Goodreads Reading Challenge Update 01

So last time I posted I’d read two fiction books (Nemesis by Brendan Reichs and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night) and one non fiction (F-16 Fighting Falcon Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom).

Here’s where I’m at now (with links to Canadian Amazon and Project Gutenberg).

Fiction

Genesis and Chrysalis (Brendan Reichs)
These two books are the continuation of Nemesis. Genesis was interesting because of how Nemesis ended. (Spoilers!) The characters are now in this almost virtual reality. I think it was my favourite of the books. Chrysalis spun everything in an entirely new direction. Part of me wasn’t so thrilled because it wasn’t anything I’d imagined. I don’t know what I expected, to be honest. Overall the series was really good and gave me a lot to think about. (They also have really evocative covers)

Henry VI Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 (William Shakespeare)

This series was a lot more difficult (and also seemed the most disjointed of the Shakespeare I’ve read so far). It’s part of the series on the War of the Roses. I wasn’t familiar at all with this era of history, so it was all new to me. Honestly, it was only okay. I have read many other Shakespeare plays I prefer over this. I’m linking to the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, as the individual book files for this series are in a really old English version with some formatting issues.

The Bone Collector (Jeffery Deaver)

Kind of hard to believe I’d never read this series, as the material is up my alley. I decided to read this because I was interested in watching the new TV series “Lincoln Rhyme: The Hunt For The Bone Collector”. I really enjoyed this book. Deaver’s use of forensics has aged really well (which shocked me), and the knowledge of obscure New York was fascinating. I also really enjoyed Lincoln himself and the case. I watched the Denzel/Angelina movie after I finished the book and it annoyed me to no end that they changed so much from the book.

The Comedy of Errors (William Shakespeare)

Back to his comedies (and rhyming!) which I enjoy. This one was definitely a slapstick – try explaining to me how two sets of twins separated by a disaster each get named the exact same thing …). I enjoyed this for the mistaken identity, but as a story it felt thin for reading. I think it’d be much more enjoyable on stage.

Challenge Total – 10 (5 ahead of schedule)

Currently reading:

The Last Gang In Town (Aaron Chapman)
The Coffin Dancer (Jeffery Deaver)

Goodreads Reading Challenge 2020

Every year I do the Reading Challenge at Goodreads, an Amazon-owned website dedicated to tracking your books and reading. I challenge myself to read 52 books a year – one per week. Here’s my recent year stats (which are worse than I thought!):

2019 – 61/52
2018 – 60/52
2017 – 67/70
2016 – 66/65
2015 – 24/30
2014 – 31/50
2013 – 36/50

I joined Goodreads in 2012, so I couldn’t join the challenge that year (it’s open at the beginning of the year). A few years in there I made a goal, surpassed it, and upped the goal as I went (which is why I failed in 2017 … originally it was 50 books,I upped it then didn’t do more reading and failed lol).

The last two years I’ve also challenged myself to read at least 25 books fiction and 25 books non-fiction. I read both regularly, but I wanted to make sure I was splitting my reading for pleasure and for learning (although I also get a lot of pleasure out of learning reading).

So far this year I’ve just completed my 3rd book (1st non fic) and I’m two books ahead of schedule.

I’m also doing the Shakespeare 2020 Project this year, which is a challenge to read all of Shakespeare’s works this year. There’s a very active Facebook group as well. So far we’ve completed Twelfth Night, and I’m on I Henry VI right now (and enjoying it, despite my limited knowledge of that era of history).

I figured I’ll keep track of what I read here as well in case anyone’s curious (my reader Goodreads is private and separate from my author one). The links are to Canadian Amazon, because I’m Canadian (no affiliate links), and to Project Gutenberg for Shakespeare.

Fiction

Nemesis (Brendan Reichs)
Min Wilder is killed every two years on her birthday and wakes up hours later like nothing happened. In the midst of turmoil regarding a meteor that could hit earth, she has to figure out why she’s being killed, and the answer is life changing.

Twelfth Night ( William Shakespeare)
One of his comedic plays featuring twins, mistaken identity and too many people falling in love too quickly. I enjoyed this, although it took awhile to get my Shakespeare sea-legs with the language.

Non-Fiction

F-16 Fighting Falcon Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Steve Davies & Douglas C. Dildy)
I have an obsession with the F-16, so I read everything I can get my hands on about this fighter jet. This goes over details about the different F-16 units that served during Operation Iraqi Freedom, detailing their missions, jets and other info.

Currently reading:

I Henry VI (William Shakespeare)
Genesis (Brendan Reichs)

 

Under Construction

I’ll be getting the site back up and running in time for 2020.

In the meantime, things are a bit sparse around here.

I’m currently working on the third book in the Brookline series (the first set at college). I’m over 8000 words in, it’s a miracle!

Tentatively the series will be called the Brookline series, with subtitles for each “section” of their lives – Before Brookline, Brookline University, and After Brookline.

Anywhere But Here and The Long Way Home Are Done (Sort of)

So the first two books of the Brookline series are done! By done I mean written and edited. They still need to be formatted for print and ebook and released, but I’m fairly sure I want to finish the entire series before I release anything.

Up next … writing and editing the third book, which is their freshman year of college. Formerly titled Brookline University: Freshman Year, the book is now called . . . yeah, I got nothing. I’m hoping a title will strike me as I write.

Books 3, 4, 5 and 6 each cover a year of the characters in college. There is a lot of work ahead because this book lays the ground work for everything else in their college experience. In particular I’m getting very real with sorority elements, especially the not-so-great ones.

 

The future of the Brookline University series

I began writing the Brookline University series in 1998, completed the four books in 2005, and began publishing the series in 2008. The series roots go back much further – I created Joy Morrison in 1989 and gave her a twin in 1990.

The first time I mentioned Joy in my story diary she was 28. In a later entry I said she looked like Heather Graham circa License to Drive (based off the pic on the left here).

Since completing the four book series I’ve also written and published two prequels (the Streetwise series) and written a sequel that hasn’t been published (and was a big reason for what I’m now doing with the series). The prequels, which were re-written before publication this year, have a very different tone and vibe from the main series – one that I prefer.

When I first wrote the series, I was only a few years out of high school – the same age as the characters – and a lot of plots I wrote reflected my age. As time marched on, I wanted to change things, but as anyone who’s ever written knows, when you change one thing, it affects another and another … and pretty soon you have a major re-write on your hands.

Libby had an early-on middle name change, became Joy’s twin, and they both got younger.

I have wanted to rewrite the series for a number of years, but being in the middle of publishing it, it seemed like a bad idea. After the release of the prequels and when writing the sequel I realized I really wanted the main series to be just as good and match the tone of the other books. I resented having to include certain things in the prequels just because they were established in the main series, and it really got me focused on a rewrite.

So in 2019, I’ll be rewriting the entire Brookline series, including the Streetwise prequels. Because of this, the books are now out-of-print and no longer available.

I’m not sure how much will change – I’ve considered a name change for the school they go to, for one – but there are some changes I know I’m making that will affect every book. I foresee the biggest changes in the main series, not so much the prequels.

I know exactly what happens to all of the characters in the series now (I didn’t when I wrote it … I actually had no plan for where the series would go after their college years … and sometimes not even during the series itself). I really want to be able to write sequels, and I also have a spinoff series in the works, but none of that can happen without some changes to the main series.

I promise when the books are re-released, members of my newsletter list will be able to get them all at a steep discount.

If you’ve read any of the Brookline University books, here’s your chance to send me some feedback. Anything you hated? Things you’d change? Did I get some things horribly wrong (I know I did), and are there things you definitely don’t want me to change? Characters you loved? Want to see more or less of? Plots you thought were dumb? Plots you appreciated?

Either comment here or click on the Contact button above to shoot me an email. Your comments will really help me with rewrites, and everyone who comments will get a thank you in the book (so please indicate what name you’d like me to use in the thank yous).

Thanks so much and I can’t wait to bring you these books in 2019 (if I can edit that fast … send me some speed vibes too!)

New Book – Self Publishing For Canadians

I know, I said publishing four books this year practically killed me, but here I am with a fifth. Self Publishing for Canadians grew out of a huge blog post here. There was so much information to share on self publishing, especially in regards to Canadian-specific information.

The ebook is available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and all major online outlets. The great news? It’s only 99 cents! (You can also get a paperback for $6.99 USD)

If you’re a Canadian that’s always wanted to self publish, this book is a great guide to get you started. It was an Amazon Canada Bestseller in Authorship in December 2018 and November 2019.

Bayou Bound is out now!

Bayou Bound, the third book in the Sin City saga, is now out everywhere in digital and print.

Jake Wheeler is back in town and he needs Tim Kelly’s help. Against his better judgement, Tim ends up on a cross-country road trip with his least favourite person. When they get pinched by a crooked sheriff in a crooked Louisiana parish, it’s five years hard labor in a prison camp. No one knows where they are, and no one’s going to come looking.

Escape is the only thing on their minds.

Buy it now in digital or print format.