|This blog brought to you by the letter M|
I'm a writer. This means I'm also a reader. It's just part and parcel, one comes with the other. You can be a reader but not a writer, but it just doesn't work the other way around. I've had conversations with plenty of people who say they're a writer. I ask them what they're currently reading and they tell me they don't have time to read. I laugh at them and tell them if they aren't reading then they aren't a writer. You don't need to be able to tell me quotes, you don't need to know who wrote every book, you don't even need to name the most influential writers of the twentieth century. You need to read though. If you don't read, you can't write. Simple as that.
So yeah, I read. A lot. On a great day I'll devour a book in one sitting. I'll blow things off and just lose myself to a great author. On a normal day I'll pick up where I left off and continue with a story. When I'm done reading I compare myself and my work. I dissect both the books I'm reading and whatever I'm writing. I learn. I push myself to be more like my favorite authors. I study how they write, how they describe, how they speak. It's what I do. It's how I know I'm better than I was but not as good as I'll be.
It's always my goal to read between 50 and 100 books through the year. So far I've read 4, which isn't horrible but it aint great. I have a lot of shit going on so I'll accept 4 and just keep moving. It's still early in the year. Here's what I've read so far:
The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman - Easily the best vampire story I've read in a VERY long time and an original idea involving a vampire preteen and vampire children. An actual twist in the ending makes it so much more than just a good read. I strongly suggest it. Buehlman is an incredible author. I have one of his other books in my TBR pile.
Bring Me Flesh, I'll Bring HELL by Martin Rose - A little long winded at times and some ridiculous concepts when it comes to a zombie. Clichéd zombie private eye as the main character. I almost wanted to dislike this book, but Rose's prose are damn near poetic and just plain good. He's an exceptional writer and will be a smashing success if he learns to hash out his ideas a little better and practice brevity. Still a good book, but could have GREAT.
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett - Hammett wrote the Maltese Falcon. He's an icon. He can write the noir style better than anyone. Ever. I love everything he writes and you should too. If you've never read anything by him shame, shame, shame.
Factotum by Charles Bukowski - Once you put the name Bukowski on a MS it's gold, at least in my opinion. He writes some of the most poetically dark words you'll ever read in Factotum and does so with such an ease it just simply happens and you don't initially pick up on the genius. It's a simple book with simple sentences and nothing actually happens through the course of the novel until you slow down and think. Whoa...YES, I said you had to think. All great works inspire us to that very thing. Factotum does just that and I couldn't be happier with the thinks in my head as I was following the hapless and likeable/hateable Henry, the alcoholic main character. He reminded me a lot of my father in some ways.
He also wrote the movie Barfly starring Mickey Rourke. Barfly stars the same main character as Factotum, Henry Chinaski. Bukowski is claimed to be the writer that inspired the Showtime series Californication.
Speaking of which, here's what I'm watching:
Since it's winter and I live in Jersey and it's colder than a witches clit I spend a lot of time indoors. Usually in a bar, but occasionally at home. I don't really like TV. I don't watch much of the shit. I read a lot, I write a lot. I don't watch much TV. When I do it has to be something I really love to keep me watching. This happened to me recently with 2 incredible series I watched off netflicks. Californication and Weeds. I know I'm a little late on these series but I finally got there and loved them both. Endings were weak, but I won't let that sour me from some really intelligent and original writing.
Californication. If you've never seen it, you suck. It's brilliant and hysterical. The main character is everything I want to be and everything I'm afraid to be rolled into one. Hank Moody, the previously mentioned main character is a writer living in LA. He's a fuck up. He's a drunk. All he wants to do is be a good father to his daughter and rekindle the love he lost with her mother. He wants to do the right thing but always goes about it the wrong way. His friends and the industry in general want something else from him. He's a genius, yet still flawed and usually drunk. David Duchovny is a brilliant actor, and admittedly my very first man-crush. He brings Hank Moody to life in ways no one else could and delivers an unforgettable, if fatally screwed up, performance.
Weeds. Widowed mom turns to selling weed to keep her family in their upper middle class home. She's sexy as hell and conivingly intelligent. She's underestimated because she's a white chick from the burbs, but people soon find out that this amorally lose mom is capable of anything. Mary-Louis Parker is just plain sexy. She's an incredible actress and pulls of the soccer mom thing just as easily as she does the drug king pin thing. She keeps her cool in some ridiculous situations and manages to come out on top. It's fun watching her fuck things up and then scramble to get out of the mess of her own design. It's fun watching her do anything.
Finally, what am I writing?
I just finished the edit for my YA novel. I don't know how much I can actually tell you about it though, because I'm publishing it under a pseudonym for obvious reasons. I write erotica and horror. I blend the two genres. I write for adults. I don't need little Timmy checking out my YA book and then looking for others. "Mommy," little Timmy would say in his pre-pubescent voice, all innocent and shit. "I found a new book by that amazing new author I found, Christian Jensen. It's called Amy Obeys. What's a Cleveland Steamer?" So yeah, pseudonym. If I can, or choose to later, I'll fill you in. I really like this book and want to push it, so I'm leaning towards a lot of publicity and blogs and shit. Hope to tell you more.
I'm finishing the first draft of Zombie Bigfoot. It's exactly what it sounds like. It's a book about Bigfoot. He turns into a zombie. Shit gets real.
I have to finalize the edits on a currently unnamed book. It's about angels and demons and hot goth chicks. I'll have that done in a few weeks. I'm self publishing that one, so as soon as it's done It'll be up for sale. Same with Zombie Bigfoot. I'll have both of them ready for Amzicon in April, which will be my first appearance of the year.
Finally, I'm slowly starting a completely new project that I expect to take me much longer than most of my other fiction. It's going to have more of a "literary" feel to it, something more honest and heartfelt. I hope.
So...blogs done. Comments?