Month: December 2018

December State of the Blog(ger)

Hey everyone,

So I have not blogged as much as I wanted to this year. I could tell you all the reasons why:

  1. The arrival of my daughter
  2. Adjusting to staying at home with three kids
  3. Brandy’s six week maternity leave
  4. Volunteering with Ignite
  5. Focusing on querying
  6. Reading the Queryshark archives (twice)
  7. Querying
  8. Reading
  9. An improbable great season for my Chicago Bears
  10. Going through a creative dry spell that left me feeling hollow

But I won’t make excuses…Oops.

This year has been as good of a year as I’ve ever had.

So much has happened.

I directed Almost, Maine.

Choreographed a duel in Sense & Sensibility.

Taught a stage combat workshop at Calvin College.

Taught a handful of acting classes at GRCT.

Played Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing…in the Rose!

Bought a puppy (Perrin Aybarka)!

Although I haven’t gotten an agent or sold the Pale Shadow, I have learned so much about the craft of writing, the editorial process, and querying. I’ve sent 16 queries (4 with my crappy first query, 5 with my less crappy second query, and 7 now with my decent query) and received mostly form rejections…but I did get one full manuscript request. There are authors who’ve been doing this way longer who have achieved less so…

Scotch incoming.

2019 promises to be good also.

More classes. More workshops. A new novel. More reading.

I’m also going to be more intentional with reading more books written by women (Jemisin, Hobb, Stephens, Smith Spark, Hawke, Kuang to name a few).

ALSO…I will be writing (hopefully) regular reviews.

In fact, I’m hoping to turn it into one of the main functions of Sonofascritch.

So…lot’s of fun stuff to look forward to…and fingers crossed that you’ll finally get to meet this bad mofo.

half orc western 4.jpg

Seriously though.

Until next year, friends.

Happy Holidays!

  • scritch out

Top 5 Reads of 2018

Hey everyone,

I’m currently reading book 50 of my Goodreads Challenge, so I figured I was pretty safe to go ahead and tell you about my favorite five reads for 2018.

5. Name of the Wind by. Patrick Rothfuss

After years of friends and strangers hyping Name of the Wind, I finally broke down and read it. It lived up to the hype. There isn’t much more I can add to the NotW conversation. It is a masterpiece, a compelling story told from the perspective of a mythic figure. While it didn’t top this year’s list of my favorite reads, it is still one of the most excellent stories I’ve read. I followed it up immediately with The Wise Man’s Fear, which was a bit disappointing. To be honest, it makes waiting for the Doors of Stone a lot easier. I needed book 2 when I finished NotW. I shrugged and moved on when I finished TWMF.

4. Ravencry by. Ed McDonald

This year (and in 2019) there were (and will be in 2019), 3 sequels I’m looking forward to in August: Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames, Ravencry by Ed McDonald, and The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith Spark. All three have become favorite authors of mine. This year, Ravencry was far and away my favorite of the three. I enjoyed Blackwing, but it took me a little while to get into it. Ravencry grabbed me by the throat from the beginning and refused to let go. I needed to read the next page, chapter, and book (I need Crowfall asap). Ravencry does what a great sequel should: it further develops its characters, adds to its world, raises the stakes, and introduces new threats. If you haven’t read Blackwing, you need to. If only so you can read Ravencry.

3. Going Postal by. Terry Pratchett

I also took the Terry Pratchett plunge this year, and at Nicholas Eames’ suggestion, I started with Going Postal. No regrets. I made Brandy read it too. And we bought the BBC adaptation (which was fine). Discworld became my palate cleanser this year. Every time I would read something dark and get bogged down, I would read a DW novel and my mood would improve. I also won a copy of Reaper Man from Esme Weatherwax (she’s awesome). GP was the perfect place to start DW. It follows con-man Moist VanLipwig as he is hanged and subsequently placed in charge of the AnkhMorpork postal service. Chaos and comedy ensues. He figures things out with wit and guile. Golems are involved. Will he get the girl and take down his competition? Perhaps.

2. Senlin Ascends by. Josiah Bancroft

It is really hard for me to put Senlin this low on my list (yes, I realize it’s #2. Shut up). SA is one of the most compelling and brilliant novels I’ve ever read. A self-published success story before Orbit published it, Senlin Ascends takes place in a steampunk Tower of Babel. Reluctant protagonist, Thomas Senlin, takes his wife to this hub of humanity only to lose her immediately…and no one will help him. He ascends a couple layers of the tower between this and its sequel Arm of the Sphinx. Will he find his wife? I don’t know! Book three, the Hod King, comes out in January and there’s a fourth book beyond that…and I’m not Mark Lawrence, Dyrk Ashton, and freakin Michael McClendon so I won’t get an ARC. I’m not going to lie…I’m jealous.

1. A Memory of Light by. Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

After two and a half years, Brandy and I finally finished the Wheel of Time (technically neither of us has read New Spring yet which keeps me from doing a series post…more on that later). So, how could this top spot be anything other than the fourteenth installment in the series A Memory of Light? AMoL brings a stunning conclusion to the Wheel of Time series. Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, has finally come. Rand (ginger Jesus), Mat (wise-cracking badass), and Perrin (Dream Thor) have finally been brought up against the Dark One of his cronies. The armies of the light stand against the armies of darkness, friends die, enemies are overthrown, the impossible happens, and happens again. It reminded me a bit of Avengers Infinity War in that there was so much story and so many threads that needed to be pulled together. Sanderson handled it all masterfully. Robert Jordan’s epilogue, while not answering all questions, leaves us with a sense of contentment with the living characters. Some journeys continue off-page. It’s only a shame we’ll never see where those journeys go.

There you have it. Now you know.

-scritch out