Monday, December 30, 2013

Two for the Price of One!

Okay!  Here we go!  I'm going to type this as fast as I can, because I'm working off a piddly piece of crap wi-fi here at Brunswick heads at the caravan park...

First off the ranks for reviews this holiday is 'The Wastelands' by Stephen King.  What a volume!  This is the third book of the Dark Tower Series and King kept me enthrawled again with this large volume of Roland Gilead's ventures as he and his crew walks along the beam towards the Dark Tower.  Eddie Dean and Suzannah are with him again and young Jake finds his way back to the three through a porthole - and at the same time, they find their way through to him through the same doorway!  What a spinner that was! 
Once they're all reunited, they find a dog - a Billy Bumbler - which can be taught to talk by humans, and Jake bonds with it and calls him Oy.  So, with the dog along, this crew is growing to a nice posse.  They all begin to walk across the wastelands to the mountains.

However, there's a city of Lud they come across - and have been warned about.  From a distance, drums beat at night.  The city lights up its buildings; and there's a rumour about a train called Blaine.

But as Roland, Eddie Dean, Suzannah and Jake approach Lude, it seems uninhabited... or is it?

The next book I read is a total opposite to a Stephen King book.  It's a romance novel by the girls at The Romance Bandits.  It as free and I thought to read it to see how they all went in a joint publication.

'A Grosvenor Square Christmas' by Anna Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly & Kate Noble. It's Christmas in London in the 1800's and Lady Lucy Winterson's Christmas Ball are the place to be on Christmas Eve.  Within the walls of No.3 Grosvenor Square, a great many wishes, dancing, romance and miracles happen around Christmas.  And with a host like Lucy throwing these Christmas Balls, who knows what will happen from one Christmas Eve to the next?  With the assistance of her dedicated butler, Philbert, Lady Lucy Winterson manages to pull off some wonderfully romantic things for everyone... however, is there romance in the air for her?

This wonderfully-produced and written book is something too precious not to review.  I'm not normally one to read romance, but this has a special feel to it... and seeing it was a free download off iTunes, I'm happy to say it is a great success in how the four authors have pulled together their imaginations and stories.  Even if you don't read romance, read it for just the excitement of knowing there's somebody out there for everyone.

So, there you go, guys!  Two reviews for this holiday... phew!  There's some fast typing there, the keyboard here is smokin'!  Only kidding! Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Quick Five!

I've had a few hours - and days - to myself lately because it's so hot here in Australia.  It's a matter of getting up nice and early with the birds and jumping in and getting everything done as fast as possible before the heat strikes us all down as blobs of sweat at around 10am.

Now, I thought a Quick Five Questions would be fun to add to this event this year... I want to know more about you guys as people.  So, here goes:

1.  What's your Christmas Wish? (can be anything)

2.  What is your all-time favourite Christmas Movie?

3.  Is there a gift you are hoping to receive under the tree this year?  If so, what is it?

4.   Which book/s are you reading through this time of year?

5.  How are you spending Christmas this year?

My answers to these are:

1.  My Christmas Wish would have to be that my friends and family are well and safe this year and loved.  

2.  It's a toss-up between 'Bed of Roses' and 'Bad Santa'... yeah, totally opposite movies, I know!  But they are great films in their own right.

3.  A car.  Mum and Dad are buying me a car this year... Yay!... and an iPod jack for it... so I can listen to my music when there's sports on all the stations on the weekends when I drive around. :D

4.  'The Wastelands' by Stephen King - I'm just finishing the last few chapters of that.  'The Imaginings' by Paul D. Dail is on my iPod and I've downloaded 'A Grosvenor Square Christmas' by some of the girls at The Romance Bandits.

5.  I'll be going to my brother's place on Christmas Eve where we'll have our own Orgy of Greed after using their pizza oven!  Yummo!  Then, the next day, we'll have Christmas Lunch at Mum and Dad's house, with my Aunty Helen and cousin Kate... very cool. :D

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Prompting Us Along!

At this time of year, I try not to go out too much, it's just too dangerous to be out on the roads.  People are in such a hurry to get out and do their last minute Christmas Shopping.  So, this gives me a chance to get in and do stuff around the house - or stuff-all around the house.  

Yeah, I'm a lazy kinda person, but I do enjoy writing and reading.  And so, I've been looking through my collection of books this week and found that a lot of things in my little library of books prompt me to write.  However, there were only a few books that really hit home which prompt me to get in and write properly.

'On Writing' by Stephen King was the first book where a writer actually sat down with us all and told us what to say, what not to say and how to work out our 'toolboxes' properly.  I had most of what I needed in my toolbox, but there were a few little thing still missing which were filled out by Steve... thanks, mate!  You're a fantastic writer and I'm working on my next book soon.

'The Writer's Idea Book' by Jack Heffron.  Now, if you're lucky-enough to own a copy of this book, well, don't ever let it go!  I've heard it's out of print and the publishing company he went with folded; however, you can buy it from e-bay for between $3 - $8... now, that's a bargain!  But I do recommend every writer does get a copy in their hot little hands to improve their writing as it's filled to the brim with prompts to help you with anything you're trying to work with!

'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron.  Now, I love this book so much I hunted down an earlier edition for my niece, Riley, for her.  I told her that I used it and thought she'd like to use some of the techniques in it to help her with her art; and she was so happy I bought it for her.  Now, this book helps clear you mind of crap you're currently thinking about to bring forward the good stuff you need to work on.  It's great to do that... and it'll work hand in hand with 'The Writer's Idea Book'... not a bad connection to have with these two books.  But if I was given the choice of which to take on holidays with me, I'd pick 'The Writer's Idea Book' each time as it's so useful anywhere you are.

So, which books are great prompts for you when you're writing.  Or have you collected books that are great in other ways and nobody has?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sitting Down With A Few Great Writers

I love reading and writing as most of us do, but have you ever wondered what television and script writers do in their spare time?  Well, I've been looking around the net and found on 'Good Reading' Magazine's official site (which I subscribe to) a collection of interviews I thought to sort through for you to read.  I found a great interview with Fiona Wood, a script writer from great shows we all love such as 'The Secret Life of Us', 'Neighbours' and 'Home and Away'... just click on the link below to read the full interview.

Fiona Wood 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Soundtracks of Our Books

When you pick up a book and have a look at it, you as a reader, might not realise that the author had music in their heads at certain scenes - much like a movie does when things happen.

However, I have found that music often sets the scene with my writing.  I've had the dreaded Writer's Block for a while now... right up until 'If I Had A Tail' by Queens of the Stoneage came out on the radio.  The moment it hit the airwaves, my block moved out of the way and the third Fry Nelson book started to write itself in my head at lightning speed!  I could barely keep up with it!

I was amazed at what this song did for me!

The problem with it was that it wasn't long enough.

In any case, my block was moved and I had to wait until I heard it again on the radio - as I didn't have a copy of it and couldn't afford to buy it on iTunes - so I've been carrying around my iPod with me so I could write down what would be happening in my head when 'If I Had A Tail' came on the stereo... and when it did, I dropped everything and began writing!  What I got out in those few minutes was fantastic!  I loved it!

I've used all kinds of music to get my brain working in a book the way I want it to.  From opera to heavy metal to golden oldies swing music, I've used it... I even used a cd of rain and storm music to set the scene when I needed a huge storm in my book and it was bright and hot and sunny outside.  I could darken my house, but we weren't going to get storms for months.  So, out came the nature/sound effects cd and I wrote the storm going on inside my home.  And yes, my neighbours thought I had a few screws loose, but it worked so well!

So, what have you done to set the scene?  And which songs have you used to make that dreaded blockage move?  I betcha it was a song as interestingly weird as mine!  And just to show you, I thought to share it with you here... it's become a bit of a favourite of mine too.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Queens of the Stoneage 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Posthumous Reading

Last week, we lost a great man in our lives:  Nelson Mandela.  He touched our lives throughout many generations and will never be forgotten over future generations; so long we make sure our children and grand-children know who he is and what he has done for Africa and her people and anyone else who has lived in oppressive situations.
However, over the last month, we also lost Doris Lessing.  She was around the same age as Nelson Mandela and contributed to literature in such a way we will miss her as well.

I own a few of these people's books and have made plans to read some of their writings over the Christmas holidays while I'm down the coast and when I return home.  I have 'Under My Skin' and 'The Golden Notebook' by Doris Lessing.  Then, I have 'Nelson Mandela: The Authorised Book of Quotations' by Himself and 'Conversations With Myself' by Nelson Mandela.  All these books will be great additions to my Mt TBR over this coming holiday season.

I do have other books which are sitting in my bookcases of actors, singers and writers who are no longer with us as well, most of which I haven't read either.  However, seeing how recent these most interesting and important people are - and have been - in my life, I thought to add them to my suitcase to take away on holidays.  So, what are you hoping to pack on your holidays?  Are they similar reads to mine or are they a little lighter than what I've chosen?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Summer of Fun Event?

Okay... I'm sure you're wondering if I'm doing my annual Summer of Fun event. And the answer is yes!  Now I have access to a car, I'll be driving to more book stores than ever to review them for you!  

I'm hoping to read a few books - as you can see in the posts below - and I'm going to sort through my collection and see what I need and what I've collected and forgotten.

And ya never know, there might be a few interviews of local authors too... some I haven't done yet.  So, stayed tuned.  This Summer Of Fun event might not be as full-on as previous ones, but it'll still be worth checking in... as you never know what will be posted here.