Status Update: Writing

Good morning to any Bookbrainers still out there! I’m sorry it’s been *looks at watch…realizes I don’t have a watch….checks computer….cringes* awhile since I’ve posted!

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(sorry)

I hope all of you are doing well! I wanted to get back to the blog and let all of you know what I’ve been up to and why there has been a bit of a gap between posts.

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As you may or may not remember, last year was a bit of a flop for me personally when it came to writing. I was doing great with the blog, but I wasn’t really working on my book much and then not at all. I had stalled out. I needed to fix a few things in my priority list to try and get back on the writing train.

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(Spinning doohickeys are vital to my writing train)

Since the start of the year I’ve written two chapters in my book and I’m currently doing well on the next. I’m officially at 44,000 words as of the posting of this blog. This is a HUGE success for me for many reasons. First, it’s the longest thing I’ve ever written and that’s just cool. Second, from my understanding a widely accepted benchmark for the length of a novel is 50,000 words. This means that I’ve actually written something novel length!

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A lot of this success that I’m creating for myself is due to my new schedule for writing. After reading a lot of articles about writing and interviews with writers, I’ve decided to take some of their advice (go figure, listening to a professional helped).

My daily schedule now looks like this:

  1. Wake up at 5:30am – Write 500 words before getting ready for work.
  2. Hour lunch at work – Read books that I have on the craft of writing.
  3. Before bed – Turn off the TV and shut the computer and read for fun.

That’s it guys, that’s the magic that has re-energized me and is taking me forward. I’m keeping my word count for now at 500 words a day because for me that’s doable in the 30-60 minutes I have each morning to write. If I could dedicate 3-4 hours a day to write my word count would be at least 2,000 words like Stephen King, but sadly I just don’t have the time.

I’ve chosen to writing in the morning because I used to try and write while I was on my lunch break at work. I was trying to fit in eating, reading news articles, and writing 500 words into a single one hour lunch while being distracted by co-workers and people messaging me on my phone (which is ok I guess because they’re all awesome people). But this made it a struggle to write constantly. So I finally decided to bite the bullet and actually get my ass out of bed early to write when my mind is fresh and I haven’t had to spend my day *gasp* thinking. I’m not making my word count every day, but I am writing every day now and that’s as good as gold.

The next part is since I now have free time on my lunch, I started to read the reference books I have on writing. Now I’m not saying it’s necessary, but do have a degree in English and creative writing. I have taken many writing courses. This has served me well and has greatly improved my writing, but there is no such thing as enough training. Sorry folks but there it is! I believe that learning more ideas about how to craft words into something that doesn’t suck is always a good idea. I many not always agree with what I’m reading or feel like I’m just covering old ground, but it’s all useful. At the very least reading these books on the craft of writing has kept my mind not just on the story I’m trying to tell, but the tools I’m using to tell it.

The last part of my day is reading for fun. This may seem like a bit of a no brainer, but stick with me here. If you’ve ever met me you’d know I love TV and movies. Like a lot. Hell to be honest my dad and I can talk for hours and hardly say anything to each other that isn’t a movie quote. So for me it can be hard to turn off the TV and actually read, which is something that I absolutely love (obviously). Now I’m not saying that TV is evil and people should only read, that’s stupid. There are many shows that are amazingly crafted and tell a fantastic story with room do develop plot and characters. It’s all about finding a balance. It has also helped that some of the books I’ve recently been reading have helped me with a few mental blocks to figure out some needed things for my book.

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So there we go guys! That’s what I’ve been up to and has been taking up a lot of my time in the past few weeks. I will always strive to write more for your guys, but I’m going to assume that producing a book for you to read will be a bit more important to you.

Stay awesome Bookbrainers!

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Book Review: The Abhorsen series

Happy 2018 Bookbrainers! I hope you’re all doing well out there and enjoying your New Year resolutions! To be fair the majority of you are at that point where you’re kind of doing your resolutions but not really and you’re trying to figure out if their worth salvaging….or you’ve failed already and gone back to the couch with a bag of potato chips to wait for next year. I’m doing good with mine so far! (I may have just jinxed myself) I’ve been writing a lot more and I’ve even started to get up early to write before I go to work. I’ve also been reading more!

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Yay books!

I had intended to just write a book review of the first book in a series I had started to read…but then I accidently read the whole series so I guess I’ll just do a review for the whole thing. The books are called The Abhorsen series by Garth Nix.

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These books are fantastic for anyone who loves fantasy! The world the books take place in is split in two. In the south there are countries where the world is very similar to the technology and culture of WWI England, but then there is an ancient wall, and north of that is the Old Kingdom. Here magic is everywhere and people live in constant fear of the dead who can crawl their way back into the world of the living. It is the job of the Abhorsen, a necromancer, to fight back against the dead and make sure they go back to death and never return. I would LOVE to go more into the story of these books, but I don’t want to give anything away. Trust me, the story is frickin’ awesome!

The books are filled with many interesting characters and fun characters that draw you in and make you want to give up sleep to find out what’ll happen to them next. I had a great time reading these books and falling in love with the interesting magic system and world that Nix has created. The books did a fantastic job keeping up the pacing of the urgency in everything the characters do while also taking the time to explore the themes of family, the nature of death, and destiny versus a chosen path in life.

If you’re looking for a fantasy series to read I would definitely give this one a go!

Now go forth and read!

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I know I am.

A New Year…

Happy New Years Bookbrainers! You are now free to congratulate yourself, you have made it through the putrid dumpster fire that was 2017. For me this year has been many things, and actually many of them awesome and good. Now looking ahead into 2018 I’m not going to give you the standard, “new year new me,” talk. NOPE! I’m going to be the same old asshole in 2018 that I was in 2017, but with a few marked changes.

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This year I’m going to be experiencing one of the biggest highlights of my life, I’m getting married! This means that a lot of 2018 will be filled with busy wedding work. As well, after having done this blog since last April my work on writing my actual book as let’s say…gone down down hill.

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This means that in 2018 I have two major goals for myself that may actually have tiny smaller goals built in like a cornucopia of bacon.

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My goals are firstly that I’m personally and otherwise physically ready to get married in September. Secondly, that I FINALLY AND I MEAN FINALLY finish the first draft of my book (I refuse to slip into the role of a Class-A Asshat).

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So what does this mean for you reading this right now?

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This means that in 2018 I will be posting at best every other week instead of every week. This also means that all bets are off on any Flash Fiction Challenges happening this year. I may do some, but I promise nothing. Nothing! (muhahahaha) I will do my best to keep all of you updated on my random thoughts and things going on with me, but if you’re interested in that I highly recommend to follow me on Twitter which I will continue to post on nearly every day (If you haven’t checked out my Twitter page you’re missing me being awesome and hilarious…please get on board).

Now go forth my Bookbrainers! Enjoy what’s left of this year, look for positivity and laughter wherever you can find it, and have a bitchn’ 2018!

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End of Year Flash Fiction!

Have a fantastic Christmas and holiday season everyone!

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“The Night Before Christmas Shopping”

Dennis was nearly pushed into Winkelman’s Mall, carrying his three year old daughter Lucy. The crowds of last minute shoppers flowing in and out of the mall were in a hurry and no one was waiting for him. He quickly made his way off to the side of the rushing herd of shoppers to stand in front of a wall of glass that looked into Barns and Nobel to catch his breath.

I hate Christmas shopping, Dennis thought looking at all the people and cursing himself for waiting until Christmas Eve to shop for his wife’s present…again. At least she’s having fun, Dennis thought then looking at Lucy, she had a big smile stuck on her face as she scanned the crowd and just watched all the people.

“Alright Lucy I’m going to put you down, but you have to stay standing right next me do you understand?” Dennis said, making sure that he had eye contact with Lucy before he started talking. He knew if she wasn’t looking at his eyes that all bets were off that she heard a word he was saying.

“Yes,” Lucy chirped and then started to wiggle to get free.

Dennis put Lucy down next to him, then reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper that he had written a few gift ideas on. None of them were particularly imaginative. Dennis loved his wife, but after five years of marriage he’d run out of gift ideas. He had sat at his desk at work imagining all the things he would get her, if he was rich. Most these fantasies involved him holding a microphone and having their garage door open up revealing some amazing gift with an oversized red bow on it that he’d announce like a gameshow host. “This Christmas honey you get…A NEW CAR!”

Dennis sighed looking at his list, “Well Lucy, we better get hunting before your mom gets home,” he then looked down at Lucy, only to see in her place was a boy a few years older than Lucy. His coat was unzipped and his stomach hung out below his t-shirt and his bulbous face was smeared with chocolate as he munched on a candy bar gripped tightly in his fist.

Dennis blinked a few times, as if the back of his mind thought that there was only something in his eyes that was causing Lucy to look like a fat boy twice her age. “You’re not Lucy…YOU’RE NOT LUCY!” Dennis shouted once blinking had failed to reveal his daughter and the situation struck him like a falling brick. “Where is Lucy?” Dennis yelled into the boy’s face.

The boy looked lazily back at Dennis then pointed at the crowd streaming past them and the food court deeper into the mall. Dennis looked were the boy was pointing and saw a flash of Lucy’s blond hair and pink coat before she was swallowed up by the multitude of shoppers.

Before Dennis could blot after her though, he felt a sudden sharp pain on the back of his head as he was struck with something hard. He immediately doubled over to avoid it again and stumbled forward, his eyes watering.

“Get away from my child you pervert!”

Dennis looked and standing next to the boy with the chocolate was a mountain of a woman clutching a handbag that had a metal buckle on the front ready to wallop Dennis again.

“Are you crazy lady?” Dennis yelled back at her, but she swung her handbag again and narrowly missed Dennis’ head.

“Leave my boy alone!” She screeched like a teakettle.

“No problem!” Dennis shouted then took off running through the crowd, pushing shoppers aside trying to catch up to Lucy.

Dennis could faintly hear over all the people and noise the woman yelling threats at him, but he didn’t pay attention. Lucy had decided to run off and he was going to be damned if he was going to explain to his wife that he lost Lucy on Christmas Eve. Dennis’ eyes darted everywhere trying to find her, but he didn’t see any signs of Lucy. He had reached the center of the mall and ran over to the kid’s play area. No sign of her. Just as Dennis was getting turning to see if she had gone to the Build A Bear store, he heard a laugh that tugged at him and he knew was her. He looked up just in time to see Lucy waving at him from an escalator going up to the second floor of the mall before she ducked down.

“Lucy!” Dennis shouted then took off running for the escalator, shoving a man out of his way knocking over a stand of sunglasses. Dennis ran up the escalator, but by time he got to the top he had lost track of Lucy again. He looked around franticly, until he spotted her slipping between two women’s legs and going into Columbia Inn, a woman’s boutique store.

Dennis quickly followed her in. The store was packed with racks of clothes and shoes, along with stacks of bags and bottles of perfumes, and hooks dripping with jewelry. Dennis was red faced and sweating tearing around the store trying to find Lucy. He chose to ignore the looks the women were giving him as he went around pushing open the clothing racks to see if Lucy was hiding behind them.

Dennis heard Lucy chuckle from the changing rooms and quickly darted inside.

“Lucy?” Dennis hissed trying to find her ducking his head under the doors to see if she was hiding in them, “Lucy? Lucy where are you?”

“Hey Ricky!” a woman yelled at Dennis, a nametag on her blouse identifying her as the manager, “What the hell do you think you’re doin’? This is the changing rooms!”

“I’m just looking for my daughter!” Dennis said straightening up and putting his hands in the air as if the woman had a gun pointed at him.

“Is that her there?” The woman asked pointing around a corner.

Dennis walked over and saw Lucy standing in front of a mirror with a necklace on admiring it. Lucy saw Dennis in the mirror and turned to him and said, “For mommy!” and pointed to the necklace.

Dennis walked over and picked her up, looking at the necklace, then back at Lucy. “Did you find is on your own?”

“Nope!” Lucy chirped proudly, “Mama showed me yesterday!”

Dennis laughed as he walked with Lucy out of the changing rooms towards the counter to pay for the necklace, “Seems your mom knows me pretty well kido.”

Your Votes and some Star Wars!

Hello hello hello Bookbrainers! Yes it’s that time again to get your weekly dose of random crap I feel like talking about and…oh yeah…FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE RESULTS!!!

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You guys overwhelmingly voted for me to write a Christmas story in the humor genre so that’s what you’re getting! Next week I will post my story here on the blog for your reading pleasure just as you’re heading to go enjoy your own holidays!

Now while I have your attention there is something that’s been on my mind that I’ve wanted to talk with all of you about…fandom.

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Specifically I want to talk about the new Star Wars movie coming out this weekend and actually, all the movies that have come out in the past 5 years and will be coming out soon for franchises like Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and even Harry Potter. Over the past few years I’ve felt my excitement for most of them dwindle until now I’ve sit here as The Last Jedi is premiering and I want to see it, but I’m not excited. I feel exactly like Charli Brown.

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For a long time I’ve wondered if there is something wrong with me…I mean besides the obvious. I’ve bled Star Wars since I was a kid and I love superhero movies, but I’m not excited by them anymore. The last big movie I went and saw was the new Thor movie with my fiancée and the answer finally came to me. Before the movie started there was a preview for a new superhero movie called The New Mutants. If you haven’t seen it you can watch it here. Please do so…I’ll wait. Have you watched it yet? No? Seriously it takes like 2 freakin’ minutes just go watch it! Done? Well alright then.

LETS CONTINUE THE STORY…

I watched the preview for this movie and I was instantly excited. Not because I love horror movies, but because it’s something DIFFERENT! It is not the same old superhero movie over and over, it is something that feels unique and breathes new life into a genre. Now what does this have to do with The Last Jedi?

Star Wars and I have always had a very special relationship. Honestly I thank my dad for that one. When I was a kid the first time I saw Star Wars was in theaters when they re-released them as special editions in 1997. I was blown away to say the least! I wanted to immediately go out and watch the next two movies, but my dad told me no, that I had to wait to see them in theaters. So we did. To this day I’ve seen every Star Wars movie in theaters for the first time/as they came out. Part of what made this gift special is that with the original trilogy and with the prequels, these were EVENTS. Star Wars came out YEARS before I was born and when the prequels came out I didn’t even think that any more would ever be made and so these movies were special. I could say I was there when this happened in movies.

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But everything changed when Disney came.

I love all the new Star Wars movies under the Disney banner, they’re doing a fantastic job so far, but I know now that I will get a new Star Wars movie pretty much every year for the rest of my life. They’re no longer special.

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I think it’s the fatigue that you can feel about a series, a kind of over exposure that that’s also left me feeling indifferent to superhero movies these days. So far the only major series that hasn’t had this happen to are the new Harry Potter movies, but that’s partly only because there are only two left to come out. If I hear the same news that they’ll be making them forever I’ll be happy, but I won’t be excited. IS IT SO WRONG TO WANT MOVIES TO BE AMAZING, UNIQUE, AND TO MAKE ME FEEL EXCITED EVEN IF IT’S BASICALLY THE SAME THING EVERY TIME???

Speaking of not the same thing every time! Tune in next week folks with my new Christmas Story!!!

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Time to Carol the Bells with Another Flash Fiction Challenge!

Welcome back Bookbrainers! Glad to see you’re all here and fired up after a week off for me to rest my weary brain and take care of some light (read: Heavy) cleaning at home last week. I am feeling ready to jump back into things with another crack at the flash fiction challenge world!

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I’m feeling pretty excited about this since lately I’ve been feeling more geared up to write, but have been slacking hard in the writing department (more on that in a later post). So here we go all you fantastic people out there!

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For this month’s challenge, I’m going to be writing a Christmas themed story, but YOU get to choose the genre that I’ll be writing in! Below is a list of genres to choose from.

Crime/detective

Fan Fiction

Fantasy

Folklore/Myth/Tall Tale

Historical Fiction

Horror

Humor

Science Fiction

Suspense/thriller

Western

Comment either here on the blog, on the Facebook page, or on the Twitter page (where I’m also going to attempt to create a poll for the first time), and between all these places the genre that gets the most votes will be the one I’ll be writing a Christmas story in!

You can vote only ONCE per site for a total of three votes if you’re really feeling enthusiastic. I will close the voting at noon on Friday December 15th so you’ll have plenty of time to vote!

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Now get out there and vote!

A Time to Be Thankful

Welcome Bookbrainers! Thank you for taking the time to stop and visit during this holiday weekend (for those of you in the United States). As I sit down to enjoy all my favorite comfort foods, spend time with my amazing family, and do some shopping, I wanted to reach out to all of you to talk about what I’m most thankful for.

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Other than the obvious (family, friends, health, and all of you amazing-ass Bookbrainers!), I’m always thankful for books. Not just books I get to read or ones I want to write, but every book and places that have them and people who read them. As cheesy as it sounds, books will always be the closest to real magic in the world. Books change minds and lives in ways that other mediums just can’t.

What sticks with me most (and please forgive me because I can’t remember where I read this and I don’t want to take credit), is that I once read that reading is being able to read someone’s mind through both time and space. I can read a book written by someone who died hundreds of years ago in a place I’ve never been and doing this, I can read their thoughts, know their feelings, understand their lives, and make friendships that will last until I am gone.

Now I understand that being able to read and have as many books as I do is a privilege that I’ve gotten through luck of the draw. There are people out there who are not as lucky. There are people who struggle in life for food and clean water, for education and a chance to reach for more. For many years now I’ve been a HUGE fan of an organization I mentioned on the blog before (link to old blog here) called Worldbuilders which was created by my favorite writer Patrick Rothfuss. Every year starting in the middle of November they start their annual charity event where they raise money for those in need by donating everything to an organization called Heifer International.  They basically raise money to educate and provide lasting and permanent change to people’s lives. They don’t give a man a fish, they teach him to fish then give him a pole, tackle box, and a boat.

As of my writing this Worldbuilders have already raised over $206,000 with 15 days left to donate. Now here’s the fun part!

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There are three ways to donate! You and buy items that you think are cool from The Tinker’s Pack which has memorabilia from all sorts of geeky stuff there. You could also head over to their auctions and bid on REALLY cool stuff! Or the last option is to directly donate where you can either just donate the money OR you can choose to be entered into a lottery for a chance at literally thousands of cool prizes!

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There you go guys! A chance to help books and people make a positive difference in the world just when it feels like we could all use a win. Take care everyone!