Fahrenheit 451 – Book review #books #classicbooks #bookreivew

About Fahrenheit 451: Set in a dystopian future, it follows the story of Guy Montag, a fireman. But in this future, firemen don’t put out fires, they create fires…of banned books.

Guy doesn’t question his existence, or the way things are…until he meets his neighbor Clarisse.

What will follow is a slow unfurling of every truth Guy has held dear.

My Review: So, this isn’t the easiest book to read. There are times when you get lost in the beautiful prose and the haunting flow of the story. And times when you are so lost in the beautiful prose that you don’t know where you are in the story…Fahrenheit 451 isn’t the kind of book you dip into while waiting for the train on a busy platform!

Trust me on this, I tried it.

There are times in life when you just want to sit down and watch a brain off action movie, and times when you want to stretch your cognitive muscles watching something that makes you think…and reflect on after it is done.

There are reasons why books become classics and why it is generally worth pushing through.

I expect to find myself reflecting on this book.

My rating: 5 Stars

See my review on Goodreads

…and I will leave you with a quote.

“‘Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.” from Fahrenheit 451

Holidays, books and being a writer! #writing #amwriting #writerslife

“I’m a writer. My hobbies include not writing.”

I have a bit of a fixation with writing memes, and the above was my favourite from this week. I’ve been on holiday in Brisbane for the last 10 days, and even though I’m on holiday I’ve found it hard to tear myself away from my story. I was sitting in a coffee shop, doing the final read of book 3 from my trilogy before hitting publish, when this meme popped up. Needless to say, it made me chuckle.

I dabbled in writing for so many years before I published, and the moment I did publish it was like BOOM I’m addicted. I really don’t have any other hobbies now…except walking or maybe gardening, because walking and gardening mean you can still think about writing!

Win, win!

Some pictures from my Brisbane trip…

Enoggera, QLD…yes, that is me and not the back of a random person!
South Brisbane Foreshore
South Brisbane Foreshore
Cute Koala at the Lonepine Koala sanctuary
Botanical Gardens, Brisbane
Toowoomba, QLD

The end of the Divided World…not quite so divided anymore…more of a…well, you’ll have to read it to find out 😉

It’s taken me nearly 18 months, but I’m finally at the end of the trilogy with the 3rd book out on Amazon in print, and ebook on pre-order!
There will definitely be more adventures for Tanis and perhaps even spin-offs, but for now I’m starting a new series.
Such a great feeling to get to the end. And super excited about the next chapter…pun intended

For those who love sci-fi with a touch of fantasy and a lot of conflict!

Divided Serenity (Divided World Book One)
http://hyperurl.co/yfi7m2

 

 

Serenity Falling (Divided World Book Two)
https://hyperurl.co/1j9tol

 

 

Revealing Serenity (Divided World Book Three)
Available on pre-order
https://hyperurl.co/ja0qrt

Author interview – Paul Cude #Authors @paul_cude

Today I have the pleasure of introducing author Paul Cude who will be sharing his thoughts on reading and writing, and details of his Book, Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Threat From The Past (Book 1)

Paul on Writing

Where do you get your ideas?

From my dreams and life experiences more than anything. Oddly the whole thing started with a dream. Sounds a bit crazy really, but one night, when my elder daughter was just a baby (she’s not far off 16 now) I had the single most realistic dream I’ve ever had. I didn’t remember it until the following day, but when I did, I swear it was just like watching a movie in my head…..so graphic, so intense, so…..mesmerising. Anyhow, I told my wife, who was gobsmacked to say the least. And so was what she said to me, “You have to write it, you just have to.” At the time I just laughed off her idea, bearing in mind that at the time I could only type with two fingers. But over a period of I suppose months, I kept getting more dreams, flashbacks into the story…….sometimes little details, sometimes insights into the characters, sometimes twists and turns to do with the plot. In the end I suppose it was inevitable that I would write it. First I taught myself to type properly…..3 months, and then, well………..I began. At first I needed complete silence to be able to write, something there wasn’t a lot of bearing in mind I was taking care of one young child, with another on the way. But over time I’ve learned to filter it all out and can now write with the kids playing around me if I need to, but I still think I do work more efficiently in total silence. It has taken a long time, and I was surprised how hard and crucial the editing  process was. But in the end it was most definitely worth it. The life experiences part is more about the human sport mentioned in the book. I’ve played field hockey for well over three decades now, and it’s changed my life beyond recognition. I have a great affection and admiration for the other sports mentioned as well, hence the reason they’re included.

What motivates you to write?

Earning a living wage, being a success, but above all, bringing just a little pleasure to the readers. I know how it feels to be lost in a fictional world, staying up all night to finish a book, or “just one more chapter”. To provide others with a story that will get them hooked and give them the pleasure of getting lost for a few minutes or a few hours certainly keeps me focused.

How many hours a week do you spend writing?

It’s so difficult to say. One of the things I love about doing what I do is the freedom it gives me. That said, I do end up on the computer at all times, sometimes starting at 5.30am and most nights not finishing until closer to 11pm and that’s seven days a week. Of course it’s not constant, and a lot of that is the devil that is social media. But writing goes on in between and anytime when I have more than a few minutes. If I had to guess I’d say closer to 20 hours of writing a week, but as so often happens, life can get in the way and as I’m a house husband and look after both of my kids, regularly I have to ditch the writing to look after either one or both of them. The writing is always the first thing that suffers.

Best thing about writing?

The freedom. Not only in the sense that I can write when I like, perhaps in the evening, thus freeing up some time during the day. But freedom to explore my dreams, other worlds, the crazy fiction that regularly plays out in my head, mainly when I’m asleep, but quite often during the day. I’m sure my family must regularly look at me, see my vacant stare and think….. ‘he’s off amongst the dragons again.’

Your biggest writing distractions?

Without a doubt…..social media. A necessity in this day and age, but one that proves time consuming and a huge distraction from writing. I love helping other authors and sharing their work….who wouldn’t? As a reader I don’t just read one book, or one series of books. I read lots of different books in lots of different genres. So sharing the work of others always seems like the right thing to do, so that people who follow me have the chance to find new authors and brilliant new books. You also hope that those authors that you’re sharing feel exactly the same way. Unfortunately though, it is massively time consuming and on any one day can pull you away from your main goal of writing.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Generally I would say about a year, but it depends what life throws at us as a family. Over the past few years we’ve had more than our fair share of ups and downs with health issues, etc, and as I’ve stated already, the very first thing to suffer for me is the writing. I would say if things go well, a year is a reasonable target to get the writing, editing and everything else in place.

Least favourite thing about writing?

It would be hard to choose between social media and editing. I love interacting with all the other people on twitter, facebook and google+ etc, but it’s so time consuming, and I know my writing suffers because of it. And so while I love doing that side of things, I would get so much more done if I just ignored social media all together. As for editing…..I absolutely loathe it. I get to the end of writing a book and the elation on writing that very last sentence is beyond belief. And then it hits you. You’ve still got all the editing to do. Ahhhhh!!! But it is a necessary evil and one that pays off the more time you spend on it. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read each of my books during the editing process.

How do you measure your success as a writer?

Certainly not money, that’s for sure. I think for me it has to be a combination of reviews and messages from people who’ve bought and read your book. Opening your emails up early in the morning to find a positive message from a reader puts the biggest smile of all on your face. And not just for the rest of the day.

What advice would you give to yourself if you were starting the writing journey again?

Spend as much money as you can to get the right covers. For my first book I’ve had three different covers, and it’s only now that I feel I have the right one, the one I should have had in the first place. At the time it was difficult to know exactly what it was I wanted, and where to find the right person to design it. As well, I was restricted by a rather tight budget. But in the long term, it’s worked out much more expensive. There are so many more great places to have your cover designed now, and they are not too expensive either. Lessons learned.

Paul on Reading

What is your favorite genre(s)? Tell us more about why you love them?

When in my late teens, I mistakenly ordered a Tom Clancy book…..Debt of Honour. I was too lazy to return it, so it sat on my bedside table for weeks, until one evening, when I picked it up and started to read it. Many hours later I put it down, only because I needed a few hours’ sleep before I went to work. I was hooked. After finishing that, I went out and bought all the other Tom Clancy books I could find. It was also about that time that the Star Wars expanded universe books started to appear. I caught sight of the first one while working in a book shop in my role of service engineer. I can remember it clearly: Star Wars Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. It had a striking blue cover with some of the Star Wars characters on it, and I had to buy it there and then, in the middle of doing my job, much to the amusement of the owner of the bookshop. My love of the expanded universe has continued ever since, and as soon as the next book comes out…….I have to have it.

It seems my love of books goes in phases. If I have nothing to read, I wander around a bookshop until I find something I like the look of and then read it. If I get hooked, I go back and find other books by that author. Examples of this for me are Terry Goodkind and Christopher Paolini…..I love all of their books. The detail, the plot……the characters….are just all amazing. I can only dream of writing as well as they do. Other authors I’ve found and loved this way include Robin Hobb, J.V. Jones, David Gemmell and Trudi Canavan, to name but a few. I love the way they use their imaginations and the worlds that they create on the pages of the book. They’re all very easy to visualise.

My favorite author of all though, is the wonderful Terry Pratchett. If you haven’t read one of his books you really should. While I love pretty much all the books he’s written, the ones about the guards of Ankh-Morpork, Captain Carrot, Sam Vimes, Corporal Nobbs, Angua and of course the Lord Vetinari, are easily my favourites. The characters themselves are described in magnificent detail, all with their own funny little ways. The plots twist and turn like a raging river, and the humour…….well, let’s just say that is exactly on my wavelength. I’ve cried with laughter on many occasions reading some of Terry Pratchett’s books, and I can’t recall doing that for any other author I’ve read. If you’re a reading fan, you really must try one of his books.

So my favourite genres would have to be fantasy, science fiction followed by thrillers, in that order.

Have you ever skipped something important to stay at home and read a book? Details please!

Well of course there’s sleep. Definitely skipped a lot of sleep to read a lot of books. Most of the Star Wars expanded universe, not to mention most of the Harry Potter series and a lot of Terry Pratchett’s books. I do recall feigning illness to stay off work and read when I was a service engineer once. I can’t remember what book it was (I think one of the Star Wars expanded universe volumes) but that was a total one off.

Favorite book hero and / or villain and why?

Hero has to be Han Solo. What’s not to like? Serious attitude, courage, selfless despite outwards appearances, better than good with a gun and of course there’s the flying. A scoundrel for sure, but what a scoundrel.

As for villains…..it would have to be (sorry, spoilers for those who haven’t read the books) Jacen Solo, Han’s son from the Star Wars expanded universe. Reading about his journey, from sweet adolescent to tough but fair, no-nonsense jedi, to Sith lord was just heartbreaking, particularly because of some of the things he did once he’d attained Sith lord status. Good turned bad never felt so despicable.

If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) what book would it be and why?

It would have to be the Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett. My favourite book ever. The story is magnificent and the way he paints the characters with words is just outstanding. I must have read the book about ten times in all and it never gets boring. And there’s one part in there, that even as I’m writing this is making me laugh. I won’t go into details, but it’s when Gaspode the talking dog has to tell Carrot the name of the wolf. Makes me cry with laughter every time. What’s ironic about this is that I used to see the late Terry Pratchett in Salisbury (the city where I live) but never had the courage to go up to him. I’m a very shy person and wouldn’t dream of going up to anyone in the street that I didn’t know, especially a famous author like him. If I could go back in time, I most certainly would pluck up the courage to approach him, but only to tell him just how much pleasure his books have given me.

About your Books…

You are living in your latest novel. Where are you living, and what is it like?

I’m living underground in the dragon domain and it’s…..HOT! Unbelievably so. Rivers of brilliant molten magma roll across the landscape, twisting their way between houses, crisscrossing the different dragon metropolises. Crackling lava waterfalls drop hundreds of metres, throwing off steam and heat in abundance, keeping the secret underground world the kind of temperature its dragon inhabitants like. As well as HOT, it’s absolutely bonkers. Dragons stroll down oversized walkways, live in giant houses, work in monstrous office buildings, all going about their daily business, most of which in some way shape or form is related to the running of the planet, and the guidance and protection of the human population on the surface. Realistically a human being down here would be unlikely. Not only is it forbidden by the ruling dragon council, but they would struggle to survive given the heat, the diet, and in particular the jaw dropping monorail that can almost exceed the speed of sound.


Bentwhistle The Dragon in A Threat From The Past (Book 1)

Can you be heroic and naive?

For Peter Bentwhistle, the answer would most certainly have to be YES!

Blissfully unaware of what’s going on around him, for the most part he remains fully focused on blending in and keeping a low profile.

But fate and just plain bad luck have other designs on him.

Not so bad, you might think. Until you discover the TRUTH!

Just like his friends, Tank and Richie, he is a…..DRAGON!

Thrust into a life away from the underground dragon domain, disguised in an awkward human form in an effort to guide and protect humanity, all he has to do is stay out of trouble, learn how to play hockey and piece together all the parts of the puzzle continually playing out around him.

With the help of his two young friends, a master mantra maker and a complete dragon stranger with more than a little history attached to him, will Peter manage to thwart the dark, devious scheme long in the planning?

Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound?

Want to know how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes?

Learn the true story of George and the Dragon, get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and gain insight into what to do if you encounter a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile.

Lose yourself in this unputdownable fantasy adventure NOW


About Paul Cude

Paul Cude is a husband, father, field hockey player and aspiring photographer. Lost without his hockey stick, he can often be found in between writing and chauffeuring children, reading anything from comics to sci-fi, fantasy to thrillers. Too often found chained to his computer, it would be little surprise to find him, in his free time, somewhere on the Dorset coastline, chasing over rocks and sand in an effort to capture his wonderful wife and lovely kids with his camera. Paul Cude is also the author of the Bentwhistle the Dragon series of books.

You can also follow Paul on his social media sites!

The potential for artificial intelligence in the world of fiction #writing #amwriting #AI

I was reading a book this week, The power of habit. The second section looks at how business has embraced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies to predict buying behaviors for their customers. This works very effectively due to the way we humans follow habitual buying patterns. In the book they discuss the infamous Target story where they sent promotions for baby related products to a 15 year old girl, initially causing outrage from her father. Essentially the machines knew she was pregnant before her family did. How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did

“AI can, with some reliability, predict whether a song will be a hit or not.”

The content that really piqued my interest was a story of the song ‘Hey ya’ by Outkast released in 2003. I’m sure most of us know the track. It was huge. When it was first heard by music execs, they knew it would be a hit…and so did their AI. The music industry uses artificial intelligence to listen to tracks and evaluate them prior to a human even bothering, using a combination of frequencies, tonality, BPM, etc. The AI can, with some reliably, predict whether a track will be a hit or not. When initially released, however, ‘Hey ya’ wasn’t very successful on the radio. The book explains how machines are now predicting what track should precede a new ‘unfamiliar’ track on radio stations to prepare the human brain for what’s coming. Almost a calming effect. In this case, it was a track by Celine Dion. Go figure! Well, if you read the book, it explains why. Effectively, AI understands humans so well that they can manipulate us (in a positive way) to receive new experiences.

I couldn’t help but think about how this can be applied to fiction. I know little about contemporary publishing practices, but there is definitely potential for AI. Can AI read a new work of fiction and evaluate it for success? Determine the market segments it will appeal to, sales volumes, etc. The benefit is it bypasses the somewhat flawed processes of an author sending a tiny synopsis of their book and some sample writing to an agent hoping the 200 word pitch does justice to their masterpiece. Instead, the book can be submitted online straight to a publisher and the AI can determine whether they should take notice or whether it’s junk.

“Some writers will see AI manuscript evaluations as a blessing since it takes the subjective human out the loop.

…And some may see it as a threat.”

As the technology becomes more advanced and continues to learn, there is a business opportunity for an AI service to help authors directly evaluate their own work before they submit to a publisher or self-publish. For example, the AI could provide an initial rating and feedback. Perhaps on writing style issues, inconsistent use of perspective, inconsistencies in the storyline.

But where can it ultimately go? Maybe the AI service could edit the book for you, so authors could focus more on the original story and characters, and worry less about the grammatical and structural side of things. I wonder if books would start to feel too similar, even though the story and genre are different, if they all went through the same grammar sausage factory.

Talking a step back for a moment, if AI is evaluating books, is there a risk that a daringly ‘different’ story or writing style is rejected by the AI because it’s not following the approved formula?

“Maybe, like the music industry, the publishing industry needs to recommend you read Harry Potter for a warm, familiar feeling before taking on American Psycho!”

Finally, how long before AI writes new and original books. Many newspaper articles today are being written by AI. Typically, for fact based articles. See how Associated Press are using AI (https://automatedinsights.com/case-studies/associated-press). What the AI produces is all factually correct and perfectly written, but it can’t yet provide opinions. We tend to read newspapers to get insights from experienced journalists rather than bland facts.

In Yoval Noah Harari’s excellent book Homo Deus, the author discusses a case of an AI composing classical music. It was scoffed by the aficionados of classical music, so a kind of musical Turing test was proposed by the developers of the AI to see if experts could determine which pieces were composed by an AI and which were from the best human composers. Spoiler alert – They couldn’t. Worse than that. They thought the AI produced work had far more emotion in it!

“So, books WILL be written by AI.

When? I don’t know, but it will happen.”

What then? Will they churn out fascinating new works of fiction? Will they slowly use works of fiction to subliminally influence humanity? Views on AI and its potential tend to be quite polarized. But it won’t be constrained to replacing our mundane jobs. It might be taking over creativity too. Maybe we are destined to just be batteries after all.

What are your thoughts?

Using Third Person vs First Person Novel POV (Survey)

So far I have always used third person in my own work, but I have often wondered about giving first person a go…and I read lots of both.

What’s your preference? And why?

It’s been a while since we had a survey! 🙂

A great article on the subject.

Using Third Person vs First Person Novel Narratives (Link)

BookReview ~ The Introvert by Michael Paul Michaud #books #bookreview

A vacuum salesman by day, the introvert lives a quiet life alone with his dog until a work relationship and a dark secret from his past team up to create an uncomfortable imbalance in his otherwise ordered life, one that soon finds him squarely at the center of a murder investigation. With his thoughts continually urging him to make people “red and open” and to “achieve it” with his girlfriend Donna, what follows is a sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.

Guest Review ~ by Lee 

I wasn’t clear how to even categorise this book. It’s a fairly quick read and at the outset I had a pretty low opinion of it. The title is misleading and that I think threw me. My view was that this is a book written by an extravert trying to portray what it’s like to be an introvert. I still feel that to a degree. The writing is a bit clumsy in places.

However, the main character isn’t an introvert really or maybe I’m just offended. He’s more high functioning aspergers.

I’ve read comparisons to ‘The Curious Incident of the dog in the nighttime’, but it has little in common with that and more in common with ‘American Psycho’.

If you find it slow, stick with it. It improves.

My rating: Three Stars!

 

Want to follow Lee’s reviews on Goodreads?

Lee on Goodreads

More by Lee…

BookReview ~ Room 119 by TF Lince #books #goodreads #bookreview @Room119TFLince

Room 119 High-flying trader Dean Harrison has it all – the London penthouse apartment; the fast car; the beautiful wife. But when the threads of Dean’s life start to unravel, they do so with alarming speed.

Following the advice of a frail stranger, Dean sets off for Welnetham Hall Hotel and is plunged into the mysterious world of Room 119 – a world where nothing makes sense. How does everyone in the hotel know his name? Why does he travel there on a train line that shut down over fifty years ago? And who is the sinister man in black who pursues him wherever he goes?

As he gradually pieces together the puzzle of Welnetham Hall, Dean is forced to re-evaluate his life and realises that nothing is more important to him than his wife and daughter. Desperate to get back to them, he vows he would lay down his life for the people he loves.

It’s a promise he may have to keep.

Guest Review ~ by Lee 

What a ride! I nearly put this book down as my first genuine DNF. I just thought the initial part of the story was too ‘unreal’ and it irritated me. Yes, fiction, unreal, blah blah. But it was worth persisting. The story is like a blend of Ghost of Christmas Past, Life on Mars (TV) and Wall Street!

It’s a great story with some great feel-good moments. It put me through all of my emotions and at one point I was ‘Oh no, you’re kidding’.

The characters are engaging, the writing is ‘easy reading’, but maybe lacks some sophistication. However, it is the author’s first book and from his ‘foreword’ he only started writing in 2017.

I formed an early opinion as I often do and considered this a 3/5, then as I progressed I gave it 4/5, then ultimately because I enjoyed the tale so much a lenient 5/5.

Good stuff!

My rating: Five Stars!

51fWpWc0mJL

Want to follow Lee’s reviews on Goodreads?

Lee on Goodreads

More by Lee…

Why I love books #writing #reading #books

For some of us,

books are as important as

almost anything else on earth.

What a miracle it is that

out of these small, flat, rigid

squares of paper unfolds

world after world after world,

worlds that sing to you,

comfort and quiet or excite you.

~Anne Lamott

Book 2 of the Divided World Series is now available in Print! #books #SCIFI

Book 2 of the Divided World Series is now available in Print!

Available on US and UK sites at the moment, but hoping to have the Australian version available soon now Amazon are about to launch here.
UK Paperback: Amazon.co.uk[Paperback]
UK Ebook: Amazon.co.uk [Ebook]
US Paperback: Amazon.com[Paperback]
US Ebook: Amazon.com[Ebook]
AUS Ebook: Amazon.com.au[Ebook]

About Serenity Falling… Hannah thought her work in Shadowland was complete. Station 54 was operational and Aterra was once more safe. There is just one problem…no one in Aterra knows, and Bill is determined to proceed with the war.
With the door to Aterra closed, Hannah and the team head to Thale, the largest and most prestigious of the five great fortresses. But the mysterious return of a badly beaten Marcus has everyone on edge.
The people of Aterra remain ignorant of what is happening beyond their protective wall, but Theo and Nate are determined to uncover the details of Bill’s covert operations in Shadowland. That will mean infiltrating Bill’s private home. And what they uncover will make them question who is really to blame for the enduring conflict between Bill Bremmer and John Tanis.