Sea of Illusion

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We often find ourselves lost on a sea of illusion. We see the world around us, at least it’s composition according our little corner, and we may think that’s all there is or could be.

We remove people who’ve done damage to the people we care about most, and we’re better for losing those people.

It’s our way of fighting the delusion of self. The perfection of who believe ourself to be and on that sea we may find the waves smashing against the hull of self. We plum the depths of who we are, never sure of that belief.

There are moments upon the swells or in the squall that sometimes persist where we narrow our focus upon one thing. It’s this isolation of focus where our greatest work may come from. It’s the isolation, and maybe the desertion of self and all the pesky things we associate with it that holds us back.

Upon the sea of illusion rests an island of discovery. It’s this island where we write, paint, perform, and as with every artist of one form or another, it’s our passion place. Our isolated little hole in our mind. It’s where we go to break free from the randomness and to absorb what we’ve been through.

Finding our way out and into the island is sometimes difficult, but it’s the enjoyment of this one thing that gives us the most satisfaction.

Travel the sea of illusion. Find the island of discovery and stay within its confines. There’s magic in that sand.

Gained A Level, or a few.

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I sat down the other day and wrote out all the projects I’ve written in the seven years since my family moved from Las Vegas to Ogden, Utah.

I have 10 projects either done, outlines, or ready to be written.

Four thrillers in the military/political/espionage realm and six in the horror genre.

I’ve been hard as hell on myself for the last few months. Writing these down feels like I’ve gained a level in my writing.

I’m a big gamer, and I have been since the ’80s. Looking at all this feels like I gained a level in one of my games. The fear of rejection and the fraud police will always be on my mind, but I have a date for my military/political thriller novel, November 1st. Here is the link.

But I want to thank everyone who commented on my posts over the last few months. I’m working through some things personally, and all of your support has been amazing.

I have a whiteboard above my desk, and I have all of the books I’ll be publishing until 2024 listed. There are seven with dates. I have one of the 10 I listed above out on submission. As soon as I get a reply on that, I’ll add it to the queue.

I write horror and military/political/espionage thrillers. I grew up watching horror and reading thrillers. Tom Clancy will always be my favorite in the genre, but Mark Greaney, Jack Carr, David Baldacci, Brad Thor, and Brad Taylor are my favorites right now.

Here‘s my list of what I’m currently reading.

I hope you have a good rest of your week.

Not sure where this is going.

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Over the last few weeks, I’ve thought about where I’m going with my writing. What am I doing right? What am I doing wrong?

I don’t have answers to either of those questions. I feel I put in enough time editing than I used to. I feel I’ve worked hard to overcome many of my crutch issues.

I submit when I see a call that a story will fit with. I work on my craft by reading books on writing and reading all genres of books. I’m thinking of stepping away to work on something else. Myself.

I have a novella out on submission and a thriller novel that I’ll be submitting in August, but after writing 13 novels and novellas, I’m not enjoying this. I write daily because that’s the deal my wife and I made when we left Las Vegas.

I would write and bartend a few days to make ends meet.

Anymore, I wonder if I’m helping her out enough. If I’m helping my kids enough.

Am I doing everything I can to make them happy?

There’s one thing about this I haven’t put forward often. Am I doing enough to make myself happy?

I don’t usually think about this. I used to put myself before anyone. That came from having the biological father I did. He always put himself first. I did that for years. I’ve worked hard to not be that way, but I think something was lost.

I think more about making others happy and not myself. I worry about whether others are getting what they need. I never consider what I need. It just doesn’t feel like I’m as important as everyone else. Maybe that has to do with my childhood, I’m not sure. I know this mentality has screwed up how I view my writing life.

I’m leaning towards getting the thriller submitted and seeing how it goes. Afterward, I’ll reevaluate my writing and whether I’ll write to submit, which is what I’ve done for the last seven years.

I have my story collection on Amazon and wish it would do well, but it hasn’t. After two years on Amazon and other places, I may pull it after it goes through its cycle on KU.

Today I finished a story, and it’s brutal and destructive. I don’t know what I’ll do with it right now. Probably keep it with the rest of my stories on my hard drive. I’ve worked hard on these stories. I’d like someone else to enjoy them.

I’m beginning to think I missed the turnoff somewhere. I don’t know where to go from here.

Back to work

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There are many clouds over my head as I write this. I feel their showers, their thunder, and I’m waiting for their lightning strikes.

I’m writing from my desk as I construct a new project from my wife’s dream. I can’t give the details, but it intrigues me, and while she’s given me permission to construct something from it, I will stray into something darker than I’ve done before.

The factors of the dream are not what will make it terrifying. It’s the elements I intend to add.

This is where I dig into what I’ve been doing since my last post.

Over the last few weeks, I finished the exercises in Writing In The Dark Workbook. This book has changed how I create without completely diving into the exercises.

I have thought about sharing my response to the exercises, but I’ve created too many beginnings for stories, and I want to keep them to myself.

I will say this about the two books, yes, there are two. The first is Writing In The Dark, based on Tim’s articles. The second is Writing In The Dark: The Workbook, and you will do some work.

This book makes you look at your writing in a new way. It did with me, at least. I feel I’ve found a way to create an outline with a horror novel.

I’ve never found a way that actually works for me. I’ve always written horror as a pantser. It’s when I write thrillers that I’m able to create an outline. After finishing the workbook I feel more confident in my writing, which I’ve struggled with for a long time.

Moving forward, I will revisit this workbook with every project.

I have to get to the editing on my thriller novel this week. I will be submitting that to agents in the next couple of months. I still have a novella out on submission. It has been over a year, but I’m holding out for it. I love the story. It would be great for it to be picked up.

I will see you next time.

Getting through it

There have been many days where I wanted to quit. When it all felt worthless. When I wanted to throw my laptop and all the stories I’ve written in the trash.

This last week I spent time with my family at Disneyland. It was fun but we have our issues sometimes. I’m sure it’s that way with every family.

It made me realize that my head was getting in the way of my progress. I was letting my thoughts run my life. That’s not a way to live. The thoughts were terrible and I wish I could forget all of them, but they’re still there in some empty space in my brain.

I didn’t write on that trip. I barely took any pictures. I stayed as much in the moment as I could. And it was hard. I can’t remember the last time I put everything away and stayed in the moment so solidly. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve done.

I’m usually on my phone looking at social media, but I only did that on a couple of instances last week.

Being in the moment was as difficult sober as I knew it would be. There were too many times I wanted a drink to steady my brain. It made me want a drink and it also made me lash out at my family. That was my fault. I wasn’t prepared for all of what was going on around me and I wanted to dull it.

No dulling happened and I stayed a bit angry. I’m angry at myself today for not handling it better and for not understanding how difficult it would be to manage all of the stimulation around me. Which I should have.

Now I’m back at the desk working this week. I’m making my way through Tim Waggoner’s Writing In The Dark Workbook and will have a review with some of the exercises up when I’m done.

I can’t say enough about how this book has helped me. I’ll save that for the review.

I hope you’re going to have a good week and as I struggle to deal with my behavior I hope you’re managing your own.