Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Year-in-Review (5 Year Plan Revisited)

Whelp, we survived another one. There seemed to be a few close calls there, but somehow we keep on trucking. In my personal life, it would be pretty hard to be worse than 2017 (please don't try, 2020), so I'm thank for anything that shows even mild improvement.

And hey, the close of this decade is a pretty big one for me. In the last ten years I moved to a new city, bought a house, started a new career, had two kids, published my first books and stories - it's been a momentous time in my life.

A few years ago for Insecure Writers Support Group day, we were supposed to describe where we saw ourselves in five years. I instead wrote a pretty specific list of goals I wanted to accomplished in those years, and every 12 months since I've been revisiting that list to see how I'm doing on it. It's always good to finish any sort of calendar milestone by judging ourselves, right?

FIVE YEAR GOALS (3 years in)

Write 3-5 books.

Here's my big one for this year, which was a secret until now: In the past twelve months I've actually written two new books. (Okay, as of this writing the second one still needs another chapter or two, but I'm pretty damn close). That's huge for me, since I haven't completed a full-length manuscript since Hell Comes to Hogtown came out in 2016. It's not that I haven't tried; I've started probably a dozen novels in the last three years, some of them I've even got 20-30K words deep, but for various reason none of them ever made it to the end. That changed this year.

Now, one of the books was a fun, silly (and illustrated!) middle-grade book I wrote for my kids and nieces which will probably never see the light of day for anyone else, but I'm still counting that as a win. The other one, though, I'm really hoping to do something with in the near future...

Total: 2 revised/rewritten books, and 2 new books. I'm actually doing pretty good.


Submit at least 3 books to agents/publishers.

Because I'm behind on my new books, still have not submitted any NEW books to a publisher, so unless I have a flurry of productivity in the next two years there's no way I'm going to meet this goal. I did submit the book I revised last year to a few places, and while I received a little interest, nothing really materialized. Total: 1 books submitted so far.


Self-publish 2-3 (full length) books.

None this year, but it looks good to have at least one out in the coming year (fingers crossed!). That will still only be 1 in the last 3 years, but hey, that's better than the 35 years previous.


Self-publish at least 1 Werebear vs Landopus story per year.

Missed this one this year. Wrote a lot of words, but unfortunately none of them made it into a Werebear vs Landopus story. I've got ideas for another few stories in this series and more set in the same world, but it's just a matter of moving them up the list of dozens of other things I'm working on. Total: 2 for 3!


Write at least 2 short stories per year and submit them to anthologies/magazines.

This continues to be my most successful area. I had two stories published this year (that were submitted last year) in Masquerade: Oddly Suited and Strangely Funny VI, and I wrote and submitted 3 more. I also just received word a few days ago that one of those stories were accepted and will be appearing in the coming year! I'll have details on that in the coming weeks, and I'm sure you'll hear lots more about it then. Total: 3 for 3



Collect at least 100 rejections.

I had 19 rejections this year, which is a record for me. I also received one back 2 minutes from the time I sent the email! That brings my total to just over 50, which means I'm really going to have to submit some crap to as many places as possible in order to hit 100 in the next 24 months.


Monday, December 23, 2019

What the Heck is Tibb's Eve?


It's a tradition in Newfoundland to celebrate Tibb's Eve (some call it Tipp's Eve or Tipsy Eve) on the 23rd of December, to really officially kick off the Christmas Season. I've noticed that in other parts of Canada, at least in recent years, the Christmas Season seems to last the month (or two) leading up to December 25, and then Christmas is abruptly forgotten on the 26th. Back when I was growing up, the real holiday celebrations happened after Christmas Day, through New Years right up until "Old Christmas Day," or January 6th. For example, it wasn't uncommon when I was a kid to go to relatives' houses the weekend after New Year's for a "Christmas visit." If I showed up at someone's house in Ontario on January 5th asking for a drink and some cookies, I doubt they would even open the door.

"It's your sister and her idiot husband coming for a Christmas Visit!"
"What? It's nearly Spring! Turn off the lights and hide in the closet!"

But what exactly is Tibb's Eve? Newfoundland was a traditionally Christian area, and the Advent Season leading up to Christmas Day was a sober, religious time, when it was inappropriate to drink alcohol. (A month of abstinence before Christmas is probably also the reason for the two week-long party afterwards). At some point in the mid-twentieth century, folks decided they just couldn't wait until the 25th and decided they would start drinking on the 23rd instead, and used the Feast of St. Tibb as an excuse to celebrate.

They've got their own shirts and everything.

Who is St. Tibb? I'll let you in a little secret: she doesn't exist. St. Tibb was just a joke made up to go over children's heads. The word tib or tibb is an archaic slang word for a "promiscuous woman." The name "Tib" was popularly used in 17th century English plays for the prostitute character. So calling drinking day "Tibb's Eve" was just an excuse to make children think there was actually a holiday to excuse daddy's drunken foolishness.

Seriously though, more people would still go to church if we had more saints like this.

Fun fact: Until recently, there were still a lot of archaic English language floating around in rural parts of Newfoundland. It was a side effect of the population growing up in isolated pocket communities, where they had little outside contact for generations. I remember growing up my grandmother always called ants "emmets," but no one knew why. It wasn't until I went to university that I discovered "emmet" is actually an Old English word for ant, dating back to Shakespeare's time.

Tibb's Eve is also an old English/Irish word meaning never - in other words a day that will never come, as in, "He'll pay you back on Tibb's Eve." This gives the holiday yet another mischevious sort of feeling, a way to get around the Church rules and traditions, since it's not a "real" day.  The "Tipp's Eve" variant in some parts of the island probably comes from another old word, "to tipple," which means to drink heavily, or "a tipple," which is another word for alehouse.  "Tipsy Eve" is probably obvious from there.

Do you have any Labatt's Blue?

So if you're feeling in touch with your Newfoundland or Old English roots today, or if you're just feeling frisky or need a drink to calm your nerves after hours of shopping, then raise a glass to Saint Tibb! And maybe put on a mask a do a little mummering while you're at it, eh b'y?


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Objective Ranking of Star Wars Films

To mark the release of The Rise of Skywalker this week, I'm going to add to the probably thousands of lists of best Star Wars movies you've read lately with my own. Of course, mine is different, because my method of ranking is highly objective, using vigorous scientific and journalistic tests to break down exactly how good each film in the series is.

(And by vigorous tests of course I mean I just re-watched the movies and read other people's lists)

Okay, I know it's not a good way to build your trust by putting a bunch of lies right in the title and first paragraph, but obviously nothing is completely objective. You just gotta trust my opinion, okay? It seems like these days if enough people just keep saying the same thing over and over it becomes true, whether or not it started that way.

Without furthers ado...

10. Attack of the Clones
This is just a bad film. Poor story, terrible acting, lousy directing. There's a couple of neat action scenes but overall it's so clunky. One of the big plot pieces is supposed to be the romance between Anakin and Padme, but they have absolutely no chemistry. I watched this movie with my 6yo and whenever Anakin and Padme were onscreen, he asked "When is Obi-Wan and Jango Fett coming back? These two are so awkward."

The greatest crime George Lucas ever committed was making Natalie Portman unpleasant to watch.


9. The Phantom Menace
I remember this was so disappointing when it first came out. Even the parts that I originally thought were kinda neat, like the lighstaber duels, now look overly-choregraphed and yet dull at the same time. I don't have a hard-on against Jar Jar Binks like some people do, at least he was fun (and I recognized it was for kids), but having an actual child as a lead, especially with a director who can't give direction to actors to save his life (sorry, George) was a TERRIBLE idea. I feel bad for Jake Lloyd, and most of the people involved in this.

Someone should have slapped George Lucas when he suggested this, and saved that poor kid a lot of therapy in later life.


8. Revenge of the Sith
Saying Revenge of the Sith is the best movie of the Prequel Trilogy is like saying dying is the best part of the Bubonic Plague. At least it's over. Now that I think about it, while I was originally disappointed in Episodes I and II, I remembered being actively mad about Episode III when I first saw it. It was like there was a checklist Lucas knew he had to hit to make all the plot points line up with the next movie, and he went about hitting them with all the subtlety of an octopus with eight sledgehammers. Why did Anakin and Obi-Wan's fight have to be so ridiculous? Why did Obi-Wan win by being three feet up a slight incline? Why did he just leave Anakin for dead, but randomly take his lightsaber on his way out? Did Natalie Portman seriously die of broken heart? (Would it really have been so bad to have Vader just kill her outright?) And the infamous "NOOOOOO!" at the end... seriously?

Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I should bump this down a couple spots. At least Ian McDiarmid was fun.

Honestly Ian McDiarmid was one of the only redeeming factors in this movie, and the only actor in the entire trilogy (except maybe Christopher Lee and Ewan McGregor in moments) who understood what kind of movie this was supposed to be - goofy, unadulterated cheese .



7. Return of the Jedi
I know, rating one of the original trilogy this low is blasphemy, but the more I thought about it, the more problems there are with this film. It makes no sense that the Ewoks defeat the Empire. The lightsaber duel is ho-hum. Han Solo becomes a complete doofus, bumbling through everything like comic relief instead of the cool hero he's supposed to be (I guess getting frozen in Carbonite caused lasting brain damage). I still have to awkwardly explain why Darth Vader dies to anyone who watches the movie with me. It's so weirdly depicted in the scene, but after the way his wife died I guess he did okay. As a kid, I thought this movie was awesome, but when it was re-released in 1997 I actually fell asleep watching it in the theatre. It really does not hold up like Star Wars and Empire.

Harrison Ford obviously didn't give a shit, so why should we?

6. The Force Awakens
This film was a huge relief when I saw it in the theatres a few years ago. After the prequel trilogy it was wonderful to have Star Wars in a familiar direction again. Perhaps it was a bit too familiar - plenty has been written and discussed about how Force Awakens follows the original Star Wars almost beat for beat - which is the only reason I rate this so low. That doesn't mean it's bad, though. Being the sixth best Star Wars movie is still a pretty damn good movie. I love the new characters - Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo - they're much more interesting than anything we saw in the prequel movies by a long shot. My biggest gripe about this movie was that we didn't get to see Luke Skywalker until the last 30 friggin' seconds.

I waited 32 years, and sat through a two hour movie, for that?


5. Solo
The least-financially successful Star Wars movie to date, I thought this one was treated a bit unfairly because it was actually a lot of fun. Sure, it wasn't Harrison Ford. Sure, there were some dumb parts (he's named Han Solo WHY?). And god knows it wasn't necessary to flesh out Han's backstory, but it was entertaining and told a great heist story. The fate of the the galaxy didn't hang in the balance, which was also a nice change of pace. There's a lot of stories to tell in the Star Wars universe that don't involve blowing up planets or the cross-generational trauma of the Skywalker family. Even if we don't get any Solo follow-ups, I hope we see Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian again somewhere down the line.
If Disney seriously wants to make money, they need to make a Lando backstory movie, starring Donald Glover and narrated by Billy Dee Williams.


4. Rogue One
This one is weird, because while being a totally unnecessary prequel, it's also really good. It's purely a war movie, and it works very well. This could have been set in World War II with a few tweaks and it would have worked just as well, maybe even better. The nods to the prequel and original trilogies were great (if a bit over the top in places), and it also satisfyingly broke numerous tropes. No romance angles (not really, anyway)! And the shocking ending (well, as shocking as can be for a movie where we know the ending going in). Not to mention Darth Vader looking like a bad ass for the first time since Empire Strikes Back. This movie was just so much fun.

Remember, this is the guy who said "apology accepted" after brutally murdering his own admiral. Cheesy lines at inappropriate times is Vader's speciality.


3. The Last Jedi
I don't care what the haters say, this is quite possibly the best Star Wars movie ever made. The only reason I didn't rank number one is because of the nostalgia factor in the next two entries on my list. I was tempted to put it at number one just to piss people off.

It had it all. Action, suspense, drama, comedy, all things Star Wars is supposed to have. Sure there were dumb parts, but ALL Star Wars movies have dumb parts (The rocking X-wings in the original movie? Luke learning telekinesis... how, exactly, after never having seen anyone do it? Literally everything about Return of the Jedi?). They are overblown cheesy Sci-Fi movies, after all. I loved the relationship between Rey and Kylo. Kylo is my favourite dark side character in the series, because he actually seems conflicted, and his misplaced rage and anger against his family is believable. Most Star Wars villains are cartoon bad guys (which is fine) or whatever the fuck Hayden Christiansen was trying to do, but Kylo is an actual person. And I LOVED Luke Skywalker as a fallen, broken old man. This is a guy who had fought against evil his whole life, had personally killed more people than probably anyone else in the Civil War (he pulled the trigger on the shot that blew up the Death Star and killed MILLIONS of humans beings onboard), he had faced down Vader and the Emperor and won, and yet despite all of that, it didn't matter. Evil still rolled on and fascism and tyranny continued. And what did he do, when the thought he failed? He fled and hid, the same way his masters (Obi-Wan and Yoda) had taught him to do when they failed. It's crushing and brutal and shows the depth of the trauma running through his family.

Yeah, I could talk all day about The Last Jedi, but I'll move on.

I get giddy whenever I watch this scene.


2. The Empire Strikes Back
This is often cited as the "perfect" Star Wars movie, which is a pretty strong argument. It's is sometimes also called the last "good" Star Wars movie, which is total bullshit. But it is very, very good. It's got my favourite lightsaber duel of the original trilogy by far, and possibly the best of any of the films. It's got original, annoying/quirky/creepy Yoda (in puppet form!). It's got Lando in all his suave glory. It's got Han being all scoundrelly (and honestly, perhaps a little too forward and pushy, since Leia tells him to take his hands off her. Repeatedly).

And don't get me started on that ridiculous dinner scene. Personally I love that scene, but the more you think about it the more it becomes hands-down the weirdest scene in the Original Trilogy (and this is the same movie where Luke has that acid flashback of cutting his own head off that everyone always forgets about).

How long was Vader sitting there waiting for them? Did they actually sit down to dinner after this? Why wasn't THAT scene added in the Special Edition? I want to see the awkward conversation at this table, like Vader asking Leia to pass the mashed potatoes. 

1. Star Wars
While I can't argue that Empire is objectively a better-made movie, nothing beats the original. The Original Star Wars (I hate calling it "A New Hope") just has an earnest fun to it that has never been captured since. Episode VII and VIII came closest, but they are too big budget and flashy to really have the gritty, raw look and feel to it, while at the same time being a cheesy, goofy sci-fi flick. Star Wars takes itself so seriously now. George Lucas originally wanted to make a campy modern version of Buck Rogers, and that's exactly what he did. He did not have a big bible of encyclopedia backstory when he made this movie - he just literally made shit up as he went along, and it was all the more glorious because of it.

Case in point: Both Lucas and Harrison Ford have been quoted as saying, when asked questions about the plot/characters by Mark Hamill during filming: "You're thinking about this too much kid. It's not that kind of movie."

I wish we could all remember that more often these days. (Says the guy who just wrote a thousand words about the ranked quality of each film).

Always remember when having arguments about these movies: There's a half-naked man in pink hot pants just off-screen holding a boom mic.

***

Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker opens tomorrow. It may be awesome or it may suck, but I'm going to go see it and have a ball. It's what I'm looking forward to the most this Christmas! 

What about you? What's your favourite Star Wars movie? Are you looking forward to the latest one?

May the Force be With You this holiday season!

Hugs & Kisses,
-CDGK



Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Living the Dream (#IWSG December 2019)


December 4, 2049

After knocking twice, Ben let himself in. His father was getting up there in years, after all. He was afraid one of these days he was going to show up and find him dead on the toilet.

"Dad, you dead?" he called out.

The answer came shouted from upstairs. "Go away, I'm writing."

"Dad, we're late for the kids' Christmas concert. They're waiting in the car."

"That's today?"

"Yes. I called to remind you yesterday. And the day before that. And twice last week."

Grunting.

Ben sighed. "I know you didn't check your messages."

"I thought you kids didn't make phone calls anymore?"

"Yes, but since you refuse to get the new neural communication implant, that's the only way I can contact you."

"I'm not letting Google put a goddamn microchip in my head."

"If you did you could write and publish your books like, a hundred times faster."

"Back in my day, we wrote dystopian science fiction about the government putting microchips in people's heads. Now you guys do it at the mall! I will write my way until you pry my Windows 2000 laptop out of my cold, dead hands."

"It crashed again, didn't it, Dad?"

Long pause. "It's been rebooting for an hour."

"I'll see you in the car."

"Let me just put on pants."

And that's the positive outcome...


Happy holidays, everyone!

Hugs & Kisses, 
-CDGK


The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Post Halloween Sugar Crash (#IWSG November 2019)

It's a week after Halloween. Does your house look like this yet?

Mine doesn't, but only because my wife threatened to divorce me if I took the decorations up out of the basement before December 1st. 

Last week's Trick-Or-Treat-Reads was loads of fun. Thanks, Patricia Lynne for organizing once again! I got a lot more downloads than usual, so fingers crossed some people will actually read my books and leave a review. I even got a few Kindle Unlimited reads as well, which was an extra-special Halloween treat. It's always nice when a freebie leads directly to an actual "sale." Overall my sales the past few months have been absolute garbage, so even a few pages at half a cent each is encouraging.

I really need to finish some of the stuff I'm working on so I can get new stuff out there. I have high hopes for 2020. Hopes that will probably be crushed, sure, but I'll take the positive emotions while I can.

November Question 
What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story?

Unlike (apparently) most writers, I've never Googled how to kill someone or how a body decomposes or anything like that. Maybe some people are really concerned by exactly how long it takes someone to bleed out when stabbed three inches below their solar plexus, but I suspect these are the same people who calculate the airspeed velocity of their dragons based on mass and wingspan. For me the answer to both of those things is "whatever makes the story interesting."

Honestly, it's odd when I research anything, but sometimes I get caught up in weird details I dig into in way more depth than needed. A few recent ones:


  • The colour of Newfoundland Light & Power trucks in 1992 (I recall they were red but I can't find a picture to confirm this)
  • Clowning practices of 1850s travelling circuses
  • The history of the Group of Seven artists, only so that I can completely change it and make them into supervillains
  • A historic Canadian murder where the victim died on a table, because I needed a haunted table

Don't get me started on how much research I've done on Pokemon.

Did you know that in Generation 3, Girafarig could learn Astonish at level 7 and Confusion at level 13, but since Generation 4 it's been able to learn both moves at level 1, and instead gained a new move called Odour Sleuth at Level 5 that allows it to attack otherwise unhittable targets?

I hate that I know this.

Hugs and kisses,
-CDGK


The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

FREE BOOKS! (#Trick-or-Treat-Reads 2019)



It's Time! Spooks, Ghouls, Witches and Sexy Nurses are out in force! You know what that means? Free candy, and more importantly, FREE BOOKS!

Below is a list of authors, participating in this year's Trick-or-Treat Book Blog Hop. Each of them will be giving away free books and stories, just like candy. All you have to do is click on the link to visit their sites. Pretty awesome and easy, right?



Trick or Treat reads is organized every year by the talented Patricia Lynne/Josephine, so be sure to drop by her blog to say thank you! (As well as pick up some free books that are probably better than mine)

So what do I have to give away?


AVAILABLE FREE until NOVEMBER 1st!


They say love hurts and time heals all wounds.

Sometimes the reverse is true.

Isaac was very good at wasting time. Video games, a mindless job, no responsibilities - he had a simple life and few wants. Despite being hopelessly average, unassuming and kind of useless, he had somehow married the most beautiful, wonderful woman in the world.

He had no idea how good he had it - until it was all taken away.

Time does not like being wasted. It is mercurial, inexorable and carries a wicked grudge. And sometimes, just sometimes, it enjoys playing games with people's lives. To be perfectly honest, Time is a bit of a jerk.

Isaac had never learned to appreciate what little time he had, and now he must travel to the ends of the universe and face unspeakable evils in a cat-and-mouse game with Time itself for the slim chance to win back a few fleeting seconds of happiness. The price of failure? Only the end of all existence.

Ten Thousand Days is a fairy tale set in the modern day, a fantastic journey of desperate love and horror with a twisted sense of humour. It's a story of exactly how far a young man will go for love...

NOTE: This is the revised and expanded version from 2017, which is significantly different than the original that was published in 2015. This is also the first time TEN THOUSAND DAYS has been available for free on Amazon.

But that's not all!


AVAILABLE FREE until NOVEMBER 1st!


This is a serious story.

A serious, grimly dark short story of hilarious misery.

SUGGESTED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES: Contains coarse language, violence and candid descriptions of the genitalia of various fantasy races.

In a peaceful land of lush prosperity, an ancient eight-tentacled evil has risen to wreck unfathomable havoc. A simple, unassuming warrior named Huckle gathers together the bravest and most dysfunctional band of heroes in the kingdom to battle the beast, but they are fated only for the direst of suffering and failure.

The only way to defeat a monster of this magnitude is with an even more horrifying monster...

Huckle goes to hell and back and back again in this tragic tale of terrestrial cephalopods, ursine lycanthropes and explosive volcano drake diarrhea.

Dark fantasy will never be the same.

With a forward by R.S. Matheny and Philip Overby, hosts of the Grim Tidings Podcast

TENTACLES UNDER A FULL MOON is the first part in the ongoing WEREBEAR vs LANDOPUS series, which just gets more and more silly as time goes on...


Here's the list of participating authors again. Go give them some love and grab yourself some free books! And authors, hey, it's not too late to sign up, so join in the fun!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Stone Man by Charles Suddeth RELEASE DAY

I'm going to turn the blog over to the fine folks at Dancing Lemur Press today to tell you about a brand-new release you should check out:


Driven to Stone Man’s trail...

After U.S. soldiers attack twelve-year-old Tsatsi’s Cherokee village, his family flees to the Smokey Mountains. Facing storms, flood, and hunger, they’re forced to go where Stone Man, a monstrous giant, is rumored to live. 

His family seeks shelter in an abandoned village, but soldiers hunt them down. Tsatsi and his sister Sali escape, but Sali falls ill and is kidnapped by Stone Man. Tsatsi gives chase and confronts the giant, only to learn this monster isn’t what he seems.

Their journey is a dangerous one. Will Tsatsi find the strength to become a Cherokee warrior? And will they ever find their family?

THE DETAILS!

Stone Man
And the Trail of Tears
By Charles Suddeth
Print ISBN 9781939844620
EBook ISBN 9781939844637
$12.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 162 pages
Juvenile Fiction: Boys & Men/Legends, Myths, Fables-Native American/Historical-United States-General
Release date - October 8, 2019

THE AUTHOR!

Charles Suddeth loves to tell stories of all sizes and shapes and flavors. He has published picture books, middle readers’ books, young adult thrillers, and adult mysteries. Of Cherokee heritage, he draws inspiration from hiking Tom Sawyer State Park and teaches in Louisville, Kentucky.

https://ctsuddeth.com/


THE LINKS!

ITunes - https://fnd.io/#/us/book/1455664389-stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears-by-char

Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130849102?ean=9781939844620

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Stone-Man-Trail-Charles-Suddeth-ebook/dp/B07X9CM3CH

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears

Dancing Lemur Press LLC - http://www.dancinglemurpressllc.com/new-adultyoung-adultmiddle-grade

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44453832-stone-man-and-the-trail-of-tears

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Read the Damn Book (#IWSG October 2019)

Warning: This Month's Optional Question inspired a bit of a rant. I apologise in advance.



October Question
It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?

"It's been said" that writing without reading is a good idea? By who? That's terrible advice.

(To be fair, 90% of all writing advice is terrible, so statistically speaking it checks out. Also, there's a 90% chance that everything I say below is complete and utter garbage.)

I don't believe you can write without reading. Reading will make you a better writer. Period. Reading will provide you new ideas, not just for content but in style and substance. Whether you learn new things to do, or things you shouldn't do, you can always gain something from reading. I find the most formulaic, boring writing comes from people who don't read, because they have limited ideas of what a story is supposed to look like. They keep writing it the same way over and over again.

I'm a just leave this here.

I firmly believe there are no new ideas. In the thousands of years humanity has been writing stories (and tens of thousands they have been sharing them orally), everything has been said. You are not going to come up with a new idea for your first-ever self-published supernatural YA cozy romance mystery. But there are other ways to say the same things, other ways to express similar ideas, new settings and ways to deconstruct themes. You can tell stories with your voice, with your perspective. But in order to do that, you need to learn other people's voices, to learn about other themes, from different writers, different perspectives, different times, different cultures. You can't bake a cake without multiple ingredients. Writing without reading other people's ideas is like trying to make cupcakes with only a bag of flour.

Some people might be into it, I guess?

Tangential Anecdote Time: It's in my bio and I mention it from time to time, but I have a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts. I originally wanted to be an actor. One of the (many) reasons I didn't pursue acting is because I hated the way my school taught performance. They encouraged everyone to be edgy and creative and "true to themselves." The number one lesson was "Break all the rules." The only problem was that they didn't teach us the rules. There was no basic instruction on how to project in front of an audience, how to interpret text in performance, or even how to tell a coherent story. How can you deconstruct something that you don't know how to construct in the first place? I watched so much experimental, weird performance in that class, and so much of it was terrible. There was broken glass, raw meat, gratuitous nudity, fake blood, simulated masturbation, impromptu make-out sessions with strangers and more (I did three of those myself in a single piece; I'll let you guess which ones). The people that came in with a background in Theatre, or that were just really naturally talented, could pull it off and do interesting stuff, but the rest of us were lost and just making horseshit. We thought (and were told) that we were imaginative and creative but we didn't have a fucking clue what we were doing, and no one would watch our shows that weren't forced to sit through them as part of class. It's the exact same reason there are so many terrible self-published books out there on Amazon.

Conclusion: Writing without reading is like pretending to masturbate in theatre class.

I think I'm going to put that on a business card.

TRICK OR TREAT READS!


OCTOBER IS FINALLY HERE! HALLOWEEN SEASON! Know what that means? Yes, dentists are rubbing their hands in greedy anticipation, but also...

AUTHORS WILL SOON BE GIVING AWAY FREE BOOKS LIKE CANDY!

Once again, the lovely and talented Miss Patricia Lynne/Josephine will be hosting Trick-or-Treat reads, an awesome blog hop where anyone can join to give or get free books on October 31! 

Authors, sign up to give out free books! Find new readers and get your books into appreciate hands!

Readers, all you have to do is go through the list on Halloween and grab any freebies that you're interested in!

The list of participating blogs/authors is below. Authors sign up any time between now and October 31. 

Be sure to check out Patricia's blog as well, for full details and just because she's an awesome person.


Until next time!
Hugs & Kisses,
-CDGK


The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Halloween Creep 2K19 (#IWSG September 2019)


Fall is in the air, kids are back to school. I'm not going to talk about stories I haven't finished yet, because it seems like every time I start talking about my progress it immediately stops. Nor will I complain about how I haven't written as much as I wanted to, because I've done enough whining.

Let's take a pass this month, m'kay?

TRICK OR TREAT READS!


It's the most wonderful time of the year! So what if it's only September 4th? Halloween is just around the corner! And as usual, I will be joining many other authors GIVING AWAY FREE BOOKS LIKE CANDY!

Once again, the lovely and talented Miss Patricia Lynne/Josephine will be hosting Trick-or-Treat reads, an awesome blog hop where anyone can join to give or get free books on October 31! 

Authors, sign up to give out free books! Find new readers and get your books into appreciate hands!

Readers, all you have to do is go through the list on Halloween and grab any freebies that you're interested in!

The list of participating blogs/authors is below. Authors sign up any time between now and October 31. 

Be sure to check out Patricia's blog as well, for full details and just because she's an awesome person.

SEPTEMBER IWSG QUESTION

If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

Honestly I can write anywhere, and I do. But part of me wouldn't mind writing back home in Newfoundland, mostly because I may or may not be working on a story set there...


Hope everyone had a great summer! Be sure to check out Trick or Treat Reads!

Hugs and kisses,
-CDGK



The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Stranger Things Have Happened (#IWSG August 2019)

Summer rolls lazily on. I've been struggling with a lack of energy, the brief flurry of productivity I had the beginning of last month is long gone.

I'm not sure if I'm depressed or just bored, but I've had so much trouble getting down to writing. My head is constantly swimming with ideas, but I can't get any of them down on paper. It's been busy sure, but I've written during busy periods before. In fact some of my most productive times are during times when life gets hectic. Anxious energy I guess. But I have none of that energy now. Hell I took a week off work, put the kids in summer camp and daycare, and spent the whole week sleeping and binge-watching all three seasons of Stranger Things. I don't think I wrote a single word that week, despite having, theoretically, lots of free time.

I have a couple of deadlines coming up at the end of the month, so I really hope I can get back on track.

How about everyone else? Is your summer going as planned?

August 7 question - Has your writing ever taken you by surprise?
I have a good example for this one, and I'm going to let you in on a little secret: every one of my acceptances were on the first submission of that particular story. As a corollary to that, I've never had a story accepted beyond the first submission, either.

In other words, if a story isn't accepted the first time, it doesn't get accepted. It's a weird sort of pattern. I'm genuinely surprised every time something gets accepted, because I've had a few stories that have been rejected a lot.

That's all for now. Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!

Hugs and kisses,
-CDGK

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Serious Collector (Of Rejections) #IWSG July 2019

Me collecting rejection letters...

Writing has been picking up the last month. I haven't made any progress on my main manuscript, because I've been focusing on submitting short stories to several anthologies and journals. I wrote and submitted one story last week at the very last possible minute to their deadline - it was very rushed and I probably should have given up, but the story is so particular to their theme that I doubt I will be able to place it anywhere else, so I pushed through to get it in. I've also received a bunch of rejections lately on older stories, which is fine (I'm inching closer to my coveted 100 rejections). Only one of them was a bummer, as it was a story I really enjoy and a collection I thought it fit perfectly - plus there were names involved that I quite like, so it would have been cool to be part of it. To be honest though the rejections are nowhere near as disappointing as not finishing something I set out to do.

I've got at least three more short stories to finish and submit over the next couple of months, and then I can get back to and hopefully finish my current novel. We don't have any big summer plans so I have my fingers crossed I can get some work done (and not waste too much time playing Pokemon GO).

Yeah, that's not going to happen.

It would be really nice to not get bored of something and actually finish it for once. In the last two years I believe I've started 4 different manuscripts and got between 1/4 and 1/2 through before giving up on them. Hopefully one of them will stick one of these days.

How about you? Any good writing coming up this Summer?

July 3 Question: 
What personal traits have you written into your character(s)?

Most of my characters are awkward losers, so what does that say about me? There has definitely been some of my insecurities written into my characters, though I have the most fun when I write characters who say the things I wish I could say/had said. To really let the asshole side of my personality out, which I generally try to keep in check. I suppose that's wish-fulfilment writing, in an odd sort of way.

Anyway, that's all for now. Keep writin', keep livin', keep catchin' Pokemon.

Hugs and kisses,
-CDGK



The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Gotta Catch'em All... except you don't have to, not really (#IWSG June 2019)


I'll keep today's post short.

Last month I kinda went on a rant. Life was stressful and I was a bit freaked out. I threatened to quit writing altogether, which I know is not ever going to actually happen, unless I'm somehow struck blind and deaf and lose both my hands in some sort of freak accident. But it's hard sometimes.

So the last month I have been writing, quietly, not making a big deal about it. I finally put aside the manuscript that I've been struggling with for almost 9 months and started writing something new and fun, and I've written something like 20,000 words in the last month. No pressure, no real plan, just playing around. After putting it aside, I also FINALLY thought about how to fix the previous story, so maybe I'll go back to that one eventually, too.

My wife is doing much better. Life has settled into a bit of smoother routine. The weather's nicer so I'm getting out to jog more often. All in all, things are looking up, and I'm (cautiously) optimistic. Until the next crisis brings it all crashing back down, anyway.

Also, I've been playing a lot of Pokemon GO. Like A LOT of Pokemon GO.

Maybe it's these cute little guys that's been making me feel better.


JUNE QUESTION:
Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

I'm sure we've answer this one before, but without a doubt my favourite genre to both read and write is humour. There's enough drama and darkness in the real world, so I really seek out entertainment that makes me chuckle.

The best part of humour is that it's a very broad "genre." You can add humour to just about anything - fantasy, mystery, romance, self-help, college applications, grocery lists, police statements, religious texts, prehistoric cave drawings - and it only makes it better. Anything worth doing is worth not taking seriously, so let yourself enjoy life and have a laugh (or two).

STRANGELY FUNNY VI IS OUT IN PAPERBACK


Speaking of mixing genres and having a good laugh, make sure you check out Strangely Funny VI, now available in paperback (as well as for Kindle). It features my story, "Eyewear of the Damned." It will be horrify and amuse you.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

GUEST POST: LEAVES OF FALL by Patricia Lynne

The prolific and talented Patricia Lynne has another book out this week (LEAVES OF FALL, check it out here), so of course I have to tell you about it. To help with that, Patricia is also going to school you about trees in general, which is pretty awesome. I love random, odd trivia, so let's get right to this...

Five Incredible Fact about Trees

It's only apt that since trees are a major character in Leaves of Fall that I share just how incredible they are in real life (despite not being able to shape shift into human form.) Here are five incredible facts about trees.


1: Trees can tell if deer are trying to eat them. Due to their ability to detect deer saliva, trees defend themselves by producing excess acids that cause their buds to taste bitter so that the deer will lose interest and leave them alone. (source)

2:

3: One of the most dangerous trees in the world is the manchineel tree found in Florida and the Caribbean. Its sap is so poisonous and acidic that merest contact with human skin causes a breakout of blisters, and blindness can occur if it touches a person's eyes. (source)

4:


5: Trees that live in cold climates stop growing during fall in anticipation of the first frost. Trees that had been embryos during cold winters stop growing a few weeks earlier than the rest of the forest. (source)

Blurb:

Armory was born into a post-apocalyptic world torn apart by war between man and nature. Trees are the enemy. But when she’s kidnapped by nomads and taken far from her home, a tree nymph is the one who comes to her rescue.

Birch promises he can get Armory home. He says not all trees wanted a war. Armory has no choice to trust him if she wants to see her family again.

Together, they trek across the ruins of America, meeting both human and trees who want nothing more than the fighting to stop. But the hatred between the two may be too deep to heal. Armory isn’t sure her friendship with Birch will be enough to convince the human race to take a chance on peace. Birch has a plan, though. He’s just not sure he’ll survive.



Snag on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or Smashwords for $2.99. (or 99cents if the pre-order price hasn't changed yet. ^_~)


a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author

Patricia Lynne is the author of Young Adult Paranormal, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi books. She actually never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she was more interested in art and band in high school and college On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head and began learning all she could about writing. That was the start of it, and she hasn't regretted a moment. When she's not writing, she's watching Doctor Who or reading about serial killers. She's an avid knitter. One can never have too much yarn. She writes New Adult Urban Fantasy and Sci-Fi Romance under the name Patricia Josephine.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Find Patricia around the web.
Website - http://www.patricialynne.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/plynne_writes
Facebook -  https://www.facebook.com/plynnewrites/
Patreon -  https://www.patreon.com/patricialynne07
Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/635444.Patricia_Lynne
Amazon Author Page - https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01EM6YLAW
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/patricialynne
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