Whatever Happened to the Not-Prodigal Son?

My beloved spouse is Catholic and, as such, I get to hear about the most recent reading on the liturgical calendar on Sundays (or Saturdays, if he decides to do evening mass). This is the Year C readings, which includes one of my least favorite passages: Luke 15:11-32 (NIV linked). When that passage came and went on the fourth Sunday of Lent (March 27th), I sat and thought about it.

The priest did fine with his sermon.

Nothing went wrong.

But I just cringed. I hate that passage. It fills me with a loathing and dread like very few other passages do.

Let me give you an unsanctioned, off-the-cuff, hermeneutically and ecclesiastically wrong preach.

What is The Prodigal Son?

If you’re not much into Biblical stuff and/or don’t want to click the link above, below is a really inappropriate summary of the parable and a brief on what you’re supposed to get out of it.

1773 painting by Pompeo Batoni, “Return of the Prodigal Son”

A Badly Written Summary of the Parable

A man has two sons. The younger one, a worthless little turd, decides he’d be better off on his own. He gets his dad to divide up his property and pass down his inheritance early. The dad complies, and the prodigal son squanders it all.

In short order, the philandering son finds himself so squalid, and miserable that he’s feeding foreigners’ pigs (a Jewish no-no, mind you) while jealous of the animals’ slop troughs. He decides to come home and ask his dad for a job.

When he does come home, the dad slaughters “the fatted calf”, or I guess what we’d call “the wagyu beef” in today’s terms, gives the son jewelry, a robe, and holds an absolute rager. The older son, working hard in the fields, hears about the party and comes to the house to find that his worthless younger brother is the cause of the celebration.

The older son asks his dad, “Yo pops, why are you giving him everything when he totally played you and was a bad kid?”

Pop’s reply?

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Luke 15:31-32

What You’re Supposed to Get Out of It

You’re supposed to realize from this that God, easily identified as the father in this analogy, welcomes home anyone willing to leave their sin and return to him. It’s a tale of forgiveness, compassion, and unconditional love of God for any person, wayward or not.

There’s way, waaaaay more analysis of the story out there (even the sermon we got was more detailed), but suffice to say that’s the easy read of it. It’s a comforting story of a God that loves everyone and will give everything for you.

A Parable of H.R.R. Gorman

I was in the third grade and just won the county science fair. My mom came to the mall, where the fair was held, and picked me up. I was supposed to get dressed very quickly when we got home because my Uncle Jake had died and the viewing (a “viewing” is kind of like the Mountain version of a wake) was that evening. When I arrived at home, my dad and brother yelled at me for making them late. My mom, who had dressed before picking me up, told me to stay in my room while everyone else went to the viewing. They piled into the car, and I watched as the taillights twinkled out between the dense trees and they left. I held my ribbon in my hand, the ribbon that signified I had won despite not being rich, despite not having large material availability, despite not having great science education. There was no congratulations. Just, “You made us late.”

I remembered my brother’s football games. There was always a celebration after, or at least a bunch of encouragement. I was supposed to come, too, since no one would be at home to look after me, but I mostly got yelled at for being in the way or not paying enough attention. If I got an A, nothing; if he got a good grade, the world would celebrate and shout for joy.

At some point, I realized that I was supposed to cheer him on. I knew that I excelled at school where he struggled, and I decided I would help him with a difficult word that I had learned. I clapped and told him he did well, but my mom grabbed my wrist and yanked me to the hallway and shut the door. “What did you do?!” she asked.

“I was trying to encourage him,” I said.

“No you weren’t. You were being fake.”

“I wasn’t-“

“You were! I saw you. That was so discouraging! How could you?”

I was crying by this point, because I had no idea what I’d done wrong. “Why don’t you ever encourage me?” I asked.

“We have to celebrate your little brother. Like the prodigal son, he needs more encouragement than you. You do fine in school, and it will be with you always. With him, we must celebrate and be glad. You weren’t glad – I could see it – you were just making fun of him. Making him feel bad for being younger, which makes him feel stupid. You’re like the older son, and you should have just enjoyed the celebration with him.” She spanked me, sent me to my room, and I cried because I still had no idea what I’d done wrong.

Fast forward many years. I was still doing well in school. I was a member of pretty much every academic and hippy club, had gone to a prestigious (well, as much as “free” and “government sponsored” possibly can be prestigious) summer camp, and received numerous awards as a “great kid”. My brother was in a period of his life where he was screwing up hard, and I mean like real hard. Luckily he improved once my mom finally left my dad, but at the time it was just awful. I was completely ignored while he was alternately punished and celebrated. We had to “kill the fatted calf” by going out to eat at a fancy place like Outback whenever he got done with a major punishment. After promising to do better, he would receive a gun for getting suspended and be told he could go hunting that day, after which I would be expected to pick the hair off the butchered meat so we could eat it.

The prodigal son could be celebrated. The other son would be ignored, and at the very end, he will always be told to just suck it up and accept that his brother is more beloved.

I learned to forge my parents’ signature so that I could sign myself into any camp, trip, or after school program I wanted. As long as I could figure out a way to get myself home or, if it were warm enough, stay overnight at school while they didn’t notice, I could do anything. “Member of all the clubs” quickly became “president of all the clubs.” “Prestigious-but-free summer camp” became plural, and I racked up more awards. Not that they seemed to even notice. I stopped even telling them about this stuff, save for the fact that they’d need to drive me down to Raleigh for the camp (I signed the papers for them).

It was never that I thought my brother didn’t need encouragement. Clearly, from what I’ve said, he did need encouragement. He clearly needed additional help compared to me (though honestly I think that could have potentially been in the form of ADHD medication, which my parents thought was wrong). It could have been that he needed my dad to stop being alternately awful and rewarding to him. There was just so much that went wrong in our lives.

But I looked at the reward of the older son and thought, “This is a horrible story.” The story was used, in my case, to justify ignoring me. It was used to justify a comment in sixth grade where my parents set me down and said to never tell them about school again. As the older son, I clearly wasn’t worth paying attention to. I wouldn’t get the fatted calf because I wasn’t loved.

My parents would argue that’s not true. They’d argue that my brother needed more help.

But by the love of God, does that mean I needed none?

The Answer is “No”

I definitely needed more help. The key part of the Luke passage that my parents ignored is in that quoted phrase: “You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” The idea that I would gain some reward from my parents in the future if I played my cards right wasn’t how the father in that passage worked. The older son receives his father’s joy, remuneration, and love every day. It’s an active relationship and reward.

As the older son, I don’t think I experienced that constant joy (my parents would argue that my memory is faulty, though; they’ve pretty much gaslit me into thinking I can’t remember anything right). It was like a cloud hanging over my head that if I could just be good until they died, I would get my full half and enjoy it the rest of my life. Money’s not even the point of that story: it was that both sons were fully loved by the father. I still am just so, so effing starved for my mother’s love, and I still just absolutely bend over backwards trying to get her to listen to me or love me for who I am.

But I’m worried. Worried, because she just won’t accept who I grew up to be. She ignored me while I was an adolescent, and kind of forgot that I became an adult. She still makes me feel horrible for existing sometimes, like when she makes fun of my childhood desire to invest in Beanie Babies so I could buy my first car using the stuffed animals’ appreciation.

I was the first person in my family to get a college degree. I have a masters’ and PhD in chemical engineering. I have a job, a husband, a house, and a dog. I have helped my mother move during retirement, have done my absolute best to be a helping hand during Covid while she had no one else to rely on, and given her the most expensive gifts of anyone I give gifts to.

And it doesn’t matter. It matters so little, in fact, that I’m not allowed to tell her about school or work, even yet. It matters so little that, despite doing quite well at life, telling her one little thing about who I’ve always been can get her to shun me.

I eventually had to cut off relations with my dad because he’s freaking scary. That situation is bad bad.

I’m fucking gutted.

The story of the prodigal son only works if the father is God and is always good. It’s not a good story to use as an excuse to just screw over, ignore, or debase your older son.

And so I hate that story. I hate it.

Do you have any story from your childhood that has been warped? It could be your parents’ retellings, or it could be someone else you’ve seen tell it since then. Let me know in the comments!

2022

So, it’s 2022, and I guess we’re still here. Mostly.

Here’s a gif with a Pomeranian in it.

And, because of this, it’s time for everyone to start making their plans for the next year and sharing them as if it’s important. Not going to lie, I’ll join in that too because it seems fun.

Collective Fantasy

First off, Collective Fantasy: An Unsavory Anthology releases on January 3rd! I’ve got a story in this upcoming anthology, and it is dope as hell. I say this about every story I write, but I think this one may be the best I’ve ever published to date. “Come and In My Chamber Lye” is a book of witchery and laundry. Snippits incoming soon!

Amazon Link for pre-order – only paperback right now, but the indie publisher usually gets out an audiobook and Kindle version soon after.

We’re also having a “Book Signing” party on January 4th from 8 to 11 pm EST! If you’re in the Salt Lake area, the physical party is going to be at Under the Umbrella bookstore, and there’s a virtual Zoom link (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9630443174) for those who (like myself) are in other places. I’ll try to be on during the early parts, but no promises past 9:30 eastern, given my bedtime!

I’m going to try to be there, but I’m on eastern time so we’ll see how late I can stay awake!

Lastly, there’ll be another story in an anthology coming up in the next few months… I’m super excited to tell you all about that one, too, but it’s still a bit of a secret. Shhh…

Books To Read Lists

Last year (and every year before that), I made a list of books that I’d review every Monday. This list would come out on the first Monday of the month, and I’d coast through on those books for the rest of the month. That gave me 3 or 4 books to read per month.

Though I might not read as much this year as last, this limitation to 3 or 4 books per month meant a couple things. One, and probably the most important, is that not every indie book I read got a slot on the blog. That bothers me because indie books need reviews – including blog reviews – more than the big guys. It also meant a lot of other books didn’t get a spotlight even if they probably should or could have; instead of talking about books I liked, I spent all of August 2021 flogging a series that I hated.

Instead, what I’m going to do is just push out a post when I read a book (assuming I get it written quickly enough). That will both reduce my need to make “to read lists” and also give me more opportunities to post book reviews. It also will mean I don’t have to theme my months.

Life Updates

I want to do more life updates, mostly because blogs with a life update every now and then keep me engaged more. At the same time, I really don’t want to post about other people in my life. We’ll see if I manage to get anything along these lines done.

Obligatory dog picture.

American Chimera – 31.1

American Chimera Cover Small

Some knuckles rapped on her window. The interrogator, beneath a shiny cloak of thermal blanket, a crust of salt on her lips, opened her eyes but found only darkness and a flashlight shining in. The door, unlocked ever since the battery died completely, opened.

“I finally found you,” a man said. He put away his flashlight and handed over a steel canteen. “Drink it slowly.”

She took the canteen and sipped a bit. She put it down and coughed, her mouth still dry. She smacked her lips, then said, “Ivanov.”

Ivanov, dressed in dirty civilian clothes and more than a 5 o’clock shadow, frowned, climbed into the car and sat in the driver’s seat. He remained quiet for a moment, just breathing while he stared at her. “You ruined everything, you know,” he said. He removed some cuffs from his belt and put them around the interrogator’s wrists. “I was yelled at, nearly jailed, and definitely demoted – miracle they didn’t end up firing me and having my throat slit. But you, you stupid bitch, you had to run out into the desert and make it hard for me to hunt you down.”

“You weren’t supposed to find me at all.” She sipped some more water, held the canteen with her bound hands. “I was perfectly fine dying out here.”

He examined the back seat. Empty cans of water, beans, rice, and emergency rations littered it. A few uneaten cans of food and two leftover chocolate bars sat in a cardboard box on the rear passenger seat. “Looks like you had only enough water for a week. You really weren’t planning on much, were you?”

She shook her head. “No.” Another sip of water. “I’ve been listening to the radio during the day. Things aren’t going too well out there, are they?”

“No nukes have been dropped-”

“But that doesn’t matter, does it?” She laughed, then coughed from her dry throat. “The politicians and upper-level officers will get itchy fingers. There’s not enough oil left to wage a good conventional war, and we’ve got to strike to win. We have to take out the innumerable enemy before they take out us.”

“Funny, the way you say ’us,’ as if you’re still a real American after what you did.” He opened his own can of water and took a sip. “Financial systems collapsed when all the hackers were unleashed. We bombed London and Beijing just to shut those smug assholes up, and the coalition forces have done their damnedest against us, too. But the death toll doesn’t matter; plenty of unwanted people to burn through in cities. You know why I’m here, don’t you?’

“I have my suspicions.” She took some more water. “They might have sent you. It’d make sense – kill me before I can make it worse. Kill the traitor and use her as an example. But I don’t think so.” She sat up in her seat, and the mylar blanket fell down to lay on her lap. “I think you were placed on administrative leave, and you’re here because no one was going to stop you.”

He smiled. “Your intuition always made you a good spy.”

“Shut up. I wasn’t a good spy.” She took a sip. “I was the best spy.”

“And no one will ever know about it. Oh, except that woman you ranted to at the Amazon warehouse, who just thought you were crazy.” Ivanov poked the interrogator on the nose. “You’re losing your touch – if you hadn’t made that mistake, I might never have figured out which car you were driving or where you’d gone.”

“I don’t make mistakes.” She tossed the small, empty can into the back of the vehicle.

“I suppose not.” Ivanov reached into his light jacket to his shoulder holster, then pulled the pistol out. He left it lying on his lap. “Why’d you do it? I still don’t understand. You literally doomed the world, you know.”

“The world was already doomed, as far as I could tell.” She stared out the windshield, into the twinkling stars. “Every human’s future was limited to a single lifetime. And all it took to reach that goal was destroying the planet.”

Ivanov lifted a brow.

“Janie put it best, Agent Ivanov. ’Blackies go under the knife.’ You ever heard that before?”

He snorted. “That’s ridiculous. Everyone took the same test. The population couldn’t continue to rise, not if the human race wanted to survive.”

“That test wasn’t fair. No test you could think of to replace it would have been fair. It wasn’t made for humans to pass – just monsters and sons of Mammon.”

“Monsters? Why, were you jealous of Dani? Dani who we’d put in a basement to be raped until she died?”

The interrogator shook her head. “No. I helped Dani because she was human, no matter what she looked like on the outside.”

Ivanov laughed nervously. “Then the monsters are white people? Are you serious right now? You complain about Brett and Janie being racist, and you destroyed the lives of millions – perhaps of everyone – because of some perceived slight to your race?”

“Oh, Ivanov, don’t be ridiculous. I said nothing of the sort, though I’d be lying if I said I’d never thought it.” She removed the full can of water from Ivanov’s hand and took another sip. “How much water did you bring with you? You planning on going back to work?”

“I’ve got enough water for one of us to make it back to town.” He held tight to his gun. “You understand how this is going to work, don’t you?”

“You’re going to shoot me. You’re going to feel nice and smug about it, then you’re going to take that gun and shoot yourself in the head because even success wouldn’t be worth it anymore.”

“I’m not going to shoot myself.”

“Fine. I was wrong about that. It won’t matter, though, because I’ll be dead, just like I would have been if you’d not come to find me in the first place.”

“Yup.” He pointed the gun at her. “So, agent, any last words? Or have you gotten everything off your chest?”

She sighed. Her breath was deep and satisfied. “No one else will get to say they killed Fiendish Dr. Kim. No one else can say they ended the first Chimera war and pulled the metaphorical trigger that started the second. I’ve done enough for one lifetime.”

Ivanov nodded. “It was a pleasure working with you.”

He aimed the gun at the interrogator’s head and killed her.

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Thank you for coming along on this journey! It’s been a long one, but I think it’s been a worthy train wreck. Hope to see you again in the new year!

Pomeranian: Herding Dog

One Halloween night,
My dog escapes –
Gives children a fright!
The kids he wrangles
In a circle.
He bites their ankles,
Makes them scream “Mommy!”
We catch him then,
Our cute lil’ puppy!

This poem was written for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #183, wrangle. It is based on a true story.

If you want to see a funny video of my dog, here’s a Twitter post I made with a good chuckle button. Make sure you have the ability to listen to sound!

#Bookreview – Dark Divinations, a paranormal anthology

Look at this review! I had a short in this book, so I had to share a review from Robbie!

What Amazon says

It’s the height of Queen Victoria’s rule. Fog swirls in the gas-lit streets, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The s�ance has begun. Join us as we explore fourteen frightening tales of Victorian horror, each centered around a method of divination. Can the reading of tea leaves influence the future? Can dreams keep a soldier from death in the Crimea? Can a pocket watch foretell a deadly family curse? From entrail reading and fortune-telling machines to prophetic spiders and voodoo spells, sometimes the future is better left unknown. Choose your fate.Choose your DARK DIVINATION.With stories by: Hannah Hulbert, Ash Hartwell, Joe L. Murr, Emerian Rich, Naching T. Kassa, Michael Fassbender, Jon O’Bergh, Stephanie Ellis, H.R.R. Gorman, R.L. Merrill, Rie Sheridan Rose, Daphne Strasert, Alan…

View original post 417 more words

Into the Redding Clouds – #Gogyohka #TankaTuesday

Sunset

Shimmer of sunlight
O’er twilight clouds.
Darkness in the east,
Hope in the west
Where lies the frontier.

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This gogyohka was written for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday #189, poet’s choice! I decided to participate this week because, as I was driving home yesterday, the sky was very brilliant. I wanted to contrast sunset, frontier, and the idea that west is “death”, the last adventure.

This picture was taken last year just before Hurricane Dorian came by. It’s not the same as what I saw last night, but a hurricane sky isn’t like anything else and I thought I’d share.

Before Antibiotics

cemetery graveyard tombstone

You were so young, so tiny. You’d not even had dreams, not sought to see your goals blossom and bloom.

And here you are – in a hole, next to other families’ headstones all marked “INFANT” with a single date underneath. Could I get you one of those stones? A final blanket that might comfort you as you look down from Heaven and remember that your mother always loves you, no matter how young you were taken?

And here I am – moving on to the next grave, an unmarked patch of earth where sweet Ona, six, was buried last year.

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So, I’ve recently been listening to a 19th century book wherein the author uses “blossom” to mean “woman hits puberty” and I HATE that usage. So I decided to turn that on its head and write it from a more frightening place.

This was inspired by Charli Mills’s Carrot Ranch prompt, blossom.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

5 Kinds of Writing Inspirations

06092019 Writing Club witty nibWelcome back to the Club, where we hone our craft and zero in on a new aspect of writing every month!

Everyone has inspirations for their creative works, even if you’re trying to write something entirely different from what’s out there right now. If you don’t have inspirations, what happens?

Writer’s block.

Below is a list of inspirations for my writing. Even if these aren’t your typical inspirations, you might be able to use them for inspirations when in a bout of frustration or blockage.

5. My life

I think I’ve told people this, but my life is a freaking sh*tshow, and not in the normal, “drama” way that people tend to believe. Somehow, though, I can find stories in it that make people laugh.

There’s things like this gem, from one of my friends. As you read this, imagine everything in a Southern accent:

I was hitchhiking in Durham the other day, and a guy in a truck pulled over to let me in. After a few miles, I started feeling bad and said, “Hey, uh, thanks for picking me up. But I just wanted to tell you, in case you wanted to pull over, I’ve been to prison.”

The driver didn’t stop. “Me too. What you go for?”

“Selling Vicodin at a gas station. How about you?”

“Kidnapping.”

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I’m currently working on a semi-biographical chapbook about my grandmother. While she passed back in December, I don’t think it will ever be published because there’s too many people still alive who make critical appearances in the product.

Your life is a story of stories. Take a moment to think about your stories, think about why they are your stories. Write a quick flash like the story I wrote above, or consider a poem about it. I guarantee stories about your life will put your adventures in a whole new perspective.

4. Visual Arts

I’m not a person who can draw well enough to show off, but sometimes I can doodle, and I enjoy photoprompts and picture prompts here on WordPress. An image can almost always conjure a story, even if you don’t know what the image contains.

That’s probably why photoprompts are so fun to do! Sue Vincent hosts one of the longest-running photo prompts I’ve found – and you can join in here. There are plenty of other prompts, many of which include photos, with which you can practice.

3. TV Shows/Movies

I am a really, really big fan of TV. My first novel was a crossover fan-fiction (Bonanza x Gargoyles x The A-Team) written I was in 5th or 6th grade.

And while it’s definitely not ok to steal ideas and characters direct from TV except in a non-money-generating, fanfic sort of situation, it is ok to be inspired in other ways. I loved the creepy, surreal feeling you get from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I love the twists and horror of Madoka Magica. And things like that? That can inspire you to move on.

The visuals of TV and movies can also inspire us. A scene, a mental picture, a bit of a smirk – these images can prompt responses just like a still can, but there’s another story just behind it.

And, pro tip: don’t make fun of people (especially teens) who write fanfic. It’s not a bad gig and definitely not a bad way to interact with your world.

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2. History

This is probably one of my personal favorites.

I have used history to inspire an enormous number of my posts, many elements of my novels, and am currently writing a set of fantasy novellas directly related to historical events. George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice (wow, that title’s about as edgy as anything a depressed teenager could dream of) was based on the War of the Roses.

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The truth is filled with strange events, and these events all follow some sort of cause and effect. Since humans love stories riddled with human emotions, drives, and characters, studying essentially human stories can give us fresh ideas. What’s more, these real people can inspire us to write about someone who’s not us (or not our close relatives!).

1. Books!

Everyone says that if you’re writing, you should be reading. But why read books for inspiration when that could just lead to copyright issues?

Inspiration, my friend, isn’t copying. Copying is what Hitler did and called it art. Inspiration is when you glean aspects.

Like a character trait? A representation of a married or a bickering couple? Slather those aspects onto a new story.

Like a classic story common to many readers? Allude to it. I’m a huge fan of Biblical references and metaphors. Classical Greek and Roman writing is fair game for an English-speaking audience. Pull out a Dickens, an Austen, a Twain.

Remember, your story does not exist without a reader, and your reader enters into your book from their own cultural context. Familiarity with your own cultural context is essential to crafting an understandable, relatable story for your time.

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Where do you get inspirations for your writing? Tell me in the comments!

American Chimera – 12.3

American Chimera Cover Small

The chair filled with a holographic projection of Agent Ivanov. His false image looked up from a tablet in his hands. “This call was unexpected.”

“Agent Ivanov,” the interrogator said. “Sorry to bother you just when you’ve arrived back in Washington, but something has come up.” She cleared her throat. “I have evidence that one of the prisoners we previously released, Reverend Hinkley, has molested children. I’d like to arrest him a second time.”

Agent Ivanov’s face fell, and his eyes blinked while he pursed his lips. “Where did this come from?”

“I don’t have proof, but the volleyball coach claims photographic evidence exists.”

“But we already released him. What will the others think? They may start to believe their affidavits and the government’s word is worthless.”

“Just tell the truth. He has been arrested for being a pedophile.”

Agent Ivanov huffed and squeezed his tablet. “This isn’t going to be that easy.”

“But it’s the right thing to do.”

“I suppose.” He typed something in to his tablet screen. “There. I’ve started an investigation into the issue. I’ll let you know when he’s been taken back into custody. If you get the photographic proof, let me know. Send me all the information you have on the case in the meantime.”

The interrogator released a held breath. “Thank you, Agent Ivanov.”

Agent Ivanov nodded. “You owe me one for this. But I’m going to ask you to stop investigating these people’s personal lives on your own time. No more interrogations for the good of Dr. Dallin Smith or his research. Understood?”

She saluted. “Yes, sir. I’ll find the evidence against Reverent Hinkley, and then I will turn my full attention to the exit interviews and subsequent release of innocents.”

“You do that.” He put the tablet down. “Anything else while you have me on the line?”

“No, sir. Everything else seems to be going fine.”

“Goodbye, then.”

“Goodbye, Agent Ivanov.”

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Late May Newsletter

Hello, all! I usually do my monthly updates at the beginning of the month, but this time – June 2020 – I decided I needed to do this update a little early!

Why?

Well… you’ll see. 😉

Dark Divinations is out!

DarkDivBanner Dark Divinations Horror Addicts

The first anthology I’ve participated in – Dark Divinations – is available on Amazon! People have asked if they’re doing anything other than Amazon, but I don’t think that’s available right now. Amazon’s the easiest and biggest market right now, but I know they own their own rights and ISBNs, so they could expand in the future if they wish. I’ll update if it changes.

But, in bigger news for the blogging folk, Dark Divinations gave me a great excuse to create new profiles you may not have seen.

My profile pic is now an actual picture instead of the ye olde Grandfather Mountain landscape you’re used to. Now it’s just sexy as hell.

Amazon Author Page and Facebook Page

The Dark Divinations team wanted a recording of us reading our story – and, if you go to my twoFacebook page (sorry, Chelsea, but I loved that term too much to not use), you can watch the video I made and hear a sample of “Miss Mae’s Prayers”.

But don’t expect much out of the Facebook page – I frikkin’ don’t like Facebook, and I feel like just having something on there makes me a hypocrite. Feel free to follow or share it around if you want (I don’t care), but I only plan on using it for truly official crap like when a publisher makes me or if it would really help the anthology out (like making the vid for their watch party).

And! AND! The same publication meant it was time for me to get an Amazon Author Page! It’s just got that anthology for now, but maybe – just maybe – that will grow one day! I’m pursuing the traditional publishing route, though, so I wouldn’t expect that to be soon.

Carrot Ranch Column

My new profile pic actually made a stealth debut in my latest Carrot Ranch column. Check it out down at the bottom!

into the past carrot ranch square

In this column, I talk about a powerful and underappreciated influencer from American history: Sequoyah, the inventor of the Cherokee syllabary. Ride over to the ranch if you want to know more!

Wattpad Journey: OVER

I didn’t make the longlist with my weirdo Wattpad story Our Lady of Perdition, but honestly I didn’t expect it. It’s clearly an adult tale with a ton of symbolism and metaphor that in no way works with the target audience (and, thus, the judges) of the Open Novella contest. I’m actually honored to have made it as far as I did!

So, if you want to read an approx. 20k story about WWII pilots landing on a really terrible island, you can go here!

Our Lady of Perdition

WORK

Ok, I’ll admit it – the big reason I’m not as available now is I got a job. A job making drugs.

I don’t think it will keep me away forever, but the initial push to get myself up to speed and doing well has taken quite a bit of effort. I can feel that stress of being new letting up, but it’s not quite done yet.

(Also, secret secret… I had a video game I wanted to play this month, so even my free time ended up going to complete waste, haha!)

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What all sorts of things have you done this month? Anything you’d like me to check out? Leave them in the comments!