On any given day, there are a dozen books on my bed stand. In compete disclosure, some of them have been there for a long time. Perhaps I ought to just move them to a bookshelf somewhere else in the house, but…I really do want to read them.
Take, for example, that J.R.R. Tolkein biography that I picked up from Weller Book Works back in January. I’m going to read it, sooner or later, but if it ends up on a shelf, it may very well be later.
Then there are the more recent arrivals, from ARCs to books I buy myself. The bed stand is where I keep by top To Be Read books, and it’s always in flux…and on the rise. It’s doubtful my reading schedule will every catch up to how fast the stack grows.
It could be a depressing proposition: all those great looking books sitting there waiting. I take consolation in a comment from Winston Churchill:
“If you cannot read all your books…fondle them—peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them, at any rate, be your acquaintances.”
And wonderful acquaintances they are. I would feel less comfortable without the ability to reach out and select a new book immediately upon completing another, or even before.
Here are a few that have recently become “acquaintances” and hopefully will become friends, too.
Last week I met writer Eric James Stone after a panel on writing at the Salt Lake Comic Con where he had just been touted (I believe by Dave Farland, another author on the panel) as one of the best working short story writers right now. It was a pretty amazing claim, and so naturally I had to try him out.
I picked up Rejiggering The Thingamajig And Other Stories and am looking forward to starting it.
Eric’s bio on Amazon says: A Nebula Award winner, Hugo Award nominee, and winner in the Writers of the Future Contest, Eric James Stone has had stories published in Year’s Best SF 15, Analog, Nature, and Kevin J. Anderson’s Blood Liteanthologies of humorous horror, among other venues.
One of Eric’s earliest memories is of seeing an Apollo moon-shot launch on television. That might explain his fascination with space travel. His father’s collection of old science fiction ensured that Eric grew up on a full diet of Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke.
While getting his political science degree at Brigham Young University, Eric took creative writing classes. He wrote several short stories, and even submitted one for publication, but after it was rejected he gave up on creative writing for a decade.
During those years Eric graduated from Baylor Law School, worked on a congressional campaign, and took a job in Washington, DC, with one of those special interest groups politicians always complain that other politicians are influenced by. He quit the political scene in 1999 to work as a web developer in Utah.
In 2002 he started writing fiction again, and in 2003 he attended Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. In 2007 Eric got laid off from his day job just in time to go to the Odyssey Writing Workshop. He has since found a new web development job.
In 2009 Eric became an assistant editor for Intergalactic Medicine Show.
Eric lives in Eagle Mountain, Utah. His website is ericjamesstone.com.
The Ringtone and the Drum: Travels in the World’s Poorest Countries by Mark Weston is a travel book covering Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. It includes conversations with ordinary people living in extraordinarily difficult conditions; discussion of the historical currents that have shaped the region; analysis of how globalisation, climate change, and the arrival of Al Qaeda terrorists and South American narco-traffickers are affecting West Africans’ lives; and an account of my often harrowing journey.
Also coming out of Salt Lake Comic Con, Writers of the Future Volume 29 (L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future), a collection of short stories submitted for the Writers of the Future contest and recommended by several authors.
Turn the page…open your eyes…and look into the future
They unleash the power of dreams and unlock the secrets of the universe.
They bend time, twist perception, and put a new spin on the laws of physics.
They show us who we are, what we may become, and how far we can go.
They are the Writers of the Future. Experience their vision.
“Keep the Writers of the Future going. It s what keeps sci-fi alive.”— ORSON SCOTT CARD
You can’t spend a lot of time reading, discussing, and thinking about fiction without wanting to learn more about what makes a great book. It’s easy to tell when you’ve got one in your hands, but putting your finger on exactly how the author “did that” is a more difficult proposition. I ordered The Fiction Editor, the Novel, and the Novelist: A Book for Writers, Teachers, Publishers, and Anyone Else Devoted to Fiction to help fill the (large) gaps in my ability and insight.
Drawing upon twenty-eight years of experience as the CEO and editorial director of St. Martin’s Press, Thomas McCormack gives practical guidance about how to plan, write, and revise a novel. A standard reference for editors since its first publication in 1988, The Fiction Editor has also become popular with writers because McCormack’s advice is constructive at every step of the creative process. From individual word choice right up to the overarching effect of the work as a whole, he details how to structure the novel, choose the characters, drive the story, diagnose narrative ailments, and find and apply specific remedies.
What recent new “acquaintances” have you made?
- TOC: ‘Lights In The Deep’ by Brad R. Torgersen (sfsignal.com)
- Last Opportunity in 2013 to Enter Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest (kathytemean.wordpress.com)
- Rejection…A blessing in disguise? (nightsofpassion.wordpress.com)
- Author Writing Advice at Salt Lake Comic Con (attackofthebooks.com)