Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 17: Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335


We're spending some time in George Orwell's dystopian vision of the future, Nineteen Eighty-Four. We also talk about reading broadly and Ash takes you through her must-have essentials currently on her writing desk.

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Event Announcement - Dymocks Camberwell First Tuesday Book Club

I am so excited to announce that I will be a guest author at Dymocks Camberwell's First Tuesday Book Club on October 2nd. It should be such a fantastic night and I can't want to have a chat with readers about reading and writing!

There will be two other guest authors on the night - Alice Nelson, author of The Children's House and Liz Porter, author of Written on the Skin.



Find tickets to the event here: First Tuesday Book Club

Check out the well read people from Dymocks Camberwell here: Dymocks Camberwell

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 16: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335


We return to Murakami with a look at his book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Steve also shares some writing tips from Australian-born, Dublin-based author, Monica McInerney.

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 15: Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335

We look at the debut novel (and New York Times bestseller) from Tomi Adeyemi, Children of Blood and Bone. Discover ten tips for writing compelling dialog and Ash shows off her new map for the Rachaya Series.

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Book Review - Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of PilgrimageColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In my mind this is one of Murakami's finest pieces of work. I immediately want to read it again, much as I did Norwegian Wood. This story is nostalgic, visceral, and true to a Murakami novel, leaves you with more questions than answers. Unlike some of his other novels there were no dragging descriptions to slow down the story (or at least none that I noticed - in 1Q84, for example, he would often spend several pages describing a meal), so it was quite fast paced. It was interesting and kept me guessing all the way through.

If you have never read a Murakami novel, this may be a good place to start.

I have a strong feeling I may be gushing about this book to Steve in a future episode of The Book Stash podcast. For now I need some time to mull it over.

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 14: Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335

In this special half hour episode, we take a look at Hilary Mantel's Booker prize-winning novel, Wolf Hall (and its TV series). We also talk about the card game Once Upon A Time and Vladimir Propp's fairy tale functions.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 13: The Artisan Heart, Dean Mayes


We take a look at Australian author Dean Mayes' heart-warming new book The Artisan Heart. Find out how to be a good beta reader and how to get the best out of your own beta readers. Plus, map out your fantasy world.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 12: The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335

In the face of sickness, Ash digs out The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, where we discuss context for language, awesome illustration, 6 tips for getting your book written and sticking with it.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 11: A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335

This week we're talking about the captivating book A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. We also talk about the creative process behind designing a book cover, the science behind hand-writing your drafts, and the surprising effects of wisdom teeth extraction on Ash's productivity.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 10: Norwegian Wood

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335

Kombanwa. Good evening. In this episode of The Book Stash, Ash talks about the shadows cast by the Haruki Murakami classic, Norwegian Wood. There's also beautiful odd metaphors, integrating religion in your world building and a particularly fun writing prompt.

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Links from this episode:

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 9: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335

We take a look at Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff's compelling sci-fi world in Illuminae. Ash has put together five essential tips for planning your stories, combating misconceptions in your world and Lord of the Rings.

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Links from this episode:

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 8: Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335

Ash has been binging and now we have two books in one episode, Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo! We also talk about subverting the hero's journey and tips for researching an idea without getting lost in the details.


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Links from this episode:

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Supanova Melbourne

Another Melbourne Supanova has been and gone and I had such a fantastic time talking to people who are as crazy about dragons as I am. I would like to say a special thank you to those of you who came over to say hello after meeting me last year.



This Supanova was a very special occasion for me because it doubled up as the book launch for The Lost City, book 2 of The Rachaya Series. Many copies of this shiny new book made its way home with readers over the course of Supanova, and I am so happy to see it finally out in the world. If you missed out on your copy, it is also available for purchase online.






I also had many people enquiring about Fyrebyrne Island as an ebook. It is available here on amazon. Even if you don’t own a Kindle there is an app for your phone and tablet. The ebook for The Lost City is coming soon.

We had many winners for out knitted dragon competition this year. Congratulations to those of you who drew the lucky token!










My email competition had two winners, who have been emailed privately. Congratulations to Miriam and Hannah. Your dragons will be posted to you shortly.



For those of you who are fans of podcasts, don’t forget to check out The Book Stash, where I look at books from a writer’s perspective, provide writing tips, talk a little about my own writing and offer some writing prompts.

Thank you once again to all of you who made this Supanova experience so fantastic. I look forward to seeing you all again at my next convention.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 7: The Sword of Shannara


Ash looks at The Sword of Shannara from Terry Brooks and discuses how fantasy writing has changed in a post-internet age. We chat about rejecting stale language to bring your writing to life and some of Ash's challenges with writing book 3 of the Rachaya series.


As always, please subscribe and leave a review which will help more people find our podcast.

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Links from this episode:

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Wrote a story from our writing prompt? Share you story in the comments below:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Lost City Book Launch

After a hectic couple of months, I am very proud to announce that Book 2 of the Rachaya Series - The Lost City, will be officially launched at Melbourne Supanova on April 21st and 22nd at the Melbourne Showgrounds. I will be in The Alley, booth 23. Make sure you come across to say hello!


Here's a little look at the book itself:


Book 2 of the Rachaya Series - OUT NOW!



The Lost City, by Ash Oldfield
ISBN: 9780987445018

"You play a dangerous game, dragon, you and all your friends. I will not forget that you have spurned my advice and refused to meet with me in parley. You will come to rue this day, of that I can be certain."

Rachaya is well on her way to becoming a fully-fledged dragon and she is determined that when the time comes, she will also be a queen that her people can be proud of. But when dangerous secrets surface from the past, Rachaya realises she is running out of time to help her people return to the fierce, powerful and proud dragons that they once were. 


The Lost City is available in paperback from all good online retailers.



Find the paperback:


Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 6: The Cruel Prince

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335

Ash has been reading The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, getting lost with Jude in the brutally intoxicating world of the Fae. We explore the power of subtle details to enrich your writing, fantasy curse words, and finding out where your story might have gone off-track. Steve also talks about some design tips for laying out your book.

We're going to be at booth #23 in Artist's Alley at Supanova Melbourne (April 21-22) so come and say hello and pick up a copy of Book 2.

As always, please subscribe and leave a review which will help more people find our podcast.

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Links from this episode:

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Wrote a story from our writing prompt? Share you story in the comments below:

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 5: Flowers for Algernon

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335

We discuss the science fiction classic Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes and its striking use of language to help tell its story. We also give you some tips to set writing goals that you'll actually stick to, starting your story from the right place and people-watching.


As always, please subscribe and leave a review which will help more people find our podcast.

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Links from this episode:

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Wrote a story from our writing prompt? Share you story in the comments below:

Friday, March 16, 2018

Gannt Charts - How I Use Them

In the latest episode of my podcast, The Book Stash (episode 4: Murder at the Mountain Rush), I talked about how I use Gantt charts to plot my stories. I thought I would talk you through my latest planning session to give you a little bit more of an insight in how these can be a useful tool.

I started by sticking lots of pieces of A4 paper together to make one monster chart. I then set it up as follows using a felt-tip pen and a ruler.




Now, of course, I could have created this document in Excel, but I think much better with a pen in my hand.

I created this chart because I was having difficulties with the middle of book 3 of The Rachaya Series. I knew the beginning quarter and the last half, but could not for the life of me figure out the second quarter of the story.

Down the left hand side of the page I wrote down the three main players in the story (my protagonist, Rachaya, my antagonist and a third, secret character). Under that I wrote down ten of my more important secondary characters. I made sure I left room for any additional characters that cropped up throughout the planning process.

Across the top I left room for a time line. Now, this was not strict - each square does not represent a month, nor a day, nor a week. Instead I filled in the time frame as I went, depending on my needs. I also used this space to write any important information that I want to remember later.

Finally, beginning with the events from book 2, The Lost City, I wrote down the actions of every character on my sheet at that exact moment in time. I then took out my trusty highlighters. I coloured Rachaya's square in with a pink highlighter, as well as those of all the characters who were with her. I coloured my antagonist in with a blue highlighter, and any character who was with him. Any character on Rachaya's team but not currently with her was coloured in orange, anyone opposing Rachaya but not currently with her enemy was coloured in green. Neutral characters were coloured in yellow.




I filled this chart in step-by-step. For every one of Rachaya's experiences, I wrote down what all of these other characters were doing during that moment.  I did not skip ahead, nor did I skip any characters before I moved on to the next 'happening'. This was frustrating because I would get excited and want to zoom ahead, but had to force myself to slow down and be more meticulous than I ever had before.




(Secret: I am usually terrible at writing down more than the bare bones of my plans and usually rely on my memory. I am terrified that one day I will get hit on the head and forget everything. Don't worry, the main points are written down.)

Here you go, the completed product, blurred because SPOILERS

This Gantt chart does not include every single scene in the book, and I want to stress that this does not set anything in stone. I still allow my characters to dictate where they want the story to go and I remain flexible should the story insist I take it in a completely different direction. But for now, this chart provides me with the bare bones of the story. Now it is my job to fill it in, bit by slow bit.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 4: Murder at the Mountain Rush

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-book-stash/id1346595335

In this episode Ash has been reading Murder at the Mountain Rush by R.B.R. Verhagen. Learn about keeping track of your characters, how wizards go to the toilet, getting inside your villains' head and playing with perspectives.

As always, please subscribe and leave a review which will help more people find our podcast.

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 3: The Hollow Crown


In this episode Ash breaks the rules a little and forgoes her reading for a mini-series. We talk about The Hollow Crown, William Shakespeare's copiousness, tackling writer's block and figuring out your antagonist.

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Links from this episode:


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Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Book Stash - Episode 2: Strange The Dreamer


In this episode we talk about Strange The Dreamer, a fantasy novel from Laini Taylor, and letting your characters have their say.

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Links from this episode:


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Wrote a story from our writing prompt? Share you story in the comments below: