Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Clifford the Big Red Dog Loses Norman Bridwell

Norman Bridwell was the wonderful creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog.  For those who don't know him - or missed out on reading about his adventures like I did - he was a wonderful creation.  Clifford was most certainly a big bright red dog who was clumsy but good-natured and his stories were of this wonderful dog's curiosities getting himself into trouble - funny trouble.  
Clifford's stories helped children learn about compassion, love and other values parents hoped to instill into them as they grew, but through the eyes of a big red dog.  And Norman Bridwell certainly succeeded in doing this over his life, seeing Clifford was created - or born - in 1963, and had a wonderful friend Emily Elizabeth (a character named after one of his children).

However, I have found out today that Norman Bridwell has passed away sadly aged 86 years young at home on December 12.  

I have a wonderful little toy Clifford dog sitting by my side right now... and if you have any of his books, I think it'd be a good time to get in and read them either to yourself or your children in remembrance of one of the best children's writers around.  This man brought an oversized, bright red puppy dog into our children's imaginations... and I don't think any other dog will ever replace him.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Stuff I've Written & Read In 2014

This year has been a big year for me... bigger than most.  And now I've got my own car, it's even more fun to get out and go places.  

But I've been busily reading and writing and enjoying being creative too.  Over the year, I've read only 9 books:

'The Wastelands' by Stephen King
'The Naughty Book for Girls' by Candice Hill
'Pet's Letters to God'
'Nelson Mandela: The Authorised Book of Quotes' by Himself
'Unexpected Zodiac' by Sasha Fenton
'The Watcher' by Jo Robertson
'Her Christmas Earl' by Anna Campbell
'Body Rentals' by Mark Gardner
'The Legend of the Blue Bonnets' retold by Tomie DePaola

Yeah, they don't look much, but two of those books were pretty big and one of the big ones was an audio book.  Two of the others were e-books and really good.  I'm currently getting into two books right now - one traditional and one an e-book:

'The Turning' by Tim Winton (traditional)
'Breeders' by Ashley Quigley (e-book)

Then, there's my written work!  Woah!  I've been working on my 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter' trilogy for 5 years now and just about 3 months ago, it came to an end... I finally finished the third book and it was fantastic!  I collapsed into my bed, went straight to sleep and didn't have my brain telling me to edit anything - well not yet.
And then, there was my 'Angel Love' book.  I wrote that one in record time of around 3 months and totally enjoyed the researching of it and the characters.  They were so brilliantly different from each other and seem to just fall out of the woodwork that it felt like this book was one big jigsaw puzzle I tossed out onto the table and it almost put itself together... but it took time for me to work on it; and it worked out so well!  I'm still going to wait until the New Year before I do anything about editing it.

And then?  Well, there's my Flash Fiction I've had on my 'You Can't Go Back: And Other Impossibilities' Blog... yeah, I want to get them sorted out and into a traditional and an e-book.  They are stories that are funny, interesting, weird, creepy and well, you wonder what the hell I was thinking when I wrote them too.  And I want to get them published.

So, this really has been a busy year for me as a reader and a writer... very busy.  How about you?  Have you written much and read many books?  Please do let us know.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

51 of the Most Beautiful Sentences in Literature

I've been looking around Facebook today and found on Buzzfeed some great and funny stuff.  But just now, I found this wonderful link to its site of this list of sentences from the greatest authors of our times.

51 Beautiful Sentences in Literature

So, what do you think?  Do you think this list could be added to, or some of them replaced?  What is your most favoured sentence you love to quote from a book - and why?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Her Christmas Earl by Anna Campbell

Phillippa Sanders has really done it this time.  She sneaks into a man's room on Christmas Eve to collect a note her silly-brained sister, Amelia, has written to him to save her reputation.

The things she does for her!

But as she turns around, she finds there's somebody coming into the room!  With no way out, she hides in the wardrobe, only to be discovered by Blair Hume, the Earl of Erskine.  He's tall, Scottish and very much the ladies man - and he has a reputation - and he finds Phillippa in his wardrobe hiding from him.

After an embarrassing moment or two of trying to explain herself, she goes to leave, only to find the door to his room is locked.

No, not locked - stuck!

Not even Blair can budge the darned thing!

So, the two are stuck in the room together.  In the times of being single and young - and yet to be married - this isn't a good thing.  And so, the two of them sit on the floor to wait out the night until Blair's man comes to unstick the door the next morning - as he was given the night off.

Then, Blair kisses Phillippa.

Blair's kisses switch on passions in Phillippa she didn't know she had.  She saw him in a totally different way - a way she never thought she'd see a man, especially this man.  However, the door opens and her mother is standing there, screaming at her!
Her mother makes sure her reputation is in tatters unless something is done... and Blair must make a decision about whether to save Phillippa's reputation or leave her to her family's destructive ways... ways of which she would most probably never recover from.

The Watcher by Jo Robertson

Kate Myers is tracking a serial killer - well, she thinks he's a serial killer.  Kate is a psychiatrist who has been tracking this guy since her twin sister was killed when she was 17 years old... when it should have been her... when she knew she should have walked their dog instead of Kassie that cold afternoon in Ohio; and their dog came home dragging its lead without her sister.

Kate Myers blames herself completely for her sister's death - simply because Kate could have fought off the killer.  Kate could have done something different to survive... 

It's been years and Kate Myers is in Northern California and she's still tracking the same killer.  He's killed another teenager and it's dredged up memories of Kassie's murder for Kate again.  This time it's in a small town where everyone know each other and the police station is smaller than it should be.
From the moment Kate walks through the doors, she's judged by all the cops - particularly Ben Slater, who doesn't like her at all.  She up tight, pushy and believes there is something out there - somebody out there - when he thinks there's no connection at all... well, that's until she gets him to read up on her files, what she had pulled together and they go and look at the files from the past where markings have been missed on the bodies and not noted down in the files but noticed in the photos.

However, the MO of the killer shows that he takes years to plan and plot his kills - that he picks his prey carefully so he doesn't stuff up.  This is until Kate and the killer cross paths by accident at a petrol station and he recognises her as Kassie, and he panics!  Did he kill her?  Did she survive?  If she did, he had to set the record straight and make sure he caught her again and ...and ... 

The sheriff goes missing - on a holiday, he said - for a few weeks suddenly from the station.  But he doesn't give a return date and leaves his office a total pig sty.  Kate notices and goes snooping around... and she starts putting things together about the sheriff - who was around at the times of the first murders years ago.  She finds cryptic notes around his office and shoves them into her handbag to look at later...

In between all this, Ben and Kate work long hours in the office and at her place over the case.  They talk well into the nights and over coffee, takeaway food and in bed in each other's arms; not expecting to fall for each other this way... harboring secrets of their own - painful, terrible secrets from their own lives - which could either make their relationship stronger or break it, shattering what they've discovered between them and within the manila file folders before the next victim is taken ... but who will that next person be?

The Sheriff?

Kate?

Another high school student?

Or...

All three...? 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

40 Famous Authors On Reading

I was surfing the net today when I found this link to a great site where it's shown these great authors - from now and the our past - of what they thought about reading and writing.  I think this is an absolute must to look at because they are words of wisdom to keep us reading and writing what we are working on in our lives... and to pass it onto our children as well to keep the passion of books in their lives too.

40 Famous Authors On Reading

Monday, December 8, 2014

Frida Kahlo's Diary

For Christmas, I normally buy myself some things - special things - because I don't have a husband or boyfriend or girlfriend - in my life.  Yep, I'm single.  It's difficult to be single when this time of year comes around, and when it does, us single people either accept it and buy ourselves those presents we've been eyeing off all year, or become very bitter and despise it.

Either way, this time of year isn't easy.

Especially seeing it's the second year since Little Miss Stevie died... yeah, that was today.  Those two years have zoomed by, right?

Well, this year, I've improved greatly!  This year, I thought to get myself something off Amazon for Christmas; and that something is Frida Kahlo's Diary.  Yeah, it's on its way right now to my PO Box.  I can't wait to get it on Christmas Day and take the wrappings off it. 

I read the review and found it's a diary of her writings, water colours and poetry from her last decade of her life.  What a book it ought to be!  I can't wait to read it!  

And this gave me an idea... yeah, when doesn't a writer get a good idea from another's?  I thought to start my own writer's journal; and seeing I'm an artist too, I'll use my journal as that too.  Very cool, eh?  Well, I hope mine is as good as Frida's; but I doubt it, hers will be better.  So, what have you collected from an artist or a writer where you've been inspired to do the same or similar in your life?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Scored!

My last post was going to be about music I found at the Book Cafe.  However, it turned into a rant about language and how much it's changed over the last 25 years... must apologise about that (or not).

Well, this post is what I was going to write about: music score.  I went to the Book Cafe at Garden City and found myself some music for a fife I have owned for years.  However, I have never had any music for it before.  So, how pleased was I when I found it sitting there for 2/6?  Yeah, it's that old it didn't have a price which was in the metric system.  Very cool!

This music book wasn't for my Scout Fife, but for another brand; but they all look the same and are made from similar materials.  So, I thought it would be good to have some music for my fife to learn how to play it at least.  So, $5.00 later, I had it in my possession; and I'm looking forward to having a go at it in the New Year.

Then, I found some flute music.  I have lost my original flute music from when I was in primary and high school, so I'm slowly getting together my music books for my flute again.  It's expensive, but it will keep me playing and reading the music for years to come.  The book I bought is one I don't have and so it's all new to me from when I was in high school; so it'll be good to play other works.  This book was also $5.00.

So, I scored two books for $10 on musical score.  Very cool.  Not bad for a day's hunting in a second-hand book store, if I do say so.  So, what have you found musically recently which you never thought you'd find?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Musical Tastes

For those who don't know, I'm a classically trained musician.  Yeah, the things you find out about somebody.

However, the instrument I play isn't something I'd like to mention on here... seeing its meaning on Urban Dictionary is that I'm a moron, a slacker and well, it really just insulted anyone who knows how to play anything orchestral.  

Urban Dictionary

If you've clicked on the link... you've figured out what instrument I play.  However, when I was younger, it wasn't something to be laughed at.  Playing the flute wasn't an insult to my lifestyle.  It wasn't a way of calling me a moron.  

So, how did this come about? 

Society has totally flipped its meaning of how to speak to each other, and it's not the way to be.

You're all probably wondering why I'm exploding on here - on my own blog?  Well, you see, I had problem spelling 'flautist' here, as it kept on telling me it was wrongly spelled.  So, I Googled Urban Dictionary - thinking it would be okay to look up the word.  Boy, was I in for a horrible surprise when the meaning for it came up and it wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be.

How damned weird has the world become when they have turned somebody's profession, somebody's passion for music into an insult?  If it wasn't years ago when 'American Pie' was causing problems for me (and believe me it was), it's this crap.

Please people, don't twist people's professions into insults when it's not needed.  There's better ways of doing it.  As for Urban Dictionary?  Well, if you have a real, paperback edition in your house, use that one... it's more accurate.

If you've got a Roget's Thesaurus?  Even better... it's got more words and is better for your vocabulary anyway.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Summer Fun Event - 2014!

Okay... this event is back on again!  I haven't planned it - unlike the last two times - and I'm hoping to get plenty done for the next two months to keep you all reading about all kinds of things over the Summer (or Winter - depending which part of the world you're connecting to this blog from).  

Today?  Well, I'm organising my house to look and feel like Christmas.  I've moved things into storage and made sure there's enough room for the Christmas Tree to be put up... along with all the decorations.  Yes, I enjoy this time of year - even if I'm missing my little budgie each time.  However, this year is going to be better than last year, as I've had my Crafty Pegs business to keep me going, my car to keep me out of trouble and more books than I know what to do with... and well, that's always a good thing!

So, my first question for you is:  What are you planning on reading over the Christmas/New Year period?  For me, I'm hoping to finish 'The Watcher' by Jo Robertson.  I knock over 4 chapters at a time and totally enjoy it.  What a book!  Then, there's a novella romance which I'm also hoping to read on my tablet too... shouldn't take me long to get through that one.  I'm also taking some books to the coast to plough through while I'm chilling out and having fun in the shade with a cool drink.  

Question #2 for you all is:  What are you hoping to find under that tree - book-wise?  Hahaaa... me?  Well, I have my eye on a few books, but I might pull some out of the hat before Christmas and get them wrapped up just in time.  I'm not sure which books just yet, but I am looking around at books about reading and writing - yeah, non-fiction books always go down well for me.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, December 1, 2014

November Book Buys!

Over the last month, I've been pretty good... honestly I have!  

Okay, I bought three books.  That's not bad really, is it?  Nah, didn't think so.  It could have been worse - like my wish list for next year, where I went through 'Good Reading' Magazine and put a dot of biro next to each book I wanted (how naughty of me to want those nice new expensive books, eh?).  Yeah, I love dreaming about having books and yet I have so many on my shelves that need to be read already!  Hahaa... only kidding... it's okay to have books and yet have a lot of them you love still waiting to be read.

But yeah, I book about 3 books... and I'm okay with that because they all only cost me around $1.00 each.  There was 'Tomorrow When The War Began' by John Marsden, 'The Writers HARBRACE Handbook' (this is from a course in writing, so there's only a publisher and no writer really) and 'The Writing Class' by Jincy Willet.  

Now, I've heard of the last one and it's had some great funny reviews, and so when I saw it on the shelves of the Super Life Line Store at Logan Central, I knew I just had to have it.  Anyway, I'm hoping to read it over the holiday/Christmas period while I'm down the coast.  Well there you go... the three books I've added to the collection.  However, I'm getting rid of around 5 others through a bookbaggy on Bookcrossing; so really they just cancel each other out, don't they?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, November 21, 2014

People's Bookcases: Mark Davey

I've got a passion for enjoying other people's bookcases, and finding out what they've loved reading in their past, present and what they are planning to read in the future.

Yesterday, I went out to Mark Davey's house at Edens' Landing here in Logan City and found he had an unusual house.  There wasn't much furniture, but there was a lot of racks with paintings on them - they were everywhere!

And then there was a bookcase filled with books on art.

But every square inch of his house was filled with paintings.  They were all along his hallway, in bedrooms, in his storage, in cupboards on top of wardrobes... paintings Mark has done for over a decade.

Yes, Mark is a prolific artist and loves working in his small home on a quiet suburban street.  The place doesn't look much from the curb, but beyond the tall brown, carved gate are two lovely dogs - Rebrandt and Frida - the small house and then out the back is a gorgeous garden which starts at the back door and goes all the way to the back fence.... it looks and feels very much like a jungle with easels at the ready all the way through.
However in his bookcase, Mark has books on all kinds of artists from all walks of life from all eras of time.  He adores art and immerses himself in his work all the time; to the point that he doesn't own a television, so there's no distraction.

So, is there an artist you know who is as obsessive about their work as Mark is?  Or is there a musician you know or anyone else in this world you know as a friend who is like this?  If so, let us know below.  Until my next post, happy reading.