I read a lot of books, but don’t really think about it much until somebody asks me about a show, a movie, or what I did over the weekend. To the shows and movies, the response is usually “I haven’t seen it,” or “I’m only half-way through season one.” When it comes to the weekend question, it’s usually “nothing.” What I’m usually doing is working through the one or two books I’ve started that week, sometime three, depending on the novel’s length. It’s fiction, usually, though the occasional non-fiction book crosses my path depending on what’s catching my curiosity at the time.

This isn’t normal, based on what I gather from others around me, including a few other authors. (Though to be sure, most my fellow authors do read as much or more). Reading is one reason I became an author, once I realized it was becoming harder to find stories I wanted to read, yet I’m still reading as much now as when I was working the 9-5 jobs. Part of that is habit and taking pleasure in reading, and another is reading to see how stories are put together. 

It’s great practice, but there’s some FOMO when I hear about other writers talking about all the shows, movies, comic books, ‘cons, and podcasts they’re into. Maybe there’s one weird trick I’m missing on my website that’s keeping my books from getting noticed and I’m too deep on the book side. What if there’s some industry news I need to know so I’m not caught in some outdated marketing backwater, throwing good money at advertising that just doesn’t work anymore? What if a TV show shows me a new spin on an old trope that would be perfect for my space opera stories?

Or worse: what if my cultural references go stale because I’m behind the popular media?


Reading! The world is a complex place and the best way I’ve found to wrestle with its problems is to sit down and engage with them for hours at a time. Sometimes directly (non-fiction) and sometimes by exploring how others might approach life (fiction). It’s often faster to read than to watch or listen to a story, and when you miss something, it’s just a flick of the eyes back to the passage confusing me and not rewinding back to watch the scene over or (as my hearing and Hollywood’s sound editing gets worse) turning on closed captioning to know what the actors just said.

Until it’s time to watch Shogun, because that book takes too damn long to read and the costume design on that show is amazing.

How much do you read in a week or month? I’d like to know if it’s just me.

Reader Goodies

Science Fiction and Fantasy images

Dystopian Worlds

This month’s giveaway features dystopian worlds and the despots that ‘topeian them (that’s not an actual word, but it should be!). If you are looking to get lost in a corrupt system and fight it from within, this is your jam. They feel so heavy and oppressive at first, which makes them so cathartic when they get overturned at the end.

The cover of The Star Fraction by Ken MacLeod

The Crypt: Shakedown

The Dirty Dozen meets Crimson Tide in this space opera by one of my favorite authors, Scott Sigler. The Crypt takes place in his GFL universe but rather than focusing on aliens playing football for gangsters, it’s a story about a Planetary Union black ops ship crewed by murders, extortionists, serial killers, psychopaths, and soldiers out of options aboard the PUV James Keeling, whose 80% attrition rate earns it it’s unofficial name The Crypt. This tale follows a dozen characters, each with their own secrets and hidden agendas as they operate an alien ship that sneaks around hostile ships in an alternate dimension called the Mud, which nobody really understands except that prolonged exposure breaks human minds. When the ship’s tasked with a deep run into Purist Nation space to retrieve a Union spy, what could possibly go wrong?

Sigler writes page-turning scifi and horror. He combines both genres in this book and his reasons for the WWII-style starship-as-a-submarine action has plausible reasoning behind it, postulating the discovery of an engine that pulls a ship along the curvature of spacetime, said technology being weaponized, and the resulting disrupting quantum effects rendering computers unreliable. Therefore, human gunners are relevant and ships battle close enough to make marine raiding parties a genuine threat. Coupled with the murky alien nature of the Mud and the (mostly) criminal crew, there’s delightful chaos and surprises in every chapter.

Highly recommended. 


Don't hate on my poor popup!
She just wants to offer you something cool.

Don't hate on my poor popup!

She just wants to offer you something cool.

Grab a free copy of Black Betty: A Badlands Story when you join the mailing list. You'll also get a monthly dose of reading goodness with updates on the latest releases and list-only exclusives.

Success! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.