I’ve spent a lot of time hinting and implying that I just might want to start publishing fiction again. Most of you know that I really miss putting our Plasma Frequency. Well, I’ve made the choice to return to publishing with an all new publication, Factor Four Magazine.
The website is still being built, but I couldn’t wait to share the plans for this great magazine. Some of this information could change, but this is the idea for the magazine.
What will we publish?
We will publish mostly flash fiction. We will have a 2,000 word count per story maximum, but all of the budgeting for the issue is based on 1,000 words or less. So that basically means we will focus our acceptances on true flash fiction. We will publish Speculative Fiction with a focus on Science Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural, Super Hero, or the blend of any of those genres.
We will be a magazine published to an adult audience so some foul language and sexual content would be accepted provided it fits with a well rounded story. Erotica will not be published.
Theme issues will play some part in our publication, but I am not sure at what level. I’ll definitely want to do holiday themes when the time of year comes around.
How will we publish?
We will be a quarterly publication featuring 16 stories per issue. The first issue will be released in April 2018. We will publish in print, eReader, and online format with subscriptions and single issue options for these. The cost per issue and subscription has not yet been decided.
Since much of my readership are authors, I am sure most of you are wondering what we will be paying authors. We will pay 8 US cents per word or US $60 which ever is more. We also plan to do some other compensation with regard to a free issue, but that isn’t a guarantee.
Artists will be paid $200 per issue for cover art.
Submissions are planned to open December 1 this year.
While I have said “we” a lot currently the staff on this magazine consists of just myself. I’d like to be bring back some of the editorial practices used at Plasma Frequency, but I’ll need an editorial staff. While I haven’t officially started asking anyone to join the team, if you are interested you can always reach out to me. Eventually I will have more explanations of opportunities on the website.
I can’t wait to get this magazine started and return to publishing great fiction!
The day after I announced that I would be working with the folks at SciFan Magazine, they announced they were shutting down. It was a shock to me, they didn’t warn me it was coming. It just sort of happened. But, when a magazine shuts down, that seems to be the case. One day they’re there, the next day they can be gone.
Magazine publishing is very much a sink or swim business and, as my headline states, you are swept out to sea. Not only are you trying to swim, you are getting hit by wave after wave. Money problems, competitive market, unexpected expenses, standing out in the crowd, being discovered; wave after wave hits. To get above the waves you need a boat. And building a boat while you are trying to keep your head above water just doesn’t work out often.
Plasma Frequency was very successful as a semi-pro publication. We were on the low end of that “semi-pro” pay rate, but we attracted great authors and put out great stories. We tried to be innovative in the way we communicated with authors, and we attracted good people to our editorial staff. And then a huge wave of financial woes hit us. We’d just patched the raft we’d created when the next one hit. And we sunk.
I spiraled down into a depression and there was no recovery for me until very recently. But even through my worst times, I missed doing it. And now I find myself strongly considering publishing again. But this time, I’m trying to build the boat before shoving off into the sea. I am taking the things I’ve learned from Plasma Frequency, and I am going to apply them to the design.
Plasma Frequency is not returning, I’ll make that clear. That boat sank and it is time to move forward. I also must be clear that I could very well decide this boat isn’t seaworthy and not pursue this any further. But, I can say that I am getting very close to testing the waters and I am eager to see if it is possible to happen again.
I still really haven’t got back into the regular swing of writing since my nearly three year hiatus. Even regular blogging still eludes me. I don’t like to do several self promoting posts in a row, but at the same time I believe writing anything is better than nothing. So I thought I’d touch on a few updates since I last blogged.
But first, today in International Podcast Day, so what better time to announce that I have sold another short story. My story, “Compassionate Death” was sold to the Canadian Podcast, The Centropic Oracle. This marks another first for me. I’ve never sold a story to a podcast before. I also had to explain to my Dad what a Podcast was.
No information on when this story will be published, but given that today was International Podcast day, I thought I’d share the news now. Besides, the folks at The Centropic Oracle deserve a name drop.
You may also remember that I sold a short story to SciFan Magazine, which was my first print sale. I also blogged a little bit about my thoughts on the publishing side and may have mentioned that I missed doing it. This prompted SciFan Magazine Co-Producer, Dayne Edmondson, to contact me. They asked if I’d join their review team and I accepted.
Now I will preface this with the fact that SciFan Magazine is doing amazing things and I am happy to be a part of their review team. However, it has only made me miss publishing magazines that much more. I will say that I am glad to see a magazine like SciFan. This magazine has huge potential and could go somewhere big in the near future. I am so glad to be a part of it. Still, I hope someday to publish a magazine of my own again. Someday.
Issue 9 was released to day and features my short story “The Last Visit”. It is a first for me, in that this is the first short story I’ve sold to a print publication. So while I have sold several shorts, I have never had a short story printed on a sheet of paper. That is really exciting to me. Most of you that follow me know that I love the print medium for reading far more than digital, so this is a huge step for me. I should also mention it is my first, first person short story.
“The Last Visit” explores several ideas. The more obvious is the one that SciFan calls out in their promo:
If technology allowed the dead to visit their loved ones, even just once a year, how would it change the way we mourn? Would it be as pleasant of an experience as we think it should be?
But there is a few more subtle messages in there. Can we really change the way we respond to situations, even after a devastating situation? Can an angry person ever really change? And at the end, without too many spoilers, where does that second thought about a situation come from? What makes us stop and think about the actions we are about to take?
I originally wrote this short story in May of 2015. It was another one, as many of my short stories are, inspired by a dream (or rather a nightmare) that I had. It was very emotional for me to write, and I was very literally sobbing as I finished it. Tears falling onto the keyboard, I managed to get it on ‘paper’ and immediately walked away from the computer. I had to. From there, I didn’t really touch it. I didn’t even shop it with any markets that I can recall.
I shopped it around when I made a decision to dust off some old stuff and get it out there. And there is where SciFan comes in!
You may be noticing a trend here. A lot of my short stories revolve around death. My first sale, “Death Watch” started that. But, I have a bit of a preoccupied thought of death and if it can stopped, scheduled, or even the idea of a return from death.
So what else am I shopping right now? Well, I have three more short stories, flash fiction that focus on death. One is more of a tongue-in-cheek on how Death is hired and hints at a future novel project.
I also have a fantasy piece out that put humor on how worlds are created and a Science Fiction story about what the future workforce may look line.
As always I have my novel projects upcoming too, but that is another post.
I recently had a story accepted by SciFan Magazine and though they have yet to release my story in one of their issues, I did start reading their magazine. One of the things I came across this post of theirs.
It got me thinking about my time publishing Plasma Frequency and the struggle it was to come up with funding from time to time. Magazine publishing is a hard market to stand out in, and I’d like to think that Plasma Frequency stood out in a positive way.
I said it all the time, but I really did have a great team of volunteers behind the magazine and, though I funded it, I was only a small part of the process.
The point of all this: I miss publishing.
I miss reading awesome stories from talented authors. I miss losing sleep over whose story I’d have to reject. I miss the awesome editors I worked with to put out the magazine. I miss the way we tackled author feedback. I miss post shares of the favorites and the author shares of their work. And I miss collecting each issue.
It is hard to publish a magazine. It is not easy.
First, there are a shitload of magazines out there. And for each shitload there is a fuckton of good ones. So many of them already have established reader bases and your only hope to find readers is to advertise to them.
Marketing a magazine isn’t easy at all. First, most magazines don’t make a whole lot of money if any. They rely on either the editor’s income, donations, or in magazine advertising. Selling issues is hard enough as it is because so many good magazine publish their content 100% free online. Then you have to find target an audience and get readers.
Now before anyone gets excited, I am not bringing back Plasma Frequency. Even if I do return to publishing, it will be a different magazine all together. Or maybe anthologies?? I’m not hinting at anything… honestly.
I think the point I am trying to make is to take time for your genre’s magazines too. Read them, share them, donate if you want, but take the time to read magazines too. We need new markets to join and we need them to mature.
Today, according to WordPress, is my 7th anniversary of blog writing (nearly 6 with this blog). I started this blog because I got my first story sale with my short story Death Watch, which was published by the good folks over at Liquid Imagination. Originally my blog was my website, and though I have since separated the two, a lot of people still find me through this blog.
When I started out, I really didn’t know what to expect. And seven years later, I still really don’t know what could happen. But here are at a few things I have learned since starting out.
1 – Getting traffic to your blog is hard.
It took me a long time, a really long time, to gather up any type of blog traffic. I tried funny posts, writing posts, life posts, and mixtures of all three. What I learned is the topics don’t really matter, it just takes time to start showing up in search results and for people to come to your blog looking for certain content. Which leads to number two.
2 – Pick a topic for your blog
Pick a topic for your blog and stick to it. Does that mean I don’t blog about life? No. It just means that the general topic of this blog is books and writing. I love the movies, video games, and hockey. Sure I mention those in my blog, but I don’t think I’ve written blog posts on those things. This doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to write on other topics, but you’ll get a better following if your blog has a theme.
3 – If getting traffic is hard, getting a following seems impossible.
For the longest time, my family were my only followers. It look a long time to work up to a decent following and to keep them following. There are a lot of ways to get the regular following and keep them, and many of those are involved in these things I’ve learned. The truth is, no advertising ever worked. The only followers I ever got were from reading a post of mine and liking it enough to follow the blog.
4 – Losing followers is very easy.
People stop following a blog for many reasons. The most common, you offended them. Society has placed a lot of weight on being offended, as if it really means anything. I’ve lost followers when they found out I’ve got LGBT characters in my novels. I’ve lost followers because I’ve mentioned I own guns. I’ve lost followers because I made a Trump joke. You will also lose followers if you don’t blog in a while. I lost most of mine during my two year hiatus.
5 – You can’t please everyone.
So you may be thinking that you should sterilize your blog from any possibility of offence. I tried that in the beginning of my blogging days. Hell, I used to try that in the start of my writing days. Well, fuck ’em. People will get offended by what you say. If they don’t, does your writing carry any real passion anyway? As I said above, people think being offended means something. It doesn’t. What I have learned is that more people appreciate the honest writer connecting with his audience than they do a sterilized blog. You can’t please everyone, so don’t try.
6 – Listen to your audience.
Many of my blog post ideas come from blog comments or my social media. I’m not saying you need to ask them what to blog about next, though you can a time or two. But pay attention to what they are saying about your blog. As a self published author, I noticed many of my readers were talking and interested in that aspect. As a result, I wrote Self Publishing, a post in which I explored what Self Publishing was all about. It took more work than most of my posts do, but it was also the most successful post.
7 – Read and connect with other bloggers
You really need to read and connect with other bloggers. For one, you will see what is trending and discover what other bloggers like you are doing. This will let you know if the topic you want to blog on is over-saturated or that it is of no interest to anyone. But also you can work with others to do guest posts and other connections to attract their followers to you and your followers to them.
8 – Guest posts are great.
Guest posts are a great way to drive followers of others to your blog. For a long period of time I was doing an author focus blog series that allowed guest posts from other authors. It drove new eyes to my blog that may have otherwise not visited. Don’t expect a ton of new followers from it, but you just might get someone poking around your blog for other stories.
9 – Don’t expect your blog to be a revenue stream.
I’m not sure I have made any book sales from people who came to read my blog. In most cases it is the other way around. People have come here after reading my work. Some to complain, but most because they liked what they read and wanted to see more. Also, ad riddled blogs suck to read (of course we have no control over the WordPress ads). One ad maybe, or sponsored content is okay. But some blogs read so heavily of sales pitches that they become no fun to read.
Also, don’t overly self publicize on you blog. It isn’t wrong, but it is a fine line between content and advertising. The point of a blog is to connect with your audience, not sell them shit.
10 – It is okay to blog for yourself.
It is absolutely okay to write a blog for yourself with no aim to gain followers. You might accidentally acquire a few anyway. But not every blog has to be for fan connection or to gain more readers. Some can be for the hell of it. You can have as many blogs as you like too. The choice is yours.
BONUS: We’re all full of shit.
Here is a bonus thing I’ve learned, everything on the internet about how to write a great blog is full of shit. This one included. What worked for me may not work for you. Lord knows I read a lot of crap, that when I tried it, did’t work for shit. More to the point, articles with things I’ve learned titles are there to help you see what was learned. You can use it, or you can toss it. The choice is yours really.
It is your blog, write what you want, but I’ve shared what I’ve learned. Your results may vary.
I am very excited to finally get Illusion of Victory out to you. Many of you have been eagerly awaiting this sequel in The Serenity Saga.
Here is the back cover blurb:
Captain Christina Serenity is back from the dead, in a manner of speaking. Everyone believed that no one survived the devastating attack on the Earth Space Ship Australia. That is, everyone except Roger Mathews, the traitor that launched the attack. But the four survivors have grown tired of seeking revenge and have returned home to face the consequences of that choice.
The Zercowans are losing interest in fighting Earth’s war and demand some type of action against the threats that face their people. But after several tough decisions, Serenity learns that the term ‘enemy’ isn’t so clear and she no longer feels strong enough to handle the weight of war.
Can Serenity maintain the illusion of strength long enough to gain the victories Earth desperately needs? Or have the pressures of war and revenge already destroyed her?
You can get the book on Amazon in Paperback and for
There are also some other exciting new things to share. My new website has launched. I also had this awesome logo created. Please take a moment to go check out the site and see the new site. I plan to update some of the information in the “about” section soon.
So what is next on the writing agenda. I think I am going to dive right into Book 3 of The Serenity Saga, which will be titled Revelation of Secrets. These characters are ready for more, and I don’t want to keep you fans waiting too much longer.
As always, you can support my work by sharing this blog and all things Flores. Happy Reading!
As I make my immersion into writing again, I’ve begun rereading some of my old novels. I reread Volition Agent because it is a short novel and I wanted to get back into it. But then I read Dissolution of Peace with the hope to get the sequel out later this year. I also got to thinking about Broken Trust.
Now, I mention these novels for more than just a quick plug for myself, but also because I happened to notice a theme here. All three of those novels, though less so in Volition Agent, show the Male / Female Friendship. And not just a casual friendship, but a close bond often becoming best friends.
And since June 8th was National Best Friend Day, and I have a female best friend, I thought this was a great topic to discuss.
I think this theme is largely because of my own life experiences. I find myself getting a long with females more than males. I have some good male friends, but, of my closest friends over the years, most of them have been female.
But it is funny how in real life the Male / Female friendship is so complicated. You have to deal with jealous significant others, rumors, and a level of social stigma that imply the friendship isn’t possible. As a straight male, I’ve had this issue many times over and it has even kept me from ever having a good friendship.
The thing is, there is no reason a man and a woman can’t be friends. Society has this absolutely wrong and it drives me nuts. I could go on a long rant about this but I won’t because I want to stick with the writing part of this. (Besides, I am fairly sure many will see the rant behind the topic.)
So here are some of my tips, both from real life and from writing, on how to have successful coed friendship in your novel.
Attraction is Okay
It is absolutely okay to have a level of attraction there. It is natural to develop a bond with someone and get a little attraction involved too. Attraction is normal and personally I do think all of my female friends are attractive women. Remember attraction isn’t just physical appearance either.
In Dissolution of Peace, Janice’s first impression of Mike is that he isn’t that good looking of a man. After developing a very close friendship with him, her perception of his appearance changes. They have a friendship forged in their protection of each other and as that trust grows she just begins to see him differently.
The point here is that attraction comes in a variety of forms and it is normal and possible to find a friend of the opposite sex attractive and not “make the moves” on them.
Banter and Flirting are not the same thing
My wife often teases me that I flirt an awful lot. But my banter with my friends is often mistaken by outside eyes as flirting. And maybe by the very technical of definitions it could be seen that way. But I don’t think of it as the same thing.
When you develop a friendship bond with another male, to give each other shit it is perfectly normal and acceptable. The exact same words can be said to a female friend and society says, “ohhhh they want to hook up.”
Again, the point is that there is no reason your male and female friendship can’t exchange banter. You shouldn’t have to second guess your words with true friends and neither should your character.
Compliments are Okay
This one is insane to me. I tell my male friend, “That shirt looks sharp.” And it is just a compliment. But I tell a female friend that those jeans are amazing and next thing you know the rumors start up. Why has society done this?
Compliments to your friends shouldn’t be awkward and they should be part of any healthy relationship. Not just compliments on appearance either. Compliments on hard work, success, a new significant other, or anything about their life should be included.
Friends hang out
If two friends go get a slice of pizza and see a movie, it is hanging out. But a male/female friendship is treated different. These two decide they want to go to a movie, and now it might be date. That shouldn’t be the case at all.
While I think it is great for friends to hang out with the significant others involved too, there isn’t any reason a friend should have to include them all the time. It is okay for a male and female friend to go and hang out alone. It is not a date.
Jealousy is a real emotion. I am jealous often and easily. It doesn’t mean anything more than that I feel left out or not as important. I recognize that.
My wife is very supporting of my having female friends, she even claims to not be jealous. And while I know very well that my wife trusts me and doesn’t get jealous near as easy as I do, I know she is human and thus gets jealous from time to time.
I am not just talking about the jealous significant other, though, in my experience, that has been the most damaging to friendships I’ve had. There is also jealousy between the friends. It is okay to be a bit jealous that your friend has dedicated their time to something other than you.
Jealousy can be just a fleeting thought or a raging storm. But it is a part of any healthy friendship. It is how far the jealousy goes that really matters. Jealousy can by a nasty catalyst for disaster, so the line is fine.
In Dissolution of Peace, Serenity finds herself a bit jealous of Janice and Mike’s friendship. This isn’t because she is worried Janice with steal Mike, but because Mike and Serenity have to hide their relationship while Janice and he are able to hang out in the “open” and more often.
I put this at the end for a couple of reasons, but one of those is the fact that it is probably the most awkward of the dynamics of a male and female friendship. But also, our imagination is often one of the things we keep secret the most. But I don’t do that because it isn’t healthy for any relationship.
First is the dream realm. Why we are so scared to share that we dreamed about someone of the opposite sex is beyond me. We are hardly in control of our dreams but we somehow feel responsible for them.
The most awkward can be the sexual dreams simply because this is your friend and now you’ve imagined them in a sexual scenario. I always tell my wife all my dreams, even these, and she seems appreciative of the fact that I can share these with her. I’ve never shared these dreams with the friend I was dreaming about.
This is because of two society stigmas. Sex is not to be talked about and then the female male friendship is taboo. I have one friend I do tell when she is in my dreams regardless of the content. She doesn’t seem to mind, in fact I think I could tell her anything and maybe that’s why we are close friends.
In fact she told me that she read that sexual dreams about someone means you want to get to know them better. Don’t know if that is true, but sexual dreams are normal and often have little to do with sex.
Next is the day dream. I think this normal too. The imagination running wild thinking of what life might be like if you dated your friend. I’ve more than once commented to a friend that, “If we dated you’d drive me crazy because…” This is often in response to helping them with a relationship problem, but it does reflect that I’ve given it some thought.
When you are close to someone, I feel it is normal to let the mind wander to thoughts of people in different roles in your life. Life without someone, with someone in a different way, getting closer to someone one, and so on. When I met my newest friend, I often had day dreams about what my life would be life if we’d become close friends. Now, I can’t imagine life without this person.
There are scenes in both Volition Agent and Dissolution of Peace where characters think about if they would be able to date their friend. They don’t act on those thoughts, but they are there.
Real Life Inspiration
The bottom line, when writing any relationship it is important to draw from your own life experiences. Mine tell me that the male and female platonic relationship is very possible and in my fictional worlds it is even seen a little bit as normal. Because I see it as normal and acceptable. Society has made it something it isn’t.
The truth is, that I didn’t even notice this theme in my writing until I reread some of my work. It just came out to the paper because that is what I know.
I hope you got some value from this post to apply to your own writing, but in the end write what works for your story.
That is what I was told when I started writing. Never, ever, ever read your work once it has been published. Just don’t do it. If you do, you will open a rift in time and space that even The Doctor won’t be able to stop. Children will weep in the streets, entire cities will be lost, and Trump will be elected President of the United States.
It is another one of those “cardinal sins” of writing that seems to have just caught on and stuck. The reasons are endless, but when you really get down to it, I am not sure what the point of this law of scribes is all about.
Perhaps it is the worry that you will cringe at your prior work and never write again. The whole, I am the worst writer in the world and I need to stop. Or maybe it has to do with the endless revision cycle that many writers can get into. I’ve warned of this in the past.
Maybe it has to do with the look forward, not back, ideology. This idea the progress only happens if you look to the future. But if you don’t know your past, what is the point of the future?
That’s why I am of the mentality that reading your past work is actually a really good idea. I promise the children will be fine, there will be no rifts in time, and no cities will crumble as a result of you reading your past published stories. I am also pretty sure that Trump and reading have never been related.
Let me explain why it works for me. I think you will see that, like most rules of writing, individual preference is really key.
It helps me to find my muse again. I have a terrible time with my muse. She, like the writer she inspires, likes to travel. The problem is she never takes me with her and never returns without me having to hunt her down.
Sure, she calls every now and again but she never seems to return until I start reading my work. It is like she stops and goes, wait we wrote that shit. We are pretty bad ass, lets do this shit.
It reminds me. I have a terrible memory. I need the reminder of what my characters were doing and what exactly I edited out before. You see, when I write a story the story sticks. And I forget that I cut our a scene, or that I changed a character’s gender.
My novels live in my head. The world is continuing to go on well after I stopped writing the story, and when I go to write the sequel I don’t always remember where I stopped.
It builds my confidence. This is especially true when I read my short stories. I always go back to the publication that published them and read them again.
It reminds me that I am good enough to be published. That someone else read my story and loved it enough to put into their publication. It lets me know that I can do this, that it is worth the time out of my day to write something. A lot like reading my reviews, I find it a reminder that other do want to read what I put to paper.
If I won’t even read my novels, why should anyone else? I know that is really silly sounding, but I believe it. If a novel I wrote isn’t worth the time for me to read, and reread, then why would others read it once.
I suppose this comes from my leadership mentality. I’ve worked as a leader in my day job for so long and I’ve always believed that I shouldn’t expect my staff to do anything I wouldn’t do. And I guess the same goes for my readers. I wouldn’t expect them to read anything I wouldn’t read.
It may be four simple reasons, but they are the reasons why I will read what I write even after it has been published. I don’t feel like my worlds have to die as soon as I put them to paper.
There really are not any rules for writing, your method is your own. Feel free to break a few of them every now and then. You just might find that you’re better for it.
I haven’t written a blog post since October of 2015, a few months shy of two years. That was only one of two posts I wrote in 2015. They weren’t about anything too substantial, but they were important to me.
I haven’t written anything of any consequence since January of this year. It was one chapter in a new novel project that I’ve been attempting for ages. Prior to that, I hadn’t written a thing since around this time in 2015.
My Twitter account, and my Facebook, have been a deserted land where I occasionally tweeted to a business that provided poor service. Truth be told, I am not sure the last time I was on Twitter. And those that know anything about me, know that I was on Twitter a lot.
Now I preface with all this information in preparation to defend myself as to why I have not been writing. The very reason that I feel the need to defend myself it the very reason things got this far out of hand. What I realized was that I don’t need to defend myself. Quite frankly, I could have just started up with a random blog post and been done.
I watched this video on YouTube the other day. I’ll link to it if I can remember how to do that after so long away. I’m not one of those people that spends hours a day watching YouTube, but I do have a couple of folks that I must see all their videos. One of those people is Meg Turney.
This video, where she talks about her “weird” days, was an amazing gut check to me. Meg is great in that she refuses to label it, she just hasn’t been herself lately. I respect that, in fact it is what made it speak to me even more.
Labels tend to throw off people and even cause people to shy away from facing facts. When someone says, “That sounds like depression.” Or, “That sounds like anxiety.” Or, really any other “that sounds like…”, my first reaction is to say… “I’m not depressed.”
It doesn’t matter if I know that I am. This need to defend myself, as if I have been accused of stealing a co-worker’s lunch, takes over my thought process. I don’t know why. I think it is the label itself. Why does society feel the need to label people? Labels are a method of classification, and if you don’t fit it the boxes laid before you, you’ve got some explaining to do.
Meg didn’t bother to label. Read the video comments though. You’ll see that people immediately took to the need to label what she described. Some did it under the idea that they were helping, others did it just because she asked them not to, and others did it because it made them feel smart. And who knows, some just wanted the attention of someone as awesome as Meg.
I’m digressing from the point here. So back to the gut check. Meg, a role-model of sorts to me, described some of what I have felt since early 2016. Just not myself. But furthermore, she didn’t defend herself. She just explained herself. And I thought to myself, I need to do that.
I don’t have to make a blog post that defends why I just couldn’t bring myself to write. I was scared of that. I was scared to break through the problem and start doing what I love again. I was worried I’d somehow need to defend myself to someone.
Of course, I don’t have a ton of fans like Meg does. I have a hard-enough time getting my friends to read my work. But I digress again. The lack of fans didn’t make the need to defend any less dominate. But after seeing that video, I decided I wouldn’t defend.
But I felt like I still owed some type of explanation. And while that may seem like a sort of defense, and maybe it is, I still feel the need to say something.
In late 2015, my wife shared some news with me that spiraled me into a sense of being lost. I didn’t know what was real anymore. I had a lot of doubt and I just felt hurt. I didn’t really know where to go or how to approach this. One friend essentially vanished from my life during the period of time. Another friend told me to be glad it wasn’t worse. It was sort of a “shit happens” response.
The goal of this post isn’t to get into great detail, but it took a good four to six months to really start any type of recovery. The only reason that recovery has since hit was because I met my best friend. She is an amazing human who seemed to know what to say to help me, a big difference from knowing what I want to hear. I’m grateful for that, and I am certain she saved me.
During that time, I had no choice but to close Plasma Frequency Magazine. At this point I just wanted to hide. I’d let a lot of people down, twice. First with the initial closing and then with the second closing. So, I hid. Now, that does sound like I am heading down the path of defense. But let me say that I was lost without the magazine. I was the first time, and again this time. I was devastated. Publishing that magazine was extremely important to me. Add that to the blows in my personal life, and I just couldn’t face anything publishing.
Next, I fell behind on the mortgage. While I was able to save the house, I felt like failure.
The company I worked for constantly told me they’d be lost without me, but then didn’t appreciate me. This particular division has grown too much and has lost the company way. So, I changed departments. After all, I love the company. Even better, I was now going to work with my best friend. Great, right?
Well my old boss is a lying little… person. He praised and then snapped. He pitted supervisors against each other to get information. He made false promises, including raises and such, then didn’t deliver. My friend and I knew well enough to just talk to each other and I laid low and did my job. But I got frustrated that he was one way with me and another with her. And one day he really ticked me off, so I started looking at job boards. After all, as they say, people quit managers not jobs.
That was how I wound up at the job I have now. This job pays me more, I have more responsibility, and I am well respected there. I absolutely love it. Accept for one problem, I now feel like I’m losing a friend. We don’t talk much, at least not vocally. Texts here and there, but no calls and not hanging out. When you go from daily lunches with someone to the occasional text, it is hard not to plummet a bit into doubt.
But now I here, finally blogging again. Finally putting some words on paper. And if I can “explain” why I stopped, I damn well better explain how I started.
So, think of this feeling of despair as a pit. I fell into a very dark pit when my wife and I started having some trouble. The world was continuing to say, “Fuck you, Richard.” The word was throwing more dirt in the hole, trying to bury me alive.
Many days I thought, what’s the use. Many times, I thought about writing again and thought, no one cares if I write again or not. At the time, I did not realize this, but the dirt was filling up the hole but I could use the little positives in life to climb on top of that dirt and get closer to the top. Crap, I sound like a really shitty Facebook meme.
I had a best friend who dove into the hole after me, before we were even remotely close. She makes little comments, as if she knows how to deal with my feelings, that help me battle the demons I face. When I put up my shield and say, “Sorry to bother you, but…” She says, “You never bother me.” So many other people ignore my defensive lines, and she catches every one and tells me it is fine in her own way. She isn’t afraid to call me out, but also knows when it is just fine to make it clear she knows what I mean. I mentioned I broke the writing stalemate in January of this year, and that was due to a thoughtful Christmas gift from her.
Despite the hard times with money, I took the time to use the dirt to figure out a way to be successful. Until yesterday, I did not have internet in my house for nearly a year. I still don’t have trash service, instead we take our trash to a free disposal place. And I made it a point to bring a week’s worth of lunches to work to resist the urge to eat out.
I had a toxic boss and so I used the chance to find an even more amazing job. I found a job that pays considerably more, has better benefits, and the management is amazing.
And now, at this point I was just out of reach from exiting this pit of despair. But I couldn’t get there. I just couldn’t. I get these feelings that no one loves me, even though I know that has to be false. I get this feeling that my best friend doesn’t want to be my friend anymore. And I get this feeling like I am a burden. No matter how much I knew these things are not true, the feelings still come.
All these things just kept me from pulling myself up and out of the ditch. I’d planned to give up on writing. I really did.
And then Meg Turney decides to share her video and her experience. It didn’t matter that her experience was a few days and mine was almost two years. It spoke to me and lifted me that extra foot I needed to grab the edge and pull myself out.
Am I cured? Fuck no. I won’t ever be. But I’m out of that pit and that means that I can face some of these spots in my life a little easier. I can make myself do what I need to do. And now, here I am writing a blog post for all of you.
So, thank you Meg for that last push.
Thank you KN for knowing what I need to hear and for knowing how to translate the guarded Flores language. I hope someday you cut back on the work and increase your time for friends, I’d hate for us to drift apart.
Thank you to my wife.
Thank you to my fans who did message me and ask about Illusion of Victory. I am sorry, I’ll make it happen soon.
I know this is long winded and dry, but if I can speak to just one person the way Meg spoke to me, it will be worth it.
I’ll blog again soon, for now I have some novels to write.