Cookies and cream

If I eat enough ice-cream the brain freeze might zap the memories of what I just did. It’s worth a solid try, anyway.

‘It could be worse,’ Hoz says.

I level a Grade-A Death Glare at him. ‘How, exactly?’

His mouth opens and closes goldfish-style, then he collapses back against the wall. ‘You’re right, you’re screwed.’

I hand him the cookies and cream. He immediately scores a monster cookie chunk. Just my luck. We eat in silence until our spoons scrape the bottom of the tub.

It hasn’t worked. I still remember.

Every. Thing.

Hoz points his spoon at me. ‘At least you didn’t try to kiss him.’

I have to smile. ‘There is that.’

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The #scbwiwestchallenge encourages us SCBWI West Aussies to #createeveryday. The prompt for this piece was ‘comfort food’.

Check out Instagram to see other creations of awesome!

 

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Diverse voices make for a brilliant read – ‘The Stars at Oktober Bend’

TSAOBThis was an unexpectedly extra-super-dooperly beautiful book. ‘The Stars at Oktober Bend‘ by Glenda Millard had been recommended to me, so I was prepared to thoroughly enjoy reading it.

I was even prepared to cry. Quite a lot.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the depth, the intensity of the characters, and the extent to which this book covers new and interesting perspectives.

I read the blurb and expected a love story with extras. It’s way more than that. The back calls it:

A beautiful, heartfelt novel about transcending past troubles and learning to live with trust and hope.

And it absolutely is. Like the ocean is water, or chocolate is yum.

3 things that were super-dooper

  • Diverse backgrounds and issues
  • Great use of POV
  • Poetry you really do want to leave around the place so people read it.

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Three reasons why your writing goals should be elastic and your imagination free

pablo (1).pngI love to treat my goals a little like my plotting. Give them freedom, and watch them grow and mutate into something better (preferably with superpowers or rainbow hair).

I feel the point of a writing goal is to give yourself a basic framework so you ACTUALLY START WRITING and then you can feel free to escape on the tail of whichever idea takes you.

Remember that little goal I set myself for January? Janowrimo? Newsflash – I didn’t make my 50,000 words (I wrote 35,000). And I’m not disappointed in the slightest. In fact, I’m totally stoked with what I achieved!

So, why shouldn’t you mind if you don’t achieve your writing goals?

1) You got in there and wrote! *celebrate!*

Okay, so when I’m suggesting you didn’t achieve a goal, I’m presuming it still inspired you to write and connect and plot and create. If you wanted to write 50,000 words and you managed 400 before giving up and turning the tele on, your goal clearly hasn’t worked at all. Go find yourself a more awesome goal. Continue reading

Crafting a great story: deconstructing ‘These Broken Stars’

TheseBrokenStars.jpgHello beautiful cover. I think I’ll read you…

It started with the gorgeous cover, but this is a clever and crisp novel that followed through on expectations.  ‘These Broken Stars’ by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner was a fab accompaniment to a great holiday.

And it only got better on my second read, because it was so crafty I didn’t notice some of the cool things the authors were weaving into it until I started analysing.

‘These Broken Stars’ is the first in the successful The Starbound Trilogy. We have society girl, Lilac, and low-born army hero Tarver. Sparks fly, their spaceship fails to, and they find themselves stranded together on a planet with too many mysteries.

I loved the clues and suspense, and the gentle beauty that came from two people hiking and learning about themselves as they went. I also love hiking, but I don’t think that’s a prerequisite to enjoying this fab book.

So, what was great about it?

Let’s do some deconstruction… and beware the occasional (read: frequent) blatant spoiler… Here are three areas I’m going to focus on for this novel.

  1. Multiple plot themes = ongoing interest
  2. Characters and POV (I know, I sound like a broken record…)
  3. Subtle introduction of ideas so you don’t even notice you’re noticing them

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AWW 2017 roundup and 2018 launch!

AWW-2018-badge-rose.jpgWith all good 2018’s comes a #AWW2018 challenge!

Challenge accepted!!

I’ve signed up for more of the same, please – read at least 10 books by Australian Women Writers and review at least six of these.

Piece of awesomesauce cake!

Looking back on #AWW2017 I did pretty well considering I was undertaking the hardest year of post grad study in the known universe (or so I thought…).

Here are the links to my reviews from last year – some fabulous reads from excellent Aussie authors:

A sequel that lived up to my ultra-excited expectations – ‘Gemina’

A great read for younger fans of fantasy – ‘Eve and the Runaway Unicorn’

Answer the call – ‘The Shark Caller’

Ponies + Mermaids = Gold… ‘Lulu Bell and the Birthday Unicorn’

Entertaining and heart-warming – ‘The Memory Shed’

A super start to a defo non-fairytale fairy series: ‘Valentine’

Recommended reading for all teen girls – ‘Risk’

Fun and daring make for an ideal combo – ‘To the Lighthouse’

Superb book-hug: ‘Take Three Girls’

And even though she’s technically a kiwi (heck, so am I sort of) I’ll add in the wonderful A total YA package – the clever and crisp ‘Spark’

 

Have you taken up the challenge? Join us!

Janowrimo – the busy writer’s solution to a hectic November!

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I spent Christmas holidays on Rottnest Island – glorious!

There’s so much going on at the back end of a year. Study, end-of-school stuff, holiday prep… rush, pack, buy, wrap, plan…

Sometimes, November just doesn’t feel like the best month to decide to write 50,000 words (Even though I do love Nanowrimo!!)

So I’ll share a little thing I like to do. I call it Janowrimo.

I mean, wow, how inventive am I??

I sit down and write 50,000 words in January. It’s a marvelous month where Christmas is over, school hasn’t started yet, and that heavy headdress of end-of-year strain has been replaced by a marshmallow-and-rainbows sort of freedom from whence springs great writing.

Last year, I didn’t manage to do Nanowrimo at all because of study commitments, so my 2018 Janowrimo is twice as important. I’m breaking with tradition this Janowrimo, and NOT (shock! horror!) aiming to write a single MS over the entire month. The first thing I’m aiming for this month is a chapter book involving some splendid gardening and unlikely friendships.

Wish me luck! Maybe even join with me?

Superb book-hug: ‘Take Three Girls’

TakeThreeGirls.jpgWhen I finished reading this book, I hugged it. Arms. Book. Chest. Smile.

‘Take Three Girls’ by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood is a raw and sometimes confronting book that is also funny, heartfelt and inspiring.

The friendship is fab, the character arcs super, the characters themselves so realistic. I ache for them, I cheer for them, I worry for them.

The book is chock-full of positive ways for teens (especially girls) to learn to feel good about who they are, but without that terrible feeling you’re getting a super-side-serve of preaching with your fiction. It’s simply a beautifully masterful, exciting and enlightening book.

I find I don’t want to dissect ‘Take Three Girls’ like I normally would.

No. I want to hug it.

Again.

I think it’s because I’m now a teacher, and I’ve seen both ends of these character arcs, and that’s why this book hit me so deep. I’ve seen the terrible sadness and missed opportunity of kids who can only deal with hate by hating on others. A dreadful spiral.

Continue reading

Back on board… the keyboard that is!

Uni is over. And I don’t just mean the semester. Or the year.

I mean The Whole Thing! 

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I’ve spent this year getting a Grad Dip in secondary teaching, and last Friday I finished my final prac! Done, over, ended, complete, passed it (aced it!). I’m so proud of myself.

And… I can be a writer again. Because, believe me, much as I love it… writing had to take a back seat this year. And when I say back seat, I mean eventually it got thrown off the bus and had to walk home.

Through a freak hail storm.

Without even a hat.

And then some dude drove past too fast through a puddle and my writing got oily grit all over it…

 

Anyways… I’ve got some fab storylines in the back of my brain, and a crisp and up-to-date idea of how high schools operate these days.

As well as TIME (so vital!).

So, keyboard, brace yourself…!

Fist-pump book quote – ‘Dragonkeeper’

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‘Dragonkeeper’ p 264… made by me using pablo

DragonKeeper1.jpegThis super book has won heaps of awards and admirers since it was published. ‘Dragonkeeper’ by Carole Wilkinson is the first in a series that splices history and fantasy.

I enjoyed this book on many levels. It is intricate, reserved, rich, and beautiful.

And I had to chuckle at Ping’s utter belief that there is no need for bathing more that once every summer or so…