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Posts tagged ‘books’

What I Got From the Bookstore – Spring 2019


New stuff from the bookstore!

My dad knows me well and got me a bookstore gift certificate, so I recently put it to good use. All the books are non-fiction this time around. This is a bit different from my usual reading, but this year I wanted to read different kinds of books, such as biographies, writing books, etc. There was a time when I devoured every writing book I could get my hand on. The writing life genre is still one of my favorite subcategories of non-fiction. I’m always fascinated by other writers and how they navigate this world.


Thrill Me – Essays on Fiction by Benjamin Percy

I haven’t started reading this yet, but it has been in my Amazon wish list for a while. When I saw it on the shelf, I decided to go for it. I’ve read a few of Percy’s works and follow him on Twitter. Plus there was an endorsement from Karen Russell on it. When one of your favorite writers likes another writer, you buy. (One of my personal beliefs.)

You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero

This is a follow-up to her first book entitled You are a BadassI didn’t realize it at first, but no worries. You don’t need to have read the first to understand the second. I found Sincero’s writing funny and relatable. This book is all about firing you up to make more money and be unapologetic about it. While money is not the most important thing in life, it is necessary and wanting to make more shouldn’t be shamed. Notice in my last post I wrote about getting paid for my stories? This book just reinforced my ideas about writers needing to get paid. The myth of the starving writer is a damaging one and I want to make sure that I never fall into that category.

E -Squared by Pamela Grout

I’ve always been interested in the law of attraction. I had heard the general idea of it and watched a few videos on YouTube where someone says how they “manifested” $1,000 in 24 hours (or something like that). But this was the first time I bought a book on the topic. Grout breaks down the idea into 9 “experiments” that you can try in your everyday life. I tried a few and one did work (One didn’t and I haven’t tried any others). It was an interesting read and I have tried in my everyday life to be more conscious of the energy I’m putting out in the world. Grout, too, is funny and the book had a casual, friendly tone to it. I think I may pick up some of her other works later.

Happy reading everyone. Hope you get some fun stuff from your bookstore!

Happy Spring 2016!

Neighborhood Flowers 16


Happy Spring!

I spent today submitting and thinking of my spring plans. My word count is behind, but the year isn’t over yet. Still plenty of time to get lots done.

Also, I’ve been slow on reading. I realized that I had been reading a mystery story for the last few months. I would read a few chapters, take a break, and start something else, only to come back to the first book again. That prompted me to skip to the end of this never ending book, find out who the killer is, and move on from the book.

It is something that I find myself doing more in my writing. It’s okay to change your mind about the story. Sometimes I need to just set the old draft away, pull up a new document, and start again. The novel that I’m writing now is a restart. Letting go of the old draft saved the story. Of that I am sure.

So my advice to everyone out there is this – It’s spring, a fresh start. If your work (or anything else) is stale. Go back the the blank page and begin anew.

I Self-Published a Book!



My new chapbook of short stories – Hypergraphia and Other Odd Stories – is available to purchase!

Exactly one month ago, I sat hunched over my computer staring at the Amazon Kindle store screen. Most Decembers, I have almost half the month off and this time around I decided to take advantage of all my time off. I had been tossing around the idea of self-publishing and figured why not?

I did this to see if I COULD do it. Could I format a book and upload it to Amazon? Could I design my own book cover? It was a challenge to figure out. One I enjoyed.

I had the stories. These five were written over the past three years. Some written and worked in class. Some I written on my own. All of them fun and interesting (to me at least).

Right now the e-book is only available on Amazon, but I am working on formatting it through Smashwords for other places (Kobo, iBooks, Nook, etc.)

I’m sure if I spent more time and energy mailing them out, eventually they would’ve found homes in various markets, but in a way this was a nice to set them free by self-pubbing them. They are out in the world and now I am writing more stories.

I definitely think I will keep doing this. I hope to do another chapbook this summer.

Buy Hypergraphia and Other Odd Stories here.

All the Books I Have Read in 2015

Some of the books I read this year.

Some of the books I read this year.

All the books I have read in 2015 (in no particular order):

Get In Trouble – Kelly Link
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
Well of Ascension – Brandon Sanderson
Hero of Ages – Brandon Sanderson
Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson
Shadow of Self – Brandon Sanderson
Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
The Shining Girls – Lauren Buekes
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – N K Jemison
Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town – Cory Doctorow
Quatrain – Sharon Shinn
The Corrections – Jonathan Franzen
Millionare Women Next Door – Thomas J. Stanley
Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith
The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood
Dear Robot Anthology – ed. Kelly Ann Jacobson

Dear Robot Anthology

Dear Robot ImageMy short story is in the new anthology Dear Robot. Get it here.

Here’s the full Table of Contents:

2 GOD ARTICLE by Rafael S.W
3 WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE by Misha Herwin
4 DRINK, KILL, CONTRACT by Michelle Vider
6 SLEEP FOREVER by Tabitha Sin
7 DODONA 2.0 by Llanwyre Laish
9 DUO-13-TRIP by Marlena Chertock
10 DEAR R.A.Y. by Tanya Bryan
12 WELCOME TO OASIS by Terri Bruce
13 AL’S ROBOT REPAIR by Bruce Markuson
14 USGITP COMMUNIQUE #544 ERC by Johnna Schmidt
15 THE INSTITUTE by Diana Smith Bolton
18 #IAMHUMAN by Christina Keller
19 COUNTDOWN (MY DEAR ONE) by Jacquelyn Bengfort

Thoughts on Reading

I know I’m preaching to the choir here…

We all know the importance, the joy, and benefits of reading. But still there are people who don’t do it. I remember learning (from some source I can’t recall) that most people only read one book a year. My aunt, who is a professor, says that her students don’t read. Not the news, not books, not even magazines.

I guess I am lucky I come from a family of readers. I remember my mom having a tower of books next to her and my father’s bed. My dad was a comic book lover and still has a bunch of Conan comics somewhere in their house. Also, for years my parents were faithful subscribers to the Washington Post. Even now, they will still buy a Sunday paper and read on a lazy afternoon.

My grandmother was also a professor (psychology) and a big reader. After her death, my mother and I combed through her bookshelves taking many of the books she collected over the years. There wasn’t any pattern to her collection, only things she had bought because she liked them. My mom told me my grandmother had a knack for leaving her paperbacks at the bus station after she had read them. She wanted to give books away to anyone who would want them.

During that clean out, I was to lucky recipient of a fabulous gift. My grandmother had gotten Gwendolyn Brooks to sign her chapbook.

My mom: “You should have it.”
Me: “Really?”
My mom: “Yes. You’re the writer. I think it is best that you take it.”

The rest of the family agreed and now it is one of my favorite literature pieces. One day I will have to properly frame it.

Brooks Pic

So you see how weird it is to me that there are some who don’t read.

But I think there is hope. The emergence of cheap (or even free) e-books is a blessing. I don’t buy what those reports say about e-book sales slowing. There are a lot of writers who are putting out books with no ISBN numbers and they don’t get counted. Plus, what about people like me who frequent used bookstores? I don’t buy a lot of new books, preferring instead to read a lot of older books that I missed. I read maybe 5-6 new books a year out of the twenty or so that I read. So far I’ve only read 2 (in the middle of my 3rd right now.)

Plus, I live in a good area for reading. There are lots of indie and chain bookstores, a large literate public who celebrate books, and demand from that community. I’m sure there are other places that aren’t as nice (but they can be).

So cheap books and a good environment do go a long way towards getting more people to read. Sure there are some who will never do it. For them music or movies are what get them excited. I’ve known a few people who see all the indie movies and don’t understand why more people don’t watch those instead of the latest superhero flick. Or that friend who detests the radio and listens to obscure bands with gusto.

But those who are like me, someone who likes movies, TV, and music, but connects best with books, reading will always be important. The stories connects over the decades and the story you love may be a story your kids love too. My aunt (in her sixties) and I love Sanderson and were gushing over Shadow of Self yesterday. These connections are so precious.

I wish more people understood that about reading. It’s not a chore, or punishment to read. Not all books are boring or long winded. Maybe you’ll never love the classics, but hey that latest mystery has got your name all over it.

Here’s my reading pile. I can’t wait to dive in.

Atwood & Galbraith