It sounds like an Apple product of some kind, with the ‘i’ at the front, but that’s just me attempting to include myself in the phenomenon that is NaNoWriMo. Since it stands for ‘National Novel-Writing Month’, I feel obliged to switch it up for my unAmerican purposes. InterNational Novel-Writing Month. iNaNoWriMo. Catchy, n’est-ce pas?

Perhaps pas.

Anyway, I’m going to strive towards doing it, although November is, naturally, a terrible month for them to pick, given that it’s a month that involves final exams and then ideally as much work as possible. Nobody ever thinks about us poor Southern-Hemisphere-dwellers. My story is currently called The Poetic Life Of Ruby Palmer, Lost Cause – and while this is subject to change, I am rather attached to it, as I tend to be with titles I let hang around my brain for a while. It has elements of real-life influence, obviously – it’s about a somewhat offbeat writerly girl in her last year of high school, which sounds a little like me a few years ago – but I’m pretty sure Ruby’s going to wind up more badass than me, or at least more badass than I was at sixteen-going-on-seventeen, for the most part.

I’ve (barely) survived  my first exam, which involved much prattling about Ovid, and only have two more before supposed ‘freedom’. Colour me stoked.

In the watching/listening/reading realm of things, I have offish finished reading all the Tortallan books (save for Terrier and Bloodhound), having finished reading Trickster’s Queen. And now, in addition to my reading of The Hobbit, I’m lazily getting through the first Circle of Magic book. My Hobbit-y reading has been paired with watching Fellowship of the Ring at this exact moment. They’re about to go into the Mines of Moria. I just had a ‘No, Frodo, what are you saying?! Y’all should try to finish taking the Caradhras pass!’ moment. Poor Gandalf. /nerd.

And musically, I’ve been listening to Voltaire’s Ooky Spooky record, which is excellent indeed, and The Passenger by Iggy Pop has been on repeat (just the one song, because… why not?).

I’ll keep you updated on how iNaNoWriMo gets along, my friendos.

middle earth = new zealand. duh.

I love my homeland an extraordinary amount. We have the best accents (universally loved, it seems, perhaps apart from our Austrahhhhlian neighbours), the best awkward birds (the kiwi and beyond), sauce dispensers shaped like their vegetable originators (tomato shaped tomato sauce/ketchup bottles) and scenery that will kick your country’s scenery (again, maybe looking at our friendly surf-obsessed venomous-animal-attached neighbours who have naught but desert) back to sunrise. Which isn’t hard, since we see the sun rise before anywhere else in the world. OH SNAP!

And the world got to see our shiny pretty (not to mention BAD-ASS) scenery on three little movies called The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers & The Return of the King. Under the collaborative awesomeness that is THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Yeah, I’m a bit of a fan. Not as drastically obsessed as I used to be (my first year of high school was the same year that RotK came out. I may have taught myself how to read and write the Elvish script. I may have obsessively played all the pieces in the piano music FotR book even though I hadn’t actually played piano properly for several years.) but I still appreciate the books and movies alike.

Confession – I haven’t actually read The Hobbit. I’ve read all three volumes of the main trilogy, and churned through a decent part of The Silmarillion, but haven’t, for whatever reason, read the book that started it all. However, I intend to rectify this. Since the movie is finally underway. Or sort of. Which brings me to the ultimate purpose of this entry – The Hobbit film and the fact that it obviously has to be filmed in New Zealand.

It’s possible that before I even finish typing this up they will do the old BREAKING NEWS extravaganza to let the Kiwi populace know whether or not we can still call ourselves Middle Earth. It was the first story of the main 6pm news hour, and they stated that any developments would be brought to light immediately. Our prime minister – the Less Than Honourable John Key, king of Remuera, “Helensville” (since he spends SO much time there) and the centre-right affront to our Parliament that is the National Party – is in discussions with the Warner Brothers execs regarding the future of the film here. That’s right, folks, our nation’s leader gets in on it when our Peter Jackson movie-making gets threatened. Secretly I think this is kind of awesome. I can’t really imagine Obamz getting cozy with Spielberg over location disputes.

There are reasons why the WB suits are concerned, yes – the whole actors’ union boycott didn’t paint the prettiest picture of our local thespians, but now that the whole thing has been put in the past (I’ll personally still be pretty miffed at the actorly public if we get screwed over, though), it’d be nice if they could come to a happy agreement that nowhere can possibly recreate the world conjured for the original films as NZ. Seriously. That little farm out of Matamata IS Hobbiton. I refuse to believe that anywhere else will have quite the same charm as did our Waikato-y friends and their hobbit-holed hills.

The moral of the story is that the movie should stay here, otherwise the entire population of my country will turn into depressed 13 year olds who sit around wearing black mourning gowns whilst rocking slowly humming Lament for Gandalf. Why would you do that to us, WB? WHY? I know we’re sort of know (probably just by us) for our ‘dark’ aesthetic  – cue Sam Neill’s Cinema of Unease documentary, which you should all watch, and readings of every NZ short story anthology ever – but that doesn’t mean you need to further our emo. Let us have our hobbits. We’re so damn far away from everything else.

In other news, I’ve now read the entire Song of the Lioness, The Immortals & Protector of the Small quartets. And I’m switching up between The Magic In The Weaving (apparently also known as Sandry’s Book in some editions – who knew?) and the complete bind-up Trickster (encompassing Trickster’s Choice & Trickster’s Queen). The changing around is mostly due to the fact that I have the former in e-book form on Proserpina Regina Pomi Granatis the Macbook Pro, and I have a copy of Trickster loaned to me by Lola Mulot. This whole Piercian kick has been awesome, and most satisfactory for procrastination purposes.

Also, this weekend is Hallowe’en, obviously, and I’m dressing up as Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Obviously. Since I have work on both Friday evening and Saturday, I may mix it up and go for my usual Tonks look. The outfits will probably be very similar, anyway. Easy peasey!

EDITED TO ADD: It also seems relevant to this entry that I mention the fact that every time I’ve been Tamora Pierce e-bookin’ it, my music of choice has been shuffling through the LotR soundtracks. Because moderately epic fantasy is heightened in its epicness by crazy-epic Howard Shore composed tune-age. Seriously. The music of those films is glorious.

the republic of love(ly bones?)

The Lovely Bones is currently trending on Twitter, for what reason, I don’t know, but it’s interesting to see peoples comments about it. Most of them saying that they loved the book but disliked/hated the movie. Now, as an obvious Voracious Reader I’m frequently in the The Book Didn’t Live Up To The Movie camp, but this is an exception. I was not a fan of the book whatsoever. It’s like Jodi Picoult smoked some supernatural flavoured crack. It was the novel my class studied in Year 12 English (my favourite English year at school by far – but this was the low point), and I got through it pretty quickly, but was unimpressed. The end, in particular – the last quarter of the book, really – was terrible.

The movie, on the other hand, I enjoyed. I knew Peter Jackson would create something brilliant, being a fan of Heavenly Creatures, and while TLB wasn’t my favourite PJ film, it was still worth checking out. And Saoirse Ronan was brilliant, as she always is.

That’s all I really have to say about that. Since this is a place of putting opinions out there.

In other news, The Republic of Love by Carol Shields is a good read. I haven’t quite finished it, and might not actually get around to doing so any time soon, as the reason for my reading it (an English test) has passed by. But eventually, I’m sure I will. ‘Literary’ chick-lit, of a sort.

And that’s all folks. Except for the fact that Lola Mulot has also been swept up in the Tamora Pierce obsession of late, and we are collaboratively obsessing over Tortall, and Numair Salmalín in particular. Now, to find my copy of In The Hand Of The Goddess

reading more-ah tamora. no, wait…

So… I’ve been continuing my Tamora Pierce bender, having read First Test, the first Protector of the Small book, over the last couple of days, and am now powering through Page. And because I’m a Generation Whatever who is Constantly Plugged In, I did a bit of Wikipedia-ing and Googling, as you do, and wound up at Pierce’s website. And what do you know, as I flicked through her bio, I read ‘Tamora, pronounced like camera’.

Oh dear. You see, I pride myself on correct pronunciation of names, constantly flinching at mispronunciation of ‘Rowling’.  That’s perhaps my biggest pet hate, since I’m of the age that grew up alongside Harry Potter, always very close in age and stage to the H-Pot trio when a new book was released. And am therefore possibly able to be classed as a ‘fangirl’. I’ve done the release day line-up thing, all that jazz. I live, therefore, by the maxim, ‘JK Rowling – rhymes with bowling, not with howling’. If you didn’t know this, now you do. Hence the creation by some sniggering Harry-fan of a Facebook group along the lines of ‘Harry Potter is sliding down a hill… LOL JK ROWLING!’ to fit in with all those terribly ‘blah-de-blah – LOL JK (‘just kidding’, if you are not a frequent user of the travesty that is netspeak) – blah-de-blah’ groups that everyone was hell-bent on joining a few months ago. This was the only one I decided was worth joining. Puntasticness is sometimes appreciated.

I also cannot abide ‘Jodi Pick-olt‘. (her website suggests pronouncing it ‘pekoe – like the tea’ – I’d always said it as such because there was a somebody ‘Picot’, pronounced the same way as Picoult, at school with me, and I just assumed it was the same pronunciation. French background FTW). Actually, I can’t abide Jodi Picoult, pronounced correctly, or her books, either. Edgy chick lit masquerading as ‘literary’ makes me want to punch people in the book-club-attending teeth.

And like I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bookstore dudette in my part-time working hours, and therefore am familiar with and use published names. Hachette, for one. I don’t use my French awesomeness and inflict a fully fledged ‘aSHETTE’ upon everyone, but pronounce the ‘h’ – though I still maintain the ‘sh’ over ‘ch’ sound because otherwise it just feels heinous. I swear I’m going somewhere with this. Multiple staff members realise that it’s French derived – I mean, the parent company is ‘Hachette Livre’ – but are clueless as to the details of linguistic nuances. Thus, my ears are cursed with references to ‘ha-shay’. Oh my lord. This is particularly irksome at present only because we had our Hachette roadshow recently, so the name’s been tossed around by all and sundry. My inner Francophile weeps.

BACK to the point at hand though.  My pronunciation policing, and Tamora-rhymes-with-camera.

Yeah… I’ve been pronouncing it ‘ta-MORE-ah’ for the last… nearly ten years? Whoops. I will go forth and speak only Camera-Tamora syllables from now on.

Now, to return the exploits of Keladry and friends, I think.

wild magic

Over the last week or so, I’ve been rereading Tamora Pierce’s The Immortals quartet. They make for great bus-reading, which I do rather a lot of – given that on a day I have university, I spend close to (sometimes more than) 2 hours on buses. Which is partial excuse for the fact that I’ve nearly finished the fourth book already. I loved Pierce’s various fantastical novels in my tween/early-teen years, particularly her Tortall books (for some reason I never really bonded with any of the Circle of Magic books or characters, despite the fact that one of the characters was called Briar. Or perhaps because of that fact, since the Briar in their world was a boy. What gives?). I revisited them a couple of years back, borrowing a bevy of them from a coworker, but I only really got through the Alanna books and made myself properly read the Circle of Magic books (I did enjoy those ones more at upon my 18 year old reading rather than at 13/14, for whatever reason). I own Wild Magic, the first of the Daine books, somewhere. Magical word, somewhere. Probably it’s boxed up in the garage somewhere, bundled up with Animorphs books and a few craptastic Sabrina the Teenage Witch novelisations.

Anyway. I borrowed all four of The Immortals titles from the lovely Lola Mulot (fellow writer, book-slut and tautologist) and have devoured them. It’s been glorious. Not that my reading log of late hasn’t been enjoyable, on the contrary, but the occasional easy read, particularly of a fantastical nature, is wonderful. Not only is it basically like dragon-flavoured crack, it’s also a reminder of a genre that I’ve been tempted to write myself for quite some time. Before I ever started writing ‘legitimately’ (aka. when my creative writing flame was well and truly ignited by the esteemed Mrs Rosalind Ali of high school creative writing fame circa 2006) I was writing pages and pages of scribble, drawing maps and anatomically questionable pictures of characters from all kinds of ridiculous lands. I had drawers brimming with loose leaf paper and exercise books full of the stuff – mostly terrible Tamora Pierce inspired fantasy lands and people, but the occasional more sci-fi world, too, just to mix it up. Nobody really knew about my weird creative visions, which was perhaps for the best, but it did kind of explain why suddenly writing words that went well together seemed to fit like a glove.

Everyone knows that fantasy is always in vogue for children’s and YA fiction – or at least it has been for the last decade or so. Harry Potter, Twilight, Eragon… it’s all about finding the current creature or trait that’s going to strike a chord with voracious young readers. Although I suppose the average consumer of Stephenie Meyer’s words doesn’t necessarily come under the ‘voracious young reader’ label. Nor would they know what ‘voracious’ means. No matter. I used to prefer – as a teen fantasy creator – the thoroughly immersive foreign fantasy worlds that Pierce uses – as does Christopher Paolini in the Inheritance Cycle – though it seems that the fad of the day, at least in fantasy designed for teen consumers, is fantasy threads running through real life – à la finding that vampires live in the rainiest corners of Washington State, or that there’s a school for wizardry up somewhere in Scotland. It’s a shame, in some ways, but maybe I’ll just have to work with the trends. That, or write for a younger audience, who seem to be more willing to put faith in a hand-drawn, mentally-created map. Either way, a foray into fantasy seems only appropriate.

In the meantime, I’ll get back to Daine and Numair and the Divine Realms. And contemplate the fact that my derby-appropriate roller skates have been shipped and hopefully will be here soon. Très exciting stuff.