A Pair of Curious Problems

I turned 40 not long ago.  That fact alone seems rather surreal and not quite possible.  Statistically speaking then, I’m about halfway through this life.  True, I may not be quite at the halfway point.  In fact, if I turn out to be one of those bizarre cases, it could be that I’m only a third of the way through.  Or it could be that I’ve expended two-thirds or better of the time I’ve been given.  We never know.  But for the sake of this posting, let’s settle on half.

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)

In looking at my Goodreads to-be-read shelf, I see that I have over 700 books on there.  That does not include all the books I’d like to read or even all of the physical books that I have sitting on bookshelves, waiting for me to pick them up.  There was a time when I had to ponder what my next read would be, when I would work on one or two books at a time and had to have the physical book in front of me.  Now, I can read almost anywhere and typically have a half-dozen or so in progress at any one time.  I’ve become extremely picky about what I add to my shelf, only picking up unknown books by unknown authors (to me, at least) when they have at least 4.5 stars by double-digit or better reviewers.  Most of the time, I don’t even open my BookBub emails anymore, because I’ve come to realize that even if I stopped adding books today and only worked on my backlog, looking at my rate of reading (which has averaged 27 books a year over the past 3 years), there’s a good chance I don’t have enough years left to get through them all.  It’s a rather sad thought.  True, I could read faster than I do, but what would be the point in that?  I read for either the enjoyment, the knowledge, or both, and I tend to not enjoy it and not pick up as much when I speed-read.  Thus, I read at the speed at which I can enjoy and get the most from the experience.  That whole quality of life vs. quantity.  So, I have to accept that every time I pick up a book that it may be at the expense of getting through another in this lifetime.  And thus, it had better be a good read.  I don’t give books nearly the chance that I once did because life is too short to waste on a mediocre or poor reading experience.

Then there is the other side of the coin to books:  the writing.  I’ve heard of writers bemoan the process, worried that the muse will give out and they’ll be left with nothing to write.  I don’t understand that.  I have the opposite problem (knock on wood that I’m not jinxing myself).  I have scores of story ideas written down, even more that I’ve forgotten (although I figure that if they’re worth telling, they’ll come back to me).  I work on the ones that gnaw the worst at my brain and won’t let me be and for which I think I’m up to the challenge*.  Unless senility claims me early, I can’t imagine running out of stories to tell.  Although, granted, I’m not able to turn them out very quickly, so maybe that’s a problem for the full-time writers.  Or the unimaginative.  But again, as with the reading, I don’t expect to live long enough to tell all the tales that are waiting for me to tell.  And that’s just as sad to me as the fact I’ll not be able to read all that I’d like.  Perhaps more so, I’ve not yet decided.

Am I the only one who thinks this?  Let me know.  Thanks for reading.

 

*Yes, Three, I know that you (and your sequel) keep gnawing at me, but I don’t think I’m up the challenge of your second draft yet.  Come talk to me after Parts is done.

All D Lee Stories FREE in October!

Ah, it’s Fall.  The weather’s cooler, the leaves are changing colors, there’s sweet and tart apple cider about, and soon the kiddies will be dressing up as princesses and… wait a minute, that doesn’t sound like D Lee.  Let me try again…

There’s a chill in the air.  The leaves on the trees are dying, turning brown.  They’ll soon release their grip, leaving stark branches outlined against a steely gray, uncaring sky.  The chill worms its way into the hearts of the people who know that the Winter will soon be here, all of nature dying for another year, and forcing contemplation of our own short existences.  But before old man Winter descends on the lands, we must first go through the time of the reaping, All Hallow’s Eve, when all manner of creatures – spirits and demons – get to roam the land and go bump in the night.  The wise will huddle close to the fire, their shutters and curtains drawn, lest they look out their window to find something looking back.

Might as well cuddle up with a good book.  And if you can’t find one of those.. well heck, have one of mine.  Winking smile  All the D Lee stories are free this month*, in celebration of my favorite holiday, Halloween.  The price has already been set at Smashwords and should trickle out to the other retailers they distribute to over the next few days.  The only pesky ones may be Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  I can’t set it as free there, so we just have to wait on a price match.

How could you ever thank me?  Your readership is enough.  If you really feel compelled to do more, leave a review or a comment or even send me an email.  I’d love to hear from you.  And if you liked it, tell a friend.  And if you didn’t, lie to an enemy so they waste their time reading it, too.  Bwa ha ha!  And have a happy Halloween!

 

*To be fair, all of the currently released ones except Repetition have been free, but this month you can get Repetition free, too.

Sleep

Fuck, fuck, fuck!

An electric ceiling fan.

An electric ceiling fan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mark rolled onto his back… where he’d already been, along with his stomach and both sides.  He slammed a fist down onto the mattress in frustration and looked up at the ceiling.  It was dark except for a rectangle of orange running across it and partially down the opposing wall, pumped in through the window from the streetlight outside. That light turned the slowly spreading stain in the corner into a Halloween mask of mirthful horror. Mark stared at it in mute fascination for several seconds, picking out there the oval of its eye, the slash of its leering mouth. He thought it might be winking at him and looked away.

The ceiling fan above him turned lazily.  Black insectile shadows radiated away from the fan, crawling across the strip of light on the ceiling and wall before slinking into the blackness where the light ended.  The fan sounded sick, struggling under the strain of its own rotations with a low grinding noise.  He wondered how many more nights it would be before it gave up its fight.

His back was sweaty. He rolled over onto his side. The clock next to his bed stared at him, proclaiming in brilliant red numbers that it was nearing midnight. Mark willed his eyelids to grow heavy. When they didn’t, he forced them closed. Behind his eyelids, dim red and purple flowers blossomed over the top of each other in unending succession. Those blossoms should have been soothing and hypnotic, lulling him to sleep, but they did not. It was too damn hot… and loud. Somewhere close by, a truck rumbled along.  And someone shouted.  There were always voices, in the light, in the dark, it didn’t matter the time of day or day of week, the voices never slept.  Always shouting somewhere.  He thought about closing the window but didn’t think he’d be able to stand the stifling heat if he did so.  Although it would be quieter.  Maybe.  He opened his eyes again. The clock finished tallying the minutes of the previous day and started in on a new one.  All those zeroes.  And then there was a one.  And then a two.

Fuck!  Sleep, you miserly bitch, when are you going to come for me?

This was what, the fifth night of this shit?  With maybe as many hours of rest to divide between them.  He’d taken a sleeping pill before bed, one of those little gelcaps in that comforting shade of blue, but still he was awake.  Maybe he should take another?  Maybe he should take several.

Hell, why not the whole bottle? That would do the trick.

A loud whoop followed by raucous laughter drifted in from outside.  Mark sat up and glanced at the open window.  He knew what else would do the trick, what would bring the sleep.  It was time to stop denying it.  He opened the drawer of the ratty nightstand upon which perched his red-faced clock and reached inside.  When his hand withdrew, it held a slim, black object. Mark held it up to the light.  Upon its side, a chrome button gleamed, soft orange against the sleek black.  He pressed the button, and a blade snicked out.  Perfectly edged, elegantly tapered, flawless.  He could have licked it it was so beautiful.  As he turned it in his hands, he caught the reflection of his own weary eyes, heavy darkness swelling below them.  He looked for a moment, staring back at himself, and then folded the blade back into its handle.

He picked up his pants from the floor where he’d dropped them earlier that night and slid into them.  He slipped the knife into a back pocket.  Out in the dark, more voices yelled and laughed.  He’d find one of those voices, maybe more than one, and he’d silence them.  Elation and peace washed over him. He smiled. Soon, the sleep would come.

Updates over on the Main Site

The bridge over the Haast River, north of the ...

The bridge over the Haast River, north of the Haast township. At 737m it is the longest one-way road bridge in New Zealand, and the 7th longest New Zealand bridge overall. Transit New Zealand Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved on . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a bit late relaying this over here, but there have been a couple of updates over on the main site that I thought might be of interest to D Lee Warren fans.

  • There is now a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that’s live.  We’ll try to keep that up-to-date with the questions that we get asked most often.
  • We’ve also added a Works-in-Progress section to the Library.  I (Brian) have been getting asked repeatedly how I’m coming along with the next Derrick and Max book (and also about the next D Lee Warren book).  Well, now you’ll be able to tell where I am with the projects that are actively being worked on.  If it doesn’t seem like they’re going up very quickly, that would be because I work at a snail’s pace.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?  Maybe?
  • More Flash Fiction

    I’ve had so much fun with the couple of flash fiction stories I’ve done, I’ve decided to do some more and post them here regularly.  Well, regularly might be a strong word.  There are way too many demands on my time to commit to any kind of regular schedule, but I’m going to work to get a few of these quick little tales rattling around in my noggin put to pen and paper, or keyboard and screen, as it were.  If short fiction is your cup of tea, please take a moment to subscribe to the feed.  Thanks!

    The flash fiction story Of Christmases Past has been given a cover and published at Smashwords and Wattpad so you can enjoy it on your ereader of choice.  For free!

    2-Sentence Story

    Martyn Halm tossed out the challenge to create a 2-sentence short story over on Goodreads.  Here was my answer to the challenge.  Hope you enjoy.

     

    Sarah was feeling around for the spoon that had slipped down into the garbage disposal when something cold, wet, and rather spongy brushed against her hand. Before she could react, icy fingers had enclosed her wrist, and a low chortle bubbled up from the drain.

    Read an Ebook Week

    March 2-8, 2014

    Smashwords is kicking off its sixth annual Read an Ebook Week promotion

    Read an Ebook Week is an international celebration of ebooks in which thousands of authors, publishers, and retailers feature free and discounted ebooks to help promote the joys of e-reading to the world's readers.

    During the promotion, all my ebooks will be free through the Smashwords store.  You can visit my publisher page to see all available works.  Or click the image below to find all available books being offered through the promotion.

     

    Read an E-Book Week, March 2-8, 2014