Q.T. Pi, update

Hey It’s the FREAKING weekend

Okay so, first this is my first blog post I’m writing with dictation, so I’m writing without my hands right now which I think is pretty cool; if there are any mistakes in this blog I blame technology so this is going to be awesome because I can say whatever I want and if it’s terrible I’m holding my computer responsible.

So I’m reading a lot of reviews and synopses of books about total badass crews. It got me thinking, why don’t I just write a book about some of these cliché plots and make the protagonist completely incompetent? I don’t know if I would write this under R.K. Gold or Q.T Pi yet but I think I can have a lot of fun with an incompetent assassins series.

Since I mentioned Q.T. Pi in the above paragraph I thought I would announce once again that iLaugh iCry is out on Amazon. There will be a free promotion starting tomorrow and ending March 1st so anyone who wants to read it for free can download it directly from Amazon for free instead of just emailing me. As you know my philosophy with my books is pretty much just give away as many for free as possible because I’d rather people read my work than have a couple extra bucks in my pocket.

Currently I am working on a Monster Hunter series for Q.T. Pi, Which is cool because the first book takes place in DC, I think the rest of the series is going to take place in New Orleans. As for R.K. Gold, I’m still working on the impossible task of turning a horrible rough draft into a decent second draft. The Absolute has simultaneously outperformed and underperformed my expectations because as I said before in earlier posts I thought this would be an easy first edit and it turned into a complete rewrite so I’m writing it ahead of schedule, I just passed the 50,000 word mark two days ago and I think I only have six chapters left. The downside is it still reads a bit like a rough draft; it’s a much better rough draft than what I had before but it’s still a rough draft so I have to edit that again before I send it out to beta readers. I am really looking forward to editing The Pathetic Tycoon once I finish this. And I am really happy that I have a second pen name now because I would go insane just editing all year with no new material.

I mentioned I was going to start a new blog series called Workshop This. The first story should be done either today or tomorrow. So feel free to workshop it just try not to be a dick, And as I mentioned in the original post, anyone who offers helpful feedback will be mentioned by name if that story ends up in a collection of short stories.

Finally, this was a fun post to write. I feel like ending it with look mom no hands. I am happy I have a Grammarly. I am looking up at what I “wrote” and see a lot of redlines so that app will help me out.

As always thanks for reading.

 

 

update

Food for Food. . . I mean thought. . . no actually I just mean food. Food > Thought

Yeah, enjoy reading that title! In all seriousness, why are the best foods so “unhealthy”? I put unhealthy in quotes because I want to justify my love of cheese and bread until the very end but seriously, why can’t we just fast all day and then eat 1000 calories of fresh bread and cheese every night? It tastes so good! It makes you so happy! And you still stay under that 2000 calorie boogeyman that haunts your subconscious every time you debate taking a handful of almonds.

This isn’t the point of this post, but as you can tell, food is on my mind. I just downed an avocado so I’m full of energy.

Anyway, I just published my first story under my second pen name. For those of you with KU you can enjoy the title for free by clicking here.

As for my main writing projects let’s talk about The Absolute.

This book is being so rude to me. In a matter of 3 hours, it has filled me with crippling self-doubt, mild self-loathing then renewed self-confidence. It’s strange re-writing a book because it carries all the weight of editing but all the crappiness of a rough draft.

My main complaint with it is tension. There are times it fills me with emotion, and there is plenty of engaging dialogue, but holy shit what is actually going on in this book? I was half tempted to scrap it at 2 in the morning when I was writing a scene between Peter and Father Shine.

I’m so focused on giving every character a purpose, I sorta forgot the main character needs to give the reader a reason to care. Heres his story so far in a nutshell. Peter’s parents died five years before the book starts. His Fiancee died four years before the book starts. He is in a slump, unable to paint because all he can see when he tries to tap into his imagination all he sees is a pack of butterflies leading him to a low stone wall. Behind the wall is a garden, and behind that a forest.

He can never reach the garden though, his mind won’t let him cross over the wall so he’s in a creative block because all he can put on a canvas is a half-completed painting of butterflies.

With his gallery running low on money, his manager/business partner gets him a commissioned gig to paint a mural on the concrete wall connecting the new reformed chapel to the traditional church. They built the wall and the playground between these churches to encourage children of different beliefs to still play together.

Peter feels out of place back home, and gets into some funny adventures, but the overall plot feels so relaxed. I mean he completes the mural around 50k words in and faces another challenge the town and his business partner created for him.

Ultimately, it turned into a story of a big city artist falling in love with his hometown again and I’m worried it doesn’t offer any excitement. It’ll just be like a video camera on the main character’s shoulder, watching him fall in love with his town, then it ends.

I guess I’ve re-entered the self-doubt portion of today’s program.

What do you all think? Is a story about relationships (family, friendship, and romantic) complete or are those just events that are supposed to happen around the plot, not just make up the plot itself?

advice

A Faster Mind

Did you know our minds can process 400 words a minute? Despite our ability to digest large volumes of information in a short amount of time we inhibit ourselves by stressing to retain and memorize each word, which is stored in short-term memory and forgotten, instead of focusing on the overall message.

In 10 days to read faster, we are told the most important skill any of us are ever taught is the ability to read, yet we stop learning reading techniques at too young of an age to really perfect the skill, and it ends up serving more as a stress factor than an ability to enhance our lives.

Maybe that’s why according to PEW Research, over a quarter of Americans say they haven’t read a book in the past year. That’s kinda sad, and I’m not just saying that as an author.

Studies have found that people who read novels develop a larger capacity for empathy than those who don’t. That’s obviously not to say people who don’t read cannot feel empathetic, but the correlation still exists.

One of the main reasons people read slowly is that they try to read every word. Their eyes will stop up to 8 times reading a single sentence, hindering their momentum and creating stress, because not only are they trudging along the page, they aren’t retaining any information.

Another problem individuals face is they will mouth the words while reading, slowing their mind down to follow the speed of their lips, which as mentioned above is much slower than our maximum ability to delivering and retain information.

10 Days to Faster Reading offers brief exercises, they may seem strenuous at first but will ultimately help you read faster and retain more (which is the ultimate goal). These exercises are teaching yourself to literally read between the lines; that way your peripherals will pick up on the text of the following sentence before you even get to it, thus it will already enter your mind before you move your attention to it.

Focusing on keywords in the sentence and allowing your mind to fill in the rest by context. Our mind is actually very good at this. Though it may feel uncomfortable at first, if you focus on the keywords you will be able to recite the entire sentence word for word (or just about).

Finally, do not look back. Re-reading not only halts any momentum you’ve built, but it will also create a subconscious stress to memorize the words, which will actually make retaining the information more difficult.

The main key to reading faster seems to be just trusting your mind.

Personally, I’m excited to keep practicing this skill and after just a single day I’m already noticing a difference.

No need to even buy the book, just remember that reading is like any other skill; practice makes perfect and the more you practice the exercises above the stronger reader you will become.

advice, review

Why Indie Authors Should Read Business Books

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don'tGood to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by James C. Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why Indie Authors Should Read Business Books

I am finally pursuing my lifelong passion of becoming an author, and writing is a business, so I needed to invest in myself. I figured “the bible” of the business world would have some interesting things to say. After all, a business of one is still a business and who wouldn’t enjoy the leap from mediocrity to longevity? The book made it clear that building a great business isn’t just about a great leader who exits the company, only to have it fall apart. What makes a great business, and leader of the business, is someone who is able to build something that will last long after their lifetime.

That should resonate with authors. I don’t know any authors that want their books to disappear without their presence? We have the benefit of creating products that at the very least will never go out of style. Innovations may change the way we read but they will never eliminate books altogether. What we write will last and it’s our responsibility to build something from it so people actually give a damn about our work long after we are gone.

The lessons in this book teach a person how to develop a strategy, how to build a team, the importance of being disciplined, and the importance of managing expectations.

The Hedgehog Concept is something creatives should be able to maneuver to their advantage. It’s all about finding what you can be best at, passionate about, and quantifying how to measure your success. For an author maybe that’s finding a niche and having the discipline to stick with it rather than chasing the latest genre fad.

For building a team, again think about how many people it takes to make a book. You don’t just write a draft and publish it on KDP. If you do, and are successful than I am jealous but most of us can’t write perfection the first go around. You need beta readers to give you general feedback on what’s working and what’s not; you need an editor (or two) to make sure it’s readable; you need a top-notch book cover (some authors can make their own, some need to add a graphic designer to their team) and finally you need to build your audience, because they’re the most important part of the team.

Though there are a lot of lessons in this book the final thing I’m gonna touch on is the Stockdale Paradox. It’s all about managing expectations. You can truly believe you are going to find success, while also managing that expectation. Stockdale was a POW in Vietnam who knew he would return home but kept his sanity because he knew it would be a while, while other soldiers in the camp were overly optimistic, thought they would get home by Christmas, only to be heartbroken when their expectations failed.

Pursuing a creative endeavor is still a business, and today it’s never been easier for someone to enter that business It’s my educated guess that it’s in order for creatives to educate themselves on traditional business practices if they hope to sustain long-term growth and success in their field.

View all my reviews

Announcement, Workshop This

Some Big Changes

Alright, so last night I sent out a message to my newsletter about some big changes I have going underway. I have grouped off my newsletter into four segments:

  • Everyone is enrolled in the default newsletter for all updates on my primary pen name R.K. Gold.
  • The second group is dedicated to my second pen name Q.T. Pi, which specializes in Sci-Fi, Paranormal, and Satire. This will be similar to the R.K. Gold newsletter, only used for giveaways, updates, and announcements.
  • The third group is for short story enthusiasts who want a weekly short read, as well as opportunities for free copies of all future short story collections I publish.
  • Finally, the fourth group is a more personalized newsletter, focusing more on who I am not what I put out.

If any of those groups sound interesting you can sign up by clicking here.

What I did not include in my email last night is blog exclusive. While the short story newsletter will receive one exclusive story at the end of every week, my blog will also have a new weekly segment called “workshop this!”

Every week I will post a short story on my blog and anyone is welcomed to contribute constructive feedback. If you contribute, and I include the story in one of my future publications, your name will be included before the story as a workshop contributor!

This is going to be fun!

review

Review: The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

The Apocalypse of Elena MendozaThe Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ll always support fiction that gives baby Cthulu a voice. On a humor level Shaun just gets me, or I get Shaun, or there is no getting but his work makes me laugh enough to keep coming back to it. I’m getting off track. The Apocalypse begins at Starbucks and the story of Elena Mendoza begins with one of the best opening lines I have read in a while.

After saving her crush from a shooting on a Starbucks patio (it’s not a spoiler that much is given away in the description) Elena is handed the impossible responsibility of helping the voices in her head orchestrate the Apocalypse. All in all, it sounds like the average 16 year old girl drama. Who hasn’t been tasked with a rapture or two?

This is my second Hutchinson book (the first being We Are the Ants) and what I have enjoyed about both of them is even though romance is weaved into the plot to some degree, it doesnt overpower the story. Elena’s romantic pursuit of Freddie doesn’t outweigh the end of the world (thank god) much like how Henry Denton’s relationship with Diego never distracted us from the red button.

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review

Review: America’s Bank

America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal ReserveAmerica’s Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve by Roger Lowenstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am sorry if my review turns into a summary of this book I just love to talk about it.

So I gave this book a second read because I was struggling to remember some of its main points and am so happy to refamiliarize myself with the material. It builds a strong argument by starting with what America was like before it centralized its bank. The Revolutionary War ended in 1783 and it wasn’t until December 1913 that the Fed Reserve Act passed under President Wilson. During that 130 year period, there were two attempts at centralizing the bank, both failed when the government failed to renew their charters. The second failure coming from President Andrew Jackson, who considered banking regulations beneficial for the American elite, which directly countered his populist movement.

After the crash of 1893 and 1907 the need to centralize banking entered the forefront of political debate. The unregulated market created competing monopolies, which could game the economy. In 1907 a failed attempt to take over the copper monopoly triggered a panic. Banks ran out of reserves when everyone tried to cash out at the same time and country had a financial collapse.

This led some of the harshest critics, like Nelson Aldrich into advocates for a centralized bank. He failed to pass his own bill, but a couple years later the Fed Reserve act (Owen-Glass Bill) borrowed heavily from Aldrich.

Not to make this review political, but I feel like this is an important read given the political climate today. Populism can have dangerous consequences and can lead to undisciplined decisions. Though it has its faults, the federal reserve is beneficial to the American economy.

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