Chuck Wendig’s “Garbage-Fire Shit-Show”

Lots of great thoughts fill Chuck Wendig’s post “TOUGH LOVE TALK FOR AUTHORS: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WTF” (which I read even though I’m supposed to be avoiding blogs and forums!) but none I love more than the bit I quote below. :) Go read the full post. It’s good.

YOU’RE GOING TO FAIL

You’re going to write a shitty book. Maybe three of them. Or ten of them. And they won’t get published. Or they will (or you’ll self-publish) and they won’t sell. Writing is tough noogies, man. Everybody can’t do this thing well. Success isn’t a guarantee. The numbers are in, and most of you? Nearly all of you? You’re going to fail. And some of you will quit as a result.

BUT…

Failure is not a dirty word, not like ‘fucksmudge’ or ‘jizzdonkey’ or ‘trickle-down economics.’ Failure is great. I’ve failed before. I’ll fail again. Failure is a ladder made of bent metal. Failure is there to cut out the gutless and gormless, the lost and lazy, the easily dissuaded. Failure is a test — not a test of talent, no, but a test of determination. And failure is itself a learning opportunity. How did I misstep? Why? What can I do better next time? Should I include more instances of the word ‘fucksmudge,’ or fewer instances of the word? Failure is a crucial first step.

Reading Log: Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities

I bought another book! Why do I keep buying books when I have so many unread books?

I started yesterday evening out with a different book but after three chapters I knew it wasn’t working for me, so I ended up on Amazon, and lo and behold, there was a follow up available to a book I read back in January.

So this morning I finished reading Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities by Lyn Gala. I really liked it. The truth is, I like these shorter novels a lot.

Assimilation, Love, and Other Human Oddities - Lyn Gala

NOTE: I decided to make an effort to read more books this year. And since I have so many unread books, I set a goal to read at least 60 of the books in my backlog by the end of the year. I’m even keeping a log. :)

Reading Log: The Mistress

I can’t remember what number I’m at in my reading challenge and don’t want to look it up at the moment, so I’m abandoning the numbering in my post title. The reading log will keep me updated. :) I’ll add this book to that page momentarily and then I’ll know. Also, it’ll make writing future posts easier because I won’t have to check first. That’ll be a help because I plan to read a lot of books in the coming months!

The Mistress - Maya Banks

I just finished a Maya Banks book called The Mistress.

It’s a reprint of an older book from Harlequin, but man, I forget sometimes how much I loved these little Harlequin/Silhouette books. ;) All that melodrama! I love it. I mean, real life it ain’t, but these are fun stories and they’re quick reads. So enjoyable.

That said, I don’t have warm, fuzzy feelings for Harlequin the way I used to when I was younger and gobbled up their books. Their publishing practices and contracts aren’t good for most authors’ careers.

That makes me sad, but I avoid buying Harlequin books these days. This was a library loan through R.E.A.D.S.

I need to quit surfing the R.E.A.D.S. website when I’m avoiding writing. I keep borrowing books when I already have too many books to read!

Reading Log: When I Met My Duchess

I forgot to note a book I read early last week, or maybe it was last weekend. When I Met My Duchess by Caroline Linden.

Seven Wicked Nights - Bundle

The story is in Seven Wicked Nights: A limited edition box set of sexy historical romance novellas which I picked up on sale at .99. I don’t normally find myself tempted by these kinds of bundles, but this was right after I read that Tessa Dare novella, after starting that other Tessa Dare book that I just now realized I never finished reading. Crap. It’s a library loan so I’d better get back to it soon!

I plan to read several other books in the set, but … we all know how easily I forget my plans. Books I don’t read immediately get lost in the piles. Sigh. I’ll find them someday, surely.

(I forgot to mention that I liked the book, but it really should be a given that if I finished a book, I liked it. I have no trouble abandoning books I don’t like.)

Finished Reading Another Book—14 of 60

I’m sure there’s some literature out there somewhere that explains why we engage in self-sabotage. I’m not that interested in reading it right now. I just know I’m probably doing some of that engaging at the moment and I’m annoyed with myself.

On that note, today, when I should have been writing my fingers to the bone because… deadline! I was instead reading another book of fiction. I should’ve been writing. Yes indeedy.

The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright - Tessa Dare

But I really did enjoy the book so there’s that. If I’m going to procrastinate, as least I enjoyed myself while doing it. My usual routine is to sit and wallow in the guilt that comes with avoiding doing what most needs to be done. So… yay? :S

I read The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright by Tessa Dare. It’s the first book I’ve read by this author, and I picked it up after starting Romancing the Duke, getting 23% in and realizing it was a longer book, and I wanted something shorter, novella length, and my Kindle sure does know how to tempt me with those little “Customers Also Bought” thumbnails at the bottom of the screen. :) Don’t get me wrong, so far Romancing the Duke is excellent, but I just don’t have time right now for a full length novel.

So it was another book that wasn’t part of my backlog and now Romancing the Duke is sitting in my backlog along with a bundle my Kindle recommended to me, Seven Wicked Nights. Sigh. I will never, ever catch up all my reading.

I kind of like that idea. ;)

NOTE: I decided to make an effort to read more books this year. And since I have so many unread books, I set a goal to read at least 60 of the books in my backlog by the end of the year. I’m even keeping a log. :)

Finished Reading Another Book—13 of 60

I finished reading another book. This one was The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold.

The Man Who Folded Himself - David Gerrold

“Read another book” wasn’t exactly accurate, because I’ve read several non-fiction books, and started so many other books and stories that I feel weird implying that finding the time to read is an effort. It’s not. I read constantly. What I read is where the problem is. I don’t read enough fiction these days, and finding time to finish reading a book is where I seem to fall short. :D

But I finished The Man Who Folded Himself several days ago and I really liked it. I’m afraid at my current pace of finishing, I’m going to fall terribly short of my 60 book goal. So—on to the next!

Tomorrow’s Reading: Zen in the Art of Writing

Just today, I told myself I needed to make more of an effort to read more fiction every week, but there’ll probably be no fiction reading tonight or tomorrow. I received the book I ordered, Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury.

Zen in the Art of Writing - Ray Bradbury

I ordered this once and Amazon told me there’d been a problem with delivery, could I wait another 8 weeks for it? I said no, so I cancelled the order. Then a few days ago I noticed the book was available again and eligible for 2 day shipping so I reordered it. Got it today!

I’m very much looking forward to reading it. Can’t do it today because I have a lot of writing to do! :D

Read Another Book—12 of 60

I read another book, and it’s another short story: Beginnings and Ends by Suzanne Brockmann (a story with related characters from When Tony Met Adam, which I read a while back).

Beginnings and Ends - Suzanne Brockmann

I just haven’t been able to get into a novel for the last week or two, although I did pick up Timecaster again yesterday. Maybe I’ll finish it this time. I remember liking what I’d read so far, not sure why I dropped it, but most of the time I don’t know why I put a book down. I mean, if I have a reason, I don’t forget that. I just don’t usually have a reason. I simply get distracted. Anyway, I love time travel stories, and this reminds me that I never finished The Cutting Room, and I really do want to read that. Maybe I’ll see if it interests me this time. I wanted to read it when I bought it, but then I didn’t start it right away and tbh, I keep forgetting about it. I hate when that happens. :D

Anyway, on to the next!

NOTE: I decided to make an effort to read more books this year. And since I have so many unread books, I set a goal to read at least 60 of the books in my backlog by the end of the year. I’m even keeping a log. :)

Read Another Book—11 of 60

I finished Paladins of Shannara: Allanon’s Quest by Terry Brooks last week. I almost forgot to add it to my list. :) It’s another short story, but as I said before, I’m counting them for my reading challenge.

Allanon's Quest - Paladins of Shannara - Terry Brooks

It’s been hard to get into a novel these last few weeks because I have so much writing I need to do and I don’t want to get invested. I used to think I read fast, but I’ve had to face the fact that I actually don’t. I just used to spend so much of my time reading! There’s a difference there that’s hard to ignore when you don’t have so much time to spend. It takes me anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to read a book, depending on complexity and how into the story I get. As my interest peaks, I actually think I read slower.

It’s been about 25 years since I read The Sword of Shannara and its sequels, and I’ve been meaning to catch up with the series and finish it off but I’ve just never done it.

My first and favorite Terry Brooks book is Magic Kingdom for Sale—Sold!. I have it and several of the sequels on my shelf just to my left and I reread the first few chapters of the book just a month or so ago. I love that book! :D

Oh, and this short story was good. Read it if you like short fantasy fiction.

Read Another Book—10 of 60

And it’s been four days since I finished reading the last book, but … I read another book this week! MacRieve by Kresley Cole.

MacRieve - Kresley Cole

It’s book 13 in a long-running series called Immortals After Dark. I think I’ve missed a couple of books. I know I have 2 paperbacks I haven’t read that come before this one, but I think there are more. Ah well. It didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of this one, and I’ll get to them sometime, I’m sure.

I dumped the mini habit of reading 2 pages a day. Strangely enough, though, I have still read at least 2 pages of fiction a day since! I probably won’t tomorrow though, since I just finished this next book and I don’t really want to start another one yet. We’ll see. Maybe Friday. :)

NOTE: I decided to make an effort to read more books this year. And since I have so many unread books, I set a goal to read at least 60 of the books in my backlog by the end of the year. Here’s the log if you want to see how I’m doing.

Read Another Book—9 of 60

I finished reading another book of fiction. This time I read science fiction, a book by Jack McDevitt called A Talent For War. I liked it. The mystery had a nice bite to it, and I really liked Alex (the hero).

A Talent for War - Jack McDevitt

The reading mini habit I’ve been working on, 2 pages of fiction a day, is starting to chafe. I’m not that into this habit.

I don’t like reading bits and pieces each day. It’s frustrating me—I’d rather sit down and read large passages at a time, and I’m just not sure why I even want to make myself read 2 pages a day. Well, that’s not exactly true. I thought it would make it more likely for me to read more books. It was probably working like it was supposed to, but … I don’t care.

I’ve been reading a few pages here and there of A Talent for War for almost a week, until finally I just got annoyed and sat down today and finished it. Took me 8 hours. Which I didn’t have. But because I’d worked myself into the part of the book where I just wanted to know what was going to happen, I ended up using the majority of a day I had set aside for other things to read instead.

Alrighty then. Decision time. I’m bailing on this mini habit. Reading is kind of an all or nothing thing for me, and I like it that way.

NOTE: I decided to make an effort to read more books this year. And since I have so many unread books, I set a goal to read at least 60 of the books in my backlog by the end of the year. Here’s the log if you want to see how I’m doing.

Read Another Book—8 of 60

Another book down! I read a cozy mystery this week, Strictly Murder (The Verity Long Mysteries Book 1) by Lynda Wilcox.

Strictly Murder - Lynda Wilcox

If it weren’t for the fact that the whole reason I started this reading challenge was so I could get through the backlog of books I have to read, I would definitely buy the sequel and start it next. I enjoyed the book a lot.

I do hope I’ll get to the other books in the series sometime, since the reviews make a case for books #3 and #4 in the series being even better, and then there’s a novella too.

This reading mini habit I’ve been working on, 2 pages of fiction a day, never less, more if I want, seems like it’s really going to keep my fiction reading on track this year.

NOTE: I decided to make an effort to read more books this year. And since I have so many unread books, I set a goal to read at least 60 of the books in my backlog by the end of the year. Here’s the log if you want to see how I’m doing.

Read Some More Books—4–7 of 60

NOTE: I decided to make an effort to read more books this year. And since I have so many unread books, I set a goal to read at least 60 of the books in my backlog by the end of the year. I’m even keeping a log. :)

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been reading short stories. And although I meant to keep all my reading limited to the backlog of books I have in my personal library, I can’t always help myself when it comes to picking up books that sound interesting. Some of the following were not part of my backlog. :o

As always, this challenge isn’t about reviewing books. I just want to read more fiction this year and this is how I’m staying accountable to that goal. ;)

I recently picked up an anthology and read Just for You by Rosalind James. It was a sweet romance set in New Zealand and it’s a tie-in for a series I haven’t read, but the short story was a successful stand-alone.

After that, I read Patriotic Gestures by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Then I read When Tony Met Adam by Suzanne Brockmann. I stayed up late and read it last night to be exact. I’ve been meaning to read this one for a long time. I should have read it sooner. It was great. I’m a total sap and it pushed all my buttons. I nearly cried. Of course, I get mushy reading angsty romance. That’s probably why I avoid angst, but it was worth it.

Finally, I read Baring It All by Megan Frampton this morning.

All in all, it’s been a good few weeks for me for fiction reading. I enjoyed all these stories. :)

At the moment, I’m about 21% in on a murder mystery novel that I won’t name until I finish, but I’m pretty confident at the moment that I’ll finish it and it will be book #8. I’ve been reading it for a couple of days now, and it’s nicely entertaining! :D

Blog posts need context: where are the dates?

I’ve decided that writers who don’t include dates on their blog pages, or at least in the permalink structure, are following one of the worst blogging trends ever to grace the wide open spaces of the blogosphere.

Here’s why: Context matters.

I found an interesting post today that started out, “Last night, I finished my first book…” but there wasn’t a date in the url, on the page, or anywhere else that I could find. It mattered, because I’m pretty sure the blogger in question has since finished several books and I just really wanted to know when it was that the post was written, or when that first book was finished.

I didn’t find out.

It hit me then that although there are contexts where we don’t want to include dates because someone might pass by an article when the article is still very relevant, in situations like this, where the post is very much part of a history of something, missing dates are significant.

Blog entries need context—they’re incomplete without it. Dates matter.

In a fit of pique, I abandoned the site. It probably had something interesting to say, but it was just a jumble of posts without context.

Reading a Book: Writing in Overdrive

UPDATE: This was an excellent book. Very inspiring! It’s on Kindle. (That’s where I got my copy.)

I’m reading a book! No, not another fiction book (and yes, I’m getting a bit behind in my “read 60 more books this year” challenge) but a book that I’m hoping will get my creative brain kicked back into gear. I’m going on nearly two weeks of no writing here and it’s driving me batty. I have no idea why I’m still having trouble.

Writing on multiple stories has been such a great help to my daily word counts, but it hasn’t been much help at all to keep me writing consistently.

Anyway, Writing in Overdrive: Write Faster, Write Freely, Write Brilliantly by Jim Denney isn’t directly related to my issues, but it’s something to excite me regardless, because it’s about writing faster … and I think you know the idea of writing faster excites me.

I bought the book before I’d even finished the sample—the opening was that good—or my need is that desperate. I’ll know when I’m done.

Oh, and I started a new rule today. No going to bed before I get 1,000 words written. I’m going to have to get started on that soon since I don’t have any words done today.

Even though I have 4 books going.

That I love.

That I keep getting ideas for.

Ugh. I definitely have a problem. I wish I knew how to solve it.

Anyway, Writing in Overdrive is waiting, so I’m outta here…

Read another book—3 of 60

NOTE: I decided to make an effort to read more books this year. And since I have so many unread books, I set a goal to read at least 60 of the books in my backlog by the end of the year. I’m even keeping a log. :)

Seems like I’m getting off to a great start on my effort to read more fiction—possibly to the detriment of my writing, but … doubt any of these books have taken away a moment of time when I both had the energy and the inclination to write, so I don’t really believe that.

Hounded - Kevin Hearne

I read Hounded (Amazon link) yesterday, and this is the book I originally started reading after book #1, but in fact, had actually started reading the first time back in November 2011, and I remember that because I posted the book to another site I run with the note that it and the follow ups were must-buys after I’d finished the sample. Well, LOL, that right there says LOTS about my reading habits. I buy books and then don’t read them for nearly 3 years! [That’s a bit of a lie; I have books that I’ve had much longer than 3 years that I haven’t read yet. You’ll see.]

Here’s another example:

Just one example of my bookmarking habit

See this book? It’s by one of my favorite authors. It’s been sitting on my side table since September last year. I finally started it in December, and for some reason stopped and that bookmark’s been there ever since! I liked this book; I have no idea why I haven’t finished reading it yet. It’ll probably end up as one of my 60 this year.

Anyway, Hounded is the first book in The Iron Druid Chronicles, a series I’ve been meaning to read for a really long time. I’m glad I finally got around to the book because I really enjoyed it. Lots of action, lots of humor, and lots of fun.

Read another book—2 of 60

NOTE: I decided to make an effort to read more books this year. And since I have so many unread books, I set a goal to read at least 60 of the books in my backlog by the end of the year. I’m even keeping a log. :)

I finished reading book #2 of the reading challenge last night. I didn’t intend to read that much yesterday, but I got sick and didn’t feel like doing anything else.

Crying for the Moon - Sarah Madison

Crying for the Moon (Amazon link) isn’t the same book I started reading after I finished reading book #1. This one was just something that caught my eye as I was scrolling through the books on my phone while I was resting on the couch.

It was a nice diversion while I recovered from whatever was wrong with me yesterday evening. :)

After I finished this one, I went back to the book I’d started after finishing book #1 and started reading it again. :D

It’s a fantastic book and I don’t know why I jumped to another book, but that’s not uncommon with me, so just go with it and realize that this kind of thing doesn’t say the first thing about the quality of any of the books I’m reading. As I’ve said before, I’ve always jumped from book to book, often reading on many books at the same time. It’s just what I do.

Also, I don’t know why I didn’t recognize that as a sign that maybe writing on multiple books at once might be a good fit for me.

Ah, well. Live and learn! :D

Read a book—1 of 60

Finished reading the first book from my collection since I decided to make an effort to read more books this year. And since I have so many unread books, I set a goal to read at least 60 of the books in my backlog by the end of the year.

Biceps of Death - David Stukas

I finished reading Biceps of Death yesterday when I was supposed to be writing. Oops.

Biceps of Death is a cozy-styled mystery and it was cute. I thought some of the dialogue was a little stilted, but the story pulled me in and kept me reading. It’s the 3rd (or 4th—I’m not really sure) book of a series and I haven’t read the other books so I don’t know how it compares, but I liked it.

I have an odd sense of humor sometimes and this book hit the right notes for me. There were some great funny moments in the book that made me actually laugh out loud. :D The book’s available as a Kindle book on Amazon.com.

I’ve already started reading another book. I’m not mentioning titles until I’ve actually read each book because book #2 could end up book #8 or some such thing, and while I want to read more, I have no intention of pressuring myself to read anything I don’t want to read. Also, this particular book, I started last year—or the year before, I can’t remember.

The thing is, this next book is a great book so far, so I have no idea why I bailed on it. Honestly, I think I just got distracted. That happens a lot. I have books sitting all around my house with bookmarks in them, just waiting for me to pick them back up again. Lucky for me, I have a great memory of story and don’t usually have a problem starting right where I left off. Yay for me! :D

Procrastinating, of a sort

I’ve been too busy converting and transferring my ebook collection to and from Calibre to Aldiko on both my Android phone and my Kindle so I can have the majority of my books, regardless of format or retailer, available on whichever device I prefer, to write much this morning … and now afternoon, yikes!

It’s obviously been time consuming. Hopefully worth it though. I’d like to get back to reading a book every couple of days. I need to do more reading both because I love it and because it’s the best way to keep getting better as a writer (combined with practice!) and I have so many books but it seems never what I want when I want because my collection is so scattered.

I have both a Nook and Kindle reader. Then both apps on my phone, along with Aldiko on my phone and my Kindle and Calibre on my laptop.

The one thing I almost always refuse to do though is read on my computer. I hate it. If the book doesn’t make it to one of my devices, it doesn’t get read.

I’m sure there are tons of people with more books than me, but I have 4 bookshelves full downstairs, 2 bankers boxes stuffed to the brim, and 2 bookshelves full upstairs. All my shelves are stuffed and many are double-stacked (one set of books in back and one set in front) and turned whichever way makes it easiest to fit more books.

And I have 796 ebooks in Calibre, not counting those I just deleted because there ain’t no way I’m reading them again, ever.

I’m making it a priority to start working my way through this backlog as quickly as possible, print or ebook, whichever catches my fancy. :D

Goal: read at least 60 of these books by the end of the year. I think I’ll start a reading log page here somewhere to keep up.

UPDATE: Yep. I started a log.