The Best Stories are True Stories

We are specialist biographers who create works of non-fiction from beginning to end. This includes everything involved in creating a book: research, interviews, writing, editing, designing, typesetting, proofing and printing.

When it’s finished we will celebrate this achievement with your family and friends, or if it is a commercial title we will launch the book and secure a national release through our distributors.

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Contact :

AKA Publishing

A.K.A. Publishing Pty Limited
We operate throughout Australia as well as New Zealand.
Tel: 1300 697 867
Fax: 1300 554 461
Email: admin@akapublishing.com.au
Please contact us today to find out more.

The Naked Eye:

Prof. Gerard Sutton and Dr. Michael Lawless

Of the five senses, vision is the most astonishing. This is how we weave our way through the world.  And although the eye has evolved over millions of years to give us crystal clear vision, it is a modern day phenomenon that, in evolutionary terms,our eyesight is going backwards. Due to presbyopia, we are now dependent on reading glasses for half our lives. In parts of East Asia up to 90% of school leavers are now short-sighted. This has been attributed to work, study and lifestyle factors as well as the ageing of the population. And whilst we all know there have been some amazing advances in modern medicine, what seems to have escaped everyone's attention is the revolution that has taken place in laser eye surgery.

 

Two gifted Australian vision correction surgeons, Dr Michael Lawless and Professor Gerard Sutton, now recognised as being among the best ophthalmologists in the world in their field, were there from the beginning of this revolution. From London to New York, Moscowand Bogota (yes Bogota, Colombia) they worked side by side with the legendary pioneers of eye surgery creating history as it happened.  Sutton and Lawless have written this informative, authoritative and entertaining insight into laser vision correction and what it means for you. It’s all here in The Naked Eye, an easy-to-read and jargon-free account of everything you ever wanted to know about laser eye surgery. They explain everything from 20/20 vision to the magic of the femtosecond laser. They pull apart the myths, tell you some of the fascinating history of the science, and give you all you need to know on the latest surgical procedures.

This is the story of the revolution of vision correction surgery – how we can now choose a surgical solution to give us clearer vision with the naked eye.

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A Fire in the Belly:

Don Stein

In Australia we take great pride in the accomplishments of our outstanding citizens, most of whom become household names. But sometimes, someone remarkable slips through the cracks. Such a person is Don Stein AM. This humble, down-to-earth, ‘ordinary’ man embodies all the characteristics of the quiet achiever. 

Born in the middle of the Great Depression and raised on a poultry farm in the quaint bushland suburb of N.S.W, Don credits his parents for giving him the mantra of success – honesty, integrity, respect and trust. After an apprenticeship as a fitter machinist, he worked with the legendary Gibson Battle one of the country’s largest engineering companies and later Coates Hire. There were times when Don put himself in harm’s way to ensure his projects were completed and his expertise and experience stood him in good stead when he started his own company. Back in the 1960s there were no degrees or courses on how to be a successful businessman. It was sink or swim and Don thrived and prospered. Then, incredibly, he was summarily dismissed by his partners and removed from the company he had started. 

Typical of the man he was, Don started all over again and acknowledges that it was in large part thanks to the loyalty of friends and colleagues that Don Stein Plant Hire became the triumph that it was. He was also actively involved in the industry body, the Australian Earthmovers and Road Contractors Federation, was the inaugural Chairman of Beaconsfield Press, and single-handedly took on the Commissioner for Stamp Duty over the “wet hire” or “dry hire” issue which was to have far ranging implications for the industry. Several other government regulations affecting the industry were also later successfully challenged by Don. 

What made Don a rare individual was that he never forgot those less fortunate than himself and behind the scenes became a dedicated philanthropist helping to raise money for his beloved Rotary and other charities such as the Microsearch Foundation. He was the inaugural inductee of the Earthmover and Civil Contractor Hall of Fame and in 2011 was appointed as a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his outstanding contribution to industry and his many charitable causes. 

His is an incredible story. From a nine-year-old farm boy saving up his pennies for a second-hand bicycle, to a man held in high regard by community leaders, industry heavyweights and politicians, Don simply had the ‘fire in the belly’ to make a difference. A truly inspirational life.

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My Dress Rehearsal:

Dena Blackman

With her six-week-old baby in tow, Dena Blackman walked into her local bank to ask for a loan to start a new business. The bank manager, with the unforgettable name Brick Bradford, looked at her seriously and said, “Dena, banks don’t lend money to women without property, without income, without a job – especially when they have three children.” Seeing that she was crestfallen he mentioned that his wife would have loved to use the service Dena was proposing. With that a light turned on in Dena’s head. She said to the bank manager, “Tell your wife about my proposal and see if you can be the first bank manager in history to lend money to a woman without property, without income, and without a job.” 

That was the beginning of Dial-An-Angel, forty-five years ago. Since then, Dena Blackman’s achievements have gone beyond her wildest dreams, receiving many accolades such as the Inspiring Woman of Australia Award as well as an induction into the Australian Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame. Although Dena’s success is surrounded by an incredibly unique and sound business idea, there is more to Dena than meets the eye: an intellect, a poet, and a very talented artist.

Dena’s story takes us back to Brisbane during World War II, to when her father owned a tobacco shop and Golden Casket agency. She was a natural left hander and one of the people to frequent the shop taught her to write with her right hand. From there Dena grew into a high achieving student at Brisbane Girls Grammar School. Little did she know, she would be starting her tertiary education, career, and family in sunny Sydney.

A story of great inspiration for all mothers, daughters and businesswomen.

Long Story Short:

Graeme Brosnan

You don’t have to be a war hero or a famous movie star to have a great story to tell. In this remarkable collection of true stories, every-day Australians bring to life in their own words those incredible moments of their lives where, seemingly in an instant, everything changes. Meet:

  • The twenty something telemarketer who moments before her impending death as her car is about to be flattened by a 100 tonne crane, takes off her glasses so her face won’t be scratched;
  • The refugee who was traded for a chicken on the battlefields of Europe,
  • A puny agricultural scientist, so shy he shook hands rather than kiss the love of his life, takes on the heavy weight boxing champion of the Northern Territory to defend her honour.
  • The hapless suburban accountant and his country bumpkin clients who somehow managed to outfox a multinational oil corporation;
  • A lovelorn pig shooter who buys a wrecking yard as a way to meet girls;
  • The irrepressible couple from Poland, who, after surviving the razing of Warsaw, set up a nightclub in the middle of their war ravaged country;
  • An all too plain girl from Flackwell Heath, with long, lanky legs and buck teeth who was inspired by a chance encounter with Mahatma Gandhi on a beach in India to become a writer;
  • And the Chinese orphan who went from Mao to God and along the way raised a family of four brilliant daughters in a one room house
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Circle of Stones:

Martin Van Den Berk

Two words sustained Martin van den Berk in his journey through life: faith and family. After witnessing the horrors of World War II as a boy in Holland, he mistakenly believed he had escaped the worst of it. Conscripted to carry our post-war reconstruction in Indonesia, Martin soon found himself in the middle of a deadly guerrilla war. He believes his faith saved him from certain death time and again. Determined to escape the devastation, Martin emigrated to New Zealand where he found a breathtakingly beautiful country and the woman who would give him seven children.

In this fearlessly frank, funny and sometimes extraordinary account of his life, Martin remembers the early years working as a mechanic, a farmer, and a baker; and somehow finding time to help his wife, Jane rear a family all the while pursuing his passion for tramping through the countryside with his beloved Scouts. Obsessed with multi-skilling decades before it became fashionable, he taught all his children to fend for themselves even though many of his own handyman adventures almost ended in calamity.

Raising a family of seven was never going to be easy, especially when mother and father liked to up stumps and move every couple of years, but somehow the van den Berks prospered and thrived. This story has it all – hard heartless work, strokes of good fortune, lives imperilled by deadly bushfires, bad luck, miraculous recoveries and being struck down in one’s prime – the family’s triumphs as well as tragedies – guided all the while by Martin’s unshakeable faith and unconditional love.

On The Trail of Sally Brown:

Sally Brown

Most kids can only dream of swapping the rigours of school for a life of adventure on the sun licked sand dunes of the Arabian Desert, but for Sally Brown this is where her education began. Tedious textbooks, arduous mathematical equations and poncy school teachers were ditched for camel riding, horse races and swimming or camping in the mountains on the Turkish/Iraqi border.  With her grandfather a Brigadier-General in the British Army in India and her father, a Group Captain of the RAF, Sally was destined to have an exotic upbringing.

Follow Sally from Egypt to the London bombings of World War II, then to Habbaniya, just outside Baghdad, and from there on to the clean-up of Germany after the war. As a young woman she lived through the swinging sixties in London where she met the love of her life. True to the nomadic patterns of her childhood years, Sally and her husband, Tony, moved to the blue skies of Australia where they lived in almost every state including some of the most remote and isolated settings in the country. Along the way, they encounter a spectacular array of eccentric characters, all the while, trying to raise their three daughters, Mandy, Nicola and Jess.

In this honest and heartfelt, beautiful story, Sally extricates the trials and tribulations of motherhood and the inherent loneliness that accompanies it. In an ode to her own mother, Sally reflects on her relationship with her parents, the constraints of the English class system, the dynamics of human relations in secluded towns, and the sacrifices made out of love for one’s children. A must read for all mothers and daughters.

To Be or not to Be: a Dane in Australia:

Paul Skye

On his arrival in Australia in 1939, Sigurd Sjoquist did what every respectable Danish gentleman did when it came to employment. He placed an advertisement in the newspaper which announced his arrival, listed his many qualifications, attributes and interests, and his current availability. Sig waited for the offers to roll in, but there were none. When none were forthcoming, the only job he could find was lugging carcasses in a slaughterhouse and shovelling tonnes of coal, wondering all the while what had ever possessed him to come to this strange land.

Sig was joined by his beloved Kirsten and shortly after their marriage, he volunteered for the Australian Army. He was dispatched to the Northern Territory with an advance party to halt the seemingly unstoppable advance of the Imperial Japanese Army. It was here that he learned survival skills from Xavier Herbert, the author of the novel Capricornia, and began to understand the character of these no nonsense Australians who had scant regard for the finer distinctions of class that still prevailed in Europe.

He returned from the war a mental and physical wreck. Kirsten thought he could regain his former vitality by taking art classes. Yet, it was Kirsten who found she had a natural talent as a painter exhibiting successfully in Sydney and New York. From such terrible beginnings, Sig went on to create the Mercator business empire, raise a family, and through his involvement with Rotary and other community groups, forge everlasting bonds between the people of his old home and his new found land.

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1

Contact :

AKA Publishing

A.K.A. Publishing Pty Limited
We operate throughout Australia as well as New Zealand.
Tel: 1300 697 867
Fax: 1300 554 461
Email: admin@akapublishing.com.au
Please contact us today to find out more.