Guest Post by Aaron Michael Ritchey: The Horror of the B+ and the Terror of the Pretty Good

What’s good, peeps? Today I have something super dooper special–a little somethin’ somethin’ from my dude Aaron Michael Ritchey, author of The Never Prayer. Check it out, and make sure to give his book a gander.

Scott J. Clemons.  Yes.  That is his name.  However, it might be my name, too.  What’s the old song?  John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt?  I’ll stop now.  If you know the song, you are already singing it in your head, which is a sign of madness.

Scott and I hit it off because we just might be the same person.  When he offered me a chance to guest blog, I thought it would be kind of redundant.  But then we talked on the phone for an hour, and I had a flash of what I could write about.  And here I am.

I’m a complicated man.  Like Shaft, no one understands me but my woman.  And even she might be jivin’ me.

When I get done writing, I am either the most brilliant author to ever string words together, or I am a hack who should be muted and stuck in a hole.  I am either on top of the pile of writers, lording over them, or struggling underneath, looking for more mud to eat.

My wife videotaped me saying I was a good writer.  She had to.  Because when I’m in the dumps, I truly don’t remember anything good I’ve ever written, and it drives her insane.  John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt madness.  It’s a diagnosis in the DSM V.  I’m a child of a psychotherapist.  I know.

Talking with Scott, he said something similar, but I won’t out his crazy.  I’m here to talk about my own.  Yes, there are times I have wanted to throw in the towel, leave writing forever, and do something constructive with my time, like watch more baseball, or rescue puppies from burning buildings.

Because again, I’m either the best or the worst.  I should either quit my job and write full time, or I should never write again and look into a career as a puppy rescuer.

The truth is, I’m pretty good.  Not great, but definitely not in the “I should be killed for writing” camp.  Pretty good.  Which is a hard place to be for me.  In school, I either wanted an A+, or I wanted an F-.  When I got a B+, I would rage.  B+!  What the hell is a B+ good for?  Absolutely nothin’, say it again.

I’m a good enough writer to be published.  My debut novel, The Never Prayer, was shoved out into the world on March 29, 2012.  And you would think my stupid head would be satisfied.  But here is the lesson I’m learning—my stupid head will never be satisfied.

My mind is a tool.  It can help me plot my stories, it can create wacky characters, it can help me with the craft of writing, but it can’t help me with meaning.

Call it spirit, call it soul, call it what you want, but there is another part of me, not my mind, that knows the truth.  How I stack up in the grand pile of authors doesn’t much matter in the end.  I need to embrace the books I write, love them, and sing my songs to the world.  Yes, my voice might crack.  Yes, the Simon Cowell’s of the world might criticize me, but when I write, I am taking part in the sacred art of storytelling.  That transcends the stupid extremes of my thought-life.  It transcends me.  As it should.

Henry Miller said that the only reward for writing is writing.  If I’m good, I should write.  If I’m bad, I should write.  If I’m pretty good, I should write.  If I have a story to tell, I should write, no matter what.

And if you read my book, The Never Prayer, and give me a B+, well, logically speaking, that’s better than a C.  And if I touched you at all with my story?  That’s better than any grade ever.

Thanks, Scott, for letting me invade your blog.  Have you seen the other sock we wore last Saturday night?  I can’t tell if it’s in Colorado or Tacoma.  Or someplace in between.

For more about me and The Never Prayer, you can visit us both at www.aaronmritchey.com.  And of course, I’m on Facebook, as is the book at http://www.facebook.com/TheNeverPrayer.  And I tweet – @aaronmritchey.   If you are at all curious about the novel, our friends at Amazon.com would love for you to visit them!

If you are a try before you buy type of cat, hit me here for an excerpt: http://crescentmoonpress.com/books/TheNeverPrayer.html

Aaron Michael Ritchey

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Getting Into The Big Boy Books

I saw this article today that reminded me of the first time I ventured from the YA genre and picked up an “adult” novel. The book–a novelized version of The Odyssey–totally blew my mind off the hinges. I didn’t realize a book could be so brutal–a Cyclops eats a bunch of guys before Odysseus stabs him in the eye–or deal with such mature topics. The book opened my brain up to books that weren’t part of the Star Wars expanded universe (seriously though, SWEU is just published fanfic anyways).

What’s the first “adult” book you ever read? What kind of an impact did it have on you?

All My Friends Live On The Internets

I fricken love the internets. Seriously, there’s so much awesome stuff out there just waiting to be seen, read, and loled at. Just take a second to think about anything that’s not on the internet. Nothing, am I right? It’s all there. Why just the other day I bought a new pair of glasses online. Yeah, dude. Glasses. And I got them on the cheap for just $89.00  What a screaming deal! You can’t beat a deal like that with a stick.

Know what else the internets are good for? Finding people who are into the same stuff you are into. Think about it. Before the web was super accessible, geeky kids like me were enjoying more than our share of lonely lunch periods. Now all you have to do is type a few key words into the Google machine and blamo! You’ve just found loads of people who are as excited as you about the new [insert fandom here] episode/book/comic/movie.

Seeing as I love the internets so much, you can probably guess about how much time I spend on computers. Mostly I like reading made-up stuff (check my Spec-Fic tastes at the top of the page!) but I’ve been known to pass the time watching interesting videos, reading what other bloggers are up to, or checking out assorted lulz.

It’s boring, but it’s my life.

It was during one these typical perusing sessions that I found something pretty darn sweetical (that’s a combo of sweet and radical–use it if you need to). It’s a YA fiction blog straight out of the Windy City and run by a lady named Anna. I know, I know, there’s a bajillion blogs about YA fic, but her blog really struck my fancy when I saw this post.

The post is about trends that the author would like to see in 2012–more straight up sci-fi, less hot-and-heavy romances–and I can get down with almost all of them. While I’m definitely on board with her desire to see more sci-fi without all the woe-is-me dystopian overtones, I’m not so much down with her point about seeing more stand-alone novels.

See, I think book series are wicked fun to read. That’s why finishing a book that is packed with characters I’ve fallen in love with is the bummer to top all bummers when it comes to reading. However, if I know the series is going to keep going then I know I’m going to get to see those characters get wrapped up in a whole new mess of wacky adventures.

But that’s not even the most important part of the deal.

Maybe you didn’t know this, but writing is really really hard. Seriously, it’s tough–one of the hardest things in the world to do well. Believe me, I know. I write a lot. That’s why I think it’s awesome–and I mean super amazing crazy awesome!–when a writer gets a book deal and the books take the heck off. Considering that a writer puts so much of their lives into a book there’s not many sweeter payoffs than being popular enough to warrant a series.

So yeah, check out the link to Anna’s blog, and don’t forget to like her post. Maybe even give the old follow button a click, eh? Oh, yeah, and read lots of books.

Bon weekend!

Sweet Black Magic

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like music. Well, that’s not entirely true. My grandpa didn’t like music at all. Movies either, actually. In fact, unless you count the organ jams they cranked out during mass on Sundays I don’t ever remember the guy listening to music one single time. I guess he was just a weirdo like that.

So let me do that last paragraph over: With the exception of my grumpy old grandpa I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like music. It’s like pizza for your ears, you know? Everybody can find their own spin on it–cheese or no cheese–that makes it perfect for them.

Almost everybody has had one of those friends that is always on the hunt for something new when it comes to music. You know the person I’m talking about. She’s the one who always seems to know about the next big thing before it hits mainstream. For me, that someone is my wife. Some of my favorite music is from artists that I never would have found if she hadn’t showed them to me. If it wasn’t for her I’d still be listening to the same ten groups I’ve been bumping since high school.

One of the things I think is extra cute about my wife is that she likes to mix her interests together and come up with some whole new thing. For instance, when she reads books–The Hunger Games is the first thing that comes to mind–she makes these playlists for them based off her favorite music that end up like soundtracks for the novel. I thought the idea was so fricken cool that I asked her to do the same for me. Click the songs below to check out what she came up with:


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

As you might expect I am pretty darn stoked that I have this little list of music to write to. My personal favorite is going to have to be the Metric song. I feel like it totally fits the way my main character feels about everything that is going on in her life.

After she made the list for me I went ahead and burned the list to CD. That way I can listen to them on the way to my current favorite writing spot and get myself all pumped up before I start working. How sweet is that, right? Yeah, she’s pretty much the most awesome thing ever. I’m not trying to brag or anything, but you guys should all be crazed with jealousy over how awesome my wife is.

But her amazing talents don’t end at just picking out great songs to put to her favorite books. Oh, no. She also keeps a wicked sweet blog that you should all take the time to peek at. If you like adventures in anime, cooking, YA lit, music, crafting, and assorted geekery then I can guarantee you’ll dig it.

That’s it for this installment. I really need to hit the sack so I can plow through more of the manuscript tomorrow. Thanks for reading and be sure to comment, follow my blog, or follow me on Twitter.