Enjoy your rotations

Enjoy your rotations. Haven’t done one of these in a while, sorry dad. But welcome back to lessons from my father.

This one isn’t an old one but a newer one. I talk with my dad most days. And seek his advice on most things, regardless of if I listen or not.

There’s been quite a few things come my way this past month that I’ve sought his counsel on. Almost each of those ended with him telling me that I needed to enjoy my rotations around the sun and that none of us have guarantees. Time will only get faster as I get older.

I definitely have an appreciation for that adage, and think it’s a wise one for all.


I fail…a lot

I fail…a lot. A ton even. I fail in one day more than most people do in a year.

After a recent work out I was talking with Lauren and told her I failed. Her response was “Aww Babes…come on. I don’t date failures.”

The good news is I get to keep my engf* cause I’m not a failure. I just fail. And fail well I do. My expectation for myself will always be that if a bar is low enough to reach I didn’t set it high enough. I fail at my job, my work outs, my sport, my life, and more than anything else my writing.

But as I resume work on The Primal Age Chronicles, I promise to keep failing, and to fail better each day. Cause as long as I continue to fail I am not a failure. So, let’s raise some bars.

*engf is an acronym for exclusive non girl friend since we’re both too stubborn to embrace bf/gf handles


So my mom is moving and this means the last house tied to my youth as well as my 20s will be behind me with something like 18 other addresses.

Today will be the last day I see this place. I am saying good-bye to my haven of my 20s with a cheap cigar and bottle of lionshead on the carport.

I resented most the times I had to move back into William drive as it usually marked a major failure in my adult life, however I will always be grateful to my mom and the house for taking me(and in the end my dog) when I went bust.

This carport has always been a haven for me. To my friends that were local this often served as my place of listening whenever someone needed me. I conceived many of my story ideas here. Many memories.

But we all need adventures, and I’m excited for my mom to lose this anchor and go her own way.

Thanks to the house, and best of luck to my mom in her next chapter.


I get adopted a lot. It’s a trait that I am very proud of. Sometimes I’m a side show, sometimes I’m a lost puppy, sometimes I’m just really entertaining. But as we move into the Easter holiday I want to say thank you to all the families that have taken me in over the years. My own family is pretty great, but having so many other awesome groups open their houses to me and accept me as one of theirs has been some of the best experiences of my life. So, happy Easter to all my families, blood, water, and otherwise.

The need to breathe

The need to breathe can be a powerful motivator. Sometimes in life you will face obstacles you don’t think you will be able to come back from. Like something has stolen your air. The thing to always remember is that if you keep fighting you will find your way through and get your head above water long enough for that next breath.


Good news/Bad news

If you are like me you prefer your bad news first. But before I get into that, have a little information to share.

A piece of advice I always passed along to the younger cohorts at Wilkes was that you always listen to your mentor. They are your boss, and even if you don’t agree with what they tell you you need to do with your project, you do it anyway. If it doesn’t work they will tell you to change it anyhow.

This past week I was at the AWP conference and had a chance to chat about the challenges that were facing me with Kade’s town and she had a number of suggestions. At first I wanted to say. that won’t work, but I try to take my own advice, so I decided to sleep on it.

I didn’t sleep. My brain went wild with the new ideas and by the time I did finally pass out I knew what had to be done.

I went to see Kaylie after her morning panel and said I have good news and bad news, which would you like first.

Bad news of course.

Bad news is I have to start from scratch on the third book.

Okay whats the good news.

I am almost done with book four.img_0081

Unfinished stories


Unfinished stories. Like many others, I love Firefly. But how many of us would still love it if it survived four, five, seven, ten seasons? The longer the show lived the more likely it was to disappoint us. They gave us a universe, and characters we loved, and in the decade plus that has passed, we have all been able to tell ourselves the stories that would have been.

The Sword of Truth novels, I just finished the final book, ten years after a finished the second to last book because as things were winding down I realized I was going to be disappointed with the end.

Sometimes unfinished stories are the best kind of stories.

There is a beauty in unfinished stories. A childlike sense of wonderment that you don’t have in stories that go to completion.

On more than one occasion I have had near romantic comedy level meet-cutes. Those first meeting moments that are near perfect. How could anything ever top that moment?

Well, seeing as I am single, there is an argument that you can’t top a great opening. At some point the wit fails, and I just want to wear sweat pants.

But I still love those unfinished stories. The what ifs, the what might have beens.

I’ve been told on a few different occasions that the best parts of my stories are the romance(Sometimes I’ve been told that as an insult other times as a compliment). This has lead me to some contemplation of what genre I want to write in once I wrap up The Primal Age Trilogy.

I’ve always enjoyed Science Fiction as my field of play, but I have been seriously considering a switch up.

Well, as I wrap this up, this post was more for you than me. Writing my thoughts helps me wrangle them. However, if you have opinions, I will gladly listen.


You should know this name: Breanna Fairchild

Extra, extra, read all about it…

My protege has her first publishing credit in Akashic Books Fri-Scifi. Check out her flash fiction piece here:

To tell the story of how proud I am of her for this next step in her writing career, I have to go all the way back to the beginning.

Breanna, or as I call her Tali(We are both huge Mass Effect fans), got stuck with me about five years back. At the time I was finishing up my MFA and was literally owned by the great and lovely Kaylie Jones who had me 40 hours a week on an internship and an additional 20 as a graduate assistant. One day while slaving away at building the ground work for Kaylie Jones Books in my mother’s basement(I know such a writer cliche), I get a phone call from Kaylie.

As had become my custom I watched the phone ring for about ten seconds pondering what task was about to get added to my list that I had titled First Thing Needing Done(The list had well over 40 things on it at one point). I took a deep breath and answered that call.

“Justin, I have a couple of young writers here who like writing sci-fi. I told them I don’t know shit about that but I know a guy who does. Would you be okay with me giving them your information?”

Of those young writers, Breanna was the only one with the fortitude to survive me. I put her through the paces(Good old Stephen King’s On Writing) and kicked her writing teeth in when necessary. Somehow though she has stuck around. I was always tough on her and explained that a day would come when she’d face down publishers and editors(worse yet, reviewers) who don’t care about the blood, sweat, and tears a writer puts into their work so if she didn’t have thick skin she wouldn’t make it.

Over the past five years Breanna has become a nearly daily correspondent in my life, and has grown from fledgling writer into a valued friend of mine. I’ve told her from the beginning that my goal was to give her everything I learned, and to make her better than me. With this short glimpse for the world to see her brilliance, I do believe we can all agree the student is closing in on the mentor.

Proud of you, Tali.