For once in my column, I’m showing the family a little love. :)
Given how busy everyone is these days, it was wonderful to catch up with family these last few weekends.
First, there was my nephew’s engagement party where we welcomed a wonderful girl into our clan. She’ll find out what we’re really like soon enough so it’s best behaviour for now. The following weekend my sisters and I had our first ‘girls only’ catch up in ages. My stomach still hurts from laughing so much and my husband assures me his ears are still burning.
On the public holiday, which coincided with one of hubby’s days off, we spent the afternoon playing backyard cricket. I’m not sure what the neighbours thought was happening as the deafening screams, maniacal laughter and ‘catch it’ comments that sounded like my youngest was saying something else entirely echoed around the block. Despite work calling hubby in for a couple of hours, it didn’t spoil our time together. It’s a blessing to have such precious moments. The only downside - I could have done without discovering the muscles I didn’t realise existed - especially each time I retrieved something from the floor the next day. Ah, the things we do for family. :)
Whilst in this loving state of mind, I thought I’d share a few blogs by some blokes whose writing never fails to bring a smile to my face. (I’m not going to mention I’ve been moved to tears on occasion – there’s no need for you to think of me as anything other than a hard-hitting, emotionally controlled writer, right?) Yeah, right! LOL Anyhow, I met one gentleman through my writing group and another at a writing workshop. Both are writers local to my area, the latter being the reason I now have a regular newspaper column (as he does). Seriously, my family should be blaming him for any embarrassing moments I happen share with the regional readers, certainly not me. ;)
Asher Roby is a man of many talents - artist, singer, actor and of course, an aspiring writer like me. Unfortunately, the singing talents of my maternal side of the family skipped a generation. Stage fright assures me I will never act, and to be honest, even my stick figures scream silently in desperation when it comes to drawing so why am I even sharing space with this person? Because his stories move me, because we encourage each other to write better and because I want to make him shed a tear too, darn it. J So if you want to read stories that will make you laugh and cry a little too, this is Asher’s site.
Greg Bray is another talented gentleman who also sings, plays guitar, acts, has his own weekly newspaper column and writes amazing stories. I’m not going to ask if he can draw because really that would be too much. He is also an amazing storyteller. Those who can stand in front of a group, spin a yarn from seemingly nowhere, and keep their audience enthralled always impress me. No hiding behind a much-scribbled in notebook or typed pages stacked and shaking in one’s hand like a mini cyclone suddenly invaded for this fellow. His works are full of humour from his life experiences, but he knows how to move the reader too. He’s also very encouraging of any local talent whether it is writing, singing, performing on stage or just bringing a shy little writer a little further out of her shell – well, he tries. :)
The last, and by no means least, bloke I’d like to introduce is a proper English gentleman named Alex who, along with his wife and children, now calls Australia home. We haven’t met because I stumbled across his musings via a friend on Face Book and he’s not local to my area. I love the way he talks about his family. We share a cheeky sense of humour in that regard because we don’t mind sharing the highs, lows (and downright embarrassing) things our kids do. He’s a high school teacher so I imagine he gets plenty of source material for his stories considering he’s also an aspiring writer. Any other talents and abilities will have to remain nameless because I’m not sure my ego can take it. One of his recent blogs had me in stitches though. I’m a long time Doctor Who fan, but Alex is very new to all things Whovian. (I know, I did say he was English, but I’ll forgive him for that in this instance.) The blog shares Alex’s thoughts on what Doctor Who taught him as a parent. Some of them were so accurate it was scary. There were many times when I thought, yes, my child did that and that and yes, I had some pretty high expectations of what parenthood would be like myself and the reality is very different. It has to be shared and even someone who’s not a Whovian will get something out of it. And if you are a fan, you may never look at Doctor Who the same way again. When you’re done with that, go ahead and check out the rest of his site too.
While I’m still in that loving frame of mind, I’m sharing some review love too.
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, the first in Rick Riordan’s Olympians series was a surprise read. I’d seen the movies so when it came to reading the books, I thought I was going to read about a teen protagonist with all the baggage that comes with it. Instead, I read about a twelve year old boy on the verge of all those emotions learning to live with the discovery that he was the son of the Greek mythological God, Poseidon, and wasn’t an ordinary boy after all. I avoided twelve year old boys like the plague when I was the same age, so that was an interesting perspective and in some instances of the story, I remember why I avoided those boys. I love Greek mythology, so of course I loved the way Mr Riordan weaved those myths throughout his story. I like how supposed ‘loser’ Percy discovers his strengths, especially when those strengths were initially perceived as weaknesses. Hyperactivity and ADHD became the catalysts that propelled Percy into doing some amazing, wonderful things and I think that prospect of self-discovery and turning negatives into positives is what I liked most about this story. If I’d read this in my youth then I would have revised my opinion about ‘some’ of those boys in my class. J Yes, it’s written for a younger audience, but I enjoyed it, so feel free to check out this series (and many more).
For something a little more mature, I read two Jenny Schwartz stories.
Ran from Him – Daniel and Cate meant to marry years ago thanks to a business arrangement between Daniel and Cate’s father that had nothing to do with love. Hurt and angry at her father’s interference, the then eighteen-year-old fled Perth to make a life for herself. When she learns her brother has proposed to Daniel’s sister, Cate’s sure her father is up to his old meddlesome tricks. Returning to save her brother from a terrible fate, Cate never counted on how she’d feel seeing Daniel again or his involvement in the matter.
Second Chance Island – Laura and Phil were together once. Young and naive, their romance couldn’t survive the high expectations they placed upon it. Separating, they move on with their lives. United again through Laura’s conservation project on an island resort, they discover their passion for one another is just as strong. This time, however, they have to mature enough to handle their differences. This sweet short story shows that some relationships definitely deserve a second chance.
It’s no secret I love Ms Schwartz’s stories. True, the couples have misunderstandings, but none of her stories are bogged down by them. The relationships between her characters are mature, the stories pleasing to read and are pleasantly realistic without losing that feeling of escapism.
Drop in and say hello to Jenny here.
And then I read a very mature trilogy – Mel Teshco’s Winged and Dangerous.
If you’re looking for something that’s a little bit saucy, a tad descriptive and cleverly leads you from one story to the next, then this could be the trilogy for you. Emotional, naughty and with the right touch of intrigue, these sexy paranormal characters compel you to care about them and hope for a happy outcome. From Cray and Loretta’s budding romance to their daughter, Celeste’s fight to find the kind of love her parents have and right on the discovery there’s more than one gargoyle family in existence with their own rules and heartbreaking decisions, Ms Tescho’s stories will take you on a journey you’ll want to follow. Even better, there’s a possibility for a fourth book. J
Book one – Stone Cold-Lover - Cursed to become a stone gargoyle by day and flesh and blood by night, Cray Diamond was meant only to protect Heiress Loretta Shaw. How could she possibly love him knowing what he was? Acting out with other men never satisfied Loretta. All she wants is Cray. If only he’d give them a chance.
Book Two – Ice-Cold Lover – Celeste Diamond longs for the kind of love her parents have, but that’s impossible considering she’s part gargoyle. What human would possibly want her and her grotesque leathery wings? But Pascal Daniels does and he’ll do anything to have her, even if that means spilling a few secrets of his own.
Book Three – Red-Hot Lover – Pure-blooded gargoyle, Zahlee longs for her human lover, the man who’s cared for her son for many years. The result of a terrible rape whilst in her human form, she was too afraid to raise the boy amongst her gargoyle clan. Now the leader of the clan has given her a terrible choice, leave the clan never to return or give up her last chance of seeing her son, Pascal and the only father he’s ever known.
You’ll find these and more of Ms Teshco’s books here. :)
As for me, I’d better keep that love going and remind myself I have some rewriting to do as well as editing on a couple of older stories I now feel ready to tackle. I’ve also found a victim; er... guest, for a future interview and I’ve witnessed the budding screenwriting and acting talents of my oldest child’s drama class thanks to a play they recently presented for class assessment. There are some very talented stars in the making in that group, and what’s not to love about that? :)