7.01.2018

Crushing Self Minimizing

I had intended to write this post the other day as it was still fresh in my mind. I had some rather well thought out points that I wanted to make, but time, as is oft the case, decided to be short with me and I only got the first part of the post out.

I am currently taking a writing course and there is a raffle prize up for grabs. To be in the running for the prize, I need to write every day.

To be fair, I should be writing every day anyway, but this just caters to the Obliger in me. So, here are. The post that didn't happen is seeing the light of day.

I'm not sure it's a good thing, though. Maybe it is, maybe not. It does tend to fall into the realm of trying to deal with the dreaded Imposter Syndrome that is a constant companion to me and other creative people I know.

And bless your heart, I know you mean well when you tell me that I really need to be proud of what I've accomplished and that I need to embrace the fact that I am a "real writer."  I know you say it from a place of love, but I need to ask. If it were as simple as just telling myself and the world those things and that my mind, the twisted synaptic quagmire that it is, would just believe it and I could go on happily writing, don't you think I would have gone that route already?

I have posted many times in this very space about the self-doubt and the issues I have had with embracing my identity as a writer, both as symptoms of Imposter Syndrome. One thing I haven't really touched on that I've been noticing in myself lately is self-minimizing.

It plays out a little bit like this in my head. If this is something you do, too, feel free to sing along. I'm sure you know the words.

WOW. I am super stoked. I just put up my novella (book, poem, etc). This is an awesome moment for me. It's up there on Amazon. I'm a real-life writer now!!

(Cue Self-Minimizing)

You know, Todd, you probably shouldn't make a big deal about this. I mean they aren't *new* books. Technically they already came out in a box set. And you're kind of nuts if you think that people are going to pay another dollar to get a story they already got just because you threw together a cover for it. 

or

It's *just* a novella. It's not like a real book or anything.

or

Why am I getting excited about this? My friends are putting out *real* books. It's silly of me to think that anyone will want to read these, or share the links, when there are much better things out there. 


Yeah. It's a bit of doubt and self-sabotage.
I get excited that I have *goes over to check KDP* sold 36 copies of both books combined.
(side note: I really am excited. Yesterday that number was 35. Today it's 36).

Does it seem silly? 36 books sold.  Maybe. And if I sit to long and think about it, I won't want to say anything.

I'll convince myself that I would be better served saving the excitement and enthusiasm for when the next book hits. THEN I'll be allowed to get really excited.

And there you have it. Some jacked up inner dialog caught on a loop of somewhere, somehow I don't deserve this joy. That I don't deserve to be this excited over $12.60 in royalties.

But I am.

Have I made any bestseller lists?
Am I able to quit my day job and be a full time writer?
Am I going on a national or international book promotion tour?
Am I guest speaker at any panel (or anything) to do with writing?

No.

Not Yet.

Not Yet.

I add the 'yet' in there because I know I will be. I know that the people that I secretly hope will read and love my books will actually one day do so (and tell me about it).  I know that I will be on a best seller list at some point in my life. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will speak to a group, or even a single person, about my writing and something in that conversation will ignite the spark, set aflame their creative pilot light and their furnace will be up and running, waiting for them to stoke the fires.

I know all of this is going to happen. It's not law of attraction or anything like that. It's just that I've seen it. I just know that it will.

That in itself should be enough to quash the self-minimizing. And yet, it still creeps in. I see it hiding in phrases like "it's no big deal," or "I know it's silly to get excited about this..." or "It's just a ...

The key is to now be on the lookout for it. The more I get an understanding of my patterns of self-sabotage, the more I will be able to fully embrace the me that is here now.

The soon to be bestselling author,
Todd Skaggs

OH...and because I think you'll like these books, you should go over and pick up copies for your Kindle. I'm posting the link to my Amazon Author page because 1--I really like saying "Amazon Author Page" and 2--because you can get both titles there.

amazon.com/author/toddskaggs

And with that, my friends, have a great rest of your evening. I have laundry to put away before hitting the sack.

6.28.2018

Resetting The Why and Crushing Self-Minimizing

Resetting The Why

If I am able to string the words along properly and give some kind of accurate representation on this page that bears some resemblance to the dance they have been doing in my head for the last 3 days, then you may well get two lunchtime bloggy blog posts for the price of one.

And I may again be able to stare down a couple of demons who have been whispering shitty things to me from the shadows of my mind.

There seems to be some kind of romantic notion (good or bad) that springs to mind when you tell someone that you are a writer. Images of  empty whiskey bottles strewn about the room. A glass dish big enough to be considered the murder weapon, littered with butts; evidence of nicotine fueled battles between author and muse. Crumpled sheets of rejected ideas you wished you'd written yourself if only to see where the shop keeper's son stored the dead presidents found in the pocket of the banger, dirt napping dead in front of the store on 2:30 in afternoon on a Sunday in August just before the storms rolled in to clear the stench of piss from the air and the stain of blood from the sidewalk.

The other extreme is equally terrifying. The project board and perfectly detailed notes. Color coded and cross-referenced on a separate print out. Dates and word counts clearly displayed, sticky-notes flapping proudly like the trophy case of the state-champion high school. A subtle nod of intimidation, whether intentional or not, to any who might want to one day throw their own hat into the ring. Dipping their metaphorical and very literal pen into the ink that is both fuel and vessel. Ship and roiling sea.

I won't tell you where I fall on that spectrum. Likely you already have your own idea.

A friend of mine had a setback. Not a minor one. One that knocked the wind out of the sails. One of those 'question the very reason for donning a cutlass and eye-patch and thinking they could make a go of this pirate' kind of thing.  I got a note from them at the time. It said simply, "I need to reexamine my why."

Like many things this particular friend writes, the words hit me in a way I didn't see coming.

Now, to be fair, comparison is death. But you're lying if you say that you don't use someone who inspires you to at least build the guidelines for your own benchmarks. At some point, there is a shift and the milestones and goals are truly your own. The shift from "I want to do XYZ just like so and so" soon becomes, "I want to do XYZ."

But there's always the why.

Why am I a writer?

Not what makes me think I am a writer?, but why do I write?

Why?

The thing that really pissed me off when I started to think about the why was the fact that it didn't seem like too long ago I was just coming to grips with even telling the world that I was a writer. I mean, fuck, man...give me a minute to just be able to say that I am a writer first.

It doesn't work like that.


I'm looking at my words. I'm looking at what I've written in the last 6 months (and it really doesn't feel like much, if I'm being honest), and I realize that I really need to stop and look at my why.

It's time.

And I didn't want to.

Because I already know part of my why. And facing that part in the light of day sucks. It just really...
It just sucks.

I grew up needing to feel like what I did mattered. That it was good. That you liked it. That you wanted me to do more of it.

In one of the hundreds of personality tests out there, I come back as an Obliger. This means that I will put your needs above my own if given a choice. And I did, a lot.

I still do.

And I know that tendency has crept in and morphed into part of my why. Now, having the obliger tendency in itself is not a bad thing. As long as you recognize it and realize that it's ok to actually take some time for you and do things for you before someone else.

That's just it, though. Part of the 'why' for me is because inside me there is still that little kid, unsure, holding out the paper with a space battle drawn in pen, hoping that the person they are showing it to will tell me it's the best thing they've ever seen. But more than that, I want the people I love to tell me that they have read my words. Love them or hate them, I just want to be read.

There. There is it. Part of me writes because I read Stephen King growing up. I read Koontz. I read Tolkien and Asimov.  And Douglas Adams. And Piers Anthony.

And I loved them all. I hung on every word.

As a writer, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't want that. That I don't want someone to fall in love with my voice and my style and to hang on every word, wondering what the next glorious page will hold.

I do. Part of me wants that.

I write because I want to make you happy, and there's a part of me that's vain enough to think that my words can do that. Can bring a feeling, an emotion, and take you to a place you've never been.

I write because there are writers who inspire me. And I want to pay them back for that inspiration. I want to show them that what they wrote matters.

And I want to be that inspiration for someone else.

Yes...it's true. There is a part of me, of every writer that says they would write every day, because to not write is tantamount to not breathing, as dramatic as it sounds. And yes, I would write anyway, even if I knew it wasn't going to be read. But I can tell you that stuff that I write half thinking no one will ever or want to ever read it...that stuff is raw. And it's probably garbage. But yes, I still write.

The other reason I write is because I feel like I'm fairly fucked up in the head. And for me, writing is way I can create characters who may or may not be messed up in the same ways that I am, and I can walk them through scenarios in the story. I can make things happen to them, for them, and by them.
And maybe, just maybe they will get their happily ever after.

Because if the characters in my stories get their happily every after, then maybe I will too.

So..yeah. There's the brutal why. And it's pretty clear that I won't stop writing until either the happy ending happens in real life or I run out of ways for my characters to find theirs. 

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

And, unfortunately, I've run out of minutes in my lunch break (and I just killed the oatmeal cream pie).  The second piece on the crushing self-minimizing will have to wait for another lunch, I'm afraid.

Until then, I hope you'll tell all of your friends about the raw post thrown out on the interwebs by one of your soon to be favorite writers.

Peace
-Todd


6.21.2018

2AM AGAIN

If I am ever asked to write a...what?

OK Fine.

WHEN I am asked to write some kind of article or give an interview about how my writing process works, I might just leave out the part where I think it is actually a good idea to down a Watermelon Rockstar at 1AM on a night where I need to be up just 5 short hours later to do what is commonly referred to as 'going to work.'

And yet, here we are.

Oh, but...against all odds, I am actually sitting at my writing desk (such as it is at the moment) giving you a fresh dose of bloggy randomness.

This is quite unique as it's the first (I think) blog post from the new abode.

It's also the first blog post on this blog that I think I have penned from my bedroom (I'm not counting hotel rooms, and neither should you. Vile things, really).

So, for anyone betting on this...official move in date was March first. It is now June 21st.

I'd like to give a hearty shout out to Summer. Welcome, Summer, you wee right bastard!

My daughter, by the way is VERY lucky that her parents weren't some new-agey/hippy types or she might very well have had some kind of name like Summer Rae or Sunbeam or some shit like that.

Which is to say, she's lucky that her father was afraid of what her mother would do to him if he pulled that shit. I suppose it's bad enough that I got to warp the way we spell her first name.

Someday she'll appreciate that.

Maybe.

Holy shit. Writing. So, that's a thing.

I've been nose deep in working on the first draft of 18 Clocks these days. Stealing words during lunch on the Alphasmart NEO2. No, I haven't been lunching on it, don't be ridiculous.

I've been reading quite a bit more these days than I am used to.  It's a good thing. Weird, but good.

Current mood is...hmm. That's a little trickier, isn't it? Let's just say, it's not full on 1996/97 level depression. More of a dip in the road. If you're still in my life these days and you knew me back in 96/97, first of all, I'm sorry. Second of all, wow, are you a fucking glutton for punishment.

Yeah. I mean, things are going well. On paper there is absolutely no reason for the grey film that's covering everything and yet, there is it. I wipe it away, but in that odd post-shower instant condensation science is cool kind of way, it comes right back. I think a large part of it has to do with getting things settled in the house. Once things get where they need to go and I find places in this space for the shit that's mine, I think a lot of it will go away. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

OH. Shit. I almost forgot.

I have put out Shadow Initiate and Ovid's Folly as standalone e-books on Amazon. The cool thing about that is, that between the 2 titles, I've already sold 30 copies. AND, since they are standalone, I can keep them up on Amazon and my author page won't go away. Now when I tell people my things are on Amazon, they can find me instead of getting a heartfelt collection of life lessons from a rookie College referee. I'm going to track that dude down one day just so I have can have him autograph a book To Todd Skaggs, From Todd Skaggs--coolest name ever bro! And naturally, I'll have at least one paperback by then and I can return the favor. We can then each put the books up on our shelf and pull it down when the record-listening party had hit a lull.

Here's the thing, I'm not tired. I should be. And I probably am (I'm not), but it's likely the Rockstar keeping me alert (or what passes for alert at 2AM). I'm going to go ahead and hit the hay.

I will catch you on the flip side my friends!

Peace,

Todd "Not A College Referee" Skaggs

3.22.2018

I Know You Got Soul

Whenever I wander back over to the shelf that is this blog, I think to myself, "man...I wonder if anyone still reads this anymore?"

And then I see how many days (weeks, months) it's been since I put anything of substance (or sometimes just anything) on here and the prescient words of Erik B come to mind...

"It's been a long time, I shouldn't a left you without a strong rhyme to step to..."

Here, let's just enjoy that groove together for a minute.  Very few other hip hop artists of that period put the depth of the philosophy into the amazing lyrics quite the way Erik B did. I need to meet this dude. I have a feeling he and I could seriously shoot the shit for hours and have some wicked mix tape built up by the end of the night (or early morning as the case may be).


Is it weird? I mean that I see myself being friends with and having conversations with people that others see as 'famous' or untouchable in some way?  I guess it might be. I don't know. I just always figured that things would fall into place to make that happen.  If you had told me 5 years ago that my best friend would be someone who was a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, I might have looked at you a little sideways, but the revelation would not have surprised me. I would have just figured that by having that person in my life, I had something to learn, and something to teach.  And, by the way, that has been the case. As I look at the people in my life now from the outer, extreme circle of facebook acquaintances, to the people who guard my deepest secrets, the universal connector is all of these people enrich my life in some way that I need. I have lessons to learn or lessons to teach, and we're all in the same classroom for this version of the syllabus. 

It's pretty fucking cool, to be honest. If I stop and try to stare directly at what the lesson (and my role in the giving or receiving), I lose it. It flits away until I'm truly ready. And it seems that the times I am truly ready to learn or teach are the time when that is the absolute last thing on my mind. Then it's all of a sudden like, "boom. wake up, bitch. We gots to go to work!"

Jeeeeeeesus, Skaggs, when did you get so philosophical?!?

Somewhere around my 6th birthday.  Every 7 years, my birthday falls directly on Thanksgiving. I was turning 6. My parents were hosting Thanksgiving for the whole famdamily and a bunch of people I was expected to remember 30 years later at a family reunion when they said, "I haven't seen you since you were six years old."  Spoiler alert: I never remembered them, but smiled politely as though I did. 

So, six year old Todd didn't really process too much about Thanksgiving. But birthdays. Yeah buddy. I knew ALL about that. And birthday parties! While the tone and timbre of the parties have changed for me over the years, I learned all I needed to know about parties early on. They were awesome. Especially if they were for you. And the more people at these parties for you, the better.

Can you see where this is going?  

Six years old. Birthday boy. House full of people coming over for Thanksgiving.  Only I thought they were all coming over for my birthday.  Most of them didn't even know it was my birthday. So, no cards. No gifts. I don't remember if there was a cake or not. Actually, I'm sure there was a cake for dessert, but it wasn't a birthday cake.  Second worst Thanksgiving ever (But I wouldn't know that at the time. From that day until the first Thanksgiving without my Grammy (early in the 80's), it stood as the worst Thanksgiving ever. 

Pretty sure Todd the Philosopher was loosed into this world about 4:57PM on that Thursday in 1977.

And he's been here in one form or another ever since learning the lesson of "the world does not revolve around you, son." In fact, I think that might have been a direct quote from my father. It brought tears at the time (or more tears, as I may have already been sitting on my bed with the Star Wars blanket and Mickey Mouse and Pluto as knights sheets and pillow case set) when he said that. 

The details are foggy. But that's the way it is with our origin stories, isn't it? Foggy until that moment when a singular detail emerges with crystal clarity and smacks us dead in the eye with a "Oh fuck yeah!! I had completely forgotten all about that!!"

Did I mention that this was going to be a fairly random and rambling post? I didn't? Shit. My bad. I thought you might have picked up on that when I went from 80's hip-hop to 6 yr. old Todd. 

Well, yeah. Rambling randomness is afoot my friends. It's probably a good time to go back to your bookface feeds if you want. 

OH! That reminds me.

I'm getting sick of The Book of Face again. It happens about every three months.  And then I realize that someone will only communicate with me through that wretched platform, so I stay. And then about 2 or 3 years later it builds to the point where I can no longer take the bullshit.  The Cambridge Analytica BS has tipped that scale a bit early. 

Here's the thing. I'm not dumb. And neither are you. Of Course livre visage has been mining all of our data. From the day that it opened up from campuses to the public, its model has been to collect and mine as much data as possible. Why do you think it stopped being a university only app? Because students don't stay students for ever. It's a limited data set. And if they are going to make money selling data, they need a bigger pool. Boom, faycebooook is now open to the public. 

Why do you think it claims it will never charge to use the service? Because it wants as many people as possible.  Games? Advertising? Messenger? Video? Marketplace? Payments?!? Hell yes. All data  points.

Within 2 weeks at the outside the book of face knows everything about our lives it can possible know. Because we give it the information it needs. The information it sells. They don't need to charge, they are making money hand over fist by us using the "service" they provide.  And forget trying to figure out the algorithms to actually make it useful for yourself (like say, as an author trying to gain readers).

Do you know why retail stores move product and fixtures around in a store?  Studies have shown that if a shopper takes more time trying to find something that has moved, they will walk out of the store having purchased more than they intended to, even if they had a list.  I don't have the study that quotes that, but I work in retail. That shit is real. 

All the bitching that happens when something changes on the feed, or your wall? Makes you spend more time. Clicking on things you might not have click on in your old routine. 

All of that is to say that very soon I will be looking at deleting my FB account. I don't need it. It's annoying the piss out of me. And the reason I came back to the 'social' media in the first place is no longer there. 

I'll still maintain Instagram (also owned by the bookfacers, but still somehow less evil at this point), and Twitter. 

And of course this blog.

If you're worried that you won't see these posts because I don't have them on your wall anymore, you can do this, right now.

Hit CTRL+D. On a Mac, hit COMMAND+D.  Almost all browsers will save the URL of the page. 

Save it in your bookmarks. Come by and see me from time to time.  I'll be around. 
Hell, you might see me on the New York Times Bestseller list some day. (Spoiler alert: You totally will.)

And remember, if you get invited over for dinner, or Christmas, or Thanksgiving...be sure to ask your host if there is a birthday boy or girl. If there is, bring them a present. You will be the hero and change their life forever, I guarantee it. 

Until then my friends, I'll see you on the other side.

And remember, it's not where you're from, it's where you're at. 


Peace,
AT

3.12.2018

Unforgettable, And Some Release Day Promo

I'm late with this post. The day got away from me.
I didn't forget.
I swear I didn't forget it was today.
There's no way I could have forgotten.
But, what if I did?

As I'm reading through the newest release by New York Times Bestselling author, Monica Corwin, that question is going through my mind.  As I'm reading Make Me Forget, I thought about how my life would be different if I had no memory of the person I loved.

I feel in to this book with a certain amount of smug envy, I'm not going to lie.  As a kid I always envied the older generations as they talked about going to the movies on Saturday for the latest Commander Cody serial film in the matinee. The closest we had to that growing up was the three year intervals between Star Wars movies.

And then my friend Monica tells me that she is releasing a couple of her books, chapter by chapter, on the Radish app.

I fell in to the serialization pit at point. First one chapter. Then the next. And before I new it, I was checking my phone to see if the next chapter has posted.

After the tears and heartache of a few chapters, I had to have the next chapter! If only to convince myself that it was all going to work out between Murphy and Mara.

After all, you can't just forget that kind of chemistry with someone one.

Can you?

I'm going to throw some of the blurb at you now, because I think Monica does a better job than I do of convincing you that you need to read this book. Although, I will tell you that the reason this post is later is because I was busy reading and re-reading, and wiping wet stuff off my screen (eww...not THAT you perv) trying to finish this book.

You really should grab a copy of it so we can have something to talk about over coffee!

And now here's some cool release day promo magic, courtesy of the folks over at Give Me Books!

-AT










He makes me burn.

He makes me ache.

He makes me forget.

Since grade school Murphy Wilcox and I fought incessantly. But one drunk night before my last military deployment changed everything. At least that is what he tells me. Along with the hundreds of scorching hot emails we shared.

Fast forward four years and Murphy is the only connection I have to my past. The only connection I have to the woman I used to be. Amnesia is a bitch but apparently so was I.

**25% of the profit from this book will be donated to the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, in hopes that it can help fund further research into PTSD**






Purchase Links

99c for a limited time

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Available at other retailers soon






Author Bio

Monica Corwin is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. She is an outspoken writer attempting to make romance accessible to everyone, no matter their preferences. As a Northern Ohioian, Monica enjoys snow drifts, three seasons of weather, and a dislike of Michigan football. Monica owns more books about King Arthur than should be strictly necessary. Also typewriters...lots and lots of typewriters.



Monica's Author Links

3.03.2018

Hashtag Next Chapter

For the past couple weeks, I have been using a tag #NextChapter on IG/Twitter/FB posts involving my move. The appropriateness of that particular phrasing just kind of hit me squarely in the third eye with a nice bout of shakubuku tonight. About 10 seconds ago, as a matter of fact.

But I might be getting ahead of myself here. Don't worry. Happens to me all the time.

First off, this post (not the content, but the actual post) is overdue. It's been over a month since I've posted anything.

Here's what's funny about that, to me. And not funny in a humorous way, but funny in a 'huh, I guess I never thought of it that way.' kind of way.

Thing is, when I first started this blog (well any of them, actually), the thought was always that I would write them for me. To clear the cobwebs out. To get my daily exercise of the writing muscle as I was also working on the elusive book that I'm writing.   And that might have been how this blog or any of my blogs, started.

Somewhere along the way, I think it became something more of a communication. I'm sitting at the dining room table (yes, apparently I now have an actual honest to god dining room), and I'm writing this to you. A letter to a friend.

At least I hope we're friends. Because if we're not, one of us is wasting the other's time. It's probably me. I get that a lot.

I got a text from a friend. It was straightforward. They told me that they missed reading the blogs. That's when I figured out that they aren't just for me, with you along for the ride. I underestimated how much people enjoy them.

In any event, can I just tell you that February was CRAZY. We're talking Jennifer Jason Leigh Single White Female crazy, mmmkay?

In January, the first day of January as a matter of fact, I found out that I would have the opportunity to move from my apartment in Westerville into my grandparents' home in Worthington.  Since then, the exercise of actually leaving my apartment and getting all of my things over here has been a roller coaster of clusterfuckery.

There are probably multiple blog posts lurking just under the surface of my psyche detailing the ups and downs and in-betweens that my mind and body went through with this move. It was a lot more emotional for me than leaving a marriage of 12 years, if that tells you anything of some of the hell that was playing out behind my watering eyes and painted on smile.

But that's not what this one is about.

I'm going to take you out of the moment for a second. I need you do me a favor. I need you to go over and read a post that my friend Jamie wrote. Jamie is a writer. And she's a friend. Nope. Strike that. She's family.  And reading this post of hers nearly brought me to tears (and coupled with what happened Thursday night, I was in tears), but here. See this link? I'm going to need you to click on the link and read her post. And then come back here.

Here's the link:

https://jamieisawriter.com/2018/02/27/i-deserve-good-things-so-do-you/

Go ahead, I'll wait.

No, seriously. I'm not continuing until you go read it. It's important.

Did you read it? You did? You know I can see if you click out of my blog post to go read it, right?

OK. Cool. Now I know for sure you read it.

And no, I can't really tell if you did--we're going on the honor system here. But all the same, I'm glad you did. It is important to the state of mind I have been in lately. In general in my life, and in particular with my writing.

Jamie talks about gratitude. And looking at what you have in your life. With the key refrain being that she deserves nice things, and so do you.

That resonated with me.

Deserving nice things. For the longest time I thought that the nice things, the good life, those were things that someone else deserved. I don't know what penance I was paying and why I thought I needed to wear the hair shirt, but that was the role I constantly found myself in.

And then Jamie's post kind of knocked the sleep from my third eye.

It clicked.

Starting with the move in to this house.  Then her post. Then seeing Ernest Cline on Thursday night.

It all fucking clicked.

I do deserve nice things. It's ok that things are working out in my favor. It's acceptable to be happy that fortunate events are occurring in my life.

That's where I am. Embracing the change.

And by embrace, I mean accepting it.  It's not easy. But it is really the next chapter.

OH! Right. When I started this bit of rambling, I talked about the next chapter.

So, yeah. This is a milestone event in my life. My last move was over 5 years ago and that was after the second divorce. It was bittersweet.

And in the midst of it all, some amazing things happened. One of those things was seeing Ernest Cline, the author of Ready Player One. If you haven't read that book yet, you need to.

You can read that after this post, I'm almost done and I can assure you once you start the book, you'll want to keep reading and then you'll forget all about me and I'll be sad. And then you'll come back a month later and be all 'oh man, Todd, I'm sorry. I was doing life things and stuff, but I'm back now.'

Like me, I'm back now.

And in the coming week or two, you can look for the following things to show up here:

  • What's it's like to move into your family history
  • A short story about the price of magic
  • A piece on the magic of meeting your heroes, even if you didn't know they were
Along with pieces on what it's like to be a writer, living a dual life as a normal, everyday adult.

Because that's what I am.

A writer, I mean. The normal adult bit is up for debate. 

Until then my friends, have an awesomesauce weekend!!

Love,
Todd






1.31.2018

Picking A Single Thread to Pull

There is something you need to know about a barrel roll. If you are a passenger in a plane that is doing a barrel roll you are convinced that the pilot has lost all sanity and has put your lives in the hands of fate in some misguided hope that physics will not pick this day to blink and that somehow, after what seems like forever, the plane and the contents of your stomach, will right themselves and continue on their merry way.

If you are the pilot performing the barrel roll, you know that exactly all of that is true.

For those of you that might be unclear about the whole barrel roll metaphor, go to google.com and type in 'do a barrel roll' and hit enter. I'll wait.

OK, everyone back on the same page? Good. 

I bring that example up for two reasons. One, I think it's a pretty killer opening for a book I have yet to even think of using it in. And two, my life is in a barrel roll right now. From the outside I'm sure it looks tricky and neat and breathtaking. But there's definitely a different vibe from within the plane.

Thing is, I'm not sure if I'm the pilot or the passenger. I'm relatively sure that I'm the pilot. Which means I started this.  And it means it's up to me to finish it. Assuming, of course, that physics doesn't blink somewhere along the way.

2018 is the year of some major shifts. Not all of these were accounted for when I made my rather ambitious writing goals for the year.  Of course, it is only January and I am in no way throwing in the towel, but I am giving myself permission to not beat myself up over not being as far along as I wanted to be.  I am WAY behind on the Ray Bradbury challenge, but I have no doubt that I can catch up and have 52 stories of varying length and quality for your reading pleasure by year's end. 

So, there's that. Along with that little hiccup, there's the whole uprooting and moving thing. I suppose I buried the lead on that, huh?  Well, yeah. I am moving from my apartment in to a house at the end of February. So, basically I have a month to box up and move things from my little apartment to a larger house. It's a wonderful move for me, and definitely a great thing, but the fact is, it does affect my writing. I feel guilty for taking the time to write when I know I should be packing or doing some other move-related thing. The net result is usually that I freeze and do nothing. Which, to be honest, is much worse. Recognizing the issue is the first step, though, so hopefully I can work through that. 

In other completely random news...there's the whole Mall of America thing. Last year, the Mall had a contest to get some kind of writer in residence for their big anniversary. I applied. I didn't get it. Oh, that's OK. I didn't expect to. I wasn't young enough or hip enough or established enough as an author.  But the bright side is, the story snippet I submitted as part of my application has some workable threads in it that I'm going to pull back in and make a story (or maybe a book or maybe a series). 

It's only a start, but since I feel bad for not having a short story for you this week, I'll give you a taste of what that story started out like. I'm not sure where it will wind up before the year is over, but I suppose we'll find out together, huh?

Enjoy, and have an awesome day!!

-Todd

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Seth: Sage of the Food Court
By Todd Skaggs

(c)2018; All Rights Reserved


I want to write the story of Seth, and the true magic he discovers at the Mall:

Seth was a child of the 80's. He spent every free moment at the mall. If he wasn't in school or at a meeting of Mr. Hanley's Computer Club, he was at the mall. 

To him the Mall was pure magic. The smell of the t-shirt shop as the press fused some transfer of a Z-28 on a sky blue ringer tee.  The impending brain freeze after too quickly drinking the ICEE (suicide mix, of course). These were all enchanting. 

Nothing, however, rivaled the feelings that Seth felt when he set foot in the arcade. 

It was safe to say that by the time Seth graduated high school, the quarters spent at Funway Freeway could have put a nice down payment on at least the most basic of transport  for his college years. 

None of it was wasted, however. Seth was convinced that it was his somewhat fantastical view of malls that led him here.

Twenty-five years later, Seth was sitting the HR Office in the inner chambers of the Mall of America.  He had applied for the position of IT Operations Manager.  After a grueling interview process, Seth was one of the final five candidates.

All that remained was the online technical aptitude test.

Sitting in a room, Seth looked at the other four.

The competition.

Seth knew they didn't stand a chance. He was a wiz at anything to do with computers. Some called the work he did magic, but he was too modest to call attention to his skills.

Unless he needed to.

Today was the day for him to pull out all of the stops. This was his dream job.


Seth was right about one thing all those years ago. The malls were magic.

All across America, the malls were the local epicenters of the community's magic. This wasn't advertised, of course, as magic wasn't widely accepted as real all those years ago.

From the rural strip malls housing the natural magic of the farming communities. To the open air malls of the West Coast, boasting more of a holistic flow.  The malls were, and are, still the centers of magic in our country.

But there is one mall that stands tall as the beacon. The Mall of America.  The largest mall in the United States is also the headquarters and command center of all of the magical in our nation. 

Seth couldn't know this. 

But he was about to find out. 

And with his new job, comes a new set of responsibilities.  Shoplifters and security cameras aren't the only thing he will need to keep at bay.

Our adventure begins with a simple online aptitude test and culminates in a game of cat and mouse as old as magic itself!


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Crushing Self Minimizing

I had intended to write this post the other day as it was still fresh in my mind. I had some rather well thought out points that I wanted to...