Writing “THAT” Book and a New Blog

This morning, as I was making my breakfast in preparation for my long, lovely commute, it occurred to me that I’m writing “that” book. No, not the masterpiece book. Nothing like that. It’s the book that drives an author crazy, just like the films that that drive directors crazy. For an example of what I’m talking about, click here for a list of ten of the most difficult-to-write books in history.

Now, of course the writing of Room 3 hasn’t involved major illness or the threat of impending death looming overhead, but it has gone through two fairly severe bugs, a lengthy pre-operative process, and now wedding planning. In between were also the usual bumps in the road. In short, life has gotten in the way of Room 3.

Of course, this is not to whine. I’m not the first to struggle with life during the writing of the book and I know I won’t be the last…nor will this be the last time it happens. I also get that art arises from adversity so from an artistic standpoint I must be doing a kick-ass job. I just say all this to let you know that I’m going to be delaying the release of Room 3 by about a month. I had originally targeted the book for release in Mid-April, but it’s going to have to come out in mid-May, with a big PR push beginning in early June. Unfortunately, this may shift the release of City of the Dead until September or even October rather than August, but I can’t move mountains. Two books in a year should be good enough, right?

To make this up to you (okay, and because I think the idea is just fascinating enough to work), I present my new blog: Found Music, in which I document “A Thrift Store Journey Through Sound”. Apologies for the current design; it’s rather basic and will be upgraded soon, as I sort through the concept. Speaking of which, the basic concept is that once a week I will post some obscure music that I find in a thrift store. Typically these are lost gems or oddities from the cassette era, though I’ve found a few odd CD-Rs and obscure local releases that will eventually featured. It’s fairly easy on the word count and shouldn’t interfere too much with the continued operation of this site and my own writing, but should provide a fun little outlet. And who knows, we might discover members of these bands who are willing to talk. Here’s a preview from the first post:

I’ve long been fond of musical oddities. When I was young, I had my time listening to Top 40 music, but soon found myself bored and wandered over to the local college radio station. It blew my tiny little mind: music that I would never dream of hearing on Top 40 radio, stuff with odd names like Echo and the Bunnymen, the Sugarcubes, and Husker Du. My ears weren’t quite ready for what they were hearing, but I could tell that this was something different, and almost forbidden. I became hooked on the idea, and throughout my music collecting years, I sought out the rarities, even for popular bands. I once boasted a Nirvana collection that featured 100+ bootlegs with lots of studio recordings, live performances, and radio appearances, and did the same for the Smashing Pumpkins in the mid-90s. At the same time, I would take chances on random bands at the local record store and often found myself rewarded – I discovered the Pixies this way, years after everyone else, but hey.

Of course, doing this is a lot easier these days. You just plug in a band name on Pandora or Last.FM and bam – you can start skipping around finding analogues to the band’s sound. It misses some of the poetry of what I used to do.

This week’s album is by a Maryland-based band called Quorum. If you think this might be your particular thing, please, go check it out. I’d love to have contributors sending me their weird, obscure stuff, too. Enjoy the music!

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  1. Wow!!
    I think we went through the same music issues–or delights–however you choose to view it 🙂
    I thought it was amazing to find Incesticide when it came out. And ahhhh–the Sugarcubes. Birthday is still unlike any song I have ever heard.
    I’m a bit gloomy about the music I hear lately–although I do have a bit of a Jack White thing…and a song by Wolf Mother called Dimension recently grabbed me. Kind of Zeppelin reborn. Kinda.
    I love this blog.

    • Jonathan D Allen

      Oh yeah, Incesticide started me on the whole B-sides/45 singles/bootlegs trip. Awesome to hear that we have that in common. I definitely wouldn’t trade my musical journey for the world.

      My favorite Wolf Mother song is Joker and the Thief. Love that spiraling riff – again, very Zeppelin-esque.

      And thanks! 🙂

  2. I say it’s better to be late with a novel than to publish it prematurely.

    Of course, a person could get carried away with the lateness thing.

    • Jonathan D Allen

      I used to be the latter, now I’m afraid I’m tending toward the former. Thankfully, this has pulled me back from the brink. Delays are temporary, crappiness is forever, right? 🙂

  3. I think I must also be writing THAT book. 😀

    I’ve had ME/CFS all my adult life, though it sometimes goes into remission. But last summer, my health really took a downturn – it really scared me, actually! – and my 1/3 drafted novel has had to go on hold, much to my frustration.

    This post – and the link to the other examples of hard-to-write books – has actually encouraged me that these things can be done. So thanks for that encouragement. 🙂

    • Jonathan D Allen

      Well that puts my own struggles in perspective, and I applaud you for keeping at it. I look forward to reading your THAT book!

  4. I have two “that” books. One is a completed draft I wrote when I was in college. Awesome story with sloppy writing, and I’m now trying to convince it to become more reasonable, but it is a stubborn thing with a beginning I just can’t figure out what to do with. The other is a story that has haunted me for years but life keeps getting in the way. I’m 2/3 of the way through it and know exactly where it is going, but I had to put it away once to give in to some incredible inspiration that became “Mayfly Requiem”, and a second and third time when my little minions were born. It has been an ongoing problem for four years now. It was a toss-up between revising the former book and finishing the draft of the latter, and I chose to revise first because that one was bothering me more.

    Thankfully, I have several not-“that”-books to make up for the two “that” books. I am determined to coax them to completion, but for now they are making me batty.

    • Jonathan D Allen

      Wow, your two books sound very similar to a couple in my past that I’m considering resurrecting, though I know that I would go through a similar process to the one that you’re now suffering through and I’m just not sure if it would be worth the final product.

      • I’m hoping it’s worth it, but I won’t really know until it’s finished. I got through the first 82 pages of rewrites and my laptop decided to snack on the file. My computer genius husband wasn’t able to recover it, so I had to start over. Luckily, I save versions so I had the earlier draft to work from. I’m trying to look at the positives of file corruption and in my initial breakdown upon losing it, I figured out just what needed to be changed to make the first couple of chapters work. I really want this book to work out, but I don’t think it can measure up to my other ones. I don’t know, maybe I just can’t handle the thought of it sitting unfinished forever.
        My other work in progress might actually do justice to my other books when I finish it, but it’s a difficult story to wrap my head around so it’s probably worth it to take my sweet time getting through.

  5. Two novels in one year is a huge under taking. Best of luck to you.

  6. Another blog? I think you’re a little insane. But I like the idea, and as we share many music tastes, I’ll be sure to drop by.

    And as to your postponing the intended release of Room 3, etc…, there’s a great saying that I like to tell my students before we start reading “Of Mice and Men.” First I read them the Robert Burns poem that the title came from, and then to help them understand “the best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew,” I give them my other favorite: “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”

    Just keep fighting the good fight, my friend. You’ll get there.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

    • Jonathan D Allen

      Hah, well thankfully it’s a very easy blog to write, and a bit of a break from this sort of stuff. It’s my sanity valve.

      That’s exactly the sentiment with pushing this back. Stuff happens. I thought I’d be farther along with editing at this point, and it doesn’t help that this book is easily the most difficult I’ve ever written.

      Yeah. Just need to remember to breathe. That’s the tricky part. 😉

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