Category Archives: Personal


Hello everyone; it’s been a long while. I’d like to say that there was a good reason for my (very) extended leave of absence, but there really isn’t. Over the past year, I’ve mostly had my head down in my undergraduate thesis, and once that finished in May, I spent the summer preparing for my upcoming doctoral program in sociology. I’ve always found it difficult to write when I am stressed or otherwise preoccupied by other things that need doing; it’s my greatest flaw.

So, while I’ve gotten some writing done, it hasn’t been nearly enough, and I began to doubt if I really want to be a writer. After a long period of soul-searching, I decided I still do want to be a writer, but also many other things. A writer is not an all-exclusive thing to be, and I’ve been in the mindset that it should be for a long time, which has been making it hard for me to get the motivation to actually write something. As I worried about and prepared for my doctoral program, I felt like I was betraying myself. Now, however, I have come to terms with my probably future as a writer and a sociologist, and I will do both.

So, I have no excuses for my lack of updates, or my lack of writing. I hope to fix both in the upcoming months, assuming my program will give me the time (and if not, I’ll do my best to make time). I will stop making excuses to not write (oh, I’m too stressed to write well! Oh, I don’t feel like it. Oh, I’m not a real writer so why bother?). I will just start writing again.

Part of my problem with regards to writing of late, other than the excuse-making and stress, has been a lack of inspiration. Inspiration is by no means necessary to start writing, but I’ve been less than inspired by my stories as of late. As such, until I can get fully involved with them again, I am starting a new project that I am very, very excited about. I am leaving the world of the Juxian Mythos – spending so much time in that universe I was beginning to find stifling and was hampering my creativity (though I still love it and will return to it many times) – to instead work on a science fiction novel (or maybe more than one depending on length) tentatively titled Sundering Stars.

The planned novel will deal with themes of genocide, humanity, auto-evolution, alien life, and godhood. It might be a bit ambitious for one such as myself, but I’m going to give it my best! Wish me luck, and I hope to soon be updating both this blog (and EsoTarot eventually) more often, starting with my thoughts on Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders and more about inspiration and Sundering Stars.

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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in Personal, Writing


#Writemotivation Check-in, Kreativ Blogger Award

Well, things are not going well in the #writemotivation department. I haven’t been able to find the time to just sit down and write a good chunk of material ever since I finished off “The Woodsman”‘s first draft and finished off a Herenna chapter in Tal’kan. University homework and other obligations just seem to keep coming out of nowhere, and unfortunately demand to be done first. I’ve managed to grab a few spare minutes a day to get a few words in, but nothing significant as of yet. This semester has been brutal.

Hopefully, though, I’ll be able to finish off another chapter in Tal’kan today; at least, that’s my goal. We’ll see how that works out.

In other news, Lissa Clouser has given me a Kreativ Blogger award. Thank you very much! I really appreciate it. As part of receiving this, I am supposed to thank her (done, but thank you again!), list seven interesting things about myself, and nominate seven more people. I will be more than happy to list seven interesting things about myself, but I’ve always felt awkward nominating other people for things like this, so I will refrain from that bit, but will give shout-outs to the following awesome people. If they want to post seven facts about themselves, they may, but this is just a list of seven awesome internet people with fascinating stories, ideas, and interests:

1. Jacob G. Adams
2. K. T. Hanna
3. Rebekah Loper
4. Dionne Lister
5. Alessandra Hinlo
6. Jamie Dement
7. Dyadic Echoes
(8.): Thomas James Brown

So, then, onto seven facts about me!

1. I have been playing percussion – including mallet percussion, timpani, concert percussion, drum set, and Bodhran – for almost twelve years. My specialties are drumset and Bodhran (for those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s a traditional Irish drum that you play vertically with a stick called a tipper; here‘s a picture of my teacher with one of his).

2. I also play the Tin Whistle – I’m teaching myself, and so am moving forward relatively slowly. It drives everyone within fifty feet of my insane when I start playing.

3. I am extremely picky about what music I listen to, and primarily listen to symphonic metal (favorite bands being Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, Rhapsody of Fire, Luca Turilli, Stratovarius, and Avantasia). I also listen to folk metal (such as Eluveitie, In Extremo, and Turisas), and other good metal acts (Lordi, Rammstein). I am also a huge fan of progressive rock (Rush, Kansas, Transatlantic, Jethro Tull, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Liquid Tension Experiment), and classic rock (Supertramp, Blue Oyster Cult, UFO). And, of course, I also love traditional Irish Music (Lunasa, Solas, The Chieftains, Danu, Eliot Grasso, Gaelic Storm, Beoga, Bothy Band, Cherish the Ladies, and more)

4. I am an occultist, and am rather proficient at reading Tarot cards, and am in the process of teaching myself Astrology and Geomancy at the moment. Runes/Futhark is next on my list. If you ever want a reading, drop by my EsoTarot blog. My favorite Tarot cards are the Hanged Man, the Devil, and the Nine of Swords (Cruelty).

5. I don’t watch that much television or movies, but when I do, I watch mostly science fiction shows and Disney. My favorite shows are Babylon 5FireflyFarscapeRed DwarfDoctor WhoTorchwoodCrusadeTaleSpin, Wolf’s Rain, Claymore, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Phineas and Ferb, Psych, Eureka, and The Guild. My favorite movies are Princess Mononoke, How to Train Your Dragon, The Great Escape, Titan AE, Anastasia, Tangled, The Road to El Dorado, Groundhog Day, Hercules, The Lion King, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Whisperer in Darkness, The Hobbit, The Last Unicorn, Wall-e, and Up.

6. I read almost exclusively science fiction and horror. My favorite authors are H. P. Lovecraft, Dan Simmons, Vernor Vinge, David Brin, Tamora Pierce, Lois MacMaster Bujold, and Terry Pratchett. My favorite book series of all time is Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos.

7. I study History and Sociology. In Sociology, I focus my studies on social inequality and diversity, and in History my focus is on the medieval Middle East, particularly on Iran. I will (hopefully) be writing a thesis next semester on the Great Saljuq Sultanate.

Lastly, I wanted to just do a Lucky Sevens thing with my own manuscript Tal’kan: going to the seventy-seventh page of it (I’m only on page 78 right now!), going to line seven, and then copying the next seven lines. So here it is (it makes absolutely no sense out of context, I realized):

“Think you can spare something for your poor old daughter?”

 He tossed her one of his projectiles. “I expect it back without a scratch.”

 Herenna saluted.

 “Good. Now let’s get out there and kill some druids!”

 Herenna needed no other urging, and she and her father joined the oncoming tide, leaving Herenna’s companion to guard the machine. By then, the bubble had reached the edge of the hill.

So, that’s that! Hopefully I can get something done today!


Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Personal, Writing


House of Leaves

It is far too early in the morning as I am writing this, but I cannot sleep. I will try again after writing this.

I just read Mark D. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, and was profoundly affected by it, more so than any other thing I have read in my life. I don’t even want the book near me. It terrified the daylights out of me, and struck a nerve deep within my heart that I didn’t even know existed.

I must confess, I didn’t read the entire thing. I doubt anyone has. It is ergonic literature, meaning that part of the art form of the book is in its layout, with text spaced oddly, upside down, and sometimes illegible. I was forced to read this book for my Monster Theory class, and so did not feel compelled to read the entire thing, so I skipped most of the notes on Johnny Truant’s story, skipped the appendices entirely, and focused almost entirely on the focus of the piece, the Navidson Record. Maybe if I had read the other parts of the story, the impact of the book would have been mitigated (in some instances, the fear was definitely lessened by the odd manner of storytelling; in other cases, it greatly increased), but somehow I doubt it.

The book is about many things, and like the titular House, everyone probably sees it differently. To me, it was about the horror residing within the unknown within ourselves. The House was a very deep allegory to the subconscious and the hidden depths within us to me. I am writing a paper on the Theban Sphinx for that same class, so perhaps my interpretations of her as the guardian of forbidden Human knowledge about themselves is affecting my interpretation, but there seemed to me to be many parallels between the Sphinx and the House; the Sphinx asked a riddle about the nature of man, and the House itself was a riddle about the nature of self.

When confronted with the House – and therefore the question of who you really are and what you mean – there are different reactions. Most notably, Navidson himself perseveres and confronts himself, and his wife does the same, albeit less blatantly, and together they reach some form of closure. Holloway, the hired explorer, on the other hand, goes mad and runs away from himself after shooting (accidentally) his assistants, and takes his own life in the end, unable to deal with himself.

The yawning empty abyss of the house, its labyrinthine, ever-changing corridors, and the sense of being lost within one’s own self and one’s own world hit me on a level I cannot describe. Call me a wimp, a coward, or whatever you will, but that book did something profound to me, and I am terrified of the abyss that it opened before me.

If you want to, give it a try, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. I don’t want to be near even the physical copy of that book because of what it recalls in me. It is sitting way outside my room right now. I don’t want to go near it.

I am just not ready to face myself.


An Update on The Libel of Blood and Dark Aeons

Hey everybody! I know I haven’t been in around in a while (again), for which I apologize, but life decided to punch me in the gut and I’ve been scrambling to get my breath back. As such, there have been far fewer posts here than I would have liked, and I am behind on many things.

Firstly, Dark Aeons is still being edited (many, many thanks to Jacob G. Adams for helping me out so much here), but hopefully will be out by the end of May at the latest (I’m hoping for the end of April, but we’ll see).

The Libel of Blood‘s text is still finished (I haven’t regressed yet), and is currently still waiting on its cover art from the amazing Sarah Kindler. Unfortunately, she has also been punched in the gut by life (in the form of pestilence), and so is still working on the cover. Hopefully this won’t take that long, and once that’s done, whenever it may be, The Libel of Blood will come to an online bookstore near you!

Also, I would like to take this time to point you towards my side project Astral Tide if you haven’t already looked at it; a free online web fiction series set in a Lovecraftian post-apocalyptic collapsing universe. Intrigued? Good! We just started our second series: Astral Tide.

Ta-ta for now!

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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Personal, Writing



So, I’ve had a bad week, month, day, life, whatever you want to call it. My writing has ground to a standstill for various reasons (university being one of them), and I want to kickstart it into gear again! As such, I am trying out K. T. Hanna’s #writemotivation (see this page for more details)! Essentially, as far as I understand it, a group of like-minded writers are gathering together on the interblogoworldwidenetosphere to encourage each other to meet personal, reasonable, self-set goals, using Twitter and blog posts. A simple yet brilliant concept, and actually much like National Novel Writing Month (which I am an avid devotee of/Municipal Liaison for), except personalized, with a different community, and far less stressful!

My personal goal for the month of March – when I shall be participating – is to finish my short story “The Woodsman,” and then write 8,000 words a week in my novel Tal’kan, for a total of at least 32,000 words written in it this month! That should give me a push to come closer to finishing it (it currently sits at 30,000 words; I hope to more than double that!).

So, let’s see how this goes! Good luck everyone participating, and I hope you’ll wish me luck too!


Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Personal, Writing


I’m Still Alive!

Hey! Sorry for the lack of updates again, but exams and papers have taken over my life. Fortunately, I am free this Friday, and I will begin to write again in earnest, starting with finishing my edits for The Libel of Blood. Mr. Jacob G. Adams (blog here!) has also been kindly editing stories for Dark Aeons for me, and his comments have been insightful and very helpful! I have been surviving most of my time by playing Dr. Lunatic: Supreme With Cheese Nonstop and by reading short stories when I can, including recently a delightful novella entitled The Cowboys of Cthulhu by David Bain (site here!); well worth the read!

Until I can get back to writing, good luck with life and don’t die!

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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in Personal, Readings



In addition to being super-productive in terms of schoolwork (three papers down in about a week!), I managed to get my hands on a digital copy of the new Nightwish album Imaginaerum! Legally, of course; I preordered the 2-CD DigiPack T-Shirt Litho Sweepstakes bundle, and got a digital copy of the CD a month early.

I must say, I was initially skeptical about it, as it had a lot of untraditional metal songs. Then I remembered I had felt that way at first about “Storytime,” so I kept an open mind, and after a couple of listen-throughs, was pleased with most of the album. “Taikitalvi” was enjoyable, and the transition into the amazing hard metal “Storytime” was flawless. “Ghost River” brought out interesting dynamics, with Marco’s vocals contrasting well with the children’s choir, and was a very creepy and also well-done song.

“Slow, Low, Slow” I did not like. It is not a metal song, pure and simple. It is a ‘5o’s slow jazz piece, which is fine, but not so much in a metal album. It came as an unpleasant shock, and Anette’s voice in this song is husky, which was not a particularly enjoyable experience. This song just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the album, either. “I Want My Tears Back” was great, with Marco’s vocals and Troy Donockley’s uillean pipes (which I always love) creating a great dynamic. The prominent role of the pipes also pleased me greatly. Additionally, Marco’s and Anette’s alternating vocals made the song a pleasing one.

“Scaretale” was a beautiful example of horror translated into music. I won’t say more here, but it was amazingly well-done, and you should listen to the song to understand exactly what I mean. I felt like I was in a horror movie. “Arabesque” – the album’s instrumental – is my favorite Nightwish instrumental so far, passing “Last of the Wilds” from Dark Passion Play.

“Turn Loose the Mermaids” was very unconventional, acoustic song that I am still trying to decide how  I feel about. It was very unconventional and critically good, but I am not sure whether or not I liked it. “Rest Calm” was also very good, again featuring both Marco and Anette. “The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove” was another very good song, again integrating both vocalists, and letting Marco shine in a lower-key metal song. “Last Ride of the Day” was amazing as well, but “Song of Myself” – the thirteen-minute epic – was, unsurprisingly, the star of the album, blending vocal, symphonic, and metal elements perfectly. It was definitely my favorite. The album’s title song, “Imainaerum,” was a good conclusion to the album and incorporated themes from the other songs, but added little new itself.

Overall, I’d rate this album as Nightwish’s third best. Once is still my favorite of theirs, followed by Dark Passion Play. Maybe with more listens, this album will get even better, but I am glad that Nightwish did not suffer from the syndrome that made Sonata Arctica’s newest album The Days of Grays mediocre. Imaginaerum is a phenomenal album, though it might take some getting used to. At times, I felt that the band was experimenting a little too much, but in the end, it was very original and well-done. I also really liked how Marco played a very prominent vocal role, much more so than in the band’s previous albums. I highly recommend Imaginaerum to any symphonic metal fan!

P.S. If you like Tarot cards, please check out my whopping reading about the Occupy Wall Street Movement on EsoTarot here.

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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Personal


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