Tag Archives: emily maguire

Writing Teachers I Love #SelfPubIsHere

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Last week for #SelfPubIsHere I spoke about editors that I love, people who make your manuscript glow. But what about before you have a manuscript? Are there people who can help you before you have finished, or before you have even started? The answer is quite simply yes, writing teachers exist. And fortunately we live in a time where there are more and more teachers available to learn from. I’m going to share with you some writing teachers that I love and where to find ones that you’ll love too. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s quality teaching. Not only did I teach for over a decade, including being Acting head of English, Drama coordinator, placed on secondment briefly to the body now absorbed by NESA amongst many other things, BUT I also studied directly with the creators of Quality Teaching and Productive Pedagogy. So trust me, I know teaching, and I say these people are awesome.

Toni Jordan is a truly incredible teacher. The three scenes that are consistently held up as excellent by critique partners of my WIP were all written during Toni Jordan’s Character and Dialogue course held at NSW Writers’ Centre. She is Melbourne based and has lectured at RMIT, presented extensively at The Wheeler Centre, tutors at Writers Victoria, and indeed lots of other places too. You can even get personalised mentoring from Toni through Australian Writers Mentoring Program. She has really strong opinions on structure and dialogue tags and is not afraid to state exactly what they are, which is very useful in a teacher. And although her opinions are strong she is never brutal; think of Toni as the epitome of firm but fair. Find Toni Jordan’s website here. Find her books here. Find Toni’s Robinpedia entry here.

I was lucky enough to do Pamela Freeman’s two day speculative fiction course a few years back. Since then, she has taken me under her wing and allowed me to ask her all sorts of inane questions. She is the kind of teacher who continues on thinking about her students long after the classroom door has closed and the lights have been shut off. She is very much the mother duck of the Australian writing teaching world, but with a truly wicked sense of humour. She has a PhD in writing, she knows her stuff, and she’s quite forward in telling people what she thinks. And you’re in luck, because Pamela is currently supercharging her Advanced Fiction Writing Course at AWC. She is a regular teacher at AWC who also have a mentoring program, teaches occasionally at NSW Writers’ Centre, pops into a couple of Sydney universities, and all around the place really. Find Pamela Freeman’s website here. Pamela gets bonus points for following along on the #SelfPubIsHere twitter storm. Find her books here, and her books as Pamela Hart here.

Kate Forsyth made me tear up my prologue, literally. She didn’t even read it, she just asked me a few questions, didn’t like the sound of my answers so told me to rip it up. Shocking, I know, but… she was absolutely right. Kate is able to get to the core of your writing very quickly and gives crisp advice that will improve your manuscript immeasurably. I don’t go anywhere without her plot arc worksheet. She is a regular teacher at AWC, also teaches at NSW Writers’ Centre, a few universities, and pretty much everywhere else including overseas. Find Kate Forsyth’s website here. Find Kate’s books here. (And I know she’d also love it if you could check out her cooking and books show, Word of Mouth TV.)

A woman that needs no introduction, Anita Heiss. She’s pretty much an icon in Australia. When I was volunteering at one of her panel events at the Sydney Writers’ Festival we had to form a separate line for her signings. She is a really practical teacher who urges writers to listen to their readership. She’s all about knowing what you write. Very thorough in her approach and her preparation is phenomenal. I was lucky enough to do a workshop with her at NSW Writers Centre but she teaches at a lot of other places too. Keep your eyes wide open to see her courses pop up and book quickly. Anita Heiss’s website can be found here. Find Anita’s books here.

Emily Maguire is a very quiet and serene teacher. She is never without an encouraging word for people and always listens to students thoroughly before responding. Emily also provides so many worksheets for you to take home so that you can continue to look back and relearn for years to come. She teaches the hugely popular Year of the Novel course at NSW Writers’ Centre and so you get to learn from Emily all year long. Find Emily Maguire’s website here. Find Emily’s books here.

One of the most exciting speakers I have ever seen is L.A. Larkin. She is very animated, very witty, and above all else, very clever. L.A Larkin mainly teaches in the UK but lucky for us the AWC recently snapped her up to teach crime writing so she’s not just swanning around British universities anymore, we can learn from her in Sydney. You can also find her speaking at a variety of other places, check L.A. Larkin’s website for details here. Find her books here or even here. Find L.A. Larkin’s Robinpedia entry here.

Jan Cornall is the first writing teacher that I ever had (aside from school) and she blew me away. She is a very calm person and has a soothing effect on the soul. Jan utilises short bursts of meditation in her teaching and, despite the fact that I am truly crap at meditating, it really works. She teaches at WEA, NSW Writers’ Centre, pretty much everywhere and runs her own draftbusters course in the Inner West that I cannot recommend highly enough. Find Jan Cornall’s website here. Find Jan’s books here.

I have long testified that Walter “the inconceivably incandescent” Mason is like viagra for the creative soul. This man simply oozes love and passion. To sit by him is to sit in the presence of inspiration. But he doesn’t just sit about being all inspirational, he also gives concrete tasks to do. He really is a spectacular speaker and I urge you to go see him whenever you can. He regularly teaches at WEA, Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, NSW Writers’ Centre, Ashfield Library, and pretty much everywhere you can think of. Find Walter Mason’s website here. Find Walter’s books here. Find Walter Mason’s Robinpedia entry here.

Alison Croggon would come close to being the queen of Australian literature. She’s a poet, a spec fic writer, an opera critic, and so much more. You want to know how to write an arts submission? She’ll teach you. You want to know how to write a proper poetry review? She’ll teach you. You want to know how to write a fantasy novel? She’ll teach you. And, like Toni, you can have Alison all to yourself through the Australian Writers Mentoring Program. Find Alison Croggon’s website here. Find Alison’s books here. Bonus, she’s a huge #SelfPubIsHere advocate.

I did a Garth Nix course through ASA waaaaayyyy back in 2014. I rarely see his name crop up on workshops so was eager to attend, I think it pretty much booked out on its first day of advertisement. First up, the food they provide for the ASA courses is fantastic, seriously, if you haven’t done a course there yet… well… do it! Secondly, I was really impressed with how Garth took a different tac than many other teachers. He was explicit on who to pitch to, he was explicit on filling up your creative bank. It was a very informative workshop. He said nice things about my WIP, and as I am a complete saddest I have subsequently changed it from being set in Germany to Australia, from first person to third person from present tense to past tense. Whyyyyy??? Imagine what I would have done with negative feedback or if he’d actually suggested any changes? Burned my laptop and thrown it from the Harbour Bridge? Find Garth Nix’s website here. Find Garth’s books here.

Cass Moriarty is from up above… in Queensland. She is a tireless supporter of writers and somehow manages to write novels, write reviews of ALL the books, teach and be a doting grandmother. I am in awe of this woman and have no idea how she does it all. Her motto is ‘I can adapt’ and she brings that to your manuscript. You can find her floating about up at Queensland Writers Centre where she does workshops and mentoring. Find Cass Moriarty’s website here. Find Cass’s books here. Find Cass Moriarty’s Robinpedia entry here.

Thriller, chiller, and teacher Tania Chandler has been writing and editing for years. Recently, we’ve been lucky enough to see her helm her own workshops. She brings a wealth of experience with her, and is a very dedicated teacher. If you get a chance to get to SPAN Community House Inc. book in for a course with Tania. Find Tania Chandler’s website here. Find her books here. Find Tania Chandler’s Robinpedia entry here.

Aleesah Darlison is here by very special request, my 6 year old daughter’s request to be precise. I have not had the pleasure of learning from Aleesah but my daughter has. Aleesah visited her school last year and my daughter assures me that Aleesah is the best teacher ever, and very qualified. My daughter tells me that Aleesah has written over 100,000 books, and writes 1000 a week, so I’m fairly confident she’ll teach you a lot about time management, and possibly how to create time vortexes. We actually owned quite a few of Aleesah’s books before she went to may daughter’s school so my daughter’s claims are way less exaggerated than you think. Aleesah is a powerhouse. My daughter rarely steers me wrong so in order to keep tabs on the clearly enchanting Aleesah Darlison find her website here. Find Aleesah’s books here. Find Aleesah’s Robinpedia entry here.

And no list could be complete without #SelfPubIsHere rockstar Ellie Marney who teaches both YA and self-publishing workshops.

You can find her slinking around Writers Victoria and plenty of other places too. Just keep those peepers peeled. Find Ellie Marney’s website here. Find Ellie’s books here.

This is a list of general writing teachers that I highly recommend, I will do a blog entry on self-publishing specific courses later on. Now of course there are other fab writing teachers out there and I can’t possibly go learn from every single one of them, so I’d like to hear about who you love. Especially those fab teachers such as Natasha Lester who I hear so much about from WA friends. Which writing teacher really boils your potato?

Find friendly writers organisations here. Just click on “8. What other organisations in Australia support writers?” These places have been created to help you grow. They can and will help you. They have an array of courses and resources.

See #SelfPubIsHere featured in Books+Publishing here.

Also in Australian Self-Publisher here.

Read about my #SelfPubIsHere Festival dream here.

Read the article that kicked #SelfPubIsHere off here.

Read about my experience of being a dyslexic writer here.
Also, cough-cough, find my book at Booktopia or anywhere.

P.S. HAPPY TOWEL DAY!

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Melanie Cheng: #Robinpedia

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Melanie Cheng is an Australian writer, born in Adelaide, moved to Hong Kong and now lives in Melbourne. She is also a GP, winner of the 2018 Fiction VPLA, and lover of the Emerging Writers Festival.

Now stop it. Stop that sniggering! I do good, honest profiles here. It says VPLA! That’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, not Visible Panty Line Australia. I’m pretty sure the acronym VPL went out in the 80s so just stop it. Furthermore, if any Australian writer was to win the VPL, it’d be me with my love of cottontail. Now back to the profile!

Melanie Cheng’s debut book, Australia Day published through Text, charmed critiques and award judges alike. It was winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, longlisted for an Indie Book Award, longlisted for an ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award, longlisted for the Matt Richell New Writer of the Year Award, longlisted for a Dobbie Literary Award, shortlisted for a Readings Prize, and winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. It’s safe to say that she has completely nailed the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and it is easy to see why. Her stories are deftly crafted with a hard hitting depth. They speak to that notion of displacement and belonging that everyone faces and therefore can relate to. She writes a vast array of characters that are unified with each other through this yearning for connection and thus likewise bonded with us the reader. But don’t just take my word for it, Australia Day had words of praise provided by the likes of Emily Maguire, Christos Tsiolkas and Alice Pung.

To continue name dropping, Melanie is friends with Jane Harper and emails her for advice. Yes the Jane Harper, author of The Dry and Forces of Nature which have now been picked up by Reese Witherspoon’s production company. Interestingly, Jane won the Unpublished VPLA the year prior to Melanie. It’s certainly an award good at predicting phenomenal success from talented new writers. Other previous winners include Graeme Simsion and Maxine Beneba Clarke. If you have an unpublished manuscript and are an emerging Victorian writer, might I suggest you enter? Entries open in September.

Melanie has been commissioned to write another book by Text and I will keep you updated on its release. She loves her local library, shout out to Bargoonga Nganjin in Fitzroy North, and is no doubt bunkered down there writing up a storm. She has said that much of her inspiration comes from her work, not just from her patients but from the people she has to deal with whilst advocating for her patients. If you put Melanie on hold for 7,000 hours whilst she was trying to help a patient, well, you have been noted, put through the fiction blender, and reimagined on the page.

Find Melanie Cheng’s website here.

Find Melanie Cheng’s blog here.

Find Melanie Cheng on Twitter here.

Find Australia Day here.

Read more about Robinpediahere.

Read about my experience of being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my opinion on author brandinghere.

Buy my shit here.

Dianne Blacklock: #Robinpedia

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In a Robinpedia first, I’m adding the mother of an already existing Robinpediaed entity. Please set your hands to applause for Australian author Dianne Blacklock. 

Dianne Blacklock is a Sydney writer and has published 9 books through Pan Macmillan. She writes about people and relationships. She also hosts “A Conversation With…” authors series on her blog. Authors such as Liane Moriarty and the Robinpediaed Lisa Heidke have been interviewed in this series.

If you’re a slush pile swimmer in need of inspiration look no further than Dianne Blacklock. At 39 her unsolicited manuscript was fished out of the bog of eternal slush at Pan Macmillan. A year later she had a book contract. It can happen. You can break out of the slush. It’s too late for me, but just keep swimming. SAVE YOURSELVES!

I was lucky enough to have Dianne Blacklock as a special guest star at Emily Maguire’s Year of the Novel through the New South Wales Writers’ Centre. She is incredibly generous with sharing her words of wisdom with aspiring writers. Dianne Blacklock emphasised that whatever approach you wanted to take to writing you would find experts who vehemently disagreed with it…. BUT you would also find experts that agreed with you, so just do what works for you. If it works, it’s right.
Apparently when not writing Dianne Blacklock has a love of cleaning and inventing chores. And she’s got enough to go around. You get a chore, you get a chore, everybody gets a chore…. So…. like…. don’t visit when she’s not writing?
Find Dianne Blacklock’s website here.

Face Dianne Blacklock here.

Tweet with Dianne Blacklock here.

Read Dianne Blacklock’s blog here.

If you have any info that you believe would enhance this entry, please leave it in the comment section.

Read more about Robinpedia here

Read about my thoughts on being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my thoughts on author branding here.

Buy my shit here.


20 Real Life Wonder Women

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In honour of Wonder Woman Day I’d like to share with you twenty real life wonder women. Some I know and some I admire from afar. [Warning : I’m dyslexic, grammar nazis run for your lives]

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Anita Heiss
Scholar, writer, possessor of the best calves in Australian writing, Anita Heiss is the embodiment of Wonder Woman in the Australian writing scene. When she’s not writing highly successful books, ranging from non fiction to choc lit to children’s books, she’s off running marathons to raise money for charity, or teaching other people how to write. I’m not even exaggerating. Did I mention she has a PhD?

Calista Spiro
Actually that’s Calista Spiro MD, soon to also be PhD. She’s a General Surgeon, a PhD candidate, a friend to the nurses, and an angel to her patients. On top of this she finds the time to be a great mum, a warm friend, eat food, and shower. I can only manage to do two of those things, and probably only 60% of the time. Yet Calista manages to do it all. She truly is a wonder woman.

Canna Campbell
Forget sugar daddies, it’s all about the Sugar Mamma now. Financial wizard, savvy business woman, social media expert, and TV presenter… and that’s just on her lunch break. I’m convinced that there is nothing that this money expert can’t do. She even gives fashion advice.

Donna Colombini
This babe left school to follow her dreams to become a hair dresser. She consequently became the best hairdresser I have ever met. So she set herself a new challenge, teaching others at TAFE. She then went to university, all the while juggling her career and her children with her studies. This year she was named NSW/VET Trainer of the year. She is living proof that with passion and enthusiasm you can rise to the very top. But this isn’t even her greatest attribute. Donna is the kindest person I know. Always available with a smile and lovely words. A role model for kindness and compassion. And I am sure that anyone who has ever met her would testify to this fact. She is the kind of woman I strive to be.

Emma Viskic
Concert clarinetist, award winning writer, mango hater. She’s a supporter of the arts and artists. Generous with her outreach to others and is hilarious… I’m jealous of her and am going to go have a little cry for a moment.

Emily Maguire
Award winning writer of fiction and non fiction. Board member of the NSW Writers Centre. Feminist. Teacher. And she’s super nice too. I did a course with her a few years back and she still let’s me pick her brains. She’s a wonderful mentor to writers and a credit to the Australian writing community.

Helen Petrovic
Helen is hands down the best unpublished writer I have ever had the pleasure of reading. This is not an easy thing to achieve as I am lucky to have many talented writer friends and acquaintances. She is professional, productive, and incredibly talented. Whenever I think about the fact that she hasn’t been picked up by a publisher I just want to give up on writing. Her work is so visceral yet eloquent. Her talent leaves me speechless.

Jan Cornall
Jan was the very first person I did a writing course with. She opened my eyes to organisation and self belief. Without her I would never have started this blog. I owe her a great debt and so much love.

Jennifer Byrne
JByrne is perfection. Her eyes sparkle, her wit sparkles, everything about her sparkles. She hosts a show about books, I love books. She’s nice to obsessed fans who scream out, “Oh my God, I love you,” then faint at her feet. She is the queen. Love, love, LOVE, the Byrne of J.

Kate Forsyth
I can sense regular readers of this blog rolling their eyes at this point. She’s gushing over Kate Forsyth again? Yes! Yes, I am! And you will darn well gush with me or go throw yourself down a toilet. Kate Forsyth is an incredible writer, internationally published and celebrated, AND a Doctor of Fairy Tales. Literally. She has a PhD in Fairy Tales. This is the coolest thing I have ever heard of. Wonder Woman indeed.

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Kerri Sackville
I just took a peek at her FB page before writing this, as I do regularly, and she’s writing about running around the kitchen screaming FUUUCK. She makes me laugh so much. When she isn’t making me laugh she’s off being a writer, columnist, and TV presenter. Because why not do one thing brilliantly when you can do several, brilliantly. 

Leah Kaminsky
You know what, I’m just going to put the link to her Robinpedia entry here. She’s so mind-bogglingly brilliant that it would blow the word length of this blog entry out of the water. But here’s a quick summary, she’s a doctor, an award winning writer, has television credits, and I hear she can embroider. She is so Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is looking at Leah, and wondering why the UN didn’t name her ambassador instead of her.

Lee Lin Chin
Queen of Australian television, and she beat Wonder Woman in a fistfight once. The UN initially approached her to make this day about them but she just maced them and kept on walking. I don’t even mean pepper spray, I’m talking about the medieval weapon. She just keeps one on hand. You may be cool but you will never be Lee Lee Chin cool.

Lisa Fleetwood
She’s one of my besties and I love her! She is incredibly driven. Last year she self published her memoir Destination Dachshund. It became an Amazon bestseller. She organised every aspect of her launch as carefully as any publishing house, with press releases and adverts. She amazes me that she truly can do it all. I am so proud to be her friend.

Oliver’s Mum
Growing up Oliver’s mum took me under her wing as if I was her third child. She’d greet me with hugs, take me on family trips to exciting places, and always make me feel as if I was wanted and special. I can’t articulate how thankful I am for her presence in my childhood because I keep tearing up every time I try to write this section. But, you are one heck of a woman and I wouldn’t be the mother I am today without your love. I still think of you fondly and often.

Pamela Freeman
The cheekiest character you’ll meet in the Australian writing lineup. She’ll tell you that she’s well behaved but that twinkle in her eye gives it all away. Direct, honest, funny, passionate, diverse. That pretty much sums up Pamela who also publishers under Pamela Hart. Yeah, she writes for kids and adults. Picture books, chapter books, fantasy, crime, historical fiction, and whatever the heck she wants. Her drive and diversity are her super powers. Such an incredible range of successful genres from the one writer. And she’s real. She’s not an amalgamation. I’ve met her, definitely real, definitely one person, despite her superhuman talent. And yes she has a PhD too.

Selwa Anthony
The face of fabulousness in the Australian book industry. She is a literary agent that has clients such as Tara Moss. Unlike the stereotypical literary agent (who only exists in people’s imaginations) that is only interested in boring and sad stories, Selwa Anthony is excited about passion and connection. She brings a sense of fun, class, and above all else, sass to the Australian writing world. She’s a woman that probably even Wonder Woman herself wishes she could be as fabulous as.

Tara Moss
A picture says a thousand words.
Image by http://valerhon.com/

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Toni Jordan
Love her. Her skin looks like she eats sunshine. She is the most glowersome person that I have ever clapped eyes on. She is just so lovely to everyone that she meets. You honestly feel like you’ve been kissed by a rainbow after you meet her. I loved her work before getting the opportunity to meet her… okay I threw myself at her after a screening of ABC Book Club one day before security could catch me… because she is an amazing writer with such wonderful characters. She also has the best sock collection in the Australian writing community. Bet Wonder Woman doesn’t have that!

Virginia Gay
Virginia Gay I love you, let me count the ways. Actually numbers aren’t really my thing so how about I talk about it instead? I just love the energy that Virginia Gay gives off on the screen. She is just the most captivating actress. Whenever she’s in a scene my eyes are always on her because she just burns with intensity. I don’t know what it is but she’s just magnetic. But on top of being a brilliant actor of screen and stage, she loves books and is a feminist. She’s younger than me, yet she’s my hero. Love her energy. And if you don’t follow her on twitter then you better get on it, she’s hilarious.

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I’d love to hear about the wonder women in your life. Please do leave a comment about them.

The Book Club ABC S10 E4 #bookclubABC

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It’s here. The moment that I have been waiting for all week. It’s Maguire day! Tonight Book Club is discussing An Isolated Incident by the angelic Emily Maguire. I am so excited. It is absolutely top notch. If you haven’t read it yet I recommend you do. It isn’t a light and refreshing read like last weeks Mothering Sunday, it is more gripping and fraught… and I will savage any panelist who doesn’t say glowing things about it.

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Full disclosure I’m dyslexic so there are going to be some errors. There will be typos, spellos, grammos and just plain wrongos aplenty. Grammar Nazis, for your own sanity, run for your life.

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I try my best but there will always be things that my eyes see differently than yours and my hands will react differently to brain stimulus than yours

Now that the informalities (yes, you see what I did there) are over, let’s begin recapping and have some fun. JByrne enters. She is of course glorious and we all completely lose our shit at the sheer gloritude that is the Byrneinator

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JByrne introduces her guests Adam Liaw and Michael Robotham. If you’re wondering why Adam Liaw, chef extraordinaire is on a show about books instead of food then just take a look at his twitter profile. He is an absolute scream. Michael Robotham should make sense though because he writes dark psychological thrillers and people have described An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire as a psychological thriller so he seems like a good fit. My only issue is that it is taking a supreme effort for me to remember that his last name is Robotham and not Robottom. The first time I read Michael’s last name my dyslexic brain rushed right on through it and came up with Ro-BOTTOM. I did giggle at length. And so to keep my mind straight I have to keep saying to myself Robo-Tham. Which is making me think of Robocop. I know what a cop is but what is a tham? But that probably doesn’t bother anybody else at all so how about we move on with the rest the recap and our lives.

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Regular panelists Marieke and Jason are there. And we all applaud like crazy. And by we I mean me and my glass of wine. We’re both big fans. Moscato if you must know. Brown Brothers.

Adam kicks off the discussion on Emily Maguire’s An Isolated Incident by saying the first time he read the book it hurt him right in the feels because the men were violent and misogynistic and he’s not like that. Yep, Adam did a #notallmen. Then he reread it and realised it wasn’t all about him. Jason and Michael jumped in also with their complaints about how the men weren’t portrayed nicely… oh how sad. Gosh I can’t think of anything worse… you know, other than always being portrayed as a virgin, mother, or whore. So sad for men to be stereotyped. I switch from my glass of white wine to my mug of men’s tears for the remainder of the episode.

One criticism that was leveled against An Isolated Incident that I actually agreed with was that it wasn’t a classic psychological thriller. As Jason points out it’s about grief, misogyny, representation of women in the media, and violence against women. To me that’s a marketing issue not a novel or author issue, though. It was a damn fine novel that dealt with character,  place and grief beautifully.

For a truly amazing psychological thriller you cannot go past The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. So if it’s the genre that is disturbing you then give it a go. If you haven’t read The Turn of the Screw make sure you do. There’s also a creepy black and white movie of it. The singing still haunts me and I last saw it when I was in Primary School. That’s 30 years of mental scarring from that film. Impressive, no?

The classic has been chosen by Marieke this week. It is the fabulous Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. It’s part of a movement of post WWII literature that looks at displaced young men making their way in the world. The main character is Jim Dixon, a lecturer of medieval history. If you’re expecting an uber sexy lecturer about to bust out and kick some Nazi buttocks like archeology lecturer Indiana Jones then you’re in for disappointment… which is kind of sad because it is a brilliant book. Dark humour is created because Jim doesn’t really enjoy being a lecturer but he also doesn’t want to lose his job. He has also got a manipulative and slightly deranged girlfriend who he’s just not that into but doesn’t want to break up with either. Jim negotiating his lack of enthusiasm for his current path is quite comical and of course it all culminates with him getting truly pissed and drunkenly telling it like it is. It’s cringe worthy comedy.

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Marieke loves Lucky Jim. She likens it to hitting people she doesn’t like with a stick, which appeals to her. Michael said it was full of lols. Jason calls it consistently amusing. Everyone loves it. What a triumph!

JByrne annouces there shall be some Titanic related discussions next week. I do hope everyone dresses in sailor suits.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Catch up on past episodes on ABC iView.

Catch up on last weeks episode recap here.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” … and books, mainly books

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Trust me, he wanted a book not that sweater.

Have you left Christmas shopping until December? Have you just realised that stores are now zoos full of rabid animals? Never fear, I can and will help you… well,  not so much me as books. Books can and will solve your problems. So here are my Christmas recommendations for those of you without the time to think.

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Where Do You Hide Two Elephants? by Emily Rodda. Ridiculously cute picture book.

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The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody. For the lover of fantasy. Added bonus, yes it is a series. We fantasy geeks love a good series.

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Impossible Quest Series by Kate Forsyth. The first two books are already out. Get into them before they blow out Harry Potter style. Fantastic kids series.

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The Protected by Claire Zorn. Incredibly moving YA novel about grief, resilience… I actually have to stop writing about this novel now because I’m tearing up just thinking about it. It’s powerful stuff. I’ll leave it at that.

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The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss. Non Fiction exploration of stereotypes and beliefs thrust upon women/Tara Moss. That description does not do it justice at all. Captivating read. Just go out and get it for any and all women you know.

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Under Siege by Belinda Neil. A memoir about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It rings true for a lot of mental illnesses though, such as depression and anxiety,  not only PTSD, so is highly accessible.

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Holiday in Cambodia by Laura Jean McKay. For you travel bug friend. Get Destination Cambodia by Walter Mason as a companion piece. Your friend will love you forever. I’m trying not to literally laugh out loud remembering the “dangerously jolly” scene in Destination Cambodia.

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The Black Dress by Pamela Freeman. Get it for the woman who wants to read about strong women and also anyone with an interest in religious history. A truly excellent read about Mary MacKillop.

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Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Yes, you can believe the hype. Buy it for yourself for Christmas.

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The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. For your historical fiction loving friends who enjoy some romance.

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The Nightingale by Fiona McIntosh. Another beautiful romantic historical fiction novel.

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Fishing for Tigers by Emily Maguire. For the Literary snob who secretly likes it a bit sexy. In other words,  exceptionally well written but they get down to business.

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Avoiding Mr Right by Anita Heiss. For the woman who likes the idea of chick lit but needs something with a bit more depth.

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Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan. Styled as young adult but so brilliant. Honestly,  it’s for any adult, young or old, human or seal. A beautiful take on the Selkie myth.

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Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood. Love a light murder mystery and the cover is very cool. Seriously, I know you can’t judge a book by its cover but… well… we do.

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Animal People by Charlotte Wood. Slightly traumatising but oh so good. For your friend who likes a bit of real life grit.

Okay Christmas peoples,  go forth and part with your cash. Probably online, so you can avoid the people. Mwah.

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What Would Tara Do?

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What Would Tara Do?
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What would Tara do?

It’s no secret that I’ve got a bit of a Lady Writer Crush on Tara Moss. Of late I’ve been using expressions like, “I’m channeling my inner Moss,” and, “I totally Mossed it,” much to my friends’ amusement. And I’ll be honest, it has caught on with them. Anytime we appear particularly serene and confident when under stress we’ll say, “I see you Mossing it.” If one of us is flipping out we’ll say, “What would Tara do? Put on her lipstick and pull herself together.” I’ve actually started wearing red lipstick now. I had to go emergency purchase some the morning of Literary Speed Dating in order to “Get on Moss of it.” I’m now wearing my red lippy all over the place. This has come as a shock to people who have known me for years and are more familiar with me channeling my inner Woolf rather than Moss.

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What would Virginia do?

But you know what, it works. I feel much more confident with my lip mask on. So I drink a cup of tea, put on my lipstick and high heels, and I’m ready to face the day. However,  I’ll let you in on a little secret, lean in closer, closer,  I have to italics it because I haven’t let anybody else in on the secret,  shhhhh, Tara Moss isn’t the only person I channel. Gasp. Yup. I’m a bit of a Lady Writer Crush (LWC) hussy (LWCS???). Although Tara Moss is my go to at the moment I can’t solve all the world’s problems through giving it “a red hot Moss.” So here are some more LWC that you can channel.

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What would Emily Maguire do? She’d put on her pajamas and pull herself apart. Because sometimes you just need to get comfy in your sauce stained PJs to truly become one with yourself. If she was scared of something she’d go out and confront it. She’d research it, interview it, visit it, she’d get that business all taken care of because knowledge and understanding is power. Then she’d go home and get comfy. Because pyjamas are awesome.

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What would Kate Forsyth do? Plaster on a smile, sip some champagne and hug her many, many books, published in many, many countries. When you’re as internationally recognised as Kate Forsyth not much phases you, so just drink champers and be fab. We all need to just shake it off with a champagne and a smile every now and then. If I was to channel pre published Kate Forsyth (translation: broke) To “Forsyth it” would mean to be focused, devoted and don’t allow for distractions or detractions. Choose your priorities and go with that. If that means skipping a few meals to do a writing course then so be it. So really,  however you “Forsyth it,” pre published or internationally celebrated,  you’ll be doing something pretty amazing. Self belief is key.

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What would Nakkiah Lui do? No idea, she’s a bit like the Spanish Inquisition,  nobody expects them. The only thing I know is that she’ll challenge, she’ll be unique, she’ll probably swear and she’ll definitely make you laugh. So if you want to “Lui it” you’ll need to be able to think on your feet and always do the unexpected and BE the unexpected.

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What would Margo Lanagan do? Something so profoundly brilliant that it beggars belief and then be self deprecating about it. Modesty thy name is Margo Lanagan… Ok, I haven’t channeled my inner Lanagan yet, because I haven’t written anything as brilliant as her yet, but I look forward to the day I do… because then I’ll be smug as hell instead of self deprecating.

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What would Hannah Kent do? Start a bidding war over her first novel… haven’t channeled her yet either… sad face.

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What would Anita Heiss do? Be ground breaking,  brilliant,  devoted and still be family oriented… I hope my daughter channels her inner Heiss, Mummy will always be here, please don’t forget me.

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What would Pamela Freeman do? Say something sassy as hell and make everyone laugh, then follow it up with a ridiculously insightful comment. Pamela is cheeky, she’s funny, she’s willing to tease her writer friends on panels just to make them laugh and she follows it up with intellectual insights. In short, she’s as close as you can get to a Terry Pratchett witch in real life. So just go say what you want, write what you want, be who you want, that’s what Pamela would do, that’s why she crosses genres and age groups in her writing.

So who are you going to channel today?

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