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Xmas Gifts for Writers: The Journal of Infinite Possibility

img_6469It’s only November, I know, but Christmas is coming anyway, with all the inevitability of sunrise, vampires in fiction, and a writer’s need for either coffee or wine (or both).

Speaking of writer’s needs, here’s a really neat gift idea for the writer in your life. Whether they’ve got thirty books under their sparkly belt or they’re still experimenting with style, form and pen name, you can’t go wrong with an inspirational journal.

And oh look, here’s one that Clan Destine Press prepared earlier!

The Journal of Infinite Possibility is a gorgeous little journal indeed. For a start, it’s full of pages waiting to be filled!

Mind you, the creators of this journal are writers and artists themselves and well know the terrifying tyranny of the blank page. That’s why the pages here aren’t exactly blank.

img_6463Instead, every page of The Journal of Infinite Possibility contains a picture, a quote, a prompt. Places to doodle when the words aren’t wording, images to colour in when doodles aren’t even doodling.

Actually, there’s plenty of space here for artists as well as writers, or for those scarily talented people who do both! They’ll certainly be inspired by the gorgeous covers and corner illustrations by Sarah Pain, Ashlea Bechaz, Vicky Pratt, Loraine Cooper and Ran Valerhon! (Two of that august list have created covers for my books with Clan Destine!)

img_6470A few of the pages are shown in part here so you can see how gorgeous this whole package is. The only real danger is that the writer who gets this won’t want to ink up the pretty pages. But ink it up, folks! Make it messy and crazy and bursting to full with your own  ideas sparked by these words and pictures and blank spaces just begging to be decorated with words, lines, lists, scrawls, sketches and the seeds of something bigger.

What the hell. Don’t get it for some other writer. Get it for yourself.

It’s what I’ve done.

A few wishes for the new year

How To: Make A Paperback Christmas Tree by Kayla Aimee

If you are one of those people for whom books repurposed as art gives you hives, look away now.

For the rest of us, here are some instructions onhow to turn a damaged or unwanted paperback into a little Xmas tree.

Which brings me to the season: and whether it is hot or cold where you reside, whether you celebrate Xmas as a Christian, on your own terms or not at all, I hope the end of 2012 is going smoothly for you, and that 2013 promises good things to you and yours.

If your year was rough, may there be smoother times ahead.

If your year was full of brilliance, may you count your blessings.

May you find ways to express your creativity, whatever they are, and even if you think you’re no good at it. Nobody ever got better at their passion by refusing to practise because it wasn’t perfect the first time.

May you be kind to those who need kindness, even if they don’t necessarily deserve it, and may the world in turn be kind to you. Certainly, may you be kind to yourself. We so often are harsher on ourselves than others would be, and that’s not healthy or productive.

May you learn more about yourself so that you can understand what will bring you contentment, fulfillment and satisfation, and then find ways to do those things instead of the things that make you frustrated and sad.

May the coming year bring you growth, surprises, enough challenge to be good for you and enough rest to keep you well.

See you in 2013!

Happy Xmas!

Happy Xmas everyone! And Happy Hanukah to those celebrating that holiday. Not forgetting the solstice celebration! I hope you’re all enjoying the break, whether or not you’re celebrating old traditions, family traditions or just having a few days off work.

For those engaged in the gift giving, if you received a Kindle or other e-reader, you might be looking for something to read! Might I suggest the following books?

Kindle:

Other e-readers:

iPhone

If you got an iPhone or iPad for Xmas, you might like to try the apps that Tim and I created:

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, iPhone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.

Narrelle’s Xmas list for the Nice and the Naughty

It’s that time of year when even the atheists among us celebrate the end of another year by seeking out gifts for our loved ones. Whether your celebrations are secular, religious or pagan, you may be looking for some ideas for gifts. (If you don’t celebrate Xmas, this list may help you for other festivals and birthdays. Also for unbirthdays and those times when you think, damnit, *I* need a present.)

You could visit Twelfth Planet Press and buy one of their excellent volumes. Publisher Alisa Krasnostein recently won a World Fantasy Award for her outstanding work with this small press. You could even splash out on a subscription to the entire Twelve Planets series. Bad Power is the most recent of the series. (My volume, Showtime, will be released in early 2012. It contains a Gary/Lissa story!)

If you’re a Melbourne local, you should locate one of the Melburnalia pop-up shops, where you can find items hand-crafted by your fellow citizens! Goods on offer include jewellery by the lovely Ali Alexander, delightful books from Arcade Publications, knitware, cycling accessories, tea, quirky buttons and, you  know, neat stuff. The pop-up shops are at terrific Melbourne locations too, like Captains of Industry and the Parlour in the Nicholas Building. The shops are only open until Christmas Eve, so get there while you can! Find them on Twitter or Facebook for addresses and hours.

*Late addition* What was I thinking to have missed a link to Clan Destine Press? If you love Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher books, it might be time to branch out with her historical novels set in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece. Clan Destine also has crime books, including Lindy Cameron’s excellent actio thriller, Redback. Non-fiction, comic fantasy and the story of Dougal the kitten are also on the site.

Bookshops

You could also just go straight to Arcade Publications online to get a set of their wonderful little books about Melbourne. I can personally recommend Madame Brussells: This Moral Pandemonium, about Melbourne’s famous 19th century Madam, but there are books about E W Cole, Australia’s pin-up girls from the 60s and, recently, Australia’s first novelist, Henry Savery.

Other bookshops you should visit, online or in person, are:

  • Embiggen Books, whose names comes from the Simpsons! And they have books about cool science as well as fiction. They stock some Twelfth Planet Press titles too, so show them some love. (I interviewed Warren a while back too.)
  • Readers’ Feast, which is about to re-open at the old Georges building on Collins Street. We’ve missed them. Show them some love too.
  • Of Science and Swords has moved to 377 Little Collins Street and now has a flatmate in Critical Hit. This means you can get great fantasy and SF books along with geek T-shirts and Angry Birds slippers.
  • Oh, and Fablecroft are having a sale: impressive books, with award nominees among the stories.

Books I loved this year:

  • The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins – not new, but brilliant. You may recall that I gobbled the trilogy up in five days.  The film comes out next year, so get your friends and family into the book first! If they’ve already read The Hunger Games, I recommend The Girl WHo Was on Fire, a collection of excellent essays about the trilogy. Here’s my review of that book.
  • A Most Pecular Malaysian Murder by Shamini Flint is the first of her Inspector Singh series. Its great to read a crime novel set in another culture, written by a person from that culture. It’s a good choice for someone who likes their crime fic in foreign locales.
  • The Shattering by Karen Healey – Karen Healey is doing some terrific work, and her second book is a fantasy set in contemporary NZ, with a multicultural cast and a sense of humour, as well as heart-stopping moments. This book deals with teen suicide and grief in ways both illuminating and sensitive. It’s also got magic, idyllic yet sinister small towns, wonderful textured characters and smart, pacy plotting.
  • Melbourne by Sophie Cunningham is a love letter to Melbourne and a beautifully crafted object in its own right. Perfect for the Melburnite who has everything. Here’s my review.

Other books I loved this year (also set in Melbourne) were Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley and Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott. The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do was another favourite, the well deserved Book of the Year winner.

Finally, it’s not out yet (but aha! I read an early version and I think it’s AMAZING!),  Mary Borsellino’s new book, The Devil’s Mixtape, is due out on 15 December from Omnium Gatherum. In her trademark style, all sharp edges, crystal prose, horror, heart and compassion, The Devil’s Mixtape follows three threads: a girl writing letters to her sister from hell, a music journalist following a band on tour and a road trip in 1950s Australia. I can’t wait to get an official copy!

STOP PRESS 16122011:  The Devil’s Mixtape e-book, published by Omnium Gatherum, is now availabe from Amazon.com for only US$3.99!! (It’s brilliant: review coming soon!)

Anyway, I hope you find some ideas there. And hell, it’s the time for indulgence, so why not buy yourself a present while you’re at it?

Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, iPhone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.