When my self-imposed rough-draft deadline whooshed past (in August) and then again (with the extended deadline, in September) I decided it was time to consult others’ advice on the matter of getting things finished. I read Rachel’s Aaron’s “2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love” and am following her advice on making editing a smoother and more thorough process. I went on to read Chris Fox’s “5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter” and was pleased with the word-tracker Excel spreadsheet included with it. Ever the skeptic (I’m more a messy-notecard writer) I tried his ‘writing sprint’ exercise and logged my efforts accordingly. I was really happy to see that it helped my word count considerably. While the real trick to increased word count is staying focused, it can really help to have specific exercises aimed at improving one’s focus. Continue reading
Category Archives: Book Review
When I was in second grade, the teacher read us “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls. Maybe it was part of that year’s curriculum. Or maybe she just hated us. Maybe she thought that a few of us had reached the ripe old age of 7 without losing enough grandparents, getting punched enough on the playground, or that we weren’t spending enough nights lying awake with terror at what little we understood of the Cold War. Perhaps, she thought, “Where the Red Fern Grows” would round out the character building we were surely missing out on. Continue reading
I’ve been hearing commercials, mostly on various podcasts, for Audible for years now. Seriously. Years. And it didn’t really snag my interest until a few weeks ago. The basic spiel is that you pay $15 every month in exchange for an audiobook. Now, what’s obvious to the routine purchaser of audiobooks, is that that’s a good deal. Have you priced audiobooks lately? Any typical novel can cost between $20 and $30. A very long novel can run anywhere from $30 to $50. If you normally buy an audiobook every month, Audible’s an excellent idea. I, however, normally never bought any. For some reason I thought reading only ‘counted’ if I actually read the words myself. Having them read to me by a professional narrator seemed…somehow like cheating, as far as reading goes. (I’m not going to try to make that make sense.) Continue reading
My relationship with classical literature is tenuous and recalcitrant. Friends occasionally try to engage me on the great works I should have read, only to ask, mystified, “what kind of English major were you?” Well. I’ll be honest. I was the kind of English major who found the classical style of writing about as familiar and appealing as the corsets and straight-last shoes people wore when they penned their masterpieces. A voracious reader since childhood, I dreaded each new semester’s syllabi, rife with things that promised to be a hard slog at best. (Since high school, I have been assigned to read The Faerie Queene no less than five times. I grind my teeth just thinking about it and, yet, will confess: I have never actually read it. I managed to pass every pop quiz and test by taking good notes from the lectures.) I believe classical literature has its merits but I also believe teachers, students, and casual readers should all consider that writing style has an impact on our ability to understand and enjoy a written work. Reading the classics can be as challenging as if we were to dress in period costume, perch on badly made wooden benches in drafty, uninsulated buildings, and study those pages by candlelight. Continue reading
For anyone new to Goodreads someone once described it to me as “like Facebook without all the dickery, and it’s mostly just for book-lovers.” I suppose that’s just about the best way to sum it up. Instead of finding out my acquaintances’ angst-ridden political views, I can log on to Goodreads and find out what my friends are reading, check out book reviews, and get updates on book-related blogs. It’s not social-networking so much as book-networking, and that’s freaking awesome. Continue reading
A decade ago I read Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. For the first – and, I increasingly suspect, only – time in my life, when I reached the last page I turned back to the first one and started rereading it immediately. I loved the characters, the setting, the adventure, the sense of history intertwined with myth. I loved something woven through it all but it took me ten years to figure out what that something was. Continue reading
I’m too busy writing stuff to talk about what I’m writing, but not too busy to suggest everyone check out Scott Sigler’s latest podcast! Book 5 in the Galactic Football League series is being podcast (available in hardcover and, by next month, as an audiobook). But, you can catch it episode-by-episode via iTunes or through his website. I’ll confess, I had my doubts about “sci-fi football” – but this has been one of my favorite series, ever. If you haven’t been following the series, I highly recommend the entire thing. (Just starting out? Start with The Rookie.)
Few things delight me so much that I think everyone should try them. The GFL series is right up there with chocolate ganache and amusement park rides that go upside down while spinning. Seriously. It’s that good.
“Trust & Treachery” is now available. It contains a story of mine (“Listener”) and a great many others, so readers should be able to find several favorites in it. Editors Day Al-Mohamed and Meriah Crawford were super helpful and a delight to work with. I wish I could give a review of the whole thing, but haven’t seen it yet. More details on the other authors are available at the book’s official website.
This week’s episode of Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing includes an interview with Michael J. Sullivan that “Out of Time” has sponsored. If you’re not already listening to Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing, why not give it a listen? And, if you haven’t bought a copy of “Out of Time” yet – do that too! (Hey, it’s supporting a good cause and if you like the work, you can always read more by Russell James while you wait for the rest of the authors to get more works published!)
This week, author Scott Sigler was kind enough to play a promo for “Out of Time” that I recorded and sent in. Besides being a great author (anyone who can combine science fiction and football is a hero, as far as I’m concerned), Sigler’s just a great guy. He takes the time to interact with his fans and also helps authors and podcasters get some exposure. So, head on over to check out the show notes for Episode 29 of “The MVP” — you can tell Scott I sent you, in the comments! Better still, give it a listen! The promo plays at the end…but you really should go back and start at the beginning. I love (love, love, love!) the Galactic Football League series.