Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Story - 50 Bales of Hay Christmas time one of my friend's hubby's was given this and promptly said, "tell Cate not to buy it, she can read it next." We swap books all the time this friend and I - that way we read twice as many and don't go broke in the process (although, we're both broke, so maybe that part's not true!)

Anyway, I read it this week. It's hilarious. I hope it's intended to be - I thought it was. There are lots of oblique references to "that sexy book" or "that book everyone's talking about" or "that book available in supermarkets", so I took it as a bit of a send up of 50 Shades of Grey. Oh, and there are lots of references to grey, shades of grey and 50, throughout the stories too.

From her other books, I hadn't realised what a good study Rachael Treasure makes of people. With these short stories and so many of them bunched together, I realised how canny she is at identifying people and traits. Everyone in here is different, vastly different. And I can identify a lot
characters as people I know or have met (no, not the men - the women too!).

One story had me in stitches. It was laugh out loud (even in bed in the middle of the night) funny. Called The Joining, it was the story of an upper-crust type farming widow who owned a good yard dog and had men bringing their bitches to mate with him. This one chap had taken a fancy to her and they get it on in her lounge room but have to move spots because the shagging is a little too active and is threatening her Royal Doulton collection of figurines. And seriously, this woman is not having good sex but she doesn't realise it. She's already checked out the dogs humping, noticed they've knotted and is feeling sorry for her dog now having to wait (they look each other in the eye and share their waiting experience - LOL). Okay, so she moves on...

"...she decided she would aim to move her hips as if competing at Grand Prix Dressage."
"The tilting of her pelvis back and forth as if doing a fine piaffe has an instant effect on Garry..."
"As she lay beneath him, she decided to try a half-pass this way, and then again that way, falling into a perfect pattern and rhythm..."
"Then Marrilyn began to piaffe again with her hips beneath. This, to her excitement, seemed to elicit a strong sensation in her own body and clearly had the desired effect of Garry..."
"...she could soon hear Garry's home-straight heavy breathing in her ear as he galloped home. She joined him on the home-straight too, and as she sailed over a brush fence with a cry, she climaxed ..."

This book is exactly what it says "sexy stories from the farm". It's not overly erotic or descriptive but fun and clever and something I think a lot of people would enjoy. I sure did :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Phallic Friday - Lust

It's football time of year and I can't go past doing a post on lusting after footy players. All my life I've been attracted to footballers - well, sportsmen because I lusted after a few jockeys in my youth too!! The sad thing is that now I'm getting a bit long in the tooth and I could be some of these boy's mother... but let's just forget that for a moment!

I was born in Sydney, so for me footy is NRL (Rugby League) but I do watch all other forms of football - or sport really, I'm a sport junkie. But for this post, I'm doing Rugby League because it's a long obsession.

My first and most crushing lust was for Peter Sterling who was the Parramatta NRL team's dashing halfback (number 7). He adorned my wall, my diary, my school books, my everything. I went to games to drool over his play, then lined up for my thousandth autograph, my little moment of pure pleasure being near him. I even wrote him a corny little poem...or more than one! His footy card photo came with me to all my high school exams and some of my uni ones too (maybe all, I can't remember that far back!). I hear him now in the commentary team and still have little lustful heart palpitations.

I had a long lag after Sterlo. No one seemed to fit the bill as a smart, clever footballer who I admired their play as much as them, like Sterlo. And then I went to a Grand Final and saw Darren Lockyer play live. I'd seen him on TV and he did nothing...but live. Oh my! He was my new lust star. Why the difference between live and TV? I think because on TV they zoom in on the action, and what attracts me is the back play, the way these brilliant football minds can direct play away from the action. They read ahead of the game, they're effortlessly on the ball, right where they have to be. They call the shots. Oh, they're just incredible to watch. And now, Darren Lockyer is also in the Channel 9 commentary team. Two lusts for one!

Then, another Grand Final and the Melbourne Storm number 7 caught my heart, Cooper Cronk. Oh my. Darren Lockyer wasn't Sterlo but Cooper Cronk takes me back to Sterlo. When he's on the field, I can't watch anyone else - is there anyone else out there? And last year, sitting at the Grand Final I invented a story with Cooper Cronk as my hero.

I've never written with a "real" person as my hero before. It's incredibly distracting! I watched the State of Origin game and all I can think of is my scene - the one I'm writing is sex on a secluded beach and my heroine is so in lust with him!

I've amassed a pile of Cooper Cronk photos so I can look at them to get good descriptions of his facial expressions and body for my scenes (purely research, I tell you!). After Game 1 State of Origin, they shot inside the dressing side and there was my hero, shirt off, arms above his head, muscles bulging in his arms. Drool or what? And then, OMG, he stretched. Lord, I was off the lounge, tongue out, just knowing it could be in my scene when poor Sam is watching Cooper remove his diving wetsuit and she's finally seeing all the muscles his t-shirt promised and his wetsuit hid. Grabbing pen and paper I scribbled while my mind replayed the scene over and over.

I'm not sure my husband quite understands this research phase of my story writing. I know he doesn't have any understanding of my lust for footballers - and my lust is not just for looks and bodies, it's brains too. And just quietly, most people tell me I have no taste in men :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - Pied Currawong

We have Pied Currawongs come visit and do their warble, which is different to the magpie warble but don't ask me to do it!

This one was having a bath in a little concrete dish that's been put into our front lawn under a tap - it came with the house but I keep it full of water.

I love watching the birds have their bath but I've not caught them on my camera yet. They're pretty skittish when bathing! And they always seem to bathe with a lookout - another bird who calls if there's danger, like me lifting my camera!

You can tell the Pied Currawong from other big black birds (like crows, raven, choughs, magpies) because they have a yellow eye and that white bottom (under the tail, where body and tail meet is always white) while the rest of them is black.

They eat a variety of foods including berries, lizards, insects and caterpillars. Their nest is a bowl of sticks, lined with grasses and other soft material. The material is gathered by both sexes, but the female builds the nest, which is placed in a high tree fork, up to 20 m above the ground. The female incubates the eggs, and the male feeds her. The male also supplies food to the female for the first week after the chicks hatch and she feeds the chicks. I sure hope he feeds her better than my hubby would me!

Pied Currawongs live all over Eastern Australia. So I doubt you would have seen one, Lily Malone :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Story

I'm not fond of series - you know, those stories that don't finish with one book but compel you to buy a few more. I understand they're a great way to gather and keep readers, plus they give authors a framework to further develop characters and a world. But there are few series that keep my attention because I always feel that one or more of the books let me down.

I read a blog post the other day where someone had been invested in a series for 23 years and was lamenting the end. 23 years?!? Gosh, I can't imagine following a series for so long.

And then I looked at my bookcase. Ed McBain wrote the 87th precinct police novels for over fifty years and I have at least 30 books here. Oops! But although these were series, you could read a book to have a story told and wrapped up. The series allowed the same characters to be in each story and the readers watched the characters grow (and although their kids aged, they never really did). And I didn't read them in order, I just enjoyed them and bought them when I saw them (often at second hand bookshops for the old ones).

So, much to my shame, I do have series addictions. I just didn't think I did!

Are you a fan of series?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Phallic Friday - Spanking

My dictionary defines "spank" as "to strike (a person, usu. a child) with the open hand, a slipper, etc., esp. on the buttocks, as in punishment."

I don't remember being spanked much as a child, and certainly never with a slipper! I do remember running away from a few spankings though.

As an adult, spankings don't take me back to childhood. They don't fill me with shame, or seem like a punishment. Spanking is pure pleasure - when done right.

For me, spanking is a pleasure-pain thing, as well as one of those things that has a huge build up. It's the will he/won't he? When will he hit? How hard? Where?

So to get pleasure-pain and the anticipation, spanking needs some kind of introduction. Sure it can be short, but there has to be something there first to have me experiencing pleasure (so the spank can do the pain switch) and anticipating the slap.

A good example is in the lead up to sex. Say you're fooling around, kissing and touching, maybe rumbling around a bit. You make a slip, say you jab him in the ribs as you rumble, he stills. "You'll pay for that," he says in mock-seriousness. And you know, you know, he means he's going to spank you. Your body tenses in anticipation, your thighs slick, the breath lodges somewhere mid-chest. You can hardly concentrate because you're waiting, waiting for his hand to move, fly through the air and crack against your buttocks. You're waiting for the burning sting, the flare of heat, and then the shafts of pure blissful pleasure.

Although, having said that, a slap out of nowhere, during intense pleasure can often send me over the edge.

Say he's gone down on you. You're writhing on the bed, so close to orgasm as his lips kiss, his tongue flicks and his mouth sucks. But you're just not there. He doesn't keep the pressure anywhere long enough to let you come. You're frustrated, soaked in pleasure, drowning in lust, and then the bastard stops. You're so close and there's nothing but cool air hitting your soaked cunt. Before you can scream your frustration, the air stirs and his open hand slaps against your clit and nether lips. You swear as you levitate. Your clit spasms, intense pain, heat burns through your entire groin area. Then he strikes again. SLAP! This time your clit clenches tight, screaming, before the most incredible release blooms. It's like you've burst open, flooded. Everything fills with pleasure. Every cell laughs with release. His tongue flicks against your clit and suckles until another orgasm floods you, filling you with intense pleasure.

And that, to me, is the joy of spanking.

Do you enjoy spanking? Or does it give you bad childhood memories?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - seagull

Okay, I popped down the beach again - extending my backyard just a tad - to get a bit more diversity. The beach is less than 1km as the crow flies, from my backyard but I have never seen a seagull at my house. Which I find curious, although birds are incredibly territorial, so I guess the seagulls have been thrown out!

They've been called the scavengers of the sea and I kind of like that. They're always padding around cleaning things up - the shoreline, your hot chips, someone's crumbs in the car park.

I kind of like them - in small numbers - and enjoy when they come up to say hello if I'm sitting at the beach. I'm not so fond of them when they compete with you for your hot chips, which is what they're like at some of the beaches in Sydney. Lucky my beach is sparsely populated!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Story Sunday - The Yearning

The YearningLots of spoilers in here - so if you haven’t read The Yearning by Kate Belle and don’t like a story ruined, please don’t read on.

It's been difficult for me to formulate my thoughts on this story because it touched me deeply. It brought back memories and had me identifying with the main character too many times. The fact that the main character is nameless until the last word, only made this identification stronger.

My teenage self had so many unrequited loves. Not with teachers but with footballers, jockeys and rock stars. I could relate to her pining infatuation, her inability to do anything but stare at the object of her desire, and her complete lack of confidence in being able to express herself with her friends, her secret diary being the recipient of her pain.

I could relate to the voyeuristic component and the need to understand sex (which was largely un-talked about). I could even relate to Eve thinking that sex and kissing meant you were now boyfriend and girlfriend (cf Solomon and Tracey as well as herself and Solomon).

Even the pain of your soul mate being torn from you and waiting for their return is familiar. As well as the decision not to wait. Even discovering he was never really your soul mate, but rather your first love.So many thoughts and emotions that I could identify with, are contained in this book - and I’m sure many other women are the same.

I thought there were many, many themes in the story. Here are some I've teased out:

None of the men in The Yearning are heroic characters - the father is rude, belittling, and does nothing to deserve Eve's love or the mother’s. Max is selfish, and tragically like his own father who was an abusive drunk. Solomon is a victim of child sexual assault, has never experienced love and equates sex and intimacy as the same.

None of the women have any backbone - Jude loved someone like Solomon in her youth and ended up unhappy, in a loveless marriage and she not only watches her daughter do the same, she actively encourages it. The school friends are no true friends. Tracey is a manipulative bully.

There are no role models for Eve. She has no one to learn from. Solomon is the only person who seems to care for her, take the time to teach her, and pay attention to her. He earns her love and devotion only because no one else bothers. In her final letter she says, “You found me among the dull humdrum of my life and connected me to my potential, to my Self. You gave me hope and, for a brief moment, I actually believed in myself.” On the one hand this is a beautiful sentiment; on the other it's incredibly sad. That's how I found this book - both beautiful and sad.

Cycles are a large part of the story - Eve and her Mum, Solomon's lost innocence and Eve’s, Max and his dad, even Max and her father reflect each other.

The different ways men and women think about life, love, sex, family is touched on - particularly with her mother reflecting on her marriage choice, and with Max’s views on marriage and children.

There’s an ostrich mentality in many of the characters, especially the men.  They ignore everything until there needs to be a confrontation - which is then violent/excessive. Maybe this is a sign of the times too, the 1970s were a little like that I think (but I was probably too young to really know).

The book has a voyeuristic beginning and theme throughout the book, even with the way it was written. It’s very cleverly done. And when sex is not discussed openly, voyeurism is often the only option you have with which to learn.

Other themes include: Pain of love; Pain of loss; Pain of settling for second best; Pain of relationships; Pain of being alone or having multiple partners; Hardship of life and love; Alien nature of men and women, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, teachers and students; Snow White and fairy tale love.

A strong theme is that sometimes, whatever choice you make in life you make, you end up unhappy. You can’t rely on others for your happiness. You can’t rely on life for happiness. You have to find it within. 

One of my favourite pieces from The Yearning is: Solomon saying to Eve, “But just because I love you doesn’t mean we’d survive being together for keeps. How long do you think it would be before we were stuck in the same miseries as everyone else? No matter where relationships start, they all end up drowning in routine, in life. What we have is too beautiful to destroy with commitment.”

There’s also a powerful biblical connection with the Song of Solomon (also called Song of Songs) quoted at the beginning of most chapters, and with the main character names. The Song of Solomon is a love poem in the Old Testament between a bride and her bridegroom, who is named as king and as Solomon. The king reference suits our character Solomon, because to Eve, he is her king (and in a way her bridegroom, being the first man she loved). And Eve’s name is perfect for her character because although she is not the first woman Solomon has had, she’s the first woman to awaken something strong and abiding, akin to love, in him.

At the end, when the main character has finally grown up, matured and understood about love, she could use her name, Eve. I felt she had the strength to get what she wanted - and being a cynic, I'm not sure it's Max!

Solomon ends with nothing... Eve thinks she's salvaged something but I wonder if she has.

The end was satisfying however it leaves me a little perturbed (with the message about promiscuity/marriage).

Promiscuity came out as the "bad" choice...which is kind of parallel to Fifty Shades of Grey where domination was the "bad" choice. Both books are pro-marriage themed...even with poor marriages. Are books reinforcing society norms? Or am I off on a different tangent (which I often am, just ask my book group!)? I thought about promiscuity last week, and when I thought about it, most people I know don’t stay “playing the field” but end up with someone. Maybe it’s a growing up theme and I should just overlook it.

But no matter about this tiny point, The Yearning is a fabulous story that's captured my mind and had me seriously thinking for over a week now. That's more than most books manage. Kate Belle is a seriously talented writer.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Phallic Friday - double standards

I found myself aghast this past week at my own double standards. Here was I thinking I'd come a long way - and really I haven't at all.

Two media articles drew this to my attention.

One was the international story about Michael Douglas's throat cancer possibly being caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and cunnilingus. I read the first line of the article and went "Ewwww". I stopped reading and clicked off the story (online). A few minutes later I was horrified at my reaction. I clicked back and read the story. You can read it here if you missed it.

My initial reaction was because I felt it was too much information. I didn't want to think of him eating out hundreds of women - which was what popped into my mind in vivid graphic detail (I know, my mind is a worry!).

When I took the time to think about the article I felt ashamed at my reaction and very pleased that another high profile celebrity took the time to acknowledge a disease/illness. I have edited work for the Health Department on HPV and I have no recollection of reading that it could be spread through oral sex and cause throat cancer. It's brave of him to stand up and tell us something that's hidden and not talked about because of our embarrassment (or filthy minds!). Good on Michael Douglas for raising awareness of HPV.

The second story was along a similar vein but had the complete opposite reaction in me - maybe because I'd done my thinking over Michael Douglas.

Condom dress
The Shoalhaven has a chlamydia outbreak and to raise awareness of this and the occurrence of STDs, they've displayed a condom wedding dress prominently - much to the disgust of some councillors and locals. See newspaper report here. The condom wedding dress is incredible - although I could never wear it with my legs! (Photo from the above newspaper article pasted here). The arguments against it's display were that children wouldn't understand. Seriously? Do you think you have to explain the whole sex issue to a child before they're ready just because there's a wedding dress on display? For years I was told condoms were water balloons and when I was told they were French letters that completely had me baffled as there was no writing on them. But I digress... If a child isn't ready to know, will they understand? And why are we hiding the word condom when later on we need people to be up front about them to enable the safe practice of sex?

My horror at myself was because sex was okay in the abstract (condom dress) but not in the personal (MD eating out women). I should be bigger than that. Sex should be okay regardless. It's a natural act. And I should be glad that Michael Douglas (a) respects women enough to give them pleasure and (b) is comfortable in his own sexuality to discuss this with the world.

I hope next time I have a news article with a celebrity telling me intimate details of their sex life, I'll be accepting of the story and not take two steps back. I hope I can look at a condom wedding dress and see the beauty of the design, not wish it all hidden away.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - praying mantis

This Praying Mantis was in my backyard the other day. I've always loved these insects with their strange looking bodies, goofy way of walking, and huge eyes that miss nothing.

He does have 6 legs, but in this photo his front two are tucked up against his thorax - no idea why but maybe he's eating.

Here's some info I found while Googling:

The front legs have rows of sharp spines which are used to grip prey. Mantids have a triangular shaped head with a large eye on each side that can see the slightest movement up to 35m away. It is the only insect that can turn its head 180ยบ. It has excellent hearing. Mantids have straight leathery wings and powerful jaws.

It grabs the prey with its strong front legs, bites the head off and eats its prey. Mantids eat beetles, spiders, grasshoppers, crickets, small vertebrates such as tree frogs, lizards and mice. They also eat other mantids!

After mating with a male, a female mantid lays groups of 14-100 eggs, in a froth that hardens to protect the eggs through the winter. The young mantids, called nymphs, hatch in the spring. Often their first meal is one of the other young just hatching. Nymphs eat leafhoppers, aphids or small flies. All through the summer they shed their skin many times as they grow into adults.   

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday Story

I'm going to look at reviews today - because my thoughts are still fermenting about The Yearning.

I'm not big on reading (or writing) reviews but I thought I'd better do some looking and thinking because over the years, contest feedback has helped me craft and define my writing. And reviews aren't that much different to contest feedback!

My contest feedback has always been - 1 person loved it, 1 person hated it and the 3rd person was somewhere in between (except once when I came 2nd and all 3 loved it, which was amazing!). And the people who hate it usually give me the total opposite view of the person who loved it, and often make some comment about hating first person writing. But sometimes they have a gem of wisdom for me.

So... reviews...

On Goodreads to date there are 8, plus a couple of different ones on Amazon. But I'll stick with Goodreads for this.

2 x 5 stars; 3 x 4 star; 1 x 3 star, 1 x 2.5 star and 1 x 2 star. Pretty much like contest feedback!

The lower star reviews said:
"I thought Mac was not fully developed. Her character was immature and naive one minute, and raunchy the next. Just not consistant enough for me."  
Contrast this with the 5 star review - so subjective, isn't it? One person loves Mac, one doesn't.

"She feels she is too old (22) to still be in hold of this commodity. ... This book seems overly long and drawn out."
Contrast this with the 4 star review saying, "Yes, it’s interesting to see Mac’s journey, but I kind of felt like that would have worked out better with a book that was longer."

The 4 star reviews said:
"I got slapped in the face by this story. Totally take unawares. And I love, love, love when that happens to me. Love it.
This author, first off, is freaking amazing at writing emotion. She has that kind of style that sucks you immediately in and makes you feel like you’re the character, not just right there with her.


And the end of the book was just awesome. The way they reunited after she left and decided to come back had me smiling all goofy."

Do you know what I love about this one? I've sucked at writing emotion, totally sucked at it. I've worked really hard to add emotion in, and I have a success. :) I can't tell you how good that feels. I'm smiling all goofy!

A cute read and a great love story."

"Cate must know a lot about this type of expedition as its so well described I felt I was there with them, trailing through mangrove swamps, scaling down mountain shale and rock jumping ( I think that was the term). It all felt so real so either Cate has done it or has done some really thorough research and the realism went along way to making what was a short novel really enjoyable for me...
Stars: I’m hovering over 3 and half to 4, as I said short novels aren’t really my thing but this was so very different from the norm that it was a real treat to read so – four it is :)"

This is from someone I don't know, who wrote this before I blogged about my trip that was background to the story. It's incredible that she could know that just from my writing. I get a big glow from that.

The 5 star reviews are some lovely author friends, who said:
"I love first person writing, and I particularly enjoy first person, present tense."

This is the best opening line because I always hear the opposite. How amazing that someone loves it! :)

"I loved this book, the inner and outer (physical) journey of the character meshed really well, and Ellink captured all the insecurities and hopes of the female protagonist perfectly (she's great at writing emotion). Also, the main character is very authentic and credible, someone you could imagine running into in real life."
Ah, emotion again :) And Mac is credible... as opposed to not fully developed. So subjective.

Do you know what's the best thing in the world? No one has said "this person can't write" or "this is a crock of sh*t"...and that is one of the biggest fears I had. (Now I've admitted that - watch all the crock of sh*t comments that appear now! LOL) 

There ends my reviewing examination. I have some people who love it and some who thought it was okay. I'm a very happy camper... off to keep writing more first person, present tense stories that will be loved by some and survived by others! :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Phallic Friday - promiscuity

I just finished reading The Yearning by Kate Belle, which I totally loved, but it got me thinking (way too much I fear!). There are a lot of themes in The Yearning but I'm going to focus on the promiscuity aspect - and not the book which I think will be Sunday's Story (if I can get my thoughts together).

Having multiple sex partners, or a multitude of partners, (and I don't mean at the same time) is not a society-friendly way to be... and yet, I don't see anything wrong with it so long as you're up-front about it. Sure, it's not easy in the day of AIDS, STDs, etc. but I find it refreshing to meet people who are around for a short time not a long time.

I'm not a good conformer (nor a good rebel but that's another story) and one thing I was never interested in was marriage (yeah, I know, I capitulated, but again, that's a different story) because I'm not sure we're designed to be monogamous (or maybe that's just me).

One of the problems I had with 'playing the field' is that you need a lot of confidence, or you need to be good looking or rich, and I wasn't any of those! I also remember having people (even friends) making negative comments about there being no steady boyfriend.

I've had friends who have been so good at the multiple partner thing. I learned from them. When I was at uni, I worked with a bunch of people and there was this girl who brimmed with confidence - and went home with different men each Friday night. I admired her immensely. Later I found out she was gay, and I suspect all the men were a smoke-screen... but I never had the courage to ask her! LOL I might have admired a fake!

Some time later I met a guy who had promiscuity down to a fine art. He and his mates were legendary. They never promised more than the moment and I respected them for that - they were always upfront about it. Over the years, I've watched them pull women, I've heard about numerous conquests, and I've lost count of the number of partners I know about. In amongst all the short term sex, there have been long-term girlfriends. I now think they've always been looking for the right life-partner but never finding the right person. They have some horror tales of what bitches women can be. In the last few years they've all gotten married, which I have to say caught me totally and completely by surprise. I didn't think they ever aspired to marriage. I'm not 100% sure they've given up all the short term partners but they're happy in family life.

When they gave in and went to the dark side (marriage :)) I began to wonder if there really is happiness, or fulfillment or whatever it is you need from life, in having a constant drift of partners in your life. I always thought it was a valid choice and a choice I'd have been happy to make (had I been more successful at it!). Maybe there's something to finding someone right for you and conforming to monogamy.

My thoughts are totally scattered - it's that damn book! Hopefully I can pull them together by Sunday!

Do you have any thoughts?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - special cockatoo

We have a naked cockatoo visiting is at the moment. My husband has been "looking after" him over the weekend making sure he has sufficient food and water. I took this photo and then went looking to see what could be wrong with him

PBFD is Psittacine Beak Feather Disease and pretty much looks like this - although it usually has beak deformation too and he doesn't seem to show that, so I'm not 100% sure.

However, if it's PBFD, it's highly contagious amongst parrots and we could end up with any bird visiting us catching this disease.

So the bird feeding will have to stop. I couldn't stand 100s of naked birds in winter.

It's suggested that you catch and euthanise the bird. No way I can get near to this fellow. He may be ill, freezing, and hungry... but he's still a wild bird (with a humongous beak).

Speaking of humongous beaks, I used to be in a Wildlife Rescue group and one day was sent to rescue a cockatoo. They'd shoved him in a budgie cage where he didn't fit too well. Anyway, armed with towel and gloves, I went to retrieve this, by now nasty, cockatoo. A young kid was there watching with his dad. So I get the bird from the bottom of the cage, then before I can put him into my larger cage for transport, he hooks that humongous, hurty beak into that soft tissue on my thumb right at the side of the nail. Young child present, representing my wildlife group, well I grit my teeth and swore a LOT inside my head. I got the bird in the cage but would he let go of my thumb? Not on your life! Then the father says, "Oh, the poor bird, what have you done, there's blood dropping on the cage." Between gritted teeth I smiled and said, "It's not the bird." You know, it took that man a long time to work out I was the one bleeding! The poor bird!! It lived... but I was never a fan!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Story Sunday

I have a great relationship with my librarians, the old one and the new one, so I always get 'presents' when I rock up to the library. Often books I would never have found. The other week I got "Daughter of Smoke and Bone". It blew my mind.

It is the most incredible story. Something you just wonder how anyone thought up. And the writing is interesting, colourful and paints vivid pictures.

I devoured it... and gave it to my husband, who also devoured it (and he's not usually a fast reader).

Then I went and bought it for my Dad to read, and while I was there, I bought book 2, which is also amazing "Days of Blood and Starlight".

It's pure fantasy - angels, demons, and shapeshifters - but different to anything I've ever read. I'm not going to say any more because I think you need to unravel the story yourself.

Totally loved them and now waiting on Book 3.

I only wish I had this much imagination :)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Release day

Mac and Jason are released to the world today. I'm sending them off with all my best wishes.

I hope the people they meet will love them as I have.


Here's a bit about MAC
“I’m Mac. Willow MacIntosh really but no one calls me anything but Mac. I hope you will too.” I hate my name. It sounds prissy and girly. Plus when you’re tall, curve-free and bony, Willow is a dumb name. I can’t believe my parents landed me with such a weird moniker. I’ve been known to completely ignore anyone who calls me anything but Mac. From the nods I receive from the group, I guess everyone will call me that.

I haven’t meant to remain a virgin. University should be full of sex and fun, but for me it’s been full of study. The years slipped by and now I’m about to finish uni and enter the adult world as an untested girl. This trip could solve my problem. Six weeks of girls and guys camping together. Surely I could get lucky.

And a bit about JASON from Mac's POV
Dark haired, muscular legs capture my interest. I follow the long legs up to a pair of blue jogging shorts and a khaki singlet. My throat constricts, my heart booms louder than a jet on afterburners and sweat breaks out of every pore. I don’t have to look beyond the singlet to know who this is. I risk a quick glance to his face. Sweat pours from me and my face heats.

Panther Man.

Look at the gorgeous gift a friend gave me for my release day - isn't it the best present?

And the funniest thing - she had to ring the dog tag manufacturer and ask for this to be put on there... and she didn't explain that it was a book! LOL