#writing

Whole 30 Update No. 4 - Rebellion by Ryan Hill

 

This Whole 30 demon, "life style change," whatever you want to call it, is a never-ending pit of despair and hopelessness that would make even the most peppy person's butt hole cringe. On Saturday, my wonderful fiancee and I - led by me - went into full on rebellion mode. 

rebel.jpg

For the day.

And it felt glorious.

I've mentioned before how food is not only for the body, but the soul. After a day of ingesting all the junk and alcohol our bodies could stand, I can say that good food is almost as important for your spirit as your body.

So what if I gained three pounds that day? WORTH IT.

This week has been more of the same. A little cheating here and there, but trying to keep it under control. Whole 30 is no longer running/ruining the lives of my wonderful fiancee and myself. We've applied some lessons learned, but the program as a whole? (Phrasing). FINITO.

That program can eat a bag of pig's feet covered in grass and dirt.

 

Whole 30 Update No. 1: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly by Ryan Hill

 

The first few days of the Whole 30 program have come and gone, and somehow I'm still doing this thing.

Does it have to do with my fiancee's ultimatum that if I don't complete the 30 day program that I can never complain about gaining weight again for the rest of my life? A little.

Does it have to do with early results? A lot.

Now, I haven't magically dropped all the weight I want to, but I have dropped enough to make me curious what Week 2 will bring.

As for no soda/alcohol/pizza/enjoying life? That part is more out of sight, out of mind. So long as I don't talk about it, I'm okay. The second I start talking about it, I become a puddle of immaturity, kicking my legs in the air and begging my fiancee to let me off the hook. 

Of course, she won't let me off the hook.

I'm still getting used to drinking coffee with this ghetto Whole 30 approved creamer and the soda thing has been - so far - not too terrible, thanks to a supply of La Croix berry flavored soda.

I did try this gingerberry flavored Kombucha. It smelled like antiseptic. Tasted like it too.

Overall, I'd say Whole 30 isn't bad. But I still have the weekend to come, and that's when I like to let loose a bit.

Stay tuned.

New Year, New Plans, New Hopes by Ryan Hill

 

Welcome to 2017.

Are you excited? Petrified? As wild as 2016 was, 2017 could be an even crazier ride. Somethings, LIKE GETTING MARRIED, I'm very excited about. Others? Cautiously optimistic... emphasis on cautiously.

But one area I'm excited about for sure is books!

There's going to be a lot happening in the world of books this year, and by "world" I mean myself. These things are happening for sure:

  • Bart of Darkness: The Book of Bart - Verse 2 (May 23) - Yup! It's happening! All I can really tell you about it at the moment is Bart and Sam are both back. Quite the tease, amirite? LOLOLOLOLOLZER 
  • New branding - Everything from my website to swag to book covers is getting a face lift. All of it. The covers are going to look uniform, like they came from the same author. The website/author logo stuff will probably have a similar feel. I can't say for sure, because a new logo image hasn't been selected!
  •  A Book of Bart prequel starring Sam - This short story has been on the back burner entirely too long. I'm currently polishing it up, then unleashing it upon the world. It basically shows how Sam came to need Bart's help in Verse 1. This will most likely be a free download for anyone who joins my newsletter.
  • Utopia Con 2017 - I'll be back in Nashville this year with my amazing fiancee for the latest iteration of Utopia Con, which features WARM BODIES author Isaac Marion as the featured speaker. Will I bring my copy of BODIES and it's sequel - coming soon - for him to sign? There's a fair chance. 
  • Oct. 29, 2017 - Save the date, cuz I'm gettin married!!!

These are the things I want to happen, or at least I'll start on them on 2017:

  • Bart's Inferno: The Book of Bart - Verse 3 - Oh... oh my. Did I just reveal a third Bart book and it's title? I think I did.
  • Another Bart short - I'd like to do one or two of these a year. We'll see how well that works out.
  • A super secret collaboration with my fiancee - No, this isn't the wedding. Yes, that's super, but it's not a secret. No, we're not eloping. Yes, we are working on something together. And it's going to be pretty awesome. At least, I think so.
  • Blog more - It's bound to happen at some point... right?
  • Attend more book conferences - Money is the big obstacle here, but I hope to attend at least three this year. 
  • Read more - Because everybody says this.
  • Lose weight - I need to. And because everyone says this.

That's it for me. Hope everyone has a great 2017!

Ask a demon! by Ryan Hill

 

Welcome to the inaugural edition of ASK A DEMON. It's kind of like a Reddit Ask Me Anything, only with me. A demon. Well... ex-demon. For simplicity's sake, let's act like I'm still a full-fledged demon.

I'm Bartholomew, and I used to be - excuse me - I AM a demon. Been around for thousands of millennia, ruined plans, parties, virgins, all that jazz. Go to LinkedIn if you're looking for a resume, because if being around for thousands of millennia (and all that jazz) doesn't convince you of my credentials for handing out the greatest advice in the history of the known universe, then do me a favor. Ask someone to slap you across the face. As hard as they can. It doesn't matter who they are, just ask. After, LET THEM SLAP YOU, then tell them thanks from Bartholomew. If you need more proof of my credibility, read THE BOOK OF BART. It's about me. By me. For me. And you too, I guess, but mostly me.

Let's see who needs some of my tried and mostly true advice.

Lay Lady Layla asks:

Humans and demons have different skin, and you're always so disgustingly attractive, I have to know. What is your skin care routine?

Demons technically don't have skin. We did when we were angels, but that got messed up when all of us went to Hell. Demons have scales like a snake, but we don't molt. That would be the pits. The good news is demons can disguise our true from underneath human skin. Sort of like a Terminator, but easier to manage and higher quality. In terms of a skin care routine, I try to keep things simple.

Danielle Don't Tell asks:

What is the most unassuming way to get slated for Hell?

Assuming the most assuming way to get into Hell is to be the mastermind behind, say... the Holocaust? Probably saying something along the lines of, "I'd give anything for an hour alone with insert name of person you want five minutes alone with HERE," around the right demon. They'll set it up, but don't be surprised if that hour is spent in a broken elevator along with a screaming baby, a panicky woman who thinks all of you are about to die, a Diabetic in need of an insulin shot, and a man who's hungover and claustrophobic, all while you're stuck with a bladder that will explode at any moment. 

Just sayin'.

Juan John Silver asks:

What's the best way to get a cat out of a tree?

One could go up there and get the cat themselves, wait for the cat to get bored and come down, or call the fire department, but what's the fun in any of those? Instead, I propose stealing a car - the greasiest one available - and crashing it into the tree going at least 40 miles-per-hour. In theory, the force should throw the cat from the tree. And since cats always land on their feet, no harm no foul. Right?

Want your question answered by me? Send them to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com with ASK A DEMON in the subject line. Who knows? You might get lucky.

Until next time...

Bartholomew signing off

 

 

 

Introducing... ASK A DEMON by Ryan Hill

Have you ever needed advice on something, but were too scared to ask your parents? Want to know the best way to get revenge on that bully who won't stop giving you noogies? Then you've come to the right place!

Bartholomew, that handsome, smooth, dastardly scoundrel of a demon (his words, not mine) has graciously decided to take some time away from his busy schedule of chasing virgins and corrupting souls to answer questions from YOU, for FREE. Normally, this kind of thing requires payment in the form of a Maserati or, oh, YOUR SOUL, but Bartholomew is doing this for free. He'd never admit it, but personally? I think his friend Samantha put him up to it in the hopes he might actually help someone. Can't say for sure, though. 

Send your questions to ryan@ryanhillwrites.com with the subject line ASK A DEMON, and maybe Bartholomew will answer your question!

In the meantime, you can follow Bartholomew's shenanigans in THE BOOK OF BART, with parts 2 and 3 coming 2017!

On Going From One Manuscript to Another by Ryan Hill

 

I've picked up on an interesting trend with my writing. Ever since I finished The Book of Bart - Verse 1 - the draft that was submitted to agents and publishers - I've had a tendency to bounce around from manuscript to manuscript for whatever reason. Sometimes it's from writer's block, others because my attention has been pulled elsewhere. The reasons vary, but the point is the same.

I struggle to stick with one manuscript from beginning to completion.

It's not a good or a bad thing, but it is a thing with me. Take my latest release, The Conch Shell of Doom. I wound up writing about 30k words, then abandoned the manuscript. My anxiety/depression had been gnawing at me the entire time I'd been writing (even before), and I'd had enough, so I dropped it and moved on to another book, one that was intended to be more commercial and the first of a trilogy called The Luminari Crown. I only made it 20k words into that one before the anxiety/depression got to me again, and I dropped that manuscript as well. 

I took some time for myself, then sat down to read what I'd written of The Conch Shell of Doom. Without the anxiety clouding my judgment, I noticed that Conch Shell was pretty good, and worth finishing. In between then and now, I had both The Book of Bart and my zombie novel Dead New World published, forcing me to leave Conch Shell for a time. In between edits on Conch Shell, I started The Book of Bart - Verse 2, then had to leave it for more Conch Shell edits, and wound up starting a dark, young adult mystery novel. Earlier this week, I finished the first draft of Bart 2. It's okay if you're having trouble keeping up.

The playing of musical chairs with manuscripts has paid off in an unexpected way. So many writers - myself included - can get so deep into a story they can't see the forest for the trees. Leaving a manuscript to work on something else not only gives you breathing room and the chance to use creative muscles that may have atrophied on the previous work, but it gives you perspective.

Yes, it's difficult getting back into the flow of a manuscript this way, but after a couple of days, it feels like I never left. I also feel refreshed upon return, which brings new ideas that wouldn't have popped up if I hadn't moved to something else. Sure, some continuity issues can arise, especially with things from the beginning of the novel, but that's what editing is for; to smooth out the story and flesh out portions that need more exploration. 

I don't know that I'd recommend this method of writing, but it's been working for me the last few years. If you're stuck or feeling down about your work though, it may be just the ticket to helping the manuscript get back on track.

Enjoy!

Interview time with ASLEEP's KRYSTAL WADE!!! by Ryan Hill

 

"Time to let all the kings know that the ACE is back." - Dr. Dre

That's an appropriate quote for author Krystal Wade, who's already rocked the casbah with CHARMING, the WILDE'S trilogy, and SHATTERED SECRETS. It's only appropriate she does it again with ASLEEP, a thrilling mash-up between SNOW WHITE and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (something I totally screwed up in the Q&A below).

Even more, Krystal doesn't just have a new novel out. Because that's child's play for her at this point. ASLEEP doesn't just signify another entry in the outstanding catalog that is the collected works of Krystal Wade, it's the debut entry in her OWN PUBLISHING HOUSE, Blaze Publishing! 

How effin' sweet is that? "Yeah, this book stuff is old hat. I think I'll step my game up a notch for no other reason than BECAUSE I CAN."

Ryan note: Krystal is my friend/kindred spirit/wise kemosabi, and she's flippin' sweet. If you don't know her, you're worse off for it.

Such a great/creepy cover!

Such a great/creepy cover!

"To cure fear, you must use fear."

Rose Briar claims no responsibility for the act that led to her imprisonment in an asylum. She wants to escape, until terrifying nightmares make her question her sanity and reach out to her doctor. He's understanding and caring in ways her parents never have been, but as her walls tumble down and Rose admits fault, a fellow patient warns her to stop the medications. Phillip believes the doctor is evil and they'll never make it out of the facility alive. Trusting him might be just the thing to save her. Or it might prove the asylum is exactly where she needs to be.

If you want to see more of ASLEEP, you can find the Ten Weeks of Teasers and other great content on the Blaze Publishing blog. Order your copy now!

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Signed Copy of Asleep   Goodreads

ON TO THE QUESTIONS!

Congratulations on ASLEEP! This is the first release under your own banner, Blaze Publishing. I won't ask about what it's like creating a publishing house, because we all know the answer: it's hard and a lot of work. What I will ask, though, is with ASLEEP, which you wrote, being the first novel coming out through Blaze, which you run, do you feel there's some sort of weird nepotism thing going on there?

Yep! We plan to have a whole lot of nepotism at Blaze. Because NEPOTISM! 

On a more serious note, there has to be a lot of additional pressure on you. Having a novel come out is pressure enough, but ASLEEP is also the first look the world gets at the quality of work Blaze Publishing will be releasing. To relieve some of the pressure you're feeling, I've provided canned, multiple choice answers for you. Choose the most appropriate.

A. So much pressure I've gone from drinking wine maybe once a month to downing shots of hard liquor day after day in the hopes of finding some relief from this headache.

B. It's a good thing this interview isn't being video-taped, because I've lost patches of hair, and the only extensions I could find came from discarded My Little Pony manes.

C. Pressure? I thrive on pressure. Don't worry about how much coffee I drink or how many cartons of cigarettes I smoke a day. That information is private and I will not share it, especially with you.

D. Huh? What? Sorry, this heroin is some good stuff.

ASLEEP is your second genre mash-up after the very cool CHARMING. A mix between SNOW WHITE and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is pretty crazy. Do you have a dartboard covered in potential genres to combine and whichever two genres the darts hit first become the framework for your next novel?

SLEEPING BEAUTY and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. But I forgive you. And your idea about the dart board is excellent. Maybe I'll try that in the future.

*Ryan note: That’s right, SLEEPING BEAUTY… I’m an idiot.

Since ASLEEP is very much about nightmares, what's one nightmare you've had that scared you to the point you were freaked out the next day?

I've had several nightmares like that. But the ones that usually have me crying when I wake up are when loved ones die in dreams. I once had a dream so vivid, so horrific about my daughter being kidnapped and then brutally murdered while we were on a skiing trip that I STILL get nervous right before every ski trip. 

I still have dreams where I think I forgot to write a term paper, or forgot to put on anything besides underwear (which isn't a bad dream. In fact, I and the ladies in said dream rather like it). Do you have any recurring dreams like that? 

I actually don't have recurring dreams all that often, and when I do, I usually forget them until the next time they pop up in my dreams. So, um, not sure.

Many readers may not be aware you have a chicken coop in your backyard. Do they ever wake you up at the butt crack o' dawn with their yelling? If so, how often do you feel the need to "make an example" of one of them? Do you worry they may break free and peck one of your fingers off? Also... HOW DO THEY TASTE? The chickens, not your fingers.

No cockadoodle dooing here. We have all hens, and we've never eaten them. We use them for eggs only.

Did anything influence your writing on ASLEEP? Watch any scary films, spooky TV shows, or read any terrifying books to help you get in the right frame of mind to write ASLEEP?

I'm always watching the spooky, the fantastical, the emotional on television or in movies. I don't think any particular show or book influenced me during the writing process, but clearly a couple stories mashed up influenced the book.

Are you currently writing anything else? If not, WHY? PEOPLE LIKE READING YOUR BOOKS, WADE. GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT. WHY AREN'T YOU GIVING THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT? That is, if you're not currently giving the people what they want.

I'm trying to give the people what they want! Come on! I do have a couple more books in process, but my focus right now is on publishing. I do hope to have one release next year, a mystery that mashes up BEFORE I FALL with FREQUENCY!

Let's play fill in the blank. Come up with your craziest genre mash-ups.

The Princess Bride meets Practical Magic in this tale of lust and revenge set amidst the Protestant Reformation.

Meet Joe Black meets Silence of the Lambs as two brothers, one Asian and one Russian, vie for the affections of a woman who runs a hot dog stand in 1980s New York City.

Field of Dreams meets Doc Hollywood as a humble, poor, illiterate man does whatever it takes to become the greatest dentist in all of South Dakota.

In haiku format, tell everyone why they should buy/read or buy/not read but definitely buy ASLEEP.

You should read Asleep.
It will give you the creeps.
And you will not sleep.

As always, a big thank you to Krystal for taking the time to answer my insane questions, and being an awesome friend/author!

You can follow/stalk Krystal on social media at Website   Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   Google+

See? Toldja she's got her own publishing house!

See? Toldja she's got her own publishing house!

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Love my parents by Ryan Hill

 

Last weekend, during the SNOWPOCALYPSE: 2016 EDITION, I took Hunter S. Gonzodog out, so she could do her business. The Gonzodog loves the snow, and ran into a wooded area near my apartment. While trying to keep my grip on the leash, I lost my phone in the pile of snow and leaves.

Gonzodog!

Gonzodog!

It took a little while to find the thing, and fortunately everything still worked. Not long after, I told both of my parents about what happened separately. Mind you, I live in Raleigh, NC, and my parents in Greensboro, NC, so one guess as to how I was talking to them.

Hint: It was with my phone!

Mom

Me: So I lost my phone in the leaves taking Hunter out.

Mom: Did you find it?

Me: I'm talking to you on it, aren't I?

Mom: Oh. Shut up.

Dad

Me: Did Mom tell you I lost my phone in the leaves earlier?

Dad: No. Did you find... oh.



On being 36-years-old by Ryan Hill

 

No joke, that title felt weird to write. It brings up so many thoughts. Where the time went, what to do with the time ahead of me, and the fact that in the grand scheme of things I'm not old, but hot damn. I'M 36.

Pretty much

Pretty much

Getting older is always something you worry about when you're younger. Twenty-somethings fret over every birthday, because it brings them one digit closer to the end-all, be-all that is thirty. Why? Because it's a number all of us have seared in our brains as TIME TO GET YO SHIT TOGETHER AND BE A REAL, ACTUAL ADULT. Heck, my mom cried when Dad turned 30.

Guess what? Being in your thirties really isn't that bad. At all. I prefer it to being in my twenties.

I was a friggin mess in my twenties. I was still trying to figure life, the universe, and everything out with little success. I didn't have a foothold in, well, anything. My early-to-mid twenties were mired in a haze of longing for my college days while trying to figure out the whole adult thing. My late twenties were more about trying to squeeze as much fun in before the big three-oh hit. I even wrote a manuscript about a guy reflecting on his life before he turns thirty. I can't say I was a mess about it, but some people are.

My thirtieth birthday turned out to be kind of a baptism by fire into "adulthood." I'd discovered someone stole my mail, taking checks intended to pay bills and counterfeiting them to buy stuff to the tune of $800.

Welcome to adulthood, Ryan! Here's a swift kick in the ass to get you started!

It really was kind of a harbinger of things to come. My thirties have by far been the most difficult decade of my life, but it's also been the most rewarding. I've become a published author. I still get to review movies, i.e. see them for free before everyone else and write about them. More than that, other things happen in your thirties that are pretty awesome.

Mainly, you stop giving a flying f--k about everything. By everything, I don't mean ev-er-y-thing, but everything that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. With some life experience under their belt, people settle into themselves in their thirties, and with that comes a level of comfort with who you are - some might even call it self esteem - that elevates you above worrying about whether someone thinks you're full of it, and other assorted items like that. Ya just don't care. And it's a wonderful thing. It builds up confidence, and makes dealing with all the B.S. that life throws at you that much easier to handle.

Granted, being in your thirties does have the drawback of OMGZ MY BODY WON'T STOP FALLING APART.

This part is actually worse for me, since I blew my back out six-years-ago doing too much weight on a Lat Row Machine. I've got two ruptured discs that irritate the Sciatica in my left leg. It's been awful. But enough about me.

I liken the physical deterioration in your thirties to a toy. When it's new, everything is strong and sturdy, but over time, wear and tear sets in. Some things don't work as well as they used to. That's kind of what your body is like in your thirties. It's not terrible, but you do notice the changes, which range from achy joints to inability to stay up late, less tolerance to extreme cold or heat, etc. Basically, if you blew out your knee at some point, that knee is going to remind you of it on an almost daily basis in thirties. Your hair also turns grey on a more steady basis, but that's kind of whatever. It doesn't bother me at all.

So to anyone afraid of turning 30, don't be. Like everything else, it's a mix of good and bad. Sure, it's different and your mortality starts coming into focus, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Then again, as someone who's never been married, has no kids, a spotty (at best) relationship record, I could be talking out of my ass.*

I pretty much always reserve the right to admit I'm talking out of my ass. If I'm wrong on something, so be it.

 

 

On Adapting THE BOOK OF BART For Film/TV by Ryan Hill

 

Fun fact: I originally wanted to be a screenwriter. After I finished grad school in 2004, I even moved out to Los Angeles in the hopes of making that dream a reality. Long story short, I came back to North Carolina after six months. I missed my family, friends, clean(ish) air, and a zillion other things. But I never lost the writing bug (obviously).

Last year, I got the idea to write a pilot script for The Book of Bart. I've always felt it would make a good show, something that could be a book-end to, say, Supernatural, so while I was in the middle of edits on the upcoming The Conch Shell of Doom, I set to work turning Bart into a 50-odd page pilot script. I'd written feature-length screenplays before, but not an adaptation.

For anyone out there considering adapting their novel, know that writing a script is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like writing a novel. They're different beasts with different rules. A novel can really dig into details and emotions, enveloping the reader in the soft, gentle sway of a tree branch in the wind. If that line were written in a script, the reader would toss it in the garbage and move on to the next script. With novels, that kind of writing is welcomed, and sometimes even praised. It can also mask potential deficiencies in plot or dialogue. 

Guess what?

SCRIPTS ARE ALL ABOUT PLOT AND DIALOGUE.

Scripts require the most sparse, bare-bones writing possible. Every single word matters. A script is meant to serve as a blueprint for a film or TV production. What's on the page is meant to be on the screen. If it can't be seen or heard, it shouldn't be in the script. Emotions, motive, all that stuff has to be left to the cast and crew for interpretation. Ever read a play, like Thornton Wilder's Our Town? There's the scene location, characters, and dialogue. That's it. Everything else is left to the director, actors, set designers, etc., to interpret as they see fit. A script is similar, though there's room for just enough description to paint a visual picture. 

The transition from book to screen is never seamless. Even films like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter have differences/departures from the books. The change in medium makes it impossible to stay 100 percent true to the source material because of length, a scene isn't visually compelling, or what works as a book doesn't necessarily work as a film. Some books just aren't meant to be adapted, while others are.

This one wasn't.

This one wasn't.

I knew going in that adapting Bart to a visual medium would be tricky. Much of the fun comes from Bart's narration, and only so much of that can survive before characters wind up standing in front of a camera, waiting for the voice over narration to finish so they can move on to the next thing. It became a balancing act of mixing the narration into a mix of voice over and dialogue. 

While I'm happy with the pilot for The Book of Bart, there's a lot of work left before it can even think about seeing the light of day. And that's fine. If nothing else, it was a learning experience, so onward and upward, and all that stuff. I'll share it one day, but today it's about the challenges of adapting one's work to a different medium.

John Irving won an Oscar for adapting his novel The Cider House Rules. Suzanne Collins wrote a draft of the first Hunger Games film. So adapting your work can be done, and done quite well. Just go into it knowing that by no means is it a cake walk, and good luck!

New Month, Same Goals by Ryan Hill

 

It's a new month, which means there's got to be one or two people out there interested in what I have to say, right Mom and Dad? Mom? Dad? Anyone?

*crickets*

Pfft. Like my parents read my stuff anyway. And I'm 100% okay with that. I meant it. Really. I STILL LOVE YOU TWO. NO HATE AT ALL.

New Month

September should be a fun month. I finally get to meet my little niece Jo, college football starts (Go Wolfpack!), fantasy football also begins, and the otherworldly, non-climate change* induced armpit of heat and humidity known as summer goes away. 

sarcasm

Same Goals

My goal(s) are the same they have been for the past few years. Have enough success to where I can write novels full-time, then go from there. 

To get more specific, I'm still shopping around my latest manuscript, The Conch Shell of Doom, to agents in the literary world. Some of you may think that's an absurd title for a novel, and to that I say OF COURSE IT IS. Some of you may also think nobody worth their salt would be interested in a novel with such an absurd title, and to that I say SHUT UP MAYBE SOMEBODY WILL.

Anyone who knows me knows that a novel called The Conch Shell of Doom is right up my alley. It's a fun, paranormal, Goonies-style romp. It will see the light of day, that much I can promise. I'm just not sure how.

I'm also hard at work on an UNTITLED YA MANUSCRIPT, which is a non-funny, non-silly, dark story with one of the most original titles in the history of books. Yes, I mostly write silly books, but I also like to stretch my writer muscles and dive into areas that are new or unfamiliar to me - in this case, a female POV. The story revolves around an 18-year-old teen girl who visits her brother's killer in jail, only to come away wondering if the wrong person was convicted. Scandalous! 

Work also continues on the TV pilot script for The Book of Bart, which I'm co-writing with my friend Josh Lanier, a writer for the Charlotte sketch comedy group Robot Johnson. I'm still a little over halfway through with The Unspoken Rule: The Book of Bart Verse 2, but it's currently on the back-burner while I expand my writing horizons. Not to worry! Once my Untitled novel is finished, Verse 2 is next on the docket.

 

 

The Six Stages of Reading George R.R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series by Ryan Hill

 

One doesn't simply sit down to read George R.R. Martin's mammoth A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series. It's an investment in time. LOTS of time. YEARS even. For anyone who reads a lot, each entry in the series (five and counting) is so friggin long, they're the equivalent of three to four "normal length" books. That's not to say the books aren't fantastic, they just require you to give up years of your life to finish them.

So, while you're reading the books, partly for enjoyment and partly because you refuse to let the GAME OF THRONES TV show never, ever, ever rip your heart and your guts out at the same time again, that pile of books sitting on the book shelf waiting to be read only grows larger, adding to the anxiety that your life is spinning out of control because these books are so time-consuming and you'll never reach a point where you can read a book not written by George R.R. Martin in this lifetime. 

Now...

Stage One: Excitement

That's right! Screw you, HBO! You're not going to pull another Red Wedding on THIS guy. I'll already know what's happened! LET'S DO THIS

Stage Two: The crushing blow of reality

Okay, been reading A GAME OF THRONES for a few weeks now, and... shit. Over 600 pages to go. This is really good and all, but damn.

Stage Three: Depression

Three months in. Still 400 pages to go. Most of my relationships never lasted this long. Body shutting down. Tell Mom I love her.

Stage Four: Hope

Only 200 pages to go! Heads are getting lopped off left and right! I can see the finish line!

 

Stage Five: Triumph

Oh yeah! Just finished a 900 page book! It's Miller Time!

One down... wait.

No.

No...

Four to go? At least the ones that have come out? So, after knocking out 900 pages, there's still 4,000 more to go? I WILL NEVER CATCH UP TO THIS DAMN SHOW. 

Stage six: Complete and utter defeat

Just... go on without me. Try to remember the good things we shared. I'm not getting out of Westeros with my head attached to my body.



I used to like those end of year "Best of" lists... by Ryan Hill

 

First, it's my birthday! The big 3-5. I am officially middle aged. I may talk about what that's like for all the younger folk out there, but not today. I will share that since it is Dec. 15, both of my novels, THE BOOK OF BART and DEAD NEW WORLD, are Amazon Countdown Deals today, and available for 99 cents! Get on that. Seriously. This blog will be here when you get back.

As the title suggests, I'm not a fan of those "Best of" lists that every blog/media outlet/publication put out at the end of every year, proclaiming these ten items to be the best in a certain category for that given year. Is this slightly hypocritical, considering my debut THE BOOK OF BART was a finalist in the USA Book News Best of 2014 Awards in humor? Absolutely. Do I love all other Top Ten lists that don't mention books? ABSOLUTELY.

Allow me to clarify on my blatant hypocrisy. Reading a bunch of "Best Books of 2014" lists make me sad. The life of an indie/small press/hybrid author can be a difficult one. Everywhere you go, you're always second (or third) fiddle to authors from the Big 5 publishers, and that's okay. It really is. But, places like The AV ClubTime Magazine, etc. that do these end of year lists, especially for books, rarely read anything outside of the major publishers, eliminating books like mine before they've even had a chance to be considered. When I read these lists, part of me wonders if I'll see one of my books that came out this year, or maybe even one a friend wrote. 

Nope.

Never.

Not once.

Yes, I'm complaining and can be considered sour grapes. Guess what? I am complaining. I am sour grapes. Some author recently publicly ranted about not being nominated (or awarded, I can't remember) for some big writerly award. It made me sick, when so many authors can't even garner consideration for something like that. Sure, it's a case of the haves and have-nots. I get that. Honestly, it doesn't even make me upset when I see the same ten books on every list, none of which are mine. It's cool. I just wish it was easier for authors like myself to get more attention. Ah well. It is my birthday, so I'm allowed to rant about completely superficial stuff. Maybe one day I'll be a popular enough author to merit consideration for one of these lists, maybe not. In the meantime, there will still be a slight womp womp sound in my head when I don't see an author I know on the list. 

On Getting a Bad Review by Ryan Hill

 

For writers, a good review is like an elixir. A validation of their talent. A sign that yes, a writer has talent, and now they have the glowing review to prove it. Sure, everything comes up aces when the good reviews are coming in, but what about those times when a writer gets a bad review?

Of course authors want everyone on the planet to love their book. To laud it as the next Harry Potter, or shout from the rooftops that the world has found the next John Green. That's human nature. Sadly, for whatever reason, if enough people read your book, bad reviews are absolutely going to follow. 

A bad review can wound an author's soul. Send them into a tailspin. Don't believe me? Click here. Every book an author writes is intensely personal. This isn't just a novel. It's their novel. It's a piece of their soul. As such, the work is sometimes thought of as the author's kid, or something along those lines. This makes a bad review all the more painful.

You can't please everyone. It's science. So what if someone doesn't like a book? Writers read books they don't like too. They may have a greater appreciation for the time it takes to create a published novel, but it won't change their opinion on whether or not it's any good. Also, once a writer sends their work out into the world, technically it isn't theirs anymore. A writer has no control over their work once it's in the hands of someone else. So why get upset when things don't turn out well? A bad review isn't an indictment of the writer as a person (or as a writer). And if a bad review comes across that way, then the reviewer is either jealous, looking for attention, is a massive tool, or all of the above. Just like when I get shot down by a beautiful woman at a bar, a writer shouldn't take rejection by a reader to heart. Sometimes, it's just not in the cards. For whatever reason, it wasn't meant to be.

Instead, a writer needs to focus on the positive. Yes, a writer got a bad review, but think about all of the success it took to get the book into the hands of a negative reviewer. If a writer gets a negative review, it typically means that writer is good enough at writing to be PUBLISHED. That's a big effin' deal. Looking at it like that, a writer shouldn't care about a negative review. I don't. With two published novels under my belt, I'm secure enough in my abilities as a writer that a couple of bad reviews aren't going to burst my bubble. Point in fact, I'd like to see them do better (because they can't).

So let go, move forward, and keep writing!