Category Archives: books

Good reads and writing update

I’ve finished a few good books since my last post on reading:

  • The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language, a non-fiction book by Mark Forsyth
  • The Martian, a fiction novel by Andy Weir
  • The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users, a non-fiction book by Guy Kawasaki, Peg Fitzpatrick
  • The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living, a daily book of stoic philosophy co-authored by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
  • Jurassic Park, a fiction novel by Michael Crichton

Sadly, this list should be three times as long for that time period. Writing has definitely put a big dent in my reading time.

On a writing note, the sequel novel is going well at 84k. I would be thrilled if I could guarantee the first novel will be published in August and this one out in May of next year.  We’ll see.

Writer’s block? Or intimidation?

I broke my arm in the middle of a full scale writing assault on a novel. The entire time I healed, I dreamed of the time I could write again. I worked hard to get the use of my hand back.

So when I could finally, painfully hold a pen again, I rejoiced. But when it came to writing on the story, I hit a wall. Not physically, but mentally. I avoided scribbling out ideas because I was afraid the words wouldn’t come back, that I’d lost the drive. I started doing anything – from rereading favorite books to re-watching well-known movies to reviewing scenes I’d already typed in and edited to death – to put off the story. Blank pages stayed blank.

Now blank pages usually mean writer’s block, but to me, there’s no such thing. Those characters, that story, is still lurking in my brain. Rather than writer’s block, this might be a case of intimidation. Blank pages can be pretty fierce, after all. I think I’m seeking perfection, which is strange because no rough draft I’ve ever done has been perfect. Maybe I’m remembering my former days of writing so fondly, I’m forgetting how much work writing really is.

My arm and hand are not perfect, but with work, they’ll improve. Same goes for my writing. It’s time to pick up the pen again and carry on.

Good reads and writing updates

Happy Halloween! Time to dust off the blog and make an entry.

Books I’m currently reading:

  • The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living, by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman (this is a wonderful morning read – one meditation per day)
  • The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth (this is a wonderful bedtime read – a little each night)
  • Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things, by Cy Tymony
  • A Serpent’s Tooth, by Craig Johnson

Books I’ve read lately:

  • The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg (great book)
  • The Highwayman, by Craig Johnson
  • Everyone writes, by Ann Handley

The book I finished, the one waiting for illustrations, is now on hold due to personal injury. Most other writing ventures are too, while I heal. I am cranking out short stories, as I can, but progress is slow. I will heal eventually, though, and will post when I get back up to speed.

Fall update on writing ventures

The first Sara book is now in ePub format, thanks to a very dear friend. I still need to add the chapter illustrations and the cover art. As an exercise, I keep querying agents and keep tweaking the query letters. The rejections have been much kinder lately, and the query text is being honed into a great jacket blurb, so I’m happy.

The sequel is progressing rapidly – almost too fast. I would guess I’m two-thirds of the way through it. Unlike the first two stories that merged into the first book, this one is coming in bits and pieces, not in a linear write. From past experience, this means one, I won’t get bored with it, and two, it will need a massive editing effort.

Since it’s already September, I am hoping to take a break soon and write some crafty or spooky stories for my friends. I already have a few years’ worth to start the next free anthology, so maybe that can be assembled next year at about this time.

As always, any and all comments on writing or reading are welcomed, but at this point, I know this site is populated by fly-bys, spammers, and crickets (which suits me perfectly).

Take care until next time.

Updates

The illustrations for the (now first) book in the Sara series are still in progress, as are the final edits. All will be handed over to my friend in July for online publication processing. Because there are illustrations, I decided to follow my friend’s advice and not to go through the Smashwords meat grinder. Instead, there will be a prepped file that is far more flexible for devices to navigate.

The second book in the series has shot through the 50k word mark and looks to be a good-size novel when completed (though thankfully, not in the same word count category as the first).