied ships in the area would be sunk without warning.

Nobody seriously thought this threat would apply to a non-military luxury passenger liner such as the Lusitania, especially as she would be bound to have many neutral Americans on board.

But Germany took a different view and its embassy in the United States had placed a warning in 50 American newspapers, including those in New York, explaining the dangers of sailing to the UK. It read:


Travellers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.

Imperial German Embassy Washington, D.C., 22 April 1915.

Some New York newspapers had printed the warning directly next to Cunard’s list of departure dates, and as the Lusitania got under way the dock was crowded with reporters. They saw that despite the German threat the ship was packed with passengers.

Clearly they believed that a luxury liner with no obvious military value would not be a target. Two other factors boosted confidence. First, Cunard had declared the Lusitania to be the “fastest and largest steamer now in the Atlantic service”. So, in the highly unlikely event of a threat, it was thought, she could outpace any German vessel and thus escape danger.

Secondly, several rich and famous people such as Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt and wine merchant George “Champagne King” Kessler had come on board, inspiring confidence. Obviously they would have had access to high-level information warning them if danger really did exist.

William Turner, the captain of the Lusitania, known as "Bowler Bill" because he usually wore a bowler hat when ashore, received advice from the British Admiralty on how to avoid making his ship an easy target. He was urged to alter course every few minutes at irregular intervals so that the evasive tactic of zigzagging would thwart any attempt by U-boats to plot the Lusitania’s course.

Captain Turner ignored the advice and on the afternoon of May 7, just off a headland near Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland, a torpedo fired by a German U-boat exploded amidships on the Lusitania’s starboard side. It was followed by a second explosion, possibly caused by damage to the ship’s steam engines.

Eighteen minutes later, the Lusitania had disappeared beneath the waves and 1,198 people, including 128 American citizens, were drowned. Of the 1,959 passengers and crew only 761 survived.

The victims included Alfred Vanderbilt who, during those 18 minutes, had performed extraordinary acts of courage. He could not swim but made no attempt to push through the crowd and get into a lifeboat.

Instead, he and his valet calmly helped several women and children to safety. According to reports a steward saw Vanderbilt “vainly attempting to rescue a hysterical woman” and shouted to him: “Hurry Mr. Vanderbilt, or it will be too late!” Vanderbilt did not listen and continued to help women and children.

A report in the New York Times four days later told of how a woman passenger overheard the tycoon say to his valet: “Find all the kiddies you can.” According to the report the man rushed off collecting children and as he brought them to Vanderbilt “the millionaire dashed to the boats with two little ones in his arms at a time.”

The report added that “when he could find no more children he went to the assistance of the women and placed as many as he could safely in the boats. He continued his efforts until the very end.”

Vanderbilt was last seen helping a nurse put on a lifebelt, but before he could finish securing it they were both washed off the deck. The body of the 37-year-old millionaire was never found.

President Woodrow Wilson had announced at the start of the war that the United States would remain neutral and he was supported by a majority of the American people.

But the sinking of the liner and the loss of so many passengers, including those 128 Americans, caused a wave of indignation across the  United States and it was expected that a declaration of war would follow. The Government, however, clung to its policy of neutrality and its reaction to the sinking simply amounted to three separate notes being sent to Berlin condemning the German submarine war policy.

To placate America, the Germans gave an informal assurance to President Wilson that there would be no repeat of the Lusitania incident and they would end their “sink on sight” policy. They did so on September 18, 1915.

It was, however, re-introduced on February 1, 1917 and by April of that year, five American merchant ships had been sunk, causing the United States to declare war. The sinking of the Lusitania became an iconic symbol in military recruiting campaigns.

Alfred Vanderbilt’s grandson grew up on stories of his grandfather’s gallantry. As a 65-year-old public relations executive, Alfred Vanderbilt III told the Irish Times in April, 2021: “He spent his last minutes trying to save the children on the Lusitania. I can’t think of anybody braver. How do you do that?”

Answering his own question, the grandson added: “He had been brought up to do the right thing. He saw his moment and he took it. What I have heard from my family over and over again is what a wonderful man he was. It is not as if he was a bad guy who got a good reputation because of his death. He was really a loving and caring man.”


Clancy's comment: Very interesting. I bet many would not be so heroic.

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G'day folks,

He boasted that his Third Reich would last for a thousand years. But Adolf Hitler, who would go down in history as an evil tyrant, shot himself on this day, probably after taking poison, painfully aware of the disintegration of his twelve-year-old regime and with his capital city reduced to ruins and rubble.

As the Second World War was coming to a close the desperate Führer tried to wage war by telephone from his bunker beneath his headquarters, the Chancellery building in Berlin, issuing futile orders to his defeated generals.

The 3,000-square-foot underground bunker, completed in 1942, was basically an extension of the Chancellery’s air raid shelter. It consisted of two levels and 18 rooms. However, Hitler had his favourite architect, Albert Speer, build an additional bunker under the Chancellery’s garden.

It was finished in October 1944 and was known as the Führerbunker. And it was here, alongside his wife of a few hours, that Hitler ended his life.

For three months military advisers had been urging the Führer to abandon the bunker and flee to his Eagle’s Nest retreat high above the Bavarian Alps at Berchtesgaden. But he refused to leave his underground lair, remaining there for about 100 days.

It is believed he feared the possibility of capture and being put on display – dead or alive – by his enemies, especially the Russians.

Just a few days before Hitler’s 56th and final birthday on April 20, the Russians arrived at the edge of Berlin. By April 24, they had the city completely surrounded as the Americans and the British moved closer.

By April 29, knowing all was lost, Hitler was preparing for death, taking with him his 33-year-old companion Eva Braun who had flown from Munich to Berlin earlier that month to be with the man she worshipped.

They had been together since 1932 when Braun, an attractive young photography assistant at the time, came under Hitler’s spell. Urged by Hitler to leave the bunker for her own safety, she refused, allegedly saying: “Do you think I will let you die alone?”

Despite her dedication, her chances even now of Hitler yielding completely to her charms seemed unlikely if his earlier words were to be believed.

Author Gitta Sereny tells in her book 'Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth' how the architect was dining one night with Hitler, Eva Braun at his side. The Nazi leader said that a highly intelligent man should always choose a primitive and stupid woman:

"Imagine if on top of everything else I had a woman who interfered with my work! In my leisure time I want to have peace. I could never marry."

Nevertheless, shortly after midnight on April 29, 1945, Hitler did marry Eva Braun, a minor official from the Propaganda Ministry having been summoned to conduct the ceremony in the bunker.

A few hours later Hitler dictated his last will and a Political Testament. The statement laid all blame for the war on "international Jewry" and urged all Germans to continue fighting.

The will, dated 4am, 29th April, 1945, declared: "As I did not consider that I could take responsibility, during the years of struggle, of contracting a marriage, I have now decided, before the closing of my earthly career, to take as my wife that girl who, after many years of faithful friendship, entered, of her own free will, the practically besieged town in order to share her destiny with me.

"I myself and my wife - in order to escape the disgrace of deposition or capitulation - choose death. It is our wish to be burnt immediately on the spot where I have carried out the greatest part of my daily work in the course of a twelve years' service to my people."

The next day, 30th April, with the Russians less than a city block away, Hitler and Braun ate their final meal. Shortly after 3pm, they said goodbye to the staff in the bunker and retired to their private chambers, taking with them revolvers and thin glass vials of cyanide.

There was a loud gunshot at about 3.30. After waiting a few minutes, Hitler’s valet, Heinz Linge, opened the door and saw the Führer almost upright in a sitting position on a blood-soaked sofa.

It was assumed that Hitler had made certain of death by using his pistol on himself after biting the cyanide vial. Blood had trickled from a small hole in his right temple. The pistol lay on the floor where it had dropped from his right hand.

Eva Braun lay beside him, but she had made no use of the revolver at her side, preferring to take the poison instead.

Later, Radio Hamburg announced that "our Führer Adolf Hitler died for Germany in his command post in the Reich Chancellery this afternoon, fighting to his last breath against Bolshevism".

The bodies of Hitler and Braun were wrapped in blankets and carried to the Chancellery garden. There, one of the Führer's personal assistants, SS Officer Otto Günsche, doused the bodies in petrol and burned them, in accordance with Hitler’s final orders.

What happened to the charred remains is still uncertain. Hitler's men buried them in a nearby shallow bomb crater where apparently they were discovered by the Russians. The remains were then transported to the city of Magdeburg, south-west of Berlin, after being buried and exhumed several times by Russian soldiers.

Finally, the story goes, they were buried in the courtyard of the Russian counter-intelligence agency's facility in Magdeburg and remained there for 25 years.

When control of the city was handed to East Germany in 1970, the KGB exhumed and fully cremated the remains fearing that Hitler's burial site could become a place of worship for supporters of fascist ideas. The ashes were then scattered in the River Elbe. So it is said. But nobody knows for sure.

Clancy's comment: Have we learnt anything from all this? I don't think so. 

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