Now there’s a blog post title I never thought I’d write. But hear me out.
A week and a half ago I got a sporting injury. I know it’s a sporting injury, because the very nice young physiotherapist I went to see called it that. And it certainly sounds like a sporting injury; see, I got a calf strain, which is something I usually associate with rugged footballers who have no necks, and whose thighs are as wide around as my car.
How did I achieve this thing? Me, whose usual idea of a strenuous physical activity is lifting a hardcover novel? (Hey, those suckers are heavy.)
I was doing a warm-up at karate.
I never thought I’d be a karate person. But, after it was recommended to a friend’s son to help him work on his coordination, she and I decided to enrol our two boys. A colleague recommended his old school, GKR, because it is friendly and low contact.
By the end of the second Saturday morning watching my boy get all this perfectly good exercise while I sat on an uncomfortable chair, I decided to sign up as well. It took a huge act of will; the class I go to is quite large, and has a mix of adults and kids. I am incredibly unfit, and hate embarrassing myself in front of strangers. Or, well, anyone. But the sensei is kind, encouraging and funny (sadly, he’s also married ;) ), and I figured, what have I got to lose? Other than more weight than I need and a lifetime of awkwardness, I mean?
Here are some reasons why karate is working for me
My son is six. If I joined a gym, I’d need to organise babysitting for him (or spend money on a crèche), all of which is expensive and requires more organisation than I have brain cells spare for. We have a gym near work, but finding the time to actually go at lunch when we’re so busy has proven difficult. Also, I hate having to shower at work afterwards. Communal showers: ugh.
Whereas at karate, the boy and I are in the same dojo. We can exercise in the same class, each at our own pace. And afterwards I can drive us home to our bathroom. It’s the best of all worlds!
Because I hear it’s good for you?
I do feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in my gi, but after a few months I can see changes in my musculature, and I have more endurance than I used to. After I tore my calf muscle I actually cried at the idea of having to take a break. Also because I was sore. But still, how pathetic/awesome is that? I’ve never felt that way about exercise before.
Meeting new people
Although I have lots of close friends that I’ve met on-line, my circle of real-life friends is small. Close, but small. I’m an introvert, and doing karate has forced me to chat to strangers. Some of them I could see myself becoming friends with. Others I can oggle at a distance. It’s great.
Fight scenes, my friend. Fight scenes. I now know how to throw a punch or …er, kick … a kick. I’m not very good at the latter, because I’m still working on my balance, but I spend a lot of time watching talented black-belts demonstrate, and I know what it’s meant to look like. That means I can describe it. It’s fantastic! Last weekend I missed a women’s self-defence workshop they were running because I couldn’t walk very well, but next time they offer it I’ll definitely go along to that as well. My characters will benefit, for sure!
Do you do a martial art? Have you tried acquiring a new physical skill later in life? Leave a comment, so I don’t feel so alone!
Sharon is one of my fellow Aussie Owned and Read bloggers (she’s the one that named Isla’s Oath for me, due to my chronic incompetence at naming things). I’m so pleased to see Divided coming on the market, and with a gorgeous cover; I’ve read this story before and really enjoyed it, because Ryder.
Also, I’m dead keen for the sequel. Get cracking, Sharon!
A new heart should mean new life, instead it’s a living nightmare.
Mishca Richardson’s life is at an all-time high after her heart transplant. With new boyfriend, Ryder, she has the perfect summer romance. Even the nightmares plaguing her sleep since her operation can’t dull her new dream world.
Yet, life starts to unravel when Mishca develops superhuman abilities. She does her best to hide them so as not to end up a science experiment in a lab, but she can’t ignore the strange instant attraction she experiences when she meets her university professor, Colin Reed.
Torn between love and obsession, Mishca must unite her divided heart and decide between the two men. But when the truth about her weird powers comes to light, she’ll have a lot more to worry about than romance.
Praise for Divided
“DIVIDED is a fast-paced adventure filled with mystery, romance, action, and humor. Mishca and Ryder rank up there with my favorite heroines and heroes ever! Sharon M. Johnston is an author to watch out for.” — WENDY HIGGINS, USA Today and New York Times bestselling author.
Win one of four ecopies of Divided here.
About the author
From sunny Queensland in Australia, Sharon writes weird stories and soulful contemporaries across a number of categories. Working as a PR specialist by day, in her spare time she writes, blogs, plays with her fur babies and plays computer games with her family. She’s also been stalked by women wanted to know where she buys her shoes.
On Wednesday 23 June 2010, with the government in turmoil, Julia Gillard asked then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for a leadership ballot.
The next day, Julia Gillard became Australia’s 27th Prime Minister, and our first female leader. Australia was alive to the historic possibilities. Here was a new approach for a new time.
It was to last three extraordinary years.
This is Julia Gillard’s chronicle of that turbulent time – a strikingly candid self-portrait of a political leader seeking to realise her ideals. It is her story of what it was like – in the face of government in-fighting and often hostile media – to manage a hung parliament, build a diverse and robust economy, create an equitable and world-class education system, ensure a dignified future for Australians with disabilities, all while attending to our international obligations and building strategic alliances for our future. This is a politician driven by a sense of purpose – from campus days with the Australian Union of Students, to a career in the law, to her often gritty, occasionally glittering rise up the ranks of the Australian Labor Party.
Refreshingly honest, peppered with a wry humour and personal insights, Julia Gillard does not shy away from her mistakes, as well as detailing her political successes. Here is an account of what was hidden behind the resilience and dignified courage Gillard showed as prime minister, her view of the vicious hate campaigns directed against her, and a reflection on what it means – and what it takes – to be a woman leader in contemporary politics.
Here, in her own words, Julia Gillard reveals what life was really like as Australia’s first female prime minister.
This is the first non-fiction I’ve reviewed on this blog, and it’s overtly political. What could possibly go wrong…?
*dons flak jacket and face shield before continuing*
For those that don’t know, Julia Gillard was Australia’s first (and, to date, only) female prime minister. A member of the Labor party, our equivalent of the US Democrats, she came to power in controversial circumstances, replacing Kevin Rudd. Rudd seemed to present well interstate but here in Canberra, where the federal government is based, he had a reputation for being angry, disorganised and hell to work for. He did some good work with the GFC, but when he dropped the ball on environmental reform, his polling numbers tanked.
Consequently, I think Canberrans were among the least surprised when Gillard took his place as PM.
I was always fond of Gillard, especially when she was being fiery and speaking off the cuff (her canned speeches, on the other hand, were a cure for insomnia — sorry, Jules, but they were). Some of that was because her politics broadly align with mine. A lot of it was because of the abhorrent way she was treated by the conservative media and the lunatic fringe. I felt a certain girl power solidarity, you know?
So, with that huge disclaimer, what did I think of My Story?
Bits of it, especially the first third, were riveting. Bits of it were, as the blurb says, wryly funny. Bits of it — especially her insights into Rudd’s behaviour after he was ousted — filled me with righteous indignation. (Australia is in the grip of conservative government now, and it’s fair to say that Rudd is largely responsible for that. Thanks very bloody much, Kevin.)
But bits of My Story were kind of a cure for insomnia too.
This is the first political memoir I’ve read, and it makes sense that politicians in these kinds of books will be keen to establish their legacy, in their own words. And while I enjoyed the personal anecdotes and the insights into negotiations, I really zoned out during the talk of numbers and budgets and something about nominal growth? What? If I’d been reading the paperback, I would’ve skimmed the middle section, but because I was listening to the audiobook I slogged through the whole thing while cooking dinner and colouring in. (Adulting is hard.)
Maybe if I’d paid more attention, I would’ve gotten more out of it. :p
Still, Julia was gracious in acknowledging where others had done good work — even Rudd, in the early days. She was also honest about the places where the Labor government went wrong on certain policies and decisions, and accepted the blame where she had a role in those mistakes. I respect that, as well as her ferocious intellect and her resilience.
If you’re on the centre/left of Australian politics, this is worth a read.
Until a couple of years ago I didn’t own any autographed books. That was partly because I used to buy a lot of books by overseas authors, and partly because my inclination to queue up to get a signature has always been pretty low. I’d only ever done it once, and it was as a present for my then-boyfriend.
Queues = ugh.
Then I started discovering indie authors, and Twitter, and suddenly I started to build a collection of autographed books. In every single case, the author has posted me the book (or in one case a bookplate, which TOTALLY COUNTS!). No queuing required! :D
Not all of these authors are indies, obviously. Jay Kristoff and Delilah S. Dawson are traditionally published, and Lauren K. McKellar and Stacey Nash are hybrid authors (doing a little bit of column a and a little bit of column b).
I’ve put these more-or-less in the order that I received them. As much as I can remember, anyway.
Bound by J. Elizabeth Hill
The Problem With Crazy by Lauren K. McKellar
Immagica by K. A. Last
(I also have Fall For Me signed too!)
Shh! by Stacey Nash
(I also have signed copies of Fall For Me and Wait!)
The Last Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Hit by Delilah S. Dawson
What signed books do you have? Make me jealous with your collections! Do iiiiiiiit!
(Also, if you wanted a signed copy of Isla’s Inheritance, just hypothetically, that is a thing that could be arranged. ;) )
I have a LOT of auto-buy authors — you know, those writers whose books you must own, no matter what. And although this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (an awesome bookish list-making meme) asks me to list ten, that’s in no way possible. The size of this list is a pretty clear indicator of why my TBR pile is so huge. Just so you know.
Also, these are in no particular order.
Lauren K. McKellar Stacey Nash K. A. Last
Jay Kristoff Paula Weston Chuck Wendig
Delilah S. Dawson Kevin Hearne Jacqueline Carey
Marissa Meyer Kim Harrison A. G. Howard
And there are other authors whose books I will own one day, but guilt over the current size of my TBR pile is staying my hand … for now. Sometimes the only difference between the two piles is the fact that these guys have a huger backlist or I’ve just discovered them, and I need to nibble away at it. (I’m trying to teach myself restraint, you guys!)
Maggie Stiefvater Kasie West Melissa Keil
Terry Pratchett Dahlia Adler Holly Black
John Green Neil Gaiman J. K. Rowling
Cassandra Clare Kate Forsyth
Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Who are your auto-buy authors? Do we have any in common? :)
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me doing virtual cartwheels because I finished the final proofread of Lucid Dreaming. That means the manuscript is DONE. DONE, I SAY!
Well, except for the formatting. So almost done. :p
That means we’re on track for early November release. If you’ve got any kind of social media and would be interested in taking part in the cover reveal on 3 September, you can sign up here and the lovely Giselle will email you the info pack a couple days before. I’d love to have you. :)
Of course, that means I have more editing to do. This afternoon I’m going to get stuck into my first-round edit on the as-yet-unnamed fantasy inspired by Ancient Greece.
Who knows, maybe I’ll go crazy and name it too!