A Personal Introduction (Updated)

Adventure thrills me, but the term “adventure” encompasses so much.  It’s the awe of discovery, of learning something new.  The heart pounding excitement of exploring wooded trails and isolated areas.  It’s the joy of having an iced mocha or fruit smoothie with a friend at a coffee shop, brainstorming how we might be actively work towards solving any number of problems.

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Sometimes I live vicariously through my two year-old daughter, who decided she would speak her first word at 4 months, walk before she crawled–and crawled eventually under duress.   At nine months, I loved her fascination with the world, with the trees, the cars passing by as we drive, light bulbs and ceiling fans, shadows and daddy’s computer and phone. That fascination has grown as she has.  It is a delight to watch.

Then I live vicariously through my novels.  For over 15 years I’ve been developing, creating, crafting a fantasy world called Aelathia that has grown from a high school senior’s creative writing short story to an epic saga.  I live vicariously through characters Raynt, a halfling (not in the Hobbit or traditional sense!) as he struggles with insecurities, racism, and rejection while using his spy skills –and his abilities to manipulate the fabric of existence– to bring justice to a kingdom that’s long since lost it.  Or Yeltson, an addict and former lawprotector (lawyer) turned King’s Man–an elite soldier and master killer, whose missions send he and his team into the underground sex trafficking rings, uncovering intel to prosecute and eventually destroy those who perpetrate such crimes.

Why do I live vicariously?  Because I’ve been sick since December 2012 and in June 2013 started experiencing “tics”, crazy spasms that rock my left body, sometimes leaving me exhausted with slurred speech.  The neurologist says it’s spinal myoclonus, but myoclonus is often a symptom of something else… So walking on trails hasn’t happened recently.  I can’t run through the stances with my practice hand-and-a-half sword or saber.  Helping my friend on his farm and riding his horse through gullies and around thorny shrubs just isn’t in the picture right now.  My condition even forced me to resign from my 2nd grade teaching position before the year commenced.  The previous year I taught 4th grade and still love my students and had badly wanted to continue teaching.

The Dark Lord Myoclonus had other ideas.

But I’m determined to beat this.  All my life I’ve known challenges, from working in high school and beyond to help put myself through college or take trips, to going through unemployment, leading a college ministry, working as an attorney’s assistant for two years, then pursuing an alternative certification and become a teacher.

Challenge is life.  Yes, it’s hard.  Yes, it’s painful, but I love the joy found in it.  Friends and family you can laugh with, be silly with.  There’s life in the sounds of the trees and the chirping of bird, in the giggle of a baby, and the hope of the future.  There’s more to it all, and there’s hope.

I love traveling, creating, crafting, I love helping  others find that unique qualities about themselves, utilizing their skills and talents.  I love to see people tackle and achieve and their dreams and fight for them with all they have.

Have I always been this way? No.  There was a time, and oftentimes in the moments of the worst pain, where I just lay there and tell God it’s okay if we’re done now…  But I’m not done.   Every moment I persevere, there’s an answer for something more.  There’s a reminder.  A tinge of hope.  “That silver lining.”  So I battle on, often times against a body that would rather shake and bend over backwards on one side.

Why?  Let me be very candid about this.  My hope comes from my faith.  I won’t always include it here.  In fact, very often I leave my faith out of my posts.  I haven’t always been a Christian.  In fact, I used to utterly hate Christians and Christianity and wanted nothing to do with them.  Totally believing in Jesus as the Son of God, I said aloud one day, “I hate you.  I want to be the man to crucify you, but since I can’t I’m going to hate your church.”

Hate and anger is such a sad way to live.  Thankfully, with all that hate, with all the ways I spoke to and about Christians, they showed me new depths of love–not like some that plague the news, the ones who spew hatred and division–they loved with the way Jesus would have.  One even said: “If Jesus can love me, he can love you.”  That put the whole issue into a whole new perspective.  It was enough to change me.  Usually (when I’m not having a moment of utter doubt, which I do) it’s enough to keep me going every day, especially when my body says, “Maybe not.”

With all this in mind, clear up and at the very beginning of this blog and the future of the books, I want you to know who I am, and why I do what I do.  I believe that there are numerous issues out there for us to discuss.  You’ll see posts about all sorts of issues, from sex trafficking to slavery, racism, sexuality, identity, to topics about the wonders of science, philosophy, and occasionally theology.  How can we deal with the issues of our world?  How can we help others around us, rather than be idle?  How can we change the world? How can we #BeAHero?

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Perhaps I’m naive enough to believe we can.  If I’m crazy enough to believe in Jesus, then perhaps I’m crazy enough to hope that this world can be made even somewhat better, life by life, person by person.  That’s the adventure.  That’s the dream.  The thrill.

And I’m inviting you along with me.  Come with me.  There’s adventure to be had.

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The War Room, where other writer friends and I work together, generate ideas, laugh, and write! And yes, that is a black practice long sword on the table.

If you’re still reading…here’s some totally fun and goofy facts about me:

1.  Geek and proud.  I help lead an Artists and Writers group of The Quest Army, a fan base from the epic ABC show, The Quest.  I also role play as an Everealm scribe…

2.  My favorite fiction authors are Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, Way of Kings), Robert Jordan (The Wheel of Time), Christopher Paolini (Inheritance), J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings), C.S. Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia), D.J. Molles (The Remaining), Robin Hobb (The Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies), and Jim Butcher (Codex Alera).  I also enjoy authors Terry Brooks, James N. Cook, Harry Dale, Stephen King, Francine Rivers, Jeffrey Overstreet, L.A. Kelly, and Chuck Black. 

3.  Iced Mochas and fruit smoothies. ‘Nuff said.

4. Yes, my family plays with Legos.

5.  Some of my favorite TV shows, past and present, are:  The Quest, The Walking Dead, Person of Interest, Arrow, The Amazing Race, MasterChef, The Unit, Downton Abbey, The 100, Terra Nova, Stargate Universe, PBS Newshour, Morning Joe, Motion, Rick Bayless’ Mexico: One Plate at a Time, and Sweat Retreats.

6.  If Aelathia were ever to be made into a movie, I would want Peter Jackson, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan to direct.  Of course, there are some favorite producers of mine.

7.  I’m from St. Louis, MO but live in the DFW area, which makes Cardinals v. Rangers games very awkward.

8.  If I could go anywhere in the world it would be New Zealand.  And no, not just because there’s a permanent Shire there now…but that would be on the list of sights.

9.  Did I mention iced mochas?  I live by a rule:  Love your barista and your librarian…they help you get excellent things.

10.  I play SIMS Medieval, Marvel Heroes, and sometimes return to Lord of the Rings Online or Everquest II…and I have no coordination for what some of us call “parkour” quests.  I’ll blame it on the meds.

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