Friday, July 21, 2017

'The Bee Loud Glade' by Steve Himmer

Meet Finch. He's a corporate drone who works on blogs about a product called 'Second Nature' - a type of plant life for customers where you don't have to care for them, water them or do anything to them, just have them as decoration; and yes, they're plastic. Pretty, but not much use. The customer can add flowers, wilting leaves and other such things to the plant as seasons change and enjoy the plants to the full extent without the mess of an actual house plant - but it will never die. Finch also manages a collection of blogs about other imaginary lives supporting Second Nature.

However, life isn't exactly right. He's in a small corner of the office where he's kept to himself and found that he'd been mostly ignored - or so he thinks. And it doesn't really come as a surprise to him when he's fired.

He goes home, and his world stops. He stops. He just lets everything go; and stops paying his bills, stops caring for himself and eventually gets himself evicted - but he doesn't do anything about himself until late one night, just before his internet is cut off, offering him the perfect job... and all he has to do is say 'yes' - and so he replies with that word, then goes to sleep.
The very next day, his life changes completely. A driver shows up at his door and he's driven away the city, away from the house an away from everything he's known for so long to a mansion on top of a mountain where he meets Mr. Crane, the man who owned the company he was fired from. This man wanted him for something very specific; and knew he'd be the right man for the job... oh, and could he start immediately? By the way, the pay is incredible! All Finch has to do is live in Mr. Crane's garden as a hermit for seven years. There are some conditions - of course - but they're not all that major. Does Finch take the job? 

This is a great book from a writer I hadn't heard of until I won it in a competition. But once I through the first few pages, I just couldn't put it down. This book is an amazing and thought-provoking walk through the garden of somebody's thought processes as they observe the world in a totally different way. Set in the present day, with technology all around, it's interesting to see how Finch reacts to going from having everything, then nothing. I don't think I'll let go of this book from my collections any time soon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Winter Reading

Winter has finally come to Brisbane for the next few weeks - or days - and we've all broken out the winter woolies and have snuggled down in our duvets late at night reading books before we turn out the light (if we ever do!).

As for me, I've been busily editing two books and they're both going so well, I've simply forgotten to come and tell you guys about it all. 
The first book is a book filled with the Flash Fiction from around 2014. But it's not just any flash fiction. I've added on what the story really does finish like at the end - or I've filled it out more in the middle - so it either makes more sense, or makes you want to read more about it. This also makes my reader want to get onto my blog for flash fiction and compare the two to see which one they like better - the blog one I tossed up onto the internet after working on it for around fifteen minutes, or the edited one I worked on for two hours to make it sound more finished with all the spelling mistakes and grammar fixed. 

Then, I've been working on my NaNoWriMo book from last year titled: 'The Tour Guide'. This was initially a working title and it took on something of a life of its own after I started out on it; which is strange because usually I'll begin a piece of writing in this month of writing, and I'll absolutely hate it. Then, it'll grow on me very suddenly and I'll be right into it. So, the working title of 'The Tour Guide' became the title of it in the end. 
Well, I found this book on my tablet and started reading it when I wanted to know what was on my 'Notebooks' on the apps. Once I remembered that I wrote this, I realised I simply had to finish this book completely and make sure I got it published. So, I've been editing this book as well.

I've also been reading late at night before bed, instead of being on the internet. I find I'm sleeping better than if I'm on the computer for an hour. So, I'm up to the last two chapter of 'The Bee-Loud Glade' by Steve Himmer and I've just begun '84 Charing Cross Road' by Helene Hanff. The latter book is one of my all-time favourites I just simply love to read. It's not a huge thick book, but it's a charmingly sweet classic with its first letter starting on my birthday, but I'm not born in 1949. I love books set in a time without computers, without all the complications of the modern world. It helps me slow down with everything around me speeding up so much.

Well, that's what I've been doing for the past week. Editing and reading... at long last on the last one! So, what are you reading this Winter - or Summer, if you're in the Northern Hemisphere? How many books have you gotten read this year? I haven't gotten that many books read, but that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about books all the time. Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Been... well... Busy

I've been busy.
I've been sick.
I've been doing a lot of things lately.

There's been so much going on that I haven't had time to turn the calendar over in the kitchen - and yet I've turned the one over in the office upstairs. How weird is that? 

Well, I'm working hard on the first Flash Fiction book - and am around five stories from finishing it off. I can't wait to get it all finished up and sent off! It's going to look great! I just hope it sells!

Then, I can sit back for a bit and see how it goes.

Otherwise, I'll begin editing the second one quietly and slowly and it'll begin again - the late nights, the afternoons zipping by and the gallons of coffee I'll consume - to get the next book finished up and done. But it may take longer as I have written other books which really need looking at. There's 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter' and 'Angel Love'... and of course 'Another Quick Read'. 

Did I bite off more than I can chew? Or is this just how I like it? Most probably the latter... I'll never know until I jump in feet first and see how the water is (or is the floor made of lava today?).

Otherwise, I've been skipping out on the computer late at night; opting to settle down in the comfort of my bed and reading until I drop off to sleep at around midnight. It's lovely, and warm, and I feel so much better when I can just slot in the bookmark and turn off the light instead of spending another half hour getting ready for bed... I'm already there, relaxed after an hour of reading.

Yep, the computer can wait late at night... after two or three hours of 'Supernatural' or 'That 70's Show' or Buffy' - all on dvd - as there's nothing really worth watching on free-to-air television anymore. I love losing myself in those worlds where nothing is real and yet fiction is better than real life.

Just like a book, right?

Yep, I've been... well... busy. Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Reading Again...

I've cracked open a book again, but I've been reading at the late, late hours of the night. You see, I've caught Laryngitis - just like most of Brisbane has - and it's caused me to stay up late with the most dreadful cough!

So, right now, I'm reading 'The Haunted Bookshop' by Christopher Morley. I'm also reading a little of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: the Trilogy in Four Parts' by Douglas Adams. Both wonderful books and both printed at opposite ends of the same century. How weirdly strange is that for me to be reading these two books at the same time?

I'm also writing flash fiction and editing my flash fiction book as well - when I have the energy. Time isn't a factor anymore, seeing I have a huge amount of it on my hands now; it's energy. I'm so tired from the antibiotics and the coughing, I just seem to drop off to sleep the minute I sit down in one of my lounge chairs.

Oh well, can't beat 'em all. Well, until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Apologies

I haven't written much lately; and I really should be - as a writer, I normally have plenty to say.

However, I'm going through some depression over the past few weeks and it's really bothering me; particularly over the past few days. 

I haven't read any books this year - which is really unusual of me. I have bought books, but haven't read anything at all. I've started books, but didn't get past the second chapter. 
I'm editing my first flash fiction book, and that's going really well. And I think it's that which is holding me back from reading anything. 

I'm also attending art school, which is taking up a fair bit of my time - and I'm loving to bits as well! But because depression can be a really horrible thing for our minds, I'm not keeping quiet about it; simply because it can be a real killer for creatives. 

So, I'm putting it out there for you all to know: I suffer from depression. At times it is from the weather - but I love the colder times of the year; so it's not that. Mainly, it's where I live right now, the fact that I can't get a bank loan and that I'm financially stuck without much money to buy a house of my own or enough money to rent one from anyone else which is really getting me down.

I'm just hoping this passes soon and I'm myself again... I mean, I missed out on my favourite television program last night - 'Supernatural' - which I never miss. Yep, I'm really that bad I forgot to watch it at 9:30pm. Well, I am hoping to work on my depression and getting rid of it soon. Until my next post, happy reading. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Second-Hand vs Brand New

To me, a book is a book, no matter where it comes from. It tells me a story and I love the written word - but I'm very much a traditionalist and enjoy the textile feel and smell - the very scent and odour - of a real book in my hands. 

However to a lot of people, it's not a book unless the spine hasn't been cracked. And I for one don't understand why I should spend so much money on a book when a second-hand book is just as good as a brand new one - just a little more used and little older. 

So, seeing I buy a lot of my reading material at second-hand book stores and at markets, it made me wonder if where you get books makes a difference.

More often than not, I've seen garage sales filled with reading material which people have collected and found none of their family wants. And this also has me wondering what will happen to my collection as I age (and believe me, I'm getting to a point where I have to stop worrying about it). 

But really, as I wandered around the Vinnies and the Salvation Army stores at Stones Corner today here in Brisbane, I wondered quietly to myself: who donated these books, where did they come from and are some of these from a deceased estate? I found it kind of sad that these books will end up in landfill if they're not sold at these charity stores. 

So, does it make a difference if your books come from a charity store, second-hand store or book exchange or if you buy them brand new or online? Or is it all the same, so long you can read it? Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Book's Meaning

I was at my parents' house yesterday, flipping through 'Time and Again' by Jack Finney, while they were watching 'Silent Witness' on television. 

They had just spent a week away house sitting a gorgeous house and two just-as gorgeous border collies; and barely watched any television. Mum read her books, did some of jig-saw puzzle and walked around an impressive garden. However, the swimming pool wasn't touched; as it's becoming a little chilly to swim now.

But only days into being back at home, they're right back into their old routine of watching hours upon hours of television in the afternoons. Okay, they read for a few hours in the morning, but I worry about how much time they spend watching television when they have so much more in life they could be doing. 

Mum keeps on telling me she'd love to write a book about her life 'one day'. But she never gets started on it. I have been writing one; and it's not the easiest thing to write. Not everyone will like it, not everyone will agree with what you've written, and not everyone will be shown in the best light... but it's about my life not theirs. If they want to read about their lives, they can write a book about their life. 

I've just read an article about how precious books have become to us now; and how they change the way we think from year to year. I've been collecting books since I was 4 years old, when they used to be an escape for me. I was born with Epilepsy and so reading helped me escape the problems, doctor's appointments and complications that came with that condition. 
Now I'm older, I read for the pure enjoyment of the experience of the escape. There's nothing to escape from. Normally, if I can't find what I want to escape into, I start writing about it - as I'm a writer as well. There's nothing like the sheer joy of creating worlds of your very own from nothing but a blank page; and then perfecting it - taking the time to perfect it - and hoping it takes off at some point and getting it published. 

Books are - in essence - tiny universes between the covers of an author's imagination. It's not often a writer will tell you exactly what's on their mind, however, if you'd like to know what a writer is truly like, look at their book collection (and a writer who doesn't have a book collection - a physical book collection - is one to be suspicious of). I have a room filled to the brim with books of all kinds. And being an artist as well, I integrate books into my paintings and artworks to show how much I can't live without books in my life. 

So, what kinds of meanings do books have for you? Do you collect them to read a huge series like 'The Wheel of Time'? Or do you have a favourite author or two who you've been following since you were in high school? Or is it something you've had to do because you're studying to be in the sciences or something more complex? Until my next post, happy reading. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Month Is Almost Gone!

I'm so sorry I haven't been posting in here. But not much has been going on. I've been reading a few Flash Fictions - and also writing them as well. I wrote one about Easter and the Easter Egg Hunt in the past week; and I'll see if I can get in and write a few more on my blog to keep it active enough.

Then, I started editing more stories for my Flash Fiction book for the end of the year. This is exciting... some of the stories are really coming together. I can't wait to get them all into one PDF file and looking great!
But I've done this self-publishing thing before, though and it's very time-consuming. So, I hope it works out this time.

Anyway, I've been getting my nose into a book or two. There's 'The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy: the Trilogy in Four Parts' by Douglas Adams and 'Good Reading Magazine' - this month's issue - which as had me glued to its pages. 

I'm also learning to work with oils in my paintings; and so I'm working on new paintings for my Book-Art exhibition I'm hoping to get into the Logan Artists Association in the next year - if they have space for what I have. I still have a long way to go in the Book-Art theme... but it's all working out. 

Otherwise, my book-collecting life is going well. I found a second edition copy of 'Roots' by Alex Haley from 1977 in hardcover. And I also found an fictional autobiography by Clive James. I'm looking forward to reading both these books in the future. Well, until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Watcha Readin'?

It's been a while since I jumped on here and posted to you guys. But there's a good reason for this; as you know. I've been editing and writing a book. Well, okay... a few books. 

And I've been book shopping too.

However, my whole life has done a backflip and I've been getting back into the arts and have joined the Logan Artists Association so I can get my book-art back on track and I can sell my works to people... yep, I'm taking up my painting again. However, it's not acrylics. It's oil painting I'm learning; and it's wonderful!

Okay, oil painting is a lot messier than acrylic painting, but it's a lot more fun, the paint goes further and adds more character than acrylics. But while I'm doing my paintings, I'm also thinking about what books to read next, what to write next and I'm also still writing flash fiction as well.

My flash fiction book is taking shape and I'm working on it bit by bit (I'm up to story 11 I think) and I'm looking at how to get it all pulled together into a PDF. This is one huge file to make it a book. Then, there's the 5 or 6 hour day I'll be spending working on the book itself with CreateSpace.com. What a site! Hopefully I'll be able to sell my work through Amazon and people can either download it or order a copy - either way, I'll be making money in some way.

Then, just for the fun of it, I'll go and do that all over again... yay! Yeah, nobody ever got anywhere for nothing.

Otherwise, I'm still reading a couple of books. There's 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams and 'The Tale of Two Cities' by Charles Dickens. Woah! What a great choice of works, right? But the latter one was something I've heard people talking about lately and just wanted to know what the hubbub was about with it; so I dug it out of my classics section and began reading it. I'll let you know what I really think of it in a few weeks. Well, now you know what I've been up to lately. What have you gotten your nose into? Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Been Book Shoppin'

Now, I haven't been on here for a while; and I really must put my hand out and say I'm very sorry about this. But I haven't been reading that much.

I have been editing and writing a lot and doing some painting and learning new techniques to do with the art world lately - to do with oil paints. I've also joined the Logan Artists Association; and so I've been making sure I get myself known there. I'm also taking art classes there and have been in one art exhibition and have applied for another one next week! Woah! Now, my plate is really getting full as well as my social calendar. 

Which means I've let a few of my blogs go without any posts. I don't mean for this to happen, but it's means I've been busy enough to jump on here today and write a really great blog for you all to read.

I've been out book shopping!

Well, okay, that doesn't sound like anything out of the ordinary.

But I went out and bought NEW BOOKS! Yeah, that's so not like me, is it? Yep, I normally go for the preloved books in this world and the books that have been around the block a couple of times before I get in and read them.

Do you all remember that $50 QBD gift Voucher I received for Christmas from my folks? Well, today, I spent some of it at the Hyperdome. 
Initially, I wanted to spend it on a book which Peter Walsh just brought out in the States, but it's not out here just yet. So, I couldn't buy that... darn! So, I asked about Chuck Wendig's books. But they only had his Star Wars: AfterLife Series... double darn! So, instead of leaving the store, I went perusing the store in the search for the perfect purchases - the books I've wanted for yonks, but haven't bought because they've been too darned expensive in the past.

I came home with a David Bowie biography and this wonderful treasure! Okay, the second one isn't everyone's cup of tea or coffee, but really, I've wanted to own it for years, and I'm so happy I found it for just $14.99! The David Bowie biography was a little over $20; which leaves me with around $17.00 to play with still on the voucher. I'm so happy to have found these two books.

You know, I'd rather buy a couple of great books I really want to read,than one large purchase of a book I might not use or read. Wouldn't you? Well until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Writing and Editing Again

I'm at it again - yep, I'm editing another book.

But don't get me wrong, I'm also getting my nose into reading lighter books just to keep my brain from wandering on me. 

I've also been giving books away and exchanging them at The Really Good Bookstore too. So, my book collection is looking great and filled with books I want to read.
But there is a big pile of books under the coffee table in the office here which can't be given away or exchanged - and they are Bookcrossing books. I'm going to be very busy over Winter as I Wild Release those ones across Brisbane and around the Logan area; something I haven't done in a long time.

Anyway, as I said, I'm hoping to get in and edit a book to get published. This is something I'm hoping to do through CreateSpace.com. It's a platform used through Amazon and I can upload my book for nothing and they sell it print-on-demand; and I get a royalty for it. One of my artist friends, Aaron Pocock, told me about it and I've signed up to their website. Now, I'm busily working away on my collection of flash fictions. 
But if you think they're going to be the same as they are on the blog, you're wrong. Some of them are going to be shorter, some longer... and a few will have a different ending altogether. So, the book will be different from the blog; and will be worthwhile owning. 

So, what have you all been up to? You know what I've been doing. Until my next post, happy reading and writing.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

February Book Buys?

Yep, I didn't so much as buy books, but get rid of them.

Jeez, that doesn't sound like me, does it? A book collector giving away books? Nope, it really doesn't. But fear not, I didn't just throw them in the direction of the first op-shop I encountered! No, I took them to a book exchange at Browns Plains so I could accumulate points to - yep you guessed it! - buy more books! 

So, there was method in my madness in doing that. 

Otherwise, I have been cleaning out the home office so I can find the floor, the Reading Chair and - hey, look at that - I found the magazine rack! Yeah, It's been a really great thing for me to do. But unlike that last time I cleaned out the books and other bits I did before, it's taking me longer. 

I don't mind. The longer it takes me, the better this room will look. The living room is taking me a long time too; but that's only because there's not that much space there and I have books down there too. 

So, I'm not buying books right now. Okay, people are giving me books, but I'm seriously looking at giving them away after about a week. So, how has your month been? Until my next post, happy reading!