Books Books BOOKS!!!

April 15, 2018

Yesterday, my wife and I took a little adventure to some of the cooler parts of southeast Michigan. I’m not talking chic nightclubs and fashion outlets, but bookstores. The place where all the cool kids hang out! Hey, we were there, so that counts, right?

But seriously, there were a lot of interesting folks out. It’s good to see that reading, and books in general, are still so popular. I’ve always loved reading (hey, that’s good for a writer, huh?), and when I have a chance to get my hands on something that is damn near impossible to find, I’ll relish the chance.

First, we went to John King Books in the great city of Detroit. I found out about King Books about a year ago, maybe even sooner. It’s odd, too, considering how much time I’ve spent up there, and I used to live there for a short while. I get that I’m not going to know about everything up there, but still, something like that you’d think I’d have heard of it.

So we braved the rain, sometimes a slight mist, others a torrential downpour. At one point, traffic stopped completely due to an accident hogging two lanes. I love having to merge all the way over! I realize it was one lane, but there was no reason for it to take that long to get past. Typical with accidents, though, people love to gawk, people love to think they are obligated to get out and help, even when cops and rescue squads are on the scene.

Anyway, we got there and once we were inside, the stench of old, musty books slammed into us at once. No surprise, because there were tons of books. Literally. This is a four-story building that is crammed to capacity with used books. Anything and everything you could imagine—except romance, apparently, because neither of us saw any of those. Not that we were looking, but you’d expect to see a huge selection.

So I was looking for many titles, but two in particular. Did they have them? Nope. In fact, most of the stuff on my list wasn’t there. Plenty of other titles by those authors, but not the ones I wanted. It was okay, though, because I found two books I’d had my eye on for some time.

Dreamsnake, by Vonda McIntyre. I’m pretty sure this recommendation came from a list I was looking at on Goodreads, but possibly from somewhere else. It sounds interesting, not like all the typical fantasy that you always see. I’ve read a few of her Star Trek titles before, a long time ago, sure, but she didn’t make me throw the book across the room, so there’s that.

Knight of the Black Rose, by James Lowder. This is from the Ravenloft series, D&D’s horror line from the 90’s. Someone still does Ravenloft, but I’m not sure who. That’s not important. What is, however, is the fact that I had tried to get into Ravenloft bigtime in the 90’s, but never managed to afford the books and boxed sets, let alone find friends willing to play it. I had read a few of the novels, but never followed up on it because I never knew which ones were worth reading and which were trash, in addition to not wanting to devote myself to a long series like that. This was one I’d always had my eye on, and Lord Soth was always a cool character, so hey, why not? Plus, the other night I went through my Goodreads list and filled in a lot of books that I had read over the years, which included three Ravenloft books, which led to me reading reviews of other ones, and that led me to having the idea fresh in my brain.

So that was that. We left, and went over to Lafayette Coney Island for lunch. It was okay, but not spicy enough. Not the issue. We jumped on I-96 and stopped at RIW Hobbies in Livonia, my old gaming store/hangout from way back when. I mean, it’s in a different building now, but I still love the place. I was hoping to find paints I needed, and they had them! Plus I found a brush that doesn’t look like it’ll wear out on my in two weeks. Back on track!

Finally, we went over to Ann Arbor. Isle of Dogs had been playing at the State Theater for a while, and yes I am aware it is in wide release finally, but we wanted to see it up there. The State in as independent theater, and an Ann Arbor institution, so why not?

After getting a coffee, we walked over to the Dawn Treader Bookstore. Not nearly as huge as King Books, this is a quaint, quiet place with a nice selection. Plus, Star Wars toys hanging from the ceiling! And the owner is super nice (which you’ll find out in a moment). Again, the main books I wanted they didn’t have, but I did find several others.

The Deep, by Nick Cutter. A horror book I’ve never managed to find. Even my library system doesn’t have this! So, I snatched this up at once, not even thinking about it. Excited, and probably next on my list.

The Riddle Master of Hed, by Patricia McKillip. I found this while searching for Riddler merchandise on ebay, of all things. Having never heard of it, but liking the cover art, I read the synopsis. It sounds interesting, and yet another fantasy novel that breaks the mold. A lot of longtime fans speak highly of this book and the series as a whole, so I figured I’d get it when I saw it.

Under Enemy Colors, by Sean Thomas Russell. I have always loved pirates and books about them, which has spilled over into an interest in nautical fiction. I saw this in a bookstore a while back, and couldn’t seem to find it ever again. It has rave reviews, and supposedly the naval battles are incredible, which is right up my alley.

So the owner who was ringing me out saw Under Enemy Colors, and asked if I was into O’Brian at all. I never really wanted to read any of the Aubrey books; I mean, they sound cool and all, but it’s a long series, and I just couldn’t find an interest in them. We got into a big discussion about the movie Master and Commander, which is nothing like the books supposedly, so he ultimately went to the shelf, grabbed the book, and told me to take it. If I read it and like it, pay him. If not, bring it back and he’ll recommend something different.

That was a cool move, but I still don’t know if I want to read it. I’m sure I will, because I keep seeing that it’s a quick read. Plus, hey, another “classic” I can put on my list.

So after that we saw Isle of Dogs (awesome, as usual for Wes Anderson) and ate dinner, then came home. All around, a great day, and one with some new books as well.

You’re probably wondering, Myke, why don’t you just get those books from the library? Or off Amazon for that matter?

Look, I love supporting small, local businesses. I realize online shopping is often easier, and sometimes cheaper (not so in this case), and oftentimes you don’t have to drive around and hope to find something. But being in those bookstores, around people, finding new things, sometimes getting into conversations with perfect strangers about all sorts of stuff is not an experience you get on Amazon.

I’m into gaming, and a lot of gaming stuff is readily available and cheaper online, but my friend’s store might collapse because I didn’t buy from him. That particular bottle of paint I need for my miniatures that none of the five shops in Toledo have in stock? I found it at RIW in Livonia, plus other cool stuff I didn’t know existed, which I subsequently didn’t know I needed.

Please, ladies and gentlemen, buy local. Support small businesses. Support authors and artists and musicians! You’re helping a good cause, and might just find your next favorite thing while you do.

Be cool, my sexies. Always nice to know you’re there, and I can’t thank you enough for that!

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No More Waiting

July 27, 2017

There are times when you have to say—no, SCREAM!—that enough is enough. You just can’t take it, you’re done, and any further attempts to get you seeing things from any other point of view simply won’t work anymore.

You probably think I’m referring to my attempts at getting published. I’m not, although there are several publications I wish would hurry up with any kind of contact. Nope, I’m talking about something that doesn’t affect me so much as an author as it does a reader, a fan, and a huge nerd.

George RR Martin. Specifically, his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of books. More specifically than that, “The Winds of Winter,” the next book in the series.

This past weekend, Sand Diego ComicCon happened, once again overcrowded and full of all sorts of news. It was announced that Winds probably won’t hit until next year, 2018. Possibly even early 2019.

What the actual fuck?

I understand there are factors to consider here:

*It may have the seventh and final book alongside it (can’t remember the name, don’t feel like looking it up)

*He’s a busy man, contractually obligated to edit and write many, many other things.

*He’s got a history of lengthy waits between major projects.

I get it. I’ve been with him for a long time now. I first read A Game of Thrones back in 2002, and quickly devoured everything I could. But the wait for “Feast for Crows” and then “A Dance with Dragons” interfered with our enjoyment, but didn’t destroy it. For a long time, I was more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and accept that hey, he’s not perfect, and we might just have to wait.

But not anymore.

I’m done, and while that makes no difference to him or you or anyone, it’s awakened something in me I never really noticed before.

Yes, I’ve sat on projects. I’ve waited, gotten lazy, gotten sidetracked, and at times simply didn’t care. In fact, a novel I’m almost done with (and have been almost done with for several months now) has been collecting dust for quite a while. After numerous attempts to write it and stick with it, life happens.

But not anymore.

I’m making it clear to myself and everyone that no matter what, my projects will get done. I will write, edit, workshop, edit some more, and submit to the appropriate parties when I need to, and make sure it all gets done. No ifs ands or buts, my writing will be written, and (hopefully) read.

That’s my promise to you.

No projected dates of several years in the future, no “one of these days” bullshit promises, no nothing. Just a promise that if and when I start something, I’ll finish it.

My dad’s best advice to me was “Don’t talk about it, do it.” I’m living that advice right now and every day.

That’s my promise to you.

(And yes, I’m well aware of the TV series Game of Thrones. I don’t watch it and don’t want to. I’ve read those books at least three times each except for Dance, and the show deviates too much for me to enjoy it. Sorry, I know it bothers people that I made a decision that affects no one but me, but hey, there you go.)

It’s the life

October 12, 2015

There is so much going on right now. In fact, I probably shouldn’t be writing this blog, but how else would you know what is going on in the wide world of Myke Edwards?

Books! I’ve been reading lately, more than I have been. It feels good to lay back every night before bed and read for an hour or so. Mostly to unwind and prepare myself to ease into bed and sleep, but also because hey, reading is what I do. For some reason I didn’t read as much as I should have this summer, but it’s okay. We’ve all been there.

“Transhuman” by Ben Bova was a random selection. I went to the library to drop off something and decided to check out the sci-fi section because, why not? Ben’s name caught my eye and I checked out the book…not bad. An interesting story, definitely, but I’ve got to say that Ben breaks a lot of “rules” in writing. As someone who has had it drilled into him and every orifice you can imagine on how to properly craft a sentence, it is disarming to say the least when you read a book (published by an actual publisher, no less) that has a lot of these “sloppy mistakes” in it.

But I digress. It’s the story we should be concerned with, hmm? I didn’t want to put it down at times. Ben created characters and a plot I actually gave a shit about, and wanted to read. I stayed up a bit late some nights while reading, but it was worth it. Definitely check it out. While some characters and small events within the story are cliché as hell and rather predictable, it’s still great.

Interesting thing, about me. I’d never read anything by Ben Bova. His name was one that I’d known since high school (way back in the 1990’s!), and someone I’d always planned on reading. His book “Mars” was high up on my list, but for some reason, I never read it. It’s back on my list now, so hopefully I get around to it. I guess I was so enamored with Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy that I had enough Mars for one person. Whatever the case, I’m looking forward to it.

These past few weeks I’ve been reading some of the new Star Wars books. Again, the writing is sloppy but the stories are…okay. I can’t argue because some of them are for little kids, and I guess the thought is that kids will eat up anything with the Star Wars logo on it. They’re supposed to have clues leading into the new Force Awakens movie, but I can’t imagine what they are. Maybe characters, maybe a mention, or maybe nothing! Maybe they just said that so you buy it!

Well, I didn’t. Thank Glob for the library.

Lately, I’ve been dying to read some Conan stories. Naturally, I want to read the ones I don’t have at the moment…

Ugh. Anyway…

Other stuff! So I mentioned that my editor was done with “In the Pale Moonlight” and I’ve finally got my novel back! I went through it and cleaned it up a little, and poof! As far as I’m concerned, it’s done. Now I just need to get off my ass and get it sent out to agents! Then, hopefully, the good stuff.

That will let me get “The Third Tower” finished, as well as all the other books I plan to write. In fact, just the other day I got an idea for a new novel that’s making my eyes water. I’m sure you’ll all love it.

Also, there’s a contest story I need to get around to writing soon! It’s due in a few weeks, so what am I yapping away on here about?

Not to mention all the stories I need to edit and workshop and submit and everything else…

Sigh. Too much to do. Would I have it any other way? It’s the life!