Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Re-Reading Old Favourites

I love to re-read old favourites from my collection. But then, we all do. It's something of a comfort to do this kind of thing when you really don't want to be delving into anything new right now.

A lot of the times we do this when we have had a huge thing happen in our lives. When we've been dumped by that person who we thought was 'the one', we delve into our romance novels or the favourite Stephen King novel (and imagine the person who dumped us as the first person who gets killed in it. I don't know why, but this is a comforting thing for us to do). 

But re-reading our old standards is like slipping into a comfy pair of slippers on a cold night. It's the fact you know what's going to happen in each chapter, to each character and what's going on throughout the book. It's like rewatching your favourite television series, years after it's been yanked off the air... it's nice because it's a safe place to be. It's nice to see those actors at the very beginning of their careers and see them so young.

I like re-reading 'The Stand'. It's an old favourite of mine when I just want to sit back and read something in the middle of Winter. You see, this book is set in the middle of Summer, so it pulls me out of the blues and right in the middle of a horrendous cold and flu season, which turns lethal... but it does have a good lot of twisting and turning before it turns out right - as all books do.

Re-reading your old favourites is a good thing for you. It's not that you can't move on from them, I think it's because you want to set yourself up for something different; something more and something lovely in the future. Re-reading great books - just like re-watching old tv shows - is relaxing and fun. And it's something to kick back and chill out with... it winds us down and lets us know that we don't have to be working the old imagination all the time. Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas Holiday Reading List

Wow! It's that time of year again... you know that time, where Christmas Carols are heard pretty much everywhere and you never have enough money to do anything but buy presents for people in your family. It's either stinking hot during the day, with lightning storms in the middle of the night; or freezing cold with 6 feet of snow and closed schools and roads and no way of getting to the store.

Either way, we all have to celebrate Yule, Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, St Nicholas Day... and really, it's the biggest thing on our calendars. 

I plan ahead for presents for my family - the immediate family; as I can't afford to really buy anything for cousins and Aunts and Uncles - and so, I make sure I have my immediate family covered first. If I can score a few little presents for others, I'll do that. I buy for myself last... if I can't afford my presents, I'll get myself those presents at the After Christmas Sales. 

But what I look forward to at this time of year is reading something decent. You see, I head to the coast and chill out with a couple of books in my hands; and I'm hoping to get in and do some serious reading at Brunswick Heads while I'm here. You see, they don't really have a decent bookstore... and that's not a great thing for a place with such a colourful public library. So, I take down my own reading material.

'The Haunted Bookstore' by Christopher Morley
'Good Reading Magazine' (monthly publication)
'Life After Life' by Kate Atkinson
'Magical Thinking' by Augusten Burroughs

Yep, three books and a magazine. I'll also be taking my notebook computer to edit my novella as well which I wrote during NaNoWriMo. Otherwise, I'm hoping to get a bit of reading done during the day and editing done at night - the best time of the day to do anything is in the cool of the night. 

So, what are you going to be reading over the Christmas and New Year period, once all the overeating and celebrating is over and done with? Anything wonderful, relaxing or chilling? Or are you all going to just take a well-earned break by the pool, river or fireplace and enjoy a rest from the words on the page? Until my next post, happy reading. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Now.... the Fiddly Part

Or is that the fun part?

It all depends on how you look at book-writing. Some people enjoy the editing and fleshing out of a book, while other detest it.

I love it.

I can fill in the details of people's lives, the feel of a city or the countryside, what they're wearing, how people stand, what colour their hair really is and how their personality really is like. It really is the fun part for me... and it also means that the word count fluctuates in huge way.

I am heading towards the 20,000 word mark and - if you count up the words on the sidebar - you'll see I'm well on my way to making my book what I hope it to be; even if it's just a little novella and not a proper novel. 

Well... I've got another few books to read over Christmas and I'll get my nose into them over the next few weeks. Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

NaNoWriMo Is Over!

Yep! National Novel Writing Month is over for another year. Now, for those of you who have been battling with writing your novels or novellas, and you've hit the 50,000 word mark, way to go!!! 

As for me? Well, I've past the 15,000 word mark on my novella and am well on my way to the 20,000 words I was initially aiming for! It's all in the editing, fleshing out and making the book into something somebody will want to read.

But... I don't have a title. Yes, I've been stuck for a title this whole time and have just been calling it 'That Travel Guide Romance Time Travel Thingy'... a bit wordy and not really something somebody would want to read. So, if you guys have any ideas, I'd love to hear them... I can tell you the premise of the book:

Annabelle Wilson works in a book exchange in the very centre of Brisbane City, Australia with two wonderfully eccentric store owners, Richard and Millicent. She never thought she'd be working in a bookstore; as it was a temporary thing to get her out into the world of business. But it's been five years and she's loving it. One day, she and Millicent are going through a box of books and Annabelle find a 5-book series of travel guides called 'MacIntyre's Tour Guides' and asks Millicent about them. Her employer tells her that they are old-fashioned, hand-written tour guides which went out of style years ago; and they didn't sell well. So, Annabelle took the 5 home after purchasing them.
Soon, she spends her nights reading about Scotland, Wales and the UK with a lovely tour guide, Darcy Wentworth, as her guide. Little does she know, Darcy knows she's reading his books from another dimension; and can see her and hear her. 
As time goes on, both Annabelle and Darcy's worlds begin to collide in the most unusual ways. Annabelle's employer's turn out to be people she never thought they'd be, a neighbour she had become close friends with passes away with a secret she never knew she shared with her and an old man who lives not far from her helps all of them by telling them all who he is. But as all of this happens, Darcy is on the run in his world. He's in love with Annabelle - which is against the rules of his employment - and to be safe, he must find a way to Annabelle's world to be with her. A storm is brewing in their lives... will they be together in time to thwart the authorities? Or will Annabelle and Darcy lose each other in the storm?

So... there you go. The premise. I hope you guys can get an idea of what's going on and how hard it's been to get a title working for this book. It's been great fun writing something about time travel and books in it; but the title not coming to me at all is weird; normally I have one by now. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Last NaNoWriMo Meeting

Today was a real stinker of a day to be going out anywhere; but I attended the last meeting for the National Novel Writing Month... only to find I was the only person to attend. 

I went because one guy said he was a maybe on Facebook and didn't want to let him down just in case he arrived. So, an hour into it, and I was still the only one there with my little notebook computer plugging away at editing and fleshing out my work.

Last week, I finished my novel... yay!!! But this week, I started editing and fleshing it out with details and scenery. At the 'meeting', I managed to add 200 words onto each of my chapters between chapters 1 and 5... which brought my word count from 7,859 (this number includes chapter 6) to 7,947; which is pretty darned good if you ask me.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get past the last word count I made last week of 13,232 and get this book up to the 20,000 word mark... well, here's hoping anyway! The good thing is that I find fleshing out and editing not only difficult but also easy. Adding detail is always fun and then I'll correct the small things that aren't needed at the same time. Once I've finished the book - which still doesn't have a title - I'll throw a competition to see what I should name the book. This is always fun, as I really don't know what to name it as it's full of time travel, love, hate and is set in my hometown of Brisbane. Anyway, until my next post, happy reading - and writing.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

More Work Done!

NaNoWriMo is coming into its final weeks, and I'm really excited about how my story is coming along.

However, I have one tiny, problem... minute really... it doesn't have a title.

Isn't it strange how people can write something so grand that by the end, they still don't have a title - not even a working title to get an idea of a title from for it.

Oh well, I guess I'll be finding out what it's called in the coming weeks and months as I fiddle with it.

However, my word count has shrunk a little as I've begun editing and working on each chapter... this number will fluctuate as time goes on: 13,232 words out of 9 chapters. Now, I know I said I had over 16,000 words; but like I said, the number has begun to change.

I'll see how many there are by the end of the month and let you know how it all goes by the time I'm happy with it. Until my next post, happy reading - and writing. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Halfway Through!

NaNoWriMo is halfway through and almost everyone is getting right into their stories and books! I'm very excited about my book as it's one of those magical, time-travel style books which reminds me of 'Time & Again' by Jack Finney... very much set in real time and yet set in the magickal times of the other realms. 

I hope I captured both worlds well. 

I set it in my hometown of Brisbane and in a bookstore - where else would I set it, but in a place I'd love to work. 

I've almost finished with the story part of it - as I love to get that part of the book out of the way first before tackling what people look like and the backdrop - and I'll be fleshing it out with the details everyone needs to follow it along in the coming weekend. So far, I've written 16,395 words... which will be expanding to far more by next week! 

How are your NaNoWriMo books coming along? Leave a comment and let us know. Until my next post, happy reading - and writing.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

So Far, So Good!

It's been the first week or so since NaNoWriMo 2016 started up and I'm going well I think.

But seeing I had started planning my book a few weeks in advance, I think I had an advantage in a few ways too - I think that's what has made all the difference.

Over the past week, I've written over 11,134 words so far - with more words to come over the next day or so. I'm hoping to get more work done tomorrow and over the weekend - if the storms we're expecting don't interfere too much.

How is your NaNoWriMo going? Please do let us all know if you're doing it - and how you're going. And if you're stuck, I can suggest a couple of books filled with prompts that may get you kicking along again. otherwise, good luck with your work so far! Until my next post: happy reading - and writing!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Word Count for NaNoWriMo 2016!

Okay... I'm assuming some of you guys'n'gals are taking part in this wonderful innovation for novel-writing this month.

I love it, let's face it. 

It gets my butt into my office chair and gets my fingers moving across the keyboard!

Anyway... I thought to keep you all updated with my word count - as low as they may be; or not - on the sidebar at the top of my blog. I'll be doing this on a daily basis (or by date order; whichever comes first) and you'll be able to see how far I've come.

Now, I've been working on a book in the weeks coming into NaNoWriMo... and thought to keep on writing it. However, I was writing it in longhand in a notebook, and in the last few days of October, I converted it all onto the computer to make it easier for me to look at.

Then, whenever I could, I jumped onto my tablet or on the computer and typed up as much as I could over the last few days.

Given it's only in the couple of hundreds... but I've been busily helping out my family over the last week or so. So, I am hoping to work on this more and more as time passes by. So, watch that top right hand corner and you'll see those numbers add up. But first, I'll put in the numbers for the first 9 chapters so you can see how far I've gotten - so you can see the true number of words I've done thus far.

Good luck with your book this month, and do let us all know how you're doing. After all, this is a global phenomenon and loads of fun to get you writing if you're a little blocked. Until my next post, happy reading - and writing.  

Thursday, November 3, 2016


November is National Novel-Writing Month, and I've taken part again.

Today I took off out of the house early to be at the Logan Central Library to meet-up at the Logan-based NaNoWriMo meeting - my first - and got to meet up with another person who was a writer; and a publisher as well. 

I met Emily Cooney and another older lady and sat and talked for a couple of hours - however not a single word was written down, and yet we had a lot of laughs and talked about what we were hoping to get written this month.

At our next meeting next week, I'm hoping to have written plenty. I have to catch up with the past three days' worth of work... that's 5,000 words a day. Woah! A lot of work to be done; and only a small amount of time to get it done. 

How about you? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? If so, how are you doing with it so far? Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Woohoo! Selling Up My Books!

Well, that got your attention, didn't it?

Don't lie, it did...

I'm kidding around. I'm not selling up all my books, just about 52 or so of them. They're in my Classics Section and I'm getting rid of them because I've already got my own lot of books which are classics themselves - yes, I have doubled-up on about a third of them.

I know, I know, I really shouldn't be doing that, but when I find an omnibus of Edgar Allan Poe, of all his horror stories, exactly where am I to go from there? So, the best thing I thought of doing the other night, while I was chilling out in my Reading Chair, was to sell the books I had received for Christmas over 6 years ago - the whole set with the magazines - on Gumtree and pull apart my collection and find the Classics I have hiding amongst the shelves.

And did I find some great classics! Man, I found some wonderful books I didn't know I had bought! But I was so happy to have found them and finally have a place to put them. When I told my Dad (who loves it that I'm a collector of books, but sometimes finds my collection a little overwhelming), he was really surprised I was getting rid of so many in one go. But when I told him what they were, he understood that when you do have a good look at what you have - once in a while - you realised you can double-up, sometimes triple-up on things and you have to get rid of them. 

So, the advert is now on Gumtree and I'm hoping to sell them all in one go to a home where there's a collector of these types of books or somebody out there will enjoy them for their content; not just to collect. Well, have you ever had to reavaluate your book collection (or any collection in that case?) Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

ARC Books

I've been a reader of ARC books for years. They are a type of book which is sent out to a group of readers before the book is published so the publishers can tell what little things needs to be fixed. 

Now, I didn't always know about them; I was introduced to them by a friend online and she asked if I'd like to try one out. My first one was 'The Gone-Away World' by Nick Harkaway. Now, this book has since been published years ago in 2009, and was followed up by another by Nick. And getting into receiving ARC books is a good way of reading and proofreading people's works for them - and reading books which aren't out on the market yet. You really do feel as though you're seeing behind the curtain before the show has begun.

It's not easy to find ARC books - as they're not in the ordinary circles of publication. Usually you have to ask publishers if there's any ARC books for you to read for them. It's mainly done online and you have to fill out a survey to let them know what you think needs to be done - as it's not just a free book thrown your way to be read. You have to give your honest opinion of feel the book needs - or doesn't - and how the author can improve the book. 

Sometimes, this can be a sore point with the writers, but this is a good way of letting a small group of the public in on how the book works - or not - with them before the book is let out into the world. Small improvements through allowing ARC books out 6 months or so beforehand plays really well for the author. You see, when they do this for a first book, the author then knows what they have to do for the next book to be a success; no matter how insulted they feel at the time. 

The good thing with ARC books that the reader can either keep the book for their personal collection or they can return it to the publisher. I opt to keep my copies as they're something of rarity. And a lot of the times, I do find they end up in second-hand bookstores (which isn't where you're supposed to send them). I do enjoy my small band of ARC books and do wish to keep them in my collection; keep adding to them. So, have any of you done any ARC book readings? How did you find it? I enjoyed being a part of the final product of a writer's book... even if they didn't end up using my part of the survey; at least they knew where I was coming from. With 'The Gone-Away World' I did find the final copy in a bookstore and looked in the first couple of pages and found that what I had advised about making it more visual worked. The author had worked more on taking the reader along for the ride, rather than keeping us at arm's length (which was how I was feeling at the time). I felt good about that. I might see what other ARC books are on offer next year to take part in. Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Jack London

I love finding books about authors where movies have been made from their works. For example, 'White Fang' and 'Call of the Wild' were both by Jack London and were both made into great films. 

I have come across these books on their own in bookstores and libraries, however, I have never seen them with their accompanying books 'Tales of the Fish Patrol', 'The Cruise of the Dazzler' and 'The Son of the Wolf: and other stories' in one big volume. 

I found this particular volume by chance at my local community centre on an old library trolley where my craft group usually gathered. I happened to be walking by it (trying to ignore those gorgeously lovely books sitting there tempting me) when my eyes wondered to the large printing of Jack London's name on the spine... then, I found myself picking it up and reading the front; and found it contained the rest of the books and stories within! Oh! What a find!

It was wasn't until I got this book home that I found out that it was a first edition from 1979, fully illustrated and that the copy of 'White Fang' was 'complete and unabridged'... how cool is that! I definitely had a great find here for just .50c! It was also a book which had been originally sold at Myers at a discounted price. Now, for those of you who don't know what Myers is, it's a major department store here in Australia which is usually very expensive. However in the 1970's, it sold things on sale and had discounted books - just like everyone else - before it upped its standards really high; and rarely does that anymore.

On the inside, where the publishing notes are, I found a couple of paragraphs about him, and I'd like to share them with you:

'Jack London was born illegitimate and in poverty in California in 1876. At fifteen he was the notorious 'Prince of the Oyster Pirates' on San Francisco Bay. At seventeen he shipped as a seaman on the Sophie Sutherland for Japan; later he served a term for vagrancy before joining the Klondike Gold Rush. He read voraciously and by the age of twenty-four was publishing in magazines; by thirty he was famous. In this relatively short writing career (1899-1916) he wrote over fifty books; h was also an ardent socialist,  a pioneer in modern agriculture, a war correspondent in Korea and designed and sailed his own ship halfway around the world.

London's most famous work is contained in his stories of the far North based on his own experiences, he wrote other stories for children (Tales of the Fish Patrol, The Cruise of the 'Dazzler') and he also wrote adult fiction, plays, travel sketches and important sociological books, the best known of which are The People of the Abyss and John Barleycorn.

He died in 1916, the world's first millionaire novelist.'

I found this short insight to Jack London interesting, and didn't wish to keep it to myself. Until my next post, happy reading. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Unable To Read

This past week, I was hoping to get my nose into some creepy books - for October and Halloween. However, I've had enough creepiness going on around my real life to cater my imagination for yonks.

I haven't been sleeping all that great and so, my focus for reading isn't here. I started 'Magician' by Raymond E Feist and this stalled when things became complicated around my unit complex. 

Don't you hate it when life interferes so much with everything else, it stuffs up what you really want to do in your spare time? Yeah, me too. So, 'Magician' is on hold at the moment, sitting there staring at me with a bookmark only a tiny way through chapter 1. 

If only I hadn't asked the neighbour two doors down to turn down his music, none of this would have happened... no, it would have, but much later. How frustrating this is. Well, my posts should improve soon once things settle down. Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Banned Book Week!

Banned Book Week is coming up soon - next week, actually - and I'm hoping to dig amongst my collection to get my nose into the some pages of some really great books which were banned to the public. The week spans between September 25 - October 1.

So, what's Banned Book Week? It's a week to celebrated the written works which were banned to the public at some point in time, but people have written them to put the word out there.

Some of it was political, some of it was written in a way where it may have broached subjects which were taboo at a point in time where society just didn't think it right to talk - or even read - about it. But then, those books were banned from being circulated. 

Here's the link to the Banned Books site you can look at which talks more about Banned Book Week. I'm sure you have some banned books and didn't even know it. Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Travel Journals

I love to travel places - as anyone does - and what I love to do most is to pick up one of my old travel journals and read it. 

I know, I know! This sounds really corny and silly to do! But I really do love to read about the experiences I've had places and when I do, I feel as though I'm reliving it.

Has this ever happened to you? 

Okay. Now, whenever I go traveling to Brunswick Heads, I take a travel journal with me... and not just any travel journal: I take the same one! I bought a little black, hardcover sketch book and took it along to my holidays with me on year, wrote in it, then put it back on the shelf. The following year, when the time came to travel back down to Brunswick Heads, I grabbed the very same black, hardcovered sketchbook, took it back down the coast again and wrote about my time in Brunswick Heads - but a year later! However, the year later, I forgot the sketchbook and so this yearly travel journal misses a year... it has yet to make another journey to the coast with me. This was because I had had surgery on all 6 sun cancers on my hands and arms and clean forgotten to pack it - and besides, I didn't have the energy to do any writing. I did have plenty of energy to read though - as that's all I could really do.

I have begun writing a book about a travel journal though - and it's been great! However, I hit a snag really early on in the piece as I sat at my computer trying to write it. It just didn't sound right with me typing it out on the page on the screen. So, I went out to OfficeWorks and bought a nice little notebook and pens and started writing the next few chapters by hand in the notebook - and you know, the words came so much easier when I wrote it by hand! I don't know what happened, or why this has happened, but it's been going really well. I'm not sure if it's going to transfer to the computer page all that well... I'll have to wait and see.

Has this happened to you when writing a book or transferring your journals to a computer? They just didn't seem to look right up on a screen and they looked and read better in a journal written by hand? Well, I have this quandary. I wonder if it's best to have a book published looking like it's been hand-written or should it be published normally and have the unfinished appearance (like books were a few years ago)? I guess I'll have to wait and see.Well, until my next post, keep on writing and happy reading.

Friday, September 9, 2016


I just love collecting notebooks - as well as books themselves - to use for different things. I have so many of them and hold onto them for a variety of reasons - but mainly I use them as journals; and so I often ask for them for Christmas. 

Sometimes, I'll be at the coast for Christmas and I'll find some at obscure stores in artsy towns and I'll buy some just so I have them to use when I want to. Dad thinks I'm wasting my money... but when my Mum looked through my journals, she thought the difference in them was great.

You see, I come from a long line of journal and diary writers - and boy! Can we write! I often just write about my day, what's been going on in the week, or how something just affects me when I feel trapped or I can't sleep at night. Otherwise, I might leave my journal alone for months on end. But I've been keeping a journal - on and off - since 1996; a year after a Melanoma operation which saved my life when I was 23 years old. I found that writing in one really helped me; and I went from wondering if I was writing the right thing to knowing what to write when I sat down with pen and notebook in hand. 

But I have found that the notebooks aren't only for journals. A few of my notebooks are for particular purposes. I have one which is being slowly filled with things, sayings and information for somebody I'm writing it for - it's a work of art really. I'm hoping that when it's finished, I can just hand it to her and she'll be able to work on filling it up more with other things - as I won't fill it completely. 

Then, there's the large number of notebooks which I have dotted around my office which are poetry books, dossiers and filled with stories and story ideas. They're really just Mont Mart Art books which have been great to work with and I've taken them place where I can sit and write in them without the lines on the page haunting me. I also fill other little notebooks with poetry... these ones have been used usually in my bedroom when I have insomnia; and I can't get myself to sleep. I write the best poetry then about just about anything in those notebooks.

Just yesterday, I was at Officworks looking for a couple of purple pens when I stumbled upon an aisle filled with notebooks! I wished I had more money on me so I could buy a few of these wonderful things! But I whittled my choice down to one and found it was the most lovely little book! Isn't it the cutest thing? I think so. I'm currently writing a book and having problems doing it, so I thought it would do me good to write it in a notebook first and see how I go... see if that works out. Yep, I'm going about it through the back door of writing; instead of sitting at the computer and forcing myself to write (which never ends well). 

So, what kinds of notebooks do you have in your collection, and what number of things do you use them for? Are your uses the same as mine? Or do you have other uses for them? Do you collect on a large number like I do? Or do you buy them as you need them? Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Fan Fiction and Spin-off Storylines

Writing is a dangerous thing to do - just like art is. However, it's how you write a book or a story that really does get your idea across.

I recently wrote a flash fiction which took on an 'X-Men' theme and had some idiot out there leave a comment on my blog telling me off about it. This 'person' didn't leave their screen name or anything, they went under the 'Anonymous' name/bio and thought they'd be safe. 

When somebody does that to my blog, I immediately delete their comments, because if they don't have the gut - the courage - to tell me who they are, they don't deserve a space on my blog to comment.

Writing is a thing of the mind. It's a craft I've been working on since I was in high school and it's something I'll working on well after many people have made it big in the world. I'm not in it to make money, I'm in it to entertain people - and it's great for my mind as well.

However, when somebody goes and abuses the system, leaving abusive notes and comments on a person's blog, it makes you wonder exactly why they're following your blog in the first place? Are they there to see you stuff up and they can point out the problems with your work? Are they waiting for you to make a spelling mistake and laugh at how you didn't correct yourself? Or are they just there to make sure their narcissistic personality gets online and makes you feel like crap? 

Either way, I don't care for it. If somebody doesn't like my work, don't read it. If you think I've ripped off a trademarked works - like Marvel or D.C Comics or Thor or X-Men - well, take a good look around, there's plenty of people doing fan fiction (which is pretty much the same thing) and you're not bugging them about it. 

So what if I wrote something a little sub-standard and not against the grain? I thought getting in with the X-Men thing was something good... I hardly ever get my mind into it as it's difficult to do. And if I want to write stuff like that, it's something I want to write. And other people are writing something similar to it as well.

You see, 'Anonymous', I don't care. You're the one who is the problem in this society. You're a troll, you're a bully and you're the biggest problem going online. If you don't like my work, don't read it. Until my next post, happy reading. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Writing A Book

You know, I'll tell you guys that I'm writing a book, and then you don't hear from me about it for a while; then I'll tell you I'm writing another one.

But it's not that easy.

Books are hard work.

First the idea you have to come up with. You have to come up with an idea that you've never seen before anywhere; and that's never easy. Or have to rework an idea that's been done before in such a way people don't see it coming.

Then you have your own style of writing it. Not everyone has the same writing style - no matter how many times a publisher will say to you that 'this is has been done before' they can't dictate to you exactly how it's been done. They can't tell you that your idea has been written exactly like Stephen King's or Peter Straub's or F. Scott Fitzgerald's. That idea may be similar to any one of them, but it's written in your style and that's what makes the difference.

Then - and here's the hard part - you have to leave your book alone for about a year. Don't touch it, go near it to edit or read it again. Once you have done that, go and read it and see where you've screwed up. Go and see where you can either save it or toss it. 
Yes this is a lot of work for probably nothing, but it's all about your work, your time and your style. If you don't want to be a writer, don't put in the time to write a book (or a series of books). This is how long it takes to write a book - and this is before it goes into the agent or the publisher; before you start spending money on getting it put through proofreaders, editors and other people who have never seen your work... people who will help you sound like you but more refined; these are people you pay to get you published.

This is where you start rewriting. Your first book will take between ten to twenty rewrites - because it's your first book and you'll screw up a lot. I know I did. My first book, 'Angie', never saw the publishers because it wasn't worth it. The idea was great, but the story, characters, the world ... it was all cardboard and when I went back to it to fix it? Well, it was too far gone to be salvageable. So, I left it alone and started on my next book. My next book took me fifteen years to write... I had to do some serious research to get it right. I had to travel overseas, read some sci-fi fantasy and get in and collect some books on sword-play and recipe books on what people ate, wore and customs of the Dark Ages (this was a world I never studied at high school because I never studied Modern History; instead I studied Ancient History - silly really). But I loved what I got into. I ended up at Medieval Fairs and enjoyed writing my world. 
However, when I finally went to finish the first book, I found my book wasn't finished; and it turned over into a second book - which never saw through to the end of Part One. The reason behind this was because I started writing a sci-fi action thriller right as the sci-fi fantasy one finished... I amazed myself. I went right from the Dark Ages straight into a world of Philip K Dick, where there wasn't a suit of armour to be seen anywhere!

Writing is a great outlet for anything you want to show others. You can take them on your own magic carpet ride anywhere you wish. You're the God of the Worlds you build, the King of your Kingdoms and the very person who can say who lives, who dies, who gets married, who can fly who doesn't and what happens right on these pages.

And if you do it right? Well, that's when the real magic happens.

Anyone can write a book... but it's a matter of knowing how to keep your reader interested in your book, along with yourself, that really matters. The idea is the first hook - it doesn't have to be original. What reels in your audience is how you make that idea fly.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Currently Reading

Now, I was going to start off this post with 'Killing Willis' by Todd Bridges... but I didn't want it look bad with the first word being 'Killing' on Google. So, I thought to make it a 'Currently Reading' post instead.

Here in Australia, on one of the free-to-air cable channels, we have 'Diff'rent Strokes' tv show from the 1980's. It was a standard show to watch in my family as it was a rag-to-riches kind of thing and my folks insisted my brother and I watched something of a broad range of shows when they were on offer. And when 'Diff'rent Strokes' came out, it was new, interesting and - well - different. It was about two African-American brothers - Arnold and Willis Jackson - from Harlem in New York City who had lost their parents in an accident who were adopted by a rich, white family uptown. Now, the white family weren't without their own problems. It was just a father and daughter and they wanted to have more to their family than just those two; and chose Arnold and Willis. This half-hour show turned into something of a weekly ritual for us to sit down and watch. I don't remember how many seasons there were or how long we watched into those seasons, but I do remember loving that show and having a huge crush on Todd Bridges - hey, I was young. And I still think he's not bad-looking.

Anyway, I was perusing a bookstore over the last year and found a book written by Todd Bridges called 'Killing Willis'. It was all about his life after 'Diff'rent Strokes' and what happened to him, how he felt when he was seen out in public and how fame affected not only him, but Dana Plato and Gary Coleman. Being child-stars affected each one of them in a different way. Gary had a major medical condition that caused him to stay pretty much the same size he was in the show for his whole life; and caused him to become a very bitter and angry person. Dana Plato turned to drugs and never came out of that downward spiral in the same way Todd did. He knew there was a way out of that and worked hard to be the person he is now. And this caused him to write this book about his life. 

But it wasn't until I picked up the book recently that I found it was a new edition with an afterward that Todd penned about Gary Coleman - about how misunderstood he was; and how the media turned Gary's life into something it really wasn't. I haven't read the whole book (I'm only two chapters into it) but from how far I'm into it now, I can say it's a very revealing, candid and honest story about somebody's life. I don't know if I've read anything like this before where the hurt, depression and need to be heard is so evident that I don't want to put this autobiography down. I haven't read a book like this since Danny Sugarman's book 'Wonderland Avenue'. I look forward to reading the rest of it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tidy, Tidy!

I've been going through a huge decluttering phase in my life over the past 4 - 5 years; now that's huge! 

But it's been a great thing for me.

I have given away some of my books that I have zero interest in, have found books I thought I had lost and have started reading some books I thought I never thought I would. I have also begun writing a book about my books and what piqued my interest in books, writing and how it all began in the first place... now, this has interested my family the most. My Mum thought it was weird to start with, until she read the first few pages of 'The Red Ledger' (working title) and found it fascinating of how the inside of my mind worked.

However, she also found that when she came to my house she spotted a lot of books sitting around the corners of my house in places where they weren't supposed to be. For example: I have an autobiography of a famous book critic and another book about vampire stories in amongst my gardening books and journals in my living room. Exactly how they came to be there is still a mystery to me, and I didn't know they were there until Mum pointed them out to me; and I pulled them out of the collection there and brought up to the main book collection to place them where they were supposed to be. 

This was when a lot of other books kind of fell into view from all kinds of places. Yep, part of the tidying up in my house started with how many books I could find in my living room... it was kind of like playing 'Hide and Go See' book-style; and it was funny how many books I found! I filled a Green Bag with them all; and I'm still finding books around the place to bring up to the collection.

Yes, it looks like they've multiplied on me somehow. Oh well, I guess that's how books become collections, right? Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

InHouse Publishing Author's Day

Today, I was out and about at InHouse Publishing Author Day at Underwood. It was a beautiful Winter's day to be there - but I didn't get there until the speeches were halfway through. So, my socialising had to be cut short for a bit as people were taking the stage to talk about their journeys in the publishing world. 

However, as with most public places, there's always a bit of chatter in the background during those things. I was told by one of the authors to 'shush!' while I was catching up with an author friend of mine from Facebook I've known for a few years and hadn't been able to attend her book launch due to having laryngitis that week. I know that it's not always everything you want when you do a public thing, but sometimes, it's the public who do the rounds who are just there to network and aren't really there for the speeches. 

Don't get me wrong, authors talking about their journeys is great. However, I watched the interviews online; and felt as though I had heard everything all over again when they were talking today, so thought I didn't really need to hear it. But that was just me. 

I did talk to my share of authors and people there, collecting a nice pile of business cards. I also got talking to a local writer's group who doesn't have a horror writer; so I might drop into that one to see how I feel about joining in. Well, it was a great day for it all, but I didn't stay for too long... just enough to talk to some people, have an ice coffee and make a few connections along the way. Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


The other night, I sat down and penned a letter to a dear friend of mine in Toowoomba. I love to write in longhand and she enjoys hearing from me. I also include a piles of photos when I post off my 4-7 page letters to her.

Now, you're going to ask me: why don't you email her? It's cheaper and she can download the photos in a sinch. 

Well, my friend is Joan Lane and she's 80. I've known her since I around 6 years old and holidaying at Brunswick Heads.  She's kind of like my second Grandmother and her and her now-late husband, Ted became close family friends of ours over the years.

Joan doesn't have the internet and wouldn't know how to turn on a computer; actually, these modern-new-fangled things scare her. So, when I learned of this, I decided to write her letters and post them to her. She loves receiving mail and I don't mind if she never writes back; as she's not all that great at writing letters.
So, about 3 times a year, I write Joan a lovely long letter, with photos included inside, telling her about what I've been up to in my life. She loves reading about it; and she shares the news and photos with her family. 

Do you still retain the skill of letter-writing? Do you have a collection of stationery at your disposal? Or do you sit and email all your friends; and if you have somebody who doesn't have a computer, you don't go near pen and paper for them? I love writing to Joan. It's reminds me of how tactile the act of letter-writing actually is and that we really shouldn't lose the skill of writing a really good letter to somebody we're friends with... it may be something we'll really treasure from somebody else someday. Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Once in a while, I can't sleep. So, I'm up really late at night reading or writing to get myself tired enough to get to sleep. A lot of the time, whatever I write normally is just detail stuff on a book or a poem and it's something that's been bothering me since last week - silly really.

However, there are times I get in and write a poem. I think it's the silence of the unit complex, or the way my brain works when I haven't slept for a few nights. But I kick out a very cool poem or two before I turn out the light.

The problem is that I sometimes I misplace the books I have written the poems in for a few months; and then suddenly find them! And that's always like finding a piece of treasure when that happens, because I sit down and read what I've written from that sleepless night to find I've written either a lovely piece of writing, or something I wouldn't bother showing anyone!

Last night, I was working on my book about books and came up to the part where I wanted to talk about poetry. However, I didn't know how long I've been writing poetry for and had to dig around the office to find it all. Strangely, I've lost a few books. I know they're somewhere around the office; so seeing I don't throw out any of my work (which makes me a paper collector too), I'm sure to find all of my poetry at some point soon. 

So, do you write poetry? If so, what kind of work do you write? I'm a concise poet - a writer of word pictures, small poems which aren't too long, but strongly-worded. These are difficult to achieve, but I do enjoy getting in and doing them when I have the time because they're a challenge. I love to read sonnets, ballads and funny poetry (Pam Ayres is one who makes me laugh). Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Winter/Summer Reads

The cold snap has finally hit Australia and we've got snowfalls in the Australian Alps. Yep, everyone is feeling the chilliness all around. Last night, it was 3 degrees Celsius here in Brisbane and it's still cold here - and it's almost midday - why, right now, it's 15 degrees Celsius... and I don't think it's gonna get much warmer.

So, this calls for the Winter reads I'm going to get my nose into this year. I've already started 'The Stand' by Stephen King (an all-time favourite of mine). And I'm writing a book about books - which is going well. Then, I'm reading 'The Turning' by Tim Winton - short stories he's written; some of which were turned into three-minute films on the ABC. I didn't know until one day I saw them there by channel-surfing one day... very interesting.

I'm also looking through my art books and reading up on how to do some different types of art - as I'm working on another book-related painting. I'm actually hoping to get together an exhibition - but I'm not sure when I'll get into the gallery. 

I'm still reading copies of 'Good Reading' Magazine and enjoying looking up knitting patterns as well at this time of year - as it keeps my hands moving. Otherwise, I'm hoping to get in and read some of the books by my bed that have been there for a while. There's one by Dean Koontz about a family dog and another 'Dandelion Wine' by Ray Bradbury. Yep, it's good weather to catch up with all the reading I've been putting off as the mercury plummets. 

So, how about all of you out there? I know that as it's getting colder here in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, it's becoming hotter elsewhere. What are you Summer Reads as you cool off in the shade of a sprawling Oak tree in the park? Or are you by the pool under the shade of a huge umbrella? Or are you fortunate enough to be by the beach and digging your toes into the sand while you've got your nose in a good book or two? Let us all know what you're reading and your opinions of your favourite authors at this time of year. Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Writing A New Book

I've come down with Laryngitis. Yep, I can't leave the house and I'm not allowed to talk... not fun.

So, I've been getting in and cleaning the house, throwing out rubbish and doing laundry; all in complete silence - well okay, the radio's going, but really it does get very boring with just that going.

But I have been writing again. I've written a flash fiction where my character had laryngitis; and the story was creepy too. It turned out to be a good story; I thought.
I'm also working on a new book at the moment I'm calling 'The Red Ledger'. It's a book about books I've read in my life, which are all in my collection and are from my reading list from over the last 13 years of reading. This book is mainly about how the books I've read have changed my life, how good or bad they are and how writing has become a way of life for me. 

It's going along well so far. 

Since the beginning of the week, I've written up around 10 pages in longhand - and that's good. Most of the time I've written that in bed before I turned out the light. This is where I get a lot of my thinking done about what I read. I've yet to go through my collection and find the books that I truly use from day to day and write about them in a big way. I'm only 15 pages into it - but I'm enjoying how it's being written; in longhand. It makes me think about how to write what I want to put out there instead of just typing it out.

Have you ever written something like this? If you have, what was it like? Did you enjoy talking about your books and your passion for reading and writing? Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Ultimate Reads

In my last post, I wrote about the great re-reads of my life... and why. This time, I want to ask you, my readers, what your most favourite books of all time are and how many times you've read them. Is there a reason why you go back to it - the characters, the storyline, the way it's written?

And I have another question as well: if there was an ultimate read you've been wanting and pining after what would it be? Have you been looking at that book in the bookstore, at the library, on Amazon and wished you could get your head around or you have it in your Mt To Be Read and just haven't gotten around to it - and don't know why. Tell us about it.

I have a few books that I have stored here in my collection which I'd love to just sit down and lose myself in; but it's finding the time to do just that I find is the problem. In between writing books, editing my current work and doing my craft, cleaning out my house and working on my garden, I think I have spread myself a little too thin. But I do love to just look at my books and recall where they come from (this is what I'm doing with one of my books I'm calling The Red Ledger; ie: the book ledger). It's a book about my writing and books I've read and have in my collection and how this collection came to be so big and why.

The ultimate reads in my collection are varied:

'A Suitable Boy' Vikram Seth
'The Dark Tower Series' by Stephen King
'The Portable Dorothy Parker' by Brendan Gill
'The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter'
'Wrestling With The Angel' by Michael King
'The Call of Cthulhu and other weird stories' by H.P Lovecraft

There's others, but these are my top six of my list... and yes, I know that the second one is a series of books (of which I'm up to book 4). This list doesn't vary much but I do enjoy getting in and working on it when I can.

So, do tell... what books are you ultimate reads, your whale, your mountain to climb? Until my next post, happy reading.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Great Re-Read List

Whenever I want to jump back into reading big books again, I'll reread something I have cracked the cover of for years. 

Dontcha just love doing that? I sure do!

Right now, I'm reading my all-time favourite book: 'The Stand' by Stephen King. This book normally gets me back into my reading mojo again - I don't know how it does, but I once I read it, it just gets me into another book and then another; and not necessarily by him.

There's always those books that do that to us, right? Well, I do have a few books I reread along with 'The Stand' to kick myself into reading again... and I usually get into doing this in Winter (yes! The best time to wallow well into a book is at the coldest time of the year) in my Reading Chair.

So, when do you get in and do the great reread of your favourite authors? Or are you one of those rare readers who, once you've read a book, you never reread it again? Until my next post, happy reading! 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

In the Movies

During the huge deluge of rain over the last few days, I watched 'The Stand' miniseries - made from the book of the same name by Stephen King. And speaking of Sai King himself, I noticed that this brilliant author shows up in this miniseries as Teddy Weizak; an everyday guy who survived Captain Trips and was on his way to Colorado with a convoy of other folks who had been having the same dream as he was - of Mother Abigail. 

But this isn't the first time we've seen this author in a movie which was made from his books. Stephen King has made a cameo in so many of the movies that sometimes you really have to look for him to realise it's him. It's easy to pick him in the early movies like 'The Langoliers', 'Pet Semetary' and he got to play a creepy part in 'Sons of Anarchy' where he was a dude who a 'Caregiver' or a cleaner... creepy - I think that was in season 3 or 4. But he played that part well.

Another famous person we all know showed up in his own movies was Alfred Hitchcock. He was a brilliant director who had a thing for blonds and enjoyed making cameo appearances in his own movies. You have to really watch for him in a lot of the movies as he isn't in the credits. In 'Rear Window', he was in the musician's apartment winding the clock. In 'The Birds', he was seen in the beginning of the film leaving a petshop with two of his own pets as the main character enters. I found a Wikipedia site which lists a lot of them (I don't often go through Wiki, but this is a big list) and so here it is for you to look at.

Have you seen writer or directors show up in films you've been watching and looked for them in the credits? If so, which ones? Until my next post, happy reading. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Book Buys???

Yeah, I didn't buy any books this month. 

Well, that's not exactly true. I received books, but I haven't bought any - does that make sense? I hope so. 

I've also begun to read some short stories before I turn out the light at night - so I'm getting back into reading again; after such a long stint of not reading and just writing (as you can read from a few posts below). 

But I'm still collecting and my office is starting to become cluttered with books again. Yes, this does mean I have to start on another lot of looking through the collection and figuring out which ones belong and which ones don't. Sad but true. But if I don't, I'll be the crazy book lady of my unit complex... and well, I don't want that.

Anyway, the author I'm reading is Kurt Vonnegut. He put out a few short story books and I found one at the Logan Art Gallery which they were keeping it for art projects and I rescued it! Yay! Now, I'm reading it. Okay, some idiot ripped out the first page of the first story, so I can't read that, but who cares? I'm reading the rest of them.
And besides, I have other books around the place which have poetry and novellas as well - just to get me back into the reading mode again. And I'm hoping to start saving up for another tattoo... this one is going to be book-related and I'm going to get it done next year sometime. 

Well, it's been a good month for me... I've been good in some aspects, bad in others, I'm reading again and I'm also writing some nice, short'n'sweet flash fictions (my last one was around 500 words long; and we had a word limit of 1,000 words). So, until my next post, happy reading! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Art Words

I've been working with art and words in my life over the last few years - and have found that there's not that many artists who do this.

A lot of them make sculptures out of the books they use. I do as well; and use very old books that are falling apart to do this (so don't worry, I'm not using anything from my collection or anything new).

However, I do book art where I write on the canvas book titles, author names, or song-writers names and they are turned into the shape of waves, leaves or trees. It's difficult to do and I find that I have to have a certain number of names, books or songwriters. It's a difficult thing to do and yet it's something I have the patience for because I have to write out the words in pencil first then paint over them the best way I can... in a contrasting colour. 
Yes, I've almost sent myself blind doing this, so my optometrist has been a great help to me by making me glasses to work up-close and personal with my art.

I not only work with paintbrush and paint, but I also work with putting bookmarks into collages. I have a massive one about Bookcrossing called 'Spread the Word' which I still have sitting behind my front door because there's nowhere to hang it. And there's other works hanging around my library which is all book-related. I've even made a plaster cast torso which is all about books, has quotes on it and I built a book from plaster on it - with the pages all curled up as though they were caught on a breeze - then painted them gold. 

Do you know anyone who's done book art which doesn't involve the sculpture of books themselves? I find that my work takes a lot of time to do; so I don't have that much work to do a proper exhibition as yet, but it does show my passion for the written word in so many ways. Until my next post, happy reading.


I've been asked in the comments about photos of my work. This is something I forgot to upload - sorry about that guys, I was very tired and it was late. So here's the few I've done so far.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Writing More Than Reading

I've been writing more than reading lately.

This is a good thing; and a bad thing.

Bad in the way that there's no book reviews to read at the moment, but good that I'm getting stories and some books written.

One book I'm working on currently is my 'One Page' project. This is where I write one page about the day I'm having - or have had - in a journal-style notebook. I started it last December and I'm going well with it. I don't write every day, and it's been a great challenge to me, as I don't always fill up every page. Sometimes, it's difficult to fill up the page I've allocated myself, while on other days, it's filled before I know it.

Then, there' my garden journal. This is an on-going project that's being worked on since I moved into my townhouse. I'm onto my second garden journal and it shows a chronological change and life of my garden... I love reading over the old journal of how it's all gone from a desert of weeds, prickles and yellow paper daisies to the pretty little garden it is today - and it's still somewhat a project that's ongoing; and will be ongoing throughout my life.

There's another book I pick at. This one's for my niece. I don't know when this one will be finished as it's something of a book filled with advice I've gleaned from all sources throughout my life... be it my Mum, Grandmother, friends, authors, artists, famous people... just about anyone I've spoken to has given me wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) advice. I'm hoping to put a lot of it into this book over the next few years and fill it up to give to my niece by her 21st Birthday; so she has something to read when I'm no longer around to be there for her. I know that sounds really horrible, but the day will come when I'll be gone; and this book will have everything I want her to know.

Memory Book... now this is a new one. I've been recalling old memories from when I was a child and writing them in long-hand in a notebook. It's a way of getting my autobiography working from a different angle. I hope it works out. So far, I've got some stories from when I was around 7 - 12 years old. High school isn't too hard as I've been going to class reunions and talking to people I went to school with lately (so they're all bringing back good memories of being at school as well as bad - but we need them both). Then, I'm working on funny memories too... so I'm going to look through some photos Mum's got of when I was young. This will be something I'll work on over the next few years. 

Yep, writing is something of a lonely thing I don't mind doing and love to really get into; even if I am working on three things at once. Well, are you a writer? If so, are you working on anything new? Until my next post, happy reading - or writing.