I am a writer after all and is that not what we do? In fact, it is what we are born to do. So grab yourself a cup of java, find a nice, warm comfortable place to sit, and relax. Take your time reading this story, absorb the details, feel the texture, and realize before I begin, that this is the one and only post from me, you will ever read like this. For this is a tale, that is entirely REAL.
Every good writer knows that the beginning sets the tone for any story. However, exceptional writers know that there is only one hard and fast rule…there are no rules except one. You must tell the truth of the story. In keeping with that rule, I will begin with me, for I am the truth of this story.
I began as I believe most people do. Young, innocent, and full of good intentions and dreams. However, life for me was different than most children. I had abusive parents and a mother so controlling, that she managed to drive away 8 husbands, in the time I knew her. My school life was not much better. I was an outcast despite being one of the best athletes at nearly every school I attended, and that was more than the average amount, because my mother only cared about one thing in this world, money. She made that money by buying houses, moving in, fixing them up and reselling them for profit. Don’t think for one second that I reaped any rewards from this. I gained nothing except a new set of kids to hate me, every six months or so.
From as early as I can remember, my life was nothing more than one fight or another. Not just because of my smallish stature, but also because I was a little too smart for my own good. In fact, I was one of only 6 people who were chosen to test out the ITBS test, that was for a long time the standardized test across the entire USA. It was the only time I have ever been on the front page of any newspaper. At any rate, looking back now, I suppose every kid had to hate me. I was almost always the new kid, I was exceptionally good at sports and I had a brain to boot. What was there not to hate?
When I was not fighting in school, I was at home listening to my mother have knock down, drag out fights with whomever, was her newest lover or spouse. If she was not fighting with one of them, she was fighting with me. I do not know which was worse, to be honest. To be in the fight, or terrified when I was not. This was my life until I turned 15 and finally thought I made some friends, when I fell into the drug crowd. It did not take long for me to figure out that, I was not really anyone’s friend even there. I was just their amusement. You see around that age I had grasped that, even if people did not like me, they tolerated me because I was funny. I have since learned that this is defense mechanism that people use to hide their pain. Of course, I was completely oblivious to this fact at that age. I was happy for tolerance, it sure beat fighting all the time.
By the time I figured out that people were only tolerating me and using me for entertainment, it was too late to get out. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol by the age of 16. At least I fit in better, with the rest of my alcoholic family. Yes, that was the upside. Pretty sad and it took me years to realize, just how sad it really was.
I don’t think I really began to understand just how bad I had become, until I was arrested for stealing money out of unlocked cars, at the ripe old age of 18. Yes, my friends, I was charged with a felony and spent a little over a year and a half behind bars. When I was released, I given back into the custody of the people who had the most to do, with how I got there…my family. Who then proceeded to work on undoing, all that I had learned while in there. It was not long before I was a drug user and alcoholic again, living on the streets.
This was the wild stallion my wife found when she first met me. Crazy, alcoholic, drug using, funny, good looking guy, who followed no rules. Just the type of bad boy every woman wants…at least until they figure out, that they cannot tame it. Luckily for me, she did not figure that out until after we were married. Luckily for her, I managed to tame myself before I ended up dead. It took a drug overdose and many years of fighting myself, to accomplish it. During those years of inner conflict, I wrote, I worked, and at some point fell into the role of house husband, raising two boys.
I never wanted kids. Not because I have any dislike for kids. It was for two very important reasons. The first being I considered bringing kids into this fucked up world, an act of cruelty. The second reason was a little more deeply seated and terrified me. I did not want my kids to be anything like me, and considering mine and my families history, I knew in all likelihood, they would. Luckily for them, dear ole’ dad had mostly won his fight with drugs and alcohol, by the time they became teenagers. I had also cut ties completely with my family by then, so they could not corrupt them too.
The years passed, the kids grew up, the Internet came along. I shared music and short writings with a group I ran on MSN communities. It was not exactly what I wanted, but it sure as hell beat drinking, fighting, and breaking the law. I knew then, just as I suppose I have always known somewhere down inside, that I wanted to do more with both the music and the writing, but there was never the time to delve too deep into either, with two boys requiring my attention. I was determined, that I was not going to be anything, like my parents. I was going to raise my kids properly, even if it meant holding off on my true desires. After all, isn’t that what parenthood is all about…sacrifice?
As my oldest son began to approach the age of leaving, I was rewarded for winning my battle with alcohol and drugs, and for taking the time required to raise my kids properly. I was given Hyperthyroidism, Acid Reflux disease, Migraines, Chest pains, and Plantaris muscle pain in my feet. My Thyroid had to be ablated (killed with radioactive Iodine) and I am now currently taking 4 different drugs to deal with these issues.
As my youngest son approached his teenage years, I knew from experience that he would want nothing to with me, so in 2010 I finally published my first novel. By this time, the world of publishing had changed. It was going digital. Because of the change, my first book was released and my 1000+ friends at Facebook completely ignored it. So then I did what many sites suggested, and I made the book FREE for a few days. When over 200 people took advantage of this, I thought great, until I began to see that nobody reviewed the book. It was then that I realized why. They paid nothing for the book, and therefore were in no hurry, to even read it. Think about it. Which book would you read first? The book you paid $10.00 for or the one you got for free? Once it dawned on me that people have no appreciation for free books, I vowed never to give away my hard work and time.
I believed and still do, that a person should be paid for their work. So for awhile, I backed away from publishing anymore books. I spent 3 yrs. researching my next book idea and learning about building a platform. Then approx. one year ago, I started working on that next book idea, while bringing my Twitter followers from 200 to over 14.3K. At around 7k followers I released Shadow Shifters. Much to my surprise, despite having 7k book readers for followers, the book barely sold.
In fact, to be completely honest, sales were dismal. I did not understand what I had done wrong. I followed all the right people. I followed people who loved and read horror books. I entertained them, I engaged them, I took the time to respond personally, to every message. For a year, I spent every waking minute working on either researching and gaining new followers, writing, or creating music. What did I have to show for all my hard work? I made a total of $30.00 for the entire year. Yep! You read that right. To make the matter even worse, that $30.00 was spent on 3 paperback book proofs. So basically, I worked for free the entire year, with nothing to show, for all my efforts.
I don’t know if I am to blame or if it is the followers fault. I do know this though. I know that all these readers who follow me, do not even take the time to read, even short writings here at this blog. I know if I would not have spent my time building a worthless platform, Shadow Shifters 2 would be done and published by now. I know if I would not have taken the extra time required to give my followers personal attention, over half of my new digital CD would be completed.
When evidence stares you in the face, you can either ignore it and be in denial, or you can accept it, and make any changes that have to be made. Having fought most of my life against adversity, I am not the type to avoid any issue. So I sat down and confronted this issue. Evidence clearly dictates that if I cannot sell a horror book, to horror readers, something is being done wrong. Either 99.9% of my followers are just tolerating me because I amuse so well, or my lack of advertising my books, which I thought was far more preferable to most people’s taste, was a bad idea. Whichever is to blame, I suppose, is irrelevant at this point. The more important issue, is that something needs to change.
As much as I love my followers, I simply cannot waste time working for FREE, while my wife has to work more than 75 hrs. a week. Not only is it unfair to me, it is unfair to her. This places me in the very uncomfortable position of having to decide which is more important, creating exciting new content, or entertaining a large group of people, who do not support my work.
When viewing it from my perspective, I think even a blind man can see which is more important. I am deeply saddened to have to say this, especially to those few who did support my efforts, but the time for me to be your daily humor, has come to an end. I’m 50 yrs. old and I am very aware that, with my health issues, my time left here is limited. Therefore, I must prioritize what is important. I want to spend my last days on this planet with my wife, doing the things I love. I don’t and won’t spend another moment, working for free and being someone else’s joy.
The greatest sadness of all this, is that it is the story of my life, yet it is my wife who is the one having to endure, the extra hardship. It completely breaks my heart, that her belief in me, has led to this.
From this moment on, the only posts I will be making here, on Twitter, or anywhere else for that matter, will be regarding the release of new content. I am sorry, I can no longer be a child and just accept tolerance because of my humor. I must do, what I came here to do, before I die. I have no other choice. Sometimes life just hands you bad choices. Know this though…nothing in life is completely FREE. Everything in life costs you something, even if it is just karma.
I am sure there will be some who will find what I have written insulting, or take it personally. If you are one of those, get the fuck off your high horse, this story was never about you. This story was about ALL of us.
To those who read this far, thank you for your support. It meant the world to me and always will. Please understand I did not make this decision because I wanted to. I made it because I HAD to. Thank your for reading and make the most of what life gives you. It will be gone, far sooner than you expect.