The Boots Lady

Posted on 6 August 2010. Filed under: Website Updates | Tags: , , , |

In some circles I’m known as The Boots Lady, those who know me will be quite puzzled about this as I’m not known for my clothes sense, in fact I’m known far more for wanting to shave my hair off than for my clothes sense. I just don’t have much interest in the way clothes look, function is a different matter but fashion and me are not good bedfellows.

So, “How come you’re known as The Boots Lady I hear you ask”. What a good question and I’m so glad you asked that one.

I was in the middle of a business conference and we were doing a workshop on writing our FAQs. We had to take a piece of paper, write as few words as possible about our business and pass it on to the next person who then had to write three questions and pass it on to the next person who then had to write three more questions and so on until we were told to hand them back to the original person. We then had to look at our papers and were asked what we’d found out. My voice rang out “I need to do something about my writing”. That got a nice laugh and when I explained the poor lady who’d misread my writing was mortified. I’d written “I sell books online” and my writing was so bad it looked like boots so she’d asked me questions about selling boots.

There you go, most people know me as The Books Lady, but some people know me as The Boots Lady. I’m sure there’s a moral in that story but there’s a reason I learnt to type. In some places I’m known as The Badge Lady, but that’s another story entirely and will need photos.

Speaking of typing, I know I wasn’t really but I am now. I managed to secure myself a seat Tuesday this week in a fabulous training session run by the ever-lovely Darren Rowse. When he sent out the initial query asking if there was interest he was looking at a 20 person training session and ended up with upwards of 100 people. I now need to wear reading glasses when working on the computer or reading a book…or writing…so I took my laptop as it’s a real pain to look at the presentation with one pair of glasses then have to change to write something down and I generally only get a fraction of what I need. I was lucky enough to sit in the back row right near the powerpoint so I was able to type the whole day. I certainly typed…a lot, I’ve got a 26 page Word document which is fairly closely spaced. I sent these notes to Darren last night and we’ll see what happens.

I went to this session so I could learn how to make my blog work better, look better and give me more confidence about the whole process. I was already in the process of designing a new blog layout with a new url linked to my website and this session given me all the information I need to design the right blog. It won’t happen for a few weeks as I’m not really html savvy, I just know enough to be dangerous, but it will happen and I’ll announce it here first and give you all the url before I do the final switchover. Stay tuned to this Bat Channel for more information.

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Miscellaneous Links

Posted on 26 July 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , , , , |

I came across a few interesting websites last week. This one was sent to me by scifitv on Twitter. I was quite excited about this one, Frederik Pohl is a fabulous author and to have him write about Frank Herbert, my heart just went a flutter and I had to click through to look at it. I was excited even if others aren’t.

This next one was also exciting to me. It’s an article about offenders being given a sentence to read instead of going go prison. I’m lead to believe that one of the problems with offenders is that they’re not very educated and the theory is that they should become educated and they will change. Whether this will work is something I’m not sure of, but I reckon if it gets them reading then it has to be good. This leads me directly to another website. The Australian Prison Foundation is collecting textbooks, dictionaries and novels to send to offenders in Australian prisons to ensure they can educate themselves and change their lives. They’re in need of donations of books and also money so they can send the books to the right places.

This article could be the future of publishing. It’s a fabulous idea and ensures books are chosen by the many and not just for their money making opportunities. I’ll encourage you to look at the article as I can’t begin to explain it properly.

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Website update

Posted on 21 May 2010. Filed under: Website Updates | Tags: , , , |

I’ve alluded to a few changes that have been happening to the Suz’s Space Website over the last few days. The changes aren’t over yet, but are almost there. If you’ve been looking for the website today you might have had trouble as we’ve been moving webhosts. When you move house there are always glitches and this move was no different. The biggest problem was with photo names, I didn’t do enough research when I set up the first website and didn’t realise spaces in file names were a big no-no so I had 2,000 photos with spaces in the file names. How wrong can you get? I was told of my error a few months ago and have been getting it right since then, but when the lovely and multitalented Tamara told me none of the photos were showing up with the move, I took the opportunity to fix everything up. I deleted all the photos so I could start with a clean slate and then re-attached them all with underscores in the place of spaces. With almost 900 listings it was not a small task but better done now than when I had 2,000 photos. There are a few photos I couldn’t find so until I find the books and retake the photos they are blank.

The biggest problem now is helping people find the right website. If you use your bookmark you’ll end up at the wrong IP address and any orders will go into cyberspace never to be found again. I’m sure there’s a book waiting to be written about all the things floating around cyberspace. I suggest you use this url http://suzs-space.com/ and for the tech savvy it should take you to this IP address 112.140.180.163.

Emails might use a different url such as http://www.sciencefictionandfantasybooks.com.au. Don’t be alarmed, it is still the same company and we still carry the same books. The number of science fiction and fantasy books we have waiting to be listed for your buying, and therefore reading, pleasure is hard to estimate but it’s certainly much, much more than any other genre so this new url makes sense. In due course you’ll be able to find us with either url, I just have to remember how to do the technical bits.

No, I’m not having trouble with my pronouns. One day I’ll explain.

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New book!!!

Posted on 8 May 2010. Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: , , |

I sort of promised people an article yesterday and it had to be an article with photos. All fine and dandy except the battery in the camera gave up the ghost in the middle of the photo session so it had to wait until after I’d charged it. I’ll go against convention and give you a photo of the book first before I talk about it and the author.

Addams Family Album

I got it through freecycle which a wonderful organisation for getting odd things. I am very careful with the things I collect through freecycle and only ask for things I want to keep. I never ask for or offer to pick up things I want to sell.

I’m always excited by eclectic books that retrace my childhood and when I saw this book…well, you guessed it, I was excited. You’ve seen the front cover and the pictures inside are all really great. They’re all so reminiscent of the TV series I saw in my childhood, funny about that as the original cartoons predated the TV series. I’d tell you about my favourite character but I can’t pick one, they’re all my favourites.

So, a bit of useful stuff for you before sending you off to look at the Charles Addams’ website. Charles Samuel Addams was born in New Jersey in 1912, he was 21 when he was first published by The New Yorker and continued to be a contributer until his death in 1988. The TV series first appeared in 1964 and coalesced the 50 or so drawings they were based on into something a bit more concrete that has lasted through the decades. You can find far more information about Addams and his legacy on the website.

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Top 100 Children’s Books

Posted on 20 April 2010. Filed under: Lists | Tags: , , |

This is a quick article tonight as I’ve been working really hard at other parts of the business and haven’t really had a chance to write anything. I have a treat coming up later this week, a guest poster is coming onboard and will give us all a real treat, details will be revealed in due course.

I’ve been kicking myself the last few minutes, I have a list to show you and have completely forgotten who directed me to it. It was someone on Twitter and if they happen to remember posting the link they should contact me so I can credit them.

Anyway, tonight I’m looking at the Top 100 Children’s Books. This list was put together out of 318 surveys with 10 books each. Bear in mind it’s from a School Library Journal so the votes are bound to be rather different than if the survey had been exclusively parents or exclusively children. I was delighted to find one of my all-time favourite books in number one position, Charlotte’s Web, just a fabulous book and I know I’m not the only one who enjoyed it as they made a movie out of it. I read through it fairly carefully and there are 32 books I’m fairly certain I’ve read and a number of others I might have read but I can’t be certain about. I’d intrigued about everyone else. How many of these books have you read? Maybe I should also be asking your demographic…but I won’t as that means I’d have to answer the same question and I never admit to being any older than 18.

I will pick out one other book and that is The Phantom Tollbooth. It’s a book I discovered only a few years ago and I was so glad I’d opened it up, it’s a really good book about letting your imagination take you places.

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Picnic

Posted on 5 April 2010. Filed under: Downtime | Tags: , , |

We always do a picnic at this time of year, the kids didn’t want to come with us and we wanted to go a little further away than normal so we had a lovely drive out to Ballarat by ourselves. I have a friend out there who had ordered some books so we packed them away in the car and left them at his house (you knew there had to be a reference to books somewhere in this post). We then drove off to Lake Wendouree, had our picnic and then walked around the Lake.

Lake Wendouree No Swimming


Yes, I still call it a lake despite the lack of water. It has a great history and this is shown at the part of the lake where the 1956 Olympics Rowing finished. We didn’t take any photos of the installations at this part of the lake but they are very nice.

We walked around the Steve Moneghetti Track and had a great time reading all the information about him and the track, this was posted every 500m. I was in uniform and people took a great deal of interest in my tshirt; it’s a Tintin tshirt with Tintin and Snowy on the front with the words “The Adventures of Tintin” and a reproduction of the Tintin book “The Land of the Black Gold”. Yes, I said uniform. Seeing as I sell books I consider any clothing a uniform if it mentions books. Today’s was Tintin, other days I’ll wear my Disorganising Committee tshirt from the First Australian Discworld Convention.

Lake Wendouree Boat House


I’ve ended up with sore feet and a disorganised brain that can’t recall all I was going to write about today’s walk but it did include a sad note and a photo of a boat house on Lake Wendouree. When we were first there some years ago there was lots of water and I’m sure the boat houses didn’t look so strange, but now they look like fish out of water. As you can see they sit way up above the bottom of the lake, carefully avoiding the water that isn’t there. This is just sad and illustrates the drought as little else can.

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The Last Stormlord – Glenda Larke

Posted on 3 April 2010. Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , |

I know I did a book review a couple of days ago and I don’t normally like to do reviews so close together as I need time to actually read the book but I can’t help this one. I actually finished A Nest of Occasionals a few days ago and started The Last Stormlord almost immediately. Anyway, here’s the synopsis from the back cover:

“Terelle, on the run from indentured servitude in a snuggery, finds refuge with a strange old man who paints pictures on water. She is horrified to discover that his floating artworks can fix the future for those portrayed in them.

The Cloudmaster and his stormlords keep the land alive with their power over water and rain, but the current Cloudmaster is dying and there is no one to take his place.

Meanwhile, the nomadic desert tribes are being brought together under a charismatic leader. Resenting the control of the stormlords, they plan a return to a time of random rain…”

It was very interesting reading this book. I bought solely due to the author, who I’ve been following on Twitter, and didn’t bother to read the back or do any research about it. I dove straight into the book knowing only that it was fantasy. It was great, I really enjoyed it. Larke has built her world beautifully and I found it believable, most especially in today’s drought. It was easy to identify with the characters and to see them growing up and building a life for themselves. I loved seeing the different sides of the civilisation; it was so nice to be back in a fantasy world, it was comforting to me.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was it’s physical size. It’s a long book, at 627 pages, and I found it challenging to put down. The problem? It’s hard enough to find time to read a 300 page book but when the book is double that then it makes it that much harder. I couldn’t just down tools for an hour and know I’d be almost finished it, I actually had to wait for the kids on Wednesday and took the book with me, an hour and a half later and I’d read about a third of it. So many times I wanted to keep reading as the book was that good and couldn’t as I would have been reading for another three hours and still not be finished. I would have preferred a shorter book with the knowledge that there’s several of them coming out.

Having said all of that I now really need to get the next book in the series so I can find out what happens. I’m addicted and I hope all of Larke’s books are as good.

Warnings:
Swearing – Larke makes up her own swear words to be consistent with her world
Sex references
Violence

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Being a NYT Bestseller

Posted on 26 March 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , , |

I came across this Tweet “What’s it like to be a NYT bestseller? http://bit.ly/P3qyU” posted by Writeitsideways and then a couple of minutes later, another by the same person “More on the reality of NYT bestsellers http://bit.ly/2dfPVH”.

Naturally I followed the links, read the articles and followed further links. What I found was author Lynn Viehl giving us the lowdown on the reality of being a New York Times bestseller and the royalty payments that come along with it. She even shows us scanned images of two of her royalty statements and explains them to us so we can see how much money she’s not getting. Bear in mind this is in America with US dollars and therefore things will be slightly different in Australia or any other country, the thing that will remain very similar is the process. It’s complicated and involves something called ‘maths’ which is a concept I have great difficulty with so I won’t explain any of that, you’ll have to go to her articles here and here if you’re interested.

The other thing that occurred to me when I saw the Tweets was how would it be from the books point of view. I happened to speak this out loud and DD said it would be rather confused as it would be split up into so many different ways. Just imagine this, you’ve got the one entity as it’s been printed together than split up into boxes and the boxes shipped to different places and then the boxes opened up and each book taken somewhere different. Just imagine how challenging it would be for one entity to have so many different parts in so many different places! It’s like having brains in each part of your body and when the body is split up it doesn’t die; so you’ve got the different legs and arms being sent to different places but each one can still feel and think. I’d really like to read the story of that book!

I hope the last paragraph wasn’t too confusing. I just have the ideas and sometimes they don’t translate too well to print.

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Dracula – The Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt

Posted on 22 March 2010. Filed under: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , |

Today I finished reading a book, yes, it’s a cause for celebration for some people. It’s certainly a cause for celebration for me as I should soon get some decent sleep. I really shouldn’t read horror as it gives me rather strange dreams. Dracula – The Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt is the first official sequel to Dracula by Bram Stoker. It is written by Dacre Stoker, the great grandnephew of Bram Stoker, and Ian Holt, the biggest Dracula fan in the world. I previously read and then scribbled a few things about Bram Stoker’s book and now it is time to write a few words about both books.

Dracula – The Un-Dead is a great book. It shows how brilliant Bram Stoker’s original book was while filling in some gaps and dealing with the inconsistencies created by Bram Stoker’s book and other Dracula books, movies and plays, it also makes it seem very real by bringing Bram Stoker, himself, into the story as well as various historical events and people. It highlights the dramatic tendencies Bram had and also how brilliant he was with keeping the tension going right through to the end. In Dracula – The Un-Dead the tension was still going right to the final paragraph and we’re left on tenterhooks even though we know what will happen as it’s a very historical event.

The only problem I have with it is the language. Bram Stoker’s book was set in about 1893 and the language showed that, it was rather stilted without slang and was what most other books set in that era have been. Dacre and Ian, on the other hand, have written in the style of today, despite the book being set in 1912. I’m not saying there’s words like lol or rofl, which there very well could be as it was only published in 2009, but it was a simpler style much more in keeping with books written today.

So, all you horror fans, run to your nearest store and buy it, make sure you have Dracula as well and read them back to back. If your shop doesn’t have it make sure they order it in from Harper Collins. They are both must read books for horror fans.

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Nostalgic Books

Posted on 16 March 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , , |

I sell books that I know about which means I won’t sell romance or chick lit. A lot of the books I know, and love, are ones I read in my early years as a child, then a tween, and finally as a teen and then further on into my young adulthood. I have grown and added some authors but a lot of the books I stock because I knew and loved them. If you pop across to the website and click on the different categories you’ll see some of them there. There’s The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Enid Blyton and so many more. Some of them are part of a series and others are stand alone books. I do try to fill in the categories with books I haven’t read and when time permits will pop a few books from the younger categories into my reading (sounds like I’m popping pills, and yes, reading is an addiction) and blog about them. I haven’t had much time for this recently as I have so many other books on my To Be Read pile.

One thing I have noticed is that many of the series I enjoyed are selling very nicely. I’m obviously not the only person wanting to re-read these books. A friend on Twitter let me in on this article. Depending on how you classify a baby boomer I do actually make it onto the list and enjoyed many of the same books. If you’re wondering why you’re having trouble finding a particular book from your childhood you now know why.

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