Category Archives: Books & reading

My Addiction for ‘How-to-write’ Books

Recently, I’ve bought quite a few books about writing. I’ve always been a collector of writing-related books. One of my very first purchases with some Christmas money was a thesaurus I bought at age twelve. Yep. The word bug had bitten, and bitten deep.

I’ve still got a problem.

A selection of the reference books I’ve purchased in the past two months.

It’s not that I don’t have confidence in my ability to write. I just sincerely believe that there is always something new to learn. In particular, what gold can I glean from writers I admire and wish to emulate, hence the books by Alan Baxter, Sean Williams, Peter Ball, and Isaac Asimov. I do believe I’ve mentioned and recommended the Brain Jar Press book by Angela Slatter: You Are Not Your Writing. Of these books, the two that resonate the most with me is Ball’s and Slatter’s books. However, How Not To Write A Novel gets an honourable mention for being both funny and seriously informative.

I would recommend all these books to serious writers.

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Filed under Alan Baxter, Angela Slatter, Australian Author, Book Review, Books & reading, Brain Jar Press, Genre, Peter M Ball, Sean Williams, Writing Career, Writing Style

What Books Should You be Buying? part 1

Image result for Blackbirds sing

Where to find ‘Blackbirds Sing’.

What books should you be purchasing with your hard-earned cash? Well, come closer, beloved reader, and I will give you some excellent recommendations. This is the first of three posts about recommended readings. You can give them as gifts, buy them for your summer holiday reading, or just as a treat.

Blackbirds Sing, by Aiki Flinthart, is going to be considered a classic in future years. It is a series of interlocked tales, embroidering a story arch into a rich tapestry. It is set in an alternative past. Flinthart has quite a few successful novels under her belt, but this is a new venture for her. There is still plenty of action, but the intricate interweaving – of the characters and settings – is rich, deep, and wonderful. The illustrations by Caitlyn McPherson are glorious.

Pamela Jeff’s Five Dragons is an anthology of dragon stories, including a Steampunk dragon tale. Yes… she had me at Steampunk dragon. If I say anything else, you will just think I’m gushing.

 

Five Dragons: A Dragons of Eridan Collection by [Jeffs, Pamela]

Where to find ‘Five Dragons’

Gillian Polack is one of the best writers in Australia (and the world), using her academic background to strengthen her narratives, making them compelling reading. I can recommend all her books, but I have a particular fondness for The Wizardry of Jewish Women, with its haunted lemon tree. The Year of the Fruitcake is her latest book. I think. I haven’t read her books in order of publication, because you don’t need too. They stand on their own merit.

The Year Of The Fruit Cake Front Cover With Text

Where to find ‘The Year of the Fruit Cake’

 

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Filed under Aiki Flinthart, Australian Author, Australian Steampunk Author, Book Review, Books & reading, Caitlyn McPherson, Gillian Polack, Pamela Jeffs, Recommended Reading, Steampunk

Reading for Fun and Profit

the-little-book-of-hours-of-amiens-nicolas-blairie-image-from-tumblr

I make no apologies when claiming to love reading. I was reading before I went to school, thanks to my parents reading to me every night.

All writers start out as readers. If someone tells me that they write books but don’t read them, I can’t help but wonder how he knows to construct a sentence, a paragraph, a story arc, and how to avoide clichés and stereotypes. How does he know what genre he is writing in, and what is already in that that genre.

So, a successful writer has to be a reader, for many reasons. Reading is the gateway to being a writer, any sort of writer. Off the top of my head, I read for:
1/ Pleasure;
2/ Research;
3/ Inspiration;
4/ Even more research (I do a lot of research); and
5/ Educational purposes.

Reading for research! You need to research for both fiction and nonfiction texts. I’ve done enough research to fill a library with historical detail for my Steampunk novels; and I still feel like I’ve never researched enough. I find it is easier with my scientific articles, because I can list my references!

Reading has physical and intellectual benefits apart from supplying inspiration and verisimilitude to your prose.

Image may contain: text

This is why I have ten bookcases in my house and shelves packed with a double layer of books.

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Filed under Books & reading, Creativity, Inspiration, Research, Steampunk, The Writing Life

Celebrating 30 years of (official) Steampunk

Celebrating 30 years of (official) SteampunkCelebrating 30 years of (official) steampunk

K. W. Jeter coined the term ‘Steampunk’ in a letter to science fiction magazine Locus, with the letter printed in the magazine’s April 1987 issue. It was meant to be a playful, tongue-in-cheek term for the genre. It stuck!

Steampunk was around long before 1987, but its birthday is this month. Let’s celebrate!

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Books & reading, Celebrating 30 years of Steampunk, Community, Cosplay, Steampunk, Uncategorized

Gap Year In Ghost Town Cover Preview

Gap Year In Ghost Town

This book is due out in August. I can’t wait!

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One for the Bibliophiles

How lucky are we as bookworms today? At any given moment, we can jump on Amazon (or another website), buy a book, and read it seconds later. Or, if you’re a paperback purist, all you have to do is wait a couple days for shipping or take a quick trip to your local bookstore or […]

via How Books Connect the World — Kate M. Colby

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A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters – Chapter Five

My free online book A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters continues, and you can read Chapter 5. Automatons on an Airship for free online by clicking on the link or picture below. The Hunt is On! When a dissatisfied tourist starts messing with the settings of the automaton crew-members on the airship, the robots become a little too attentive, […]

via A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters – Chapter 5. Automatons on an Airship — One Delightful Day

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Dead Magic – a book review by Chris Pavesic

Dead Magic is the fourth novel in Jorgensen’s Ingenious Mechanical Devices series and is the second novel to feature the characters of Emmeline and Immanuel. Although Dead Magic is a sequel, it is not necessary to read The Winter Garden first. (Although you absolutely should read all of the novels in this series! They are excellent.) Jorgensen provides enough details in the narrative to catch a reader up to the plot line of the new novel.

via Dead Magic by Kara Jorgensen — chrispavesic

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A Book Review by the Jane & Bex Book Blog

brian-stablefordI have one slight confusion over this book – the title. And it isn’t for the usual reasons since the book itself explains the origins of the phrase ‘scientific romance’ very clearly. No, I’m just confused that when I searched for it on various websites it didn’t appear under that title but had been expanded […]

via Scientific Romance – Brian Stableford (ed) — Jane & Bex book blog

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Filed under Book Review, Books & reading, Steampunk, Uncategorized

Tag, I’m it!

Steampunk Author, Karen Carlilse tagged me into answering a series of  questions about time travel and books.

karen

See her original post at:

http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/30/tag-im-it-that-bookish-time-travel-blog-post-2/

What is your favourite historical setting for a book?

This is a bit like being asked who your favourite child is. At the moment, I would have to say 1871, in England and Australia, since that is the setting for my current work-in-progress. However, I would have to say my next favourites would be Edo-period Japan and Medieval China. I love the religion and mythology underlying these cultures.

What writers would you like to travel back in time to meet?

Oh, can I make a comprehensive list?

Isaac Asimov straight up. Mary Shelley. Mary Somerville. Charles Dickens. Kipling. H G Wells. Jules Verne. J M Barrie. Diana Wynne Jones. Terry Pratchett (though I have met him). I could go on and on.

What books would you travel back in time and give to your younger self?

So, what age is my younger self? Can I give twelve year old me my entire library I have now? If I have to pick just a few: The Willow Tree’s Daughter by Pamela Freeman, all of Barry Hughart’s books, The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle, everything Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman ever wrote, everything by Angela Slatter, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, and a list of recommendations for future purchases.

What book would you travel forward in time and give your older self?

Dear me. I’d rather my older self travel back and give me her list of reading recommendations.

What is your favourite futuristic setting for a book?

Pern, created by Anne McCaffrey.

What is your favourite book that is set in a different time period (can be historical or futuristic)?

I will never be limited to just one book. Dodger, by Terry Pratchett, set in Victorian England, or any of the Barry Hughart  books set in historical China.

Spoiler Time: Do you ever skip ahead to the end of a book to see what happens?

Sometimes. Mainly if the book is a little dull or confusing, and I need to see if the journey is worth it. Infrequently, because I am too terrified and I need to see if the book has a happy ending.

If you had a Time Turner, where would you go and what would you do?

I would go back to meet the Three Marys: Mary Somerville, Mary Shelley, and Mary Wollstonecraft, and Ada Lovelace/Charles Babbage.

Favourite book (if you have one) that includes time travel or takes place in multiple time periods.

The Time Machine by H G Wells is original and best! Though I am also a big fan of Doctor Who books. (Well, Doctor Who anything really. I run Osgood LIVES on Facebook).

 

What book/series do you wish you could go back and read again for the first time?

The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (because that would mean Terry Pratchett would be still alive).

 

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Filed under Australian Steampunk Author, Books & reading, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Author, Victorian Era