I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be a bit busy in March, so you might not see me around as often as usual.
I’d like to tell you this will be me:
But not quite. Yes, I will be attending an intensive course in March, but I suspect I might end up like this:
You are free to imagine me in a place like this:
Although I bet it will be something like:
No, seriously. I just love the picture and it reminded me of my time as a medical student, even if I studied Medicine in Barcelona and not Austria.
This is more like it:
Although I think all the students will be a bit older. What am I going to study? Some of you probably remember I don’t seem to be able to stop studying.
Yes, I need to get a copy of that sign to decorate my apartment.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll remember I mentioned the University of the People, and I volunteered there for a while as an instructor for their English Composition course. Although I knew many students would not be native speakers of English, I didn’t expect them to have as many difficulties expressing themselves in written English as they had. And that got me thinking about what it takes to teach English. I also decided that I would like to try to teach in person, rather than always online, and I am therefore going to take a course that, all going well, will help me get an official certificate to be able to teach English abroad. (It’s not that I haven’t thought about teaching Spanish as well, but I have not studied a degree in Spanish, so it would be a much lengthier process, and there isn’t a similar course recognised across countries). The course is here in Barcelona, but it is an intensive course, and we also have to prepare lessons and teach students, so I’m not sure I’ll have too much time for anything else. (We are warned we shouldn’t try to hold a job and do the course, as there isn’t enough time for everything).
I hope I don’t need to become a superhero to pass the course, but, of course, we all know that teachers are superheroes/heroines.
So yes, I hope in the future, my desk might look like this:
Don’t worry, though. You know how I feel about books:
Read, read, read, is my motto. Or this one:
I will keep reading and trying to get on top of my ever-growing reading list:
And you’re likely to see some reviews here, but probably not as many as usual. Don’t be worried. Now you know what I am up to. Every time you wonder about a grammar point or correct some spelling mistake, think of me.
Thanks for your patience, enjoy the month of March and keep reading and smiling!
Oh, and thanks to Unsplash and its collaborators for the awesome images!
I’m sharing a review for another of Pen & Sword’s books today, one that I think will delight many of you.
The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Journey into Space with 1950s Radio, TV, Films, Comics and Books by John Wade. Wonderful illustrations, gloriously nostalgic and charming.
John Wade grew up in the 1950s, a decade that has since been dubbed the ‘golden age of science fiction’. It was a wonderful decade for science fiction, but not so great for young fans. With early television broadcasts being advertised for the first time as ‘unsuitable for children’ and the inescapable barrier of the ‘X’ certificate in the cinema barring anyone under the age of sixteen, the author had only the radio to fall back on – and that turned out to be more fertile for the budding SF fan than might otherwise have been thought. Which is probably why, as he grew older, rediscovering those old TV broadcasts and films that had been out of bounds when he was a kid took on a lure that soon became an obsession. For him, the super-accuracy and amazing technical quality of today’s science fiction films pale into insignificance beside the radio, early TV and B-picture films about people who built rockets in their back gardens and flew them to lost planets, or tales of aliens who wanted to take over, if not our entire world, then at least our bodies. This book is a personal account of John Wade’s fascination with the genre across all the entertainment media in which it appeared – the sort of stuff he revelled in as a young boy – and still enjoys today.
John Wade is a freelance writer and photographer, with more than forty years’ experience in both fields. He has written, illustrated, edited and contributed to more than thirty books, plus numerous magazine articles, for book and magazine publishers in the UK, US and Australia. His specialities are photographic history and techniques, as well as social history. His most recent books include The Ingenious Victorians (Pen & Sword, 2016), and London Curiosities (Pen & Sword, 2017).
My thanks to Rosie Croft and to Pen & Sword for sending me a hardback copy of this book, which I freely chose to review, and I recommend to fans of the genre (the illustrations alone are a delight and worth recommending).
This is a book at very personal for the author (Wade explains early on why he chose the 1950s in particular, and although I agree with him, I am sure many might not) and at the same time packed with information that will delight casual readers and also those looking for anecdotes and a quick and easy catalogue of resources about the science-fiction genre in the 1950s. I am not an expert in science-fiction, and although I suspect that those who are might not find anything truly new here, there are nuggets of information and also the personal details and anecdotes collected by the author that help bring to life some of the lesser known facts about the individuals who played an important part in making the genre important and popular, especially in the UK in the 1950s.
The book is divided into five chapters that delve into science-fiction in different popular media: radio, television, films, books, and comics and magazines. As I have already mentioned, the book’s focus is on the UK, although it also includes the USA, but I felt the amount of detail included about British radio and TV programmes is one of the strong points of the book. Not having been around in the 1950s and growing up elsewhere, I was fascinated by the information about how the radio programmes came to be (I am a radio fan, and I’m always keen on learning more about it) and also how British television worked in its early years. Imagining trying to broadcast a science-fiction story life in a studio (in black-and-white, of course) makes one’s mind boggle in this era of computer-generated special effects and high-tech, and I loved the anecdotes and the pictures about it. It felt like travelling back in time.
I was more familiar with the information about films (although there are many mentioned I’ve never watched, and I’ll be on the lookout for in the future), and books (Wade chooses to talk in more detail about John Wyndham, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, with mentions of many other writers as well), but even within those subjects I discovered things I didn’t know and kept writing down the titles of books and stories to try and get hold of. The chapter on comics and magazines talks more about the genre in the USA, the differences with the British scene (and the difficulties some of the magazines had due to the somewhat “lurid” covers, at least to the British taste of the time), and also the crossover from one medium to another (already evident when magazine serials moved onto the radio, or popular radio programmes ended up on the telly).
I’ve mentioned the illustrations, and as you can guess from the cover, these are wonderful. There are pictures, drawings, movie posters, book and magazine covers, comic strips… Although there isn’t a full bibliography (I suspect much of the information comes from the author’s own archives), there is detailed information about most of the illustrations, in case readers want to use them in their own research.
Wade has a conversational and easy writing style, and he is happy to share his own opinions and memories of programmes, books, comics, and his personal experiences with those involved as well, and it can easily and quickly be read from cover to cover, it would also work perfectly well as a book to pick up, look at the illustrations, and read about whatever piques the curiosity, or simply enjoy the imagination of the artists of the era and compare some of the images with later reality.
This is a book that will bring joy to many people, and not only to those who are into science-fiction, but also readers who want to relive their memories of the time, or who have become attached to the programmes or the stories in later years (Quartermass, Dan Dare, The Lost Planet, Superman, The Day of the Triffids, The Eagle and many others). And anybody who might be looking for a source of casual information (writers, for example) will also enjoy this easy-to-read resource. I am not sure everybody will finish the book convinced that the Fifties were the golden age of science fiction, but I bet anybody reading it will be delighted.
And I leave you with the dedication:
For everyone who understands the true significance of the words ‘Klaatu barada nikto’.
Thanks to Rosie and to the author for the book, thanks to all you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and always keep smiling!
Although I tend to write more about other people’s books than about my own, I know you know I’m an author (or at least some of you know). I have the best of intentions and always want to learn what to do to sell more books, but I normally get sidetracked and end up reading about something else. But when I came across those two books (there are more in the series), they had the advantage of being short, and although I know not everybody will like the writer’s style, I did, so here are the reviews and a bit about the author.
First, the author:
About the author:
“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”-Napoleon Hill
Gisela Hausmann is an email evangelist, a PR coach, a communication expert and a life skills artist.
Born to be an adventurer, she also co-piloted single-engine planes, produced movies, and worked in the industries of education, construction, and international transportation. Gisela’s friends and fans know her as a woman who goes out to seek the unusual and rare adventure.
A unique mixture of wild risk-taker and careful planner, Gisela globe-trotted almost 100,000 kilometers on three continents, including to the locations of her favorite books: Doctor Zhivago’s Russia, Heinrich Harrer’s Tibet, and Genghis Khan’s Mongolia.
She is also the winner of the
2016 Sparky Award “Best Subject Line” (industry award)
2017 Finalist IAN Book of the Year Awards
2016 Honorary Mention Readers Favorite Awards
2016 International Book Awards Finalist
2016 National Indie Excellence Awards Finalist
2015 Kindle Book Awards Finalist
2014 Gold Readers’ Favorite Award
2013 Bronze eLit Awards
Gisela Hausmann graduated with a master’s degree in Film & Mass Media from the University of Vienna. She now lives in Greenville, South Carolina. She tweets at @Naked_Determina
The Little Blue Book for Authors: 53 Dos & Don’ts Nobody Is Telling You by Gisela Hausmann
In times of hyped promises, many marketing organizations don’t tell “everything,” especially in the self-publishing industry.
In this short book, Gisela Hausmann, a 29-year industry veteran, author of the naked (no-fluff) book series, and Amazon top reviewer reveals 53 rarely published facts that will help indie authors to avoid costly mistakes and market their books cheaper and more effectively.
•Editing & Covers
•Book Promotions on Social Media Platforms
•Communicating with Influencers
•What’s Overrated and What’s Underrated
Considering I am an author, I don’t read enough books about how to sell books or marketing (I read articles and blog posts about writing, but not many books) and although I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, I had decided to try and at least read ‘some’ books on the industry, especially because I have quite a few already waiting to be read.
Very recently, in one of the regular newsletters I get offering book promotions (I’m always intrigued to see what is being promoted, and one never knows when we’ll discover the next big thing), I came across this book. I could not resist but had to check the Look Inside feature, and I liked the style. I also liked the fact that it is very short and it could be read during a short break and as it was cheap… well, there was not much to lose.
This book might be too direct for authors who have just started, as some of the things the author assumes we all know, novel authors might not know yet, but for most of the rest, I think it can help clarify things.
Hausmann takes no prisoners, and you might or might not like her style and approach (she says things as she sees them. That does not mean they are necessarily right, as different people look for different things and have different experiences…) but if you would prefer to cut to the chase, her book might be the one for you. It might give you permission to do things you’ve been thinking about for a while but nobody had dared come out with them straight, or you might agree to disagree, but I’m sure if you’re an author, it will give you pause, and it won’t waste too much of your time.
As the book is very short, I cannot share much of it. She does talk about blogging and says there is no much point in rehashing the usual content or in spending time reading posts that say the same you’ve read thousands of times before. Here is what she recommends:
Stop following and listening to people who whine.
Follow all bloggers who offer data, facts, and real insights about book marketing. (Hint: Look for numbers.)
As I said, this is not a book for everybody, but I recommend all authors with little time but interested on reading something about the industry to check it and see if they connect with the author’s style. She made me think and nod quite a few times.
The Little Blue Book for Authors: 101 Clues to Get More Out of Facebook by Gisela Hausmann
Tens of thousands of authors network on Facebook. Most of them complain that many of their friends and fans don’t see their postings.
Gisela Hausmann, author of the naked, no-fluff book series for authors reveals 101 Clues to get more out of Facebook.
I’m an author and after reading another one of Hausmann’s books The Little Blue Book for Authors: 53 Dos & Don’ts Nobody Is Telling You I was curious to read more of her advice (especially as her book are so short and easy to fit into anybody’s reading schedule).
I admit that I can’t keep up with the changes on Facebook. I’m not sure I ever got a handle on it, to begin with. I avoided it before I started publishing, and now, although I have a personal and an author page, I tend to use it mostly to connect with readers and other authors (yes, and friends) through messenger. It’s also useful to know when people’s birthdays are, and I share my reviews there, but I’ve never been savvy as to how to use it to sell anything…
Hausmann’s book is not a book about Facebook advertising. It is mostly about what you see on Facebook, how you can influence what you and others see on Facebook, and the way to ensure that your posts have the best chance to be seen (be warned, that chance is very small). She warns us about our online activity (it does define us and it’s forever there, especially if other people like or share our content, as we might be able to delete something from our site but not from other people’s sites. Recently, an author asked me to remove his old picture from one of my old review posts and I did, but I thought it was a useless exercise and wondered how he expected to trace everybody who might have been in contact with his page at the time), reminds us that Facebook is not a non-profit organization, and tells us that if we want it to work for us, we must align ourselves with its goals (not the other way round, because it won’t happen. No point in moaning about it. Facebook is not there to help us).
This book is written in the author’s direct style, and I’d advise anybody thinking about buying the book to check the Look Inside feature before buying it. I suspect it is a bit of a marmite kind of book: some people will love it and others loathe it. Personally, it made me think and made me consider my strategy, and I’d recommend it to authors who like her style and are looking for brief and easy to follow advice.
I leave you with one of her gems (and it is a profoundly personal book, so it will not work for everybody):
No, I do not believe that creating a perfect landing page, posting the usual content, and buying Facebook ads leads to success for indie authors.
Thanks to the author, thanks to all of you for reading and remember to like, share, comment, click, and REVIEW!
Although I’m busy at the moment with translations (mine and other authors’ as well. By the way, don’t forget my promotion), my brain has been focusing on writing too. I think I already mentioned that I’d finished the draft of the next story in the thriller series ‘Escaping Psychiatry’ (and if I don’t change my mind it’s going to be called ‘The Case of the Swapped Bodies’) and now I’m correcting it and translating it. I have ideas for several stories on the series, fairly detailed for the next one. I also have a romance that every so often pops up asking to be written but it hasn’t managed to get me writing yet. My mother keeps trying to convince me to write sequels of some of my stories (and I have some half-baked ideas for possible ones). We’ll see if she manages.
For some time now, I’ve been wondering about non-fiction. I’ve read quite a number of posts on writing about what you know that might be of interest to others, and more recently, one of the Webinars I attended asked about the unique area of expertise that one has that others need to know about or would find interesting and useful. And that got me thinking. I had an interesting conversation with Teagan Geneviene where we talked about expertise, careers, jobs, and noted that some of the skills one acquires might not be stuff easy to teach (I can’t teach anybody to become a doctor or a psychiatrist by writing a book, there are great books on literature and criminology and I don’t have a particular expertise born out of years of teaching or working on either subject, and with regards to writing or publishing books, other than suggest you don’t do things the way I have, I don’t have great wisdom to share).
I had a thought. I live alone and have done so for many years (sometimes I’ve shared accommodation in hospitals or colleges but that’s not the same as living with somebody) and have had people (women mostly) tell me they wouldn’t dare to live alone, or they wouldn’t do many other things by themselves, like go travelling, go to the cinema or to the theatre alone, go to a restaurant… Although I don’t think I have much of an expertise on the subject, at least I have some experience and came up with quite a few topics I could write about related to it. I checked, looking for books about it, and found some readers complaining that most of these books (not that many) seemed to focus on women who had to live alone after their relationship ended and much of their books was about how they tried to find a partner, rather than showing living alone as a voluntary choice and a happy one.
I’ve written a few notes and have some ideas on what I could write about, but wondered if you had any thoughts. Not only about that topic, but also: what’s the non-fiction book you’d like to read? Or what topic you could (or are planning to) write about?
If you’re avid readers of non-fiction: what characteristics do the books you’ve enjoyed most share? Where do you discover these books?
And if you’ve written some non-fiction books, did you find it a totally different experience? Any thoughts or tips (both on writing it and on what you did next)?
Oh, and another question: Would you be interested in reading some posts where I explore some of the topics I’m thinking about covering in the book?
Thanks so much for reading , and please, like, share and comment. And all suggestions will be very welcome.
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