Ratbags and Rogues


Step into working-class Sydney in the 60’s through to the 90’s. These ‘ratbags and rogues’ saved public spaces, historic buildings and homes. They even took over the building of the Sydney Opera House, at one stage! This is a story about the union movement, and what it takes to stand up to powerful figures, whose deepest desire is to squash you underfoot. Told with humour and wistfulness, it also has it’s share of tragedy. Given the current climate, it is also a call to arms. To purchase from Apple iBooks, here.
To purchase the paperback, click here.  For the Kindle version, click here.
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Update from Raphaela


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I received some devastating news last Friday. It came in the form of a group email, stating that my publisher had gone into receivership the previous Monday. I read and re-read the email, unable to take it in. I worked hard for two years, promoting my book and also planning eight further titles. The room spun as I tried to gather my thoughts. It meant that I wouldn’t receive royalties, and that the income I hoped to receive whilst home schooling my daughter wouldn’t be forthcoming. Life had to continue, even as I struggled to process what had occurred. I took my daughter to a friend’s home, as she was going to go to an ice-skating party with a bunch of girls. I didn’t talk about what had occurred. Instead this mum and I laughed about all manner of things until tears streamed from my eyes. It was such a release. I found it hard to leave and go back home to try to do the practical things necessary in this crisis.

On the Saturday, I attended a 40th birthday party for a courageous friend. I have watched her create a wonderful life for herself and her girls over the past eight years. It hasn’t been easy, but she has done it. There was a fire pit, and I sat mesmerized as the flames danced. I haven’t been sleeping since this occurred, feeling as though I am in limbo. I can’t do anything until the receiver’s get in touch and let the author’s know about their books. I am stunned that we were told in such a manner, and angry that the publisher didn’t live up to many parts of the contract. I had to trust that they would, as we have to do on many occasions. Trust a person’s word. Trust them on face value.

My daughter was asked if she could climb a glorious tree in a friend’s backyard and thread through lighting and mirror balls in preparation for a house-warming. She is an avid climber and had a ball helping out. I sat underneath this beautiful tree, and it reminded me of the one in The Magic Faraway Tree.

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The light shot out and changed colour every minute. It turned the tree into a kaleidoscope of luminescence. The kids chased each other and threw water balloons, and I listened to the band singing ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles. At that particular moment, all was calm in my world. There were tears as I talked with friends, but there was also laughter. I feel the need to display to my daughter how one can bounce back from betrayal and disappointment. It helps to sit in a lush backyard with a beautiful community of people on a Spring evening. A galah joined us, and to our surprise, regaled us with a stream of profanities! It was perfect in its whimsy. I am so tired that I can’t think. I am so anxious that my stomach is in knots and my body is shaking. I feel a cacophony of emotions and dread the thought of starting again.

Start again I must, for there is a little girl watching; a child that I have to provide for. There are friends and magic trees and visiting galah’s with rude vocabularies. There is music and sunshine and giggling and water bombs.