On the twenty-fifth of January I noticed I had read twenty-five books in twenty-five days. Not all of them were the size of War and Peace. One was a graphic novel, another a comic. Still, I had absorbed twenty-five separate stories in as many days. I’m not sure if I’ve ever done that before. Part of the reason I read so much was that I had been suffering from tendinitis in my right elbow for about two months. Typing became very difficult. Gaming near impossible. Holding my Kindle hurt. Even scrolling through pictures of gorgeous (shirtless) men on tumblr caused me pain. I don’t use this blog to air my medical laundry. I’d rather write about my inspirations and joys, about reading and writing. This injury affected both, however. I moped a bit. I became frustrated about missing deadlines I had set for myself and obligations I hoped to meet. I may have vented to friends and family. Then I found something else to do with my time: read.
As a result, I’ve been publishing a lot of reviews. I have about seven more lurking in my drafts folder. (I typed them out a couple of hundred words at a time and took a lot of stretching breaks.) I’ve missed writing more personal posts, but I needed to save my bouts of typing for what I considered work: writing fiction and writing about fiction. Now that my elbow has settled down, I hope to ramble a bit more often.
What? It’s my blog…
So, where am I up to with my Reading Challenges? I’m three books in. I challenged myself to read about sixteen books for 2014. I’ll probably read about 116, but the sixteen extra are special. They’re books that I, personally, would like to read. Twelve of them are from my overstuffed ‘To Be Read’ shelf. My ‘To Be Read’ shelf is not virtual. It’s a bookcase holding, at last count, 217 books. I have a further 65 books parked on my Kindle. My mountain of books is an old problem, one I’ve written about before, and the reason I decided to participate in a number of challenges this year.
The three books I read in January count toward three separate challenges. For the TBR challenge, I read Revelation (Rai-Kirah, #2) by Carol Berg and From This Day Forward by John Brunner. My review of From This Day Forward also served as my entry for Vintage Science Fiction Month and I cross posted it to the Sci Fi Experience Review Site. I added quite a few links there throughout the month, actually, including my third challenge read, A Darkling Sea by James Cambias.
I really enjoyed all three books, as my reviews will indicate. I also enjoyed the sense of accomplishment I gained from making a good dent in my challenge list. As a meticulous list keeper, I love being able to tick boxes and declare things done!
Seeing as this is a somewhat newsy ramble, I’ll continue on with some updates about what else I’ve been writing, elbow permitting. I completed a short story that gave me fits. I had intended to submit it to the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest. Issues with my elbow and a whole lot of snow prevented me from getting a good handle on it until too late, however. I write best early in the morning, which is difficult when school is delayed and/or cancelled. I also tend to write best when I can lose myself for two to three hours and emerge on top of a pile of three to four thousand words. It’s like rolling down a hill. The longer I sit there, the more momentum I gain. As a habit, it has good points and bad, the most obvious fault being that I sit still for too long. Probably how I buggered up my elbow. It’s great for keeping a scene coherent, however, and there’s nothing quite so satisfying as being able to post a 10k word count at the end of the week. I love statistics almost as much as I love lists.
Anyway, I didn’t get the story finished in time, so I decided to re-purpose it with the intent of submitting it to Lightspeed for their Women Destroy Science Fiction issue. Two weeks was enough time to finish the story, but not enough to wrestle it into shape. My characters have lives of their own and Captain Kim Erkens had a different idea where the story should go than I did. Had I consulted my original notes more regularly, I would have seen that she was actually being true to my very first idea. Snow days and holidays have done more than mess up my schedule. I need to work on being more adaptable, too.
Anyway, the story is finished, but needs serious editing. Still, it’s another story sitting in my folder of possibilities and it’s not the only one. I have a novel there that needs an overhaul. It’s set in the same world as my novella, Less Than Perfect. I have another novel in there that I wrote with a friend. It’s a dark fantasy set in an entirely new world and I’m really excited about the project. We’re just about done with our second serious edit and about to send it out to a round of beta readers. In the meantime, we’ve started a new project which grew out of our love for a pair of characters we’ve role played together for a couple of years. Two days in, we’re two chapters down. Success like that has been enough to soothe the frustration of not being able to meet some of my other deadlines.
There will be other opportunities and there will always be other stories. That’s part of the wonder of being a writer, really.