Here are the 12 books I’ve read so far this year, along with a short review, to achieve one of my 2019 New Year Resolutions:
As with each passing year, it’s customary, at least in the US, to make goals/resolutions. So, as is tradition, here are mine for 2019:
$5,000 to retirement
Sign new contract at Xinhua
Visit 3 new countries
Write another short story (sub 15,000 words) - Current short story “Here Then Gone” is with editor
Benchpress 125kg 5 times - Currently around 115kg maybe 2-3 times
Read at least 12 books - I’ve started writing a 10-word ‘thing’ for each book I’ve read since last summer, which can be found under my About me section. So far this year, I’ve read “Fatherland” and “The Chrysalids”
Here are some words I liked from 2018:
Capricious - Determined by chance it whim rather than by necessity
Rube - A person who is not very intelligent or interested in culture
Copacetic - Completely satisfactory
Louche - Disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way.
Cogent - Clear, logical, convincing (of an argument / case)
Remonstrate - To make a forcefully reproachful protest
Indefatigable - Persisting tirelessly
Persiflage - Light and slightly contemptuous mockery or banter
Inimical - Tending to obstruct or harm
Viviparous - Bringing forth live young that have developed inside the body of the parent
Pernicious - Having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way
Bumptious - Self-assertive or proud to an irritating degree
Recalcitrant - Having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline
Incipient - In an initial stage; beginning to happen or develop
“A Last Act of Charity” by Frank Westworth is a solid read. Initially drawn to it by the cover, it starts out with a crime scene and immediately draws you in. It's gritty, exciting, funny, and captivating, everything you'd expect from a good thriller & suspense novel.
The language was descriptive, and at times, humorous. For example, in reference to sensual rope-tying - “How tight should one pull the silken twine before the reef knot turned into the grief knot?” The only thing that diminished the otherwise fluid pace of the story were the one-word sentences, of which there were many. Tons. Numerous. However, that’s just the author’s style, and since I’m talking about it in a review, it made the story unique.
I didn’t like how the story switched from 3rd person to first person in Chapter 4, despite the chapter title declaring “First Person Plural.” At times, the story also breaks the 4th wall, speaking directly to the reader, which I wasn’t a fan of, but that's just a personal preference.
Overall, the book is an exciting thrill-ride involving crime scenes, action, and intriguing characters who help maintain the pace of the story. The musings of JJ Stoner, the main character, are hilarious and mix nicely with some of the other darker themes of the story. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fun read featuring a strong lead and a thrilling plot.
It is with great pride that I can officially say that my novel Contraception is finally finished.
Right now, the E-book is available for sale ($2.99/￥20) on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and a few other sites.
The print version will be available on Amazon in a week and can ship world-wide! If you buy it, please leave an honest review - I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Writing a book is challenging. Initially, I never thought it would be possible, sort of like watching someone free-climb a rock wall and you look at them and say, ‘nope’. Well, I was tired of saying ‘nope’, so based on a conversation I had with my friend, I made an outline of major plot points for a story, researched average word length for novels, and wrote 1,000 words during work days. That’s what I did starting in July and by November, I had over 90,000 words - my starting point. I went back through it myself as it needed substantial editing. It was interesting to look back on what I had wrote at the beginning versus later on, realizing that I had a better sense of where the story was going and who my characters were as the novel progressed, obviously. When I started, anything could have happened. I was building a world and there were no plot lines to connect, yet; I was free.
I’ve never considered myself to be a creative person, in terms of music, art, or creating something from nothing. But dammit, I wanted to write a novel. So I did it. I hired an editor who is not only making my story tighter, but is also asking me a lot of questions which while writing, never occurred to me. Rewriting is an enjoyable and yet frustrating process. If I change a plot-line in chapter 10, I need to remember what other things will be affected by it, and how to change those based on the initial change I made. It’s a delicate balance which I’m figuring out as I go.
My editor keeps asking me how I did it, and what drove me to write it. FIrst, I had a lot of time on my hands at work. Second, I just did it. I literally wrote 1,000 words every day whether or not I wanted to. Some days were harder than others, and some days I had no idea where the story was going, but I wrote anyway. For me, it’s sort of like cooking. You can’t start unless you have the ingredients, and you can’t shape a novel without words on a page. I’ve edited, rewritten, and reorganized the words I wrote so much that even looking at my first draft would be almost unrecognizable.
Has it been frustrating? To be honest, not really. I’ve really enjoyed writing and shaping this novel and hope one day, people will enjoy reading it. Would I do it again? For sure, as soon as the current one is completely wrapped up. I’m trying to write a short-story while still going over my novel edits and it’s difficult for me to keep 2 ‘creative’ projects going at once. I need to dive in, be involved with one creative project, and then detach before I move on to the next. I’m also aware that writing about writing is about as pretentious as it gets. Don’t worry, I haven’t started wearing a French beret and doing slam poetry yet.