Thursday, July 3, 2014

It's Been a Busy June

The lady friend and I signed a lease last night.  We'll be moving in together in August.  That sort of thing is a little scary, of course, but ultimately in life it's important to choose to be around the people who make you happy.  It's a simple thing, and it makes going through all the other superfluities of life so much more tolerable.  I will remember I said this when she eats the last of the Ghirardelli chocolate chips and I want to rage.

In other news, I'm on chapter 24 of my novel, and I'm aiming for about 30 total chapters.  So the first draft will be done soon, and after a round of editing I'll be looking for beta readers.  I'll post more on that soon, but get in touch with me if you'd like to help -- I'm looking for people who have opinions about things.  If you do some honest self-analysis and find that you genuinely don't have opinions, this is probably a serious medical condition and you should be evaluated by your physician.

"Oh, I remember back when I first read a book by Kevin Lankes.  ....It was yesterday.  We just threw on an old-timey filter like the kids do on the Instagram.  Ahem."
I have some upcoming new freelance writing contracts for July, which is great, because otherwise the above two points wouldn't be going so well if I didn't have the means to fund them.  That being said, I could always use more clients.  If you or anyone you know has a writing or editing project, check out the fee schedule on my website, or get in touch with me to discuss the details.

Otherwise, the month of June has been spent finally tackling Latin, which has been a long-standing interest of mine.  Last Christmas, my girlfriend bought me an immersion-style coursebook written entirely in Latin that I've begun to steadily work through.  Also, failing to avoid heated facebook arguments has become a favored pastime of mine in the month of June (not that it ever wasn't).  I've become quite addicted to reading facebook and article comments, especially when the subject matter is controversial.  The level to which people can be unreasonable is fascinating.

My sincerely held beliefs require me to write exclusively in cursive Latin from now on.
So, the year moves on and Time cuts down another month.  I'm excited to finish this novel in the upcoming days and get to finalizing it and sending it out.  I'm probably more excited about this project than I've ever been about anything.  But a reasonable excitement -- one that says, "You know, I think I pretty much got this right on."  And there's a sense of satisfaction that goes with that, a level-headed contentment that makes me feel like this really could be something special.  And with that, I'll keep clicking the Chiclets until it's done, and keep pounding Latin vocab into my head (some of which are English words that mean completely different things, like "it"), and keep funding the lifestyle that allows me to achieve the goals I've set.

Tonight I'm traveling to PA to be with family for the holiday weekend.  I hope everyone's 4th of July is filled with an abundance of fun.  Until next time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Every Book Has a Soundtrack. What's the Soundtrack to Your Book?

Music is hella great.  I've known this my whole life -- I've been performing music since the summer before fifth grade, when I picked up a trumpet for the first time under the watchful eye of my teacher, the late Ray Detweiler.  He molded me into quite the musician, capable of living comfortably in an expansive, magical new world.  Because music is magical.  It brings out emotional responses like nothing else.  It can be inspiring, uplifting, even terrifying.

A lot of people are terrified when they see things like this.  #TabCulture
Image Credit: melintelinas via deviantart
Currently, the novel I'm writing has no soundtrack.  This makes me terribly sad.  I plan to remedy this in the near future, so that I can increase my odds of crafting it into the killer story I know it so rightfully is.  My next novel, however, has such an epic soundtrack that has never before been heard by man nor angel.  It's a combination of Sir Christopher Lee's first operatic metal album (yes, this is a thing), and assorted music from Two Steps From Hell.  This particular lineup is what you call a surplus of epic.

Music is so influential that it even has the ability to irritate the shit out of us, as is the case with my upstairs neighbors producing a criminally monotonous, half-baked rap album above my head as I write this.  The most powerful part of music, however, is that it inspires other art.  It can also be inspired by other media as well, but the quality of art created while under the influence of music is powerfully profound.  And remember, if you or someone you love is under the influence of music, and can't seem to find their way back to a normal life, I have a twelve-step program to sell you.  It involves buying my books.

For now, I'll continue to search for an appropriate soundtrack to my current project.  It must needs be inspirational, hopeful, tragic, but with an air of uncovering a new dawn.  Recommendations are welcome.  Do you have a soundtrack for your book or other art?  If so, what is it?  And how did you come by it?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Defining My Direction

Good morning, everyone.  Though it isn't morning as I write this, and chances are it isn't morning while you're reading, either.  "Good morning" just sounds welcoming.  So that's what I'm going with.

As some of you may know, my new book, Metastatic Memories is out.  You can find it here, in both paperback and Kindle editions.  My six-month-old nephew reviewed the book (spoiler: it's adorable).  You can find his review here.

It's been quite the week.  Metastatic Memories was released, I picked up leads on new freelance clients, I found out my chances of the cancer coming back are down to 15%, I had a mini-breakdown, I reflected a lot on friendship, and what it's like to be a young adult cancer survivor attempting to function as normal in the real world.  All of this happened conveniently during Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week, and they all deserve their own posts.  For the time being, I'll leave you with a small shred of wisdom, which is -- life is what you make it.  You can be all kinds of things, and have all kinds of things happen to you.  But it's how you respond to your circumstances and how you go about accomplishing the goals you set for yourself that define your direction.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Metastatic Memories is Out! Read About my Young Adult Cancer Memoir Here!

Pick it up here!

Wow.  It's been a long journey.  A very, very long journey.  But Metastatic Memories is finally published.  I hope you'll pick up a copy and share my story.  Because it isn't just my story; it's the story of 72,000 new young adults each year.  It's the story of untold millions worldwide.

Writing this book was easy.  The editing was the hard part.  I had to go over it again and again, making changes and rewriting passages until it reflected what I honestly believe to be a true account of my brush with untimely death.  And now it's done, and I hope that everyone will take something from the book.  I hope it will help.

Recently, while my family was passing the review copy between them, my nephew, the Creature, somehow managed to get his hands on it...

I may have had to coax him into it.

The Creature was not impressed with my efforts to bribe him with tickles.

Eventually, he got into it.

The Creature likes it!  "Hey!" he might have said, had he been able to form sounds other than Glar Glue Glar Gwwaaaa, at the time. "My uncle tells a pretty good story!  This might just be my favorite book."

Why thank you Creature.  Your uncle is proud to have such a dedicated reader in the family.  Creature, you even make a short cameo at the end of the book -- it's possible that you're reading about yourself here.  Or it could be that I've made that up, just like I've staged this whole post to serve as promotional material for the book.  What a low thing to do, using such an adorable creature as a prop!  Well, the truth is that I'm kind of attached to you, Creature, and I'm glad you're my nephew, and that one day you'll grow up and read my books, and tell me how much you don't agree with my version of events, just like your mom.  I can't wait for that day.

Until then, I'll just keep reading them to you, and pretending that your gurgles and smiles are rave reviews on content and sentence structure.  They're definitely more valuable to me than any other kind of review.

Buy your copy of Metastatic Memories here.