Monday, 31 July 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)

This week I am sharing a photograph I took recently of a stylish but unusual lamppost that lives down at the Glenelg end of Anzac Highway.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Friday Funnies: Nicholas Sparks

Ha! This one is funny because it's true. I've never really thought about it before, but all of Nicholas Sparks' novels do look rather similar ...

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Off Topic: Why Weird Al Pisses Me Off

Actually, I just lied in the title. Weird Al doesn't piss me off. I find his parodies clever and entertaining. But you know what does piss me off? Having those same lyrics pushed at me by his fans. You know the deal. The radio is on, you're humming along to a classic rock song like Another One Bites the Dust by Queen, or maybe you're just nodding your head to the music, listening or otherwise appreciating their musical genius and the whole mood of the song. Maybe it even brings up memories of some great day or experience that you've had. Or you know, it just puts you in a good mood. And then some fuckwit comes running in the room and starts shouting, "Another one rides the bus!" over the top of Queen's lyrics because Weird Al's version is just. So. Much. Better. 

Except that it's not better. It's parody and there is a time and place for it. And that time and place is when you're listening to a Weird Al song or album and not when you've just decided to ruin my listening experience with your enthusiasm for novelty songs. See, here's the thing. If I went out to JB HI FI and bought a Pearl Jam CD, I'd be pretty damn annoyed if, when I played it, Weird Al's song My Wife is in Love With Eddie Vedder started playing instead. I don't care how funny that song is, I was in the mood for Pearl Jam. And to get a parody version instead is just poisoning my ears.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Review: The Delinquents by Criena Rohan

Reading The Delinquents was a lovely reminder of just way I take part in the Aussie Author Challenge every year. This book shook me well out of my comfort zone and took me to a part of Australian history that I knew little about--Brisbane in the years following the Second World War. This was a Brisbane that I knew little of, where trams rolled through its main streets, where the locals were still reeling from the American soldiers that had occupied their city during the war, where the currency was still the pound and where the hardest and edgiest youths were bodgies and widgies. In the middle of all of this are Brownie and Lola, two kids from Bundaburg whose only crime was to fall in love too young. Kept apart by their mothers, and by the state, the pair eventually find one another again and do their best to stay together and survive a tough life in Brisbane, fending off police officers, nasty landlords and a host of other colourful characters.

Before purchasing this book, I was familiar with The Delinquents only because when I eight years old someone made a film of the book. That film became something of a hit at my local primary school (despite it being completely inappropriate for kids,) due to the casting of Kylie Minogue as a surprisingly white incarnation of Lola. (In the book, Lola is of mixed Asian and British heritage, and it is hinted at that she receives greater brutality from police and welfare for this reason.) The book isn't terribly well-known in Australia. After its initial publication in the UK in 1962 it remained out of print until Penguin Books Australia acquired the rights in 1986 (a film tie-in edition was later published in 1989,) and in 2015 it was republished as a Text Classic, along with a number of other forgotten Australian novels. 

I found the book itself to be a well-written and at times, a brutal melodrama. Parts of the novel seemed quite rushed, though the reason for this is utterly forgivable. Author Criena Rohan (whose real name is Deirdre Cash,) wrote it from her sick bed at a specialist TB hospital. Sadly, the author had been misdiagnosed, and the underlying cause of her illness--cancer--was not detected until it was too late. She lived just long enough to see The Delinquents published.

While not my favourite Australian novel, this novel certainly shed some light on a part of Brisbane's history that I was unfamiliar with. 

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

Monday, 24 July 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)

Following on from last week's Furby find, this week I am sharing another find--the wicked Odlaw from Where's Wally (known as Where's Waldo in some parts of the world.) Where's Wally in Adelaide is a fun game that a number of people have been playing in recent times. Most of the stickers are on the sides of cafes and other fun places. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Friday Funnies: Garfield vs Grumpy Cat

Ha! Now that's telling Grumpy Cat!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Review: Too Late by C Hoover (aka Colleen Hoover)

When bestselling American author Colleen Hoover decided to self-publish Too Late online chapter by chapter as a side project, she had no idea just how she would enjoy writing it, or how popular the story would become with fans. Inevitably, the came demand for a paperback version. Lucky for her fans, Colleen Hoover is no stranger (or no snob) to print-on-demand and produced a paperback version, publishing under a slightly different name. Too Late is a little bit darker, and perhaps a bit less polished that some of her other work, but it makes for fast and addictive reading.

Too Late tells the story of Sloan, a young woman caught in an abusive relationship with Asa. At first, one might think that Asa is simply a jerk, then it becomes apparent that Asa is a criminal, then we learn that he is a narcissist and then, finally, Hoover delivers the final shocking revelation--Asa is a paranoid schizophrenic. Sloan, meanwhile, is a young college student who has grown up without a great deal of parental guidance and wants only to have enough money to care for her severely disabled brother--money that Asa can provide. A problem arises however, when Sloan falls in love with undercover cop Carter, untangles a whole web of lies and tries to escape. And Asa will do anything to keep her ...

Too Late is a fast paced melodrama with a bit of gore, plenty of dark themes and some surprising twists. It's not perfect by a long shot--it's pretty unrealistic. There are two epilogues that make up an entire third of the novel and they drag on a bit--I suspect that the author was reluctant to say good-bye to Sloan and Carter/Luke. As pure entertainment, it works well and I found myself greedily snatching a few extra pages whenever I had the opportunity. 

This one is entertaining, though it is probably more for fans of the author than for a wider audience.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Around Adelaide (Best of Kathryn's Instagram)

I spotted this Furby outside Her Majesty's Theatre during the week and just had to share it! Over the past few months, the Find a Furby movement has been quite popular and these little Furby shaped stickers have been popping up everywhere around Adelaide and the inner-suburbs, with people sharing their finds on social media.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Review: Before You Forget by Julia Lawrinson

Sweet and sad is the flavour of the day in this tale of a young woman who is coming of age just as her life is falling apart. Amelia is in year twelve at a visual arts school in Perth. She loves art, but her teacher hates everything she does. Her best friend has stopped talking to her, and it soon becomes obvious that Gemma is suffering from a serious illness. At home, her parents marriage is strained and her father is acting peculiarly--and he seems to be forgetting a lot of things, including Amelia. The year will prove to be a challenging one for Amelia, and she learns some valuable life lessons along the way ...

Though this novel was quite sad, and a bit depressing, I found myself lapping it up. The author perfectly captures something that a lot of novels and authors have missed--just how lonely year twelve can be. The author offers a sympathetic look at a year in the life of a young woman who is expected to behave like an adult, yet treated like a kid, just as her life is falling apart. Amelia's growth as a person--and as an artist--was pleasing to read, as was the subtle backstory about her disagreeable teacher. Surprisingly, I found Poppy to be an interesting side character, someone who drifts through life and is able to succeed because of, rather than in spite of, a complete lack of depth. (The ending of Poppy and Amelia's friendship is bittersweet, as it becomes obvious that while Poppy has a perfect right to do things on her terms, she lacks the depth to understand Amelia's deeper motives.)

Overall, this is an enjoyable YA novel. Recommended.

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

Sunday, 16 July 2017

On Writing: Wrong Way Go Back ... How My Career As a Writer Died

Some of you may have noticed that I was a bit quiet on here last week.

That happened for a number of reasons, the most relevant of which was that I was preparing my short story Searching For Audrina for publication. It may have been a 7000 word short story, but it was a heck of a big deal for me. It is the first thing that I have released since 2015, apart from anthology inclusions, most of which I had already written and signed contracts for back in 2015. One of these experiences was quite unpleasant, which is why I do not promote or mention the anthology on this blog. 

As far as writing and self-confidence goes, the past eighteen months of so have not been easy for me. There is no logical reason for this, I've had very few rejections or negative reviews during this period, in fact I've had some great reviews coming in for my books from around the world, particularly for Best Forgotten which has struck a chord with a diverse cross-section of people, far more than what I had ever anticipated. Cats, Scarves and Liars and Being Abigail are still selling in respectable quantities for an independently published book by a relatively unknown author.

My reasoning, I think, is based on emotion.

When I started writing, I did it for one reason. Because I loved to write. Inevitably, their came a moment when I decided that I wanted to write professionally. I was fifteen. Fortunately, I didn't have long to wait--I had my first article published when I was seventeen years old and still in high school. At nineteen, I had my first short-story published and by the time I was twenty my work had appeared in an anthology that was put together by a well-respected publishing house.

And then ... nothing. After uni, I missed out on a cadetship at The Advertiser and a number of other opportunities to work in the media. I found work at a major supermarket, went back and did more study and ended up with the job I have today, at a major Australian corporation. It wasn't until a few years ago that I started blogging and independently publishing my work. And I'm fairly confident that the opportunities that I've had since never would have happened if I had not forced the issue and put my work out there for the world to see. 

The only problem with all of this is that in a lot of ways, it feels as though I have settled for second best. Gone are the days when I used to dream that one day, maybe not today but one day, one of my novels would be picked up by a publishing house. (I don't even bother sending my work to anyone anymore.) Gone are the days when I used to dream of seeing a quote from this blog on the back cover of someone's book. Gone are the days when I used to hope that once, maybe just once, someone would talk about this blog and actually say something nice about it. 

The reality is, my career is a farce, this blog is little more than a joke and ... fuck, now they're playing Runaway Train on the radio and it describes pretty accurately how I'm feeling right now. I think in recent times, some part of me is either sleeping or dead, and it's not a nice place to be. I don't have any answers, either, apart from the fact that I'm trying to push on as best as I can. 

Literary Quotes

The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Searching For Audrina by Kathryn White

Exciting news! This week I published a brand new short story, titled Searching For Audrina and it is now available for sale from most online book retailers, including Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo etc. Searching For Audrina is a story that's dear to me, as it features some of the characters from a manuscript that I have been working on for some time now. (The working title of that one is The Other Side of the Story is Already Taken and I hope to have some news about it soon.) Excluding anthologies and various publications that I have been contracted to, this is my first release in a long time--can you believe that it has been almost two years since I released Of Frogs and Lovers and more than three years since I released Cats, Scarves and Liars which is still my most popular book? (Being Abigail comes a close second, just in case you are wondering ... and even that celebrated its seventh anniversary a few months ago.)

Anyway, a bit about Searching For Audrina ...

Adam knows what it means to lose everything.

When he was seventeen he lost his home, and his family, in one clean sweep. Now an adult, he has two goals. To live a good life, and to be reunited with the only other person who survived the fire—his stepsister, Audrina. But when Adam encounters Audrina on campus the last thing he expects is to fall in love …

I hope that you all will love Searching For Audrina as much as I do. It's a light, contemporary romance, but it's still fairly gritty, and contains most of my trademark humour. 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Friday Funnies

Giggle. I must get myself one of those 101 Dalmatians colouring books.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Review: When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett

Short, deceptively simple and unforgettable are the first words that spring to mind as I think about When the Night Comes. Set in both in Tasmania and onboard the Nella Dan, the novel tells the story of two people--Isla, a girl on the cusp of adolescence who moves to Tasmania with her mother and brother following the divorce of her parents, and Bo, a cook aboard the Nella Dan, a Danish ship that is en route to the Australian Antarctic Territory. During a stopover in Hobart, Bo, meets Isla's mother, and he becomes a source of support for the lonely Isla. In a funny way, each gives help and comfort to the other when they need it the most.

When the Night Comes tells two very different stories. The first is that of the final two seasons of the Nella Dan before it ran aground on Macquarie Island, and what life was like aboard the ship. The second is that of a girl who finds herself in an entirely new and different part of Australia in the wake of her parent's divorce. Both stories are well told, though short and often skipping between various life altering and occasionally, life affirming, events. I enjoyed this one, though I felt it could have been a bit longer and a bit more detailed in places.


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

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Literary Quotes

He was not handsome, and his manners required intimacy to make them pleasing.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Review: Rain Reign by Ann M Martin

Readers of a certain generation, or should I say, generations would immediately associate Ann M Martin with her beloved best-selling series The Babysitters Club. However it was the work that Martin did after the series (and its many spin-offs,) came to an end in the very early twenty-first century that defines her as one of the best writers of her generation. First came the Newberry Award winning A Corner of the Universe and more recently she penned the brilliant Rain Reign (which is also published as How to Look For a Lost Dog in some parts of the world.)

Rose Howard is twelve years old, in fifth grade at her local school. She is obsessed with homonyms and has purposely given her beloved dog Rain a name that has two homonyms, something that she believes is very special (For the record, the homonyms are Rein and Reign.) Not everything is going so well in Rose's life though. The other kids at school don't understand her, and neither does her Dad, who appears to be somewhat ignorant on how to care for a child who has additional needs. Fortunately, she has her Uncle Weldon to look out for her, and a solid friendship with Rain. When a Hurricane hits and Rain goes missing, though, Rose finds herself facing some pretty big challenges ...

Brilliant and well written do not even begin to describe this book. The author show genuine insight into the life of a child who is different and unappreciated by the person who is supposed to care about her the most. Weldon, Rose's ever patient uncle is a shining beacon of light, and Rose grows in a beautiful and heartwarming way, despite--or perhaps because of--her experiences losing Rain and all that happens afterwards. I also loved that the kids at her school weren't all portrayed as mean, they were just ordinary kids who didn't understand, who sometimes were annoyed with her, and who sometimes made an effort.

A book to warm your heart.

Highly recommended. 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Review: Awful Auntie by David Walliams

If you ever thought that your relatives were bad, then be thankful that you're not twelve year old Stella Saxby, the rightful heir to Saxby Hall. Not only does Stella have the most disgusting, despicable aunt on the planet, but Aunt Alberta will stop at nothing to make sure that she gets hold of Saxby Hall, even murder ...

This is the first book that I had ever read by David Walliams. I've seen him on television, of course, and I've heard great things about his books--in fact the staff member at Dymocks who sold me the book was absolutely raving about it. I was pretty sure that I would like this one, so it wasn't that much of a surprise when I found myself giggling at all the jokes and savouring the illustrations. There really is nothing quite as enjoyable as reading the occasional children's book. The rules are different, the plotting is often more outrageous, and, of course, there is a greater sense of fun and playfulness. Aunt Alberta truly is the most disgusting woman I've ever read about and the author goes to outrageous lengths to prove her horribleness. Stella is a lovely protagonist and the ghostly Soot provides some much needed help. There are a lot of gross out moments, and the whole thing is a lot of fun.