Tag Archives: authors

Mischief (Short Stories) – Fay Weldon

I rarely read short stories but intrigued by the interesting cover I found myself immersed in Fay Weldon’s  “Mischief”; devouring one story after another. The stories are witty and a perceptive expose into the psyche of the characters she creates.  I empathized with her female characters as I read the crackling dialogue between men and […]

Butterflies by Susanne Gervay reviewed by Jill Smith

http://www.sgervay.com Katherine is nearly eighteen and just wants to be like everyone else. She was severely burnt at age 3 and has undergone many operations to get her to where she is. Will she ever be able to wear her hair up? Should she put her head in a bag as one boy said in […]

Stieg Larsson biography

If, like millions of others, you have read and enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or all of The Millennium Trilogy, you may be interested in The Man who left too soon – the biography of Stieg Larsson. Although calling it a biography is stretching it a bit as only the first 60 pages actually tell us anything about Larsson’s life and much of that is what has happened since his death. That first part of the book was a bit ho-hum but the later synopsis of the three books with comparisons to other crime writers styles and techniques was enlightening – both in showing the influences to Larsson’s writing and reminding us of the plot of the trilogy. Then there is a chapter describing other writer’s responses to the Trilogy with an analysis of the writing and some perceived reasons for its record-breaking sales worldwide. There is also an introduction to other Scandinavian crime writers who have been translated into English which may give you some new authors to put on your reading list. (I would recommend Henning Mankell – some of whom’s work was made in to a series by the BBC starring Kenneth Branagh and was shown on SBS earlier this year)

Making a Kindle book

Have you always wanted to be a published author?
Tonia makes regular comments on book coasters, and she thought other readers may be interested in finding out more about this method of getting published:

I always like playing around with new technology, so when a friend
bought a Kindle e-book reader recently, I investigated the process involved in making a Kindle e-book. For those not in the know a Kindle is one of the new e-book readers that are appearing on the market – this one is put out by the large online book seller Amazon.

Firstly, I checked if they took any rights, and it appears that the rights are retained by the author (as it should be) – so you can publish your book on other websites and other platforms as well – according to Amazon’s Terms of Service
“you retain all ownership rights in and to the copyrights and all other rights and interest in and to your Digital Books. We retain all ownership rights in and to the copyrights and all other rights and interests in and to the Program and the Amazon Properties”

It’s not actually necessary to own a Kindle to turn your book into their format, or to buy their digital books, as you can download the Kindle Application for free for a variety of platforms (eg PC, Mac, Blackberry etc) from the Amazon website –

You do, however, have to create an account to use the Digital Text Platform which is the e-publishing interface – however if you already have an Amazon account you can use that instead of creating a new account.

Once you have logged on you come to the “Bookshelf” page which allows you to enter the book details and upload your book.

By clicking the “Add a New Title” button (at either the top or the bottom of the screen) it allows you to enter your book details such as title, author and information about publishing rights and upload an image that will be used on the product display page (make sure it’s a good image and is the correct dimensions, or it may get distorted).

To upload the book you need an HTML file or a word document – there are hints on formatting in the help section – I filled in the details and uploaded a simple word file in about five minutes. Once this is done you can preview your book – a new window appears which simulates how the text will look on a Kindle screen and you can flick through the pages.

If changes need to be made to the formatting, you can save as a draft and when you have uploaded the tweaked version you can press “Save and Continue” and enter the “Rights and Pricing” information. They offer different options of 30% or 70% royalties based on the list price you have chosen, with different conditions on each of these options.

Once that is done you can click “Save and Publish” and the book will be sent to published status. It take approximately 48 hours after you “make it go live” to get approved, and then it’s in the Kindle store. This means it has a product page and the book details are added to the search index and anyone can buy it – when I tried it out I initially made the list price $1 (the minimum) but Amazon adds $2 for a wireless delivery charge making it $3.

If you go back to your “Bookshelf” page all the titles you have uploaded will be there and you can add new books, or by using the “Actions” button you can make changes to your details or “Unpublish” a book.

So very easy to publish – unless you get a lot of buyers you aren’t going to make a huge amount of money, but you aren’t risking money either and it gives a book an instant worldwide availability.

PS I’m not affiliated with Amazon and this is considered an exercise in self-publishing, not an endorsement.

Dick Francis dies at 89

Famous author Dick Francis passed away this week at the age of 89. He wrote all his thrillers longhand, satisfying readers with one book a year throughout most of this career. He used to be a racing reporter and, before that, a top steeplechase jockey. He rode horses for the Queen Mother, and was one of her favourite authors. His books include Twice shy, For kicks, Decider, Wild horses, Driving force and Even money. His final novel, Crossfire, is scheduled to be published later this year.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

One of the best books I have read in the last couple of years is The forgotten garden by Kate Morton. The story spans over three generations, all the time building each characters profile .This is not a thriller or crime novel but more a family saga involving the mystery of a little girl arriving on the Maryborough docks all by herself. The story winds back and forth over the years gradually unravelling the mystery. I found this book hard to put down. It is set in England and Brisbane Which made it come to life even more for me as I was able to identify with so Many of the landmarks. I have recommended this book to many of our regular customers and have had some great feedback, so if you are looking for a great story that you can just sit down somewhere with a coffee and really enjoy this is the one for you. I am now onto Kate Morton’s other novels so stay tuned.

Written by Cathie (Helensvale Library staff)

Hit Picks for Summer – Handle with care

I have read most of Jodi Picoult’s fifteen novels and each story has sparked an emotional reacting, leaving me with something to ponder well beyond the last page. I found I was eagerly turning each page, really caring about what is going to happen next. Each novel tells a remarkable story in which a solution to a somewhat impossible situation is always found. Like many of Picoult’s books, Handle with care is written from multiple points of view and the chapters are titled with the name of whose story is being told and the date which provides a nice sense of continuity and timing.

The story explores moral issues that parents of a severely disabled child are faced with. They find themselves asking, “Could they have been or should they have been told of the possibility that their child would be born with a severe disability?” The story goes far beyond a girl or her family coping with a debilitating disease but into the lives of all involved. In the final chapter, Willow, the young girl with the disease tells how she is feeling and frankly the result is shocking and makes for a rather frustrating ending. I don’t want to spoil the ending for readers but I do prefer to finish a book with a happy ending – does everybody else?

Judy Blume’s adult fiction

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume is a great novel for adults. Although she is an author who is known for writing for the pre-teen and teen audience, this one is tailored to adults and I totally enjoyed it. It made me laugh out loud! It’s the moving story of Vix and Caitlin, two friends who grow up spending their childhood summers together. As they grow older, and apart, Vix realises how much Caitlin has helped to make her the person she is today. A rather thought-provoking realisation for not only Vix but also for the reader.

Caitlin is a wild child who invites Vix to spend the summer with her and her family in Martha’s Vineyard. They get up to all sorts of funny stuff and form the closest of friendships. The novel moves from their childhood to their adult years where Vix becomes Victoria, a public relations executive and Caitlin studies and travels to Europe. They drift apart and when they come back to the Vineyard for a summer as adults something unthinkable happens which changes both of their lives. It’s a light read with short chapters. There are sections in which the story is told from the eyes of other characters. This makes the novel even more interesting and I had a hard time putting it down!

Mr Monk and the Blue Flu

Written by Chloe (Helensvale Library)

You know you’ll have a good holiday if you have a great book. But sometimes they’re not that easy to find. For me, I wanted something funny, fast paced and a little bit different. And yay for me…I found it!

Mr Monk and the blue flu by Lee Goldberg is one in a series of books adapted from the television series Monk. In the book, the reader joins Detective Adrian Monk (aka. The Obsessive Compulsive. Detective) as he solves yet another intriguing and slightly weird mystery. When the majority of the San Francisco police force calls in “sick” in a mock-strike, the Mayor reinstates Monk as a captain in the homicide division. He is joined by a group of odd-ball detectives who have been discharged from the force for reasons ranging from senility, violence and paranoid schizophrenia. The interaction between these characters is fascinating and makes for a very entertaining read. Although, this is not the first book in the series, they are easy to follow and can be read out of order. If you need a mystery to solve and a bit of a chuckle, this is a fantastic read and part of a highly enjoyable series.

A timeless friendship – a long but rewarding read

I thought Firefly lane read like a slightly above average romance. If you are looking for a literary novel, this is not it. If you want a summer tear-jerker to read while you’re at the beach then this is the perfect story for you. After you read it you will feel like calling your best friend for a heart felt chat or like Loupie said a warm hug.

Friendship is just one of the real life issues dealt with in this book. The characters were very real for me, and I think that’s the main reason why I enjoyed it so much. It looks at childhood, marriage, mother and child and career.

The book is long, with 479 pages, as the story spans more than three decades. Such length is needed as it explores the intricate terrain between best friends – one who chooses marriage and motherhood while the other opts for career and celebrity. At times it reads like a screen-play in search of a film-crew and it wouldn’t be surprising if, in fact, Firefly Lane, the film makes its way into cinemas.