Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Do you listen to music when you read or write? Do you like to have something going on in “the background”, or is it something particular to set a mood?

Personally, I am very particular about music when I read or write. When I read? Well, there is almost nothing suitable. Any music at all proves distracting, and I’ll soon realize I’ve gone through several pages and have no idea what I just read! When I was in college, I tried playing music when I’d study to hopefully make study more entertaining. Nope. I had to turn off the tunes.

I know some people enjoy having background music when they read, whether or not it fits the mood of what they’re reading. Some have told me that without the music they can’t concentrate. I am amazed by this. More power to you.

Reading to Music

When it comes to writing, I also generally choose silence over music. I have a similar dilemma where the music distracts me rather than helping. There are times, though, when I really want to set that mood, and the music can be inspiring.

Firstly, it has to have no lyrics or be on a very low volume. I wrote an early novel to a particular album that helped to inspire it. There were, of course, lyrics. In order to make it work, I had it set on such a low volume you might wonder if I heard it. I did. I needed it to bleed into my consciousness, sneak in and find a comfortable place.

I’ve also used instrumentals. If the music contains no lyrics, it works much better for me. I have written to the scores from the Hannibal t.v. series and even some select tracks from video game soundtracks I found that worked.

Hannibal OST

In the end, it seems that the use of music when reading and writing is as varied as we are. It reflects not only our personalities but our methods. I might use some music as writing background that I’d otherwise not ever listen to outside its original presentation. It’s carefully chosen to craft the feel. Isn’t that what music is? Something of a reflection?

What do you listen to when you read and write, if you listen to anything at all?


Please feel free to find me on Amazon and partake of my published works. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

Posted: August 1, 2019 in Blog
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Ticket Booth

I’m not sure why this continues to need to be said. It doesn’t even matter if I am desperate for food or phenomenally wealthy, I deserve to be paid for my work. Books are not too expensive, especially eBooks. Some people just seem to feel they deserve some kind of handout, or they seek to take advantage of authors by expecting free books. It saddens me that there is sufficient use of free book (piracy) websites that they are still functioning. You’re hurting authors by using them. It is very disappointing. It saddens me that people are so willing to hurt others for success, though I realize that is nothing new in human behavior. It also saddens me that people patronize these sites. If they didn’t, there’d be no power to them.

It also baffles me that there is a prevailing attitude that people somehow freely deserve the fruits of artistic labor, yet they’ll somehow manage to afford that $3.00 coffee five times a week. They also manage to afford a smartphone. Has anyone thought of expecting an iPhone for free because Apple has “enough” money already?

Here’s the thing. Books are cheap! I sometimes wonder if it is even about the price, or if something is just wired into a lot of people where they try to unfairly worm whatever benefit to themselves they can. That sort of approach is sadly selfish, immature, and unsustainable. Hopefully humanity will largely mature beyond such an attitude at some point in the near future.

Buy the book, take the ride.

Find more discussion here on my blog about art being affordable.

Continuing Author Life Month (#authorlifemonth), it is time for another post.

Awesome Moment
Well, I suppose there are many awesome moments, but the one that stands out to me was when I first held the print version of my debut novel in my hands.  That was amazing.

Killed Darlings
Now come on, I can’t say that.  Read my series to find out who this happens to … I mean if it even happens at all.  I’d never kill off a beloved character.  Nope.  I have never experienced a decisive moment when I almost talked myself out of a bold move, because I didn’t want to kill off a character.  Never.

Reviewer Love
I will throw love at all those who have taken the time to review my book.  I love hearing feedback, and I thank all of those of you who have provided it.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Here is some swag.  A nice draw-string bag with the name of my publisher, along with some post cards, magnets, and a neat journal.  I use the journal for writing music.

Character Inspiration
Well, the characters in Dance of the Butterfly are somewhat obviously based on people I know, including myself.  As I discuss in the post Seeds, it all began innocently enough as my son and I had a fun discussions of how easy it would be to dress up for a con if there were characters based on us.  Though this began as something silly and off the cuff, the seeds were planted.

Dedication Page
No one gave me more inspiration, desire, and discipline than Jane.  Had I not met her, I don’t think the books would have ever been written.  Thank you.

My “To-Write” List
I have many of these.  I am working on the third (and likely final) book in my urban fantasy series.  I have another novel that is about 95% finished and yet another that is about 5% done.  And yes, still another that is fairly well along.  These are all fantasy-related, some dealing with vampires, some with other dimensions, some with wizards, maybe some dragons.  My hope is they will all pull from standard tropes but come forth in a non-standard way.

And there we go.  I do hope you have enjoyed this further glimpse into my life.  As always, please feel free to like, share, or comment.  Thank you all.



Posted: January 12, 2017 in Blog
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There is too much expectation out there for free or very under-priced books. It takes authors a great deal of time and effort to write, edit, and publish a book. Independent publishers are also dealing with this. It seems a portion of the general public is shocked to have to pay more than 99 cents for an ebook or $10 for a print book, yet they hardly balk at the prices for coffee at Starbuck’s or the admission for a movie at the theater.

It can take authors years to finalize a book.  For some of us, there is a great deal of research, whether through traditional means such as digging into available resources or through the consulting of those more knowledgeable.  I have done both, and both take time.  The latter takes the time of another and can come with its own cost.  Then there are the many hours for editing, generally which takes the time of more than one person and also has its cost. When it is time to go into publication, the art for the book cover must be commissioned.  I have never tried to quantify the amount of workhours expended for the publication of one book, but I know from personal experience that it is a great deal.  For this, the price of a book is also a great deal.  Why consumers feel the need to blanch at the price or feel entitled to a free one is beyond me.

A book is yours to keep and re-visit whenever you like, or you can pass it along to a friend or family member.  A book opens up worlds that have virtually no scope.  They stimulate the imagination.  These treasures are highly valuable and should be treated as such.

To this end, please consider attending a Facebook even which will feature many, many authors along with their very affordable works.  You may find a door worth opening.

Our Books Are Not Free – Facebook Event

Thank you,

Feedback Wanted

Posted: November 28, 2016 in Blog
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Authors want reviews. Authors want feedback, comments, communication. It can especially feel like working in a vacuum when you post or publish something and you get little to no response. Sure, many people may be reading and having a positive experience, but without feedback, how do we know?

So, write reviews.  Leave comments.  Please.

Here is where my own “problem” arises. I do not like leaving negative reviews. I have made one negative review, and it was for a very well-established author, so I don’t think it put the slightest chink in his armor. I like the author very much, just didn’t care for this one book, and I left what I felt was an honest, possibly meaningful review for others to read.

I understand the difference between a spiteful review and a negative one that is also constructive.  I understand not to let too much of my own personal desires make it sound like I am objectively naming something “bad”.  Even with this, I don’t like leaving negative reviews.

I have read many indie short stories and books of late, and I have not liked them all. Some were a bit … well, let’s just say I didn’t even finish them. In the wise words of the great James Dalton, “Opinions vary.”  I did not leave reviews for those.

I have read many authors saying to please leave a review, even if it is a poor one. Every review counts and matters. I want to help other authors, but it almost makes my skin crawl to leave a negative review. My approach is that I leave a positive review, or I do not leave one at all.  In this vein, I try to even make a positive spin to a potentially negative review, or again, I don’t leave one at all.

I know this is not the correct attitude, but it bothers me to think of doing something “negative” toward other independent authors.

And here I am asking for feedback and reviews.  It is troubling, I know, and I struggle with how to best leave a review for something I did not like.  It’s so much easier to leave a positive review.

Of course, I do hope you will purchase, read, and review my debut urban fantasy novel, Dance of the Butterfly.  Many thanks!  And feel free to leave a comment.

Click for the print version.
Click for electronic editions.

Echoes and Whispers

Posted: August 25, 2016 in Blog
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My father had one of the early Compaq computers.  I used to sit in his study, tapping away on it.  It had WordPerfect, so I had the laminated cheat sheet for all the function commands and such.  Quite a different and more laborious interface than what we have now, but it was still so much more thrilling to me than using the old typewriter.

I was writing a long story (a book in my mind) about a post-apocalyptic world where some big baddie had gotten hold of a nuclear weapon and was going to use it on what was left of civilization.  Some less than savory person had been commissioned by this remnant of order and sent into the worst of the wasteland to stop the evil plan.  Quite all cliché.  I didn’t finish it.

Instead, I found The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  I then read the other two (there were only the three at the time), and I was blown away.  I was changed.  It seemed such an exercise in imagination.  Incidentally, I never did develop a huge love of British comedy, but sometimes (as in this case), I loved it.  Such amazing stories, and on the off chance you have not read them, I highly recommend them.

I scrapped my post-apocalyptic tale and moved onto something else.  Something more imaginative.  I was cooking, writing out page after page in my spare time and when my dad wasn’t using his own computer.  I was driven!

My story, such as it was, had two main characters, one Adam Floyd and Eve Pink.  These two were going to somehow meet, being thrown together by the most absurd of fates, and then they’d go back in time to become the Adam & Eve of biblical lore (with an obvious sprinkling of my love for the band Pink Floyd).  There was also, for some reason, a quasi-sentient floating outboard boat engine that figured prominently.  At least I was aware enough that after writing many pages, I realized how derivative it was of Douglas Adams.  It was my homage and exercise, I suppose, and I did not finish it once I came to this revelation.

Some years later the same thing would happen when I got into H.P. Lovecraft, though those efforts were more my own.  They were also derivative, but they were firmly in the realm of my concept of Weird Fiction as opposed to the more egregious “borrowing” in my younger effort.

I think many artists learn to create this way.  You mimic other voices until you find your own, but you still hear those whispers and echoes from time to time.  It’s all part of the palette.

Hello, everyone.  My book Dance of the Butterfly has now been available for a couple of weeks or so, the Kindle edition almost a month.  To those of you who have bought a copy, I thank you immensely.  I would also love some feedback from my readers.  Please leave a review on the Amazon page, even if it is just a sentence or two or a star rating of your choice.

I would also love to see pics of you with the book.  If you’d like to be part of a marketing campaign showing people experiencing the product, please post or send in your photos.  They can be anything from you holding the book to whatever else you might cogitate.  Every little bit helps. We’re all at our own junction of this vast web, and if we all just tickle the strings a little, we can make one hell of a song.  Please join me.

I can also be found at my Facebook Author Page if you prefer to contact me there.

Thank you all.


The print version of my debut novel, Dance of the Butterfly, is now available through Amazon.  This is very exciting for me, and I hope you decide to get a copy, read it, and leave a review.  Not only do the reviews help with the way Amazon decides to display its multitude of books, but I really like feedback.  It’s very nice to get a comment from a reader.  I’d love to know what you liked, what you didn’t, how you felt.  Those are all treasures to me.  I decided to publish this story with the intent to share it, and I do hope that comes full circle in my getting to hear from you.

You have my thanks.

Dance of the Butterfly – print version

Dance of the Butterfly – Kindle edition

Follow me and leave comments at any of these:

Thanks again.


Posted: April 20, 2016 in Blog
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I am anachronistic, but I am conflicted.

I like old-fashioned things.  I enjoy seemingly outdated methods and styles of writing.  Let me visit a Victorian house lit up by candles or gaslight, and I would feel entranced.  I am also, though, quite taken by technology.  It remains a mystery to me in that I am not particularly learned regarding the workings of such devices, but I am very interested in such developments and how they may enhance humans as a species.  Transhumanism is something to which I deeply subscribe.

How does all of this manage to stay in the crucible and not spill over?  I am not sure.  Maybe some of it does.  I think more that it is all merely choices of an ever-growing buffet.  Something new does not necessarily mean the prior options are replaced.

I love to write, and I love to read.  Electronically formatted books are strong and becoming stronger.  Some might think this means an impending end to printed books.  I do not.  I realize the ‘market share’, as it were, may shrink, but there really is no reason or requirement why one should completely displace the other.

I prefer printed books.  You might also see such an expression in my music collection.  I still listen to cd’s.  I still buy them.  My mp3 collection consists of four albums.  I don’t think this is some sort of Luddite attitude as much as I just like the physical object.  Maybe this does indicate some underlying resistance to the digital age, but I feel like I am excited for that future.

So, electronic books … they’re great.  They have afforded an opportunity to so many independent authors who might have never been able to share their work beyond a select few.  You can now carry around an impressive library with you wherever you go.  Amazing stuff.  I still prefer print, but digital holds some wonderful potential and options.

There’s no reason we can’t have both in our buffet.  And even more …