Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Late last night, just before I was about to head to bed, I got my second review for Tears of the Mountain – and my first 5-star review. Needless to say I was pretty stoked as I hadn’t been expecting it at all, and the person who wrote it isn’t someone I know. They read it and liked it, a lot. Its got me pumped now to go crazy with the writing – knowing you aren’t a complete hack and someone liked your stories enough to post such a glowing report really does help out the confidence.

And now onto the progress of the Winter Wolves giveaway.

It initially started very slow – just six were taken up in the fist 2 days. And then yesterday it took off, with 58 people purchasing it through the coupons in total now. It seems it got picked up on a website that advertises free books and this pushed a fair bit of traffic my way. Too date I haven’t gotten any reviews, but a couple of people have said they will write one.

Hopefully, with a week and a half still to go, it will help generate a number of reviews and even a sale or two.


When Reading Isn’t Just Reading

Posted: January 6, 2011 in Reading
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I’ve always been a voracious reader, even from the youngest age. I devoured the written word, and what I read wasn’t of much concern. I even read encyclopaedias before I was ten.

I always used to just read to read, to educate myself and for fun. I’ve noticed all that has changed since I started to take my writing more seriously.

Now I do something I said I’d never do; I analyse the stories I read. I’d gone all the way through school without analysing, believing that it would ruin the read. Maybe it happens to other writers too, or actors watching movies or other professionals; they look beyond just the story and look at how it is crafted.

Whenever I read a book now I am always looking at the language used, how the stories are structured, the devices and forms in which they are written. I don’t know if it will make a me a better write but it has changed the way I read books forever now.

What I’m Reading

Posted: October 15, 2009 in What Im Reading, writing update
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Been a few months since I had a look at what books were cluttering on the bedside table, so it is time for another look. Some are new, and some are still there from last time.

Oddly, most aren’t there to simply be read. Some are for inspiration and ideas, and others I’m trying to critically analyse – the first time I’ve ever looked at books in that way – to see how they are written. Specifically I’m looking at how conversations are handled and descriptions done. Sometimes the conversations I write seem to bog down into two people just starting blankly across at each other stating their lines, which needs fixing. They need to be alive, carrying out tasks, with facial expressions and tones of voice. Likewise for descriptions, what takes a couple of lines for me can be a couple of paragraphs for others. I need to learn to pad a bit better.

The SilmarillionJ.R.R.Tolkien. As my favourite book, its pretty much a permanent fixture beside the bed.

Hornblower and the HotspurC.S.Forester. I read this first in my first year of high school and it was my introduction to the world of Hornblower and the wider world of the Napoleonic War era. Currently there for clues to making a couple of scenes at sea for Tears of the Mountain more realistic.

Sharpe’s Honour and Sharpe’s TrafalgarBernard Cornwell. More Napoleonic War era fun, and being read for the same reason as Hornblower, for scenes of the sea and the land.

Just So StoriesRudyard Kipling.. A collection of short stories about things like how the elephant got its trunk and the leopard got its spots. Read it to spark ideas for the writing of more Cahuac myths.

Queen of SorceryDavid Eddings. The fantasy equivalent of a hamburger and coke – sometimes you just crave fast food and this series fulfils that.

The Summer TreeGuy Gavriel Kay. It has been a long, long time since I read this series. At the time of reading I was going through a bit of a bad time and this series was emotionally draining enough without that on top of it. Great read otherwise.

The Eye of the WorldRobert Jordan. Book one of the Whale of Time. Er Wheel of Time. Pulled this one out just the other day to flick through after I started churning out the new stories, to see how he did it padding out the book so much.

Gardens of the MoonStephen Erikson. Ditto for The Eye of the World. More critical research than reading.

Toll the HoundsStephen Erikson. Its been sitting there so long I’ve forgotten where I was up to and what half the series is about. That is the problem with these door-stopper series – you need to reread them all first before starting on the latest one just so you can remember what was going on 5000 pages earlier.

The Complete Chronicles of Conan the BarbarianRobert E. Howard. That one is still there because I simply haven’t gotten around to putting it away

Interest Driven By Word Of Blog

Posted: June 29, 2009 in General
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In the past week I’ve read two articles about how more often blogs and twitter are now driving interest in books and sales.

The first was a post from Alan Baxter, talking about comments he’d seen in a post by the agent Nathan Bransford.

The second came via a link via twitter. in a post from Follow the Reader, asking whether Twitter and Blogs really drive book sales.

It is hardly surprising really when you think about it.  In the old days you often relied on word of mouth from family and friends about new books, music, movies etc and whether they were worth seeing or getting.

Now days your circle of friends tends to be much larger and more connected via blogs, forums and of course twitter.  It is not surprising that more people are getting their recommendations from it.

It is certainly something worth thinking about – and something I am slowly trying to build on, to garner interest in my works via these media and hopefully, at some stage, build up some type of critical mass.

Fantasy Fans Arise!

Posted: June 27, 2009 in General
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I’ll admit it. I’m a fan of fantasy. The books, the movies, the games. I’ve always been a fan, even when I didn’t know it. I was proud to admit it through my schooling days, and still am.

Yet we aren’t always taken seriously.

So I was pleased to come across the following post – Let’s stop sneering at fantasy readers. Good advice.

As a reader first, and now hopeful writer, it has always been my genre. I’ve tried dabbling in other genres, but always returned to it. Most of my favourite books are fantasy books. Tolkien. Gemmell. Pratchett.

And while my writing is often fantasy with some twists and variations, it is still proudly planted in the fantasy genre.

And that is the way I like it.

Free Fiction Online

Posted: June 27, 2009 in General
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Just came across this site (possibly via twitter – can never keep track of what linked to what anymore) called Free Fiction (Online).

Basically it is what is says it is – a site dedicated to seeking out and sharing all the free fiction that is around on the ‘net.

Worth keeping an eye out on I think.

Way back when I was young, I inherited a pile of books from my father. Some were from when he was a boy, others were from later on, dealing with Greek and Roman history mainly.

Of his boyhood books, one in particular became my favourite. It had been given to him for Christmas 1956, so is quite an old book, and was called The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss. I read it many, many times as a boy, but hadn’t read it for many years since, until the other day.

The novel itself was first published way back in 1812. In the version I have at least, the language and even attitudes in it may seem a little old fashioned, but perhaps modern adaptions have gotten around it. For instance, pineapples are referred in it by their old name, Ananas.

As to the story itself, it tells of a Swiss family on a colony ship heading to the South Seas, and who are shipwrecked somewhere in the East Indies. The rest of the crew perish, but they survive. The story is told by the father of the family, whose name we never discover and related their adventures. The rest of the family is his wife, Elizabeth, and their four sons, Fritz, Ernest, Jack and Francis, ranging from 14 to 6 years in age.

The island they find themselves on is a veritable Aladin’s cave of an impossible collection of plants and animals drawn from all over the world – lions, tigers, jackals, zebras, ostriches, kangaroo, platypus, wild boars, onagers, monkeys, penguins, flax plants, pineapple, coconuts, rubber trees, sago, cotton, so on and on.

Using the tools they find on the ship and the father’s seemingly limitless knowledge of trades, they build themselves a place to live and indeed thrive.

What I loved about it as a kid was the adventures they had, exploring new lands, building shelters, discovering new wonders and so it. It was probably the first story that sparked the enjoyment of that type of thing in me, and certainly influenced a lot of the books, games and movies I enjoyed so much in later years. It is in part also what I love about building new worlds to write in, as it allows me to seek out the new and unknown.

It appears that today, June 23rd, has been named SF/F Writers’ Day, as I discovered in this post by Alan Baxter. I’m with Alan on the placement of the apostrophe for the title. 🙂

So for all of us writers of sci-fi and fantasy out there, have a great writing day.

What Im Reading

Posted: June 3, 2009 in What Im Reading
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Had a quick glance at the books beside my bed and was surprised at how many were sitting there, either being read or recently finished. Plus a number of notebooks for ideas.

So I though I would list them – and will do so at regular intervals from now.

The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann Wyss. (A favourite when young but haven’t read for many years.)
The Complete Chronicles of Conan – Robert. E. Howard. (Slowly making my way through, and also good for inspiration for Pure Escapism)
The Silmarillion – J.R.R.Tolkien (Pretty much never leaves the bedside.)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (Another collection of short stories I’m studying to learn the craft of writing them better.)
Toll the Hounds – Steven Erikson (Been there a while – started it but set it aside and never got back to it.)
Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson (Was trying to remember if it was as dry as I remembered, but on the other hand inspires the desire in me to explore new lands.)

Read but not returned to the bookshelf yet;
Sharpe’s Rifles – Bernard Cornwell (Using for inspiration for ideas)
Death to the French – C.S.Forester (Same setting as Cornwell, but different style)