Recent Travel Adventures

Hiker admires the view in You Yangs Regional Park

Hiking the You Yangs Regional Park

The You Yangs Regional Park rises starkly out of flat farmland. It’s a massive rock formation, Flinders Peak appearing in the distance on the way from Melbourne to Geelong. The You Yangs offers some of the best peak views in Melbourne, and the hike to the top is not difficult for people with a good […]

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Statue at 1000 Steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk

1000 Steps Uphill - Hiking the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk

1000 steps and I’m at the bottom of them, along with women clad in fluorescent active wear, hikers hauling weighted training packs and dads carrying kids. The Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, popularly called the 1000 Steps, is a short but steep walk in the Dandenong Ranges, Melbourne.

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Writing Advice

Jock Serong, Kat Clay, Emma Viskic, Andrew Nette, Iain Ryan (below), Liam Jose, Leigh Redhead

Sometimes it's hard to keep writing. Then there are weeks like this.

It’s a hard slog being a writer. No matter what form you practice, rejection becomes a part of life. You’re constantly slapped in the face with your apparent failures (I say apparent because most rejections are not personal, but it’s hard not to take it personally). 

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Upcoming Appearances: Noir at the Bar and the Science for Science Fiction Conference

I am so excited to have a number of Melbourne appearances in March and April. I’ll be speaking alongside some incredible Australian authors. Whether your interest is in crime or science fiction, there’s something for everyone. 

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Photography Tips

Light travel backpack and camera bag

Travelling light as a photographer (no zip-off pants allowed)

Two and a half weeks with only cabin baggage sounds terrifying to most people. And it’s exactly what I’m doing tomorrow morning. I’m flying off to the States with only a small backpack and my camera satchel.

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footscray new years eve fireworks

How to take photos of fireworks

Over the new year I always love to take photos of fireworks. Nothing says celebration like a giant fireworks explosion! It was my first new year in Melbourne, so I sought out a great spot to take pictures in Footscray, watching both the 9:30pm fireworks in Footscray and the midnight fireworks over the city. My […]

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Recent Posts

Driving from LA to San Francisco

Kat: In the past week we’ve been driving from LA to San Francisco. A classic route well-known among beatniks and hippies, searching for sun along the rocky cliffs of Big Sur. The roads wind around the cliffs for hours upon hours, until they disappear into the grey Californian fog, the dramatic coastline imitating the highlands of Scotland at times.  Authors such as Henry Miller and John Steinbeck called this area their home. It is a writer’s paradise; the lone silver rocks forming out of the ocean, the crazed cliffs and mind-bending bridges.

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camera equipment

The Top 15 Travel Accessories for Backpackers

Going into a camping shop is almost like going into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. There are so many gadgets it’s hard to know if you really need the James Bond belt that has a grappling hook hidden inside the buckle. Here are what I believe to be the 15 top travel accessories for backpackers, in no particular order.

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How to save money for a world trip

There’s a common travel saying “Take half the luggage and twice the money”. Unfortunately we’re not all blessed with trust funds and mummy’s fortune. Here’s how we did it on two moderate salaries. Hopefully this will help you learn how to save money for a world trip.

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camera equipment

Two months to go

Well it’s coming up on two months to go and I’ve been going mad trying to organise all the loose ends. It seems surreal that our trip is almost upon us. We’ve been planning for two years; saving 1/3 of our salaries every month in order to afford to travel for two years. The consistent feeling of brokeness is going to be replaced by the joy of flying off to Honolulu.

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How do we react to rain?

There are the harried umbrella characters, narrowly missing an eyeball here and a head there, walking without care towards a direction unknown. Struggling against the wind, they fight as their brollies are pulled back and they are showered with water. The remains of these broken brollies are left to die in rubbish bins, searching for a new home, a new life.

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As we watch on

On the television it seems like science-fiction; the cameras capture the Tsunami from above, rolling in and taking homes down with the force of its motion. The magnitude of the earthquake keeps going up as I watch on, from 7.9 to 8.4 to 8.9. Numbers mean nothing as belongings vanish in the liquid smoothness of the ocean. Water, the simple thing that keeps us alive, has the power to destroy in seconds.

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Fallout New Vegas

Why Hardcore mode is soft: Fallout New Vegas

I had a post apocalyptic weekend, finishing Fallout: New Vegas and watching Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior in the space of 24 hours.

It’s obvious that the developers have drawn on Mad Max, in both the detail of the world and the relentless storylines of survival. But having played Fallout: New Vegas on hardcore mode, I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t harder. When I tell my friends I played hardcore, I want it to be an actual achievement, rather than eating a packet of Yum Yum Devilled Eggs every 20 minutes.

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Breakfast in Bangkok

I visited Thailand last November on a scholarship to teach English in Thailand. With one night in Bangkok, I decided to make the most of the following morning to take some photos before travelling up to Phitsanulok. I love getting up in the early morning to walk around cities.

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A Wizard of Earthsea Book Cover

A Wizard of Earthsea: Review

Lately I decided to read Ursula K Le Guin’s Earthsea series, consisting of A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore and Tehanu. I’d tried to read the books while a young teenager, but never really got into them. Now as an adult, I’m really enjoying the style of writing. I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes these books special. Certainly, they’re very well written and the world is fascinating (Earthsea is a series of islands in an archipelago).

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Saw meets Se7en: a review of Heavy Rain

For many years game developers have tried to create narrative driven games with multiple outcomes on a limited scale. The 1997 Blade Runner game had a possible 13 endings depending on your interactions with characters and Final Fantasy X-2’s had three alternate endings, one for perfect completion of the game. With the release of Heavy Rain, finally a company has succeeded where others have failed. With a possible 18 endings (and counting!), this is a game about the consequences of choice.

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The process of novel writing

I’ve been hiding under a shell lately, trying to finish my novel The Memory of Blood. It’s currently at 68, 000 words and counting. I’ve been asked by a few people of late what my process is, how I write and put together something so big. I’m by no means an expert, as this is my first novel, but many writers find it helpful to hear from other people working on big projects. So here’s my friendly, amateur advice on novel writing.

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Kat and Justin in New Zealand

Hiking New Zealand

Being my third time in NZ, I was keen to see parts of it I had not seen before. I did Milford Sound and the Routeburn tracks about nine years ago, straight out of high school (it makes me cringe to say that – almost time for a school reunion). We joined a tour group with Hiking New Zealand. One of our first walks was a short part of the Routeburn track, the hike up to Key Summit, and I was glad to see it still looked exactly the same as in 2001.

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So… you know that book called Twilight?

I have a problem. Every time I go to buy a fun, distracting book, I come home with a handful of depressing, literarti treatises on the misery of life. When it comes to holiday reading, I really have to stop myself and think. Do I really want to read In Cold Blood relaxing in summery Japan?

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

‘It is a truth universally accepted that a zombie in possession of brains, must be in want of more brains.’

So begins the immoral, the blasphemous, and enormously entertaining Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Graheme-Smith (and of course, Jane Austen). If the original story wasn’t enough for you, throw in a dojo of ninjas, a couple of beheadings, and hoards of zombie undead, and you have a book worthy of the shelves of Pemberley. Or not.

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Watchmen Review

I’d been meaning to read the book for a while, but the impending movie gave me an extra incentive. So, in about two days, I sliced through Watchmen. I was looking forward to my bus trips and lunch breaks more than ever, because it gave me a chance to slip into a parallel 1985, where superheroes are real, with all the problems that come with being human.

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