Jumping off Cliffs

Tomorrow is an anniversary of sorts for me. It was one year ago tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, that I walked out of my job.

Mind you, it had been coming for a long time. I spent eleven years with that company, and had reached a point where I felt that I’d been there about two years too long. We all reach that point if we hang around long enough. Boredom starts to set in and the feeling of running on hamster wheel takes hold…leading to soul-searching questions about the direction of your life has. This questioning is especially sharp once you’ve hit the half-century mark.

But this situation was worse than that: 2012 was a pretty crappy year for me any which way you looked at it.

It started with a co-worker going on maternity leave and another being out on medical leave at the same time. The resulting increase in my workload made for exhausting days and not enough sleep at night. Added to this were tensions in the department that left everyone on edge. The situation left me in near constant physical and emotional pain.

I began to doubt my own abilities and worthiness.

Things were exacerbated by the fact that my grandmother went into her final illness in the middle of it. I was denied the time off needed to see her one last time due to staff shortages at work. By the time it was all sorted out and permission was granted, she had already died.

I began to forget things, and to question my fitness to be around others.

Sometime in the fall, I woke up with numbness in one hand and leg. In a panic, I drove myself to the ER. (As an aside, when you present yourself at the check-in desk with those symptoms, they take you right back…no waiting.) My blood pressure showed a reading of 200/126, which even I knew wasn’t good. I felt broken…physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I began to consider my life as a whole, and what I was doing to myself.

It didn’t look good.

I started to plan my escape.

It sounded good on the surface: pay off any outstanding debts, save money, cash in the 401k…and write that novel I had planned to do when I was seventeen, when I still had dreams that anything was possible. But things moved too fast for that seemingly well-laid (to me) plan. The tensions at work built up over the next months and finally spilled over on Valentine’s Day.

It was something that under normal circumstances would have seemed trivial. I had certainly endured worse over the years. But in that moment, after all that had happened throughout the preceding eleven months, it was the final straw. I handed in my resignation and walked out into the unknown.

Did I write my novel?

Yes. In fact, I wrote two.

In ten months.

Now I’m working on my third novel. They are all part of a trilogy called A City by the Lake. The first is titled A City of Wood and the second is A City of Stone. I’ve just begum the third book in the trilogy, A City of Air, which I hope to release later this summer.

2013   2013-2014   2014-1

The story is set in Chicago in 1871-1872, and begins with an alternate version of the Great Chicago Fire and its aftermath. At the center of the story is a young man by the name of Kasimir Merriweather, a habitual sleepwalker who also talks to ghosts while he’s wandering around in his nightshirt.

They’re mystery stories with steam punk elements…with love and death and humor thrown in. I hope you check them out.

Right now, the first two volumes are available in both ebook and trade paperback at Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.

The ebook versions are also available on iBooks and Smashwords, and the first book is available as an ebook on Kobo. The second book has been uploaded, but has yet to go live on Kobo. I hope to have links to them in the next week or so. This is my first post here, so I’m still feeling my way around.

See you next week,







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