Category: Reading


Escape

Sometimes you just need to read, find your happy place and immerse yourself somewhere that isn’t the here and now.

This can mean going back to authors you love and finding something new from them, which I have done recently. My motivation truthfully was spending time with the truly delightful Keri Arthur, I stared at her backlist and realised I had big gaps. Two new books have been added to my collection and I’ve finished them both and adore them both and cannot wait to revisit them. I know a lot of people don’t understand that, the need or desire to return to a story already read but for me that is totally a thing. I love revisiting old friends, for that is who they become to me. Sirens that are private investigators, dragons that drink, ogres that fart and witches that run away from their families to werewolf reservations, what is not to love?

 

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It Begins

I am on leave…
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I have 6 glorious weeks off in which I can pursue those things that sometimes get lost in the need to work and stuff.
I plan on doing a whole lot of reading and a whole lot more of writing. It is an awesome feeling to know I have time to do those things which are most passionate to me.
The best thing about all of this is I have already started. I have finished a really good book, in fact I’ve gotten through a few recently and am starting to get my reading mojo back.
a few pages
This is a good thing as I have many books still to read and many more that I haven’t yet purchased (just give me time).
On this my second day of vacation I have managed to plonk myself down at my desk (having booted my munchkins off it momentarily) and gotten more than a few words down. Also a really good thing. Though I think I may need to invest in this shirt.
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Having all the good intentions in the world and being pushing along by the fact that it is NaNoWriMo (even though I’m not actively participating this year) is still only part of it. My problem is I possibly have too many projects to work on. I need to focus myself far more tightly if I am really going to achieve anything in this time off.
So head down bum up, pen in hand or fingers on the keyboard.
Just let me tidy my desk first.

Books, Books and More Books

My name is Kylie and I have an addiction… to books.
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I just can’t help myself, I think they are wonderful and I can’t seem to stop collecting them. Of course I haven’t really tried to, don’t have the desire to and when I shifted and people thought I should use the opportunity to get rid of them I thought about weening the person out of my life instead.
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The truth is I love books. I have for as long as I can remember. The fact that part of my life includes reviewing books for two websites makes me so happy. It is also probably the reason I write. I am a writer – though there is a part of me that says I should say I want to be a writer. I do write though, most days, just because I haven’t been published yet doesn’t mean I’m not really a writer, or at least that is what I try to tell myself.
So as of late, with my focus on training for a certain event that is almost on me, I haven’t really spent a lot of time writing. I want to but with everything else going on (and that includes visitors staying and catching up with friends) I just haven’t really found the time to settle into my office and get the words down.
The other reason for this slackness is that I’ve finally bought some books I’ve wanted for a while and I just have had to dive into them. They are from a favourite author of mine Tamora Pierce and like all her stuff I just can’t put them down.
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That is a not so good trait when you have to go to work and you end up staying awake much too late reading and end up dragging your feet all the next day only to repeat the same behaviour the next night.
Still no regrets, sometimes a good book is worth the feeling of sleeplessness that happens the next day.
Still I am looking forward to having a solid chunk of time off to really get stuck into my writing, I have 3 projects on the go at the moment and I really want to get stuck into all of them.

Wow Does Time Fly

See I knew it had been a while since I’d written here, but truthfully I thought it was only a few weeks not twice that. I’ve in this time, had moments of productivity. I suppose mostly in the area of reading and blogging – review blogging that is. My review blog hasn’t been getting as many hits as it used to, I suppose that is in part because I sometimes find it difficult to blog after a 12 hr shift. You know when you work that many hours in a day and some days are very, very demanding ones, you just want to go home and veg.
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I am finally, after almost 12 months in the job, getting organised with my reviewing. It is an awesome feeling. Also even though my blog traffic has dropped off, the other site I review for is doing awesome and I’m proud to be a part of that. People often don’t understand why I put so much time into reviewing and reading, they figure if I don’t get paid then it can’t possibly be worth it. Well let me tell you, it certainly is worth it. I love books, I love children’s books and I love sharing my love for them. (What a lot of love). Also I get books sent to me and for me that is a pretty awesome type of payment. I am very proud of my office library and quiet frankly I get why people don’t keep books or only borrow from the library (it can get kinda expensive over time) but I love my books, I love to revisit them too, sometimes even when I have heaps of new stuff to read, I just need to curl up and catch up with an old friend, it’s just what I need to make things feel right.

Might need to invest in one of these

Might need to invest in one of these


Writing stories hasn’t stopped, it’s just not quite as organised as perhaps it should be. I keep telling myself that I will get it all sorted but I haven’t got there yet. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m too scattered in my approach or what. I try to be disciplined but truthfully, sometimes when a new idea springs you just have to get some of that down. I wonder if some of my problem is simply that I want my writing to be profitable and so I get distracted with other projects in the hope one will result in some kind of breakthrough.
There is a part of me that wishes the muse was controllable but she is a fickle wench, always has been and I suspect always will be. That is life though. So for the moment I will plod on getting pen to paper whenever I can.
Oh if you want to check out either of the review blogs feel free.
TheKylieVerse
BuginaBook

What I Needed

I am enjoying some time off, I cannot deny that it is a good feeling not having to get up before dawn to go to work for 12 hours. You know what else is awesome? The sheer amount of time I am getting to read and write.
I’ve gone over my research, my character outlines and stared at my post-it note marked map. Building an entire world is a strange feeling. It takes hours of what, to many, may look like a complete waste of time, but time is what allows us to create a place that can sweep you away and seem so real.
It took me a long time to find the fantasy story I wanted to write. I always loved reading fantasy but my own story just wouldn’t come, until that day I found my opening scene. It remains a visual I love and the character who stood in the middle of it, is one I am proud to have created.
While I’m going thorough this structural editing process I find myself swept into the story of the characters I birthed, not wanting to stop to cook dinner or do other mundane things like housework (something that somehow never is a priority to me). As I’ve been wielding my red pen these people are becoming clearer in my mind. Is it a bad thing that I love my characters? I hope not.
I know even though the task that is finishing editing and completing these two books still seems like a mountain, it is one I am determined to climb. This break is giving me a renewed passion just like I hoped it would.
On the reading side of things I got to finish a book that has been sitting on my shelf for simply ages. I was left wondering why I didn’t pick it up earlier, even though I’d been meaning to. I suppose that is one of the drawbacks to being a reviewer, some books just sit on the pile because they aren’t a priority. (Not sure that it’s much of a drawback though because it means I always have something to read).
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is a great addition to the YA Dystopian genre. Ashala is everything I like in a central character, she is strong, flawed, clever and just a little different. The world Kwaymullina has created is devastated, controlled by fear mongers and a wonderfully 3 dimensional place for Ashala’s story. I won’t spill any secrets of this tightly written, completely engaging book, I wouldn’t want to spoil it. I will say if you love the genre, or cleverly written stories with great protagonists, then this is well worth a look. If you want to check out my review then go here.
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Finding gems like this book make reading a joy. It’s why I read and why I write. I can only hope that one day someone will read something I wrote and enjoy it just as much.

Time To Read

Having time to read has never really been an issue for me, somehow when I have felt like reading there was always time. Of course when I first started in book retail I had much more time to read and so many authors were opened up to me (being able to afford to buy more books certainly helped).

Then with my blog and passion intersecting I was always reading and it was great. I found so many awesome authors, so many wonderful stories to journey into.

Life took another turn and I left book retail behind and started a new career path, part of this new path included three months of what is effectively classroom work. Somehow I simply never realised it would take so much of my time, I was so focused on the end result, more time with my family and to write that I overlooked the time required to get through the first 3 months.

Then I went and added a play into the mix, thinking only of the possibility that it could be my last play in a very long time. That didn’t turn out to be the best decision because that has put so much pressure on me that I probably could have done without. I simply have had very little time to read or write.

Sure I got my short story done on time but the rest I’ve only managed to do bits and pieces of. I also have a new idea floating around in the ether of my mind. You know that place where stories form, coming together and pulling apart until you have enough of an idea to put something down on paper. That at least is a good thing.

In these two months of study I have read maybe 4 books, a huge shock to my system when you consider I was on track to have read a book a day before I started this. So 4 of that size a week was not out of character. Perhaps bearing this in mind you can imagine how happy I feel to have finished a 570 page book in 3 days. It’s a silly thing I know but I feel so good to have accomplished this. Reading inspires the creativity flowing through my being and this is also a good thing.

On the writing front I did write a poem this week. A friend is very sick and it just seemed the right thing to do. The words came it took about an hour  to put it all together and I was very happy with the end result. It’s the first poem I have written in a very long time, she is a special person and for her I felt I had to walk a line between rough humour and emotion. Writing is how I can cope with some things. With all the pressure to get through my course it is still the creative that inspires and encourages me, it levels me out, keeps me sane (though that may be a bit subjective). Writing keeps me going and I know I need it in my life and at times like this it is the small things – a finished book and a written poem, that bring a smile to my face a a touch of satisfaction to my day.

Reading the Epics

This week has seen me finish a few books and start a big one. I’m finally getting around to reading The Song of Ice and Fire Series (Game of Thrones)

. It’s been a while since I’ve immersed myself in such sweeping epic fantasy. I’ve got to say I’m really enjoying it. The only problem with reading something so good and grand is that it makes me wonder at my gall in writing fantasy. The thing is if I’m honest mine isn’t anywhere so grand and in that I take hope. I also wonder how you keep so many strands straight, but that is besides the point really.

I do think it’s a good thing for me to be reading, it’s always good to read variety though I cannot, for the most part, bring myself to read what is considered literature and I don’t read a lot of general adult fiction, chic lit just holds no interest for me.

So now my challenge is to take the time to read something splendid and a rather big investment whilst still writing and being able to stay true to my character. The other thing is that a challenge is not necessarily a bad thing. Like with my hubby who is a muso, he can play with some people and cruise through the gig but if you put him in a room with muso’s he considers better than himself then that pushes him to be better. Now I would never really claim to be even in the same league as some of my favourite writers but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t read and enjoy their work and hopefully aim to be on the same shelves that they are one day.

Silly Season

I love christmas, I love buying presents for my family. I love giving gifts. I don’t love working in retail at christmas. I don’t love the people who leave their gift shopping till so close to christmas then get pissy that what they want isn’t in stock. They also seem to think that that they can get it online, so close to christmas. Not necessarily so.

Still stupid things from work aside, I’m happy to say I’m still writing. I still have loads of reading to catch up on and I mean loads but I am still managing to get pen to paper. I’ve got to say again thank you NaNo. I mean it really did give me the focus to write again and once that flow was re-established it is still there. Such a relief I’ve got to say. I’m still inspired to write a couple of projects and I’m pretty much getting something written everyday. Maybe not a lot but something is better than nothing.

Also some crap has been going on so in some ways there has been the pressure to forget the passion, to stop the writing and find a way to spend my time that provides better money. I can’t not write. I know I can’t. But there are times…

I’m sure you know what I mean.

 

Nano Oh!

Well half way through the second week and I’m mostly on target, I say mostly because I  haven’t written today’s quota.

I’ve got to say though that so far I am enjoying the challenge and in fact having fun with it.

My story has multiple characters all with their own pasts, and I have a plot. Of course being not much of a planner there is a lot I don’t have. I know my characters will do bit of breaking and entering, and they will help rescue someone. I also know I need to throw some more action in there. I’m just not sure yet.

The guys at Nanosprints are really great, sure I don’t do the challenges but just the motivation to sit there for a certain period of time and race the clock is pretty good.

The other bit of writing news is that one of the bigger publishing houses are launching an imprint and are looking for YA titles, realistic ones. This may sound a little out of my area but the truth is I already half a 3/4 written one that is a story I have at various times felt compelled to write. All this means though is once nano is over I have a new deadline to aim for.

Of course with all this writing in my spare time it’s been a little difficult to do much reading. I’ve felt the need to go back and read a series I’ve already read, for two reasons actually. Firstly it’s the precursor to one of the books in my new book club and secondly I just want to sink into something familiar, not have to deal with new things.

Well I’d best start on todays quota.

Way-hey!

What a week.

Firstly two books by two awesome authors – Rick Riordan’s new Olympus book (yes for work and pleasure this one) and the new Scarecrow by Mat Reilly. Holy hannah awesome, adrenalin pumping, life escaping, reading. Love, Love, Love.

Also a new idea has been dribbling out onto paper. Only a few sentences here and there but still.

This is not where this week ends. Today I spent the better part of the day on set for a short film. And I had the best day. I only really knew the director and yet I felt welcome and it felt so right being there. Yes filming is a lot of standing around, unless you are the two girls fighting today, but it was so good being there. There are people who think films are glamorous and so on, they are the ones who don’t know things like I was sewn, taped and pinned into my awesome dress, but I still had a great day.

The thing is, with so many attempts at making something in the creative pay off I’d hit the end of my energy. Or so I thought. And today, well it grabbed me by the throat, shook me hard and said, ‘you really don’t want to be here?’ The answer is – ‘hell yes I do want to be here’. Tonight I am energised, focussed and really, really wanting to get back onto set again.

I want to act again.

So now I am sitting here with a glass of wine, some chocolate and passion flowing through my veins. There are two things I want to do act and write, actually three, I have an idea that I hope will inspire more kids to read more authors. And I feel great.

I’m sure you noticed there was no mention of work in this post…there’s a reason for that and I have a feeling tomorrow night, before I have to go back to normal work, will be pretty tough. Still life goes on and I’m certainly not out of it yet.