Tag Archives: blogging

Sunday Post – 11th December 2016

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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.

Well, what a busy old week this has been! Last Sunday it was my mother’s birthday party and my lovely sister hosted the gathering of the clan. It was fun catching up with everyone and as ever, a shock at seeing how quickly my nephew is growing up… I completed this term’s course at Northbrook on Monday and Tuesday and we are now finished until the second week in January, which sounds like it’s a while away, though I know from experience it comes around very quickly. Which is just as well as I have the loveliest students, a number of whom have been coming to the classes since I started teaching 8 years ago and are also firm friends. On Wednesday evening, I went out with my marvellous writing group for a meal at a local restaurant – lovely food and great company. On Thursday evening I attended the December meeting of West Sussex Writers, where Many Pannett discussed writing novellas and in the second half of the meeting provided an excellent writing workshop, which I really enjoyed – I even managed to write a poem.

However Friday saw me laid low with the worst migraine I’ve had in years… nausea, temperature and terrible shooting pains in the head – which wasn’t good because I was also grannying. Fortunately Himself was home, so was able to drive us to and from Brighton to pick up the grandchildren in the evening and although very groggy and rather sorry for myself I managed to accompany him, though took myself off to bed for a couple of hours before starting the bedtime routine. They are going to be helping us decorate the house for Christmas throughout the week-end, as well as a bit of shopping and just chilling or playing with their toys. It’s been a while since we’ve seen them, so it’s great to catch up on their doings.

As for my rewrite – it won’t come as a shock when I declare I haven’t been near it this week… This coming week my blogging will also be interrupted as I’m away for a few days and simply haven’t had the time or space to organise myself to cover my absence (it was on the list for Friday…)

This week I have read:

A Natural History of Dragons – Book 1 of The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
anaturalhistoryofdragonsEveryone knows Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. Here, at last, in her own words, is the story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, prospects, and her life to satisfy scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the mountains of Vystrana, where she made discoveries that would change the world.

This was recommended to me by the wonderful Kitvaria Sarene during an intense evening at Bristolcon talking books, so I made it a top priority on my TBR list and decided to treat myself this week. And I’m delighted I did – it’s a gem. A review will be following shortly.

 

How to Train Your Parents by Pete Johnson
howtotrainyourparentsMoving to a new area and a new school, Louis is horrified to discover his parents changing into ultra-competitive parents, wanting him and his younger brother to get straight As at school and join all sorts of after-school clubs and activities like the other kids in the area. Suddenly Louis’s life is no longer his own…

This is sharp and funny – and very pertinent. I think a fair number of children could do with more benign neglect, or at least the time to just hang out in their bedrooms with sufficient free time to find out who they are and what they like doing when someone isn’t breathing down their necks.

 

Judged – Book 3 of the Blackhart Legacy by Liz de Jagar
Kit’s job description includes solving crimes – the supernatural kind . . .judged
Glow, a fae-created drug, is rapidly going viral and the suppliers have to be shut down. Teaming up with Aiden and Dante, Kit follows leads across London, tracking down dealers. They stir up trouble, making themselves a target for the gang they’re trying to stop.

In the Otherwhere, Thorn stumbles across a secret that could destroy both the human and Fae worlds. The Veil that separates our human world from the fae realms is weakening and the goddess is dying. And if she dies and the Veil fails, madness and chaos will wreak unstoppable havoc upon both lands.

 

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 4th December 2016

Review of Thornyhold by Mary Stewart

Teaser Tuesday featuring Judged – Book 3 of the Blackhart Legacy by Liz de Jagar

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Split the Sun – Book 2 of the Inherit the Stars series by Tessa Elwood

Shoot for the Moon Challenge – November Roundup

Friday Faceoff – And Soul Meets Soul on Lovers’ Lips… featuring Living Dead in Dallas – Book 2 of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris

Review of Penric and the Shaman – Book 2 of the Penric and Desdemona novella series by Lois McMaster Bujold

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:
The Curious and Little-Known Slang Terms Found in Modern Britain https://interestingliterature.com/2016/12/09/the-curious-and-little-known-slang-terms-found-in-modern-britain/ If you’re hunting for pressies for the word-nerds in your life. Or want to drop a heavy hint to someone…

Lessons Learned from Agatha Christie: Have Mischievous Fun with Misdirection https://jeanleesworld.com/2016/12/08/lessons-learned-from-agatha-christie-have-mischievous-fun-with-misdirection/ An enjoyable and well written article on the craft of writing misdirection – and how an ill-considered cover can wreck it all…

Exoplanet animation – simply amazing http://earthianhivemind.net/2016/12/04/exoplanet-animation-simply-amazing/ Steph has provided this wonderful animation – and that’s not the half of it…

Only one among many https://photolicioux.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/only-among-many/
Another hauntingly good photo from this excellent site.

Fore-edge Painting: Images on Book Edges https://kristentwardowski.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/fore-edge-painting-images-on-book-edges/ I didn’t know what this was called before Kristen told me – although I have seen examples of it in old libraries of rare books. Just wish we could somehow resurrect it…

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

My 750th post…

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I started this site waaay back in 2009 when someone told me that if I was serious about being a fiction writer, I should have a blog. So I got one.

Sarah writingMy earliest efforts were reflections on some of the quirkier news stories from around the world and I enjoyed writing them. However they took quite a lot of time and effort, and I realised that if I was going to have a hope of building up any sort of readership I’d need to be posting regularly at least twice a week.

Back then, I had a publisher and confidently expected to have my first science fiction book unleashed onto an unsuspecting public. But things didn’t work out. Time slid by and Running Out of Space was mired in editland. Meanwhile the ebook revolution was shaking up the publishing world and eventually my publisher came back with the news she would only be releasing it as an ebook. I decided I didn’t want to proceed with that deal, so we amicably parted company. Family life intervened in a big way and while I never stopped writing and teaching, I didn’t continue submitting my work.

But I did keep going with the blog as I really enjoyed writing book reviews. My main hobby is reading – I love it. It has certainly helped to keep me sane through life’s highs and lows. No matter how dire it gets, I can always open up a book and escape between the covers and when I emerge again, I’m always a bit more energised and excited by a well-told story. And now, I could share that excitement with other like-minded people, who visited my site, read my reviews and comment. I think we forget just what a very recent phenomenon blogging is. The term wasn’t coined until the late 1990’s, although there were a fair number of folks actually engaged in the activity before then. Raised in the era where reviews were confined to newspapers and magazines, the opportunity to share my reactions with an audience from around the world who are interested in the same books – who can immediately comment and respond – still seems miraculous.

It’s taken me a lot longer to get my books ‘out there’ for a variety of reasons. I realised there were technical issues I needed to address with my writing and when I was poised to plunge back into submitting my work, again I was engulfed in some fairly gnarly family stuff that took chunks of my time and energy. I’ve often been frustrated at these delays. But during all that time, I’ve been writing reviews about mostly science fiction, fantasy and crime with occasional forays into other genres as the mood has taken me. I only write about books I’ve enjoyed as I don’t bother to finish those I don’t.

Meantime, I’ve met and befriended a number of people online and had the huge pleasure of meeting some of them at cons. Back in 2009 if anyone had told me that some six years later, I would still be blogging without a book to my name I’d have been horrified. But now, when I reflect on all the people I’ve met through blogging and reading other people’s blogs, I’m glad it’s worked out this way. Many, many thanks for taking the time to read my reviews – and those of you who regularly visit and comment, your companionship during the long solitary hours spent at the computer is much appreciated. Here’s to the next 750 posts…

High Fives…

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Today I’m not blogging about my latest enjoyable read, for a change. I’m blogging about blogging, because this is my 555th post. And if your jaw isn’t dropping – mine surely is.

post-milestone-500-1xI haven’t written all those blogs, as I also reblog articles and reviews that I’ve really enjoyed and think my readers might also like. But even so, this year I have already written nearly 80,000 words on articles and book reviews. Come to think of it – mostly book reviews. I started up Brainfluff back in 2010 when someone suggested as a writer, it would be a good idea to establish a blog – so what to write about? It probably won’t come as a shock if I reveal that I don’t lead the most exciting life. Which is just fine by me… I had far too an eventful childhood, teenage years and twenties. Routine and a steady existence where I know what will be happening next week and the week after that gives me security and the freedom to let my imagination roam wherever it wants.

However, it does mean that my life isn’t crammed with noteworthy incident. Not that it’s boring – I spend a chunk of time looking after grandchildren and I also teach Creative Writing at Northbrook College, both of which are fulfilling and enjoyable. But my students and family are entitled to expect their conversations and interactions with me kept private. And while I read a number of historyoftheworldexcellent, well written blogs by the likes of Vivienne Tufnell and Mhairi Simpson about their personal reactions to the world around them – I simply don’t have the knack of writing about myself in such a generous, open manner.

However when not writing, I read. So far this year I’ve read 119 books and started another 20 I didn’t finish. And when I close a book for the final time, I often feel buzzed and a little sad my time in that world has come to an end. These days, that means writing about my feelings and reactions to it and posting it on my blog. While I don’t have a problem with negative reviews – provided they don’t descend into a personal rant they can be very useful to the reader – I find it far more enjoyable and easier to write about a book when it fills me with enthusiasm. In fact, it’s become something of an addiction – I really enjoy sharing those books that have affected me.

And my most-read article? I’m still scratching my head as to why it’s so popular – particularly as it is one of my early publications back in the days when one man and his dog tended to stray onto my site looking for something else. Brainfluff’s most-read blog is my review of Julian Barnes’ The History of the World in 10½ Chapters – which has notched up 2,128 views to date. And unlike most of my early reviews, many of which have NEVER been read – the visitor rate to it just goes on growing.

Thank you to those of you who take the time to read my reviews, follow my blog and comment on the content. From starting it to get myself ‘out there’, I’ve come to really value the process of sharing my love of books, occasional films and live shows with other like-minded people. While the community of bloggers I’ve met online include many talented writers who are a joy to read. To all of you – high fives!