Archive for the Lyn McConchie’s friend Category


Posted in Australia, batman, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, set in Australia, Set in Germany, Set in italy, the punisher, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN


Revenge is a relatively new television show that has done well in the ratings. There is intrigue, nice settings and a top cast. Revenge is also something that turns up quite often in movies and literature.


    Plenty of people dream of ‘getting even’ with past wrong doers. Some people even make plans on how to ‘get even’ and eventually carry them out. The thing about ‘getting even’, though is that no one really succeeds in doing so. Usually by the time the persecuted are able to rise up and strike back the playing field has changed.

Someone who was utterly horrid in their youth might have a change of heart and become a much better human being. You could get revenge on them for past misdeeds but the person you really want revenge on is them the way they were back when and not the way they are now. Hell! They may not even remember all the misdeeds of their past and be sorry if they really had committed them. Striking back soon after the offense has bee made would seem to be the best way to go but for many people this just isn’t possible.

In a playground near Dubbo in NSW some years ago, I stopped a fight between two boys in their early teens. One was the class bully who was outraged that this skinny kid he’d been picking on most of the year wanted to fight back. He was a dumb S.O.B and, if I’d been anything but an adult at the time, I’d have liked to have thumped him but good in place of the other weaker looking kid. I hate bullies, especially sports freak bullies.

Meanwhile the skinny kid was on a kamikaze mission. Things had gotten so bad for him that he didn’t care if he got beat to death just so long as he got a few good punches in. It was the skinny kid who had started the ruckus. He’d snapped from past abuse and his mind was set on what he had to do. I believe he’d spent the early part of the day working on his courage and his self righteous anger. If might truly had anything to do with being in the right I wouldn’t have intervened. As things stood, I had to prevent the skinny one from getting hurt. I don’t know if I did him any favors by doing so. I don’t know if the talking to both boys got from the principal penetrated into the head of the bully. Sometimes it is hard to know what to do about bullying.

Quite possibly the bully mentioned has already forgotten this incident and the others he was primarily responsible for. Hopefully the desire for revenge doesn’t continue to haunt the skinny kid. It is difficult to know where bullying begins and where it ends. The same can be said for revenge.

In the movie The Breakfast Club (1985), a former jock gets his high school jock son to pick on a smart kid because he still hates high school smart kids. The son doesn’t want to do this and only does it to please his dad. Then he has regrets about picking on someone who could be his friend for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense to him. In the end the jock and the smart kid make peace with one another. Thus this particular chain of hatred is broken and the desire the smart kid might have for revenge against the young jock is also broken.

An old saying has it that the person seeking revenge had best dig two graves. There’s something in this. Revenge can consume one’s life to where, once the deed is done, there’s nothing to go on with.

       It is said that the best revenge you can have against your detractors is to be successful. Even though this is often the tougher option to swallow, it is the best. You may think that once you make it big you’ll look down and scoff at your old enemies. Generally speaking, those who do make it big never go in for the looking down or the scoffing. They have far more important and often far more pleasurable things to occupy their time and their minds with. Those who have helped you get somewhere have got to be, in the end, far more important than someone who was once a bully or a downer.

Revenge is a motivating force in many of Agatha Christie’s novels. She took this motive to exceptional heights and lows in Murder on the Orient Express where virtually everyone on the train has revenge as a reason to murder a particular passenger.

In the D.C universe, a  boy’s parents are killed by a small time hood and that boy, when he grows up, becomes the caped crusader, Batman.

Then there’s Marvel Punisher. A man’s family is wiped out by a crime boss and, for his revenge, the man becomes a vigilante, The Punisher. Much like Batman, as a vigilante he spends his days and especially his nights warring on crime.

In my novel, Disco Evil, the driving force behind Paul Priestly is revenge on all male and female jocks. When he is made over into a vampire he realizes he can have all the revenge he can handle.

Over time, however, Paul begins to understand that such revenge eats away at him till there’s nothing else left and finally ends in his second death. Paul, when he is human, sees the hippy ideal of ‘make love, not war’ perverted by the Sydney disco scene and it is there, as a member of the undead, that he first seeks recompensed in blood.

In my novel, Ghost Dance, a young vampire named Petra becomes all too aware of how the desire for revenge on the Germans by the English and French after the First World War inevitably led to the Second World War. She is also aware that love, even hope, can change the present and make for a better future.

In my latest work, Desk Job, the seekers of revenge on past sexists and racists only manage to create new forms of sexism and racism. The idea that everyone should be equal is there but the practice is that some people are more equal than others. Meanwhile, where people are treated in a fair and open manner, work of a higher standard does get done and cooperation between various groups isn’t very difficult to achieve after all.





Posted in Australia, Lied to and tricked via television, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn author, overseas telemarketers, rip off merchants, scam artists, set in Australia, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN


     There was a show that had appeared on Australian television accusing the average Australian of being dumb, drunk and racist. The accusations came from telemarketers in Pakistan and India. Strangely enough, what wasn’t told at all well was the average Australian’s side in all this. Thus young Australians watching the show got to see a heavily prejudiced view of what their fellow Australians are really like and were left feeling numb. Also the university and college students the show was aimed at no doubt responded to what little facts are in evidence without delving deeper into what was and is going on. Television is, after all, a mighty tool of persuasion.

Are there Australians who fit the profile of dumb, drunk and racist? The answer is yes with the understanding that such people are far from unique to Australia and can be found anywhere in the world. Also, they are not in the majority.

So what is the average Australian’s side in all this?

In recent times there have been overseas scams that have, at the very least, irritated my fellow Australians. My dad was phoned up and told one evening that the memory on the hard drive of his computer would be destroyed by a particularly nasty virus if he didn’t act at once and got the person on the other end of the phone to fix the problem. All was needed was access to his computer and the details of his credit card. My dad’s response was to inform this phone person that he didn’t have a computer and hang up. If my dad did have a computer, however, the story might have turned out different. He might have let them have his computer card details and been stung badly. He is a pensioner but still with a good, working mind. Even so, like a lot of elderly people, he doesn’t understand computers very well and so can be seen as vulnerable by the vultures out there. Not having a computer seems the best thing for him but perhaps not for other old folk in different circumstance.

These overseas scam artists can best be summed up as just plain cruel. In other words, there are sharks in the communications waters every one with a phone needs to be wary of. This, of course, does not always make relations between people living in Australia and overseas telemarketers friendly.

Some elderly Australians live in terror of the click that indicates the call is from overseas. I was told about one elderly Australian who has his phone disconnected much of the time and only reconnects it when he makes a phone call. He would like to have his phone connected all the time just in case he needs to make an urgent call or some friend or relative needs to cintact him urgently. He doesn’t, however, feel safe in doing so. Someone from overseas might sell him something he doesn’t want and cannot afford.

Telemarketers operating from India and Pakistan view Australians as wealthy but the truth is that there is a lot of poverty in Australia or there are people just getting by. There are families and single people struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table. A mistake over the phone and their world can come tumbling down. A family doing it tough can quickly become a family losing ground and then going financially backwards. Not everyone can be clever over the phone and the penalty for not being clever can be very severe indeed.

Even the so-called legitimate telemarketers are full of tricks. One is to convince you at the beginning of the conversation that they are an off-shoot of a service you happen to be connected with. Then, later on, they reveal that they are actually with another company that wants your business. In other words, they lie to you straight off the mark to get you to stay on the phone. So what happens, when being lied to by a number of telemarketers, you get a fair dinkum phone call from a real representative of your gas or electricity company? Chances are they will have a tough time convincing you they are being straight with you.

Another trick is finding out whether or not you have a mobile phone or a PLAN for your communication services. They may find out this information from you. There may be a list of Australians who don’t have mobile phones and could be talked into a PLAN going around. If you are on this list you can be sure of getting a phone call once a week from a telemarketer. It may even be the same telemarketer going through his or her list of people in Australia that might come around to their way of thinking about mobiles and PLANS. You may say a polite no thank you for the first phone call or even the first dozen phone calls. Then your language might understandably become more colorful.

By week twenty you may be ready to scream  at the telemarketer. They are either trying to wear you down into taking their PLAN or they don’t understand they have been phoning you up week after week with the same damn off you have clearly told they you are not interested in. Some people, once they hear the click indicating an overseas call, simply hang up. Others cannot do so. If you have friends or relatives living in another country you want your phone to be open to them. If they are in need of help you want to be there for them. This means that the telemarketer can get his or her metaphorical foot into your metaphorical door.

Something done by both illegal and legitimate telemarketers is the gathering of information on you over the phone. Don’t tell them anything. If they represent the phone company or electricity company you are with they will already know your home address. They will already know how you make payments. They will be aware of your birth date, etc. Identity theft is big business.

Some Australians could be more polite with overseas people they have phoned for help with their computers. Please understand, though, that the customer phoning for help is probably only semi-literate when it comes to computers thus he or she needs careful guidance and understanding. He or she might be easily frustrated and apologetic later on if he or she does explode over a task deemed for a moment to be too difficult or downright impossible. This does not point to racism. Just frustration over computers and how they work.

In Australia times are changing but not always for the best. There are political parties here pushing hard to double the intake of migrants into the country. They would love to get young people out to prove they are not racist on side in this. Mind you doubling the intake of migrants would be unfair to the majority of people already living in the country.

     People wearing motor bike helmets are not welcome in banks unless they take off their helmets. Bank staff are understandably nervous if the other person’s face cannot be clearly seen. Bank robbers, after all, sometimes wear masks so that later they cannot easily be identified. Some pubs in Sydney will not serve  you if you are wearing a hood  until you take the hood from your face. Hence when people object to the berka it is for legitimate reasons. Of course such objections in the world of political correctness must be ignored because the berka has something to do with someone else’s culture.

  What then should be done about my culture that relies on openness and visibility? Driver’s licenses have photos of the driver on them for easy identification of the driver. Without proper identification of the driver a police officer cannot do his or her job properly. Who knows if the driver caught speeding is the same person who’s photo is on the driver’s license if their face is hidden? It could be the right person or it could be someone else. Therefore if you wish to drive a car in Australia your face should not be covered up in such a way that only your eyes can be seen.

If a woman goes for a swim in the surf at an Australian beach and she is covered head to foot in heavy material, she might well drown from the weight of the clothes she is wearing. If a surf life saver rescues her from drowning he should not be abused by anyone for having done so. He should be congratulated.

What’s more, if you as an adult male cannot stand the sight of women wearing bikinis and mini-skirts in summer you should go live somewhere else and not in Australia. If you have a need to abuse women because they wear bikinis or mini-skirts in summer then you really do need to live elsewhere.

      Australians generally try to be fair minded but there is a breaking point. Since the end of the Second World War, migrants have been flooding into the country. There are now people in their 60s who cannot remember a time when there wasn’t a flood of migrants. Certainly there are people in their 30s upward who have had a gut full of it. They want to know when it will end. There might have been something in it for the country in the ’50s and even in the ’70s but not anymore. The populate or perish idea has long ago had its day. It is now a case of overpopulate and perish. The feeling of being conned by the various political parties on this matter is now very strong.

The Greens party have pushed through a carbon tax to reduce carbon emissions. They also want to doubt the intake of migrants so as to negate any benefit to the environment that might be gained from the carbon tax. Is it any wonder that Australians feel as if they are being bled dry of money and for no practical reason?

It is true that there have been students from overseas bashed in Melbourne and Sydney. Should they have been mistreated? Certainly not. Where people feel they are not getting a fair deal or even being properly listened to, however, violence can and will erupt. It is a pity when it is innocent students that suffer. It is, however, not all Australians doing the wrong thing by these students or even wanting the wrong thing done to them. There needs to be more places for local students in local universities. The best way to go about getting this to happen is to hound the politicians who should care about making more space for locals who want to be university students.  Students from overseas are just after an education and have no control over any policy of any university except in terms of being fee paying students. While they are here they should really be considered guests of my country.

So how do Australians generally view Indian and Pakistani telemarketers? I would say: Scheming, Lying and Arrogant. They seem to think that all Australians with phones and/or computers live in palaces with servants and drink their beers from gold goblets. Or they live in hovels with hundreds of thousands of dollars buried somewhere in their backyards. Neither image cuts anywhere close to the truth for many of us.

It is also doubtful that any television show produced in Australia that is obviously biased in favor of overseas telemarketers would, in any real way, touch upon how most Australians conduct their lives.


Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, birds, dark fiction writer, desk job, Great Britain, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, set in Australia, United Kingdom, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN


Today the lika-lika bird is the new, improved ‘bush telegraph’.

If you want your local news but not from the tele then have a chat with your nearest lika-lika. Of an afternoon, on a work day, you will find her at the mall. On weekends in summer you will find her at the beach.

If you want to spread the word about something then take a lika-lika into your confidence. She’s sure to find the best way to get your message out there. Of course there are some naughty lika-likas that go in for graffiti. Sometimes their feathers are ruffled by the law.

Today there are former lika-likas in news print, radio and, yes, television. They are also in advertising.

Lika-lika birds can be found in Australia, the USA, Great Britain, Japan, China and lots more locales. They tend to get around. They like to have fun in the sun and hang out with mall rats and surfers. Freedom and gossip are their meat and bread.

For more information on this rather active flapper check out Desk Job.


Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, Great Britain, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, set in Australia, United Kingdom, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN


It is said that Athena, the goddess of  Athens, uses owls to keep tabs on the people of her favorite Greek city.

Owls have their place as mail birds in the Harry Potter novels and movies.

In the 1967 novel I Heard the Owl Call my Name by Margaret Craven, the owl doing so is making known that the listener who owns the name will soon pass away. It is set in a native Indian village in British Columbia.

I once went fishing with an owl. It was on a river bank at Iluka in northern New South Wales, Australia. He was a young white fellow. I didn’t mind the company and neither did my feathered friend for the evening. He was on a branch about ten feet away from me and I am glad to say he didn’t seem concerned at all being so close to a Human. It was a pleasant night for both of us.

In my novel, Desk Job, owls are there to guard and protect. The frog-mouthed variety guard and protect property. The white kind seek to accomplish the more difficult task of guarding the minds and the souls of the office workers. Owls sometimes appear in dreams with words of wisdom for those who will listen. North American Indian mythology has it that if an owl calls your name it has a special meaning and significance. It is a call to you from the great beyond.


Posted in Australia, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, set in Australia, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN


Lewis Carroll’s Alice thought Wonderland was strange. Sarah Hollingsworth knew her adventures in Office-land were twisted and downright bizarre. The office of the 1990s was a hunting ground where the unprotected were bagged and disposed of. The trick was not to be one of them. Hawks flew high, mules slogged away on their computers and praying mantises searched for prey. Butterflies and moths danced in the neon light. And the old caterpillar looked on passively to various unfolding dramas. Meanwhile mall rats and lika-lika birds, growing up in this decade, fervently hoped that everything about the office would become more civilized by the time they had to get a DESK JOB. Whether or not the office has really changed much since the 1990s I will leave to you, dear reader, to decide.


Posted in Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lied to and tricked via television, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, rip off merchants, scam artists, set in Australia, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN


In Australia Big Brother is due to return to television. The show that trivialized George Orwell’s warning to the future is back. Games will be played during the daylight hours in some house setting and gross things will no doubt happen at night. In any event, George Orwell’s 1984 warning to the future, our present, will be distorted once more and thus reduced.

Contestants in search of a brain will get on their soap boxes to talk a lot of deep and meaningful rubbish about current affairs they don’t understand and there will be tears on cue. The brain washing of a generation of young people will be sickeningly revealed. There will be propaganda.

What’s more, those who don’t want to watch the show will not be able to escape this fate except by turning off the screen all together and grabbing a book to read. Yes, during commercial time for any and every other show you will be pelted with reminders that Big Brother is on and you need to either support or evict via phone this loony or that loony. (And you will no doubt be expected to pay a lot for making these calls.) Wait! It gets even worse! Big Brother of old had a nasty habit of running overtime. Thus you are sitting there waiting for the show you want to watch to finally come on and, in the meantime, you have to put up with 10, 15, even 30 minutes of Big Brother you hadn’t bargained on watching at all. AAAAARRRGGHHH!

Back in 1948 George Orwell wrote 1984. He warned against being part of a government that spied continuously on its citizens without just cause and tended also to promote war over peace, hate over love. Make a man feel bad about having any affection even for his own wife then put him in a uniform and send him out somewhere to do some killing. Use religion, any religion, to beat any sense of real decency out of him. Also do the same to her. This is how warrior races are made and are perpetuated. Then, to make sure it all sticks, have words that could do future harm to this set up outlawed for everyone’s own good. Oh, and to top it all off, re-write history continuously to continually suit the government.

1984 was first published in 1949. It would have been published earlier save that the publisher wanted to be very sure that nothing in it could be thought to support Communism in any way. In his early years Orwell did have Communist leanings but these were knocked out of him when he learned how Stalin had treated his own people in the 1930s.

To George Orwell our best defense against a nightmare state are our own memories, histories, sense of right and wrong, and our free flowing, warts and all, language.

From the early 1990s, efforts were made to introduce political correctness where academics and politicians thought it would do the most good. Born out of a desire to do right, political correctness has mostly shown, at least in Australia, that Hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

Through political correctness, some workplace personnel became protected species while others were given little protection at all from anything. The result was a double standard that had not previously existed. What’s more, the language was tamed making it even harder for some individuals to cry out against injustice. And there was monitoring of behavior for some but not for others.

Today, in many offices, political correctness is merely a sick joke from the  recent past. It is still there, however, waiting to be relaunched with the old vigor.

There was talk in the news in August of 2012 of government initiatives in Australia to reinvent political correctness. It would, of course, go under another name as yet to be decided or no name at all but still be out there attacking the rights of some individuals and supposedly protecting the rights of other individuals. According to the news report a quarter of the the country’s population would immediately be better off. This of course means to me that three quarters of the country’s population would no doubt be forced in the end to crawl rather than walk, to listen rather than vent their own views, and to generally be second class citizens in their own country.

This initiative has come about in a similar way to the old political correctness. It is going to be pushed by academics, politicians, groups likely to benefit from such actions, and brain-washed school kids venturing forth to become brain-washed college and university students. The truly sad thing is that many of the kids that will find themselves as part of this initiative if it really does get off the ground will unwittingly be selling their collective future to hostile interests without even knowing it. By the time they figure it out it will be too late. It appears to be an attack or series of attacks against racism in Australia but it comes with the dangerous assumption that only certain types can be racist and that one quarter of the present population are victims or are to be victims if something isn’t done.

The truth is that everyone can be a racist or act in a racist manner. If this is not recognized then the folly that was and to some extent still is political correctness will definitely make a return though most definitely, in some quarters, in action rather than name.  There is likely to be the return of the ‘protected species’ that can do no harm and will not be called upon to account for their actions when they do in  fact do harm. Television is already geared up to promote and apply this new initiative.

In my novel, Desk Job, I deal with political correctness and how it can destroy lives. How close to reality my fictional office is for the mid-1990s and for now I will leave up to the reader to decide.

THE CAT’S MEOW! From Egypt to England to an Australian DESK JOB

Posted in art, dark fiction writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn author, Writer with tags , , , , , on June 24, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN


The Cat’s Meow! The Cat’s whiskers! The Cat’s pajamas! These are good British expressions that tend to put a smile on the dial of certain readers and, at the same time, conjure up pleasant if somewhat unusual images.

The there’s the childhood story of the kitten who lost his mitten that no doubt came out of some golden book edition. Nowadays, thanks to the Americans, the puss in boots is a rather dashing expert with the foil. In the hit television show The Big Bang Theory we have a song about a soft kitty who is warm. In the hit television show The Simpsons we have cats going through their nine lives rather quickly.

A cat once wanted to visit the Queen of England while yet another fur ball was happy to curl up on a mat near the fireplace.

In the USA there was a cartoon tom by the name of Sylvester who, on numerous occasions, mistook a kangaroo for an extraordinarily large bouncing mouse and there have been quite a few American felines, in fiction and real life, who have inherited great fortunes.

Some years ago I was asked to write some stories for an anthology titled: Cats Do it Better. One of the stories I wrote for this American book dealt with a cat that was an old salt and had the run of the ship he was on. Why was the cat an old salt? Well, many a sailing vessel in the old days did have a cat on board as a mascot. It wasn’t just a matter of companionship for the crew. A cat had a practical use. If you want to keep mice and rats out of the scullery and thus out of the sailor’s food they are the natural and also the most economical way of doing so. In fact, our long standing relationship with felines probably began when it was discovered that they could be of use in protecting the harvest.

In ancient Egypt, no doubt because of the importance of the grain, cats were at one time worshiped. No grain, no bread and the end result of that, of course, is starvation. Hence a small, usually furry, creature that can keep the vermin at bay and thus keep the grain safe has to be considered. at the very least, as asset worth keeping around. I say here usually furry because there is a hairless type of Egyptian cat. The hairless Egyptian, in fact, was in one of the Austin Powers movies as a regular cat who had supposedly lost his fur after being frozen then thawed out. In any event, the hairless Egyptian is ideal for the cat lover who happens to be allergic to cat hair.

Black cats for some time have been associated with witches and witchcraft. The idea that a black cat crossing one’s path will bring trouble is a very old superstition. The word catastrophe has cat in it.

Even so, a lot of nice things over the years have been written about cats and writers, such as New Zealand novelist and researcher Lyn McConchie, have been responsible. Her cat Thunder is amazing but, then again, many of the other animals on her farm are most unusual as her book Farming Daze would tend to point out.

Of late I have been examining the two Alice books by 19th Century British writer Lewis Carroll. They are not without cats. The best noted cat in them, of course, hails from Cheshire. Among other things, he has a great big grin and a marvelous disappearing act. He is also rather mysterious and cheeky. Naturally, when I decided to write my salute to Carroll a Cheshire like cat or two was definitely called for. I would not want readers to feel they were short changed in any way. Besides, my niece, Aila, has a new pet cat and that was also a pretty good reason to sneak at least one fur ball into the book.

In my novel, Desk Job, There are four felines that fit the bill. Two have fur coats and the other two seem to get along quite nicely without them even though neither happens to be Egyptian. In any event, a certain fictional office in Sydney, Australia would not be complete without at least one tail to balance out the overall tale.