Am I Really a Fraud and a Failure?

Wow! A new month, October no less. This time of year happens to be my personal favorite. However, these past few weeks a blanket of sadness has covered me and my family as I have lost my sister, Dawn, to cancer. It has been a challenging time, and each day has both highs and lows. These past few weeks have seen more lows than highs, and I have taken many moments to stop and ponder my writing and what I’m doing. I debated quite a bit about this blog post, but I finally decided I would post it and share some of my thoughts about this writing adventure I’ve been on.  So, here we go.

This month is special as back on October 23, 2017 my first short story was published by NineStar Press. The story in question, The Reunion, it’s my first short story and if you aren’t familiar with the plot here is the brief blurb:

It’s been twenty years since the quiet Midwestern town of Lakeview was struck by tragedy. But every year on the anniversary of the event Teddy returns home for ‘The Reunion’. Lakeview, like Teddy, has secrets and not all mysteries should come to light.

This time period was special for a different reason a darker reason, it was also around this time that we learned that Dawn had a cyst on her neck that needed to be removed. We would find out later that it was cancer.

This is me with my sister Dawn. I often say that my husband, Eric, is my biggest supporter, and he is, however, Dawn was my fist Champion and Protector.

This is me with my sister Dawn. I often say that my husband, Eric, is my biggest supporter, and he is, however, Dawn was my fist Champion and Protector.

When it came to my short story, I remember being thrilled. Of course I told Dawn, and she was as excited as I was. I wasn’t able to believe that anything I wrote would ever be published. She of course never doubted me.

I still have these feelings two years later, but now she is no longer here to remind me that I am good enough.

With The Reunion coming out I knew I had one more short story coming out in December 2017, A Dragon for Christmas (which was dedicated to her and my niece), and in January 2018 my debut novel, The Calling would be launched. So much was happening, and it was crazy roller coaster ride. At the time I had a group of wonderful people around me helping me work through planning a launch party and helping me set up all the back end details that are associated with being a Writer. With these amazing people including my sister and the rest of my family, I could be more excited.

It was great.

Fast forward to today and here I am, I have four novels out, and two short stories. I’m currently working on the edits for the next novel in my A New World series Conspiracy and I’m working on the edits for the sequel to The Calling. This is all amazing. I’ve accomplished something that hundreds, if not thousands, of people are never able to do, and I’m grateful. I count myself as a lucky man.

But as I mentioned, Dawn isn’t physically here to share in my joy anymore and that is difficult.

By now you are probably wondering why the title of this post is called Feeling like a Fraud and a Failure. Well, because if I’m honest I feel like a fraud and a failure, since October 2017 I’ve learned a lot about the writing and publishing world. I’ve also learned about and met so many amazing authors who tell these stories that touch your soul, and here I am writing fluff. I’m not complaining, I love my stories and I love the writing I’m able to share with people, however, my writing is mind candy, it doesn’t really do anything for you, it’s enjoyable for the moment and just as easily forgotten when you are finished.

I think part of all this, has to do with the loss of Dawn, I know she is still around me spiritually. She is still, of course, cheering me on, but I miss being able to call her and talk to her on the drive home. Somehow talking to her reminded me of my specialness.

I never set out to be a serious, hard-hitting author who tells stories that make you think. I’ve only wanted to write stories that are fun and take you on an adventure.

Now, I sit here wondering why. Why not write something profound? Why not write something with meaning? Why not write something that will change the world? Why not write something that makes a difference? The answer I come up with is that I’m a fraud. I’m not a real author, real authors write those kinds of stories, but I don’t. I’m the empty calories you enjoy for the moment then when you’re finished you wonder why you ate that candy at all.

I think, as writers, we all want our work to have some kind of meaning. Some kind of impact on people or on society. Part of my writing journey has been listening to other authors share their stories some write to make a difference, some write to be famous, some write to make money, some write for fun.

Why do I write?

I like to think I write to tell good stories that people can relate to, but looking back on what I’ve written I wonder are they good stories that people can relate to? Are they anything more than just a random collection of words on a page that a few people will enjoy? Does it matter? Mostly, I wonder why I feel like I’m a fraud and a failure when I’ve accomplished more in my writing in the last two years than most people will every accomplish?

Dawn, was older than me and I always wanted her to be proud of me. I know she is, I saw it the last time I went to visit her and brought her copies of my books and she cried, because she was so excited. I know she supported me in what she shared on Social Media about me and my silly little collection of words.

Please, forgive this whining and this moment of reflection I don’t want anyone who reads this (all five of you, including my husband) to think I’m unhappy or ungrateful, because I’m not. I wake up every day look at the copies of my physical books sitting on their little stands and remind myself of what I’ve accomplished and how blessed I really am.

I think, today, as we are getting closer to my family’s private memorial for my sister, all of this is hitting me hard, because it’s all becoming more and more real to me.

Thank you for letting me share this. I shall step out of the light and move on to brighter topics and continue to remind myself of what I’ve done. I won’t just be doing this for me, I’ll be writing for my sister too, because I can’t let her down, she has faith in me and my writing and that is pretty powerful, well, at least to me. Tell me do you ever feel like you are a fraud or a failure in what you do? Do you have moments of doubt and indulge in a little self-pity? Do you have someone in your life who reminds you to keep following your dream? Share your comments below and let me know that I’m not the only one who feels like this.  In the meantime have a great week and see you next time.

A New World-Conviction Book Launch

Wow! Wow! Wow! Hey Scribblers. Conviction is here, this is book two of my epic Sci Fi series A New World has arrived. I’m excited for you all to get your hands on the newest installment. Check out the blurb and an exclusive expert from the novel.

Here is the blurb for Conviction:

Conviction Composite.png

A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It's home to 7 billion people with all manner of faiths, beliefs and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding, who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice.

Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends and a husband.

After the attack on San Jose, Todd is appointed to Special Envoy for Terran Affairs by the nentraee, a position many world leaders question. Undeterred Todd wants to build bridges between both people. However, this new position brings with it a new set of problems that not only he, but his new allies Mi’ko and Mirtoff must overcome. Will the humans and nentraee learn to work together despite mistrust and threats of more attacks by a new global terrorist group, or will the terrorists win? Will this bring an end to an already shaky alliance between nentraee and humans?

Here is a short excerpt from the book:

Excerpt:

This is a fun moment where Todd finally meets Faa, Mirtoff’s companion animal. It’s a moment I’ve been wanted to share with people since they first met Faa way back in book one:

“Hello, Todd,” Mi’ko said, speaking English.

“Good afternoon, Mister Vice Speaker. You wanted to see me?” Todd turned to Mirtoff. “Oh, Madam Speaker, hello.” He bowed.

Todd hadn’t spent a lot of time with the speaker general. However, during his interactions with her, she seemed remarkably intelligent and professional. Unlike those times, today, she didn’t have a cup of tuma. As always, her auburn hair was braided up into a bun with a few wisps running along the side of her face. Her brilliant dark brown eyes, which Todd had learned were rare for the Nentraee, always seemed to sparkle, giving her a kind appearance.

“Todd, a pleasure,” Mirtoff said.

Faa trotted over next to her and sat down as she spoke.

“I should go.” Todd adjusted the cuffs of his shirt. “I didn’t mean to interrupt you.”

“No sense, Todd.” Mi’ko waved him over. “We are finishing up, and I requested your presence, so there is nothing for you to interrupt.”

“It is I who should go.” Mirtoff dusted off her pants. “I need to get Faa back for his lunch.”

“A cádo.” Todd knelt to look at Faa. “I didn’t know you had one, Madam Speaker.”

Todd hadn’t seen one this close. From what he understood about them, they were akin to dogs or, maybe, cats. Bigger than Bianca for sure, Faa seemed to be about the size of a cocker spaniel, if not a little bigger.

“Oh, he’s beautiful. I love his eyes,” Todd said. “Hello, little guy.” He stuck his hand out for Faa to sniff. “I’m not gonna hurt you.”

“Provider, this human Todd?” Faa asked, tilting his head toward Mirtoff.

“Jesus H. Christ!” Todd shouted and dropped on his butt.

Both Mi’ko and Mirtoff shared confused expressions as Faa jumped on the chair behind Mirtoff. A small whimper came from his mouth.

“It talks. I didn’t know it could talk. How in the holy hell does it talk?” Todd picked himself up off the floor and knelt. “I’m…I’m sorry. He startled me. I didn’t mean to scare him.” He gestured to Faa. “You never said they talked.”

“You have animals that speak on your planet, don’t you?” Mi’ko questioned.

The cádo shook and his eyes were double their normal size.

“Well…” Todd tried to calm his voice. “Parrots or some other birds, but that—not like that. I thought he would mimic words like them, but he’s smart. He knows what he’s saying, doesn’t he?”

Mirtoff’s hand gently rubbed Faa’s back and his head.

“Human scared Faa.”

The Nentraee words came out slow and deliberate so Todd could understand.

Mirtoff sat. Faa climbed onto her lap and nuzzled her arm.

“It’s all right, little one. He won’t hurt you.”

Todd recognized the words. “I’m sorry.”

“Faa, this is Todd Landon,” Mirtoff said. “Todd, this is the cádo who selected me, Faa.”

“Hello,” Todd said and waved.

Faa turned to Mirtoff and then to Todd. His muzzle shifted around, and then he finally said, “Todd.” He swished his tail.

“How?” Todd asked.

“They communicate at a lower level than we do, but they have intelligence. However, they are totally dependent on us.”

“But the language? The intelligence?” Todd asked.

Faa murmured as Mirtoff rubbed his head. He had stopped trembling.

“The best comparison is they are similar to small children,” Mi’ko said. “We assumed since humans have animals that talked and are smart it wouldn’t be so shocking. You said yourself you talk to your cat all the time.”

“But Bianca doesn’t talk back.” Todd paused. Well, she did, in a way, and they understood each other, but not like this. “I just…that is an animal trait that we’ll need to let people know.”

Faa sniffed the air and got up. He jumped off Mirtoff and sauntered to Todd. He sniffed the air again. “Todd Landon.” He seemed to struggle to pronounce the words.

“Just let him come to you,” Mirtoff said.

The three watched Faa move closer, each step cautious. Todd remained kneeling on the floor.

“They don’t eat meat, right?” Todd asked.

“Correct.” Mirtoff kept her eyes on Faa.

Faa sniffed and moved closer, his tail swishing. With a nimble movement, he jumped and landed on Todd’s lap. Faa pushed his front paws into Todd’s chest and stared at him. “Todd Landon.”

Todd’s heart skipped a beat as Faa looked him in the eyes.

Faa was gray and had a short muzzle, dwarfed by his large green eyes and his floppy ears.

“Faa.” Mirtoff snapped her fingers and pointed to the floor, addressing Faa in Nentraee words that Todd didn’t recognize.

Faa mentioned Todd’s name twice, along with other words, but Todd couldn’t focus, his heart starting to pound. He wasn’t fearful of animals, but he had never run across an animal that looked him in the eyes as if sizing him up for a meal.

Relax. It’s fine. He’s just like a big dog. He’s not going to hurt you. Look at those big, beautiful eyes. I’m sure he’s more scared of you than you are of him.

Faa continued speaking and used Todd’s name again.

Todd turned to Mirtoff and Mi’ko for some hint of what the creature said. He couldn’t read their expressions.

“He likes you and wants to be friends,” Mi’ko said.

Faa nudged against Todd’s legs and started to murmur happily.

“Okay, by far this is the oddest thing I’ve experienced since I started.” Todd paused and sat so Faa could sit more on his lap instead of knocking him over. “He’s adorable and beautiful. Don’t get me wrong.” His voice cracked as he forced a small chuckle. He wasn’t sure what to do with the cádo resting happily on his lap.

Faa is a heavy little beast.

Mirtoff called to Faa in Nentraee and clicked her fingers.

Faa’s muzzle shifted.

“I’m sorry, Todd,” Mirtoff said. “I didn’t expect him to act that way. He’s normally not that curious. It’s good information so we can address this with our population. I should have had you and Faa meet sooner.”

Faa jumped off and walked to Mirtoff’s side.

Todd’s shoulders and neck relaxed now that Faa was off him.

Faa nudged the back of Mirtoff’s leg and addressed her in Nentraee.

“He hopes to see you again, and he wants to be your friend,” Mirtoff said.

Mirtoff and Faa moved to the door. She knelt next to Faa and whispered in his big floppy ear.

Faa giggled and then padded over to Todd, glancing up with his big doe eyes. “Bye Bye, Todd,” he said in English, then padded back to the door, and Mirtoff and he walked out.

“Bye, Faa.” Todd waved.

Amazing. That was incredible.


Want to check out the reviews of Conviction before you buy it, click here.

Here is where you can buy Conviction:
     Click here for NineStar Press.
     Click here for iTunes.
     Click here for Amazon.
     Click here for Barnes & Noble.
     Click here for Kobo.

Alternatively, ask for it at your local bookstore or you can find it at the San Jose Public Library (click here).





For the launch I have a giveaway going on so don’t forget to sign up below. That’s it for this week. Don’t forget to share this post with family and friends who love epic Sci Fi stories by clicking the ‘share’ button below, and since you’re down there today don’t forget to like this post as well. Until next time have a great week.