Friday, September 30, 2011

Taking my own advice: a writing exercise

I need to warm up a little before writing chapter four in Sexton Retribution. It's been a couple of days since I wrote the last chapter.
Let's see... Nah. Let's not see.

He got out of the car and frowned at the dark house. Tripped on the third step on his way to the porch. Drizzle, cold drizzle fogged his glasses and didn't help him see. He wished he left the light on, but it was still sunny when he went to work.
  Three jabs at the doorknob with his key finally resulted in success. He twisted the door open and walked onto the porch, reaching for the light switch with his left hand.
   Stepped on something soft, greeted by a his and a yowl that would've made a hellhound cringe. Both he, and the cat he just stepped on, cussed out loud.

Hmmm. Well... Now that I have bad writing out of my system (please, o' Ralph the Muse, let it be so), I think it's time to get serious and put good stuff in the next installment of the Sexton Chronicles. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Where do I get my ideas? I'll tell you in a word.

Ideas are the easy part. We all have ideas. They might be ideas for a book, a commercial, a song, a painting, or a better way to slice cheese. Ideas are the easy part.
   Execution is the hard part.
   I've talked in past blog posts about a time in my recent past when I had lost the ability to write and how hard I worked to get it back. I won't bore you with that if you've already read it, and if you haven't, I invite you to poke around this blog a bit until you find it.
   Now I find I can execute the ideas--put them on the page in paragraphs and dialog, description and mood, reflection and protection--with ease, most of the time. When I have difficulty, I just start posting things on Facebook, or temper myself with the Tweet limit of 140 characters.
   Sometimes it comes easily and I give credit to a fictional character I created, an affectation I call Ralph, the Muse. Good old Ralph, though he doesn't exist, wears a long, stained, once-white toga like bed sheet, has tangles in his beard full of bread crumbs and lost forks, and smells pretty bad. Sometimes it comes like an eight-grader trying to write a 500 word report on Robert Frost's poem about taking one path or the other through the woods when it's plain he would rather be inside watching cartoons (Frost, and the eighth-grader.)
   Here's a tip for someone who wants or has to write, but can't get started:
Write something. Anything. Just get the juices flowing. Be prepared to delete or otherwise obliterate what you write. Or post a Facebook update about something ridiculous (especially if you need to keep your eye on word count), and then delete it or show some cajones and post it.
   I think you'll find that getting the motor started is the hard part, and that once your brain is used to stringing words together it's pretty easy to continue.
   Go for it. Stop reading now. Write something.

Monday, September 19, 2011

If you need a speaker who knows Wernickes from having it...

I'm willing to talk to people, or groups, about my experience with Wernickes and Korsakoffs. I'd like to bring hope to some folks, and maybe get a chance to thank health care workers.

I'm not looking to make money in speaker's fees, and would probably turn them down if offered. I'll gladly speak for free. The only problem I would have is that I don't have a travel budget. If you'd like me to speak to your group, please let me know. If you can get me there and provide a place to stay and meals (if needed), I'll come if I can. I'm not asking for anything in return, just a break-even deal for me. You can contact me via email:

I wrote a book (links are on this page) called Green Goblin, which is my narrative of the time I spent in the hospital with Wernicke Encephalopathy, and Blackout: A Look Inside Wernickes", which includes the full text of Green Goblin, and more on the healing/recovery process I went through.

I would like to see more done to prevent the disease, and more done to help sufferers get back on their feet.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blackout: A Look Inside Wernickes -- A new book, by a survivor

This book was hard for me to write, but I felt it had to be done. I can't find any other survivor's accounts of Wernicke-Korsakoff. I wrote "Green Goblin" as a stand-alone book, describing what it felt like to be in the hospital with Wernickes, and touching a little on what came after.
This book contains the full text of Green Goblin, as well as the long journey I went through before being diagnosed with Korsakoffs. It is my hope that someone (or a lot of someones) will benefit from this book. Recovery is possible--not easy or common, but possible--from Wernickes. It is possible for someone with Korsakoffs to manage the illness and go back to normal life. I don't have answers as to how that can happen, but I can show that it did happen in my case.

The link takes you to the paperback version. It's also available as a hardcover, and soon will be a Nook book at Barnes and Noble, and a Kindle book at Amazon.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What's the story--Sexton Chronicles? What's it about?

The Sexton Chronicles is a series of fantasy novels about Tom, John, and Andy, three American teenagers who find a gateway between worlds. They have to make their way in a world they don't understand, and do surprisingly well.

 In the first book in the series, they are separated. John and Andy make friends with a man they knew of but who vanished in Mexico in the early nineteen hundreds, a man by the name of Ambrose Bierce. Tom is trained in law enforcement, in a police force that kills criminals without the benefit of a trial.

Once re-united, the three young men discover a lucrative trade--buying forbidden herbs and spices from a country to the south of Sexton, and importing them for sale in the doughnut and fried chicken restaurant they open. Simultaneously, there is an evil power in Sexton re-awakening after long centuries of dormancy. The three Americans are once again caught in events beyond their control.

By the time the third book in the series begins, they feel responsible for the brewing war with the country to their south. Things are not going well for them.

In the fourth and recently released book, Sexton Sand, the Americans are on a mission to end the war and free their friend--a man from the enemy country, who also happens to be its king--from a demon possessing him, and stop the war they feel they started while they're at it.

I have begun the fifth and final book in the Sexton Chronicles series. It's called Sexton Retribution. The title will give you a clue.

The books are available in paperback and hardcover from or from amazon as a kindle books, or Barnes and Noble as Nook books.

Sexton Chronicles. School has started--don't you think you deserve a little adventure yourself?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Blackout: A Look Inside Wernickes" --closing paragraphs

I finished the first draft a few minutes ago. The book I'm writing, Blackout: A Look Inside Wernickes", which will be available for purchase in a week or two, is ready for final edit and publication. The book contains the text of Green Goblin, as well as details of my struggle with Korsakoffs.

I thought I would share the closing paragraphs with you. The 'how it came to be' is what makes up the rest of the book, a short book of 140 pages.

I remember what the doctor I mentioned earlier in the book said about having one or two being okay. I’m not going to do it. In my case, it isn’t okay. I’ve “slipped” once or twice, but not often. The slips are followed by a period of self-anger I don’t like. I don’t do that anymore. On those couple of occasions when tested myself, and had a beer, I paid for it with bouts of dread and uneasiness in 24-48 hours. It’s not worth it.
I’ve had foods prepared with alcohol in the recipe: a beer dumped on hamburgers prior to grilling, in a rum cake, and maybe one or two recipes others prepared. Same deal as above: uneasiness, and random twinges of unidentified fear. Now I ask if there is alcohol in the preparation of food, and if there is, I have something else.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t times when I would love to sit down and drink a few beers. There are times when it sound great. Then I don’t do it. I just don’t. I have too much to lose, and I’m not going back to that dark place with the red hills. Sobriety is key. I still have no desire to attend AA meetings, though I know they help a lot of people. I do my best when I don’t think about drinking, and do other things with my time, like write, and cook, and bake, and read, and spend time with my wife, and, and, and...
I still enjoy situations where alcohol is present. I like bar environments, and restaurants, and parties. I actually like them better now that I’m sober. Some people who have had struggles with alcohol and alcoholism don’t or can’t be around those situations, and most people respect that. I think I’m lucky I can go anywhere and not drink. If it bothered me I would avoid those situations, and that’s probably not easy. In my present, paying job (other than writing books), I spend hours at a time less than ten feet away from the bar. Not only does it not bother me, I like it.
You see, my friend, every time I don’t drink...every day I’m sober, every night I fall asleep sober...I win. When I go to the grocery store or drug store, I go out of my way to walk past the beer, wine, and booze. If you’re next to me you might hear me hum and chant, “Nee-ner-nee-ner-NEE-NER!” I’m singing to the containers. I won.
I’m not going to play again, mind you, but I won.