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Dec 25

About my writing again

Posted on Friday, December 25, 2015 in Writing

As I’ve mentioned before I’m trying really hard to finish all my works in progress and also a number of others that I want to start and finish before the end of January. I know it’s probably not a good idea to rush things, but at the same time I wouldn’t want to wait for years to write these stories, if you know what I mean.

Today I finished proofreading and editing the last book I finished (last night) and I was determined to start on the next one. Now I have. I mean, it’s nothing much, just a couple of thousand words, but I didn’t want to waste this day on doing nothing. Normally, I would have waited a few days at least, maybe weeks, to sort of ‘recharge my creative batteries’ but in this particular situation I can’t. The trouble is, I don’t seem to feel as much for this story as I did the others I recently finished. Also, I was far more enthusiastic about this idea a while back, say six months ago, than I am now. Now it’s almost boring me. That’s not a good start.

I have several others I could get to work on, but I thought I’d try a little harder with this one first. Maybe it will feel better tomorrow, once I get further into the story.

I have two other ideas, that may not be enough for two full length novels but at least novellas. (Actually more than that, but I’ll start with these.) The weird thing is, I feel very strongly about them, especially one of them, but I still wasn’t able to get the first couple of sentences written.

If I can’t do anything about the one I got started on, I might switch to one of the others.

Lately, I’ve been doing that a lot. Writing two or more at the same time. Weird. It’s the first time I’ve managed to do that. And it’s worked out quite well too, as far as I can tell.

It’s like this friend of my sister’s. He’s a computer programmer. When his place of work has an internet outage and he can’t get any actual work done, guess what he does? He brings out his iPad and programs for himself, just for fun.

So while I was taking a break from finishing one story I was already writing another. To be honest, life is so difficult right now, it’s great to be able to escape into my writing. I’d do it with reading too, if it weren’t for the fact that I read too fast and I tend to finish my books so soon I’d run out if I didn’t hold back a bit.

So, just wish me luck, ok? I really do have to finish these books before the end of January. Also, keep your fingers crossed that I can find the whole book I’ve been working on for over ten years on my old crashed computer, when my sister finally gets around to ‘performing surgery’ on it.

I think I can manage the other one on my own. When I had to stop there, I was doing so well. It was outside influences that forced me to leave off there, but I still know exactly what to do from there. As long as I get it back (from the crashed computer), I should be able to finish it pretty soon. All I need to do is find a new and better title for it, but that’s the least of my problems. I might want to change the title of the older work too, but I’ll see about that. Maybe I’ll add a poll or ask you guys to help out with that later on. If I get to finish it soon.

Dec 23

What would Conan Doyle think?

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 in Fandomlinks, Literature

I just read an article about literary spinoffs.

Maybe most of these won’t be to my taste. I’ve already read a few ‘modern’ continuations of classic novels and didn’t like them very much, unfortunately. Also, I’ve read reviews and articles about others and found that I probably wouldn’t care much for them either. But that’s just me. Some people might actually love these new versions of their old idols.

What interested me, as a fan fiction writer, was the following:

“Would Conan Doyle have objected to any of this? I like to think not. When the American actor William Gillette was seeking to insert a romantic interest into his stage play featuring Sherlock Holmes, he cabled Conan Doyle with the question May I marry him? – to which the author is reputed to have replied You may marry him, murder him, or do anything you like to him.

Writers ever since have been taking him at his word.”

The quote is from the article I mention above. Sounds like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wouldn’t object to anything we might make up about Sherlock Holmes or for that matter, anything authorised writers and tv producers might make of him. That’s good to know.

Oct 27

Science fiction predicting future technology…

Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 in Literature, Other

Hardly anyone can have missed all the articles that check off the hits and misses when it comes to predictions about technology from Back to the Future.

That started me thinking about books I’ve read and how many of those, or rather how few, that have relatively accurately predicted the time we live in today.

Since I grew up with a major sf fan I have inherited as many of dad’s old sf books as I wanted. Many of those are from the 1950’s and on.

Surprisingly many of all these books got most of today’s technology wrong.

A big exception is Arthur C Clarke who apparently has predicted so many things – not necessarily the things we use from day to day, but still, quite a bit.

I can’t say how many books supposedly set in the ‘future’, ie the 21th century, have completely missed the evolution of the personal computer, cell phones and the internet, many of them also television. Also, family structure is still stuck in the 1950’s. I found it quite funny that space ships were run by a big ship’s computer, but there was nothing else remotely ‘computerized’. There was also just one expert aboard the ship who could handle that computer – the astrogator, I think he was called. And of course it was always a ‘he’.

You’d think they would have been able to think of anything related to computers, but apparently not. There are references to ‘the cold sleep’ or ‘the long sleep’ (some kind of stasis or suspended animation), FTL-ships, all kinds of robots, clones, time travel and so on, but not computers, internet or cell phones.

However, there’s a big exception that I found really interesting. My dad had two sf books by a Russian-Swedish author named Vladimir Semitjov. He came to Sweden in 1923, so either his books were quite old when dad got his hands on them or he wrote them quite late in life – or maybe both. Anyway, they contain references to ‘video phones’ that people carry in their pockets and that is about the only time I’ve ever read anything like it in the sf classics.

I can’t say for sure if anyone has got the PC and the internet right – not out of all those older books, I think. Books written from the 1980’s and on do better, but of course that’s not all that surprising.

Sep 30

So many different fandoms…

Posted on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 in Fandom

Sometimes, I’ve been thinking about how many different fandoms there must be. I encounter other fanfic writers online and many times they have quite a few fandoms too, but not one single fandom is the same as any of mine. Or they might have one or two in common with me but nothing else. I write or have written in about 100 fandoms, counting the Nordic ones, but of course I’ve read and been involved with many other fandoms that I haven’t written in. At least several hundred. Especially if I’m not counting just tv and movies, but books too and I know there are plenty of other mediums as well. Can there be literally millions of fandoms? I suppose it’s possible. In a way, I wish there were better ways of finding the ones I’ll like and passing by all the ones that don’t seem interesting to me. It would make things easier. Now I’m not just talking about fandoms I might write about, but also any I might like to read and/or watch.

How many fandoms are you involved in? Do you know?

Sep 20

How I choose the books I read

Posted on Sunday, September 20, 2015 in Literature, My life

Since this is a book blog, I thought I’d get into how I choose the books I read. (After my writing-related blog posts, in case you’re wondering).

Originally, before I started hanging out online all the time, I would simply read the back cover blurbs. Most of the time, that worked for me because I have been reading books since I was four years old and my experience has taught me a lot about what I like and what I don’t.

Then when I went online, I found many online reviews and although I know that sometimes they are fake, I still think that if you see many positive reviews on many different sites, it has to mean something. Though frankly, it’s the bad reviews (not badly written ones of course) that help me the most. If a book get 99 % great reviews and there’s just one or two that isn’t nearly as positive, that might put me off the book, if what the review says makes sense to me.

There were already a handful of reviews for me to read, even back ‘before the internet’ but let’s face it, the few words quoted from fantasy magazines, other magazines and newspapers on the back covers or inside the book, were usually cropped so you’d only get a few vaguely positive words, that don’t really mean much. Remember?

I also got personal recommendations. Not that I personally knew many book lovers whose opinions I trusted, but you know – even one rec might make a difference. That reminds me of a time when I was probably in my late teens or early twenties. I used to come to Goteborg/Gothenburg to shop for books (before I found my favorite online bookstores) and in one of the stores there was a guy who loved fantasy books. A really nice, and quite good looking guy too, a little older than me,I think. Unfortunately, he already had a girlfriend… :/ He helped me with book recommendations and that was probably one of the first real life ones for me.

My acquaintances – because I can’t really call them friends – never seem to have enjoyed reading. What a miserable town this is. (But I won’t be here for much longer.) For instance, when I was nine, I was still being invited to birthday parties (and kept being invited for about a year or so more, before everyone decided I was too boring, or so I suspect). I was supposed to bring a present so I bought a book. What else would I have picked? The birthday girl said thank you, more politely than I would expected, looking back at how she turned out when she was older, then said: but I don’t really read books. What? At the time, I was mainly embarrassed, feeling like a fool, but looking back I’m also thinking – how on earth can someone not like reading?

Having read other book blogs, I know a bit about how other readers choose their books, but I’d still like to ask: How do you pick which books to read?

Sep 16

Bookish Q & A

Posted on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 in Fandomlinks, Literature

Apparently Nya Reads started this on Booklikes. I thought I’d do it too, here.

1. What is your favorite childhood book?

Oddly enough, I think it was The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater, because only a little later I would never read that book, because it was too sad. By then it was probably one of my picture books – one of Elsa Beskow’s classics or one of the international ones. I also liked Astrid Lindgren’s books and Maria Gripe’s.

2. E-books or printed books?

If I have to choose, printed books, but I do enjoy reading e-books too. The problem is, I won’t pay for them, so it’s either going to have to be a library book or one of the ‘internet freebies’. And the problem with the latter is that there are so few that are really good (though over the years I have found several that I really like).

3. What is your favorite place to read?

At home, mainly in bed.

4. Is there any genre you would never read?

Horror, vampire, werewolf and zombie stories (but I do like a good ghost story). I also don’t read anything that’s just romance, but I will read historic romances etc.

5. What’s your review rating system?

I’m not sure I have an actual system – or at least not one I’ve really thought much about. I do tend to give more 5 and 4 stars than 3 and practically never 2 and 1, simply because I don’t like giving a bad review and I also don’t specifically note when I don’t finish a book. I prefer to focus on the books I at least like and forget about the bad ones.

6. What is your favorite fictional character?

That’s a difficult question – picking just one. I have many different characters I like in different genres. I also find it hard to really say if one is a favorite or not, which may sound weird. There are definitely characters I like more than others, but rarely one that I really, really love. I suppose if I have to I can mention Faramir (from the LOTR books, not the movie) and Ged from Ursula K Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. And many others, but it’s too hard to choose so I’ll stop here.

7. What was the best film adaption of a book?

I think I’ll have to say LOTR, because what else have I seen? I don’t think the Narnia movies were as good, they differed too much from the books. Also, I have yet to see film adaptations of many of very favorite books. Outlander maybe? Though the first season of the series is a bit more gruesome than I remember from the first book. Also, the sex scenes tended to get a bit too much and I didn’t think that when I read the book. Cirkeln too, based on the Swedish book by the same name.

8. How do you chose the next book to read?

I read about them online usually. Both the ‘blurbs’ and reviews.

9. Top 3 authors?

Hm. Also a tough question. Just three?

J R R Tolkien

Agatha Christie

Janet Evanovich

Diana Wynne Jones

Ursula K LeGuin

Charles De Lint

Garth Nix

Gregory Frost

Frances Hardinge

Anthea Sharp

and many more that I found among my ‘internet freebies’

10. Is there any book release you are particularly looking forward to?

I don’t really follow new book releases like that. I have so many books on my TBR read list/online wish list, that I just try to pick my favorites first, never really managing to get round to all of them, unfortunately.

Sep 3

Slash in ‘conventional’ book publishing

Posted on Thursday, September 3, 2015 in Writing

Speaking of adult stories as I did in my last blog post, it occurred to me that all these years of fan fiction/slash really has had a result on ‘conventional’ book publishing.

When I was a teenager, I found myself inventing slash stories, even though I didn’t know anyone else who did (or read anything like that). Where I lived, in a small town, gay issues weren’t discussed. I’m sure gay people suffered discrimination. I do know that being different, albeit straight, was tough here, but then I suspect this is one of the worst towns in the world. I’m not exaggerating. Anyway, for years I didn’t write my stories down, and if I discussed them with anyone, it was my sister who tends to feel about the same as I do about most things.

Then a little later (early 20’s and so on) I decided that I would write my stories. It was fun but a bit embarrassing, because I couldn’t let anyone read them except my sister. Of course, my first stories were awful (and so was my poetry). Still, I don’t regret doing all this writing, because eventually I did get better (at least I hope so).

One day in the late 1990’s I was chatting on the Star Trek chat room (on – I think the site still exists, but the best before date has long since expired). Someone said ‘if you’re a writer, then you’ll be writing fan fiction too, right’? I was puzzled, because I’d never heard of fan fiction. It struck me as ridiculous and I couldn’t see why people would do it. Then, only a few weeks later, I remembered hey, those kinky stories I dreamed up when I was about 13, those were fan fiction (and slash even!) so why not? After that I spent more than ten years writing, writing, writing. Some original fiction, but mainly fan fiction. Even today, when things are extremely different, I sometimes look at one of my old stories and I’m amazed I wrote such good stories so long ago (sadly, I often encounter a different kind of story that I wiill occasionally delete).

What I was going to get to, eventually, by the time I’ve stopped cheering myself up by reminiscing about my good old fan fiction days, is that all those years when so many other people got used to reading and writing slash stories, eventually resulted in people writing such stories for publication.

Which is so much fun. In the past, especially in older books that I’d had handed down to me, anything gay was almost never mentioned, and if anything was, it was usually as an example of something related to mental illness. That’s why it’s so great to find all kinds of different books, not only romance stories that deal with gay (male) couples.

On the other hand, when gay gets more accepted, you tend to lose the plot device that deals with ‘the shameful secret’. I kind of miss that, even if real life is different and I think it’s great that people no longer have to hide.

Aug 27

TV, Books and Writing

Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2015 in My life

The third season of The Bridge (Bron), will soon be on Swedish tv. This time I really should be smart enough not to watch it. I should have learned my lesson from watching the first two seasons. I watched the first season and disliked it, particularly the ending. Despite that I went on to watch season 2, out of boredom and because the first episode was actually very interesting and exciting. The rest weren’t, but I stupidly continued watching until the end, that again, I disliked more than the whole rest of the series. By now, I should really learn from my experience.

At least there are a few other series I can watch instead.

In other news:

Since I wrote the Vera fanfic, I have also written two short original stories. It’s amazing, and I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be able to, only a week or so ago, but unfortunately, I’m not at all sure I’ll be able to finish the three books I’m working on and definitely not get started on the fourth book and two collections of short stories. I’m not really that inspired. It’s just something to do.

Today, I also discovered that I actually can borrow the two Maria Lang/Dagmar Lange mysteries as e-books – as long as I get a library card in a small town not far from here. I could get one right away, the next time I go and I might, but since I also might move there or closer to there, I think I’ll wait until I actually do move (which will be very soon, hopefully) at least if we can find a reasonable good house. We’ve already looked at a few, but none of them were a good fit for us.

In that town there’s also a really great supermarket with lots of locally grown (organic) vegetables and fruit. It’s the best shop I’ve seen anywhere. Finally, there’s also a very nice, but a bit expensive cafe.

Aug 14

Why do books still exist, asks a teenager

Posted on Friday, August 14, 2015 in Fandomlinks, Links, Literature

When you think about it’s kind of weird that we still have books in our technologically advanced society. But they’re here to stay, argues teen site member Orli.

Read more here.

Aug 3

Indian tea-seller who hawks his books on Amazon

Posted on Monday, August 3, 2015 in Links, Literature

The most famous tea seller in the Indian capital, Delhi, Laxman Rao, is also a prolific Hindi-language author whose novels are now available on online platforms like Amazon.

Read more here.


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