Tag Archive: Reading


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.

A Year Almost Gone

This has been a pretty insane year for me what with all the changes that have been in it. I have to admit this festive season simply hasn’t been conducive to writing.

Yeah I know we all need to give ourselves a break every now and then the problem is that when I don’t write I feel guilty for wasting my time.

This is a very silly thing…probably. I work shift work, 12 hour shifts, I am a wife and mother and have three blogs and review for a fourth. In between this I need to read because two of those blogs are review sites.

I try to keep on top of it I really do.

Something has to give though because quite simply as a creative type, in fact as any working person we need to allow ourselves time to unwind. I suppose a lot or even most people don’t have a problem with this. My problem though is I still really want to be a published writer. I want to finish my books, I want to get the stories out of my head and share them with others. So how do I do all that is on my schedule?

Well I’ll let you know when I figure that one out. In fact maybe it will be something I can package and sell. Nah I know how hard it is to fit in the creative in a society that expects to be entertained but isn’t all that interested in letting the creatives have the time to create.

I will come closer to my goal this year. It is inevitable I simply have to write (when I can fit it in) and the stories don’t stop even when I don’t get to put the pen to paper.

Though I suppose I did get published in a way this year, I wrote my class graduation speech (in the form of a poem) and it impressed some people enough that it got printed in the internal magazine for the organisation I work for. That’s better than nothing right?

Time To Read

Having time to read has never really been an issue for me, somehow when I have felt like reading there was always time. Of course when I first started in book retail I had much more time to read and so many authors were opened up to me (being able to afford to buy more books certainly helped).

Then with my blog and passion intersecting I was always reading and it was great. I found so many awesome authors, so many wonderful stories to journey into.

Life took another turn and I left book retail behind and started a new career path, part of this new path included three months of what is effectively classroom work. Somehow I simply never realised it would take so much of my time, I was so focused on the end result, more time with my family and to write that I overlooked the time required to get through the first 3 months.

Then I went and added a play into the mix, thinking only of the possibility that it could be my last play in a very long time. That didn’t turn out to be the best decision because that has put so much pressure on me that I probably could have done without. I simply have had very little time to read or write.

Sure I got my short story done on time but the rest I’ve only managed to do bits and pieces of. I also have a new idea floating around in the ether of my mind. You know that place where stories form, coming together and pulling apart until you have enough of an idea to put something down on paper. That at least is a good thing.

In these two months of study I have read maybe 4 books, a huge shock to my system when you consider I was on track to have read a book a day before I started this. So 4 of that size a week was not out of character. Perhaps bearing this in mind you can imagine how happy I feel to have finished a 570 page book in 3 days. It’s a silly thing I know but I feel so good to have accomplished this. Reading inspires the creativity flowing through my being and this is also a good thing.

On the writing front I did write a poem this week. A friend is very sick and it just seemed the right thing to do. The words came it took about an hour  to put it all together and I was very happy with the end result. It’s the first poem I have written in a very long time, she is a special person and for her I felt I had to walk a line between rough humour and emotion. Writing is how I can cope with some things. With all the pressure to get through my course it is still the creative that inspires and encourages me, it levels me out, keeps me sane (though that may be a bit subjective). Writing keeps me going and I know I need it in my life and at times like this it is the small things – a finished book and a written poem, that bring a smile to my face a a touch of satisfaction to my day.

Writing Variety

I think my last blog was as I was heading into my week off. Well that has definitely been and gone. I hit my target, and if I have said that I’m sorry, I just can’t be bothered starting this then going back to check again what my last post was.

So hitting the target was a great thing for me, it got a heap of notes off my desk and believe me this can’t have been a bad thing as there was so many of them.

Since then I have started training for my new job. It is strange being back in a classroom situation. I’m just not used to it but fortunately some of the skills have come back quickly, I suppose I never really let a lot of them go because I do still do a lot of research and the like.

Anyway, I don’t really have anytime for writing at the moment and that’s proving to be a bit tough. What’s tougher though is I have no time for reading. I’ve gone from reading a book a day (albeit a bunch of those were kids books of various age categories) to reading maybe, if I am lucky one a week. Oh and The Lorax four or five times a week because that is my youngest’s fave book at the moment. I tell you what, this not having time to read feels really strange.

I think though the answer may have come my way, a friend sent me details for a short story comp. These pop up all the time in all sorts of places and I never really was able to get the hang of them, and because I struggled with the style I never really saw a reason for doing them. I have though changed my opinion on that matter. Short story comps are a great way to blast throw the cobwebs in your mind, to challenge yourself and to get yourself in practice for hitting deadlines.

Find them, if a topic piques your interest give it a shot. It’s good practice really it is.

Two Things

This week has left me with two thoughts, that is not to say they are the only things I’ve been thinking of but they are relevant to this writing side of my life.

Firstly I am still writing scenes that flow, I’m really enjoying the fact that when I write, the story has a consistency to it. There is a nice flow, it is becoming a story not just a few random ideas. The problem is thought number two – time.

Time is just something that seems to be getting away from me. I’m managing work, family, blogs and training but truthfully sometimes I’m not sure I’m doing it well. I have had to decide not to do the book club simply because I just don’t have the time. I still think it’s a great idea but with everything else that I’m juggling putting good thought into that just isn’t going to happen.

There is only so much time I can put into things that aren’t actually going to give me any pay off. Now I know this may sound terrible, but it is the truth. The blogs take not a huge amount of time though reading for The’ Verse takes time. Then again reading was always something that was a time priority for me. Writing the reviews themselves doesn’t take too long and posting them is quick. The other two blogs are just ways for me to clarify my thoughts and yes vent. Running a book club would take more thought and if it took off it would take more time to co-ordinate it, without getting paid it’s just not something I can afford to sink time into. The’Verse is my bookie indulgence.

Training is taking up around an hour a day five days a week sure but half of it usually is while I’m watching something (I do my weight training in the lounge room). The thing is though this is something I’m doing for me. Sure I’m training for the army but I’m also doing it for myself, it is nice to feel better about myself, to be stronger, fitter. Also the army will give me an awesome challenge.

I also have my family to consider. I simply cannot keep adding thing to my schedule that don’t give something back to me or my family. Yes selfish sounding I know but at the moment I have some hard choices to make and some things simply have to give. The novel will possibly provide money one day and quite honestly I need to write, it’s in me, something I don’t know how to give up. The book blog, well that’s my indulgence I like reading and being able to share good books with people. You might think work would give me enough of that but retail is very thankless, customer wise and pay wise. People either want you to do all their thinking for them (I want something for a 12 year old but I don’t know what they are interested in), or they think you are stupid and couldn’t possibly tell them anything informative.

So I need to manage my time better and something else may very well have to give.

Week Off

There are good things about having a week off. Mostly when the kids are back at school it means I get uninterrupted writing time, and this week I have managed to put it to good use. Till yesterday that is. All my plans got stuffed by having to pick the car up later than they originally said we’d be able to.

Also I hit a slide into a funk, probably due to the realisation I have to go back to work on monday.

It’s possible to write in that state of mind but it’s not easy because your attention isn’t held on any one thing for very long.

Still I pushed on and have managed to get some stuff done and that is always a good thing even when you have to push through to do it.

I didn’t do huge amounts of reading this week, well by that I mean I finished about 8 books but then 6 of those were graphic novels. Bottom line of that is I need to write a bunch of reviews but when I’ve done that it will keep the website in a good position for a while.

I feel as though there is much I still want to do on the last day and a bit of my week off but it probably won’t get done because there is something I know I need to consider. Some times the best thing to do for yourself is take some time to do nothing. It’s a little hard for someone like me who has passions to pursue that need to be done during time away from work. For someone with my kind of work ethic the idea of sitting around and doing nothing is hard to deal with. Of course I do read a lot but for me at the moment, reading is part of my work so it doesn’t really count as doing nothing.

This is what I have had to make myself do, sit and watch a couple of movies. For me movies of choice tend to be the ones where I can check my brain at the door and just watch. Even then there are times I feel guilty for doing just that. I sit and watch a film, or a show or game for a bit and then a small part of me whispers ‘would that time not have been better spent in your office?’

Sometimes I am honest enough to say no. I’m working on being able to really feel that answer. I know I need to allow myself time to do nothing. So although I have managed to get right into my huge structural re-edit this week I have also been forced to allow myself the time to do nothing.

As a side note, I have to say I really enjoyed Cowboys and Aliens (even if the girl was wearing a dress and had her hair out – how impractical) and Captain America, and yes I am looking forward to The Avengers.

Tonight will be special features, I like special features, acting and movies are still a part of my life I am passionate about.

So until next week, when I may very well be back to banging my head on my desk about customers who do things like saying; ‘I’m looking for a book, I don’t know what it is called or who wrote it but it has a green cover’,  I will take some time to do nothing and then hit more of those edits.

Peace out my lovelies.

Reading the Epics

This week has seen me finish a few books and start a big one. I’m finally getting around to reading The Song of Ice and Fire Series (Game of Thrones)

. It’s been a while since I’ve immersed myself in such sweeping epic fantasy. I’ve got to say I’m really enjoying it. The only problem with reading something so good and grand is that it makes me wonder at my gall in writing fantasy. The thing is if I’m honest mine isn’t anywhere so grand and in that I take hope. I also wonder how you keep so many strands straight, but that is besides the point really.

I do think it’s a good thing for me to be reading, it’s always good to read variety though I cannot, for the most part, bring myself to read what is considered literature and I don’t read a lot of general adult fiction, chic lit just holds no interest for me.

So now my challenge is to take the time to read something splendid and a rather big investment whilst still writing and being able to stay true to my character. The other thing is that a challenge is not necessarily a bad thing. Like with my hubby who is a muso, he can play with some people and cruise through the gig but if you put him in a room with muso’s he considers better than himself then that pushes him to be better. Now I would never really claim to be even in the same league as some of my favourite writers but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t read and enjoy their work and hopefully aim to be on the same shelves that they are one day.

Hmmm!

Life is kind of funny sometimes. I love books, always have, I love reading, but right at the moment I’m not all that keen on my job. I’m just a bit, okay more than a bit frustrated with the place I work, the boss and the customers.

It’s hard enough somedays to get up in the morning because, well it’s morning and I am without question a night person. When you have to get up to go to a job where lounge music in all it’s anaesthetic glory is played all day, maybe you get what I mean. I don’t understand the logic that says because we are a book store the only music that can be played is mind numbingly boring. Then I get asked stupid questions like why aren’t you awake yet?! Hello, music, not a guitar riff or drum beat to be found.

My other frustrations are nothing new, not really. I’d like to change the way the kids department is set out but for some reason requests to section books according to age fall on deaf ears. And as always with retail there are the customers. I had to walk away from a customer the other day when he asked for a true crime book detailing the story of a group of boys going out a raping girls, -‘I don’t know what it’s called or who wrote it but can you find it for me?’ I said sorry I don’t read that stuff and walked away before I could say something rude. Also had a customer ask for a best selling true crime book but nothing girly. It reminded me of the time I was asked where we kept the books written by female authors.

That said there are some customers I love spending time with. The ones who listen, or know what they are talking about. Truthfully though I am getting a little sick of people saying they don’t need help with a tone that says ‘you couldn’t help me I’m looking for kids books’. Hello kids book specialist here! I also am a little sick of the statement ‘my child is a very advanced reader,’ and variations there of. Yes I’m glad your 8 year old has a good vocabulary but it’s not the word but the topic content of the stories that can make them inappropriate. ‘But my child is a very good reader…’ ‘Fine yes then, that paranormal romance book is a great choice for your 8 year old son’.

It will take a lot more than this to get me to turn my back on books, it is a life long love affair and one never likely to end (I love my kindle too and according to my boss that’s not a good thing), however I think I am hitting the end of my time as a bookseller. The passion ebbs and flows so at the moment.

Of course I’m unlikely to stop writing either. On that note a good thing happened this week. Sometimes when you write you’re not really happy with what you are doing. It’s inevitable. With this fantasy project having become two books instead of one, I’ve been battling to find a way into what will be the first book. Oh I already have a chunk of the content and I know the story, what I didn’t have was a suitable starting point and tone. This week though, as I started linking  a couple of scenes together it came to me. And just like that pieces slotted into place and the flow felt like it was there. Yay!

So onwards with the writing  and in the mean time I shall be contemplating a future outside of retail.

Silly Season

I love christmas, I love buying presents for my family. I love giving gifts. I don’t love working in retail at christmas. I don’t love the people who leave their gift shopping till so close to christmas then get pissy that what they want isn’t in stock. They also seem to think that that they can get it online, so close to christmas. Not necessarily so.

Still stupid things from work aside, I’m happy to say I’m still writing. I still have loads of reading to catch up on and I mean loads but I am still managing to get pen to paper. I’ve got to say again thank you NaNo. I mean it really did give me the focus to write again and once that flow was re-established it is still there. Such a relief I’ve got to say. I’m still inspired to write a couple of projects and I’m pretty much getting something written everyday. Maybe not a lot but something is better than nothing.

Also some crap has been going on so in some ways there has been the pressure to forget the passion, to stop the writing and find a way to spend my time that provides better money. I can’t not write. I know I can’t. But there are times…

I’m sure you know what I mean.