Interview - Vena McGrath

Interview: Vena McGrath, Author & Internet Chat Authority: 30th March 2004

Media Man Australia continues to untangle the web!

This interview, conducted with Vena McGrath via e-mail, educates and warns you of some of the various elements of Internet chat.

Harmless fun or potentially deadly liaisons?

All is told in this no holds barred account on the phenom known as "chat".

1. What's your background in both a personal and professional standpoint?

My personal background is Sydney born (Parramatta) after the end of the Second World War. My father was a motor mechanic, my mother a housewife. I have one brother who has lived in Queensland for about 30 years. My education was to high school level where I attained my Intermediate Certificate. I then spent a year full-time at Granville Technical College where I undertook a secretarial course.

My first job at 16 was as junior stenographer with the NSW Police Department. At 18 I left the Public Service and worked as a secretary with a company at Granville and then joined my father’s company as Company Secretary at around 18.5. By age 20 I was married and left work just before I turned 21 when I had my first child, my daughter. Before my 24th birthday arrived I had 3 children. My sons are less than a year apart in age. I stayed home with my children until they were all in High School and then I secured a permanent position as a secretary. I climbed the ladder from Merchants Association Secretary to State Secretary and then due to marriage problems, I gave up work early in 1987 hoping to sort the mess out. It didn’t work and in May 1987 I returned to the same company as PA to the National Marketing Manager.

In 1988 my daughter and the eldest of my two sons and I walked out of our home and never went back. For the next 11 years I worked hard, bought a block of land, secured a loan with my son, and we built our home. I changed jobs and have now been back in a government position for 9 years, spending the first 6 years as Executive Assistant and the last 3 as Administration Officer/Supervisor with a lot of extra duties thrown in like most people today who work full-time.

2. What first got your attention on the Internet?

The internet didn’t interest me at all. When my son lived with me he had a computer and I used to watch him surfing around. I found it slow and totally boring. After he left home to move to the country to work I missed the word processor part of the computer so I bought a computer on time payment, as I couldn’t afford to buy one outright. My son set it up for me and insisted I learn to surf the net. I refused but then gave in as he advised me I should upgrade my skills, as computers would be coming to the fore in the workplace. This was in June 1999.

I hadn’t been surfing around long when I stumbled upon a chat room overseas on one of the sites I was browsing for things to look at. I found my way into the room and couldn’t make much out of it at all. I sat and watched for a while and left fairly quickly. My surfing then was occasional, I loved watching shows on TV I had watched for years, was so addicted to the daytime soapies that I taped them and watched them at night. I also watched as many SBS and ABC specials as I could, including parliament live and Countrywide (I think that’s what it was called).

Once I became used to finding the overseas chat room I began to have big problems connecting to it, and most times when I got up the courage to try to get in on the chat I failed to find a way to enter the room. After a few weeks of frustration I gave up on it totally. Then I stumbled on another chat room site one night, chat in Australia, so I decided to go have a look. Little did I know I was already well on the way to being addicted to this medium, this online chat scene. I wandered into a Travel room and I can remember sitting wondering when someone was going to talk about travel. So I asked “when are you going to talk about travel?” That brought the house down, laughter all over. I couldn’t work out why. But of course I did in a short time work out why. Room names had nothing at all to do with discussions; the rooms were full of people saying ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ and flirting outrageously, or so it seemed. It looked like a load of gibberish and I hastily retreated and found my way to a 50s room.

Something about chat got to me. Here I was safe at home and yet I was with people from all over Australia, laughing with them and finding it was actually a fun way to spend my evenings and that I was learning to enjoy interacting via a computer. I started to watch less and less TV and spent more and more time at the computer, although the constant disconnections bothered me and often I would feel like taking an axe to the computer.

3. How did you "get involved" in a big way with chat?

Around my third night in Australian chat (I had found a notch for myself in the 50s room) I ended up in a private discussion with a male from Victoria, an Irishman. That was when I became totally hooked on chat and my addiction set in fast.

4. When did you realise that Internet chat could be a dangerous pastime, in more ways than one?

I realised this once my manuscript was completed so I could read it as a story. I sat down one day quietly and read it page by page. By the time I had finished I was wishing the story was fiction, not my life, or 3 years of it. I steamrolled through those years not worrying too much about anything except my thirst for learning about life and getting back on track as a woman. I wanted adventure and I found it and I grabbed hold of it and ran with it wherever it took me. Once I read the story I saw the truth. I had allowed myself to be manipulated, used and indeed abused emotionally and yet I had choice. I wondered why I had made the choices I did and the easy answer for me was, and still is, that I was on a road I didn't design for myself and that all that happened was meant to happen. I needed to grow as a person and my beliefs and values changed as I changed. No longer could I hang onto those values and beliefs I held as a child and a young woman. After all they really weren't mine, they were my parents' and a sign of the time I grew up in.

When I read my story, which had all come out of my memories and not from notes or a diary, I realised how many chances I had taken, how many times I could have ended up in a lot of strife, and in fact in danger. The Internet allowed me to cross over my boundary lines I had set for my life and I did it freely. I thought I was pretty clever, I could suss people out and all would be well. But what I neglected to do was listen to my inner voice. I knew almost every time I stepped over the line what was going to happen, not when but what. And yet there it all was for me if I wanted it. And I did want it, I wanted to be loved, desired, and I wanted to give that in return. Trouble was I had love mixed up with sex in my naïve mind, probably because there had only ever been one intimate relationship in my life that lasted for 26 years and then celibacy for 11 years.

5. Have you always been a big writer?

I've always wanted to be a writer I think. From my earliest memories English and comprehension were favourite subjects. I loved writing compositions and anyone who ever received a letter from me always received a mini novel. I started writing my life story for my kids in about 1998, it's still not finished. It's a hard story to write as I'm being totally honest in it. There are many things they don't know or don't remember about our life and I think it's important that one day they read my story through my eyes. I hope to finish it in the not too distant future so we can all talk about the issues together. Perhaps it will be a healing thing for all of us and might help some of our scars fade further.

The manuscript I have written that is being published was in some ways easy to write because the thoughts spilled out faster than my fingers could type, and yet at times I became bogged down unable to move forward. Being a Scorpio I find it impossible to half do something and move on and come back so I would leave it and when I felt I could face where I was up to again, I would sit down and get back into it. I didn't read as I wrote, and that's why I found reading the rough first draft so harrowing. The words had all come out of me and yet I still couldn't face that they were fact not fiction. I guess I must be a fairly good writer if I shocked the writer.

6. What was your motivation to get chatting on the web?

I had no motivation to chat, I had never heard of it nor did I know anyone who used the medium or in fact had ever heard of it. It's still the same now; very few people in my real life use chat or even know how to find it. So it's been an alone thing for me, not something I've shared with anyone but the people I have met online.

My motivation came with my addiction to having found somewhere relatively safe where I could go each night and meet people and talk, and flirt, and laugh. I watched less and less TV and in fact when the Olympics were on in 2000, I had to ring my son and ask him how to use the remote control to get the TV to work. I do have an excuse there, as he had brought me his TV set when he bought a bigger one so I'd never used it before. All I ever do is dust the TV, I rarely switch it on. It's there for my family when they visit if they want it or other visitors.

I find chat an excellent medium for my sense of humour, my bouts of aggression towards people I can't tolerate online and definitely would not associate with in reality. It's an excellent schoolroom, there is always someone online I can learn from. The irrelevant issues I forget almost instantaneously including people who I find irrelevant to what I need from this place called chat. But there are other things I have learned that have helped me in many ways and motivate me to stay online even at times when I am so frustrated by it all. And of course, writing is a big part of interacting online. Using words to motivate and inspire people into reacting, being controversial and then sitting back and watching the words flying onto the screen from various interested chatters are some of the best times I spend online.

7. Tell us about some of your most positive and negative experiences on Internet chat? (we know we need to buy the book for the whole story), but a few "teasers" please?

I guess the most positive things about chat are the wonderful people I have met online and for real who have touched my life in many ways. There are also the people who came to me for help during one year. It seemed I spent most of my time in private conversations with people who carried the weight of the world on their shoulders and needed to offload some of it on someone, and the ideal someone was me for some reason. It's got a lot to do with anonymity of chat, being able to say anything and everything knowing full well the other person doesn't have a clue who you are or where you are. This part of chat for a time was very special to me. I'm fairly psychic and I enhanced my skills without even knowing it. I saw options and answers for people that they hadn't thought of. I seemed to have things coming out of my head I didn't know were in there. I used to wonder who on earth was inside me that came out now and then and exploded in a myriad of words and knowledge I sure didn't know I had. I seemed to have a sixth sense about things, I read between the lines and sometimes scared people by what I knew about them they hadn't told me. I eventually stopped allowing myself to become involved in this type of chat as it was wearing me down. I took their troubles from them and then they became mine. I started to go under from it all, so I had to stop doing it and like most things in my life, once I made up my mind, that's exactly what I did.

Another positive is being able to help people with their computer problems. In the last 4.5 years I've learned so much that I can now fairly easily help most people with problems and do it in a plain English language they can understand. Their extreme appreciation makes me smile, as I know how frustrating it is when you don't have a clue how to do what you want to do and most people just confuse you more by their explanations.

The comradeship, the feeling that the chat room is an extended family is a big positive for a lot of lonely people. I was one of them and this place called chat gave me somewhere to spend my lonely hours so I never really feel alone.

The negatives are there too. The element that has crept into chat and the internet that is seedy is also dangerous. Most of us, females and males who are honest people, have many times come into contact with these unsavoury elements of chat. I can only really talk about the male side of the 'sleaze' element as I call it, but I also know there is a female side to it too. The pornography, the constant privving of chat folk by males and females who just enter a room and priv the first female nick they see, or male, and talk dirty almost from the first word. This bothers me immensely, not for myself as I know how to handle them now, but for the 'newbies' and the young kids online. I know these males and females hang around in the teenage rooms and although those rooms are policed, it can't happen 24 hours a day as hosts and irc (internet cops) are all people who volunteer their time and they all have lives as well to cope with.

I see rooms such as Married & Flirting as extreme breaches of morality codes we should be trying online to foster online, not erode. The internet, and chat rooms are full of married people looking for something extra and actually thinking it is their right to expect that extra from women and men who are single, or married and bored like themselves. I would close down rooms with explicit names. I know those people will still be online, but let them chat in rooms without advertising what and who they are. I see networks as being culpable for allowing this breach of morality and it's a passion of mine to highlight it plus the inherent dangers to young teenagers online.

8. What percentage of people in chatrooms did you find to be dishonest people?

That's not an easy question. My own personal view is the percentage is high but usually when I say that in a chat room situation I am pounced on. However there are always people in the rooms who agree with me. As a totally honest person with nothing to hide I find dishonesty very hard to reconcile with and never will be able to. I find that the truth even if it hurts, is the only option. There are a lot of males online who will own up they are married, but there are a lot who don't and they are the dangerous ones because you really are left without any choice to make if you like that person and decide to trust them and then meet them.

Many people online are smooth talkers, able to manipulate conversations and mesmerize minds and eventually almost destroy someone's self esteem. I know that people will think "what is she on about? This is all fantasy not reality". But I say to those people, go online, let yourselves move outside the circle, open your minds, and then after a while tell me where the fantasy ends and the reality begins. We are talking about lonely people, many just out of messy divorces or separations, even deaths, who are searching for someone, anyone, to fill a void. And in steps Ms or Mr Wonderful, with all the right words that you want so much to hear. Then begins the danger with the lies and the deceit.

9. How often do people use photos that actually don't really accurately resemble themselves?

I know this happens frequently as it's often commented about. I have been sent pics that must be 20 years old at least. Beats me why people bother doing that, after all if you are going to eventually meet then the lie is there in your face. I've heard of people who have flown interstate to meet some gorgeous person at the other end only to be totally horrified by what they are confronted with. Personally I haven't had that happen to me. Very few people look exactly like a photo portrays them, but some of the women I know have those fantasy pics taken and send them. Let's face it they looked that way for one day in their lives and I can't understand why they would send them to men and then dishonestly meet those people and frighten the life out of them.

Probably the worst pics of all are the ones that land in your email or chat script, you open them up, and there is a penis staring at you. Usually only the lower part of the body is in the photo, so no identifying features. I regard this as a low act by men and one I personally find insulting to me as a female. I believe there are women who send those types of photos to men; so again, it's not just a male thing.

10. What chatrooms were your favourite?

My favourite memories are of the 50s room. It's where I found chat and where I found a lot of new friends many I have met by travelling interstate for lunches, dinners and chat parties. I have been to some of my friends' homes and some of them have been to mine. I spent the first 2 years of my chat life in that room and when I had a break out of chat for about 6 months and returned, I was devastated to find it had fallen apart and most of the people I knew those years had disappeared either out of chat altogether or to other chat venues. I have never really found a home in chat since then and now have my own room where I can go and find peace and quietness and work on top of the screen. My special friends know where I am if they wish to find me and anyone else who finds my room finds it by fluke chance. Unfortunately some of the worst types online find me and leave a nice abusive message. I just laugh because I have high hopes that one day that element will be gone from chat. People who hide under the guise of a guest number are such cowards and as they can't associate with normal people they will fade away to other places they can use their foul language and lack of intelligence.

My reputation in some rooms is not a good one because I dare to ask why and I dare to stick up for people who I perceive are being unfairly treated by the hosts of the room or by others chatting there. I also don't suffer fools gladly and I tell them. Not seen as being acceptable but as far as I am concerned it is my right to say 'leave me alone I don't wish to talk to you' or whatever random thoughts come into my mind and slip out my fingers. This is where my visitors come from, those I have given a verbal uppercut to. They have no skills with words, they can't debate; all they can do is become personal and swear and then harass you by finding you online wherever you may be chatting, and abuse you publicly without revealing who they are.

11. Do you still chat, and if so, why?

Yes I still chat every night of my life unless I go out or away. I have a laptop so I take it when I travel and it's a clone of my computer at home. Since writing the manuscript and signing a contract, I have used chat as a place to network what I'm doing. There are many people who ask about the book and through networking I've met a lot of interesting people who share my hobby or a similar one. Swapping ideas is a great way to spend time in chat and I spend minimal time in the public room talking. The chat in there is usually inane rubbish. I could put up on screen most nights exactly what everyone is going to say and to whom. It's like watching a room full of robots going through the same routine night after night, like a stage show. And that's how I see chat, a huge stage show on every night, with all the people playing mostly the same part, boringly. But behind the scenes I find quality. Not every night but often enough to make it worthwhile, and when there is no quality chat around I idle my time away in other pursuits such as emails, writing, surfing around sites or just sitting listening to my music and thinking.

12. Explain the sequence of events that occur one you log on, to speaking to a person, to meeting, to considering "being" with them? (change the wording to suit you or ignore the questions if you must), The questions is about the sequence of events, decision making, logistics etc

The first step is to find where you wish to chat and to log in via the icon on a website using the script the website provides for chat, or as in my case, an enhanced mirc script that allows me to quickly access my favourite chat rooms via an icon on my desktop. In a few short seconds I am into chat, whereas the other way is laborious and unstable.

Once in a room if you are a 'newbie' you usually sit tentatively wondering what on earth to do. Most 'newbies' come online with a guest number and the first thing they ask is how to get a nick name. That's easy when you know how and people in the room are only too glad to help as none of us are too enchanted talking to numbers. Many people of course come in with a guest number on purpose to hide out or hurl abuse at someone in a cowardly manner. Many people who chat often have more than one way to come into chat and are able to disguise who they are by using a guest number, a different script to normal and perhaps dialup access instead of cable or a different dialup address to normal. You can have as many providers as you care to pay for, and take as few hours as you want, so you can play games if you so desire at little cost to the budget. This is common practice online. I have to admit using it myself at times if I have been banned from a room on one provider's addy I can get into the room using another. Neat trick but just a toy to me, whereas to others it's a weapon.

So once you have a nick name and settle in people will start asking questions such as where you are from, whether you are male or female, and perhaps your age and whether you are married or not. Some people find all these questions offensive, and they can be depending on the way they are asked. For a 'newbie' it can be daunting as there is the fear someone may find out who you are. But most people realise that saying they live in NSW or another state, and not a city or suburb specifically, is a safe way to start off. Very few people give out their exact location and rarely anyone will display their real christian name in a public chat room. The more wary people are the better as stalking does happen online and offline if people are foolish enough to give out too much personal information.

There are always people in chat rooms who will hone in on a new arrival, and many new arrivals hone in on the people in the chat room by entering the room and privving someone straight off without asking if they can. Chat protocol is you always should ask if someone would like to have a private conversation, not just priv them without asking. People are starting now to react negatively to this kind of treatment and will tell the nick concerned in the public room to get out of their priv, stop being rude etc etc. The hosts have messages they display in the room if this happens advising everyone of the protocol of chat but it doesn't stop this from happening. As in most things we all have choice, so the rule of thumb is if you don't wish to chat private you ignore the person privving you. I prefer not to say anything in public unless there is a good reason to and handle it myself in private. But even so you are then open to abuse in the public room from that person you have rejected. This does happen frequently.

Once settled in chat and more at ease, people begin to accept private conversations. This is totally up to each individual to accept or decline. Many true friends are found this way, and many love affairs begin this way and many end too. Chat is not renowned for lasting love, it's more a fleeting thing, like two ships that pass in the night, enjoy the moment, and move on. Some people feel betrayed, some people become vindictive, friendships are either won or lost. It really isn't much different to any other community except there is the element of concealment. You can be whomever you choose to be on the internet. No one can see you, no one knows if your wife is sitting watching TV while you are telling some woman you are single and the same goes for women telling lies to men. This is one thing about chat that isn't very easy to come to any conclusion about. Photos can be exchanged, but are they of that person? It's all a matter of chance and gut feelings. Once you talk to the same person a few times it becomes easier to work them out as very few people who are putting on an act can keep it up for too long. Liars forget their lies so it's always best to keep logs and remember all you can about someone so if they chat to you a few more times you can take note of changes in their stories.

Another safety network online is other chatters. The women online who know each other fairly well, even if they don't particularly like each other, will either ask privately usually about someone who they may be interested in but have questions about. It's amazing how some men spread themselves so thinly around the rooms without having the brain matter to realise that people do talk, not everyone is gullible. Often a group of women discussing a particular nick will find that person is courting them all, and he may have several different nicks. I imagine this is true of the men as well; the not so good people online are not just males. It's all lies and deception online, mind manipulation and a sign of the lack of ethics in our society today. There is very little respect comes from either sex towards the other or male-to-male or female-to-female. And, very little loyalty.

The Internet is setting up its own standards of behaviour and unless someone steps in and says this has to change for the sake of the good people who want to use the medium the way it should be used, there is little hope that chat as I knew it will survive (what little of that is left). There's nothing wrong with flirting, having fun, laughing and enjoying each other's company and indeed perhaps meeting for real from a chat encounter. But many of these meetings are built on lies and many lives are devastated by it. Many marriages have already ended because of exposure to freedom on the Internet and I really have no sympathy for those people. Most are well aware that their wife or husband is chatting, as they themselves probably are, and they accept it as being fine, no problem. Then when the day comes their marriage is over because the husband or wife has walked out with a chat lover, they look around and blame the Internet. Sorry, the Internet is not to blame; people are to blame.

I personally didn't find the decision to meet anyone an easy one to make. You can never be sure who anyone is, regardless of how strongly you feel about him or her. The natural progression from online chat sessions with one person, is to emails and phone calls and from there if you both choose, meeting. The trouble is many people can play the game for months and set up a meeting with the other person who truly is under the belief that this will probably be a long-term arrangement. Then, after perhaps an enjoyable weekend together and the expenses involved, one of the participants disappears forever, leaving the other person totally devastated. That person's self-esteem hits rock bottom; there are many unanswered questions, and there seems to be no answers as to why it happened. And then perhaps an even worse scenario opens up when they chat about the experience and find out to their horror the same person has been seeing many others and doing the same thing. How soul destroying that is to some people. I know first-hand about such happenings. All things are relevant; the hurt is personal.

My rule was from the very beginning that if someone wished to meet me then the meeting took place in my city, and after the first meeting I would be agreeable to take my turn to travel. The internet always seems to be overloaded with people from every state except the one you live in and quite a few of my friends are interstate, or were interstate as it's all in the past tense now. However I wonder in hindsight if that was a very good option after all. If you are the one to travel then you also have the right to insist on seeing where the other person lives. We often joke in chat about going through wardrobes, checking out bathrooms etc for female bits and pieces. And yet this is probably the safest course to take for anyone contemplating meeting someone from the Internet, and if there are excuses put forward to stop this happening, then these are warning bells. Another good warning is the home phone number. If the only number you ever have is a mobile or work number, then there is most likely a wife/husband at home. And yet again I have been in the situation personally of having a home address, home phone number, mobile number, work number and details. Yet that person was married and living with his wife and young son. A story in my book, not to be believed, but true.

I really don't have the answer on who to meet or not meet, or how to go about it. All I ever did was follow my instincts, or go against them quite often and earn my just rewards by doing so. One of my friends online said to me recently that he talked to a lot of women before he met his love online, and as soon as he heard warning bells he shut down communication with all those other women. And he is right, most of us who who are intelligent and are thinkers hear those bells, but for many reasons we choose to ignore them. To me he is a very courageous man, and his courage and the fact that he stood behind his convictions eventually brought him together with the right person. He is one of the fortunate ones online, and there are few of them who find a perfect match. Some people meet and marry and are happy for ever, others meet, move in together and then all hell breaks loose and it's over and the bitterness and backstabbing starts online. Very harrowing and nasty and shows the human adult in a very poor light.

As an ideal meeting place for two lonely people, the Internet is sadly lacking in my opinion. It is a place of transient people, people battle scarred from marriage and bitterness who are only really looking for a quick fix. Age is rarely an issue; as long as the body is willing nothing else is important. Sussing out people who are actually living this way is the hard part with some as they disguise it so well and lie so eloquently. With others it's a snatch, so easy; they are so transparent. No verbal skills, no writing skills and a distinct low level of interactive intelligence.

So the question is, do you take a chance and shrug your shoulders if it all goes wrong and go back for another shot at it, or do you say right from the start that it's not for you? Again it's a personal issue as to where you are at with your life, how far you are willing to go in a quest for some happiness, and how far outside your personal barriers you are prepared to step. I see meeting on the Internet no different to meeting in almost any other place except for one very important factor. Whilst you are meeting on a level of 'chat' you are not looking into each other's eyes, you don't have the advantage of body language. All you have are words on a screen, and are they true words or are they all fantasies? Therein lies the complexity of it all, and if you take a chance then that's exactly what you are doing. Taking a chance sight unseen that the person you think you know is that person and not a fantasy created especially to lure you into a false sense of security in order to gain sexual pleasures from you.

13. What advice do you have for others before they start chatting?

Read all you can about chat including my book and believe it. There are no fabrications in my story because if there were I would have made sure I came out smelling like roses. This is no game, it might be fantasy, but if you are coming online looking for a relationship then beware. And if you have no intention of ever being involved in a relationship online, beware. I never had any intention of chatting, nor did I have any intention of meeting men from here after 11 years alone. And yet it happened to me because I was open to suggestion, lonely, vulnerable. I fell into traps I don't want others to fall into without prior warning. I want people to chat, to get out of it what they need in their lives. I don't want people hurt if I can possibly help them not to be hurt.

14. How many chat sessions did you participate in the 2000 - 2003 period?

How many? I could never imagine how many. By 2000 I was addicted well and truly and I was online every night but not for hours like I am now. I came online to meet whoever it was I was involved with and left when we said goodnight. I guess on a rough estimation I could eliminate maybe 4 weeks out of each year with the exception of 2001 when I was out of chat almost totally for a period of about 6 months.

15. What is the best thing you learned about life from Internet chat?

That this medium exists for the lonely, the disabled, for those imprisoned in their homes for whatever reason that no one ever needs to know about. These people will most likely never be exposed to the seamy side of the Internet because they aren't in the mainstream chat range. They will survive where many others will fall by the wayside, disenchanted, disappointed and maybe even destroyed emotionally. It all boils down to what you want and why you are online. Whatever you are looking for you will find.

16. What other interests do you have?

I have a full-time job, a family, a home to look after and I have my writing which last year and this year is taking up quite a bit of my time. I'm joining online writing groups, writing a short story to submit in a competition in the USA later this year, and I'm learning the hard way about having a book published and all that goes with that little project that I didn't have a clue about. I'm also working on getting myself out of Sydney in the next year or so to somewhere I can hopefully retire to concentrate on writing full-time.

17. What little known secrets and talents have you got?

Any secrets I have are just that, secrets. Scorpios are supposed to be secretive and I guess in a way we are. Very few people actually ever know me totally and in fact probably no-one knows me only myself. My best defense is my privacy and my walls I build fairly quickly around myself if I'm in danger of an invasion. I don't know I have any talents that I keep hidden. Some I've left behind as I've grown older some new ones I've found that I always had but never made use of or just accepted as being me. Now I'm more apt to think about those things and marvel at how lucky I am to have certain things about me that others don't have and don't know I have. So I guess they remain a secret, my secret. I see many things others don't know about and aren't aware I'm seeing. Whether this is a talent or not I don't know, I prefer to think of it as being a gift. One day I hope to have to time to concentrate on improving those areas of my life but again they are for me, not for anyone else unless I have the ability to use them for the good of someone else.

18. When will Secrets, Lies and Chat be on the shelves in Australia?

If only I knew. Now would be a good time for me to test my psychic ability. My instincts tell me later this year, not when I anticipated or was told. It will happen when it's time to happen. I don't control it I'm just the author. I knew when I sent the manuscript to America that I only needed to send it to one publisher and I chose one from all my research because I had a 'feel' about them. In spite of many people advising me to send it to as many publishers as I could, I stuck to my resolve that one would be all I needed. So now I accept that this will happen as it's supposed to and when it's supposed to and no amount of anguish on my part will speed the process up. The same thing happened when I started to write. I didn't plan to write a manuscript when I did. I just had this thought come into my mind that it was something I needed to do and so I sat down and I started to write. Call it whatever you like but I know the answers already, and time will prove me either right or wrong. Either way I accept whatever happens as being meant to happen.


Editors note: Don't chat before reading the book!



Vena McGrath


Sex and Relationships


Books and Authors

Book Reviews

Secrets, Lies & Chat, by Yvette Moore and Greg Tingle

Secrets, Lies & Chat, by Greg Tingle

Secrets, Lies & Chat, by Yvette Moore


Jayne Hitchcock, Author, Internet Crimes and Misdemeanors & President of WHOA

Irina Dunn, NSW Writers' Centre

Lee Tien, Electronic Frontiers Foundation

Robbie Swan, EROS Association

Seth Finkelstein, Consulting Programmer, Anti Censorware Investigations

Vaughan Buckland, Jelly Wrestling promoter & Adult Webmaster

Bessie Bardot, Business Adviser, Promoter & Body Model

Paul Budde, Budde Communications

Bob Bemer, "The Father of the Internet"


Cyberstalking is more real than you think, by Greg Tingle

Dating on the Internet, by Greg Tingle

"Big" Tim Bristow: A personal true tale of Australia's legendary private investigator, by Greg Tingle

Internet Safety and Responsibilities, by Vaughan Buckland


Chat Lies.TV

Secrets, Lies & Chat blogger - Vena McGrath's blogger

Australian Federal Police

Crime Stoppers

WHOA - Working To Halt Online Abuse

Online Dating

NSW Writers' Centre