I am an Aussie with Scottish and English Heritage.
I am a Bisexual, yes even though I am married to a man, I am still attracted to women – always have been, always will be!
I am a Sci-Fi nut (thanks Mum) and I have a very wide taste in music (also thanks Mum, and my grandmothers). Music and Art in general are my saviour, my church, my release.
I have struggled with depression, social anxiety, body dysmorphia, and thanatophobia my whole life. Arthritis came along in my late-twenties and my overall anxiety gets worse with each passing day. But very few of you would know any of that because I have always kept it to myself. If you come up to me in public I’ll plaster on my biggest and warmest smile, act happy and be friendly (and I am friendly underneath it all, but I should get an Oscar for the performance I’ve been putting on the last 33 years).
I had my first panic attack at the start of October. It landed me in the ER, as Shane thought I was having a stroke/heart attack (something sinister anyways). I have had a few attacks since then and bad days that have left me locked in my head unable to function. I had one last night. It started from just having a down day and ended with me on the bathroom floor rocking back and forth, crying while going through calming exercises to try and drag myself back to reality.
And yes, I have had some professional help over the years. I’ve partaken in therapy, altered my diet, taken drugs from doctors and herbs from naturopaths. I’ve tried and will keep on trying to manage my conditions. I want to be well and I am not a quitter. It’s just not in my DNA to give up, although most times it seems like the easiest option.
I do not tell my friends and family what is going on with me because I do not want to bring them down – but all that has done is made me feel completely alone. I am not telling you this because I want sympathy – fuck no! I am here, holding myself accountable for my own wellbeing. I am here, trying to be my most authentic self.
I decided to post this in the hopes of raising awareness. I want you to CHECK IN ON YOUR MATES. Get in their heads and let them in yours. LIFE IS TOO HARD TO FACE ALONE, and after 33 years, I cannot keep it up. So here we are.
Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m pleased to meet you.
The phone rings and I get a jolt to the guts like someone has kicked me.
I feel like I am going to bring up my lunch.
I answer the phone, ramping up my fake happy mode, asking “how may I help you” and such.
I just want peace and quiet.
I just want to sleep.
I do not want to talk to anybody.
I do not want to speak.
Everyday drags on and feels like a waste.
Yet the years speed by at a blistering pace.
We all know the Sun, the powerhouse of our solar system, but what about Luyten’s Flare, the Rosino-Zwicky Object or Chanal’s variable star? For those whose curiosity takes them far beyond Earth’s atmosphere, The Secret Life of Stars offers a personal and readily understood introduction to some of the Galaxy’s most remarkable stars.
Each chapter connects us to the various different and unusual stars and their amazing characteristics and attributes, from pulsars, blue stragglers and white dwarfs to cannibal stars and explosive supernovae. With chapter illustrations by Eirian Chapman, this book brings to life the remarkable personalities of these stars, reminding readers what a diverse and unpredictable universe we live in and how fortunate we are to live around a stable star, our Sun.
A book on Astrophysics aimed at teens, yes please! Science was one of my favourite classes in high school (that and Art & Drama, yes, yes, strange mix I know).
From the moment Lisa introduced herself at the start, just the vibe I got from reading her introduction, I knew I was going to enjoy this book. What I didn’t anticipate was how much I was going to love this book or the intense pull it would awaken in me to stop, slow down, and gaze up at the stars with a reinvigorating sense of wonder.
Before taking a stroll around the known universe one Star at a time, The Secret Life of Stars kicks off close to home, talking about the bringer of our life, the marvel that is our sun.
“At around 6 billion years old, the sun is in the middle age of her life. And before you ask, yes, the sun is a woman. How do I know? She holds down a steady job (heating and lighting the solar system), provides for a family of eight and hasn’t taken a holiday in 4.6 billion years.”
All hail the sun!!! and a high five and hug to Lisa, a woman showing up for girls in Science!
The pure love and worship of the universe around us and all the infinite number of stars in existence shines through in Lisa’s sometimes humous, always fascinating words.
Lisa has written an informative and interesting delve into the universe around us in an easily accessible way. Ha, maybe if they wrote textbooks like this more kids would be entranced by not only Astrophysics and Astrology, but Sciences as a whole!
I have been in a reading funk lately, struggling to focus on fictional tales and The Secret Life of Stars was a like an invigorating dip in the ocean, or use a different analogy, like a breath of fresh air. It is a perfect conversation starting coffee table book, a perfect read a little here and there book, and it is also engaging enough to read in a cover to cover marathon. I kept finding myself reading passages out loud to my other half Shane. The Secret Life of Stars has rekindled a stargazing passion for us both. And has us intending to save up for a decent telescope and muck around with Astro-Photography to make use of our old SLR in the meantime.
Who would like this book: This book may have been aimed at teens in its conception, but at 33 I can tell you it’s not just for teens. Maybe you know a stargazer, a dreamer, a sci-fi lover, a lover of all things science, or even a lover of travel – maybe it’s you – then The Secret Life of Stars would make a fantastic special treat, birthday or Chrissy gift.
There isn’t much more I can say, so I will leave you with this quote: “Every atom of iron on planet Earth was made inside a star. That goes for every atom of iron in your blood, too… Next time you look at your veins, or use a compass, or don’t die in a shower of lethal cosmic radiation, be grateful to the unnamed relic of a cosmic behemoth who gave its life that we might live. Our ancestor star, our gentle giant of the skies.”
Lisa Harvey-Smith is an award-winning astronomer and Professor at the University of New South Wales. She has a talent for making complicated science seem simple and fun. Lisa is a regular on national tv/radio/media and has appeared in several TV series and documentaries as a guest scientist and is a presenter alongside Prof. Brian Cox on ABC TV’s Stargazing Live.
In 2018 she was appointed as the Australian Government’s Ambassador for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). As an Ambassador Lisa is responsible for increasing the participation of women and girls in STEM studies and careers across Australia. She is also a vocal advocate for building inclusive workplaces for LGBTQI+ scientists.
Find out more about Lisa here > https://lisaharveysmith.com/biography
Follow the Australian Bloggers tour HERE.
At the start of July, I drafted a ridiculously long I quit /goodbye post where I went into detail on all the things I have got going on in my life. I was beyond burnt out but I was attempting to hide it from everyone. My whole life just felt like an endless list of stuff I had to do, not anything I wanted to do, and it was slowly killing my spark. I was getting home from work exhausted and I did not want to do anything other than go to bed and cry. My one escape, reading, had become a chore, just another thing I HAD to do each day. I was finding that I was emotionally becoming more sensitive and easier to set off, be it into anger or tears. And I was sick of it. Someone around me only needed to be a little off to put me in a tailspin. It felt like nothing I did was for myself anymore, everything was for someone else – the kids, other family members, my partner, Authors, other bookish influencers – but nothing for me.
In my big long I quite post I wrote about the toxic money and fame-hungry environment that is brewing in the online bookstagram world. I wrote about blogging and my plans in the reviewer world. I wrote about all the bad luck and ill health my maternal grandmother has been through lately. I wrote about how the older I get the worse my overall anxiety becomes, and not just FOMO. But I just do not care anymore. And I doubt y’all want to hear it. Like, who in the world wants to read my sad-sack post anyways lol everybody has their own stuff going on at the moment and there are few people who are coping well.
The short version. I am not well, physically (long-term life illnesses and new problems) or mentally (fuck you COVID and your isolating restrictions). I am sore, tired, and frustrated all the time! As a full-time working mum, there is a lot of shit I have to do that I can’t not do, and that is draining. Being a parent is all about shit you have to do. They don’t tell you about that beforehand. They just tell you that you’ll love them and it’ll be all worth it. Nar mate! You have to keep them feed, clean, clothed, and HAPPY and it’s fucking hard! It’s 247, never a second off, hard. No one will emotionally abuse you more than your own children. Riley is now 7 and Ethan is 3½ and they just don’t stop. YES, they are adorable little assholes and I love them more than I love anything in the world, even more than chocolate and gin, but sometimes I wonder if they will be the death of me. To get some balance I am attempting to remove as much “have to” stuff as I can from my life, If it isn’t fun or beneficial to me or my family anymore, it’s gone.
Obviously, I will still read when the mood strikes me, as a good book is the best escape there is. But I will only be writing reviews if the book touches me enough that I fell the need to review it. I’ll still be staying on with the #AusYABloggers board, helping with book tours, etc. as I love those girls and I don’t want to turn my back on all the online bookish friends I’ve made.
I felt immediately calmer after making the decision back in July to just drop it all. I was heading to a very dark place that I haven’t been too since I was struggling with postnatal depression after my first baby. Happily with less to do each night my eldest son and I have taken to watching a TV show together each night for the hour between his little brother going to bed and him going to bed. At the moment Riley and I are watching The Masked Singer Australia on Monday and Tuesdays, then Ru Paul’s AJ and the Queen on Netflix every other day. The hour has become a way for us to reconnect and share something special together, as his little brother takes up a lot of my mummy time. I have also implemented a family games night for all four of us.
I am trying to be happy and healthy. I am trying to be more in the moment. I am trying to live. But damn 2020 is making it hard!
Glen Dahlgren is an award-winning game designer and the author of the young adult book series The Chronicles of Chaos, which fantasy legend Piers Anthony called “what fantasy fiction should be.”
Glen has written, designed, directed, and produced critically acclaimed, narrative-driven computer games for the last three decades.
Firstly, congrats on your book baby making its way out into the world. It sounds like a ripper of a series! If you could go back to the start of The Child of Chaos’s publishing journey and give yourself any advice, what would it be?
Mostly, get moving! It took me 20 years to complete this book and get it published. That said, I learned a lot in that period that enabled me to take this step. But I’m really hoping it takes me far less time to publish my next book!
You have had a very impressive career in the gaming industry, was it always a dream of yours to write books or was it just a natural progression from computer game story telling?
Actually, making games was my dream and I lived it for a long time. In the course of doing that, I was able to create stories inside the worlds of established SF and fantasy authors. While I truly enjoyed that, there’s nothing as satisfying as constructing a world and characters of my own and releasing it into the world.
Also, making games is a team activity. I love working with talented people to bring something extraordinary to life—but this book is truly my baby. That said, even the Child of Chaos owes a lot to my beta readers, my cover artist, and my son who drew the interior illustrations. This novel wouldn’t be the same without them.
Can you tell us a little about how you come up with the idea for The Chronicles of Chaos?
It actually started as a premise I created for a computer game–but upon reflection, I realized it wasn’t a game at all. At that moment, even though I had never written a novel before, I knew this would be my first. I just didn’t suspect it would take 20 years to write!
It all started out with a simple question: what if there was no real difference between good and evil? In a world governed by temples, each representing a different god/aspect of Order, good and evil (among many others) were just two equally respected callings. But those who had had no calling to any temple were “faithless”, and that was much worse.
I am looking forward to reading The Child of Chaos now that it is out in the world. What are you currently reading (or what was the last book you read)?
Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, The Shepherd’s Crown (and all the other Diskworld novels) by Terry Pratchett. I guess I have a penchant for fantasy writers from the UK! But my inspirations are the classic fantasy authors, like Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, Margaret Weis, Tad Williams, and many more.
“This is what fantasy fiction should be.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author and fantasy legend.
Galen loves dreaming up stories, but he never expected to be pulled into a nightmare.
An irresistible longing drags Galen to an ancient vault where, long ago, the gods of Order locked Chaos away. Chaos promises power to the one destined to liberate it, but Galen’s dreams warn of dark consequences.
He isn’t the only one racing to the vault, however. Horace, the bully who lives to torment Galen, is determined to unleash Chaos–and he might know how to do it.
Galen’s imagination always got him into trouble, but now it may be the only thing that can prevent Horace from unraveling the world.
“There is a quality of imagination and detail here that impresses me. This is no ordinary sword and sorcery story. [Glen Dahlgren] is a novelist who I think will become more widely known as his skill is appreciated.” —Piers Anthony
Join us for this tour from August 3 to August 14, 2020!
Book Title: Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy by Ruthy Ballard
Category: Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 260 pages
Genre: Fantasy and Magic
Publisher: WhipSmart Books
Release date: June 16, 2020 (ebook); October 1, 2020 (print)
Tour dates: August 3 to August 14, 2020
Content Rating: G.
Frankie Russo doesn’t brood about the past or worry about the future. He lives in the present moment, frolicking in a world of make-believe that drives his high-achieving parents crazy. They have lofty ambitions for him, but Frankie has no interest. He prefers to flip helium burgers on Jupiter or rule a kingdom of mermen in the Caspian Sea, up inside his head, where all the fun is. Frankie’s parents nag him endlessly, worried he’ll come to nothing. But all that changes when he disappears through a mysterious crack in his bedroom ceiling and finds himself on a distant, two-mooned planet called Urth. Why was he drawn there? He doesn’t know, but as he embarks on a delightful, mind-blowing adventure, Frankie’s desperate parents think he’s been abducted, and an innocent man is
arrested and charged with the crime! On the surface, Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy is a lighthearted science-rich adventure story that takes its middle grade readers on an entertaining romp to the other side of the galaxy. But the undercurrent is one of discovery and redemption, where a ten-year-old boy, through an unexpected journey, finds a way to escape his parent’s stifling shadow and emerge into a future of his own choosing.
Meet the Author:Ruthy Ballard is a children’s book author, artist, and scientist who lives in Sacramento, California. By day, she’s “Dr. Ruth Ballard,” a professor and forensic DNA expert. By night, she romps in an imaginative playground of colors and words. Ruthy is the author of Frankie and the Gift of Fantasy and Tales by Moons-Light: Stories from Before the Great Melt. She is currently working on the third book in her Tales by Moons-light series: Elvia and the Gift of Passion. Her entertaining stories lure middle grade readers into science, but her creative ventures don’t stop there. She’s also a folk artist whose colorful “cartoons” delight and inspire both children and adults. Ruthy is married to a musician and is the mother of two sons, three cats, and a Samoyed dog named Mush, all of whom appear in her work, in various guises, from time to time.
Enter the Giveaway:
THERE’S A ZOO IN MY POO
By PROFESSOR FELICE JACKA
AND ROB CRAW
Genre: Children’s, Non-fiction
Publication: 28 July 2020
Publisher: PAN MACMILLAN AUSTRALIA
Source: Review copy from publisher – Thank You
Rating: ✵ ✵ ✵ ✵
World expert in the field of Nutritional Psychiatry and gut health, Professor Felice Jacka and teacher and musician Rob Craw have created one of the first gut-health picture books aimed at kids: There’s a Zoo in my Poo.
Exciting new science tells us now that an unhealthy gut can contribute to a wide range of health issues including obesity and depression. And for children, a poorly functioning gut may contribute to stomach aches, poor immunity, allergies and asthma, and mood fluctuations.
There’s a Zoo in my Poo is a funny, entertaining and informative look at gut-health, encouraging kids to become the Zookeepers to the trillions of tiny bugs that live in and on all of us. It’s designed to give kids the knowledge and power to make healthy choices for themselves.
An important, timely, and engrossing introduction to gut health for kids (and their parents), who will learn which are the good bugs and which are the bad, and what we should eat to keep our good bugs happy and our body strong.
Fun and educational, There’s a Zoo in my Poo gets to the guts of what makes a healthy, happy you!
About the author and the illustrator:
Professor Felice Jacka is an international expert in the field of Nutritional Psychiatry and gut health and leads a research field examining how individuals’ diets affect mental and brain health. Rob Craw is a teacher, musician, and illustrator, who shares Jacka’s passion for educating everyone, especially kids, about the importance of healthy eating.
I had only just finished opening the Pan Mac postal pack and placed the book on my desk when Ethan spotted it, picked it up and proclaimed “Ohhhh, can you read this to me mummy” – So that’s a win for the overall physical look of the book – it looks just like a little kids picture book with its bright glossy hardcover and full-colour pages printed on high-quality paper.
The artwork is reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, as are the chapter headings and the little poems that accompany them.
Dr. Seuss vibes! always a win in my book!
The main text of the book is interesting and informative, delving into how the gut actually works digesting food, fueling the body, the connection between mood and food and so much more. As an adult, I can appreciate the way the author has organised the data and facts into something digestible for a younger audience, and I applaud the book’s good intentions, but my two did struggle with the large info blocks. We took two breaks while reading it, poping in two just-for-fun silly picture books for a rest and that seemed to do the trick for Riley (7-yrs-old) at least, who afterward said he liked the book.
So Riley (7) and I liked it, but Ethan (3) lost interest once we got to the large chunks of text – I’d say, this is a book best suited for 6 to 10 year olds. I can see it being a classroom hit, with the teachers and primary school students, which is what I think the author was going for.
At the back of the book are some gut health recipes with fun titles! I am keen to make some of these with the boys, as I think the funny names and being apart of making the food concoctions might just get them excited enough to get the courage to try eating them – big win right there!
Physical appearance/feel – 5/5.
Dr. Seuss vibes – 5/5.
Books educational content – 5/5.
Overall reading enjoyment – 3/5.
The recipes – 5/5.
Conclusion: THERE’S A ZOO IN MY POO is a book that well worth the read with your 6-10 year old – They’ll learn something and you just might too.
This is just a little update for those you helped us or were helping us with our fundraising for the Camp Quality Fun X4.
We should have already been on the FunX4 and been back by now, but thanks to Covid19 the dates have had to be pushed back to later in the year – We (Jake, Josh, Shane & I) are now unable to attend with the new dates.
Thankfully, Shane and I managed to raise $3980.00 before Covid19 hit. And Jake and Josh managed to raise $2825.00 – and as far as I am concerned $6805.00 for such a worthwhile charity is something to be proud of!
If you have got no idea what I’m talking about, and want to, click HERE for my post when I announced Shane and I would be going on the FUNX4.
Every wallflower blooms at their own perfect time, but some like quirky Lo, take longer than others.
Lo is a sheltered 20-year-old who loves baking, manga/anime, and octopi. When she spots her college swim team’s tryout flyer sporting her favorite sea creature, an octopus she knows it’s a sign that she must join the Flying Octopi. The only things standing her way are her social awkward nature and the fact that she just learned to swim.
Will Lo find her place to shine or will her social anxiety DQ her dreams?
Late Bloomer is a new adult novel that is a cross between Bridget Jones’s Diary, Baywatch and Kuragehime.
My thoughts: The Diary of a late bloomer was a blissful slow burn of a book, that I ended up adoring. The story is told in the format of diary entries written by the POV character, each day for five months (First entry Sept 3rd, 2003, last entry Feb 29th, 2004). The diary style in which this is told felt unique and as the reader, I felt as if I was reading a personal journal and like I was looking into Lo’s mind.
The story opens with Lo running late to swim team tryouts. She taught herself to swim over the summer, with the help of books, and really isn’t that good. But the coach takes pity on her and allows her on the team, even going as far as to come up with special training routines to help her become as capable as her other teammates – it’s actually super sweet now that I look back at it, he could have just turned her down – At first, she struggles with the grueling routines of the swim team, but grows to appreciate it as her fitness level increases.
Lo comes across as a bit stilted at times, but that grows on you and ends up being kinda adorable. She’s 20, has had hardly any adult life experiences, and oh boy does she wine a lot in the beginning. But that all starts to make sense as we see how overprotective her mother is and the life she leads at home with her brother and parents.
For the most part of the story, Lo is very down on herself after years of schoolyard bullying. It is glorious to see her come out of her shell. We see her go to her first concert without parental supervision, learn how to navigate friendships and dating, have her first kiss, and *spoiler* her first boyfriend. It was enjoyable watching Lo’s character grow, to see her stop making excuses and start moving forward with her life.
I would have loved a prequel showing the swim team still kicking, (person who I’m not naming as it’s a big spoiler) and Lo awkwardly in love and (that same person) spending more time with Lo’s family.
Summary: this book is a clean slow burn romance that will warm your heart.
NOTE! You do not need to be into swimming to enjoy this book!
L.M.L. Gil is a writer, a reader, and a dreamer. When she is not writing, editing, or thinking about her next story, she is either in the kitchen testing out a new recipe or snuggling with her fur munchkins reading.
As a glutton, she equates a good novel to a scrumptious dessert, which leaves your heart a little lighter and a smile on your face. She hopes her novels provide a sweet treat without the calories
You can find her HERE.