About Me

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Queensland, Australia
I'm an Australian author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Action/Adventure, and Historical fiction. I live in Queensland, Australia. www.noelleclark.net

Friday, April 25, 2014

An ode of remembrance

No April 25th could ever be complete without me writing a few words about our most sacred of national days. ANZAC Day. For my non-Australian friends, ANZAC Day – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - looms on our calendar, and that of our close neighbours, New Zealand, as the day when our nations stop and remember the first major military action of two young nations with small populations - Australia's population at that time was less than five million. That first fierce engagement took the lives of young farmers, stockmen, sons, brothers and mates. ANZAC Day not only pays tribute to those thousands of soldiers who died on the beaches of Turkey on 25th April, 1915, but has come to be the day when we remember and thank all who have fought for our freedom, and for the freedom of people everywhere who needed help.

Today, Kate and Wills - the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - are in our nation's capital, Canberra, along with thousands of locals in the chilly, pre-dawn darkness, at the sombre and moving Dawn Service.

It was in those eerie hours before dawn, that Australian and New Zealander soldiers tumbled from the boats into the murky waters of what is now called Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, Turkey. As they emerged from the sea and made their way up the beach, Turkish snipers picked them off. Bodies covered the blood-soaked pebbly beach, as yet more and more soldiers tried to run across it to reach the relative safety of the cliffs.

Inch by inch, the Allies fought the Turks to gain control of Lone Pine, a strategic post. The battle at Gallipoli raged for several months, and by the end of August, 1915, it had cost the Allies 141,000 casualties, of whom more than 44,000 died. Of the dead, 8709 were Australians and 2701 were New Zealanders. The Turks suffered 251,000 casualties, of whom more than 86,000 lost their lives.

Here we are, 99 years later, and the Turks commemorate the battles of Anzac Cove and Lone Pine alongside us, welcoming tens of thousands of pilgrims each year to the ceremony on the beach in Anzac Cove, paying tribute to the Turks, Australians, and New Zealanders who so valiantly fought in that place.

It makes me sad just to write this. War, in any context, is a sad waste of precious human life. But the time for debating the rights and wrongs is long gone. It's left to those of us who enjoy a peaceful, free life, to thank those - on both sides - for their sacrifices.

In Australia, ANZAC Day has come to be the day when our nation pauses to remember not just those men who died at Gallipoli in World War 1, but at all theatres of war we have been involved in. In the trenches of France, especially at Villers-Bretonneux; in World War 2; in the Crimean and Boer wars; in the Korian and Viet Nam wars; and in Afghanistan, Solomon Islands, East Timor, and Iraq.

My father, Matt Dillon, served as a Sergeant in the Australian Army during World War 2 against the Japanese in what is now called Papua New Guinea. When my parents married soon after the end of the war in 1945, their wedding photos show him as a mere shadow of a man, thin, emaciated, and sickly. Those years spent waist deep in the swamps of New Guinea, suffering malaria and untold other ailments, took their toll. Growing up, I remember my dad being in and out of hospital sometimes for months at a time, eventually being deemed totally and permanently disabled. He died at the young age of 63.

Next year, it will be the centenary of the battle at Gallipoli. In one hundred years, so many have lost their lives either defending their own country, or in assisting others.

Today, we salute veterans everywhere, and those currently serving. In major cities, little country towns, and remote communities across Australia, hundreds of thousands attend dawn services, line the streets for the march past of military and nursing personnel from all countries, and thank them.

May peace reign throughout the world. May we always remember and thank those who have defended the defenceless in our world. Lest we forget.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

This song, written by Scotsman, Eric Bogle, captures the Anzac story so poignantly. Sung here by The Bushwhackers.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cover Reveal: new Romantic Suspense from Dani-Lyn Alexander - ANONYMOUS

April 17th is one date you should put in your diary!


Because a new Romantic Suspense - with an emphasis on SUSPENSE - is coming out from Harper Impulse.

It's 'Anonymous' from fantastic author, Dani Lyn Alexander

Here's the Blurb:

What happens when an online date is not what it seems?

After Ali's heart is broken, she decides to try Anonymous, a new dating website where you can retain complete anonymity while you search for your soul mate. When she discovers Joe, she thinks she may have at least found a new friend and decides to put her past behind her and move on.

Several death threats and an attempt on her life force her back into contact with her soon-to-be ex, Mark, who is the lead detective on the case. The tension builds between them while Ali struggles to get over Mark, and Mark races to find the maniac who's trying to kill her.

When Ali meets up with her online flame, she finds he's anything but the friend she imagined…

Buy Anonymous now from Amazon.

Meet the author, Dani-Lyn Alexander   

Dani-Lyn Alexander lives on Long Island with her husband, three kids and three dogs. She loves spending time with her family, at the beach, the playground, or just about anywhere. In her spare time, which is rare, she enjoys reading and shopping—especially in book stores. Some of her favorite things include; Bernese Mountain Dogs, musicals, bubble baths and soft blankets. She’s an incurable insomniac and has an addiction to chocolate.
Contact Dani-Lyn

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Amazing how a Jolly Lobster award can trigger such vivid childhood memories

A 1988 Australia Post release celebrating the wonderful
childhood memory of lobbying

I grew up knowing that I had simply the best childhood anyone could have.

I took it pretty much for granted, until I went to school, and found out that others didn’t have a huge bush block of two and a half acres to run wild in. Add the adjoining neighbours blocks of similar size, and it was a magical, imagination-triggering existence.

Other kids lived on suburban blocks with indoor dunnies (toilets for non-Aussies). Heck, we didn’t have ‘town’ water until I was in high school, relying on our tanks and the vagaries of mother nature to fill those tanks.

No hot water…my Mum (Dad was always sick) used to stoke a fire in the back yard under a huge copper bowl, like a witch’s cauldron. I was the last of four kids. Twice a week, we could have a bath. No more, otherwise we’d run out of water. Mum would carry a two-gallon galvanized iron bucket of boiling water up our back stairs and throw it in the bath tub. We had a roster. First kid in got hot, clean water, but very shallow. By the time the fourth kid got into the tub, the water was deep, warmish, and grey with dirt and soap.

Did I feel deprived? Hell no!

School holidays were spent in our bushy back yard. We built cubby houses; played cowboys and Indians; climbed trees. Mum couldn’t afford TV. Occasionally we would get invited next door to those who had everything. We watched the Mickey Mouse Club, Roy Rogers, Rin Tin Tin.

This is a pic of kids lobbying in a dam.
The 'well' I lobbied in was a mere 3 foot diameter.

But we also had a deep hole in our back yard that we called ‘the well’.

I spent most summer holidays in an activity called ‘lobbying’. No, nothing to do with politics.

I don’t think ‘lobbying’ exists these days, because somehow the term has been the victim of the word police, who say that the creatures we used to catch with a piece of string with a dollop of meat hacked from our dog’s bones, tied securely on the end, are now called ‘yabbies’.

So, some people might call the activity yabbying. But I don’t. It was lobbying. So-called because we caught lobbies – lobsters.

That’s what I thought they were.

OK, so this has been a heckuva long preamble to tell you that my friend and fantastic author, Shehanne Moore, has bestowed upon me, via the scary Lady Fury, the coveted Lobster Award. Is there anyone more deserving of this award than me? No way, Jose.

I was a small child for my age, but I was courageous. As soon as I felt the nibble of the lobby on the dog meat bait, I lay down in the long grass, and peered down into the murky soup of ‘the well.’.

It took skill and courage to deftly pull the lobby up onto the grassy bank of our ‘well’ without actually falling in and drowning. The water was muddy, brown, like a latte without the froth.

No way could you see anything in the water. It was only when the blue claws of the lobby, clinging tightly to the dog meat with its massive pincers, broke the surface, that you could see the catch of the day.

Equipment for this popular bush backyard activity was:
  • A yard or so of string (a metre or so for the modern youth)
  • Some dollops of fatty beef, lamb or whatever was in the fridge for the dog
  • A bucket to put the caught lobbies in.
  • A notebook to record the number you caught. You see…you’d catch them, count them…them chuck them back in so that you had something to catch the next day.

Cheap, simple, exciting fun for a kid who grew up on a bush block in the outer Brissy 'burbs.

I was a brave kid. You see, once you caught the lobby, and deftly pulled it up onto the grass, it got wind that it had been caught. It would let go of the lump of dog meat, no matter how much Mum paid for it, and would crawl backwards to the water. I never understood how they always knew which way the water was.

So, the trick was to grab them behind their razor sharp nippers without them getting you, and you could pick them up. Some of them were huge. I’m not joking.

Oh, if only I’d had a camera back in those days.

You’ll all think I’m doing one of those exaggerations that fishermen do…oh yeah, it was…THIS…long.

Lobbies were dark green/brown, like khaki, and sometimes had blue tips on their plump pincers. They had the body of a king prawn. In fact, they looked a lot like prawns.

I never cooked one, despite many people telling me they were great to eat. They weren’t pets, but they weren’t something I wanted to kill and eat. To me, they were what I did in the long, hot, summer, school holidays in the back blocks of Belmont, Brisbane. And catching lobbies in the well in the back yard was a heck of a lot more exciting than what my suburban school friends got up to in the holidays. Movies. The local public swimming pool. Nah. Nothing could compare with those halcyon days spent lobbying, with my trusty kelpie, Buster, at my side.

So Shey, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being given the Jolly Lobster Award. It means more to me than you will ever know. Thanks.

And so, part of my obligation for accepting this award, is that I firstly display my award badge, link back to the person who gave it to me, Lady Fury, then complete the following questions:

1. Have you ever written a book involving sea scenes?(That is sea. Do please make sure there are no typos here).  If not why not and do you intend to?
My second novel is set on an island where the sea provides most ingredients for the local cuisine. The sea, in all its moods, is a star in ‘Rosamanti’.

2. What is your current WIP?
‘Honor’s Debt’ is set in Ireland. Honor Quirk has seen her fair share of tragedy in her young life. At the age of twenty-seven, she sets out to fulfil a promise. A promise that will repay a very old debt. She arrives in Ireland determined to carry out her mission. When the opportunity arises to spend time on the old family farm in Tipperary, she jumps at it, but other family members make it very clear they don't want her there. As time passes, events of the past catch up with her, and she finds that instead of embarking on her quest alone, she has the unlikely support of others who also bear the scars caused by loss.

3. Do you have a favorite sea film? And why?
Has to be Titanic.

4. A favourite fish recipe to share?
Not really a recipe, but this is what I do.
Place a nice salmon steak in aluminium foil and seal the foil like a little boat. Drizzle it with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and some nice herbs (whatever you have). Then I bake it in a moderate oven for, oh, fifteen to twenty minutes. Serve with whatever you like. Tender, juicy, sumptuous.

5. Your favourite sea going book?
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

6. Can you share a fav sea-side memory?
Dad taking us to Wellington Point for a swim on a hot summer day. Nothing compares to those days.

7. Most memorable sea-going journey?
Being sea-sick over the side of my boyfriend’s (who eventually became my ex husband) 12 foot aluminium fishing dinghy. Great way to make a good impression.

And finally, I have to, in turn, bestow the Jolly Lobster award on 7 other unsuspecting people. In
celebration of my Brissy childhood memories, I've chosen local authors. Over to you guys:
  1. Kendall Talbot
  2. Isabella Hargreaves
  3. Tania Joyce
  4. Elizabeth Ellen Carter
  5. Susanne Bellamy
  6. Sarah Belle
  7. Sharon Woolich

Who remembers catching lobbies as a kid? I'd really love to hear from you.