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The new school year was beginning, and you were both very small. Your sister was coming back to live with me — I remember I had dealt with yet another attempt by your father to kidnap her and had to put my foot down to get her back — but you wanted to keep living with him.

So my father and mother loaded you both up to take her to me where I lived several states northward.

I remember looking forward to getting to visit with you and to see my parents. I cleaned like there was no tomorrow. I prepared the spare room with the roommate/landlord's permission. I scrounged up blankets and bought food. I was going to cook for you, and maybe we would watch TV together or something.

You guys arrived. My daughter ran to my arms, and I looked up waiting to receive you as well. But you had started to run and changed your mind. I guess you thought I only loved your sister. Little kids are like that. So I got up and went to you.

You weren't there for five minutes before my father announced he wanted to go home. I didn't have the resources to put my foot down. There would have been no way I could afford to get you back home by myself. 

You're all grown up now and that still hurts. I got to see you for maybe an hour because my father didn't want to stay and visit with his only daughter. So you stayed a few minutes, then he loaded you up and took you away.

There have been many other times my parents decided I wasn't enough for them to make more than a five minute effort. 

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A Dream

I have had this dream from time to time for the past 15+ years, although it had been a long while since the last time. I dreamed it last night, and just like all the other times I can barely remember walking the roads and climbing the hills as I try to get me and my children home.

The highway goes alongside the beach, and although I normally start out driving a car I always end up walking. But that's apparently the best thing for the terrain, for although I walk a paved highway a car could not have made it. The hills are very steep and I have to work very hard to get to the top. Sometimes I have to climb on all fours. This time I did so carrying a plastic bag. I cannot remember what was in the bag.

At one point I saw my son, when he was cute and five to seven years old. I knew my daughter was behind me, but there was my son standing in the bare earth with bare feet and baggy jeans on the side. I still remember the sunlight glinting off of his hair, which was oddly very straight even though in reality his hair is curly and beautiful. I asked him if he would come home with me and live with me again. I always ask him that when he's that age, much like I had asked him that repeatedly for the past 15 years or so.

This time he said yes, and I was elated that my boy wanted to live with his mother. So we continued to climb and walk, headed home. The sky was blue and the weather was fair. Sure walking was tough, but life is tough and if we looked around the world was a very lovely place.

As I woke up it took me a while to return to the present. It took a very long time for me to remember that my boy wasn't small anymore. He's a grown man now, and I don't know where my children are living because they don't want me to know even though I only sent a card at birthdays and Christmas and did not try to intrude in any way. And I had to block and back away, because the habit of abusing me was passed from one to another. And that he'd spent his whole life pushing me away. He'd only wanted to get to know me one time in his life, and I'd talk to him on the phone. But I guess that died for him. But it would considering the influences around him.

Thus the false joy in that dream has left me weeping.

Humpty Dumpty

You told me this morning, as I lay in bed with an upset stomach unable to join you, that you'd try to be home by 10 pm. You made that offer. And silly me - even though you're a man I took you at your word. It's a habit I can't seem to break.

Through the day as things happened I tried to call you. This time when you didn't pick up and didn't even text back, I knew it was different. It felt different.

Maybe it's because you were far too eager to go to this last minute wedding. You were far too eager.
Maybe it was when you left this morning you weren't dressed for a wedding. You were dressed nice, but in jeans and a t-shirt. Ready to do other things.
Maybe it was the way you haven't been coming home from work right away lately.
How you have personal errands to "fix people's computers".
How you tell me you'll be right back and then don't because you found a game to play or cards to arrange - and basically have been getting your priorities skewed again.

Maybe it's because you haven't touched me in weeks. You have no interest - but obviously like the look of Supergirl's long legs. (That's the ONLY thing that show has going for it, so it's not hard to deduce.)

You can be loving and supportive, but for months now I've been feeling like your wililngness to go with me to the dentist is more out of a sense of duty than anything.

All I know is after a lifetime of being kicked around and having my ability to trust stripped from me like some flower waiting to be raped, I'd finally moved to the point where I could say to you, "Why don't you go to the game shop tonight? I gotta get this deadline so it's not like I can do anything with you."

I realize you have no idea in this cosmos  what a supreme act of trust it is for me to say that to you - to entrust you to run around while I work as I'm always doing. Work. Work. Work. You have no clue how much strength it takes for me to say it.

So imagine when your father called me to tell me why you're not picking up the phone. Imagine having to hear second hand that you had no plans to come home by 10 pm. Why, to be home by 10 pm you'd have to be on the road right now. But you're not.

Admittedly, you're supposedly with your brother and considering the years of animosity you thought was between you two this is an incredible step forward. I wouldn't get in the middle of that. And I'm not.

Imagine how it felt for me when I realized you probably had no intentions of coming home tonight - that for the second weekend in a row while you're fucking around I'll be handling the yard work by  myself, the house by myself, and anything else that comes up by  myself. Compound it with how I've been doing a lot of that already over the years, it can only come to one sad conclusion.

Exactly two hours ago my very fragile trust in you, that was growing, has been destroyed.

You lied to me. By the looks of things you've BEEN lying to me. Oh yes, sure they weren't big lies. Not yet anyway. They're still lies, red flags, signs to get out.

So maybe it's time for me to get out.

I do not think I'll be able to say to you, "Go play" anymore. Because you lied to me, to go play. You couldn't even take a moment to pick up the phone, to let me know what's going on, to reassure me, or really anything. The minute you left I didn't exist. It's like you don't want me to exist.

Men always do that. They get tired of their toys and they throw us away.

Other women can overlook this and carry on. I on the other hand have a lot of experience with being thrown out on my ear - usually on my birthday - when this situation starts.

No. I cannot, as a matter of survival, trust you anymore.

Dear Children

Today is the boy's birthday. He is 23 years old. And last month was the girl's birthday.

For the first time I didn't send cards. I didn't go through hell scraping together any amount of change to give you a birthday token. I tried not to let the days get me down.

You made it easy of course. You "couldn't tell me your new address until the dust settled" so I had nowhere to send cards and gifts to. You don't call, don't write, don't make any contact. And each time you do your father suddenly locks down the internet to make it harder to communciate - so the boy has told me, I dunno what's true here - and you're not interested anyway. I'm not family to you, for all of my sacrifices that I made for your well being. For all those years I thought of you BOTH constantly, dreamed of you even. For all that time I did my best to be the thing you (and your father, I've heard him) say I never was. A good mother.

I know that emotionally I am sometimes hard to reach. The boy tried when he was younger, and I did try to reciprocate - but I was also working my ass off to support the girl with no child support coming in. I was tired. I was overworked. In other words - gasp - I was a responsible adult.

The girl would complain to me that I was always working while her father was always home and able to play video games. And I'd wish... that I too could do something like that. Not work, I mean. And life wasn't the pretty set up the shows and movies make it out to be for single parents. I didn't have half the time the characters do.

So today is the boy's birthday. I'm up at 4 am, like I was 23 years ago, and I'm carrying on with life.

You see, although it pains me that you're both estranged due to various mechanisms I also learned something late in life that a lot of women could stand to learn before its too late. For me it was too late.

Abuse comes in all sorts of shapes and forms. Taking away everything from someone, for example, especially if they spend at least 18 years trying to be a friend to their ex and keep things amicable. Screaming curse words at them over the phone because they had the audacity to get married and reach for a better life after you have done the same is another good example. Telling people how "unstable" they are. Interfering with the relationship between parent and child.

And other things, signs that we should teach our daughters and sons to beware of. To watch for. To take as a signal to run very far away.

Things like: being locked out of a house to sit on a porch in the cold when you're 8 months pregnant.
Listening to the woman who filed for divorce get pissed and jealous because her ex-husband got a girlfriend and, gasp, let the girlfriend play with his son.
Listening to a different woman sit on the porch and tell her own son how much she doesn't love him because she loves his daughter more.

And if you don't watch for those signs one day, as a single mother, you'll be driving down the road thinking of your new boyfriend... and be shocked when your daughter gets offended that you're happy for once in your life. Honestly offended. "Why are you smiling like that?" Ten years old.

And you'll be confused when your ex has moved on and been shacking up with his girlfriend's family for years barely keeping a job yet you're somehow the unstable one.

When you get married to a good man - a real good man who gives you everything and works overtime to make you feel loved and safe - and the entire backend, including the children, are angry and offended that you'd dare to make such a move with your life.

So that even though it's been eighteen years, you realize that first black eye he gave you was nothing compared to the abuse he had been heaping upon you for years through the children. Through the court ordered situation with the children. But you were so acclimized you didn't quite catch on. You just wanted the kids to know their father, when really you should have made sure they didn't.

When the camel's back breaks, you knee jerk when old friends look you up. You don't want them to. Because they talk to HIM.

And you realize your kids don't see you has a real person. It takes a long while for that to sink it - this dark and horrible fact that the kids were so surrounded by the ex's hatred, that family's sick dynamic, that this is what they know and how they think. And their own mother is not family enough to deserve to be loved.

Kids, you're both adults now. I had waited until the youngest was 18 to say anything to her directly (eavesdropping on my private phone conversations doesn't count, m'dear) and by then it was too late. I'd done just what the counselors said to do and it was a mistake. I was the nice one and I paid the price.

The husband and I are cutting you from our will. Now the youngest - this pissed her off when I first considered doing that to the boy. This is yet another symptom of the ethics that family has passed down to you.

See, in order to be worthy heirs you have to act like heirs. Neither of you do. Neither of you have for years. One of you never have.

I am your mother. I am your parent. Of your ENTIRE family I'm the only one who set my pride completely and irrevocably aside to see you fed. I did things you hate me for to see you fed. You have no idea how hard it was, the kind of oppression and dirt I've had to deal with, all for you. You don't appreciate it. You don't care.

I am NOT a money bag. I am NOT a free source for a house. I am NOT an object.

This is why the husband and I have talked and decided you must be cut. We don't want our estate going to the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

But this is not my birthday present to you. No. I have a wish for my present. I am making a Wish.

You might remember. I'm good at those. I'm good at seeing them come true. In fact, when I was told you'd lost your home away from that horrible old man - you know the one who made it a point to tell me often how stupid and useless you two were - I said to myself,"Ah well, at least that's happening." And I hoped a lesson would be learned somewhere.

My wish then is that this keep going.

I wish you humbled.
I wish you wisened.
I wish you'd learn better than what you have been taught.

Because you can not come back to me until you do.

I love you. But love is no excuse to allow abuse to carry on. This is the lesson I have learned. If others knew this important thing, the world would be a much nicer place.


Store Level Achieved

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

As of just a few minutes ago, what I can do to get the online bookstore finished has been done. This included revamping all of my old things, which meant setting aside some current projects, while being careful not to let commissions get neglected. I’ve had to pace my work to mornings only, which has been a little frustrating for me because I wanted things done.

Well, they’re done as they can be. You can now visit Wôks Print to see what I mean. Everything in there has been set up to their respective distribution plans. For some that means Ingram. For others it means a special plan I created after a lot of research into various ebook aggregators. The final goal, of course, was to get The Heavenly Bride into China – or at least, standing against the Chinese firewall seeking permission to be allowed inside.

I have three things left to do with this. Two of these three things are books; The Page of Cups and It’s Never Romantic to Wash the Dishes. I’m a bit at a standstill with them. I could go ahead and push The Page of Cups through Ingram as I plan to do, yes, but I have decided it needs to be examined first. If there’s an area that needs fleshing out, now is the time. With Dishes, it’s almost the same situation. There’s a short story I recently submitted to an online magazine that would fit with it very well. But I have to hear back from this magazine first.

The third thing is actually a bunch of things. I have to decide what to do with the Heavenly Bride chapters. They used to do very well at Amazon. Sales for them died a long time ago.  Maybe the Amazon readers discovered the online website. Maybe I’m just that bad of a storyteller. Maybe it was that one review on Chapter 4 (3?) that did it. Either way, I wonder if it’s worth it to keep up with this effort.

Assembling the chapters is a little bit of work, even though I use templates to some degree. The time it takes pulls away from the time I have to make the next page of the current chapter. There’s also the fact that, well, if no one is buying them… is it worth it.

I am distributing the chapter books out, of course, so I thought perhaps I could just take the chapters down from Amazon and out of Smashwords distribution completely. I could then offer them in the Wôks store, even though I don’t expect anyone to frequent the store… ever.

Decisions, decisions.

For now I have to set these decisions aside. My brain will poke at them as I go about other business, and I’ll come to a decision eventually.

Chocolate would help enormously in this. I should get some chocolate.


New Cover Reveal and Other News

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Well, it looks like I’ll be going full-fledged publishing house after all – well, not to a large extent. But I find myself being forced to revamp/rebuild the online bookstore I keep here for the sake of The Heavenly Bride. You see, I finally was able to save up enough money to go to Ingram Spark, a self-publishing situation I’ve been eyeballing forever and a day. As of today, The Heavenly Bride Book 1 is approved for international distribution.

This means other things I’ve had to keep on the downlow will be falling in line. For the sake of my sanity and wallet, I’ve decided to handle them one by one. I don’t want too much time taken away from finishing up Boulder so that The Heavenly Bride Book 2 can also be submitted to Ingram. But there’s so much to do and so little time.

I’ve given up trying to find people who are serious enough to take over my book formatting business, so in a few hours I will be emailing Smashwords with a formal request to remove me from that part of Mark’s List forever. I’m going to keep the cover making side, though. I built that business up from the ground, and it really kept us fed when we needed it the most. However, things have changed for the better. I’m so happy to type that. Let me type it again. Things have changed for the better.

Our finances are finally stabilizing – thanks in large part to the effort of my darling hubby – so I can choose writing and creating more. At. Last. AT LAST!!!! I don’t get to choose 100% just yet, but this is a work in progress.

So while I continue to fight to make the visual novel and finish Boulder, I am also working towards something else I’ve always had to put off. I recently hired a voice actor to produce Only the Innocent in audiobook format.

Yes, I could have read it myself… when it comes to Black Wolf, Silver Fox I just might unless I can raise a few thousand towards that venture… but I really wanted to hear someone else read it. Production is underway, and with it comes the fact that this short ebook is going through a rerelease. Huh! And wow! The fact snuck up on me.

Rereleases mean new covers, so I’d like to announce this following beauty:


The prose version of the ebook is being uploaded to my ebook partners today. I will not be distributing it through Ingram as that won’t be necessary. It will still stay available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and a host of other places. I can’t wait to be able to announce that the audio version is complete.

When the bookstore is finished being revamped, I might announce it here. In the meantime, enjoy the spiffy new cover! And onward we go.


Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Does someone want to tell me why it’s 0300 hours and I’ve been trying to sleep for hours? And why is it that just when I finally DO fall asleep, the damn dog has to go potty – and the person who has potty duty won’t roll out of bed? Leaving me, the insomniac, forced to deal with the potty. And thus. I’m not quite wide awake, but I won’t be getting any sleep until dawn.

There have been wars, divorces and murders for less.

It’s rolling onto a month, and I just haven’t been able to get work done the way I want to. I keep trying, and time every day is being put into my commissions. I’ve once again put taking on any new work on hold until I’m done. And yet, despite my best efforts, I can’t seem to make any headway. Maybe it’s my online forensics class, which promised me it would only take up a couple of hours a week but has turned into a bit of a time-eating bear. Maybe it’s the fact that lately I sit at the computer and blink, only to realize I can’t remember how much time has passed. I dunno. Whatever it is, when sitting at your computer at 0300 hours you feel that maybe someone needs to get to the bottom of this.

Man I hate these insomniac spells because I can’t get anything done in the day, when I’m okay with being wide awake. People don’t realize that insomnia can be quite the obstacle in leading what most consider a normal and healthy lifestyle. I dunno. I haven’t even worked out for three days. It’s getting that bad.

I shouldn’t sit here bitching, though. I’m up. In a minute I’ll open my jobs and see what I can finish before 5 in the morning. I’m yawning my fool head off. But if I lay back down, the fat of my fat body will literally keep me awake. So I won’t bother just yet.

I’ve explored  here and there the notion of expanding The Writers of the Apocalypse into a full publishing house over the years. I toy with the idea. I’m not serious about it. But lately one of my clients has a conundrum and, in asking for my help, has put me back to looking at the publishing house idea.

There are a lot of small publishers out there. A plethora, in fact. But my client’s work doesn’t quite fit their niches. Erotica? Oh hell no. Romance? Not quite. Just about everything out there is romance, actually. Historical fiction? I found two possibilities for him. One had too many misspellings on their professional website and the other’s covers were… eeeh… let’s just say that when I examine a publisher, I’m going to look at how they do their covers. If their covers suck, I’m going to think twice – because this means they don’t know jack about marketing. Or perhaps they expect you to.

In my daily leaping to solve this problem, I’ve found a lot of resources that other self-publishers aren’t familiar with. And so it is that over time I’ve managed to develop quite the self-publishing distribution plan. It’s pretty far reaching. And part of it involves getting your stuff into the Asian market.

I’m currently in the testing phase of my plan. Depending on how things turn out, I might have some good things to share with the rest of the class.

The Asian market ain’t all that if you’re writing prose – although the German market sort of is. (I also found out how to get into that.) For me, though, it’s all that because of The Heavenly Bride. I’ve always felt that the one place The Heavenly Bride might find more readers was overseas – although not Japan. Definitely not Japan.

Consequently I’ve been pondering tonight what kind of publishing house I’d have: What kind of content would we specialize in?  Fiction, yeah. Most likely. Fantasy and Sci-fi would be a must. Old school would be pretty awesome. I hate just about all of the modern day conventions. Har. But also I think an Amer-manga arm, because no one has one. It’s either “match how Japan does it 100% or not at all” – but you know, The Heavenly Bride isn’t how it is because I’m trying to match Japan. It’s how it is because of cultural exchange, which you’ve seen me talk about here before, and how such things influence other people.

Kind of like how manga got started in the first place. Yo, American comics! As a result, I tend to see how The Heavenly Bride is as an influence coming full circle back where it came from. I think to myself, well I guess the Amer-manga section would have some often-stated philosophy: Draw like you mean it, not like you copied it. Or, I dunno: We here at the Writers of the Apocalypse feel that manga-influenced comics are a natural evolution of the sequential art world and look forward to giving a home to each and every well-written book that never felt like it fit in anywhere else.  Something like that.

Another thing that’s been eating my time of late is that I’ve found myself involved in a very special project for my tribe. I’m one of a few that’s working towards bringing back the use of our mother tongue, Mohegan. So I think to myself, well then The Writers of the Apocalypse has to have an ethnic imprint. Pestilence and I talked about it a while tonight and decided we’d call it Wôks Prints – Wôks meaning Fox. Fox prints, see. For the Native American literature branch, something that really makes going full on publisher appealing to me.

snow-leopard-yawning-2[1]But I hesitate with this idea. First off, I’d want to offer the traditional advance – and uh… the most I can think to offer of that would be a whopping $200. And that would be a financial hurt of stretch for us.  Secondly, although leaving the commission world would make me sad what would make me sadder would be not having any time to do my own thing ever again. I worry this sort of venture would do that to me.

Hell I dunno. I’m so fucking tired and sleepy. Someone come hit me on the head with a tire iron until my body obeys and lets me sleep. Okay, don’t do that. Just appreciate the sentiment.


Move On

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I’ve been sitting on this for a couple of years now. It’s a filk based from Johnathon Coulton’s Want You Gone from the Portal 2 game. The reference is the book Everafter by Kim Harrison.

I tried recording it, going to keep the official recording only here, but it doesn’t sound right no matter what I do. In the instrumental versions I was able to find, the sound is very techno – considering the original is from the point of view of a testing robot. In my version, I would prefer a simple guitar. I don’t play guitar. I barely play tambourine. So uh… can’t happen.

So here are the lyrics and a raw recording of me just singing it. And I am… moving on.

Moving On

Now you’re leaving again.

I thought we’d last forever

I couldn’t see you for what you really were.

Then I fell for your tricks

And when I started falling

I found my heart falling down out of the bliss of love


You got your little life still

How is that working out?

I’ll just leave you to live it

Cuz I only want to move on.

What the hell is the deal?

You need to find a hobby

Something better then selling bits of me

You’ve ruined so many lives

I hope there is some justice

Maybe what you did to us happens right back to you

God what did I see in you?

I can’t remember now.

They say you’re Newt’s familiar

But I only want to move on.

If it were not for Trent

You’d be a rotting carcass

But I guess I have things to thank you for

I’ve learned a lot by you

Made friends with elves and demons

And found a new resolve I thought I could never know

Go live your life’s disaster

I’m only moving on

Seems you’ve got a real problem

But I only want to move on

Now I only want to move on

Now I only want you gone.




Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I have this other blog. Okay, I have lots of blogs, but I have this other very important blog: www.ebookcover4u.com. If you can’t tell by the title, it’s one of those official-sounding work blogs that deals with work. Very official.

I put up an update to it today and saw, to my surprise, it has 733 followers.

Subsequently, my thoughts for this blog were momentarily derailed. 733 followers! Who’d have thunk people liked it when I get serious.

But I’m not here to talk about 733 followers – all of which may or may not actually read the blog they’re following. No, my lone reader on these particular pages in the internet sphere, I’m here to tell you briefly about the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

It seems to me I’ve seen this contest before, but perhaps I didn’t pay attention. Fate is a funny old lady most days, and she’s patient to boot. Circumstances brought me back to this contest again, only this time I was in the right frame of mind to receive the information.

I can sum it up using their premise sum up: “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” — Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

I can also tell you what it is. It’s a contest in which you write monstrous lines like the one above. The theme of your monstrosity line is based on literary prose genre. The point to it: That it be the first line to probably the worst book ever to be picked up by your unworthy hands. The opening sentences people enter into the contest tend to be pretty punny, and clever. If you don’t have half a brain, I don’t recommend you give it a try.

I have decided I do not have enough brain to try.

Well maybe I will in the future.

Check it out, if you dare: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/index.html


It Comes

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

And that is all for today.


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