Category Archives: Books

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, who is a catch!

Or, my little adventure in the world of Amazon book covers!

After realizing the little fact that I’m serious about getting some stories out there on Amazon, I realized with the same breath that I have no knowhow those book get their covers!

Lately I’ve been an avid reader in shifter books! Still not much of a fan, but I guess I needed to challenge my senses and needed some love, so I just picked them up randomly and started going through them. I think I had some alter motivation too, like how different authors deal with changes when creatures shift, despite the fact that I’ve got no story to set that in. No matter – it just interest me.

But as I’m currently interested on what and how the covers are made,  half of my brain is munching through them with keen interest on positions, propositions, styles, how letters are set, if the backcovers are there, the sides… And models!

It is one thing to see one model on cover of all the books in one series – even better when the image alters a bit and looks as if, for example, the guy or girl is taking their clothes off or when basically the entire series keeps to a certain style. However, when you read all those keen little promises those folks give, who make you the cover, like how you get all rights to use it as you want and get the rights on the images used on the picture… I’m not so sure about that… Maybe the world has changed since I read the copyright law on images and such a thing like “full rights on the images used” isn’t the same any more… Or my eyes are just playing me tricks, for despite not minding staring at some of the fine models they use, but there are rather many, who have the exact image of that model on as well…

So, as I’m 17k into my Nano right now, my brain is not working with me on that level and feeding me ideas on all the wrong stories, I found myself scanning through Amazon again for already familiar model with his jacket on in wonder if I can puzzle together that line of photos and maybe, just maybe I can see the whole series of him taking it off… 😀 😀

While I’m working on that, here’s another curio in the game of covers. A lovely model that keeps popping up! Well done, who ever you are! I’ll just call you Mr. Cross, duo the nice tattoo you carry. But hey, if you’ve got a winning image, you gotta show it and well, that image is indeed a winner 🙂 .

I’m not making any book review, mind me, so how good or bad one or other is plays no difference – I just wanted to see how many same image covers can I find! 😀 I will, however, make links through images on their Amazon book page so if you find it interesting, you can follow and see what the books are about. 😀

Ok, I’m off to snicker myself to sleep now, for even I didn’t expect such a catch in an hour long hunt 😀 . Amazon, you amaze me again and taught me a valuable lesson on both how important it is to choose the right guy for your cover and how important it is to choose someone to make your cover who doesn’t only own one image… Or, on a second thought, how little daylight is given to a novel’s cover that is meant to entertain not more than few hours of your life.

Oh, and a sidenote on that – did you know that humans are wired to recognize others by bodies? Thus, even if you don’t have any ink or mark on you, but you have muscles that stand out, then you can bet that cutting off the head does nothing – you can still be recognized in all adorable positions the cutter-paster has put you in. Which is pretty much note to myself for the future: rule 1 – one man can’t cover all the books on the series.

But enough – have fun and enjoy the gorgeous model doing his job well 🙂 .

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Chinese culture peculiarities

It all started from an artist, Ibuki Satsuki. An old favorite of mine that has gone from my mind with everything else that has taken up my life. Oddly, in the end of last week, I happened on one of the paintings again and dug it up. The fact that I know even less about Satsuki (not even if it’s a she or he – I only know that Ibuki means breath), makes Satsuki’s art even more compelling.

Especially that it brought me back to one particular painting that has a man in purple on it together with a young girl, who is begging him for something.

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No idea what it’s about, I keep reading it’s about some game, but in truth I can’t find it unless someone is willing to translate me some Chinese. But it turned a switch in my brain. Have written 10k in 3 days because of this picture and the story isn’t even half way done. In that story, the people on this image aren’t even lovers. I tried to return to nano – isn’t helping at all. My Nano story needs to cook a bit before I’m taking it up again. But this one – it goes! And I love it!

Then, after a while everything China related started to bump up. I’m not talking about the research only. Not really writing about Chinese culture per say, but a lot of inspiration comes from there, so I go through weirdest things I can think of for info. Plus testing out Chinese home cooked meals and trying to figure out the most trivia facts.

But then I happened on a manhuas. As I haven’t read them for more than few years, I figured that I might have some fun and picked up one called Feng Yu Jiu Tian (yaoi, for the warning). Read the first chapter online and fell for it. So I went on a hunt. I liked the drawing style, the fact it’s “historical fantasy” has appeal to me and the quirks and turns hit just the right place in the heart, so why not?

Why not indeed? How about it has freekin’ zero ways to get it? Not in Russian or in English and even Chinese – freeking ZERO! I know the thing exists, because there are scans, there is artist, there is online first chapter for sale, it has alternative publishing names and… nothing else available besides story itself translated into text (no images) on blogs. So I read the blogs. And got seriously angry for the ending and then half an hour later felt that it’s adorable as hell.  So I’m keeping the name in my list to seek out again if the mood hits. But I’m sorely disappointed in the modern world thanks to this.

After justmanga closed its doors it’s been very hard to find a good site to see the story together with art examples. For right now I know what I want, but making the research is a pain.

Oh! Got green light on ordering the Falco Storm! YAY! Will do it a bit later though. Need to finish a scene first.

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Entitled for a dance

It’s been LONG holidays for me. Mostly filled with school and travelling though, but I must say in the end it was quite rewarding, given I got surprisingly lot done. It was mostly house work and studies, but hey – those need to be done too.

I started writing again. When I was at my grandparent’s place, we got ill, niece and I. Nothing serious, but tedious stomach bug. Something in my brain decided that it was liberating act enough to get my mind rolling over trivia ideas. Grabbed my notebook and wrote away! Then got home, dealt with being sick and going for exams, which unfortunately didn’t work out, and wrote till teeny hours of the morning , which did nothing to tame that bug. But it was so funny, to feel the writing rush again and I couldn’t help it. If you think of the “Feeling Good” song by Buble and mix it with “Trashing the Camp” song from Tarzan animation you’ve got the right gig going. That weird marathon of nearly not enough sleep tainted with being on legal drugs and running errands ended up with 8 pages of text on the most strangest ideas, which might even work :).

I did one more thing. Because I always am in need of some insurance of a sort, I decided to get myself a box for dry ingredients like buckwheat, rice, etc. I’m in no means hoarder, but as I did have few extra euros left, I decided I might as well do the small investment. Altogether cost me not more than 15 euros together to get few extra bags of dry ingredients and a box for them. For dry spells. Just so sis and I have somewhere to turn to in case we run out of money for a while. Not for big emergencies as, well, they don’t come up that often here and we’ve never been the sort of people, who whine, when the electricity goes for days or can’t find ways to keep ourselves warm if the heating blows up. Just so we have some insurance so we can breath a bit easier.

And then I got back to work! And dug out my mails that I skipped reading for about 4 days. I just had no interest having to deal with that part as well. Switching off from internet can come with great rewards of self preservation :). Plus, if you have this gorgeous, and I mean GORGEOUS Synonym Finder under your left elbow, there is no need for internet dictionaries! That book is just amazing! I kept rolling the pages and just reading how differently one can say things!

As I was at it, I also did a lot of reading. I read through one online story of 100k, which by itself doesn’t count for literature, but I loved the way she expressed the feelings there and how she developed the plot and how she kept true to the characters and it kept me hooked until the very end. Then I read 7 short stories from the anthologies and started reading Orc series by Stan Nicholls. I’ve read contrary reviews on it, but I decided I’ll see it myself. It’s standard fantasy and it is pound to be liked by some and hated by others. Sometimes I just love reading those bad things – they can have some cool surprises.

I also ordered two old favorites from Julie Garwood – The Prize  and Saving Grace. I used to have them as audio books, but something happened with the files and I can’t access them anymore and can’t find reasonably priced replacement either. Can’t find reasonably find paper edition either as it seemed, especially if you don’t want abridged edition. Why those things even exist… I was in luck and finally found what I wanted and now I’m waiting, exited over historic chit-lit that would make others squeal in embarrassment. Yeaaaah, but they are my old favorites, so squeal on!

Which brings me to the reason, why I’m right now entitled for a dance. Read my emails and deleted and skipped what was not important or old or trivia and found one that made me gulp for air. Respond from the magazine I sent my story to. With all my luck lately… Opened it, read it, gulped for more air…

THEY ARE PUBLISHING IT!! 

Oh the mightiest! I will be published! So yeeeh, my story will be published in JESS in their first number. I believe I’m entitled for a dance. And perhaps a cup of good strong coffee.

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Rowling book?

My mom came home with J.K. Rowling’s book The Casual Vacancy… H-how?

I have bookshelf full of books waiting and she squeezed in and handed me that book! Said, she forgot to take the book off in book club, so now she got it and well, she doesn’t read it and well – here it is now…

Actually, I’m intrigued. I wonder how it is to read a book by someone, who has written for kids for so long, if it has similarities with them?

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Quality reading versus trash

It’s a must have to have read classical literature and it is odd if you try to analyze it with someone without having read it first. You must know what you talk about. But when it comes to romance stories or mysteries, you can suddenly skip the entire reading part and just trash it? Take it down and call it stupid? What’s the big idea?

To me, that is becoming a great concern and not only because I like writing and reading it. It still takes me courage to say I wrote another love story and often I hide it without saying anything further, because of the looks I get.

“Why won’t you write something normal for change? You are so much better than to fall in the trap of trash!” I hear my writing friends cry out.

It angers me. Those are the people, who can quote Stendhal, Bulgakov, and Dostoyevsky by heart! They are highly educated and should know how to analyze any writing on a whim! Yet they are also the people, who keep away from entertainment literature (aka trash) and turn their noses up, if you offer them a book from the shelf “how to write a novel”.

I don’t know what to do? If I analyze the trash book I picked up and have found interesting, they get restless and distracted, yet I must listen forever analyze on Stendhal’s work?

Why won’t you read anything modern? You are so eager to judge those, who write and read the modern day novels, but, as I found out, most of you have never picked any of them up! If I ask, what authors you like from modern writers, not one of you can give me names of a writer, who hasn’t passed away! If I ask, have you read this or that, nobody has even heard of them!

Now, that’s disturbing. I can talk with you about your classical, quality reading, because I have read them too. Some of them years back, but I have. I know, who are Dostoyevsky, Stendhal, Shakespeare (and yes, I can spell that name without auto correct!),  I have even read Tolkien, Burroughs, Arthur C Clark and other modern “quality” writers. I can talk about them and we can keep good conversations.

But I am deeply insulted that I am constantly downsized for reading modern entertaining literature by people, who have never picked those books up! “We don’t need to read trash!”

Oh yes you do! I call up every one of you, who you have ever criticized someone for reading trashy romance novel, to find the story appealing to you and read it through! Yes, it has lots of bad books that don’t resonate with you among them, but there are good writers there too!

And there is A LOT all you wannabe writers can learn! Yes you, who you keep telling me you don’t need to learn, how to write and say the classic writers save your writing from being mundane daily trash!

I picked up one of the new numbers of local young authors magazine and then talked about it with other older writers. Your stories – there’s like no beginning, no end! Your characters use your knowledge base, which is painfully limited by school, and they sit around and all the info is brought to them on a plate! The characters were often one type, short straw missing from deep depression and they lacked even the most basic charisma! How do you expect being read? I read that one story and I don’t want to pick up anything else!

So yes, take up that trash book you so snoopily tossed away and make your typical book analyze on it! Read and learn! And then trash my opinion. But until your last book was school literature, you have big shortcomings of modern literature! Yes, it is not as deep as classical, but it has its place and instead of being such a snob, read and enjoy!

Anybody, who falls under such attack, I highly suggest asking them back – have you read any? You’d be surprised, how many say they don’t have to. Well, if they are so eager to attack, I’d say it is best time they did read. Would educate them greatly.

I wouldn’t complain, if you would read Oscar Wilde or Stendhal and learn from it, how to write better. But the problem I see is, you don’t. And often you don’t, because you don’t see it. You don’t see the systems behind the story and you don’t see how similar the modern and not so modern writing actually is. If you did, you wouldn’t be so quick to decide, which is trash and which is not. We only call them classics, because back in their days, it was the trash that made a statement. None of those works were written to be classics, they were written to be sold as the daily trash. Now that’s a thought, isn’t it?

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It’s the simple things

I was waiting an sms from postman, saying they have put my package of books in mail. It consists the Big Blue .

So, I waited, doing my work, and then it came.

Exactly 11:11.

Now, isn’t that cool or what?

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Walburgis Night!

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That’s us. You know – first sunny days, all the whites and linen must be washed and hanged outside so it can reclaim the whiteness. And if you add a pinch of blue in the wash, oh my! Best way to whiten your linens up to this day, invented heaven knows when.

Today is Walburgis Night and Beltain is tomorrow. This year I will celebrate it mightily. I’ve left with just 2000 words from the end of CampNaNoWriMo and well, 40 000 per month is worth just as much celebration as Beltane and I think it is just crazy that it all falls on one day. I think I’ll repeat it next year :D.

Yesterday was the first day for the wild strawberry plants to push their noses out of the soil, too, so I am double happy at this point. They came out far faster than I expected. The ones I gave to sis took nearly two weeks! The wild kiwi is still odd, but I think I saw green nose from them too this morning.

I was looking through books in Krisostomus the other day, too. I decided to gift myself few witchy books besides the Fever series, which is already coming and one before last book in Write Great Fiction series. Yes, I’m a bookworm. So I went through the lists and out of one click gone wrong, I ended up on Estonian book section, which in Kriso I don’t usually visit. Mostly because unless I’m searching University Press items, I can find better discounts on them in town. But thanks to this odd click I was suddenly staring at a book by Scott Cunningham in Estonian! Earth, Air, Fire and Water in Estonian! Plus at this moment 60% discount! I’ve kept it in my buy-in-future list for years now, always thinking if to get it or not. Well, I had my doubts, but with this sort of discount – why not? It was translated in 2011, but since there has been almost no witchy books, with very rare exceptions, then I haven’t actually looked for them in Estonian. That was about to change and now I have it sitting neatly next to the trio book of other Cunningham works on the shelf. Plus I found few more books that have been given out by Literature Museum folklore department, which will nicely compliment the books I already have. In that light I finally ordered myself the Big Blue, too… I have some old image copy of it scanned in from heaven knows when, but I realized that I can’t be going around the bush all the time. I love Cunningham’s works, but by all the references it does on Big Blue, I guess it would be time to finally get it. I prefer Cunningham over Buckland, but I have great respect for both guys.

 So, yes, I am happy. I shall buy a nice bottle of white wine, a small cake, perhaps decorate a bit, clean a bit and then relax with Wicker Man (yes, I know it’s a horror movie, but those songs are ringing in my head for almost a week now). Oh how long have I waited for that!

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