For the past six years, I have had the honor of working with the students at the BETA center in Orlando. The young women I work with are amazing and it isn’t a cliche to say that that inspire me everyday. Yes, sometimes they frustrate me. But, they always make it worth it. Their stories would break your heart, but those are their stories and not mine to tell. There is a lot more to the BETA center than my school. A lot more. They help 1,000’s of families every year in Central Florida each year. They really do change lives.
Please consider giving or at least sharing this link with others. BETA Center Go-Fund-Me . These beautiful young women are trying to do what is best for their children like all of us they could use some help.
Over the weekend, Jessica, a writer and teacher, went to social media to ask for help. She is starting her battle with cancer. At 32 years of age, she is about to battle for her life and she is facing it with the dignity and grace of both a lady and a warrior.
Treatment is expected to last six months during which Jessica will under going chemo and radiation for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Nodular Sclerosing Stage 2a – cancerous cells in lymph nodes throughout chest and neck. Even with her diagnosis, Jessica says that she is lucky because Lymphoma is one of the most treatable cancers. Life, however, doesn’t stop because she has cancer. There is no cancer time out for Jessica’s bills. She is asking for help covering the medical bills as they come in and to help pay for other cancer related expenses.
Jessica is an amazing woman and writer. Any help you could provide, even if it just boosting the signal, it would be greatly appreciated.
Six days, six pages and a cold. This morning, I so wished badly not to have to get out of bed and go to work. Even as I type this I am contemplating how badly I need to go to work this evening. I am thinking that I made a mistake coming to work. My body is now screaming at me. I need to go to sleep. I want to go back and go to bed.
But, I am not going back to bed.
Not now and not for at least a couple of hours. I am toughen it out. It is actually easier for me……
Well, days 6 and 7 were eaten by the cold. Completely eaten. Nothing at all is left of day 7 and all that remains of day 6 is above.
By lunchtime, I forced myself to go home and rest. There was no point in pushing myself and there I have been for the last two days. In bed. In a sorted pjs and comfy clothes. The only part of I enjoyed was having a milkshake for lunch and getting to read whenever I wanted. The spirit was willing but the flesh was contaminated.
I could have and maybe should have stayed out and extra day. But I made it to the end of the day and I am back on track with my pages. Tomorrow’s page will be different than the previous days, less journal and more fiction.
Depression and self-doubt are my two greatest struggles as a writer.
Reading one my favorite author’s blogs, I realized that I spent more time with depression and its friend self-doubt than I have spent working on the craft of writing or any of my other passions.
It weights on me, holds me down and keeps me from working on my dreams. It keeps me running in the rat race and not breaking the glass that keeps me contained.
My birthday was a joyous. Friends and family came to celebrate as well as laugh and sing. Less than a week later, I am struggling to right myself in a sea of emotions. I want so much to write. To write and write until I finish another book and then another has been published.
Somewhere in there, I would have a family of my own and not be in debt. There would also be a garden and a library where I can read, nap and repeat to my heart’s content.
At 38, I fear that I am running out of time. Depression and self-doubt are wearing me down.
I feel my feet dragging through my life. Depression telling me that I am not worthy. Self-doubt pointing out ever failure to confirm every whisper that Depression utters into my soul.
Words identify us. Words and the perception that they create define us.
The word that defined me and still defines me is survivor. No matter what is that comes at me, I survive. There is comfort in that and there is a lot of fear. Fear that I will never learn to live another way and fear that this is the only life meant for me.
I am not trying to be dramatic that is just what Depression and Self-doubt do to me at time.
In the end, what makes me a survivor always wins out. The ability to keep going and not to stop. Not to stop trying to do more than survive and to keep writing. The next book will come.
The story is based loosely on the events of Judges 11 where Jephthah (Yeptha) promises to sacrifice the first thing he sees upon his return home for victory over his enemies. The first thing, he sees his daughter and only child.
So one might expect that the story to be told from the father’s perspective and involve his internal struggle keeping such a horrible promise. This is however an installment of the Zombie Bible and Stant Litore has a way of turning the story you know into something beautifully different. Something powerful.
Jephthah’s daughter is marked for death and flees to the hills where she has to fight for her life from the unburied dead (zombies). She fights off the dead knowing that at any moment, her father could appear with his stone blade in hand to take her life on the sacrificial alter. Through the course of her struggles, she remembers the songs of her mother and how she stood again the unburied dead with only a stick. She fights to keep her death close and her own.
The centuries to come will not remember her name. But generations of young women will climb the hills to remember her.
Litore once again proves that he is a master storyteller. This story didn’t let me go for a moment and literally left me grasping for breath at end. He has taken the story of Jephthah’s daughter and elevated beyond the scanty lines in Judges 11 to something incredibly powerful. No matter what your faith or spiritual path, there is something that you will find to love in this book. I really am in awe of Litore at this moment and can’t wait to see what he writes next.
I am grateful for my depression. Grateful for the moments of joy that I feel in between the lows create by years of ugly mental paradigms, negative self-talk and off kilter brain chemistry.
It makes me appreciate the friends new and old who have stuck by my side when my brain has been in a negative loop and I’ve spend too much time dwelling on things I cannot change. They haven’t punished me for things out of my control and see the woman fighting to get better and healthier as beautiful. They acknowledge my struggle and support me the best way they can. When I go on too much they tell me or change the subject in a not so subtle way to let me know it is time to give it a rest. Sometimes they tell me where they are so I understand that I am not so alone.
It makes me appreciate that they aren’t perfect and I can’t expect them to be. They won’t always have time for me and my problems which also makes me examine those problems a little more closely. If it is really an emergency then they will be there as soon as they can be. If it is something I can handle on my own I do. It may be frustrating to them when I don’t reach out when they think I should, but I am getting better at knowing when to ask for help and when I really can do it on my own.
My depression makes me less likely to sweat the little things as it were because my time and my emotions are simply too precious to waste on them. I need to spend my time working on the big picture and the details that really affect it not the other way around. It doesn’t matter if the picture frame is crooked if the roof is leaking. My priorities need to be in line with my goals.
Smiles are precious things. So are tears. And I have been learning that sometimes I just need to cry and say whatever ridiculous thing has been twisting my emotions. Sometimes they are silly. Sometimes they aren’t. But either way, it is far better to have them out than in.
“In 900 years of space and time, I’ve never meet anyone who wasn’t important before.” From Doctor Who
One of my favorite authors, Stant Litore, has begun Kickstarter campaign to help fund his latest project.
Here is it in his own words. If you can please invest in this unique project, thank you.
Whether you want to read about a zombie apocalypse in the Middle East in 1160 BC, or in second-century Rome, or enjoy the dark, brooding, philosophical horror of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah entombed with the undead in a dry well — The Zombie Bible has incredible stories to tell.
I began the series in 2009 and published the first novel in fall 2011.
I’m still struggling to break even financially with the series, given my daughter’s continuing medical crisis; she has suffered debilitating seizures since she was 11 days old. A moment of profound wonder and blessing in my life was the moment that her medical bills and my royalties began arriving on the very same day, allowing me to cancel out those expenses.
So far, this set of standalone, read-them-in-any-order novels includes:
Death Has Come Up into Our Windows – an Old Testament prophet trapped in a dry well with the ravenous dead.
What Our Eyes Have Witnessed – Polycarp has a Gift. He can bring rest and peace to the restless dead. But Rome might burn him for it.
Strangers in the Land – A zombie apocalypse in 1160 BC Israel. Four must stand against the dead…if they can first stand together.
Right now, as I write this, I’m wrapping up the fourth book, No Lasting Burial, retelling a New Testament story (you can read about it here), and I am deep into planning something amazing.
Now I want to do something even bigger. Something even more ambitious. Something daring.
This summer, I want to undertake my largest project yet — a project of a truly epic scope. A 700-1000 page novel in which one courageous woman will lead thousands of refugees from the ruins of zombie-infested Rome. This novel has quiet, intimate moments and panoramic set pieces grander than anything I’ve ever attempted:
The Colosseum converted into a refugee camp, defended by a small band of gladiators
The descent of an angel by night over Rome (and by angel, don’t think of a little cherub of wings. Think seraph. Picture a being of grace and beauty and unthinkable power, a being that might juggle supernovas like tennis balls).
A face-off with the Roman emperor while zombies blaze in flames behind his throne.
A desperate exodus down a road lined with tens of thousands of crosses, on which the Roman legions in their rage and grief have crucified the writhing, moaning undead.
A final escape sequence that will leave you awed. All I can tell you about it right now is that it is big.
I am very excited about this project. More than I can possibly express.
I have proven that I can deliver a moving, evocative, and thrilling novel that mashes up history, biblical stories and themes, and zombie horror. Now I want to take this to the next level. I want to deliver not just a zombie story, but a zombie epic.
Undertake some ambitious research this summer and fall, while I continue outlining and sketching the key sequences of the novel.
Secure a series of retreats or a “sabbatical” during the winter 2013-14 and spring 2014 — time away to just write. There are 1,000 pages of story to tell, and for both my readers’ sake and my own, I don’t want it to take as long to complete as A Game of Thrones.
I want to ask for your help raising a $10,000 crowd-sourced advance to fund my work on this novel, and I want to invite you into the excitement of its creation.
Some of the higher-tier prizes you’ll find over to the right offer exclusive previews into the novel in the midst of the creative process — or even offer you opportunity to brainstorm with me. I hope you’ll check them out, and consider joining me in this adventure in a hands-on way.
But even if all you have is a dollar in your pocket, I’d appreciate your help. A kickstarter campaign is all-or-nothing; I have to make that $10,000 goal to receive any funding. And a dollar may make all the difference in helping make this unique novel happen.