Did you hear that sudden motion?
A loud screech and scratch at the door?
It’s the monster that hungers for flesh.
Who’s face is hideous and fangs are huge.
All who faced him met extinction.

Did you see the lightning flash black?
The dark auras that rim his hands?
His eyes are deathly red.
His horns short and low.
The blood wall keeps you from coming back.

Did you know of the beam of light?
The bright flash that lit the valley?
They say a boy faced that monster.
Fought for justice alongside his partner.
Everyone should know the tale of that night

Did you remember the battle’s ending cry?
The names of the children that did survive?
Through the storm they fought the beast
That flash of light finally brought peace.
Now sleep once more under the starry sky
And remember that legends allow us to fly.

Written Fall 2013

Did You Miss It?

Did you see the daisies turn their heads to the sunlight this morning?
Watch the blue birds sore across the morning sky?
Did you kiss a child good morning?
Or war against the world with your bad mood?

Is your early fight for the coffee? Are you a zombie, groaning and slugging on, without it?
Do you rush off to work ignoring the hearts around you? Are you the center of the universe?
Did you acknowledge the old man frosted and begging on the street corner?
Could he be an angel in disguise?

How do you work in your workplace?
Are you the top notch or the lowest on the totem pole?
Do you greet everyone kindly or rush by clinging to that coffee coldly?
Have you ever helped those who needed it or only focused on your own work?

How do you treat the end of the day, as the sun sinks below the horizon?
Do you pass out on the couch or get busier again by cleaning?
Do you greet your family happily or have you no family to return to?
Is it all about what you want to do now that you’re not paid?

What time do you go to bed? What do you do before you go?
Do you watch the negative news? Sit out on your deck under stars?
Do you kiss the world goodnight? Look forward to another day?
Or do you grumble and groan on what tomorrow may bring?

Hidden beauty lies in front of our eyes,
Of the world and all it holds,
What was your focus throughout the day?
Did you miss it?

End of January

Honestly, I can’t believe it’s already the end of January. First month of 2021 is wrapping up tomorrow. Now, if you’re anything like me, the end of January can be a bit disappointing. I mean, at the start of the month, we celebrated a new year. We made new year resolutions (which some of us might have already given up on). We hope that this year will be a different year. A better year. Yet, when the first month goes by with more craziness than dreams come true, its hard to believe the rest of the year could be better. There’s 11 months left, so let me remind you that a lot could still happen and hopefully what happens is all good things.

Why do I find the end of January to be so disappointing if we still have 11 months to turn things around for 2021? The answer’s simple: I’m impatient. I’m sure I’m not the only one. We make our resolutions and we want to see results right away. My resolution was to write everyday–it doesn’t matter what I write, as long as I write something, but I haven’t been keeping up to that. Low motivation would hit or exhaustion or just downright busyness keeping me occupied. I want to write every day so that I could reach my goal of completing the sequel to my novel this year, and start the third book. Considering I have to rewrite three chapters, I’m not making a lot of progress, and that can add to the low motivation, the “I’ll never figure it out” doubt that keeps someone from writing, but the scenes deserve to be written right. Sometimes, you just gotta force yourself to sit down and write. I mean, I’ll never complete my sequel this year if I don’t write it. There’s still 11 months left, so it’s still possible.

Now, I know I’m not the only in this next endeavor. One of my top goals, hopes, and dreams for this year is to finally get an agent on board in representing my book. I’ve queried quite a few agents so far this year and as of the time I’m typing up this post (1/25/2021), I’ve only heard back from one, and it was a rejection. If that’s not a blow to the high hopes we all have at the start of the year, I don’t know what is. Yet, there’s still 11 months left, so its still possible.

We all think that a new year means a new start. We’re going to see changes like there’s some kind of magic that happens when the calendar year goes up by one. Then, the end of January comes around and not much is different from last year. Well, there’s still 11 months left, so it’s still possible.

Whatever the dream, the resolution, the goal, there’s still time to complete it. Allow me to encourage you to not give up! There’s still 11 months left to finish that book, or query an agent, or lose the weight you want to lose, or learn that skill you’ve always wanted to know. Whatever it is, keep at it. It may be the end of January, but there’s still a whole lot of year left. Keep going.

To Fly Free

Watch the bird soar through the air
So graceful, calm, and free
It need not worry of predators below
It’s high in the sky, in flight and free

So graceful, calm, and free
Could a ground’s prisoner ever achieve?
That high in the sky, in flight, and free?
To feel the wind rushing past you?

Could a ground’s prisoner ever achieve,
Real freedom from the world below?
To feel the wind rushing past you,
As you and you alone take flight.

Real freedom from the world below,
It must be possible to succeed
As you and you alone take flight,
The clouds are your terrain and you to fly free.

The Anxiety in the Query

It’s all typed up. You’ve gone through this a least a hundred times before. The query letter, the pitch, similar books, your bio. By now you’ve got them all saved on a word document, so it’s just a quick copy and paste with a few edits here and there to personalize it for every agent. You look it all over to make sure it’s correct. No typos, no grammar issues, or spelling errors. You triple check you have the right agent’s name. Quadruple check that they’re actually someone you want to query too and now all you gotta do is hit submit. You hover your mouse over the button. One easy click and it’s on its way, but then you wonder what’s the point?

You’ve lost count of how many “no’s” you’ve gotten. Of how many agents that didn’t even bother to respond. There’s a log in your journal of every query and every rejection, every alpha and beta reader, and a crossed out list of those who’ve…stopped reading or didn’t even start. Maybe you’re doing it all wrong, you wonder. Maybe there’s something that’s just not clicking? Is the hook not strong enough? Is Chapter 1 too lame? Is the word count too intimidating? Are you even selecting the right agents to query too? Is the story not as good as you thought? A heavy sigh escapes your lungs and you move your hand away from your mouse. All you have to do is click submit, but the anxiety is constricting your lungs and your heart is breaking. What’s the point of hitting send, when you’ll just receive another no?

You close your eyes and envision your characters, every single one of them, and you think of all the blood, sweat, and tears all of you have gone through to make this story happen. A handful of them gave their lives and another gave everything but his life (though you know he would, if you let him). Your main character walks over to you and looks over your shoulder at the computer screen.

“I’ll do my best to sound appealing. They seem like a good choice.”

“You always do your best,” you tell him. You try to smile to lift his spirits, but it’s clear he’s as discouraged as you are. All you do is hit submit. He’s the one who has to catch an agent’s interest. “It’ll be alright.” He gives you a look of doubt and you know what he’s thinking. Alright doesn’t sell your book.

“You should let me go!”

You turn around to see one of your other characters striding right up. Her hands are on her hips and her chin’s up in the air. A fire sparks in her eyes when you look at her. “I’ll get those agents in our corner!”

An unstoppable laugh breaks from your lips. “You?! If I send your sassy pants out there, we’ll never get published.” You look back at the computer screen and read over your query letter once again. “Likely, you’ll say something that’ll insult every single one of them.”

“Well, it’s not my fault they’re–”

“Don’t even finish that sentence.” You cut her off with a stern glare. “It’s up to him to hook the agents.”

When you motion to your main character, Miss. Sassy Pants rolls her eyes. “Right, because he’s so freaking special.” Before you have a chance to reply, she storms off.

“She’ll get over it.” Your main character watches her go, but when he looks back at you, he shrugs. “Eventually.”

“I know.” A defeated sigh slips from your lips and you stare once again at your computer screen. “She’s just frustrated. We all are. We’ve put so much into this and we haven’t even gotten a nibble.”

“Maybe this time will be different?”

You know he means well with the question, but you both share the same doubt. The effort to give an encouraging smile is too much of a strain. You lean back in your chair and find that you can’t even look at him. “It probably won’t be.”

“Then we’ll just try again!”

The loudness of the voice causes you to start. You and your main character turn around to find one of your oldest characters walking up. He plants his hands on his hips and gives a smile that might as well have its own light. It warms your heart when you see him, but you know exactly what’s coming.

“Try again?” Your main character attempts to argue for you. “We keep trying. We’ve been trying! Eventually, we’re going to run out of agents to query too!”

The smile on your older character’s face only widens. “Then we’ll query all the agents again!”

You shrug and refuse to look at either of your characters. “We’ve started doing that. It’s not working either.”

Your older character gives you an amused look and you begin to wonder why you made him so freaking optimistic. “What are those people on that blue bird…” He motions to your computer, not knowing what it is. “…thing…always telling you? Stay positive. Stay productive. Share your wins even if they’re small. If something isn’t working, revise, like you did with that letter there.” He points to your query letter, which you’ve improved thanks to those people on that blue bird thing. “We’ve still got a shot.”

“Yeah, but–”

“I’m going to stop you right there.” He cuts both you and your main character off and that twinkle in his eyes you love so much melts your heart. “You’ve wanted this for as long as I’ve known you and I, frankly, would like something to come out of everything you put me through! I don’t care how high the hurdles are. You know nothing is impossible. You know our novel is in good hands. You just need to be patient in hope.” He glances at your main character and nods to himself. “I’ve seen with my own eyes how patience can persuade kings and how the outcome of the waiting is often grander than we ever hope for. We’ll get there eventually, we just can’t give up.”

You know he’s right. You know you’re bound to get a yes one of these years, but you can’t shake the feeling that it’ll never come. “I just don’t know how many more rejections I can take.”

“Take them all.”

Those three words out of your older character’s mouth actually surprise you. “Excuse me?”

“Take. Them. All.” Now his face is beaming. “The more you have, the more proof you have of growth and overcoming. With every rejection, the sweeter the joy of an acceptance will be. As long as you keep improving and growing after every rejection, you’re still making progress.” He points at your computer screen, right at the submit button. “Just keep trying.”

“He’s got a point.” Your main character takes a deep breath and the look on his face tells you he was mildly kicking himself. “I mean, what we going to do? If we stop trying, we’ll just be stuck on your dusty bookshelf forever and not everyone’s dusty bookshelves forever.”

“Alright.” You manage a smile as you finally cave in and once again you’re grateful for every single one of your characters–even Miss. Sassy Pants. You put your hand back on your mouse and find the submit button once again. When anxiety presses against your chest, you take a deep breath to fight it back. Hesitation lingers in your fingers as the whispers of rejection weave through your ears once again. Yet, your characters lay their hands on yours and their encouraging smiles chase the whispers away. You nod to them and steel yourself. “No matter the outcome, we’ll keep trying.”

Writing Prompt: An Alien Disguised Among Humans

Include the following in your story: Aurora Borealis, paint brush, corn field, cluster, lineup, overlook, suspect, bridge, dome, dash.

“Dongion to Mothership. Repeat. Dongion to Mothership.”

“This is Mothership. You are due for a report Dongion.”

A thin smile curled upon Dongion’s lips when the voice of his superior came across the communicator in his hands. He glanced up and down to the alley to make sure he was still alone.

“Dongion? Report.”

“I have found the perfect location.” Donigon paced slowly up and down the alley to tame the giddiness that buzzed in his gut. Yet, he couldn’t hide the delight from his tone. “I have lived among this curious cluster of humans for a week now. They have much potential, but I dare say, they are disappointing.” He paused to scowl at some graffiti on the wall. Such toxic chemicals in that scribble they called art.

“You think you found a suitable planet? Our instruments can’t get any readings off that heap of rock.”

“That is because Earth has an atmosphere far different than our own.” Dongion’s grin widened and he took a deep breath. “It is delightful. They have these things called trees that clean the air and this refreshing…” He struggled to find the word. “…wet substance they call water. It is such a beautiful planet and dare I suggest, we could take it with the stroke of a paint brush.”

“A paint brush?”

“Pardon,” Dongion chuckled. “It is a saying they use down here. Humans do have an intriguing side.” He cleared his throat, realizing that this was not what his superior wanted to know. He glanced up and down the alley again. “However, we must act quickly if we are going to occupy this planet. The humans are killing it.”


“I shared your surprise as well.” Dongion nodded, his face fell graver with every word he spoke. “The humans are knowingly and willingly killing this beautiful planet. Their filth and stench pollute it further and further by the day. If we do not act quickly, it will even become too inhospitable for us.”

“Then these humans are undeserving of this planet. What kind of resistance can we expect?”

“Not much.” Dongion shrugged. “The humans barely notice each other. They will not notice us.” He lost count of how many times he watched humans pass starving humans on the side of the street or how they were too focused in their devices to even listen to each other. It disgusted him. “They do not even know that life lives beyond their planet. If done correctly, the takeover will be swift and easy.”

“I assume you have a plan already?”

“Indeed.” Dongion grinned once more. “We could even preserve some of the history of this planet and shame the humans as well. It would be much more satisfying than to just exterminate all of them.” He cleared his throat. “If the humans spot our ships in their sky, they will scramble and some will resist. Now, there are a handful of humans out in space currently–working on satellites and exploring–but a Tabaxian dome around them would cut off their communications and keep them from warning the humans on Earth. As for the humans on Earth, we should not offer a surrender. They have too many tales of resistances. Those that surrender could be feigning it to gain our trust and then stab us in the backs.” Dongion paused when someone passed by the end of his alleyway. “Other humans will try to dash for glory, but they can easily be incinerated by our blasters. There are those of weak will down here that will lineup for enslavement. If we offer food, housing, and protection to those who are starving, lonely, and forgotten, they will repay us with servitude. What good is freedom if you are dying in it, after all?”

“Well done, Dongion. I am impressed with your research.”

Dongion swelled. “I have prepared a full report for the Queen and I am eager to return. As a collective, we could take victory over the humans and make this dying planet healthy again.”

“You will personally make your report to the Queen. Is your pod still intact?”

HE would make his report to the Queen?! Dongion almost jumped for joy! What an honor! He had to take a moment to calm himself, so his childish giddy wouldn’t seep through his voice. “My pod is intact under a nearby bridge.” The underside of the bridge was chalk full of trash, so his pod went overlooked by the humans. He wanted to lay his pod down in a corn field, but someone else was occupying it. He would’ve liked the corn field, it wouldn’t have been as stinky as the underside of the bridge.

“Take your pod to the Aurora Borealis. We will pick you up there. Mothership out.”

The communicator fell silent, but Dongion held it like he were holding a trophy. He had finally done it. He had finally done something for the good of the collective! “We will thrive if we’re able to save this planet.” Donigon turned his gaze up toward the hazy blue sky. A smog of pollutants was blurring the beauty of the clouds drifting overhead. He’d go back, report to the Queen, and the takeover would begin. The humans wouldn not suspect a thing.

Reach for the Sunrise

Everyday I go to work, I drive down this long, dark road. There are no streetlights to light the way. The trees hang overhead like fingers ready to close on top of you. And the road itself is rough with patches and potholes and strips so rattling it could rock pieces from your vehicle. Don’t even bother trying to drive on it when it snows. You’ll end up in the ditch.

I think it’s pretty cool to drive on that dark road and wonder what’s hiding beyond the reach of your headlights. Yet, some mornings, when the weight of disappointment or doubt or any other negative trait anyone could feel ashamed for hangs heavy on your shoulders, that dark road has a lot more meaning to it.

Maybe you always hear that metaphor of “driving down the road of life,” or “life is a highway,” but maybe you need to hear it again? Sometimes, the road gets dark. You only have your light to shine the way and it may not feel like enough. You can’t see beyond the trees, a deer might dart out in front of you and ruin your plans, or you pass a creepy figure walking down the middle of the road. Then, you got the rough patches and potholes shaking you up. You could try to avoid them, but then you’re not watching for deer. Dark times can feel overbearing. There’s so much to focus on, so much you have to do, that something can hit you out of nowhere and it’ll feel like everything is falling a part.

I’m sure you can relate my dark drive to work to something in your life that’s hanging on your heart. Maybe career, maybe family, something medical? Whatever it is, there is a bright side and in my little tale, I literally mean bright.

I take this long, dark road to work, and at the end of it, I get to a hill that scares the living daylights out of me when it snows. It’s a tall hill with potholes in the exact spots where everyone likes to drive. My truck is a manual, so shifting is a challenge when we reach this hill, and my old man (truck) complains when we don’t have the momentum to stay in the proper gear. Yet, even with how difficult this hill is. It’s still my favorite part of the drive. Here’s why:

The road faces east and with the hill, the trees part so you can see the horizon way above your head. Above that, you can see the glow of the early morning light. Sometimes, its a warm yellow like the sun is about to pop over and smile at you. Other times, its a hazy orange or depending on the cloud cover you get majestic violets and blues that give a dreamy look to the morning. It gives me hope for the day and it’s a nice reminder that brighter times are bound to come.

Lately, the cloud cover has been so thick with winter weather that the horizon stays dark when I reach that hill. I could let it discourage me. Let it be an omen for a rotten day to come, but just because I don’t see the morning light, that doesn’t mean the sun isn’t coming up. I just focus on avoiding the potholes and I hope that tomorrow will have more of a heavenly glow.

When the hill does shine with morning light. I try not to take my eyes off it. It’s a beautiful reminder that it’s always darkest before the dawn (a literal reminder in this case). I could focus on the potholes and how my truck is struggling, but I’ve never not made it up that hill. I’m not going to believe I’m not going to make it up this time or the next time or the time after that. If I worry about that, then I miss the sunrise, the brightness of what’s ahead.

Now, I’m sure you know where I’m going with this by now. Whatever’s going on in your life, you could sit there and stare at your troubles, your metaphoric potholes, or how you’re barely moving forward. Or, you could focus on what’s ahead. Focus on dreams coming true and that hope on the horizon. Don’t let the dark road you might be on overcome you. Reach for that sunrise and eventually you’ll get there. I believe in you.


She can’t see her beauty.
Robbed from her eyes like a thief in the night.
She looks in the mirror and sees only her flaws.
What confidence she had is gone.
Her smile graces her lips no more.
What beauty is there in a broken heart?

In the soul, feeling unwanted.
No one would turn their eye to her invisible tears.
She hides her pain to keep the illusion.
People are proud. They think her strong.
None know the pain that’s lasted this long.

When they ask, she lies quick.
And no one dares break beyond her defense.
No one will push her to tell the truth.
No tough love to start a healing proof.

Her smile graces her lips no more.
What confidence she has is gone.
She looks in the mirror and sees only her flaws.
Robbed from her eyes like a thief in the night.
She can’t see her beauty.

Written 9/25/2017

Maybe You Can Relate?

I got a question for all you fellow writers out there. Do any of you look back on your old writings: old drafts or stories, and just cringe? You take a look at something and think: “Did I seriously write that? Oh, my god! It’s so bad!” I’ll tell you what: I cringe A LOT at my old writings.

For example: I located a writing notebook I had in sixth grade. SIXTH GRADE! I was 11 years old! The first few pages of the notebook are all little short stories that were told to write in class. We’d be given a picture or a topic or go clip out a newspaper headline and then write a story about it. I read through a couple of them and…Oof…Not only is my handwriting super messy, but I clearly couldn’t spell to save my life back then!

Turn a few more pages and you get a five page story assignment (which mine was broken up because there’s a whole reflection of a field trip right in the middle of it). I didn’t even want to read it. I remember writing it. It was based off a book we read called The Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. However, we had to change the curse in the book and make it our own. I made my mine The Animal Curse (surprise, surprise)! Since the assignment involved our classmates, our teacher was strict about making sure we got permission to use others in our story–there wasn’t anyone who didn’t give permission. Maybe you’ve got some old cringe-y writing assignments from elementary school you’d like to share?

That was the last of my assignments in the notebook. We didn’t actually do a lot of writing that year, so we didn’t even fill up a fourth of the notebook. However, I found another way to utilize the notebook: by writing my first “novel” in it. You see, when I reached seventh grade, I had a language arts teacher who was very impressed with a writing assignment I did. She read it to the entire class and even my classmates were impressed and wanted to know who wrote. Being the shy kid I was, I shook my head when my teacher looked at me in asking me permission to tell the rest of the class, and she didn’t reveal me as the author. No one found out who wrote that creepy onomatopoeia assignment.

Encouraged by that assignment and the upcoming Halloween, I started a ‘novel’ in my old writing notebook. It grew to 31 handwritten pages long! But…it’s not finished. I think I stopped writing it because it got to a scene were I got writer’s block and I never overcame it. It’s not the best writing, but the ideas are pretty interesting. I called it The Curse of Hallow House, and it’s about these three friends who are dared to enter an old mansion on their street (Hallow House), on Halloween night. Going inside, they end up discovering this enchanted, jeweled jack-o-lantern, but it’s incomplete. The pieces of it’s smile are scattered around the house and when the kids find them, they put the jack-o-lantern back together. In doing so, they unknowingly unleash a curse throughout the town. Everyday afterwards is Halloween again with a pumpkin moon shining overhead. What’s worse, is that everyone is turning into their costumes. So, if you dressed up like a zombie, congrats, you’ve become a zombie.

As terrible as the writing is, I think the story has some pretty good potential. I might attempt a rewrite someday and actually finish it. But, back to the point of this post: even though my writing was purely awful way back when, it’s a good reminder of how much I’ve grown. I mean, every professional was once an amateur, right? The same could be said for any other talent or passion you might have. If you want to learn to cook, you gotta keep trying recipes. If you want to sing, you gotta keep tuning your voice. If you want to be a writer, you gotta keep writing. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you’ll look back and think: “WOW, I can’t believe I wrote/made that! That’s so cringe-y!” But it’s progress and that should be enough to encourage you to keep going. Maybe ten years from now, you’ll look back at something you wrote or did today and think: “I’m so much better than I was back then!” At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. Keep dreaming, you guys, and feel free to comment below if you can relate!

Writing Prompt: A Fishing Trip

Include the following in your story: jig, unsightly, wait, beam, shoulder, grey, reminder, mouth, Canada, river.

Nothing beats the clean, serine, tranquility of the wilderness. You find some time to get away, do some research, and suddenly you’re floating down a river in Canada with a fishing pole in hand. There’s nothing unsightly about this scene. Tall pines stretch toward the clear blue sky on either shoulder of the river. You spot wildlife: squirrels, elk, and even bears calmly sauntering through the woods and paying you no mind. Beams of sunlight sparkle on the river like ribbons of silk. Somewhere, under its depths, is a large-mouthed bass just waiting to be caught and you’ve got all the time in the world to catch it. A bit of grey swims by your boat and you’re happy to see a turtle enjoying the river as much as you are. One deep breath of the refreshing pine scent and you let it out feeling all the more relaxed. The peace brings a joy to your heart and you could almost dance a little jig. Yet, your favorite thing about today is the reminder of how great God’s creation really is.