The Writing of The Shadow of Oz, and How it Nearly Killed Me. Or… Heaven and Hell and everywhere in between.

I’ve never been very good about blogging. I prefer speaking to writing in this case, which is very odd considering I’m an author, but I truly had a good reason to not have blogged in a while. The last 9 months have been the most up and down rollercoaster of my life, but it led to a very happy place and the writing of what I think might be my best piece of work yet, The Shadow of Oz–a dark twisted retelling of the Wizard of Oz, but I’m getting ahead of myself. How did I get it written? Well…

It all started when the girl who I made vows to spend the rest of my life with decided to leave me for a guy she met at CHURCH. AT CHURCH! That is possibly the greatest ‘what the fuck, god?’ moment I have ever had. She eventually told me how she knew we were never meant to be together, which broke my heart, not because of her, but because of the three beautiful children she had that knew me as their only father. I tried to work with her, even went out of my way doing things making sure that my daughters (and they ARE my daughters, I don’t care what DNA says) were taken care of. Those three were my angels. I rocked them when they were sick. I kissed booboos. I was there for nightmares, wetting the bed, and just all around needing loved and cuddled. I got to be a daddy and I loved it, but because said ex-girlfriend kept breaking her promises to me, it led to her pulling all contact from the children from me and there’s nothing legally I can do, because being an ex-boyfriend gives me zero rights, no matter how the scene was set and how we lived. Needless to say, it shattered me.

I’m going to open up here and maybe give away too much information, but I have suffered and fought with depression since I was 8 years old. I am a survivor of multiple suicide attempts. It was a monster I thought I had beaten, but having my daughters taken from me brought me back to the darkness. I was falling to pieces, considering options I shouldn’t have and making attempts to get my last affairs in order. Then, fate stepped in.

I had a date with a girl where I got stood up. It seemed about right for the way life was treating me lately. So I called an ex-girlfriend of mine, thinking she’d get a good laugh out of it. Well, come to find out I was only about an hour away from seeing her. I hadn’t seen her in nearly six years. This was the best decision of my life. I met her for lunch and the minute I saw her smile, I was hooked. Just like that. Like the old fights didn’t matter, the break up didn’t matter, all I wanted was to see her again. So, we decided to give it one more try.

Okay, so how does Oz work into this? Well, Oz was meant to be part of a box set. I signed on to doing it somewhere between the “banging a dude at church” and “you can never see your kids again.” Made it nearly impossible to think, but I wanted in this box set. I wanted to take that chance and go for being a best seller.

The muse started working again, and Dorothy’s demented story began to come to me… and that’s when I had the craziest 24 hours of my life. While visiting my beloved, her roommate decides “it’s time to die,” and proceeds to try and hang himself with a belt. Yea, what the fuck indeed. Police get called. Police chase crazy man through woods. Man gets away. By the time this finally finished, it was 4 am. What a night! But it wasn’t over yet. I then get a call from a long-time friend who got himself so sleep deprived from talking to a girl he met online that he fell for, that he had a full snap from reality and threatened to murder me. Not even like, “I’m gonna kill you,” but “I am not afraid of prison, I will put you in the ground for reals kill you/kill you.” Yea, blindsided.

So I end up moving in with my Faith into a room that you could stretch across and touch either wall. It was tight, it was cramped, and it forced us to move in together well before we were ready to do it. All this, while a deadline breathed down my neck.

Luckily, found an apartment that we fell in love with and was out of there in about a month. Now, for 3 weeks we were sleeping on couches and loveseats b/c that’s all we had, but I kept plugging along at the book what I could. When I finally got a proper work space to operate in, I had a month to write a novel more or less. It took me to the very last minute, but i finished.

But there’s even more to this story than that. You see, “Shadow” is a name that is very dear to me. One of my best friends was named  Jessi, and my nickname for her was Shadow (which she spelled Shadeau). We helped each other through so much. I know I talked her down off a lege a dozen times and she talked me down at least that or more. I literally would not be here without her, and a few years ago she ended her life. She was the first dreamer I truly loved. We both wanted to be writers. She never got to see me accomplish my dream. The Shadow of Oz is dedicated to Jessi, and, in many ways, Dorothy IS Jessi. I couldn’t stand the thought of her being gone. Now she can live forever in the pages of a book. I love you, Jess. Wacka-chicka sauce, bitch!

And as for my beloved, Faith, I was alway meant to be with you. Glad we finally realized it. I love you so much. Thank you for your support.

If you’d like to check out “The Shadow of Oz,” you can do it here: viewbook.at/shadowofoz

It’s got dragons, witches, necromancy, revenge, murder, madness… everything Jess would have loved.

Keep your chins up, people. heads on high!

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So hey, what’s this “Talon” thing about?

Long ago, before Underworld, before the blasphemy of Twilight, I started a Vampire novel. It wasn’t really meant to be a novel, but let’s not split hairs. I started writing Talon, which had (and still does) have a much deeper meaning to me than first appearances. I took the Vampire trope and rewrote it to be the way *I* wanted it to be.

Crosses? Ha. Only if properly blessed, so that little trinket you bought at Wal-mart won’t help you. Bibles. Again, only if properly blessed. Garlic? Best served on bread and served with spaghetti. Need an invitation to your house? Hardly. Vamps will walk right on in. Daylight? Yea, it weakens them a bit so they try to limit their time out in it, but explode? Naw. That’s Hollywood bullshit. Stakes through the heart? Hurts but won’t kill. Going to high school and sparkling? Get the fuck out of here.

Vampires aren’t soulless Demons. They also don’t tend to be broody melancholic creatures who would fit in at an emo gathering. They can run the full gambit of emotions, but the blood that gave them immortality has corrupted them. It brings out the worst in each of them. So yes, they tend to be brutal, even sadistic monsters–all the worst of mankind’s emotions walking around with an insatiable thirst. But, under the right circumstances, they can be much more than that. And that’s where I found Nicky.

Nicky is definitely an Alpha-predator. He’s not only been trained to be sadistic and cruel, part of him takes great pleasure in it. He never wanted to be a hero. He never asked to be saved. He knows what he’s done is wrong. He knows a lot of the thing he *continues* to do is wrong. He sees himself as unworthy, already damned, case closed, shut the book, game over, man–game over. I think this is where Nicky and my souls overlap just a little bit.

As a person who has done some bad things in his life (nothing like Nicky mind you), I have felt that “I’m already damned.” feeling. I never asked for redemption. I never felt I was worthy of it, but through chance, or destiny, I ended up on a better road than I was one. Like Nicky, I was given the chance to atone for my sins. Nicky’s story, while brutal, vulgar, full of violence and foul language–in the end this saga is truly about being redeemed and God using the worst of us for good if we’ll just take that chance.

The Talon series, despite being so many things that would turn most Christians off, actually has a strong Christian undertone that comes out over the course of many books. You see Angels, Devils, Demons, Lucifer, and even God himself hiding in plain sight in this series. It’s an action/adventure full of blood, gore, and violence. But there’s also a love story and the question of “How far would you go to protect someone you loved?” I can’t classify this series as any one thing. Is it dark fantasy? Yes. Is it action/adventure? Yes. Is there a touch of paranormal romance in there? Yes. It is blood and gore and violence and beauty and ecstasy and chaos. It’s a beautiful chaos. There’s something for everyone in this series. It’s my great symphony, my Bohemian Rhapsody, my attempt to leave a mark on the world.

So, what is Talon about? It’s about everything and everyone. It’s the Alpha and the Omega. It’s the hope that even washed up, battered, broken and twisted people can find some peace in the world. Now bring on the Demons. Nicky has some ass to kick.

Author Spotlight: J.K. King

phoenix

I have me an old friend, author J.K. King who just stepped out of the shadows to write his first piece, an autobiographical short about his childhood and early 20s. Mind telling the readers what made you write this?

Well, I was raised in the Bible Belt in a Christian conservative home. Like some other people, I had the Christian faith used as a tool to beat me down and abuse me. I’m not ashamed to admit that this led to several suicide attempts in my life, and I was hoping this book might be able to help others who are in a similar position.

Sounds like you went through a lot. Was it hard to open up about this subject?

Yes and no. I didn’t want my life put up for the whole world to see. This wasn’t a “hey, look at me!” kind of thing. It was simply meant to reach out to others who might be thinking of suicide. If I had been successful on one of my many attempts, I would have missed out on a lot. I don’t want anyone else to miss out either. 

You said you didn’t want the whole world to see your private life, yet you wrote an autobiographical piece. I assume that means you’re writing under a pen name?

Yes. Both for my own privacy and to not disrespect the dead. I don’t see the point in ruining someone’s name after their dead, even if they did put me through a living hell. 

Where can readers find your book and are you looking to do any more writing?

Right now my short piece is on Amazon for free for the next few days. I’ve considered writing more, but I haven’t made my mind up yet. If the spirit moves me, then yes, I’ll write more.

If you’re interested in reading J.K.’s story, you can find it HERE.

 

Miro the Dragon by Theresa Berg

My friends write a little bit of everything and just to prove it, here’s something for the kiddos.  A lovely story about personal journey and overcoming one’s fears.  If you like Dragons, I think you’d enjoy this cute little tale no matter your age!

Drakonia…. Land of the dragons, ancient and proud creatures. Drakonia…. Home of Miro, a tiny and frightened red dragon who is still trying to find his place in the world. On his journey to become a “real” dragon, he makes some unusual new friends and discovers that friendship can overcome the greatest fears. Miro’s stories tell of courage and friendship without boundaries or prejudices.

Miro the Dragon is geared towards children aged 3 to 10, although the stories are also enjoyed by older children and many adults all over the world. If your children like dragons, they will love Miro!

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0074JANOS