Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

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To answer that question simply: I don’t really know anymore.

When I started this blog, I had come out of a long period of not writing. In a sense, I was missing the Muse (hence the title of the blog). I needed to write and I needed to vent. This blog was a personal outlet for me and I wrote an entry almost every day.

If you look at my first post, A Tiger Can’t Change Its Stripes, you’ll see that it was very personal.

At some point, I switched from this being a personal blog to being part of my professional online image. This narrowed down the things that I would talk about as I avoided discussing major events in my personal life. And now I’m at the point where I hardly post anything at all. That makes we wonder what is even the point of keeping my blog around.

I joined a Blogging 101 class through WordPress, and today’s assignment was to write a post talking about who I am and why I am here. In essence, why do I have this blog. The truth is, I don’t know anymore. My writing career is unfortunately on the back burner at the moment, so there isn’t much for me to promote.

Perhaps if I make this a personal blog for me to vent again, then maybe I’ll actually have something to write about.

So here is the tale of the events that have transpired since I stopped writing personal things on this blog. This is what has happened that got me to the situation that I am in now.

Almost two years ago, I was living in Alabama with my wife and our son. I was building my freelance writing career and actually had some good work coming in. My wife was serving at a restaurant. Combined, we were actually starting to save some money.

Everything was going well until I learned of my wife’s infidelity. That was not a fun night.

wicked witchThe house we were staying in actually belongs to my wife’s mother (the wicked witch of the West). The next day, while I’m still wrapping my head around the things that I had discovered, I found out that my wife had told her mother what had happened, and that we would all have to move back to Illinois with our respective parents.

So not only did I lose my wife, but I also lost the place I considered home for the past eight months. Double whammy.

I moved in with my parents in Illinois. She moved in with hers. Luckily, our houses are only a few blocks away. It makes it easy to see my son, Lincoln, as much as I want (typically every day).

When I had first returned, I was mopey for a long time. For a good example, read the poetry that I wrote during National Poetry Writing Month (April 2014), because that took place right after these events. Here’s a good one.

For a while, I was still trying to build my freelance writing career. But it was difficult without my wife’s income to supplement things while I got things rolling. So in July 2014, I gave in and I sold out. I got a part-time job at a retail store. It was just supposed to be a temporary thing until my writing career kicked into full swing. One and a half years later, and I’m still at this soul-sucking job, making close to minimum wage.

In November 2014, I completed NaNoWriMo. It was great to get back to creative writing and tell the stories that I wanted to tell. It got me thinking about a career as an author or a publisher. For a while after NaNoWriMo, I was still writing the first draft of my novel. In 2015, my novel was placed on the back burner while I focused on editing the anthology, Voices from the Dark. By the time the anthology was finished, I was enrolled in school.

Feeling a little stuck in my current situation (living with my mom and not earning enough money to move out), I decided that going back to school could help me find a better job. I have an associate degree, but am now working toward a bachelor’s degree in writing and publishing.

So here I am almost two years after I learned on my wife’s infidelity. The divorce is almost finalized. I’m still living with my mom (and feeling like I’m wearing out my welcome), I work part-time at a soul sucking retail store, I have to turn down potential writing clients because I’m swamped with schoolwork, and I don’t remember the last time I worked on my novel. Between work, school, and spending as much time as I can with my son, I am so stressed out. I even started smoking again, something I keep telling myself is only temporary.

The truth is, I don’t know what to do. I feel trapped, like there’s no way out of my situation. Going back to school might help me in the future, but right now it’s taking time away from searching for a new job or working on writing projects (paid or personal).

Oh, and to top it all off, as soon as I hit 30, I developed a bald spot. So I have that going for me, too.

So there you go, this is the first personal post that I have written in a long time. It feels good to vent again. Maybe I’ll keep it up. Maybe I won’t. I really don’t know. I don’t know what the point of this blog is anymore. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life anymore. I just don’t know anything anymore. The sad part is that I’m so worn down by everything that I don’t even really care anymore.

Sorry if it’s getting depressing now. Maybe that’s why I’ve shied away from personal posts. But to all my readers (if I have any left), now you know what’s going on with me. This was a very real post. Now you know my situation. A situation that I’ve been in for almost two years, and don’t know how to get out of.

Also, I hope you can see that with everything I have going on, why I haven’t been posting that often. Maybe I will post more now that I’ve re-opened this up to personal stuff. Maybe I won’t. I’ve got a lot of other things going on right now, and I’m just not sure where this blog even fits in anymore.

Anyway, sorry for venting at you. Or perhaps, thank you for reading.

That is all.

2015 In Review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

2015

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Join Me In Heroes Of The Storm

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I’ll admit it, I’m a geek. I’ve gotten hooked on this game by Blizzard Entertainment called Heroes of the Storm. Technically the game is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), but Blizzard prefers to calls it a hero brawler.

Basically, there are two teams of five players (heroes). The object is to destroy the other team’s base, or core. There are many other variables involved, such as objectives and mercenaries.

The main fun, in my opinion, comes in the variety of heroes that you can play and learning their unique play styles. When you play matches you earn gold, which you can use to unlock more heroes.
Heroes Of The Storm
If you’re looking for a new game to play, then I suggest checking it out. It’s free to play, so there’s no reason not to try it.

There is a Recruit-A-Friend promotion going on. Basically, if I get people to check it out, I can get some cool stuff, and so can they.
Raynor
If you are interested, then please sign up using my unique link. Right off the bat, you’ll unlock the hero, Jim Raynor. He’s a renegade commander from StarCraft, and a great hero to start out with. Once you reach level 10 (which is pretty easy to do with the stimpack they give you), then you’ll unlock Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, the Banshee Queen from WarCraft.

Plus, you’ll have the added bonus of being able to geek out with me in the game. So that will be a lot of fun.

So yeah, download Heroes of the Storm (it’s free) using this link: https://battle.net/recruit/D8V9XB299G and I’ll see you in the game. Be sure to add my BattleTag: Arborcorien#1163.


 

Not into gaming? I understand. If books are more your thing, then be sure to check out my début as a published author. You can order my anthology, Voices from the Dark, from Amazon right here. That link will send you to the product page for the paperback version.

Would you rather have the eBook version? You can preorder it from iTunes here or from Barnes & Noble here.

Voices From The Dark – Available Now!

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Voices From The DarkLadies and gentlemen, I proudly present to you my very first published work! I got together with ten other members of the Writing Journey, and we each submitted short stories and poetry with the common theme of being dark. Not only did I submit a short story to this anthology, but I was also one of the lead editors. I even wrote the preface.

Thanks to Roger at It Is What It Is Press, the anthology is now available on Amazon!

It is currently only available in printed version, but the e-book version will be available in the near future.

In the meantime, get your very own copy of Voices from the Dark, my publishing début! It will make the perfect gift for the dark and gothic people in your life!

Please be sure to leave some honest (and, I hope, positive) feedback on the Amazon page and the Goodreads page.

If you insist on a signed copy, then contact me and we’ll figure it out.

Anyway, order your copy of Voices from the Dark now! It will be worth something someday. Plus there’s some great stories and poetry inside. Look for my story, ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part.

Cheers!

~Phoenix Autumn

Voices From The Dark – Available December 15

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Voices from the DarkWithin each of us lies a darkness. A deep, unnerving essence that lurks at the fringes of our consciousness.

Some hear it as a voice whispering secrets from the dark shadows. Others feel its presence as a cold chill sent tingling down the spine.

However it makes itself known, the darkness is there. It’s real, and it wants to be freed.

Eleven members of the Writing Journey set out to explore the darkness that lies in all of us.

To listen to and translate their own Voices From The Dark.

They searched in such places as a local library, the house of a typical American family, a high-end restaurant, an ER, and a graveyard.

The results are tales of death, betrayal, terrorism, monsters, murderers, broken dreams, and the undead.

The Writing Journey beckons you to experience their darkness.

Available December 15 on Amazon.

Cheryl’s Second Chance At Life

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Cheryl is a dear friend of mine. She has gone through a lot. More than some of us could imagine. She was born partially deaf and with congenital heart disease. At 19, she lost her hearing completely. Several years ago, she suffered a stroke that caused her to lose some of her vision. Through it all, she has remained a happy and positive person.

Now, she is at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Cheryl is on the waiting list for a heart and double lung transplant.

Cheryl
Her family can afford the transplants. But after the operation, they will need to move from San Diego to Los Angeles while Cheryl is under observation for up to six months. Her family could use some financial assistance for this and have started a GoFundMe campaign.

Times are rough for everyone. If you can’t afford to donate, then please consider spreading this campaign through your network.

Cheryl was the one who taught me the American Sign Language alphabet (and a few other words). She also gave me the nickname “Writer Dan.” It would mean a lot to me if you could help spread this campaign.

Read more about this strong woman on her GoFundMe page here.

Thank you for your time.

Voices From The Dark – Coming Soon

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Hello, ladies and gentlemen! It’s about time for an update, don’t you think?

Good gravy, I’ve been busy!

Here’s the scoop: I started going back to school. This Fall I began attending Benedictine University. I am working toward a degree in writing and publishing. Homework has taken up most of my time, so please forgive my absence.

In addition to that, I was working on a short story anthology for my writing group, the Writing Journey.

I was actually one of the main editors of the anthology. Now the project is in the capable hands of our publisher, It Is What It Is Press.
Voices from the Dark
The anthology is a collection of dark stories and poetry. I have a piece in it titled, ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part.

The book will be released by the end of the month. In the meantime, you can check out the preorder page.

When it is officially released, I will post an official link so you can order a copy (if you’d like). I’m pretty excited about one of my stories being published. Yay!

Stay tuned for more information!

Baby Vs. Balloons

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Baby BalloonsHowdy. I just wanted to post a video that I should have posted a few years ago.

This is my son, Lincoln, on Halloween in 2012.

He was so pumped that he was about to be Master Yoda for his first Halloween, that he wanted to practice his Jedi skills by engaging in an epic battle with some balloons.

I present…

Baby Vs. Balloons!

Come on, peeps. Make it viral!

Back to the Future

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Sadly, this post has nothing to do with the epic time traveling trilogy. Although it’s pretty neat that I’m writing this in 2015.

I have been given the Future Challenge by Transcend <3. It’s not an award, but a challenge. And it’s short and sweet.

Let’s get to the point!
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Here are 5 things about my future:

In the future, I will…

  1. Be a published author.
  2. Have a degree in Writing and Publishing.
  3. Own a publishing company.
  4. Be good at time management.
  5. Be good at budgeting.

So now I get to spread the challenge like a virus to five other bloggers. Let’s see…

  1. Star Guy
  2. RaineFairy
  3. Cindy Knoke
  4. Shehanne Moore
  5. The Snarky Blonde

Now go thee henceforth and make it happen!

Oh yeah, so here’s the deal:

  • Thank the bloggers who nominated you. (Thank you, Transcend <3!)
  • Link back to the challenge creator, Dreams and Movie Screens so she can track your progress.
  • Share 5 things about your future (jobs, kids, marriage, travel etc). Then one day you can look back and find out how psychic you really are.
  • Tag 5 bloggers and put them up to the challenge.

So there ya have it!

[Insert funny and/or inspirational closing statement here.]

Le Medaillon Champagne

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This review is long overdue. Actually, creating a new post in general is long overdue, but I have been busy working on some exciting projects, which I will discuss in the future.
Le Medaillon
Le Medaillon is a fantastic champagne brand based in Lombard, IL (not far from where I live). I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jay Dhillon, the president of Dlux Brand LLC, the company that owns Le Medaillon. He was kind enough to supply me with a bottle of their Brut champagne.

(Thanks again, Jay. Sorry it took so long to write the review.)

I shared the bottle with a couple of my friends for a tasting. Honestly, we are more wine drinkers than champagne drinkers, though we have enjoyed the occasional glass of bubbly here and there.
Le Medaillon
The general consensus was that this was by far the best tasting champagne any of us had ever had.
Le Medaillon
The Brut is very light with a hint of sweetness and a crisp finish. It is no wonder that this champagne has received several awards.

We thought about mixing it with some orange juice to see how it would be as a mimosa, but it tasted so good as is that we just drank it straight.

In addition to the Brut, Le Medaillon also makes a Rosé and a Cuvée Reserve. I have not yet had the pleasure to taste either of those, but would love the opportunity to do so.
Le Medaillon
Something unique about Le Medaillon is that each bottle comes packaged with a silver plated necklace that includes a beautifully designed medallion. This adds another factor of elegance to an already exquisite champagne.
Le Medaillon
If you are thinking of giving someone a bottle of wine or champagne as a gift, Le Medaillon is a great choice!

You can learn more about Le Medaillon and their selection of top shelf champagne by visiting them at http://lemedaillon.com

Remember to drink responsibly!

Do I Have To Do Another One Of These? AKA The Versatile Blogger Award

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I’ve come to the realization that these WordPress blog awards are chain letters in disguise. At first I was like, “Oh yay, I’ve been nominated for an award!” And now I wonder who comes up with these. Maybe I should start my own blog award. I could create an award image with my blog’s URL on it, then people would be curious and check out my blog. And then I’d get a bazillion followers! MWAHAHA!

Now if only this blog was profitable…

Ooh, I know! Next time you buy something from Amazon, consider doing so through my affiliate link: Buy things at Amazon! :) (It’s not spam if it’s on my own blog!)

Anyway, now for the thing I was gonna do. What was this blog post about again?

Oh yeah! The lovely RaineFairy has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award!
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It is such an honor to receive such a prestigious award. I’d like to thank RaineFairy for the nomination, my parents and everyone who believed in me, and *ahem* all right, I’ll just cut to the chase.

RULES:

Thank the person who nominated you with a link to his/her blog.

Already took care of that above.

Nominate 15 blogs/bloggers for THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD, include a link to their blogs. 

Really? I gotta find 15 victims lucky bloggers to annoy bless with this scam award?

Here goes (in no particular order):

  1.  Teagan’s Books
  2. Shehanne Moore (and her Hamstahs)
  3. In My Cluttered Attic
  4. Star Wars Anonymous
  5. Conscious Cacophony
  6. Star Guy Blog
  7. Musings From The Mind Of Maehem
  8. Wibble
  9. Poetic Parfait
  10. Pure Haiku
  11. The Realm Of The Chaos Fairy
  12. C-Dog & Company
  13. Writer’s Notebook
  14. Big Body Beautiful
  15. Brighter Poetics

Sorry about You’re welcome for the nominations. I know these things take up a lot of time to complete, so my feelings won’t be hurt if you are unable to accept this.

Now, you have to list down seven (7) FACTS about yourself, like so:

1. I don’t think American “cheese” should be considered real cheese. It’s super processed and tastes funky.

2. I also don’t care for Swiss cheese or Goat cheese.

3. Other then the cheeses listed above, I love cheese!

4. I am also rather cheesy, if you couldn’t tell.

5. Sometimes I cut the cheese.

6. I don’t know why I’m talking about cheese.

7. Cheese.

As you can tell, I take these things very seriously.

You have to notify your nominees about this by posting a link to this post on their page. Once you’ve accepted the challenge and have blogged it, you have to post a link to your blog just below this post in the Comments.  Otherwise, it is a futile cause. Good luck!

Another Random Unofficial Made-Up WordPress Blog Award Thingy

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This time, I have received (or been nominated for?) the Real Neat Blog Award. I guess somebody thinks this blog is real neat.

Thank you, Star Wars Anonymous, for the nomination.

Here is what I need to do in order to achieve this prestigious award:

  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  • Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

Let’s get started.

Real Neat Blog Award

Boom. Got the first one done. It didn’t specify where on the blog, so I should be good.

Now to answer seven questions.
1. What is one of the most embarrassing things to happen to you? (Note: I didn’t say THE most embarrassing, just one of the most embarrassing)
My answer to question six.

2. What’s your favorite book? Why?
1984 by George Orwell because Big Brother is watching.

3. Who is your favorite Star Wars character and why?
Jar Jar Binks. Just kidding! I could be cliche and say Boba Fett because he kicks ass. Other favorites are Yoda because of his wisdom and Chewbacca because I’m part Wookiee. Don’t believe me? I do an awesome Wookiee howl!

4. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I can only pick one? I would love to go someplace tropical like Hawaii or Jamaica. I’d also like to visit several countries in Europe. Oh, and of course Japan.

5. What would be your ideal date?
Only one way to find out! ;)

6. What is one of your favorite childhood memories?
That time I got first place in the Boonta Eve Classic. Oh wait, I’m confusing fantasy with reality again. How embarrassing.

7. What’s your favorite candy? Not dessert, candy.  Like Halloween candy.
Runts.

Now that we got that out of the way, what’s next on the list? I already thanked Star Wars Anonymous and linked to her blog.

Now to nominate others. Who shall my victims be this time?

Rejected Realities

Shehanne Moore

RaineFairy

JLynn Cameron

I choose y’all! MWAHAHAHA!

Your mission, if y’all choose to accept it, is to answer these seven questions… If you dare!

1. What’s your favorite kind of sandwich?

2. How would you describe your ideal man?

3. Was that previous question too personal?

4. If you could be any kind of sea creature, what would you choose?

5. Who would win in a fight between Gandalf and Darth Vader?

6. What is your opinion of Doritos?

7. On a scale of one to ten, how lame are these questions?

Now answer the questions or suffer the consequences! Actually, there are no consequences. But I’ll feel lame if you don’t. Actually I won’t. I’ll be fine. Really. Seriously. Don’t worry about me. I’m just sitting here being awesome, so it’s all good!

If you decide to accept this challenge / mission / nomination / waste of your precious time, then let me know by commenting with a link to your post.

[Insert witty and amusing closing statement here.]

Lay Versus Lie

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One of the most common grammatical errors is mixing up “lay” with “lie”.

I hope to shed a little light on things.

To put it simply:

  • A person lies down.
  • A person lays an object down.

Lie

  • I need to lie down.
  • You should lie down.
  • Take off those filthy boots before you lie on the sofa.

Lay

  • I can’t lay this book down.
  • You should lay down your weapon.
  • I had to lay the blanket on the grass.

The examples above were all in the present tense. Things become tricky once you use the past tense or past participle.

Instead of explaining those to you, I’m going to let Grammar Girl do it. She does a fantastic job.

Check out Grammar Girl’s guide to Lay and Lie here.

And remember, you need to lay the sheets on the bed so you can lie down.

Lay Versus Lie