Tuesday, 29 December 2015

A warm Christmas

Christmas is lovely in Australia. We opened presents, had waffles and spent the rest of the day at our friend's house. Usually, we go for a swim at the beach but we ran out of time this year, unfortunately. 

I definitely miss the snow at this time of the year. Sure, it's great to have a warm Christmas once, but I miss the snow and the Christmas music which plays all the time and the decorations and the tinsel. 

I'm not complaining, of course. It's just different. (And to be totally honest here, I'm not sure what the point of this post is other than the random ramblings of an immigrant who misses snow but is enjoying the heat. *shrugs*) 

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Bonus Post: Spider-Man and my eternal state of woe

My obsession with Spider-Man started when I was in about second grade. On school days, we'd wake up earlier in the morning, get dressed, flip on the fireplace and switch the channel. Every morning, the 60's version of Spider-Man would come blaring through the speakers. The theme song first, which helpfully explained the major plot points, then the episode. Of course, being in about first or second grade I didn't really understand most of it, especially since the singers in the theme song were a bit hard to understand. If you asked my second-grade self what Spider-Man was, I'd probably say something along the lines of "he's a man with spider powers who beats up bad people". Granted, that was all I really needed to know. After all, the exact origin story of Spidey wasn't really necessary to understand the beating-up-of-bad-guys bit. 


I forgot about the web head until a few years later, when my brother began watching The Spectacular Spider-Man on TV. I watched a couple of episodes, thought it was dumb (because who has time for TV when there are books to be read?) and didn't watch another episode until about three years ago. 

That, ladies and gentlemen, was when I got hooked. The humour! The wit! The fights! The bad guys! The sarcasm! I adored it, and watched both seasons in about a week of late nights, early mornings and forgotten homework. Yes, it was cheesy. Yes, I still loved it, and was heartbroken when I found out that they cancelled the third season. 


Then, we watched the trilogy. This was the point in my life when my eternal state of woe began. To be honest, I hated it. Spider-Man wasn't written the way I thought he should have been (I bitterly missed the banter between Spidey and the bad guys), I didn't think the actor suited Peter Parker, I hated Mary Jane and how she screamed/got herself kidnapped in every. Single. Freaking. Movie and I didn't like how the relationship between Peter and Harry was played out. The plot didn't make any sense and the bad guys could have been done better. In other words, I was heartbroken. It was about this time that I started ranting about how Spider-Man needed to team up with the Avengers. 


I consoled myself with The Spectacular Spider-Man with its ever amazing theme song until the The Amazing Spider-Man came out. My goodness, I was excited, and I wasn't disappointed. The actor fit much better, Gwen Stacy was AMAZING and there was much more banter and humour. The villain was more complex (somewhat) and the feel and tone of the movie was much better. Still though, it was missing... something. At this point, I was still disappointed, because while it was a much better movie, it was still average, and in my opinion Spidey deserved much more than an average movie. 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was awesome. It could have been much better (as in half an hour shorter) but it hurt and it was funny and it answered some questions. Without a doubt, it's my favourite Spidey movie to date. I think the gap it filled was the meaningful relationships; Peter and Aunt May got some time together, and Peter and Gwen's relationship was more meaningful in two hours than in the trilogy and the previous film combined. Not perfect, but it was up there. (
I have tried The Ultimate Spider-Man, but I haven't had time to get past the first two or three episodes, so my judgement on that one is still up in the air.)

Then. The unthinkable was thought. The undoable was done. The unspeakable was spoken. The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was cancelled. I was seriously sad. I mourned for a whole five minutes until I hear the incredible news. Oh my goodness gracious sakes alive. Spider-Man joined Marvel. This was what when through my mind at that point:


Thus, I come to the end of my current Spider-Man journey. Three sucky movies, one decent one and one pretty good one. So far, I feel like none of the movies I've seen have truly done the web head justice, and I'm hoping that the newest reboot will finally give Spider-Man the movie he deserves. 

Is anyone a Spider-Man fan? Who is excited about the reboot? 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Animals we have had in our house

Last night we went for our nightly walk around the block and discovered a snake lying on the road. My sister yelled out "snake!", my brother panicked and almost ran right into it then Dad threw sticks at it. *sighs* 

While the snake was on the street, we have had a lot of... things in our house. 

1) Huntsman spider. It must have crawled in through the air vent thingy and Mom discovered it at 2am in the bathroom. It was HUGE! Dad tried to spray it with bug spray but it didn't do anything.That stuff has killed entire ant nests without trying too hard. We ended up having to suck it up with the vacuum. 

2) Cain toad. This guy hung out near our door for a little while under we got a broom and pushed him out. 

3) King Brown snake. Yeah, I know. AAAHHH! These are super poisonous. I was at school then this one happened, and Mom and my brother were home. The snake was about to disappear into my room where we would have never found it, so Mom put a garbage can over it which was incredibly brave and stupid at the same time. She ran outside to get help and there were some movers who had gotten lost and turned into our street, so they came and helped to get it out. 

4) Praying mantis. He hung out on our ceiling. He was pretty cool. 

This wasn't me, but a friend of mine had a carpet python in her ceiling and it came down in the bathroom. 

Have you had any unwanted animals in your house before? And I won't be posting on Friday because it's Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!!

Friday, 18 December 2015

Movie review: Star Wars The Force Awakens


Ok, I feel better now. 

Let's just say I've been waiting for a long, long time (in a galaxy far, far away) for this movie and it was AWESOME!!

The story opens with your typical good resistance fighters pitted against the evil overlords of the galaxy. In that sense, it was nothing new. (Also, note to self: do not call the resistance fighters the Resistance.) There was a new Sith lord to fight, another Death Star-like planet to blow up and lots of gunfights in space. In other words, I had a serious case of déjà vu. 

And now onto the good stuff. I would like to give an enormous, huge, GIGANTIC shoutout to the diversity in this movie. There was an African American dude and a woman who were the main characters of this huge Blockbuster action movie. If you take a look at the past Star Wars (or most action/sci-fi/fantasy/anything) movies, you'll notice that white men tend to take centre stage and it was so amazing to see that change. 

Finn and Rey were awesome!!! Finn was a stormtrooper who refuses to kill and Rey was scavenger who lives in the deserts of Jukka. Finn was funny and kind and sweet and brave while Rey was super smart and strong while not conforming to many stereotypes that are typically found in these kinds of movies. She wasn't invincible but she didn't need to be rescued all the time, either. (I cannot stress enough how amazing she was. It was like the writers finally figured out that women are people too!) They had a great relationship and just ASDFJKL!! Both characters were deep but there wasn't a backstory dump, either, and that balance is incredibly hard to pull off like they did. 

The look and feel of the whole movie felt just like Star Wars should. There were old faces and new faces and I felt so warm and fuzzy re-meeting Hans, Leia, Luke, R2-D2 and C-3PO. The action sequences were great, the special effects cool, the villain AWESOME (I'm a huge fan of a good villain, and this guy was fantastic), BB-8 (!!!!!!) and the humour. The final lightsaber battle was just incredible, and I think it's the best duel I've seen so far. I couldn't stop smiling the entire time. If you're not a Star Wars fan, you might not like it. (Mom fell asleep several times. Needless to say, she's not a fan.) But if you are, this is a warm welcome home. 

Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think? Did you think I fangirled enough in this review? 


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

An ode to kookaburras

(Well, apparently an ode is a poem of sorts, but I'm a rule breaker who's really bad at poetry, so today's ode comes in post form (as you do.))

When we first moved, I went on a camp with the school which included a night tenting with friends instead of cabining (which is now a word). When we were tenting, I woke up completely freaked out. There were crazed monkeys in the trees!!! Did Australia even have monkeys? What was going on?!?!

I very quickly learned that they were just kookaburras. Since then, we've had a neighbourhood kookaburra that likes to pop by every once and a while and sit on our fence or The Stick. (Quick story about The Stick. A couple of years ago Mom managed to pick up a tiny frangipani tree, but within a few months it lost all its leaves. We thought it had died, dubbed it The Stick and left it, too lazy to throw it out. It seriously looked like we had planted a stick in a pot. To our delight, we discovered it was just hibernating and had lost its leaves for the winter. It's now almost as tall as me, but we still call it The Stick.)

I've named the kookaburra Nelson (because it was the first name to pop into my head). It took a while, but eventually after repeatedly calling this bird "Nelson" everyone else started calling him that too. (I have power in this household :D) Of course, we've now found out that there are like five kookaburras who hang around our neighbourhood but they're still all Nelson. More recently, we've started differentiating between the males and females with Nelson and Nellie, respectively. 

I absolutely adore Nelson. He likes to puff up his feathers and sit there like a cute ball of fluff that I want to hug/squeeze to death, and sometimes he'll just sit on The Stick and watch me as I watch him. (He'll also bang bugs against the fence to kill them and body parts fly, which is simultaneously disgusting and awesome.)

Do you have a favourite neighbourhood animal? What do you think of a kookaburra's laugh (they seem to all like to laugh at like 5am and annoy me to death (not my video, by the way))?

Monday, 14 December 2015

Bonus Post: Life's Like That (in which I will never be a seamstress)

I was finishing up exam week, and as you do when you have an exam the next day I was procrastinating. All of a sudden, my housecoat really needed to be mended because it sounded like a lot more fun than doing chemistry

My version of sewing is really simple. I take the needle out, stick some thread through and tie a knot. Then, I randomly stab the item of clothing in question until it looks like it's been fixed and tie several knots in the thread. I pray it sticks long enough for me to wear it. (Needless to say, I've never taken Home Ec.)

So a few weeks ago I ignored my homework, pulled my housecoat out of my closet and got to work. (It goes to show how much I was procrastinating because it's summer here and I can barely survive in an air conditioned room, let alone in a housecoat.) The belt loop had come off so it was a simple task of sticking it back on. I did so with great effort, sweat, tears and a lot more time than what was probably necessary. It wasn't the nicest looking job, but all it needed to do was to keep my housecoat belt on so I wasn't terribly concerned. 

I yanked my housecoat  on, stuffed my belt through the first loop then searched for the second one, the one I had repaired. I couldn't find it. I searched all over my housecoat to find this stupid loop, only to discover I had sewn it onto my sleeve. 

I think it's safe to say that my career in sewing was dead before it began. 

Friday, 11 December 2015

Fiction characters that I would die to know in real life

Warning: the following post will contain quite a lot of fangirling (and caps). 

My favourite part of a story is the character. Even me, a ginormous fan of explosions, gunfights, explosion, car chases, random science that doesn't always make sense (*cough* Dr. Who *cough*) and explosions, will not like a story with lame characters. 

Who cares about the end of the world if the people on it don't matter? 

Therefore, the following list of awesome people was created (in alphabetical order, so I don't have to order them BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL AMAZING.)

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl)


Artemis is so deliciously bad in the first few books (and selfish and cruel) but eventually through his adventures and friends he turns into this amazing guy who would literally do anything to protect his friends. His friendship with Holly and Butler especially is so deep and real and it's just awesome. (Although he'd be a hard person to be friends with in real life. I would feel so stupid all the time.)

Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit)
Biblio represents the average person. Most people are totally comfortable staying at home by the fire, but Biblio proves that once you go on that adventure that you can accomplish the most amazing things. You can be brave and honest and care about people so much that your heart breaks, but you can be so much more if you only just follow that gray wizard. (And may I just say that Bilbo/Martin Freeman totally made The Hobbit movies?)

Captain America (Marvel)

He's just so good. I don't even get it. He's the "ideal" character we should all probably strive to become (brave, honest, caring, selfless, awesome) while still having the dark side that makes him relatable. Just look at his weapon! It's to protect, not to destroy. 

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles)

Cress pretty much grew up alone in a satellite with little to no contact with the outside world. When she finally gets out, she feels a little stupid, lost, confused and scared BUT she still tries her hardest to help save the world. She's sweet and innocent but still a strong character at the same time, and she's fiercely loyal to her friends. 

Deryn (Leviathan)

Deryn disguises herself as a boy to join the airforce in a WW1 steampunk Britain. Not only does she not take no for an answer, but she has the greatest voice ever and is constantly pulling her friends out of trouble. She's also totally impulsive and has a soft side for the wee beasties on her ship and a certain prince, which I think is pretty darn awesome. (And she's always saying "barking spiders!" which IS THE COOLEST THING EVER!)

The Doctor (Doctor Who)

Can we take a moment to appreciate that this dude travels across time and the universe, defeating evil aliens because he loves life and imagination? He so totally gets that life is sacred and that's why he fights. And how does he fight? With words, science, his two hearts and a sonic screwdriver. He doesn't use weapons of mass destruction or guns or anything. He protects and only kills when necessary. I think we need more heroes who don't pull a gun out at the earliest opportunity. (Plus the 10th Doctor has great hair :) )

Edward Tulane (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane)

Edward is a simple toy bunny who, in the beginning, is obsessed with his silk clothes and his perfect, fluffy ears. He gets lost, though, and after sitting at the bottom of the ocean, in a landfill and travelling the world alone, he eventually doesn't care about how he looks or what he has. He only wants to be loved. I think he's so beautiful. Love is the most important thing in the world and when he loses it (then finds it again) my heart broke for him. 

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

Smart, brave, selfless? Need I say more? This is Hermione Granger we're talking about here. She hardly needs a long paragraph describing how awesome she is. 

The Penderwicks (The Penderwicks)

(I couldn't choose one of them, alright? They're all so amazing.) The Penderwicks are four sisters who tackle life head on, with a lot of shoving, running, yelling, love and care. They all stick up for each other no matter what and bring the carefree, summer daze into everyday life. They exaggerate and have weird traditions and love each other and their friends to death. Life would never be boring with the Penderwicks. 

Viola/Todd (Chaos Walking)

(Once again, I couldn't choose one. Todd and Viola are inseparable.) They're so brave and care so, so, so much for each other that they start and finish wars just to keep the other one safe. When one starts to fall under the weight of saving the world, the other picks that person back up and they never leave each other, no matter what. Love like that is hard to find in today's world. 

Who are your favourite characters? Did any of mine make your list? Tell me in the comments, my jabberwockies!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Oh, the Places You'll Go: Melbourne

We went to Melbourne a few years ago on vacation in July. It was winter and it was quite cold... SO I GOT TO WEAR MY SCARVES!!!

I was pretty thrilled. 

We wandered around the city for a couple of days, seeing the sights and enjoying the cold weather. Melbourne has a huge Italian background, so we had dinner on this one Italian street where pretty much every single restaurant had amazing Italian food. 

There's also this giant road by the ocean called The Great Ocean Road (who saw that one coming?). We took a tour bus for hours, watching out the window and stopping at different beaches and views. While the landscape was totally amazing, I did not appreciate being in a car for such long hours with lots of other people. I know, introvert problems. 

How amazing is that view?!?!

Another day, we checked out the fairy penguins on the beach. There was this information centre that we went to first, then we headed towards a walkway and waited until nightfall. Eventually, tiny penguins tumbled in on the surf and waddled towards their burrows further inland. The whole area was roped off, of course, so we didn't get to cuddle the wild animals (for some reason, someone thought that was a bad idea) but we did get to watch, which was pretty cool. 

Sadly, with the beach being dark and roped off, I couldn't get
any pictures of  the penguins. However, there were wallabies
on the hills next to the beach and they are pretty darn cute. 

There was also this costume exhibit at the museum (unfortunately, with it being a museum and an exhibit and other boring reasons that I'm not 100% sure about, we couldn't take pictures). We got to see Spider-Man's costume (!!!) (have I mentioned that Spidey is my favourite superhero yet? I think I might have to do a post on it in the near future...), costumes from The Great Gatsby (unfortunately I didn't appreciate it at the time because I hadn't even heard of the book), Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz and The Dark Knight. I absolutely adored it. 

In case you haven't noticed, I am the queen of putting up pictures
that have nothing to do with my post. (Like I mentioned before, we
couldn't take pictures in the exhibit.) So, I have plopped a random
picture of a cool building in instead!! It is pretty cool, though, I
think. (I am also the queen of super long captions. *shrugs*) 

We haven't been back to Melbourne, which is rather unfortunate. I think it's my favourite Australian city I've been to so far. Brisbane is too familiar (I know, it's weird but true), Sydney is too touristy but Melbourne is a super cool blend of home and Australia. 

Friday, 4 December 2015

A Writer's Life for Me tag

Thank you to Heather at Sometimes I'm a Story for tagging me!

The rules:
Thank the person who tagged you.
Answer the ten questions.
Re-post the picture.
Tag 5-10 bloggers. 

Now onto the questions...

1) What kind of writer are you?
I write pretty much whatever comes to mind. Sci-fi, contemporary, paranormal, short stories, action, poetry (and blog posts, obviously). 

2) When did you start writing? What made you want to try it?
I started writing waaaaay back in second grade when I wrote a 2,000 word short story about a girl who grows wings and ends up in Cloud Kingdom. I was very proud. I then realised how bad it was and journaled for years until I picked writing back up when I was thirteen and didn't look back. 

3) What inspires your stories?
People, places, other stories. Everything and anything, in other words. 

Things like Harry Potter inspire me. (And Harry
Potter world in Tokyo is awesome. Just saying.) 

4) What themes do you like to explore in your writing?
Friendship is a big one and I'm beginning to write more about family. Selfishness is a big problem for a lot of my characters. 

5) Are you a pantser or a plotter or a bit of both?
It really depends on the story. For my fantasy (Formulas) I had a detailed outline of each chapter (it had three narrators, so that may be part of it) then for the next book I wrote I had no outline at all and just pansted it. I always know how it ends, though, and usually have some kind of outline. 

6) Where are you at in your journey? Querying, agented, published?
Querying. (Still.)

7) Have you ever entered any writing contests? Finaled? Won?
I finaled in a Go Teen Writer's contest a while back, but that's about it.

8) Who are your writing heroes?
Anyone and everyone who has the courage to write something they believe in. (Look at me, being deep today.)

9) Have you been to a writing conference? Share your best or worst conference experience. 
I have never been to a writing conference. I'd like to go one day, but today is not that day! (*cue Lord of the Rings music*)

10) Top three tips you'd give to newbie writers? 
1) If you write, then you may call yourself a writer. There is no secret meeting or ancient ritual or evil sacrifice that you must attend/take part in in order to become a writer. If you write, you are a writer. The end. 
2) Edit something until the story is right. Don't give up just because you think you've already done enough work on something and ignore that feeling that something's wrong. Your story deserves to be finished. 
3) Don't come to me for advice because I have no clue what I'm doing and I'm making it up as I go along. (I'm good at pretending that I know what I'm doing, but in reality I'm rather lost.) 

And I tag everyone! If you decide to do the tag post it in the comments and I'll put a link up. 

Edit: RM Lutz at The Book Hound has done the tag, so make sure you check it out. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

My complete and total embarrassing incompetence in surfing

When we first moved, Mom wanted us kids to learn to surf. And like, yeah, why not? We moved halfway across the world, we may as well learn what seemed to be the national sport. (It isn't, by the way. It's cricket. (And I thought it was AFL. (Or NRL. Or footy. I STILL CAN'T TELL THE DIFFERENCE, OK? And I would like to say sorry to all the Australians I've just offended, but I just do not get it, nor do I really care. (Did you hear that? That is the sound of every Australian gasping in shock and horror.) (As a side note, do you know what else I don't get? The phrase "fair dinkum". (How Australian is that?) When I ask, they say it means "legit" or "true" or "really" but everyone keeps using it in different contexts and I'm so confused. Anyways.)))(And I have just used so many brackets that I've lost track of them all. I think I may have an obsession.)) 

That quixotic dream soon got buried under mountains of stuff such as homework, movies and books, so we didn't really get to learn to surf. Plus, we live in a part of Queensland where there are no waves. Seriously, the waves we get here on a stormy, rough day are like little splashes in the kiddy pool compared to the waves that Surfer's Paradise/Gold Coast get every day. You can kind of manage to get the occasional wave, but we just don't have great surfing beaches. 

Our other problem is our lack of a surfboard. Actually, this might be the biggest problem. *shrugs* And we don't have a surfboard because we don't have a car that can transport a surfboard. It's kind of not a great system we have going on. 

The final problem to my lack of any surfing skills whatsoever would be that I'm not very good. And yeah, practice makes perfect and everything, but like I've mentioned, we don't exactly practice a lot. And I'm naturally clumsy, as I'm sure my family would love to tell you. (I regularly impress myself with my clumsiness.) It's just not pretty when I attempt surfing. (I'm really good at the lying-down-on-the-board-and-refusing-to-stand-up thing, but that's about it.) 

I suppose that shows how far stereotypes can go. Before I moved, I imagined that I'd turn into this really cool surfer girl (you know, the tanned ones with the long, wavy blonde hair who always have a bathing suit underneath their clothes and carry a surfboard around with them everywhere) within a few months. In reality, my hair is still a good three inches shorter than your average surfer girl (and it's gotten darker instead of more sun bleached and I do not have a tan because I would like to avoid getting skin cancer, thank you very much), I do not own a surfboard and I wear my school uniform a thousand times more than my bathing suit.  

And you know what? I'm ok with that. Somehow I feel more Australian in my school uniform with a Panama hat and my friends by my side than I would in a bathing suit with a surfboard. 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Bonus Post: Gap year plans

In case I haven't talked about it enough yet, I've finally graduated from high school. *confetti* I'm taking a gap year instead of heading straight to university, so here are my plans for the year. (If my plans are public, I'm a whole lot less likely to ditch everything and binge watch movies all year.) 

1) Save some money. I have a job that I will be continuing to work at, and I'm going to increase my hours to part time. I'll learn some more skills and make more money, which will be awesome. (For those of you who are curious, I'm saving up for a French course in France.) 

2) Get better at French. This one flows from my last one, because I want to get to France knowing a thing or two. Plus I've worked too hard for too long to just quit now. (And, you know, it's fun.) They have a class you can take here, so I'll have to look into it. 

3) Take care of myself. For the past four-ish years I've let my health go down the drain a little. I've been too busy studying, trying to catch up and adjusting to bother with eating terribly health-ly (which is now a word) and exercising. When I'm not doing anything, I'm too tired to bother. So I'm going to exercise and eat better this year. 

4) Blog. Yay! I love blogging, I really do and now I'll be able to put more time into it. 

5) Writing. I really want to try to sign a book (any book, I don't care at this point) with an agent over the next year. I have lots of stuff to do, hopefully lots of time to do it. 

6) Watch movies. I adore movies, but haven't had a lot of time to watch them because of school. So I'll be on the couch a lot (this one will clash with number three, but oh well. *shrugs*) 

7) Join the local soccer team or swim. Because I have to stay active somehow. 

8) Do more photography/drawing. I love taking pictures of my gorgeous adopted country, and I also enjoy drawing occasionally. Once again, lack of time has squashed these particular activities. 

9) Relax. There's something about lying on your bed, staring at your ceiling, a breeze floating through your window with music pumping through your headphones that makes me smile. 


Friday, 27 November 2015

How to be an artist and not go insane

Let's be honest here. At one point or another you, as an artist/creative person, have thought that you must have lost it. I have entire, endless oceans inside my head. (Hence the name of my blog.) There are really, really messed up, adorable, wonderful and totally fictional characters that I hang out with on a daily basis. I have plot lines, setting descriptions and random story ideas bouncing against the inside of my brain and I can rarely watch a movie without ticking an imaginary checklist of things like: character arcs, world building, backstory, climax, resolution, inciting incident, etc. etc.

And that can be a little bit scary. 

I am assuming that I am not the only one out there who thinks somedays that I should really just move to Wonderland already and save everyone the trouble of picking out a nice asylum for me to go to. 

While I'm not saying I've got it all figured out (my goodness, I've still got a long ways to go), I have figured out a few ways to lessen the "insanity" (which, as I have figured out, is just bent up creativity). 

1) Unleash your creativity. This one may seem a bit obvious, but seriously. Unleash your creativity. Those characters inside your head are probably not going away any time soon, and the only way you can get the children to shut up is to write their stories down. Write that book. Sing that song, paint that painting, create that poster, dance that dance. Set the creative monster free!

2) Talk to other creative people. Seriously, creative people are so much fun to talk to. I just reached out to other writers in the past year, and man, has it been awesome. I went from someone who had to ruminate on books and stories and characters and etc. etc. by myself to being able to talk to people who got it. That was pretty spectacular. Sometimes I'll comment about a character or stereotypes on a blog and discussions follow, then I get to sit back and ask if that really just happened. Like, did we just discuss the hidden symbolism in the font of this new book? (I actually haven't had that conversation, FYI.) Non-creative people don't really care, so it's awesome to connect with people who understand. (So a huge shout-out to the blogging community here!)

3) Embrace the creative monster within. Being creative may seen a bit weird to other people, but that's ok. If you're creative, own it! Shout it from the rooftops! Put it on a billboard! Carve your face into the surface of the moon! (Or maybe not.)

How do you not go insane with all your bottled up creativity? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Things I wish I would have known in high school

For those of you who don't know, I just graduated from high school. (Yay!!) If I could go back and tell myself something before I started, this is what I would say. 

1) It's going to be ok. Starting high school is pretty scary, and starting high school in a new country is even scarier. But it will be fine! You'll make friends and stress out and go to the beach and read a lot and in the end you'll look back and be satisfied. High school is not the end of the world. 

2) Challenge yourself, because you're good enough to take it. I sucked at math when I started grade 9. It didn't help that I missed some school so they were all ahead of me, either. So I studied really hard and worked harder. When I got to grade 11 I took the hardest math class I could, even though I wasn't sure if I was going to pass. I ended up getting top of the subject for that year. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself. 

3) Family and friends are awesome and don't underestimate them. I would not be standing on my own two feet (as opposed to crying on the ground) if not for my family and friends. Treat them like gold. 'Nuff said. 

4) Your best is good enough, and it's all you need. There will always be someone who is better at you in something. That's ok. You don't have to be number one all the time. And on a slightly different note, if you study your hardest and work harder and still get a bad mark, then be happy about it. You couldn't have done any better and you should be proud of your best. 

What are your favourite lessons from high school? And words of wisdom for the coming years ahead?

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Announcements/updates/requests for help/exciting news

Today marks the first day of my life out of high school. That's right, I've graduated! (*fireworks*) What exactly does this mean for my blog? Not a whole lot, to be honest. I'll be commenting more and reaching out to more bloggers than before, and I'll probably have more bonus posts. For the next couple of days I'll also be having bonus high school themed posts (mostly because you only graduate once and it's been a very long, hard journey and if I can't blog about it then what is the point, I ask?). (And my totally amazing, completely awesome parents gave me the best graduation present in the entire universe: the complete, hardcover Artemis Fowl series, ALL SIGNED BY EOIN COLFER!!!! I don't think I've mentioned this before, but Artemis Fowl is my favourite series in the entire universe. I was just a little hyserical.) 

For the next exciting piece of news. I am going to Europe in January! (*confetti and fireworks and chocolate*) I'm super excited and we're going for about three weeks. (In other words, there'll be a lot of Oh, the Places You'll Go posts in February.) This means that there are some guest posting opportunities available and I would be thrilled if anyone was interested (because all of my jabberwockies ARE JUST PLAIN AWESOME). If you're interested, email me at victoriajackson9901@gmail.com preferably before January so I can get everything organized. Anyone can guest post (whether you have a blog or not) and I'm accepting posts about reading, writing, movies, travel and culture. 

I also just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all my lovely jabberwockies for reading, commenting and promoting my blog. Thank you. 

You guys seriously rock.  

Friday, 20 November 2015

Snippets: "Zoe + Death, BFFs"

I've been doing some editing, and I've put together a new of my favourite snippets of my WIP, Zoe + Death, BFFs. Enjoy!

Blurb: Zoe has a bit of a problem. It isn't that Death is her best friend. Granted, that was the cause of her problem, but it isn't the actual problem. The problem isn't even the extra counseling sessions she has to sit through because she was talking to herself again. What? It's not her fault that no one else can see Death, after all. No, the problem began when Zoe accidentally deleted his book "How to Fix a Rip in the Universe" off his phone, which wouldn't have been a problem except for when she tears a rip in the universe. Now her mom is dead, Death's workers are all on strike, Death is having trouble keeping it together and everyone is keeping secrets.

But no matter what anyone tells you, it wasn't her fault.



"White House Madness 2.0 came out."

"Lemme see!" Zoe reached across the table and snatched the smartphone Death's hands.

"Yeah, no problem." The sarcasm dripped from his voice.

"Well, maybe they'll finally have a version that I actually like."

Zoe's fingers flew across the touch screen, accessing the app to try out a new level. White House Madness was his favourite game. The goal was to break into the White House and either save or assassinate the president. Death usually saved him but sometimes Zoe made him assassinate him when she was having a bad day. The reason why Death liked it so much - and the same reason why Zoe hated it - was because you had to solve science and math problems along the way.

She started the first level and tapped on the backdoor to the building. A bubble popped up. "This door has an electronic keypad lock with a six digit code. How many different possibilities of codes are there?" How on earth was she supposed to know that? Zoe typed in random numbers until the game failed her and frustration made her fingers shake. Stupid thing.


Death waved his arms around and yanked on his hair. "You are the best thing that's ever happened to me. You, well, you and classical music stopped the messed up depression stuff and, and, you're like chocolate, Zoe. Too much of a good thing screws everything up. I was normal with you and I didn't want to stop."

Zoe didn't answer for a moment and focused on staying the speed limit, trying to sort through everything. 

Finally, she spoke. "If this was a TV show, this is where you would announce your undying love for me." She turned and gave him a crooked grin.

Death pretended to strangle himself. "Blah! I'd rather die!" 

She snorted. Good times, good times. This was what she liked about Death. Well, the fact that he made her laugh and how he tried to talk like a teenager for her. 

"So am I forgiven?" she asked.

"For what?"

"For being chocolate." 


The barista behind the dark wood counter noticed them and smiled. "Hello again."

Zoe skipped across the worn carpet and slid onto the polished stool at the counter, and Death wandered around behind her. "Hey, Joy. How's your mom?" she asked. 

"Pretty good. She's on new medication now, so her headaches are mostly gone."   

Mom shot them a questioning glance. "How often do you come here, Zoe?"

Drat. "Never. Promise."

Joy tried to hide her grin by wiping off a few lines of the chalkboard menu and replacing it with new text. Zoe was unimpressed by how much Joy failed to hide said grin. 

"Okay, fine. I come once a week."

Both Death and Joy snorted, and the family of three looked on in interest. Death tugged his scythe off of his back and twirled it like a baton. She shot him a look. He was going to cut someone's arm off. Or his own. Besides, he really wasn't helping. 

She threw her hands up in the air. There would be no escaping Mom's wrath this time. "Fine. Whatevs. Three times a week. Possibly during physics, possibly not."

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

My life as a YA love triangle

If you've read some YA, you're probably familiar with the love triangle. If not, allow me to summarize. An ordinary teenage girl with little to no personality leads an average life. She has no boyfriend but is usually good friends with a cute, shy boy who secretly has a major crush on her, yet she is blinder than a guy whose eyes stopped working (bonus points if you get that reference). 

Then, a super hot, edgy, dangerous guy with a mysterious past shows up randomly. (He usually has an intense gaze and great abs, which are described multiple times over the course of the novel. (It makes me want to burn the book, it's that bad.)) In some books, he wants to kill the average girl or harm her in some way, so of course she falls in love with him. (Because logic.) 

Why. Just why. (And I know this wasn't really a love triangle, 
but it made my point for the paragraph above.)
They start going out (and depending on the genre he'll continue to hurt her and/or they'll try to save the world while she describes his abs) but wait! Cute, shy boy admits he likes her! And now she starts to like him back! WHAT'S A GIRL TO DO?!?!?!

In case you didn't pick it up, I'm not a fan of the love triangle. Mostly because: abusive relationships, drawn out conflict to fill up pages and abs instead of a personality. GET TO THE EXPLOSIONS, ALREADY!!! 

There was actually a plot to this, so I was horribly
disappointed that they spent so much time on the
love triangle. 
(It could have been so great.)
Anyways. I've always been pretty vocal about love triangles being stupid, and this is why I know God has a sense of humour. My life has become one. 

No, I don't have two guys (one cute and one with great abs) fighting for my affections. (I don't even know who would want that in the first place. Like yeah, I suppose boyfriends can be great but not when they're trying to hurt you. I suppose they'd make great enemies.) I do, however, have two countries fighting for my affections. 

Allow me to draw some parallels. 

I am average girl. Because let's face it, most people are average. It's just the way life works. 

Canada is the cute, shy boy. Canada is kinda known for being a doormat, which is what the shy boy usually is. They're both physically attractive (shy boy is cute and Canada has a spectacular natural landscape). I also didn't realize how much I loved Canada until I left, then he was dying for my attention. 

Australia is the dangerous guy with a dark past. Everything in Australia will try to kill you. (I touched on that briefly here.) Seriously, give it a chance and it will kill you. Oz has a dark past (think convicts and a whole lot of hardship) and an edgy, sharp landscape in place of abs. And yet I'm still in love with it. Australia also came out of nowhere and made me realize how much a) I'm in love with it and b) how much I miss the cute boy back home (AKA Canada). 

Luckily for me, this is real life. It is much easier to chose between two countries instead of two guys because I can have both countries. I can be Canadian Australian, which is pretty cool. I can't really date two people at the same time. (It makes it so awkward. I have two arms for a reason; one to hold my book and the other to hold onto my significant other so he can guide me while I read and walk. How would I do it with two boyfriends? When I grow a third arm I'll think about getting involved in a love triangle.) 

Are you a fan of the love triangle? Rants, raves, comments, concerns? Are there any aspects in your life that you feel resemble a YA love triangle?

Friday, 13 November 2015

Why I love middle grade/young YA

Let's face it, young adult books can be tough to read. They like to ask hard questions, like "is the way we're living the best way" and they explore things like love, heartbreak, courage and what it means to truly be yourself. It's about honour and duty and sacrifice and not getting killed by the villain from the other dimension who has a really big gun. 

Sometimes, I just want to escape. 

One of my all time favourite
middle grade books. 

I'm not complaining about my life, mostly because I think it rocks, but sometimes I've had a hard day and I don't want to ponder the morality of war (thank you, John Marsden) or the age old the rights of the few vs the rights of the many issue. Occasionally, I just want to dive into someone else's world where I know there's going to be a happy ending. 

This is where middle grade/young YA comes in. I say middle grade/young YA because middle grade is for 8-12 year olds, and I'm a little too old to be reading books for 8 year olds. This category of books is right in the middle, for about 11-14 year olds. And I know that 14 year olds read "true" YA novels and some 11 year olds read books for 8 year olds, but that's how I'm classifying it. The novels are just grown up enough to have complex storytelling and language techniques (it's not all "She had dark hair. She had dark eyes. She had a scar on her nose. She smiled. I smiled back. She waved, blah blah blah) that I can read it without throwing something, but it doesn't have the themes that YA has.

YA is great. I truly love it. But I don't always want to go through an intense journey of love and death and heartbreak. Sometimes I just want to see the magic in life. 

You guys? Has everyone outgrown middle grade or do you still pick up the occasional middle grade book? 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

5 ways to make a foreigner's day

Being a foreigner is hard. It gets easier with time, but it's still often hard because you're away from your friends and family and having to adapt to a whole new culture. So if there's someone in your life who didn't grow up in your country, here are five ways to make their day. 

1) If they just moved, make sure they have everything they need. 
For example, do they need mattresses while they wait for their stuff to arrive by boat? Do they need flowers to fill their empty house? What about a bucket full of ice until their fridge arrives? What about someone to go for lunch with? Stuff that you would take for granted is actually really important. If in doubt, just ask. 

2) Learn a bit of their language.
It can be difficult moving to a new country where they don't speak your language. It was difficult for us, and we actually speak English. (Then again, Australian English is just... weird. Awesome, but weird.) Just learning how to say "hello" would rock. My friends now say "washroom" instead of "toilet", which always makes me smile. 

3) Ask questions about their country.
I love answering questions about Canada, as long as the questions aren't stupid. Stupid questions include - "If you're Chinese, then you'd know kung-fu, right? Wait, you're American and you're not overweight? You're Canadian, so you must know Justin Bieber, right?" Most people would (hopefully) laugh, but seriously, I've gotten it all. Ask thoughtful questions, like about the education system and what they think about the different seasons and what their country's national sport is. 

4) Don't stereotype. 
These one leads on a little from the last question. Please, please do not stereotype. Don't stereotype them based on their country (all Canadians must love hockey, eh?) and don't stereotype their country based on them (you get good grades, so everyone in Australia must to). It's hurtful to assume that everyone in a certain group is the same, and while some people feed off stereotypes, not everyone does. 

5) Be understanding. 
It can be really difficult to move away from the country you grew up in. It doesn't matter if you had my experience where I moved from one awesome country to another, or if you moved from a poverty stricken, war-torn country to a peaceful one with a stable society. It's still hard. Living in another country is a game of balancing time zones and emailing people you haven't seen face-to-face for years. We just went back to Canada last December, and that was the first time that we'd seen our friends and family for three years. I'm not saying that it's crippling or awful or unbearable, because I'd do it all again without a second thought and it's been one of the best experiences of my life. But sometimes all you need to do is understand that they're going through stuff that you can't understand. 

Do you have any tips for making people's day, foreigner or not? What makes your day? Comment away, my jabberwockies! 

Friday, 6 November 2015

The Villain Test (part 2)

Unfortunately this will be a short post due to finals (but hey, quality over quantity, right?). And check out part one of The Villain Test here, if you haven't already. 

We all know villains can be awesome. (Because they can be. (Seriously. Villains are cool.)) Unfortunately they're usually not used to their full potential, hence my brilliant (ok, maybe not brilliant, but whatever) Villain Test. Part one was that all villains probably shouldn't be all the same. What is part two, you ask? (I'm glad you were wondering.)

If you couldn't write your story from your villain's point of view, then something's wrong. 

It makes sense, doesn't it? If you can't write your story from their point of view and make it half decent then your villain is probably thin. Granted, it wouldn't have to be amazing because you tend to (and should) make your main character more developed than anyone else, but still. 

If your antagonist failed the Villain Test, then it's time to discover them as a character, not as "the bad guy". Even if you're going with the Joker-like "pure evil" slant, you still need to understand them as a character. Would the Joker be as effective if he sat in a chair and repeated "I like hurting people because I do", or if he told the police officer why he liked killing people with knives? 

In my opinion, characters aren't villains because they sit in a scary lair and have a big weapon and want to kill people. Bad guys can only truly become a villain if we see ourselves in their reflection, if we can recognize humanity's worse in ourselves through them.

Who is your favourite villain? Which villain can you not stand? Do your villains pass or fail the villain test?