About a Memory

Last week, at Norman Galaxy of Writers, my friend, and author, William Bernhardt, led us in poetry writing. About a memory. This is what I wrote. A memory from my childhood that answered a lot of questions for me. Thanks, Bill.

img_3406

Front Porch.

Concrete Porch.

Red painted wood siding.

Prickly Leaf Bush.

Hose coiled up behind it.

Magnolia tree that only blooms once

a year in front of me.

Writing stories of what my life would be.

Sheets of loose leaf lined paper spread

out before me.

Illustrating every page.

The concrete pebbles imprint on the paper.

The smell of grass.

The sound of cars.

The feint smell of oil on the storm door hinges.

The magnolia tree is blooming.

Nothing is without reason.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Synesthesia

Synesthesia. You should look it up.

fullsizerender-2

It’s when the senses are cross wired. It occurs differently in different people. For some, they “hear” smells, or “taste” sounds. I believe I have some degree of it.

When I paint or write, or compose music, when I just go about my day I see things, subtle  patterns overlaid onto the fabric of things. Colors, symbols. Its very difficult for me to describe.

img_3406

Or, when I write I sometimes use the “wrong” sense to describe something. To a point where I have to go back and change it so the reader will understand me. Sometimes I leave it like I wrote it.

I sometimes think that all artists have some degree of it. It allows them to see things differently from others. I believe that is what drives them to create in the first place.

For me it is both beautiful and lonely, and I think that’s what has always driven my work. My music. My painting. My writing. Because when I share it with you, once I take it out of my head and I show it to you, then I no longer have to see the world, in the unique way that I do, alone.

img_3053

And I thank you.

Tom

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mouth of the Dragon

Work in Progress. Acrylic on Canvas. 36"x42"

It’s been a little awhile since I’ve written here.

But I’m back now. And I will keep this short.

First of all, I’m still slaying dragons.

Second off, I just sent off to my publisher what I think is an amazing short story called “Souls of a  Lion”. It’s different on a lot of levels. I’ll be sharing more about that soon.

But the the big news:

My new novel, Mouth of the Dragon, published by Perseid Press, is scheduled to be out very soon.

I just sent off the dedication and acknowledgement pages, so more than likely in the next 2 months. I do not have a hard release date yet, but when I do I will share it with you here, along with everywhere else I can get my hands on.

Mouth of the Dragon is the follow up to my first novel, Veil of the Dragon, and it’s prequel serial, Awakening Evarun, though none of them are required. For readers new to my work, Mouth of the Dragon can be read first.

Here’s the elevator pitch:

Mouth of the Dragon

Prophecy of the Evarun

The Veil of the Dragon rises in the east.

So does the veil between prophecy and the past, and the Prophecy of the Evarun suffers no rivals.

To save the ones he loves, Chaelus must choose between the greater enemy, the dragon he hunts, or the prophecy he’s promised to serve.

 

I’ll be sharing more about it soon.

Can’t wait until I get to share it all with you.

God Bless.

Tom

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Changing Seasons

I am making time to write this.

Because I really think I need to.

Because I am tired and having a hard time writing anything.

But I think its just a change of seasons.

It has to be.

Otherwise I am in deep doo doo.

And I have a hard time believing that. Not after everything I have been through to get here.

Sometimes the words, they just don’t come.  Sometimes they wait, and write themselves, someplace else, someplace very sacred, where words and stories and paintings go. 

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is wait for them.  To finish.

It’s like waiting for the seasons to change.

Because that’s how I believe it really works anyways.  I don’t think I’m really all that smart enough to come up with all the things that I see.  I think its all already there.  I just tell their stories.

And when you think of it, as impatient as I can be, I pretty much have had to learn to wait for everything.  And when I do, its always better, then if I had gotten it what I asked for it. And I don’t want to sell myself short anymore.

Because I’m worth, and my stories are worth, way more than that.

And like I said, they’re not really mine anyways.

In fact, I’m pretty lucky I even get to write them at all.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Vision Beyond my Circumstances

 stormtrooper and sons

To a large extant it has been the ability to have a vision beyond my circumstances that has allowed me to live as well as I have these past several years.  It has allowed me to do things I swore that I could never do.  It has allowed me to be someone, I didn’t think that I’d ever get to be.

But I did, and I am.

It has allowed me to survive the ending of a marriage.  It has allowed me to grow as a father to my sons.  It has allowed me to share my experience with others, It has allowed me to do a lot of things I never was able to do before; not spending money I don’t have, gardening, landscaping, working out, and writing, being but a few of them.

But something happened this weekend, something got let go.

And for the first time, in a very real way, I feel like I’m there now.  Not at the end, but the path I was meant to be on.  Not to say that everything is easy, or that I still don’t have an awful lot to learn, or that life itself won’t happen, but that I know now without a doubt that I have everything I need, and that the vision that I had is now.

It certainly makes it easier to be where your feet are.

It seems to be where the grace of a loving God always takes me.

 Balancing Stones. Detail. Limestone and Granite.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

On the Business of Writing

12622_10200314078123046_2074345160_n

So, at some point I became a writer.

I write as much as I can, as often as I can, which, to be honest, is not nearly as much as I would like to.

But I do write.

And, I guess, at some point by doing that, I actually became an author. And, for the sake of definition, I will consider that as someone who wrote and actually finished what they were writing. But that’s the whole point, right. Oh yes, and publishing it too.

And in case you don’t know, for me, there are alot of ways to do that. It just depends on your goals.

My goal with publishing my work, is to make enough to pay for the time I put in to it.  I want my writing, my art, to be self-supporting.

I had read an article called “A Thousand Fans”, which mapped out how to make a living as an artist. Basically, if one had a thousand fans, who were willing to drop $20.00 a year on the artists work, which as a writer, would be a novel or a few short stories a year, then they could gross $20,000.00 a year. Not enough to quit your day job. But what about 5,000 fans? That’s $100,000.00 a year, and then you can really quit your day job. Not that I want to by the way.

Suddenly, being on the New York Times Best Seller list didn’t seem so critical.

 And I could take my time.

As I said, I dont get to write as much as I’d like to. I still raise three sons and work full time and I dont want to get my priorities out of line.

So I’m taking a longer view, a longer range plan. I’m building my base up and growing as a writer. Mine is a mixture of traditional and self published work.

Over the last 2 years, I’ve started my own imprint for my self published work, called Gossamer Press. I’ve signed 3 contracts with an amazing publisher, Perseid Press, for short stories that I’ve written. I’ve made some incredible relationships and connections. I’m selling myself as an author.

And I’ve been able to earn a few bags of groceries a month.

In the 2 years, with my self published work, Veil of the Dragon, Awakening Evarun and Wolfbane each hold a ranking of 4.5-5 stars on Amazon.

This is how many units I’ve moved so far:

05/31/13

Awakening Evarun (I-VI):

Kindle Units Free:                1831

Kindle Units Sold: 295                        

Total:                                      2,126

 Veil of the Dragon:

Kindle Units Free:                1552

Kindle Units sold: 30

Paperback sold:                   122

Total:                                      1,704

 Fall of the Chosen  (I of VI)

Kindle Units Free:                84

Kindle Units sold: 5

Total:                                      89

 Wolfbane (I of 3):

Kindle Units Free:                139

Kindle Units sold: 17

Total:                                      156

Gross Profit:

Kindle:                   $681.83

Paperback:            $1,220.00

Total:                      $1,901.83

It may not be alot in the big scheme of things, I know, but it’s a good beginning, enough of one, so that in 3-5 years, I can actually see myself where I want to be, having a thousand fans.

Hopefully, If I don’t already, I can have you as one of them.

And if I do already, well, then thank you.

148952_10100164301710291_1387552562_n

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Regarding Fatherhood.

I had been talking with my friend.

I’d been up late the night before, rocking my infant son to sleep.  I was complaining to my friend about how tired I was.

He brought me up short with the comment, “That’s a privilege I don’t have anymore.”

I’m pretty sure he was refering to the fact that his kids had already grown up.  Which would have been enough, right there.  But the thing that had brought me up short was the fact that it was only just a year before that I had lost my only child, my daughter Olivia. Only just a year before, I really had lost that privilege, and as far as I knew at the time, could easily never have that privilege again.

And there I was complaining because I’d gotten to stay up a lttle too late late rocking my son to sleep.

I remember for the next few weeks, I whispered over and over to myself, “This is a privilege, this is a privilege,” as I rocked him in my arms. Wanting to be different just wasn’t enough.  I had to have practice.

And I still do.

And I get to.

Over the last several years I’ve gotten to do some really hard things.

One of the hardest of them was deciding to raise my three sons on my own.

It was absolutely the last thing in the world I wanted to do.  But given the circumstances in our home, it was exactly what I had to do.  And there were still oh so many days when I didn’t want to, when I knew that they disn’t want me to, and when I didn’t think that I could, and when I didn’t think I would even get to.

But I did.

And I couldn’t be more grateful.

It’s taken three and a half years.  From that decision to where we’re at now, of just doing the next right thing, of just letting it be, even when it hurt, even when it hurt them, and just watching and listening to that still small voice inside of me, and letting it all unfold, to get to a place where we are now, and know that everyone is safe, and we get to live a life that has actually kind of settled.

And it’s nice.

 544624_10200721301063365_1963911206_n

 

318141_10200682997945811_1210642432_n

They’re too big to rock to sleep now, but I still get to read to them, mostly.  Julian, the youngest is already getting pretty good at reading on his own.  Maxwell, the middle child, climbs down from his bunk and sits with us as we read together.  Nicholas reads on his own in his bed.  Then I get to lie down with each of them, and tuck them in and tell them that I love them.  And they tell me I’m the best dad a son could ever have.

And I just get to say thank you.

And that’s really pretty nice.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Remembering to Choose

I remember the moment like it was yesterday.

I needed to make a descision between God, and insanity and death.

It’s surprising how appealing insanity and death can be.

Because my daughter was dying.

Her name was Olivia. She was just 2 1/2, and had gone into fibral siezures while taking a nap just two days before and had never come out of it. Still to this day, I don’t know what happened except that maybe she had lyme disease from a tick bite that had gone dormant. Lyme disease can do that. Anyways, at the time, the doctors and nurses couldn’t tell us anything, except that they were fighting for her. But it wasn’t doing any good.

So I stood there, in the hall of the hospital. It was off of a breezeway between two wings. I still smoked back then.

And I remember I just wanted to die.

But instead I got to see everything else. How for the nine years before that, I had got to see my life unfold spiritually in a way I could never have ever imagined. The voice of a friend reminded me how all of those nine years was allowing me to do this. How I was still a husband. How I was still a father.

How nothing had changed.

And I began to see God in everything. And I got to help my daughter die. And I got to be a husband, a father, a son, a friend to the people around me. I got to find out that people on four continents were praying for my family. I got to thank the 400 people who had known her, been touched by her and came to her funeral.  I got to let them love me after when I couldn’t love myself.

Because I got to see it wasn’t about me.

I got to know that right before my daugher had gone down for her nap, she had grabbed a camera and gave it to her mother and said, “Momma, take a picture of me.”

Olivia 1

 And I know without a doubt in my mind that my daughter is ok.

She would have been 13 years old this past January.

And for a moment, on that day, I lamented the fact that I would’t get to guard the door for her, from all the boys who would be calling after her, like the other dads did.

But then I remembered I get to raise three little gentlemen instead. My three sons.

And they all get to know their sister.

And we’re ok.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 25 Comments

A Story to Tell.

Just got the kids to bed.

The whispers of the day have died down.

It’s the time when I get to pause and take stock.

So I am.

About the day.

But also about how my life has changed, and some of the things I’ve gotten to walk through these past several years.  About all of the things I’ve been silent about and some of the things I’ve shared.

I have not posted here on my blog in some time. Just wasn’t time.  Wasn’t the right time, for some of these things.

But I think I need to write about them now.  For myself.  But for others too. 

Because I think I have a story to tell.

About being a dad.  About losing a daughter.  About being divorced.  About raising three sons on my own.  About the love of my family.  About the love of my friends.  About being an Architect, an Artist, a Writer.  About being broke.  About being a son.  Mostly though, mostly, it’s about my learning to have a God at the center of my life.

And I don’t know where its going to go.

But I’ll think a good place to start it is here.

So wish me luck.

God Bless.

Tom

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Rubicon

I’m crossing the Rubicon.

It’s the river that Julius Caesar had to cross prior to his return to Rome. It represents a point of no return. Or a new beginning.

And it is.

But I would like to point out that I’ve also crossed the Rhine – Awakening Evarun now has downloads in the UK, Germany and Spain!

And downloads of Awakening Evarun for 2012 so far, well, here they are:

Awakening Evarun          Sales Totals        02.5.12

J              F              M            A             M            J

I               20           147                                                                         167

II             7              3                                                                              10

III            7              1                                                                              8

IV            6                                                                                              6

V             9              1                                                                              10

T              49           151                                                                         200

All of February downloads for Part I are promo – But if even if only 20% of those finish out the series – I’m thrilled –  thats 150 units sold I otherwise would have missed. But even without that, looking at January I see my best month yet at 1 1/2 units  a day. So, something’s definately happening. There are ripples in the pond.

Sales numbers aside, I cannot express enough how much Im enjoying, and learning, by spending time with Janet Morris and her Hellions. Great Authors. Great People. Happy for me to get to even be with them. I just finished a draft for review for “Visionaries in Hell” – called for now anyways  – Blood and Ash. Beowulf meets Boudica meets Joan of Arc in Hell. And so much fun to write.

Be sure to check out “Lawyers in Hell” now though, the current installment of Heroes in Hell. Again, great work by some great authors. It’s on Amazon as both Trade paperback and Kindle.

Lawyers in Hell

Publication is still moving forward for Veil of the Dragon. It will be in May. Shooting the book trailer next weekend so expect to see that along with ARC copies probably by middle of March. Illustrations are almost done. Cover layout started.

As for the final installment of Awakening Evarun – It will be available about the middle of March as well. Im feeling a bit sad about seeing the series end. For alot of reasons. But it’s not, not really.

My Muse just whispered to me it’s just the start of an even better beginning…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment