I am Thou


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I read a great little blog about the paradox of motivation by Colleen Doran and feel you should check out her patreon page. Colleen is a gifted illustrator and I am eager to see her finish A Distant Soil someday. So a quick thank you to her before we begin.

So a fair warning: this may initially come across like a self help article. It’s not. But it will start that way.


I’ve been called an idealist my whole life. Many friends have called my aspirations unrealistic, even if they are rooting for me. Still, some of them have expressed the idea of me becoming what I want to become as an artist as unrealistic.

I have issues with the word realistic. This goes back to my school days. Hell, it goes even with teachers and writers. Teachers told me that I should have realistic goals. Even writers tell me that I shouldn’t set my hopes and dreams on being the writer I wanted to be. Not everyone can be Robert Jordan or Issac Asimov or Ray Bradbury.

I ignored that.  I was and am still convinced I was headed to bigger and better things.  I’ve had the world open up to me in strange ways.  I was an apprentice to a writer I looked up to, I’ve met and been blessed to chat with some of the most wonderful, engaging, endearing people I’ve been privileged to chat with.  They have made me better just being in their proximity.

I haven’t hit the heights I wanted to (more on that down below) but I’ve had a lot of amazing things happen chasing my dreams.  I’ve seen and gone down roads others don’t always want to.

When I came back to Calgary, that realism word had its ugly head come back.  I had a number of friends tell me the same line over and over again. “You can have anything you want and be anything you want. What a load of crap.”

The number of people who have told me this above quote is staggering. They forgot one key part of the quote though. The unspoken part. Ready?

“…if you’re good enough.”

It’s never said, but it’s always there. You can make a million dollars IF you have a degree. You can get that dream job IF you don’t have a criminal record. You can own that Mercedes Benz IF…


What is good enough?  Is it the number of degrees you have?  Is it the pay check you take home at the end of the week?  Is it some other tangible that can be quantified in some way, shape or form?

I have thought long and hard about this, and concluded that there is nothing I can do to measure this thing called goodness.   Good is relative.  Good is whatever you wish it to be.  You could be good, IF you believe yourself to be.

This is one of my favorite quotes.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

But there is a flip side.  Success isn’t guaranteed.  Period.  Even if you believe in yourself, even if you do the right things, make all the right decisions, there is not one sure way to insure that you will get what you worked for.  Nothing is certain in this life.  No matter what kind of self help or belief you have, there is always a chance that things will not work out and that you will never see the results you are hoping for.

Yet, without that belief in yourself, you have no shot of achieving anything.  That’s the paradox.   You only have a certainty in failing.  It’s the easiest thing in the world to do.  All you have to do is believe you will not achieve it.

You won’t.   I promise.

But on the flip side, you may not get success anyway.  Or at the very least, the success you are craving.  I know that writing wise, hell, people may not ever buy my books.  Artists never have it easy.  As talented and magical and wondrous the worlds inside each and every one of us are, it is not always appreciated.  We live in a world that would rather exploit such things than reward them.   It’s easy to question your own worth in a world that doesn’t always seem to recognize it.

You can’t control the result.  That’s just the way it is.  It will rain if God wills it.   There is no control.  If you’re suffering through sickness, poverty, famine, it’s not your fault.  There may be things you are doing to exacerbate it, but ending up in bad situations isn’t anything more than a moment in time.   Blaming yourself for it isn’t the answer.

We don’t always get what we want, but we always get what we need.    Last month I hosted my second ever live podcast.  In it, my sister interviewed me.  After showing off her prowess with her art skills by beating me in a drawing contest blindfolded, I then ended up sounding like a goldfish.  Yet not a ton of people were there.  In fact it was the same number of people that were there for the cyclone podcast.  I did all I knew how to do to get people to come there.  I made mistakes, as people did not quite know what a live podcast was and what it had to do with a book.   That all said, I put a lot of time, effort and energy, not to mention cake into it.

I didn’t get the crowd, but I do have another chance.  I have two more live podcasts in the year to come.  One in June, and another in August.  And who knows for the future?  I’m not opposed to doing more.  Making them profitable is the next challenge there. That said, they are a hoot to do.

I didn’t get what I wanted, but doors opened anyway.  That’s not a bad thing.

Looking at the self help stuff out there, from Napolean Hill to Tony Robbins, I can see why a lot of people see it as garbage.  Just because they made themselves, doesn’t mean you are going to.  But if they say that, than what’s the appeal of self help.  I mean, if you’re going to fail anyway, why bother, right?

I think what self help actually is is life coaching.  Self help doesn’t guarantee success.  But there is a process to learning how to not beat yourself.  Teams that play seasons in their sports have the chance to teach themselves behaviors.  If they practice good habits, and maintain chemistry and unity, even though they lose games, they win far more often.  Self help is like that with people.   There may be no guarantees on the final result, but there are ways to insure you don’t cheat yourself from the opportunities in front of you.

That’s the real secret I think.  Everyone loses at some point.  The Yankees lose, our gigs don’t go the way we plan them to go.  You name it.  Things happen.  You can be consistent the whole way through and do the things you know how to do.  You can keep an open mind to the possibilities of what can be done.  Finally, take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.   Because they show up when you least expect them too.  Why not you right?

That’s the hard work.  Hope is hard.  Hope comes with pain.  Disappointments are harder to deal with.  You care more, want more, and go out to do more.

In order to even have a chance with success, you have to be willing to take chances, make mistakes and fail.  That is not an easy path.

The question you must ask yourself is do you believe you are good enough?  Are you willing to bet on yourself, even though it may not work out anyway?

Are you good enough?


What My Teeth has taught me about People


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Before we begin, I have a fun little place for each of you to check out.  http://ncase.me/trust/

Pretty cool right?

So why play that game?  (Besides the fact that it is fun) because at heart, there is a lesson about people in general that needs to be made here.

But first, man, what a difference teeth makes.  I didn’t expect to have so many women (no drags,  I swear) hit on me in a gay bar.  It was flattering.  I’ll leave the details to that for another time.  But the point is, I’ve had the pleasure of being noticed more.

It’s been fun.

It reminded me that a year ago I noticed quite a bit of…hmm, I wouldn’t call it neglect per se.  There was a month were I just noticed that things didn’t quite come together.  Plans would be dropped at the last minute.  Or I wouldn’t be invited.  Now if they were just not close friends or family, I’d notice.  But it was a bit of everyone, close and far over all kinds of things.

One of the worst experiences I had was with beta readers.  I had over two dozen yes answers to reading my manuscript.  I only ever heard back from one.  Just one.  I heard all kinds of reasons why it didn’t happen.  Some of them were valid, some of them were very weak to be honest.  But the one that got me the most was one particular beta reader.  They had said yes to doing it, and I met them at the party where my last tooth broke.  They had said that they weren’t a fan of my kind of work and were only doing it as a favour, in which they didn’t.

That really hurt.

Then shortly after, a friend of mine’s birthday party in which I wasn’t invited.  All my other close friends were.  Now they had their reasons, but it just occurred to me at that point at that time that maybe, just maybe I was being taken for granted.

And then it hit me that the person at fault for this if this was the case, was me.

I don’t know what I did, or what I carried that made people think they could do this to me, but i made me realize that perhaps it was maybe part of how I looked at myself.  It wasn’t the teeth per se, but rather what I carried with it.  If there is one thing I learned last year was that self care was important.  Not just because of the physical care your body needs, but rather also how you look at yourself.  Something about how I looked at myself made this possible.

I had to change it.

But how?  Well, first I fixed my teeth, but then I made a conscious change to my philosophy.

The copycat system.


In short, from this point forward I put as much effort into meeting people and being with people as they do with me.  I’m open to meeting and being with everyone.  I love interactions and conversations and will always be engaging, but I will chase no one down.  The people I want in my life are the people that want to be there.  If you don’t want to be there, your actions will determine that.  If you do, vice versa.

And I will copy that.  I have ended, cut off and refused to deal with people who don’t want to make that effort.  Simply put, I don’t have the time and energy to deal with that kind of person.

And if no one around me wants to be that kind of person, I rather be alone.  No one wants to be alone, me included, but if the choice is to be around someone who really doesn’t want to be there, and being by myself, I rather be by myself.  That person does no good.

Perhaps the biggest mistake we make is that some relationships are meant to move past their course.  We have to let them go.  Some of the people are looking for something else, and just aren’t going to be there for you.  Some are toxic people who hold you back.  Others are seeking answers and trying to become more.  If you really care, you have to let them do that and make their own mistakes.  You also have to make yours.  Maybe in time they will come back.  Maybe not.  Either way you wish them well.

Find the people that build you, want you to grow and become more, and work with them to do the same.   Recognize them.  A million different people are useless.  I’ve moved dozens of times.  In truth I have a handful of real friends.  Everyone else is everyone else.  I think this is true for everyone.

Treat people the way you want to be treated, but also remember to treat people exactly how they treat you.  You are no one’s doormat.


The Meaning of Fear


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The truth is I’m always afraid.

Shocking isn’t it?

I remember going to the Pinery near Grand Bend, Ontario.   One particular day the waves in Lake Huron were big.  I remember my sister going into the lake and getting knocked on her butt by one of the watery devils, and decided to stay on the beach.  I wanted to emulate my dad and managed to hop up on the smaller ones.

I remember watching this giant wave heading toward the shore, and I was scared.  I didn’t want to get knocked on my butt.  It was hard and rocky and stuff and I didn’t want to go through that.  I bailed.

But the moment I got out of the pool I just heard a voice that told me, “you have to do it.”

“But I don’t wanna!” I said to that voice.

“You know you have to.”


“Because you don’t want to do it.”

Such a weird little bit of logic.   I listened to it, because in my head at the time it made a kind of sense.  I dreaded getting knocked on my butt, but I was going to jump it anyway.

Sure enough, the wave steamrolled me.  I went under and bounced off the shallow sandy shore.  Bizarrely, it was kind of fun to rise to the surface.  I wasn’t so scared of the big waves anymore, and kept trying to jump.  My fear was conquered, the worst had happened.

Most people think of fear as terror.  Terror is not necessarily fear.  I’m always nervous.  I’m nervous when I’m about to do a podcast.  Butterflies are always in my stomach.  Is it going to be a good show?  Did I do the best I could?  All these thoughts flicker in and out of my consciousness while I’m about to go on the air.  Doubts, fears, and maybe even a touch of anxiety is in there.

And then it all goes away when it’s showtime.

When I finish a story I have fear.  Is it good?  Did I write a masterpiece or did I do some kind of weird diarrhea on the page?

I always have that kind of fear going on in the back of my head.  I think it’s dare I say, healthy to have it.

I mean if you think about it, that kind of fear is great.  I mean, what better indication that you truly give a damn than that feeling?  That rush makes everything come to focus.  Sights, smells, your heart are all there, and you are aware of every single moment.

It’s intoxicating.

Maybe I’m a fear junkie, but in truth, I don’t know when I’m more alive than in those moments.  I feel every thing and it’s all there, painful and clear, and it matters to me.

I think that kind of fear is awesome.  It’s the kind of discomfort I wish more people had, because if you are aware of all these things, you can use them to bring out the absolute best of you inside.  Overcoming that fear lets you stretch into new heights.  It’s amazing.

Now, when the fear takes over you, that’s not healthy.   I mentioned it in my facebook, and I’ll say it here.  Intellectually, I’m getting too old not to take care of myself.   This is indeed true, but if we want to cut all the bullshit out of the equation, the real reason I did it?

This terrified me.  And not in a healthy way.  I wanted to freeze.  I wanted to vomit.  The idea that I had to do this broke something precious inside of me.  It was terrible.

And I didn’t want it to rule me.

Fear is great as a companion.  It’s emotions and rush make you aware of what is going on in that moment and makes you live in that moment in a way you can’t with anything else.  But when it rules your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions it’s not a companion anymore.  Fear becomes something we call terror.  And terror is nothing but a jailer.  Something that holds you back.

If I fix my teeth, who am I?  When I deal with what is broken, what will remain?  Will I be whole, or will I be empty?  I don’t want to live like this.   I refuse to.  I’m okay with being afraid, I’m not okay with being ruled by that kind of tyrant.

That’s the truth.  There are healthy kinds of fear, and there are terrible examples of it.  I just could not do it anymore.  I was ready to break my own shackles.  Terror had to die.

Going to the dentist office wasn’t so bad.  My teeth were broken but they could be fixed.  I have done two major dental trips since I faced that fear.

Who am I when I fix the teeth?


Nice to meet you.

I don’t recognize that guy yet myself.

But he’s here to stay.

When you face your own fears, there is light at the end of the dark tunnel.

What I’ve Learned this year.


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So this has been an interesting year.

In many ways, it has been my most productive year.  I released the Wandering God, I got two other books in various stages of post production.  One of them a graphic novel long overdue, and another being my first novel.

Actually, I have even one more thing I can show the world next year.  I also have two more books started and will be worked on along with the sequel to the upcoming novel this year.  Oh yes, I’m quite busy.

I expanded my horizons this year.  I did my podcast in front of a live audience for the first time ever.  This year I’m going to do it at least three times.  I have big plans to take my podcast and my message to wider degree of mediums and increase my audience.

Just on this alone, I’ve done a lot.

On a personal level, it has been a parting.  I learned that I didn’t always liked how some friends treated me. I don’t like being furniture or taken for granted.  Certain friendships drifted as well.  I learned this year that sometimes your friends and you have to go your separate ways sometimes.  Not because they are bad or you are bad.  Life and your chosen directions dictate partings sometimes.

Not that it’s bad.  New friendships come into the picture too.  People  heading down your path, whatever it is, and are there on the way.  Enjoy them.  We only have so much time.  It’s easy to take it for granted.

But it also taught me to be careful.  Whether we realize it or not, we always move towards what we want.  If we don’t define that, it controls us.  As they say, careful what you wish, and what you define.

And then, my last front top tooth was destroyed this year.

I realized that I’ve allowed myself to be viewed down, because I let my scars and my pain be a part of my identity.  And this I’ve vowed to change.

I had my first operation with my teeth in October.  I faced my fears, and I faced some of y uncertainties.  I learned that fear is fine, as long as you don’t let it control you.  Fear is a friend, as long as it doesn’t take the lead.  When it does take the lead as it sometimes does, at that moment, you must face it, whatever it is.  Or it will control you until you do.  You will not be free unless you confront the things that control you.

Freedom is hard.

It is super, duper, incredibly hard.  We all say we want to be free, but how many of us really understand what that entails?  It means we have to face our fears, and let go of the things that hold us in place.  Familiarity is a comfortable chain, warm to the touch.  It will make you forget it’s there if you’re not paying attention.  To go forward, you must be willing to toss that familiarity.

For freedom is the real unknown.   There’s no guarantees.  It is the ultimate risk, and it literally takes everything.

But it gives you everything too.

An old teacher crashed my facebook after a shot on my podcast.  It was interesting to watch.  A lot has changed in me, I realized.  I’m not the same man I was then.  That, I think, is a blessing.

I’m harder in some ways.  Gentler in others.  I’m a lot more empathetic now.  I see things I didn’t before, and I realized that I’ve grown.  I’m far from perfect, but I’m happy with the person I am, and where I’m going.

I’ve been blessed to meet many amazing people, and I’m looking forward to meeting many amazing more this year.

So while I’m dealing with my problems and changing my life for the best, I just want to write and say thank you to all of you I met, talked to, influenced and let influence.  You truly were great.

I’ll see you soon.

Happy New Year.  May you find what you are looking for.

Calling for Reviews, Plus a contest


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Just a short blog asking for bloggers and writers to review/be part of a blog tour for my current book the Wandering God.   The info is on the link here.

It’s also contest time.

My requirements: I want to hear a story about your faith rewarding you or failing you.  Yeah I know, this is a deeply personal question, but this is one of the major themes of The Wandering God.  I want to hear about what you believe in and why you came to the conclusion you have.  The best answer wins a copy of one of the three books, courtesy of me in either an ebook (anywhere outside Canada/US sadly) or a physical copy.

Comment here or send me an email directly to here: michaelthroughtime@live.com .   Let me know your story and I’ll reward you with one of mine.


The Wandering God


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So this came out.

Sorry I haven’t been quite as promotional about it.  It’s been a hectic few months.  I’ve known for about five months I was going to be heading for dental surgery.  I’ve been working on a number of projects non stop since that time, as I’ve been working towards giving myself some time and self care for a bit.

The Wandering God kind of got a little shafted because of this.  I’m going to try and make some amends here and now.   Both of these things are intertwined and now I feel like I’m going to write about some things that have been bothering me for the past few months.

I finished the initial book by around March.  There was a lot of work to do still – books never are finished in just a draft.  There is a lot of care and time that goes into it.  It was a pleasure to work with Florence again.  Still far and away the most professional person I’ve had the grace to work with so far.  The drawings are fantastic and you should look at some of them sometime.  They are amazing.

During the work on the Wandering God, my last good front tooth cracked in half.  I was at a party and bit into a corn on the cob.  I heard a very unnatural crunch and saw that tooth fall into my plate.

It hit me right then and there that I could no longer run and hide.  I had to get to work to fix my teeth.  I had to take better care of myself.

Taking care of yourself you’d think be easy.  Truth is, it’s one of the hardest things to do.  Invincible, and indestructible are terms I like to think of myself, but as time goes on, those days are not quite as common as they once were.  I have to give myself time.  That last fallen tooth made me realize that if I didn’t take care of this now, I would never get to it.

And I know how much of an excuse that is.  Being honest, health isn’t the priority when you’re in the middle of writing about lava people or the end of the world as you know it.  It’s so easy to be engaged and stay engaged in the myriad of projects that I find myself caught up in. I do a podcast, I got another novel almost ready for publication, and I got a lot of other things on the horizon.  It’d be so easy to keep going and keep riding the wave.

But this needed to be done.

But so did the Wandering God.

I made a promise to myself.  When the Wandering God was done, and the Cloud Diver (my other work in progress) was ready for publication, I’d get it done.  I made my arrangements to see the dentist in August and in the meanwhile I got this stuff done.

My biggest surprise at this was the anger I felt as I walked forward in this decision.  Old hurts came back to the surface and a lot of feelings at anger, shame and self loathing came back.  I went back to where the teeth were damaged to begin with.  I was shocked at all this coming to the surface.   In a forthcoming interview for my podcast, one of my guests rightly pointed out that there was still anger from that time and that place.  Again, one of those personal surprises.  I thought I had forgiven.

Turns out I still have some work to do on that front.

I deserved more from that time than what I got.  I’m more sure of that than I ever was back then.  That said, things worked out the way they did.  That’s how it was meant to go and be.   And I have to accept some things.

And let them go.

The Wandering God and this particular point in my life intersected.  I realized that what we write as writers often reflect where we are and where we are going.  The Wandering God is about faith in the journey itself and where it leads you.  All journeys come to an end, and sometimes you find it’s not what you wanted or expected.

But often, it’s what you needed.

And it’s about letting things go.

I’m going to miss writing about Kristen, Will, Nicki and the Watcher in the tower, who dreamed of there being more out there.  And he is right.  The world is a big and wondrous place, filled with monsters, and strangeness, and terror, and magic.  If we look close enough, we see elements of ourselves, and a sense to become more than what we were when this started.

I like to think the Watcher is about that more than anything else.  We can always become more.   And now, that I’m past the first surgery, I can become more too.  From time to time, I’ll probably get caught in the machine of creation still.  I’m a creator, and it will happen.  That said I will be smart enough from here to take a moment and relax, and enjoy the moment.

I have no more need of battle scars.  I’m ready for Greater worlds than these.

Anyway, if you’re interested, you can find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Wandering-God-Watcher-Joshua-Pantalleresco-ebook/dp/B0759WJ1DD/

Leave a review if you will.  If you don’t like it though, don’t tell anyone, alright? 😉

Never Never Land


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“Exit Light,  Enter Night

Take my hand, Off to Never Never Land”

Enter Sandman, Metallica



I had an epiphany Saturday night.   I’m still waiting for my editor extraordinaire to go through the Cloud Diver with the fine toothed comb.  (the beatings will begin shortly) so with nothing major to do, I went to a party of a friend of mine.

It was good for a while.  I learned a card game called golf and watched a guy who I will generously describe as a dickhead show up with a pretty girl.   The host and his girl aside, I really felt like I didn’t fit in with this crew and I was trying to figure out why as more and more people arrived.

I got to talk to said pretty girl a little bit about her life and what she did.  It turns out she was my age.  She had lost her dad and was still in great pain about that – she was thinking about finally doing some things she always wanted to do.  I was the same age, and in a lot of ways I have done a lot of the things she has aspired to do already.

The epiphany hit me.  I didn’t belong at this party.  I wasn’t this person.  I just bailed.  I didn’t say goodbye, because then I might have been talked to stay.  I didn’t want to stay.  I wanted to do the things that I feel called to do.

This has been a year where I feel like I’ve been separated from a lot of people I know.  Friends I’ve known for a long time aren’t in my life so often.  It used to bother me a lot earlier this year.  Now I’ve embraced that this is just a natural part of life.

The next day I did a hell of a conversation with Tim Reynolds.  Tim impressed the heck out of me at When Words Collide as we met and finally got a chance to chat.  (That is going to be a hell of a conversation when it debuts on the podcast.  Tim is awesome.)  When I talked to him about this he had a great concept about this.

He called this spot never never land.

Never never land is a great place.  One of the interesting things about it is that people stop aging.  They stop maturing at some point and stay as old as they are.  The analogy is that some people choose stillness instead of movement.

Life is change.  Upon reflection of Peter Pan, I have to say that my favorite character in the story is Captain Hook.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be Hook.  Hook lived the kind of life I wouldn’t want to live.  That said, he lived a life.  The hook is a story in itself, but he also captained a ship and sailed the seas.  In never never land, he may be the only character that had dared to live.  He had been through change and it had made him who he chose to be.

I’ve never stopped.  When I came back from Arizona, I realized something and it has stuck with me this whole time.   We don’t have a lot of time.  We really don’t.  Life is a blink of an eye.  We only have so many moments to do things.  We should take advantage of the opportunities.

We shouldn’t waste our time staying in never land.  We need to be like Captain Hook.  We need to do the things that make us come alive.  We need to be in the places that make us shine.   We need to do the the things that make that passion burn.

We all got to keep going with our lives.  Life changes constantly and we all got to move in the directions we are going for.  We all got our roads to walk and places to travel.  We all choose who we become.   When we make those choices, we leave some people to go their own way.   Life is an ocean with infinite streams, and we all go into the directions we are called for.

I hope I never find my way to never, never land.  I hope I keep changing.  I got people to meet, and things to do.  My life is going in the right direction,  It’s time to let that passion be my pixie dust, and use that to fly into new frontiers.

“Don’t be afraid to grow up, Peter. It’s only a trap if you forget how to fly.”
― Jorge Enrique PonceGrounded: The Untold Story of Peter Pan & Captain Hook


How I made Adults Read Fox In Socks – My WWC Report


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Fox and Socks

This is a powerful book.  This book has the power to make adults kids again.  It makes informative sessions fun, AND it makes for ideas for the future.

Let’s talk about When Words Collide.  This was my first show where I would be active in doing presentations and panels.  I was nervous about that, in a good way.  Truthfully there isn’t much that I worry about that can happen on the stage.  That all said, I love it when I feel those butterflies.  It shows I care and want to do the best I can.

My podcast panel was ridiculously fun.  I got the crowd to read from Fox in Socks.  There was even a winner of the contest!  I got to talk about podcasting and got a really good crowd – better than I expected – and we managed to engage in a very fun presentation.  It was the highlight of my weekend.

My night with Fox in Socks didn’t end there.  My association with this book germinated from a impromptu fox in socks off with Vanessa Cardui while she mastered Just Joshing Episode 100.  Thinking that I was using it and that I was going to be part of the open mic anyway, I thought I’d challenge her to a fox in socks off, and she answered, throwing down the pirate hat in response.

Vanessa won the contest, but that’s beside the point.  I had a blast and it was a lot of fun to do.  Next year I hope to do something similar to that again.

Friday didn’t just include my presentation.  It also included my panel with goodreads.  Mark Leslie, M. Jane Collette, Beverly Ackerley and someone whose name escapes me had a great back and forth and the crowd was engaged.  It made me re-evaluate my use of the system and you’ll probably be seeing my own profile on Goodreads raise.  I learned a lot and managed to contribute a lot.

Saturday I had my other panel with video games, in which I thought that I had a good angle and focus, and found myself probably the most ill-prepared.  It was a good discussion and great games like Double Dragon, Okami, Dragon Age and more were discussed and construction of games in general was brought up.  I was bringing up Thea van Diepen’s forthcoming twine game as well.  At some point next year, I’ll have to play with some gaming software.

I started doing podcast interviews Saturday as well. I managed to interview Patricia Flewelling, Suzi Vadori, Vanessa Cardui, and JM Landels on Saturday for the podcast.  They were all amazing conversations.

I attended the banquet and functioned the role of phone camera man, taking pictures for various friends for the 1920s themed gala.  It was a fun dinner.  I bailed at the autograph session as I take that opportunity to usually just catch my breath.  That night I attended a variety of parties and had a good time until it was time to head back.

Sunday I started and finished with some great conversations with Gerald Brandt, Hayden Trenholm, Mark Leslie, Nola Sarina and Jo-Anne Morcum.  Hayden was the only one I feel that got kind of short changed.  We had a great conversation but it was cut short due to factors beyond our control.

I did my last presentation on Sunday too, in which I talked about loglines.  It wasn’t as good as my podcast panel.  I needed a little more interactivity for the whole thing, and for next year if I do it again, I will have a battleplan to get the audience involved.  I heard some amazing loglines at the end of the session however.  So I like to think I did some good.

After that I spent a couple of hours at the dead dog party, in which authors gather and say hi before we go off.  At that point, we’re all kind of on fumes and kind of just going through some motions.  That said, I met quite a few amazing people and I’m still working on a few projects post con.

The biggest thing I learned?  People are starting to become aware of me, even if I’m not being met by them.  It was a strange and wonderful experience to be greeted by strangers who knew who I was.  I may not be rich and shameless, but fame is happening bit by bit.

I also learned a little bit more about my weaknesses as a presenter and will work to shore them up.  That said, I got grown men and women to read Fox in Socks.  If that’s not a victory in this life I don’t know what is.

I definitely want to thank each person I saw, met, or reconnected with again this year at When Words Collide.  I hope to see you all again next year.

Bigger Elephants in the Room


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This is the very heavy US Politics post.  I talk about Fox and Socks next week as a balance to this.  So if you want to keep reading me in a political athiestic kind of way, come back to next blog.


Let the show begin.



This is not the only Orwell quote I’m going to use.  It is however the link between the recent blog post and this one.  But even though I confess that racism is a huge problem in the United States, there are bigger issues to be mentioned here.

Let’s go with the obvious elephant.

The United States is an open fascism.

Now, I’m not saying the US is a nazi party.   Nor am I saying the Hitler word.  However, I don’t think the argument exists to countermand this statement.  After all, another quote I want to say before I continue is this:

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”  Mussolini.

If this quote is accurate, I do not think that there is a more perfect example of this than Trump himself.   Trump is the living representative of that merger.  I don’t think there is a counterargument to this.

Normally this is the place where I’d post a picture of the trumpophant.  I’m not doing that.  I’ve listened to the damage this man has caused on my facebook feed.  I don’t need to watch him on television nor do I need to follow his twitter.  Nor do I need to actually even try to listen to this man.

His superpower seems to be to get grown people to say and repeat what he does.   I find out that a kerfluffle on his twitter feed made the rounds all over my board.  And then after that I decided that this man has far too much power.

See, he’s a polarizing individual at the best of times.  And polarizing is good for ratings on television and clicks on the internet.  Polarizing is not what I want to see reflected on my very many friends on facebook.

Now, people may have differing opinions on just how good a president he is, and I won’t comment there.  I will say however that his true gift is how he manipulates the media into giving him all the publicity he could possibly want.  That I feel is his real power.  And he’s good at it.  You have to admire a man who is doing what he is best at.

I cannot do much about how he governs at this point, nor do I care to really care that much.  Instead, I decided that I would ignore what the man is saying and watching what the country is doing instead.

I suggest you do the same.

If you really want him gone, ignore his platforms.  As long as he is on the news, don’t watch the news. Do some research and due diligence on your own.  We have the all powerful internet at our beck and call.  We do not need to pollute ourselves with  fake news.  Let’s focus on the real issues.

Which may lead to the most damning element of all.

As a people we need to ask ourselves one question.  How did the US get there?  That answer is a book or two or a dozen, but if I had to sum it up, it would probably be the next statement.

Americans are ignorant of their own system and don’t know how to fix it.


Call me cynical, but I have seen Charlottesville before.  I saw it with Rodney King.  I’ve seen it with other riots, protests, police arrests.  Yet, why is this response so violent?  Why is this being encouraged with apathy from above?

Because this isn’t just about race.  This is about class as well.   The US has a ton of problems ranging from its gun making – crazy when you consider the levels of destruction that are available to purchase today.   Kids are coming out of high school capable of running down a football field in record times, but haven’t touched books since elementary school.  How are they going to get to college?

Then there’s how money and taxes work.  The many government alphabet agencies that are out there.  Does anyone know how all the jurisdictions work?

So you have a government that is big and complicated and a mess that only seems to have their own agenda in mind, which seems of a more corporate variety…everything from medicine, to education, to prisons are all a business.

Not good.  We the people…who are the people?  Because it seems like no one I know.

How did we get there?  What do we do?

Maybe the reason we fight each other so much is because we don’t know what else to do.  I realize that when it comes to america no one has an easy answer.  How did we get here?  What can we do?  Standing up and speaking about it is a good first step, but it’s not enough.  Things need to change.

We need to be aware of what’s going on.   Instead of arguing about right and left, we should talk about what we want as a country and take a good long look at the face of it.  Because the truly scary thing about Trump is this – he is only the beginning if nothing changes.

And change is what we need.  Because we can tell the direction we are going in is not great.  What we need, more than anything, is to understand each other.  Turn off the distractions, and focus on what is real.  Focus on the secret beyond the illusion.

Trump at the end of the day is a character on television.  Perhaps that’s the biggest elephant of all.

We now return to regularly scheduled programming.

Elephants in the Room


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So I tend to keep my social presence deliberate and politically atheistic.   It’s simpler that way.  I see a LOT of dissenting views with it and have for the year since Trump was elected.  Comic book professionals and authors say all kinds of things about this.

I’m silent.  I like talking about ice cream and baileys or unicorns that fart rainbows.

But then Charlotteville happened.

So I have to state this disclaimer.  I’m a single, white, heterosexual male.   There are only two instances where in this country that has worked against me.  Once when my father and I were the only non Chinese people in a mall.   The other is in some of the less savory neighbourhoods in Detroit and Phoenix.  Being white in some of those areas…not so good.  But by and large yeah I’m usually in the privileged class.  I don’t pretend to understand what people go through on a day in and day out basis.

This weekend was When Words Collide and I had the privilege of interviewing eight amazing people.  Three different conversations ended up coming to the same topic of assumption and how people treat each other.  I thought I’d bring this up in light of what’s going on today.

When I was very young I had a bias towards a certain culture.  Part of that was my father coming from work.  Part of that was media manipulation.  Either way, it cost me a potential date.  I vowed from that point on I wasn’t going to let that happen again.  By and large I have kept that promise.

My podcast is the most visible aspect of this success.  My podcast has featured people from many parts of the world with different genders, beliefs, sexuality, culture, and values.  And every person has offered me a ton I have learned from.

My real secret?  Nothing more than talking and listening.  It doesn’t really matter who you are and what you do, you have something valuable to contribute.   Think about it like this:  No one has your perspective.  7.5 billion people live on this planet and not one person has the exact same point of view or life experience.  If you think about it, that’s actually pretty amazing.

It’s the biggest reason I still do my podcasts.  I get to talk to amazing people doing amazing things that have perspectives on things I’ve never considered.  It makes my world simultaneously bigger and smaller at the same time.  And it’s awesome.

If only the world shared my viewpoint more.

America has had a racism problem for a long time.  It has had one ever since the time when they battled Native Americans as they expanded.  Slavery has been a cornerstone of the foundations of the United States ever since the founding fathers.  The Civil War didn’t end the problems; they were buried.

The first elephant I want to point out to people is that perhaps some of the issues of police brutality in the US have to do with what founded them.   What do you think the slave traders became after the war in a lot of places?  It’s not a surprise then that certain police forces are different to people of colour than others when you consider that foundation.

Factor in the emphasis on education and poverty in the US and you can see the treatment.  Canada isn’t perfect in this either and I feel it’s something I’m going to close part one with my story.

One of my best friends in the world is a Metis living in Ontario.  We’ve been friends since high school and he is one of the bedrocks of my life.  Jon became a friend of mine after I stood up to him in a hall in high school, calling him out for some of same things he called me out for.

Turns out, we’ve had similar interests and hung out and been talking ever since.  Jon is a shrewd dude and I’ve enjoyed my time with him.  I can only imagine how he would have been treated if he had lived in Calgary

Calgary does some of the most brutal things I know when it comes to the native population.  I still remember a story of me working for a grocery store about twelve years ago.  I remember my boss, so furious at the native culture actually ordering me not to serve any of their kind.

This really did happen in Calgary.

We have a long way to go.

In all that has happened recently, I question sometimes if we truly learn anything.  My own doubts on how we grow and can do magical things is shaken when I see people not given a chance for how they look like or what they seem to be.

The only true way to defeat racism is with understanding.  And that only happens when we talk to each other.   We can disagree, and even have a civil discourse about it.  At the end of the day, we need to remember that we are all people who just want to be loved and understood by others.

That we are not alone.


One of my favorite scenes.  I’m coming back to this in part two.

Because what happened in Charlotteville was not just a matter of racism.  It was politics as well.

Something to think about.