Category Archives: Out in the World

Communication Confession

So, not much news today, but soon, I swear.

However, I’m going to ramble a bit, as certain things have appeared into my view that I need to talk about. It’ll be short, simple, and to the point, with no pictures to distract.

Ever had a moment when you question something you felt firm and secure? It could be anything: relationships/friendships, day job, career path, self-publishing details. If you’ve ever felt that about ANYTHING, then welcome to my current boat. Because I’ve got a LOAD of those doubts, or, at least I had.

Those curveballs life throws at you can hurt and debilitate, right? Make you question every decision you’ve ever made?

Well, that’s been me within the last month or so. Every choice I second guess, and the ones I don’t second guess come out wrong. I’m going to admit a mental problem I have, because I need to get it off my chest.

Communicating has always been a struggle for me, since I was a child. If I spoke without thinking, the wrong words would come out. I’m still like that, and it’s frustrating. Poor word choice, joking around too soon, and describing something I really know a lot about is a daily struggle. It’s not a condition or disability, but rather a disconnect in my vocabulary and common sense departments. Someone could be talking with me about a topic I know really well, and I still struggle to use terms and logic and phrasing that normal people could understand. I’ve learned over the years that, even if something I say aloud makes sense to me, 9 times out of ten, it’s confusing as $h!t to the general public.

This has impacted friendships and relationships, and God bless my parents and family for getting me to a debatable level of communication, and my poor boyfriend for having to deal with it full-time in the present day.

The written world is fine. I can spin a yarn and tell fantastic stories with the written/typed word until kingdom come. It’s more so expressing my opinions and instructions in the verbal word that I struggle with. For example, I could do mental math, and if you asked me to explain how I got it, you’re better off having me write it out, because all you’ll hear will be the “womp womp” of Charlie Brown adults.

I know most of y’all don’t have this kind of issue, so you can’t relate, but I’ve had to train myself to think over anything before I say it. As such, either I wait too long to contribute, speak too quickly and cause problems, or remain in silence until the person I’m communicating with thinks I’m doubting things or feeling conflicted.

I just kinda wanted to rant on this Wednesday’s blog post, as it has a BIG factor in my day-to-day life, and one I fear might mess me up someday.

My advice? If you doubt something, TALK TO SOMEONE. Even though I have communication problems, I have a good amount of people that know of this problem and can nudge me in the right direction to communicating better with others. Find a small group like that, a group that you can talk to about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Trust me, getting doubts and fears off your chest makes the burden easier to carry.

Until next week, Vikans:

KEEP FAITH.

FEED THE MACHINE: aka, The Concert That I Desperately Needed

Howdy, Vikans!

So, this post may get a little emotional, but I feel I need to let this out, at least at the beginning.

So, last night, Sissy (my little sister) and I went to Virginia Beach for the Feed The Machine tour. This included Shaman’s Harvest as the opening act, followed by Daughtry and then Nickelback. We bucked out early to avoid traffic, because we had a long drive home anyway. I have to say this though. I HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE!!

I started a bit bumpy though. We decided that we wanted to get to the area early, so we could walk along the beach for a bit. It took us about 30-45 mins just to find a parking spot, which we paid $40 to use a lot for a little over an hour. Guess they gotta make money somehow, huh? And, to add on to that, it was drizzling the whole time. about 15-20 mins after hitting the beach, thunder sounded, and everyone had to clear the water. A little more time later, and the rain got a bit heavier. By the time Sissy and I got back to the car, we were pretty wet. We sat in the car for twenty mins before heading toward the venue for the concert.

We stood in line for merchandise before the concert, and while there, Shaman’s Harvest started opening the show. Sissy and I actually thought they were pretty good, so I’ll be looking up their music soon and see how studio version sounds compared to live.

When Daughtry came on, Sissy and I were rocking! Standing up every couple of songs and belting the lyrics. I knew more of the songs than her, but I’m also a slightly bigger Daughtry fan than her. During songs we both knew, we’d occasionally look at each other as we were singing and broke into wide, laughing smiles.

However, Daughtry hit my emotions hard. Just barely into their set, they played “Waiting For Superman” and “Life After You“. If you can’t tell by some of these pictures I’ve already posted::

19657383_10212272750070527_8728285211326523102_n

… I took JV Jr with me. A year or so ago, I was talking to the real JV about the last Nickelback tour that I’d wanted to take my Mom to. Unfortunately, the lead singer had to get throat surgery, and they cancelled the remainder of their North American tour. Lucky for me, because I hadn’t purchased tickets yet. Also, my Mom told me she probably couldn’t have done it mid-work week anyway. When I was mentioning it to JV, she told me that she’d LOVE to come if work schedule would allow. It broke my heart, because this tour was announced two or three days after she passed, and when I heard the news, I broke down again. Well, I was breaking down every 20 minutes back then anyway, but still.

So, in some way, she did get to come with me, in the form of JV Jr. The thing is, during those two songs I mentioned earlier, and when they closed with “September“, I was a bawling mess. Those songs just triggered something in me, and the dam broke. However, during “September“, I looked down at JV Jr for a moment. I knew JV would whack me for crying during any songs. The truth is, hearing that song live had me remember the good times we had during her too short life. Then I was crying for a whole ‘nother reason.

It took the stage crew over 45 mins or more to prep for Nickelback to come up on stage. During that time, the man sitting next to Sissy asked randomly, “Hey, who are you guys here to see? Nickelback or Daughtry?” Sissy replied honestly, “Both Daughtry and Nickelback.” The guy gave her a fist bump and said, “Awesome, you guys rock. I came for Daughtry but have never listened to Nickelback. After Daughtry’s performance, I hope they can follow up just as good.” Let me note that he was dancing and hollering to their songs, and also screaming answers and comments to Chad’s between-song banter while laughing.

Right before they started, I told myself, “You know you want to stay for two particular songs. Then you can leave.” As stated earlier, we had to drive back home afterward, and Sissy and I had experience with concert parking lots when seeing Danielle Bradbury, Thomas Rhett, and Brett Eldridge in Salem, VA during their Suits ‘N’ Boots tour in October 2015. If anyone one of you have been to a concert, you’ll know: THEY. ARE. THE. WORST.

Nickelback’s opening was AMAZING! They had the machine on stage that reflected their “Feed The Machine” Music video AND Lyric video, and opened with that song too. Shortly after, they played “Photograph“. That song is one of a couple dozen Kryptonites for me, so of course I was crying, for multiple reasons. During the rock songs, Sissy and I were belting the lyrics again, along with the rest of the crowd. Chad, the lead singer of Nickelback (If you didn’t know that already), was hilarious between songs, having me and Sissy cracking up. Some songs I didn’t actually know, as most of my Nickelback listening only stretches back to 2005, but now I have songs to look up that I want to know the lyrics too.

At one point during a break for the band to get some water, Sissy looked at me and asked if we should go while they take this weirdly long break. The stage was a bit dark, but we spotted the crew bringing out a small piano or keyboard. I had a feeling I knew what they were going to play next, and I told her, “Let’s wait until after ‘Lullaby‘.”

Sure enough, that’s what they played. It was AMAZING live. I was belting out lyrics while choking on tears. “Lullaby” is a song that has been a motivator and comfort for me ever since it came out. It talks about anxiety and depression and reminds people that struggle with inner demons like that that life gets better, and hurting yourself isn’t the answer. Whenever I’ve had friends in the past that were struggling with depression or hard times, I’d play them this song, and it helped a lot of them, to the point where they are downloading that song themselves.

However, during that song, I felt a chill. Now, this was an outdoor, covered ampetheatre, and it was a humid VA day, so chill would be out of place, right? That’s when I knew.

JV was there with me.

Once that song was over, Sissy looked at me and asked if I was ready to go. However, Chad was talking and leading up to their next song, and before he even said the next song title, I told her, “One last one. This is the last one I need to hear.” She nodded, knowing what would be next::

This song is another one of my weaknesses. Every time I hear it, I always think of JV. Her life was cut too short, but she lived her life just like the song says::

“Against the grain should be a way of life,
What’s worth the prize is always worth the fight,
Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try,
So live like you’ll never live it twice”

She lived like every day wasn’t promised. She was genuinely nice to everyone, never felt animosity, and always looked out for those she cared about. She was the best friend I could ask for, so halfway through the live performance, which was so well played live I couldn’t believe it, I cringed, tears streaming down my cheeks.

Then, I got that chill again. And I knew she stood there in the open spot to my left, hand on my shoulder, telling me, “It’s okay. I’m okay. So no more tears.”

After that song, Sissy and I left. I dozed off halfway home.

So, in a nutshell, it was the best concert of my life. Crossed Daughtry and Nickelback off my bucket list (Two in one night! WOW!), and had a blast with my Sister, who I don’t spend nearly enough time with.

It’s hard to believe it’s been over five months since I last heard her voice and laughter. I miss JV every day, every hour, every minute. But, thanks to that concert, I know she’ll always be looking out for me. Always.

Hug your loved ones. You never know what your future holds. Make every minute count. And live life like JV did, as If Today Was Your Last Day.

Keep Faith, Vikans.

Updates for some and for all

Hey there, Vikans! Been a while. Last you heard from me, I was prepping to return to RavenCon, as my 2nd year as a panelist. First off, IT WAS A BLAST!! I had my boyfriend, along with the amazing [Tee Morris] and Sonic Boom, accompany me this year (minus one [Pip Ballantine], unfortunately), which made it even better. I struggled a bit though. This RavenCon was the first in three years that JV didn’t join me. I took JV Jr (my stuffed Haruhi I take everywhere, symbolic of JV still near me), and snapped a few pics, though not as many as I’d planned. There were some amazing people that joined the panelist’s list, who I wanted to spotlight, because I’m nice like that:

[G.B. MacRae]

[David A. Tatum]

[Sean CW Korsgaard]

[Misbehavin’ Maidens]

There were a LOT of amazing talented acts, but only the above answered with links, so they really take their networking seriously. Props to you guys!

Anyway, all of my panels went well, aside from a stupid mistake I didn’t realize until my last panel on Sunday. When I go to Ravencon, I discount THE PROTEKTOR’S REALITY for a Ravencon-only price. It wasn’t until the end of that Sunday AM panel that I realized my mistake and was able to squeeze in the info about the con-pricing. Then, a few minutes later, as people filed out, I had two purchases of TPR, as well as a handful oTheVikanQuartetProofsf others taking the printouts of “Account of Anxiety”, detail postcards, and business cards with the 100% discount of THE VIKAN QUARTET for RavenCon participants, valid only
until the end of May (If you got that code, time’s running out! Only 14 days left for that code!!)

Now, onto next order of business: THE VIKAN QUARTET.

It released yesterday in eBook, and print on Amazon the day before. Go grab your copy as soon as you are able! It is essentially my four Tales of Terrara Vikos short stories in one copy. Around 4:30 EST on eBook release day yesterday, I went onto Amazon and found this::

 

VikanQuartet-ReleaseDay_2017-05-15_16-25

 

😮 I KNOW, RIGHT?!

Alas, I really have no idea how many people have actually purchased these, as it seems there is a lag in reporting. -_- I know, right?

So, spread the word!

Alright, topic #3: THE CHAOS ACCOUNTS. I put Account #4 (tentatively named “Account of Secrets”) on hold, due to this post’s topic #4 below. Topic #4 needed my undivided attention, and still does. I’m working on AoS as much as I can manage, but my #secretproject takes precedence. So, I am still working on Account #4, but when it will be completed or released is still majorly “TBD”.

Now, my last topic of interest: #secretproject. No, I’m not saying anything now, other than this project is my ultimate dedication to JV and her amazing life. I’ve finished editing it, and it’s about to go into post-production.

BUT!

My Patrons will get more details on what this #secretproject is this coming weekend. The rest of you who are not Patrons will have to wait another two weeks or so. My Patreon also has a lot of awesome reward tiers, including news first, booklets of short stories, even FREE, AUTOGRAPHED books!! Interested? Click [here].

Well, that’s all for this post. Be back on soon, hopefully.

And, as always…

Keep Faith, guys. 😀

 

To Ravencon, and BEYOND!

So, here we are. It’s a Monday, and I don’t know about where you are, but here, it is extremely dreary, rainy, mucky, and depressing. Doesn’t help the Monday Blues much, does it? (Correction: it’s a Wednesday now. Typed that part on Monday… :/ )

At least I have something to look forward to later this week.

Ravencon 2017 happens this Friday through Sunday, last weekend in April, as per usual. This will be my eighth year attending, and second year as a panelist. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Ravencon is a sci-fi/fantasy/horror/mystery/fandom convention, mainly for writers, artists, and die-hard fans of pop culture and/or literature. The Dealer’s room is like a candy shop for avid readers, and the costume parade is amazing to watch. I have a handful of friends that attend regularly in cosplay, so it’s always fun to catch up and admire their hard work.

I’ve posted my schedule in [this post], but I’ll add it below as well, because I know my reading time.

That’s right.

I have a reading.

A READING.

*flailsexcitedly*

Have yet to figure out what to read, but *maybe* I’ll read from my secret project. Just *Maybe*.

Speaking of, no real updates or news on the #secretproject front, other than still awaiting my professional edits. Still cannot say anything else at this time.

HOWEVER! You may have seen this cover across my social media over the last week or so::

The_Vikan_Quartetv1

That is the cover for “The Vikan Quartet”, a collection of all 4 of my Tales of Terrara Vikos short stories, and includes a sneak peek into THE PROTEKTOR’S REALITY as well. It is now available for preorder as an eBook on most eBook platforms, and the links to it (and anything ToTV) can be found [here], on my Terrara Vikos page. Official Release Date for “The Vikan Quartet” is slated for May 15th, 2017 (Monday, 5/15/2017).

AAAAAAANNND…

*whispers* It’s gonna be in print.

*Louder* IT’S GONNA BE IN PRINT!!!

LOOKLOOKLOOKLOOKLOOKLOOK::

TheVikanQuartetProofs

DON’T THEY LOOK JUST AMAZING?!

*ahem*

Sorry, but I’m currently bouncing off the walls over this.

Unfortunately, Print book won’t have preorders, but, if you’d like a reminder, I’m getting my email newsletter thingy set up again, and this release will probably be one of the first I send.

[Newsletter Link]

Also, this e-newsletter will include TONS of updates and news as it pertains to my life as an author. So, if you’d like reminders and exciting news sent straight to your inbox, sign up with the link above.

Here’s my Ravencon Schedule::

Friday

4 pm (Panel) Why I Write Short Stories

7 pm (Opening Ceremony) Large Auditorium

 

Saturday

10 am (Panel) How to Revise

1 pm (Panel) Writer With A Day Job

***3 pm (Panel) Self-Publishing 101 (Added 4/27)

7 – 7:25 pm (Reading) Room 4

 

Sunday

11 am (Panel) The Adult In Young Adult

 

Hope to see some of you there! Also, hunt me down at Ravencon if you’re going, because I have a special deal for Ravencon attendees only pertaining to eBooks of mine…

*couchcough*FreeCodes*coughcough*

 

Keep Faith, everybody. ❤

The Aftermath: Keeping my Promise

So, it’s already been a week since one of the most precious rays of sunshine in my life passed on. JV was my best friend. She made me a better partner, a better writer, and a better person. A week has passed, and my brain still won’t accept she’s gone. I even saw her, looking almost asleep, so peaceful with that stuffed teddy bear next to her.

While my brain is grappling with the truth, I’m still sticking to my promises I sent up to her up in Heaven. I WILL get our books published someday. I WILL keep up with my Youtube Channel. And I WILL continue to write. My uncle inspired me to be a writer, but JV motivated me to continue to be a writer.

THE CHAOS ACCOUNTS saga is now entirely dedicated to JV’s amazingly bright life that ended WAY too soon. Each story will have a unique dedication, instead of the same one copy/pasted, because she deserves the extra effort.

The first story, “Account of Anxiety“, still has 6 days left until its #FearlessChaos charity campaign ends. Every download of that 1st story will equal a small monetary amount that I will donate to Freedom of Fear. Also, if you’ve already read it, head over to Amazon and leave a review, as reviews equal an added donation to the pool. We’ve raised about $20 since release day; let’s see if we can get more!

account_of_unrest-coverAlso, this post is my official announcement of the second story in THE CHAOS ACCOUNTS, titled “Account of Unrest”. This story follows Gael, Commander of Division 3 and how his struggles with his past affect him in the present. Release Date is set as February 16th, as that would have been JV’s birthday.

The charity I’ve picked for “Account of Unrest” is Newborns In Need, an organization that supplies needy families with baby things, such as clothes, blankets, bottles, toys, etc. I believe this organization is perfect, given what has recently happened in my life. This organization also gifts clothes and blankets to grieving parents of newborns who didn’t make it, so that they can see their beautiful baby in a beautiful outfit as one of their only memories of their child’s short or non-existent life. That teddy bear in JV’s casket was gifted by one of her sisters to resemble the baby she would have had this coming August. In honor of JV’s unborn child, I am choosing this charity.

Any sales between 2/16 and 3/9, I will add it up for a monetary donation toward Newborns In Need after that last day of this charity campaign. I plan on writing a letter, that they can hopefully get to the director of this organization, outlining JV’s life, how she touched so many people, and how I know she would have wanted to deliver actual items to them, because children were a big part of her life. I – and everyone that knew her – knew she would be a great mother, and it pains me she never got the chance…

Their Wish List is linked [HERE], if any of you would like to donate items to this charity for JV.

The hashtag for this campaign is #JVsChaoticNewborns

Hopefully, I can get preorders set up within the next day or two (this is a first for me, so fingers crossed I don’t mess it up), and will share links as they become available.

Links for THE CHAOS ACCOUNTS can be found [HERE].

Keep Faith, Vikans!

And, JV, I hope I’m doing you proud. ❤

 

Come Find Me!!

image

If you’re at Ravencon in Williamsburg today and you see a girl in a red plaid shirt with poofy hair dragging around this monstrosity I’d like to kill in its sleep, it’s me. Come and say Hi! I don’t bite, I promise. I make no promises about Jessi.

Book is discounted to $8 for Ravencon only, so get one while you can!

Come Find Me!!

image

If you’re at Ravencon in Williamsburg today and you see a girl in a red plaid shirt with poofy hair dragging around this monstrosity I’d like to kill in its sleep, it’s me. Come and say Hi! I don’t bite, I promise. I make no promises about Jessi.

Book is discounted to $8 for Ravencon only, so get one while you can!

A Special Treat for Everyone Everywhere

With Ravencon just two days away, I decided to take the appearance and run with it. Meaning you guys all win.

First off, a favor to ask of everyone reading this, a fantasy fan or not. If you had already checked out the links on the “My Works” tab above, you would know that my Tales of Terrara Vikos short story saga short stories are free everywhere but Amazon. If all of you could take a link of those free short stories (off sites like Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Inktera, iBookstore), go to their equivalent Amazon page, and paste the link into the box that appears when you click the “Tell Us About A Lower Price” link. Hopefully, with enough people reporting this to them, we can get them to change the price to free there as well.

For the special surprise? In honor of every professional everywhere who had to face fears in their careers, I have created a coupon FOR SMASHWORDS ONLY that you can use to get THE PROTEKTOR’S REALITY for free!

WHAAAAAA???

 

This is a limited time only offer, so jump on it while you can! Smashwords ebooks come in many different formats, for practically any device that can hold ebooks. The coupon can only work on their site, but you can download the correct format to, say, your Kindle, Android, iPhone-or-similar-iProduct after buying it.

As I mentioned above, the four short stories are already free, and will remain free for a while, but they precede the novel. My recommendation? Download all five at once and read in order to get the best experience. You can read the novel without reading the stories first, but, c’mon, you gonna pass up five free stories that recount the major events of my Lucian’s life? Please, that would not be recommended.

The coupon code is MB29A, and it will only work until May 6th, 2016. Head over to the pages of the stories on Smashwords (which I will link with the titles at the bottom), download, and enjoy the ride! For those of you still loyal to your other ebook sources, you can still get the short stories for free on all ebook platforms (except Amazon. Yet.), and THE PROTEKTOR’S REALITY is only $2.99, a steal considering the paperback price. The links are on the “My Works” tab, and I will be adding the other missing sites shortly.

If you prefer a physical book, Amazon sells it for list price of $11, but frequently discounts it about a dollar or so sometimes. If you are someone attending Ravencon this weekend in Williamburg, VA, I will have PLENTY of physical copies, along with business cards, series overview postcards, snacks with a twist, temporary tattoos of the Trimaleït , and a special little surprise for anyone buying a copy. Oh, and did I mention I’m only charging $9/book during the convention? Just look for the young, bespectacled, ball of nerves rolling around a black monstrosity that says “Realm Documents – DO NOT TOUCH” and that has tiny Avengers stickers all over it. Yes, I’m that kind of dork.

This is a big first for me, and I’m super excited! My panel schedule is [here], and I will be around for a majority of the weekend. Don’t be afraid to come say Hi! I may seem timid and shy, but the fact we are both there, at my first home-away-from-home, where I found my mentors and now, hopefully, where I’ll find fans and friends, I’ll be more than happy to talk to a kindred spirit.

Keep Faith everybody, and Happy Reading!!

 

Smashwords links::

Tales:
#1- Cross of Faith
#2- Trees in the Storm
#3- Blood on a Broken Hand
#4- Warped Destinies

Novel:
THE PROTEKTOR’S REALITY: A Trials of Terrara Vikos prequel

Catching Up // Before Ravencon 2016

Howdy do there!

Yeah, I know, I know, I’ve been quiet for a while. Life grabbed me and shook me and threw my world into dizzying, spinning spirals. This post will outline everything that’s happened, and update you for my plans in the future.

For starters, I’ve been on an exercise/eating regimen. It started with me dropping my soda habit at the end of Feburary, and, within 7 weeks, dropped 18.5 pounds and gone down almost two pants sizes. Talk about an image change, huh?

About those Affirmations… Working on supplying those in an alternative way. That’s all I can say now. But, you will be getting a lot of them. A VERY BIG lot of them.

At the end of March, I returned for the annual Smoky Mountain Writer’s retreat, a small, week-long getaway with about 20 author friends filled with intensive writing sessions every day, reading segments afterward, and alcohol. Lots and lots of it. No worries though, no alcohol for me. Or, at least other than a small milliliter of pineapple moonshine in a mouthwash cup. Which, for alcohol, was really good.

I pushed myself so hard I was almost in a deep breathing fetal position by the end. But, I ended up writing 36,000 words on a brand new WIP within six days. The view was gorgeous as well, overlooking a chasm deep in the Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I also went for a 3 mile hike up and down steep inclines on my free day (so hot and out of breath by the end).  My mentors (yes, Tee and Pip were there also. They were the ones that forced me to go last year. I regret nothing at this point) went with two other Smokies (Katie Bryski and Hugh O’Donnell) to the Titanic museum, which apparently was a blast!

We all had an amazing time, and the first day we were all home and back to reality and day jobs, Alex White (amazing cover photographer/designer, check him out if you want a personally photographed cover), who is the organizer, coordinator, and resident leading bad@ss, had already picked tentative dates for next year’s retreat. At the same cabin. That had a hot tub AND a giant Jacuzzi. Yeah, it’s that cool.

Anyway, got to hang with tons of old friends and make lasting new ones. And, to me, they’re not just friends anymore. They’re family.

I’ve booked plane tickets for me and my boyfriend to go to Las Vegas and Arizona next month to see his mother, who he hasn’t seen in over two years. I’ve got a surprise in store for him, which he’s knows I have one in store, but doesn’t know all of it. I’m excited to do this, and he won’t know until we get on our plane in Chicago. Can’t wait for his reaction.

In other news, I know I’ve mentioned this briefly in other posts, but I am going to be an author guest at this year’s Ravencon, a fantasy, sci-fi, and horror convention. This year is the first year being located in Williamsburg, Virginia, at the newer Doubletree. I’ve got my panel listings, though I looked it up on my own at the con’s website, which is www.ravencon.com, in case you want to explore the other stuff happening::

Friday, April 29th

10:00 PM – How to Self-Publish on a Budget // Moderator: Alex Matsuo

 

Saturday, April 30th

10:00 AM – Self-Publishing Doesn’t Mean Solo Publishing // Moderator: ME; Other panelists: Doc Coleman, GB MacRae, Alex Matsuo

3:00 PM – Writing a Strong Teen Protagonist // Moderator: Bill Blume; Other panelists: Charity Ayres, Darin Kennedy

6:00 PM – “Kill Your Darlings” // Moderator: ME; Other panelists: Bill Blume, Will McIntosh, D. Alexander Ward

 

Yes, you’re seeing correctly. The first-time author guest and fairly-new-to-publishing-world author with social anxiety has to moderate TWO panels.

 

*Deep breaths*

Just have to keep telling myself I can do this.

 

I can do this.

… I can do this, right?

I sure hope so.

Anyway, I hope to be updating this blog with posts about each of the panels I’m on, as well as some of the panels I will be sitting in the audience at. If you’d rather see it live or recorded as video, like my author page on Facebook (link). I am planning to Facebook Live parts of the convention, so you guys can keep up with the action.

Did I forget anything? No, don’t think so. Wait… Right, right. There will be big news hitting the blog soon, hopefully by the beginning of June. Stay tuned, and, if you want to have advanced preparation, go to the “My Works” tab here on Terrara Vikos, and download/purchase the stories and/or prequel. For future reference, the stories go in time order (#1-4), ending (so far) with The Protektor’s Reality prequel novel.

Wish me luck, guys! I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Keep Faith, everybody!

New Years – A Reflection on Life

New Year, new start, right? At the start of every year, all of us look forward to another year where nothing is impossible. Lose that twenty pounds, get that promotion, write that book you’ve been putting off for years, or go on that cross-country trip you’ve always dreamed of. There are a bunch of people I know (me included) that had a big change in their life in 2015. Babies entered some friends’ lives. Some people married their soulmates. Others started new jobs (example, me), big moves, new houses, new cars (example, me [again]), etc, etc.

No matter what did or didn’t happen in 2015, the biggest thing you can say is: I survived 2015. Lots of people can’t say that. Death got personal for me last year, with one of my grandfathers passing away from cancer (as I’ve heard my mentor say a bunch of times, “F–k Cancer”).  He was an amazing guy, and he went out the way he would have wanted, and that’s all that matters to me.

I guarantee lots of you lost loved ones this past year. My heart goes out to all of you, as I have felt that pang a few times in my life, and each time brought me to tears for months to years. It’s hard, looking to the new year without those wonderful people in our lives. Every passing moment stabs our hearts, and it literally hurts.

Here’s a little secret though. Come closer.

Closer…

*whispers* It gets better.

Yep, it does. Does that mean it will get to a point where you will feel nothing? No, unfortunately, the human race has not developed the technology to put your memory into an unfeeling, superhuman automaton with wifi in the head and a feeling suppressor where your heart should be. Sorry, I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. Or, ever, if we’re lucky.

Feeling sadness or depression can be seen as a bad thing, and, to be honest, it is. As someone who’s suffered depression in the past, it’s hard. You shrink away from people, trying to hide the sadness and anxiety in your heart. Wanting someone to listen but not willing to talk about it. Biting back tears when looking at your bank account, your sick sibling/parent, or even just a simple picture.

But, the fact of the matter is, YOU’RE FEELING. Being able to feel is an amazing gift. It allows you to express what you like/don’t like about a situation, and to let others know what you think about something. Feeling is just feeling; there’s no other way to describe it, really. But, it’s amazing when you think about it. It’s something we take for granted.

For instance, I’m worried about an upcoming project of mine (more news in the distant future). That alerts me to plan things out, and have a backup plan should things not turn out right. It also tells me to keep going, so I can prove to myself that I was worried about nothing.

I’m scared of change. This informs me that when change happens, I need to fight back against the fear and take every hit, because, usually, it’ll be worth it in the end.

I’m happy I have a loving family, and a caring, awesome group of close friends. Without them, I wouldn’t have gotten this far in my work career, my writing career, or life in general. Feeling that happiness makes me feel warm and fuzzy and lets me know that not everything sucks.

And I’m upset about death. However, it’s a fact of life. We all will die in the end. If you need advice on how to handle death and your impending demise, consult the Adam Ruins Everything finale. Just a warning, the end is depressing (if you couldn’t guess that already by the topic).

But that doesn’t mean that everything about death is horrible. You have to look at it a different way. Sure, the physical body of the person you love is buried in the ground, but now you have a guardian angel looking out for you. Sure, they can’t affect anything on this plane of being anymore, but the things they did do in our existence left a mark on the lives of so many other people on this Earth. They can’t verbally speak to you anymore, but they live on inside you, in your memories, in your words, in your actions. We choose to focus on their death, because it’s seems easiest to do. But, that hurts you in the end. Don’t focus on their death; focus on their LIFE. The bonds they created that even death cannot break. The changes they made in their own life that affected others in a positive way. The lives they altered, simply by existing and interacting with the world. Their childhood, their schooling, their careers, their family, their friends. At some point in our lives, we made a mark on someone else’s existence, and that’s what we should focus on.

To tell the truth, I would not be on this blog, writing this post right now, if someone in my life hadn’t died. In fact, I wouldn’t be a writer at all. My uncle, while only an active part of my childhood for a year of my elementary school journey, passed away. I was eleven. He was forty.

He was supposed to die at eighteen.197952_1002567381076_3062_n

He was blind, but a genius. He worked as an engineer as an adult, even without being able to see. He had a loving family, who he chose to spend the last year of his life with. He didn’t let his illness or incapacities stop him from achieving his dreams. When he died, I took on that mantra. The night of his death, I wrote my first poem that wasn’t a school assignment. My mother read it – all three pages – and told me I should be a writer.

Almost twelve years later, I have published a novel – dedicated to him, as you’ll see if you picked it up on Amazon -, finished almost ten manuscripts, graduated college a semester early, got an amazing job three months after graduating, and have big plans for the next several years in the career that his death inspired me to take on. I learned to look at the life he had on this earth, not the fact he was gone. Because, I guess, he’s living on inside of me, pushing me to keep going when things get tough.

So, to 2016, I am going to keep pushing forward. No matter what you might throw at me, I will look at my book, my manuscripts, or that poem I wrote twelve years ago – which my mother has made hundreds of copies of throughout the years – and remember why I’m doing this.

Twenty-sixteen:

Bring.

It.

On.