Friday, July 25, 2014

Funny Facts

There's some really strange things writers do - or did - in their lives when they were behind closed doors.  Some wrote in the nude because it was when they got their best ideas and felt the most free, Agatha Christie got her best ideas while she was doing the dishes, but then, she also ate apples in her bathtub while mulling over murder plots.  I remember reading about Truman Capote not wanting to even go into a hotel room that involved the number 13 in its digits.  And once he was settled, he'd leave no more than 3 cigarette butts in the ashtray - tucking the others away in his pockets before leaving.
Some writers have even gone to some really strange lengths to get their writing done.  Victor Hugo was said to have kept himself under house arrest, hid all his clothes away - to keep himself from going outdoors - and only wore a long, body-length shawl, which was the only thing he wore for many months until he got 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' finished; using only one large bottle of ink.
Then, there's word counts.  Jack London wrote 1,000 words every single day of his career, while other writers boasted to write more.  William Golding declared that he wrote 3,000 words each day.  Then, Anthony Trollope, who was up at 5:30am each day disciplined himself by writing 250 words every 15 minutes each day, timing himself with a watch to make sure he kept to the number.  Then, Stephen King will do anything to keep to his word count of 2,000 words a day.
And if it's not word count, it's the colour ink or paper authors have used for particular works they have written.  Alexandre Dumas wrote his fiction on a particular shade of blue paper, his poetry on yellow, his articles on pink.  Then with Charles Dickens, he was partial to blue ink because he believed it dried faster than other colour inks.  Virginia Woolf was also partial to different coloured inks as well.  She wrote with greens, blues and purple - the last being her favourite and the colour she wrote in the most.  She wrote all her love letters to Vita Sacksville-West, diary entries and manuscript drafts in purple ink.  Lewis Carroll also preferred purple ink - like Virginia Woolf - and he also preferred to stand at a desk; just like her as well, while he worked on his writing.

Being a writer myself, I have some habits that my family think are strange.  I write in only blue ink; and find that black ink smells funny - actually, it has an awful smell to it really.  And I have a particular pen I use especially crafted for left-handed people my Mum bought for me in Italy when they were over there last. It's very comfortable and I haven't seen one here; so I use it all the time.
There are times I write and times I don't.  Most times I write either in the late afternoons or at around midnight - never any other time for some strange reason.  I also have a large book collection which I haven't let migrate beyond my home office (otherwise it will 'gremlin' on me).  When I go on holidays down the coast for over a week, I get kinda anxious and miss my collection.  So, when I get home, I must touch the spines of my books with my fingertips.  It's strange but true... it's a tactile thing about me as a writer and part of the reason why I keep books around me in my life.  I get my ideas just about anywhere.  There's no real place - like the shower, on the toilet or while I'm washing up - where I get my ideas, they just kinda pop into my head whenever and wherever I am.  Sometimes I have the best dreams and when I wake up, I write them into a dream journal and they become part of the story I'm writing.  
Okay, I've spilled my guts about how weird my writing world can get - just like the other writers before me in history have been - how about you?  If you're a writer, what kinds of strange habits do you have that people think are just plain weird?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On Words by Virginia Woolf

I have found a great recording of Virgina Woolf - the last surviving one of her voice - from 1937, where she talks about words, and how important it is to know your words well and how to use them correctly.

It goes for around 7 minutes and is wonderfully preserved.

Virginia Woolf

Monday, July 21, 2014

....and Speaking of Writing...

I found a piece about writing on Facebook today by Stephen King.  He lists 22 of the most useful lessons every writer should know and live by.

And you know?  He's not far wrong...

22 Lessons from Stephen King on How to be A Great Writer

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Working on My Writing Again!

I've been pretty quiet this month.  I know, I must apologise for this.

However, there is a good reason.  I've been fixing up furniture and enjoying the fun and games of it.  It's just so much fun to get in and work on old furniture and love it, bring it back to life and add another 50 years or so to it.

And tonight - though late as it is - I've started working on my latest chapter of 'Angel Love'.  Now, that's been on the back burner for a while too - for the last fortnight actually - and that's not good.  I've made chapter 5 full of emotion, intense, action-filled and leaving people asking more questions than they were given answers... and isn't that how the game is played with books and authors and storylines?

Sure it is!

So, are you working on a book - reading or writing it?  If so, how is it going?  Are you ploughing through it fast, or has it hit a huge lull?  Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Office Clean-Out!

I'm so proud of myself. 

Truly I am!

Yesterday afternoon, around 1pm, I turned off the computer and worked for two or three hours on my home office.  I cleaned it up and cleaned out the massive pile of books I've had sitting around my office!  I got rid of around 20 books; and none of them are ones I'll read.  

Most of them are thrillers and creepy crime novels, while there are a few Bookcrossing ones I'm hoping to Wild Release around Brisbane and the area.  

But today, any of the other books I didn't want - and I've passed by my Mum and Dad - I took to my craft group for the ladies there to look into.  So, I came home without them.  I'm so pleased!

Now, the only books that are in my office are the ones I want to read.  Very cool, and I'm so proud of the progress I've made.
But that's not all!  I also reduced the amount of synthetic green bags in this room, from 15 bags to only 5!  How cool is that?  Very cool!  I'm going to give them away to charities so less fortunate people can use them to move house.  I have enough of them in my place to use.  Yes, the home office is looking good indeed!

There's still a long way to go with it, and I'm willing to work on it too!  Until my next post, happy reading! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

It's Been A Week!

I know I should be jumping in here and talking books, however the only thing I've been reading lately is the instructions on how to do French Polishing on old furniture - yeah, I can see you nodding off as I write this.  But it's true!  I've been spending the last week at my folks' house working on my late-Grandmother's Glory Box to bring it back to life.

This is so I can use it in my home - and so when I go, my niece can have it in her home too, and she doesn't have to go to the trouble of getting in and working on it herself.

Since Monday, I've been spending 6 hours a day at it, cutting back the paint, shellacking, sanding that off, using steel wool, shellacking again (and man that stuff stinks!) and then, if I'm not sick of shellac?  Well, I'm using it to French Polish it... blech.

Today, I'm editing and proof-reading another writer's two chapters for tomorrow.  She'll get it in her e-mail, but is unable to show up at our writer's group tomorrow at the Hyperdome.  Oh well.. at least I've finally gotten around to doing this for her.  

So, what have you gotten up to lately?  I am trying to read a book by Jasper Fforde... yeah, trying... that is if my eyeballs don't close on me before I pick up the book at night from sheer exhaustion. Until my next post, happy reading! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Grammar In This is Just Bogus!

I love playing with words and the play on words. However, it's a new month and right smack dab the middle of Winter here in Australia (and a darned cold one at that!).  So, I've been looking around the net today and found myself a great site where it informed us of seven bogus grammar mistakes we've all been making - and even been corrected for - and yet we shouldn't be sweating over... and here it is!

Seven Bogus Grammar Mistakes

So, I hope you found it as informative as I have.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, June 30, 2014

June Book Buys!

This month, Winter came to Brisbane, and I have been reading and buying all kinds of books around at all kinds of places.

Early in the month, I went to Garden City and found my ultimate hall table for my house.  While I was there, I had a coffee at the Book Cafe and found 'The Widows of Eastwick' by John Updike and 'Killing Willis' by Todd Bridges.  Both these books were $10 each.  What great finds!  I never thought the actor who played Willis from 'Diff'rent Strokes' was still alive, but when I found this book, it seems I've been corrected.

Then on the 16th, June, I picked up two more books at the Queen Beez Craft Group I attend each Monday.  Some of the ladies bring along books they've read, and don't want anymore and they get sold for around $1.00 each.  The money goes back into the kitty for the craft group; not a bad deal really seeing we all bring along bric-a-brak to get rid of.  Anyway, I found 'Amy & Isabelle' by Elizabeth Stroud and 'Getting Even With Fran' by Christine Stinson.  Both of these are women's fiction and I hope to read them over Christmas time or when I get the chance over the big chill of Winter (which we're shivering through right now).  

So, what have you scored over the last month?  Do please let us in on your most recent purchases from anywhere you've found them.  Until my next post, happy reading. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ideas Needed...

Okay, the previous post was a little on the non-fiction side, and probably a bit boring for you guys.  But this one, is going to be a bit more interactive.

I'm in the middle of a big clean-out of my house.  I've been working on my place, cleaning it out, tidying it up and giving it a 70's vibe with the right furniture and feel since February.  However, I've left the last room of this house - my home office - as it's the most difficult.  
You see, I need your help as I know quite a few of you collect books and your own way of putting them in some kind of order.  Mine are in bookcases, however, the room in this office is becoming quite cramped, and I need some assistance and ideas on how to store the books I have acquired over the last three months.  There's some in storage boxes, and then there's some in 'Green Bags' sitting around the place.  

What I'm asking is:  how do you shelve your books?  Do you cull your books at all?  Do you have more than one copy of each book - and if you do, how do you deal with the extra copies?  

I have four bookcases.  One is an average sized bookcase by the door which I've had since I was 16 and I bought it from Target.  It's actually the best one here and the best-built one too, as it sits forward when it's empty and back against the wall when it's full.  
Then, there's the Tall Boy from IKEA and that's nailed to the wall.  It almost reaches the ceiling and is stacked high with books.  I've tried working out the books in it, but to no avail. 
Next to this one is my 'saggy bookcase' I bought at Office Works.  This one sagged the moment I put a book on its shelves... but the books are what keep it from falling down - it's an oxymoron within itself.  Douglas Adams could've written this bookcase into his books as it's so weird.
Then there's the small bookcase I bought from IKEA which is overloaded with non-fiction books.  It's by the window and I've gone through it twice already and it still looks like it's going to fall down and yet I can't get to my books properly.

So, how do you shelve books that are overloading a home office?  Have you done this before?  If so, how did you work it out?  Did you add shelving to the room somehow or was there another way without throwing books out?  I don't wish my books collection to move outside this room otherwise they're 'gremlin' the whole house into something I don't want.  Until my next post, happy reading... and... um... help?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Few Small Things

Okay... I've been a blogger for a while. 

Alright, since 2009 and I've noticed quite a few things have probably been missed by a fair few of you guys as followers and anyone who's bookmarked this here little blog.

Now, along the sidebar to your right there's two massive lists.  You might think they're nothing much to look at but the first list is the genres I've read; and numbers of books that I've reviewed of those genres.  This gives you an idea of which kinds of books I have read, will review and look into and have in my 1,000+ collection (which is sitting in 4 bookcases in my home office right now).  

I bet  you had a quick gander at that just as you read read the last paragraph... thought so... hehehe.

The next list down is totally different.  This second list is just as long - but is a growing list - of authors' official websites.  If you're looking for an official website of an author and can't find it anywhere - or can't be bothered looking (yeah, we've all had those moments in life), this is where you can find it.  I've done the running around for you.  And if you'd like to have an author's official website put up there, just let me know, I'll dig on up and slot it in - no probs.  Leave a comment at the bottom of the most recent post, and I'll get in and find that author's official website for you.

There's another thing there - it's really tiny and often goes ignored.  It's a Search Box.  This is situated below where the Followers are and above the Bookcrossing advertisement.  If you're looking for a book/s I might have reviewed, just type in the title of the book and the author in there and click on 'search' and it'll pop up with a box in the post area with posts from my blog and other searches from the internet.  This makes your searching around my blog (not to mention the internet) a far sight easier than it normally would be on a normally hectic day.  

So, I thought to just let you guys know what some of the things on the sidebar are for... so go and have a look around.  It's taken me years to build up the numbers of authors' sites and the reviews to make the Search Box worth its while; but it's been a lot of fun - and I'm not about to stop.  Until my next post, Happy Reading!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Stop The Bully Book Launch

Last Saturday, I was out and about at Logan North Library to attend Karen Tyrrell's book launch for 'Stop The Bully'.  

This book is a children's book about Brian, a new kid in school who is immediately picked on for having the wrong uniform, the wrong textbooks, the wrong coloured hair... well, the wrong everything.  He even gets placed beside the wrong kinda kid by the teacher; who is also picked on too for being different.  However, it's how his life changes because of this girl he's next to that makes all the difference.

And the whole launch was based around how bullying hasn't really changed over time.  Adults have been bullied in primary school, just like children are bullied now - the technology has changed, but what kids say and do hasn't.

Karen used to be a school teacher and she was bullied at her profession.  And she wrote the book 'Stop the Bully' to show that it's in every profession you can be bullied.  So, she placed in the book certain strategies people, parents and students can use in every aspect of their lives to help them deal with bullies; after all, we all deal with being bullied at some point or another throughout life - don't we?  And it's about time it's brought out in the open.

If you'd like a copy of Karen's book, just go to her website:  Karen Tyrrell and you'll be able to find a copy there.  Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The World Loses Eric Hill

I'm sad to report that I just read on Facebook that Eric Hill, the author of 'Spot the Dog' books from the early 1980's has passed away aged 86 in California.  He suffered from a brief illness before he died and was made famous for his simple design of a dog called Spot and how his books entertained children in 1980.

'Spot' is still very much a favourite amongst children from all over the world.  And the books are translated into over sixty languages.  I wasn't much of a fan of this author when I was a child, however I found a link to an article about him.

Eric Hill