Kathryn Flaherty

Writer, Reader, Truck Driver and Fairy Floss Maker

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I’ve had the Black Dog at the Door.

The infamous Black Dog has been sniffing around my door. It’s a horrible companion, it doesn’t want to go for walks or to cuddle up while I read a book. It just wants to come in and lounge around, occasionally staring at the roof or a wall. It likes to have music playing to drown out the silence that creeps in from the edges. It drains away everything that matters until all you can do is get through each day.

He never got all the way in. The door was too thick or maybe it was my head. I know he is still in the shadows wanting to come closer. It’s time to make my life bright again so the shadows stay as far away as I can make them.

Alright, I got that out of my system. Life hasn’t been overly friendly lately and I kind of shut down and stopped doing everything I enjoy. I haven’t even been able to reread some of my favourite books. Even visiting Barsoom and John Carter couldn’t fix things, which meant things weren’t well in my little world.

I meant to update this blog weekly and I managed it, if I change one of the e’s to an a (weakly). Bad joke I know, but it’s true. This blog is going to be my get out of this Funk lifeline. I am going to a have a weekly deadline that I have to fill. I’ll probably go down in flames but it’s better then letting that mongrel dog near me again. This is going up on a Thursday so that will be the day. See you next week.

PS I’m also trying to crochet a jacket. It’s going to be ugly, it’s complicated, it’s cutting into my writing time and I think it might be a life jacket in disguise.

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Review – Emergence by John Birmingham

I read 12 books in January and this book was my favourite. Well favourite isn’t a strong enough word, I lend books to friends and family after I’ve read them but no one is getting their hands on my copy of ‘Emergence’ or as it’s also called ‘The Dave book one’. I let a cousin have a look at it a few days ago at work and I told him I would hunt him down if he took it home.

The book starts of with the main character Dave Hooper on his way back to the oil rig he works on. He has a hangover after blowing a 6 month bonus on hookers, booze and hooch. The IRS is after him and his soon to be ex-wife is a nightmare. His life is well and truly up shit creek and he lost his paddle a while ago. The only thing going well is his job, he knows he’s good at it and he enjoys it.

Before the helicopter drops him off they get a message about a fire on the rig. Now all the fun starts and it’s only page 10. The fire isn’t caused by a mechanical fault or terrorists, it’s caused by the hunting party of Urgon Htoth Ur Hunn, BattleMaster of the Fourth Legion. Dave faces off against Urgon with the help of a splitting maul and manages to beat the demon. It helped that Urgon was drunk. Somehow by killing Urgon Dave becomes a typical high fantasy hero with an enchanted weapon, super strength and sheer awesomeness. He is still in the modern world and has to deal with a military who don’t know what to do with him and strange memories that keep popping up. No body can explain what happened on the rig and it was only the start.

This book is not PC, Dave isn’t a character who apologises over who he is and he strays true to himself throughout the book.It’s the first in a trilogy with all three books coming out this year if everything goes to plan. On his blog -Cheeseburgergothic- John Birmingham says he is treating these books like a TV show. The first trilogy is basically season one, he wrote all three back to back and he is now working on season two, the next trilogy. It’s going to be nice not have to wait over a year for the next instalment and I think it will help keep the pacing of the series consistent.

This book started with ‘splosions finished with bigger ‘splosions and had plenty of ‘splosions in the middle. Dave Hooper might not be the best person in the world but he is all the world has between it and the Horde. And I should mention the Horde has Dragons.

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A Double-Ton for AntipodeanSF

It’s February and that means it’s AntipodeanSF’s 17th year anniversary. I know 17 years is an odd number to celebrate but it also means my favourite magazine has reached 200 issues. That is amazing for any online magazine let alone one that specialises in speculative fiction.

I first found AntipodeanSF while I was looking through an issue of The Australian Writers Marketplace. It was listed in the magazine/sci fi section and I was hooked after my first glance. Sci Fi had a new name, Speculative Fiction, and for me it was a perfect fit. I subscribed to the email list and as soon as Nuke (the editor) announced a new issue I jumped straight over and devoured it.

I sent in a submission on a dare from a friend. I want to be a writer but I don’t think I’m any good. I figured I’d get a rejection slip and it would be the first in my writing folder. Well that didn’t happen, Nuke accepted my story with a few editorial changes and a couple of pointers. I was over the moon to begin with then I was nervous. I never expected my first submission anywhere to be accepted. I thought I would get at least a dozen rejections first.

It was a while between my first and second submission. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and on the advice of my GP I travelled overseas and saw Machu Pichu and Mt Everest while I was still fit, before the RA spread to my knees. Every spare minute for a couple of years was occupied with hiking up and down water towers carrying a full backpack for training.

My second submission was a 50 worder. I had done an online writing course and made a friend who liked the idea. I polished it up and thought this time I’ll get my rejection. I didn’t, instead Nuke told me he had no editorial quibbles. My first reaction was damn, how am I going to top that. So with my next submission (another 50 worder) I sweated over it, then decided I’ve got to be third time unlucky. Nope, he liked that one as well. I’m know I’m going to get my rejection soon, I think I might have to send him a real stinker just to get the monkey off my back.

I’ve met Nuke, I’ll probably stick in his memory forever as the only writer to chase him down with a bucket of fairy floss as a bribe for future submissions. In real life he is as nice as his editorials read, I feel privileged to have met him and Elizabeth.

I made it into the 200th issue. It’s called When No One Remembers and you can read it here.  It has two iconic Australian characters in it. One of them is a Bunyip and the other has clues to his identity. If you’re an Aussie you should guess it but if you can’t let me know.

Oh I nearly forgot, for people who don’t like cricket, a double-ton (tonne) is slang for 200 but how can anyone not like cricket it has a position called ‘silly mid on’ what more can you need to make a sport awesome.

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Did Humpty Dumpty have a Yolk full of gunpowder?

I love to read. My family often complains that if something has print then I have to stop and read it. That’s probably why I have an odd collection of non-fiction books. One of my favourites is  Pop Goes the Weasel by Albert Jack. This is a book detailing the history behind some of the best known nursery rhymes. There are 88 nursery rhymes listed with 11 traditional songs and anthems.

I have a few favourites in the nursery rhyme section, one of which is Humpty Dumpty. Some sources dispute what Pop goes the Weasel claims is the truth behind the rhyme, I’d like to believe it was true.

Albert Jack says the Humpty Dumpty was the nickname of a cannon positioned on the church tower of St Mary-at-the-Walls during the Siege of Colchester in the English Civil War of 1642-1651. The gunner was named  One-eyed Thompson and he helped hold off the invading Roundheads for 11 weeks. Until the enemy managed to blow away the top of the church tower causing Humpty Dumpty to have a great fall.

I can imagine how difficult it would have been to try and fix a cannon during a siege when it had been one of the main defenders of the town. The invading force would have had an uplift of morale while you can imagine what the poor blokes trying to deal with Humpty felt. It think misery or despair wouldn’t have even come close.

I’ve enjoyed Humpty Dumpty since I was little. I can probably blame it on Benita from Playschool. I loved watching her play with the Humpty Dumpty doll when I watched the show.

If this is the truth it makes the new politically correct version my niece sings a bit strange.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

all the kings horses and all the kings men

gave him a hug and made it better again.

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Hello Blogosphere

Since I’m new I figured my first post should be a big hello. I haven’t figured what direction this blog will take. It might have a few reviews, or a list of strange facts that I find in books. I’ll probably talk about writing and if I have anything coming up. Expect a few literary rants as I have a strange way of looking at things. For example, Lancelot was a douche-bag and Gollum was robbed by Bilbo but I can leave that for another day.
An adventure awaits one post at a time, and now the first one is done.