Harry Potter tattoo!!

Finally got myself a Harry Potter tattoo! Expecto Patronum on the foot. SO happy with it! 😀

Harry Potter Expecto Patronum tattoo on foot

Please excuse the grubbiness, it’s still fresh and ink residue everywhere 🙂

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Poetry

I know very little about poetry. I dabbled with rhyme when I was very young, and again in my teen years when angsty and sad, but I wouldn’t have a clue about poetic form. I’ve never studied it.

A while ago my cousin sold me a couple of books he used for uni, including this one:

The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand, Eavan Boland

The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms by Mark Strand, Eavan Boland

And in the last few days I have started reading it.

Here I am in the car during a recent short trip to Coffs Harbour. My boyfriend loves surfing and I can barely swim. So while he surfed, I read in the car.

Don't read and drive kids!

Don’t read and drive kids!

I did manage to try stand up paddle boarding though which I loved. 

I even managed to actually stand. Quite the achievement since I spent most of it on my bum scared :P

I even managed to actually stand. Quite the achievement since I spent most of it on my bum scared 😛

So anyway, poetry. I’ve decided to make a little project of this book, trying every poetic form in it, across a certain theme which will be revealed soon. I also haven’t forgotten about my other project Everything He Knows About Writing which I will be back to very shortly.

Writings are happening!

It’s not as bad as I thought!

Following on from my post the other day, I dropped into my local independent book store, MacLean’s Booksellers, to look at the current range of teen and young adult fiction. A far cry from the dull department store range that bothered me so, MacLean’s stocked a broad range of genres that covered far more than the supernatural, vampire riddled repetitions that I had seen the other day. There were vampire and underworld books there of course, the market is what it is, but there were also a bunch more books that were much more my style.

Anyways, I’m still fairly broke, so I only picked up Divergent as recommended by lovely Amanda Callinan, as well as King Lear in the No Fear Shakespeare range…a set of books I just discovered which are looking to be worthy of a whole other blog post methinks.

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Happy reading!

PS: Remember, if you leave a comment on my post from the other day you will be in the running to win some cool bookmarks. Be sure to check it out! 🙂

Exploring…and a mini competition!

It occurred to me that I really haven’t a clue about what teen fiction currently looks like.

I know what it used to look like, in the late 90s and early 2000s when I was, indeed, a teen. But now? I know of The Hunger Games. I know of Twilight. And that’s it really.

For the record, I have seen The Hunger Games, but not read the books. I read the Twilight books and saw a couple of the movies. I am sure I will love The Hunger Games. I struggled with the Twilight series, for the often stated reasons, but admit that the books have their merits.

Anyway my point is that as a potential teen fiction author, what are my potential audience reading? I intend to explore the local bookshop soon, but yesterday made do with BigW, an Australian department store.

As expected, most of what I saw was fantasy. I found it so dull to be staring at blurb after blurb of vampires, underworld guardians and teens gripped with the responsibilities of either Buffy-like mortals or Buffy-like immortals.

Don’t get me wrong, I love supernatural themes in books, and even more so in television. Growing up, I lived for the show Charmed. And when older I sweated over waiting for new episodes of Supernatural. But in my readings, I prefer variety, not to mention a good dose of reality as well. All these books just looked the same.

So I dug around and looked for books that weren’t so obviously fantasy. I was tricked a couple of times but eventually settled on three to try reading. I only bought one, but will go back for the others on pay day.

First up, Rise: An eve novel, by Anna Carey.

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This is the one I purchased and it turns out this book is the 3rd in a trilogy…woops. But after reading the first chapter it looks like it will still be readable as a stand alone, and potentially enjoyable. It’s set in dystopian New America.

Second, Eve and Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate.

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This book really caught my eye by the cover, and the blurb sucked me right in. I can’t wait to go back and get it…it looks like its exactly what I would enjoy reading. The premise is a little hard to explain without lifting directly from Amazon, so I suggest checking it out there. It has mixed reviews, and that just makes it all the more intriguing to me.

Finally, Erebos, by Ursula Poznanski.

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The premise of this book immediately reminded me of one I had to read at school, Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein (I had to use some Google trickery to find the name of this long forgotten book). Both books are centered around video games. In Space Demons the protagonist enters the video game (as in Tron), in Erebos, there is no such cross over, however the game impacts on the real world. Space Demons, unbelievably, was written in 1985, and I recall not liking it very much in school. I found it very unsettling but can’t remember why. I wonder if I will find Erebos equally as challenging. Time will tell.

Speaking of books I was made to read at school, another one I remembered recently was Z for Zachariah. And I remembered hating it. It is a book about a post nuclear war in which a lone teen, believing she is the last survivor, is confronted by an outside character. I remember the isolation presented giving me a feeling of dread, and the ominous visitor giving me a feeling of fear. But now, as an adult, I have read that if the book is read later in life it is often interpreted and viewed completely differently. So I borrowed it from a friend and am giving it another go. I’ll let you all know of the outcome!

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And now, for a competition! It’s just a little something, which I thought of while taking the pics for this post. You will see a little face peeking out of the book in the first pic and I actually have a few of these rather unique bookmarks spare.

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These are from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children in Australia. On one side is the alphabet embossed in braille, on the other is the alphabet spelled out in Auslan (Australian Sign Language). How cool!

I was given a bunch of these when I studied Auslan briefly a few years ago and still have a few left. Three lucky winners will receive TWO double sided bookmarks. Yay!

To enter, simply comment below with a writerly or readerly share, be it a blog I and other readers might enjoy, a website full of resources, or a YA / teen book you recommend 🙂

I will post to anywhere! Even if you will never use the Auslan alphabet it is certainly an interesting and unique bookmark.

Winners will be announced 12 noon Monday 22 April, AEST.

Thanks for reading!

Hunkering down.

I recycled a small box languishing in my cupboard. It is an ‘archive box’ but much prettier. Prettier is good.

I have filled it up gradually this week. Lovely fresh notebooks from a new friend, pens, bundles of notes, The Writers Marketplace 2005, short stories by Roald Dahl, a literary magazine.

It will go with me to my boyfriend’s childhood home, near the beach, in the sun, nestled in the days that rest between Christmas and the New Year. I will leave my PC behind, perhaps even my netbook. The Kindle can come.

The ideas have been churning all week. I know this time I won’t have to force it. I know I won’t be distracted, with an extra week following in which I plan to focus on other things: sewing, socialising, planning for the new year.

But for this week I have one goal, one desire, one need.

I am hunkering down. I am going to read. And I am going to write.

archive box

Goodreads is helping me to read again

I loved to read when I was a kid. There was always a book under my nose and I was called Bookworm alot. This was shortened to Bookie in high school which stuck. I don’t really talk to high school classmates any more but if I do encounter one, there is a 50% chance I will be greeted with “Bookie!” as opposed to “Danielle!”.

Whilst I often hated the nickname, which was not exactly used in the most endearing way, I truly identified as a book person. Books were my one love and my savior.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, they were lost.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a large book shelf and identified reading as one of my main ‘interests’ if ever anyone asked, but between discovering boys and parties, and then deciding to go to university, the love of reading became buried. I distinctly recall, through my entire university experience, decrying the tragedy that was my lack of readerly time. If I had a moment to spare to read anything the only, and I mean ONLY option was to pick up an assigned reading for one of my social science or business courses and get cracking. Even with such commitment I never got through them all. With the exception of the Harry Potter series for four years I basically read nothing but university texts. It was truly disheartening, particularly when I realised that said texts took up a huge chunk of my book shelves.

By the time I had emerged from uni and into a world of potential time to spare, the internet had exploded. I had Facebook and I had a hectic schedule in my new job, and books and I remained estranged.

Just over a year ago I made some tough choices. I left I high paying job that was constantly dragging me back to Sydney and ruining my routine and lifestyle, and took up an entry level role in my hometown which paid the bills and little more.

I have never been happier. My job is straight forward and non-intrusive. I have brain cells left at the end of the day. I have endless free time around a structured routine to facilitate said free time. I now regularly exercise, volunteer once a week, and have taken up sewing as a hobby.

I also have time to read again, and potentially write my novel.

My boyfriend, at my not-so-subtle nudging (“This one please?”), bought me a Kindle last Christmas. I loaded it up and was ready to go, but for a good chunk of this year just couldn’t make it happen. New found freedom meant I had over crammed my free time and there was always something new to do! I certainly was NOT getting any writing done, and reading was a slow crawl and a slink back to the safe comfort of re-reading Harry Potter.

But recently, something special has slowly blossomed. I signed on for Goodreads a few months ago, once establishing that the Facebook request from a friend was not spam or a game (kudos to me for FB scepticism), I signed up, plugged a bunch of books I already had into and just let it sit. Then the other week, I’m not sure what switched, but I just started reading again and decided to track my progress on Goodreads, logging my percentage after EVERY reading session.

Not only am I reading again, but I am reading multiple  books at once, something I was never really good at.  And I am enjoying EVERY minute of it, reading on my Kindle in my lunch break and hard copy books in bed, switching off the TV to read on the couch and reading whilst doing any form of waiting. The tracking of progress is helping SO much. I have this odd sense that I will let someone down if I don’t show steady progress (I am thinking that someone is me), and the result (me reading more often) is helping me to relearn the habit of picking up a book, and helping me to retrain my focus, an ability which had gotten lost in 5 years of social media and internet news.

Not only am I finding this exciting and fun and like I have returned to one of my true passions, but a side bonus is that I really feel my lack of focus and commitment to writing my novel has alot to do with the fact that I feel a bit like a fraud. Genuine, quality authors read widely and this shows in their work. I do not want to be one of those authors who hardly ever picks up a book, and don’t think I could be, hence my trouble picking up a pen.

Well no more! I have, in many ways, pushed my writing aside even further to take time out to read. And for the next little while I am going to continue to do so. I know that before long, when I am reading the way I used to, the urge to pick up the pen will come naturally and a novel will pour out. I just have to be patient for a little while longer.

One the reading list at the moment, across Kindle and hard copy (with percentages read!):

  • The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan (27%)
  • The Best of Catherine Caffeinated: Catherine infused self publishing advice by Catherine Ryan Howard (14%)
  • How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C Foster (14%)
  • Biology for Dummies by Donna Rae Siegfried (11%)
  • The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven (2%)
  • Ulysses by James Joyce (about 4 pages)

Feel free to add me on Goodreads! goodreads.com/daniellehere