You Got To Want It

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I can hear the groan in many a philosopher friend of mine reading this title.  “ANOTHER preachy thing about wanting something really really bad to succeed?”  Well, yeah, kind of.  But I promise a really personal slant about this.  an email just now and really thought about something.  What is the difference between someone that succeeds and someone that fails?  Keep in mind, I’m not talking about individual moments.

We all have plenty of failures there.

Writing is the business of rejection.   I’ve been told no far more times than I’ve been told yes.  “No, we can’t publish this story.” “No, this idea is awesome, but your word choices…not so much.”

With book 3 closer and closer to being completed I’m thinking more and more about my next challenges in the writing biz.  I want to do prose and comics next.  I have a deep love for comics and think I’m finally ready to try an awesome project or two.

(In fact, a revolution may be announced sooner or later.  I digress for now, but stay tuned…)

I had an agent interested in my ideas.  I rushed through putting all the pieces of the novel together for a writing marathon, thanks to my friends at Write Club.  I submitted it with my fingers crossed.  It turns out I’ll have to keep crossing them for awhile longer.

Old me a long time ago would have been crushed.  You don’t recognize the greatness of my writing?  That’s…that’s…inconceivable.   Modern me, has a more mature approach.  I wasn’t good enough…then.   Now?  Who knows?  But I will try again.   They are still interested.

Some of my interests have led me to go down different roads.  I’m trying my damnedest right now to get into the publicity thing.  I may not be successful at this.  It’s still in the air.  That said, I’m doing what I can.  This is about getting out there, getting contacts and making things happen.  If there is one thing I am good at is making things happen.  What remains to be seen.

But I could go and on.  Individual failures are still going to happen no matter where I go or what I do.  That’s life.  I got to take chances.

Individual failures is however, not failure in itself.  It’s one thing to fail in that moment; it’s another to accept failure as the way it has to be.

Failure is not something you have to accept.  The idea of trying again and again is a good thing.  We all get floored by failure, but none of us have to stay down.  We can get up, learn from our failures and keep going.

Here’s the part of this blog that isn’t talked about very much.   This all sounds so simple.  It’s easy to hear this.  But let me ask you something – have you considered how to do something?

When we fail, there can be a myriad of reasons why you fail.  Sometimes there are factors beyond your control, but more often than not, there are lessons in failure with how you do things.  A lot of my own failures have been in two key areas.  The first is how I present things.  I have great ideas but in writing and in life, sometimes the presentation of how I do things throw things off.  While I can contend that some of what I do wasn’t wanted, the truth is I wasn’t prepared, and ill equipped to handle some of the opportunities I wanted.

See?  Life lessons.  That said, I still don’t have it all together.  I’ll keep failing and learning.

The key in this is learning.  You can never stop learning.   If you are willing to learn, you will move past your failures.

That’s only the first part of the equation.  The second harkens back to the title of this blog.  Learning your lessons – what worked, and what didn’t, is only one half of the equation.  The other half is desire.  After you learn, there is a question you need to ask yourself.

Do you still want it?  Are you willing to work with this?

If the answer is no, it’s time to stop.  It’s okay to walk away.  That’s not failure.   It’s the work.  Getting up is tough, and going forward is never easy.  It’s a struggle.

For me, I still am enjoying the journey I’m on.  I’m writing good work, and seeing projects and doors open I never even dreamed were possible.  I am making things happen.  I still want it, after all this time.

Imagine

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Imagination is our greatest gift.

If you’re reading this, you probably familiar with Albert Einstein’s famous quote about imagination.  If you aren’t here it is:

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

Cool quote right?  But what exactly does that mean? Imagination is something we possess in abundance as a child, but at some point in development imagination is ignored.  It’s not considered an evil thing or anything like that,  but things like real and possible are emphasized more as you get older.  Maintaining imagination is one of our greatest challenges.

Even if you do manage to maintain a shrapnel of that magic you had as a child, how do you use it?

First off, imagination wants to be expressed.  It’s that intuitive part of ourselves that desires a larger world than the one we see, feel, touch, taste and hear.  We express it in music, art, writing, and a myriad of other ways.  When we do so, we are reaching out from the aether and bringing something in ourselves to life.  We are encouraging our inner child to grow.

That is awesome enough.  Expressing ideas, concepts, visions of what might be, can be and maybe even will be has been a part of art for as long as we’ve recorded it.  I imagine that the first cavemen and women dreamed of greater worlds than theirs way back.  Wonder is something all of us had at one point.

Imagination isn’t just the expression of art – it is also one of the best tools we have of solving problems.

The best example of this to me is cooking.  Cooking is the ultimate example of happy accidents.  Once upon a time I’m sure someone somewhere accidentally spilled milk into a pot, and in so doing discovered stew.  My dad puts food and formulae together all the time to deal with matters of health.  Most people don’t visualize food as medicine, yet my father uses that vision to create some unique and powerful medicines.

That kind of vision can apply to any problem.   In fact, let me talk to you about one of mine that I solved.  I’ve been wanting to learn how to draw for a long while.  If I’m going to be honest, part of the problem was that I was scared to try.  Drawing has intimidated me since I was a kid.  Ironically, I need it more than ever with my current situation, but still haven’t found the motivation.

Until Sunday.  Talking to Michael Martineck, I recognized an opportunity to make myself get started.  Instagram had reminded me of something the first moment I saw it.  It was in that conversation that I saw the answer.   For me, Instagram is a panel in a comic.  A page is intimidating; a panel is not so bad.  I can go slower, and teach myself a valuable skill in the process.

Imagination is one of the best tools you can use to solve problems.  It allows you to see a situation in a different light, and find solutions others might not see.

But if I had to think of my favorite use for imagination, it’s the ability to make your dreams real.

We have the freedom in life to attain goals we set out for ourselves.  One of the keys to achieving any goal we have is to see ourselves doing it.  For example, I see myself all the time achieving my goals as a writer.  From getting published, to getting paid, to making a living, I’ve been pushing forward more and more.  I’ve been published, and paid.  I’m working on making a living and making something special happen with the books I produce.  I can see it.

(as an aside, and food for thought, a question for you dear reader.  If you make a dream come true, was it ever really a dream?)

Since I’ve had this vision in my head for a long time, I’ve seen it more and more manifest itself in my life.  Not just in my achievements, but in the people in my life.  More and more I see myself surrounded by those with similar visions; each of them trying to make that dream a reality.  It’s humbling to see so many great people come into your life that are amazing and magical in their own ways.

Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here.  Others I realize I belong, for I too have vision and dare to dream.

There is a price though.  Imagination makes us bigger.  We grow and evolve with our visions, becoming as large as we perceive.  This means that as you make your dreams come true, your goals and your insights become bigger, which makes sense, because you’ve grown as a person.  You’ve become something more.  In turn, your wants and dreams become bigger.

Tonight I got some interesting news.  I was hoping to announce a book tour.  The original plan for it changed tonight with one email.  I wasn’t surprised.  Instead, another thought came into my head.  There is no doubt in my mind I can still make this happen.  The question is where do i go from here?  What do I imagine it going?  What can I do with it?

And do I really want it?

The last question might be the only cautionary thing I mention here.  Life will keep throwing you bigger and bigger things as you go.  As long as you want it, it will be there. The moment you stop wanting it, you should quit.  Recognize within yourself when you really don’t want to go down the path you set for yourself.   It’s okay to walk away.

Otherwise, there are no limits.  Einstein’s quote is a good one, but I always was a fan of a comic line Stan Lee wrote for DC.  It was called Just Imagine.  And that is how I’m leaving this entry.  What do you imagine?  What can you see yourself doing, and becoming?

You can make it real.

Just imagine.

Guest Post: Thea Van Diepen

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While I’m trying to do a million and one things, I thought the blog needed some new content, so I turned to my friend Thea Van Diepen to provide me some content.  Thea is currently kickstarting her novel Like Mist Over Eyes which you can click to right here to donate. 

I’m proud of her.  I’ve been very fortunate to read past works like The Illuminated Heart and know that Thea is talented.  It takes guts to face ones fears and worst experiences.   This kickstarter has already been a success for her because…well, enough from me.  Take it away Thea, and I will be talking to you guys soon.

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I cried happy tears today.

Three years ago, I ran an Indiegogo campaign to fund The Illuminated Heart. The goal was $500 – the lowest they would let me set it at, which I did under protest because what I was really looking for was $400 – and the campaign was set such that I’d get all the money raised by the end of the month, even if I didn’t hit my goal.

The campaign went badly.

There were a lot of reasons for this, some out of my control, a lot in my control. And while I did end up raising $400, it was only after I realized that I really did need the full $500. I felt so ashamed I didn’t want to do another crowdfunding campaign again any time soon.

So when Josh and I were talking business talk last year and he suggested I do a Kickstarter for something, I balked. Hard.

All I could see was that $400 and all I could feel was that sick feeling in my stomach all over again.

In May of this year, neither of those had gone away, but I’d run the numbers and they were telling me that, if I wanted to publish Like Mist Over the Eyes this year, I’d need to run a Kickstarter.

It took me a month to convince myself I would do this. The things outside of my control last time had shifted by now in my favour (audience size and relative knowledge about what crowdfunding is are the two big ones), and the things under my control, well, I’d learned from them. Things would be better this time around.

It’s funny, though, how all those logical things you can tell yourself do nothing for that pit of emotion twisting itself inside your gut.

That gnarled mess stayed all through June, during which I got some excellent coaching from Tara Brannigan. My original plan had been to start the Kickstarter in July, but I kept putting off writing the description. And putting it off. And putting it off. I couldn’t think of how I wanted to say what I wanted to say.

“Why would anyone want to give money to you?” said that accusing voice that pops up when I’m feeling insecure. “You’re book might be the greatest thing in the world, but this has nothing to do with your book. You know how marketing works. You know that people who might even love your book will take one look at you and go ‘oh, ugh, it’s her’ and take off without another thought. Isn’t that how it went last time? Isn’t that how it always goes?”

What can I say? That voice is an ass.

And a liar, but a very convincing one when you’re already not sure what the truth is. I mean, I don’t know the motivations of the people who saw my Indiegogo campaign and didn’t pledge. But one thing I’ve learned since then is that knowing people’s motivations is irrelevant. I don’t even know my own motivations half the time, so why should I expect to know others? Why should I expect that information to be in any way useful to me?

The other thing that I’ve learned is that people’s decisions aren’t a personal statement about me. Even if it’s a social snub directed at me, even if they say it’s about me, it’s not about me. It’s not about who I am. It’s about how they see themselves. My decisions are about how I see myself. How people treat me is irrelevant to who I am.

But that second lesson still hadn’t sunk in completely until today.

By the end of Friday, the Kickstarter campaign for Like Mist Over the Eyes was at $460. More than I had raised in that Indiegogo, but still not the goal I’d set for it.

The thing about going and trying something again is that, even if all the details are different, you relive what happened before. All the emotions, all the thoughts, all the deepest feelings. At that point, I was still reliving the Indiegogo campaign and my shame about it.

It wasn’t the exact same – I have a lot more healthy things to draw on than I did a that point – but the reason I wasn’t drowning in it wasn’t because I was standing tall. It was because I was clinging to a wet rock as the waves pounded against me, all the while hoping and praying I wouldn’t drown. That I would not be doomed to repeat those same limitations over and over. That I wouldn’t be trapped forever in a past that I didn’t want to be my future.

For two days, I tried not to think about that too much.

Then today happened.

It takes faith (trust) to believe in something when you don’t see it. I didn’t have a whole lot of faith this past weekend. I wavered like you would not believe – I almost considered cancelling the campaign at one point! So the fact that Monday had to happen before I could really trust that this could work has shown me where it’s time for me to grow. Which makes me even more thankful for it.

I woke up this morning to discover that not only had the Kickstarter for Like Mist Over the Eyes passed $500 in pledges, but it had also shot past $600 in the same night.

Here is where I cried.

We don’t relive every previous instance of what we’re doing right now, only the most significant and all the experiences that support it. Regardless of how this kickstarter turns out, this has become the most significant of all my crowdfunding experiences.

Which means I’m going to be okay.

You know that thing you’re afraid of? That thing you want to do more than anything but, every time you try, all you can think of is all the times it went wrong?

Give it a try.

You’re different now, and you never know what’ll happen in the morning.

 

The Importance of Thank You

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I usually go on a thank you rant to a lot of people when good things happen.  What I often don’t talk about is why.

Arizona time:  I remember when I was down and had nothing, and was doing my best just to survive.  A lot of people stepped up and helped me.  They never asked questions and they never judged me.  They saw me as someone that was trying, and aided and making sure I kept going.

One of the places that helped me was Trappers.  Trappers is a great little place in Taylor, Arizona that is worth going to if for nothing else, their pies.  Amazing little restaurant.  A couple of times while I had to traverse cities via jaywalking at night, they’d stop me and offer me a free meal.  They knew I couldn’t pay for it, and yet never questioned it.

I have never ever forgotten that. Next time I go there, I want to thank them.   I know how I’m going to do it.

Thank you may actually be the most important currency of all now that I think of it.  It’s not necessary.  We don’t live in a tit for tat universe, contrary to what bill collectors may tell you.  We live in a world where people can choose to give and people can choose to not expect anything in return.   But it’s nice to hear it.  It shows appreciation and people want perhaps more than anything to be appreciated.

No one has to help you in this world.  You are not owed anything by anyone.  The fact that people are willing to help you at all is a blessing.  I know I feel it all the time, and I always try to appreciate it and the people helping me.

This concept came to me reading LE Modesitt Jr.’s Recluse series.  He talks about the importance of paying debts.  It wasn’t money, but rather making sure to take the time to make sure you let people you know you are grateful to them.

Today I went and did that a little bit.  I went to a place called Metal Galaxy, who I interviewed not too long ago for my podcast.  Thanks to them, something amazing happened to me this week.   I wanted to make sure that they knew I was grateful.  I went an thanked them personally.  It’s not much, compared to what they’ve given me, but I needed to let them know I was grateful.

I still have more to do.  I have my dad to thank this week.  I got a few things from other people I need to meet and make sure they feel the same.  It’s important to me to make sure that they know and continue to know how much I am thankful the people that help me do so.

But before I continue doing all that, doing my publicity stuff and a few other things, I just want to say here to my readers the following:

Thank you.  You never had to come here, and you never had to stop by and say hello.  Yet you have and you did and I am grateful.  Because of all of you, I’m able to do what I am doing.

Try to go out there and say thank you to those that are willing to stand by you.  It’s important.  So I’m doing so here, right now.

Thank you.

June 2016

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I can honestly say June has been one of the most important months of my life.

I made a wish, and lots of things came true.

My wish?  Simply one statement.  I screamed out to God “I deserve more.” A statement, but one I meant from the bottom of my heart.  I have a decent life and do decent things, but I wanted more.  I called out for more.

It begins as the last time I majorly changed my life, with a purge.  I got rid of a large chunk of books, some games, comics and magic cards.  I’m soon going to eliminate a lot of my comics en masse.

This is a good thing.  I’m ready to let more things go.  If you know me, you know I really don’t value things the same way a lot of people do.  More importantly, I want to bet on me.  I think I can do even greater things than I have, and that means I walk away and leave behind the things that don’t matter so much to me.  Having a thing isn’t important anymore.  It’s if I can use it and enjoy it.

So that happened.  It is happening.

And this has opened more doors.  I was blessed to have a myriad of cool experiences, and opportunities came my way.  Tomorrow I take on a brand new challenge.  The week after I meet up with my publicist and we go and make an even bigger challenge happen.  I have some ideas of doing things other writers don’t do and I’m willing to make a vision happen.  It’s an exciting time.

But…if I have to think about the most important thing that happened, I think the biggest surprise was the very first thing that came to me when this all started.  You appeared. You walked right in, turning my defenses into nothing but paper mache, and somehow made me look into my own heart, terrified at what I saw there.

I discovered sides to myself I wasn’t sure were there.  I’ve become someone more than I was before this month happened.  You made me learn something about what love is, and what it really means.

And if you’re reading this, you know it.  I love you, and I’m proud of you.  And I always will be.  Thank you.

Josh Present

Onward.

 

Just Joshing Episode 35: Megan Hutchison

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Finally catching up with the Just Joshings with Episode 35.

Megan Hutchison is probably the coolest artist in comics.   Now, it goes without saying that she is talented.  Her work on Will of the Wisp: Grim Grimeon is nothing short of amazing.  It’s how I met her actually.

She was at Calgary Comic con being cool with everyone she came by.  I enjoyed my conversation with her, and asked her back then if she’d be cool with an interview.  She said yes, and we departed with me owning one of the coolest looking graphic novels in comics.

Flash forward to now.   I have a podcast, and Megan is about to undertake the coolest comic ever in Rockstars with Joe Harris.   The podcast is below, but here’s a brief introduction to Megan with this short interview.

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Joshua Pantalleresco:  What are you working on right now?

Megan Hutchinson
Thanks Megan!
Megan’s comic Rockstars with Joe Harris will be debuting in December.  If you want to find out what Megan is up to check out her webpage at http://www.blackem-art.com.  Her instagram and twitter handles are @blackem_art and her facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/blackem.hutch.   I want to thank Megan for her time and just being awesome.

Just Joshing Episode 34: Michell Plested

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As I keep catching up, check out my latest Wrestling Column at Wrestling Glory Days right here.  Give it a read.  I’ll be right back before you know it.

Alright?  Alright.  Let’s get cracking.

I keep catching up on Just Joshing with Michell Plested.  Michell is a jack of all trades.  Publisher, writer extraordinaire, and a podcaster in his own right.  Michell has created a publisher called Evil Alter Ego Press.  The first books from the publisher is the Mik Murdoch Boy Superhero series.  Books 1 and 2 were previously released from the publisher, but the new one is being released at When Words Collide.

Michell is also a boy scout leader and an amazing storyteller.  I first encountered Michell at my own taste of local authors event.  He had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and his concept was nothing short of amazing.  I wanted him on the podcast and he graciously agreed.

Of course, then I blew it on the first try.  I had a great conversation with him and my phone somehow deleted it.  Michell was gracious enough to let me have a conversation with him again, and it aired last week on the just joshing podcast.

Below is a brief interview.

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Joshua Pantalleresco: What are you working on right this minute?

Michell Plested:  I am getting Mik Murdoch: Crisis of Conscience ready for the printer. That
and writing Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie War.

JP: For those people who are not aware, who or what is Evil Alter Ego press?

MP:  Evil Alter Ego Press (EAEP) is an independent publisher that focuses on
Young Adult books. EAEP isn’t overly fussy about the genre – just good
books that will delight readers.

JP:  Considering your apparent love of comics, have you ever thought of doing graphic novels?  It just seems like something you’d do.

MP:  I would actually really like to do a graphic novel. The problem is, I
don’t know any artists who are desperate to partner with me on one (at
least not yet) and my artistic skills are not up to snuff. I AM working on
a children’s book with a very talented artist though it doesn’t quite
qualify as a graphic novel.

JP:  Anything you’d like to add?

MP:  I grew up reading everything I could lay my hands on, including comics. My
parents and grandparents always gave me a hard time about the comic books
because they weren’t real books. I’m here to tell you, they and anyone
else who says comic books (and now graphic novel) don’t count as books are
dead wrong.

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I couldn’t agree more.  By the way, I’m still jealous of Michell’s shirt.

I had a lot more I can say, but Michell sent me his bio, and I think I can close out the article with him.   you can find him on twitter at @mplested and his website is http://www.michellplested.com.  You can also find him on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/michell.plested.   I want to thank Michell for his time, and now, his bio to close things out.

 

Michell (Mike) Plested is an author, editor, blogger, closet superhero (not to mention sock herder and cat wrangler), podcaster and publisher living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Mike is the co-founder of Evil Alter Ego Press. An indie press focused on outstanding Young Adult fiction.

His debut novel, Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero was shortlisted for the Prix Aurora Award for Best YA Novel and its sequel, Mik Murdoch: The Power Within was launched at When Words Collide 2014. He has since released, Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague (2015) and the co-written novel, Jack Kane & the Statue of Liberty (2015).

The podcast link is right below.  Enjoy.

http://jpantalleresco.podomatic.com/entry/2016-06-11T13_26_33-07_00

 

Just Joshing Episode 31: Craig Dilouie and Chris Marrs

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Well now, it’s been a while hasn’t it?  I’ve been working non stop on not one but two major projects the last month, and have been behind on the podcast stuff.  I’m starting to make it up right here.  Here’s what I should have posted three weeks ago.

So let’s begin with the amazing team of Craig Dilouie and Chris Marrs.

You might not know it, because as far as I know, Craig and Chris have not published anything together, but you can tell after talking with them for just a few minutes that those two are a great team, and are there for each other.

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Let’s begin with Chris Marrs.  Chris is someone I can admit to being a little jealous of.  It’s not because she’s an amazing writer.  Her short fiction flip book Wildwoman was published as part of Journalstone’s Double Down series.  She’s a gifted short fiction writer, but I’m not jealous of that.  I’m jealous of her ability to finish stories without much of a roadmap at all.  I was floored when she revealed that much of her writing process.  It truly makes her a rare kind of writer in the best way possible.  I can’t wait to see what she does

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Craig Dilouie seems to be having a blast right now.  Suffer the Children by the way is the creepiest, scariest book I’ve ever seen.  (Sorry Dirk Manning)  It is a fantastic example of what horror should be every time you read it.  Craig continues to expand his horizons and moving into different genres in his career, and he’s killing it.

It was a pleasure to talk to both of them.  Here’s a brief interview with them both.

Joshua Pantalleresco:   What are you working on right now?

Craig Dilouie:  Currently, I’m working on the fourth episode of my apocalyptic thriller series THE RETREAT, which I’m writing with Stephen Knight and Joe McKinney. After that, I’ll be writing the third episode of my CRASH DIVE historical/military thriller series, which chronicles the adventures of a lieutenant in the submarines during World War 2.

Chris Marrs:  Right now, I’m working on a long piece for Intersections: Seven Tales of Ouija Horror. The line up is fantastic: Megan Hart, Doug Clegg, Rob E. Boley, Sephera Giron, Brad Hodson, and Kerry Lipp. Also, Kealan Patrick Burke created the cover. Can you tell I’m excited about this project?

JP:  What have you guys learned about writing from each other?

CD:  Chris and I are constantly exchanging ideas and support—ways to break logjams in stories, ways to enhance stories, little bits of writing advice we pick up. The biggest thing I learned from Chris is to try to write every day.

CM:  We are very supportive of each other and their writing and, most definitely, exchange ideas and advice, which can become a bit of a debate since I’m a pantser and he’s a plotter. So, I’m attempting to strike a balance between pantsing and plotting based upon those debates.

JP:  Chris, I really dig the book format for your current one.  Are you going to continue to do novellas, or are you looking to do something bigger like a novel?

CM:  Thank you. Gene O’Neill and I have a collaborative novella we’re shopping around. It’s a different format than the DoubleDown, though.

After the Intersections story, I’d love to be able to tackle my novel.

JP:  Craig, can you tell me a bit about your newest book coming out?

CD:  I just announced publication of CHILDREN OF GOD with another horror author, Jonathan Moon. This is my first horror poetry collection. The poems are written by the survivors of a doomsday cult who talk about why they joined, what they hoped to achieve, how it all went wrong, and the night of the massacre. I’m also revising SEPARATION, an apocalyptic novel about a disease that makes people madly fall in love, then out of love, then hate, resulting in the final battle of the sexes. I’ve already started talks with a major publisher about it.

JP:   Anything you’d like to add?

CD:  Thanks for having us on your podcast, Josh!

CM:  Thanks for having us, Josh! It was a blast!

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Thanks guys!

Craig Dilouie can be found on http://www.craigdilouie.com  .  You can find him on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/craig.dilouie and he can be found on twitter at @craigdilouie.

As for Chris, her facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/chris.marrs.14 and her twitter can be found at @Chris_Marrs.  Go say hi.  They are great people.

As for the podcast, listen here: http://jpantalleresco.podomatic.com/entry/2016-05-22T02_23_58-07_00

 

The Last Day…

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So to write this, i got to say I’ve been dreading this day for a little while.  I’ve had these characters in my head for years.   I knew as big as this monster has been, that I was getting close to the very end.

Today was the last day.

It started at 6am.   I’ve never had this happen before.   I was super tired the night before for some reason.  I fell asleep early.  And then I got this urge to wake up.  I had this thought and plot twist and I had to get up to write it down.  Six o clock in the morning.  I wrote for four hours straight, churning out chapters and just going.  I’ve never felt this urge like this before.  It was so great.

I paused because I knew the next scene was going to be brutal.  Something terrible had to happen.  I didn’t want to do it.  I nearly cried.  That said, the story had to be told, as I was so close to the end.   So around 3 o clock today, I did it.  I went to the last part of the story.

I got to say that I never expected the story to go the direction it did.  Even at the end, I never thought it would go that way.  I thought that (SPOILER) would happen.  It didn’t.  The story took on a mind of its own.

Twice in the last two hours I nearly broke down.  It was over.  I only had a little bit more to go.  It was/is bittersweet.

I still got editing to do, and a lot of work in front of me.   But the writing is done.   Today is the last day I write a new word for the Watcher universe.  This series is over.  At least for the time being.  I’m happy with where all my characters ended up.  I even sneaked in a way to continue the story down the road, should I choose.

But if I never go back, I’m content.  I wrote the story I set out to do.  And I did it in a way that’s unique.

So many thank yous here.  In no particular order:  Jimmie Robinson, Dirk Manning, GW Renshaw, Makenzie Fisk, Vanessa Cardui, Sarah Johnston,  Christine Steendam, Andrew Lorenz, my gamer group Cory McConnachie, Jared Zess, Robert Macdonald, Erik Sorensen, JR Stewart, others like Caleigh Cassidy, James Julin, Gisel Barre, Lance Buan, and many more.

Finally, I want to thank my collaborators Kristen Denbow and Florence Chan.  You made my world better.  Finally, my publisher, Mirror World, for giving my quirky series a shot, and letting me tell the tell.  This may feel like an acknowledgment page, and it kind of is.

But it’s not everyday you finish your first series.

So thanks all.   I am now breaking down and calling it.   So happy/bittersweet/emotional.  Just…wow.

Why You Should Believe In Magic

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Before we begin, here’s a column I just posted about one of my favorite wrestling rivalries of all time.  I finally found some time to write about some wrestling feuds on the weekend, and have a few columns in hand, so I should hopefully be able to keep ahead on the column.  Click here to read about Terry Funk and Ric Flair.

Finished?  Cool.

Now let’s talk about magic.

I could make this about quite a few different kinds of magics.  But I’m not talking about the card game, the magic with the letter k.  There are two magics I want to talk about.

The first is the magic of the mind.  I remember an interview I had with a writer on this site, and he chuckled at the idea of making money in writing.  He killed the very thought of trying to make it real.

He didn’t believe it.  Never mind that his book was good.  Part of it I think was that he was happy with his day job.  But it never entered his mind that he could pursue this.

He didn’t believe it.

Lots of people don’t believe it.  Not just about writing, but acting, voice acting, music, boxing, wrestling, hockey, you name it.  There are people out there that have incredible talent.  But few believe that they can make something out of it.

Because, let’s face it, it’s hard.  Hard as nails, and brutal.  Life will force you to ask yourself just how bad you want it, because anything like this isn’t easy.  Over and over again, life tends to test you on how bad you want things.  In my own quest to be a writer, I’ve lost it all.  I’ve been ripped off, stuck in very tough situations, and lost things because I was willing to take chances other people wouldn’t.

But I’m still here.  I got two books out, a third one on the way at some point, I got comics work, representation (more on that another blog).  I’m still working at this, but I’m getting there.

One of the reasons why I interview so many people whether it’s on my podcast or on the site is because I am genuinely amazed about how much people’s visions come to reality.  I just talked about this with Metal Galaxy, but I could mention anyone – Dirk Manning, Aviva Bel’Harold, Vanessa Cardui, Riley Rossmo come to mind.  I could name more and more people.  Each of them has paid the price to make their visions, their dreams come true.  Each of these people I mentioned struggle.  Riley just finished a great run of Constantine and drew Batman for cripes sake.  Vanessa Cardui teaches kids the wonders of music and makes some of the best bardic tunes you’ll ever listen to.  Aviva is a good friend who now is published and works her butt off to get her stuff out there.  Dirk Manning is a comic book rock star.

Each and every one of these people (and the many I didn’t mention) work hard and pay prices to it.  That’s the thing about vision;  you have to be willing to give up everything to get it.  This is why I think dreams are so hard to make real.   There is a lot of work making it happen.

Yet, vision is power.  The human mind has a tendency to draw itself towards things it wants.  We sometimes have to endure a lot of obstacles as a result, but I can’t help but think about that kind of vision and dedication as the magic of perseverance.  It takes a lot of strength to say yes in a world where everyone says no.

But related to this magic is the magic of the human heart.  We are told from the very time we enter school just what is possible and what isn’t possible.  There is no Santa Claus.  Life will let you have anything you want…provided you’re good enough.   Year by year we tend to put layers of bricks on ourselves.

But the thing about our hearts I believe is that the heart never really has that limitation set in.  We have to learn about the bricks of reality from others; within ourselves, anything is possible.  I think that vision to achieve, to become, whatever you choose to be in life comes from this source of magic and power and wonder.  It gives us courage because of what we don’t know, and it’s the source of our greatest power.

Because if we don’t know if something is impossible, it doesn’t stop us from trying to make it happen.  And sometimes, we prove impossible wrong.

It’s only limitation ironically enough is experience.  We learn what we can’t do as time goes on, and create our own bricks with that.  It’s really hard to keep that child like quality of all things being possible when you go through good and bad times.  I think the biggest challenge I have entering my middle years is to keep myself open to the possibility that things can happen, and that even though my experiences haven’t panned out the way I expected them too, doesn’t mean the same for others.  We all go through our own journeys; each one of them different.  Results vary for all of us.

Finally, we live in a world with a unique sunrise every morning.  Snowflakes are all one in a lifetime.  Each moment is singular yet part of a greater whole.  There are billions of people with their own thoughts, hopes and goals and dreams.   We all exist, here, now, doing what it is we are doing on a star ship called a planet that rotates everyday, with a never ending view of the sun and moon.  We have a window of the world that has every fact on the planet available.  I can chat to people in countries far and wide.  Isn’t that in itself magical?

Magic, wonder, is all around us.  We just have to look.

Special thanks to Gisel Barre, who reminded me just how magical we all are.

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