A Quick Update

Ignite Peoria

First up, as you all may already know, is Ignite Peoria. There will be 100 Artist & Maker booths - 28 Performance Groups - 6 Workshops - ALL UNDER ONE ROOF!

A few of the MANY talented artists that will have booths, including:
2 Birds CollectiveJeremiah LambertKiley BeecherCamron JohnsonKagan MastersJaci MusecJeremy Berkley and Quinton Thomas.

Don’t just come for little ol’ me. Come see all these amazing creators! And if you can’t make it, I’m in plenty of other events coming up. Just head over to my events page.

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Advanced Readers

I should be done with the manuscript for Venomous by September. But then it goes into the hands of my advanced readers, so it’ll still be a little while. Would you like to be an advanced reader? It would probably help if you’ve read Vessels before. Let me know if you want to help me out. To all of you who have already volunteered, don’t read what I gave you. I mean, you can if you want. It’s just not the finished version.

Writing books is hard, you guys.

Non-European Medieval Fantasy Does Exist!

Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Sword of Truth, The Riftwar Cycle, The Inheritance Cycle, Shannara…

What do all these series have in common?

  1. They’re fantasy, duh

  2. But also, they take place in a world based off of medieval European times.

Now, I’m not saying these are bad series at all. My childhood would be formless without these tales of noble knights protecting their lords and princesses, kings and queens ruling in their castles over their magical lands. And dragons, So many dragons.

I’m just tired of it.

Fantasy can be much more than just one setting and I know it’s out there. Right now, I’m reading River of Stars by Guy Gavier Kay. It takes place in a land similar to China in their Three Kingdoms period. It’s not high magic, but it’s there, and I’m loving it. Brave soldiers, fox spirits, clever courtesans, and a ruling class that’s completely out of touch with their people. All good stuff.

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This is why I love Robert E. Howard. Sure, his main character Conan is a muscle-bound white dude from a proto-Celtic people, but at the very least, he’s not from feudal England. Howard was a historian and loved to use ancient civilizations in his work. Ancient Greece, Egypt, Chinese, Scandinavians, Rome, Afghanistan, Iran…he used them all. He was also hideously racist, but we can do better than him.

I wrote my first book based off of ancient Egypt and in my research I didn’t get much further than just using Greek, Roman, and Scandinavian influences. Because with studying ancient civilizations, you can definitely go down a rabbit hole from which there is no return.

But I’ve got time. And I’ve got more books to write. I’d love to learn more about the Hittites, Nubians, and Hyksos. Ooh, and the Scythians!

Oh man. I’m going to be at this for a while. But my main point today is just check out some books that aren’t based in medieval Europe. Or try books that aren’t based off of any pre-existing culture, like the Broken Earth trilogy by N K Jemisin. It’s about geological magic and the evil things people do to try and harness the power and those who use it. Check it out!

5 Reasons to Put That Book Down (If It Really Sucks)

There is a boast among readers, a question that you must answer even if only to yourself. Even Goodreads, the Facebook of books, wants to know and can help you track the answer.

And that is: how many books did you read in a year?

My answer so far? I don’t know. Four? Five? I have a hard time keeping track because I am quick to toss a book aside if it isn’t good.

“But Mama didn’t raise no quitter!” To give up on a book, especially one that you paid money for, seems sacrilegious, but bear with me for a bit and maybe I can explain how and why you should stop reading something you aren’t actually enjoying.

#1 Life’s Too Short

Death comes for us all, karen

Death comes for us all, karen

Are you going to read all the books ever written? I know you’d like to, but literature, just like television, cinema, and social media, it is a source of content without limit. You will never get to be done reading. You only have so much time, so you may as well enjoy it.

#2 There’s Something Better

Ah, this book is devoid of angsty supernatural creatures. I think I shall continue.

Ah, this book is devoid of angsty supernatural creatures. I think I shall continue.

Like mentioned in #1, literature is a limitless well of content. Instead of trudging through a novel full of cliches, flat characters, and startled breasts, just go find something different. Maybe try something in a genre you don’t normally read. I know I should do that, myself.

#3 Give It 100 Pages

i wish i knew what this book was called so i could complain about it on goodreads

i wish i knew what this book was called so i could complain about it on goodreads

Unsure of whether or not you want to stick with a book? Keep on reading until you get to 100 pages. If you’re still not grabbed, set it aside. Go find something better. I’ve set aside a book after ten pages, which seems unfair, but then I remember #1 and move on to something that I really wanted to try. Maybe I’ll come back to that book, once all my other choices are exhausted.

#4 Maybe You’re Not Ready for It Yet

clifford the big red dog just doesn’t seem to have any character growth

clifford the big red dog just doesn’t seem to have any character growth

There are some books that I read and disliked when I was younger, then came back to a few years later with a whole different outlook. I remember reading Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death when I was young. Like, really young. What, I was a morbid kid, leave me alone. Anyway, while I liked it at the time, it took me decades and another read-through to actually grasp what Poe was trying to say. Maybe one day, I’ll be ready to read Moby Dick.

#5 There’s a Difference between Crap Reads and Hard Reads—Learn the Difference

to be read: insane mode

to be read: insane mode

You know a crap read when you come across one. Every sentence makes you cringe or roll your eyes. With every new page, you can see it’s a junk book, through and through. Hell, maybe it’s even my book Vessels. (That’s okay, I’m not mad). But then you’ve got your hard reads. With every sentence, you ask yourself what the author was trying to say. Maybe it was written a long time ago, so the syntax and vocabulary are just completely alien to you. Maybe you have to read it for a class, or maybe you wanted to better yourself. Right now, I’m trying to read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and it’s taking me a really, really long time to get through. I keep having to go back and reread a paragraph because dude’s sentences are like a page long. But I know I’m in it for the long haul. It’s not a crap read.

So there you have it. Reasons why it’s okay to put a book down and move on to something different. Just remember to take time out and think why you didn’t enjoy that book. It might make you a better reader.

Images: Pixabay.com