What Are You Reading?

I’m reading three books right now: Slammed by Colleen Hoover, The World According to Monsanto by Marie-Monique Robin, and my unfinished manuscript Prettiest When It’s Dying, which I hope to release in the coming weeks.  The other two I plan to review when finished.

What books have you read this year?  Anything you’d recommend as a Christmas gift?  I’d love it if you’d give the genre and a “People who liked _______ would like this book” descriptor.


Christmas Recommendations–Music

English: This is a photograph of rapper Hopsin...

English: This is a photograph of rapper Hopsin in his basement recording studio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kylie and I put up a single run of Christmas lights across the front wall of our apartment.  We also bought and wrapped our first presents.  The holiday spirit haunts us early this year.  We even have a gingerbread candle burning on the table.

Thanksgiving is coming up in two days, and I don’t know if you participate in the Black Friday riots to kick off the nationwide pre-Christmas shopping spree, but we’re doing another free promotion for Book One on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.  If you know anyone with a Kindle, feel free to recommend it to them.

I’ve been drinking strawberry wine from the farmer’s market tonight, so I thought this would be a good time to give some recommendations for Christmas gifts.  I’m going to do this as much as possible until the year is over, with emphasis on things I’ve discovered this year.  Let’s start with music . . .

Two Recommended Albums

Up From Below by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros


I’ve discovered two new and exciting musicians this year, both up-and-comers, largely (or completely) independent, and completely different from one another.

The first is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, a folk, blues, rock, hippie band in no way represented by these genre tags.  Kylie and I saw them live with two friends at Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville a few months ago.  The only other band I’ve ever seen who delivers such a crisp performance while seamlessly changing tempo, improvising, jamming, etc., is the Dave Matthews Band.

The front man of the group, Alex Ebert, shares the stage with his wife, Jade Castrinos.  Wait, this is the internet.  I can just embed a YouTube video.  And I know what I’m going to pick.  Their David Letterman performance of “Man on Fire” from their newest album Here:

My other recommendation is Hopsin, a completely self-produced rapper who even makes his own music videos.  Hopsin raps in a way that makes you feel like he’s speaking to you directly.  He raps in conversation, in speeches.  It’s quite unique.  He also acknowledges what the music industry has done to rap music and seeks to have a positive influence on others through poignant and revealing parody.

Here is an example of what Hopsin is all about.  It’s called “The Ill Mind of Hopsin 5” and again, I warn you, this music contains explicit language and adult themes.  Please do not click play if you are one who is easily offended:

What do you think of these guys?

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like . . .

Here in Kentucky, we’re really starting to feel the change of the season.  Fall goes by so quickly and then suddenly snow starts hitting regions closer and closer to you, until finally something like this happens:

“He shut the living room light and crossed the room and wiped the frost from a window and peeked out.  Darkness so thick he couldn’t see the ground.  Snow fell in heavy curtains and it whisked and spun and danced and away it flitted formless into the void.  If eyes are out there in the windswept dark they see now a dull maroon square quivering in the air like a harvest moon and in that square a shadow small and black and entire.  The shadow begins at once to swell and dissolve of its form as its referent moves on.  Finally the light snuffs out of the darkness and there is nothing.” — A Circle in the Woods

The weather has me thinking a lot about A Circle in the Woods because this time last year I was racing to finish the book in time to submit it to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.

A lot of people on Facebook are posting daily status updates to note the things for which they are thankful and earn their slice of turkey come Thanksgiving.  I don’t read most of them, nor do I participate, but with so many cool things going on in my life, I suppose it’s proper to give my own shout out to the cosmos for aligning the world so perfectly these past few months.

Last year, I had no writing career whatsoever.  My life has changed dramatically.  I can feel myself getting closer and closer to being a full-time writer, and I have many people to thank for that, from the folks at Ereader News Today to my author cohorts like J. Eric Laing, from bestselling author Colleen Hoover to author/blogger Jeff Bennington.  All my friends and family who put up with my constant book talk.  The good people at Authonomy.  Matt and Justin.  Lots of people have helped me get to this point as a writer.

I’ve decided to do a Christmas Giveaway, which will include books, prints, and, if we get things aligned in time, some other cool stuff we’re cooking up.  If you’d like to be entered to win, all you have to do is comment here and say so.  You’ll also want to subscribe to the blog so you’ll be notified when I post the winners.

In the meantime, I’ll be mixing eggnog and Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum, with a little cinnamon and nutmeg sprinkled on top.


Need a Christmas gift for your reader friend?

Try The Object: Book One