Restricted to bed – doctors orders.

Reading, writing and blogging slumps means no fun for this girl. I hate getting sick.

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I’m not beating myself up in taking an occasional break to routine. Recharge my batteries. Having a mini adventure.

And that’s what I’ve been doing. Indulging in a family visit and having marathon Canasta games over a glass of champagne. Exploring local markets and shopping up a storm. Late night chats over a hot cuppa. It may sound a little boring and simple, but living on top of a mountain in isolation writing means human contact of any kind is like a packed underground dance party. It really does leave you happily satiated and ready to hit the keyboard again.

Except immediately after I got food poisoning, and then fell ill with the flu that has been sweeping across the Sunshine Coast. So what was meant to me a 5-day reprieve, turned into just over a month, most of it spent moaning and wondering ‘why me?’ I agonised for three days hugging porcelain, praying for my stomach to stop spasming. My little puppy was quite alarmed at my retching noises, and my constant nursemaid.

I have to admit, I have not gotten ill in quite a long time. Not since I have gotten over the aftermath of cancer and acclimating to fulltime work and the stresses it took out on a recovering body. In the last four years I may of had one day here or there feeling poorly, maybe with a headache or hayfever. Nothing a day of rest or a Panadol didn’t fix. But a bout of food poisoning and the flu brought back all the worst sense-memories of cancer treatment.

Mainly the nausea and unending praying while in embrace of the toilet bowl. Feeling weak and shaky, overtaken in a hot and cold sweats. Not the funniest way to spend three days… I couldn’t even indulge in reading quietly in bed. Light sensitivity had the lamps off and blinds down. I would’ve love to watch a movie, read a blog or even catch up on my email… but no, I lay there wafting in and out of sleep waiting for the rolling of my stomach to cease. Hoping I hadn’t stripped away all the lining from my throat. The flu continued most of these symptoms along with dizziness and a wheezy cough. Many, many slime filled tissues later… It feels glorious to finally be coming out the other end of this seasonal illness.

I embodied all those caricature sickies on television – hair like a birds nest built in a drug haze, baggy sweats, and a blotchy face from tissue abrasions. If anyone can stick around after seeing me like this – they’re a keeper!

About once or twice a year I find myself in a period where life happens with such intensity that I have no time left for writing, reading, or blogging. And this is coming from someone who religiously makes time for her craft every day. When I was finally able to sit down, clear headed and write, I was simply too exhausted. Even when I started to read, I’d manage maybe a page or two before nodding off.

In hindsight, I always boggle at the amount of work I could’ve completed in that time frame. I very much live to write… but it’s important to live to share, love, and experience too. There’s a balance in there somewhere, and I falter from one extreme to the other in hopes of living a full, happy life. Following passion and sharing happiness.

Does anyone else suffer from writers or readers guilt? Tell me I’m not alone.

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Frigid’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A winter romance that left me cold…

frigid-book-review-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 252

From Goodreads:

For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn’t anything new. They’d been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the ‘man’ in man-whore. He’s never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn’t want to risk their friendship by declaring her love. 

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she’s perfect and she’s everything. But the feelings he has for her, he’s always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have. 

But when they’re stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor’easter, there’s nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.

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I love JLA’s writing, it’s always great smutty escapism, but with ‘Frigid’ I was so annoyed over the first few chapters I was close to DNFing it. The relationship and behaviour of our two main characters was really off-putting. With a narrative told from two differing points of view, that of Sydney and Kyler as they dance around each other in varying degrees of love, like, lust and hate…

Sydney was cute as a button – and I mean that sarcastically. Hopelessly in love with her best friend. Hey we’ve all been there, and I pretty much ignored it too, and fantasized in private. *sigh* But the manhandling and controlling behaviour from Kyler blargh! – and she enabled him. Big time. It was painful to read. But I did have some favourite parts about Sydney: her clumsiness. The head-to-chin-butt had me in stitches.

There also seemed to be some sort of sick fascination about people putting their hands on Sydney’s hips – I think it was mentioned at least three times per chapter.

Kyler is so weak-willed, misogynistic, possessive, and controlling. Stereotypically the tall handsome hunk. It’s okay for a man to sleep around, but somehow, not for Sydney. Everything about this guy rubbed me the wrong way. I really wanted to punch him in the face. Additionally, to top it all off, a pet hate of mine are guys calling you “baby,” I winced every time Kyler said it. Sydney girl, you could do so much better.

I don’t think the dual perspective of Sydney and Kyler did all that much for the narrative, jumping in and out, just to hear how hot they thought the other one was. Other than that, it didn’t reveal anything new for the plot.

With what seems to be a lot of drinking and swearing, (again, unnecessary) it wasn’t setting the mood or the scene, just made the main characters look like potty-mouthed lushes who wanted to hump everything that walked by. Made me feel like I had a dog latched onto my leg. That, and the F-bombs. Drained the romance right out.

There were some intense sex scenes: some of it titillating, some of it not. I also just about gagged when Sydney was described as being “tight and drenched down there”… I mean, ew. There’s got to be some more passionate, creative ways to describe arousal that doesn’t sound like leaky plumbing. Another aspect that had me cringing was the whole sex-while-Sydney-is-asleep-thing. Creeped me out – I know it was meant to be sexy, build the tension and angst between the pair, but it had shades of rape that didn’t sit well with me.

And someone shooting a gun at some point felt like overkill. But, after all the bagging I’ve done, I got into ‘Frigid’ for the last third of the book. It felt like good old JLA again.

There’s just something about this coupling, and the situation that hasn’t sold me. The ending is very cutesy, but didn’t wrap everything up. Very mixed feelings about this book, overall it was okay – I kinda enjoyed it. But don’t think I’d recommend it. She has written so many other good books, this one pales in comparison.

Overall feeling: I shuddered, not shivered…

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A double whammy of chocolatey goodness

Easter eggs + Triple-choc birthday cake = Heaven… and other reading/writing dilemmas

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I always love it when my birthday falls in the Easter holidays – when I was younger, it meant family holidays across Australia, or a big birthday bash with just about everyone I knew, which always evolved into a massive pool party. (We may have jumped off the roof into the pool – I admit nothing)

Maybe it is time for another blowout – but, with my oldest furbaby passing days earlier, all the party spirit vanished. Guess I’ll save the big celebration to next year? So this year it was a sombre affair full of chocolate and binge watching ‘The Walking Dead.’

I am also a big believer that birthdays should last a week long – so there is more fun activities in store… shopping, dinners, presents. So it’s not going to be a depressing ‘I’m so old!’ mess.

So consequently this blog was a little quiet over the past week. No apologies. I was mourning and taking a break to celebrate another year I’ve managed to cling to this rock hurtling through space. And enjoying chocolate in its various forms. It’s a wonder I don’t have diabetes.

So now it’s back to business as usual. Before my short hiatus I was enforcing some writing sprints. I really want to finish off some projects this year. In 2015 it was all about ideas and planning, so I didn’t feel like I was achieving much. But this year I want to have at least 5 novels off to the publisher. It’s not an unrealistic goal, with 2 in the final edit stage, and 2 near completion, and another 7 plotted and over 20,000 words, I know I’ll hit the mark. Just have to stay motivated and stick to that schedule. Make sure the time I’ve blocked out to write, I actually write.

Same with editing. I just need to get it done!

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I love it all. Writing, Editing. Blogging. Reading. Reviewing. It’s sometimes a challenge not to get distracted by any one thing and stick to the guide I’ve set for myself. On top of that, I am really interested in creating a Youtube channel around my experiences with literature. But it’s finding the type of content I want to create. I curl my lip at producing the same kind of thing that is already out there… boring. I’m not a “personality” and would like to do something that is entertaining and informative. I have a few ideas, but am stalled by perfectionism and the fact that the whole process is time consuming. At the end of the day I am an author, so the bulk of my time needs to go to writing rather than social media. Why can’t I have both my chocolate eggs and cake? I need more time in my day to achieve everything I want to. Progress always feels so slow because my expectations always exceed my ability. Grrrr!

There was no reading over the break either. Actually, I’m not too far off catching up on my reviews and being able to drop back to posting 1 or 2 a week; well, until I have another reading sprint…

Now maybe I’m still buzzing on my sugar high, but it’s forward at full speed, back to reviewing and writing feeling refreshed. Thank you chocolate. It has also made me aware of how important it is to take an occasional short mental break from writing. In the past I’d hit a wall and turn to a reading binge. Not that it’s bad, but I’m attempting to keep everything in balance and gauge my productivity. That way I will be certain of my writing habits and know how much material I can safely turn out in a given period of time. I feel it’s important to a career author to know how long it takes to write a novel. Publishers work to a timetable and like reliable artists to invest in.

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Book Review – If I Told You So by Timothy Woodward

Rebellious teens, idiotic dares, sassy best friends, gorgeous boys and lots of ice cream!

If I Told You So Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 304

From Goodreads:

The summer you turn sixteen is supposed to be unforgettable. It’s the stuff of John Hughes movies and classic songs, of heart-stopping kisses and sudden revelations. But life isn’t always like the movies. . .
For Sean Jackson, sixteen is off to an inauspicious start. His options: take a landscaping job in Georgia with his father, or stay in his small New Hampshire hometown, where the only place hiring is the local ice cream shop. Donning a pink t-shirt to scoop sundaes for tourists and seniors promises to be a colder, stickier version of hell. Still, he opts to stay home.

On his first day at work, Sean meets Becky, a wickedly funny New York transplant. The store manager, Jay, is eighteen, effortlessly cool, and according to Becky, “likes” Sean the way Sean’s starting to like him. But before he can clear a path to the world that’s waiting, Sean will have to deal with his overprotective mother, his sweet, popular girlfriend, Lisa, his absentee father, and all his own uncertainties and budding confusions. 

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When I was reading this, it felt like sitting around with a bunch of friends reminiscing about our summers in high school – it was realistic, intimate and heart-warming.

If I Told You So’ really captures those moments of first love – or first contact and physical closeness. The innocence and naivety wrestling with hormonal forces beyond control. The urgency. And the finality of actions and words. This felt a little like it could be anyone’s adolescent coming out story. It had an easy appealing feel with a positive message even though it is about the difficult process of exploring sexual identity.

Sean Jackson is relatable and genuine, he is refreshingly honest and leaves judgements at home. I liked him from the get-go, determined to blaze a trail of his own away from his Fathers plans of manual labour in the family business. The parentals are always trying to instil lessons of a work ethic and learning the value of the dollar, and it’s so much more fun addressing that on your own terms – even if it is at a campy ice cream parlour or a MacDonalds franchise.

Becky is also witty and straight-to-the-point as his new best friend. We all need someone to call us on our shiz… Plus she was there to give Sean a gentle shove when he needed one. And let’s not forget Jay, the manager at the ice cream parlour that Sean becomes so enamoured with. The way their friendship develops felt so real, and Jay does a great job as the patient mentor (at work and in coming out). Such a wonderful cast of endearing characters, painting them at face value until they prove themselves something different.

It is brilliantly light-hearted, with a jovial narrative that really pulls you into the coastal small town. I was easily lost in this pleasant read, devouring it in one sitting. Great for a lazy day at the park or beach.

It was fairly predictable, but in a good way – you are jostling for a happy ending from the start as the characters are all so loveable. If you like sweet contemporaries that leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, then this one is for you.

Overall feeling: Such sugary goodness I can’t stop…

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© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Grab Life by the Short and Curlies! by Casey Carlisle

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Voyager 01            “You have cancer” are terrifying words nobody wants to hear from a doctor.
I’ve had that dreadful sentence repeated to me twice in this lifetime. And as you can

            Everything I’ve ever dreamed about doing, wanted to accomplish, taste, experience, share, be it large and expensive, or as simple as a smile, went onto the list.guess, this gal has licked it both times! But once getting over the shock, depression and angst, you accept that life is short… and what is important to you in life gets a major re-shuffle! In addition to embracing the all-too-common mantras: ‘no regrets’ and ‘live every day like it’s your last,’ I remained positive and constructed myself a Bucket List.

            It doesn’t end there: I add items as often, if not more, than I cross them off. One of the big ticket items I managed to strike through this year in January with my family… Go on a Cruise!

I’ve only been overseas once – for the briefest of times attending a relatives funeral in New Zealand – nothing that you call a holiday. So, Sydney – New Noumea, New Caledonia – Lautoka, Fiji – Auckland, Taurunga, Wellington, N.Z. and back to Sydney for fifteen days on the high seas! I was beyond excited.

Fully packed with my two outfits for each day (one daytime & one glamorous for dinner) I set off the airport. The flight was extremely quick, although turbulent. I was tempted to pull a “Bridesmaids” and yell out ‘There’s a colonial woman out on the wing churning butter’… pity only I thought that was amusing.

When I finally got on the cruise ship, let me tell you it is far more impressive than I expected. You really feel like a movie star anyplace on the ship. The service is beyond impeccable and the décor is fantastically surprising. I don’t think two weeks is long enough. Oh, and make sure you bring some elasticised pants – The food is delicious!

If I wasn’t writing by the pool, shopping at every port (or in the ships mall), or taking tropical kayak tours, the family would wind down by congregating in a bar for cocktails and swap stories on our various adventures on the island of the day while belting out at music trivia. It was only then I noticed that my skin had slowly been getting pinker and pinker… yes I had gotten sunburn despite my numerous applications of Teflon strength sunscreen many times throughout the day!

 

VOTS Casey 02Boasting an ice skating rink, theatre, cinema and nightclub there isn’t a moment for you to stop and think ‘I’m bored!’  I feel as though I’m boasting about the great time had – but in all honesty – go! Have a blast! Just make sure you can swim and don’t get sea sick.

You don’t need a life threatening illness to prompt you to create your own Bucket List; so get itemising those adventures and must-haves today. Who knows you may be screaming “I’m on top of the world” from the bow of a cruise liner too?

© Casey Carlisle 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.