The great vacation book catch-up

I made a delicious dinner of pulled pork sandwiches, but now I’m ready to hibernate and I couldn’t think of a topic for tonight. I glanced up from my laptop screen for only a moment and discovered, duh, I have the answer right in front of me. I’m referring to the well-stocked, largely-neglected bookshelves in my living room.

My habit of buying new books before I finish reading all of the ones I have isn’t exactly a secret. It’s actually the opposite, given how often I’ve mentioned it on multiple occasions. However, I have a vacation coming up soon. Once I survive–no, dominate–these next six days of work I will have at least a little time to sit back, relax, and get some reading done. I plan on getting back to working on stories and my novel, too, so that’s rather important, but this is more about reading. I’ve got three books I’d like to finish before returning to work, and so here they are (and why I’m reading them out of my options) in no particular order. Continue reading

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Your worlds so greatly improved our own

I never had the good fortune of meeting Sir Terry Pratchett. There was a small, remarkably delusional part of me who dreamed of one day meeting him, perhaps becoming good friends, and maybe even collaborating on a novel (the latter portion reads less like delusion now than actual, unbridled madness). All the same, the news of his passing today hurts like losing a long-time friend. Lindsey, a fellow Pratchett addict (and my preferred, extraordinary beta-reader), messaged me on the Facebook Messenger app with the news and I spent the better part of my workday trying to not get all weepy. Like I said: I never actually knew Sir Terry Pratchett the person, but I did get to know his books quite well, and so that is what I’d like to talk about. Continue reading

Become your own hero

And other one-sentence platitudes straight from the School of Shallow-Thinking Drivel-Poop.

I jest.

A very big influence in my writing, which is the same very big thing that can be applied to most any artist and their works, is the works of authors I hold in very high regard. Pratchett, Gaiman, Moore, and so on. People who have written works (books, short stories, and anything else) that have left me wanting to create something just as amazing as what I’d just read. Writing with words blended in such a masterful way that I just had to sit down and get to my own creative processes. This is both a wonderful and treacherous thing as it makes creating a balancing act.

On one hand it would be very easy to follow in the footsteps of one or more of the previously mentioned writers, borrowing bits and pieces of their styles and voices as it suited me. I imagine, with the right level of effort and patience, such writing could yield a very strong end result that would read almost entirely (but not quite) like a work of my own hard labors. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day 42

I’m starting my morning off by enjoying a bowl of cereal while I read through the Spam comments that Phil’s Misadventures in Fiction has accrued recently. It’s oddly entertaining, although the spammers certainly do have nice things to say about my posts. Even if some of those kind words don’t really make a lot of sense from a grammatical standpoint.

Speaking of kind words: the professor I sent Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King off to got back to me with his critique today. It’s not something I feel should be shared in its entirety on here, but I do have to say seeing the phrases “I thoroughly enjoyed it” and “you have great characters” really put a stupid grin on my face.

Meowiarty is hanging out with me while I type this, as he sat at my bedroom door and meowed until I let him in. He may be a touch spoiled, I’m willing to concede, but he behaves like a dog enough and I miss having dogs around…so by that reasoning it should be okay that he’s in here. Probably. I’ll remind myself of that when I’m cleaning cat hair out of my PC’s tower.

Naturally, today’s post will involve 42 in a way. Hopefully not too predictable a way, but we’ll see. Continue reading

This Week in Misadventures

It’s been a mostly-exciting, somewhat headache-inducing week. Let’s just leap into the actual post. I’m entirely too tired for this early, which is embarrassing, but I want to finish this post before I fall asleep on my Surface 2.

Writing

Do tweets count here? They still don’t, do they? Damn. Ignoring that, there’s “The Maskmaker’s Apprentice”, “Another Starstruck Misfit”, the cannibal story I still haven’t officially named…something else. My brain’s gone a bit soft. I need to get back into setting goals for myself in terms of weekly writing, which sounds mildly suicidal since I’m working on my One Hundred Days of Blogging posts as well. “The Maskmaker’s Apprentice” doesn’t count towards the goal of twenty stories posted, by the way, because I’m apparently challenging myself to write and rewarding myself by making it as punishing as possible. On the plus side, I’ve received so many new commenting readers. Mostly spammers writing comments in Russian, but I’m not too picky when it comes to comments.

I’ve got no particular plans for writing in this coming week, but I might just be lying there. We’ll see.

Reading

So many books, so little time. I’m rereading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), and I picked up The Long Mars. You may be saying “Phil, you buy a lot of books and you should probably read them instead of buying even more books,” to which I say I will never stop buying books. I should, however, get working on reading them. I think a great starting point would be to start over on The Long Earth, move on to The Long War, and then get to The Long Mars. I’m impatiently waiting for Bryan Lee O’Malley’s new graphic novel, Seconds, which sounds like it’ll be a terrific fun read.

Important Miscellany

Car inspection happens this week, which is important for my planned Chicago adventure at the end of August. I’m anxious that something will go horribly wrong, but when am I not? Don’t answer that, anyone. It’ll be the longest road-trip I’ve ever taken, and I’m going solo so it’ll be something else. We’ll see, once all is said and done, what something else turns out to be (good or bad). I’m considering a travel journal to post on here, as there’s still enough time for me to actually plan it out. Or put off planning it and just haphazardly meandering through it like I do with many other things.

The plans for this week include writing, reading, and a little recovering from last week. I’m more excited, I’ll admit, for the week after this one, as I work three days (thanks to a couple leftover paid holidays). Making a trip home to see my family, and I’ll have plenty of time to work on getting some additional writing done. None of which will be spoiled here, of course.

Here’s to a pleasant, hopefully peaceful week for everyone, and remember to keep the Kaiju population under control by getting your Kaiju spayed or neutered.

PS: I’m sorry, but I refuse to see this post linger just beneath five hundred words. Nope. Had to fix that.

The horror of meeting your heroes

Or “This is a second post in less than a day because I feel guilty for putting these posts off”.

My last post may have been a little self-indulgent, and I’m okay with that. Now back to things to do with writing. I have my fair share of people I consider heroes. I’m not just talking celebrities, by the way, though there will be a fair few of those mentioned here (hence the title). The people who have succeeded in accomplishing things I fear I could only manage in my wildest dreams. Their works and success are driving factors in my own writing, as I want to eventually reach an audience through publication. I’m not saying, by any means, I think I’ll ever reach such tremendous audiences as, say, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, Terry Pratchett, or Douglas Adams (to name only a few).

However, as much as I love to read their works and enjoy them as these sorts of pillars of an art I hold in the highest regards, I think I would probably have a severe mental breakdown of sorts if I ever met one of them. It’s a very weird concept to me, and a very real fear with my occasional trips to conventions (far less now than when I was younger).

Meeting my heroes is terrifying to me because these are people who have done these amazing, fantastic things, and so I can’t help but feel like a mote of dust by comparison. I acknowledge, and accept, that this is a completely ridiculous line of thinking, and it’s worse because it’s not limited to the heroes I have who I’ve never met. People like Onezumi and Harknell, the founders of Interventioncon and personal heroes of mine, are easy to talk to and wonderful overall. I still get a bit anxious around them. Ridiculous! But it’s one of those things where it’s a matter of wanting to not look like such a failure by comparison, where these people are absolute rock stars of what they do.

And then there’s the fear of building them up so much only to be disappointed with what I meet. I realize that may be a bit shocking, especially after the last paragraph. This bit applies to the heroes I’ve not met as opposed to the ones I know. I can honestly say I would probably weep if I met Neil Gaiman (or Terry Pratchett or Christopher Moore). These are people whose books have treasured spots in my library and have made me want to become a better writer. I want to create amazing worlds, filled with all sorts of diverse and terrific characters, and it’s because of these authors. However, there’s always the small problem that the work doesn’t equal the person and so I could very well be setting myself up for disappointment.

Let me end with a couple questions: how do you, dear readers, feel about meeting your heroes? Who do you idolize, and why? How quickly would you melt into a puddle of fanatical goo if you met one of those heroes?