Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas Holiday Reading List

Wow! It's that time of year again... you know that time, where Christmas Carols are heard pretty much everywhere and you never have enough money to do anything but buy presents for people in your family. It's either stinking hot during the day, with lightning storms in the middle of the night; or freezing cold with 6 feet of snow and closed schools and roads and no way of getting to the store.

Either way, we all have to celebrate Yule, Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, St Nicholas Day... and really, it's the biggest thing on our calendars. 

I plan ahead for presents for my family - the immediate family; as I can't afford to really buy anything for cousins and Aunts and Uncles - and so, I make sure I have my immediate family covered first. If I can score a few little presents for others, I'll do that. I buy for myself last... if I can't afford my presents, I'll get myself those presents at the After Christmas Sales. 

But what I look forward to at this time of year is reading something decent. You see, I head to the coast and chill out with a couple of books in my hands; and I'm hoping to get in and do some serious reading at Brunswick Heads while I'm here. You see, they don't really have a decent bookstore... and that's not a great thing for a place with such a colourful public library. So, I take down my own reading material.

'The Haunted Bookstore' by Christopher Morley
'Good Reading Magazine' (monthly publication)
'Life After Life' by Kate Atkinson
'Magical Thinking' by Augusten Burroughs

Yep, three books and a magazine. I'll also be taking my notebook computer to edit my novella as well which I wrote during NaNoWriMo. Otherwise, I'm hoping to get a bit of reading done during the day and editing done at night - the best time of the day to do anything is in the cool of the night. 

So, what are you going to be reading over the Christmas and New Year period, once all the overeating and celebrating is over and done with? Anything wonderful, relaxing or chilling? Or are you all going to just take a well-earned break by the pool, river or fireplace and enjoy a rest from the words on the page? Until my next post, happy reading. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Now.... the Fiddly Part

Or is that the fun part?

It all depends on how you look at book-writing. Some people enjoy the editing and fleshing out of a book, while other detest it.

I love it.

I can fill in the details of people's lives, the feel of a city or the countryside, what they're wearing, how people stand, what colour their hair really is and how their personality really is like. It really is the fun part for me... and it also means that the word count fluctuates in huge way.

I am heading towards the 20,000 word mark and - if you count up the words on the sidebar - you'll see I'm well on my way to making my book what I hope it to be; even if it's just a little novella and not a proper novel. 

Well... I've got another few books to read over Christmas and I'll get my nose into them over the next few weeks. Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

NaNoWriMo Is Over!

Yep! National Novel Writing Month is over for another year. Now, for those of you who have been battling with writing your novels or novellas, and you've hit the 50,000 word mark, way to go!!! 

As for me? Well, I've past the 15,000 word mark on my novella and am well on my way to the 20,000 words I was initially aiming for! It's all in the editing, fleshing out and making the book into something somebody will want to read.

But... I don't have a title. Yes, I've been stuck for a title this whole time and have just been calling it 'That Travel Guide Romance Time Travel Thingy'... a bit wordy and not really something somebody would want to read. So, if you guys have any ideas, I'd love to hear them... I can tell you the premise of the book:

Annabelle Wilson works in a book exchange in the very centre of Brisbane City, Australia with two wonderfully eccentric store owners, Richard and Millicent. She never thought she'd be working in a bookstore; as it was a temporary thing to get her out into the world of business. But it's been five years and she's loving it. One day, she and Millicent are going through a box of books and Annabelle find a 5-book series of travel guides called 'MacIntyre's Tour Guides' and asks Millicent about them. Her employer tells her that they are old-fashioned, hand-written tour guides which went out of style years ago; and they didn't sell well. So, Annabelle took the 5 home after purchasing them.
Soon, she spends her nights reading about Scotland, Wales and the UK with a lovely tour guide, Darcy Wentworth, as her guide. Little does she know, Darcy knows she's reading his books from another dimension; and can see her and hear her. 
As time goes on, both Annabelle and Darcy's worlds begin to collide in the most unusual ways. Annabelle's employer's turn out to be people she never thought they'd be, a neighbour she had become close friends with passes away with a secret she never knew she shared with her and an old man who lives not far from her helps all of them by telling them all who he is. But as all of this happens, Darcy is on the run in his world. He's in love with Annabelle - which is against the rules of his employment - and to be safe, he must find a way to Annabelle's world to be with her. A storm is brewing in their lives... will they be together in time to thwart the authorities? Or will Annabelle and Darcy lose each other in the storm?

So... there you go. The premise. I hope you guys can get an idea of what's going on and how hard it's been to get a title working for this book. It's been great fun writing something about time travel and books in it; but the title not coming to me at all is weird; normally I have one by now. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Last NaNoWriMo Meeting

Today was a real stinker of a day to be going out anywhere; but I attended the last meeting for the National Novel Writing Month... only to find I was the only person to attend. 

I went because one guy said he was a maybe on Facebook and didn't want to let him down just in case he arrived. So, an hour into it, and I was still the only one there with my little notebook computer plugging away at editing and fleshing out my work.

Last week, I finished my novel... yay!!! But this week, I started editing and fleshing it out with details and scenery. At the 'meeting', I managed to add 200 words onto each of my chapters between chapters 1 and 5... which brought my word count from 7,859 (this number includes chapter 6) to 7,947; which is pretty darned good if you ask me.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get past the last word count I made last week of 13,232 and get this book up to the 20,000 word mark... well, here's hoping anyway! The good thing is that I find fleshing out and editing not only difficult but also easy. Adding detail is always fun and then I'll correct the small things that aren't needed at the same time. Once I've finished the book - which still doesn't have a title - I'll throw a competition to see what I should name the book. This is always fun, as I really don't know what to name it as it's full of time travel, love, hate and is set in my hometown of Brisbane. Anyway, until my next post, happy reading - and writing.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

More Work Done!

NaNoWriMo is coming into its final weeks, and I'm really excited about how my story is coming along.

However, I have one tiny, problem... minute really... it doesn't have a title.

Isn't it strange how people can write something so grand that by the end, they still don't have a title - not even a working title to get an idea of a title from for it.

Oh well, I guess I'll be finding out what it's called in the coming weeks and months as I fiddle with it.

However, my word count has shrunk a little as I've begun editing and working on each chapter... this number will fluctuate as time goes on: 13,232 words out of 9 chapters. Now, I know I said I had over 16,000 words; but like I said, the number has begun to change.

I'll see how many there are by the end of the month and let you know how it all goes by the time I'm happy with it. Until my next post, happy reading - and writing. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Halfway Through!

NaNoWriMo is halfway through and almost everyone is getting right into their stories and books! I'm very excited about my book as it's one of those magical, time-travel style books which reminds me of 'Time & Again' by Jack Finney... very much set in real time and yet set in the magickal times of the other realms. 

I hope I captured both worlds well. 

I set it in my hometown of Brisbane and in a bookstore - where else would I set it, but in a place I'd love to work. 

I've almost finished with the story part of it - as I love to get that part of the book out of the way first before tackling what people look like and the backdrop - and I'll be fleshing it out with the details everyone needs to follow it along in the coming weekend. So far, I've written 16,395 words... which will be expanding to far more by next week! 

How are your NaNoWriMo books coming along? Leave a comment and let us know. Until my next post, happy reading - and writing.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

So Far, So Good!

It's been the first week or so since NaNoWriMo 2016 started up and I'm going well I think.

But seeing I had started planning my book a few weeks in advance, I think I had an advantage in a few ways too - I think that's what has made all the difference.

Over the past week, I've written over 11,134 words so far - with more words to come over the next day or so. I'm hoping to get more work done tomorrow and over the weekend - if the storms we're expecting don't interfere too much.

How is your NaNoWriMo going? Please do let us all know if you're doing it - and how you're going. And if you're stuck, I can suggest a couple of books filled with prompts that may get you kicking along again. otherwise, good luck with your work so far! Until my next post: happy reading - and writing!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Word Count for NaNoWriMo 2016!

Okay... I'm assuming some of you guys'n'gals are taking part in this wonderful innovation for novel-writing this month.

I love it, let's face it. 

It gets my butt into my office chair and gets my fingers moving across the keyboard!

Anyway... I thought to keep you all updated with my word count - as low as they may be; or not - on the sidebar at the top of my blog. I'll be doing this on a daily basis (or by date order; whichever comes first) and you'll be able to see how far I've come.

Now, I've been working on a book in the weeks coming into NaNoWriMo... and thought to keep on writing it. However, I was writing it in longhand in a notebook, and in the last few days of October, I converted it all onto the computer to make it easier for me to look at.

Then, whenever I could, I jumped onto my tablet or on the computer and typed up as much as I could over the last few days.

Given it's only in the couple of hundreds... but I've been busily helping out my family over the last week or so. So, I am hoping to work on this more and more as time passes by. So, watch that top right hand corner and you'll see those numbers add up. But first, I'll put in the numbers for the first 9 chapters so you can see how far I've gotten - so you can see the true number of words I've done thus far.

Good luck with your book this month, and do let us all know how you're doing. After all, this is a global phenomenon and loads of fun to get you writing if you're a little blocked. Until my next post, happy reading - and writing.  

Thursday, November 3, 2016


November is National Novel-Writing Month, and I've taken part again.

Today I took off out of the house early to be at the Logan Central Library to meet-up at the Logan-based NaNoWriMo meeting - my first - and got to meet up with another person who was a writer; and a publisher as well. 

I met Emily Cooney and another older lady and sat and talked for a couple of hours - however not a single word was written down, and yet we had a lot of laughs and talked about what we were hoping to get written this month.

At our next meeting next week, I'm hoping to have written plenty. I have to catch up with the past three days' worth of work... that's 5,000 words a day. Woah! A lot of work to be done; and only a small amount of time to get it done. 

How about you? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? If so, how are you doing with it so far? Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Woohoo! Selling Up My Books!

Well, that got your attention, didn't it?

Don't lie, it did...

I'm kidding around. I'm not selling up all my books, just about 52 or so of them. They're in my Classics Section and I'm getting rid of them because I've already got my own lot of books which are classics themselves - yes, I have doubled-up on about a third of them.

I know, I know, I really shouldn't be doing that, but when I find an omnibus of Edgar Allan Poe, of all his horror stories, exactly where am I to go from there? So, the best thing I thought of doing the other night, while I was chilling out in my Reading Chair, was to sell the books I had received for Christmas over 6 years ago - the whole set with the magazines - on Gumtree and pull apart my collection and find the Classics I have hiding amongst the shelves.

And did I find some great classics! Man, I found some wonderful books I didn't know I had bought! But I was so happy to have found them and finally have a place to put them. When I told my Dad (who loves it that I'm a collector of books, but sometimes finds my collection a little overwhelming), he was really surprised I was getting rid of so many in one go. But when I told him what they were, he understood that when you do have a good look at what you have - once in a while - you realised you can double-up, sometimes triple-up on things and you have to get rid of them. 

So, the advert is now on Gumtree and I'm hoping to sell them all in one go to a home where there's a collector of these types of books or somebody out there will enjoy them for their content; not just to collect. Well, have you ever had to reavaluate your book collection (or any collection in that case?) Until my next post, happy reading.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

ARC Books

I've been a reader of ARC books for years. They are a type of book which is sent out to a group of readers before the book is published so the publishers can tell what little things needs to be fixed. 

Now, I didn't always know about them; I was introduced to them by a friend online and she asked if I'd like to try one out. My first one was 'The Gone-Away World' by Nick Harkaway. Now, this book has since been published years ago in 2009, and was followed up by another by Nick. And getting into receiving ARC books is a good way of reading and proofreading people's works for them - and reading books which aren't out on the market yet. You really do feel as though you're seeing behind the curtain before the show has begun.

It's not easy to find ARC books - as they're not in the ordinary circles of publication. Usually you have to ask publishers if there's any ARC books for you to read for them. It's mainly done online and you have to fill out a survey to let them know what you think needs to be done - as it's not just a free book thrown your way to be read. You have to give your honest opinion of feel the book needs - or doesn't - and how the author can improve the book. 

Sometimes, this can be a sore point with the writers, but this is a good way of letting a small group of the public in on how the book works - or not - with them before the book is let out into the world. Small improvements through allowing ARC books out 6 months or so beforehand plays really well for the author. You see, when they do this for a first book, the author then knows what they have to do for the next book to be a success; no matter how insulted they feel at the time. 

The good thing with ARC books that the reader can either keep the book for their personal collection or they can return it to the publisher. I opt to keep my copies as they're something of rarity. And a lot of the times, I do find they end up in second-hand bookstores (which isn't where you're supposed to send them). I do enjoy my small band of ARC books and do wish to keep them in my collection; keep adding to them. So, have any of you done any ARC book readings? How did you find it? I enjoyed being a part of the final product of a writer's book... even if they didn't end up using my part of the survey; at least they knew where I was coming from. With 'The Gone-Away World' I did find the final copy in a bookstore and looked in the first couple of pages and found that what I had advised about making it more visual worked. The author had worked more on taking the reader along for the ride, rather than keeping us at arm's length (which was how I was feeling at the time). I felt good about that. I might see what other ARC books are on offer next year to take part in. Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Jack London

I love finding books about authors where movies have been made from their works. For example, 'White Fang' and 'Call of the Wild' were both by Jack London and were both made into great films. 

I have come across these books on their own in bookstores and libraries, however, I have never seen them with their accompanying books 'Tales of the Fish Patrol', 'The Cruise of the Dazzler' and 'The Son of the Wolf: and other stories' in one big volume. 

I found this particular volume by chance at my local community centre on an old library trolley where my craft group usually gathered. I happened to be walking by it (trying to ignore those gorgeously lovely books sitting there tempting me) when my eyes wondered to the large printing of Jack London's name on the spine... then, I found myself picking it up and reading the front; and found it contained the rest of the books and stories within! Oh! What a find!

It was wasn't until I got this book home that I found out that it was a first edition from 1979, fully illustrated and that the copy of 'White Fang' was 'complete and unabridged'... how cool is that! I definitely had a great find here for just .50c! It was also a book which had been originally sold at Myers at a discounted price. Now, for those of you who don't know what Myers is, it's a major department store here in Australia which is usually very expensive. However in the 1970's, it sold things on sale and had discounted books - just like everyone else - before it upped its standards really high; and rarely does that anymore.

On the inside, where the publishing notes are, I found a couple of paragraphs about him, and I'd like to share them with you:

'Jack London was born illegitimate and in poverty in California in 1876. At fifteen he was the notorious 'Prince of the Oyster Pirates' on San Francisco Bay. At seventeen he shipped as a seaman on the Sophie Sutherland for Japan; later he served a term for vagrancy before joining the Klondike Gold Rush. He read voraciously and by the age of twenty-four was publishing in magazines; by thirty he was famous. In this relatively short writing career (1899-1916) he wrote over fifty books; h was also an ardent socialist,  a pioneer in modern agriculture, a war correspondent in Korea and designed and sailed his own ship halfway around the world.

London's most famous work is contained in his stories of the far North based on his own experiences, he wrote other stories for children (Tales of the Fish Patrol, The Cruise of the 'Dazzler') and he also wrote adult fiction, plays, travel sketches and important sociological books, the best known of which are The People of the Abyss and John Barleycorn.

He died in 1916, the world's first millionaire novelist.'

I found this short insight to Jack London interesting, and didn't wish to keep it to myself. Until my next post, happy reading.