Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February Book Buys!

This month, I found myself looking around for new things to read; and what I found were some great books!  Unfortunately, I wanted to buy out the whole bookstores they were in!  But then, don't we all have months like this?  Of course we do. 
To start with, I went well for the first week or so this month; until Valentine's Day.  I had to go to the doctors and they were running late.  So, off to The Book Warehouse I went, but I found it was closed.  Thinking it had gone bust - and feeling very sad about it - I walked into Sam's Warehouse and found two books I was happy with: 'Limitless' by Alan Glynn and 'The Lost Guide to Life and Love' by Sharon Griffiths.  After I came out of this place, I found I had been wrong about The Book Warehouse; they closed up for lunch.  So, I walked in and found a couple of books that looked great!  And they were:  'Two Lives' by Vikram Seth and a gardening journal (the latter I bought for my brother and his fiance as they have just bought their first house and they have a garden filled to the brim with plants of all kinds.

After Valentine's Day, I thought my book buying was over.  I settled in and kept reading what I was reading next to my bed and didn't have a want for anything.  That was until I was back at Mum and Dad's place and I started flicking through iTunes for a free book - a good, thick, long-term read; something of a famous, classic author who I've been wanting to read, but have put off because they were in the 'too hard basket'.  So, I looked up 'Anna Karenina' by Leo Tolstoy.  This 4,500 page monster of a book was free and I downloaded it onto my iPod; and little by little, I've been getting into this brilliant book.  I'm currently up to Chapter 8 of Part 1; and I'm totally hooked!

Then today, I was out at Garden City - instead of grocery shopping.  I had to swap around my shopping day for a personal reason and so I did.  While I was up at Garden City, I took my QBD Gift Certificate with me to see if I could get a pen or something different; instead of book.  However, I couldn't, so I hunted around at the books on the discounted tables and found two that were of my taste'Lennon: The Definitive Life' by Tim Riley and 'Vegetarian: Bible 2'.  I love John Lennon and I'm a vegetarian... so these two books are great finds for me.  I also found a brilliant book in the isles for only $6.99 'Nelson Mandela: the authorised book of quotations' by Himself.  I have always admired Nelson Mandela as a great man, leader and a hero amongst people of his time and this time.  He is a brilliant thinker and a very wise person and should never have been punished the way he was.  I have always wanted to know more about him; and so I have a book of his here in my collection, and now I have a book of his quotations I can carry with me - as it's quite a thin book.  How cool is that? 

Well, that's my book buying this month.  I hope next month I'm better behaved and in better control of my spending habits.  Until my next post, happy reading!   

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Terrible Minds Make for Great Reading

Being a writer is a great thingSometimes.  Yeah, it can be frustrating to no end when you want to write everything down and yet you don't have enough time, enough fingers, a faster brain or know exactly how to say what you want to say in the precisely the right way.  And yet, there are times, when you get yourself in just the right spot, at the right time of the day or night, in the zone, gleaming the cube and in the right mind-set to have your books take you where you want to be.

This is when your creative mind and muse play along well.  They are like two kids in a schoolyard who sometimes get along well if the conditions are right; but not all the time.  One of them is good for you, while the other can be bad for youAnd figuring out which is which is part of the game.  I still don't know which is which and I'm almost 40 years old; and yet I still love playing the games of creativity with them.

But I found a blog today where the creator pulls no punches, tells it as it is and will give any writer - no matter who you are - a good kick in the butt about your writing.  He uses the blunt, down-to-earth kind of language all writers love to see but their family cringe at; and yes, I must warn you all now, there's some of what he calls 'naughty words' involved... but I'm tellin' ya, it's worth it.

Chuck Wendig is well worth a look at.  I've subscribed to his blog on WordpressAnd if you're a writer who's claiming they have Writer's Block (but really you can't be bothered writing... you know who you are, stop hiding behind your cup of coffee there), this is the guy for you to read.  Until my next post, happy reading.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

Gift Certificates

I have a gift certificate.  How cool is that?  Now, it's not an exact amount of money, and it's not over $20.  However, it's one where I've earned the money on it.  It's a QBD Bookstore Gift Certificate where I've become a member of it Book Club and have bought 10 books to accumulate a certain amount of money to spend on my 11th book.  Pretty cool, eh?

Now, usually, I know what to spend the money on.  However, this time, I'm stuck.  I have $17.83 and no idea what I'd like to buy.  I've looked on their site, but they don't advertise any of their pens or anything else that is usually not a book instore.  So, it looks like I'll have to go instore physically to see what I can buy there.  I might get myself a nice pen - a better one than my last one - with the money.

So, what do you do when you get a gift certificate from a bookstore?  Do you spend it immediately, or do you save it up and wait for the right book to come out to spend on itOr do you buy a few small purchases and make it worth your while?  Until my next post, happy reading! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In Verse

I do love to read books in verse sometimes; and I don't just mean poetry or sonnets.  I mean books that have a proper story and plot all writte in verse.  'The Monkey's Mask' by Dorothy Porter is one book which comes to mind; and has stuck in my mind, even though I read it in 2010.

However, I'm one of those people who keep not only an online journal, but also a very personal, private, hand-written journal as well.  I have been keeping this kind of journal since 1997, and have recently thought to write in it in verse for a year and see how it turns out.  I'm on my second entry and have found it very much a challenge as I have to call upon how I ordinarily write in the journal and change it completely into a poetry book just for this year!  Have you ever done this kind of thing - or better still, come across anyone else who has?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reading Tolstoy

I've been looking at getting into books I don't ordinarily read this year.  This means finding books which are known as classics or hard-to-find or unusual reads.  One of those authors are Leo Tolstoy.  I've always been fascinated by him, but due to the length of his books, I've never really had the courage to pick up his works and get into them.  So, this year, seeing I can find free books on iTunes, I thought to download bigger books onto my iPod and read them as time goes by.

I've got other books on my iPod which are pretty big.  There's Charles Darwin's famous book 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection' and then I also have 'Dream Psychology' by Symund Freud on there too.  These books are large and I wouldn't want to be lugging them around if they were actually a part of my collection here at home.  So, I downloaded them.  

This has gotten me thinking: do you have any authors you'd love to read but feel intimidated by them because of the types of work they write, or the size of their books they've published?  Seeing I'm reading a monster of a book - which may take over a year to read, so I'll be reading other books as well as this one - who is your whale in the literary world?  Until my next post, happy reading!  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Logan Writers' Forum for February

Today I went out in the wet and cold to attend the first meeting for the Logan Writers' Forum for this year at the Logan North Library.  We weren't expecting all that many people to arrive due to the weather, but a lot of us showed up.  Before long, we were set up with our raffle stuff, lucky door prize and our guest speaker had arrived for the day.

We started at 10:15am and got talking about the future of the group for the next few months.  Then, the lucky door prize was drawn.  We all had to tip our chairs over to find out who had a gold star on the bottom of our chairs... and it turned out to be one of the ladies who is getting married in 5 weeks' time.  The prize was a astrological reading from another author.  

Then, our guest speaker, Anthony Puttee from BookCover Cafe, was called upon to speak.  He talked about how to get published as an independent author and how to change out mindset to the publishing world about how things have changed over time.  Publishers don't have the time to take on unknown authors; however consumers habits are changing and so authors have to change with the times as well.  
Bookstores are closing down because of how the industry is changing; so independent publishing is helping authors get their work out into the right arenas - including bookstores and e-books - to make the books more accessible.  Publishers can't take risks, they can only take on writers they know are sure things and will make money for them.  So, to get a foothold in the the writing and publishing industry before thinking of becoming a full-time writer; as the industry is moving and changing so swiftly and is so difficult to keep up with, is the best thing to do.  The best thing an author can do is to is to know your audience, know what will sell where and how to get your books into the right marketplaces at the right times.

Anthony told us the average prices for books that his company publishes as well.  For picture books, most of the cost goes to illustrators; which can cost up between $1500 - $3,000, depending how many illustrators you'd need.
Then, there's cover design which costs around $350 - $400.  The turn around for this type of book is around 20 working days.  However, for a fiction book, it all depends on how long your work is, as it's got to do with word length that will cost you money.  

Anthony's speech was very interesting and got us all thinking; as well a few of us asking some great questions about publishing he didn't cover.  Some of us did corner him and chat with him - including me - and he answered our questions about our publishing problems and needs happily.

I'll be going  to next month's meeting and telling you all about it.  It was a great morning for me to get out and about.  Until my next post, happy reading!       

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lunch With Ged Maybury

Last week, I was without my computer - as you all know - and so, I took off to my parents' house to use their internet.  While there, I chatted with steampunk writer, Ged Maybury, on Facebook and he suggested we have lunch.  You see, the day I arrived at my parents' house, I was given some horrible news about a sick friend of mine, and Ged wanted to cheer me up.  So, I accepted the lunch suggestion and we made a time and place to meet.

This was on a Wednesday, and I had a lot to do between then and Saturday, when we were having lunch.  On Thursday, Dad took me out to Bunnings and we picked up some potting mix and a lovely new pot to bury my little bird in.  On Friday, I had my parents over to help me with my bird's burial; which I found I couldn't do on my own.  
Then, Saturday arrived and I walked to Rocky's Bakehouse and Cafe and met Ged there for lunch.  

He was prompt and it was wonderful to meet up with him after such a long timeIt had been around 15 years since I last saw him, and he had spoken at the Logan Writers' Guild about how to write Young Adult Fiction for today's teens.  I remember the time clearly that we had booked out a meeting room at the Logan North Library at the IKEA Centre (before both of these places moved) and then afterwards, the LWG invited Ged for afternoon tea at The Coffee Club at Springwood (the only place that hasn't moved in all this time).  He remembers attending the talk for the Guild and said it was good I remembered him so well after all this time.
We had a lovely lunch at Rocky's Bakehouse while we chatted and laughed over authors, agents and publications and our own writing.  Then, I offered to show him some of my book collection and he accepted; as he had been hinting at wanting to see some of my first editions while we spoke on Facebook chat in the past.  We walked to my place and he loved how the books are all here and enjoyed that I loved collecting more of them no matter what.  He was amazed at how I knew where each of my first editions were; as well as the signed ones too.  We kept swapping stories until it was time for him to pick up his kids from Browns Plains.  I walked him out to the front gates of my unit complex where we said our farewells before he walked off down to Rocky's again where he left his car. 

I had a great time, and he did too.  It's so good to connect with people who are also writers and have a love of the written language, isn't it?  Well, until my next post, happy reading!    

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Long Time No Post

Wow!  Guys it's been a long time between posts; and for this I humbly apologise.  You see, I've been without a computer - and so therefore, without the internet to jump on here and chat to you.

So, what have I been up to for the last week?  I hear you wonder... well, amazingly a lot.  The house has been dusted, cleaned and vacuumed.  I've sorted out plenty of clothes, bought a new planter pot for the burial of my little bird, 3 bags of potting mix and organised an afternoon with my folks to make it an official time to lay little blue fluffy companion to rest in my back yard.  
Then, I found out during the week,  that one of my nearest and dearest friends passed away from Adrenal Gland Cancer.  She wasn't old, but she was really battling with the disease and her health; and she was one of the good people in this world too.  I miss her dearly as we lived only one street from each other and I visited her a lot and called her most nights to chat (as when the nights come, it's when you become the most lonely).
Then, I finished my first big read for the year:  an 800 pager!  It was on my iPod and I enjoyed it.  However, I can't find the books 2 and 3 on iTunes; so I'll have to keep my eye out for them elsewhere.  Anyway, I'm now reading 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins and it's getting interesting.  But today, the computer guy from HP came by and installed a brand new hard drive into my computer.  He told me that my other hard drive deteriotated and that this one shouldn't do anything like that because it's straight from the manufacturer.  
So, I'm back online and hoping to keep you guys updated with everything I've been reading, bookstores I've been getting into and anything I'm currently doing bookwise.  I've still yet to spend my book voucher from QBD that I got over Christmas.  Very cool.  Until my next post, happy reading! 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

This Year's Reads

This year, I'm hoping to get in and read some great titles from my ever-growing collection.  Right now, I'm reading a Young Adult book on my iPod titled 'Parallel' and I'm only 200 pages from finishing it.  And seeing I knock over about 50 pages every night, I'm sure to finish it very soon.

However, I'm also hoping to read 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins, 'The World, The Flesh and The Devil' by Reay Tannahill, 'The Language of Flowers' by Venessa Diffenbaugh and 'The Golden Notebook' by Doris Lessing.  I've had some of these books for years, while others of these books I've had only for a few months.  And seeing I'm not much of a planner, I'm hoping to read these books in amongst the books I do read this year as these titles have jumped out at me whenever I walk into the office.

Which books do you hope to get into this year?  Love to know what's on your list; even if you don't get to them this year - you may next year.  Until my next post, happy reading.