For the Love of Words — gift edition

Words, words how I love thee. Let me count the ways …

Writing, reading, looking, wearing …

This month we’re talking about the love of words here on AO&R and I for one and utterly in love with prose. There are so many way to appreciate words, but let me go back to wearing. With Christmas fast approaching I want to tell you about some of the fabulous book merch available. Here are my top 4 picks for the upcoming festive season.

4. Book Quote shirts from Redbubble. A marketplace for custom designed shirts, you’ll find so many amazing and unique products there like this Fault in Our Stars T.

The Fault in Our Stars Typography T-Shirt

3. Bookish Jewelry from Zing. I adore these Harry Potter wrist bands!

2. You’ll find a whole world of bookish wearables on Etsy. My favourite are the mini book necklaces.

1. Anything from Litographs. Seriously, these people print the prose from famous literature onto t-shirts, scarfs, headbands and writing gloves. WRITING GLOVES, guys. Does life get any cooler?


Share the bookish love … have you stumbled across anything fun for the word lovers in your life?

Stacey Nash writes about characters who have to overcome their fears. To find out more about Stacey’s books or to connect with her on social media, check out these places:, instagram, twitter, facebook.

Back to Basics – Understanding Grammar

When I first started writing I had no idea how much I actually didn’t know about the English language. I like to consider myself a pretty smart person, but I had to look up simple things like how to punctuate dialogue, what the difference is between past and present tense, and how to use the apostrophe correctly. And I’m the first to admit that I still learn something new every day. These simple things—and a whole lot more—are fundamental knowledge if we want to write our stories, and write them well.

I don’t have copious amounts of time and space to go through everything—and let’s face it, it would be very unrealistic to even try—so today I thought I’d just touch on some of the basics.

The basic parts of speech and the written word

Noun: a person, place or thing. For example, father, Sydney, bird.

Pronoun: a word that replaces or stands for a noun. For example, he, she, it.

Verb: an action word. For example, run, climb, sit.

Adjective: a word that modifies or describes a noun. For example, the blue house.

Adverb: a word that modifies or describes a verb. For example, she ran quickly down the hall.

The basic punctuation marks

End punctuation: these consist of the full stop (.) or period in American English, question mark (?) and exclamation point (!). A full stop is used at the end of a sentence that makes a statement and is the most common of the end punctuation marks. The question mark is obviously used when a question is asked, and the exclamation point is used for emphasis.

Commas: the comma is the most popular punctuation mark, and also the one that often breaks the rules. It is principally used for separating things or joining two clauses in one sentence. Have a look at this Wikipedia article for more information.

Semicolons: a semicolon (;) is used to separate two main clauses not joined by a co-ordinating conjunction such as and or but. Click here to read a very amusing article by The Oatmeal about how to use the semicolon correctly.

Colons: a colon (:) is used to set off a series, summary, or list after a main clause.

Dashes: There are two main types of dashes: an en dash (–) which is the width of the letter n and used for periods of time in place of the word to, and an em dash (—) which is the width of the letter m and used to set off a short summary after a complete main cause. It may also be used to replace commas where two main clauses are interrupted by a piece of additional information. Dashes should not be confused with the hyphen (-) which is used to link words and parts of words.

Apostrophes: this little mark (’) is the most common misused punctuation mark in written English. It has two primary uses. One, it denotes ownership, and two, it indicates abbreviation. The biggest mistake I often see is when an apostrophe is used to create a plural. Have a look at this great explanation from The Oatmeal on How To Use An Apostrophe.

Quotation Marks: these are also referred to as inverted commas (“”) and are used to set off quotes or dialogue.

Phew! Now I’ve got that out of the way, I want to give you a tip that’s the one thing I find really helpful with my own writing. Read it out loud. Often things sound different in our head, so reading a sentence or paragraph out loud, and to someone else, will help iron out any imperfections.

K. A. Last is a YA author and has recently self-published her debut novel – Fall For Me – available at Amazon and Smashwords. She drinks lots of tea, and loves all things pink. K. A. Last hangs out on Facebook or you can find her on twitter and Goodreads. She’s also been known to blog once in a while.


Introducing… Lauren McKellar

Why, hello there! Thanks for stopping by our page. It’s my turn for an introduction and I have to admit, I don’t really know where to start. So, uh, my name is Lauren and I like sunsets, daiquiris, and long walks upon the beach (or, in ‘Australian,’ I like the arvo, beer, and barbies on the beach, mate) (and no, we don’t really all talk like that).

More importantly, I love reading and writing. I’ve been an official Nerd for as long as I can remember–I even read the dictionary as a kid (yes, I was insanely popular). As magazine editor of two national publications I work with words a lot, so it’s lucky I like them.

I’ve done several courses on writing and have recently completed my first YA Contemporary manuscript and am working on an NA Contemporary. I’m also one of the founding members of the Central Coast Writers Group of Awesomeness.

When it comes to reading, some of my favourite Australian authors are John Marsden, Melina Marchetta, Marcus Zusak and Kate Forsyth. From a broader YA/NA reading perspective, I am shamelessly mainstream and love John Green, Colleen Hoover and Jessica Sorensen–for me, reading has to be fun and escapist, consuming me enough to take me away from my real life and engaging enough to make me want to keep reading as I wait on the platform for the train, as I stand in line for groceries or as I fit in a quick breakfast pre-work.

I live with my super-hot boyfriend who is incredibly writing supportive (if he has to listen to me narrate a scene one more time…) and our two cute puppies who are great for cuddles on the days when the words just won’t work.

The Aussie icon I’m most like is the convict; sure, I’ve done some stupid/bad ass/illegal things, but I’m a hard worker and a good person deep down, and would steal a loaf of bread if I had to. Oh, and I mainly wear black and white.

(Note: I actually look nothing like this)Photo: Big Stock

(Note: I actually look nothing like this)
Photo: Big Stock

If you’d like to find me in other places you can chat to me on twitter, look me up on facebook or stop by my blog.
Want to win your share of prizes from the Aussie Owned and Read team? Enter our competition for your chance to win a copy of Graffiti Moon (Amazon ebook), Fall For Me (Amazon ebook) and All This Could End (Amazon ebook) OR, for the writers out there, a professional edit of the first five pages of your manuscript, a first chapter critique and one of two query or synopsis critiques. That’s right, we have SEVEN DIFFERENT PRIZES! Enter using the Rafflecopter link below and be sure to stop by daily for the rest of our Aussie introductory posts (and more chances to win!). Entries close February 5, 2013.