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Hi, here's Chapter 1 of my next book, Outside In, in its entirety. I have several people already reading the book for edits, but if you catch anything, please let me know. Thank you! -Sean  ...All writing (C) Sean Patrick Brennan, proof on file. [Note: there's a line space in the copy below that doesn't exist in my original Word document or PDF. Can't remove it here, so not worrying about it.]

1. Different


Monasteries have survived all sorts of drastic changes over the centuries, and the same could easily be said for the monks who live in them. Though most ancient monastic buildings are long since lost to time, many still remain, and some are even open for the public to walk through and visit, pray in and remember.
      Just north of the chaos of Manhattan, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art highlights an incredible collection of buildings and monastic treasures up in a separate campus in the Bronx. It’s there, on the stunning shoreline of the Hudson River, where visitors to The Cloisters exhibit can walk through the very real ruins of European monasteries from centuries past. Each wall, each stone, each impressive edifice found there was painstakingly brought over from across the Atlantic, and then reassembled right there in Fort Tryon Park.
      Among all the exquisite unicorn tapestries hanging along the walls, and the gorgeous artifacts surrounding several beautiful garden squares, there’s an unmistakable feeling of solemn peace and spiritual energy.
      If you take the opportunity to quiet your mind while walking through this sacred space, you might even find yourself transported to another place and time. You could be listening to someone speak about the facts of the museum, when without warning, the spirits of deceased monks seem to float right by you. In just a few moments of timeless peace, you might even find yourself possessed by the spirit of a 13th Century monk.
     “Brother Cody? Hello? Brother Cody? Are you listening to me?”        
      The others squirmed, with not just an ounce of judgment too, as they watched Cody slowly realize the old priest had been trying to get his attention. He’d been momentarily lost in a beautiful peace far away, thinking about all the monks of old, but he knew he couldn’t tell Father Peter that. Some truths just don’t fly. No, he knew he had to just answer it, and answer it well, the question he hadn’t even heard.
     “I’m sorry, what was the question?”
      Father Peter sized him up thoughtfully, but kept his patience and said it again. “What is the book called that the brothers of a Benedictine monastery read from?”
      Cody’s mind paged through file after file of information he’d recently learned. He even glanced down at the Cloisters brochure in his hands, hoping the answer might magically appear there, somewhere between the Met logo on the top and the visiting hours at the bottom. He was discouraged to see it was nowhere to be found.
     “The Bible?” he asked.
      A five-second space of clear disappointment followed this, before the priest looked over at the other young brothers and asked, “Okay, does anyone else know?”
      Henry raised his hand halfway with a cock of his head and a few blinks. “The Book of Common Prayer.”
      The priest nodded a yes, then began telling them more as they started walking on to the next room. Cody and Henry shared a brief glance that said it all. Henry knew his fellow young brother wasn’t dumb, but he did wish he’d focus more, try a little harder at least, if for no other reason than to alleviate the uncomfortable moments he so often brought the others. And Cody knew this all, too. He knew he could have started by explaining how the spirit simply moved him to reflection just then, and that he soon found himself lost in a transcendent experience of God’s peace. But he also knew he’d failed the pop quiz anyway, and really should have remembered the answer from his studies.
      Getting this far in the monastic life is already a great achievement, Cody often told himself. He knew he was called by God to do this, to live this crazy life, despite all his doubts and struggles, and he swore he’d try harder in the future to remember all those facts and figures. He had to. It was made clear to him from the beginning: monastic life wasn’t only about prayer and reflection, as he used to dream it was. It was about learning and mastering his religion’s history as well. Answering the call was no longer enough in a modern-day vocation. You had to be able to transcribe it, too.
      It was a Friday afternoon in late August as they made their way through The Cloisters’ many halls and exhibits, but Cody thought back on another Friday that had changed his life forever. It was the Friday just three years earlier when he’d decided to become a monk, to give his whole life over to the Roman Catholic Church, and become Brother Cody. It was a day when every doubt he’d ever had seemed to disappear forever, when the clouds of his brain parted at once to make way for a perfect clarity about what his life path would ultimately be.
      For months beforehand—even years if he was honest with himself—he’d thought about the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life, and for a long, long time, he went back and forth about whether or not it was right for him.
      Cody didn’t think he should make such a big decision unless he was absolutely sure, so he kept praying all the time for a sign. Please God, he prayed, tell me what I should do. Help me understand, and know for sure what my life should be about.
      Day in and day out, he prayed this same prayer, and day in and day out, he received no answer. If God was talking to him, Cody couldn’t hear it, and he soon felt lost and overwhelmed with the frustrating confusion of it all.
      Henry caught his eye as they turned another corner at The Cloisters. “Try to pay attention. I know the place is beautiful, but Father Peter’s a good guy, and he’s only trying to help you out, you know?”
      Cody nodded with a smile, and Henry walked ahead with the rest of the group. Henry was much smarter than he was, but he was always a good friend too, probably the only friend he had left anymore.
      Everyone knew Cody was prone to act strangely at times, especially lately, but no one really knew why. Of the six young monks walking around The Cloisters that day with Father Peter, Cody always felt he and Henry stood out somehow as different. More sensitive, he told himself. More artistic, or, or something. He’d known Henry since middle school, some nine years earlier, and both believed strongly in their own shared future in the monastic life.
      Henry had also helped Cody decide to join the monastery in the first place, as he was a year older than him. They spoke a lot more just before Henry joined the order, while Cody was still discerning the possibility of his own calling. And once Cody started seriously talking about a vocation with his future Novice Master, Brother O’Conner, he’d often see Henry on his way in or out of Brother O’Conner’s office in the school.
      The more Cody thought about the mysteries of what life might be like in the monastery, he often reminded himself of Henry. At least Henry will be there, and Henry’s a nice guy. He’ll help me if I need someone to talk to. 
      But now over three years later, after living the monastic life and taking vows, everything was starting to feel much more difficult. It wasn’t that he never felt the challenges of the monastic life before, but now it was getting more complicated, more real somehow. Doubts about his vocation slipped in from time to time, and try as he did to shake them off, he was too easily haunted by the ramifications. Everything he’d come to believe about himself and his calling started feeling unstable, like a building put up on mud. The creaks of every step he took felt louder lately, more dangerous. His vocation, and the constant work of monastic life were one thing, but the doubts about who he was scared him most of all.
      Approaching the others as they entered a small, cave-like room, Cody listened in as Father Peter spoke.
       “A room like this was built for total silence and deep meditation. Even among the halls and gardens of a 13th Century monastery, there were still plenty of opportunities for distraction. Monks needed a place they could go to for complete solitude and private prayer. They’d shut that huge wooden door behind them to let others know they wished to be alone, and then they’d spend hours in here praying to God, or just meditating on the mysteries of life. Once they were done, they’d stand up again—because they’d do this either kneeling or completely prostrate on the ground—and then open the door up for the next monk. If someone was waiting outside, they’d never strike up a conversation at this point, simply out of respect for the private place of solemn prayer the brother had just walked out of.”
      Cody watched as they all left the little room, but he stayed behind a moment by himself. He wished there was a place like this back at their monastery in Connecticut, a sacred space of silence and prayer where no one would interrupt him for hours. Of course they had a beautiful chapel in their monastery, but the other monks used it all the time, and he was lucky if he got a full half hour in there before someone walked by. When others did come in or even walk past, his mind would immediately jump to silly thoughts about what they were thinking.
      What’s Cody doing in there so long? Is he trying to show off by praying more than we do? The thoughts were insane, he knew, but he worried about it all so much, he didn’t end up praying in the chapel very often.
      Making any kind of waves in the monastery was a bad idea. He’d learned that lesson early on, and knew it would lead to private meetings with his Novice Master whenever he did anything too different. He’d already been called in for whistling on the stairs, some minor arguments with Brother Lazarus in the laundry room, and even about a small stain on his habit. No matter what the cause for the meeting was, whether warranted or not, he dreaded being summoned to meet with his Novice Master, because it was always the same thing: a finger-wagging judgment, and an occasion to make him feel guilty.
      Brother O’Conner, the Novice Master who all the young brothers in the Novitiate answered to, was also a master of passing judgment. Cody guessed he got the job in the first place because he was so good at criticizing people, and figured monasteries must require this kind of person by nature, someone to keep the young monks in line. He understood some of that, but hated it too, and would sometimes even cry when his Novice Master chastised him with a most unholy smile.
      He seems to enjoy it all a bit too much, Cody thought. But there was nothing he could do about it either. Brother O’Conner wasn’t the head of the community, but he was a former head, and that combined with his age was enough reason to earn him an emeritus position of permanent respect and obedience, no matter what he ever said or did.

      Obedience. That was what it was always about. Cody had taken the sacred Vow of Obedience during his second year with the order, and he’d made a Promise of Obedience as an aspirant monk even before that. A monastic promise was already a significant step, but once he took vows a year later, obedience was a mandate.

      No monk could live the religious life without following a strict code, a code passed down from the monks of old, begun not just centuries earlier by men who lived within walls like those in The Cloisters, but by monks who lived even long before them. It was a code begun thousands of years earlier, and whether Cody liked it or not, he had pledged his allegiance for life.

    
“Cody! Come on!” Henry yelled.

      The others were several rooms ahead now, so Henry had backtracked to find Cody, and remind him to keep up. His face said the same thing as always: compassionate frustration.
     
Henry once joked with him, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”, and Cody had once again proven he was. As they left the small stone room together, they didn’t speak. They just rushed to catch up with the other brothers, who they soon found looking at a large rose bush. 

     “Hey Sebastian, that rose bush must really like you,” Victor laughed.
      Cody looked over, and saw Sebastian had gotten his robe caught on the large thorns of the rose bush, and Victor was helping to free him.
      “See, even the plants sense you belong in this special place,” Father Peter said, his arms opened wide.
      As they all laughed, the old priest walked past them, and paused as he came to Cody and Henry. “Everything okay with you two?” he asked.
      They just nodded with smiles, so he smiled back and headed toward the rest of the garden.
      “Father Peter and Brother O’Conner are close friends,” Henry warned, “so even though he’s not the Novice Master, he probably tells Brother O’Conner everything. You’ve gotta be more careful.”
      Henry left Cody then and joined the other young brothers, leaving Cody feeling once again alone.
      These were the kinds of issues he never thought he’d have in the religious life: peer pressure, cliques, feeling ostracized, and so often judged by everyone else.
      So what if I’m different, he thought. Isn’t that a spiritual gift? Finding myself lost in thought and prayer from time to time?
      He held back the tears threatening to surface, threatening to come out. He’d become a master of this, keeping all his emotions bottled up inside. It wasn’t just a tactic, either. It was actually part and parcel of their community’s bylaws.
      Studere. Non Sentire. Study. Don’t Feel.
      And no matter how hard Cody tried to embrace the spiritual confidence he so often felt, he couldn’t shake the feeling he just didn’t fit in with the rest of them. The other young monks all latched onto monastic life so perfectly, it seemed, and they were all brimming with energy all the time.
      All Cody ever felt was separate, lonely, and just plain different.
My next book (out this June), is about a young monk named Cody who's struggling with depression and his same-sex attractions while living in a conservative Roman Catholic monastery. It's not a depressing book though, fear not! Outside In is actually quite the page turner, I'm pleased to say. There are lots of fun, suspenseful twists throughout, sexual secrets too, and I think it'll sell really well!

But I really NEED Beta Readers, people to read the book before it's released, not just to scream out at me about the odd editing mistake you might catch, but also about anything else you feel I might want to fix. EVEN IF you don't give me that kind of feedback though, I'd still love to hear what you think! To that end, I'm searching for a few people, preferably gay or bi males under 30, to read the book, but I'm also happy to have one or two others have at it as well. If you think you could help me and are able to read it in the next few weeks (225 pages, but a quick read), please let me know ASAP!

Beta readers will receive a free PDF of the book they can transfer to their Nook, Kindle, or phone (or just read on the computer).

Thank you!
Sean
I'm still here. Just been a crazier than usual couple of months for me. I let my "core" membership expire. Should I renew? Seems like the prices went up. Grr.

Anyway, please know I haven't abandoned you, dear friends! As always, happy to chat off site in any number of other ways too, so feel free to get in touch. Otherwise, I expect to gear up here again ASAP by January.

Hugs and kisses,
Sean
Well, I'm doing it again: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, when you're challenged to write 50,000 words of a new novel in the month of November). I'm already behind, partially due to natural leg dragging, and partially due to some food poisoning, but because I exceeded my number significantly last year, I'm determined to catch up ASAP, and successfully complete the challenge once again. For my fellow NaNos out there, I'm "inbetween" in that world, so look me up and add me as a buddy on there.

With the holiday season coming quickly now, and NaNoWriMo already in session, I just wanted to write and let YOU know why I've been slightly distant here lately.

I'm approving poems all the time on my We-Poets group, and trying my best to keep up with reading all your poetry and journals, as well as the occasional pictures, which are always fun (and easy for me) to check out! :) But I do sometimes fall behind, so thank you as always for your patience when I do.

I hope you're well. Drop me a line anytime!

Sean (from New York)
Hey all, just a quick update. My new book is out and should be live on Amazon in the next couple of days. I'll try and post some more soon, but in the mean time, here's a video I just recorded all about the book.

Finishing Forty, by Sean Patrick Brennan

Hello, friends. And yes, you are my friends!

This site is very important to me, despite how rarely I've posted here lately. My friend Keaton first introduced me to the site, and though he's never on here anymore (like so many others I've met), I still appreciate him and all the great people I've gotten to know over the years.

I'll be renewing soon, so no, I'm not going anywhere, but please also know I still have every intention of increasing my activity here on the site. Deviant Art has a lot of NSFW (not suitable for work) postings, so it's appropriately blocked at my job. By the time I get home from work and the gym, I'm beat, and hardly in the right mindset or bursting with creative energy.

I also do A LOT of book writing and editing work lately. My first three books (a religious fiction series) are now published and happily behind me, and I'm busy editing what I hope will be my fourth book out next month, if at all possible. From my 39th birthday to my 40th birthday this past May, I wrote a daily blog series called Finishing Forty. Throughout the writing process, I was keenly aware how well the project would flow as a book later on too, so that's what I'm doing now: editing and typesetting it for publication.

November, as you might recall, is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Goal: 50,000 words of a new novel in one month. Last November was my first year participating, and I wrote the first half of what will be my fifth book, a story about a young monk coming out of the closet while living in a monastery. Because the story is based on my own experience as a monk, I have a lot to draw from, but I'm fictionalizing the fuck out of it too, and it's been such a fun project to work on! It's so different from my religious fiction series too, and it's a one-off novel, so I hope it entices new readers to try me out!

Despite all this, I really do love writing poems and short stories too, and that's why Deviant Art has been so special for me. I love the community here, even though I know there are so many great artists who I've yet to find, and who've yet to find me! Sharing my poems and short stories here has been extremely gratifying, and has helped me focus very hard on making each piece something special.

These little poems and short stories, then, are the little things I reference in the title of this journal entry. They mean a lot to me, and always will. My poetry writing has helped me hone my prose-writing skills, as very often I'll realize I need to trim just a hair off a sentence in one of my books for better rhythm. I'm forever grateful for the years of poetry writing, because I feel they really have helped me write much better prose. And just as importantly, I'm sure, my book writing experience has helped me write better short stories--and write short stories better, too.

So that's where I am right now. I know most of you don't know me too well. We only exchange quick comments with each other here and there. But if you have any interest in following my writing adventures off-site, I hope you'll consider giving my public Facebook page a LIKE: www.facebook.com/PlanetInBetwe…

And how about you? How's your writing life going? Or your personal life? Or hell, your sex life?! I'm all ears, so let's talk!

Thanks for reading!

-Sean
  • Listening to: crickets chirping
  • Reading: The Martian
  • Watching: a dead bug twitch in the breeze of the fan
  • Playing: Words With Friends
  • Drinking: coffee
I'm no writing expert, guys, so I apologize if I sometimes come across like some kind of an idiot with a stick up his ass, trying to tell you how to write your poems and stories. My intention is always to help you, not hurt you, so I want to just clarify a few pieces of advice I tend to dish out most often.

Spelling and Grammar: You need to be perfect here. There are rules. I'm not talking about linguistic choices like making up words on purpose (Jabberwocky) or using slang to reflect a character's way of speaking (talkin' 'bout you). I just mean basics of spelling and grammar. You need to know which 'your' and 'you're' to use, which 'its' and 'it's', and so on. 

Rhythm and Meter: Spoken-word poems aside (which seem to have no rules), watch how long your lines go. A poem is not prose. It's not supposed to keep going on and on forever, stretching to the end of the margin or wrapping around. It's supposed to be short. Neat. Little. Bite-size. 10 syllables or less in most cases.

Ego: One of the biggest problems I see over and over on here is not even about writing itself. It's about the massive egos of the writers. Some people write as if they have a team of volunteers working around the clock to help them present their newest poem or short story to the world. Others refuse to fix simple mistakes in spelling or grammar, or otherwise add lots and lots of decorations to their poem or story to make it a finished piece of art before anyone's had the chance to give them feedback. You're not perfect! I'm not perfect! We need each other! We need feedback, and honest criticism delivered kindly. Without it, we will never grow as artists and writers.

There's always more, but you won't read this if I make it any longer, so I'll stop there. Please, friends, know I care about you as much as I do about your writing. When I give you feedback, know it's because I've taken the time to reach out and help you. I'm not dishing out edits or suggestions for my own ego or inflated sense of importance. I'm a professional proofreader for a living, and a freelance writer. I'm just trying to help, and always here as a friend to talk with one on one as well. Cheers!
  • Listening to: birds chirping
  • Reading: your words
  • Watching: time go by
  • Drinking: coffee
Hey, so it's been a little while...again...and I wanted to just throw out a very quick update. Posting this in bullet-style fashion for those who want to scan without reading too much (but let me know if you read this). ; )
  • I finished writing my third book, and am in the editing process now. Three others are reading it for me too. My target date for publishing is June 10th.

  • I finished writing my daily blog, Finishing Forty, on April 30th. That also means I turned 40. Eek! I'm publishing the blog in book form in November, and donating 50% of all profits to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

  • My book writing and blog writing took up a lot of my time lately, and though I have plenty of editing work ahead of me still, as well as a return to writing the second half of an already-started 5th book, I *should* be back on here more over the next few months.

  • I've been a guest speaker three times now at college classes near me, and would love to do that more, but what I'd REALLY love doing is teaching writing classes. I'd welcome any thoughts you might have on that!

  • Listening to: planes flying overhead on their way to England
  • Reading: your words
  • Watching: my fingers type
  • Playing: with myself
  • Eating: too much
  • Drinking: water
Hey guys, sorry I haven't posted an update (or even a poem or story) on here in a while now.  I visit pretty much every day, and try to keep up with YOUR postings as much as I can, but I haven't been as productive on here myself.

I blog every single day (until 5/1/15) at this link...
finishingforty.blogspot.com/

...and I'm almost finished now writing the first draft of my third book, tentatively titled The Knowing.  It's the third and final book of my series called Heaven, Hell, and the Planet In Between

Book 1:
www.amazon.com/Heaven-Hell-Pla…

Book 2:
www.amazon.com/Papal-Visitor-S…

I've got just shy of 300 pages now, with a few chapters left to write, so the first draft will be somewhere north of 300 pages, but my experience has been that I tend to trim more than add in subsequent drafts, so we'll see.  Book 1 was 200 pages, and Book 2 was 256 pages, but I do still think Book 3 will be close to 300.

So yeah, that's what's been occupying most of my time lately.

If you'd be so kind (and I know some of you are VERY kind), would you please consider supporting me and my work by liking my public Facebook page?  The link is here: www.facebook.com/PlanetInBetwe…

THANK YOU very much as always for your support, encouragement, kind comments, favorites, and sweet messages!  I really appreciate them all!

Love, hugs, and kisses,
Sean
  • Listening to: the heat coming up
  • Reading: Facebook
  • Watching: the night pass by
  • Playing: with myself
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: water
Great article from Slate here: www.slate.com/blogs/quora/2014…


Some of the intermediate-level (and above) issues I see most often on Deviant Art:
  • Too much backstory before the inciting incident 
  • Digression
  • Plot unfocused or the premise is unclear
  • Plot too obvious ("I saw the ending coming miles off.")
  • Unoriginal or clichéd plot
Some of the amateur-level mistakes I see most often on Deviant Art:
  • Using clichés and hackneyed phrases (e.g. "knife through butter")
  • Run-on sentences
  • Too many adverbs and weak verbs
  • Strings of adjectives
  • Telling not showing ("Bob was a funny guy.")
  • Too much dialogue, not enough description
  • Flowery writing or overwriting
  • Repetition of words or phrases
  • Mixed, forced, or jarring similes and metaphors
  • Listening to: the gentle, almost silent hum of my new computer
  • Reading: Slate
  • Watching: my screen
  • Playing: with ideas
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: water
NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month = nanowrimo.org

I'm participating this year for the first time, so I've got a blank Word document started now, and will begin writing shortly.  If you'll be participating too, please, please, please let me know, and keep in touch.  I know a lot of people see me as a teacher type on here, and less a peer, but I've always WANTED to be your peer and friend too!  I could use your support and friendship with this (as with all creative projects), so please don't be a stranger!

Yes, I've written and self-published two books, and am working on the third and fourth ones now, but this will be a completely different scenario and project. 

Writing 50,000 words throughout this one month is going to be very challenging and probably very stressful at times.  Please be there for me if you can, and know I will be there for you too!

Here we go!!! :D Yikes!!!
Sean

P.S. Even if you don't start on November 1st, you can still begin anytime.
  • Listening to: the steam heat coming up in my house
  • Reading: nothing...need to write only!
  • Watching: what happens
  • Playing: with ideas
  • Eating: nothing yet
  • Drinking: coffee
I've written the first 10 chapters now of my third book, and will have another 27 to write in the weeks and months ahead.  This is the third and final book of the series I've been working on called Heaven, Hell, and the Planet In Between

I published my first book, The Uniter, in 2013.  200 pages, available on Amazon.com at: www.amazon.com/Heaven-Hell-Pla….  And I published my second book, The Papal Visitor, in 2014.  256 pages, available on Amazon.com at www.amazon.com/Papal-Visitor-S….

This past week, I was a guest speaker for two classes at my local college.  For about an hour for each class, I spoke about what it's like creating characters, scenes, and plots for my stories.  These were reading-comprehension courses, so it was great for me to help the students understand the books they're reading from the author's side, and not just their own.  I explained how I came up with my character's names and why I made some of the choices I made, and I took them through some of my notes for my third book as well.

One question a student asked me was, "Why do you do it?  Why do you write?"  I started going through a few different answers for him, saying it was fun for me to tell myself a story, and fun to create a reality that doesn't exist right now on the earth.  I kept saying this and that, trying to answer his question for about a minute and a half, when the teacher, who'd invited me to speak, interrupted.  "What I'm hearing Sean say over and over here is the word 'fun'.  That's what I keep hearing, that it's just fun for him to do this."  I smiled and agreed completely.

Why do you write?  Is it a job for you?  Is it for money?  Are you hoping to write books to make lots and lots of money?  If that's your goal, I can't tell you it won't happen, but I can tell you from my experience, you're doing it for the wrong reasons.  Writing is about fun.  It's about going to town with your stories, and saying whatever the hell you want, because that keyboard or pad is in front of YOU right now, and no one else!  You can write a 10-page story about knights and princesses, or you can make it a 300-page book about mushrooms.  It doesn't matter what your topic is, as long as you are fully enjoying the process!  If it feels like work to you, it'll probably feel like work to your readers too.  And those kinds of books are just awful to trudge through!

So I guess what this whole journal entry from me is really about is just to let you know I'm writing my third book now, and I'm having lots of fun with it!  I can't wait to see how it ends, not just the book itself, but this 3-book story, and I know I'm having a lot of fun in the process of creating the finished product.

Here's wishing each of you lots of FUN in your own writing journey.  I wish you lots and lots of money too, by the way, but most of all, just have FUN!!! :D

Sean
  • Listening to: the silence, the possibility of all
  • Reading: my words
  • Watching: what happens
  • Drinking: water
I've been busier than usual still, but will be caught up again here ASAP.  Reply or PM me anytime for my private info if you want to keep in touch off here.

My public Facebook page for my writing is:
www.facebook.com/PlanetInBetween

<3
Sean
  • Listening to: birds chirping outside
  • Reading: My friends' words on Deviant Art
  • Drinking: Coffee
Hi all,

Just a very quick note.  Life's been a little extra hectic for me the past month, so I'm behind on reading your contributions and journals.  I promise to catch up soon, maybe even this weekend.  I have no plans for the weekend except laundry, relaxation, reading, and writing, so I hope to make your work part of my reading.  I have a bunch of critiques to write for my We-Poets group on here too.

Miss you and hope to rejoin you ASAP now.

xoxo
sean
  • Listening to: birds chirping outside
  • Reading: My friends' words on Deviant Art
  • Drinking: Coffee
How are you?  I don't talk to as many of you as I'd like, so perhaps we can change that?  PM me with your contact details if you'd like to chat elsewhere on Skype, AIM, or kik (or by text).  Or just PM me on here to talk.

My life: I was in Colorado and Wyoming a couple of weeks ago, and I'll be in Massachusetts and Vermont a few weeks from now.  In the mean time, I'm here, on Long Island in New York, with the occasional visits to Manhattan for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows and whatnot.  Next Tuesday I'll be seeing Newsies one more time before it closes (I think I'll have seen it 5 times total, not sure).  And in September I have a ticket for This is Our Youth, starring Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin (love them both).  Lots of Audience Rewards points collecting dust too, so I plan on seeing a bunch of shows between now and the end of the year, too.

How about you?  Things okay?
  • Listening to: birds chirping outside
  • Reading: My friends' words on Deviant Art
  • Drinking: Coffee
Some simple advice for those who truly care about their writing...judge yourself!

The best writers I see on here are those who spend TIME on their work, who pour over it constantly, and don't just upload whatever they write on a whim as soon as they've written it.  (And I don't mean stream-of-conscious stuff or other writing exercises.  Those are the exceptions to the rule.)

A poem or a story should have absolutely gone through multiple drafts before you load it for public viewing.  If you think it's worth sharing immediately without any editing from you, you're doing it wrong.  I fully support your creative license and passion for your craft, and you have every right to hit submit whenever your heart desires, but please, please, please, I hope you'll seriously consider this advice, and take it seriously. 

No one should judge you for spelling or grammar errors, or any other type of objectively agreed-upon mistake you make, but they will judge you anyway.  It's human nature.  So if you really care about your writing, show it.  Do some solid editing work before uploading your poem or prose here for public viewing. 

You'll make mistakes anyway.  I certainly make mistakes anyway!!!  We are, all of us, imperfect people, and that's OKAY, but if we want to be taken seriously, we must, must, MUST take our time with this craft.  We must care about it enough to spend serious time on our ART before uploading it.

Ability, Revision, Time

I hope you agree, and if you ever want my help or need suggestions, please feel free to contact me.  I love helping people, and I'll be happy to help you if I can. 

Warmest wishes, and happy writing!
Sean
  • Listening to: birds chirping outside
  • Reading: My friends' words on Deviant Art
  • Drinking: Coffee
On vacation to Colorado (and Wyoming, briefly) for the next 5 days.  Follow my daily blog for updates from the road: finishingforty.blogspot.com/

Sean
  • Listening to: birds chirping outside
  • Reading: My friends' words on Deviant Art
  • Drinking: Coffee
Created by kinglorshi.deviantart.com/ and suggested to me by starlightshoals.deviantart.com….  I don't do these kinds of things much, so you better believe I'm doing THIS one because I liked the questions so much!!!

Q1. List 1-2 honest facts about yourself, particularly the ones that you consider humorous or bizarre.

Fact 1: I'm a very spiritually interested guy, but also a very sexually interested guy, and no, I don't think they're polar opposites.  I love both topics/parts of my life, and enjoy both any chance I get. :D

Fact 2: I talk to myself every day, but not in the traditional sense of the phrase.  I do acting sketches of usually two people, performing their voices back and forth for my own amusement.  Sometimes they're dramatic, sometimes hysterical, but both types make me laugh.  I often get so carried away, I have to remind myself I'm talking to myself, just so I'll stop.

Q2. What is your most recent source of inspiration? Give a vague description of what it inspired.

My brain bounces ideas around quite a bit, so I do my best to channel things out whenever I can.  I write a daily blog, so my most recent source of inspiration was the news.  I heard it was the month of Ramadan, so today's blog entry was about that.  My inspiration usually comes from past memories, and manifests itself in my poetry, short stories, articles, blogs, and books, depending on what fits best.

Q3. Remember the seven deadly sins of Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Pride, and Envy? Pick one sin that fits you when you were young and one now.

When I was young, wrath was more my m.o.  I was apparently very angry very often.  Though I still have the occasional moment, I'm a calm guy now for the most part.  Gluttony and lust are my sins now.  Lust is less a sin and more a hobby though lol.  Gluttony is seen in my over-enjoyment of food, especially in moments of binging.  I've thankfully gotten myself back on track, and am slowly working towards a more slimmer form.  Lost 41 pounds, and though I've gained 5 back at the moment, I'm working hard on an even greater goal.

Q4. List 1-3 statements you tell yourself to keep yourself motivated. Again, silly or serious. Maybe we can all gleam from this! (They can be yours or you can cite others)

1) Writing every day (my daily blog) is an absolute Godsend, but also a curse.  It's helping me become a better writer each and every day, but it's distracted me from my book writing.  I am slowly learning to balance both.  My motivation though?  To write without worrying about readers!  You need to write every day, not for feedback, but for the sake of the writing itself!

2) I believe I will become famous for my writing.  I believe I will find great success and even wealth because of my writing.  I believe it, even though I'm not there yet, and it's the belief that drives me forward to the goal I tell myself I'll reach.

Q5. Sum yourself up in four words: two describing your strength(s) and another two summing up your faults. Do not elaborate.

Sensitive, thoughtful, sensitive, thought-full

Q6. You're a magical person now! What colours, weapons, powers, and clothing do you have? What's your weakness? Creative license is off the charts here!

I'm able to speak every language there is, understand every language there is, and transport myself anywhere in the world at any time.  My powers are known to others, so I'm called on to help people.  My weakness is a cute face.  A beautiful guy shows me some attention, and the needs of others are temporarily forgotten.

Q7. Share a character who, based on personal preference and views, you should find yourself hating. Instead, you are drawn to them. Explore why: and the more detail the better!

Lucifer.  I write dialogue for Lucifer throughout my second and now third books.  I have every reason to hate him, to at least pity him and be flustered and upset at him.  Instead, I find myself forgiving him, understanding him, hoping and praying he'll see the light.  I've learned through my books (I'm writing the third and final of a series on Heaven and Hell) that God forgives Lucifer.  Lucifer just isn't able to grab hold of that forgiveness and love.  He's a lost soul, and so lost he doesn't even recognize the right path when he's offered it.
  • Listening to: birds chirping outside
  • Reading: My friends' words on Deviant Art
  • Drinking: Coffee
A writer who's described as prolific is one who's constantly pouring out new works from a seemingly undraining reservoir.  I haven't been this kind of writer, but I might be approaching it. 

This month I began writing a daily blog, which, if you are so inclined, you could follow, or stalk me at, here: finishingforty.blogspot.com.  I post one of these reflections every day

In addition to these, I'm writing my third book, the last of the three-book series I called Heaven, Hell, and the Planet In Between.  Right now I'm still only in chapter two, having first reread my other two books to maintain consistency, and make sure I was completing the story and stories I'd begun.  I spent quite a long time compiling about 30 pages of notes for Book 3, which have been extremely helpful in maintaining my focus and drive for completing the series.

Besides my personal writing, I've written two reflections now for Believe Out Loud, which you can find here: www.believeoutloud.com/latest/… and here: www.believeoutloud.com/latest/….

I'm still writing for Examiner, and my articles can be found at: www.examiner.com/user-angelenr….

I'd also like to write some more short stories soon, and I always enjoy writing poetry too.  As usual, you can find those here on Deviant Art at angelenroute.deviantart.com.

Of course, through all this, I have a full-time proofreading job 40 hours a week too, and that always comes first!  So am I prolific?  Maybe not yet, but I seem to be heading in that direction.  I know I'll always keep writing no matter what, but I hope the readers start showing up one of these days too. :D

Warm wishes to all of you, my fellow creators here at Deviant Art!  May your art be celebrated and your lives thrive because of it, but above all, may your art keep bursting forth from you to live in the light of day either way!

Sean
  • Listening to: birds chirping outside
  • Reading: My friends' words on Deviant Art
  • Drinking: Coffee
Hey guys, I'm hoping one or two of you might be up for this task? 

I'm going to be making several myself*, but wondering if someone who knows how to manipulate photos would mind Photoshopping my book cover (on my main page here on dA**) into some fun photos.  Am thinking anything with the pope (current pope, Pope Francis), but any epic movies and the like would be awesome too...for instance, a shot of the pope (or some other famous actor in famous scene) holding my book, or some other placement that looks funny and/or really cool.

I can pay you with points or a one-month premium subscription maybe?  Can do more if we agree to something, but check with me first.  If 2 or 3 of you do this, I'd hate to be spending lots, as I've still not made up my initial investment on the book.  I self-publish my novels still, and have been investing more up front this time in advertising campaigns. 

Oh, and I'll be happy to highlight your work on my dA page here (and credit you with a link to your dA page or other Website when I share them on Facebook too).

Lemme know!  Thank you!
Sean

*I'm a total amateur on Photoshop
**I can send you a different shot of the book, or homemade pics of the actual book, not just the cover, if that'd work better.

www.amazon.com/Papal-Visitor-S…
  • Listening to: the heat coming up
  • Reading: My friends' words on Deviant Art
  • Drinking: Water