Publishers of books that change lives

Steve Biddulph talks about the relationship between mother and son

Is there a more intense, challenging and yet heart-warming relationship in our lives? Well, possibly mothers and daughters, but that’s a subject for another time.  When I wrote Raising Boys almost 25 years ago, I was aiming to solve one of the problems that most came along in my work with families in crisis or trouble – how to help mums and sons get along.

This month I am releasing a completely rewritten update of that classic book, because times have changed and there is just so much more helpful stuff coming out from researchers into boy psychology.  First of all, the news that boys brains really are much more vulnerable.  It starts in the womb, as the production of testosterone by the boys’ own body actually slows down his brain growth.  We don’t know why this is, but it means he is vulnerable for longer, well into his first year of life, to stress and anxiety (as well as nasty chemicals like pthalates in plastics, which has been linked to ADHD and other problems).  But the main message is that we need to take care of young parents, and mums especially, so they can relax, bond, and engage in that lovely dance of tenderness and comfort that helps a baby learn to regulate their emotions and grow the brain structures that determine a calm and happy level of mental heatlh.

The Full On Fours is another stage – we knew about this – where most boys get very active about this age, but the science has moved on, and it looks like a very early beginning of being not just a toddler, but a BOY toddler.  Of course, every boy is different and so don’t let this be a prescription.  We talk in the book about how to respond to those energy levels, and not make your boy feel bad for being rambunctious. Human beings are very active creatures and we still need to allow for that.

The Emotional Eights are a new discovery from the Murdoch Institute. The actual brain changes at eight signal the Adrenarche, or pre-puberty shift in adrenal hormones, and your son may become very volatile and need help to understand his own inner turmoil.

And did I mention adolescence? Well, there’s lots about that too because there are a thousand different ways to be a boy. How to keep boys safe, happy, and loving and happy with the girls in their lives, so that they stay friends with their mothers long into adulthood.

What could create more happiness than to have that warmth when they are adult, and into our old age! A son who loves us back, and isn’t afraid to show it. What a Mother’s Day present.

More information on Raising Boys in the 21st Century can be found here >>

11 questions in 11 minutes with author Vicki Laveau-Harvie

  1. What is your idea of bliss?

My idea of bliss is a bookshop, big enough to browse in, good lighting, thoughtful displays, with somewhere to sit. Shelves full of books chosen by staff who read and love books, and who become my Best Book Friends Forever. If I can also order coffee there, I’m in heaven.

  1. What is the trait you least like about yourself?

I sometimes second-guess myself, question my first impulse, try to see both sides of any story, and miss the moment when I should speak my mind, undiluted. So basically an occasional failing of self-belief and an excess of prudence.

  1. What do you consider to be the most overrated virtues?

Sociability in excess – I think we all need solitude to know who we are and what we think, and perhaps to write it down.  And I believe any virtue in excess is overrated: prudence, temperance. I like balance.

  1. Greatest regret?

Any situation where I simply didn’t dare, when there was no reason why I shouldn’t have gone for what I wanted. There have been a few of those.

  1. Who would be your nemesis?

Unfortunately, my mother.

  1. Which talent would you most like to have?

On a lighter note, I have never been able to do a decent cartwheel. It’s probably too late now, but I wish I could.

  1. Biggest dislike?

Hypocrisy, dishonesty, cruelty, racism. misogyny and the arrogance of ignorance.

  1. Qualities you admire in a man?

I prize honesty, kindness, intelligence, a sense of perspective, humour, confidence.

  1. Qualities you admire in a woman?

And ditto, as for a man: honesty, kindness, intelligence, a big view of the issues, a sense of humour and a sense of self.

  1. What is your best characteristic?

I know I’m resilient, and I like to believe I am open-minded and warm-hearted. I’m sure about resilient, anyhow.

  1. What would your motto be?

I have a cheerful poster on my study wall that says, in letters all the colours of the rainbow: ‘I have no idea what I’m doing’. So perhaps, ‘Question your basic assumptions’, or more optimistically, ‘En avant, what the heck.’

For more information on The Erratics go to here >>

Vicki Laveau-Harvie

Vicki on winning the 2018 Memoir Prize

Winning the Finch Prize has changed the way I think about sharing my writing.

The process of writing can make something complex and beautiful out of experiences, ideas, and images that may be painful, overwhelming or seemingly banal. The magic is in this transformation, and working with this magic is almost always a solitary endeavour. There is a sense of containment in the creative process.

Receiving the Finch prize feels like a validation of the writing process I so love. It has made me want to share more of what I write and the path I follow to get to the finished work. I am grateful for this.


The Erratics

When her elderly mother is hospitalised unexpectedly, Vicki travels to her parents’ isolated ranch home in Alberta, Canada, to help her father. She has been estranged from her parents for many years (the reasons for which rapidly become clear) and is horrified by what she discovers on her arrival.

Her mother has always been mentally unstable, but for years camouflaged her delusions and unpredictability. Over the decades she has managed to shut herself and her husband away from the outside world.

Vicki’s father, who has been systematically starved and kept virtually a prisoner in his own home, begins to realise what has happened to him and embarks upon plans of his own to combat his wife.

Vicki quickly realises how dangerous, and potentially life-threatening, her mother’s behaviour is. She fears for her father’s life and her own safety if her mother returns home. The power play between her parents takes a dramatic turn and leaves Vicki embroiled in situations that are ludicrous, heart-breaking, and frightening.

All this makes for an intensely gripping, yet black-humoured family drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

For more information and blogs from the author go to

Privacy Statement




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Suite 1 64 Darley St, Mona Vale, NSW, 2103, Australia

Ellen Briggs

Ellen Briggs’ easy going, friendly nature belies the dark wit that lurks beneath. She has made an art from of sneaking in politically incorrect jokes at the end of her ‘nice yarns’. She was a national Finalist in Melbourne International Comedy Festvial’s search for new talent in 2007 and winner of Foxtel Comedy Channel’s ‘Be A Comedian’. For the past two years she has been touring the Women Like Us show with Mandy as well as performing solo regularly. She lives on her farm in Mullumbimby with her husband, twin boys and various animal family members.


Get to know Harry Cook

Get to know Harry Cook

Harry Cook is an Australian actor and LGBTQI activ­ist. Since the age of 17 he has starred in some major film, TV and theatre productions.  Pink Ink is a memoir of Harry’s life, his career in show busi­ness, his intense battle with addiction and ultimately his resil­ience and push to find acceptance within himself. We get to know Harry a little better as he answers our 11 Questions in 11 Minutes

1.What is your idea of bliss?
An afternoon walk with my husband and our dog on the beach OR a massive tub of ice cream and a good movie.

2.What is the trait you least like about yourself?
Anxiety and over-thinking. I tend to think of the worst-case-scenario far too often.

3.What do you consider to be the most overrated virtues?
Purity. If you live your life without ever making a mistake, I feel like you aren’t living it to the fullest.

4.Greatest regret?
I try not to regret anything, unless it’s eating an entire tub of ice cream.

5.Who would be your nemesis?
Bigots. I don’t have time for people who believe that human rights are negotiable. Human rights are for everyone.

6.Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be able to play the piano. I used to play as a child but never kept at it. I’ve been thinking of picking it back up recently.

7.Biggest dislike?

8.Qualities you admire in a man?

9.Qualities you admire in a woman?

10.What is your best characteristic?

11.What would your motto be?
Work hard and be nice.

Custom Publishing: So what is it all about?

Sam Miles talks about custom publishing and the successful launch of News Time

Custom Publishing: So what’s it all about?

On Friday March 9, I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of smoothfm radio Breakfast host Glenn Daniel’s memoir called News Time. Held at Doltone House it was a remarkably swish affair, with fairy lights, large photos from the book arranged around the room, a host of glamorous people from the radio industry and many, many glasses of champagne!

News Time is Glenn’s recollections of his time spent in commercial FM radio, from the humble beginnings of 2UE in a small building on the outskirts of western Sydney, and spans his 35 years spent at 2SM, 2Day FM, Triple M, ABC News Radio and 101.7 WSFM. It is a fascinating book, full of all the behind the scenes stories that you never get to hear about, as well as containing some truly memorable photos and radio memorabilia.

About 7 months earlier Glenn had come to visit us at Mona Vale and discussed the idea for turning his manuscript into a book. He didn’t want it available in bookshops, as he wanted to sell it through his connections and through a website, to help raise funds for St Alfred’s Hospital. He did want a professionally produced book and through discussions we reached an agreement where we would edit, proofread, design and style Glenn’s book, and then organise printing and shipping. There was also an option to help market the book but as Glenn had the full force of Nova radio network behind him, this was not necessary.

Glenn turned out to not only one of the nicest men in the universe but a dream author: quick to respond, decisive when required, considerate of all the issues and just a real pleasure to work with.

Luckily for me as the project manager, News Time turned out beautifully and Glenn was very happy with the finished book. As Glenn had poured his heart and soul into the book I was one very nervous person on the day it was due to be delivered. I was even having dreams about boxes of books falling off trucks or all the photos being printed upside down!

The service we offered Glenn is called custom publishing. It works well for authors who want their books produced within a particular timeframe or for talks or conferences. As publicity and marketing for books on our publishing list usually start at least 7 months before the book is even edited, traditional publishing always takes a lot longer than many people think. It is not the production that takes up so much time but the pre-selling into bookshops. Custom publishing is also a great option for authors who want a professionally produced book to give as corporate gifts, to sell at seminars or through their own websites or have as family treasures.

We treat your manuscript with as much care and consideration as we would with any book on our publishing list. We use the same people we use for our own books and apply the same standards of quality. We can also help you publicise and market your book, which is almost a full time job in self, as many self-published authors will attest!

Glenn’s book can be found at Having survived cancer and open heart surgery, all profits from the sale of News Time will be donated to the Cardiac Research Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for its ‘world first’ valve replacement program without open heart surgery. Not only is it a really interesting read, you will be supporting a fantastic cause.

Welcome Back to 2018 with Sam Miles Publishing Manager

Welcome everyone to the new year at Finch! Already Christmas seems like eons ago…and we have well and truly shaken the sand out of our shoes, eaten the last pine-lime splice ice block and said goodbye to little micro naps after lunch.  It’s back to work!

This year we do have some good reads coming up and pretty much something for everyone. We start the year with some girl power, with Working Mums and Women Like UsWorking Mums is a wonderful collection of stories from well known and not so well known women who work and also happen to be mums. They tell us how they manage the juggle of childcare, their careers and their lives with honesty and clarity. The very funny Mandy Nolan is back in May, and this time with a companion, fellow comic Ellen Briggs, to tell us how it really is to be a women in today’s world in  Women Like Us. They pose the question: Can you be a true feminist and still like to wear nice clothes and high heels? and dive into other pressing issues of being a woman. Not just funny they also offer really quite insightful discussions on body image, marriage, children and raising children. Both Mandy and Ellen tell it how it is, and we applaud them for it.

In May we also have the revised and updated edition of the best-selling and well-loved book Raising Boys from Steve Biddulph. Raising Boys in the Twenty-first Century offers information on how to raise sons in a world which offers gender equality, respect, and a whole new kind of manhood, but is still battered by toxic masculinity, pornography and emotional muteness.  Steve has worked with families for 40 years. During that time he has helped change the nature of boys’ education, brought a generation of fathers into hands-on engagement with their kids, and given mothers the confidence to love their sons and not be afraid of them.  He believes the old saying “boys will be boys” is a weak copout and isn’t afraid to say so. As Steve says, Boys will be the men we make them.  Definitely one to stock up on for any new parents, and parents who want the latest info on how to raise boys.

In June we have the winner of the 2017 Memoir prize and what an astonishingly good read it is! The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie will grip you from the first page. I could not put it down! It is one of the best memoirs we have ever published, in my opinion.

Then for a complete change of pace, in July we have Mr Ordinary Goes to Jail, a wonderful frank, funny and fascinating account of one man’s time in jail and the lessons he learned. If you have ever wondered what life is really like on the inside, then this is for you. I was laughing through my hands with this, more than a little bit horrified but still amused at some of the events that happened.

For all sporting fans we have Around the Grounds by sporting broadcaster Peter Newlinds. For so many years the voice of ABC’s ‘Grandstand’, Peter has some wonderful inspiring stories to tell about his most memorable moments in sport. His stories range from watching the West Indies bowl the bejezus out of the Australians, to covering the most dramatic Sydney to Hobart yatch race in sailing history. If you grew up in the 70s and 80s you will love really love this. You don’t even have to like sport that much to enjoy it!

In September we have another memoir for you, this one of a slightly different kind. Australian actor Harry Cook’s story of growing up gay in contemporary society and how that shaped his future direction in life. Although only quite young, Harry brings a depth of wisdom earned through the hard yards of experience to his tale, and the book is a great insight into looking just how far we have come as an egalitarian and accepting society… and still how far we have to go. It offers comfort and hope to other people who may be going through their own trials and tribulations, in all aspects of life.

I do hope you enjoy your reading this year…and please don’t hesitate to drop me a comment or an email sharing your reactions to our books. It helps us know what you like and what we can do more of!

Raising Boys in the 21st Century

First published in 1995, Raising Boys was an instant bestseller and to date has sold over a million copies worldwide. Few books have stayed in the hearts and minds of parents everywhere as much as Raising Boys. Now in an increasingly complicated and nuanced world, raising boys to become emotionally strong, kind and resilient men is even more important and relevant. In response to calls from parents around the world Steve Biddulph has completely updated and revised his seminal work to include all the latest international information and advice for parents on all the key issues of today such as :

  • Gender
  • Brain and hormonal development including latest
    findings on testostetrone
  • Transgender/gay/sexuality development
  • Boys and crying
  • Boys and ‘bad’ behaviour
  • Reading and communication
  • Countering the effects of porn

Steve says:

‘Right now, the world badly needs good men. Your boy can be one of those who grow up so much better, and help to heal the world. Thank you for joining the boy revolution. As the 21st century rolls on, it’s badly needed. Enjoy your boy, love him well, and set him free to fly in his own special way.’