Friday, November 21, 2014

People's Bookcases: Mark Davey

I've got a passion for enjoying other people's bookcases, and finding out what they've loved reading in their past, present and what they are planning to read in the future.

Yesterday, I went out to Mark Davey's house at Edens' Landing here in Logan City and found he had an unusual house.  There wasn't much furniture, but there was a lot of racks with paintings on them - they were everywhere!

And then there was a bookcase filled with books on art.

But every square inch of his house was filled with paintings.  They were all along his hallway, in bedrooms, in his storage, in cupboards on top of wardrobes... paintings Mark has done for over a decade.

Yes, Mark is a prolific artist and loves working in his small home on a quiet suburban street.  The place doesn't look much from the curb, but beyond the tall brown, carved gate are two lovely dogs - Rebrandt and Frida - the small house and then out the back is a gorgeous garden which starts at the back door and goes all the way to the back fence.... it looks and feels very much like a jungle with easels at the ready all the way through.
However in his bookcase, Mark has books on all kinds of artists from all walks of life from all eras of time.  He adores art and immerses himself in his work all the time; to the point that he doesn't own a television, so there's no distraction.

So, is there an artist you know who is as obsessive about their work as Mark is?  Or is there a musician you know or anyone else in this world you know as a friend who is like this?  If so, let us know below.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Right In Time for Christmas!

This year has just flown by hasn't it?

I haven't read that many books, but I've acquired quite a few... instead I've been writing up a storm.  And it's been wonderful in a way, as I've completed a trilogy which I've been working on for the past 5 years - 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter' - and then I started and finished a nice little romance novella just recently for my romance group.

It was the other day I finished it, and I was amazed how it finished; as I don't plan my books, I just let my characters take me along for the the ride as much as the readers.

Also, I've won a few books to read in the past couple of weeks and I've also purchased a book as well to read while I'm away on holidays.
I've also got my very last craft markets in two weeks' time, so I can have time to get my house and myself in order for my family and time to myself too.

Not too bad is it?  Everything just working out in time for the holidays... so, what had happened for you just in time for the holidays?  Or is still a big rush for you each time?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Plot Thickens...

I've been busily writing a few books this year.  Over the last month or so, I finished up 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter - Book 3' and then really concentrated on 'Angel Love'.  Both books have really taken up a lot of my time; along with the craft markets.

This has also taken its toll on how much time I've had with reading... which isn't much.  I do try though.

Right now, though, I'm getting through a great romantic thriller - 'The Watcher' by Jo Robertson - on Audible.  I'm up to chapter 23 and am knocking over about 4 chapters each time I sit down to it.  It's great when I can find the time too.

I've also been offered up another audio book to read and review after I finished reading 'The Watcher' by an author on Good Reads... I'm hoping to read it over Christmas, before I read another one I bought on Kobo (it wasn't available in print).  

So, what have you been reading lately?  You all know why I haven't read as many books as I have wanted to this year... and I do look forward to Christmas to get my nose into some decent reads to do just that.  However, I want to know what you're reading coming up to the Silly Season.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Art of Reading

The Logan Art Gallery is turning 20 next year.  Okay, not much to do with writing and books... right?  Well, yeah, I know.  However, the gallery has asked past Logan artists who have had anything hung on its walls to take part in an exhibition to commemorate their time here in Logan City.  We were all giving a 20cmx20cm canvas and we could do whatever we wanted on it... yes, an open theme.

I chose to paint on mine a theme of books.  I'll be writing on it books I've read throughout my life - from childhood through my teenaged years to my adult years... and then I'll be adding on books I want to read.  There will be books that are from my collection and books that are still out there in the world which I would love to own but don't.

And this got me thinking about the amount of books I have read over this life of mine and whether you guys have read the same - or similar - books to the ones I have.  Did you laugh in the same places, enjoy them the same ways, cry when I did?  Was it the same experience for you as it was for me?  And when you grew up, and reread the book again, did the meaning change for you, or did it stay the same?

I mean, I remember reading 'Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel' and loving it!  What a book!  By the end, I wanted a steam shovel to be able to do all the great heavy living and digging around the place!  How cool would that be?  Then, there was 'The Neverending Story' by Michael Ende... oh, who didn't love Falkor?  In the book he was just the same as he was as on the big screen:  huge, white and an adorable dragon I wanted to take home with me.  Then, there was 'The 500 Hats of Batholomew Cubbins' by Dr Seus.  Mum has told me, I loved this book; but now I can't stand it.  I don't know why, but I think it looks dark in the way it's been drawn.  My favourite book of all time from my childhood is: 'Stephen's Tree' by Libby Hathorn.  This book was bought by my Mum and she has told me that when I spotted this book, I refused to leave the bookstore without it; as it was written in two languages - English and Spanish - in the same book!  English on the left page, Spanish on the right!  Very cool!  And for a book published in 1981, very unusual.  Well, there you have it, my collection of children's books which I love then and now... I'll fill you in about the books I love when I was a teenager another time.  Now it's your turn... which books did you love then, and still do now?  Or did they change for you?  Until my next post, happy reading! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

'Monet's House: An Impressionist Interior' by Heidi Michels and Guy Bouchet

There's always one artist in your life where you dream to - hope to - visit where they live.  You want to know how they lived their life and how they painted all those gorgeous paintings and where they found their inspiration.

For me, it's Claude Monet. 

His house is a famous landmark and tourist attraction.  However, I'd love to visit it without anyone around - just me.  I know that sounds very selfish and pushy, but I want to be the only one to walk the grounds and feel the press of the muse from the surroundings, not the tourists running around the place taking photos and being the background of every shot I take.  

In this book, these two wonderful people working together have made this so.  Heidi and Guy have brought Claude Monet's home into the reach of my hands and mind, describing in every way possible way - without actually getting me onto a plane and flying me to France.
This wonderful hard-cover book is broken up into sections from entrance to kitchen, dining room, to private quarters, from garden to bedrooms and dressing rooms... and each room had a palate Monet used to set the mood and feel for each and every one of them.  The gardens were designed by him completely and he grew everything from all areas of the world in his large, gorgeous space of a inspiration where he lived, had a family, painted and entertained everyone.  Monet's home and gardens are a completely different world away from what you'd expect an artist to have.  A good majority of his paintings are of his gorgeous surrounds and family - and little wonder - why would he paint anything else?  And now, I want to take off to France and seek out his wonderful home in his part of France... and never ever leave.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October Book Buys?

Buying books haven't really been a big thing this month... but winning them has.  

Yep, I've been winning books left and right!  This is always fun, don't you think?

Sure it is.

Well, I won a copy of 'The Watcher' by Jo Robertson through Audible and have been listening to that - I'm currently up to chapter 22.  It's fantastic!  I'm totally hooked! 
Then, out of the blue, I won a copy of 'The Black Box' by Michael Connelly.  Now, I didn't know I had won a copy of this - just knew I had won one of his books - and so I found a second-hand over-sized copy of it at my craft group... and what should show up in my PO Box?  Yep, the same book.  So, I gave the bigger copy to my Dad and kept the brand new book for myself.

Then, I scored 'Tomorrow, When the War Began' at my craft group for around $1.00.  It's the first book in the 'Tommorrow' series - something I didn't know - and so I might see how this one turns out.  If I don't like it, off to the charities it goes.

In writing news, I have finally finished 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter - Book 3'.  I wrote the ending of it at around 12:09am on a Tuesday morning mid-October... and damn it feels good to have finished it!  Now, I have to get it all looked at, edited and worked on to get published.  There's another three years of my life to go.
'Angel Love' is going well.  It's becoming more complex as each chapter passes by.  The bad guys are bad-ass... the good guys have dug themselves into a hole they have no idea how to dig themselves out of and everyone else in between are - as always - caught right there in the middle of the whole thing:  good, evil and otherwise.

So, what have you been up to lately with book-buying?  I have something to write for the end of the year, and into Christmas, and there's always something new for next year to read - as you all know about my huge collection of books is ever-growing.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Michael Connelly's Black Box

I'm a big fan of winning fun stuff... and it's happened again!  I won something very cool, and unexpected.  

Okay, I'll start at the beginning:

A few weeks ago, I entered a competition on the Good Reading website/blog for a Michael Connelly book; not thinking much of it.  I don't usually win things on this blog or online, so I didn't think I'd win one of 30 books they had up for grabs.

Anyway, about two weeks later, I received an e-mail informing me that I had won one of Michael Connelly's books!  Yay!  I sent in my details and they told me the publisher would send on the book to me.  No problems!

A week passed by... and nothing in the mail showed up.  So, I phoned Good Reading in Sydney and the publishers hadn't received my address via e-mail.  Whoops!  Well, they jumped right on fixing that up for me and yesterday, 'The Black Box' by Michael Connelly arrived!  I'm so stoked!  

Well, okay, the book was published a couple of years ago, but his new book 'The Burning' is about to be put out in the bookstores for sale... and so the book before it makes a great prize to win; so I can read it then get in and read the new one when I want to, just in time for the New Year.  Have you won anything cool online lately?  If so, let us know and we can share the joy!  Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Seven Sin of Books and Reading Book Tag

I was tagged by Captivated Reader on Captivated Reader and she has asked me to take part in a fun meme.  I enjoyed doing the questions, but something went wrong in the end of this challenge; which will be explained at the bottom.  And I don't know what's gone wrong, it just does.

Greed - What is your most inexpensive book? What is your most expensive?

This is a tough one – seeing I have so many in my collection.  I’ve downloaded free books, but they’re of no cost to me.  I have been given books by authors as prizes but that doesn’t mean I’ve bought them… and I think you mean which book I’ve bought and it’s cost me the least.  I think it would have to be ‘Heart Gifts’ by Helen Steiner Rice I bought for $2.00 at a trash and treasure sale a couple of years ago.  It’s turned out to be 1st edition and worth quite a bit.
My most expensive book?  Hard to say… you as in worth, or how much I forked out for it?  In worth, it’s gotta be my ‘Letters of JRR Tolkien’ edited by Humphery Carpenter in hardcover edition – worth over $20,000 due to how rare it is.  I haven’t really bought any expensive books, as I track down my reading material at bargain bookstores and second-hand stores… and normally when they’re collector’s items (and the seller doesn’t know it), I don’t tell them.

Wrath - What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

Umberto Eco.  I love his work, but he goes so slow… he’s so descriptive, but please get on with the story; sometime in my lifetime and everyone else’s.

Gluttony - What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?
‘The Stand’ by Stephen King… what a book!  How I live my life without that book in my hands… I don’t know.

Sloth - What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?

‘Other Colours’ by Orhan Pamuk.  He’s a Portuguese author whose prose is delicate, delicious and wonderful… but my brain is so darned impatient, it just won’t see the forest for the trees.
Pride - What book do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader?
I don’t talk about things I know nothing about.  If I haven’t read it, I don’t boast about it.  If I am asked if I’ve read ‘such’n’such’ by blah-blah… and I haven’t read them, I’ll say I haven’t asking what it’s like; and taking down the title on my iPod or phone (and yes, I’ll track down reviews about the book and interviews about/with the author before I even fork out money for their books.

Lust - What attributes do you find attractive in male or female characters?

I hate chauvinists… if the male is a bastard and won’t let a woman fight alongside him, the book goes into the bag by the door to be sent to a charity.  However, if he’s tough, been in a few personal wars, allows women to stand up themselves, and yet cleans up well enough to know how to treat a woman right… well… I’ll keep on reading.

This also goes the same for a woman… if she acts like a redneck on and off the fighting field, dresses like a hooker at a gala ball, and doesn’t have tact at the right times, she’s not the right character for me to get into.  But on the other hand, she’s gotta have a tough side and be able to work with a man enough to know how things in the world work, and if he asks her if she can do something – and knows she can’t – be able to admit to him she might have problems with it…

Basically, they have to be able to work as a team, or they won’t catch my attention.

Envy - What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

Oh!  That’s a toughie…  this year (as my tastes change from year to year) it’s
‘The Silver Moon: and other reflections’ by Bryce Courtney.  This is his last book he worked on just before he passed away.  I’d love to have it in hard cover… never to leave my collection.

Now, I've tried getting in and doing the adding of the the links to other sites, but blogger - infamously - has screwed up yet again.  I'm so stuffed from a full day out yesterday at the markets (and a 5am start did me no favours), and so I'm sorry, but I can't complete the task.  I'm sorry the print is so small, but blogger won't let me use any other size or style.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Listening In

Audio-Books are on the increase; and I'm beginning to get into them too.  And the best thing is that they are so easy to download off the net - especially seeing you can get free ones off Audible - a great app on the Play Store for Android or iTunes alike.

I won a romantic thriller 'The Watcher' by Jo Robertson from The Romance Bandits.  And I've had the opportunity to be able to use my Sony headphones which have been sitting next to my stereo system for the last 3 years...  yes, three years I've had a set of gorgeous headphones and nothing to plug them into because the cord is too short.  Now, I'm listening to books and a new world has opened up to me... 

...not that I haven't listened to books before; but that was on cassette tape.

The last audiobook I listened to was 'Time After Time' by Jack Finney and that was the sequel to 'Time And Again' - and it didn't have a good reader.  So, I don't really remember what happened in it.

So, which books have you listened to and loved - because the reader has been absolutely perfect - and which ones were great books, but the reader made you feel as though you couldn't connect?  The reader for 'The Watcher' has been wonderful.  I'm up to chapter 2, and I do want to get back to it to see what happens next; and his voice is just lovely to listen to... what can I say?  I'm a sucker for a cool, deep voice of a young man.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Flashing My Fiction!


Flash! Flash!

Flash! Flash! Flash...!

Yep, I love flash fiction... reading it and writing it.  However, I love the creepy stuff, the reading and writing of it alike, right down to the bone, the nerve, the total and complete, leave your light on afterwards and wonder what the heck I was thinking when I was writing this kinda flash fiction.

Yeah, that kind of flash fiction.

I'm a member of Chuck Wendig's 'Terrible Minds' blog(find his link on the side bar and you'll be on your way!) about a year and half ago.  After a few goes - a few failures - I'm creeping out quite a few people out there very successfully.

And I love it!

And now, I have over 60 Flash Fiction stories up my sleeve, under my belt - and just about anywhere else I can hide the suckers - I'm seriously considering looking into them and turning them into a couple of books.  There's going to be the 2013 book 1 series of my first ones and then this year's book 2 series of the second ones.  I'll keep on going with them year by year, and see how I go... you never know, I may get a good following off line as well as online. Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Five Years and Two and Half Months

Last night, I crawled into bed at the ungodly hour of 1am.  Yep, I was up late burning the midnight oil to finish off writing a trilogy of books which have taken me five years and two and half months to complete.

Yes you read right!

'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter - Book 3' has been finally finished as of 12:10am this morning.  I wrote the last line, saved it and then read the last two paragraphs back... it was almost perfection.


I was too bloody tired to do anymore work on it.  So, I closed down the computer and went to bed.

Today, I looked at it with my eyes hanging out of my head and a coffee attached to my right hand and found what I had written wasn't all that bad!  All it needed was a bit of fleshing out and... well... that was it - so far.

I'll save it again and leave it for a few weeks and go back to it later.

What is my next project?  Well, I have about 60 Flash Fictions I've written over the last 2 years I'd like to sift through and put into a book... but they need grammar checking and looking at by my writer's group.  So, after looking at which ones I'd like to put into the book, I'll start editing them.  This should take another year or two before publication.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, October 6, 2014

On Writing ...

Now, you've all been reading my viewpoints of what writing is all about in my world.  So, I thought to search the net and find a few links to talk about what the written word - in all forms - means to the most famous writers in our world.

This first one is of Stephen King.  He's at a talk a few years ago at a university.  I got this one off YouTube and it goes for almost an hour.  So, be prepared for a good chat from him - and a slight warning:  it does have some cursing in it.

Stephen King

The next one is of Kurt Vonnegut - also from YouTube - and he talks about his rules of writing a short story.  I love how he speaks; and this only goes for a little under 2 minutes - but it speaks volumes about how to write a short story. 

Kurt Vonnegut

I hope you enjoy the first two I found... I hope to find more for you to listen to.  I'm watching Stephen King's one now, and it's great!  Until my next post, happy reading!