Saturday, October 12, 2013

Of Endings and Having Completed Projects

Scott D. Parker

Again, not a huge week of writerly things to pass on. I'm still making progress on the ending of my second book of the year. My major Lesson Learned to come out of this project (and I'll write more on it later) is this: know the ending before you start. The events that I had planned out when I started this project is going to end up being the epilogue. Yeah, really. Sheesh. So, this week, I laid down the tracks for my ending and my locomotive is lumbering over them. The good thing is that I can now see the ending, but I ain't there yet. Next week?

My wife is a jewelry artist and we attended the opening reception of the new program at Hanson's Gallery situated smack dab in the middle of Houston's Galleria shopping district. Naturally, conversations are had between random folks and I engaged in a few. As always, I really enjoy showing my pride at my wife and her work, but this event had a little something for me, too.

One of the folks who work at the gallery started talking to me and, naturally, talk turned to work. I did my usual thing: I'm a tech writer during the day and I write fiction at night. When prompted about what I've written, fiction-wise, for the first time, I was able to say "Actually, I've written three novels and nearly a dozen short stories." (I figured I could 'round up' and say I'd finished the third novel; shhh, no one need know I'm not quite done.)

You need to realize two things that fed directly into that conversation and the sheer positive tone of the conversation. One is the year 2013. This is the year in which I've learned what it takes to produce content on a regular basis. It is liberating and oh so joyful. The other thing was a conversation I had with some of my wife's family back in 2010. That would be the middle of my non-writing slump. When asked about new work back then, I had to come up with some stupid reasons why I had *not* written anything. It was pretty humiliating, so it was nice to have the opposite occur. Now, I need to get cracking and get this content out there because I'm being asked about it on a regular basis or else I'll have a different type of explaining to do. Please know: I'm working on it. When the rollout happens, everyone will know.

Fun Things

Bill Crider has a new pulp story out: Among the Anthropophagai! A Story of Gorillas and Gasbags. Seriously, with a title like that, how can you not spend the dollar to read this really fun story? It's a blast.

The Making of Return of the Jedi by J. W. Rinzler arrived in my mailbox this week. Rinzler's in-depth coverage of the making of all three Star Wars films is now complete. I've glanced through this tome and boy, is it drool inducing. As always, the concept sketches are the great alternate reality. Can it really be thirty years?

Breaking News

With this morning's writing, I have reached THE END on my second novel of the year! 72 days, 115,500 words. Definite Lessons Learned, but I'll get to them next week. Tonight, pop the champagne and celebrate! Question now is: do I continue the writing streak or let it break? It stands at 138, every day since Memorial Day. Tune in next week to find out the answer.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Doctor A Week: Colin Baker: Revelation of the Daleks

11 weeks. 11 Doctors. 11 stories. Right up to the fiftieth anniversary, Russel will be reviewing one story a week for each Doctor. He will try and relate each story to a larger picture and how it relates to each period. He will occasionally make fun of them. But he will try and show you what a varied and brilliant history the show has. As well as overcoming his own prejducies about certain periods in the shows history. Each review will have spoilers and will assume a certain level of knowledge about the story in question.

Ahhhh, the sixth Doctor. The shortest serving Doctor. The worst costume. Some of the smallest budgets. The era in which the BBC tried to kill its flagship show with poor scheduling and management.

But while popular opinion would hold that this is the fault of the Doctor, it is anything but. Colin Baker - and maybe this is controversial - is more Doctorly than poor Peter Davison was ever given the chance to be.

He’s rude. Egotistical. Flamboyant. Alien.

Yes, I do agree that it comes as a shock after Peter Davison. And yes I hugely agree that The Twin Dilemma may be one of the worst introductions to a new Doctor ever (not because of the whole psychosis aspect - that’s brilliant - but rather because the adventure surrounding the new doc is so terribly terribly thought out). But the fact is that Baker is playing an alien character. He’s not neccesarily your best friend. He is someone who operates on a different plane of existence. And Baker gets that. He amps up the egotism. And even better, he’s very very funny. With just the right amount of empathy beneath the exterior.

Yes, that’s right. Empathy.

Look, the sixth Doctor does a lot of things one would consider unusual, given our expectations of the Doctor. But actually what he does is in line with past incarnations, only exaggerated.

The Doctor never uses a gun? Oh, let us count the ways in which he makes others use guns, joins paramilitary organisations (UNIT) and recklessly engages in fisticuffs (Seeds of Doom, any time the third Doctor employs his Venusian akido).

The Doctor always never allows anyone to die? The first Doctor did it all the time. The third doctor is stepped in the bodies of UNIT soldiers. The fourth Doctor contemplated genocide (Genesis of the Daleks). And on and on.

The Doctor is generally nice? The first Doctor is caustic and rude. The third Doctor is extremely patronising to Jo when he first meets here (and then tries to get rid of her until he realises he can’t).

On and on.

The sixth Doctor is just louder.

A lot louder.

And its all in the looks. In this story, when the mutant dies after Perry accidentally kills him, check the look on the Doctor’s face, He knows what the cost is and yet he also knows there is a bigger picture and he can’t hang around mourning. When he realises Perry is stuck with the DJ facing an onslught of Daleks, you see it in his eyes: this Doctor cares. He really does. But he also has a different sense of perspective than most.

I think Revelation is perhaps the perfect sixth Doctor story. Which is odd considering that the Doctor isn’t in it for much of the first half. He’s mostly tromping around the country getting attacked by mutants and assuring Peri that no, they really couldn’t get the TARDIS any closer to Tranquil Repose.

Which leaves us a lot of time for the drama inside Repose. And what drama it is. The story is set in a funeral home - a blatant homage to Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One - and features a gallery of human grotesqueness on display. The characters are complex and unlikeable to a man. And perhaps this is what makes the story fascinating; the very fact of the cast’s grotesque and unpleasant nature serves to show the Daleks for the functional, sterile creations they are. They are simple creatures driven by basic emotions. The funeral home staff, however, are complex. Tamsembeker in particular is a mix of self-obsessed busybody and infatuated virgin. She wants to be loved but doesn’t know what it is. And she certainly won’t find love with the pompous lech that is Jobel, the head undertaker played to skin-crawling perfection by Clive Swift.

The DJ who entertains those whose corpses remain in Tranquil Repose is the only character who shows any humanity at all. He must be the only human in this era of Who, who doesn’t make eyes at Peri (although that could be down the bizarre coat and beret arrangement she’s sporting) and who dies trying to proect her. Its a pity that we don’t see more of this side of the DJ, as in the early part of the story with his truly appalling US accent (Its hard to believe Peri would think he actually was a fellow American) he serves as a pointless greek chorus. And how does he see what’s going on anyway? Isn’t Davros supposed to be the only one with access to the near infinite camera system in Tranquil repose?

Oh, I haven’t mentioned Davros and the Daleks? Maybe I should seeing as they’’re in the title. But Revelation is less about the Daleks and more about Davros. WHich is a good thing. The Daleks, like the Cybermen, can get a little dull with their one-size-fits-all goals. As can Davros, admittedly. But here - unlike his appearance in the Peter Davison story, Resurrection of the Daleks - Davros is a conniving, scheming and quite terrifying presence. Reduce to a head in a jar for the majority of the story, he plays characters against each other and generally manipulates everyone in sight as he slowly builds his new race of Daleks - the ones with the stunning white and gold bodywork. The only bit of what-the-hellness comes from his plan to torment the Doctor by luring our hero to Tranquil Repose. No one can give a satisfactory explanation as to why Davros has errected a polystyrene statue of the Doctor in the garden of memories or why he forces it to topple on to the Doctor in what may be one of the top 10 worst resolutions to a cliffhanger ever.
There’s so much more going on in Tranquil Repose, but amazingly, Eric Saward’s script avoids too much complications. The strands - with bodysnatchers, assasins, political intrigue, gruesome goings on in the underbelly of the funeral home and so on - run concurrently but comprehensibly. And in the end almost everything has a purpose. Not neccesarily a grand purpose (inkeeping with this era of Who, very few characters survive the ensuing bloodbath) but nonetheless, the story makes mostly dramatic and logical sense.

Its interesting that this is the last story for this season Doctor Who. The show would go on hiatus for 18 months following this story, resulting in one of the worst pop songs of all time, and a return that was begrudgingly offered by the BBC and designed to try and kill it off completely. Its a shame, because as Baker himself has said, his Doctor was supposed to be on a journey of discovery, moving from arrogance to understanding. Revelation was probably the story where that truly began, but with the hiatus and then the Trial of a Timelord season (which, for the most part, is far better than its reputation might suggest, as long as you snooze through the appalling Vervoids section) Baker never saw the chance to truly round out his character. Which is a shame because his take on the character was never less than interesting, even when surrounded by some godawful guest stars or cheap effects (The Timelash, from the story previous to Revelation). Its cool to hate on Baker and his era, but the truth is that, especially given the BBC politics of the time, Baker was actually one of the most intriguing takes on the Doctor, but never got the chance to truly shine.

As to Revelation itself, it is perhaps Baker’s finest hour. It looks gorgeous, thanks to Graeme Harper’s direction, and its often a lot more thoughtful, witty and terrifying than most of the newly revamped series. If you only ever watch one Sixth Doctor (and you should watch more, just for the Doctor himself), then make it this one.


- Blue is the official colour of mourning on Necros, which is good because the Doctor covers up that hideous costume.

- The location filming at the start is brilliant. Absolutely beautiful. And even better it gives us a chance to see the softening of the relationship between the Doctor and Peri. Its no longer bickering; its moving to affectionate banter.

- “This one thinks with her knuckles” There are some killer lines in here, assisted by the execution of actors (in this case, Clive Smith) clearly having a ball.

- “we don’t want the poor thing uncertain who the corpse is, do we?” Clive Smith gets all the best bitchy lines.

- The incidental music is terrible. This is the 80s, after all. But still not as bad as the farting kazoos in Pertwee’s era.

- When he’s being strangled by the mutant, Baker’s gurning almost matches the mighty Jon Pertwee’s. Almost.

- In case you were in any doubt, the graverobber’s hairdos remind you constantly that this is the eary 80s. Mulletastic.

- “I killed him and he forgave me...” “You had no choice.” Anyone who thinks Baker was too gung ho isn’t watching. He is alien. And his reactions may sometimes seem off, but there is definite compassion there. He is on a journey, here. becoming more and more compassionate and in touch with himself as the series progresses. One could only imagine how he would have continued if he’d been allowed to.

- For once the Daleks are not a cliffhanger. They’re there right from the start. And they’re not the focus, either. Which is wonderful. The silent Daleks are wonderfully scary.

- This is black, black humour. And that’s probably why it didn’t sit well with people.

- “I’m a past master at the Double entry”... oh, really? I think the campness in this one is mostly intentional.

- There’s real horror in the discovery of the Dalek factory. Makes anything Davies did seem weak and superficial. Here we understand the real horror of the Daleks.

- Speaking of which, the Glass Dalek is incredible.

- There is a lot of cynicism in the story; particularly Ocini and his squire. I think perhaps this marks the point where Doctor Who tried to grow up but couldn’t move beyond the perceptions of itself. Much of what people remember about the Baker era is the violence, and I think the memories of these violent moments has embedded more than the stories in which they take place.

- Hate the effect where teeny tiny Davros hovers over legless Ocini. Looks incredibly cheap. The sense of scale is gone. I think they were trying to make us believe that daleks could hover, but it doesn’t come across at all. Just wait until the McCoy era where the Daleks become truly frightening again as they climb stairs to get at their enemies.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Talking BLACK WIDOW with Hilary Davidson


By Steve Weddle

Hilary Davidson is familiar to all DoSomeDamage readers, no doubt.

A handful of Hilary on DSD:

Evil interview

The MacGyver interview

5ive for writing

The phone call (the full podcast from 2010 is still available here)

If, for whatever reason, you don’t know from Hilary, check out her Official Bio Page of Biography.

She’s written guidebooks and novels, all the while working on short stories. Now she’s collected the best of the short stories in THE BLACK WIDOW CLUB.

Over the past three or four years, she’s been nice enough to answer 163 of my questions. I pressed my luck and asked her a few more about this new book, which you can buy right now.

Out of all you’ve written, why collect these stories? 

I resisted the idea of putting a collection together for a long time, because I figured my stories were easily available online. I put up a short fiction page on my website a long time ago, with links to various places that published my work. But a number of those sites pulled down their archives — or disappeared completely — and I started to get emails from people asking where they could find stories like “Insatiable,” which won a Spinetingler Award in 2010. So the push came from necessity. I realized that most of my early stories were homeless.

What makes them such a good collection?

From my perspective, it was interesting to go back and examine the twisted path I’ve traveled. From a reader’s perspective, that twisted path includes stories told in wildly different voices. THE BLACK WIDOW CLUB is a diverse collection, and yet there’s a thread of betrayal that courses through each story. I’m interested in how people’s most intimate bonds can be used against them.

Since readers had been asking about different stories, I decided to crowdsource the lineup. I wanted to get a sense whether the stories I liked best resonated with other people, so I asked on Facebook and Twitter what readers would like to see in a collection. There were several stories that people mentioned over and over. One that people were passionate about was “The Black Widow Club,” which first appeared in Needle. That story ended up giving the collection its name. Most of the stories that people recommended ended up in the book. The ones that didn’t were recently published, and I felt that they were easily available.

Why now?

Aside from the vanished-archives issue, I wanted to get people ready for my next book, BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS. It’s my fourth novel but my first stand-alone, and it’s a big departure from my Lily Moore novels. I hope readers who enjoy that series will still embrace it, and I thought I should get them ready by reading my short stories. If you’re scared off by my short stories, you aren’t ready to read BLOOD.

Putting these stories together, how did you feel about the opportunity to go back in and mess around a bit with each of them?

Not really. I considered doing that, but in the end I pretty much left the stories as they were. I did find typos as I read them over, and I corrected those.

How do you balance short fiction with novels? How do you say ‘no’ to story requests from anthos and mags?

I write short fiction between drafts of novels. I love doing that, because I’ve always got ideas for stories dancing in my head, and I can finally write one or two or maybe even three between, say, the first and second drafts of a novel. Thinking about other characters, their histories and their voices, gives me perspective and lets me come back to my book with a clear head.

Sometimes I get strange requests. I’ve had editors ask if I had “anything lying around” that they could publish. Unless they want to publish dustbunnies, the answer is always no. I write my short stories the same way I write my novels. I wish I had an inventory of stories sitting around, but I don’t. I have no problem saying no to most requests. The exception is charity anthologies for a good cause. Sometimes I’m mired in a novel and I just can’t tear myself away to write a new story, even though I want to. But I will try my damnedest to do it. I just finished a story for an anthology to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. It’s Joe Clifford’s brainchild, and the book — BADLANDS: TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND — will be out from Zelmer Pulp by the end of the year.

Do you find yourself putting more weight into your sentences and images when you write short stories instead of a novel? Having read most of your stories and your novels, I get the sense that the novel has more of an open feel.

With short stories, a writer has so little time to rope readers into their world that you can’t waste a word. With a novel, there’s more trust that you build over time. Crazy as it sounds, a novel is more like a relationship, while short stories are a one-night stand.


Thanks to Hilary for taking the time to talk about THE BLACK WIDOW CLUB.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Salazar by Seth Lynch

1930's Paris is a setting ripe with potential for the noiriste, thrumming modernity sitting cheek by jowl with the squalid remnants of the previous century. Bohemians, expatriates, dubious businessmen and the occasional vamp with cinematic bounce. And, in this case, Salazar; an Englishman abroad, world-weary but given to bouts of concerted decadence, a battle-scarred veteran of Passchendale and the Somme, now passing his time as a private detective. 

A not particularly experienced one it has to be said. With just two cases in his filing cabinet Salazar has spent more time playing chess with his landlord than running down villains, but when Marie Poncelet,  a young woman with a reticent demeanor, comes to him wanting to find a mysterious Belgian stockbroker, Salazar's interested is piqued.  The missing man, Gustave Marty, has a suitably shady past, an eye for the ladies and other people's money, and everywhere Salazar goes doors are slammed in his face. Reputations are fragile things after all.

Salazar's hunt takes him through Paris' swanky financial houses, where the money men may have just as much to hide as the elusive Marty, and connections which are just as deadly. He is a dogged investigator though, not one to back down at the first hard blow, and a chance encounter with an old flame from his life in England brings a tentative hopefulness into Salazar's ennui-riddled life. It also brings a point of vulnerability and if he wants to enjoy a future with his rediscovered love the case will have to be solved, no matter what the danger.

And what of Marie Poncelet, Salazar begins to wonder.  What could a girl like her possibly want with a man like Marty? Is she a jilted lover, a victim of his scheming, or something else entirely?

Salazar is a cracking debut, part noir, part period romp, with touches of nifty wit leavening the dark subject matter.  The eponymous hero is a neat spin on the classic P.I, deeply troubled not beyond redemption, a fighter when he needs to be and a thinker the rest of time, with a smart eye trained on the city at this particular point in history. There are allusions to surrealism and Freud, reflections on financial dirty dealing and the effects of warfare on the people left behind. Lynch has clearly researched his setting thoroughly and Paris of the 1930's is richly evoked, familiar enough that visitors will delight in recognising the spots they know, transformed by a layer of grubby glamour so deftly conjured that I read it craving Gitanes and black coffee.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why You Love Your Fictional Friends

By Carlyle Clark, guest blogger

Fast and Furious Fifty-Seven came out just a little while ago and no doubt the next fifty-seven are already a lock, most likely featuring some bald grumbling spawns of Vin Diesel. Sadly, there is also no doubt at some point I will watch all one hundred fourteen tire screeching renditions of the same film in some manner or other. Perhaps cable—that’s that method old people use watch shows—or satellite—the method through which old people fed up of being screwed terrestrially by cable opt to get screwed extraterrestrially —or perhaps Hulu, Roku, F.U. or some other manner of digital information transference. I purposely omitted DVD because, I mean, c’mon? I’m not sure they even they still even make dvds anymore and if they do they certainly don’t’ deserve capitalization at this point.

Still, reeling off the myriad technical options that have stampeded their way into becoming the hub of our existence as the buffalo were to the Native Americans of the plains, brings into stark opposition the relationship shared by the native Americans and the doughty, nearsighted, quadrupedal shag rug for which every part from hoof to horn had a purpose that could be mastered in childhood and then utilized throughout a lifetime. But with our buffalos progress and technology before you have even approached master level on any new piece of tech, that item is sooooo yesterday. (Blackberry anyone?!?!? (And yes, I went there with the text punctuation because I really want you to know that was question, emphatic, question, emphatic, question, emphatic!)That is so 2010?—originally this directly followed “Blackberry?!?!?!” and made perfect sense and was sorta funny in a snarky outdated way until the parenthesis ruined it. Don’t try to construct it in your head, just trust me on this.)) Did I miss a parenthesis in there? Probably, but no worries, mate, this whole writing thing will probably be obsolete before my 11th grade grammar teacher ever sees this post.

Now that you’re really wondering what I’m saying has to do with, you know, the title of this post, I will actually use that confabulation above to make my point in a metaphorical manner; it’ll help if you don’t pay attention too closely. No one likes a lookie-loo! But first some digression. Back in the day when movies first flickered to life, there were few sequels and those that were made were rightly derided as cheap knock-offs suckering chumps out of they’re chump change with the golden memories of the original. But why wasn’t the real effort invested in quality sequels when we see now they are so dumfoundiculoulsy lucrative? Not because they missed the cash boat, but because society was different then. People generallu worked for one company or employer, had one serious relationship that turned into marriage), and lived in one house all their adult lives. Even if they changed jobs or houses it was in the same community. People wanted novelty in all forms of entertainment, to be transported to a new place and time or be among some new characters.

And now to spite my own argument, there have always been wildly successful serial characters when it comes to crime, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Philip Marlowe to name just a few, in fact crime seems to have been their natural home whereas other genres are the literary-come-lately’s to understanding the power of recurrence. But why crime? I say because in any journey through a strange and violent landscape wouldn’t you prefer a guide you know and whom you know what to expect from? For instance, from this post, you’ll know that my choice of when to use whom instead of who is about eighty percent guess work, but I figure as long as you know what I mean, whom gives a crap? You see that? That right there? I’m referring to the who and whom nonsense. That my friends is the nature of the recurring character that carries a series encapsulated in a single sentence. If the byzantine workings of the first few paragraphs a elicited a snicker or three, what you got from “whom gives a crap?” was a snippet of the same that you already liked. If you didn’t like it you’re either gone and not reading this ( Good riddance - I never liked you anyway) or a literary masochist, either way the recurring character gives you what you need, baby. More and more of that good stuff that you know you like, a hedge against the crazy rápido thing we call life in today’s techno wonderland.

So much do we love our fictional friends that we’ll forgive virtually anything. Like say the venerable Spenser, with an ‘s’ as the PI himself always says, of the forty book series and the centerpiece of the Spenser for Hire TV show starring the late great Robert Urich. Spenser is a veteran of the Korean War. My dad is a veteran of the Korean War. My dad is eighty-one years old. So Spenser’s an ass-kicking octogenarian who box the brains out of three or four thugs at once, and you know what? I don’t care that that’s more than a wee bit far-fetched because: I. Like. Spenser. He’s reliable. I know what I’m going to get from Spenser and I don’t have master the latest Genius phone to get it.

 Carlyle Clark author of The Black Song Inside published by Thomas & Mercer

Monday, October 7, 2013

I’m Trying Not to Scare You. Really.

I love bugs. Anyone who knows me knows this. And it’s funny, really, because I grew up scared shitless of anything with more than four legs or fewer than two (and quite a few in between, but that’s a different story altogether). Hell, in the summer of 1987 my little neighborhood was plagued by a massive cicada invasion; I didn’t leave the house until autumn. But something happened along the way, some switch was flicked, and over a short period of time revulsion gave way to fascination, and fascination gave way to outright adoration. There are few creatures on this planet I love more than spiders, and when I find one in the house I usually only pause to get a better look and say hello. I reckon if they’re in here, there must be something good to eat. Bon appétit, little buddy.

The same is true with me and horror—couldn’t stand the stuff as a kid. The ghost librarian in Ghostbusters scarred me psychologically. A poster for Creepshow haunted me for months. But I grew up to become a bona fide horror fanatic and, eventually, a sometime horror writer. And here’s where these two subjects collide: I have a loose rule about writing horror, which is to avoid—whenever possible—contributing to fears or phobias I find unnecessary or unhealthy. I mean, if you’re genuinely terrified that a werewolf is going to murder you then that’s your problem, hoss, but arthropods are a different thing. Though there are certainly some species one should be careful about, most folks’ manic terror of creepy-crawlies is just silly to me. That said, I decided pretty early on that I’d never write anything that made bugs the focus of fear in a horror tale. Which, generally speaking, meant I was never going to write about any of my segmented, leggy pals.

Then I read about ophiocordyceps unilateralis, the extraordinary—and damned creepy—fungus that infects certain species of ants and alters their behavior to suit the parasite. That’s real life horror right there, baby, and ideal for me since the bugs, in this circumstance, are the victims rather than the aggressors. From that point most of the core story in Control was formed almost instantly: a heretofore unknown strand of the fungus making its way Stateside through illegal means, and this one infects human beings, too. It gave me the opportunity to explore the limits of control in a given human life, as well as one my favorite themes in fiction, the circumstances that turn erstwhile normal people into monsters. And yes, there are bugs. Spiders, scorpions, ants, and others—the protagonist’s specimens, his only friends, which are at every bit as much risk as anyone else in the book. And wouldn’t you know early readers were quick to tell me how much poor Leon’s bugs creeped them out? Ain’t that a kick in the teeth?

Well. Perhaps it is not the business of a horror writer to strive toward not giving readers the heebie-jeebies. And perhaps those lovely, totally innocent little insects and arachnids will make your skin crawl, too. I won’t judge—Scout’s honor. I still can’t climb a ladder without getting vertigo. I suppose we all have our phobias.

But yours is silly.

* * *

Oh, and by the way: if you review the new Nightscape Press ebook edition of Control on Amazon by October 12, you’ll be entered to win a copy of the out-of-print, limited edition hardcover from Thunderstorm Books. Just drop me a line on Twitter or Facebook and point me to the review.

Ed Kurtz

Sunday, October 6, 2013

5 years

by: Joelle Charbonneau

5 years ago: I didn’t have a literary agent.  I’d never sold a manuscript or worked under a deadline or had an editor.

5 years ago: My son hadn’t spoken his first word.  He hadn’t taken his first step or taken his first plane ride.

5 years ago: My husband, son and I lived in a different house and drove different cars.  Heck, my husband even played a different saxophone. 

So much has changed in the past five years.  Lots of tears have been shed and laugher has filled joyous moments.  Lots of books have been published and manuscripts written.  My son runs everywhere.  He reads.  He writes.  He explores the world with great joy.  In five years, I have grown as a person, as a mom and a writer.

5 years.  So much is different. 

Why am I thinking about what happened 5 years ago?  Because 5 years ago, I lost my father. 

The loss left a hole in my heart that can never be repaired.  5 years ago, we said goodbye and he never had the chance to see my son run across the room or see a book with my name on the cover.

5 years ago, our lives changed forever. But something will  never change.  I love you, Dad.  Not a day goes by where I don’t think about you.  I know you are watching and I know you are proud.