Tag: Book Stuff

The ‘Mighty’ Book Haul

What started on twitter when I stumble across a couple of new writers—Vivien Chen and Suleikha Snyder—and followed them, then became a hunt for their work online, obviously, to buy. And then? I went kind of crazy. I blame it on lockdown, lockup, locked-in, and having a credit card burning a hole in my purse. It wants to be used. It begs to be used.

So I exercised my right to go on a spending spree buying, well, yes, of course, books.

Like I need more to pile up on my coffee table TBR pile.

But there’s no talking sense into me, like any of us with the ‘addiction’.

So what have I ordered? Well, here we go:

  • THE EMPIRE OF GOLD by S.A. Chakraborty
  • BITTER MEDICINE by Sara Paretsky
  • OVERKILL by Vanda Symon
  • WONTON TERROR by Vivien Chen
  • EGG DROP DEAD by Vivien Chen

Then, not only that, there’s the pre-orders for later this year and, also, because I’m like that, next year too! Oh, go on, tell me I’m out of control, and I’ll laugh in your face and tell you, what else am I to spend my hard earned money on?

So what else have I pre-ordered?

  • MAD, BAD, AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW by Samira Ahmed
  • INTERNMENT by Samira Ahmed
  • KILLER KUNG PO by Vivien Chen
  • FATAL FRIED RICE by Vivien Chen
  • THE SURVIVORS by Jane Harper
  • FIFTY, FIFTY by Steve Cavanagh
  • ARCHITECTS OF MEMORY by Karen Osborne
  • ENGINES OF OBLIVION by Karen Osborne
  • THE CONDUCTORS by Nicole Glover
  • DARKNESS FOR LIGHT by Emma Viskic
  • CONTAINMENT by Vanda Symon

Eh, yeah, I know … I don’t want to think about what my next credit card bill will be. Eh, now, distract me with something shiny, or cat and dog photos …

Consulting the Stars

Sometime I think that everything I ever learnt about how to write, I learnt from reading Ursula K. Le Guin novels [with humble apologies to my favourite English teacher of way back when]. Even now, I still find myself reaching for one of Le Guin’s works, not just for that spark of inspiration, but to remind myself how did she write this scene, capture that character, orRmake it all work?

And just to interject here, Le Guin also wrote some edifying articles and posts. One need only look here, “On Rules of Writing, or, Riffing on Rechy” to get a taste of her knowledge, wit, and insight. Certainly, you can’t do any worse than reading through her articles on writing, especially, and specifically, “What Makes A Story?

“I define story as a narrative of events (external or psychological) which moves through time or implies the passage of time, and which involves change.

I define plot as a form of story which uses action as its mode usually in the form of conflict, and which closely and intricately connects one act to another, usually through a causal chain, ending in a climax.

Climax is one kind of pleasure; plot is one kind of story. A strong, shapely plot is a pleasure in itself. It can be reused generation after generation. It provides an armature for narrative that beginning writers may find invaluable.”

My research isn’t just confined to Mme. Le Guin. I also find myself referring to other great SF luminaries such as Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and Herbert. They each have added to my knowledge, to stretching my horizons well beyond Earth’s gravity well, and aided me in building my language of description. And while I hope I’ve learned my lessons, I’m not naive enough to simply think I can stop learning. On the contrary, I know I will never—as a writer never mind as a human being—stop learning.

Not until they nail the coffin lid down and tell me to shut up already!

Day #86: Ways to Support Authors

Most book lovers already support their favour authors, one way or another. But here are a few more ways in which you can show your support.

Obviously, the most important way is, of course, to buy their books. But also, maybe once a month, try a different author too. Buy a random book, even if it’s in the sale pile. Try and extend your reach, money allowing of course, in sampling different genres as well as authors you might be unfamiliar with.

It’s a great way to discovery, as well as helping less well known authors with sales.

Another way, while in a book shop browsing, is to take a photo to post on social media, of book covers that catch your attention, especially of your favourite author’s latest release or a book you really enjoyed.

And while we’re talking social media. Follow authors on media you frequent, and engage with them. Comment on their posts, and retweet them.

Also, if you are a book blogger as well, let them know you are open to accepting Guest Posts from them, or in doing a promo post on an upcoming release. Share books and authors that excite you with your followers. Get listed on an author’s PR to receive email updates, and occasionally, ARCs as well.

It’s important to remember, that if you are a book blogger, and you do reviews, NOT to include the author in social media if the review was less than stellar. Reviews really are for readers. It’s not only unprofessional to rub an author’s nose in the fact you spotted a typo missed by the editorial team, it’s demeaning to all involved.

Instead, recommend books and authors to new readers or your followers. Do lists of favourite authors, and top ten books in a genre you love. Do positive posts that reader and also, authors, can benefit from.

Pre ordering books from your local bookstore not only helps the author’s sales and sales rankings, but also your local bookstore too. The same with your local library, if they don’t have that author or that book in you want to read, ask them to order it.

One of the ways my family and I promote books, is to buy one another books and gift them to each other. I’ve discovered so many authors I might never have, had my niece or sister not sent this book, or that one, at birthdays and Christmas. And, if in the end, it was a book you didn’t really enjoy, gift it to your local library especially if it’s a hardback or recent/current bestseller.

One of the last things you can do to help authors, is send them fan mail. Yes, we all love receiving things in the post, they are, after all, only human. And a lovely handwritten card saying how much you enjoyed a book, goes a long, long way to lifting an author’s spirits.

It’s the small gestures, that speak the loudest. Help, by making a difference, however small that might be.

Day #84: Books, Books, Books

Oh, and don’t we just love discovering new books and their authors! Well, I know I do. And since reviving Book Blurb and starting the Martian Chronicle, I’ve been rooting around the world wide web looking to see what’s up and coming, what’s just been released, and trawling twitter for the same. And I am so happy to have had so many recommendations, both in crime fiction and historical, but also fantasy and science fiction.

Let’s start with two great recommendations from Jules (over on Twitter) for two of Diane Setterfield’s books: ONCE UPON A RIVER and, THE THIRTEENTH TALE. Already added those to my wish list at my book seller’s website.

Next up are some fantasy and science fiction recommendations of books just released, releasing soon, or will be out by next year.

This includes THE CONDUCTORS by Nicole Glover, which weaves historical fiction with magic. I’m really excited about this one.

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.

And will you look at that cover? I’m hooked. As I am with THE SOUND OF STARS, by Alechia Dow, in which Earth has been invaded and subdued by aliens.

Today, seventeen-year-old Ellie Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. With humans deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, emotional expression can be grounds for execution. Music, art and books are illegal, but Ellie still keeps a secret library.

When young Ilori commander M0Rr1S finds Ellie’s library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more.

Humanity’s fate rests in the hands of an alien Ellie should fear, but M0Rr1S has a potential solution―thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous journey with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while creating a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.

Yes, this one is more teen and YA fiction than the other two, but still, it sounds a really fun premise, and will you look at that cover, who wouldn’t want to read the book to find out what’s going on, I mean, right?

Whatever choice of books you choose to read, I hope you find something that grabs your attention. Hit me up with your suggestions, and recent reads and recommendations. Historical, crime, or fantasy and SF, I’m game for them all.