I will admit, I don’t pick up a lot of craft books. Mainly because my reading time is limited and when I’m not reading for pleasure, I’m Beta reading or editing. I have started more craft books than I can name and fully intend to return to them at some point. It’s rare I pick one up and read it cover-to-cover. Even rarer still to find myself giggling through it. Most are, in my humble opinion, a bit dry. Often redundant. Some even read like they were written by a motivational speaker who has gotten into the schnapps.
This book…managed to be one of the rare ones, and I highly recommend it whether you’re a newbie looking for guidance, a veteran needing some reminders, or anywhere in between. Also, if you have a class to teach, use this book. Your students will thank you. Warning — bring your sense of humor. One of the things I love about Josh Langston’s writing is his sharp wit, and he manages to keep it handy even in the throws of instruction. I mean, come on, people, he titled his book Write Naked (Oh, but Google is going to have a blast with that one!).
Chapters are short and concise, and include exercises at the end — for your writerly brain, not your physical body. I have already dog-eared the chapter on commas. It seems I have an issue with those. Possibly semi-colons as well. Probably because a semi-colon is basically a hyped up comma. Right?
Anywho… I digress. If you enjoy the lighter side of learning, then this book is for you. If you need to brush up on some of the finer points of penning prose, this book is for you. If you just want to be entertained whilst expanding your horizons, yeah, you guessed it. Go. Now. Enjoy.
You can grab your very own copy of Write Naked by going here (or, apparently, by raiding Mr. Langston’s trunk or attending one of his classes — and I can only imagine the fun that would be!).
I leave you with a bit about the author (and my favorite picture of him):
Josh Langston writes books which amuse, anger, enlighten and entertain. He regularly mines history for background material that’s little known but reliably fascinating. His plots are complex, interconnected and layered with humor and suspense; his characters are rarely predictable, and even his bad guys tend to be both engaging and diabolical.
A graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism, Josh’s writing tastes quickly shifted away from reportage. His fiction has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies, and he currently has two short story collections in the Amazon top 20 for genre fiction.
Thrice nominated for Georgia Author of the Year by the Georgia Writer’s Association, Josh has branched out more recently into contemporary thrillers and currently has seven such titles on the market along with an historical fantasy trilogy set in the 1st century BC, plus a handful of short story collections.
The 12,000-year-old Whisper, his latest novel, is set in two worlds separated by a dozen millennia.
Published by Janda Books, Whisper will debut on October 1, 2015.
Connect with me on Facebook Goodreads Twitter and Pinterest Read excerpts and buy copies of my works on the Published Works page. e-book & paperback copies also available on Amazon and other on-line book retailers.
Happy WIPpet Wednesday! First, some business to attend to. If you haven’t seen my giveaway, <cue trumpets and much fanfare> I’m offering a signed copy of both First of Her Kind and the anthology Witch Hunt: Of the Blood which includes my novella Blood Tells All. The anthology hit the Best Seller list on Amazon the first couple weeks it was out. Guess that makes me a best-selling author, huh? All you have to do to get a chance to win is be in the US (sorry, shipping costs) and go Here to sign up.
Now, speaking of giveaways and Best Selling Authors, my friend, fellow writer, member of the Grand Illustrious IMPire, top notch Shredder Beta reader, (did I mention Best Selling Author?) Sage of the South Josh Langston, is hosting a Goodreads Giveaway for his book Resurrection Blues (see my review here). He has also recently started up his own blog, Sage of the South so go visit and show him some love.
Now, on to today’s WIPpet. It is the 27th . . . so, I give you 27 lines of the new WIP, that elusive UF/PNR thing. A bit of a closer look at Ethan. And, if you missed it on my Facebook Page, below that is Ethan’s theme song. Well, one of them anyhow.
The hair line cracks in the plaster traced a delicate pattern across the ceiling, reminiscent of some ancient map. Ethan took a drag off his cigarette and puffed out a smoke ring, watching as it wafted skyward and dissipated against the ragged plaster. He rolled his head on his arm to take in the wan, digital display on the bedside clock. Three forty five. Too early even for him. Or too late, depending on your perspective. His gaze drifted off the clock to the puddle of light by the door and the plain brown envelope still lying on the floor.
It could rot there for all he cared.
He took another drag off the cigarette, and felt the weight beside him shift. “Can I have one of those?”
Ethan fished one out of the pack lying on the sheet next to him, lit it off his and passed it over without looking. He didn’t remember her name, not that he cared. She probably hadn’t given him her real one anyhow.
“Mind grabbing that for me when you leave?” He gestured to the envelope. “Your money’s on the dresser.”
She took the hint and got out of bed, getting dressed without a word. Ethan took another drag off the cigarette as the envelope landed on his mid-section.
“See you around,” she said on her way out but Ethan barely heard.
His thoughts had drifted to a different woman. Some mousy haired, middle aged, non-descript creature. A decoy. She hadn’t seen the car when she stepped from the curb. The driver hadn’t seen her. Over in an instant. For her, anyhow. Dead on impact, and a trip straight to the county morgue.
“How did I get so far from where I was? When did I decide to lose my way? Who have I become?”
(Wherein I succumb to some self-indulgent whining, and tongue in cheek sarcasm — because I can.)
The wind whipped around me as I stood on the edge. I had everything I needed, and faced the leap with a combination of excitement, terror, anticipation . . . did I say terror? All that remained was the jump itself. I peered down —
I edged a little closer. Should I get a running start, or just throw myself into the unknown, spreading my arms like wings? Or maybe a graceful, rolling tumble?
“You might want to look at this first.”
I turned to glance over my shoulder. The Sage of the South stood there, he held my manuscript in one hand, and gestured me over to him with the other.
“But, I’m all set to leap,” I complained, without moving.
“Fine.” He shrugged, and flicked the manuscript closed. “I’ll meet you at the bottom. You can buy me a drink, and on the way back up I’ll explain why nobody caught you.”
“Why nobody caught — but I stuck a fork in it! I proclaimed it done! I. Am. Done.”
“Shee-ure, if you want to settle for ‘okay’, strictly your choice.”
He turned away, and I looked for a rock to throw at his head. How dare he? The climb had been hell; years of scrabbling up the slopes, inch by inch. How many times had I slid backwards, scraping my knuckles raw, only to dig in and continue on until finally reaching the summit? And now — NOW — he calls me away? He waits till I get HERE to tell me not to jump yet?
Let me tell you, this writing thing is no walk in the park. If you’re thinking of being a writer, and you haven’t started, don’t! Run. Run away as fast as you can and don’t look back.
(That was a test. If you just threw your pen and notebook in the garbage and made like a rabbit, you failed. If, like me, you absolutely can’t stop, even if you want to, congratulations — I think.)
“What you have here is good,” the Sage continued. “But it needs a little tweaking yet.”
I frowned, and though I turned away from the edge, I didn’t leave it. Not yet. He couldn’t be serious? The look he gave me over the top of his glasses told otherwise. Still, I resisted.
“Let me see it.” I plopped my backside onto a rock and held out my hand. The Sage obliged.
“Needs more tension,” he said.
“I’ll tell you what needs more tension,” I muttered under my breath.
“Would you rather I just give you a pat on the head and a hip check off the edge?” he asked. “Watch you bounce off the rocks all the way down before you climb up and try it again and again? With any luck at all, that hard head of yours will connect with a boulder and knock some sense into you.”
I waved a backhanded gesture at him as I perused my precious tome. “Blah, blah, blah.”
I didn’t want to look. I wanted to leap. I had reached a point of contentment with my manuscript. A sense of completion. If I kept picking at it I’d never stop. I’d become the brother of a friend. He’s been a lifelong scholar of many different callings with never once graduating from any of them.
Unfortunately, the Sage has a nasty habit of being right. This thoroughly irks me. Even when I want to argue a point, I can’t. (Although, I have been told by an attorney friend that I can, actually, argue anything, and should have pursued a career in law.)
My frown deepened. Many colorful words filled my mind. None of them all that polite so I won’t repeat them here. Once again, I was forced to concede that the Sage had a valid point. I gazed longingly over my shoulder at the precipice I had worked so hard to conquer.
“You’ll be back up here in no time,” he said, as he guided me to my feet, placed a hand between my shoulder blades and shoved me ahead of him. “Now, get busy.”
(In all seriousness, I am very fortunate to have Josh Langston, the Sage of the South, in my corner, even though he shares quite a few traits with Sheldon Cooper. He has pushed me to become a better writer — and to drink — but mostly to stop being lazy and write to the best of my abilities — and drink.)