Sunday, 21 April 2013

To me, aged sixteen:

  1. You are neither fat nor ugly, you are yourself and you can always enhance whatever you've been given if you just take time to learn some skills!
  2. Surrounded by critics you are holding back your inner fire. Forget them. Embrace your passions and show the world your talents.
  3. Don't listen when they say you can't laugh and be happy. Laughter is what the world is made of. Treasure your ability to see the funny side of things because it will be your armour throughout your life.
  4. You are a lover. You have so much empathy and so much love to give the world. Just don't forget to love yourself as well.
  5. It doesn't matter if you make a mistake or even if you make lots of them. Truly, if you got up on stage and played that piano without worrying about every note not being perfect you could enjoy it and express yourself that way, give it a go and don't give up when the going gets tough!
  6. Treasure your grandparents, they are your main support now and you won't have them forever. Treat them with respect and shower them with hugs and kisses.
  7. Aim big. Don't listen to the teachers who tell you you'll be barefoot and pregnant before you're seventeen and if you want to be a writer just go and do it, you know what you need to do.
  8. Your sexuality is developing. Treasure it, enjoy it and take care who you share your body and soul with. It is precious and so are you. Enjoy with caution.
  9. Don't waste time worrying about what your step-father says. He isn't mentally well and most of his angst is being aimed at you. It is not about you at all but about his own insecurities.
  10. Write more poetry! It's great! You can express yourself well through words, you just need to do it more and don't hold back. Find ways to share it with the world.
  11. There is more to the world than that small country town you are living in! The city awaits and a whole new life for you is just around the corner. Hang in there and soon you will have the world within your reach.
  12. Go for it! You have guardian angels looking out for you who will protect you. Trust yourself and your intuitions. Enjoy your life, it is filled with blessings.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Pre-teen blues and the Princess Diana hairstyle!

At the hairdresser this morning, enjoying being pampered by Michael, my skilled and personable stylist, I recalled my nightmare years as an awkward pre-teen when the hairdressers' chair may as well have been a torture device.

Having endured my mum's bowl cuts for most of my childhood I had been introduced to the local hairdresser, 'Amelia's Hair Care'. Unfortunately, they didn't have much of a clue how to manage an awkward, self-conscious pre-teen girl, particularly when I brought in a photo of Princess Diana and asked them to make me look like her! Of course, the Princess Diana style was very short and very layered, a style which will not suit your average person and with my square jaw, a style which was going to end in the inevitable buckets of tears and a distressed hairdresser looking rather lost for words.

Although I thought I was the centre of the universe at that age, the Princess Diana hairstyle was apparently not an uncommon request during the 1980s. 'When she was alive, many women had imitated her hairstyles, so you could see women at the 1980s wearing any Diana’s hairstyle. Women had wanted to look on the same simple, sexy and elegant way like Princess Diana.'  'Feathering was one of the popular famous short hairstyles during the 1980s; it was basically a hair cutting technique used for short layers to make it look like feathers and this was once a renown for late Diana's famous short hairstyles'. I was fascinated to read that some women in the world are still asking for Princess Diana styles today!

Well, I'm glad the days of me being ruled by adults are over and I can choose to wear my hair any way I please. I no longer tremble in the hairdressers seat, but relax and enjoy the pampering that goes on, mixed with some interesting conversation. I wonder what fads other people have followed in hairstyles, discovering too late that they didn't suit them at all?

Sunday, 14 April 2013


Images held tenderly
Of the kind of mother I wanted to be,
Of the kind of mother I thought I should be,
Are shattered.
I try and pick up the pieces
Blending them together with a mix of porridge and glue
But the picture they make has a shape of its own
Like someone has photo-shopped it until it resembles
A Salvador Dali Painting.

So I go for a walk Listening to my Ipod
A funny mix of music from the past and the present
Becomes a soundtrack to my thoughts
As I pine for the past while celebrating the present
Planning for the future which may never be.

How come they never told me
I would have to let my children go
On their own paths?
Paths that don’t fit with my hopes and dreams
Paths that will be rocky and paths that only lead to crossroads
Where decisions must be made
Decisions which might lead to broken bones
And broken hearts?

What if we could change things and choose a time to go back to,
Working with the wisdom of hindsight,
If we could wipe out the bad bits and start again?
We can’t, though.
We can only start here and now, and still with no guarantees
We can only set them free and
Barrack from the sidelines
With all our might.

Sue Oaks 2013

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

There are the books everyone has heard about: Twilight, Hunger Games, and Fifty Shades of Gray. But what about all those books written by people you’ve never heard of? Some of them are treasures, just waiting to be found, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about, but that you might end up loving.

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop interviews authors and shares their books and coming attractions.

It is like a game of tag. One author posts and tags other authors who link back to their website the next week and tag new authors. If you follow the blog hop long enough, you’re bound to find some books you’ll love! Maybe you’ll even discover a book that ends up being the next big thing.

I was tagged by my editor/publisher Fiona Gatt.

Besides tagging people, The Next Big Thing Blog Hop includes ten questions to help you learn more about an author’s present work or work in progress. Here is my interview with a little info about my work in progress:

1. What is the working title of your new book?

A Justified Desire

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Working with many mothers who are in the painful position of having their children removed from their care and getting to know the complexity of their situations, including domestic violence, mental illness, substance addiction and generational poverty has inspired this book.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Suspense with a dash of romance.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Tess, the protaganist, would be played by Scarlett Johannson, while
Tess's mother Trina would be played by Julianne Moore. The main love lead would be played by a yet unknown young and hot Aboriginal actor with plenty of Charisma while the bad-boy would be played by Sterling Beaumon.

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

When Tess, a talented botanical artist has her daughter removed by Child Protection she must find her way out of a complex maze to get her back.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I hope to have my novel published by one of the major publishing houses in Australia.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The manuscript is still in progress but the first 50,000 words have taken about four months, working between one to two hours per day.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Perhaps No place to Run by Maya Banks, or Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

A mixture of working with mothers who are in complex situations and my own experience of parenting has inspired me.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

References to botanical drawing, outback Australia, family tensions and dynamics and that everlasting element of suspense should keep the reader's interest throughout the story.

Now, on to tagging other people for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. I will tag: Hannah Downing


Sorry darling, Mummy has to write! Sue Oaks

With today’s push for Super-Mum status, including having to have the best equipment, the latest styles of children’s clothing, enrolments in every co-curricular activity you could think of and of course, ensuring the children have their names on the list at your choice of school … do any mothers actually remember what they enjoy doing themselves?

I wasn’t in the financial position to provide all those things for my children when they were young. We were helped along a bit by family but mainly made do with op-shop clothing and second-hand furniture and being accommodated in low cost (and low quality) rentals. My husband and I were young when we got married and it took a while for us both to get established in our careers. Eventually we got going but in between were many moves from city to country, eventually settling on the Mornington Peninsula.
Now I have a full time social work career and I’m nearly forty. With my studies finished (two bachelor degrees and two post-graduate diplomas in teaching, social work and writing) I’m faced with an unquenchable desire to … write my novel!!!!!!!! So why do I feel guilty? I won’t start to talk about the many times I have felt guilty in pursuing my studies, in the knowledge of how much it involved both a loss of income to the family and a loss of time available to give to my kids. Now, with studies finished, I just need to do what I think I might have been born to, write.
I wonder if anyone else feels the same? What are your passions and your interests and have you put them aside because you think being a mum means you can’t have any of that in your life anymore? I bet there are a few of you out there. Being Super-Mum is heavily pushed in our society but really, even if we tried, could we ever meet those unrealistic expectations?

If we let it the world will zap our talents and creativity and turn us into guilty cardboard cut-outs whose attempts to keep up with the Joneses merely leave us exhausted and bereft of a soul.
Mother’s Day is coming up soon in Australia. Why not use this day to celebrate who you are and re-evaluate your approach to life. Have you found a balance? Can you see the person behind the label of mother anymore? Motherhood can be wonderful, rewarding, challenging and amazing. But it can also be stressful, expensive, time-consuming and daunting. Do you feel guilty even thinking those things? Don’t worry, you’re human. If you’d like to read about mothers who don’t fit the stereotype of Super-Mum and who go through a colourful emotional journey, you might enjoy my book, ‘Short Stories on Motherhood’, available at