Where I find things to read (for free)

Halfway through 2020, I decided I wanted to read more, especially science fiction and fantasy. That’s the genre I primarily write in and it’s the one I’m most interested in. Not only is it a good way to entertain myself, it’s a good way to see what the current market is like if I want to start trying to get my own fiction published.

When I think about reading, I primarily think about novels. But there are plenty of stories out there that aren’t novels, and a lot of them are available online for free! I went to Feedly (an RSS feed reader) and added every single magazine I ever read a story from (as well as a bunch of webcomics, non-fiction websites, blogs, & other things, but that’s another post entirely). Now instead of checking multiple websites each day or subscribing to a bunch of mailing lists (I’m still subscribed to a bunch of mailing lists) I visit one website and see everything gathered there for me.

This isn’t a list of every science fiction/fantasy/horror magazine out there – just the ones I read and keep up with:

Apex Magazine – a magazine of fantastical fiction, interviews, & essays.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies – a literary fantasy magazine. One story per issue is available in podcast form.

Clarkesworld – a monthly SF/F magazine. All stories are available in podcast form.

Constelación Magazine – a bilingual English/Spanish speculative fiction magazine prioritizing authors from Latin America & the Carribean.

The Dark Magazine – a magazine of horror and dark fantasy. Certain stories are available in podcast form.

Fantasy Magazine – a magazine focusing entirely on fantasy. Two stories per issue are available in podcast form.

khōréō magazine – a quarterly genre magazine that primarily focuses on themes of migration.

Lightspeed Magazine – a magazine of SF/F fiction & nonfiction. Four stories per issue are also available in podcast form.

Nightmare Magazine – a horror and dark fantasy magazine of short stories, flash fiction, poetry, editorials, and reviews. Two stories per issue are available in podcast form.

Strange Horizons – a weekly magazine of SF/F/H fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, and interviews. Most (all?) of the fiction & poetry is available in podcast form.

Tor.com – publishes a few pieces of original fiction per month. There is also an eBook club you can sign up for if you live in the U.S. or Canada, where you get one free eBook per month.

Uncanny Magazine – a bimonthly magazine of SF/F fiction & poetry, interviews, essays, and editorials. Certain stories are available in podcast form.

Further attempts at coding websites

After I deleted my Freewebs account, I essentially moved to WordPress (this website) full-time. It was a lot easier to deal with and I was preoccupied with blogging, which does not work well with a static website. For years, I was satisfied with this.

Sometime in 2016, I started to get interested in coding a website again. This time, I turned to Github. Unlike with Freewebs, my Github site is still online!

https://jayargall.github.io/

What you see (on any page except the home page) is actually the third iteration of the same basic layout. This is the first layout:

githublayout01

And this is the second:

githublayout02

The second layout is essentially the same as the layout online right now, with the exception of some different colors and the dragon background header.

I actually gave up on Github because I could not get the home page (and only the home page) to work properly with the third layout. For the longest time, it would not load. Now that I’m looking at it for the first time in years I see that the page is actually online, but that it won’t acknowledge the stylesheet. Why, I have absolutely no idea.

Will I ever go back to this website? Maybe. Will I be using it what’s essentially a mirror of this WordPress website? Probably not.

Blog Update: February 2021

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts! I think the last time I made a post specifically relating to the blog itself was when I bought a domain name in early 2019.

I’ve update the About page. The “About the Website” section has been updated with all the categories used, as well as a brief description of each category.

Added “Nostalgia Time” and “Novels” as categories. The Book of Immortality & The Land of Two Moons, which were formerly categorized under “Writing”, have been moved to the “Novels” category. All the Nostalgia Time posts, also formerly categorized under “Writing”, have been moved to their own category. “Writing” now exists as a category for posts solely related to writing.

All categories & tags on blog posts are updated. Aside from The Book of Immortality, The Land of Two Moons, and Nostalgia Time, quite a few of my early posts weren’t tagged or categorized properly. That’s fixed now.

Removed the “Blog Update” category and turned it into a tag. This really didn’t need to be a category on its own.

I’ve started drafting a “Recommendations” post for January & February. I’ll probably end up doing one of these per month: posts about the things I came across during the month that I liked. I don’t plan on it to be limited to things I read or watched – I might end up recommending entire websites, or blogs, or communities, etc.

2020 Overview & 2021 Goals

The entire year of 2020 has taught me that my plans, however simple they are, can be derailed in an instant. The vast majority of my plans did vanish into thin air: visiting restaurants, movie theaters, and producing enough pieces of art that I could open up a print shop, among other things. Focusing on the things I wanted to do, but ended up not being able to, is generally not useful, so here’s some of the things I did manage to get done in 2020:

Finished the final draft of The Book of Immortality. The novel I started in November of 2017 is finally done, and I can finally stop thinking about it, aside from when I post chapters of it on this blog. Working on it took up more years of my life than I would have liked. Hopefully the time spent on this novel will lead to better time management & revising in the future.

Revised a short story that I originally started in 2016 and never finished. I’m not exactly satisfied with the ending, but it’s done! I can mark it as “finished” and then never look at it again.

Started novelizing The Land of Two Moons. I realized early on in the year that drawing a 50-chapter comic was not possible with my health being what it is. Transferring the script into prose ended up being probably the best decision I made regarding The Land of Two Moons this year: I wrote 20 entire chapters. That would have taken me years to do as a comic!

I also jumped around and worked on outlining/plotting various stories, but half of those don’t have names and the other half don’t have enough substance to talk about.

And now on to what I want to achieve in 2021:

Finish writing The Land of Two Moons. This is my main goal. It won’t take too long to accomplish, because I am approximately 3/4 of the way done with it at the moment. I could be done with it by February.

Fully re-outline & write a first draft for Venére Magic. This is a novel I wrote back in 2015. When I first started thinking about revising this novel, I decided to change the plot and setting – some changes are minor, and some are pretty drastic. Thankfully, the story isn’t very long (the 2015 novel is around 58,000 words) and I previously wrote a chapter-by-chapter outline. Transferring that into the new setting & updated plot won’t actually be very difficult.

Then…continue plotting & fleshing out some other stories I haven’t started writing yet? Honestly, I haven’t thought this far ahead, and that’s probably a good thing. It gives me the flexibility to jump from one thing to another without actually committing to a project, AND it helps me not feel bad if another catastrophic thing happens and I end up not being able to write.

I also have non-writing related goals:

  1. Read at least 1 “piece” (novels, novellas, novelettes, short stories, poetry, essays, graphic novels/manga, webcomics, etc) per day (365 total)
  2. Leave at least 1 comment per day (365 total)
  3. Draw 1 thing per week (52 total)
  4. Purchase at least 1 book per month (12 total)
  5. Finish at least 6 video games
  6. Get a credit card and build up my credit score
  7. Find stable employment

The thing I’m most likely to not accomplish is the comment goal. I read tons of webcomics, follow tons of artists on social media, am a member of a couple of fan forums & Discords, and…I never say anything. It’s become a problem and I want to change that.

The “read 365 things” might sound ridiculous, but I hit 212 this year and that was only after seriously committing myself to reading every day at the beginning of August. I have a ton of short stories on my backlog, as well as a couple of webcomics & webnovels, and I’ve been following just about every science fiction & fantasy magazine I can find. I doubt I’ll run out of things to read any time soon.

And…employment. I’ve been unemployed twice in 2020 (including right now). I hopefully have a contract starting after the new year, but considering it’s project-based, I have no idea how much it’ll pay or how often I’ll be able to get work.

Here’s hoping 2021 is marginally better than 2020.

Welcome to JayArgall.com!

Finally, after seven years of posting on this blog, I have a custom domain name!

That is literally the whole reason I bought an upgrade. I just wanted the domain name. Also, WordPress sent me an email with a coupon and I figured now is a good of a time as any to use it.

On a more important note, I’ve been thinking about what do to with this blog in 2019 and beyond. I want this website to function as more of a log of my creative works with the occasional writing/comic update post. Quality over quantity.

In the early years of this blog, I wrote about a lot of unrelated stuff and sort of used it as my main form of social media. I’ve been sorting through those posts and deleting the ones that aren’t relevant to…well, anything. There were hundreds of those posts! I also plan on cleaning up tags and categories. Those have been a mess since the beginning and I want to make things easy to find.

That’s how things are going to be from now on – or, at least, until I get bored of it and want to do something else. I also won’t be doing monthly update posts like I did last year. Instead I’ll just make a post whenever I actually have something to say.

That’ll probably be at the end of January/beginning of February when I launch my webcomic. Make sure to keep an eye out for that!