Tag Archives: Writing

Articles about writing

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

Misprints

Greetings,

My apologies to those who purchased copies of my second book.  Apparently, the file I uploaded to the printer was corrupted, even though in review I did not detect any errors.  I do not know if I saved an old file over an edited version, or what, but somewhere along the way, the version that saw print was littered with corrupted text and other errors.  I managed to correct these over the last two weeks, and have resubmitted the manuscript.

So, if you purchased a copy, I owe you a new one.  Please feel free to contact me through my Facebook page, and I will send you a signed copy on me. If you purchased the Kindle version, I will make sure you get an updated copy for free. It’s the lease I can do for those who support my work.
Again, my apologies.

Until next time,

~Namaste

Writing Update – 2-25-2021

Greetings,

My new fiction WIP is nearing the halfway point on the first draft.  I am currently working on chapter 26 of 52 outlined, although this may be subject to change.  This novel will be something of a departure in some ways from the standard, but I really cannot say more without giving it away.  A few close friends are in the know, of course, because I’m basically a hermit and it gives me something to talk about on those rare occasions where I take a break from my cloistered life, but I don’t like spoilers, so I’ll be keeping things under my hat for now.

I do my best to write every day, although real life and physical limits do intervene from time to time.  I am hoping to have the first draft completed sometime around mid-May, although this too will change.  I’ll post further updates in the future.

Until Next Time…

~Namaste

The End of A Local Landmark

I was saddened to learn today of the passing of a local institution, almost a landmark in the Portsmouth and Chesapeake area, one that holds many pleasant memories for myself and my first two children, as well as many others.

This was my weekend to have my little one, and in the course of playing Saturday night, she set up some play bowling pins from when she was a toddler, and pretended her dolls were bowling.  I mentioned her older sister (my two older children do the same, and also refer to their mother’s children by her second marriage as sisters) was a duckpin bowling champion, and she voiced the desire to try the game herself, and I offered to take her to Victory Lanes.

I checked online, and it appeared to be open today, although when I called, I received a recording saying the number was not valid.  Deciding to take a chance, we drove there, and although the van for children’s league was in the parking lot, the building was closed. Not wishing to disappoint my little girl, I took her to Funville indoor playground instead, where she was able to run and play.  She was happy to go, but stated she would really have liked to see if she was anywhere near as good as her older sister.

My first two children both participated in the chldren’s duckpin league at Victory Lanes throughout their stay in Virginia.  It was initially done as an activity – the sort of regular thing that all children can benefit from – and despite some initial reluctance, they both blossomed under the instruction of Mr. Askew, the children’s duckpin league coordinator.  Under his tutelage, the both became excellent players, along with many of their team mates (although my oldest daughter was unquestionably one of, if not the, best among them). Simply put, they became kick-ass duckpin bowlers.  There wasn’t enough room on their bowling shirts for more patches, no more room for their trophies.  They met many fascinating and fun people, got to compete in a friendly atmosphere in a skill-based sport.

In 2002, Mr. Askew passed away.  The league at Victory Lanes were determined to honor his memory, and set about bowling their way to the National Championship, becoming almost unstoppable, leading at least two teams and both my daughters to the final competition.  My oldest daughter led her team in many of the achievements, and the team dedicated their win to the memory of their teacher.

I have only fond memories of the man, and the many lessons he imparted.  My first two were the age my little one is now when they first began bowling, and formed friendships that would last many years, ones that spanned race, gender, and even sexuality.  The only thing that mattered, was they were all part of the same team, and it was a lesson that was learned through the easy interaction and the bonds of team competition.

Sadly, duckpin bowling seems to be a dying sport in this country, and that is a shame.  It has so much to offer to children and adults, both socially in an entertainment value.  It is an indoor sport that does not involve hard impact on the body, and is just plain fun.  Whether a victim of the pandemic, or a move toward more home-based electronic entertainment, places like Victory Lanes are a dying breed, and that is a cause for regret.  For me, it came as a reminder of how quickly things change, and how precious our memories really are.

Until next time,’

Namaste

Writing Excerpt – Valentine’s Day

The following is a writing excerpt from the first draft of my upcoming non-fiction work, much of which consists of private journal entries going back to the origins of my last relationship to the current day.

Valentine’s Day.  Those that know me well, know I used to be the romantic type.  I enjoyed surprising both my significant other and my daughters with reminders of how much they mean to my life, buying them gifts and taking them on adventures.  These days, however, this day only serves as a reminder of how much I have lost, of how willing my ex-wife was to tear apart our family and bring false allegations against me in order to steal away my little one.  As much as I do not want to think about it, my mind keeps turning to fact she is likely having a romantic weekend with the ghetto trash for which she went to the effort of causing so much pain to others. The injustice of this cannot be escaped, no matter how much I attempt to distract myself.  Worse, it comes with the knowledge I will never again know the pleasure of an intimate embrace, never feel my arms around a woman as I pass into sleep, will never have that empty room in my heart filled.  The realization of how much my life has been changed by the abuse I suffered, of how much it has changed me as a person, are not pleasant thoughts, and haunt me every day of my life, this day in particular.

Valentine’s Day will never be the same for me again.  Then again, nothing has been the same ever since I discovered the true extent of Michelle’s cheating, the depth of her evil intentions, and the lengths she would go to lie. Had I not been through some of the previous traumas I have experienced, I would be able to heal faster from the physical damage I experienced, but that, combined with the effects of the abuse on my immune system and general health, has all but destroyed my body’s natural healing ability, as well as my immune system.

This is bad, but nothing compares to the emotional wounds, which are fresh today as the day they were inflicted.  I have doubt I will live long enough to heal from those cuts to my emotional self, for they take longer to recover from than mere physical damage, as any victim can attest.  The combination of both – with a world pandemic thrown in the mix – has made even the simplest aspects of my life more difficult

I don’t say these things out of self-pity; it is merely an expression of truth, of how I feel, and the events which inspired them.  This negative emotional connection is now associated with so many days of the year, including all the holidays, but the fourteenth day of the month is especially hard.  November 14th is my former wedding anniversary, April 14th my ex-wife’s birthday, and then there is today.  Even after more than three years, the wounds are as fresh now as they were then.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t disparage others who are capable of enjoying this holiday, but for me, it appears it will forever be a reminder of everything that has happened and continues to happen to me as a result of abuse.  I no longer believe a normal relationship is possible in my life, and even if it is, it is not worth the risk of encountering another narcissist in my life.  This is the extent to which such toxic relationships can affect the victim, and I will always encourage anyone involved in one to get out while they can, lest they suffer possibly life-changing – or even life-ending – consequences.