Friday, January 31, 2014

#676. The Cephalopod Coffeehouse January 2014

It's that time of the month again.  Yes, in different context that means something completely different.  Here, it means books.  To be clear, we're talking books!

Anyway, now that I've made it pleasantly awkward for everyone...It's time to celebrate the thing that has just made Lord Founder Squid feel terrible about being associated with a blog that can make perfectly innocent talk about books sound so weird.  But he knew what I was like when he recruited me.  Granted, he had only seen my traveling petting zoo act, and you can't go wrong with a traveling petting zoo (unless it has koalas...they bite), but still.  (I had koalas.)

Without further inane adieu, here are the books I finished in the past month:

  • Zealot by Reza Aslan
  • Justice League Beyond: Konstriction by Derek Fridolfs and various
  • Teen Titans Vol. 3: Death of the Family by Scott Lobdell and various
  • Monorama by Tony Laplume
By Tony Laplume???  Hey, what is this, Pat Dilloway's blog???  (I'd provide a link, but he set it to self-destruct because he read so many spy novels last year.)

Technically, I read Zealot at the very end of 2013, but it wasn't included in December's Coffeehouse chat because I hadn't read it by the time I wrote that one.  It's ridiculously good, in terms of illuminating certain things if you're open to their illumination without religious outrage (of a...zealot nature).  If I'd chosen to write about reading the Bible, which I'm very close to finishing, only weeks away, I might have talked about both it and Zealot today.

But I'm doing the full Dilloway.  (This is different from the Full Monty in that neither of us is British and hey! that means "Monty Python" means "Naked Python"...!)  I'm writing about my own book.  I'm not too concerned about seeming a little full of myself, though, because I know talking about my books on my blog(s) doesn't translate to sales.  I do have a whole blog dedicated to talking about my books and writing and such, so this is kind of infringing on my own territory.  But still.

And the neat thing is that Monorama is a lot more relevant to this blog than you might think.  The whole concept of the "Eponymous Monk" strip I've been running is taken from a few of the stories in this collection, which in turn is based on stories I originally wrote in high school.  (When I was creating a comic strip I actually drew.)  There's another piece of relevant prelude material here, by the way, which in fact comes from here.  Just in case you wanted to see some of the pieces in place.  If you at all care about "Eponymous Monk."  Although there are not too many spoilers there.  That I'm aware of.  (Honestly, I'm making all this up as I go along, even the parts I already know myself...)

Okay, so I'm talking about Monorama, one of my own books.  (One???)  It's a collection of stories I put together from material I had lying around, filled with nonsensical science-fictiony ideas.  Some of the stories are incredibly short, so I grouped those together in the opening section of the book.  One of them is a novella (not Nutella), and that's at the back of the book.  All of it covers basically a decade's worth of my creative output.

The copy I recently finished reading was one I'd given my parents.  I ended up picking it up and started reading.  (If I was a better editor, which is really clear if you read it for yourself, I would have read all of it when I prepared it for self-publication back in the summer of 2012.)  And you know what?  I liked what I saw.

This is not a matter of self-aggrandizement.  Some of this material I really hadn't read in years.  Now, I know I tend to read about as differently from other people as I write, but there's a comfortable overlap between my twin exercises, which I'm always happy to see for myself.  I really didn't come across anything that I found embarrassing to have in this book (other than, again, the editing).

Some of the stories, two or three in particular, I knew when I made the collection, I had never actually finished writing, the novella included (which is the longest source material to date for the "Eponymous Monk" strip).  I was surprised to find that they still read well, even the novella that somewhat blatantly ends mid-story, or the strict excerpt from another story that ends the collection.  They make sense in their own kind of logic, which is to say the internal logic of the storytelling.  (And really, any decent story ought to be able to be enjoyed even if you haven't experienced the beginning or ending, which is why I sometimes actually enjoy catching a movie or TV show only in part.  People assuming it's the complete story that gives them satisfaction, but really it's the overall quality of the material.  No matter what they say.)

The whole point of Monorama was to present material that potential paying readers could sample in order to figure out what kind of writer I am.  And again, maybe it's simply that I overlap comfortably my "reader" and "writer" hats (like the winter hat some people wear over their ball caps!), but I'm as convinced as ever that I wasn't mistaken in putting this book out there.  In fact, I'm actually a little more proud now, having read the complete book, completely removed from the creative process, and still enjoyed the material.

/full Dilloway


Pat Dilloway said...

If you don't like your own stuff, then who will? I don't know why there's this stigma about talking about your own books. I mean do you think Thomas Edison just shyly said, "Um here's this light bulb I made." Hell no! They say to sell yourself but then they act like you can't talk about your own books. Makes no sense to me.

I am rereading my first "Girl Power" book right now, in large part because after I finished the third one and a book of short stories I wanted to go back and see if anything needed changed. Which there are one or two minor details I could change.

And if people don't like that I'm reading my own book, they can blow it out their burro.

Tony Laplume said...

Edison, it should be noted, was a shameless self-promoter.

Pat Dilloway said...


Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

Hey! It's okay with me if you want to talk about your own books. Why not? LOL

Now you've made me want to check it out. Oh the horror...

Author of Wilder Mage at Spirit Called
Facebook Wilder Mage

Stephanie said...

Novella not nutella. Ha! Reza Aslan is an interesting character. Very eloquent apologist, calm and intelligent. I've enjoyed his debates with Sam Harris.

Yolanda Renee said...

I understand where you're coming from they say join all these sites to promote your book - but don't promote your book???????
I read books to find my inspiration and will read my own books when needing to really get back into my story - I'm working on part three of a trilogy, as well as a prequel. It helps.
Congrats on your success - wishing you so much more!

Lorena said...

First, congrats on your short story collection!

Second, of course you should promote it and of course you should like it. That's why you wrote it, right? ;)

I think it's fun to reread the stuff we've written years later. Sometimes it's dreadful, but at other times, you find hidden treasures in there.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Congrats Tony. You had me tripping Deja Vu with your review but it's a fascinating story.

The Armchair Squid said...

I don't feel terrible at all. I'm down with menstruation jokes. I'm on far shakier ground with my own review, I expect.

I agree with Mr. Dilloway, if you don't like your own stuff, then who will? You're not even the only person reviewing Monorama this month!

Tony Laplume said...

Huntress, the horror! The horror! (Here I'm invoking Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now. Because in my head you did it first.)

Stephanie, he's quite an interesting guy. Can only imagine his debates with Harris!

Yolanda, sequels and prequels...A good story leads both ways!

Lorena, amen about the hidden treasures!

Maurice, happy to send you for a ride!

Squid, I'm glad I didn't end up scarring you!

Remembering Grace said...

I did my Ray Charles: 'Monorama by Tony, wait a minute!'


I've added you to my wishlist on Amazon and as soon as more funds come my way, I'm buying you. :)

LOL That sounded funny...

Tony Laplume said...

I cost (usually) several more dollars than the book, just so you know.

MOCK! said...

Now I get it!! I wish I had read your post first. Monorama is the perfect gateway drug!

"It's that time of the month again."

If we ever have the chance to hang out in person, I will tell you why January 2014 is The Month of Menstruation for me.

Tony Laplume said...

We will definitely need a get-together of this strange club of ours at some point. Comics and movies!

Trisha F said...

I totally agree that one has to love one's own work, and should if it's going to be published at any point! :P

I guess you can take great reassurance from the fact that your work still holds up now years later. :)

Tony Laplume said...

I'm cynical about writers who don't like their own work. There's a point where you can be more satisfied, but if you don't like what you write, you're either pretending to be modest or you'll never be pleased with anything. But it's good to like one's own work after some distance has created at the least the illusion of reading someone else's work.

Lisa Southard said...

I'm not a masochist over my writing either, although sometimes revisiting old stories can be a bit like discovering trapped wind. Glad your stories remained digestible!

Tony Laplume said...

That should be every writer's biggest fear. And greatest motivator. If you're not proud of what you're writing as you're writing it, if it seems like so much puffed-up air (if you're capable of reading your own work like that, and to be clear, I don't mean you literally, Lisa), it's time to step back a little. You should always be proud of what you write.

Kerry said...

If I ever wrote a book it would be sad if I didn't like it. But I've never written a book so this is one thing I'll never have to be sad about...nice. Thanks.

Tony Laplume said...

It's important to not be sad. However, it's more important to not be a sad panda. If you're neither sad nor a panda, you are safe. For now.


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