On Reading & Writing: June

Well June has come and gone. It was a bit of a roller coaster month with ups and downs and goods and bads. Ya’ know…life.

On Writing:
So I never “heard” back from the Baen Fantasy short story competition I entered, but they listed the finalists on their website (all quiet and sneaky like) and I didn’t make the cut. I adored the story I wrote for this competition and after some soul searching about my disappointment I came to realize, putting aside my ego’s need for validation, the majority of that disappointment was caused by the fact that I do like this story and I want it to be seen by others. That’s really what it all came down to, just wanting to share this story with others. This got me actually considering sending it out to some short story publications, which I may end up doing. I haven’t spent any time researching how all that works yet, so it would take some time and energy that I just don’t have right now. But there is always tomorrow!

I did hear back from my anthology submission, and it looks like it’s being accepted. I got all sorts of edits back already, which were fantastic! If nothing else, I’ve learned you really do need another set of eyes looking at your story. Trained eyes, not your everyday uninformed reader’s eyes. In order to find those small out-points in one’s story, above and beyond grammar and punctuation errors. I adore the feedback I got and am going to get started on my edits this week. No contract has been signed yet, so I’ll spare you the details until it’s official.
And while it is terribly exciting to imagine a story of mine in print, in an actual book, that someone can actually buy! The overwhelming emotion I get is how unimaginably amazing it would feel to be able to show that to my Mom and Pops, were they still here. Knowing the overwhelming support and feeling of accomplishment that my folks would have had me feeling over such a small publication, would make the experience for me and turn it into magic. That’s the thing.

On Reading:
Now, on to more fun things…reading books.
I got three in this month, which is okay I guess, I just like those five-book months so much more.

Book One:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

I remember this one being my favorite of the series because (in my memory) it was the last  book before things got real dark in book 5, but actually the darkness starts at the end of this book. There is a part of me that is sad the story line is so bleak. I know why the story is they way it is, but honestly I could just sit and listen to the amazing Jim Dale read me nothing-happening stories set in this world and be a happy girl.
It’s funny, re-reading these as more of an adult than I was the last time I read them (yeah, I’m old ::blows raspberry::) I start imagining what’s going on in the background. Like what’s it like from Dumbledore’s perspective? What political fall out and games is he having to play? What’s it like to be influencing the world that Harry is experiencing, and to be a part of it from that side of things? Well, that’s how adult brains think young-ins. Also, I would be amiss if I didn’t again recommend you check out these books on audio as a new way to experience this amazing series. And you know revisiting them as a budding writer myself is such a different experience for me, I have a new, true appreciation for how lovely and talented Ms. Rowling really is. Thank you for that.

Book Two:
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

You should all know that I have a bit of a writerly crush on Ms. Gilbert. I gushed over her2 book Eat, Pray, Love a few months back, I’ve seen her speak in person, watched all her Ted talks, and really I mean can you tell I like her at all? This was a fun read and I got some good wisdom from it. I think the biggest thing I took away from it, the piece of advice that resonated the most with me, was not to put the pressure of “having” to make a living or make money from my writing. And, this is funny because this same message keeps popping up all around me, to keep the spirit of play – especially in creating. It’s supposed to be fun, not painful or destructive, and it doesn’t need to be anything more than that. It doesn’t have to be my money maker, I don’t have to “make it” as a writer, I don’t have to do anything but follow my joy and have fun creating. And let me tell you what, I love writing! The idea of not doing it, hurts. I don’t ever want to put any undue pressure on its shoulders, or force it to be anything other than what it is. Thank you Ms. Gilbert, for helping reiterate the message the Universe has been sending me lately. All of these whispers, bread crumbs, (even a writing tips article from Mr. Farland – The play’s the thing) are telling me to stop taking it so seriously. And I’m happy to report that my viewpoint on this has been shifting in that direction. So much so, that when the story I was writing for Q3 of the WotF competition wasn’t gelling, but I just kept on trying to force it, making myself miserable in the process – I thought of these pieces of advice (the spirit of play, the play’s the thing, etc) and picked up an old story I had started last year, said to myself, Fuck it, let’s see how bad we can make this story, stopped taking it so seriously and it became FUN again.  Not caring one iota if it was terrible or what it might get as a grade in the competition, I wrote to be silly, I wrote not to have an emotional ending, but a playful one. The whole story is a joke, a joke on the reader and the MC, and I LOVE IT! That’s how writing makes me feel, and the way I want it to continue to make me feel. That is Big Magic!

Book Three
John Dies at the End by David Wong

3It’s a bit strange how I even learned about this book, and the book itself is a bit strange, so I think that works. I stumbled across an article someone had posted on Facebook, I then enjoyed the article so much that I looked to see who had written it. I then learned more about the author and found he had written some books. From that point I checked it out on Amazon, read the reviews, and decided to read it -that’s how it works writer people.
Anyway, I listened to this one on audio book, and really liked the gentleman who read it (Stephen Thorne). He was awesome! Really gave Dave a voice. I enjoyed him so much in fact that when I started to listen to this book’s sequel – This Book Is Full of Spiders – I was devastated that they had selected someone else (not at good as Mr. Thorne) to read it ::sad face:: wtf?! Anyway, about the actual book…It’s weird. I thought it was a horror novel, but I think it might actually be in the New Weird genre. It’s not my normal faire, and had someone told me, really told me what it was about, I never would have picked it up. With that said, I stuck with it because the MC was awesome. He’s funny, and sarcastic, and enjoyable. John is strangely enigmatic and charismatic, and I feel like I get it about him. Even Cucumber (Amy) was great, and Molly, and yeah, the characters sold it for me. Weirdness aside, the author did a great job on this one. Yes, I would recommend this to a friend 🙂


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