Archive for the ‘Reading is fundamental’ Category

A big THANKS to all of my family, friends, and social media peeps! Your support and votes during Broken Pencil Magazine’s​ Indie Writers’ Deathmatch carried me to victory. And it was one helluva ride.

Most of all, thanks to everyone that took the time to read our stories. It’s a special feeling to know that something you wrote has been shared and enjoyed by others.

I was fortunate enough to have my story selected for the tournament, let alone make it to the finals. Along the way, I met some very talented writers, and a lot of great people. I can say with confidence, that out of all of the deathmatches to be a part of, I’m lucky I was in this one.

All of the stories and poems chosen for this tournament were unique, well written, and deserved to win, just as much as my silly little story. There were nearly ten thousand votes this week for our competing stories. That alone blows my mind.

Like so many commenters pointed out, this was basically a popularity contest. Our tastes are subjective, and winning votes doesn’t make my story better or Talita’s worse. It’s simply the nature of the beast. It is THE DEATHMATCH.

And while there was no death (thankfully), the comments section was rough at times for all of the writers. That being said, I put myself out there when I entered my story into this contest. I knew what I was getting into, but at times it still stung.

Overall, it was a fun experience, and it’s nice to win. I’m also quite happy it’s over with. I suspect all of the other finalists would agree with me on this.

I’m reminded of a Hunter S. Thompson quote: “I have long understood that losing always comes with the territory when you wander into the gambling business, just as getting crippled for life is an acceptable risk in the linebacker business. They both are extremely violent sports, and pain is part of the bargain. Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

I’ll certainly hold onto my ticket stub. If only for the memories.

Thanks again.

Hey all!

I was lucky enough to have a short story I wrote chosen as one of the 8 finalists for the 2015 Indie Writers’ Deathmatch by Broken Pencil Magazine. For those who don’t know, the Broken Pencil staff have chosen their favorite stories, and now these stories have been pitted against one another (Hence the deathmatch), and are currently being voted on by readers.

If you’ve followed some of my silliness here, and would like to see some more of it on a bigger stage, head over to Broken Pencil Magazine and give my story a read:

Now, onto the rocking of the vote. Here’s what to do once you’ve went to Broken Pencil’s Deathmatch page:

Step One: Read the stories.
Step Two: Vote for your favorite (My story please). Vote repeatedly. You can vote once every hour.
Step Three: Sound off in the comments.
Step Four: Blog, tweet, tell all your friends – help your favorite author win!
Step Five: Repeat until an Ultimate Winner is declared and all others lie bleeding in the dust.

The literary kumite has begun!

Please vote for me. I want this belt!

Please vote for me. I want this belt!

During a conversation with a friend the other day, a question came up. What are some of the funniest novels you’ve ever read? We quickly made our lists, and they were surprisingly short.

At the time I was able to come up with three off the top of my head, novels where I actually laughed out loud while reading:

1: How I Became a Famous Novelist
2: Confederacy of Dunces
3: Money

My friend followed suit with his list:

1: Catch 22
2: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
3: Lamb

After whispering a curse to my failing memory (Douglas Adams and Christopher Moore have had me in tears, and deserved better), we came to a not-so-funny conclusion. Neither one of us has read that many funny novels, and the ones that we both really enjoyed were all at least five years-old, some closer to forty-five.

This realization stayed with me. Later, I decided to look back on what I’ve read in the last year or so.

Out of all the books I’ve either listened to or read, about 1%-5% of them could be considered a comedy, or at least comedic in tone. This percentage pales in comparison to my taste in television and film, where I hover closer to the 40-50% mark. Or life in general, where a dick joke, pratfall, or bit of sarcastic flare, can really put a spunk in my step. That’s right… spunk.

Anyhow, I decided to go back and review my overall reading trends in the prior year. Between audible, kindle, and actual print, I read fifty-nine books last year (this is not a humble brag, I swear). Fifty of these books were fiction, nine were nonfiction. To break it down further, fourteen of these books were literature, eleven were thrillers/mysteries/crime, nine were sci-fi, four were westerns, and three were fantasy. Of the nine nonfiction books, most were memoirs, none were self-help (I can neither influence people nor make new friends).

After looking back at this list, I was able find four books that I would consider comedic in tone and funny as a whole. Those would be I Wear the Black Hat, Chuck Klosterman’s meditation on villainy in pop culture and our attraction to it. Bossy Pants, the story of Tina Fey’s rise through the comedy kumite. This Book is Full of Spiders, the funny dystopian sequel to John Dies at the End. And Agent to the Stars, an amusing Hollywood meets E.T. romp.

For the sake of clarity, Both Bossy Pants and I Wear the Black Hat are not novels (I’m talking fiction, yo). So, they’re immediately scratched off this list. Plus, Bossy Pants is at least a couple of year old. Though Agent to the Stars is fiction, it’s also close to ten years old. So, it’s out as well.

This leaves me with one novel out of fifty that I read this year, which I could say was a comedy at its core.

I’m sure many other books came out this year that could be considered comedic novels. I know the aforementioned Christopher Moore had a novel released a few months back (It’s entitled Fool, and I’ve heard it’s hilarious), but there’s only so many hours in the day, and I already spend too many of them reading, listening to, or looking for a book.

I was under the impression that my random tastes in fiction, and my proclivity toward silliness would steer my reading habits to the funny, but apparently it hasn’t. I’m not sure if this is because of my investigative shortcomings, a subliminal change in my tastes when looking for a book, or a scarcity of comedic novels being published. Whatever the case, I assumed the percentage of funny novels I had read in the last year or so, would be much higher, and for some reason I’ve found that it is not. This strikes me as peculiar, and a bit worrisome.

So, I guess what I’m saying is:

Does anyone have a suggestion for a funny novel? One caveat, it has to have been published within the last two years.

If so, let me know. I’m looking for one.