Tag Archives: gifts

Oh Shit! It’s Fathers’ Day and I Forgot to Get a Gift.

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So it’s Fathers’ Day this weekend and you haven’t gotten a gift yet. You’re thinking of buying your old man a selection of imported beers but there’s only so many times you can do that exact same gift before it begins to look thoughtless. Don’t worry, I’ve got the perfect solution to your problems. BOOKS!

1. Error Australis by Ben Pobjie. A hilarious look at Australian history in the style reminiscent of the TV recap. If your father doesn’t like the Project Rum Way section then he is a souless monster who does not deserve a gift in the first place. Seriously, fuck him and get it for yourself. There, I said it, everybody was thinking it, but I said it, and I don’t regret it.

2. Walking Wounded by Brian Freeman and Tony Parks. Brian Freeman is an ex soldier who takes young soldiers who have served in Afghanistan on treks through the Kokoda tracks. This process helps rehabilitate the soldiers. This book is filled with the incredible stories of sacrifice that those soldiers have told Brian Freeman. A most humbling read.

3. Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham. There’s crime, there’s suspense, there’s conflict, there’s danger. It’s got everything you’d want and expect in a book by the highly acclaimed, criminal master writer, Michael Robotham. Maybe give dad a torch as well so that he doesn’t get too scared. A big sturdy one.

4. Bound by Alan Baxter. Has your dad ever wanted to see a mixed martial arts champion go up against mosters? Then this is the book for him. If he hasn’t ever wanted to see this, then you need to chat to your dad about expanding his imagination and sit him down for a Jet Li movie marathon.

5. Destination Saigon by Walter Mason. The author describes it as Eat, Pray, Love but fat and gay. It’s a beautiful exploration of Vietnam with touching and humorous anecdotes. One of my favourite travel memoirs of all time.

Heck, if your dad doesn’t like these books at least you will. They’re all good choices. Enjoy.

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Don't get dad socks.

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“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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Stuff My Kids Need For Christmas Because I Want It!

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You know what, kids aren’t going to remember what you got them for Christmas when they’re little so you may as well get them stuff you want… or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
I’m a little bit obsessed with those GOOD / BAD Parenting signs so when I saw this I laughed… I laughed, and then I laughed some more. Love it!

If loving Gumby is wrong then I don’t want to be right. Quietly confident my kids dig Gumby despite not knowing anything about it.

Because sauce isn’t messy enough with a three year old I have to add a challenge. An awesome challenge. Behold the sauce ray gun.

Pretty sure this slightly creepy toy won’t give any of my children nightmares. I’ll put it on the list for one of my sons. I love it and I wants it. My precious.

My daughter is almost 3 now. High time she started looking after her own finances right?

My boys might not be one yet but they eat a lot. I have to say my daughter’s eating has improved no end since they started crawling because she knows if she leaves food hanging about then they’ll get it. What could be better for a couple of hungry lads than a lunchbox? I love this panda! So hilarious.

My favourite bath toys as a kid were a set of brilliant stacking ducks. Therefore my children…

I’m quietly confident that my love of sci fi has rubbed off on my kids and they need a jumbo rocket… and if they don’t like it I’m sure my husband will find the top of it interesting to look at.

And of course they’ll need appropriate bedding to match their rocket.

Anything can happen when they’re asleep,  I do have three kids after all so I better get them these for bed time too.

Shut the front gate! I can’t believe there are Arabian building blocks! Finally I can build the castles I want to build… I mean finally my kids can build the structures they want… They’re very architecturally savy amongst the three and under set.

You would not believe how much my kids love Final Fantasy!

Since my boys heard that there was a scene where Luke wears Yoda like a backpack and Yoda whisperers words of wisdom into Luke’s ears, my eleven month olds have not shut up about how much they want to carry around a yoda on their back.

And weirdly my kids want a pretty dress in my size. I guess they’ll grow into it.

…. I do have three kids…
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Dream Builders- the gifts of speculative fiction writers to emerging writers

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Fantasy readers have long been familiar with Tolkien’s three gifts of reading Fantasy, eRcovery, Escape and Consolation, but what I have come to discover is that these are not the only gifts of Fantasy. Not only are there three gifts for the readers, but there are also three gifts for the fellow writer. I call these gifts Embracement, Academia, and Dream Building.

Embracement
Many a budding Speculative Fiction writer has endured the slings and arrows of outrageous prejudice because they apparently write just silliness. They write about trivial things like believing in the good in people, how hope shall prevail, these are apparently things that don’t mean anything to anyone… Obviously they should be writing about relevant things like sexually ambiguous, serial killers, who love porn, inject heroine into their eyeballs, are charismatically alluring and yet are still the best darned kindergarten teacher around. That’s what real writers write about, real life. Not minority groups like Hobbits showing that they too are of value, that they too can be great. That’s just babyish nonsense. Brethren (I hope you don’t mind me calling you that), if you think that writing about hope and triumphing over obstacles is something that you’d actually like to do, then boy is Speculative Fiction the community for you. They’ll love you for your dedication to fairy tales, they’ll adore your deliberations over exactly what colour a skink that lives in a Mars like environment would be, they’ll accept that monkeys can talk and fly and wield magic and that’s important. What’s more, it isn’t just your fellow fledging writers who will encourage you, those published demi gods will actually come down from on high and actively encourage you. They’ll even remember you. So if you don’t necessarily want to become a starving artist, unappreciated in your time, living in a mental institution, slowly sipping contraband absinth, these people will accept that. Heck they’ll accept it if you do. That’s what is so great about Speculative Fiction writers. They believe in people and they welcome people.

Academia
Yeah, I know, ironic right? Don’t Speculative Fiction Writers just make it all up? Aren’t they writing Speculative Fiction because they aren’t smart enough or disciplined enough to write about and understand real life? No and No. Sitting down with a Speculative Fiction writer is like have a living encyclopaedia in front of you. If you are lucky enough to hear Ian Irvine speak, he’ll cover a range of topics, from the environment, to the history of Speculative Fiction in Australia, to the reasons behind the collapse of Boarders, and then go onto let you know the best way to escape from family BBQ’s in order to get some writing done. Even John Flanagan, who is notorious for claiming he just makes stuff up, can provide you with an eight page dossier on the discovery and usage of coffee in his world. And quite frankly, what Kate Forsyth doesn’t know about pee isn’t worth knowing. It is staggering the vast array of expertise these people have, you cannot help but be inspired to research and write just from listening to them for half an hour. They’re the human equivalent of art galleries and I love to soak them up and you will too.

Dream Building
This is their final, and I believe greatest gift. Speculative Fiction writers are dream builders, not dream killers. They understand that you have a story and that you would love for people to read it. They don’t treat the dream of being published like a dirty thing. Something that you should never dream of. That you should only write for the sake of writing and forsake all other dreams. I think it is because of the nature of Speculative Fiction, they often write about good triumphing, and that deep down people are good, that they tend to be more accepting of dreams and motivations. They tend to skip the thought that people only wanting to write to get published, they cast aside the notion that there are people out there who deeply despise writing and are only doing it to get rich and or famous. These people say, what’s your dream? Work hard, and go for it. Dreams can come true and if you work for it, yours can too. They are willing to encourage you to be the best you that you can be. They accept you, they embrace you, they encourage you to research and work hard, but they also encourage you to dream. And dreams are what fiction is made of.