It’s the holidays, and I’m force feeding my children cultural experiences. Today that meant a visit to the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston. A very kind guide welcomed us and told us what was on in each space. Artrage, she said, was the work of year 11 and 12 students. ‘You’ll like … More Artrage at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery – and Paddington Bear 2
To mark the occasion of being fully funded for publication, author Fiona Stocker met with Martin Amis, literary genius and tennis player of some note, who joined her from a rooftop in Paris in 1980. Here’s what he had to say. FS: “Thanks for joining us, Martin. What are your thoughts on the status of … More Me and Martin Amis
So next year, I’m publishing a travel writing memoir with independent UK publisher Unbound, the world’s first crowdfunding publisher – (if you hadn’t gathered that already!) This is the latest update just posted on my campaign page on the Unbound website, about how the crowdfunding is going. In a nutshell, almost there!! The book … More The long road of crowdfunding with Unbound, the world’s first crowdfunding publisher
Do you have food breaks, treats or desk snacks to keep you going when you’re writing? I’ve become a stickler for regularity. I have the same things all the time so I don’t have to think about what to eat, I can just grab and go from the fridge. My new snack of choice with … More Vegan Bliss Balls, and Why They Don’t Appear in Kate Atkinson’s Novels
Something unexpected has happened – my husband has turned out to be right. This may sound like a trifling event, and it’s only about smoking sausages, but for Oliver to be wholly right and me wholly wrong is unprecedented and has never happened in the course of our marriage. We agreed many years ago that I … More Smokin’ hot
As a writer, it’s lovely to get onto the radio and be able to talk about your book. It helps bring it alive – not just for readers and listeners, but for the author as well! Time passes between writing a book and getting it published, and very often you forget what you’ve written! So much so that … More Launceston Calling! Talking Blogs, Books and Publishing on City Park Radio
‘She knows great literature when she hears it, that pig,’ said author Fiona Stocker, pictured on her ranch with Bettina, the Berkshire sow. ‘I don’t know what she’s on about,’ Bettina was quoted as saying later. ‘I only came out of the shed because she promised me vegetable waste.’ Greetings, readers, from myself and Bettina … More Author wins approval of livestock for tales of rural living!
There’s a tradition where I live in rural Tasmania of swapping foodstuffs. It’s an edible black market, dealing in things from the river, the land and the larder. Over the years we’ve dealt in eggs, pork, salmon, venison, wallaby patties, Riesling and sausages. We once gained half a lamb when our retired sheepdog help round … More How to cook a pheasant.
If you’re an RN listener (or Radio National for those of us who can’t keep up with the acronyms), keep an ear out for me on RN Country Breakfast – it’s on right now! And I’m talking to Laurissa Smith all about hobby farming, alpacas and pigs, the adventures of moving to country Tasmania and … More Tune in! Apple Island Wife is on the radio
To ready myself for best seller status, I’ve taken inspiration from Jilly Cooper, whose success and property portfolio in the Cotswolds I aspire to. I had that tooth removed specially. Turns out crowdfunding a book is every bit as much of a ride as one of Jilly’s polo novels! Elation one minute, doldrums the next … More Roller coaster crowdfunding – highs, lows, and single vehicle accidents in the front yard
I wasn’t feeling all that resilient about things on Friday night when I reversed into a decorative pillar on the front of our house. The pillar didn’t feel that resilient either, and was shunted out of place at both its upper and lower completely useless and non-structural capitals. However, there is reason to be cheerful! … More Milestone! 33% in 30 days!
River Cottage Australia keeps popping up on my TV. Every time, I marvel that it’s yet another bloke on our screens wondering in the delight of putting his hand underneath a hen and drawing out a warm egg. Where are all the women, I wonder? Do program makers really think it’s just blokes moving to … More Move Over You River Cottage Blokes – it’s the Wife’s Tale!
It was freezing in Tasmania last week. Determined to be warm not cold, I channelled Roadl Dahl and took to my bed with the electric blanket set on ‘toast’ and my work balanced on a tray before me. Ah, the writing life. The rest of the house is normally warm but this was a … More In Bed With Roald
Tuesday was quite a big day for me. I signed a contract with Unbound, a crowdfunding and publishing phenomenon who have changed the face of publishing in the UK. As long as I meet my crowdfunding target they will publish Apple Island Wife – one woman’s adventures on five acres in Tasmania, in digital and … More Apple Island Wife the book finds a home with crowdfunding publisher Unbound
Somebody asked me last night whether I’d be better off stacking shelves at Coles than I am running a small farm and food business with my husband and writing on the side. Luckily he was a charming person so I didn’t mind being asked. I have no idea what you’d make stacking shelves at Coles. … More Pride of place – Langdale Farm pork at the Sprout Tasmania dinner at Stillwater
This week the abattoir lost one of our pigs. ‘Did it run away?’ asked Smudge, very sensibly. But no, it didn’t run away, as it was dead. They didn’t lose a live pig. They lost the carcass. We’ve learned to take the rough with the smooth and the unexpected since moving into small diversified farming … More These little piggies went to market (except for the one that the abattoir lost)
I’m definitely going off a bit early here, but I’ve done two things today which promise excitement. Then again, they could be complete fizzers. This morning I booked a trip to Sydney for my family. And this afternoon I submitted the manuscript of Apple Island Wife to Unbound, with the plan for a crowdfunding campaign. … More Exciting news comes in twos!
Blow me down if I wasn’t asked to be one of the judges for this year’s Tasmanian Writers’ Competition for short stories. The competition is run by the lovely people at Tasmania Forty South, with an ‘island’ theme. An anthology of the best entries is launched at the Hobart Writers’ Festival in the years when … More Judging the Tasmanian Short Story Writers’ Competition 2017
Warning: long blog post with the prospect of middle aged people getting a bit frisky towards the end. Use caution. It’s not often that my Other Half and I find ourselves sans enfant for the evening . So when visiting relatives kindly took our two away overnight during the school holidays, we wanted to mark … More Bombs Away! Geronimo Aperitivo Bar & Restaurant
Butter’s not what it used to be, many people would agree. Olivia Morrison wanted to bring back the true taste of butter that people used to enjoy, when families made their own butter at home. They’d collect the cream from the milk over the course of a few days and as it sat, natural cultures … More Butter Co butter – the real deal
Not many in rural Tasmania dine in 3-star Michelin style very often, but we had the chance to do so last week, when legendary chef Alain Passard visited our island and created three spectacular dining events, at Josef Chromy Winery, Peacock and Jones Hobart, and Drysdale, the restaurant of TasTAFE in Launceston. In these celebrity … More Tassie paddock to French plate – legendary French chef Alain Passard woos diners at Peacock and Jones
My only source of knowledge about polo, prior to visiting The Creech in Tasmania, is the Jilly Cooper novels I’ve read. The impression I have from those is that people who play polo are usually Argentinian, born into landed gentry, or live in the English Cotswolds. I’m not qualified to play in any sense, then. But … More Sticked and mounted. Polo training at The Creech
It has begun, the biggest week for students on TAFE hospitality courses in Launceston. Under the captaincy of one of the world’s best chefs Alain Passard, they are prepping lunch for eighty at Josef Chromy Winery, and a fifteen course degustation for one hundred and twenty diners at the college’s restaurant. Monsieur Passard had gone … More Passard’s chefs cook up a storm with Launceston’s TAFE students
Alain Passard is packing his suitcase. In a tiny Parisian apartment above his exquisite restaurant L’Arpege, and at a chateaux in Brittany, he is placing an array of fine garments into a Samsonite Cosmolite, and slipping a bottle of Eau Sauvage into his soap bag, because French men smell wonderful and he will be representing … More The legendary Alain Passard comes to Tasmania for the Great Chefs Series
We’re loyal to good chefs in the West Tamar, to the point where we track them down if they move. A case in point is Sam Adamson, who ran Ilk on Rosevears Drive for what seemed like the blink of an eye but was certainly too short a time. Imagine our delight when we heard … More Sam’s triumphant return to the Tamar, at Iron Pot Bay’s cellar door
“How do you turn this thing on?” Dan Hong asks as he swings the handle of a wok burner to and fro in TasTAFE’s impressive catering kitchens. We’re here to talk about the Great Chefs Series, the initiative which, well, does what it says on the tin – it brings great chefs to Launceston’s Drysdale campus … More Dan Hong puts a flame under the Great Chefs Series at TasTAFE Drysdale