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Braking point (Friday Fictioneers)

‘You moronic piece of @#$%! My beautiful bike. She’s ruined forever!’

‘Ummm…’

‘It’s like you were trying to run me over!’

‘Ummm… Maybe I was driving a tad fast.’

‘A tad? A tad! Idiot!’

‘Ummm… sorry?’

‘The brakes are completely messed up! The gears are everywhere. That chain’ll never go back on. How the hell am I getting to Vegas now?’

Windows down, they sped along the I-15 towards Nevada. Eloise let her hair blow wildly across her face as she struggled to hide her smile. She’d never liked that rusty old thing and the brakes hadn’t worked for years.

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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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23. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (100 book challenge)

I remember having to read this book in high school as part of English class. I checked the book out from the library and struggled through the first few pages. In preparation for the exam I read the Sparknotes Study Guide and watched the movie  from start to finish (the image of the rabid dog is clear in my mind).

I passed the exam without reading more than 10 pages max.

to-kill-a-mockingbird-cover  Continue reading

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22. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott (100 book challenge)

Did a bit of a premonition draw me to this book?

I began reading my 22nd book late in my pregnancy when it was starting to get real. Being my second baby, I had all the usual concerns: was spare time for me now a thing of the past? would I ever get to write or read again? how was I going to share my love between two kids? would my three-year-old son like the baby at all?

And then there was the thought that this baby could be a girl and (terror!) how would I go being a mum to a girl, when up until then, I’d always seen myself as a boy’s mum?

Granted, being a mum to girls in the 1860s would probably be just a little different to my own experience but I thought I’d give it a go. Thought I’d finally read this classic tale that so many people (everyone, apparently… please read on) seemed to know about but one that I’d never tackled before.

 

Little Women cover

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21. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (100 book challenge)

This book hooked me from the very first page and I couldn’t put it down. When I wasn’t reading, I’d think about it all day. And when I was reading, I’d be drawn into the story, oblivious to what was going on around me. I felt guilty that I was neglecting my family!

Luckily it was all over in just 6 days. That’s almost a record for my 100 book challenge. Beaten only by Catcher in the Rye, which had a similar effect on me and took just 5 days to finish.

If it wasn’t for one small thing, I’d have given it a perfect 10 out of 10.

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1,324 (Friday Fictioneers)

One thousand, three hundred and twenty-four days have passed since Maggie last went out in the boat.

Every day she comes down and sits silently in the grounded boat, now mossy and falling apart. Sometimes she cries.

One thousand, three hundred and twenty-four days ago her husband died. Oh, how they’d laughed and spent many a wonderful afternoon floating around in that little wooden boat.

Maggie watches Jim and Florence nearby, pushing their boat into the water. They’re arguing about where the ropes should go. Jim raises his voice, Florence rolls her eyes. They don’t realise how lucky they are.

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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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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)

emmylgant

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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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.

Goodnight cover

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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