Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Incomplete

Well, I didn't complete the NaNoWriMo this year. Never mind. I got to almost 30,000 words and that's something, isn't it?

When I arrived home, so much had to be done that I dropped the ball on my writing. There was so much cleaning up around the house I had to do; not to mention shopping, gardening, laundry and other things I needed to catch up on that I just forgot to sit down and get into my writing.

I also wanted to finish a painting I had started down the coast and that's always fun, you know, when you're on roll with something you've been working on. So, I finished it and now it's being hung in the Able Gallery at the Logan Artists Association as I write this, and yes, it's for sale.

This doesn't mean I'm not reading things. I'm still struggling with a few things - like focusing on 'The Shining' by Stephen King. But I think it's because I've got so much going on right now that I'm not focused enough to read anything. Oh well, can't have my cake and eat it too, right? So, how did you go in NaNoWriMo? Did you win? Or did you just participate, like I did?

Until my next post, I hope you are enjoying your Christmas shopping - or are you making your presents? Happy reading.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A Week On...

Well, I've been at the coast and there were a few teething problems with getting onto a computer there. 

But, there was always a way for me to write my book - always! I asked Dad if I could use his new computer and he said yep... and so I jumped on there and used the word processing program on it. 

At last count, I was around 16,000 - 19,000 words, right? Well, I'm almost up to 30,000 words now! Yes! While I was away from 'My Reading List', I pounded the keyboard whenever I could and worked through my 25,000 word badge! 

I'm so pleased with myself! 

This week, I'll be able to get through my other badges easily as I'll be here at home for them.

And if I can't? Well, at least I took part and worked my butt off getting as far as I could. You have to remember, it's fun doing it all. Until my next post, happy reading and writing.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Nudging 20,000!

Yep, I took 2 days off, forgot to take one of my medications (I have Epilepsy) and felt like crap for a day, and still I managed to throw out over 3,000 words and get the word count well over 19,000 words for NaNoWriMo!

This is a real achievement.

I took yesterday off too, and I'm going to work my butt off today and tomorrow afternoon during my volunteer work to get in and make sure I'm working harder on it than ever to get up to the 25,000 word mark. 

It's going to be a great thing when I do get this book finished... because I'm going to love editing and fleshing it out. It's the 3rd book of a series; some of which doesn't really connect with each other, but some of it does. 

Well, how's your NaNoWriMo going this month? How many words have you puked onto the page so far? 

Friday, November 9, 2018

15,000 Words!

Yay! I've passed this number and am still going strong - but I have been neglecting my house and so today, I went out and hit the gym, put away a huge pile of clean laundry and threw out the biggest bag of rubbish from my kitchen (and yes it stunk like you wouldn't believe!).

You see I have been eating well, sleeping so-so and trying to take care of myself by hitting the gym twice a week (if I can) and not taking any days off if I can help it. 

However, this week, I've taken one day off for a Christmas Party and then I'll be busy over the next week or two... this can't be helped.

So, I'm going to be trying to work on my book in longhand if I can, or on my tablet, and it should be worked on after if I can get in and do it. But I'm hoping to get through the 50,000 words before the end of the month, or by the end of the month... and if not, well, by Christmas. 

How is your word count doing? All good? I hope so. Okay... back to getting up that word count again... onwards and upwards towards that 20,000 words I go!

Monday, November 5, 2018

A Day Skipped - Well, Kinda!

Yesterday was Sunday... and I couldn't do NaNoWriMo - or could I? 

Okay, I was on a bus trip with an art gallery I do volunteer work at for our Christmas Party out of town and on the way to our destination, I pulled out a pen and paper and notes on Chapter 4.

What was going on.
Who was going where.
I asked questions about other characters.
I asked questions about the story.

It took a while and I was glad I did it.

You see, if I hadn't done that, I would have sat down today and thought: 'Now, what was I thinking yesterday? Oh, crap, shoulda written it down!' And seeing I did, I've covered my butt well and truly.

So, today, I'm going to write more than I would have yesterday because of those notes.

Oh... yeah I totally enjoyed yesterday's Christmas Party. We had a great time! We lost one person, found them, and stuffed ourselves full of food, saw some great murals around Toowoomba, Queensland, and slept on the way home.

There were some stories I could have written about that town, truly there are!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Day Two

Today, I struggled to remember some of the events which happened in the past two books. Pity, they were great to write and had fun characters.

I think it was because I had so much going on in my life this year that my mind has been somewhere else of late - but I'm having fun with this.

However, I did start a quick chapter 1 about a week ago to see how easy it was to start writing another book... and when I looked back on it again - that spoof chapter - I found it wasn't indepth enough. Thank the Gods I've taken some good notes for this next one.

I've kept my 'Encyclopedia of Angels' next to me and have had to Google a few things, but otherwise, I'm going well. 

How's your first few days of NaNoWriMo? All good, difficult or has the horrible Writer's Block hit you hard? 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Day One

Today I started my writing late.

Yeah, I'm not going to worry too much about word count, and not going to stress about how late I'm going to go with this.

This month is going to be busy for me, and so I'm going to write when I can, as much as I can and see how far I get.

And if I get a long way - great - if I don't, well that's okay too. 

I know it's a huge challenge, but unlike last year, I'm not going to burn myself out to be the 50,000 word winner. My book will be finished and done and dusted when I'm ready for it to be.

So, how did you go today with your first day in? Me? Well, I didn't get far, but it doesn't matter, so long I got the story going, right? Until my next post, happy writing.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Not Long to Go!

Okay, NaNoWriMo is only days away; and I've got one question: are you prepared for this month of madly writing like no tomorrow?

Are you ready to sit zombie-like at your computer, on your tablet, at the typewriter (I know some of you still use one, come on, you guys at the back!) and on your laptops, phones and blackberries (yeah, they're great to write on) for the next month while your family and friends ask you if you're okay.

Well, of course you're not going to be okay - you're trying to squeeze 50,000 words out of your brain and onto the screen, paper and anything else you can grab a hold of within a month. At the same time, you're also trying to pay the bills, go to work, eat, sleep, have sex (at some point that will have to happen) and shower too; as well as do the laundry and buy food (look, do a list, it'll help you out; and for the sake of Thor, keep to it).

Anyway, I have plenty of frozen meals I cooked up - and I'll be making more spaghetti sauce (yes I ate the other lot; greedy me!). And I'm skipping Halloween this year. I really just don't have the scare factor right now... and besides we don't get the number of children we're supposed to. Last year, we got only 2 children and were left with so many lollies it lasted us until the New Year. Also, I'm not taking part in the Melbourne Cup either - because I don't like how they treat the horses, it's because of two reasons: 1: I can't afford it and 2: I'd rather be writing a book. Anyway, the horses have been treated that way for over a century, why are people only bringing this up now? Don't answer that... please, I know why. I'm not stupid.

Well, in the past week, I've gotten in and have done so much laundry and put my winter woolies away (I live in Australia, it's getting hot here) and have made sure my house is presentable - at least - to have myself walk through it when I'm a little brain dead from writing over 5,000 words a day. 

Now, I'm still going to go to my art group on Tuesdays as I've found that I do need to be social to keep my writing skills up - unlike last year where I burned myself out writing the 50,000 words and my family thought I was really going to make myself ill. 

This year, I'm prepared. 

I've researched.

I've cooked meals for myself.

I've cleaned the house enough to make it so I don't have to do much around the place.

I'm ready for this challenge!

Are you?

Saturday, October 13, 2018

NaNoWriMo Prep

Not only does National Novel Writing Month tax you as a writer, but it taxes your body and mind in a big way.

You just don't find any time to clean the house, or do anything around the place worthwhile. 

So, this month, seeing it's raining a lot this week, I'm going to get in and clean up the house, make sure all my laundry is habitually put away, there's food I've cooked and frozen - ready to heat and eat - and my second pantry (yep, I have one of those) is filled with everything I need for quick and healthy snacks.

Most of all, I'm going to make sure my home office is easily accessible. I have to put away everything I'm not currently using. This includes any archive boxes, files, books and other things which have been sitting around the place taking up space I need. And it also means I clean up my desk and only have the research books I need within reach for me to look at when I need them next month. 

Next month is going to be a big month for me. I'm hoping to get myself through it without a cold (unlike last year when I did catch a Summer cold) and bust through my 50,000 words faster and more efficiently than ever! 

So, what are your secrets to NaNoWriMo you've found are effective? Well, besides plenty of coffee and ignoring the phone and Facebook... those two are no-brainers. Let's swap notes on things which may work. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Research and Prep Time

Before NaNoWriMo even comes around, I prepare and research what I'm going to be writing. Yeah, it's a big thing for me to get in and know what I'm going to be writing about.

For those of you who are starting out on this journey of a book in a month - or even the first or last 50,000 words - you have to get in and do some serious prep work and research before you even write a single word or your book.

I've begun writing a bit of a rough muck-up of what the story will be about... just a synopsys and who is going to be in it, how it starts off (with a bang or whimper?). Or will it be a completely new book or a continuation from a book from last year? 

So, this year, I have a subject in my next book which I know absolutely nothing about - not even my big research books I do have in my collection can help me; because they don't contain anything on this subject. 
This has caused me to have to jump online and Google all my research notes. There's a couple of sites I've had to look into, a few Youtube videos (which looked dodgy and after I watched them, and read the comments, turned out that they were) and then I wrote down all the notes I could - in bullet point style - in my research book. 

Yes, I have a research notebook I use from year to year. It's a small A5 size notebook which has a built-in bookmark and is able to be clipped up to keep it secure. I write all my notes from researching my subjects to rough chapters into it so when it comes time to actually start writing the NaNoWriMo book, I can jump in feet first and know what I'm in for.

My writing will come easier. My notes are right on hand for me. The sites I've bookmarked are on my computer and I can easily just look them up if - and when - I need them. 

This is also the reason why I don't go to meet-ups... all my work and research which is on my browser here at home can't be looked up on my laptop or tablet because I haven't saved them on those. Only my notes written in my notebook can be... and sometimes, they aren't good enough, and my writing comes to grinding halt!

So, for the next month, I'm in research mode - as boring as it may be - because all the research really does pay off when you jump into the office chair and lay your hands onto the keyboard, ready to start in on November's NaNoWriMo... it really does!

Friday, October 5, 2018

NaNoWriMo!

The National Novel Writing Month isn't far away - only a month off - and it's time to get your ideas jotted down, your thinktank going, your thought processes acting to see what you are going to write about in November... the international novel-writing month.

Are you going to take part this year? 

If so, well, wonderful... if not, well that's okay, writing every day, no matter how many words you write is just as good no matter if you're taking part in this this even or not.

I've been taking part in this event for the past few years, and only last year did I actually complete it! 

It does take a few goes to complete those 50,000 words in that one month... but it takes dedication and commitment - something we all must do. I must say that there was a lot of coffee involved and a lot of sleep too. If I got in and slept the right amount of hours, and ate the right food, I was going to get in and write the right amount of words every day. Sometimes, I wrote more - and writing more is always good.

What if you've never taken part before and you don't know what to expect? 

Well, don't worry, you'll be fine! There's plenty of contacts to work with in your capital city and in your town no matter where you live on this little blue marble we all home... NaNoWriMo writers are everywhere.
I'm in Brisbane, Australia, and we have groups of us working hard on our books in every part of where I am. But I find that I'm most comfy right at my own desk because I can arrive here right after breakfast, work on my NaNoWriMo book as long as I want to and then get off the computer.
I do find that the internet takes a bit of a back seat in November... don't get me wrong, I do look at it, but not for very long. The normal 3 hours or so I'm there cuts right down to around 1/2 an hour - not even that - and I'm mainly working on my book for a huge amount of the time. My social life disappears during that month as well; but that's what happens when you take on the challenge of writing a book in a month.

So, NaNoWriMo... it's a little daunting. But once you get your head into your own book and work through it all, you'll come out the other end enjoying your writing more and finding that, okay a month isn't long enough in the first year, but after a couple of years, you'll get it and come to enjoy the challenge more. 

I do. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Journals and Diaries

You know, it's been something of a past love of mine to sit down and write - actually physically write - in a proper offline journal.

But of late, I've been too unfocused to do anything near it. For somebody who has been keeping a journal almost every day for over 20 years, I found this weird; until recently when I picked up my current journal and suddenly started writing again.

How this happened was when I bought my new shelving units, then did the last markets for Crafty Pegs and cleaned up and stored away my hand-crafted works for good, I had one broken box and one good box. Well, I decided to use the good box to transfer my 30-odd journals into it. First though, I thought it would be a good idea to number them. So, I grabbed my price dots and looked on the inside sleeve of each one and found I was smart enough to do just that from the start! 

*Phew!* That saved me a lot of time!

Well, after I found I had two 24's and mis-placed #33, all of them are in the one box and looking great - all numbered and in good order! The flat box they were all in now holds my wrapping paper, ribbon and Christmas cards. How cool's that? 

But when I looked at my first journal with #1 on it, I thought it wouldn't hurt to read it... and so I sat down and started on it. Well, it was all about my first boyfriend, the first time I fell in love and first time I moved out of home with him - aged 24 - and I found I spoke and wrote pretty much the same way I do now in my journals. There was one thing that was different:  I put down every single thought that was rattling around in my head into my earlier journals - unlike my later ones, where I have found I hold back a lot of my thoughts. 

I don't know if I've become more conservative or I just don't want people knowing me as much as I used to as I get older. It's weird, isn't it? Also, I think it's the technology which is right at our fingertips - literally - which makes sitting down and writing with pen and paper such a chore. But, now I'm making sure I really do enjoy the time I take to write in my journal... when I think about it, there really isn't anything that interesting on television anyway. Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Writing Again!

Since May, I've been blocked in the biggest way. It was mainly due to my dear friend dying - as she was also a creative, like me, and when she suddenly died, I felt my worlds grind to a halt in so many ways.

Not only did my written world stop, but I also couldn't focus on reading books or any of my artworks either. Sleeping became something I couldn't get into and I tried to eat, but found it was just as difficult... yes, grief can take over your life in so many ways. 

In the past week or so, I've woken up and felt different. The sun has made a marked improvement on my life and I've been sitting outside my backdoor and just watched my garden for long moments with a glass of home made ice coffee and a book sitting in my lap. Sleep has come easily to me and I'm feeling better at picking up the pen and writing in my journal - about anything which comes to mind; mainly why I haven't been able to write or finish a journal entry.

I also haven't been writing any books - only flash fictions. But in the past week, I've finally sat down, opened a new, fresh page and started writing a new Angelic book to go with my series I'm working on. Now, that telling me something about how much I'm healing and where my mind is at right now. 

I'm so happy to be writing again, and I'll get back into doing more flash fictions again in the next week or so. If you're a writer, how often do you sit down and write? Do you make yourself sit at your computer everyday - even if you don't write a word? Do you go through writing slumps/blocks? How do you get around them? Until my next post, happy writing.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Banned Book Week!

Starting tomorrow and ending 29th, September, it's Banned Book Week. This is a week which calls out all the books which have been banned in the past and present day and to ask the question of why they were banned.

There's been plenty of books today which were banned when they were first published way back when. 

I've been proud to say that I've read quite a few banned books in my time. From 'The Perks of Being A Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky to 'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury and 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' by C.S. Lewis - and they're all great books to get into the pages of. However they all have been banned for one reason or another; and really, they were written by the authors not because of the adult content set within the young adult audience-style written or the drugs and alcohol mentioned between the lines of the prose. 

Books are banned for many reason and they aren't only books which are written for adults or young adults either - some of them are written for children, which I find amazing. 

Now, this week is upon us, go out and find one of those banned books and read, read, read! Enjoy the banned book - from the past or present - and try to figure out why it was banned in the first place. Or you can click on one of the links below and find a banned book to read up on and find out why it was banned. Until my next post, happy reading!

15 Banned Books - And Why

Banned Books and Reasons Why

Controversial Books and the Reasons Why They Were Banned

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sorting Out Art Books

As a lot of you know, I have a BIG BOOK COLLECTION! But I have quite a few sections spread throughout the house for different uses in my life. 

There's gardening books in the credenza, cook books in the kitchen and art books in my art area... however my art area is missing a whole section of art books, simply because I can't fit them in anymore. The reason for this is because the bookcase is too small; and I need a bigger bookcase. 

So, over the next month, I'm going to get rid of the tall and skinny bookcase and install two 4-foot shelving units to hold my books, heavy art items and other things to do with my art area as well. It's going to work out well, even if I have to give up a little bit of space to do it.

Isn't it funny, you don't know how many books you have until you have to pack some away because you can't fit them into the bookcase you're currently using... and that's when you look at the bookcase you've been using for a few years and realise it's time to 'buy a bigger boat'.

Well, I'm buying two bigger boats to see how I go with it all. I'm sure to clean up the house more, have more room in not only the living room, but the art area and kitchen - now, that'll be great! I'll also be able to work on having all my art books on display and not have to box up half of them and only see the other half. In truth, I can't wait until all of this happens!  Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Delving Back Into The Dark Tower

Since I hurt my foot last week, I've delved back into 'The Dark Tower' series by Sai King; and have been loving it! I'm up to book four 'The Glass and Wizard' and it's been easy to jump back into where the characters were - on Blaine and train who is a complete and total idiot and horrible character. 

It had me cringing as the train sped up and they got closer to their destination of Topeka, and Blaine enjoyed scaring his four passengers and Oy and Bumbler - acting like a schoolyard bully - and it was so good when one of them figured out how to trip up Blaine.

And for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, this is torture... but I've really delved right into this book again; reading around 20 - 30 pages each time I've sat down with it. 

I loved every session I've had it in my hands - and have had hours zip by!

And isn't it great when you find that book you're meant to be into after a long spell of not being able to focus on any other book? Yep, it's great. 

I'm looking forward to zooming through this book - and the other four books of 'The Dark Tower' series - and then I'll get in and read the rest of 'The Shining' and 'Doctor Sleep' too! Well, that's the plan! What are you plans in the next few months of this year reading-wise? Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Chilling Out and Reading

I've been forced to sit down and read lately - yep, not more running around like a headless chicken for me for a week.

Yes, I've been a clutz, and broke my pinky toe on my right foot! Now, who hasn't done a stupid thing like that before? I know some of you have, and doesn't it hurt! Of course, I swore like you wouldn't believe to start with, then afterwards (I was cooking and thought it was burning and when it turns out it wasn't, well...) I swore more.

Yesterday, I read some of Book IV of the Dark Tower Series by Stephen King and binged on a few movies on Netflix. I'm really hanging for movies about writers and books - but there's nothing like that on there. I'll have to angle it around to that, and see what happens with the selection.

Anyway, I'm going okay. I'm going back to the gym tomorrow and taking it easy - seeing I can get my foot into a shoe and walk okay now. I'm just thankful I can get around now. But tomorrow afternoon, I'll be taking it easy again and reading more; as the more I rest my foot, the faster it'll heal.

Yep, it takes the smallest things to make you stop, sit down and really get into your reading, doesn't it? Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Home Office Clean-out

I'm cleaning out the home office again... and I'm going to be giving away a lot more of my books. This is a painful thing for me to do, but I have to be realistic about them. I just don't have the room for them.

So, the ones I can't shelve are going to be sent away to a second-hand store and others which are from Bookcrossing are going to be sent off to other Bookcrossers. I think this is a good and fair thing to do... plus they're going to people who want them. 

Also, I've got to clean up the home office and make it a useable space. I've made a start on it, and it's looking great; and I'm looking forward to doing more on it tomorrow - Friday - and getting in and throwing out more junk from this room soon.

I'm hoping to have this room all sorted out and finished soon... how many books do you have in your collection? Is it a library like mine? Or do you have only enough room for a small lot of book cases in a corner? Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Literary Twist

I love reading and writing - and on the same token, I also love gardening; as some of you know. So, over the past few months, I've been cleaning up and doing up my little backyard and thinking about the artworks which I'll be adding to it when the time is right... and well the time is coming up that I want to get in and work on that.

The artwork I'm looking into is the literary artworks - you know the type right? There's going to be a couple of doors, some keys, a few birds of varying sizes and types and a rabbit or two as well as a bird in a cage and maybe some farm animals (yep, Old MacDonald's Farm is going to be featuring in this here little garden; as it was a book as well as a song!). 

This little garden is also going to have a sign post filled with all the fictional, fantastical lands I've ever read about... all pointing in every direction for all to see! It's going to be a wonderful little garden fill with everything for the eye to see - some colourful, some hidden, some waiting for the person to find - and yet, it's going to be all about books and the written word; as much as my library of books... which are hidden upstairs in a room, locked away from the eyes of the people in the surrounding units.

The reason why I want to do this in my garden is because I've seen photos of parks and gardens overseas and across my own country doing this very successfully and, I thought: 'Why can't I do this in my garden?' 

Well... why not? 

It's a private garden and I should be able to get in and do this kind of thing in the very place where my Secret Garden grows - where I feel the most comfortable, where my growing little universe thrives and I can get away from everything and enjoy it.

Why, it sounds like my library of books doesn't it? Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Joys of Re-Reading

I love to re-read the odd book. I know that sounds really bad to do as a reader and a writer, but sometimes when I re-read a book, I find I get details from it which I've missed out on in the previous reading.

This sounds kinda dorky, doesn't it? It's like watching a movie over and over to catch other details you missed - but it true. Try watching 'Rear Window' a few times and you'll see what I mean; there's big and little details in that film you'll see on the second and third viewing you'd have missed in the first one. The same goes for 'Back the to Future'... so much goes on in the three films when you watch them back to back that you miss out on in just one sitting of them when you watch them once.

The same thing goes for books I think. 

When I first read 'On Writing' by Stephen King, I thought it was kinda boring (sorry, Steve!). But then, I re-read it a year later and found some of it was funny and I came away from it with some tools he had imparted in the book. The following year after that, I read it yet again, and I found it was great book, and very informative. So, it took three reads and for me to get what Stephen was trying to tell me... and still I've picked it up a few more times since and I'm getting more and more out of that one book. 

So, re-reading a book isn't a bad idea really. But I think it depends on what you're like deep down. Do you get everything in one sitting? Are you a slow reader and pull in every detail as you read? Or are you like me, and read faster and go back and re-read it again and again to get more details from it all over and over? 

Personally, I think it depends on what you want out of a book at the time you purchase it. Do you want to get information from it your after at the time in your life right then, and a year later, when you go back and read it again, you'll get other information which is relevant to you for that part of your life then? I wonder about that too. What do you think? Is re-reading a book worth it? And do you re-read the classics? Or are they too complex and difficult to get into once you're done with them? Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

So Many Books...

There's so many great authors out there right now, and so many great books to read - not just the classics, I mean great new books - that I'm finding it harder to get in and read a book and finish it right now.

Sure I'll start a book, then another book will come out on the market and I'll be like a kid in a lolly shop jumping up and down, wanting that book... and that one... oh look, that one over there too! 

But really, I don't have the space or the time to read them all once I get these books home; and I end up wondering why I bought them in the first place. I end up regretting the purchase and not wanting to read them... making them a bit of a waste of money.

That does sound like I'm sick of reading, doesn't it? But really, I'm not. I love to read and get into a good book when I have little to no stress in my life - and you know, that's what's stopping me from indulging in my favourite past-time right now; stress. When I'm stressed out, I stop reading as reading is a relaxing thing to me. It gets rid of my stresses and makes me forget what's going on in the outside world.

And isn't that what reading a great book is all about? You read a book and your mind goes into another world, the world away from the one you're currently in now? 

Yep, sure it is. 

But when your world is constantly a stress, it's difficult to get into a book and get away from it when you're more concerned about what's happening in the real world... when you're always looking back through those fur coats and the wardrobe and into the world you came from, instead of the fictional world you want to hang out in for a while.

So, when you've found you're not reading as much as you wish you could, what do you do about it? Do you worry about not reading and not escaping? Or do you read in small snippets as much as you can handle? Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Gardening Books

Early last month, I jumped in and started redesigning my back garden... with great success. I pulled out plants I didn't need, plants which were dying and plants which were taking over the whole yard - and there were pots which needed plants, plants which needed new pots and a big space where I put in a greenhouse to house my more delicate plants.

Then, I  got stuck!

I wanted to grow a rose. This was to remember my friend who had committed suicide in May in the UK... but then I have been hesitating so much over that type of plant that the more I read about it the harder is seemed to grow where I lived. 

I needed help with my choice of plant to grow. I sat down and pulled out my entire library of gardening books and search through them last Friday night and found I kept coming back to one type of plant which put up with a lot of different types of weather and didn't have to be pampered - it was the Camelia. I had combed through five books and found it in every book but they ranged from differing colourings, heights and styles. 

Don't you love it when gardening books just can't agree on what the same plant is all about? I find it hilarious! Anyway, I went and closed up the books, wrote down on my shopping list for this week to buy myself an extra large pot and look at the Camelias - which one? Well, I think I'll see what colours are available - not hesitate. 

Gardening books are great to a point, aren't they? They can tell you only so much, though. But if we have too much information, it becomes overwhelming. This is the downfall of the internet and Google; and why I like to read the gardening books from the past - and why I collect them. Well, until my next post, happy reading. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Keeping Notes

It's the middle of Winter here in Australia and we're going through the wonderful and typical Winter of chilly nights and lovely cool days with some showers here and there.

It also means nice hot, stodgy meals with hot chocolate just before bed while reading a few pages of my favourite book - or a new one I have yet to read. 

Right now, I'm reading 'The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society' by Mary Ann Shaffer; and it's a great book of letters which isn't stressful, and has a great pull on me every time I pick it up - it reminds me a lot of '84 Charing Cross Road' by Helene Hanff; but less modern, and more wonderfully written. However, from the start, it has more than two people writing to each other... which took a little getting used to.

And that's a great thing with this book, it's a society within a society... a society of letters within a society of people who love books writing to each other during World War II in the UK. 

While I'm reading this book, I'm also putting my little back garden into order... this is what I do when I mourn the loss of somebody in my life: I get out into the garden and really involve myself in Mother Nature. It's my way of hiding. And while I've been doing that I've been taking notes of what I've been doing out in the little garden - and my Gardening Journal is being filled up with every single thing I've bought, potted up, back-filled and cared for and built in the tiny backyard I call my garden. 

It's been only a month - and almost 2 months since my dear friend committed suicide - and I've spent more money on my garden than I do on books in a year. Yes I miss my sweet, dear, and troubled friend, Hannah, and this is my way of dealing with my loss. I guess everyone deals with loss in different ways, right? I read and get into my garden - taking notes along the way. 

But I have tried keeping a reading journal on what I've read; and it didn't really work out - except online. How weird is that? Well, until my next post, happy reading! 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Winter/Summer Reading Lists!

Well! I'm in Australia and we're going through our first week of a cold snap this year - and I love the brisk chill of Winter here! 

This means I can snuggled into the warmth of my bed and get in and read some good, wonderful books during the chilly months!

Now, I've been writing more than reading lately, but I'm also jotting down notes during my art classes - which is always fun! But reading is always a great way to pass the time while drinking a nice hot cup of tea or coffee. 

So, I must ask: what's your list at this time of year? I'll share mine if you share yours.

'The Writing Class' by Jincy Willett
'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society' by Mary Ann Shaffer
'The Portable Dorothy Parker'

I'll start off with these three and see how far I get... of course I'll take Dorothy with me everywhere to read her work as much as I can; and I've heard great things about the Potato Peel Society. So, I think I'm in for a couple of good reads there. But I've never heard of The Writer Class before - so that'll be a new one for me. Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Organising Mt To Be Read

I'm getting into the big organising kick right now; and the biggest area of my house which is being looked into is my home office - where all the books live. 

The Mt TBR is a major thing I've been eying off and it's actually looking pretty good - but it's not getting any smaller; as I have read any of the books on it lately, and this is a worry. 

Now, I'm still buying books, but I've been reading articles on The Huffington Post and other online sites which say you have to cut the mountain of books down then build it back up again. But that seems an awful lot of stuffing around to do with one 'little' pile of books - or is it? 

Have you gone in and done this to your Mt TBR? Has it worked out for you? And if it has, what about the secondary pile - you know, the 'Mt I'll Read That In My Life' pile? Does that get any smaller or even get a look into? 

Yeah, this is starting to look like it's going to be a bigger job than it will start out to be. But if I don't do it, I'll end up staring at the Mt TBR again tonight wondering why I didn't do it today. 

So, how about it? Why don't we get into this together and reorganise our Mt TBR's and see how we go? We might be very surprised at what is hiding in that teetering mountain of promised reading which we may not even want to read, or even worse, we've lost interest in. Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Reading and Writing More

I've had problems with my eye sight lately; and so I was off to the optometrist to get it looked into. He took a look and said my lenses needed upgrading; so after 2 weeks, I've got new lenses in my Ginsberg frames and a whole new set for my computer... and I'm reading so much better and have jumped right in and started writing so much more too.

I've been knocking over about 10 pages of 'Born to Run' by Bruce Springsteen over the past few days each time I've sat down to read... and it feels great to get in and do that.

And it's not only the reading I'm getting back into. My writing of books and Flash Fiction is getting back up there as well. I've been flying through almost 2,000 words with each writing session; and my goal is 1,000 words a session... soon I'll be reaching 3,000 words a session instead; which is great! 

If only my typing could keep up with my brain - now that'd be a new one!

I've also been cleaning out the bookshelves and making them look like a library by standing the books on their ends instead of laying them on their sides - which is bad for them. They look so much better and the home office is really looking so much more like a library than ever before. There's still a fair bit more to go, but I can find my sections better and am having a few teething problems with it still. But it'll get there in a few months once it's figured out. Until my next post, happy reading. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

New Glasses!

In recent months, my eyes have been giving me problems. I've found they're tired all the time, watering and in the past month, I've had a really annoying lower-lid eye twitch! That last one, I thought was from stress, but I went to my optometrist and he told me it was from not having the right lenses for reading and computer work.

He had a good look at my eyes and nodded, yep, I needed new reading glasses. I told him that I love the frames I've got, and to keep them, but the lenses were to be upgraded. He said it's good I love the frames of my Ginsberg ones.

He asked me what I've been reading and I told him 'Born To Run' by Bruce Springsteen, and he said that it must be a great read, I agreed, and said it'll be a better read once I get my glasses sorted. 

The best thing is that I don't need driving glasses - yet - and he filled out my medical certificate for me while I was there. I told him that I bought myself some Cancer Council polarised sunglasses for Christmas, and he said that they're the best ones - and asked if I bought black ones or brown ones; and I said brown. He told me it takes time to get accustomed to the brown lenses, but they're the better ones for us as they're less strain on our eye sight. 

So, in about a week or so, I'll have new lenses in my glasses, a new pair of computer glasses, still have my Ginsberg cats eye glasses and have a lens upgrade on both... great! I can't wait to get back into 'Born To Run'; I'll be reading that book a lot faster than before. 

Do you wear glasses? Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, May 14, 2018

I'm Writing Again!

I'm writing another book!

Woah, it's been years since I started writing an actual book at a time when it's not NaNoWriMo and really wanted to keep on going with it.

Currently, I'm up to chapter four and am getting into it properly... and the best thing is that I'm not doing any violence, vampire or horror. Nope, it's going to be a book about the travels and life of a person with great descriptions and beautiful scenes captured within the pages. 

This it the type of book I've wanted to write for some time now; and it's been a long time coming. But the main problem I had was that I didn't know what the book was going to be about - not until I found myself grieving over a close friends' suicide over the past week and I was in front of my computer late one night and I opened a new folder on a thumb drive and started at 'Chapter One', where my character was in grieving.

It's going to be a great book, but as with all my books, I'm not sure where it's going to take me. It's a path untaken as well; with me not scaring people or myself. Now, to write something about the deep feelings and thoughts of the Human mind... wouldn't that be a wonderful book to get into and succeed at writing? I hope it will be.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

'Uncommon Type' by Tom Hanks

We all know some actors and singers dabble in the publishing arena just to say that they got themselves published and out onto the shelves of a bookstore at least once in their lives. Some make it big as they step from being in the limelight to being in the gently-glowing screen of their computers at home - which is less public and more introspective.

The fame which comes to a write is much different than the fame of being an actor or singer. Until you step from one to the other, you can't tell the difference... and until you've made a successful switch from one to the other, you won't know it either.

Tom Hanks has been a household name for over twenty years - and is one of my all-time favourite actors. From 'Big' to 'Sleepless In Seattle' to 'Forrest Gump', 'Castaway' and 'The Terminal' as well as 'Toy Story' (all of them), he has been a constant in my life as I grew up. I actually remember when I turned 18, one of my friends gave me the book 'Big' with Tom Hanks on the cover and I read that book; even though I'd seen the film already - and yet, I enjoyed the film better. 

However, when I watched a documentary about Tom Hanks and his amazing life - and his wonderful collection of typewriters - a few years ago, he mentioned he was working on writing a book. He didn't mention what his book was about, but he did say it was something he had always wanted to do in his life. The interviewer probed more, but Tom didn't let on anything more about his book - like any good writer, you keep all the goodies to yourself. 

Anyway, that was a few years go, and it was in March this year, that I found this wonderful book in QBD at Garden City for a good price. My Mum thought I was crazy to buy it as it was... but I knew it had been in the pipeline at some point, but didn't know when it was coming out.

And I'm here to tell you that the wait was well worth it! Tom can write a great story! He can jump genres too! I'm so happy to say that this book was well worth the wait from when he mentioned it during an interview a few years ago, until now (and let's face it, the best things are usually worth the wait, aren't they?). 
He can write some wonderful word pictures, scenes where you go back and re-read them and they are just as beautiful, delicious and sweet and fresh as the paper they're written on... and the photographs of typewriters! Oh, yes, he's combined two pleasures of his within his book:  his love of storytelling and his love of typewriters. 

This book,'Uncommon Type' is well worth the purchase as it's brilliantly written, proofread well and I totally enjoyed it! I do look forward to the next book he puts out - if he's working on another one that is. Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Book Collections of Old

It's amazing when you go through life that you don't think about what will happen to your things when you get old; when you have to sell your house and move into a small place.

My family has a Dutch Grandmother - an Oma - by marriage and she recently turned 99 years young and had to be placed into a nursing home. This meant her house has to be put on the market to pay for her placement there.

Well, her belongings are being split amongst the family. And just last Saturday, I was offered to look through her art books and studio. Yes, Oma was an artist and she collected books, not only for reading and escapism, but also for her artistic pursuits. 

And what a collection of books she has! Just look at this lot; and these ones here too!

I jumped right in and looked at her paintings first. You see, I've often not been able to look at them on my own without family standing by - causing me to feel as though I had a time limit to look at the artwork.

But on Saturday, I could wander around and just enjoy looking and becoming a part of the work and looking through all of Oma's books - art books or not - and know I didn't have somebody watching me the whole time. 

The sad part was that as I looked through the books, I realised this was the remains of somebody's life. It kinda made me feel awful that a lovely elderly lady was in a nursing home while her home for so many years where so many family dinners, so many years of love and enjoyment had happened, so many times she had sat and read so many of these books by the fire or by the afternoon sunlight in the Autumn was going to be sold. 

Her books were going to be either given away to family - like her art books to me - or given to a charity. Anything the family didn't want wasn't going to be kept. But the books of her collection really interested me; what she read wasn't organised; it was piled up in a chair in the art studio and not looked after. But the art books were organised in a bookcase, well-looked after and, I could tell, used on a regular basis.

So, have you come across books like this in your travels? Books from an older person who you've known in your life or from a bookstore where you know it had a prior life as an active part of somebody else's life; and now it was handed off or sent off like it didn't matter? Until my next post, happy reading.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Short Reads or Long?

As much as I love to collect books, I also enjoy reading them - I mean, why collect them if you're not gonna read them, right?

Well, I haven't read that many books this year, and that's due to me looking into editing some of my written work and organising them into book form - which takes time. Also, I'm at art school too; and that's taking up a lot of time as well.

So, in between painting and editing and decluttering my home, I'm reading as much as I can before bed - the only time I get to get my nose into a book. And I've noticed that the only genre I get to read is short stories or novellas. They're great and don't need me to get too involved - as yet. 

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy delving into the huge series of books like 'The Dark Tower' (which I'm up to book 4 of still) and I love to read the odd biography or autobiography. Then there's the classics which are just wonderfully worded to take me into another time and place so far away from this awfully modern world of Kindle, Kobo and computers. 

However, the short stories are just light enough to entertain me, relax me for a good nights' sleep and keep me interested in the right way. Besides, right now, I'm writing Flash Fictions and they're going really well for me. I've found that Chuck Wendig's blog of 'Terrible Minds' is a great place to get wonderful prompts and his books are brilliantly written. Chuck tells it as it is, pulls no punches and takes no hostages - speaking like a writer thinks; which is a rarity.

I've been getting my nose into 'Uncommon Type' by Tom Hanks (yep the actor - what a great guy! I don't know anyone who doesn't like him); and I gotta say, this book is fantastic. He should have been writing before this because of his clean cut way of expressing himself. 
Then, there's 'Dandelion Wine' by Ray Bradbury - which I've been trying to get my nose into for a few years and last year put down somewhere in my house couldn't find it; only to rummage through my books last night and pick it up, blow the dust off it and start it again. I read the first chapter slowly, deliberately, until midnight and then turned out the light... then couldn't sleep because of how Bradbury described the dawning of the first day of Summer. Isn't that always the way?

Well, how is your reading going? I'm going okay with it. I still have books to give away within Australia and books to sort through here in my home office. Otherwise, the book collection is still not dented by my reading listings of what's been read and what's not been read - but then, I'm not worried about keeping count as much as I used to be anymore. To me, a book being read is just a book being read. There's no goals this year. So long I get in and read books that I enjoy that's the main thing isn't it?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Big Book Clean-Out!

I'm currently in the throws of a big book cull... and loving it! A few weeks ago, I told you guys I went to a friend's place to help her out and scored a great many books to read and add to my collection - well, this made me sort through my books and sent off some of my own unwanted - not to mention unread - books to another place across the country.

So far, I've already sent off two 5kg bags across Australia. One has arrived in Melbourne and one in the Northern Territory... and now another is going to the Northern Territory again; this time filled with a certain author's books. 

There's going to be one more book bag to be sent off before I approach a prison or an retirement village and see if they'd like the books I can't send away. I might try out the former and see if the inmates of one of Queensland's prisons would like to have some leftover books to add to their library. After all, everyone reads no matter where they are.

Anyway, I'm getting through these books and will be looking at the new lot of books to read soon as I'm working on new artworks as the year progresses.

So, do you do book culls - much like I do? You know, to get rid of books you're no longer interested in or want to read? Or are you a keep-them-all-no-matter-what kinda person? Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A Designer's Eye on Books

There's a craze going around people's private libraries at the moment, and I'm not liking it one little bit!

Well, okay, there's two crazes - but I'm not counting.

One of them is pulling the books in your library together in all the colours of the spines and making your library look like a crazy colour wheel. It doesn't matter if the books are sorted into fiction or non-fiction, romance or action... so long it looks pretty - right?

Um, no, I don't think so. I have to have my horror with horror. Romance with romance, non-fiction with non-fiction... otherwise there's just no point to having a library if there's no real order.

That's how I've seen some people sort out their library.

Then, there's the other end of the scale completely... the people who don't like looking at the titles of the books and would much prefer to look at the disgusting, whites and sand colour stylings of the pages instead. Yep, these idiots face their books with the pages outward and think it looks 'fashionable' and 'stylish'. 

One little question: how do you know what the title is if you can't see it? 

Yeah didn't think this one through did ya?

I like my crazy-coloured library with everything in its place and a place for everything. I like my Stephen King where his work's supposed to be, my non-fiction over there near the window, and my biographies all sandwiched there in the shelf... which really does need to be cleaned out, moved around and, yes, I need more room here.

And to think, I just did out the collection yesterday. Well, until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Rebirth of Bookstore Managment

On Thursday, my Mum and I were out seeing the doctors in the city. But that's not all we were doing. After that rather expensive hour or so with the doctor and then paying for parking, we headed off to Garden City on the south side of Brisbane in the search for some lunch.

Yes, it was a very hot day, we wanted air conditioning in the worst possible way.

Well, we had a light lunch, then a coffee and then did some shoe shopping - for Mum - and headed to QBD in the centre on the top floor not to find any books. No, when I go into this store, normally, I'm just enjoy the looking around perusing of shelves and the joy of seeing what's out on the market right now.

Like any book-lover, I enjoy just seeing books on shelves in bookstores... I could live in a bookstore because it's something I have at home - my own home library - and it brings me great joy to be around it; it brings me peace before I go to bed a night. Yes, I spend time in my home library to settle my mind; I don't know how, but it does. 

Anyway, being in a bookstore in the middle of a busy day out with anyone just helps me meditate for a while. I love just staring at the spines of the books, looking through the different and new publications and finding out what people are into right now. 

Well, just before Mum and I left the store, I spotted 'Uncommon Type' by Tom Hanks. I knew I had to have it! It was a book I had heard he was writing this book about a year or so ago, but there was no release date. And to see it on the shelves made me jump! I grabbed it and was so happy to see it I took it straight to the counter and asked about it. The young man at the counter was very helpful as he put through my QBD member's card and told me that I had plenty of points on that card to use - yay! - and so I didn't have to pay full price!

The best things I found out about this young man was that he is also the manager of this store; and yet he was in his 20's, very friendly, approachable and helpful in every way. When we got talking to him, we found out he had a huge library of books at home as well... telling us that he can't live without books being around him when he's at home either. 

Now, I'm so happy there's still hope for the traditional printed books for the younger generation; seeing I've spotted so many of them with Kindles and Kobos in their hands claiming that the paper books are dying out. With people like this great manager of QBD Garden City showing up in their stores now, I think there's hope for the traditionally printed books yet!

Have you come across this type of hope lately? Or is just a fluke and Mum and I happened across it just this one day? And have you read Tom Hanks' nea book? What did you think of it? I've only begun reading it, and already, I like it.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Decluttering

I'm in decluttering mode - and it's great!

A good part of the townhouse has been decluttered - from the kitchen to the art area and the bedroom and bathroom - but I've left the home office until last because, well, it's normally the hardest one to do.

And in all honesty it really is.

I do find it difficult to get my head around my books and other crap in my home office, mainly because the computer is also here. 

But in the last few weeks, I've done the greatest thing: I've bought two 5kg bags and posted them off to two people across Australia, after advertising on Bookcrossing.com. Any books which were sitting on the floor and unread by me ended up in those bags and were off in the post!

And you know something? 

I felt so much better getting rid of them! 

I've got so much more space now and I don't feel as though my floor is cluttered up with all those books sitting there staring at me and tripping me up. 

At the end of the year, I'll be doing it again - but then, it depends where I'll be living by that time. I might not be where I am right now... so I may have more shelf space and have the others off the floor by that time...

...you never know!

Until my next post, happy reading!