The Writing Desk


Welcome to my Writing Desk!


This is where you’ll find releases and my writing research

You can find my publications here


1920s Gothic Horror

My current work-in-progress is a gothic horror set in the infamous 1920s Razor Gang era in Sydney, Australia. Some background on the Razor Gangs of Sydney. The more well-known lawless crime eras of Birmingham, Glasgow and New York had their own gangs and warfare on the streets. In Australia, it was cities of Melbourne and… Continue reading 1920s Gothic Horror

The Skogsrå

The skogsrå is one of the important genii loci, the spirit of the Forest from Scandinavia. She will appear to hunters mostly but also to some travellers through the forests of her domain. The Skogsra is often described as human-like being, but with something uncanny about her. She’s often very beautiful but will have a… Continue reading The Skogsrå

Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales

Publisher’s Description Baba Yaga is an ambiguous and fascinating figure. She appears in traditional Russian folktales as a monstrous and hungry cannibal, or as a canny inquisitor of the adolescent hero or heroine of the tale. In new translations and with an introduction by Sibelan Forrester, Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in… Continue reading Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales

Folklore of Bluebells

The feared fairy bell and impending death According to English folklore, Bluebells were often used to call fairies…If you “rang” a bluebell like you would any normal bell, it was believed fairies would come to you. But fairies are notoriously dangerous bargainers and the need to call fairies for aid must be great to risk… Continue reading Folklore of Bluebells

Näcken Folklore

The näcken is a water being from found in Scandinavian folklore. The näcken is a variant in Sweden of the Norwegian fossegrim, a river sprite that drowns children and unwary travellers in the brook. The näcken can also be bargained with and a mortal learn to play the fiddle with similar enchantment. Once taught, the… Continue reading Näcken Folklore

Dark Christmas Lore

Christmas is a time for celebration and family gatherings, right? Strictly speaking, yes. But there are darker lores beneath the celebration many of us enjoy each year. The folklore surrounding the Krampus and even Saint Nicholas and the Butcher are grisly territory. When I travelled to Iceland in 2019 for research, I found a very… Continue reading Dark Christmas Lore

Interview with Clare Rhoden

I had a wonderful opportunity to chat with author Clare Rhoden recently about what inspires my writing. I also shared an extract from “The Golden-Lion Monkey” published in Leo (The Zodiac Series, #8) by Deadset Press.

Reimagining Trickster lore & legend

My current work-in-progress novella explores trickster lores and legends in two different cultures, Old Icelandic and Australian First Nations. I have a keen interest in Tricksters, and in this novella, I have been exploring two Trickster figures from very different cultural backgrounds: Loki from Old Norse legend and Crow, present in many Australian First Nations… Continue reading Reimagining Trickster lore & legend

Showcasing Horror: Dark Fiction Coming Soon

Continuing the celebration of all things women in horror, I’ve got a horror/dark fiction short story set in the Australian Alps inspired by the wendigo legend, case of a cannibalistic monster or a monstrous human? Coming soon in Gluttony (Seven Deadly Sins, #6) by Black Hare Press. Here’s a sneaky peek at my story “The… Continue reading Showcasing Horror: Dark Fiction Coming Soon

Showcasing Horror: Forthcoming Microfiction

Continuing the celebration of all things women in horror, I’ve got a microfiction story set in Viking Age Iceland coming soon in April Horrors by Raven and Drake Publishing. Here’s a sneak peek at the inspiration behind my story “Necropants” and the grisly Icelandic folklore.

Reimagining Hansel and Gretel Fairytale

One of my favourite fairytales is the story of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ recounted by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, with two variations in the tale published in the 1812 and 1857 versions to accomodate a wider selection of similar folktales. From the fairytale and folklore indexes developed by Professor Ashlimanm , the ATU system identified at… Continue reading Reimagining Hansel and Gretel Fairytale

Horror, History & Folklore

While it’s Women in Horror Month, I’ve been researching gothic and dark folklore themes. Here’s a few of the diverse research topics I encountered including the history of witchcraft and an Icelandic folklore sure to make your skin crawl. Witchcraft: the Devil’s Influence Accusations of witchcraft have a long history. The era of associated with… Continue reading Horror, History & Folklore

European Folklore

The past several weeks, I have been exploring many different aspects of European folklore, particularly involving the Fae. Below is a series of some of my research favourites, fae beings and associated folklore. Seelie and Unseelie Fae In Scotland, the Fae are often divided into the Seelie and Unseelie courts, or the Light and Dark… Continue reading European Folklore

Iceland’s Yule Trolls

In Icelandic tradition, the Yule lads are thirteen trolls who arrive, one one each of the 13 days before Christmas then depart in the order they arrived, on the subsequent days following Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, the troll witch Gryla, leaves the mountains to enter the city, seeking any children who had been ill-behaved… Continue reading Iceland’s Yule Trolls

The Wendigo & Dark Fiction

Another of my recent work-in-progress short fiction pieces, has been a dark fiction story inspired by wendigo psychosis an unusual form of ‘cultural psychosis’ specific to First Nations peoples of Canadian-North American Great Lakes regions where belief in a supernatural being, the wendigo, provides a unique cultural framework for a psychosis. This psychosis has specific… Continue reading The Wendigo & Dark Fiction

Poisoned Fruit & Cursed Futures

I recently finished writing a short fiction piece inspired by poisoned apple folklore and legends, the most familiar being the story “Little Snow-White” published by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm in Children’s’ and Household Tales (commonly known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales) between 1812-1814 . There are, of course, countless folklore and folktales surrounding betrayals and murder… Continue reading Poisoned Fruit & Cursed Futures

Standing Stones & Time

I recently finished writing a flash fiction story inspired by European Neolithic stone circles and folklore. Common to the folklore of standing stones is an aspect of temporal planes, the shifting of time connecting the Fae to disappearances, madness and re-appearances many years later. In my own short fiction, a liminal temporal plane joins Europe… Continue reading Standing Stones & Time

Gothic Fiction & Victorian Science

I recently finished writing a short story continuing my fascination with Victorian science. I focused on the anatomical sciences that inspired many gothic and urban folklore of the Victorian era. Some of the most classic Victorian era gothic tales including Frankenstein and Dracula involve the unease in Victorian society about the dead, superstition, burial practices… Continue reading Gothic Fiction & Victorian Science

Gaslamp Fantasy & Victorian Science

I have been interested by several different stories recently in the Alternate History subgenres of Steampunk and Gaslamp Fantasy. My latest short story draws on my academic knowledge of the Victorian era expansion in science and natural history. Gaslamp Fantasy is a subgenre I really enjoy and was inspired to write an alternate history exploring… Continue reading Gaslamp Fantasy & Victorian Science

Icelandic Waterfalls Part 2

I visited Iceland in September 2019 as part of my writing research for novel-in-progress Ragnarok Dreaming. Part of my Icelandic experience was the National Museum of Iceland, riding tour outside Reykjavik on the iconic Icelandic horse, exploring glaciers, black sand beaches, glacial lakes which influenced the Viking and Icelandic culture. Gljúfurárfoss Gljúfurárfoss is also known… Continue reading Icelandic Waterfalls Part 2

Icelandic Waterfalls Part 1

I visited Iceland in September 2019 as part of my writing research for novel-in-progress Ragnarok Dreaming. Part of my Icelandic experience was the National Museum of Iceland, riding tour outside Reykjavik on the iconic Icelandic horse, exploring glaciers, black sand beaches, glacial lakes which influenced the Viking and Icelandic culture. Írárfoss (Irish River Waterfalls) The… Continue reading Icelandic Waterfalls Part 1

Chasing Storms of Sorrow

A little while ago I finished writing an paranormal/dark fantasy short story set in contemporary Melbourne, Australia. I was inspired by the changeable weather in Melbourne and fascinated by the strong winter storms that are drawn inland from the southern ocean. These storms can be very unpredictable and wild as the storm front meets the… Continue reading Chasing Storms of Sorrow

Latest: Ragnarok Dreaming

I am very pleased to announce my current work-in-progress fantasy novel, Ragnarok Dreaming is very nearing the finishing line. I have just finished writing the third Part of the novel, the draft has already expanded beyond my anticipated length with the new word count expected to be around 130,000 words. Of course, there’s a lot… Continue reading Latest: Ragnarok Dreaming

Sweden: Gotland Museum

I visited the Gotland Museum in Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden in early September 2019. You can read more about my research visit to the Uppsala Viking Age burial mounds, the History Museum in Stockholm and the medieval city of Visby on Gotland Island. Gotland Museum contains an amazing variety of prehistoric Swedish and Viking Age… Continue reading Sweden: Gotland Museum

Salvador Dali Illustrated Alice in Wonderland

I just discovered the 150th Anniversary edition of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol published by Princeton University Press is an illustrated version by artist Salvador Dali. Absolutely stunning illustrations that are pure magic! You can buy hardback and paperback copies of this gorgeous edition through most bookstores and online stores at affordable prices.

Sweden: Visby

Visby is a medieval city on the Swedish Island of Gotland. I visited Visby in early September 2019 to see the famous medieval charm of the harbour city and the many prehistoric and early Viking Age artefacts in the Gotland Museum. You can read more about my visits to Stockholm Historiska Museum here, the Viking… Continue reading Sweden: Visby

Sweden: History Museum

In late September 2019, I visited the Historika Museet (National History Museum) in Stockholm, Sweden. I only had a few days in Stockholm but I the Historiksa Museet is located in the central part of Stockholm city and is easily accessible by tram, bicycle or on foot. I visited the museum for the detailed exhibitions… Continue reading Sweden: History Museum

Spain: Las Alpujarras

In late August 2019, I visited the western Alpujarras, in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, where I traveled from the city of Granada to the small town of Lanjarón, about 50km southwest of Granada. Lanjarón is famous throughout Spain for the local spring that is historically purported to have healing properties and which provides… Continue reading Spain: Las Alpujarras

Spain: Madrid

My European writing holiday and research gathering adventure began in Madrid in mid-August 2019. Madrid is the capital city of modern Spain but has also been the historical capital of Spanish kingdom and it is where the Royal Palace is still located today. You can read more about my visit to the Real Palacio de… Continue reading Spain: Madrid

Loki & Idunn

I have been working hard writing a large scene over several chapters in my novel-in-progress, Ragnarok Dreaming. The scene is based on a significant section in Norse mythology recorded in The Prose Edda, called the Skaldskaparmal, where Loki is portrayed for the first time as a more malicious being. The Skaldskaparmal describes Loki’s deliberate deception… Continue reading Loki & Idunn

Taurus, the Zodiac & Mesopotamian Myth

Ancient history and mythology have always been favorite topics for me. Recently, I found an interesting article on newly discovered sections of ancient Mesopotamian poem, The Epic of Gilgamesh, detailing the legendary feats of a historical king. The Epic of Gilgamesh was inscribed on cuneiform tablets which continue to baffle scholars as to the purpose… Continue reading Taurus, the Zodiac & Mesopotamian Myth

Norse Gods: The Vanir

Much of the information about Norse mythology is gleaned from the historical texts called the Eddas. As recounted in the Eddas, two separate hosts of deities initially existed, the Vanir and Aesir . These two hosts waged several unsuccessful wars against each other until they united as a single host, combining their strength against the… Continue reading Norse Gods: The Vanir

Norse Gods: The Aesir

Much of the information about Norse mythology is gleaned from the historical texts called the Eddas. As recounted in the Eddas, two separate hosts of deities initially existed, the Vanir and Aesir. These two hosts waged several unsuccessful wars against each other until they united as a single host, combining their strength against the giants.… Continue reading Norse Gods: The Aesir

2018: Year In Review

The last 6 months have been a whirlwind of activity and excitement for me. This inaugural but semi-regular post serves as part-reflection on recent events and part-update on current, unfolding projects. Curious to know more? Storytelling & More: The launch of this website coincided with the publication of my debut Fantasy novel Bone Arrow and… Continue reading 2018: Year In Review

Namarrgon: Lightning Spirit

Namarrgon is an indigenous Australian creation ancestor, a powerful spirit of the Arnhem Land plateau in the Kakadu region responsible for violent monsoon storms of Northern Australia. In the indigenous stories of Namarrgon, violent lightning and thunder storms each tropical summer are associated with the axes he throws, splitting the clouds to cause thunder and… Continue reading Namarrgon: Lightning Spirit

Legend of the Platypus

The platypus is an iconic Australian native semi-aquatic, burrowing, egg-laying mammal (monotreme) with an unusual soft-bill, webbed feet and a thick “beaver-like” tail covered in a soft fur pelt. An indigenous Australian legend details the origins of these eclectic physical features according to indigenous cultural heritage. The indigenous Australian legend retold in Aboriginal Stories by… Continue reading Legend of the Platypus

Yggdrasil & the Eddas

The texts in the Poetic Edda are considered older than those recorded in the Prose Edda. The Poetic Edda consists of ancient Norse poems, the mythologies and legends recounted in a specific style of stanzas found only in the Icelandic texts, a written version of ancient Nordic oral traditions. As such, the poems recorded in… Continue reading Yggdrasil & the Eddas

Yggdrasil

Yggdrasil, also known as the World Tree or The Great Ash, upholds the Nine Realms and is a prominent part of Norse Cosmology. Yggdrasil has three main roots which each connect to one of the three planes that support the Nine Realms. One of Yggdrasil’s roots is located in Nifelheim, the realm of the dead.… Continue reading Yggdrasil

Bangarra: Storytelling & Dance

Bangarra Dance is a premier Australian Dance company bringing the powerful, but often unfamiliar, indigenous Australian legends from the Dreaming to international audiences. Bangarra have developed a unique and celebrated style of contemporary dance, combining  powerful and evocative movements in indigenous Australian dance with the continuing traditions of indigenous Australia for storytelling through dance. In 2018, Bangarra… Continue reading Bangarra: Storytelling & Dance

Vikings in Australia

While the Northern Hemisphere celebrated MidSummer, the Southern Hemisphere filled with the sudden arrival of icy winter storms. I ventured to Melbourne, Victoria for a brief research trip and an amazing experience of Vikings in Australia. Not to mislead, it is not thought Vikings ventured into the Southern Ocean but an unmissable museum exhibition from… Continue reading Vikings in Australia

Norse Cosmology

In Norse mythology, the cosmos or universe was divided into nine realms on three planes held apart by a giant tree, Yggdrasil. The highest plane held the realm of Asgard, inhabited by the warrior gods, the Aesir. Located nearby were warriors slain honorably in battle who inhabited Valhalla, feasting while awaiting the final battle of Ragnarok.… Continue reading Norse Cosmology

Tariaksuq & Ijiraq

Amerindian cultures in the Arctic regions including the Inuit, mention in folktales, the “shadow people” or the Tariaksuq and Ijiraq, elusive, shape-shifting and malevolent spirits known for kidnapping children. These spirits, often mentioned in close association, can take the form of a humanoid-caribou like the Tariaksuq, or can lack consistent physical forms like the Ijiraq.… Continue reading Tariaksuq & Ijiraq

The Norse Myths

A clear and easily understood collection of retellings, The Penguin Book of Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland provides good foundations for later exploration into texts exploring the translations and topics from the Norse Poetic Eddas. The Introduction discusses some of the important elements of Norse cosmology and culture before detailing the different roles gods and… Continue reading The Norse Myths

Wakinyan

Wakinyan or the Thunderbird is an important and mythological figure in many North American folktales, stories and cultural traditions. Wakinyan is described as a giant bird, much like a raven in coloring but often with some aspects resembling an eagle. The Thunderbird of the Plains and mid-western Amerindian cultures is often associated with the months… Continue reading Wakinyan

Wendigo

The wendigo legend forms a central part of tales and lore from Amerindian tradition in the forested areas of the Great Lakes in Canada and the northern United States. Despite numerous indigenous cultures inhabiting this region, the legend of the wendigo remains consistent with only two main variations. The majority of tales describe the wendigo… Continue reading Wendigo