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Writing Update – Aug. 2022

Greetings.

It’s been a hectic summer. New ‘real’ job while dealing with the shenanigans caused by the owners of my current residence, which has led me to start packing in order to move…lots of time and effort and calories spent. Also, surprisingly enough, a great deal of writing. Even in the midst of all the chaos, I’ve managed to devote some time to my craft just about every day. Some days have been more productive than others. but on most nights, the Muse has blessed me with new ideas, and taken my current WIP to places I never saw during its conception, which is always a pleasure for creatives such as myself, one of the few rewards an artist is given in today’s world.
I’ve been working on two manuscripts simultaneously, one fiction and one a memoir detailing my experiences suffering from narcissistic and legal abuse. I have been concentrating on the former for the last few months, as the latter is mostly transcription of a journal I kept for a decade during my disastrous slavery in the form of my second marriage. This extra time was required, for this is the longest fiction work I’ve ever attempted, and by far the strangest thing I have written to date (something I’ve said many times during its creation, so apologies for repeating myself). I think my Muse is aware of my upcoming move, and has been pushing me to finish the first draft before I am forced to pack and move my computer. It will be close, as I am close to the finish line, with approximately twenty-five more pages or so to go on the first draft. I doubt I will be able to finish this epic-length beast before I have to up and move, but I will give it my best shot.
The Muse will not be denied, it seems.
That’s okay. I don’t mind.
A bit over two chapters left to go.

Until Next Time –

~Namaste

And Now for Something Completely Different…

Greetings everyone,

Things have been hectic lately, as I am packing up to move (one of my absolute least favorite things to do), and I haven’t had much time to post updates. To give an example, it is after 1:30 in the morning when I am writing this, and I returned from an 18 hour workday about half an hour ago. I am feeling a bit loopy, to be completely honest, which may have something to do with my current train of thought, and the nature of this post.
I like to give insights and examples into the life of a writer of (albeit strange) fiction, and those that know me know I have no shame. I don’t mind posting stuff I would never publish, or writing about my personal life experiences. Tonight, I’m throwing out the former.
Here is a piece I wrote some number of years ago, more than likely at some ungodly early morning hour when the only things stirring are mating feral cats and barn owls, when I had time to just follow whatever inspiration struck me at the time. The little scene below is unedited, an exercise in just typing and seeing where it took me.
Don’t judge…it’s just for shits and giggles, folks.

THE FIEND, THE MESSENGER, AND THE DREAMTIME DAIRY-QUEEN

There is no warning. All I know is that I’m sitting facing a food court style Dairy Queen Booth. The table appears to be plastic, as is the chair I’m sitting in.
Oooookay, I think. This is new.
I look around, curious. The Dairy Queen is empty, as is the rest of the food court. I can see other booths lining the area, Burger King and Manchu Wok and Subway and Cinnebon and Sbarro’s – all deserted.
There are no smells. I am surrounded by silence.
I catch a hint of movement from the corner of my eye. Turning, I see a form moving toward me. It is a man, and although he isn’t the largest human I’ve ever met, he definitely belongs to the same club.
He walks around the tables, and sits in front of me. The air around him shimmers and glows as he moves, and I know two things at that moment.
One, is that I’m in the dream-realm.
The other is that, whoever or whatever he might be, he isn’t human.
Normally, I’m a bit more reserved, but lately, my temper has been a bit on the short side, and I’m even less in the mood for games than usual. I consider just doing what I can to rend this thing limb from limb, but the thought no sooner takes form than he smiles, and when he does, his eyes flash yellow. It is a color I’ve seen before.
“No, I’m not the one you call the Wolf-Bear, little Grinder, Son of Cain,” he says.
He uses the old names, but the smile on his face is one of sarcasm; and I know he realizes, as I do, that they are merely words, words with no real meaning.
“Who are you, then?” I ask.
“Someone who was sent to give you a message,” he replies.
“And you found it necessary to steal a human dream-form for this?”
“It’s easier for purposes of communication. You, better than most, should know that value in that.”
I want to reply to that, but I hold my tongue. He does have a point.
I wave my hand at the empty stores. “Interesting place for a meeting. Having a craving for a milkshake, maybe?”
He looks past me into the food court. “This dream is his,” he says, before looking back to me, “would you be more comfortable in a Scylding hall? The plaza of a Mayan city, perhaps? The halls of Babylon?”
“Not really, ” I reply, “One setting is as good as another. What about your host? I know you can’t hold this form for very long, without damage. I trust he will be unharmed, or do you even care?”
“It will be just another dream,” he smiles, “with no more harm done than any other. As long as I finish my business here in due time, that is.”
“Meaning?”
His eyes flare yellow again. “Meaning you should still yourself, and listen.”
I force myself to remain calm. It takes some effort. “Speak then.”
“The message I bring is simple, little one, and it is this: a weapon, once dulled, must either be sharpened, or tossed aside. You had a path once. Even deemed yourself a Sword of Karma, ridiculous as that is, but even a Sword of Karma is useless without an edge.”
I start to protest, to tell him that I am already doing all that I can, but he cuts me off before the words find form.
“You are next to nothing,” he says. The air ripples around the dream image of the human he has stolen, blue and scarlet, and the impression I feel, is of restraint. “And if you weren’t spending so much time feeling sorry for yourself, you would know that.”
“I’m not . . .”
“Of course you are. You’re nothing but a whining, puling little brat, and were it up to me, I’d let you wallow in your own pity until you collapsed under its weight, but luckily for you, others think you may have potential yet.”
“Why? Why would anyone think that?”
“Two reasons,” he says. “The first is that, unlike any of your kind before you, you have tried to elevate yourself beyond mere being. This has not happened before, and is likely not to happen again.”
This is a surprise, not because I was unaware of my own efforts in this regard, but that it meant anything to anyone other than myself. But it is his next answer that really gets my attention.
“And the other?”
“The second, is because more subtle life lessons have been lost upon you. Most, upon reaching your level of awareness, come to appreciate life more when it is nearly taken from them. Again, had it been up to me, I would have let you perish on the highway, as I do not care for your kind, beneficial to your hosts as you may be. Still, it was decided then that a more . . . direct approach would be in order.”
I feel myself growing warm with anger. “Left me on the highway? Is that supposed to be a joke? Is that what you mean about a life lesson? You . . .you fuck!”
“You know it could have been much worse, worse even than the oblivion to which you have sent so many lesser beings.”I find myself sputtering, unable to form a proper response. “That’s . . . that is just . . .”
“Unjust? Unfair?” Even under its guise, I can see that this being is taking some sort of pleasure in this, and that fuels my anger even more. “In your whining, you have hit upon at least one truth, little spirit. You feel as if the penalties for your mistakes are greater than those of men. Of course they are. That you have gotten as far as you have, have been allowed to enjoy the pleasures and pain of men, has only been due to the sheer benevolence of that to which we all answer. Accept this, for to do otherwise would be at your peril. Remember what you have been told. You will not be told again.”
There are so many things I want to say, so much that I want to know. What of the Wolf-Bear? Does the same thing hold true for him? Are we all held equally accountable? Have all my deaths and near-deaths been to the same purpose?
But I am denied. The world falls apart around me, and all is darkness.
I wake up on my bed, and look at the clock. It is still early evening. I remember laying down earlier that afternoon in an attempt to stretch my aching back muscles, but I had not thought myself tired enough for sleep to come that easily. I am sweating, and when I lift my hand to wipe it from my face, I see my hand is trembling.
I spend the next few hours recovering, and make notes on my encounter. I know that the details, however stark, will fade with time, like all dreams, and I want to capture as much as I can. I know however, that while the memories of this day may lessen through time, the message will stay with me.
Weapons, once dulled, must be brought back to order, or cast aside.
And that is something I cannot forget.

Cycles – Another 4th of July

The Fourth of July was one of those holidays I liked when I was young, as most American children do I suppose. As a child, the summer holiday meant cook-outs, family gatherings (which, growing up in Maryland meant ‘crab-feast’), and fireworks, of course. I was given the full course of propaganda growing up, and for most of my elementary school education drank the ‘ain’t we great’ kool-aid. It wasn’t about until I entered middle school that l began to see more of the real world, but the enjoyment of the celebration itself remained. I enjoyed going through the ritual of seeing the live fireworks displays, and later shared that experience with my children. We would go to see the yearly displays wherever we lived at the time, and on one occasion got to see them out in the desert on what was perhaps their most enjoyable childhood vacation.
The holiday took on another aspect when I met Kali, who happened to have that day as her birthday. The celebration was a birthday celebration for both, and for those years it was almost always a joyful event. The fireworks would be the close of a full day of birthday shenanigans or other joyous activity, and were perhaps some of the best holidays since my childhood.
This all changed when I met Michelle. Every holiday, every otherwise joyful occasion, takes on a different tone in a narcissistic relationship, as does almost every other aspect of life. During that time, the holiday changed into a day of loss and longing. During this time and to the present, I have missed more of the celebrations than I have attended, and it has come to represent the darkest times and moments of a relationship that almost ended my life, and will continue to affect me on a physical level for the remainder of my days. Since meeting the now-ex, events in my life began to form a pattern, a cycle of crisis that repeats every number of years. I’ve noticed some OCD tendencies in myself, enough to where such patterns stand out, and this is one of those periods. Instead of going out to see the fireworks or going to see family, I’ll be packing in preparation to move. I don’t see this as a crisis in this case, however, but as a natural event in the process of healing, which can be a long and difficult process for survivors of abuse. It is difficult, to be sure, as like in other similar times the timing is in conjunction with other pressing matters simultaneously, but without the emotional drain and other negative factors involved with a narcissist in the picture, I can face it with a much different perspective. So, instead of it being negative, it has now become a period of intense forward mobility. A lot is going to happen over the course of this summer, including the completion of the longest, strangest thing I’ve ever written, and once done, there will be nowhere to go but up.
And maybe next year, I’ll have a reason to go see the fireworks.

~Namaste

Quick Vanishing Act

Greetings all,

In case anyone was paying attention, the site may have gone down for a day or two. That was completely on me; I lost track of time and forgot to renew my domain for a bit, but that’s all fixed now.
When I have time, I’ll be tinkering with the pages again, not so much for appearance but to clean up some mobile issues and change some content I’m not quite happy with at the moment. Websites are always a work in progress, and that is true for this site as well.
On the writing front, I’ve begun the last group of chapters for my current work in progress. It is a long work, the longest I’ve written so far, and though this is still a first draft, I do not know how much I would cut in the editing process. I do not usually waste time on elements of the manuscript that are not integral to the story, or the characters. I may find a way to condense some sections, but even so, this book will still be longer than my other works. With my hectic schedule, it may become a race against time to finish my first draft before I need to move, and I’ll cross that bridge when and if I come to it.
Until then, I’ll just keep writing. The finish line for this new book is in sight.

Til’ Next Time –
~Namaste

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: 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

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

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