Monday, December 29, 2014

'Breeders': Book One - by Ashley Quigley

Ariet lives in a protected world free from diseases, free from abnormalities and free from anything from the outside world - better known as the Old World, which was destroyed by the Great Illness.  She lives in a world where her every movement is carefully monitored, measured and manipulated to the smallest degree - even what she eats and how much food is permitted to each family is carefully shared out.  Her very existence has been tested and scanned by the Creators of the New World so she and her family works at their best.
In this New World, the people must pick out their breeding partners - and their life partners - by the age of 21 so they can procreate at the best time in their lives and have the right amount of genetically healthy offspring to keep their families going.  However, Ariet has reached 20 and she has yet to find a partner; so one will be picked out for her by the Creators.  Not only is this a creepy thing to do in her eyes,but it's something she hates; seeing her parents were picked for each other.  But the Creators have been watching her carefully and have found her a perfect match - Mason Black; a Creator.  This stuns and horrifies her as she is told she will never see her family again and she is to procreate within the month of meeting him.  
At first, she goes into mourning and shock as Mason tries to help her adjust to her new life in his home.  He makes her meals, takes her out and talks to her, but she hates him, hates what's happened and wants to go back home.  He also wants to go home, as he was ordered away from his girlfriend and given Ariet as a mate instead.
As their new lives together continues over the next month, both Ariet and Mason find out that not only her name replaced by a number for the first fortnight, but her family has been told Ariet is dead. Ariet finds out that he's the grandson of the head Creator of the New World; and she hand picked Ariet to be his mate for him.  
Almost as soon as they have been ordered to, Ariet falls pregnant.  However, on their second visit to the medical centre, they are told there are problems with the fetus and it must be terminated; and a date is set for termination within a week or so.  Once home, Mason lets Ariet in on a secret about the termination - that it's not only the fetus which is killed, it's also the mother who is also killed, as she is seen as defective too.  
By this time, Mason and Ariet have begun to have serious feelings for each other, and they start to put together a plan to get her out of the New World (which doesn't sound like such a great place to live after all) and into the Old World - which they have all be told is empty, filled with disease and has nothing to live on in it.  So, the plan is hatched between Mason, Ariet and Thor (Mason's best friend) to get her and Mason out of the New World... but when Mason volunteers to stay behind to make sure no more mother's are terminated with their 'defective' babies, Ariet wonders if she will ever see him again... and will Thor and her survive in this strange Old World they really know nothing about?

This book is a first of a trilogy.  I'm looking forward to reading the other two when I find them.  The 'Breeders' Trilogy is her published set of novels, and I'm impressed with how wonderful the prose is and now, I want to read the others when they are available.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Rainy Day Activities

Well, it's been raining since I arrived here in Brunswick Heads yesterday.  And so, I've been reading and listening to a book on Audible.  However, I'm also editing books too while I'm here.

I hope to get a lot done of the latter while I'm here.  

Also while I'm here, I hope to get my little green car out onto the roads and out to Mullumbimby to see The Book Barn to have a gander at some bookstores out that way too... to see what I can get my hands on in the way of second-hand books.  There's also some stores here in town which have old book instore as well I'll be looking at too.

Well!  I just thought to pop in here and let you all know that I have arrived safe and well in damp old Brunswick Heads.  I'm reading Frida Kahlo's Diary and another few books on my tablet too.  
So, do tell, what are you all up to?  Seeing I'm stuck inside due to the weather, and so are some of you, what are the usual activities you do to while away the hours - do let us know in the comments below.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Packing Light

In a few days, I'm off to Brunswick Heads for a week of relaxing by the sea.  Aaahhh... yes, it's going to be nice and lovely and cool.

Well, I've checked out the weather bureau and it's told us that it's going to pour rain all week... oh well... it happens.

But that's great reading weather too.

So, I'll be packing some light reading of Frida Kahlo's journal from the last decade of her life, my tablet (which has an Audible book on it and an e-book I have to finish) and then, I'll be taking along my journal and my Writer's Journal too as well as my 'Good Reading' Magazine.

Yep, all that should keep me occupied on a wet week of being at the coast without a television set in a caravan.

Otherwise, I'll be taking off to Mullumbimby to 'The Book Barn' to see what they have in store there - and to see if they're online yet.  The owner is a lovely man who loves books, and plays the piano there too.  The Book Barn used to be a bank and still has the old main vault in the back of the place - but they took the door off it and put a light inside it (due to how dark it is inside the room, as it's a walk-in vault; yep it's a really old bank).  But the place is amazing!  It has so many books, you'd never want to leave; well not too soon in any case.  

Well, if it does pour rain and I'm out of reading material, I'll just walk up to Re Sould up the road and buy myself a book or two to keep myself occupied... not a problem.  Otherwise, watching the rain while in a caravan is always a nice way to pass the time.  Until my next post, happy reading! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

'Hand Psychology: A New Insight into Solving Your Problems' by Andrew Fitzherbert

Reading the lines on the palms of another is a tricky business.  But this book makes it easier and better to read them for you.  With easy-to-follow diagrams, knowing the difference between a straight Heart Line and a Simian Line is a cinch!  Andrew Fitzherbert covers not only lines but also finger prints, hand sizes - and their meanings - and also the length of fingers and how they can mean the smallest of differences in your personality or your life.

I have had this book since I was 17 years old, and it's been a great source book for me.  No matter how many other palmistry books I've looked into, this one is the one I have come back to each time.  It's how it's written that has appealed to me; it's easy to follow and in a uncomplicated language.  But I have found how the book is set out doesn't make it easy to find what I'm looking for when I really need it.  The other day, I was looking for hand sizes and couldn't find it - not until I wasn't looking for it - and it really annoyed me that this happens in such a thin book.  There's no index and the contents don't give much away in what each chapter contains.  So, if it could be fixed up to contain those two things, that'd be great; and make it easier to get into.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Clifford the Big Red Dog Loses Norman Bridwell

Norman Bridwell was the wonderful creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog.  For those who don't know him - or missed out on reading about his adventures like I did - he was a wonderful creation.  Clifford was most certainly a big bright red dog who was clumsy but good-natured and his stories were of this wonderful dog's curiosities getting himself into trouble - funny trouble.  
Clifford's stories helped children learn about compassion, love and other values parents hoped to instill into them as they grew, but through the eyes of a big red dog.  And Norman Bridwell certainly succeeded in doing this over his life, seeing Clifford was created - or born - in 1963, and had a wonderful friend Emily Elizabeth (a character named after one of his children).

However, I have found out today that Norman Bridwell has passed away sadly aged 86 years young at home on December 12.  

I have a wonderful little toy Clifford dog sitting by my side right now... and if you have any of his books, I think it'd be a good time to get in and read them either to yourself or your children in remembrance of one of the best children's writers around.  This man brought an oversized, bright red puppy dog into our children's imaginations... and I don't think any other dog will ever replace him.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Stuff I've Written & Read In 2014

This year has been a big year for me... bigger than most.  And now I've got my own car, it's even more fun to get out and go places.  

But I've been busily reading and writing and enjoying being creative too.  Over the year, I've read only 9 books:

'The Wastelands' by Stephen King
'The Naughty Book for Girls' by Candice Hill
'Pet's Letters to God'
'Nelson Mandela: The Authorised Book of Quotes' by Himself
'Unexpected Zodiac' by Sasha Fenton
'The Watcher' by Jo Robertson
'Her Christmas Earl' by Anna Campbell
'Body Rentals' by Mark Gardner
'The Legend of the Blue Bonnets' retold by Tomie DePaola

Yeah, they don't look much, but two of those books were pretty big and one of the big ones was an audio book.  Two of the others were e-books and really good.  I'm currently getting into two books right now - one traditional and one an e-book:

'The Turning' by Tim Winton (traditional)
'Breeders' by Ashley Quigley (e-book)

Then, there's my written work!  Woah!  I've been working on my 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter' trilogy for 5 years now and just about 3 months ago, it came to an end... I finally finished the third book and it was fantastic!  I collapsed into my bed, went straight to sleep and didn't have my brain telling me to edit anything - well not yet.
And then, there was my 'Angel Love' book.  I wrote that one in record time of around 3 months and totally enjoyed the researching of it and the characters.  They were so brilliantly different from each other and seem to just fall out of the woodwork that it felt like this book was one big jigsaw puzzle I tossed out onto the table and it almost put itself together... but it took time for me to work on it; and it worked out so well!  I'm still going to wait until the New Year before I do anything about editing it.

And then?  Well, there's my Flash Fiction I've had on my 'You Can't Go Back: And Other Impossibilities' Blog... yeah, I want to get them sorted out and into a traditional and an e-book.  They are stories that are funny, interesting, weird, creepy and well, you wonder what the hell I was thinking when I wrote them too.  And I want to get them published.

So, this really has been a busy year for me as a reader and a writer... very busy.  How about you?  Have you written much and read many books?  Please do let us know.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

51 of the Most Beautiful Sentences in Literature

I've been looking around Facebook today and found on Buzzfeed some great and funny stuff.  But just now, I found this wonderful link to its site of this list of sentences from the greatest authors of our times.

51 Beautiful Sentences in Literature

So, what do you think?  Do you think this list could be added to, or some of them replaced?  What is your most favoured sentence you love to quote from a book - and why?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Her Christmas Earl by Anna Campbell

Phillippa Sanders has really done it this time.  She sneaks into a man's room on Christmas Eve to collect a note her silly-brained sister, Amelia, has written to him to save her reputation.

The things she does for her!

But as she turns around, she finds there's somebody coming into the room!  With no way out, she hides in the wardrobe, only to be discovered by Blair Hume, the Earl of Erskine.  He's tall, Scottish and very much the ladies man - and he has a reputation - and he finds Phillippa in his wardrobe hiding from him.

After an embarrassing moment or two of trying to explain herself, she goes to leave, only to find the door to his room is locked.

No, not locked - stuck!

Not even Blair can budge the darned thing!

So, the two are stuck in the room together.  In the times of being single and young - and yet to be married - this isn't a good thing.  And so, the two of them sit on the floor to wait out the night until Blair's man comes to unstick the door the next morning - as he was given the night off.

Then, Blair kisses Phillippa.

Blair's kisses switch on passions in Phillippa she didn't know she had.  She saw him in a totally different way - a way she never thought she'd see a man, especially this man.  However, the door opens and her mother is standing there, screaming at her!
Her mother makes sure her reputation is in tatters unless something is done... and Blair must make a decision about whether to save Phillippa's reputation or leave her to her family's destructive ways... ways of which she would most probably never recover from.

The Watcher by Jo Robertson

Kate Myers is tracking a serial killer - well, she thinks he's a serial killer.  Kate is a psychiatrist who has been tracking this guy since her twin sister was killed when she was 17 years old... when it should have been her... when she knew she should have walked their dog instead of Kassie that cold afternoon in Ohio; and their dog came home dragging its lead without her sister.

Kate Myers blames herself completely for her sister's death - simply because Kate could have fought off the killer.  Kate could have done something different to survive... 

It's been years and Kate Myers is in Northern California and she's still tracking the same killer.  He's killed another teenager and it's dredged up memories of Kassie's murder for Kate again.  This time it's in a small town where everyone know each other and the police station is smaller than it should be.
From the moment Kate walks through the doors, she's judged by all the cops - particularly Ben Slater, who doesn't like her at all.  She up tight, pushy and believes there is something out there - somebody out there - when he thinks there's no connection at all... well, that's until she gets him to read up on her files, what she had pulled together and they go and look at the files from the past where markings have been missed on the bodies and not noted down in the files but noticed in the photos.

However, the MO of the killer shows that he takes years to plan and plot his kills - that he picks his prey carefully so he doesn't stuff up.  This is until Kate and the killer cross paths by accident at a petrol station and he recognises her as Kassie, and he panics!  Did he kill her?  Did she survive?  If she did, he had to set the record straight and make sure he caught her again and ...and ... 

The sheriff goes missing - on a holiday, he said - for a few weeks suddenly from the station.  But he doesn't give a return date and leaves his office a total pig sty.  Kate notices and goes snooping around... and she starts putting things together about the sheriff - who was around at the times of the first murders years ago.  She finds cryptic notes around his office and shoves them into her handbag to look at later...

In between all this, Ben and Kate work long hours in the office and at her place over the case.  They talk well into the nights and over coffee, takeaway food and in bed in each other's arms; not expecting to fall for each other this way... harboring secrets of their own - painful, terrible secrets from their own lives - which could either make their relationship stronger or break it, shattering what they've discovered between them and within the manila file folders before the next victim is taken ... but who will that next person be?

The Sheriff?


Another high school student?


All three...? 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

40 Famous Authors On Reading

I was surfing the net today when I found this link to a great site where it's shown these great authors - from now and the our past - of what they thought about reading and writing.  I think this is an absolute must to look at because they are words of wisdom to keep us reading and writing what we are working on in our lives... and to pass it onto our children as well to keep the passion of books in their lives too.

40 Famous Authors On Reading

Monday, December 8, 2014

Frida Kahlo's Diary

For Christmas, I normally buy myself some things - special things - because I don't have a husband or boyfriend or girlfriend - in my life.  Yep, I'm single.  It's difficult to be single when this time of year comes around, and when it does, us single people either accept it and buy ourselves those presents we've been eyeing off all year, or become very bitter and despise it.

Either way, this time of year isn't easy.

Especially seeing it's the second year since Little Miss Stevie died... yeah, that was today.  Those two years have zoomed by, right?

Well, this year, I've improved greatly!  This year, I thought to get myself something off Amazon for Christmas; and that something is Frida Kahlo's Diary.  Yeah, it's on its way right now to my PO Box.  I can't wait to get it on Christmas Day and take the wrappings off it. 

I read the review and found it's a diary of her writings, water colours and poetry from her last decade of her life.  What a book it ought to be!  I can't wait to read it!  

And this gave me an idea... yeah, when doesn't a writer get a good idea from another's?  I thought to start my own writer's journal; and seeing I'm an artist too, I'll use my journal as that too.  Very cool, eh?  Well, I hope mine is as good as Frida's; but I doubt it, hers will be better.  So, what have you collected from an artist or a writer where you've been inspired to do the same or similar in your life?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


My last post was going to be about music I found at the Book Cafe.  However, it turned into a rant about language and how much it's changed over the last 25 years... must apologise about that (or not).

Well, this post is what I was going to write about: music score.  I went to the Book Cafe at Garden City and found myself some music for a fife I have owned for years.  However, I have never had any music for it before.  So, how pleased was I when I found it sitting there for 2/6?  Yeah, it's that old it didn't have a price which was in the metric system.  Very cool!

This music book wasn't for my Scout Fife, but for another brand; but they all look the same and are made from similar materials.  So, I thought it would be good to have some music for my fife to learn how to play it at least.  So, $5.00 later, I had it in my possession; and I'm looking forward to having a go at it in the New Year.

Then, I found some flute music.  I have lost my original flute music from when I was in primary and high school, so I'm slowly getting together my music books for my flute again.  It's expensive, but it will keep me playing and reading the music for years to come.  The book I bought is one I don't have and so it's all new to me from when I was in high school; so it'll be good to play other works.  This book was also $5.00.

So, I scored two books for $10 on musical score.  Very cool.  Not bad for a day's hunting in a second-hand book store, if I do say so.  So, what have you found musically recently which you never thought you'd find?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Musical Tastes

For those who don't know, I'm a classically trained musician.  Yeah, the things you find out about somebody.

However, the instrument I play isn't something I'd like to mention on here... seeing its meaning on Urban Dictionary is that I'm a moron, a slacker and well, it really just insulted anyone who knows how to play anything orchestral.  

Urban Dictionary

If you've clicked on the link... you've figured out what instrument I play.  However, when I was younger, it wasn't something to be laughed at.  Playing the flute wasn't an insult to my lifestyle.  It wasn't a way of calling me a moron.  

So, how did this come about? 

Society has totally flipped its meaning of how to speak to each other, and it's not the way to be.

You're all probably wondering why I'm exploding on here - on my own blog?  Well, you see, I had problem spelling 'flautist' here, as it kept on telling me it was wrongly spelled.  So, I Googled Urban Dictionary - thinking it would be okay to look up the word.  Boy, was I in for a horrible surprise when the meaning for it came up and it wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be.

How damned weird has the world become when they have turned somebody's profession, somebody's passion for music into an insult?  If it wasn't years ago when 'American Pie' was causing problems for me (and believe me it was), it's this crap.

Please people, don't twist people's professions into insults when it's not needed.  There's better ways of doing it.  As for Urban Dictionary?  Well, if you have a real, paperback edition in your house, use that one... it's more accurate.

If you've got a Roget's Thesaurus?  Even better... it's got more words and is better for your vocabulary anyway.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Summer Fun Event - 2014!

Okay... this event is back on again!  I haven't planned it - unlike the last two times - and I'm hoping to get plenty done for the next two months to keep you all reading about all kinds of things over the Summer (or Winter - depending which part of the world you're connecting to this blog from).  

Today?  Well, I'm organising my house to look and feel like Christmas.  I've moved things into storage and made sure there's enough room for the Christmas Tree to be put up... along with all the decorations.  Yes, I enjoy this time of year - even if I'm missing my little budgie each time.  However, this year is going to be better than last year, as I've had my Crafty Pegs business to keep me going, my car to keep me out of trouble and more books than I know what to do with... and well, that's always a good thing!

So, my first question for you is:  What are you planning on reading over the Christmas/New Year period?  For me, I'm hoping to finish 'The Watcher' by Jo Robertson.  I knock over 4 chapters at a time and totally enjoy it.  What a book!  Then, there's a novella romance which I'm also hoping to read on my tablet too... shouldn't take me long to get through that one.  I'm also taking some books to the coast to plough through while I'm chilling out and having fun in the shade with a cool drink.  

Question #2 for you all is:  What are you hoping to find under that tree - book-wise?  Hahaaa... me?  Well, I have my eye on a few books, but I might pull some out of the hat before Christmas and get them wrapped up just in time.  I'm not sure which books just yet, but I am looking around at books about reading and writing - yeah, non-fiction books always go down well for me.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, December 1, 2014

November Book Buys!

Over the last month, I've been pretty good... honestly I have!  

Okay, I bought three books.  That's not bad really, is it?  Nah, didn't think so.  It could have been worse - like my wish list for next year, where I went through 'Good Reading' Magazine and put a dot of biro next to each book I wanted (how naughty of me to want those nice new expensive books, eh?).  Yeah, I love dreaming about having books and yet I have so many on my shelves that need to be read already!  Hahaa... only kidding... it's okay to have books and yet have a lot of them you love still waiting to be read.

But yeah, I book about 3 books... and I'm okay with that because they all only cost me around $1.00 each.  There was 'Tomorrow When The War Began' by John Marsden, 'The Writers HARBRACE Handbook' (this is from a course in writing, so there's only a publisher and no writer really) and 'The Writing Class' by Jincy Willet.  

Now, I've heard of the last one and it's had some great funny reviews, and so when I saw it on the shelves of the Super Life Line Store at Logan Central, I knew I just had to have it.  Anyway, I'm hoping to read it over the holiday/Christmas period while I'm down the coast.  Well there you go... the three books I've added to the collection.  However, I'm getting rid of around 5 others through a bookbaggy on Bookcrossing; so really they just cancel each other out, don't they?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, November 21, 2014

People's Bookcases: Mark Davey

I've got a passion for enjoying other people's bookcases, and finding out what they've loved reading in their past, present and what they are planning to read in the future.

Yesterday, I went out to Mark Davey's house at Edens' Landing here in Logan City and found he had an unusual house.  There wasn't much furniture, but there was a lot of racks with paintings on them - they were everywhere!

And then there was a bookcase filled with books on art.

But every square inch of his house was filled with paintings.  They were all along his hallway, in bedrooms, in his storage, in cupboards on top of wardrobes... paintings Mark has done for over a decade.

Yes, Mark is a prolific artist and loves working in his small home on a quiet suburban street.  The place doesn't look much from the curb, but beyond the tall brown, carved gate are two lovely dogs - Rebrandt and Frida - the small house and then out the back is a gorgeous garden which starts at the back door and goes all the way to the back fence.... it looks and feels very much like a jungle with easels at the ready all the way through.
However in his bookcase, Mark has books on all kinds of artists from all walks of life from all eras of time.  He adores art and immerses himself in his work all the time; to the point that he doesn't own a television, so there's no distraction.

So, is there an artist you know who is as obsessive about their work as Mark is?  Or is there a musician you know or anyone else in this world you know as a friend who is like this?  If so, let us know below.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Right In Time for Christmas!

This year has just flown by hasn't it?

I haven't read that many books, but I've acquired quite a few... instead I've been writing up a storm.  And it's been wonderful in a way, as I've completed a trilogy which I've been working on for the past 5 years - 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter' - and then I started and finished a nice little romance novella just recently for my romance group.

It was the other day I finished it, and I was amazed how it finished; as I don't plan my books, I just let my characters take me along for the the ride as much as the readers.

Also, I've won a few books to read in the past couple of weeks and I've also purchased a book as well to read while I'm away on holidays.
I've also got my very last craft markets in two weeks' time, so I can have time to get my house and myself in order for my family and time to myself too.

Not too bad is it?  Everything just working out in time for the holidays... so, what had happened for you just in time for the holidays?  Or is still a big rush for you each time?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Plot Thickens...

I've been busily writing a few books this year.  Over the last month or so, I finished up 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter - Book 3' and then really concentrated on 'Angel Love'.  Both books have really taken up a lot of my time; along with the craft markets.

This has also taken its toll on how much time I've had with reading... which isn't much.  I do try though.

Right now, though, I'm getting through a great romantic thriller - 'The Watcher' by Jo Robertson - on Audible.  I'm up to chapter 23 and am knocking over about 4 chapters each time I sit down to it.  It's great when I can find the time too.

I've also been offered up another audio book to read and review after I finished reading 'The Watcher' by an author on Good Reads... I'm hoping to read it over Christmas, before I read another one I bought on Kobo (it wasn't available in print).  

So, what have you been reading lately?  You all know why I haven't read as many books as I have wanted to this year... and I do look forward to Christmas to get my nose into some decent reads to do just that.  However, I want to know what you're reading coming up to the Silly Season.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Art of Reading

The Logan Art Gallery is turning 20 next year.  Okay, not much to do with writing and books... right?  Well, yeah, I know.  However, the gallery has asked past Logan artists who have had anything hung on its walls to take part in an exhibition to commemorate their time here in Logan City.  We were all giving a 20cmx20cm canvas and we could do whatever we wanted on it... yes, an open theme.

I chose to paint on mine a theme of books.  I'll be writing on it books I've read throughout my life - from childhood through my teenaged years to my adult years... and then I'll be adding on books I want to read.  There will be books that are from my collection and books that are still out there in the world which I would love to own but don't.

And this got me thinking about the amount of books I have read over this life of mine and whether you guys have read the same - or similar - books to the ones I have.  Did you laugh in the same places, enjoy them the same ways, cry when I did?  Was it the same experience for you as it was for me?  And when you grew up, and reread the book again, did the meaning change for you, or did it stay the same?

I mean, I remember reading 'Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel' and loving it!  What a book!  By the end, I wanted a steam shovel to be able to do all the great heavy living and digging around the place!  How cool would that be?  Then, there was 'The Neverending Story' by Michael Ende... oh, who didn't love Falkor?  In the book he was just the same as he was as on the big screen:  huge, white and an adorable dragon I wanted to take home with me.  Then, there was 'The 500 Hats of Batholomew Cubbins' by Dr Seus.  Mum has told me, I loved this book; but now I can't stand it.  I don't know why, but I think it looks dark in the way it's been drawn.  My favourite book of all time from my childhood is: 'Stephen's Tree' by Libby Hathorn.  This book was bought by my Mum and she has told me that when I spotted this book, I refused to leave the bookstore without it; as it was written in two languages - English and Spanish - in the same book!  English on the left page, Spanish on the right!  Very cool!  And for a book published in 1981, very unusual.  Well, there you have it, my collection of children's books which I love then and now... I'll fill you in about the books I love when I was a teenager another time.  Now it's your turn... which books did you love then, and still do now?  Or did they change for you?  Until my next post, happy reading! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

'Monet's House: An Impressionist Interior' by Heidi Michels and Guy Bouchet

There's always one artist in your life where you dream to - hope to - visit where they live.  You want to know how they lived their life and how they painted all those gorgeous paintings and where they found their inspiration.

For me, it's Claude Monet. 

His house is a famous landmark and tourist attraction.  However, I'd love to visit it without anyone around - just me.  I know that sounds very selfish and pushy, but I want to be the only one to walk the grounds and feel the press of the muse from the surroundings, not the tourists running around the place taking photos and being the background of every shot I take.  

In this book, these two wonderful people working together have made this so.  Heidi and Guy have brought Claude Monet's home into the reach of my hands and mind, describing in every way possible way - without actually getting me onto a plane and flying me to France.
This wonderful hard-cover book is broken up into sections from entrance to kitchen, dining room, to private quarters, from garden to bedrooms and dressing rooms... and each room had a palate Monet used to set the mood and feel for each and every one of them.  The gardens were designed by him completely and he grew everything from all areas of the world in his large, gorgeous space of a inspiration where he lived, had a family, painted and entertained everyone.  Monet's home and gardens are a completely different world away from what you'd expect an artist to have.  A good majority of his paintings are of his gorgeous surrounds and family - and little wonder - why would he paint anything else?  And now, I want to take off to France and seek out his wonderful home in his part of France... and never ever leave.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October Book Buys?

Buying books haven't really been a big thing this month... but winning them has.  

Yep, I've been winning books left and right!  This is always fun, don't you think?

Sure it is.

Well, I won a copy of 'The Watcher' by Jo Robertson through Audible and have been listening to that - I'm currently up to chapter 22.  It's fantastic!  I'm totally hooked! 
Then, out of the blue, I won a copy of 'The Black Box' by Michael Connelly.  Now, I didn't know I had won a copy of this - just knew I had won one of his books - and so I found a second-hand over-sized copy of it at my craft group... and what should show up in my PO Box?  Yep, the same book.  So, I gave the bigger copy to my Dad and kept the brand new book for myself.

Then, I scored 'Tomorrow, When the War Began' at my craft group for around $1.00.  It's the first book in the 'Tommorrow' series - something I didn't know - and so I might see how this one turns out.  If I don't like it, off to the charities it goes.

In writing news, I have finally finished 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter - Book 3'.  I wrote the ending of it at around 12:09am on a Tuesday morning mid-October... and damn it feels good to have finished it!  Now, I have to get it all looked at, edited and worked on to get published.  There's another three years of my life to go.
'Angel Love' is going well.  It's becoming more complex as each chapter passes by.  The bad guys are bad-ass... the good guys have dug themselves into a hole they have no idea how to dig themselves out of and everyone else in between are - as always - caught right there in the middle of the whole thing:  good, evil and otherwise.

So, what have you been up to lately with book-buying?  I have something to write for the end of the year, and into Christmas, and there's always something new for next year to read - as you all know about my huge collection of books is ever-growing.  Until my next post, happy reading!

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...!

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.


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 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.