You have to put a book away sometimes.

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Last year I struggled to read books. I started strong but got stuck along the way. I’m certain I know which book did it: Lonesome Dove.

Don’t get me wrong I loved the book, but I felt like I read it for months. I’m feeling the same way with The Brothers Karamazov. Which I’ll be setting aside for a while. I finished Lonesome Dove last month, followed quickly by Streets of Laredo which was a good book, but it’s not the same as Lonesome Dove.

I need to read something fun. Dostoevsky is not fun. I’m enjoying reading about the characters but feel like so much is dragging on about various story threads. It feels closer to a bunch of stories put together to form a book rather than a novel with cohesion. I don’t care for the story, but the prose is incredible. There’s a difference.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I picked up a couple of books recently and I’m a subscriber to the Nightworms monthly book box. I received last month’s books and haven’t touched them because I’ve been reading Karamazov.

I recently finished watching the Reacher show on Prime and while I’ve read the first book, I haven’t read any of the others. I think I’ll read some of them for a while, then read the Nightworms books.

It’s okay to put a book down if you’re feeling overwhelmed, bored, not digging the story, or that you’d rather brush your teeth than go through another paragraph. Read what you want to read and read for enjoyment, not for a number.

Anyway, I enjoyed the Reacher show. I’m glad they’re going to do another season. I’m going to read something fun for a while. Dostoevsky feels like schoolwork.

There is a bit of transference…

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I’m going to continue on this tangent about books.

I’ve dropped reading Horror for a little while to work on my craft. I’m finding that when I read better writing my writing improves. I’ve ignored this for a while as I knew it happened, as it’s happened before, but I really like horror.

My current read is The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. While reading it I’m realizing a few things about my own writing as well as ways to improve my craft. These things have to do with paragraphs and how to structure them. The problem is I’ve written a blog for so long that what I do on here flows into my other writing. The short clipped sentences you’re “supposed” to use in blogs made their way into my novel writing.

When I discovered this I knew I had to change a lot of my writing. The latest rejection told me that there were a lot of single-sentence paragraphs, which I knew came from my blog writing. I will be adjusting this and you will see that adjustment. I’m trying to get the length correct and keep to one idea within each paragraph. I’m aware this is how paragraphs should work but the way I used to right created problems and I’ve fixed them along the way to where I am. These adjustments took time to break and I’m still working on them.

Now I love horror, but sometimes the language and the structure isn’t as good in horror as it is in other fiction. There are writers whose prose baffles me. I’ll look at some writer’s work and think, “damn I can’t do that.” Afterward, I think, but I’m going to work on it until I can. That is my goal in this art, to get better.

I know this is a bit different for me, but I’ll continue to write on this blog, it may come across a bit different as I work on my craft issues. I hope you’ll stay as adjustments are made.

Fear of the Classics

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I have a problem, it’s with classics but not all classics just some of them.

I’ve read, Frankenstein, Dracula, most of Lovecraft, Alexandre Dumas, and I love Algernon Blackwood, Dum. The Willows is one of my favorite stories I’ve ever read.

But there are others that I have trouble with; Dostoevsky, Faulkner(not all of them), Melville. I know that I should read them and enjoy them but I don’t. I have tried reading Crime & Punishment at least 10 times, but on the last read, I quit. I can’t read that book.

I wish I knew why I have this trouble, but I’ve narrowed it down to fear.

What if it’s amazing and I wished I’d read it earlier. I feel that way about Frankenstein and a few others, but they’re either sci-fi or horror. It’s the literary classics I have trouble with. It’s not the way it’s written, it’s the fear that I’ll either hate it and feel like I’ve wasted my time on it or I’ll love the hell out of it.

This comes in many ways to me. I am going to read a bunch of classics this year and my current read is ‘The Brothers Karamazov’. I know it’s Dostoevsky, but I want to read it for my own reasons. These books are part of my learning as a writer and while I hope to enjoy them, there’s that fear I won’t.

It’s the whole I’m not good enough to do this writing thing. What if I read something and I feel I’ll never accomplish that grandiosity of what I’ve read? This came to me a lot in the early days of writing but hasn’t been raising its nasty little head lately.

I don’t know how to get past all of this other than keep reading, keep writing, and ignoring the voice in my head, so I’ll ignore it and read all these books.

This started as a conversation between my wife and me. I bought Don Quixote recently and she was surprised I’d never read it. I told her it’s one of those books I was afraid to read for all of the reasons I stated above.

Anyway, read what you like and don’t let that voice screw it up for you.

My Heart Is A Chainsaw

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Let’s start with basics, I love slashers, and there are few decent slashers in literature, at least that I’ve found.

I know the format for writing book reviews, but I can’t do it that way.

Here‘s a link to what you’re supposed to do when you review a book.

Let’s get into this.

I started this book after receiving it in my NightWorms horror book box, but I got sidetracked by writing projects, researching Norse Paganism, and reading other things. The Norse paganism is something for me personally, and if you look at my recent reads, you’ll see I’ve dived into that pretty heavily, but let’s get back to this review.

The book’s opening is classic for a slasher, much like the opening for Friday the 13th. It begins before everything goes crazy, and we see two people doing things that will get you killed in a slasher. What it also does is add some mystery to what’s happening and foreshadow things to come later, which Stephen is brilliant at doing.

After the opening, we move to Jade, who is now one of my favorite characters. I can’t wait for my wife to read this book. She’s going to love this character.

Jade is a character that we know a little about, but the discovery process is terrific as the first chapter moves along. The glimpses into her world, one that, as a guy and white, I can’t relate to, but wearing those tags, makes me feel terrible.

I know people who lived on reservations when I lived in Mesquite, NV, and I understand the way our government and society treat Indigenous people. I’ve had discussions about this with friends.

As we move along, Jade is deep into a belief that something is going to happen in her little town. To me, it appeared like she had mental issues caused by something, but I won’t get into that. Her refuge for her trauma is horror. It has been mine since I was a kid, and it’s one of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much.

The number of movies the author talks about is crazy. I had to go find a list of them. This list is a spoiler of coming attractions in the book, so be wary of looking at the list if you want to go in blind.

As the story progresses, more elements of slashers come into play. Jade believes that a girl is a final girl for whatever the killer’s purpose is. There are loads of red herrings throughout, but the sheer evil of some of them made me pause and wonder numerous times, but it all came around to the finality in proper slasher form.

The date of 4th of July is classic and is pulled from one of the best slashers, Jaws.

Now, as the finality goes on, other things come into play, and while I want to spoil it, I won’t.

This is a book that I enjoyed so much, and Stephen is one of my favorite authors.

I know this wasn’t a perfect review, but I want to leave some important things out. It’s best to experience this book for yourself, and I don’t want to be the one to screw it up.

On another note, I’ll be doing more of this in the future. If there is a book you’d like to me review, let me know.

My ego is messing with me.

Twice a year, my ego screws with me. This comes in any manner of way, but lately, as I see other writers kicking ass, getting contracts, and generally doing better than I am, my ego is questioning what the hell is going on.

I know it’s my ego, that little bastard doesn’t shut up long enough to let me take a breath, much less acknowledge why and where I’m failing in my writing.

The thing is, I’ve been working. I’ve been writing and I know that I’m not sending things out all of the time, but I can’t. I have a life outside of writing. I have my wife and kids, and a bartending gig I do.

The bartending gig is something that pays the bills, but I’d rather be doing anything that bartending. That’s probably to do with how people are treating those of us in the food service industry. People became horrible in the last year and maybe they were always that, but something else has triggered them into believing it’s okay to act this way, but that’s another blog post.

I’d like to push things out of the way and get to writing, but I worry about neglecting my wife and kids. That’s something I did when I lived in Las Vegas and can’t to that route. I also worry about asking for things from people because, well, I’m not certain my writing is very good.

Ego is kicking me in the ass, envy is kicking me in the balls, and I’m sore as hell about it all.

I wonder if I’m doing something wrong. I’d like to take a break from bartending to focus on writing, but it’s the busy season for catering and it’s impossible to do that.

If I could find a crossroads that would work, I’d use that.

I’m so bent right now that I’m unsure of everything.

Am I writing well? Am I doing what I need to get noticed? Is there something I’m not doing?

All of this comes down to pushing things away and dealing with my mental issues.

I have to knock those back sometimes in order to gain some semblance of who I am.

The ego kicks my ass, but my mental issues do more damage.

Depression sucks, and I’ve tried to use it as a motivator, but I’m at place where my ego and the envy I have for others knocks me on my ass.

I guess I’ll keep going with this writing, but I wish I didn’t have to do these events sometimes.

The mental focus it takes to do these events and not scream at the top of my lungs as some half-wit berates me or my staff about how rich they are or that it’s their house and they can do what they want in their house makes me want to scream.

Some people are just assholes.

My ego is screwing with me and I’m working on getting it under control.

I’m planning on getting to this blog more often. I get stuck on things and then I try to get away and it just gets worse.

Anyway, have a good weekend.