Friday, December 30, 2016

Reading Habits

I hope you all had a very Happy Holidays and that the new year doesn't contain as many horrors as the last. This last blog post of the year I want to focus on something that I love. Reading books.

First I do have a couple of announcements:
  1. Night Reads will be resuming with Season 2 that will comprise 7 episodes. If you are an author or know of one looking to promote a piece of fiction, submissions are open. There are currently 5 slots available! More information can be found here:
  2. I will be hosting a Twitter chat about writing and pop culture on Wednesday 1/4/17 at 8 PM EST (5 PM PST). Join us at the hashtag #SiWriChat at that time. This week's theme will be Star Wars. I will host this chat every other Wednesday and will post a schedule of the upcoming events soon.

Now time for some serious shenanigans. Reading has been one of my favorite things to do for a very long time. My mother took me to libraries when I was young where I poured through whatever looked interesting. I remember loving every Choose Your Own Adventure book I could get my hands on and flipping back and forth to go through every choice. I remember reading Sherlock Holmes before I was old enough to really get into such stories. I remember thinking how the author took one tiny detail that was glossed over or wasn't fully revealed and made that the crux of the detective's argument when solving the murder. This angered me more than displayed the brilliance of Holmes. I wanted to morph into Godzilla and terrorize the setting in the story. I spent a lot of time going back and rereading one story and becoming more frustrated rather than getting lost in the suspense of it all. I remember reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlotte's Web. The Cask of Amontillado was one of my favorite stories we read in class. I remember Robert Frost visiting my Elementary School and how much his breath stank when he got close enough for me to smell it. Tip to authors who visit schools: Brush your teeth and stay away from the coffee while you are there!

Then I became lost in the shuffle of school, sports, and video games. I used to love video games and spent too much time playing them. I decided that I wanted to make video games when I was too young to make such decisions. It took me a long time to realize that what I really loved was the stories behind the video games. I began to write my own fiction during this time after a teacher exposed me to the wonders of a chain story, and I have an unnatural love for chain stories to this day. I would lose interest and come back to these stories here and there, but never finish them.

When college came around a friend of mine let me borrow Jurassic Park and I discovered my love for the written word all over again. I fell in love with Crichton's fast pace techno-thrillers then spread out to other genres. I discovered Clancy, Robert Jordan, and (of course) Stephen King. These wonderful authors created worlds that I tore through as fast as I could. Sometimes I would stay up until 3, 4, 5 AM, or later because I could not force myself to put down the book. I had an English teacher who always gave us a creative option for our papers which I always went with. I wrote about the character Forrest Gump becoming a professional wrestler and I wrote about a surgeon who wore an afro with a chinstrap. Both silly tales in the mold of Ace Ventura. I took a creative writing class that challenged me in ways I had never thought about before. It taught me to consider each word carefully before setting it on fire.

Many years after college I finally realized that I loved to write. Why shouldn't I try to write my own novels? I looked into publishing and then self-publishing through Amazon. I had stories that I wrote on the side for myself, but most of them were never finished or far too short to be considered a novel. I posted things on Wattpad and worked on my novel.

I read books from some of my indie writing heroes Lindsay Buroker and Hugh Howey. Each word giving inspiration and satisfying a need. Today I typically read at least 3 fiction books, 1 audio book (listen instead of read?), and 1 instructional book. One book is for lunch breaks at work, one is for the bathroom (I am old shut up), an audio book for trips more than 10 minutes, and an e-book for nighttime reading before sleep (don't need the lights on for this!)

Lately books I could not put down have been hiding from me. I miss the techno-thrillers of Crichton, the Harry Potter series, the first two books of The Hunger Games and Divergent series, Angels and Demons, and other books that sucked me into their worlds. Then I ran into one that I felt I must share. I posted a link to my review of the novel here on the blog. A review of a book is one of the best gifts you can give to an author (ranks up there with coffee and chocolate), so please review the books you read.

In 2016 I did not finish many novels. I think I only have 6 or 7 that I finished for the year. I want to at least double that for 2017, but I need help. If you have any novels that you recommend or could not put down then please share them here or message me on social media with them. I am always looking for books that grab you with Hellraiser type hooks and won't let go until the book is satisfied with your page turning. Give me all of those... and puppies.

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Writing Progress Updates

Virtual Wars: Running (Writing First Draft)
Current word count: 25,185
The Ghost Season 1
Editing: Page 4 of 47

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