Friday 5: Books on my reading list

  1. Avengers of the New World – a history of the Haitian Revolution.
  2. Inverting the Pyramid – a history of soccer tactics.
  3. Paddy Whacked – a history of Irish-American gangsters.
  4. The Resurrectionist – an Edgar award nominee for Best First Novel.
  5. The Insider’s Guide to Match Fixing in Football – Declan Hill’s analysis of how and why match fixing occurs.

A little heavy on the history. Maybe I should pick up some philosophy or science when I get done with one of the histories.

Friday Five: Things I’ll do while I look for a new job

I was laid off due to a corporate restructuring this week. I’m sure I’ll have a new job very soon. Until then, I have some things I want to do:

1. Write at least 1,000 words per day. I’m about 30,000 words away from finishing my latest novel. It’s been slow going when I could only do 300 or so words each morning. I have an opportunity to wrap this story up. I need to seize it.

2. Interview people in preparation for my next novel. Another thing I haven’t had time for is research for the novel I have in mind for my next project. I’ve got people willing to help me and now I’ve got the time.

3. Play guitar. It’s been ages since I’ve had one my guitars out of the case.

4. Catch up on my reading. I have at least a dozen books just on soccer in my TBR stack.

5. Hit the gym every day. I’ve made a lot of progress in the last few months going to the gym. I want to maintain those gains.

Friday Five: Hopes for 2015

1. That I finish the first draft of my current work-in-progress by the end of February…
2. …and major revisions by end of summer.
3. That an agent signs me as a client based on that novel…
4. …and sells it to a publisher.
5. That the Rowdies become the first team in the NASL’s modern era to win the Soccer Bowl twice. (Because it’s not always about me.)

Friday Five: Halloween Candy

My five favorite candies to find in my trick-or-treat bag:

  1. Hershey Bar. Any size. Pure milk chocolate, unadulterated by nuts, nougat, coconut, or anything else.
  2. Three Musketeers Bar. If you’re going to bastardize chocolate, this is the way to do it. Fun size only, though. A little of this goes a long way.
  3. Candy corn. Of course, it’s vile. But I couldn’t get enough of it.
  4. Smarties. A little plastic sleeve of sugary goodness.
  5. Sugar Daddy. Except when I get both upper and lower teeth stuck in it and can’t open my mouth. I’m sure everyone around me is glad for me to stop talking for a few minutes.

Friday Five: Books That Changed my Life

  1. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. I had already cut a lot of meat out of my diet, but this book pushed me the rest of the way to become a vegetarian.
  2. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. It didn’t make me a left-winger (I already was that), but Zinn showed me an alternative way of looking at U.S. history.
  3. Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson. Until high school, mystery was my favorite genre, with science fiction and fantasy distant seconds. In tenth grade, an upperclassman gave me his copy of Lord Foul’s Bane and I pretty much abandoned mystery for the next two decades.
  4. The Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais. Shortly after we got married, I mentioned to my wife that I was getting bored with science fiction and fantasy. She recommend this modern classic of hard-boiled detective fiction and it not only rekindled my love of mystery, but also channeled my writing in a new way.
  5. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. I read this book in tenth grade and although I’d had aspirations to write fiction before, suddenly I knew why. I wanted to tell a story that powerful, that evocative. If not for Hemingway, writing might have been just another hobby that I lost interest in somewhere along the way.

Friday Five: Songs I Never Skip

Naturally, I like all of the songs loaded onto my iPhone, but I’m not always in the mood for whatever gets shuffled into play on my daily commute. But there are some songs that I’ll never skip, no matter what mood I’m in. Here are five, in no particular order:

  1. “Sultans of Swing” – Dire Straits. I love the imagery of the song, I love Mark Knopfler’s lead guitar work and the bass line.
  2. “Seven Bridges Road” – The Eagles. Love the a cappella harmony that opens and closes the song.
  3. “The Boxer” – Simon & Garfunkle. Another great one for singing along in harmony, and the story is gripping.
  4. “I Gotta Feeling” – Black Eyed Peas. If I’m in a good mood, this matches it. If I’m in a bad mood, it lifts me up.
  5. “The Tide is High” – Blondie. The calypso rhythm, so atypical for Blondie, makes me want to get up and merengue.