Four Writers You MUST Read

From time to time, I get asked what I’m reading. Inevitably, I stumble around looking for a good enough excuse as to why I’m not reading, usually landing on something in the general vicinity of “I have two small children, so my time is spent with them or in a coma after they’ve gone to bed.”

The sad truth is I have time to read. I just don’t.

I made an exception this weekend, however. I picked up a book that I bought almost thirteen years ago on sale at Borders and read that puppy cover to cover in just over two days (which sounds slow, but have I mentioned my kids yet? I have? Well, there you go…). I read this particular book because I had intended to so long ago and because it was a crime novel–in the same genre as the novel I’m writing.

It sucked. It was sex and violence and untransformed characters. There were some good passages with evocative wording and strong dialog, but for the most part it was a collection of scenes connected by overuse of the words “penis”, “sex”, “punch” and “love.”

I’m tempted to spend the next few minutes lamenting over my choice, but there is a niggling thought that won’t go away and that is this:

If you don’t like it, write something better. That guy was good and persistent enough to get published. Hunker down and get your stuff out there.

But that doesn’t just go for me. I know of four other writers who need to get out there and get published. Some of the four already have been published. Some are still waiting. One is writes comic books and graphic novels. Another writes satire. And still another writes horror stories, or tells you where to find good tobacco for your wife’s pipe.

What I’m trying to say is: if you want to know what I’m interested in reading, it’s other writers who are like me. People who are trying to get published and doing their best to balance their passion with their pragmatism and falling somewhere short of the task. But I’m telling you all of this because you can help them get published. No, seriously–you can.

How?

By going to their websites and reading what they’ve posted. This gives them page views, which in turn gives them confidence, which is what they need in order to be able to tell that huge, threatening bully called Doubt to shut the hell up.

So here are four writers you should be reading. Five, if you include me. 😛

Ashton Adams: I know Ashton from way back when. We were best friends in high school, when we spent inordinate amounts of time thinking up comic book concepts. Ashton was the writer, I was the penciller. Ashton actually made it in the world of comic publishing–his first scripted book was recently published–and he has two other projects currently underway. His website is pretty fresh, so there’s not a lot of content yet, but he has a great imagination and plenty to say.

Kevin Wray: Another fellow I know from way back when. Kevin is a connoisseur of horror stories, tobacco, and heavy metal music. His latest project on his blog has been his chronicling of his current diet, but the absolute must-read are the stories in his archives.

Benjamin Ceary: I just met Ben this month, and we enjoyed quite a conversation on the art and need for fiction as a means of communicating truth. Benjamin has his degree in writing, and his stories range from the heart-rending to the utterly hilarious. You have to register to leave a comment on any of his stories, but please take the time to do so; you have no idea what even one comment means to a writer.

Cameron McAllister: Cameron is a little bit different from the fellas above, in that I’m pointing you to a website that he writes for. It’s a blog that Cameron maintains, but it isn’t his personal blog. I’ve included it because Cameron’s depth of thought is beyond description and you simply must read it. We all need to be challenged in our thinking, especially when it comes to thinking deeply about life and all of its myriad angles. Cameron’s blog does just that, and contains some beautiful prose to boot.

So there you are–four guys you need to be reading. I’ll post back later on this week with four ladies that you should read as well. It was easier to start with these four because I know each of them personally. I currently don’t know any female writers, so if you are female and you write and you have a webpage you’d like me to push, shoot me a comment or an email and we’ll talk.

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