Wednesday, 25 July 2018

75. Adulting 101


Welcome :)

Time waits for no one, especially parents, it seems. My little babycake is not so little anymore. There’s another adult in the house and I can’t believe my girl is now a young woman of eighteen. It happened so fast. Too fast, in fact.

I never believed in the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ adage when it came to children growing up, but that’s exactly what it feels like. I swear she was just a babe in arms last week, a toddler on Tuesday, high school by Thursday, and then BAM! All grown up. It’s surreal. And to think I’ll be addressing this moment again in a few ‘short’ years. For now, I’ll have to accept she’s a big girl capable of making her own decisions and living with the rewards and consequences of those choices. I’m still not ready.

Now, I’m not a poet by any means, but I wrote my daughter a little something for her special day, which made her cry. (heh heh). I mean, it was a very emotional moment for us all. I’m sharing this moment with the acknowledgment it’s saying more about me and my fragility than hers.

Eighteen years have come and gone,
But make no mistake,
You will for now and always be,
My little Babycake.

I loved you the second I felt you move,
You danced right under my heart,
So maybe you dislocated a rib or two,
But you were mine right from the start.

I couldn’t take my eyes off you,
I barely slept a wink,
You were walking and talking before I knew it,
And I swear I didn’t blink.

You were the apple of Father’s eye,
And you copied his famous ‘beer face,’
While Grandma listened as you sang,
And said, ‘This girl’s going someplace.’

Nana dressed you all in pink,
She loved you just to bits,
Ganda taught you all about the sun,
And how it shone out where you sits...
(Where does the sun shine?)

You were such a happy, smiling child,
And you really had a flair,
For putting pots upon your head,
And messing up your hair.
(Just like your Dad.)

Going to kindy was so traumatic,
And of course, I mean for me,
But you couldn’t wait to tell me about your day,
And your boyfriends, one, two, and three.

Along came school and they confirmed,
Exactly what we knew,
You had a voice that had to sing,
So, it was into the choir for you.

It made me so proud to see you,
Up there on that stage,
And we loved the week of Eisteddfod,
When you starred daily on the newspaper page.

You’ve grown into such a lovely soul,
And it really makes me smile,
To know you’re at the beginning,
Of adventures all in style.

I love while we look nothing alike,
Inside you’re just like me.
From random songs to movie quotes,
We’re twinsies ‘internally.’

I don’t like this letting go,
Although I know I must,
Because I still see the little girl,
That I love so very much.

Eighteen years have come and gone,
But make no mistake,
You will for now and always be,
My little Babycake.




And yes, she really did dislocate a rib while I was pregnant with her. It still pops out if I ‘move wrong.’

We had a special weekend guest for the RWA Aspiring group this month – Ms Kate Cuthbert, Editor of Escape Publishing, Harlequin’s Digital Imprint.  She was awesome! Ms Cuthbert had a fabulous answer for every question the group had and we gained valuable insight into the world of publishing and editing. Ms Cuthbert will be at the RWA conference in August, and hopefully I’ll meet her in person in September where she’s a guest presenter and taking pitches at the Rockingham Writers Conference. :)

Book Reviews

Burning Fields by Alli Sinclair

Romeo and Juliet set in Queensland's sugar cane fields in 1948, as the daughter of an Anglo-Australian family falls for an Italian immigrant against the wishes of her family.

1948. The world is struggling to regain a sense of balance after the devastation of World War II, and the sugar cane–growing community of Piri River in northern Queensland is no exception.

As returned servicemen endeavour to adjust to their pre–war lives, women who had worked for the war effort are expected to embrace traditional roles once more.
Rosie Stanton finds it difficult to return to the family farm after years working for the Australian Women's Army Service. Reminders are everywhere of the brothers she lost in the war and she is unable to understand her father's contempt for Italians, especially the Conti family next door. When her father takes ill, Rosie challenges tradition by managing the farm, but outside influences are determined to see her fail.
Desperate to leave his turbulent history behind, Tomas Conti has left Italy to join his family in Piri River. Tomas struggles to adapt in Australia–until he meets Rosie. Her easygoing nature and positive outlook help him forget the life he's escaped. But as their relationship grows, so do tensions between the two families until the situation becomes explosive.
When a long–hidden family secret is discovered and Tomas's mysterious past is revealed, everything Rosie believes is shattered. Will she risk all to rebuild her family or will she lose the only man she's ever loved?

In a time where reputation is everything and a woman’s place was meant to be in the home, freedom and independence is hard to realise when you’ve had a taste of it and find you want more.

Rosie, a mathematical genius, knows what it takes to run the sugarcane business on the farm where she’s spent most of her life. During the war she had a chance to shine in the city, but that was snatched away from her. Home again, she’s desperate to prove to her father she has what it takes to make a difference, but even after his stroke, he’s still stuck in his traditional, archaic ways. The only man who shows any signs of treating her like an equal has a dark past of his own, one he’s reluctant to share. But Rosie and Tomas are entwined by more than their desires, and it will take a lot of twists and turns before the truth is revealed.

Burning Fields is a beautiful story. This story transported me back to my home state, to the smell of the cane fields, and reminded me of the stories my mother told of growing up in Far North Queensland. How eye-opening to remember there was no running to the corner store to buy things because you had to make them from scratch. I don’t think I would have lasted long in that era because I’m as stubborn as Rosie, but I do love that sense of cooking, of the family being together and baking or making a meal together – not that I’m a MasterChef by any means. LOL

Rosie’s frustration for being considered less because she was female screamed from the pages, and I can only imagine how working during the war effort and then being told to go back to the kitchen would have had many women during that era want to tear their hair out.

I loved Rosie’s and Tomas’s romance though it drove me nuts how they struggled to really talk to each other, but it fitted perfectly with the times. I cried for Alex, and I cried for what Tomas experienced too. I loved the revelations as they unfolded, and I especially loved the moment the title made complete sense. :) Learn more about Ms Sinclair here. :)


Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

 

The short story OBITS won the 2016 Edgar for best short story.
The No.1 bestselling author delivers an 'outstanding' (USA Today) collection of thrilling stories, introducing each one with a fascinating piece on when, where or how he came to write it.
There is a treasure here for every reader: a man who keeps reliving exactly the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again; a columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries; a poignant tale about the end of the human race and a firework competition between neighbours which reaches an explosive climax. And, exclusive to this paperback edition (and the eBook from 6 September), a brand-new story 'Cookie Jar'.
'I made them especially for you,' says King. 'Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.'

 

There are twenty short stories in this collection which will dazzle, daunt, and dare you to turn out the light. There were times I was sure I knew the ending only to have Mr King twist the story on its head. It was brilliant to get a glimpse of the stories that eventually became novels, and others made me grateful they ended when they did.

One of my favourites was Dune - An old judge is organising his will. He tells his lawyer about a magic sand dune on a small island he’s known about since childhood, something he’s kept secret all this time. In the sand he sees the names of people who are about to die. This was one of the few times I managed to guess the ending, but it didn’t make it any less chilling or exciting.

Batman and Robin have an Altercation, however, broke my heart. It tells of a son taking his senile father out for lunch. While their relationship isn’t the best and his son takes his father out as a sense of duty than any sense of love – he’s spent years playing second best to his older brother, now deceased, and never measuring up in his father’s eyes - there is still something to their relationship that made me think of the changing shifts of power. Their roles have reversed. The son cuts up his father’s food, helps him go to the bathroom, and cares for him, and the father goes in and out of mental stability (and time periods) as he tries to comprehend the world around him and wonders who is looking after him. On the drive home, they’re caught up in a serious issue of road rage, and that’s when the father steps up and reclaims his role of protector. Seconds later, his mind is far away once more. 

It made me think of my mother and how we are now caring for her. Her mind is not always with us, and she lingers longer in that time when she was young, a time before her children even exist. While the relationship in the story is nothing like the one I have with my mum, it certainly made me see this story from a deeper, more emotional perspective.

What I enjoyed the most from Bad Dreams was Mr King’s anecdotes at the beginning of each story. The insight into his thoughts and the events that inspired his stories was brilliant. How something so mundane and everyday could be twisted and warped into something so vivid and thought provoking, and has one looking over their shoulders at times is fantastic. I still feel the magic of Mr King’s stories now as I did when I was fourteen. But I think I was braver then.

 


Angel Fire & Wild Lightning - Arcane Awakenings Books 1 & 2 by Shelley Russell Nolan

A hidden past. An uncertain future.

In Angel Fire, all Andie wants is acceptance, a task made difficult thanks to the nightmare that's plagued her for the past fifteen years. Then she learns it's a terrifying memory of the night she lost her identical twin. When Angel's spirit calls to her, begging to be saved, Andie is determined to discover what really happened the night her sister died.

The story continues in Wild Lightning, when Celeste wakes in a mental institution with no memory of who she is or why she can shoot lightning from her fingertips. Spurred on by a vision of Angel, Celeste escapes and searches for answers as her captors close in.

Andie and Celeste must battle ruthless adversaries as they seek to uncover the truth, but will this lead to a future more dangerous than what they've left behind?

Arcane Awakenings – a fast-paced paranormal fantasy novella series.

I reviewed Angel Fire in a previous blog. (https://ddlineauthor.blogspot.com/2017/02/58-moments-and-memories.html) Ms Nolan has released it together with her second book, Wild Lightning.

Wild Lightning -

A wild ripple of energy brings a cationic patient back from the dark recesses of her mind. ‘Angel’ is real. But how to escape her physical prison when her identity, her life, and her mind are still locked within. Instinct show her the way and Celeste, if that is indeed her name, manages to flee, stopping anyone standing in her way by shocking them. Where this power came from, she hasn’t a clue. All she knows is once she finds Angel, everything will be all right. But when she finds Angel, Celeste realises the danger is only just beginning because the one person she thought she could trust, may be her greatest threat.

Another wonderful story by Ms Nolan, which continues the horrifying legacy of the Woods Estate and its terrifying experimentation on gifted teens. Some shocking twists (pun intended) bring about a startling climax to a story that leaves the reader alternating between loathing and cheers. I can’t wait for the next in the series. :) You can learn more about Shelley here. :)


What’s on my reading list

I’m almost finished Alan Baxter’s – Alex Caine Trilogy, but more on that next month. :)

News

I’m taking over my local writing group for the next couple of months while our regular organiser is enjoying a long holiday. :) We’ve been working on describing characters and scenes to engage the senses of the reader to help improve our story telling. The group has been sharing brilliant work and it’s wonderful to hear their short stories and paragraphs. This month, that expansion of words is about to change because I’m doing a workshop on paring back paragraphs and sentences to get rid of any unnecessary words and phrases. I’m sure they’re up to the challenge. Whether I’m welcome to take the following month’s workshop remains to be seen. LOL

My reading list was (happily) waylaid this month by beta-reader requests, so I haven’t worked through my list yet, and two more of my favourite authors have releases coming up from series I adore (double yay). I’m certainly in no danger of running out of things to read. I’ll also be busy in August copyediting for some clients. That will keep me out of mischief – and housework too if I’m lucky. LOL

My novel has been beta read and ready for another round of editing because my beta readers have given me brilliant advice once again. I do, however, face the prospect of deleting 4,000 words from the manuscript, which is a bittersweet feeling indeed, but I’ll think a little more on that before I act. Manuscript mourning is a thing, right?

I’ve heard back from one of my competitions, and while I didn’t place, the feedback was brilliant, and from one judge in particular, a real eye opener. I’d used a word to describe a character that, to me, was a huge compliment and a positive trait. At this judge’s comment, I did a little research and discovered it means something completely different and is offensive to that community. So, there’s more rewriting in my future. I’m pleased it was pointed out to me at this stage so I had a chance to fix it.

Well now that I’m the mother of an adult child, and feeling decidedly ancient for it, I’m going to sit in my wheelchair, (hey, my computer chair has wheels) stoop over my keyboard, (that explains the sore neck and headaches) and put on my copy-editing hat, (okay, I need a hat) and get cracking, (which is another subject entirely.)

Until next time, may wonderful books take you to fantastical places. :)

4 comments:

  1. What a lovely poem for your daughter. No wonder it made her cry. They do grow up way too fast. It also sounds like you have had another busy month filled with reading and writing activities, with plenty more to come. Looking forward to reading what is next for you. (And thanks for the great review of Wild Lightning)

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    1. Thank you. :) It probably made me more teary, but let's not tell her that. ;)

      I'm enjoying reading your stories, Shelley, so thank you for giving me more adventures to read. :)

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  2. Your poem is lovely. What a wonderful gift - and happy birthday to your new adult :)

    And manuscript mourning is definitely a thing. But keep going!

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    1. Thank you for the birthday wishes, Jenny. Pleased you enjoyed the poem. They are not my specialty. LOL

      Thank you for your constant encouragement. It means the world to me. :)

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