Thursday, January 31, 2013

13 in 13 Challenge… Book 3 - Romance

Little White Dove
 

Book #3 - 13 in 13 Challenge 

The Road Home; Fiona Palmer 

Genre: Romance

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I love how this challenge has opened up my reading only a few short weeks in. I have been trying to read the genre challenge titles in between my regular reading (did I mention I'm doing the challenge on my craft blog with my normal daily reads?) So this book is actually the 6th book completed this year but counts as number 3 for this particular challenge!

The Road Home is Fiona Palmers third book and is classed as Romance. She was interviewed several months ago on one of the morning programs about how this new wave of authors are producing a new genre called Chook-lit. Technically it is Chic-lit (which to me is romance) but set in the Australian outback. On Farms. With hot farmers. Really Farmer wants a wife - need I say more?

I really enjoy these style of books, they are generally light reads and entertaining and I daresay Fiona Palmer is probably one of my favourite authors - she pulls me in from the very first page!    

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Writing and travelling!

Last year I wasted a lot of time - when I found myself with time to spare; rather than make the most of it - I floundered and squandered about spending far too much time on Facebook. THIS year, I need to get cracking with my study and my writing. I need to stop treating it as a hobby and start being serious about it. I've decided to treat it as though it were a job and have written myself a strict timetable in iCalendar with designated times for Study / Work and of course Play. I am hoping this will help me achieve even more this year. 

I also realised after a few impromptu study dates that I am not set up to travel and write. Technology wise, I have invested in special programs which help immensely (stay tuned, I'm planning a blog post on those programs in the very near future) but when it came to taking the office on the road. I just didn't have what I needed.

With tentative talk of doing some trips later this year and hopefully some longer ones in the future I needed to start looking at some new systems.


My laptop (a MacBook Pro) has a small hard cover case which is great, but when it comes to travel, it's a PITA. Its the sort of case that has no handles and I needed a bag to take it and well it was just far too difficult.

Introducing my new Laptop Bag - retro style - that I picked up at Officeworks earlier today. $38.95 BARGAIN!   

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I packed it up with a few essentials and found that I can comfortably fit my MacBook Pro (13"). A4 notebook for study + tutorials. iPad case with iPad + keyboard inside. A4 notebook for research + copy of my full manuscript (50+ pages) with room to spare! And it wasn't terribly heavy! 

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And of course my iPad couldn't go without the matching retro red cover.

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I think I'm all set now to take my writing on the road. I can foresee many study dates in my near future!!! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Finding MY Place...

Facebook, if nothing else, offers diversity in life and friendships. My feed is a mishmash of different people and different lives. While some slowly wile away the final few days of pregnancy anticipation of their imminent arrival of the new babe; another sits with her husband, child free and sips coffee while watching the world go by. Babies have been born and babies are being made. Some have finished their families and some say goodbye, all the while still aching to one day hold their own heart. 

I sit and ponder life as each new update flickers across my screen before me. 

And I wonder to myself - where do I fit? 

My life at the moment is full. I can't think of a better word than that to describe it. I love everything about my life, my home is full of love and my family fill my heart. I have everything I could possibly need or want at the tip of my fingers and right now.... All of it is just perfect.  

Yet a little voice questions deep within me, is this ALL.

Fitting in. Such a simple concept. One I've struggled with in recent years as I walk balanced along the edges. I can't say I don't 'fit' anywhere, because I do - in other areas. But when it comes to the baby thing. I just don't fit. I never have. Except for 6 short months before I fell pregnant with Miss K. 

I've been feeling increasingly anxious these past few weeks and it's all culminated in tears today. 

Many little things have slowly added to this feeling until today it exploded from me and I realised once more just how deeply the pain of infertility affected me. I had honestly started to forget the pain and anguish. 

Today that pain and anguish bit me in the ass like the proverbial. 

Tomorrow I will put the lid back on, smile my brave smile and rejoin the land of happy.

Today I am wrapping myself in cotton wool while I mourn all I never had.    

Sunday, January 20, 2013

13 in 13 Challenge… Book 2 - Drama

Little White Dove
 

Book #2 - 13 in 13 Challenge 

To Kill a Mockingbird 

Genre: Drama 

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Book number 2 for the Challenge issued by Miss Dove has been finished. I classed this book as "Drama" though it could has passed for historical as well, however for the sake of this challenge - I will leave it as my Drama Choice for this challenge.

Now I know Kylie is challenging herself to no 're-reads' in her genre challenge. I broke that ruling for this particular book, having read this book previously in high school English class. My reasoning for re-reading this book was because many of the writing courses on offers highly recommend you read this book before doing the course. I purchased it a few years ago, when I was exploring the possibility of doing an online writing course and it sat in my bookshelf mocking me and I could never make it much past the first page or two.

My other reason for wanting to re-read this book was because the first time I read it - I didn't like it AT ALL! I think being forced to read the book as homework, being forced to finish it to a deadline - I managed to skim read it in its entirety. I didn't remember much of the book as I slowly re-read it this past week.

Reading it again 20 years later, I still struggled. Though this time I did not skim read! I actually found it a little bit confusing as my knowledge of US history in the 30's is limited (so sue me, I studied Ancient History - Modern History did NOTHING to my interest levels in school!) I sometimes wonder if I would enjoy these type of books a little more had I a little more knowledge of the history before I began the reading. Though I am guessing that reading books like this, do give an insight into the history in some small ways.

Toward the end of the book, a solitary tear ran down my face - the thought that humans could be so inhumane toward each other because of skin colour. This shocked me greatly. I won't go into this too much because articulation seems to have gone packing today and I don't seem to be making much sense. 

All I will say is that this book made me think and reflect and I guess that is precisely why it has won such high awards in the past. I think perhaps I will read this again in another 20 years to remind me that everyone deserves equality. No matter what. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

13 in 13 Challenge… book 1 - Sci-Fi

Little White Dove
 

Book #1 - 13 in 13 Challenge 

Title: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Genre: Sci-Fi 

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Well… it will take me sometime to re-gather my thoughts after they were cast adrift and floated off into the Galaxy. Even though I get the impression you "FLOAT" through space, this book moves faster than the speed of light, my mind turned to mush as it darted quickly from scene to scene. According to my Kobo I was only reading 8 pages per sitting, which is not enough for the story to sink in, but just enough for another barrage of words and time continuum and weird looking alien like creatures to force there way into the whirring cesspool of my now numb mind.

Along my journey into deep space we encountered 2 headed men, depressed robotic computers and 2 white mice that flew in glass tumblers. See are you understanding why my mind feels cast adrift and still quite possibly lost in space? 

No? Well how's this, a spaceship that works on improbability - yeah. Don't understand the rules of improbability? Don't even try and get it. Just roll with it and realise that sometimes "forty-four thousand, five hundred and twenty five to one against" is quite possibly damn good improbability odds. Those odds all sorts of things are possible. And improbable. 

So did I like the book?

Honestly I can't say. I don't read reviews of books until AFTER I have read them (and am much the same with my Movie viewing) I like to form my own opinion first. After I know how I feel, then I will start reading what others thought. Thing is with THIS book I can't decide if I love it or not. If anything I can go by what most people have said about it "you either put it down when your head starts to whirl or you go with the whirl and read till the end"

And I read it till the end. I NEVER finish books that don't grab me in just a little. 

So I think it's safe to say I LIKED this book. I just didn't LOVE it. 

I am not usually a sci-fiction reader nor watcher (I have watched Back to the Future trilogy with hubby but not without asking a million questions of what year we are in. I've also done Star Wars double trilogy but again question after question reign nigh) so while I do appreciate the weird and crazy, I guess I'm just not that nerdy. Most of the jokes in the book went over my head as I waded through words that I found hard to pronounce (am I the only one who hates reading a book that has hard to pronounce names… Hermione (hermy-own-knee) until the movie cleared that up (her-my-knee) just about did my head in for the first half of Harry Potter!! ) and I do struggle when books jump from one place to another, but I suppose with space travel it's to be expected that the book jumped about crazily.

Now one more small thing I will add; as this was my first time to read this book - I found it so unbelievably ahead of it's time. Written in 1979(?) the description of what the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (the hitchhikers guide book) were to me; reading this as an ebook version; eerily similar and just plain spinny. Who'da thunk it way back in the 70's that one day this device he described in great detail would be sort of similar to the modern day (2012) ebook is (storage of 1000 books on one teeny tiny screen) Okay so maybe it's not that eerie to you, but reading it as an ebook device and trying to imagine what he wrote while I'm reading it on a device that reminds me of what he's describing. Okay so yes it spun me out vastly!

But who knows. Perhaps Mr Adams was more than we know, perhaps he was an alien traveller who mastered time travel and perhaps, just perhaps this book that was never published on earth was never published on the old earth and THIS earth as we know it now is the new Earth. Yeah. Think about it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A clean slate & research

I've spent the morning hiding away in my little craft room / study. I told hubby before I went and he said its probably a good thing I'm hiding out; I think he's a little scared at my raging hormonal, tired & cranky life form this morning! Lacking motivation to actually do anything constructive, I've sifted through folders on my computer trying to make sense of where I'm up to with my novel and pin-point a starting point for 2013 to move forward with my story.

I've realised I haven't shared any of my planning posts to date (I did share some pictures of these on my other blog) and since this is my 'writing blog' I think it goes without saying they belong here.  

My manuscript - all 50 pages have been printed out and are awaiting substantial edits. I'm only 6 pages into edits and have quickly come to the realisation that the whole thing needs a shaking up. 

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Writing he first 10,000 words when I had NO IDEA what I was doing meant that there is no formed paragraphs, myriad spelling mistakes and grammatical errors aplenty!

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I have ONE A4 sized notebook (pink; of course) that is for notes I take during research. I am constantly amazed that you can gain so much information from one historical document in some circumstances, then on the next garner nothing of any interest!  

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My story (as mentioned previously) is based on life of my Late Nan. I always told her I would write her story and while I'm unsure if it will ever make it to publication (or if I will ever work up the nerve to consider it) I am greatly enjoying the process and learning more about the life and times of her childhood.   

As it's based on family history - I have managed to gather (over the years and thanks to a small stint at Genealogy research) a tonne of paperwork. All that paperwork was once floating around in several boxes and each time I needed a name or date, I'd find myself rifling through to find the photocopy of my Nan's handwritten family tree!

Frustrated I finally collated all the information into a folder, which is rather thick and growing daily!  

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To keep it simple, I have scanned and re-printed original copies of birth certificates / marriage certificates (and the like). A handwritten timeline marks the first page and then I have included sections on each of my characters. In the character sections I've printed out whatever information I had on hand of their family history, photographs, war records, historical records, even down to photographs of grave sites (if available & known!) It is fairly comprehensive and as with anything of historical documents, you need to keep a tight rein on it because you can easily find yourself flitting off on a tangent following a false lead!    

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Earlier in the week we found ourselves at Toowong Cemetery where I know a few of the relatives are buried, alas I had no record on me of the location of their grave site nor was the office open to gain a map. I am making it a priority to go back there one day this year and I hope to take photographs of the graves, so I can add it to my history file and keep it growing each year.

Earlier today I had a breakthrough, one of my main characters is buried in small cemetery not far from where the story is based. While I have found records and photos of gravesites of her parents, I've been coming up nil on her whereabouts - save what the family have told me. Until yesterday when I stumbled over the cemetery records on the local council website and low and behold I have her grave site number as well that of her parents. Without sighting a map of the graveyard, I am to assume that she is buried either with her parents or right next to them and has no headstone to mark her resting place. I am aiming to head out that way at some stage this year to confirm my suspicions and just perhaps I will build her a little cairn!

I am VERY excited by this little snippet of information! After spending the past year writing about her - I feel as though I know her, even though she passed away 17 years before my birth. 

If only I could find her husbands final resting place. I have been coming up blank in every known area I am searching and not knowing the date of his death nor the state is making it very difficult and extremely frustrating.     

Sunday, January 6, 2013

#WIPflash - Week 1

Lifting his heavy head from the damp pillow, a thousand drums struck a steady and never ending beat through his mind. Grounding his fists into his sleep encrusted eyes, he squinted toward the table and spied the empty bottle of whisky balanced precariously on the edge of the table. Snippets of the night before stirred through his brain, memories humming around the shattering noise of the drums. 

Looking past the empty bottle he spied the austere face of his wife staring stoically back at him. 

At that moment he realised that this hangover would be a picnic compared to the wrath of his Florrie. 

Standing she hurled something at him, "Put your pants on Ralph, or Bob or whoever the heck you are going by this week. Change is coming." 

As he watched her stalk from the room with a sinking heart he realised his mistake, as always too late. 

"It's a new year today and I've managed to start the year by right royally screwing it up" he muttered angrily at himself. 

Sighing he pulled his sorry body from her bed, pulling on his pants and walking in time to the drums in his head, to face the music awaiting his downfall.

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I had every intention of linking up to #WIPflash after much prodding by a certain little dove last night. Then I couldn't submit my comment from my iPad due to spam issues & it was too late to turn the computer on, you know - excuses, excuses, excuses! I missed this mornings cut-off by 2 hours *sigh* sometimes I hate time differences between countries. Rather than mope about it, I'm adding my piece here and adding it to the flash fiction pile in my story to be expanded on when I get small snippets of time.