In Gratitude to the Phoenix!

I try to live my life in gratitude — my mother taught me that, to look for things to say thank you for. In doing so, I come to appreciate a lot of things that I have going for me. I have been blessed with the opportunity to take a talent and put it on display — I have been even more blessed with all of you who have supported me through this journey. I will never understand what encouraged you to pick up my books, but I won’t question it, I am moved by your support.

It’s been about a month since “Days of the Phoenix” has come out, and I think it’s the perfect time to say “thank you” for a few things that has made the book’s release such a rewarding experience:

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Weeks of the Phoenix: Swearing on the Mirror

As of today,  I have told you everything I can tell you about “Days of the Phoenix” without damaging your ability to enjoy the story unfold. It has been a process and I am very glad to have been on the journey. When such a project is complete and you have done your duty, it’s good to take a moment to reflect about what has been done and what you are looking forward to.

I’m going to do just that in this week’s blog.

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Weeks of the Phoenix: How Do You Get Invited to the Assembly?

In “Days of the Phoenix,” our main character is declaring that he will free himself of the shackles of mental illness and he will find an authentic and true version of himself in the throes of the social experiment known as “the Assembly.” How the main character gets into the Assembly is for you to find out after you order your book on May 7th, the question at hand is, how would you, as an individual, get into the Assembly?

The good news is, I’m something of an authority on the matter, so I’ll give you some inside clue as to how you could find yourself in the middle of the project designed to free the most authentic version of yourself:

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Weeks of the Phoenix: Location, Location, Location

Here’s a fun factoid: most of the towns and locations in my work are fictional. There are two exceptions: Detoit, Michigan (where Echolocation played the record label showcase in “Broken Promise Records”) and now Carolina Beach, North Carolina in “Days of the Phoenix.” For the most part, the rest of the cities and municipalities are completely fictional.

I do that for a specific reason: I can be as creative as I want to be when it comes to my work. Say that I need a town in New Mexico that has the world’s biggest Nacho Buffet – I can either hope that this town exists, or I can create one. Now you have to ask yourself: is Renacido, New Mexico, home of the Nacho King Buffet & Grill a real place?

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Weeks of the Phoenix: Creating The Assembly

How boring of a name for something with so much grandeur! That was an intentional design – the Assembly is a social experiment where people can shed their every day selves and let the brilliant flames inside be seen on the outside. Boring exterior with an interesting subtext. The name and the function are perfect for each other.

While I was conceptualizing “Days of the Phoenix,” the most broad version of the concept was “social experiment,” and “being who you are without aesthetics getting in the way.” It didn’t have to be an assembly, it could have been anything: a bunch of introverts getting together to play smash mouth basketball, drag rang in a big store parking lot, an MMORPG, or an actual experiment where people’s brain chemicals were being altered. A few simple criteria had to be met: it had to be where people, who wouldn’t associate with each other otherwise, were grouped together; the second criteria had to be a platform where people could reveal their truest selves.

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