clo_again: (Monkton - Where are we going?)
This post was originally going to be a Merry Christmas and then Happy New Year and then that New Year meme that does the rounds every December/January...

...and then I thought it'd got a bit past all that and I'd talk about getting fanfiction printed into bound books instead. (And then I left this post sitting half-written for about two weeks and I'm finally posting it in a rush just to get the damn thing off my to-do list.)

So on New Years Eve I was being somewhat sad and stuck at home with family + guests and, as I seem to end up doing quite often around Christmas and NYE for reasons of a nostalgic nature, I was idly re-reading some of the fanfiction that I've loved almost longer than any other fic: BagEnders. (For those of you yet to encounter the wonders of BagEnders, it essentially follows the premise of 'Let's make the original Fellowship from Lord of the Rings immortal, assume they've all lived through history, and stick them together in a three-bedroom house in the year 2000, with all the ensuing psychological, social and lack-of-personal-space issues you'd expect from being several millenia old and still having to live with Gandalf. It's rough and typo-filled and ridiculous, and still one of the best things I've ever read on the internet). It was written way back in internet terms - around 2001 - and it's been gradually disappearing from the internet over the years; the website crashed back in 2004ish and some stuff got put back up, but only the first series is really accessible on there these days. Various efforts have been made to save it but there's a general feeling that one day in the not-to-distant-future, it's going to vanish.

With some widespread Googling and much c&ping, I collected the last few chapters on series III on NYE, and sat back with a glow of contentment. Now it'll be mine forever! I'll always have BagEnders!

Until a snide little thought said, my computer breaks. Until they're no longer on the internet and replaceable. Then what?

Side-track: when I went backpacking around Australia a few years ago, I invaded the house of [ profile] chickybee32, a long-term (maybe my longest actually!) internet friend. We met a long long time ago because of an epic-length fic she'd written called Bitter Wine and, while I was staying with her, she showed me a paperback book - Bitter Wine, neatly formatted and printed into an actual bound paperback by another mutual friend as a present. It was fic! In a book! With chapters and actual pages and collected stories in the same 'verse at the back!

In short? It was super cool. Fic in an actual book format. I can't be alone in thinking that's pretty nifty.

Ever since I've sort of hovered around the vague idea of getting my favourite fics printed into books because honestly, I re-read all the time. I read new books constantly too but if I'm cleaning my teeth or stirring the pasta or just want something to occupy my brain for half an hour without having to process anything beyond letters on a page, I pick up old books. I open them to random pages, I re-read paragraphs and lines or entire chapters, in pieces and snatched minutes. I've re-read my entire Tamora Pierce collection dozens of times and constantly have at least one of them on the go; I'm currently heading towards the end of Squire for the umpteenth time, after reading odd paragraphs while cleaning my teeth for two weeks.

I would love to do this with fic, but. It is tricky impossible to do this with a laptop. For a while I clung to the idea of getting a Kindle and filling it full of fic but that's hardly a safe thing to have near a running tap in the bathroom and I quickly realised it wouldn't be any sort of assurance of safety for much-loved fic in the long run; a Kindle is, basically, just a mini-computer and we all know what computers do in the end - break. Usually at the most inconvenient moments ie, when you've lost your backup/s.

So I'd been sitting on this idea of fic-books for a long time, without really ever getting around to researching it. I thought it'd be expensive, maybe, or there'd be copyright issues if the company noticed what they were printing (not that I'd have any intention of selling fic-books to anyone other than myself because hey, no and also not mine to sell and did I mention no? - but it kind of bugged me. So, I'd left it.

But with the thought of BagEnders graually vanishing, and it being the start of a shiny new year and also fic-books would be really really cool, I Googled for printing services. First option up was and, after browing for a few reviews on the service, I thought it looked promising. I spent about a day trying to format my BagEnders chapters into something approaching consistent - Lulu asks for .pdf files with all fonts embedded etc. which is super-easy to do with OpenOffice (on Writer, just go File -> Export as .pdf and hit save. Lulu has a step-by-step gide, although you may have to open an account with the site to read it - accounts are free and easy though!) but it's way more important for a book to be consistently formatted than a collection of chapters posted on separate webpages - chapter titles had to stand out, Author Notes to be italicised, footnotes etc.

Towards the end I was sick of staring at the thing and I figured I'd save what I had - which was almost a completely-formatted version of series I and II complete with all the comic strips originally drawn for the fic by Calima that are still available on the website - and upload it to Lulu just to see. I wasn't intending to print it yet - I still wasn't sure it was a great idea - but I wanted to test the Lulu process and so, I hit publish and followed the steps and I'd designed a cover to fit the A5 format using another one of Calima's illustrations and-

-and yeah, I got to the final step and it was there looking at me in all it's shiny temptingness - and I clicked publish.

(Aside: Lulu claims that you are "publishing" these books and will go some way to make it seem official, offering you the option of an ISBN and prcntages of sales etc., but during the creating process they offer you three options: publish outright and make available to buy, complete with ISBN; publish privately for only you to view/purchase; and another option that I've forgotten and probably isn't that important since the other two are the ones we want. For fic-books, I'm pretty sure the option will always be "PUBLISH JUST FOR ME" because you get royalties or some such if other people buy something you've 'published' and even if it's your own fic, that's getting into pretty sketchy territory legally. I can't stop you doing it, but I recommend you don't. Seriously. Don't.)

So I'd published the damn thing, formatting errors and all, and when it took me to the private-to-me book page after, I ordered a copy. With series I and II included plus illustrations (I didn't think I could fit III into Lulu's 740-page limit), it came to 612 pages for an A5 paperback which cost £10.34, plus £2.99 p&p. If you order multiple items - as far as I've tested anyway - p&p goes up by £1 per item; there may be a limit on this or there may not. For 612 pages though, I figured that was pretty good.

Three days later, it arrived (image heavy) )

A few days after BagEnders arrived, I got twitchy with the knowledge that I could create fic books. This time I wanted to test things I'd learned from BagEnders (smaller font size, margin sizes etc.) but I didn't want to spend another entire day formatting, so I looked for a fic that was already formatted pretty perfectly and that would c&p as such. Plus, it had to be something I'd re-read enough to justify the money, and long enough to justify the book. With all that in mind I went for The Student Prince, a modern-day Merlin AU by FayJay. I re-read it fairly regularly, it's a proper book-length at 147,000 words, plus it wasn't too NC-17-rated (I'm still not entirely comfortable sending anything too dubious off to some company somewhere to print because hey, they might not read anything they're sent but then again, they have to check the printing and such; I didn't want to risk them banning me before I've even got started) and it had the nice bonus of, on the surface, looking like just another King Arthur story that anyone could've written without reference to the TV show. Formatting was mostly a simple matter of c&p, making sure the chapters started on a new page, and finding a cover design. Published it all up, ordered - £8.51 + £2.99 p&p; it came in at 525 pages of US trade paperback size, which is larger in surface area than A5 so they probably charge by page count instead - and ordered. In the same thee-day turnaround, it was dispatched and arrived.

The Student Prince by Fay Jay )

So, that's and fic books. I like Lulu a lot; the step-by-step process is easy, and the print inside the book is sharp and perfect. Even the comic strips have printed beautifully. Aside from a few hiccups like the cover type and margin size - which I guess is why they recommend you order proof copies of everything you 'publish' - I have no issues with the two books. I love them and I'm going to keep them for a long time; I've already formatted several other of my favourite fics into .pdf files waiting to be printed, along with an anthology of all my favourite Stargate: Atlantis fic because it all seems to be around the novella-length instead of novel. Someday in the future I'll have a bookcase full of my favourite fic, bound and shiny and free from the threat of computer malfunctions.


Other stuff is happening. Today I went to a wonderfully unexpected old-fashioned Penny Arcade in Southport; I lovedlovedloved the third episode of Sherlock; Silent Witness is hopefully going to be on again next month which I'm super-excited about; I'm still working at the hospital a a temp, although I'm feeling like that may not last too much longer; I've read many wonderful non-fic books; I'm going with [ profile] jesse_kips to see the marvellous Propeller perform Henry V in February and I can't wait.

But all that will be another post, because I should've been in bed an hour ago. :)

eta: Oh dear god that was an epic amount of html!fail to fix. NOW I AM GOING TO BED.
clo_again: (Pigs Might Fly)
When I was about eleven, I decided that I wanted to be a writer. I handwrote a seven-page story about me and my friends finding a kitten called Smudge in the local church; it took about three nights after school and I was as proud of it as if I'd written a seven-hundred-page novel. After that I went through the usual learning-how-to-write-while-being-a-crazy-teenager process; I wrote stories based on books I'd read, I wrote stories about my friends, I created ridiculous female characters who Obi-Wan Kenobi and Legolas immediately fell in love with (and I'll never stop being glad that I learned what a Mary-Sue was before those had a chance to make it onto the shiny new thing called the Internet).

But in and around those things, I read. I read everything. I worked through the children's/teen section of my local library and picked up books at school, stole books that my brother had for birthdays and scavenged anything literary around the house that looked like I might possibly be able to read. And one night - I don't know if I'd run out of books at the library but I know I was searching for anything to read - I went to the pile of sci-fi/fantasy novels that my mother collected haphazardly and went over them with sticky book-wanting fingers. Based on nothing more than a liking for the cover art, I picked out The White Dragon and took it downstairs to the sofa where I promptly got the side-eye from my mother who was sitting across the room.

"Why are you reading that?" she asked.

I shrugged and said, "It looked interesting."

She hmmmed a bit. "It's probably not the best place to get into the series. You should start with the first book."

I shrugged again and said "I like the look of this one," already several pages in, and she left it.

It's never really occurred to me before but there are very few authors or book series that I can clearly remember picking up for the first time. Tamora Pierce (Alanna: the First Adventure at a high school book fair, the kind that had metal boxes that opened outwards into shelves of books), Neil Gaiman (American Gods from Waterstone's in Cardiff, just before a long train journey home that I entirely spent reading). Jasper Fforde (The Eyre Affair, when he came to do a talk at my university). And, earlier than any of those, Anne McCaffrey's The White Dragon.

I quickly realised my mother was right and it was a terrible place to begin the series, but I finished the book, liked it, was intrigued. When careful perusal of the book list in the front revealed that Dragonflight was the recommended place to start - and an irritated rummage through the McCaffrey books we owned proved that it wasn't among them - I bought it. Immediately when I finished, I was delighted to discover Dragonquest on our bookshelf and my school library had Dragonsinger, while the local library had The Crystal Singer and I found Freedom's Landing forgotten in a cupboard and slowly, over a few years, I worked my way through the Talent and Ship series' and argued with a schoolfriend over whether McCaffrey stole the title for Power Play from a Sweet Valley High book or vice versa (no, seriously).

When it came time to pick somewhere we wanted to go for work experience, I knew exactly what I wanted to do; I wanted to spend time with a writer. I sat down and, in wobbly teenage writing on my best paper with a horse's head on the corner, I wrote to Anne McCaffrey to ask if I could gatecrash her house for a week so she could teach me everything I needed to know to write fabulous dragon books.

Of course it was a ridiculous request. Looking back, I can't believe I actually sincerely and utterly believed I'd get a "Yes! Come to Ireland immediately!" response back by return post but I did. I posted it and waited a couple of days alternating between panic - what if it got lost? how was I even supposed to get to Ireland, from Wales? Swim? - and excitement, and back to panic etc. For a few days and then a few more, nothing.

And then maybe a week later, two at most, I got a letter back. Typed on paper headed 'DRAGONHOLD-UNDERHILL', it said - very politely - that she didn't think my family would like me to go running away to Ireland to live with a complete stranger, regardless if she was old enough to be my grandmother. But, it said, where you live isn't such a small town and a newspaper or a bookshop would be invaluable work experience for an aspiring writer. And read she said, read everything - "so you know what has been said as well as how it has been said."

It concluded "Good luck" and was hand-signed, in blue biro.

I know this after all this time, because that letter is in my hand right now.

I'm so glad that I'm a massive hoarder who never throws anything away; my only regret is that it's not dated, although I could pretty easily work out which year I went for work experience (in the end, at a newspaper. It was invaluable; it taught me that I never want to be a newsaper journalist). I was disappointed by the 'no' but at the same time, I had a letter from an author. The name on the front of the book was a person, sitting in front of a computer screen somewhere under a hill in Ireland and taking the time to reply to a teenage fangirl (the letter in no way reads like it was typed by an assistant and then merely signed; I believed then and I believe now she typed every word herself). Authors existed, as people.

In the years after that I discovered the internet. Some time in those years, I found out that the internet had a generally low opinion of Anne McCaffrey. She'd said some silly things, her books had issues. She hated fanfiction. Being a McCaffrey fan was something you 'grew out of'. More and more, I left her books on the shelf while I re-read Pierce and Jacques and Wynne Jones. I picked up The Crystal Singer again last year and was surprised that I found Killashandra irritating and stuck-up. 'Grown out of it' I thought, and packed all my McCaffrey in stacked layers on the bookshelf out in the hallway while books I re-read and loved more stayed in my room.

And then on Tuesday, after a lovely day of tennis at the O2, I turned on my netbook for a quick check of Twitter and was surprised to see 'Anne McCaffrey' trending. Because she'd died, aged 85.

I was sad; it's been a rough year already with losing Diana Wynne Jones, but I wasn't really sure how I felt. I'd grown out of McCaffrey a long time ago. Hadn't I? She said those dumb things, she wasn't really something you named among your loves as a serious adult fantasy fan.

But in the last day or so, I've read a lot of tributes. Everyone says the same: she was wonderful. 'She made me believe in female heroes', 'in girl characters not backing down from a fight', 'in dragons'. And I started to think about the number of comments I've read over the years along the lines of "I started with the Dragons of Pern books when I was a teenager" and you know, I realised there's been a lot.

A lot of people in fandom today have an Anne McCaffrey story. I bet even more people outside of fandom do. No matter what she said or believed throughout a career that spanned decades and won pretty much every fantasy award going, there are countless people out there in the world who can say "I started loving dragons/fantasy/female heroes/etc when I first read Anne McCaffrey at age x."

I think that counts for a lot more than anything else.

RIP Anne. I bet your queen dragon in the afterlife is amazing.

(I'm re-reading The Crystal Singer again and you know what? Killashandra is irritable and arrogant... and she doesn't take shit from anyone.

I remember why I love her, now.)
clo_again: (Novak - mine is an evil laugh)
It's been torrential rain all day. Mist is now drifting in to hide the trees across from my window and I'm finding things to do in a lazy non-productive way. Like remaking Softer Worlds and in particular this one-

-which reminded me of a fic I started writing back at the glorious start of the year when Murray and Novak seemed determined to publicly out themselves as a couple, where Novak's a vampire (and a tennis player) and Murray was still his best friend (until he wasn't). It was going to be loosely-tied together scenes from The Life of Novak Djokovic, Vampire, until Murray wouldn't go away and I realised his side of the scenario would be more interesting anyway.

I like the idea of Novak as a vampire and how it works with things like his pickiness with food, the way he had trouble with heat for a long time and of course Murray would know, because a twelve-year old vampire!Novak would never be able to keep something like that secret.

I never finished (are you surprised?) - honestly I never even finished the first scene, or the second where Murray found a baby vampire Novak crying the locker rooms of a tournament they played when they were twelve because he was too young to deal well with sunlight - but I still liked the very beginning and since it's a lazy rainy Saturday, I fixed a few of the more awkward sentences in what I had written and thought I'd post it. It's 2317 words by OpenOffice's word count but they've always been more optimistic than accurate for me.

Don't expect this to ever be finished, or potentially to even get more scenes (although I've always wanted to write the Australia one referenced in this, because Novak looked terrible in that 2010 match against Tsonga and there's so much to do with that) but because I'm bored and it's raining and maybe posting something will actually make me write something, anything:

the one with the vampire's ex-best friend, implied djokovic/murray, pg for blood, this part bite-free )


In other news re. my last post I caved and bought The Quiet War (the book that Gardens of the Sun follows on from. A few pages in and Sri Hong-Owen (not yet a lady captain) has shown up in the background but I'm hopful that she's going to be more major very soon.

Interestingly, the other books by Paul McAuley list in the front of this one is in the proper order, with Gardens of the Sun last after The Quiet War. I don't even know what goes on in your heads Gollancz.

I have many, many things I should be doing before Doctor Who later. I must not read all evening instead. Really.

clo_again: (Howl's Moving Castle - Temper Tantrums)
(This got much longer than I intended. Er. Skip if you're not a book reader?)

Dear Gollancz (and since I have encountered this issue with other books, to all publishers also) )
clo_again: (NSS - Like We Need Your Support)
I'm trying hard to be cheerful this week. Sometimes I'm getting there; sometimes I feel like hitting things with a stick. Think I'm getting to the part of being unemployed where it's not really fun anymore and the parents are getting the point where they really start nagging, and I've had a busy few weeks so I'm tired and oh, I don't know. The relentlessly depressing news this week isn't helping either. I wish someone in the know, somewhere, would let me get a sneak peak at my Life Plan so I know what to do next.

But! Until that happens, I'm mostly sleeping more than I need to and trying to catch up on some of my reading; since I'm currently trying to read The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, those two things are overlapping a bit. I'm trying to enjoy it but the main character keeps doing incredibly dumb things like chasing will'o the wisps in the middle of the night and I'm left going "YOU STUPID WOMAN HAVE YOU NEVER READ ANYTHING EVER?" Things like saying "thank you" to a faery being incredibly ill-advised are treated like revelations which er, no. There's a thousand YA books set in and around the supernatural/Faery out there right now; unless this is the very first one you read (unlikely, considering book 2 in the trilogy is marketed with a massive sticker on the front saying 'THE NEXT TWILIGHT!') none of it is surprising.

I'm wondering if I should bother finishing it, considering that I have no intention of picking up the next two books in the trilogy, and also I picked up The Lies of Locke Lamora secondhand yesterday, which is a book I've been desperate to read for ages (Robin Hood-esque hero who steals from the rich and uh, keeps it? Perhaps in a roguish and occasionally noble way? Yes please!) But I really don't like not-finishing books. Hhm. Maybe I'll make a hot chocolate and motor on through in hope that it gets better.

On a book-tangent, I found an absolutely brilliant secondhand bookshop in Morecambe today! It was a maze of ceiling-high shelves all packed with books, with bits of ceiling falling onto the floor in places and wooden ramps up and down levels and an owner with a Border Terrier that he was getting to do trcks for treats. It was amazing, like something someone would make up in a slightly eccentric novel and not like a real place at all, only it was. And the science fiction section had so many books (I picked up Dune, which I'm ashamed to admit that I've never read). Morecambe itself wasn't really anything to write home about but I'd go back for this bookshop. I wish it was in Lancaster where I go all the time, though I suspect then I'd soon be needing more bookcases. Which I don't have room for. Woe.

...That turned into rather longer of book-related thoughts than I expected. Related: would you say that reading all seven of the Harry Potter books makes you a "real fan"? I rather thought it just made me an average person, but yesterday the-post-boy-from-the-hospital-job seemed surprised that I'd read them all. I mean, it's Harry Potter; it's not as if I said I'd read all of Dickens or anything (which I haven't. The dude was paid by the word and it shows).

I guess I was just surprised he thought it surprising; maybe it's just from being in and around fandom so long but I was sort of assuming that it was more weird not to have read them.

Speaking of the post boy, he dragged me a 'small walk' around Rydal Water (a 'small' lake near Grasmere) yesterday evening. Over two hours later, I was limping back to the car thinking wistfully of the bottle of water I hadn't bothered to pack. Never be friends with anyone who runs half-marathons as a holiday; you'll either become super!fit very quickly, or die halfway up a mountain somewhere.

That said, it was very pretty )

I mentioned that I'd like to see Wastwater at some point and he jumped on the idea of making it a daytrip. I'm packing water next time. And suncream, and food, and blister plasters, and maybe several careful hints about how, you know, I'm all for hiking in moderate doses but I have no intention of making it a lifestyle.


Concluding notes: [ profile] scoobydumblonde, I have a post started with the answers to your meme questions but I keep getting stuck on the first one. I'm working on it.

[ profile] jesse_kips, I bought tinned pineapple today ready for a second (and hopefully more successful) attempt at pineapple cupcakes. :DDDD Did you want me to have them nom-ready when you arrive or should we take time out from the Psych marathon to make them?

Everyone else...keep smiling. Hopefully next week will be better.
clo_again: (Pigs Might Fly)
Pictures, Booklist and Progress )
clo_again: (Big Nothing - only smarties have the ans)
Packing my fantasy paperbacks and idly opened The Elfstones of Shannara; I loved the Shannara series a *lot* when I was about twelve because it had elves and magical swords and epic quests. I read Lord of the Rings a lot later so I didn't connect the similarities between the two until my dissertation on the fantasy genre when Shannara was included in every single list of books that copied from LotR. I thought "Actually yeah, I see that!" and moved on since it wasn't really important.

But flicking through just one of the series now, I keep stumbling across names. Like Elessedil. Durin. A mysterious dark-clothed stranger called Allanon. The quest party in The Sword of Shannara had a druid, two 'normal' people from a sheltered idyllic place, a dwarf, two elves and a man who was a prince of somewhere, which is kind of beyond inspiration and into the realms of...seriously Terry Brooks, did you think no one would notice or did you just not care?

Now I feel bad for throwing Magician by Raymond E Feist across the room when I got to the chapter where the quest party reached some impassable mountains and were planning to use ancient dwarf caverns to travel underneath, only there was a Balrog something nasty lurking in the dark. I mean, the only reason I didn't let Feist get away with it is that I didn't come across Magician until I was smart enough to spot the ripoff.

Oh Tolkien. I wonder if you're spinning in your grave like Stéphane Lambiel on the ice or if you'd be flattered? Hm.

eta: I just bashed my toe on the full box of fantasy paperbacks. Now my toe really hurts. Curse you Anne McCaffrey!
clo_again: (Paul McDermott - Help Me!)
Well L.J. Smith has spoken in that frustratingly vague, dateless way she and her publishers seem so fond of and the word is that Strange Fate is indeed not coming out until after The Forbidden Game reprint in June (okay so I am slightly excited about that because it means I get to make everyone I know read it instead of being too ashamed/possessive to loan out my battered copies) and definitely not before the new Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight in July. But is she saying there'll be another Vamp Diaries trilogy after that and before Strange Fate? Or does she mean a collected volume of the three Return books?

Frankly to me, it reads that Strange Fate won't be out until next year. I'm getting a little tired of this. I'm leaving it on pre-order because well, a decade of waiting to be able to even pre-order it makes even that a step in the right direction and plus my pre-order price is £3.49 so no matter how much Amazon decide to charge for it, that's what I'll pay and it's less than the money I spend on my average train ticket so I can't complain.

But fuck a monkey Simon & Schuster, what the hell possessed you to announce it as being released last year, this year, later this year, then next year without any kind of official word? I can't imagine it was intentional. If anything, it's killed a lot of my buzz for the book.

Pah. I'm going to watch Bones and be bitter now. I don't like having my loyalty to a book series abused so pointlessly (and thoughtlessly). Honestly I suspect it won't be worth the wait and I don't recommend anyone picking up the Nightworld series in anticipation. Buy The Forbidden Game trilogy in June instead; *that* is worth the reading.
clo_again: (Silent Witness - Emilia)
I need new icons. And also to get a life. But mostly I need icons.

I don't even know what I want new icons of (besides, obviously, Silent Witness because it's a silly show that has silly plots and yet has ridiculously attractive Emilia Fox flirting with ridiculously tousled Tom Ward and is rather delightful because of them and completely in spite of the silly plots.) Less tennis, because traditionally this is the time of year I stop paying attention to tennis until Wimbledon. Definitely some Merlin because it's rather shameful that I've been lacking in Bradley James' lovely pratface and Colin Morgan's cheekbones until now.

It's worrying that this is important. I should not be so concerned about icons when I'm a jobless bum. Hm. Crackers icons don't matter. Except when they do. Which is apparently now.

I'm supposed to be working on a review post for the Read My Own Height books that I read in January but I haven't started yet. That's probably slightly more important, maybe.

...I feel there should be a webcomic somewhere to sum up the complete pointlessness of these dilemmas.
clo_again: (Paul McDermott - Happy Face)
Just went to check my email and was puzzled to see an "your Amazon order has dispatched!" title because I hadn't ordered or preordered anything due for dispatch. Except reading on revealed that it was for the Hunger Games sequel. Which wasn't listed for release until SEPTEMBER 7TH. My expected delivery date was September 14th.

Amazon I love you. So so so much. No doubt it'll arrive on Tuesday when I'm stuck working the coffee shop (whole 'nother whinefest there which you'll probably get tomorrow or Sunday) until 1pm but dude, still. I AM RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED.

This makes up a little for the fact that I have cramps and want a shower but I stopped to watch Paul McDermott on David & Kim (already <3'd his Converse on Twitter; however, I really have no love for your morning tv hosts Aussies. You need the BCC, stat. I mean... talking about her nits? Eeeewwwwwwwwwwwww. Thankfully Paul seemed equally weirded out by it, so it's not just my Britishness kicking in) and while I oogled Paul McDermott's Converse-wearing, my father stole the bathroom. Even though they have an ensuite. If they aren't going to use the damn thing then I may as well have had their room and then I wouldn't have to tiptoe up an extra flight of stairs to avoid waking them every night. Faaaaaaail!

Early book dispatches and Mr McDermott do make up for a lot though. <3

edt: This would've been so much easier than trying to make my own Cool Wall on my pinboard at uni. I would of course not use the preprinted magnets and instead would be printing out MYRIAD people, things and TV shows to fill it with. I kind of want to make a sticky Cool Wall LJ post now which I can update every so often. Hm. What would my standard of Cool be though? Considering I don't really buy in to Jeremy's former Kristen Scott Thomas reaction method.
clo_again: (Propeller - Screweth Thou)
I've just waited all day for a shower because [ profile] kindoftrouble's iPhone was getting delivered today and I knew the second I stepped in the shower, they'd be at the door trying to deliver it. I've been listening for the very-definitely-noticeable doorbell (it plays a loud tune. There are trumpets. The first time I heard it I thought it was an oddly modern fire alarm; it is not missable) all day and since they tried to deliver it yesterday around 3:15, from 3pm onwardsI specifically didn't leave the lounge. I'm sitting almost next to the doorbell speaker.

Nothing. At 4:02pm, I decide to run downstairs to see if they've tried to deliver it earlier and I missed it.

Apparently they called at 4pm. They'll try again tomorrow.



No love (seriously; what the fuck? If I'd run down two minutes earlier I would've caught you putting the card through the door. Should I be psychic now?)

Seriously. TRY HARDER.



On the plus side I did finish The Demon's Lexicon today (I only bought it yesterday because I finished Knife, which was supposed to last me the entire trip, during my three hours in Lancaster) and enjoyed it muchly. Couple of times on the way through I went "...I'm not entirely sure what you did there" but the ending was sweet as. I'd much rather have a book with a few minor wobbles on the way through and a kick-ass ending than the other way around, because it's so much more satisfying. It was excellent. Go forth and buy!

Knife was pretty good too. The main guy-love-interest was called Paul and I was amused at the universe because I bought this book to read before my Paul McDermott obsession but didn't get around to picking it up until I needed a new book for the train ride. I think I can probably count on one hand the books I've read with a major character called Paul. (Though no, the Bible does not count. Probably. It might not actually make that much difference to the tally).

The only thing now is that I need another book for the trip home. Damn. Suspect a trip to Forbidden Planet may be in order (isn't it always when I'm in London?) Except this time I am allowed to buy one book only. Take note.

Okay, well since, apparently, either delivery people fail at doorbells or I'm now experiencing doorbell-specific deafness, I'm going for a shower. And to think up a way to tell [ profile] kindoftrouble that she has to wait for her shiny new iPhone. Uh. Hopefully she won't have her vengeance by letting Derren Brown use me as a mind control guinea pig tonight (hurrah! Derren Brown!)


Before I go, one more thing; Dear Wimbledon, when you're showing Andy Roddick's match DO NOT SHOW ME A CLOSE-UP OF AN ANKLE BEING WORKED ON WHEN I'VE BEEN TOO BUSYING BLOGGING TO KNOW THAT IT'S NOT ANDY. That was a horrible horrible moment until you panned back. Don't do it again, kthnx.

clo_again: (John Simm - Made of awesome)
When people said that New Zealand eats money, they really weren't joking. I was just going to do the (free!) museum today but in the lift last night I spotted a poster for this LotR tour including Weta and... yeah. They actually pick up outside the museum though, so I'm figuring on a couple of hours museuming and then the tour and then some shopping to actually find somewhere that sells NZ jumpers/sweaters because it's really getting cold. Everyone keeps telling me to buy thermals for the south island.

Worse, I think they're actually serious. Where do you even buy thermals from? I don't exactly live in a country where you ever need them.

On a different note entirely, I ordered Paul McDermott's The Forgetting of Wisdom three weeks ago. Thought to ask my parents this week if 'anything had arrived for me recently' and was told no, nothing. Sent an email back basically along the lines of !!!!!!!!???????

And this morning they emailed to say "Well a book called The Forgetting of Wisdom arrived for you a week ago, is that what you meant?"

...And my parents were worried about me on my trip. You know what, I think they should spend more time worrying about the fact they have no clue what's going on.

Now I have to apologise to a nice Amazon marketplace seller for telling her the book hadn't arrived. Sigh. At least I hadn't asked for a refund yet, just double-checked when it was posted, so it is just a matter of grovelling a little.

Parents. There're no words.

(On yet another note, I'm staying in the YHA in Wellington and it's lovely. My view is out across the harbour and kicks ass, plus the beds are the most comfortable of any hostel so far. Nice hostels ftw! I'm a bit sad that I'm only here the two nights but tomorrow I head to Nelson. And in Nelson there's the shop of the jewellers who designed the One Ring for LotR... and they make replicas. No I'm not planning on emptying my bank account at all.

clo_again: (Maneki Neko - Year of the Cow)
Tamora Pierce's new book is out while I'm in Oz and I was mourning possibly not being able to get it until I get back because I know her stuff pretty much only sells through Amazon over here right now.

But apparently! Australia gets the paperback at the same time as the US gets the hardback, so I should be able to pick up a copy at the end of April just from a bookstore. Yay! I should arrange it so I'm in a city then so I have lots of bookstores to trawl. Hhmmm.

Sometimes I think if I landed on an alien planet, my first greeting would be "Take me to your bookshops!" Then I'd probably buy too many based on teh pretty even though they'd be in unreadable Alienease.

... Even though they aren't written in Alienease (unless there's something I've really been missing about Australia)I cannot buy the entire contents of an Australian bookshop. They won't fit in my backpack.

...Note to self: buy bigger backpack.
clo_again: (Dustfinger - Incandescence)
Tagged by [ profile] mayakitten

A) People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blog and replace any question that they dislike with a new, original question.

B) Tag eight people. Don't refuse to do that. Don't tag who tagged you.

Memesis precious )

I tag... everyone! Have at it! :)


As you can perhaps tell from the icon, I enjoyed Inkheart yesterday. I found the book hard going for the first two-thirds and I probably would've put it down in frustration if I hadn't loved the character of Dustfinger enough to keep turning pages. Likewise Paul Bettany was definitely the best thing about the film, lickable hipbones and all (was it just me or did Brendan Fraser seem a little... lost in this film? He was a good casting choice, he just seemed to sit a little uncomfortably in the middle of everyone as if afraid of putting a foot wrong) but the rest of it made for much easier going than the book. I loved the way they did the writing over everyone. I need to find a god picture of Resa so I can icon her with hers. Or the unicorn, because there's something unspeakably cool about a white unicorn with black text all over it.

So I'll probably be buying it on DVD at some point, if just to icon every second of Paul Bettany. Mmmmmmm.

We also went back to the Yummy Cupcake cafe (:DDD) and I saw Lancaster library for the first time, despite spending three years of uni walking past it. It's actually kinda cool and I really should've looked in there before.

And now for something completely different... family rantage )


So this entry doesn't end with my self-pity, [ profile] damageverse has been updated with the next part. If you haven't read it yet, you really should for it is awesome. I'll be checking. There may be a pop quiz. Hm.

Dammit, I meant to talk about Havemercy in this entry and got side-tracked with complaining. Later, when I've actually some of my to-do list; in the meantime, go and buy it. Seriously. Metal dragons. Amazing characters. It's my new crack.
clo_again: (Derren Brown - reading your mind right n)
I finished Graceling and was- kind of disappointed. I guess being stalked by a book for two weeks might give you unrealistic expectations but I kept getting annoyed at it for... (SPOILERS) )

Sigh. So that's that. I've picked up Havemercy next though and it's suckered me in by page eleven with the character voices alone. Looking forward to reading it on the train to Lancaster tomorrow.
clo_again: (Monkton - Where are we going?)
So this book was stalking me. Graceling by Kristin Cashore showed up before on Jacket Whys and I liked the summary (along with being a little bemused because years back I wrote a short story along a similiar premise, only my heroine was *called* Grace and in her world graces were 'virtues'. It's a funny old creative world). But I really didn't need anymore books until I've finished all the ones I haven't read that're sitting accusingly on my bookcase, so I made a mental note for later and left it.

Then it showed up on my 'recommended for you' Amazon page. And in the window of Watestone's. And the SFX I bought on Saturday not only reviewed it (four out of five stars) but had an interview with the author too. I still might've just, *just* resisted if I had't been idly lurking around Tamora Pierce's webpage and seen it on one of her book recs lists.

Obviously I caved and bought it. It was inevitable. That's not the point (no really it's not). While looking at TP's list for 'ultimate fantasy recs list which I suspect is edging towards out of date now, I was still horrified that I hadn't even read a third of what was on there. A book literally has to stalk me for over a week to get me to buy it; I can't go out and buy everything on everyone's rec lists (though wow, that'd be awesome) but apparently I haven't read half of what I thought I had.

It finally occurred to me this morning that I've actually read quite a lot of fantasy books that *weren't* on her list and would be on mine (to name just a few, Blue Moon Rising by Simon R Green, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, Robin Jarvis' Wyrd Museum trilogy, The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor and I don't know if I spotted Peter Pan on her list or not, although it's my firm belief that Peter Pan should be on *everyone's* list) but that doesn't mean I'm not reading half of what I thought I was or had or intended to.

*sighs* So I'm going to be keeping track of what I read this year. I initially dismissed it as impossible (I frequently pick old books up to re-read a chapter or two then put them down, not to mention I'll be in Australia for a few months at some point must buy my freaking tickets this week oh god but I'll try. The goal is at least one book a week, which is easy, in theory. I don't get to buy anything new until I'm on target, which won't be an issue because I still have enough unread books on hand to keep me going one-a-week until oh, say September?

Trying to remember what I read in January is hard, especially since I got a stack of books out the library. Hm.
clo_again: (Jeff Hardy - bliss)
Dear Clo,

Quit buying more books until you've read all the ones you have. You need the money more, you have plenty to read (The Count of Monte Cristo awaits in all it's insanely-long glory as a last resort) and it really shouldn't matter that you just found Kelly Link's latest book of short stories on Amazon. It really shouldn't.

...Yes, even though it's Kelly Link. Back away from the confirm button, just close the page-

Okay, so it's too late on that count. But stop now. Really. Stop.

Love and bowing-in-the-middle concern,

Your already-overburdened bookshelves.


I really didn't need to buy that book. Crap. I probably need to start listing all the things I can bear to part with on Marketplace this weekend.

And there is no relation between post and icon, I just loved the picture that damn much. Much to my parents' dismay, I don't appear to have "grown out" of the WWE quite yet.
clo_again: (Hustle - WhileYouSleep)
I had the programme for the Hay Festival through the post yesterday and it was the closest thing to hand when Saturday morning television let me down by being unspeakably boring (as a last resort I looked for Pokemon, because there's always been Pokemon on Saturday mornings - except not any more apparently). Flipping through the listed talks and events to see if there was anything I wanted to go to, I caught 'Shakespeare' and 'Catherine Tate' in the same box on the Friday page. Cue excited flailing. Because firstly, Doctor Who has moved me from indifference to love for The Tate and secondly, Shakespeare. I might've whined about my Shakespeare course last year but that was because of awful tutors and a mind-numbingly dull course structure; for Shakespeare himself I have vaguely guilty love and adoration.

SO Catherine Tate in a discussion of Shakespeare would make my weekend. Only then I looked at the date beside 'Friday' and it's the second weekend. We're going the first, because my mother was all "Oh we might want to go on holiday for the first week in June, no no, can't go then."

Am really sad now. :( And everything I want to go to on the first weekend is kind of late on the Saturday, when we're supposed to be coming home. I have a mournful sinking feeling that I'll end up going to nothing. Why the hell can't they send the programme out earlier? Dammit. Not to mention I'm going with my mother who would rather go for her thirteenth coffee of the day than anything remotely intellectual, so I won't get her to any talks or if I did, she'd just fidget and whisper through them (never go to the cinema with my mother. Silence is not a concept her side of the family does very well). I was planning on signing her up for some of the plant and gardening talks to get her out the way for a while. I might still do that and go book-shopping in peace, because if I'm not paying for talks then I can just spend it all on books and the fun, silly tourist stuff instead.

Next year (if I'm not in Australia at the time, which I might be so then it'll be the year after) I think I'll take the whole week off from whatever I'm doing and spend the whole Festival there. Go to all the talks I want. Mmmmmm, an entire literary week. I do think it's a bit silly to have it at the end of May though, really, because all the English students still have exams. Have it the middle of June and all the universities could organise trips or students could just go themselves. I would've done; it's only taken me this long because I always had deadlines.

I really want to go now though. Two more weeks of work is going to suck.
clo_again: (Maneki Neko - Year of the Cow)
Oh christ, I Am Legend is a twitchtastic movie. Pretty though; I keep thinking I'd love some icons of the deserted New York. Mmm. And yes, I know, they destroyed the point of the book etc etc, I had it all in Waterstones over Christmas but it's pretty. I'll read the book sometime. When I don't already have an entire bookcase to get through.

And I just bought The Lives of Christopher Chant, which I did not need.
and in doing so realised that Fire and Hemlock appears to be out of print. My favourite book in the world and it's out of print. I'm glad I already have a copy but still, it makes me sad that I can't say "Go buy this book! It is the awesome!" I'm hoping they're just in the process of rereleasing it with a new cover design but then, I love the old cover too. Mainly I just can't believe it's out of print because this is Diana Wynne Jones and an absolutely fantastic book and just, what. I'll have to take better care of my copy.

Something that almost makes up it though? There's a third book in the Howl's Moving Castle series out in July, The House of Many Ways. Have to say that I like this cover way more than the one on Amazon though. Then again, either of them are better than the horribly cartoony covers they've put on Howl's and Castle. My copy of Howl has such a beautiful cover; I can't believe they reissued it with something so ugly. Clearly there is something bizarre going on with her publishers.

I started this post about two hours ago to talk about tonight's Doctor Who and to say Donna ftw! More and more she's becoming my favourite thing every week. More spoilery thoughts including a Martha rant that some people may want to skip )

I've nothing really to say about Nancyfest tonight, other than I have new love for Sarah after she sang one of my favourite songs so well. Though my money's still on Jessie who got unfairly stomped on by the panel tonight, I would not be too unhappy if Sarah won.

I'm now off to watch Monster because the 'rents have finally buggered off to bed and left me the TV. I'm still not loving this two-days-off thing. But three next weekend and my boss approved my days off for Hay and Wimbledon. So that's something.

Dylan Moran! Yay!
clo_again: (Labyrinth - re-ordered time)
It still disappoints me when I idly wander onto the website of an author I like to check when her next book is out, and come across the traditional FAQ answer to "Can I write fanfic based on..."; NO NO NO EVIL DIE IN HELL YOU UNCREATIVE MORON. Disclaimers are admissions of guilt at their illegality! Disrespectful! Evil! Use your own characters!

It's just, sigh. I get the freakout, kind of. I do. But why some authors can say "Don't make money off it and I won't read it but go ahead, have fun!" while others feel the need to lump fans in with people who want to 'steal' the copyright for profit...

Also, uh. "The chances of a fantasy novel being made into a movie, even a bestselling fantasy novel, is close to nil." Maybe true but from someone who writes fantasy novels, that's a little defeatist. Aside from LotR and Potter, I can name at least five such recent films without even pausing for breath (Inkheart, Dark is Rising, Spiderwick Chronicles, Prince Caspian, Stardust and that's not even going near the farce that was Eragon, my incredible flailing excitement over Peter Jackson optioning the rights to Temeraire or other films out this year like Where the Wild Things Are and The Time Traveller's Wife). There's this huge surge of interest in fantasy right now that's wonderful. I guess I just would've expected a fantasy author to have more appreciation for that, rather than 'oh LotR and Potter were freaks of nature.'

I think I'll skip that new book. Tamora Pierce has a new book in my favourite series out next year; I'll go stalk the release dates for that instead.

I also have to add that even though I knew there were good films out this year, I didn't realise there were this many. And October is shaping up to be a thing of beauty with How to Lose Friends & Alienate People being released on the 3rd. This is far too awesome. Also Wikipedia is saying the third Cornetto film will be called The World's End but I don't know if I buy that. It doesn't sound right' or sounds too much like Pirates III. Something.
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