Making The Right Playlist

Something that I’ve heard a lot of writers talk about, is writing a scene with a specific album or playlist in the background and although I’ve had music playing when I’ve been writing I’ve never felt that it affected my mood enough to be shown in my writing, until I was writing a short story for my vampire series and my iTunes library was on shuffle, and it settled on Alone I Break by Korn and it fitted what the story’s protagonist was going through; so I went to the start of the album, their greatest hits, and it did make quite a noticeable difference. While I was listening to it the character was going through a life changing period and the intensity of Korn’s music just seems to sink in and add to the dramatic events I was putting the character through.

When I get a minute I’m going to load up a few more albums and selected songs from my cd collection and sort of some playlists for different emotional states and use them as I’m writing. As I’m going to be editing in the next couple of days I’ll just through a cd into the mini player and have it as background noise.

Book Review: An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Like a lot of people I had heard of Chris Hadfield but I had never paid much attention to him until I heard an interview with him on the Nerdist Podcast. He seemed to have a very easy and likable personality and I enjoyed listening to him speaking about his experiences so I looked up his book on iTunes and found that it was available in audio. I hit purchase, and I’m very glad that I did.

 

Normally anything Biographical is a no-go for me. As a rule I struggle with them but that was when I was reading and not listening and with An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth I was pulled in within the first five minutes. Hadfield himself narrates the audiobook and that likable personality I mentioned earlier came through in his reading. I’m glad Hadfield did narrate the book as there are moments when the emotion of his memories comes through in how he reads the book.

 

I’ve not read many autobiographies but Hadfield’s sounds very sincere and honest. Not only does he mention his highs but he also is not afraid to talk about the times when he was at fault or did something that he later regretted. We get to see just how hard it is to become an astronaut. I’m not someone who has sat looking up into the night sky wishing I could go into space, I always thought it would be neat to do but I never seriously wished to travel into space but after consuming this book I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I stand no chance of ever leaving this planet. The skills these men and women have that get them into the Astronauts office at NASA are quite impressive. Not only do they have to be intelligent, healthy and competent they also need to have the right personality and mind sets.

Of the thousands of people who apply to be astronauts only a handful are successful and Hadfield earnt his place there through a lot of hard work which he is very humble about. He seems like the type of person that you’d get talking to in a bar where there’s a band playing and take an instant liking to him.

 

The pacing is really good, it’s not just a re-telling of his life in chronological order. It jumps from point to point depending on what Hadfield is trying to say with a particular paragraph and it’s all tied up very nicely.

 

It’s almost part autobiography and part self-help guide. Hadfield talks about how thinking about the worst outcome can help with achieving success. I think the phrase he uses is ‘Sweat the small stuff.’ or something along those lines. Basically he is saying if you think of the worst case scenario and how to solve it then if it happens you are prepared for it. This is something that sounds like NASA train their astronauts to do and it sounds like a damn good concept. To me its the ultimate 6 p’s. Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. I love that saying and with space exploration it seems like a good way of thinking. Hadfield gives a lot of examples of how this has helped him achieve all that he has.

 

This was the last book I read (listened to) and finished in 2013 and it was a good one to end out the year on. I’ve listened to it twice in the two weeks since I downloaded it and I’ll probably listen to it again before the month is out. It has really inspired me and given me an insight into what life as an astronaut is like and I doubt that I am the only person who has been surprised by just what astronauts do when they’re not floating in zero gravity.

If you have an interest in space then I highly recommend this book. It has changed many of my perceptions and inspired more then a few ideas for my own fiction.

A Couple Of Shout Outs

Hey Guys and Gals, I just wanted to give a couple of by quick shout outs before I settle down and watch the end of this movie I’m watching.

The first is for The Hollywood Outsider podcast – http://www.thehollywoodoutsider.com/

This is a movie and TV podcast hosted by four guys, Aaron, Brian, Justin and Scott and each week they deliver spoiler free reviews of the current movies and TV series as well as talking about what’s in the news.
I love this one because these four blokes give honest opinions and they don’t bull sh*t the listener. It’s honest and very lighthearted.

The second is a shout out for another podcast called Tweep Nationhttp://www.newbiewriters.com/podcasts/newbiepodcast/tweep-nation-podcast/

This one is two women, Amber and Dionne talking about everything from Twitter to writing to Possums. This is an awesome show that I have absolutely fallen in love with. Amber Jerome Norrgard (http://amberjeromenorrgard.com) and Dionne Lister (http://dionnelisterwriter.wordpress.com) have so much fun on this show that I laugh out loud with them and their guests. Both are indie writers and its very inspirational listening to them I have learnt a lot about writing. I’ve gone back to the first episode and I’m enjoying and looking forward to listening to all of the episodes 🙂

Please consider checking these two great podcasts out, they are both on iTunes and are free to download and listen to. They are definitely worth checking out 🙂

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Running Out Of Audiobooks!

One of the things I’ve asked for for my birthday last month was iTunes vouchers, mainly so I could buy audiobooks. I’ll write a post saying which ones I’ve brought as well as the books I also purchased. I’m now listening to the last one which I’m really gutted about. One reason is that I’ve really enjoyed listening to them, another reason is that of the five audiobooks I brought three of them have really caught my attention and I’m eager to get the other stories in these books respective series, I’m really hoping they’re available on audio. I haven’t checked yet cause I don’t want to buy them yet, well more accurately I haven’t got the disposable cash at the moment 😦 but that’s life.
Once I’ve finished the one I’m on now I’ll be back on iTunes looking through the podcasted novels once more to see if I can find something impressive. I’m also going to download a couple that I’ve heard before but not for quite a while, I’m looking forward to hearing some of those 🙂

A Dancing Bear

Over the last few days of last week I was listening to A Dancing Bear by David Free. This is a story that I really love, it gives a lot to think about and the characters are fascinating.  David Free gives the story an interesting pace and his descriptive skills sucked me in as I was listening to the story.

Here’s the podiobooks.com link http://podiobooks.com/title/a-dancing-bear/ The Story can also be found on iTunes.

This is a story that I am very fond of this story, its one that has an ending that makes you think.

 

 

Tonights Post

I’ve been listening to Scott Sigler’s first book in his Crypt series, called Crew Stories. This basically is a collection of short stories about the future crew of a ship known as the PUV James Keeling, also known as The Crypt. This is a collection that I have listened to before but I had forgotten just how good these stories are and I really enjoyed reliving them again and getting to know the crew once more. This is not a book for the faint of heart! And at the moment is only available in podcast form (Which means free) A lot of the stories here are co-written by some amazing writers including, Mur Lafferty, Paul E. Cooley, Jake Bible and many other excellent writers (Look out for the story  co-written with Greg Crites). Here’s the link to the page on Scott Sigler’s website;

http://scottsigler.com/books/the-crypt-book-one-crew-stories

If you have read my blog for a while you will know I am a big fan of Scott Sigler, he is an amazing writer who I have a lot of time for as he has worked very hard to get to where he is today. He has had a little help along the way and I would love to steal his business partner, A Kovacs who seems to keep Mr. Sigler on track. They are a great team and are producing some great content.

 

I would also like to quickly give a link to this interview on Adventures In Sci-Fi Publishing with Kevin J. Anderson. I have not read any of his work yet, I do have the first of The Saga Of Seven Suns book on my shelve, but I love listening to him talking about the art of writing. It’s in two parts so I’ll give you the link to the first part;

http://www.adventuresinscifipublishing.com/2013/02/aisfp-197-kevin-j-anderson-part-1/

 

You can find both podcasts in the iTunes library.

Reading update, I finished Stephen King’s The Gunslinger last night. I was aiming to get it read by the end of the week but the final sixty pages went by in a beat of an eye. As I’ve said before I had no idea what this book was about and I’ve really enjoyed discovering it. I am looking forward to the next book but I am going to read a couple of other books before I delve into book two in the series.

I’ve now started Haywire by Justin R. Macumber.

I have not done any more editing, but I have done some hand written bits for Project Apollo.

Tonights Update

I’ve just a quick little update tonight.

I’d like to give a shout out to Patrick E. McLean who wrote the book How To Succeed In Evil which is a really entertaining book. The characters are brilliant, out there in the odd case but in a good way. This is hugely entertaining and I found myself laughing out loud more than once (I got some funny looks at work).

http://www.patrickemclean.com/

 

Theres the link to Mr. McLean’s site, you can also find his work at Podiobooks.com and iTunes.

 

There’s a sad note here I’m afraid. It was announced today that the actor Richard Briers has passed away. He was 79. Mr. Briers starred in a number of great shows over the years. I’ll remember him mainly for his role as Tom Good in The Good Life and as Hector Naismith MacDonald in Monarch Of The Glen. The most recent thing that I saw him in was Cockneys vs. Zombies. He seemed like a proper gentleman and I will always remember the shows that I saw him and what a talent he was.

R.I.P Mr Richard Briers.