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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

pianoIt’s been so long since I’ve blogged. I’ve been putting it off because it’s been a long time, thereby making it even longer since I’ve blogged. I keep doing this. And then I have to keep beginning my posts like someone going to confession. Forgive me, readers ,for I have not written a post for five months.

I’ve had a novel published. This one here, called How To Be Second Best. Just thought I’d get that out there. It was released in Australia a month ago. It’ll come out in Canada some time this year. The rights to publish in the UK, USA and rest of the world are up for grabs so get on it, foreign publishers! There is a paperback, an ebook and an audiobook. People seem to have liked it. I’ve had lots of nice emails from readers, some of whom aren’t even my friends. That’s a bit mind-blowing. It seems to appeal mostly to people around my age, who have children, although my Dad’s friend James, who is in his seventies and has no children, said he laughed out loud at parts and was very pleased when I wrote that the protagonist’s house had two rooms on each side of the hall, not two rooms on either side of the hall. Apparently the second one is incorrect and a particular bugbear of his. I’d like to say I knew this and very deliberately wrote that sentence but that would be untrue. It was luck. But I’m glad James liked it.

Because it is January and I have another book to write, I have been doing a lot of decluttering. I know this is very fashionable because of Marie Kondo and that Netflix show about tidying up and only keeping things that ‘spark joy’, but I only watched a few minutes of the show before I was so bored I decided to tackle the odd sock box. Maybe that’s how it’s meant to work.

Anyway, I prefer the alternative decluttering guru, whom H and I invented. He’s called Murray from Condobolin. This Murray Condo backs a ute up to your house and you throw in everything you hate. Murray then assures you he will dispose of it thoughtfully and recycle everything but deep down you know he drives to the next suburb and dumps it all on the verge. (more…)

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Here’s a tiny bit of book. My book. Yikes. 

Good grief, the last time I blogged was three months ago and I was ordering cheese for H’s exhibition. Well, the exhibition came and went and was a resounding success, and we have only just finished eating the thirteen kilograms of cheese that accompanied it.

My book is now at page proof stage, which for those of you not indentured to the publishing industry means the editing is more or less finished and the words have been laid (lain? anyone here an editor?) out into the design the pages will have when it is a real live bound book. It’s being proofread by a professional, and I’m reading it, and so are a few other people whose eagle eyes I trust. Next week I’m going round to an editor friend’s house to read it aloud to her, which will no doubt throw up a few more errors we can fix. It’ll be like audio books would have been in the olden days, before recording existed, when authors had to go from house to house reading their books aloud to people while they did the ironing, or sat in the back of the car reading to them while they drove to Canberra. (more…)

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IMG_1179Completely disorganised this Halloween? Got no costume? No decorations? If you’ve got kids, I think you’ll find you’re all set.

4 Simple Costumes!

  1. Zombie: don’t sleep through the night for seven years. You’re good to go.
  2. Cold Sore Monster: stress out like a maniac for a week before Halloween. By the big day you’ll have a nice crop of sores on your lips. Gross.
  3. Count Moneysworth: get the shits about how many random costume parts are alreay in the toy box, yet no child will consider wearing. Put them all on at once. Wear at least three different types of animal ears. A couple of crowns. Novelty glasses, if you have them. Plastic vampire teeth. A mask. Harry Potter scarf. A tail or two. Job done.
  4. Massive Killjoy: Striped shirt, jeans, flat sandals. Roll eyes constantly. Confiscate most of everyone’s treats. Make children eat chicken and vegetables before they go trick or treating.

(more…)

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Seven year olds can make their own fairy bread. That’s dinner for the rest of the year sorted. 

I’m a long way through the writing of this first book but I’ve hit a little wall. It’s not a big or hard wall, and it’s nothing to do with the book (which will be great and excellent so my publisher who reads this need not freak out and go into labour or anything), it’s just a wall with a sign on it that says ‘nearly there: reduce speed now’.

It’s to do with the fact that if I keep writing at the rate I have been I will finish it well before the deadline and then what fun will having a deadline be? For surely the only point of a deadline is for it to cause enormous trauma and misery to me and everyone around me, right? Like the deadline for my thesis at university, which was approached correctly, by doing bugger bloody all for months on end and then writing almost the whole thing the night before it was due. (more…)

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Here’s my awful ugly new desk chair, rehearsing its look for next Book Week, when it plans to go as Doris the Desk Chair Fairy

We’ve had Book Week, and now there doesn’t seem much else to look forward to until next Book Week. For my non-Australian readers (and WordPress would have me believe there are one or two of you in Papua New Guinea and Denmark), Book Week is a week when kids get to go to school dressed as their favourite book character. All through primary school it was hands-down my favourite day of the year.

To celebrate Book Week this year, I wrote a big chunk of Book and I exercised all my self-control to let May Blossom do her own thing for her costume. I’m reasonably easygoing about what my kids dress up as for things like Halloween and dress-up parties – usually at least one kid goes as some sort of cat — but I did have to take myself to one side and have a serious chat bout how I’m no longer the kid and I’m not the one dressing up and my child is her own person and thus should be permitted to have her own thoughts and feelings about books. Operation Don’t Be A Book Week Dictator went pretty successfully. I only made a few suggestions about Hermione Granger, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Heidi, which were all overruled in favour of someone called Lydia The Reading Fairy.

May Blossom is a fan of a series called the Rainbow Magic books. There are umpty-gasquillion of them and they are all nearly identical except for the fairy-protagonist. There’s Phoebe the Fashion Fairy, Melissa the Sports Fairy, Harriet the Hamster Fairy, Nora the Netflix Fairy, Abigail the Attitude Fairy, Ella the Eyeroll Fairy, Betty the Brother-hating Fairy. Some of those may be forthcoming titles. (more…)

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Curious George is a movie that can penetrate even the most noise-cancelling of headphones. Writing a novel in the same room as a four-year-old watching Curious George is not in my top 10 productivity tips.

It’s been a long time between posts here on Life With Gusto because I’ve been devoting my writing hours and, frankly, all my jokes, to this novel I’ve been working on. That seems to have paid off because a very nice fiction publisher at HarperCollins has acquired it, and its younger sibling which is currently only a gleam in its mother’s eye, for publication.

This is a dream come true, as I say in the press release they sent out today*, only slightly marred by the fact that I now have to do a huge amount of work. Now don’t get me wrong, I love hard work. Mad for it. It’s just that up until now I haven’t had to juggle a whole lot of it with those attention-sapping, disrespects of deadlines and creative process known as my children. But everyone else manages it and so will I, and I’ll complain about it extensively here on the blog.

The news of this book deal has been received with great excitement by almost all my family and friends, with the notable and vocal exception of Garnet. To be fair though, he’s been really sick the past couple of weeks with influenza, which is currently tearing through our community. (more…)

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Just before dawn yesterday I had one of those very special nightmares where you wake, unable to breathe from the horror, saying to yourself, ‘It’s all right, it was just a dream. It was just a dream,’ before going back to sleep and having the bastard dream resume exactly where it left off. That’s not supposed to happen. It was a classic anxiety dream, the details of which I will not relate because nothing is more boring than other people’s dreams.

H disagrees. He likes hearing about other people’s dreams, presumably because he is a psychologist and it’s some sort of revealing diagnostic tool. Often in the morning he’ll ask me if I had any dreams. I like to answer, with a sad, faraway stare, ‘Once perhaps. But not for years. They’ve all crumbled into dust now.”

I think maybe I’m supposed to ask him back about his dreams, but I rarely do. He tells me anyway, and they seem to frequently feature me being way more fun than I am in real life. (more…)

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