No More Book Recommendations

Okay, that title is a little misleading, but I will no longer be posting book recommendations on a weekly basis. This is for several reasons. The first being that most people (and unfortunately myself included at the moment) do not read a book a week. I plan to increase my reading quantity greatly, but I’ve been struggling to find the time and a book that really grips me. You know that feeling when a story consumes your thoughts? When every neuron fired includes some aspect of the plot or characters that you can’t wait to get back to reading that book? I’ve been missing that of late. But I’ll find it again I’m sure. Of course not every book will have such an effect. I just hope to have at least a few a year that really take the reins.

The second reason is also logically simple. I’m running out of books to recommend. Before you yell at me to simply read more or try to convince me that I’ve read enough books to write a weekly recommendation for the next three years (which I’m sure I have), I must stop you and say that the recommendations I make here are made with consideration. I could easily spend a year recommending only Star Wars books, but I wouldn’t do that because I know not everyone likes that franchise and that it would be boring to see essentially the same thing every week.

What I’m trying to say is: I don’t write these recommendations simply for me. I write them because I genuinely like the book, of course, but I write them for everyone. I try to mix things up and recommend different genres, styles, and interests. I like to expand my own reading and hope to expand yours by simply considering a book I’ve recommended that you may have never heard of or would not have given a chance before seeing why I recommended it.

The third reason aligns with the second. You may not have noticed, but I have never recommended a sequel in any of my weekly recommendations. I could easily keep these posts going weekly if I had, but there is a reason I don’t, which goes along with what I stated in my second reason. If I recommend the first, and you like it, then I’m sure you can find the sequel yourselves, and I won’t be recommending something that I’ve essentially already recommended.

I have recommended several books by the same author, but never a sequel of theirs. I have recommended a series once or twice, but the first time it was all the books in one volume (more bang for the buck) and the second time I explain why in that specific post.

Now, as I wrap this up, I will clarify a few things. I am not getting rid of book recommendations completely because I think that would be dumb. I will be following through with my conviction to write the weekly recommendation through the end of this year. So, this change will not go into effect until 2019. I will still recommend books, but not as frequently or consistently. I will aim for at least one a month, but my writing aspirations for next year will consume more of my time. I will be explaining these in another post later this year.

As always, I am always open to any recommendations you may have for me. I will always encourage reading. And, of course:

Happy Reading.

I’m Getting Married Today

Hello everyone,

I know it’s been a minute since I’ve written anything that wasn’t a story or book recommendation, but I wanted to share a few things before I disappear for the next week.

I am getting married today. After four and a half years of dating the person I knew I would spend the rest of my life with from day one, we are finally making things official. Food, drink, and fun will be had. And cake too, plenty of cake. While we are all having fun here, I hope you have some fun as well wherever you are. Have a drink for me if you like. Beer or coffee or whatever. Or have some cake, or a pastry. Or do whatever your heart desires. It’s moments like these, which I am experiencing right now, that remind us that life is more than just working and stressing and raging against the current of the world. It is about fellowship and good times. These moments come too few and I hope that you are living your best life. Visiting friends and enjoying the moments without even thinking about the time.

Tonight, for me, I will be surrounded by friends and family while we all drink and dance and sit around talking. We will be celebrating and having fun. And I will be sending these good vibes out into the world and I hope some of them find you.

If anyone is worried about not having a story or book recommendation for the next week (I’m not foolish enough to believe anyone anxiously awaits these), fear not for I have prepared a few things ahead of time. That’s right, I have written a story and prepared a recommendation. Things will proceed as usual. Book recommendations on Sundays and stories on Thursdays. I even added a little micro fiction for this next week as well.

I’ll probably check-in from time to time (from my phone while in the car or something) so I won’t be completely absent, but I will be fairly silent on social media.

Anyway, I know I’ve said this earlier, but I will try to post more non-story/book posts going forward.

Next time you see a post on here though, it will be from a married man. As always, thanks for reading. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. Until next time…

Ryan

Mid-Year Update

Hi Everyone,

I realized I haven’t posted anything besides a story or book recommendation in three or four months. Well, I thought I’d give everyone an update about what’s been going on with me and a little behind-the-scenes on my writing progress.

First, and I think I may have mentioned this last time, is that I am getting married this year. I got engaged in February and will be getting married in September, so wedding planning has been keeping me busy. I also went on a vacation in May where me, my fiancee, my sister and brother-in-law all went to London then traveled around Ireland. It was a great time and can’t wait to do a bit more traveling, but I will be a married man next time I leave the country.

Life has been good. I still work full-time and stress too much about little things like money, and not getting any writing done (specifically for my book), which leads me to my writing. I first posted my aspirations regarding writing for this year. I am happy to say that I have kept up my weekly flash stories and weekly book recommendations, but I have only written and submitted a few flash stories for publication (none of which were picked-up). I do need to make more effort here, but I’ve been thinking of writing more short stories instead of flash stories for these submissions. I have increased my network of potential readers and still have regular readers, like you (thank you), who read my work. My book has gone neglected for most of the first half of this year. I had a few good writing sessions working on it after I got back from vacation, but hit another wall which I think I’ll be able to bust through fairly easily after I do some outlining.

With that, I’ve been keeping up with roughly 50% of my goals for this year. I still hope to finish the first draft of my book by the end of the year. I’m not sure if I’ll get many more stories submitted for publication, but we will see. I’ve already decided that I will be switching some things up for this blog next year. I’ll detail those changes at a later time when I know for sure what I’ll want to do.

Since I have been keeping up on my weekly flash stories, that means I’ve written 26 stories so far this year (not bad I’d say). With the other random micro-fiction stories, there are well over 50 stories in the Table of Contents for this blog. Here are a few of my personal favorites that I’ve written since I started:

Children of Changyang Mountain

Death of an Immortal

Elemental Cocktails

Mechanic

Nothing Lasts Forever

Phantom Queen

Prime Cognition

The Warmth of Snow

Variable Stars

Voyage Beyond Chains

And obviously my published story This is Your Life

 

I may expand upon a few of these and write full short stories or even novelettes or books based on the premises.

As always, I appreciate you stopping by and reading my work. I welcome all feedback and encourage any discussions had about the stories. You can comment on any of them. You can also contact me directly here if you wish to do so. I’ll respond as quickly as I can. Feel free to share my work with your friends. Any and all are welcome here.

I’m just writing for fun, and I hope you enjoy what I write. I appreciate your support and encourage you to pursue your dreams whatever they are.

Happy Reading,

Ryan

One Year Online: The Birth of a Blog

It has been exactly one year since I started this website/blog and I wanted to commemorate that with a an update on everything that has happened both online and off in the last year.

A summary about the evolution of the blog itself. I started this site to showcase my writing and have a place to muse from time to time. I had no idea at first what I was going to write about or how to even start. Needless to say, I’ve found a groove since then. Some of my earliest posts were simply opinions about what was happening in the world or about books I liked. There were a few flash or micro stories in there as well, but I never really felt like I was doing anything correctly (if there is such a thing). One of the earliest pieces of advice for younger writers is often to start a blog. I’d been told this many times throughout school. “Blog” “Showcase your writing” “Build an audience” etc., etc. I thought it over several times and always convinced myself that there was nothing I could say that anyone really wanted to hear (let alone read). Who would follow my blog? Who would read my posts? Especially if I had no idea what to do? But several years went by and I grew less afraid of what people thought of my writing and grew brave enough to submit some pieces to journals expecting the inevitable rejection (which of course did come).

It was during my Masters program that I found confidence. Somewhere hidden away behind a layer of irrational fear was a confidence in my own work. I created this blog about halfway through that program to eradicate that fear and bolster that confidence. I admit, I am still dreadfully bad at promoting my work. It feels like bragging to me (or egotistical douchebaggery). I don’t know, but I’m working on it. It’s okay to be proud of my work. I’ll convince myself of that one day.

Anyway, I started this blog. I wrote about random stuff I thought was interesting for 4 or 5 months absolutely convinced that no one was reading anything I wrote. Then one day someone visited the page. Then another, then some time later someone followed my page. I began to gather consistent views/readers (I’m up to 60+ followers which blows my mind). I found myself honing my posts to entertain my readers. I began writing a flash fiction piece once a week. (A quick note on my flash stories, I write them and post them in the same night so please forgive any typos.) Then I added a weekly book recommendation. Now I consistently post at least twice a week with a story and recommendation and more people have been stopping by to read and I cannot express how awesome that is. Even if only a few people visit each week and read, I’m thrilled. Honest. I can’t thank you enough. I just hope I can keep writing interesting things for you.

Outside of, but somewhat related to, this site I’ve created a few social media accounts for my writing. You can find me/my work on Facebook, Twitter, and Patreon. I made these to make it easier for people to find and access my work. I realized making it easier to find me is better for everyone. Going back to my terrible self-promotion (I will take any advice on this by the way), I can’t bring myself to create “Patron-only” posts on Patreon. I just can’t make some of my work walled off with a money barrier. I understand that making everything free makes a Patreon account useless, but writing is not about the money. Writing is about writing. It’s about a million other things that I should and will save for another time. I’ve found a lot of cool things through these social media accounts as well. Other artists and writers and cool writing contests. All honesty, Twitter is probably my favorite platform.

Also outside of, but still related, to this blog are my other writing projects. In my post on New Years about resolutions, I mentioned my writing goals for the year. I plan to keep up my story and recommendation a week. That’s 52 flash stories for the year. I know the quality isn’t always consistent and I hope you’ll forgive me for that. I try to write an engaging piece every week but some weeks are better than others. Other things in life sometimes come into play which I’ll get to soon. I also aim to write a few short stories to submit to journals, and I want to finish my book (which I haven’t touched in far too long). These are fairly big goals for my hope-to-make-full-time-hobby. Working a full-time job and keeping a social life and doing other, lesser hobbies really limits the time to write. Some are excuses, some are legit, but I will attain my dream. That I promise.

In October, my first published story came out in Kansas City Voices. It can also be found here. Now, that would make me an officially published writer, which is fantastic. Everyone at the journal launch was extremely awesome about it and all my friends were happy for me, and it is a great start. I’m working to increase my number of publications and hopefully get the first big one (the first book) sooner than later.

Now, completely outside of the site. I rarely talk about myself, but I’m going to try so that you can get to know me better. Many of you are from all over the world (which is super cool). This also means we are total strangers, so here is a bit about me. I completed my Masters degree in September. I got engaged at the beginning of this month and will be getting married later this year. (Which reminds me I have to change my bio….and done. I do like the word fiancee.) So I will be busy with wedding planning, but I made a promise to you and myself to at least keep up the weekly posts. So hold me to it. Let’s see…I’m a huge Legend of Zelda fan and a moderate gamer (my fiancee would disagree and say I game too much). I enjoy movies. I probably like Lord of the Rings too much (if that’s possible). I work at a University because I like learning and enjoy helping others learn and better themselves. I’m not an instructor yet but I will be. I’m not sure what else to say so I’ll move on.

You can contact me from the “Contact” page on this site, or you can leave comments on any post (including this one) or story. I’ll respond as quickly as I can. You can even ask more questions about me (yes, that’s my face in the browser tab). My two favorite colors are blue and green, just in case you were wondering. I encourage everyone to like or comment on whatever they enjoy here. I really wouldn’t mind getting to know some of you either. I’ll take advice on how to improve the site too. I’m still pretty new, but I think I’ve made little changes over the last year that have improved it a bit. I’ll also take advice on how to be a better self-promoter (feel free to promote for me if you feel so inclined and enjoy my work). If you like a story and would like to read more about it, leave a comment. There are a few flash pieces I’ve written on here that I plan to expand on.

I think that’s enough about me and my year-in-review. Thank you so much for reading. I wish you every happiness this year and all the ones that follow. If you ever need me, I’ll be here writing. Until next time. Happy reading.

Some Changes to the Blog

I’ve made a few minor changes that I hope will make it easier for everyone. You may have noticed that I added a Book Recommendations tab to the main menu. Now you can look through strictly recommendations and see why I like them if you are looking for a new book to read.

Second, under the Stories tab, there is now a drop-down menu with 3 items. The first is the Table of Contents (formerly titled Stories by Title) and you can find all my stories listed here by title with links to the stories themselves. The other two are titled Fantasy and Science Fiction. Since these are the two most common subjects of my stories (and popular subjects in general) I added these easy links which will take you to a page strictly listing posts with that specific genre. These will also include book recommendations, but will hopefully be mostly my own stories. So if you prefer one over the other, you can now find your preferred lane easier.

I hope you like these changes and I’ll try to continually improve the site. Happy reading.