Amazon Launches Prime Reading

If you have a Prime account like I do, then you’re likely already aware of the many perks associated with the subscription. And now Amazon adds to it again.

Prime Reading is exactly what you’d expect it to be. You get to read any book that’s included in the service. I believe it’s currently over a thousand titles at launch. You also get free access to current magazines. I haven’t subscribed to a magazine in about a decade, but I’ve really been considering subscribing to Sports Illustrated or National Geographic. And they’re both included!

There is no subscription service that gives you greater value for your money than an Amazon Prime menbership. There’s books, movies, TV shows, two-day shipping, Prime Now, and I bet members will one day get to fly into space before nonmembers. HA!

Does Prime Reading make you want a Prime membership any more than before? Or if you’re already a Prime member, will you take advantage of the new program?

Saturday Selects: Bill Nye Gets a new Show

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I usually write on the first Saturday of each month outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today we’re talking Bill Nye’s new show!

I don’t think there’s a millennial in America today who doesn’t remember his previous show in which he made science both enjoyable and interesting for a young audience. And now he’s back. He’s partnering with Netflix on a new show to once again bring science to the masses. Each episode will focus on a particular topic. Vaccines. GMOs. Climate change. You can expect all of this to be discussed and so much more.

This type of show is important in any time period, but we have celebrities and politicians today peddling in “science” that has no basis in fact. If we’re to save and preserve our planet then we must accept and embrace science. Bill Nye is the perfect person to lead the charge.

The show premieres in early 2017, and I can guarantee I’ll be watching as soon as it’s available.

Also, could this be a precursor for a Bill Nye – Neil Degrasse Tyson 2020 presidential ticket? It’s never too early to lay the groundwork for a White House bid!

Will you be watching Bill Nye’s new show?

American Crime

I’m a big TV guy. But I’m not a fan of comedies. I watch dramas. And only two crime shows because they’re all so fake and illogical. I feel the need tonight to talk to you about American Crime. I can’t remember if I’ve written about it on here before or not, but it is extraordinary. The season 2 finale aired tonight. I won’t get into specific details about the story or the cases involved. But I do want to tell you the kinds of things the show makes a point to address.

American criminal justice system.

Homophobia.

Racism.

Rape.

Gun violence.

Victim shaming.

Right to privacy.

Class system.

Drug use.

Bullying & cyberbullying.

Suicide.

High school.

Entitlement.

Public and private education.

I’m sure there are themes that are directly addressed I’m just not thinking of at the moment. But this show is so much more than just about crime. I tweeted immediately after I finished watching the finale.

There was no exaggeration when I wrote that. This is the kind of show that gives you an idea as to how someone like Donald Trump could become a front runner to be President of the United States. It’s because of the ideas and ideologies not much different from the show’s characters. But what the show really does well is it (in my opinion) gives great insight into different perspectives from different groups of people. People in power. Minorities. Victims of crimes. Teens. There are so many different perspectives on things that most people only pretend to understand. And there are so many perspectives that are completely ignored. To me, THAT’S what the show is all about. Perspectives.

Look. There are plenty out there who refuse to believe in reality. There are plenty of people who blatantly deny reality. But American Crime is as real as any thing you can see or feel for yourself. There are A LOT of bad shows on TV right now. There are A LOT of mediocre shows on TV right now. There are some good ones. But there are very few truly remarkable shows on the air right now. American Crime is one of those shows that is simply more than a TV show. It’s a message to every viewer in every episode. It’s a portrayal of American life. It’s real.

I only see the two seasons available for purchase from Amazon. They may be available from other retailers like Google or Apple, but Amazon has both seasons available to be purchased for $19.99. But most of the second season can be streamed through ABC.com, the Watch ABC app, or ABC on Demand. I’m not going to sit here and tell you how you should spend your money. The first season was nominated for awards every which way. And I imagine season 2 will be no different.

Have you watched American Crime?

 

Using Real Events for a Story

I’m not talking nonfiction. And I’m not talking about simply using one’s life experience. I’m talking about particular events. Kind of like the TV show Castle. He uses real crimes (in the show) and writes books about them.

I think it’d be an interesting thing to do, but I doubt I’d ever even try it. It would lead me to ask myself why not just write nonfiction instead? If an author really wants to focus on real events, then why not REALLY focus on them?

For example, one of the most notorious crimes of my lifetime was when Andrea Yates killed her five children in Houston. I’m certain that there are plenty of books about this, but I think it’d be better to go ahead and write some true crime rather than a novel when it comes to something like that.

I don’t know if this actually happens, but I do think authors may hesitate to go from fiction to nonfiction or vice-versa if they’re already well known for one or the other. Makes sense. Don’t want to confuse readers. But what do I know, right?

Do you ever use specific events from real life in your stories? Things that didn’t necessarily happen to you.

Game of Thrones on TV Will Finish Before the Books are Written

Wait, what?

I’ve never watched the series on TV or read any of the books, though I do have the first four now. I couldn’t tell you anything about it. Except that George R. R. Martin is the author and that he kills off characters all the time. I think?

Again, I can’t even talk about the differences between the TV show and the books, but this still seems a bit odd to me. Adaptations are not always loyal to the original work, but how can a TV series finish when there’s still more the author wants to tell in the story?

I think Martin has been between books for awhile now, right? So perhaps at this point he just doesn’t care anymore. Or maybe the show has contractual obligations to finish up at a particular point in time. I don’t know. And maybe the fans of the show don’t care how or when the show ends as long as it does.

To me, a series based on books should try to be as loyal to the original as possible. Otherwise, it could have been adapted into a movie. What do you think about all this?

James Patterson Just Dominates Everything

We’ve all at least heard of book trailers, right? Well James Patterson just takes them to a whole new level. To me, book trailers are almost always the same. Book cover. Voice actor saying something relevant to the story. There’s not much else. Sometimes you’ll have the author either in the actual trailer or doing the narration. This is Patterson’s most recent one:

There’s not much to it. It caught my attention, but I’m biased because I very much enjoy reading his Alex Cross novels. So why am I talking about James Patterson dominating anything when this trailer only shows 665 views on YouTube? Because it was on network TV. That’s right, James Patterson’s book trailer was on network TV.

I’d say I’ve seen less than a dozen book trailers ever. Why is that? Mostly because I have no real interest in them, but also because they’re hidden. You can probably find them on YouTube if that’s what you’re looking for, but I’m not.

The point of this post is to say that there are plenty of mega bestselling authors writing today, and I’d never seen any one of them show their book trailer on TV. I think there’s a book thing on C-SPAN or something once a week? And perhaps they show book trailers on there? But I’m talking about channels people actually watch.

Have you ever seen a book trailer on TV? Even if it’s C-SPAN.


On this day in 2014 I published Why I Don’t Write Book Reviews.

 

Some Randomness About Moi

Today is Saturday and sometimes I just don’t feel like wasting what I think are great ideas for posts on weekends. Even though other times I try writing posts that I anticipate many people will at least read because of the topic. So in reality, this is me being a little lazy. Hehe.

Anyway, last year sometime I wrote some awards posts and at least once published a post of random facts. Well today I wanted to do that again because we’re all friends here, right? *crickets* I guess I’ll start listing them before you run away from me.

1. I have crazy dreams. I’m not kidding. I’ve been the writer for a dinosaur movie. I’ve met Jennifer Lawrence. I’ve played baseball in front of thousands of people in an open field in the middle of nowhere. (did I experience Field of Dreams?) Oh, and I’ve also been chased by an old lady with an ax who was definitely out for blood. And I’ve also dreamed about meeting other bloggers, but I can’t say who because I may or may not have already told them and what if they think I’m crazy and get scared? Nah. Not dealing with that.

2. I suffered two injuries last year as a result of my training. I’ll now likely forever have two bad wrists and a bad shoulder. But I wouldn’t change anything after that 365 pound bench! I also have a bad back that randomly acts up after months of being okay.

3. I’ve never seen a single episode of Game of Thrones. I know people are obsessed with the whole series, but I’ve never felt the need to join them. I highly doubt I’d be interested in the TV series, slightly more likely I’d be interested in the books. Slightly.

4. I might have a need to be famous. I think if people got a taste of the real me that I’d have more friends and people to interact with on a regular basis. My goal in life is to become Vine famous. Or on YouTube. Or WordPress? Seriously, no blogger has any idea what I’m like in person and that’s no good. Honestly, I imagine that many of you would want nothing less than to never meet me. BUT I know several of you would be great acquaintances. I’m imagining a meet up in which we meet in a sports bar (no need to be formal) and we end up having a small crowd of people around us cause we’re so damn interesting. And I’d be the only guy in there who knows anything about the sporting event taking place at the time.

5. I love Twitter. It’s the only social media site I really use besides this. I have Snapchat and occasionally use it, but the people I’ve added on there are just not interesting. I originally started using my Twitter account once I finished writing my book, but now I do not ever tweet about books. Okay, very rarely. My book stuff can stay on WordPress. I’d tell you to follow me over there, but I”m telling you now that I won’t follow you back if all you tweet is #amwriting or #amreading or something similar. I have no interest in that stuff. I mostly tweet about sports because they’re way more important to me than books. Find me here.

That’s it! One day I’ll do an Ask me Anything post and see what kinds of questions people might want to ask, but that isn’t today. So what do you think of my randomness? Maybe you’ve had some crazy dreams too? Or maybe you’re interested in my Twitter rants? Or better yet, you want to come down to Texas and buy me food?

If you comment, then I want you to tell me a random fact about yourself. I won’t reply if you don’t. Ha!


On this day in 2014 I published Are Bookmarks Dead?. The most popular post in the history of this blog. By far. And chances are you’ve already read it. It still usually gets a Like or a comment each day and I remember writing it just to get the idea out of the way because I thought it was stupid. I guess the only stupid one around here is me. So take a look if you haven’t already!

 

What Would you do if you Didn’t Have Books?

I’d just die. Okay, kidding.

Honestly, I’d pretty much be exactly the same. Shocker. I like reading and books and everything that goes with them, but I already spend many more hours in front of my TV than I do reading or talking about books. Y’all know I watch every single game of the Astros, Texans, and Rockets. That’s a lot of hours. And that doesn’t even include all the nationally televised games that don’t include any of my hometown teams.

Besides my obsession with sports, I like TV shows. I watch a million different shows. I usually have something set to record every day of the week except for Saturday. And there’s Bosch on Amazon and House of Cards. I just can’t get enough TV.

So if I didn’t have books I’d just find my entertainment elsewhere. Because at the end of the day that’s what reading is to me, entertainment. But what would YOU do if you didn’t have books?

Things we do Rather Than Write

I wrote a post a little while back detailing the very specific reasons I struggled to find time to sit down and write. This post will be more general.

So you’re a writer, right? But you often find yourself scrambling to find something else to do other than write. Why? Because we’re a weird bunch and writing is so much more difficult than non-writers realize. But I’ll save what I think about the lack of respect writers get for another day. But back to the here and now. Let’s talk about some of the things we throw ourselves into to get out of writing.

Reading

This is probably the easiest and most obvious on the list. I mean, we’re all readers too. And we were all reading long before we’d ever put down a single word of our own writing on paper. Maybe you just picked up your favorite author’s newest release and it’s just too good to step away from. That’s not so bad, unless you’re forcing yourself to read because you’re trying your absolute best not to get any writing done. Still, I think this is one of the few valid reasons we can come up with not to write.

Social Life

Hmm. I mean, I guess. It’s Friday night and your favorite person just texted you to go out and do this or that. You think about ignoring the text because you’re not really in the mood until you realize that if you don’t do something that your manuscript will be staring you in the face the whole time you’re home. Either get the death stare from your writing or go out and perhaps have an okay time. We’ll likely go for the social festivities more times than not. Except for me, I don’t ever go out. And I still don’t write as often as I’d like. Go figure.

School Work

I’ve come to realize that there are A LOT of college students who are also writers. I could probably name five or ten off the top of my head right now. But let’s be real, when do you EVER put school work over something else? You don’t. Remember I was a college kid too not very long ago. And guess what I did for every paper I wrote my last two years of school? I wrote them the night before. So don’t sit there and act like you’re all about getting your school work done early so you don’t have to worry about it come the due date, you’re not fooling anyone.

Employment

This is another of those valid reasons that many writers face. I honestly don’t know how people go to work for eight hours and then go home and get any kind of writing done. I work six hour days every Saturday and Sunday and I am dead in bed as soon as I walk in the door, You’ve seen the internet Vines or memes of the kids getting home from school and literally dropping their bodies onto their bed. Yeah, well that’s me after work. So all of you full-time workers who also manage to write, well I salute you. And I want your secrets.

TV/Social Media

I’m raising my hand for this one. Because I’m the worst when it comes to both of these things. You all may remember that I watch way too much TV. AND 24 just came back yesterday! OH MY GOODNESS THE FIRST EPISODE WAS SO GOOD. But anyway, if you’re a TV junkie like myself, then you’ve likely convinced yourself a time or ten that you’ll write after you watch the latest episode of your favorite show sitting there on your DVR awaiting playback. But then the episode is so good that you can’t possibly think of anything else for the next 24 hours after watching. It’s bad.

And then we have social media. Maybe some of my older readers aren’t as fond of this particular excuse as some of my younger readers. I have to admit that I am on WordPress or Twitter all day long. It’s horrible. I used to hate Twitter. But then I started talking to other writers and bloggers on there and now I like it okay. And WordPress, well it’s hard to have other bloggers coming back if they’re commenting and interacting on my posts and get no response from me. I mean, come on. I said I’m on Twitter all the time, and I am, but my blog is a thousand times more important to me. I don’t think y’all realize how much I love this thing. I’m naming my first born Pressly. See what I did there? Just kidding, that’d be a little looney.

Okay, so there you have a few of the things we do as writers in order to get out of writing. What do you think of my little list? Is there something you find yourself doing that is not listed? Tell me.