Mystics and Misfits

New update on Book 1 of The Myz Effect

Our story begins with a wild and magical weekend in Florida. Jay Connor, an intelligent if not slightly neurotic computer expert decides to throw caution to the wind and see where life can take him. But a trip to Miami does not go how he expected at all.

Meanwhile, Chloe and Mayra are trying to keep one step ahead of their hunters. But who says hiding from the federal government and brainwashed internet trolls can’t be fun?

Click the Link to read quotes, see illustrations, and find out release dates for Mystics and Misfits!

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Major Update! New Book Series: The Myz Effect

For my fellow WordPress readers, my aunt and mother, and anyone else that has been so kind as to follow my blog, I wanted to give you all a major update: I will soon be setting up a page for my fantasy series, The Myz Effect!

We may still be some ways away from being ready to launch, but after completing the rewrite of the first book in the series, Mystics and Misfits, I thought that it’s about time that I put out some info on the series and how we are progressing!

I’m very excited to have found what I think is a thrilling, funny, and magical journey, for my soon to be readers as well as for myself. From start to finish, this experience has taught me so much about what I can do when I turn potential into action. Keep an ear to the ground for when we go live with The Myz Effect and Mystics and Misfits information pages.

Just to remind you guys, please sign up for updates, like this post, share this blog, and comment below! We’re in this together, all you witches and goblins!!

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Ash: Journey of the Immortal – Book One

Following the death of his wife, Jack has noticed Sam has been feeling depressed and seems to be losing that belief in the magical that she shared with her mother. Hoping to reconnect his daughter with that belief, Jack takes Sam on a big foot hunting trip in Arizona to meet up with his longtime friend and UFO hunter, Charlie, and his three sons, Eli, Tommy and Chris. However, instead of little green men or the missing link, they find something else in the forrest.

Read the full review and find out where to buy your copy!

A War of Daisies, Book 1 of The Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse

Not much goes on in the town of Hawk’s Hollow outside the annual fair. Willow intends to shake things up by being the first woman to win the long distance race. Dynah, a shoe in for the Rodeo Queen of the fair, butts heads with her half-sister, Penelope, as she seeks answers regarding her native american roots and origins. Felicity, a musical virtuoso, struggles under the immense pressure her mother puts on her to fit in and be respectable as the town’s only black family. But however quiet this town of Hawk’s Hollow is, a bolt of lightning bringing together these four women is about to make things a whole lot of loud.

Read the review to find out more and where her book can be found!

Wither Thorn, Book 1 of The Crest of Blackthorn Series

Caia Blackthorn, the precocious adept of necromancy within King Arcturus’s court, leads this story of war, family, love and friendship as they travel from the Capital to Lyra at the frontline of the war. Raised sheltered yet captive in the heart of the King’s castle, what Caia lacks in experience and worldliness, she more than makes up for in heart and determination.

Read the review to find out more and where her book can be found!

Getting to know Sam Rose: My First Experience with Death

Death is always a strange, disorienting constant to think of or experience in your life. The first time anyone or anything that I truly loved died was my first cat, Chelsea. She was an orange tabby with a stub cut tail that was cut wrong, so she had a little Y joint on the tip. Chelsea was the absolute best cat–indoor, outdoor, would come running when you called her from halfway across the property. She got bit by a coral snake and after a couple of days we had to put her down so she wouldn’t die miserably. We buried her out on the property and put stones over her to keep the vultures and coyotes from digging her up.

Chelsea may have been the first loved one–outside of my grandfather, who was an actual person and whose death was also very sad for me–to die on me, but she was not actually my first experience with death. What I consider my first, truly visceral experience with death was when I killed a trapped raccoon outside our home.

Something to know about Texas–Death is all around us. Whether by our history of war and violence in the region, our culture of hunting and ranching to put meat on the table, or just those slings and arrows that Hamlet talks about, Texas is full to the collar in death. Our roads are littered with dead bodies that we push to the side or have the county or other vultures clear for us, and we never give it a second thought. Why should we? They’re just varmits.

Out in the piney woods, our property had a beaver problem. They’d migrate down every other season and gnaw down a few trees that my mom would have spent all spring and summer nurturing and making pretty. It was eventually decided that the Rose household would go to war against the dam-building degenerates that would yuck it up in our pond like they were the Kennedy’s coming to Port Hyannis for the summer. So we laid traps, and occasionally went on “beaver patrols”–believe me, my mother, brother and I did our best to have our father use a different phrase, but unfortunately he continued to rally his troops by shouting throughout the house “Time to go on Beaver Patrol, boys!”

On one of these patrols, I was with my father on the porch. He had his hunting rifle with a scope and strap, I had the lousy little .22 pistol we used to kill the raccoons or squirrels that got caught in the traps. We heard a rustle. My dad shines his red lensed flash light in the direction of the sound and we see an armadillo scuttling through the yard.

Now, our primary target was the beaver and their paddle-tailed ilk, but our mission was much like the war in Iraq–we were there for more than just bringing democracy to the middle east. We follow off after it to try and get a better shot. My dad is holding the light on it, so he hollers at me to take the shot so I level the pistol like I was at a firing range and pull the trigger. Now, a red light doesn’t make aiming any easier, just makes it to where you don’t lose all your night-eyes when the light goes out. I must have been at least 30-40 feet from a 1.5 foot armadillo, but somehow I got the poor bastard, right behind the ears. Single head shot. There once was a rustle, but then there was silence.

That was my first, true experience with death–how it is decided with little more than a red light and a 12 year old with rather impressive aim. My dad gave me an attaboy, even relayed the story to mom and my brother as though we had returned from the frontier with a bear pelt. That was the first time I had killed anything, and it honestly didn’t feel like anything. I liked that my dad was proud of me getting the job done and all that, but I didn’t feel like I did anything different than if I had shot an empty soda can with a BB gun. It had just happened–it didn’t feel like a choice.

It would be maybe a year or so until I met that poor, unfortunate raccoon. I had just got of the school bus and was walking up the driveway. Out in the front yard, I can see the cage trap in front of the bird feeder rattling. Mom had put it out there to catch squirrels stealing her precious bird’s lunches and dinners and had sworn ever lasting blood lust against them, as is Rose family tradition with vermin. Only this time, she had caught a much bigger critter–a raccoon. The poor, masked bandit must have been chowing down on seeds scattered on the ground by the bird feeder and had got himself caught–I’ve always wondered, if someone sets a trap with the intention to catch you, do you get yourself caught by being dumb enough to fall for the trap, or do they catch you by virtue of their superior trap making abilities?

I call my dad on the house phone and tell him that there’s a raccoon in mom’s trap and ask what he wants me to do.

“Well, Sam…You got two options: you can wait until I get home and I’ll take care of it, or you can grab the .22 out of the gun safe and put the critter down yourself. Either way, you do not let that raccoon out alive. He could have rabies or other diseases.”

I tell dad I understand and I hang up. I think about it for a while. I know that I am no friend to critters like armadillos or beavers or squirrels–our family would wage everlasting war against them until the rapture itself. But raccoons were different to me. They almost seemed human, with their thumbs and the way they wear masks when they stalk around at night stealing people’s garbage or that one time they stole my dad’s beer chest while we were camping. They were no good thieves, but they were cute, rambunctious little assholes.

Eventually, I decide that providing the little guy a quick, decisive and humane end was the best route. I go and collect the .22 and confirm it is loaded and with a bullet in the chamber. Dad always left the guys loaded in the safe–he taught us gun safety since we were tots and believe that the only difference between an unloaded gun and a useless hunk of metal was the serial number. I go out front to the trap, where the raccoon is chittering and rattling around for dear life. He understood what was to become of him the moment the trap slammed closed. The Rose’s were notorious in the critter community, the stuff of legends and nightmares even.

I level the gun just like I did against the armadillo. In the broad daylight and only inches away from the cage, I was confident I could deliver just a quick and painless death for the poor bandit as I did the shelled one. I pull the trigger, but the raccoon moved suddenly and my bullet lands in its rump. He lets out a loud, pained chittering and begins running around the cage manically, going up, down, all around. It was like a tiny tornado of fur had just erupted within the cage.

Taken aback and panicking myself, I try to aim again and put an end to his suffering. But the poor thing, yowling and gasping in pain, has still enough life left to make a futile, last attempt to preserve his life and he continues to scurry around the cage, not giving me the opportunity to make that final kill shot. Eventually, I unload almost the entire clip into this poor, trash panda, and am left looking at him, barely able to breath, bullet holes across his body. None of them are anywhere that would kill him immediately, but I could tell all of them were bringing him pain.

I feel sick to my stomach. I go back inside to quickly find another bullet to put the poor thing out of his misery. I meant to be humane, merciful, to give the thief some honor in his death like Jesus did Saint Dismas, the penitent thief. I find a bullet and reload the gun and hurry back outside. The raccoon was already dead. Whether it was blood-loss, one of the bullets or just shock, he had died while I was reloading my gun, full of pain, agony, and fear.

When my dad got home, I helped him dispose of the carcass out in the back of the property, where the vultures could get him, but after that I didn’t come out of my room that night. I thought about Chelsea that night, about how even when she was in pain from the snake venom, she got to spend a couple of her last nights with us, how I slept next to her bedside so she would know I was there. That raccoon may have been a boy or a girl, I’m not sure, but it probably had a family, a pack that would have been there if they could to support him or her, let them know they were loved before passing. Death is all around us in Texas, and sometimes we let ourselves forget it, tell ourselves that it has nothing to do with us. Maybe that works for some people. All I know is, I look differently at death after sharing that dark, painful moment with that raccoon. Wouldn’t you?

The Cannibal and The Vegan: Part 1

As the sun breaks through the dusty horizon of the ruins of Los Angeles, casting a sickly orange glow through the window of the bedroom, Alan turns over, hoping to grab a few more moments of sleep before the day begins.

“Rise and shine, Mr. Welker,” A.R.V., his Automated Robotic Valet, said in a tin, empty voice. “I have prepared your breakfast, sir.”

Alan mumbles thank you, as he rolls to the nightstand next to his bed. He tears the previous day’s date from his calendar of inspirational phrases and quotes.

“The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.”—Charlotte Bronte

Well said, Alan thought to himself, as he pulled his cargo pants up. Here’s to dying alone then.

Alan dresses himself and heads to the kitchen, where a flurry of machines have automated a variety of his more mundane morning tasks: ironing shirts; toasting whole wheat vegan French toast with almond milk, vanilla and cinnamon; grounding and brewing his home grown coffee beans from his greenhouse. Alan takes a sip from his Cal Tech Alumni Fungi Mug. A wheeled drone the size of a small trash can appears from the other room with Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Alan flips it open to the page he left off on last night, walking towards the glass door balcony. The sliding doors open as he approaches the motion sensors, and Alan sits in his hammock the read his Russian literature in the orange glow of the post nuclear holocaust morning sun.

“Security and perimeter briefing prepared,” a drone said, as it hovers nearby the balcony while Alan sips from his coffee.

“How are my hedges,  S.I.S.?” Alan asked his Security Information and Surveillance drone, the rotors whirring like a hummingbird.

“No new hostile encounters or sightings over last 8 hour cycle. Gates: %100. Mine field: 10/10 mines armed and unexploded. Flame pits—,” Alan waves his hand dismissively at the drone.

“Yeah, yeah, all’s quiet, I get that. Any mail?” Alan asked.

“One new voice message from Sarah: Need some Neosporin and advil, cut myself up while working on a project. Meet at Echo Park?” The drone plays back the audio recording. Alan smiles. Maybe today won’t be so lonely after all, Charlotte.

Alan quickly sips his coffee down to minor dregs, wolfs down a few bites of his toast, and button’s up his freshly ironed shirt. He goes back to the master bedroom to his closet. A wall full of Yeezy’s he had pilfered from Kanye and Kim’s house the month before last.

“Ok, Alan, you’ve got this. Super simple question,” Alan said to himself in the mirror as he puts pomade in his hair and spritzes a mist of Calvin Klein perfume on his neck and chest. “Got any plans for Dinner, Sarah? I mean, how could she say no, no one has dinner plans anymore, right?”

Alan takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly.

“Just be confident.”

Alan takes his survival poncho off the hook by the front door, picks up his pump-action shotgun and checks the ammo tube to make sure he reloaded last night. Then he opens the door and walks down his drive way. A mutated crow flutters to close to his side of the street. 3 drones break off from their patrols and gun down the mutated carrion in a hail of gun fire, falling to the ground with a dull thud. Alan goes over to it’s corpse, picks it up with a pair of gardening gloves and tosses the carcass into a barbed wire enclosure marked COMPOST, full of other various dead animals and waste products. Alan walks down the drive to the next house over, where Robert DeNiro’s mistress and secret boyfriend would meet him when he came to LA (Alan had found the diaries and photos. They actually made a very cute couple, he thought.). The glass solarium made for a wonderful greenhouse for Alan’s plants, and the underground sex dungen provided the ideal conditions for his mushroom colonies to cultivate and store his barrels of homebrew IPAs and wines. He unlocks the basement, walking down the stairs and to the cabinet marked NONPERISHABLES, MEDICINE, MAGIC THE GATHERING CARDS (NON GUEST GAME HOLOS).

Alan presses his thumb to the print scanner on the cabinet handle, and after a robotic chime pushes the latch aside and swings the cabinet open. He sorts through his medical supplies and finds the Neosporin and Advil, taking two tubes of the disinfectant and two bottles of the pain reliever, just in case she was downplaying how bad the cut was.

Alan locks the cabinet back up and climbs the stairs. As he walks through the solarium, he sees that a small wild flower had bloomed in his tomato and squash gardens. He plucks it from the soil and settling it into his chest pocket.

Alan walks through the barren wasteland of what was formerly the neighborhood of the Elite and Famous of LA. Alan tried to be a good neighbor and keep the yards fresh cut and well watered, irrigating desalinated and filtered water he piped-in from the a nearby lake, but could only afford to divert so much of the water he needed to survive and care for his food supply. He even had set up a system to recycle his own urine to stay hydrated and conserve water for where his neighbors use to be, but that only helped so much.

Alan takes a turn at the end of the block to the right and walks toward Echo Park. The tumbleweeds and dust wisps flit through what had once been a lively common area for Angelinos. Alan looks around, squinting into the sun. He looks up toward a gazebo to see a figure in a dark duster and hood standing alone, machete in hand. The figure’s hood has a crown of feathers and ivory bone spines sticking up from the facemask, and a string of human teeth and knucklebones around its neck. Alan walks up the hill, slowly and stops within a few paces. The figure undoes the latch behind the side of her head, and takes off the elaborate head covering.

“Nice outfit, Sarah,” Alan said. “Is that new?”

“Found an arts and crafts kit with some needles and thread, so I’ve had a little fun with it,” Sarah said, putting the headdress down along with her machete. “Didn’t have any scissors though, so I had to use my survival knife, and well.” She holds up a bounded hand, the bandages scarlet red.

“Got you covered,” Alan said, taking the supplies from his pocket. She undoes the bandaging and applies the balm onto the cut, then rewrapping the treated wound. Alan opens the pill bottle and hands her two tablets and his canteen.

“Thanks, Alan.” Sarah said, tossing back the pills with a mouthful of water. Alan says it’s no problem, fumbling with his words as he works up the courage to ask her out. Sarah pays little attention, asking him if he had seen any new comers enter the city on his drone surveillance. He tells her there had been no new sightings on his end.

“Damn,” Sarah cussed. “I’m down to my last reserves of those nomads I killed 3 weeks ago.”

“Well, funny that you mention food,” Alan segued. “I was wondering, what are your plans for dinner tonight?”

“Well, usually I leave the adolescent meat for a special occasion, but unless I come across someone out on the city limits I’m not going to have much choice.”

“Oh, no,” Alan clarified. “I meant, would you be free to have dinner with me…later tonight…together…?” Alan clears his throat, the words coming up in awkward chunks.

“Oh!” Sarah said, caught by surprise with the sudden proposal. Her mind goes back to the moment they first met. She had hunted most of the last survivors in the Valley, deciding to branch out and test her luck in the main city. She goes by the old Whole Foods downtown, remembering how her boss would make her spend hours in traffic just to pick up a brand of kombucha that was sold at the grocer’s next door to his office but not the specific flavor he wanted. She killed and ate him a month after the bombs had fallen. Lean, but with plenty of good, marbleized fatty cuts from the haunches.

Suddenly, a whirring noise builds and roars behind her. She whips around to see a pair of drones hovering, a belt fed barrel clicking as it armed itself.

“HOSTILE DETECTED,” ARV announced, wheeling up behind the drones alongside Alan.

“Protocol: First Contact,” Alan said, as the drones flank Sarah to each side, keeping superior position but otherwise settling to a less aggressive position. As Alan looks Sarah over, he can see from her appearance what her survival looked like: bloodied clothes, the tension in her stance, the machete full of nics from human bone.

“Are you a Roamer?” Alan asked.

“Roamers kill people for sport or money,” Sarah said. She didn’t have much tactical advantage in the situation, so not much could really be gained from lying. “I kill to eat.”

“You don’t have to,” Alan said.

“No one ever does.”

“If I let you go,” Alan said. “Would you try and eat me?”

“I don’t think R2D2 would like that very much.”

Alan smiles. “Protocol: Ollie Ollie Oxen Free.” The drones and ARV scuttle away, leaving Alan and Sarah alone unguarded. “I’m Alan. I live up by the Reservoir. What’s your name?” Alan extends his hand out to her.

“Sarah,” she said, looking sideways at Alan’s extended hand, not knowing whether it was a trap.

“Sarah,” Alan said, grabbing and shaking her hand. “Great to meet you.”

“You understand that I meant what I said. I eat people.” Sarah said. “Most…people I meet tend not to be happy they met me.”

“Yeah, sure,” Alan said. “And I avoid dairy, meat, and fish. I just don’t have a lot of neighbors now that the Roamers have been coming around, beggars can’t be choosers, right?”

“That’s a…pretty open-minded view, I guessed,” Sarah says.

“Nice,” Alan said. “Chaotic Neutral vibes and all around.”

Sarah enjoyed Alan’s company well enough. They mutually benefited from having an amicable relationship based on trade and not killing one another in their sleep. They also had some shared interests and hobbies, tastes in art and literature. They often enjoyed using SIS drones to blow up pretentious pieces at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

And on a deeper level, they agreed that there were just some things and people that didn’t deserve to survive the apocalypse. Sarah had worked at the state legislature, and when the first bombs started to hit, her boss and a few coworkers hid together in a bomb shelter under the capital. It didn’t take long before congressmen and political big wigs started hoarding food, leaving interns out in the fallout to die.

When it became clear there would be nothing left to eat, Sarah started a revolt among all the aide that hadn’t gone mad from radiation, and they all killed and ate the big wigs. Alan’s story was different. He was just always different. Believed in alien abduction stories, spent days by himself as a kid out in the woods, collecting mushrooms and identifying edible berries and seeds.

They split the city down the middle, Alan taking Hollywood and the reservoir’s abandoned trendy neighborhoods, Sarah taking the Valley and East LA neighborhoods as her personal hunting grounds. Alan relied on Sarah to help scavenge for parts and other fixings that he couldn’t get his hands on within the area that his drones’ signal could reach, and Sarah traded with Alan for repairs to her own equipment and hunting tools, plus a safe-house for whenever a pack of wild dog-bear-elk sweep through town.

“I don’t know, Alan,” Sarah said, looking down at her feet.

“Just hear me out,” Alan said. “We’ve been neighbors now for over a year, and I’d just like the opportunity to get to know you better.”

“I eat people,” Sarah said, squinting at Alan. “I think that tells you a lot about me, Alan.”

“Yeah and I like Kale and Soybeans,” Alan replied. “But I also like coffee and reading. I’m almost halfway through that book you suggested, the one by Tolstoy. Despite what people use to say, we’re not what we eat…Well, you are technically. Just have dinner with me tonight. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Sarah begins to search for the words to put Alan down politely, but just can’t bring herself to dampen his enthusiasm. She relents and asks when and where.

“Come by the house around 6 later tonight,” Alan said, fighting the desire to pump his fist triumphantly.

“I’m not eating any kale,” Sarah shouted as Alan skips away.

“Don’t worry,” Alan shouted back from halfway down the hill. “You’re going to love the main course, I promise!”

Sarah sighs as she watches Alan jog off, spring in his step and a song in his soul.

“Fuck,” Sarah said out loud to herself. “I really don’t want to move to Palo Alto.”

I hope that you have enjoyed Dark and Silly Books first publication, The Cannibal and The Vegan: Part 1, from our short story collection, Stories from the End of Time! We want to bring you more stories like this, so sign up for our email list so you can keep in touch!

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Getting to know Sam Rose: The Love Story

Let’s start at the beginning. It’s the summer of 2012 in the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m out with some of my fellow exchange students the weekend of the 4th of July the only way that North American’s abroad can–by getting absolutely shit-faced while a bunch of Argentineans look at us wondering how on earth any president that we elect is the leader of the free world.

We’re on a pub-crawl through the city’s Palermo Soho neighborhood and have just stopped at our first bar. As I walk in, she’s the first thing I see. In all fairness, at the time she was the first thing everyone walking in could see–She and a friend were dancing together on top of a table. I think it took everyone by surprise, which is why none of the staff seemed to be forcing her down. I don’t know, maybe they just liked the view. I definitely did–I got up on the table and joined her.

We talked for a while, mostly a lot of the usual stuff–I’m studying abroad, she’s on vacation, how catchy that Ai Se Eu Te Pego song is–and at one point, the company or whoever behind the pub crawl asked if they could take a picture of us. We say sure, she puts her arms around me and I hug her, our faces pressed up against one another, cheek to cheek. I must have taken over a hundred different photos during that summer. And I’d take a lot more with her as well–Us together at her place at Christmas, Us in New York City, or just Us out at a nice dinner for her birthday. Problem is, somewhere over the years, between switching of phones and a half-assed purge of memories of the relationship, that is one of the photos from that summer that didn’t end up making it, and I regret that. It was a good photo.

So let’s provide a little more context and answer some of the questions up front for you. No, we’re not still together. For a while after we broke up, it was complete silence. Then, Victoria (not her real name, of course) reached out to me and we started talking again. We became friends again.

Why did it not work out the first time? Same reason it usually doesn’t work out the first time or ends in divorce–we were too young. I was barely 20 at the time and getting my first steps in adulthood (insert asterisk for obvious reasons). It was also long distance, which, despite being a cliché, is one of the most stressful kinds of relationships, so I’m not surprise it was ultimately doomed. We always did a great job of making it work, texting each other whenever we could about whatever we could, regular video chats and the occasional “date night” FaceTime. And we would put in the work to come see each other when we could. I took on a job over the fall and saved every penny I could just to fly out to see her on Christmas. But there are those moments where because of cell service or time differences that you’re just left feeling alone, and that’s never fun.

So, how did it end? With a very poorly orchestrated phone call. I was supposed to come and see her the next day, but I had already been thinking all week about how I was going to break up with her. I had actually never broken up with someone, let alone someone I had fallen for so intensely. It was like I was on that table with her, but I didn’t know how to get down. Or I was afraid that if I did, it would break the table and we both would die. My first thought was to do it face-to-face. Can’t be a coward, I had to be a man and own up to the break up. I was going to go see her, probably would have to get a hotel room somewhere before I could go back. But I kept hovering over the reserve room button. I couldn’t do it. So I canceled my ticket and picked up the phone. When she picked up, I asked if she was alone. “No, Bruce is here.” I didn’t want to break up with her in front of her best friend, so I told her I’d talk to her later and hung up. She called me back. “Babe, what’s wrong? I can hear in your voice that something’s going on with you.”

Ok, one last question–why did I end it? To be honest, I felt like I was trapped. Not by her, but by this idea I had on who I was supposed to be. Look, I’m not going to wax on about how I was discovering myself and needed to make a change. If there was something going on with me, she was the first person I would want to talk to about it. But just because you love someone that much, doesn’t mean you always make the right decisions.

Ok, so let’s fast forward this story to a year ago. Victoria and I had just started talking again. Things are so different for both of us now. I’m in a new job, she’s in a new city, there are new friends and people in our lives, as well as some of the old ones. She invites me to come down and visit her and Bruce–they’re still friends and now roommates–for a couple of days, hang out like all three of us use to. I book a ticket.

I know what you’re thinking–Here comes the good old back-slide, a story as old as time itself. I’ll admit, maybe I thought the same thing too for a while. But when I get there, it’s just not what I expected at all. I thought there would be mountains of awkwardness to climb over, but really, after a briefly shared “this is so weird” moment, it was great. We went out and danced and drank and told stories and jokes together, just like the old days.

Now, curiousity did get the better of me, so I ended up asking if she ever ended up dating or seeing anyone else after me. I mean, I felt like I needed to know–did my breaking up with her send her on some devastating spiral of depression and hatred of men? Did I ruin all men for her and switch her over to the ladies? Was there ever anyone that would match the specter of me as one of her first loves. “Oh, yeah, there’s been a bunch.” She told me that she even fell in love again with another man, but that he had left her. She had been sad for a bit after we broke up, and she told me that I was a pretty good boyfriend while they dated. But my leaving hadn’t sent her into spinster-levels of depression. She and her heart had moved on.

She asked me the same question, and I told her honestly. “I mean, it’s mostly been hook ups. There’s been no one like you.” I thought that was nice to say. That I was being contrite and complimenting her. Took me a while after to realize what I really said. I broke up with her because I thought I had to move on, but even after all these years I was still in the same place. I hadn’t moved on. Because I wasn’t who I wanted to be. Only who I thought I was supposed to be. I hated the job I had, I felt like every year more and more friends from college and highschool were getting married or having kids or doing something that said to me “See, they have it all figured out. They made it work. Why couldn’t you?”

So, did I get back together with Victoria? No, dear reader, I didn’t. It might have been the biggest mistake of my life breaking up with her back then, but it was the right decision not to get back together with her now. I’m still as much of a mess in my head and heart as I was back in 2013, hovering over a 1 star hotel that I thought would be a just punishment for what I was about to do. Because, dear reader, this isn’t a lover story about a boy and a girl. It’s a story about self-love, and how hard if can be to find even 7 years later.

I don’t have any answers about what it is that is going to make me happy going forward or who I’m meant to be with. I doubt that even exists, that we’re meant to be with one specific person. But, I know that if you can’t find a way to love and be at peace with yourself, then no one else, no matter how perfect they were, will make you feel that way. I don’t think I necessarily saved Victoria from years of dealing with me, that somehow breaking up with her was the chivalrous thing to do. I just did, and now I’m just trying to figure out what’s next.

There is one good thing that came out of it though. While visiting her, I asked Victoria how she got into her new job as a DJ. I remembered that she had always loved music, but when we were dating, she worked in Concierge at a really fancy hotel–I’m talking the kind where presidents and kings stay at, and where, if you don’t have the net worth of a small island, you are politely asked to leave before they beat the ever living fuck out of you.

“I just loved it, so I started doing it.” What you expected something more poetic? It’s the truth, and hearing that truth from her actually inspired me to start writing again. So for the time being, when I feel like I don’t know who I’m supposed to be, what I’m supposed to do, or who I’m “meant to be with,” I just start writing.

PS. There’s a reason that I chose to write about love in this post. We just published our first short story on the website, called The Cannibal and The Vegan: Part 1 from my short story collection, Stories from the End of Time.

He eats kale. She eats people. But in their hearts, they’re just two kids wandering the apocalyptic wasteland of LA looking for someone to love.

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Getting to Know Sam Rose

Hi, I’m Sam Rose. I mean, you already know that, right? This website is crawling with my name–That’s how author websites are supposed to work right? He’s the guy that likes to write, here are some of the things he wrote, here’s a couple of blog articles he did so that he can keep you engaged with his content and signing up for newsletters and email lists. Standard, self-publishing, self-promoting stuff you’ve seen on pinterest or tumblr pages.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pointing all this out to suggest I’m here to break molds or shift paradigms. It’s probably the best thing about the internet–Giving everyone a chance to show what they’re about, and sharing the things that have made other people successful. As long as you have the calling and don’t mind driving yourself crazy with web traffic and social advertising metrics, it’s all there for the taking.

I bring all this up because I want you to know why I’m doing this, what is driving me–I like writing. It’s probably been the only thing I’ve ever done creatively that I would be able to put in this much time and effort. I’m not getting into the self-publishing novel writing world cause I think that it’s going to change my life more than it already has. The way I hoped it would have changed me has already occurred.

A couple of years ago, following my transition from college to the real world, I suffered through depression and anxiety in silence and ignorance of what it was I was going through. I just thought that I was bummed because the degree I had studied all 4 years (political science) was totally not what I wanted to do. I figured I’d just find a job, any job, and work hard, save money, and eventually, I’d be happy. Suck it up, buttercup; the world doesn’t have enough dream jobs for everyone.

It took a couple of things to finally happen after leaving college to bring me to where I am now–some family drama, a few of my own mental breakdowns, as well as doing some traveling and making some new, inspiring friends. I’m grateful for it all though, the good and the bad, the struggles and the victories. Without it, I would have never got to a place where, after years of being the moon eyed kid in the back of glass, stuck in his own world’s full of magical adventures, heroic battles, and romantic tales, I stopped telling myself that I am not a writer.

Here are the facts: writing is a tough gig to break into and be successful in. Millions of first time authors’ books go nowhere but the bins of traditional publishing companies. Even with self-publishing on Amazon and other reading platforms, if you are measuring success by six figure sales numbers per year, your expectations might be a bit lofty.

I don’t know if the books–that’s right, plural–are ever going to make me rich and famous. Luckily for me, that’s not why I am writing them. I’m writing them because I’m done telling myself that I am not a writer. I’m writing because I’ve always enjoyed telling stories to myself and whoever will listen since I was 11 years old living in rural East Texas. I’m writing because the world we live in is kind of broken and weird, and sometimes so are the people in it.

And, more importantly, I’m writing because writing (and reading) brings us all together. That’s why I want to write and do more as well. I see a future where I’m not just publishing and marketing my own stories, but those of people who I believe need to be heard. Writing saved my life a few years back, it could save yours as well.

That’s some of the loftier, big picture details about me, so how about we get to something a bit more fun? Below are links to a couple of fun, interesting anecdotes about my life, my childhood, and my own personal journey in writing. You want to see some of the more formative experiences of my life, click below and read. Otherwise, if what you read above has you doing that fun little eye squinting, head bobbing that jazz cats do when listening to a smooth bass line, sign up for my newsletter to hear about my upcoming projects and book series.

Getting to Know Sam Rose: I Believe in Santa Claus

When I was thirteen, my dad told me he wanted me to come out on the rowboat in our pond with him to look for beavers. Already, this story is off to a massively amazing start. Saying that my dad wanted me to help him hunt beavers on a rowboat must sound like an extraordinary phrase that evokes wonder and the majesty of the outdoors and man’s relationship with the wild. What in fact this phrase represents is my dad continuing an almost unending crusade against a species of pest on our property that I get to now be conscripted into whilst paddling a dingy full of bird shit and pond scum.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, this expedition was going to have much more meaning to me down the road than I realized. This was going to be the time when my dad finally tells me that Santa Claus isn’t real.

I’m sure you already have questions, first among them being why did I still believe in Santa Claus at the age of thirteen? In all fairness, among all the things we’re expected to believe in when we’re kids—The Tooth Fairy, True Love, that standardized tests are a critical part of a public school education—Santa Claus is one of the things that I found to have a good reason to suspend disbelief in favor of. Oh, I heard all of the reasons why he couldn’t be real. There’s always those kids, the ones that feel so very little and small that they find ways to mock and belittle the hope out of other kids. But honestly, I felt that I was meant to believe in Santa Claus. In my mind, I had actually started to fuse together an idea that Santa and Jesus were the same person.

The evidence is all there. He miraculously travels around the world in one night, bringing gifts to all the good boys and girls and coal for the naughty. Apparently he is either immortal or able to defy mortality on a yearly basis. He’s got a posse of little guys helping him out. As far as I was concerned, Santa was just Jesus going through a rebrand.

Of course, this theory flies fully in the face of not only historical evidence, but my own personal life experiences. When I was 3 my brother convinced me that if I found the Christmas presents mom and dad had hidden, that I would be allowed to open them early. The boxes clearly said from Santa! I just figured mom and dad needed a part time job. Jesus wasn’t even born in December, it was moved from July in order to coincide with the pagan winter solstice celebration! Didn’t matter to me. Santa was my personal lord and savior cause one year, he brought me a voice controlled robot, and I felt like a god damn king.

So I go out in the rowboat and get ambushed by my dad, dropping truth bombs onto the peaceful hamlets of my childhood imagination. He’s very gentle and understanding, letting me know that it’s just that most boys my age don’t still give their parents letters to send to Santa and that he just wants to make sure I didn’t get too confused or sad about it. And honestly I was fine. I told him I kind of knew Santa wasn’t real. But deep down, I’ll be honest, I kept the faith. I started resorting to keeping secret my missives to Santa and playing along with people when they would joke about his existence. I had created my own faith, and Santa was the leader of my church.

This would stick with me long down the road, when, living in east Texas and, having a different world view than most of my neighbors, I would face questions about my faith, about my personal beliefs or politics. I don’t mean to make it all sound political, but given that it was always widely known that our family were one of the few democrats in a majority republican county and town, it never felt apolitical either. I once got called an atheist to my face by a girl who I had been friends with for years because I corrected her when she said Christianity and Islam had nothing in common (they both descend from the Abrahamic family tree). Classmates would often use me as a way to provoke our government/economics teacher into a back and forth to run out the clock and prevent him from assigning our class homework—ever been 17 and pushed into a prolife/prochoice debate with a teacher over a decade your senior? I never felt any of it was personal against me; I got along just fine with people, regardless of how they or their parents voted, and they got along well with me. It was just my own thoughts, my own beliefs that they wanted to attack. Because, you know, those things don’t come from me, right?

I never would say I bought in fully to all the church youth groups or summer camps I went to, but I loved the people and community, so I always did my best to make an effort. I always looked and searched for the merits of it all. But when people will attack you not in defense of their beliefs but of their arrogance? That instead of taking time to examine and formulate their own beliefs or understand where I’m coming from, they’d blindly strike out against whatever they felt threatened by?

I believe I have a healthy spiritual life, and I have the greatest respect for people who have their own beliefs and take the time to get to know other’s. But respecting other people’s beliefs shouldn’t require bending your own to their convenience or constantly defending them from any and all criticism. For all I know, my beliefs must be working. I’ve never had coal in my stockings, and I don’t feel threatened or under attack by your dissent. So why do you?