Author Archives: Michael

Update 4-17-2022

After a long buildup of events, I have been put into a position that requires me to find a new place to live. The new owners of my building have proven to be a nightmare in their own right, creating a hostile workplace that is also my home. They have required me to go way beyond my job description here, and I ended up doing over $10k worth of rehab work in the building for no pay, and harassing calls and texts when I finally said enough was enough. In the process, I lost over 14 pounds, had my sleep and eating schedules disrupted, and subjected to severe stress and anxiety. So, in addition to having to find a new place to call home, I need to deal with courts and lawyers, as I refuse to take this abuse sitting down.
Just another weekend for this writer, boys and girls.
Fortunately, writing has been, and always will be, a means of therapy and solace for me, and thus, has not slowed my writing. To the contrary, in times like these, I find myself writing more, which in a sense proves that art is born of pain, I suppose. My current work in progress is currently a bit more than two-thirds complete in terms of the first draft. It is my longest, and strangest, work to date I feel, and hope to have it completed this summer. With luck, the events surrounding me will not entail too many delays, and I will complete this new novel on schedule. The cover is complete, and I’m itching to do a title and cover reveal, so stay tuned.

Until next time,
~Namaste

Update – Feb. 15, 2022

Greetings all,

It’s been a rough couple weeks, and things do not look like they will be getting any easier in the near future. Much like the main character in my current WIP, I have found myself swept up in events beyond my control, part of a larger pattern. This has resulted in my having to work much longer days, as I’ve not only been tasked with renovating one of the apartments in my building, but am also working full time in another construction-related job. This would be fine, if not for a little thing called ‘limits’. I have not worked for less than twelve and a half hours a day for the last month, with most days lasting much longer. The work is physically demanding; my fingers are swollen, and it is painful to type. Exhaustion and physical pain have kept me from making any progress on my newest manuscript for a month, depriving me of both creative satisfaction and the natural therapy for my anxiety the activity provides. For artists, creativity and emotion are closely intertwined, and being deprived of the ability to express the former can have direct and profound effects on the latter. I’ve been doing my best to deal with the pressures and tolls of my current circumstances, but the timing could not have been worse; I was at a critical point in the plot, and could not afford such an interruption.
This proved frustrating for some time, but there proved to be silver lining. The beginning of the current chapter seemed weak, and during my workday, I still have time for inspiration to make its way into my brain, even if I do not immediately have the time or opportunity to act upon it. In this case, the Muse gave me the beginning for what will lead into the third act of the novel, one that reads much better than what I have currently. It’s a small win, but I’ll take it, along with the determination to return to my regular writing schedule as soon as possible. It’s been a longer hiatus than I would have liked, but I am determined to bring it to an end.
Back to work…

Until next time,
~Namaste

Update: Jan 14, 2020

Greetings Once Again From the Void…

I’m writing this at quarter to four in the morning, taking a break from a depression-induced manic streak. I should be wrapping up my daily writing around this time, but my writing has suffered from motivation problems over the last couple of weeks. This is not writer’s block; I have plenty to say, should I actually take the time to sit in front of the keyboard, but I have had a hard time of late being able to bring myself to do so. My particular cycle of depression and anxiety are best helped by writing in any form, and this has come to affect my writing process, becoming in fact a part of the process itself. The interruptions are rare – as I’ve said, I do not ever really suffer from writer’s block in the conventional sense – but they do happen, and this has delayed the completion of my current novel.
I had hoped to complete two books in 2021, but the second of the two works has turned out to be more of a project than I originally anticipated. Currently, the new manuscript draft sits at forty-five complete chapters, and 116k words, and there could be as many as 50k more words to go. I do a hybrid pantser/plotter process, so my notes give me a direction, but allow room for the Muse to roam where she likes. This time around, however, I am required to do more fine-tuning on the third act, and the nature of the story requires more research than I’ve ever done before, which I can but hope is a good thing, as it means I am attempting to leave my comfort zone as a writer.
Will all the effort be worth it? Time will tell, I guess.

Until next time,

~Namaste

The Writing Life

Hello All,

I say ‘all’ like more than a handful of people ever see this page, at least to my knowledge. The stats are a bit misleading in that area, and I’d have to do more digging than I care to in order to find just how many actual readers I have. But no matter; if you are a fan or follower, I appreciate every page visit.
Both might see that I do not update my blog on a daily or even weekly basis. Weeks and months can sometimes pass before I can write an update or post, which I am certain contributes to my relative obscurity in the writing world.
The reason for this is simple: life.
The life of a writer can be far from what those not involved in that particular obsession imagine. Even the King’s and Martin’s and Rowling’s of the world lived relatively hard lives before finally breaking onto the world stage, and for every successful author, there are a multitude that give up along the way, or are consumed by the pressures of life while trying. The ‘starving artist’ moniker is equally fitting to authors as they are to the painters and musicians who struggle to exist while also doing what they can to express their creative drive. It is not an easy path, and but a few ever make it past all the exhaustion, pain, and stress required to rise above the sea of mediocrity we are forced to consume on a daily basis. The struggle is long, fought with anxiety and worry, and so often unrewarding. This has made me wonder why we haven’t seen any reality shows centering around life of a writer; the drama alone would make good viewing,
In my case, this has been the story for most of my life. As the years go by, the crises grow larger, the hours longer, the effort greater, while the rewards have lessened to become nigh non-existent. Despite having a multitude of skills, an IQ over 140, a strong work-ethic, and years of experience in several fields, the damage done both physically and emotionally by the decade of abuse at the hands of a narcissistic sociopath, and more than two decades of abuse by our tragically ridiculous excuse for a justice system, has made it almost impossible to keep my head above water financially, and even when I manage to do so, the toll upon me can be severe, perfect fodder for reality television. A camera crew could follow my attempts to find new gigs, as I work a second job managing the complex where I live, and all the other struggles an aspiring author faces while trying to produce what they hope will be the next bestseller, perfect fodder for all who are fascinated by the misery and drama in others lives. I’m not sure what kind of products could be sold in advertisements during such a program, but that’s for the marketing gremlins to figure out. I’ve even considered starting a vlog for any of platforms out there showing such content, or placing it on my own site, but hesitate at the fact that I would look like absolute hell most of the time: dressed in work clothes, covered in dust or paint, busting my ass on various projects just to be undervalued and underpaid…not the cultured image most associate with success. Sure, we hear about the journey later, after King or Rowling is a household name, but we’re never along for the journey.
Looking at you, cable and stream providers. You’re missing an opportunity here.
Call me.

Until Next We Meet,

~Namaste

A Sad Loss

I received word that my first wife, and mother of my first two children, passed away at approximately 1 a.m. this morning. I have yet to process this, but it has affected me, and I believe it will for quite some time to come. I do know that for me, it marks the end of yet another era, another chapter of my life. Yet more of my past is now locked forever in history, and my world has become smaller with her passing.
I met Gina when I was still in high school, and she was my girlfriend from my sophomore year onward. We had our share of misadventures, as many of that age did at the time, and memories of those times come out of the dark now at odd hours to remind me of just how long I’ve been on this road. We got married pretty much right out of school, for different reasons, I suppose, although both of us being young and stupid counted for a lot of what happened after.
Yes, things went wrong. It was my relationship that blew my portfolio review for MICA, where I had pretty much been scheduled to receive a full scholarship, and this changed my life to an extreme degree. There was a great deal of misery and strife, also because we were young and stupid, and I became a work horse, doing whatever I could to support my wife and children. I hated most of these jobs, hated life a great deal of the time, to be honest, and although I grew to know our relationship was in trouble, I continued to hold onto hope until the very end. Things were made worse by my grandmother, who did not hold my wife or her family in any regard, and made things harder for us because of it.
This was made even worse after we divorced, using whatever means she could to cause more tension between us, and still being young and stupid, I did nothing to make things easier. It took another ten years for us to reconcile our past, and to begin treating each other civilly. We had done what was necessary for the children in the meantime, but it was never friendly. I resented my treatment, and it took years for me to understand how we had both been manipulated by our caregivers, and the truth behind what had happened to us. It was then that I could finally forgive her for the things she had done, and let go of my anger. In the end, we ended up creating two beautiful children together, and I came to understand that some things…are not about us; they are about greater things.
Yet, despite all the bad things that happened, all the things she may have done against me in our marriage, I know she never took pleasure in it. Anything we did, we did for reasons inspired by our youth and inexperience, for our own protection, or doing what we thought we needed to do. Neither of us ever set out to set up the other, or deliberately cause them pain for our pleasure or benefit. In short, my first wife had some flaws, as do we all, but she was not a narcissistic monster like the one that nearly killed me several years ago. She did not deserve the cancer that ravaged her for four years, did not deserve the pain and fear it brings, nor did her children or husband, all of whom are decent people who do their best to make their way in the world without hurting others. Gina never had what could be called an easy life, and I think she deserved much more happiness than what she received. I can only hope that now, after fighting a battle against that dark and insidious opponent, that she will finally know happiness and peace.
Farewell and Godspeed, Gina. Rest now, and take joy in knowing your children, all of them, love you and will miss you.
As will I.

Corruption and Mental Health

As most who know me personally know, repeated attacks to my physical and mental health in the form of predatory and corrupt practices by law enforcement in Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina has caused me to suffer for many years from PTSD, depression, anxiety, neuropathy, and extreme chronic pain. I, like many, had dealt with the occasional false traffic ticket – fuel for the lawyers, one of the reason Shakespeare had such glowing words for them – and I went to court and faced them, always. Those who know my upbringing (living with a polygraph and a P.S.E in my house, along with the most capable and adept examiner for both instruments on the planet) know I always make the truth my winning answer. I was raised in a military/law enforcement/intelligence household. I was taught to respect the truth and the intent of the law, if not the letter, as the unjust do not deserve respect. In that way, I inherited the mores and ethics of my grandfather. And those that know me, know how pissed I get when I see those institutions fuck over the common man for nothing more than greed or the narcissistic need for control. I was raised to expect a higher standard, and when I see it used against people, including myself, who take time and effort to obey the law and believe in truth made out to be criminals and liars, all for the sake of a buck.
This may have been the reason why I was affected so deeply when I had my life threatened by a Virginia State Police Trooper when I asked if I could have a copy of the witness list after suffering a forward ejection through the sunroof of an SUV. I had suffered injuries that, had it not been for the timely intervention of the EMT’s, could have left me paralyzed had the Trooper been allowed to carry out his intent. I became a hermit for seven years after this event, four of which were spent learning to walk without screaming. I still cannot see flashing lights on the highway without suffering an extreme panic attack. The mere sight of police cars can do the same, and having to deal with courtrooms in any capacity affects me for days before and after.
Later, I moved to Ohio as a result of a relationship with my future ex-wife (another story entirely) and that move proved to be the start of a chain reaction of encounters that further traumatized me. Three days after the birth of my third daughter, a TRAP syndrome birth that cost us her twin, I returned home from the hospital (an hour and half drive through freezing roads and black ice) to find I had taken the wrong bag home with me, and had to return my wife’s meds. So back I go, knowing I have to do another round trip in these conditions, when in Rising Sun, Ohio, I see a police car approaching from the opposite direction. Seeing an approaching change in the speed limit, I see the car turn around behind me, despite me doing the speed limit, and as I change my speed in time with the sign, I get pulled over. I get searched, and despite my being truthful about the meds, I get charged with possession, thrown into the back of a police car, re-injuring my back, and I get to listen as this ass and his buddy talk with glee about how many charges they can hit me with. In court, they dropped the charges when I told them every person who transports meds for terminal and/or handicapped people would like to know about my experience. I was thrown in jail after I slipped a disc in my back while on a walk with my child for 37 days – 7 days beyond the limit of their ridiculous charge – because I was swearing at an umbrella stroller’s inability to traverse the crappy sidewalks of Fostoria, Ohio, and laid in jail passing in and out of consciousness for 3 days before I even got looked at by medical, and humiliated by double-digit IQ goons the entire time.
For cursing at a stroller.
Having enough of this shit, I moved to North Carolina. I wanted to eventually move us closer to the Outer Banks. There, I encountered pretty much the same treatment.
One day, while driving to the store about two week after moving, my toddler daughter started to choke in the back seat. We were stuck in slow moving traffic in a school zone, and there was not room for me to pull over in order to help her. Her mother decided to unbuckle her seat belt in order to help her as I spotted two motorcycle cops in the median. I tell her to hurry, because we are going to be pulled over. When asked if I’m speeding, I tell her no (I wasn’t), but we had an out of state license plate, and that was pretty much a free meal ticket to them. Sure enough, we are pulled over, and not allowed to tend to our choking daughter as the cop explains how easy it will be to pay the ticket. Not only that, this goon says I was doing 40 mph, which was mathematically impossible, as I would have to be doing a minimum of 14 feet/second more than any car around me. At the hearing, the prosecutor laughed in my face when I said I would be pleading not guilty, had a cop who couldn’t remember what vehicle he was driving that day, had my daughter and now ex insulted in the court room, and was still found guilty.
And this is typical of my experiences over the last almost 20 years. Without fail.
Driving at all became an exercise in anxiety. I’m hyper-vigilant behind the wheel. I never speed. Have never driven intoxicated. For that reason, I’m never in a hurry when I drive. I always wear my seat belt, etc, etc.
And it still isn’t enough, because you can get pulled over and accused of something you have taken the time and effort to do right, and one way or the other, you’re going to have money yanked out of you.
Case in point:
After my ex revealed the extent of her narcissistic abuse, I once again became a hermit, as those dealings with the system did nothing but exacerbate and heighten all my symptoms, both physical and psychological. For several years, I would only drive when absolutely necessary, never driving more than 20 miles or so away from my home.
This changed in September, 2020. I had met a friend online through a support group, and continued to chat with her online as she battled colon cancer. She would be going into hospice, and I promised to visit her in person, as she had had few visitors in the recent weeks. From my previous experiences, I knew it would be a risk, but all I could do was drive the speed limit, and hope for the best.
And, wouldn’t you know it, despite all the above, I still get pulled over, and told I’m doing some ridiculous speed that I would never do on an unfamiliar curving country road.
Not only that, but the courts decide to mail out the notice of the trial the day after it occurs, effectively denying me any chance to appear in court.
And people wonder why I’m a hermit.
Now you know.

Update 8-14-2021

Greetings all!

For those of you just joining in, I’ve been working on a new fiction novel for some time now, one I began a few years ago, back when I was unknowingly in a struggle against narcissistic abuse. I wanted this novel to be my second work, but I several short stories and novellas were crying for my attention, and so that became ‘Strange Stories, Twisted Tales’.
Later, when the smoke began to clear, I found the concept of the story – inspired by a number of interests and beliefs of mine cultivated through time – to be intriguing, and began work in earnest on my second novel length work. As I picked up the pieces of the story and worked on establishing a general outline, the project grew a bit in scope. I’ve always been a bit long-winded, but I’m comfortable with that, at least in first drafts, but as I worked on the details of the story, I realized I needed to deal with the effects of the events on the Main Character’s mental health. The story took on an entire new aspect with that realization, and it has proven to be the right decision, if preliminary reactions are to be believed, lol.
Now, I’ve come to that point where I basically have to pull whatever strings I’ve laid out in the story together, and turn it into a plot that makes sense. This means taking a critical look at what I have plotted so far, making sure those strings I wish to tie up will, at some point, be tied neatly. Sometimes I have to condense or trim things. This isn’t an editing phase, not really – more of a course correction. Once this is done, the remaining distance is always easier to travel, and the journey all the more rewarding.
I’m still looking to have this newest novel finished before the end of the year. As it gets closer to release, I’ll have title and cover reveals, so stay tuned!

Until next time,
~Namaste

Update: 8-5-2021

Greetings,

I can’t believe it’s already been 3 months since my last update.
Wait…
Yes I can.
Repeated abuses, both by the travesty we have as a court system, and as either a direct or indirect result of actions by my cheating ex, has affected me all levels: physical, emotional, intellectual, and financial. Time has become very strange, as I can no longer maintain a normal sleep pattern due to anxiety and depression (not without a shit-ton of meds, which I can’t afford anyway), and the combined effects have made life difficult for me in a multitude of ways. I lose track of days, events, and thoughts now, when I never did before. The difference is substantial, and time has become like a rubber band. 5 days can seem like 1 long work day. Sometimes 1 day seems like 3. I no longer pay my bills on time – haven’t for months. The only thing, and I mean this quite literally, that I get right is being on time for my visitation, and even that requires more energy than it should.
Every time I have tried to heal, the sources of the original pain and injuries reappear to fuck with my life again, and further exascerbate my injuries – namely, the joke that we call the legal system in this country. Don’t be stupid enough to let anyone convince you that any part of our government is here to serve the people. I know you WANT to believe that…you are TOLD to believe that…and then those that comprise that entity reveal themselves to be greedy, narcissistic, pedophilic sociopaths – and we just go right along with our day and ignore it.
Sadly, I can’t.
I was raised to believe in certain things, and when I am forced to live in a corruption of that ideal, and that corruption affects my life on a very real level, it just cannot be ignored. I have suffered PTSD since 2002 – the source? A Virginia State Trooper threatened my life when I politely asked for a copy of the witness list after suffering a forward ejection through the sunroof of an SUV that was flipping over at 40 mph. Had it not been for the EMT’s that showed up at that moment, that narcissistic bully with a badge may have ended my life. EVERY single encounter I have had with the system since then, has been of equal ridiculousness, been equally corrupt, been morally and ethically wrong, and an egregious misuse of the authority GIVEN to these people (the fact it is given seems to have been forgotten).
I have been writing, however. I write because it’s the only outlet I have. The state, in collusion with my ex, were complicit in assault, battery, perjury, kidnapping, defamation, misrepresentation, adultery, and extortion. This left me pretty much without the means to do much else, so I do the best I can with what I have. It isn’t easy, living every moment of every day in outrage and indignation, of seeing the principles I was raised on become as useless as wedding vows, of having double-digit IQ nimrods abuse you physically and emotionally – just because they have the immunity to do so.
And we, as normal citizens, normally do not have the means to strike back. But I CAN write.
And I will.
My non-fiction work may get me sued. I don’t care. I’ll have all the transcripts, texts, emails, and other evidence to back it up. I’ve decided, you see, that if I cannot win against the shit-show that is our government, the least I can do is continue to tell the truth. This will be sure to make some ass-fucks upset. Too bad. It’s my life, and I’ll tell the facts of it, one way or another. If they didn’t want their deeds exposed, don’t do the shit to begin with – pretty simple, right?
So, every interaction I have is now recorded, names taken, details noted. I may not be able to avoid the damage caused by the incompetence, greed, and sheer sociopathy I encounter in our ‘authority’ figures and institutions, but I can sure as fuck expose it. Our lives are all private novels, and now mine will be an open book.

Until next time,

~Namaste

Writing Update 5-20-2021

In most horror movies, and in most novels in the genre, the treatment of the emotional effects of the events experienced by the main characters, including the protagonist, seem to be done in either one of two extremes: it is either ignored, or the character becomes a victim of the emotional/mental effects, going of the deep end to become the final victim or the next generation antagonist. In movies, this is easy to explain; the events are condensed in order to tell a cohesive story in the running time of the film. In many cases, the story takes place over a short period of time. Psychological horror is the exception to this, of course, as the entire story is centered on that very aspect. That being said, there are also exceptions to this, and those exceptions often prove to be excellent portrayals in their respective mediums. I believe Horror is at its best when the emphasis is on the emotional aspects of the characters involved, especially when it comes to prose.
In my upcoming fiction work, the events take place over an extended period of time, which will have the quite natural effect of affecting the mental health of the protagonist. As I suffer from the effects of depression and anxiety related to years of narcissistic abuse, I will be drawing from personal experience to describe the effects of these events on my MC in the terms of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress. This is proving to be both the most challenging and rewarding aspect of this new novel, and I look forward to being able to have it ready for beta in the next few months. I’ll be giving more details in upcoming posts.

Until next time,

~Namaste

Why Horror?

Why do I write horror? I suppose every writer is asked at some point what inspired them to write about the things they do, and I found myself thinking about that tonight (connected to certain memories that have been playing unbidden of late). I’ve answered that question before. On the author page of this very site, I describe some of the events I and others witnessed in my childhood home, and how it changed my perception of the world, and how it made me think about the true nature of reality. This was an inspiration, to be sure, but that is but one among many. When I was younger, I wrote more comedy than I did anything else. I can still be funny – in my own way – when I feel inspired in that direction. I’ve written emotional pieces on the state of the human condition, technical papers, editorials, and just about everything in between. Inspiration does not necessarily dictate a choice in genre.
Yes, growing up witnessing certain unexplained (or difficult to explain) phenomena and events had a dramatic effect on my view of the world, but there were other events just as impactful. During that same period, my grandfather and his family had two contracts put out on their lives. I could just as easily chosen spy thriller fiction or police/investigative fiction, or forensic detection. Any genre I chose would be written with the same ability in terms of plot, description, and dialogue (whatever that level of ability may be).
For artists, all creation is an expression of their perceptions, and they are driven to express these perceptions, as opposed to someone who produces a product. I’m not making any judgement on which is better; I am stating my observations of what defines an artist.
So again, why did I choose to write in the horror and strange fiction genre? Inspiration is part of the equation, I suppose, but upon reflection, I know it is only a portion of the whole. I think the real reason I write in this area is because I’ve witnessed a good deal of horror in my life, personally, in the lives of others, and in the systems that govern our lives. In some ways, I see it still, every day. Writing helps channel those experiences, to keep them from becoming a permanent resident within my inner being. I think this applies to most true artists, and most definitely applies in my case. In the second half of my life, I’ve suffered events that have left permanent effects, and that too adds a sense of impending mortality, which is one factor I believe is common in most who write in the horror genre. The lasting effects of those events, physical, emotional, and social, is best lessened by creative endeavor, and when those effects are most severe, the more creative I am driven to become.
So there you have it; some personal reflections from yours truly.

Until next time,

~namaste