December 2019 was a terrible month

My sister’s death was a complete surprise. She was supposed to go grocery shopping for me and my mother that Saturday morning, and was going to call us before she left the motel. By 9am we hadn’t heard from her, and I was getting worried. Calls to her phone went unanswered. I called the motel and had the desk clerk check her room. The clerk said the door was locked from the inside and the TV was on, but no one answered.

Deep inside myself, I think I knew already.

I checked with her husband back in Texas to see if he’d heard from her – he hadn’t. I contacted the police and asked them to do a welfare check. And then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I called the dispatcher a couple of times, hoping for information, and was finally told that someone would be in touch soon.

At 1 pm there was a knock on the door. Two officers stood on my front step.

They told me they forced entry into my sister’s room and found her dead on the bed. I was stunned, but not as much as I thought I would be. Like I said, I just knew, somehow. After the officers left I called her husband and told him the news, passing on the officers’ contact information. Then my mother and I just kinda looked at each other in silence for a long while.

My sister’s cause of death was confirmed as ‘positional asphyxiation’. She was a smoker, and had asthma, and was unused to the higher altitude in Wyoming. She had some health problems of her own, and was on medication that made her very sleepy. She evidently fell asleep in a strange position and then suffocated.

I loved my sister, even if – like most families – we didn’t always get along. I didn’t have much time right then to mourn her, though. I worried about her husband and her two children (both teens), but a lot of my concern was on my mother. I needed to arrange help to take care of her, as with my broken leg there was a lot I couldn’t do.

Five days after my sister died, my mother died.

…to be continued.

Back again.

It’s been even longer than the last post. I had a couple of posts up promoting my books, but I took them down when I came back to the site.

It’s not been a good last few months for me. In December 2019, on my birthday nonetheless (and a Monday), I slipped on some ice in my backyard and fell, breaking my leg in three places. The ankle was bad enough to require surgery. This was terribly bad timing, as I was currently on FMLA from my work to take care of my mother. She lived with me, and had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in Aug. 2018. She was never going to beat cancer, but she fought it to a standstill for a good long time before deciding that enough was enough. The week of my birthday she was going to start at-home hospice care.

So, having a broken leg and then needing surgery (Tuesday), and with my mother being weak enough that outside help was needed, I contacted my sister in Texas. She drove up to Wyoming and arrived the day after my surgery (Wednesday). My mother started hospice care on Thursday.

My sister was found dead in her hotel room on Saturday.

….to be continued

It’s been a while…

It’s been a while since I’ve written on this site. It’s not been the best year so far. My father died in April, and then someone very close to me was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in August. I’ve been so lucky in my life to never have lost anyone important to me, so my father’s unexpected death was hard.

After a long period of idleness I’m writing again. I’m trying to finish up ‘White Hound’ and work on some short stories.


If anyone is out there reading this, let me know.

Unexpectedly cold morning

Ok, so falling asleep last night to 40 degrees and waking up to 14 degrees was a bit of a shock. Wyoming weather can be so unpredictable.We got a little dusting of snow overnight, and the wind’s been blowing strongly since early yesterday.

I love the wind. In ‘Black Hare’ I had Rook mention that the wind sounded like the ocean rushing down the street, a direct quote from me. Lying in bed at night the wind roars above me and I close my eyes and imagine myself stepping off the roof of my house and into the wind. It carries me above the dark world, and I can see the planet revolve beneath me.

On the way to work this morning the wind blew skeins of snow across the roads. It looked like white smoke and moved like something alive. It was one of those moments that I wish would last forever.

Book Review of ‘The Rending and The Nest’ by Kaethe Schwehn

I have a life-long love of apocalyptic fiction, and so the description of the book is what drew me in. I didn’t get anything I was expecting – but I got a fantastic story none-the-less. We’re never told what caused The Rending, and that’s ok, because the tale is intriguing and breathtaking. Kaethe Schwehn has crafted a look at the things we carry with us, and how we deal with loss and the traumas of our past. Deep, mystical, and lingering, ‘The Rending and the Nest’ is just flat-out good reading.

 

*free copy from NetGalley*

Book review of ‘Baby Teeth’, by Zoje Stage

Excellent look at some messed-up family dynamics. You want to dislike Hannah because of her obvious problems, but when the author writes in Hanna’s voice you, disturbingly, began to feel for her, and what drives her. Hanna’s mother, Suzette, has brought her own baggage – years of benign neglect from her own mother – and how that affects the way she deals with Hannah makes for a very interesting and well-told tale. Recommended for anyone who likes a slow-burning story and creepy horror.

*free copy from NetGalley*

Sharing a little news…

I’m working on my last run-through of White Hound, and prepping (in my mind, at least) the third book in The Aspects trilogy. In addition, I’ve got an idea for a horror novel I’m teasing out, and a couple of short stories are showing themselves to me.
 
To top off the excitement, I’m planning something exciting with my ‘Wolf in the Land of the Dead’ trilogy…so stay tuned!

Home

I love the state of Wyoming. I have never felt more at home anywhere else. I love the low population, the desolate landscape, the wide-open prairie, the wildlife.

I hate the politics, the red-state mentality, the drive to keep ripping oil and gas and minerals from the earth, the reliance on fading fossil fuels, the inability of the state government to move into the 21st century.

*pictured – Sugarloaf Mountain, Snowy Range, Wyoming*

I’m still here!

Wow…it’s been awhile since I posted anything here, huh? No one to blame but myself. I’ve had a hard time getting back into writing, and I can’t pin any one reason down. I like to write, I really do…but there’s sometimes fear when I think about writing. Fear that the ideas will die, and I won’t know where to take the story next.

There’s also a self-confidence issue. Is my writing good? I like to think so. I know I can always use more practice honing my craft, getting better at creating interesting tales, but I think – no, I know – that I’m a good writer. When I read other stuff out there, some of it is so cliched and poorly crafted and illogical and just plain bad…but it gets published. It gets read. It gets reviews. And I don’t.

So does that mean I’m not a good writer? Am I arrogant? But isn’t a little arrogance necessary to put yourself out there and say, Hey! Look at me! Look at what I did!

And if no one reads your stuff, then why write? I carry a lot of stories in my head. Why put them down on paper if no one else will ever see them? I detest hypocrisy, so I’ll be honest here – I want to hear that someone read my books and liked them. That they did for someone else what my favorite authors do for me – give me something to thrill over and linger over and love. I want to hear that from someone so badly…

I blame no one else but me for not doing much writing lately. I have always been my harshest critic, my biggest obstacle, my strongest failure.

But I’m working on changing that. I really am.

So, if you’re out there, stick with me.