A good yarn


OK, what’s with the photo of the German WW1 M16 helmet?

Pretty easy, it has a lot to do with what I’d like to talk about today.

No, not random war relics.

Yeah. Today’s piece is about a very strange thing I’ve had, and how advice from a friend and mentor helped me overcome an obstacle.

The problem has been with reading. Whoa, an author who has trouble picking up a book?

Yes. You see, I’ve been meaning to review “Shadows of Annihilation,” the new book by S.M. Stirling, on this site for a couple of weeks. Actually, longer than that; his book came out about when the Siege started. One would think that the better part of two months in solitude would have made me burn through books. The opposite has been true.

I have been able to maintain my writing, I am busy with a collaboration right now. It’s going pretty good.

But what’s with the helmet?

Well, that has to do with the very strange weirdness in regard to my reading, and why I should be very interested in reading Mr. Stirling’s work. I’d like to illustrate exactly how messed up this reading block has been.

First, long time readers know that I’m a very big fan of S.M. Stirling. When he releases something new, I don’t mess around. I read it. I devour it. Almost always, I enjoy it. So it’s super freaky that I didn’t immediately take care of his latest.

Second, I take my obligations to this site and my readers seriously. I know that you all have been lurking out there, looking for new stuff. Like me, you are probably hemmed up in your home; I have a duty to entertain you. It’s important not only to read Mr. Stirling’s book, but to review it for this website as well.

Finally, a fictional series set in the Great War is rare; this is an interest of mine and even if I wasn’t a huge fan of Stirling I’d still read his “Black Chamber” series for the World War I alternate history theme. After all, I’ve written one of those myself (hopefully for expansion into a trilogy), and I hope to release it this fall.

So it is with a glad heart, readers, that I can now report to you that I started “Shadows of Annihilation,” and so far it’s pretty damn good. What got me to sit down and read, as opposed to sitting and staring (BTW, I can’t watch TV either)?

A conversation with a friend in Australia. He suggested that I need to start treating reading as an obligation of the author’s trade; this was novel to me. Reading as work. It has always been for pleasure, or as an escape. But I found that if I treated it like writing, as a job, that I was able to do so.

And you know what? After the first fifteen minutes I started to enjoy myself; the book so far is pretty good. The Great War deserves more attention than it’s gotten, it has shaped our modern world. Kudos on Mr. Stirling for writing about it.

So tonight, I broke the dam.

Soon, a review.

3 thoughts on “A good yarn

  1. Have you ever been to the WW1 museum in Kansas City? I went last year during an annual meet up with some friends from college. It was INCREDIBLE. so many rooms of amazing artifacts. Lots of items just like that helmet.
    I’m loving the resurgence of WW1 in fiction. Can’t wait to see what you do with the setting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh i’ve been struggling with reading too! I thought it was just me. At the moment I have a non fiction political book (analogue), an urban fantasy about a dragon living in a Louisiana swamp from the author of Artemis Fowl (analogue), the latest novel from the creators of Welcome to Nightvale, (digital), and another fiction book whose title I can’t remember (digital), on the go at the moment and getting nowhere with any of them.

    I’m even struggling to get through the news, I have subscriptions to independent news sites and I can’t keep up with their stories. And it isn’t just reading, i’m struggling to find time to listen to podcasts too, although that might be a function of a lot of news podcasts producing episodes 5 days a week to keep up with COVID-19 news and so the amount of content has skyrocketed.

    Anyway, i’m so glad you managed to overcome you readers block! I’m going to follow your example and have a crack at treating reading like a job on the weekend and see if I can knock off at least one of my books. Really looking forward to your review of the new S M Stirling too ❤️


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