Friday, March 6, 2015

Looking at Smear Campaigns

Paranoia Unleashed - the making of the novel

So far it has been established that the antagonist (yet to be named) in this novel has, at the least, a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and as a significant part of the intended action centres on a smear campaign conducted by the antagonist against family members over a period of years, today’s post follows that theme and I will expand on this in the following days. This is part of building the character of the antagonist to get it right from the onset.

Smear campaigns are considered one of the classic behaviours of BPDs and the target is the person against whom the perpetrator conducts the vilification. Quite often this is against people who have stood up against some form of unfairness, abuse, or entitlement. These campaigns are often done behind the scenes against people who are or were related or emotionally close to the perpetrator and it may start months or even years before the target is aware it is happening.The intent is to destroy their reputation and relationships with family, friends and with community contacts and may extend to forcing the target to leave the community, putting them in prison, or even killing them. 

As with so many things involving BPs and their typical inability to understand or respect boundaries, there really are no limits. They will use basically any means available to them to cause damage to their target, including denigration, endless disparaging remarks, fabrication, false accusations, and even grooming others to lie on their behalf as part of their campaign.

A smear campaign involves lies, exaggerations, and cultivation of mistrust toward the victim by playing on the sensibilities of others, using people’s empathy and morals to turn them against the victims – most often for having done nothing more than disagree with the smearer. Many are passive participants who will listen and believe the lies they are told, while others become actively involved in spreading them further. The target may find that there are dozens of people, many of whom they have never met, who believe and repeat the lies they have been told. This is the insidious nature of the smear campaign.

Smear campaigners try to ostracize their victims and make them feel alone, unpopular, and unsupported by others while they play the victim, the hero, or both, manipulating others to think they are good people who are rightfully standing up against the victim’s supposed immorality or abuse.

Smear campaigners insinuate that the victim is mentally ill, unreasonable, incompetent, untrustworthy, or abusive and they enjoy the feeling of having gotten back at their victims, believing it is completely justifiable – even fun – to mistreat someone for having an opinion that is different from theirs.

Smear campaigners do not acknowledge the wrong they do, and cannot typically be expected to genuinely confess or apologize — even after they’ve been proven liars.

Having established this element of the antagonist's character, this is probably as good a time as any to touch briefly on what happens to the people who are victims of these campaigns. 

  • They are alienated from their family and friends.
  • They lose contact with their children for months or even years.
  • They may lose their jobs.
  • They may spend tens of thousands of dollars or more fighting false accusations of the BP attacking them.
  • They may have restraining orders placed upon them based upon false accusations.
  • They may end up in jail or prison due to false accusations.
  • They may develop severe mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and others.
  • Some commit suicide.

Adapted from an article written by Rob Print

In the next post I'll explore 'grooming' and some of the methods used in this.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Paranoia Unleashed – the unfolding of a novel

Paranoia Unleashed – the unfolding of a novel

After several years researching and writing family history, I’m in the preliminary stages of planning a new novel, a psycho thriller with a working title of Paranoia Unleashed.

While I've loosely plotted the story-line, this won’t be a ‘tap and go’ writing process, as it’s my intention to spend as much time as it takes in researching personality disorders and behaviours, and the impact of these on those around them, in an endeavour to understand the dynamics within the PPD's family. 

I will be posting my progress on this blog and inviting comment or opinion from others more closely associated with the subject as the project develops.

In Paranoia Unleashed, the protagonist has a Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD). This is the anguish-filled normality of his life that impels him to seek retribution for slights against him, real or imagined, going to inordinate lengths to create ‘evidence’ to substantiate his claims of persecution.  

This, in turn becomes part of the ‘grooming kit’ he uses to isolate and control others in order to validate the beliefs formed by his paranoia.

It is his reality.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Hidden Risks - 

a story of concealment and loss of family name

A history of the the descendants of Henry Stagg and Elizabeth Biven Coakes of Meander in Tasmania, this book follows the lives of several transported convicts and their descendants. 

When a young woman, Florence Risk, dies in 1917, her children are separated and all traces of her life buried with her in an unmarked grave under a miss-pelt name. One child, Kenneth, is raised by a maternal great-aunt. She gives him a new identity to shield him from the social stigma of being an illegitimate, mixed race child, effectively expunging his Middle Eastern ancestry. His two older brothers are placed in state care and denied return to their father's home. In this book, the layers of the past are uncovered to re-unite the Risk family and to integrate past and present.

This book would be of interest to:

Available on Amazon and Kindle

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 150246201X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1502462015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pre-release information - How to make Barsony plastic ribbon lampshades


Why pay in excess of $100.00 for refurbished or new plastic ribbon shades for your black lady lamps when you can make your own for less than $10.00.

This simple 'how to' guide for making plastic ribbon lamp shades for retro lamp bases, tells you where to source materials and gives step by step instructions for a basic shade. Includes information on Barsony and Kalmar ceramics, many colour illustrations and refurbishment hints for Barsony lamp bases.

This 58 page book will be for sale on Amazon within the next few days at a bargain price of $19.99 US with Kindle version free when you order a print copy or $4.99 US on its own. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Villains and Valour: a history of the Holmyard family of Tasmania

Released today...

Villains and Valour: a history of the Holmyard family of Tasmania

by Merlene Fawdry

See purchase details Here 

Or go direct to Amazon

Friday, August 15, 2014

When dialogue kills a story

In the past week I've begun to read two books. I never finished either of them.

The first, an historical novel written in 1976 by a famed and multi award winning Australian writer, the second, a recent publication and fourth book by an Australian writer. Both lost me almost at the first quotation mark because the dialogue lacked credibility.

With the first book there is dialogue on the second page between two Tasmanian Aboriginals pre-European settlement, written as spoken in articulate high-educated English. Although the unnaturalness of this jarred, I accepted it as one might accept a translation from an unknown language, squirming a little as the speculative speech between these proud people was reduced to class-valued interpretation. Two pages over, when the daughter of the former was speaking, the dialogue had been written in the worst interpretation of pidgin English I’ve ever read, making an intelligent woman sound like a complete simpleton. At this point I found I could not take the book seriously. I felt insulted on behalf of the historical figure being portrayed and embarrassed for the writer despite her fame. I closed the book.

The second book, also speculative non-fiction of early Tasmanian history, had been extensively researched. It had a strong story line that stood out above the telling rather than showing narrative, but the dialogue was, for the most part, quite unbelievable for the era and setting. There was also an issue with consistency, i.e. in one string of dialogue, ‘here’, is written with a dropped aitch (‘ere), two lines down the aitch is pronounced, then the same word is misspelt as, ‘ear, in the next. Dialogue, as an extension of characters, needs to be above all true and consistent. What really stood out for me in this book though, was the phrase, ‘man up’, which has been around for less than a decade, suddenly thrown in as dialogue between characters. At this point I lost interest in reading further, conceding that, while I’d wasted money in buying this book, I didn’t have to waste time in reading it.

There are many aspects to writing dialogue if it is to be believable and, when used well, it is an excellent technique for injecting needed breaks into numerous action scenes, long narrative and/or descriptive passages. Unfortunately, writing realistic dialogue proves to be one of the most difficult aspects of the creative writing process for some writers and without this, readers can quickly lose interest as such false notes often distract from the essence of the story.

Visit the following page for an informative article on writing dialogue -

Friday, June 20, 2014

The carousel of blogging

It's two months since my last post - a dead stop in the middle of two challenges - the A-Z of Blogging and NaPoWriMo. Without mention of all the other challenges of life that get in the way of regular blogging, I think the timing of this latest hiatus says a lot about taking on too much at the one time and the need to set achievable writing related goals.

Blogger absenteeism is comparable to school truancy, where each day off compounds the issue, putting an ever-increasing gap between student and education. It's like jumping off a playground carousel, watching it spin and being unable to time the leap back on.

So, after watching the spinning of the carousel of time, I've made the leap back on to a blog that's lost its spin, hoping I can find the momentum to set it in motion once more before it spits me off again. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 18 - letter P in A-Z of Blogging

Peace is that elusive place much sought after, yet rarely found. It is the Nirvana of harried mothers and fretful fathers and the fantasy of the troubled. 

Peace is...

Peace hand holds with silence
in night darkness
until a rill of conscience
washes over the sleeper;
cease-fire ending
as the nightmare begins.
Peace is...
the silence
after fists of passion
have been spent
and she answers back no more
his heart pounding
hers stilled forever.

Peace is...
the stillness
after the last cannon fires,
when smoke settles over corpses
strewn across battle fields
in the period of shock
before the keening begins.

Peace is...
the calm
of a starving child
born into famine
accepting of its fate
no blame or shame

to fill empty bowls.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 17 - the letter O of A-Z

Ooooooooooooo! Really?


It’s a strange feeling
this state of being ousted
from civilised society
no harsh words flung
at twenty paces
or less
no direct hint
of the exact transgression
or which social more
has been broken
just the chill
of a silent phone,
the blank stare
of an empty mailbox,
and the clipped consonants
of polite conversation
when avoidance is impossible.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The letter N in the A-Z of Blogging

Nintingbool Niceness

Yesterday we had a trip out of town to pick up two chairs we’d purchased on EBay, very nice retro yellow and grey to match our recently renovated kitchen. Deciding not to waste the long trip we combined several activities into the day, shopping at stores not available in the small town we live in. First stop Bunnings garden centre, a sort of retail heaven for me. A red grape, several punnets of seedlings (including our favourite nasturtiums), a hibiscus to fill the gap down the drive and a slow dawdle down the herb aisle. I’d picked up two pots of thyme and was hanging about the salvias when a lady struck up a conversation about these plants, pointing me in the direction of one that had caught my eye earlier and telling me of its bird attracting qualities. Two of my weaknesses – plants and birds and I was sold, picking up another just for good measure.

We still had an hour or so before chair pick up time so drove across town to a shopping centre for lunch and a browse. My husband needed more canvases and I needed more, well more of anything if it was a bargain, a use for which could be worked out later, such is the serendipitous nature of idle shopping. Lunch was pretty ordinary, a dried out eggplant quiche and a side serve of limp salad, but the coffee was to die for. I saw two people with familiar faces while we were having lunch, one a younger man with a gaunt face I’d almost spoken to when his blank look told me the recognition wasn’t reciprocated. It was then I realised he’d been one of the contestants of The Biggest Loser TV show that recently finished. And I won’t say any more on the subject of this ‘reality’ show for fear of litigant action. The other person was immediately recognisable, and I was still trying to put a name to the face when I realised who it was staring back at me. I’d been staring at my own reflection in an adjacent mirror. Embarrassed at my elderliness, I returned my focus to the limp salad and conversation with my husband, who thankfully I could still recognise.

Then it was time to set off for Nintingbool and the chairs. I’d scrawled some vague directions on a scrap of paper that thought I could decipher when the time came, and I almost could apart from a slight mix up with a couple of roundabouts. One phone call and a short detour later we arrived as a house in the country with a beautiful welcoming garden edging the long drive to the house. Here we met the friendly Sandy, who offered us coffee and cake with that country friendliness you don’t see that often these days and we loaded the chairs into the car. As we opened the back of the wagon she spotted our earlier purchases from Bunnings, asking what plants we’d purchased, leading on to a discussion on gardening in general. She then asked if I liked irises, canna lilies and belladonna lilies. I said yes and before I could turn around she was digging up her garden beds and handing me plants to place in plastic bags for the trip home.

We left with much thanking and arm waving to find our way home, not caring too much if we got lost or otherwise side-tracked, still under the spell of Nintingbool niceness. 

Day 15 NaPoWriMo and M in A-Z of Bogging

Day 15 of NaPoWriMo and M in the A-Z of Blogging

This is a poem I wrote that was published in Australian Writer in 2004 with some new edits.

Triazine Mist

beneath fragrant Sassafras
and lush tree ferns
an inquisitive quoll 
explores the understorey
of the forest floor,

he nudges the limp form
of his companion;
his mother,
who went before him
to slake her thirst

alone now 
he looks around
the heart of the forest,
the soul of our planet
as it falters 

and dies

under the lethal mist 
of triazine

My story The Mist (unrelated to the above poem) can be read by clicking the link.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The A-Z of blogging

WeLL and TruLy Layered

Quite without realising it – and I admit there’s a lot I don’t realise these days, I committed to National Poetry Month (USA) and the April A-Z blogging challenge. The former requires a poem written each day and the latter writing every day to a topic beginning with the letter for that day.

Today’s letter is L and I find I’ve completely missed A-K so it comes as no surprise that I find myseLf over-Layered with unmet commitments. Laminous.

Swamped, and drowning in a sea of good intentions, confident I can make landfaLL before the end of each day, but I can’t swim against the tide and find myseLf caught in the rips of everyday Living. FLoundering in the depths of Life.

Other unmet projects rise up to taunt me, as Lifebuoys that fLoat beyond my grasp, and I yearn for the steady progress of the Longer, known work. No poems written on the hop, nor Letters of the aLphabet frowning to be written to, just the pLodding of the long distance writer.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 13

Another Oscar

Across the ocean
another Oscar
cries rivers of denial,
before the dry eyes
of the victim’s mother
tears long replaced
by the numbness of grief,
she watches and waits
for a verdict
in this trial
where privilege
overshadows the tragedy
each character playing
the role of a lifetime
before a black-robed wisdom,
and the idol teeters
on invisible feet
as he stands
on the brink of judgement.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 12

An Oscar with a difference...

She walked into the room
and owned it
the stage was hers,
the applause, her due
her glory days eternal
never conceding
to a single wrinkle
she stood,
a waxworks caricature
of her former fame
to please this city
that disdains older age
and the media whispers
became a roar,
a united demand
for the surgeon’s scalp(el)
and litigation
for this woman
chiselled and sanded
beyond recognition
for her big night out.

Friday, April 11, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 11

A clever man, Oscar
wit expressed
as words of wisdom
much quoted
after his demise,
respectable in death

he cited education
as an admirable thing
despite his claim
anything worth knowing
could never be taught

yet he implied
came at a price
while I would argue
nothing of value
can ever be bought

Thursday, April 10, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 10

‘Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing.’ ~ Oscar Wilde

is the gift of having lived
an incidental adjunct
to the lessons of life
a serendipitous return
to that freely given
shared love, pain and joy
that teaches us
and others
kindness absolute
and, as such
it has no cost.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 9

Draft 2

time stands still
on these streets
where past
is ever present
and future

repressive social values
passed father to son
expectations of submission
passed mother to daughter

passive faced buildings
belie eyes behind windows,
ears alert at keyholes,
where and the faceless who whisper
the shame of the fallen

time stands still
on these streets
where church bells toll

the virtue of the city

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 8

1st draft

time stands still
on these streets
where past
is ever present
and future

repressive social values
passed father to son
expectations of submission
passed mother to daughter

passive faced buildings
belie eyes behind windows,
ears at keyholes
where the faceless whisper

time stands still
on these streets
where church bells toll
the virtue of the city

Monday, April 7, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 7

Draft 2 - My grandfather

After edits (shown below)

my grandfather was a carpenter
artisan of chisel and lathe
surrounded by wood shavings
he hummed to an invisible tune

in older age he sang
melodies from his homeland
a trembling range of one octave
each note evocative

but poetry was his true love
memorised from youth
voice modulated
to draw emotion from every word
until his breathing slowed
then stopped

yet I hear his voice
in the scent of forests
the soft burr of song
and the rhythm of words
carried on the breeze

my grandfather was a carpenter
an artisan of chisel and lathe plane
toiling knee deep surrounded by wood shavings
he hummeding to an invisible tune

in older age he sang
melodies from his homeland
a trembling range of one octave
each note evocative

his true love was but poetry was his true love
memorised from youth
voice modulated
to ring draw emotion from every word
until his breathing slowed
then stopped

his voice is still heard
yet I hear his voice
in the scent of forests
the soft burr of song
and the rhythm of words

carried on the breeze

Sunday, April 6, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 6

my grandfather was a carpenter
an artisan of chisel and plane
toiling knee deep in wood shavings
humming to an invisible tune

in older age he sang
melodies from his homeland
a trembling range of one octave
each note evocative

his true love was poetry
memorised from youth
voice modulated
to ring emotion from every word

his voice is still heard
in the scent of forests
the soft burr of song

and the rhythm of words

I'm posting this poem as a first draft as it still has some distance to go...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 5 - a reflection


"A poet goes through very hard work. Anyone who thinks that a poem which has any merit at all is written easily is very mistaken, because a poem is an architectural thing. It's the building of an idea into form, and the idea that is suggested to the mind begins to bring its own symbols and metaphors, and perhaps even its own language. But it has to be very carefully chosen—the ideas have to be carefully chosen, and how the lines will fall, in what manner they will hang together right, which is a very rough expression of what a poem is. But to do that requires much working on, sometimes perhaps days of working and even into the night you are thinking about it. So it is not by any means something to scribble off.

- Sara Bard Field (1882-1974)

Reading the above quote by Sara Bard Field caused me to stop and think about the quality of what I have written (will write) during NaPoWriMo in producing a poem a day. I understand there are many who can run off a poem in minutes, but I am not one of those. The writing of a poem for me most often takes days, if not weeks. It begins with the concept, a thought or a string of words that persist and take form over a period of time. Usually I write these words in my journal, other notebook, or on any handy scrap of paper, adding and deleting words as the poem finds its shape. Once I have the bones of it I then put it on the computer to work on refining, layout etc. Poems work better for me when worked in stages - a slow construction, making sure each element is sound and consistent with the whole. I have shown the process of writing and re-drafting a poem in many of my previous posts.

Reflecting on what I've written over the last four days, I have to say there is nothing I feel particularly good about. These are poems that grew from expedience rather then that urgent pulse of words and images and it shows. I will continue to participate in NaPoWriMo. but with a greater awareness of what I'd like to achieve, viewing each poem posted as nothing more than almost pre-conceptual, each needing to be taken back to that scrap of paper and constructed from that point.

Friday, April 4, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 4

Their love had been a river
of smooth entry
and rippled finish
water under the bridge, now
as memories become
a distorted reflection
of the reality
they had once built

Thursday, April 3, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 3

I saw you again this morning
in the vibrancy of dawn that
coloured the mountain peaks,
tinting the coming day
with optimism

I heard your voice
in the birdsong you loved
whistling my reply
as you had taught me
with heartfelt joy

I felt your touch
on the  breeze that paused
to touch my arm in passing
that gentle brush
of oneness

I smelt your scent
in the garden you created
earthy and native to
this great southern land,

It is only at night
I can no longer find you
left on my own
to count down the hours

until I see you again.