Friday, October 29, 2010

Mixed Bag #21 - Halloween Special

Good morning blog-o-sphere! Here is a small dose of links to entertain you today (I hope you like them):

image source: we♥ it

Blogger Beware is beyond awesome - home to snarky Goosebumps recaps!!! If you were a child of the 80s or 90s, you know that R.L Stein was pretty much the King of horror writing for kids. I used to love Goosebumps books (they were such a big thing at my school library that they'd ration kids to only borrowing one at once because the demand for reading them was so high!). I also loved Fear Street when I got a bit older.

♥ This episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark used to freak me out so bad

♥ I was kind of obsessed with Eerie Indiana for quite some time, probably long after I really should have been. I still think it is an awesome concept and would actually work really well as a remake. You can watch episodes of it on YouTube - Foreverware, Heart on a Chain and The Lost Hour were my favourite episodes.

♥ A retrospective of Hitchcock's leading ladies - I think Grace Kelly will always be my favourite Hitchcock blonde, but I'm also rather fond of Kim Novak in Vertigo.

♥ I love and this page, with all the creepy urban legends is one of my favourite parts of the site.

♥ I have to admit seeing all these cute Halloween recipes and decorating ideas gives me a bit of holiday-envy

This is Halloween from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Snack Size #11

Dancing in the Dark - Robyn Bavati
Publisher - Penguin Australia, 2010
300 pages

Raised in an Orthodox Jewish household, Ditty’s life revolves around her family and her faith. However when she discovers a passion for dance, her sense of self and all she believes in will come into question as she chooses to keep her dancing a secret and risk her place in the community. I was fascinated to about a lifestyle and religion so different from my own upbringing, and yet I felt that idea of questioning everything you’ve been taught to believe in and the journey of finding your own place in the world are certainly universal. A worthy read.

Mama's Song - Ben Beaton
Publisher - Black Dog Books, 2010

Eighteen year old Georgina finds herself alone in a small country town, after giving birth to a daughter in Mama’s Song. Though determined to take on the world alone, Georgina finds a surprising support system in hospital. I adored Mama’s Song – it’s touching and lovely, and quite a refreshing look at teen pregnancy (particularly the realities of life post-birth) in young adult literature. Beaton is a thoughtful writer who gives a sensitive and insightful look into such an important experience and really captures that moment when you make your first truly adult decision and the consequences it can bring.

Loving Richard Feynman - Penny Tangey
Publisher - UQP 2009

203 pages

Through a series of letters to deceased physicist Richard Feyman, Catherine learns to deal with the breakdown of her parent’s marriage, fledgling friendships, mathletes and Bitch-Face Renee. Catherine is a brilliant character – she’s so funny (without always meaning to be), her observations absolutely crack me up and I love that she’s relatively proud of her academic aptitude. Her social awkwardness is realistic and endearing (I feel like Catherine could have gone the other way into Tracey Flick territory but Penny’s humour makes Catherine likeable). This is such a funny and enjoyable read, I can’t recommend Loving Richard Feynman enough! “A box of nerdish delights”.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Polyvore Profile - Wednesday Addams

Even though we don't really celebrate Halloween here in Australia, I always get a little bit excited this time of year (even if it's just the fact that Disney channel starts playing Hocus Pocus like every day - which if you were a child of the 90s, you know it is pretty much the best Halloween movie ever. Side note - apparently they are also working on a musical adaptation of Hocus Pocus - all my Halloween wishes have come at once!!).

Anyway, Andi from Andi B. Goode gave me the idea for this week's Polyvore profile - I'm also a huge fan of the Addams Family (particularly the original comic strip and the TV series), so hopefully some of you will enjoy this:

Some (not-so) spooky song links:
† When You're An Addams from the Addams Family musical
I Put A Spell On You from Hocus Pocus
The Monster Mash
† Michael Jackson's Thriller (best music video ever)
Transylvania Mania from Young Frankenstein the Musical

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Good Daughter - Amra Pajalic

The Facts
Author: Amra Pajalic
Publisher: Text Publishing
Date: 2009
Length: 224 pages

The Fiction
From Text Publishing: Fifteen-year-old Sabiha has a lot to deal with: her mother’s mental health issues, her interfering aunt, her mother’s new boyfriend, her live-in grandfather and his chess buddy, not to mention her arrogant cousin Adnan. They all want to marry her off, have her become a strict Muslim and speak Bosnian. And Sabiha’s friends are not always friendly. She gets bullied by girlfriends and is anxious about boyfriends, when she just wants to fit in. But two boys, Brian and Jesse, become the allies of this fierce and funny girl.

The Good Daughter is a coming-of-age novel written with sensitivity and humour. It confronts head-on the problems of cultural identity in the day-to-day lives of teenagers. Amra Pajalic has a wonderful ear for idiomatic dialogue and the dramatic moment.

I've been meaning to write this review for over a month now, after seeing Amra Pajalic speak at the Melbourne Writers' Festival (remember I wanted to read the book before going, but didn't get a copy in time?). Anyway, I'm glad I was able to purchase The Good Daughter afterwards as it's a really sharp and insightful read.

What interested me most about The Good Daughter was the way Amra Pajalic explores Sammie’s struggle between the traditional Bosnian-Muslim beliefs of her family whilst navigating adolescence in contemporary Australia. I really went into reading this knowing absolutely nothing about Bosnian/Bosnian-Australian culture and very little about the Muslim faith either, so it was a real eye-opener for me (coming from a Catholic and completely English-Australian background) and I was fascinated by the way Amra used history and culture throughout the story. Also, though I grew up/still live in the North-East suburbs (representing the Hursty line over here), I loved all the St Albans references (as I have very fond childhood memories of spending Christmas evenings/Boxing Day at my great-uncle and aunt's house) and I think Amra has done a great job at capturing Melbourne's western suburbs.
The other part of The Good Daughter which really spoke to me was Sammie’s relationship with her bi-polar mother. I haven’t come across a lot of young adult novels which have a teenager trying to deal with a parent’s mental illness (at least in my own reading experiences), so I found this quite a revealing read. Also, as Amra mentioned at MWF, her own mother suffers from bi-polar disorder, so she really brings a first-hand knowledge and honesty to Sammie’s experience, which I felt was clear throughout the novel. I also enjoyed the way Amra explored the concept of ‘the good daughter’ and this clash between home/public life (and how others perceive you) and changing cultural values.
Sammie herself is a fantastic protagonist – she’s gutsy, smart and full of determination. I love that she isn’t afraid to say what she thinks (even if it earns the disapproval of those around her) and isn’t a passive, meek girl who lets things pass by. Sammie has quite a distinctive voice, which stands strong throughout the novel and despite the culturally-centric themes of the story, Sammie is such an identifiable character and easily endears herself to the reader. I also really enjoyed reading about the friendship of Sammie, Brian and Jesse, especially the way their friendship largely stemmed from a love of books and reading. My only beef was that I really loved Jesse and wanted to know more about him sooner, though I understand why Amra teases us with small details and slowly allows us to find out more about him.
Amra’s writing isn’t ‘pretty’ – flowery, flourishy writing wouldn’t work for Sammie. It’s simple and honest and easy to really get involved in. Amra does a fantastic job at capturing realistic teen dialogue (something I always look for in YA) and she doesn’t shy away from being painfully honest and at times, quite confronting. My only other issue (if I had to name one) would be that everything in The Good Daughter builds up to pivotal events towards the end of the novel, and then it finished quite suddenly – I really loved these characters and could easily read another hundred or so pages. On the plus side, Amra is currently working on a sequel for The Good Daughter, so there’s surely more to come for Sammie, Jesse and the rest of these well-developed characters. Overall, The Good Daughter is an emotional, honest and quite funny coming of age story and I’m really looking forward to (hopefully) reading more from Amra Pajalic in the not-so-distant future.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Polyvore Profile - Madeline

Because I have so much fun with these, I'm thinking about posting a new one every week. I'm going to start with one of my favourite childhood literary characters (largely because she was a redhead!) - Madeline!

"In an old house in Paris, that was covered in vines,
lived twelve little girls, in two straight lines.
They left the house at half past nine ...
The smallest one was Madeline"
- Ludwig Bemelmans

Also, does anyone else automatically start humming the theme song when they think of Madeline 

Monday, October 18, 2010

By My Bedside #17

By My Beside is part of In My Mailbox, the weekly book blog meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

(excuse the unglamorous webcam photo)

A very small selection this week, mostly because I've been avoiding the urge to spend $$ (I know, I'm rather surprised/impressed with myself!) and I've been trying to finish all the older titles on my to-read pile. All books have been purchased by me, unless stated otherwise. Anyway, for this week I have:

Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (I'm really looking forward to revisiting Lena, Ethan and the town of Gaitlin)
My Booky Wook 2 - Russell Brand - yep, have been waiting on this one for a while, and my lovely work friends bought it for my birthday!

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy Things 36 - 40

Another Sunday, another dose of little things that make me very happy, as part of my 43 Things list (which I've been a bit slack at updating - sorry!). As always, feel free to tell me what makes you happy in the comments or post your own list.

36. Weekends
While I was in high school, I lived for weekends (even though in VCE, I felt like I spent them either working or doing homework and study). Then at uni, I totally took them for granted and now that I'm working full-time, I am definitely appreciating them! I'm loving sleeping in, making fun plans and lazy Sundays.

37. Bargains
I love a good bargain, though I hate fighting crowds. I'm not usually patient enough to shop at the big sales (like on Boxing Day) but I do ok - yesterday I got 6 dvds from Borders for $50 which I thought was a pretty good score (especially seeing as one of them had a RRP of $40). I also once got a $400 Alannah Hill dress for $150, which I thought was pretty good!

38. My Grandad's stories
My Grandad tells the best stories, even though sometimes I think they are more than a tad over-exaggerated haha. Sometimes I can't always understand his accent (despite living in Australia since the early 70s, he still has a heavy Yorkshire accent) but I usually just laugh when he does and it's all ok. PS. Isn't he the cutest little dude?

39. Music on my morning commute
I'm not exactly a morning person, and I have an hour train ride to work every morning. I love spending this time listening to my ipod - it gives me a chance to slowly wake up (so I'm not cranky when I get to work). My favourite morning tune are probably Jason Mraz, Ben Lee (of course!), Bat for Lashes and showtunes.

40. John Waters movies
I am a huge fan of John Waters - both in general (he is just an awesome, awesome guy) and his movies. I know they're not for everyone, but I adore them. I wrote my highest scoring paper in my hardest class at uni on Pecker (a piece which I'm still rather proud of). I can't really pick a favourite, but I do have very soft spots for Cry Baby, Hairspray and Female Trouble. I also threw in some lovely young Johnny Depp for your viewing pleasure.

What makes you happy?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mixed Bag #20

Good morning blog-o-sphere!
How about some linky goodness to start your day?

image source: we ♥ it

♥ Apparently picture book sales are way down due to parents choosing to buy novels for their kids instead. Naww, please support childrens' authors and illustrators and buy picture books (because they are so lovely and the best ones will be kept for years)
Hogwarts gets online - haha, I love the Hogwarts twitterfeeds!
Forever Young Adult has a great post on a day in the life of two YA writers, Rebecca Serle and Leila Sales.
♥ An awesome interview about death, darkness and Hollywood Endings, with of my favourite authors, Kathy Charles.
♥ How amazing is John and Sarah Greens' home? I am in love! Those bookshelves mmmmmm
♥ Speaking of love, I saw this cover for Dash and Lily's Book of Dares last night. Can December hurry up please?
♥ Banksy has created an opening for The Simpons - I love it!

Also, I'm thrilled to announce the winner of my 50 Followers Giveaway! I had originally planned to pull a name out of a hat, but seeing as I had 32 entrants (wow! I had never expected that many people would enter), I thought it would probably be easier and fairer, to use a number generator. That being said, the lucky number is:

Comment number 28 was Lisa from Badass Bookie! Congratulations and thanks so much to everyone for entering - I'll definitely be having more competitions in the future.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This is Shyness - Leanne Hall

The Facts
Author: Leanne Hall
Publisher: Text Publishing
Date of Publication: 2010
Length: 272 pages

The Fiction
From Text Publishing: A guy who howls. A girl on a mission to forget.
In the suburb of Shyness, where the sun doesn’t rise and the border crackles with a strange energy, Wolfboy meets a stranger at the Diabetic Hotel. She tells him her name is Wildgirl, and she dares him to be her guide through the endless night.
But then they are mugged by the sugar-crazed Kidds. And what plays out is moving, reckless…dangerous. There are things that can only be said in the dark. And one long night is time enough to change your life.

Lately I’ve felt like my reviews have gotten more and more rambly, so I’m going to try and stick to the point and not be so wordy. That said, I simply adored this book.

Can I start by saying that I’m really glad sometimes that I pick books by their covers – because I picked up This is Shyness and the synopsis seemed a little far-out for me (I know, I’m totally silly and thought it was might be fantasy – can you tell I pretty much only read contemporary fiction? Sad but true), but the cover was so striking and after skimming the first page, I knew that a)I was wrong and b)I had to buy it.

Ok, now by telling that little anecdote I guess I kind of am not following my intention, so apologies – back to srs bsns reviewing.

So the novel is set primarily in the world of Shyness, which is this town of heightened reality where the sun won’t rise in the morning and is home to a host of weird and wonderful characters. Leanne Hall has created some of the most incredible, striking images throughout the novel – like the Orphanage (a derelict housing estate, now home to a fierce gang of sugar-addict Kidds), the Raven’s Wing and Little Death, not to mention the writing is rich with these amazing details, like the Doctor Gregory’s Solution booths. The entire world of Shyness is made so tangible, I love it!

The is Shyness is set over the course of one night (though due to Shyness’s lack of sunset/sunrise, it is extended), like so many other strong YA novels – like Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and one of my other recent favourites, Graffiti Moon. Leanne creates a sense of urgency with this style of plot, and for me, it also made for a real sense of promise and excitement.

Onto the characters – the story centers around Wolfboy and Wildgirl (as we will know them for the majority of the novel) and each chapter alternates from their point of view (another stylistic detail I enjoyed greatly). Both characters are engaging and so well-developed. Wildgirl is definitely my kind of heroine – she’s whimsical, yet gutsy and very real. Wolfboy is also super lovely – he’s got this tough'n'gruff exterior, but is still sensitive and quietly charming and I loved the way his backstory is slowly teased out. The characters have a natural chemistry and there’s a great balance of sharp, funny banter and these moments of almost-silence.

This is Shyness has many elements of the classic quest narrative (haha, there was something Goonie-ish almost about it!) and takes the reader on a wild and frenetic journey through a dark landscape. The story completed exceeded my expectations (note to self, don’t be a fool and read more than a synopsis!) and I was so pleasantly surprised with this read. A brilliant debut from a promising new Australian author.

Still not convinced to go read it? There is also an amazing trailer for This is Shyness here. Watch it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nano 2010 Visual Inspiration

I've been spending a lot of my free time lately making plans for Nanowrimo - and it's really exciting! I'm determined to complete it this year and I'm hoping this motivation will last throughout the next month. Today I decided to take a leaf from Steph Bowe's book and post my visual inspiration. All images have come from we ♥ it as far as I can remember.

Maybe later I'll reveal a bit more about my story (but right now I still feel a bit funny and self-conscious about some of the details haha) what I will say is that in my mind, it's supposed to be a kind of contemporary Pump Up The Volume (which by the way, is an awesome movie and if you haven't seen it, you should. Even if only for some uber-hot, young Christian Slater). Anyway, if anything I hope you enjoy some pretty pictures:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hairspray - Melbourne

All the way back in June, I decided exactly how I wanted to spend my birthday this year - by seeing Hairspray! So my parents bought tickets (for myself and my sister) and it seemed so far off, but then yesterday the very lucky (supposedly) 10/10/10 came around, and I have to admit, I was ridiculously excited! (as you can probably tell by my over-usuage of exclaimation points - sorry, it will probably only get worse from here in).

Synopsis from the Hairspray Australia website: Hairspray is based upon the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters, with a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The original Broadway production was directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell.

In Hairspray, it's 1962, the '50s are out and change is in the air. Baltimore's Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion - to dance. She wins a spot on the local TV dance programme, 'The Corny Collins Show' and, overnight, is transformed from outsider to irrepressible teen celebrity. But can a trendsetter in dance and fashion vanquish the programme's reigning princess, win the heart of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a television show without denting her 'do? Only in Hairspray! Welcome to the '60s!

I've wanted to see Hairspray for around four years now. I'm a huge fan of the Johnn Waters film (and of John Waters in general) and you should all, by now, know my love for musical theatre runs pretty deep. I was a little bit nervous, mostly hoping it was as good as I'd built it up to be in my head. I shouldn't have wasted time worrying, because it was fantastic! Honestly, Hairspray was one of the best shows I've seen in years (and I've seen my fair share). It's a really strong dance show (if you prefer your musicals dark, broody and full of heavy ballads, like Les Mis and Phantoms this probably isn't the show for you), because Hairspray is kitsch, technicolour and unashamedly camp.

One thing that I think will surprise a lot of people about this production of Hairspray is the use of digital screens. There is no sets at all. I've seen a few shows utilise this (Hair being the example which best springs to mind) and it works well within certain settings and I think in this case, it's a success - it's kind of kitschy and fun and as the Princess Theatre has quite a small stage, I think it allows for the optimum use of space and snappy scene changes.

Performance wise, I was very impressed with the strength of the cast (despite the show only one week into it's professional run). Jaz Flowers was clearly the standout perfomer in the role of Tracey and is a complete triple-threat and a joy to watch. I was also pleasantly surprised with Jack Chambers as Link Larkin (who is best known for winning Australia's So You Think You Can Dance). I felt like both Renee Armstrong (Amber) and Esther Hannaford (Penny) were maybe a tad over-the-top, but then again the show is totally camp and silly (and I said the same thing about Lucy Durack in Wicked originally and she chilled out a little the next time I saw it). Jason Coleman's choreography is amazing and again, makes incredible use of a rather restricted stage. Randomly, everytime I watch Hairspray (either the 1988 or the 2007 version), it makes me wish I knew how to Madison!

One of my other favourite aspects of the show was the drool-worthy costumes! Seriously, just wow. The guys all wore the most fabulous suits (from a rainbow palette!) and every single dress was beautiful (and I wanted to take them all home with me). Anyway, I highly recommend checking it out if you're in Melbourne! Also to note, it is quite a family-friendly show (despite dealing with serious issues, there is still a definite sense of fun and was plenty of children in the audience on Sunday). There are a few slightly more adult jokes, most will fly straight over the kidlets heads, and will make the adult-audience members chuckle. I've already bought tickets to see it again in December!

Try the Ticketek website for more information, or stop by the Hairspray Australia homepage.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Things 31 - 35

Sorry! I forgot to post my Happy Things last week - I don't even have an excuse or reason, I just plain forgot! Anyway, here is my weekly list of five things that make me happy, as part of my 43 Things list. As always, feel free to tell me what makes you happy in the comments, or write your own list on your blog.

31. Picnics
Now that spring has sprung and Melbourne is finally getting some sunshine again, it's time for picnic season to begin! I love a good picnic - yummy food, drinks and enjoying the sun - lovely.

32. Nanowrimo
I know it's still a month away, but I'm really excited! I love the planning stage and being passionate about your characters and story, and being able to share all this energy on the Nano forums.

33. Christmas Decorations at Shopping Centres
Ok, so I'm probably the only person in Australia who is happy to see the early arrival of Christmas decorations in shopping centres by October. Sorry! I can't help it - I'm a huge Christmas freak and seeing Myer's downstairs department turned into a winter wonderland of baubles and wrapping paper makes me feel giddy with pre-Christmas joy.

34. Book bloggers
Can I just say that book bloggers are insanely awesome. I've only been blogging (mostly about books) for nine months-ish and everyone I've come across has been super-friendly and lovely, and amazingly passionate about sharing a love of books and reading.

35. Birthdays
I love birthdays. Not just mine, but in general. I think there is something exciting about being able to celebrate someone's life and having that opportunity to tell them how much you appreciate. I love giving presents (isn't it the best when you find that perfect present and then watching as the person unwraps it?!) and cake is always, always good!
All images are from we♥it

What makes you happy?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mixed Bag #19

Good morning friends! Firstly, let me apologise for the lack of mixed bag goodness last week, it was very slack of me - sorry! In saying that, I'm not much better this week and have got a teeny, weeny collection of links for you today.

image source: we ♥ it

♥ McSweenys has courses I wish my college offered

♥ Sam Raimi to direct a prequel to The Wizard of Oz? Excuse me while my entrie childhood is ruined (I pretty much spent ages 3 to 5 thinking that I was Dorothy)

20 Brilliant Bookcase Designs from Incredible Things

Persnickety Snark has a brilliant interview with Lucy Christopher (author of Stolen) and discusses contemporary YA

♥ The Best and Worst Dressed Television Characters - Emma Pillsbury from Glee is pretty much my style icon!

♥ My mind = blown!!!! Kayne West + Twitter + insert 'Liz Lemon' = Tracy Jordan (I think the scary thing is that I can read every single one of these tweets in Tracy's voice)

♥ Nathan Bransford asks: would you consider self-publishing? My answer is always no. Sorry! What are you thoughts?

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tips for Querying an Agent

image source: we ♥ it

So as some of you may know, I've worked for a literary agent for around a year (well, up until last month when I started a new job, also in publishing). Back in June/July, I pitched an idea to my friend Emily, who is the editor of Ricochet, about writing a four-part series on advice for writings on the process of querying an agent. The pieces ran on the Ricochet blog and I had intended to post links to them here, but kind of forgot. Anyway, they are fairly general and some of the advice may seem quite obvious (but really you would be surprised how many queries I read with the agent's name spelt incorrectly!) but hopefully they may be of use or interest to someone. Here they are:

Everything you should do before sending your work out to an agent.

Tips for writing a professional query that (hopefully) won't end up in the no-thanks pile!

Waiting for a response, also what rejections and requests mean.

Part Four: What Now?
Your next move, taking on feedback and creating an action plan.

I've also included some other links that might be of interest to people interested in trying to get representation:
Seven Reasons Why Agents Stop Reading Your First Chapter
Nathan Bransford's blog
Notes on Rejection from BookEnds LLC
Australian Literary Agents Association

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Snack Size #10

So it's been a little while, but here is another round of mini-reviews, at only 100 words each. This week I picked three Sarah Dessen titles, each of which I read for the first time this year.

Keeping the Moon
Published September, 1999

Formerly fat Nicole 'Colie' is forced to spend a summer in small-town Colby, North Carolin with her eccentric aunt, while her fitness queen mother aerobicises her way across Europe. While things initially seem grim, Colie loses the teen angst-titute as she works in the local diner and is befriended by two local waitresses. I love the way Dessen explorers identity and sense of self in Keeping the Moon, especially the way this idea intertwines with female relationships. An enjoyable read (perfect for summer) with a strong message of self worth and the importance of sisterhood - without getting too ya-ya on you.

Lock and Key
Published April 2008

Ruby is abandoned for the final time by her addict mother, and moves to a wealthy neighbourhood to live with her estranged sister, brother-in-law and one very neurotic dog (random thought, I really like that Dessen even creates really quirky, loveable pets). Whilst I enjoyed the story, I often found myself more interested in the supporting characters (Cara, Olivia, Jamie and Gervais) than Ruby and her relationship with boy-next-door Nate. Regardless, Lock and Key is an engaging look at the meaning of family and the concept of home. Also, I love that Dessen sneaks in little references to characters from her other works.

Someone Like You
Published May 1998

Someone Like You has all the hallmarks of a great young adult novel – first loves, bad boys, strong female friendships and characters forced to deal with the consequences of their actions. It is the story of Halley, who discovers all of these during the course of a difficult year, alongside her best friend’s pregnancy. It was really interesting to get a teen pregnancy plot told from the perspective of the best friend, and is handled with sensitivity. A layered and insightful novel and Dessen does an excellent job (and the ending still managed to give me a case of the warm fuzzies).

Monday, October 4, 2010

By My Bedside #16

Good morning blog-o-sphere! I haven't been buying books (shock horror!) or visiting the library much lately, so my bedside has been a bit low on new reading material. Never fear, Friday was a good book day for me, so I'm here to share. By My Bedside is part of In My Mailbox, a meme created by Kristi of The Story Siren.

On the left is the lovely pile of books I received this week from Hachette and Persnickety Snark for their Winter Flings contest.
Skins - the novel - Ali Cromin
The Silver Blade - Sally Gardner
The Last Vampire - Christopher Pike
Ash - Melinda Lao
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You - Ally Carter

From my library
Hostage - Karen Tayleur
It's Not Summer Without You - Jenny Han
The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan

Also pictured, the new issue of Voiceworks, which arrived on Friday!

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

50 Followers Giveaway

One of my favourite things in the world is giving presents. Seriously. I get ridiculously excited at the thought of Christmas shopping (I may or may not already have an incredibly detailed spreadsheet outlining potential gifts, prices and stores for my friends and family ...). On that note, I am thrilled to announce my first giveaway! It's to celebrate the fact that I now have 50 followers (which I know in blog terms is small potatoes, but is still super amazing to me).

What you can win:
♥ A copy of one of my favourite books this year, Cath Crowley's Graffiti Moon (I do know that a lot of Australians already have this book, so if you do and end up winning, I'll provide another title)
♥ Two Kikki-K magnetic bookmarks and pen
♥ Paul Frank for Lipsmackers lipgloss in Fried Ice-Cream flavour (omg, this is amazing!)
♥ A postcard from the Tim Burton exhibition

I'll also probably throw a few more goodies in the package too!

All you have to do is leave me a comment with your name and email address before October 14th (you don't even have to be a follower of MGF, though it would be nice of course!). The winner will be announced here on the blog and this giveaway will be open internationally.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 - One Month to go

image source: we ♥ it

So the NaNoWriMo website and forums for 2010 will be up and running in a couple of hours. For those of you who don't know what Nano is, here's the concept in a nutshell - during the month of November, you are encouraged/challenged to write a novel with at least a 50,000 word count. The work must be new (though I know a few people who have used it to re-write an older story they weren't happy with). The website also has a great forum, which is really handy for asking very specific character questions, or getting ideas, or finding other people in your area also participating in Nano.

So who will be Nano-ing this year? Last year was my first Nano and I didn't do as well as I'd hoped (I wrote about 15,000 words - started strong then got stuck and frustrated. But hey, I figure that's 15,000 words on a story I wouldn't have gotten down otherwise and I'd still like to come back to it at some point).
October is generally used as the planning month. Last year, I did minimal planning, though I feel like this year I might even have a shot at finishing. The idea I'm probably going to use is one I got halfway through Nano last year and has stuck with me then since (that's a good sign, right?)

Will you be participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Feel free to add me and we can encourage each other as Nano starts (no really, I need all the pushing I can get!)