End of Year Wrap – That’s it Folks!


So this is what went down in 2016:

I HAVE A MANUSCRIPT. YEASSHH. It’s a 60K Dark YA Contemporary. YEASSHH. Here’s a pic from my inspiration board. It’s not a literal character in my book, more of cryptic representation. And anyway, it’s Utada in cat ears, I can’t make up anything as good as that. You might see more of my picture board next year 🙂



I haven’t spoken to my Beta (Super BetaGurl) in a very long time. In fact, every time I even think of her THIS starts playing in my head. Yes, that’s me below. I was a happy bridesmaid.


My MS is homeless. I’m not sure what direction to take with it yet.


I’ve further broadened my knowledge in diversity and its importance in literature. I believe as an author of colour it is my duty to write realistic and meaningful characters of colour. I’m also thinking about taking up a Sensitivity Reader next year.


I miss interacting with readers on social platforms. But I like… have no book!


I am now on sabbatical, so see you sometime next year I hope. It’s been SO SO long since my last update/book/everything. But…

Stay Beautiful

Why Do Girls Fight?

vintage boxing women






















Fear not to the sole person who reads this blog (hiya)… I have been writing away behind the scenes.

I tried writing a breathy and feely-feels coming of age thing… finished one chapter and… that’s it. Don’t really do beautiful very well.

Then I tried writing this rather chipper YA rom-com sort of girly thing and… well I don’t really do girly lovey-dovey that well (I mean, boys, oh yucks).

I’m just a bogan from Perth with an urge to sometimes punch things.

Which brings me to the question….

Why do girls fight?





Who gets to wear the one dress to the ball if 2 girls have chosen the same one?

To defend another girl?

Just ‘cos?

I like this question. Maybe I can do something with it.


See you, Stay Beautiful


Fragments. And Ludo. I have always loved Ludo.


I’m in a sleep deprived mood, so therefore I am in a sort of meandering-can’t-really-write-feed-me-breakfast-all-day-long kind of mood. So I can only do strange fragments, small thoughts and vague ideas at the moment. Here are some million dollar ideas, punters. In fact I am sure they are so valuable that I am going to publicly announce them…

Fight Club in an All Girls High school. Why do girls fight? Is it rebellion toward in most cases, being raised to be the nurturing half? Rights, beliefs, hierarchy, power and the boy in the skinny jeans? What are we all fighting for anyway? This story I don’t think has a happy ending. Not good if seeking publication. Need to resolve. You know what else? If I were a Fighter my Fight name would be Feral Flower Power. Just because.

Teenage Girl with an Imaginary Friend. Whom she loves more than her parents, friends, boyfriend etc. Girl needs to let go. If I had an imaginary friend I would imagine him as Ludo from Labyrinth. Maybe girl loves him until the day she dies, wherein which Imaginary friend goes to another child. Shirley, that is a terrible idea, why are you an author.

An Idea for a Gazzilion Best Selling Novel. What is universal? Dishes? Who would read a YA fiction novel about dishes. Everyone of all ages hates dishes. End of story.

Anyway, if you use any of these ideas, I take royalties via Bank Transfer, Non-Gifted Paypal or paid out in hash browns.

Writing, Cultural Diversity and….erm… my mum.


I’m thinking about moving house. My current house is getting a little small. So I make the mistake of telling my mum that I am thinking of moving house. In my head I am sure my mum would say something like errr… “Happy house hunting!” and then let their grown up child who has flown the coop for 7 years already be, but of course this is how the conversation really went down.

Me: Mum, I’m thinking of moving house. I’m going to see this house on Monday.

Mum: What is the house number?

Me: 20

Mum: 20 is good. 18 is better and 8 is best, but thank goodness it’s not 4. I would say don’t even bother if it’s a 4. So bad luck. Chinese people don’t need bad luck.

Me: Um… okay. Thanks for the blessing.

Mum: Make sure the first question you ask the agent is “Why are the owners moving? Did someone die in the house?”

Me: I’m pretty sure if the owners are selling because they had all been involved in a mass murder I would have gotten wind of it.

Mum: You never know. I remember when we first started house hunting when we immigrated to Australia, some of the houses we looked at, I had to bring protective charms and everything.

Me: Okay. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Mum: Do you want your dad to come? Your dad is the construction expert in the family.

Me: No, no, I can do this myself.

(Later I found out my dad did secretly visit the house. If the neighbours spotted an older Chinese man tapping on all the bricks on front to check for workmanship, that would be Dad. He would also comment that the house is obviously built by Italians and was very solid, immigrants always built their houses strong… so shout out to the Italian community #immigrantpride)


Anyway, being a POC writer, my aim is always to try and write POC characters when I do with a lot of heart and integrity, maintaining what makes them and their family mad and crazy and fabulous, but without sending them over to caricature land. I recently received an email from lovely teen writer Wendy Chen who purchased a copy of my novel Preloved from a Preloved bookstore. How cute is that? She totally needs to be a character in another story in her own right. Here is an awesome article she wrote for That Reminds Me Mag about my novel and cultural diversity and it is so intelligent and all good things. Check it out. I feel very honoured.

To all those POC writers out there, I see your true colours.

Booksters… I’m Back



After almost 2 years looking after a little story called “William” (which cannot be bookmarked and left to one side for even a second, but I love him, bless), I am back to do this book thing people! Can you believe it’s been that long? I mean, announcement of me going away was like… literally 3 blog posts back. Anyway, this means I’ll probably be in your face about the whole boring “author process” while I write a new manuscript and bring it to the world. There will be fun times ahead. And if not… there is always tea. And a a slice of cake. Or a whole cake. Or bakery.

To celebrate, I’ll be donning the cleaning gloves (but not the French Maid outfit) to spring clean the website and I’ve started dropping Easter Eggs related to my two previous novels. Hint: they are really easy to find, I hired a lazy rabbit.

Have fun grovers & movers.


Ombre beards. And The Writerly Fear.


I’m onboard the Colouring Train. But I don’t want to colour in flowers, I want to colour in stuff like knife welding girls and hipster beards and things. So I got this cool Mulga book and this is Turban Snake Steve. I gave him an ombre beard.

I caught up with my best date card (The one Bachie Sam wished he had), with Famous Children And Science Author Cristy Burne and I wrote. I have like a whole page of writing and this is the good bit – it doesn’t suck! Well not hard anyway. My editor might tell me it sucks a little and I have to change it later on, but that’s okay. And I thought I’d have nothing to say, because like I haven’t written anything in 2 years, but I’d write a little and then things happen and I’m excited to know what happen next so I keep writing.

I feel awesome. I’ll keep you updated.

And btw I’m colouring in a Turtle & Weasel duo at the moment so maybe you might see the results of that next time. Are they a couple? Are they “going steady”? Or maybe one of them has been friendzoned. This is what goes through your head when you’re a writer.



18 Months


Actually, that’s not a bad name for a very long and arduous novel where the heroine has long monologues about her feels and there is lots of describing the weather going on. In reality, it has been that long since I have written a single word, but I snuck out into a patch of winter sunshine and caught up with Lady Writer Cristy Burne for a sugar, carb & paper fix. Wrote some notes. It might be another 18 months before you her from me again, but I am excited. PS – yes that is a dress with teapots on it and I will buy it and I wear it to a book launch one day.

The New Chapter



I am proud to announce the new arrival in my life – a big bouncing baby boy (4.03kg!)  called William! As I will be devoting my time looking after him, another novel in the foreseeable future might be a while coming as I start this new chapter of my life 🙂


Ooo baby baby

shirley marr maternity

If I’ve been a bit quiet and under the radar lately, then this is why!

I’ll still be writing, but it might take backseat for a little while my life writes a story of it’s own.

Writing While Reading

Dead Romantic

It’s probably a very typical response, but I became a writer because I loved to read. I guess it’s natural to want to become what you love. And today I find in the post a book package from the gorgeous Mandee, one of those lovable Vegan YA Nerds. Thanks Mandee! I continuously read while I write. Not only books far removed from what I write, but books smack bang in the middle of the YA spectrum.

I made a pact with myself early on that I never wanted to be one of those writers that had to be locked away in a sound-proof cork room in order to be able to write, and not be exposed to anyone else’s work. It was hard when I was younger and more impressionable. I do remember the phase when I used to write in a terrible stream-of-consciousness style (I had read far too much Faulkner) and that time I thought I was Charlotte Bronte. But as I become more established, basically just wrote more, something interesting happened. I became comfortable with my voice and my style. I knew who I was as a writer. So while I can read anything these days and feel inspired, awed and in love with someone else’s work, I can’t help but write the way I still do. And anyway, I don’t want to emulate anyone. I really want to be myself.

So my writing advice is to:

a) write lots. It is true, the more you write the better you get. And if you’re destined to be an author, you’l find yourself.

b) read lots. You will learn more about writing reading books per se than books about how to write.

PS – if you’re wondering what that chocolate bar is, it’s like a vegan version of a Mars Bar, but way more delicious, the mollassey taste of the caramel is to die for*

*unintended tie-in pun with the novel.