“Hey Hey You You Get Off Of My Cloud”

Tribute to ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’ by The Rolling Stones (Photograph © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2021)

I was sick and tired, fed up with this

And decided to take a drive downtown

It was so very quiet and peaceful

There was nobody, not a soul around

I laid myself out, I was so tired

And I started to dream

In the morning the parking tickets were just

Like a flag stuck on my window screen

I say, hey (hey), you (you)

Get off of my cloud

Hey (hey), you (you)

Get off of my cloud

Hey (hey), you (you)

Get off of my cloud

Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd

On my cloud…


Third verse of The Rolling Stones original lyrics ‘Get Off Of My Cloud

Songwriters: Mick Jagger / Keith Richard

Get Off Of My Cloud lyrics © Mirage Music Int. Ltd. C/o Essex Music Int.


The Rolling Stones performed ‘Get Off Of My Cloud’ live on Australian TV in 1966 on Brian Henderson’s Bandstand. The Stones are so young, so pretty.  Check out the boys wearing ties and the girls sitting on seats tapping their toes, and the politely orchestrated screams. So much to love Gretchen Bernet-Ward

A Question of Copyright on Goodreads

THE CREATION https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2020/feb/the-boy-the-mole-the-fox-and-the-horse-saved-my-life.html

The beautifully illustrated book ‘The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse’ by Charlie Mackesy is intended for children not cynical adults.

The content has been reproduced in countless book reviews on Goodreads to the extent that a large portion of the book has been copied.

We all know our own country’s copyright laws.  Where possible I acknowledge the source of material I use and only quote a sentence or two for emphasis in my book reviews.  Copyright is adhered to in many areas including business, education, libraries, publicity, government, even blogs and hand-out leaflets. 

So why do certain Goodreads reviewers think they can profusely post someone’s artwork?

Would they like their creative endeavours photographed and reproduced, and in this case vilified, and used for a different purpose other than originally intended?

I believe that by reviewing Mackesy’s work on Goodreads, a reviewer is not justified in reproducing the words and illustrations constituting a chunk of the author’s work.

“Copyright is a form of intellectual property that protects the original expression of ideas. It enables creators to manage how their content is used.”

https://www.copyright.com.au/about-copyright/

There may be Goodreads rules and regulations in the fine print which I could not locate but I am waiting on a reply from the Librarians.

My WordPress followers know that I do not activate Comments but I suggest if you think the copying is unfair or unjustified, check the book ‘The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse’ on Goodreads and perhaps submit a message to the gatekeepers.

WEBSITE LINKS:

PUBLISHER https://www.penguin.com.au/books/the-boy-the-mole-the-fox-and-the-horse-9781529105100

AUTHOR https://www.charliemackesy.com/

GOODREADS https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43708884-the-boy-the-mole-the-fox-and-the-horse

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Postscript:  I have noticed on Goodreads that generally there does not appear to be any control over spoilers or plot reveals so what hope does copyright offer Goodreads authors. GBW.

Eucalypt Tree Shows Its Colours

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Grey Gum (Eucalyptus propinqua) starting to shed its bark after summer rain © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2021

A bit of background on this stunning Grey Gum eucalypt I photographed during an afternoon walk.

Eucalyptus propinqua
Grey Gum
MYRTACEAE

Known as Grey Gum but there are many eucalypt trees given this name on the east coast of Australia, because there are rather a lot of grey gums. About half a dozen are members of the Grey Gum Group – rather obviously named for their grey bark. All members of the group are prized for the strength and durability of their timber, and in the early days of European settlement were heavily logged for use in construction.

The tree can appear to be a small mallee in tougher sites where the soil doesn’t quite suit, but on the Central Coast of New South Wales it is generally a beautiful tall, elegant tree, 35 metres or so high, with a tall, straight cylindrical trunk.

The name, Grey Gum, is a giveaway in what to look out for in the tree, but in February each year they can surprise. Most of the time the trunks are a rather uniform, granular surfaced, mottled grey, but once a year the bark is shed in slabs and displays new colours, ranging from pale cream to light orange.

Then, more occasionally, when the rainfall has been heavy over spring and summer, the same process is carried out – but this time displaying a most vivid orange trunk.

This gumtree seems to like being perched on the side of a hill in the suburbs of Brisbane.

Information thanks to Butterfly House
http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/plants/myrt/eucalyptus-propinqua.html

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

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Eucalypt leaves © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2021

‘Mirror, Mirror on the Wall’ 10 True Facts

Winter night © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2020

The nerd in me just loves these ten crazy true facts about mirrors!  I was actually searching for a fiction story based on a mirror but discovered Dr Ruth Searle’s website and decided her information was far more interesting.

Read on . . .

10. Mirrors And Time Travel

We know that a mirror can do more than reflect your image. And I won’t even start to document the amount of films I’ve seen or books I’ve read where the doorway to another world is through a mirror. A mirrored portal can lead you into an enchanted world of the future or the past; a doorway into a fantasy, paranormal or parallel world; a dystopian dreamscape or endless deep space—supposedly—however, with scientific know-how, Dr Ruth Searle explains HOW wormholes CAN make it possible to travel into the past.

9. Mirrors, Phantom Limbs, And The Human Brain

Experiments using mirrors on patients with phantom limbs have allowed researchers to learn a lot about the workings of our brain. Using a “smoke and mirrors” style optical illusion, researchers placed mirrors vertically on a table and used them to reflected the patient’s intact limb… there’s details on creating new neural pathways due to the plasticity of the brain and the connection between vision and touch.

8. Mirrors Cause Hallucinations

“A strange illusion is conjured up when you stare at your reflection in a mirror” writes Ruth Searle. This one slightly freaked me out because I remember as a girl I was told to stare into a mirror in the evening and soon I would see the face of my one true love. Anyway I stared and stared, and the more I stared, the more frightened I became. I never saw anything but I never did try that again.

If you are up for it, the instructions read “At first, you will find that there are small distortions in your face in the mirror. Then, gradually, after several minutes, your face will begin to change more dramatically, and look more like a waxwork, like the face doesn’t belong to you.” Shiver, no thanks!

7. Can Everyone Recognise Themselves In A Mirror?

Apparently children develop mirror self-recognition by about two years old but cultural differences can sometimes influence recognition and is not a sign that they lack the ability to separate themselves psychologically from other humans. One for those parental “aaw, cute” moments when their kid kisses the mirror.

Confident Cat
Confidence

6. Animals That Have Mirror Self-Recognition

Some researchers think certain animals are able to pass a test for recognising their own reflection. Animals which pass the traditional mirror self-recognition test naturally include chimpanzees and orangutans but several others surprised me. Killer whales anyone..?

5. Mirrors On The Moon

This sentence sounds like sci-fi but if you don’t believe me, read it yourself: “The Laser Ranging Retroreflector was left on the Moon by Apollo astronauts, and is used to calculate the distance from the Earth to the Moon. It is essentially a series of corner-cube reflectors—a special type of mirror—which reflects a laser beam back in the direction it came from… Not only can the Laser Ranging Retroreflector measure the distance from the Earth to the Moon, but it has improved our knowledge of the Moon.” There’s more on the website.

4. Mirrors Can Also Reflect Sound

Before radars were invented, mirrors which reflect sound waves were known as “acoustic mirrors” and were used in Britain during World War II to detect certain sound waves coming from enemy aircraft. It is worth checking the photo to see this almost modern art installation.

3. Reflecting Matter With Mirrors

I absolutely love this Sheldon-like paragraph “Amazingly, mirrors can also reflect matter. Such mirrors are known in physics as atomic mirrors. An atomic mirror reflects atoms of matter just as a conventional mirror reflects light. They use electromagnetic fields to reflect neutral atoms, although some just use silicon water…” Put on your Big Bang t-shirt and read the rest of it, I dare you.

2. True Mirrors

Dr Ruth Searle writes “It’s actually a myth that a mirror reverses your image—your reflection is not flipped. What you see is the left-hand side of your face on the left of the mirror, and the right-hand side on the right, giving the illusion that your reflection is reversed. However, a non-reversing mirror, or true mirror, was developed… primarily for applying cosmetics.” On Zoom, there is a function which allows you to reverse your image and I find it very disorientating.

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Backward and forward

1. Splitting Light With A Mirror

I did not know that mirrors not only reflect light, sound, and matter, but they can also split light beams. A basic beam splitter is a cube, made from two glass prisms connected at their base. The illustration for this one makes it look amazingly simple but the explanation says beam splitters are used in many scientific instruments including telescopes so their function would have to be precise.

So there you have it, folks, a short ramble through the never-ending joys of the internet.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward


ListVerse: 10 Crazy Facts About Mirrors | Ruth Searle | 30 December, 2013 | 80 Comments
Profile: Dr Ruth Searle is a marine biologist with a PhD in humpback whale ecology and behaviour in tropical marine environments.  She is also a freelance writer and science nut.

My Neglected Bookshelves

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Old bookshelf © Gretchen Bernet-Ward 2020

Don’t look too closely, there’s plenty of dust on them thar bookshelves. These books have sentimental value but may be destined for the University of Queensland Alumni Book Fair 2021 at St Lucia Campus, Brisbane—
Link https://alumni.uq.edu.au/uq-alumni-book-fair

Here’s the first installment of my three-day visit in April 2019—
https://thoughtsbecomewords.com/2019/04/28/rare-book-auction-and-alumni-book-fair/

Old books or new ones, ebooks or audio, I wish you all good books!

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

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A corner of the UQ Alumni Book Fair 2019

A Novel is Not a Screenplay

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To assist the modification from page to screen by meeting the market half-way, writers are chasing the more lucrative side of wordsmithing by hammering out books which have the actions, expressions and dialogue of movie characters.

If you are dreaming of seeing your work as a major motion picture, professional screenwriters can adapt existing books, hence the words ‘based on’ when you view a book-to-movie deal.

Read on for my thoughts on the situation…

Film Camera Lights Action Movie

Good news for the future of the film industry but what about the book industry?

Should a writer write a novel similar to a filmscript?  I guess if you are determined enough you can learn, but what are you sacrificing along the way?  Formatting is important; not too much, not too little.  Your characters will be noticeably shallower, the scenery will be sketchy and the action will be like every TV series you have ever watched.

Bend to a market whim?  What makes the difference is being different!  With or without a movie contract, if you write in a hybrid format, your novel has less chance of standing amongst the notables of your decade.  I’ve read several amalgams in the last month.  Believe me, it shows.

Film Cameraman Movie Camera

In my opinion, there is a market for the TV-ready book/screen blend of writing but it is light-weight and not the same as solid, descriptive, memorable words which feed a book reader’s imagination.

And herein lies the problem.  There are eager new readers just the same as in the past, but now they are looking for ‘movie action’ because they have grown up with on-demand screens.  Substance is not as favourable, skimming is the name of the game.

Again, I say this is a disservice to the reader as well as the book industry.

It’s a long haul and immediate gain for the primary writer is unlikely.  Say a director/producer likes your work, every page you have written means extra money is needed in production and, as we know, the financial aspect rules.  Gone are the days of blockbuster world success—think LOTR or J K Rowling’s Harry Potter.

Film Clapper Board Movie

Durability is the name of the game.  You can find countless info and advice on writing a screenplay or TV script and if you want to do it you will—bearing in mind that any formula has restrictions, your manuscript will not resemble the finished product.

Look closely at Michael Connelly and other writers who have made the transition, in particular their previous jobs.  They will have ‘connections’, they will move house ‘to be closer to their work’, they will have ‘legal advice’, an abundance of ‘good luck’, an ‘understanding family’ and other clichés but not the words ‘smooth sailing’.

Write with your heart, write something strong and original, write a standalone which shines with your own unique qualities.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Mother’s Day Stories & Poems Wanted

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Exactly what we need in these days of social-distancing!

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

positivewordsmagazine

I’m looking for story and poetry submissions for the May issue. A nice way to honour a special person at a time when we might not be able to visit…

Mothers, grandmothers, daughters who have children of their own, special aunts and friends…send them in 🙂

Positive Words magazine

PO Box 798

Heathcote 3523 Victoria

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Pineapples and the English Language

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This caged pineapple asked me why he was called a pineapple when he was neither a pine nor an apple.  I couldn’t answer his question but I did give him a lecture on the idiotic English language and how we take it for granted without knowing why Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Read on…


 

“English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France.
Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.
We take English for granted.
But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor a pig.
Why do writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?
If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth?
One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese?
If you have a pile of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what is it called?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?
Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent?
Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown?
Or met an sung hero who has experienced requited love?
Have you met someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable?
Where are those people who are spring chickens or who would actually hurt a fly?
The lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down.
Fill in a form by filling it out, while an alarm goes off by going on.”

Written by Anonymous

Poetry Soup
https://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/quote/27538_english_is_a_crazy_language_there


Kids Storytime 04English is the most widely spoken language in the world.
No language in history has dominated quite like it.
English has adapted many different words to suit itself.
Could this be why English is one of the hardest languages to learn?
The Guardian newspaper explains—
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jul/27/english-language-global-dominance

Moths Stopped Me in My Tracks

Suburban shopping centre covered in moths after drought-breaking rains.  Warm humid conditions released flora, fauna and insects which burst forth in a delayed exhibition of springtime in Brisbane.

My apologies if you have ‘Mottephobia’.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

INFORMATION : This activity is unusual.  Could these small arthropod insects with feelers, six legs and one pair of wings be a Dry Leaf Looper Moth?  More at home in leaf-litter under trees?  The images shown on the website (below) are similar moths to the ones I have photographed and were found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_loopers/DryLeaf.htm

Dry Leaf Looper Moth – Idiodes siculoides – Subfamily Ennominae? Family Geometridae

Stilt Walkers – Fact and Fantasy

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STILT-WALKER BUTTERFLY Toowoomba Queensland 2008 September Carnival of Flowers.

If you’ve ever been to the circus or a street parade, you will have seen someone walking along high above the crowd on a pair of stilts.  To the average person, stilt-walking is the mainstay of theatrical performers, clowns and jugglers and used to great effect in fantasy film and stage productions.

However, stilts (originally wooden) have been used in many industries for many hundreds of years, from ancient shepherding to wall painting, fruit-picking and hedge-trimming to modern construction.

Several websites have histories of the original stilt-walkers, but in the old days if you found yourself living in a flood plain, beside the beach, in marshland or some other area where the ground was less than steadfast, it was a great way to keep safe.

Raised above it all, striding through the landscape with a birds’ eye view, it’s easy to see how they became part of certain countries folklore and historical identity.

I remember as a child, turning round to see the silk-clad legs of a stilt-walker and being quite amazed as I slowly raised my eyes to the performer, a real person no less, teetering high above me.

  •   Apparently ‘Walk on Stilts Day’ is celebrated on 27 July every year

 

  •   In 2008 Roy Maloy of Australia took five steps on stilts 17m (56ft) high

 

  •   In 1891 Sylvain Dornon stilt-walked from Paris to Moscow in 58 days

 

  •   The Golden Stilt is the highest honour in the ancient sport of stilt-jousting

 

  •   European stilt-walking festivals are held in Spain, Netherlands and Belgium

 

  •   Canadian ‘Cirque du Soleil’ feature a dazzling array of stilt-walkers

 

  •   Moko Jumbie is spirit healer stilt-dancing from West Indies

 

  •   A centuries-old tradition, Chinese stilt-walkers bring good luck

 

  •   Modern stilt performances by gorgeous Leonie Deavin troupe

 

  •   Stilts can be ordered online – go for it!

Stilt-walking is corporate business now, far, far removed from those sodden sheep in the marshes, guarded by a lone farmer on stilts with only his trusty sheep dog and knitting to keep him company.  Knitting was not gender specific in olden times; hardy men perched atop a pair of wooden stilts could knit a woolly vest while keeping a wary eye out for hungry wolves.

So forget those hole-punched tin cans and pieces of string you manoeuvred to clump up and down the driveway like a robot, stilts have entered the 21st century.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

More information and fascinating photographs:
http://homunculustheatre.com.au/roving_acts/manoeuvre-stilt-performers/
https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/12/05/stilt-walkers/
http://www.leoniedeavin.com.au/profile.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stilts
https://stiltfactory.com/

DarkOz Comic Book Manifesto

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Late last year at Brisbane GenreCon, I said hello to Darren Koziol, mastermind behind Australian comic books DarkOz.  His display table was beside ours and I was lured over by the bright yet disturbing cover of the Retro Sci-Fi Tales Christmas Special #1 December 2019.  I purchased a copy and three quirky Christmas cards were thrown into the deal.

After chatting to Darren and learning about his creative skills and the help he gives budding comic book creators, I expressed interest in ‘The Comic Book Manifesto: Making Comic Books In Australia’.

Even coming from a non-comic book person like me, I feel this booklet gets to the essence of creating artwork and design and offers inspiration for those interested in furthering their artistic abilities.

It’s a small volume which packs a punch; under the heading Influences & Individuality, Mike Speakman says ‘Seek out advice from your peers, listen to it all, but remember to put your own spin on things.’

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DarkOz Retro Sci-Fi ‘Space Valiant’ art by Graeme Jackson from Retro Sci-Fi Tales #7

It was a week before I managed to fully read my copy of this idiosyncratic Christmas Special but I loved the tall tales and clever retro illustrations.  Inside, two wacky characters Bruno and Maggie feature in three comics—the one I particularly liked was ‘Space Elevator’.  Original, creepy, humorous with a twist in the alien tale.  Being retro, the slant was towards American-style comics but I was pleased to see ‘Great Australian Bight Bite’, short, sweet, deadly.

When I was a kid, the exaggerated reactions and cryptic comments from characters in comic books never really appealed.  Like most people, I seem to remember Lee Falk’s ‘The Phantom’ in our daily newspaper alongside the funnies but I think for over ten years Charles Schulz and ‘Peanuts’ blitzed all else for me.  Now I have greater respect for the patience, skill and hard work involved in comic book production.

Comic books have come a long way!  Or have they?  Happily the tradition lives on.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward


INFORMATION

Darren Koziol, Editor/Director/Writer/Space Explorer
https://www.darkoz.com.au/
https://www.darkoz.com.au/Retro.html


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Bushfire Prayer for Australia

Bushfire devastation across rural Australia, everything and everyone is at risk, rain is desperately needed, it will arrive too late for many, let’s pray many thousands will be spared the burning embers Gretchen Bernet-Ward

[PLEASE NOTE: ChildFund Australia has posted a link to the ABCTV website with a list of charities for appeal donations.  ABCTV list https://about.abc.net.au/appeals/  Get behind the genuine charities which are supporting our bushfire affected communities]

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A bushfire prayer read by Dot Bernet of Uniting Church Australia (Brisbane) and blessings written by Rev Jennie Gordon Pastoral Resource Minister (Gippsland) January 2020.

Book Perfect – Virago

Virago is an international publisher of books by women for all readers, everywhere.  Established in 1973, their mission has been to champion women’s voices and bring them to the widest possible readership around the world.  They found me!  From fiction and politics to history and classic children’s stories, their writers continue to win acclaim, break new ground and enrich the lives of readers.  That’s me!  Read on…

IMG_20191013_111253Book For You 01Book For You 02Book For You 03Book For You 04

My Goodreads Book Review

Superb anthology of the last forty years of Virago Modern Classics with a gorgeous bookcover illustration. Great for readers who appreciate women writers and also for students studying literature. Each contemporary author writes a sincere and thoughtful introduction from their own perspective as a reader. They cover the classics, from fiction and comedy to famous diaries and autobiographies. For example, Margaret Drabble discusses Jane Austen ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and further on Jilly Cooper talks about E. M. Delafield ‘The Diary of a Provincial Lady’. Although I’ve not read ‘Strangers on a Train’ by Patricia Highsmith, I think Claire Messud has convinced me to read it. At the end of Amanda Craig’s introduction on Rebecca West ‘The Fountain Overflows’ she says ‘The novel is one of those rare books that leaves the reader feeling happier and more hopeful than before.” And that’s exactly what this Virago Modern Classics makes me feel https://www.goodreads.com/gretchenbernetward

Virago Publisher of Women Writers

Virago celebrated their fortieth anniversary of Virago Modern Classics, Virago Press published the book I so eagerly purchased ‘Writers as Readers’, an anthology of forty introductions from the last four decades…books that deserve once again to be read and loved.  Virago also reintroduced the iconic green spines across their whole booklist.

Virago has a huge booklist, I’m sure you’ve read several of their titles, and rather than me listing every book available, you can visit their beautiful website:
https://www.virago.co.uk/

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Brunch at Fourthchild Cafe Ipswich City

Alighted from the train in Ipswich City with friends and decided to have brunch.  We chose Fourchild Cafe Restaurant, 126 Brisbane Street, because it’s handy to the railway station.  The business is family owned and operated and they prepare everything by hand, in-house, with produce sourced from Lockyer Valley farms and local suppliers.

Rather than give you a rundown of our visit, I have posted photographs with a comment or two underneath.  Bon appétit!

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A food blogger would know the latest words for edgy decor but I’d say colourful.

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What it says – a cold drip coffee device with the look of a mad scientist invention.

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A comprehensive ‘Know Your Coffee’ espresso menu which I am going to carry with me always. Not the board, just the photo!

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It was a hot springtime day so settled for a tall iced coffee with whipped cream.

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Corn fritter pancake stack with bacon, poached egg, tomato salsa, scattered with feta. Actually it had two eggs but I gave one away!

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Dessert cabinet love at first sight! Look at the size of the Lemon Meringue Pie and Frangipani Pie (recipe link below)

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Fourthchild Cafe Restaurant is situated in an old building so they’ve gone with the natural antiqueness. This is a view of the roof where the shaft leads up to skylights (not visible on either side) for light and air in all weathers before air-conditioning was invented.

This is Boris the bison, overlooking the bar, keeping a watchful eye on proceedings.

We were in Ipswich to visit ‘The World Turns Modern’ an Art Deco exhibition at Ipswich Art Gallery on loan from the National Gallery collection.  But more on that another time. 

Gretchen Bernet-Ward


People Working Chef Cook Waitress

Fourthchild info http://www.fourthchildcafe.com.au/

Frangipani pie https://www.simplesavings.com.au/blog/108227/3267203/Frangipani-PieMums-special-recipe-and-a-family-favourite

Ipswich info https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipswich,_Queensland

Rebecca Johnson Workshop with Juliet Nearly A Vet

First, some info on Juliet Nearly A Vet children’s series before I launch into my one and a half hour experience hosted by Book Links and Write Links at their centre for children’s literature.


JULIET NEARLY A VET
series by REBECCA JOHNSON

Juliet wants to be a vet when she grows up, but when she decides she needs to start practicing, her wonderful misadventures begin.  With gorgeous illustrations by local illustrator Kyla May.

“Hi! I’m Juliet. I’m ten years old. And I’m nearly a vet!  We’re off on a school camp to the rainforest. Chelsea, Maisy and I are excited about all the different animals we might spot on our nature walks and torchlight treks. Chelsea is NOT excited about the creepy crawlies we might find! I’ve brought my vet-kit along just in case we find any animals in need of help . . .”

Ages 6 – 9 years old
Book info click here


VET CADETS
series by REBECCA JOHNSON

A wonderful series about three smart, funny, animal-loving girls solving mysteries and causing chaos at their country boarding school.

“Abbey, Hannah and Talika are new recruits at Willowvale boarding school’s Vet Cadets program. Mrs Parry, their science teacher, has given each of the girls a chick to raise and train, but not everyone is happy about it!  When a game of horseback hide-and-seek turns into a matter of life and death, rules are broken and the friends’ courage sorely tested. This time, a solution might be out of the Vet Cadets’ hands . . .”

Ages 9 – 11 years old
Book info click here


AUTHOR PROFILE

Rebecca Johnson is an award-winning Australian author and primary-school science teacher who has written more than 100 children’s books.  Her works include the Steve Parish Story Book collection, Juliet Nearly A Vet series, Vet Cadet series, Insect series, and Steve Parish Reptiles & Amphibians Story Book range.

Author info https://rebeccajohnson.com.au/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaJohnsonAuthor/


Rebecca Johnson Children's Author 02
ONE AND A HALF HOUR WORKSHOP

Rebecca Johnson spoke about how she became a published author and what inspired her stories.  Her two current series are based on her own childhood experiences, both as a young vet ‘assistant’ and then as a horse-riding teenage animal detective.

Her writing style has allowed her to find the balance between working part-time and writing.  She talked about the importance of verbal pitching in the early part of a writer’s career; know your story and speak passionately about it.

Rebecca was open and honest in all she discussed, particularly the challenges of marketing your first book once it has been published.  On the subject of payment, royalties and earning a decent income, Rebecca felt a book series worked better.

I jotted down a number of points; from having an agent, to evolving your books as your reading audience grows.  Interestingly, in this age of the internet, Rebecca hasn’t physically met Kyla May, her book illustrator.

A fascinating aspect from Rebecca’s talk is her use of a book tie-in and children’s conventions based on her Juliet Nearly A Vet books.  She ordered 1,000 vet kits child-size with working stethoscopes and white lab coats—spectacular to say the least.  And children obviously have a wonderful time learning about animals and caring for their toy pets!


CONCLUSION

My main takeaway from this workshop was “Write what you know, do the hard yards, continually promote your books” as well as attending events, libraries, Book Week.  I applaud Rebecca Johnson for the detail and length of her workshop, and the fact that she happily answered every question.

POSTSCRIPT

A friend of mine, children’s writer Artelle Lenthall, challenged me to nominate 7 of my favourite bookcovers and post one every day for 7 days on Facebook.  I have chosen 7 of my favourite bookcovers from Juliet Nearly A Vet series and will post them at 7.00pm each evening.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

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Fear of Joining Goodreads

Yes, fear that I will become addicted.  Fear that I will push myself to read a gazillion books a year so I can frantically, faithfully rate and review them.  Fear that I will get hooked on groups, authors, discussions, surveys and polls—or even worse, a bestseller—and thus lose my individuality.

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What if I was swamped by a wave of literary-ness which swept away my identity and I became a book character, never able to reach the shores of reality,  adrift in a choppy sea of font and words, desperately swimming towards the final chapter so I could beach myself on that last blessed page?

It didn’t happen.

I know this because I have finally joined the ranks of Goodreads readers.

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Why did I join?  Because I was caught, hook, line and sinker by a single author and her book ‘The Rose and The Thorn’.

In August 2019, I posted my very first Goodreads review on Indrani Ganguly’s historical novel (also here on my blog) and the Hallelujah choir sang.  That was it!

I think I shelved about twenty books in one hit.  Then about thirty, then more, and before I knew it I was writing reviews; albeit after I sussed out their (ssshh, whisper here) rather archaic system.

Without fear, without favour!  I am part of Goodreads for better or worse!

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So far I have followed a couple of authors I enjoy, and a couple of groups which seem relevant to my reading tastes.  I encompass miscellany, similar to my blog, so I am open to your book reading suggestions.

Take a peek, you may find the same book we both have read . . . but will our rating or review be the same?

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/101014600-gretchen-bernet-ward

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

Happy Paws Happy Hearts – Pet Power

There are health benefits to your human-animal interactions!  Studies suggest that pets are good for your heart and stress levels in more ways than one.  Caring for an animal has shown to lower blood pressure and cortisol (stress-related hormone) levels, reduce loneliness and boost your mood.

To find out more, we arrived at University of Queensland Healthy Living headquarters in Toowong at one o’clock for an informative talk from Dr Nancy A. Pachana, clinical geropsychologist and neuropsychologist—and cupcake maker—accompanied by the team from Happy Paws Happy Hearts.

As you would have guessed, the highlight was two adorable and bouncy puppies, Timon and Rafiki, who carried out their pats-and-cuddles duty in admirable fashion.  The blurry photos attest to their eagerness.

Happy Paws Happy Hearts foundation offers an Animal Basics Program, Animal Care Program and Animal Handling Program for individuals and groups.  Participants learn to interact with a variety of animals waiting to be adopted from RSPCA by using well-established animal interaction methods to increase confidence in both humans and critters.

Depending on the program and availability, interaction could be with puppies, kittens, dogs, cats, wildlife and farm animals.  Volunteers support attendees to reach their goals while working with these rescue animals within the shelter.

Research supports dogs and other animals assisting with physical, mental and emotional symptoms as well as supplement therapy for PTSD, anxiety and depression plus a range of psychiatric disorders.  They are particularly important for older people.

Over 60% of older community-dwelling adults cited pets as a key source of emotional support, while dog therapy reduced age care residents loneliness and depression as well as improved cognitive impairment in those with dementia.   The presence of animals provided avenues for active behaviour, decision-making and increased socialisation in nursing home residents.

Dr Pachana spoke about greater acknowledgement of the positive impact of animals in other contexts, such as the workplace and courtrooms.  I have seen encouraging signs in classrooms where children have difficulty with peer activities or reading aloud but respond with a calm dog beside them.

Can Do Canines train shelter dogs for therapy purposes and there are organisations like Guide Dogs, Assistance Dogs, Hearing Dogs, Story Dogs, and of course Happy Paws Happy Hearts doing a wonderful job.

We enjoyed our sociable and informative visit and send a special woof to Timon and Rafiki for being good boys.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward


IMG_20190504_213404RSPCA, Wacol https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/

Happy Paws Happy Hearts, Wacol https://hphhfoundation.org/

University of Queensland, Toowong https://habs.uq.edu.au/uqhealthyliving

Re-reading Old Stuff

It was a nice surprise to discover an older piece of writing I’d forgotten, particularly when it still holds up.

My overview of Fiona McIntosh’s historical fiction “Tapestry” was penned for Top 40 Book Club Reads 2015, a regular Brisbane City Council Library Service booklet written and compiled by unacknowledged library staff.

The book—billed as timeslip fiction—has a layered plot and it was hard to write a 100 word description without sounding too stilted.  McIntosh chose settings in two countries, Australia and Britain, in two different eras of history.  I particularly liked the second half in 1715 within the Tower of London.

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Synopsis by Gretchen Bernet-Ward

After visiting the Tower of London to research her book, McIntosh had “An unforgettable day and I attribute much of the story’s atmosphere to that marvellous afternoon and evening in the Tower of London with the Dannatts when the tale of Lady Nithsdale and my own Tapestry came alive in my imagination.”

Author Fiona McIntosh has written quite a stack of books set in many parts of the world, and in different genres: Non-Fiction, Historical Romantic-Adventure, Timeslip, Fantasy – Adult, Fantasy – Children, and Crime.

Check your local library catalogue in person or online.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward


In order of appearance, the Brisbane Libraries Top 40 book club recommendations for 2015—I have not read Poe Ballantine’s chilling tale “Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere” and I may never read it—See how many titles you’ve read!

The Visionist;  Moriarty;  Tapestry;  The Bone Clocks;  California; Z – Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald;  The Mandarin Code;  Merciless Gods;  Upstairs at the Party;  Friendship;  Birdsong;  Heat and Light;  Time and Time Again;  What Was Promised;  The Austen Project;  The Paying Guests;  The Exile – An Outlander Graphic Novel;  Lost and Found;  Amnesia;  Cop Town;  Mr Mac and Me;  Nora Webster;  The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden;  Inspector McLean – Dead Men’s Bones;  The Soul of Discretion;  We Were Liars;  Stone Mattress – Nine Tales;  Family Secrets;  South of Darkness;  The Claimant;  This House of Grief;  She Left Me the Gun;  Mona Lisa – A Life Discovered;  The Silver Moon;  Revolution;  Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere;  What Days Are For;  Mistress;  Warning – The Story of Cyclone Tracy;  The Birth of Korean Cool.