Monday, April 30, 2007

Snippet of my writing

I don't post many pieces of my stories, but I've been in the mood to write, and have been gearing up for The Southern Cross Novel Challenge in June and decided to have a play with some of the characters from the novel. This one is part of "The Station Challenge" from kiwiwriters a few months ago, as well as "a small descriptive challenge" some time later.

So, take a look at the short piece called "Natasha".

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Signed up for SoCNoC 2007

What are you doing this June? Me, I'm writing my 2nd novel.

Seeing as Nanowrimo happens in November, just when the weather is getting more and more like summer, Kiwiwriters decided to set up a novel challenge more in line with the Southern Hemisphere. So, June it is.

50,000 words and a massive rush of accomplishment, Kiwiwriters brings you SoCNoC, "The Southern Cross Novel Challenge".

Here is my participation certificate... I'm sincerely hoping for a winner's certificate at the end of June!

I highly recommend that you join us. Good luck!

Best Cinemas in Wellington, 2007

I finally visited the SkyCity Cinemas in the WestField Queensgate in Lower Hutt. Now, I feel qualified to say what the best cinema in Wellington is.

There are a few factors that I could consider, like ease of parking, number of cinemas and so on, but really, the only thing I care about is pure cinema experience, that is, comfort and quality (sound/picture etc...). What cinema makes you feel the most like you are in the theater?

These are my picks in order:

1. Embassy theatre (great ambiance, beautiful quality everything - the only problem is that there aren't more like it.)
2. Courtney Central (big screens, top notch quality and sound, comfy seats)
3. Skycity Cinemas, Queensgate, Lower Hutt (just slightly less good than Courtney Central - parking is free, carpet is LOUD).

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Got my winnings!

Lynn Viehl, paperback writer, had a contest back in march called "Last Call". I won that, as posted here. Anyway - got my goods today (actually yesterday, but only checked the mail today - mail doesn't come on Anzac day).

Got a copy of "Blade Dancer" in hardcover, signed, along with the last of her "Stardoc" bookmarks.

When given the choice of any of her novels currently in print, or an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of her latest novel, I asked for her to send her favorite novel and to say why it was her favorite. I got back exactly what I asked for, and here are some photos. I'm tickled pink over this - I think it's very cool.

Book cover and bookmark

Signatures inside and back of bookmark

Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Bookshelf

This is a picture of our bookshelf. It's pretty much only the books that I've acquired since arriving in New Zealand, and I've held myself back considerably. I have significantly more back in Canada.

I posted this idea a few months back on this Kiwiwriter's page as a way around typing all the titles and authors into some kind of book database, as it's much quicker and requires much less effort (i.e. the lazy way).

Here is it in all its glory - feel free to browse and ask questions. :-)

Oh - and this includes all of Una's books too - she's the massage therapist with all the anatomy books btw.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Seth Godin's blog: pro-business=anti-change?

I read this the other day on Seth Godin's blog. I'm a bit of a fan of Seth Godin, and this is one of his best blogs.

Why, why, why do businesses fight change so much? With change, there is a huge opportunity for money - guaranteed. Seth's examples here are excellent and show that the world of business is somewhat ass-backwards in their thinking.

I was introduced to Seth Godin with this video. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

100 Must-Read Science Fiction Novels

This isn't strictly a review, since I haven't finished this book yet, but I thought that I'd mention it, since I'm sort of using this book as a guide for novels to read for the next little while.

"100 Must-Read Science Fiction Novels" by Stephen E. Andrews and Nick Rennison is a small, attractive looking book which has, what seems at first glance to be a solid list of recommended science-fiction novels.

Going through it, I see that I've read less than 20% of the novels in there. Here is my list of 19:
author, title (year), my rating 1-5 stars
Azimov, "Foundation" (1953) , ****
Banks, "The Player of Games" (1988), ***1/2
Card, "Ender's Game" (1985), *****
Egan, "Permutation City" (1994), ****
Haldeman, "The Forever War" (1974), ***
Heinlein, "Orphans of the Sky" (1941), ***
Heinlein, "Starship Troopers" (1959), ****
Herbert, "Dune" (1965), *****
Keyes, "Flowers for Algernon" (1966), *****
Le Guin, "The Left Hand of Darkness" (1969), ***
Le Guin, "The Dispossessed" (1974), ***
Lem, "Solaris" (1961), ***
Miller, "A Canticle for Leibowitz" (1959) (unfinished)
Morgan, "Altered Carbon" (2002), ***
Niven, "Ringworld" (1970), ***1/2
Orwell, "1984" (1949), *****
Stephenson, "Snow Crash" (1992), ****
Verne, "Journey To the Centre of the Earth" (1864), ****
Wolfe, "Shadow of the Torturer" (1980) - book1 of "The Book of the New Sun", **

Considering that I have 4, 5 star ratings and 5, 4 star ratings in this list, I think I agree strongly with the authors so far, so will continue to read from their list - once I finish all my borrowed books of course. :-)

Of the other books, I don't quite get the inclusion of "Altered Carbon", which I read recently, nor "Player of Games", which while fine novels are hardly "must read". Then, there are things like "Shadow of the Torturer", which I never understood being written in the first place - pretty dull stuff mostly. Maybe I'm thinking of the 2nd or 3rd or 4th books, but they all blur together actually.

Also - "A Canticle for Leibowitz", while brilliant, killed a main character part of the way through and I couldn't bring myself to finish at the time. I promised to go back and finish one day.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

"That's not where I wanted it to go!"

That was one of the many exasperated sentences from Una on her first actual golf round recently. Other were, "I want to be better!" and "If it stays like this, I'm not going to play." and, of course, "Where's my ball?"

We've been to the driving range lots lately, but haven't spent much time out on the golf courses until last weekend, when we finally got a round in. It was at Ohariu Valley golf course and we played again this weekend at The Kapiti Golf course, but we were interrupted by a support call at the tee of on the 6th, so that blew. I was having one of the best scoring rounds ever, and that's my old home course.

They were doing some kind of upkeep on the greens though, and they were all covered in sand, which made for some strange putting results. Still, it didn't seem to affect me badly, although Una was another story - she wasn't happy at all with the sandy greens.

The outing were good enough that we will continue, and Una is still eager to get out to the driving range and work on her strokes, so that's a good thing.