Dedication of this site to Robert A. Pittenridge

The sudden death of my dearest friend, Robert A. Pittenridge, has brought a lot of things to mind. With the reminiscing and thinking back over the last 25 years and our time together, I find that he was such an inspiration to so many people, not just to me. I am dedicating this site to him, for if it had not been for Robert, I don’t know that I would ever have had the courage to write.

He was my closest friend, my teacher, my pupil, my muse, and so much more and in so many things. He was the one person who truly encouraged me to start writing. Life got busy and I let the writing go to the sidelines. Now that he is gone, settling back in to writing and getting some books published is the best way I know to honor him. In addition, he will most likely end up in some of my stories. How could such a magical gifted person not be in an urban fantasy novel?

His enthusiasm was contagious and I am so thankful that we shared so much of our lives, even though we didn’t always live together. Distance made no difference in our relationship. We always knew the other one was there if we needed them. I think about the dreams he had that he never had a chance to see through and in some cases, never had the chance to start. That is inspiration of a different sort. So, in memory of Robert, I am going to be working toward my dreams, knowing that he is always there when I need him. Maybe not in the physical world, but in my mind and in my soul.

The world has lost an incredible, kind, talented soul and he will be missed.

This site is dedicated not just in his memory, but also to the lives he changed for the better through his kindness, humor, mentoring, and just being Robert.

Blog Post From My Future Self

Sometimes in order to manifest something you need to send it out into the world, to visualize it in such a way that it comes true.  Whether this is to bring this out from your subconscious or whether it is to ask help from other beings depends upon your own outlook on life and how it works.  This is a blog post from my future self.  A manifestation of how I would like to see things be in my future.  So if anyone or anything out there is listening and wishes to help.  I am putting it out there now.  Stranger things have happened.

I have tried to figure out who I am most of my life. I think everyone does this. I wonder how the world sees me. Not that is makes a difference, it’s just that I’m curious. Most of my friends tell me that I lead a charmed life, but I don’t see it as being any more charmed than most anyone else’s life around me. But compared to probably ninety percent of the rest of the world, I have had a charmed life. I have always had food on my table and a roof over my head. Though I didn’t always know if I would have enough for the next meal of if I would be able to keep a roof over my head. To most people in the world I have more than an abundance. I had the gift of being born in a country that allows me freedoms not found in many places and where it is easier than most places to have not just the bare necessities, but luxuries in life.

I admit I have this habit of looking at an opportunity or possibility or new adventure and rather than let it pass me by, a lot of times I take the risk and try it. And a lot of those times it works out. Not always, but most of the time. I have my demons and angels just like everyone else, I just try to pay more attention to the good things, not the bad. I could look back at my life and look at those hard times and dwell on them, but I choose instead to look at today and the future. What is past is past and can’t be changed. I grew up in a time where being gay was not accepted. I lived through the HIV epidemic of the early 80’s. I have come very close to being gay bashed once, but thankfully it didn’t happen. I have been penniless and jobless not sure where the next meal would come from, but it always did. I could go on about those things, but there is no point.

I sit and look around me and I have a wonderful life, but it didn’t always come easily. I have always felt on the fringes of society or the norm, but that is part of what makes me who I am. I now celebrate those differences and differences in others.  I have to admit that I never dreamed I would be where I am now; a successful published writer. I have a wonderful place and some dear friends. Not a lot of friends, but then again, few people have a lot of friends. They have lots of acquaintances, but few real friends. And I cherish the ones that I have, as we all should.

So where have I come from to get to where I am today? It has been a long and circuitous route to say the least. And while the journey is important, what is more important is what I have learned, where I am now and where I think I am going. We never know for sure where we are going, but we aim for someplace just the same. But because of some of those opportunities and letting something guide me; here I am. I have a wonderful place to live. A place I actually designed myself in a little backroom at a friend’s house that was delegated as the smoking room. The house is small by today’s standards and built of straw bales and designed from three circles. A large circular room in the middle for the living room/kitchen and a smaller one on each side for a bedroom and an office. Though eventually I built a second building near the house as my office. This is the place where I write. I found that having a separate building helped me to focus on writing when I am there. The place is also self-sufficient and off grid. I have just the right amount of property to be private, yet it backs up onto federal lands which makes it seem much bigger.

I also have a couple of dear friends who live on the property with me. They have their own houses, that they designed and they do most of the work on the property, though helping out is a big part of my writing. Gardening and building paths and unexpected sculptures hidden here and there help me with my writing. Did I mention the fairies like it too. Seems like they are everywhere. As I write this I look up at a pottery wren house that is in the shape of a bird and glazed in blue that hangs from my ceiling. I didn’t hang it up outside afraid the weather, whether wind, hail or something else would break it. So I hang it indoors. Turns out it’s a great fairy home. The fairies tend to sit on the perch, or a nearby bookcase, or the top of my computer screen and watch me work. Sometimes they even tell me stories, which then become a story I write for publication, though I readily admit I usually embellish it, not that they need much embellishment. But I am getting off track here.

So back to how I came to be where I am now. I have dreamed of something like where I am at for a long, long time. It really all started when I realized fairies, devas, spirits of the land and other entities were real. I know some will roll their eyes at this, but that’s okay. I don’t mind and neither do the fairies, devas and such. And “real” doesn’t mean that you have to always be able to see them anywhere other than in your mind and in your dreams. A lot of times it is more a feeling of knowing they are there than an actual sighting. I learned this back when I was living in a very magical place.

It was an old house that had a feeling about it that made it next to impossible not to believe. Plants thrived at that place, it seemed as though any seed that landed on the ground took root and things would grow in that garden that weren’t supposed to grow in that climate. Not to mention all the ones that would appear in the gardens that shouldn’t have been there or were rare. You could feel constant activity going on in the gardens.  People loved to come by and just sit. It was a place of peace and harmony in a city that was anything but peaceful or harmonious. My best friend was living with me there and he was the one who helped to show me all these possibilities existed and that was also when I first tried my hand at writing stories about the fey world. Unfortunately, I am sad to say, he no longer seems to believe. But, I hope someday he sees them again and believes once more that the world is a magical place, you just have to look for it or more than look for it, allow it to show itself to you in a way where you can’t deny it exists.

But as often happens we lose sight of things from time to time. I had quit writing for a few years until I finally decided it was time to start again. I remember clearly what the impetus was. I was taking a break at work, walking around the block and having a cigarette, when out of the blue a thought came to me from who knows where. A thought came searing into my brain, “I need to write a blog.” By that night I had researched how to put one together and had my first post up. I had never even considered a blog until then. But throughout the day I was obsessed with getting it up and running. It was like I was being compelled by some unseen force. Fairies? Spirits? Subconscious? Doesn’t matter. From that blog started a series of short stories which developed my main character for “Broken Shard”, my first published novel. Then came NaNoWriMo and writing a novel in 30 days, the month of November. Broken Shard’s first draft was written in that month, then there was a yearlong bout with a herniated disc, pain pills and feeling completely out of my element. But through it all, I managed to get the novel edited and published by Christmas of the following year.

Then came the windfall of enough money I could quit my day job and start writing full-time and the ability to buy this wonderful property where all I have to do is walk out my door, or just sit and let my mind wander and stories come to me faster than I can write them and get them edited. And I can do this without having to work around a full time job.  I have actually simplified my life.  My house is a small house, not a big grand thing and I love it this way.  I have come to the realization that I prefer less in a lot of ways.  To me, in this instance, less is more.  I have all I need and more, and yes I do have some luxuries like internet and nice furnishings and other amenities.  But I have reduced the amount of unnecessary stuff cluttering my life.  I try to give back to my communities and to help those that I can. So do I live a charmed life? Absolutely. Does it just happen? Absolutely not. It takes courage, listening, and taking risks. All things that I am so glad I have done.  Would I have continued to write and do what I could had I not received the windfall?  I feel pretty certain I would have.  It just would have been a lot harder and taken more time.

The last five years, since that seemingly innocuous thought of starting a blog, has been a whirlwind My life has changed in ways I only imagined and I have so many to thank for my success. I didn’t do it on my own. It was through the help of dear friends who stood by me and helped to keep me motivated. There was help from the fairies, devas, angels, spirits of all sorts and guides or whatever you wish to call them, of this and other worlds that have put me where I am today. All that I hope is that through all of this I have helped others along the way and made the world at least a little better. Because when it really comes down to what is important, that is what is most important. That we make a difference and strive to help each other along the way.  If none of the rest of this has come to fruition, I hope I have at least made a positive difference.

I want to say thank you to myself for being willing to be open to new opportunities and to ALL who have helped me. From the deepest part of my heart and the depths of my spirit and soul, I thank you, everyone and all things.

Back from Hell or close to it.

For the few of you who follow this blog, I have not forgotten nor become disinterested in this. I am recovering from dealing with a herniated disc and pinched sciatic nerve which reared its evil self the weekend before Halloween. But thanks to modern medicine in the form of epidurals I have been able to get through this without surgery. The long and short of this is that due to pain meds and pain I was not in the best place to be writing, I was just trying to manage the day-to-day part of my life.

But now I am almost completely off pain pills and day-to-day life is getting back to normal, whatever that is. I am to the point I am ready to get back to editing my novel. And the best way I know to get back into writing is with a few short stories. So, over the next few weeks I will be writing and posting some new short stories.

Being the overwhelming optimist that I am, and believing things happen for a reason, I have concluded there were some important lessons for me to learn. Through the ordeal since last fall I have a much greater appreciation and empathy for those with debilitating pain and the inability to do simple tasks, such as putting on shoes. I now know what it is like to wake up in the middle of the night screaming in pain with tears running down my face. I also have a new empathy for women going through menopause. Some of the side effects of the epidurals were hot flashes, chills and mood swings. Thankfully mine only last four to five days after the epidurals. I can barely imagine what it would be like to go through this for months or years. But this experience will help me not only in a better understanding of others on a day-to-day basis, but will also help me in my writing. I hope.

Give me a few more days to enjoy the feeling of not being broken and then it is time to get back to the fun and pleasure of writing.

Rough Draft Complete!

I made it!  The rough draft (very rough draft) of the novel was completed on Thanksgiving night.  I think I like what I have to start with so far.  The hard part is ahead of me.  Editing and figuring out how to go about getting it published.  In an effort to continue the writing part of my life while I am editing I will be doing more short stories on here and plan on starting another novel.

I have to say the whole experiment on here with the seven short stories and choosing one and doing seven stories from that one truly paid off on this.  First and foremost if gave me a character I really felt was well-developed and I wanted to write more about him.  My thinking is that I may do that for the next book as well.

It seems weird to be talking about the next book when I have only a very rough draft of this one.  However, I have to say I am pleased enough with this one as a rough draft and this has given me the courage to do more.  I will figure out a way to get the one I just finished published at least on Amazon and iBook as an eBook.

This has truly been an exercise in spiraling out.  If anyone has any thoughts on this, I would love to hear them.