Wednesday, 26 September 2012

What's dis, den?

If you're writing, you need a den. Mine is populated by orchids. Not flashy ones, really. Ikea specials.

However, one particular specimen is a gem. Bought October 2011, it flowered throughout a strange winter, with its glorious fuchsia colours. Then into spring. On through summer. Now it's nearly October again. Still it flowers. AND. It has more buds. All for £4.99 from a Swedish furniture emporium.

It gives one faith. I look at the buds, the flowers, the glossy leaves. When I'm deterred by difficulties, I think to myself: If this plant can keep going, then so can I.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

No small thing

Funny thing about book covers. A good or even excellent example may or may not inspire you want to read it. A bad one will actively dissuade you.

A chap writing in The Grauniad ponders the future, complaining that the small thumbnails are 'inscrutable jumbles of pixels that tell us little about the work'. I disagree. Personally, there's skill in creating the right look. After all, postage stamps can be a work of art. Like this, my latest read set in Iceland. If that cover doesn't say Nordic Noir, I'm a pickled herring.

I don't know about anyone else, but I ALWAYS go back and linger on the cover image, despite the fact that the Kindle starts me at chapter one. I go back. I savour. I browse. I dally over dedications, dates and details. It's naughty of the Kindle to beam me in at that point and I would dearly love like to override this particular function.


Furthermore, I won't abandon my endless fiddling about on Adobe Photoshop to achieve the perfect ambience. And yes, I shall endeavour to fanny about with fonts to make them readable in such a small format. I shall even, no doubt, add too much subtle detail which a Kindle might not even see. It makes me feel better, like the old story of the medieval sculptor insisting on carving the unseen rear of the stone pillar.


It's all a question of adapting to the new scene. 'Small, but perfectly formed' is my new motto. And here is another elegant example of a delightful mini cover for a book I which I'd written myself (although the title still makes me giggle. Soz.).

Thursday, 13 September 2012

So, the strange story of thorium ...

Never thought I'd end up writing about an obscure chemical element.

Research. Love it.

http://halflife-pkrjd.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-strange-story-of-thorium.html

Guilt-free reading

Just tidying up my Kindle, and it struck me how my reading tastes have changed in a few short months.

Old pattern: go on holiday, gorge on masses of quirky murder mysteries. Get home. Slow down, almost stop. Make excuses. Feel guilty.

New pattern: read anything and everything, all the time, including more non-fiction, eg Machiavelli's The Prince, to political texts on the rise and fall of the radical left in Scotland. Mixed in with quirky murder mysteries, of course. Favourite so far? Morgue Drawer Four - an English translation of a German detective novel.

Not bad. Wonder what I'll be reading in the next few months?