The City of Smoke & Mirrors Writer Commentary (Part 3 of 3)


The final product. Cover design by Sean Ali.

And here we go. Finally. The third and final writer commentary on my first novel, The City of Smoke & Mirrors. I’ll be honest here, folks: I’m brutally critical of myself about these chapters. Particularly this book’s ending. Looking back, I hate it. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. See for yourself when you get to my commentary on Chapters 30 & 31.

As before, a fair warning. I’m diving deep into spoiler territory here. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend you do that before reading any of this commentary.

This last time, I’m commentating on Chapters 21-33.

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10 Small Things to Deal with Depression

depressionFor almost 20 years, depression has been a major, constricting factor in my life. I was officially diagnosed with it in high school and have struggled with it ever since. Officially, my diagnosis is situational depression. Most times, I’m okay. In fact, I imagine most people wouldn’t think I have depression. I’m optimistic, joking, and an overall goofball.

When I’m depressed, though? People tell me I’m a completely different person. I’m irritable and gloomy. I withdraw, refusing to engage in conversation. Sometimes, my depression will last a day, a few days, a week, several weeks, or months at its worst. Most times, it only lasts 2-3 days before I crawl out of it.

Depression has cost me friendships and relationships. Twice, I’ve lost jobs. I’ve dropped out of university. It took me over ten years, off and on, to get my undergraduate degree.

Through the years, I’ve learned coping mechanisms. Of course, that’s not including decades of different counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Or the dozens of medications that I’ve tried (you name the antidepressant, I’ve probably been on it). I’ve read several helpful books, such as David M. Burns’ Feeling Good. I recommend it anyone with depression, anxiety, or similar mental illnesses.

However, I’ve realized that even counseling and medication are unhelpful on bad days. Sometimes it’s a chore just getting out of bed. For me, these little things help me cope with depression. They may not fully break me out of the depression, but I feel a little better. Sometimes, it feels near impossible to do them. Sometimes, I’m too depressed to think of doing any of it. It happens. But when I do some of this list, I feel better. Some of these might not work for you and that’s okay.

Though they’re numbered, this list isn’t ranked in any particular order.

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10 Reasons Why I Love DDP Yoga

DDP YOga Jan 5 2


Yoga has been a long-time passion of mine. I recall I first tried it from a half-hour exercise show that came on every morning when I was younger. It was relaxing and yet also gave me sore muscles (in a good way). My balance, flexibility, and coordination improved over the course of the years that I tried it. I tried some classes, but primarily, most of my learning has been on videos – either DVDs or websites like YouTube or Do Yoga With Me.

Over the years, I’ve also tried and enjoyed various forms of yoga: Hot Yoga, where I’m drenched in sweat and my pores feel cleansed; Yin Yoga, which is a very slow, almost meditative style that’s fantastic for relaxing at night. My personal favourite has always been Power Yoga. I loved the sweat I’d get from this style. For a long time, I enjoyed a DVD hosted by yogi, Eoin Finn.

But there was always something with yoga programs that I couldn’t get into: the meditative aspect. I had a difficult time taking phrases like “find your center” seriously. Maybe it was from my years in weightlifting and wanting to focus on the workout, itself. That’s something I’d still like to work on, especially as I’m now learning about mindfulness.

However, a few years ago, I fell in love with a style of yoga that was exactly what I was looking for: DDP Yoga. It focused purely on the workout, telling you specifically what to do with your body without using weird spiritual phrasing that went over my head. And holy hell, even after a 20 minute workout, I’d broken a sweat.

With the return of Top Ten Tuesday, I’d like to list Ten Reasons Why I Love DDP Yoga.

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The City of Smoke & Mirrors Writer Commentary (Part 2 of 3)

a m fimal fix.jpg

Chris Shehan’s second stab at the cover. Dill’s missing his muttonchops, though.

Well, it’s long overdue, but here’s the second part of my behind-the-scenes commentary on my first novel, The City of Smoke & Mirrors. You can read the first part right here.

As before, this is written in point form, kind of like an IMDB page. It’s also written with the understanding that you’ve already read the book, as it’s very spoiler-heavy.

Part 2 will cover Chapters 13-20.

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THE DAME WAS A TAD POLISH is now available

Click the pic to the Amazon page.

Click the pic to the Amazon page.

My second novel (and second Armadillo Mystery!), THE DAME WAS A TAD POLISH is now available. You can get it right now on Amazon.

Check out my publisher’s write-up on the new book.

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If WWE Were 100% Honest With Us

It’s finally out! The Gaming Wildlife episode that I scripted!

If I’m 100% honest, myself, I’m really just looking to shamelessly promote my own work. I’m a novelist, with one book under my belt so far: THE CITY OF SMOKE & MIRRORS. It’s part of a series called The Armadillo Mysteries, starring Dilbert Pinkerton, a mutant armadillo private detective. The sequel, THE DAME WAS A TAD POLISH, is coming out this year. You can read the first chapter of DAME right here.

In the meantime, here’s the original script (and suggested photo references) for IF WWE WERE 100% HONEST WITH US. Gaming Wildlife made a few cuts, likely for time. It’s a shame because there’s some lines I wish they’d kept in, like “And yes, I made Trish Stratus bark like a dog…” Regardless, I’m very happy how this turned out. It’s even better  than I expected. The actor, David Miller, knocked it out of the park.

So before we get to the script, thank you very much, Gaming Wildlife, for giving this long-time wrestling fan a chance.

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The City of Smoke & Mirrors Writer Commentary (Part 1 of 3)

Chris Sheehan's first rough sketch of the cover! Dill needed his hat.

Chris Sheehan’s first rough sketch of the cover! Dill needed his fedora, dammit.

With the upcoming release of THE DAME WAS A TAD POLISH, I thought it might be fun to pull back the curtain on my debut novel, THE CITY OF SMOKE & MIRRORS. I don’t know if this is something writers indulge in, honestly.

Format-wise, I’m thinking a short, chapter-by-chapter commentary. And it’s in point form, inspired by IMDB.

This commentary is on just the book. If you want to read about the creation of Dill himself, check out The Joys of Writing: The Creation of Dilbert Pinkerton.

All right, let’s do this. Part 1 will cover Chapters 1-12.

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