That which is necessarily brief

I will be brief out of necessity. I know I haven’t always gotten my additions to The Restless Dreamer live on time, but within a few days is good according to my track record. With NaNoWriMo quickly approaching, you may be getting worried. Don’t. All five Fridays in November are already accounted for and scheduled. The end of the first chapter is in sight, and the beginning of a new.

I know it can be hard to read The Restless Dreamer right now if you want to start from the beginning, and I do intend to fix that. After a chapter is published, I will give it a “final” edit, and publish here, free, as a whole to help reduce the clutter a fair bit. Though that treatment will not occur for Chapter 1 until December sometime so I may be getting ahead of myself.

Lastly, my NaNoWriMo will likely keep me busy in November. Probably too busy to post on the blog. My name on NaNoWriMo is TruthisFiction and my new project, my first Fantasy project for NaNoWriMo, is called Travella. I hope to see you out there grinding out the words.

Quote of the Moment:
“A man who loves money is a bastard. Someone to be hated. A man who can’t take care of it is cool. You don’t hate him, but you’ve got to pity him.” – Stephen King, The Stand

Currently Reading/Listening to:
The Familiar: Honeysuckle & Pain by Mark Z. Danielewski
A Tapestry of Magics by Brian Daley
The Stand by Stephen King
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin

I’m Back (Again)

Sorry for the silence again. Life happens. The blog will go on, and I have a fresh project to share with you all. It’s called Restless Dreamer and it will be an online published serialized novel. Okay, that’s a lot of words to describe a project, but let me put it in simpler albeit more verbose terms. Every week, I will publish 500 or-so words of what will be a novel. This will of course be entirely free and available. Since this is a living breathing project that will not be entirely written (or even outlined, gasp) ahead of time, I reserve the right to retcon, change entire passages or chapters, and even scrap the whole damn thing. I have ideas about where it is going, but we are going to discover the story together.

These fresh passages will pop up in the normal feeds and in the normal places, and they will all get the tag Restless Dreamer as opposed to the Standalone tag that most other projects here have. I may have to tweak feeds and stuff to get it to display in a nice readable fashion at some point as chronologically it will show up in reverse order, but I will burn or cross that bridge when I come to it. In my attempt to let my actions speak louder than the words I type on these little blog posts. I have already published the first passage today. I have also scheduled the next two for the next two weeks. Look forward to them every Friday evening, hopefully for a long time. Thank you for your patience, and I hope you will come along with me for this ride.

Quote of the Moment:
“We could build ourselves a heaven. But Why? We were Heaven already. Only in the very end did we try to build a S.O.U.L. That which would outlast V.E.M., outlast The Verse, outlast death. But it was impossible. Or we were too late. Though still the H.O.L.Y. tried. And built Hell instead.” – Mark Z. Danielewski, The Familiar: Honeysuckle & Pain

Currently Reading/Listening to:
The Familiar: Honeysuckle & Pain by Mark Z. Danielewski
A Tapestry of Magics  by Brian Daley
The Stand by Stephen King
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin


Mostly Uninteresting

I’ve been asleep at the wheel again around here, and I wish I could say that’s going to change, but that is not a promise I can easily keep. Instead, I vow to keep coming back, to stop talking about plans and what I can do better, and to simply do when, where, and how I can and report on my findings. Why list here what I have to do? I know what I have to do and chances are you don’t care. At the very least you don’t care when it’s not done but rather when it is.

I ramble in these posts sometimes. Okay, all the time, but that’s what my first stories were like and sometimes I still write like that. Sometimes I still write stories without an end or a story arc. A premise is the easy part, and I don’t even really have one of those for this post. Don’t forgive me. I love excuses, procrastination, and avoidance. These are my biggest curses, and I’m sure most can relate to that. Which makes it mostly uninteresting.

Here’s what I did accomplish. I finished proofing and tagging. I’ll write a post about tagging and what it will mean going forward later (more promises). I also updated my published works page to include “Words for Home.” I hope you enjoyed reading it over at the Bronzeville Bee. Full disclosure, my Dad gave me the premise for that story years ago. Though the premise has been thrown around in Sci-Fi a lot in one form or another, I hope you will agree that I provided an interesting take on it.

Oh, also I’d like to start including quotes from what I’m reading here from time to time. I said I would do instead of promise so here is my first, though in this case, it’s from something I recently finished. Enjoy!

Quote of the Moment:
“Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. It always defeats order, because it is better organized.” – Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times

Currently reading/listening to:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
A Heritage of Stars by Clifford D. Simak
Alan Turing: The Enigma by Alan Hodges
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin

New Published Story

Just a short post today to celebrate my latest published story. It’s a short piece called “Words for Home” and you can check it out in The Bronzeville Bee right here: “Words For Home” by Clint Monette. That’s all I got today.

Currently reading/listening to:
Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
A Heritage of Stars by Clifford D. Simak
Alan Turing: The Enigma by Alan Hodges
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin

Bramble of a Blog

It’s been a little while since I’ve talked about what I’ve been reading. As you can see below, I have once again waded into Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Universe with Interesting Times. Reading any of his Discworld novels has always been a breath of fresh air regardless of what I have been reading. He masterfully condenses events that could fill chapters into mere pages and manages to do so with prose that is often insightful, always witty, and intimidating. I say intimidating because it’s almost hard to believe that the man could write that well, that quickly, and still keep the cart firmly planted in the realm of humor. He puts on a clinic in voice that any author can appreciate if not be profoundly jealous of. I have avoided losing myself in his universe partly because I don’t like reading too much from one mind all at once, partly because his voice is so good it can muddle my own, and partly because I would one day like to be eighty, sitting on a beach with my wife, and still reading Discworld novels that I have never read before.

My reading list has had a small rash of fantasy which is atypical. I enjoy fantasy but some of the tropes can be tiresome. However, if you are looking for fantasy like A Song of Ice and Fire or Lord of the Rings then The Magician by Raymond E. Feist is worth a read. Despite a mad king, a thieves guild, and secret plots it still manages to be more hopeful than many of its contemporaries. I was lucky enough to snag a first edition but later editions broke this into two books: The Magician: Apprentice and The Magician: Master. If you are going to read one, you really should read the other too in my humble opinion.

The last book I want to talk about is that one that’s been on my list forever. Galaxy Outlaws is the perfect commute book, but with its Audible version coming in at just over 80 hours, it is set to last me for quite some time. It’s not one story but a whole mess of them all with the same entertaining characters. It’s sci-fi, it’s fantasy, it’s everything that you want from a ragtag band of lovable space outlaws… and a wizard. The story length of these missions is great too. The stories just move and it’s wonderful. I will likely talk more of it in the future, just wanted to do a little raving now.

Last and final note from the bramble of a blog, I’m not sure what I am going to do about the second short story this month. I’m exploring my options, but everything is out in the wind right now and my time is up. On the plus side, some good news should be on the horizon.

Currently reading/listening to:
Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
A Heritage of Stars by Clifford D. Simak
A Time to Kill by John Grisham
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin

Weird Story

My goal was to do two stories a month, one on the second Friday and one on the last Friday. This Friday I was in a bit of a predicament. You see, all the stories I have prepared are currently being reviewed by outlets for potential publication. I had nothing to present to you fine folks. As a last resort, I decided to finally write an idea I’ve had for a while, and that’s how we have today’s story. It’s weird, short, difficult to write (for me), and I would likely not be able to find a place for it elsewhere anyway, so I’m publishing it here first without shopping it around. Enjoy!

Currently reading/listening to:
The Magician by Raymond E. Feist
A Heritage of Stars by Clifford D. Simak
A TIme to Kill by John Grisham
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin

Not an Idea

I’ve come to the point where I am not sure what to write in this blog space. I don’t want to force myself to write a blog post when there is no idea behind it, but that’s kind of what I am doing right now. I’m writing about the idea of not having an idea. I want this blog to be meaningful, and though it will never be as meaningful to me as my story writing, I still want it to mean something. This blog post is about that. Are you lost yet? I might be.

As a writer, I tend to have a lot of ideas for stories I want to write. Many of them mill about in my head for far too long as I struggle to come up with the right words or even enough time to get them down. It’s a process of attrition, and probably not a good one. Some ideas start with a character, an event, or even just a concept. It’s the concepts that are the worst for me. They feel wide with promise, but really they are just wide with premise.

To give you an example, here’s a short story that I might throw together sometime. I don’t really care about it that much because it came from a thought exercise, which is why I feel okay writing about it here before I’ve actually written it (if I actually write it). I started with two words, what if, and pushed forward with the first thought that came into my mind. That full thought was, what if worms were sentient?

Not a great premise to begin with, but this is where many of my seemingly great ideas get stuck. I need to have something happen. I could write pages of worms talking and exploring. Hell, I could dwell on dirt for at least 1,000 words, but if that’s all it is, then they might as well be human, and at that point, my premise evaporates.

I did get passed the premise on this one. In fact, I’m far enough along that I might actually put words to paper outside of this blog post, but we’ll see. Here was my thought process in a gorgeous bulleted list.

  • What’s the setting. Where do worms live? Everywhere I suppose, but a graveyard would be an interesting starting point.
  • Okay, maybe a graveyard would be like a kingdom to a worm.
  • What about a fresh grave?
  • Putting aside all the nasty chemicals in a freshly buried body, a corpse could be a big prize for an enterprising worm.
  • That’s the story, a family of worms trying to be the first to get through a fresh coffin and claim the prize.
  • But that’s not interesting enough on its own. What if the coffin was symbolic, buried empty for someone lost.
  • Now we have a real story, with an obstacle and an interesting place to go with it.

This idea may end up in the junk drawer, and that’s fine, but every premise deserves at least one story concept to test its marrow. I think that’s all I got for now. Pretty long blog for one written without an idea. You’ll hear more from me soon… maybe.

Currently reading/listening to:
The Magician by Raymond E. Feist
A Heritage of Stars by Clifford D. Simak
Revival by Stephen King
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin


More Stuff from the Back Burner

My next story will go live tomorrow, which means I kept my promise to this often abused and forgotten website for an entire month. I still have to do some pruning around here though, so let’s call it a mostly kept promise. Honestly, my pruning work was put on the back burner for other work behind the scenes. I have a lot more stories in the mill and an even bigger project idea that may be coming together soon.

Not to get all self-help on you, but I believe an important part of growing as a writer or even as a person is recognizing your flaws and doing something about them. I’m pretty good at the first part, it’s the second part I have problems with, but I am working on it. On that list is self-promotion. I don’t really tell anyone about this site, and if I want people to actually find my stuff that is going to have to change. I don’t have a plan yet, but I am on the edges of one.

I know this wasn’t a lot, but I intend to keep most of these posts short. Blogging about myself is not one of my skills, nor do I really need it to be, but doing these blogs is a way for me to keep this place in my thoughts.

Currently reading/listening to:
The Magician by Raymond E. Feist
Revival by Stephen King
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin


Sunday Stats

I have a problem. I love books, but sometimes I wonder if I love acquiring books more than reading them. That’s probably not true, but my “To Read” shelf has consistently held more books than my “Already Read” shelf. In fact, it has become enough of a problem that I have purchased books only to find that I already own them. To solve that problem, about a month ago I decided to catalog every novel in my library. I’ve used Goodreads before, but I’ve always been unimpressed. It’s too clunky, and never really provided the features I was looking for. Instead, I found My Library.

My Library only appears to be available through the Google Play Store currently, but it is wonderful. You can simply scan in books using their ISBN barcode, or if you have a collection with a lot of older books like me, you can look them up. The app pulls from multiple open source databases so you can select the best match. Some of the databases are better than others and you may have some cleanup to do afterward. You can even mark books as read, leave comments on individual books, and export your entire library into xls (from there you can go to CSV and get really crazy if you want).

I finished uploading my entire library the other day finally, and now I can give you some of the stats that I uncovered. These are all conveniently surfaced by the app. Let’s take a look:

Number of Books: 315
Number of Books Read: 122
Percentage of Books Read: 38.73%
Duplicates Discovered: 5
Most Popular Author: Larry Niven (24)
Second Most Popular Author: Clifford D. Simak (18)

I would like to get that read percentage much closer to 50% before I buy any more books, but I’m a slow reader, and the idea of reading 25.5 books before buying any is a little daunting. It’s worth noting that this little catalog largely discounts any books I’ve listened to on Audible or read on a device unless of course I also own them physically. I didn’t want to get too far into the weeds here… at least not yet.

If you skipped to the end of this post, you may have noticed that another book came off my reading list though. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi was wonderful. It’s a short book, and on Audible it has an expert performance by Zachary Quinto. This is one of those books that would translate very well into a movie. Definitely worth a listen or a read. Anyway, I’ve droned on for longer than I wanted to and delayed this post enough since my original title was Saturday Stats. Enjoy your week and enjoy the new story I posted Friday.

Currently reading/listening to:
The Magician by Raymond E. Feist
Revival by Stephen King
Back to the Moon by Homer H. Hickam Jr.
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin

Notes on Progress

I think I have everything the way I want it now, except I still have some more pruning to do. All in all, things are looking pretty good considering that my attempts to do some stuff brought the site down not once but twice leading to some FTP fun. WordPress is a great platform, but it can fight back when I want it to do things that it wasn’t specifically designed for. With the right plugins and a little bit of compromise, everything came together nicely. If I want to make more major changes they will likely be small and subtle.

A few things I’ve noticed about the old writing I’ve been going over. Some of it’s pretty dark, which is fine but not where my writing style really is anymore. I like some of it anyway so I think I will keep it around. A lot of it, at least the really early stuff, is short. So much of it, in fact, that I added a flash fiction category. For the sake of simplicity, or maybe for the sake of complexity, all stories in the flash fiction category will also belong to a genre category. This way if someone wants to read all Sci-Fi or all short stuff they can still go to one place and not have to search. Also, in the future, most of my stories will be longer than these flash pieces.

On to my plans. I said I wanted to post a story once a month. I’m throwing that idea away right now. As of this writing, there are only a dozen or so stories on the site, and that will just not do. So I am going to be bolder. Two a month! I’m going to try to hold to it too. We’ll see how it shakes out this month, but clearly, I have to get something up soon if I am going to adhere to that schedule. Anyway, I think that’s all for now. I hope any visitors find this site to their liking.

Oh, before I forget. I just finished Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. Though I always prefer novels, I do try to read some non-fiction from time to time. This was a difficult read. Not hard because of language or style, but hard because of content. It was only made harder because it was a true story. That said, I recommend this to anyone interested in the beginnings of the FBI, true crime, the early 20th century American west, and most of all the plight of the Native American people. I would love to learn more about the Osage tribe someday.

As a side note, that link to the book above is a referral link to Amazon. I do not plan to link books other than those that I like and these will be the only “ads” on my site.

Currently reading/listening to:
The Magician by Raymond E. Feist
The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
Back to the Moon by Homer H. Hickam Jr.
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin

More Tidying Up

I have started making changes around here but I am far from done. I’m hoping to still get a fresh story on here before the month is out though that day is approaching fast. Here are a few things I have on my agenda, and I apologize in advance if I am repeating myself. (I’m crossing them out as I complete them)

  • New stories (hopefully monthly).
  • Separate the blog from everything else.
  • Add a static page for published stuff.
  • More pruning of old stuff.
  • Get rid of the cheesy tags I thought were funny.
  • Fix side widget to only display stories
  • More stuff that I didn’t think of or forgot already.

I’m pruning because since I began this website I have changed a lot as a writer. I want to keep the things that I am truly proud of and get rid of anything that I grew out of. I learn more about the craft everyday, and though it’s important to know where you came from it’s also important to be proud of what you do. I don’t foresee doing this again in the future.

In addition to all that, the reviews are gone, and I was not sad to see them go. However, I do still plan to comment on what I am reading from time to time, mostly with positive remarks and things that I am enjoying from other writers both new and old. To that end, I’m going to start including a list of what I am currently reading at any given time to the bottom of these posts. Normally I read up to four things at a time. Some are audio, some are digital (Kindle, etc.), and some are good old-fashioned books. Some books I will burn through faster than others and that is not always a product of their individual quality but rather how and when I consume them. In other words, don’t assume that lingering books are bad and books that fly off the list are good. Also, I am a completionist, so if a book falls off the list in between blog posts, then it is safe to assume that I did finish it even if I didn’t talk about it.

Sorry if this was a little long winded, I rambled too much, or what have you.

Currently reading/listening to:

The Magician by Raymond E. Feist
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
Back to the Moon by Homer H. Hickam Jr.
Galaxy Outlaws: The Complete Black Ocean Mobius Missions by J. S. Morin


A First Blog Post

My site has been around for a while, and I am going to try to start taking that a little more seriously. THat means I will be priuning a ot of the content already posted and I will hope to post more regular content including actual blog posts like this one.

In the past, the only thing I called blog posts were my reviews, which, you may notice, are now entirely gone from this site. Though they were one of the few thigns that actually brought in traffic, I don’t at present care about traffic and I am nto entirely proud of those reviews. i never wanted to be a critic, and though that was not my intention with those review anyway, i feel they were sending the wrong message and not actually hlpeing me be a better writer. In short, they are gone, sorry.

Though I will be blogging more regularly, in theory anyway, this blog will stay mostly professional. If you have ever looked at any of my social media accounts, then you would know that I am a relatively private person. Though I have a family and a life, I won’t be bringing that onto this site, at least not in the immediate future.

What I will blog about is writing and myself as it pertains to that topic. I will also start posting stories more regularly, but I’m not looking to keep a regular schedule with any of this yet. If you’ve made it here, hopefully you will find something to enjoy on my site as it gorws, and soemtimes even shrinks.

Thanks for reading!

Words from another dimension… Sometimes