Five-Thing Thursday: November 24th.

Welcome, everyone to another Installment of Five Thing Thursday! By happy coincidence, this installment Five-Thing Thursday falls on Thanksgiving so, without further ado…

Here are Five Things that I am Thankful for:

Thing #1: My Health. If you’ve been following the blog lately (Thanks!), you’ll know that I’ve been recovering from Covid. I’m feeling better, and have once again reached that point where I feel like I could jump back into the normal routine, but this time I’m going to ease back into the load of activity. See? I can, in fact learn from my previous missteps.

Thing #2: My Family and friends. Family has been easier to keep in touch with, but this year, I’ve really felt the absence of my friends and, in a larger context, the writing community. It’s easier, nowadays to drift into isolation. I’ve already taken steps to remedy that, and will make it a focus in the coming year.

Thing #3: Dogs. I include them with family, but doggos get a special mention.

Thing #4: Music. If you know me at all, you know that I need music like I need to breathe. It picks me up when I’m down and lifts me higher when I’m up. There’s been so much good stuff released since this time last year, and I’m always looking forward to the next discovery.

And what, you may ask, is playing on the Mental Jukebox today? Love Dagger by Seven Kingdoms.

Thing #5: There are so many things to choose from, that I’m finding it difficult to settle on just one. So I’m going to finish up by saying that I’m thankful for the wider world out there and everything in it. For the opportunities to make memories both at home and abroad. And for the people I’ve met along the way.

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What am  I reading this week?

Thieves’ Quarry by D. B. Jackson

The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

I’ve been doing nothing but relaxing lately and – not to put a wrong spin on it – I’m ready to start working my muscles again. Which, in its own wy is relaxing, as counterintuitive as it sounds.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

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Resting is Hard Work

So as not to suggest that I’ve not forgotten about it. I’m still processing my recent trip to England, Scotland, and Wales. I’ve got a post coming about it soon.

If you’ve read last week’s post, and might be curious…it wasn’t your typical, run-of-the-mill creeping crud.

Yup, after a couple of years of dodging bullets, I caught covid and let me go on a bit of a bit of a side-track here.

Aside from a time way back in my very late teens when I came down with Mono (Which put me to sleep at a Metallica concert), and recovering from cancer surgery, I can’t remember ever feeling so ground down.

Looking at the data, my resting heart rate while I was sleeping – which is typically in the low 50’s in beats per minute, spiked to 71 BPM. Again, this is while I WAS SLEEPING. My baseline resting heartrate during the day is around 69 BPM. My resting BPM for the past few days was 84.

Clearly there was some Battle of the Pellenor Fields level of shit going on.

At that time it was easy to rest. I couldn’t do anything else, though let me tell you, there’s a kind of guilt – I’m going to call it recovery guilt – that you feel when you’re not “Pulling your own weight” day-to-day.

For a while there, it was just my wife keeping the house running and, despite every bit of evidence (and there was a lot of it) that I needed to keep my ass planted and keep on recovering, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was somehow slacking off. I mean, I’d moved past the point where I needed 12 hours of sleep, and naps. I’m here at my desk, writing a bit, playing games, scrolling through twitter (Which, in hindsight, might not have been all that good for me), etc. Why can’t I get up and, restfully, do some dishes? Maybe fold some laundry?

Now the important thing to keep in mind here is that this is ENTIRELY internal dialogue. At no time ever did I feel pressured to do anything outside of recover.

But those brain weasels, man…

Then, yesterday, I started feeling better and that, Reader, is where I mis-stepped. Naturally, if I’m feeling better, I’m clearly done with resting and should immediately resume all normal activities, right? No easing back into the routine. Who needs that? In fact, I’ve let slip some things that I should maybe stretch a little to get caught back up, right?

RIGHT???

Spoiler alert:

Ah, you’re a smart person, Reader. You already know the anser to that, so I won’t waste any electronic space on it.

Suffice it to say that one day of a little bit of extra activity around the house and I’m feeling it pretty hard.

I shouldn’t be surprised, having read the road map of what was going on prior to now, but the ingrained drive to DO ALL THE THINGS is really hard to shake.

Resting is hard work. The problem is that it shouldn’t be.

So I’ve caged the brain weasels (Again) and hopefully, I’ve stashed the key somewhere that’ll take me some time to find.

In the mean time, it’s back to taking care of myself.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

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Five-Thing Thursday: November 17th.

Welcome, everyone to another Installment of Five Thing Thursday!

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: It’s a hard thing, determining what isn’t helping you. Sure there are some things that are easy, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Some of that stuff might be at least mildly entertaining. Do I really need to listen to 200+hours of a podcast when I could fill that time with stories?

Thing #2: It’s also hard to tell if it’s something that you should cut your losses on…or if it’s just hard.

Thing #3: In both cases, your best guide will come from the voice within.

Thing #4: What’s playing on the Mental Jukebox today: Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi.

Thing #5: Kettle style potato chips are better for…well, just about any application, but thick dip? Definitely.

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What am  I reading this week?

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

Things have been really busy this past week. I’m taking time to process and reflect on everything I’ve seen.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

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Worn Down to the Nub

I just got back from a two week trip overseas. It was a lot of fun, and I had intended to post today all about it.

But it seems like I’ve brought back an unwarted souvenir and…I’ve got nothing today.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that it’s the common variety creeping crud.

And get some rest if you need it.

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Five-Thing Thursday: November 10th.

Welcome, everyone to another Installment of Five Thing Thursday!

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: Math and I still have an uneasy relationship.

Thing #2: If it isn’t working for you, You gotta let it go.

Thing #3: Make time for yourself – Wherever you are.

Thing #4: What’s playing on the Mental Jukebox today: In the Eye of the Storm by Arch Enemy.

Thing #5: It’s ok to let the “You” shine in the world.

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What am  I reading this week?

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

Still seeing new things. immersing yourself in a new culture. FOOD!!.

Oh, and the World Cup Finals are this weekend!!

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

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Red Saws, Brown Sauce

For those of you who may be wondering: No, that isn’t a Typo in the title – and I’m not talking about cutting anything, despite it being Halloween earlier this week.

What it is, is the Welsh spelling for “Sauce.”

What does this have to do with anything? Well, let me tell you a story:

I’ve been learning Welsh via DuoLingo. I’m on a 900 day streak, and I’m pretty sure that I could survive in Wales if they didn’t put the English translation on darn near every sign.

This is a good thing because “In Wales” is exactly where I am at the Minute.

More on that later on.

While DuoLingo was teaching me the Welsh words for colors, I came across the concepts of “Red Sauce” and Brown Sauce.”

It was completely out of context, and I had no idea what either of them were.

When I arrived in Wales, I made the decision to jump directly into the culture. I’ve tried as much of the local fare as I could and I discovered a few things: I like Leeks, Welsh Beer, when you can get it, is pretty good, and I learned about Red and Brown sauce.

Here’s how:

We (my wife and I) were at the cafe outside the remains of Castell Harlech (Harlech Castle), looking to get a bite to eat. I opted for a sausage roll, since I was familiar with everything else on the menu. It was at that moment they asked if I wanted Red or Brown sauce.

I somehow managed to maintain a cool exterior, as I thought about which one of these new things I would like to experience (It never occurred to me to try both) and I eventually decided on Red Sauce.

We went to our table with our drinks and I wondered about what was to come.

That was when my wife joked thusly:

I’ll bet you just ordered a hot dog with ketchup.

Now if, some days ago, you noticed a particular disturbance in The Force, that was because I was at the center of the most vehement, and most concentrated ball of denial on the planet. Possibly several planets.

It Could Not Be So. I had not flown clear across an ocean, scaled the towers of this centuries old castle, and felt the robust Welsh Wind upon my face (I really like the wind here, more on that later on perhaps) only to return to this cafe to order a hot dog with ketchup.

Which is, exactly (kinda) what they brought out to me. I say “Kinda” because it didn’t come in a typical hot-dog bun, like you’d expect, and it wasn’t like a Ballpark Frank.

Those differences aside, what I got was, in essence, a hot dog with ketchup.

I am still chuckling about it, even as I type this and, if I forget every other scrap of Welsh, I’ve learned, or will ever learn, I will *Never* forget Red or Brown sauce.

Which, if you’re curious, is:

Saws Coch (Red)

Saws Brown (Only pronounced with a hard ‘O’)

There are two morals to this story.

First (and most important) is that you should be ready, willing, and able to laugh at yourself at any time.

Second is that while it’s good to keep your head in the clouds, to imagine all sorts of new and wonderful things and experiences…It’s also not a bad idea to keep at least one foot on the ground.

Because Ketchup is ketchup, no matter what you call it.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

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Five -Thing Thursday: November 3rd.

Welcome, everyone to another Installment of Five Thing Thursday!

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: It’s hard to stay focused on what you’re doing when a doggo drops her head in your lap. And this is the way.

Thing #2: I have gone from being someone who couldn’t fathom why anyone would put ketchup on scrambled eggs to someone who REGULARLY puts siracha in my breakfast wraps

Thing #3: If you want to fly, you’ve got to let go of the shit that’s weighing you down. Toni Morrison said that (Credit where due).

Thing #4: What’s playing on the Mental Jukebox today: In the Eye of the Storm by Arch Enemy.

Thing #5: Sometimes you just gotta fall back and trust the the universe will catch you

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What am  I reading this week?

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

Music. Deep breathing, and seeing new things.

Oh, and the World Cup Semi finals are this weekend!!

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

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More Life Than Writing

If you’ve been following this blog for a while (Thanks!) or if you’ve glanced through the earlier stuff, you might have noticed that recently I am dropping more posts into the “Life” category than the “Writing” category.

Even if you haven’t noticed such a thing, I have.

Does that mean that I don’t have any more to say about writing? No, I don’t think that’s the case.

I think that, lately the things that I’ve wanted/needed to talk about are more applicable to the bigger picture. It’s been a hard time for everyone these past few years,. I won’t say that creative folk have been harder hit, but that’s the majority of people that I follow on The Socials, so that’s who I’m hearing from.

And what I’m hearing is that the work is still there (It will always be there) but the cycle of focus has shifted. Self-care, Mental Health, and just figuring out where your life is at the minute has come to the fore.

Maybe it should always be there, because I’m seeing some truly beautiful, and inspiring things. I see love and support and empathy and people seeing other people where they are.

And don’t get me wrong. I also think that discourse about the art and craft of writing is important, and it should be present as well. There’s no reason why they cant exist in the same space.

But I think that the pressures of the world – and there are pressures – and our collective responses to them have shifted our perspective.

And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

As Stephen King puts it: Life isn’t a support system for Art. It’s the other way around.

So if you’re feeling like you’ve got nothing left in the tank after Living…That’s ok. You’ve done what you could. Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, or even the few after that…you’ll find that you’ve got a bit of breathing room for the Art. Take it when you get it. Trust that things will find their balance. Use this focus on life to examine yours. Maybe you can speed up the state of equilibrium by shifting some stuff off the scales.

Ultimately, without You, there’s none of Your Art – whatever it may be. Take care of that first. The rest will follow.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

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Five-Thing Thursday: October 27th.

Welcome, everyone to another Installment of Five Thing Thursday!

Here are Five Things that I want you to know:

Thing #1: The Tea and Sanctuary Podcast by Emma Newman exists. It’s positive, Hopeful, Geeky, and I Cannot love this podcast more than I already do. Go put it in your ears.

Thing #2: You should also know that this clip of Michael Sheen giving a rousing speech for the Wales Football team exists. You can find it here. Now I’m not predominantly Welsh (The surname probably gives it away) but I felt like I could run through a wall after hearing this. Yma o Hyd!

Thing #3: Planning is good. Giving yourself enough time to execute those plans is better.

Thing #4: What’s playing on the Mental Jukebox today: Riders of the Storm by Hammerfall.

Thing #5: The week that you begin prepping for your first overseas trip EVER is NOT the week to decide to completely redesign your website.

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What am  I reading this week?

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

How have I been relaxing and refilling the well?

I have been catching up on The Rings of Power. I’ve been keeping abreast of the Rugby World Cup (Go Red Roses!!) and I have stopped by the store recently and gotten myself something nice.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

Chasing the Light

See you on Sunday!

Until then…

Be safe. Be Excellent to each other.

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Future Me

Today’s post is an appreciation post for someone who I don’t mention all that often: Future Me.

Ok, there’s also an apology that needs to happen because there have been times when I haven’t been all that cool to Future Me, but he always shows up. He picks up the pieces, he’s constantly doing the dishes, and he’s doing his best for Present Me.

So here it is:

I’m sorry that I don’t think about you as often as I should. I’m sorry that you’ve woken up, not getting as much sleep as I know you need.

I’ve been selfish.

And I’m sorry. I’ve been a terrible friend to you. You’ve always been there for me, and I wouldn’t be where I am if not for you.

I need to be better. I will be better. I am committing to keep you in my thoughts like you deserve. I’m committing to you that I’m going to start pulling my own weight.

I will work to become a person you can be proud of.

I love you, Brother.

Now you might be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Wow. Someone had a rough night.” But that’s not the case.

I’ve said before that this blog is as much for me as it is for you, Reader, and this thought about the relationship between Present Me and Future Me has been bubbling around the periphery of my thoughts for some time now.

Today, when the seasons are on the cusp of change, seemed to be a good time to bring them to the front, poke at them, and see what happens.

That’s what this is. This is me recognizing that I haven’t always been as forward thinking as I could have been. It is also me admitting that I’m not perfectly disciplined. There will inevitably be days where Future Me will have to pick up from where Present Me fell short. This is me acknowledging this and, more importantly, accepting that I will fall short of the ideal from time to time.

What I can do, though, is work to keep those days to a minimum. We both deserve that much, and I think we both realize that what really matters is the attempt. The decision to move toward something better – even if it’s a single step – matters, and is worth acknowledging.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Thursday.

###

Be sure to check out the Freebies Page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West

Trials

Predators in Petticoats

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