123 Dogs|A foray into rhyming poetry

I write some poetry – and in the past it’s all been non-rhyming. I find it easier – and it’s a lot more dramatic than rhyming poetry – which suits a lot of my (serious) poems.

But I’m trying to learn how to write more on happy topics, and in poetry, for me, happy = rhyming. This is an association I am working not to make, and I want to learn how to use both rhyming and non-rhyming poetry for serious and not serious topics.

For now, though, enjoy this (slightly pathetic) poem about Bertha and Bob who have 123 dogs (and counting)! Let me know what you think.

123 DOGS

Some have one or two,
Others even have a few.
But Bertha and Bob, of Sunny McGee
Had one hundred and twenty three.

It had started when they were young,
And both were scoundrels on the run.
Bob had Kip, a scraggly mutt
Who was a certified madhouse nut.

Dog number 5 was Spot –
A smug Dalmatian covered in dots.
He lived a lonely life,
Because he cheated on his wife.

Dog 18 and 19 had dated before,
When they had long snouts and big paws

Alas, it had ended with divorce,
And the kids went to the horse.

27 and 30 had met by chance,
At the 2007 barnyard dance,
They hit it off and had a pup,
A beagle x bulldog – Buttercup

Buttercup was dog number 36,
And came in after Mr. Chopsticks,
He had been quite overweight
Bertha soon set the boy straight.

Dogs 40 through 47,
Were a family made in heaven
Each brother cared for his own
Play fighting and sharing bones.

A lab nicknamed Sir. Nifty,
Was the McGee’s number 50.
He was agile, a natural on jumps,
But, boy, could he grump.

Dogs 60 to 70 were nondescript,
Except 65 who knew how to skip.
He’d come from the tent
And had an accent

Dog 71 was pug,
Who would only sleep on a rug.
He was friends with 75 –
A terrier called Dr Clive.

Dog 85 and 90 were tri dogs,
And hopped around like frogs.
90 and 91 wore coats,
And had made friends with the goats

Dog 100 was an extraordinary feat –
A greyhound called Alex Pete.
He was mostly pretty nice,
Except when it came to mice

Number 110 was 3 feet tall,
But damn, he had some gall.
He’d had a fight with number 113
A Bull Terrier named Bean.

115 was a poodle,
Who didn’t like the other oodles.
She was flaunty and showy
And had a brother called Joey

Dog 123, their current end,
Had been found on the bend.
Bounding and jumping with joy,
He was their new favourite boy.

Dog 124 is on its way,
At Bob and Bertha it wants to stay.
They’re the best place be,
At their house in Sunny McGee.




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Here is a little something I wrote.

We have a Situation. In the last five minutes, it has progressed from a situation to a Situation and I fear that before the day is over, it will become a SITUATION.

Historically Situations only become SITUATIONS if the problem can’t be solved, and this problem is looking like a Bad One. It has all the markings of becoming a SITUATION (which would then become A SITUATION and I was not ready for that kind of thing).

To contain Situations, you need three things: a) courage, b) some really excellent persuasive skills, and c) as many bars of The Original chocolate bars as possible (but not more than 5, because more than 5 makes you sick. Trust me, I’ve had experience).

Courage and me, we weren’t the best of friends. We were more like acquaintances. He usually got the better of me, but sometimes, and really I do mean sometimes, I got the better of him. This was one of those times. Courage and I were ready to take on the Situation and kick some serious Situation Butt.

I have ‘some really excellent persuasive skills’, thanks to my 6 years as debate captain. I was ready to first, second and third speaker my way of out this Situation. I was ready to rebuttal all points even hinted at by the Situation. Give me some cue cards, some sticky notes and a pen and I was ready for this debate.

There are 17 chocolate bars hidden around my house for Situations like this, but I am not at my house. This meant that the half a chocolate bar in my pocket and the three Original Bars in my bra were going to have to do.

The chocolate is two-fold. If I beat the Situation, then it’s celebratory chocolate. If I lose against the Situation, then it’s rocking-in-the-fetal-position-I’m-sad-chocolate. Either way, I’m prepared.

“Next please.”

The lady in front of me steps away and I am confronted with the Situation face-to-face. I am NOT prepared. The Situation isn’t offensive on sight (no that would be too obvious for a villain), but rather it’s the action the Situation does.

Scan, scan, SCAN THAT BREAD. Scanning my milk and the (really expensive) avocados and the crumpets that were on sale.

I check behind me. My mother is nowhere in sight.

SCANNING the chicken legs and the peaches. The Situation scans the carton of eggs (12 of them) and the dog food. There are suddenly only three things left. THREE THINGS BETWEEN a Situation and a SITUATION.

My mother is still not here.

This has become a SITUATION.

Lemme know what you think!



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Nano Update//Piece of Writing

Okay, so I didn’t win Nano this year. I got to just over 19k before I left for New Zealand. Although I would’ve liked to have had more words – halfway would’ve been nice, or even a round 20k, but alas – it’s 19k more words than I had at the beginning of November. I’ve given myself 6 months (ish) to finish this novel, but it’s been just over a week since I’ve come home and I haven’t touched it. That should give you an indication of whether or not I’m actually going to get this done in 6 months (probably not, but hey, I’m here to give it a go).

Instead of Nano snippets (although I’m not so good at sharing my writing, so who knows if that would’ve happened) – here is a short story that I wrote a few months back.



“Just swipe left already. He’s not that cute, probably has bad breath and his left ear’s all crooked.”

Janet is getting impatient.

“How dare you say that about my future housemate.”

“Okay fine, he’s lovely, but can we please keep looking?”

“Yes, yes, give me a second.”

I swipe left across the screen.

“Oh, this one’s a good one. He looks like he’d be a good cuddler.

“Ashley, you’ve said that about the last eight.”

“Well they all look like they’d be good cuddlers.”

“He’s better than the last one, but his legs are a bit big. I reckon he’d be a big runner.”

Janet’s probably right (again). She’s had much more experience with this than I have, so for now, her sage advice is all I’ve got.

“Next!” Janet is getting really impatient.

“This one’s got the David Bowie thing going on with his eyes.”

“Yeah, heterochromia. It’s quite cool actually. He’d be good to draw.”

“Good bone structure too.”

“Yes, he’s beautiful, but you’re not choosing him just because he’s beautiful. What does his bio say? Is he someone of substance?”

“I wouldn’t say being on here is saying we’re people of substance, but anyway.”

“Ash, don’t worry, your reputation is safe with me. His bio?”

“Oh right. It says ‘loves long walks and the beach. Ball is life.’ Bit boring. I want someone with a bit more oomph.”

“That’s the spirit Ash! Getting someone for the personality and not their looks. Of course we’re not shallow. Who’s the next one?”

“It’s a girl. Her name is Daisy.”

“What does her bio say?”

“It says ‘loves running. Chicken and rice is what I consider a good meal.”

“Better than ‘Ball is life’ guy, but chicken and rice, really? A bit on the bland side for me. I want someone who likes to experience the best things in life.”

“Dude you are way too fussy.”

“Why is there someone wrong with me wanting someone with a little bit of spice?”

“Because you’re looking for a dog.”

“Yes, but I want my dog with a bit of pa-zazz.”

“I get that – sort of – but you’ve gotta remember this is not Tinder, we a not looking for a boyfriend and dogs are not like people.”

“They’re sorta like people.”

“Yes, but not that much. You’re taking the next dog, okay?”

“Fine. What happens if it’s not a good dog?”

“It’ll be a great one. Here, look. Her name is Charlie and her bio says she’s ‘into the couch life’. Sounds like your type of gal.”

“She looks cool. Let’s do it.”

Janet’s finger hovers over the Next button for just a second before she presses. I’m going to meet this dog.

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NaNo 2017

This is my Nano year. Every single year I say I’m going to do it, but every November comes and goes and I don’t do it. (I kinda once did it in 2013, but it was a very half-arsed, not very Nano-vibes effort. It doesn’t really count).

National Novel Writing Month – Nano for short – is just that. In the month of November people from all around the world sign up (on nanowrimo.org) to write 50k in one month. That’s the goal anyway.

(Apparently) you can join cabins and have buddies, but I have zero clue how that works. I’m just here to track my words and look at all the encouraging tweets (and tweet my own despairs).

If you write 50k, you ‘win’ Nano. (If not, it doesn’t matter). You self-track your words – and it is absolutely so satisfying to see that word count go up. You can earn badges and buy merch (and also donate money).

Unfortunately for me, Nano always falls during exams. I’m 20, so since I was 14 or so I’ve had exams during November/December. Last year I was overseas during the beginning of November – and then worked full-time for the rest.

I was so determined to do Nano this year that I made it one of my New Year’s Resolutions. So here I am. I unfortunately do have exams (3 of them), so I’ll have to balance my writing with that (and sadly, they come first).

But I am determined to finish my first novel.

I have one almost-finished one (around 40k words, but it’s never getting done), and another at 13k or something. I am excited for my current WIP and I’ve been planning and writing and thinking about it a lot.

I think I’m a plantser – I like to know the main points of my novel, but I’m not really into planning everything out word for word and page by page. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten the whole ‘plan-in-one-place’ thing down pat – and have notes everywhere: on my phone, in at least 2 different notebooks and as audio notes. Sometime soon I’ll have to collate them somewhere (any ideas???)

But this is me, pledging to do Nano 2017 (and try my very very hardest to win).


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Changing the world

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about changing the world.

A big impact!

Or something small.

I was lucky enough to be born during the Internet Generation, and so have grown up with the most inspiring and incredible people on the Internet. Thanks to Twitter and Instagram, I am able to read and watch and look at amazing pieces of art every single day.

People like Frances Cannon and Alexis Winter and Rubyetc. and Ashley Ronning (all people whose artwork dons my walls). Sunshine-y people like Emily Coxhead who designed the greatest thing in modern history – The Happy Newspaper – are people who brighten up my day (and I’m eagerly awaiting my delivery of The Happy News).

I adore Amie Kaufman’s Instastory videos, and Benjamin Law’s tweets are always so excellent and funny and absolutely always on point. Michelle Law is also incredibly wonderful and funny and Adam Liaw is both rad on Twitter and Instagram (where he always posts pics of delicious food)!

Whether they know it or not (I’m betting they do not), these people make my world a better place. They make it happier or funnier or brilliant-er or motivate me to be a better person. So thank you for that.

(I kind of lost my train of thought, so I’m just going to stop now. This was not going to be, but turned out to be, an appreciation post for the Internet and the A++ people on it. I’m a lil sad my train of thought left the station, but so so glad I have the Internet because these people are here making excellent things on it).

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BOOKS – a poem

Pirate ships, little boys,
Spaceships, moving toys.
Families, heartbreak,
Holding hands, carpet snakes.

Absent dad, dead mom
Contemporary rom-com
Missing kid, no history,
Found yourself a mystery.

Exploding ships, time to flee
This is fantasy.
Teenagers – (some in cults)
Welcome to young adult

We have Evie, Noah, Jess
Frankie, Alba, Death.
Anna, Hazel, Rachel Watts,
Mycroft, Augustus, Mrs. Potts.

The love is large, it is great
To find characters who relates.
Add a plot and take a look,
You’ve found yourself a brilliant book.

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Just under four years ago (THE TIME HAS FLOWN), I received an email saying I’d been accepted as an Inky Award Judge for 2014. I was pretty damn excited – I was getting free books and I’d be able to talk and analyse and argue about them with other people. What could be better? (Answer: not much).

One of those 20 EXCELLENT Inky Awards books was Ellie Marney’s Every Breath (the first book in the Every series) and I damn well fell in love. I loved Rachel’s fiery nature and Mycroft’s hair!!! (And also him and his loping-ness, and his Mycroft-ness).

I devoured book 1 and 2 and then came book 3 with Harris!!! (I could spend an entire blog post talking about the Every series, but since this is meant to be a review for No Limits, I should probably get a move on). I’m not going to spoil anything, but book 3 is an exciting time because we get introduced to Harris (and his wily ways).

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 8.52.45 PM.png

Fast forward to my 18th birthday and my sister had organised for Ellie Marney to send me a birthday card.* Included in that package was THE FIRST PAGE OF HARRIS!!! Looking at it, a lil bit has changed – bits taken out – the order changed, but not that much. It’s still stuck to the wall above my bed and even though the book is (almost) out in the real world, it’s probably gonna stay there for a while.

Fast forward to present day. I have just finished No Limits and it was everything I have been excited for. It’s reallly hard to review without spoilers (because I just want to shout everything out from the rooftops, but since it’s not actually out yet, and Ellie was super super kind enough to give me an e-ARC), I will refrain. Kudos to all reviewers who do not spoil. (I clearly don’t do this very often so I’ll try my best).

ANYWAY. Here are the things I liked/loved:
– HARRIS (and his face and the way he grew as a person and his golden-ness AND the certain thing he gets in the book which I won’t talk about BUT I WOULD LOVE a photo).
– AMIE. She strong and powerful (THAT KICK!!), AND SHE’S V. involved in her Indian culture. Her family (NANI!!!), and Beena and her aunt and her dad. They were all so great – and they had their flaws, but whose family doesn’t?
– THE AUSTRALIAN SLANG. If you ever ever need to study Australian slang, read this (or any of Ellie’s other books). The language makes the entire book so relatable – like Harris and Amie could be my friends and ugh!!! So good.
– LOCATION. Everything felt so real!! It feels as if I were to drive down their way, I would expect to see all the landmarks in the book – from the river to the run-down house (incl. their occupants); to plain house and the hospital.

There really wasn’t anything I didn’t like, except that it wasn’t long enough. Although the ending is SO SO good, and I cannot see how, in any universe, it could’ve ended up differently.

Diem and I reviewed THIS EXCELLENT BOOK on the BookishFriends Podcast –
LINKY to discussion (SPOILERS!!! and mostly about Harris and his hotness.
LINKY to review (no spoilers, much MORE SERIOUS but equally as important because we discuss the ‘big issues’ in Ellie’s v. wonderful book) ***CONTENT WARNING: drug addiction and domestic violence****

If you ever need to discuss Harris/Amie/Rachel/Mycroft or anything related to these WONDERFUL books, tweet me @laurentheberger.

The book is out today!!! If you live in Melbourne, there’s a book launch that Friday (the 18th of August) at Dymocks in the city (link for tickets/info).



*My sister also organised for Rachael Craw to send me a card. With her card she sent a video with her reading from Stray. Thank you to both Ellie and Rachael for such memorable 18th birthday presents ❤ <3.

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LOVE to Manchester

Concerts are meant to be safe places to go and have the absolute best time with your friend/s or family, screaming words to a song you fell like was written for you. They’re places for inspiring, for (happy) tears and for losing your voice. They’re meant to be filled with joy and happiness and a sense of finally I’m here, after booking tickets a year ago. Concerts are meant to be filled with shiny lights (aka your phones) when you sway to a slow song, or confetti or those huge balls that get floated around the crowd.

I was lucky enough to go to Adele in March, and this is what I wrote under my Instagram video of the event:

“ADELE ✨ I wanna be like her when I grow up ✨ She is a certified genius, a powerhouse and is not afraid to tell it like it is. She swears like a sailor and has the best laugh and let a little kid’s dream come true by letting her sing the entirety of Hello on stage tonight 💖 Her songs are anthems for everyone young and old and in between; she’s the hope and happiness (and tears over boys) 🌌 Thank you for the night 🌟”

Reading that again, I am immediately reminded about how excited I was seeing her perform (and it truely is a performance – comedy AND singing); about how inspired I felt afterwards to do my own creative things! Concerts are grounds for hope and love and your dreams coming true.

Concerts should never ever ever end like how Ariana Grande’s concert ended. It makes me so angry and sad that this attack happened and especially at a concert – a place that’s there for people to see their idols (finally!) – and sing the words they’ve known the minute the album came out out loud, with thousands of other passionate fans.

I know we don’t know the full story or the extent of the deaths. The last time I checked, there were 22 dead and 50 people injured. That’s 72 people too many. 72 people who came to have the best night, filled with excitement and optimism and hope. 22 people whose parents, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, cousins, grandparents and dogs will be scared and sad and missing them so so much. 50 people we are worried for and hoping for and loving.

I can only hope and believe that everyone injured will recover, and that nothing like this will never ever ever happen again. Not only at concerts, but anywhere: in schools, offices, on the streets, market places, beach fronts, homes or anywhere else.

Sending all the love in the world to those suffering, and may everything be a little bit better soon.


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University update!


I am now just over 9 weeks deep into my first year of uni – and I like to think I’m no longer just a jaffy*, but someone who has learnt a little bit about how life works at uni.

  1. The lecturers don’t really care whether, you – personally, go to their lecture, but I assume it is nicer when there’s people to talk to. I started off going to every single lecture (except my m+c one, which I dislike with a passion) – but I love the idea that if I miss one, I can still catch up online. That means if I’m feeling unwell (or just not feeling it), I don’t have to push myself to go. Every single lecture (or at least for all the classes I do) are recorded, along with the slides that are used. I do try and go, because it means when I get home I don’t have to catch up on hours of lectures – but knowing that back up is there is very nice.

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  2. Making friends isn’t going to happen overnight. I knew this. I did. But it was also nice to think that going from high school to somewhere where no-one knew me (and I was a year disconnected), it would be a fresh start. I would be a changed woman. And I like to think that I’m a bit different – a bit more confident – but I still gotta learn to put myself out there a bit.
  3. Uni’s better than high school. #Confirmed. I’m actually studying what I like – and I know that if I don’t like it, I can always change mid-semester (which I plan on doing with my m+c class).
  4. They don’t spoon feed you. I know high school is meant to prepare you for uni, and it does in some ways (kinda??), but there is a lot of help at high school: your teachers, student managers, other teachers, your friends etc. Uni is different. Things are explained in less detail, and with less time til the due date. If you need help, you have to make an appointment in advance (and it might not be at good times for you) to see your tutor. They don’t spend super long on a topic – whereas I found at high school, they went over and over concepts until you were sick to death of them (but at least you knew them)!
  5. It’s really nice to have some good food at uni – and not just deep fried potato cakes and $4.50 salads – but also a bit dangerous. At the beginning I bought food everyday, but I’ve become a bit slack – and hey, if money’s not to spend on food, what is it for?

    ron eating.gif

    Ron is me, and I am Ron.

  6. Everyone’s pretty nice – no-one gives a shit about who you were in high school, and whether you were in this clique, or that one, or had no friends – they’ll probably talk to you anyway. I haven’t come across anyone who is rude for no reason (hello, high school). It’s weird not knowing all the people in my year (as I did at high school, because I’d spent the last 6 years with them) – but I guess knowing a few thousand people is a bit much.
  7. You’ve gotta be pretty motivated, because the teachers (lecturers and tutors) care, but not as much as they did in high school. At high school, it felt like they invested in you, and if you needed help they would be there – before school or after school. The tutors feel a bit interested in you – and want you to do well whilst you’re in their class – but once you’re in the next semester, they won’t know you – whether you got an HD or an F.

So far, so good. There’s been great points, and there’s been some pretty stressful points. I love some of my classes – others I want to get rid of asap. I’ve written more words in my essays in the last 2 months then I think I’ve written in my entire high school career – and a picture is slowly forming about what I want to do when I finish.

*  the super endearing term for clueless first years: just another f**king first year.


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Read//Watch//Listen (8)

I’ve written and rewritten about 3 different posts in the last week. I’m not sure myself what I wanna say, so for the moment, draft posts and Shiny New Ideas it is. It’s been a while since I posted anything, so here is version numero 8 of Read//Watch//Listen.



I am currently reading some excellent #LoveOzYA in the form of Night Swimming (Steph Bowe). I’ve read her other two books, and have mixed feelings about both of them, but so far I’m really enjoying this book. I went to the launch (late, because I had something on before, but I did manage to hear the end of Steph reading out of her book, and all the thank yous). Steph is super lovely (and she even remembered me)!

Photo on 23-04-2017 at 2.55 PM #3

Note: Not only is the book itself wonderful, but the MC has a grandad who has dementia, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a YA book and I really really appreciate it!


Besides my normal shows, I am watching Suits (which I absolutely love) – and this morning I started the super super hyped Thirteen Reasons Why. I have read the book (years ago, though), so I know mostly what happens, although I’ve forgotten a lot of the details. One episode in, and the thing I’m enjoying the most is the fact that Kate Walsh (Addison Montgomery to the Greys and Private Practice fans is Hannah’s mom). I’m interested to see how they work the show, and whether I’ll like it.


I’m not really listening to anything obsessively at the moment – but my general playlist includes Divide (Ed Sheeran), Green Light (Lorde) and Water Under the Bridge (Adele).

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Any TV show recommendations?

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