20 Years Later, I Finally Completed My Book

It’s been so long since I last touched base about my book that I wouldn’t blame anyone for forgetting that I had written one in the first place. Well, long story short, writing is the easy part, editing is the hard part. Shocker.

I presented my Mom with the finalized manuscript on Mother’s day. She told me that when I was nine I informed her that I would write a book some day. It took me the better part of twenty years, Ma – sorry about the wait.

All my life I have been surrounded by the most kind, creative, and talented people imaginable. I hope this book brings them a fraction of the joy they have brought me.

Click here to find the book on Amazon. Currently, the book is only available on Kindle. The reason? Kindle allows authors to self-publish with an insanely convenient platform. Also, digital publishing allowed me to offer the book for only $0.99.  Want me to make printed copies? Want the book available in other digital formats? Let me know in the comments area.

 

 

 

First Printed Draft!

This is a photograph of my first printed draft of my novel. I did all of my own edits and drafts digitally, so I must admit that holding this physical copy was far more emotionally rewarding that I ever thought it would be.

20160503_172759

 

Morning Pages

In order to prepare for writing my first book, I thought it was likely best that I practice writing in general. I know that may sound ridiculous, but I had previously written periodically and never with such continued intent as would be needed for writing a whole novel. I had heard several people praise a method known as “morning pages”, but it wasn’t until I heard Brian Koppelman, writer of the screenplay for Rounders, speak about his near religious adherence to writing morning pages that I decided to give the  practice a shot.

For those unfamiliar, the idea is two write three hand written pages of a free flowing chain of though within the first few hours of waking. It is very important not to stop writing the pages once you have begun; the point is to flow through them consistently and, perhaps most importantly, not think about what you are trying to write. I know I was incredibly surprised to discover how much my thoughts stood directly in the way of the forward momentum of my writing. More often than not, I found myself not wanting to write the first thing that came to mind for fear of what someone might think of what I had just written. Luckily, the beauty of the morning pages presents itself in that very problem; no one, not even you, are supposed to even read what is written in your morning pages. Imagine, you allow yourself to write whatever the hell pops in your mind for three whole pages, and in so doing you will have stoked a fire under your desire to simply put words on a page. Nothing south of magic lies in the freedom that the morning pages afford the author who thinks too much; all of us.

My practicing morning pages not only helped me to write my novel, it actually helped me to realize that I didn’t want to write the novel I had originally intended to write. I had completed an entire outline for a novel that I ultimately cast aside because of the things I learned about my writing when I was doing my pages. I know everyone has their own process, and no two authors are alike, but if you often stop yourself from writing because you are worried about other people’s opinions, you might want to give morning pages a try.

 

I Wrote A Book!

Some time ago a man said to me, “under-promise and over-deliver.” Those were the  words that I constantly heard in my head as I finally began writing my own book.

To summarize as quickly as possible, I have wanted to write a book since I was 9 years old. I still vividly recall the first, less than a page long, short story that I wrote in the third grade. I recall it so vividly because I was certain it would propel me to stardom, never mind that I hadn’t bothered to publish it, write a second draft, edit for grammar etc… My point is, being a shade under 30 years old and having made no more attempts to write a novel since my third grade failure, I decided to knuckle down and write.

Starting January 1st,  2016, I made it my daily mission to put real effort into completing a novel of my own. I did not set out to write the great American novel, nor did I set out to write something famous, I set out to write a book. As of April 28th, 2016 I am happy to say that not only have I written a book, but I have now completed my second draft and will shortly be sending the book off to an editor for review.

I can say confidently that I had no idea how much work would go into writing the first and second draft’s of my novel, but I know damn well that my real work is just beginning. AS I am planning to self-publish the novel in various online platforms, I still have to create and finalize a cover image, secure a copyright, lay the groundwork for a small marketing campaign and so on…

The reason I wrote, and have always wanted to write, a book can be summarized in one word; inspiration. The movies, books, songs, and plays that have populated my imagination since childhood have woven a spell of inspiration in my mind that transcends enjoyment and calls for me to create. It may have taken me 30 years to discover how to respond to the calling, but, as they say, “better late than never.”

Check in through the coming weeks as I unveil my progress in finalizing the book.

Media Maelstrom, Or Short Reviews Of Many Things

There are times in which I like to create media, and there are times in which I like to consume media. A particularly cold winter provided me the perfect backdrop for consumption, and i’d like to share my thoughts on those things. AS opposed to my usual breathy and in-depth expose on the things I have been up to, I’ve decided to distill my opinions to mere sentences in an effort to say a lot in a little amount of time. Click the video below to hear my thoughts about the books and films that have populated my mind this winter.

Passionately Perplexed, Persuaded

“Have you read anything recently?” she asked in a tone that piqued the zealot in me. I responded with bravado and a confident smirk while confessing to having finished a book the night prior. Her face became a picture of pure disappointment and I became as confused as a toddler that stumbles into their parents’ bedroom during “alone time”. Was not this question generally intended to invite a literary conversation? Surely the woman had meant to tout a new love of a tale freshly plucked from the orchard of histories accumulations. Yet, there she stood, looking as though I had insulted her in some way. From the bag she carried with her she produced two novels and the veil of her discouragement began to lift.

2014-04-24 19.12.46

The books were bordered similarly, though not in a way I had ever seen. Closer examination revealed the cover art of each particular novel to be miniaturized within a distinct border that declared these books were printed for the purpose of someone reading them. Most assuredly you are thinking something along the lines of, “of course, dumbass”, but there was a deeper meaning intended. By whatever trick of fate, until that moment I had been criminally unaware of an organization/campaign known as World Book Night. This campaign is dedicated to spreading the love of the written word to those among us who are non, or light, readers by handing out over 500,000 free novels each year on the 23rd of April, William Shakespears day of birth.

In truth, the woman who held these books was upset that I was already a literary aficionado. Her affiliation with the organization afforded her and her husband each 20 copies of their chosen novels to dispense among the public, especially to those who have so abstained from the company of a novel. Though not her deeply desired recipient, I was able to help her find solace in the fact that the copy of Kitchen Confidential she sought to enlighten with would fit perfectly into my self-promised exploration of non-fiction tales. Her confidence in her mission restored, it was my turn to take on an incongruous expression of malaise. How the hell, in 27 years, had I never heard of such public efforts on behalf of books!

This post is not about being recommended a book, but rather my shame and embarrassment in the light of an entire section of the populace that was and is currently heralding something I claim to herald tirelessly for. In the two days since I have learned of the organization, their efforts, and seen their stalwart volunteers in warm flesh I have made it a goal of mine to make known this organization and its purpose. Books hold a unique power to shake the foundation of our very understanding, color our world with lights we never knew existed, help us peek into the annals of history, and educate us in order to harden our resolve against any large or small task that may befall us. There exists a network of individuals who dedicate their time to making sure more people understand that today than did yesterday. For my part, I’ll make sure more people know it April 24th 2015.

2014-04-24 18.33.00

A New Kind of Magic

Passionate and wonderful is the conversation that takes place between two people who love something equally, dearly. Such a conversation took place between my co-worker, Kati, and I just over a month ago. Kati and I share a deeply rooted love of the written word, and more importantly, the way that it might be used as a canvas on which to paint images we never imagined we could see. It was while we discussed a tale of our mutual favor that she asked if I had heard of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Usually I am able to gauge her level of adoration for a story by how quickly she had read it. In this case, she had read book one and its subsequent novels in less than a week. I was in.

Kati, neatly situated behind another item we share a love for.

Magic exists in the exclusion of familiarity. This is the measure by which I find it easy to understand why a group of people might find something spectacular, while another group finds the same thing to be mundane. While I very much enjoy reading classic fantasy for familiar wizards, elves, dwarves, and the enchanting magic they wield there is much to be said for the subtle, but equally powerful, magic of illusion. Illusion cannot make thunder clap in the skies at the snap of a finger, but it can very easily mask the fact that one might labor over weather reports to notice when a storm approaches, use scientific data to determine a likely moment for thunder-clap, and confidently, though secretly unsure, present an air of being able to “magically” control the weather. Equal parts preparation, study, confidence and theatrics might prove to be the most potent magic in the known universe.

It is by my own, above stated, understanding of magic that I was “cast under the spell” of the Gentlemen Bastard series (Gentlemen Bastards being the name given to the series as a whole). Within the crisp white pages of a trail I so often tread, there existed a world and characters wholly unfamiliar to me. Therefore, I was enthralled. Here is a world where magic and those who use it are not exalted, but vilified and despised. This is a world where cunning can be your enemy or ally, often in the same beat. Inhabiting this vivid realm are heroes that would not wish to be classified as heroes, anti-heroes, or defined at all for that matter. They trade in deception, layers of deception to be precise. Theirs is a cyclical mission of find or be found by someone to rob of either dignity or money, and rob them of it whatever the cost. Lynch has created a lush universe that positively hums with magic, while simultaneously making little to no use of the stereotypical magic many associate with fantasy. More than once, his writing tricked my notions of how the story would unfold. Touché, Sir.

While I read I could not help but think that Kati was off somewhere smirking privately to herself in the sure knowledge that her plan to get me hooked on the series was guaranteed success. Like the characters in the novel she had led me to precisely where she wanted me to be, and would most assuredly enjoy the spoils of my entering work, seeing her, and making the incongruous grimace so often worn by those who feign something to be so amazing that it actually hurts while saying, “It was so damn good!” A month later I have read the sequel, Red Seas Under Red Skies, and I now hold the third novel, The Republic of Thieves. It is difficult to tell if is I, or Kati, that is more excited for me to read it.