Tag Archive: Reading


 

In-Love-with-a-Fictional-Character.pngThis is something I have done since I first began to devour books. When I was younger I wanted to be George from the Famous Five.

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When I was about twelve I had a huge crush on Atreyu from The Never Ending Story, I balled my eyes out when Artax died in the Swamp of Sorrows.

0133735_42657_MC_Tx360.jpgLater various characters from Feist’s Midkemia filled my imagination. And who wouldn’t want Reilly’s Scarecrow to be their significant other or at least friend. I was never the sort to be swept off my feet by Mr Darcy and the love I felt for characters was mostly familial. I wanted them to be my friends. When I lacked friends in the real world I never lacked for them in my imagination. I would retreat from the teasing and hurt by venturing into other worlds;

Narnia, Crabapple Farm, River Heights, Kirrin Island, Ancient Egypt and the list goes on. I went on adventures with Pug and Thomas, Reepicheep, Tasslehoff Burfoot, solved mysteries with Nancy and Trixie.

Nancy-Drew-vintage-image.jpgAs I got older my tastes changed, but how I read and why I read didn’t. Mother would be a great laugh to hang with, in fact an afternoon spent with Eve and Roarke, Mother, Mercy, Adam and various surrounding players would be my idea of wonderful. On another day, Beka Cooper, Keladry, Annabeth, Caroline and I could all sit down over a civilised cheesecake and chocolate and right all the wrongs in the world, what a glorious day that would be.

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It’s okay if you don’t know a lot of these names that’s your loss, but then you may have a list of names I wouldn’t recognise and that is fine too. Just like in real life we all like different people, so we are all drawn to different characters and stories.

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Characters fill my head, mine and others. I often find them easier to relate to, less likely to cause me grief in any way. It was in these characters that I found acceptance to be me, as silly as it may sound. If girls, and women, such as these, who don’t comfortably fit into a mould, can have friends, family and success, then maybe I could as well. I never felt I fit, not really, but I did with my fictional friends.

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Writing my own stories in some ways has been an extension of this love affair. I never set out to write Evayn as she is now, as the character she is becoming (see what I did there?) She started in fact as what my husband lovingly, or laughingly, referred to as, my naked amnesia chick. Holy heck she has come a long way. (There may be spoilers ahead but only little ones.) Now I know her so well I know when she will roll her eyes, bite her lip or bottle up all that is bothering her. I know that holding steel in her hand calms her and helps her think. I know the dragon in her confuses her and she struggles to embrace that fully, in a way she never struggled with that she inherited from her father. I know her dark places. I’ve been there with her and want nothing more than to be with her at the end of this adventure we are going on.

There are many characters in this world I’ve created whom I’ve become attached to. Some I’ve shed tears over and others I want to slap, I hope that means I’ve done a good job with them because those are the feelings I get when I deal with real people.

Reading led me to writing. Reading has always been a central part of who I am. For me it is something that provides a break to life and all the crap that can be found in it. I willingly say I rarely read non-fiction or literary work. I read to escape not to be reminded of that which actually surround me. Reading has given me people to love and despise without the need to actually interact with people, (and I am a person that a sometimes struggles with being around people). It is also a refuge and that is part of the end result of falling in love with a world and its characters. I have read some books over and over and yes even over (sometimes to the point of the book falling apart). Those books are my safe place to go. There are times when I want to close out the rest of the world and curl up with an old friend, it is like a safety blanket, warm, cuddly and comfortable. Safe.

As a writer I want to write a story people like, a character people love and if I can create a world that people want to return to then that would be my idea of success.

Though lots of book sales would also be an acceptable definition.

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No News is…

Writing is a fickle mistress at times. Mistress? Why mistress? Anyway, that little pondering is not for now.

So, no news is good news right? I don’t know, regardless, waiting is hard. I had hopes but I’ve managed to let go of those by now. What I haven’t let go of is my belief in myself. I believe my writing is good enough to sell. I believe my story is good enough that people will want to read it.

All of which is great, but that really isn’t why I write. I’ve already talked about this though. I write because I have to write. If I go for a longish period of time without writing I feel out of sorts. It may not make sense to anyone who isn’t a writer but it is something that just is and I’m good with that.

The problem with creative arts is that for all it is an isolating task, it also needs other people. I need people who can keep me focused, people who are happy for me to use them as sounding boards for some ideas. People who are prepared to read my work and be honest with me about it.

Also in my case I need a publisher, because for me I don’t know that I have the time to wade through the intricacies of self-publishing. I could never do anything without doing it properly and that takes time. The thing with a publisher is they have all these other things going on with them as well. It would be a wonderful thing for me if I could have someone focussed entirely on helping me achieve my goal but this is the real world. So things happen according to other people’s time frames.

I guess this is part of what being a grown up is, understanding that some things take time, and a little, or a lot, of patience. In the meantime I will keep writing, reading and creating.

 

As Things Stand

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Wow. For ages I’ve been meaning to add another post to here and somehow things just keep getting away from me. There was holidays, Christmas, actually catching up with people and plenty of writing.
If you know me at all you’d know just what a big deal the catching up with people thing is. It’s not that I don’t like my friends it’s just part of me is introverted and actually getting me out of the house to catch up with people can be a big thing, I really have to put myself into the right headspace to do it. I even know I’ll have a good time when I do but somehow the making plans and following through can be a bit tough. The only time I have no problem is when I’m hitting SupaNova and catching up with my geeky/nerdy family or when I’m in a theatre show.
Also there is the thing that I’ve so much on my plate, I’m working on several writing projects at the moment so that takes up quite a bit of my headspace.
I’m excited about the first book which is finished and with a publisher, the waiting part is long and hard but it is simply a necessary part of the process. Also part of the process is realising there are a few things I need to tweak so it fits better with book two, which I am working on as you read.
Sure I could self publish, many people make a wonderful success of that these days. There is a thing though about actually being picked up by a publisher, having someone else believe in your work enough to say, ‘hey we’ll take a chance on this’. The other thing is that self publishing takes time, if you do it properly and right now my life is so very full. As well as book two and a couple of short stories, I’m training to stay fit, to learn better and fun stuff to include in my fight sequences, I work at being a good parent (for those of you whom that comes easily too I hope you realise how blessed you are). I am also still cranking in the hours at the regular job, fortunately I have a job I enjoy, which puts me in a better place than a great number of people. And there are always more books to read.
So all things considered life is busy and good and one day soon I’ll be able to announce a publication date. What an awesome day that will be.
For any writers out there, just keep writing. Writing is a journey and an interesting one at that.

Time

Where does it all go?
I know I’m not the only person who asks this question on a regular basis.
The thing is if I didn’t: watch any TV shows I’d have more time, if I didn’t read so much I’d have more time to write, if I didn’t exercise I’d have more time to write, if I didn’t work I’d have more time to write.
The only problem with that is if I didn’t work I couldn’t pay the bills. Reading, tv and movies encourage my creativity, they teach me and sometimes inspire me. Exercise stops me becoming a roly, poly, pudge monkey or something, as well as encouraging all those good things like endorphins.
I had a really good run with my writing a couple of weeks back I managed to get pages done and I was happy with what I had written. Now though I am trying to catch up on some of the many books waiting to be read and yes reviewed. Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, I love reviewing books, I love the opportunity it has given me and the way it has opened me up to authors I may otherwise never have picked up.
I keep telling myself when I get a couple of days off that I’m going to get some writing done. It’s just not happening at the moment. It seems I have to shop, and clean and wash clothes and all those mundane things that keep a house going, oh and organise munchkins. I had it so much better when they weren’t doing activities.
Still the point of being a writer is to write and even when I’m not getting much done, the story is circling around in my head and I know next time I sit down with pen in hand the words will flow. For a little while at least.

Holy….

Wow, I really didn’t realise that it had been so long since I posted here. Things are moving along at a cracking pace. I wish I could say the same about my writing, I mean it is going but not at a cracking pace.
However I have gotten some difficult scenes out of the way and so there is flow once again on my main project. There is also movement on a couple of side projects as well. Unfortunately work interferes with my well intentioned writing plans. Life is good though and to be honest I’m happy that I am at least getting pen to paper on a regular basis and that after all is part of what makes a person a writer. I just sometimes wish there were more hours in a day. I know that I would fit more writing in if I watched less tv or movies but that is unlikely to happen, especially seeing as I often work out whilst watching the screen, and after a 12 hr shift at work I just need to tune out for a while.
I have good intentions but those good intentions are not going to get my books finished. I need to narrow my focus and finish something, anything, just one of my on going projects.
With that in mind I should probably get off here and get my head back in the game. Of course it would help I didn’t also spend time reading, but that is never going to happen.

It Begins

I am on leave…
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I have 6 glorious weeks off in which I can pursue those things that sometimes get lost in the need to work and stuff.
I plan on doing a whole lot of reading and a whole lot more of writing. It is an awesome feeling to know I have time to do those things which are most passionate to me.
The best thing about all of this is I have already started. I have finished a really good book, in fact I’ve gotten through a few recently and am starting to get my reading mojo back.
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This is a good thing as I have many books still to read and many more that I haven’t yet purchased (just give me time).
On this my second day of vacation I have managed to plonk myself down at my desk (having booted my munchkins off it momentarily) and gotten more than a few words down. Also a really good thing. Though I think I may need to invest in this shirt.
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Having all the good intentions in the world and being pushing along by the fact that it is NaNoWriMo (even though I’m not actively participating this year) is still only part of it. My problem is I possibly have too many projects to work on. I need to focus myself far more tightly if I am really going to achieve anything in this time off.
So head down bum up, pen in hand or fingers on the keyboard.
Just let me tidy my desk first.

Books, Books and More Books

My name is Kylie and I have an addiction… to books.
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I just can’t help myself, I think they are wonderful and I can’t seem to stop collecting them. Of course I haven’t really tried to, don’t have the desire to and when I shifted and people thought I should use the opportunity to get rid of them I thought about weening the person out of my life instead.
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The truth is I love books. I have for as long as I can remember. The fact that part of my life includes reviewing books for two websites makes me so happy. It is also probably the reason I write. I am a writer – though there is a part of me that says I should say I want to be a writer. I do write though, most days, just because I haven’t been published yet doesn’t mean I’m not really a writer, or at least that is what I try to tell myself.
So as of late, with my focus on training for a certain event that is almost on me, I haven’t really spent a lot of time writing. I want to but with everything else going on (and that includes visitors staying and catching up with friends) I just haven’t really found the time to settle into my office and get the words down.
The other reason for this slackness is that I’ve finally bought some books I’ve wanted for a while and I just have had to dive into them. They are from a favourite author of mine Tamora Pierce and like all her stuff I just can’t put them down.
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That is a not so good trait when you have to go to work and you end up staying awake much too late reading and end up dragging your feet all the next day only to repeat the same behaviour the next night.
Still no regrets, sometimes a good book is worth the feeling of sleeplessness that happens the next day.
Still I am looking forward to having a solid chunk of time off to really get stuck into my writing, I have 3 projects on the go at the moment and I really want to get stuck into all of them.

Wow Does Time Fly

See I knew it had been a while since I’d written here, but truthfully I thought it was only a few weeks not twice that. I’ve in this time, had moments of productivity. I suppose mostly in the area of reading and blogging – review blogging that is. My review blog hasn’t been getting as many hits as it used to, I suppose that is in part because I sometimes find it difficult to blog after a 12 hr shift. You know when you work that many hours in a day and some days are very, very demanding ones, you just want to go home and veg.
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I am finally, after almost 12 months in the job, getting organised with my reviewing. It is an awesome feeling. Also even though my blog traffic has dropped off, the other site I review for is doing awesome and I’m proud to be a part of that. People often don’t understand why I put so much time into reviewing and reading, they figure if I don’t get paid then it can’t possibly be worth it. Well let me tell you, it certainly is worth it. I love books, I love children’s books and I love sharing my love for them. (What a lot of love). Also I get books sent to me and for me that is a pretty awesome type of payment. I am very proud of my office library and quiet frankly I get why people don’t keep books or only borrow from the library (it can get kinda expensive over time) but I love my books, I love to revisit them too, sometimes even when I have heaps of new stuff to read, I just need to curl up and catch up with an old friend, it’s just what I need to make things feel right.

Might need to invest in one of these

Might need to invest in one of these


Writing stories hasn’t stopped, it’s just not quite as organised as perhaps it should be. I keep telling myself that I will get it all sorted but I haven’t got there yet. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m too scattered in my approach or what. I try to be disciplined but truthfully, sometimes when a new idea springs you just have to get some of that down. I wonder if some of my problem is simply that I want my writing to be profitable and so I get distracted with other projects in the hope one will result in some kind of breakthrough.
There is a part of me that wishes the muse was controllable but she is a fickle wench, always has been and I suspect always will be. That is life though. So for the moment I will plod on getting pen to paper whenever I can.
Oh if you want to check out either of the review blogs feel free.
TheKylieVerse
BuginaBook

Addiction

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I am an addict.

This is no surprise to those who know me, I believe I have rather an addictive personality. The thing is though the things I’m addicted to don’t cause harm. They do effect those around me, it would be hard to deny it when the books are overflowing off my bookshelves and there are piles of them on the floor and more delivered nearly every week.

I am a book addict. I was before I got into book retail but selling the damn things only opened me up to so many more authors. Fortunately part of my addiction is supplemented by the fact that I get books sent to me to review. I am so thankful for this for a couple of reasons. Firstly that it helps keep the costs down and secondly it introduces me to new authors. I love discovering someone new. 

Books aren’t my only thing I can spend hours gaming if I’m not careful. Also I feel rather out of sorts if I don’t exercise for any length of time (I’m not sure that’s really got much to do with addiction it’s probably more to do with my body doing all it can not to get old).

There are things I definitely am not addicted to though and housewifey things (dusting, cleaning, ironing) probably top that list.

I am also rather addicted to creating. That is to say I get a little bit touchy if I go too long without putting pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard.

I need to write. Sure I want to finish a few books, get them published and make some money from them but as that hasn’t happened yet the logical thing to assume is that I am addicted to creating. The only thing I get from it is the act itself. It makes me happy to write. There is a feeling of accomplishment even though no-one else probably sees it that way.

Do I wish there were more hours in the day to feed my addictions, hell yes. Sometimes it is a battle within myself as to which addiction wins out at any one time. I have a pile of books to read for both pleasure and review, I have thousands of words that need to be put to a page, and I have games to clock with and without my hubby playing.

Right now my need to communicate is being fed. I like to blog, I like to think I’m communicating with like minded people. It helps me to get things off my chest, it might help others who don’t feel so comfortable getting these things off their chests to know they aren’t alone.

I could of course be just putting words into the ether and you know what, that’s fine. In an ideal world my blogs would help me connect to those who might one day want to read my books. But the fact no-one much may be paying attention, well that’s not enough to make me stop blogging. I need to write across a variety of formats, this fulfils something in me. I feel much better if I get my different targets met. It is cathartic and it helps me become more focussed for my fiction writing. This stuff clears out the thoughts, the rants, the frustrations and gives me a clearer run at the worlds of fiction.

In my case addiction serves its purpose, apart from filling in my time when I’m not at work. I am ever so glad that my addiction is not a destructive one. 

Now all I need to do is figure out which parts of my day tomorrow will go to which addiction.

What I Needed

I am enjoying some time off, I cannot deny that it is a good feeling not having to get up before dawn to go to work for 12 hours. You know what else is awesome? The sheer amount of time I am getting to read and write.
I’ve gone over my research, my character outlines and stared at my post-it note marked map. Building an entire world is a strange feeling. It takes hours of what, to many, may look like a complete waste of time, but time is what allows us to create a place that can sweep you away and seem so real.
It took me a long time to find the fantasy story I wanted to write. I always loved reading fantasy but my own story just wouldn’t come, until that day I found my opening scene. It remains a visual I love and the character who stood in the middle of it, is one I am proud to have created.
While I’m going thorough this structural editing process I find myself swept into the story of the characters I birthed, not wanting to stop to cook dinner or do other mundane things like housework (something that somehow never is a priority to me). As I’ve been wielding my red pen these people are becoming clearer in my mind. Is it a bad thing that I love my characters? I hope not.
I know even though the task that is finishing editing and completing these two books still seems like a mountain, it is one I am determined to climb. This break is giving me a renewed passion just like I hoped it would.
On the reading side of things I got to finish a book that has been sitting on my shelf for simply ages. I was left wondering why I didn’t pick it up earlier, even though I’d been meaning to. I suppose that is one of the drawbacks to being a reviewer, some books just sit on the pile because they aren’t a priority. (Not sure that it’s much of a drawback though because it means I always have something to read).
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is a great addition to the YA Dystopian genre. Ashala is everything I like in a central character, she is strong, flawed, clever and just a little different. The world Kwaymullina has created is devastated, controlled by fear mongers and a wonderfully 3 dimensional place for Ashala’s story. I won’t spill any secrets of this tightly written, completely engaging book, I wouldn’t want to spoil it. I will say if you love the genre, or cleverly written stories with great protagonists, then this is well worth a look. If you want to check out my review then go here.
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Finding gems like this book make reading a joy. It’s why I read and why I write. I can only hope that one day someone will read something I wrote and enjoy it just as much.