A new memoir, a new medium with Bolinda.

It is quite a foreign environment for a print journalist, whose medium has always been the printed word published in a daily newspaper. Instead, today, for the first time, I sit at a table in a small soundproof room before a portable lectern hitched up with an oversized, highly sensitive microphone.  Already, someone has placed a clean proof copy of my new book – Farewell My French Love – on the lectern.

Butterflies play havoc in my stomach because Ben, the producer, a lean fellow of middle-years, has placed sophisticated earphones over my ears.  He has left the room and now sits on the other side of a large double-glazed window and he speaks through the earphones asking me to read the first page of my book.  I wonder if I can stop my voice from quivering like my whole body.

However, with those first few words, which miraculously flow forth clearly, I begin to record my memoir for Bolinda Audiobooks. It is an exciting, unexpected experience and I do shiver in anticipation. Bolinda has bought the rights to market an audio production of my book and I have the glorious opportunity of reading my story of grief, loss and recovery.

Farewell My French Love will be available on Bolinda’s website on www.bolinda.com/aus/ from May 28.




Eastertime in Melbourne is always fun

Melbourne is always a refreshing lifestyle change from Adelaide. Here I learn all about the city’s amazing public transport system of trains and trams.  Train travel takes me between the two homes of two of my adult children and a bus will take me to the third child – a daughter in Williamstown.  Altona Meadows is way out along the Werribee line and Mont Albert is to the east along the Lillydale line.  I enjoy these quiet times before the joys of the five grand-children -two under five and three aged from 15 down to nine years old.   Roll on Easter when I shall arrive at daughter number one’s beautiful home in Mont Albert laden with drinks, entrees and easter eggs galore.  It is always hard to leave and return to Adelaide. But my home is in our fair city where the pace of life is still so much slower.

A lovely life after profound loss

A happy moment handling my books for the first time.

A happy moment handling my books for the first time.

What a happy day! My new book, Farewell My French Love, my second memoir, arrived at my doorstep and my pride knew no bounds.

Here is a photograph of my author’s copies. However, they will not be in bookshops until Monday, April 24. Harlequin non-fiction (HW Non Fiction), the publisher, has designed a wonderful front cover with a gold spine and embossed lettering.

So, dear readers, this wide smile reflects my euphoric mood. It has been such a long three-year process with a few changes of direction with my story and a few edits and I do think my bitter/sweet memoir of coping with grief following the death of my French-born husband,Olivier, is just perfect.

I need to tell you that on May 11, 2017, it will be five years since the day my beloved husband died.

We had only been married four years when he died of cancer.

I had been a successful newspaperwoman for 20 years. Although I had written many articles about grief and interviewed many grieving people, nothing prepared me for my own experience.

My children all lived interstate and I struggled with loneliness and slipped into depression – a terrifying state of being.

However, my story is also about friendship, the fun of travel and, of course recovery.

My friend Jane travelled with me from Barcelona toParis by train and our journey was peppered with many battles over food, fashion and French culture. It all tested our friendship, but it does make funny reading in hindsight.

In France, I retraced my honeymoon with Olivier in Provence and the glorious Loire Valley, and in Jane’s company, my sadness lifted.

But that’s only half the story. After Jane returned to Australia, I stayed alone in Paris trying to redefine myself as a widow and alone. I boarded with a woman in the Left Bank in a famous apartment block and I discovered life holds amazing surprises if you can successfully navigate that difficult rite of passage through grief. I learnt French at Alliance Francaise and found myself walking the same streets as famous French writers like Simone de Beauvoir. Finally, I understood that suffering loss is the legacy of having loved.






Church covered up child sexual abuse


I have just finished reading the damning report into the negligence of the Anglican Church under the leadership of Dr Ian George towards protection of child sexual abuse victims.  The entrenched practice of cover-up is truly shocking and a betrayal of the concept of Christian principles.  Where protection of young children should have been the basis of pastoral care, unfortunately, for the victims, mostly boys, it remains the traditional response of the laws and tenets of faith. These were  written by men for men and in support of them. Most religions have a bias in ensuring control of women and children; this is a prime example of the abuse of that approach. We can only hope that the Church can make amends and be far more diligent in future.  It is time for all women to take heed of the great Harkness Professor of Theology Mary Daly from Harvard University who suggested in her aptly-named book Deliver us from Eve that the time for leadership positions in Christian and other faiths is now a critical need.  Ordained women priests, pastors and ministers of Christian faiths would be an appropriate step towards stamping out child sexual abuse within the ecumenical church community.

Dr Pamela Schulz, OAM.

Harlequin publishers buy my memoir

Signing my publishing contract with Harlequin at  the Sydney home of my agent Selwa Anthony (standing).

Signing my publishing contract with Harlequin at the Sydney home of my agent Selwa Anthony (standing).

The stars must be in alignment because March has brought astounding happenings to set my life on a new trajectory.

Hoorah! I have sold my manuscript, Bon Voyage Mesdames, to Harlequin Publishers.  Adding to the excitement, my agent, Selwa Anthony advised me of this splendid deal a few days after Writers Week here in Adelaide. This will be my second book following From France With Love, published 9 years ago. Yes, it’s a long time ago, but this second publishing deal makes me feel like a real author.

I flew to Sydney to sign the publishing contract on Friday, April 15 with a publication date of April 2017.

My close friends will testify to my jitters over the past 6 months since October when I despatched the second draft to Selwa. It had taken  me almost 12 months to complete a second draft.

My friend Jane, with whom I shared this extraordinary journey back to France after Olivier’s death, never doubted that it would be picked up by an astute publisher.  Yes, its unashamedly Francophilic, as I loved France even before I met Olivier,  but the journey was also the catalyst for my personal resurrection. Paris, worked its magic once more in my life, lifting me out of the  emotionally crippling black cloud of grief to  allow the sunshine in; to feel that delicious joie de vivre once more.  Writing about loss is timely, just like back in the 60s when it was simply the time to write about sex.  But so are the main threads of my  story – the richness of women friends, food phobias, travel adventures in France and how to learn to embrace life again, to laugh and have fun once more.

Once when Baby Boomers were young, the social script was love and romance, marriage, babies and the good life. But  that first wave, born in 1946, turn 70 this year and millions more are moving into their 60s. Almost overnight, Boomers’  easy ride along honey-laden highway of life has come face to face with loss.  Suddenly love is intrinsically linked not to romance, but to loss.   Loss of our ageing parents and for those unlucky ones, as I was, the loss of a beloved spouse.  Sadly, some people never recover from grief.  But I discovered so many pleasures in France that  slowly happiness seeped back into my heart.

Robyne thanks her dad for happy childhood

Robyne Laird Jones wrote this emotive tribute to her dad and she was happy to have it reproduced on my website. Straight from the heart, it reveals the typical Australian childhood she and her siblings enjoyed – One quite different to mine, noted in my My Journal blog in November 2015.

“It is with a broken heart that I write that my beloved father passed away on Saturday 16th April 2016. Dad you were strict, you were stern, and yes you were bought up in a time when expressing your emotions was left to the women of the world but I never doubted for one second you loved your brood of kids, because when it really counted in our lives you said and did the right thing. You had a strange if not fun way of parenting and as kids you would amaze and horrify us sometimes like your way of pulling out our loose teeth with a piece of string a door handle and a slap on the back or the good old fashioned way of a pair of pliers, and Dad’s swimming lessons take the brood out in a speedboat with Uncle Jack and his kid’s then once we were 30 to 40 yards off shore you would throw us overboard and tell us to swim for shore and yes we blindly did as told and yes we swam and didn’t sink. These skills were used several time on the next generation the grand kids. Oh and Dad’s creative style of cooking when mum was away interstate what he couldn’t do with a bottle of Port, eggs, ham, steaks and pineapple but as always we survived and thrived.

Summer holidays spent in your home town of Ballina, saw us every morning getting us up early and sending us down to the beach to swim all day, we would return tired and sun-burnt and alive as you would always remark with a surprised tone and it wasn’t until we asked the words most kids would dread “Oh I should have warned you kids there are sharks and rips at that beach” we just took it all in our stride. In later years I was pleased as the youngest of the brood to become your partner in crime at the aged care home, when I got you the new beaut Racy Red Gopher and I found myself suddenly becoming the Parent now Dad promise me you will be careful don’t speed and only go on the footpath make sure you are totally visible but I was happy I could give you the freedom to enjoy the outdoors again only to be informed that after only 2 days in your possession the staff were going to ban you from using it because you had taken your gopher up to the roof of the hospital next door to check out the medical helipad landing area and to go to the pub and the shops (i was so proud to have a rebel of a father at the age of 79). Dad you were, you are and you will always be my Dad whom I Love respect and now miss ever so much.  RIP dear Dad until we meet again your loving youngest daughter and baby of the family Robbie”