Tuesday, May 28, 2013


If you could see my "to read" pile right now you would raise your eyebrows and wish me luck. Truly. There are so many incredible books out there just begging to be read. So many different types of stories, so many characters.... where do we find the ideas from?

The book I'm working on right now, I have no idea where the inspiration came from. I was explaining the plot to my brother-in-law the other day and as he is a total sci-fi geek he was very excited to inform me my story had "very strong elements of sci-fi". No way, not true. Okay maybe a little true, but not intentionally! Honestly though, I have no idea where this particularly story idea came from. It wasn't a life event that gave me the idea, and it wasn't an image or a TV show or anything of the sort... I had one idea and it just developed from there.

In the past six months there have been a number of events that have triggered that little light bulb in my head to light up. The "this would be a great idea for a book" light bulb. Then there are the plans I'm making for the future which I can already tell would provide a great setting for a story.

So I wonder, where do you find your inspiration? Do you write books based on events of your life, or your friends lives or do you find something entirely and completely obscure and go from there?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

I swear the weeks are just whizzing past!

So word is starting to get out about What's Up Wednesday which is GREAT! I just now need to remember the time zone difference and get them up at the right time! Yikes!

How's everybody's week been? :D

What I'm Reading
I've now officially started on Cody Name Verity, and so far it's pretty good. Has a bit of a slow start but it's enjoyable to read. I've been going to bed really early to try and get lots of reading time in but unfortunately I end up falling asleep within half an hour. My co-workers do find it funny when I say I went to bed to read my book and ended up asleep by 9pm! Crikey!

What I'm Writing
Well I sat staring at my blank page with the title Chapter 8 for just over a week. You know when you read a book that is so boring you have to force yourself to get over it and just read but it's SUCH. A. HASSLE? Yeah, well my book's been like that. So repetitive and boring, and I sat there saying 'this is going no where.' So I did two days of serious brainstorming and then I looked at what my issues were.

I was trying to focus on two many characters at once. There wasn't a sole purpose of the story and there was too many smaller story lines trying to creep in. So I'm pretty much going to scrap chapters 4 - 8 and start over. Chapters 1-3 are where I want them, but I need to hone it in, and focus more on the issue and the resolution... the characters journey. I was also writing in split narrative as I thought that was the best way to get over a certain language barrier, but it was creating too much confusion so i'm kicking the guy's narrative to the curb and going to change a few things up. Hopefully it'll work better this time!

What Inspires Me Right Now
My motivation to get the story right, that's inspiring me. Every time I log onto my blog and check the newsfeed I get inspired. And of course my lovely man who won't let me give up even when I feel it's useless.

What Else I've Been Up To
Sleeping! I've been so tired I've been sleeping so much! A lot of physio as well - I have a slipped disc in my neck which is causing these awful headaches so I've been doing a lot of physio exercises to help that come right. I'm still planning my trips, and at work we're planning a big launch party for Friday night. We're pre-releasing four shows that'll be in our Arts Festival which is very exciting! And the brochure has finally been sent to the printers!

Aside from that, my man is FINALLY coming down to see me - it's been two months since I saw him last so I'm very exciting, and in a week's time we're heading to one of New Zealand's best glaciers which I'm very excited about!

What have you been up to? :)

Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Please Ignore Vera Dietz
Written By: A. S. King
Published By: Knopf Books
Published On: October 12, 2010
Pages: 336

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.
So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?
Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.

I was recommended this book by a friend of mine who's judgement on books I trust immensely. If she goes on and on about a particular book, I'm 99% convinced that I'm going to love it. Vera Dietz was no exception.

The cover is simple yet effective, a design in which you don't often see on many modern books which I quite like. I love the way the lighter is forming the title and the green background is quite eye-catching. As you make your way through the book, you also realise the lighter is actually a very important part of the story.

The book is narrated by Vera as she moves on with her life after the death of her best friend, Charlie, who she hadn't spoken to in months after he had changed enough to cut out of his life. The thing that I really love about this book is how very real it is. As though this situation, and this life, could really happen to the average teenager.

Aside from the somewhat confusing drunken hallucinations of Vera seeing dead Charlie's ghost, the book is exceptionally well written. It was easy to get captured into the story within the first few pages and it very quickly becomes hard to put the book down. While Vera knows the true cause of Charlie's death, you want to keep reading so you can find out the heartbreaking truth of what happened on that fateful day.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a strong and powerful YA novel.
I would give Please Ignore Vera Dietz 5 stars

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

I've been meaning to do What's Up Wednesday for a couple of weeks since Jaime and Erin came up with this awesome idea.
Only problem was I kept getting confused with the different time zones and pretty much failed. This week though, i'm on it!

What's Up Wednesday is just a way to keep in touch with blogging friends and let everyone know what's been happening in your life!

What I'm Reading
I just finished the latest Jodi Picoult book The Storyteller which I, embarrassingly, took two months to read. It was a good read, just very heavy and life kept getting in the way!

Tonight i'll also be finishing The Future of Us. Tomorrow I can finally start on Code Name Verity. My friends been bugging me for ages to read this, so hopefully it sucks me in!

What I'm Writing
I'm taking my good sweet time to get through my current WIP. Seriously, I'm up to chapter 8 and have been writing for three months already. I currently have hit a snag and haven't written all week. I'm sure i'll be able to pick it up this weekend when I'm a little less crazy with work and life in general. I just need to stop changing so many important aspects of the book!

What Inspires Me Right Now
I'm not getting a lot of inspiration from certain things right now except perhaps my dreams. When I need something to come to me I go to the gym and about half way through my work out, once i'm well and truly lost in my story land my ideas come pouring out. Then of course there are a few of my own life events and parts of history that lend themselves and inspire me.

What Else I've Been Up To

At work
We're in full on brochure production mode for the Arts Festival Programme Brochure. It's a lot of work and I've done a lot of proofing and editing over the last few weeks. I had no idea how much work went into those brochures. It's almost time to send it to the printers - very exciting but also nerve wracking.

At home
I've been thinking a lot about my book, but haven't done a lot of writing. I've been playing my guitar a lot too, losing myself in the music is a great way to spend some 'me time'. I've also been planning my next lot of travels! My man, my sister and my sister's man booked flights to Africa on Monday, we're all booked in for early next year to head to the great African continent and safari for 5 weeks before spending 9 days in Egypt, 6 days in Athens and 10 days in Turkey. Then we'll move to London. The plans are starting to come into place, I'm very excited! I'm also planning my trip to the New Zealand glaciers which I'm doing with my man in two weeks time. I've never been before even though they're only a few hours drive away, so i'm looking forward to that!

In Remembrance
The last week has been pretty difficult. On Friday two people I knew died. One was expected, and one was incredibly sudden and unexpected. I saw this guy on Friday morning and he was happy and full of energy. Within a few hours a brain aneurysm had snuffed out his life. So cruel and unfair. I've rarely known anyone to be so chirpy and living life to the full. It's hard to believe that someone who really was larger than life could be taken from us so early. Words can't fully do justice to how much of an incredible guy he was, and why he managed to touch so many people's lives, but he really did. A good portion of my town knew him in some way or another. His death has hit me harder than any other I've been through, including my grandparents (but that would be because I was so young). All my love, prayers and thoughts are going out to his wife and his two children who haven't even reached the age of five.

Sooo that's me for now! What have you all been up to? :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why Do We Write?

What is it that encourages us to write? Why do we sit behind the screen and rack our brains to find what will happen next?

I've always been a 'writer' in a sense but it's only been in the last year that I've really wanted to write. I'm not sure where the switch came from. I'm not sure what it is that made me say to myself, I really want to write.

In the past few weeks there have been a significant number of changes in my life. In fact my life has almost been turned upside down, and writing, my blog, everything has taken a back seat. I've barely even thought about the story that's been sitting inside my mind for the past nine months and had to focus on the here and now of my life.

A part of me even wondered if I'd find my way back to writing or if it would be something that I'd been into for a while and just floated away to the place where my old hopes and dreams now lived.

Once my life was in order my mind kept drifting back to the world that I had created, and this girl... the main character of my story, she kept popping up in my mind asking why I wasn't writing. Plus I missed it. I knew my motivation had gone because I wasn't having a lot of luck with my writing before I took my break, but I knew I cared too much about this idea, this story to just leave it behind. I need to know what happens. I need to know how this story ends, and the only way to do that is to find my motivation and start writing again.

I don't really have an answer for my first question. I love writing, and I love the sense of purpose it gives me. I know I'm the only one that can tell my story in the way I want it told. So maybe that's why we write. To tell the stories that we know we're the only ones who can tell them.

Why do you write? Why do you make the time to sit down at your computer and write when you know there is probably a million other things you could be doing instead?

I'd like to know...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My book is #$%^&*

Does anyone have days when they're just writing away, doing their best to write a decent story and then they stop and just think, oh my goodness. My book sucks.

At the moment i'm plugging away, writing my heart out and just letting the story flow from my fingertips. But then I stop. It's almost like i'm building a wall for myself that I just can't get past. I'm building it on purpose. My story is crap. The dialogue isn't flowing as naturally as it should.... it just doesn't feel natural. It feels too forced.

Then of course I go on a whirlwind of self-doubt and wonder if I'm really cut out for this particular path or not. Could I even manage to get this book finished if I can't get through a chapter without criticising my work? My mum's always said i'm my own biggest critic. I know that, but I also know when I can do better... and this... it's not better.

How do you get past this? Are first drafts usually this awful? Does most of the 'decent' writing come in the editing phase? It's so hard to get past the self-doubt and criticisim.

So many times I just wanna delete it all and start over. But that'd just be a waste of time now, wouldn't it! What are your experiences? 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Review: The Book Thief

The Book Thief
Written By: Markus Zusak
Published By: Picador (Australia), Knopf (USA)

Published On: March 14, 2006
Pages: 576

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

It's been a couple of months since I read The Book Thief, and I've mentioned before how much I enjoyed it, so I thought I might as well write a review on it. 

There are many different covers out and about for this particular book but the image I've chosen here is the cover on the book that I own. I feel that it really represents the story. Death, the narrator, standing alone in a frozen almost dead forest. Then of course the splatter of blood. The mark of war. It's a very thought provoking image if you really look into it, and I'm sure English classes all over the world have a field day pulling it to pieces. (I used to hate that part of english.)

I had been recommended this book to read by so many people for the last two years. I had been roaring through my books at such a fast pace and I thought this would be the same. Not so. 

Firstly, the writing style is very different to everything else I'd been reading. It's narrated by death, so of course it's a different reading experience. You're not hearing about the story from someone who is actually in the action, you're hearing about it from someone who is on the outside, looking in. 

Secondly... you read the plot synopsis. You know it's set in WWII, and you know at some point during the book she'll be a part of hiding a Jewish man in her basement. The content of this book is heavy. There are no restrictions on who may die and who may live. Who may be sent to the war front and who may be beaten to a pulp in front of all the other characters. 

There are of course funny moments, charming moment and sweet moments. But it's a difficult book to read. That being said, it's very rewarding. It's a great story, very powerful and very serious. I love the occasional book like this but you really have to be in the right mind frame to read it. I should issue some form of warning. By the end of the book your heart may be broken.

Otherwise, it's a very thought provoking and well written novel. I would certainly recommend it, but you probably have to be into the darker, heavier books.

I give The Book Thief 5 stars.