Posts

Showing posts from December, 2014

Book Clubs

Image
Book groups  have existed as long as books have been read for pleasure but it seems they have flourished under social media. I've shyed away from joining, mostly because I don't want to read the kind of fiction favoured by book clubs and I'm not a group person. I'm a sit-back and listen person and observing group dynamics is often more entertaining than the topic under discussion. In recent weeks, there have been a few blogs on the topic, notably one from Joanne Harris ~ http://joannechocolat.tumblr.com/post/106244987266/readers-group-or-literary-groupie "However, I’m getting increasingly concerned by the number of people who think it’s okay to sneer at people for what they read. It’s not okay to do that any more than it’s okay to exclude other people for what they wear, or what they eat, or what kind of accent they happen to have. Books are universal. They are here for everyone. To pretend superiority over someone because (for instance) you like Kate Atkinso

Thoughts on Hugh Howey's WOOL

Image
Why the peculiar title? The experts keep telling us aspiring writers that a cover is all and the title comes close second in the quest for readers. I galloped through the book - except to eat, sleep and walk Tim - and came to the end slightly puzzled. First of all - the cover is eye-catching but not informative in my humble opinion. The title is even less informative. Having just finished a book called The Wedding Yarn , which involved a wool shop, I might be forgiven for thinking this new story would be about sheep or knitting or both.  Not at all. The only thing I can see that is relevant to the story is that the powers who run the silo are pulling the wool over everyone's eyes in the hope of keeping them all trapped within its protection. Naughty, and definitely not nice. But then the alternative is worse. The air outside the silo is toxic. That at least seems to be truthful. So you stay inside or you die. Not a happy alternative. The first two thirds of the book are excelle

Christmas, Wool and mud

Image
Ah well, the festivities are almost over. The afternoon of  Christmas Eve we enjoyed a couple of hours in Park Wood near Hexham without seeing another person, and on Christmas Day we had the Spetchells by the river Tyne all to ourselves. Seems not many people ventured out, and yet the weather was pleasant enough. We had duck breast as our Christmas dinner, but giving Tim a few titbits proved a bad move. He spent the evening walking around the room, flopping down only to get up again  within a minute or two. Eventually I put  a large flat cushion of the floor, he cuddled up beside me and we watched all two hours of the Downton Christmas Special together. Worse was to follow. He wouldn't settle when we went to bed, but kept moving around. Around one thirty he wanted to go downstairs and into the garden where he performed three pees and a poo. I came to the conclusion he had doggy indigestion. Came back inside, upstairs, settled down for a bit, then around two thirty he was sick on

Taster of the Scots Queen

Image
Here's a small seasonal gift ~ a little taster of my latest book! Matho and Meg Douglas meet when she rides into Stirling thinking how best to befriend the Dowager Queen, Marie de Guise. He and his friend Harry Wharton are plotting how best to kidnap the Dowager's infant daughter, Mary.  "Riding into Stirling, Meg eyed Broad Street with a calculating eye, but decided it was not a place she would choose to live. A cheerful crowd, jostling for a view of the gallows, surged about the open space between the Mercat Cross and the grim old Tolbooth. A hanging must be imminent. Her escort closed protectively around her and forced a way through to the top of the hill. Both her destination and the castle came into view at the same time. Meg caught her breath at the sight of the Great Hall, pale as day-old cream in the October light, shining like a beacon against the darker stone of the older castle buildings. ‘You there! Shift yer hide!’ The sharp order from her Serje

Christmas and GONE GIRL

Image
I read Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL  last week. Initially I thought I wasn't going to like it, for the beginning was very slow. Then slowly, slowly, I got more and more interested and couldn't stop reading. By the end I thought it was a masterful piece of writing, even if the subject matter was a tad off centre. Not many people are so vengeful they will spend a year or more planning a crime and then put themselves through hell in order to bring it about. It could be done, of course, and on the one hand admiration is the overriding factor; on the other, it is pity for such wasted lives. I just hope the story doesn't encourage anyone to try and emulate the plot. The last line of the book was both inoffensive and full of menace. Hardly the open ending some claim, when one considers the female protagonist's past history. Nick had better watch  his back and both sides....   Just the sort of thing to read for Christmas! Just when we thought winter had finally arrived w

Run-up to Christmas

Image
Miss a day and e-mails choke up the computer! Now I'm running to keep up, and all because I took Saturday out to host a dinner for friends. Well, and Sunday to get over it - I was cream-crackered even though DH did a lot of the cooking! Here I am today, running to catch up. E-mails checked off - except that for some reason BT Openworld is down, though G mail is functioning without a hitch. Keeping abreast of the Sydney Lindt cafe seige, and trying to plan for the next few days and the run-up to Christmas. I try and stay out of town at this time of year because I dislike being pushed and shoved in crowds, and conspicuous consumption is quite ugly in its raw state. Unfortunately, some things must be purchased, and while buying online is great in many ways, I do like to touch and feel clothes I buy - before I buy! I need something for DH, and so I'll sneak in really early one day this week. Everything seems to be so urgent in the run up to the big day. So many things that Must B

Complaints about Kindle Unlimited

Image
Best selling American writer H M Ward has something to say about Kindle Unlimited. "Ok, some of you already know, but I had my serials in it for 60 days and lost approx 75% of my income. Thats counting borrows and bonuses. My sales dropped like a stone. The number of borrows was higher than sales. They didn't compliment each other, as expected. Taking a huge ass pay cut while I'm still working my butt off, well that's not ok. And KU effected my whole list, not just KU titles. At the time of enrollment I had about 60 titles total. I planned on giving it 90 days, but I have a kid in the hospital for long term care and I noticed my spending was going to exceed my income-by a lot. I couldn't wait and watch thing plummet further. I pulled my books. That was on Nov 1, & since then my net revenue has gone up. I'm now at 50% of where I was pre-KU. During the time I was in KU, I had 2 new releases. Neither preformed vastly different than before. They actually

Winter Casualty

Image
Out walking today with Tim and came across what I hope will be the only casualty of winter. Couldn't see any injuries and no sign of a struggle. Beautiful little fox, and not very old. A touch of frost on his fur, since he was in the shadow of the tall hedge separating the fields. Tim sniffed and sniffed but made no effort to touch it. Brilliant cold day with low sunshine making long, long shadows across the fields. At last the temperature is comfortable for walking fair distances at a decent pace. Lovely and warm inside my old Goretex jacket, fleece hat and gloves, but with my face freezing!  Quite a change to the last few weeks when the slightest effort has had me sweating because I dressed for November instead of the actual temperature. Good weather for writing, too. Nice to be snug and warm inside my imaginary world. This time it is Victorian England with an art thief as villain. I'm finding it difficult to work in the crimes themselves and leave clues without giving

Notable Books

Image
I expect every independent author/publisher received a lengthy explanation about how VAT on e-books will work after the turn of the year. I got mine. So it looks as if it is happening. The consoling thought is that Amazon might be paying more tax too. The New York Times has published a list of notable books of 2014 -  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/07/books/review/100-notable-books-of-2014.html?_r=0 As my eyes scanned the list, several thoughts occurred to me. Firstly, I have read none of them. Secondly, they all seem to be on gut-wrenching topics. Thirdly, where have all the happy books gone? Why does everyone want to read about other people's misery and anguish? When I was much younger and worked in a public library, I ordered/requested many books and read them with a greed for knowledge of the human race. I didn't think of it in those terms then, but it seems to me now that that was what I was doing. I don't do it any more. By my late twenties I had moved away from

VAT Clarity and Reviews

Image
This statement from the Bookseller clarifies my last post -  The new European-wide VAT law causing digital products - including e-books and apps - to be taxed in the European member state in which the consumer is located, as opposed to the country from which the product is sold will be introduced in January. The change will stop multinational online corporations such as Amazon and Google from diverting their European sales through low-VAT countries, but small companies fear that the new rules will also hurt sales of their digital products. So the petition I've signed is an attempt to prevent small companies - read authors as well as publishers - from suffering from this attempt to stop giant companies avoiding tax. Everyone wants Amazon to pay taxes as it should, but this seems an unhappy way to achieve it. Surely the business brains could think of another way? The thought of having to be VAT registered and send in returns is enough to make me consider pulling out of this writin