Thursday, 29 June 2017

Review: Under the Cat's Eye by Gillian Rubinstein

I remember Under the Cat's Eye for one reason. In my year 10 English class, our teacher along with one of the school librarians was giving us a lesson on publishing trends. At the time, children's books were dominated by one particular trend--horror--and had been for a few years mostly thanks to the almighty popularity of RL Stine's Goosebumps series. I remember the teacher holding up a copy of Under the Cat's Eye and asking the librarian how much longer she expected books like this to be around. "A year at best," was her reply. She was right. The year was 1997 and the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was just a few months away, though none of us knew that, or the impact that Harry Potter would eventually have on readers across the globe. So, I suppose for me, Under the Cat's Eye has become almost symbolic of a genre that was about to well, die. It's an unfair tag to give any book, especially one that was reasonably well-written so when I found a copy in a secondhand shop this year, I decided to bring it home and give it a go.

Gillian Rubenstein is best remembered by readers for her children's/teen sci-fi novels Space Demons and Galax-Arena. Under the Cat's Eye is gothic horror, telling the story of a boy who, due to administrative problems is sent away to boarding school while his parents try to get their Australian Visas sorted out. Jai is a sensitive, pre-pubescent boy who notices almost immediately that there is something very wrong at his school, something that involves the principal Mr Drake. What comes next isn't completely expected ... 

This book is well written, a little dated, but, ultimately, a lot of fun. Jai's an interesting character--he's more of a person for the reader to identify with, rather than being the hero, or a special chosen one. There is a little bit of sci-fi in there, but that element is best left to be discovered by readers. 

Recommended.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Review: The Do-Gooder by Jessie L Star

The Do-Gooder is a sassy, sizzling romance almost certain to delight fans of Abbi Glines. Lara Montgomery is a girl on a guilt trip. She knows that what she and Fletch did was wrong and she is determined to make up for it by doing good deeds for her fellow uni students and well, anyone else who needs her. She also knows that she needs to stay the hell away from the ridiculously sexy Fletch but that, it seems is easier said than done ...

Told from duel perspectives (Lara and Fletch,) this one was a sizzling read that is all the better for the fact that it never takes itself too seriously. Lara is entertaining as the reformed bad girl with a disproportionate sense of guilt, while Fletch's attempts to rekindle his romance with Lara make for fun reading. There is also a great crew of supporting characters--Livvy who is just blossoming into womanhood; Saskia, Fletch's bad girl baby sister; Merry, the closest thing that Lara has to a best friend; and gay Italian student Stefano. The backstory about Lara's brother tugs at the heartstrings while it adds to her sense of guilt.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one, and how much I got caught up in the lives of all of the characters--this book certainly proved itself to be the perfect antidote for a cool winter evening. It's even more enjoyable knowing that the author is an Australian who started out on fiction press. Overall, an enjoyable read.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my review copy.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Review: My Life as a Hashtag by Gabrielle Williams

My Life as a Hashtag is a realistic read about how one mistake can lead to a whole lot of hurt, heartache and humiliation. MC (otherwise known as Marie-Claude,) is sixteen years old and is in the midst of a pretty stressful time. Her parents are divorcing and her father is already in a relationship with another woman. Her brother has become withdrawn, while her mother is busy trying to meet men on tinder. To add to the mix, MC is a scholarship kid at a top Melbourne private school. The girls she hangs around with are probably better described as frenemies than her besties, particularly Anouck who treats MC more like a rival and a potential threat than a friend ... because that is precisely what MC is to Anouck, though MC is most ignorant about how her behaviour affects others, rather than being an outright bitch. It's a fairly realistic take on female friendships at that age, where one's closest friends can also be their worst enemies, and where someone can genuinely be ignorant of the hurt that their actions can cause. And, of course, where that hurt can be taken completely out of proportion. Anyway, things come to a head between MC and Anouck first over a boy, and then over MC not being invited to a party that is being hosted by Anouck. MC gets her revenge in what she thinks is a clever but anonymous post online. The post goes viral and both MC and Anouck find their lives being invaded in a way that neither girl thought possible ...

While the possibility of such a post going viral seems very remote, and the fallout is quite harsh, what this story has in bucketloads is a very realistic take on female rivarly, and teenage culpability. MC is portrayed as someone who is genuinely ignorant of her actions--she's not necessarily a bully who set out with an intent to hurt someone. She's a kid who is hurting, who has few people she can lean on for support, and who vents the only way she knows how, using the resources that she has available. Her actions are those of someone who doesn't know any better, and her experiences lead to some pretty harsh life lessons. As for Anouck, she's no angel either, though the way she stands up to her mother in the end--and the way that she listens to MC's apology--certainly suggest some newfound maturity on her part. 

This is an enjoyable realistic read. My only complaint is that the book is going to date very quickly due to its reliance on technology--a pity considering how well-drawn the characters and situations were.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017


Sunday, 25 June 2017

Kathryn's Inbox Exclusive: Man Discovers He Was Not Inspiration For Carly Simon Song

NOWHERESVILLE, AUSTRALIA--Nineteen-year-old Edward Sorrento had his illusions shattered yesterday when he discovered that he was not, in fact, the subject of Carly Simon's hit song, You're So Vain. "I truly thought that she was singing about me," Sorrento told our reporter. "I mean there is even this bit in there that says something about how she bets that I know the song is about me. "I just thought it was about me, because you know, I'm vain and stuff," he added with a whistful sigh. 

Sorrento's illusions were shattered when he discovered that the hit song was first released in 1972, twenty-six years before he was born. The subject of the song has been a closely guarded secret, though an article on wikipedia claims that three different men helped to inspire the song. 

Sorrento has now deleted the song from his iPod.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Review: Dr. Fourth originated by Roger Hargraves

The moment that I saw this clever Mr Men--Doctor Who mash up for sale in Dymocks I knew that I just had to buy it and take it home. There has always been something delightful about the simplicity of the Mr Men universe (after all, the books are aimed at schoolchildren,) from the characters to the chatty narratives. And the worms. (Because one cannot talk about the Mr Men books without mentioning those worms.) In contrast, the Doctor Who universe is complicated and ever changing. What a delight it is, then, to see the Doctor placed inside this simple universe. All of the trademark features of the fourth doctor have been included, his scarf, his love of jelly babies and, of course, Sarah Jane is in the thick of the action. 

In this adventure (which will be one of the twelve volume set,) the Doctor and Sarah Jane use their skills as time travellers to outrun and outwit the Daleks. The Mr Men version of the daleks is a hilarious parody, in this one we see a Dalek exterminate a tennis ball rather than play with it, chase a poor worm, and we encounter Dale a Dalek who isn't quite as good at exterminating things as the others. Dale doesn't quite sync in with the traditional kind of Dalek, but that seems all right because it adds a bit of humour and this story is a bit simpler than your usual Doctor Who adventure.

Anyway, I thought this one was a lot of fun and hope to explore some of the other titles in the series soon.

Recommended.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Best of Kathryn's Instagram




In honour of Garfield's birthday, my Instagram post for this week has a Garfield theme. I love this mug, my brother bought it for me when I was nine, and I still have it all these years later.

Happy 39th Birthday Garfield. 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

There has been no rain in Kiewarra--a small town in Victoria inhabited with people with equally small minds--for two years. The town is also home to a shocking murder, three members of the Hadler family have been shot dead, with baby Charlotte the only survivor. Luke Hadler is the main suspect in this apparent murder-suicide, but when his former best mate Aaron Falk returns town for the funeral, it soon becomes obvious that there is more to the situation than what meets the eye ...

The Dry is an intriguing novel that goes between the present--telling the story of the search for the real killer--and the past--telling the story of the tragic events that led Falk to leave town in the first place. His return is not a welcome one, and the twists of who might be responsible for what, and who Luke Hadler really was, lead the reader on a journey full of twists, read herrings and, eventually, answers.

This one is extremely well written and may be well worth a read for the writing alone. It's not the kindest depiction of life in small town Australia, but it is certainly intriguing. Fan's of Joy Dettman's Mallawindy will love this one.

Recommended.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Review: Why I am Not a Feminist by Jessa Crispin

In many ways Jessa Crispin's manifesto Why I am Not a Feminist is a breath of fresh air. While I don't necessarily agree with everything she says, this is a book that is unashamed, unafraid and actually contributes something new to the discussion. Crispin challenges what modern feminism really is, how it works and whether it is truly effective. She argues that modern feminism has been dumbed down, popularised and seeks to appeal to the masses, rather than getting on with what first and second wave feminists fought for. Even if I didn't agree with everything she said, her writing forced me to stop, listen and most important of all, to think.

This review is going to be short, because I think that readers should be allowed the luxury of picking the book up without being too bogged down or bothered by what reviewers such as myself think of it, but I will say this. Open it, keep an open mind and see what you think.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Review: Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Pearlman

Seven Types of Ambiguity is a novel that is long, wordy and oddly addictive. Set in Melbourne, it opens with an account by a renowned psychologist about a recent incident in which his patient--a young man who is obsessed by his ex--abducted her son. No harm came to the child, but Simon's fragile mental state and his relationship with his ex are the springboard for this story, which is told from seven different perspectives. Each and every one of these perspectives is a little bit different. The lines between right and wrong--and who is telling the truth--blur until a small, final chapter inserts a very clever but heartbreaking twist. (On that, I wondered if history was doomed to repeat itself with Rachel and Sam.)

I heard of this novel thanks to the recent ABC television series and although I didn't see much of the show, I can see how this one would translate very well on the screen. The author has a lot to say about how lives can be tainted in the pursuit of wealth, sex and a notion of being a person who has it all. The female characters don't have it easy, whether we're talking about Angelique, the prostitute with a heart of gold or Anna, whose choices led her to a loveless marriage. Simon himself is a tragic character--intelligent, charismatic but defined first by the end of his supposedly perfect relationship, then by random incident that lead to the loss of his job, and by a decline in his mental health. It is more difficult to feel sorry for Joe and Mitch, Alex is a character best discovered by the reader, and a big part of Rachel's character is to let us know where the others are some years later, and to ponder, perhaps, if she does not have an obsession of her own.

Unsurprisingly, there are a number of references in the text to its namesake, William Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity. 

At more than 600 pages, this one may take a while to read, and the story and characters may become infuriating on more than one occasion, but the journey is well worth it. 

Recommended.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017

Monday, 19 June 2017

Happy birthday Garfield!


Well, it's June 19 once again and as is tradition on this blog, I'm taking time out to wish Garfield the cat a very happy birthday. (Family and friends will get the inside joke, and yes, there is one.)

This year, my favourite comic character celebrates his 39th birthday. The strip debuted on the 19th of June 1978 and is still going strong. Every year on its anniversary a comic is devoted to wishing Garfield a happy birthday. In some instances, Jim Davis will devote an entire week to birthday themed comics, most of which usually involve cake in one form or another.

PS Other famous people enjoying a birthday today include author Salmon Rushdie, musician Paula Abdul and uh ...

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Review: The Great Gatenby by John Marsden

Years after it was first published, The Great Gatenby still packs a punch. It tells the story of Erle Gatenby, a headstrong ratbag with a heart of gold. Gatenby has been getting into a bit of trouble at school, and although he loves his parents, and they love him, he has reached an age where the difference between them are becoming more and more obvious and it is becoming harder for them to live together under one roof. The solution is for Gatenby to go away to boarding school. Linley isn't exactly paradise (his lodgings is known as Crapp House,) and Gatenby doesn't always toe the line, but through his experiences breaking the rules and discovering just how good he is at competitive swimming, Gatenby develops a greater sense of self and for the first time starts planning for his future.

The Great Gatenby was amusing and just as honest as all of Marsden's works. Gatenby's exploits, along with his rule breaking girlfriend Melanie, are hilarious. One of the more interesting take-home messages is that you don't have to be a model student to be a good person, and that some exploits are a natural part of the teenage experience. Gatenby's growth as a person happens on his terms, though he is touched in a positive way by some of his experiences at school. (For example, he gives up smoking because he thinks it will be a good idea to do so, and not because of his teachers hassling him to give up.)

The novel is very short and written in a way that many readers, particularly teenage boys, will find engaging. 

Recommended.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Literary Quotes



Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Friday Funnies: Shakespeare & Austen Spoilers


Thursday, 15 June 2017

Review: The Many Ways of Seeing by Nick Gleeson with Peter Bishop

Nick Gleeson has scaled Everest, been captain of a cricket team, explored the Simpson Desert and is an experienced athlete. He also happens to be blind. After losing his sight in an accident at the age of seven, Nick learned a different way of 'seeing.' In The Many Ways of Seeing Nick shares his experiences with the world. The text, however, is more than that. It also tells the story of how this unique book came to be. Peter Bishop, an experienced editor and publisher shares his insights of the writing and editing process, the challenges that he faced while working on this book, and the many discoveries that he made during the creative process thanks to Nick's unique insight.

I enjoyed reading this one. It was an autobiography with a twist. In many ways, Nick struck me as a natural writer--he has a real talent with words and shares his experiences quite beautifully. I found myself drawn in to several of his stories, in particular the one about his first trip to the shops alone at age eleven. I also enjoyed the account of his trip to the Simpson Desert.

This book is honest, insightful and refreshing. Recommended.

Thank you to Ventura Press for my review copy of The Many Ways of Seeing.

Note: In July 2017, a companion book Back to Broady written by Nick's friend and childhood neighbour will be released. Both books will launch Peter Bishop books, a new and exciting imprint by Ventura Press that will help to foster new and emerging talent based on their literary merit. 

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Review: The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner

There is no getting around this. The content of The Diary of a Teenage Girl is shocking, and even more so due to the fact that it is a fictionalised memoir. But perhaps it is important to put the book into historical context. The story is set in San Francisco in 1976. This is a time and a place where young people had a greater amount of sexual freedoms than previous generations. Contraceptives were available, removing the fear and stigma of an unwanted pregnancy, while HIV and AIDS would not be heard of for a good five years. This is also an era where sexual abuse and adolescent mental illness were not discussed as freely as they are today--Minnie would not have been able to turn to a friend, the internet or anywhere else for answers.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl is made up of a combination of diary entries, comics and illustrations that tell the story of Minnie, a fifteen year old whose life is not unlike that of the author. Minnie has just returned home from boarding school and is living with her mother and her younger sister. The story opens with her being groomed by her mother's boyfriend whose intent is pretty clear. And the truly frightening thing about this story is that Minnie isn't frightened--in fact she welcomes the beginning of their sexual relationship. A combination of elements, most notably being neglected by her parents, has led her to believe that she isn't good enough and that no one else would ever want to have sex with her. So if she doesn't sleep with Monroe, she will never get to experience sex. (This is adolescent logic at it's worst--self depreciating, self destructive and ultimately vulnerable.) From there, the reader experiences an utterly tragic year in the life of a young woman whose combination of vulnerability and poor choices leads to her being taken advantage of by a number of different people, which further sets of a course of self-destructive behaviour. (At one point, she tries to start a relationship with a young man who has been institutionalised because he has urges to kill people.) Eventually, Minnie finds some salvation when she realises that she has some very real artistic talent. 

The novel captures how easily young people can confuse sex for everything that it isn't, and why good people can make bad choices. 

I found this book extremely heartbreaking and difficult to read. 

Friday, 9 June 2017

Friday Funnies: Garfield Meets Garfield


The first time that I saw this one, I thought that someone has uploaded it to the internet as a joke--after all, cyberspace isn't exactly short of fake Garfield strips, and some of them are in better taste than others. It turns out that this one is a real comic strip from April 21, 2008. 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Review: Tilly and the Time Machine by Adrian Edmondson

In Australia more people than not would associate Adrian "Ade" Edmondson with his hilarious comedic roles as Vyvyan Basterd in The Young Ones or as Eddie Hitler in the as politically incorrect as you can get Bottom. However, if anyone so much as scratches the surface of his career, they will soon discover that he has enjoyed a wide variety of serious and comic roles on stage and screen, he formed a folk band called The Bad Shepherds (who toured Australia a few years back,) that he works extensively as a scriptwriter and released his first novel in 1995. Consequently, it is unsurprising that his first (and hopefully not his last,) children's novel Tilly and the Time Machine is a real winner.

The novel opens with Tilly, who is aged seven and a half, discovering that her dad, an eccentric but kind and loving scientist has just built a time machine. Dad says that they can go anywhere in time that Tilly wants to go, but there is only one place she wants to be--at home on her sixth birthday, back when her mum was still alive. Anyway, something goes a bit wrong with the time machine, and Dad ends up stuck in time. Tilly soon finds herself on one heck of an adventure, as she outwits some crooks, and then moves through time in an effort to save her Dad. And be prepared, this journey is a lot of fun, with some genuine laugh out loud moments and loads of clever plotting. Don't write this one off as the efforts of yet another celebrity writing a children's novel. Adrian Edmondson is the real deal--clever, funny and entertaining. I love the illustrations as well.

Highly recommended. 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Literary Quotes



"Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes."

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Review: Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler

Read Me Like a Book is a sensitive portrayal of a young woman who lacks a sense of self and whose journey of self-discovery happens in the most unexpected of ways. Ashleigh Walker is seventeen years old and studying for her A-levels. She has three friends at her local college--the slight wild Cat, straight-laced Robyn, and Luke who sits somewhere between the other two. She has a boyfriend, Dylan, but the reader soon gets the feeling that she isn't really interested in him, and is only dating him because it is what she thinks that Dylan and others expect from her. It's a dilemma that is easy enough for many teenagers to identify with, that sometimes relationships or even hook ups happen not because the pair are truly interested in one another, but because they feel that they should be dating someone. And then, something unexpected happens as Ashleigh gets to know her new English teacher. For the first time, she starts to develop the symptoms of a crush. The only thing is, her teacher is female...

This was an interesting account of a young woman who doesn't have a lot of parental guidance trying to navigate the murky waters of adolescence, her final year of schooling and an understanding of her sexuality--and that the latter is something that belongs to her and cannot be determined by trends or peer group pressure. The response from her parents was quite interesting, one treats her with love and understanding, while the other doesn't. Overall, I found the novel to be quite realistic in its dealings with adolescence--it doesn't romanticise certain things, or shy away from the fact that adolescence can be an icky, awkward time and we know that Ashleigh's problems aren't magically going to go away when she experiences her first relationship. I think this one will be relatable to many teenagers, regardless of who they are attracted to, because the themes of discovering yourself are so strong.

Also, I really, really liked this passage and I think other readers will too:

It's all very well going round with two fingers stuck up at the world. but what happens when the world turns round and sticks them back up at you? The world's a lot bigger than I am. (p227)

Recommended. 

Monday, 5 June 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)


Friday, 2 June 2017

Friday Funnies


Too funny not to share. (Sorry bird lovers!)

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Review: The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

The Museum of Modern Love is one of those books. You know the ones. They come with a precedent. Glowing reviews from a wide range of trusted sources. Award wins and nominations, including the Stella Prize. And no matter which bookshop I went to, every last copy was sold out. Eventually, I found a copy at Big W (of all places,) brought it home and felt a little too scared to read it. What were the odds of it living up to all of the hype. What if I didn't enjoy it? Was I even buying and reading this book for the right reasons, or was I reading it just to be a part of the in-crowd? Eventually, I picked my copy up and started to read ...

It turns out that The Museum of Modern love is one of those books that works on a couple of levels. On the one hand, it is the story of Arky Levin, a middle-aged composer living in New York whose wife has become seriously ill, and how he becomes fascinated by The Artist is Present, a performance art piece at the Museum of Modern Art, and how this performance helps him to heal and make the right choices for his wife. It is a novel about the commitment that Arky makes to his wife and what that really means. We can also say that it is the story of several other loosely related characters and how, they too, are they are affected by The Artist is Present. On the other hand, it's also a fictionalised account of performance artist Marina Abramovic and offers a biography of the woman whose performance art is often dramatic, controversial and often misunderstood.

At it's core, however, The Museum of Modern Love is a demonstration of the sheer power that art has on our every day lives. Through watching Abramovic, each of the characters are forced to look inside themselves--for Arky, it becomes a question of whether he should obey his wife's wishes, or override them if he knows that deep down, the latter might be what she truly wants. 

I enjoyed this one immensely, in particular, the meditations on the healing power of art. I think that it is a bit of a subjective book, and different readers may come away having learned a different lesson, even if they enjoyed it as much as I did.

Recommended.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Review: London Bound by CJ Duggan

I have been loving Australian author CJ Duggin's Heart of the City series, so I was absolutely thrilled when I was gifted a copy of the third book London Bound by the publisher, Hachette Australia after I won a competition on twitter. In this standalone story, we met Kate, an Aussie with a passion for fashion and blogging and dreams of making big as a blogger in London. The only problem with all of this is that living in London means living with her bitter and miserable old grandmother who demands most of her time ... and if that wasn't bad enough, living in the house next door is the arrogant but ridiculously good looking Jack Baker. Kate knows that she shouldn't be falling for Jack but ...

This one was a fun adventure with plenty of romance and some colourful characters. Nana Joy lives up to her reputation as a nasty old lady, though as the story goes on, we learn that she has a reason for being so bitter. Jack surprised me on several occasions (I'm not sure how he managed to keep that secret from Kate,) and it was lovely to watch Kate grow as a person. (And I loved her passion for blogging!)

Overall this one is a great romantic read and a fitting third volume in a lovely series of novels that can be enjoyed individually, or as part of a series. 

Thank you to Hachette Australia for my copy of London Bound.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge.

Stop press: Earlier this week, I saw on twitter that there will be two new books in the Heart of the City series ... and readers can vote for their favourite city. Head to author CJ Duggan's website for details. 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Review: The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins

Something very sinister is afoot in this novel about an author and her research assistant ... and the ending very nearly blew me away. Olivia Sweetman is a historian, professor, TV star and a newly published author of a historical fiction novel that is tipped to hit the bestseller lists. Behind the scenes is her research assistant, Vivian, an intense and friendless woman who pounces on the project--and Olivia--with a little too much enthusiasm. As the novel shifts between narratives of the two women, it becomes increasingly clear that Vivian is far from well and that Olivia may be in serious danger.

2017 has been a great year for books and The Night Visitor is another title that I can proudly add to an already long list of my favourite new releases. I loved the gothic feel of this one--the duel settings of rural England and France add to the unsettling atmosphere. Olivia is an easy character to identify with, while Vivian is interesting to read about. At first, I wondered if she was simply lonely and treated badly, then I wondered if perhaps she was just a little bit intense and misunderstood and then I found myself wondering more and more about her motives and her relationship with Olivia. As I said, the ending nearly blew me away ... and that beetles deserves its place on the cover. (Whoever thought of it is a genius.)

Highly recommended.

I received my copy of The Night Visitor from Hachette Australia after winning a competition on twitter. Thank you!

Monday, 29 May 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)



This week I snapped a picture of some autumn leaves decorating one of the main streets of Adelaide. Autumn is such a beautiful time of year in the city ...

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Kathryn's Inbox Exclusive: Motorist Discovers His Vehicle is Fitted With an Indicator

NOWHERESVILLE, AUSTRALIA--Motorist Dwayne Phillis was amazed to discover this week that his vehicle was fitted with a small device that allows him to signal his intention to turn left or right to other motorists. "I had no idea this device existed," Dwayne told our reporter. "I'd seen blinking orange lights on other vehicles from time-to-time, but until today I had no idea what they meant or why cars were fitted with them. But after a talk with the local police, who helpfully showed me what that stick near my steering wheel was for, and the meaning of the blinking orange lights, it has all become clear. I'll never need to worry about someone shaking their fist at me again and shouting abuse when I change lanes agains."

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Review: Wonder by RJ Palacio

Wonder received much acclaim when it was initially published back in 2012, which inevitably led to a number of shorter sequels/companion novels being published and possibly some other tie-in merchandise, so it is a bit of a mystery how I managed to not hear of this one at all, until a few weeks ago when I was in Big W and found it on one of those Kids Top 50 Books shelves. Intrigued, I brought it home and then I found myself charmed and occasionally unsettled by this story of Auggie a boy who was born with a severe facial disfigurement. It's also the story of a number of other young people--some kids, some teenagers--who are touched by Auggie in some way. All of the characters have their own problems in one way or another, whether it be a parent's divorce, a first love, feeling unnoticed by their parents or peer group pressure. The narrative is honest, occasionally unnerving and sometimes it made me feel sad. And sometimes I felt that the whole thing was a little bit condescending.

The main plot is about Auggie and how he attends school for the first time. He's ten and in fifth grade, which in his school district signals the beginning of middle school. (This surprised me. I had believed that in the United States kids usually started middle school in sixth or seventh grade, depending on their school district.) Anyway, the school principal is sympathetic to the difficulties that Auggie may encounter transitioning into the school system, and enlists some kids to help him. But not every kid is nice and the transition is tougher than Auggie and, perhaps anyone else, expects, though he comes out okay in the end.

The other plots are shorter. The narrative gives a few chapters each to some of the other characters, Auggie's sister Via who is just starting high school, Via's boyfriend Justin and Via's former best friend Miranda. Auggie's friends Jack Will and Summer also narrate a few chapters. Each has their own problems and story, but this is Auggie's book, so their stories also include him in some capacity.

This one is an enjoyable read, though it is sad in places. 

Recommended. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Review: The Wanderers by Meg Howrey

I'll be brave and admit, what first drew me to this book was the idea that it was about three astronauts who were to be sent to Mars. Mars. Imagine, three ordinary human beings spending months and months together in a tiny craft, travelling to a whole other planet. There is something intriguing about that. Except that this isn't quite what The Wanderers is about. It tells the story of three experienced and highly skilled astronauts who take part in a seventeen month simulation test, designed to mimic a trip to Mars and back. The Wanderers is, at its heart, a story about human resilience even in the most highly unusual circumstances. The storytelling is detailed and a little slow, and the chapters about Helen, Yoshi and Sergei are interspaced with chapters about the loved ones that they have left behind, and how their relationships are altered. There is a rather ambiguous twist along the way--one that I never did work out, but perhaps that is crucial part of the storytelling.

The difficulty of this one is even a day after I closed the cover for the last time, I am still not sure what I thought about it, or whether I enjoyed reading this one or not. There are certainly some interesting parallels with Mars One and asks some big questions about the human cost of such an ambitious project. 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my copy of The Wanderers

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong

Darren Keefe is a former international cricketer who has just found himself in a lot of trouble. More specifically, he's found himself bundled in the boot of a car that is travelling down a Melbourne highway and it seems that years of risks and hard living have finally caught up with him. Knowing that he's probably not going to survive, Darren goes about trying to leave some forensic evidence in the vehicle, before going back in time to tell his story--he is the younger of two brothers, born to a plucky, courageous mother who only wants the best for her boys. While Darren grows up to be a larrikin with seemingly few morals who is loved by the press, his older brother Wally is serious about all things, particularly his career as a cricketer. Most of the novel details the difference between the brothers and the careers that may appear quite similar on the surface, and the events and decisions that eventually lead to Darren's fate ... 

This was an enjoyable read, and provided a great observation of what can happen when young sportspeople are transformed into celebrities. (And it says much, perhaps, about our national obsession with sports.) While Darren lives a carefree life, getting away with many things that others his own age never could, Wally is cool and calculating, cleverly manipulating those around him--though he is unable to handle it when things do not go his way. I don't know if it because of my gender, but the character I liked best was their mother, a truly loving and courageous women who did everything she could to further her son's careers. I was fairly confident that I knew who was responsible for Darren's abduction, but that did not spoil my enjoyment of the novel at all. The whole thing is a bit ambiguous about the precise years that the Keefe brothers played for Australia, (though only Wally goes on to play test cricket,) one can deduce that they played sometime in the 1990s, which was, of course, a very successful era for Australian cricket. 

Recommended. 

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017

Friday, 19 May 2017

Friday Funnies: Meme Colouring Book


When I saw this one, I thought that it must be a joke. Turns out that this is an actual product, which you can purchase from Amazon.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Review: Bastard by J.L. Perry

Bastard is one of those self-published success stories, where it was initially self-published as an eBook and then became so popular that it was eventually picked up by a major publishing house, and then went on to have even more success. Even better, the author is Australian, and the book is set in New South Wales. Bastard is a trashy romance, the kind that is unashamed of and perhaps even revels in its own trashiness, with plenty of swearing, explicit sex, sexism disguised as romance. In fact, there is probably something in there to offend practically everybody. The writing itself sets a fairly low benchmark, though it has an easy to read and, dare I say it, a slightly addictive quality about it. And, let's face it, people don't pick up a book like this because they are expecting an eloquently written, chaste read with a realistic storyline. It seems almost ridiculous that I am making a judgement about it at all. (I actually picked up my copy after I spied a couple of uni students reading sections out loud at my local bookstore and having a good chuckle. I guess that I am a bit of a well, bastard, because I wanted to know what the joke was. Plus I always think it's good to get out of my reading comfort zone every now and again and try something new, and this one didn't seem particularly difficult or intimidating.)

The novel tells the story of Carter, who was born to a nineteen year old single mother, whose wealthy parents had kicked her out of home. His mother, Elizabeth, is a kind and loving woman who only wants the best for her son, but Carter's life is scarred forever when he encounters his grandfather for the first (and only) time and the old man rejects him on the basis that he was born out of wedlock. Fast forward to 2010 and Carter is seventeen and a half years old. He's a teen who enjoys acting mean, and he's having plenty of run-ins with his mother's new husband, a man who appears to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever and what Elizabeth saw in him remains one of the novel's greatest mysteries. Anyway, a new husband for Elizabeth means a new house for Carter, and he finds himself unwelcome in his new home in the Sydney suburbs. Fortunately, just next door is Indi, a lovely sixteen year old girl and her father, Ross, who is the local policeman and is also quick to see the good in Carter, and to treat him like his own son. (And he certainly calls Cater "son" often enough within the narrative.) Unfortunately Indi doesn't like Carter much at first and the two spend much time trying to stir one another up until, inevitably, romance blooms. But it might just take a few years, a tragedy and some steamy hot sex for this pair to get together ...

Bastard is an addictive and slightly over the top romantic read that delivers everything that it promises on the cover. My grumbles about this one are that parts of the story did not much depth to them, and some of the plot devices were a little too obvious. Despite the novel being set in Sydney and Newcastle, much of this story seemed to have an American quality about it--for example, Indi is said to have gone to College instead of uni, and early on there is a scene at the high school, where they all seem to be eating lunch at in cafeteria like arrangement. And, as is often the case with books in this genre, Carter proves how much he cares by controlling as much of Indi's life as he can. However, I did enjoy the ending (it was nice to see two other deserving characters get married,) and parts of this story read like a lovely, escapist fantasy.

If you like books with bad boys and hot sex then you'll like this one.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Review: How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden

How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less is a sad, funny and touching memoir about a young Jewish American woman who undertakes a birthright tour of Israel. Told in the form of a graphic novel, Sarah perfectly expresses her internal conflicts as she tours a place that she is both in awe of and despises. The author is sensitive, politically aware and nobody's fool, which makes a tour of a place that she disapproves of to be a difficult and, at times, lonely experience. She can see through most of the propaganda that she is presented with on the the tour. Also she is not afraid to ask big questions about the Israel-Palestine conflict, even if sometimes the answers are not things that she wants to hear, and she ends up learning that sometimes solutions to the conflict may not be as easy as they appear on the surface.

This was an interesting read and one that was certainly thoughtfully read and illustrated. What came through over and over again, is that the author is a good person, who genuinely feels a lot of compassion for others. She is also honest about her feelings, her own prejudices and what she has learned through the tour, which makes for interesting--and enlightening--reading. 

The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, done in watercolour.

Highly recommended.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)




I recently found some old issues of Vogue and InStyle Magazine and shared them on my Instagram feed. I love this one from 2006 which features Australian actor Melissa George on the cover. At the time, Melissa George was the living example of a local girl made good. A teenage girl from Perth, she first hit our screens in Home and Away, becoming one half of the most popular character to ever grace the series. From there, she moved to Hollywood and by 2006 she had become famous the whole world over thanks to her part in the massively successful television series Alias. More success was to follow, including film roles, a Golden Globe nomination, and a Logie award for Most Outstanding Actress for her role as Rosie in The Slap (George later reprised her role in the American remake of the series.) She also played the lead in US television series Heartbeat and, sadly, has suffered some pretty bad press of late, for things that really aren't relevant to this blog, however, I hope that circumstance will allow this talented actor to return to her career soon.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Literary Quotes



So, throughout life, our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Review: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Writing a review of The Handmaid's Tale in a time when it seems that there is nothing new or original that can possibly be said about Canadian author Margaret Atwood's brilliant dystopian is one hell of a challenge. Thanks Trump, for creating an era that gives everyone cause to worry, and thanks to everyone who created or watched the recent television series. Oh, and thanks everyone else who has given this novel the reviews it deserves since it was released in 1985. 

No, I'm not bitter about it. The Handmaid's Tale is an brilliant novel and deserves all of the praise and discussion that it has received.

The novel is set in the United States, in what was, presumably, the near future after the novel first went to print. The United States is now known as Gilead and, following war, is now run by a strict Christian fundamentalist regime where women have no rights--women are no longer permitted to read, to have ownership of anything and they are broken up into various roles according to their ability and lot in life. Some women are maids, others are wives, some are Aunts (unmarried, older women whose role it is to govern the others,) some are sent out to clean up the colonies and others, like, Offred, the main character are sent to the homes of wealthy men so that they may bare them children. Offred had a name before the changes took place, but now she belongs to the man of the household where she must stay. She has literally become "Of Fred." (There are also characters called Ofglen, and Ofwarren.) Separated from her husband (her marriage was deemed invalid as it was her husband's second marriage, and her daughter, Offred lives an unhappy existence and does what she can to survive it, which eventually leads to some situations that have more than a touch of black comedy about them. Through flashbacks we learn about Offred's life before becoming a handmaid--in particular her friendship with Moira, a spirited young woman who refuses to let the aunts break her.

And, of course, the totalitarian government of Gilead uses a few carefully chosen passages from the bible to justify all of this.

What really shines about The Handmaid's Tale is how cleverly it demonstrates how the women of the novel cope with their circumstances and the risks they take just to survive. Perhaps the most frightening thing about the novel, however, is how easily something like this could happen. It's not beyond the realms of fiction that--given the right circumstances--that women could find their rights taken away. (After all, in The Handmaid's Tale, all the government had to do was freeze all of the women's bank accounts and make it illegal for anyone to employ women.) 

This one is definitely worth a read or, if you've read it before, a timely second look. 

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Review: New York Nights by CJ Duggan

The second stand-alone novel in Aussie Author CJ Duggan's Heart of the City series is a bit sweeter, a bit shorter and a bit quieter than it's predecessor. Sarah, an independent Aussie twenty-something is in New York following both of her dreams--to work as an Au Pair, and to see New York. The only problem with this plan is that her employer and his family and pretty bloody intimidating. Their biggest rule? Ask no questions. But this may prove difficult when baby Grace is so small, her father Ben so sad and distant, and her mother nowhere to be seen ...

New York Nights is a short and sweet story, which is great, but it does lead to one problem. It's so short and sweet that the central plot is resolved a bit too easily--it would have been nice to see a bit more tension build between Sarah and Ben between their first kisses, etc. (On that, I think the author could have created even more tension between Sarah and Ben's mother. And that--dare I say it--jealous house maid.) I guessed half of what the big reveal would be, but the author certainly took me by surprise with that other reveal at the end. 

A sweet story featuring wealthy characters, heartbreak, babies and an Aussie female lead.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2017.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)



I spotted this chap down on Broadway at Glenelg, not so far away from the Kiosk and, perhaps, not so far away from Abigail's house ;)

Friday, 5 May 2017

Friday Funnies


Ha! I was guilty of this one last night. 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of Unrequited is definitely, definitely one of my favourite reads of 2017. This brilliant, and well thought out coming of age novel tells the story of Molly Peskin-Suso, a seventeen year old who has experienced twenty-six crushes, but never had a boyfriend. Meanwhile, her somewhat more outgoing twin sister Cassie is experiencing her first romance with the quirky Mina, and doesn't seem to have as much time for Molly anymore. Meanwhile, it's finally legal for their mothers, Nadine and Patty to marry and it seems as though everyone else is moving forward with their lives, and Molly is left feeling somewhat clueless.

Author Becky Albertalli nails exactly what it feels like to be seventeen and completely clueless about relationships while everyone seems to be moving forward. Her relationship with her twin sister is changing--no longer is she the most important person in Cassie's life, and, suddenly, there are things which (understandably,) Cassie does not wish to share with her, leading Molly to feel rejected. Molly blames all of the usual factors--her appearance, and being a bit shy--on the fact that she does not have a boyfriend, while being unaware of what factors determine who we end up with. She's willing to be set up with Mina's hipster friend, Will, who the others think she should be with, and seems almost oblivious to what is going on between herself and her nerdy, chubby colleague Reid. (Whom the others do not seem to consider 'dating material.') Things all work out in the end, though, in a way that is both pleasing and realistic.

Perhaps what sets this novel apart from other teen coming of age novels is one simple thing. Diversity. The author moves away from traditional American stereotypes and presents us with one of the most diverse families that I have ever read in fiction. The Peskin-Suso family are jewish, bi-racial and the kids have two mothers and are all conceived from the same sperm donor. (There is a younger brother as well.) Nadine and Patty are reasonably laid back (within certain limits as Cassie discovers at one point,) and they have some excellent advice for Molly at crucial points during the novel. (In other words, they are cool parents.) At some points, I felt like diversity was put in their for the sake of it (Cassie mentions that Mina is Pansexual, and the implication of this was never really touched upon,) but overall, it's an excellent story about finding your own way, and your own path in life. 

Apparently, this novel features some of the same characters that appeared in the authors previous work, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I will be keen to check that one out in the near future.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Literary Quotes



It is to the credit of human nature that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Review: A Talent For Murder by Andrew Wilson

The epigraph on the front cover of my copy of a Talent For Murder reads: A mystery worthy of Agatha herself and that, I think, sums up the essence of the novel. It is not a new concept--speculating what happened to beloved British author Agatha Christie during the ten days in which she disappeared--but author Andrew Wilson plots this novel so cleverly and so carefully, blending fact with a mystery that makes one feel as though they really are reading a Christie novel that I found myself entirely caught up in the plot.

The facts, as many of you will already know, is that in 1926 Agatha Christie went missing for ten days. Her car was found abandoned the day after she went missing. Ten days after her disappearance she was recognised by staff at a hotel in London and had checked in under the name of Mrs Theresa Neele. In A Talent for Murder, author Andrew Wilson creates a cracking great read whereby the Agatha Christie is blackmailed by a doctor to poison his wife, and the author has to find a way out. Meanwhile, the local police aren't doing terribly well at solving the disappearance, the story has whipped up a frenzy in the media and a young, aspiring journalist might find herself in harms way ...

In many respects, this one read just like a Christie novel and that, at its heart, it what makes it such an enjoyable read. The writing is clever, as is the plotting. I picked this one up only intending to read a chapter or so, but soon got caught up in the whole thing.

Recommended.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my ARC.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)



This is hardly a great work of art, but I was surprised by just how well this photograph of a tin of diet coke sitting on a table with a plastic gingham tablecloth turned out. In one sense it's a little bit satirical, because I'm claiming something very cheap and nasty as art, in another sense, perhaps that's where the art lies ...

In any case I am not taking it seriously.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

You Self-Published a Book? You Must be an Idiot

Congratulations. You've self-published your book. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for those royalties to come flooding in while you have a good laugh to yourself at all those fools who have just bought your poorly edited work with the crappy cover that makes every single person on the planet want to vomit all over their keyboard.

Or how about not?

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how much stigma is attached to something that I do as a hobby. I write because I enjoy it and because I have something to say. For me, publishing (and this website,) is a by-product of that. It's fun to create a cover, have print copies of my work that I can keep on my shelves and give to family and friends as gifts. As for the eBooks, they're inexpensive (some are free,) and it's nice to be able to make a little bit of money from my hobby, though their is rarely much left over once I have covered all of the usual costs that come up with self-publishing. In fact, some of my books, such as Everybody Hates Abigail, have made a loss, rather than a profit. 

I can't promise that I have all the answers, or that I don't have any personal bias, but here are some of the major criticisms I hear against self-publishing, and self-published books, my thoughts and advice for self-published authors.

Self-published authors expect readers to pay money for their book, so therefore the quality should be just as high as a traditionally published book.

I'll address this one, because it is probably the most important one. Yes, if you're going to expect people to pay for your work, then you should offer them something that is value for money. It's a logical enough business model. You offer people value for money, in the hope that they will come back. 

The reality is, unless an author is going for the "so bad it's good" market, then they are offering you their best work. This may sometimes be a bit difficult to fathom, especially when there are multiple issues with the book. The reason for this is the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is where people genuinely believe themselves to be more skilled in an area than what they are, because they do not have the required knowledge, or experience, to be able to identify the errors in their work. This means that an author genuinely may not believe that their cover is ugly, or see errors in it, which can lead to the more troubling fact that they are less likely to ask for advice or critique.

In my opinion, this is not so much arrogance, as genuine ignorance. I certainly know that with my own work, I am far more capable of identifying the mistakes that I have made now, than when I first started, and that it goes through a far more thorough (and expensive) checking process. Is it working? Well, I'm the last person who should be answering that ...

My best advice is to just do the best that you can. Learn about the mechanics of self-publishing, do what you can do for yourself, and outsource what you cannot do for yourself. Know what your limitations are as well. Personally, I think its a bit rich for someone to demand that a short story that someone is giving away free on Smashwords must have a professionally designed cover and to go through three professional editors, but it is a reflection of the author and their work if it doesn't at least look nice and is free from errors.

Self Published authors use stock photos for their covers.

The major argument against stock photos is that anyone can use them. It's a valid point, who wants to see two new releases, in the same genre, with the same picture on the cover?

Buying the exclusive rights to a picture can be quite pricey, especially when an author is planning to sell their book for 99 cents on Amazon. Amazon's royalty structure means that the author can expect to make roughly 35 cents every time they sell a book. If the author lives outside of the United States, they have to wait for their royalty balance to get to $100 before Amazon will send them the money. There is an eight dollar fee for Amazon to send the money via wire transfer, and the author can also expect to lose money in taxes and conversion fees. Smashwords has a better royalty structure and will pay via PayPal, but it can take longer for sales to accumulate. 

Hiring a professional photographer is also going to be expensive. Some people are lucky enough to have friends or friends of friends who work in this field and if you do--go for it. If not, I'd advise against using a picture that you've taken yourself with your phone, unless you genuinely are a shit hot photographer with even better photoshopping skills. Or the book is about pictures that people have taken with their phones.

Better advice, I think, would be not to use free stock photos. If something is free, then there is a far greater chance that someone else has used it before you, and someone else will use it after you. These odds go up even higher if you're using a cover creator wizard, such as the one on CreateSpace and opt to use one of their stock photos. 

Also, a huge risk that authors take when they purchase a ready-made cover (or made to order cover,) is that they cannot guarantee that the creator hasn't used that same, or similar cover, for another author. Unprofessional, I know, but it happens more often than people realise.

Whether it's right, wrong or makes me look like a downright amateur, what I do is purchase the non-exclusive rights to a picture from a site like fotolia. Some of the photographs are relatively inexpensive, and are good enough to be used for the print version of the book, where the image quality needs to be roughly three to five times higher than if I were to use an image just for an eBook. It can also take hours, if not days of searching to find a suitable image. I usually have to find a model who not only one, looks like my main character, but two, is dressed as my main character would and, three, that the background looks as though he or she might be in suburban Adelaide, where most of my work is set. It's a challenge, but I either somehow manage to get there in the end, or I just eventually become delusional and desperate.

Self published authors are getting rich off their royalties.

Some self-published authors do become quite successful--Colleen Hoover and EL James are two examples of this. In Australia, we have Rachel Amphlett. 

Then there is the rest of us. 

The authors who succeed in self-publishing are usually one of two things. Non-fiction authors who are experts in a niche area, or authors of genre heavy fiction who truly and deeply love the genre that they write in. It's not enough to just have an idea for a romance novel, or a crime novel. You have to truly believe in the genre, know who your favourite authors are, what authors are similar to you, and then it helps to already be part of a group of highly engaged readers in that genre.

Authors self-publish without understanding the genre

Some readers are very loyal to their favourite genres, and dislike books that stray from certain established norms. Of course, there is always room for some innovation, but imagine a romance novel that doesn't have some kind of happily ever after, a crime novel where the central mystery to the story is not resolved, or a western set on a far off distant planet where the inhabitants have never heard of horses or guns. It just doesn't work, or at least has the potential to disappoint a lot of readers. (Unless, of course, you're a brilliant satirist and can market your books accordingly.)

The problem isn't that self-published authors stray from these norms. The problem is authors trying to pitch it at an audience who is very loyal to the genre. It's disrespectful, for one thing. 

If you go outside the norms, then you also need to go outside the audience, and find a new one. Don't label a work of speculative fiction a thriller and then expect readers not to be pissed off about it--as I discovered with Cats, Scarves and Liars. The book became (relatively) successful when I stopped trying to find readers for it, and allowed them to come to me, and for them to decide what my work was, exactly. 

Self-published authors don't respect critics

If someone takes the time to read my work and to leave a review, that's a very nice thing to do and I thank them for it.

What I don't like is when someone deliberately says something inflammatory, or provocative, in a review or comment and then tag me on facebook in the hope of getting a response. I fail to see how such behaviour can be considered constructive criticism.

While I read criticism for my book, I don't run out an apply it to a book that has already been published, no matter how well-intentioned and heartfelt that advice might be. You also need to be able to pull apart what comments are going to be useful to you on your journey as a writer, and what comments might be a bit subjective. (The best way to pick a subjective comment is that for every critic who complains about a certain thing, there is another who praises you for it.)

What authors usually do, or would be wise to do, is to take note of what readers are saying, and keep it in mind for their next book. Once a book is published and has started getting reviews, then guess what. The horse has bolted. You can take it down and fix typos, or you can take it down and keep it down if it really bothers you, but you cannot take it down and and completely rewrite your book, regardless of how tempting that may be. And if someone has already read your book and pointed out what's wrong with 90% of it then they are not going to buy or read the new version, no matter how much you improve it and no matter how politely they put it in their review.

As far as critique goes, the best thing to do is seek as much feedback as you can before you publish and apply it. After your book is published, then see it as a useful resource for making the next book better.

There is no room for mistakes in self-publishing

Because making a mistake just proves that you're everything that people say about self-published authors, right?

Maybe. But you know what else? Making mistakes is also what makes you human. Making a mistake is also a part of learning. In my mind, it's not wrong for anyone who is learning their craft or a trade to get something wrong, occasionally.

The biggest problem when you make a mistake as a self-published author is that you are doing it publicly. And if you've charged people money for a book that has some serious errors in it, then they have a right to be annoyed about it, to put that in their review and they may not necessarily invest their money in your work in the future.

As I said, making a mistake is human, though. And I don't think it's a crime for a self-published author to make a mistake somewhere along the way.

You know what is a lot worse, though?

Making a mistake and not learning from it.

And you know what is even worse than that?

Not trying. Of being so afraid that you're going to make a mistake, that people won't like your book, or that it's not worth it because your last book sold less than twenty copies, that you either give up, or you decide that it all just looks too hard and so you never get off your bum and do anything about that book you've always been itching to write.

Think about it.