Tag Archives: My Writing Life

#amwriting: the ‘e’ word #epilepsy

As many of my regular readers know, my husband and I share five children, all adults, two of whom have a seizure disorder.

Both my daughter and son were diagnosed with epilepsy when they were well into adulthood. Both have been hospitalized with severe injuries, but while our daughter’s journey with the seizure disorder has been relatively trouble free for the last ten years, our son has not had such luck.

Daughter 1 responds well to the medication and rarely has issues. Son 2 has had trouble getting his medication regulated, and his high stress lifestyle has often interfered with his ability to stay on track.

In conversation, as soon as folks hear the word ‘epilepsy’ they begin armchair prescribing cannabis, as the new cure-all for seizure disorders, and while the CBD end of the cannabis spectrum does have a miraculous effect for some patients, it is like any other medicine—it is not useful for everyone. My children are among those who do not benefit from it.

A ketogenic diet may help, but again, not every type of seizure disorder responds to this diet. However, it doesn’t hurt to try it, and so we are.

Surgery is an option when a cause for the seizures is clear and operable, but for most patients, there is no discernable cause. My children fall into this group, and until a more efficient type of brain scan is available, MRIs and EEGs remain inconclusive.

Epilepsy is caused by a range of conditions that are not well understood, and it is one of the less popular afflictions for research. The way it is treated is to throw medication at it until they happen on one that works, rather like Edison trying to invent the lightbulb.

At times, epilepsy rears its ugly head like Cthulhu rising from the depths, and when that happens life goes sideways for a while. The last two months have been difficult in many ways. I have been unable to focus on creative writing, although writing for this blog has been a lifesaver.

Revisions on Billy Ninefingers (a novel set in the same world as Huw the Bard) are going slowly, although I still hope to publish him in September. The first draft of my new (and as yet unnamed) series, set in the World of Neveyah (Tower of Bones), is on and off—sometimes more off than on.

This is just life, just the way stuff happens.  All is not lost. The creative muse will return as it always does.

Three weeks ago, my son had a partial seizure while cooking, and burned his right hand. He then spent four days in Harborview, the regional burn center for the Pacific Northwest. The burns are situated in such a way they are not good candidates for skin grafts, so they are healing slowly. In the process, I have developed some mad wound care skills. For perhaps another week or so, my son is staying with us as he is right handed and the wounds are in tricky places. Soon, he will be healed enough to tend to his own wounds and will go back to his own home.

The real story is, despite the wounds and temporary setbacks, life has been amazingly good. Healing is progressing. We have spent many hours playing Stardew Valley and sitting on the back porch talking and laughing about everything imaginable. This has been a good experience in ways we have found surprising. We have discovered we are not only family, but we are also friends with so many things in common.

This is why the old saying about clouds and silver linings is true—with every ill wind, something good has come along to offset the bad.

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#epilepsy: Life in the Fast Lane

Albert Bierstadt - Autumn Landscape PD|100 via Wikimedia Commons

Albert Bierstadt – Autumn Landscape PD|100 via Wikimedia Commons

We have two adult children with epilepsy. Both were adults when they had their first seizures, with no prior warning signs.

Our daughter’s first serious seizure was at the age of 29. She has only been hospitalized once with serious injuries, and her medication controls her seizures well. She doesn’t like that she has it, but it doesn’t rule her life, and only rarely causes her trouble.

For our son, it hasn’t been that easy. He was 32 when he began having seizures. He has had more difficulty with his, both in accepting it and in getting it under control. Since the first major seizure, he has woken up in the hospital with serious injuries many times, not knowing how he got there.

Two weeks ago, our son had a breakthrough seizure and fell in a concrete parking lot, fracturing his skull. He had a severe concussion, an epidural hematoma, and lost a liter of blood.

This son is a software engineer and an entrepreneur. He was employed by Amazon for ten years, and was well compensated during his tenure there. He had just started his own company, writing software. He was completely focused on this, and was working 12 to 16 hour days, and getting little sleep, which is very bad for him.

But being who he is, he didn’t realize he was courting disaster.

We live two hours south of where this son lives. We got the phone call at 4:30 pm and threw our clothes into suitcases. Running out the door, we called a hotel near the hospital, and made the nerve-wracking trip up Interstate 5 to Redmond, Washington.

During the harrowing journey north, we discussed his possible long-term care, wondering how he could survive such a terrible injury with his intellect intact, wondering how we could care for him if his motor skills were too severely compromised.

But in a four-hour surgery, a wonderful neurosurgeon not only saved his life, but saved his quality of life. He emerged from the experience with no brain damage, and no loss of motor skills.

Our son’s head-injury was the same sort of thing that killed actors Ben Woolf and  Natasha Richardson. When you look at the way head head-injuries can kill otherwise healthy people, our son’s recovery is a miracle for which we are grateful.

Something intriguing happened with this incident. Our son has embraced life in a way he never has before. He woke up from the surgery in an incredibly different frame of mind.

Instead of wondering why this wretched condition has happened to him and focusing on the negativity of his situation, he is now looking at his life and appreciating it in a way he had not really done before.

When he left the hospital this time, his epilepsy was just something he has to deal with sometimes, and the rest of the time his life is good. His spirits are high and his recovery has been nothing short of miraculous.

If you couldn’t see the large wound on his head and the long, curving line of  stitches, reminiscent of a baseball seam in the way the long scar curves around his temple, you would never know he had undergone brain surgery only 12 days ago.

He is full of energy and ambition, and though he does tire easily, he will soon be back on track and moving forward with his current project which he intends to have on the market before January.

Sometimes, we find ourselves going for a spin in the blender of life. We never know what will happen next, and we have no control over how life affects us. But through all of this, the community of our friends supported us, and faith carried us through the dark hours when we didn’t know what his future would be.

There is so much worse out there–things that make this epilepsy thing pale in comparison. We are praying for a dear friend in Australia whose young daughter is fighting for her life, dealing with terrible complications of flu-b, necrotizing myositis. Her prognosis is grave, and  I know her parents are living in that land of fear and disbelief that I lived in for 24 hours.

We are supporting another friend here in the US, who is undergoing yet another surgery for kidney stones. What we have been through was scary, no doubt about it, but thanks to a wonderful neurosurgeon, it was nothing in the face of these ongoing life and death battles.

Epilepsy is a bitch, but it doesn’t have to rule our lives. Seizure incidents are inconvenient, and yes, we know they will occur when we least expect them. They can and will have a seriously negative impact on us. We know that the next time may not have such a good outcome but we can’t let fear ruin the joy and beauty that we have today.

The real news is not that our children have epilepsy–it is what happens the rest of the time.

We have five adult children with great careers and bright futures, two of whom also happen to have epilepsy.

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But what if they don’t like what I #amwriting

leaves of grass memeI’m just going to come out and say it–sometimes people don’t like what I write.

I know!  Who knew?

But it’s true, and I’ve the reviews to prove it. However, for every person who dislikes my work for one reason or another, someone else loves it, and they are the reader I am writing for.

If you focus your attention on reviews, good or bad, you risk losing your enjoyment of the craft. Writing is an extremely personal thing, and when a novel is completed we offer it to the public, who then airs their opinion on the quality (or lack thereof) of the fruit of our  labors. We are proud of our work when it is well received, and we are proud of it when it is ignored or disparaged.

Wuthering_Heights,_1847I rarely look at my reviews because I have to concentrate on what I am currently writing, not on what I’ve already done. Every now and then a friend will post a good review by another reviewer on my personal Facebook page and I appreciate that sort of thoughtfulness.

But honestly, I don’t talk a lot about reviews on my personal page, good or bad. This is because I think my friends and family know what my job is and how selling my product works. I already bore them enough as it is with all my going here and there to hawk my books BS.

The minute we publish, whether through the traditional route or by going indie, we are putting ourselves and the thing we cherished most in the hands of the reading public.

At that point you must walk away from it emotionally.

Catch22But while I do like having reviews, I want a variety of them. This shows the potential buyer that more people than just my friends are reading my books.  A mix of good and bad reviews is good because even the bad ones go a long way toward establishing credibility in the reading community. The reviews and numbers of stars will level out and in the end, the more reviews you have, the better for your book.

Most readers are smart. I don’t know about other people, but want to judge a book or product for myself, rather than be told what to think by a reviewer.  This is because most reviews on Amazon are not very enlightening, and alternatively, reviews bought in advance by publishers don’t impress me, good or bad.

The_Casual_VacancyI make my own mind up when I read the book for myself. I enjoyed The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, even though a kajillion people couldn’t wait to take her down a notch. Read my review of that book here.

You won’t write anything worth reading if you only do it with the intention of getting glorious reviews. Write because you have something to say, and write what YOU want to read. Never publish anything less than your best work and ignore the reviews, good and bad.

Some of the best books ever written have received the worst reviews. Your book could be one of them, so don’t look at bad reviews as a measure of your worth as a writer. Ignore them and just keep on writing. You are writing because you love it and that is what you do.

Everything else is just fluff.

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Phrasal verbs–minions of evil, or sometimes useful?

Book- onstruction-sign copyPhrasal verbs are usually two-or three-word phrases consisting of a verb plus an adverb, or a verb plus a preposition, or both. They are just another aspect of English vocabulary, and can be considered a form of compound verbs.  We use them all the time, but what, exactly, are they?

First, what is an adverb?

The term adverb is somewhat of a catchall word to describe many kinds of words having little in common other than the fact they don’t fit into any of the other available categories (noun, adjective, preposition, etc.) and they modify an action word—a verb.

The principal function of adverbs is to act as modifiers of verbs or verb phrases. An adverb used in this way gives information about the manner, place, time, frequency, certainty, or other circumstances of the activity denoted by the verb or verb phrase. Too many modifiers in your narrative and voila! Purple prose.

phrasal verbsThere are three main types of phrasal verb constructions depending upon whether the verb combines with a preposition, a particle, or both.

Wikipedia, the fount of all knowledge, has a good example of these three forms:

Verb + preposition (prepositional phrasal verbs)

  1. Who is looking after the kids? – after is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase after the kids.
  2. They picked on nobody. – on is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase on nobody.
  3. ran into an old friend. – into is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase into an old friend.
  4. She takes after her mother. – after is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase after her mother.
  5. Sam passes for a linguist. – for is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase for a linguist.
  6. You should stand by your friend. – by is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase by your friend.

Verb + particle (particle phrasal verbs)

  1. They brought that up twice. – up is a particle, not a preposition.
  2. You should think it over. – over is a particle, not a preposition.
  3. Why does he always dress down? – down is a particle, not a preposition.
  4. You should not give in so quickly. – in is a particle, not a preposition.
  5. Where do they want to hang out? – out is a particle, not a preposition.
  6. She handed it in. – in is a particle, not a preposition.

Verb + particle + preposition (particle-prepositional phrasal verbs)

  1. Who can put up with that? – up is a particle and with is a preposition.
  2. She is looking forward to a rest. – forward is a particle and to is a preposition.
  3. The other tanks were bearing down on my panther. – down is a particle and on is a preposition.
  4. They were really teeing off on me. – off is a particle and on is a preposition.
  5. We loaded up on Mountain Dew and chips. – up is a particle and on is a preposition
  6. Susan has been sitting in for me. – in is a particle and for is a preposition.

(end of quoted example, thank you Wikipedia)

We use phrasal verbs all the time in our daily speech and in our writing. However, whenever it’s possible we should look for simpler ways to phrase our thoughts when writing, unless we are writing conversations spoken in the local vernacular.

Why do I feel that way? The way I see them, phrasal verbs are  two-or-three words (an action word and modifiers) forming what can be considered a separate verb-unit with a specific meaning. In other words, they use more words than is really needed to express a thought:

  • Who is looking after (verb unit) the kids? == Who is watching the kids?
  • They brought that up (verb unit) twice. == They mentioned it twice.
  • Who can put up with (verb unit) that? == Who can endure that?

We use these phrasings because they sound natural to us—that is the way people in your area might speak. But when used too frequently in a written piece, phrasal verbs junk up the narrative. They subtly contribute to what we call “purple prose” because the overuse of them separates the reader from the story.

Unless you are writing poetry, simplicity is best, because you want to immerse your reader in the experience.

ok to write garbage quote c j cherryhWhen we are revising our first draft, and tightening our narrative we should be examining the prose for weak phrasing. Each time you come across phrasal verbs in your work, look at the sentence it occurs in as if it were an isolated incident and ask yourself if it needs to be there. Many times a phrasal verb really is  the only way to express what you are trying to say, but equally often a more concise way can be found.

Phrasal verbs have their places, but if you can simplify a thought and make the sentence stronger, do so.

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My Writing Life: David P. Cantrell

My Writing LifeToday indie author and blogger, David P. Cantrell, has consented to answer a few questions for us. Dave is a fellow staff-member at Edgewise Words Inn, a reader-oriented blog where Dave Cantrell, Lee French, and I post a variety of short articles, human interest stories, some short stories, memes, and generally have a great time just writing. At the end of this post, I will be reblogging Dave’s most recent post on Edgewise Words Inn, a little thing called “Ten Things I’ve learned as a Quadriplegic.” I think you’ll find that post as interesting and inspiring as I did.

But first, my virtual interview with Dave:

CJJ: Tell us a little of early life and how you began writing:
DPC: I grew up in Southern California after immigrating from Indiana at age five. I was a mediocre student in grade school, sports were much more interesting, but sadly, I was a mediocre athlete too. I wasn’t horrible at either of them, mind you—I got by.

I’ve often wondered where I’d be today if my family hadn’t moved to a new school district. I had completed one semester of eighth grade before the summer of the move. The new district couldn’t accommodate split semesters and required me to restart the grade. I became very bored in math and petitioned to join an experimental math class (eighth grade algebra—it sounds quaint now.)

The math teacher let me in for a semester with the proviso that I earn a Cee or better, otherwise it was back to regular math. I struggled, but the teacher worked with me, and I didn’t want to be put back. I think she took pity on me when she wrote a Cee on my report card. Whether she did or not, I’ll never know, but that Cee changed my life. Ultimately, I got a Bee in the subject, and took Geometry during the summer following middle school—No I wasn’t that nerdy, my girlfriend wanted company. I started high school taking a junior level math class.

I learned to enjoy reading in eighth grade. It’s difficult to remember which book lit the flame, but I think it was I Robot by Isaac Asimov. At any rate, reading eventually ignited the writing flame.

CJJ: You are right–the love of reading is the jumping-off-point to attempting to write. I happen to know what you are working on, but my readers don’t, so let’s talk about your current work in progress. 

Disturbance - the VettingDPC: My one and only book is a work in progress. I published part one, Disturbance: The Vetting, in July 2014 and took it off the market in January 2015. The initial publishing was a mistake, but I’m glad I made it. I’ve learned a good deal about the process of writing, formatting and editing because of the mistake. I’ve met wonderful, supportive authors from around the globe as a result of it too.

CJJ: How did you come to write this novel?
DPC: Well-meaning idiots made me do it. That’s mean, but true in a sense. I started posting short “Slice-of-Life” stories on Facebook, items like “The Chicken Parmesan Saga.” I was encouraged to create a blog and gave it a go. I beta read Sci-Fi novels for a talented author, Jasper T. Scott. His comments gave me the idea that I might be able to write. I jumped into the deep-end.

CJJ: I’m mostly an outliner, myself. Do you have a specific ‘Creative Process’ that you follow, such as outlining or do you ‘wing it’?
DPC: Please define creative process. I tried to outline, but got hung-up on the order of things. What comes first, character or story? Can they exist independently? I’m a wing-it writer that prays for an outline to magically appear, and in it does sometimes.

CJJ: This is the question I hate to be asked, but here I am asking you: how does your work differ from others of its genre?
DPC: I want to write stories that make the reader think or learn something new. I love action oriented stories as much as the next person, but I want to write page turner’s that make the reader stop and think about what they’ve just read every once in a while. I get frustrated by the mantra to keep the story moving forward, if the words don’t keep it moving they are useless, not necessary.

CJJ: Why do you write what you do?
DPC: I write for the joy of research (I love an excuse to learn new things) and the hope to touch a stranger with my words.  Touching strangers is why I smile and say hello to them as they walk their dog down my block. Their response makes me feel good.

I recall a day my wife asked me to pick up something from our local grocer on my way home from work. It must have been summer because daylight abounded. I was a middle aged over-weight man walking across a parking lot and saw a stunning mid-twenties women dressed to the nines walking to her own car with a bottle of wine.  I worried if I said anything she’d think I was perverted. As I passed her we made brief eye contact and I said, “You look beautiful the evening.”  The smile on her face brings tears to my eyes as I write this.

CJJ: I like that little vignette you just painted for us, and feel somewhat the same myself when it comes to making people smile. So, when it comes to publishing, I know why I chose the indie route for my work, but I’m curious as to why you’ve chosen this path.
DPC: Is there a better way for an unknown to get their work before a world audience? I don’t care if I make a lot of money selling books. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to do it, but it isn’t why I’m writing. I want to touch others, and honestly, I want the ego stroke that comes with it.

CJJ: What advice would you offer an author trying to decide whether to go indie or take the traditional path?
DPC: If money is your goal, try the traditional path. No one can promise better odds of making money on that path, but if you don’t give it a go you’ll always think you should have.

Dave Cantrell Author pictureDavid P. Cantrell lives with his wife of nearly four decades in the beautiful coastal community of Arroyo Grande< California. He is a retired CPA, enthusiastic (but not particularly good) home cook and avid reader. He enjoys history, historical novels, science fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, crime, thrillers, contemporary fiction and even a western now and again.

Before a spinal cord injury in 2009, he spent his creative efforts writing IRS defenses for his clients and on woodworking; building a variety of items, from chessboards to a Murphy Bed. The spinal cord injury left him paralyzed from the neck down, but with the help and love of his wife and caring therapists, he was able to recover significant function. Woodworking was behind him, and he accepted that.

Thank you Dave—you are a joy to know and to have as a friend, and you are an integral part of my personal writing life.

And now, “Ten Things I’ve learned as a Quadriplegic” By David P. Cantrell

(Reblogged from Edgewise Words Inn)

Being a quadriplegic (aka tetraplegic) is a learning opportunity. I found my opportunity when a confluence of events left me prostrate. Actually, I don’t remember being on the floor, I learned it later from my wife. She also told me I repeatedly asked if I’d had a heart attack while in the local ER. I don’t remember that either, but I’m not surprised. After all, I was an overweight, hypertensive, diabetic, chain-smoking CPA working on a deadline.

The first thing I clearly remember is the voice of an EMT talking to his ambulance driver as we arrived at a bigger hospital. I wasn’t sure why I was in the ambulance, but I knew something very strange was happening. I learned a good deal about myself over the following months.

  1. Paralyzed means: Crap, I can’t move and I don’t mean immobile.
    There’s a big difference between the two. Immobile means I can’t move right now because I’m drugged, strapped down or really-really sleepy, perhaps all three. Paralysis means so much more.
  1. Disrespect or abuse of a good woman’s love and support deserves retribution.
    If I’ve done either, shame on me. The memory of ICU, day one, is vague, but real. My teary-eyed wife held my hand, which I could not feel, and said, ‘I have your heart and your mind, that’s all I need.’ To this day, it’s our motto ….(To read the rest, click here to be transferred to Edgewise Words Inn and the rest of Ten Things I’ve Learned as a Quadriplegic)

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Darker Places, Shaun Allan

My Writing LifeOne of my favorite people is Shaun Allan, author of the bestselling novel, Sin–he  can write circles around me. Actually, he can write circles around ANYone.  Shaun has a new book out today, Darker Places. I was fortunate to be asked to edit this book, and I’m just going to say, very little effort on my part is ever required with Shaun’s work.

Darker Places is a dark, literary fantasy, comprised of thirteen poems and 13 short-stories, in the same vein as Dark Places,  his book of short works that was published in 2012.

Shaun has consented to answer a few questions about his writing life for us:

CJJ: Tell us a little of early life and how you began writing:

SA: Early life…  Can I remember that far back?  I’m not sure I can…  I can’t think of a time when I haven’t been writing.  I’m told (by my mother who also tells me I was a little terror as a young child, which I can’t quite believe) I used to write stories and draw the pictures to go along with them.  Nowadays, my artistic skills are probably somewhat lacking.  I’m hoping my writing skills have improved, though.  At school, English was easily my favourite lesson and I loved writing the essays.  I was a big fan of science fiction, back then (I still am a fan, of course), so read lots of Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov amongst others.  I moved on to fantasy, with David Eddings and Terry Brooks and then brought in horror.  All these found their way into my writing, with horror and the supernatural becoming the mainstay of my subject matter now.  I feel, without the darkness, you can’t appreciate the light.

CJJ: Those are books I loved too. Tell us about your most recent book.

SA: Darker Places, my new book, is the follow up to Dark Places.  It’s an anthology of 13 stories and 13 poems which walk the reader through the shadowy passages of my mind. There’s ome humour in there (with Gremlins and Little Dead Riding Hood), some touching stories (The Crow and Stolen Moments) and much darker ones (Home) where I kill off a number of my old school friends, with their permission!  And, we get to see what happened with Sin before the events of his novel.

CJJ: I have to say that is an awesome story–Sin is an amazing character. And Home is one of the best, short stories I have read in a long time. Now we come to the question people always want to know:  How did you come to write this novel?

sin - Shaun AllanSA: Sin took me ten years to write.  As it’s a very personal book, I occasionally had to step away and wrote short stories.  Many of these were collected together in Dark Places, which was prompted by a comment a writer friend of mine made.  As my mind tends to write what it wants rather than what I want, and another friend, who lives in Australia, was very forthcoming with writing prompts I couldn’t refuse, Darker Places became more and more a reality.  I mean, if you’re given a starter sentence of “The bird fell and the sky was silent,” how can you not work with it?

CJJ: Do you have a specific ‘Creative Process’ that you follow, such as outlining or do you ‘wing it’?

SA: Oh, I wing it.  I know wonderful writers (Connie) who outline, but I can’t.  I’ve tried, but my mind doesn’t work like that.  It goes where it wishes, my Muse being a right royal pain in the posterior.  I sat down to write some of Mortal Sin and ended up writing a Christmas story about Rudolph, for example!  Sometimes, as with Mr. Composure, I can write the start and almost immediately know how it will end, with ‘only’ the path it takes to figure out, but often, I start and I have no idea at all.

CJJ: How does your work differ from others of its genre?

SA: I think because it’s personal.  There’s aspects of me, my life and my darkness in everything.  There’s also my sense of humour.  I set the stories where I live.  When I was starting, and everyone was saying “write what you know,” I struggled somewhat.  What did I know?  Where I lived seemed boring, for a start!  But then I read a Clive Barker book (Weaveworld, I think) and he described going down back alleys in a town.  I didn’t know, but felt it could have been the alleys where he grew up.  It wasn’t boring.  So I moved my stories to Grimsby and Lincolnshire – the places I knew.  Once they came home, they allowed me more freedom.

CJJ: Your work is dark, but you are such a cheerful, light-hearted person. Why do you write what you do?

SA: Good question.  Though I can write silly children’s poetry as well as paranormal and psychological thrillers, it’s the darker work which I find easiest.  I find it therapeautic.  I can get stresses and bad memories out and turn them into something I and others seem to enjoy.  As I say, without darkness, you can’t appreciate the light.

CJJ: I know why I chose the indie route for my work, but I’m curious as to why you’ve chosen this path.

SA: I did try to be ‘properly’ published, but, with the indie route, I’ve made some amazing friends and reached people all over the world.  I have full control over my work and the only deadline (in most cases) is the one I set myself.

CJJ: What advice would you offer an author trying to decide whether to go indie or take the traditional path?

SA: Well, you have to go for what you feel is right, but I have to admit, though the indie route is hard work, its immensely rewarding.  I’d definitely recommend giving it a go.

~~~~~~

Thank you Shaun, for taking the time to answer these questions, and for being here today!

DarkerPlaces_96dpi_100%DARKER PLACES by Shaun Allan

What if you could steal the final moments from the dying? What if you had the darkest secret, but couldn’t think what it might be? What if you entered the forest in the deep of the night. Who is the melting man? And are your neighbours really whom they appear to be?

So many questions.

To find the answers, you must enter a darker place. Thirteen stories. Thirteen poems. Thirteen more doorways.

 ~~~~~

 

Shaun AllanA creator of many prize winning short stories and poems, Shaun Allan has written for more years than he would perhaps care to remember. Having once run an online poetry and prose magazine, he has appeared on Sky television to debate, against a major literary agent, the pros and cons of internet publishing as opposed to the more traditional method. Many of his personal experiences and memories are woven into the point of view and sense of humour of Sin, the main character in his best-selling novel of the same name, although he can’t, at this point, teleport.

A writer of multiple genres, including horror, humour and children’s fiction, Shaun goes where the Muse takes him – even if that is kicking and screaming. He has written for NBC Universal, and regularly holds writing workshops at local schools.

Shaun lives with his wife, two daughters and two cats. Oh and a manic dog. Though his life might, at times, seem crazy, he is not.

Honest.

~~~~~~

To see more of Shaun’s work, please visit Shaun’s author page at Amazon.com.

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Rainy Saturdays

I’ve been doing a little more reading lately. I like reading on my Kindle.  Might have some book review blogs to write for Best in Fantasy soon. I had to cut back on that because my editing business picked up rather sharply and my previously copious quantities of free time suddenly became  moot.

Also I’m a regular contributor at Edgewise Words Inn, which has been a LOT of fun. But this means I must occasionally write…doh!

mort - terry pratchettThe reading world suffered a great loss when we heard the news that Sir Terry Pratchett had died. His work was hilarious, irreverent and absolutely divine. Of all his many great characters, I think Death was his best, and Mort was my favorite book in the Discworld Series.

Losing him just emphasized the rain this weekend.  It’s been a strangely warm winter for us Pacific Northwesterners. For one thing, down in my valley we had no snow. Usually we get at least a small snowstorm. We’ve had a little frost, but nothing terrible.

Also, we’ve had very little black-ice this year, for which I am grateful, but truthfully that really is odd. Black ice, sometimes called clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. While it’s not truly black, it is virtually transparent, allowing the black asphalt/macadam roadways or the surface below to be seen through it—hence the term “black ice.”  It’s been a winter staple here for the last few years–going to work in the morning on a safe, dry pavement takes all the adventure and high drama out of the morning commute.

It was a normal rainy March weekend, and I’m so spoiled by a winter of sunshine and warm weather, that I feel all whiny about it.

I know–how sad.

a medieval pieSo  on Saturday we got over the way most people do–we went shopping. I upgraded my phone and and got a fancy thing or two–and we bought food, and baked a pie in honor of Pi Day.  But not one this fancy—>

It was sort of fun– I don’t really do a lot of shopping in person, because the Drones of Amazon will deliver anything I need, from glittery hair clips to zebra print carpets. I get my music, kindle books, clothes, shoes–you name it, I get it from Amazon. They even sell books, and deliver them right to my house!

371px-Grim_reaper -courtesy offictional characters wiki by PigheadBut Sunday was a different thing. Dealing with a kidney stone. Didn’t sleep well–woke up at 2:30 am and couldn’t get back to sleep.  Suffered the agonies of the damned but survived another one. Stayed home and figured out how to use the new technology. Tried to catch up on my writing.

Accidentally blew off a write-in.

Oops.

Actually, when I am having a day like that, I doubt if I should be allowed behind the wheel of a vehicle… .

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