9 Nov 2012

My little Kindle - Pros and cons ...

What I like about my little Kindle:
- It's easy to carry.
- It never gets to heavy in my backpack.
- It's comfortable on the eyes.
- I get the books I buy in seconds.
- I can read heavy books without getting a strain in my neck.
- I can lay on my abck and hold it in front of my nose without dropping it on my face.
- There's free access to loads of free classics I haven't read before.
- I can buy a book in the middle of the night if I want to.

What I miss about my Kindle:
- It doesn't smell as good as a book.
- I can't flip back and forth the way I can with a book.
- I can't make what we call "donkey ears" - that is, I can't fold down the upper corner on pages when I find something I'd like to read again, or just to remember where I left off.
- I can't spill anything on it without ruining it. (My most cherised books are spotted with jam and coffee stains, and spills from whatever dinner I'm cooking while reading).
- It has boring covers - or sleeves. Even though the cover I have now makes it look like a fine, old leather bound book. (I like colours!).
- I can't lend books (at least not until I've figured out how. And anything technical that takes more than three minutes, is something I never bother to use time on).
- I can't give away books.
- It's too easy to buy books, only to discover I don't like it!

And most important of all:
 I can no longer read the first chapter, browse through pages, get a feel of the book and read the ending before I decide to buy it. I can't walk around Amazon and read a little here, check out a book there, sit down on the floor and pull out a stack off books - and really enjoy myself before I buy a book - or ten.
That's why I will never give up books for good. And also because bookstores are the only stores I can stand being in more then five minutes. I can stay in there for hours without getting bored to death ... anyshopping mall or High Street without a bookstore has no interest for me.

What do you think?

1 Nov 2012

From a Serial Writer's Diary ...

I signed a new contract yesterday - on Halloween - and I'm not sure if that's good or ... or not good. The contract was a standard contract with one of my current publishers (yes, I have two). It basically says that they will pay me a certain amount of money so that we - the publisher and me - can develop my idea and when and if it actually turns into a new series, then we'll write a new contract.
Sounds easy, doesn't it?
It's standard. It's the kind of contract you get when you have written a proposal and three chapters, and they think its good enough to invest an editors time into it.
I put the contract in my backpack (Norwegians rarely have handbags, we have backpacks - after all, we do have manuscripts to carry, books and pencils and whatnot), and because I had preperations for a 50th birthday to prepare for, I forgot it there.
Now I like contracts, I celebrate each and everyone - not with champagne, I'm not much of a drinker - but there are rituals to follow even so. Usually I don't forget them like this.
So when I pulled out my notebook from the backpack, it got me thinking. Writing romance series like I do, is hard work. I haven't been to a movie in almost two years (Yeah, really), and it occupies my mind a lot. I make sure I write other things too - there's a children's book coming in March 2013 - but it's hard to get enough time. And also thinking time. (My writing muscles are the only muscles I train on a regular basis ...)
It takes  a year or two, to go from an idea to a finished first book, then there's the at least six or seven books that has to be finished before publishing the first, so that you can write without "deadline-panic". So this new idea might hit the stores in late 2014 or early 2015.
That's what got me thinking. It's still 2012.
Planning my life that far ahead is a new experience.
It's okay, I'm not regretting the contract. My idea is good, very good actually, so I'm not worried about that. I can do the work.
But so far ahead is spooky. Usually I have problems thinking ahead to tomorrow ...

25 Oct 2012

An update ...

I suddenly realized it's been almost 3 months since I posted anything on this blog. That's no good. So I am hereby "waking it up".

We have had a very busy summer. Thankfully it was a cold and rainy summer, so the weather favoured work. In July we finished first draft of a new childrens book - more to come about that later. We've written four so far, and they have been very short and easy to write (because they were short). They were also part of an in-house series concisting of easy-to-read books. The new one is different  because we are no longer part of a series where more than on writer contributes with books, we are now to write our own series! Also this book is about 2-3 times longer than the previoues books. A real challenge. The next draft is due in November. We are very excited about the new project, it's been so fun to work on it, still is. The book will be published in March, and then the next before Christmas.

I'm hard a work at my new series, the sixth book was just published, one more to go before Christmas. I have the most wonderful illustrator for the series. The picture is from book 5: Dreams and Lies.

26 Jul 2012

A little Sikh history ...

We are working obsessively with our newest project, and in the meantime ....
BBC's documentaries rock!

6 Jun 2012

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

My small tribute to one of the truly great ones: Ray Bradbury 1920-2012

I have a copy of Ray Bradburys essays on writing in my book shelf: Zen in the Art of Writing (1990). When I despair of writing, tired of trying to come up with something new, fed up with looking for the «good idea», I pull it out. It's a small book, just 174 pages, loaded with inspiration.

In his essays he writes stuff like this: Your Thing at the top of your stairs in your own private night ... may well come down.

The first of his books that I read was The Illustrated man. The guy who slept beside a fire, covered in tattoos that lived their own lives and told stories (nobody with a tattooed body these days, come even close to beeing that interesting). Fahrenheit 451 was another amazing read. What book would I choose to memorize if I lived in a society that burned books? (For me it was Jane Eyre then and now).

I found his books at my local library where I went almost every day and read at least one book before going home, loaded with ten others.

I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”

Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't "try" to do things. You simply "must" do things.”

On e-books:
I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can't really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, 'If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we'll talk.' All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don't want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.” Fahrenheit 451

I learned from him that if I wanted to be a writer – and I did – I had to write every day – I was already doing that back then and I do it today: Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and every other «Eve» there is. If I don't write my pages every day, I get restless and snap at people. Usually someone comes and stick a notebook and a pen under my nose, or gently pushes me into the office, turns on the computer and quietly close the door behind them. They may also bring coffee ...

If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

I have to read his books again now.

17 May 2012

17th of May - Constitution Day

I sit at my desk, ready to work - a bit delayed to be honest - and think about Constitution day. For me it's been a quiet day, celebrated with good food and good friends. 17th of May is a childrens' day,with unlimited icecream and soda, cakes and sweets. A day we wave our flags and sing our rather pompous national songs. This year its a little different. We're in the middle of the 22nd of July court case, and on some level it was nice to take a day off from it all. I feel for everyone directly involved in this, and I hope something like this never happens anywhere else.

On a lighter note:

This is from the backyard of my house, I'm the cry-baby in the middle. I was never one for wearing skirts and dressing up. I look like I'm about three years old, so it must have been taken in 1964 or 65.
 A few years earlier ...

This is the oldest picture of a 17th of May celebtration I could find. From Oslo 1898. Although the celebrations started at least as early as 1823.

From the changing of the flags on 7th of June, 1905 when the Swedish/Norwegian flag was lowered, and the Norwegian flag was up for the first time.

20 Apr 2012

I found this article here: 15 writer's bedrooms ... and I'm just saying, I do not believe writers have bedrooms that tidy. Most of these writers are dead, so presumably somebody went in and tidied it up. I wish someone would do that to my room. Sigh ...

The only one that remotely resembles my bedroom/office belongs to Alexander Masters (haven't read any of his books), and that's on a really, really good day ...

10 Apr 2012

Duma key by Stephen King

DUMA KEY is the engaging, fascinating story of a man who discovers an incredible talent for painting after a freak accident in which he loses an arm. He moves to a 'new life' in Duma Key, off Florida's West Coast; a deserted strip, part beach, part weed-tangled, owned by a patroness of the arts whose twin sisters went missing in the 1920s. Duma Key is where out-of-season hurricanes tears lives apart and a powerful undertow lures lost and tormented souls. Here Freemantle is inspired to paint the amazing sunsets. But soon the paintings become predictive, even dangerous. Freemantle knows the only way forward is to discover what happened to the twin sisters -- and what is the secret of the strange old lady who holds the key? The story is about friendship, about the bond between a father and his daughter. And about memory, truth and art. It is also is a metaphor for the life and inspiration of a writer, and an exploration of the nature, power and influence of fiction.

Yeah, right. Thanks a million.
How can any review top that? Good question. I'm not going to say much, but I'm sure I'll read this again at some point. This is one of those Stephen Kings books that tips over into the literary – although I wouldn't read it before bedtime. I get spooked by King ...
   He has completely ruined rural America for me. I would never dare drive a car there, alone after sundown. And now he's more or less ruined the idea of Florida as well. God knows what lurks in the waters outside the beaches ...
 After reading a book like this, I loose some confidence in my own writing. It passes, but still. It's tempting to pull a «Misery» on him ...

A quote:
Don't quit until det picture's complete. I can't tell you that's the cardinal rule of art or not, I'm no teacher, but I believe those six words sum up all I've been trying to tell you. Talent is a wonderful thing, but it won't carry a quitter. An there always comes a time - if the work is sincere, if it comes from that magic place where thoughtt, memory, and emotion all merge - when you will want to quit, when you will think that if you put your pencil down your eye will dull, your memory will lapse, and the pain will end. I know all this from the last picture I drew that day - the one of the gathering on the beach. It was only a sketch, but I think that when you're mapping hell, a sketch is all you need.

Not literary, my ass ...

16 Mar 2012

New project ...

We are working on a brand new project - something for children - and need to have serious meetings. A grand cup of coffee is a must. So off to town we go ...

My co-writer doesn't take things very serious...

And I'm not very inspired ...
Next time, perhaps not so much coffee?

1 Mar 2012

A loose translation of Sunday's review of The Scandal, the first book in my new series: 

Tar, fish and coffee

Catchy about upper class life in the 1790's
The heroines Constanse and Karen seem different at first, but have much in common: they are beautiful without knowing it, kind and brave. Constanse is the daughter of a “coffee baron” from Bergen, and creates a scandal when she falls in love with a man of lower standing.

Karen is a servant, working for an absent-minded scientist who encourages her to read books and develop her drawing talents. Sense and sensibility, in other words. In paticular Karen is a complex character I would like to read more about.

Ball gowns, steamy love letters and adventurous journeys – romance have reached Norway. The writer portions out historical facts in good measures and manages to create drive in the story without creating neck-breaking cliffhangers.
(Then there's something about my rather "wild" use of prepositions and a some clumsy wording – but let's not dwell on that...).

The ending plays with the excitement of whether or not Constanse will manage to get on board the ship before it sails, but the extraction from the next book reveals that she does. Even so it's tempting to follow the sisters of destiny.

Kristine Isaksen
VG (Norway's largest newspaper).

24 Feb 2012

From a serial writers diary ...

My new book has been out since Monday, and I'm having problems concentrating. It'll get back soon, I know that, so I'm not worried. I've spent the last week reading Under the Dome by Stephen King, and although it didn't grip me the way The Stand did, it was still a good read.
Otherwise it's all nice and quiet at the Northern front. Spring is coming, winter is still at it's heel, but  it's coming. And I haven't written much new stuff lately. It's an itch.
But it's all good.
Oh, yeah, very good ...

22 Feb 2012

Technologically challenged - help?

I'm not a tech savvy, I'm happy as long as my computer works, so when something goes wrong, I get frustrated. Since Sunday, I've been having problems with my Facebook page. No updates show, no matter how many times I try. So far, no response from the four reports I've sent to Facebook.
Because I get frustrated, I have no patience. So I try to fix things.
I changed the username ot my page, so now I can't get into the page - it's on and off, sometimes I see it, sometimes I don't.
I also changed the password, and achieved only that now my phone demands I enter it everytime I access Facebook from the mobile.
Any good advice?
Help ...

1 Feb 2012

Back in business ...

I've been avoiding my blogs these last months. I have two other blogs in Norwegian, and the blogging thing takes time. And sometimes priorities have to be hard. And in September last year I stopped writing blogs. Now I've started again but I'll keep my ambitions at a lower level.
My priorities have been preparing for my new series - the first book will be published on February 20th. I'm really looking forward to it. This is my second series, and the experience is still exciting! It's fun and challening, so I'll keep going for as long as I enjoy it.

We're having a competition in connection with the book and people can win the first five books. (It's in Norwegian - as are the books, so ...). Anyone want to participate, here's the link: Skjebnesøstre

I'm reading two books at the moment: The Retribution by Val McDermids, and Snuff by Terry Pratchett. They have absolutely nothing in common, which makes it a bit bizarre when I change books. Retribution is dark and filled with serial killers and gruesome details, Snuff is my favourite policeman, Sam Vimes, going to the country side. Funny, but not hilarious. At least so far. I might even manage to write about them here when I'm finished ...
Read well!