Recent reads

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I haven’t done an update on what I’m reading for a while, so here’s what I’ve read so far this year.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman: I don’t talk about it much but I’m big into learning about Norse mythology both as a personal interest because of beliefs and because I think it’s cool to know about other belief systems.

Over the years I’ve read books about Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and have read most of the texts associated with each of the beliefs I’ve listed. I enjoyed reading the Baghavad Gita quite a bit as well as Buddhism, but Norse Paganism is where I find myself.

The Best Horror of the Year, edited by Ellen Datlow: I loved every moment of this anthology. The stories were incredible and while I usually have a hard time getting through anthologies I read this over three days from the first story to the last. It’s the first time I’ve done that with an anthology. I usually skip around.

I told myself I’d read a bit more classic horror this year and the next book blew me away.

The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson: This is a weird book and I found myself thinking of House of Leaves quite a bit as well as Hill House and various Lovecraft stories.

It’s a very odd novel and while I read it I compared it to those I above as well as The Worm and his Kings by Hailey Piper, which is one of my favorite books that I read last year.

The next book is one that I’ve had on my shelf for a while but hadn’t read. Last week as I recovered from Covid I read quickly.

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris: I’ve watched this movie dozens of times. I enjoyed the book more than I believed I would considering how much of its content is mimicked or mocked in our society. I feel more for Starling the book than I did in the film. Her childhood and what she went through to get to the FBI is a wonderful backstory and it’s my favorite part of the novel.

Now I’m going to add something I put as finished last year, but didn’t.

Lonesome Dove By Larry McMurtry: I started this book last year after a suggestion by Stephen Graham Jones. I read up to page 600 and got stuck. It may have been from reading it so quickly. I got there in a few days, but my brain fought with me a lot last year and it’s more likely than the former.

After finishing it I’ve been going through a rough spot in reading and have picked up three different books. Yesterday I went to the library and picked up Streets of Laredo, which is the book Stephen Graham Jones suggested I read after Lonesome Dove. I’m only 100 pages into that one and it picks up from Lonesome Dove a while later.

I enjoyed Lonesome Dove more than I thought I would it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

There are other books I’ll be reading this year, Hailey Pipers “Queen of Teeth,” Catriona Ward’s “Last House on Needless Street,” as well as my intentions to finish “The Great and Secret Show” by Clive Barker which I’ve put off the last couple of years.

I have a lot to read and with my Nightworms subscription, I won’t run out of things to read.

Find your happy place and read something you enjoy.

Comes a time…

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I wrote a lot of blog posts last week while in isolation. I started the rewrite for a story I mentioned in this post and I’m moving forward.

I’d had an issue with a certain part of the story. I thought about that story through the weekend and found some new ground within its borders. I figured out how to make it work while incorporating a story I wrote a few years ago into its borders.

The story itself ran into difficulties while I wrote it and I came to understand there was something missing. A larger story was missing and the novella will be novel.

I’m making an effort to take it slow with this story, something I talked about on Friday.

I’m also doing something that felt odd until I noticed an improvement while doing it.

I see places in my head but can’t get them down as well with my eyes open. It’s only when I close them that I see the story better, so I’m doing that.

When I sat down to write this morning the words came darker, more evocative of what I want for the story. They’re better words and I’m sure my patience with the story is helping a lot with that. Patience isn’t always my strong suit. I’m always in a hurry to get to the next story, but I’m going to slow down. Take it in smaller steps to finish this one.

The incorporation of this short story into the larger frame of the novella adds more to the story and while it makes it darker it also changes one of the aspects of the story I didn’t like as I mentioned above.

There are many aspects of this story I love. The main character and what he’s dealing with are the biggest as I can relate to some of it.

We find ourselves in our stories often. Sometimes it’s little things, this is a bigger one for me.

I’m hoping to submit it later this year. I have four other projects out on submission and I hope to hear something about them soon. I’ll let you know when I do, but for now I’ll keep working on this one. If you’re curious, here is the playlist on Spotify for this one.

Happy writing.

Finding the right music is the first thing.

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I’m working on two projects, one of them a collection for later this year, the other is a story that had initially been with this collection, but it wanted to be longer. The latter I’ll be turning into a novel or novella. I haven’t written anything over 36k in a while and It’s frustrating the hell out of me.

My process starts like this, idea, create a writing playlist, start writing. This is how I’ve always done it, but I think outlining is where I need to go, and I’ve touched on this numerous times. But as the works I’ve outlined are still out for consideration and others are not, I’m going to lean hard into that.

The idea for the collection came from interaction on Twitter. I wrote a list of 30 story ideas with the theme I selected for the stories. I wrote or used stories I’d already written that fit with the theme of the collection as well.

I used Spotify to create the playlist for the collection and am working on creating one for the novel. It won’t be the creepy music I have for the collection, but more along the lines of music the works for the story. I know it’s weird, but that’s how my brain works.

Now that I have the music or most of the music I need to create the story, I think it will move fast. If you like the playlist, look at the others I have, some of them have quite a few listeners.

But I digress.

I know what I’m doing better than I did a year ago and I owe that to a lot of people, but mainly that I am a better writer than I was a year ago.

Have a good day and I’ll see you on this blog Friday. I have a review site that I’m working on. It’s about horror reviews. Mostly books, but I’m doing movies and sometimes I’ll do a video game.

Moving Forward and Finding a Place

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Not sure where to start with this post.

Every once in a while I’ll get a bit philosophical. I’m not sure what causes it, sometimes it’s my emotions, but it happens. I like it when this happens as it lets me know I’m moving the correct direction.

I’ve been on a bit of a journey lately. I don’t know why this happened, but I’ve felt something missing.

I gave up on beliefs a long time ago, but lately, something is missing. My journey led me to look at Norse mythology and in looking I found something that fits with who I am.

These types of journeys are somewhat odd as for the longest time I gave up on spirituality, belief, and Gods. I never thought I’d find something within that wanted to go that way. I never felt a desire to go that way, but as I write these words, there is something, maybe an ancestral calling, that brought me to Norse Heathenry.

I’ve looked at numerous blogs about beliefs in my lifetime and there have always been the words, “when you find what’s you, you know.”

This always stuck with me.

I happened to be looking at Norse Mythology for something I worked on recently and wandering around the pantheon of the Norse beliefs, I found me.

I had not wanted to write this as it should be a personal thing, but you may see a few changes on here, and if you know me personally, you’ll see them as well. They will be small, but you will see them.

Now, to this, I am not talking about where Norse beliefs have been hijacked by others. I choose this as who I am, the same as another chooses their beliefs. It’s a weird place to be in for me. It’s an odd situation and because of it, I am making adjustments to how I handle writing, life, and all of the things beyond those other two.

This journey is difficult for me. As what I grew up believing is vastly different. Having no beliefs for over 20 years and suddenly to have this land in my lap, takes adjustment, but I know this is where I should be.

As my mental health hasn’t been great this year, this could not have come at a better time.

I’m learning, but make no mistake, I will always be moving forward.

NaNoWriMo issues and why I may skip it.

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Every year I intend to write something for NaNo, but it falls apart in many ways. Let’s list them.

First, I plan out too much. I get bogged down in the plotting and process of getting it all right. But it’s only after the fact when I decide the story idea wasn’t solid enough for something longer. I know a lot of writing during NaNo is the editing that comes afterward. One can’t write that fast and have it come out perfect the first time, at least I know I can’t.

Second, nothing comes to me. I sit in the chair and it’s all just blah. I hate the process of writing during those times. I don’t like the words. I don’t like putting them down. The act of getting them processed out of my brain and onto the page bores the hell out of me.

It’s these times when I think of quitting. The work feels stilted, though my wife will argue with me on that one. There are too many moments when this happens that I get bored, stand up and walk around, stared at my phone, or turn my desktop on and play Warcraft or Warhammer, and it’s these moments that bog me down.

Third, I’ll call this the Aftereffect, it’s when I write immediately after NaNo ends. I’ve done this five times and I may not finish the story during the month of December, but it will be finished. Two of those stories are novellas and are out on submission.

Fourth, and this is the one I’m dealing with now. I start writing before November because I can’t not write.

I’m not a happy person unless I’m writing every day. My wife will agree with this one. It’s that I’m too melancholy and I slip into old habits. I think about all the times I’ve failed at this thing and they haunt me. My sleep suffers, I don’t feel normal.

Lastly, I don’t feel motivated.

There are days this happens when I’m writing throughout the year, but during those moments I’m able to myself up and get working. During NaNo, I don’t feel that. I feel like everything is forced, and that makes for shitty writing.

I feel constrained to a limit on when I can write. This is partially part four and this last one. Both of which I loath because I feel like something is wrong. That I’m not using the gift I have. And that’s how I’ve begun to look at writing. As a gift.

But I digress.

NaNo is not for everyone and while I feel like I must wait until November, I’m chomping at the bit to get into this story and discover it.

Either way, I’ll write it, but as I’m feeling now, it may come sooner.