Monday, September 16, 2019

It's Been A While

Yep, it's been a while, and there's a good reason for that. My internet was cut off. 

Now, it's not because I didn't pay the bill, it was because in my area, the National Broadband thing was going through and they switch everyone off so you can either join or make your phone a hot spot and make life harder for yourself.... I chose to be normal and join the Broadband system.

Today it came all together and I'm all hooked up on the system and now back onto my computer! Yay!

My home office has undergone the first of its renovations: the tall bookcase and Grandpa's home made desk swapped places. That took a day to do on Friday - after much swearing, cursing and needing to be patient.

Well, now, I'm going through a 2-drawer filing cabinet and shredding anything I no longer need - and believe me, there's a lot in that drawer! I've already filled 2 garbage bags to the brim with unwanted paper; all shredded and ready for the bin! It's a great thing that I've also finally decided to get rid of the filing cabinet too. Dad said he wants it - so there's a home for it as well. 

Now all I have to do is save up for a new desk and two bookcases... there's around $300 right there I have to save for in the next 2 months. It's not going to take long, I know it.

Grandpa's journals are going really well... and I've found some photos of the family when they were living out at Allora and Warwick and the work he used to do out there too. So, it's getting a lot easier seeing what he used to do as well. 

So, what kind of work are you doing in writing or reading? Are you reading any good books lately? Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Home Office Update

Seeing I'm not writing that much at the moment, I thought you'd like to know what's going on with the home office. 

I've tossed out two big bags of rubbish into the wheelie bin, have sorted out bills and other things into a pile to be filed and still haven't found my large, hard cover copy of 'Black House' by Stephen King. I loaned it to a friend and he insists he gave it back - but nope, I haven't found it.

Still I'll look seeing he said he gave it back.

Anyway, the office is being cleaned out slowly; and I'm also looking around for a newish desk and a just as newish bookcase. 

Grandpa's desk has writing stationery in it which I will use in due time - along with the other stationery I have collected over time. Then, I've got to collect more boxes to box up the things I have. 

The good thing about doing this big thing to the home office is that I'll be cleaning out a lot of things which will be sorted out in a big way... and this will help me work out what to take with me when I do move to my next place.

My books will still be with me, but I'm hoping to work out how they're sorted out and stored. I just want my office to be a place I want to be in, instead of a junk room to dump things. And seeing I'm not writing at the moment, cleaning my office out is a good starting point for me. 

So, what do you do when you're not writing or reading? Do you clean out things, or do you do something else? Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Even Better!

I'm doing the next best thing with the home office! I'm doing a big clean out and revamping the room to the next degree!

This is going to be fun! 

This means I will be cleaning it out completely and getting rid of my old corner desk I've had for over 10 years (and it's so unstable it rocks when you lean on it and the front laminated piece is rotting and falling off) and replacing it with a nice op-shopped desk. The saggy, brown bookcase I've also had for years will be tossed out at the dump - simply because the shelves are so bowed they are unusable; and the whole bookcase itself is not plum (aka: square). 

The great thing is that I'll be working on a lot of things in this room and be as brutal with the crap in my home office as I am with the rest of the house. And once I have enough of my things sorted out in this room, and everything organised and enough money put to one side, I'll be asking a few of my family and friends to help me out with pulling apart the desk, and the bookcase and tossing them away.

Then, I have to get in and clean the room, vacuum and dust and make it useable for the next upgrade and then put in the new-ish desk and bookcase and move what needs to be moved back in... and then put in the books again. Oh, that's going to be a big thing to do! But seeing the library was cleaned out recently, I'll have a good lot of work to get done here in the room, right?

So, have you got a reading - or writing - room you've had to update? If so, have you done it successfully? And how did it go? Did it cost you much? How long did it take? Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Library Clean-Out Time!

Woohoo!

Yes!

It's that time of year where I've looked at my library and thought: 'OMG! I've got too many books; and I don't know if I'm going to read this one, or that one, or any of those! I seriously need to clean this library out!'

So, I grabbed a couple of boxes from Bunnings (a big gardening store which leaves their boxes out for anyone to grab) and today, I'm cleaning out my home library.

I usually have a lot of fun doing this because I come across a lot of books I haven't seen in a long time, and usually I wonder how long they've been there and why I never read them. And, if I'm doing this clean-out, it means I'm never going to read them.

So, with the books I'm getting rid of, I'm hoping to sell the good ones off to new homes and give away the other ones in a Big Book Giveaway on Bookcrossing... this will be fun! 

Have you done this to your library over the years? It's very cleansing isn't it? I do it every year to keep my library fresh and know what's there. Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Tossed Out

One of my neighbours died recently. I didn't know anything about him - not his name, what he looked like, his age; nothing. I knew he was around 30 years old, died from a heart attack and was Irish, and had only been living in my unit complex for around 2 months before he died alone in his bedroom.

This is no way to die. 

Over the past few weeks, the Irish Embassy have been working with his family to get his remains back home and his belongings as well - and I really wish I had gotten to know him as a neighbour; as I normally say hello to everyone around the place I live because I've lived here for so long, it's just something I do.

But today, I saw something which was really sad: there were a couple of guys who were throwing out his things and this included all of his books. Man, there must have been over a hundred books just being tossed into the recycling bin outside his townhouse. I noticed them being tossed as I drove past and it caused me to turn around and park my car next to one of the other neighbour's places, walk over and ask if I could look through the bin. The guys said yes, and so I started looking.

There were so many titles I was amazed at the collection he had. He read Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, Dick Francis, Michael Connelly, and other great author as well. He was into biographies as well... authorised and unauthorised editions. There were some greats such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Michael Hutchence amongst the collection too; all of which I picked up to add to my collection. Sadly, they all had bookmarks in their pages, places where he had gotten up to and he'll never finish. 

I kinda felt sad as I cleaned the books with anti-bacterial wipes at how nice the books were, and yet he'd never read them again. He had great taste in literature and in murder mysteries and the classics, and yet nobody knew who he was as a person here all because we were too busy to talk to him as a person. The books alone make me feel as though we really should get to know others before anything else goes horribly bad in our lives... and even though reading and books are a good connection, how are people supposed to know this if we don't talk about our passions of the written word openly? 

So, do any of your neighbours know you love to read? Do they know which of your books are you favourites, and who your favourite poet is? If not, why not? Are you too shy to let somebody know you like Poe or that you're into Shakespearean Theatre or even the opera? Why are we so scared to let people know what we love the most - after all, we're all so open to let everyone know what we hate. Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Favourite Places

Reading has taken up a big chunk of my life; and over the past few years, I've been working on my arts - which has taken me away from my love of the written word.

However, I've found that reading a little before I go to bed at night has become quite a good habit for me because I totally enjoy doing a little reading just before the light goes out. 
But in the past my bedside lamp was too dim to do this and I couldn't sit up in bed to read - yep, I was angling myself on my stomach towards my reading lamp to read; very uncomfortable. Recently, I found these bigger lamp shades at the local op-shop and with my Dad's help, we got them to fit onto my current bases. Now, I'm getting back into my before bed reading again... how cool is that?

Last night, I caught up with 'The Haunted Bookstore' by Christopher Morley - a book I haven't read since last February because of its complexity and language due to it being written and published just after the first World War. And I totally enjoyed reading it without straining my eyesight. 

So, where is your favourite place to read? Is it your home library? Or out in your back yard on a nice cool afternoon? Or if you haven't had time lately, do you also read in bed before you turn out that light late at night? I would love to know. Until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Whatcha Reading?

It's coming up to the middle of Winter here in Australia, and the middle of Summer in the northern hemisphere and I'm wondering what you're all reading.

Our Winter is just getting into the cooler nights and days. We've only just had a thunderstorm (how weird is that to have a thunderstorm in the middle of Winter?) and I'm loving the colder nights. 

But I'm reading some good books now. 

Yep, I've got my nose back into the pages of reading again. 

'Thinking Fast and Slow' by Daniel Kahneman 

A psychology book about how the human brain sees things in two ways. I've seen this book in bookstores, but it was so expensive, and I really wanted to get it. But then, I spotted it in an op-shop and got it for the right price of $3.00! It's a great find and so far a great read. 

'Mr Mercedes' by Stephen King

Well, okay, I love Sai King at the best of times, but this is a murder mystery and I do find them kind of difficult to wrap my brain around. King does great work at this in this first of three books and I'm sticking with it; as I really do want to get through all three of them - yep, I do love a well-written book. And Sai King writes a great story. 

'The Shining' by Stephen King

I'm a sucker for my favourite author... and also don't mind being scared by him either. But I have heard the book and the movie of the same name are two totally different animals. So, I think I'll read the book first and watch the movie on Netflix afterwards and see what Kubrick did to turn it into a movie. 

Well, okay, that's it for my reading material so far this Winter. Besides reading knitting patterns (please, that's not reading, that's frustration in abbreviated letters) and squinting at dates and scribblings of my Grandpa's journals (a little more torture than pleasure on my eyes), I'm reading some good works. What are you reading this Winter/Summer? Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Dreams Into Stories or Books

Being a writer, I've often been a person who has been told 'jeez, you're so creative! Where do you get your ideas from?' 

Well, everywhere. But I hesitate to tell people that a lot of my ideas come from my dreams I have a night... and this is why I love to get my butt to bed and sleep at the right times. And I hate to be woken by anything outside my house - anyone who isn't part of my life - as that interrupts my dreams, which may make it into my books or stories. 

I have often been able to wake up and write down my dreams into Dream Journals and wait for the right time for the mojo to hit me and the dream to turn itself into a story - then the fun happens! I have the fun and games of getting my dream which is all written down from my imagination and make it into something which everyone can read.

So, my question to you out there is: do you do the same thing? Do you write down your dreams and at some point in time, have the joy of writing them into stories or books, like I do? Well, it's always a lot of fun doing it this way. Until my next post, happy reading and writing!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Working Hard

You know, no matter what a writer works on, it's never an easy task. You may be working on a fantasy novel, and you still have to do research into costume, food, historical fact and weaponry. 

With my Grandpa's journals/diaries, it's the same thing. I've had to Google a lot of things he's mentioned in the 1930's and yet am still learning about farming equipment which has been updated over time. This also includes everyday terms which were used back then and aren't used now.

For example: 'Flicks' or 'Pictures' is now called 'the movies'. It took me a little while to get used to those first two terms, but it's something people did on Friday nights. However, 'Eisteddfods' were around then more than ever; and my Grandpa and his mouth organ band took part in them all the time; so long he put in the entry forms in time. 

I'm finding that I'm forever looking on YouTube about how they're using fencing equipment - like strainers and struts (and for somebody who's never put up a fence in their lives, I'm learning new things about all of the things my Grandpa used to do for a living). 

In between the gardening work, fencing, cattle herding, and biking between Warwick, Allora and Cecil Plains (yes, all on a bike), he's was dating my Grandmother, going to fellowship, church twice on Sundays, Band practice on Thursdays, and following the cricket on the wireless (radio) as well. He also went out to a few dances, yarned to a couple of friends and enjoyed his early mornings. But my Grandpa was a hard worker. 

He put a lot of humour in his diaries too; something I missed out on when I was a youngster, but I'm seeing now. I now wish I could have spoken to him more. But, it's a good thing I'm doing this - and learning so much about his life and him as person now, as well as how life was back in the 1930's. 

So, how is your writing going - if you write as well? Do you love research, or do you love the invention part of the book? Until my next post, happy reading and writing.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Haven't Been Around... I know.

I'm sorry... really.

But the reason why I haven't been here - or any of my other blogs (go and check, they're kinda blah too) - is because I have been busily writing something.

Yes, I'm writing again - but not what you think.

I'm looking at getting my late-Grandfather's diaries computerised. I tried this before, and my computers crashed each time... this time, I've been going for a few weeks, and typing faster than ever, and it's all been going better than the last two times I've attempted it.

I think it's because the technology is better than it was years ago, and I'm more confident than I was before; and I have some idea of how it will look as a finished product. 

I have learned so much about my Grandpa in his early years. He was such an innocent teenager when he came out to Australia... and yet, he worked his heart out to get where he did in the world. He was so far from home, from family, from his Mum and his brothers and sisters and his Mother Country - England - and yet, he never forgot why he came to Australia: to carve out a better life for himself.

I've had to use magnifying glasses to read some of his writing - as a bit of it is so tiny and he wrote in pencil (which has faded over time) and fountain pen (which blots at the worst of times) and ball point pen (which was very expensive in the 1930's). So, using a magnifying glass has saved my eye sight a lot. I'm also writing out 2 diaries out at the same time. There's one I'm writing during the day - which is really small and I can only see in the daylight - and then there's a bigger one I can see better at night with the bedroom light behind me. I still have to use the magnifying glass on the bigger one at times because I can't always make out words.

And speaking of words, I'm learning new words. For example: Sundercutter. No, that's not a spelling mistake. This is a machine which ploughed fields and was built between 1926 and 1932. It wasn't a very expensive piece of machinery, but it was useful... however it broke easily and had to be fixed all the time; thus the reason why it was discontinued. Then there was Shiftshanking - which sounds either rude or made-up, but it's not. It's a machine which is now called Hay Baler. It did the same thing as it does now, but it was the first models way back when. My grandpa used these two machines - along with a combiner - and he built fences, gardens, bird cages, mended watches, bought a motor cycle with a side car and did many other things. And like I said, it's a real education learning about somebody who lived out in the middle of the country and yet I live in a city. 

Have you learned something new like this about a relative or family lately? I find this kind of thing fascinating. Until my next post, happy reading and writing.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Writers Meet-Up

On Saturday, I went to a writers meet-up for the first time in around 3 years. Being an introvert, I was very nervous about being out in a public place with people I didn't know.

This sounds strange for a somebody who writes for the public, but really, writers aren't known to be people who know how to conduct themselves all that well in public. I don't really; as I'm more of a people-watcher. I observe human behavior to put into my books, than talk. But then again when I do talk, I find myself babbling and, well, I feel as though I talk too much. 

So, meeting people somewhere isn't something I normally do. And there was only one person in the group I knew personally as a friend. 

I arrived there at the Hyperdome early by around 15 minutes and waited outside the cafe. Man, it was so crowded! So, I jumped online and asked who was there - seeing I didn't know who these people were - and found none of them had arrived. It was around 5 minutes later that I began to feel self-conscious about being there on my own. But I waited, and about a minute or two later, Rebecca showed. Talk about relief! I told her I almost left because I was feeling like people were staring at me.
She didn't think was unusual, as she had been talking to another writer, who was showing up, and this other writer told her that I'd be really early and probably leave if somebody didn't show right on time.

You see, being out on my own and meeting people two different things. If I'm out on my own all day, I have no deadline; and I can do whatever I want. But, if I have to meet people, it's different. I feel self-conscious because I have to be somewhere with people I either know or I don't. 

Well, there were three others who showed up at the meet-up, besides Rebecca and I, and we all had something to eat and some coffee (which wasn't all that great). We talked about books we were working on, how many books we had written since we last met-up, how we find out characters, where we best work, and how we work through the dreaded Writer's Block (which I'm just getting through the worst of right now). 
We did have a first-time writer, who was full of questions on how each of us worked our stories and each of us told her how we got into it all. I told her about how I got to know my characters through an interview process I call 'The Red Chair', which works for me, but may not work for everyone. It works up a dossier for my characters and makes them more real.

But then, before we knew it, hours had passed and, one by one, we all had to go. I had volunteer work that afternoon. So, I had to go and run an errand or two before I did drive there. Overall, I'm glad I went on Saturday. It got me out of the house, talking to other writers and I did get myself some great ideas for my new book I'm currently working on. 

So, have you been to a writers meet-up? If so, how did it go? Until my next post, happy reading and writing.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The King Trilogy!

I was out and about at the Mount Gravatt Bookshop the other day with a friend... and what a store! I haven't been there in ages; but she had never been there, so what a great place to take her. And being a Bookcrosser, she was so happy to see a real bookstore, instead of one which was moving online.

Well, we parked in the dingy car park and walked along the newly-finished footpath, and found the biggest store there - yep, the Mount Gravatt Bookshop - on Carrara Street, Mount Gravatt - and I walked in, asking for 'The Horror section, please.' and well, I found three books sitting there waiting for me to pick them up!

'Mr Mercedes', 'Finders Keepers' and 'End of Watch' all by Stephen King - my favourite writer. These are detective novels; thrillers with his distinctive touch of horror intertwined as you read. I read the first chapter of 'Mr Mercedes' and found myself completely hooked! I can't wait to sit down this afternoon and get into that book again!

So, which one of these books is your favourite? Have you read them all, or just one? And which Stephen King book got you on the path of reading his works? 

And if you're not a fan of his works, who do you read? And how did you get into reading that author's works? I'd love to know. Until my next post, happy reading!