Sunday, December 26, 2010

"The Essential Man’s Library: 50 Fictional Adventure Books"

"The Essential Man’s Library: 50 Fictional Adventure Books"

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
She by H. Rider Haggard
Ayesha: The Return of She by H. Rider Haggard
King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard
Southern Mail/Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
The Adventures of Captain Hatteras by Jules Verne
The Tigers of Mompracem by Emilio Salgari
The Pirates of Malaysia by Emilio Salgari
The Two Tigers by Emilio Salgari
Congo by Michael Crichton
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
The Lost World by Michael Crichton
The Odyssey by Homer
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings Series by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

True at First Light by Ernest Hemingway
The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Sea Wolf by Jack London
Roughing It by Mark Twain
The Beach by Alex Garland
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Inca Gold by Clive Cussler
Sahara  by Clive Cussler
Treasure by Clive Cussler
The Lighthouse at the End of the World by Jules Verne
Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
In Search of the Castaways by Jules Verne

19 out of 50... not bad ;-)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Something funny, something emotional...

In Turku, Finland, there is a declaration of Christmas Peace on every 24th of December, at 12 o'clock Finnish time. At that time I will be by the television, watching the event, with a cup of tea in my hand and tears in my eyes..., thinking about all my maternal female relatives. We will be forming a circle of women holding hands, for 10 minutes. Some of the hands are extended from beyond the veil, some from hundreds of miles away, but the circle will be there, and I will be part of it, as long as there is anyone around who remembers me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Jolly By Golly Blogfest

I'm tired and bored with life. Not very Christmassy, huh? But here's my "Christmas lights". I have two IKEA light wreaths in living room in stead of a tree.

I have been cleaning, decorating and baking the last couple of days. Cookie jars are more than full of cookies, the fridge and freezer are full of Yule food and now all I can do is sit and wait for tomorrow. It's the Midwinter's Day tomorrow, winter solstice. :-) Yule.

These are spoon cookies.

We will be watching the Polar Express movie, eating cookies and drinking our version of "butterbeer" - that's just caramelized sugar with milk and a spoonful of real butter melted into it and whisked frothy.

Have a lovely Midwinter, all of you :-)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tired, tired, tired...

And so fed up with writing... I suppose my writing burst ended with November.

The problem is that I don't want to do anything else either.
I SHOULD be preparing for Yule, which is not even a week away.
I was supposed to make presents, and I haven't managed to do anything. I made Yule cards and wrote addresses on. Now I just need to put on the stamps and post them. :-D
I was supposed to sew me a Yule dress. Not going to happen. Haven't managed to even get the fabric for that.
No crafting done, no baking done, no art done...

Well... I do have an excuse. FM is flaring again. But all I really want to do is watch Christmas movies and eat candy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest has announced 2011 writing competition.

"You are eligible to enter the Contest if you are at least 13 years old at time of entry and a legal resident of one of the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada (excluding the Province of Québec), China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States (the 50 states and D.C.), or the United Kingdom."

You must also be available to travel to USA somewhere between 9.-15.6. so if you live outside US, see that your passport is good and you're allowed to travel to USA ;-)

"We must receive your Contest entry between January 24, 2011 at 12:01 a.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) and February 6, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time)."

"You must register at to enter the Contest". I'm not sure if you need to provide the taxing information... I suppose not. I hope not. :-D You'll be providing that to Penguin, if you win ;-)

"You need to include
(1) the complete version of your manuscript ("Manuscript") (in digital .doc, .docx, or .rtf format);
(2) up to the first 5,000 words, but not less than 3,000 words, of your Manuscript, excluding any table of contents, foreword, and acknowledgments ("Excerpt");
(3) a pitch of your Manuscript consisting of up to 300 words ("Pitch"); and
(4) the personal information required on the entry form"
, but all personal information, like your name, must not be in the manuscript, excerpt or the pitch.

"You must be the only author of your Manuscript, and your Manuscript must be a novel (not poems, collection of short stories etc.) between 50,000 and 150,000 words", in English and your original work and fictional, unpublished and without images

You may only submit one Entry for only one category - either YA or adult fiction.

BTW, I joined the 750 words. There's plenty more interesting ideas at "I wrote a novel, now what" :-D

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Scribe's Yule

For Marieke's Midwinter Blogfest

Midwinter's day was no different in the life of Otherkin Scribe. She was sitting in her room, and writing down the stories that were told to her, just like any other day of the year. The stories were different, though.

The angels were talking about the good will that enclosed the whole planet into a warm blanket. In spite of all the stress and arguments, small accidents and moments of irritation, there was a will of good, warm thoughts, short smiles that crept on the faces when people saw the beautiful decorations and other people hurrying around with packages and santa caps. People were smiling more, were a bit more open, a bit kinder... it was nice being an angel at Yuletime.

The monsters were talking about the bloodlust, as they always were, but this time it was the lack of it they spoke about, not the urge to kill, maime and torture. A werewolf said that he hadn't been able to kill a rabbit, because it looked so soft and cuddly on the new snow. A vampire told he had started looking at the blood drops on the snow, and how pretty they were, and his victim managed to run away, screaming.

The harpees spoke about decorations and competitions and recipes, who had the best cookie recipe and how much the imported lawn decoration from France had costed. They also brought in decoration to decorate the library, but the Scribe told them to be sure all that would come down before the New Year.

The elves talked about caroling and how people started humming, went home singing along in their heads, and how the carols were designed to bring people Yule spirit. After they left, the Scribe found herself humming the old carols she'd learned as a girl. Then she chuckled for herself and allowed her to sing.

The minotaur coming in next looked at her a bit confused, then smiled and sang the song with her.
"Now stop!" he said and told about how nice it was to just let it all go, drink himself wasted and relax. It was as if his obsessions had left him, and he was kind of happy to be alone.

They all spoke about different things, and all let the Scribe in to their heads and hearts, so she was watching the cuddly little bunny in the moonlit forest, hopping over the square with no fear and no hurry... she felt the silence and peace in the minotaur's head and smiled. She saw all the Christmas decorations, smelled the scents of cinnamon and oranges, tasted the different flavors of Yule food, heard the carols and felt the good will. She remembered her lonely Christmases from time before she was made the Scribe and smiled. It might be just another work day, but it was so much better than anything she had had before.

Victorian Wizarding Christmas

This is my entry for the HP blog fest

One would think that Christmas is not a joyous happening in a purist families, but then one would be wrong. We all have our vices and virtues, and so also the pureblood families.

Misapinoa loved Christmas, and all the traditions involved. She happily adopted any tradition, and so also the mugglers' German traditions. She had been 4 years old when Prince Albert introduced the Christmas Tree in England, and now, after having been married to Jimbo for 10 years, and having given birth to a little witch and two small wizards, the Christmas Tree had become part of their traditions too.

Misapinoa and Jimbo had decorated the tree in the living room for themselves, with certain help from the house elves, of course, and the nanny had kept the children busy in the nursery during this time. Then they ate the Christmas dinner in the dining room, before letting the children in to the decorated living room.

How the children's eyes shone as they saw the tall tree covered with sparkling stars and glass ornaments, tinsel and candles, and all sorts of edibles, like gingerbread men and paper cones filled with nuts and candy. Under the tree was a pile of lovely things, toys and mysterious packages.

The eldest, Miram, was by the power of his 8 years, used to this and knew what to do, but 5 years old Jimsina and 2 years old Soames weren't quite certain yet. Miram ran to the tree immediately and started playing with the toy set built to go round the tree through small landscape with real snow falling and miniature people and animals moving about.

"Go ahead, dear", said Misapinoa gently to Jimsina, who went then to find a big, beautiful doll, that looked just like her. The doll blinked and smiled.
"Is this to me?" she asked.
"Yes, darling", her father answered, smiling. He caught Soames just before he was about to step on the rails, and sat down on the floor giving Soames a toy dragon with smoke coming from its nostrils and eyes flashing. Soames peeped happily and hugged the toy, that growled softly, then he got interested in Miram's toy train.

There were many other parcels and toys for the children, a few for the parents, and even some for the house elves. All the elves got a new, clean pillowcase, with their initials embroidered on them, and there was a lace incert on the girls' pillowcases. Jimbo gave Misapinoa a new set of jewels, beautiful emerald earrings and necklace, that would go beautifully with her green eyes, and Misapinoa gave her husband a new seafoam pipe carved in the shape of a dragon.

After the gifts were shared, the Blishwicks danced around the Christmas tree singing carols and then Misapinoa gathered the children in front of the table theatre and Jimbo acted with paper dolls a Yuletime story to entertain the family. It was always the same, Jimbo only knew one story, but it had become a tradition. The children watched the beautifully decorated dolls move on the tiny paper scene and forgot it was their father telling the story. Soames fell to sleep sucking a huge chunk of toffee in Misapinoa's lap, and even the elder children started nodding. When Jimbo looked up from behind the theatre, he saw all three kids sleeping around his lovely wife, whose green eyes shone brighter than the emeralds on her neck and ears.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich

LOL I loved this one :-)

Okay, so I have "bad" taste. Guess what? I don't give a dime :-D

I know it was more delightful to read Grisham's and Evanovich's Christmas stories than aspire to palestrically drudge through the amaranthine locutions of Franzen...

"Christmas in bounty hunter Stephanie Plum's world isn't quite like Christmas in Whoville. With only four days to go before December 25, she doesn't have a decorated tree in her apartment or any presents bought. Plus she's chasing an elusive bail-jumper named Sandy Claws; a hunky guy named Diesel is literally popping in and out of her apartment; and a mob of manic elves is threatening to assault her with cookies. The end result is that Stephanie is feeling a tad stressed over the holiday season. Life isn't any calmer over at her parents' home in the Burg, where Grandma Mazur is dating a new octogenarian stud muffin; sister Valerie is wailing over some unwelcome news; and Stephanie's mother is coping by belting back tumblers of Red Roses in the kitchen. Just where is the elusive Mr. Claws hiding, and why? What's causing the power blackouts all over Trenton? And what about the mysterious villain, Mr. Ring? Is all of this real, or is Stephanie just having a very bad dream?"

I like Steph, Diesel and granny with studmuffins and rainbowy teeth :-D

Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections.

I cam to page 71 of 568 when I realized that life indeed is too short to read bad books.

Yes, I find this a bad book.

"The novel won the 2001 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2002 James Tait Black Memorial Prize, was nominated for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award, and was shortlisted for the 2003 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. 
In 2005, The Corrections was included in Time magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels.  
In 2006, Bret Easton Ellis declared the novel "one of the three great books of my generation." 
In 2009, website The Millions polled 48 writers, critics, and editors, including Joshua Ferris, Sam Anderson, and Lorin Stein.  The panel voted The Corrections the best novel of the first decade of the millennium "by a landslide"."
Wikipedia: The Corrections

Franzen himself was "ambivalent at his novel having been chosen by the club due to its inevitable association with the "schmaltzy" books selected in the past." You know, like Nobel Prize winners and other exaggeratingly sentimental, greasy books.

Jonathan likes words. The longer and more unusual, the better. In the first 70 pages I met four or five I've never even heard before. Like crepuscular and corpuscular.

He also likes grains.
"...not a pure tone but a granular sequence of percussions..."
" of the graininess of the high-speed film..."
Twice in the first 11 pages. 

He also uses a LOT of italics.

He uses way too many words to say practically nothing, but makes it LOOK very impressive and important.

I don't like any of the people I have met so far. I am not the least interested on how it goes for any of them. Let them rot and get involved in sex scandals and embarrass themselves, who cares!

I have read more than 10 percent of the book, and there's still no plot.

This is the plot summary:
"Alfred Lambert, the patriarch of a seemingly normal family living in the fictional town of St. Jude, suffers from Parkinson's disease and dementia. Enid, his longsuffering wife, suffers from Alfred's controlling, rigid behavior and her own embarrassment at what she perceives as her family's shortcomings. Their children all live in the Northeast. Gary, the eldest Lambert son, is a successful banker whose personal and family life is controlled by his beloved wife, a gifted manipulator and reader of pop-psychology books. Chip, the middle child, is a former academic whose disastrous affair with a student loses him a tenure-track job and lands him in the employ of a Lithuanian crime boss. Denise, the youngest of the family, is successful in her career as a chef but loses her job just at the peak of her career after interlocking romances with her boss and her boss's wife.

The separate plot-lines converge on Christmas morning back in St. Jude, when each child is forced to make a decision about what kind of responsibility to assume in helping their mother deal with their father's accelerating physical and mental decline."

After ten percent of the book we are not even in Christmas.

I don't get what is supposedly making this a "great novel". I think it's pure crap, and as life is too short reading crap, I won't read this book.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

John Grisham: Skipping Christmas

I looked forward to reading this book:

"Luther unfolded a spreadsheet and began pointing.
"Here, my dear, is what we spent last Christmas. Six thousand, one hundred dollars. And precious little to show for it. The vast majority of it down the drain. Wasted. And that, of course, does not include my time, your time, the traffic, stress, worry, bickering, ill-will, sleep-loss - all the wonderful things that we pour into the holiday season."
"Where is this going?"
Luther dropped the spreadsheets and, quick as a magician, presented the Island Princess brochure to his wife. "Where is this going, you ask, my dear? It's going to the Caribbean. Ten nights, ten nights of total luxury on the Island Princess, the fanciest cruise ship in the world..."

In their dreams.

The first half of the book is a nightmare... Then it gets worse... to end so lovely I cried :-)
I recommend this to everyone swearing over Christmas. A book about the true spirit of Christmas. :-)

Except that I would have let the daughter hear about it...

1/5 Christmas books read :-) One sock ready :-)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Who's Hal Clement?

Ellie was kind enough to thank me, so I visited her blog, again, and found this:

I am:
Hal Clement (Harry C. Stubbs)
A quiet and underrated master of "hard science" fiction who, among other things, foresaw integrated circuits back in the 1940s.

Which science fiction writer are you?

To my shame I have to admit I don't have the slightest idea of who this guy is. It might be because only one of his books was translated into Finnish, and I have read 99% of scifi in Finnish...

Then there was this short story challenge... it's international, but has entry fees... so... Have to think about that a little bit more :-D

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Reading Challenge

All about {n} is hosting a Holiday Reading Challenge. It started already three weeks ago, but I am confident I'll manage :-D

This is my reading list:

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie

All these I can get from Södertälje library, unless someone snatches them tomorrow in front of my nose. :-D
I should read these before 2011, which gives me 24 days, about 5 days for book.  I'll read them in that order, so if I don't have time to read them before New Year's Day, it won't be a big problem :-D
The reading challenge is all about reading 1-5 books somehow connected to Christmas.

Also The Christmas Spirit is hosting a reading challenge :-D

"cross overs with other challenges is totally permitted AND encouraged!" Okay!

Added 8/12 - I have added links to the books to the reviews :-) The review gets up when I have read the book, and the link gets up after the review is posted :-)
Also, I was lucky - I got all the books from the library! Yay!

December Blog Parties :-)

Harry Potter blog fest
Write 500 words Harry Potter fan fiction about the theme "holidays"
Use any characters from any of the 7 books, for example the house elves and post it in your blog on the 11th of December.

Midwinter Blogfest
Write about your main character's Midwinter celebrations (not more than 500 words) and post it in your blog on 11th of December :-D

Christmas Tales blog fest
write anything Christmassy (under 1000 words, preferably :-D) and post it in your blog on 12th of December

Twisted Christmas fairytale
Write 500-1000 words twisted fairytale and post it in your blog on 18th of December :-D

Be Jolly By Golly blog hop feast
Blog about your Christmas/Yule/Chanukkah/whatever on December 20th.

12 days of yule blog party
Post from 20th to 31st about the given themes

Sunday, December 5, 2010

36 dramatic situations

Now I have read Georges Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations... Interesting.

I have learned a new word: suzerainty.
"Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy."
Oh! Israel-Palestine!

His language is old-fashioned and not too well translated, and his ideas, values, attitudes, prejudices? are so... hmm...
26th dramatic situation: crimes of love; Sixth : Homosexuality:
"The tribadic or sapphic branch has not been used upon the stage; Mourey alone has attempted it, but in vain in his "Lawn Tennis." The objection which might be urged against it (and which probably explains why the drama, in the ages of its liberty, has made no use of it) is that this vice has not the horrible grandeur of its congener. Weak and colorless, the last evil habit of worn-out or unattractive women, it does not offer to the tragic poet that madness, brutal and preposterous, but springing from wild youth and strength, which we find in the criminal passion of the heroic ages."
 Lesbian love is "weak and colorless, the last evil habit of worn-out or unattractive women" :-D

It is what you make of it, dear Georges... But, poor Georges was born 1868. I find it interesting that he can at some level understand an attractive and powerful man's passion, love, desire, to a young and attractive man, and that the man "dared to express and gratify" these "unnatural" feelings, that his love was responded, and he calls the story "fine and moving"... But for a woman to feel passion, love and desire to another woman, they both must be either "worn-out" or "unattractive"...
This is all information of Gabriel Mourey's Lawn-Tennis I have managed to find:
"His explicitly lesbian one-act play Lawn-tennis, understandably turned down by Antoine for the Théathre Libre in May 1891, has similarities with Jeux but was never considered as a model. Camille and Elaine go much further than the three coy dancers in Nijinsky's supposedly daring scenarion twenty-two years later, and Mourey's 'mixed doubles' were extremely short-lived!"
Debussy and the theatre by Robert Orledge

"A group of young artists led by André Antoine had recently founded the cooperative Théâtre Libre to experiment with new forms and controversial themes. They had promised their friend Gabriel Mourey that they would produce his lesbian drama, Lawn-Tennis, but upon reading it, they considered it too risky and dropped the project."
French Theater by Louis Godbout

"This short piece is Lawn-tennis, by Gabriel Mourey, Antoine's friend. It seems that they associated tennis and lesbianism already then, because it is a love story of two women. One, Elaine, is feminine and has long been under the inluence of the other, Camille, who is rather masculine; it is therefore the model of fem-butch we are being served. The action takes place on a tennis court where Camille, back from a long journey, is desperate to see Elaine, who married in her absence, and does all she can to avoid the meeting. Camille's hope rises, when Georges, Elaine's new husband, confides to her that their love is crumbling. He believes Elaine loves another man, but Camille joyfully assures him that there has never been other men in her life.
Camille finally manages to see Elaine. She confesses to Elaine that she still loves her, confident and trustful, but in the moment of her victory Elaine tells her in disgust that she is pregnant and she wants to break up the relationship with Camille and go to her husband. Camille mad with rage then strangles Elaine, saying "yes, I'm here, it's me, Georges, your Georges whom you love..."while Elaine desperately cries for Georges"
- Le Rideau Rose, histoire du théâtre gai et lesbien jusqu'en 1969 by Louis Godbout
(my translation - consider that my French isn't that good.)

I think that is more "madness, brutal and preposterous, but springing from wild youth and strength, which we find in the criminal passion" than "last evil habit of worn-out and unattractive women"... And it was written 1891.

Well... what ever. We have come a LOOOOOOONG way in 100 years... Or most of us, at least :-D

"But it is not possible to detail in these pages, even if I so desired, the second part of the Art of Combination; that which we in France call by the somewhat feeble term (as Goethe remarked) "composition." All that I have here undertaken to show is, first, that a single study must create, at the same time, the episodes or actions of the characters, and the characters themselves : for upon the stage, what the latter are may be known only by what they do; next, how invention and composition, those two modes of the Art of Combination (not Imagination, empty word!) will, in our works to come, spring easily and naturally from the theory of the Thirty-Six Situations.

Thus, from the first edition of this little book, I might offer (speaking not ironically but seriously) to dramatic authors and theatrical managers, ten thousand scenarios, totally different from those used repeatedly upon our stage in the last fifty years- The scenarios will be, needless to say, of a realistic and effective character.
I will contract to deliver a thousand in eight days.
For the production of a single gross, but twenty-four hours are required.
Prices quoted on single dozens.
Write or call, No. 19, Passage de 1'Elysee des Beaux-Arts.
The Situations will be detailed act by act,  and, if desired, scene by scene"

But I hear myself accused, with much violence, of an intent to "kill imagination." "Enemy of fancy !" "Destroyer of wonders!" "Assassin of prodigy!"
These and similar titles cause me not a blush.

- Georges Polti
Such a pity he didn't write the Art of Composition as well :-D

What KIND of story - Alexandra Sokoloff

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Nothing much...

I found my NaNoWriMo 2008 novel. Some 3000 words. Ha.

I was also reading my blog, this blog, the earlier entries. I've read 2008 and 2009 now, and was reminded of Alexandra Sokoloff. I think I might want to try her index card method on my novels...
I also need to read the Process For Writing better, but it's 10 P.M. and I'm ready to sleep now... it has been a long day :-D

I'll leave you with Allison Winn Scotch and JUST WRITE!
Cheryl Klein's mid-line edit ramble on line-editing
and Joanna Paterson's the secret: 20 ways to attract more comments to your blog
P.S. Smart Bitches who read Trashy Books have Chanukkah give-away.

Thank you :-)

Helena was talking about how good it feels to get praise as a writer, especially when the praise is about the "right things" - you know, the ones one hopes to get praise for :-)

The she says: " Of course I should boast that I happily have INTELLIGENT readers who leave witty comments and several of whom have their own blogs (Hart, Ben and Ketutar, in particular)."

Thank you, Helena! *_* My husband can testify that I squealed when I read my name on the list :-) I love to hear someone thinks I'm an intelligent reader who leaves witty comments :-D
You made my day :-)

Then I followed her blog links, took the spelling test at Crystal Clear Proofing, (5/10 :-( I really need to work on my English, spelling, vocabulary and grammar), and found this: Nanonono!
Made me giggle.
And decide I want to take on the challenge... 60K words in 5 days... Hmm... My best result so far is 7K words in one day... That is, 7K original fiction. I can easily spout thousands of words, if I'm "expressing my opinion" on one of my pet peeves. Israel-Palestine and Indo-European religions, mainly Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. I wrote a several thousand words blog entry yesterday in the subject of Eckhard Tolle and A New World. *yuk* (I am not being nice there, so if you love the book, think ego is a "bad thing" or don't want to read a negative critique, don't go there. 

Anyway, NaNoNoNo! took me to Emma Darwin's blog and "revising and editing"
Her books look interesting :-)

I like readin' Patricia's blog, and this time she was talking about the review war at
I do read the reviews at Amazon, and they do have some influence on me, in such a way that bad reviews might make me decide not to read a book, if I'm not sure I want to read it.
I use's recommendations, "frequently bought together" and "customers also bought..."

I am very interested in Catherine Fisher's Saphique and Incarceron, I think the books look promising and the excerpts and synopsis sound interesting, and then I like Cornelia Funke and Orson Scott Card, so this gives me enough reason to believe I would like these books.

Then I go and find out more information, usually the author's homepage, if there is one.

I haven't read the reviews on Catherine's books.
I read Pi's Journey because of the reviews and... I hated the book.
I read Da Vinci Code because of the reviews, and hated it.
I read Outlander because of the reviews - or started... I just cannot finish it, and life is too short to read books I don't like. There's plenty of books I like out there, so if my "general knowledge" is lacking due to the fact I haven't read some popular books, so be it. I hate Outlander too.
I didn't read Twilight because of the reviews... but then I decided to make up my own mind about it, and started reading it, and I cannot go on, because I hate Bella. I suppose Stephenie isn't that bad a writer, and she'll get better too, if she doesn't let the fame get to her, but keeps writing, and tries to stay popular even when she doesn't write YA vampire books. Good for her. But I sincerely hate Bella and cannot find any reason why both Edward and Jacob (and all the other guys as well) find her so attractive. She's full of herself, moody (usually moping) and doesn't treat people well. 

Then I think about my Dido, and how I hate her too. *sigh* For different reasons, though, but still... but if I made her so that I'd like her, I wouldn't have a story. She would have sold the amulet in the first place, how ever much she liked it, and how ever much she disliked Hallam. Nevertheless, that's one of the reasons I hate her. I was taught to say "yes" if I don't have a really, really, really good reason to say "no", and not liking someone is not a good reason. Saying "no", because you don't like the person asking is just mean.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blog leaping and hopping...

JAM session: Writing mechanics

I don't know mine...

When I was about 15 I wrote my first novel. It was a fantasy story of a boy, red horse and blue paper doll. I saw it in my dream, started with the dream, and then continued. I explained to my sister what it was all about, and she said something... don't know exactly what, but what I remember is that I got the impression she thought it was a bad story, boring, repetitive and cementing patriarchal gender roles. Might be she didn't think that, that perhaps it was just a bad synopsis - she never read a word of what I had written - and I easily misunderstand, but... I didn't write one more word to the story.

Then I have learned a lot from different "rules" of writing. As I pointed out in an earlier blog entry, I have learned to "skip the unnecessary burden" - which practically means everything. You know, "don't drivel, don't describe, don't use passive voice and adverbs, kill your darlings, keep it short and simple is best." Now it makes it really hard for me to write novels. I mean, of course one could call a 50K novel a novel, but it really isn't. It should have at least 15K more words, and even then it would be considered a short novel. Preferably 75-90K. I had to "kill my darlings", that is, all the "rules of writing" I have gathered during my life. I had to throw out my -ly badge.

But - to other things: Steampunk Aesthethics

"The technological marvels of the Victorian period were rare and often unique, both historically and in 19th century literature. Individuals invented new technologies based on the latest scientific and engineering discoveries. Steampunk should embrace that diversity and rarity."
Yes! I want more steam and less punk :-D Jules Verne is supposed to be an idol. :-)

If a soccer mom took over Santa...
Though... aren't they called curling moms?

Found this "interesting" (creepy, actually) "coincident" when checking if they are called curling moms: straight after each other were these results:

That was NOT what you were supposed to do with your win! I'm pretty sure there are warning texts with the curling iron that tells you NOT to do that to a baby. Should be... I wonder if someone sues the company now, because the warning texts don't tell you not to curl your baby's fingers?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Drabble Day

Challenge from Aheila

It was the same old story, girl and boy meets, girl falls in love with the boy, perhaps he in her too, something happens and they depart. At least one heart is broken, the tears roll, words are uttered that can never be taken back again.

But while it lasted, it was wonderful. They used to walk by the canal, watching swallows write love poems on the sky. Her eyes were as blue as the sky, his were brown, and the kisses were like wine and honey.

He didn't like wine, she hated honey... perhaps it was better this way.