Technically, this one should have gone up late last night, but I don’t like posting two posts too close together. So, here’s some afternoon’s entertainment for you at my expense.

A few years ago, I suddenly stopped being able to read like I used to. My eyes would slide off the page of any book I picked up, and nothing worked for me anymore. At the time, I chalked it up to what I call “Journeyman’s Syndrome,” where an artist of a certain level stops being able to enjoy the art in his own medium because he’s hyperaware of the technique on display, so he’s immune to the magic.

But it turns out it wasn’t Journeyman’s Syndrome. The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t find books I fell in love with and that kept me up all night, it’s that I couldn’t find books by new-to-me authors that would do that to me (this is one of the reasons that when I find a book that does this to me, I shout it from the mountaintops).

I’ve since figured out why this was happening and corrected for it (i.e. my inner reader is looking for a very particular something in stories, so I figured out what it was). And, now, I get the joy of being kept up all night by books again.

But now it surprises me and I really pay for it the morning after. Literary hangovers are a killer.

Dead Sleep
Night before last, Greg Iles did that to me. After I posted the last installment of this series, I curled up on the couch with his Dead Sleep, thinking I’d spend about an hour reading and then go to bed.

I read all night. I didn’t get to bed until nine AM, after the last page turned.

I should have expected it, though. Iles did this to me earlier this year with his book The Quiet Game, an earlier–and very different–book. Iles does amazing characterization, deep cultural nuance, and wonderful world-texture, and tells stories that are so much a part of their story-world that it’s difficult to imagine transplanting the central plot anywhere else.

If you’re looking for a great, dark, chewy mystery-driven suspense novel by someone other than me, you’d have trouble doing better. Iles is bloody masterful.

So, Iles ruined my day. I didn’t wake up until well into the afternoon, and was bleary most of the day. I didn’t get the podcast episode done (I’m working on that for Saturday release instead). I worked all my bleary day on bookkeeping and other non-creative activities, and made NO progress at all on the new Kabrakan book despite 4 hrs of writing time. I did slightly better with the blog post–writing nonfiction doesn’t pull the same part of the brain for me. By the way, if you want to learn some interesting stuff about copyright, check out that post.

Or, at least, I thought I made no progress.

When I totaled up the words at the end of the day, I got a very pleasant surprise. I’d finished two new chapters and clocked in 3,087 words, which brings us up to a grand total of 61,889

Anyway, here’s where we’re currently at:

61,889 / 120000 words

Watch for more podcasty goodness on Saturday–and remember, you’ve still got six days to grab the Exteme Science Fiction book bundle with Hadrian’s Flight and Suave Rob’s Double-X Derring-Do, along with some fantastic new fiction by Antithesis actor and fellow podcaster J.R. Murdock as well as a number of other authors all writing high adventure in hard science fiction worlds.

Extreme SF Bundle