Thursday, July 19, 2012

Australia's "Katniss" is named Ellie

Years ago I read a thin paperback called TOMORROW, WHEN THE WAR BEGINS by an author I'd never heard of before, John Marsden. Something about this book intrigued me, and I've always loved reading about Australia. So I started reading...and didn't stop, so breathless by the action and captivated by the voice of a heroine who ripped into my heart. When I finished, it felt like my brain and emotions had run a marathon, and I had to have more books. But I quickly found out these were Australia books and it wasn't easy to get them in the US. After some research, I found all 7 books available in the US through Houghton Mifflin, the original copyright 1993 and first American printing in 1995. I'm guessing the series was a huge hit in Australia since there are 7 books then 2 addition featuring Ellie after the war. I didn't discover this series until 2003. The books were expensive in dj hardback, but I had to own them. (And to get the two Ellie ones later took some trading with an Australian friend). Now I've been a voracious reader since I was 8. So when I say that this series consumed me like no other, that is no small tribute. Each time I started one of the books, I could NOT stop reading till night turned into morning. My heart raced, my hands gripped the book, I forgot this world and lost myself in Ellie's Australia. I felt so fortunate to discover a series when it was completed at 7 (spin-off came later). I was waiting for Harry Potter still, praying that JK Rowling would stay healthy and avoid accidents. So to have all SEVEN books was heaven...and a little bit of hell when I read them and characters died in horrible ways. There's one death in that series that still haunts me. So imagine my absolute THRILL to hear there was a movie. I checked online and found it only available in Australia. I waited and checked again, and found it in DVD but not certain it would work on US DVD's. More time passed, and I saw it was listed on Netflix. I put it on que and it still hasn't come. I checked online again and it was like $30 to buy a copy, and I really just wanted to watch it, not necessarily own it. So I waited again -- and two nights ago I found it on our movie channel and set my DVR. Well I just watched the movie of TOMORROW, WHEN THE WAR BEGAN and I can not understand why US kids are not talking about this movie. It's very different than Hunger Games, but it packs a similar intensity, powerful teens and even small doses of humor. The characters seemed very much like how I remember them in the books, too. If it were released some some hype, it could be HUGE! I loved the cast and only hated when it ended and I'd already heard there wasn't a movie sequel. What's with the Australia movie makers -- get busy and film the second movie before those teens become adults. If you haven't checked out these books and the movie, do it NOW. Start with the books: Enjoy!

Friday, July 06, 2012

This is where I am: A tiny town at the edge of OR and Idaho. I've been visiting my picture-book-author-friend Verla Kay for a few days and we've been having a great time. Our hubbies get along great, too. The weather has been perfect, no hotter than 80 with cool breezes. And it's lovely here with rolling green hills and a friendly town right out of Mayberry. So far I've: * Took aa walk on a dirt road that used to be a railroad track * Road on a ferry boat ride on 4th of July * Walked a golf course while hubby played 9 holes & I found 12 lost balls (not his) * Played cards * Went to a casino where one of us won $300 on a piggy penny slot (not me) I also finished reading two books so far, both of them advance copies which I'll review later: SCARLET by Marissa Meyer (ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY LOVED IT!) and SPY AND LIAR by Rebecca Stead which was a quiet, enjoyable read with twist at end. I just started EVERY DAY by Levithan which has an intriguing story of a guy who wakes up every morning in someone else's body. Anyone who has read my DEAD GIRL trilogy knows I love books about body switching, and just a few pages in this book and I'm already intrigued and eager to read more. When I read YA books I enjoy and learn, always studying why something works. Writing is a continual learning process, and I consider myself lucky that my education (reading books!) is so much fun.