Archive for 'books' Category


The Magic Circle

The Magic Circle of Rudolf III’ve finished my first book of the year. Not that I started it this year, mind you; I started it probably back in October 2012… But I just finished it the other day. The book: The Magic Circle of Rudolf II by Peter Marshall.

I picked this up for research into a story that I started -and takes place- in Prague a very long time ago. Rudolfine Prague was always an interesting topic for me as you can still see the remnants of the golden age brought on by Rudolf today, and the cultural melancholy that came from his passing and the imminent Counter-Reformation and resultant Thirty Years’ War. Reading the book gave me an inside view of the thoughts, dreams and actions of Rudolf which led to, and depended almost entirely on, his life and peculiarities. Though the goal of the book was to show how Rudolf straddled the line between medieval thought and modern thought during his rule as Holy Roman Emperor, and did a good job of it, I read the book more for historical, character and cultural needs. Alas the coloring needs of writing.

My next task for the book before retiring it to the shelf is to gather all of my notes and put them in my Scrivener file for the project. I’m not sure what I’ll read next, but it’s looking like I might try fiction again: The SFWA European Hall of Fame edited by James Morrow and Kathryn Morrow.

Comments Off on The Magic Circle | Catergorized: books  prague  writing


One Single Book

Normally I read a ton of books. Under previous circumstances I could probably read one a week but a combination of factors left last year, 2012, pretty dry as far as reading went. In fact I read one, single book completely: The SFWA Grand Masters Volume 1. Honestly I’m surprised I managed to finish that one but I was determined to finish something. We’ll see how this year goes, but I doubt it will be too terribly many more.

Comments Off on One Single Book | Catergorized: books  life


Three Day Novel Writing

Православни икониI thought this was an interesting thing. Michael Moorcock, possibly best known for his Elric series, wrote many of them in three to ten days by developing a crazy simple formula. Sometime I’ll have to try this out. The story might not have tons of depth but it would be a way to get things done fast…

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Top 100 Speculative Fiction Books?

I love to read. I particularly love reading what I call speculative fiction, within which I group science fiction and fantasy (and a few others like alternate history, horror, myths, fairytales and magical realism). I also like discovering new titles that come highly recommended, which is one of the many reasons I love going into Borderlands Books and reading their recommendations, right there on the bookshelves. Discovering new books is one of the many reasons I was excited to see this list that NPR is compiling a list of the best science fiction and fantasy books. Even better, they are letting visitors vote on their top 10 favorites. Go vote! I was surprised by some that were included, and happy to see many that I’d never even heard of before.


UPDATE: The list is now online.

1: The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
3: Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
4: The Dune Chronicles, Frank Herbert
5: A Song of Ice and Fire Series, George RR Martin
6: 1984, George Orwell
7: Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
8: The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
9: Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
10: American Gods, Neil Gaiman

And more!

Comments Off on Top 100 Speculative Fiction Books? | Catergorized: books


Book Covers for Technology

I really like the look of Twelve South’s BookBook iPhone, iPad and Macbook covers. I’m not sure if I like the iPhone version; creating one location for my iPhone, ID, credit cards and cash seems like a bad idea.

Still… book, leather, and all that’s missing is actual paper like the Moleskine case.

Comments Off on Book Covers for Technology | Catergorized: apple  books  fashion  geek


Periodic Table of Storytelling

Thank you DeviantArt user ComputerSherpa for creating the awesome Periodic Table of Storytelling based off of the sometimes hilarious TV Tropes site (which isn’t just TV). Now if I could just figure out how to use this alchemical mix to get published.

Comments Off on Periodic Table of Storytelling | Catergorized: books  geek  movies  tv  writing


Manfred Macx Indie Publishing

Yesterday’s post about the success of indie writer Amanda Hocking brought my attention to a new indie book publishing site called Manfred Macx. The site, and innovative business model, are the creation of Jon Renaut in Washington DC. I love the idea, and I love his enthusiasm.

What I don’t know is what makes some writers, like Amanda Hocking and many others, choose to distribute their work directly through existing online publishers like Smashwords instead of other services like Manfred Macx. What drives their choices? Further, what are the choices? Can you distribute through multiple channels or do you get locked into one single distribution point?

Much of this is a mystery to me. What is yet clear, though, is that having an agent is still important. What might be more important, however, is having an agent who is aware of all of these choices and will advise you fairly.

3 Comments | Catergorized: books  technology


Indie Writer Wealth

Reading about Amanda Hocking makes me wonder if I should give up the idea of trying to get published the traditional way and focus on eReader platforms like Kindle. She has something like eight books (and one novella) out and has apparently sold almost half a million dollars in January alone. That’s a nice paycheck. I could use even half of that!

It used to be said that if you self published then you were dooming yourself to never getting a traditional book deal. As technology is advancing it is becoming clear that, at least for some individuals, this is less and less of an issue. In Amanda Hocking’s case she probably has a better deal going it on her own than if she had a book deal. I say “probably” because who knows? If she had a regular book deal she might have turned into the Next Big Thing™ and would have loads more sales and opportunities on all fronts.

But you never know, and she’s doing quite well on her own, and she’s calling her own shots within the context of having an agent. Apparently going indie or traditional, the job of an agent is still going to be important… And since one of her series has been optioned to be a movie it’s possible we’ll hear a lot more from this young 26 year old.

I’m not exactly jealous. Envious might be a better word. You can check out Amanda’s blog here.

1 Comment | Catergorized: books  technology  thoughts


Old Man’s War Movie

Wow. It looks like they will make a movie of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. Pretty freaking cool. If you haven’t read it, I highly highly recommend it. It won’t be the same as the book, but Mr. Scalzi seems optimistic and so I’ll follow his lead.

1 Comment | Catergorized: books  movies


Dust of Dreams

I’ll be slow posting for a bit here. I’ve been getting the new up and running (still looking for contributors) and I just picked up the new Steven Erikson book Dust of Dreams, the second to last book of his brilliant Malazan stories. Weighing in at just under 1300 pages (paperback) it will take me a while to get through, and I know me and this series; I won’t be able to easily put it down once I start.

Meanwhile I was shocked to learn (and see!) that the steampunk genre was invented by the Czechs (Karel Zemen). Can I say avast?

Comments Off on Dust of Dreams | Catergorized: books  life
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