19. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett (100 book challenge)

How did I manage to get through my childhood without reading this book?

The Secret Garden was published in 1911 and is about a spoiled little English girl (Mary), born in India but sent back to England to live with her uncle when she suddenly becomes an orphan. Mary becomes intrigued when she hears a story of a secret garden that’s been locked up for ten years, and as expected, the story follows her search and (*spoiler alert*) discovery of the garden.

The main characters drive this story and stop it from becoming cliche or predictable. There’s one boy I love (Dickon) and another boy I can’t stand (Colin), but Mary manages to find qualities in both.

Secret Garden cover

You will even love the red robin – trust me

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Hunter Story Creators on the radio

Our lovely writers group have been lucky enough to have a short radio documentary made about us by ABC Open Producer Anthony Scully.

Anthony came along to the Hunter Story Creators group last night and asked questions about writing, writing groups and sharing successes (yes, there was champagne). Anthony has been an incredible supporter of our writers group since the beginning, and he plays a key role in getting local stories heard from all across the Hunter.

It aired this morning at 9:50am, and you can listen to the full SoundCloud piece here:

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Preparations (Friday Fictioneers)

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Image by Emmy L Gant at http://unbuttonedorundone.com

‘Paint this wall green. And put those wall stickers like vines growing down from the ceiling. And we’ll need one of those bins that turn dirty nappies into sealed sausages. And it all has to be done THIS weekend.’

‘Can’t I do it when my leave starts?’

‘I’ll be 39 weeks then. The baby could come any day now!’

Midnight Sunday, he’d finished the nursery.

At 39 weeks they had nothing to do.

At 42 weeks he dared to say, ‘I wish I had something to do’.

She threw a slipper at his head. And that’s when the contractions started.

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Friday Fictioneers is a challenge set by Rochelle each week where writers from around the world post 100 word stories based on a common photo prompt. For more information, and to read other stories, visit Rochelle’s page here.

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The grass is always greener (Friday Fictioneers)

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Image by Sean Fallon at http://www.theequiaticbind.com

‘I want the green one, Mummy, the GREEEEEEN OOOONNNEE!’

My two-year-old certainly knows what he likes.

I fish the last green battery out of the jar, then discover that his toy car needs two batteries.

‘They both have to be green, Mummy!’

I drive to seven different shops looking for green batteries. They only have packs of 100 left. At least I know he’ll be happy for a very long time.

The second I walk through the door he greets me with:

‘I don’t like green anymore, Mummy. I like red now.

Of course he does.

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Friday Fictioneers is a challenge set by Rochelle each week where writers from around the world post 100 word stories based on a common photo prompt. For more information, and to read other stories, visit Rochelle’s page here.

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Hunter Story Creators website launched!

I’ve been part of a writing group for a few years now and, despite being very creative with our writing, we’d struggled coming up with something to call our group.

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Our writers group critiquing stories for an upcoming competition

Until now! Yes, we finally committed half an hour to brainstorm some ideas and after considering everything from the ‘Newcastle Writing Collective’ to the ‘Hunter’s Story Gatherers’ we have decided on a name:

HUNTER STORY CREATORS

The name represents our across-the-Hunter location (not just Newcastle, our members are from Lake Macquarie and the Upper Hunter too), the idea that we don’t write books we tell stories, and that over anything else, we create.

Along with our new name, we have launched a website, where we will re-blog posts from our own websites and let you know about upcoming events and presentations.

To visit our new site, go to www.hunterstorycreators.com.

Our group has achieved a lot in the last few years – from published short stories, to competition wins and commendations, to live readings and presentations at the Newcastle Writers Festivals in 2014 and 2015. We have another big year coming up, with our presentation at the Newcastle Writers Festival 2016 called ‘Make your writing pop!‘, a writers retreat in the Hunter Valley, and (hopefully) a few more competition successes.

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Top ten books loved by my 2 year old

A year ago today I posted this blog post about the books my one-year-old loved. I thought it’s good timing to take you through the books he now loves today.

1. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey and Tom Lichtenheld

This is by far the favourite. The construction site machinery have done their work for the day and all go to bed one by one. They all have different bedtime routines (the cement mixer ‘takes a bath, gets shiny bright’, the bulldozer ‘curls into his soft dirt bed, and dreams of busy days ahead’). For the child who can’t get enough of diggers and dump trucks, this is the book for them.

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18. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute (100 book challenge)

When I realised that it took me 85 days to finish A Town Like Alice, I was shocked. That’s a long time to read a book. And in this case, I must stress that it had nothing to do with the quality of the story.

I was shocked… because I know that every time I picked up this book I was hooked. I’d fall into the story and find myself racing through the chapters. The 85 days it took to get to ‘The end’ just doesn’t do this book justice. And it’s purely an indication of what my life has been like over the past few months.

Town Like Alice cover

In November 2015, pretty much the day I started this book, I also found out I was pregnant with our second child. A wave of nausea and tiredness hit me from day of conception and lasted till I was 16 weeks along. It was a struggle to make it through everyday life, so to then find the energy to pick up a book at the end of the day? No chance.

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