Tag Archives: Reading

Morning Routine of a Non-Best Selling Author

My morning routine is simple and works for me.

I get up most mornings at 4 am. Yeah, I know it’s early. I’ve always been an early riser and it seems the older I get, the earlier I wake up.

I start the coffee and get my little chihuahua settled in on the couch.

I’ll read and play stupid little games on my iPad for about an hour. I’ve recently cut back on those “stupid little games” because my focus needs to be on something more worthwhile. It’s during this time of the morning I’ll read short stories. I subscribe to Daily Daily Science Fiction and EveryDayFiction.com. Both sites offer free flash fiction. DSF is only Monday – Friday while EDF is, well, every day! I’ll also read from the current issue of Nightmare Magazine, which I subscribe to (though it’s not free). However, they do offer some stories for free on their website.

Right around 5 am, I used to read whatever current novel I’m reading for about an hour. However, since the beginning of July, I’ve used that time to focus on my daily social media posts instead, if I haven’t done them the night before. I’ll schedule Tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram posts using Hootesuite. I’ve switched from Buffer to Hootesuite to better control what I’m sending out and hopefully not come across as spammy. In any case, it’s this hour of the morning where I get all that taken care of. I’m a bit more awake then (bless you coffee!) and my mind can focus better.

ChairBy the time 6 am rolls around, I’ll already have showered and dressed and fed my zoo. All 3 cats and 2 dogs get fed and the dogs taken out to do their business. I’ll grab something quick to eat for breakfast, usually the same thing: whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter. I don’t like wasting time thinking about something different to eat. The sooner I get it over with, the sooner I can get back to my work.

After all that, it gives me about an hour of uninterrupted time to write before I leave for work. My writing spot is a reclining love seat next to two large windows. I’ll open the blinds for a great morning view and my chihuahua joins me. She’ll perch herself on the arm or curl up next to me while I write.

It’s a quiet hour despite the rest of the house waking and getting ready for work and school. I can usually knock out anywhere from 500-1,000 words per writing session. Most mornings it’s my current novel or I’ll break up the work and switch to a new short story. When the hour is up, it’s off to work.

So that’s it. On the weekends it might differ slightly, but that’s my normal morning routine.

What do your mornings look like? Do you get more done? If so, I’d love to hear your routine. I’m always up for learning new ways of doing things. If your mornings are completely different, I’d love to hear that too!

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

Hi there! How are ya? Doing good? I hope so.

I’ve got a secret for you.

I love you.

There, I said it. Don’t tell my wife though, she might get jealous. But in all honesty, I love you.

All those hours I’ve spent crafting a story or a novel are spent with you in mind. Did you know that? Did you know when all writers say “I write for myself,” that they’re kinda lying to you? Just a little. I mean we do write what we enjoy but ultimately it’s with you in mind.

I know I know. If we love our craft we should be doing this solely for ourselves. We should do it for the love of doing it. We should expect nothing and be content with the idea that we created something from nothing.

Yeah that’s cool and righteous but really…what’s a writer without a reader?

Without you I’m that guy that always wanted to be a writer. I’d be the person that says “I’ve been working on this story for years. Just waiting to get it right. Or get the time. Or whatever excuse I come up with.” Without the expectation that someone will actually read the darn thing, I’m twisting in the breeze like a sheet out on the line.

But because of you Dear Reader, I can call myself a writer. You’ve taken time out of your busy life to spend it with me. I don’t take that commitment lightly. When you do that–when you share in something so intimate and meaningful to me–you own a part of me. The words you read expose a little bit about me to you.

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Not that the story directly reflects what I want to do or wish to do (I mean there are times when time travel sounds pretty cool) however because I created it, what you read is deeply personal to me.

When you share your thoughts about it, when you’re excited to ask me questions about this character or that story line, I’m screaming inside like a junior high cheerleader. I’ve kept your attention and thoughts long enough for you to care. What an amazing feeling!

And then, when you’re through with my work and leave a review, when you dare click a button and type a few words so others might share in your experience–OMG! It’s a feeling unlike any other.

Dear Reader, you are why I can rightly and confidently call myself a writer. Your time with me is never taken for granted. I treasure it like a pirate.

Argh…welcome aboard matey. I appreciate your stay.

Sincerely,

Jason “Black Jack” Nugent


Psst: Dear Reader, why not check out my newest scifi adventure novel The Selection on Amazon right now? You can even try your hand at winning a free signed paperback copy over on GoodReads. Thanks!

Books 2016

Every year around this time I post a list of all the books I’ve read in the past year. And every year I want to do more.

old-books-436498_960_720I’ve continued to read Daily Science Fiction. I can’t get enough of those short, entertaining stories. I tried to keep up with Every Day Fiction as well but they’ve had some serious server problems and are just now getting back to daily stories. There’s also Flash Fiction Online, Nightmare Magazine, and Lightspeed Magazine to name a few of the online ezines I’ll read from time to time. I’ve also picked up hard copies of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. None of those are mentioned below.

What follows is my list of novels, ebooks, and short story collections that I’ve read in the past calendar year (in no particular order)


Mike Wech: Seven X:Seed of Demons

Inklings Press: Tales From the Mist

Inklings Press: Tales From Alternate Earths

Iain Robb Wright: Sea Sick

Bram Stoker: Dracula

John W. Smith: Nightmares of a Madman

Ray Wenck: Random Survival

Philip K. Dick: The Variable Man 

Ben Bova: The Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells

Vince Churchill: The Butcher Bride 

Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book 

Luke Smitherd: He Waits 

Mark Pannebecker: Fraternity of Fractures 

Mort Castle: On Writing Horror 

Sinister Grin Press: Cut Corners Vol. 1 

Stephen King: Revival

Maria Haskins: Dark Flash 

Mary Shelley: Frankenstein 


Looking back at what I’ve read, it’s a mix of indie authors and classics as well as a couple books on writing. I’ve discovered I don’t really like “Dracula” as much as I’d hoped. However I did enjoy “Frankenstein” quite a bit. Both are far different than any movie version.

Other than the short story collections from Inklings Press, I think the other stand outs for me were Ian Robb Wright and Maria Haskins. I loved the pace and tone of Wright’s “Sea Sick” and look forward to reading more of his work. Maria Haskins has a written voice that I find engaging. More of her work is certainly on my “to read” list.

None of the books above were bad at all, which was a surprise. Normally there are a few with serious problems or weren’t quite my taste. All of the books I’ve read in the past year are worth your time (and money) to read.

Have you read any of these? Which ones stand out for you? Any books I need to read in 2017? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and recommendations.

 

Scalzi to the Rescue

I’ve been in a reading slump lately. I’ve been keeping track of what novels I’ve read the past few years in a file just so I can go back at the end of the year and see where my reading tastes have taken me. This time last year I had 9 novels under my belt and about to tackle Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. My list so far is lacking. I’ve read 2 books. 2!

I’m in the middle of Stephen King’s Revival and I enjoy the direction of the story so far. Buuut, I can’t seem to really get into it. It’s been tough to get back to. I can’t put my finger on why.

I needed something else to read. I had to get engrossed in a story. So I turned to the only author I can read without it feeling like I’m reading – John Scalzi.

Scalzi has an excellent grasp of the craft. His words flow. I mean they flow! I enjoy horror and fantasy but the scifi Scalzi offers is brilliantly written. I’ve read Old Man’s WarThe Ghost Brigades, and The Last Colony from his Old Man’s War series as well as Agent to the Stars and devoured them like a peanut butter covered chocolate bar. His writing is well researched, planned, and delivered.

His style and content isn’t for everyone. I’m not going to hate if you don’t like his writing or his politics. It’s not like I agree with everything he says and I don’t have to in order to appreciate his art. I respect his opinions and desire to share them with his fans. Find him on Twitter if you want an entertaining and informative read.

What I appreciate most is his writing. I can read his books unlike any other author. He’s probably become my favorite author in the past few years and I’ve tried sharing his work with others that would appreciate it.

human-divisionWhen I opened Scalzi’s The Human Division the other day, reading felt right again. Before I knew it, I was 60 pages in and eager to continue. I was transported to the universe of green skin and BrainPals. And I loved it! My faith in reading was renewed.

My reading list will probably move faster now. I needed “Scalzi-Therapy” to get back on track.

When your reading gets in a rut, who is your go-to author? Who can you read and immediately be engrossed in their world? Share your favorites below. Maybe we can inspire each other to find new and exciting worlds to explore.


 

A few things to share.

I’ll be at the Book House in St. Louis Sat. April 9th for my very first book signing! If you’re in the area please stop by. The event will be from 1-3PM and there will be refreshments. It’s a family friendly event and everyone is welcome.

One of my stories will be on a podcast! One of my original stories from (Almost) Average Anthology was selected for an excellent flash fiction podcast. Watch my blog or my website or Twitter for more details as they come along.

I will be at the Indie Book Fair in St. Louis on May 7th. Come meet me and 50 or so other authors at the main branch of the St. Louis library. I’ll be doing a reading from my book as well.

And finally…I’ve recently added Contamination to my list of events. I will be at the horror/scifi con in St. Louis from June 17th-19th. It will be the largest event for me so far! Follow the blog, check my website, or find me on Twitter to get all the details.

Whew! I think that’s it for now. Lots of stuff going on. I hope you can join me along the way. I appreciate all your support!

2015 in Reading

As the new year gets underway, it’s time to share the books from 2015 that kept me entertained and made me think. The list below contains all the books I read this past year. It’s actually shorter than I planned. I did stay busier writing more than I ever have before which took up a lot of my reading time. I guess that’s a fair trade-off!

Other than the books listed, I’ve also been a devoted reader of Daily Science Fiction and Every Day Fiction. I’ve been looking for a horror version of these daily flash fiction sites but have come up empty so far. If you know of any, please share in the comments below or send me an email. I’d love to add that to my daily reading!

Here are my 2015 books in order of when I read them.

John Scalzi: The Last Colony.
George R.R. Martin: Clash of Kings
Stephen King: The Eyes of the Dragon
Phillip K. Dick: The Defenders
David Farland: Sweetly the Dragon Dreams
Stephen Brophy: The Villain’s Sidekick
Apryl Baker: The Ghost Files
Clive Barker: The Damnation Game
Tracy Stewart: Thriller – The Lake Murders
Ann Leckie: Ancillary Justice
Brandon Sanderson: Firefight
Jennifer Foehner Wells: Fluency
Jack McDevitt: Ancient Shores
J.A. Konrath: Horror Stories
John Scalzi: Agent to the Stars
Dean Koontz: Hideaway
Angie Fox: Southern Spirits
Joel Ansel: Four Dead Ones
K.R. Griffiths: Panic (Wildfire Chronicles Book 1)

Besides the well known authors like Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson, and John Scalzi, I was quite impressed by “Fluency” from Jennifer Foehner Wells. I highly recommend it if you like space dramas with vivid action. Jack McDevitt’s “Ancient Shores” was an excellent, thrilling tale of aliens and Native Americans. And J.A. Konrath…wow! He’s got a twisted side to him for sure! I loved those stories.

My choice of books this past year relied on my mood at the time. I switched from sci-fi to fantasy to horror and back. The only one that doesn’t fit that pattern is “Southern Spirits” by Angie Fox. I was given the book by Angie (it’s signed as well!) so I figured I owed it to her to read it. Though it’s not my type of book (a supernatural cozy mystery) I did enjoy it and was a welcome break from my other reading.

Have you read any of these? What would you suggest for the upcoming year? Leave your suggestions below and we’ll see if we can all broaden our reading in the new year.

Thanks!

 

 

Reading Influences

Do you remember what got you hooked on reading? Do you remember those words, that novel, that author that blew you away and created a love for story within you?

When I think about it, there were two strong influences on me. Neither knew of the other, but yet they pointed me in the same direction.

Despite my best efforts at distancing myself from my mom (as kids tend to do) she was a big influence on me. She was, and is, a voracious reader. Her favorite author of all time is Stephen King. His books were always in our house.  I recall one day as a copy of Pet Cemetary lay on our coffee table. I looked at the book, figured it didn’t look too long, and decided to read a novel (and find out why my mom liked his books so much) I was blown away! I read that book in no time and started reading his other works. My favorite at the time, and to this day, was The Stand. I loved the contrast of good vs evil. I got caught up in his world and loved every minute of it.

My other influence is someone I’ve never met. It was Scott Ian, the guitar player and heart and soul of the band Anthrax. I got into the band about the same time I read Pet Cemetary. I’d read interviews with the band or see them on MTV (when it had music) and quickly learned he was a well read individual and his tastes were similar to mine. The band has several songs based on Stephen King books (Among the Living based on The Stand, A Skeleton in the Closet based on Apt Pupil, and Misery Loves Company based on Misery just to name a few) One of my musical heroes loved reading! I felt like it was just the right thing to do. I was also introduced to one of my favorite comic book characters of all time, Judge Dredd, because of Scott Ian (see the Anthrax song I Am the Law) 

Because of my mom, and Scott Ian, I grew to love reading. It was something enjoyable. I could relate to others through popular writing. My mind was opened to worlds and stories way beyond my small life. That feeling of being caught up in someone else’s created world drew me in so far that I started creating my own stories. 

Reading, to sound like a PSA, is so crucial. It can lead to a lifetime of enjoyment and enrich our lives in ways we never imagined. No matter how you get started, as long as you start that journey, you will be rewarded for it.