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! 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.

Almost...

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!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Research Junkie - That's Me!

I love doing research - as boring as it sounds - but I do.  Before I begin writing anything, I do my research into what I'm going to write.  It may sound like a really boring, horrible way of studying, but really, if you don't do your study into what you're going to write, your readers will pick up on it.  And believe me, there'll be people out there who will know more about your subject than you do - and there's nothing worse than having somebody who's going to e-mail you later and tell you that you've got something in your book wrong - well in their eyes and through their life-time of studying the subject you've based your book on.

So, I do love to research my books thoroughly before I even move too far into writing the first few chapters.  What I do first is:  write down the premise of my book - exactly what do I want to get across to my audience.  Can it be done?  Who cares?  This is exactly what being a writer is all about - making the audience believe what you write.  Okay, sure, it means you lie to them... but you gotta make the lie sound like the truth, then make it stick like crazy glue, and then your readers will hang onto your band wagon no matter where you take them!  

Yep, it's true!  

Okay, right now, I'm writing a book called 'Angel Love'.  It's about Angels, Heaven, Hell, Demons and Lucifer... oh, yeah, and humans too.  It's a love story. Doesn't sound like it, right?  In amongst the biggest pissing match to beat all pissing matches between the Archangels and Demons, the humans are caught in the middle with Lucifer walking the Earth (well, whoops!  Who let him out of his cage?) and then there's Hell Hounds, The Scribe of God and The Minder of Souls... yeah, I added in a new guy.  I have two love stories in this book - but only one will pull through.  Which one will have a happy ending?  I'm not going to tell you, and even I don't know yet; but it's going to be a hell of an ending.

But I had to do my research before I even put pen to paper.  I had to find out about Angels, Demons and Lucifer... I had to find out about their roles in God's eyes.  The really weird thing is that I'm totally not religious and found researching this the strangest thing... I firstly went to Google and it came up with too many meanings for the Angels and Demons thing.  I looked around my own library, and I didn't have enough works about them.  So, I had to fork out some money on two books about these things - yep only two were out there that were any good.  One of them I scored at a second-hand book store, and the other was one I had to order in brand new.  I've gotten all my other information from friends and religious leaders I've been in contact with.  It hasn't caused me to question my own path (well, okay, it has, and I really want to be a Buddhist now because it's not great being a believer of God with all that stuff going on - so much fighting between the Angels and Demons).  But it's interesting writing about them all.

Then, I've written a couple of sci-fi books.  Now, these are fun.  You can write about a real place or fictional place.  But using a real place is easier, as you can really nail down buildings, city plans and keep track of streets with photographs and city planning for the future.  And then there's all the gadgets you invent for your book - you really feel like a 007 spy when you get into it all; and it's quite a lot of fun!  But you gotta be careful, as what you write sometimes becomes reality far sooner than you realise - and that's damned creepy!

However, I do love research in a big way... I think that's why I love to read and why I have such a large book collection.  I think reading - in its own weird old way - is research.  And the more you read, the more you absorb, the more you learn and the more ideas you get for your own works.  What do you think?  Love to hear your opinions.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Purchases....Um... Not This Month....

Yep, you read right.  I haven't bought a book this month... I'd love to say I did, but really, I'm trying to read through my collection, so I've kept my book-buying habits to a minimum.

Yes, I'm saving money... mainly for the rego on my car.  I know that sounds so responsible, so adult... so... so... wow... conforming of me.  But really, I love my car and don't wish to lose the use of it.  So, there's where most of my money is going:  into an account to save up for rego and insurance. 

Anyway, I'm also writing, so there's time going into that.  I've spend the last hour and half researching local, historical cemeteries... yeah... creepy, right?  But in one of my books, a big battle goes down in a cemetery, so I needed a pioneering cemetery away from the public, away from the city, and located near the country.  And you know?  I found one in my local area.  Seeing my book is based in a real place with fictional characters, I thought to use real places right to the end, to give it the punch it needs for my readers to keep going with it.

I hope it works.

Otherwise, I'm preparing my Crafty Pegs stall and products for 18th, October.  I still want to buy a few more things before my stall is completely finished, otherwise, I'm hoping to wait until next year to have that special something for it to be totally finished and I can just sit back and work on what I want it to be - perfect.  Otherwise, I'm going to splurge on a medium sized esky/cooler for the markets so I can have food, lunch and milk with me that won't go warm during the days I'm working in Summer.  I do work on things at the markets though... I get an idea in a lull during the day, I work on a book, read a little and write a little, but not for long!  Before long, I have a customer arrive and I'm there serving them.  Well, until I can get back to my book - which is... well, the next time I can sit down again.  

Yep, I'm writing more and reading from my collection more too.  That is a change.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

'Body Rentals' by Mark Gardner

Tom and Jean Smith are two retirees who are about to go on a two week cruise of a life-time.  However, they kind of want to rekindle their love life and so Jean suggests they go to Body Rentals and rent a couple of neat and sleek younger bodies to take on the cruise for a bit of fun!  It takes a bit of talking Tom into, but he warms to the idea, and without telling their friends or family of their plans, they go to the place and spend the money on renting out two younger bodies.

However, on their return home, Tom and Jean find out that their lives and identities have been stolen!  Their house has been sold, their bank accounts drained and the people who have been loaned their bodies have taken off!  Then, they run into their daughter, Kimberley, who doesn't recognise them; and they really wish they had told somebody about their plans of going to Body Rentals.  After chatting to her outside their soon-to-be-sold house, she gives in and goes and talks to the people she thinks is her parents while her younger-looking folks find themselves a hotel for the night.

The next day, Kimberley returns to the hotel they are staying at and promises to help them.  She talks to a few of her friends and, before they know it, they are told some cold hard truths about Body Rentals they don't want to know... such as:  they have only 4 months to find their original body before they expire. But first, they must find the original owner of the body they're in first; yep, the person they're in was stolen in the first place!  But will Tom and Jean Smith catch up with the mastermind of Body Rentals before it too late and save their marriage as well?

What takes place over the next twenty chapters of this short book is a non-stop adventure of two people who trusted a company which took and took without thinking twice about who they were harming.  I loved this book and over the last two days couldn't put it down!  Mark Gardner is a writer who lives in Northern Arizona with his wife, kids and pair of spoiled dogs.  You can find this book on Amazon and other good e-book stores for around $3.00.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Current Work - You and Me?

Wow... a week has flown by already?  That was fast!  I've been busy with all kinds of things, but haven't forgotten to write here... just I wasn't sure about what would be interesting enough to talk about.

So, here goes:

This week, I had a bit of Writer's Block with 'Angel Love' right up until I realised I had used a couple of characters and then forgot them totally... yeah, it happens.  So, I re-read when they disappeared and found a place to put them, and the story picked up again - *phew* that was close!

Then, I got into read about four chapters of 'Body Rentals' by Mark Gardner.  This is a great book!  I'm really getting into it.  Mark Gardner is a writer I know from Chuck Wendig's 'Terrible Minds' blog.  Both he and I chat on there - as well as away from there - about writing and books.  We've become good friends and yet have never met as I live here in Australia, and he's in the United States.

And if that's not keeping me busy, I'm working on my last markets at Springwood of the Creative Markets.  Yeah, I'm pulling out of there as it's just gotten too expensive to be a retailer there.  I wasn't selling enough product to cover the $50 rent for half a day, when I was being offered spots in other places for half the amount for full day markets.  
I've also been on the creating side of things with a website for Crafty Pegs too.  So, that's taking up time in my life as well.  And I'm finding that a lot of fun as it's just cutting and pasting really, then saving the publishing... and it's using wix.com a cool little site-builder that has a free side to it and you can also start paying for extra stuff too.

Otherwise, I'm still writing Flash Fiction Fridays on Chuck Wendig's 'Terrible Minds'.  Over the last few weeks, he's gotten us to work on a 3-part story; most of which isn't our own work.  I started one called 'The Wardrobe Monster' (yeah, every kid's nightmare) but I took it into the adult world and made it real for an adult instead of kid... very Lovecraftian.  A few people took off with it and loved that I jumped into it the way I did, while others thought it was a bit tough to take adults into a child's world of wardrobe monsters.  For me?  Well, my imagination runs away with me a lot when I write, so I can't comment.  But I did work on two in the exercise.  I wrote a part 2 to 'Pictures' and a part 3 to 'Don't Talk to the Dead'... they were both great challenges and I loved doing.  And you can find them on my 'You Can't Go Back and Other Impossibilities' blog if you wish to check them out.

So, that's what I've been up to lately - and why I haven't been blogging here much.  Well, it's your turn... what have you been writing or reading lately that's keep you from the computer or doing what you normally do in your life?  Do tell, we'd love to know (but please do keep it tame, it's a normal site here... hehehee).  Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Fire Trap

On Saturday, I had a family get-together for an early birthday party here at my place.  It was combined with Mum and Dad's 45th Wedding Anniversary on the same day... and it turned out great!

During the day, my brother, Gabe and I walked around my place and I showed him a few things he hasn't seen - as he hasn't been here for a long time.  We walked into my home office and he looked around, calling it a 'fire trap' jokingly.  However, I said it was a library, he still called it a fire trap.

So, does your family call your book collection anything but what it is?  Or do they have other names for it - like my brother does?  I'm a traditionalist and love my books and collecting them is something that I enjoy doing; so it's just something I don't think I'll ever get out of the habit of throughout my life.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spring Reads

I've been busy with other things in my world... writing, editing... being a retailer at markets around Brisbane... but I've picked up a book and began reading - finally! - and I'm enjoying the love of reading again.

I'm reading an e-book called 'Body Rentals' by Mark Gardner.  He's a writer I know from the Terrible Minds blog by Chuck Wendig, and we often read each other's shorter works each week... then he came across a flash fiction I wrote which reminded him of some of his own works and he recommended I had a look at his short novel showing me links to it.  However, no matter what I did, I couldn't get into it, or the place wouldn't recognise either Mark's name or my payment method.  I let Mark know, and he passed me on a copy.  Well!  I'm into the third chapter and it's creepy!  I love it and found he's written a great book!  I can't wait to get in and finish reading it to let you all in on what I think of it.

Then, I'm only a chapter and a half away from finishing 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter - Book 3'!  I'm so happy about this, but I'm still cautious about how to get the characters where I want them... the location of where the last scene might be changing, but what happens in the end won't.

And then, I'm really getting into some big action in 'Angel Love'.  It's going into a direction I never thought it would.  This book was inspired by the hit show, 'Supernatural', but I left out the two hot guys and the sweet set of wheels.  This is purely about the Angels, Demons, vessels and some poor humans who get squished in the middle of it all.  Sure it took some research and me needing to buy some books and using some of my pagan books, but it was well worth it.  I'm up to chapter 8 and it's looking great!

So, what are you working on - or reading - at the moment that's holding your undivided attention?  Which book is it?  Is it a classic or a new release?  Do you know the author as a friend or are they new to your life, or is the author such a regular to your reading list they feel like an old friend?  I'd love to know.  Until my next post, happy reading!