Friday, 31 October 2014

Poetry Corner #21

It's Halloween and to get into the mood I thought I would share some extracts from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.  Of course this poem has been brought to everyone's attention in the Halloween episode of The Simpsons.


The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I
pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore –
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly
there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door -
“Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought
its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow –
sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom
the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.


Open here I flung the shutter, when,
with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a
minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched
above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by
that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom
the angels name Lenore.'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or
fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the
Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that
lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take
thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming
throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that
lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

Edgar Allen Poe (1809 - 1840)
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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Discussion: Self Publishing

Up for discussion this month is the rocky subject of Self Publishing.  I will try and look at this from both the author's and the reviewer's point of view and try and bust some myths while I'm at it.  The reason I have decided to tackle this subject today is because a couple of week's ago I went to a workshop or perhaps a more relevant title would be a 'discussion' on Self Publishing.  This particular workshop was run by Welsh author Derek Wynford Jones whose works are all self published.  You may ask were we getting a biased view?  I would say not.  There are pros and some, in my opinion, quite big cons to going down this route.

Let's look at reasons why an author would go down this route.  Is it by choice? Or, are they forced to take this route?  I have reviewed a book for a self published author who deliberately chose this route.  His reason was because he wanted sole control of his work. He wanted full editing rights and control over how and where his book was advertised/promoted and sold.  On the other hand I know of someone who was fed up with sending works to traditional publishing houses and getting no response that he decided the only way was to self publish.

The authors fortunate enough to be taken on by the publishing houses have all the marketing and sales managed for them.  Yes, their work is edited and there may have to be some negotiations along the way but their main focus is on the writing itself.  Hopefully, enough books are sold to earn some decent money and keep the royalties rolling in.

To choose to self publish is quite a costly process.  You write your book and with software such as Createspace (owned by Amazon) you can create your layout, use graphics to design a cover and even get your ISBN number.  Once you have got this far and edited your work you pay a percentage and on top of that, if you choose to print there are additional costs.  You can choose to pay for professional services to design the cover and format the book.  You decide the price you want to sell your book, you are responsible for marketing your book and deciding where and how you are going to sell your work.  Mainstream shops such as Waterstones would charge a lot of money to give you space on their shelves.  How do the self published market and sell?  Book launches or requesting a review from one of us.  Book launches don't come cheap.  Added costs such as venue hire, wine and canapes and then the punters need to buy the book!  Ask yourself, how likely are you to recoup the outlay for a book launch?  To get a review you will be sending your book for free to the reviewer in return for an honest review.  It is quite a gamble, and you have to be very serious about your work to undertake all the expense.  In my opinion, unless you are very successful then you are paying out for very little in return.  Of course, self publishing through Amazon you could just choose to sell your book for Kindle and not print.  Amazon is not the only way to self publish but I use this as an example.

Let's now look at self published work vs traditionally published work from a reviewer's perspective.  As I mentioned earlier I have reviewed self published work as well as books from publishing houses.  I know some reviewers put in their policies that they will not accept self published work.  That is a reviewer's choice and there may be valid reasons.  I think the biggest risk for a reviewer accepting a self published work is that it hasn't been edited professionally (you don't know that), but it's an assumption so there could be big mistakes, it could be rubbish, the layout could be wrong etc.  But I defy you to tell me that you have not read a book that has typographical errors, pages missing, blank pages, or is not particularly well written that has been accepted and printed through a traditional publishing house?  I am not talking about proofs or ARC's, I am talking about books that you may have purchased in your regular bookshop.

I think the main worry for a busy reviewer is having to sort the wheat from the chaff, as it were.  To self publish you could, technically, print anything. Random numbers or letters and make it into a book, but, realistically you are going to get a story of some sort.  However, you may have a higher ratio of 'chaff' shall we say from a self published author.  Now, us reviewers do need to take into account, and I know we do, that an author's work has taken a lot of time and input into its making.  At the end of the day, who are we to discard a self publisher so readily?  Reading is subjective and so is reviewing to a point, although one should be objective in one's approach.  Yes, I know we all do that already but I am just making my point.

Time is of the essence and many reviewers state what they will/will not accept for review and this should make it easier for authors/publishers to distinguish their audience.

What are your views about accepting self published works for review?  Please comment below if you would like to enter the discussion.



Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday



Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

I have only one word to share with you this week.  Taken from The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve.

unalloyed - adj. (of pleasure etc) pure, sheer.
"He was laughing, she recalled, laughing with genuine, unalloyed pleasure, as a child might do, as he so seldom did."

What new words came into your vocabulary this week?


Monday, 27 October 2014

Book Review: Forgotten - Cat Patrick

Synopsis - Here's the thing about me: I can see the future in flashes, like memories.  But my past is a blank.

I remember what I'll wear tomorrow, and an argument that won't happen until this afternoon.  But I don't know what I ate for dinner last night.  I get by with the help of notes, my mom and my best friend Jamie, and the system works...

Until now.  Everything's falling apart, Jamie's going off the rails.  My mom is lying to me.  And I can't see the boy I adore in my future.

But today, I love him.  and I never want to forget how much...

Review - I won this book from a competition on JeanzBookReadNReview a good while ago and I am ashamed to say that this book alongside others, got pushed to the back of the pile that is mount TBR.  However, it has already been read by the teen, so it hasn't exactly gathered dust.

How would you cope if you couldn't remember what happened yesterday, or the week, month or year before?  We're not talking alzheimers here.  When London Lane falls asleep at night her memory resets at 4.33 am precisely.  She relies on notes to get her through the day at school which is not easy.  Her good friend Jamie, her mom and the boy who befriends her on his first day at her school are there to help.   What London does 'remember' or 'see' is the future.  This novel rolls along sweetly and we gradually discover why London's brain is wired differently.

I think this book is popular with YA readers because it addresses so many issues that this age group face.  Relationships, trust, betrayal, love, friendships, bullying and just getting through school itself. I liked the relationship between London and her mom who is naturally protective of her fragile daughter.  We find out that her mom has kept some truths from her and we can ask ourselves as parents, should we hold back on information?  Of course, the answer to that is depending on what that information is and the potential after effects, if any.  Luke is a great boyfriend even if a little too good to be true, but he loves London and has loved her for a long time.  It's a nice story and an easy read.  3*

ISBN 978-1-4052-5361-1
Egremont Press

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sunday Post #11



The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalise it! Include as much as you want or as little. Check out the rules of the meme.

Somehow I feel as though my feet have hardly touched the ground this week.  I fitted in my usual activities and also made three library trips.  My son had overdue books which we returned, then a CD came in which needed collecting and today my daughter wanted to pop into the Central library whilst in town.  Hubby and I went to a poetry evening which was a book launch for two local poets who also read from their work.  We also got to see a string quartet playing in a pub rather like having them in your living room, photos can be viewed in the Saturday Snapshot link below.  Today, the teen and I went into the city, we had lunch and I sneaked off to see a short live performance featuring a baroque cello.  We then met up to visit the museum to see some interesting exhibitions.

Posts on Booketta's Book Blog


Posts on my other blogs

Marmalade Cake


Useful posts elsewhere in the Blogosphere

New Arrival









Significance - Jo Mazelis
To be reviewed.  I was asked if I would consider this book for review by Seren Press.

Books Read
Calling Mrs Christmas - Carol Matthews 4*
The Pilot's Wife - Anita Shreve 5*

Current Reads
I am working my way through some poetry collections including:
The World's Wife  - Carol Ann Duffy
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud... - Ana Sampson
My current read is:
Forgotten - Cat Patrick

My Musical Listens
REM - Around the Sun
The Best Rock Album in the World
Aderyn String Quartet
Santana - Beyond Appearances
Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield
Norah Jones - Come Away with Me
Paloma Faith - Perfect Contradiction
The Black Keys - Brothers

On TV
Downton Abbey
The Code
Grey's Anatomy 

Blog Book Plans
I will have some more words to share on Wondrous Words Wednesday.
A poem for Poetry Corner.
Monthly Round Up
One planned review which I hope to get in by the end of October.  Any more will be a bonus.
After the review read my next book choice will be whatever comes out of the book jar.

It is autumn half term this coming week which means the teen gets a week off college.  We have planned a day trip to Bristol during the week.

How was your week?




Friday, 24 October 2014

Poetry Corner #20

Today's choice is one of Percy Bysshe Shelley's famous poems Ozymandias

Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822)



Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday



Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

More words from To The Fair Land by Lucienne Boyce

paregoric - noun. a camphorated tincture or opium used as an analgesic an anodyne.
adj. soothing
" Is it a paregorick draught?"

antiscorbutics - adj. that prevents or cures scurvy.
noun. an antiscorbutic medicine.
" And while there are effective antiscorbutics I can use..."

costive - adj. constipated
"So far, this has only resulted in a general gloomishness, and in some costiveness, in others looseness."

From Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

furlough - noun. leave of absence, especially that granted to a serviceman.
verb. (US) to grant a furlough to; to spend a furlough.
"There was no photographic proof of their furlough as none of them has ever owned a camera."

What new words came into your vocabulary this week?


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Book Review: Calling Mrs Christmas - Carole Matthews

Synopsis - Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea.  Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating.  She's soon in huge demand and Cassie's business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born.

Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children, so he enlists Cassie's help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time.  Thank goodness she can rely on her loving partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients.

When millionaire Carter asks Cassie to join his family on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn't go...  Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life.

Review:   I won a signed copy of Calling Mrs Christmas from a competition on Dizzy C's Little Book Blog earlier this year.

What a wonderful feel good book.  This is one of the best Christmas stories I have read in a long time.

Cassie has always loved Christmas.  Fed up with being broke and unable to find employment after being made redundant, she decides to do what she enjoys and get paid for it.  As the story unfolds we understand why Christmas is so important to Cassie and the people around her.  Her partner Jim is a prison officer in a Young Offender's Institution.  It is not well paid and although it is a difficult job, he feels he can help make a difference to the youngsters in his charge.

Once Cassie starts getting enquiries and the requests come piling in she has to enlist the help of Jim and her sister Gaby.  Amongst her customers we meet a lonely old lady and a millionaire.  Cassie also provides a Santa to bring presents to both young and old.

This is a book that will tug at your heart strings.  We are introduced to characters at both ends of the spectrum, those with very little and those who want for nothing.  It is a thought provoking novel and a reminder that Christmas is all about giving.  A highly recommended read.  4*

Monday, 20 October 2014

'Not a Halloween' Give-away

Welcome to my October PreLoved 'Not a Halloween' give-away. 

One paperback copy of To The Fair Land by Lucienne Boyce.


This copy has been read once and is in excellent condition.
Here is my review.


How to enter:
The competition is open to UK residents only.
  (Due to postage costs I can only post within the UK.)
You must be 16 years of age or over.
Complete the form below.
Once the winner is chosen I shall email, message or tweet whichever means the entrant prefers to be notified.
The winning entrant will have three days to respond via email, PM or DM with their details.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday Post #10



The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalise it! Include as much as you want or as little. Check out the rules of the meme.

Let's play catch up!  Here is 2 week's worth of Sunday Posts. It's suddenly got a bit hectic around here.  As you know we have been decorating and although there are still jobs to do like new doors, sanding and varnishing the woodblock floor and painting a radiator, the bulk of the painting has been done.  So, I had a mega clean up alongside all my usual tasks.  We did manage to visit friends for tea, get a couple of walks in, celebrate our wedding anniversary with a meal and film - Before I Go to Sleep.  I got together with friends for drinks and yesterday, I went to a couple of workshops on book making, self publishing and listened to author Penny Simpson read excerpts from her novels and short stories.

Posts on Booketta's Book Blog

Posts on my other blogs

Useful posts elsewhere in the Blogosphere
Jo at Writer's Block Admin Services talks about Images made simple
The Daily Post discusses Tips for better writing
Johanna Garth on Losing Sanity talks about the Blogging Quandary

Books Read
Ghost in the Machine - Ed James 4*
The Stepmother's Support Group - Sam Baker 3*

Books Abandoned
What Would Oprah Do? - Erin Emerson
Public Property - Mandy Baggot

Current Reads
I am working my way through some poetry collections including:
The World's Wife  - Carol Ann Duffy
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud... - Ana Sampson
My current read is:
Calling Mrs Christmas - Carole Matthews

My Musical Listens
Joe Bonamassa - The Ballad of John Henry
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
Martin Harley Band - Money Don't Matter
Paul Simon - Graceland
30 Seconds to Mars - A Beautiful Lie
Jack White - Lazaretto

On TV
Downton Abbey
The Code

Blog Book Plans
I am hoping to post a give-away for October.
I will have some more words to share on Wondrous Words Wednesday.
A poem for Poetry Corner.
No planned reviews but you never know I may sneak one in.
My next book choice will be whatever comes out of the book jar.

There are more events lined up similar to those I attended yesterday which I hope to get to this week.  The teen and I are planning a day together next weekend which may include either a theatre or cinema trip.

How was your week?


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