Friday, November 25, 2022

Now What Do I Do?

My writing and posting here has been terrible. I know it. Since April my mind's focus has been taking care of my dad. When I wasn't at work, I was taking him to some doctor or running to the local ER to meet him after a fall or some other episode. 

We moved in with dad in April because he'd been falling quite a bit. Talking to his neighbors I now know he fell many more times than he ever told me about. He was in the hospital for mysterious blood loss when we moved, but he seemed to come back from that pretty well.

I should probably start with the fact that he developed congestive heart failure in his early 60's and fought it off and on for almost a quarter of a century. The toll that was taking on his other organs was much worse than he ever told us.

In the middle of October, he was admitted to the hospital for fluid overload. His kidney function was not good, but over a few days they got a few pounds off of him. While he was there, we got a call from a doctor he'd seen the week before that the doctor had COVID. The hospital tested dad and sure enough, so into isolation he went. He was completely asymptomatic, so he made them release him from the hospital as soon as he could demand it. He was better, but he was still pretty swollen.

Two weeks later we were back in the hospital because he couldn't stop throwing up. That day he looked at me and said, "I don't think I'm gonna win this fight." Twelve hours later he was almost completely unresponsive. His one hard and fast desire was to die at home in the house his father had built, so we arranged for Hospice at home for him. 

Hospice had him home in his own bedroom by four o'clock that afternoon. They taught me how to administer his morphine and lorazepam. Which I did faithfully every hour and at roughly nine o'clock he left to go be with my mom, who passed in 2016. He was seventy nine.

The oddest part of the whole thing was that his heart, arguably the weakest part of his body, was the last thing to give up. It beat for a solid three minutes after he quit breathing. It just didn't know how to give up.

Everything after that happened really fast, and I'm just now really starting to be able to process it all. Thanksgiving was strangely quiet without him and Christmas is going to be even stranger without his smile as we open the traditional gift and exclaim, "OH BOY! SOCKS!"

Now I look ahead to my life without his guidance and his odd sense of humor and my world seems a little smaller. I miss the grumpy old man, and I have a feeling I will until I see him again on the other side.

If you're reading this and you still have one or, if you're really lucky, both of your parents, take some time this holiday season to take some joy in the little oddities and quirks they have that make them uniquely them. Love on them a little and hang on to the time together.

I guess it's my turn to smile as my family exclaim, "OH BOY! SOCKS!"


Thursday, September 8, 2022

Thankful Thursday

 On my way out of town this morning a local sheriff with his lights flashing blew past me like I was sitting still. It was the unmarked drug interdiction unit so I figured it was an early morning drug bust somewhere in the country around my small town. I really didn't think anything else about it.

As I was driving the sun started to come up and when I topped a hill I stopped and took a picture. Thought I'd share what my drive to work everyday looks like, so here you go.

Just wide open north Texas countryside.  

Well, at the bottom of this hill is a little valley that is sometimes shrouded in fog. It wasn't today, but when it is, it's really a sight to see.  I'll try to get a photo of that sometime this fall.

Remember that sheriff I started my story with? Well, I found him on the other side of the valley along with two regular deputy units, a highway patrol unit, and an ambulance. In the ditch was what looked to have been a Saturn sedan with most of its front clip sitting on the ground beside the main body of the car. I didn't see one, but I'd bet most of today's wages there was a dead hog somewhere nearby too.

That's the other side of my drive everyday...wildlife. I regularly see possum, armadillos, hogs, deer, and coyotes, any of which are capable or doing substantial damage to today's mostly fiberglass facia on most vehicles.

I hope that whoever was in that car is ok, and I am thankful that today was my day to see a sunrise and not the broadside of a wild hog.

Y'all have a good day. Try to be good, and if you can't be good, be sneaky.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Friday Funday

 I love the Friday before a long weekend. Boss is letting us out early. Mainly because he wants to leave early too. Honestly I have a great boss.

I hit another milestone in my strength training today. Leg press hit 225. I consider anytime I hit a new weight that's all 45 pound plates a milestone. Felt good. All of my other lifts are progressing, so I really can't complain.

Since I'm getting out of work early I figured it was time to go give blood again. I'm o-neg with some special thing in my blood that makes it easier for the recipient to take, so they call me on the day I'm eligible to give again. I don't mind. I can always make more and I have no feeling in the part of my arm where they stab me. Besides with the testosterone injections I get, if I don't give regularly I build up too much iron in my blood which my doctor tells me is bad.

Lastly, FenCon is coming and as of right now, I'm still planning to attend. Just have to wait and see what life throws my way.

Everyone enjoy your long weekend and good and if you can't be good, be sneaky.


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Tole's Gift Uncovered

Ok, so I have written a little.  This is a continuation of the post from Sept 2020 called Training...Kind Of. In this little snippet Serilla helps Tole uncover one aspect of his gift. Let me know what you think.


The rest of the day was spent working on my access to my gift. Serilla went over the runes I had learned that would let me discharge any magical build up. That set Valsh on edge.

He stomped around the clearing throwing his hands up as he spoke. "He needs to learn to master it, not ignore it. The ability to touch magic is a gift given by the gods and it must be embraced so you do not invite their anger at your disrespect of their benevolence."

That set Serilla to laughing so hard that small gouts of flame shot out of her nose. It reminded me of being a kid and laughing while drinking milk and having it shoot out of my nose. That image only served to make me burst out laughing right along with her. Our laughter just made Valsh angrier.

When she finally had her laughter under control Serilla sat down on one of the logs by the fire. "Magic is a part of nature and creatures that can manipulate it can do so because of their nature, not because of some invisible father or mother figure that allows it. Nature simply is, Master Valsh. It is nothing more complicated than that. Tole's stubborn streak is his nature just as his ability is. Their only difference is that one can kill him if he does not let go of the other."

Valsh and Serilla argued back and forth about the nature of magic and how best to go about teaching me for almost an hour. My protests that I really had no desire to learn fell on mostly deaf ears, so I finally wandered off into the brush around the camp.

They finally noticed I was gone and Serilla called me back to camp. I went, but it was reluctantly.

When I stepped into the clearing Serilla met me and laid her hand on my shoulder. I could feel the tug of our lingering link through that touch. "Let me show you something, Killer. Come make your circle again, but replace that drawing with the image that called to you when you were concentrating."

I sat down with my legs crossed and used my dagger to draw the crescent moon I had pictured in the dirt in front of me. Serilla shifted again and this time appeared as a drake about the size of a German Shepard. That form allowed her to fit inside the circle with me.

She laid down beside me and put her head in my lap. I could hear her thoughts in my head. "Close your eyes and hold that image. Picture it beginning to glow. Good. Now reach out and touch the glow. Take the moon in your hand. Imagine it sinking into your hand...becoming a part of you...absorbing into you. Perfect. Now, open your eyes."

The world had taken on a strange shimmer. When I looked at Valsh, it was like looking at him underwater. There were several small glowing spots on his body. After a second, I realized that those were the locations where orcs were vulnerable to fatal strikes. Each one glowed with a slightly different hue identifying them as most to least effective.

"Whoa." The word escaped my mouth before I had a chance to stop it.

Serilla's voice had taken on that almost purr-like quality again. "What do you see, Killer?"

I turned to her." I can see how to kill you, quickly and quietly. I can tell which would be merciful and which would be torture. I, I know I could take you before you could react."

"Amazing. Your gift is quite specific."

"Preposterous." There was something in the way Valsh said that that felt like fear. "I've seen you fight. You bested Gujek, but if memory serves, he gave as good as he got."

Without thought and in one motion I stood, crossed the clearing to Valsh, and poked him in three of the brightest red spots on his body. "There, there, and then there and you're dead."

Valsh fell back on his haunches. "Holy gods that was fast. How did you?'

"It is his gift. It is his nature. It is what he is. Death." This time she actually did purr.

"How do I turn it off?"

I felt her now human hand on my shoulder. "Close your eyes and imagine that glow going out with your exhaled breath. When you no longer see it in your breath, open your eyes."

As easy as that it was gone. The world was normal again. "That was incredible."

Serilla kissed me gently on the cheek. "It was a beginning. Today I used our link to help you touch your gift. Eventually you will be able to draw it as easily as you now draw your daggers. I will try to help you find out what and how much you can do, but it will take time, if I can help you master it at all. Like I said it may take another of your kind to teach you to truly master it. For now, the discharge runes are going to let you vent when you get overcharged."

"You've convinced me. This could be damned interesting."

Valsh let out one of his patented belly laughs. "Interesting he says. Tole, you may have just taken a step to becoming one of the most dangerous men to ever exist. I am glad we are friends. I would hate to be one who opposed you."

Serilla stayed the night and slept beside me.

New Anthology Out and Where the Hell I've Been

It's been two months. Must be time for me to post something again.

Ok, first thing's first. I have a story in an anthology to benefit our local library.  There're actually two volumes, both worth reading, but my contribution is in the first. Here's the links:

The Haunted Library Anthology: Volume 1

The Haunted Library Anthologies: Volume 2

Give them a read. All of the authors are forgoing any royalties and the money goes to a good cause. I'd be willing to bet you'll enjoy them.

Secondly, life has been interesting the last four or five months. My wife and I relocated to my hometown, actually into the house I grew up in, to take care of my dad and help him out whenever he needs it with whatever he needs. The house and property need work, and combined with dad's needs, I've been ass deep in alligators since May. Add to that my wife changing schools and working to get her settled into her new classroom and I haven't known which way is up for quite some time.

I'm hesitant to put this our into the universe, but I AM planning to go to FenCon next month. Don't hold me to that though. I never know what's down the road, but as of now, I will be there.

Lawdog and OldNFO were giving me hell about writing today at lunch, so I'm going to try and work some of that into my days as well. Who needs sleep? Sleep is for quitters.

I have been asked to contribute to a couple more anthologies, so I'll post up about those as they come to pass. Maybe it'll get my muse off her ass and let me finish another book in Tole's story. Stranger things have happened.

In the meantime, be good, and if you can't be good, be sneaky.


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Liberty Con Update

 Much like Tulkon, I am not going to be able to make Liberty Con this year either. Still holding out hope for FenCon in September.

Y'all be good, and if you can't be good, be sneaky.


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Tulkon Update

 Due to circumstances WAY beyond my control, I've had to cancel my trip to Tulkon. I'm still sending signed books that will be at the North Texas Troublemakers booth.

LibertyCon is still on the itinerary though, so if you're there, track me down.


Now What Do I Do?

My writing and posting here has been terrible. I know it. Since April my mind's focus has been taking care of my dad. When I wasn't ...