Tuesday, October 13, 2015

22 Lessons on the Craft of Writing

As a writer, I'm constantly learning about my craft; and there's so many lessons to go about good writing as well.

Some great writers say to not own a television, while others say it's a great way to find story ideas. Some say that it's best to work completely closed off to the world, while others say it's better to have a little alcove dedicated to your work - an alcove, really?

I have found that I need an office to cut myself off from everything when I'm working. My desk faces away from the door, but the door is always open. I have a cordless phone next to me and my mobile, so I never have to get out of my chair - unless I absolutely have to. 

And the radio is playing all day downstairs so I can just hear it... only just make out the music playing.

However, I have found an article from the Business Insider Australia on the 22 lessons from Stephen King that he believes every writer should take note of when they're writing. It's a good article, and so I thought to share it.

Stephen King on How to Write

Well, until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Birthday Books!

Today, I was out doing my grocery shopping, collecting the mail, going to the chemist and, well, having the busiest day of my week with my car. 

There was a lot of driving involved and when I get out there on the road, my brain goes into auto-pilot. I know that happens to everyone... but not today. Today, I was mindful of where I went as I had to include the post office in my travels. I had to see if my Birthday Buddy from Bookcrossing had posted me my present... and she had!

Poor Froggirlwendy has been struggling with the flu lately - as have most of Brisbane and Queensland - and so I let her know on Facebook that it was perfectly okay if my present was a few days late... just to care for herself first.

But today, I checked the mail, and there was a parcel pick-up card in the PO Box... Yay! There were bills there too, but then, who cares about those? Once paid, they're only going to come around again. Anyway, I took the card inside, and Narelle, at the desk, went and grabbed the biggest postal bag I've ever seen in my life!!!

I opened it but all the precious contents were wrapped up in shiny bronze paper. So, I took it on home to unwrap everything after I put all the veggies away (before going out again to get the groceries from Coles). Well! What a lovely set of presents I have received! A pocket adult colouring book of flowers with pencil and pens to colour with, two books - one off my wishlist, 'Human Instinct' by Robert Winston', and the other is 'Introducing Quatum Theory' by J P McEvoy & Oscar Zarate - and then there's lovely Green Tea with Jasmine and Pear (oh yummo!) and Hemp soap for sensitive skin and a larger item called: 'Herb Grow Kit' where there's 3 little buckets in a saucer and they have their own little place to grow herbs... it's very cool! I love it all! 

What wonderful things to receive for my birthday from such a generous person I've never met except through Bookcrossing and Facebook. Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Spring Reading

It's well and truly Spring here in Australia - and yesterday was my 42nd Birthday; where I didn't do anything on here, and not too much even when I got home from the best pizza party at my brother's house; where he owns a huge home made pizza oven!

The temps here are really getting hot and the skies are lovely and blue... and seeing I've got such fair skin, it's the perfect time for me to get in and start in on the Vampire books my friends gave me.

So, what are you getting into in this change of seasons? I might start in on the short stories and work my way up from there. Until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Book Buys!

This month, I didn't so much as buy books, but I had books given to me by friends and family.

How very cool is that?

I also did a huge count of my book collection and came up the number: 1,271... which has increased by 25 books since the count... so I'm on my way to having around 2,000 books in my possession in my little office.

However, the books I bought aren't that many, and the books I received are big. I bought only one book from my Craft Group for $1.00 and was given the rest of the books by two of my writing friends - Debbie and Shaun Behan - who are making a sea change up north; and they asked if I wanted their books. I said yes and drove to their place after I finished my volunteer work.

I've listed the books on the sidebar and in the blog post below for you all to see them... I have given the Stephanie Myers ones away - as I'm not a big fan of hers - but there are some big names in the list. From Christopher Pike to Tad Williams to J.R. Ward, the authors I've added to my collection are popular and ones who I've wanted to read for some time over the years.

And now I own quite the collection of their works to just sit and enjoy... and isn't that how it's supposed to be?  Of course it is.

Well, how was your month? Did you accumulate books like I did or did you buy them out of your own spending money? Either way, collecting and enjoying the written word is just the most wonderful thing, isn't it? Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

School Holiday Reading

It's the first week of the Spring School Holidays here in Australia, and I'm just wondering... what are you guys reading?

Okay... for you peeps in the Northern Hemisphere, it's well and truly coming into Autumn/Fall, and so do tell us all what you're getting your nose into as well.

As for me? I'm finally getting my nose into '1984' by George Orwell. I've read the first few chapters and put it down a few times, but this time, I'm determined to finish it.

Well, until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The World Loses Jackie Collins

I just found out on Facebook today that well-known actor from the 1960's and author, Jackie Collins has passed away sadly from Breast Cancer aged 77 in Los Angeles.
Born in Hampstead, England in 1937, Jackie Collins - sister of the famous actor, Joan Collins - had help starting her career from her father who was a theatrical agent to the likes of Shirley Bassey, The Beatles and Tom Jones.

Collins was best known for her brilliantly-written books about Hollywood - filled with sex, power and money-hungry violence all through the plot. Not everyone liked them, and some countries actually banned her books from being sold - but she had a huge fan base and sold millions over her 32 book career.

However, when she was diagnosed with stage 4 Breast Cancer more than six years ago, she kept her illness to herself. Over this time, she wrote another 5 books and in an interview she gave five days ago from her Hollwood home, she was said to have lived her live the way Frank Sinatra did - she had done it all 'her way'. 

Jackie was the younger sister of Joan Collins. She leaves behind three adult daughters, Tracy, Tiffany and Rory. Jackie Collins was a brilliant writer, who entertained us all and she will be greatly missed. May she Rest In Peace.

Jackie Collins' Full Article  

Vampire Reading

Yesterday, I had a wonderful friend of mine give me all of her vampire books! And some of the author's I haven't read, some of them I have... but haven't read their most recent works.

From Christopher Pike to Tad Williams to P.C. Cast, I have a great pile of books to add to my ever-growing collection of books!

'The Black Ridge' by Ander Louis
'The Liberation of Sundrian City' by Ander Louis
'Hunted' by P.C & Kristin Cast
'Time Raiders' by P.C Cast and other authors
'Chosen' by P.C & Kristin Cast
'Untamed' by P.C & Kristin Cast
'Marked' by P.C & Kristin Cast
'Tempted' by P.C & Kristin Cast
'Breathe Again' by Kamy Chetty
'Fragile Eternity' by Melissa Marr
'Shadowplay' by Tad Williams (vol II)
'Shadowrise' by Tad Williams (vol III)
'Lover Mine' by J.R. Ward
'Lover Revealed' by J.R. Ward
'Spirit Bound' by Richelle Mead
'Night World' by L.J Smith - Vol I
'Night World' by L.J Smith - Vol II
'Thirst' by Christopher Pike - Vol I
'Thirst' by Christopher Pike - Vol II
'Great Mysteries' by Pamela Bradley
'Karate for Everyone' by Robert B Sullivan
'Living My Dream' by Kancho Robert Sullivan

Now, the question for this book collector is:  where the heck do I put these new additions? Yep, I'm starting to run out of room in this tiny office - and it is great to have such a lovely, filled library of so many differing books in this little room. I mean, just look at the ones I've acquired only yesterday.  I don't wish to get rid of any right now - as they are ones I want. Well, until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Queen of Crime

Ever wondered how some of authors wrote their books?  How did they get their ideas and wrote them so well, their characters so well, and made it all work that you've read their books over and over it still makes you think - even when the book was published in the 1940's?

Well, I found an article about Agatha Christie - better known as the Queen of Crime.  I'm not much of a fan of her work, but I do love watching the televisions shows of Miss Marple that are on the ABC every Sunday... it's more of a visual thing for me than a written thing that pulls me in with crime shows.

So, here's the link to the article. I hope you all enjoy it! Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Book Count... Woah!

This afternoon, after I turned off the computer, I turned around and looked at my home office and started counting the books.

I didn't plan this, it just happened.

About 45 minutes later, I sat down and calculated the number of books in each bookcase with my mobile and came up with the approximate number of books I have in this room alone:  1,271!

Woah! That's a huge number of books to have piled in a rather orderly fashion in this room alone - and I didn't count the ones in my bedroom or living room or kitchen.

So, have you counted the books in your home office collection? I know this number doesn't seem significant, but seeing I live in a townhouse, and am trying to keep the collection to just one room, I'm doing quite well. And let's see how many of you guys and gals have a great collection of books... do tell us just how many you have lining your walls, halls and bedrooms in your house? Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August Book Buys!

I was good this month... really I was!

However, I do enjoy a good bargain, and this month was filled with them; and I have been good enough to not buy books throughout the month, and so not blow my entire budget on something I don't need. But I do enjoy trying to find a place for them in my ever-growing collection (which I will have to sit down and count one of these days!).

On 3rd, August, I was at my Queen Beez Craft Group when I spotted and bought 'The Alphabet Sisters' and 'Family Baggage' by Monica McInerney and 'A Mother's Wish' by Debbie Macomber. I pitched in $2.00 each for those three and brought them home.

Then, on 9th, August, I was at The Crew's monthly meeting and I purchased 'Immortal Espionage' by Debbie Behan - a friend of mine - for $20. I've begun reading this one, but have been busy so it's sitting next to my Reading chair waiting for me to complete it.

So, that's been my month of book buying... not much in the way of spending up big. But I am on the look out for a Wilbur Smith book printed after 2004 with a redhead in the plot. Don't ask me why, I just like redheaded characters and wish to know how other writers use them in their books.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The World Loses Oliver Sacks

Today, we lost a great writer, a great Neurologist and a great man who not only touched many people through his books, but through the films made from his books.

The world lost Oliver Sacks.

Oliver Sacks wrote great books about his patients and their medical conditions - which were mainly ones of the brain, ones we didn't really understand and medical conditions science didn't have answers for. However, he made us feel as though we were closer to knowing more about those conditions just by reading his works.

He was famous for the movie 'Awakenings' where Robin Williams played Oliver and he was working with patients who had Encephalitis Lethargica - a decades-long sleeping sickness. He was able to awaken them with a chemical called L-DOPA. However, they woke into a world they did not recognise due to how long they'd been sleeping; the affects in the movie didn't last as long as the protagonist wished.

Oliver Sacks also wrote other books. One is titled 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat'. However, his most recent study has been closer to home - himself. In 'The Mind's Eye' a series of stories, Sacks studies patients with vision problems, he also describes his own experience with ocular cancer treatment with a giddy excitement.

Over the years, his work has been read by many, ridiculed by the scientific community and held in awe by his fans. However, Oliver Sacks has been working hard on making it easier for us - his audience - to look at medical ideas which are technical sound easier through his voice and his works. He was once called the 'poet laureate of contemporary medicine' by the New York Times, however, he sees himself and his life in a completely different way:

'Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts,” he wrote.
“I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers,' he wrote. 'Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.' 

Oliver Sacks will be missed by everyone who has loved his works, his family and friends alike. May he be at rest now.

(NB: Some of this was taken from the Washington Post website).

In The Zone

The zone is a great place for a writer to be in; but it's so difficult to get there. And once there, you don't want to be pulled out of it for anything - visitors, phone calls, a favourite show; nothing.

However, it's the strange things that keep you from staying in the zone for too long. Usually there's the good old toilet break, you get hungry and then there's family coming home from school or work... then you have to break from your worlds of your creation and see them. It's like coming out of a dream, waking up from a long sleep - you're a little out of it, a little sleepy, but once you've sat down to dinner, you're okay.

Just okay... your brain is still churning over what you've written and saved on the computer, or on the typewriter upstairs in your office.

Yeah, that zone is a place of safety you create and it's wonderful to get there and stay there for as long as possible.

However it can also be very destructive as well. It can be the wall, the huge valley, the wedge which builds between a loving couple who started out okay, but then one of them starts writing a book - or a series of books - and the zone becomes something of an interference. 

The writer stops coming to bed at the same time as their partner. 

The writer starts thinking of strange things and keeps lots of notebooks about strange ideas - most of them have nothing to do with the family and a lot to do with off-world planets or fantasies.

The partner feels as though they're being left out of the writer's life - or at the very least a major part of it.

And this is where some of the zone can make people feel as though the writers of the world are lonely people. However, we're not. We have our own worlds which we have created, and we have our own circles of friends and publishing people we communicate with on a regular basis. There's also artists and other people we talk to all the time as well.  

However, writers also have other activities outside their writing which most of the time, they do on their own. I love to garden, cook and paint as well as go driving around my home town just because I feel like getting away from my house - I don't care where I go, so long I get somewhere far away.

But at times, being in the zone is a great thing. I do find it difficult to get myself there most days; so when I am in the zone, I don't budge from my office chair. When the phone rings, it scares the crap outa me and snaps me back to reality. And the best thing about that phone ringing is that when I've hung it up and turned back to the screen and read what I've written, I'm regularly amazed at my work... and I often wonder how it all got there in the first place.

Aaahh, yes, the zone - a great place for the writer to be. 

Until my next post, happy reading.