Sunday, August 24, 2014

One Thousand Words or More...

Photographs are amazing things.  And when you have the right one, you see so many things in them.  I have a collection of photographs in albums and online which could speak a thousand words just through how you view them.

There's one famous photograph taken in 1937 which has been so controversial that it's been taken so many different way for all the wrong reasons.  

The article attached is a long read, but it's worthwhile to find out what the photo was really about.

That Photograph

Well, until my next post, happy reading.

Writing Through the Bad Stuff

Writers are known to be a tortured lot.  And I'm no exception.  I've got Epilepsy, had a life-threatening Melanoma, had a really bad, abusive relationship which I got out of and then I spent 15 years working on figuring myself out and trying to make my way back to getting back into my happy state of mind.

This made me a work in progress... and like anyone who's had their life turned around on them, through no fault of their own, this takes a lot of time.  This takes a lot of 'me' time.

It wasn't a lot of fun, but working on my own life has been great.  I have learned a lot about myself, my limits and how I improved myself through knowing what I wanted when I wanted it.

And now I'm at my happiest, I'm going to write about the worse part of my life.  Over the last few years I've tried to write about it, and failed each time.  However, I've bought a notebook, sat down and let myself just write down exactly what happened during those 9 months when my life was turned around on me.

I nearly lost everything in just under a year - my possessions, my integrity, identity, myself - everything was slowly being eaten away by an abusive man who thought it was his duty to make me submissive when I wasn't the submissive type.  Now I'm stronger in my self, my mind and in every other aspect of my life, I know I can write the story about my life then without it destroying me.  Besides, if I don't, it'll be there waiting for me in another 15 years for me to write it.

Writing through, and about, the bad shit in your life is almost a type of therapy.  It gets the crap that was once in your life out of the way, and makes you a better person.  It helps you realise that, yes, you made mistakes, things happened to you, but the past is there to show what you did that have turned into life lessons for you.
And this is how I view my past:  if I made mistakes in my past, they are lessons to show myself what not to do now.  However, if I make those mistakes again, it's because I've made them as choices instead.  So, when I see this happening, I have stopped myself before saying or doing anything that might end up being a mistake - again.  

So, what have you been working on lately where you've learned to let go of your past and allowed your future to evolve?  Mine isn't a great past, but I'm letting it go... after all, what can I do about it?  Not much.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Change of Scenery: As Good As A Holiday

I'm back from Brighton and full of beans - and ideas - for my writing.  It's been a great weekend to just sit and read, or write as it's been pouring rain since late Thursday night.  That rain didn't stop until late Saturday night or very early Sunday morning... but it was great to see so much of it over so little time. 

I got a lot of writing done, though.  I wrote a chapter and half of 'Angel Love' - where the story is becoming more intense.  The Angels are really shitting each other off.  Drake - the demon - isn't getting far with anything he does; but he's trying.  And the only human who is left out of anything is beginning his life again in another city - oh, yay, how much fun is that?

Then, there's the last 3 chapters of 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter - Book 3' that I've been working on slowly since last year.  I know what my characters are going to be doing, where they'll be ending up and exactly how the book is going to end... I just have to get all my ducks in a row and make sure they do what I want - no, need - them to do.  It's a matter of timing really.  But!  Will there be another book?  Who's to say?  

Yeah, I've had a good time writing while it's been cold, raining and I've been drinking a lot of hot chocolate and home made pizzas being made at my brother's house.  Anyway, that's what I've been up to as a writer, what have you guys been doing if you're a writer?  Anything great?  Anything to shout from the mountaintops?  Or are you suffering for your craft?  Until my next post, happy reading - or writing.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Book Shack ... A Great Place for More Than Just Books!

I'm here in Brighton house-sitting for my brother and his girlfriend again; and this time, I'm minding Jay 'the Wonderdog!' too!  She's curled up by the front door looking at me as I type this... and I'm very tired from walking around Sandgate Shopping Common.  Why I am is a heck of story, but I'll keep it short and sweet too.

I started out looking for two things today:  a vintage suitcase and 'The Book Shack' bookstore.  I found both, but not until the end of the day.  I drove my car into Sandgate and parked it under Woolworths and walked around the place to all the vintage places around in search of 'The Book Shack'; but nobody had ever heard of it.  They knew there was a second-hand bookstore around the place, but didn't quite know exactly where it was as they didn't live in the area.

However, once I did find it - almost 1 1/2 hours after I parked the car - I told the owner how long it took me to find her little store; and she was amazed!  She said she had been in the same spot for 5 years and nobody could tell me where she was?  Well, jeez, that's bad!  I bought a cute little book to record what you read, after looking around her lovely store.  It has bags, hand-made bookmarks (of all materials; from woven ones to ones made from brass to others made from silver and nickel).  There were book bags which were made from coffee sacks and lined with old tablecloth material and handbags too... so well-made!  But I couldn't afford them!  Oh well, next time!  However, the next time I'm here, I'll be travelling to the Book Shack at another location.  It'll be off Rainbow Street - up past the fish'n'chip store and in owner's house... not a bad location, seeing how much she loves books.  But she did tell me it was a business decision that she will only be open 4 days a week and will still be online too.

After that, I was still searching for the vintage suitcase, and I walked into two shops that looked like they might sell them; but they didn't.  The last one showed me directions on a map of an antiques store at Deagan where I found the perfect suitcase at this great antiques store... it cost only $12 too!  Very cool and I spent half my day out!  

Once back at home, I took Jay for a walk - where she met a very eager Staffie (only 8 months old this youngster of pup who wanted to jump all over Jay) and poor Jay wasn't really into playing rough.  Well, the chickens laid 2 eggs and they're currently running around the garden until the sun goes down.  I have a few things to look for around Brighton - book-wise - and so watch this space, I'm going to do a few giveaways while I'm here.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Busy Saturday Morning

Yesterday, I had a busy morning - very busy - and I hadn't even reached my destination of the Hyperdome Library.  

I had to moderate the Sci-Fi Spec. Fiction Group... yep, I was asked to run this group for this month because our usual moderator was out with a bad back - and so was her husband!  So, they asked me last week to take over for them.  This is something I hadn't done in over 20 years, but I thought it would be fun!

And it was!

So, yesterday morning, I dragged myself out of bed at 7:30am, got myself ready, threw together coffee, tea, milo, sugar, a collection of mugs and milk into the blue esky/cooler and grabbed my tablet and was out the door by 9am.  I had to buy some nibblies on the way through to the library... but just before reaching the place it hit me!  I had forgotten napkins and spoons!  So, fortunately, I remembered where a very old, long-time convenience store was and I dropped in there, bought what I needed and kept on going. 

I arrived at the Hyperdome Library 20 minutes ahead of schedule... thankfully... and set up the room, organised the hot water urn and waited for everyone to arrive by 10am.  

Well, Renee, Graham and Andrew were all on time; and we all grabbed a coffee, sat down and chatted for a little bit.  I told them that I was moderating the meeting this time around and we got into talking about our homework:  to describe our main characters in 30 seconds.  This was going to be impossible - time wise - so I let them all talk for around 5 - 10 minutes each and they felt more relaxed to tell us about their characters physically and otherwise.  This was great!  
Then, we got a new member wander in and take a seat - she was about 45 minutes late, but that didn't matter.  Her name was Miriam, and she told us about what her book was about and her main character as well; then she grabbed a coffee while I chatted about Fry Nelson and my upcoming bits about him... which got everyone wanting to read more about him.

After we finished our homework and talking about our works, it was 11:30am... we had half an hour to kill before our time with the room was up.  So, we talked about other authors, their works, how they lived, died and what we thought of them personally and some secrets some of knew about certain authors (if we were big enough fans to find out about these secrets) and then, the next thing we knew, it was midday.  It was time to go!  I packed up all the food, coffee and things into the milk crate I had brought in with me.  Graham took the urn out to the front desk and we all left the room the way we found it - tidy - until the next time we're here.

This is what one of our meetings is like.  I took the minutes and wrote them out on my tablet while everyone talked... that was some fast typing I did on that thing!  And we all had fun chatting.  Nothing like a great meeting talking about the very things we enjoy:  writing, reading, books and authors!  So, if you're a writer, do you attend a writer's group?  If so, is your group like this one?  Or is it more intense?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hey! That's What a Book Looks Like!

Man!  I've been so busy with other things - besides reading - lately, I've gone to bed, looked at the Jasper Fforde book by my bed and just sighed; wishing I had the energy to pick it up for just ten minutes to read a little of it.

But I haven't had that energy.

I've been working hard on my Crafty Pegs stall to bring out new products.  And if you guys have this kind of small hobby business in your life, you know what it's like to have to get out something new with it.  There's a lot of running around, looking at things, items, pricing, working at making it look good and then... there's the display!  Boy, the display has to look good and enticing enough for people to want to buy the new product.  

So, I've gotten a lot of the new products worked on, varnished, wrapped up and now?  I'm just working on other bits to bulk it up a little... to give people variety on colours, styles and whatnot.  I'm happy with the colours, the way things are going and I'm also looking forward to getting in and buying what I need for the display too (which is next week! Yay!).

And you know?  Just last night, I went to bed, looked at my Jasper Fforde book and thought: 'Why not! I have a little bit of energy still left to read some of this!' And I read two chapters and turned out the light after midnight!  I'm looking forward to reading more of it again tonight and getting through another few chapters.  Actually, the sun looks very inviting... might go outside before it cools off too much and do some reading again.  Yeah... that sounds good!

So, have you had times where you haven't had time to read, like I have lately?  I have wanted to get in and read like crazy, but being a little time-poor isn't great... but then, you find that tiny window of opportunity and just jump in and open your favourite book and put on your glasses to read a few pages... oh!  It's like sitting down and saying hi to an old friend, isn't it?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, August 1, 2014

July Book Buys!

It's a hot day here in Brisbane - and so it's a touch of Summer for what's supposed to be the middle of Winter - so I thought it would be apt to let you know what I've bought last month to add to my collection.

I've been pretty good on the book-buying front over July.  Actually I've been too busy to go book-shopping, and so when I found the next 3 books I was surprised I bought them.
There was 'Ten Big Ones', 'Sizzling Sixteen' and 'Explosive Eighteen' all by Janet Evanovich.  This writer has been writing the Bounty Hunter series and it's been such a success that I don't know anyone who hasn't read it and loved it!  So, I've waited until now to get myself some of the books.  Yep, I'm getting my nose into a few book series and beginning to work through them.

I still have Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' Series to get finished - only have gotten up to the fourth book - and I'm looking forward to finished the next four.  So, what have you gotten your nose into over the last month?  And what have you splurged and bought lately too?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Funny Facts

There's some really strange things writers do - or did - in their lives when they were behind closed doors.  Some wrote in the nude because it was when they got their best ideas and felt the most free, Agatha Christie got her best ideas while she was doing the dishes, but then, she also ate apples in her bathtub while mulling over murder plots.  I remember reading about Truman Capote not wanting to even go into a hotel room that involved the number 13 in its digits.  And once he was settled, he'd leave no more than 3 cigarette butts in the ashtray - tucking the others away in his pockets before leaving.
Some writers have even gone to some really strange lengths to get their writing done.  Victor Hugo was said to have kept himself under house arrest, hid all his clothes away - to keep himself from going outdoors - and only wore a long, body-length shawl, which was the only thing he wore for many months until he got 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' finished; using only one large bottle of ink.
Then, there's word counts.  Jack London wrote 1,000 words every single day of his career, while other writers boasted to write more.  William Golding declared that he wrote 3,000 words each day.  Then, Anthony Trollope, who was up at 5:30am each day disciplined himself by writing 250 words every 15 minutes each day, timing himself with a watch to make sure he kept to the number.  Then, Stephen King will do anything to keep to his word count of 2,000 words a day.
And if it's not word count, it's the colour ink or paper authors have used for particular works they have written.  Alexandre Dumas wrote his fiction on a particular shade of blue paper, his poetry on yellow, his articles on pink.  Then with Charles Dickens, he was partial to blue ink because he believed it dried faster than other colour inks.  Virginia Woolf was also partial to different coloured inks as well.  She wrote with greens, blues and purple - the last being her favourite and the colour she wrote in the most.  She wrote all her love letters to Vita Sacksville-West, diary entries and manuscript drafts in purple ink.  Lewis Carroll also preferred purple ink - like Virginia Woolf - and he also preferred to stand at a desk; just like her as well, while he worked on his writing.

Being a writer myself, I have some habits that my family think are strange.  I write in only blue ink; and find that black ink smells funny - actually, it has an awful smell to it really.  And I have a particular pen I use especially crafted for left-handed people my Mum bought for me in Italy when they were over there last. It's very comfortable and I haven't seen one here; so I use it all the time.
There are times I write and times I don't.  Most times I write either in the late afternoons or at around midnight - never any other time for some strange reason.  I also have a large book collection which I haven't let migrate beyond my home office (otherwise it will 'gremlin' on me).  When I go on holidays down the coast for over a week, I get kinda anxious and miss my collection.  So, when I get home, I must touch the spines of my books with my fingertips.  It's strange but true... it's a tactile thing about me as a writer and part of the reason why I keep books around me in my life.  I get my ideas just about anywhere.  There's no real place - like the shower, on the toilet or while I'm washing up - where I get my ideas, they just kinda pop into my head whenever and wherever I am.  Sometimes I have the best dreams and when I wake up, I write them into a dream journal and they become part of the story I'm writing.  
Okay, I've spilled my guts about how weird my writing world can get - just like the other writers before me in history have been - how about you?  If you're a writer, what kinds of strange habits do you have that people think are just plain weird?  Until my next post, happy reading!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On Words by Virginia Woolf

I have found a great recording of Virgina Woolf - the last surviving one of her voice - from 1937, where she talks about words, and how important it is to know your words well and how to use them correctly.

It goes for around 7 minutes and is wonderfully preserved.


Virginia Woolf

Monday, July 21, 2014

....and Speaking of Writing...

I found a piece about writing on Facebook today by Stephen King.  He lists 22 of the most useful lessons every writer should know and live by.

And you know?  He's not far wrong...

22 Lessons from Stephen King on How to be A Great Writer

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Working on My Writing Again!

I've been pretty quiet this month.  I know, I must apologise for this.

However, there is a good reason.  I've been fixing up furniture and enjoying the fun and games of it.  It's just so much fun to get in and work on old furniture and love it, bring it back to life and add another 50 years or so to it.

And tonight - though late as it is - I've started working on my latest chapter of 'Angel Love'.  Now, that's been on the back burner for a while too - for the last fortnight actually - and that's not good.  I've made chapter 5 full of emotion, intense, action-filled and leaving people asking more questions than they were given answers... and isn't that how the game is played with books and authors and storylines?

Sure it is!

So, are you working on a book - reading or writing it?  If so, how is it going?  Are you ploughing through it fast, or has it hit a huge lull?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Office Clean-Out!

I'm so proud of myself. 

Truly I am!

Yesterday afternoon, around 1pm, I turned off the computer and worked for two or three hours on my home office.  I cleaned it up and cleaned out the massive pile of books I've had sitting around my office!  I got rid of around 20 books; and none of them are ones I'll read.  

Most of them are thrillers and creepy crime novels, while there are a few Bookcrossing ones I'm hoping to Wild Release around Brisbane and the area.  

But today, any of the other books I didn't want - and I've passed by my Mum and Dad - I took to my craft group for the ladies there to look into.  So, I came home without them.  I'm so pleased!

Now, the only books that are in my office are the ones I want to read.  Very cool, and I'm so proud of the progress I've made.
But that's not all!  I also reduced the amount of synthetic green bags in this room, from 15 bags to only 5!  How cool is that?  Very cool!  I'm going to give them away to charities so less fortunate people can use them to move house.  I have enough of them in my place to use.  Yes, the home office is looking good indeed!

There's still a long way to go with it, and I'm willing to work on it too!  Until my next post, happy reading!