Author Archives: Richard Leonard

About Richard Leonard

A writer of fiction, software, magazine articles, websites, blogs, tweets and sadly, cheques.

Melbourne: The Lilydale To Warburton Rail Trail

Richard Leonard:

Love this trail. Very familiar territory!

Originally posted on I Don't Have The Map:

This is the world’s most liveable city. I don’t think it’s achieved such an accolade on so many occasions because people love to stay indoors and keep their tiny white box of an apartment clean. The theory is that having already spent the best part of twelve months here, I should know when the big, unmissable events are. For example, the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, missed last year due to the regional work requirements, will absolutely not be missed this year. White Night, on the other hand, will be as I’ll be across the ditch when this takes place early next year. What I need to focus on now, is branching out, looking into the smaller, less known, largely unheard of happenings in and around the city. Should be pretty easy, don’t you think? Just a couple of weeks ago Elena and I went out to Brunswick to watch the…

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One Week to go and the Slackness Continues

As I mentioned last at the end of August, I’m doing the 100km Around the Bay in a Day ride next Sunday to raise funds for the Smith Family and help disadvantaged children in Australia. I’ve been slack. Slack with training, slack with the fund-raising. I feel bad because I haven’t had created the opportunity to do more. I’ve actually been really busy with work and distracted by health issues of other family members, hence the lack of blog posts, too.

Anyway, to at least partially make amends for my recent lack of fund-raising efforts I post this because there is only one week to go. Please help the kiddies if you can. You can also click that helmeted head over there on the hill to the left for the fund-raising page.

Thank you!

Anagrams in Novels – Clever or Cringeworthy?

I’m really bad with picking up anagrams.

I recently realised that the name of a famous ebook reading device is an anagram of “book”. (That’s the Kobo, in case you’re worse at it than me.)

And it was only this year, 11 years after the last instalment of The Matrix Trilogy was released, when I realised that for three movies of NEO trying to work out if he is the ONE… you see? And that was only after someone pointed it out to me.

A good example of an accurate anagram. Credit: Paul at Unreality Magazine

A good example of an accurate anagram. Credit: Paul at Unreality Magazine

We sometimes see anagrams used in books and movies and TV shows, maybe in detective mysteries where the culprit leaves an anagram as cryptic clue to tease the police. Or a character might use an anagram of his name as an alias.

A recent famous anagram is “Tom Marvolo Riddle” = “I Am Lord Voldemort” in the book called you-know-what written by you-know-who.

I always felt the “I am” part of that anagram made it looked forced and contrived. If it was a compete name that was an anagram of just “Lord Voldemort” I would have found it far more powerful. I get the feeling JK was struggling to make the anagram thing fit with Lord Voldemort. The “I am” prefix could perhaps be defended by Tom Riddle’s desire to not just create a name, but an association of the name with himself if he were to announce it to a town square full of fearful witches and wizards, just as he did to a lone Harry in the Chamber of Secrets. I can’t remember if there was any reference of him making such an appearance to the wizarding world. Still, the “I am” could still have been used separately with the anagram proper.

Anyway, this leads me to my question. Questions.

  • Should we use/avoid using anagrams in our fiction?
  • How far should we push it if it isn’t working?
  • Are they just a cliché or a gimmick that makes the reader groan?
  • Are they more trouble than they are worth?
  • Or can they be powerful elements that enhance a story?

Have you tried to use anagrams in your fiction? If so, how did you use them and how well did it work?

 

Boook Review: Ignite by Lily Paradis

Ignite - Lily Paradis

Ignite by Lily Paradis, released on August 26 this year, is a Young Adult novel best described by the blurb:

After her father’s untimely demise in a mining accident and her mother’s abandonment, Lauren Lindsay is no stranger to loss. She’s used to living life for one person: herself. That is, until another family tragedy thrusts three children into her care and uproots her life in ways she could never imagine.

Lauren’s first instinct is to run, until she meets their striking, mysterious neighbor Dean Powell. Their immediate chemistry and his connection with her late father just might be enough to keep her in town long enough to uncover pieces of her past that she never had answers to. Dean’s shady past and her reluctance to trust him could cost her the life she’s always been searching for, but will she run back to her old life?

Or will she choose to stay and live the life her father always imagined for her?

I received an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of Ignite and didn’t read the blurb before I read the novel so everything was a surprise for me. For a début novel, Ms Paradis has done remarkably well. Ignite ticks all the boxes for a YA novel, although in my opinion it probably has a PG rating rather than an M, if that’s what you are expecting. I enjoyed it more than I expected, given the genre.

It contains all the elements of a great young adult story. Romance, action, man-candy for the girls, near death experiences, the list goes on. Told in the first person from Lauren’s point of view, it shows the internal conflict she experiences when faced with her new responsibilities, her self-doubt and her battle with the distraction that is the hunky Dean Powell. The characters of various ages mostly come across as quite realistic in their respective behaviours, especially the teens, however, I felt the older adult characters seemed a little under-developed.

The significant romance element of the novel does stretch the actions of Dean a little toward the bounds of believability. At times he comes across as a little too polished and perfect. Having said that, the story focussed on Lauren’s perspective of Dean and her inherited family, and given the intended genre and audience these points may be forgiven.

Overall, Dean’s “perfectness” is kept in check by the relationships and motivations of the characters which, by the end, will reveal themselves to be a good tie-up of most loose ends. There were enough unanswered questions about Lauren’s family to leave the reader hoping for more in the planned sequel.

Generally I enjoyed Ignite and I’m willing to bet many young ladies will also love  reading the story of Lauren Lindsay and her new relationships with her step siblings, and of course, the almost to good to be true Dean Powell.

I give Ignite by Lily Paradis 3.5 stars. Call it 4.

Ignite by Lily Paradis can be found in ebook and paperback editions on Amazon and Goodreads. Lily’s Website can be found at www.lilyparadis.com.

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Help Stop the Ivory Trade

Richard Leonard:

Killing an individual is one thing. Killing off an entire species, a vital cog in a complex ecosystem… I have no words. Very sad. And all because the ecosystem we are part of takes a backseat to the economy.

Originally posted on 4am Writer:

The illegal ivory trade has decimated the elephant population. Elephants are on the brink of extinction. Please help save them. Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed for its tusks. At that rate, elephants will be extinct in the wild in about 10 years.

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Around the Bay in a Day

Every year Melbourne hosts the Around the Bay in a Day charity cycling event. This year it’s on Sunday the 19th of October.

The charity is the Smith Family, who help support disadvantaged Australian children.

The Bay I speak of is Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay, with a coastline of more than 250 km and 35 times the surface area of Sydney Harbour, is what 15,000 keen cyclists ride around to raise money for charity. And the pure enjoyment of riding a bike. But mainly for the charity. And bragging rights. Because it’s a huge achievement to successfully ride that sort of distance in one day.

But I won’t be doing 250km. I’ve signed up for one of the 100km rides instead. Partly because of the logistics of getting to the start location that early in the morning, partly because I’m not fit enough to ride 250+ kms, and partly because a work colleague coaxed me into doing it because it’s his first time.

I’ve set up my Fund-raising page where people can donate if they wish. If the joy you would receive from helping a disadvantaged child is not enough incentive to donate, I’ve added the chance for you to laugh at me instead. You see, I’ve never worn those silly lycra cycling nicks in my life. I see no need for them and they look silly, in my opinion. However, if my donation total reaches $1,000 before the big day, I will actually wear some lycra shorts and post photos of the hideously unattractive sight.

Thank you.

 

Sagittarius, The Milky Way, Flickr and My Photography

Here’s a bit of irony for you. Anyone who’s read my blog regularly, would realise I don’t often include photos with my posts. This is mainly due to time constraints. It’s like, I just want to write this and get it out there. I can’t be bothered putting up an accompanying photo. Okay, so it’s a bit of laziness, too! If the post is specifically about a photo or an image, I’ll obviously included it but in general it’s been about the writing, and ideas, etc. Now, the irony is I actually love photography! Continue reading