Friday, September 11, 2015

Man, been awhile since I posted!

So this summer went by in a blur!

But I did manage to read this book series:

Wow!  What a wild ride!

Do yourself a favor, get this book and read it immediately.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Public readings...

Last night I had the actual and not rehearse public reading.

There was this old saying we used to say, bad dress, good show.  Meaning a bad dress rehearsal, usually meant you went home and over prepared and so your first performance was usually much better.

The problem is, I had a great dress...

Need I continue?

It started the moment I left work, I forgot my edited pages on my desk.  So I tried to use a pen and scratch out some semblance of the editing work I had done.  I dropped lines and couldn't read my rewrites, for me it was a nightmare.

The audience had a different reaction. Several people came up to me and expressed interest in my story and complimented me for my reading.  One Asian lady named Cathy (With a "C") told me that my reading was excellent.  She said she could clearly hear every word and accentuated every emotion.  And she said that she typically found that writers tend to be lousy at reading their work and she thought it was a skill they should all develop.  One which I clearly had.

She was very sweet.

I told her that I was trained as an actor in college and all the bells went off in her head.

Another guy asked if I was really Donald Bear, incognito.  I had to laugh.

All in all, it was a good time.

The funniest thing happened when I sat down.

Now a bit of of backstory, when I wrote my first novel, The Junkyard Odyssey, my mother read it and said, "It's not really my cup of tea."  She's not very good at being the cheerleader kind of mom.  She is an avid reader of romance novels and murder mysteries.  I wrote a middle grade science fiction book.  My feelings were not hurt by her comments in the slightest.

But when I sat down after reading my Young Adult Dystopian chapter, she said, "I liked Junkyard Odyssey better."

I love my mom.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The reading...

Last night, for the first time, I participated in a reading.

Well, a rehearsal for a reading.

And  have to tell youthey're weird!

For the one thing, good writing can be seen as garbage by a poor performance.  This is an important point, so let me reiterate that, if you write well and yet suck at reading out loud, no one will enjoy a word of your masterful text.  In fact, people will be uncomfortable.

Talk about pressure!

Now, I went to college to be an actor, so reading out loud comes naturally to me.  I feel perfectly at ease expressing the emotional parts of a story and adding the proper inflection where it's required, but some people do not share my comfort.  To them, just being up in front of a crowd is terrifying enough, never mind actually being forced to read their very private thoughts and feelings!  Which, is what good writing is, really.  Your thoughts, emotions and soul in written form.  So the idea that the speaker is offering themselves up, willingly, to be personally judged, live and in person, is a daunting task.

And I applaud their courage.

Others, who may not share my comfort, still manage to give great performances, by facing their fear and overcoming them.  They seem to use their terror as a source of power and they employ it like a seasoned veteran.  And when they walk off the stage, they are empowered and leave the audience in a similar state of euphoria.

But what really struck me as odd, is that some writers truly love the english language, while others do not.

I relish words.  I always have.  The power they have over our thoughts, feelings and memories are a drug to me.  I am totally addicted to those well written passages that have the ability to change the world when put to paper.  Just can't get enough of them.  Works like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Great Gatsby or Cannery Row, they have forever changed who I am.  And the world is a better place because of them.  So to me, the ultimate homage to these great authors, is try emulate them and create my own fiction.  And with each new work I embark on, I try to keep in mind the tremendous responsibility I am taking on.  If my words are published, I recognize that I have an obligation to the reader to craft a story using only the best words, in the proper order, for each and every sentence.

And I love every second of it.

But others come across like they think of words as a necessary evil.  Something they have to work around, so they can tell their tale.  They are constantly battling with themselves and the english language trying to beat it into submission and do what its told.  But, as a result, their writing is totally absent of poetry and life.  Their words are flat, colorless and bland.

This makes no sense to me.

To me, writing is the most difficult task in the world.  It takes decades to become even a serviceable writer and most people give up long before reaching that pinnacle.  In fact, few get to the point where they even feel comfortable writing letters, never mind an entire novel.  It's just really hard to do!

So why would anyone do it if they hated words?

I just don't get it.  Personally, I think they're crazy.

But that's just me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Christopher Moore is a genius!

Okay for years, I have been operating under the notion that Christopher Moore is a comedic genius and one of the best writers in America and this knowledge has served me very well.

In case you don't know who Christopher Moore is I'll save you the time and give you this google search.

I won't go as far as say he has picked up where Douglas Adams left off, but it would not be completely out of line either.  His characters jump right off the page and slap you in the face.  They are so real and so vivid, I swear I can smell their breath.  One might say that he puts them in impossible situations, but they do it to themselves.

If you haven't read any of his books, please consider reading "A Dirty Job," trust me, you will not be sorry.  I recommend this one, because he has written a sequel due out in August that I'm drooling for, called Secondhand Souls.

To say I devoured this book would be an understatement.  I find it funny how truly few people have discovered his books.  I speak to authors, who also dabble in the campy humorous tale and I always ask if they've read Mr. Moore, they always say no!

This madness must stop!

To date, I have read:
(Not in any particular order)

The Stupidest Angel
A Dirty Job
Bloodsucking Fiends (First in a trilogy of Vampire novels)
You Suck (Second in a trilogy of Vampire novels)
Bite Me (Third in a trilogy of Vampire novels)
Practical Demonkeeping
Coyote Blue
The Lust Lizard of Meloncholy Cove (A personal favorite)

I have absolutely loved each every one of these books.  I cannot recommend them more. If you love reading rich stories, with inventive characters and situations, you have to read his books.

You can also follow him on twitter, @TheAuthorGuy.  I enjoy his posts there, as well.

Get one of his books now!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

So I hear these things from other writers quite a bit...

1. That it is difficult to find time to write.

Well, this is what I have to say about that.  I do not believe you.  I know a guy, whose life is so crazy the only time he can write is to wake up at 4 am and write till 6am.  That's it, two hours, five days a week.  The weekends are just too hectic for him to get that time.

You know what he does?

He get's his butt up at 4am to write.  Some people workout that early and writing after all is a workout for your mind.

My point, there is always time.

What I think is really happening, is fear takes over.  Fear of writing crap.  Fear of sitting in front of the screen for two hours with nothing to show for it.  Fear of failure.  Fear of not being "good" enough.  With a healthy dose of laziness thrown in on top.

Wait, I could write for a half hour or zone out in front of the idiot box till I fall asleep?  Well, I'm too tired to write anything good anyway.

Sound familiar?  I want to tell you, some of my most creative moments have come when I thought I was too tired to write.  Think about it, your consciousness is closer to the creative well spring of your subconscious when your sleepy than at any other time.

Do not give in!  Write for 20minutes every day no matter what.  I'm sure you'll find, when you finally get yourself in front of the computer, you'll routinely write far longer.  You just have to get yourself there.

2. I have writers block.

Dean Koontz does not believe in writers block.  So neither do I.

If whatever your working on should go stale on you, put it away for awhile and start something new.  Or do what I do, go through something you put away awhile ago because it got stale.  It's amazing how a little time makes things seem fresh to you.

3.  I don't know what to write.

Look, the difference between being a writer and wanting to be a writer, is actually sitting down and writing.  That is it!  You can write a blog or a how to book or a non-fiction piece on the revolutionary war.  It doesn't matter.

I get it.

Sometimes all those options can get a bit overwhelming.  So simplify the list and then try writing everything.  Lately, I love writing YA fiction.  I just love it.  But I dabble in sci-fi still and even have a full blown Thriller on the burner.

My suggestion?  Write everything in your heart!  If you feel a connection to a genre, write in that genre, but if you realize, while in the process, you don't like writing it?  Stop.  Write something else.  But if you want what you write to be really rewarding and fill you with joy every time you sit down to work?  Write what scares you.  The very thing, in your heart of hearts, you want to write, but don't think you're good enough to accomplish.  Write that all day long!

You'll fail the first hundred times or so, but when you figure it out!  Wow!  It's like magic!

Never give in to your fear!  Never.

4.  How do you write so much?  I write 14 pages and I lose the story.

Well, so do I sometimes.  Most of the time, it turns out to be a good thing though.  Because the story spins off in a new direction I didn't see before.

How does one write a novel and keep the story going and the characters believable?


Think of your writing skills like a muscle.  If you want to develop your physical muscles, you have to go to the gym.  If you want to develop you writing skills, you have to develop your mind.

Practice writing and read everything you can!

Would you advise a young guitar player to learn to play the guitar without listening to music?  No, the two go hand in hand.  So to, does writing and reading.  Or reading and writing.

I'm not sure which is more important, but if you put a gun to my head, I'd say writing.  Reading is super important, but if you don't practice what you've learned by reading, it was just a well spent afternoon reading.

Anyway, these are my thoughts and what I do.  So take it with a grain of salt.  But I've read a dozen books, written by successful authors, who advise the same process.  More importantly don't give up.  I remember hearing on NPR a writer was quoted as saying, "Writing is hard.  So hard, that unfortunately, most people quit doing it before they get good at it."  Don't quit!


Because I love reading and I need more stories!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Been reading Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft...

I heard that it was a wonderful book on writing, but I didn't know I would love it as much as I do. When one of the most successful writers in the world, talks about writing, aspiring wannabes should listen.  So I went into the book with a manual mindset.  I figured like many other books on writing, I'd be greeted with methods and writing protocols I should follow.  Or perhaps the best way to get your manuscript published.

Instead I found much more.

I found that even the great Stephen King, suffered through endless rejection letters.  But what's more, he also experienced that guilt I've felt so many times.  The guilt that I should be working on something more important than the YA novels or Sci-Fi thrillers I've been wrapped up in.  That I shouldn't waste time writing anything that isn't the next great american novel.  That if I'm going to spend all my free time writing, I need to focus on worthwhile endeavors.

I'm nobody.  I have never published a damn thing.  I don't know where I get off having this guilt.  But I do.  Sometimes its so strong, I can't write another word.  I close up my laptop and call it a day.  I love the stories I write.  Why else would I spend hours and hours and years working on them?  I think they're good stories and worth telling.

But they are not exceptional.  I'm not going to redefine how writers write or readers read.  They're just good fun.

I know how to go about writing what I write.  And I get better at it every day.

I like my stories.

I wish others would share my joy, but that's besides the point.

And yet, part of me wants more from me.

At least, I'm not the only one.  Thanks Mr. King!  Misery does love company.