Fueling the Fire: FenCon XIV

I attended the Writer’s Workshop at FenCon XIV in Dallas this year. The facilitator was the ever-insightful Cat Rambo. I was in with 14 other writers, critiquing and soaking up insights from Cat for 4 days.


Not only did I learn a ton about writing and about how others approach the craft, but the workshop refueled the tiny writer’s flame in my heart–which had been sputtering of late.

I immediately took home the various suggestions made about the story I had submitted for critique and really worked at tightening it up and making it better. I’ve re-titled it and have sent it out to a market for possible publication.

I can’t emphasize enough how great this workshop was. It was a great bunch of folks with a great teacher. It can’t get any better than that.

FenCon 2017

I’m the one with the subtle beard in the front…

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FenCon Writing Workshop

I will be attending the FenCon writing workshop this weekend with the brilliant Cat Rambo.

I’m hoping to revitalize my writing bug and get back on the horse. I’ve taken a hiatus from writing to focus on my RPG passion. I want to get back into it again.

So far, it has been excellent. Inspiring folks with illuminating critiques.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Darker and More Hollow

A few years ago (has it really been that long?), I wrote a couple blogs about Anissa Mayhew. She was blogger with sass, snark, and spirit and I really enjoyed what she had to say. She suffered through a myriad of health issues, causing strokes and other maladies. When I came across her stuff, she had just experienced a stroke and the internet was pouring its love out to her.

I was one of them. I even bought the t-shirt.

Today I found out that she has passed away. I’m saddened by her loss and the loss felt by her close friends and family. She was a special person, an exuberant, life-filled, soul. Though we never actually met, my heart now feels darker and more hollow for her presence having been taken away.

Requiescat in pace, Anissa.

Here are my previous blogs about Anissa in case you’re interested:

A Real Hero

Extremely Manly and Testosterone-Filled Tears

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The Comeback Kid

giphyAwhile back, I wrote about my struggles with clinical depression. How it steals parts of your life away. Well, things are looking a bit brighter these days and I wanted to share that part of the struggle, too.

Life is pretty good these days. My medications seem to have me balanced out. I’m no longer missing work. I’ve cut back on the therapy sessions because, when I get there, I just dodn’t have much to talk about. Both my therapist and I agreed that this is a Good Thing™. But most of all, I don’t feel quite so miserable all the time. So, all in all, I feel like I’ve come out of the other side of a really bad patch–which was made up of highs and lows all on its own.

To be sure, I still have some bad times. Nothing is all Pollyanna-Technicolor-Rose-Colored-Glasses here. I have to watch out for the pitfalls that send me down those rabbit holes of thought that have me spiraling into a funk. But I have tools to help me and support. That helps immensely.

I’ve also been throwing myself pretty hardcore into my hobbies–especially role-playing games. I’ve been creating adventures like a fiend and running the Wife through all sorts of adventures. Plus I have my regular gaming groups.

Anyway, this is all to say that if you suffer from depression and you see that wall of funk spring up in front you, there is an other side. There is hope. There are ways to help you through the morass. It’s not easy and it’s not fun, but it’s possible. And it will always be work. But it pays off in the end. You get your life back. And that’s pretty cool.

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Geekwerks Brewing (or My Misadventures in Home Brewing)

So a while back I told you about my new obsession–home brewing beer. Well…I’ve had some mixed success (or mixed failure, depending if you’re a pilsner glass half-full or half-empty sort of person).

I used the Mr. Beer™ kit to make a batch of Oktoberfest. It actually turned out not bad. A little yeasty, but not too bad. Not perfect by any stretch, but it was definitely beer. So I decided to stretch out a bit–a Scottish Ale with my 5 gallon kit rig. This one turned out–not so good. I singed the malt on the stove and was afraid this would make the beer taste burnt. Wonder of wonders, the beer turned out bland as hell–essentially beer-flavored water. So then I got out the Mr. Beer™ kit again and tried the “Velvet Velociraptor”–a fruit beer with a Czech pilsner base. This one exploded in my linen closet after one day.

But I’m not giving up! I’ve got a Mr. Beer™ American porter percolating in the closet now and I’m getting ready to try 5 gallons of a coffee porter. Fingers crossed! And that Scottish Ale? I’m letting it age a bit, see if it develops a flavor to it. We’ll see.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on at Geekwerks Brewing.

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