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Reputation and Readers: Curse of the Bestseller

Discovering a new book to read, or finding a new author to stalk follow, are perhaps two of the greatest pleasures a reader can have.  There's something to be said for finishing a book that you have really enjoyed, researching the author to see what else they have for you, and finding a dozen titles to look forward to.  Of course, sometimes working through this list can result in disappointment, which is why it's usually a good idea not to buy the author's entire collection at once.

But what reasons do you have to pick the book up in the first place?  Most people reading this will have picked up a book on the merits of its pretty cover, which a lot will probably agree does not mean the book will be coming home with you.  An interesting title - particularly for a new author - is essential to draw new  readers in.  My favourite personal experience of this would be the thought process that led to my buying The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  I found the title fascinating, enjoye…

Gender Stereotyping - A reading habit.

Whilst getting ready for work this morning I was watching BBC Breakfast (as is my habit, not really following the news at any other time), and just as I was preparing to switch off the topic came on to gender-stereotyping in books.  This is a popular issue, so it's not really surprising that it would make it into the news eventually, but it got me thinking about my own childhood experiences.

I was blessed by a family - most particularly a mother - who believed it right and proper that a young girl should be encouraged to read plenty of books.  I'm glad that I live in a place and time where the ability to read was not just encouraged but expected, so my family would never get into trouble for what they were doing.

Looking back, I was surrounded by readers.  My mum had an extensive collection of books, my auntie (a primary school teacher) was a keen reader and - as touched upon in an earlier post - a keen letter-writer, and my maternal grandmother always read the People's Fr…

Remembrance Sunday 2013 - Remember the People

November is a cold and dreary month for people living in the UK.  Sensible people have already at least started their Christmas shopping, and there are always the Christmas light switch-ons to look forward to.  

But, most importantly of all, November marks Armistice Day, which commemorates the end of the First World War, and Remembrance Sunday, which is the day reserved to remember the fallen.  November 11th and the second Sunday of the month (sometimes this can be the same day) is pretty easy to remember, but  it would be difficult to forget when it is heralded with little paper poppies pinned to the chest of everyone on the television.  People not on television will start wearing poppies shortly after, some of  which are fancier than the traditional paper poppy.

Personally I always dutifully buy my poppy after Halloween (a holiday I don't personally celebrate) and then spend the next eleven days trying not to lose the wretched thing before the 11th!  It's usually a good idea…

Nomes Revisited!

There are very few events that can brighten up a Monday when you work weekdays, but this particular lunchtime I fell upon a little nugget of information that plastered a ridiculously huge grin on my face for the rest of the day!I liked the Terry Pratchett fan-page on Facebook some time ago - to the point that I can't remember doing it!  I mostly use it to keep an eye on new releases and other such things.  It is through this page that my Monday was brightened up considerably.Towards the end of my lunch break, I was scrolling down my Facebook feed when my attention was grabbed by a photo of the grill of a lorry, or a truck if you will prefer.  Readers can be assured that I have no real interest in lorries, nor indeed any kind of modern road-based vehicles.  I'm strictly a steam train fan, if anyone would like to know.What really attracted my attention was the sight of two little figures who were seated in the grill of the lorry.   Closer inspection identified them to be none ot…

Chronicles of a Cosmic Warlord - A new Fantasy series

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During my absence from blogging, as I mentioned when I returned, I did a lot of reading.  I got a lot of books downloaded on Kindle, but I bought even more print books.  So much for the Kindle saving me money....

I love going into a bookshop - be it Waterstones or The Works - but my favourite place to go is the Waterstones in my home city of Wakefield.  I've been visiting the shop since it was an Ottakars years before, and I visit at least once a week.

Martin and I also walk past the shop regularly, giving me a good chance to look at the signs by the door and keep an eye on the store's 'news.'  It was last spring when I walked past and saw a poster heralding a book-signing.  I'd never attended a book signing before (the ones I was interested in being too far away in the past) so I stopped for a proper read.  The book was called Empire of the Saviours, by an author called A J Dalton.  I'd never heard of the man - I'll put my hands up to that straight away - b…

Does it REALLY matter?

Some elements of my work give me the opportunity to let my thoughts wander off on their own for a while.  Sometimes this isn't a good thing, as they have a tendency to go down routes that leave me feeling bitter and angry.  But sometimes it can come back with some interesting results.  (Just in case my boss is reading this - I was still working hard!!!)

I have been thinking a lot about respect, and even more about forgiveness, over the last year.  Forgiveness, as I consider myself to be Christian, is something I am supposed to do regardless of the wrongdoing, but I have found that I am particularly bad at forgiving people.  Probably because I have a long memory for grudges, and have a habit of picking things back up.  One of my favourite phrases is 'always forgive your enemies - it's the last thing they'll expect.'  It would be nice if I could practice that a little more.

Respect is a little easier.  I have always maintained that respect should only be given if it i…

Competition Time for Novelists!

We interrupt our scheduled blog posting (involving a fantasy series) to bring news of a new competition from Mslexia for budding female novelists.

Whilst on the way home from work today I received an email from women's writing magazine Mslexia.  This is usually a nice surprise, more often than not containing some thought-provoking survey about how some aspect of life (mental state, viewpoints on adult material, etc) affect my writing.  Oddly enough, they are fun to do when I have a few minutes free, and like I said, they can be thought-provoking. As a bonus, participants in the survey will have the satisfaction of knowing they contributed to the next issue of the magazine.

But this was a different email.  Like all good writing publications, Mslexia regularly holds good writing competitions for its readers to participate in.  This time they are holding a Novel-writing competition, offering a first prize of £5,000.  Three finalists will also be offered free professional feedback on th…