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25 years.

Take a minute and look at this picture. Really look at it.

This was taken at the reception party after my brother’s wedding in 2014.

What you are looking at are two terrified people.

She knew something about her was eroding. She felt broken. In new ways every day. She saw it. We both did.

We didn’t know what. Only that something was terribly, terribly wrong. There was a malicious and mean ghost haunting us. She was struggling, even in this picture, to ignore it. Suffering silently in terrible ways to appear ‘normal’ to everyone on the outside.

We hadn’t danced in public since our wedding.

She had been recruited to fill in for one of the bridal party at the last minute. Her terror over what could happen in front of people in that church is something I will never understand how she overcame.

She forced herself to be there for our new sister-in-law, absolutely terrified. The reality of any number of accidents during the ceremony, and her humiliation and being mortified and embarrassed if any of them did take place, gave her panic attacks throughout the day.

In that picture, she is exhausted. She is terrified. She is fighting a brain that will not cooperate.

And we had no idea why. The two people in that picture are lost in a storm they can not see, name, or know how to fight.

That was taken in 2014. It would be two more years of confused fear before we would see her MRI and know what was changing her. Two more years of misunderstanding, of falls, of exhaustion, of cognitive fragmentation, of accidents, of shrinking worlds, of robbery of her capacities, of tremours, and of tears. She would lose her ability to drive, robbing her of her independence and making her feel more like a burden with every day that passed. She would doubt her ability to be a good mother, a good wife, and a good person, as her disease would chew away at her abilities and their life.

Every day was becoming a fight in a long war, and she did not know she was in it. Neither of us did.

We were simply trying together to hang on.

I was in the same room with my father, who had not recognized me that night when he had first seen me. My brother had to tell him who I was. My mind was on fire with threat. My children were meeting their grandfather for the first time. In this picture, my hyper-vigilance was cranked to the point of fracture.

There is a lot going on in this photograph.

Fear. Doubt. Loss. Grieving. Exhaustion. Two people lost in a fight they can’t name and may not win, because they don’t know how.

In that photograph, she was supporting me as much as I was her.

Those two people are holding each other together in equal measure, surrounded by the dark.

Full of doubt about how the next years would unfold.

Six years ago. We’ve been managing the storm ever since. Once we could label it, two years later, once we knew what the ghost looked like, once we saw her MRI, we had a name. And we could know what we were fighting.

Today, Lesley and I have arrived at our 25th wedding anniversary.

That’s half of my life. And half of hers. Agreeing to face storms of all natures, unknowable and unpredictable, as a team.

We’re not ideal. We’re not perfect. Not even close. We’ve struggled, fallen, been cursed by our mistakes, and battered by life’s strikes.

But we’re together. We’re a team. Somehow, we’re here, in the storm. Still holding on.

Happy 25th anniversary, Princess. I love you.

You’re the strongest person I know. Even when you break.

No matter the storm; hold on to me. For as long as you can.

Don’t be afraid if you weaken.

I will not let go.

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My Princess Has MS: Ep. 9! (Driving Miss Lesley).

In which I covet Jeeps, Princess recalls getting lost, and we discuss the impact of her giving up her license.

Click on the file below for our latest episode, and feel free to share, like, comment, or follow! Please tell your friends, or anyone you think might benefit who has Multiple Sclerosis or is a loved one of someone who does.

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My Princess Has MS Podcast: Logo Reveal!

As you probably heard on the show, I’m a huge nerd. Word nerd, Nerd nerd, and Tech nerd. Logos are cool! So I’m busting to reveal our podcast’s new one!!

Makes it feel all real and professional and stuff!
Thanks to my endlessly talented cover and graphics designer Dylan Edwards for this!

Les doesn’t get very excited about such things.

I get very excited about such things. Good colour, cartoon style, appealing visuals…

I know, I get too excited about such things.

Pretty snazzy, huh?

Watch for it on all the Social Things when we announce new episodes each Thursday!








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My Princess Has MS Podcast: Episode 1

So, we’re going to try this podcasting thing!

Click on the link below to listen to the first episode of our new podcast, My Princess Has MS. It’s a bit rough, as it’s our first go at a live, unscripted peek into what it’s like living with Multiple Sclerosis.

As former broadcasters, we’ll be endlessly trying to tweak the audio quality. But we’d love to hear what you think about the content!

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Engen Books Podcast, The Write Project, Episode 4: There shall be no other name.

Pseudonyms? Nah. Not unless I turn to writing erotica. And, if I did, I wouldn’t be announcing it here, because such things make my ears blush.

But it was a question posed on The Write Podcast, so I jumped at the chance for a little self-promotion and the opportunity to gab about anything writing.

You can catch the show here:

And if there is ever a Soundcloudpocalypse, here’s an archived copy:

I’m just one guest in a host of other Atlantic Canadian talent who give their opinions about pen names. And they are great people, so you should give them a listen. Spoiler: one person already is using one, but Mary Walsh (yes, THAT Mary Walsh) is not.



Juris Lunence: A Tale of the 10th Lunen Regiment by [Laybolt, B.C.]
Scoundrel. Survivor. Sniper. Saviour. Grab your copy of Juris Lunence and read the backstory of one of the 10th Lunen Regiments’ favourite characters today by clicking on the image!

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Engen Books Podcast, The Write Project, Episode 3: The Starving.

The Starving is a great book. It’s a horror western with a Lovecraftian flavour and the brainchild of fellow Atlantic Canadian writer Jon Dobbins. So for all of those reasons, I’m a fan.

Dobbins has many. Some of them are amazing writers themselves. Engen Books’ The Write Project podcast was kind enough to invite me to join them to discuss The Starving on the show.

For posterity (and out of sheer narcissism), I’m archiving the podcasts the show’s host, Matthew Ledrew, dares to put me on, so if there are any issues with the link, you can also listen here:

If you listen, feel free to use my segment to frighten insects out of your house or curdle paint. I’m told my voice can do that. The other writers are amazing Atlantic Canadian talent who are the rising wave of the kind of creative talent this part of the world is becoming known for.

And if the old west is one of your favourite places to experience existential terror, get your copy of The Starving and support an up and coming writer by clicking on the image below.

The Starving by [Dobbin, Jon]













Juris Lunence: A Tale of the 10th Lunen Regiment by [Laybolt, B.C.]
Scoundrel. Sniper. Saviour.
Click on the link to grab your FREE copy of the backstory about one of the 10th Lunen Regiment’s most notorious characters today!

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Crazy Fast Amazon Developments in Canada!

When I started out with Amazon’s KDP service, customer delivery was less than stellar. I had customers on the other side of Canada simply just not get their book because they weren’t home to receive it, and a wait time from click to doorstep of longer than three weeks.

Well, welcome to 2019!

Not only was I grateful to hear a reader had ordered both of my novels for Christmas (Merry Christmas!) on Thursday, but I was amazed when she told me it was delivered Saturday morning!

Seriously.

That’s a huge improvement.

To think that we’ve arrived at a time when the purchase click creates a printed book, ships it, delivers it into the customers hands, records and sends statistics on the sale directly to the author, and instantly deposits their advance, all in under 48 hours, is pretty mind-blowing, even for a jaded old get-off-my-lawner like myself.

Maybe this isn’t news to our American KDP comrades (and maybe even Canadian indies operating through KDP have already grown accustomed to this), but it sure is a rapid advancement in business efficiency for me.

Speaks well for the future of all indies. In a world where new creative product is, I feel, the biggest of future economies, making our products available faster for cheaper, and, I assume, catching us up to speed with the American ‘Zon market practices are the kind of assist we can all benefit from.

Speaking of cheaper, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that both paperbacks of To Drown in Sand and its sequel, To Drown in Ash, are on sale in time for the holidays, in case you’d fancy a copy.

Juris Lunence: A Tale of the 10th Lunen Regiment
Scoundrel. Saviour. Sniper..
Get your FREE copy today!

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Motivation Monday: Mah Puppy Wishes You Success

Dis is mah Puppeez. Herz is hopin’ your last week of NaNoWriMo is the bestest, and makes you as proud of your writing as she is of her bow tie.

Herz gots deh ‘Boofuls and deh ‘Dorbles.

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HUGE News: Sand Audiobook underway!!

I’ve been keeping it under my hat for awhile now, and believe me, it’s been a struggle to keep my mouth shut. (A constant struggle at the best of times).

But I can finally announce that recording for the To Drown in Sand audiobook starts in two weeks!!

My friends over at Iron Wave Studios have announced that they are good to go and will begin production in less than 14 days!

The cast has been picked, the mics are hot, and the crew is ready!

Venturing into the audiobook field is a new world for both me and the Ironworks gang, so there’s lots to learn. I’ll keep all of you blog peeps updated as things unfold (read: catch fire and trip me up as I stumble my way through this new venture).

If you haven’t read it, To Drown in Sand is Book One of my trilogy about a man who goes to a war zone to find peace. His regiment is populated by people from all the different Atlantic Canadian cultures.

Since it’s military sci-fi, those places don’t exist anymore (the earth died; sorry), their accents and cultural nuances are what stand out in their dialogues, and would make for a challenge for any production team.

That, and the signature sound of a rail gun rifle. I am dying to hear THAT.

Almost as much as hearing the people in my head given voice. Surreal.

To Drown In Sand: Book One of the 10th Lunen Regiment Trilogy
Order your copy today! On sale for Christmas!

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WARHAMMER SERIES ANNOUNCED!

If you haven’t heard of Warhammer, I’m sorry. Not for me, but for you.
But don’t worry. You’ll soon be assimilated into The Emperor’s Will. We all will be.

Warhammer Fantasy, and it’s bigger brother Warhammer 40,000, is a cold, terrifying, gothic, brutal, and absolutely addictive set of tabletop games and stories that is available in almost every language in every city of every country in the known world.

Warhammer 40,000 is an immersive saga in the military sci-fi genre that has been turning into a global powerhouse since 1987. I truly believe it is the only remaining modern myth, after Star Wars.

Related image
There simply is not enough time.

Warhammer is dense with lore. No, that’s not quite right. it’s monstrous.

Yes, I own a copy of the holy tome. And yes, I will be buried with it.
These are just 24 of the 45+ titles within JUST ONE SERIES called The Horus Heresy.
And there’s more…
Annnd more…
Seriously. This is a paltry collection compared to others. Don’t judge me.
And yes. I have a LOT of bones. #research.

While we wait to see if any original stories remain to be told within the context of our current creative, sci-fi-fantasy choices (*CoughCoughTheMandalorianCough*), Warhammer’s people have been holding back from going mainstream for decades. But that may all change with what they announced in July, which I missed, because life, but I grieve for my lapse in vigilance.

(Lapses in vigilance are VERY BAD in Warhammer. VERY. BAD.)

To the cardiac risk of a world full of fans, Games Workshop has announced it is going forward with a live TV series.
That series will be based on Eisenhorn, the creation of one of my favourite authors of all time, Mr. Dan Abnett.

Because the only thing more frightening than the Inquisition are GW Lawyers. Seriously. This is an image in paint with a link. You’re not even allowed to upload the page image from io9.

This is enormous news. The Eisenhorn series is three books deep, and THEN there’s the Ravenor series, and THEN the Bequin Trilogy, where Eisenhorn and Ravenor meet…(see how crazy deep this is?)

NEVERMIND how it could possibly, if it is executed properly, tee up the whole Warhammer 40K universe, which already has millions of hungry fans waiting to consume anything this IP produces. If strategized, written, and marketed properly (an admittedly huge ask in 2019), prepare yourselves for the most immersive sci-fi world you have ever seen. And yes, I mean you, Star Wars (not knocking Star wars at all; I watched the originals on a VCR. And still have them. So there).

But the time is ripe for a whole new world in fantasy and sci-fi. And Warhammer offers that in spades.







Juris Lunence: A Tale of the 10th Lunen Regiment
Saviour. Sniper. Survivor.
Download the FREE story of one of The 10th Lunen Regiment’s most notorious characters today!

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Weird experiences only writers would understand 2.

That moment when one innocent message tips you into a rabbit hole of intriguing research from which you never emerge but finally do two days later…

…with a crammed research browser full of war and guns…

…and you suddenly find yourself craving a replica musket because muskets.

I can haz boomstick? No. really. I can haz BOOMSTICK.

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“Okay, writahs! Novembah is here!”

NaNoWriMo is upon us! Now is the time to dive into that work you’ve been planning all year.

By gross income measures, all writers are probably bums.

I’m not the biggest NaNoWriMo’er. Intensive spurts are not my style. I’m more of a disciplinary, brick-on-the-wall-every- day sort of writer.

My view, every day, at 5 a.m. Yeh. Diagnosis imminent.

But I do love the blizzard of activity that hits the writing community every day-after-we-toss-the-costumes day, especially in the indie world.

In that spirit, I’ll be posting All The Memes to keep the bear poked. And I’ll be posting a host of playlists that hopefully will keep your fingers flying on the keyboard for hours on end. I find nothing eats time like a few hours of ambiance sounds tailored to your character’s environment.

(NEXT TIME: Sci-Fi Sounds and Scores!)




Juris Lunence: A Tale of the 10th Lunen Regiment by [Laybolt, B.C.]
Sniper. Scoundrel. Saviour.
Click on the image to get the FREE short story about one of the 10th Regiment’s most notorious characters!

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Writing Playlist: Sci-Fi.

Want to cruise the Andromedan Belt? Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion? Settle in for the long shuttle run from Cixca to Shastre? Who doesn’t, really.

In celebration of NaNoWriMo, feel free to find the sounds in my Sci Fi playlist that work for you, put on a hot pot of writer fuel, and get back to the keyboard.

Behold! Propellant for the creation of fiction, jetted into your earholes.

Click on the thing for The
Things.





From sipping perk-caff on a star liner to ducking and scrambling to avoid getting your brains blown out on the battlefield. So much space goodness.

Check in regularly; my playlists are constantly being pruned, grown, and added to. Ambiance producers are soul gardeners to me.

Hopefully it will inspire you to hit your word count today! Enjoy!




Juris Lunence: A Tale of the 10th Lunen Regiment by [Laybolt, B.C.]
Sniper. Scoundrel. Saviour.
Click on the image to get the FREE short story about one of the 10th Regiment’s most notorious characters!

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Canadian Indies Rejoice! CAD List pricing detail I missed!

In my post last week about the recent Amazon move to provide direct printing, shipping, and list prices here in Canada, I missed a crucial upside detail.

Click on the link for the official edict from the ‘Zon!

While this development levels the playing field for Canadian indie authors by cutting the time from that holy ‘Buy Now’ button click to doorstep arrival just in time for winter, it also triggers an exciting benefit pointed out by Engen Books ‘ savvy entrepreneur Matthew LeDrew:

Canadian indies can now list their titles at separate prices than their U.S. listings!

Want to run a weeks’s sale (other than Amazon’s existing sales deals) for your Canadian fans? Well, now you can!

Want to drop the first novel in a series for a Canada-based promotional run? Now you can do that too!

While you could always drop the price listing of any title, the end price was bonded to the USD listing and automatically increased for exchange. This resulted in a discouraging price difference between the .com and .ca listings, and made the classic $XX.99 pricing option much trickier in Canada. Now, all titles in both Canada and the U.S. can be the same price listing.

What’s the downside?

Naturally, Canadian authors who drop their exchange-rate balanced price listing take a hit in their royalty payment. And, as the exchange rate fluctuates, that can be substantial. However, if indies are experiencing slowed sales because of awkward CAD pricing, the flexibility allowing them to adjust their price to a more palatable, attractive listing may be the boost their sales needed.

And, the optics of balanced pricing, plus the knowledge of CAD-specific listing for readers from home may be another benefit for all creators of independent Canadian writing. You couldn’t experiment with either if you were chained to traditional publishing practices!

I’ve standardized the price listing for the paperbacks of both of my novels, To Drown in Sand and To Drown in Ash. And, to celebrate, I’ve dropped the price of Book 1 of the Trilogy to $14.99 CANADIAN! Finally looks like something my mom would decide to buy!

$26.63?? What kind of price is THAT?!?



Beaver tails, Double-Doubles, and now, Canuck indie fiction! A super development!

Stay tuned, like, or follow for continuing news and updates on any further KDP developments!



Upon a Wake of Flame (A tale of The 10th Lunen Regiment) Kindle Edition
Click on the image to grab your copy of the short story that started it all!

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From Notebook to Word Doc

Sunday mornings are Note Transcription day. All the week’s thoughts, scenes, moments, and catchy dialogue bits have to go somewhere to be seeded and start germinating.

And my trusty old desktop (completely disconnected from the internet) is the perfect planter box.

All part of the manic scramble to catch my brain leaks. Sunday mornings used to be one of Emma’s favourite times, because the typing always lasted longer. She’s still with me. Just in a small jar.

#notmorbid. Remembered.

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Writing Playlist: Fantasy.

There’s nothing in the world like music to trigger my writing brain. And in 2019, it’s easier than ever to build writing resources that can keep you going for hours at a time.

Talented ambiance artists all over the Tube of You spend countless hours creating amazing content just for the sweet, sweet happiness of our writing earholes.

This week, I’m sharing my playlist for fantasy writing from my channel. Feel free to give it a listen, build your own, or send me suggestions below this blog entry to check out!

Over fourteen hours of music to swings swords by, or sneak through medieval village markets, harrowing graveyards, and lots more, all in one place. They’re great for role-playing game background sounds, too!

I’m constantly adding more to every playlist I have because hoarding. In my day, we had to build mix tapes of this stuff. On ACTUAL tape. Yeeeg.

Lock yourself away with your keyboard and disappear into wherever your inspiration takes you.

Click here for The Things.

These are just a few of the scores and sounds I’ve gathered that have kept me writing through multiple coffee pots, two novels, and a gazillion upcoming projects.

Before you know it, your characters will be cringing, chasing skittering demon squirrels into the night, arguing with each other, falling off rooftops, and saying things to each other you simply did not expect.

Other genres in upcoming posts!

May your ears send your typing fingers into a frenzy, fellow writers!



The Dog Kindle Edition
A walk in the dark invites an inescapable terror.
A horror short story in the spirit of Cthulhuian nightmares. $0.99 on Kindle today!

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Great Amazon News for Canadian Indies!

The recent announcement that Amazon’s KDP has begun manufacturing in Canada has Canadian Indie authors excited!

Click on the link for details!

What does this mean?

KDP books will now be printed right here in the True North. That means faster ordering time, less printing and shipping time, and FREE DELIVERY FOR PRIME CUSTOMERS IN CANADA.

This marks a huge step forward for Canadian writers. Now, Amazon Canada will work just as fast to get customer’s copies of their ordered books to their doors as the U.S. Amazon service does.

What other benefits does this bring?

Besides levelling the playing field for Canuck Indie authors’ customers, there are two other important changes that affect Canadian Indies’ businesses:

1: Canadian Royalty reports on our KDP reports will now be generated through Amazon.ca. No more converting .ca sales royalties from inherent .com royalties first!

2: CAD (Canadian Dollar) list prices! Print copies will be automatically listed in CAD on the Canadian ‘Zon. No more discouraging price differences between USD and CAD that can cause customers to not click that precious ‘Buy Now’ button!

What’s the downside?

Author Copy shipments and Proof Copies will still be printed and shipped from the U.S; “as of today” (October 16, 2019). That phrasing could be important, because it may be a hint that those important copy printing locations may someday change. Which would greatly reduce Author Copy shipping costs. Reducing the cost of tailgate sales production would be a game changer for independent writers in Canada.

Stay tuned, follow, or join my email list for updates on these important developments!




To Drown In Ash: Book Two of the 10th Lunen Regiment Trilogy Kindle Edition
Get your copy of my new Sci-Fi thriller today!

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I wasn’t gonna, then I kinda was, now I totally am

Engen books is calling.

Submissions for “pulp era” Sci-Fi From the Rock, their next collection, have a deadline of Oct. 31.

I didn’t think I had anything that quite fit, but I did find one l’il gem buried in my files (Old Man Laybolt Writer’s Rule #3: Never Throw Anything Out). I thought it might work for the anthology, if I ran it through the brain wash and rinse cycle. A quick three hours of rewrite, and a run through Cliche Cleaner and Grammarly, and I think it might be ready.

Now that I’m reading the third draft, I’m really pleased with it. Pulpy like freshly squeezed! So I’m totally hitting that submission deadline.

Stay tuned to see if it gets in!




Click on the image and grab your copy of Juris Lunence, a short story prequel about the 10th Lunen Regiment! FREE today!

Juris Lunence: A Tale of the 10th Lunen Regiment Kindle Edition

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Just a tease of this year’s work (to be released in 2020)

Oh, the beautiful expanse of shorts, patiently waiting to be squeezed together into the blessed amazon algorithm.

13 short stories of dark fantasy, all carefully threaded together with character cameos and a tapestry of plot crossings. It will be an anthology that reads like a novel. With blood.

So much blood.

Intrigue, blasphemy, betrayal, and madness.

The Glyph Beckons.

More updates coming soon!




Read the epic short story prequel to my first novel in the 10th Lunen Regiment Trilogy, now available!

Upon a Wake of Flame (A tale of The 10th Lunen Regiment) Kindle Edition
The story that started it all!


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Make today matter.

If you’re a writer, write something amazing.

If you’re lifting, make it satisfy.

If you’re loving, squeeze harder.

The clock is ticking, and we only have today.




Make it amazing.

A walk in the dark invites an inescapable terror.

A horror short story in the spirit of Cthulhuian nightmares.

Click on the image; only $0.99 USD!

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