Shared posts

09 Jul 18:11

Banff Springs Hotel: 1905

by Dave
Alberta, Canada, circa 1905. "Mount Rundle and the Banff Springs Hotel." Nineteenth-century Canadian Pacific Railway resort that gradually morphed into the vast stone edifice rising above Bow Falls today. View full size.
14 May 22:52

The Southern Reach

by JRSM
I'd long been aware of the writing of Jeff Vandermeer, but had always avoided it, having somehow gained the impression that it was going to be irritatingly wacky in a "Gosh, I'm Just So Crazy" way. That his own publishing company is called Cheeky Frawg didn't help matters.

But I was intrigued by the pre-publication blurbs for his Annihilation, the first book in a trilogy about a weird, possibly alien-infected, zone of danger and peculiarity and the people attempting to get to grips with it: a development of the ideas from the classic Strugatsky brothers' novel Roadside Picnic (filmed as Stalker). That all three books in the trilogy were already written and being released over a period of only nine months helped--no waiting around for years to read the end of the story, with the added worry of the author dropping dead before they finished writing it.

Annihilation was in fact very good indeed, and now I'm reading the newly released second book, Authority (the final volume comes out in September), which may be even better. I seem to have sorely misjudged Vandermeer, and I apologise.

it doesn't hurt that all three books, published by FSG in the US, have beautiful  cover designs by Charlotte Strick, making use of unsettling illustrations by Eric Nyquist. The line art is printed with metallic ink, which is very effective in the flesh. (Click all images for bigger versions.)






Nyquist is also responsible for the end papers to each volume, picturing the lush and weirdly wrong wildlife of Area X.





Nyquist has even animated the three covers for added freakiness.

 



The books are published in the UK by Fourth Estate, and have the misfortune to have perfectly good cover designs that are kicked completely into the shade by Nyquist and Strick's work.




26 Jun 13:30

10 Things I Hate About Writing/Being a Writer

by j.a. kazimer

EXTREME EDITION:
 
I love being a writer. I love words. I love making readers laugh. Even more, I love making readers gasp in surprise. Writing is why I wake up each morning (okay, afternoon). So you’re probably asking yourself (if you are a twelve year old girl), if you love writing so much why don’t you marry it? If you’re a bit older, the question might be phrased a little differently but the ideas the same. If I love writing, why did I title this post the Top Ten Things I Hate about Writing/Being a Writer? What kind of idiot does that? 
Mostly because I can. So there! 
10.  Spelling. That i before e rule is just bullshit! Yes, here it is: My name is Julie and I’m a terrible speller. If I could marry spellcheck I would. Our bond is strong and has lasted nearly a lifetime. Of course spell check is known for cheating and the occasional horrific gaff. Genius to penis in an email to my grandmother comes to mind. 
9.   Waiting. The publishing industry is all about waiting. Waiting to finish a book. Waiting for agents to read said book. Waiting for tens and perhaps hundreds of agents to reject the same manuscripts. Waiting for an editor to read the manuscript that the agent who kept you waiting for six months before it went out on submission. Waiting for the contract. Waiting for the release date, which is likely a year and a half from now. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. If you can survive the waiting with a shred of sanity than you will succeed. 
8.  Self-promotion.  Even though this is number 8, it sucks more than many of the other things on this list. I don’t mind sending emails to bookstores asking to hold a booksigning at their bookstore. I have no problem wiring a press release or emailing a pitch idea to a news organization. These are things that authors have to do. What I don’t like is going on social media sites and selling myself or my books. I like to interact with my facebook friends. I want to share stuff with my followers on twitter. I like to blog about other books and sometimes politics on my blog. I understand that self-promotion is a necessary evil, but too often that evil is taken too far. 
 
7.  Reviews.  I’m not going to whine about bad reviews. Yes, they happen. And yes, it sucks when you get one.  Enough said. 
6.  Critique Groups.  My first critique group was invaluable, but I didn’t learn so much about craft as I did about ego and bitterness. And really, what other professions offer critiques from peers as a means of bettering one’s self? Can you imagine a group of cops sitting around a doughnut shop…okay, bad analogy…but you get my point.  
5.   Grammar. I know. I know. I already said spelling and the ‘i before e’ rule, but grammar deserves its own special acknowledgement of hellishness. Present, past, past perfect. WTF? How is it language, the means of communication and ideas, has so many damn rules?  
4.  Readers. Okay, so this might sound harsh, but readers can be so annoying. Not you. You are FABULOUS! But readers sometimes want stuff to make sense, want characters who they love, want a plot that works, and then on top of that, they want perfect spelling and grammar. What am I, a rocket scientist? I picked a career in writing so I didn’t have to work…
3.  Other Writers.  Yeah, you know who you are. You’re always trying to get me to hangout in bars and talk in words. Hmmm…scratch that. I only hate writers who don’t pay for my drinks! Or are better at writing than me. Or the ones who sell more books. Oh and those damn bestsellers, what a bunch of…wordies.  
2.  Punctuation. I love you apostrophe. But damn can you be possessive. 
1.  Writing.  Did I mention this already?
What do you hate about writing/being a writer?