Saturday, November 30, 2013

What November Book Buys?

Yes, what book buys indeed!  I haven't bought any books this month; and this is something I'm proud of. 

Instead, I've been rummaging around in my collection looking for books to read over Summer, books that I thought I gave away and books I'm thinking of giving away as Christmas presents (yes, I'm that broke this year!).

So, let's see... I'm still reading 'The Wastelands' and am getting through it very quickly too.  I'm racing my brother actually, so it's been fun to see who finishes it first!  Me or him!  He's only bought up to book 5, when I've got up to book 8! 

Otherwise, I'm busily trying to finish up Fry Nelson. Now, I have written in note form what the ending is going to look like, but otherwise, that's it.  The whole ending is going to take some time... and it's going to finish with a real bang!  Well, I think it is by the look of the notes.

So, what have you been reading, writing, collecting and rummaging through - and also buying as Christmas pressies?  Love to know!  Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ideas and Where They Come From...

Ideas are wonderful things to have when you're a writer.  But it's the worse thing in the world when you're halfway through a book and your fictional world grinds to a halt all because the storyline thins out; and you don't want to bore your readers.

So, where do you get ideas?  

I get asked that question all the time when I tell people I'm a writer.  And they also squeal: 'Oh! How exciting!' as well... um, no not really.  Most of the time, when I'm on a roll, I don't sleep very well because my brain is dug that deeply into the plot of the book it refuses to slow down enough to sleep.  So, I'm stuck there in the middle of the night unable to sleep with my brain running a huge race at what exactly my characters are doing inside my head... meanwhile my body is complaining that it doesn't want to get out of my nice, comfy bed and informing my brain that it's time to close down the factory for night to refuel.  A lot of the times, I have notebook by my bed for this exact reason.  I end up sitting up in bed, with a pen and paper writing down what is on my mind so I can get some sleep. 

...and more often than not, I get to sleep at around 1am.

There's other times I'll get great ideas for books.  Sometimes, I'll be hanging out the laundry... boring right? ... yeah, and the best idea comes to me while I'm listening to a neighbour fighting with their husband or I hear a siren of the fire station next door... the ideas come from pretty well anywhere when I'm outside.
And then, there's the more personal ones:  like when I'm in the shower or on the toilet... damn those times when I can't get near a notebook fast enough.  

But the ideas are great when they come thick and fast and I often find I can use them.  

Sometimes, though, I have weird ideas.  And these come in the form of a dream; and this is why I keep dream journals.  I get the best ideas from my dream journals.  The more vivid and off-beat the dream, the more likely it'll be a part of a storyline of one of my stories or books.

So, if you're a writer, what ways do you use to get ideas?  You've read about some of mine - not all of them.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Summer Reading List

This Summer is going to be one very hot one; and with storms that have hit Queensland and Brisbane already, I'm sure the heat is only going to get worse as the weeks wear on.

However, I've chosen the books I want to read over the next three months or so; as I try to stay out of the boiling hot Summer sun as much as I can, and here they are:  'The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure' by James Redfield.  I've heard a lot about this book, people have been reading since it first came out and yet I've never heard anyone talk about it fully.  So, I'm going to see what the complete of unfussiness is about this book!  
'The Golden Notebook' by Doris Lessing.  I've had this book on my shelves for over a year now, and I've yet to read it.  Actually it's been on my Mt To Be Read for the last year, and I haven't picked it up.  So, in tribute to her, I'm going to see why people have been talking about this particular book for so long; and why it's caused so much contraversy over so many decades.
'Literati' by James Phelan.  Now, this is a book I picked up at 'The Book Warehouse's last day in Springwood.  I saw it and found the blurb interesting.  It's interviews of authors and of what they wanted of their writing careers, and if what has happened to them is exactly what they expected.  I think I'm going to be surprised with this book.  

So, what are you hoping to get read over this Christmas period from wherever you are in this world?  Are you going to be snowed in and curled up by the fire reading romances with a hot chocolate by your side? Or are you going to be by the beach, under a sprawling Jacandar Tree with a nice cool ice tea in your hand and book in the sea breezes of the afternoon?  Which books are you taking on your holiday, and which books are taking you on your holiday when you're stuck at home?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The World Loses Doris Lessing

I heard today that Doris Lessing passed away aged 94.  What a great age to reach for such a brilliant author; especially one of who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007.  However, not a lot of people know about her life.  So, I thought to find a site where there's a proper lot of information and write a tribute to her.

Doris Lessing was born Doris May Tayler in Persia (now Iran) on October 22, 1919. Both of her parents were British: her father, who had been crippled in World War I, was a clerk in the Imperial Bank of Persia; her mother had been a nurse. In 1925, lured by the promise of getting rich through maize farming, the family moved to the British colony in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). 
Doris' upbringing was a mix of 'some pleasure and much pain' as she and her brother explored their world around them in Africa.  Her mother was obsessed with raising a proper daughter and so enforced rigid rules and regulations of higiene at home; then enrolled her in a convent where the nuns terrified their charges with stories of hell and damnation.  Lessing was later sent to and all-girls high school; where she dropped out of aged 13 and become a self-educated intellectual.  And she has believed that unhappy childhoods seem to produce fiction writers: 

'Yes, I think that is true. Though it wasn't apparent to me then. Of course, I wasn't thinking in terms of being a writer then - I was just thinking about how to escape, all the time.'

Parcels of books ordered from London arrived to feed her imagination and laying out worlds for her to escape into from her life of where she was living. Her early reading lists included authors such as:   Dickens, Scott, Stevenson, Kipling; later she discovered D.H. Lawrence, Stendhal, Tolstoy, DostoevskyAnd she also kept her brother awake at night spinning tales of her own as well.

At age 15, Doris left home in flight from her mother and took up a job as a nursemaid.  Her employer gave her books on sociology and politics to read; and all the while his son was sneaking into her room at night.

Lessing's life has been a challenge to her belief that people cannot resist the currents of their time, as she fought against the biological and cultural imperatives that fated her to sink without a murmur into marriage and motherhood.  

"There is a whole generation of women," she has said, speaking of her mother's era, "and it was as if their lives came to a stop when they had children. Most of them got pretty neurotic - because, I think, of the contrast between what they were taught at school they were capable of being and what actually happened to them." 

Lessing believes that she was freer than most people because she became a writer. For her, writing is a process of "setting at a distance," taking the "raw, the individual, the uncriticized, the unexamined, into the realm of the general." 

In 1937, Lessing moved to Salisbury and worked as a telephone operator for a year; and at 19, got married to Frank Wisdom and had two children to him.  However, their marriage didn't last long, with her leaving the family; feeling trapped in a persona that would destroy her if she had stayed.  She stayed in Salisbury and found the Left Book Club where she met Gottfried Lessing.  He was a central member of the group, which was a Communist group; and soon after they met, they were married and she had a son to him.  
By 1949, Lessing had left the communist group and moved to London with her son and published her first book 'The Grass Is Singing' and began her professional career as a writer.

After writing the 'Children of Violence' series (1951 - 1959), a formally buldungsroman (novel of education) about the growth in consciousness of her heroine, Martha Quest, Lessing broke new ground with 'The Golden Notebook' (1962) a daring narrative experiment, in which the multiple selves of a contemporary woman are rendered in astonishing depth and detail. 
Attacked for being "unfeminine" in her depiction of female anger and aggression, Lessing responded, "Apparently what many women were thinking, feeling, experiencing came as a great surprise." As at least one early critic noticed, Anna Wulf "tries to live with the freedom of a man" - a point Lessing seems to confirm: "These attitudes in male writers were taken for granted, accepted as sound philosophical bases, as quite normal, certainly not as woman-hating, aggressive, or neurotic."

Over her long and very interesting life, Doris Lessing has written around 60 books.  She has been a major influence on many people across the world and has left a huge mark on our world.  Her legacy of literature will leave not leave us for generations to come. 
I found all this information on her official website - and took about 3 paragraphs fully from it to paste here as there was so much information there.  And because of this, I'll leave the link for you to read it all here and you can have a look at it... and I'll also put it onto the side bar as well for future reference.  Rest In Peace, Doris Lessing.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Late Night Reading

Whenever I'm not working on my market stall and stock that's going to be sold in it next Sunday, and on my Facebook page of Crafty Pegs, I'm madly trying to keep my house clean... bills paid on time and other things around my house either put away or clean.

Otherwise, the only time I'm getting to read anything is when I'm in bed late at night or in a doctor's waiting room... yeah, pretty bare bones kinda stuff, isn't it?

But it's nice to read late at night when everyone else has gone to bed.  The unit complex is nice and quiet, it's dark outside and temperature is lovely and balmy with a sweet breeze filtering in through the window as the midnight thunderstorm grumbles overhead; shifting the lace of my curtain slightly.... and I have the reading lamp attached to my book and switched on just in case we lose power.

Most times, we don't lose it, but it's nice to know I'm ready for when - or if - we do.  And I usually get through around 20 pages or so in that one sitting in bed of 'The Wastelands' by Stephen King; which is pretty good when you think about it.  Tonight, I'll aim for more pages as I'm getting closer to the end of the book, so it's starting to pick up pace and show something of what's coming next soon... what it is?  I'm not sure, but I want to know.  And Sai King is just the right person to tell the story to us.  

So, what book has been keeping you coming back for more... even though it's slowed in the middle... and you've kept at it for the whole year?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Decision Time!

I've made a decision... one that will change how I've been reading - or not reading - as there's been a lull in my reading at the moment; as well as my reviews.

I've had problems focusing and it's been taking up a good part of my year; and I hate it... but then, we all have this kind of problem once in a while, and mine is here to bug me.


Oh well, seeing I can't really do anything about it, I'm just going to cruise through my bout of non-focus and see how far I get through the unfinished books I have laying around my bed, then I'll let you know in due time (before Christmas) if I'm able to finish them, review them and tell you the basic plot of each one in their own private review.  Sounds good?  I thought so.  Now, that's not too unreasonable, as I think I haven't been too fair on your guys this year.

But right now, I'll let you in on what I've got my nose in on right now:  'The Wastelands' by Stephen King.  Yeah, I know, I know, I started that at the beginning of the year, but I came to a slow part and wanted to fight through it - seeing I have all 8 books of The Dark Tower Series, I didn't want to waste my money on them - and so I'm going to finish this one first and it's the one I'm the most way through.  

So, what books have you half-finished and promised to finish this year?  Mine are in next to my bed waiting with bookmarks in the pages... I'm looking forward to getting into them more; as well as the one on the sidebar too by Paul Dail... I'm up to a really brilliant part in 'The Imaginings' and - stupid me - I put it down promising myself that I'd get back to it.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Book Inside Us

There's a book inside us all; whether we wish to admit to it or not.  It doesn't matter what kind of book it is - a fictional book or non-fiction book - it's there waiting to be written, and yet a good percentage of us don't take any steps to write that book from of our lives, of our lives, for our lives or within our lives ever.

However, for the ones who do, it's a life long struggle to get it published... and boy, is it a long struggle!  I have been seriously writing since I was 15 years old and now I'm 40, I've yet to be taken seriously by any publishing house here in Australia.  No agents want me near them, and yet, I have people in America who are offering me agents from Chicago and Boston who want to see my work - if only I had the money to go and see them personally.

And this is a very big problem with writers.

We all have a book - or twenty - inside us; and when we do get in and write that book, edit it, nurture it, love it and watch it mature into what we want it to... then we finally let it go into the hands of some stranger to read it (and I don't mean our friends who are our biggest supporters and First Readers - you guys are fantastic!), it comes back with red pen all over it and a massive fee attached to it!  Yeah, those places where you have to send it before you post it off to a publisher are very brutal; and they cause you to wonder if you've done the right thing in actually writing the piece in the first place.

What I do is write a book.  Simple enough, right?  Wrong!  It's not simple.  I have characters I have to create.  A world to create.  Conflict to throw in there.  A pinch or two of forbidden love, love that's supposed to be there and - hey just for the hell of it - a lover's spat!  And then, there's a lot of action, gunfire, explosions and the ending... and this takes a long time to get to for me.
My current book - 'Fry Nelson - Bounty Hunter' is a 3-book series which is only coming to an end now almost 4 years after I started it.  And Fry Nelson - the character - decided to introduce himself during a war scene in my last major novel of 'Ravenstine Kingdom'... oh, yay, how wonderful was that of him?  Yes, before the last book was anywhere near finished, the next book was demanding to be started... *sigh*... I didn't mind it that I had ideas coming thick and fast, but I did mind it that he just walked in on a medi-evil scene dressed in his modern clothes with sunnies pitched on top of his head and Doc Martens strapped onto his feet.  I had to put him off to one side for a few weeks before I could interview his character for the book.

This doesn't happen very often, but when it does, I have been known to not finish writing a book and just start on the next one.  And this is what happened here, unfortunately.

So, have you had this happen to you?  Have you had that many books going all at once inside you that one took over and the other one/ones suffered?  Or do you tackle one book at a time?  I'm able to write about 3 books at any one time - most times though, I concentrate on one major book and usually have a lighter short story book being worked on the side.  Well, until my next post, happy reading!