Reading Out Loud

In need of Shave

Last night I decided to be more engaging with the world. I created a video about the ahem finer points of reading your work out loud. This was all based on a tweet that I made a few days ago about how reading your work like you’re performing an audio book helps with evaluating the flow of your story.

I’m all about the flow of a book or a story. I think it’s one of the most important things that makes a book interesting. If a book is easy to read, regardless of vocabulary, the reader enjoys it more and absorbs the message better. I’m a firm believer that anyone should be able to pick up a book and read it from cover to cover. That is why one of the questions I ask my test reader is, “Does the book flow?”

I will also admit (again) that I have gotten in audio books. I find myself imagining what it would be like to have someone read and perform Hanging Upside Down in this medium. I’m sure I can do, but there are some really great voice actor that can do it much better than I could. That, of course, makes me think about the general flow of my writing even more. That’s why tone and dialogue become so important.

I’ve gone through five audio books in about 6 weeks. While three of those are Star Wars books, the other two were Dracula by Bram Stoker and Kindred by Octavia Butler. Both of these classics got me really to love how words sound and thus lead me to read my current project, The Book of Isabel, out loud.

This explains the video I created last night. I will admit that I’m a bit goofy and it’s awkward to hear myself but fuck it. I need to start having fun with the work that I do. Enjoy the video and leave some feedback.

 

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2015 Goals

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I have to admit that I needed this year to end. While this was a great year for me personally, there was just too many tragedies that I cannot readily ignore. Thus, any Facebook celebratory “year in review” isn’t something I was going to do.

As stated last year, I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions but, rather, I set goals to accomplished by the end of the next year. Unfortunately, I only completed 50% of my goals this year but what I did accomplish, changed my life. 2015 will be interesting because of the nature of the 10 goals I’m setting.

I’ve always believed in doing the things that got me in the game. I love to write and the writer in me feels that I don’t do it enough. So, blogging more is something I have to do. I made that pledge last year and I wrote two less blogs this year than I did last year. At least, I’m not writing much less especially considering that I came out with my first novel this year. (Although, I DID write two Huffington Post articles…so technically I wrote the same amount…but whatever) However, it’s even more important that I finish book two. I’m already five chapters deep and once this holiday season is over, I plan on hitting the “pen to the pad” at full steam.

Hanging Upside Down is more of an accomplishment for me than I’m willing to admit. I’ve found it hard to celebrate with everything going on in my life and in the world. I need to be willing to put myself out there more and step up my hustle. I will not be satisfied until I sell 500+ copies next year.  I know I have my work cut out for me because I’m doing this all on my own. However, I do have family who will always help and because of that I need to go to Georgia to visit some long lost familia.

Which also brings me to my next point, spending more time with family. The death of a family member makes things difficult all around and yet it seems to instill a sense mortality in all of us. This has made me realize that I need to cherish my time more with the people that I care about the most.

Outside of all the personal issues, I need to read more. Again, this is another goal from last year that I bailed on but I feel that it’s important to try again. This time I have a little bit more of a motivation. This year, I have either met some authors or come to the realization that I have many friends who are authors. Not matter what the case is, it is my job as a friend and fellow author that I support and read their works.

I also need to focus a little bit more on my health. I wont go into how I’m facing oral surgery in January, but I do need to get a check up so I can get back to running. I would like to do more than just one 5k this year. Of course, part of my problem over the last few years is that I can be a bit of an insomniac. Lack of sleep is a problem for me that may have been halting my productivity. So basically, I need more sleep.

Finally, I’ve made a big decision that will help me with debt reduction. I’m moving out of Washington Heights. I have a long term goal to get my credit score up by the time I’m 50 and part of that is being able to save money. The move is a financial one with me being able to have extra money to pay bills. I roll my eyes because it just seems that no matter what my goals are, I am paying bills at one point or another.

So that is pretty much it. I assume this will be my last entry for 2014. It has been an interesting year. I hope you all set goals rather than resolutions. Happy New Year.

2014 Goals

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In many ways, I feel like this year has gone by so fast. For the most part, it’s probably because I’m really enjoying my life and time flies when you’re having fun. I looked at the goals I set for myself this past year and I didn’t do all that bad. Some, of course, I didn’t even come close to accomplish and others I nailed.

So the disclaimer in all this is that I do not do New Year’s Resolutions. I set goals so that I can feel a little bit more accomplished by the end of the next year. I only completed 60% of my goals from last year but I suppose that is better then zero. I will try to do better for 2014. I will set ten personal goals and move from there.

The absolute number one goal for next year is get this novel published. I can’t stress that enough. I have put a lot of work into this book and I’m looking forward to this process being over. There are so many things that will go into this (like designing the cover, getting an ISBN, and getting an editor) and I’m ready for it. The one thing that I cannot let interfere with this process is fear. Trust me, I have a lot of it but I’m pushing through it.

Despite all my novel writing, the change in websites, and the multiple Huffington Post entries, I still think I do not blog enough. I have so many unfinished blogs that it is not even funny. Lately, I have gotten either easily distracted or have been too damn busy. My former life in Central NY was not like this. I just need to blog more.

Writing is one thing but reading more is also another goal of mine. For some reason I fell off with this and I need to get back on my reading habit. I really felt it after seeing Zadie Smith talk at Barnard College a few months back and than it was solidified after seeing Junot Diaz speak with Toni Morrison. Now that I have an upgraded Nook, I will be taking reading more seriously. I think I will try to read about 14 books next year.

I ‘m also getting old. I turn 40 in June and I have no idea what I’m doing. I would like to do something awesome for my birthday but I just can’t fathom what that would be. Perhaps a huge celebration? Who knows? What I do know is that I need to continue to exercise. I fell off that wagon too. I have always said that a 5k is in my future and I think in my 40th year, I should just do it.

This past fall, I started going to church again. Much of that had to do with trying to be the god father to my niece, Maya. I found myself getting up early on Sunday and going to mass and it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Of course, once Maya got baptized, I stopped going so I think it would be a good idea to start going again. Maybe not every Sunday but maybe twice a month.

The reason for wanting to go back is that I did feel at peace when I was in church. This was more about my own faith with God rather than the church itself. It has also made me think about volunteering and donating more to the neighborhood or just in general. Of course donating is always a little hard but as I continue my debt reduction things will get easier. I’m just happy that I paid off my car this month.

I have been in NYC for almost a year in a half now and I’ve returned to my old ways as a New Yorker, which means that I don’t visit other things unless food is involved. I feel like I need to explore NYC more. I was in the Williamsburg section Brooklyn a few weeks ago and it surprised me how nice certain parts of BK can be (yes, that is the Bronx in me talking). I also went to the Linkedin office a few weeks ago and they are in the Empire State Building which made me realize that that was the first time I’ve ever been in there. Yeah. I have to do better. lol

Finally, I need to visit my dad. I have not been to Florida in years and I need to go back. It just so happens that I will be heading to a conference in Orlando in April. Plans are not finalized but I look forward to the confernce that will turn into a family vacation. Disney is calling my girlfriend’s name.

I hope you all have some goals to set. Once you set goals then you are ready to achieve them. The picture above is from the article Life: Why Should You Set Goals for 2014? Read it. Happy Goal-Setting!