The week that wasn’t, June 18, delayed considerably

It took me only three weeks in to miss a Sunday blog post. Not exactly a record.

I want to say that it was because it was Father’s Day this last Sunday, and between the Oregon Renaissance Fair the day before (spoiler: IT WAS AWESOME) and the laissez faire of FD, I just didn’t have an opportunity to post a blog entry.

Truth is, I just didn’t have the inclination. The last week has been a dismal week for writing, and no one wants to stand up on the pulpit, as it were, and admit their shortcomings before an audience. According to my word tracking scripts and monitors, I haven’t added a single word to The Maiden’s Tears in seven days (since the 13th).  This isn’t writer’s block, and I haven’t given up on the novel. Far from it, in fact. Mostly, my brain has just needed a break, I guess.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-eyrBCsQ6hCs/WUqthv3vsfI/AAAAAAAAVMo/zQW-anCnTSw38ObaZgZ8PET-VebW38ZMQCCoYBhgL/s144-o/20170617_152909.jpg” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/100209810380444992363/6434145811099365169#6434145812949742066″ caption=”My ladies at the Oregon Ren Fair this last weekend. Cameo shot of Mary, Queen of Scotts in the background :)” type=”image” alt=”20170617_152909.jpg” image_size=”5312×2988″ peg_gal_align=”right” peg_img_align=”right” ] As mentioned, the Renaissance Fair was awesome. Back when my bride and I were first married, we were a bit short of funds for many things, including a honeymoon. But the week after we got married, there was a local Renaissance Fair where we lived in Virginia. These days you can find pictures of it on io9 because it’s overgrown and looks a bit haunted, but for us it remains a really bright and happy memory. This was the Oregon fair’s second year, and it was spectacular, huge, and very much full of awesome. The kids had fun, we had fun, and the jousting was superb (and a bit more authentic than I remember from other fair’s we’ve been to).

I’m still reading It. It really says something when you’re 800 pages into a book, or just over 50%. It is huge.  But I’m already looking forward to my TBR pile, which grew a bit this week. I placed an order with Abe Books (I’ve always had good luck with them) and expect the first of the next books on my TBR to show up relatively soon.

Outside of writing, reading, and a Celtic themed fair weekend, the last week was mostly a blur of workdays. Here’s hoping the rest of this week is more productive in the non-work arena.

…and  a final note. If you’ve read Chrysalis, I could really use the reviews on Amazon (the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything else). It’s easy to ask folks that know me to give the book a chance, but people that don’t know me rely on reviews to decide whether a books is worthy of trying. Reviews from other readers make a book more worth taking a risk on. If you’ve read the book, please consider leaving a review. If you haven’t and are a member of the Kindle Unlimited plan, you can read the book for free. Thanks!

 

Mailing lists! Re-releases! Giveaway!

Legitimately not click-bait. In order:

  • Want to know when I have something being published or other writing news ahead of the blog? Join the mailing list! You’ll get notified of upcoming publications and pre-releases ahead of the blog! Just visit the newly rebuilt CummingsWrites and sign up!
  • Want to get copies of books before they’re released? Yes, I said books! Sign up for the ARC list here! There’s only one catch – by signing up, you agree to leave a review when the book is published. Failure to let me know about the review will have you removed from the ARC list.
  • Haven’t read A Scent of Roses yet? Good news! I’ve released an updated copy on Amazon, this time with (I’m ashamed to say) better spell checking and grammar checks. If you’ve already read the book, that’s fine too – there are no changes to the content of the book, only the corrections that should have been there the first time. As a part of this release, I’ve also switch to the new Amazon printing of the book, which means a lower cost for you!
  • Finally, between now and May 26, I will be running a raffle! Anyone that signs up for the mailing list will be eligible to win a free Kindle copy of A Scent of Roses, and one lucky winner will also get a copy of my upcoming book, Chrysalis.

On book reviews and the end of the Fantasy Book Addict

For the last few years, I have been an on again/off again book reviewer at the Fantasy Book Addict. It was never a paying gig, which meant I was largely free to review what I wanted when I wanted. Over the last few years I’ve established a relationship with some publishers, made some friends, and had the opportunity to read and review books before they were published. Fellow bibliophiles will agree, it’s that last one that was key – to get books you want to read, before they are published, and share your opinion on them before they are in stores? Talk about the power of reading.

English: Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade...
English: Stack of books in Gould’s Book Arcade, Newtown, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I won’t deny, though, that I’ve waivered on my commitment. Sometimes it was real life intruding; sometimes, it was my own sense of guilt at reading something that wasn’t destined for a review when I knew there was so much piling up and waiting for me. While I may have only reviewed an average of a book or two a month, I received many times that in opportunities. Why didn’t you see blurbs for those other books? Frankly, because I had a simple rule: only review the books that I enjoyed. It seemed to me to be far more respectful to give praise to books I liked, than to to give any time to explaining why I didn’t like a particular book. Feeling overwhelmed, particularly during hectic months, I would consider throwing in the towel and stopping.

And then one more book would arrive, one more catching my eye and demanding my attention and love.

Yesterday I (finally) finished reading Shattered Shields and set out to do a review. Typed, edited, posted, I went to the FBA site to post my review – and found it gone. While I had considered quitting multiple times, I had always thought it would be on my own terms. Finding the site missing, erased from the web, was a bit of a shocker to me.

I spoke to Stacey last night, and I understand the rationale. She’s recently published her own books and was beginning to feel like it was a conflict of interest to be reviewing other people’s work while pushing and working on her own. For myself, I feel an unexpected void. Aside from needing to contact a few publishers to cancel ARC’s, not much has changed. And yet, I recognize this as being the end of a chapter. Of course, I’ll still read, and post my reviews, but it feels weird to not be doing it “for real.”