Book Review: Your Money or Your Life

I’m going to preface this by stating the obvious: the first edition of this book (the one I have) was published twenty years ago. The internet was nothing like it is today. E-books were far fewer, and there sure as hell was no such thing as a Kindle. Even so, I’m using it as part of my Five Year Plan, to further my career as an indie ebook writer, which at first glance seems counter intuitive.

Stay with me.

This book is important, for anyone, but especially for people wanting to get away from a day job. It offers the standard advice, like making your own coffee* and packing a lunch. But where this one differs significantly from those other finance guides is in the perspective. The book’s goal is getting you to financial independence, and it may be closer than you thought.

But, you say, I need a million-billion dollars to support myself/my family, so I can’t ever leave my day job! “Your Money or Your Life” points out all the unseen costs associated with going to the day job itself. Do you spend money on special work clothes? On parking? On social lunches? These extra costs would disappear along with your 9-5.

And what about extra time? Do you commute? Do you spend a lot longer getting ready in the morning, so you can meet a certain office standard? What about after work–do you need mindless “unwind” time to get over your miserable day? Wouldn’t that time be better spent, y’know…doing something?

You may be working more hours for less money than you thought. And the more money and time your day job eats, the less of both you have to put towards working for yourself.

Pick this one up, from the bookstore, the library, or get it in ebook form. Sit down (when you actually get a minute) and read the entire thing. Even if something specific doesn’t seem to apply to you, read it anyway. It’s the overall mindset that’s important here. It’s about re-learning how to prioritize your money and your time.

As far as career goals go, I’d say that’s pretty damned important.

*pleasant side effect: since I make coffee in much larger volumes than I’d buy at the drive-through, my caffeine consumption is much, much higher and I am much, much happier. Caffeine is my happy drug.

3 Of My Favourite Writing Books

Any writer worth anything should be in love with books. If you know me, you know that I have a bit of a book…obsession fixationhabit. I can’t imagine a life not surrounded by books.

So it should go without saying that I’ve amassed a number of how-to writing books, and thought I might share a few of my favourites. The ones I like best are the ones that go beyond the mechanics and add a little humor, or offer a peek into the lives of authors and writers.

The first I want to mention is one I’m reading now: How I Write: The Secret Lives of Authors. It’s a wonderful book, one of those that should be sitting as inspiration on your shelves. The editors asked authors to name what it is that inspires them, what keeps them writing. Some authors chose to share their spaces: the specifics of desk and chair and view. Others tell about the little totems they keep to bring them luck or appease their muse.

The second is Page Fright: Foibles and Fetishes of Famous Writers. Harry Bruce has unearthed all kinds of interesting little facts about some of the most well-known authors. No matter what bizarre little writing habits you’ve picked up, I guarantee this book will make you feel normal. (Or at least a part of a big, crazy tribe.)

And third, you must, and I can’t stress this enough, check out Chuck Wendig. Start with 250 Things You Should Know About Writing and go from there. Read his books, all of them, and never look at writing (or being a writer) the same way again. (All I’m going to say is that this is the man who once wrote a recipe calling for “a dick of carrots”. You’ll have fun with these.)

Hitchers


Illustration ©2011-2012 *WolfesClothing

This is the cover art for Hitchers, a book by Will McIntosh. To be honest, I hadn’t heard of the book before, but when I came across this illustration I was immediately interested. It’s one of those pieces that grabs (HAH! GET IT?) your attention right away. The contrast between the eyes of the character, tinged red, against the glowing eyes of the ghost (?) is fantastic. Click on the picture to visit the original source and see it in a larger size.

This kind of art always makes me a little bummed that I can’t draw anything recognizable, and intensely jealous of those who can.

(via Fuck Yeah Illustration)

New Story, FEED, Now Available!

“He’s got that look in his eyes again, the one that only brings trouble. “Buddy,” I warn him, “cool it.”

I know he can hear me, at least on some level, but the part of him I can see is all glassy eyes and stiff body. He’s just like a hound, when he gets like this, and I get that feeling in my gut again. I know something’s going down, and soon.

My brother bobs his head absently to the music from the juke. It’s some of that C&W bullshit he’s always playing on the truck radio. I can’t stand it, myself, all heartbreak and such. Life has enough problems, believe you me, without adding more.

I know all about that.

Buddy’s leaning forward on his stool a little. His massive gut pushes up against the high table but he don’t seem to notice. The bar’s crowded tonight, men drinking off the week. Some came with their own woman. Some came with another man’s.

I get that feeling, and I know he’s seen her.”

Click on the cover to purchase, 99¢ on Amazon.

Dark Side: Seven Repulsive Stories

My first collection of scary tales is now available! Get all seven of my current e-releases for a low package price. Contains the stories:

Dump Room
Boogeyman
Screee
Mr Buster’s Bodies
Better Fat Than Dead
Overtime

and my most disturbing story yet, What’s Inside

Yeah. That last one raises some eyebrows.

An Exercise in Madness: House of Leaves

Okay, so this is a novel that I’ve been meaning to talk about. It’s one that requires its own post, and even then I’m not sure I’ll do it justice.

Ready?

The story in House of Leaves (without spoiling) goes something like this:
There’s this guy, Johnny. He’s our narrator, in a way. He finds a manuscript by a deceased old man known as Zampano. The manuscript is a book about a documentary about a family who made a documentary about their house, which is considerably bigger inside than it is outside. Oh, and it’s growing. And there are growls in the dark.

So we’re reading a book about a book about a movie about a movie. Yep.

It starts when Will Navidson, the homeowner, finds a door where there wasn’t one before. It’s inside, but on an exterior wall: so if opened, it should lead outside. Instead it opens onto a pitch-black hallway that gets longer the further you walk it.

The typesetting in the novel itself is upside down, backwards, crossed-out, different colours, encoded. The book is heavily cross-referenced to books and articles that don’t exist. It’s maddening, and fascinating, and hypnotic.

You can read it with or without Johnny, with or without solving the code. It’s several books inside one big one, and if that wasn’t layered enough, there’s an album recorded specifically to complement it.

It’s one of my favourites, by far, and up next on my re-reading list. I’ve only just begun feeling comfortable looking down dark hallways since my last read-through…it’s about time I scared the shit out of myself again.