2023 – Next Verse, Same as the First…

A quick recap of my 2022 for those of you that don’t follow me on social media.

And for those that do follow me on social media, feel free to skip down past the image so you don’t have to relive the hell of this past year with me again.


Almost free of the new year craziness at The Day Job, my boss had a major medical issue… we’re talking medical coma, is he gonna wake up, what tests haven’t they run, sort of major medical issue. As his second-in-command, this made The Day Job a living hell for several months… never mind the fact that the man’s actually my friend, too, and I was worried sick about him.

In the midst of this, Girl2 is hit by not one but two drunk drivers (in the same incident). The first drunk rear-ended the car she was in. As everyone was checking personal and property damage, the second drunk hit her and sent her flying across the street. Shattered shoulder, tore ACL, MCL, and PCL in her knee, hairline fractured the other leg, and gave her a gnarly scar on the back of her head. All free time was spent at the hospital with her (updating group texts on the health of my boss from her bedside – I was not okay) until she was released. Then came appointment after appointment, then surgery, then more appointments and physical therapy. This continued until almost Thanksgiving, when she was finally released from physical therapy and now only has follow-up appointments here and there.

While Girl2 and my boss were in separate hospitals, we had a couple of fire scares. Because… why not? Right?

We said goodbye to my father-in-law at the end of summer but thankfully managed a little get-together to celebrate his birthday before that. I even had the foresight to take my laptop and set up a video chat with several of his grandkids scattered across the US. He enjoyed that. And he doesn’t have to deal with illness and pain anymore.

Yule celebrations were delayed due to illness. Then delayed again due to more illness. In fact, they just happened a few days ago.

Just before Yule was postponed the first time, I learned of the passing of a friend and colleague. For several years, we served similar roles at The Day Job so we worked together a lot… like A LOT a lot… and became pretty good friends. Fuck cancer, by the way.

And with the New Year on the horizon, I whispered my last goodbyes into the ear of one of my dearest friends (also one-time coworker, and distant cousin, as we discovered by chance one day).

So… yeah… 2022 pretty much beat me all to hell. Let’s look ahead, shall we?

Everything from last year’s New Year’s post is still in the queue…

Wondering about my job announcement peeve? Happy to report that, once it was brought to their attention, HR changed the announcements so that they are all career opportunities. I know, it’s really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things… but if 2022 taught me anything, it’s to embrace every victory – no matter how small.

Until next time, friends…
Don’t fear the future… just don’t go alone. 💖


Language is an incredibly powerful tool – Captain Rogers’ WWII-era sensibilities notwithstanding…

Seriously – if you’ve ever spoken with me (or read pretty much anything I’ve ever written) – you know damned well that the only time I watch my mouth is if someone puts a mirror in front of me while I’m talking.

Still… words are powerful things.

Storytellers agonize over words. We change the words we’ve written almost every time we read them and continue to do so in our heads even when the piece is a “finished product” because sometimes there’s a better word. Sometimes the tone of a whole statement changes… a whole scene… based on the words used to tell the tale.

But let’s steer out of the crazy storyteller brain for a minute… because, even in the “real world,” words are powerful tools that, unfortunately, a lot of folks use pretty carelessly.

Take, for example, the inspiration for this particular post:
Job postings at The Day Job™

As you know, The Day Job™ resides in the world of Academia.

I work in education, yes, but I don’t teach in the classroom. In fact, as far as my job description is concerned, I don’t teach at all.

(This is the part where I give my boss a dirty look because he keeps trying to convince me I should be in the classroom – and I don’t think he reads this, so I can get away with glaring 😠 🤣)

Here’s the thing… for over twenty years, now, I’ve worked in the same place. I’ve done a couple of different jobs in that time but there’s one thing that’s never changed…

I’m helping students. I’m helping people change their lives.

Does twenty years doing basically the same thing say “career” to anyone else?

Well… academia apparently runs by its own rules.

Faculty (teaching) positions are advertised as “Career Opportunities” but Classified (non-teaching) positions are “Employment Opportunities.”

Going back to that power of language thing…

Job postings at The Day Job™ – where we’re all supposed to have the same mission (helping students succeed) – are written to fall back on the bullshit rhetoric about how jobs are somehow less than careers… how you have to push to advance and win the rat-race or else you’ll be “stuck in a job.”

Making the non-teachers somehow less before they even start the hiring process… I mean… what the actual fuck?

Twenty-one years (and counting) helping change lives and it’s not a career?

My career is old enough to buy its own drinks, thankyouverymuch.

Maybe it’s unintentional… a case of “oh, we didn’t realize…”

Yeah. I’m sure that’s it. I mean… it’s not like the whole state-wide system umbrella The Day Job™ sits under is actively training everyone in microaggressions and biases or anything. 🙄

Bottom line, friends: words are weapons.

If you don’t know how to use them properly, someone’s going to get hurt.

If you do know how to use them but are careless with them, someone’s going to get hurt.

It doesn’t matter if the pen or the sword is mightier… both can change lives, save lives, and destroy lives.

Until next time, friends…

By all means – say what you mean… but think about the meaning of what you’re saying, too.


So, it took no time at all for me to get a month behind. That’s refreshing. 🙄

The DayJob, as should be expected by now, has been a relentless flurry of madness for the last week. Those of you that know me personally (or have followed my exploits online over the years) know this is a normal thing – it is the first week of the Fall semester and… well… F-A-L-L… that spells crazy.

(Yeah, I know that’s not the line… but it works)

In addition to the normal madness, we have returned to campus. Many classes have returned to campus. Delta has, thankfully, not decided to enroll at this time.

I continue to massage several projects – many of which are beginning to resemble the plans that originally erupted in my brain.

I continue to reluctantly pay attention to the news: particularly regarding the pandemic’s revival, the return of the Calinferno, and the unchecked aggression and unapologetic idiocy that plagues the central valley.

And I continue to hope people will do better.

Be better.

Until next time friends, do what’s right… do what’s decent… and above all, be kind.

One more thing…

My dear friend (and fellow masochist… er… author) S.J. McMillan and her family could use some prayers/positivity/good vibes etc. I’d appreciate it if you’d have the Universe send some her way 💖

Change of Scenery

After working remotely for more than a year, the process of returning to the Day Job’s normal location is underway. With the office having been mostly abandoned since March 2020, the process is far more arduous than one might imagine.

While I have not missed the commute, it will be nice to return to the “normal” routine… one year at home isn’t enough to break the normalcy of nineteen years into the career after all.

Yes, I’ve been at the Day Job for just over 20 years.

It doesn’t seem possible, but here we are.

The commute means a little less me time but it also means that me time won’t be interrupted by the lingering aura of work – so that’s a plus.

Look forward to more… there’s still at least one more release to look forward to this year and who knows what’s on the horizon…

Until next time, friends… look at what’s around you, then look at your place in it. You’re an important part of that picture ❤️

Burning Questions

  1. Am I crazy trying to keep up with multiple projects?
  2. Why is this post late?
  3. What the hell is left to burn in Central California?

Answer 1:

Yes. I must be. I mean… right?

In the active queue: Heroes of Vadim 4, another monster hunter, an on-again-off-again space pirate, and a snippet of a high-magic steampunk idea.

Answer 2:

Multiple reasons.
First, the Day Job vacation didn’t start as planned – meetings were rescheduled and priority things popped up even though I was supposed to not be there. So, today’s really the first day… and it threw me off.
Next, being that it’s California and summer, we have another fire. This one popped up yesterday about 8 miles from us and, as one would expect, exploded to a 400 acre monster overnight. It is, however, burning away from us and toward the still-devastated area destroyed by last year’s Creek Fire.
Also, the temperature is still reaching triple-digits. I had to go get my granddog some ice blocks.

Answer 3:

Apparently more than you’d expect. In just the last week, we’ve had 2 major burns in the Fresnosprawl proper and multiple fires of various sizes in the foothills and mountains surrounding.

And yet… I write. Not just for you, but for me.

Until next time, friends…
Stay hydrated.
Stay cool.
Stay safe.


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Sorry, friends – the Day Job has been kicking my butt and there’s been no time to even think about what to write here… let alone get it all ready for you.

Until next time…
Remember rule #32: Enjoy the little things 😊

The Return

The world is collectively trying to adjust to whatever the new normal will be as we move forward in this timeline.

California has seen significant improvement and is poised to stick its governmental fingers in all our ears and la la la like COVID never happened (at least, that’s how the latest “beyond the blueprint” thing reads to me).

This means, of course, that my commute-free days will soon be coming to an end. Other than a little more road fatigue, I doubt much will change for me but one never knows.

The normal you can depend on: monsters, games, more monsters, and superheroes.

That’s right.

No matter what happens next or how the new normal finally manifests in its fullness, you need stories and I’m happy to provide.

Until next time, friends… be safe.
I want to see you all on the other side of this thing. 💖

Brace Yourselves: November is Coming

National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.

nanowrimo.org Mission Statement

As NaNoWriMo enters its 20th year (and I prepare for my 12th year of participation), it seemed the perfect time to dig a little deeper into what NaNoWriMo means not only for authors (a topic I’ve addressed fairly regularly), but also what it means for the people around them.

Without further ado:

Here Comes November

A Guide To The Care & Feeding of Your NaNoWriMo Author

What is NaNoWriMo?

According to the NaNoWriMo.org website:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

Why do authors do it?

Every author who participates has a different reason for becoming a WriMo. For some, it’s an exercise in discipline. For others, an excuse to shut out the real world in favor of creating their own. For some, like me, it’s a matter of proving to yourself that you can finish the draft.

How do authors approach the challenge?

There’s no single way to approach NaNoWriMo and nothing will ever work for everyone: but there are three basic classes of WriMo you should be familiar with:


This is the type of author your Language Arts teacher says you’re supposed to be. Planners have detailed outlines, character sketches, and new languages and creatures already fleshed out long before November 1 comes around. They plan. They are prepared.


Pretty much the opposite of the Planner, a Pantser tends to look at a blank page the morning of November 1 and finally get around to deciding what to write. A pantser’s mind if full of half-baked ideas, numerous plot bunnies, and a couple killer one-liners that someone is going to use this year no matter what!


A newly identified class who, for many years, been confused by Planners as Pantsers and Pantsers as Planners. A Plantser typically greets November with an idea, maybe a few character sketches in skeletal format, and a collection of notes that roughly resmeble an outline.

Your Role As The Keeper of a WriMo

Regardless what class your WriMo falls into, there are certain things that you can do to help make November run just a little more smoothly.


November can be overwhelming for your WriMo. Let’s face it: November’s not exactly a quiet month anyway. Tons of holidays are closing in, usually followed by family members & social events. Weather tends to be meh – either cold and gloomy, hot and miserable, or some other combination of factors that basically make you want to crawl into a hole and be left alone for a couple months. Adding the average daily wordcount of 1,667 to the mix is crazy-making.

And yet, WriMos do it… year after year.

There are many ways to encourage your WriMo and help them through the insanity that is November.

Take on additional chores so they don’t have to worry about them.

Screen social engagement requests to help maximize writing time.

Listen when they share their ideas. You are important enough for them to not write while they talk to you – make sure they realize they are equally important and that you appreciate the fact that you are THAT high on their list.


Many WriMos, particularly when they are in the zone, forget to address their own basic needs. As the keeper of a WriMo, you should always take care to make sure your WriMo has adequate water in addition to any other beverage of choice they may ingest while working.

Make sure to feed your WriMo regularly, too. In most cases, you shouldn’t have to actually feed your WriMo but placing a meal or snack in easy reach will ensure they are able to maintain their strength without the danger of losing their momentum to go find and/or prepare something to eat.

Get Acquainted With Their Muse

Every WriMo has a muse and repeat WriMos tend to be familiar enough with their muse to be able to introduce you. Getting to know your WriMo’s muse may well be your single most important task as the keeper of a WriMo.

Just as every WriMo is different, every muse is different. Learning about your WriMo’s muse will prepare you to help your WriMo seduce the muse back to the story when she wanders.

To Be Continued…

It’s been a crazy couple months:
My mentor & dear friend retired from the DayJob in June and I have been going slightly mad (just very slightly mad) learning all the things I didn’t know about her job now that it’s my job.

New side projects. Plot bunnies running amok. Human sacrifice. Dogs & cats living together… wait. That’s not it.

Bear with me, folks. I’m still here… at least until November 😉

Until next time…

Take a minute to breathe… to remember… to love.
Smell the roses, pet the dogs, and hug the people who have a place in your heart.