Sunday Post – 19th June


Sunday Post

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

Still in the foothills of Editland, I’m now more than a third of the way through line editing Breathing Space. I let loose Electric Annie’s voice, courtesy of Word, so the computer slowly reads through the manuscript aloud to me, while I follow it on the screen, set on 125% zoom. I haven’t yet found a more effective way of picking up the graunching phrases, small errors and fiddling plot holes and anomalies. The catch is that it takes a lot of time and concentration – and it isn’t something I can do when I’m tired.

This week’s Creative Writing classes went well – this term students bring in their own favourite pieces of writing that has inspired them in some way and share it with the group. We have had fiction ranging from Charles Dickens to J.K. Rowling and everything in between; the teachings of Idris Shah and the life of Desert Orchid; as well as poetry ranging from John Cooper Clark to Rudyard Kipling. It has been highly enjoyable – and the icing on the cake is that the work my lovely students produce just goes on getting better… One of my students won a poetry competition this week, while another was shortlisted for yet another competition. It’s been a good term.

I’m still not up to full speed on my reading this week, because when I do finally get to bed, I tend to fall asleep, as I find editing exhausting. So the two books I completed are:

The City of Mirrors – Book 3 of The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin
thecityofmirrors“The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?”
The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew and daring to dream of a hopeful future. But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy – humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him. One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate…

This is the final book in this remarkable post-apocalyptic trilogy, which has been a real roller-coaster – the writing is remarkable, both gritty and lyrical. Cronin manages to make it acceptable to switch viewpoints three or four times in the space of a couple of pages and you can’t pull off a stunt like that without being very, very talented.

Titanborn by Rhett C. Bruno
Malcolm Graves lives by two rules: finish the job, and get paid. After thirty years as titanborna collector, chasing bounties and extinguishing rebellions throughout the solar system, Malcolm does what he’s told, takes what he’s earned, and leaves the questions to someone else—especially when it comes to the affairs of offworlders. Heading into hostile territory, Malcolm will have to use everything he’s learned to stay alive. But he soon realizes that the situation on the ground is much more complex than he anticipated . . . and much more personal.

Enjoyable, full-on space opera adventure that nevertheless provides some thought-provoking insights into the human condition. Featuring anti-hero Malcolm Graves, the ending was wholly unexpected and very memorable. I loved it! My review will appearing on the blog be next week.

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 12th June

Review of The Square Peg by Vivienne Tuffnell

Teaser Tuesday – The City of Mirrors – Book 3 of The Passage trilogy by Justin Cronin

Review of Banished – Book 1 of The Blackhart Legacy by Liz de Jager

The Freestyle Writing Challenge

Friday Faceoff – Better a Witty Fool Than a Foolish Wit featuring Master and Fool – Book 3 of The Book of Words series by J.V. Jones

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The City of Mirrors – Book 3 The Passage series by Justin Cronin

Other interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

I loved this enjoyable, articulate article about a long-standing passion. Why I Write Science Fiction by Kate Colby.

Some excellent safety tips now we are approaching the time of year when we take our littlies out and about by Wanda Luthman –

Another superb post from this lovely site about war poets – some I knew, and some I didn’t…

Haunting pictures of children who have been displaced.

Drew’s Friday Face-off contribution this week featured the mighty Robin Hobb, with a number of different covers for her book Fool’s Errand. Which is your favourite?

Last night I attended the All Night Write event at the old Emporium theatre that ran 88londonrdfrom 10 pm through to 6 am this morning. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but went along with my friend Sarah Palmer. The setting was amazing in an old theatre space, with plenty of tables, comfortable seating and refreshments laid on. Phil Viner, best-selling crime writer, had organised a whole series of talks about all aspects of writing ranging from the actual process of writing, through to a discussion about the role of agents by Phillip Patterson, head of the Books Department from the Marjacq Agency. I particularly enjoyed Sarah Rayner’s excellent talk on self publishing as a hybrid author – the bonus being that these talks were delivered on the set of Peter Pan… Quirky and atmospheric. There was so much going on, we looked around twice – and it was already 3 am. We reluctantly left at 5 am before breakfast was served as we had quite a long journey home and no one wanted to suddenly find themselves falling asleep at the wheel after a fried meal. It was an amazing experience – and the bonus was that I also managed to write the opening pages of Bloodless.

Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.

27 responses »

    • You’re very welcome – I thought it was a really good one. Never mind – I’m still very much looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Have a great week, Drew and thank you for swinging by.

  1. Those line-edits sound exhausting! But I bet having word read it for you while you follow it yourself is a great way to catch any kind of mistake!
    It’s so rewarding when students are doing well, isn’t it? Sadly, for most of mine, that was not the case last week, but I guess such happens.
    Have a wonderful week ahead and happy reading.

    • It’s finding out what best suits you – I’m fairly good at catching the more obvious spelling, grammar and punctuation errors but very poor at the double words and odd typos. As good ol’ Annie reads exactly what I’ve written, rather than what I THINK I’ve written, she tends to catch a number of these. What happens to your students who have failed?

      • If they have only failed English, they’ll be OK, if they have failed in a second subject, they may have to do the full school year over again. Worst case scenario, they won’t be able to continue this kind of high school…

        There are three different kinds of high school here, I teach at the one which is quite literary and scientific – students who graduate from here can go to Uni. Then, there’s commercial high school, where the students learn more law and accounting and things like that. Finally, there’s a high school that’s more about social sciences, and those who graduate from there can study afterwards in nursing school, or to become educators for young children (in daycare) or take care of disable people or work in nursing homes.

        That voice thing sounds terrific for helping you to catch mistakes! I am going to write my MA thesis this summer, and I know I’m going to need some kind of help to catch typos especially.

      • I highly recommend using it and if you have Word on your computer you can very easily enable it to read aloud to you – I do recommend going into properties and slow it down a bit more. I think it’s a powerful, effective editing tool.

  2. I think teaching creative writing would be very rewarding- and exciting to hear your students were recognized and had success with those competitions. Good for them!

    Titanborn sounds great, I need to take a closer look at that one. Sounds like something I might enjoy reading.

    Good luck with the edits!!

    • I really enjoyed Titanborn – I think you’d like it, too. And you’re right – teaching Creative Writing is a fabulous job:) Thank you for your good wishes regarding the edits – I’ll take all the help I can get! Have a great week Greg.

  3. The All Nite Write sounds really fun. I can’t remember the last time I’ve stayed up all night doing fun stuff. I should fix that! The editing sounds really challenging and definitely on the tedious side. I’m having a hard time making much reading progress because when it gets to be night I am tired and my brain is done! I think I’m getting about half as much read as usual. Have a great week!

    • It was great fun:). As for the editing – I definitely prefer writing to the editing, but as I want to publish my work, I have to ensure it is as error-free as I can possibly make it. So I’m learning to embrace the process! If you are really tired by the end of the day, then it may right now you simply don’t have the mental energy to read… I hardly read anything when the children were small. Thank you for swinging by and have a great week, too.

  4. Haha, Electric Annie is cracking me up. But man, editing does sound like a real pain.

    That’s fantastic that your creative writing students are getting better and winning competitions and everything! They must have a great teacher 🙂

    That All Night Write thing sound so cool! And in an old theatre with the set of Peter Pan and everything! And the talks they had sound great. I don’t even write books, and even I’m a little jealous that you got to attend something like that 😛

  5. I find reading out loud helps me with editing, and so I can see why you chose to do it with the computer reading it to you. That’s a great idea. I am glad your writing classes are going well. The All Night Write event sounds marvelous! What agreat event.

    Both The City of Mirrors and Titanborn sound like good reads. I hope you have a great week, Sarah!

  6. The City of Mirrors was hugely popular here in Australia. I actually received a copy from the publisher – accidentally I assume as they don’t usually send stuff unsolicited – from the publisher. But it’s a genre I don’t read and I’d never heard of the series. I put a pic on Instagram and commented that I’d have to find someone to give it to and immediately had a response from a friend, so posted it off to her. She was very very grateful!

    • Huge kudos to you for going to the time and trouble of finding a home for your review copy with someone who would enjoy it:). May the God of Books give you a golden wish!

  7. Nice picture. Sounds like you’ve been busy. I’m still working through re-writes on my story as well. It’s such a long process! And life hasn’t been helping me get through them faster either. 😉

    I’m curious about your Freestyle Writing post so going to check that out.

    Hope you have a great week!

  8. Wow, congrats to your students for their recent writing successes. You must be so proud of them. 😀

    Isn’t it amazing how much variety students can bring to the table when you ask them to share their favorite works? I remember my Senior Capstone English course during my last semester of college, and our professor asked us to choose that semester’s syllabus. Everyone picked one of their favorite books of all time, and the “chooser” would lead the discussion of said book for two or three classes. It was a small class, maybe 8 to 10 students at the most (English wasn’t a “popular” major at my school *lol*), but the variety in the books we chose amazed me. Mine was The Color of Water by James McBride (dual POV memoir about a black/biracial man growing up during the Civil Rights Movement, and his white Jewish mother). Some of the others I can remember? Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Hunter S. Thompson’s Screwjack & Other Stories, a graphic novel (can’t remember the title)… The rest escape me, but it was an impressive list in the end.

    Best of luck as you continue your edits! And glad to hear you had a good time at the all-night writing event. Make sure you catch up on some sleep now. 😉

    • Thank you Sara:). Yes… my students do very well, which is a huge source of pride. Is The Color of Water an alltime favourite read, or do you have a core of books that really sing out to you? And do you know why this book particularly spoke to you? I’m always fascinated to know WHY a reader bonds with one book and not another… Thank you for your good wishes – actually, I am quite tired, but I’ve had Fitstep today and it has now turned warm and VERY muggy. Have a great week:)

      • Yes, The Color of Water is one of my all-time favorite books. I think I had read it during high school, and it had stuck with me since then. It still speaks to me now because of how it opened my eyes to how Jewish people and whites who supported blacks were treated during that time period, and its emphasis on love, family, and overcoming adversity. And James McBride’s mother (the other POV besides his) was one of the emotionally strongest people I’ve ever read about.

        Though I have to be honest… when I actually chose the book for the capstone course (9 years ago), I’d done so because I didn’t know what else to pick. I was really getting into fantasy lit at that point, and I wasn’t sure how the rest of the class would take to a book from that genre. *blushes*

      • Yes… that makes sense:). I completely understand about the reluctance to take along a fantasy book to that sort of course. The innate snobbery of literary versus genre still persists in academic circles, alas… A good friend of mine has recently completed an M.Lit course – and she was told in no uncertain terms that she would not get a distinction unless she ensured her writing fell within the Literary genre. And 9 years ago, it was even more pronounced…

  9. Looks like another great week :). I’m happy to see that your course brings you so much satisfaction (as a teacher myself – well, I don’t work as one anymore, but at heart… 😉 – I can so relate to the pride of seeing your students progress), and I was super excited to read about your All Night Write experience. I love to read about events like that (or should I say: the introvert in me loves reading about them instead of having to participate myself 😉 ).

    • My firm advice would be to read The Passage first – I’m very glad I did so. I think I would have badly floundered if I hadn’t. It is a remarkable book – though a hefty read in all senses of the word… Have a great reading week:)

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