Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Life Intervenes

     This morning I found out that a friend of mine has died. His name was Nate Thibodeau.

     I went to high school with Nate. He was a day student at the boarding school I attended for three years in rural Maine, near the border with New Hampshire. I really don't know how we connected, how we got to know one another. I do remember that he worked on the production of Spoon River Anthology that I was in my first trimester there. But how we met doesn't really matter all that much. For two and a half years, Nate was my best friend, and that's what matters.

     But life intervened. During my senior year (Nate was a junior) he began having some personal issues. Nate was adopted and had recently reconnected with his biological family. The details aren't important but Nate ended up leaving school and enrolling in the local public high school. This all happened around Christmastime of 1996. I was set to graduate the next Spring. I only saw him once more before I graduated and left Maine and came back West for college.

     Over the years I occasionally thought about Nate. I wondered how he was. I still had the phone number and address of his parents' house and one day I called to see how he was. I was given his current number and called him. We talked for a little while, reminisced about old times. I talked to him a few more times after that but we never really seemed to reconnect. I was in Arizona, he was in Maine. As so often happens with high school friends, we had gone our separate ways and had life intervened.

     It wasn't until sometime in 2007 that Nate and I reconnected. I now had a Facebook account and was looking up some of the people I had known back then. This was also the year of my ten year high school reunion. I had some free time after the official school activities so I gave Nate a call and asked if he had time for a visit.

     He was living about an hour away from the school so I drove to his town and we had burgers and beer at a local restaurant. His life was vastly different; he had two children and was running promotions for concerts. I suppose my life was was vastly different, too, but when you see the changes gradually over time they don't seem as profound as when you see them suddenly after ten years. And he seemed happy. Later that day I met his girlfriend, who would later become his fiancee. We parted after an afternoon spent visiting and remembering the old times, promising to stay in touch.

     And we did stay in touch, to an extent. We stayed connected on Facebook, sending comments back and forth. But for the most part, life intervened. I was busy, he was busy, and like so many of the other people I know on Facebook I skimmed over my timeline every few days, would occasionally see what he was up to, but wouldn't take the time to comment or even just send a "Hey, Nate. How are things?"

     This morning I found out that Nate had died. And he died nearly a month ago. I knew that he was having back surgery but I never took the time to wish him well. I never clicked over to his page to see if there were any updates. As it is, I still don't know what happened but there seems to have been some complication from the back surgery. He died on February 6, 2012. And I didn't find out until today. Life--my life--intervened. I don't remember what I was doing that day of my life but my friend was dying.

     This year I will have my fifteen year high school reunion. I plan on going back to Maine and I was going to see Nate; we had talked about it. I was going to try to make it a longer visit than just a single afternoon. But I can't. I can't have a beer with him and talk about old times. I can't hear about how his kids are doing, how business is. All I have are the fading memories of an afternoon five years ago and the countless hours we hung out during high school, joking, listening to music, eating meals.

     I don't know what the point of this blog post is. I'm not very good at expressing sorrow--giving people my condolences, telling them how sorry I am. But I feel these things very deeply. I find it difficult to talk about sorrow in person, face to face. But I can write about it. This is my way of dealing with it. And whoever ends up reading this, whether you knew Nate or not, I want to tell you this: don't let life intervene. Don't let the people you care about drift away with time and distance. Don't let the petty minutiae of life take precedence over the things that are truly important. We all know this is true but it's not until we lose someone we care about that it really sinks in. It's not until we stop to think about what is lost forever that we begin to miss what we might have had.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Writer's Responsibility

     Two blog posts ago (in the post entitled Reflections on Writing and "Buy Indie Month") I mentioned that writers are inherently selfish. Some who read the post took minor issue with this statement. I, of course, did not mean that only writers are selfish and that compared to us the balance of the world's population is dripping with the milk of human kindness. No, not at all. I consider myself to be a rather generous person, actually, as long as I don't inconvenience myself in the process. And every human being who ever walked the Earth has been selfish in one way or another. Anything we do for our own sake is selfish. Whenever we spend time pursuing things that bring us pleasure rather than working to end hunger or prejudice, for example, is selfish.

     But this did set me thinking more about an issue I touched on in that post. I wrote that those with a voice to which the masses listen, those who are able to reach a great many people, should ask themselves what their voices are contributing to society. In a writer's selfish pursuit of writing--whatever his reasons for writing may be--shouldn't he endeavor to ensure that his writing results in a net positive to society?

     I believe that art is anything that is done for the sake of art. There may be additional motives (such as fame or fortune) and there is, of course, a vast difference between "good art" and "bad art" but I have found that works which are broadly defined as "good art" or "great art" possess a few common features.

     1. It is done for the art first. Of course, many of the greatest artists and composers had wealthy patrons but were they artists because they believed it would make them some scratch? I'm sure more than one skilled artist hoped to become the darling of a particular court or city but if the driving force was the art itself, then I believe by its very nature it will be superior to art which is done for other reasons. Commercial art, for example, is produced to sell products. The work of Thomas Kinkade, I am certain, is driven chiefly by profit. There is nothing wrong with making your art commercially viable, of course, but to create truly great art the impetus must be the art itself.

     2. Good art is attractive. Note that I do not say "beautiful" but "attractive." This means that good art must attract the attention of an audience. To do this it can be exceedingly beautiful, of course, or it can be exceedingly ugly and disturbing, it can be terrifying or saddening. But without the attention of an audience, it will fail, no matter what its other merits may be.

     3. Good art is meaningful. For me, this is the high bar. I enjoy a pretty picture or a catchy song as much as the next person but if there is no meaning I will quickly lose interest. If there is no meaning, I will not remember it much beyond my initial viewing/reading/listening. In music, this has led to a personal shift from the rock and pop music of my younger years to classical and jazz. I still like rock and pop and listen to it on occasion but classical music is what you will almost always find on my stereo. As an aside, I will point out that there is meaningless classical music as well. For the same reason, this music doesn't stay with me for long.

     4. Good art has staying power. A work of art may take the nation by storm for a summer--think of films or pop songs or mass market thrillers--but who will remember it a year from now? A generation from now? In two hundred years the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, will still be performed. Adele? Probably not. MC Hammer? Certainly not. Often a lack of staying power is the result of a lack of meaning, but not always. Sometimes it is simply not attractive enough. Dadaism was certainly attractive when it came about and it certainly had meaning--although some would argue that point--but the problem was that it created a spectacle for a few short years and, aside from freshmen studying Art History 101, no one gives it any thought these days. It was too rooted in its time and place. Great art has to transcend those boundaries and be as meaningful for a person a hundred years from now and a continent away as it is for those who were around when it was created.

     Now, I'm sure that many will be able to object to and pick apart my criteria for great art. But I would emphasize that these are my criteria. Others are welcome to disagree; in fact, I would love to know (in the comments section below) what you all think makes for great art.

     As is often the case when I write, Point A has to be informed by Point B before I can continue. So, now that you have my Point B (the makings of great art) I can return to Point A (a writer's responsibility).

     So, my main query is this: does a writer have a responsibility to attempt to create great art? I answer with a resounding maybe. As I've mentioned elsewhere there is a place for everything. People need catchy tunes to dance to in nightclubs just as I need a composer like Marjan Mozetich to carry me away on the wings of bliss. But you can only bump and grind for so long. Eventually, a person needs to feed his mind and his soul with something of substance, something that will expand one's consciousness. And it pains me to think that so many people in this world go through their lives and have very few of those types of experiences. With all the beauty and wonder in this world, it is saddening that so much of it is ignored by the majority of humanity.

     Again, I am sure that some will argue that a teen-aged girl can find as much meaning in a Justin Bieber song as I do in Beethoven's 9th Symphony, as much profound realization in Twilight as I do in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I also suppose that some will say I am a cultural snob. Perhaps I am. But pop culture can only go so far toward feeding the artistic desires of a society. At some point, we must move past the banal and realize that these things which seem so important, so profound today, will be fading memories come tomorrow and beyond.

     So, does a writer have a responsibility to create works that will transcend this time and this place, works which will be read a hundred years from now? The "maybe" I gave in response still holds. Some of us do. Some of us will. Others will write good, enjoyable books that will fill a particular need in a particular time and place. There is no shame in that. I feel that my own current series, Sullivan's War, walks a line between those two extremes. I am satisfied, for now, with providing an entertaining story that has some meaning and speaks to the human condition but by no means contains any great, original, profound realizations. But I will not always be satisfied with that. I yearn to create a work that will meet my own criteria. I want--in my selfish egotism--to create a work of lasting significance.

     I believe that I will fulfill my responsibility to society some day. And I hope that you all, whether you be writers, musicians, painters--any of you who are creative in any way--will join me in attempting to achieve the goal of leaving a legacy that will enrich our culture and carry on to generations yet to come.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why Do You Write? Part II

Here is Part II of "Why Do You Write?," with insights from six more writers. Part I can be found here. Based on the responses I've received, there is a disturbing trend on display: writers and insane and if they didn't write, they'd go out of their gourds. So the lesson is this: be nice to writers and buy their books. Right? RIGHT?!

     Lately, I've had a lot of people ask why I write. This is usually preceded by, "I think you're a psycho!" Or, "You definitely have an imagination." Or, "Did your parents keep you locked up as a kid?" I just smile and indulge them. They usually walk away shaking their heads. Guess I'm not a very good salesman. So, let's try it: "You definitely have an imagination. Why do you write?" I always say, "Because I have to." "I don't get it," they say. "Nobody has to do anything." I point out that we have to breath and eat and sleep get it, and like those life sustaining functions, I have to write. " it's like an urge. Like a sex thing." Then they smile. "Not really." Though I would like it to be. Let's put it like this: If I DON'T write, I go psycho. If I DON'T write, I grow stagnant. If I DON'T write, I would rather be locked up and the key thrown away. It's just something I must do, something that consumes me, something that MAKES me. "You're just saying this to be cute," they say. "You really just want to be rich and famous." I wouldn't mind, no, but really, it's just a matter of necessity. If I didn't make a penny, If I didn't have a single reader, If no one would publish my musings, I would still do it. Everyday. Always.'s fun. And it buys me a taco or two every once in a while.
     - Richard C. Hale, Author of Near Death

     I think, fundamentally, writers write because we're driven to it. There are so very many stories, worlds, and ideas to explore that can only be expelled by the catharsis of words on the page. For me, it's like a passion, or possibly an obsession. Also, the voices in my head get grumpy if I don't let them out.
     - Eugie Foster, Nebula Award-Winning Author of Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast

     I write because I've tried not writing and it just didn't work. Whilst I love getting my stories published and I do want to be successful and create something memorable, those aren't the reasons why I do it, they're just by-products. I write for me. Because my life feels better for it. And I know that if I were told I would never have anything published ever again, I would carry on regardless because the stories will still be there in me, whether there's someone to read them or not.
     - J.C. Piech

     Writing allows me to empty out all those strange and annoying voices rattling around in my head on a daily basis. Seriously, it’s a creative avenue to write about all of the inspirations that surround us, whether it’s people, places or interesting tidbits of information. There are millions of stories out there just waiting to be written. I choose to write about crime, suspense, and mystery, but it’s so much more involved. Writing challenges me as much as it rewards me – I love that! I can hear the most innocuous story and think about all of the ways to make it more entertaining, oh and course, with a murder to two. I write because it is something that is a part of me and cannot imagine my daily life without it.
     - Jennifer Chase, Author of Dark Mind

     For as long as I can remember, my brain has always entertained me with stories. To be honest, I was perfectly happy keeping those stories to myself. When I shared some of my ideas with others, they challenged me to write a book. Once I got going, the story literally poured out. It was frustrating because my brain is not especially organized and shows me things out of order and I didn’t always know how things were going to work out; but during that process I discovered something else. It was…fun. I brought these characters to life. I created a world that I could share with others. All those times I lost myself in a book, and now I could do that for someone else. What an amazing thing. I realized that writing is a gift, and I shouldn’t waste it. Why do I write? Because I absolutely love it; writing is the greatest adventure of all. There are no limits; no boundaries. I can travel through time, meet supernatural beings, go to far off places, meet new people all of my own creation. How cool is that?
     - M.E. Franco, Author of Where Will You Run?

     Why do I write? Because if I don't, the voices get too loud inside my head! :) Slightly more seriously, for a long time I ran a tabletop roleplaying game for some friends. It was a hobby that let me be creative, and come up with new stories and worlds every week for them to explore and interact with. We stopped playing a long time ago, but my mind didn't stop coming up with new ideas. Writing is a way for me to express those ideas, and get them out of my mind. Admittedly that just gives my mind space to come up with even more ideas, but I'm sure I'll survive ;)
     - Jason G. Anderson, Author of Gears of Wonderland

Friday, February 17, 2012

Reflections on Writing and "Buy Indie Month"

     "We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe." - Jerome K. Jerome

     Instantly enamored of Benjamin X. Wretlind's "Buy Indie Month" idea, I've been dutifully buying an Indie book every day for this month of  February. Ben gave his own reflections on why he is doing this, why "dulce et decorum est." Now, unlike those ominous lines from Horace, I don't see any need for one to die on behalf of an Indie writer. But the lines from Jerome, above, more aptly summon the spirit of the thing.

     Read it again: "We are so bound together that no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe." This sums up, for me, not only the motivation behind a project such as "Buy Indie Month" but also what should be, in my mind, the driving force behind a person's life. Selfishness, ultimately, isn't selfish if--and this is a big if--one's effort on behalf of oneself contributes to the betterment of society.

     For example, a writer is inherently selfish. He wants people to buy and read his books. He believes that he has a story or a message that is so important that everyone who reads it will benefit from it in some way and be glad for the opportunity. The writer believes that he is privy to some truth that has thus far escaped the cumulative knowledge of human civilization. This is not only selfish but highly egotistical as well. But this is acceptable in a writer. The writer provides entertainment, he makes people think, he delivers messages, he makes connections between disparate ideas and those connections are what drive forward the great endeavor that we call "the arts." The writer is both a prophet and a historian, he sees the future, he reflects on the past, he makes sense of this grand adventure that we call life. I would even go so far as to say that the writer--not only the fiction writer, but the historical writer, the political writer, the journalist--is the most important member of any society. Before a speech is made, a writer wrote it. Before a song is sung, a writer wrote it. Before a film or television show is produced, a writer wrote it. And, indeed, before we can truly understand current events, before we can know what has happened in the world beyond the trivial business of facts, a writer has sat down, examined those facts and put them into a framework that makes sense of them.

     The writer does all this selfishly, but look at the benefit to society. And the "Buy Indie Month" idea supports this, it supports not only Indie writers, but supports the continued health of our society as well. As Indie writers, Mr. Wretlind and I, along with Jeff Currie and others, recognize that there are many voices being lost to the cacophony of voices that make up the literary world. Some of those voices speak loudly and stridently and everyone listens. This is good. In most cases, those people have, through the strength of their writing, earned that consideration. But there are also many voices that seem to speak loudly only because they never stop speaking at all. And then there are the voices that are given megaphones--via media, publishing companies, etc--without having earned it. I think here of reality television stars whose ghost-written "books" top the bestseller lists.

     But what those loud and persistent voices should think about in their selfishness is "what does my voice contribute to society? How am I helping to 'mold the universe?'" Should a writer--any creative person, in fact--be held to a higher standard than those who do not engage in any acts of creativity? Should we be responsible for the works that we leave to posterity or is it only about the immediate concern, is it only about the money? Should our selfish desire to be heard above the din leave nothing of value beyond our own gratification?

     I say "no." I say that we should support the voices who truly have something to say. I also believe that we should support the small voices, the voices who haven't yet been heard. We should encourage those voices to speak loudly and clearly in the hopes that even one of them might become the voice of a generation, that one of them might be a voice that will change the world, a voice that will mold the universe in a way that will be to the benefit of all.

     For this reason, we should--we must--support Indie writers.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why I Love Short Stories

     Recently, I’ve been reading some blog posts and discussions about short fiction: short stories, novelettes and novellas.  In particular, these discussions have revolved around the fact that because of the e-book revolution, readers are once again embracing these much-maligned artforms.
     Of course, we all know that newspaper and magazine writers have been trying to announce the pathetic demise of the short story for a couple of decades.  Major magazines cut back or eliminated their fiction sections altogether and short story collections do not sell as well as full novels.
     I’m not going to go on about any of this, however.  Other writers who’ve studied all the data and have followed the trends can tell you about that.  I’m simply going to tell you why, as both a reader and a writer, I love short fiction.

1. Variety

     I love reading through the science fiction magazines and being able to completely switch gears between one story and the next.  Short fiction allows me to absorb different types of stories.  If I’m interested in a particular genre or sub-genre, short stories allow me to explore without committing to a full novel.  I can get just a taste to see how it coats my palate.  Reading a lot of short fiction also means that as a writer I can study many more plots, characters and ideas than if I only read novels.  These can feed my own work; I can expand upon an idea a short story just touched upon, or develop a character based upon a character I read in another story.  I know this sounds like stealing ideas but I’ll justify myself with two points.  First, all writers get ideas from the things they read.  An artful writer can take an idea and make it his own by giving it a unique twist.  You’ve heard the expression “There are no new ideas,” haven’t you?  It’s absolutely true.  Second, by reading many different stories, one is less likely to inadvertently be too inspired by any one story (and risk the chance of actually stealing ideas).

2.  Brevity

     Sometimes I just don’t feel like committing myself to a novel that’ll take ten or so hours to read.  If I want to do some reading without starting on another novel, short stories fit the bill.  They’re great for filling in those odd gaps of time while you’re traveling, waiting around for appointments, etc.  They also provide a nice respite if you find yourself in the middle of a particularly long or slow-going book.  As a reader of Henry James, I find this is often the case!

3.  Curiosity

     I've heard about a great book that everyone is raving about.  But there’s something about the reviews or the premise of the novel that gives me pause.  If the author has any short stories available I have a chance to try out his or her work and see if it’s right for me.  Or, sometimes I’ll just find a short story on Amazon and download it knowing nothing about the author.  Short stories allow me to do this without a large investment of time or money, in case that particular writer just isn’t my cup of tea.

4.  Audacity

     Short stories give writers a chance to explore, to try things that they might not if they felt they had to commit to an idea for a full novel.  Short stories allow authors to dabble in other genres and explore those weird, unsellable ideas without feeling as though they wasted two or three months writing a novel no one will buy.  But those stories are often the most interesting for those same reasons.  They are not “safe,” they do not fit the mold, they are not mainstream.
     As a writer this last point is of particular interest to me.  Not all of those weird story ideas will work, but those that did work I consider to be among my strongest pieces.  Unfortunately, magazine editors don’t agree!  This is one of the reasons I’ve embraced self-publishing.  In fact, one very short story I self-published called Sleep has become my most-rated work to date.  I also have a collection of three short stories called Inner Lives.  These are what I would call quiet, literary stories in the speculative vein.  I am quite proud of them but they won’t interest all readers and, indeed, did not interest magazine editors but they have been well-received since being released as an ebook.

     If you haven’t really given short stories a try I think you will find yourself pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety that is out there.  Here in this blog I have mentioned and commented on several short stories that I’ve read.  Give them a try and, if you like, have a look at my short stories as well.

Edit: I have now release a full, book-length collection of ten short stories called... wait for it... Short Stories. Read more about it here.

Related Content:
Review: "Ten Speeds at the End of the World" by Guinevere Robin Rowell

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why Do You Write?

     Why do writers write?

     It's a question I've been interested in for a long time. What possesses otherwise sane, intelligent people to take up pen and paper, or open up a new Word document, and proceed to spill their thoughts and feelings out onto the page? I suppose the question interests me because I can't really answer it for myself. I suppose there is an element of wanting to be a part of the larger literary world, to leave my mark, however insignificant, on the annals of time. I suppose another part of it is a desire to achieve recognition for something that I have created, something that is wholly of my own invention--as much as anything can be, of course. Or maybe it's as simple as having stories to tell and wanting to tell them, wanting to do for others what so many authors have done for me: shown me entire universes that exist only in the imagination; brought to life people and places that are as real as any man or woman who passes me on the street--more real, actually, for I haven't but glimpsed these characters in passing but have lived with them. I have shared their joys and sorrows, I have known their deepest thoughts and desires. For me, this has always seemed like something of a miracle. I suppose, in a way, I want to work some of these miracles myself.

     That's my answer today but I'm not sure I'm entirely satisfied with it. It sounds good, it sounds "writerly," but if you ask me the same question tomorrow, I may have a different answer. So I decided I would ask some of my fellow miracle-makers the question. Why Do You Write? I hope you find the answers as interesting and revealing as I did.

     I write for llamas. I've had a ten year dream to own a llama farm, and what better way to achieve that goal than to write fiction and eat bacon? Okay? Maybe not.
     I believe I write to get the seeds of ideas which populate my head out in the sun, to let them germinate, water them and see what grows. Sometimes what grows is a big bushy novel, full of berries and leaves and prickly sticks where insects can thrive. Other times, I find only a tiny blade of grass or a dandelion that needs just a little nudging to bloom. Basically, I write because I have seeds to sow, and I've been sowing those seeds since the 2nd grade when I graduated from crayon on the wall to pencil and paper.
     - Benjamin X. Wretlind, Author of Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with Scissors

     As half of the writing team, Wodke Hawkinson, one reason I write is so my co-author, PJ, will remain happy with me. Joking aside, I write because it gives me a place to put the ideas and scenes in my head, so they don't just leak out and make a mess everywhere. Holding all that chaos inside is not good for a person! It's much more productive to turn it into stories. And both PJ and I have a goal of earning our living through writing. We are honored every time someone reads our work, and we are thrilled to be doing something we enjoy.
     - K. Wodke, co-Author of Betrayed

     I agree with my co-author, Karen. It does get messy when the words leak out of your head. One time, the words were six inches deep on my carpet and they clogged up my vacuum cleaner. I had to go buy a new one. So now, I prefer to put my words in books for other people to enjoy, so they're not wasted.
     - PJ Hawkinson, co-Author of Betrayed

     I write to let the voices in my head tell their stories. I have lived countless lifetimes in my imagination and from reading books. I have always wanted to do the same for others, therefore, I write. That and I’m pretty sure I would lose my sanity if I didn’t let the crazies out of my head! Hey, it’s pretty cheap therapy and I love it! If I couldn’t write, I would just die–it is like breathing to me, an essential I embrace with every word.
     - Alexia Purdy, Author of Ever Shade: A Dark Faerie Tale

     I started writing as an escape from the continual torture I received from other kids when I was a child. It was a way for me to live through the 'perfect lives' of my characters. I would put the pen to paper and escape into another world where I was accepted and liked by others. As I got older, I found writing to be a therapeutic way to hash out my thoughts. I suffer from Genetic Anxiety/Depression which causes me to suffer from many emotions at once and it also makes it hard to focus on what I would like to write. Writing is not only my passion, but it has also helped me to find a 'smile' in my worst moments. I also write because I truly enjoy it. It has become a major part of who I am today!
     - Kristin Conner

     There has to be an extra gene somewhere in the pool making its demands. Being a glutton for punishment I work longer hours than I would like to remember. The simple act of running an errand becomes a fiasco when my thoughts become a raging nightmare for another story. My mind never shuts down! Between all of this I am having an affair with the keyboard and I love it. Why do I write? The answer is simple, it is who I am.
     - Micheal Rivers, Author of The Black Witch

     I write because I enjoy the creative activity and the resulting psychological benefits that come from it. Writing can be very therapeutic. For a time I get to inhabit my heroes and live vicariously through them. I can be President Kennedy or Sherlock Holmes or the hero of Future Perfect with a lower than normal body temperature. I’m still more comfortable in the summer time after inventing Jamie McCord. My next book, Ghosts of Forgotten Empires, will feature a Star Trek quoting spy who stumbles upon an alien technology that will help him answer questions about his own family. These characters can live in wondrous alternate realities or come to ours equipped with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men… or women. There’s also the satisfaction of telling a story that not only appeals to you the writer but that others appreciate as well. So I write for myself in hopes that others will relish the same fantasy and perhaps even draw inspiration from it as I have from other works of fiction.
     - Michael J. Foy, Author of The Kennedy Effect

     I write because a million tales reside within me, waiting to be spawned. These stories can only be told by me, nobody else will ever know them unless I pen their saga; they will never live without me, nor I without them. There are lives within them waiting to walk and talk, to run and fight and love. These are lives which will never exist if I don’t create them, like babes born into this wretched world. I write because I am a writer, a storyteller designed to tell stories, and without them my life would be wasted, a shell of what I am supposed to be. But with them I hold purpose, and if a single soul is touched by my words it will have been a life well lived.
     - Luke Romyn, Author of The Dark Path

     If you're a writer and would like to tell the world just why it is you do what you do, I'll be posting "Why Do You Write? Part II" once I get a sufficient amount of submissions.
     Send yours to with the subject "Why Do You Write?" and I'll be happy to include you!

You might also be interested in:
Why Do You Write? Part II
Buying Indie Month
A Conversation with Benjamin X. Wretlind
A Morning in the Life of a Writer
5 Ways to Help Authors without Spending a Dime

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Buying Indie Month

Inspired by a blog post by Benjamin X. Wretlind (He outlines the reasons why quite elegantly; read them here: I am buying one Indie book a day for the month of February. I will update this page with each purchase throughout the month. If you want to recommend your book to me--I favor science fiction and literary fiction--leave a comment below with the Amazon US store link and I'll take a look! I also encourage you to hop on board with this idea, even if only for part of the month. Indie writers need to stick together and show the rest of the world the great quality that is out there by getting our books to the top of the best-seller lists!

01. Ties that Bind by Carolyn Arnold
02. Moonlight on the Nantahala by Micheal Rivers
03. Nighteyes: A Will Castleton Adventure by David Bain
04. Betrayed by Wodke Hawkinson
05. The Dark Path by Luke Romyn
06. The Fall of Billy Hitchings by Kirkus MacGowan
07. Judgment Tramp (An Eb Maclean novel) by JD Currie
08. Space Orville by Jeff Whelan
09. A Dream of Storms (In the Shadow of the Black Sun) by William Kenney
10. The Watchers of Ur: Cradle by LaMonte M. Fowler
11. Hope Road by John Barlow
12. California Blood by Pete Palamountain
13. Black Beast by RS Guthrie
14. The Rings of Alathea by Dan Moore
15. Legend Unborn, The Key of Souls - Book 1 by David G. Welsh
16. Xenocide by Larry Kollar
17. Archaea by Dain White
18. Outback Love by Teri Heyer
19. Lunara: Seth and Chloe by Wyatt Davenport
20. Convergent Space by John-Paul Cleary
21. Gabriel's Redemption by Steve Umstead
      Attic Clowns: Complete Collection by Jeremy C. Shipp
22. Vigilante by Claude Bouchard
23. Dead of Knight by William R. Potter
24. Hot Roast Beef with Mustard by James Paddock
25. Leiyatel's Embrace by Clive S. Johnson
26. The Code by Craig McGray
27. What in Hell is up with Heaven? by Christopher David Petersen
28. Weimar Vibes by Phil Rowan
29. Farewell to Tyrn by Ryan Harvey

Related Posts:
Benjamin X. Wretlind's "Buying Indie Month" Post
Benjamin X. Wretlind's "Buying Indie Month, Revisited" Post
J.D. Currie's "Buying Indie Month" Post
Five Ways to Help Authors without Spending a Dime