I wrote down everything I read and began writing my own first novel...

This blog aimed to contrast what I was reading in in 1975-79 with the same month, week and day, 30 years later in 2005-2009. I'm leaving the blog up in archive mode, blogging in real time on Live Journal--and still writing novels.

Lynne Murray's Live Journal and Bride of the Dead Blog

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Widgets gone wild...not as much fun as Gidgets...

I just posted a moment ago and looked at the widget thing I'd managed to generate.... Graphics, okay, I expect them to go screwy. For some reason when I try to perpetrate graphics it's like I'm typing wearing oven mitts. But that little sucker shows the movie Truly, Madly, Deeply as selling for like $59! I mean it's a classic movie, but please don't think I'm suggesting anyone pay that much for it. Why...how...? Never mind, I'm fried, I'm talking to a widget, which is a little piece of computer code.... The good news is that as of this moment the widget is not talking back. Signing out! Lynne

"Just because it's fixed doesn't mean it can't be broken."

The quote above is from Simon Beaufoy, from the movie Blow Dry. I can't tell you how much better just the memory of Alan Rickman delivering that line makes me feel.

I didn’t read much since the last entry (major editing job—exhausting but necessary). I did watch a movie, which set me thinking about how much I admire certain screen writers. I selected Blow Dry in part because it starred Alan Rickman in a non-villain role. Then I discovered that Beaufoy also wrote The Full Monty.
The Full Monty

The screenwriters (in one case writer/director) of the four “Alan Rickman fascination” movies entries I listed are: Anthony Minghella who wrote and directed, Truly, Madly, Deeply has since written Cold Mountain (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
Cold Mountain.
Richard Curtis, who wrote and directed Love Actually has a resume of greatest hits that would eat this space totally if I tried to list them. I’ll list Notting Hill Notting Hill (Collector's Edition).

The screenplay of Sense and Sensibility was written by Emma Thompson, who acts and writes (another screenplay she wrote was Nanny McPhee (Widescreen Edition) Nanny McPhee).

I’m so glad they all appreciate Alan Rickman! He sneers well and with great depth, but it’s good to see him displaying other facets of his talent.

October 21 to 28, 1977 I read:

Private Lives, Noel Coward

Hollywood is a Four-Letter Town, James Bacon

The Provoked Wife: The Life and Times of Susannah Cibber, Mary Nash
Note: Oddly very soothing

Sane Asylum: Inside the Delancey Street Foundation (Charles Hampden-Turner)

I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression, Erma Bombeck

The Savage God: a Study of Suicide, A. Alvarez
Note: No more interesting than before

October 21 to 28, 2007 I read stuff that I was editing for hire.

That's done for now, and I'm officially recuperating at Club Shred, which is where you go when you've concentrated on something so long that your brain is not focusing well till it recuperates.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Good news

I’m thrilled to report that my friend (and USA Today bestselling author) Jaki Girdner is preparing for the re-issue of all 12 of her Kate Jasper mysteries from E-Reads in trade paperback POD (Publish On Demand) and e-book formats. The books are scheduled to begin in January with the hard-to-find series opener Adjusted To Death, about murder in a chiropractor’s office. Her web page won’t be updated with this info for a few weeks because the web diva we both use, Sue Trowbridge, is moving to a new house even as we speak . . . well, even as I type this.

E-Book Fiction is also the subject of a new blog I’m going to collaborate with Jaki and her high-tech savvy Super-Spouse, Greg, in examining that phenomenon--maybe a few guest bloggers, the odd interview. Luddite perspectives on E-books. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, as you can see below, I’ve been reading up again on book marketing and blogging.

October 6 to October 20, 1997 I read:

The Alias Program, Fred Graham
Note: very well written, clearly told

The Co-ed killer, Margaret Cheney

I noted that I didn't like the axe-grinding and pop psychology but I've got to say this woman is versatile, she’s since written about Serial killers, Mabel Mercer, and Nicolo Tesla

The Life and Times of Chaucer, John Gardner
Note: Not bad once you get into it.
I see this is out of print now.

Lupe, Gene Thompson
Note: Undigested psychism [I don’t think that’s actually a word, but that’s what I said, I did define it, kinda…], i.e. bullshit and poorly written

October 6 to October 20, 2007 I read (well, chipped away at, these are reference books!)

1001 Ways to Market Your Book
, John Kremer

This book got glowing reviews, and so much of it is aimed at print on demand and self-published nonfiction that I thought it might not be so relevant for fiction. But I was wrong. Only a small portion of the resources in this book are relevant to fiction, but they are presented so clearly and sensibly that you can easily use them.

Incidentally, as a shy author who is obsessed with the marketing end of writing (because it does NOT come easily to be and it so often makes the difference as far as continuing publication) I think this and every book on marketing should be followed with an eye to what you can do without feeling too overwhelmed. This book can easily be used that way and that's another reason why it's the best resource book on marketing I’ve seen. Go John Kremer!

Great website too.

Publishing a Blog with Blogger, Elizabeth Castro
I live in hope to improve my skills with this book!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Of bookstores, graphics...bright colors, heavy machinery

Once again I have tangled with the graphic elements and ... well, it's like trying to hold an inflated balloon under water for me. I love the bright colors, but if there had been heavy machinery involved someone might really have got hurt.

I had meant to use a nifty little widget software thing Amazon offered to put pictures and info on a web page. However before posting anything with the Amazon site logo, I wanted to acknowledge that some people I know and respect deeply feel that the online giant has something major to do with the breaking the hearts and destroying the businesses of independent book dealers we have all known and loved. I don't totally agree with that viewpoint. True, I have known booksellers whose dreams were crushed. However, small bookstores are fragile things, and Amazon is one of many hazards. I also know people who wouldn't buy books at all if they didn't buy them online, and they buy through Amazon and don't go to physical bookstores.

Anyway, enough foot-shuffling. I'd meant to put up at least a partial list of Independent Bookstore I know and love to sit next to the Amazon widget thingie, but it slipped away from me and got posted before I could do that. So I'm doing it now.
I'll try to put it in the sidebar thingie to stay on the template, but just so it doesn't get lost:

Green Apple Books is a bookstore I haunted from my college years—the used books were
the reason
Green Apple Books

A true San Francisco Institution—and a mystery booklover’s Bermuda Triangle
SF Mystery Books

Staceys, a store that helped me survive working in the SF Financial District!

Another wealth of books in downtown SF
Alexander Book Company
Alexander Books

A little further south on the SF Peninsula in San Mateo is the amazing M Is for Mystery bookstore
M Is for Mystery

for the record:

October 5, 1977 I read:

The Main, Trevanian

October 5, 2007
I saw the great French-language film The Visitors on DVD.

DVDs did not exist in 1977 by the way!

Normal entry to follow in another day or so! Whew!

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Curse of the Giant, Blind, Albino Penguins?

Wandering in time and geography from West Los Angeles circa 1977 to Neanderthal prehistory with a side trip to Antarctica ... wondering how those giant blind albino penguins managed to get through customs ... a little R&R in Terry Pratchett's Disc World, and finally landing in 2007 San Francisco.

When I check on books read 30 years ago, often I do search out the authors to see what they are doing now.

I was never able to complete reading Stan Gooch’s Total Man in 1977 (see below) but the book drew me back to keep trying. A similar mystifying but sticky experience happened when I looked him up on the internet. It sounded as if he had fallen upon hard times. M. Alan Kazlev outlines some of Gooch's ideas at This link shows supporters distressed that he was (is? I hope not!) living in a caravan in penury in Wales. another link also shows concern.

Glancing over some summaries of Gooch's work I saw a reference to possible remote Neanderthal civilization in Antarctica before that continent was covered with ice. I couldn’t help being perversely reminded of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness and those pesky giant, blind, albino penguins in the abandoned cities of Antarctica. This page describes encountering At the Mountains of Madness at a used bookstore, anyone who has wandered in such places will recognize
the experience.
I know the book cover he’s referring too—creepy!

Lovecraft's GBA (Giant Blind Albino) Penguins served pretty much the same function as the crowds running away in the Godzilla movies: When the penguins were restless in the fathomless underground corridors, nameless horror was on its way. Yet I spent an idle moment considering that those huge flightless, sightless critters might impart a curse, totally apart from slipping on their “detritus’ as Lovecraft calls it, for those who dare to contemplate civilizations beyond time buried under the Antarctic ice. Perhaps not. As of 2005, Gooch’s thoughts on his original psychic encounter with a Neanderthal were released on a CD I hope all is well with Mr. Gooch and that giant, blind, albino penguins are not besieging a trailer park somewhere in Wales.

September 8 to October 5, 1977 I read:

What Really Happened to the Class of ’65?, Michael Medved and Wallechinsky

Total Man, Stan Gooch
Note – I also have this listed a few days later on 9/25, evidently I kept coming back trying to finish it, and finally got to about half way through and gave up.

more on Gooch

Charles Fort Never Mentioned Wombats, Gene DeWeese, Robert Coulson

Home Free, Dan Wakefield
Note: Couldn’t get into it at all, poorly done.

Crash, Rob and Sarah Elder
Hard-edged, journalistic prose, an unpleasant but very, very well written book

How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer, Jimmy Breslin

Agatha Christie, First Lady of Crime, H.R. Keating, Ed.

The Condensed World of the Reader’s Digest, Samuel A. Schreiner, Jr.

Black Sun, the Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby, Geoffrey Wolff
rather too admiring bio but you get the idea.
Not the guy you want to see your niece or sister involved with, and if she did, she might be well advised to memorize the following phrase – “Sorry, Harry, but I make it a rule not to make suicide pacts on the first date, particularly with married men...”

His poetry is also a clue--anyone reading this poem would certainly be aware that the guy had some serious depression problems, and was also in dire need of a thesaurus...

Man in a Cage, Brian Stableford

September 8 to October 5 I read:

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, Terry Pratchett

American Gods, Neil Gaiman

Wintersmith, Terry Pratchett

Neil Gaiman for fantasy noir and Terry Pratchett for fantasy bright and shiny—both fascinating!