Noble: New World Order – Blog Series Kick-Off

concept art

 

Hello, and thanks for joining me as I kick-off a new blog series centered on the creation of my upcoming book, Noble: New World Order. NWO will mark the third and final installment of the Noble series. I know, I know. I can feel your collective groans all the way here on the other side of your screen.

 

I am caught up in the middle of a whirlwind of emotion: Happy to be able to finish the trilogy, but also bummed to have reached the end. Cue sad trombone. These characters and stories within the Noble universe have meant a great deal to me, and I will miss them dearly, but there is still a long way to go before NWO is completed. This blog series will be a means of helping me cope, while at the same time, hopefully delivering some interesting insight into the process of its creation. 🙂

 

I thought I’d start off this blog series by talking a little bit about where I’m at in the writing process. The entire book has been outlined for quite some time, but as with any writer, new ideas keep coming up as I go.

 

In the video game world, you have a set date near the end of the development cycle called “content lock.” In the world of a novelist, you can (and usually will) continue to tinker with your story up until the day you hit the “publish” button. It’s both useful and frustrating to have that kind of control at your fingertips, especially if you’re a perfectionist. Sometimes you just need to accept the story that you’ve written and feel confident sending it out into the ether.

 

As of this morning, I have seven completed chapters under my belt. Now, when I say “completed,” I mean to say that I have a first draft. A first draft is usually stable, but not something you want to share outside of your circle until it has undergone a proper edit.

 

It is within the first draft that you still find all of the embarrassing little mistakes like missing words or incorrect homonyms. A first draft is also the reason that a writer must always remember to give their editor a hug… or lots and lots of alcohol.

 

As it currently stands, NWO is on track for a late 2013 release. I don’t have an exact time table in mind, but I feel that the work that’s left to do can be completed within the next five to six months. I am not going to rush it, however, so if I’m not feeling confident that this book is going to live up to expectations, then it won’t see the light of day until I am.

 

There is a lot of pressure when completing a trilogy, and I am well aware of the consequences should I fail to deliver a solid conclusion. I feel really good about the direction of the series, and yes, I know how it all is going to end and I am quite satisfied with it. But, more on that later.

 

Thanks for tuning in to the inaugural NWO blog series kick-off! I have a long list of topics that I’ll be looking to cover over the weeks ahead, but please do let me know if there’s a particular area of interest that you’d like me to cover.

 

Still in need of a kick ass sign-off,

 

~ David K. Hulegaard

The Hotel Ghost Story

I can be a little mischievous at times, but it’s all meant to be harmless fun. Nothing I do is ever intended to be malicious… but I may have potentially crossed that line with a prank I recently pulled while staying at a San Francisco area hotel. 🙂

 

While observing a chest-of-drawers in my room, my mind began to wander: How would somebody react to opening up a drawer and finding documentation from a previous guest recounting some frightening experiences during their stay? Would they immediately dismiss it as a joke or would it seep into their subconscious and make them sleep with one eye open?

 

I had to give it a try if for no other reason than just to provide myself with a few fleeting chuckles before a maid found it and threw it out.

 

When I talked about this practical joke on my Facebook and Twitter earlier this week, it generated a surprising amount of positive reaction. Some offered their support of my twisted sense of humor and others wondered if I was only joking.

 

TW

 

So, to set the record straight, here is the letter that I left behind in my hotel room for the next guest. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as they will! 🙂

 

 

 

March 26th, 2013

 

To whoever finds this, I’d like the records to show that I am of sound and intelligent mind and have stayed at this hotel many times before. I have felt uneasy staying here in the past, but always assumed that it was due to exhaustion from traveling, or perhaps just because I can’t completely unwind away from home, no matter how comfortable the room is.

 

Tonight I find myself in room 209, which is my first time ever staying on the second floor. Something hasn’t felt right since I checked in, but again, I figured the sensation was a result of simply being travel-weary.

 

I consider myself to be both a rational thinker and appropriately skeptical, but repeated strange occurrences have me questioning my own beliefs. I have decided to document my evening in hopes that someone else, someday, may share similar experiences and be able to explain them. I cannot.

 

9:06pm – I called down to the front desk and asked point blank if they’ve ever received claims from guests about the hotel being haunted, but the manager just laughed as though I was playing a joke on him. When I assured him that I wasn’t, he said that if there was nothing he could do for me, I needed to get off the line.

 

9:27pm – The air in the room has thickened. Hard to describe, but there’s a heaviness that wasn’t present earlier. I just feel… some kind of pressure.

 

9:40pm – The guest in the room directly above mine is driving me nuts with all the stomping around. For a nice hotel, you’d think it would attract a more courteous clientele. Asshole.

 

10:02pm – Finally got tired of the noisy guest upstairs and called the front desk to complain. The manager informed me that there is no third floor anymore and that they haven’t had rooms to rent above the second floor since the late 80s.

 

10:19pm – I tried watching some TV to take my mind off of things, but I keep seeing some kind of movement outside of the bedroom within the living room area. It’s been mostly through my peripheral vision, though. Everything seems still when I look straight on. Probably just my eyes playing tricks on me.

 

10:33pm – The loud stomping coming from above has started up again. I know it’s not in my head because the light fixture mounted to the ceiling is shaking. WTF?

 

10:36pm – Called the front desk to complain again and now the night manager is starting to sound pissed. He essentially told me to leave him alone and go to sleep, but in a (barely) nicer way. I suppose this means that I’m on my own for the duration of my stay. I’d love to just check-out and not deal with this, but the only other hotel in the area is completely booked up, and this hotel’s manager told me that I can’t switch rooms without “upgrading,” which I can’t afford.

 

10:53pm – Okay, that was a very real bang that just came from the kitchen. I know I should go look, but I don’t want to.

 

10:55pm – Yep, that was a horrible idea. Turned on the light in the kitchen and found my digital camera in the sink. It was on the table next to my laptop bag when I checked-in, which is a good twenty feet or more away. This is getting ridiculous.

 

11:37pm – Okay, it may be time for me to leave. I don’t want to write what I’m thinking, but… I’m nearly 100% positive that a woman in a white gown just peeked into my room from the other side of the door frame. That wasn’t the corner of my eye this time. I saw her clear as day, almost transparent, pressed against the wall as though she were hiding.

 

12:01am – I don’t know why I felt the need to do this, but I turned off all the lights and the TV and just laid flat on the bed, staring out into the dark living room area. Some light is trickling in from the airfield, but very little. In the darkness I continue seeing shapes moving quickly back and forth across the door frame. My depth perception might be a little disoriented without the light, but I could swear they’re moving closer.

 

12:12am – I’ve had enough and I’m leaving. I just felt fingertips pressing against the back of my head and sliding down my neck. I think I sprained my ankle when I jolted up off the bed because I’m in a lot of pain and can’t put any weight on it.

 

12:20am – I’m all packed up and have a cab waiting for me downstairs. Whoever finds this, I wish you better luck in this room than I had. Just know that if you do have experiences of your own, you’re not alone and you’re not crazy.

An Open Apology to my Facebook Friends

I owe my friends a sincere apology. I’ve been a jerk on Facebook, and it’s time for me to come clean. It has taken me years to finally understand the ramifications of my previous glibness, but it stops today.

Like a lot of people, my first exposure to social media was a little site called MySpace during my mid-20s. It seemed ingenious at the time: A place where I can reconnect with old friends, discover new music, and also write overly-dramatized blogs? Sign me up!

Sadly, it wasn’t long before the millennials took to the Internet and commandeered MySpace with their glittery, headache-inducing wallpapers and “duck lips” profile pics. My generation wasn’t innocent, mind you. We had the black-and-white “artsy” photographs of things casting shadows, but nothing that quite reached the level of a pedophile take-out menu.

After recognizing that the time had come for us old farts to vacate MySpace, I made the jump over to a new site in 2008 called Facebook. My teenage niece described it as, “a boring version of MySpace for adults.” Perfect! I added a photo or two, plugged in a bio, and set up shop… my news feed free of duck lips.

I had reconnected with most of my old MySpace pals in no time. That’s when I discovered that my generation had its own version of “duck lips:” Pictures of kids, and food porn. In just a matter of days, my timeline had become inundated with pictures of little Billy using the potty for the first time, and shared photos of lunch orders from twenty different angles.

I was overwhelmed and confused. As is common practice in the United States, I reacted to this confusion by lashing out with sarcasm and mockery. Most of my jabs were above the belt, and I’d like to believe that my friends appreciated my sometimes quirky sense of humor, but over time the well began to dry up.

My news feed, once ripe with happy (sometimes embarrassing) updates, had transformed into a political battleground of polarizing topics. Suddenly, the outside world had invaded my safe place of escapism. Lines had been drawn in the sand and I had friends broadcasting opinions on both sides.

Me? I utilize humor when I’m uncomfortable. I try to find the lighter side of most situations, but there’s a time and a place to get serious. A time and a place to voice your passion and stick up for what you believe in. For me, that place is a blog: An optional piece of reading material for friends and strangers alike to decide whether or not my words are worth their time. For others, that place is Facebook, and that’s when friendships can begin to splinter.

I work in social media for a living, so I am well-accustomed to vitriol. I’ve witnessed far too many real friendships ended over the past two months because of the 2012 presidential election and gun control debates. Yes, I believe that our opinions are valid, but we should direct them to the ears of people that can instill change. Throwing them out into the social media universe may feel cathartic, but it’s also counter-productive, and if we’re being honest, a bit selfish.

So, here is my call to action: Bring back the photos of your kids. Bring back the photos of your food. Bring back the photos of your vacations and getaway trips. Bring back the overhead black-and-white self-portraits of you looking away while a butterfly dances in the background. Whatever, but let’s work together to bring some positive sentiment back into social media.

The world can be a dark and frightening place, but Facebook doesn’t have to be. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to use their Facebook pages. That’s not for me to decide. All I’m saying is that I, personally, am sorry for all the teasing and quipping that I ever did at your expense. I will never do it again.

Was

Was.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s a pretty meaningless word. Just three harmless little letters plucked from an alphabet of twenty-six. It’s a word that we use countless times every day and never give it a second thought. It’s not a word that you examine for a deeper or hidden meaning when said, you just know what it means. Your brain uses it to connect the dots of a sentence. It doesn’t serve any greater purpose in the English language than to imply tense.

Or so I thought. Only when forced to associate it with a loved one do you truly begin to understand the devastative power that it possesses.

My Aunt Billie was an amazing woman. She was the sweetest person I have ever known. She was the kindest soul in our family. She was a talented singer. And today, we lost her.

I wish that I had the ability to write something that would make you all feel as though you had known her, because you would have loved her as I do. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body, and welcomed all strangers as family. It’s a trait she inherited from her parents, my grandparents, and one that has been passed down the family line. I will never be as good of a human being as my Aunt Billie was, but I’m sure as hell giving it the best that I have.

I was an affectionate child—perhaps overly so—always happy to embrace the members of my family with hugs. Our family was a little old-fashioned, so it wasn’t considered appropriate to hug the men. I was too young to understand that at the time, but it felt cold, and only made me more affectionate toward the women in our family.

Because I didn’t get to see her every day, Aunt Billie always took the brunt of my calculated hug-fest when I saw her. She never complained, and she never turned me away. In fact, one year for Christmas her and my Uncle Casey had a custom t-shirt made for me (presumably at one of those t-shirt stores popular at malls during the ‘80s) with a picture of a bear, arms outstretched, that said, “I Need a Hug.” It would’ve been considered “uncool” to wear to school, so I only wore it around the house and tried to hide it. What I wouldn’t give to have that t-shirt now.

My Aunt Billie loved football and was a diehard Raiders fan. Or at least pretended to be for the sake of my Uncle. 🙂 I remember going to their apartment as a child and seeing the, “We interrupt this marriage to bring you the football season” sign hanging on their television dial. I’d learn to “get” that joke later on in life.

My Aunt Billie also made the most delicious soft-batch cookies: Chocolate with peanut butter chips. I have never found another cookie as good as hers, and I can still taste them to this day. She’d fill the cookie jar with them before we’d visit, and I swear my sister and I would eat until it was empty.

I mentioned earlier that my Aunt Billie was a talented singer. I had the chance to see her perform with her big band many years ago, but her love of music went back so much further than that. She could have been the next Shirley Temple. No, seriously. She was discovered by a talent scout as a kid that had big plans for her career. It didn’t wind up happening, but my Aunt never abandoned her passion for singing and entertaining a crowd. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to see her do it.

I could go on and on and share stories about her, but the point is that she was incredible. She was an example of what a person should be. She was too good for this world, and she enriched the lives of everyone that knew her. I am a better person because she was a part of my life. I know it’s cliché to say this, but there really will always be a part of her with me as I live out the rest of my life.

Aunt Billie, this part is just for you. I love you. I thank you for everything you’ve added to my life, and I am sorry that we have run out of days together on this earth. I will never forget a single thing about you, nor the kindness and generosity that you’ve taught me. I wish we could have had more time. There’s never enough time. However, I am so grateful that I had one last chance to hear your voice, and I am so happy that my last letter to you brought you joy and made you feel a little better as your health began to fade. I miss you so much already.

And God, if you’re real, take care of my Aunt Billie, because there is no place that deserves her more than Heaven.

CD Review: Hammock – Departure Songs

I don’t normally do music reviews. In fact, this is my first one ever, but when you encounter something as meaningful and personal as Hammock, it tends to make you want to sing its praises from the mountaintops.

A brief history: 2006 was the roughest year of my life, and many of my days were spent in solitude with nothing more than my thoughts to pass the time. It was during that time that I stumbled across Hammock’s Raising Your Voice… Trying to Stop an Echo. One listen was all it took, and my musical horizons had been forever changed.

Hammock’s music is nearly impossible to describe. I could throw about a hundred adjectives out there, but none of which would ever feel like the perfect encapsulation. Dreamy. Hypnotic. Beautiful. Life-changing. None of those are incorrect, yet they fail to do the music justice.

Though a bit simple, I summarize my experience with Hammock as follows: I have listened to music my entire life, but it wasn’t until after I discovered Hammock that I actually heard it.

Back in July, Hammock released a video from their upcoming album for a song called “Tape Recorder.” I must have watched the video fifty times, never growing tired of it. As gorgeous as Hammock’s music has always been, I had never found myself as immersed in sound as I did with “Tape Recorder.” I feel no shame in admitting that it brought me to tears.



That brings us to October 2nd, 2012, when Hammock released their latest offering, an epic double album titled Departure Songs. Clocking in at nearly two full hours of ambient bliss, Hammock continues to do what they do best, and yet, seem to evolve with every album. Each time I think that they can’t get any better, they prove me wrong, and I’m elated to be.

Hammock set a new benchmark with 2010’s Chasing After Shadows… Living with the Ghosts, but Departure Songs blows right on past it without apology. Tracks such as “Ten Thousand Years Won’t Save Your Life,” “Together Alone,” “Pathos,” “(Leaving) The House Where We Grew Up,” and “Hiding But Nobody Missed You” are immediate standouts, but there isn’t a dull track anywhere to be found. In fact, the album is so coated in complex eardrum pleasing layers that your favorite tracks will most definitely change between your first listen and your seventh.

Departure Songs is less an album and more an emotional exploration. It will make your heart both sink and swell over the course of its duration. Your mind’s eye will get an extended workout as the textures of sound hit your temporal lobe with the force of a mack truck and bring serene images to life.

If you are new to the splendor that is Hammock, Departure Songs is an incredible place to start, full of nineteen rich and tasty morsels that are slowly digested over multiple listens. If you’re like me, you’ll wonder why it had taken so long to find them, and immediately seek out their other recordings (which is money well spent, I might add).

If you are already a Hammock fan, then there is nothing I’ve said in this review that you didn’t already know, and you are well aware of their brilliance. In which case, I thank you for reading any way. 🙂

This review is rather wordy, but the bottom line is this: If you have not yet purchased Departure Songs, you should. If you’re not sure whether or not their music is right for you, then I strongly encourage you to listen to some samples and find out. Hammock could very well be the same musical awakening for you that they were for me.


Blog Post: Trolled

When I think about how much the Internet has changed since its inception, my first thought usually skips past all of the benefits and lands on the negative. Why? To be honest, I don’t know. Perhaps the darker, colder side of humanity makes a longer lasting impression on me, which I suppose is what it means to be “trolled.”

Ah, yes, trolls. The aggravating and vocal members of the Internet that seem to believe that anonymity grants them a license to be a dick. No matter the topic of conversation, a troll will arise within a matter of time to shit in your cereal bowl for no other reason than to fill the emptiness in their lives. It’s kind of sad, actually. You just want to scoop them up, give them a hug, and repeat “It’s not your fault” over and over again, Good Will Hunting style.

The subculture of trolls may have evolved in recent years, but the concept itself is nothing new. Trolls have actually existed since the dawn of the Internet, they just weren’t organized enough to attract the same attention that they do today. While spamming chat rooms and spewing hate was enough to get you TOS’d back in the heyday of the Internet, there are few repercussions today, which essentially kicked the door wide open for the modern day asshole to emerge.

I am reminded of a time before the new millennium, in which I was in my early twenties. I had saved up enough money to buy my first laptop, and get my very own AOL subscription. Those of you who just laughed, you’re old. 🙂

Anyway, one of my main uses of the Internet back in the 90s was to engage with people that shared my same taste in music. As grunge was being phased out for the revival of punk, it was getting harder and harder for me to find fans of the bands I liked. Upon doing a search one day, I was able to find a chat subscription for the band Swervedriver.

Now, for those of you unfamiliar, a chat subscription was essentially like signing up for a newsletter, only every time a member of the group sent an email, it went out to the entire tree. It wasn’t uncommon to receive hundreds of emails a day if a topic of conversation was hot enough.

When the conversation of “who are your other favorite bands” came up, I was excited to see so many responses with bands from my personal CD collection. Excited, I quickly responded to the thread with my top five favorite bands of the moment, and waited with anticipation for the replies to come in.

You know that awesome “Expectation vs. Reality” scene from 500 Days of Summer? That’s kind of what happened. In my head, I expected to have all these other Swervedriver fans embrace me with open arms for my awesome taste in music, but in reality, I got just one response: “You like Treble Charger? Ugh. I am ashamed that you are a fan of Swerve.”

Two things:

1. Yes, he really did call Swervedriver “Swerve,” which predated the traditional douchebag by a few years, so I’m kind of impressed.

2. His AOL screen name was “CADENCES.” So, with this being the Internet in 2012, and with millions and millions of people out there…This is long overdue, but if you were CADENCES@AOL.com back in the 90s, you’re a dick, though I suspect you probably already knew that.

Now, bear in mind that I was still very young, but I was able to curb my anger enough to sock him in the gut. I replied, very simply, “If I wanted your opinion, kid, I would have asked for it.” That’s right, no big shouting match, no big overuse of F-bombs, just calling an adult “kid,” and it felt… WONDERFUL!

Naturally, I received about as douche-y a response as you could imagine from this pretentious chode, but I didn’t let it get to me. His insecurity was transparent from the get-go, and I wasn’t about to waste my time on it. Though I imagine today that ol’ CADENCES is stewing in a bath of vinegar and water, I can’t help but wonder if he still trolls the Internet on a never-ending quest to find more people to disagree with.

The moral of today’s story is this: Wear thick skin and always consider the source of the troll trying to rile you up. Meaningful feedback comes in the form of people that matter to you, not some sad, lonely, and pathetic douche nozzle who can only criticize in lieu of any real substance in their life. Keep your chin up and throw your shoulders back, because you are you, and you need to own that shit! 🙂

The Embarrassing, but True Story of San Francisco

I was in San Francisco on Friday for an important meeting. Although I wasn’t doing any of the presenting, I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous. All the usual things started racing through my mind on Thursday night: Please don’t sleep through the alarm! Don’t forget your badge! Be ready in case you’re put on the spot! With so many potential pitfalls running through my head, it was a miracle that I made it to sleep at all.

My alarm went off at 7:00 a.m. Friday morning as planned. I figured that I was off to a good start. I got out of bed, showered, got dressed, gussied up, and poured the first cup of coffee—the first of an inevitable many—to get my juices flowing.

My nerves started to kick in as the clock moved ever so close to 8:00 a.m., or maybe it was just the caffeine. I couldn’t really tell for sure. I did the mental checklist that we all do to assure ourselves that we’re not forgetting anything:

  • Do I have my wallet? Check.
  • Do I have my badge? Check.
  • Did I brush my teeth? Check.
  • Am I on time? Check.
  • Do I have my room key? Check.
  • Do I have everything that I need before I step outside the hotel room? Check.

I stood in the doorway, propping it open with the toe of my boot as I looked back into the room to double-check that I hadn’t left anything important behind. Everything appeared as it should be, but I still couldn’t shake the sensation that I had forgotten something.

I always get like that when I travel, and it drives me nuts! Deep down I know that I haven’t forgotten anything, but somewhere within the contours of my brain, I convince myself that I have. It’s frustrating because it is purely psychological, but I can’t seem to overcome my doubt.

As expected, the work day came and went, and I was thrilled to discover that I hadn’t really forgotten anything. All that useless worry and stress over nothing. I breathed a sigh of relief, said goodbye to my co-workers, and headed back to the hotel.

As I walked down the sidewalk, watching the gorgeous orange sun set behind the hills of San Francisco, I laughed to myself. What an idiot! I’d gotten myself all worked up over nothing, as per usual. My nerves may have gotten the better of me at the start of my day, but in the end, everything went off without a hitch.

I rode the elevator up to my floor, put my key in the door, and threw my laptop bag down on the couch. The room was immaculate, tidied up by the service staff while I was at work. The bed was made, the trash had been emptied, and the thermostat had been reset to a temperature slightly warmer than I like it.

I entered the bathroom, admiring the fresh set of towels that had been neatly folded and put away on a counter above the toilet, when I something caught my eye. It turned out, much to my chagrin, that I actually had forgotten something after all… my dirty underwear, still wadded up next to the tub where I had left them prior to my morning shower.

Slightly embarrassed and apologetic to the cleaning staff at the Sofitel Hotel, the moral to this story is simple: Don’t let your co-workers catch you with your pants down, but definitely don’t make the hotel staff have to clean around your balled up undies.

A ten dollar bill was left behind on the dresser…

A Live Acoustic Performance

I love Fall. It is my absolute favorite time of year. There’s something about the cooler weather, shorter days, and browning leaves that fills me with emotion. Some days it is nostalgia, others it is lingering sorrow that festers within and bubbles over, but the season always gives me plenty of moments of pause and reflection. I love that, and I wish it all lasted longer than the couple of months we get prior to Winter.

 

When I was younger, I often channeled those feelings brought on by Autumn and used them to feed my creativity as a musician. Times have changed as I’ve grown older, but there is still something cathartic about strumming a few chords on a guitar and singing a few words from your soul. Sure, I sound mega-douche-y, but I am being sincere. I imagine that anyone who creates, be it music, art, or books, knows what I’m talking about. There’s something about the ability to create that reaches a place seldom touched, like that annoying itch in the middle of your back that you can’t quite reach.

 

I recently picked up my guitar again after nearly a year of watching it collect dust in my music room. The calluses may fade, but the rhythm never does. I strummed a few bars of an old song and remembered why I had ever fallen in love with playing my guitar in the first place. It scratches that itch, I suppose.

 

Below is a video I shot over the weekend performing the song “Fables” from my old Twelve Days in June days. It’s not pitch perfect, but I’m not trying to sell anything. It’s just a reminder to enjoy the things in life that make you happy. Find your passion and never give up pursing it.




Video not working? Click here

Obesity: My Personal Journey

I still remember it clear as a bell. You tend not to forget when a doctor tells you that you’re showing three of the four markers of diabetes at thirty-four years old. You also tend not to forget when a doctor tells you that if you don’t start making some changes, you’re looking at a heart attack within the next ten years.

 

That wasn’t news to me. I had battled obesity since I was very young, and I had been through the song and dance before where my doctor warned me about potential health issues in my future. At twenty-one, I lived like I was too young for heart failure. At twenty-five, I lived like I was too young for heart failure. At thirty, I lived like I was too young for heart failure. At thirty-four… came the reality that I may not have much longer left to live.

 

It was frightening to hear about my impending heart disease, but after years of abusing my body with poor eating habits, I still couldn’t seem to course correct even though I knew I needed to.

 

Before long, the doctor’s words of warning started to become a reality. I was at the heaviest I had ever been and my body was finally starting to give out after years of carrying around more weight than it was designed to.  I was sitting in my favorite chair, watching TV in the living room. I tried to get up to go use the bathroom, only my body failed to cooperate. I pushed off of my knee and fought my way to a standing position like a man over twice my age. I was out of breath and my face was red. Then, when I turned to walk toward the bathroom, my knee popped. Although I was alone at the time, the humility is not something that I will ever forget.

 

I was an embarrassment to myself and I went through a terrible depression. The experience was enough to finally make me see the light–to see that it was now or never if I wanted to enjoy any type of quality of life. I needed to lose a lot of weight, but more importantly than simply diet, I needed to learn how to eat.

 

That was two years ago this week… and officially 130 pounds ago. I would be, like, the most boring Transformer ever.

 

Although I am still not quite at my ideal weight, I’m within spitting distance, and I feel incredible! No more back or joint pain, and the sugar-free icing on the cake, I no longer strain for breath when I bend over to tie my shoes.

 

I have a new found confidence, no longer hiding behind oversized clothing. Old friends are amazed when they see me and ask how I did it. It’s not fancy, or some type of magical cure, but its the truth: I simply didn’t want to live that way anymore. I knew how I got myself into that situation, so all I really had to do was reverse engineer it.

 

They say that sticking to a diet is the hardest part, but now that I have learned how to eat, it hasn’t been an issue for me at all. I didn’t give up the things that I used to eat, I just know how to portion them now. I eat more home cooked meals instead of going out. I exercise for thirty minutes a day. I can now look at food and know the caloric impact that it will have on my body.

 

And though it is a combination of all of these things that has allowed me to maintain a healthier lifestyle, there is no other motivator better than wanting to stay healthy for the people that you love.

Side-by-side comparison

 

August Update

I’ve been quiet as of late, as you’ve probably noticed. Life has been busy, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to make the ol’ body agree to my “I only need four hours of sleep” game plan. However, despite the lack of hours I am able to utilize throughout the day, I have been working during my free time. Here’s just a quick update on what I’ve been up to.

 

I had begun working on my next novel about two months ago–a modern day ghost story with ties to an old pioneer legend–and hit a road block. I managed to write the complete first chapter, then stalled. The funny thing is that it’s not writer’s block. I know exactly where I want the story to go, but for some reason I just wasn’t “feeling it.”

 

So, I put the novel on hold and picked up another project I had kicking around, which is a collaborative effort between Tony Healey, Brendan Swogger and myself. We agreed on a theme and each of us took a different time period to tell a story about the same location: An old remote sanatorium in Canada with a history of paranormal claims. I had outlined all three acts of my contribution and was ready to go… only I couldn’t get started. I was beginning to worry, wondering what the heck was going on with my brain. All writers struggle with moments of doubt, or a lack of confidence, but this was unusual even for me.

 

After taking some time to consider my options, it finally hit me: The reason I hadn’t been able to get started on any projects was because subconsciously I knew that there was another story I needed to tell first. Thus began the process of writing the third and final book in the Noble series.

 

I had a rough idea of where I would be taking the series following Bloodlines, but not enough to begin outlining. I had intended to hold off on writing the finale until next year, or at least until the end of 2012, but then the ideas started to pile up before I even knew what hit me. Suddenly I couldn’t seem to focus on anything other than Noble. I missed my characters. I missed the universe and events that I had created. I’d left the reader with a cliffhanger, but in the end, it turned out to be me that had to know what happens next. My mission was clear. I had to get started.

 

I don’t have a strict timeline for completing the book. I am taking the “slow and steady wins the race” approach, but I can tell you that I am about three chapters deep at this point and it’s coming along quite well. I’ve still got a few plot points to fully flesh out, but I am very pleased with the concept. I hope that you, the reader, will be, too.

 

As of now, I have yet to hit the realization that at some point over the next few months the Noble series will be over. I don’t really want to think about that right now. It will only slow me down. I’ll have time to say my personal goodbyes to the series later, but for now, I’ve got a story to write. Back to it!