Busy, busy, busy

News

I have not done a news post in forever which is odd because there is SO MUCH NEWS! I have been insanely busy since August and it has not gotten easier. I have been reading great books by great people that I was asked to review, but I had so many it did mean closing submissions which was hard to do. Unfortunately I still have submissions closed which I am very unhappy about since I loved getting requests from people to read their books! Promise  me that when I open them again at the end of December you will still send them in and not punish me for closing them from you for the past three months. Promise! I have been trying to read the few books I have left quickly and get through them so I could reopen submissions but life has just been filling my time and with reading the books I had and everything else I knew opening them before I had completed the current pile was not very wise. I also apologise to those still waiting on reviews, it has been a couple months but THEY ARE COMING, if not very slowly. I am determined to have them all read and reviewed by the end of December so please do not think I have abandoned you or forgotten about you, I have not.

 

In less guilty news, at the end of October I attended a Dymocks Literary Lunch in Sydney for my all time favourite author John Marsden. It was beyond amazing and he spoke of so many wonderful things from reading, writing, to children and education. I did not get to write anything down but on the long train ride home I racked my brain to try and remember a few bits of his advice and jotted them down. There was some wonderful explanations about his writing that made me reassess my own writing and have a great “oh that makes so much sense” moment. He also spoke of his favourite authors, adult, young adult, and children’s. Morris Gleitzman, Andy Griffiths, Helen Garner, and Kate Greenville were some of his favourites along with Alice Pung. Something that stood out to me was that he said if Jane Austen were writing now she would be writing like Alice Pung, which is a huge compliment in my book. I think I will be thinking of things John spoke about for awhile, snippets popping into my mind every now and again. Maybe there is a recording of the discussion…though this may be asking a bit much.

 

This was my first literary lunch but I had some wonderful women on my table who were regular attendees and I heard some wonderful stories of previous events. Belated shout out to Ursula, Kim, Hazel, and Shirley on table 11, thank you for making my day extra enjoyable and making me feel so welcome. The lunch was so fancy as well so I felt so out of my comfort zone, there were multiple forks to navigate; I had fancy wine I could not pronounce, and a delicious and very fancy lunch which concluded with sticky date pudding which was divine. I am such a sucker for sticky date pudding so the event could have been terrible and I’d probably have been happy (how could it have been with John Marsden though, really?). I got my copy of John’s new book South of Darkness signed and he thanked me for coming before telling me I brought the average age of attendees down by about 10 years which was a nice compliment, I think. Revisiting this event makes me wish I had done a post at the time, but I did not trust my memory to remember what John spoke about and didn’t want to just have a vague post which is a shame. But if you ever get the chance to go to a Dymocks Literary Event, the cost is a bit high but it is worth it if you get a great author, and you meet some great people.

 

October was also the month I graduated from my Masters degree (finally!) which means after two stress filled years I am now officially a librarian! (I have decided I am allowed to call myself a librarian despite yet to acquire a librarian job). 

 

So that was October, November on the other hand has been filled, as usual, with the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! But in some excellent news, for only the second time in the seven years I have been doing NaNo I have not had uni work to do at the same time! This made me so pleased, because I remember how stressful it was, especially the past couple of years when uni did not end until the last days of November meaning I had NaNo stress and assignment stress side by side. I am still a bit behind in my word count because life has been butting in again, but I’m slowly catching up and each thousand words is a great cause of jubilation (as those on Twitter may have noticed). With only four days left to reach the target of 50 000 words there is going to be some long writing days, especially since I have some other events on for those final two days but I have not had a year where I have not won and made the 50k word limit goal and I do not plan to start now.

 

One of the events at the end of month, this Saturday in fact, is the Sydney Author Event. I am not sure what to expect with this, being its first year, but I am curious and will write up a post after it is over and fill you all in. Also, don’t forget that during this final week of November I have an international giveaway running to win one of two paperback copies of Sandra Fitzgerald’s novel Maggie’s Five. Check out the giveaway post for details and get your entry in before midnight November 30th AEDST.

 

Lastly, in my last news I mentioned I had acquired a tiny baby Ewok called Coco. Said Ewok has grown up fast and it a little less Ewok now, but still an epitome of fluff and cute. I feel an update is needed so you can see just what kind of cute I have had to deal with these past three months and who is responsible for most of my interruptions during the day.

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So that is it! Apologies for being so long but I did not realise I had so much to catch up on. I will try and not make it so long between posts next time, and hopefully I don’t think of anything else to add! Have a great day wherever you are, and read something spectacular!

News

NewsLet’s see, what has happened since the last news post. The main thing I have been doing is reading which is nice. This month I was inundated with review requests from people (which is awesome!) so I have been enjoying all the books I have been asked to review which has been keeping me out of trouble. Since the last few days in July I have had a book pile that grew to 16 books that needed reviewing, most before the end of August, so really, that’s all I have been doing, slowly making my way through those. It has been ok so far, though we’re at the sticky end now trying to catch up after some busy non reading days but I have read and discovered some brilliant books as a result of this chaos. I have one book and half of two more books to go from which I should hopefully be able to squeeze into these final days, then I get to take a look at the September pile! I have only got ten or so lined up at the moment for September so they should be a lot easier to manage.

Away from my reading schedule I am gearing up to attend Book Expo Australia in Sydney this weekend which should be awesome. I am really looking forward to going and hopefully getting to report back for those who can’t make it. After that on Monday night I have been invited to attend the Hachette Young Adult Night which should also be super amazing. The special guest of the night is Laini Taylor, author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone  plus many others, more recently Dreams of Gods and Monsters. There is going to be goodies and giveaways and many surprises so there’s that to also look forward to!

I also finally got my review page up and running so if you want to check out a snazzy listing of all the authors and books I have reviewed feel free to check that out. I am still working on the final touches of the Review Policy page though but a lot of info is already on the Contact page anyway so that’s a start for now. I’ve also started my Weekly Wrap Ups, a simple post each Sunday highlighting the posts of the week, lets you catch up if you miss any, I may still change the image design yet but it works for now. Other than that other blog plans are still in development and not worth discussing as of yet.

Away from blog news I must gush about my recently acquired tiny ball of fluff known to society as a puppy but those with true knowledge understand it is in fact a tiny baby Ewok. She is adorable, her name is Coco, and she is small and bouncy and fluffy and just wonderful to stare at all day and forget important things need doing. She is a Lhasa Apso, similar to a Shi Tzu, and as I was reminded by a friend, the same dog as Milhouse’s dog in The Simpsons which is cool. To reaffirm the cute I will offer a picture.

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I will hear no words against the Ewok theory. Those of you on Twitter may have already been perplexed by many an Ewok reference, and now you know why. She makes for a good writing companion, but she also makes for a great distraction to review writing and book reading as well. There will no doubt be many Coco updates as time goes by.

I did manage to finish reading Halfdan Hussey’s To the Dogs this afternoon and it was wonderful, I did not want it to end. I will have a review up for that tomorrow or the next day, but until then I will have tomorrow a release day blitz so keep an eye out for that.

So that’s what has been taking up all of my August. Now that winter is coming to an end, August is coming to an end it feels at last like the last half of the year. I don’t think it feels half way until August, really. There’s the June midyear feeling, but then there is the August midyear feeling that feels more real. Yes I know, it’s strange but that’s just how it goes. Next thing you know it’ll be Christmas! There are marshmallow Santas in the shops already so it is not my fault for bringing it up in August.

I hope you have all been having a great day, week, August and you have been able to read something spectacular. I know I have! 😀

News

NewsI feel like I haven’t done a news post in a while. Quite overdue.

So I have been super busy, but a good busy. I have been flooded with review requests from authors and publishers and it’s been amazing. So amazing in fact that I am booked solid until September. So while I’ll still accept review requests, I will not be able to get a review up until September unfortunately. If that works for you, go for it, otherwise I apologise. I could say I’ll manage if I leave it open for August but thinking like that is how I just accepted another three requests and in drawing up my new reading order and plan up I’ve realised that I have properly reached my limit to actually read and properly review that many books in the next month. But we are not complaining, I have years of uni experience in reading two or three books a week and so we will be on top of it! So as much as this is a slight apology message, it’s a small burst of excitement about the fact I even have to plan so much to do this! I never thought I would even be in this position so I am just letting the excitement trump the chaos.

Away from the dozen books I have lined up I am also currently compiling a one stop page with all my reviews for easy access. It is currently still a work in progress but you can click on the link in the menu and see Toby in another smashing outfit until it’s finished. If I didn’t have 101 things to do I’d leave him up there and put off finishing the page just to enjoy his adorableness but I am looking to get that page up and running in the next week hopefully and tick off another thing on my to do list  so bear with me on that. I made it live but incomplete to get me to finish it, it had already been put off being created for about two months so that’s why it is there but not there.

Other than that not a lot has happened or is happening for awhile. The end of August is Book Expo Australia which will be a great weekend, very excited about that. I have a few author tours and things coming up but I’ll let you know about them as they come up on Facebook and Twitter, when they are closer. Speaking of, welcome to all the new likers and followers to not just the blog but Facebook and Twitter as well! Glad to have you along for the ride, I hope you enjoy your stay.

Anyway, I think that may be it, so it’s a short news that doesn’t reveal much but it’s one that’s made me feel like I am slowly organising myself and am not being crushed under everything. And as July comes to an end it’s made me realise it has flown by. June went rather slowly, but July, it wasn’t messing about. Suddenly it is almost August and that brings not just a birthday for yours truly but also the last month of winter. Where does the time go?

The Grand Plans

NewsIt has now been a lovely ten days since I finished my Masters degree and I think I am finally getting the stress and chaos out of my system. After I finished and handed in my assignments I still had books to finish and reviews to write for book launches and blog tours that were planned weeks ago so they were my main focus. But now we have completed those I can finally stop and breath and reassess. I am going to start posting this week the posts about my awesome week in May starting with the National Book Bloggers Forum followed by the Fault in Our Stars advanced screening and the SWF. Then we can look at catching up on the other belated reviews and get started on my new blog ideas which will be fun. But they may be closer to July but we’ll see how we go!

So that’s the plan, I would have liked to have done these posts from that week closer to when the events actually happened, some got very close to being posted but truly with sleep deprivation, Uni work, and back to back days of things I didn’t want to give you a half arsed job either. But we’re here now and I look forward to telling you about that truly amazing week and all the exciting things I got to see and do.

The Week Ahead

NewsThere are so many exciting things are happening this week in my little world! From Tuesday through Sunday I am booked out for six days straight of exciting bookish events!

On Tuesday I am heading to Sydney for the inaugural National Book Bloggers Forum hosted by Random House. I am really looking forward to this as it should be very interesting.

Wednesday night, I am going to an advance screening of The Fault in Our Stars movie thanks to Penguin Australia which should be amazing by all accounts. This is the movie adaptation of the book of the same name by John Green.

Then at the crack of dawn the next morning I am on a train off to the first day of my Sydney Writers’ Festival adventures. This year I have four exciting days of the SWF with so many wonderful sessions to attend. From Thursday through Sunday I am attending ten sessions and hopefully getting a few of my books signed. I love going to the SWF, I’ve only been going these past few years but it’s always a joy.

The sessions I am particularly eager to go to are The Wolf in Winter session with John Connolly, Mind the Body with John Connolly, and Violence, Lust, Revenge and a Touch of Poetry…also with John Connolly. There may be a slight John Connolly reason for my attendance this year but it is going to be awesome. I have been trying to practice my best ‘staying calm on the outside whilst freaking out on the inside’ but as my recent Ryan O’Neill experience at the Newcastle Writers Festival showed me, I have not perfected this yet. Hopefully if I get to meet John Connolly I will be calm enough to get some books signed and not sound too weird.

But I’m not just going for John Connolly let’s be clear! The wonderful Adrian McKinty who I fell in love with the at the NWF will be in some of Connolly’s sessions, and I am attending sessions with the delightful Kate Forsyth, Kathryn Heyman, plus many authors who I have yet had the pleasure of knowing about but who are in sessions that are filled with excellent topics of discussion including short stories, women writers, and book collecting and libraries.

Across these SWF days I am also going to be the master of multi-tasking because due to pressure and looming assignment due dates I am taking things for my uni assignments with me for those moments in between sessions and I’m not doing anything else. So if you come to the festival and see someone sitting on the wharf or at a table with piles of papers in front of her and she’s looking stressed, you’ll know why. The joys of having a writer’s festival in the final two weeks of uni when everything wants to be due.

As much as I am looking forward to this week there are going to be A LOT of early morning trains trips and a lot of late night returns. On top of my already sleep deprived state hopefully we can stay alert enough to get some wonderful notes from the Festival to come and report back to you all. Though if we’re honest it may be sometime in early June because with six days away from the computer my assignments are going to be getting some serious all nighters as a result. But we can’t miss out on a Sydney Writers’ Festival because some silly Masters degree wants to be completed! I may sneak a post or two about the other two events if I get enough work done beforehand. Who needs sleep when there are exciting things like this happening!

So those are my upcoming plans, nothing to it, won’t be any hassle at all *laughs to self unconvincingly*. I don’t know what’s going to happen come May 31st when I can slow down, but until then we power through it!  I hope you are all going to have a great week, it may be not as packed as mine, but if it is I hope it is enjoyable. If you are looking to attend the Sydney Writers’ Festival all the information is on their website about attending authors, venues, programs, and much more. Be sure to check the details because there are free sessions and paid sessions, and some sessions are booked out.

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