Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

Today is Father’s Day. But I’ve never been one to get excited about what I have always considered a trivial holiday. Hell, should my family forget to mention it, I doubt I would make a fuss. In fact, I’m sure I wouldn’t. But this year is different. This year is one in a series of holidays which I am without my father.

We had been estranged for many years - only in the last five or six having reconnected. Though we did our best to make the most of the time we had, there were still numerous unresolved issues between us when he died. But they were unresolved because we agreed to let those particular sleeping dogs lie. So I suppose I should say that our issues were unresolved by design -  a wound which had closed enough to ignore. But after he died, I had to ask myself if that had been the right thing to do. Should we have talked about what had happened? Should we have revisited those painful events? Did my father die still needing closure? These questions plagued my thoughts for weeks. In the end, I came to the conclusion that closure is not necessarily reliving old issues; it doesn’t mean picking at the past until it hurts. It means having the ability to move on. And that is what we had done – started a new chapter and closed the old.

Just before I sat down to write this, I took a long look around and the house felt as if it was missing something. At first I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. The day had been quiet and uneventful. Being Father’s Day, I chose to relax and spend my time sitting on the back porch. I was alone for the most part. But I didn’t mind. There are times when I need to be alone; no voices other than the one inside my head demanding my attention. Luckily, today even that voice remained quiet. The scenarios I play out in my inner theater can be irritating when all I want is to have some peace of mind; even if that peace is not to last. But today I had no problem emptying my thoughts.
The sun set and the crickets and cicadas began kicking up a racket, telling me I had better get inside before the mosquitoes realized I was there. So I headed into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Yeah, I know. But I have always enjoyed coffee at night. It was then I realized what was out of place. It was barely 8PM and the countertops were clean, the dishes put away, and the lights were out. That may not sound as if things were out of place, but they were. Over the past few years, though I have held on to my apathetic attitude toward Father’s Day, it has been customary for my father to come over and visit for a while. I’d buy him some small trinket – nothing extravagant -  and we’d sit around and chat until it was time to eat. Afterward, he was usually tired and didn’t linger for more than another hour before going home; typically, around 8PM.

My wife and I would wait a few minutes and chill out for a bit before cleaning up. But tonight there was no need. What little cleaning there was had been done hours before. And the spotless kitchen was a stark reminder that he was gone. Once again, I wondered if I had done right by not talking with him about what had caused our estrangement. But then, that would be looking back, wouldn’t it? If I have learned one thing from the short time I had him back in my life was that life can only be lived in one direction at a time. Choosing to move backward only forces you to cover the same ground twice. As for me…I would rather explore new ground.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A New adventure

Some of you may remember me telling you that I have an upcoming series entitled Akiri. Well, good news. My friend and NYT best selling author Steven Savile will be joining me. This year we will be releasing the first book - The Scepter of Xarbaal . We were already working on a new trilogy entitled The Genesis Chain and decided to continue our collaboration. 
But never fear. The final book in the Dragonvein saga is in the works and should be ready by the Fall.

Friday, November 13, 2015

It's been a while since I've written on my blog. As much as I know I should do so more often, lately it's been hard to find the time. Between finishing Book Three in the Dragonvein series, starting Book One in a new series, and co-authoring a trilogy, I'm not left with much spare time. But now that things are calming down a bit, I've had time to sit and reflect of what's been going on in my life.

Since my heart attack a few years back I have come to realize that I must do a better job prioritizing my time. I have neglected to spend as much time with my son as I should. I wish I could chalk it down to fatigue, but in truth I simply get caught up in myself and ignore my responsibilities. I have been trying to do better, but I still have to work on it.

The one thing I haven't ignored is my career. This year has been my most productive year so far. Before the month is out I will have released four novels in 2015. And though this is stellar, I think I can do better. 

There are two Dragonvein books remaining. So those are a given. The first Akiri book will be finished by the end of this Dec. (though being that they are to be marketed to the publishers I have no idea when they'll be released) and I hope to have two more written by the Fall. The other three I'm writing with Steven Savile should be done this year as well, barring unforeseen circumstances. So that's eight in total. If I can do it, I'll be extremely happy.

I've also taken the time to weed out things in my life (as well as keep things out) that hinder or upset me. This I have found to be important in order to maintain a balance. The negative gunk can clog up the gears. And I've found that less negativity has allowed me to accomplish more. It has made it easier for me to better myself. Not only professionally, but also personally.

So in the end I must say that 2015 has been kind to me. I can only hope I can maintain focus and make 2016 even better.   

Friday, September 4, 2015

To Fans of The Godling Chronices

Recently, I have heard from a few readers who are unhappy with the content of Dragonvein. Unlike The Godling Chronicles, I did not exclude profanity or sexual content. Though I did my best to keep the scenes tasteful, I understand how it might rub some people the wrong way. 

Let me first explain that The Godling Chronicles was the original concept of my son. Though I guided the story along, without his initial inspiration, it would have never been written. From day one I gave no small measure of consideration regarding content. How far should I go? How much adult content was too much? In the end I decided to allow my son to be my guide. It was his brainchild after all. If I didn't want him reading it, I wouldn't write it. Period.

Though I truly believed in the quality of the story, I had no idea at the time just how popular it would become. I didn't intend on making a career writing fantasy - or writing anything else for that matter. I had other ambitions and goals. But as luck would have it, circumstances manifested and the stars lined up in such a way so that I was able to focus all my attention on being a writer. By then, I was half way through the series and forced to think about future projects. I was now known as a YA fantasy author. Don't get me wrong. I love YA, but I was afraid that I would be unable to branch out into more mature stories. I wondered if readers would accept a grittier fantasy coming from an author they discovered through reading YA material. 

As The Godling Chronicles came to a conclusion, I needed to decide what to do next. I had a book written and ready for publication. But it included sex, profanity, and several situations inappropriate for young readers. This was definitely a departure from what I was known for. Frankly, I was terrified. I asked around, hoping to gain wisdom from fellow authors, but that didn't help. Some told me I was a fool and was endangering my career. Others said it would be fine. Sure, I would piss off a few people, but so long as the story was good, most wouldn't mind. My wife was no help either. She had sided with the less risky approach and wanted me to edit out the objectionable content.

In the end, I decided to gamble and went ahead with the book as it stood. Some of you who have read The Godling Chronicles will have seen the difference. And so far most haven't minded the change. Those of you who have only read Dragonvein may be wondering what the hell I'm talking about. The content isn't pornographic and the language, though harsh in places, only reflects the way people actually speak. Well, you'll understand if you read my previous books - and I hope you do. 

I would like to add that for those of you who are uncomfortable with the new content and miss seeing new Godling Chronicles books come out, I will be writing a sequel sometime next year. As with the original series, it will adhere to the same YA guidelines. I haven't abandoned YA. I only broadened my scope. I promise.