The one where something tells me it is time to move on.

I am supposed to be telling you about Gencon.

I am supposed to direct you to my books at the Winter Wold Publications booth. I mean the whole con is sold out and the books are flying off the shelves, but I cannot, just cannot focus on that right now.

Instead, I stand here grieving.

I just came home and found that my new kitten had knocked the wedding photo off the table. The glass is shattered, the beautiful frame broken – three of four joints severed. It is gone.

I stared at it for a long time as my kitten mewed pitifully at my feet as if giving apology.

I… I have talked to friends about this picture before. Nobody could understand why I ever kept it. It is the wedding photo to a wedding that ended in divorce. Not one person I spoke with had any clue why I wanted it, and I could not rightly say myself. All I know is that I could not, would not give it up.

Now that it is gone, I think I have a better idea.

We bought a frame for the photo special, before the wedding. I had found markers so people could sign the glass, then it could be baked to make the ink permenant, storing the photo and the guestbook in plain sight so we would remember the wedding party, but also the people that wished us well in our future together. That future ended a long time ago now, and it is somehow fitting that all those hopes and dreams written on glass are finally gone, too.

I am despondant, for I believed in the dreams now cracked and fragmented on my floor.

There are words captured from my children before they were even teenagers, an old family friend that saw me in diapers who has passed, and family I loved that are no longer any relation and I no longer see or speak to because we have different last names.

I have that feeling again. That feeling that it is over. It is over and will never be again. I am crying on my kitchen floor because it is over and the memory is now gone. It cannot be saved. It has left me for even it has moved on.

I know my ex-wife was dissatisfied because of the rain, but I was happy the rain clouds parted in time. The heat was bothersome, but the shining sun gave a pure, honest light to the photos. She was nervous and at times frazzled at her wedding, but I was honestly happy.

And now it feels the last bit of happy I had left in my marriage is broken on my kitchen floor.

And I’m crying because it is time to move on.

 

 

 

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The One With A Big Announcement

I have been a bad, bad author. I let life kick the inspiration out of me like a roid rage mule, but I’m back, and have been for a while. Sadly writing is like archery. You fire, but it takes a bit for the missile to land. In that vein, I have three big announcements.

The first is I completed a novel! Well, I did not do it alone. Thanks to the inspiration and drive of my good friend Tracy R. Chowdhury, we completed the first novel in a trilogy: Elvish Jewel. It is a romantic adventure novel set in a brand new fantasy world.

It is about a war torn elvish nation being raided for natural resources by the vicious armies of the Iron Coast. A powerful Evish Warmage, Vivien Valdera finds herself defended by and in turn defending a indomidable barbarian she names The Wolf. They begin a troubled path toward love and understanding where her secrets are almost as shocking as his. But together they might just save the kingdom, and may discover the love that has eluded them both for a century.Available on Amazon. Ebook coming soon.

 

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Those of you who have been following REALLY close attention have noticed  I Know Not (The Legends of Fox Crow 1) hasgotten a new cover (new editing pass) and a new publisher! Also available on amazon, with ebook coming soon!

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And while I am extremely excited about both of these events, I am astounded to say that The Opus Discordia (The Legends of Fox Crow 2) is done, finished, finito, passed and published, available on amazon! I know a lot of people have been waiting for many years for this, and I hope it is a dark delight to everyone.  Ebook, coming soon!

Music sooths the savage breast…

What do they know?

I was reborn in a castle of corpses, and I knew nothing. I survived the assassins, the mercenaries, and all the nasty little tricks they could throw at me. Now, I have to move on.

Noria is a whole kingdom looking to kill me, so I have to flee to the Principalities of Hammarfall.

I have sacks of gold, a magic sword, and all the skills a lifetime as an assassin. I should be able to carve out a little niche of heaven and live happy and fat until my old age, right?

Right?

Except Hammarfall is in turmoil, the God of Murder still has not forgiven me for leaving his service, and there are ravens everywhere I look. And that music. I can’t get that music out of my head… But one thing hasn’t changed.

I am going to survive.

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But while I am excited

 

 

 

 

the one where I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and a lot more tunnel

Things are bad, and going to get worse. That’s an odd way to begin a post that is ultimately about hope, but there it is.

After struggling to keep the house, it looks like I’m starting forclosure. This may trigger a bankruptcy. Nothing I can do about that. I still love my wife (Exwife, the hard voice in my head reminds, and I have to agree. Exwife) but I have accepted she left of her own free will and is never coming back. I have accepted that I am alone.  I have started to be at peace without her and with alone. I have even accepted love, and my fears, and company and companionship. All of these are good steps on the way to being a healthy adult. That is hopeful.

Tonight I write because I think I have taken another step.

I have to admit now that my Exwife and I shared a lot of common interests. My best friend constantly says never marry your best friend because if you lose your marriage, you lose it all. I can’t say I agree, and we have discussed it, always agreeing to disagree at the end.  But I can see where my best friend is coming from. After my Ex- left, every genre of movie, every TV show, every novel we read and talked about was suddenly a gateway back to our togetherness. And after she left, our loving, sharing, togetherness was like wearing blood soaked trousers in a river of piranha. All the things I used to do to unwind, to relax, brought me pain. I would watch comedies in tears, vintage scifi made me feel abandoned, and fantasy left me cold and alone and despondant. I had shared everything with her, and it was a gateway back to a love I would never know again. I stopped being able to relax, to unwind, and it caused some severe damage.

But today I watched Hot Fuzz. After Shaun of the Dead, my wife – normally a caustic reviewer and critic of everything, was genuinely delighted. We devoured all three of the Cornetto Trilogy together. We agreed that they were well done, and it was a bright moment together to see them. There were more movies like this, and after they were all simply forbidden to me. They caused me to become depressed, withdrawn, and sullen.

I watched Hot Fuzz tonight, and I laughed again.

So the road ahead is bad. But at least I have some part of me back.

And if that isn’t hope, I don’t know what is.

 

 

the one written in the dead of night

I stand in the darkness,

firing arrows into the night sky.

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and hold my fulfilled promises.

They find purchase in the velvet black,

and burn there as a testament of my love.

Will they be seen?

Can the other part of my soul discern the pattern?

Are they brave enough to follow

My Constellation.

Will they follow them back,

and know I was never without them

for strength or hope?

More yet.

Will they know they were never truly without me?

the one where it is Day One

So 2016 was pretty rough. 2017 looks like the uglier, angrier brother come to finish what the casually cruel started with just a touch of sadism to give it a whole new feel. Or maybe that’s just my perspective.

I am dutifully and diligently avoiding work, which is good since I am drunk, and I never work well while drunk. But I made a post to facebook about my new thing, and I’d thought I’d mention it.

Fear.

I keep calling this new thing living without fear. But that’s not true. You never live without fear. Fear, in and of itself is good. It’s what tells you to disconnect the garbage disposal before fishing for that ring, to chalk the car tires before changing oil, or to pause before sending that Rwandan prince your bank account info. So it’s not about fear. It’s about cowardice.

I don’t have to tell anyone who has been abused that the thing that you hate isn’t actually the person who abused you. I was beaten up a lot (a LOT) as a kid. It isn’t the bully you hate, really. It is your self. It is knowing that if you had ever dared throw that punch (spoken up for yourself, left the deadbeat, etc.) that you may have been pummeled to within an inch of your life, or even killed.  But you would have died as YOU. The real you. Not the coward that cringes when the little punk (literally in my sense, it was the 90s) mocks you and tries to make you feel worthless, and succeeds by putting your head between their knees and jumping backward across the playground leaving bruises you have to lie to your parents to explain.

It is the cowardice that hurts. The knowledge that you never stood up for yourself in any meaningful way. The ingrained belief that this means you are not worth it.

I have been abandoned. Battered. Hurt. But I am alive. And from this day forth, I’m going to do my best to live without cowardice. ‘Without fear.’ By being brave. Not callous, not reckless, but brave. I am trying to stand up for myself. And if it costs anyone else their self-esteem, their power, their comfort, tough.

You get the truth, or you get nothing.

The Jackass at work who refuses to do his job. The pushy sales guy who needs a tic-tac. Even my friends and lovers. I am not going to live in silence because my feelings matter. I will stand up for myself even if no one else does.

Wow. I have had a lot to drink and Grammarly is earning its money tonight.

But the truth is, this cowardice, this fear of failure, of never being worthy or valued, of being rejected? The truth is it never goes away. Never.

So every day I wake up and make the same promise to myself. And every day I fail in big ways or small. And every day I get up and do it again. Every Day is Living Without Fear: Day One.

So for all you out there who feel the same way:

It’s always Day One.

And you are always worth the attempt.

 

 

The one where I hear a heartbeat…

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I just got back from cleaning out the den in the house my wife and I shared. She left a year ago and inside that room is the sum total of our life together she did not pick through to start anew. I’ve moved to a new city and have a crappy little apartment I need to fill. I needed winter clothes and blankets so I went back with my girlfriend. Another ex- was there (renting the place with some good friends) and without the support of the two of them, I never could have done it.
 
Inside was wedding videos, and the saved accoutrements of that day. I have the silver chalice from which my ex-wife and I drank to our undying love. The teddy bear sent to us to celebrate the birth of our child that would not live to be born. Burned hopes and dead dreams like the tomb of a life that would never happen. I found old poems I had written to her and anniversary cards she had scribbled to me. Echoes of a love that is gone. I packed up what I needed, sifting through these artifacts like a bones from a long dead civilization.
 
I wept. A lot.
 
But, in the end, I have started to heal. Not just manage. Not just shove it aside into a nightmare box to unspool in my head when I go to sleep. I have started to heal. To accept myself and move beyond being a crippled little thing.
I have found my strength again.
More importantly, I have found my weaknesses. I am starting to become a more complete person. I don’t know if it was on purpose or accidental. I am not sure that matters. In the end I am starting to fix the things inside of me that hold me back without sacrificing the things that are good but cause me to look at ugly truths and move forward.
I hope the same for everyone.
Because pain is not the end. It is not an end unto itself, but it is a beginning. A good sign that better things are coming.
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The one where I admit I’m taking my own advice…

We‘re all in the same game, just different levels. Dealing with the same hell, just different devils. — attributed to many.
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I keep finding broken hearts looking for help. I find I have advice to give them.
More than that I find the advice I have for them is the advice I need.
And I hope, the advice others need.
Because none of us are in this life alone. None of us get out of it alive.
Giving each other comfort is the least we can do.
 
First, stop being noble. Cry. Honestly cry. Cry, wail, and weep. Be sad. Being sad at the loss of love is normal. It is ok. It is HEALTHY. It is Ok to be sad. Let it out and let the peace that comes after be yours. You must let go of those hopes, dreams and plans that will never happen with those that have decided to leave. You can’t make them stay and that is OK. But you have to mourn their loss so you are left with the worthy and loving person that is left: You.
 
Next, do what you have done for everyone else your whole life: forgiveness. Take honest stock in your flaws, and forgive yourself for them. Physical, Mental, Emotional. Look at all the things you think are wrong with you and forgive yourself for them. Stop punishing yourself for them. Accept yourself and be at peace with who you are. From here you can look upon yourself and realize what are honest flaws that you need to work on, and what are quirks that make you vulnerable.
 
Being vulnerable can leave you open to be hurt, but it is no flaw. Having an open heart takes strength. And never confuse pain with weakness. A giant may carry a castle up a mountain and it may cause great fatigue and even pain, but none would doubt its strength.
 
Once you give yourself the forgiveness you bestow on others you can start on the process of changing what you really don’t like about yourself. Give yourself priority. Working out, taking up hobbies, traveling where you want. Going to the theater (live or screen) not to share the experience but because YOU enjoy it. In short: date yourself. Show yourself the love you bestow on others.
 
It starts with forgiveness. Of turning your most powerful heart upon yourself and giving yourself the attention, respect, and even some slack that you bestow upon everyone else.
 
Next is fear. You must address your fears, identify them and overcome them. Not of spiders or the dark, but of abandonment, loneliness, of self worth, and even commitment. Find them. Identify them. Know they are there and how they make you react to given situations. Work to understand them and pry their ghostly fingers from your heart. You can overcome them, but you must know their names to do it.
 
Next is friends. You have them. Bring them close. Rely on them. Communicate with them. Celebrate with them. You are never a burden. You are their friend. Stop being paralyzed and isolated by fear and guilt. If your friends are unworthy, then find ones that are.
 
Friends, lovers, and mates are people. To find them you must go to where they are. You will not find them alone in the dark. Walk to where there is light and laughter. If you want someone who shares your interests, do things you are interested in. Cooking classes, Meetup.org groups, local festivals are all places that may have activities that speak to you. It is something you enjoy, allowing you to love yourself, allows you to meet with friends, gaining support, and provide you with a venue to meet someone who will love you for the amazing person you are.
 
You are a beautiful woman. Once you learn to be comfortable in your own skin, to WANT someone instead of NEED, you will be more than beautiful. You will glow. You will shine like a sun. You will attract someone who is worthy of you, and have the strength and judgement to turn away those who are unworthy.
 
More than that I haven’t figured it out yet.
I found the road. I can guide you to it, but I’m only a few steps further down it than you are. Stumbling, faint of heart, but still walking upright. And when I have to, I crawl.