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!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Art Imitating Life

Over the last few weeks, I've been busily working at a workshop at the Logan Art Gallery with some kids and a few adults.

This Torso Body Language Workshop was chosen to be in the Workshop Wonders exhibition, along with another for the next 6 weeks; and we were all thrilled!

Well!  The in this workshop, we used plaster and molded it into an upper body torso to make it a blank canvas of sorts to put onto it our innermost feelings and thoughts.
For some of the attendants, it was about how they've survived their lives so far.  For others it was depression, bullying on social media, while for another it was overcoming great grief to become the person they are now.  For me, it was how books and the written word has made me who I am.  

I made the book out of plaster and painted it, then used medallions which say 'dreams' on them to show that inside of each flower, each idea, each thought is a dream of sorts - a way into my mind, into my imagination - to see my stories before they become what they do when I write them out. The book is just how they look to me as a finished product - whether they're a book, a story or a flash fiction - they always look like that; a dream within a dream within something else of a riddle for others to figure out... even me.

However, on opening night last Friday, my torso gave people a feeling of peace because of the colours, the flowers and what it was about: reading and the written word.  I'm happy that's how people felt, because that's how writing and books make me feel... even if I don't get to read them much, I love being surrounded by books each day; it's a type of meditation.

Workshop Wonders Opening Night Photo

Well, until my next post, happy reading. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I Won An Award...

It's not very often I win something online - especially on here - however when I do, I like to display my awards on the sidebar.

I was nominated for 'The Versatile Blogger Award' by Captivated Reader.  She's a regular to my blog; and a good friend of mine offline.

Thank you very much for nominating me and now, I have to follow a few little rules, answer some questions and mention some other bloggers to get the ball rolling onwards... however, I'm doing this with a twist!

Don't worry - this is going to be fun!

Okay... seven random things about myself.  This shouldn't be hard; seeing I surprise a lot of my friends when it comes to my life.

I make terrariums.  These are gardens that live in a sealed bottle or environment.  Here's the most gorgeous one I own in my living room. It's on my coffee table and is the center of attention when people enter the room.

I love to write flash fiction.  Okay, I've been writing flash fiction for over 2 years now, and been a part of a community on Chuck Wendig's 'Terrible Minds' blog since the beginning of 2013... it's fun, the stories are short, creepy and sometimes funny in a dark kind of way.  But I love writing them.  And yes they're all on another blog ('You Can't Go Back and Other Impossibilities' blog on my complete profile).

I have only begun driving a car again over the last 2 years; and become a car owner again just last year when Dad bought me a very cool, sweet little green Holden Astra for my 41st birthday.  For a good part of the last 20 years, I've been battling with Epilepsy and have been stable since 2004... now I have my life back completely.

I run a hobby business called 'Lynda's Crafty Pegs' and I attend markets all over Brisbane and at schools as well.  The hobby business has been going for only 2 years, but I love what I do.

Not only do I love to read books, collect them, write about them and write books, I also have a habit of making artwork about them... my whole life revolves around the written word.

I haven't had a relationship with anyone in over a decade - and wouldn't know how to have one if somebody approached me.  After leaving an abusive relationship, I have found letting somebody else that close again impossible.

I shaved all my hair off for the World's Greatest Shave.  This is to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland... my hair is growing back really fast.  But here's a collage of what happened on 14th, March! I did it to help raise money for research; and I raised over $800 this year! 

Now... there's stuff there you all didn't know about me.  And here's the fun part for the blog.  I nominated some blogs on my sidebar.

Book View Cafe
Open Culture
The Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills
True Book Addict
The Passive Voice
Becky's Book Reviews
Debbie Robson
Reading To Know
Calico Writes
The New Dork Review of Books
Terrible Minds
Writer Beware Blog
Wet Panty Stories
Kate Sutherland
Graham Clements

Okay... now that's all done.  These blogs are found on my sidebar and are ones I visit on a regular basis.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Currently Reading

Over the last two weeks, I've been so very busy!  So, I picked up 'Other Colors' by Orhan Pamuk.  This book is one I keep in my collection to read when I either can't get my head around a story or into writing something, or I'm so busy I can't concentrate on a book plot right now.

At the moment it's both problems.

So, I killed two birds with one stone - very cool!

This book has helped me in the past get my butt back into writing simply by the way Orhan Pamuk writes.  He's got a way with words which pull me right into his world effortlessly, and in such a way I wish I could write the same way.

However, I can see from his writing that how he writes it's taken a lot of practice from life, from his love of his country and the city his lives in and basically from writing every day.

'Other Colors' is one book I will never get rid of, and I think will be one book I'd keep with me throughout my life until I'm old... and even then, I'd still re-read it just for the joy his words have brought me.

Which books have you read which have brought you such joy that you can't let them go?  Have you read this book?  If so, have you had the same feelings about it that I do?  Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

'Faylina' by D.L. Redshaw

Lina is a Fay who is the daughter of the King Fay in Fayland, where all the Fairies live and learn to be good fairies.  They all have special skills and travel around on ladybirds to fly to the human world.

On Lina's seventh birthday, her name is changed to Faylina and she travels to the human world to help teach children to read - as that's her special skill.  When she arrives to the human world, she finds herself at the bedside of a very sick child named Belinda.  Sitting by her on her pillow, Faylina begins to read to her.

But she takes longer than she is allowed, and she sends her friend, Bairy, to let her father know where she is.  Will her father let her stay and help Belinda become well?  Will little Belinda overcome her illness?  Will Faylina help Belinda learn to read?  Find out in the lovely first book of the 'Faylina' Series.

'Faylina' by D.L. Redshaw is a new book published by the Butterfly Kiss Books publishing.  This company is a very new company on the market and is a family-run, Brisbane-born company. 'Faylina' was illustrated by R.J. Simon who you can find on Facebook.  'Faylina' also has their own author page on Facebook you can follow as well.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Found and Abused Books

I was at the Logan Art Gallery today when I needed to use a book - one I could destroy if needs be.  And so I asked Jillian Beardsworth (our supervisor there) if there were books available to do just that so we didn't destroy books that were of value to the place.

Jillian took me to a couple of cupboards at the back of the workshop which were chock full of rejected and cancelled books from the Logan City Libraries!  I was amazed what books weren't being read by people anymore!  I picked out the book I wanted to use and then found two more 'The Cold One' by Christopher Pike and 'Bagombo Snuff Box' by Kurt Vonnegut.  One of these authors I haven't read since I was in my twenties and the other I've been looking for more of his work but it costs a small fortune to buy!

So, I asked if I could take those two books off their hands; and Jillian just let me take them home.  I'm so happy these books are in my collection now - and they didn't cost me a cent!  I'm looking forward to cracking the cover of 'Bagombo Snuff Box' by Kurt Vonnegut, as it's all his uncollected short fiction... very cool, and I've heard of the book but have never seen it before, and I love reading books filled with short stories as it's a lot more fun to get through.

I was also given a new piece of children's fiction by a friend of mine: 'Faylina' by D.L Redshaw.  I look forward to reading and reviewing this book for you all too.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How-To Books

I've been doing a lot of work lately; you know, to do with my Crafty Pegs hobby business.  Over the next few months I'm going to be adding on a few new lines for it and to do that I have to look up some non-fiction books to know how to do those things.

For example:  I need instructions on how to make dishcloths... but I already know how to knit.  So, I've been looking through my stitching books and changing the patterns to match the stitches so the dishcloths look and feel wonderful.  Also, I want to sell different styles, sizes and types of stitches in my cloths too.

I'm also getting right into cooking again.  So, I've been pulling out my cookbooks from under the sink.  Today, I woke up with the worse sinus ever!  And it was shopping day... so I went out and bought a huge amount of groceries and now the Slow Cooker has Potato and Leek Soup bubbling away in it!  How wonderful is that?  I've made my own changes to it and added garlic, basil, parsley and seasoned it too.  Now to wait the 6 hours for it to cook!  I can't wait to taste it after I blend it with the hand blender.

I do love the How-To books we all seem to collect over time.  Which ones do you get your nose into?  Mine always have to do with craft or my hands or cooking... what do yours always seem to get you doing?  Until my next post, happy reading!