Author Archives: Jay Verney

Last Cat On Mars and Jay Present: Handy Quotations From Even Handier Writers – #1 Thea Astley

Hello friends. An occasional series which fulfills my need to quote quotations and to help my little friend, Dr On Mars, create setups to illustrate them.

One of my favourite (and, arguably, one of Australia’s most underrated and underappreciated writers in a broader, appreciated-by-the-reading-public sense) is Thea Astley (1925-2004) (winner of awards left, right and centre, including four Miles Franklins), so who better than to kick it off.

I had the unique privilege of meeting Thea many years ago at the Queensland Writers Festival – she was an extremely generous and kind person, and also hilarious. And she loved jazz. Mmmm, jazz …

Read Thea’s stuff as soon as you can – don’t leave the Earth without it ringing in your memory. I highly recommend Reaching Tin River, Drylands, The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow, Beachmasters, Coda, Vanishing Points, A Kindness Cup – well, really, anything she wrote – just get it and read it. You will have no regrets.

You can buy some of her titles from UQP, Penguin, and Allen & Unwin, and also look for secondhand copies through ebay, or other re-sellers like Fishpond

You can also read a very excellent biography of Thea, Thea Astley – Inventing Her Own Weatherby Karen Lamb, published by one of my publishers, UQP.

Meanwhile, if you’re a writer, or fancy yourself to be so, take notice of the following quotation – live the dream, don’t procrastinate – life is short – how many other cliches can I fit on the head of a pin with all those angels?

Thea Astley quotation: Trying to carve out a good sentence. There's little else to do. I might as well give myself up to that.


Poetry For All Your U.S. Election Exhaustion Needs: Zenku 365

Cartoon advertising Zenku 365

Yes, I know, it’s opportunistic, but my little friend, Dr On Mars, over at Last Cat On Mars, offered to provide an advert-illustration thingy, as above. Who could refuse such an offer, and from such a generous and adorable feline?

But wait, there’s more: you can click these words to go to Amazon to see more about Zenku 365: A Zenku A Day Invites Mindfulness To Stay, or, try the groovy toy below:

How to be less Sedentary and More Standy-ary with a StandStand

Hey there grasshoppers.

Here’s something good to consider. Writers and others – those who work in the veal-fattening pens (thanks, Douglas Coupland) of city high-rises, for instance – spend a lot of time seated and thinking, or eating, or reflecting, or eating, or sometimes even writing.

However, it’s a really good idea to stand – quite a lot, in fact. So a while back, I bought a StandStand. It was a Kickstarter project from Luke Leafgren, an inventor and Harvard academic, and was very successful. The StandStand is a portable flat-pack in bamboo or birch that transforms your desk or table into a standing desk for your laptop, or even tablet. You can take it anywhere – mine travels around the house and veranda regularly, depending on what I’m writing and how much light I need to stay happy.

Currently, Luke is in the midst of a new Kickstarter project for the StandStandGrand, a bigger two-tier standing desk that you can see at Kickstarter (go via the main StandStand website so this link remains viable once the Kickstarter campaign is over). The campaign ends soon, so if you’re interested in it, now’s the time to make a decision. Or if you can’t afford the new Grand version, consider the lovely StandStand. Here’s mine with the help of a few close friends:

StandStand portable desk with laptop


The Mindful Art of Verandaku: Micro Poems in a Macro World – Volume 1 – Now Available

Hello there,

I’m testing out an Amazon provided promotional application for independent authors (and others, no doubt). This is an embedded preview of my latest book of poems, which you can buy in either ebook or paperback format. So try it out and see what happens – you have only your money to lose – and you know you want to support a half-starving author whose cappuccino steamer wand is on the blink 🙂

Border Force Protection Racket Hits Snag – Clumsiness Blamed

Hello fellow champions of democracy. I couldn’t let the recent interesting events in Melbourne concerning our very own Border Force (on Friday 28 August – so sue me, I need what the therapists call Take Up Time) go by without saluting them in words and images. After the hilarious ‘toon, I’ve also added the media releases by Australian Border Force and here’s a link to the ABC’s timeline of how the – what would you call it, oh, yes – fiasco unfolded

Cartoon of Border Force and Operation Fortitude

Media releases from ABF

The first one is delighted to announce the operation during which “officers will … be speaking with any individual we cross paths with.” Nothing threatening about that, citizens.

Australian Border Force Press Release re Operation Fortitude


The second one offers clarification in which the ABF “will not stop people at random in the streets and does not target on the basis of race, religion, or ethnicity.” That’s good to know.

Australian Border Force Press Release re Operation Fortitude


Then there’s the short media conference by Commissioner Q regarding the “clumsily worded” press release from way down low in the organisation: ie, the chap (Commander Don Smith) who runs the show for Victoria and Tasmania – must be a Private or a Corporal Commander, then.

Australian Border Force press release re cancellation of Operation Fortitude

I sure hope they get that clumsiness sorted soon because apparently there’s going to be 5,000 to 6,000 Border Forcelings out there eventually and they’ll be trained, armed to the gunwales and ready to rock and roll.

Clumsy doesn’t cut it, really, Q.



Want a laugh at the end of a week of wailing in Queensland, and elsewhere?

Last Cat On Mars image Ripley comic

Last Cat On Mars – We Cartoon so You Don’t Have To

Then you’ve come to the right place – in a shameless bit of cross promotion, I’m inviting you to check out my friend, Last Cat On Mars, and her website over at Last Cat On Mars – original much?

What’s that I said about Queensland, sunniest state in the world for some of the shadiest people (read more about them in my novel, Spawned Secrets – shameless, shameless self-promotion. Who knew? It’s the political hysteria – it’s getting to all of us).

Look, it’s Friday afternoon,  and Australia’s Prime Minister is going to be punted by his own party sometime in the next week or so (today is Feb 6/15) – I know you’ll forgive me, and if not, then check out this amazingly even-handed, unbiased work of startling cartoonery from my idol First Dog On The Moon, the inspiration behind Last Cat On Mars. Also, here in Election One Day, Premierless The Next Queensland, we’re punchie waiting for all the pre-poll votes to be counted in and out.

Enjoy the weekend, grasshoppers, and let us conjointly pray to the Teapot Goddess for an election result in Queensland that favours integrity, kindness, aid to the most vulnerable, helpless and needy in our society, and respect for each other.

Lead blunted? Inkwell dry? Not for long, grasshoppers. Vive Charlie Hebdo, Vive Free Speech.


Je Suis Charlie with Mime

The internet is all about free speech, Some idiots abuse the privilege, but most of us know that freedom comes with responsibilities, rights come with respect. So sharpen your pencils, fill up your ink bottles, position yourself or your characters, and speak, speak freely.

Except. Continue reading

As the Willow Gently Weeps: Why did Phillip Hughes’s death affect us so much?

Phillip Hughes remembrance poster

The last time I consistently watched Test cricket, or any cricket, as a very interested fan was several hundred years ago, when names like Rodney Marsh, Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, Bill Lawrie, Richie Benaud, the Chappell brothers, and Keith Stackpole were bending and spinning, bouncing and gardening, pulling and snicking and lofting. Continue reading

Add Your Australian Bank Account to Your Amazon Kindle (KDP) Account in 10 Easy Steps

Hi, grasshoppers. Recently Amazon opened a Kindle store in Oz. This means that those of us in Australia who independently publish ebooks via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) now have the option of adding a local bank account to our KDP Accounts because Amazon has established a virtual marketplace here.

Keep calm, but celebrate – Yay!

Now, royalty payments for ebooks sold to customers in Australia and New Zealand can be credited to your bank account via EFT (and in Australian dollars) and you won’t have to wait for a cheque from the U.S. for those sales.

Like me, you probably received an email about all of this, but I noticed on some forum threads that some of us are having a few difficulties interpreting banking lingo, so I thought I’d share my experience of adding a bank account with you and spread the minty fresh Oz KDP love around. And there are pictures! Double yay!!

Here we go, then: Continue reading

Photoshop – is there anything it can’t do? Grass as Art, Grasshopper

I could say it’s in honour of the approaching weekend and all of you ready to rush outdoors and do useful and useless sunny day stuff.  I could say I watch far too many games set on rugby fields with three-dimensional ads for the players to trip over.  I could say that I spend far too much time playing with image editing software, and that I’m a helpless victim of You Tube Photoshop video tutorials, especially on quiet, rainy Saturday afternoons.

I could say all of the above, but instead I’ll simply say, see below: