Uncategorized

All posts in the Uncategorized category

Rethinking the Thinking

Published November 17, 2017 by administrator

So I tried to mothball this thing awhile back and if we’re perfectly honest, it didn’t work. I have too many thinks and logging into the website is too exhaustive a process. That means I’m just going to start talking here again.

I know…you missed me and you’re thrilled. Right?

Advertisements

The End of an Era

Published January 31, 2017 by administrator

Hey, y’all…

So you know how sometimes people hit a wall? I’ve done that. For the last six years, I’ve been moonlighting as two different people, not that any of you weren’t already aware of that.

The problem with that, however, is that I’m splitting my attention too many different ways, and it’s not healthy, and I’m not getting anywhere. So that having been said… I’ve made a decision. I’m going to consolidate my efforts. Siobhan and I have come to an agreement that we can’t take away from each other anymore. We have to go back to being the same person before it kills us.

This will, at least for the time being, be the last post to this blog. Everything is migrating to my website at www.SHRoddey.com as we speak. This blog will remain, as there’s lots of good stuff here. It’s also being copied to the website so I can keep everything in one place.

Thank you all for being part of this experiment, and please drop in at the website from time to time.

 

In the Shadow of Death: A #HoldOntoTheLight Post

Published October 27, 2016 by administrator

holdontothelight-fb-banner

Last year, I told a very painful story, one I wish for the whole world to read, then read again. It’s hard, so please forgive me if this post carries all the tact and diplomacy of a sledgehammer through a plate-glass window.

I’m still hurt, still angry. Still seeking vengeance. Still praying that by shoving Angie’s story down the throats of anyone who will listen, her tragedy might open some eyes…might save someone else’s life.

AngieOn November 6, 2014, I lost a good friend to domestic violence. She died sixty feet from where I stood, face-down in a parking lot, four bullets neatly in the back of her head at the hand of her estranged husband. This was the climax to a three-week long horror story wherein he burned their house down, tried to turn their children against her, stalked her, tormented her, stalked me trying to get to her, and then blamed her when his sorry ass lost his job for not showing up to work. Then the son of a bitch turned the .45 and put it in his mouth before any of us had a chance to see him properly punished.

I know what you’re thinking.  You want to know why I’m being so selfish and conceited, right? Why I think my thoughts and opinions should matter.

Simple. Because I’m still here. And because I hurt, goddamn it. I LOST SOMEONE I LOVE.

I miss her.
I love her.
I’m lost without her.

But I’m not the only one. Angie left behind two sons – two handsome, well-mannered, intelligent young men who are now orphans. They’ve been left to fend for themselves at the mercy of their father’s family…the same family who has tried desperately to canonize the murderer they call son and brother. And you know what? I understand that. I can accept their need to rationalize his behavior…because you never want to admit someone is capable of cold-blooded murder. It’s hard for them.

But it’s also partially his family’s fault. With multiple family members in law enforcement, he used bullying tactics to keep Angie at bay. Her attempts at a protective order were blocked. He was a good guy, just ’cause he was someone’s brother in the department.

That, my friends, is a disgusting misuse of authority. I blame his family for her death as much as I do him. They could have stopped him, but they enabled his behavior, enabled his abuse. Because they didn’t want to see him as something capable of unspeakable evil.

But back to those boys – they’re both adults now. Thankfully, despite the trauma of their loss, they’re okay. One is in the military and the other is making a good life for himself out of college. I still think about them, still worry about them all the time. I want to be there for them since she can’t be…it’s the least I can do.

So the point I’m trying to make here… Domestic Violence hurts more than just the victim. It hurts everyone involved. Angie left behind two beautiful children. Her mother and brother – estranged from her or not – were devastated by her death. All of her friends, our coworkers…everyone that knew her. We all still hurt. There are still days, even two years later, where I pick up the phone to call or text her, but then I remember she isn’t there. Her number is still in my phone, no doubt passed on to someone else by now. I have a recording from a commission meeting that took place about two weeks before she died where she filled in for me. I still listen to it from time to time just to hear her voice. As long as I can hear her voice, she’ll still live on in my memory. I wouldn’t trade that ten-second soundbite for the world.

You would think after two years, the tears would have mostly stopped by now. But they don’t. They keep coming. It’s hard to see the screen as I write this because my vision has blurred almost to the point of blindness.

In closing, I ask this of anyone living in an abusive situation: Take Angie’s story to heart. GET HELP. Get away. Go to the police. A shelter. A friend. Just leave and don’t look back. Have children? Take them with you. Save their lives and yours. It’s okay to be afraid. But the longer you stay, the harder it is to cut those strings.

He only hit me once, but he apologized. That’s how it starts. It ALWAYS escalates. By the time you’ve had enough, you’ll be well on your way to dead. I don’t want you dead. I probably don’t know you, but I’m here for you. I’m in your corner.

He’s connected to the law. SO? Report his ass anyway. Then go to a neighboring jurisdiction and report him again. Then go to a shelter and get a lawyer.

He’ll try to kill me if I leave. Possibly, but he WILL kill you if you stay. Shelters and counselors are equipped to handle this kind of situation.

Angie left and she died anyway. And let me tell you why… Our staff panicked when he showed up. She went outside to keep him from killing all of us in the office. She protected us. She sacrificed herslf to save us because she knew he wouldn’t stop until one of them was dead. Her situation escalated to an unstoppable conclusion. Yours doesn’t have to.

Don’t stay. Leave while there’s a chance. Tomorrow might be too late.


there is a way out

SC S.T.O.P. Domestic Abuse Program

Rock Hill Area Safe Passage

Safe Harbor Domestic Abuse Center

About the Campaign

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors and blog posts, or reach a media contact, go to http://www.HoldOnToTheLight.com and join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WeHoldOnToTheLight

Stay With Me

Published March 31, 2016 by administrator

[Note: I started this post over a week ago, but couldn’t quite find the right words until now. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to unlock thoughts. It’s a long, rambling miasma of thoughts, too, so hold on tight.]

Depression is real.

It, like so many things we don’t take seriously, is a disease. It’s a terrible, crippling disorder that, if left untreated, can destroy even the strongest person. When a person suffers from depression, there are two possible outcomes: get help, or die.

It’s treatable. It can be overcome. It can be beaten. Friends, family, doctors, and medicine can help. Doing nothing…well, we all know how that turns out.

The indie literary community is struggling this morning. We’re still reeling from the sudden and very much unexpected death of Logan Masterson Tuesday evening. One the surface, he’s just one more in a shockingly long list of creative types who have succumbed to this beast. To the world. he’s just a statistic now.

Fuck you, no he isn’t. He’s a person.

Upon learning of his passing, I had my own moment of weakness. We weren’t as good of friends as I’d have liked – we only met in person once – but I cried for him, for his struggle, and for his loved ones. He was a kind-hearted, gentle person with a beautiful smile and kind eyes. He was soft-spoken, but intelligent, and a damned fine writer. And he gave great hugs. A few of my coworkers questioned my emotion, and the first thing out of their mouths, each one of them, wasn’t a word of condolence, but a question:

How?

We’re so desensitized to violence that we don’t understand the gravity of death anymore. It doesn’t matter how he died. What matters is why.

He died because he was tormented by his own mind. He believed he was worthless. He couldn’t see himself as the gentle, beautiful soul he was. Because he cried out for help and none of us saw it for what it was. We, the outsiders, never believe a person is capable of the unspeakable until it happens. It’s human nature. Even when we ourselves struggle with the same pain, we don’t see that final cry as the one.

This is a problem. A big one. When you’re depressed, you can’t be strong. You can’t just suck it up and move on. You. Can’t. Forget picking yourself up off the floor; it takes all of your energy just to breathe.

Imagine, if you will, a constant, nagging voice just behind your left ear. You wake up with it. You go to bed with it. All day long it chants its horrible mantra: You suck. You can’t do anything right. Nobody loves you. You’re a terrible human being. You suck. Nobody cares about you. You destroy everything you touch. You’re wasting your time. Your life is a lie. You suck and you’ll never be good enough. No one will miss you when you die.

Most people would tell you to ignore it and go on. “Don’t worry about what others think,” they say. And it’s true…what others think shouldn’t be important. Other people’s opinions of you have no weight when it comes to who you are.

Now imagine that voice is your ownNo matter how hard you try not to, you’re always going to listen to yourself. Your own voice is inescapable, and with enough taunting, you’re eventually going to convince yourself there’s no point in trying anymore. Your voice will always win, and there is nothing you can do about it. And you have to suffer the torment alone. It’s hard to believe you can be totally alone in a crowd of people, but when your own psyche is working against you, it’s very much possible.

Which is why those of us who suffer from depression need help. We have to learn to manage it. It’s never going away, regardless of how much we do, but we can take control back from ourselves. We can get help.

I know the desperation and desolation that drove our friend to end his life. Desperation makes people reckless and irrational. It makes them do things against their nature. I’ve been there a time or two myself. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s true. I’ve listened to my own voice too much in the past, let myself get into my own head and screw myself up. It’s easy to fall into that trap because you’re supposed to be able to trust yourself, trust your instincts. But sometimes instincts lie. I got lucky when I figured that part out. I also have the benefit of having two small children who need me, and the last thing I’d ever want to do is let them down.

Many people over the last 24 hours have referred to Logan’s struggle as “losing the battle with the beast” or “losing the war”. Those are beautiful, poetic terms for the situation, and in light of how many of these situations we’ve faced in the last six months, I’m tired of the niceties. I don’t want pretty, flowery words because goddamn it, this situation IS NOT PRETTY. It’s harsh and it’s ugly and it’s cruel.

In a single act of desperation – a way of making the pain and the voices stop – our friend took his life. He committed suicide. No matter what words you use, it amounts to the same thing: he’s dead and he isn’t coming back.

Sugar coating it makes it seem like it’s an okay option, that there’s a beauty in that swan song, but it isn’t. This was avoidable.  This was treatable. This was a complete waste of a beautiful life. Could any of us out here in Internetland saved him? Who knows. Maybe. Maybe what he needed was that one person to call and say “hey, tell me what’s wrong. I’m coming over.” Or maybe not. Maybe he was too far gone to see reason anymore. Maybe there were other circumstances behind his actions that we don’t know. We can sit here and speculate all day long on the what if and the why. But it won’t change the fact that it is.

And it happens all day long, every day. A person dies by their own hand roughly every 13 minutes. That’s more than 110 people per day. That’s over 40,000 people per year. Granted, not all of these people suffer from Depression. Many of them have other reasons for doing the things they do. But do you know why so many take their own lives? It’s because most people don’t want to seek treatment. There’s a social stigma against people on mood stabilizers and psychotropics. There’s a belief by the general, “healthy” contingent that people who needs those drugs are all nuts and deserve whatever they get.

Bullshit.

The people who need those drugs are you and me. Normal, everyday people who can’t battle their demons alone. We need to put this stigma to rest. We need to embrace our friends, neighbors, and strangers. Those of us who can need to help even if we don’t understand why our friends are struggling. It’s up to us to save their lives because they don’t always know that they can save themselves.

I’ve been battling depression for the last four years. Losing my father nearly destroyed me, and I’m still learning how to be me again. My battle has been nowhere near as severe as Logan’s was. By no means am I comparing my fight to his. But I do understand the pain, the sense of hopelessness, the guilt for breathing air best suited for someone else. The difference is I know what I’m facing because I’ve overcome it before and I learned how to control that negative voice in my head. I got help. I know how to focus my anxiety into something constructive and work through it. Not everyone is as lucky as I am. Not everyone can do that.

It doesn’t help that there’s inevitably some asshat waiting in the digital wings to pile on and abuse us because doing so makes them feel big. Those people are the true monsters. Those bullying sadists are the reason for so many deaths. Those people are the reason our friends are suffering in silence until they make the decision to stop the pain.

So to all the bullies, the internet trolls, the liars, the users, the abusers…I say this: the next time you open your big mouth to destroy someone for daring to have a thought or opinion, just remember that person’s death may be on you. It might be your fault that the trans girl you just ripped apart overdoses on sleeping pills. It might be on your conscience when the depressed young man who just lost his mother puts a pistol in his mouth because you were the insensitive asshole who told him to “buck up and don’t be a pussy”. YOU are the one who needs to sit down and shut the hell up. I’m tired of you and your ilk, thinking you can run the world from the anonymity of your computer chair without suffering the goddamned consequences of your actions. When you hurt someone, you become responsible for that person. You need to leave.

To everyone else… pay attention. Please. If you see someone struggling, reach out and say hi. Offer a hug and a friendly ear. It may be the one thing that saves your friend’s life. Let them know they aren’t alone, even when it feels like it. But know this – you won’t always know until it’s too late. Some people don’t show signs and symptoms. Some don’t reach out. Some just do it.

And finally to those suffering… you are not alone. You may be wandering in the darkness, but all you have to do is reach out. Someone will be there. I’ll be there. I’ll be your friend. Your shoulder to cry on. Your sounding board and your whipping post. Tell me your troubles, and we’ll work through it together. If you don’t talk to me, just talk to someone. Please. Get help, then use your story to help others.

Logan’s family needs help with his final expenses. If you can, please donate to their GoFundMe.

 NSPL_Logo

#TBT Musical Influences: Jump, Little Children

Published March 17, 2016 by administrator

Music has always been a big part of my life. Every major moment in my life seems to be accompanied by a song. And there was a period in my late teens/early twenties where I was pretty hardcore about certain bands. The one I’m going to talk about today is one most of you have probably never heard of.

Jump Little Children.

I first started listening to them on a copy of a copy of a copy of a demo tape in the mid 1990’s. I knew every song on that tape, and when they produced their first indie CD, I was all over that. (Why yes, I do own a copy of the original, purple Licorice Tea Demos, thank you very much.) I loved every single song on the album. I still do. Each song is a story, a moment in time that takes me back to simpler days.

Then I started going to the shows. I was a teenager and I’d never been exposed to “famous” people before. It amazed me that I was able to walk right up to them and speak. Not that I could, mind you. I was much too awkward and incapable of being civilized to do so.

Then… then I made some friends. From this love of JLC sprang the most intense and short-lived friendship of my life. Relationships that intense always burn out fast because to sustain that kind of energy would likely kill one or both people involved. But this friend, she taught me two important things: first, be fearless. Second, always carry an open heart. It was through her I met the guys.

I was so awestruck by them that I mostly stood in the background and let her do the talking. I was always fairly quiet, but around those guys…they intimidated me. They amazed me. I loved each of them for the things they represented.

I took tin whistle lessons from Matt Bivins when he first started offering them. I’ve always had this crazy love of music, and while I used to be pretty decent with a piano and so-so with a guitar, I loved his versatility, his ability to play what seemed like any instrument he picked up. So I jumped on these lessons. After the third or fourth lesson, I let it fall off to the side, not because I wasn’t capable of learning or because I didn’t enjoy it, but because being alone, one on one with him, was so…. again, intimidating… that I couldn’t sustain it.

I offered to take one of the guys to dinner with Sam and me one time…and two more of them showed up. And one of the others appeared briefly while we were there. She did all the talking. Ward did all the eating. I just sat there and listened, because that’s what I did.

After one of the shows I remember hearing one of the guys ask Sam if I was okay. A good friend had just lost his thirteen-year-old sister to cancer a couple months prior to that show, and one of the songs really struck a nerve. We were right there at his feet beside the stage so naturally he saw my meltdown. But it was really touching not only to know that he took notice, but that he also asked about me by name. When I finally got to where they were, he turned around and grabbed me in the biggest bear hug and for a minute I thought he was going to cry with me.

I was so excited when they landed a contract with Atlantic Records because it meant they’d finally made the big-time. Then the contract was rescinded and it broke my heart for them. But they kept going. For about four years I was at every show they did in Charleston.

After my friendship with Sam ended and I moved upstate, I lost touch with the guys. About a year later, they released their final album and we learned they were doing a show/signing at Manifest Discs & Tapes in Charlotte. My husband was all ready to pack me up and take me up there, but I said no. Part of it was because I didn’t want to get into the discussion about my friendship with Sam and how it had ended, but I also didn’t want to fight the crowd of screaming fangirls.

The fans were scary…still are from what I hear. That oversexed atmosphere, that ego-stroking nonsense…they thrived on it. Most artists do. But I wasn’t interested in climbing into bed with them. I wanted to understand their secrets, as if they’d unlocked some fundamental part of the universe. The great, cosmic mystery eluded and compelled me.

I know now it was the unconscious knowledge that these guys…these were my people. They made nerdy look cool. They were misfits themselves, but ones who appeared to have found their place. And it was magic. This band…it was my unicorn.

Not that I needed to be part of that inner circle; far from it. I was just some awkward college kid who barely knew how to be a person, but these guys were so cool and seemed to have it all figured out. I know I probably came off as creepy and annoying. I was more than a little starstruck at the time, so I could barely speak in their presence. And I smiled. A lot. I know I’m smart, but it never appeared so. But again…I was still kinda new at being a person back then.

I truly didn’t need that acceptance and validation. It was nice to be noticed, yes, but just being there was enough. Most of my interactions with them as people were to put friends closer to them, to fulfill my best-friend duty and sit back to watch.  I just wanted to be where they were, to witness the spectacle and maybe absorb a little bit of that creativity for myself.

In a way, my time in the shadows of their glory prepared me for life as an artist. They taught me to be fearless in my artistic endeavors. After all, who the hell brings an accordion and a cello to a rock band? They taught me to be idealistic, to dream openly, and in a way, to embrace failure as part of the process. Those guys were everything I needed them to be at exactly the right time in my life. To this day their music still lies close to my heart. When my father passed away, I immediately went back to them, and this song:

It’s still my go-to when missing him becomes unbearable, because it reminds me to hold onto all the things he taught me.

If I had any clue how to get in touch with Matt Bivins, I’d thank him. First for being nice to the awkward kid I used to be, second for inadvertently teaching me to appreciate tea with honey (I still to this day search for Desert Sage tea everywhere I go), but mostly for the inspiration to create. All of them gave me that, and I can never repay them.

If any of the guys happen to stumble upon this psycho trip down memory lane… thank you. You’ll never know just how much I appreciate your presence, and for allowing me to be part of your world, if even for a moment.

The King is Dead. Long Live the King

Published January 11, 2016 by administrator

At 3:30 this morning, I dared to go on the internet for the first time in a week, and I cried.

I cried for the loss of a man I’d never met, yet feel like I’ve known my whole life. I’ve never in my life cried over the death of a celebrity, but this morning I couldn’t stop myself. When I saw the news of David Bowie’s passing, I immediately took to the Google, praying it was yet another horrid hoax. I wanted to believe it was, then more and more news sites began reporting it and I knew it was real. And my heart shattered.

Like many of my friends, the man had a huge impact on my life. From my first coherent experience with Bowie as the Goblin King all the way through to Blackstar, the man has been one of the few constants in my musical and emotional education. His voice, antics, and showmanship have been a beacon, not only to me but to all the other weirdos like me. Ziggy Stardust made it okay to be different. His songs gave us permission to push the envelope.

In short, without him, I wouldn’t be me because I very likely wouldn’t know I was allowed to.

It appears nobody knew of his illness…and I suspect that was by design. God knows if it were me, I wouldn’t want the entire world on death watch. While it came as a great shock, I suppose it was for the best. This morning is the first time in years (literally years) where my Facebook feed has been nothing but an outpouring of love and support. It’s the first time in a long time I wasn’t inundated by hatred and bigotry. That fact did little to ease the pain my chest.

On July 28, 2002, a carload of us headed up to Manassas, VA for the Area2 festival with the sole purpose of witnessing the spectacle that was David Bowie. It’s the closest thing to a religious experience I’ve ever had… it was magical, the culmination of so many years of searching and questioning. Watching him made all the pieces fall into place, and it happened with some of my best friends by my side.

Now, for the first time in a long time, I don’t know how to process what I’m feeling. Grief, certainly. But this deeply profound sense of loss… I thought this was meant to be saved for family and close friends. But then again, he’s about the closest friend I’ve ever had even though we never met. He brought me friends, was by my side as I lost others, and has always had just the right words for whatever situations I faced.

This makes no sense, I know. Grief and loss don’t make sense. They aren’t supposed to.

The words aren’t there, but my love is.

A Bloody Valentine: D.J. Tyrer

Published February 14, 2015 by administrator

Here’s an evening treat for you all! D.J. Tyrer, also of State of Horror fame, has given us a bit o’ flash fiction to enjoy!

ULULATION

By DJ Tyrer

 “Whenever the cry of the banshee is heard,” Malcolm had said, “one of the clan is doomed to die.”

Duncan had laughed at the superstition. His kin here in the old country were an odd lot. At least, that’s what he’d thought until he heard the shriek of the banshee, a high-pitched ululation.

All of a sudden, Duncan really wished he hadn’t taken the late-night stroll along the cliff-top path.

The ululation came again, closer now. Fearfully, he glanced over his shoulder and thought he saw a white, vaporous figure further along the path. The banshee, the harbinger of death for his clan, was close behind him.

Duncan picked up his pace, then began to run, desperate to escape.

The cry came yet again, and he ran heedlessly through the darkness. Suddenly, there was nothing underfoot. For a moment, Duncan felt himself fly, weightless, through the darkness, then he was falling, plunging down to the jagged rocks and sea below, the ululating scream of the banshee echoing in his ears.


THE STATE OF HORROR SERIES

Edited by Jerry E. Benns
From Charon Coin Press

D.J. Tyrer is featured in State of Horror: Illinois.

State of Horror: Illinois State of Horror: New Jersey State of Horror: North Carolina
State of Horror: Illinois State of Horror: New Jersey State of Horror North Carolina
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
CCP Store
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
CCP Store
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
CCP Store

Week O’ Releases: A Chimerical World

Published February 13, 2014 by administrator

Day three brings you a two-book set! I don’t have a story in either of these, but the publisher is near and dear to me, AND my good friend Alexandra Christian has a story in volume 1. You all know I’m a huge fan of Miss Lexxx anyway, so I’m definitely going to hand you this one on a tray. Check ’em out!

A Chimerical World - Seelie Court

The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the first volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Seelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “good” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Seelie Court, from authors both established and new, including George S. Walker, Eric Garrison, and Alexandra Christian.

But be warned: these faeries are nothing like Tinker Bell.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A Chimerical World - Unseelie Court

The Fey have been with us since the beginning, sometimes to our great joy but often to our detriment. Usually divided (at least by us silly humans) into two courts, the second volume of A Chimerical World focuses on the Unseelie Court: the court we humans seem to view as the “evil” faeries. But “good” and “evil” are human concepts and as alien to the Fey as their mindsets are to us.

Inside you will find 19 stories that delve into the world of the faeries of the Unseelie Court, from authors both established and new, including Michael Shimek, Deedee Davies, and Nick Bryan.

But don’t be surprised if these faeries decide to play with their food.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble