Gothenburg Book Fair 2019 done right

Oh my goodness. What a weekend! I’ve learned so much stuff that I can’t really think straight right now. I’ve talked to publishers, editors and authors and learned exacty what I needed to learn. The planning of a book and the writing itself, I have under total control, but what happens after? Who are all the different people helping with the script? If I get a publisher, all works out with the help of the publisher. But if I do this whole thing by myself, I now know who to contact about what parts I need help with. And that is such a reassurance and relief and a huge motivator. I want to be done with the script so I can start exploring that part of writing a book as well.

Yesterday I did some calculations, and if I write 500 words per day, I will reach my 100k goal by New Year’s. Wouldn’t that be awesome? To have the first draft done in three months? It would be unreal.

The Book Fair is not about just writing, it’s also about reading and I bought some books. Six to be exact. And four of them are signed, that’s not too bad! I had Dmitry Gluchovsky sign Metro 2033 and 2034. 2035 had sold out. But I already had that one at home, but in hard cover. My square brain likes order and having two paperbacks and one hardcover just wont feel right. I might buy the last one in paperback and sell the hardcover so it looks unified in my bookshelf.

The other two signed books are Hjärnstark and Skärmhjärna by Anders Hansen. He is a psychologist and I’ve heard a lot about the first book and I couldn’t say no to a signed copy after listening to him talk to a moderator at the fair. I’m not super interested in celebrities, but authors who have accomplished something (that I now can relate to) is different. I get really starstruck when meeting authors and talking to them. I talked a little with Dmitry yesterday, but I had no idea what to say so I just babbled and probably sounded like an idiot. But he is a really fun guy! I heard him talk today at a seminar with Un-Su Kim, a korean author. They discussed how the written word is affected by other media today. Very very interesting seminar. And funny!

The last two books I bought was Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin and a cookbook with mug cakes. I’ve been meaning to get it for a while now and it was there, so why not. Recipes for mug cakes can be nice. Quick dinners or snacks. I was looking at a cookbok with Korean BBQ recipes. But I didn’t get it. Maybe I should have?

It was a very fun weekend. I am so full of energy right now. So much motivation and inspiration! This was exactly what I needed right now when the dark fall is just around the corner. Dmitry Gluchovsky signing books.

Un-Su Kim and Dmitry Gluchovsky discussing the impact of visual media on the written word.

Bokmässan 2019

The annual Book Fair in Gothenburg starts today and goes on until Sunday. I didn’t go at all last year. No idea why but I guess that’s why I want to get as much as possible out of it this year. Two years ago, I was there and got a first chapter analysis of my book. It was the starting point of a full year of rewriting half of everything I had so far. I got inspired and understood things that I didn’t before but felt somehow was not good enough. I added more suspense, more mystery, more questions to later answer. Four chapters and 7 000 words resulted in five chapters and almost 17 000 words.

Since then I have told myself that I will write the story, get the words down, before rewriting anything again. And it’s going forward, slowly, but in the right direction.

Since so much have happened in the past two years, I wanted to get this first chapter analysis again, but this year no one of the literary consultants wanted to read English. But that’s not gonna slow me down, I have so many programs I want to listen to that I almost feel overwhelmed. I added all the things I wanted to listen to in my calendar and I think I have to print out a map of the exhibition area and hope I will find all the places. Most of the lectures are about writing and I hope some things will help me reach my goal which is to have the first draft done by next summer.

This Book Fair I will also talk to publishing companies. I have no expectations really, but it would be nice to find out how the process of becoming a published author works. Although, I’m writing in English, why settle for a Swedish publisher? I’m thinking grand. Like Bloomsbury! Haha! Aim for the stars, reach the moon, right?!

Light blues are my priorities.

Review of “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King


Title
: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Nonfiction
Pages: 351
Published: 2001, Hodder & Stoughton
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

MY REVIEW

Many many years when I discovered Stephen King, all thanks to my grandpa who gave me Dreamcatcher for Christmas (and my mom who scolded him for giving a young child a horror book by Stephen King, haha). I can’t have been very old and I probably waited a few years, until 2007, before reading it and that changed so much. I think I fell in love. Or maybe I became obsessed. I wanted to read all of his books, he was such a good writer with such an incredible imagination. And he wrote horror, which I loved at that age. Back then I compared him to the adult version of R. L. Stine. Or rather, the author who wrote adult versions of Goosebumps (which was one of my favorites series when I was a kid). I got obsessed and my early organize traits popped up. I wrote a list of every book he had ever written and which I had and hadn’t yet. I updated that list like a slave even if I perhaps didn’t buy them directly. I got mom’s collection of all his books up until Needful Things, when I think she got me and didn’t read as much anymore, and I have been filling up my King bookshelf ever since. Slowly getting to the full collection. Anyway, long intro. On Writing was unfortunately one of his books that I didn’t want to read, because it was nonfiction. I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it even if I did read it, but wow did I enjoy it now!

I’ve never read a biography before, but it was interesting to see how much he really wanted to become an author and eventually ended up being one of the most successful ones ever. The second hafl was full of concrete tips on how to write and it ended with him describing his near fatal accident in 1999. So well-written throughout and even if I knew he would survive, I still got sad and upset while reading it.

Much of what he is saying is making a lot of sense and I felt proud and smart and really good about myself when I realized that I was doing and thinking a lot like he says you should as an aspiring author. I got the feeling that this book was aimed at asipiring full time authors. I have a full time job and want to fullfil my spare time with writing so I’m listening to his advice, but only part time. For example, he writes 2 000 words per day, every single day of the year and that way he finishes the first draft in a season (3 months, 180 000 words). For me, I could put up a goal of maybe 500 and be satisfied. But it’s the routine that’s important. Write every day!

He gives a lot of help and I’m not going to write all of it here as that would be spoilers, I guess? But one other thing that he writes, that made me really happy, is that an aspiring author cannot not read. How can you write something if you don’t read? I love to read and that’s why I’m myself writing now, because I wanted another challenge but still with fictional worlds. 4 hours per day for reading and writing. I think I could do 2. If I can cut down on playing with my phone at bedtime I could probably get 1 hour of reading there. 1 hour of writing any other hour of the day shouldn’t be too hard to squeeze in. It’s all about priorities and I’m getting pretty far in my book now and really want to finish it. Or at least finish the first draft soon. And when I start on the second I want to have this routine in my bones.

This turned into a long review, but if you are an aspiring author, or a published one: read it! Much of it I knew because it was logic, but it felt good to hear it from someone else with his amazing words. If you are not an aspiring author yet, it might make you want to become one. Or perhaps just read everything but chapter 4 which is the tips on writing. Easily 5 out of 5!

Review of “Metro 2035” by Dmitry Glukhovsky


Title
: Metro 2035
Author: Dmitry Glukhovsky
Translator (Swedish): Ola Wallin
Series: Metro #3
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 622
Published: 2017, Coltso
My Grade: 3 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

World War Three wiped out the humankind. The planet is empty now. Huge cities became dust and ashes. Railroads are being eaten by rust. Abandoned satellites hang lonely on the orbit. Radio is mute on all the frequencies.

The only survivors of the last war were those who made it into the gates of the Metro, the subway system of Moscow city. It’s there, hundreds of feet below the ground, in the vaults of what was constructed as the world’s largest air-raids shelter that people try to outlive the end of the days. It’s there that they created a new world for themselves.

The stations of Metro became city-states, and its citizens, torn apart by religions and ideologies are fighting for the now scarce commodities: air, water, and space. This tiny underground world can only remind humans of an immense world they once were the masters of.

It’s been twenty years past Doomsday, and yet the survivors refuse to give up. The most stubborn of them keep cherishing a dream: when the radiation level from nuclear bombings subsides, they will be able to return to the surface and have the life their parents once had.

But the most stubborn of the stubborn continues to search for other survivors in this huge emptiness that once was called Earth. His name is Artyom. He would give anything to lead his own people from the underground onto the surface.

And he will.

MY REVIEW

The Metro trilogy has come to an end. It started out real strong with 2033, came out flat with 2034 and ended a little confusing and complicated with 2035.

I honestly love this setting, and that alone will make me recommend this series to people. And I would probably say something like: yes, read the first one, it was amazing! The second, not so much, but if you’re anything like me, then you won’t be able to stay away because you want to know what the author has to say. The third is very similar to the first. What happened with the second, I don’t know. Probably just read them all.

But other than the really cool setting and the reality of it (except for the black ones in Metro 2033)… it was Russian, that’s for sure. One thing I found really hard to follow were all the names and nicknames every character had. I had no idea who was who. I guess that’s a cultural thing?

Some parts were very confusing, but I guess that was because Artiom was rambling in his radiation sickness? It was also confusing with what was real or theories. But that’s not a bad thing. That’s the author being very true to his character. You only get to follow Artiom and only his thoughts and ideas and perspective. So when he is certain of something, the reader gets certain of it too. But in the end?

Kind of a big reveal at the end and the reactions from everyone are not surprising, yet maybe a little. A good ending. I want to read Metro 2036 (if Dmitry ever decide to write that book) because it would be very, very different from the first three.

I recommend it, but only to get a proper ending to Metro 2033 which was incredible!

Review of “The Atlantis Complex” by Eoin Colfer

Title: The Last Guardian
Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Artemis Fowl #8
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 328
Published: 2012, Puffin Books
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

It’s Armageddon Time for Artemis Fowl

Opal Koboi, power-crazed pixie, is plotting to exterminate mankind and become fairy queen.

If she succeeds, the spirits of long-dead fairy warriors will rise from the earth, inhabit the nearest available bodies and wreak mass destruction. But what happens if those nearest bodies include crows, or deer, or badgers – or two curious little boys by the names of Myles and Beckett Fowl?

Yes, it’s true. Criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl’s four-year-old brothers could be involved in destroying the human race. Can Artemis and Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police stop Opal and prevent the end of the world?

MY REVIEW

A lot of finished series lately. Game of Thrones TV show, Marvels Avengers, Throne of Glass. This series ended in 2012 though, but for me it ended today. And compared to all the other finales, this didn’t make me feel empty. Eight books in a really entertaining book series was good. It was enough and the ending was satisfying. Perhaps a reason is that Artemis Fowl will be a movie in 2020. That is something to look forward to, I think and hope. The first filmatization usually goes wrong though (for example A Series of Unfortunate Events before it got turned into a Netflix series that was amazing, The Golden Compass, Eragon), but it is Disney, and it is 2019. I don’t really see how it could go wrong. But we will see. The first film will cover the first two books: Artemis Fowl and The Arctic Incident.

Like I said, the series ended in a good way. Opal Koboi had the ultimate plan to destroy all of humanity. It was a good plot, and it was in line with the first six books (I wasn’t too impressed with number seven honestly, perhaps not two either). There were ancient magics in play, exploatation, deaths.

Did you like the rest? You will enjoy this one too, it doesn’t deviate too much. But it is an epic battle end. 4 out of 5!

Back home

This trip felt both long and short at the same time. Short because I am now back in my own bed, in grey Sweden. Long because we have done so many things. It feels good to be home, but I miss it and the thought of going back this summer already had hit me before standing on Swedish ground.

It was a long last day, but I don’t feel jetlagged at all. The last two times I have flown back from California, I’ve been on 6am flights and I’ve been so dead when I got back. This time we flew out at 5pm and I have unpacked everything, taken a long shower, did some grocery shopping and even calculated how we should divide the car rent and gas. Not all done, but still. A very productive first night back. I might be tired tomorrow at work though, but I’m sure everyone will understand.

Our last day in California consisted of beach volleyball. The sun was hiding the whole morning and I was so bummed about leaving and the wind was its strongest today, so I wasn’t really in the mood to play today. That sucked, but I played a bit and I really got a hang of serving in the wind. I had so many aces and that was fun.

W

e returned the car and got an Uber straight to the airport where we changed into not-sandy clothes. Caught some Pokemon, just relaxed. I bought a new perfume. And this is INSANE! The normal price (as it always says on the tags at airport stores) for a 100ml DKNY Eau so Blush was $67. But it was $40 something I think. And then there was a huge discount on it, so I only paid $19.50. That’s a third of the price that I would have paid back home in a normal store. The thing is though, when I got back, I realized that this was 100ml and what I compared to was the 50ml bottle. So I bought this perfume for a 6th of the price back home. Crazy!

The first flight to Munich was 10.5 hours. And it went surprisingly smooth. I watched two movies, Bad Times at the El Royale and The Meg. Then I actually slept for a long while. Not well, and I remember moving around more than actual sleeping. But I must have gotten some quality sleep since I didn’t pass out right when I got home. During that flight, just when I thought it was time to go to sleep at around 10pm, there was a huge fight on the two rows before me. They were at it for probably an hour a day the flight attendants were there and it was so loud. Fortunately, they were done when my movie was done and I could get some sleep. Apparently one guy had felled his chair and the guy behind him had pushed that chair forward in annoyance. Such a childish thing to do. But that’s how involved I got. Super stupid. These people were also the ones holding up the boarding when they stood in the aisles chatting instead of sitting and letting people pass easily. French people.

The second flight was not even two hours and went by really fast too. I slept a little, watched an episode of Störst av Allt (Quicksand in English) on Netflix and then actually wrote a little bit on my book.

Mom picked us up and when I got home I was greeted by my two furries. I’ve missed them and from the way they were clinging on me, I think they have missed me too.

When I got home, I found this in the sink. Super weird!

Two days in SLO

My last full day in California is over. I am really excited to go home if I’m to be completely honest (like I miss eating healthy, even if I have enjoyed every single bite of everything delicious I’ve had here, and I also miss not being this ridiculously tired all the time). But other than those two things, I don’t want to go home. From what I’ve understood, Sweden had better weather than California this past week. I didn’t get tan, but this was not a sunbathing trip though. We have done so many things. And lying on the beach, just soaking up the sun is only fun for so long.

So this vacation ended with a roadtrip. Me and the Elin who is sharing a flight with me tomorrow drove up to San Luis Obispo, my SLOME (SLO-home). It was 3.5-4 hours each way. Up was not a big deal, but going down tonight was rough.

The first Elin flew back home yesterday and the last thing the three of us did together was going to UCLA campus for a pie contest. Miriam’s sister told us about it, and free sampling from the baking competition sounded nice, so we stopped by there to get some free pie. But the tasting didn’t open until 3pm and with the 3 hour drive, it wouldn’t work. And perhaps that was for the best. We had leftover cheesecake for breakfast that day, haha!

We arrived at like 6pm and started with a “fika” at SLODOCO (San Luis Obispo Donut Company) with Rachel, my former roommate. It was so nice to see her again. She still lives in SLO, she managed to get a good job there. I am happy for her, SLO is the cutest city. And it was also nice to see Slodoco again. I have missed their chailatte so much!

Elin and I then drove to Pismo Beach where we had clam chowder soup for dinner and then down to Santa Maria and Steven where we were staying for the night. We watched the last two Game of Thrones episodes. Such a great evening!

This morning it was raining, so we took a slow breakfast at Kreuzberg in SLO. Their acai bowl is amazing! We also did some shopping at Victoria’s Secret.

The weather cleared up and was perfect hiking weather after that. So we parked on campus and did the serenity swing. I love that hike. It is only 6km roundtrip. My calves don’t like it, since it is always going upphill, but for the amazing views, it is totally worth it. Here’s a 3D pic of the swing.

Right after, we met up with my former WOW-leader (Week of Welcome) for lunch at Firestone Grill in downtown. If I have to be honest, it was not as good as I remembered. It was good, but the pulled pork was not as shredded as I remember it being. Very nice to meet Sam again.

I would have loved to go to Montaña de Oro State Park, but it was a 30 min drive up north, and it was already getting late. So we skipped it. Bought some donuts at Slodoco and I also got a picture of the chai powder they are using. If I could get a bag of those somehow, I would be so happy. We will see how that works out.

Then a small stop at Target to get some things to bring back home and then we hit the road. At 9:30pm we arrived back home in La Habra. I can barely keep my eyes open. But everything is packed and I am ready to spend the morning at Huntington Beach playing beach volleyball. I don’t look forward to the flight at 5pm…