Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Book Buys!

I've been good this month with only three purchases over the whole month - and one of them was online - so that was very good.

The first book I purchased, I've had my eye on for a long time, 'Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways To Write Great Fiction, Get Published & Earn Your Audience' by Chuck Wendig. Now I've had my eye on this book for over six months and really wanted it... so I thought to search it out on Amazon; but they wouldn't send it to me because I was outside America.  Bummer!  So, I looked at other sites which did on Amazon and found CherryBooks.  They were in California - which meant it wouldn't take long to get here and the postage would be cheaper for me.  Within the week, I received my second-hand copy of Chuck's book and was reading it.

Then, I went for weeks without buying any books - honestly I did!  I looked through K-Mart where new books came out and walked through second-hand stores filled to the brim with books, but I just wasn't interested in any of them.

But I was out and about yesterday and drove to the Really Good Book Shop at Browns Plains and scored myself 'Labyrinth' by Kate Mosse and 'The Call of Cthulthu - and other stories' by H.P Lovecraft.  Two great books by two great authors. 

I've been meaning to get my nose into a Lovecraftian novel and pull myself out of this problematic slump I'm in, I think this book will do it.  

So, what have you been getting into?  Have you guys and gals bought anything this month newsworthy? Until my next post, happy reading!

Blogger Recognition Award

Today, I was told by one of my regular visitors, in a comment, that they had nominated me for a 'Blogger Recognition Award'. 

Now, I have this award, there's a few things I have to do to pass it on to the people I've nominated. 

1.  I must thank the person who nominated me.
2.  I must write a piece about my blog - to show it off - and talk about my how my blog came about, and then give a bit of blogging advice of beginners.
3.  Select 15 bloggers to share this award with and post their link down the bottom. 

Well, first thing's first!  I must thank Captivated Reader for this, as she's always been one of the first people to either read my posts and comment on them. She's also a fellow Bookcrosser who I helped into getting a blog together when she was hoping to get herself into the blogging world.

My Blog's Story

Okay... now, some of you know why I write this particular blog, but a lot of you don't.  As a majority of you know, I'm a huge collector of books.  But as to why I started the blog in the first place?  Well, it was basically to review all of my books in one place for the world to see them as I did.  
And because I have a huge collection of books which cover a variety of genres, I knew there would be a lot of them people across the world, on the net, who wouldn't have seen these book in their lives. 

Like I said, I'm a collector... so I have books which are rare, signed and out of print.  I was putting them all up on my blog here in the beginning.

Then, I ran out of space for pictures and started using the links to put photos up through and it was easier for you guys to see more of my books through my photo album on there.

My blog started changing - morphing if you will - into something different, better. I started talking to authors and letting them know I had reviewed their books and they were willing to speak to me and do interviews with me as well.  I also got out of the office and started going to bookstores around my city and doing reviews on them. Then, e-books came into play and I started working on the differences between the traditional books and e-books, and how they are much of a muchness... and yet found no matter how you read your books, so long you're reading, it's all the same.

So, my blog has morphed in so many ways, changing in the ways of a garden does when it grows and is improved by the gardener.  It's been getting better and better over the years.  I've been writing books and reading them; but I've never moved away from this blog because of my love of books - collecting, reading and writing them alike.

Blogging Advice

Now, if you'd like to start your own blog, it's easy and hard.  The hard part is picking your platform - which blogging program you'd like to use.  There's plenty out there to pick from - WordPress, Blue, Blogger and others.  However, I've found a few of them a little complex for the beginner and chose Blogger for it's ease and also it doesn't expect you to be a computer whiz. You do have a certain amount of space for photos, though, so get used to using the link button up the top when you're posting. And it's great when you want to change your templates - however it'll feel complex at first, it's not  after a little while.  And the best thing with Blogger is that you can have quite a few blogs on differing subjects under the same manager and it doesn't cost you anything.

Okay, the high-tech stuff is out of the way, it's time to have fun... enjoy writing your blog. Make it colourful, speak the way you want to on it. I've got a few which consent forms on them (which is in your settings) and just be yourself... there's really no rules to blogging; except to keep up with it so you keep your followers interested.

Speaking of which:  it takes time for people to know you... so it might take a couple of years for people to follow you.  Facebook is a good place to share your blog. Also getting fellow bloggers - who blog on similar subjects as you do - onto your blog is a good thing.  You can make plenty of friends online through blogging.  For me, it's the list below... well, some of them:

Book View Cafe
Dreamworld Books
True Book Addict
The New Dork Review of Books
Calico Writes
The Space Between
Debbie Robson
The Passive Voice
Becky's Book Reviews
Wet Panty Stories

Oh no!  I have only eleven links... bummer!  These are the most recent bloggers on my 'Further Reading' on the side bar.  The others near the bottom are over two months old; and I don't want anything too old to be looked at here... sorry it's a few short.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, May 29, 2015


There's good news...

I'm writing again - a little.

I'm also reading again - a little.

At least I'm getting in and doing a little of both things I love, and not peeling the paint off the walls of my townhouse, right?

After purchasing 'The Kick-Ass Writer' by Chuck Wendig, and reading the introduction out to my Mum - who found it was laugh-out-loud hilarious and wanted to look at the book - I've made time (yep, forced myself) to sit down for twenty minutes a day to read parts of the book.  

This has done me a lot of good. Not only has it given a good laugh about my craft, but it's made me think about what I've been writing as well.

Gotta throw Chuck a big thank you in his direction - and I know how too: he loves Tim Tams.  He got addicted to them when he visited Brisbane a few years ago and told us so in a blog post... so I'll be sending him some of those. 

But I've been writing a book for my niece. It's a book about life, an advice column about what I'd tell my own daughter - if I had one - and about things I've love her to know if we saw each other more. I write a few lines here and there; and I've got a book filled with one-line advice too I've been working on since she was twelve years old.

Hopefully I'll have it all finished before she's eighteen. Well, that's something I'm hoping for.  I was going to put recipes and how to remove stains from almost everything and anything and things I've found out in life on my own.

So... yeah, I've begun writing again - and reading too - but it's a slow, uphill climb. It will be for a while until I'm on top again with another book working away at me. Until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The World Loses Tanith Lee

One of my favourite of favourite writers passed away on Sunday, aged 67. 

Being unable to read until the age of 8, when her father taught her to read, Tanith Lee loved the written word throughout her life. She wrote and published her first vignette aged 21. She worked various jobs as a file clerk assistant and librarian while sending out her works to be considered for publication; and her first publications were children's fantasies 'The Dragon Hoard' and 'Animal Castle', published in 1971 and 1972.

In 1975, DAW published her first adult fantasy 'The Birthgrave'.  This company would go on to publish more than 20 of her SFF and horror works during the 1970's and 1980's.

In 1980, Tanith Lee received The British Fantasy Society's August Derleth Award for her book 'Death's Master'; as well as the World Fantasy Awards for the Best Short Story in 1983 and 1984.  She was also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Awards from the World Fantasy Convention in 2013 and the World Horror Association (WHA) in 2015.

Even though this great author has seemed to have fallen silent over the last few decades, it's not true; as a 'Guardian' interview from 2010 has put through a quote:

'If anyone ever wonders why there's nothing coming from me, it's not my fault.  I'm doing the work. No, I haven't deteriorated or gone insane. Suddenly, I just can't get anything into print.' 

This is something a lot of writers from the seventies seem to have problems with; that they have fallen out of favour in the publishing world in recent times. This unfortunately causes them to drop from out of favour and become forgotten in the publishing circles.  However, there's one thing publishing companies forget about fans... we never forget our favourite writers. 

And, Tanith Lee will be one we will never forget.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

My Reading Chair

Chairs are wonderful things; they truly are. But when you're choosing one to furnish your home just to curl up in to read books, magazines, the newspaper or any other printed material, you have to remember: it's gotta be comfortable.

And I have had a problem with my place like none other... I don't have a good place to read.

My lounge in my living room is around the television and stereo system, and every single person who walks by is a distraction to me. Then, sitting outside in my garden is a distraction in itself; as I don't do anything but look at my garden (oh yeah, that's really useful for me when I want to read a book, haha!). And then, when I read in bed, I end up nodding off in the middle of my book... darn!

The Reading Chair I fixed up last week is going to be a wonderful thing for me. 

So far, I've gotten through a lot of the junk in my office and I'm so pleased with myself.  My wheelie bin (the big bin I put out on a weekly basis for collection) is half full of rubbish bags and I've still got more to go today.  
Yesterday, I spent three hours cleaning out the wardrobe in here, moving what needed to be moved, looking through everything, cleaning out 4 'Green' environmentally-friendly bags and sorting out what I could give away. It was great!

Meanwhile, my chair is at the upholsterer's down the road getting new cushions, straps and another thing we took off because it was mouldy - and they're replacing it for us.  By the time the chair is ready and brought here, this room will be ready for it with clean carpets and all!  I can't wait.

Reading Chair - Photo One

Reading Chair - Photo Two

Reading Chair - Photo Three

I'll keep you updated at what the chair looks like when it arrives home... and then I'll be finding a little table to put next to it and a floor covering for underneath it too!  Aaahh... yes, then this will be the perfect home library, won't it?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Kick-Ass Book for Writers

Amazon is a great place to shop - especially when you can't find the book you want in a regular bookstore.

And I found 'The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published and Earn Your Audience' by Chuck Wendig on Amazon for just $3.99... however it was the shipping that killed me at the checkout.  But I don't care.  I've wanted this book for a long time!

Yes, I've been eyeing off this book on the sidebar of his site for what seems like forever; and then I jumped on Amazon and found a copy of it on Cherrybooks in California for that lovely cheap amount; but the shipping was the rest!  And that was for a paperback and second-hand.

Oh well. 

When I received it, I was on my way to Mum's house and opened it when I arrived.  She had a look at it and I read the first few pages where we both started laughing at the brash and ordinary way he wrote... especially in the introduction.  Mum thought Chuck sounded like a great writer; and wanted to know about his other books (two of which I have on my shelves as we speak awaiting a good reading from me). 

So... there you have it... the book I'm hoping will get me back on track from my Writer's Block.  I've tried everything else I can think of. And he's got advice about Writer's Block in this book too... I only hope he can help me.  

It's been so lonely out here in the cold, dark desert... until my next post, happy reading.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Reading Drought

It's been tough lately.

I'm in a reading and writing drought; and I hate it.  But I'm going okay without it for a while; and I know why I haven't been doing either for the last few months.

I finished the 'Fry Nelson: Bounty Hunter' trilogy and an Angelic Romance last year at the same time; and now my brain is more than a little burnt out.  So, taking time off from writing anything big is normal. 

However, not reading is strange for me.  Sure, I can start books, but I lose interest very quickly. 

So, this is the reason why I haven't been blogging many posts this month.  And for this, I really do apologise. 

I have been keeping myself busy through my artistic pursuits and other things as well; but I really would rather be writing books and reading them as well as writing here. 

If you guys have any fixes to help me get my nose back into good books, I'd really appreciate it (yep, I'm asking for help here... I'd love to read a good book at some point this year).  Until my next post, happy reading. 

Where Do You Read?

Reading just isn't reading unless you're comfortable, and this is a truth I totally believe.  Now, I love to read in bed, just before I turn out the light.  It could be really late at night, or after midnight, but I love snuggling in under my duvet in the middle of Winter and reading a few good chapters to relax my mind and to stop it from racing too much.

Not only is it the old-fashioned way of winding down, but it's the best way to wind down too.

There's other places I love to read as well. 

I read in my backyard, where I have a cool little set-up of a table and chairs in my little courtyard garden - which I have worked my butt off to make it look just lovely - and to settle in and read a few pages of my favourite book, before I get lost in my own daydreams of looking at my garden (yeah, that happens a lot when I'm there).

Then, there's the curb outside my house.  It's a nice little curb right in the sun.  This is a nice spot in Winter when it's a cold day, but the sun is warm... mmmm, nothin' like catching up with a few pages of my favourite book there - especially if I have a bit of a cold and I want to warm up and get some fresh air into me.

But now, I have a new thing to be comfy with; well, okay, it's not quite ready to be used as yet, but it will be in about a month or so.  

It's a chair I found at the back of my unit complex.

A neighbour and I were chatting and we saw it all wrapped up on its back.  I pulled its wrappings off and saw potential in this sweet piece!  

Sure, it needs work, but I love working on old, used pieces of furniture - especially if I want to use it for something in particular in my home.

This is going to be my reading chair.

Isn't is something?

What is your ideal place to read?  Is it a chair in your bedroom or living room? Is it in bed before turning out the light? Is it out on your verandah or patio overlooking your garden or suburb? Leave a comment (or a photo of your favourite chair) and let us know how often you enjoy your time with it... and if you don't get enough time to read there; don't you think it's time you set aside the time to just that soon? Yeah, me too... I haven't read anything fun lately either.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Free Books! April Book Buys?

Okay... in the last month, I didn't spend a single penny on books, and yet I came across some to add to my collection.

Isn't it fun when you get freebies and you don't have any less money in the pocket?

Sure it is!

Well, I came across all three of my books on the same day - 11th, April - so this will make this post a lot easier than any other month.

The first one I picked up was 'Faylina' by D.L. Redshaw.  This is a children's book and I read it that night before turning out the light.  What a sweet, charming little book!  I do recommend it to anyone who has children who love fairies (and what little girl doesn't?).
The other two were picked up at the Logan Art Gallery - of all places - while I was doing a workshop there.  They were the unwanted books at one of the Logan City Libraries which were given to the gallery to destroy in the name of art.  These were 'Bagombo Snuff Box' by Kurt Vonnegut and 'The Cold One' by Christopher Pike.  I've heard of the Vonnegut book, and know it's really expensive to purchase; so this only saved me money to have it given to me by the gallery.  And the other?  Well, I've seen it on the inside pages of his books, but never came across it.  So, to find it in hardcover in a toss-out pile at an art gallery - and to be destroyed as well - was just my good fortune!

So, there you have it, my three books which didn't cost me a single penny to buy.  'Faylina' was given to me by the author herself, and I've added it to my 'I Have Read' Pile here in my office.  And the others?  Well, I'm trying to find a place for them here... um.. somewhere in this small office.  Until my next post, happy reading!