wouldn’t this be an astonishing place to read in? This is the National Library of Prague. Lots more amazing libraries at BoredPanda.
The turn of the year is a time for looking both back and forwards. This is probably the forty seventh you’ve read, so to keep it brief, here’s a quick summary of my year: Memorable events of 2014 (good and bad): I published a book! ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ went live on 12th September 2014. [Kind of a roller-coaster, but mostly good] I learned that when you spend time writing, you get less reading done. [Bad] I taught myself the 400 steps necessary to obtain an EIN from Uncle Sam to avoid withholding tax on my book royalties (ha! If only…), which involves dancing naked with unicorn feathers and the sacrifice of one’s first-born (sorry, James, but needs must), not to mention visiting the American Embassy in London, which is almost as far from here as it’s possible to get without falling into the ocean. And then the system was […]
Once upon a time, Christmas was easy. I didn’t even think about it until mid-December, and then I went out and bought three presents: one for my mother, one for my father and one for my older sister. Price wasn’t an issue, I bought whatever my pocket money could cover (yes, this is pre-history, folks). Wind forward a few years, and there were husbands and children and in-laws and their children, and things got more complicated. The number of presents and Christmas cards multiplied geometrically, the list of Things To Be Done got longer and longer, and it all became rather fraught. There was one memorable year when I bought and wrapped and (mostly) parcelled up and shipped halfway round the world 56 separate presents. I hated Christmas. I learned to cope. I started early, in October, making the Christmas cake, and making lists (lots of lists). I discovered mail […]
I’ve always been terrible at art. Really. I can’t even draw convincing stick people. It never really mattered much, though, because I never needed to. I left all that painting, drawing and generally arty stuff to those with a talent for it. But now I’m writing fantasy, and really, a little drawing skill might be a rather useful thing to have, because – maps. Every fantasy world has to have a map, right? I’ve had people ask about maps for my stories. Oh, but you’ll have one when the book is published, won’t you? Well, no, because: see above. And I really can’t afford professional artwork for a map. Now, I know there is already software out there that supposedly allows anyone to draw maps, and I’ve even tried some of them, without any success. My hand-drawn back-of-the-envelope efforts are better, frankly. But I keep hoping for something simple enough […]
It’s only a couple of weeks since I wrote about Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s all-you-can-read subscription service, and concluded that I probably wouldn’t bother with it. And there I was this morning, looking at a non-fiction work and dithering. It was one of those how-to books that are so common nowadays, under a hundred pages but not too expensive. So why did I dither? Because I knew perfectly well that if I bought it, I would skim through it, find a few paragraphs interesting, forget the rest and never read it again. Very few such books are real ‘keepers’, that I would want to go back to repeatedly. I could have got it for free through my Prime account, of course, but I can’t do that from the Amazon book page. I would have to find my Kindle, connect to the store, search for the book all over again and only […]
Back in mid-July, without any warning, Amazon launched a new subscription service: Kindle Unlimited. For a flat $9.99 monthly fee, subscribers could download and read as many books as they wanted from the 650,000 or so available (about a third of all Kindle books on Amazon). Now the same deal has started up in the UK: all you can read for £7.99 a month. For a voracious reader, this can be a terrific deal. You don’t have to read many books a month, even at cheap prices, to cover the subscription cost. You can download a book, read a few pages, decide it’s not for you and get another one. You can experiment outside your comfort zone, trying new genres and authors. You don’t have to feel guilty about the number of books you read, and the price of a book is irrelevant. You can read the first of a […]
Excuse me while I squeeee for a while… Michael J Sullivan is one of my favourite fantasy authors, and he’s currently hosting a giveaway for advance printings of his new series. You can sign up at Goodreads and a couple of other places. Full details here. But that’s not really what got me all excited. Take a look at this… Isn’t that just the most amazing artwork? It’s by Andres Rocha. One day, when I’m rich and famous (ha!), I’m going to get cover art for ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ that looks as awesome as this: the sweeping vista, with maybe the Ring of Bonnegar and the spires and domes of Kashinor. Sigh. One day…
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