Monthly Archives: April 2017

Publication of Novel


Picnic at Mount Disappointment

A Novel by Melissa Bruce

Published by Ginninderra Press 2017         ISBN 978-1-76041-303-3

Cover Photograph by Brooke Shaden

Winner of the Woollahra Digital Literary Award for Fiction 2017        

“A verse novel that charmed in a matter ofstanzas.  Surprising character development, witty and originalobservations, honest representation of a prickly teen trying to find her placebetween worlds.  A very enjoyable read.”  Judges Comments – Woollahra Digital Literary Award

Highly Commended – Society of Women Writers NSW – Fiction Awards 2018  “…notable not only for its sure scansion, but also for the way it confronts the difficulties of life while still maintaining hope. Blended families, imperfect parents, the desires and foibles of adolescence, and that impossible task of knowing exactly what one is feeling – let alone communicating that! – all give the book a rich and believable texture.  It is particularly noteworthy for the characters… who are distinctly drawn.”  Judges Comments

‘It is rare to find a story that takes us into that liminal territory of adolescence with such force and such heart. Desire, disappointment, betrayal and forgiveness written in libretto, an ode to the tumult of coming of age.’     Gabrielle Carey, co-author, Puberty Blues

“Melissa Bruce has created an astonishing poem that sustains its voice from the first lines to the very last. Like her fictional heroine Sybylla Melville, the narrator Lucy is wilful, passionate, intelligent and totally charming. She’s going to compel her readers for years to come.”          Debra Adelaide

The writing was gorgeous: a beautiful, poetic, sad, insightful, sharp and funny novel. Themes of divorce and infidelity, family life, anger, first love, disappointment and growing up – all so strong. I also adored the depiction of rural 70’s-80’s Victoria in its beauty and banality.”                   Pip Harry

“A beautiful story, told in a unique voice.”      Alex Miller

Synopsis:      Picnic at Mount Disappointment is an amusing and moving and story about Lucy, a teenage girl, who is moved from the city to the country, from an inner-city girls’ school to a co-ed country school that resides between the dark pine forest and the Hell’s Angels’ base. ‘I don’t know where in hell exactly.’ The family’s farm is situated on the Great Dividing Range, at the foot of Mount Disappointment. ‘Wandong’ hosts the second largest truck ‘n’ country music festival in the southern hemisphere – and nothing else. Lucy tries to change herself (for better and worse) and creates a grand plan that she believes will enable her to matter. Life isn’t always a picnic…

Also described as ‘Puberty Blues goes Bush!’. The original style of Picnic at Mount Disappointment, will appeal to the text-message-twitter generation with its economical format: immediate, accessible, rhythmic, visual, dramatic and fast.

Set in the retro-vintage past of the early 1980’s, ‘Picnic at Mount Disappointment explores a number of contemporary themes such as the ‘Culture of Celebrity’ – where so many people feel driven to become famous – sometimes inappropriately or at great cost. Other themes include assimilation and belonging and the sometimes overwhelming experience of disillusionment and disappointment that often accompanies the memorable rite of passage identified as ‘coming of age.’

Link to Facebook Author Page          Film of Book Launch by S. Shostak


Available as a Paperback and an eBook. Ordered from bookstores and online.

Amazon      Ginninderra Press     Gleebooks  


6 April 2017   •   Posted by: Melissa Bruce
The Freelance Dance

Need Some Support? Illustration © 2007 Elise Hurst

Illustration © 2007 Elise Hurst

So… yes… if anyone held their breath  since the last Blog, I’m awfully sorry that you ran out of air. I understand you will not be reading this.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand how anyone is simultaneously able to stay current with their online Virtual Life AND their Actual Life. ‘Actual’ is tricky enough.

Life… hm… It gets in the way of reporting it.

Doesn’t help when you entrepreneurially manage the freelance-dance of your own multi-faceted business. There’s no ‘after hours’. You never leave work. It comes home with you. You even have to sleep with the boss. You come home with the boss because the boss is you. You also come home with your Life.

Sure – there are pros… You don’t have to deal with office politics, performance reviews, pending redundancy, philosophical conflicts, regular hours, open plan offices and neon lights… You can pick and choose clients who nourish your world, you can stay in your pyjamas, lay on the floor or walk by the sea during breaks, take personal phone calls and you can online browse anything, anytime you like…

‘Freedom!’ You may say… but yes, there are cons… There is no cosy sense of community on arrival at your desk. No receptionist, administrative support, or accounts department. No in-house tech support, no help-yourself stationary, no free photocopies, no photocopy machine repairer, no photocopy admin person, no chats in the tea-room or lift.  There’s no sick-leave, care-leave, automatic Super or HR department to complain to about how your inner critic bullied and harassed you in the kitchen. No limit to how much you eat after you’ve been bullied by your inner staff… and no free-flowing bikkies, chockies, tea and coffee, or left-over birthday cakes.

It might be easier if my business happened to be singularly faceted – if for example I simply sold buttons – but the problem is – I AM the business and I’m not singularly faceted. (Tip: try to be born with only one skill and with only one desire and put all your eggs in one basket; it will simplify your life.)

It might also be easier (to find time to Blog), if Actual Life was less tricky. If there were no accidents, illnesses, death. If websites and emails did not get hacked. If your car didn’t break down or get rammed. If your internet and telephone provider consistently provided. If your white goods lasted forever. If weather didn’t cave your roof in. If you never needed to engage with insurers, government bodies, banks, or any kind of bureaucratic organisation that kept you listening to brain-numbing muzak on hold. If you never required very necessary help from real estate agents, strata managers, solicitors, accountants, doctors… If all kinds of human relationships were uncomplicated. If you didn’t love your family or friends or colleagues or neighbours. If you didn’t need to exercise or eat or sleep or garden or clean or wash or wax or earn a living or stay well and sane in a crazy world. You know the whole (western world) story.

But yes – apologies again – for my apparent disgruntlement – all part of the rich fabric… and SO much to be grateful for. SO many blessings. So much luck. Such 1st World issues – the management of Actual Life. I love all that I do and the wonderfully interesting variety of fabulous people I work and engage with! Thank you for existing in my virtual and actual world! Thank you for your patience between Blogs.

6 April 2017   •   Posted by: Melissa Bruce