Thursday, August 8, 2019

Even Better!

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

This is going to be fun! 

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Library Clean-Out Time!

Woohoo!

Yes!

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Tossed Out

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

This is no way to die. 

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Favourite Places

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Whatcha Reading?

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

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

But I'm reading some good books now. 

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

'Thinking Fast and Slow' by Daniel Kahneman 

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

'Mr Mercedes' by Stephen King

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

'The Shining' by Stephen King

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

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

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Dreams Into Stories or Books

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 13, 2019

Working Hard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 3, 2019

Haven't Been Around... I know.

I'm sorry... really.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 15, 2019

Writers Meet-Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 30, 2019

The King Trilogy!

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 11, 2019

Finally! I'm reading again!

I've finally finished reading a book this year! Yes, it's taken me almost 3 months to read a book! That's awful, isn't it?

Well, since my best friend took her own life last year, I just haven't read anything, or written anything. And I'm having problems concentrating on starting anything new that's written as well. So, finishing a book - my first one for the year - is good. And it was 'Elevation' by Stephen King; one of his new ones! 

Now, seeing I'm still a bit of raw nerve with my grief, and am having good days, and a bout of bad days, I'm sticking with thinner books for now - which means I'll be knocking over some good novellas and shorter novels this year hopefully. 

What do you get in and do when you can't get into reading? All last year, when I couldn't get my head into a book, I was painting at art school. I knocked out about 4 paintings last year - and for me to do that many really meant I wasn't in a good place. But my writing suffered. I also completely renovated my backyard; spending over $300 on it through Winter, just to get myself outside and away from the computer.

So, do tell, what do you do when you've been suffering with depression, grief, or other emotional problems in your life? Well, until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Creatively Blocked

I must apologise for the lack of posts in here lately. I've been creatively blocked in this way.

Since my dear friend took her life last year in May, I haven't been able to write more than 2,000 words - yeah a Flash Fiction - and even they're difficult to get out onto the screen. However, I'm looking into how to work on myself and figure out how to get through this block.

Now, I've been blocked before! Yep, I got Writer's Block when I had a guy leave me and take off to South Australia and flatly wouldn't let me go with him! I seriously loved him, and he just went, leaving me here with a broken heart - and well, I couldn't write anything creatively for around two and half years. 
But this is a death, and I'm not sure how long I'm going to be stuck with Writer's Block. Sure I can write non-fiction work, that's on fact, but fantasy and made-up stuff? Well, I really am struggling with that part of writing; when normally I just dive right in. 

I've been asking friends on Facebook for help with how they work through their Writer's Blocks, and they've been helpful with it all. I've got a few books on prompts which I'll look at and see how I go with them. But it looks like I'll have to talk to a therapist about this problem I've had for almost a year. 

You see, I call it a problem because I seriously want to write another book. The last book I finished was 'Fry Nelson - Bounty Hunter' and that was a trilogy. It's time to get my butt back into another lot of work like that and my head into my writing again - now I'm getting good with my painting, it'd be a good thing for me to work on my writing.

Have any of you had a creative blockage like me? How did you deal with it? Leave a comment or two and let me know. Until my next post, happy reading and writing.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Whatcha Reading?

Well, school has just gone back, and Valentine's Day has just been. And I'm wondering, what are you reading right now? 

Me? I'm reading one of Stephen King's new books he published last year titled 'Elevation'. It's a great little book and I'm halfway through it so far. I'm finding it a great read and totally enjoying it so much that I'm hoping to get into another one of his books soon to kick start myself into reading more than what I did last year - which was just one book. 

How pitiful is that?

Well, do tell, what are you getting your nose into right now? And do you plan your reads for the year? Or are you a pantser when it comes to reading? Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Selected Chapters

It's the Australia Day Long Weekend; and I've been busy! But seeing how scorchingly hot and horrible it's been this weekend - and this month - here in Australia, it's kinda hard to be busy all the time. So, I've been making sure I'm busy only during the times it matters: early morning and late afternoon.

Yep, it's been dreadfully hot every other time of the day for the past two months. 

So, on Saturday, I spent some of that day painting the sides of a painting and fixing it up to exhibit in March. There's another one I want to show in the same exhibition, but that one's already to show - so I'm ahead of my game there!

Anyway, doing that didn't take up all of Saturday. By around 11am, I was done and dusted with that painting and I onto the computer, and the internet for a while - but there wasn't much happening there. So, I decided to do what I've been meaning to do; and that is putting my Flash Fictions into particular chapters - or sections - of their own. 

At first, I just picked out the basics, and then as the hours went by, I added onto those chapters. It turns out I write a lot about Hell and Demons, Heaven and Angels, and I write a lot of really weird shit; and some really not bad sci-fi (if not a little on the far side of the galaxy kinda stuff). I also steal a lot of my themes from Star Wars, Supernatural, DC Comics and other common themes too, where I really don't mean to. But really, if you're going to steal a theme, you gotta steal from the very best, right?

Well, it took me around 6 hours to get all my stories all in their right folders and places... and by the time I was finished it was around 5:30pm. I was tired, hungry, thirsty and felt as though I had sat too close to the television for far too long! 

I have been writing Flash Fictions since 2013; and there were so many to sort through... and now I'm happy to just write them and put them into their own category as well as save them to their year on the flash drive. It's so much easier when it's organised like this. Well... that's my weekend. Today, I'm just chilling out and enjoying my Monday. It's still a stinking hot day, and I'm not fussed about how I spend it. How are you spending the weekend? Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Short Reads or Longer Ones?

You know, I love to read just about any book there is out there. However, the bigger books are always the most wonderful to get lost in and the better-written most of the time - as I find there's a small percentage of them which are badly written.

I do love 'The Lord of the Rings' by JRR Tolkien, as it's a great adventure of a totally different world, built by a brilliant man who wanted to take us all on that journey with the one ring which ruled them all... of course that can transfer into the real world too. 

I'm a big fan of the series of books as well. I'm talking about 'The Dark Tower Series' by Stephen King. I'm still trudging through book 4 and enjoying the snippets I get to read just before bed - when I get to read after my long days writing, cleaning or painting. 

Then, there's the shorter books I dive into, read and enjoy and they end way too soon. Okay, they have said all they want to say, but still, they leave me hankering for more. 
And along with the shorter novels are the complex, short novels. They cram so much into those pages and yet I still feel as though there's something not there, not finished - and that makes me want to search the world for what I'm missing out on with those books; when really I'm not missing out on anything. The book is complete... but to me it's not.

So, this causes me to wonder: what books keeps you reading, looking and searching for the perfect read - what is your whale, your Mt Doom? Is it the shorter books, the long, sprawling series or the whopping big tomes you're into? For me, it's a little of all three. Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Art Books

The other day, I was out and about at Browns Plains picking up art gear from a dear friend of mine who had offered 'some canvases' for me paint on. 

Some! Well, she gave me 16 unused canvases! Wow! I was stunned; and still am stunned at how many there are... she also gave me two table easels and a big stack of books from China! 

Now, a lot of books are published in China, but these were actually Chinese printed books in Chinese about the Chinese Art of Watercolour. It looked like about 20 books, but as of today, I was wrong! I sorted them out and there's about 35!

I was thinking of giving them away to the Logan Artists Association; however after looking at them more closely, I thought to keep them - seeing they're in their own sets of 5's and 10's. It's amazing to just see the beauty of a totally different culture and how they work the paintbrush and the pencil - and how their language is so different to ours. And really, how could I give away art books when I've never learned how to work my art into their ways - seeing the Chinese and Japanese all tell stories through their art in similar ways. Now, this is something I'd love to learn to do in my paintings... tell a story in the same way I do in words. That takes talent.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

New Reading Goggles!

Over the New Year, I haven't read any books... have struggled to read any knitting patterns and have had to enlarge the texts on my phone. The reason being is because all my glasses have been away getting new lenses.

Yep, I've been without my glasses for anything and it's been double vision and blurry vision for the past three weeks!

Well, that was until today when I finally picked up my three pairs of glasses from my optometrist and I could finally read something tonight for the first time in ages - a knitting pattern without squinting or trying to stretch my arm longer than it should be (stop laughing, it does happen).

Tonight, I'm going to pick up one of my current reads and read some of it before turning out the light... oh, it's going to be wonderful to finally get in some reading at long last! Until my next post, happy reading! It's going to be for me!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

Hey! It's 2019 and I'm happy to say that I'm getting into new and used books, and books which have been given to me, books which I've written and books which are just been sitting around my place lookin' at me, gatherin' dust...

Yep, this is the year for me to catch up on my reading and reference my arts, my cooking, my gardening... read up on what I can do with herbs, spices and how to grow plants and how to work on things with paint and drawings.

This is the year where I'll be utilising books to the full of their extent! My non-fiction section will be pulled apart, searched and read and found out about and loved - unlike in previous years - and I may even give some of it away... ya never know!

So, what are you hoping to do this year? Which books are you whale? Which books did you finish last year? Which books did you get for Christmas and have been delving into over this holiday season? What books are you going to read - as you have promised yourself over and over from the past years and have never reached up onto your bookcases and pulled down, opened that cover and fallen into those lovely printed pages of another world? 

Aah, yes! Where are you going to go this year, without actually leaving your home? 

This is what I'm asking. Do tell us. We'd all love to know.