Category Archives: writing

Genesis of a Voracious Reader

If I had to pinpoint where my love of reading came from it would have to be because of my father. As a kid he’d read me bedtime stories like the typical fare: Jack and The Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, etc, mixed in with tales of Brer Rabbit and stories he’d made up on the spot.

Growing up I always saw him with his head in a book and this sparked my interest in reading. At first I raided his book collection, picking what I liked and then when I was in middle school I discovered the library and practically lived there.

I devoured the horror and science fiction sections until discovering the Mythology section and falling in love with it. Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and Norse I read about them all and couldn’t get enough.

When I stop to think about it now I completely skipped young adult books and dived right in to adult books. I guess I found them more interesting than the books for kids my age.

In high school I discovered a whole new world of stories online and would spend hours on end reading one after another. These stories let me know it was OK that I was attracted to other guys and that I wasn’t alone.

I was deathly shy and theses stories provided me a safe space to explore my budding sexuality and not feel like such a freak, but at the same time I couldn’t help but notice that the characters in these stories were all the same blond haired, blue eyed muscle bound guys who instantly found a lover on page one.

After awhile I grew tired of these stories that tread the same path and never finding protagonists like me, so I decided to try my hand at writing for the other geeky LGBTQ kids out there who were longing to see diverse character like them.

Writing Update

Well this is a first for me but I figure some people will want to read this so here I go. This week hasn’t gone according to plan and I haven’t gotten much work done on the Phoenix Diaries, my science fiction/fantasy young adult trilogy.

I’m coming to the end of book two and I’ve been dragging my feet on completing it this last month or so. I’ve been trying to make more time to write but I keep putting it off because it just doesn’t feel right. Honestly I know I have to get it done and then worry about making it better in the rewrite.

Yeah I know it will take time to finish the trilogy and I have to keep motivated until I reach the end of this project. Sometimes I feel like I’ve taken on too much to handle with this project, but then I think about all the things I want to accomplish with this series and that’s what keeps me going.

Sure I could be spending time working on other projects, but I know in my heart I have to get this story on the page or I’ll go crazy.

Part of me is a little scared about spending so much time and energy on this trilogy only for it to fall flat. I know I can let my fears overcome me, or I can face them and write any ways, because that’s my job.

I know to temper my expectations because most books only sell a few hundred copies and most writers don’t make much from their work. Yeah it’s scary to think about what ifs but if I go down that path it’ll lead me to self doubt and depression, so instead I’m going to focus on writing the best series I can and worry about the outcome later.

Slow and Steady Writing Wins the Day

When it comes to writing sometimes you can be paralyzed by the fear of not being good enough to finish that story, or write that novel, but the truth is as long as you keep the end goal in sight and

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

move forward until you’re done then you will reach your goal.

Yes sometimes it may seem like you’ll never finish that work in progress, but it’s doable if you remember that by doing a bit everyday you’ll get to where you need to be in the end.

The truth is if you’re shooting for greatness you can’t fear failure because it will rob you of your energy and you’ll sabotage yourself. No you have to be fearless in the face of adversity. Embrace the challenge of writing in new genres and using different narrative devices.

Yes this may be difficult and you might fail at your first attempts, but don’t give up yet. It takes practice to get good at anything and writing is no different.

Sure people say they want to write a book, but not many of them actually follow through on it. The truth is writing a novel is a lot like running a marathon. You have to have to warm up first and then start small and work your way up to the big race.

Most people don’t realize it takes years of reading and honing the craft before you can produce a publishable book. Sure things like National Novel Writing Month are good practice, but once it’s over people often stop working on that novel because the incentive to do so has been removed.

The truth is you have to pace yourself so that you don’t get burnt out and quit when things get tough. You have to build up your writing stamina day by day, bit by bit so that when you come to the end you’ll look back and see how you got there.

Improvise Adapt Overcome

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

 

Introduction
Have you ever had one of those days when nothing goes right and you just want to crawl back in bed and forget the whole series of horrible events? Well this past weekend I had such a series of events.

First my charger for my laptop stopped working and I had to switch to the old charger, which is prone to fall out the charging port. And then right in the middle of me working on my WIP my laptop crashed and I lost everything I wrote up to that point.

I was beyond livid and wanted to tear my laptop apart, but that wouldn’t have solved anything in the long run. No instead I took a deep breath and calmed down. Sure I was still pissed but I picked myself back up and moved forward.

Perseverance is The Key
This experience has taught me patience and how to adapt on the fly when things don’t go as planned. Sure you could curl up in the fetal position and wallow in self pity, or you can get up and tackle your problems head on.

Sure in the moment you might feel like giving up, but don’t. When adversity strikes it’s a test of who we really are and can either break us or make us stronger. We can either face down the obstacles in our path or we can shy away from them and not live up to our full potential.

Conclusion
When rough times come or way sure we can ask for help from friends and family but ultimately it is up to us to get through the crises in our lives. And we do that by adapting to the situation around us and not giving up until we’re through it. Whether that be writing or getting in shape, you don’t stop until you’ve reached your goal.

How to Find Time to Write in a Busy Life

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

Introduction
Between work, kids, running errands and other obstacles thrown our way it can be difficult to find the time to write, but if we’re serious about the craft there will always be time to write.

Pick a Time and Stick with it
This may be the hardest part because it requires you to find the time when you’re most creative and it can take a few tries before you discover the right time. For me the best time to write is first thing when I get.

For you it may be in the early hours of the morning before everyone is up or right before you go to bed. Once you discover it try to write every day at this time to build a habit.

Once you’ve committed to writing at a given time don’t stop until you’ve reached your goal for the day and then try to do a little better the next day.

Yes it can be frustrating at first when nothing comes to mind but if you persevere and come to the task with an open mind you’ll find the right words.

It Takes Less Time Than You Think to Write a Book
You need to salve away at the computer all day to complete your work in progress. Believe it or not you can get a lot done in five or ten minute sprints. If you find yourself with a little break just set a timer and write until it goes off. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in such a short time.

Sure it may not seem like much at first but over time the words will add up and before you know it you’ll have a complete manuscript.

Honor the Time and Space You’re in
When you write do so with all your heart and soul. Turn off your phone disable the internet and turn off the TV so it’s just you and the page. Yeah this can be scary at first when you’re focused on the task at hand it will make you more aware of what you’re attempting to do. If you absolutely need some white noise in the background turn on your favorite music and get to work.

Conclusion
Yes it can sometimes be daunting to find the time to write but if you care about the craft and are determined to get your WIP finished you’ll find the time you need to do it.

Review: Lost Souls

Introduction
Lost Souls is the fourth book in

image by Gordan Jovic via sxc.hu
image by Gordan Jovic via sxc.hu

Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series and takes places two years after Dead and Alive. Unaware of the existence of Victor’s clone Carson and Michael married, moved to San Francisco and had a daughter named Scout.

They work as private investigators and had forgotten all about Victor Frankenstein until Deucalion has a hunch that Victor is still alive and seeks them out to finish what they started in New Orleans.

Now that they are parents Michael and Carson are reluctant to help him until he convinces them to join him.

In the two years since Victor’s clone was released he has taken the name Victor Leben , alias Victor Immaculate, and set up shop in the small town of Rainbow Falls, Montana where he plans to take over the town and use it as a strong hold for his larger campaign of wiping out all humans.

The Good
This time around Victor’s goal is more brutal than just enslaving all of human via his creations and really drives home how demented he is for his omnicidal mission. I also liked the introduction of the nano brain probe that rendered people completely docile and also the introduction of builders who are every bit as scary as they are beautiful.

I was surprised to see Erika Five, who has taken the last name Swedenborg, and Jocko make appearances in this book, but overall they are a welcome addition to the cast of characters.

The Bad
While I liked this book overall I did have issues with it. First after the events of Dead and Alive I couldn’t help feeling this book was a little on the anticlimactic side. Also I wasn’t a big fan of Nummy and Mr. Lyss’s story line at all. It could have been omitted entirely and you wouldn’t notice it.

I get that Nummy is supposed to extremely mentally challenged but he was just too dumb to live and I felt myself sympathizing with Mr. Lyss over his frustrations with Nummy.

Second, I didn’t particularly think the addition of Agent Frost and Dagget from the FBI added anything to the story line except for filling pages. Sure they know something isn’t right in Rainbow Falls but they have zero clue as to the true nature of the problem and are more likely to hinder Carson and Michael than to help them.

The Verdict
Overall if you’ve like the series so far then checkout this one.

How to Stay Positive on the Journey to Publication

Introduction
Raise you hand if you’ve met someone who isn’t happy unless they’re complaining about one thing or another. We all know people like this and being around they them is taxing to say the least, but

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

today I want to talk about keeping positive amidst adversity in the writing business.

Sure when things go wrong we can complain about them until we’re blue in the face or we can pick ourselves up and keep moving forward. The choice is up to us.

Happiness is a choice
From years of experience I can tell you that while it may be difficult to maintain a positive attitude, it takes more energy to be negative and ultimately leaves you tired and bitter.

Yes writing is a hard business to break into whether you go the indie route or the traditionally published route, and at times it can seem like nothing is going right for you while some new upstart is in the lime light.

You Can Never Have Too Many Friends
Rather than treating other authors as your competition instead treat them as potential friends and reach out to them.

In this way you can build a support system of like minded people who know what you’re going through and who will keep you grounded when things get hectic.

Also you never know who you might benefit from meeting so keep an open mind when it comes to networking wit your fellow writers.

Be thankful for where you are in the writing process
Sure it might feel good to rage against the latest flavor of the week, but ultimately this is a self defeating proposition and will take your focus off your goals. Instead shrug your shoulders and move on.

Conclusion
Everyone is at different point along the writing process. Be thankful for where you are. No one can control who becomes the next best seller, and it will drive you insane questioning why some people make it wile others don’t. Instead focus on writing the best work you can. That way no matter what happens you gave it your all and no one can take that away from you.

If you Want to write

Introduction
If you want to write know that there will be set backs along the way, but don’t give up, because it is only when we stop writing that we’ve failed. The truth is writing well is damn hard work and there is no guarantee people will read your work, but you can’t let that get to you.

What’s Your Why
The reason why you write has to be clear in your mind, lest you lose sight of it and get discouraged. If you don’t know

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

why you write sit down and give it some serious thought, because on your darkest days this is what will see you through to the end.

If you’re writing or fame and fortune know that there will be obstacles all along the way and you will be competing with thousands of other writers, all trying to make it too. Know you will flounder until you find your voice, but you mustn’t give up.

Persevere
“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”– Bertie Charles Forbes

Yes you will stumble and fall long the way but you have to get up and continue moving forward, writing the best work you can because that’s what you are called to do.

You have to show up everyday and honor the process by being alert and focused only on the task at hand. When you write keep that time and space sacred by turning off the TV and unplugging from social media and the internet. This may sound a daunting task but with practice it will become second nature to you.

Done is Better Than Perfect
When it comes to writing know that practice make perfect and no matter how bad something you wrote is it can get better in the rewrite but you have to have a finished product to work with, otherwise you’ll get stuck in the loop of never finishing anything because it’s not perfect the first time every time.

Conclusion

The road to being a writer is a long and arduous journey fraught with perils all the way, but if you persevere you will reach your goal. Remember a lot of people say they want to write a book but not many of them actually follow through on it. So no matter how far along you are wit your work in progress celebrate it because you’re following you dreams and not many people can claim that.

When the Mask Comes Off

image by Kerem Yucel via sxc.hu
image by Kerem Yucel via sxc.hu

Introduction

Who are you really when no one is watching ? How do you act when it’s just you and your thoughts? We all put a facade on when we’re in front of others, for one reason or another, but who is the person in front of us once we take the mask off?

Taking Off The Mask

In everyday life I try to make sure the person under the mask is the same whether I’m alone or in public, so that I’m true to myself no matter what the situation. I try to bring this same authenticity to my writing by breaking down the barrier between the reader and I.

Be Authentic

Sure you could hide behind one persona or another, but I’ve found it’s more engaging to write in simple terms to attract more readers while retaining your soul as a writer. Yeah you could write to impress others or you could just focus on producing the best work you can. And that means being true to yourself and your readers.

Nurture the Relationship with Your Readers

No matter what you write about remember there is an implicit contract between you and the reader that you have something to say to them if they invest their time in choosing to read your work. Screw this up and you’ll lose a reader for life. The relationship between author and reader is sacred and must be nourished from the beginning.

The best way to do this is to be honest with them. If you’re not an expert on something don’t act like you are. And don’t assume your readers are stupid and need everything spelled out to them. Reward them for sticking with your work with insider information on up and coming projects and treat them like they matter, because without them you’d be worse off.

Review: The Last Command

Introduction

Picking right back up where The Last Humanity left off, The Last Command ratchets up the action and is a real page turner. A common theme for this book is all roads lead to the Ancient City.

First Bray and company make it to the Ancient City and take refuge in the remains of a museum. William sneaks off in the middle of the night and Melora follows after him only to get lost and is saved by Ivory, who just returned to the Ancient City.

Meanwhile William is confronted by Jeremiah and commands a horde of the infected to kill him.

The Good

I really liked how all the story lines converged to the Ancient City and how it was all wrapped up nicely. I was also pleasantly surprised when my hypothesis about William was confirmed. The way I see it he’s becoming like Jingo and won’t lose his mind to the spores.

I was also shocked when Father Winthrop lost his mind and killed General Blackthorn. I didn’t see that coming and found it a little hard to believe. I also found his delusions about being a war god laughable and down right pathetic.

The bad

I was thoroughly disappointed with the resolution of Oliver’s pot to kill Father Winthrop. After all that build up and him growing as a character just to wimp out at the last minute and run up under the skirt of Minister Beck.

Honestly had Oliver just killed Winthrop it would have saved everyone a lot of heart ache later on, but no. Instead Oliver chickened out, allowing Father Winthrop to kill Blackthorn and turn most of the blue shirts to his side.

I was also disappointed in the resolution of the coup to oust Tenbrook. Even though he just assumed power he had the Dunlow Twins, and their family ,tortured and burned at the pyre along with Scholar Evan and the other conspirators.

The Verdict

Overall this was a good read and i suggest to give it look if you’ve enjoyed the other books in this series thus far.